Now, I can take a breath and reflect back on the conversations I’ve had with people about my work and what I’ve learned in this whirlwind. Most of these pieces I made for just me and my family, without thinking that I would ever be making them available to be viewed and discussed by so many people. I have my opinions about what works and what needs improvement, or what carries the most impact. But I have spent so much time with these pieces, and I don’t have clear eyes. Being at these shows and inviting others to interact with my art is terrifying, but eye-opening. I’m moving from the phase of just making art as a creative outlet to figuring out what it is that I have to say and communicate to those around me through what I make.
Over the next few months, I’m going to concentrate on creating so I can build my portfolio of the larger images, and some smaller ones as well. I’ll be posting more “in progress” pictures on my website, Facebook (@AmandaPearsonArtMN) and Instagram (AmandaPearsonArtMN). I’m excited to show you what I have up my sleeve!
After flying to Portland, driving up to northern Washington on the same day, sleeping on my grandmother’s couch for three nights, and driving back to Portland (including hitting traffic 10 minutes from the destination at 11 on a Sunday night), the whirlwind weekend is over.
I was very impressed by the quality of the show. Jason and Jenny (they run the studio) did a great job curating the show and getting everything set to go.
It was an amazing experience to talk to the Dorsey’s and other guest artists who were part of the show. They have many combined years of experience of making art and getting it out into the world. I learned a lot and have plenty of ideas to work on for the future. I was also able to work on a new piece while there and talk to a lot of visitors about my process. I’ve spent so much time doing this, so it was invigorating to here the reactions once they realized what my work is made out of.
I also have to thank my family – my parents gave up their weekend to drive up and hang out at the gallery (and talk to everyone who would listen about my art or my dad’s bluegrass music). Both of my grandmas spent time at the gallery with us too, and other extended family stopped by to support the show as well.
The Sunnyshore show is also up this weekend from 10-5 on Saturday and Sunday.
This weekend, I am at Art-a-Whirl in NE Minneapolis. It is open until 8 tonight and from 12-5 tomorrow. I’m at the LensProse Gallery in the Northrop King building, studio 435. Come say hi and check out the great art!
I have been mulling over this image for a couple of years now. My husband and I had travelled to Lutsen in northern Minnesota on Lake Superior so I could try skiing for the first time. It did not go well. Snow is my enemy. Not only did we brave a snowstorm to get there, but the reality of sliding down an ice death mountain without being able to control what I was doing didn’t hit me until I was on the ski lift and there was no turning back. But in the midst of my personal nightmare was this place of stillness and peace. When people think of woods and lakes, they typically picture the warmth and excitement of summer. With winter comes ice and storms, but the snow makes everything clean. And as the snow melts and the world wakes up, everything comes alive.
Here in Minnesota we had a particularly rough winter. March wasn’t too bad, and I think we all thought the worst was over. But then came a blizzard in mid-April. Over a foot and a half of snow fell at my house and we were trapped inside for several days. I was glad we didn’t have to go anywhere and I was able to hunker down and get a big chunk of this done. I thought it would be weird to start a winter-themed project at the beginning of spring, but winter stuck around!
Something that makes this unlike my other pieces is that I used a wood burning tool to make the outline, and then stained the wood panel before painting the dots. I spend much more time in craft stores rather than art supply stores these days – there is something exciting about seeing supplies and techniques that are usually classified as “craft” in an art gallery setting. This is a continuation of that theme in my work.
This piece will be displayed at the Hopkins Center for the Arts Spring Members Show from May 5th-June 2nd.
So last October I was in Washington for an art show and extended family gathering to honor the life and work of my great-great grandmother at Sunnyshore Studio, and was invited to show something at the big island-wide Mother’s Day Camano Island Studio Tour that they participating in. This is super exciting, and coming up soon!
I wanted to take advantage of being in the area and track down some inspiration for an idea that I had been mulling over for a while. It hinged on finding the perfect tree – sure, there are trees everywhere, but it was important to me to use a specific tree from the island as the basis of the piece and go from there. So, I made my husband, father, and grandmother drive me around and search for the perfect tree. One that had character in the branches and bark, and would reflect the rain, wind, ice and sun that makes the area as beautiful as it is. While there are a lot of evergreens in the Pacific Northwest, I’m so glad it was the fall and able to find a tree without leaves – I do a lot of trees, and the movement and texture of the tree itself is so much more interesting to me without the pesky leaves getting in the way. Maybe someday I’ll come to appreciate tree leaves, but not yet!
One thing that I was excited about on this was experimenting with textures and shapes that I could create with the embroidery floss. I’ve done a few of these kind of pieces at this point, so I’m trying to refine the technique and figure out what the medium is able to do. I’m happy with the qualities of the bark, clouds, water, sky and grass. This is something that I am going to look to push further on the next embroidery floss piece I do.
I have added a canvas print of this piece to the Richfield Community Center where it will be displayed with some of my other prints through the end of May. I’ll be out in Washington at Sunnyshore Studio for the first weekend of the Camano Island Studio Tour from Friday, May 11th to Sunday, May 13th. The original will be displayed (and for sale) along with paper and canvas prints and handmade cards. There is a second weekend to the tour (Saturday the 19th and Sunday the 20th), but I’ll be back in Minnesota for Art-a-Whirl (more details on that to come).
Yes, that is my cat on the piece in it’s early stages – it is amazing I get anything done. You can tell she thought I was spending too much time gluing.
I have multiple art events lined up for April and May, so I’ve been working hard on my latest piece and getting the details worked out.
The first display for this “Spring Sprint” has been installed in the Richfield Community Center and will be up through the end of May. The Richfield Arts Commission provides the opportunity for local artists to display their art in the city buildings, so I contacted the director and was able to hang up my canvas prints in the community center. I’m excited to be able to show my work to my community!
So yesterday, I did something crazy. I, with a lot of help from George, pulled off having a booth at a local craft show. I was too afraid of it being an epic disaster to tell anyone here in Minnesota about it (except for my sister, but she doesn’t count). It is a lot of work – getting and packaging prints, determining the best way to display what I have, figuring out the business side of things…it was a little overwhelming. And that was just the organizing side. Once you get everything ready, you have to sit at the event for seven hours with you heart and years of work on display. What if people say something mean? What if they just ignore it?? It is terrifying. Thanks to college art class critiques, constructive feedback doesn’t scare me. And I know that not everyone loves my pieces because that’s how art works, and that’s fine. But putting myself out there and asking strangers to interact with my art, and having no idea what those interactions will be like, is the worst. THE WORST.
But I spoke with so many complete strangers yesterday who took the time to talk to me about my pieces and what goes in to creating them. I received some really amazing feedback – and that is invaluable, especially when the main source of discussion on my art currently happens with my husband or my cats. So this is a heartfelt thank you to anyone who was in Maple Grove yesterday and sees this!
I thought I would try an experiment and do a time lapse video of a little embroidery floss project. This is 12 hours of work over a few days (see if you can spot my Cheez-It snack), condensed into 45 seconds. The piece is just 4″ x 6″, and is part of the beach view from my dad’s cousin’s home in Camano Island, WA.
“Reflect/Retreat” – Embroidery floss, 16″ x 20″, 2017
Here is the final picture of “Reflect/Retreat” that I finished earlier this year. This is my biggest embroidery floss piece yet, and I don’t think I will ever do one bigger than this. This also won People’s Choice for the Hopkins Center for the Arts Member’s Show in the fall of 2017, which was incredibly exciting – it is a juried show and there were some great pieces, so I was surprised!
This is from a weekend that George and I spent up at a camp in northern Minnesota. George made friends with a dog, as he tends to do. This dog was inexhaustible and just wanted to play. Forever. He spent probably close to an hour throwing sticks of increasing sizes, and no matter how large the stick, the dog kept bringing it back. Even when it was thrown into the lake, the dog jumped in without hesitation.
Something that is also special about this is that I was able to incorporate embroidery floss that my grandma sent me from her craft collection. She had a lot of pinks, blues, and browns, so I thought this would be the perfect image to use these with. I remember as a kid digging through her craft supplies when my family visited her in Florida, and working on craft projects with her, so I am glad she thought of me and pulling these out for me when she was cleaning out some of her old boxes. Thank you Grandma Fuller, I hope you like how I used them!
I wanted to post a little bit about some of my past projects, so I wanted to start with this one. When I have these projects, I carry them around with me for months to work on them whenever I have time. This shell has taken many trips to coffee shops (notice some of the coffee stains), around with me on errands, and even traveled with me to Oklahoma for my cousin’s wedding. I purposefully choose projects that can go wherever I go since they take so long to finish, and I get cabin fever if I am stuck at my kitchen table. I did decide it was time to invest in a craft lamp to give me better light though, so that helped to make the process easier and I think will help my future projects be more successful as well. I should have done that years ago!
This was also one of the few times that I have gone back and used a medium for a second time (other than something traditional like paint). I think I have finally started to get my groove – I figured out that my life purpose is to glue things to boards. There is a freedom and confidence that comes with knowing this, and I’m really excited about some of the ideas that I have stewing. I loved my first embroidery floss picture of the waterfall, but I really expanded on the technique with this shell. I can even see how I was learning more and more about what worked and what didn’t on this picture – hopefully it’s not too obvious!
One of my favorite aspects of these pieces that I have made over the last few years is that they are like a journal; I can see my moods, experiences, and situations expressed over time as I moved through the creation of the image. This took me 4 months to complete – when I started this I was not in a good place. My work life was really draining and emotionally exhausting, and it took a lot out of me to get up every day and do what I needed to do. Because of this, there were periods of time where I wouldn’t make any progress because I was stumped on where the next string should go and didn’t want to figure it out. But then I started to get out of my slump, any my brain was working differently. The decisions I would make and flow I would create was changed as I changed. I love making these little decisions piece by piece that add up to the whole – but just don’t ask me to decide what to have for dinner, that is too hard.