Every year when Christmas comes around, I always hem and haw about what to do for my family, and, like clockwork, I come up with some idea of something to make a week before that requires hours and hours to complete it. This year was more of the same.
I thought to myself, “Amanda, you should make a little original for your mother since she doesn’t have one yet!” Great! But of course, I underestimated the time it would take and presented her (along with a scavenger hunt with poems – it’s a thing we do) with a 3/4 finished piece. Oops! Thankfully they are in town for a few more days so I could finish it before they leave.
This past fall, my mom’s dad’s side of the family had a family reunion at a camp in British Columbia. I wasn’t able to go, but my dad took some pictures and sent them to me for potential inspiration. I loved this one of a little cabin on the bank of a river with a cold, crisp fog descending on the forest. It felt like a perfect blend of the best parts of fall in the Pacific Northwest and in the Midwest.
If you like this, I’ll be adding this to the options for cards! Let me know and I’ll send you an update once they are available.
In honor of Small Business Saturday, I have added cards and magnets to be purchased though my website! Also, for today and tomorrow only, I’m offering free shipping on print, cards and magnets. Prints make great present for someone who has just moved into a new space to help make it theirs, unique cards are perfect for checking in on someone at this time of the year to let them know you’re thinking about them, and magnets are cute stocking stuffers or hostess gifts!
I wanted to do another time lapse, but this time I re-visited the burned wood panel and acrylic painted dots. This is made on a 6×6 wood panel, and is a little hasta from Como Park Conservatory Sunken Garden. Me and garden plants are not friends in general, but there is something about hastas that I have always been drawn to. I like the fullness of the plant, the shapes of the leaves and how they open around each other, and the details in the colors.
There are a lot of people who have seen this one in process – I started it in Washington in May during the Camano Island art tour, and also made progress at Art-a-Whirl and the Stone Arch Bridge Festival. I was working on the silhouette part during these events. When I start my projects, I have an idea of what it will look like and what I am working towards. However, it can be really difficult to make color or composition choices without knowing exactly what the pieces will look like when they come together.
I have worked with silhouettes a few times before, and I wanted to explore this with making the silhouette a dramatic and prominent part of the picture. What was interesting about this to me was that the focal point of the image is the tree and cabin, but these lack color or interior detail. I hoped it would have enough visual interest, and I didn’t want to rely on the background to carry the whole thing.
So I just started, and crossed my fingers. I used a lot of colors in the silhouette – black, grays, browns, green and blues – and without any of the background the differences really stood out. Then I started to lay in the oranges, and the bright color stood out like a sore thumb. Then I put in the lower clouds, and they looked almost as dark as the silhouette and I was afraid that I had lost all of the detail and movement from the trees that I had worked so hard on. And then I put in the clouds, but since they were mostly off-white they just made the piece appear kind of dirty. Even though it didn’t look right at the time, I kept on gluing and trusting my understanding of how the colors would work together and past experiences that bringing in the blue of the sky would balance it out. And I think it did! That internal panic of feeling like I messed up something that was going in a good direction happens on most of my projects at some point in the process, but time it took a while for that sigh of relief to come.
For me, this piece captures that moment of serenity when the day is coming to a close, the to do list has been completed (until tomorrow, at least), and you can pause for a deep breath. This is a very peaceful image for me, and I’m excited to hear what it evokes for others!
I now have giclee prints available for this piece in two sizes – 8″x10″ and 16″x20″. The original is 12″x15″. Please visit my “Prints” page if you are interested in purchasing, or let me know if you have any questions!
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!