Monday, June 15, 2015

(what happens when) waiting for the perfect painting studio

"My Warrior for the Feminine Divine" mixed media on canvas 72"x72" 2015  all rights reserved by Laurie Maves
Since my last Linked-In blog post, I have been patiently (who am i kidding - sometimes not so patiently) waiting for my new studio to come to fruition. In April I wrote the entry "Fliegen" Away on 4/15, as I was in the midst of packing up my desk, my paints, my easels, boxes of magazines, various collage materials, brushes, etc etc.  You name it, in the 2D art world of media, I was probably boxing, taping, and bubble wrapping those various materials away. I had to leave my 2000 square foot studio as my landlords were changing spaces, and I was along with them for the ride, so where they went, so did I.  At the time, I thought I might be down and out for only a month.  That was all well and good, because I was in the middle of my wedding and glorious honeymoon to one of my favorite countries on the planet, Italy. Honestly, I had many other thoughts on my mind in the month of May, than making that fourth grand 72"x72" painting of 2015, or completing the next commission on my log.
But now two months to the date have passed, and I'm still without a completed studio and boy is it really showing my over-achieving, anxiety-ridden, always need to be accomplishing something, dark side.  My newly-wed husband, who is gracious enough to cut a space out of his business's warehouse to create me a beautifully north-facing sunlit 1000 square foot studio, has been more than accommodating and supportive. "Take the summer off, Laurie. This is my busy season, and I only have spare guys to build your space when the company slows down, and we're super busy right now.  Take some time to be with your boys, relax, enjoy the summer, read some books, practice your Italian. I love you.  You know it's ok to slow down every once in awhile.  Take this time as a gift."
What??? Take the summer off??? Relax??? Enjoy the summer??? What does that mean? Is he crazy?
And the more time I went without a studio, the more I realized I was a certified downright art-making-junkie. I had been pushing my work, my paintings, my concepts, my social media so hard for so long - for over a decade - that I really didn't know what it meant to cool it.  Not to mention, I was an avid yogi as well. I have been practicing yoga for about the same amount of time I have been steadfastly pursuing my art career. So why is it that I cannot seem to practice my practice?
Why does it seem like even after all the Kris Carr, Mastin Kipp, and Deepak Chopra articles, podcasts and videos that I have absorbed like a sponge over the years that I cannot be at peace when I am not at work?
Is it because my art-making is more than a self-made job? More than a pay check and aspiring fancy career? Is it because I have a type A personality? Is it because I am a perfect example of a mom, who doesn't want to be categorized as a "soccer-mom" or "stay at home mom" because that somehow defines me as weak and less than? Is it because my over-achieving personality since childhood has its claws so deep into my guts that when the most important person in my life says, "hey honey take a break, you deserve it," that I feel guilty...almost as if that is impossible to do?
Why as 30-50 year old something women do we push ourselves to such crazy extremes only to find we are truly making our lives - even the most brilliant ones - more chaotic? Why do we beat ourselves up when we are not creating, achieving or being the best "mommy" on the block? Why is it so hard to just 'be"?
I'm still wondering about all of this about myself and about high-achieving mommies in general. And even more so, I wonder about this for creatives, artists, writers, and the like, when we seem to have the ability to have a dream job, dream husband, dream kids and it's still not enough to take the guilt away of not performing? Perhaps I need to sign up for another round of talk therapy to calm my nerves while I await my new warehouse studio's walls to go up. Maybe I should take a page out of my own Art Therapist's background and draw about my anxiety of not having a working studio I can run to. Maybe the creative process is SO innate in individuals like myself, that when people like me do NOT create, we do in fact go a little bit batty? I can't even begin to tell you I have the answer at the moment, and maybe that's life's process, to create this puzzle along the way that I am driven to put together and continually solve? Maybe I won't be asking these questions of myself 10 years from now, and maybe just maybe I can learn to chill the hell out this summer, when I don't have a shop up and running.
Is that possible?
Check back with me in thirty days, and I'll let you know. Studio or no studio, I'd better figure it out, read a book, draw in my journal, get a sun burn, and make some home-made focaccia.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

a Venus for the 2015 Denver Chalk Arts Festival

the end of Saturday, day one, we got a lot of chalk on the ground...twice!

Ah, the annual Denver Chalk Art Festival! What an amazing event, 13 years in the running.  I was able to participate again this year, which marks my fourth or fifth year chalking it up. Many of my local artist friends have been showing up every year, but this was the first in about 5 years that I had volunteered my chalking efforts on the streets of Larimer Square.

I was told by one Larimer Arts Association member that approximately 100,000 people would walk the streets and get a viewing of over a hundred amazing examples of temporary chalk art over the weekend.

The annual chalk arts event in Denver runs for three days. We would have started outlining our works on Friday June 5th, had the weather in Denver not been so very wet.
So we waited (we being the Laurie Maves Art team of myself and my eldest son, Forest) until Saturday June 6th to get started on out 8'x8' reproduction of one of my 2015 paintings called, 
"Venus and the Ponte Vecchio"

detail of Laurie Maves' 72"x72' mixed media painting on canvas, 2015. all rights reserved by the artist
Below are some photos of the weekend's process, including the untimely downpour at 3pm in the afternoon, which inevitably washed away over 80% of what Forest and I had gotten on the pavement in the prior 6 hours of work.

9 am on Saturday morning

just about noon on Saturday. Forest at work 
and then the rains came at 2pm

and this is what remained...

by the end of day one

venus detail day 2, Sunday June 7, 2015

after a day's worth of hustle I was able to complete the image Forest and I started

many thanks to our square sponsor, the band, Something Underground

When all was said and done, even with the rains and all the back-breaking, knee-crunching work, the image came out beautifully.  I am so grateful for the assistance of my son on day one. What a great way to spend 8 ours with a fabulous child. I am also most grateful to have had the opportunity to work next to a longtime artist colleague and dear friend, Eric Matelski. Eric was the guy who said to me over a decade ago, "If you can chalk live, you can paint live!" and my life changed from then on!
For more information on the annual event, visit the Larimer website

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