16 3 / 2014
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16 3 / 2014
the perfect romance of self reliance.
when benjamin and i were doing the long distance thing, he mentioned that he wanted to collaborate. he had some ideas that we discussed, but when he pointed out that my living space reminded him of his paintings, i realized that the best collaboration might be more simple and natural than we’d thought. though self portraits have rarely been part of my work, i decided to make one that was a representation of my life at that time. one that held up to my “reputation” as a strong person. i moved to minneapolis for a new adventure, i expected it would be a pretty lonely, simple and quiet one. but i ended up falling in love with this strange man right after i moved 700 miles away, and ended up with an adventure in learning about how to let go of certain aspects of my independence in order to have a healthy relationship.
i took some photographs of me in my studio apartment for him to paint. i played around some, but i thought this one was the most appropriate. i liked how slightly humorous it is was, to me anyways, i guess i feel like i was poking fun at my need for self-reliance. before i moved to minneapolis, people; friends and strangers alike would always, annoyingly, question it and comment about how cold it was, as if i didn’t know. i suppose the move to me became about this adventure into this place that is full of winter perils that i was going to conquer on my own. hence the shovel, boots, coat and facial expression.
its been fun to realize the similarities and differences in our creative process. i’m obsessed with found objects because they have history, tell of another time. he references familiar art from history. he has an idea, image or title in mind, takes the reference photo and leaves the rest to the process. its not unusual for a figures’ shirt to change color multiple times in the process before the painting comes to a close (this painting actually isn’t done. the wall colors are going to changed). i work in a very similar way, i generally give myself something to start with, i have a semi-plan. i plan to include a couple key factors and leave the rest for my eye and brain in the moment. you can see here the difference between the photo and the painting, what he added as he went along to build the concept and way your eye moves through the painting.
benjamin’s paintings generally have a lot going on, not in the chaotic this-is-an-epic-battle-scene sense, but in more subtle ways, you might even think of his paintings as simple at first glance, but there is a lot of amazing details that make them very engaging. his paintings reference everyday life and art history, often in ways that are refreshing and ironic, some satirical. the environments he sets up or chooses to paint are intentional. similar to the way i make my home, i always surround myself with things that inspire me; color, character and story drive me. yes i realize the word “things” isn’t very specific, but things is actually the best explanation, in general speak, i am a collector. (it may not even be a good thing.)
he works from photographs that he stages, plans and composes. this was an exception, and where the collaboration comes in, i did send him several options to choose from, but he had very little control in the set up (he was in kentucky.) his photos often piece several bits of information together because he is only looking for a source image to help guide the beginning of the painting, it doesn’t matter to him if it’s a beautiful photograph. if the purpose of this photo were to simply be a “fine art” photograph (not a painting reference) i would have done the light (among other things) differently. i actually made other images that afternoon that are much stronger as photographs, and they were important for me as an artist to see what i was able to communicate emotionally. it was helpful to me since i don’t work with myself as a subject, while he is often the subject of his paintings, to see that i could articulate my emotional state. the play between me as an educated fine art photographer and him as an educated (way more than me) painter that uses photographs to get his result has been interesting. you could call me something close to a purist, i do use some, minimal computer software, but i fell in love with photography the hardest while using film. i’m very much in the mindset of what i create in the camera is what i get, so the world of photographing for a painting has been a new one for me, and i like new.
while i knew it would be fun, in those first days of talking i didn’t imagine that our working together would become so natural as it has. his paintings are still his paintings, i don’t paint, but i do help in other ways. we bounce ideas off each other a lot, talk about formal stuff and i tell him when i don’t think something’s finished. its been eye opening for both of us i think to realize what we now have at our finger tips.
when i was first introduced to my husband’s paintings, i remember being most impressed with his titles. titling work is hard, at least for me, (and i think a majority of artists as i look at work in museums, and judge them) so when someone titles their work in a way that informs it to the perfect extent, and that is paired with good art work, of course, i am there. his intelligence and humor shines through. of course with this one he did not fall short with: “the perfect romance of self reliance.”
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11 1 / 2014
11 1 / 2014
07 1 / 2014
09 12 / 2013
25 11 / 2013
its probably more than you think
warning: i am, in fact, about to get alittle festive. (i know, who am i, right? i’m asking the same question.)
last year about this time i was tweeting things like “if you get to be with your family this week be thankful! unless you don’t like them… but you should probably still be thankful.”
last year was my first thanksgiving without my family. this was a big deal, you could say our family is pretty close. the holiday became a new love for me when my older brother went away to college the first year way back when. we were used to be together most of the time, so i always anticipated this time of year.
i couldn’t afford to leave minneapolis last year, where i was by myself (totally brought on happily by my self, but i didn’t except to not be able to be home for thanksgiving.) to make it better, the man i wanted to marry that i had known for less than two months and only hung out with twice myself, was gonna be spending part of the day with my family as well… without me. i wasn’t having a great day. they facetime’d me, but really, when your 3 brothers, 3 sisters, your man, nephews and parents are all in one house having thanksgiving and they video chat you, does it really make you feel better or does all the fun and conversations just sound like noise through a little iphone (that you know in real life is beautiful chaos that you are missing out on.) i got a text that morning from a sweet friend, who i barley knew, (we had been connected because we’re both from ohio) “what are you doing today?” i probably replied “nothing” or something pathetic, and she said something like “please come to our friends house, there’s gonna be alot of people there.” although i was not in the most friendliest of moods, i eventually mustered up the courage to leave the house. i’m all about adventure, right?
when i arrived at the address, there were kids. everywhere. the closest children-friends of mine lived 1.5 hours away. i had been cut off from one of my greatest sources of inspiration and love since i had moved. i missed being around tiny humans and no matter how much you smile at each other at the grocery store, it doesn’t make it appropriate to go befriending strangers’ children at the grocery store… so i was happy.
there i was with several beautiful families that were having thanksgiving together because they were to far away from their families too. i enjoyed conversations with the grown-ups, and the children and i smiled at each other of course. i got to hold and snuggle one of the little ones as well. the family who was hosting this thanksgiving day are some of our favorite people now, so much so that we moved 2 blocks away from them, on purpose, when we moved back to minneapolis. benjamin stayed with them when he came to visit me, i stayed with them when i got evicted before i moved back to kentucky and we stayed with them when we came back to look at houses. i’m not just thankful for them because they have given me a place to sleep on multiple occasions, we are truly blessed to have them as our minneapolis family, neighbors and friends. if i was with my family last thanksgiving we may not have the joy of having them in our life now.
it was good for the part of my family who didn’t know benjamin to get to know him, without me. it was nice for me to hear their high praises of him from afar (when you decide you want to marry someone you’ve known for less than two months it is a good sanity check to have your family more than approve.)
so again i say, if you’re with your family this week, be thankful. and if you’re not, be thankful for what you do have. its probably more than you think. make the best of it. (and if you are in a place where you can invite someone lonely over, do it, it might totally change their day, year or life.)
when benjamin promised “next year we’ll be together for thanksgiving” i believed him, but i surely didn’t know that i would have gained a husband, two parents, 3 nephews, a niece and would have a little rogers kid cooking in my oven… my ever growing family. now that i’m here, i really wouldn’t have any other way.
to leave you with, going back and reading more of my this-week-last-years’-tweets, i also found this one from after thanksgiving:
"Leave to your God to order and provide; In every change, He will remain."
21 11 / 2013
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20 11 / 2013
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19 11 / 2013
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13 11 / 2013
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05 11 / 2013
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15 10 / 2013
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21 9 / 2013
21 9 / 2013