Monday, November 4, 2013

Exhibits, and gallery and hospital OH MY!

Tomorrow is artist reception for Plein Air Artists of the Ozarks(PAPO) group which I belong to.  I rarely can ever participate because of so many reasons.  But I was pleased to be able to join them few days after I was released from the hospital for something unexpected but happily resolved finally.  

I was so pleased to finally be among fellow artists generating creative energy!  The one I was painting there was a bit too squiggly though as my arms just felt a lot like jello still.  But I had fun. 

 So I kept trying and about 3 weeks later I finally felt more "normal" my normal anyway.  I began to paint like I expected and was able to finish new pieces for the show.  Click images to see bigger version thanks.

"Walton's 5&10" 8x10 watercolor

"Sunset on the Java" 8x10 watercolor

"Laughlin House in the Fall" 8x10 watercolor

I was also in 2 art shows that were juried.  The Annual Regional Artists of Northwest Arkansas and the Illinois White River Project Show.

Another exciting news is a Facebook friend who quickly grew dear to me has opened a gallery in Geneseo Illinois!  It's called the DeBrock Galleria.  She drove out to my area and picked up about 17 of my original works plus greeting cards!  I'm so excited for her - the grand opening was November 1st.  Here's a pic of my some of my works displayed

Geez I can't believe how much I've accomplished during and shortly after illness!  So very thankful for my blessings!  Hope you're having a lovely fall season or autumn :)I am posting without proofreading because my husband is hollering for me to get to bed!!!!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

How do you thank normal?

We have been in the middle of converting our 2-car garage into my very first art studio which I blogged about in April 9 (Every Fiber of a Woman in Flight)  The project had come to a full stop after the 4" concrete floor was poured late May because the floor was not even close to level and lumpy in several areas - not what you'd expect an interior concrete job should be!  I knew this project was beyond my reach financially but my Mom and husband scraped together what little we had to come as close to a functional and inspiring space for me considering it has to accommodate my wheelchair so I can freely move around.  But when I saw the floor, and after I had searched for why someone I was willing to pay would take my plight so negligently and without remorse expect me to accept it as good enough, I felt worse than this footage from the movie Inception.  This was after all my ultimate dream;I felt shattered.
Get the idea?  The surreal uncomfortable feeling and exploding floors etc?  It's actually more about the eroding building scene but I couldn't find an isolated footage of it lol!  But what is this nightmare???  What is this distorted world I'm in and why didn't I see all this coming?

Yet there apparently was a twinkling light in this mid-hell I was dropped in.  Our new neighbor who I mainly knew as a talented architect and good family man who is always such an enthusiastic waver which always makes me smile a little bigger, Dave Burris had, from my first casual mention of this project, offered to make me drawings of the studio in trade for a big painting.  He and his wife had recently viewed my art at a gallery and his reaction was "Your watercolors are phenomenal!" You know I meet a lot of "complimentary" people, and truly, in the back of my mind I'm always half thinking they're complimenting the damn wheelchair.  Why?  Because if compliments were sales, I'd be able to afford framing all the big art I'd really like to paint hahaha!  Or if compliments were tickets to success this studio would have been done in a month.

Anyway, I gave Dave an update on the project and he basically responded with a plan that he's gonna make all the nonsense stop.  Long story short, after much research on materials and corrective options, yesterday morning at 7-ish AM, July 26, he showed up with a new crew, prepped the bad floor and 2 hours later the concrete truck arrived and poured a more leveled top coat!  My husband took pictures of the process because he was so impressed Dave was right in the concrete mud pushing the mix along with the 3 other men working!!!!
Hard to see the lumps in middle of original state but it was bad.
I wonder if he could see beyond my big smile; my self confidence was was also being restored.  For months because of this situation and other art related "stories or drama" I've continuously lost faith in dreams and hopes and anything I might have thought were healthy goals and adult professional relationships, and any hope for new friendships.  I've really felt that I was back in the pre-school of life surrounded by game playing children.  I've looked for signs to confirm an inkling that maybe I needed to pay heed to THESE stop signs in my art path.  But suddenly my works have been receiving real validations - a painting I did to escape my turmoil won the biggest award I've ever received and sold that same evening.  Then another painting I just painted in watercolors to cheer myself up also got accepted in another major juried art show!
"Peonies in Watercolor" full sheet
Suddenly people I didn't know approach me in public as the artist who painted that winning piece!  And then Dave did this extremely selfless,SELFLESS gesture. I asked him who was paying for this correction?  I was shocked that a serious crew showed up and a concrete truck and he get got all messy himself! I wondered if his wife shrieked at his sight when he came home! Dave said, "It's all taken cared of, you have nothing to worry about!"  With that, I issued a check to pay the balance of the original crew which I guess Dave had all sorted out as well.

When Dave returned at the end of the day (with his beautiful new baby girl on carrier he had on his back), to check on the floor, I asked him, "Why did you do this?  Why did you take it all on to make it right and for nothing?" Without pausing to think, he responded, "Isn't this what people do for their neighbors? I just want to see you be able to move into your studio!"

Maybe I was that normal grateful person talking to him yesterday, but inside I was drenched in happy tears.  I'm physically in tears typing this.  Every time I allow myself a moment to think about this I feel I suddenly get weak soul deep and ready to collapse from sheer relief.  I feel the sun on my face for the first time after sitting in the a dark cold place for months even though my husband and I have just stepped into another life challenge.  But the foremost question I have is:

Is there ever a way to thank someone for something he thinks is just a normal kindness people do for others even though it happens to be the kindest thing ever done for me by a practical stranger?

My emotions still dizzy from this never-ending roller coaster ride called life.  I decided to stare at my grandma's picture I took of her when she was alive a few years before we had to let her go at 97.  She is my mentor for knowing joy no matter how bad things are. I was always able to make her bust up laughing and this was one of those specific times :) I drew the picture of her I took with the bird on her head as she tried to hold her laughter in hahaha! I have also been inspired by a quote:

"Don't ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive.  And then go do that. Because what the world needs are people who have come alive."  ~Walt Whitman
"Joy to Behold" charcoal on paper 9x12
In a way, I'm nervous.  Maybe the big painting Dave has named as my end of the barter is really a giant mural. O-em-gee!  God bless you and all your loved ones Dave Burris!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Best In Show at the Fayetteville Underground!

(*Click on images to see bigger version)
Blessed are the people so happy when someone else has a magical moment. Here is my friend Mary, check her out smiling at my painting.  If I didn't know better I'd think she was smiling because she saw it received an award.  This is definitely one of the pictures I'll remember in my mind of that evening. BLESS YOU MARY and my over 100 Facebook friends who congratulated me! She was kind enough to drive me to the show reception for the First National Juried Show at the Fayetteville Underground with the theme "Women Take Flight".  We got there early so we can get a good look at the entries before it got crowded.

If I remember right, there were 58 entries nationwide and 24 were accepted.  I didn't take photos of the whole show but the entries were very creative in their concept and designs were strong.  

Fayetteville Underground is a co-op of very talented artists. Aside from the juried show, the Fayetteville Underground artists were displayed on their respective walls. I was excited to see my friend Melissa Garrison's work up for the first time since she was accepted.  Pictured here are just 1/3 of her pieces that were exhibited.

Oil landscapes by Melissa Garrison
Melissa builds her own frames, in fact she built the frame for my piece :D

I also met an artist I admired - M.M. Kent!  He was so nice and said such nice things about my one entry :)

Art by M.M. Kent
Mary and I stepped out for a bit to enjoy the outdoor celebration of Fayetteville's First Thursday.  Art was certainly celebrated well there with a bunch of booths and a live stage performance.  There was even an
art class going on with children and adults painting!

Finally we went back to the gallery at 7:30 which was awards ceremony time.  The first award given was "Best in Show for 'Fibers of Her Vision of Flight' by Erika Nelson"  From behind people, I think Isaid, "That's me, I won!" And the people made way for me.  As I received the the award, I was almost sure Best In Show meant 4th prize?  I've received 1st Prize awards before but never "Best in Show" and usually, the top prize isn't awarded first.  But they called the 2nd, and then the 3rd prizes and at this point I realized I won the top prize!  OH MY GOD!  I won the top prize!  I can't believe it! I screamed and did somersaults inside me as I celebrated my discovery HAHAHAHA

The people who were in the know finally came up and told me their thrill when their favorite piece was chosen for the top prize by the juror  Fran Otten who is a member of the Arkansas League of Artists and Mid-South Watercolorists (MSW). She also served as MSW president for four years. Her short speech before handing out awards came back to me that she was looking for good use of technique and design.
photo by Mary D.
I entered this show hoping I'd win and sell to add funds to my art studio building.  I didn't realize that many things didn't register with me.  One that it's a NATIONAL show, 2nd that the top prize is $1000.00!!!!  And Melissa messaged me that night that my painting sold after we left!  I have reached new high price for my "uncommissioned" oil painting this is $1,200.00!  I'm ecstatic because my last high sale figure was my watercolor for same price but that was in California.

Meanwhile, there's not much progress with my studio.  Construction is slowwww.  But the latest progress is I've decided I want a glossy black door vs. using the paint I bought called "Drama red." lol
Erika Nelson's drawing of studio

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Every Fiber of a Woman in Flight

This is my entry for Women in Flight juried art exhibit.  I hope I'm correct in reading the prospectus that I didn't have to paint airplanes :) When thinking about it, I recalled a series of 18x24 paintings I did of women jumping or being in mid-air.  My series was called "Leap of Faith" and all three pieces have sold!  One of them flew all the way to Australia!  The buyer first bought an ACEO painting which is a 2.5"x3.5" original watercolor then after receiving it, surprised me that she had taken the time to browse my art online and chose to buy one of my Leap of Faith piece!  I learned that Australia will not accept package longer than 30 inches.  My husband had to completely streamline and strengthen the packaging of the framed painting.  And the painting arrived safely!

This piece was inspired by how I feel when I envision something that I feel it in every fiber of my body.  When I want to take a leap of faith or "take flight"toward something important to me, it seems it's all I can think of.

"Fibers of her Vision of Flight" 25x30x1.5 oil on canvas

Can you see the female figures in flight?  They are jumping to their dreams; their vision. :)

Why the blue eyes?  My answer is I don't know.  I just like to paint what I feel like painting when I take a modern approach.  It's not as structured a process as when I paint traditional style.  This painting was a blind journey from the beginning.  I wasn't sure where it was going to lead and I'm really glad it proved enjoyable.  My next project is a 10 million years old portrait commission. I'm ready to execute it.

What's currently throbbing in my fibers is my future art studio!  Scott and I have decided to convert our garage to my very first honest to goodness piece of heaven ART STUDIO!!!!  I will finally be in one room with all my art supplies and painting area!  No more filling my head with memorizing what room I put what.  No more guessing what's in the packed box with the movers' label still on it!  And I can leave a still life set up for weeks if I want and not have to put it away because the set up makes the dining room or living room look like it had a stomach flu and threw up YAYZ!!!! There will also be more private art teaching and some art activities!!! Some active raising of financial resources has begun and will continue to be nurtured for this project!  Thank you for dreams fulfilled!!!! I am doing mental cartwheels and somersaults as I type!!!
The future ArtByErika Studio!
Don't forget that you can click on each image to get a bigger view and feel free to look me up on Facebook at  :)
* I just remembered the eye is blue because I read somewhere that Amelia Earhart's eyes were blue :)

Friday, March 15, 2013

My art and thoughts on Norman Rockwell

"Why is My Husband not looking at the Norman Rockwell exhibit?" 
watercolor on paper

It's been very busy in my B'ville art life.  I'll start with most recent and catch my blog up to my farthest memory...

We are honored to have 300 plus Norman Rockwell art works visit our local museum Crystal Bridges Museum American Art.  I'm always eager to view original figurative art and that was pretty much the extent of my excitement.  However, as images were being revealed in the museum's FB page, I noticed my interest growing.  Sure enough at the members' preview, I was greeted by these gigantic original paintings!  They were in oils, not some quick paintings that were slapped together to meet a magazine cover deadline.  I know, if only I had read up.  But it was nice to be humbled and surprised with an in your face kinda boldness :)

"Triple Self-Portrait"
Cover illustration for The Saturday Evening Post, February 13, 1960. Oil on canvas. 44 1/2 x 34 3/4 in. (113 x 88.3 cm). From the permanent collection of the Norman Rockwell Museum

The painting above is one of the pieces visiting.  As I study this, I realize Rockwell pretty much worked like I do.  Like me, he surrounded himself with inspirations from other artists who have done something similar to his current project - photos, books, magazine, mirror, etc.  Brushes on the floor and lots of crumpled papers that simply fell off the pile and I ran them over while concentrating.  My brain is usually like a chipmunk getting more bloated as I acquire all it takes to attack the canvas and any kind of distraction like email, phone calls (and bills) are pushed off the peripheral. 

Anyway, I owe Mr Rockwell my heartfelt apology.  I didn't mean to disrespect my fellow artist.  I was especially saddened when I read that he always felt like many fine artists didn't see him as their equal.  The only reason why he's not my equal is because he will always be above me.  Wow what a fine fine artist he was!

I haven't posted in a while because of so many ups and downs in my life.  I get very affected by stress.  When I have less than all of me to devote because other things needed my attention, it's very hard to go about the routine I like to keep.  I'll always choose family first over my art.  But the clouds somewhat let up and first thing I had to do was get busy producing close to 20 new pieces for a new gallery that started carrying my work back in October.  That's the Norberta Philbrook Gallery.  I produced 17 smallish -6x6, 8x8, 6x12 13 oils and 4 watercolors because I am artist of the month. The reception was well attended and I have sold pieces.  But I feel most victorious that I didn't succumb to the bad flu going around until after I delivered the paitings!!!!  I had every intention to paint MORE but my body had other plans.  After all, my husband has been sick up and down from the bug since October and I was able to avoid it and meet my obligations!  As I type I'm coughing still so let me finish by sharing some photos from the reception.  As always, clicking on each image will give you a bigger view.  I tend to update my Artist page on Facebook so if you're really curious, you can always find me there :)click here ->
"Pensive Vigil" 6x6 oil on canvas
"They're Home!" 6x6 oil on canvas
"Nude Study 1" 8x8 w/c Photo by Norberta Philbrook Gallery

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

My 2013 wish for you and me

"Sweet Peas and Golden Hominy" 8x10 canvas
Something I wanted to get out of my system is my first painting for 2013.  A bit rough, a lot unlike how I usually like to paint but my wish is sincere and it comes from deep within me :) I wish us all Peace and Harmony in 2013 and beyond!

Recently, my husband was installed as head of his Masonic lodge and to my surprise he gave a speech that included these two cans.  All my life I've always said I wish for peace and harmony.  So I just had to commemorate this acknowledgement from the powers that be by painting this :)  It's pretty exciting to me as you might guess so I'm happy to share it with you!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Gift for Gene Hackman My only New Year's Resolution for 2013

"The Talented Mr Gene Hackman" charcoal on toned paper

My only 2013 resolution is to ask every new person I meet if they know how I can make 100% sure the original matted and framed montage charcoal portrait I made of Gene Hackman will reach him as my gift in my humble but sincere acknowledgement of his outstanding talent that I've enjoyed for years before he retired from acting. I've tried SAG and contacted the office of his agent but they said they can't guarantee. That's just not good enough for me. All I want is to let him know I really appreciate his work. His acting is seamless and excellent in delivery. I know he is currently a fine artist in New Mexico.