My CSA 50

My CSA 50

Late last summer, a friend told me about the Community Supported Art Program (CSA) sponsored by the Charlotte Arts and Science Council (ASC).

The CSA is modeled after local farm share programs. Each year, 9 local artists are selected to each create 50 original artworks for a $2,000 stipend. While the artists are busy working away, the CSA sells 50 shares to local art collectors and supporters. These 50 patrons buy in at $500 a share and are invited to three private parties during the season. Patrons and artists get a chance to mingle. Each event culminates with three of the nine artists giving a little spiel about themselves and the 50 original pieces they created for the program. The patrons then take home the works from that evening’s featured artists. By the end of the season, each patron has collected a piece of art from each artist. The artists have had the amazing opportunity to work through a whole new series and to see all 50 pieces sent off to new homes

When I learned of the CSA, I immediately knew I wanted to be a part of it.

Still, “wanting” and “getting” don’t always coincide.
I looked up the program requirements just in time to attend an informational meeting. I was thoroughly intimidated by all the formally trained artists sitting alongside me. I fussed over what kind of series I might want to tackle. Then I fussed even harder over which of my works might resonate with the committee and the patrons. By the time I pushed through my prototypes and completed the CSA application, I’d convinced myself that my idea stunk and I would not be chosen. Not to mention, the series I’d proposed was labor intensive so maybe I didn’t want to be chosen anyway. Talk about sour grapes.

Much to my surprise, delight and no small trepidation, when the ASC announced the 2019 CSA artists in December, my name was one of the nine.

I started working on my series immediately after Christmas. I “went dark” for three months as I retreated into my home studio to obsess over and to work through the pieces.

“Animaux” by Val Chan for the 2019 Charlotte CSA

I am not overstating things when I say that I obsessed and fussed over my “Animaux” series the entire time I worked on them, framed them and sewed felt packaging for each piece.

But I have to tell you, it was a truly magical moment for me to stand before this year’s patrons and to share with them my process to create “Animaux.” Thus far, in my explorations of what it means to grow into the strongest artist I can be, this was truly the most defining moment. All my gratitude to the ASC for choosing me and to the patrons who graciously listened to me, laughed with me and then assured me the drawing each received was indeed their favorite.

Barnyard Totem

Barnyard Totem

It started with a board.
Just a plain hardwood plank.
Measuring 7.5 inches by 86 inches.

I found it abandoned in the garage when we first purchased our home.
Everything else left behind by the previous owners was pure trash.
And treated accordingly.
But there was something I liked about the board.
So I wiped it clean and set it aside.

About two years ago,
I used the board as part of an obstacle course while playing agility games with our beloved Barkus
(then a complete puppy terror).

Once we tired of our game,
I once again tucked the board away.

Fast forward to the present.
I’d been reading up about totem poles.
One article mentioned that totem poles were sometimes created to commemorate an event.
Hmmm… I liked the idea of that….
Suddenly I knew what I was going to do with that old board

Images from Barnyard Totem by Val Chan (2019)

My brother and his family were visiting for the holidays.
I would create a totem pole to represent us and how much fun we had together!
We each chose a barnyard animal as our totem.
The kids drew a rough sketch to get me started.

It’s always sad when the holidays draw to a close.
And lonely to say good-bye to family.
But I tell you what,
working on this goofy mixed media “totem pole” really extended the Christmas time fun for me.

In case you’re wondering:
I’m the goat (tough and stubborn).
My husband is the herd dog (because he takes care of us all).
E is the bull (he’s a big dude in his dreams).
Si is the clever pig.
My brother is the workhorse.
His wife is the farm cat.
My niece the lovable silly green chicken.
And our three dogs are represented by the onigiri shaped mice

Mina’s response to last night’s instagram post showing the completed “Barnyard Totem,”
“My CHICKEN!!!!!! I love it!!”

My family.
I love them.
And it cracks me up to show my affection through this medium.

Boro Boards

Boro Boards

Gallery C3 2018 Intersection Show

Here I am again.
Same puzzled situation as last month.
Where did the time go?
And now we’re just three days out from Christmas.

It’s been a busy month.
But, frankly, I can’t pin point exactly what I’ve been busy with.

There’s the daily mom stuff.
And the house chores, of course.
Plus I’ve been hitting the gym quite a bit.
When faced with the choice between art making and Christmas crafting,
I confess to choosing Christmas crafting every time.
It’s been a really great season of making garlands.
Fabric garlands.
Multiple long strands of felted beads.
And even a day given over to folding and stringing origami stars.

But the art.
Well, there’s been a little hiatus from the art.
But I do have this latest series to share with you;
Created for our annual Intersections show at C3 Lab.

“Boro Boards”
Mixed media on oak boards.
I sure had a lot of fun making these.
And was really pleased at the reaction from folks during our show

“Boro Boards” by Val Chan (Mixed media on oak boards)

So actually, I did do some art this month!
Just not as much as I should have…
That’s it.
I’m making my new years resolution now.
For 2019:
A little more discipline.
A little more art.
Plus, a weekly update to you.
And now I’m off to tag some gifts and drink some cider.
Wishing you the merriest during this holiday season!

Thanksgiving… Already?!

Thanksgiving… Already?!

My C3 Lab studio art wall featuring a current work in progress: The Grid” – hanging on the lower right corner

Here’s a statement that puts panic into my heart:
Thanksgiving is next week.
You know what that means, right?
It means Christmas is barrelling down at us.
And I’m NOT ready!

How did I lose October?
And the beginning of November to boot?
One moment, I was chugging along to meet September deadlines.
Then I took a short hiatus to visit my family.
Made a few Halloween arts and crafts.
And then… what?
I zoned out an entire month?

That can’t be right.
I’ve really been working on all sorts of things.

“The Grid” for one.
A series of small mixed media pieces on 6-inch by 6-inch cradled artist board.
My ultimate goal is to create & hang 99 pieces.
I completed 45.
Overcame my fear of power drill and actually hung up 36 of the pieces.
So that’s something, right?

Got a top-secret project in the pipeline.
Can’t tell you about it now,
but it’s another time consuming obsessive-compulsive type thing.
Exactly the stuff I like.

Made a crazy wig for myself out of all the skeins of black yarn folk keep giving me.
Attached a hand sewn felt crow to the top of it.
Wore it proudly for Halloween.

Crocheted a half dozen pumpkins.
And am currently preparing madly for this year’s upcoming
Small Business Saturday at C3-Lab.

So you see?
I didn’t exactly “lose” October.
I think all the creative days just sort of fused together into one big making bonanza.

But it’s still a shocker to realize that…
Next week IS Thanksgiving.
So  let me wish you a very happy turkey day.
Eat lots.
Take a nap.
And thanks for checking in with me.

In Series

In Series

I’ve been blogging only sporadically.
Part of the reason is because of Instagram.
(Sure, let’s blame social media)
I snap a pic when the mood strikes.
Write a one-liner.
Hashtag it.
Hit post.
Near instant gratification.
Easier and faster than blogging.
With the upside of potential “likes” from friends & followers.

My other reason for being an infrequent blogger?
Because I can either make art OR talk about making art.
I’m just not skilled enough to do both.
Add to that a new method of creative madness.
Working in series.

A few favorites from #the100dayproject

I’ve always liked things in multiples.
For example, I don’t want to buy just one of something.
I want to buy a whole set.
Then I want to take it home and line it up just so.
I figured it was part of my obsessive-compulsive leanings and went with it.

This past spring/summer, I participated in #the100dayproject.
Quite frankly,
It made me a little nutty to crank out a mixed media drawing a day for 100 days straight.
But thanks to those OC tendencies,
I powered through those 100 days.
And in the process learned that my attraction to multiples carried over into my art.
It was a real a-ha moment.

I decided to shift my focus from stand alone pieces to series of smaller works.
So here’s some of what I’ve been chipping away at since.

Poppets 2018 (Ink on collaged 8×10 inch canvas)

The poppets are goofy little Halloween figures that are supposed to be cutely-creepy.
They crack me up.
A bunch of the 2017 poppets sold immediately.
I rather miss them.
So I made a new set for Halloween 2018.

“Round and Round” (mixed media on 5×5 inch canvas)

I’ve spent the last two years focusing on oil painting.
But over time, realized that oil paints don’t exactly play nice with other mediums.
More and more,
I’ve been itching to experiment with mixed media.

“Round and Round” is a 10-piece mixed media series
on 5-inch by 5-inch gallery wrapped canvas.
Though I’m quite pleased with result.
I wanted to upgrade from canvas to cradled artist board.

Round 1 for “The Grid” (mixed media on 6×6 inch cradled artist board)

Here’s Round 1 for my next series, “The Grid.”
I’m very satisfied with the clean look of the 6-inch by 6-inch cradled artist boards.
And I LOVE playing in mixed media.
Round 1 consists of 9 pieces.
I’m planning at least 9 more rounds to form “The Grid.”
Like I said,
It’s a whole new direction in my method of creative madness.
In series.

Cutting, Pasting and Waiting Out the Storm

Cutting, Pasting and Waiting Out the Storm

It’s Hurricane Florence weekend.
I’ve spent the week prepping as much as I could for this.
Grocery shopping.
Hauling the outside stuff in.
Really, for the most part,
just doing the usual stuff that has to get done,
But this week with an edge of nervous energy and tense anticipation.

We watched news of the storm hitting the NC coast and then crawling across the state.
Winds picked up yesterday.
Lights flickered a few times.
Rain hit Charlotte today.
But to our great relief, it appears that the storm is sweeping around us.
The weather will be nasty another few days.
But we are spared the onslaught we feared.
(Though never say never about power outages).

So here I am.
Fridge stocked with food.
Power happily still on.
Family quietly scattered about our house.
One kid drawing.
One kid gaming.
Spouse working out & enjoying some quiet time.
And me in my studio.
Furry baby sprawled sleeping by my feet.

I’ve sorted all my hoarded scraps of paper color.
Tearing some of the paper.
Carefully cutting images from other sheets.
Pondering what’s next.
Waiting out the storm.