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.

Graffiti Art Family Time

Graffiti Art Family Time

Arts and crafts were a daily thing when my boys were little.
But no longer.
Legos usurped crayons, paint and paper.
Then gaming crept in and crowded out free play.
Sports and school work became a priority.
And one day,
I realized I was the last one standing with paintbrush in hand.

I miss making art with my boys.
I think it’s a crying shame they’ve stepped away from drawing, painting and making.
Maybe it’s just because I’m their mom…
But darn it!
It’s NOT just because I’m their mom.
Those boys have an eye and a knack for the artsy stuff.
  I wanted to lure them back.

The bait?
A half dozen cans of Montana Gold spray paint and assorted sized canvases.
Did it work?
Did it ever!
Let me show you.

I pitched the idea of trying some graffiti art to my 15 year old.
Since he’d finished his homework and wasn’t rushing off to play basketball,
he actually agreed to come out & play with me!

We set up shop in our backyard and started experimenting with the paints.
It was a little messy.
A little smelly.
And a whole lot of fun.
We were immediately engrossed in the process.

As soon as he noticed something interesting was going on in the backyard,
my 12 year old ran out to join us.

My only words of caution to the boys?
“Just don’t get it in your eyes.”

There is something so satisfying out of watching your kid create something.

How mom-ish of me to get all choked up over this afternoon of together time?
Well I am a mom.
And I was completely, overwhelmingly, delightedly happy in this moment.

 I sure do love my boys.

You know what the cherry on top of all this was?

We ended up in the backyard again the very next afternoon.
E spray painted a ghostly mickey.

Si reworked his original painting.
Then proudly hung it up in his room.

We’re considering collaborating on one more big piece to hang in our hallway.
How cool is that?



Artist milestone:  My first solo exhibit.
by Val Chan.
(I’m still giddy over the thought.)

On display now in the art gallery at Church at Charlotte South Park through Easter.
Then moving to the art gallery at the church’s Matthews campus.

How lucky am I that my church asked me to share my work in their space.
I can’t begin to express my gratitude.
I embraced the opportunity.
Busted my behind to create enough art to fill out the space.
  Installed it.
Then invited my community and friends to come take a look.

The art reception happened yesterday.
I worried obsessively that I would run out of food and drinks for everyone.
When I wasn’t fussing over the possibility of running out of food,
I worried about no one showing up and then being stuck with all the snacks I’d ordered.
(Yes, I am a total dork)

The fantastic, amazing reality?
LOTS of folks showed up.
And there were plenty of snacks and drinks for everyone.
What a lovely afternoon.

My heart near bursted with joy that so many friends celebrated this milestone with me.

Sunshine and Some Greenery

Sunshine and Some Greenery

Sometimes it really is the unplanned small pleasures that make all the difference.
Wouldn’t you agree?
What brings a warm smile to your heart?
A friend dropping by to visit?
The smell of fresh baked brownies?
That dress you wanted suddenly marked an extra 50% off?
My happy moment yesterday came in the form of
Sunshine and some greenery.
Our first winter in the Carolinas.
Lots of heavy dark clouds and violent rainstorms.
The locals tell me this winter is especially dreary and wet.
I hope they’re right.
Because the grey days here are awfully gloomy.
We finally got a bit of sunshine yesterday,
My afternoon errands included stopping at the local nursery.
I intended to buy a bird feeder and then boogie onto other tasks.
But I couldn’t resist perusing the plants.
What a delight to wander up and down the aisles.
Sipping an herbal lemonade.
Bright sunshine warming my face.
Besides the bird feeder,
I ended up going home with:
Four Tuscan Blue Rosemary bushes
Three Grassy-Leaved Sweet Flag
Three cheery yellow English Primroses
Two small Flowering Kale
One foot tall Lemon Cypress.
(I feel like I should be singing “and a partridge in a pear tree!”)
Ignored the rest of my chores.
Spent the afternoon with shovel in hand and the sun on my back.
Humming a stupid little tune to myself.
Soaking up the sunlight.
Dreaming big dreams for the garden.
But still celebrating each little plant.
Just some sunshine and greenery.
My happy place.
Winter Evening Contentment

Winter Evening Contentment

Chilly winter evening.
Sitting by the fire.
A game of Scrabble.
My honey and me.
The game gets tense when our competitive natures kick in.
He claims his placement of words are
“For the sake of the game.”
I laugh at him as I block his move, throw down a triple word play and say
“It’s for the sake of the points.”
Our boys wander in and out of  the game.
Sometimes teaming up with me.
Other times, with him.
In the end,
It always comes down to this:
Who can get away with the most ridiculous words?
And the game ain’t over til someone spells “qat.”
This is winter evening contentment.
A Middle School Moment

A Middle School Moment

I traipse past him on my way home from walking my littler boy to school.
Out of the corner of my eye, I see his head twitch in my direction.
I don’t look at him.
He doesn’t look at me.
I greet a few of the other kids at the bus stop.
But I keep on walking past the group of gangly middle school kids.
About a block away,
I slow my steps and pull out my phone to text him.
R U relieved I didn’t scream “BYE SIMON” as I walked past you????
Yep, ha
Love u kiddo.  Have a good day!
(line of emoji happy faces with winky eyes below that)
I hear the school bus stop at the corner.
All the kids have their backs to me now and are boarding the bus.
It’s safe for me to turn around to watch my boy get on.
Wish I could have just given him a hug back at the bus stop.
But nowadays, this is how we roll.
I’m cracking up and rolling my eyes.
Middle schoolers!