I would like to share with you my new studio office. Because of my quieter schedule over the last year, I used the gift of extra time to focus on my creative spaces.
Studio Office Organization
I’m enjoying having a home for all my art business binders, art journals, art inspiration books, and my art business files. Oftentimes people think “creative types” are very disorganized. I find it enhances my creativity and efficiency with art biz jobs if I have everything at hand and I can quickly find the information I need.
Studio Office Decor
This reclaimed bedroom got a fresh new coat of paint, desk, and shelving. I intentionally decorated it with a bright wall color which draws me to the lightness of the space. Additionally, I’m able to see out of both windows while working at my computer, because the desk is placed in the center of the room. My painting Allowing the Desire hangs behind the desk, and has been enjoyed as a Zoom and FaceTime background for many virtual meetings and coaching calls.
My boys surprised me with a vintage typewriter for my birthday, and it found its home on top of the bookshelves. I LOVE it!
I enjoy working in this new space as I plan and organize for this upcoming year of exhibitions and shows.
I’d love to have you join me at the Virtual LIVE Omaha Summer Arts Festival the first weekend in June. Anyone from anywhere can view the virtual show, and there will even be designated LIVE hours. During LIVE hours, you can visit virtually with individual artists so you could pop in and chat with me online. More information about live hours will be published on the show website as it gets closer to the show date.
You can find information here about my first two in-person art fairs scheduled for June and August. Come enjoy seeing some art in person again.
I hope you are filling your springtime with bird songs and color!
A look back
I think we may be in a “Gravitational Waves Moment“. Recently, I’ve been looking back at all this last year has held since the pandemic began to alter our lives. Last March I was excited to launch into a great schedule of spring-fall outdoor art fairs. I was the featured Artist-of-the Month at the Octagon Art Gallery in Ames, IA. On March 6, 2020, I gave an hour long presentation at the Business of Art Conference titled “Building & Organizing Your Art Practice & Art Business from the Inside Out”. And then, the very next week our world began to shut down.
It was heartbreaking to watch all the art fairs cancel.
But, it was much more heartbreaking to see pain and loss blanket our culture.
I’ve been painting my way through these pandemic times. I quieted my writing and sharing. I took the time to look hard and long at my mission and vision statements. I remodeled and deeply organized my studio spaces (watch for photos in the future).
Times of Change
These times of change and disorientation have felt tumultuous.
We’ve lived through a roller coaster experience featuring a range of emotions and thoughts.
And, now here we are…a year later. Still waiting…cautiously hoping that things will improve. Wondering how all the changes we have weathered will morph or coalesce into something new?
Commission Painting Process
This winter I’ve been working on a commission piece I’ve titled “Gravitational Waves Moment”. Gravitational waves are the ripples in time and space that are generated with two large objects (like black holes or neutron stars) collide creating huge forces of energy in our universe. Gravitational waves are invisible to the eye, but are now detectable and measurable by highly sensitive lasers here on earth. In 1916 Albert Einstein predicted that gravitational waves existed, suggesting that the fabric of space could be caused to ripple by very powerful forces.
When life changes, when a culture experiences massive changes and upheaval, when things collide or form something new, ripples of unexpected energy may be sent cascading across the canvas of our lives.
Ripples of Energy
Maybe we’d rather not be in this place of change. Sometimes we may want so simply squint our eyes shut, like “if I can just not look, not see what is going on, I might be able to avoid it.” But, what we turn towards and see, we can work with and even begin to work through. We can be curious about our thoughts and the emotions around the change. The collisions can invite us into the newness.
What changes might we be led to walk through?
Where might we be led into next?
What situations, patterns, relationships, or tasks might we be invited to leave behind or initiate?
Gravitational Waves Moments can redefine us and can take us to new places. They can take us on new journeys, and reveal deeper parts of ourselves. Hopefully, Gravitational Waves Moments, can prompt us into a growth trajectory creating new and expanded ripples of energy for the road ahead.
During this time of new realities we are living in, one healthy way I have found to process the changes in our culture and find my way back to my creative work is by taking frequent walks in nature.
This spring and summer I have made repeated walks around and around the circular path of my neighborhood park planted with a wide variety of interesting trees and a small natural prairie area.
One Saturday night this spring at the end of a challenging week, I stopped mid-walk around the park as I spied one of the wood benches. I didn’t sit on the bench, I laid down on my back sprawled across the bench-feet dangling over the arm. This is not normal behavior for me. But, I’d had it. I was overwhelmed. I closed my eyes, listened to the wind, and took a moment to just be.
Eventually, I opened my eyes and looked up. There was a tree reaching its branches out over me. I thought “Those leaves are beautiful dancing in the wind. Are those leaves aspen leaves? Do we even have aspen trees in Iowa? I know they are prevalent across the mountains in Colorado, but here in Iowa?”
And, that train of thought led to words, and then more thoughts led to more words, leading to this poem.
Maybe the birds always sing at this vibrant level in the spring
Maybe the crabapple blossoms always smell this sweet
Maybe the trees always burst forth this brightly green
Maybe the breeze always brushes across my skin this freshly
Maybe the taste of grilled anything has been too overlooked
Maybe the Aspen leaves have always quaked this splendidly
Maybe my ears have not been tuned in
Maybe my eyes have grown dull by not seeing deeply
Maybe my nose has been too bent to the grindstone
Maybe my taste buds have been too quickly satisfied
Maybe my skin has been trapped inside for too long
Maybe my presence to reality has been misplaced
Maybe having the world stop for a while has allowed nature to awaken
Maybe having my world stop for a while has helped me to pay attention
Maybe having life interrupted has led me to profound observation
Maybe having new rhythms has helped me to calm incessant noise
Maybe having moments to ponder gratitude has revived empathy
Maybe having a new reality
is not the end of everything
but a shift to renewed beginnings
Melynda Van Zee ©2020
Unraveling Towards a New Reality
Enjoy a peek inside my studio process as I created the painting, “Unraveling Towards a New Reality.”
Here’s to shifting to new realities and renewed beginnings!
Stay well friends,
A Swirl of Changes and Challenges
What a swirl of changes and challenges we have been experiencing in the past days and weeks!
It comes as no surprise that art fairs across the nation have been canceled this year for the safety of all the artists and the art patrons. I’m disappointed to not be able to see so many of you in person this season!
In light of these changes, I hope you will join in me in alternative ways to enjoy color and creativity which I have included below:
- Check out my Available works for purchase on my website. After you select Purchase on the piece you would like, complete the contact form and I will be in touch to arrange payment and shipping or delivery.
- Attend the online version of my “Creative Core workshop by signing up to join my “Create from the core” Facebook Group here. Once accepted, you can access the free “Creative Core” workshop on the Group page. You can also find the “Create from the Core” Facebook group by going to Melynda Van Zee Studio Facebook Page. This workshop was created when a previously in-person workshop was cancelled earlier this spring. In the workshop, I include art journal prompts and easy art journal ideas for you to explore your own creativity.
Thank you so much for your continued support.