Thursday, June 26, 2014

Can You?

"Whether you think you can, or you think you can't - you're right."
-Henry Ford

This is one of my favorite quotes.  I really believe this is true.  If you think you can, then you will be more likely to succeed.  If you think you can't, then you have pretty much already defeated yourself. The mind is a powerful thing.

I have to confess that occasionally I slip back into the dark side of thinking "I can't".  Not too long ago there was a request for qualifications for a public art project here in Boise for the outside of a City Hall wall that is being renovated.

I looked at the information and decided I wouldn't apply for several reasons.  First, it was an outdoor project and I work with fabric that is not permanent.  Second, I don't have the experience.  Lastly, and probably the biggest factor, was that I didn't have any ideas for it.

To clarify, a request for qualifications is different than a request for proposal.  For qualifications, they just want your background info. (i.e. resumé) and images of your artwork and a letter explaining your interest in the project.  For a proposal, they actually want to see the design that you plan to make for the project.

I did not apply for that public art project, but I did apply for another small project that involves artwork on panels on a fence downtown.  I thought I could do that project because it was small.  It was still outdoors, but I could see how I could translate my abstract designs by painting a wood or metal panel.  In other words, I had some ideas and believed that I could do it.

I did not get chosen for that project.  However, Karen Bubb, the public arts manager for the city (and who I know from taking the public art workshop last year), asked me if I would mind if she took my application from the fence project and just submit it for the City Hall project.  I said, "Sure." while in my head I was thinking "Why not? Nothing is going to come from it."

Imagine my surprise when some time later (after I had no further thoughts about that project and had put it out of my mind) I received an email stating that I had been chosen as one of four finalists for the City Hall project.   I was shocked!  And I had a bit of a panic attack wondering how the heck was I going to be able to come up with a design and figure out how to write a proposal and give a presentation!

After I calmed down and realized that now I had to do this, I started with step one.  I reread all the information I had about the project and tried to get a sense of what they were looking for.  I went back to my application for the fence project to see what images I had submitted and what the selection panel had seen.  From that, and taking into account that the project was for City Hall, I was able to come up with an idea.

Thankfully, I had taken the public art workshop and had people from the class that I could contact who worked with metal.  I met with Mark Baltes to see if my design would be possible to fabricate in metal within the given budget.  The answer was yes and he gave me some other ideas of what could be done in metal.  I went home and refined my design.  Working with Mark, I was able to get bids for the fabrication.

Then, I went back and reviewed the book I bought for the workshop and information we received to help me write the budget and proposal.  It really was one step at a time and took quite a bit of time since it was the first time I had done any of this "for real".

In working on the proposal, I realized I need a better drawing program on my computer.  I knew the other finalists had more experience in creating proposals and would probably have nice graphics.  I did the best I could with what I had (Photoshop Elements). Here's a small example:

When the proposal was all completed and turned in,  I started work on a presentation board for my speech to the committee.  I really had no idea what I was doing but just did something that would try to help the committee visualize what the final design would look like (because most of the committee members were City Hall staff or others that were not necessarily in a creative field). Here's how it turned out:

 This is almost a full sheet of foam core.

I practiced and practiced what I would say because I knew I would be super nervous giving the presentation.  I was and it didn't go as well as I had hoped, but in the end I think I did a pretty good job explaining the idea.

They did not chose my idea.  But I am glad I was forced to go through the process and I have learned a lot for the next time.  And now I can see possibilities for working with metal.

I am thankful that Karen believed in me and my artwork enough to submit my application.  I originally thought that I couldn't do a project like that and now I know I could.  So, maybe the quote needs to be changed a little to say something like, "Even if you think you can't, you probably can."

The other moral to the story: Don't panic, take one step at a time.

Monday, June 23, 2014


It's hard to believe that June is almost over and the daylight hours will now begin to wane as the summer solstice is now past.  I have been having a hard time transitioning into a summer routine. Or, more accurately, I should say it's been harder to get work done in this transition to summer.

Not much is getting done on the to-do list (a few things are) as we have been enjoying some long hikes in our surrounding foothills, . . .

I've been enjoying the abundance of flowers this year (and taking lots of pictures of them), . . .

have been processing the abundance of serviceberries from our tree (I can only hope the vegetable garden will do as well, but it's not looking like it yet), . . .

and reading books.  I am trying to remember to enjoy this time and not get too worried about that to-do list sitting on my desk.  But I really should be getting into the studio more . . . after I finish my book. :)

Has your summer been zooming by?  Do you notice a change in your behaviors with the changing of the seasons?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Thought of the Day

"The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes."
- Marcel Proust

Monday, June 16, 2014

Weekly Stitching

I'm enjoying the summer and finding it hard to believe we are half-way through June already.  Here are a couple more weekly squares.

 Weekly Square #20

Weekly Square #21

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Surel's Place

Not this past weekend, but the weekend before, I stopped by Surel's Place to see my friend's pop-up art exhibition, Formidable: The Touchable Sculptures of Betty Maguire Hayzlett.

Surel's Place is relatively new and is a live-work artist-in-residence space.  The place used to be the home of local artist, Surel Mitchell.  Artists-in-residence usually spend a month living and working in the space.  An event or two is usually set up during the month to meet the artist and see what they are working on.

You have probably heard of pop-up shops.  Formidable was a pop-up art exhibition, lasting only a weekend in the space.  It was the transition time between the artists-in-residence.

The key word in the exhibition title is "touchable".  You don't see many art exhibitions inviting you to touch the work. Of course, a hand washing is required first.  It is so ingrained in me to not touch other artworks on display that I forgot about that word and did not touch.  And I didn't really need to.  I could admire it without having to touch.

Betty creates her fiber vessels from wool roving and other materials and uses felting, as well as other techniques.  She creates interesting shapes and sometimes embeds different materials within the felt, which you discover as you look closely.

Betty Maguire Hayzlett
Crustacean, 2014
hand-made felt and wrapped wire

Betty Maguire Hayzlett
Effervescence, 2013
hand-made felt

I'm sure it was a lot of work for just a weekend.  But it looked lovely and it is great to give local artists another opportunity to get their work in the public eye.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Works on Paper

Today is First Thursday here in Boise.  A good day to see art, as many of the galleries host receptions and/or stay open in the evening.  We will probably check out some places this evening, but I want to tell you about some art I saw last week.

Artist Maria Carmen Gambliel had an exhibition, Works on Paper, at La Tertulia Gallery.  Club La Tertulia is a spanish learning center, so the gallery is off the beaten path, on the bench in a business building.  Gambliel is originally from Brazil and earned her BFA there.  She completed master degrees at University of New Mexico and has worked for the Idaho Commission on the Arts.

Works on Paper exhibited her monotype and mixed media prints.  Warm rich colors and signature textural marks create interesting abstract work.  Many of the pieces related to the areas where she lived in Brazil.

 Tordesilhas (2012) and Casario Mineiro (2011)

New Mexico Sunset (2012)

I am fortunate to have one of Maria Carmen's small prints from the Leftovers print exchange.  I had only seen a few of her works previous to this exhibition.  A large selection of 25 works was shown and it provided a good sense of the artist's style.  I'm glad I took the time to go see it.

It is unfortunate that the exhibition was only up for a short time and not in a well known location.  I hope in the future she can have another exhibition as I think her artwork is a hidden treasure.  

Monday, June 2, 2014

Tablerock Hike

Yesterday, my husband, daughter and I took a lovely walk to Tablerock mesa.  We are fortunate to live nearby so we can walk from our house.  It was a beautiful day.  I'm sure I have hundreds of photos of this area, but I just can't resist bringing my camera and taking more pictures because you never know what you might see.

The hills are still green.

I am really not that much shorter than Frank and Anna.  I am just standing on a lower part of the rock.