What a wonderful weekend! My dear friend and now roommate, Zhana has opened a shop on Bearskin Neck in Rockport. The space is quant and the view is spectacular. What she has done is brought together local artisans whom she respects and admires and has given their work a home. I am so honored to be part of such a wonderful space.
Back when things first began I painted the, “She Wolf” mural right in the corner. All Zhana knew was she wanted a wolf, an owl, a bee, and maybe a mushroom or two. She wanted me to take these suggestions and create what I felt was right for the space and what we knew the space needed to become. Here is a video of the making of, “She Wolf”.
This is the piece I made before I knew my “home series”, was happening. I simply painted this knowing I needed to. I took the photo, of which this painting is referencing, when I lived in Salem, on Essex street with an ex-boyfriend of mine.
When I took this photo I was on a walk by myself after a huge uncomfortable fight. I knew I was wrong and he was wrong and that we were just wrong for each other, but we didn’t know how to be apart right then because we needed each other to grow and be able to be better not only for ourselves but for when we found our person we could be okay.
I have always loved photography, even at five years old I went out and took photos. I wanted to capture the little beautiful details that no one was bothering to talk about. I have never wavered in my photo adventuring self. I will always wonder and take photos, not to post them, or for people to think I am a good photographer, or even for me to think that, but simply because I am trying to give respect to that little detail that I noticed. I use these moments that I have collected as references for my paintings. When I took this photo I knew- this will be a painting one day. But I will need a while to process this because of what it means to me.
When I saw this chair, I felt alone, I felt like this chair. This chair was beautiful, tattered, rough around the edges, and someone finally got fed up enough with it that it was outside on this curb, right where I was. I was too rough around the edges in that moment and had to go out on the curb. But this moment was not without hope, because of course this chair is so hopeful. The chair and I in that moment were being honest, we were saying, “hey, yeah this is us, we are having a rough time, but if you give us a second chance someone will find us out here and love us even with all of our flaws”. We were surrounded by beautiful dry soft colorful leaves and we felt safe together in that moment.
It wasn’t until I found myself content with my own flaws was I finally able to paint this. And I am so happy I waited, and was able to give this beautiful chair and the moment we shared together the respect it deserves.
If you have ever met me, you will know that I talk a lot. That I am goofy and I prance around and dance and tell tangent stories and tell everyone how much I love and cherish their existence. But I never really tell anyone about myself. I internalize it all and deal with it on my own, because I just want to be there for others, not because I want them to give me credit or think of me as a selfless person, but because it has always been my purpose in life to provide light and happiness to others. It has been brought to my attention from “my person”, that I don’t really share much of whoI am, what I am feeling, or my journey. I only share my true self in my art. I seep my confessions into my paintings and all that I make. I have never thought anyone will ever take the time or look close enough to decipher what I am really sayingin my work, so in that sense, yes I have kept it all a secret. That being said, I am going to come right out and say what this work is about. I am going to be as honest in this piece of writing as I am in paint and in paper and in charcoal. Not because I need anyone to understand or want to force their experience with my art, but because “my person”, deserves to know what I have been thinking and feeling all my life. I hope that when you read this and see the work you can take some peace of mind with you and see that if someone like me who has never told anyone how they really feel can make this series and be vulnerable enough to write this and share it can do it, you can too.
W H A T A M I , W H A T T H I S I S
We all need a space that is ours. Whether it be our bedroom, the home we grew up in, or a small piece of a nearby forest. We need a place to come back to, to center ourselves and feel like we can truly be, “us”. Where you don’t need to pretend or hide or change or adapt ourselves for who is there. This space can be shared with others, and can even be cultivated because of those people, but we must come to it naturally.
Some of us are blessed and find our true best friend early in life and are able to cultivate that space or share it with them, or our friend embodies that comfort for us. While others, spend our lives giving ourselves to friends and people who don’t understand us; but we understand them. We see them for what they are and we see their goodness. We see their potential and their struggle and it’s more than being in their shoes, its feeling who they are in us, because we want to and we need to and we can’t shut it off. So for someone like me who cherishes everyone and everything, to find peace for myself and inside myself has not been an easy task.
Growing up in New Hampshire I certainly didn’t feel accepted. I never stopped being myself because I don’t know how to be anything else, which looking back I see I was actually brave, because it would have been so much easier to pretend and be like everyone else, but I stuck with it, I never gave into the pressure. I grew up collecting rocks, and other beautiful things from nature, or from true and light providing experiences. I was and remain, a hoarder of beauty and good pure things. Luckily I can make them into pieces of art that people can take home and have for themselves, to give them some peace, not the same peace I gained from them, but what peace means for them. That is why I make art and make it available for people to by. Because I want to give light and happiness to everyone, but I can’t be everyone’s best friend, so they can just buy a piece of my heart and take it home, and I know its taken care of and cherished, because the wonderful people who buy my art don’t buy it on a whim, they buy it because it called to them and said, “I need you and you need me”. So know that if you buy my work, you are taking a piece of light with you that I am happy to share.
See… I warned you, I tangent. Let’s get back to planet earth.
Being an only child was lonely, but made me independent and rely on myself for comfort and happiness and activities to keep my mind and body busy. I can honestly say I have never been bored when I am alone.
My family would tell me I was special, or just too mature and that’s why no one my age understood me. They kept telling me that I would find, “my people”. It wasn’t until I was 16 and entered the Video Production course, that I found them. They went to my high school’s sister school, and didn’t know me since kindergarten, so they took me at my word and accepted me for who I was when they met me, and didn’t judge me for a slip up I had in first grade, people really don’t forget! I finally began to realize that the me I have always been that I thought no one would ever enjoy, or really “see”, was coming out and shining. I proceeded to take AP Art at the school where my “people” were, and cultivated my skills in art that were always pining to come out. My teacher made me feel like I had something that was different. I didn’t have the technical skill yet, that would come later. What I had was the passion and the heart, and the purest love and need for art making; which can not be taught. I have always believed, that it is not the skill in which you make something or how long you’ve been making, that makes you an artist. It is the way in which you make it. There are people who make art from trash they find on the streets that no one will ever see, and will never be in a gallery, or maybe they won’t even call art, but they are more of an artist than someone who has their Masters in Fine Art. You never know. Everyone has the potential and can be an artist if they are born with the mindset.
When I first arrived at art school, I was flooded with inspiration and excitement. I could finally tap into myself and people would give me CREDIT for it? Like a degree and grades and compliments over my art making compulsion?? A compulsion that would get me in trouble from teachers because they thought I wasn’t paying attention because I was staring out the window looking at the contours of trees and the patterns of light instead of paying attention to the algebra lesson. Now they WANTED ME TO DO THIS????? My favorite part of art school was being in lecture classes and being able to doodle on my notes in class. I was suddenly allowed to learn. I was starting to find my home.
After I graduated with my teaching degree and my BFA I got a job as a painting teacher at a paint bar. I was able to surround myself with, “my people” again. All of us had been artists our whole lives and knew the struggle and expectations that come with it. I was also able to still teach while working on myself as art artist when I wasn’t at work. At this point I was still living on the Northshore, but then it became clear I needed an actual studio space. My best friend was getting a studio at Western Ave in Lowell, and we came up with the crazy idea that I should too. But it would be way to far away for me to live in Beverly and have a studio in Lowell, so I moved home to Nashua. This would make it so I could have space to live and be able to affordan art studio. It would give me the ability to do work, home life, and art.
As the months went on the job began to change, the expectations and time became too much, making it so I didn’t have any time for my art. I couldn’t take away my life line after it took so many years to weave together. Painting for work became the only “art” I had time for. I was spending all my time outside of work worrying about, prepping, or driving to and from work, and wasn’t spending any time at my studio. I wasn’t myself anymore. My life line kept fraying and fraying until there was no other solution but to quit.
The darkest days I have ever had followed this decision. But I knew it would pass. It would be memory and would be a learning experience to look back on soon. But when I was in it, it felt like it would never end. I had moved home after living on my own since I was 18, had no job, and was too depressed to even want to be in the studio. Plus, I got bit in the face by a dog which also wasn’t great. But as all things do, this time in my life came to an end, as the result of a wave of three.
I received an email informing me that if I wanted it, a studio space at 222 Cabot was available to me. This is a studio space in the middle of where my comfort was born, the place I was able to be me and felt at home. It is right across the street from where I went to school and would keep me surrounded by the people and places that I have grown to feel comforted by. I knew this was a sign and that I would take the space. The following day I got a call back from the teaching job that I currently have. The job I was made for; because it is a job where I get to listen and help children who really need the light and warmth from someone who can feel their pain even when they aren’t sure why they feel it.
Then I realized!
If my job and studio were on the Northshore, I couldn’t very well stay in New Hampshire now could I? So I found an apartment, the first one that I visited. All of this happened in a week. The three things I needed to start my true “adult” life, happened.
It is because of this studio space and the confidence and contentment that I feel at work, that has made me be able to create this painting series, because it is the first time I have been able to breathe and look back and see my journey; to see how I got here.
This is just the beginning, but I want to encapsulate this moment when the switch went, “on” for me. Because I know people my age need to see this, to read this, to feel this. They need to know that it can happen, that if you work hard and you are true to yourself you will find yourself home.
Home is more than a place, it is peace of mind.
This is what my series is really about. This show has been a lifetime in the making and I feel so blessed to be comfortable enough to show it to the world.
Stay tuned, show date has been confirmed for August 10th, at 222 Cabot Street Gallery & Studios.
A lot of things, mainly my true start to adult hood, has prompted me to give a great deal of thought to the meaning of home. The understanding of ourselves through where we put our bag down at the end of each day, where we sit when we take our smelly socks off, where the hamper is that we throw them into. Where we house all of our things, where are comfort and place of belonging is meant to be. Since moving out of my parents house when I went to college at the age of 18, I moved a lot. 8 times to be exact. The last move was back home, to save money and figure out my life a bit back at my parents house. Without all of the adult pressures that I hilariously thought I could handle at age 18. I got my big girl teaching job, my lovely yet tiny apartment in Salem, a town I have a feverish love for, and my art studio, in a place I have always wanted it to be. Shortly after moving in my parents told me they were moving to Florida, and that they would be down sizing in New Hampshire and would therefore be selling the house. As I knew this day would come, as they have been tempted with this idea for a long time, it did not come as much of a surprise. But what did come as a surprise was my reaction to it all. In my heart I knew in that moment, that this “young adulthood” thing, was over. That regular adult life had started. There was no, fall back, not that I ever thought there was, but there really always was room for me to fail if I needed to for a little while. I decided that I wasted to make a grand, big ole painting of the house, that has represented so much to me and my family. So I started to sketch it. And through my search of the image I realized something, I needed closure. This painting would be my closure to this house. When I was driving over to the studio on my way home from work I came up with my idea for the series.
I will be painting pieces from every place I have ever lived, and their defining characteristics. The reason I wanted this piece to be so large, is because this house feels large to me. In significance and actual size. I remember the first time we went to visit it, and I asked my mom if it was a mansion. It was so extravagant from our last home. I knew my parents were really doing well since they could get a place like this. I felt so proud of them. This is the start of my series which I will be showcasing in August at 222 Cabot Street, Beverly, MA.
A week or so ago, I was notified that a studio was finally ready for me, at 222 Cabot Gallery and Studios, which has always been a dream location for me and my art practice. My studio will be not only by MY art oasis, but a collaborative space with Cali Serino, who is a wonderful musician, and a natural painter, whom I truly admire. I couldn’t be more thankful for the chance to make art babies with her 🙂
Had the pleasure of teaching UMASS Lowell’s Art Student Union my Turkish Marbling Workshop.
During my workshop we covered a brief history of Turkish Marbling, size creation, alum application, and multiple traditional and non-tradtional techniques. I had such wonderful time getting to share one of my greatest passions with such enthusiastic students. Hopefully I’ve inspired some future marblers!
Have you ever wanted to make your own journal or sketchbook, but haven’t known where to even begin? Well your girl Deanna has got you covered. Come take Book Making with Deanna at Western Ave Studio in Lowell, MA in studio 531.
*All supplies included
*No experience necessary
What will we be covering?
A brief history of “the book”
How to fold
Step-by-step how to sew together a 30-page book
How to create book covers and attach them
Equipment and Supplies Provided
20 pieces of paper each (5 pamphlets, 6 pages each)
Fly leafs for each person (bin of choices)
Book cloth for spine
Decorative paper for covers
PVA (book binding glue)
Print out of what was covered in class for future reference
I had the pleasure of making flower crowns for fellow artist Joey Pheonix, who I greatly admire. Her and I have worked together at Creative Salem for the past few years and love collaborating. Getting to be the artist for her wedding means so much to me. Because Joey is not just a bride, but a bride who is an artist, she has a specific and sophisticated vision for her wedding. Joey’s gift to the women in her wedding are my personalized flower crowns, which each speak to their own unique styles. Because these are made from fake flowers they will be durable on the day of the wedding and for continued use! They will hopefully cherish these crowns and have them as a reminder of the beautiful experience they shared with their dear friend.