emily moore

I’m flying to Aspen today for a show that opens tomorrow night {see Monday’s post}, and oh my goodness, this gorgeous work is definitely setting the mood. These are just a few recent pieces {acrylic, gesso, graphite, enamel on panel} by Scottish artist Emily Moore. Mountains, chalets, and snowy vistas fill her dreamy 2018 portfolio. I’ve written about her twice already {1, 2}, and yes, I can confidently predict that I’ll do it again and again and again.

Emily’s work is available via Arusha Gallery, Edinburgh.




ronald jackson

Gasp! This is the large-scale, absolutely breathtaking work of American artist Ronald Jackson… and yes, that’s Ashley Longshore peeking up behind two of his pieces. I was just scrolling through Instagram {as you do} and saw her post about her latest, and very smart, art acquisition – !!! – Clearly, I dropped everything and wrote about him immediately. Beautifully painted patterns, masks, and those eyes… those eyes that stare into your soul. Not only is his work fascinating, so is his story. Let’s jump in right here:

… In 2001, halfway through his military career, Jackson had an epiphany that inspired him to consider a post-military career as an artist and painter. However, he realized that he needed much development, and that there was little to no opportunity to attend art school while serving abroad. He therefore read, researched and studied all he could in order to experience significant growth as he worked towards improving his skill; while at the same time, managing multiple military deployments and frequent training exercises.

Um yes, I have to get him on the podcast.





longshore . patton . watson . hildebrand . krysa

BIG PICTURE, BABY : BIG WORK BY BOLD WOMEN

I’m proud of every show I curate, but this one? Well, it’s a doozie. Somehow, I managed to bring a few of my most favorite artists together into one show. Add to that a beautiful gallery in downtown Aspen during the holidays and hello, we’ve got a winner. There are five artists in BIG PICTURE, BABY … American artists Ashley Longshore and Daisy Patton, and three Canadians – Janna Watson, Meghan Hildebrand, and myself, Danielle Krysa. Yes, I curated myself into the show because it was just too exciting not to. Here’s my curatorial statement:

“At first glance, it may seem like the artists in this show don’t have much in common (well, other than ‘going big or going home’ that is), but when you look a little closer there are actually quite a few similarities that connect them. From vivid color palettes and dizzying patterns, to bizarre narratives and intricate details… and, of course the fact all of five of these artists step up to the canvas with a fearless approach to art making. “Big Picture, Baby” will be bringing larger than life portraits, bold paint strokes, and even a few big laughs to Skye Gallery this winter.” ~ Danielle Krysa, Curator/Artist

I will be in Aspen this THURSDAY night, December 13th from 6-9pm, for the artists’ reception party. If you’re in town, please join us for some big bold beautifulness, and if you aren’t in Aspen at the moment, you can also reach out to Skye Gallery to inquire about available work {each artist has included three BIG pieces}. Happy Monday.

ps. the show got a really great write-up in the Aspen Times over the weekend.





dad

I’m not sure where to start, or why I’m writing this here. I just have to, so I hope you’ll indulge me.

My dad died very suddenly, early Friday morning. He was in Jamaica, for the 8th year in a row, to run at the Reggae Marathon with a group of his friends. They refer to themselves as “The Four Amigos”, and this is their annual running trip. The race was set for Sunday morning, but they always go a few days early to get used to the heat … translation: to hang out, laugh, run on the beach, and drink Red Stripe beer. On Friday morning my dad had gone for a run on the beach with one of the other amigos, and then headed back to his room for a quick shower before breakfast… but he never arrived at breakfast. Even as I write this I can’t believe it’s real.

He and my mom had just come home from a month long trip to India and Nepal… their 50th wedding anniversary trip. I was nervous about him jetting off to Jamaica right after such a big trip, but I learned a long time ago that, when it comes to running, none of us could ever convince my dad not to race! He has done 29 full marathons and at least 60 half marathons. I’m proud to say I’ve run several races with my dad over the years (and finally beat him for the first time about 3 years ago… I had to wait for him to turn 70 before I even had a chance).

If you listen to my podcast, or have ever heard me speak, I talk about my parents a lot. My dad is a PhD scientist, and my mom is an artist… and I suppose I am a fine blend of both. When I was in first year university, as a marine biology major (yep, true story), it was my dad that called me half way through the year and encouraged me to switch into fine art. He said “You’ve been an artist since the day you were born – it’s who you are – it’s what you have to do.” I mentioned he has a PhD, right? And he told me to SWITCH INTO ART?!

One of my favorite childhood memories, was when I drew this masterpiece, titled “Big Bird, Little Tree“:

I was three. My dad came by, looked over my shoulder and said, “Well, we have to put that in a frame.” He always framed all of my mom’s paintings, and for my bird in the tree he used all of the fancy tools he used for her work… a mat, real glass, and an amazing gold frame (it’s hanging in my studio right now). I remember feeling so proud. I felt like a REAL artist, just like my mom.

Through my whole life, Dad was the one to give me practical advice … yep, scientist. He taught me the thrills of list-making and binder dividers. He taught me to prioritize things that mattered to me, and then to put my head down and go get them. He had great, memorable sayings too… anytime I said anything about being lucky when it came to my achievements, Dad would say: “Yep, it’s a funny thing – the harder you work, the luckier you get.”  I don’t say I’m lucky anymore, now I say “I work my ass off.” Which I do, and I’m so glad my dad knows that.

Last week I was speaking in Vancouver, and my parents were in the front row. While I was signing books, my dad quickly cut the line to say goodbye. He wasn’t a very effusive guy, but for some reason on this particular night, he took the time to tell me how proud he was. He said, “Not only are you a wonderful speaker, it’s quite something to watch you inspire and move an entire room full of people… I couldn’t be more proud of you.” He died a week later.

I love you so much, Dad. I can feel you watching over us already. I know everyone has their time to go, and I’m glad that yours was in a place you love, surrounded by good friends, after a run on the beach. But it was too soon. We had more races to run.

I’ll be taking a bit of time off from posts and the podcast to be with my family. ~ Danielle xo

ps. My dad had a blog too. I set it up for him on Father’s Day a bunch of years ago. It’s called Running In the Zone.





amy rice

Clearly I had to include the closeup of that final piece … the worm! I can almost smell freshly dug soil and a warm summer breeze in this latest body of work {acrylic, enamel, ink, and in some cases, cut paper too} by American artist Amy Rice. Her new show, titled “Root Down”, opens TOMORROW: December 1, 12-5 pm at Groveland Gallery in Minneapolis. Here are a few of their words about this show:

“Amy Rice’s artwork presents wildlife at its fullest. Her affection for the outdoors manifests itself in vibrant reds, yellows, purples, blues and greens – from rolling fields of flowers ready to be gathered to isolated flora depicted stem, root, and all. Having studied the anatomy of flowers and invested time into growing her own, Rice’s work is both a study and celebration of her wild subjects.”

Sigh. I’m not sure I’m ready for December just yet.





michael reeder

The first time I saw the work of LA based artist Michael Reeder was the day before I set out to paint my first mural. Someone pulled out their phone and said, “Did you see what Michael Reeder just did in Montreal?… let’s say my confidence may have been shaken a tiny bit! Anyway, he does all sorts of amazing things – paintings, murals, installations, etc. If you’re in New York check out his latest show, titled “DeadRinger”, that opens this Saturday, Dec 1, 6-8pm, at Hashimoto Contemporary in New York {210 Rivington St}… and maybe don’t look at his murals 24hrs before you do one for the first time. Just sayin’.





charlotte mary pack

I don’t know if I should gasp or sigh… maybe a bit of both. These lovely pieces are by UK artist Charlotte Mary Pack. In 2013 she graduated with a first class honors degree in Ceramic Design from Central Saint Martins, and now she makes this wild ‘n whimsical work. Here’s why:

“Growing up on a farm and traveling widely across Africa are fundamental experiences that have instilled her affection for the natural environment. The combination of both Charlotte’s love for all creatures great and small, and clay, steers her work to explore different ways to draw attention to the declining wildlife and natural world.  An artist with integrity, Charlotte donates 15 per cent of profits to support wildlife conservation efforts around the globe.”

Yes! Love, love, love!





kellie orr

She had me at ‘metallic unicorn head balloon’. This is the work of Australian born, Vancouver based painter Kellie Orr. Obviously I had to include process shots so that you’d believe me when I said, “YOU GUYS… THESE ARE OIL PAINTINGS!” Sigh. Gorgeous.





kathryn macnaughton

Acrylic and oil on canvas. Yes, they’re paintings, and no, they’re not digital. Crazy. This is the latest work from Canadian artist Kathryn MacNaughton. I wrote about her in 2010 {whoa}, and I loved what she was doing back then, but this latest work… well, it made me gasp out loud. She is a brilliant artist who constantly pushes her work to new and wonderful places. Clearly.

This body of Kathryn’s work is available via Bau-Xi Gallery {Toronto and Vancouver}





worthy of worth

I’ve had this post in my drafts folder for weeks. This isn’t the kind of post I usually write, but I feel beyond compelled to put this out into the world as loudly as I possibly can…

The word WORTH has been coming up for me over and over and over again in the last few years. When that happens, I know it’s time to listen. Now, this wasn’t my original plan, but the idea of “worth” has become the cornerstone of the latest talk I’ve been giving as I travel around to promote my new book, “A BIG IMPORTANT ART BOOK – Now With Women”. Here’s why:

In late 2016 I started thinking about this new book, and I had a flashback to being a first year art student in the early 1990s. I remember, very clearly, asking my art history professor why we weren’t learning about any female artists. Surely Frida and Georgia weren’t the only women who had ever made art? He assured me that there were thousands of women who had been creating for centuries, however, “they weren’t considered worthy enough to be documented”. Not worthy? Well, thank goodness that was in the past… right?

The next time worth, or lack thereof, raised its head was probably later that year as a freshman in art school. I’d been playing with humor-based work, and was told by my painting professor {I’m paraphrasing, but it went a little something like this}“It’s already bad enough that you’re a woman, but if you use humor too? Well, you’ll never be taken seriously as an artist.” Not worthy?

There were so many more experiences through my twenties, both in my personal life and as an artist, that fed into doubts about my self-worth… but those crappy stories of abuse are for another day. Let’s jump ahead to early 2017. I was ready to pitch this new book… my fourth book. I’d already had success with my books on creative blocks and inner critics, and now I wanted to write a big important art book that focused on women. I own so many big important art books but, when you flip through them, there are rarely more than a handful of female artists … if any. How is that possible in this day and age? Well, never mind, I was about to do my part to change that. So I pitched the book. It was rejected. Apparently “it was too niche… people won’t buy a book about women artists.” So I pitched it to four more publishers. I heard exactly the same thing. “It’s too niche… people won’t buy a book about women artists.” Was I seriously being told that female artists still weren’t considered worthy enough to be documented? IN 2017? I was furious and frustrated… and did I mention furious? Thankfully, it only takes one publisher to say yes, and Running Press was that publisher. Oh yes, it was finally time to write a big important art book!

So, shortly after I began writing in 2017, a little something called the #METOO movement began. There were marches all over the world, led by women, demanding to be heard. Our voices have worth. Our ideas have worth. Our bodies have worth. We have worth. I could hear them on the TV in the background as I wrote. They flashed by me in news stories on Facebook and Instagram. The spotlight was being shone brightly on issues of unequal pay, unequal representation from Hollywood to Wall Street – and, of course, horrible stories of sexual abuse and inappropriate behavior in every industry, in every corner of the world. Literally every woman I know has at least one story, if not more {unfortunately, I have several of my own} …  hence #METOO. I was furious again.

Early October 2018 – the week the book was to be released – the world held its breath to see if Brett Kavanaugh would be appointed to the United States Supreme Court. Only days before, millions of people watched as Dr. Christine Blasey Ford gave her testimony about narrowly escaping being raped by him at a party in high school. Surely she was worthy of being believed? Apparently not. F U R I O U S.

Here’s the thing. As women, we’ve been taught to be polite. “Don’t speak up, don’t rock the boat, don’t be a nag, be a good girl”. Add being a creative person to that – male or female – and self-worth can take another hit. Is my work good enough? Does my work matter? Are my ideas important? Can I charge money for [insert anything here]? {…have you ever had someone ask to buy your work, and you either just give it to them for free, or cut them an insane deal? Yeah, me too. Don’t do that anymore.} 

The answer to all of the questions above is a resounding “HELL, YES.” What you do has worth. Your ideas have worth. The experiences that have brought you to this point in your life have worth. And yes, creativity is an absolutely worthy use of your time. When we get busy, why does our creative practice fall to the bottom of our priority list? It falls below picking up the dry cleaning, for crying out loud! That said, you’d think the first step would be making time for your artwork, but there’s one very important thing you have to do first. You have to believe that there’s WORTH in making time. Once you truly believe that, you will make the time – no excuses. You will show up to the studio – no excuses. You will answer “yes” when someone asks if you’re an artist – no excuses. AND, you will never give your work away again. EVER.

You have worth. We all do. In the studio, at home, and in the world.

OWN IT.