Thursday, October 25, 2012

Art CAN Change Everything

This past weekend I've had the huge privilege to be apart of a movement. Something new here on the coast of Mississippi. Something very exciting!
About 2 or 3 months ago I was approached by my friend Angie Molyneaux about a street art project that she had envisioned for the last year. This weekend it finally came together.

The project: 21 different artists painting together on the boarded up windows of the old Kress building in the Vieux Marche area of downtown Biloxi, MS. Over 30+ windows to paint. All to accomplish within one weekend (to keep an element of surprise).
We all met for over a month, each planning their painting and talking over ideas for the building. Chase Taylor (the owner of the Kress) was extremely excited for us to come in and turn the old gray plywood covering the windows into original artwork. He supplied the materials and equipment, (paint, scaffolding, scissors lifts, lights) and we all donated our time and energy.

Some artists took their boards home (which most were 3 panels of 4ft by 8ft!) and some painted onsite the night of. I had a mix up with my boards and basically didn't get them until Thursday night and worked like a mad-woman to catch up and be ready by the weekend.

Here's some before shots of the building

Friday night everyone set up and got to work. I started painting at home Friday morning at 6am and went until 4pm, stopped to let it dry them we loaded up my panels and my friend Carmen's and headed out to the building to finish the painting on site. By the end of Friday I'd spent a total of 20 hours painting!!!! It's the biggest piece I've ever done. All in all I painted 24 hours in two days to finish it on time.

I can't remember loving painting so much as I did in those few days. I was reminded of why I LOVE being an artist and as Carmen put it "it lit a fire in me that I didn't know went out".  I was exhausted (never had my arm/wrist/everything actually HURT from painting so much in a day) but somehow I felt like I could do this forever and still love every moment of it.

The energy and community working with everyone was absolutely amazing! Everyone shared what they had, everyone encouraged one another, everyone was just so excited to be painting and being a part of changing something here on the Gulf Coast. We were bringing new life back into a community. I love the responses we got from the people who came by and saw us all out there. SO happy with what we were accomplishing!

Front of the building (that's George Ohr's face up there)

My finished piece! "Death to Life" 

Mine installed on the windows!
the back of the building

Back of the Kress. Left: Jericka Broussard. Right: Robby Amonett

by Gretchen David

Ben Rusher

Robby Amonett

Greg Gandy

Jennifer Emerson

Richard Haugh

Julia Reyes

Alan Longino

Carmen Lugo
Side alley view. Photo credits to Carmen Lugo!

Carmen and I with Chase, the owner of the Kress
A HUGE thanks to Chase for allowing us to go crazy with his building!

I'm so thankful for my husband who put up with barely seeing me all weekend and hauled me and all the panels around all weekend and who put up my crazy stressful running around and who supported everything that went on. 
It's truly been an ART REVOLUTION and I'm so happy I got to be apart of it.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

En Plein Air

Yesterday my husband and I took a spur of the moment drive to one of our favorite spots on the coast. An old lighthouse in Biloxi where people go to fish and there's tons of birds. He decided he wanted to do some reading. I decided to do some sketching so I thought I'd share what I bring along with me when I'm not painting in the studio.

For me, plein air painting [French- for open air painting] is all about relaxing and not necessarily achieving a perfect masterpiece. Mostly the sketches I start outside will be the smaller studies for larger pieces. But sometimes it's nice to just get out and be in the sun with your pencils and brushes.
Here's my array of watercolor brushes

Drawing pencils, sharpener, favorite pens (pilots), and sharpies

Bucket for water. Whenever I go sketching at the beach I never bring my own water but use salt water and let the salt work with my watercolors. 

To keep things simple I use a tray of watercolors instead of my usual tubes.

Watercolor pencils.

My bag to carry everything in.

And music, its sets the mood. 
I did a few rough drawings of some seagulls and herons, I'll definitely be going back hopefully next time I'll get to spend more time out there.