My most recent works, the Red Carpet Icons, have been on exhibit at Hat City Kitchen in the Valley Arts District of Orange, NJ, for two months already! A couple of weeks ago, the restaurant hired a new executive chef and repainted the dining room. After the transformation, Jeremy Moss, local artist and operator of the gallery for Valley Arts, my son, and I spent an afternoon rehanging the show. The photo below speaks for itself.
I'm both sad to see the exhibit close in a month, but happy to explore new venues for these pieces. If you haven't gotten to the restaurant to see the exhibit, the work will be hanging through March 9th, and Valley Arts, the host of the Orbital Gallery at Hat City Kitchen, is hosting one last Artists' Salon Monday, February 8th, from 6 - 8pm. I hope you'll either come out and join me, or explore the exhibit online from the comfort of your device. There's also something special on Monday for attendees and email subscribers. So hop on over and join my list and make it an #Artful2016!
Happy 2016! I've taken a break over the holidays to shut down my production and focus on my family after a very intense end of year celebrating birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, hanging a solo show, last-minute holiday commissions, and online sales. I feel as if I'm starting to emerge on multiple levels. While I haven't yet gotten back to art making, I've spent the past week bookkeeping, reviewing and reflecting on 2015. While many artists I follow on social media are actively creating already, I have needed to take a step back and meditate on my successes and failures and BREATHE before moving ahead. Something people keep telling me I need to do, both literally and figuratively. So I'm heeding the advice.
Through that pause for reflection I discovered 2015 was a year of growth for me. I increased my overall student enrollment, began teaching adult watercolor classes at Work & Play in South Orange, offered a part-time summer drawing camp, created over 30 new pieces of art, exhibited at multiple venues including the Maplewood Art Walk, SOMA Studio Tour, and currently at Hat City Kitchen, participated in two public art events in South Orange, reintroduced my annual calendar, began making watercolor calendars for a free monthly desktop download, helped a student set up a private studio, and participated in an art challenge to create every day during the month of November.
Whew! I am proud of my own accomplishments. But, I couldn't have done it without the following in place. As a working mom with young kids and a husband who spent a good portion of the year traveling for his job, I got help with my kids. My youngest is in part-time daycare and I added on a day where he goes to a neighbor's house. My oldest is in school, but I've reached out to friends when I need extra support after school. For keeping myself on task and organized, last year I invested in an awesome planner: the Passion Planner. It's a neat book that encourages me to goal-set and write things down, as well as offers space to work out ideas visually. I've noticed that days without my planner I feel lost, adrift, even more so than being without my technology. Both the act of writing out my goals and paying for time to create my work keeps me on target. I know that when the kids are in school, I am in my studio either creating, marketing or teaching.
Yesterday, I had a phone call with an artist I knew from my former gallery in Newton, NJ, and he wanted advice from me on goal-setting and moving forward with his art. He was questioning where to sell his work and how to price it. Though I've been in business for ten years, my relocation and taking time off after having my 2nd child, has put me back in the same boat. I told him that I was in the exact same quandary: wondering about pricing my work, where to sell it, and what to make. Ultimately, my advice to him was to follow his interest in subject matter, keep making the work, do lots of research and networking on the best venues, and continue to create and test the waters. After all, that's what artists do. I'll be taking my own advice, and my goal this year is to attend one art-related event per month that is not my own so I can begin to network and see beyond my own studio.
Whether you are an artist, student or hobbyist, what are you doing to move into 2016 artistically? How have you found success in your work and what does that mean to you? Share with me on my blog or on twitter with #artful2016.
While I may not have actually painted or drawn an original artwork every day, and may not have even made it into the studio, when I look back at what I've actually accomplished, I'm astounded! I chose to voluntarily participate in artist Leah Piken Kolidas' Art Every Day Month 2015 challenge. Looking back over the month and seeing my paintings in one place, I'm amazed by the number of works I've created in a short period.
Caring for two young kids, a husband who is traveling out of state three days a week, and my teaching schedule has not been easy. Some days are harder then others and I wonder why I do this to myself. But, at the end of the day, or in this case, the month, the fruits of my labor (as well as the growth in my kids and special time we've spent celebrating 7th and 40th birthdays, Thanksgiving, and more) has been worth it. I know when I've been painting, drawing, or creating in my studio, I'm a happier mom, artist, wife, and all around person. And, even if I'm not creating my own work in the studio, every day I am creating for my kids and my students. But this was a month dedicated to my own growth in my artwork.
I still have more work to do for my upcoming solo show at Hat City Kitchen, slated to open on December 14th. But I feel more confident than ever in my ability to meet my goals in the studio. Thank you to Leah and the community that she has developed that helped keep me accountable, and to my husband and kids for understanding the late nights and weekend work time. If you're in the NJ area on December 14th, please consider joining me for my opening of my first solo show in several years, over a delicious Cajun-style meal at Orange's Hat City Kitchen, in the Valley Arts District.
I had the delight a few weeks ago to spend a long overdue day with my mom, without my kids! We had planned for her birthday to take a trip into the city and visit a museum. My mom lives in Easton, PA, so getting her to my place then into the city is not an easy endeavor. We were determined to do it.
Sadly, the day we picked ended up correlating with my car in need of a new set of tires. This in and of itself shouldn't be a problem. After looking at our schedules, my husband offered to take my car, plus the kids, the morning of my day with my mom, to Costco to have them replaced. Great, I thought! It was one of the only days that we thought we might fit it in, and I can still spend the day with my mom in NYC.
As my mom arrived to our house, my husband texted me: the wait at Costco was 3 hours long! Can you imagine trying to sit there with a toddler and 6-year old? That was the end of my trip to the city. I drove out to Costco to free my husband. Upon my return and the realization that it was almost lunchtime, my mom and I decided to stay instead in NJ.
I was bummed at first, but it turned out to be a perfect day. We ended up in Summit because of a potter that my mom had seen at the Maplewood Art Walk. Her wares were available at MONDO and she couldn't get a particular berry bowl by Laura Hanley out of her head. So we made that our destination and ended up having a delicious lunch down the street at FOOD. We shared a fresh salad and a savory grilled brie and fig sandwich, with a side of sweet potato fries. Loved the food at FOOD, the atmosphere, and delighted that we were given time to enjoy.
After our lunch we stumbled into the Papery, not a short visit for two artistic types. We walked out with papers and gifts, after exploring every nook and cranny.
We were about out of steam, but I really wanted to fit in some art before the day ended. So we drove over to the Visual Arts Center of NJ. I love that place! My work has been included in two of their past International Juried Shows, I've demonstrated materials there on behalf of Jerry's Artist Outlet and Pebeo, and I've attended some of their panel discussions. Sadly, I don't get there very often, but this trip was well-worth it.
So many exhibits and works to take in! These are gems! First, we encountered the stacked concentric rings of marble, stone, topped with brass horn-like fittings of artist, Don Porcaro's "Talisman Series" in the Sculpture Park. Then we walked through the ceramics studio to see the main exhibit titled, Adhere, which explores works by artists using glues, tapes, and other "sticky" media in unconventional ways to create. After walking down the hallway by the tape installation of grocery store shoppers by Tirtzah Bassel, we encountered the intricate cut-paper collages by Casey Ruble which upon further exploration are more than what meets the eye as they document former "Underground Railroad safe houses, and places where race riots have broken out" around NJ. Lastly, we stopped by the 2nd floor exhibit, featuring the works by VACNJ teaching artist, Anne Kullaf. While we weren't there long, each of the exhibits have left a significant impression on me, whether it be as inspiration for future lessons or how to explore my own work in a different way.
As an artist, I know it is important to get out and see art that is not your own. As a mother of young kids, who is also trying to maintain a studio, getting out is not always easy. This day was important both for the time with my mom, and for the time in front of other artists' art.
If you'd like to visit the Visual Arts Center of NJ, the exhibits I viewed are up through January 17th. It's well-worth the trip, as are the food and ephemera.
Summer art lessons and workshops finished off a few weeks ago with these fruits of my students' labors. I had the fullest teaching schedule I've experienced since closing my Newton studio, enrolling several new students in a part-time summer drawing camp, an after-camp art class, and a watercolor workshop. Since putting my youngest in part-time childcare, I've been able to promote my lessons to a wider audience and offer more sessions.
These are just the tip of the iceberg from the summer:
What's even better than this visual eye candy is the experience my students had. None of them wanted the classes to end; my watercolor workshop students couldn't come up with one criticism. I worked with several adults, particularly mothers, who carved out time for themselves for the first time this summer. To see their joy and satisfaction from their work was priceless. And, whether the students were children or adults, the process of making these works was a conduit to growth, learning, and joy (despite occasional frustration).
Interested in experiencing the joy of creating? Check out my Fall lesson schedule online. I'm offering several small group sessions in my West Orange Studio on the 3rd Floor including after school kids classes, an AM jumpstART for adults, and my signature Saturday teen class, as well as two classes (Painting in Watercolor and Taking Watercolor & Drawing Further) at Work & Play in South Orange.
Jennie Traill Schaeffer
Sometimes called the Kitchen God's Artist, I'm balancing mothering two energetic sons, our new pup, Cider, while making and teaching art. TraillWorks is the apron under which I create and teach. My own art develops mostly in my West Orange home studio, but is often spurred through my teaching, and travels.
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