Hemming and Hawing
September is a very full month if you're a parent with kids on a traditional school year calendar. This September was especially full, given two new schools for my 5th and 9th grade sons. As an artist mother, I was embarking on the decision whether to participate in the Thrive Together Network's bi-annual virtual artist residency, I was fearful it would be too much.
As many have already kicked off the holiday season, I'm waiting just a little longer. This year, I'm hosting another version of my #GiveorSave Event. Giving through my work has always been important to me, as is offering occasional opportunities for my collectors to purchase selected works at special prices. This event allows you to choose what is best for you at this time, and falls neatly between Artists Sunday and GivingTuesday.
I’ve joined artists, creators and makers across the country for the Artists Sunday, earth’s largest art event, the Sunday after Thanksgiving, November 27th, encouraging consumers to shop with artists. Think of it like Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, or Cyber Monday but for shopping for art! And, you've probably heard of Giving Tuesday, which according to the organization "is a global generosity movement unleashing the power of radical generosity. GivingTuesday was created in 2012 as a simple idea: a day that encourages people to do good. Since then, it has grown into a year-round global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity."
To honor both days, I'm going to be offering to my SUBSCRIBERS only, a private window of shopping online from Artists Sunday (November 27th) through GivingTuesday (November 29th). During those three days, subscribers will shop through a password protected link to my site and have the option to either save 25% percent on selected works, or ask me to donate 25% percent of their sale to my selected charity.
Subscribers will get an email in their inbox on Sunday morning, at 9am ET (6am PT), with a password protected link to shop my online site privately through Tuesday, along with a coupon code should you wish to use it. If you prefer that I make a donation, simply send me a note in your order. If you miss the window to subscribe and don't get an email Sunday morning, simply sign up on my site prior to Tuesday morning, and you'll receive the link and password soon after.
In light of recent events, coupled with my passion for mental health support, I've decided to give donations to The Trevor Project. They are the world’s largest suicide prevention and mental health organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) young people. Not only do they offer crisis support, but also advocacy, research and education. Some of their stats are shocking - both how a lack of acceptance has a negative impact on LGBTQ populations, as well as how just one supportive person can have a positive impact.
According to The Trevor Project, "One accepting adult decreases the risk of suicide by 40% for LGBTQ young people." "The Trevor Project estimates that more than 1.8 million LGBTQ young people seriously consider suicide each year in the U.S. and could benefit from our services."
PLEASE, become a subscriber to my periodic newsletter by simply filling out the form below. Let's help end hate, and provide much needed support to the LGBTQ+ community.
Wishing you a very safe and Happy Thanksgiving, and I'm truly grateful for you!
Just a few of my works to be included:
I don't always realize how productive I have been until I take a moment to pause and gather everything for a shop update. My studio doesn't have much wall space so I can't always see everything at once - it gets shuffled to drawers or shelves. This past week 8 new works from my growing TeaScapes series have been organized, photographed, titled, described, priced and uploaded to my site.
Corresponding with this artwork release is my Give or Save Event which I have periodically run in the past with a lot of success. What is it? In brief - through May 5th, you have the opportunity to purchase my original work and have me either donate 50% to Feeding America or choose to save 50% on my work. You can read more about the event, how to participate and get almost first dibs on the work by subscribing to my list. Currently, only subscribers are accessing the work through April 30th.
It feels good to release them to the world, and I hope you'll join in for a change to collect new pieces, and possibly GIVE to an organization that is much needed now, before I open it up to the public Friday. Simply enter your email address below. I hope you're staying safe, healthy, and finding some way of reaching peace at this time. My heart goes out to everyone and my hope is that I can support the greater population through my work, and give you something to cherish in your home.
A Seat by the Firehole, Watercolor and Gouache with Image Transfer on Paper, 14" x 9.75", ©2018 Jennie Traill Schaeffer
It’s very hard to have ideas. It’s very hard to put yourself out there, it’s very hard to be vulnerable, but those people who do that are the dreamers, the thinkers and the creators. They are the magic people of the world. - Amy Poehler, from Yes, Please
I think I forgot over the past few decades that I was one of those dreamers, a thinker, somehow magical for what I do. I grew up as a dreamer - playing, creating, and then I became a mother, at the same time as opening a studio / gallery in a storefront. A lot of energy went into creating that space, the events, the shows, the lessons, and some artwork along the way.
Since closing my brick and mortar in 2013, I birthed another son, took time off from creating art, but then slowly started pulling myself up and out of my house. My art classes moved locations, grew in number and then shrank again while I tended to some very personal needs for my family. All the while, I was making, exhibiting, but something was shifting. During that contrition, my artwork started blossoming again, changing, emerging as something wholly new.
While motherhood may spark dreaming in some people, I have found in some ways the opposite. There were moments of creativity and bursts of ingenuity that surprised me, but for the most part I was tired, exhausted, and spent - trying to juggle so many things. The truth of motherhood is that it is so damned hard. And, it doesn't get easier. But, somehow in the past two years, I have worked equally damned hard on myself and have found a burst of growth that is too amazing not to notice. I have found peace, I have found more space for my ideas, and I have found new places for my work.
From left to right: Ginger Thermal, Mint Hemlock, Cold Season
WRITING AN ARTIST'S STATEMENT:
I began making TeaScapes in early 2018 after returning from a trip out west. While I've been offering the works in exhibits and in my online shop, and writing about them, I never officially wrote an artist's statement specific to them until last week. I submitted several of them to a juried show (which will remain secret until I hear the results) and needed a 1000 character statement. Every show has different requirements, and for this I began with a longer version, then whittled it down to what's included below.
Writing an artist statement usually pains me. Writing is never an act I come to with ease, and over the course of my education was always criticized for my inability to be succinct. Since becoming a professional artist I write more now than ever, and in the early years of my business, my husband who has a degree in English, helped me tremendously. Read on, and if you feel so moved, send me your feedback - I'd love to hear how readers and art lovers respond to my work, and to improve how I talk about it.
A GREAT RESOURCE:
Last week I stumbled upon a user friendly blog post by Sarah Hotchkiss on writing an artist's statement. The Creative Independent broke things down into an understandable format that helped me craft my latest statement. I didn't use all of her techniques, and I was writing at the last minute - against her recommendation - EEK! So, read on, and if you feel so moved, send me your feedback - I'd love to hear how readers and art lovers respond to my work, and advice on improving how I talk about it.
"After a family trip to Wyoming and Utah, I wanted to imbue my art with the peace and spaciousness that I experienced there – to make those places and feelings permanent in my art, and life. I started meditating and playing with image transfers of tea packaging, and made a connection between the tea and the places I had travelled. The surfaces could be layered with watercolors and gouache over the transferred packaging, connecting the teas’ ingredients, their colors and intended purpose to the landscape. I could both hold those places for myself and help viewers explore the landscape more deeply – creating a meditative artwork.
The paintings have become stylized interpretations of the landscape – while maintaining a clear reference to the location. I’m interested in using highly pigmented paint, often employing strong linear elements to help describe the energy in a place. The reversed labels from the packaging create a subtext of pattern, inviting the viewer to see more."
WANT TO LEARN MORE?
If you'd like to read the full version, subscribe to my newsletter for a free download. The entire current collection of available TeaScapes are available at traillworks.com.
If you're in the NJ area the weekend of November 2 - 3rd, I'll be exhibiting my work during the SOMA Artist's Studio Tour in Maplewood, NJ.
Jennie Traill Schaeffer
Deemed the Kitchen God's Artist by NJ Savvy Living for my sainted appliances, I'm now known more for my vibrant, meditational paintings of chairs set surprisingly in landscapes. Since relocating to NC from NJ, mothering my two sons, and caring for our rescue pup, Cider, took the lead. Now, that my Durham home studio is renovated it's open again for virtual art coaching and the resumption of my personal art and commissions. The work I make is inspired by my joy of teaching, exploring nature, and traveling. On The Teaching Artist Blog, I share my approach to teaching and educate my readers about my creative process.
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Want to read more from the past? Click here to read archived blog posts from my previous blog on Blogger.