Talent Scout

Series 15, Creative Spaces: Closing In On Winter

We totally lucked out this year with a mild winter (so far).  We were able to get all of the exterior materials on and have a  good start on the decks.  Love all of the materials.  Redwood, cement board and corten steel.

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Series 14, Creative Space: Reclaimed Materials

One of my favorite materials we chose for our exterior is reclaimed redwood from wine tanks. Wine tank redwood is perhaps the most sought after redwood in the world. Only the highest quality redwood was used for tank stock. Beyond that, the special patina, history is a cool and sustainable story. I love the idea of giving something new life again. Redwood’s legendary durability makes it ideal for exterior siding applications. Clear, all-heart redwood of this quality is virtually unavailable new.

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Fresh Art Tour 2011, Oct 7-9

I spent the day on Friday on a self-guided tour of seventeen artists’ studios and galleries. It was fantastic to visit with a wide variety 0f working artists and travel picturesque country roads in one of Western Wisconsin’s most stunning areas, the Chippewa Valley and the Lake Pepin region. It was a perfect Fall day to meet our new neighbors.  Here are some of my favorites–I liked seeing the animals the most.

Turkey heads freak me out a little bit

Turkey heads freak me out a little bit

Cards printed with sage leaves

Cards printed with sage leaves

I bought some of his cheese!

I bought some of his cheese!

Delicious

Delicious

Made a purchase, bracelets from reclaimed industrial metals

Made a purchase, bracelets from reclaimed industrial metals

Great studio space

Great studio space

Lovely outdoor sculpture by Macalester students

Lovely outdoor sculpture by Macalester students

Outdoor sculpture

Outdoor sculpture

Beautifully renovated barn/studio outside of Pepin

Beautifully renovated barn/studio outside of Pepin

Painting of renovated barn

Painting of renovated barn

Series 13, Creative Space: My How Vacations Have Changed

I remember when our summer vacations included Martha’s Vineyard, a road trip down the Oregon coast or a leisurely stroll through Quebec City.  How things have changed. Welcome to western Wisconsin where we spent our summer vacation working on our dream creative space.  Although different from past  vacations, it was just as gratifying.  Gregg and I still wonder what we got ourselves into but when we squint a little we can see things starting to take shape.  No these aren’t nice shots of ocean views but we love them just the same.

I’m exhausted and have new found respect for my husband’s endless talent and dedication to this project.  Time to get back to my corporate job to do my part!

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Gregg installing cement board panels

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Close-up of cement panels

Should we add color?

Should we add color?

Reclaimed redwood for exterior siding overtakes my studio

Reclaimed redwood from wine tanks for exterior siding

Gregg stained, I sorted by size

Gregg stained, I sorted by size

Putty, sand and painting trim was my main job

Putty, sand and painting trim was my main job

A little earthmoving and seeding

A little earthmoving and seeding

Erosion control

Erosion control

Coreten steel for the shop ready to be installed

Coreten steel for the shop ready to be installed

Thank God for the new shower!

Thank God for the new shower!

I Have A Dream

Annjetta and I were busy making art in my studio this weekend.  Since we had such great success collaborating on the New Years topic we decided to pick the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s assassination as our next project.  I know it sounds a little dark but Annjetta jumped at the idea and I was interested in hearing and seeing what she would help create.  It turned out to be a juxtaposition between what life was like in 1968 and about hope for today and in the future.

At 6:01 p.m. on April 4, 1968, a shot rang out. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who had been standing on the balcony of his room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, TN, now lay sprawled on the balcony’s floor.

" I Have A Dream", Mixed Media, 36" x 36"

Annjetta has a generous heart.  Much of what she wrote was about fairness, having friends and helping others in need. She is also very aware and grateful that freedoms she has today are a result of these efforts.

"I Have A Dream" (Detail)

I have a dream to have…”more space and friends to play a game” –written from the girls voice in the photo.

"I Have A Dream" (Detail)

I have a dream to have shoes, friends and something to eat…

"I Have A Dream" (Detail)

“Turn Me Around”,  a civil rights song that Annjetta sang to me.

Artists Wanted: Please vote

I’m motivated again to submit my work to a few shows.  It’s always been a dream of mine to be in a New York gallery. I’ve submitted my work to a collaborative called Artists Wanted.  You can vote on my submissions at http://www.artistswanted.org/mstevens

Artists Wanted is a collaborative project between several New York City artists and creative organizations working to build new lasting opportunities for emerging talent. They know the difficulties of breaking into the professional art world and it is their mission to make this process more welcoming,dynamic and open-ended.

Collectively they have over two decades experience within the New York City art world and their goal is to use their networks and infrastructure to bring undiscovered talent to the forefront.

What do I have to lose but the submission fee.

Series 12, Creative Space: Baby It’s Cold Outside

It was 3 below last Sunday in Wisconsin.  Still, as much as I hate the cold weather it was so beautiful and peaceful.  Gregg’s making good progress on his shop and should be ready for the electrician by next week.  I hope you can sense a day in the life of our slowly developing creative space.

A Nine Year Old’s Perspective on New Years

An art collaboration with a nine year old is always enlightening.  My friend Annjetta and I worked in my studio this week and created this masterpiece in honor of the New Year. She really had her mind made up on the creative direction so I followed her lead with a little nudging and few suggestions along the way.  My favorite part was when she was feverishly painting the fireworks and said “you can really let all of your emotions out.”  (see upper right firework)

And best of all, she got me back in the studio.  I haven’t been inspired lately and she made me realize how much I miss it!

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Annjetta's kiss mark on paper

The ball that drops at midnight

Art of the Marching Band

When I was in high school it was cool to be in marching band.  We competed statewide bringing home trophy after trophy. The crown jewel was an invitation to march at the Orange Bowl half-time show.  What could be better than a 36 hour bus ride with a bunch of teenagers.  I remember having canker sores from all of the oranges and grapefruit I ate.

This recent video by the University of Hawaii marching band  brought back some great memories of those marching days.  A pretty impressive routine from someone who is a tough critic of marching perfection.

Series 11, Creative Space: Perspective

When I hear someone use the statement, “puts things into perspective”  it makes me think that something has happened (life changing ) that made that person really think about his/her life. The reality of his/her life or the world we live in.

After I traveled to Lima, Peru the poverty levels really put things into perspective. It made me realize how lucky we are to have food, money, houses, and/or a better life.

A friend recently sent us these aerial views of our place in Wisconsin.  When I first opened the attachment I had one of those moments. I almost couldn’t believe it’s true.  That’s us down there!

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