Dressed to the nines

2 07 2011
Dressed to the nines

Recently I had a bit of fun in the studio in-between reorganizing things.  Right before a new bout of painting and a new body of work, I pull everything out of its corners and reorganize that which has accumulated or found its way into chaos.  It’s a fun but tedious process that makes me eager to put paint to canvas instead of stuff in bins.  I’ve noticed it’s a very important part of my process.  Less procrastination more making literal space for new things and ideas.

 In the process of reorganizing, I decided my art doll needed a new outfit.  (That’d be my ADD kicking in…a project within a project within a project.) Ever since I started painting in 2005 at age 30, I SO wanted an art doll to have around the studio.  It tapped into my childlike wonder and it sounded like fun to find new outfits for her.  When I was working on a commission where I needed a specific pose and had no models, I decided it was time to buy the doll.  I didn’t end up using her poses for the painting, but she has inspired ideas for paintings yet to come.

As she is naked and full of  joints I found I wanted to clothe her.  The desire to take care of the animate and inanimate objects of my life is a leftover from a tumultous and unstable childhood.  I may have been abused and neglected, but I’d “feed” my stuffed animal, cover them with blankets while I was gone, or as with my art doll, place a stuffed hamster companion nearby so she wouldn’t get lonely.  It gave me a sense of purpose and order in what was at the time a crazy and frightening world.  So it kind of follows that during an upheaval in the studio, I’d seek comfort in a childhood habit…taking care of my doll. 🙂

Clothing this doll ended up being more difficult than I’d imagined.  She’s no Barbie.  She has bigger hips and thicker thighs, big feet and a sizeable chest/abdomen that makes it hard to fit.   After a bit of research I found some inexpensive fantasy dresses made in China that at least cover her, but do not close.   Changing her world, even if only her clothes, helps me tap into the sense of safety and fun that I had in small moments as a child.  I feel like she is a quiet companion at the studio, ever observing and ever present.  And as a thank you for that companionship, I enjoy dressing her to the nines.

BTW…if anyone knows where I can get neat outfits for an art model doll, please let me know.  I’d love to add clothes that actually fit to her collection. 

Ta ta for now, T.M.


© 2011 T.M.Gand.  All rights reserved.


overwhelm and a new assitant

30 05 2011

Some of you may have noticed I’ve mentioned an assistant in some of my Facebook fanpage posts.  Its been three and a half months and I still can’t believe I actually have one!  I can honestly say this wasn’t part of the plan, at least not so soon.  I entered 2011 with the idea I’d remodel the second studio, when my friend and McMurry painting professor was done using it for her sabbatical.  The two studios were quite separate then and to enter one from the other I had to go into the hall.  I’d been paying rent for the two spaces since I signed the lease in September, but hadn’t been able to fully use studio #208 due to logisitics.  It ended up being the storage space for 207, a rather expensive storage space at that.

When I finally did start the remodel in mid-January, everything had to be moved.  And the scope of the project kept expanding.  So, by mid-February, when the dust settled, I had a lot to do just to prep for Artwalk and the large event happening on the 24th. The studio was in complete disarray. 

studio in disarray

The merged studio chaos

Fortunately, I’d decided to have lunch on Artwalk (it starts at 5pm) with an old aquaintance from my McMurry days, Amber.  She’d been a theatre student that’d stop by for visits.  She’d moved away for opportunities and we lost touch.  Thanks to Lane Bryant, where she worked, and Facebook we reconnected this year. 

So, lunch on Artwalk, something that gets me past my social phobia of artwalk (another post topic), went well.  In fact we talked business, her with her new venture, NuSkin, and, me with, well, art.  She ended up offering her help in prepping for Artwalk.  We worked so well together, I decided I could definitely use her help with more stuff. 

I have to say, I know I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish half of what I have without her help.  I tend to freeze in overwhelm when I’m alone.  And sometimes, even when Amber is there.  She helps me think through it.  Having someone else to pay puts a whole new spin on the idea of making money with my art.  But as I don’t have any children, thinking outside myself for an assistant’s livelihood (if we can call it that), really pushes me to keep going and expanding.  I’d love to make my way to getting paid again, too, as well as expanding on her part-time schedule. 🙂  But for now, I’m so greatful I took the leap of faith that I’d make enough to pay her each week (and my bills) and taking on the help I needed.  BTW-I’ve been able to pay her and slowly but surely, the income is increasing for us both.

T.M.Gand’s studio remodel

5 02 2011

Hello!  I have been busy doing a remodel that has gotten larger and larger in scope.  Isn’t that the way it is?  You have simple plans at first, but once you see the possibilities…it keeps expanding? That’s how it worked for me.  I realized that I had the right person for the job and it was the right time to do it.  Not to mention funding worked out too.  

So that is how it happened.  I had two separate studios with the idea of joining them for more useable space for workshops and varnishing, etc. 

I had the carpenter (Craig Lewis, great guy! 325-518-0355) put in two doorways between the studios (with approval and funding assistance from my landlord-thank you Mr. Cockerell!). 

Then I saw some large windows at the ReStore in Abilene, TX.  For those of you unfamiliar, its part of Habitat for Humanity and people drop off old house stuff like doors, windows, etc, that you can buy.  It is a great thing…less waste in the landfill and reuse means less energy waste producing new stuff, much less helping Habitat keep running!  Win-win all the way! 

Anyway, I saw some windows and my divider wall idea was born.  I’ll be posting photos in progress this week, but for now I wanted to share my vision for the expansion. 

My studio 207 before the expansion.
T.M.Gand’s new studio(s) 207/208 merged.

Stop by February 10th, 2011 Artwalk to see it in person!  I may not have everything in place and painted, but you are all invited to check it out!  Plus, I’ll have my journals, frameable cards, art glass pendants, prints, and fine art on hand that make great Valentine gifts too!  Hope to see you then!  P.S. Keep posted to my blog for more photos on the studio!

(c) 2011 T.M.Gand.  All rights reserved.


16 11 2010

A quiet moment in the gallery...

A while ago I painted a piece called “Fate and Fear” that represented quite literally my struggle overcoming fear related specifically to my painting “career.”

In 2007 I’d just had my first solo show that I wasn’t sure I’d pull off…and that I hadn’t actually invited anyone to as a result fear.  Fear of failure or being less than perfect in my presentation. Instead of embracing the challenge and knowing that I could only do what I could do, but it’d still be good enough to invite people to…I hid. And few came, except those that happened by at Artwalk.  

It was Dogwalk and the large Cockerell gallery was at the time off the beaten path of the artwalk’s main attractions, so it didn’t get many visitors.  But don’t feel bad for me, I embraced the experience and felt victorious in my having at least done it.   I still enjoyed the experience, but had hindered the possibilities of success due to overwhelming fear.  Afterwards, when the adrenaline I’d been operating on for the three weeks I had to prep for the show wore off, I found myself a bit down and a bit depressed.  Questions flooded my mind in the quiet that followed…would I ever paint again?  Why?  Why would I paint?  Was this all worth it?  Why did I feel so empty?

Fortunately, my friend Ash Almonte (an artist who’d had a lot more experience in all this than I did and who’d encouraged me to dive into the experience and do it) was around to chat with.  In saying my fears out loud, she let me know it was normal to feel a bit down after a show.  Most artists do.  And I realized that fate favors the fearless, those that keep on keeping on despite how they feel.  Ash was my example of that.  She didn’t let fear stop her from new opportunities or from pursuing her dream of being a full-time artist.

This piece is available as a print.

So, right after that conversation I went upstairs and grabbed an empty canvas and poured all my frustration and fear out on it, using up ALL the leftover paint on the palette that I’d used for pieces for ths show.  And I felt better.  And I remembered why I paint, to heal, to feel free, to let loose all the gunk in my mind and heart.  To help me transform and empower and change myself for the better.  As the piece evolved after the initial painting session, I added those elements that spoke to me, numbers, words, charms, mirrors, gems…  It is an intensely personal piece that I never actually intended for anyone to see.   Surprisingly, people reacted to it and felt it, too.  I saw how art could affect others in a positive way and it encouraged me to keep on keeping on whether I invite people to my show or not. 🙂

Thanks for visiting!     -T.M.Gand 
Do YOU have a story about overcoming fear that you want to share?  Post it in the comments below!  I’d love to hear your stories.
Check out my new online shop with pendants and prints at http://www.artfire.com/users/TMGandFineArt.
(c)2010 T.M.Gand.  All rights reserved.

Erin Lee Gafill

21 10 2010

Howdy!  Today I had an art adventure.  My friend, Kathie, invited me to join in her in dropping in on a workshop being run by California artist, Ern Lee Gafill.  It was just a few blocks down from the studio at Relics on N.1st Street, so I took a little jaunt to meet her there.  If you have never visited Relics, it is a beautiful store full of colorful and rustic furnishings and decor.  I love that place!  Huge colorful chandeliers, luscisous bedding ensembles, and more.  They have a huge warehouse-like area up there and the group was set up in the very front by the corner windows. 

As I approached I noticed Kathie had started painting.  What a surprise, since we were just dropper-byers and hadn’t paid for the two days of workshop.  And then Erin asked me to grab some paint and join them!  I didn’t know what to do and didn’t want to be rude, so I grabbed some paint, too. 🙂  The windows were open and I could feel the cool breeze on my arms.  I was surrounded by other creatives in our natural habitat…paint, water, brushes, and lots of colorful paper.  I even discovered that Titanium White paint can come in a gallon size!!  Talk about painting heaven! 

I didn’t have my normal “go-to” colors like I have at the studio.  And I didn’t have my brushes.  I used what was on hand.  It was a whole different world to explore.  My initial awkwardness with the changes made me realize how handicapped I am when I comes to spontenaiety and new things.  I’m so used to painting in the studio, that I end up wanting to take my tools and paint with me wherever I go to paint.  Like the mask workshops.  Instead of making what they have on hand work, I started bringing more and more of my own.  I didn’t mean to be rude, but I’m starting to think I was by doing so.  Ooops.  I think I unwittingly slipped into hoity toity-ness at mask making workshop.

Some of the ladies were still exploring the methods they had learned they liked from the workshop.  Erin let me quietly go about painting lemons.  I don’t know that I’d ever have chosen that as a subject matter myself.  Its like my brain doesn’t calm down enough when I paint to choose something normal.  I always end up amping it up a bit, so slowing down and exploring again was really nice.

After a while I got to a point where I just couldn’t get the lemon’s butt, if you will, right.  Erin gave me some pointers but I just made a mess of it.  Then I noticed the woman across from me happily collaging away on a seascape with painted bits of paper.  Paper?  I happily glued some yellow painted paper over the right lemon…and voila!  The mess was gone!  I felt giddy with freedom!  And I decided to play with more paper.  Bits of orange, green and yellow paper were everywhere.  What glorious fun!  Sometimes in the effort to get a certain look on a painting, I often forget to just let loose and have fun with it, to trust the process.  And sure enough, some more paint and I actually got the lemon butt right!  Here’s a lookly loo at it.  The collaged and painted lemon is on the right.  Thank you Erin, for letting me join in the fun today and let loose a bit!  That’s why artists need to keep taking workshops from other artists.  It keeps us fresh, opened up and available to new things.

Goodies from my Dallas trip

20 09 2010
Here are a few things I picked up while in Dallas to see Blue Man Group with my hubby last week.
We stopped by a place called Asol Art Supplies and I found a few papers I LOVED and can’t wait to figure out how to use.  One looks like old parchment, another just light blue tissue paper, and some red and green textured pieces.  Love it!  I also bought a few other items like a  palette knife (one with the ridges for fingers), some Pearlescence Turquoise Acrylic Ink (not sure what it is, but its pretty), and a new brush for fun. 

 I always am on the look-out for great deals or one-of-a-kind stuff.   Of course I could have bought a ton more, but wanted to stick to my budget.

Earlier that day I stopped in a gift shop and found some interesting map wrapping paper and music sheet napkins that should be fun to collage as well.  
A little down that street I located a shop that had disco balls for sale.   I got one for my new studio space to liven things up. 
So, all in all not a bad stash from a short trip.  Blue Man Group was fun, too.
Until next time,

McMurry University students visit the studio

22 04 2010
McMurry 2010 visit

Chad Stevens, Brent Abilez, Jennifer Prulhiere, Jordan Hatcher, T.M.Gand, James Lanham

Hello!  I wanted to blog about the recent visit I had from McMurry University to my studio.  It was a wonderful experience and helped me realize how much I’ve learned since the class (of different students) visited last year.  And after they left, my head was buzzing with ideas for all kinds of things.  🙂  I literally spent hours writing down ideas, prospects, concepts, etc!   

Wednesday the 14th of April, 2010, around 10am, five students in Kathie Walker-Millar‘s Professional Practices class visited my studio.  It was interesting to see the change in degrees they were pursuing from the class a year ago.  This time there were photographers, graphic designers, and sutdio art majors versus more traditional concentrations like painting and ceramics.   

I gave the students an overview of how I got into painting and my experience out in the “real world” with presentation, branding, loneliness, perseverence, and business practices.   ‘Tis an interesting mix when going solo in business…it includes it all.  Its no wonder I don’t get to paint as much as I’d like, I’m too busy working on the other aspects of building my business.  But, fortunately for me, I actually enjoy packaging, research, and development.   

Some homeopathic stress-relief products that I recommended that are tried-and-true remedies that help take the edge of the nerves before a show:
Bach’s Rescue Stress Relief Remedy; Tazo’s Herbal Calm Tea; and “Chill Pill” oil by Aura Cacia (all of which can be bought locally in Drug Emporium’s Vitamin’s Plus section).  Of course, please note that I am not a therapist, doctor, or physician, so take the suggestions at face value and without implying any liability on my part. 

Some books I highly recommended to the students, regardless of the field they are pursuing…   

Art and Fear; I’d Rather be in the Studio; Art Law Conversations; and Business and Legal Forms for Fine Artists.  I’ll expand more on that at another time and in another post under “tools for the studio.”  

Upcoming senior shows from aspiring the aspiring and talented McMurry artists…   

Brent Abilez, Multimedia & Graphic Design:   

“All Mixed Up!”: a multimedia solo show up from April 19th-23rd, 2010 in the Gypsy Ted Gallery, McMurry University Campus from9am-5pm Monday-Friday or by appointment (call Jennifer Prulhiere at 518-3678).   

Reception: Monday, April 19th from 6:30-8:30pm, Gypsy Ted Gallery, McMurry University Campus, Abilene, TX.  (Oops!  Sorry for the last blog post, Brent!)    

Jennifer Prulhiere, Studio Art:   

“Dis(connected)”: a multi-media solo show up from April 26th-May 8th, 2010 in the Amy Graves Ryan Fine Art Gallery, McMurry University Campus from 9am-5pm Monday-Friday.   

Reception: Friday, April 20th from 6:30-8:30pm, Amy Graves Ryan Fine Arts Building, McMurry University Campus, Abilene, TX.  The public is invited to attend.   

Jordan Hatcher, Studio Art:   

“Texas Dirt”: a multi-media solo show up from April 26th-April 30th, 2010, in the Gypsy Ted Gallery, McMurry University Campus from 9am-5pm Monday-Friday or by appointment (call Jennifer Prulhiere at 518-3678).   

Reception: Friday, April 30th from 6:30-8:30pm, Gypsy Ted Gallery, McMurry University Campus, Abilene, TX.  The public is invited to attend.

Thank you for the visit! And many blessings on your journey!  It was a pleasure visiting with you guys and gals.  Remember, if you have any questions, feel free to ask. 

Here's a photo with Kathie Walker-Millar and her class.

Until next time, T.M.Gand

(c) 2010 All rights reserved  T.M.Gand Fine Art.

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