Tuesday, March 31, 2009

My Kalama Owl and Harvard

First off, I am far from a collector of *things*. The shopping-gene missed me and I am often passionately against clutter and things sitting around, unless they have a true purpose.

On Saturday, my family and I cruised through our hometown antique shops, enjoying Kalama. I came across this little owl and for some reason she visually jumped out at me. I realized she was broken and sold “as is” but that didn’t bother me and she brought back memories of the illustrations I used to create before my children came along.

In the early hours of Sunday, I woke to tend to one of my boys and then found myself thinking about that owl and having an urge for her to hang in my studio – she became more than just a *thing* to me then and I was excited for the Antique store to open today so that I could go purchase her :)

She represents my past illustrations, but also motherhood, and I will always remember Kalama when I look at her, even if/when we no longer live here. She will also make me think of the owner of the Antique store whom I think is just so kind. She now has a purpose, and as soon as I can wrestle her away from my little boy who also loves her, she will hang in my studio.

So, I found an artistic connection here, which made me want to share :)

My illustration of Harvard the Owl is from 2002.

Have a great day! Sincerely, Katie

Sleep is Great, but Painting is Grand!

In the studio, when the flow is consistent, I’m able to relinquish even one of my most favorite things – sleep. When a canvas or several little ones are calling to me, and they seem to come together as if by themselves, I’m forced/honored to stay and see it through.

I have a lamp in my studio ~ on one side of the lampshade I have a cookie fortune taped that says “You will Achieve More Later if you Take Time For Yourself Now”. Spin the lampshade and you see this fortune “You Will Achieve Your Goals if You Maintain Your Path”.

Depending upon how I’m feeling, I turn the shade so that the correct fortune talks to me! It’s funny, both fortunes arrived in one meal on the same day in a downtown Kalama restaurant, and I liked them both so I placed them both in the studio – it has become a perfect setup for me, a perfect reminder of just what I should do.

Above you’ll see a new process photo featuring my six new 8x8 paintings – 2-3 of them will be released on Thursday. Also, a process photo of Dance (working title), 16x20.

Top row of 8x8s: Bare Essence, From Within. Middle row: Sugar & Sunshine, Taking Time To See, No Regrets. Bottom row: Change The World.

Have a great day! Love, Katie

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sneak Peek at 5 new 8x8s and Free Cards Fridays!

Hi! I hope everyone is well!
Thank you for supporting my effort to grab hold of the moments of motherhood, in an attempt to capture, display and enjoy them for many many years to come - and to some day share them with our children while we relate stories of their baby- and childhood.

Thanks for being a part, I wanted to give you a sneak peek at my five newest 8x8s in progress (left).

Also - be the first to know that I will be giving away free cards every Friday! I'm calling it Free Cards Fridays and I'll randomly pick from the comments posted to my Friday blog post (see blog address above), until Saturday at noon - then, I'll send that person a couple free cards! Stay tuned and keep your eyes on the blog :) The blog is new, so at this point you have a pretty darn good chance of winning!

Have a WONDERFUL week!

Love and Sincerely,

Thursday, March 26, 2009

All Is Well & Something Beautiful

Two new 8x8 paintings have joined the 85 8x8s collection, All Is Well and Something Beautiful.

Thursdays are becoming a natural release date for 8x8s, find more posted next Thursday!

Learn more: http://kmberggren.com/portfolio-85-85.htm

Something Beautiful:
...Simply sweet, simply pure, innocent, inquisitive, fresh and beautiful...

All Is Well:
Lately, I've been relating stories to my 4 1/2 year old son - stories of him as an infant ~ how he slept in bed with me every morning ~ how we stayed together for hours, sleeping, waking, dozing, nursing, talking and singing. The house was empty except for us and all was truly well within that little world between the sheets. These are still the words I whisper in the middle of the night when he or his brother has woken with a fear, all is well...

Have a great night! Sincerely, Katie

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Crush, Johnny Cash and Jason Mraz

Thursdays are becoming a natural release date for new 8x8s... that means tomorrow I'll be posting All Is Well and Something Beautiful (possibly Earthen, too, but we'll see :))

Crush was released yesterday and I'm pleased to be receiving great feedback so far, here is the completed painting (left) and it's very simple statement:

The emotion I feel for my children can sometimes only be described as falling head over heals ~ again and again.

See and learn more about Crush here:

Now, what do I have to say about Jason Mraz? Mostly about his song I'm Yours, let's start at the beginning.

A few weeks ago, Vancouver's North Bank Magazine released a profile of my art and me talking about my art and the opportunity to show your personality through your art (be it fine art or music or...) I can be quoted as saying "when you get to a (certain) stage in your career, you have more leeway, you want your personality to show". I use Johnny Cash as an example. Read the article here: http://www.kmberggren.com/inthenews.htm#nb

The Johnny Cash song I'm referring to (in the article) is Jackson, and at one point in the song, while June Carter Cash is singing (my ipod has become exhausted for the night, so I'm pulling this from memory) "yah go to Jackson..." Johnny flirts "mmmm-hmmmmm" to her, causing her to laugh mid-lyric. I love that ~ it's my favorite part in the song.

And now, I use Jason Mraz (http://jasonmraz.com/) as an example - in his song I'm Yours (which I have recently added to my ipod and have been listening to over and over) he uses the words "reckon" and "bestest" in the same sentence - the fact that he can use "bestest" and grace us by tucking his laugh into the song a couple times just pleases me! He is showing me his personality and lack of insecurity, and I'm responding by wanting to hear his whole collection.

When we begin an endeavor, we strive to be so perfect and not make any mistakes, but at a certain point, we realize that our "clan" or followers want to experience our true personality, our true self - they want to be there when we let go and refuse to be held back by fear (of success or failure), when we feel the free will to laugh, or even flirt, mid-song.

I'm not saying that I have reached this level, and this is not a new idea, I know. This is me maneuvering my way into and around the concept of complete freedom of expression and confidence.

I've been saying it for double-digit years: act as if ~ confidence is key ~ success begets success.

And just why IS Jason Mraz looking at his tongue in the mirror? :)

Have a great night. Love, Katie

Monday, March 23, 2009

Crush & Dance (progress)

I snapped this image of my freshly cleaned studio today, featuring Dance (working title) and Crush – Crush will be released tomorrow. They are both 16x20”.

Reading Alyson's post about Spring Cleaning in the studio inspired me to get to work today when I had some free moments – then again, I’m always inspired to clean, especially in the Spring!

The Sunday before last my sister, mom and I went to the Portland Saturday Market and came across the booth of Flood Clothing (http://www.floodclothing.com/) we were inspired and impressed with Nicole, the owner and creator of 16 different hat styles and a variety of creatively awesome duds made from recycled clothing.

Thursday will bring a few more 8x8 paintings, stay tuned! There are also some that have been buried that I believe must be brought back out to do their job - allow us to physically hold onto those precious moments with our babies.

< Solace, 10 of 85 8x8s

From the moment I was inspired to create this painting, I knew it would be warm with golden yellows - the idea of seeking solace in the safety of mama's collar gives me chills, and at times I long for my babies to be this small again.

< Promises Kept, 2 of 85 8x8s

When adult-life gets in the way, I am urged to take note of the fact that my little boys are the ones who love me most in the world – they are the number one priority – it helps to be reminded because adult-issues have a way of commandeering my focus at times.

You can see more images of these two paintings at http://www.kmberggren.com/portfolio-85-85.htm

Have a great night! Love, Katie

Friday, March 20, 2009

Moving Into Spring

In general, I love to freeze time – to stop it in its tracks with one elegant moment.

This day, I am thinking movement, confidence, glee and swinging hips – could it be the music or that it is the first day of Spring?

I've begun two new 16x20" paintings (left) the one on the left is based off of a new 8x8 from the 85 8x8s collection, Song In My Soul,(http://www.kmberggren.com/g160.htm) (see it below) and the second spurred by movement and music...

It's time for a spring jamboree! Even though it is pouring rain here in Kalama.

Have a great evening! Love, Katie

Song In My Soul >>>>

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The State of My Studio

I snapped this photo this afternoon to show the progress on my five newest 8x8s (three to be posted tomorrow, Thursday) and an in process 16x20 (based off of one of the new 8x8s)! With my husband on vacation this week, I have found more time to paint while he is playing with the boys.

These three paintings (the three on the bottom in the picture; left to right: Swing, Greatness, Song In My Soul) are what I call Studio Sisters, conceptualized together, designed together and painted together – and tomorrow they will be released together.
Have a great night. Sincerely, Katie

Monday, March 16, 2009

Two New 8x8s Posted Tonight - Fever and Here Comes The Sun

Here Comes The Sun and Fever were completed last night and are now featured at http://www.kmberggren.com/ - Fever will be safely packaged and shipped to it's new home tomorrow :)

I Smile When They Smile ~ I Dance When They Dance

Tonight in the studio ~ Matt Nathanson (http://mattnathanson.com/) flowing between my ears ~ I felt a happy finally-feeling-healthy urge to paint with my whole body and soul – that’s a sign of a good studio session – my urge to sway and swing led to some fun paintings with motion. I could feel my babies warm and heavy against my chest (event though they were asleep upstairs) and as I leaned forward to put a smile on the face of one of my mamas, dancing close with her swirly round baby, I found myself feeling her genuine and goofy cheer – smiling as I painted her smile.

The working title for this painting is "Swing Song", but we'll see :)
Have a great night. Love, Katie

Friday, March 13, 2009

Blessed Be Me (and painting process images)

Painting is positively an inspiration for me, and a place for my inspiration to play out as well.

Through the 85 8x8 series (working on numbers 14, 15 & 16 right now), I have had the honor to connect with a variety of mothers from around the world – I don’t know whom is meant to inspire whom, but I have found tremendous inspiration from these women (thank you AHW, VTR, SDM, AW, SW… to name a few).

I am finding that from their emailed sentiments I am re-learning to cherish my time with my boys and in the past couple days I’m discovering a lighter heart and relishing in the joys of my two small children, and the addiction to bringing them joy – it can be so easy – I feel so blessed for the reminders.

Connecting with others has always been an added bonus of doing what I do – but as my web connections grow (etsy, blogging, twitter, LinkedIn, Plaxo, Facebook, etc) I’m finding it easier to connect and more rewarding to connect. I feel I must note: I do not have the amount of time necessary to do well in all of the above online venues, so the strong ones are rising to the top.

Also, here I’m presenting process images of Here Comes The Sun (top) and a new one that I started while at the Portland International Women’s Day last Sunday, titled Fever (right) – you know how it clinches the idea that your child has a fever when you kiss the back of their little neck? Sometimes, it seems, the cheeks are wishy-washy and the forehead can be deceiving, but the back of that neck….

Have a great night.
Love, Katie

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Here Comes The Sun (and more)

I've got a process photo for you of Here Comes The Sun, I'm not sure about you but I am ready for it! We've had some the last couple days, but the warmth that usually accompanies has been AWOL. This painting started out with a working title of Aching for Sun (or something like that!) but I realize that it is always best to be positive ;) Did I mention I'm ready for Spring? :)

Also, I wanted to draw some attention to another mama-owned business called KunkleBaby, Jessica, the creator of Kunklebaby, found me through my Etsy shop (http://www.kmberggren.etsy.com/) and we've been in touch since.

Here is Jessica's blog (you can link directly to her Etsy shop from her blog): http://kunklebabystyle.blogspot.com/ she sells delightfully Eco-Friendly and Organic clothing and toys for little ones. She also includes a link to her recent interview (regarding CPSIA and its effects on small businesses that create children's products).

I am in contact with several wonderful mama-owned businesses and mama-artists thanks to travelling around Etsy - and periodically, I'd like to share them with you, stay tuned!

Have a great day! Love, Katie

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Spring is Coming

Alas, I discover this week that I am not invincible - my kiddos and I are suffering from what has come to be called the Cowlitz County Crud - it's awful, so my daily studio visits have been short - I am ACHING for a good long session with the ipod and my brushes, you have no idea.

In the meantime, I do what I can do and feel thankful for my health (because I know it's coming!) Spring is also coming, and I am working on a new 8x8 painting titled Here Comes The Sun. I'll show you a process image of it soon :) Take care, love Katie

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Pure Contamination of My Paints

Years ago – my brother who is a great painter (http://www.kevinleeconrad.com/) was watching me paint and while looking into my jar of white and seeing the bits of every other color in there as well said “Do you always contaminate your paints?” Feeling embarrassed, I said “no” and took steps for a while to avoid this.

Over the years, I’ve discovered that my lazy and creative contamination tendencies work very well for me! I am not very fond of washing my brushes, and am usually too ‘in the moment’ to do a very good job at it - I am always mixing paint on the canvas anyway, so having bits of gold in my white and bits of blue in my brown and bits of white in my yellow is actually quite inspirational.

Over the years, I’ve grown in experience and confidence, and now I have an answer to that question: “Yep! I contaminate my paints like crazy. I love the way colors mix and mingle – pearling and swirling together in the paint tub. It feels pure." :)

Have a great week!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

More Progress - In My Heart

I'd like to show you the current process of In My Heart, and also to announce the release of Feed My Soul, which I showed a progress picture of a few days ago - Feed My Soul is posted here: http://www.kmberggren.com/g156.htm containing final images including detail shots and the completed statement.

Feed My Soul, March 2009 >>>>

In My Heart - I move closer to completion and I believe I will be releasing this painting tomorrow (Friday, March 6). I'd appreciate any feedback you would be tempted to give.
I'm working on new Studio photos for the Into The Studio page of my website (http://www.kmberggren.com/intothestudio.htm) as well as preparing for the Portland International Women's Day event taking place on Sunday in Portland (http://www.piwd.org) I will have a table there featuring prints, cards and small orginals, as well as a few large originals in the Art Gallery area.

Have a great day!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Just Found the Quote I Referenced

"Making the decision to have a child is momentous....It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around the outside of your body" ~Elizabeth Stone~

I referenced this quote in the previous post. Isn't is great?

Progress - In My Heart

I'm working on this new 8x8 painting titled "In My Heart" - I liked the idea of the woman cupping the child's head as though she could be cupping her own breast, as a part of herself. We've all heard the saying that goes something like this: The choice to have a child is the choice to have your heart walk around on the outside of you... (or something along those lines!) I never quite got this until I had children, and until those children became old enough to seek and find danger and adventure (anyone for sitting on a stack of 5-high couch cusions, teetering on the couch?).

Now that I understand the meaning, and now that I know my boys, I really love the quote (although it pains me at the same time!).

A thought: Can one raise him or herself up to the realization of satisfaction with positive thoughts, energy and attitude alone? And, will this raise up those around him or her too?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

I Paint (and Write) to Remember

When I’m going grocery shopping, I write down everything and if I think of something additional I have to write it too – as soon as I hear myself say “I’ll remember that…” I know that I won’t.

When I’m feeling inspired, while painting, listening to music or going about the day with the kids, I often get the urge to write something down – I get ideas and messages that I know belong in writing so that they can later be realized in paint – frequently I tell myself “I’ll remember that… when I get to the studio” but I probably won’t.

When I’m hanging with the kids and they do or say something funny or crazy or sweet, I know I should write it down - I hear myself say “I’ll remember that… when I’m writing in his journal”. I know I don’t.

I used to think that the urge to write things down meant I had a bad memory. Now I think I’m realizing that creative people get ideas – we get inspirations, we dream up compositions and techniques in the middle of the night, we come across moments that we find amazing because we are creative and open to the possibility of amazement.

Writing (then painting) structures, saves, morphs and improves upon our creative bursts. Without writing, phenomenal ideas are lost – creative compositions and products will never exist. (I think one of the keys is having a central location to write them down.)
I paint to remember, then I tell myself that writing is a sign of strength, not a sign of weakness – and I WILL remember that!

image: Go Where I Go, 8x8 painting #9 of 85

Progress and Feeling Blessed

Today I am steadily moving forward on a painting that I really love. I was inspired to create this painting one day when I was finding some time to read Twyla Tharp's book The Creative Habit - I was mid-sentence when I was suddenly struck with the urge to run to the studio, grab the largest canvas I could find and get to work!

This painting is based on a new 8x8 painting titled Swoon (http://kmberggren.com/g145.htm) that I just can't seem to get enough of (and it has received very favorable reviews from my connections).

I have yet to decide on the perfect title for this painting, and titling a piece is one of my favorite parts. I have a lengthy list in my studio of titles that have come to me and indeed, my paintings frequently begin based on a series of words that I have collected and arranged in such a way.

Also, at this time I am finding myself feeling blessed to have those who take the time to write kind emails with feedback on my paintings, refer my site onto a friend and those who really want an original but at this time choose to purchase prints from the etsy shop (http://www.kmberggren.etsy.com/). Thank you so much for your generous words and time.