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Monday, November 24, 2014

what i've been up to

It's been a very slow few weeks on the blog but a very busy few weeks in real life.  I've really missed writing here, and it felt strange not to have "blog" own my daily to do list.  Sometimes something just has to give, and I gave myself permission to take a short break from something I really enjoy -- but just didn't have time or energy for.  BUT NOW I'M BACK!!  At least for a few posts this week.

So what has kept me from blogging?

Remember those paintings I posted about a while ago?  In 2006 -- my junior year of college -- I painted portraits of the Salvoradan Jesuit martyrs and their two companions.  I had an art show on my college campus after I finished the paintings and did a few presentations to church and student groups, but other than that the paintings didn't get much press.  Fast forward to a year and a half ago when the Ignatian Solidarity Network asked me permission to use the painting images for a poster fundraiser.  I agreed, we put together a contract, and poster sales began in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the Jesuits' deaths earlier this year.  The sale of the poster caught the attention of various schools and churches around the country, and it recently lead to a few speaking engagements for me.

Over the past few weeks, I gave two presentations in Milwaukee and also travelled to Kansas City, Syracuse, and Washington D.C. to speak about the paintings and the story of the Jesuit martyrs.  It's been such an honor and such a cool opportunity to revisit the work I did and to push myself out of my comfort zone.  This whole time I've had a feeling of "who me?"  You want me to fly me somewhere and pay me to speak about my painting work?  Well...I'm not sure you've got the right person, but sure, why now?  I trusted that I could step up to the challenge and said yes to all the requests that came in -- even though I knew it would end up being a crazy few weeks for me.

The prep work - on top of working my two current part time jobs - on top of the actual traveling lead to a crazy month.  But I wouldn't trade it for anything.  It's reminded me of my love of painting - and speaking (surprisingly) - and it has me inspired to make more time for art.

AND VERY EXCITINGLY -- the press around my work has lead to an invitation to be an artist in residence at Marquette University!!!  In February I'll (hopefully) be spending a few days doing a painting (in the library!) and talking about my work.  We've yet to finalize the contract, but it looks like we're on track for me saying to yes to another opportunity that has me asking "who me?"

More details, more artwork, and more blogging to come.