do it. create. walk and see. cut and paste. scratch and sniff.
do whatever you have to do to feed your soul.
this is my commitment.

Monday, December 11, 2017

two new longhorns

clear eyes, full heart, 30x40, acrylic on canvas

This past September, we traveled to Wisconsin and took note of how close our travel plans bumped up against Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, the home of Georgia O'Keeffe's childhood home.  Stumbling across these longhorns early on a sunny September morning turned out to be the influence of these two, most recent paintings.  Clear Eyes, Full Heart is on exhibit at Norseman Distillery in NE Minneapolis through the new year.  Both original paintings are for sale at $1950 each.  For inquires or to purchase visit www.karimaxwell.com

sun prairie, wisconsin

I can see your halo, 36x36, acrylic on canvas

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

the story of us

September 10, 2017

There is usually a story behind every painting, isn't there?  If there isn't one I can articulate (yet), this probably means the story (that already existed to create the painting) isn't part of MY consciousness yet.

Well, this gal, here, had a story I was conscious of close to the beginning.

From those of you who follow my work, you probably have realized the titles are (almost) as important to me as the work itself.  The titles usually can be bridged to other, previous experiences that all were necessary to create the painting.

I never have a title and then paint from that mindset.  I tried that once (and only once).  It doesn't work that way for me.  If the title comes to me while I am creating the piece, it seems to come "out of the blue" (and from those of you who know me, know I don't consider this coincidence).

This is when I know to really pay attention.

Well, when I was about at this stage with this gal, I heard, "Free your mind, the rest will follow." And there was no rebuttal to be had.  As a side note: I do try to argue with what I hear sometimes.  Oh, and by the way, that never works either.

November 12, 2016

Now I don't have a playlist with this song by En Vogue from their album, Funky Divas (released in 1992) and I never had the CD.  But you can bet your bottom dollar I added it to one of my playlists (titled "empower me", by the way) as soon as I heard these words.  I really had no recollection what this song was about.  But, after listening, I heard, "...strong black brothers", "Before you can read me you gotta learn how to see me".

Hmmmmm....good to listen to those messages that seem to come "out of the blue".

So here this gal is, reminding me to free my mind.  Because, I believe it's an inside job first (get my drift)?

Free Your Mind, 24x18, acrylic on canvas, 995.

As a post script, I think the dates are extremely significant.  Free Your Mind was in the beginning stages on November 12, 2016 and was finished on January 9, 2017.

Thank you for reading.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Dear Ijeawele, or, A feminist manifesto in fifteen suggestions

written by Chimamauda Ngozi Adichi



I read this book during one sitting (about 45 minutes).  Do not let the simplistic text and small size fool you.  This book is beautiful and can be used as a reference for life.  Brilliant.  Recommended reading for ANYONE (regardless if you are raising a girl, a boy or raising yourself to become more aware).  The excerpts below are all the author's words, notes I took while reading this book:

I matter equally.  Full stop.

Be a full person.

...what matters is what you want for yourself, and not what others want you to want.

Give yourself room to fail.

...when there is true equality, resentment does not exist.

Do not ever tell her that she should or should not do something.

...question the idea of marriage as a prize.

"Gender-neutral" is silly.

Do not measure her on a scale of what a girl should be.  Measure her on a scale of being the best version of herself.

"Allow" is a troubling word.  Allow is about power.

We have been so conditioned to think of power as male.

If she were not to go to school, and merely just read books, she would arguably become more knowledgeable than a conventionally educated child.

...what you say to your child matters.

I do not believe that marriage is something we should teach growing girls to aspire to.

Her job is to be her full self.

Teach her that she is not merely an object to be liked or disliked, she is also a subject who can like and dislike.

Give (her) a sense of identity.

Don't think that raising a feminist means forcing her to reject femininity.

I cannot overstate the power of alternatives.

Social norms are created by human beings and there is no social norm that cannot be changed.

It's not enough to say you want to raise a daughter who can tell you anything; You have to give her the language to talk to you.

To make sure she doesn't inherit shame from you, you have to free yourself of your own inherited shame.

The shame we attach to female sexuality is about control.

Every conversation about virginity becomes a conversation about shame.

In a healthy relationship, it is the role of whoever can provide to provide.

Make difference ordinary.  Make difference normal.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

Octopus (behind the Walker in the Wurtle, upper garden) and The Spinner (near Parade Park), Alexander Calder
In true playful form, Alexander (also known as Sandy) was first known for creating a miniature circus out of found materials and wire.  He traveled with his circus from city to city with five suitcases holding these tiny, movable sculptures.

Bog Walker, Aaron Spangler (behind the Walker)
Spangler represents the state of Minnesota here!  This artist lives and works in Park Rapids, Minnesota.

Model for Garden Seating, Reading, Thinking, Kinji Akagawa
Akagawa is a Japanese born artist who is known for creating sculptures with practical function.  He went to several art schools in the US, attending MCAD and the University of Minnesota in the 60s.

Five Plates, 2 Poles, Richard Serra
Serra's father was a pipe fitter in a shipyard in Northern California where this artist became fascinated with sheet metal and steel. 





Double Curve, Ellsworth Kelly
Kelly not only created sculptures of large scale but also delicately lined plant drawings and bold, single color geometric and organic shape paintings.  We just viewed his Green Curve With Radius of 20' at Mia last week.

Two-way Mirror Punched Steel Hedge Labyrinth, Dan Graham
Even though Graham is an American artist (from New Jersey), Minneapolis is fortunate to have one of his five sculpture commissions in the US.  Graham is also an artist of many mediums.

Empire, Eva Rothschild
This playful looking structure in black, red and green is meant to represent the canopy of trees in Central Park (even though this artist is from London).

Back of SnowmanGary Hume.  
Hume is known for interpreting everyday subjects with high gloss industrial paints.  This particular sculpture is one of many snowman in this artist's series.

Shoda Shima Stone Study, Isamu Noguchi
Noguchi was a Japanese American artist.  Noguchi is well known as a sculptor in addition to his collaborative role with Herman Miller and Charles Eames regarding furniture design. View the children with this piece in the video slideshow.

LOVE, Robert Indiana
Although known as a pop artist, Indiana really did believe in spreading more love.  He did so with several paintings and sculptures in this series.  With his interest in design, the "o" is tilted to the right so that the negative space lines up with the angle in the "v".  Before there were artistic postage stamps, Indiana's painted LOVE was the first to be used on a stamp.  The MOMA used a similar piece in this series for their Christmas card in 1967.
                                       

Hahn/Cock, Katharine Fritsch
Fritsch is a German artist with Hahn being the German word for rooster.  This sculpture is the second edition to the one in London.

For Whom..., Kris Martin
When creating his sculptures, this artist likes to consider time and history.  Martin is also known for leaving something significant out of each piece, to lend to the imagination.  


Woodrow, Deborah Butterfield
Butterfield travels between two residences in Montana and Hawaii, known for creating horses out of found objects, primarily wood and sheet metal.  Some remember a class we had last spring on this artist.

Theaster Gates
Gates, residing in Chicago, is also well known for his community service, bringing artistic opportunities to underprivileged communities.
                                         

Sky Pesher, James Turrell
Strategically placed away from all the hustle and bustle of the busy sculpture garden is this, partially underground, cubic structure by James Turrell.  This piece is one of many of Turrell's skylight series.  When sitting inside, we watched the sky change, viewed the shape the sunshine cast on the wall,  chanted ahhhh-ohhhhh-ummm, and had a spontaneous ukulele concert.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

new body of work

arrow, 12x12, watercolor+ink on 140# paper

My life is a series of "one step at a time".  SERIOUSLY.  I can plan a direction and sometimes this manifests, but it's the letting go that opens the door to happy surprises along the way.

The piece above was inspired by Eugene Herrigel's book, Zen and the Art of Archery and the quote, "What stands in your way is that you have a much too willful will.  You think that what you do not do yourself does not happen."  A good reminder to myself on any given day.

I was resenting putting the time in, painting in my studio.  I know, who am I to complain about having time to go into my studio?  But sometimes the muse is just not there and most of the time, I still need to show up (in case you haven't noticed my motto). I was wishing for some inspiration I had a few years ago along the lines of my exploratory work titled Life Lessons.  

Being reminded of the writer's discipline of one thousand words a day (when reading Carolyn See's Making a Literary Life), thinking about Agnes Martin (we will be studying her work during the first week of art camp at the Create Everyday Classroom) and needing to participate in a meditation of my own, in my studio, a new body of work is born.

This kind of work I do never gets that much attention.  I've been creating different bodies of work "on the side" similar to this for over ten years.  Without this work, I believe my primary work would suffer.

Because, you know, the "side work" is the work.


tent, 12x12, watercolor+graphite on 140# paper

medicine wheel, 12x12, watercolor+ink on 140# paper

what we think is finite, 10x8, watercolor+graphite on paper

"The power of imagination makes us infinite." - John Muir


pyramid, 11x8.5, watercolor+graphite on 140# paper

These pieces (and more in this series) are for sale.  Please contact me here for purchase information.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Bernadette travels



It started before but this was part of the beginning.  It really started on a dirt road in Colorado where Peter and I were driving.  There was this giant, beautiful cow, all on her own, no fence between us.  I asked Peter to pull over and I stopped to get out and greet her.  I never knew her real name but it didn't take me long to name her.  Before we arrived at our campsite, I had.  The name Bernadette seemed like the perfect fit.  I immediately sat down to sketch.  Another dear client who has an original cow painting of mine (titled Tender One) purchased one of these sketches.  It's even heart warming to know where this sketch is.

Bernadette was completed in April of 2015.  She initially traveled to Cello Gallery (in Bozeman, Montana) where she was exhibited and photographed.  She traveled back to me in March of this year.  I was tickled to be reunited.  I wanted to spend as much time with Bernadette before she found her new home (see hashtag Bernadettetravels on instragram).

As of this past Thursday, Bernadette has earned the companionship of someone else.  Another perfect match (in my humble opinion).

So long, dear Bernadette.  Thank you.  I feel so grateful I can say that I am passing you along to someone who appreciates and loves you just as much as I do.  You are in great hands.  Here's to the love your spread and all your future travels.  Bernadette love forever...



Where to find your cow:
@karimaxwell_fineart 
Cello Gallery I am surprised no one has chosen Freckles yet!
The Grand Hand You can see the first cow of 2017 here!

Friday, April 28, 2017

more cows

gentle giant, 20x20, 995.


just like honey (detail), 30x40, acrylic on canvas, 1795.


to see the soul, 24x36, acrylic on canvas, 1450.


preparing takes time, 24x18, acrylic on canvas, 995.

all cows are wired and ready to hang

Thank you, ALL, for your love of cows!

For inquiry or purchase information, please contact me here.
Please know that payment plans are easy to arrange.

follow the herd (and more):
kari maxwell, visual artist (facebook)
@karimaxwell_fineart (instagram)


just like honey at the Birchwood Cafe

Thursday, April 27, 2017

...so are the days of my life



I have been a morning writer since I can remember committing to morning pages back in 1997/98. For some reason, journaling comes easy to me.  I have found that it doesn't for some and I am grateful this exercise of discipline doesn't require much effort on my part.   Journaling is a tool that really works at assisting me in putting my life and process into perspective.

My husband knows that if we find our house in flames, my journals need to be rescued before my art.  More art can always be made but it still takes me rereading these pages to remember how far I've come and why I do what I do.  I am the sort of person that needs this continuous encouragement.

There are alternative ways to journal.  If a constant stream of writing on a daily basis isn't your cup of tea, you may want to try a sticker sheet.  Read my post, Children don't need sticker sheets, we do!

You may also like:
the art of journaling (or not)

This is a great place to insert my motto.  Journaling is another way I create.  Every.  Day.

an avalanche of water won't make an impression
a consistent drop of water will
create everyday

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

energy flows where attention goes


I can pretty much guarantee that this is the first image I have "borrowed" from the interwebs.  I did not take this photo nor do I know who did.  If I knew, I would site them in an instant.  My apologies.  I appreciate the fact that this photo was available.

I can also tell you why I haven't taken such a picture.  Just looking at this image creates so much anxiety within me.

But I find myself describing an image like this so many times to people I work with when discussing everything from the creative process to life in general.

Over two decades ago, I was a mountain bike rider/racer, primarily in the northwest parts of the United States.  A trail like this was not uncommon in my world.  I wouldn't consider myself a skilled mountain biker either.  I just loved biking, being outdoors and the way this type of excursion made me feel.

But, because I wasn't skilled, a trail like this provided an extra challenge for me.  It's difficult to see in this image, but, generally, the median would be curved.  What is evident, here, is the incline on either side of each rut.

The strategic mountain bike racer knew that it was imperative to stay out of the rut.  This was the slower route.  If the skilled racer was "pushed" into the rut, they could bunny hop their bike out while still staying in their pedals.  I knew the ideal strategy and lacked the skills to bunny hop my bike out so I lived in constant fear of getting trapped in these ruts.  This would require me to dismount.  If I did that, I feared I would never get back on my bike.  A trail like this was usually too long of a walk from home.

There can be such a strong, magnetic force that is constantly trying to lure us back into old habits or old belief systems.  If I stare at the rut, I immediately feel anxiety and I am probably more likely to find myself inside.  Our eyes lead us just as our thoughts lead us.  But if I keep my eyes on the distant tree (I think I would pick the one on the right, here), I am much more likely to experience less anxiety and stay out of the rut while experiencing more success.

I know most of us are familiar with the idea that energy flows where attention goes.  And, everyday (and sometimes, we need to take it moment by moment), we can make the choice where to place our energy. Are we going to stare at the rut with worry or hold our gaze on the possibility of success. The rut is predictable.  We know where our old habits and belief systems and negative thinking lead.  Why not take a chance on what could be a success?

How strong is the magnetic force for you today?
Is there a tree in the near distance you can rest your eyes upon?


If this post was up your alley, you may also enjoy:
go ahead...take that somersault
we must be vigilant
the soundtrack of my life

Thursday, April 13, 2017

National Library Week

a creative commitment involving visiting local libraries, 
visiting their ART shelves, perusing their children's books 
and finding one illustrator that inspired my daily sketchbook entry

Monday, April 10: Nokomis


Tuesday, April 11: Southeast


Wednesday, April 12: Washburn


Thursday, April 13: Roosevelt


Friday, April 14: Hosmer


I walked the 5.5 miles round trip to and from the Nokomis Library on Monday.  My sketchbook entry was inspired by How To written and illustrated by Julie Morstad.  Watch me read this book HERE

I walked the 6.5 miles round trip to and from the Southeast Library on Tuesday.  

In the midst of a day of errands and meetings, I drove to the Washburn library on Wednesday.  My sketchbook entry was inspired by Ideas Are All Around written and illustrated by Philip C. Stead.  Watch me read this book HERE

I walked the 3 miles round trip to the Roosevelt Library on Thursday.  

After teaching in the morning, I drove to the Hosmer Library on Friday.  My sketchbook entry was inspired by Bonjour Camille written by Felipe Capo and illustrated by Laia Aguilar.

Adding the walking element was tremendously satisfying and Brenda Ueland inspired.