New Studio Space

Just wanted to share the good news! I was juried into the Workhouse Art Center in Lorton Virginia as a studio artist and I finally got to claim my space.  Sure it still looks a little rough around the edges, but have no fear!  This week I’ll be making it my own.  Remember, this place did used to be a prison.

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Yep, still looks a little prison-y.  But not for long.

Reflection

Get ready for  series of reflections since I am back from India.  It was a big struggle to try and update while I was in India and now that I’ve been looking through thousands of pictures and organizing them into the weeks and months.  I realize that there is so much that I want to share.  Even though it will come from a different point of view, it still reflects the different things I learned, what was important to me then, and how I think about it now.

One of the best experiences I had in India was creating a workshop for the organization I was working with.  Each of the project managers presented me with what work they did and a few weeks later I prepared a full day of experiential learning activities and lectures to figure out ways we could collaborate on arts education programming for kids in India.

There was a lot of interest in what kinds of work I was doing in my own classroom in the United States and the goal for me was to expose them to art education theories, the use of mindfulness and yoga modules in the classroom, lesson planning, and a bit of about the importance of being a trauma informed educator.

One of my main goals for the day was just to get my coworkers to make art and become aware of the experience of making. I know all of the people in the organization are connected to the arts in some way, but I was curious about how often they immerse themselves in creating art.  I also felt that it was extremely important to let them be students and experience what it might feel like to be a student of art.

I decided to share a lesson that was open, expressive, and allowed for collaboration and exploration.  To facilitate those ideas, I decided to use music to direct the art making, and this is the result.

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I provided a wide variety of tools and media so the artists could choose the supplies they thought were appropriate for them.
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The result was a variety of symbols and objects that emerged from the interaction of the music, that conveyed a variety of moods and emotions from the artists.
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Many artists expressed a certain story and explained symbols contained in their work.
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The layers of tone and color mimic the layering of instruments in the music piece.
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A variety of textures in this piece.
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The pattern and color are bold over a background of light colors.
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This piece shows use of other paper, creating a truly mixed media piece with collage.
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A musical art composition.
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Sometimes a landscape emerges.
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Or a boat at sea.
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The group checking out the completed pieces.
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Artist at work.
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Creating texture with glue.
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The artists set up, ready to add more to their piece.
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The workshop space.
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Ready to go.
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Awesome ladies of NalandaWay.
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The workshop participants and co-workers.
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Ready to present, with electricity or not.

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Published!

Before I left the US for India I was contacted by a magazine because they saw my art at a local art show.  A few months later, and they’ve published my artwork! I’m so pleased and excited to see my work in print.  Although, this picture was sent to me by wonderful next door neighbor at home.  I haven’t actually seen it in print yet! But I’m looking forward to it when I get home.

So many lessons are learned from past experiences.  I was unsure about putting my art out into the public sphere, but if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have other opportunities to share my work.  Sometimes life is about taking risks.  But it’s also the support I’ve had to take those risks.  Along the way I’ve had people saying,” Do it”, “Why not”, “Go for it”.  And they’re right, what do you have to lose?

Sometimes you have to take unexpected twists in turns to learn more about yourself and what is around you.  The rewards, even if they turn out in unexpected ways are sure to be a learning tool for next time!

So here it is, Confluence 1, printed and published:

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Studio time

It’s been a little difficult to try and make art regularly in Chennai.  I’ve moved around to 3 different places since I’ve been here, and it’s only been a month! I have one more move in store, but it coincides with my traveling schedule! How ironic.  So, on the weekends, I’ve been trying to use the materials I’ve brought with me to just keep exploring ideas.  It’s all about the exploration, and then maybe when I get home, I can use those nuggets to complete other pieces.  I haven’t found maps yet, but I just stumbled across some Tamil newspapers and started to cut those up for some “little guys”.  But for now, here are the first ones I’ve done.

All the pieces are 6″ x 8″.  So tiny, compared to a lot of my other works. BUT- that is what I have time and space for.

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Chennai Two
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Chennai One
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Chennai Four
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Chennai Three

Big news!

Artomatic was a great way for me to get my artwork out there and visible to the public.  This past week I’ve been e-mailing with many people who made contact me through that forum.  It’s been great to hear the feedback and have people share interest in the arts.  It’s great motivation to keep making art, and exploring the different facets of theme I’m working with.

One of the most interesting new developments is a surveyor magazine has taken an interest in my work.  the magazine called xyHt has reached out and have offered to publish my work in their magazine in the spring! I’m so excited about this opportunity and honored that they would like to showcase my “maps” in a magazine that covers map making and data collecting in reality!

So, I better get to work.  Those partially-finished paintings won’t finish themselves!

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Last day for a while.

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I am about to finish my last day of school for four months. It’s been quite a year, full of a lot emotions and ups and downs, successes and failures, frustration and aha moments.  We all experience these things in our lives, but teaching seems to really provide of roller coaster of emotions for the teacher and the students on a daily basis.  It’s ok though, that’s why a lot of us are into our craft.  There is an ebb and flow to teaching.  Someday days are met with a lot of challenges, but others seem so delightful and breezy.  It’s hard not to live for those moments.

But what makes teaching the best, are the students. And I mean any kind of student.  The ones who are on top of their game and really pushing themselves, to the ones who seem to struggle with every passing minute of the day.  Our hearts lift up when they are up, and sink when they are down.  We want all of our students to rise to the occasion and meet the expectations, but sometimes they need some motivation, some kind of extra help along the way.

I do this job, basically, because I love it.  It’s hard to get up in the morning, it’s hard to wake up in the darkest of mornings (like today) and go finish out one last day before the holiday break.  BUT- kids feel the same way.  We’re all in the same boat.  The difference is, I’ve found my passion, I’ve found what I’ve chosen to do.  And now it’s my turn to help them find their passion.

I wish for my students to find something in themselves they believe they never had.  Something that ignites the fire in their bellies, to keep them moving forward to chase whatever dreams they have.  I see that they have that spark.  So, this year I’m giving them a card to remind them of that spark, and how it’s really a light.  They already have what they are capable of doing, they just need to find a way to make it shine, always.

So to my students:

Namaste
The light in me, sees the light in you.
SHINE BRIGHT!
– Ms. Fitz

20 left!

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It’s amazing that people have been willing reach out and purchase some of these little guys.  I’m so happy that through their purchases I will be able to donate to an important organization that gives back to it’s own community.

If you are interested, and would like to purchase one of these Topographic Studies, please leave a comment and I would be happy to get in touch with you.

I will be selling these “little guys” for $60 each until January 1, 2016.  Proceeds from the sale of the Topographic studies, minus shipping and handling, through January 1, 2016, will go directly to NalandaWay Foundation.

Thank you for the support!

Make a small purchase, make a significant contribution: Flood Aid for Schools in Chennai

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Topographic Studies, 6 in x 6 in, $60
Relief efforts are now underway to help the people who have been affected by the monsoon floods in the region of Tamil Nadu in India. In an effort to help communities who are most devastated by the floods in the region, I am raising money for a non-profit based in Chennai. The NalandaWay Foundation works with children in under-served areas by providing arts programming all over the region. This organization has been mobilizing efforts to get aid to where it is needed and are intending to support the schools that have been affected the most.
If you would like to help bring infrastructure back to the local schools and provide vital support to the community, please consider purchasing one of my 6”x6” mixed-media paintings. I’m asking for a minimum donation of $60 per piece. I will insure that all proceeds from the sale (minus shipping and cost of supplies) will go directly to the NalandaWay Foundation. Each piece is titled “Topographic Study” and made with re-purposed maps, acrylic paint and ink on hard board. Each piece is ready to hang and signed on the back. There are 27 individual pieces that are available to purchase. I would be able to ship directly or deliver to you when possible.
I will be traveling to Chennai to collaborate with NalandaWay Foundation as part of a grant provided by the Fulbright Distinguished Awards and Teaching program on January 3, 2016 and will return May 1, 2016. For any information regarding this effort please message me.

Artomatic 2015

Friday night I made it to Hyattsville, MD to the opening night of Artomatic.  It was a blast.  The venue has four floors of original art, and there is such a variety of different local artists represented here.  You can see everything from artists who draw on the subway to installations that deal with social justice issues, and everything in between.  Some things shock, some things leave you questioning what is art, and others just amaze.  I only saw about 1/2 the exhibit, but I’ll be going back again and again.

Artomatic is a great opportunity for artists to showcase a work.  I am currently showing many pieces there, and I can’t wait to see what the response is to my work.  It gives artists a chance to be exposed to a lot of different kinds of viewers.  It’s a totally free event and right next to the New Carrollton metro stop.  Here are some snap shots of what you can see.