June 6, 2017

National Gallery of Art and Artists for Inspiration

Andrew and I traveled to Washington D. C. recently and among many other destinations, visited the National Gallery of Art. We breezed past the historical art and made our way to the East Wing, which holds the contemporary galleries. This is my new favorite art museum!
They have an amazing Theaster Gates show there right now called In the Tower: Theaster Gates. I highly recommend it. I am always looking for artists who not only make great work, but also are highly involved in social justice, human rights, community projects, etc. Good people making good work.Image result for theaster gates national gallery of art
In the Tower: Theaster Gates by Theaster Gates at the National Gallery of Art

His show is what drew us to the museum in the first place. As I was making my way through the various galleries, looking at artwork but keeping up a pretty quick pace so we could see everything we wanted to see on that busy day, imagine my surprise when I was stopped suddenly in my tracks by a big beautiful oil painting. The label read A Moment of Calm by Max Ernst. It was like nothing else I could remember him making. New favorite museum, new favorite painting.

Image result for a moment of calm max ernst
A Moment of Calm by Max Ernst at the National Gallery of Art

May 22, 2017

Sketchbook Monday: Hummingbird and Flower

Here I am playing with a bit of dry charcoal and watery India ink.
I have a middle school student who meets with me once a week for a drawing lesson, and I have to admit that I am SO INSPIRED by her. She is a decade ahead of my 10-year-old self. We have spent the past two weeks working on some mixed media pieces and once again she is inspiring me to be a little more loose in what I am doing. Also, she finishes an entire sketchbook in about 4 months... each spread filled with beautifully finished pieces. So, needless to say, I am working more in my sketchbook now.

March 14, 2017

"Dark Forest"

"Dark Forest", acrylic paint and chalk on recycled paper, 15" x 22".

In December of last year (2016), there was a terrible fire in Oakland, California at a warehouse known as the Ghost Ship. It was home to an artist collective, which is probably one of the reasons why I felt so heartbroken reading through each of the 36 bios of the people who had burned to death in the blaze. Any of those people could have been my good friends or even me. Descriptions of the warehouse, the party, and the victims seemed so familiar to me. So I painted the fire. You can see it in some of the first layers of the finished painting here. The pink bits remaining here are part of that original painting.
After three months of sitting in the corner of the studio, this painting appeared back on my desk. I revisited it without knowing what was going to happen.
This finished painting is a much more subtle take on the fear and beauty that I feel for life, and it gives me a way to honor those people.
Friends! Be safe, clean the lint out of your fans, and put fresh batteries in your smoke detectors. Remind your loved ones to do the same! Life can be hard.

February 10, 2017

Lookee Hear Pop-Up Shop

postcard for Lookee Hear Pop-Up Shop by Steph Holmes and Andrew D Yeager

My fiancé Andrew and I have set up a Pop-Up Shop called Lookee Hear in downtown York. It's only open until March 3rd, so if you are local and interested in purchasing our artwork or other collected goodies -- vinyl records, music, modern furniture, electronics, art books, collectibles, vintage toys, and more; you need to come visit soon. Hours and location are listed in the postcard above.

Lookee Hear Sign and Pop-Up Shop

We really have an interesting collection of wonderful and wacky things for sale. Andrew has been a collector his entire life, and I am a wannabe minimalist. Put us both together and we both cringe at the task of combining our households. Our plan is to get our wedding plans going this year, so I'm really happy that this Pop-Up Shop idea has come to fruition. It's a way for us to thin out our belongings and to make sure the things we love are going to people who love them too. 

Lookee Hear pop-up shop print and art display by Steph Holmes and Andrew D Yeager

We both have a ton of artwork available for purchase at the Pop-Up Shop too. Any print that has been available in my Etsy shop is now also available in person at Lookee Hear (and sans shipping costs too!). All of the originals have been taken down off of my online shop and are only available for purchase at Lookee Hear. Not only will you save on shipping, but I am giving quite a discount on a lot of the originals as well.

January 20, 2017

Down the Rabbit-Hole

"Down the Rabbit-Hole", acrylic paint and recycled collage, 5" x 7".

Today is the inauguration of our next President. How we got to this place is beyond my understanding. I started reading Alice's Adventures in Wonderland for the first time and am finding that Alice is 100% relatable right now. Reality doesn't feel real.

If you are like-minded, keep yourself busy tonight. Do not watch the inauguration as it will inevitably lead to rage. Go out and have some fun. Do your laundry. Have dinner with your love. Watch a funny movie. Exhaust yourself with your day and do so happily so that you won't be tempted to watch something that is going to foul your mood. Happy Friday, friends.

January 19, 2017

Studio Time, Carving Out Time

No matter how many other artists and entrepreneurs have already said this in articles, podcasts, or talks that I have consumed, I'm still surprised at how little time I have to create now that I've gotten serious about my business. If I'm not careful, I could get sucked into packing products, organizing accounts, emailing, updating web pages, photographing pieces, and so on forever. Don't misunderstand me though -- I love that part of this whole endeavor. In a lot of ways, I was built to do this. But I must, MUST carve out that creative time. More of it. Much more of it. I want to stay thirsty for making new work! My studio day today was refreshing, and I am so grateful for the time.

I hope you are able to carve out some creative time in your busy day today.

January 3, 2017

Landscape with Red Birds

"Landscape with Red Birds", acrylic painting and collage, 15" x 22". 

I love Paul Klee's work. So it was fun to do this homage to his "Landscape with Yellow Birds". I started this painting right before my beloved bird Garlox (the rescued cockatiel who was my constant companion and studio assistant) passed away. It's been sitting in the studio untouched since then. With the coming of the New Year, I finally felt ready to take on this piece again, three months after her death.
At one point I got really stuck on what to do next. I had already cut out all of those leaf shapes and was laying them on top of the painting in neat organized rows. It was boring as hell. Later that afternoon I had to clear off my desk quickly to shoot some photos for new products in my Etsy shop, so I put the painting on the floor and tossed all of the loose collage shapes onto it to keep everything together. The paper leaves landed in the most perfect way -- a way that I could not have planned myself, and I then spent the next day carefully adhering them to the painting in nearly the same way they had landed.

Happy New Year, friends. I hope you are finding time to organize yourself and your surroundings, spend time with your family, and to relax after the holiday hustle.

December 13, 2016

Drawing at the Nature Center

Today I decided to give myself off from being in the studio. Things have gotten much better since my last post. I am once again motivated to explore art-making, but I really don't want to be burnt out again anytime soon. So here I am out and about!
What I decided to do with my day off is go to our local nature center, bird watch at their busy bird feeders, and draw in my sketchbook. They have a relatively large collection of donated taxidermy animals which I can choose to draw from. I decided to draw their American Kestrel, which is a beautiful bird though it was undoubtedly more beautiful when it was alive.

If you also work from home, try to throw in a day here and there where you go out to do your work. It has been a delight thus far!

December 5, 2016

Sketchbook Monday & Being Stuck

"Sketchbook: Flowers & Bits"

I hate this spread. Today was such a real struggle. Actually, this whole last week has been a struggle when it comes to being in the studio. I have to keep reminding myself that this is part of the process. I am completely stuck.
I feel so unsure, so unfocused, so critical, so unsatisfied with what I've done so far, so ready to redo and recreate everything, so UNHAPPY. My friend Alberto with whom I worked with in Syracuse said that to watch me work was "like watching trauma". I was shocked that he saw all of my anxiety which I thought I was fairly good at hiding. Though using trauma as a metaphor for what I go through in the studio is a vast exaggeration, there is a period of time that I go through which is highly upsetting. I'm not sure which direction to head, what piece to make next, or what to do with what I've already made. Everything I make looks terrible right now.

I just have to keep reminding myself that in a week or two (or hopefully less) I will accidentally wander into a process or body of work that brings me pure joy as long as I continue to power through the ugly work. For now though, time to take a break from my studio and head to work to teach a ceramics class.
I hope that your week is treating you better!

December 3, 2016

Ornaments this week

Years ago our neighbor's tree was struck by lightening and had to be cut down into logs. She didn't need the firewood, so the tree ended up stacked behind my childhood home. This week I've been exercising my lumberjack arms by cutting the logs into 1" thick slices, sanding and sealing them, and lastly painting some rather quirky illustrations on them. 
Check in at my online shop if you are interested in purchasing these fun little ornaments or pop in to HIVE artspace if you are local.
I hope your week is going well and that you are having fun gearing up for the holidays as well!

November 21, 2016

Sketchbook Monday: 10 Strawberries

"Sketchbook: 10 Strawberries", collage.

I gave myself the assignment of making an illustration this week without drawing. I hope you enjoy!

November 16, 2016

November 15, 2016

Sketchbook Monday: Four White Worms

"Sketchbook: Four Fuzzy Worms", gesso, pink highlighter, latex paint wash in the background.

I'm a day late this week for my Sketchbook Monday post. Honestly I completely forgot yesterday because I was so busy! Life gets like that often.
This is a spread that I actually started last week (woo!!). Finally I am starting to work in my sketchbook a little more often and not just starting and finishing a spread Monday morning to fulfill my promise. I'll try to do the same again this week.

This spread started off with those magenta stripes you see here. I had put some magenta highlighter streaks on these pages months ago to help with some composition questions in a kids class I was teaching. Those marks became branches. There was also a huge white rip on the right page, which I turned into a bird's body. This was a fun little exercise.