Blog

Where From Here

We are feeling a big loss these days. After nearly sixteen and half years with us, our beloved Deacon died on the 24th of April. His last week was fairly quiet. He was slow to get around, but still eagerly got up with me at 5 o'clock each morning, taking his medicine and a going out for a brief walk in the dark. He ate only what I cooked for him: bacon, eggs, cheeseburgers, sweet potatoes. Donald gently brought up what we might have to do for him, but said he would wait for me to come to terms with it. Deacon had a knack for perking up after a long day of sleep and each evening, I could easily justify more time with him. After all, when I arrived home, or just walked in the room, he welcomed me as he always did - up on all fours, a wagging tail, audible, excited sounds at the front door.  Donald would say "you should hear him when your car turns onto our block. He knows you are almost home." At some point, in his very old age, I started calling him "Little Buddy." It was my softhearted reaction to the physical changes I saw in him. His diminished hearing seemed to make him cling to me even more. He'd stay close to me in the house, so as to not lose track of me. He would not wander too far in the yard, looking back to make sure I was right behind him. It all reminded me of his first few weeks as our puppy. In January of 2001, we spent nearly every moment together as I attempted to house train him from a third floor walk up in Chicago. I balanced him on my lap as I painted, to discourage "accidents." We would run up and down the stairs, every hour at first, and walk along the frozen tundra of Lake Michigan. He'd cry after enough time on the ground and I'd gather him up into my parka, carrying him the rest of the way home. He was the "new kid" on the block. attracting the attention of fellow dog owners who met at sunrise and sunset on Jarvis Beach. Similarly, as a very senior dog, people stopped more frequently to greet him and ask, "how old is Deacon now, anyway."  "Sixteen!" I would reply with gusto. I was proud that we'd made it, this great distance, together: Cross country car trips, endless hours in the studio, 10,000 miles of walking, never sleeping too far from one another when we were under the same roof. In my years of traveling to and from art fairs, his keeping company with Donald at home made me less anxious about being away.

In what we didn't know were his last couple of hours, Deacon attempted one final to retreat to his bed. Donald was there and helped him to lay on his side. I was urged to come home quickly so that we could take him to the vet one last time. When I arrived, his head turned toward me in response. I stroked his face and body and placed my hands on his chest to feel his slowing heartbeat. "He's still here," I said to Donald. I moved my hands away so that Donald could do the same. "I don't feel anything," he said. I looked into Deacon's eyes, and could see that he was gone.

In the days after, we tried to be consoled by the way that he left, at home with just us there. We welcomed the chance to take a quick trip to deliver artwork to Nashville. The brief change of scenery was only that, though. Coming home to a house without Deacon, an empty doorway, a vacant bed, meant we could not avoid the sad reality of his being away from us. It is an exceptional adjustment that will take the forgiving passage of time to grow into. The joy of sharing life with Deacon, my Little Buddy, can't be diminished by his absence.  His soft, comforting fur that I so often laid my head on at night, his enthusiastic companionship and pure longevity deserve to be remembered in the full light of love.

Painting Slippers & Sports Metaphors

February took my breath away and the month isn't over yet. Michael Smith Restaurant hosted a reception for me and my work which was celebrated with friends, artists and collectors. If you missed Nancy Smith's red carpet roll out (Prosecco and eight hour pork roast!) on February 7th, you can drop in anytime before March 31st to see my paintings and enjoy a James Beard Award-winning meal of your own.

Michael Smith Restaurant, Kansas City, MO

After a month of filming by producer Julie Denesha, the Arts Upload segment featuring me working in my studio aired February 16th on KCPT. Julie's presence was a great motivation to me and I was able to complete two large paintings as she recorded their progression. My friend  Garry Noland  (who I secretly call my Artist-Hero - don't tell him) drops by the studio and gracefully offers his perspective on what many of us are seeking to accomplish in the realm of abstract-minimalism.  Deacon does not make an appearance in the segment, though he was always at the top of the spiral staircase keeping track of the goings-on. The bottoms of my well worn, paint encrusted slippers show up and I manage two sports analogies in relating my painting process.  All in all, I'd call it a home run! 

Julie Denesha in my Merriam, KS studio

And finally, after months of work by many folks, I served as 2017 Auction Chair at the Kansas City Artists Coalition annual fundraiser on Saturday, February 18th.  An organization that is near to my heart, I have been donating my paintings and time there since moving to Kansas City in 2004. Please take a moment to read my program essay and maybe it will convince you to get involved. 

Now let's see what March blows in.  

Best wishes,

Laura

Auction night 2017, Kansas City Artists Coalition 

Wake up. Walk Dog. Paint.

2017 is already loaded with activity down here at Laura Nugent Studio.  I say "down here" as I happily celebrate 13 years working out of my lower level, home studio in Merriam, Kansas.  While it is a little crowded wth new works in progress, I do still enjoy the ability to roll out of slumber, wander outside with dear Deacon and then get right to work.  Currently, I am making work for my upcoming solo exhibition at Lowe Mill Arts Center in Huntsville, AL.  The ongoing, small works series "Undiscovered Countries" is also in progress and evolving.  You will soon find them available online at Artful Home.  If you prefer in-person shopping in the US, don't forget Roan and Black Contemporary and The Arts Company, both lovely galleries handling my original work. The tough-as-nails Late Show Gallery in Kansas City periodically stocks my work, both new and vintage.

As I've been working this month, a crew from KCPT Arts Upload has been documenting my work process.  It has been a fascinating experience so far.  I have been surprised at how quickly I forget that I am not alone in my studio.  Fortunately, painting still draws me in and holds my attention like nothing else and there have been moments when I have broken concentration and been surprised to see the television lights and camera lens nearby.  Look for the finished segment in February - you know I will be posting a link here!

And while you are visiting today, please check out the new Events tab featuring where and when you'll find my work in the days ahead. I hope to see you.

Best wishes,

Laura

 

Coming soon to Artfulhome.com

#shopsmall

Small is a relative term.  If you are, like me, owner of a small business, it is the vehicle for your life.  It supports your household in all respects and puts you, in my opinion, in an elite club of creative crazies who don't always know what to do with so-called "down time." 

No less than the merchant service behemoth American Express appreciates the amount of small business cash flow they benefit from. They trademarked "Shop Small" and "Small Business Saturday."  It is in their interest to remind folks that people like me are out here, full time, making and selling art. I've often cracked that while I can't sell you a four foot television on "Black Friday," I sure can fit you with a comparably sized painting for the space.

In the midst of this holiday season, I can not implore you to shop my events without telling you where I have done my purchasing over the past few years.  Please check out some of my favorite artists online while you are looking at your gift list:  

Andrew Johnson

Cathy Broski

Desiree Warren

Nichole Collins

Chuck Groh

Anne Leuck

Tim Hooper

Kim Caisse

Dick Daniels

Amy Meya

And finally...it's not too late to find me in person before the end of 2016.  This very weekend, I am in Kansas City, MO, selling all sorts of studio work at a collective Open Studio event.  Hosted by the aforementioned Amy Meya, six of us are open for business at 3345 Baltimore in KC, December 1st - 4th.  Send me a note if you'd like more details.  Next weekend, I will be a guest artist at the Chicago Art Girls Holiday Pop up.  I'm hoping to see some of you from my Roger's Park days.

Happy Holidays, good health and best wishes to you.  Please keep in touch! 

Still Here

It has already been a very busy autumn for me.  In September alone, I participated in three juried outdoor art fairs. At the last one of that month, the highly regarded Plaza Art Fair in Kansas City, I was startled when a previous customer of mine entered my booth and said "Well, I hadn't seen you for a while so I thought you retired."  When I laughed, loudly, at the statement, the woman felt that she had to explain that since she had not found me at shows where I had become sort of a regular exhibitor, she figured I'd gone on to another line of work. 

I assured her that I was still in the thick of art-making, exhibiting and selling.  We had a nice visit and she left.  I, however, thought about what she said, for days.  I have returned year after year to several of the same shows as it is an opportunity to share new work with prior collectors.  It is also an ambition to break into a show where I have not exhibited and find new audiences.  I have done both of those things this year, multiple times.  The truth is, a too-busy road schedule means that important tasks like communicating with my loyal visitors and collectors may stay on the to-do list, for too long.  Relying heavily on the Facebook post or Tweet, to announce my presence somewhere runs the risk of being missed by those who have made a point of signing up for an email newsletter or (gasp!) an actual, handwritten postcard invitation.

I have pledged to be better about doing that!  If you haven't reached out, please go right over to my contact page and let me know you'd like to hear from me via email with invitations to events.  For details of where you can find me and/or my paintings during the last quarter of this year, please read on:

Centric Projects is hosting my work at their offices through the end of this year.  If you stop in during the week (1814 Main, KCMO) between 8 AM and 5 PM they are happy to let you view my paintings.  25% of the art sales from this show are benefiting Gilda's Club KC.  I'm pleased to meet you down there in person for a tour.

I'm thrilled to report that Roan and Black Contemporary in Saugatuck, MI is representing my work on an ongoing basis. Their lush grounds near the shores of Lake Michigan include two gallery spaces and sculpture garden.  They are well-worth an in-person visit. Preview their website and see the work you'll find there.

To promote the Kansas City Artists Coalition, where I serve as a member of the Board of Directors, I'll be present with a small collection of my work at the Wine Walk on Delaware in Kansas City's River Market, on Saturday, October 15th from 5 PM - 8 PM.  It should be a fun, fall evening so please come by.  I will also be included in the One Night Stand members exhibition at KCAC on Friday, November 18th.  All are invited to this free event and I urge you to come and buy a piece of original art directly from any of the artists exhibiting that night.

My last outdoor show of the year is River Arts Fest in Memphis, TN.  Please spread the word to your mid-south friends to visit me and many of my art fair peers, October 21st-23rd.

Festive holiday events where you'll find me selling work: 

Bizarre Bazaar at the Lawrence Arts Center, November 25 & 26th.

Open Studio & Holiday Sale, hosted by Amy Meya, 3345 Baltimore, KCMO, December 1st - 4th.

Chicago Art Girls Holiday Pop-Up, Alexander Graham Bell School, 3730 N. Oakley Ave. Chicago, IL December 10th & 11th.

If none of these happenings work on your calendar, let's schedule a studio visit.  Give me 48 hours notice and I will gladly open my workspace to you.  I'll serve the beverage of your choice and we can talk painting, process, life, art history and a custom piece for your space.

I am grateful to say that I'm "still here," and not retired.  The thought seems impossible, but I know that without you who have supported me in my endeavor to become and remain a full time, self-employed artist, it would be an inescapable reality.  So, THANK YOU!  And let's keep in touch.

Best wishes,

Laura

My reception at Centric Projects with Gilda's Club KC.  Photo courtesy of Lynn Schultz (@scoobyinkc on Instagram)