Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Burnt Offerings: Paintings by Morgan Johnson Norwood

Announcing my latest solo show at ArtSpace Herndon, which opens TODAY, June 3 and runs through June 29.  

Just sharing some installation pictures from yesterday's hanging event.  I am so incredibly grateful to the hanging crew at ArtSpace.  What a fantastic group of people.  Installation went smoothly and quickly, and I'm so pleased by how the show looks in the space.  I'm looking forward to the opening this Saturday, June 7, 7-9pm.  Join me!

This show is a culmination of a truly challenging year, and proof that art is life changing. <3

Sunday, December 15, 2013

That which does not kill us

2013 is quickly coming to an end, and while much of my thoughts and experiences have happened outside this blog, know that this year has absolutely been the most difficult, most painful, and most transforming of my life.  Everything about this life of mine that I held in faith came crashing down, covered in ash.  But I learned that, as cliche as it is, patience and time are excellent healers and teachers, and being open and vulnerable and willing to dive into this change has allowed me to move more quickly through pain and heartbreak than I would have if I had resisted and fought.

Childbirth and running have both taught me that relaxing muscles that aren't being directly used can focus energy on the muscles that are doing the most work, and one can move faster and longer and more efficiently than expending energy on non-essential areas.  So these are the lessons on which I've leaned and from which I've learned this year, focusing solely on the priorities-- my children's well being, income to support myself and my children, and perhaps most importantly, my own body and mind to support my income, myself, and my children-- and letting other things fade to the background.

And that has reflected in a significant decrease in artistic and business productivity this year as compared to last, but because my art is who I am, and who I am is my art, my productivity has merely slowed, not died.  Because I AM ALIVE.  I'm back in the classroom, focusing on the creative development of some pretty great children.  I have a lot more on my plate than ever before, and it's hard, and there are many nights that I wonder if I can go on.  But I'm still painting.  And I'm still painting.  And I'm still painting.  I've been working on a series of paintings about this year that have pulled me through some of my toughest moments, let me feel again, let me cry, and let me heal.  This is what the arts do.  The arts make us remember we are human, and powerful beyond measure.

In six months my work will hang in my first art center solo show at ArtSpace Herndon.  What other amazing things will be happening in six months?  I find myself spreading my fingers and lifting them high to touch the tiniest bare branch against the clear blue sky, and I know whatever happens, I am surrounded by love.

I can't wait for 2014.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Art Studio News: September 2013

My newsletter just came out, and I hope you can join me for my upcoming solo show!  Several favorites, plus some new pieces will be on display.  The Reston Association building is open Monday- Friday 8:30-4:30.  Take a long lunch break (or go ahead and play hookie?) and check out the show!  I'm also having a small reception Friday, October 4 from 5:30-7:30.  Come on out and say hi, and maybe you'll find something perfect for your own space.  This show is sponsored by the League of Reston Artists.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Resolutions, goals, and things left unsaid...

It's always exciting to think about a new year.  So much potential for growth, so many opportunities to experience good things, and best of all, a chance to start over.

Some art goals and resolutions for 2013...

1. See more shows.  There's lots going on in DC at pretty much any given time-- Per Kirkeby at the Phillips (through Jan 6), Lichtenstein at NGA (through Jan 13), Ai Wei Wei at the Hirshhorn (through Feb 24), and Taryn Simon at the Corcoran (through Feb 24), for example!

2. Get organized. 
       a) Create a set of ten materials packets for shows, grants, and residency applications
       b) Clear out my studio; reconfigure storage
       c) Set up better files, clear out/archive/clean up digital files and emails
       d) Update website, blog, newsletter, and all social media (regular schedule)

3. Enter more shows.  It's time to expand my reach a little farther beyond my immediate neighborhood.  

What goals have you thought about for the new year?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A year in review

2012 has been an amazing year for me artistically, and I'm quite awestruck and grateful for all that has transpired.

A year in review:

-I chose to extend my maternity leave to be more available to my second child, as well as my eldest.  In the beginning the baby slept two naps, and I was able to paint a significant body of work.  Daily walks around the lake opened my eyes to new inspiration and gave me peace of mind and body, two things that are critical to a woman post-partum.

-Little by little, with support from my husband and my friends, I was able to start making sales.  A decision was made to sign up to be an outdoor vendor at the local farmers and craft market near my home as a way to learn how to sell my work in that manner.  My business was officially established January 1, and by April my husband helped me set up the paperwork.  Morgan Johnson Norwood Visual Art was born.

-I entered several local group shows sponsored by the League of Reston Artists, which gained me showing experience, and even landed me two awards!

-In May I began showing my work at the market, and I learned that it is a really difficult, labor-intensive process, but I had more fun than I ever thought.  I am fascinated by the culture of the gypsy artist/artisan/farmer/vendor.  The idea that one can set up a shop where there previously was nothing is a triumph in capitalism and ingenuity, and packing skills!  Everything needs to fit in your car!  I learned that selling is an art all by itself.  I also learned that my work stops people in their tracks, and that pleased me greatly, but it was much harder sending the work home with someone, no matter how in love with it they were.  All of these points became big lessons.  I sold seven paintings this season, and made countless contacts.  Definitely a good learning experience, indeed.

-In September my mother-in-law and I hung a large exhibition of my paintings at North Gate Vineyard (46 paintings, now 49 are still on view).  As their inaugural artist-in-residence, I was blessed to participate in many of their functions, including my own, the Artist Inspiration Days, where 3 additional paintings were added to the exhibition.  I sold fourteen paintings (so far!) from the show, and received countless comments on how beautiful the show looks in the space.  As much as the paintings are like my children, I will be a little sad to bring the show home after such a radiant viewing period.

-And now my art has entered a much quieter time.  Things at home require much more of my attention, schedules have drastically altered, babies are now active toddlers, and my teaching has picked up a bit more.  Time in the studio is more difficult to achieve than it was, but I'm happy to say that what has been coming out of the studio is exciting to me, and reflective of all the massive changes that have been going on in the past few months.  The good point about being forced to slow down my production, I suppose, is that the work has become even better.  Stay tuned.

Monday, October 29, 2012


Raindrop Reflection
oil and charcoal on canvas
©2012 Morgan Johnson Norwood

oil on canvas, 16 x 16 inches
©2012 Morgan Johnson Norwood
I'm always inspired by nature. Please, enter my brain...