Friday, July 27, 2012

How to ship artwork

Yesterday I packed up these three 12 x 12 inch paintings to send to my newest collector in California.  There are lots of various tips on the Internet about how to pack and ship art.  Here is what I did.

L to R: In the Grass, Marina, and Fading Summer, oil and charcoal on canvas.
each painting 12 x 12 inches with 4-way wire. © 2012 Morgan Johnson Norwood

 The paintings are stretched canvas on 1 1/2 inch stretcher bars.  Protecting the paintings from damage that can occur during shipping, like laceration through said canvas, is important.
 Materials used: 
Thick insulation styrofoam
Foam packing sheets
2 ml poly bag
Appropriately sized cardboard box
Bubble wrap
Packing tape
Utility knife
Sharpie marker
Long metal ruler
Optional: craft paper

Step 1: 
Cut cardboard pieces the same size as the paintings.  I placed cardboard on both sides of the canvases, and stacked the paintings front to front and back to back.  Between the painting and cardboard I laid a 12-inch square sheet of protective packing foam that I bought from Office Depot (about $16 for a box of 100).  I placed the paintings inside a 2 ml poly plastic bag that I use for bagging larger artwork at shows.  Painters drop-cloth plastic or vapor barrier plastic will also work.

Step 2:
Next I cut down a thick styrofoam sheet I bought from Home Depot (about $6) to create a six-sided box around the paintings.  Be sure to include the measurements of the foam's thickness to create a neat box.  Mine could have been better, as I added the cardboard sheets after cutting the styrofoam and failed to account for their thickness, BUT I think it worked okay.  But let this be a lesson to you, artists.  Measure twice, cut once.

I chose to stand the paintings on their end to avoid weight pressing on the canvas while in transit.  I assembled the styrofoam around the wrapped paintings with packing tape, making a nifty little box.  I taped around the package another time or two to make sure everything felt snug.

Step 3:

Next came the shipping box.  I used a 15 inch cube-shaped box left over from my husband's pressure canner he just purchased (he's gotten the canning bug and has been turning our farmer's market yields into jams and preserves.  Mmmm... But I digress...) 

Notice the large space on either side of my little art capsule.  After padding the bottom of the box with bubble wrap we had left over from our move, I rolled longer sheets of large-bubble bubble wrap  and carefully stuffed the rolls on each side of the foam-wrapped paintings. 

Step 4: 

Last but not least, I included some marketing and contact materials, a receipt, and a personal note, then placed bubble wrap over the top of the box.  I secured the box with packing tape, then covered the box with roll kraft paper.  A shipping label with the recipient's address clearly written, and HANDLE WITH CARE, THIS SIDE UP, arrows, etc. added, and it was ready to go!

Step 5: 
Force the USPS staff and patrons to witness the joy of your otherwise happy toddler melting down (so sorry, everyone.  Thank you so much for your kindness and patience today!) and ship it off.  As expected, priority mail was about $50 to ship the package across the country.  Not too bad, and definitely cheaper than having someone else pack it too.

Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Under press-ure

Right on the heels of the interview I did with Jenny Teates for the Examiner is another article, yay!  So I wanted to share some press about the upcoming show at North Gate Vineyard.
About the partnership with North Gate Vineyard, she says, "I'm really thrilled.  Mark and Vicki's focus on the environment and sustainable growing is so encouraging and it really makes a wonderful connection to the nature-based art that I create."

Read the rest of the article here on the Leesburg Patch.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Breathe in, breathe out.

There is so much fear and vitriol in our atmosphere right now that it's absolutely palpable.  Between drowning in months, years of political insanity and now Friday's news of the horrible, senseless murders in Aurora, that crushing weight of those negative feelings is even greater.

I need to circle the wagons and find peace.  I think we all need that.

So today I picked up my brush and let it guide my hand across the canvas.  Calm, meditative energy transformed my mood, and everything felt okay again. These two paintings brought me peace, and suddenly I find my chest able to expand and breathe again.

I hope they bring you peace too.

24 x 24 inches
oil and charcoal on canvas
© Morgan Johnson Norwood

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

New products on my Zazzle shop are here!

Bloom iPhone 4/4S Case Case-mate Iphone 4 Cases
Bloom iPhone 4/4S Case Case-mate Iphone 4 Cases by MorganJohnsonNorwood
Browse Original Casemate Cases

The 'Bloom' iPhone case has won a Today's Best featured product award for July 31, 2012!

Successful Ladies Who Give Back

Recently I was interviewed for an article by Jenny Teates about women finding success in many ways, and giving back their time and attention to society.  I'm excited to share the published piece with you!

That's me!

Please comment and share how YOU enjoy giving back to your community!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Riff Raff

Riff Raff
oil and charcoal on canvas
24 x 24 inches
© 2012 Morgan Johnson Norwood

This painting always gets interesting comments when I share it with people.  One couple at the Reston Market saw rabbits leaping in a field; another saw ghosts and faces.

A few months ago I was asked to present my work to the students at my former school, John Adams Elementary School in Alexandria, and I was so excited.  So I showed up to present last month with a mini-show and all my gear, and some fabulous students helped me set up.  It was during this time that I received The Best Comment Ever about Riff Raff.  It came from Leila, a rising fifth grader.  She said, 
"I like this painting.  It looks like Spring, mixed with danger."
You really can't beat that.

For Riff Raff, I laid layers of paint over scrubbed canvas that into which I had drawn, pushing and pulling texture and details forward and back, and enjoyed the playful splashes of color in a more quiet field of gray tones.  To me, this painting seemed to have some childlike mischief.  And as Leila said, some danger. I couldn't agree more. 

So I was excited to include the piece in my presentation to the real riff raff.

For six years I enjoyed teaching art at John Adams before I made the decision to stay home with my young children.  While at John Adams, a Changing Education Through the Arts (CETA, sponsored by The Kennedy Center) school, I was most proud of the annual arts festival, which my team and I spent countless hours organizing.  The 2-day festival included a student-written and performed opera and a circus, a whole-school framed art exhibit and frame sale, and a scholarship program to help send every kid’s art home in a professional frame.  In addition to the show and performances, we invited various artists and performers in the DC-area community to teach and share their art with the students.   

But THIS year I was so happy to participate as a presenter**, allowing the students to peek into the head of someone who makes art in real life outside the classroom. 

I had a ball presenting to the kids at John Adams for their annual Festival of the Arts!
My talk was basically a Career Day for artists.  I talked about my inspiration from my regular nature walks with my kids and my love of contemporary art, and shared several pieces of my past and present work before I demonstrated a bit and answered questions.
Demonstrating a bit of my process while I introduced oil painting.

And of course, being a former art teacher, I had to give them all homework for the summer: draw something every day. It doesn't have to be an in-depth detailed drawing each time, but it should give you a chance to see your world a little differently, a little more closely. 

Want to participate in my little assignment?  Try it for a week.  A month.  The whole summer!  And don't forget to show me your drawings!  I'd love to see what you came up with.

And speaking of which, you too can participate in The Sketchbook Project 2013.  Have you signed up yet?

** DC-area artists and performers who are interested in presenting to the students at John Adams should contact me, and I can get you in contact with the right people. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Show update!

So many great titles in my Name That Painting contest right now!  It will be hard to choose!  Have you submitted your entry yet? 

In other news...

I'm busily preparing for a solo show at North Gate Vineyard in Purcellville, VA.  Check it out:

Lots of new work that I can't wait to show off.  Come for the opening reception and have a glass or two of North Gate's great wine while you're there.  The opening is September 8 & 9 from 2-6pm.  A two-day reception!  Let's party.

Update!  Here's some press in the Leesburg Patch on the upcoming show.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Name This Painting contest

The person with the best title wins a 6 x 6 abstract!  Contest ends August 1.

40 x 30 inches
oil on canvas

New Growth

New Growth
24 x 24 inches
oil on canvas

It's fascinating to watch the seasons change, especially the more dramatic change from winter to spring, unlike spring to summer. The stark, scrawling lines of tree branches against the sky are now slightly blurred by citron leaves still in their infancy.  I'm lucky that the view from my studio showcases these changes, and I enjoy looking out that window every day.

This painting was created originally with a bright blue sky, but as I worked I changed the vantage point to place the viewer deep in the woods without a view of the sky, but instead creating a canopy of green above that mirrored the blurred forest floor.  I like how the crimson trunks against the early ultramarine background really pop, and the trees seem to sway a bit, as if celebrating a new beginning.

My own life has taken a bit of a new direction, and I'm pondering this notion of growth today.  My second baby is growing up, no longer a baby, and it's not nearly as easy to work around her naps any more.  I so love being a mother and spending lots of time with my children, but as an artist, the inner child often gets neglected.  There are many days lately that I have been feeling forced to choose. But to everything there is a season, right?

"If you are in a choppy period right now, the best way out is to make art. Art for the hell of it. Art for art's sake. Just for you."     -Julia Cameron, author of The Artist's Way

So there are many nights that right after bathing and bedding two active little kids, when all I want to do is collapse, I meander into my studio and look at my easel.  The next thing I know I've picked up a paintbrush and two hours have gone by and all is right in the world again.

I'm entering a new chapter in my life, just as my baby is entering a new chapter in hers.  New growth is a new beginning.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Moment I Knew I Wanted to be an Artist...

I wanted to share with you a little video I made for the Moment I Knew project sponsored by the Huffington Post, in which I describe the beginning of my life in