Spring comes slowly
Spring comes so slowly in Minnesota. It forces patience upon you, however unwilling you are. Every morning you wake up to another sprinkling of snow, no matter how much you long for the flamboyant beauty of your crabapple tree in full bloom. You are tired of the waiting. You say, “I can’t take it anymore. I cannot handle this for one more day.”
Especially after such a long winter. A long, bitter winter filled with trials and tribulations that scraped your insides out and left you raw.
Don’t you deserve some easy beauty? The hot sun on your shoulders, flowers blooming, butterflies floating through the garden.
But the world owes you nothing. If you want to find beauty, you’re obliged to notice the simple, subtle beauty of spring coming slowly. So, fine. What else can you do? You take your walk in the cold, blustery day and you notice the loons are on the lake. That’s spring. And you see that the fat robins have eaten every single berry on the tree since the last time you looked. That’s spring, isn’t it. And by the time you walk around the entire lake, and your thighs are numb with cold, you are entirely sick of trying to notice the simple things.
The subtle beauty is actually making you angry, because why does it have to be so hard.
Then you see something, a stalk of dead grass blowing in the cold gray air, waving to you, holding a beauty so understated that it makes you want to cry. And you walk past it, thinking, “no I won’t stop and acknowledge this. I want the gaudy in-your-face-ness of summer.” But it comes slowly. And the simple beauty is so touching that you retrace your steps to try to capture it in a photo.
Of course, the photo cannot capture what you see, what you feel – but it is there; you cannot unsee it. You must continue your day being grateful for the small things, because what else can you do. There is no forcing spring. It owes you nothing. You take what you can get.
Perception is Reality
I'm so honored to have been chosen to have a solo exhibition at The Phipps Center for the Arts! It is on display now in Gallery One through May 22, 2021.
Setting up the Exhibition
Video Walkthrough of Exhibition
Let Me Know What You Think
If you visit my exhibition, please let me know what you think! Write a comment on the Facebook Event page, send me a message, or comment here.
A certain depth of blue, such as the rich blue of this velvet lining, is where my soul wishes to reside. You'll find me there, down in the depths.
View Shoulder Bag
Shown here is the green/blue 'In The Depths' color way. Hand-crafted with linen, cotton, and velvet fabrics.
A New Series
Hey friends, I've started a new project! It's a series called 8x8x8 Faces. Each artwork is soft pastel, they are 8x8 inches square and take about 8 hours to complete.
If you'd like to participate in my new series, it's $100 per face and you provide the photo reference.
Turn that senior photo into a work of art!
Send me a favorite photo of your child and I'll turn it into something to cherish!
Turn your boring business pic into something worth sharing.
Go here for 7 Tips: How to Choose a Reference Photo
If you'd like to keep up to date with this series of artwork, follow me on Facebook and Instagram @marypowdesigns
I keep them in my bathroom.
For most of the summer there it is: a mason jar filled milkweed. Caterpillars in various stages of their life-cycle, munching away. I have them in my bathroom so I can shut the door - to keep them in - and the cats out. But the door usually gets left open.
I tend to count them whenever I go in the room. Has a new one hatched? Are they all here?
I discover one is missing, and a heaviness settles in my heart. I count and re-count. It's not there.
Several days later, I find a caterpillar on the stairs. Quite a long journey from the bathroom for such a small creature. I gently scoop it up and bring it back to the milkweed. When I set it on a leaf, it curls up. It doesn't move.
Starved to death.
My heart aches.
I could have done more to prevent this from happening.
Your White Fragility
by Mary Pow
Are you fragile –
Will you break?
An ooey gooey egg.
Ooze into a hole,
And hide away.
Or is it possible –
Perhaps I’m wrong?
Your fist raised high
You find you’re strong.
And you uncurl.
Your shell is cracked,
You stand up tall.
That precious shell,
The pieces fall.
Thank God, they fall.
Released from shame,
You say his name
Again, “George Floyd”
And you move forward.
Look at you –
You’re in the street.
That shell is crushed
Beneath your feet.
And your eyes open.
Silence does harm,
You see. You warn,
“I won’t stay silent.”
You are reborn.
Cracked is a painting that I completed in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd, which happened only a few miles away from my home. While I worked on this painting, I simultaneously wrote the poem Your White Fragility. These two works are entwined.
The poem Your White Fragility, along with the painting Cracked equals a third work entitled Your White Fragility, Cracked. This artwork is intended to be a piece about the promise of change.
My Art for Social Distancing project - Portrait of a Quarantine - is finished! Thank you to all of you who participated in my quarantine project by submitting photos of your experience during lockdown due to the Coronavirus.
During the past three months I completed 12 paintings for this project, and in the process raised over $600. Half of these funds went to the Emergency Relief Fund for Artists and the other half went to support my studio. I am so grateful for your support during this time.
Portrait of a Quarantine
Things have been challenging, but I hope my project spread a little bit of joy.
It's been my long-time dream to have a studio in the historic Northrup King Building. I didn't think it would ever happen. But, when the quarantine drastically prohibited me from working in my own crowded home, I realized the time had come to move...
You can visit my new studio and gallery!
I will be open to the public for Open Studio Saturdays every Saturday from 12-4pm, starting July 11th.
I'll have original art for sale (both textiles and pastel paintings), as well as note cards, prints, handbags, and more.
I'll forgo the by-now tired phrases such as "well, things sure have changed..." and get right to the nitty gritty: this has been hard. Extremely, depressingly hard. Frankly, having an entire season (possibly two or more) of art shows cancelled at a time when I was diving into them as my main source of income has been incredibly difficult for me to process.
But, I'm not in this alone - I know it's been hard for every artist out there, and you, and everyone you know, as well.
In order to move forward from the sad reality that I currently have no way to sell my art in person for the foreseeable future, I've decided to create something to share with my community: an artist response project.
Quarantine Portraits - Art for Social Distancing
I've been working all weekend on setting up this idea that has gotten me excited again. Someone once said "creativity thrives in the midst of chaos" - well, we'll see how it goes!
My response project is aimed to help those of us stuck at home to get through the COVID-19 quarantines. I hope to spread a little joy in this difficult stay-at-home time. I also am looking to raise funds for my art studio and other artists affected by the pandemic. (Donate here)
At the end of all this I should have an art exhibit to share with my community.
Stay safe, be healthy, wash your hands!
The best part of being an artist is also the hardest part of being an artist: there is no job description.
You get to make up the job yourself! - but - you also have to make it up yourself. It's amazingly freeing to be able to figure out for yourself who you are as an artist, but it's also incredibly challenging and terrifying to do this. Yes: both, and. At the same time.
A traditional job comes with a built-in job description. You know what is expected of you in that part of your life. When you're at work, your job is to do A, B, C.
This is a list of some important points I want to remember. A rough draft of my "job" description.
This is my life as an artist; and it's a constant work in progress.
I am an artist and designer based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. My specialties are textiles and pastels.