The Divide

The Divide

IT IS FINALLY HERE! The collection I’ve been working on slowly for over two years. This collection is deeply personal to me. I call this series The Divide. You can see and shop the full collection at Latela Gallery. We will also be hosting an opening show on June 30th.

Details on the Show Opening:
Date: Saturday, June 30, 2018
Time: 4-6pm
Where: Latela Gallery, 716 Monroe St NE #27, Washington, DC 20017
RSVP: Let us know if you are coming by RSVPing on Facebook

The Divide is a celebration of life and death, seeking beauty in both places, and finding peace in it all. This body of work largely encapsulates where I have been for the last two-and-a-half years.  In the past two-and-half years I have lost four family members and my college roommate to tragic, sudden deaths. This series has a wide variety of works available from very large works on canvas that come framed, to very small works on paper. There is a size for all spaces.

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I painted the first piece in this series, ‘Burning Me Up’ after my cousin went missing off the coast of Hawaii while spearfishing. Her body was never found. Over the next couple of years, I would lose two of my uncles and one of my aunts. These works came out of an outpouring as I processed each successive death. I painted the final works in this collection “Let It Hold Your Hand” and “Unto Ashes” in April 2018, when my college roommate died in childbirth as she left behind twin baby boys.

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Each work has a title that reminds me of one of my lost loved ones, they are things they said to me, or memories I associate with each of them. One piece is called “Yeah?” this is something one of my uncles always said when he finished sentences, for example, “we should go hiking, yeah?”

Before my roommate would leave our room in college she would always ask, “How do I look?” These pieces are memories of the loved ones, and tributes to their impact on me.

Death has been a companion. Sometimes it just feels like he walks by my side, holding my hand, reminding me not to hold on too tightly to the world. It reminds me to love people, to soak in every moment, to live richly, and to give more.

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These paintings have brought me so much peace as I’ve coped with loss. If you are struggling with a loss, I invite you to take a deep breath, and let go. Soak in the peace that is letting go of your questions, and your pain. You may need to do this, over and over, I know that I have. Letting go and being at peace is not a one-time thing. It’s a practice. It’s something that we have to be reminded of, and that’s what this series has done for me. Every time I see one of these works, or feel the tinge of the pain and loss, I’m reminded to seek peace, and let go. These pieces are a visual reminder of that.

My hope is that as you experience these works you dig a little further, hug a little tighter, breathe a little deeper, and spread life more abundantly.

Mostly, I hope that as you take each of these works in and as you welcome them into your spaces that you’re minded of the beauty and peace that comes with the weight of the unknown. It’s ok that we will never know the answers to all questions in this life. It’s ok to live with the “why them? Why now?” It’s ok to rest in the fact that loss is a part of life and loss can beautiful, impactful and important even when we don’t understand it. I invite you to see The Divide and soak in it.

Again this show Opens on June 30th
Date: Saturday, June 30, 2018
Time: 4-6pm
Where: Latela Art Gallery, 716 Monroe St NE #27, Washington, DC 20017

If you can’t make it to the opening it will be up for the month of July. June 30-July 28, 2018 at Latela Art Gallery. Gallery hours are Saturday 10-2pm and strictly by appointment. For all purchase inquiries please contact Marta Staudinger, owner and director of Latela Art Gallery at marta@lateladc.com

If this series or event is something you think your friends would enjoy, I invite you to share it with them on social media! Follow me on Instagram @christineolmstead Pinterest @christineolmstead Facebook @ceolmstead

The Power of Alone

The Power of Alone

I recently watched this Ted Talk by Susan Cain on the power of introverts. If you have some time, I encourage you to give it a listen. I wanted to tease out and discuss with you one of her overarching points. https://www.ted.com/talks/susan_cain_the_power_of_introverts#t-80690

One of her main points is that we come up with our best ideas and we are at our most creative when we are alone. She absolutely advocates for the cross pollination and sharing of ideas, but when it comes to wrestling ideas out, coming up with solutions, or purely being creative, Cain advocates for the power of solitude.

As someone who has always scored as an extreme extrovert on personality tests, I feel like an introvert. I’ve grown increasingly more and more introverted the older I’ve become. I think that is normal. Here is something I’ve found with myself, and I’m curious if it’s true in others. I’m much more honest about what I think and real with my own thoughts when I am in my own head, alone instead of with others.

Growing up I spent a lot of time alone, in my own room, or in my own space painting. I had seemingly endless art supplies supplied by my mother. I did some of my deepest and biggest thinking while I was painting, alone.

Back to addressing Cain’s Ted Talk. I think the reason people come up with better ideas, solutions, and creations alone than in groups is because we can be more profoundly honest with our constructions.

Is this idea good or bad? Is it the right solution for the problem? Is it the right shade of blue for this painting? Is it good enough to share? Does it need more work? Should I throw it away? Should I keep trying, or let it go?

It is only when creators, when introverts are given the space to be alone, and alone in their own minds that that can answer these questions honestly to themselves and tackle projects, revise or make changes, or built up enough gumption to present their work to others.

This is key. My most complex, layered, and rich ideas come when I’m alone. Some of my most pleasurable experiences, fondest memories, and most profound moments of peace are alone. Going out to dinner, alone. Going on a run, alone. Swinging on my swing in the backyard as a child, alone. Soaking in the music while I paint in my studio, or childhood bedroom, alone.

I love what Susan Cain had to said about feeding introverts and giving them the space to create, to grow, to seek, in solitude. Like her, I hope we as a society can learn to cherish “alone” and view it as a badge of creation instead of the mark of an outsider.

Why do we fear the alone? Why is doing things alone seen as sad? I see alone time as the ultimate luxury, the ultimate haven of peace and ideal space for creation.

So here are my questions and charges for you. Are you an introvert or extrovert? and do you love to be alone? Why or why not?

If you hate being alone, have you ever tried to soak in it like a bath? Have you have taken yourself out on a date, alone, no blaring music, no cell phone or tv distractions. Have you ever marinated in your own head and gotten to know your own thoughts? Try it, take a swim in that skull, ignore the voices in your head saying “people will think it’s weird if I’m here alone, or doing ‘X’ alone.” Most people are more interested in themselves anyway.

Even for us extroverts, I think being comfortable alone and comfortable living in your own head is a skill, and one that will eternally pay off as it requires nothing of anyone else and is solely focused on you telling the truth to yourself. Alone time allows us to think about what we as individuals can create and contribute instead of what we can just absorb.

Like or share this post with fellow introverts and extroverts, I’d love to hear about your stories of when you are most creative!

Follow me on Instagram @christineolmstead Pinterest @christineolmstead Facebook @ceolmstead

Photo by Klaire Dixius Photography 

 

We Met On Instagram Group Show

We Met On Instagram Group Show

The East Coast Art Collective is hosting a group show at Willow Street Gallery in Washington D.C. I’m honored to be in this group show with a bunch of other super talented artists! Perhaps you’ve seen me promoting this group show. I just wanted to tell you what East Coast Art Collective is, and how you join in on the fun!

This show will feature a wide variety of works, both large and small. Many of the artists will be attending. There will be light snacks and drinks. So here is what you need to know. The link to the Facebook event is here.

What: 14 artists coming together for a group show!

When: June 23, 6 – 8pm

Where: Willow Street Gallery. 6925 Willow St NW #104, Washington, DC 20012

East Coast Art Collective is a group of mostly female, mostly D.C. based fine artists. There are obviously exceptions to this, however the thing we have in common is we all met on Instagram. Our founder, Ann Marie Coolick is our founder and she chose mostly D.C. based artists based on their unique color application.

All of the artists in the group use different mediums, different methods, we all paint different kinds of art, we all have different business structures, and different clients. But more unites us than divides us.

We all support each other. When others in the group have a show, or an opportunity, or something to share, they send out an email blast. We try and support and encourage each other when and where we can. When people have come to me with a commission, or an idea that really just doesn’t fit with my portfolio, I’m always quick to recommend someone in the ECAC group that I think will fit the bill of what they’re looking for.

We all met on Instagram, but I haven’t met many of the other artists in our collective in person. I’m hoping to meet some of the artists I’ve grown to call friends and see their works in person. Will you be coming? Reply to the Facebook event ant let me know if you’ll be there. I’m hoping to meet some of you.