Saturday, September 5, 2009

Art and Relationships - Finding A Balance

"Art Table With Cleaning Supplies" 2009

After work last night I went to the First Friday Art Walk on Sante Fe Drive in Denver. I try to go every month as it inspires me to see what other painters are painting and what techniques they’re perfecting.

I visited Russell Wilbar at Artwork Network and saw his new piece – a 3 dimensional triptych collage of sorts made from salvaged doors and floor pieces. His work almost has a surrealist quality about it, the way it floats off the wall.

I chatted with Brianna Martray at her studio and sneaked a peak at some of her earlier creations. I loved seeing where her paintings have evolved from. There’s a maturity and sophistication about her newer pieces that I have an even greater appreciation for now that I’ve seen her larger body of work.

The highlight of Art Walk was finally meeting Chris Schranck. Like Wilbar, he constructs old salvaged objects (doors, chairs, swing sets, pipes, chains) into paintings that are also sculptures…or perhaps they’re sculptures that are also paintings. Either way, he marries the old and decaying with color and gloss of the new in a way that both delights the eye and lets the imagination run rampant.

By 9 pm I had visited the artists I wanted to visit and discovered a few who’s work I had not seen before so I was ready to go home and spend time with my fiancé Sean. But when I went to call him from my cell to tell him I was on my way he had sent me a text just 30 minutes earlier to say he had to get up early for work the next day so he was going to bed. My heart sank as I realized that another day had passed in which I had chosen art over my relationship.

How do I do remain true to myself and pursue my art career, while trying to manage my life (laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning the apartment, paying bills, etc.), work full-time, and still cultivate and nurture a relationship with my significant other?

If it weren’t for Sean I wouldn’t be where I am and I wouldn’t be doing the things that I love. It was his idea to leave Michigan and move to Denver – the best decision we ever made. We have friends and family back in Detroit that are still looking for work after losing their jobs in the automotive industry two years ago. And it is Sean who encourages me to keep painting, taking photographs, and writing when I have a bad day and I stop believing in myself.

It’s the first Saturday of the month so admission to the DAM (Denver Art Museum) is free today and I SO want to go! I’ve lived in Denver for eight months now and I still haven’t made it there. But as I write and reflect on the state of my personal affairs and contemplate what would be the best use of my time today there is a dishwasher that needs to be unloaded, a sink full of dirty dishes, hampers and laundry baskets that are over flowing, and a bathroom that has developed its own eco system.

So instead of satisfying my creative yearnings, I keep thinking about how happy Sean will be when he comes home tonight to a clean apartment as a means to keep myself motivated to get our lives back in order. Who knows, maybe a break from soaking in the local art scene and putting painting hold for a day or so is just what I need to inspire me to take my art to the next level.

To see Russell Wilbar’s art go to Artwork Network at 878 Santa Fe Drive, Denver, Colorado 80204 or visit

Brianna Martray’s paintings and sculptures can be seen at her studio at 900 Santa Fe Drive, Studio G, Denver, Colorado, 80204 or by visiting

Visit Chris Schranck at Neo Studios, above Grace Gallery Fine Art, at 877 Santa Fe Drive, Denver, Colorado 80204 or online at

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