Enjoyed working on these sister paintings. This commission got me back into color and I’m loving it. Layering and finding balance between two pieces was a fun challenge. Looking forward to seeing them in their Arizona home.
I am excited to announce that one of my paintings, Marquam, has been selected for the Artworks Northwest Exhibit. This annual juried show is organized by the Umpqua Valley Arts Association.
ARTWORKS NW OPENING
Friday May 17 from 5-7PM
The Hallie Brown Ford Gallery
This year’s juror, Danielle Knapp (curator at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art), has chosen work from over 600 submissions they received from Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Northern California, and Oregon. This year they have accepted work from 56 artists.
Winter is usually a time of retreat and reflection. This year more than others, I craved solitude. Time to myself away from the studio to replenish my creativity. At first, I was wondering why I was avoiding the studio. I realized it was because I didn't know what to do next.
I knew my work needed to evolve, but how? I should work through it, right? I should make a bunch of ugly work and learn through the process of doing. I should redirect my attention to a completely new project so I can get reenergized from working in a different way. I should... but I didn't and I'm not. Not right now at least.
I listened to a podcast and two episodes resonated and reframed how I considered my experience*. I transitioned from thinking I was in a dead/dry spell to realize I am in an incubation phase. Yes, I am replenishing my creative energies but I am doing more than that. Under the surface, I am sorting out what I want to do next. I'm mentally trying to evolve my work and practice. Eventually, I will need to work it out on the canvas/paper/whatever but for now, I am okay with absorbing, conceptualizing, and thinking about new themes I'd like to explore.
*The Messy Studio put out these two episodes that really spoke to me...
Keeping It Going: Maybe it is a reflection of the winter doldrums but blocks and downtimes can happen any time of year. How do you cope with feelings of boredom and frustration that make it hard to keep working?
Changing Directions: The creative journey is never a straight path and all artists go through times of change in their work. These are necessary but can also be frustrating and painful as you head into the unknown. Today we’re going to talk about times of change in your work and some of the challenges that artists face.
As is the case with many of the artists I find to profile on Art Baby, I first connected with Claiborne Colombo's work as I was scrolling through Instagram. There's an intensity here: the rich colors look like they're seeping through the paper or canvas, while splatters of paint and meandering lines fill out an abstract landscape pulsing with a deep and welcome energy that's apparent in all of her art. I was so happy to find out we live in the same city and recently met for coffee (matcha for her!) at the Stumptown Coffee in the Ace Hotel in Downtown Portland. Claiborne is energetic and charming, full of life and ideas, and passionate about cultivating opportunities for creative connection.
Where did you grow up and where you do live now?
I lived in various places in the South until I was 25. I grew up in Richmond, Virginia and went to school in Tennessee. Before I moved, I had no idea the Pacific Northwest was a thing. It’s so beautiful out here. Lush, green - all the plants are bigger. It’s crazy. Currently, I live in St. Johns neighborhood in Portland, Oregon. It has a really nice old-school vibe mixed with industry and nature.
How would you describe your art? What’s your medium?
I’m an abstract mixed-media artist. Working on both canvas and paper, I use transparent layers of acrylic, graphite, charcoal, and pastels. The layers intersect and combine without compromising the raw nature of each material.
I like to use colors that flow, vibrate and bounce off one another. They act as a compass, helping the eye navigate through the layered terrain.
In play with the swaths of color are more detailed marks. With my marks, I try to capture movement, subtle shifts, and drastic divides. Throughout my work, lines and shapes are repeated and transformed, flowing across the expanse.
Your work is “beautiful”…
This is a common response that I get about my work. Is saying art is beautiful a (backhanded) compliment? Does it flatten the work? Make it have less depth? Is beauty a bad thing?
In thinking about beauty I also started thinking about ugliness and if that gives work more depth. In searching I found this article Ugliness Is Underrated: In Defense of Ugly Paintings by Katy Kelleher.
I found it extremely interesting that our neurological response to ugly and beauty lights up the same parts of our brains.
“Beauty does not occupy a different area of the brain than ugliness. Both are part of a continuum representing the values the brain attributes to them.” Although we experience them differently, beauty and ugliness both tap into our emotional center, an area deeply involved in analyzing other’s motives and actions and generating both sympathy and empathy.
There is something about commissions I find extremely special and rewarding. They are always a little nerve-racking while you are making them, but the reward is worth it. It is a massive compliment to me and my work when people want a custom piece to fill their space. Especially for their bedroom. For me, that is such an intimate space where our inner worlds come to life. Having my art be a part of that makes my heart warm.
If you are interested in a custom piece for your space please reach out!
6 colorful pieces created in the mountain town of Banff will preview at Root’d in Park City for Sundance.
ROOT’D OPENING RECEPTION
Friday, January 25 from 3-7 PM
596 Main Street
Park City, Utah
If you are unable to attend, feel free to request an online preview. All art is for sale.
One of my goals this year is to have a more dedicated sketchbook practice. I’ve been feeling a little unmotivated with my painting series so getting back into drawing from observation seemed like a useful activity. As I was drawing this sage bundle that’s in my studio, I was thinking a lot about rituals. As artist, we talk about the daily rituals that help us establish our creative space and initiate our practice.
The ritualization of the mundane invites the mind to settle into the body. It creates opportunities to get quiet, to feel honestly, to look inward in a world that is begging us to look elsewhere. Over time, it can help us connect to spirit and share it with those around us.
– The Spirit Almanac
I am unsure of how this practice will inform something more significant but I see a path, and it’s calling me to move down it. There is a nugget. A piece to explore. Keep drawing. Research rituals.
Be what you are, of the earth, but a dreamer too.
I’ve liked the yearly word mantra approach instead of resolutions, for 2018 mine was SETTLE. After three years of moving four times, five different jobs and shifting our lives I was ready to sink my feet in and be in one place physically and beyond. The word settle became my grounding rhythm.
In 2018 I claimed the title of “artist.” My art studio was entirely built out, and I covered the floors in paint. It was my first full year of flipping between freelance and my art practice. I found my flow in the studio but with life as well. I no longer used google maps to find my way around town, I learned the names of my yoga teachers, and our house felt like home. With these grounding elements, I was able to stretch my art practice and focus on accomplishing some goals. I had my first big solo show in Portland and various group showings as well. My artwork got published in Maker's Magazine, and I had two artist features that allowed me to open up and talk about my practice. I met and began to build an artist community for myself. These steps, little and big have created a solid foundation for me and my work. I produced over 40 pieces of art. Stretched and started a lot more.
Light, dark. Good, bad. Nothing is black or white. We exist in the greyscale. 2018 also brought a lot of lows. I was rejected (well, waitlisted on one) from every residency I applied to and several shows as well. My mental and emotional health crashed in the spring. All the significant shifts finally caught up to me, and my depression was in full force. I was sorting out health issues alongside this (man, it's all connected) but rounded a corner by May.
All the way through, I've felt good about my work and my practice. I've seen it evolve and improve and I am looking forward to building upon this momentum. I enter 2019 feeling mentally and physically sound. I've started to write various proposals and let's just say the ideas are brewing. I am excited for this year and what changes it may bring.
This year I will lean on the word ACCEPTANCE. I appreciate the nuance of the dictionary meaning and psychological meanings (self-acceptance especially). I hope that becoming more in tune with this word I can set more boundaries for myself and put my energy into things I can control and not ones I cannot. There will be a lot of letting go and coming to terms.
2019, here we go.
“The Big Dark is a cloud … you appreciate it for reminding you that there is an above and a below. You could think of it like you think of a condition — something ominous or something pestering but also something you get used to, that you can’t do without.”
- The Big Dark at Fourteen30 Contemporary
A collection of larger works will be on view in Luke’s Frame Shop Gallery in the Albina location for the month of February.
Saturday, February 2, 2019 from 6-8 PM
4703 North Albina Avenue
If you are unable to attend, you can request an online preview.
All art is for sale.
Have really enjoyed reading through Saltz notes and thoughts around how to be an artist. Refreshing and also some fun exercises.
Excited to be selling freshly finished planters from APOTSPOT x CLAIBORNE collab. Limited quantities (27 in total) in all shapes and sizes. Come swing by the shop and say hi.
Saturday, December 15 from 2-7 PM
1015 E. Burnside Street
How did art making first find its way into your life?
Ever since I could hold a pencil. I've been scribbling, scrawling, and making marks my entire life. I used to lock myself in my parents' room and watch drawing shows on PBS – shout out to Mark Kistler's Imagination Station.
I wasn't a strong student in the traditional sense. I was in the slow reading groups and was awful at standardized test. But I got a lot of positive feedback from art teachers. My second-grade teacher pulled my parents aside and told them not to ignore my art. Ever since then they've always supported my gravitation towards the art room.
So excited that Piper included me on her store roster. Such an amazing space - thrilled to see where she takes it. The store will be open on the weekends and she just posted her online store as well. Check out all the goods here:
Man, time flies. It's been a month since Inner Weather was uninstalled and I'm still dreaming of those warm days transforming a garage. Jen + Lauren at Gallery 1122 were so amazing and great collaborators. Here are some install shots from the show.
As late fall and winter approaches, I am gearing up for my solo shows in January and February. For the January show, I am looking to have large pieces alongside some pots for sale. Taking next week off to enjoy some time on the San Juans and then Seattle with the family and then back in the studio to get after it.
Root’d: What medium/materials do you work with?
Claiborne: I work with acrylic, graphite, and pastels on raw cotton canvas or watercolor paper.
R: How long have you been “making”?
C: Ever since I could hold a pencil. I’ve been scribbling, scrawling, and making marks my entire life.
R: Where do you draw your greatest inspiration?
C: From nature. Being outside and active has always recharged my energies. It makes me feel connected to something bigger and gives me perspective. I love to observe nature through an artistic eye and imagine how I would paint and interpret different landscapes.
R: Who was your biggest supporter in starting out?
C: When I was young, my second-grade teacher told my parents not to ignore my creativity. Apparently, I was really good at drawing trees. Since then, my parents have wholeheartedly supported me and never questioned my artistic path. In my adult life, my partner has always made a point to prioritize my career in arts. He’s my No. 1 Fanboy, and it’s honestly amazing to have that shared goal as we continue to build our lives together.
R: What would be your suggestion for someone stuck in a creative rut?
C: Go outside, take a walk around the block and change your perspective. Then get back in the studio, chair, whatever and make something. Even if it’s terrible, make it and move on.
R: What’s your favorite part about doing what you do?
C: I’m always learning something new or improving a skill. I feel like a detective honing in on a craft. I also get to spend a lot of time with myself. I love being independent and self-sufficient. It requires a lot of self-awareness – it’s as much a challenge as it is a reward, but it’s worth it.
R: How do you best stay focused on goals for your company?
C: I’ve started setting short and long-term goals and check in with myself often. Writing it down makes it real and something concrete to plan towards. I love checking off boxes or scratching through something when I am finished. It’s silly, but it gives a sense of accomplishment and motivates me to do more and more.
R: Do you have a favorite piece? If so, share a photo with us!
C: Right now I really like this 30” x 30” piece I named Black Tupelo. The black has a lot of depth, and I love how it is offset with the burnt umber color. Even though there is strong darkness, it still feels joyful. I really like the interplay between opposites and how they complement one another.
I don’t think I’ll ever get over the excitement of seeing work installed in a show. Loving this ethereal setup of Drink Me a group show at H Gallery in Ventura, California.