Monday, January 5, 2015

My Year!

Where do I even begin?  I thought of completely starting over with a new blog. . .  had a brilliant idea for a brilliant new blog name, "Miles Of Canvas"!!!  Well, thought it was brilliant and original until I went online to register, only to find 100's of others using that name for their blogs, websites, company names, etc.  Guess it WAS a good idea, but not so original after all.  

The last post I made was in February of 2014.  I have not dropped off the face of the planet, but have most certainly been busy completely altering life as we knew it one year ago!  Not to take Martin Luther King's line, but I had a dream!  A vision.  A vision for a place on a beautiful and inspiring piece of nature, where I could have my studio, share with my students and fellow painters, and finish raising my children.  To get rid of the rent I've been paying in my past studio, simplify life, and paint, paint, paint in a place that moved and inspired painters from all over!  Non of it makes sense if you are a person of logic, it only makes sense if you are a person who chooses not to function out of fear, believes life is what you make it, and believes that hard work and risk is worth every drop of sweat.  That would be me.  I thought, "what's the worst that could happen? I might not get it . . "  Would be no further than I was without going for it, so I did!  And I did it solely from my art.  

In the past year I have sold my house of 15 years, purchased a 15 acre property in the country with a 150 year old house and a 100 year old hay barn, a 150 year old silo ruins, lots of trees, wetlands, buck thorn, which I have become completely obsessed with removing, trails, bats in the attack (hopefully got rid of them by now) . . . moved out of my downtown Stillwater studio which I had been renting for nearly the past 10 years, converted the 100 year old barn into my new studio and school, and now am doing a major renovation on this sweet little farm house which with might I say, lots of 'character'?  Ha!  Good word for lots wrong with it!  It's okay though, we love it and it is now the place we call home.  You see, the property was meant to be.  It's the only explanation besides faith and the hard work it took to get here.

My plan had been to blog daily about our big adventure of moving the house and studio to the country.  Well, it just didn't go that way!  Every single day has been a challenge of enormous or small, but a challenge just the same.  It's been quite a year and quite the journey, and we survived.

June 1st, I held my first plein air classes on the property.  They went all summer long.  In September, fall semester of classes started in the studio barn.  In October I had my first show in the new 'old' studio barn.  In October I also hosted OPM, The Outdoor Painters of Minnesota paint out.  We had nearly 50 painters here painting the grounds all day!  In February of 2015 winter semester will start up and painters will be here again weekly to study painting.  The dream came to life and life we are living!  

The day we moved.  January 24, 2014, 30 BELOW ZERO PLUS windchill!  You bet!  

Brutal winter. . .

Yup, cold.

Our pretty, cold, road.  Pretty though!  :)

First dinner in the new studio with students, 
Winter finally left
Time to get the studio barn functional for classes, but we needed a way to get up there besides the 'death trap stairs' coming up through the floor with a trap door.

Grateful for talented architect Peter Curtis for designing these amazing stairs!

Spring's finds, 150 year old silo ruins.  This is after hours and hours of removing overgrown buck thorn with the help of my kiddo, Nick!  We found tons of old artifacts from the original farm!

A labor of love . . .

 . . . and dirt!

Meanwhile in the studio . . ..

. . . . major transformation is taking place.
New floors, lighting, paint, heating, A/C, OMG.
The scenery across the road is  . . . well, heavenly

As if!!  You're kidding me!  Poppies!  What??  
I didn't need to go to Italy all these years, my own backyard.
Yup!  Everywhere I turn.

 Let the painting begin!  Welcome painters, and they came!
Another painter, just studying the wetlands

One of my many demos this summer, happy!

Monday evening printouts, painters, collectors, Friends.  

 .  .  . around the silo

We gather, we inspire, 

around the silo, and the sunflowers begin to grow.

Still life in sun light

 I treasure early morning still lives . . 

The porch is a beautiful place to rest

Late summer, more beautiful early mornings surprises!

My favorite chair, by my favorite Cottonwood, happy.  


Welcome OPM!  We hosted 50 painters to enjoy the land

Friend and painter Kim Casebeer came to visit and paint this summer!
 "Beauty" out my studio window.  Pinch me!
Studio classes begin!

Mornings are lovely . . 

School Mascots, Lester and Pinti!

My first solo show in the new studio!  My kiddo Nick, on his phone.  :)  

Welcome and enjoy the show!

Just kicking' up my heals 

The fall was stunning outside the studio window

A smashing success!  

People came, they enjoyed . . . 

they admired . . 

Time for a beer, it's been quite a year!

A corner at the show


Marc R. Hanson said...

So nice to see it all, Kami. I know how hard you worked before getting this place, to make your dream come true, to get a place like this. Congratulations, big smile here. And I love that blue chair! ;)

Kami Mendlik - Polzin said...

Marc, thank you so much. You really do know, funny how it looks all sweet and easy with happy pictures huh? :) Lots behind the scenes, that's for sure!
Can't believe it took me almost a year to finally post anything about it. . . whew. Breathing room.
The blue chair . . always come with me wherever I go. I love it and always will! ;)

mark bidstrup said...

Great work and what a fantastic studio!What's the palette on top of kitchen (great idea, i'm purchasing one as well) cart? Thank you!

Kami Mendlik - Polzin said...

Thanks Mark, it's been a lot of work but worth it. Now to get into some serious painting! My palette in on a a kitchen island they sell at IKEA of all places. It's only around 150.00. I bought it years ago and they still sell the same one. Very sturdy and perfect size!