Letting the Good Outweigh the Bad

Hello again y’all! I felt it was time to get back into my blog posts. Sorry, for the absence of art goal updates and life things. I’ve just felt unable to write due to not even knowing how to organize my thoughts this last little bit. February not only concluded with the beginning of the COVID-19 virus spreading in the US and shut down of the world’s economy but, the passing of my Grandmother. Cancer and eventual liver failure finally gave way and took her. She was such an integral part of my childhood and someone that shaped who I am as a person. I am so grateful she was always there for me and miss her dearly.

March has passed and we are now in April. Despite everything right now it is an extremely joyous time of year for my family. Amelia is due any day now! My creativity and art production is truly at an all time high as well.

But, as it is for so many across the globe my mind has been completely consumed by the world wide virus pandemic COVID-19. With the shutting down of the kid’s school we’ve been discovering the world of online learning. We are adjusting to a new normal that has been forced upon us so suddenly. The kids are resilient and seem to be handing everything about this better than I am.

Not only has the spread of this virus changed our lives but, I am terrified of what the hospital visit with Amelia will be like and result in. I already know family and friends will not be able to join us for this wonderful time in our lives, but the mere thought of doing it alone, without my husband, is panic inducing. Although I am scared I have to remind myself to have faith in the medical team and respect that they will do the very best job they can to keep Ameila and myself safe.

So, now that I’ve acknowledged all the stress inducing issues surrounding life I’ll get to talkin’ about the goodness that is happening! And there has been so much!!!!

My and Amelia’s health is perfect! Which gives me peace of mind amid the scare of the virus. Although I am extremely ready to give birth I have had little to no unusual issues with this pregnancy! Josh and the kids are crazy excited to see her! I can’t wait to see how she changes our lives and what kind of little person she will become!

On another good note my art reception in Downtown Bentonville turned out awesome! Met some new people and got to talk shop with other fellow artists! Being part of the local community is so important to me and it made my heart happy!

Creatively I have been overwhelmed with the value and production of what I’ve been doing lately. The bourbon series has taken off so well that my time has been filled with creating art and sending it all over the country for others to enjoy! So much so that I haven’t had time to complete the 10 in the series for myself or continue on into another project! I know I haven’t stayed true to the original art goals I set but, I am not disappointed with my progress or what I’ve been accomplishing.

Below are some of the works I’ve completed! Not only including the bourbon art but, a few other pieces I’ve worked on. I’ve been trying really hard to get all of my commission work done before Amelia is born.

Now y’all are all caught up for the most part I’m going to do my very best to write updates more often and not cram so much into one post! I will end with a huge outpouring of love and support for everyone being affected by the virus, which at this point is the whole world. It is truly amazing to see communities support one another.

The generosity and love we all need to get through this is essential. My own family has seen it first hand. With our food truck being our livelihood, community is everything. So, thank you Northwest Arkansas for the love you’ve given us, as well as the donations we’ve received in our free meal program! We are able to provide food for anyone in need. My heart feels heavy but, very much hopeful! I love you world!

If anyone is interested in donating to help feed families contact @spuddoctors on Facebook and either make a donation through Venmo, over the phone, or by simply stopping by the food truck.

903 SW A st in Bentonville, Ar.479-257-0681

https://www.facebook.com/spuddoctors/

February Art Goals 2020

So much going on the the world of Art Goals 2020! I have finished the Old Fitzgerald bottle, a replacment Blanton’s, a Pappy Van Winkle drawing, as well as a Colonel E.H. Taylor piece!!! Due to the popularity of these drawings I have 3 commissions and sold 2 more of the drawings completed from the series! I’ll have to draw replacements for the series and continue with getting the 6th of 10 bottles started.

I have had so many inquires for prints that I’m working to get some made of each bottle drawing! They will be available for sale soon! I want to make sure the quality and size will be exactly what I want before making them available for purchase.

I have been overwhelmed with the interest and love that has been sent my way with this project! I’ve been chatting it up with people all over the world about whiskey and art! I’m prepping up artwork to be shipped out to man caves and bars across the country! I love that I can share my passion for others to enjoy!I’ve been staying on track with the art I’m creating and my goals for what I want to accomplish!

On another very exciting note I have an art reception for my larger scale work on display at Visit Bentonville located in downtown Bentonville for February 26th, 5:30-7:00 p.m. Please feel free to send me a pm, email, or call for details on that if you would like to attend! Hope to see you there!!!!

I couldn’t thank everyone enough for the love and support! Keeping this momentum going will prove to be the best year so far for me as an artist! #bossbabe #artgoals2020

“Fly Me To The Moon”

Not everything went according to plan last week but, that’s usually how life goes! I was so busy with helping Josh on the food truck (they had a massive week of events and moving around), working on organizing an art opening, along with weekend plans, and being mom I had to squeeze in the first whiskey bottle drawing whenever I could. Which, seems to be at night when my mind can quiet down and I can focus.

First drawing up is Jack Daniels. This particular bottle is the Sinatra Select Edition and was made to honor Old Blue Eyes. Jack Daniels was a favorite whiskey of his and he was buried with a bottle next to him. This one is displayed in its box along with a few other Jack Daniels bottles surrounding it. It is sitting on a barrel bought from the distillery in Lynchburg Tennessee. In front of the bottle is an exclusive Tennessee Squire wooden display accompanied with a shot glass…basically a Jack Daniels shrine!! This drawing has been a bit daunting due to all the script and filigree in tiny white lines.

Because of my increasingly growing pregnant belly and pain in every muscle in my back, the want of doing a time lapse video of the drawing did not happen. I set in a big comfy chair in my living room or in bed while drawing, not exactly the best place to set up a camera! Lol! Although I did take a few photos and must say the drawing is coming along beautifully! I am happy with what I have on paper so far. I did decide to make all the drawings 11×14 keeping them a manageable size to complete within a weeks time and it has resulted in needing very VERY small detailed lettering.

Pencil being the medium I want to stick with I am able to get finer lines as opposed to the lines I could achieve with charcoal. I have also ordered a fine white sharpie pen that I am waiting to come in the mail. It will assist in helping me finish up those really small letters. Hopefully it is a good pen and will be a perfect contrast to the graphite. If not I will have to come up with a plan B. As I wait for the pen to come in I will start on number 2 in the series.

Blanton’s Whiskey will be the next drawing to embark on! I’m getting such a good response from everyone about this project and it really helps in keeping me exicted and motivated! So, thank you everyone for the encouraging words and wonderful feedback! Can’t wait to see how this next one turns out!

I hope y’all are still sticking to your new year’s resolutions and keeping creative juices flowing! On top of finishing the Jack Daniels drawing, hopefully I will have an update on the art opening in downtown Bentonville I’ve been working on by the end of this week as well!! Exciting things are happening and it is a much needed distraction to a few emotional set backs I’ve been dealing with lately. Pregnancy hormones don’t help my mood but, staying positive and busy does! Here’s to delightful distractions and staying on track with goals! Onwards and upwards!

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Title image credited: Frank saluting his audience with Jack. Photo from the The Telegraph.

The Wall That Heals

Memorial Day, as Decoration Day gradually came to be known, originally honored only those lost while fighting in the Civil War. But during World War I the United States found itself embroiled in another major conflict, and the holiday evolved to commemorate American military personnel who died in all wars.

Many Northern states held commemorative events and reprised the tradition in subsequent years; by 1890 each one had made Decoration Day an official state holiday. Southern states, on the other hand, continued to honor their dead on separate days until after World War I.

It became offically known as Memorial Day and observed on the last Monday in May in 1971 as a federal holiday.

This Memorial Day my family and I had the opportunity to visit The Wall That Heals. It is a two-thirds scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, honoring the lives of more than 3 million Americans who served in the Vietnam War.

The wall rises above you as you walk towards the apex in a chevron-shape. The names of 59,220 fallen soliders are listed in order of the date of casualty and alphabetically on each day.

It was brought to Crystal Bridges in honor of Memorial Day 2019 and is displayed on thier front lawn near the Bucky Ball Sculpture. Seeing the wall at night was so touching. I am humbled by the experience and beauty. It is a stunning tribute.

I am grateful for all who have served and for the sacrifice that every family has made. You deserve the highest of honor. From the bottom of my heart thank you for service and dedication.

Bentonville O.G. ;)

Bentonville is a tiny little spot of heaven in the middle of nowhere. Undiscovered in its charm and small town uniqueness, a place I have always been honored to call home. In the last decade or so Bentonville has drastically changed! Northwest Arkansas’s metropolitan area is one of the fasted growing economies in the U.S. and it doesn’t show any signs of stopping!!!

It comes as no surprise to me that other people have noticed and love our beautiful little town. Located in such a lovely part of our country it’s so appealing in rich history and southern charm, what’s there not to love?! We’re so blessed with the benefits provided to our community by the many corporate headquarters located here. They help keep our country’s commerce running and fuel innovation throughout different industries for the future of the world! In turn making our community even more diverse and expansive as we move forward.

I recently had a friend, I’ve known most of my life, tell me she is coming to visit and wants to know what to do when they come! I was so happy to tell her about everything there’s to do here now! With all the growth and excitement I feel like sometimes I can’t even keep up with what all is happening! I got to the end of the conversation and realized I sounded like a travel agent for Northwest Arkansas! I get excited about sharing!!!

Most people leave their hometown wanting to seek bigger and better things. I feel like the bigger and better things have coming to me! I went to art school and then the art came here! How much luckier can I get?!

From the beautiful recently developed walking and biking trails that wind from Bella Vista all the way to Fayetteville to local breweries there is so much to experience in Northwest Arkansas! Pinnacle Hills, in Rogers, Ar has a beautiful sprawling outdoor mall that can keep you shopping until your hearts content…or your pockets empty! 😉 Bentonville’s 8th St. Market and the Art District is constantly evolving with innovative new businesses enriching our community with fine art, amazing food, and custom shops. Bentonville isn’t the only amazing little town here either! All of Northwest Arkansas is expanding at an astounding rate! Fayetteville Ar. is one of the top 5 best places in America to live, according to U.S. News & World Report in its annual “Best Places to Live” report. Every industry here is seeing a massive boom, adding to our ever growing Arkansas based businesses and communities!

What does that mean to the O.G.’s?! When I say O.G., being that I’m only 31 I can only go back so far, I know there are much more legit O.G’s! If any want to chime in please feel free to add a comment! I’d love to hear your stories! Locals have loved Bentonville before it started to evolve and become “cool”. We’ve watched how beautifully our sleepy little town has become a hub of new culture and interest from people around the world.

Growing up on Main St. and having relatives living all around downtown my entire life I have countless memories that make the Bentonville Square my favorite place! As a kid I remember spending time around the fountian downtown where only a few lawn chairs and a couple good ol’ boys playing folk music on Saturday nights filled the square. The farmers market was only about 10 booths and they only sold vegetables! When the coolest thing to do was walk around the Wal-Mart on Walton Blvd. and see ALL your friends doing the same!

Spending afternoons with my siblings at Bentonville Public Library, which at the time was located in the old Massey Hotel that is now Phat Tires Bike Shop, was my favorite space to pass time. The same place that sparked my love for art. Seeing a 3D model of Crystal Bridges with stars in my eyes. When I was just 11 years old, Crystal Bridges was just a concept living in the lobby of the library. I would see it every week and daydream about what it would be like. How it would open up my eyes to the world of art! I never imagined that I would get to experience it with my children! Literally puts the biggest a smile on my face! My love for Bentonville and the pride I have living here is grandiose! I absolutely love it and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.

But, with this excitement and huge growth I also wonder how it will change our identity. There are locals opposed to the growth. They don’t like all the “newness” and change. I do not see change as a bad thing, uncomfortable at times-yes but, always an opportunity to become better in a new direction! That being said I wonder if we will lose our small town charm along the way? What will we become when there are 100’s of thousands of people living here….or even millions?! Will we get that big?! What will Bentonville look like? Will we lose our charm we are so dearly loved for?

All questions I am anxious to see play out. One thing’s for sure change is here and I am one to embrace it! ❤

*all photos are taken and copyrighted by Courtney Kitterman

The Nature of Art

In the past year I’ve had extreme mixed reactions from others about art that I have created and shared. As this does cause a rise in me I enjoy the back and forth. I have received negativity to a specific subject matter and even been asked to destroy and take down art that I have shared. In this kind of response, so strongly against what I have created, I find myself wanting to share it more. I don’t know if it’s because I can’t stand someone telling me what to do with MY art or simply that I arise such strong emotion within them. Creating art that makes someone so repulsed by it they wish to never see it again.

I find it incredibly disrespectful and quite bold to demand an artist to not show or even destroy something they have created. I realize that in sharing it I take on that risk.

Is this not what we want as artists? You share it despite if others like it. Inevitably, even the most mundane and boring art will have critics. Someone tearing it apart just to show how pointless it is. But, in that act of hatred for a simple piece of art the artist still made someone feel something. Despite what emotion they feel it is so significant. How powerful of an idea it is that such great emotion can arise by simply viewing a piece of artwork.

I honestly never thought anyone would find my art offensive. When I share it I never think oh, I’m really going to piss people off with this one. I realize it’s all in the eyes of the beholder. Things look different from opposing perspectives.

Not everyone will see things the way I do. A few years ago, back to college days actually..so quite a few years ago, this thought became almost an ephifany to me. I was having a conversation with family about a piece of artwork I had finished. She loved the piece and told me that when she views something I have created she is just in awe. She said “I can tell that you view the world differently and see things in a way that I never could. Your perspective is beautiful and I’m glad that you share it”. It made me feel as though I truly do have a gift.

This conversation caused me to look back even futher into a discussion I had with a teacher in grade school. The teacher was confused and a bit taken back by my interpretation and rendering of a project in art class. She pulled me aside and said that my art didn’t match hers or anyone else in the class. It didn’t look the way she thought it should and asked me to do it again. In a the way she intended the project to be completed. I hadn’t done this out of rebellion. I never thought I was doing it wrong. I just saw things differently. I did things my own way even back in grade school without knowing. Of all the people, an art teacher should not look down on such an act but, cherish and nurture it. something I wish she would have done. It would have progressed my love of art much sooner. Anyway, enough rambling about grade school….

I now view my world and the way I interpret it as a gift. A gift I proudly share. A gift I love about myself. There is no greater joy than when people love my art. I love being able to make others so happy they are overcome with emotion and tears well up in their eyes. I also love when I evoke a different emotion. I find it interesting and it makes me see my art with new eyes. It creates a conversation about what causes this opposing emotion to come forth. I find nothing wrong with people hating my artwork. I also do not find this as a reason to destroy or feel bad about it. I’ve never been one to back down, especially when it comes to my art.

Art is my religion. My saving grace. It created drive and purpose in my life. It protects and loves me in a way that nothing else can. It’s in my bones and within my heart. It saved me. It pours out my finger tips and from a place within I can’t explain. It heals and is part of my soul. I will never apologize for what I have created and I will not shy away from any negativity that comes from it. Bring on the critics. Help me better understand different perspectives. I love learning more about others and their way of thinking. Plus, I strongly believe getting more people conversing about art is definitely a good thing! 😉