Winter Blehs, Work and Coffee (& FREE Pro-Practice Tip #2!)

Is anyone else feeling the creeping dread of winter yet, or is that just me? I have to admit, going to the easel every day is a bit difficult when the air outside hurts my face. Don’t get me wrong- I love living in a state that gets to experience all four seasons, but winter is my absolute least favorite (after the holidays). Do the seasons influence your work and ability to make? Let me know!

Thankfully, I work in a beautiful environment that’s full of color and warmth!  

A gorgeous view from the lobby- that couch! 

A gorgeous view from the lobby- that couch! 

Where do I work, you ask? Hold up, I gotchu- when I’m not painting, I’m the Youth, Arts and Events Coordinator at the Brockway Center for Arts and Technology, located in the bustling metropolis of Brockway, Pennsylvania. We’re a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to transforming lives through the Arts and job training. If you’ve heard of the Manchester Craftsman’s Guild in Pittsburgh, then you know exactly what we do. 😉 If you haven’t, check us out at!  

One of the great things about my job is working with kids- we offer a no-cost after school program for students in grades 9-12, where they can come into a safe environment and transform their lives through creating art. Whether it be ceramics, jewelry and metals, or (shh- coming soon!) 2D art, the students have the ability to express themselves outside of their high school art room. If you’re lucky enough to love your job, are you even really “working”? (There’s always coffee if you need a little push in the right direction, too!)

Speaking of coffee, how about this week’s PRO TIP!? This week, let’s talk about motivation and routine- without these two steps, getting to work can sometimes seem tough! I’ll be honest- sometimes this tip is hard for me! Between working, life and volunteering at the local art gallery, mama’s tired. But you know what? I still do it, because I know the consequences of not  doing it. I’m a firm believer in the idea that you can only fail if you quit- so don’t quit! 

A great way to get motivated enough to form a routine is to get organized. I can’t recommend this enough- get yourself a nice planner and physically schedule  a slot to get into the studio. If this isn’t enough motivation alone, also make sure to write down your goals . What do you want to accomplish in 2018? Write it down!  These tips may seem simple when you read them, but you’d be surprised at how much can fall by the wayside when you neglect to make a physical record of what you want to achieve. You can also use apps like Google Calendar to schedule studio time, so that way your phone (that I guarantee is in your hand when you aren’t working- I’m even writing this post from mine!) can remind you to get your booty to the easel (or the wheel, writing desk, etc...). The hardest part of getting into a routine is simply starting- but I believe in you. Comment and let me know what you do to get moving in your art practice! I’d love to see how y’all work, and would love to feature some of your tips right here! 

Love, coffee and WARMTH! PA is too dang cold- 




2018: New Horizons & Falling on Your Face


2018... Oh, there you are. (Insert the weak, breathy "Phwhew" of a kazoo)

chasing the ghost, 2016

chasing the ghost, 2016

It certainly has been awhile! I have to be honest, this artist did not do the best job of keeping up with herself or her career in 2017, for myriad reasons that took my time and energy for a little while. I think it imperative to the success of an artist to recognize the onset of failure and  when it stares them in the face. Now... Did I fail in 2017? No. Though I didn't create as much new work as I may have wanted, I succeeded in something equally important, that we all could use a little more of, even when we think we don't: I discovered self love, and how important it is to take time for yourself when you need it the most. While I did participate in a few exhibitions, had my work published in Studio Visit Magazine and finished a few commission pieces, the vast majority of my 2017 was spent on me. I traveled to beaches, suffered loss on a few occasions, spent time with friends and family, found new hope and happiness, and changed. A lot. 

That personal growth is what allowed me to write this post- to share with you all my metaphorical slip on the ice (I had to- it's COLD in Pennsylvania right now.). What that slip really did was motivate me to continue on creating, loving, reading, and living life (and damnit, falling in love with it, too!). I'm so, so excited to share this journey with you, and let you in on the little secrets I learn along the way. Keep creating, everyone, and remember: Sometimes it's okay to take a time out, as long as it's what's right for YOU.

UPCOMING SHOWS & EVENTS (and a little update)

Give up the Ghost, 2016

Give up the Ghost, 2016

First things, first- hello! It's been an awfully long time since my last blog post, I've missed you! You might remember that I was previously using blogger (blogspot for those of us who've been using the internet for a hot minute) to keep y'all updated on what's going on in this crazy whirlwind of an artist life- as much as I enjoyed blogging that way, I felt as though it was less accessible to have my blog and website in two different places. Ya feel? Good. I'm happy to announce that I'll be posting regularly right on the homepage of my website, so stay tuned for more! 

So, what's been going on? Goodness. This has been one BUSY year for me so far! If you don't follow me on Instagram (you totally should- @c.l.a.i.r.a), you might have missed out on what's been happenin'. But not to worry, Claira's got you covered: My position as the Youth, Arts and Events Coordinator at BCAT has provided tons of opportunities in the 6 short months I've worked there, including serving as a panelist for the PA Council on the Arts' yearly Entry Grant Panel! In addition to that, you'll be seeing me in a few places this year:

+ Currently, my work is on display at the juried exhibition at the Three Rivers Arts Festival in Pittsburgh, PA! This show will only be available for a few more days, so check it out!
+ Look out for the next issue of Studio Visit Magazine, as I'll be featured in there with my babe Chasing the Ghost from my MFA thesis show (can you believe it's been a year since grad school already? YEESH.)
+ My work was featured on the April edition of Red Flag Poetry's mailers- so exciting to work with a great organization and friend from all the way back in high school. Always keep your friends close! #protip
+ The painting above, Give up the Ghost, will be traveling to Warren, PA this fall to the Crary Gallery for A Legacy in Observation, a show exhibiting the works of Edinboro University alumni within the painting department. 

In addition to all of that, I've recently moved, traveled to Portland, OR for this year's NCECA conference (SO COOL- painting totally needs something like that), and have participated in various other events and thangs all motivating me in my professional journey. I'm learning to love arts administration- who knew? Anyway, look for my blog to not only include updates about what I'm up to, but what I'm looking at and inspired by as well as my life in general. I really think that there's something to be said about an artist that allows a glimpse into who they are outside of the studio- that vulnerability can really make us feel more connected, don't you think? Let me know in the comments how you connect to other artists and how that influences you! 

Talk soon, artist babes!