Our tagline is “Make Art + Find Joy,” and we mean it. We’ve been known to go so far as to say, “Art saves lives.” We mean that, too. Making art of any kind is a way to investigate and express otherwise inexpressible ideas, concepts, thoughts and emotions. Whether you paint a simple still life of objects that bring you joy, or you express pleasant, or even unpleasant, emotions through an abstract painting, you are putting the focus on and making room for more joy in your life. You can take art classes with us to learn basic skills or deepen existing ones, or you can dabble on your own. It’s not essential to become a fine artist to enjoy the mental, emotional and sometimes spiritual benefits of art-making.
But what if you aren’t inclined to pick up a paint brush, pencil or sculpting tool? Owning and living with art–real, original art made by human hands and borne of the human experience–can bring joy and beauty to your life as well. Walk into a space filled with original artwork as opposed to mass-produced posters and big box art objects, and you immediately sense an energetic, if not aesthetic, difference. Art carries with it the energy of the artist, the materials and processes of its formation, and a story. It elevates the experience of that space.
There are so many ways to incorporate art into your space, and they don’t have to be cost prohibitive. Studio Comfort Texas was recently invited to contribute to this article on Redfin, How To Select Unique Art Pieces, which offers a variety of suggestions for selecting art for your home or office. We maintain an inventory of artwork by Texas artists that ranges in price and size from small and affordable to large statement pieces. Small pieces of joy like these by artist, Polly Jones, are available on our website or in our Comfort, Texas gallery.
We love hearing from people how art impacts their lives: how the making of it helped them through a difficult period; how meeting and learning how a particular artist works and then collecting a piece from them moved them in some way; how a piece of art they own inspires them daily. Whatever your story is about art, we invite you to share it with us. We might just make a blog post with your answers!
May you all make art, live with art, express yourself through art, and find joy.
– Cara Hines, Managing Partner
What we do at Studio Comfort Texas is make art, promote and support Texas artists and poets, teach art classes and art workshops, craft fun and inspiring art experiences and excursions, and through this all, we find joy. But at the core of everything we do is gratitude and appreciation.
No matter the time of year, gratitude is a beautiful gesture. Today is Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, and tomorrow our days start getting just a bit longer with each journey around the sun. Our moon is beginning to wane after a spectacular, full Cold Moon, which represents our ability to remain warm even through the coldest and darkest of times. And one of the best ways we’ve found to remain warm and optimistic in the face of dark times is to count our blessings. While there is some debate about this being the darkest of times for our world, the last couple of years in particular have certainly been a challenge for many, and it’s perhaps the first time in history that we’ve experienced it as such a connected, global community.
With that, we propose that gratitude can be practiced as an art every day, all year long. We can express it inwardly in the little moments of our day, running errands, picking up the mail, walking to our cars, sitting at our computers. We can express it outwardly with demonstrations of thanks to those who play roles in our lives that make them better or easier. We can write notes of thanks or practice small (or big!) acts of kindness, whether in return or paying forward. Gratitude can be an act, a thought, a meditation, a prayer, an attitude–and it can be an art form. How will you hone your skills as an artist of gratitude?
Gratitude (n): the quality of being thankful; a readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness
What are we grateful for?
With this holiday season, we give the gift of gratitude and invite you to do the same. May we all be more mindful of who and what we're grateful for and do a better job of acknowledging that to ourselves and to others. We love what we do and have so much to be thankful for. We wish you all whatever it is you most need and want, what will bring you that much closer to your happiest, most fulfilled and fully expressed self. Whether you prefer Merry Christmas, Happy Solstice, Feliz Navidad, Happy Hanukkah or another greeting, we wish Happy Holidays and a healthy, happy, prosperous New Year to you all!
Cara Hines and Jeannette MacDougall
We launched our first virtual exhibit today entitled, "APRIL DRESSED IN ALL ITS TRIM." It's an online exhibition of artwork that explores longing and lyricism, poetry and prose, dormancy and germination, new beginnings and hope. Our guest curator, Paula Owen, was very thoughtful in her selection of the theme––which is inspired by "the lyricism and longing of Shakespeare's Sonnet 98," a nod to April as National Poetry Month––as well as the artists whose work she respects and felt would align well with her curatorial premise. She invited each of them to submit a single work of art that draws its inspiration from Sonnet 98, other poetry, or the poetics of Spring.
The exhibit was set to open on April 2nd, with a reception planned for April 5th. However, as COVID-19 made its international debut in the early months of this year and continued to spread at an alarming rate, we and so many other arts organizations were faced with a difficult decision: cancel or adjust.
For us, the choice was easy. We believe art is good medicine––both the making and the viewing of it––and we’re committed to being a life-positive art resource through this and all times, for our artists, students, the Comfort and Hill Country community, and for each other. No one knows how this story will unfold, but we feel strongly that our purpose in the world is to create and hold space for the joy, beauty, learning, inquiry, imagination, self-awareness, and the power to be present in the moment that making and being with art can bestow. We were unanimous in our decision that the show must go on.
A PERFECT PREMISE
We were also struck by the perfection of Paula's curatorial premise, which she selected long before any of us knew about COVID-19. Yet April Dressed In All Its Trim seems tailor-made for the collective conversation about navigating and transcending the current and future state of the world, as well as the longing many of us feel during our time of separation from friends and loved ones. Some are seeing their dreams stalled by the cancellation of jobs and opportunities. Others are experiencing the loss of home, health, and life. There seem to be many endings and an excess of waiting. Some of us are thriving in this time of unstructured time, breathing more deeply and expanding into this great global pause. Others are overcome by fear and anxiety.
Therein lies the perfection of April Dressed In All Its Trim––artwork about a great unrequited love, an unrestrained longing for what is yet to come and for some, what may never; artwork about nature and our relationship to her, the sprouting and decaying that are required of all life in some form or another; artwork about waiting to become something as yet unknown; artwork by artists who despite not knowing us yet as a gallery, trusted us to incorporate their work into our story of becoming and allowed us to be part of theirs. Had we asked artists to produce work exploring the ethos of transcendence in a global pandemic, it's doubtful we would have received such a broad and well-nuanced story as what is presented in this collection of twenty-one works. There is great beauty and hope underpinning this strange and sometimes ugly part of history, and the lyricism of a natural world that will go on despite our aspirations. Time spent with each of the works in this exhibition reveals a personal story, prayer or pledge to these processes and stages of life, by which we are all connected.
There is a conversation to be had through this work and at this time in history. We invite you to share your thoughts on specific works, artists, the collection as a whole, poetry, or your own story as it relates to the themes of April Dressed In All Its Trim--of longing, hope, or transcendence in the face of the unknown and sometimes unwanted.
– Cara Hines, Managing Partner