Integration

Life throws you curves and the only constant is change. I know I’m not alone here, all of us are suffering in one way or another. 2020 has been a year like I’ve never seen… unprecedented in many ways. All these changes and all the upheavals have been hard on the collective consciousness and on my personal consciousness as well.

And so, I find myself in the studio painting. I paint to reconnect myself to the Universe and to sometimes keep myself from floating away. Maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but painting is like an anchor or a tether, it grounds my energy when it feels like I’m spinning out. Like I a took a turn too fast and lost control of the car for a bit; gravity has loosened its hold and things have gotten squirrelly.

Before the fires exploded in the West, I took out an old canvas from my storage rack, it was only partially completed with a desert landscape. I decided once and for all to make something of this painting I never finished because I didn’t like where it was heading. A lone hiker heading off into the desert, brilliant poppies in the foreground that were mere sketches, nothing fully fleshed out. Cactus poked up against a spring haze, purple rocks littered the trail. I never really liked it, so I figured I couldn’t ruin it if I plopped a big Hamsa prayer of protection right on top of the whole thing and played around with my Posca Pens.

I took something old from my past that bothered me and jumped right in, making it something new. Something vibrant, something with energy and life. First though, I had to make it about where I was now (I don’t live in the desert!). The best of my art is biographical, that’s where I open up my heart. So the cacti were hidden behind tall firs and oaks. The Hamsa hand covered up the hiker; I used oil paint with a fast dry medium to fill in the colors. I waited through the days of smoke and ash for it to dry and while I could have worked on it sooner, it was 14 days before I could get back into the the studio to work. And work through that feeling of skidding out of control.

It hurts my heart to see how polarized our country has become, small issues become conflated just as the spark of wayward fires have burned through thousands and thousands of dry forest and woodland. Just when I get used to one more shock of 2020, another one comes to the surface. The death of Ruth Bader Ginsberg took my breath away. She was such a hero to millions of women… it’s hard to remain centered amid yet another far reaching loss.

But eventually the smoke had cleared and rain washed away the ash and we were all able to breath again. I took my canvas and laid it flat, Posca pens made swoops and swirls, dots and spirals and connected the old with the new. This is the image of integration. Where we have been and where we are now, the all seeing eye of God, of the Universe, of love and peace. The Hamsa watches over us in a prayer of protection and healing.

The energy of reality is more than the form we see, it’s the unseen, swirling like a psychedelic dream, showing us that there is more to life than meets the eye. There are unseen forces at work, vibrating at a level few attain.

It’s my fervent prayer that all will be well, that the dream of democracy will not be burned out in a fire of polarized ideals and flagrant insanity that seeks to undermine the truth by spinning deceit and crying out in victimization. What you reap, you shall sow… our karmic debts are at hand and we seem to be paying a very heavy price. The physical world has laws… such as Newtons third law of motion: for each action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. We can’t really escape that kind of lawful karma. To those unbelievers, I am reminded of what a spiritual teacher once said: your belief is not a requirement of the truth.

We are all connected by energy. By the air we breathe and the water we drink. By our very small home upon planet Earth… there is no where else we can go. To become integrated is to understand this on a deeply personal level.

We are all in this together.

There Is No Spoon

Deer Buddha

Recently, I participated in an online retreat with hospice chaplain, Amita Llamo.  Her book, DANDELIONS BLOOMING IN THE CRACKS OF SIDEWALKS, Stories from the Bedside of the Dying reveal the power of simple human kindness and the wisdom of beingness, even as we are faced with our own death.  Especially as we are facing death. While I enjoyed her book and wished I had read it (or something akin) prior to my father’s death 2 years ago, it was Amita’s 5-year meditative retreat that had me signing up for her Zoom retreat.  Amita shared with us her wisdom from this extended time spent in prayer, meditation and introspection.

Over 2 and 1/2 days, Amita introduced us to the concept of 4 worlds that exist simultaneously on Earth.  The first world, where we all live, is the world of form.  Everything measurable and quantifiable lives here.  You can describe it, taste it, weigh it, name it, see it… you get the picture.  The 1st world is every THING.  The 2nd world, is the world of relationships, how we connect to others, other things, the environment, ideas… it’s the world of concepts.  Many of us live here in our heads (maybe even more than our senses) and navigate back and forth between world 1 and world 2 and never go beyond the two worlds of things and concepts.

But as we get to world 3 and 4, we find worlds that are not generally “lived in” but merely touched in moments I will explain later.  Here we are limited by language and words to describe something that is not describable.  So, bear with me as I attempt to use first world words onto 2nd world concepts to illustrate 3rd and 4th world phenomena.

The 3rd world is the world of energy as it exists between form.  As an artist, I would call this negative space… everything that is not a thing.  I hadn’t considered that this negative space was an energy but it makes sense to me.  This energy can be found with a simple exercise: close your eyes and bring your hands together, but not touching, as if in prayer (palms together). Focus on the space between your hands, holding them apart about 5 or 6 inches.  Now, slowly, push them together and feel the space between your hands as they get closer and closer.  Do the same in reverse, pull them apart and see if you can feel the energy elongating from the compressed feeling when they were close together.  If your mind is quiet and you can focus on this exercise, you can feel the energy, almost like pulling etheric taffy.  Try it and see!  This is the energy of the 3rd world.

The 4th world is the collective whole of consciousness and divinity.  Amita described it as a cycle, and used the cycle of water to help us understand.  Water comes down as rain or is transformed into snow, which melt and flows into streams and rivers, eventually making its way to the ocean where it evaporates, transforming again into vapor which then makes clouds and the process begins again.  This cycle is inherent in all things and all non-things.

We reach world 3 and 4 in moments of Grace.  It can come upon you in deep meditation, or after sacred ceremony.  Some find it using psychotropic drugs or plant medicine, yogic breathwork or shamanic practices.  Grace can be found along the bedside of the dying or the birth of a child.  It can be found in the heartbeat of a horrible car accident where time stands still and suddenly you know more than can possible be imagined just seconds before.  Perhaps you have felt a glimmer of grace in a dream like state and it follows you into your waking world as you open your eyes onto the new day. Grace takes many forms but you know it when you feel it.

I have felt many moments of Grace and have glimpsed the 3rd and 4th worlds enough times to know these states exist and are as real as the laptop before me.  My chosen path is the path of meditation, which is why Deer Buddha, is the title painting for this blog post.  Both Deer Buddha and Sacred Cow (from the last post) came to me in a moment of Grace. I truly adore meditation as a path to Grace as it’s far sweeter and easier than sitting at the bedside of the dying or tripping out on acid.  Meditation is a gentle path to these worlds of energy.  I think, perhaps, that as an artist, I tap into these energy worlds and allow ideas and imagery to come through and then, in manifesting this creative energy, I bring these visions forth into the 1st and 2nd worlds.

As I align myself with these energetic worlds, there are more and more synchronicities and moments of divine Grace.  In lifting the veil, I raise my own energy.  As many other spiritual teachers have said, a rising tide lifts all boats.  In lifting my vibrational energy through the manifestation of creative spirit, I raise the energy of the collective.  As do all artists and creative souls; art is a spiritual practice!

In the 1999 movie, The Matrix, the hero, Neo, is on a journey to truth.  At one point, he meets a young spiritual acolyte who is bending spoons with his mind. Spoon Boy says to Neo,

“Do not try and bend the spoon, that’s impossible.  Instead, only try to realize the truth… there is no spoon.  Then you’ll see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.”

The first time I heard this, I sighed in awe at the profundity of that simple message.  Change your mind and change your reality. But in the movie, Neo is not in the physical world, he is actually in a simulation.  For him, in that world, there is no spoon.  But when he leaves the world of the mind, he returns to a place where spoons do in fact, exist. We are faced with an existential dilemma, is there or isn’t there a spoon? Well, yes, in the many worlds idea of Llamo there is and there isn’t a spoon.

Many on a spiritual path are heavily invested in the physical world and miss the depth of existence by not being able to experience nor even imagine a state of Grace.  Some seek to live in worlds beyond the physical and strive away from where they are now.  They live in the future or ruminate over the past, disregarding the present.  They long for something new, different, better, pleasurable and move away from discomfort.  Buddha says that longing and desire is often the cause of much suffering as we fail to accept and allow and surrender to the reality, we live in.  Even longing for enlightenment is a desire that can cause suffering.

But if we look towards embracing all the 4 worlds, not just the manifestation of the physical world, nor only the etheric world, we begin to see the fullness of all the layers of reality.  We learn to recognize truth and see things more clearly.  All worlds are interconnected, and we are here to experience the many worlds in their own way; though we live in the physical, we are in the world, not of the world.  Sometimes we may even lift up the veil and see, there is a spoon AND there is no spoon. Both are true.

Dancing Green Woman
(She lives in another world)

Serial Muralist

So now I am a muralist.  A serial muralist. LOL! I just finished a commissioned mural for a dog trainer/pet sitting business. Diana had recently installed a large shed for her new alpacas and wanted the back of the shed to  beautify her property.  Her home-owner’s association (HOA) wouldn’t allow a sign at the end of her driveway, so she opted to have a mural of dogs as a way to indicate to her clients they’d come to the right place.  The shed is 30 feet long, but it is hundreds of feet from the road, so the perspective makes the mural about “sign sized” as seen from the road.

Drawing in progress. Cut-outs of silhouette dogs made the next step easier.

Diana found me through Eugene Urban Canvas, a clearinghouse for muralists in the Eugene, Oregon area. I got listed with EUC because I like painting murals, and frankly, I’ve done a few in my time.

Spray paint around the image cut-outs leave an outline “glow”.

I now have an under-drawing structure.

I started thinking about how many I’d done as I worked on this project and realized there are a fair amount of them stretching all the way back to my high school days when I painted an Arizona desert sunset on my bedroom wall.  Later, in my 20’s, I’d painted a VW Beetle on the garage door of my mechanic as trade for some work on my own vintage bug.  The mural showed the car on a road heading into the coast range mountains, yet another colorful sunset image. Quite a few of my murals have been of sunsets, people seem to really like the color palette of yellow and orange against a gloaming blue sky.

Among some of my murals I’ve painted a fairy princess posed with a crescent moon, a moon over the New York skyline, the city lights of Seattle, ponies peeking out over stall doors, giant horses running across the roof of a barn (at 100 feet long, it can be seen from planes as they land at the Eugene airport), a Star Wars themed sunset, historic images and once, the world series winning Oregon State baseball team. As requested by my client, the baseball mural featured images from the big event and so, sadly, it was painted over when the team won the world series again the following year. Good for them, but it made the mural completely superfluous! It was painted over and something more timeless and generic replaced my work; who knew they would win again so fast? Probably my shortest-lived mural, it was up for less than a year.

You can see this driving north on Hwy 99, just past the Eugene Airport (Oregon) on the west side of the highway.

The entrance to Goss Stadium at OSU… for about a year.

But that’s the nature of murals, they are generally considered public art, so they have to do their job as décor and if that job is linked to a business or a place in time, well, things change and so too then must the mural adapt or perish. I’ve come to accept the transitory nature of murals and have found the ones that last the longest, fit the best into their space and time. I once painted a Tuscan landscape in a client’s craft room, when they sold the house years later, did the mural survive the sale?  When the teen-aged girl who loves horses, grows up and moves out, will her mother still keep the pony visiting over the stall door?  I know my mother did not keep the desert sunset in my teen-aged bedroom; she redecorated and turned it into her sewing room, the sunset replaced with a clothes rack.

I encourage clients to have me paint their mural on canvas or large sign boards, that way if ever a move occurs in the future, the mural can be brought along, or even sold and transferred to a new owner. The Seattle mural benefited from this as the nightclub I painted it for, went out of business and the mural was relocated to another city.

Nine feet long is not easy to transport, but it survived the business!

It’s how I managed to get the fairy princess back, where she now graces my car-park wall. But, it’s also how the same fairy princess was stolen right off the Alpine Market wall and disappeared for a few weeks. She was MIA until the thieves realized they would never be able to display it without advertising their crime and so, late one night, returned her to the back alley behind the store.

Oh where did you go, fairy princess?

Murals have stories to tell, and my newest one is no exception.  While painting it, my client received calls from her Home Owners Association demanding she quit as the mural was unacceptable to them.  Diana had notified the HOA months before that a mural was coming (after they complained about her long white shed) but no questions were asked and nothing more was said about it until the day I outlined the image.  Unfortunately for the HOA, murals are not against the rules, so we continued on, despite further phone calls and a hastily penned letter.  Once again, a mural of mine has generated controversy; not everyone is a lover of the arts.  But when it comes to beautifying your property, it seems some have overstepped the boundaries of good neighbors.  I’m glad I’m not taking it personally that someone called my work “graffiti” before I was even done with it; truly, it says more about them than me.

Blocking in color.

The chief enemy of creativity is ‘good’ sense. Pablo Picasso

Clouds are coming along, grass area blocked in.

As for me, I love changes, change is all about new energy and growth. Change is the essence of creativity, and that sometimes takes courage. This time however, the changes that may be forthcoming could possibly be a renewed and updated HOA or if it doesn’t serve the people as it was intended, then perhaps its dissolution altogether?  It depends on what the neighbors say and how things progress from here on out. Diana is not backing down; she loves her new mural!  If you’d like to support Diana regarding the mural, comment below and I will forward your messages on to her.

Just about there!

There is power and energy in art, and sometimes, the bigger the art, the bigger the reaction.

Finished mural, All Wags and Smiles!

Art is standing with one hand extended into the universe and one hand extended into the world, and letting ourselves be a conduit for passing energy.  –Albert Einstein

The Wilderness of Women

This winter I’ve been collecting images from the wilderness; photos taken by women.  I’ve made some wonderful connections with women hikers (good old Facebook!) and this has fueled my desire to get back to the back country.  I don’t have much to say about it other than I noticed a trend in these paintings.  That is, I seem to be recreating these images with intense, vibrant colors.  Far exceeding the photos sent to me, the hues are saturated, brilliant, strong and deep.  I suppose I am expressing my own personal intensity when it comes to these remote places even though I have not been to these specific locations.  Yet.

Anyway, it all came together without the fuss and drama I had experienced with Spectacle Lake.  I have no idea why!  Maybe I was just in a better “head space” when I got into it… seems like life is on track right now and my own personal dramas have been smoothed out.  So without much fanfare, musings or stray thoughts, here it is, Mile 2330 on the PCT.  It’s the fourth in the series, based on the photo from “thru hiker” Jocelyn (Patches) Songer.  Thank you my fellow Yankee!

Mile2330onThePCT

Mile 2330 on the PCT Oil on canvas 12 x 16

 

Phew! Glad that’s over!

Hurrah and Phew!!   Today I reached my NaNoWriMo goal of 50,000 words in a month. And I am, apparently a winner!  Just like everyone else who made it to 50K words.  My story is not finished, I was bulking up what I thought was the end but wound up adding yet another problem to be solved.  But now that I can actually edit the thing instead of madly writing, looks like it will either be a new cool addition to the novel or axed and I’ll finish the actual story in less than 50K words.

I may post it here in serial form if I get some requests… anyone interested in reading a first attempt sci-fi novel?  The hubby said he liked it, but hey, he is the hubby.  Though I do trust his honesty…. well, you’ll have to judge for yourself.

In addition to my mad writing skills, I took a mandala workshop too.  So, in honor of that, here are the exercises in order as we worked through them:

Day 1, seeing circles and learning about the mystery of the circle!  Medium: twist crayons

20141130_185506 This was a cool exercise in going round and round… I inadvertently made an eye in the middle!  My text above says, once seen, it could not be un-seen.  There I am, on the inside looking out.

Day 1, continued.  The magic of circles… interesting geometrical facts… like how the radius applied to the circumference creates 6 segments that make other interesting shapes when you connect the lines. Medium: Sharpie Markers and colored pencil.

20141130_185453

 

Day 2, we moved on to lotus shaped mandalas.  Fun!!  Wish you could see the copper colored ink.  Medium: Sharpies and copper ink.

20141118_230439

 

 

Day 3 was a self exploration using collage. Never my favorite medium, but the point was to cover up our affirmations that were written below the images.  No thinking allowed…. a good exercise for me!  Sometimes I need to shut it down or shut it up.  My brain, that is.   Medium:  pencil, magazines and matte medium.

20141130_185704

 

 

Day 4, just finished.  A Hamsa…. not exactly a mandala, but a wonderful pattern of protection.  Also a fun exercise.  Medium:  Prismacolors, water color pencils, Sharpies.

20141130_184951

 

Day 5…. well, I think I ‘ll save that for the next post.  Always leave ’em wanting more, said the hubby.  Not that he said it first, but still, a very good idea. 🙂

Upside down?

When I paint, especially non-objective art, I am seeking a balance of design.  Simply put, the shapes and colors can’t be too heavy or light or bunched up in one corner… as if they had substance and would tilt the painting just by looking at it.  Even if a painting is asymmetrical in composition, it still needs to be balanced.  The shapes, colors, shadows and lightness of the composition should lead your eye through the work and not off it’s edge and out of the frame.  Roads should lead in to the point of interest, arms should tip your eyes back into the frame, curves should lead you back, not out.

Often times I take my work and rotate it on the wall or easel and step back for a wider perspective.  I turn them upside down and on their sides to see if it all works.  Then I adjust accordingly.  It should balance out no matter which way you hang it.  Paintings with subject matter need a top and bottom, sure, but they ought to be balanced in shape and color.

Does my latest fractal painting work regardless of orientation?  I test it out, but still, my mind finds a top and bottom… somehow it just resonates with me to be hung a certain way.  Here are two images… which way do you prefer?

Upside down?

Upside down?

Or right side up?

Or right side up?

Finally, I decide.  Somehow, I just go “aaahhh” when it’s oriented this way. True North!  So for me, this is it:

 

Somehow, I just go "aaahhh" when it's oriented this way.  True North!

Now that’s more like it!

Fine Art America!!

Finally!  A page on FAA.

http://fineartamerica.com/featured/the-muse-sky-evans.html?newartwork=true

The muse painting.  Oil on Canvas 2.5'x3'

The muse painting.
Oil on Canvas
2.5’x3′

I just downloaded one image but it was a client request… so that’s something.  Just wanted to share.  I’ll be posting more about this later after I get the whole gallery downloaded.  Hopefully this pans out. If you want to buy art and support an artist, Fine Art America is the place to do it.  Well, I know there are other places…  I keep thinking of things like Kickstarter too and wondering what kind of amazing project I could do… hmmm.   What is a muralist to do???  By all means, weigh in.  I’m willing to do community projects with fundraising venues.  Actually now that I think about it, I have done my share already.  But they usually involved teaching.  Time for something large, noteworthy and very, very interesting.  It’s been awhile since I crawled up on a roof and painted something seen from the local airport!

One should probably not bring children up there.  That would be just fine.

horseroof

The Doldrums

Well well well, it’s been about 3 weeks and still no work to post.  Every week rolls by and I think, I’ll get there!  I’ll finally get a painting finished and then I can post it!  Ok, today! Oh wait, I have to do this…, so, not today.   Ok, tomorrow!  Ok, well, not tomorrow either.  Something has got in the way every…  single…  day.  It’s disheartening and has really taken the wind out of my sails.  The really shitty thing is, that I actually have a painting on my easel.  But it’s a few hours from being done.  And I don’t want to post it until it’s finished.

This isn’t like my wings projects… those were lengthy and time consuming and absorbing.  They were interesting and a new process and there just seemed to be loads to actually talk about.

Fun in the sun.

Fun in the sun.

This painting is small.  And unobtrusive.  And somewhat mundane.  But that is exactly what I like about it.  Even though I am currently wasting time in my dining room, typing my uninspired thoughts instead of finishing the damn thing.  So, I like it, and I can’t get up the gumption to finish it.

Like a sailor on the sea, I am stuck in the doldrums waiting for a fresh breeze.

To be fair, I have been off doing the other things I do… keeping busy with summertime social obligations and activities.  I am coming to see the ebb and flow of the creative process that seems (for me) to be very weather dependent.  Rainy days are good for getting inside work done.  I am not a plein air painter.  If you read my last post, you know why I need to be outside.  So, needless to say, the horses have been getting a good work out and so has my social skills.  Seems like everyone wants to throw a potluck or a barbeque or a wine tasting party.  Which is what summer is all about.

But I sure am jonesing for the rain to come back so I can hole up in the studio with a good book on CD, a sleepy dog, a blank canvas and a fresh palette.

Must I finish this little experimental painting?  Sigh, I must.  Here’s why:  It speaks to me.  It’s all about the mundane.  It’s about elevating the mundane into art.  You see, a few weeks ago I was doing a chore I find tedious.  The laundry.  I know, some folks love it.  I find it boring and dull and insipid and all sorts of bland little adjectives.  But I was doing it because I have to.  Just like most everyone in the world.  Unlike many, I am lucky to have my own washing machine and a nice one at that.  Unlike some, I am unlucky in that I don’t have someone to do it for me.  Dang it.

Anyway, long rambling aside, I was standing there staring at the washer when it occurred to me that the machine itself was actually a lovely bit of design work and I really should be more appreciative of it’s lines and what it can do for me.  So I took a picture of it with my phone, went to the studio and using the digital image I sketched out some rough lines and got to work.  A total departure from my usual pattern, but I was on a roll.  Here’s where I left off:

NOT finished... why is this taking so long???

NOT finished… why is this taking so long???

I thought about it quite a bit while I was off doing other things in between whining to myself about NOT working on it and drinking another glass of wine.   But then there was tonight.  It rained  a little bit… I sat down to waste some time drafting my post.  No intention of actually posting since I didn’t have a finished piece.  Went out to take a picture of the unfinished project and you know what happened?  I picked up the brushes and got busy.  SO, after much ado… and lots of silly ramblings… here it is:  The Washer.  A Thing of Beauty.

The color cycle.

The color cycle.

Seattle @ Night

SEATTLE@NIGHT

Several years back I was approached by a local nightclub owner for a mural.  While I  love painting murals, they have a habit of eventually being painted over; which may be great for the new owner of whatever wall has now been transformed, but not so much for me.  I don’t know if I will ever get used to the notion that my artwork may be scrubbed out by a fresh coat of paint.  I realize public art (of which most murals are) can be transitory, but rarely do I get any input as to how long or by what decision that temporary status is given.  I may have released the need to interpret my art to others, but I have yet to let go of it’s destruction/transformation at the hands of others.  I’m working on that.

All this prefaces my suggestion to the owner that the mural become instead a large canvas that could be moved when and if the nightclub ever undergoes renovation.  We agreed, I created a sketch for approval, the commission was negotiated and I went to work.

seattleSketch

Seattle sketch

At the time, I was a professional color consultant for a Benjamin Moore retail outlet as well as working as a painting contractor.  BM had a new product line that I found pretty impressive and decided to paint the mural using these new, very dense and very opaque  latex house paints.  Their new line of paints was called Aura and they were being showcased nationwide in the BM trade publication Profiles as well as a variety of marketing outlets.  Seizing the chance for self promotion, I contacted the company magazine and told them what I was doing with their paint.   Which led to this featured article:

My first national magazine article!

My first national magazine.

This project was the biggest thing I’ve ever had in my studio.  The studio itself isn’t that large, so a huge canvas was a challenge.  I pushed all the tables and work surfaces out of the way to make room.  When working large, you need space to be able to step back and see your work but I was hampered by the size of my studio.  I still have a desire to enlarge the space, but that will have to wait.

9 feet long... barely fits!

9 feet long… barely fits!

The other challenge was working with house paint.  I used to be such an artistic snob.  In college I had even learned how to grind my own paint, so quality ingredients was embedded in my idea of who I was an artist.  But I was a few years out of school at the time, and well past my art teaching days.  I’d learned to “make do” and freed my mind from snobbery to the possibilities of alternate mediums.

While Benjamin Moore isn’t paying me for this endorsement (though in the past they actually have)  I’ve gotta say that Aura is excellent paint.  Very high quality, gorgeous color and great coverage.  I mixed my own to create my palette, and used extra pigments not generally available to the public.  You can ask your paint store to sell you tinting agents, they are designed to be used with house paint, so while you can mix your own colors, don’t use them in other brands or types of paint.  Warning: tints are super strong.  Think of them like bouillon cubes… a little goes a long way.

Anyway, the challenge of the paint was how fast it dried.  Aura products are designed to dry fast so painters can get in and get the job done.  I’m predominantly an oil painter so anything that dries in less than a week is hard for me.  This stuff was dry in minutes so I had to work fast.  When you work fast, brush strokes become very fluid… there’s no time to coax your colors into being.  No sweet talk here.  Wham bam…. well, you know the rest.

The result was energetic and electrifying.  And one of the best things I’ve ever done.

Seattle@Night

Seattle@Night

PS:  Thank goodness I had the foresight to paint on canvas.  The nightclub shut down a year later and the painting was moved to a martial arts/art gallery in Eugene.  Weird combination of venues, but it actually worked in that space!