Beth Meadows

What does With Bear Hands mean to you?

"Nostalgia", "art business", "being an artist", "community", "fashion", "juicy", "women"BComment

I'm not really asking you this (I'd feel silly doing that), but it is a question I've been asking myself over the past several months, and I'll tell you why.

I'll kill you with my bear hands
acrylic on canvas
To give a little background to those of you who do not know, the name With Bear Hands spawned from a painting I made a few years ago called I'll kill you with my bear hands (above). It's one of my favorite paintings, a good blend of dark humor.

Booth Sign for Dealer at Nostalgia on McCalla
In trying to think of a title for this blog long ago, there was this natural progression of abbreviating that painting's title. So much of what I enjoy doing involves using my hands, my bare hands, to be precise. I decided to use bear instead of bare to add a bizarre element, maybe confusing, hopefully kind of funny. There's really no other explanation than that.

(Well, I also like bears. They're pretty dang cute, and they can also kill you. Sidenote: I saw a black bear for the first time in the Smoky Mountains last year (in the woods and not from my car). We locked eyes, and within a second, he ran the opposite direction. I was in love, mesmerized, happy, scared, exuberant, so glad he ran the other way, bewildered by the fact that he could tear me to pieces, but I scared him more. Amazing...)

Small mason jar paintings on salvaged wood
As time has passed and I gradually refine my business skills, I have wondered whether or not to keep using With Bear Hands as the official name of my business. Is this a good title for all the work I make? Should it only encapsulate part of what I do? All business is, I've come to find out, is a journey of answering a lot of questions.

Commissioned portrait on salvaged window sash

Detail of portrait
I do see a split within my work, specifically drawing a line that separates the work I make that is more accessible to people (i.e. mason jar paintings) and more conceptual fine art (collaborations with Juicy, fabric work, even my narrative paintings).

Available on my etsy shop
But as I keep wandering down this unknown path, there is even more.

Limited Edition prints of original paintings. This is Meet Cute.

In this post, I'm sharing photos of things I have made recently. Several people have asked me to make work for them, which has been really fun as well as educational. It is so rewarding when a person comes to me and says, "I like your work. Will you make me (insert shared idea)?"

I love this aspect of involving people in my studio practice, and so even more, this is what I have realized, not fully, but in part- that With Bear Hands is not only about the mason jars or the fine art I make, it's about all the people involved. Something more: I also want it to be about supporting and promoting other artists' work that I admire, because that seems like an important thing for me to do right now.

Fashion drawing
Paint pen on acetate layered on coffee package
8 x 10"
So I guess a new theme I've picked up is the Art of Sharing. Sharing is caring, y'all, and I hope to do more of it in the future.

While we're on the subject, a great way for me to share with you is to follow me on Facebook. This is my new favorite way to talk about what's going on with With Bear Hands.


Commission piece: Tin ceiling tile shadow box