Class at Children's

Myself and some studio assistants had the privilege to host an art party for the children at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta this weekend. Children’s Healthcare is a free children’s hospital in the Atlanta area. They are AMAZING. Specifically, we were at Scottish Rite, a bit of history of Scottish Rite:

“Inspired by the work of Michael Hoke, M.D., Mrs. William C. “Bertie” Wardlaw led the two-year effort to open a free hospital for children in the early part of the 20th century. With the help of Mr. Forrest Adair and the Scottish Rite Masons, Scottish Rite Convalescent Home for Crippled Children opened Sept. 15, 1915. Previously, Dr. Hoke had been providing free orthopaedic care for children at the Wesley Memorial Hospital on Auburn Avenue and Courtland Street. However, only two beds were available for patients, and space was limited.”

“Further expansion occurred in 1983 with the addition of 96 beds and a clinical outpatient building. On Sept. 15, 1989, the hospital was renamed again to the Wilbur and Hilda Glenn Hospital for Children in honor of the couple who originally donated the land in north Atlanta, while the holding company became the Scottish Rite Children’s Medical Center. The 1990s brought more additions to Scottish Rite, including the Callaway Acute Care Center in 1991 and the Scottish Rite Medical Center Asthma Education Center in 1994. In 1998, Scottish Rite and Henrietta Egleston Memorial Hospital merged to form Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Facilities at Scottish Rite were further expanded in 2004.”

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We got some Pocket Fuzzes (worry pets) adopted and helped the kiddos forget their worries for a little while by decorating an Altoid tin home for their new pet.

It was a good time.

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this Fuzz had abstract art on his walls

this Fuzz had abstract art on his walls

one kiddo informed me those erasers were lamps - so fancy!

one kiddo informed me those erasers were lamps - so fancy!

Children are so resilient and inspiring. It was a real blessing to hang out with such tough cookies! Also, I need a couple of them to come decorate my house… they were pros at home decor! <3 Hoping to work with this incredible organization again in the future.

Art & Politics

I have been playing with clay lately. Which usually, is one medium I steer clear of all together because I usually get frustrated with it, fast. Everyone thinks I am joking when I say that since I teach painting and they say that requires patience. Maybe then, there are two kinds of patience?

With the Mad Hatter Festival coming up in June I thought I would try to incorporate some clay, somehow. (OK, I had seen a lot of cool clay piece on Pinterest… you caught me! Ha.) Although, I wasn’t sure of a subject matter. I didn’t want it to be too crazy, in-depth a project, since I do not use clay often. I had seen an article on Bored Panda early that same day that caught my interest.

That article, which was about an artist depicting what social media platforms would look like it they were creatures, had me start to look at social media. A scary thought, I know. Most, if not all, social media has been taken over by politics. It’s draining. I try to remember a time now when social media or any media, wasn’t SO obsessed with politics. That time did exist, right? Or was I just oblivious to everything before? Either way, I decided to use social media as my subject matter, specifically: politics. But, in a fun way.

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Politics can turn people into monsters but that doesn’t mean they have to be ugly.

At least, that’s what I was going to with these little guys.

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“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

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Worry Pets, Pocket Pals & Travel Wees, Oh MY!

Doing research for an upcoming workshop at a children’s hospital I came across an idea I had seen a few times: Travel Wees. I am now, kind of obsessed.

Travel Wee from Etsy

Travel Wee from Etsy


Travel Wees: A cute bundle of fluff that comes in an Altoids tin that you can take traveling with you.

(It seems more likely, it’s a kids toy, but you’re only as old as you feel, right?) I’d seen the Wees having gotten into gnome gardens and miniatures, shadow boxes, etc. last year. I love these little guys came with a fun story, decorated home and could fit in your pocket.

I even found a Travel Wee Facebook page - combining treasuring hunting and these little creatures. How fun!


I then started seeing variations of the same idea in the form of “Pocket Pals” “Softies” “Fitz” even a few traveling Gnomes.

My favorite was the critters that I have found were the breed tailored for helping with mental health. Going by an assortment of different names, these little guys all focused on helping a child with anxiety, fear or sadness. The soft little companion would act as a stress relief to be squeezed, talked to or cuddled. Some in the forms of pillows, dolls or just tiny blobs. All with the same goal: to take away negative feelings.

What a great idea! Teaching kids early:

  1. that worries come and go

  2. to talk to someone about worries or anxieties

  3. to step away and leave your worries for a while

Worry Eater - Monster Eats Your Worries

Worry Eater - Monster Eats Your Worries

I even saw a few adults could get away with having.

Pretend this little guy is a paper weight at the office?

All of this reminding me of the Worry Dolls my mother gave me when I was a kid, as I dealt with anxiety. I hid the little guys in my desk at school.

Legend has it:

Worry dolls (also called trouble dolls; in Spanish, Muñeca quitapena) are small, hand-made dolls that originate from Guatemala. According to legend, Guatemalan children tell their worries to the Worry Dolls, placing them under their pillow when they go to bed at night. By morning the dolls have gifted them with the wisdom and knowledge to eliminate their worries.

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Interesting how the idea came from Guatemala and I myself later went to Guatemala. :)


I cannot wait to pitch the idea of these little critters to the children’s hospital!

The activity will be to help the kids to decorate homes for their new pet.

The homes of course being Altoids boxes.

Quit Your Art

proof

proof

You read the name of this correctly. Quit your art. This time last week, that's exactly where I was at. 

It all started, well - honestly, when I moved to Atlanta in January.

 

 

I knew starting out that art for a job would be difficult. I basically tried talking myself out of it every way possible. I mean, I was just helping people raise money. I didn't want the responsibility of a business. I am not good at business. I just like helping people and making art. Mostly, I was just afraid to fail. I didn't want to be a loser. I had felt like that a lot in my life, why put myself in that position on purpose? 

cue Grandpa's speech from Little MIss Sunshine playing in my mind - ps if you haven't, watch this movie! ASAP. So good.

cue Grandpa's speech from Little MIss Sunshine playing in my mind - ps if you haven't, watch this movie! ASAP. So good.

It took several years to finally get a stride in Columbus, so moving to Atlanta I knew meant starting over. Not only that, but starting over in an area that is already flooded with artist and "sip-n-strokes" instructors. But, you know, I am stubborn. So why not give it a go? But being the new kid, in an already overly saturated market, in a town that has many other artist more talented? Stubborn or not, that really was a tough blow.

I posted flyers, did Facebook ads for classes in the area, free art drops; all the things I had learned and been doing to get class interest in Columbus. Nothing was working. Anytime I reached out to people about classes at venues - if they even answered me back, said they had someone already or just "no." 

That failure and loser feeling was creeping back in. 

I started painting things I thought people would like for classes and posting them to get interest in the area. Once interest started I would sort out the venue situation and have class. Again, same thing I have always done. But nothing. Not only was there nothing but I had started painting things I didn't even like - didn't believe in and for that reason things that weren't good. I was selling out. Selling out was worse than failure to me at this point.

So I made it a point to scale back on my efforts. I even posted a video to that affect. Strangely enough, shortly after that, people seemed to be blowing me up. Less so with classes but with commissions. I'll take it. Faith in myself and what I was doing was again restored. 

For a little while. Then came the t-rex.

This is both literal and metaphorical. The t-rex was in fact a commission but also the huge part in why I was quitting.

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If you follow me on social media, you have seen this fellow. An acrylic and marker, 30X40, canvas piece that I had put about 20 hours into completing. If I am being honest, it was for a friend. For her wedding. It was going to be the guest book.

I was so proud of it. 

It sounds so obvious that I would say that but generally I am not really satisfied with my work. Especially by the end. I just kind of hate it by then. But not this time.

This time I was impressed.

 

 

 

 

 

What was not so impressive was my shipping of this piece. My friend lived an hour away. I finished this piece about two and a half weeks before her wedding. We tried to schedule a time to catch up for her to get the painting but none worked. I opted to mail the piece and got her address. Things got a bit hectic and I delayed on mailing the rex. I am mortified to admit I waited until the week OF the wedding. I asked if she'd rather I just take the painting to the venue, which was very close to my house. I guess I didn't word that well, like much of this ordeal, she said to just mail it.

So, I mailed it that week and then billed.

This isn't how I usually function. I make it a point to get art out the door once it's done or purchased. Not this time. I am not sure why. Understandably, my friend seemed a bit peeved (I couldn't blame her - she had enough on her plate). So, with a sick feeling in my stomach I canceled the invoice, deleted my art facebook, and deleted every photo of my work on my personal facebook for the last year.

L's Art was making me anxious. That's not what I wanted.

L's Art was making me anxious. That's not what I wanted.

I was actually done.

Done stressing about how to promote, how to get sales, about busting it on classes that don't make, about trying to be this "artist." It wasn't fun and it wasn't worth it. Time to stop kidding myself. Focus on the job that pays the bills and stop chasing a fairy tale. I was just, done.

I prayed, like I usually do when this feeling of doubt about my art happens. I prayed one last time for a sign that this was the right thing. Quitting. I had put my heart into this art thing for years now. I felt like it was an actual break-up. It hurt. So I prayed and went to bed depressed. 

 

That next morning I had a text about teaching a class in November, saw my work posted on a business facebook by someone I had done work for in Columbus and a co-worker saw my work and was in awe.

UGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I should have been happy about all of this but I was just more frustrated and confused. It had been so simple! I was quitting. Now I was hopeful again. Now I wanted to try a millionth and one time. 

Artist are such masochist. 

 

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As always, I have no clue the future of this venture. I just know, it looks like, it will continue for a bit longer. Ask me tomorrow how I feel about that. I am still deciding.

 

 

before posting this blog, I stumbled across this. hmmm.

before posting this blog, I stumbled across this. hmmm.

Do you believe in fairies?

Come Fairies, take me out of this dull world, for I would ride with you upon the wind and dance upon the mountains like a flame!
— William Butler Yeats
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I have been dying to create fairy gardens lately. The DYING part was the issue, between my luck with plants and Georgia heat, anything green I get DIES -- so, I got fake flowers :) I am basically obsessed now. 

 

Also, since there weren't too many fairies involved, I guess you could call this "garden ART."

 

With fairies, mermaid and gnomes. Oh, my!

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I do believe some dinosaur gardens are next! 

Egg Art to Help Face My Fears

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Keeping true to L's Art's new slogan: "Paint. Love. Dino" (and with Easter just around the corner) it only felt right to promote classes near my new home, at my first art festival, by painting "dino" eggs! 

I am happy to report, it went pretty well. 

And, thank GOODNESS for that. Not only was this for promotion, but it was also to face a long time fear of mine: 

being a vendor at an art festival.

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It may sound contradictory, I know. Being that to actually make a profit and build relationships with people, you HAVE to do festivals or at the very least in person marketing of some kind. But, being an art lover, I had been to my fair share of art festivals and events; what I saw there, made me cringe. 

Not the art. Obviously. I am constantly inspired and amazed by people's array of perspectives and techniques. Two artist can look at the same subject, see something COMPLETELY different and even portray that subject in a totally different medium i.e. sculpting, mixed media, painting, writing, the list really is endless! Many of these insights, I myself would never have ever thought of. It's just, magical, to me. 

What I see that is cringe-y, painful, in fact; is what goes INTO an art festival. That being: the elaborate set up, the combat with the elements, the vulnerability and defeat. How? Well, you MUST have an amazing set up to catch peoples eye. Then, you have to hope that your art, which you put your heart and soul into, resonates with someone. If that happens, then there is the struggle of convincing them the hours you spent on that piece is worth the price, which they undoubtedly will try to talk you down from. Then there is the concern of the elements: too hot or RAIN; not sure about you, by I'd prefer avoiding heat stroke or drowning over thoroughly looking at art in booths on my weekend. The defeat part? Aside from spending the money these events cost and praying that you make anything or at least broke even... The defeat comes when people come into your booth to inspect your work, then without even making eye contact (despite the smile you have plastered on your face) walk off, as quickly as they came. This only solidifies your fear that you are a hack and will die surrounded by things you created that only served to catch dust. A bit dramatic... yea, but I am an artist, did you expect anything else? 

It goes without saying that I was always PETRIFIED to do an art festival. Even the fun, "food and booze" shows, where most are too drunk to dodge eye contact. I backed out every time. My fear of rejection (or what I saw as rejection) beat out my thought of succeeding EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

So, with all of the above, along with feeling under the weather and having locked my keys in my car that same morning, it was a HUGE accomplishment for me to do this event. Where as I did not sell anything, I did what I love more than that: help people create. 

Maybe I'll get to see those people again soon too, at a class in the future. 

The think that's success.

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Lastly, I had an amazing team there supporting me (some not pictured, but who called and text me that morning too). Who, even with some tough-brotherly-love, I know think my work is great.

Thank you for always having my back and coming out to this traumatic, awesome, thing that I did.

I love ya'll! 

A Year In Review: 2017

Just a few highlights of my 2017. More were mentioned in my newsletter, which you can sign up to receive in the "contact" section of this page. Keep up with L's Art classes and projects here, through Facebook and Instagram (@ lsartgeorgia). 

Also, HAPPY NEW YEAR! #2018 #MakeMoreArt

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Paint Out Week at Zoo Atlanta! This kick started so much inspiration for me. TWO of my three paintings sold! Half went to me and half to the zoo for the wildlife. That felt good. To be helping and been seen as a "real artist." 

 

 

 

 

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Paint for Peace. An event also in Atlanta. There has been a surplus of crazy in the world this year. I felt humbled and encouraged to be a part of this cause. Creating with people who are very different but all have one thing in common: wanting the hate to stop. Powerful stuff! 

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Art and minerals show in Thomaston, Georgia at Flint Rose Studio. I continue to be grateful to Flint Rose Studio. The studio owner, Fawne, is wonderful about including artist in art shows, events and just instances to get together and create.  It was through her I was also able to do a Chalkfest in Thomaston. 

 

 

 

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March's Free Art Friday theme was butterflies. This lead me to the organization: Butterfly Art Project in South Africa. I sent supplies to the children over there to create postcards with the theme: "where does art take you?"

 

 

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Sent some art that had been sitting on my studio floor to Noah's Ark Animal Sanctuary for their fall festival. 

 

 

Helped take the kiddos in Alabama to Rome for Vacation Bible School with another artist friend. Painted the center building. I had home made ice-cream too. Best of both worlds if I do say so myself.

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Held a Card Workshop at the library to help spread a little joy to the seniors in our community around Christmas. We had 70+ cards made by individuals in the community that were given to nursing home residents for the holiday. 

 

 

 

Below are a few of the 20ish classes done this year. I know that may not sound like much... But working full time with 20 classes on the side IS a lot! 

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Milestones:

** 15 Etsy sales
** 20+ classes
** 8 commissions
** 1,000+ Facebook likes
** 12 charity related events

And more of all of these on the way! I'd love it if you'd be a part of the creativity next year. Please come out to an event or book your own. 

"Creativity is contagious. Pass it on." - Albert Einstein

#PaintForPeace

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I don't think we need to talk about the mess that is the world right now... So I won't. We all see it. We already know. Instead, I will focus on the good. On art. On people. Which is exactly what was done Friday, August 18th, 2017.

 

On that night, I participated in "Paint For Peace" a "pro love mural jam" hosted by All City Murals in the infamous Krog Street Tunnel in Atlanta. It's infamous since you can "tag" legally there. TONS of people of all ages came out (see how I said people and not just artist?) to paint hopeful and encouraging messages to promote peace in our country. It wasn't inspirational just because of the words or images but for the sheer fact that so many strangers united for the same cause.

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Make things like this famous instead of the ugly, ya'll.

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Art, freedom and creativity will change society faster than politics. - Victor Pinchuk
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Above: My contribution to the tunnel. (Sorry for the crummy photo quality) It's the only picture I took. It's supposed to be blind lady justice showing love is equal. I am aware that she's supposed to be holding the scales in the other hand... I fact checked AFTER finishing - whoops. My memory is going in my old age, clearly.

Let me know if you see her in the tunnel!

NOLA & Fine Point Black Ink Pens

There's a ton of art on the walls in my home; some gifted to me from friends or students in past classes, others I purchased at art shows or supporting artist friends and even some Free Art Friday pieces. There are a select few of my own works hanging on my wall. All of which have some kind of specific memory.

One piece of mine in particular, I made depicting a woman I met in New Orleans years ago. I was on a college age mission trip and I met her under a bridge, she was dancing in the rain. Others around me found it strange and even disturbing that she was dancing alone. I thought: that doesn't seem too weird to me... It was only when I got closer to her did I see what everyone else meant. She wasn't dancing because she was joyous... or at least not from any kind of internal joy but rather a man made joy that left puncture marks on her arm. When I tried to ask her name, she hid her face with her hands and started speaking in something besides English. I didn't think anything of it, we were in New Orleans, I had heard four different languages just at Wal-Mart. I even tried to use this as another way to try to talk with her: "Is that French?" I asked. She stuck her tongue out at us but not in a childish way but rather like a snake. It kind of rattled me. But the encounter was an experience, so, I had to paint it. The girl in the yellow dress, I met one rainy day in New Orleans, while she danced in the rain with her demons.

....And who may or may not have cast a spell on me......

I painted the above after coming home from my trip. This last month I have been staring at it and loathing it. And then I thought of Mr. Hill.

Mr. Hill was my elementary school art teacher who after EVERY project had us outline our work in a fine point black ink pen. My brother and I joke about it still to this day: "It's not done yet, where's a black pen!?"

But you know what, staring at this painting the last month, it needed a fine point black pen outline. And why not? The new style I have found IS black ink pen. Why wouldn't I take such a signifigant piece to me and re-vamp it in a newly found style that is equally as important to me?

So that's what I did.

I hope "The Lady in the Yellow Dress" conquered her demons in an epic dance that ended with her happy and healthy.

I hope Mr. Hill never stopped telling kids to outline their work in fine point black ink pen.

Thank you to you both.

en plein air: the act of painting outdoors.

I participated in "paint out week" at ZooAtlanta this week, err, weekend. The zoo was kind enough to let me paint on the weekend as not to mess with my office job schedule. What a lovely experience!

Day #1: Naked Mole Rat

"Who you calling ugly?!" I wanted to select animals that people do not typically think of for this project. (But, who could forget mole rats from KIm Possible?!) so for the first day I set up shop with these little fellas. 

Day #2: Turtles

I prepped the canvas a few days prior with Pebeo mixed media paint for a hint of whimsy and to emphasize water. This day was especially wonderful as my family came out to watch me paint. I also had a station set up for kiddos to paint with tempera paints (below). Good stuff.

Day #3: Vulture

My goal in this project was to show beauty in animals that may not otherwise be seen as beautiful, like hairless rats, but truthfully I really like vultures. They are interesting birds. 

Art Sale | June 17 – 18, 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.


Action Resource Center (ARC)
Visiting the Zoo? While you’re here, you should definitely make the Art Gone Wild sale a must-see stop! Head to the ARC and check out the amazing work created. More details here

Art Gone Wild 2017 at Zoo Atlanta

I was accepted to be an artist at Zoo Atlanta's Art gone Wild event this year! Woooo.

"Watch art come to life around the Zoo! Artists will create their art en plein air using the exotic and inspiring animals and botanicals of the Zoo as their muses. Each day during the week, Zoo Atlanta guests will have the opportunity to watch as the artists take their canvases from blank to beautiful."

"Paint Out Week" (the live painting) is June 5th - 9th. Art created during Paint-Out Week will be available for sale June 17 – 18, 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Incunabula

April 2017 was a big month for me! Personally: made some new friends, took a big risk that paid off and Snapchat had a sloth filter - that was a good day. Professionally: sold some art in an art show, did chalk art at a community event, started at a new law firm, was accepted into the Art Gone Wild event at Zoo Atlanta and quite a few private parties.

Apparently, I also became a dinosaur.

#LivingTheDream

Monster Mash

 

 

It's funny how things happen in threes. Gosh, that sounds scary! Usually when I hear that it's associated with something not good, like, an accident or a death. But I assure you, this "threes" is a super neat thing that I just had to share. 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Commission Request: Monsters

A writer I know reached out to me and requested I help them in illustrating a super cute children's story about monsters. Sound strange? Ha. These are good monsters, er, well they aren't scary - necessarily. The story has a great lesson too. I so hope I can work out a good design for them and see where this venture takes us! I don't want to say much more for fear I'll jinx myself. Just please send prayers and/or good vibes my way on this project. 

2. Facebook Ad (Or was it a story?) 

Shortly after, I mean SHORTLY, maybe a day or two after the commission request came to me I saw in my personal Facebook feed a link to Monster Crayons. I am not sure if it's the government tracking my emails (mostly a joke - although I did watch Snowden recently, so...) or simply the fact that an artist or artist site I follow happened to post about these crayons. But I thought it a fun coincidence. Check them out. It's a wonderful endeavor. I am trying to figure up a class in which I can incorporate these crayons now. 

3. The Almost: Monster

Back in my SUPER angsty days (yes, believe it or not I was at one point WORSE than I am now) a friend let me borrow their CD of the band "The Almost" and I recently listened to it again for the first time in years. So, borrow became have, clearly. As I cringed through the album and thanked goodness my musical taste improved I came to the last song on the album: "Monster." Then... boom! I was like "this is why I liked them!"  I think I actually just liked that one song. At any rate, it was shortly after the commission request too. 

If I were a monster, 
Would you wince
When you looked at me?
If I were a freak, would you stare?
If I were a leper, 
Would you say unclean?
If I was lost.
Would you help me get free?

4.  Monster Project

OK, so math isn't my strong suit and I thought it was three things but turns out it was four. Also, I could edit the beginning to make this make more sense and still reflect only three things but that would be inaccurate to the events that occurred. So, #4, I stumbled upon while looking up references for these monsters I was supposed to be sketching for this book commission project. Any monster draft I had done ended up looking too much like Mike Wazowski from Monsters, Inc. Naturally, I then turned to Google. I didn't want to copy just get a fresh perspective or at least see what I couldn't use. I then came across Monster Project. I have since applied to be an artist with them. Who knows if I'll hear back. I hope I do. But what they are doing makes my heart so incredibly happy. Check them out. But in short, here's what they do:

"Kids draw monsters, then artists from all over the world recreate them in their own styles! We hope to help children recognize the power of their own imaginations and to encourage them to pursue their creative potential. "

kid's art

kid's art

artist's recreation

artist's recreation

5. Favorite Art You've Ever Made

I really miscounted. But, while applying to Monster Project, I submitted a piece that I did at the end of last year. A piece that when asked recently, "what's your favorite art that you've made?" immediately came to mind. More coincidences? I submitted a photo of my Perfect Sonnet piece, but a photo before the words were added. Because the same person I told and showed this to said: "that's so depressing." I am sorry I depress you...

Please check out these organizations: Act for Kids with their Monster Crayons and Monster Project - both are using art to help and encourage children. I just can't tell you how important and amazing I think that is. 

Feel free to send good juju my way for this monster commission too. I hope I can do the writer proud. Time will tell. 

I don't recommend hearing the band The Almost though. Sorry guys. 

/rant

Carried Away in Creation

 

I saw this quote on Instagram recently and felt like it summed everything up well.

I have been creating a lot lately. I just thought I'd share. A few of these are over a couple weeks, most are within two days. It's amazing what you can do when you are inspired and have time to create. 

Commission of a sail fish for an old friend. Mixed media paint on the fin for some flair. Not sure I am crazy about the eye yet...

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Wild & Free Mixed Media Wall Art. I bought these skulls a few months back and was using up more mixed media supplies and created this! Originally it was just one (left in the picture of the two) but it was such a hit on social media that I made another. I may even be making more. What?! Within 20 mins of being up on my Facebook someone wanted it and then another person wanted another made.. So, that's cool. 

Free Art Friday pieces.

I kind of went all out for Free Art this month. 

I have wanted to do this one for a while. H.K. got me to thinking about it. I forget exactly how. Mixed media piece with broken picture frame glass, acrylic paint and stamps.  

quote from Ernest Hemingway

Dog portrait commission(s).

still working on this one. not 100% happy with it yet.

still working on this one. not 100% happy with it yet.

This one had been on my floor for months as just an acrylic painting. It was too boring. I made it a mixed media. I like it much more now! 

Gift for a friend who loves coffee as much as me. Pink Elephant! 

These and more at my Etsy . 

What is art?

I posted on my Facebook page this status: "Art is so important, ya'll" - accompanied by an article (here) about the importance of art as a form of therapy. I have referenced that on here before, but it was almost presented in jest. I wanted to be clear just HOW true I believe that to be. 

The above article itself was written by a young artist, on Mental Health Awareness Day, about the importance of art in her venture for a healthy mind and life. In short, she suffered from depression and panic attacks and art was her outlet. 

I do not think it's a coincidence that my two passions in life are art and how can I phrase the other? Pursuit of mental health. (Note my vocal-ness on social media about mental health and my affiliation - even prior event with, To Write Love on Her Arms ). Because I don't know about you, but I have yet to meet a person who hasn't had some struggles. Life is hard! We need to be intentional in pursuing a healthy life: physically and mentally. Sometimes that means help. To me, it most definitely means art. 

I have been diving into my OWN art pieces lately. Which instructing art and trying to work a full time office job is actually pretty difficult. I find that in creating pieces for classes can sometimes be draining. After all, you are creating essentially for other people. Trying to get them involved in a class. Which is vital! Not only for my second job (obviously) but also to do what I truly love in this field which is EXPOSE people to the joy of creating. Because we all have the power to do that. In a crazy world where we have little control over anything, we have control over that. It is the best feeling I know. 

However, I had been so bogged down with trying to get people into class and making pretty home decor paintings... I was not feeling inspired. Until this month. Maybe it's Fall. Maybe it's the crazy of the election. Maybe it's my imagination trying to break free. Maybe it's all three. But being that I have been so creative lately, I started to ask myself: "What is art?" 

To me, art is freedom. From my racing thoughts, my worldly troubles (bills) and expectations (relationships). Art is how I talk when I can't. Art is how I relate to people. Art is so, so, incredibly important. 

Here are a few of those personal pieces I was talking about. 

East of Eden piece; mid process

East of Eden piece; mid process

I do not know if you follow any of my social medias or know me personally, but if so you have probably noticed how much of an impact John Steinbeck's novel East of Eden has recently made on me. One evening recently, I was feeling just the opposite of perfect; I decided instead of letting these feelings take hold of me I would silence them with this mixed media piece. A girl looking at what should be her reflection in a mirror and instead seeing the quote: "Now that you don't have to be perfect you can be good." Amen.

Art journaling

Art journaling

When my head was exploding with thoughts, I decided to get them out on paper. It helped. 

Free Art Friday: Kindness Rocks - because we all need to be kind&nbsp;

Free Art Friday: Kindness Rocks - because we all need to be kind 

OK, so this was for a magazine - it still felt personal! with the theme: "Dark Waters"

OK, so this was for a magazine - it still felt personal! with the theme: "Dark Waters"

playing with glass paint

playing with glass paint

Check out more of the crazy, wonderful, goodness that was Free Art Friday: Kindness Rocks here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1783935835194943/1796905203898006/?notif_t=like&notif_id=1477350090168946

keep the faith &lt;3

keep the faith <3

Remember that loon, H.k., I collabed with recently from Indy Riot Studios in Thomaston, Georgia? Those boys posed that same question and even wanted to do a documentary on the concept. Check out more in the video below. 

"Our goal is to travel to troubled sectors of different cities across America to find the hidden talents, talk with the people in the art community, provide tools to grow the arts in the community, and collaborate on projects. We want to keep this tour as low budget as possible, but nevertheless, we will have to raise money. We are still in the works about how this money will best be raised." 

So, what is art to you

And if you're feeling really brave, please consider sending your response to Indy Riot for their documentary.

"Submitted clips will be used in the "Art is Love Tour" promotional video. Follow us on Facebook.com/indyriot for more information. Email clips to indyriot@gmail.com or just post the video on our Facebook or message us with a link to the video."

Or maybe, it can be as simple as putting it on paper. In words or pictures. Either way. Think about it. Embrace the creative. 

"I Was Once A Tree" : A Collab Weekend

There was a call for local artist in Thomaston, GA, to create for the show theme: "I Was Once A Tree." Being the huge nature lover that I am, I HAD to participate. Seeing as the show was in Thomaston, I reached out to a friend to help create this mixed media piece: H.K. of Indy Riot Studios. You remember those fellas, right?

Here are some picture of the process. Or should I say, the WEEKEND. H.K and I put in over 20+ hours at the studio working on this and on about 2 hours of sleep. I think it goes without saying, the deadline for the show was Sunday. Ha. We live an hour and a half apart, give up a break! :P 

the start of something: four shadow boxes - one for each season

the start of something: four shadow boxes - one for each season

we painted SO MANY leaves

we painted SO MANY leaves

our tree starting to emerge!&nbsp;

our tree starting to emerge! 

progression - paper  mâché &nbsp;for the lower boxes

progression - paper mâché for the lower boxes

adding stain to the boxes and the branches from the yard, put together with tape and coated with modeling paste for bark texture, added for our center tree

adding stain to the boxes and the branches from the yard, put together with tape and coated with modeling paste for bark texture, added for our center tree

so close

so close

Finished!! :D

Finished!! :D

No nature piece is complete without a Walden quote: “Things do not change; we change.” Seemed so appropriate with the seasons. And maybe some of my own trials lately. Funny how that always makes it's way into your work, huh? But mainly because: WALDEN.

close up of the seasons - made in a collage app so sorry, the tree is distorted

close up of the seasons - made in a collage app so sorry, the tree is distorted

Close up of each season (picture above) and re-cap on the elements and work involved (summary below):

Lower left: winter - with paper mâché snow and clay snowman; upper left: spring - with faux leaves, bird and nest with real tree branches.

Upper right: summer - faux leaves, painted branches, card stock/wire/yarn/string kite (who didn't get a kite caught in a tree during the summer?)

Lower right: fall - faux leaves, paper mâché, pumpkin and clear string attached to leaves for "falling" effect.

Look close at trunk! We created it using real branches from trees, tied them together with tape, covered the tape with modeling paste and acrylic paint and painted all the limbs to mimic the trunk.

no, i cannot take a normal picture! i didn't have make up on and was so tired X-P

It was nuts being back at Indy Riot and I am so proud to see how much they have grown! 

By the end of this, H.K. and I treated this beaut as our baby. We are beyond proud of it. We can only hope people who come to the show love it as much as we do. :))

hanging.jpg

He irony is, H.K. and I were like: "We don't have to stain the tops of the boxes because they won't hang the piece, so they'll never know." Dang it! 

Pretty neat having our piece in a show though. It's for sale too. *wink wink* 

 

SIDE NOTE:

For more BEAUTIFUL natural and/or tree themed art, check this out artist Debra Bernier, an example of her work is below and here is her etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ShapingSpirit?source=aw&awc=6220_1475714004_f90cf159ff60c4396095ae66b51b617c&utm_source=affiliate_window&utm_medium=affiliate&utm_campaign=us_location_buyer&utm_content=259915

Bright Eyes: "A Perfect Sonnet"

The last two months of my life have been crazy. Most who know me would say: "is that out of the ordinary?"

Touche.

I feel like I always do things the hardest way possible. But this last few months have kind of rocked my world with my career, love life and where to live all pretty much being up in the air. My little heart and head cannot deal. So, I made some art to try to help my heart and head. 

Whenever things get nuts, I always think of Bright Eyes: A Perfect Sonnet song, specifically these lyrics: "I've killed myself with changes trying to make it better but still ended up becoming something other than what I had planned to be." This pretty much sums up what I have come to realize about life: You have a plan that will likely not happen, but that's ok because it will turn out fine; there are a million different ways to get to where you want to go - you just have to look at it at another angle. 

The little monster is me, as of late. I never intended to become a small, dazed, monster! :P