I'm so thrilled and honored to be published in Somerset Studio Magazine! A mixed-media artist's dream come true, right? My article is called: "Endless Beauty & the Wonderment of Nature Through Watercolor". I'm fairly certain that is the longest title ever submitted to the publishers at Stampington & Company!
Enjoy a preview below. It will be in newsstands July/August 2014. You can also view the table of contents and pre-order here.
p.s. I hope everyone had a wonderful Father's Day weekend. Stephen found a heart-shaped rock at the beach and gave it to us (heartmelt). I love you Jim....you are my rock, my best friend, and a wonderful dad.
“It’s not joy that makes us grateful, it’s gratitude that makes us joyful.”
~ Brene Brown
I am feeling so grateful these days. Grateful to be alive. Grateful for my family & friends. Grateful for the freedom I have to express myself and to enjoy this day--a national holiday--because of brave souls.
Joy truly is the simplest form of gratitude. I get to see beauty all around. And I don't want to forget how fortunate I am.
Right now, I am art journaling while enjoying the rest of my morning coffee. I could hear my son and husband playing downstairs. I am grateful for the sounds of laughter, of water, of the gentle breeze moving the leaves. I am thankful. So very thankful...
Have a safe and wonderful and joyful Memorial Day!
So here's a project that I've been meaning to post for the longest time. A lazy susan art supply caddy! Everything (minus the art supplies) came from IKEA and if you google "ikea lazy susan DIY caddy", it'll pull up numerous variations to this craft storage theme.
My most awesomest husband assembled the caddy for me last year, right when Stephen turned two. Look at how small Stevie looks, eager to help his daddy!
Jim carefully measured and drilled a tiny hole to screw-in the tallest/largest metal pail. This would permanently stay centered on the lazy susan.
The rest of the outer pails (6 total) are removable due to magnetic disks that were glued onto the wood. Jim used E-6000 craft adhesive. The final price to assemble everything was around $20.
Stephen and I had a blast, filling up the caddy with new art supplies. The fact that it spins (easy entertainment for a toddler/preschooler!) yet everything stays organized, makes it a winner. Plus, the metal pails are light enough for little hands to remove and put things back.
As I'm making a pot of coffee, this is the art journaling scene right now.
Celebrating Mother's Day was a challenge growing up because I lost my mom when I was 10 years old. As I grew older, I didn't want my life's story to focus only on the loss. I wanted my experience to be about hope and healing. Things began to slowly shift into a creative calling. I cultivated and affirmed what I wanted most in life. I found art. I found love. And I became a mother myself. Through my life's journey, I've learned that the true meaning of Mother's Day is to celebrate that nurturing spirit that lives in all of us.
This motherly, nurturing spirit is ever present when I start a new painting. I'm very kind to myself when I make art. Negative energy or self-criticism isn't allowed at my craft table. Any creative endeavor needs gentle encouragement, much like a good mom would cheer us on. The other force or accountability factor that exists in my life is that I share my studio space with Stephen, our two-year-old son. He paints and crafts along with me. You can't miss him. He's the little humanoid jumping up and down, ecstatic over color and texture, much like his mom.
Stephen conducts his art right below a window, on a converted oak bench that serves as his workstation. It's the perfect height for him. With the seat cushions removed, the raised wooden platform holds a 14" x 17" watercolor sketchbook and prevents things from moving around too much. A variety of tantalizing art supplies are always accessible for Stephen: watercolor, markers, oil pastels, stamps, stencils, beads, and modeling clay. Kids create by expressing the potential of any art material at their disposal. This is such a good reminder for us mixed-media artists.
Among our favorite art supplies are DIY watercolor paint daubers. I order empty bingo dauber bottles and fill them with concentrated liquid watercolor (both available online). Not only are they refillable, but also the colors are more vibrant than any scholastic pan watercolor and they're easy for little hands to hold. Plus, they're fun! As an art journaler, I sometimes use them to colorize a blank journal page. For Stephen, he can either make bold, expressive strokes or pounce the daubers into happy dots (aka splats). With my craft table close by, I switch between painting with Stephen and painting alongside him, working on my own projects. Sometimes, Stephen gets to paint at my craft table. I just have to make sure his happy-kicking feet don't knock his stool to the ground!
Creativity is a journey of self-expression, healing, wonder, beauty, experimentation, and play. It has redefined what motherhood means to me. This nurturing and loving spirit is how I always want to parent, how I always want to treat myself, and how I always want to approach the art-making process. Everyday, my son and I celebrate life through art. If motherhood is about nurturing, caring, and fostering what is wholesome and precious, then we are all creative. We are all artists.
"Hope is a gift only we can give each other." ~ Elie Wiesel
This was a demo painting I started a while ago. I almost always begin with a richly colored background and loose shapes. I don't focus on any details yet. I do anticipate many changes and adjustments to come....changes that will teach me something along the way.
If a painting is going really well, I try not to stop or stay safe because then, I'm not growing or stretching myself. If a painting is going badly, I know there will be a breakthrough around the corner if I keep at it. Art can't be made out of over-attachment or the fear of losing something too precious. The painting practice is about letting go, again and again.
"Hope is faith, holding out its hand in the dark." ~ George Isles
On a very sad note: our pet, Thistle, passed away two days ago. I've been meditating on the poem below all week. I can still feel her tugging on my shirt, wanting to be picked up. Yes, I feel you little girl. And I will always love you...
"Do not stand at my grave and weep. I am not there. I do not sleep. I am a thousand winds that blow. I am the diamond glints on snow. I am the sunlight on ripened grain. I am the gentle autumn rain. When you awaken in the morning's hush, I am the swift uplifting rush Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night. Do not stand at my grave and cry; I am not there. I did not die." ~ Mary E. Frye
"All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother."
~ Abraham Lincoln
Below is the painting process and metamorphosis from start to finish. I truly didn't know where I was going with this piece but enjoyed building each collage layer with Japanese paper, paint pens, watercolor, oil pastels and acrylic. Then Chris Cozen suggested to me on facebook that I turn the painting upside down; she said she saw an angel. And then magically, I did as well!
As Michaelangelo would say, he saw the angel in the marble and carved until he could set it free.