Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Follow Your Heart

I am a girl who loves photos, color or black and white.  When we had our daughter Isabella I went nuts taking pictures and I love looking back at all the stages she has been through, especially when she was a chubby baby.  To me there's nothing like a really chubby baby to make me smile.  Since I love having photos around the house, I decided to start painting picture frames last year in addition to the canvases I create.  I know there are lots of other people out there who like unique frames to put their loved ones in.  Here is one of my recent picture frames that says, "follow your heart."

I hope that my paintings and picture frames can inspire girls of all ages to be true to their dreams and follow their hearts.  Do what makes them sing, what makes them smile, what lights them up.  This is what I'm finally learning as a grown woman.  I want to encourage my daughter who is now 11 to follow her heart and be true to what matters most to her.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Every Day is the Best Day

I found this quote by Emerson, "Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year" and I thought it would be perfect for my new painting/collage.

I love the message it gives because it reminds me to be grateful for this day and not keep looking to the future for my happiness.  I'll admit that I tend to get stuck in thinking about the next good thing up ahead, the weekend, the vacation, the end of the work day, summer vacation.  But this quote helps me realize that I need to see every day as the best day.  Right here, right now.  I think a lot of happiness and contentedness has passed me by in some of my ordinary moments because I kept wishing them to be different.  I hope this message gives you something to ponder and I hope it helps you love the moment, the day you are in.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Yay Spring!

Spring is my favorite time of year.  The smell in the air, the birds singing outside my window, buds forming on trees and more sunshine!  The promise of tulips and green trees to come.

Well, spring has come really early this year.  We are having summer-like weather in Wisconsin.  Today was actually 80 degrees and it has been in the 70s for over a week now.  We've gone to the dog park almost everyday which we don't usually start until at least May.  Here are Bella and Mazie strolling up ahead of me.

New sandals, shorts and tank tops have already been purchased.  Here's a picture Bella took of her new sandals as we sat in the truck at a local drive-up custard and burger stand where the girls bring your order to the window, which usually doesn't open until May.

This unbelievable, record Wisconsin weather has been so amazing and so welcome by me.  I can't even begin to explain how great these days have been.  I'm a new person with sunshine, birdies chirping, windows open and flip flops.  I really hope it continues!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Painting Swap

One of my creative friends recently asked if I'd like to do a painting swap.  I've done ATC swaps which is a lot of fun, but never a painting swap.  She said she'd love to own one of my originals which made me blush a bit.  In turn she would paint one of her lovely originals for me as well.  Here is where I'm at with the creation for her...almost done, just a few more finishing touches.  We didn't give anything really specific other than colors we like or don't like.  She did say she likes my birdie paintings, so here is the start.  It's not the best picture since I took it with my i-phone, but you get the main idea.

I'm really looking forward to receiving her painting as well because I have no idea what it's going to be and her work is beautiful!  This is a great way to own original art at an "affordable price." Not sure when we'll both be finished but I'll definitely share my gift from her too.

Monday, March 5, 2012

On the Studio Floor Right Now

I've been aching to paint bigger lately since I've been doing so many little canvases since last fall.  I pulled down a 16 x 20 that I wasn't happy with and decided to cover it with big brushstrokes of a magenta shade and was hoping to just see where it would take me.  One of my struggles as an artist is painting freely.  I often think way too much while I'm painting and thinking often gets me stuck wondering what to do next.  I just want to "go with the flow!"  Well as I was letting myself paint big magenta strokes I started make loose shapes and it sort of took on the beginnings of a girl.  Hmmmm...I've always wanted to paint girls but hesitate because of my inexperience painting people.  After I saw the face and neck taking a bit of shape I had the feeling that I wanted her face to be framed with flowers so I got out one of my stencil sheets and put down some light blue flowers.

Then today I added some teal and yellow ones as well.  As you can see, I just haven't taken the leap into drawing her facial features yet.  Something is holding me back.  Not sure if it's fear of doing it "right" or if I just need to see if that's really what wants to be created here.  What do you think?  Any tips for me on the face or should I not even do a face?  I'd love to hear what you think of it so far and where YOU would go next.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Why I Do What I'm Doing

I'm in the thick of taking the e-course Hello Soul, Hello Business sponsored by Kelly Rae Roberts and Beth Nicholls.  The first thing I had to address was the "why" of my business before I could move any further.  Why do I create art?  Why do I sell my art, etc.?  This business course for creative souls is taking an innovative approach by doing business with a "soulful purpose" not just to make money.  I think addressing our "why" is really eye-opening and important and they claim will make a business more sustainable in the long run if you are in it for the "right" reasons.  Makes a lot of sense to me!  I want to share my WHY with you here.  I realize I don't paint just because I like to "make pretty pictures" and I already knew that I am not doing it for the money!  

Through the joy and healing I find in creating art, I want to share beauty and inspiration through my artwork with women and girls with the goal of encouraging, uplifting and inspiring them to follow their hearts and that their dreams are important. Positive images and/or words will encourage them to find strength to start/keep believing in themselves. My art will encourage these women to feel joy and gratitude for the blessings in their life, namely the people/experiences they have. My ultimate hope is that people will feel joy from my artwork and in turn share that joy (through the art pieces) with those they love, i.e. a painting with loving/inspiring words given to their daughters, friends, nieces, etc. or gifted to themselves.

For those of you who are visiting today, do you ever think about why you do what you do?  I know some of you may be taking the same course with me as well.  I wonder if you'd feel comfortable sharing with me?  Also, after reading my "why" above, do you have any comments, questions or concerns?  I'm still trying to get this down and make sure it is clear and succinct enough to take me to the next level. 

Thank you for stopping by today!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Visitors from Tanzania

Hi all!  I haven't been blogging very regularly, but I should because I have SO much spinning in my head lately.  I just want to chat a bit about the lucky experience I had to meet two new people today.

Photo: Two giraffes crossing necks before a mountainous backdrop
(Photo credit:

First of all, at the school I work at the seventh graders are studying Africa in their world geography class and reading literature related to Africa in their reading workshop classes.  Today we were so lucky to have a husband and wife from Tanzania in the library speaking to three of these classes.  Since I work in the library I got the amazing pleasure of talking to Elias and Elly one-on-one before and after each class presentation and then got to listen to their amazing stories they shared with the groups.  I could go on forever about this because it really was powerful meeting them and hearing about their lives there and in Waukesha where they live now.  They are here on a "mission" but I won't go into that too much because that wasn't the focus.

Right when I was introduced to them by Deb (a former teacher at my school), I was touched by how warm-hearted they were.  I felt like they were welcoming me even though they were in "my" library.  The culture they come from is a sharing and strongly-bonded one, so coming to America was a bit hard for them at first.  They noticed that so many people didn't know their neighbors or even look each other in the eye here.  I just knew that if I went to visit them on one of their visits back to their home in Africa I would be treated like a special family member--I could sense that right away.  They also explained how if they say "come on over", they really really mean it.  When they came here many people would say, "let's get together sometime," and they assumed they meant it too, but often Americans just say those things in passing according to their experience.  They really believe in unity and gave me such a great feeling inside to talk with and listen to.

I took pictures of them for our school, but I didn't have the guts to ask to take a personal picture for my blog--just couldn't do it!  I didn't know if they'd understand about a blog and I just didn't want to make them feel uncomfortable.  So, just picture this couple with beaming smiles, she with traditional African dress and he with a handmade African shirt, with lovely accents, wonderful life experiences and beautiful hearts.  When asked by a student what was Elias's best life experience, he took a breath and said (I'll paraphrase here):

"sitting at home with my family (43 brothers and sisters--his father had 5 wives), around a fire outside, sharing food and telling stories under the stars..."

What a great picture I got from that, and how simple, but how huge as well.  I would love to have more of those connections with neighbors and family and really having that quality time together they talk of having back in Africa.

Thanks for visiting today.  I hope you found some warmth and inspiration from it as I did from meeting them.
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