Thursday, February 14, 2013

February Love...Valentine's Day

I don't want to use the word "love" lightly, because I truly really love mostly people in my life, but since I am a passionate person, I guess I do "love" many things.  This month all my posts have been about people or things I love.  Since it's Valentine's Day, of course, I'm going to share a few more things I LOVE and that really give me joy.

 My sweet daughter and my funny husband...This is our past Christmas card (well one version).  We take a picture every year and I thought we needed to spice it up a bit and be a little funny.  Shane is actually wearing my mom's Christmas sweater--no he doesn't typically wear lady's clothes.  Most recipients loved it except one couple who seemed very offended...oh well...this is us most of the time, so we thought it is more fitting than just sitting there smiling nicely for the camera.

Oh, yes, I guess, that cute little lapdog Mazie I love too...most of the time!  She is high-maintenance to tell you the truth, but she has brought lots of joy to all our lives.

Aside from these two loves of my life, I have the sweetest little niece that I'm completely enamoured with---which brings me to another love--BABIES.  I am drawn to their big, smiling eyes, their chubby cheeks, chunky legs and their pure joy.  I am still sad that I could only have one baby of my own, but my little niece gets lots of love and attention by me.  How could she not?  Look at her!

In addition to these lovable people in my life, I'd like to share one more thing that brings me great joy...

PAINTING of course.  Here are a few of my favorites that I guess I do "love" either because of the intent behind them or just the feeling I get from how they turned out.

© Jill's Dream Artwork (this one is still for sale in my shop too!)

© Jill's Dream Artwork

Above, I really loved the process of making it because of the colors, the inspiring and motivational quote AND the leaves and flowers are actual pieces from a journal page I created, so there's a lot of "me" in it.  It is truly one of my favorites--it sold at a boutique I have things in and I wish I could've met the person who bought it because I like to meet the people who buy my creations.

I'm also taking an online painting class called True Free Spirit given by the wonderful Mindy Lacefield.  It's pretty much out of the zone of what I typically paint and I'm loving this class--it's whimsical, funky and teaching me to be free and child-like!  Here's a sample of a few things I've created or am still in the process of creating in this fun class.  No they aren't perfect...but I'm really having fun learning new techniques, using new supplies and expanding my horizons.

I hope you have tons of people, events, hobbies and "things" in your life that bring you joy and love.  Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

February LOVE...Art Books

All my life I've been a reader...I started with the sweet Disney books that had a little record player reading the book to me and "dinging" every time I had to read the page.  My mom still has my big box of all those stories...I love looking at them.  I then worked my way up to bigger books that had no "ding" to signal the turn of the page.  Three of my favorites as a grade-schooler were The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, A Wrinkle in Time and Charlotte's Web.  As I got older I read every one of my mom's Danielle Steele books and yes, even her Jackie Collins--she could NOT have known how inappropriate the Collins' books were.  Yikes.

A few years ago I found another kind to add to my love of "regular" books...ART Books!  They're beautiful, interesting, and inspirational.  I have quite a collection growing and I love re-reading them, looking at their amazing pictures and seeing the parts I've highlighted to encourage me over and over.
Some of my favorites are...

  • Daring Adventures in Paint by Mati Rose McDonough...she seems to be drawn to vibrant colors, just like me!  

  • The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron...this is probably one of the original books that really made me realize that I NEED to create.  I have reread this book so many times.  It truly is motivating and really affirms how important honoring my creative self is.  

  • Art Saves by Jenny Doh...I was instantly intrigued by the title because I truly believe that I have been saved (emotionally and physically) when I starting committing myself to living a more creative life and taking risks by putting myself out in the world artistically like applying to juried art shows, opening an online shop and submitting my work to be licensed with some companies.  The book is great because it features many different artists and what they do to share their art with the world and how it healed them or how they help to heal others through their creations.

Now I know I said I have quite a collection growing, and I do, but I'm just going to share these three with you today.  I'm wondering, what is your favorite art book?  Maybe I already have it, and if not maybe I "need" to add it to my inspirational collection.  Thanks for visiting today.  I'm looking forward to hearing about some of your favorites.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

February Love...Giraffes

Not sure what it is about them, but giraffes are my favorite animal and I hope to travel to Africa someday to be close to them in person.  There is a resort called Giraffe Manor where the giraffes roam the property and according to the website, they even poke their heads in the building to say hello.

above photos:  Giraffe Manor website

I'll be honest, I do worry that it will be hard to accomplish financially, but I truly think it will be an amazing experience connecting with these beautiful and peaceful creatures.  Maybe this needs to be a "formal" goal in which I make a serious plan to get there by a certain date instead of assuming it won't happen!

© Jill's Dream Artwork
I've also used giraffes as a few of my painting subjects and one is actually licensed with the company Oopsy Daisy Art for Kids which is a huge honor.  Her name is "Bright Eyes" and the original is hanging in the bedroom of a sweet girl named Haley who also adores giraffes.

Lastly I have to share this goofy-looking little baby giraffe that puts a smile on my face anytime I see her.
photo source:
Isn't she sweet?  What would you name her if you could?

Sunday, February 3, 2013

February Love...Water

My intention to share things I love this month will help me stay grateful and positive through the rest of cold and dark February (I hope).  Today I'm sharing my love of the water, the sound, the feel of swimming in it.  I am drawn to it, especially that crystal clear water of the Caribbean Sea in Jamaica.  Which is actually very funny because growing up I was deathly afraid of drowning.  I still can only hold my breath for a few seconds without panicking.

Somehow as I got older and visited Mexico and Jamaica I became magnetized by it.  When we booked our trips I told the travel agent "it has to have that really clear water."  I know there are other people out there who feel that same pull of the water, a lake, an ocean, maybe even just a soothing soak in the tub.  My fountain in the backyard relaxes me and brings sweet birdies in to take a sip or a quick bath.
A warm summer afternoon captured last year on Instagram with my babbling fountain.

One of my original paintings with water, for a sweet girl; I love to include water in my paintings because it is so soothing and dreamy to me.

Lunch during Spring Break last year in Lake Havasu, Arizona.  Sitting by the water with the breeze blowing, enjoying a cocktail was heaven.  Life is just more carefree by the water.

Enjoying the feel of the water on my feet on Okauchee Lake while sitting on a friend's pier.

Our family trip to Mexico with my in-laws about five years ago...I love this shot of Shane and Bella enjoying the shore.

One of my favorite shots I took while on a glass-bottom boat ride in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.

The amazing, amazing view from our balcony in Jamaica--wow.  Seriously wow.

One more peek between some trees on the shore of the Caribbean Sea.  Can you guess why I am so entranced by the water?

I'll admit one of my deepest dreams is to live on the water someday.  I tell my husband I want to retire in a little cottage by the sea in Jamaica with a hammock swinging between two palm trees.  It's got to happen someday, right?  It has to.

I hope these pictures brought some peace, beauty and calm to you as it did for me reliving their memories.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

February Love...Flowers

This month's blogging theme for me is "love."  I know it's cliche, but it fits and I always need a pick-me-up in February, the time of year that sort of drags for me--less sun, cold, you know, yucky Wisconsin weather.  Hopefully some of the things I love will cheer you up just by reading about them or seeing photos of them too!

Today, something I don't see much of this time of year are fresh flowers.  I love growing them, cutting them for vases and photographing them.  When I found Instagram and got my iphone last year I was in heaven!

Here are a few, well quite a few, of the flowers I took pics of last spring and summer.  I hope they bring some color and sunshine to your day!

Sweet tulip, one of my favorite flowers.

 Cheerful yellow dahlias.

I love how these pink dahlias turned out with the sun at their backs.  

Another pink dahlia--I love this close up of the back--typically wouldn't think to take a picture of the back of a flower, but I love this shot so much.

I hope you enjoyed seeing a burst of color and cheer with these sweet flowers.  

Friday, February 1, 2013

February...Month of Love

Because I'm not a fan of winter, especially the stretch after Christmas until spring, I decided to cheer myself up (and maybe even you) I'd focus on things I love for the month of February.  So my plan is to share my "loves" for any blogposts I write this month.  If exceptions arise, of course, I'm flexible!

When I think of what I love the most, I'll admit it's my daughter Isabella.  She truly has changed me as a person and I love the joy and laughter she brings to my life.

I chose this picture because it's the most recent one of us together--on my recent birthday and I edited  it through and was able to put a sweet heart overlay on top of us.  

Even though she's only 11, she truly is already compassionate and such a cheerleader for me and my artwork.  When I'm upset or worried about something, she will come and put her hand on my back and tell me it's okay.  I hope this continues when she's officially a teen girl!  

What about you have that one special person you love so much, whether friend or family member?  The one that makes your heart swell?

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