Creating Space for Abundance

Here in the United States, November is almost entirely overtaken by the preparation for and celebration of Thanksgiving, which falls on the fourth Thursday of the month. Thanksgiving at its core is all about celebrating family and experiencing gratitude for having enough food to eat, though of course it has gotten a lot of other things added to it over the years — parades, football games, family squabbles, celebrations of friends, overeating and more. Usually I think of Thanksgiving as a day to recognize the abundance in our lives. And I’d like a lot more of that gratitude and abundance in my daily life.

A few months back, I shared a blog post that included Six Tips on Clearing Clutter, which you can find here. And I stand by all the things in that post, and have lots more to say about decluttering and/or downsizing, which I’ve decided to share with you because hey, who among us doesn’t have clutter that needs dealing with? (If you don’t have any clutter, please tell me how you achieved and maintain that status. Seriously.)

When I was in South Carolina for most of the month of October, I noticed two things about my mom and dad’s house: (1) That the public areas (great room with living space and dining areas) are largely tidy and clutter-free and (2) that clutter hides inside closets and drawers at their house (sorry mom & dad, but I peeked in the closet and drawers in the room I was sleeping in). I decided that when I got home, I wanted to focus on clearing clutter so we’d have a more zen space to live in, and also because decluttering is good feng shui.*

*Feng shui (pronounced fung shway) is the ancient Chinese art (some would say it’s a science) of balancing yin and yang energies within a space, with the aim of achieving “good feng shui” or energy flow to improve health, happiness, and abundance. It’s something I’ve studied and tried to practice in my own life and home for the past 13 years or so. One of the precepts is that you have to create space in your life and home in order to make room for abundance (in all forms) to join you.

As Jayme Barrett says in her book, Feng Shui Your Life, "Instead of focusing on what you are getting rid of, concentrate on moving towards your dream and goals." And the idea of clearing clutter in order to make space for abundance turns up in any book about the universal Law of Attraction as well. If you want to manifest abundance, you need to live an abundant life, which includes appreciating the things you have and not treating them poorly by allowing clutter to overtake everything. For instance, Denise Duffield-Thomas, who is a sort of mentor of mine, is dedicated to helping women find financial success. In her book, Get Rich, Lucky Bitch, she say that step one to manifesting anything is “declutter everything in your life”. (Your house, your car, your wardrobe, your email . . . everything.)

It's really helpful, as I start to slog through the everyday parts of clearing out spaces and assessing items in my house this week, to lift my head up now and then and remember why I'm doing it. The drudgery of working can sometimes obscure the happy goal I'm working toward, if I don't remind myself. Perhaps I need to put on the soundtrack to Disney’s Ever After and sing a “happy working song.” (No vermin need come to my aid. Seriously.)

Jayme Barrett’s book reminds me to keep "only those objects that encourage and inspire you", and to get rid of objects that affect thoughts and emotions in a negative way (things that are about sad subject matter, whether written or visual, or failed projects) and things that sap your energy (her examples include "photos of people who disapprove of you, gifts from a past relationship, and inherited furniture you've kept out of guilt"). 

I also really like and approve of Jayme Barrett’s rationale for getting rid of items you've been keeping "just in case":

Each item you keep "just in case" further roots you in fear and lack. Be confident that you will have everything you need and want to lead to a happy life. An effective way to start a cycle of abundance is by giving away items that no longer serve you. As you give, you receive. Create a vacuum for new and wonderful things to enter your home.


I find that when I keep these ideas in mind - that I am freeing up space for the qi energy to flow, giving to others who need something, and creating room for new and wonderful things, it is much easier and almost refreshing to let things go. (Almost. I mean, it’s still a bit of a struggle.) This of course applies to those things that are actual things, and not trash or recycling.

Getting rid of items in order to create space, whether it’s to improve abundance or get ready for a move, is good feng shui. Isn't that great? And since this blog is as much about art as it is about words, here is a painting I did entitled “Abundance”. It started with just that word painted on the canvas:

 “Abundance” 24”x36” on canvas.

“Abundance” 24”x36” on canvas.

Here’s hoping that this post supports you if you are cleaning/clearing space this month, and that the tips on how to reduce clutter help as well. And here’s to abundance! If you’d like more tips on things from reducing clutter to how to hang art to discounts on my work, I hope you will subscribe to my newsletter.

It's finally starting to feel like fall!

Probably moreso at my home in New Jersey than here in Summerville, South Carolina where I’ve been spending the last couple weeks in order to help transport my dad to his weekly chemo appointments, though even here there’s been a chill in the air for a couple nights, with more cool weather to come next week. I mean, it’s still in the 80s during the day, and I actually made it to the beach for the first time this year.

 Here’s a shot of my feet on Folly Beach last Friday.

Here’s a shot of my feet on Folly Beach last Friday.

One of my favorite poems from college was “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S. Eliot, and towards the end you’ll find these lines:

I grow old ... I grow old ...
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Perhaps a little too apt, right? Here’s some of the rest

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

Here’s hoping that Eliot is wrong and that a mermaid choir shows up after all. Meanwhile, here are four pieces I still have available from my Jersey Shore series. Each of these is approximately 4”x6” in size, and is matted and ready to pop into an 8”x10” frame. They cost $48 each, plus shipping, and 25% of the purchase price goes to Clean Ocean Action, an organization dedicated to keeping the beaches and the waters off of New York and New Jersey clean.

Jersey Shore 2 and 3 are on the top row, Jersey Shore 4 and 7 are on the bottom.

Please let me know if you are interested in one of the above pieces, or in chatting about T.S. Eliot (also author of the poems that became they lyrics to most of the songs in the musical CATS). And if you are interested in signing up for my newsletter (which only goes out once every few weeks), you can do that here.

Fall Cleaning

My husband, Morris, and I spent hours together yesterday and today, cleaning out half of our garage. We have a two car garage that we keep our two cars in, along with TONS of other things stored around the edges. Our efforts resulted in giving away a five-foot tall IKEA wooden wine rack, putting an awful lot of tools and doodads away (so many loose screws, you guys — LOL), and throwing out a rather impressive amount of things. Including a dead squirrel, that apparently crawled under some shelving in our garage to die. (I am so sad for the poor wee thing—but it obviously had passed quite a long while ago.)

Earlier this week, I spent quite a lot of time cleaning half of my studio. Below is a shot of a still-needs-to-be-cleaned table, but I sort of fell in love with it anyhow.

 Feathers, oils, a crystal point, a paint carousel, a music box, some silk sunflowers, . . .

Feathers, oils, a crystal point, a paint carousel, a music box, some silk sunflowers, . . .

I’ve been diffusing some lovely combinations here in the house lately. At this moment, the house smells of Cedarwood, Wintergreen, Orange, and Bergamot, since that’s what I added to the Epsom salts in the bath I ran for my sweetheart after so much hard work today. He literally powered through SO MUCH STUFF. I spent more time in a chair or advising than actually lifting and carrying and such, though I did do a decent amount of sweeping and sorting of hardware. It’s not something I focus on, but in case you are looking for high-quality essential oils, I do sell Young Living oils (in theory — I have my distributor listing, but haven’t signed anyone up or sold any to other people in the past five years). The post being, if you’d like some, hit me up.

On Monday of this week, I started taking a new online art course, which has kept me busy this week. But I’ve also almost finished up this piece, which features an Emily Dickinson poem and will be going in my shop early next week at $100. (Holler now if it’s yours):

 Autumn—overlooked my Knitting—

Autumn—overlooked my Knitting—

Next week is for more art class, and for my IV infusion to treat my rheumatoid arthritis (hence the sitting and not lifting so much portion of fall cleaning), and for travel to South Carolina for most of October, where I hope to be of use as a chauffeur for my dad, who is doing radiation and chemotherapy for esophageal cancer. BUT! I have an event that I just got to list on my calendar for November, so that makes me happy. More in a bit, once it’s confirmed.

If you’d like to sign up for my newsletter, you can do so at my home page. I just sent one out the other day, and the next will go out sometime in October. (Hint: it will have a special sale event for subscribers!)

Falling for Autumn

When I was younger, spring was my favorite season. I loved the newness and everything bursting into bloom, the longer days. But for the last 15-20 years, fall has been my favorite and my best. (That phrase borrows from “Snow is My Favorite and My Best”, the title of a Charlie and Lola book by Lauren Child.) I love the lengthening shadows, that whisper of chill sweeping through on the breeze, the way the leaves change color and eventually fall and swish and drift.

 The setting sun on my studio the other day. I love that golden light.

The setting sun on my studio the other day. I love that golden light.

I spent the equinox yesterday at ArtWorks in Trenton, surrounded by other artists and writers at the closing of the Creative Capital program that I was lucky enough to be selected for earlier this year. It renewed my commitment to thinking and acting strategically in my arts business, and also started me thinking about the direction of my art and what I want to work on in this coming fall season. I don’t have the answer yet, but I’m listening to the whispers of the leaves, and the whispers of my heart, and I’ll keep you posted.

Whatever it is, it’s likely to be explored and begun at least partially in South Carolina, where I’ll be spending most of the month of October. My dad has begun radiation and chemotherapy for esophageal cancer, and once I’ve done my upcoming IV infusion for my own health issues (hello, rheumatoid arthritis!), I will be hitting the road and heading south so that I can help with transportation and anything else that needs helping.

Meanwhile, I’ve got two new collage pieces available just in time for Halloween decorating. The first contains an ancient Cornish litany: “From ghouls and ghosts and long-leggetty beasties and things that go bump in the night, GOOD LORD, deliver us!” The second has far less to say (“BOO!”) Both are 9”x12” mixed media collage pieces on canvas board, and they look spectacular matted and framed. They are going into my online store at $65 plus shipping for the piece alone, but will happily sell them matted and framed at $90 plus shipping!

Also available for fall are a piece with a quote from L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables about the month of October, plus an Octobers greeting card and a Poe-related Raven greeting card entitled “Nevermore”. Hope you’ll check out the shop!

Happy fall to you! Drop a comment to let me know what your favorite season is, and what plans you have for fall.

The most important thing is that you stay safe

I’ve been away on a lovely vacation with my husband, and we got back late on Sunday evening. It was a wonderful trip, starting with a stay in Rome and then a cruise of the western Mediterranean that stopped in Cannes and Corsica, France, Barcelona and Mallorca, Spain, and Sardinia, Italy. And we loved every minute we were away. The photo below is from our visit to Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, still under construction for the next 8 years or so.

 Oh, the light and air inside this space was just magical!

Oh, the light and air inside this space was just magical!

And now we are home, and preparing for the Pitman Craft Show this Saturday (assuming it takes place). But mostly, we are worrying about everyone in the path of Hurricane Florence as the storm heads toward the East Coast. Please take this storm seriously and take care of yourself, if it’s coming anywhere near you. And it seems only right to defer any further discussion of things like my vacation or the craft show, given the coming storm. Because as it says at the top of this post, the most important thing is that you stay safe.

Six Tips on Clearing Clutter

Earlier this year, we put an addition on the back of the house to serve as my studio. It is full of light and air and usually pretty high vibrational energy, though it's not always the tidiest spot in the house. 

Now, when I first started furnishing the room, it literally had my worktable and chair in the center, my teal IKEA cart with some supplies, and my easel in the corner. Everything else was boxes, baskets, and piles of jumble. Over time, my sweet Morris built me a table that I just love (and which isn't being as well-utilized as it could be, but I'll get there), and we brought in another cart and an IKEA shelf unit that had been stashed in the garage when I moved in with my sweetheart a few years ago. 

The shelf unit had it's top shelf removed to work in the garage under the electrical box, and it came in the house just that way. You can see it below on the left, in a photo taken just after I tidied it (and before too much junk got piled on the floor in front of it). But of course, we bought a bunch more canvases, and my card rack (for greeting card display) needed a home, and eventually it was all I could do to reach the shelves, I had to stand so far away from it. 

And that's just not good feng shui, y'all. Also not good housekeeping, probably. And likely unsafe, since it affect the pathway to the sliding door to the outside, the frame of which you can see to the left on both pictures.

Anyway, I spent weeks (probably months) trying to figure out better storage in the room. And one day I was meditating out on the patio, as I am wont to do, when I opened my eyes (literally and figuratively) and it occurred to me that I could add the top shelf back. In fact, I have several extra shelves and their hardware, come to that. So yesterday, I added that top shelf, and lo -- everything that had been on the floor made it up onto the shelves, and my dreaming Buddha found a perch, and the whole studio feels lighter and clearer again, because all that heavy energy that was being pulled to the floor got moving again.

I get that it doesn't  involve rocket science, but I was quite literally stumped and frustrated for quite a while before the extremely simple solution presented itself one day. And I am willing to bet that you have experienced something similar in your own space.

Which raises the question Where is your problem area? Do you have an area that is constantly cluttered? Often clutter exists because the items don't have a home anywhere. 

Here are some tips to help you with your clutter:

  • First, ask whether any of the clutter is actually trash. (This happens with me all the time - an empty envelope I don't need, receipts, etc.) If it IS, then throw it out.
  • Second, ask whether it is something you need to file in some way. If you have an envelope because you wanted to copy down a friend's address, put that address in your address book and get rid of the envelope. If it is a receipt, statement, or bill that you need to file, FILE IT. 
  • Third, ask yourself if it's there because it's broken and needs to be fixed. If so, decide right now if you really want to get it fixed or you want to throw it out. If the former, then fix it or schedule a time to take it somewhere to be repaired. If the latter, throw it out.
  • Fourth, ask yourself if it's there because you mean to donate it or otherwise give it away. If it's a gift for someone, either give it to them or find a place in your house that you want to keep gifts and store it there. If it's a donation (or you are not sure you want to keep it but haven't decided yet), put it in a donation box. You can box up all the "maybes" in one box and stick them in a closet and if you don't feel compelled to rescue them within two or three months, donate what is left in that box. 
  • Fifth, ask if the item has a place it's "supposed to" live. If it does, put it there. If it doesn't, think about where you would like it to be. Can you find a shelf or drawer that it belongs on? A box, bin, or basket to contain it with its friends? Sometimes it's just that easy. Sometimes . . . it isn't. In that case, it may take some thinking or planning, or the purchase of a storage container. But hey -- if you've gotten this far, then hopefully you don't have too many un-homed items left.

One last bit of advice

 A throwback photo from when I first moved in with Morris.

A throwback photo from when I first moved in with Morris.

Above you see the note I wrote for myself (and posted in plain sight) when I was decluttering and downsizing and moving in with my sweetheart (who is now my husband of nearly 21 months). I had one sign at my old house, and one sign here, and I still have a copy of this posted in our walk-in closet where I can see it every day. It helped for me to have guidelines or criteria with which to make decisions. A hairbrush has purpose; a piece of jewelry might bring pleasure or beauty. Some things hit the trifecta, like a beautiful flower vase. But these guidelines really helped me with the sort of clutter where I had to decide whether to keep it or get rid of it (by donation, gift, recycling, or trash). 

And invariably, getting rid of some clutter will allow energy to flow a bit better in your space, and leave room for positive things to show up.

I  hope this helps at least one reader out there. I'd love to hear what space or clutter you're working on! Oh--and if you are at all interested in getting updates in your own inbox now and then, please sign up for my email list!

Weekend Fun

This weekend (August 18-19) is the Collingswood Crafts & Fine Art Festival, and I am super delighted (can you be super delighted? I think so!) to have been selected to be one of this year's participants. It's my first juried show, and I. Am. Stoked.

 You'll find me in Booth #6, down near Powell Street (and the Devil's Creek Brewery)!

You'll find me in Booth #6, down near Powell Street (and the Devil's Creek Brewery)!

I will be taking along a bunch of work at different price points, including some new pieces: Martha's Garden (30x40), Janet's Light (16x20), A Rose by Any Other (24x30) and Muriel's Garden (24" square). All four of the pieces are super high vibe florals:

I will also be bringing some of my more spiritual work, including a set of seven chakra lotuses mounted on a wooden plank, four 12"-square Buddhas, some framed goddess pieces, plus a large Buddha head and large Winged Goddess. Plus, of course, art tambourines and original collage  pieces and greeting cards and even some bookmarks that are original art on heavy watercolor paper. Below are the five Buddha pieces I'll be bringing - the first four are 12" square ($150 each), and the last one is 24" square ($900).

I sure hope the weather holds - it looks to be super nice and not too too hot - and that lots of folks roll out for the event! If you are in the area, please stop by!

Coming soon: COLLINGSWOOD

I am so excited to have been selected as one of the participants in the Collingswood Crafts and Fine Art Festival on Saturday, August 18th, and Sunday, August 19th.

2018Postcard copy.jpg

At this precise moment, it still feels a bit surreal, since life in July threw a lot of curve balls, from the death of my wonderful Aunt Janet to my dad being hospitalized for an emergency gastric bleed and finding out he has esophageal cancer. We still don't have a prognosis (though we will get one tomorrow), and I'm still not home. But knowing that this particular light is out there, whether it's at the end of this tunnel or it's more like the Chesapeake Bay Tunnel, which alternates tunnel and surface a few times, is making things a bit more bearable. 

I'm planning on bringing along art tambourines, large canvases, smaller pieces, greeting cards, and bookmarks made from original art. 

Seven ways to clear and raise your own energy

In mid-June, just ahead of solstice, I shared a post with 5 ways to clear the energy in your home. Happy energy inside your home (or your workspace) is definitely a good thing, and helps to support positive energy for you and anyone else who lives, works, or visit there. But there are times when we all get bogged down. Maybe we are tired and hangry; maybe we've had one thing after another go wrong, or nothing is going our way; maybe we've been hanging out with people who drag us down.

I mean, all of that happens. And sometimes more than one of those things happens at once. It's easy when that occurs to lose a bit of our shine, and even to allow ourselves to wallow. After all, what can we do to change it?

Well, I'm glad I asked. Because I have some thoughts on this one. 

 Love, Breath, Air

Love, Breath, Air

First, do what you can to release any negative energy that may have attached to you (or been pushed on you) by other people or the general state of the world. Then, do what you can to raise your vibration (your own personal energy vibration) and get yourself into a better frame of mind. Here are some specific actions you can take to clear, raise, and protect your own energy levels

Salt baths: 

You could choose to literally wash away and neutralize negative energy by taking a salt bath: add two cups of Epsom salts to a warm-to-hot bath and soak for 20-30 minutes. Sea salt also works, and some folks swear by a combination of Epsom and sea salts; others add one quarter cup of baking soda to help neutralize chemicals present in the water (such as chlorine), though I'm not 100% clear on the science here. I typically add 8-10 drops of therapeutic-grade essential oils to my tub as well. Oils smell good, and they can have their own health benefits. Lavender is calming and relaxing; peppermint is invigorating and good if you have sinus issues or a headache. 

Epsom salts have all sorts of health benefits, since they are composed of magnesium sulfate: the magnesium is absorbed through the skin, and can help with migraines, digestive issues, and more. One trick is to keep your feet in the water during the bath to allow all that warmth and salt to wash around the reflexology points all over your feet. Another is to slide down and get the back of your neck into the water for a while as well, to allow the warm water to work its magic on any tension you carry there. And finally, pull the plug (or, more likely these days, flip the drain switch) while you are still in the tub and imagine any and all negativity washing away from you and down the drain. 

Happy tunes:

We all have different ones that we like, so I'm not giving you an exact playlist. But play the music that makes you smile, or makes you want to shake your groove thing. Bonus points to you if you actually shake it, since that will get the qi circulating in your body and circulating is better than stuck any day.

Go outside.

Yes. Outside is an amazing place. During the daytime there is sunshine (or the cleansing power of rain or snow), and at nighttime there are stars and the moon. Maybe you can't see them, but you can feel that they are up there. You can get some fresh air. Feel the breeze or wind (if there is any). And even in a city, you can find places where you can hear the birds as they call to one another. You can share some tree energy if you'd like (from admiring them to sitting in their cool shade to literally hugging them). But just being out in Nature is a proven energy booster. 

Exercise:

Good news! You can pair this one with being outside AND listening to happy music, for an energy-boosting trifecta! Turns out that getting a move-on, whether it's walking or running, Pilates, yoga or weight-lifting, hiking, biking, swimming, surfing, skiing, or tai chi, is not just good for your physical health; it's also good for your mental health and your energy levels. Yes, I get that you may be tired afterward and feel you have less energy than before you started, but the energy levels we're talking about are more like mood and state of mind. Those are likely to be elevated after exercise.

Meditate:

I mean, I'm sure you figured this would be on the list, right? And that's because meditation works. If you can't get around to exercising (and hey, I get that -- sometimes I am physically unable to do too much due to two chronic autoimmune conditions that cause pain and fatigue), meditation can be just as effective at helping your brain (there are studies on this) and can reduce pain, boost mood, and more. And there are some forms of exercise that marry meditation with movement, such as qigong, tai chi, or walking a labyrinth. Any form of regular meditation works to reduce stress and can improve mood and energy levels by detaching from other people (and their energy) and finding your own center. It helps to stabilize and recalibrate your own energy vibration. And it helps you remember that YOU are the one who gets to decide how to react and/or how to view things that happen in your life. When paired with any of the other energy tips in this post, you are bound to raise your own vibration.

Essential oils and crystals:

Possibly more "woo-woo" than some of the other items on the list, but so many people swear by these that I'd be remiss in not mentioning them. It turns out that essential oils each have their own energy vibrations, and those with high vibrations can raise a person's energy vibration. The same thing goes for crystals, which vibrate at their own frequencies as well. Some of them (black onyx, jet, black obsidian) are supposed to offer protection against negative energy; others such as rose quartz enhance love and reduce stress; amethyst helps to quiet the mind. I'm not going into great detail on these since there are so many oils and stones out there, but if either of those options appeals to you, by all means get in touch and I'll do what I can to point you in the right direction.

In closing

When I make my art, I first make sure that my studio is full of positive energy, often using the techniques I described in my solstice post. I also make sure that I'm in a good place energetically, and that I'm putting positive vibes into my artwork and my paint strokes or other techniques. It's my way of making art that vibrates at a high frequency.

Fireflies and Sparklers

The first lightning bugs I saw this year were just before the Solstice. I love seeing them flash by now, conjuring memories of childhood and chasing (and sometimes catching) them in the yard with my brother and our cousins. They remind me of happy, sweaty nights running around outside, of mosquito bites and popsicles, of box fans in the windows. Those flashes of light remind me, too, of the sparklers that come with the 4th of July--a holiday that is rushing at us, and will arrive in the middle of next week.

 "Soaring" An original mixed-media collage on watercolor paper, comes matted and framed. $64

"Soaring" An original mixed-media collage on watercolor paper, comes matted and framed. $64

This time of year is a good one to remember how our country became independent, and how it's up to all of us to protect our independence. It's a good time of year for sparklers (if you like them - I . . . like seeing them, but won't handle them), for paying attention to safety rules when it comes to fireworks, and to celebrating with patriotic music and red, white & blue decor. It's a good time for hotdogs and burgers, for clambakes and corn on the cob, for fresh watermelon (hopefully without seeds, though I remember with fondness my grandfather teaching us how to spit them off the porch), and for popsicles. It's a good time for "Stars and Stripes Forever", whether you sing about web-footed friends or not, and for the 1812 Overture (because CANNONS!, though the song was written in 1880 to commemorate the Russians beating back Napoléon back in 1812), and for ooh-ing and ahh-ing with neighbors when your town does its firework display.

And it's a good time to spend a day clearing out your cupboards to get rid of expired food (throw it out!) and stuff you really don't want anymore (donate it to a local food pantry- just because it's warm doesn't mean that everyone has access to food; this is especially true for families who relied on free breakfast and lunch during the school year and now have to figure things out seven days a week instead of just on the weekend, and for seniors who sometimes don't have the same programs available to them during the summer months to help them with food security). Because independence is great, and Independence Day can be awesome, but remembering that we're all inter-dependent is still a good thing, and helping your neighbors (even if you don't know them, really) is a good way to celebrate our interdependence, and to help them feel they're still independent.

Five ways to help clear the energy in your home for Summer Solstice

The Summer Solstice will occur this Thursday, June 21st. It's the day of the year with the most daylight here in the Northern Hemisphere, and for many of us there are reasons to celebrate. It's the official start of summer here in the United States, despite this week's preemptive heatwave. 

 A 6" square canvas with a mixed media sunflower.

A 6" square canvas with a mixed media sunflower.

One of the things I've been doing to prepare for the summer/solstice is to clear the energy in my house. Given the amount of disheartening news these days (which is a massive understatement, and doesn't convey how gutted I've been by recent events at the southern US border), clearing the energy and raising the vibration has merged into self-care for me, and is keeping our house a bit of a haven, even though we allow the news in daily.

5 ways to clear the energy in your home:

  • Set an intention to clear any "stuck" or negative energy
  • Open windows (if you can), turn on fans (ditto), turn on all the lights, and blare some happy music to encourage energy to start moving
  • Open the doors to any closets in the room your in, then clap your hands or, if you prefer, ring a chime or bell, into each of the corners in the room and closet so the vibrations will start to move any stuck energy
  • Light sandalwood incense or burn sage (a smudge stick) in order to burn off any negativity and encourage energy to flow. If you cannot tolerate the scent of either of those choices, light an unscented candle with the intention that it burn off any negativity.
  • Bring in houseplants to clear the air (literally) and add living energy to your space.

This Saturday, September 23rd, I'll be one of the vendors at Solstice Soul Fest at Sunset Auditorium in Pitman, New Jersey. The event will occur from 9 am to noon, and will include free yoga, live music, and a variety of vendors. Come on out and celebrate solstice!

Somers Point Art in the Park is this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The forecast for Saturday, June 16, 2018 is sunny, with a high around 79 F in Somers Point. I'm looking forward to being there in Kennedy Park for the 3rd Annual Art in the Park event, and I'm starting to plan out which pieces to take along.

This event is focused on what they refer to as 2D art - paintings, basically. No sculpture, no crafts (including "fine crafts"), no jewelry. For sure, I'll be taking literary collages such as the four you see below (click on them to see them larger), along with greeting cards and several larger paintings.

I'll for sure be taking "Flowerburst" along with me, along with lots of other larger works. 

IMG_1982.jpg

And I will definitely have hot air balloon and sailboat collages available for sale - they are perfect for summer, and would be the perfect addition to a child's bedroom or, well, basically anywhere you want some fun and whimsy.

If you or a friend or loved one will be "down the shore" this weekend, I hope you will stop by during the day on Saturday to shop. And to see other artists working en pleine aire, visit the food trucks, listen to music, and more!

It's all about goddesses

Allow me to explain . . .

Last week, I spent three days in St. Petersburg, Florida, in an art workshop with Australian artist Tracy Verdugo. It was a great week for me, both because I was studying with Tracy and because I had my older daughter along for company. She lives in Charleston, so my husband drove from New Jersey to South Carolina with me, then flew home. Sara then drove with me to St. Petersburg. We had a great "girls' trip", and I had a fabulous time learning with Tracy and networking with the other women in the class.

 Tracy and me. What a beautiful soul she is!

Tracy and me. What a beautiful soul she is!

We began a large canvas on the second day of the workshop and completed it on the third. I was thrilled when this lovely image emerged from the chaos layers. I see her as a winged goddess, though if you prefer to see her as an angel, then I'm okay with that, too. 

IMG_1989.jpg

Once our workshop was over, I had to head home to New Jersey pretty directly, since I had a scheduled event on Sunday, June 3rd: the Day of the Goddess event at Lavender Koi Yoga in Berlin, New Jersey. I spent Friday night in a hotel in Virginia, where I made a handful of small ink goddesses on watercolor paper based on my painting, one of which sold at Sunday's event. Below, you can see a shot of the crowd in the space, the Winged Water Goddess (who did not yet sell), and what my set-up looked like.

Now I'm home, and settling back into something like a routine, all while starting to plan my space and products for the next two events I've got lined up this month. AND I am still working hard at my business studies, since I was fortunate enough to be selected as a grant recipient by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, in conjunction with the South Jersey Cultural Alliance, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, and Creative Capital to be part of the Artist Professional Development Program. 

I'm also about to start a major decluttering/energy-clearing in the house. Think paring down, scaling back (when it comes to "stuff") coupled with raising the energy vibrations here using cheerful music (perhaps turned to the loud side), fresh air from open windows and doors, and some feng shui techniques like "clapping into the corners" in order to get any stuck energy moving, and burning a bit of incense in order to clear any stagnancy. It's something I do from time to time, and it definitely results in a house that feels lighter and happier.

Finally, if you'd like to sign up for my email newsletter, which gets you inside information on where I'll be, what my newest pieces are, and the occasional private sale, I hope you will click the button below and do that!

When you should be getting ready for the Pitman Craft Show,

To pick up on the post title: "When you should be getting ready for the Pitman Craft Show," but instead, you spend your morning cleaning your entire studio and bringing new furniture in. The table you see in the top left photo below was just a pile of lumber yesterday morning, and my wonderful sweetheart spent the afternoon turning that wood into the table you see. I love it--and him--so much! We carried the table in yesterday, and this morning it sparked me to clear and clean the room, including washing the canvas tarp that I use under the table I paint on in the center of the room. This new studio gives me so much joy. I love having my own space to work and dream, and a place to hang my art and my vision boards. This room feels like freedom, in so many ways.

The cart to the right of my teal cart came in from the garage today. It moved here with me, and was sort of taking up space but not really functioning well out in the corner of the garage. Now it's holding all my stamping supplies, pastels (soft/chalk and oil), watercolors, oil sticks, gelatos (sadly not the ice cream variety, though I *think* I have some in the freezer), and other non-acrylic media. And as the bottom right photo above shows, an Ikea rack also came in from the garage where it was being under-utilized (and now houses a lot of canvases and other supplies).

I'm super thrilled with the studio, especially now that it's starting to take better shape, but it did pretty much derail my day by tiring me out. I've spent the afternoon working on writing better copy for the products listed for sale on my website. The greeting cards, hot air balloons and sailboats are done! I'm just over halfway through the tambourines and collages shop, and am taking a break from writing copy to write this blog post. LOL!

I will be taking greeting cards, hot air balloons, sailboats, tambourines, collage hearts (not even posted in my shop yet!) and a few literary collages with me this weekend to the Pitman Spring Craft Show. I'll be in space X151, at the corner of Theatre Avenue and Broadway. The Craft Show is scheduled for Saturday, May 19th, though there's unsettled weather in the forecast at present, so there's an outside chance I'll be selling things on Sunday instead. (I'll know for sure on Friday.) Whenever it is, I sure hope to see some friendly faces--and sell a lot of items!

It's all about FREEDOM

I know it's not just me who gets their best ideas (or some new insight or clarity) while in the shower. This morning's "a-ha" moment for me was that so much of my art is about FREEDOM, and about FINDING PEACE.

Freedom of movement and/or freedom to travel, represented by all the sailboats and hot air balloons. Freedom of expression, represented by various styles of art as well as all those words and phrases found in my literary collages and even in some of my abstracts. Freedom to make noise and be heard in this world (tambourines, anyone?). Freedom to be my whole self, to paint with abandon, to discover new things.

Below you can see an assortment of my artwork - from large paintings like the Buddha and "Love, Breath, Air" to new hot-air balloons, sailboats, and literary collages.


What a lovely gift freedom is. And so many of the constraints I have been getting rid of or pushing past are limitations I either placed on myself or allowed others to push on me. All those "shoulds" I internalized over the decades. All those warnings meant to keep me "safe" that actually built walls and boxed me right in. 

Freedom to not take on other people's expectations. Freedom to refuse to allow others to impose boundaries or limitations. Freedom to break free of any of those boundaries I accepted or set for myself. Freedom to be seen and heard; freedom to step back from the noise and be alone, too. Freedom to not care too much whether other people will think I'm nuts if I . . . (fill in the blank). 

Freedom to find peace. Peace of mind, for sure. But also the freedom to accept myself as I am, and to be at peace with myself. At peace with my weight, my health, my emotional state. When I'm painting or working on collage, I am so in the moment, in the flow, that there is nothing but peace and the making of art. Maybe that's why so many of my larger paintings have peace built into them: Buddha, a dove, words that invoke a peaceful feeling, meditative elements meant to slow the viewer down and invoke a sense of ease and peace.

What does freedom mean to you right now? What would peace be for you? What are you ready to let go of?