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. 

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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?

Getting ready for some sales events

Today, my husband Morris and I (and our wonderful neighbor Devon, who came running over to help us when he arrived home from school) set up the 10x10 tent I bought for art festivals, complete with side walls and sand bags. And then we set up the display pieces that Morris made for me (he even bought a fancy miter box saw to make all the many, many cuts, and then stained all the wood), and hung art on them. Tambourines went on the chicken-wire screens, and canvases and framed art went on the "ladders". 

 Dry run in the street outside our house.

Dry run in the street outside our house.

There is a table, covered with a tablecloth, in that back left corner, holding wooden boxes that display greeting cards. And the ladder at the back left of the tent holds small heart pieces.

 Here's a look at some of those small heart pieces. These are 6" square.

Here's a look at some of those small heart pieces. These are 6" square.

My first official outing with this tent and set-up will be on Saturday, April 28th from 12 noon to 5 p.m. at the Williamstown Arts Festival. Here's a link to some information about the event.

I will also be at both Pitman Craft Shows this year - the Spring Craft Show will be on Saturday, May 19th from 9 am to 4 pm along Broadway in Uptown Pitman. (It's exceedingly long notice, but the Fall Craft Show will take place on Saturday, September 15th, in case you want to mark your calendar.) 

And just to make sure that June isn't left out, I will be one of the vendors at the "Day of the Goddess" event taking place at Lavender Koi Yoga in Berlin, NJ on Sunday, June 3rd. More on that, and some other possible summer events, to come when I have details!

In the meantime, if you'd like to receive emails with further information, I hope you will sign up at the form on my home page!

It's been a busy week around here

This week was taken up with lots of construction work. As a person with a couple of autoimmune disorders, I usually sleep until about 9 a.m. most days, but that wasn't a possibility this week, as I had to be up before 8 four out of 5 days, and the fifth day, I had to be up at 8. 

But look! They framed my new studio! And put a roof on! And even managed a bit of Tyvek and an installed window (ahead of a rather wet and wild Nor'easter)!

 See my sweetheart in the grey, talking to the project manager?

See my sweetheart in the grey, talking to the project manager?

Despite all the NOISE NOISE NOISE NOISE (that's me, channeling the Grinch), I managed to get some work done.

In fact, I did so many boat collages that I can offer you a boat show!

The 8"x10" boat pieces are going to be priced at $80 and the 11"x14" ones will be $100. Holler out if you spy one that you want!

In the next blog post, expect to see the finished studio. Oh my gosh, you guys, I am so excited!

Breaking ground on my new art studio

You guys! Things are getting real around here. I woke up this morning to the sound of men's voices in my backyard. (Which was unexpected and mildly startling, but anyway . . . ) It was the contractor and the masons, here to start digging the foundation and footings for my new art studio.

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Can you see Miss Kismet in the window, supervising? 

By the end of the work day, the footings were dug and most of the dirt they removed was carted away. Next up, an inspection . . . and (if all goes as expected) the foundation will be poured on Wednesday

And, um, hey - if you have been looking at my work and would like to help me out by clearing some space before they remove those glass doors and I have to clear half of my living room, just give me a holler. You can see a lot of the available pieces here on my website - three different galleries: one for paintings, one for literary collages, and one for art tambourines.

Support Clean Ocean Action's efforts to stop offshore drilling

Most of you know that I live in southern New Jersey. I live about an hour from the coast, so Morris and I get to the beach a few times each year. The beach is beautiful, but if new proposed regulations are allowed to go through, offshore drilling will change the view forever.

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HORRIFYING, isn't it?

The above image came from Clean Ocean Action, an organization dedicated to keeping the New Jersey shore clean. They are currently fighting proposed federal regulations that would open the New Jersey coast to offshore drilling. 

If that organization sounds vaguely familiar to you, it may be because I mentioned them last fall, when I announced a series of acrylic ink pieces I'd made. I've sold three of the original seven, and each sale ($48 each) has contributed $12 to Clean Ocean Action to help them with their cause. 

The four remaining pieces are below, so if one of them "belongs" to you, I will be very happy to mail it to you and pass a donation along to Clean Ocean Action. Meanwhile, whether you are in NJ or elsewhere, know that these proposed regulations involve sea coasts throughout the country (with the apparent exception of Florida due to a personal favor to the governor), so if you don't want to see oil derricks, perhaps consider checking out the information at Clean Ocean Action and leaving a comment before the March 9th deadline.

If you are interested in any of the above pieces, please let me know and I will be happy to get it in the mail to you (and to turn over $12 per piece to Clean Ocean Action). 

About 10 days until Valentine's Day

And things are still on sale, if you think your loved one would appreciate a literary collage, an abstract painting, or a beautiful piece of art on a tambourine. Take 15% off the listed price, or (if you are signed up for my newsletter) take 20% off.

 Tambourines with collage and paint - $60 each.

Tambourines with collage and paint - $60 each.

This week has been a super exciting one here in southern New Jersey. And not just because the Eagles are playing in the Super Bowl and everybody is amped. Just yesterday, my 10x10 tent for art festivals arrived (along with bright blue sandbags to keep it from flying away), and today I got my first shipment of greeting cards, and I am THRILLED with how they turned out!

New literary collage: "If you were coming in the Fall". $125

I'm hoping to be accepted into several art festivals/craft shows this year, so I've started dreaming what the inside of my booth might look like - and making more items!

If you would like a piece of art for Valentine's Day, please get in touch and order it by February 8th at the latest so I can be certain it will get to you in time!

Valentines Day is coming!

In just under a month, it will be Valentine's Day. Full disclosure: I have occasionally had extremely mixed feelings about Valentine's Day. The cons fall into the "it's a madeup/Hallmark holiday" and (in some times past) "it's here to remind me I don't have a person who means that much to me" categories. The pros fall into "LOVE IS LOVE IS LOVE" and it should be celebrated, the "these days I feel pretty good about myself", and the "I am madly in love with my husband, Morris, what's not to love about a day celebrating love?" categories. 

This year, those pro-Valentine's Day vibes are winning out for me. If you love somebody, or want to show some love to somebody (even or especially if that somebody is yourself!), then it might interest you to know that I'm running a sale in honor of the day, because we could all use a little love in our lives, and probably some new artwork as well! So if you are interested in the sparkly new things in this here post, or in any of the pieces on my website (I promise, I'm working on how to make the galleries more "shop-able"!), I'm gifting you with 15% as a way of sending a little love your way. (Newsletter subscribers get 20% off - and they've known about this sale for a week already!)

And love is love is love is love is love is love is love
— Lin-Manuel Miranda

How about making a little noise about your feelings? Try art on a tambourine. Each of these includes hand-done collage and painting, and will come with ribbons, ready to hang (or play). $60 each before your 15% V-day discount (20% discount for newsletter subscribers).


Not feeling the (tambourine) music? That's okay—there's some quieter (in decibels) artwork available, including these brand-new literary collages. If you click on them, the embiggen and given you more details on size, materials, and pricing:

 Collage, mixed media, hand stamping, and a wee original drawing on a 9"x12" canvas board, featuring a quote from Shakespeare's Sonnet 116.

Collage, mixed media, hand stamping, and a wee original drawing on a 9"x12" canvas board, featuring a quote from Shakespeare's Sonnet 116.

Here's a linky-link to the gallery where you'll find my literary collages (including a sweet little rose with some Sense & Sensibility text collaged in and a number of quotes that might be just the thing you (or someone you love) will love. And here's another link to the other paintings I've got available, including a sweet little bird collaged from hand-marbled papers and some abstracts. If you think any of these pieces are just what the Cupid ordered for Valentine's Day (or any other occasion), just get in touch with me and claim your piece! I'll get it packed up and in the mail for you, and get your my PayPal info for payment!

Kismet in the Cold

For many, many years, I've had a blog at the (now unfavored) LiveJournal, where I mostly kept my writing. Original poems, interviews, and book reviews, lengthy series about Shakespeare, Jane Austen, and more. It is still in use, but I am considering winding it down, quite frankly. However, I have an ongoing poetry project with five (sometimes six) beloved poetry sisters, and we write new poems each month on agreed-upon topics or using agreed-on forms.

 Kismet sleeping on my legs.

Kismet sleeping on my legs.

This month's assignment was to write a sonnet (on any topic we wanted). I chose to write about Kismet, my six-year old calico.

I watch small brown birds puffed fat against cold
peck gravel for small sustenance at best.
A finch, a wren, some dark-eyed juncoes wrest
the smallest bit of God-knows-what. I hold
the cat up to the window, where she tries
to follow hops and jumps, small bursts of flight.
We both pretend she’d catch them all, despite
us knowing that is all a flock of lies.
She’s lived inside a house since she was small,
found toddling by a highly trafficked street,
a tiny, bat-eared calico fuzzball
with pink toe-beans on all four small white feet.
    She asks to be put down, climbs in my lap,
    curls up, then dreams of birds during her nap.

 


I am unsure whether the rest of the poems will move here or not, but as this is ART & WORDS, I thought I'd see how it goes.

At the Turning of the Year

Here in southern New Jersey, the light has started to grow a bit each day since the Winter Solstice, though the Arctic air has swept down upon us and looks to stay for another week or so, with the winter months still to come. 

 The view into the back yard during last week's snow. Note that the patio closest to the house has been torn up in advance of construction of my new art studio.

The view into the back yard during last week's snow. Note that the patio closest to the house has been torn up in advance of construction of my new art studio.

It's no longer snowy here, but it's so cold that I've taken to wearing fingerless gloves much of the day and drinking lots of hot tea to keep warm. We have heat, of course, but I don't see the need for us to crank it super high, and cold manages to seep in through the slab, I suppose. 

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Tea time

I am loving this beautiful mug, which was a gift from my older daughter.

I have responded to the cold in my art as you might expect: by using warm and/or bright colors. I recently completed my Buddha painting, as you can see below, and have started working on some tambourines (art that makes noise!) and a large canvas full of brightness.


Construction on our addition is likely to occur in January, once this cold snap breaks. Our permits have been issued, and we are excited to get underway, though I confess to dreading the noise and commotion that is sure to accompany it. But it will be a delight to have a designated studio space, and to allow us an uncluttered living room.

This week, I've been working on business planning for 2018. It includes creating some new pieces for Valentine's Day, and hopes for several different in-person sorts of sales events in addition to my website.

And now, there is nothing left for me to do but to wish you and yours a happy, healthy, and peaceful New Year.

Some of the Literary Collages Available

Today, I thought I'd feature the available literary collages here.

You can click on any of the images below to open the "lightbox" - a way of seeing the full piece you've clicked on. Once you click on one, you can hover over it with your cursor and get the details (size, price, media, etc.) 

AS NOTED in my prior blog post, we are about to break ground on my studio addition here in southern New Jersey, and I'd love to clear out some space around here for when they break through my living room wall, so all of the pieces on my website are 25% off, with free shipping in the US.

Just in time for hygge season, it's a 25% off sale!

Hygge (pronounced hue-gah) is the Danish word for the idea of inside winter coziness - you know the sort of thing: warm socks, afghans, fires in the fireplaces, and snuggling. It's like hunkering down, but perhaps without the sort of isolated bunker-mentality that sometimes elicits. As you can see from the photo below, my cat Kismet has this down to an art form:

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Autumn - overlooked my knitting -

Speaking of art forms (were we not?), I've been making slow progress on some larger pieces as well as on a few literary collages. Above is one that I completed not long ago - it features text from an Emily Dickinson poem, "Autumn--overlooked my knitting--".  It's now available in the "Literary Collage" section on my website, if you're interested, at a cost of $150. (25% off from now until end of December.)


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Ooh!

These are actual building plans.

For a brand-new art studio here at my house.

 

 

 

 

In this season of hygge, I am about to endure weeks of daily assault on my quiet and sanity. On the plus side, in the end, I'm going to have a wonderful new art studio to work in. In the meantime, I'm going to have to move a lot of . . . STUFF . . . in our current living room in order to safeguard it from the work area. And that means I'd really, truly like to sell some finished art. Not just to make money (though who doesn't like money), but because our relatively small house is going to be really hard to navigate if I have to move all this artwork into the hallway and other rooms.

In light of the foregoing, I am offering a HUGE incentive to collectors: TWENTY-FIVE PERCENT (25%) OFF of any piece here on my website. And I'll give you free shipping to addresses in the US as well. 

Why not add to the feeling of hygge in your home by adding some new artwork, while I'm unable to enjoy much of the quite and cozy for a while?

When you don't have designated studio space...

Making art is messy, yo. And that is abundantly on display here at our house.

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A tarp, a table, an easel, a cart . . .

There's a canvas tarp folded in half and spread beneath my entire working space. A small folding sewing table that I inherited from my grandmother. It is covered with newspaper, pencils, pens, brushes, some in-process works and more. A lovely new easel that my husband bought me to support me in my work, literally. A teal IKEA cart that holds some of my supplies - stamping stuff on the bottom tier, oil and chalk pastels plus bubble wrap in the middle, gel mediums and other items up top. 

The chair is one I bought at a flea market 25 years ago for $1. There are stacks of canvases in various states of completion leaning against furniture and walls. Boxes full of mark-making tools (foam brushes, rollers, stencils and more), paints (Golden paints in bottles and tubes in one, FW Daler & Rowney acrylic inks and Liquitex soft body acrylics in another). A rattan trunk full of papers for collage. A basket of ribbons for "decorative trim". All of it quite literally in the middle of the living room, as you can see.

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I can't work whenever I want

You can see last week's Eagles-Giants game on the screen in the background. I'm an Eagles fan, but my husband is a much bigger one. And since he tolerates my mess, I don't work when they play, because I'd be blocking his view of the screen, and that would be unfair.

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Buddha

Buddha reminds me to keep calm. You can see him on the floor at the left of the above photo, but here is what he looks like just now. This colorful canvas whispered that it wanted a face, and it turned out it wanted a Buddha face. It is not *quite* done yet, but it's getting very close. And it is a nice reminded to keep calm while I carry on making my artwork.

 

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New items

What I just started working on is a new series of autumn-themed pieces that include layers written in pencil, which are from the poems of Emily Dickinson. "If you were coming in the fall" and "Autumn—overlooked my knitting—".