art

Olde Pear Primitives and more news

I am delighted to share the two images below, both of which were taken by Genevieve at Olde Pear Primitives in Cape May, New Jersey this week. The first one is a watercolor seascape that I painted, which is nestled with some jewelry, and the second is a watercolor sailboat, playing nicely with some soap and bath bombs.

I am tickled every day, knowing that my artwork is available in this marvelous shop in Cape May. And, of course, I have art tambourines available at Mystic Gingery Collective in Blackwood, NJ, and also at the Grand Galleria in Williamstown, NJ.

This weekend, I will be painting murals on the walls of the main studio at Peace Love Yoga in Glassboro. Pictures to follow—though I am really glad that I’ve been promised some helpers, because I’ve been having a few joint issues lately (thanks, rheumatoid arthritis!), so I can use the assistance.

Next weekend, I will be dropping off artwork at MADE. Artisan Marketplace in Woodbury, New Jersey, which will (hopefully) be open to the public starting in May. All while making art and planning what to take with me on May 19th, when I will be at the Decompress South Jersey event at Will-Moor School of Gymnastics up in Mount Laurel.

A 5” square heart collage in spring colors.

A 5” square heart collage in spring colors.

And now, to get dressed for tonight’s seder with family. Happy Passover! And to those of you celebrating the Christian holidays, Happy Easter!

A Business Dream Come True

I consider myself a lucky girl, even if I am typing this while wearing a wrist brace on my left arm and nursing a bum right hip. I’ve had a LOT of my business dreams come true since I started my art business in August of 2017. Last year saw me accepted into a major, juried art show, selling at street festivals, with tambourines for sale in a local gallery here in Williamstown, and interviewed on TV about my art practice, among other things. Like the studio addition on our house, which is just a gorgeous, light-filled space. One of my goals was also to get my pieces into stores, and I’ve already told you about Mystic Ginger Collective, which is seriously just the best salon space I’ve set foot in—it’s simply filled with positive energy, and as a person who is susceptible to that these days (I’ve gone full “woo”, I believe), you can just feel things become lighter as you enter Kellee’s space in Blackwood.

But today, today was a specific business dream come true. You see, somewhere around December of 2017 or January of 2018, I sat down and wrote a big list of goals, some of which were perhaps more in the “wish” category. And one of my fondest desires was to have my art in a shop or gallery in Cape May. And today, that dream came true, when the beautiful shop Olde Pear Primitives opened in its new location at 523 Lafayette Street in Cape May, New Jersey.

Some of this is to say that making vision boards and writing out your dreams really does work, at least some of the time. I mean, if that’s all I ever did, I doubt this would have come to pass, but the fact that I brought that idea from the ether into the real world by writing it down first, and then took action by networking and attending events, one of which led to this amazing opportunity . . . well, let’s just say, it’s the Universe at work. I’m super happy and thankful today!

Gee, but it's great to be back home

And yes, I am old enough that I am actually quoting from a Simon & Garfunkel song from 1970. The song is “Keep the Customer Satisfied”, and it’s off Bridge Over Troubled Water. Here’s the first stanza:

Gee but it’s great to be back home
Home is where I want to be.
I’ve been on the road so long my friend,
And if you came along
I know you couldn’t disagree.

I’m just hoping not to have been slandered and libeled everywhere I go. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, click on through to YouTube and have a listen.

Dogwood from a rest area in North Carolina

Dogwood from a rest area in North Carolina

I am super happy to report that Dad is continuing to improve after his esophagectomy (esophageal cancer is no joke, yo, but he is likely to beat it as a result of the excellent treatment he has received at MUSC in Charleston, SC). His feeding tube came out on Tuesday (huzzah!) since he did such a good job tapering off of it. And he’s back on the golf course as I type this.

I am now back in New Jersey, where spring is still in its earlier stages—I feel somewhat lucky to have spent six weeks in the south and experienced mid- to late-spring in South Carolina, only to drive home again to where spring is just entering its middle phase. Of course, I literally drove through miles of “tree sex” in northern North Carolina yesterday on my way here, where the pollen was so thick it looked like a haze. Profligate trees!

Today I’m working on matting some of the smaller pieces I painted while in South Carolina. I think they are looking really great —these are in 8” square mats, with 4” square cutouts. The two on the left are chakra rainbows (which is why red is on the bottom). You may or may not have realized that the colors for the chakras from root to crown are the same as the seven colors of the rainbow, ROY G BIV: red orange yellow green blue indigo violet. But in a naturally occurring rainbow, red is on the top of the arc, and violet on the inside/bottom. I painted these the reflect the chakra alignment (though I guess you could flip the one that is just stripes to suit yourself). The pieces on the right are abstract landscapes.

The next step is packaging them in sleeves. Is it weird that I ran out of steam and just can’t even with that right now? Possibly. But it was a long drive home after a long time away, so I’m giving myself a break.

New card designs!

I am so excited to have several new card designs available for you! They are all made from my original artwork, as I’m sure you’ve come to expect, but I went and used a design program to add text to two of them.

As tomorrow is my birthday, it’s fitting that one of the cards is quite specifically a birthday card. The other card with added text says “Thinking of You”, and is, I think, appropriate for the regular sort of thinking of you purposes, as well as being used as a sympathy card.

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Cool and Calm

“Chart your own path” and “Thinking of you”

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Colorful

additions

“Happy Birthday!” and “Janet’s Light”

As always, greeting cards are available in my web shop, and are priced $5 each, or 3 for $13.50. If you would like more than three, please get in touch. I’m happy to quote you a price and hook you up. Feel free to browse greeting cards here.

And starting next Saturday, April 13th, all 24 of my greeting card designs will be available for you to shop in person at Olde Pear Primitives, located at 523 Lafayette Street in Cape May, New Jersey!

On the way to Cape May

Earlier this week I took a short break from South Carolina and flew home to New Jersey, where I got to see my husband (YAY!) and my cat (YAY!) and have an IV for my rheumatoid arthritis (yay?) and take a quick trip to one of my favorite towns in my state, Cape May, to live out a bona fide business dream.

Here’s a little roundup of the flight, husband, and IV. That’s a shot of the Virginia coast from the plane window on my way home, Morris with Kismet as we played cards, and me in one of the fancy new infusion chairs at my doctor’s office:

And then! On Friday, Morris and I drove to Cape May. Specifically, to Olde Pear Primitives, which is fixing to open on Saturday, April 13th. Olde Pear Primitives is located at 523 Lafayette Street, right on the corner by the light (near the Acme and the bike rental place, if you know Cape May at all). It’s a cheerful, welcoming space, run by a cheerful, welcoming proprietor. See?

Me with Genevieve. You can see some of the jewelry and pillows and candles already in stock in the space! Photo © Morris L. Siegel 2019

Me with Genevieve. You can see some of the jewelry and pillows and candles already in stock in the space! Photo © Morris L. Siegel 2019

Below are some images of my work on display at Olde Pear Primitives © Genevieve of Olde Pear Primitives.

Can I just share with you all how excited I am about having my work in a shop in Cape May? It’s literally a business dream come true for me. I will be selling my greeting cards (all 24 of them!) there, as well as tambourines, hot air balloon pieces, sailboat collage paintings, the small “Shine” piece you see above left, and some heart collages. You can find more about Olde Pear Primitives on their Facebook page, but the grand opening is on Saturday, April 6th! I am sorry that I’ll be missing it, but I will still be in South Carolina for a bit longer. I can’t wait to visit once it’s open, though!

Three Ways to Celebrate Spring

Whether the weather is springlike or not, the equinox will take place tomorrow at 5:58 p.m., and Spring will officially be sprung. It’s the season of new growth, and of pollen and allergies. The season of renewal, and the season that can leave some people feeling a bit flat or stuck. Today, I’m sharing with you four ideas to take action on to celebrate spring:

First, Create Space for Abundance

Not to jump on Marie Kondo’s train (although I bet it’s a really tide, neatly-folded train), but you can start by clearing some clutter. My personal policy is (and has been for the past seven years) to “get rid of everything that does not bring pleasure, beauty, or purpose into my life”. You can read six tips on how to clear clutter here. Clearing out the stuff that you no longer like, use, or want makes space for energy to circulate inside your space! You can read more about this idea in my post from October. Once you have taken out the trash, donated the stuff you no longer care to keep, and followed the other steps in my earlier post, you can start finding good ways and places in which to store your stuff. If your clothes all have homes in closets or drawers, then they won’t be strewn about your bedroom or home. It makes it simpler to find what you want when you want it, and it also reduces the amount of visual clutter in your life. If you get totally overwhelmed or are stumped with how to start in any given room, I always recommend clearing the top of the largest flat surface in the space—doing so gives your eyes a place to rest and makes the whole room look tidier in a hurry. Don’t believe me? Go into your dining room and make sure the table is cleared of stuff that doesn’t belong there (clothing, papers, crafts, shopping bags, etc.) Or go into a bedroom and clear anything that doesn’t belong on the bed off of it and make the bed. In your kitchen, clear off the island or (if you don’t have one) the longest stretch of counter space you have. Having a place in each room where your eyes can rest and not be driven wild by clutter will make you feel more relaxed and ready for spring.

Get Out

No, not the movie.

If it’s not a blizzard, tornado warning, or thunderstorm where you are, get outside. Some things you can do while you are there:

  • Take a walk in your yard or neighborhood, and keep an eye out for signs of spring. Count how many robins you spot, or look for whatever is just starting to bloom. For some of you, that might be azaleas or even roses, for others, it might be snowdrops. But look for signs of renewed life.

  • Plant something. Doesn’t matter if it’s a full garden or a single plant or shrub. Spending time outside and digging in the garden (or cleaning it up) is valuable exercise, both physically and mentally.

  • Do a quick maintenance and upgrade assessment of your yard and building(s). Are there things that need to be repaired or replaced? Do you need to get your gutters cleaned? Does your apartment door need sprucing up? Is your garden shed in need of a new roof or a lock on the door? What about your balcony or garden area? Do you need to buy or replace pots? Remove dead stuff? Plant something new? Spring is a great time for making a list of the projects you want to get to during the warmer weather.

Spruce Up Your Art Situation

An easy way to celebrate spring is to brighten the corner where you are. (And yes, I realize there’s an old hymn by Ina D. Ogden of that name, and the pun or wordplay was intentional.) You don’t have to put ginormous bunny and egg clings on your windows (though of course you can, and if you have little kids, they may really like that); you can simply add some spring touches inside and outside your home.

Outside ideas:

  • a new welcome mat; it doesn’t have to have a spring theme, but if your old one is looking sad beyond repair, this time when all those winter boots (and salt and cinders) are done is a good one to put out something new

  • a cheerful garden flag, if that’s how you roll. Could be spring-themed, or just something new and cheery.

  • a new birdbath or bird feeder, if you like having lots of avian friends

  • a new wreath or other decoration for your door; note: it doesn’t just have to be your front door. You can also perk up your door into your garage or laundry room or a side door, if that’s what you usually use to go in and out.

Inside ideas:

  • Once you’ve tidied up your front hall or foyer or sunporch, consider adding a seasonal touch; could be a small, cheerful birdhouse or a basket of eggs; could be a new piece of artwork to sit on a table or shelf, or hang on the wall to welcome your guests.

  • Take a good look at the art and photographs in each room. Do you still like the item? Do you still like its frame? If the answer to either question is no, consider replacing what you don’t like. If the answer is yes, assess whether it needs a good dusting. Wipe the frame with a soft, dry cloth, starting at the top and working your way down the sides, finishing with the bottom. If the piece has glass over it, decide whether the glass needs cleaning. Do not spray any cleaner on the glass. Instead, lightly spray a microfiber cloth with water or an ammonia-based cleanser (if you prefer, though water usually works fine), and carefully clean the glass surface by rubbing gently in circles, then drying the glass with another section of microfiber cloth. You may want to take the art or photograph down from the wall and lay it flat to do this.

  • Consider whether you would like to swap some of your art around to offer yourself a new perspective, or whether you want or need some new art in your space to brighten things up. (And if you do, consider giving my items a look? I’ve got tambourines and collages, paintings, and greeting cards here, plus prints and other items available at Fine Art America.)

Here, there, and everywhere

And yes, I am now completely distracted from singing the Beatles song of that name. It’s such a syrupy song, but I still completely and totally love it.

Here

Here for me is currently in South Carolina, where I am staying with my parents as my dad continues to recover from surgery to remove a cancerous esophagus. He is doing remarkably well, which is good. And I am keeping super busy with his home care, which is . . . busy. I have, however, also been finding time to learn a bit more about watercolors, so here, have a small bouquet:

Everything’s coming up roses . . .

Everything’s coming up roses . . .


There

There right now is New Jersey, where my home and studio (and husband and cat) are located. Other things located there: TWO businesses where you can currently buy my art, ONE that is opening on April 6th, which will carry my greeting cards and some art, and ONE MORE that is opening in late April. You can find a list of “Where to find my products” any time on my ABOUT page at my website, or by clicking the link in this sentence, but here’s the list:

  • The Grand Galleria at 405 S. Main Street in Williamstown, NJ, has several of my art tambourines in it. The Galleria is typically open when shows are on at the Grand Theatre.

  • Mystic Ginger at 102 S. Black Horse Pike in Blackwood, NJ, has several of my art tambourines as well. Mystic Ginger is the coolest hybrid space: part salon, part herbalist, part sales gallery for local artists. Open Tuesday through Saturday, hours vary. Their website is here.

  • Olde Pear Primitives at 523 Lafayette St. in Cape May, NJ, opens on April 6th. You will find my complete line of greeting cards, as well as some original art pieces, for sale when the new store space opens in a few weeks! Find them on FB, or at their website.

  • MADE Artisan Marketplace, 65 N. Broad St., Woodbury, NJ. MADE is currently in the process of renovating and moving into the building once owned by Franklin Davenport, who was Benjamin Franklin’s nephew. The mixed-use space will have gallery space, maker spaces, and selling spaces, plus an attached espresso bar. It’s gonna be cool! And likely will open near the end of April. More info to come, both here and on MADE’s website.


Everywhere

Where is an internet business if not everywhere? You can always shop for greeting cards, art tambourines, original literary collages, and paintings of various and sundry sorts on my website. Just pick your category from the top of the home page! And hey, while you’re at my home page, why not sign up for my email newsletter? It gets you info on what’s up, when, and passes along lots of tips and info on living life in a positive manner. Because we all want “to lead a better life”, as McCartney wrote and sang to open the song that loaned its title to this blog post.

You can see some of my greeting cards here. It’s a slideshow, so click to swipe!

It's never too late to learn

My fifty-fifth birthday is coming up soon (and yikes, what’s with that?). And it reminds me that I started my journey making art a mere five years ago, just before I turned 50. I started with a course using colored pencils, drawing birds. (MASSIVE thanks to Val Webb for that course - she is amazing, and lovely, and good.) And eventually I started using acrylics by taking an online course called Paint Mojo with Tracy Verdugo, who is also amazing, lovely, and good. And then I took some online courses with Kelly Rae Roberts, back when she was still teaching painting online, in part because her first and middle name are the same as mine, as well as her initials, and in part because I really liked her work and her attitude. During those courses, I learned about colored pencils, acrylic paints, acrylic inks, charcoals, soft (chalk) pastels and oil pastels, oil paint sticks, some fine art markers, and more.

But I never used watercolors. Until this year, when I opened the package I bought myself from Prima Marketing, Inc., containing three tins of watercolors that they refer to as “confections”. Just below is the Vintage Pastels set just after I opened it, and a heart I made from the paints while “swatching” my set onto the little card you see in the left-hand photo.

I made about a dozen or so of those hearts, which went to some lucky customers who ordered Chakra Heart Garlands before Valentine’s Day. (You can still grab your garlands here!) And then I essentially put my watercolors away because I felt unsure of what to do.

So when it suddenly (and I mean that - it was just a day’s notice or so) came time to pack my bags for South Carolina, I decided to grab some art supplies to take along. I legit have no clue how long I will be down here to help my parents out as my dad recovers from cancer surgery (he had an esophagectomy, which means just what you probably think it does). In fact, it could be a month or more. Which is a long time to be away from my studio and all my supplies, so I brought some portable supplies with me. I have my watercolor sets and my oil pastels (not to play with together, though come to think of it, maybe I could) and a pad of watercolor paper with me.

Yesterday, I painted a bouquet (based on an actual one I’d brought home for my mom from the store—I know, grocery store flowers aren’t always optimal, but they were affordable and cheery, which is what was required). And today I took a shot at a shrub or tree in the neighbors yard, which is sending up dark green stalks with dark green leaves and pink flowers that we believe are camellias. Though I didn’t know they came in pink. But I digress. They were made in a state of creative exploration and happy, escapist meditation, and that’s pretty much the energy they carry with them. You can get a closer look at them by clicking on each. If you decide one of these two pieces below is your jam, please let me know and I’ll pack it up and send it to you for $10, shipping included.

Are these faithful representations of what I see? Nope. Are they a bit too tight? Yup. Is their composition good? Not really. But to me, these two pieces are huge successes, because I am figuring things out. How to mix colors. When to work wet-on-wet, when to use wet-on-dry. How much water to use in my brush. How the paint moves (or doesn’t).

All of these are important things to figure out. (I think?) And I am aware I can find a class (in person or online) or a YouTube video, or a SkillShare course, or or or . . . but for this weekend, I thought it would be fun to just play with my paints and see what came of it. This week may be for finding online lessons, now that I’m no longer nervous to use my supplies. Because it’s never too late to play, and it’s never too late to learn something new.

Have a bouquet!

Right now I’m in South Carolina while my dad recovers from surgery—an esophagectomy, to remove his esophagus and any remaining cancer cells in or near it. I got here last Wednesday evening, and have managed to create exactly one piece so far. Considering that we spent all day Friday at the hospital, and lots of time every day since then there as well, I consider this a victory of sorts. This bouquet is made using oil pastels on watercolor paper.

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Oh! And one of my friends who purchased chakra heart garlands shared a photo showing them hanging in her workspace, and how great are these?

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My sweetheart reminded me that I still have some of those chakra heart garlands at home. They are hand-punched from handpainted papers, and strung on red and white baker’s twine. Each string is approximately six feet long, and carries 14 hearts (each of the chakra colors, twice). They were created with lots of positive energy and an intention of helping to balance your chakras. If interested, they are $8 each or two for $15, and can be ordered here.

Crocuses. Croci?

I know that a few have started to pop up here and there in sheltered areas in New Jersey. Sadly, we have none on our property, except for these:

Original oil pastel on cold-pressed watercolor paper.

Original oil pastel on cold-pressed watercolor paper.

At present, I’m in South Carolina to spend some time with my parents, since my dad is having cancer-related surgery, and their spring is so much farther along. The forsythia is almost done, the azaleas are starting, pollen is everywhere, and it’s glorious. If I’m a bit less present here, though, you will know why.

Trying something new

Actually, I’m trying lots of new things these days. And getting rid of some old ones, as well.

Case in point: MY HAIR.

Me, feeling sassy as I left the salon.

Me, feeling sassy as I left the salon.

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Back in my studio

And still feeling sassy. Of course, now that I washed it, it’s back to curly.

What’s new about my haircut isn’t just that I had it cut, and then blown dry straight. It’s that I went to a new salon (literally new - it just had its grand opening last Saturday): Mystic Ginger Collective. And I treated myself to one of their special “full moon haircuts” that comes with a scalp massage of oils and extracts mixed by the owner, Kellie, and even a surprise take-home gift that brings me joy! I set an intention for my haircut, which was to get rid of all that no longer serves me. (And I didn’t just mean the tips of my hair.) And so it is. 💫✨

I’ve also been playing a bit more with creating oil pastel paintings, and I’m starting to get the hang of it, you guys. All of these are done on cold-pressed watercolor paper that is 9”x12” in size. The first one you see (left) is done using Prima Water Soluble Oil Pastels, and the other three are done using Sennelier Oil Pastels (so buttery, so creamy . . . happy sigh). I’m going to be making these guys (and any others I make tomorrow) available to my newsletter subscribers on Sunday, February 24th, for $45 each (US postage included) on a first-come, first-served basis, so if you see something you’d like to have in your house, you should probably subscribe!

My last, latest new thing is actually the decluttering of old things. Between watching Marie Kondo’s Tidying Up on Netflix (I love her so much!) and some other energy work I’ve been doing, I am back to decluttering, big-time. And my sweet Morris is on it, too. Between us, we’ve filled two of those ginormous 55-gallon trash bags, plus two smaller kitchen-sized bags, with clothing that we have thanked and decided to let go.

I can feel the energy flowing a bit more freely in the house, and I know that we are creating space for new energy and more abundance to come into our home. I’m already looking at what else is due for some decluttering, and it’s enough to keep me fairly busy for the next two weeks. It helps that we’ve been activating the qi in the house with clapping and music and light and incense, all of which are feng shui energy clearing tactics. And wow, I feel lighter. Both because of the haircut and because there is so much less stuff in my closet. Next up is accessories, followed by makeup and other face products. Wish me luck!

Coming up this weekend!

It’s a Valentine’s Pop-Up Market!

Creek Mercantile is located in Rancocas Woods.

Creek Mercantile is located in Rancocas Woods.

I am super excited to be attending this wonderful event, which will take place in the newly opened downstairs space at Creek Mercantile. Here is who else will be there: Relics Revisited, Mystical Blossoms, Creatively Obsessed, Henna by Ash, Evelyn Taylor Designs, Proud Mary Designs, Dorothy Claire, Le Petit Fox Knits, Works of Hope, Clove & Cedar, Canary Works, Willow Moon Candles, Sage Woodworks, Loriginals, Lisa Mark’s Designs, Studio 42 Jewelry, Karen Hoffman, and Hunny House Market. It’s going to be a terrific day—sunny outside, warm and friendly inside. YOU SHOULD COME!

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Hand-painted Valentines

I’ll be bringing some of these beauties along

I will also have chakra heart garlands made with positive energy and hand-painted papers, collage heart pieces in two sizes and lots of colors, tambourine art, greeting cards, and possibly a couple of larger mixed-media collage pieces. (It will depend on how much I can put in my space without it becoming too crazy!)

Celebrating with a Donation

This month, I’m focusing on celebrating. I know I’ve talked about how to celebrate the small things. And I think I’ve discussed the WHY of celebrating, at least a bit, but I want to talk about that a bit more.

Why celebrate?

Well, for one thing, it is a means of being mindful. If you remember to celebrate something—whether it’s something big like a wedding anniversary, or something small like finding your favorite brand of mustard is finally back in stock (yes, actual example from my life)—you are at that moment in the moment. And if all we have is now, and now is a celebration, well, that is a good thing.

For another, it’s a means of promoting gratitude. And as I posted back in November, gratitude helps to create abundance. And abundance may just give you more to celebrate, creating a wonderful circle of positive energy swirling about in your life, and isn’t a circle of positivity something to celebrate and be grateful for? Because just as we talk about people’s lives “spiraling out of control” or “on a downward spiral”, when they are living in chaos or negativity (which is negative energy), we can put ourselves into a happier spiral of positive energy. And it doesn’t mean you have to ignore or avoid any of the “bad” things in life; it just requires you to see and acknowledge and, yes, celebrate the good.

A Celebration Donation

This morning, I celebrated selling some art and wrote out a check to them for the Jersey Shore paintings that sold during The Most Wonderful Time event that I hosted back on December 2nd, bringing my total donations to the organization (so far) from art sales to $60. I still have two pieces left, including my favorite of the entire series, Jersey Shore #7 (I love the little penciled sandpiper footprints).

The two pieces you see above are all that remains of seven pieces I did in my Jersey Shore series. I created the series last fall after spending a lovely weekend at the shore with my husband, and in order to celebrate the creation of those pieces, I promised to donate 25% of the price to Clean Ocean Action, an organization dedicated to cleaning up the beaches in New Jersey and to protecting the shoreline by opposing offshore blasting and drilling, as well as working to reduce the amount of plastic put into the waterways in the first place.

I have to tell you that I had a happy little celebration here this morning. I smiled as I wrote out the check to Clean Ocean Action, grateful for the sales, grateful that there is money in my business’s checking account that allows me to write the check, and grateful that I am able to help such a worthy cause, even if it is a rather small donation. I smiled as I wrote a note in a pretty notecard, and sealed and addressed the envelope, and said a little “thank you” to the Universe for it all.

So yes, a donation to something you support is a form of celebration. I’m sure you make donations, whether it’s to a religious organization, a charitable organization, or a political one. And I’d encourage you to think of those as a form of celebration. And to feel the joy and gratitude of being privileged to write that check, hand over some cash, or send a donation online.

Ready to start something new

This was me in my studio the other day:

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After cleaning my studio for the event I had here back on December 2nd, I was slow getting back to work in there. But! I did make one new piece of art. Kind of. If by “new” you count “took an existing background and stamped a motto onto it as inspiration for 2019”. And since I count it, then I will go with the idea that I made a new piece of art. Here it is:

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My 2019 motto

I’m getting ready for the new year.

I posted this piece on Instagram last week and promptly sold two prints of it, plus received a request for permission to use my motto (seriously? GO FOR IT, if it speaks to you) and a request for a commissioned piece with the same motto and different colors. So now I know what my next thing is going to be. And today, the substrate for the piece arrived from Blick Art Supplies—it’s a 9”x12” basswood (aka linden) cradle board.


Is there anything as tantalizing as new art supplies?

Is there anything as tantalizing as new art supplies?

Not only am I excited about the new cradle board, but I’m excited by some new papers I’ve collected and am ready to use as collage layers in the new piece. And I bought two 5”x7” cradle boards, thinking I might make some smaller motto pieces, so if you have one you want to commission, hit me up—otherwise, I’ll just roll with my own notions.

You guys! I just have to share the love!

I don’t want to bury the lede here, so I will come out and tell you straight away that I am giving you all a holiday present this week, and it’s kind of a big deal. (Some people might even call this “a sale”.) So if that’s what you are looking for, feel free to scroll on down to that straight away to get the details.

But first, I’ma tell you why I’m giving you all a present, and it’s because I am so so grateful for all the love and support everyone has been giving my business. Yesterday was the open studio event I created, and you guys, it was totally appropriate that it was called “A Most Wonderful Time”. It was such a treat for me to have Erin from Clove & Cedar, Lisa from Natures Energy, and Rita from Jularee here yesterday, because they are super wonderful people. And also because supporting other small businesses, other makers, other women, other local businesses . . . that is super important to me. And while these wonderful women don’t fit in ANY box, they manage to tick off all those important boxes at the same time.

Rita from Jularee, Erin from Clove & Cedar, me, and Lisa from Natures Energy

Rita from Jularee, Erin from Clove & Cedar, me, and Lisa from Natures Energy

These women are seriously great. And we had so much fun, too!

My dining and living rooms were transformed to small shops, my studio was full of light and art, we have a kitchen full of snacks, the mulled cider was a huge hit (with or without spiced rum added in), and on top of that, we were joined by quite a number of lovely souls who came out on a grey drizzly day to support small, local woman-owned businesses. A massive thanks to EVERYONE who helped to make yesterday such a success, with a special thanks to my sweetheart, Morris, who kept an eye on the coffee pots and was super helpful all day. (He took that photo of the four of us, above.)

I know there were a lot of local folks who wanted to come, but had other things on their schedules for yesterday, just as I heard from lots of folks who don’t live anywhere near here, who wished they could make it.

So I have a gift for you all. I’m giving you 50% off all my collages and almost all of my paintings.

Starting today, and running until Thursday, December 5th, at midnight, all of my collages on my website are 50% off. In addition, nearly all my paintings are 50% off, so if you’ve been wanting one of them, now’s your chance to scoop them up at a serious discount! The only pieces on the Paintings page that are NOT on sale of the two remaining Jersey Shore pieces, which have always been value-priced at $48. Twenty-five percent of the price of each of the Jersey Shore pieces is donated to Clean Ocean Action, an organization dedicated to cleaning up the beaches in New Jersey—it’s my way of giving back to the shore, which inspired this series of seven original pieces.

I am just so thankful for all your love and support with my business, and this was the biggest present I could think of this year. No discount codes, coupons, or secret passwords needed . . . you get half off all my original collages and (most) paintings.

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Oh, one more thing!

A bonus gift for the first 10 customers.

The first 10 people to purchase online (whether it’s one greeting card or something more) will get one of my Christmas-themed greeting cards for free! “I saw three ships come sailing in” was inspired by a line from a Christmas carol. The original collage (available on the Collage page) features three ships, each bearing its own seasonal decoration: a wee Christmas tree, colorful shields, and a holly leaf flag.

Again, I just had to say a heartfelt THANK YOU to all of you: those who read this blog, those who came to shop yesterday, those who wanted to be here but couldn’t, those who have been cheering my small business on as it starts to get off the ground and tries to take flight. I appreciate you all so very much, and I’m so grateful!

The Most Wonderful Time: a holiday shopping party

What: A holiday shopping event that combines an open studio for my artwork with stations set up by three other vendors: Clove & Cedar, Jularee Handcrafted Jewelry, and Natures Energy. Items for sale include original artwork and greeting cards, jewelry, macramé, and pottery. And I know for a fact all four of us work to imbue our items with positive energy. (And we all accept credit cards as well as cash, by the way.)

When: Sunday, December 2nd, from 12 noon to 4 p.m.

Where: In my studio in Williamstown, NJ. Street address will be provided when you RSVP

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WHY

Because that’s the important part

Why: It’s super important to me as a female business owner to support other female-owned businesses. It’s important to me as a female maker to support other female makers. It’s important to me to shop local, to shop small, and to shop handmade. And it’s important to me to draw other female makers who are entrepreneurs together.

So when I had the idea to throw my studio open for local folks to stop by and see my artwork (and hopefully buy some stuff - let’s keep it all the way real here!), I started to calculate how many other vendors I could possibly fit inside our house without people tripping over one another, and I figured I could fit a maximum of three additional vendors inside. And with it being a December event, I didn’t want to set up my tent out back. (Though heads up: when it’s nice out, I’m totally planning on doing just that so I can have more woman-owned businesses here!)

I’m being joined by

  • my friend Rita, owner of Jularee, who makes hand-crafted chakra and gemstone jewelry (including birthstone pieces), using sterling silver, copper, and even gold-filled wire.

  • my new friend Lisa, owner of Natures Energy, who makes hand-thrown pottery pieces as well as jewelry pieces enhanced with handmade copper chain and other sustainably sourced items.

  • my new friend Erin, owned of Clove & Cedar, who makes macramé pieces that include feathers and sweet rainbows, plant hangers, and wall hangings (often incorporating natural wood elements).

We are planning on filling this space with positive energy and happy shoppers. And toward that end, we are also going to have SNACKS, because snacks are good for energy, am I right? There will be coffee, tea, and mulled cider along with the tasty nibbles. I really hope you will come. Because it’s going to be The Most Wonderful Time!

On Living an Abundant Life

Does living an abundant life mean that you have great wealth? Does it mean you have nothing but good things in your life? What do you do when real life sends you something that isn’t exactly good? Just what does an abundant life look like?

I consider my current life to be an abundant one. No great wealth, not that I’m not open to that (hear that, Universe?). And I do have good things in my life: a place to live that has running water, working heat and air conditioning, a (small but) nice kitchen with working appliances, a sweet cat, an even sweeter husband (seriously, he’s such a good guy), two wonderful daughters out living their lives.

But it’s not all good stuff here. If you’re new around here, you probably don’t know that I’m disabled (two autoimmune issues that require lots of rest and have a tendency to flare up, not just when I’m stressed, but when the weather changes, or just for kicks). My family has been dealing with cancer issues this year, since my dad was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in July. My husband’s sweet and salty cousin Sel died on the 14th, not long after I posted my last blog post about choosing abundance.

Yet while we have been grieving for Sel, and I’ve been using more pain management stuff than usual (heat, salt baths, pain meds, and CBD oil on some spots), we’ve spent more time than usual with family. The funeral, shiva, and Thanksgiving found us with Sel’s wonderful family, and seriously, they are some terrific people. Also leading abundant lives, despite their own issues.

So I guess the answer to the question of what an abundant life looks like is that it looks like anyone’s life. Because the answer depends on you and your viewpoint. If you acknowledge and celebrate the good things in your life, chances are pretty good that you’re leading an abundant life. If you prefer to focus on the things you lack (whether they are objects, cash, or people), or on the things you dislike, chances are a bit higher that you’re not living in abundance.

It’s up to you to turn it around!

Karen Salmansohn knows what’s what.

Karen Salmansohn knows what’s what.

If you are interested in more about abundance or other energy work, I hope that you will sign up for my newsletter. It goes out roughly weekly with information related to living with more positivity in your life.


Before I go, I wanted to invite you to shift your energy just a bit this holiday season by coming out to THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME: a Holiday Shopping Party, which I am hosting here in Williamstown, NJ. I am opening my studio up on Sunday, December 2nd, from 12 noon to 4 p.m., and I’ve invited three other women I know who are makers and who own their own small businesses to join me and sell their things as well. And everyone accepts cash or credit cards. So if you come out, you will not only get snacks and mix with happy people, but you’ll be shopping local, supporting woman-owned small businesses, and shopping handmade. Win-win-win!

Below is a gallery—if you click on the image below, you can cycle through and see some of the items that will be available here:

Just a hint of what you might expect to find this Sunday! If you need the street address for my studio or directions, let me know!

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.