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Surround Yourself with the Good

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Surround yourself with the Good

What does this mean? The “good” is the positive energy we get when we look or experience the positive. How do we introduce the positive into our life? We surround ourselves with good people. Mentors who tell us that we Can Do It. Most importantly we should make our environment enable us to have hope. That’s where  my Art comes in. Surround yourself with the good things of  the lightness of colour, the ideas of generosity, the beauty of the image into your home.  All things that inspire our view. All things that reminds us, on a daily basis, that life is Good.

As life throws us challenges we are often in a place of discouragement. The pushing through to activate and make things happen takes on more effort. The voice in our mind that “it’s just not worth the energy” to keep going is constantly there. How do you battle the negative? How do you push away these thoughts that there is no point to keep pushing? Discouragement is a motivator of inaction. If you just sit on the couch and not engage then nothing will happen. Your life is one of action so it is imperative that you create a life that is full and rewarding.

Build a connection to What Makes you Happy

Certainly activating change takes energy. You must first identify what is lacking in your life. I often go through my days, like a hamster, just producing and making things. At the end of the day, I summarize my list and look at what was finished. This makes me happy. Being a self employed creative person means that self discipline is a cornerstone piece of mental health. When I delay and procrastinate I have guilt. The feeling that I failed. So to avoid this, I have to make certain I look at my list and just check something off.

However, this does not address deep happiness. The stuff when you are hanging out with your partner and having a laugh. The stuff when you drive your teenager to school and have a moment of being let into her life with a funny story about a friend. Little things that I register in a moment. The things we take for granted. That taking the time to share a moment will reward us to be happier.

How Your Home Makes you Happy

My work brings clients that share personal stories. I have had several clients who want my work to remind them to be strong, to be active in their change in their life, and most importantly, to improve their happiness. Consequently, they see that they need change and my Art draws them to this need. This type of visualization is the key. Above all these clients look at my paintings and it brings them a moment of where they want to be. To be positive, to be resilient and to be satisfied.

In the painting highlighted, titled Into The Daybreak, the woman cycling is full of life. She rides into a world full of energy, hope and love. These small details of beauty creates an image that makes the viewer stop and register. That’s what is important. Look at your Art so you can  judge whether it inspires you. If it doesn’t then maybe it’s time for a change.

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Enjoy the Everyday Sounds of Life

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Sounds of everyday life can be taken for granted.

When my daughter was young, she would wake up everyday with a song. Singing in her childlike voice I would listen as I wake up and revel in this moment of happiness. Just to stop and listen. The other day I asked  my 14 year old daughter if she still wakes up with a song in her head. Yes she said. There is always a tune in her head. She dances through her life. The sounds of everyday life permeate her world and she registers this moment.

In fact, when she was younger, she would dance after dinner. Everyday. At home and when we went out for dinner. I called it the Dinner and Show time which was an inspiration for a whole series of pieces that focused on dance.  My daughter doesn’t dance after dinner anymore, because the music is still within her.

I don’t wake up with a song in my head. I wake up with a list of things to do. Not that this is a bad thing, but I have to remind myself to stop and enjoy life a bit more. Like my daughter.

Melody in Language can be Art

Recently I listened to an interview with the musician Meklit Hadero who finds melody in everyday language. The composing of music from language, repetition of sounds to make a song takes the everyday and makes it into art. But then that is the role of the artist- to highlight the taken for granted and elevate it. To walk into the ordinary and create a  piece that makes you stop, listen and look.

Designing Joy into your Home

Most importantly, this concept of registering the beauty of everyday relates to the healing power of beauty. Our homes, our places of refuge,  are the places that we retreat to and recharge. To ignore this place does not help you move forward in your life. In other words, it heals and gives you the strength to keep going. Yet the sounds of everyday life can take us into the pleasure of unnoticed.

Importance of the Circle

In the post by Ingrid Fetell who speaks to how joy can be designed into our surroundings, she speaks about how our homes and workplaces have to have a conscious awareness of healing and comfort. She highlights how the circle plays a major role in this design.

What does the circle do? How is it powerful? Many of my clients question my use of the circle and my repetition of this element in my work. I have always responded that I use circles as a way to elevate the feeling of the piece. However, this use goes much deeper. In fact, as Ingrid states,the circle has a psychological healing piece to it. It creates balance, a sense of wholeness and comfort. Sharp angles, rectangles and squares, have more of a sense of discomfort. Not surprising that this is the case. There really isn’t anything like polka dots.

Painting with Circles

In the highlighted painting titled Floating Fragrance, the use of circles is repeated in the structure of the piece. The end result is the sensation of these women walking on air. The repetition of the ladies, in a pop art style, gives a contemporary vision of a cityscape. Layers and the ephemeral light makes this piece full of life.

In conclusion, the goal is to look and listen at your world. Stop and look at a painting in your home. Listen to laughter and music and be aware of how it feels. Above all, register the joy that surrounds you daily!

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Buying a Gift of Art

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Buying a Gift of Art

Actually I find that buying gifts is challenging. So this time of year can bring on the grumps.

In the last couple of years I have asked my teenage daughter to just send me the link of what she wants for Christmas. This is the time of year that this process begins. My text messages start to fill up with the Black Friday sales. I proceed, as a well trained dog, to buy the gifts online. As a result, this leaves me with a degree of emptiness. There was no hunt. I didn’t debate what I thought of this gift.

I just bought the stuff to make her happy.

This is where the issue begins. Buying a gift, and giving this gift, says something about you. It says something about the giver and the receiver. In other words, buying a gift of art gives the biggest message.

Art can remind us of others

With holidays around the corner, I have been cleaning out my house. Throwing out stuff that I just don’t need. I came across a small painting of a landscape that my father painted the beginning of his career. (Yes, my father was an artist).  It stopped me in my tracks and it reminded me of him before he died.  This painting brought him back to me for a few minutes.

Like an old photo found in a box, this painting brought back memories. But it is better than an old photo. It tells a story that can be shared with others. Art does this. It is a piece of memorabilia that has a universal message.

My husband looked at this small piece of art that represented by father and it gave him a different message. A pretty little landscape that was painted in 1969. It is an innocent lovely moment and it was a  message that my husband saw loud and clear.

Buying a gift of art shows who you are!

Isn’t this the point of having art in your home? Imagine what it would be like to buy a piece of art for your family, your friends or even for yourself? This piece of art reminds you of who you are because it reminds you of your friendship, or of your father, mother or siblings. So look at art as the gift that keeps on giving because it reminds you of life, the stories and the memories that make your relationships important.

Most importantly, it gives the message of yourself which is the most important piece of the gift.

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Choose to bring the Joy in your Life

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It is Your Choice to be Happy

Choosing the joy in life can come in many ways. It can come from walking your dog in the morning as the sun comes up. It can come from just sitting at a cafe and enjoying the last few moments of warmth and sunshine before the winter descends upon us.  It can come from having dinner with your partner after a tough day.  Or similarly, it can come from going to the Theatre and absorbing a moment of beautiful classical music by the symphony. Most importantly,  it can come from looking at beautiful piece of art in your home that impresses upon you the celebration of the moment.  Art reminds us of the beauty- the moments that last briefly but can imprint upon our minds indefinitely.

Art reminds us of the Joy

Many who look at my work are engaged with the celebration of the Joy.  This is due to the fact that people walk into my booth at an art fair and remark on the stories that I create as part of my work. Yet every story is about the positive. The looking toward the brightness of the day. The place you can walk into and revel in the colour, the patterns and the beauty. In the piece highlighted titled “She Walks on Pink Roses” a story is created about a cool day watching the world go by. The flowers are embedded in the figure and give the story a place of softness and comfort. A place to remind us to be in the moment and enjoy the day.

Counter the Negative

For a long time I thought that this type of work was too sentimental. That it had a shallowness that we see in our pop culture. Well I no longer feel this. In fact, I see my art as a counter point to the negative. We seem to now live in a culture full of the negative. Certainly there is an overwhelming amount of combative and the critical debate. Of course for social change to happen we need the critical.  We need the empowered and the fearless to step forward. I am the first to support these actions. Yet what are the effects on our psyche?  How do you insulate yourself from this?

Choose the Joy! I know this may sound trite. In fact, it is not. Most noteworthy, surrounding yourself, and engaging with art that is beautiful,  makes us happier. In fact, studies have found  “that looking at a work of art can actually have the same psychological effect as the euphoric experience of romantic love.” Now don’t we all want to feel that romantic high? Above all we want the sense that “joy” is part of our daily life. It may comes at less of an impact with a piece of art that you look at daily. Or it may remind you, when you least expect it, that life is  good. 

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Home is a Place of Renewal

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Renewal of the Home and Feng Shui

Your home should be a place or renewal and regeneration. The question becomes how? How does the design and flow of your home take you into a place of the positive. The theory of Feng Shui delves into this theory through the use of colour, symbols and placement of the interior elements to make a healthy happy place.

Creating Balance through art and colour.

In the article about the Feng Shui Use of Art, the author delves into the themes of imagery and symbols that creates and enhance the story of the room. For example, the introduction of feminine elements through the use of light colours, light fabrics and patterns.  The theory creates an outlook that emphasizes a happy energy into our space. It is all about health, balance and harmony.

There are five elements in the Feng Shui theory- fire, earth, water, wood and metal. Colours that range from the blue/ green delve into serenity of water to the red/yellows that bring in the theme of love. Symbols, colour and placement of furniture creates a flow of a home. The framework helps guide you to select the pieces of Art, furniture, colours and approach to creating a space that renews us.

Art is the Story and the Symbol of visualizing.

In the piece highlighted titled Life is Like a Song, the theme of the piece is about love and the colours emanate the celebration and intensity of the story of the piece. This piece, if hanging in your home, would attract love and celebrates the connections you either have or would like to have in your home. In fact, this piece was recently sold to a client who wanted Love in her life. She only had images of single women in her home. So by introducing the story of Love and the actual representation of this couple, enabled her to visualize how she would like to change her life.

How does Art play a role in this theory of Feng Shui? Choosing art can be challenging, but if you have a few decision guiding principles, then the final choice can be easier. Check out my Online Store  and see the options!

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Commission a Painting and Preserve a Memory

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Commissioning a painting creates a family heirloom.

Commissioning a painting from me preserves a special memory. The client often realizes the importance of their family, and the experiences they had as they were growing up. The question becomes how do they represent these past moments?  Of course, a wall of photos or a mantel piece with special images recalls memories. But does this give them an emotional sensation that can be read by those who haven’t been there?

By selecting special photos clients are being proactive in preserving fleeting moments of their past. The result? Anyone who was not part of the “memory” can experience the identity and moment cherished by the one who commissioned it. A family hierloom is created and can be passed down through the generations.

Memory recall is also a “creative re-imagination”

Summer has always been my favourite time of year because of its preciousness. Since being a child I have celebrated this season and tried to create memories that will be with me for a lifetime. I am an avid sailor, as is my family,  and our time on the water are moments that I try to imprint upon my mind. In fact, through my life I have taken moments and consciously imprinted them. So I can revisit them. But this isn’t enough.

In fact, studies have shown that every time a memory is recalled the event changes. In the article titled The Human Memory, the act of remembering changes the event. Different contexts are added to the memory and new information gets incorporated into the original memory. One way to register the fleeting moments is by commissioning a piece of art that uses materials and images from family experiences and adventures.

Preciousness of memories can be preserved with a commission.

As an artist, I have the ability to create, interpret and preserve a memory of a precious time. As our children, or alternatively our parents age, there is a loss of what was.   Collecting old photos of my young children takes me into the time when their world was full of discovery and adventure. Compiling these pieces I look back at these memories and remind my self of the moment.

Collage of photos can recreate a special memory of family.

In the piece highlighted, Fun Adventures, there is a collage of old photos found in a family albums. The placement of these images together with a focus point upon one image of the two sisters puts the life of these girls in a context. A piece that reminds us of their journey together. The found photos are of children posing and the car reminds us of the family vacations. Each piece of this painting puts together a story that was momentary and beautiful.

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Storytelling with a Painting

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Telling a story with a Single Image

Storytelling with a painting, a static image, can be challenging. How is it possible to create an image that tells the different sides to the story? Recently I came upon a quote by the Jean Renoir, the son of the impressionist painter Pierre August Renoir. He stated that only a painter could “find the relationship between eternity and the instant, between the world and the soul”. In effect, he believed that film could never express a single vision.

Storytelling in a moment in Time

Positioning a moment in time, and how that moment would look visually, and reinterpreting this moment to the viewer has always been an interest of mine. Suspending a moment that is full of its colour and its energy can be translated in a variety of ways. The use of media and process, the use of colour and brush work, the use of pattern and repetition all creates a sense of meaning for the viewer. It is up to the viewer to look at the piece and feel the sensation of the moment. Trusting the abstraction of the image and what it connotes creates the meaning for the viewer.  Looking at the series of pieces in my collection, every piece tries to create meaning through the use of layers of collage and paint.

Perfection Spied and the Meaning within this Painting

The highlighted painting, Perfection Spied, is a perfect example of how a painting/collage can create a fun spin about body image and relationships. This piece blends together an impressionist style of the girls hanging by the pool looking distractedly at the body builder in the distance. The man, pumped up, was taken from a classic film titled Muscle Beach (1957) He is an image, a cartoon image, of masculinity. Setting him within this painting, in a realistic manner, disrupts the viewing. It is unexpected. This brings the image into another space then a predictive impressionist painting. The most interesting piece of this painting is this- the lack of predicting and the disruption of the story as it is being gathered by the viewer’s eye.

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The Meaning of what I Make

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The meaning of what I make?

Often there is a question about the meaning of what I make. What is the message and how does it relate to the viewer’s world? My work has a self evident message with the use of nostalgic imagery.  As seen in the painting highlighted titled Turn It On, this images brings to mind a fun party atmosphere with flowered paper, patterns and light colours. It seems to be self evident in that I work with found images from mid century resources and rework them into stories about our present world. Seems simple. However, when I create pieces I often think how the colour, the patterns, the transparency of materials also convey meaning. There is a deeper meaning. One that you don’t realize is part of the work at first, then it seems to become more important.

Message of materials

At times I use fabric patterns- the tissue paper with map making lines and text of Butterick printed on it. People who look at it have a moment of thinking about their childhood and how their mother sewed their clothing. It is a use of time that many no longer do. Yet when the painting is looked at- the message seems to change. It isn’t about a street in Paris. It is about the materials that make this image. In the painting Parisian Love Letter, there are handwritten letters, book pages from a romantic french novel and fabric patterns that layer onto the surface. Each piece builds the story about romance that the pop cultural image of the couple emanates. Each piece brings in the viewers alternate reality and experience. It has a depth of meaning that is not seen at first. It just builds as the viewer takes in the different pieces of materials.

Teaching the message of Art

This past week, as I was about to participate in the Cottonwood Art Festival in Dallas TX, I volunteered to present a demonstration of my work to a group of middle school kids. I realized as I was speaking that many create images without really thinking about the bigger picture. Media literacy is an important piece of education. The understanding how images convey meaning in a variety of ways is critical in being able to be a person who can critically think about their surroundings. Art plays a role in this. Imagery relates to advertising which in turn can relate to manipulation of reality. Things that we need to understand to get to the truth.

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Finding Her Voice

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Finding Her Voice

Sometimes a painting such as the piece highlighted titled Still I Rise, inspires a collective reaction of celebration and empowerment.  Finding her voice is a goal that every woman has. There is an assumption that with the #metoo movement women are allowed to speak and to stand up, but I don’t think this is the case. In fact, there are many messages that young teenage girls receive that say that they just aren’t good enough. That their voice, with its brightness and loudness, is not acceptable.

Awareness of the Subtle Messages

For the past eight years, my daughter has played hockey. This sport is not based upon the construction beauty, or how they look, but on the initiative and motivation on the ice. Two traits that I try to teach my daughter. I expected that the coaches would promote these values along with the respect that girls need to be able to express themselves. The value of being able to speak, to be themselves is especially important as young women enter into early teens. The ability to express their power, in turn, makes for a girl to withstand intimidation either from school, friends and eventually the workplace. But what do you do when your daughter is in a situation that does not allow her to speak? That she must be quiet, to accept and allow the Coach on the team to bully and be intimidating. The reason for not speaking? She is accused of being a trouble maker. Watching your daughter struggle with the personalities of fellow players, and the Coach staff was difficult. At the end of the season, we left with the knowledge that we both tried to assert ourselves and still enjoy the game. We both knew that this sport did more damage than not.

A Painting that Reminds Us Of Freedom.

Painting images that have an empowered sensibility reminds us that the images we have around us are important. In an article by J. Francis Davis titled “Power of Images: Creating the Myths of Our  Time”, stated that “myths are the ideas and stories that motivate daily behaviour.” Myths comes from images and if we surround ourselves with images that state it is Right to be Free then that in turn makes us stronger.

It is important to keep affirming that a young teenage girl has the right to speak up. For me, this painting and the group of pieces that I have created in my Women Series strikes at the core of being a woman- one who has the right to speak and be herself.

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How the power of Art can Change your Life

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Can the power of art change your life?  Can art change the world? It’s a question that many have asked and answered. Art, in its many forms, can reveal the power that we can acquire through the engagement and understanding of the stories behind art. For this reason, just filling a space in the wall with an image that has no meaning to you undervalues the power and impact that art can have. In fact, the power comes from you taking the risk to surround yourself with Art that inspires you, makes you feel the power that art can have.

“Art does not show people what to do, yet engaging with a good work of art can connect you to your senses, body, and mind. It can make the world felt. And this felt feeling may spur thinking, engagement, and even action.”

No one wants an empty life. A life lacking in colour, in drama and in story. This time of year can be a time of paralysis. Winter descends and the cold tightens its grip. Hibernation seems to be the best alternative. This is where the power of art becomes integral to moving forward. Dreaming of another time and place is integral to survival. And survival is where this year has began.

It’s a New Year, a new time;

The past few months have been a time that the relationships of power between men and women have been revealed. Movies, live  theatre, literary and the music industry have all revealed that women are stating their case and choosing to be heard. Whether it’s in the media, or on the Golden Globes red carpet, it has been female artists that have taken the lead to state their cases. The art they have made, the stories they tell, all come together to collectively state that 2018 is not a year of tolerance of sexist power structures. I  believe I heard it state that this was a “tectonic” shift. Perhaps it is. Time will tell if there are changes.

Paintings that tell the story of the New Year;

There are times that I create art that sets a clear truth, a story of women together, walking, striding to the same goal of recognition.  The Empowered Series is an integral part of my artistic vision. The painting highlighted is titled “Greatest Show”. This painting uses the glamorous Pan Am stewardesses as the point of departure. Women who were elegant and at the forefront of the professional definition of women’s work life. Yet there is a sarcastic twist to this image. A target practice image is set in the back ground with the text ‘greatest show’- which is from the circus promotion from Barnum and Bailey. These women walk with strength. But will they achieve their goal? I have been a feminist my entire adult life. I have yet to see equality, safety and respect for women. There is an expectation of a lesser accomplishments and stepping up is good. But will it be enough?

 

 

 

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