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Happy Place of Escape

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How to find your Happy Place?

Finding a way to salve your soul, to give you a respite from the tensions of the daily life is a way to survive. A way to make certain that you heal and take care of your mental state.

There are many ways to take care of yourself; get rest, take care of others, exercise, eat well, keep in touch with friends and family- and find a way to enjoy the beauty around you. A garden, blooming lilacs, watching children ride a bike, the sunlight on the lake, the warm wind on the beach. All things that take us into a place where lightness elevates our inner selves.

Finding Happy in art is a perfect way to be.

Of course art is the perfect place to find the Happy Place.  Being aware of how colours and story  can make you feel plays a role in elevating your mood. Finding a happy place puts a moment of lightness in your mind and gives you an escape.

Colours have been found influence us particularly; Blue makes you feel safe and relaxed.Yellow makes you feel happy and spontaneous. Red makes you feel passionate and energized. Pink makes you feel playful and romantic.

Surround yourself with colours so that you are reminded of a another space.  A happy place.

In the piece highlighted, called Dream Lady, the blue brings an inviting place full of life and colours. This is a calm, meditative space that has a playful quality. Flowers and music are embedded and brings a touch of love and romance to the image. A couple kissing, inspired by a vintage comics from the 1950s, brings the story of love to this city. So many pieces which combine to create a Happy Place of escape.

Art is your constant companion.

Use art to make you feel calm. This is an easy solution. As it is not a screen (phone, computer, tv) it is always there. To be seen in a moment, glanced at as you walk into the door, looked at the first thing in the morning. So many ways it can remind you of peace, of story, of another place and time that is full of happy.

 

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Dreaming and Art Can Help

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Dreaming is like Art- it takes you Away

Art can help you escape. It is a way that we can be in a place that is not in the present. For many this time has been challenging, drawn out and challenging our patience. The Great Pause has also placed a pause on the ability to plan.

Looking forward to an event, a place to visit, a family gathering are ways that we look forward. Without this, there is a stillness, a sense that a paralysis has happened and there is no life. So how to combat this? How to step aside from the effect of a Pandemic Nightmare?  In fact there has been research that notes that dreaming enables us to manage crisis situations. That dreaming and sleep enable us the tools to withstand stress.

It’s the Little Things that have to be Marked

However dreaming still doesn’t answer to the need to look forward to something. So how do we deal with this?

Perhaps it is the little things in life that marks a moment. The cup of coffee in the morning, the sitting in the sun, the end of the day and being with your family or partner reviewing the good that happened that day. Little things that reminds you of the positive. It may not be a way to look forward to but it is a way to mark a moment and enjoy.

Dreaming is a way of survival of a time when events cannot be planned. Creating art with these dreams plays a role in this as well. The little bubbles of life, stories, emotion, movement that a piece of art brings a moment of joy. A moment of respite from darkness. A conscious way to be in a place that takes us away from not being able to look forward.

How Art can Help

The painting highlighted is such an example- an image that takes your mind and allows you to escape. To be in a place that takes your imagination to another level. Titled Sun of my Smile, this piece was inspired by an old  postcard of a motel. Doesn’t it take you to a place by the pool hanging out and enjoying a day of being? Of soaking the sun, sharing time with others, and waiting for a Pina Colada? Embedded within the piece are phrases from the poem Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou. Phrases that speak to withstanding adversity. Being able to say to yourself that you can make it through the day.

 

 

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Time to find your joy.

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Your Home is your Place for Delight.

Is it time to find your joy? What delight are you finding in your home? What are the things around you that is bringing you pleasure? A comfortable chair, an old photo of your family, or looking out the window with the greening of the outside from the burst of the spring. These things can have a great impact on your psyche.

The concept that the tangible object- the soft pink blanket that you wrap around yourself to escape the day, the vase of fresh tulips on your dining room table with its call to spring, or the painting you look at everyday are intangible objects that give us a sensation of escape, or enjoyment.

There is a deep desire for a moment of rapture- a glimmer of the lightness and beauty in an item around you. Not necesarily “happiness” which can be defined as how we feel about our work, the people in our lives or the meaning we may embed into our daily life. Joy is more of a moment. A flash of the good. The focus upon a brief second of pleasure.

Register the Sad to find the Joy

Most importantly, recognizing the depth of sadness, frustration and loss in our times of today is part of this. However, by doing so, does not mean that the grasping onto the beauty of a moment is irrelevant. There is a contrast. Understand the feelings of sadness, and take this in stride in order to search for the moment of pleasure.

As the time of The Great Pause continues, there is an avoidance of  reality. A sense of being numb to the news, the avoidance of connecting to reality seems to be happening the longer this continues. However, numbness also denies the celebration of  beauty. As Spring blooms, the birds are chirping, the sun is shining and the air feels warm. Registering this is a form of healing. A place in which our  mind goes into a space of a high. Savouring the beauty, understanding that there are short moments of sadness, and then there are the highs of enjoying the beauty. Both experiences are part of maintaining a balance.

Gratification makes us more Resilient

By understanding this balance we become more resilient. Registering the moments of gratitude, and joy, gives us a deeper engagement and meaning to the events today. By knowing this, we are enabling ourselves, and gives us the permission to enjoy the good that surrounds us.

And of course, to see a way to celebrate the good have a look at my online store on my website!

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Brighten Someone’s Day

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Think Beyond Yourself

How do we brighten someone’s day as we progress through The Great Pause? During this time we are reminded of the essentials of life. Family, friends, safety, kindness and freedom.  We are reminded that we must have the ability to step outside of our own plans and be in the moment. To trust that the future will return.

There is a great sense of loss, on so many levels. For so many,  this loss becomes about ourselves.  Although, the phrase “we are all in it together” has become somewhat trite- yet it speaks to the sense that loss has been shared by everyone. The question becomes how to combat this “woe is me” feeling. To step outside of the personal grieving of loss and empathize that there are others who are struggling as well.

Your Mother helps Your Sanity

The journey to find the end of this dreary time is the challenge. How do we equip ourselves to keep going on a daily basis? How do we get up everyday and step into some time of routine. How do we find the space where we can contribute to the healing and stopping of the Pause?

For me, my lifeline has  been my mother. Her voice at the other end of the phone, or to see her face on the screen, has been a calming influence. She has “brightened someone’s day” by just being a calm voice. Just by asking if I am OK.

As a mother myself, I have taken this sensation of calmness and tried to share it with my son and daughter who are both dealing with the anxiety and uncertainty of today. Just by saying it is going to be ok. We will get through these times. This will pass. Be angry, be sad, but be aware that life will return. Words that must be repeated and understood to keep the journey going.

These little moments of sharing is really what it is about. Step outside of yourself and brighten someone’s day.

The journey has included the making of the home as a place of perfection. Baking cakes, hanging out, are pieces where time is shared and peace seems to prevail. They also brighten someone’s day as there is a moment of distraction. A moment of escape.

Dream and life will Return

As an artist, mother and creator of visual stories, I have seen my contribution as not only one who maintains some kind of stability, in a time of chaos, but also to give people the channel to dream.

To dream of a time of freedom, to dream of escape, of happiness, of being in a place that we share the optimism and light. All pieces that will be pervasive again.

The glimmer of light is there. It just takes a moment to reach out and brighten it. To remind them that life will be good again and the sense of loss will evaporate.

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Power of Original Art

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The power of original art is everywhere.

We are surrounded by an enormous amount of imagery everyday. Images through social media, tv, streaming, news  all seem to blend into our minds. So what stands out? What makes an impression upon us? The power of original art is to make you stop, look and think.

When you look towards original art you should stop.  Think that these are One of a kind pieces of art that had time and thought put into it to create it. Remember that the image you are looking out was made out of NOTHING.  A person took a tool, and used a surface and made something from nothing. And what they made was about something. It had a statement about your life. It’s purpose was to register a moment that you take for granted. In many ways, artists are visual philosophers. They stop time and translate it into a visual moment. So stop the scrolling and register.

This moment is put in front of you and you are made to register.

As a viewer, and consumer of this imagery, you look at it. You think “what is this image and how does it relate to you”. On a broader scale what does this art say about the trends in our culture.  If it’s a piece about nature, the use of color, the brushwork, the technique capture the light and image. If it’s a figure, there is sense of  person, the story and the identity.

This is where my work exists. It sits in the realm of creating a story about the people in our life and world. They may have come from the past, but their influence is still existent in the present. Whether it is an image from an old family photo, or an image from an iconic figure that is well known, then the story evolves to relate to who we are today. The beauty and elegance of Audrey Hepburn inspires us. The iconic power of Marilyn Monroe is transformed into our own persception of female empowerment.

Slow down and stop. Be Mindful of what you look at.

The highlighting of this creative moment makes you stop and register. That is what I am trying to make you do. To slow down and absorb.

In our daily life of the saturation of images we just dismiss. We don’t stop. We just consume. We scroll past and not think about the time, the idea and what the image says about you at this time.

 

 

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Is your Children’s Art enough?

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Children’s art in your home does not help your children.

Can your home just have your children’s art? Is it enough to hang the naive, lovely, personal pieces of art that your kids make in your home?

A few weeks ago I was invited to a beautiful home in Seattle. The people who lived here had two middle school aged children and I was a guest for dinner. Their home was on Lake Washington with a spectacular view. Modern lines, big open walls and tastefully furnished. They had a fireplace with a big empty wall. There was a couch with a big empty wall. No art. I asked the reason as to why they didn’t have art in their home. The woman said she hangs her childrens art upstairs. She only decorates her main floor with seasonal decor. She was very proud of her children’s art which I thought was wonderful. However, since this conversation I have been thinking as to why she does not see the negative effect of not having art made by professional artists in her home.

Teach your children the value of creativity.

This maybe controversial, but just using your children’s art may in fact do damage to your children. I know what you are thinking- that this is a ridiculous statement. But it stands to reason. We learn by imitating. Being exposed to new ideas, new creativity and then incorporating it into our homes teaches us big ideas. Children look. They may be dismissive and walk by the art you have with a lack of engagement and understanding, but in reality your kids see.

They see the art on the walls as a validation of creativity. They see the stories, the thoughtfulness of your selection. They see the different uses of materials. They understand the sophistication of thought which is far developed from their own. As a parent, you can speak to the reasons why you like it, what it says to you. How it reminds you of a part of your life and outlook. Small pieces of information that go into the bucket of reasoning when your child makes their artwork, or writes their stories and essays. It therefore makes them think of bigger ideas than their own.

Make their world bigger

So with this perspective, it stands to reason that hanging your child’s art is great self esteem builder, it may actually make their world a little bit smaller. It gives them a narrower view.

So take a risk- buy a piece of art that speaks to a deeper, mature voice. It will enhance your world, and it will make your children’s art better in the long run. 

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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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