My first book!

An empty nester finds comfort in her new Granddaughter

I finally published my first book!   I was inspired to write my book when my new Granddaughter walked into my garage and picked up my Daughter’s small watering can.  Which reminded me of when my own little girl helped me water my flowers… and got me thinking…..

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My Daughter is a senior in high school, and I am on the verge of empty nest syndrome.  Something I never even gave a thought about.  When your kids are little, you are so busy that you never give a second thought that someday they will leave and be on their own.  I took each day for granted, never thinking that one day it would end.  So here I am, helping my Daughter pick a college and feeling bad for myself.  One day my new Granddaughter visits and while we are enjoying a warm day, she goes into my garage and grabs my Daughter’s abandoned watering can.  At that moment I realized that my life had just circled around. Although my kids were grown, I still had a new little one to love and be there for.  So I started working on a book.  Thinking about the flowers we would water, and looking at pics to inspire me.

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It is my hope that my book helps other older Mom’s to realize that life goes on.  And I also hope it inspires the younger generation to enjoy flowers.  As an added bonus, maybe it will remind the younger Mother that the busy, hectic days are temporary.  And to savor them.  I wish I had such a reminder back then.  But I have learned not to be sad at my mistakes, but to learn from them.  So I hope that my book is enjoyed by many generations!  If you purchase one, please let me know what you think… I would love to hear from you!

If you are interested in purchasing my book, you can purchase it on my website.

Please click here to purchase.

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Empty nest cometh

Another summer has passed, making me wonder where the time has gone. Did I do enough with my daughter? Did we make lots of memories? Why did I not do this or that? And the answer to all these questions is, It was enough. Because it has to be. Regret is one of the worse things for me, and I tend to let it go as fast as I can. Because if I cannot change it I have to let it go. Otherwise these things will just harm me.
This summer flew by not making me think about its importance. The importance of being my daughters last summer of high school. The importance of being the last summer before college. And an almost empty nest. When I started this journey of mother hood, I never once gave a thought to my children growing up. Not once. I traveled through my daily tasks in ignorance of the sorrow I would feel once they were no longer under my roof. The daily tasks of making meals for them, clothing them, chores, blinding me, instead of savoring these moments. I was at a party the other day with a Mom going through the same feelings. She said imagine if you knew the last time you would carry your child? The last time they slept with you in fear of the night? Or the last time that they lived with you. Of course the last one is much more obvious, but the other moments pass without you knowing. And how thankful I am for that. I wish that this empty nest would also pass without me knowing…..
So this summer was bittersweet, as my Daughter is shared my studio with me. She is taking an AP art class in school, and ever the procrastinator, she had a few pieces left to do. (Thankfully not many) So instead of doing some tradition, or making a new one, we passed this milestone doing something we love together. Art.

I am passing what I can, to her, in hopes she learns, enjoys, and maybe helps her decide what she wants to do for her future. She is already feeling the pull of the easel, and the need to create. And I am working on holding onto these last moments, because if I think the first day of senior year is tough, I am going to be a true mess dropping her off to college next year. So to anyone struggling like me, I tell you that you are not alone. And that although these moments are torture, thankfully we still have them. It is like the Dr Seuss quote, Don’t cry because its over, be thankful it happened. And that is precisely what gets me through most of my life’s trials. Gratitude. How lucky am I to have my two wonderful children, so different but still so important to me. And although they may not both be living with me, they will be loved and cherished until I leave them. It is never too late to savor a moment, if you have not been. It is such an easy thing to start. And the sooner you start, the easier it will be when the time comes to let go……..because you have those moments to be grateful for.
Photo is of my daughter at my easel. 🙂

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Sunflower fields and Plein Air Painting

creating beautiful, personalized centerpieces for any celebration.

I am not a fan of plein air painting…. there I said it.  It is very hard to do for me.  I typically get a rough painting on the canvas, let it dry overnight, then work on the painting till its done.  Unfortunately if you keep mixing paint, you end up with what artists refer to as “mud”.  So moving wet paint around a canvas can be pretty difficult for me.  So Plein air has always been daunting.  Nevermind lugging all your equipment, dealing with the elements, and being on display while you paint.  All tough for me!

But it looks like the universe was giving me a push this year! My daughter is starting an AP art class for her senior year, and on her list of things to do this summer is paint plein air. Plein Air painting would be a much different experience with my daughter. So we packed up our art supplies and headed to a local farm that has stunning sunflower fields.

If you have not painted plein air, one tip I have always found helpful was to cut the canvas shape out on a piece of paper, and use it to frame your painting.  So helpful!

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After picking her view, my daughter sat down at her easel to paint, and I immediately was inspired.  Why not paint my daughter?

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I did what I could at the site, and will add a few more details once it dries.  Overall it was a great painting day, with only a few casualties of bugs flying into my painting.  So if you are an artist, and thinking about painting Plein Air, I encourage you to try!  It is always great to step out of your comfort zone, and I certainly did today!

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If you would like to see these sunflower fields, there is a festival this weekend, July 20-21st.  It is located at Buttonwoods Farm, off of Rte 165 in Griswold.  They sell bouquets of sunflowers, and the proceeds go to the Make a wish foundation.  As an added bonus they also sell delicious ice cream!  So if you are local to Griswold, Ct, you should make the trip!

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Easy Peasy Photo Centerpieces

creating beautiful, personalized centerpieces for any celebration.

I am at the age where aldone-5ot of my family and dearest friends are celebrating their 25th wedding anniversaries.  I am one that has celebrated this milestone too!  My cousin and her hubby are the latest lovebirds celebrating, and a surprise 25th was planned for them, and I volunteered to create the centerpieces.  Shortly after I volunteered this, I got nervous, wondering what the heck was I thinking?  I always do this to myself, volunteer, then worry about if I can do it…. well I am happy to report I did it, and I am very happy with the result!

I wanted something with their photo, to make it more personalized.  Plus some of the guests had not been at original wedding, and I thought it would be cool to see photos from actual wedding.  So I contacted the Moms of the lovebirds, and got lots of wedding photos.  I scanned these wedding photos in, and then looked for something to put them on.

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I luckily found some lovely glass jars at Christmas Tree shops.  They were perfect!  They had that country look, but also had a large flat side which would be perfect for a photo!

I then asked on a wonderful face book group called Image Transfer Artists, for some advice on how to get a photo on these jars.  They had lots of suggestions, but I went with the one that was to use transparent stickers then apply them to the jars.  I ordered them from Amazon, and then used Photoshop to make them to the size of the squares on the jars. I put one on a jar to try it, and it was very transparent.  Like stained glass.  So I decided to paint the rectangle white, so it had a background.  This worked perfectly!  I also recommend printing them out and letting them sit to dry overnight. Or more.  They take a while to dry.  And some still seemed tacky to the touch.  I have to add you have to be very careful, as they do also scratch easily.

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Once applied I decided they needed a spray of sealer. So I took a piece of thick clear plastic, cut out a rectangle the same size as photo,  and taped it to side of jar, and sprayed.

Now came the hardest part!  What to put in them……  I wanted to do fresh flowers, but did not realize you had to order them pretty early. So I had missed the boat on that sadly.  I visited a local grocery store, who told me to come back on Thursday as that’s when they would have a fresh delivery.  In the meantime, I needed some painting supplies at Michaels, so my daughter and I stopped in at our local store.  And there were some pretty bouquets, artificial on sale for 60% off.  Jackpot!!flowers2

My daughter and I picked through and got the exact number of bouquets we would need, with a few extra.  What a deal…. now I would not have to worry about what variety of fresh flowers were at store, or if they would bloom in time, or how they would look.  Instead, I would have a pretty centerpiece that would last forever, not need water and not wilt.  Thank you Michaels.  My daughter and I took each bouquet apart, removed tags and placed them in each jar.  Then we positioned them, cut ends so they fit jar nicely, added an extra flower if needed, then wrapped them with some twine or a ribbon.  Once they were done, we dropped them into jar.  So now no one had to worry about rearranging them.

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Below is the finished product! I am happy to report they weree a big hit with everyone.  On our way home, I told my hubby how I was happy everyone liked them.  And he replied that he was not surprised as everything I create always comes out well.

Isn’t he a keeper?

 

 

Hope this inspires you to create something as well!

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Reaching an epiphany

Most artists struggle with comparing themselves to other artists.  I try hard not to do this, as it can be very damaging.  It can even make you avoid painting.  I enjoy reading and living by quotes, and one of my favorites is one by Theodore Roosevelt.Thief of joy

That quote is so true!  When I am working on a painting, I will sometimes look at other paintings to see how other’s have created their art.  And I always wish that my art would look more like theirs.  Today though I thought more about that wish, and realized that maybe I don’t want my art to look more like theirs…. maybe I want it to look different.  Like the style I have.  I have heard my art described as whimsical, and I think that is a good thing. Especially when you want your art to be an escape and to make people happy.

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So maybe I should embrace my whimsical interpretation.  I have always liked being different, and I think it finally sunk in today, that I should enjoy my interpretation, and listen to Teddy Roosevelt.  And enjoy my colorful art, rather than compare myself to others.  As usual, I find that this lesson also should relate to my life as well, and I should not compare myself to others. I feel as though the older I get, every day life’s experiences and podcasts I listen to are enlightening me.   So please take my little epiphany today and learn from it as well.  Don’t compare yourself to that person that seems to have it all, or is thinner than you.  Or has more than you.  Because as Teddy says, “Comparison is the thief of joy”.  I for one will be embracing my whimsical side, and enjoying being different. And I hope you enjoy it as well!

 

What the interior designers don’t tell you….

reality in decorating your home

We all do it… we watch the beautiful decorating shows on tv, look at the stunning magazines, and walk into furniture stores and see the beautiful way the designers have decorated.  Everything looks so perfect, gorgeous and not realistic at all.  Why do you say that, you ask?  Because the items they decorate with are all generic, and similar.  They don’t take into account that you have lots of items that are sentimental, lovely and not at all stylish.  So how do you incorporate these wonderful items with today’s decorating styles?  I do it as much as I can in my home, and wanted to share my own hutch.

We purchased a lovely hutch a few years ago from Jordan’s furniture.  Oh how lovely it looked in the showroom.  All white dishes, with a few similar items, tied in with yellow flowers throughout.  Just lovely.  And unrealistic!  It sold me anyways, and we purchased the new hutch.  Then I got it home and struggled to make it work.  And struggled.  I finally think I got it, and wanted to share with you.  Instead of getting rid of all my lovely sentimental items, I grouped them together.

Yes I realize it looks a bit cluttered.  And it proved my point how their styling is unrealistic.  How many of us live with items from stores perfectly styled?  Most of us have knick knacs, inherited items, gifts and most importantly, items from our family that we cannot just hide away.  So I kept them arranged this way, but put them on the ends of my hutch, so they are not center stage.  I put a bunch of farmhouse styled items in the middle, to take center stage.  As shown below.

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And I think this worked in my new hutch.  But honestly, even if it does not work, I am fine with that.  Because they are all beloved items, which make me happy to see, rather than generic ones to make my hutch look stylish.  This means much more to me.

So below is my personally styled hutch.  With items from my parents, grandmothers, children, hubby, sister, and friends.  And that means so much more to me.  It may not be featured on a decorating show, but it takes first place in my home.  I hope this gave you some ideas as well!

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Hello my name is Misspelled……

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Growing up with an unusual name wasn’t easy. I can’t tell you how many times it has been mispronounced and misspelled, and still is. I absolutely hated it.
My mother found my name while watching the Alfred Hitchcock movie, Marnie. She loved Sean Connery, enjoyed the movie, and wanted something different. And she got it. But I longed for an ordinary name. One that I would find in stores, where they sold name plates, signs, hair barrettes or any one of the tons of accessories with names on them. I would always eagerly look for my name. I did find it two times. Once was a roll of stickers with rainbows, and then the other was a name plate for a room, which is still on my bedroom door at my parents house.

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I remember winning an art contest at a local church one time. I eagerly waited to see who had won, and heard that “Mamie Reynolds” was the winner. I was so disappointed! Lucky Mamie. A few minutes later I found out that I was the winner, as they had mispronounced my name.  And so it began…..
I remember asking my Mom to change my name, and her reply was to do it when I was an adult. Go to court and pick something else out, she would say. Life went on and I started to realize it was nice to have a different name. One that not many others had. I liked being different. And I was thankful my Mom had picked it. I called her out of the blue one day and thanked her for picking such an unusual name. That I loved it and was happy with it. She was shocked, laughed, and was happy that I had called. I am so thankful that I did that, as I am very grateful. So grateful to sign such a unique name to my art. And its all due to her. Thanks Mom!marnie.jpg

A few years ago a few other Marnie’s put together a facebook page called Marnie Squared.  They worked hard to join Marnie’s of all spellings together. You see not only is Marnie an unusual name, it has tons of spellings. Some are like mine with “ie” at the end, some are just an “I” and some end in a “Y”, or even an “E”. I am now friends with 172 Marnie’s. Which took some getting used to… as when I opened my news feed I would see updates from Marnie and wonder what I had posted, or done! Now I do not panic! And if I come across a new Marnie, I friend request her, and she accepts. It is like the Harley motorcyclists that wave every time they see another rider. If your name is Marnie, of any spelling, you are accepted. We post misspellings that people do, and even have our own hashtag, #thingsonlymarniesunderstand. After being a single Marnie my whole life, I am now in a community of them, and love it. Thanks to Marnie Kay, and Marnie Grundman for getting us all together!   As for the Shakespeare quote “”A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”, but it would not be as different!  Here’s to being unique!

The art of embracing Failure

Who determines what failure is? How is it determined? When it is determined? I recently had a conversation with a family member who had packed their family up, moved across the country, following a dream. We were, and are so proud of them for chasing a dream. Even if it seems to have stalled at the moment. Speaking with them, reminded me of my own dream. And how difficult it can be. For every success, there is doubt and frustration that follows. Through these struggles, I find quotes very comforting. After my talk with my cousins, I came across a quote I had saved from an artist that I follow online. She is a southern artist, named Mary Gilkerson. Mary has a wonderful, bold brushstroke style, with tons of color. She makes videos with tips, and has a lovely southern drawl while speaking. I am telling you all about her because she said something that has stuck with me. What she said is “Failure is your First attempt”

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Almost every new discovery, new record holder or great work of art started with failure. And if they gave up, we would not have the medicines we have, cars, phones, art, I could go on, but I think you get the picture. Artists, business owners, musicians, and anyone else that take chances, improve our world. So its not a bad thing to put yourself out there and take a chance. And if you do fail, remember Mary’s words…. It is your first attempt.

To see Mary’s work please click here

 

 

 

 

 

Painting Challenge Finis!

The painting challenge is done, and I am thankful.  It is not easy having something to post everyday.  Especially the size that I did for most of the challenge.  It was recommended that we do smaller paintings, or studies.  I think I will try to do more of those next time!  Problem is, I am enjoying painting on larger canvases!  I used to be intimidated by their size, but now I enjoy it!

Today we post a collage of all of our art posted through the challenge. Here is mine!

I hope you enjoyed seeing my art each day.  I would love to hear what you thought!

Thanks always for following my page!

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Painting Challenge Day 23

Day 24- Lit up for the holiday…. inspired by a photo my brother sent me that he took on his way to work one morning. I loved the pic, but was nervous to paint it. How to make it look like lights? and the background was just a dark night… so I thought about it and decided some Christmas trees for a background might do the trick. Then I added a visitor hopping by……. this will eventually be for sale in my etsy shoppe. Happy Monday!

 

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The art of creating a digital image

Being an artist in today’s world, means that most of us need digital images for submissions, or what have you, online.  I recently came across another artist struggling to create  digital images, and I remembered how I struggled as well.

A lot of artists use a camera, and that is fine too, but I favor a scanner.  It really creates a nice image, so nice that I am able to submit my art to a licensing company and have it published.  So you can be reassured that I have experience with digital images.

First off, I scan all my images on a Canon Scanner Mark 3000.  I shopped around to try to get a scanner with the largest screen, knowing my paintings are not document size.  That is not an easy thing to find, especially within a budget.  I settled on the Canon scanner, and have honestly been thrilled with it.  It works great!!! (I do not have the large screen, so that is why I learned to “stitch” them together)

First you need to scan your painting.  I have seen artists take the top of the scanner, build a light box, and scan their art.  Genius!  But you need the room to do this, and also the correct scanner.  My scanner does not work without the top, so this was not an option for me.

  1.  Hook scanner up and place dried painting face down on the scanner. Wet paintings give a glare from the shine of being wet, and do not scan well.  How do I know?  Lots of experience……  If your scanner has a cover, its not going to close all the way because of the painting.  So you will need to get something to cover the whole setup.  Otherwise you end up with scans that have different lighting.  Please see pic of my scanning setup.

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The above pic shows painting face down on scanner.  Lid will not close, so you need to put something over scanner and painting.

 

Photo Mar 30, 8 48 37 AMI use an old, dark tablecloth to cover mine.  I had to put something heavy on painting to hold it in place, so I grabbed what was handy, which was the vase you see in photo.

2.  When scanning painting, you have to do sections at a time, so try to notice what area you have done. Overlapping is a good thing.  And make sure the painting is lined up nicely to edges of scanner.  If it is crooked, it will be a nightmare later stitching them together.  I use the software that came with my scanner.  There are usually a few settings, so you may have to play with them a bit, to get an image that looks like your art.  Sometimes the colors can be off, so please get these settings correct before scanning, it will save you a lot of heartbreak.

3.  Once they are all scanned, open Adobe Photoshop.  I use Elements, as this software can get a bit pricey, and elements has all of what I need. Once photoshop is open, please go to File—–New—-Blank File.  This is what I put in:

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I make a large file, so it all fits.  I later crop it to a smaller size.  This may not work for everyone, I am not a teacher, just an artist sharing my knowledge.

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So, as you see from image above, I have my two scanned images open, as well as the file I am going to paste them into.  Here is where you would rotate the file if needed, so it comes in correctly when pasted into new document.  If you notice, at the top of my image there is a white area with paint spots.  All the times I was not patient, and painting was wet, left paint on scanner.  Don’t worry about the edges being off at this point, we will crop image later.

4.  Now that files are open, go into one of the image files and hit Select—–All.  You should see the image border get highlighted with a dashed line.  Then go to Edit——Copy.  What you have done is copied image to be inserted.

5. Now toggle over to Untitled, or the document that you created in the first steps. Hit Edit—–Paste.  The image will be in your document.  Do the same for all the images that you have scanned.  Copy and paste them into your document. When you are done, it will look like you have only one image, as they usually insert into the same spot as the first.

inserted.jpg6.  Above is what your screen should look like.  This is where I now crop a bit so I do not have such a large image to work with.  Go to the crop tool, and click on it, then go around the images.

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crop2.jpgOnce the file is cropped, and smaller, now is a good time to save the file.  Go to File—–save as—- and save it.

7.  Next I use the “move” tool to move the images off one another.

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8.  Once you can see them both, I then click on one of them in the layer section, and make it transparent. 60 -70% is usually a good percentage.

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9.  The next part is to zoom in, so you can see the brush strokes.  Once they are close sometimes Adobe will do it for you.  I like to make sure, and zoom in very tight, and do it myself.  See how well they are fitting?

move2.jpg10.   Next thing is to go back to layer, and put transparency back to 100.  Once that is done, you will see there is a definitive line.  See it circled? overlap2.jpg11.  To get rid of that line we are going to use the select command. On the bottom of the screen you will see there is a feather option.  You MUST change this to 23 or so.  This softens the edges, and will make that edge go away.

12.  Once you put 23 in, go to the image and select along that line as shown.select3.jpg

13.  Right click with your mouse after creating selection, to get the pop up menu.  Hit Layer Via cut.  Go the layer you made, and right click.  Delete it.  The line will disappear.

14.  Merge your layers so you have one layer. (Right click on layer)

15.  Save image as jpeg.  Next you should edit the image for brightness, color, and fix any other imperfections.  Then save again.  Voila! You have created a stitched together image!

 

Good luck!

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Painting Challenge Day 10

Day 10 was inspired by my facebook friend Gerald’s pic.  He had a friend that had this pretty wreath on their door, and a bird had made a nest in it.  What could be more lovely?  To have a pretty wreath and have a bird make a home in it.  Of course I could not resist it, so here it is in a painting.

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This painting is 12″ square, and is available in my etsy shoppe.  For more info, please click here.

Painting Challenge Day 4

a fairytale village by the sea inspires many artists, including me.

Day 4 painting is another one inspired by my trip to California.  We were lucky to visit Carmel by the sea, and I wish I could have stayed a week!  It was the prettiest little town I have ever visited.  Flowers were everywhere, and the air was scented with them.  I truly felt as though I had died and went to heaven.  There are even real life fairy houses here!  A local man started building little ones, and someone suggested he make life size ones, so he did!  There are about 20 of them.  They are not easy to find, but I was lucky to find a few……

 

But back to my painting…. we did not have reservations, and visited quite a few hotels in the area to find a room.  (We had reserved a house in Yosemite, but our reservation was cancelled due to forest fires)  This fence was near a Best Western I believe.  Either way, I loved the contrast of the flowers to the green fence, and hope you do too! And if you ever are lucky enough to be near Carmel, make sure to spend some time there….You won’t regret it!  I am hoping to go back one day….

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This painting is 20″ wide by 16″ tall, and is available in my etsy shoppe.  For more info, please click here.

Painting Challenge Day 2

inspired by the beauty of Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay

Day 2 is a painting that I have painted before and wanted to do again.  That does not happen often!  But sometimes I like to see how I have improved, or it is just an image that I really enjoyed painting.  Maybe it is just a beautiful image, or maybe it reminds me of somewhere I have been.  Both are the case with this one!  This is Disney’s private beautiful island, Castaway Cay. Which I have been extremely lucky to have visited twice!  This is not a scene that everyone sees, so not everyone may recognize it.  Its along a path that we rode bikes on, that leads to Serenity Bay.  The adults only beach on the island.  My favorite color, as many of you know, is pink, so of course I was mesmerized by this sight.

So here is day two! Painting is available in my etsy shoppe for anyone interested.  Please click here to see purchasing info.

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Painting Challenge-Day 1

Sometimes change is a good thing….

The painting challenge has arrived!  I will do my best to have a painting posted every day for 30 days.  Which is no easy task.  Sometimes paintings just fly off my brush and other times they are quite stubborn.

This floral painting was inspired by my recent trip to California.  A trip that I planned for almost a year that was changed because of the wildfires.  But I always think that change is good, and it certainly turned our trip into an adventure.  We saw lots of things we were not expecting to see.  Once of which was the town of Cambria.  From eclectic little shops, delicious restaurants, art, and scenic vistas, this town had it all.  And it was so much cooler here!  Which was very welcome after traveling through temps of 115d.  Yes, you read that right!

We stayed right along Moonstone Beach, and I saw one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen.  As we would say in our home, “Most Impressive”.  These are taken in the same spot as the sun was going down……  One of the other guests said we were lucky to see it, as the other nights had been foggy.  Lucky indeed!

 

 

Back to the painting!  I am sorry for the diversion, I just fell in love with California, and had to share its beauty.

Before you reach this beautiful beach, there is a little town with restaurants, shops and a little historical museum.  And that is where I saw these glorious flowers.

 

 

I saw the car sitting there, and decided to change it to my Dad’s Model A.  I thought it fit right in, and I hope you do too!

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This painting is 20″ tall by 16″ wide, and is available in my etsy shoppe.  Hope you enjoyed reading about what inspires a painting.

Please click here for info to purchase  Blooming fence in Cambria

Visiting Disneyland for the first time

It has been a dream of mine to visit Disneyland to see where it all began.  When I spoke with people, very often I was told how disappointed I would be.  Its much smaller was what I heard, or does not compare to Florida. Hardly a positive comment ever.  But I did not change my mind, and kept my plans to visit.

I was lucky to visit this summer, and even luckier to visit on my birthday!  What a present!

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Anytime I enter a park I always get goosebumps at my first view of the castle, and this was no exception.  But it was definitely different… seeing a pink castle at the end of Main Street!  But there was no disappointment.  Only excitement that I was finally visiting the park where it all began.

I had done research on things and rides that I should not miss, so I did my best to see it all!  The park was not officially open yet, so people were lined up at the end of Main Street.  So we took this time to look around.  We found the “Test Wall” where legend has it Walt tried different bricks out.  If you are facing the castle, its the little side street to the right off of Main Street.

If you look at the photo, you will see a few different styles of bricks.

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I found the park to be a bit smaller that the Florida Magic Kingdom, but I liked the cozier feel.  The feeling of the smaller walkways, and mature plantings over the paths.  I especially loved the teacups.  Especially at night with the glowing lanterns.

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I also loved the walk through Sleeping Beauty area in the castle.  It was  nice to see something other than an expensive restaurant within the castle.  That is one of my favorite Disney Tales, so I could be a little biased….

But seriously how could you be disappointed with this sight? I know I certainly was not.

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There are also some rides at this park not in Florida.  Such as Mr. Toads wild ride, Pinocchio, Snow Whites Scary Adventures, and the Matterhorn to mention just a few.  Its a Small World has never been a favorite of mine, but I actually enjoyed this version.  Its a more grand display at this park, and has its own versions of Disney Characters throughout the ride.

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Another thing you must see is the Fire Department building.  At first it seems like an ordinary building, until you know the symbolism.  Walt and his wife had an apartment on the second floor, and legend has it that when he was in residence, the light would be on.  So the light is left on in tribute.  I loved seeing this in person.  It seemed surreal to me, to be in the park where it all began, and to walk in his footsteps.

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Overall I loved my visit to the original park.  Yes, it was different from Florida and yes it was smaller.  But it made all of that up with its unique rides, and nostalgic features.  Being an artist I thought of this as Walt’s first try.  Whenever an artist creates, they are always striving to make changes and get better with their future work.  You learn from mistakes, and successes.  I can only imagine the parks that Walt would have created had he been around longer.  I think that the company has done well without him, but you have to wonder how different the Parks would have been had he been here to direct them.  We will never know, but I am thankful that someone took over the reigns and did their best, as the Disney Park legacy is a wonderful one.  One that I enjoy visiting with my family, and keep going back.  Because I love the creativity, the escapism that they provide. Thank you Walt!

The art of heirlooms

In the midst of cleaning my cellar, I found another project to do….. I came across a bag of handkerchiefs crocheted by my Great Grandmother Antonia. This would be the same Grandma you hear me refer to when I mention the silver I use at all family gatherings. She loved to crochet, and crocheted many, many handkerchiefs that she gave to family, or sold for a small fee. She even sent one to the White House!!! Yes, you read that correctly. She thought Mamie Eisenhower would enjoy one for her inaugural ball, so she sent her one, with a note. Mamie sent a nice note back, and it actually has her signature. Being pack rats, we actually have the original letter, and an article written in the paper about the handkerchiefs going to the White House.

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But back to my project….. the handkerchiefs were always bright colors, and very dainty. Seeing them today made me think of her, and also to think of what to do with them. Carrying handkerchiefs is not as popular as it was in the past, and even so, I have so many! So I visited Pinterest for inspiration, and decided I will make them into a table runner.  I took the handkerchiefs and arranged them various ways till I was happy with a layout.  Then I measured how long the design was, and cut a fabric I had gotten at a local store to the length needed.  I ironed the edges to make a nice straight line for easier sewing.

Once the background runner was done, I pinned the handkerchiefs the way I wanted them sewed.  I carefully stitched them along the lace, but not through it.  This way if someone decides to take it apart in the future, it will be easier to keep them intact.

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The final runner is a mixture of the handkerchiefs my Grandma made, on a pretty fabric background.  I also saved a few handkerchiefs for future generations to use at weddings.  I think my Grandmother would be pleased with the final product and happy that I am using them.  And remembering her.  Thanks Grandma!

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Below is Great Grandma and her husband Charles, at their 50th Wedding Anniversary.

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Getting Crafty….

Easily create a personalized gift for someone you love.

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I celebrated my 25th Anniversary in May and had no idea what to get my hubby.  He is not easy to buy for, but is quite sentimental.  So I perused the internet got some ideas, and came up with a shadow box with photos and music lyrics.  He is a huge fan of music, so I thought of some of the songs played at our wedding, and his other favorites.  Now that I knew what I wanted to do, I just had to create it!

First thing to do was go shopping…..  You will need a shadow box and scrapbook papers. I chose scrapbook papers that were patterns that went well in my home, and were not too bright. Once home, I then looked at shadow box to see how many hearts would fit, and the size they should be.  I measured the shadow box, and made marks with chalk, where the hearts should go.

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I then made a heart graphic in powerpoint, a size that would fit nicely within shadow box. I copied them throughout the file, and then printed them on the backside of the printed paper, so they would be easy to cut out.

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Next I decided on what lyrics, and photos I should add.  I added a Doors song, “Blue Sunday” that my hubby loves, and some Led Zeppelin songs that we both love.  I added a few photos that I had edited in Photoshop, to a more muted tone, and printed it on one sheet of card stock.

Once all my hearts were printed, and cut out, I put them together in three’s varying patterns, and set them on the shadow box backing.

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Once they were all in place, I folded them, so each one could be seen a bit.  Then I glued them to the backing, with a hot glue gun.  I then put the shadow box back together, and Voila! I had a personalized gift for my hubby that he loved!

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The Art of Traditions

an old car becomes part of many weddings

 

photo-may-19-9-23-01-am.jpgMeet our family’s wedding car. A tradition started 25 years ago exactly today.    This is a 1929 Model A Ford,  which cost about $500 new.  This particular car has a “manufactured on” date of April 16th, 1929, which sounds like an ordinary day, till you read further…..

But lets start at the beginning….my father purchased the car in 1960, when he was a young man of 18 years old.  His father was a small engine repair man and my father had followed his footsteps, but his love was for cars.  He purchased the car with the intent of restoring it.  In our family we get attached to our vehicles, and have a hard time parting with them.   But back to the wedding car……

My parents were married in the spring of 1966.  My great Grandmother Antonia, baked and decorated the wedding cake, and then realized there was no way to get it to my parents wedding reception.  My Dad thought of his Model A, which had a seat that lifted up leaving a nice area to fit the cake.  Little did it know, but it was becoming the wedding car that day.  I wish I had pics of the car and my parents but sadly I do not.

My Dad restored the car in the 1970’s and I can still remember nights spent in the garage wet sanding the fenders with my Dad.  I still love the smell of body filler!  While restoring it my Dad saw the date that the car was created, stamped on the gas tank.  April 16, 1929.  If you remember that was my parents wedding day, but in 1966.  Isn’t that something?

Then I met my future husband in 1985, got engaged in 1992, and started my wedding plans.  I decided to use it to arrive at my wedding on May 29th of 1993.  And this was the first of many trips to church for this pretty car.

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Then my brothers used it in their weddings…. Yes I am an only child, but I don’t think of myself as one…. its a long story, but I will paraphrase for you. When I was 5 years old, we had a family move in next door with 3 boys.  That family became my second family, the boys my brothers, and the parents, my second set.  It has not changed over the years, and never will.

Below is my brother Ricky’s wedding to his wife Sharon, in September of 1993.  Their daughter Katie, is the first of the second generation to use it, and to continue the tradition.

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Below is my brother Rob, with his wife Kersti, in a beautiful photo taken by Guy Grube, at the Public House in Sturbridge, Mass.  Below that are more pics of my brothers, two Dads, and the car on their wedding day.

 

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Slowik Wedding 1995

My cousin Christine with her husband Troy at their wedding,  in 1994.  Ironically the newer limo broke down at their wedding, but the old Ford was dependable as ever.

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Thetreault wedding, June 1994

And onto the latest wedding…. Katie is the first one of the next generation to use the Model A.  Below is my niece Katie at her wedding  earlier this May. The father of the bride is holding the umbrella, and Mom is with her in the back.   (Photos below taken by Stephanie Gallow)

It is a wonderful thing to have a tradition like this…. and even more wonderful to see the next generation use it.  While at Katie’s wedding another couple came up and asked to have their photo taken with the car.  They had also used the car at their wedding over 25 years ago!

 

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The Gray’s with the Wedding car

Recently one of my brothers mentioned that all the couples that had used the car are still happily married.  In fact, I am celebrating 25 years today, and my brothers are doing the same later this year, and next year!  So I am hoping and wishing that my niece has the same luck!

Congrats Adam & Katie! Love you more!

 

 

 

 

The art of meeting again

I grew up the daughter of a mechanic, and both of my parents enjoyed cars.  So its not a surprise that I love them as well.  Growing up it was normal to see a car in my Dad’s garage in various states of repair.  One of these cars was a 1929 Model A that he had since he was 18, and restored while I was growing up.

This car was a big part of my childhood, and it was only natural to use it to travel to the church for my wedding.  Then other family members used it, and it became a tradition.

 

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my daughter many moons ago…..

 

A few years ago my Dad sold it to a family member.  He had not been using it much, and we thought our cousin would enjoy it, which he did.  Sadly our cousin Ray passed away a few months ago, and my Dad decided to purchase it back.  While it was gone, I continued to paint it, and you probably saw it in many paintings.  I missed it, and the sight of it always made me think of happy memories.  So imagine my happiness seeing it return to my Dad’s garage, and see my Dad and son tinkering on it.

 

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getting spruced up for a May Wedding

 

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A simpler engine from simpler times

 

 

I am excited to also say that another family member is using it in a wedding, so it has come home just  in time!  The tradition continues and in May this reliable Ford will be reassuming its duties once again!  Taking the bride to the church, and making more memories for the next generation of our family.

 

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One of the many paintings I have done of our family Model A.

 

The Art of being grateful

I am a positive person. But the last few years have tested me sorely. My mother passed away, my husband was in a serious car accident requiring two surgeries, my father had open heart surgery, a surprise, but very welcome grandchild, and more that I don’t care to share. Throughout all of this, my daughter had a recurring health issue with her heart. She has a misfiring called SVT, which does not sound like a big deal, but it can be terrifying when they are active in sports. She has been a trooper for years, taking meds, and learning tricks to try to get out of the bad rhythm. Also dealing with people that don’t understand or care that she is having an issue. The cure for this condition is meds or an ablation. An ablation is when they burn the heart to change the misfiring of the heart. (I am sure there is a longer explanation, but I am going with simple) There is a 95% success rate with ablations, but sadly we were in the 5%, and we were scared to do another ablation. A very bad stress test woke us up to the dangers of this heart condition and we decided to try again. Luckily, I love my daughter’s Doctors. My faith in them helped me to support my daughter to go through it again. I am happy to say she had ablation on Tuesday, and it looks like so far it is a success.

I went to say good night to her last night, and she had a huge smile. I asked if everything was ok, and she said she was happy to have a normal heart. The point of my post is that I am grateful. Because through all of it, I realize it could be worse, and I choose to focus on the good. So although my posts are generally positive, I suffer through trials too! If you are going through a tough time, stay strong as the bad times do pass, and it makes you appreciate the good times even more. We are celebrating in our home this week and enjoying that my daughter may be finally cured. Needless to say, I have been spending time with her this week, as she is resting, but I will be painting again soon!

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Is the glass half full or half empty?   I choose half full……

It costs how much?

explaining the cost of art

One of the things I truly dislike about being an artist is telling potential buyers how much my art costs.  I am often glad that I am hidden behind my computer screen.  This being said I wanted to explain why art directly from an artist costs more.

  1. We are not mass producing our art.  Yes, you can go to Kohl’s, target or an online store and buy art much cheaper.  But when you do this you are purchasing something mass produced.  Something that is not unique.  Something that millions of other people have in their home.  Stores can sell their art so cheap because they buy in bulk.
  2. Art supplies are not cheap.  Big box stores get discounts on their ink and other materials.  I watch for sales on canvases at my local art store, and purchase my paint online.  I try to offer options other than framing, to help with cost, but overall my supplies are very costly.
  3. Shipping isn’t really free.  I put in a reasonable amount in the price, but if I sell across the country, I lose money.  Yes, I could make shipping a line item, but how many purchases do you make when you have to pay for shipping?  I skip items that charge for shipping too!
  4. Time…. I don’t even calculate this.  Some times a painting flies off my brush, and then there are times that I am pulling my hair out.

How do I come up with my prices?

I use a formula given to me years ago.  Then I tweak it to make it more reasonable.  I try to keep the same prices for each size, as how would you feel if you hear that others got your same painting for much less?

I do sell some older paintings at a reduced rate…..sometimes its about it getting the right home.  Usually if they don’t sell, I paint over them.  But some paintings I just can’t bring myself to paint over, so I wait patiently for its owner to claim it. I do also offer other options, such as prints for those that really love a piece but just can’t afford it.

So the next time you see a painting for more than you expected, I hope you will remember the reasons behind it.  And if you decide to purchase the painting, you will be making an artist very happy.  It takes a lot to create, and continue trying to create.

And think of how you would feel if someone came to your job and offered you less for your work. Or scoffed at you.  This is my job.  I am trying to pay for my supplies, and make a living.  Not get rich, but make a living doing something I love.

Thank you to those that understand and purchase art for their home.

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The art of brush strokes

Brush strokes within a painting create art

Have you ever studied a painting?  I am sure you have looked at a painting…. but have you ever looked close at the brush strokes that created the painting?  Probably not.  I am not finding fault, I did not look myself, before I started painting.  But now I certainly do.  Because from afar you are just enjoying the painting, and maybe don’t realize the work that went into creating that painting.

Let’s think about how that painting was created.  An artist picked up a brush, dipped it in paint, and swirled it onto a canvas.  Sometimes they used a large brush to cover more of the canvas, and sometimes they used a smaller brush for detail.  No matter what the size of the brush, it was an implement to get the paint on the canvas.

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a closeup of some flowers.

While the artist used that brush, she also stepped back from the canvas, to see what it looked like overall.  To see how the brush strokes blended.  If they were creating what the artist intended. Because up close the strokes don’t always look like much.

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a closeup of some shrubs

So hopefully you now realize that it is a little harder than it looks.  Sometimes it works well, and sometimes we have to start over.  Either way, its a wonderful thing to create, and I am so thankful that I get to work these brushstrokes to create art.

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Overall painting with areas shown above, available in my etsy  shoppe

 

 

Day 30 of 30 in 30- Finis!

Day 30-  I finished one day early.   Its not that easy having a painting to post daily, and I ran out! I always start these paintings with tons of ideas, and some just don’t work out.  Or I just am not ready to share them yet as I am still working on some.  My favorite paintings were the view from the Poly, because it reminded me of a wonderful trip I took home, and the dress shoppe.  And there were some more favorites, as I paint what I love, so why wouldn’t most be my favorites?

I hope you enjoyed following me through another challenge!  Next one is in the fall.  Until then, I will be painting as often as I can, as I believe in the old saying “practice makes perfect!

 

If you have a minute, please let me know what painting you liked the most.  Thanks to anyone that takes the time to do so!

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To see other art in the challenge, please click here

To visit my etsy shoppe please click here