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

 

 

 

 

 

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 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.