December 23, 2015

Christmas. and a little SALE on one piece.











Christmas gets crazy because so many people are trying to show their love appropriately. 

I think that is amazing really. 





There is so much complaining about how wild it gets. and busy. 

But it can be exactly what you want it to be. 

The pressure is self-applied. 







My mom and I had too much to do this week, but we realized we were in the same area of town and got lunch. 
 it took an hour to get our food. We lamazed through the wait. HAHAHA. We had to laugh. 
We considered it a Christmas intervention. 

Being together. 



In the same spirit, social media is always looking like CHEER TOWN USA. but I don't think it is hypocrisy at all. 
Some people get very jaded and it annoys them. 

Not me. 


I see all of that as hope. 

It is what people want, even if they don't have everything completely perfect right now. 


No one ever will. 



But we can have moments of insane joy and thankfulness and love. 

So showing that is fine by me. 

I see it as good. 



________________________________________


I am very thankful for a lot of things in my life right now. 

I am also easily overcome with the reality of obstacles and the work that needs to happen. 





But right now there is a dog in the studio. So, if you see a picture of him on social media it doesn't mean everything is perfect. 
It means everything is perfect right at that very moment. 




Merry Christmas. 


I will be waiting for this little angel of a niece. 












December 18, 2015

Also. I painted a bee.





Also. I painted a bee.





and that is the title. 

10" x 10"
$275.00
oil on canvas
SOLD



____________________________________________________

December 17, 2015

In the midst of a wild winter.




In the midst of a wild winter. 




Winter Bluebird. SOLD
12" x 12" 
$360.00
oil on canvas



little bluebird detail.






Winter Cardinal. SOLD
12" x 12" 
$360.00
oil on canvas



 little cardinal detail.







the sparkly winter lights come on earlier. 




December 11, 2015

There is so much feeling while we are here.




Things are so much bigger than we realize. 

There is such a gravity to these moments that we feel on our own 
little tiny level. 


our personal islands aren't islands at all. 

They are connected to everyone around us. 




I am thankful. 


I am thankful that I am exposed to how big things are. how amazing things can be. 

and with that comes feeling the other things too. 





How painful things can be. how dark things can seem. 



Sometimes that gets me into trouble. Usually it does. 

I feel other people's pain too much. 
And not in a super honorable way... sometimes almost the opposite. I apply it to myself. 

I hear you. and then I too am in your place. 

I have to shake it. 



But I don't know that it's really bad either. 


It is who I am. 


Feeling makes me who I am and usually it pushes me to love people and make things. 
but with every superpower comes some challenges.

__________________________________________________



In classes I teach lately we are talking about acceptance. 

Which includes accepting yourself. 

Myself. 


Ourselves. 



It is so easy to write off cheesy expressions. beautiful flowery words. sad song lyrics.  

But they often mean very real things. and someone like me probably wrote them down. 

Someone with a lot of feelings. 



We don't know what to do with all of them. 

Maybe that is why I collect jars and glasses. Maybe I am trying to find places to put all of the things I hold onto. 

___________


Most of them I like. Most all of them I love.
some of them I need to put down.

I LOVE that I carry my dad with me. I love that I could cry in one second when I think of how wonderful he was and is (inside me). and how much I wish he were here. 
sometimes I could just throw something across the room at how permanent death is. How that moment of loss goes by, but then some of us feel it forever. just like the first day. 

I LOVE that my friend's sick baby is on my heart. Heavy. Because it connects us more genuinely. Because it connects me as a friend to her and Because it reminds me that God is in control and we are forced to fly so we should fly Together. 

I LOVE that I feel crazy full working with people who have different abilities. That it makes my heart beat fast. And it also makes me want to cry because when my insides are full... those feelings have to shoot out somehow. and I haven't figured out how to shoot rainbows out of my eyeballs yet. 


________________________________________


The work I am doing in school is humbling. 
It is challenging and sometimes gives me migraines. 

maybe balancing school and work and life is the hard part. 

especially since the work I am doing in school directly relates to what I care about. It all feels very important. 

When I am exhausted, I am the most open to experiencing love from the people around me. 

I think I hugged my co-teacher the other day way past a normal length of time. and then I collapsed onto her like I was 7. And it was like. mmmmmmm. I am so cared for. 




Life is strange.


The rocky parts and the raw parts. 

There is so much feeling while we are here. 

I am doing a lot of that. 

but there are also so many opportunities to be better. 


That part, I am trying to do. 
To tie accepting little bows around all of the things. but to put some away.






There is so much feeling while we are here. 
$ 715.00 
2' x 2' oil on canvas
















_______________________________________________________________________


December 4, 2015

November 11, 2015

Life happens









I always start blog posts after long breaks with some comment about how I have been away. Then I erase those comments because that stuff is annoying and doesn't matter/ is uninteresting. 

HOWEVER. 

This time I am not going to go back and erase all this. Part lazy and part- 
I CANNOT HIDE. I HAVE NOT WRITTEN IN SO LONG. 

sometimes things take a back seat.
 and if it isn't due tomorrow, it takes a back seat. 
no matter what it is. 

except that does not apply to WHO it is. 

People always trump things

So I spend time with my people. because it is the most important thing. 

in the world. ever. 




My dad used to ask me to sit on the porch and look up at the sky when I was on my way somewhere. And I did not always do it. In fact. I probably rarely did. 

So. I am forever going by that now.  

SITTING with people IS A PRIORITY. 









This post
feels like you can see my floor covered with laundry on it and the spider web that is directly to the left of me
under my vanity. 

SPIDERS ARE FRIENDS. and it was just Halloween so.






Why am I on the floor? Because it is after midnight and I had a project due at midnight which involved video taping myself and for some reason I get the best results sitting on the floor and placing my laptop on a bucket. 

(I am back in school to become an American Sign Language Interpreter) 

One of the only subjects that requires you to not turn into a pumpkin late at night because you are visible in your homework.

I just reapplied makeup at 11:45pm because there was a zit on my chin distracting from my work. 


______________________________________



Halloween just happened and I spent more time on my new niece's costume than my own because she was just born
 and hung the moon. 

Since she worked so hard to put a giant star in the night time sky,
I made her Alice in Wonderland outfit. 

















Best part about my sewing is the inside of it. There may as well be a village of tiny gnomes holding the garment together. BUT. 

LOOK AT HER.












_______________________________________


And I did dress up. of course.
Donatello and Raphael.











made me wish I was a ninja more days out of the year.





__________________________________________




oh,
I have been painting.








Those people who are imaginative see many more dangers than perhaps exist; certainly many more than will happen; but then they must also pray to be given that extra courage to carry this far-reaching imagination. 

title is a Winston Churchill quote. 
2' x 2' oil on canvas $785.00
SOLD















__________________________________________



I am also heavily consumed by LIVE ART classes. HAPPILY. 

I genuinely love that job. and the students. 
Also I am busy with MILK RIVER ARTS. more about that soon. but here one of the artists talks about why ....

CLICK HERE FOR HER THOUGHTS

I walked around a museum with this artist last week where she said over and over that she could look at art 24/7. and when she sat in front of pictures she went "inside" of them. 

I was inspired a lot last week. 


And challenged.  


I am constantly challenged by experiences in class and in the studio that change how I think. how I act. and how I appreciate life. 

It sounds cheesy if you weren't there. But, if you were, you would be like... mmmm. 

Yeah. 

_________________


I am focused more on connecting with human beings.
When I remember my priorities.




I work with a population of people in many different aspects of life who face different challenges.

and by challenges I mean, they communicate differently, they have different physical needs, etc.



I also cannot always talk directly about specific people I work with which makes it hard to explain how powerful things are some days.

That is the only reason I want to share everything. Because the people I work with are fantastic.


____________________


 I work with an artist who has no arms and legs.

And if that sentence doesn't move you to a different place in your mind right now, then go back and read it again. 

I say that because he is faced with the opportunity to overcome a challenge almost every minute. 

and that challenge often is patience. because when I am pushing him around to look at art, I am constantly asking him what he wants to do and where he wants to go and how long he wants to be there. 

So, patience... with me!

But man. He is a talented artist with more patience than many people I know. And, that shows in his line work and his rhythmic style.

His work is detailed and crisp.


And


Last weekend I was drumming on a bucket in a class that I get to teach with on Saturday. And I was smiling the entire time to the maximum amount of smile I have in me. 

12 students at a time were drumming while the rest of the class danced. 

For a second we were all totally consumed in the moment.
And that is hard for young students to do.

but they do it.

_________________________________


And school for me is at night during the week.

It is overwhelming because it is fast moving and it is challenging. 

But I feel like it is the right place for me.

Uncomfortable feels normal at this point.

And I like wearing a backpack.

___________________________________________________



today. I had a lot due and I stopped by my friend's house.
And I stayed a lot longer than I planned. 

And that was on my to do list. 

I just didn't know it yet.

Sometimes you need to connect. and support each other.
just by being around.

Most people are fighting something pretty significant.

and time is precious.


________________________________________






_____________________________________________


So 1 am can just simmer down.





October 9, 2015

LIFE IS CRAZY. alice in wonderland. and THINGS ARE TURNING BLUE.



My best friend went on a date with Jafar. 

No really. 



We worked at Disney World and she met him at the bus stop. 


I think she went out with him maybe two times. Because. 

HE WAS JAFAR.

but

LIFE IS HYSTERICAL. 

and things that are super surreal happen if you let them. 

or maybe some of us attract crazy. I dont know. 



I try to.


_______________________________________________________________



Lately things have felt very full. In a really good way.
and also
in a sleep-till-1-middle-schooler-tired kind of way.









_______________________________________________________________


I went to Roanoke VA. for a conference on placemaking.

It is a thing you guys.  Making places.


CITYWORKS (x)po 2015 was basically a series of talks back to back for three days.

There was a violinist that captivated me on the last morning and I thought... How do I end up at these places?

____________________________


I was eating homemade doughnuts by a man who placed every one of them
carefully
on the table in the back.



And I had coffee and some fruit and was listening to the violin guy talk about creating an orchestra for students who may never have this kind of opportunity.

He got on a plane. one way. and figured out his calling.

Got it. and came home and has been

tearing it up.



_________________________

There were also several people who I heard speak or who I met that were most interested in stepping in where people. adults and youth. are under connected.

They are interested in connecting.


SO AM I.

__________________________


I learned so many things that will spill out over time I am sure. But mostly I appreciated the hearts of the people there.

It usually boils down to that.

Identifying authentic hearts.
Thats what makes great people.

People I like to be near.

People I like to eat doughnuts with.

___________________________


Also, I went to New York to meet and love on my niece.

ALICE THEODORA.

best name right?

And She is
The Best.



Babies are reminders that
everything is so exciting.


We took her to Mood as soon as appropriate to get fabric for her Halloween costume.



I am the luckiest in the sister-in-law department.
Mine are extremely cool and love fun things.

They are both also very hard working and smart and I look up to them.


______________________________________________________________


ALSO.

projects are picking up.

LIVE ART has started our new season.

THIS YEAR:






Classes literally started this week. And it is crazy to see how we start and how we finish.




I have a couple other projects that are going on simultaneously.

But the big part of my life right now is

SCHOOL.


There is something very empowering about putting on a backpack.
Reading books.
Getting better at something.

It just fits in all of the spots I can squeeze it into.

School for me is an Interpreter Training Program
that will culminate in becoming a Sign Language Interpreter.


Insane.


Life is so crazy.

I hope it keeps proving that to me.


_____________________________________________________________










September 14, 2015

Tonight in Vienna VA: ELEPHANT SESSIONS



Queen of too many things at once. 

late notice.

Tonight in Vienna VA:

tickets and more info here: 

The Elephant Sessions w/ Robbie Schaefer: Music, Mindfulness, Community with Special Guest Abernathy Bland




Hosted by Robbie Schaefer (Eddie From Ohio), The Elephant Sessions are live musical gatherings that, at their heart, endeavor to explore our shared aliveness. Each month features music, a special guest, and Q & A with the audience. Special guests are curated from a broad swath—yogis, coffee shop owners, artists, and organic farmers all stop by to offer up insight gleaned from lives lived passionately and fully. Interviews are recorded for the monthly Elephant Sessions podcast.


Doors: 6:00 pm / Show: 7:30 pm

TICKETS: $15.00


_________________________________________________________________________

When someone I respect has an idea, I will usually trust them. and Robbie has a lot of  them. He is a musician and also a champion of the arts and reaching communities that may not otherwise have amazing exposure to what the arts can do. 

See his work with ONE VOICE.


He wants to change the world too. 









August 10, 2015

THE VALUE OF ART. AND WHAT IT SHOWS US ABOUT RISK AND REWARD.

  
THE VALUE OF ART. AND WHAT IT SHOWS US ABOUT RISK AND REWARD.




Dedicated to the mystery graffiti artist. 

That did not make me cry. Just pissed me off.

Thank you for the platform. 

It is about time I write this.

______________________________________________



I am a risk taker. 




And I am not talking about sky diving because I dont want to do that. even though I did do that one bungee ride thing at Kings Dominion. I have no idea how I was convinced. I blame Stephanie Kim. 

What I mean is that I live by taking gambles. 
And I think everyone should. 
My parents took us to Vegas in elementary school. between canyons and historical things.
But my point is- risk. gamble.
For me it is in terms of living as an artist and making the sacrifices necessary to live like this. 
Not a hero, more like an idiot with a plan. 

I kid. I am not an idiot. I dont think.
I am just a little ridiculous. 
but I own that and I also feel very aware of reality.

and how we must be a part of this world even if we feel like we float on another plane. 

If artists just hung out in that weird limbo level that we were born in, then we wouldnt make a single impact on the world. 
But art is powerful and so using it for good. 

is a responsibility.


THIS DOES NOT MEAN WE ALL HAVE TO DO THE SAME THINGS. 
or totally agree. 

or even like each other. 

BUT. 

There is a level of respect that is completely necessary in order to hear and be heard. 
and when you take yourself out of that equation then your power is less effective. 

_______________


I have a mural in Richmond, VA. 

on the side of a restaurant- FOO DOG. 



shout out to that restaurant. their ramen (add an egg). and the Hey Joe (delicious drink).




I designed the dining room but also have two murals on the outside of the building. 





_______________________________________________

This one mural is the subject of my rant. 
and the reason I am standing on a Peach Crate. (chosen because I love peaches and needed a visual.) 
and some height.


can everyone hear me?






My rant is about the value of art.
and mostly about respecting YOURSELF as an artist. 

It parallels respecting your potential. In life.

So. this is not just for people who consider art their career. their calling. their blood.


Its what I talk about all the time - but theres more reason to do so today because 


A MYSTERY GRAFFITI ARTIST DEFACED MY MURAL ON MAIN STREET.




I am interested in graffiti. 

It can be beautiful. It has a culture and a place. 

but this. 

THIS IS DUMB.



I keep wanting to say the artist is a HE but who knows... it could be a SHE that threw her arms all around making scribbles on the mural. I dont know. But for simplicity. I am saying he. 
and because I am a woman. and I hope another woman did not do this dumb thing.

So. at a moment where I could cry. or be a little baby... 
And I will admit my eyes welled up a little bit. 

only because this mural happened at an important time in my life and represents a season for me. 
and being brave. and sweating. and fighting. and loving. 

so for a second, the graffiti hurt me. 

... at this moment I just want to keep moving.
and it got me all fired up. 

I texted some friends and we turned all Steel Magnolias hair salon mad. 

I jumped out of my truck in the rain and touched it. The places he sprayed.


and remembered why I do what I do. and what value there is in respecting your own potential.
as an artist.

 but also as a person who has time on earth and wants to 

USE IT. 


My response to the mystery artist who graffitied the mural I painted on Main Street.



1. FIND YOUR OWN SPACE. I already had this one. I have seen preschoolers figure this crap out.
There is amazing power in being yourself. when you feel something is easy for you. or that you like something. pay attention to that. focus on it and find that little place where weird things intersect- your interests. your skills. and then boom. THAT IS YOUR THING. that is what you should do because it is YOU. and no one else. be specific. 

I say this a lot but pay attention to your likes.. if you like it. you may love it. and if you love it. you should do it.



2. IGNORE LIMITATIONS. I may not know your face, but I know how tall you are. sorry. this is so funny to me. but. as it pertains to life- GET SCAFFOLDING. or like in my situation someone saw me on a ladder and got some for me. if you cant ignore a limitation on your own find a team of people who believe in the crazy thing you are aspiring to do. if you are alone. think of the wildest alternative to the limitation and you know what- TRY IT. you may be the only one. and look. someone decided to go to the moon. and did. so theres that.

3. EXPAND YOUR MATERIALS. try new things.
challenge yourself a little. all other vandals are using spray paint. in life- use materials no one else is. maybe your message is similar to someone else's but the new perspective could be pivotal in how your message is received. it could up the stakes. 


4. STAND OUT. your scribble looks like it could be anyones. find your own style. This doesnt mean you cant learn from other artists or people and reference them. Thats smart. do that. 

but then respond to it. bring something to it. learn even more. whenever you are bored. instead of defacing shit, learn some.

5. GET BEHIND MEANING NOT COMPETITION. This is off subject slightly but artists compete too much. all kinds of us. we should be working with, not against. and if you value your work and what you are doing- you arent going to miss out or lose an opportunity. it just may not be YOURS. so keep working. if you dont get something. be upset for a little bit. then make something else. if you are competing for attention- That is a problem all in itself. attention doesnt have the same weight as meaning. MEAN something. 

people turn their heads when they hear a loud noise.  

people clap at a show. 

BUT what really sticks. 


the deep stuff.  the meaning. 
art can have that. 
real life can too. 

mix them together and you can really kick some ass.

6. DONT BE A JERK. Self explanatory. 

7. RESPECT WORK (ART). You make art look silly when you just color on someone elses. 
Here is the thing that kills me. and is a slightly unrelated tangent. and deserves more than this little space here... lots of artists will offer to work for free. to be seen and get publicity is good enough for them. In fact they will cut deals to beat out other artists for the gig. but think about it this way- when you get that chance to be seen, what good is it if you did not respect your work enough to be paid for it.? because then you are creating a future for yourself where there are no art careers. no payment for artists. when you get "there" wherever that may be... do you want to always be competing for that job that doesnt pay? 

design and art is worth paying. here is why- it is work. it is something we work at. art does a lot. dont undersell yourself. because you undersell the whole art world. 
and please. dont undersell the power of art. 

8. DONT PUSH SOMEONE ELSES CASTLE OF BLOCKS DOWN. it is not cool to go around in the night and ruin something someone else worked hard to make. It is thoughtless. and thoughtless is the worst. is thought  less.  NO thought. 
thats not nice.

the brave thing is to work in the light.
the brave thing is to make your own work. to be vulnerable.
Try this adrenaline rush. 


9. TAKE A RISK. vandalism isnt a risk. its a crime.
take a real risk. one that means you could win something or lose something. if you lose you have the experience. you learned something. maybe you cried or screamed or hurt. but feeling those things means you are alive.  
if you win... 

sigh.


_____________________________________________________


poor me? no.

I work as an artist. Im good. 

thank you for the platform. 

I am going to go work now. 









I am going to fix that mural tomorrow. 

today I felt like writing about it.



August 5, 2015

Sunscreen you guys.




I have just been outside in dirt because it is summer time

 or working. 

And I cannot get my act together. 

Nor do I think I totally should. 



BUT I wanted to remind America that my current art show stops on AUGUST 8. 
which is soon.
someone just told me it was Saturday.



Instead of posting everything you will see there I will just post this one. It is 4' x 4' oil on canvas.






The sun shines today also.



_________________________________________________


Show is at:

HILL GALLERY

GALLERY HOURS
Wednesday - Friday 11:00am to 5pm
Saturday 12 - 5pm
(also by appointment or chance)

hillgallery.net
for more information. 


Also. high five to this gallery for being in the latest issue of Southern Living. 

Cool by association. 

only.

____________________________


July 10, 2015

THINGS KEEP HAPPENING IN REAL LIFE.


This is significant because when you have a wildly unabashed imagination, Churchill says double the amount of things happen to you- blessing and a curse really.  so as opposed to the things that I THINK happen.  

several actually do. 

*
*
*


LIVE ART HAPPENED JUNE 8. 


and I can never do it justice in words. 

It is hard. 
It is busy. 

It is beautiful to work on. 

and then when it is over there is a major weight lifted off but it's kind of like carrying a baby on your hip. and then someone takes the baby. 

Yeah. I just used kidnapping as a metaphor. 






So when it was over I had some other major projects start up immediately.


One- MILK RIVER ARTS

and 

Two- THIS IS WHAT WE SEE:  A HILL GALLERY ART EXHIBITION


MILK RIVER LAUNCHED AND I PINCHED MYSELF A HUNDRED TIMES BECAUSE I FOUND PEOPLE WHO WANT TO DO GREAT THINGS AND ACTUALLY. DO THEM. 
And I am three thousand percent behind organizations that elevate human beings. and their hearts.
(Milk River Arts is a vocational arts center/gallery/place of business and adventure for adults with special needs. If you know of an artist in the area who has developmental disabilities and a passion for this kind of career, do tell. )


AND THEN 

I will take the caps lock off. 

My art show happened last night. 



So naturally I had a dream about some girl dragging me into a museum exhibit of large taxidermied animals. And the nightmare lasted basically the whole night while I fought to get out of the door. 

the horror. 



anyways.

cheers to LIVE ART happening. I will eventually reflect and post about it, but it takes me a while because that project takes everything out of me.









and my art show.  thats next... please hold.

May 26, 2015

LIVE ART IS COMING.






 I am on another planet. 

Normally yes, but particularly now. 

LIVE ART HAPPENS ON JUNE 7 








and therefore it takes over my life- HAPPILY until then. 












If you do not have tickets. you are missing an experience. 





get them now and just go by yourself

and be inspired by the power of the arts and of a community that unites.




these students are risk takers. brave fighters. quiet. loud. happy. nervous. loving. troublemaking. authentic. clever. smart. funny. 



they have different abilities. 


they see things and understand things in ways that inform my life. 


and we get to share that. 

on JUNE 7. 

LIVE ART is a concert/show/performance... but it is like that book you read and when it is over it affects the following days and you want to tell everyone about it but they didn't read the book and you wish they had because it swallowed you up.





lucky me. 
lucky you.


While painting the set last week I told one of my coworkers that I seem to speak really flowery about this program and wonder if that kind of gets old and people dont realize how amazing it is. 

maybe I am making people numb to the words I use...



BUT I WILL CONTINUE TO DO IT. 







_________________



ok picture how you feel if you are a barefoot sweaty kid covered in sticky rainbow hands with pieces of a lollipop in your hair and running around with your favorite friends. 

(that is a literal picture of one of my favorite LIVE ART helpers last week) 

Anyways. That is how we sincerely feel working on this project. 





Because it takes your insides. and sets them -  in a very aesthetically beautiful way - on the outside.


hmmmm


yes. 









I geeked out when I drove by this. I took pictures and pulled over and people stopped to see which famous person was on the sidewalk. 



No guys.. hes on the marquee. 


________________



And when it is over. you can find me. 

creatively exhausted. 

and missing my people. 


Because the coolest thing about this is that it's a show. but it is a realistic representation of a program that happens all year. 

A way that human beings are valued. and elevated. 

And loved. 






I am an artist because I am interested in the important. real. and deep stuff. 

and this... 

This is it.








Thankful.


i love music. almost more than everything.