End of summer art project

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School starts next week.  And I am not ready to return to routine. I feel that way every August.  I just want a few more lazy weeks with my children. And they are not really children anymore.  Wyatt will be a senior and Paige a sophomore. We spent many summers next to the sea.  And about six summers when they where younger sleeping on the sea on a boat.  There were lots of magical times. And this summer was especially magical because I realize how quickly time passes. How quickly children grow up to be young men and women. I was thinking that as summer winds down, you probably have a folder of two full of art from the past school year. Or from many school years. Maybe your child is all grown up and you have piles or Continue Reading »

leaving my comfort zone

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I am a jumper.  A leaper. Logic doesn't often pull me, but my intuition does. More like a yank than a pull. And I have learned to listen closely. I felt strongly my daughter and I were supposed to go on a youth mission trip to the Bahamas this summer. It wasn't with our church. And my daughter did not want to go. Everyone else knew each other.  And we both knew just a few people.  Like three.  Out of 32. At the airport, my daughter was wondering what she was doing there. We were all wearing matching tee-shirts with a bible verse on our back. I was wondering what I was doing there too. Wondering if I heard my intuition wrong. I kept thinking.  'This is not my tribe." By the end of the week, they were more than my Continue Reading »

Making art with the 5th grade

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I love art. Outsider art.  Art with words. Any type of mixed media.  Whimsical art. ART.  Period. But if I had to pick a type of art I love best, I would pick children's art. It comes from a place that is so open.  Instinctive.  Inspired. Each spring, I work with about 100 5th graders at a local elementary school.  This started when my daughter was in 5th grade.  Then a few years ago, the art teacher, Gretchen Stout, got a grant to bring me back into the school to work with the kids to create a three-dimensional mural made from salvaged signage. Each graduating 5th grade class adds onto this.  A little piece of them stays behind as they go on to middle school. Gretchen Stout is the kind of teacher that makes you want to Continue Reading »

Putting seeds in the soil

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A confession. I love putting my hands in dirt.  No gloves.  Just earth and soil in my fingers as I plant seeds.  And planting barefoot makes me even happier. And I have been doing lots of planting. And not just flowers and vegetables. This past week,  I put my beloved green bean seeds into my raised garden boxes. Magically, just a few days later, they were peeking out of the soil and growing towards the sun. Towards me. At the end of last summer, I wrote about my love of green beans and how I search each day among the green leaves for the green beans.  I love this game. This year, I doubled the fun and also planted peas. These pea pods make me smile.  Everyday I go out and look for them and eat them right off the Continue Reading »

My five pound role model

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It is Tuesday. I can think of so many things I need to do.  Should do. But I can't help but be inspired by Willy, my daughter's five-pound chihuahua. Willy is an opportunist. And a well rested one. I love that about him.  I see the pair of slippers I just took off. Willy sees a nap.  And a very warm bed. If I was more like Willy, I would not wash clothes. Instead I would curl up in them. And Willy loves it when I don't make the bed.  The uneven corners hanging down make the best nest.  He finds the tiniest corner and uses all of it, like Goldilocks.  He looks for and finds "just right". This is me and Willy at the start of most days. This is me and Willy right now. Me, checking in on my computer. Continue Reading »

Girls Rising

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How sweet are these little feet? They all walked into my studio recently to see my space and my art and hear what I had to say about it all.  Ten girls in a second grade Brownie Troop. We talked about inspiration. It is a full time job I explained.   It all comes from deep inside and I have to work on it all the time. Dig in. Pull it out. I hang little bits and pieces so enticingly in my studio so that I will want to pick them up and play.  And also so I know where they are. I am so grateful for clothespins and string. We talked about ideas.  And protecting them with copyrights.  And also being aware of other people's work.  And making sure we give them credit for their ideas. That lovely thin line where we are Continue Reading »

Fearless Friday

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This past week, someone asked me to reflect on what exquisite self care feels like. Because that is what they wished for me. And I have been thinking about this question all week. At first, I felt defensive, so I have to look a bit closer. A nerve has been exposed. And here is why. While I may be building a nest in my backyard (my last post), I have not been building one in my studio. I rush.  I try to do everything.  Be everything.  I over schedule myself.  I do not allow myself space to be early.  Or space to be late.  I am often "on" when I really need to be "off".  Off the computer.  Off my iPhone. I multi-task.  I eat lunch as I work.  Pick up a fork...then pick up a paintbrush. When I am home, a little voice says Continue Reading »

planting hope

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Okay, spring, no questions asked.   I have no idea where you have been  or who you have been hanging out with. You are here now.  That is what counts. And I am so grateful and happy to see you. Come on in. Now that you are here, I have lots of colorful, hopeful work to do and gardens to plant. I am getting ready to install my recycled window box flowers on a vacant building in Trenton, NJ as part of a grant I received from the I Am Trenton Foundation. Here is my vision photoshopped on a gorgeous Brooklyn brownstone. And below is one of the locations I am considering doing my installation on. It is across from a school with a beautiful new playground.  And this is what the children see when they look across the Continue Reading »

art journaling

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I love what happens when we let the art in. When we just sit down beside some paint, paper and crayons and stop thinking so hard. Our life is divine and messy. It looks so good outlined in watercolor pencils. I have been teaching a course at a local art center that honors our own unique journey on the pages of an altered book. We have been painting, tearing, sewing, mixing, cutting and pasting on these pages. And on a few days, Devon John, a gifted photographer, came in and witnessed us putting pieces of ourselves on the pages And took lots of pictures as the unraveling began. I love teaching this process. Trust. Get the first layers down.  Do not over think it.  Play. This is just the first of many Continue Reading »

a very warm exchange

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It has poured today.  Buckets full of rain. Lately one day is balmy while the next day is high winds and snow. And as much as I would love to be planting pansies and let my toes be free in flip flops, today is not that day. I am all snuggled up in this handmade coat as I head for my studio.  This is how I wear it; inside out. All the detail and colors keep me warm on the inside and peek out at the cuffs and collar.  I wear most of my clothes inside out due to painting and my love of big messes. This coat used to be an old bedspread. A close friend of mine, Deb Allen (so much talent here), saw it at a flea market.  I had asked her to please make me a grown up coat. She had been making these amazing little girl coats I Continue Reading »