Monday, December 31, 2012

May You Be Uplifted!

Closing a chapter and starting fresh is something I always look forward to and this year, in light of what turned out to be a whopper of a year, the beginning of 2013 has been even more important to me. Now, I am not one for resolutions, in fact, I tend to avoid them like the plague because I start with a bang and end...shortly there after...with a bust, so this year I decided to embrace what many of my friends where choosing to do.....following one word.

At first I thought that would be easy, but of course, the wordsmith in me just couldn't land on one. Nope, I had pages written, phrases, mantras, ideas, poems, oh, it got to be ridiculous so I put my pencil down, gave room for my spirit to be surrounded by peace, and listened. I listened for HIM to guide me, listened for my heart to reveal what really was most important, and listened for the word I was meant to live to find me....and it did. was as if my spirit was lifted the minute I heard the word and I knew, like I am breathing, that UPLIFT was the word my heart would dance around.

As I sat there considering how Uplift would be my focus I once again calmed my excitement and listened. This is what I heard:

I will UPLIFT others.
I will UPLIFT others in prayer, not just words, but actual, time invested prayer for them.
I will UPLIFT others by sharing kindness, extraordinary, unexpected kindness.
I will UPLIFT others by supporting those through illness or trauma with my time and encouragement.
I will UPLIFT others by sharing beauty with them through my art and words.
I will UPLIFT others by sharing my gifts of art through teaching, mentoring, and leadership.
I will UPLIFT others by loving them with gentle strength, deep commitment, and compassion.
I will UPLIFT others by taking risks in doing what I fear, sharing my faith, and being lovingly bold.
I will UPLIFT others by embracing and loving my neighbor as myself.
I will UPLIFT others.

There have been moments of confusion in my life and then, there have been beautiful moments of perfect clarity, and today was filled with those moments. I know who I am, I know what my gifts are, and most importantly, I know how I am to use them. Mark making in 2013 will be filled with those of UPLIFTING for others, and in this, I will be true to myself and my faith.

I am so looking forward to the journey of this new year, what it holds for me and you, and how art will be celebrated. For today, I lift a glass in thanks and gratitude for you, my friends, who walk this journey with me and make it worth every step. Peace Friends may my efforts UPLIFT you in some way this year!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Christmas To Remember

The emotions of Christmas week are always mixed for me but this year....let me just say, this year was one for record books. 

This year my hubs and I were fortunate to spend it with his family, which was the first time in a very long time that most of us were able to get together. We chose to spend it in Galveston, on the beach, which was a great reminder of our beautiful Bright Waters we used to have on Dauphin Island. There was much laughter, lots of smiles, and seeing the family adore one another was a total blessing. I am grateful we had the opportunity to share it and create these memories!

While all of the festivities were taking place in Galveston, my son, immediate family, and friends were living a nightmare back in Mobile, thanks to an F2 tornado that decided to place its nasty head under the tree as an unwelcome visitor. As the news on FB and weather channels began to unfold, I quickly had to think through navigating my emotions between joy and total fear. One minute would pass and I could see the path of the tornado missing these friends but headed toward those friends, and all the while praying that my son and family would be safe as well. It was harrowing and a Christmas I will never forget, but thankfully NO ONE lost their life on Christmas Day in Mobile, and that was a complete miracle. Yes, homes were destroyed, churches too, but we have our friends with us, our communities will help rebuild, and that is a truth which will heal all those emotions I trust. 

Once the 'sand settled' we woke the next day knowing that our loved ones were OK  and to the joyous celebration of celebrating the grandson's first birthday. This was a delightful occasion and one we were so grateful to be there for. The little man loved his new bongos and it put us all in a festive mood for the rest of our stay. 

We woke this morning to realize that our time together was way too short and the twinge of 'love and miss you' would sting just a little all the way home. We also knew that our trip would be filled with a bit of traffic but once again, emotions were unsettled as we approached Baton Rouge. Our car was following a chemical truck which just so happened to have a leak that we didn't see until our car was sprayed. At first, we thought it was water, so my hubs turned the wipers on, going 75, only to instantly feel the dread when the 'water' smeared and blocked the visibility of the entire windshield. By the grace of God he was able to slow and get us off the road before we were hit or hit others, and then we went into survival mode of what type of 'liquid' were we trying to get off the car. 

Yes, we were able to return the windshield to the bug smeared original state it was in, with a minimal oily film, but mile after mile and as the quiet reality set in, it became apparent how lucky we were in those moments of driving with blinders on. For the past few months I have been working with my therapist on 'seeing God' in the little things and one of my challenges has been to actively seek out and look to 'where God is' during times of stress or joy. Thankfully, I found him much more than I had hoped to this week:
I found HIM in the sparkle in my hubs eyes when he saw his kids,
I found HIM in the laughter we all shared discussing Waterloo Teeth and Bob Parker,
I found HIM in the sunset and sunrise on the ocean, in the drift of the sand that spoke beauty to my spirit,
I found HIM in the colors of the sea and the ocean, that spoke to my soul in quiet comfort, 
I found HIM within our family, the love we shared, the memories we made.
But I also found HIM in the protection of my loved ones at home.
I found HIS gentle hand over the lives of so many that were spared. 

I found HIS hand on the tree that fell and spared our home. 
I found HIS hand on the tree that fell which protected the life of my dear friend Ellen. 
I found HIS hand on the split second thinking by so many that saved lives of their neighbors. 
I found HIS hand on my husband who calmly responded rather than reacted on the road today. 
I found HIS hand on my heart, showing me just how protected and outrageously loved I am, my friends are, and my family is. 

Many of my friends struggle with the concept of God and I totally understand that. But for me, in this moment, I am BEYOND GRATEFUL that I choose to embrace and believe in a God that despite the horrible things that life will throw at me, HE will reveal where he is and show me HIS hand in that reality. Maybe, just maybe this is the gift of Christmas HE was trying to get me to accept and for today, I am good with that. I also believe that it is HIS way in showing me how creative HE is, which of course I can so relate to.  

Tomorrow I get to spend the day celebrating Christmas with my family. I can't wait to see where HE shows up there either, :) 
I am so looking forward to this New Year, for celebrating LIFE and LIVING and LOVING one another, especially YOU!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Come Join My Google+ Mixed Media Community!

When Google+ announced two days ago that we would have the feature of building communities I was over the moon with glee. Since I joined, I have waited, and waited, and waited, for a 'group' feature to be added and low and behold, they pulled it off. So, I rushed and grabbed my idea book where I had notes prepared for when this moment would happen and began the process of creating an All Things Mixed Media community for creatives there.

My hope is to share resources, education/how to's, works in progress, artist showcase, ideas for kids, and as many mixed media ideas as we can under our small umbrella. Because we can host hangouts, I can only imagine that mixed media topics and how to's will be covered live, which is a great component for the Google+ community.

If you are active on Google+ and love art, painting, drawing, mixed media, collage, or just want to connect with some great creatives there, please join us! Share your work, your questions, your ideas, and help grow our community! Join our Community HERE

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Acrylic Skins and Paper Collage

Oh, I have found my love, the blend of acrylics and collage and paper! I have been teaching a mixed media class this past month and acrylic skins was on the agenda. Now skins are great fun, lots you can do with them, especially if you make them thick to pull in full sheets. But, of course I had to throw a challenge in there and decided for my own work, I wanted to push the envelope and see if I could get the thinnest skins possible because I wanted to work small and possibly on paper.

Made a total mess on plexiglass using fluid acrylics and Golden Gel Medium.

For the skins I use, you have to peel them with a razor blade to get them ultra thin, be careful with that step. 
Yes, it can be done, really, really thin skins, and it is LABOR INTENSIVE I tell ya, but the results are amazing.

Mr. Fantastic - 6" by 6" by 2.25" on canvas

Ardithian Sonbird 6" by 6" by 2.25" on canvas

Sunday Preacher - 6" by 6" by 2.25" on canvas

As I really think about this process several things come to mind. Normally, most left over acrylic paint would be discarded. I am all about salvaging stuff, paper, ephemera, photos, trash, etc. This is one more way I can be a good steward of art supplies. It also reminds me of human souls. Many are neglected, discarded, forgotten, but all have beauty in some shape or form within them. I like to think of these collages as capturing the soul of what could be. 

I will be teaching a similar technique in several upcoming workshops beginning in January too! Stay tuned for details! You can view this new series at Art(ology) Gallery and Gifts in Mobile.