Category Archives: Blog

Teaching Joy

I loved this little bird and knew I had to paint him and offer it as a paint night class.   He’s fluffy.  
And he’s sitting on a branch that’s bent and crooked.  And he’s happy anyway.   My kinda guy.

Recently Mr. C and I went on a cruise–a 12 DAY cruise.   Twelve days on a luxury ship that moves to a new great paradise every day, and I was struck by how many people spent a great deal of time complaining.   COMPLAINING!  How do you complain in paradise?

The world is full of things to be miserable about but being on a cruise is not one of them.  Yet as the days went by it became clear that some would go out of their way to find reasons to be miserable.  Right down to the very end.   As it turned out, on the very last days of our cruise, we hit a few glitches.   First, some unfortunate passengers became ill and needed to be air lifted off of the ship for emergency care.

Our ship had to divert from its course for 7 hours to rendezvous with a helicopter to achieve this.  Which brought us now 7 hours later into port.   I felt terrible for the sick people but couldn’t help thinking What Luck! We get 7 more hours to stay on this big beautiful ship with them feeding us and giving us free alcohol.   How fabulous!  But I was in the minority.   People were furious.   They had to change their flights. (God forbid.)

Well, then it got worse.  We encountered the first Nor’easter of the year and that extended our stay further.   No worries, said the Captain.  You may stay in any of our lounges or even in your rooms if you’d like!  Enjoy the extra time!

But do you know what people did?   They lined up around the ship with their luggage FOR HOURS.  No food.  No water.  Uncomfortable.  Stuck in line.  As if they could get off the ship any faster by doing so.   I just couldn’t understand it.  Do people purposely go out of their way to be miserable?   We stayed with friends.  We watched a movie. We had a meal.  We laughed.  We watched the journey into New York’s harbor, past the Statue of Liberty, and we enjoyed the views.  And when the time came, we walked down, got on an elevator, and left the ship.

Then it hit me.   I have always said that I am the happiest person I’ve ever met, but I realized right then and there it is because I’ve trained my brain to be happy. I was born with a tendency to be happier than some, but I’ve also taught my brain to find the best possible scenario in all situations–the silver lining.  It almost automatically goes there.  Naturally. And if I could teach myself this wonderful behavior, I can teach others.

And I believe that is the gift I’ve come to give this world.   I’ve been trying to figure this out for years–Why am I here?   Well.  I think this is it.   To teach joy.

How?  I don’t know yet.  But I’m sure you’ll see my many attempts as I bring this into Blue Hasti.   Somehow.  🙂  Stay tuned.

2018 EAA Chapter Fly In/ Drive In

I recently had the opportunity to attend my first Fly In / Drive In event with the EAA Chapter of Massachusetts ( www.eaa196.com ), and I can promise it won’t be my last.   Aviation, Classic Cars, food, great people.  What more could you ask for?   And I came out of it with a few great painting inspirations.   Watch for those coming up over the next few weeks.

Here are some of my favorite photos of the 1000+ I took from that day.

The next 50 years

In December I will be 50.  FIFTY!

Finally!

I know. It’s odd that I would be looking forward to aging, but I’ve looked forward to fifty for a long time.  To me, it’s the age where I get to shift from doing all the things I needed to do for everyone else to doing things that I want to do just for me.

And for me, the biggest of those is to take my art career more seriously.  Remember last week when I asked what you would do if you weren’t afraid?  For me, that would be to step further into the world of fine art.   As in gallery representation.  (The very idea invigorates and terrifies me!)

I’ll always do art classes of one sort or another, simply because I love to do them. And I’m sure I’ll always take commissions.  But this coming year you will see a huge shift of focus to my personal artistic creations and my learning how to, I guess you could say, officially stick my toe into the fine art world.

I’ve never been to school for art.  I really don’t know the ins and outs of how to begin to enter that world, but I’m going to learn and do.  One way or another.

I’ll consider it my birthday gift to myself.   :::::blows party horn::::

If anyone out there has any gallery connections, I’d appreciate an introduction.  Thank you, in advance.   I appreciate you all so very much!

What would you do if you weren’t so afraid?

The day I hung this painting in my husband’s grandmother’s room at the nursing home and watched her light up with delight, I understood, for the first time, that art can truly have an effect on people’s lives.  And I knew that I didn’t want to just paint scenes.  I wanted to paint scenes that evoke emotions–that mean something.

Sure, there’s a great market out there for pretty pictures that blend well with the sofas in your living rooms, but that’s not what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.  I want to make a difference for people.

In September I am going to begin a series of paintings that aim to do that.   The series is going to focus on people being authentic.  People living their truth.   I want to encourage people to get in touch with their true selves and to live the very best lives they can live.

It will be called the Revol-YOU-tion series, and I’m asking for your help.   Would you please send the answers to these questions to me in the comments here or on Facebook or by inbox or email, if you want to keep the answers private.

What do you wish you could do, if only you weren’t so afraid?

What makes you feel alive?

What’s your dream?

Don’t censor.  Let me figure out if I can find a way to paint it.  It would mean a great deal to me.   I want to get to the raw truth and help carve pathways, open new ideas for accomplishment, or maybe even just give gentle encouragement wherever I can.   And if it’s your dream, it’s likely someone else’s too.   You helping me might actually help another as well.  Double duty good deed.  🙂

What makes me feel alive?  This.  So thank you.

 

Who Decides What’s Beautiful?

photos by: Kataram Studios

I had the pleasure of bringing Blue Hasti Art to a wedding expo yesterday.   I love days like that where I get to meet a bunch of people and listen to their stories.   I love talking with the other vendors and hearing their hopes and dreams.  And mostly I love to people watch.

One of the things that always stands out to me is how our over- active brains tell us stories.   For example, going to a wedding expo, one tends to envision that you will encounter lots of young, pretty, slender brides in perfect flowing gowns and lots and lots of roses everywhere.    Reality, however, is that the room is filled with ordinary people.   They look like you and me.

There are brides and grooms of every age, background, orientation, size, and shape.  There are vendors who look relaxed and some who look frazzled.  There are indeed gowns and roses, but fewer than you’d imagine.  It’s just a room full of life.  Everyday life.

So where do those faulty visions that we dream up come from? Where do any of our faulty ideas come from?  Hollywood.   Our brains hook onto what we see in movies and on television and we somehow make it “fact” that we should all conform to those same criteria.  Then, to make it worse, we think that “everyone else” does fit and we don’t.  And then we get insecure. We tell ourselves scary stories.

I think the same thing happens with art.   Many people who are wonderfully creative talk themselves out of creating because they think that “everyone else is good” and they are not.   Truth be told we all are good.  Because THERE IS NO STANDARD to compare your own creations to.  All creation is good!

See.  You don’t believe me.  Right now you are arguing with me in your head.  Who put those ideas there?  Who says what is beautiful and what is not?  Who set that standard for you? Who told you to judge your creativity against someone else?  Who put himself/herself in the position of God and told you what to think?  And why do you believe them?  Please don’t tell me it’s because other people do???  really???

I recently had a similar conversation with a young lady in her early 20s who was berating herself for having gained some weight.  I asked her to Google “Plus Size Model” and look at the women who pop up on the screen and tell me if they are beautiful or not.  She had to agree that the women on the screen were indeed beautiful.  Nothing about their size changed that.  It is just a thought in her head–a standard set by strangers–that made her believe that bigger thighs automatically disqualify you from being pretty.  But it’s not true.

My very long-winded point to this post is to guard your thoughts.  Be very careful what you tell yourself because you might just believe it.   Talk to yourself like a treasured friend.  And for the love of all that is holy, go do your art.  Express yourself however your soul wants to express.  Sing.  Dance.  Paint.  Draw.  Decorate.  Cook. Build. Sculpt. Make us laugh if that’s your thing.  Just go do it.

And have a wonderful day.

Painting as an Escape

The world scares me. That’s the plain and simple truth. It’s gotten too fast.  Too busy.  Too overwhelming.   So I paint as a means of escape.  And I tend to paint things that make me feel like time has reversed and gone back to a period that was more predictable.   My hope is that my paintings will make you feel more peaceful, more grounded, and more serene as they do for me.

Remember when we were growing up?  Simple delights?  Simple life scenes—before the internet and iPads.  Those are the scenes I look to portray.   I think that’s partly why I love to travel to other countries that are not quite so developed yet.   I like the simplicity of their living.  I crave it in today’s world.   But we can’t find it here in the US.  Not near where I live anyway.

It’s taken me a long time to settle into a certain theme of painting.   I had been trying to cater to this crazy world.  I was trying to paint what would sell.   What I hadn’t realized is that an artist’s work has to come from a place of authenticity in order to ooze soul.   I feel like it’s taken 25 years of painting to finally come into my own.   In July I finally just let it go.

I decided that I was going to challenge myself in multiple ways, and just let the paint fall where it  wanted.  I brought in new mediums to create with.  I gave myself strict time limits for each piece in order to prevent overthinking.   And I committed to painting subjects that resonate with me.

I’m delighted with the results.   So much so that I’ve been telling other artists who seem a bit stuck to try the same thing.   What about you?   Are you stuck somewhere in your world?  Do you need to shake things up a bit?  Or maybe dial things back?  Try it.

One thing I know for sure is that self-acceptance, authentic living, and silencing the world for a little while every day can lead to beautiful things.    I highly recommend that you give it a go.

Okay… back to website redesign.   Watch for good stuff coming in the next few days.

A Brief, Un-invited Diversion from Painting

I have this muscle in my back that likes to spasm every few years.   Apparently I was due and it’s keeping me sidelined from completing my final painting of the 12 Mixed Media in July.   All in not lost, however.  I am able to do some much needed updates to my website while I rest, ice, and stretch.

I’ve spent the past 4 years focused on doing art parties and not so much on painting my own art, but now I am seeking balance between the two, so it’s time to adjust the website to reflect my current work.

I’m excited.  My goal is to build a body of work that I can take into exhibitions and galleries and begin to enjoy the other side of an artist’s life.  It’s a lot of work, but absolutely a labor of love.   As always, I am honored to have you along for my journey.  Thank you.

Hopefully I’ll be back to painting in a day or two.  Give it about that long then take a minute to check out the website updates.  Let me know what you think!

Creative Strength Training — A Book Review

img_6122Recently I received a review copy of the book Creative Strength Training — Prompts, Exercises and Personal Stories for Encouraging Artistic Genius.   Typically I would write this type of review out on Amazon, but I wanted to be sure to share this little gem with all of my True Blue friends as well.

Jane Dunnewold has created a beautiful piece of art just by the writing and presentation of this work.  It’s a beautiful book, with gorgeous photographs and a pleasing presentation.  Although, in other reviews, some seniors and other folks with failing eyesight have suggested that the font type might be a bit too light, I did not find that to be the case.  I think that the book itself is beautiful with stunning photography of all types of artistic creations that make just flipping through the book worth the effort.   But the photos and the artwork presented are just the beginning of the treasures contained within the covers.

For anyone who has ever dreamt of creating anything — a painting, a book, a quilt, a blog page, a life– this book is a step-by-step guide for breaking through the fears and barriers that might be holding you back.   It’s a tool–or a series of tools– for experimenting and for helping you to step out of your comfort zone while remaining in the safety of your own home, where no-one need know what you’re up to.  It’s a guide for exploring the world within you to help you find your voice.   For some, you may be surprised to find that the whisper that’s been calling to you to create might actually be the reverberating sound of a distant shout echoing from the mountain tops!

Every week in our classes we hear at least a few people say “I can’t even draw a stick figure,” and it makes me sad, not that they can’t draw, because I believe that they can.  I am saddened that those people have been bombarded by opinions and images of what they believe stick figures “should” look like and what “good” art is supposed to look like.  I know that those same people are at my paint class because they secretly yearn to paint and they want someone to show them the “correct” way to do it.  All the while not knowing that there is no right way.  There is no wrong way.  If you want to paint, you already have everything you need to do it.

Jane Dunnewold takes the reader through a series of stories and projects that lead each budding artist to discover that they had it all along.  She’ll have you working with paint, fabric, textiles, and all kind of other tools, and she’ll have you believing that you are creating art, and you are, but more importantly you are creating the very tools that you will use to quiet the inner critic that’s been holding you back from a life of self expression like you never dreamed possible.

If you yearn to create, stop pinning photos on Pinterest.  Instead, treat yourself to this book and kick off 2017 as your year of self-exploration.  You won’t regret it.

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Art and Fear

These past few weeks have been a whirlwind of wonderful for me.   I’ve had the opportunity to paint portraits that are truly meaningful, and I’ve been able to create holiday gifts that are so personal to the recipient that I almost feel like I’m intruding on their privacy!  (Photos will post after Christmas so that I don’t risk ruining anyone’s surprise.)   And while all of this is always a risk because it’s so personal, I’ve come to realize that painting commissions is the safe route to making a living in art.  It’s predictable, and you know right away if your client is happy.  It’s easy art.

True art that bubbles up out of your soul and demands to be created in solid form is frightening.   When you create it and present it to the world, you lay yourself out for criticism.  You bare your most vulnerable spots to the world.   You expose your inner thoughts and weaknesses.   That’s scary art.

I’m getting ready to submerge myself into a phase of scary art.   2015 will be the year that I create pieces that are purely from my thoughts.  I will be putting together a gallery collection and seeking representation, and I’m not afraid to say that I’m very very afraid.   And I’m excited beyond words.

Stay tuned for my impending nervous breakdown.   🙂

Your Life Purpose is Right in Front of You. Look at it. Do it.

Before I go into my studio and lose track of time until Andy walks in the door tonight, I wanted to say something.  I see a recurring theme with all of my friends and family.  We are all wandering around looking for that one thing we are supposed to be here to do.  Lost souls.

My whole life I have been looking . . . for “the thing” that will get me ahead, make some money, and give me a little peace and happiness. I’ve looked high and low, tried everything under the sun. (As some of you know.)  And I keep getting pushed back to art. To my painting. And until recently I never put the pieces together to figure out how I can use my talent that I was born with to do something meaningful for the world. And then BAM. Now all of a sudden I see it. And I have found my absolute, 100% positive, God-driven way to live my life, make a little money, and find peace and happiness while helping the world. I was standing on it all along–on my own acre of diamonds.

I have a friend (a dear one) who has a child with severe, profound autism. She later had another son fall victim to unspeakable sexual abuse by a neighborhood kid. I couldn’t imagine how she felt–I would feel like God had completely abandoned me. YET…she later found herself standing on her own acre of diamonds. She took her life experiences and her sons’ experiences and they now write books that help innumerable people around the world. She found where the Universe was driving her. Out of all that horror, she found her purpose.

Still another friend started out her life with some physical appearance challenges that caused her to be relentlessly bullied in school.   She has now built a life around teaching people how to get healthy and take care of themselves and find body confidence.  She finds enormous pleasure in giving back to others in this way.

I could give many examples just like this, of people who are exactly where they need to be because of things they’ve experienced. But more often I can look around and see countless lost people. It’s to you that I am speaking. YOU are standing on your acre of diamonds too. Don’t look everywhere else. Look inside. Look at you. What are your talents? What are your challenges? What have you experienced that seems unGodly unfair?  THAT is likely where your gift lies. That horrible thing could be where the Universe wants you to learn and then teach.

So take a few minutes today and look at yourself and your life. What are you missing? What do you already have that you can turn around? I honestly believe that your key to purpose and happiness is there. Right in front of you. So stop looking so lost. Go look in the mirror and find the answer. Find what you have and figure out how you can give it away to the world. And have a wonderful, peaceful, happy, purposeful life. xoxox