Tuesday, December 27, 2011

fave photo of Dec

While I have many photos I am loving from December and Christmas,
this is one that just makes me smile.
Taken on Christmas Eve day during an afternoon of fun snow tubing
at Eko Bakken in Scandia, Minnesota.
I turned around and there was my sweet Drew just sitting there on the tube taking a break.
I love the background, the tubes, and his natural presence in front of a camera.
And I love it so much I felt compelled to not edit it at all.....
sometimes I just love a great shot and want to leave it that way.

The Paper Mama

Saturday, December 17, 2011


20"x24" acrylic mixed-media painting 
with original photography image transfer 

"Promise" has been created for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation's

I am so honored to have been asked to create a piece inspired
 by their mission to "promise" to help to eradicate pediatric AIDS.
Not only is it an amazing promise it is absolutely possible.   

A little info about "Promise":

"Promise" is a piece full of symbolism, and while I often like to leave that to interpretation, in this case I think it is important to share the specifics...

This painting is 20"x24"mixed media acrylic painting on canvas, which is highly textured much like the landscape in which we walked during AIDS Walk Africa.  The photo of the children is an image transfer of a photo I took in Swaziland for AWA of school children I met.  The photo has been dismantled and reassembled to create images of children both showing promise and hope, as well as children caught within the AIDS pandemic.  

Additionally, I have used a photo image transfer of the cellular form of the HIV virus and dispersed it throughout the painting (strips of orange color) 

symbolizing the AIDS plight the children are faced with and eradicting it.  
The flowers at the base of the painting symbolizes the children's song that they bravely sang to us during AWA 2008 at a school 
"HIV is killing our community.  We are the flowers of our community." 
 The flowers being another symbolic image of hope and promise.

In 2008, I participated in AIDS Walk Africa with EGPAF in Swaziland 
It was a calling of my soul to connect to 
mothers and children impacted by the AIDS pandemic,
 something I knew I had to do.

It was an incredibly inspiring and eye-opening journey.  
A journey that leaves you forever changed.  
You can't go to Swaziland and witness the reality of the AIDS pandemic
 (33% of the population is infected) without knowing you must do more.
"Message from Swaziland" was my response to what I witnessed. 

So to be asked to create a piece specifically for EGPAF's Promise Campaign feels like a natural extension of the 
"Message from Swaziland" series.    
I am honored and grateful to offer this piece to those who PROMISE.

This quote from Elizabeth Glaser says why we must do more so perfectly....


Today I am sharing a journal entry that I initally posted on my family blog...before this art blog started.

I love aspects of journaling...I think because it feels so intimate to me.   I would like to give it more attention in the future as a means of stirring my creativity!

Journaling for a community art project.,
which is this wonderful community art project by "Phoenix Peacock" that I came across.... 
This is why I love blogging and being able to connect with people you wouldn't otherwise!
click the link above to check it out!

This is my first piece dedicated to my art mentor, teacher and friend, Deborah Meyer.  
She is a priceless gift in my life and she is nothing short of sent from god.
She opened the world of art....taught me....saw in me what I was unable to access and help me become the artist I am today.  I love her for so many reasons.

Monday, December 12, 2011

i heart faces- furry faces

I heart faces:  Furry Face
Here is the furry face in our lives.

Introducing....Bob the Bulldog in "put your camera down and let me inside...even my drool is frozen!'

I Heart Faces - Photo Challenges, Tutorials and Tips 

"Out There" with Etsy....

So, I have decided to share my work on Etsy....to put it "out there".
I figured it was time to go back to it since I have all these paintings just sitting in my studio.

There is something about putting your work on-line that feels a bit uncomfortable, and yet I know it is a wonderful way to get it "out there".  I always end up feeling so vulnerable in it.   However, this is true whenever I share work I love.

Then there is the struggle of pricing it, valuing my work, being fair in the market.   I am unsure of how I am doing in that respect.   It is my least favorite part about putting my art "out there".    I have decided to value my work and list the price I feel it is worth and am willing to let go of it for.

And then there is actually parting with my pieces.  I am so emotionally attached to them.    I am hestitant to tell you that it feels like a little bit of abetrayal to put them on Etsy.  I know that sounds crazy.....but that is how it feels.   crazy.

So, why am I doing this when I feel conflicted about it?    It comes down to supporting my habit.  My love of creating.  I can't always tap into our family income to support it.   It is also important to me to find the right people who will connect to the works.  Maybe an interview process to see if they will provide a suitable home for it!   ha!  That is a joke.....

Anyway, I am putting my work "out there".  Who knows what will happen, but I figure if it is just sitting in my studio, it will just sit in my studio and not connect to anyone.
Going out there.....here on Etsy

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The calling....

I just started reading this book Creative Awakenings by Sheri Gaynor.  

The first chapter already has been wanting more....and has me thinking.
Here is a poem from this first chapter "The Calling".

What is calling me today?   What is MY calling?    Am I listening to that calling?  
I can answer.....my children, my need to find balance, seeking serenity, peace within.
My art is calling....ideas, composition, layers, shapes....just letting the paint flow.

I will leave you with this poem....

What in your life is calling you?
When all the noise is silenced,
the meetings adjounred,
the list laid aside,
and the wild iris blooms by itself in
the dark forest,
what still pulls on your soul?

In the silence between your heartbeats
hids a summons.
Do you hear it?
Name it, if you must,
or leave it forever nameless,
but why pretend it is not there?
-Ther Terma Collective, "The Box: Remembering the Gift"

Sunday, November 20, 2011


We all have a famiy tree and roots.....
this painting was inspired by 
beginning a search into our daughter's roots last week.

I so badly hope we find information for her....to understand her Ethiopian roots for herself and future generations.  I hope....

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I Believe....

I believe in the sun, even when it is not shining.
I believe in love, even when I can't feel it.
I believe in God, even when he is silent.
-written by a man in the wall of a concentration camp

This painting has been evolving for some time, but I finally feel like it has reached its completion.  

I loved the idea of creating a sculptural type effect on a canvas.  I layered canvas sheets onto a stretched canvas, cut away at it, nailed it in places and designed until I liked what I saw.  I didn't know where it was going to end up...I love that type of creative process!   

Then used lots of gesso to create a density to the sculptural shapes.   

Layers and layers of paints came until I felt the combination of color was just right.  Then I waited for the perfect something for the "window"....and then this quote came along.    
I love this quote because of the hope it reveals during despair of our world's history.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

incredibly grateful.

Today I arrived at the  showing at the cafe and was taken by the blank spaces.
There was this mix of emotions, both happy and sad.
The cafe was busy and had to wait for people to finish their time there before I could move in and hang new works.   So, I had time to take it in.  My kids were with and had been playing outside with my husband.  My son, Drew, came in and said "Mom are you sad?"    It must have been written all over my face and I didn't even know it (which I think happens alot with me).

I did feel a sadness.  I had hoped to arrive and meet the seller in person.  But she had come earlier than expected and taken all the pieces.  All 8 of them!  But my sadness was really about saying good-bye to the works because they were such a piece of me.  I had hoped to look at them one last time.  And since I didn't have that opportunity I sat and thought about each of the pieces.  When I had encountered each child in those images in Swaziland.  How each had made me feel.  How as I looked at my photographs and felt so inspired, how each painting had emerged so effortlessly.

With someone having just purchased so many from one series of works....now 8 paintings...it had me feeling so curious about her as well.  I mean who does that?  Buys 8 pieces at once?  I wondered what her connection to the works were.  Since the series is socially conscious, and focused on the pandemic of HIV/AIDS in Swaziland (33% of the population) I wondered.
Is she in medicine/research.  Perhaps looking for a cure?   Or has HIV/AIDS impacted her life directly?
I also thought she may have a direct connection to Africa.  Is she from Africa, Swaziland, South Africa(very close to Swaziland).
Could she have known or admired Elizabeth Glaser (who created the foundation to fight pediatric AIDS)?

Well, I am so grateful to be able to have an answer.....she shared that she is a Lutheran pastor that was just on sabbatical.  She had come into the cafe and the works kept grabbing her attention.  Eventually, she went to each piece and read the stories that accompany each piece.  She discussed the works with a friend, went home and needed to go back.
It seems the works connected to her soul and the mission of her sabbatical.
 In her words....
"The nature of my sabbatical was to explore how God is on the loose among us based on the gospel of the incarnation at the beginning of John.  Gifted by the Lilly Foundation with an amazing grant, my objectives were:  1.) to collect stories; 2.) to explore the unfamiliar; 3.) to welcome what is; and 4.) to practice living well."

Isn't that an amazing journey to be able to take?  And that she came across my series of works, felt moved by them and wanted to use them to express the objectives of her sabbatical?   Well, it is incredibly moving to me.  I am honored.    And so very grateful that our paths crossed in this way, in this life.   

The sadness of saying good-bye to those works has passed.   
I am left with such incredible gratitude.

Friday, November 11, 2011


11-11-11 turned out to be a lucky day.

I received a voicemail from the cafe I am showing at saying a woman came in to purchase 7 pieces of my artwork.   Immediately I thought I must have misunderstood the voicemail, only to find out I hadn't!  What...7 pieces!

The Message from Swaziland series truly was a labor of love.  It was also a very therapuetic expression after my journey to Swaziland for AIDS Walk Africa in 2008 with the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation....who do amazing work to eliminate pediatric AIDS around the world.  This series of work was truly a purging of emotion on canvas.  The series is full of my photography, images of the amazing Swazi people I encountered.  A nation where 33% of the population has been infected by HIV/AIDS.  It is staggering.  And yet amidst such devastating statistics are people full of hope.  The series of works expressed both the pain and the hope for change, hope for the future free of pediatric AIDS.  

I have been able to share the works on a few occassions at different venues.  I always received such a beautiful response to the works, a response that affirmed that the message of the Swazi people was recieved.   The intention of the series really is to communicate the Swazi people's message.  And while sharing the message my hope was also to makes sales to return 33% of the sales to the EGPAF.  

I have donated a few pieces in the past couple years, but hadn't sold any.  It made me wonder if I just had the wrong venue, needed a different audience, or perhaps it was because the works are socially conscious.   It also makes you question your work.    But I also went back to the connection I feel to these pieces, how certain I am that they are meaningful, powerful and beautiful.   I kept hoping that if I was able to get the works "out there" that someone would connect to the works enough purchase one and to bring one home.

It hardly seems possible that today one person would purchase 7 pieces.   It seems unreal.

I can hardly wait to meet the person purchasing these works. I was told that she was on sabbatical the past few months and is purchasing many of these as gifts to people who supported her.   So, I am incredibibly curious about the buyer.... to purchase this many of one series there must be a specific connection to the imagery or issue.   At least that is what I am assuming.  I hope to know more on Sunday when she is there to pick up all the works.  

It certainly is affirming to know someone out there connected that much to the works to purchase them.  But it also has me asking myself.....how do I value my work?  Have I been waiting for someone to validate me?  I think I have.....but it sure feels good.  It is something to think about.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

i heart faces- Black

i heart faces- "Black" photo challenge

How I love this shot of this little cutie.  We had such a fun family session at dusk and ended it by the camp fire with Smores.  Of course, a smore isn't a smore unless it has been charred....black!

Photo Challenges & Photography Tutorials

Sunday, November 6, 2011

sharing the art journey

For a long time I have thought about having a blog dedicated soully to my art.  I have been blogging on my family blog for a few years (the fiddlehead report).  That blog has become an accumulation of all things "me".  Moments of family life, my art life, our Ethiopian adoption journey.  It really has been great precisely because I have made so many connections, mostly with other mothers which makes sense as I am a full time mother of 4 children.  While I am equally passionate about being a mother, I decided it was time to honor my artistic self and my artistic journey.
This is the beginning of sharing that journey.....

seeking beauty, finding inspiration, feeling gratitude.
remember.....you don't have to be an "artist" to seek beauty, find inspiration, or feel gratitude in this life.
we all have the seeker within...life is art.

here we go.....join me!