Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Stop. Look. Listen.

It's crazy how fast life can move some times. Like a cassette tape set to fast forward, or the commercials I zoom through while watching a program on my DVR.


School ended, and as soon as it was over, summer kicked into full gear. It's been good. But sometimes, you just want it to . . .



I'm there today. Drained emotionally. Dragging physically.

I stubbed my toe today. Bad. It's black and blue, and hurts like hell. I can't remember the pain of childbirth (you kind of block it out after time). But today, my toe feels like childbirth pain. Really.

And all I am thinking is that maybe this is the way of the Universe to get me to do what I so desire in my soul - to STOP. Breathe. Regroup.

I like that. Not that I stubbed my toe. But that I stopped. This very day.

Stopping. Looking. Listening to what it is telling me.

It's easy to get caught up in life. I do it all the time. Easy to get caught up in the day to day hustle. Easy to forget to sit and reflect. Easy to forget to listen to the soul. Easy to forget to write. To dream. To remember what calls you. I hate when I fall into that pattern of letting life get away from me.


In all the hustle, there has been some wonderful moments though. Like when I took the girls to see my dear creative soul sister Amy Cavaness, and introduced Ella to her horses Cody and Destiny. It was a beautiful day, and one that I will remember forever. Ella rode a horse for the first time ever. She was a natural. That is in her soul. I know it. I saw it that very day. It was beautiful.

Katie turned 11 in the midst of this past month of busy, too. She celebrated with a fun filled sleep over with some of her dearest friends, and had such fun. I can't believe she is 11. Wow. 11.

My nephew Carlo (and his Mom, Dad and brother Angelo) are in town from Staten Island, NY. We LOVE the time spent with them. Really . . . these are our kids . . . we prayed and wished and dreamt of them years and years ago, and here they are. Sigh.

And we celebrated a feast at Independence Day at our home this year. Yummy food, great conversation, awesome fire works, and lots of laughter. It doesn't get any better than this.

And of course, in the midst of all of this, there is art. Not producing as much as I was in the beginning of June, but still coming up with some stuff here or there that I like. And there is even more in the mind, just waiting for the time to come out. Waiting. To be heard. To be created. To be seen.


So, I am doing just that. Listening to the Universe. Listening to the whispers in my head telling me to chill a bit. Taking a deep breathe. Taking it all in.

I'm so blessed. But even in the blessings, are moments when I crave calmness. Moments when I need to just stop, look and listen.

And when I feel it is needed, I have just got to do it.

Peace, my friends. Wishing you tons of it.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Creative Blog Tour - What Fun!!

A day late, and slightly more than a dollar short . . . but here, nonetheless!

I'm so very grateful to be here with you today, my friends . . . not only because it has been too long since I've been away, but because this week I was asked to participate in a lovely little "Blog Tour" by my beloved friend, Kelly Warren, over at Happy Shack Designs! Kelly is one awesome lady, with two absolutely adorable twin daughters, and such a creative soul . . . she brings happiness and inspiration to me so very often that even though we have only met through blogland (and never face to face), she is a lifelong friend whose very presence makes me smile! Truly. 

As part of the Blog Tour, Kelly sent along a list of question for me to answer. I am so excited about these coming up right about now in life, since I have found myself S.U.P.E.R. motivated in my art, as of late. Because of that, I am really eager to think about it and write about it and share it. So, without further ado - I give you, my Q&A! 

What am I working on? Doodles, doodles, doodles . . . although my sister hates when I say I'm "doodling!" Just this morning she said, "can you not call it 'doodling' and just say you are making art?" Not sure why, but I think calling it 'doodling', takes a huge amount of pressure off of me. Anyway, lately I have found myself getting back to the basics in my art, with only a sketch book, a pencil, an eraser, and a bin of markers in tow. What is coming out of it is part zentangle, part doodle, part sketch, part quote, but ALL inspiration. This hasn't always been my style . . . but it what is calling me these days. And I am loving every single bit of it. 

It started with a thought, then I had a vision . . . and this is what I ended up with. 
How does my work differ from others of its genre?  I'd like to think that it is different because it is original, but I am sure there are people out there doing similar stuff. I haven't spent a lot of time looking for drawings like mine, so I'm not even sure what is out there. I do like the mixture of black, white, and bright colors that I bring to each piece. I like the clean look of the work. The detail. But there are so many out there who creating work even more amazing, so it is hard to look at mine and tell what sets it apart. (I have often said that I am my own worst sales person. I have a hard time talking about my work. This is something I have to conquer, I know!)
Last day of school sketch!
Why do I create what I do?  My daughters have always been a huge reason why I create the work that I create. I have said many times before that the work I make is what I want them to know, if anything should happen to me and I am not here to tell it to them. I include thoughts and quotes I want them to remember. I try to make art that will inspire them, that will touch them, that they want to see. I also create art that I want to see, too. If I wouldn't want it, or wouldn't want to hang it on my own wall, then I wouldn't create it. ;) 

A recent sketch done for a dear friends birthday. 
How does my creative process work?  My creative process? Yikes . . . that's a bit of a mess, I must say. Usually I start with a quote or a thought that touches me. At the very least, an idea. I keep a notebook on my nightstand table and if a thought ventures into my head while falling asleep, I'll scribble down whatever it is I can from that thought. I often have a sketchbook on my kitchen counter, or in my car, or in my purse, or with me when taking my kids to one of their many activities. (You never know when inspiration is going to hit!) After the initial quote or idea, a get a pretty clear vision in my head of what I want to make. In the majority of my art work, my mind already held a finished product . . . it just needed to come out. Truly . . . I often close my eyes to get a good look at the idea in my head, then just take off from there. 

When I am creating, I sort of go into this out of body state. I am pretty sure I stick my tongue out (although no one has caught it on camera . . . yet!)  I block out most of what is happening around me, and it becomes just me, and the art piece. Sometimes the sounds around me become muffled, like the school teacher in the Charlie Brown cartoons. I can tell that someone might be talking to me, but I truly am unable to hear them. 

There . . . that is where my happy place is. Creating. 


Thank you so much, dearest Kelly, for asking me to participate in this awesome tour! I had such fun reflecting on my process, my art, and what has me motivated these days. LOVED doing this. And now, I am going to direct YOU along to meet a few other bloggers! One of the best parts of blogging has been the relationships I have made, the people who have become my online family, and the artists I have come in contact with each and every day through my blog life. Today I encourage you to visit each of the three ladies below. They will answer the questions I just answered next Monday, June 16, and I can't wait to see what they have to say. Please pay them a visit! I'm sure you will enjoy them as much as I do! 

Kass Hall : Kass Hall is an Australian mixed media artist whose books "Zentangle Untangled" and "The Zentangle Untangled Workbook" have been bestsellers around the world. She is about to leave on a three month teaching tour of the United States where she will present classes on Zentangle, art journaling and large scale mixed media. In her spare time, she posts lots of picture of her pugs to Instagram (@kasshall) and Facebook and watches as much ESPN as is socially acceptable. She also has an unhealthy obsession with white chocolate mocha frappacino's from Starbucks - skim milk, no whip, please. :) You can check out her work on her website www.kasshall.com - she loves hearing from people across the globe. 

Leslie Ackman : Leslie is a lover of words, birds, hearts and butterflies!! Aqua and Lime are her favorite colors, and can be found in all of her heart. Teaching mixed media techniques is her favorite thing to do . . . the best feeling in the world is watching someone "discover" that they, too, are an artist! She has two amazingly talented children . . . Jackson and Emma . . . and the very best husband a girl could ask for. :) You can find her at Wordsofmeproject.blogspot.com. 

Emily Franz : Emily is a city girl, born and raised in Chicago, a middle aged mother of 5, painter/artist, cloth doll designer, writer, dog lover, an eternal optimist (which helps when one is a Cubs fan . . .) and, as a whole, a pretty darn happy gal. She never painted until two years ago after she took some online courses that piqued her interest, and is now in love with this new form of expression. She paints on large canvas in a free form way using gobs of color, following along where the canvas takes her. She believes in God, ghosts, love, kindness, laughing until my stomach hurts, quiet time, a good book, a delicious cup of coffee, bitch fest girl-friendships, walking the dog, and almost everything her husband tells her. If you are looking for her, you'll most likely find her in a cafe sipping delicious coffee while engrossed in a really great book. You can find her blog at www.whyjane.com or her art portfolio at www.emilyfranz.com

I can't wait to read their answers to these questions next week, ladies!!! 

Friday, May 30, 2014


I've been stuck in an artless state for a few months now. Feeling unmotivated. Uncertain. Questioning what direction to go next, without so much as an ounce of creative passion in me. There is a huge amount of pressure and expectation that I put on the artist in me. Creating art is sort of a must, if you want to make money in your art.

And I wasn't creating a thing, nor did I have a desire to do so.

I was hopeless.

It was icky.

I thought, "Maybe that was it. It was a nice run. . . maybe you're done." 


I meditated. I walked. I looked at the birds.

I listened to music.

I traveled. I drank wine. I laughed.

I watched people. I read blogs. I read books.

I sat in my mess of a studio without a bit of inspiration, and looked at the piles and piles of supplies I had . . . not knowing where to even begin.

I sketched . . . a little. But nothing moved me. Not a single thing.

Then, it was my birthday.

I don't usually make much out of my birthday. I don't like or want attention, and my family knows it. Phil was out of town, and it was just a regular day. And it felt like that . . . just a regular day. . . and . . . I was sad.

I thought to myself, "well . . . this is what you wanted." 

But in my heart, it wasn't.

So, I grabbed a sharpie and a sketch book . . . and before I knew it . . . this came out of me . . .

It was what I felt deep inside.

I didn't like that feeling. Not one bit.

But, I liked the drawing.

Very much.

So, I did another . . .

And it made me giggle . . . because I took a silly picture of myself and printed it on my computer, and added it to my sketchbook.

It's exactly how I feel about life right now, and it makes me laugh.

So, I put it on Facebook.

And a couple people liked it. And it made me happy.

So, I did one more . . . because I felt like it was calling me . . .

I looked at this one a long time . . . it's funny how the universe speaks to you when you need it most, you know? I read it over and over, and thought, "hmmm . . . maybe THIS is what I plan to do. Maybe THIS is what is next."

Yes, sometimes I think it's easier if someone would just throw a brick at me.

I did another . . . because I really love this prayer . . .

I shared it on Facebook, too . . . and more people liked it . . . and it made me happy, again.

Then, I added some color . . . because I like color . . .

And I thought, "hmmm . . . maybe I should try color again." 

So, I did . . .

It speaks to me. A lot.

Now, I'm bursting. Truly, Bursting.

The ideas keep coming, and I can't stop.

And I feel excited, like my mind is full of hundreds of little thoughts just waiting for to be released.

I don't know where it will take me, but I am so grateful for this feeling right now.

And it all started by getting back to my basics with just a sketch pad, and a sharpie. I got away from all the clutter - all the supplies - all the expectations. I listened to my heart and found words that truly touch my soul, and I am making work that really is from my heart.

Thank you, for being along for this ride and letting me share it with you.

I am most grateful for you.

Wishing you Peace, my friend.

If you are interested in any of my prints, check in my Etsy shop next week. I am not sure what I'll be offering, but if something I have made touches your heart, too, perhaps you will want a copy of it for yourself! I hope to have many of my new art available in note cards and prints. It's exciting! 


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