Member Since October 14, 2016
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By DonnaF, 2017-08-18

Put your heart in your art... isn't that what Cinnamon @cinnamon-cooney   always says?

So, here is a link to a little story of how my mother was sick, and I was far away, and so decided to be with her in art because I could not be with her in person. Painting Goodbye . It is the background for my big news.

From out of those deeply felt paintings came an invitation from a publisher to illustrate an entire children's book. Of course, I said yes, and the surreal adventure unfolded from there. The book is now published and the emotional journey is ongoing. How could something so tragic lead to something so beautiful? How can I feel so happy about it when it could have never existed without such a tragedy in my life? These questions spin in my head as I continue to absorb the events of the last several months, but I know one thing for sure - Put your heart in your art is excellent advice. Our hearts have a way of knowing and connecting on levels we don't understand, but deeply need. 

Thank you for letting me share my big news with you.

The book is titled A is for Azure: An Alphabet in Colors , and it is really real... it has an ISBN# and everything. 

Nothing Is Wasted

By DonnaF, 2017-01-18
Nothing Is Wasted

As with everything in life, we all love a great success. Why not? Like a cosmic pat on the back, it validates what we are doing... we feel satisfied in the accomplishment. We don't look at the investment of material, time, and effort in our successes and say "Wow - what a waste! I should have spent the money on something else. I should have done this that or the other thing." We warmly welcome this success and feel satisfied in the accomplishment. Often, if we are really lucky, we feel motivated to do it all again and hopefully kick it up a notch!

Mistakes, on the other hand, don't get the same warm embrace.

Mistakes get the stink eye. The middle finger. The string of curse words followed by tears, even. 

The way I see it, mistakes get a bum rap, because I am one of those folks who believes nothing is wasted - ever - if we are able to maintain the soul of a student at all times.

I've heard people say that they are afraid to begin a project, or even play with materials, because they don't want to waste the ink/paint/etc. They aren't confident they will achieve their goal on the first try and the thought of starting over is so painful to their sense of frugality that they will not even begin.

But, I know a secret: The best teacher we could ever employ is risk. The only way we will ever know what a certain color or movement or medium will do is if we use it. We can learn a lot from taking classes, watching tutorials, reading books, and talking to other artists. These things are invaluable to us on our quest to create, but the only way we can really create something new is by trying something we have never done before. 

Nothing is wasted, my friends, even if we wash it off, paint over it, or throw it away. 

The tree you see here ( Autumn Tree take 2 ) was painted with alcohol ink on ceramic tile, and probably more than half of the materials I used to paint it are laying in the trash can, soaked into paper towels used to wipe the first effort clean. The trunk was "off" at first, and the more I worked it, the wider it became as the ink did its thing and flowed a bit beyond my control. I knew no tree that wide could ever be that short, and it made me laugh out loud, but I kept going. The leaf covered grass was not to my liking - it appeared very juvenile and out of perspective. Nothing fit. But I kept playing and working the ink. At the end of the day I poured alcohol on the whole thing and wiped it all away, tossing the paper towels into the trash. 

The next morning I awoke to a fresh new tile and a lot of information gathered from the day before. All of what I learned went into this tree, and everything I learned from this tree will go into my next tree, and so on and so on. 

Nothing is wasted unless we refuse to risk and play. In that case, our artistic potential never sprouts wings and flies.

What do you want to create? Go for it! Be brave!

A Place To Land - Meet Michelle Martin, Mandala Artist

I've been very interested in the way art can heal and so I have started a new blog called "A Place to Land." This month was my first interview and I'm really excited to share the thoughts and work of Michelle Martin, a wonderful Mandala Artist who creates hand drawn and painted mandalas on a variety of surfaces! 

Click here to go to the interview: Meet Michelle Martin, Mandala Artist

Introducing WILD FIRE!

By DonnaF, 2016-11-29
Introducing WILD FIRE!

I'm kind of excited to share this with you all, and so I hope it's okay to post our online shops here on the website.

Wild Fire , my new shop on Zazzle, is open for business.  My alcohol ink and other designs are featured on a variety of products, and there a big savings to be found with coupon codes at the top of the page. Plus, the more of one item you buy, the less that item costs. So.... :)

You can save on shipping through the Zazzle Black program.

Pop over and visit Wild Fire , and if you like it...please share. :) 

Be A Gangster (for Your Art): Thoughts on Legitimacy

Be a Gangster for Your Art

Weaving paint

By DonnaF, 2016-10-26
Weaving paint

I had no idea why I painted this today... not at first. It started out as a really weird painting of flowers and sky with all the colors in the wrong places on purpose. Then came stripes, from the bottom right to the top left... and so why not add a basket weave? 

When I stood back to look, I found a dhurrie rug. 

Maybe this painting wasn't an accident - maybe I needed to remind my self that I am strong and hearty. The reason is this: I looked up the definition of dhurrie: Dhurrie rugs are flat-weave rugs with origins in India, .... strong, hearty weaves 

I am strong-willed

I am heart-filled

Like a dhurrie weave

I don't even mind that it's messy and uneven. Have you ever seen a dhurrie rug that wasn't after many useful years? 

I Need Art Like a Bird Needs the Sky

By DonnaF, 2016-10-25
I Need Art Like a Bird Needs the Sky

"Art at its core is the act of being yourself," said Cinnamon Cooney on her Art Sherpa Blog today

Gradually, over this last year and a half of my art explosion and self-study, tutorial seeking, materials using awakening, it has become more and more clear to me that I need art. I need to create - I need to play - I need to manifest whatever this is that is going on inside my heart/head/soul. 

The other thing that has become crystal clear is that the more I show and share what I am doing, the less afraid I feel about this wild ride I'm on. AND, when I do start to feel afraid, or frustrated, or penned in, I go to my artspace and create something - which often leads to some sharing online. Sometihng struck me as I looked at my Graduate Diploma peering out from behind the door of my studio, holding it's obligatory space on the wall but not really where I have to look at it much. I don't feel like that person anymore.... and, at a time when I'm not really sure who I am or why I am here, something quite amazing has been happening - I am creating myself with Art every single day. Through art I am teling myself who I am and why I am here, and I'm not really sure that the answer is "artist" mind you, although that is part of it. There is something bigger going on. The more I create, the more of me I see. The more I put my stuff out there, the more I put ME out there. 

In a way, I am a work in progress, and at the same time I am an old masterpiece being restored. 

Art is fixing me. 

Art is putting me back together. 

I'm beginning to see why I need art like a bird needs the sky. 

Art, My Landing Place

By DonnaF, 2016-10-21
Art, My Landing Place

I've been interested in the concept of Art as a Landing Place, or any landing place that people discover after a life altering experience; illness, injury, loss, etc. For me, the landing place was art. Art caught me and held me close during the seventh year of Lyme Disease treatment. After a lifetime of believing that art was something other people did, and protecting my student's art experience like a mad dog, at the age of 55 I bought a few tiny bottles of alcohol inks and did something very new for me: I used them. You might call me an art materials hoarder. My drawers and cabinets were filled with markers, paints, pencils, paper, and brushes, all of them barely used. Art materials were so beautiful to me, in fact, that they were the subject of a little Artist Date that I took myself on. I spent hours in the local art store ooohing and ahhing in the paint aisle, photographing brushes, and ogling the markers. Still, I thought, art was not for me.

There I sat, last June 2015, staring at a few bottles of ink, a felt pad for dabbing, and a large ceramic tile left over from our bathroom floor, not knowing what to do with any of them. It came to me that I should do what I always hoped any child in my classroom would do with the materials I had placed there.... just play, and so I did just that. I started playing and I haven't stopped since. Apparently Alcohol Inks are a gateway medium ! From that day on I created at a fevered pitch, every single day, until it was too cold for me to work outside in my little sunporch studio. There were so many discoveries made along the way, and so many new questions to consider. Every single moment spent with my inks was teaching me something about art, color, flow, and my own fears and courage. That's right. You can't have courage without the fears, folks. I made so many beautiful surprises, and some terrible muddy messes. I loved the muddy messes, too. They were my greatest teachers, and one good thing about this kind of ink is that you can wipe it all away with a little rubbing alcohol and reclaim your tile for one more try. Nothing was wasted because everything taught me something new. 

Here I am, about 16 months later, recovering from another spin. My husband and I recently moved from Pennsylvania to south Georgia, leaving our two young adult sons to test their wings. They wanted to stay there, and I am so proud of them for that, but oh, nothing could have prepared me for the feelings of loss and loneliness. I'm not just missing them,either. My doctors are gone to me. My friends are far, far away. The grocery stores have different foods and the fall in Georgia is nothing like autumn in the north. Everything I know is somewhere else, and everything here is strange. 

Along came Cinnamon Cooney, #TheArtSherpa, and her wonderful Tech Hub, John, and The Big Art Quest. I'm not even sure how I found them, and all of you, but I'm pretty sure it involved Google and a search for painting classes. Somehow I ended up on YouTube. It  feels inviting and comforting to have this quest in my life, and it's wonderful to be learning so much. Color is my favorite thing!

By now, I know a landing place when I see one, and this, my friends, is a beautiful place to land. Maybe we have many landing places throughout our lives. Maybe I just never noticed before.  First We Spin , then   we land, right? Lyme Disease probably caused the biggest spinout of my life, but this recent move was doozy. Art, once more, is holding me close.

How about you? What is your landing place? Is it art, or something else?