Thankful Thursday - Portents and Signs

I am not a particularly superstitious person.  In these turbulent times, however, it is often pleasant to see something(s) as a sign of good things to come…  My last travel for teaching was littered with such signs – at least I choose to see it that way – and I thought it might be nice to share them with you.

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On the morning that we headed out, and after a summer loaded with more dragonflies than I recall ever seeing, I looked up to see a very large and rather impressive specimen shimmering on the aerial of the truck.  Dragonflies symbolize transformation, new beginnings, and lightness of being.  What better reminder to be grateful for the journey than to have such a harbinger hitching a ride for the next phase of my own?  This seemed a rather fortuitous sign indeed, as this was to be my first offering at a new venue (The Yadkin Valley Fiber Center) – and both the host and myself have great hopes that my efforts will result in the regular programming of book arts on their course schedule.

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Upon arriving at our camping location, and following a brief visit to Slightly Askew Winery (that may well have been a sign of its own for this wine lover), we were greeted with skies that looked like rain was imminent.  In spite of rolling thunder and a brief sprinkling, we were fortunate that we did not have to set up the camper in the rain (!)  Instead, we were gifted with a most lovely rainbow arcing over the distant hills and disappearing into the clouds.  Rainbows serve as symbols of peace and serenity, as well as being stunning visual reminders to confront and embrace our own potential for growth, beauty, and wisdom.

While the rose is a timeless symbol of love, beauty, and balance this last image is not so much a sign as a reminder to me.  While strolling down the Main Street thoroughfare on Sunday afternoon, upon seeing this perfect rose bud I was immediately reminded of the quotation from Anais Nin:  “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”  In other words:  nothing ventured, nothing gained -- OR:  You’ll never know ‘til you try!  If I have learned anything in the past three and half years it is that you’ll never get ANYwhere standing still.

So…  What are YOU waiting for?  Signs are favorable that if you make the leap, join us in October, and become part of our creative community you will have a whole new view of what it means to follow your muse.  Stop standing still!  Step into the circle.  You’ve nothing to lose, and worlds of insight, fellowship, and creativity to gain.  It’s not too late – register today!  We’ll be waiting for you beneath the trees…

Until next time,
 - PLA

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Thankful Thursday - Rediscovering Your Creative Groove

Rediscovering your creative groove is sometimes a lengthy, laborious process.  Sometimes, it takes quite awhile for the almost-atrophied creative muscles to reinvigorate themselves.  Often for me, the process involves as much mental as physical work to make it happen, and even then, it can be slow going.  

This was where I found myself recently, due to a long period of time where I had neither the time nor the inclination to create my own work.  I know myself well enough to know that I can't force creativity (disastrous attempts at projects are a testament to that!), but I also knew I needed to get back into the creative flow.  I'd been thinking about the idea that I'd like to work more in layers of color and texture and meaning, and while searching for something else, I found some 6"x6" deep cradled wood panels tucked away in my supply closet.  Ok, so I now had a substrate. 

But how to start was the question.  
You Tube videos were the answer.

I spent hours browsing through various mixed media technique videos, from the sublime to the kind of ridiculous, learning about new-to-me products (I'm loving the Lindy's Gang 'Magicals'), and new ways to use old favorites (hey, isn't that what we'll be doing in October with our Creative Explorers?!).  Armed with this new and refreshed information about molding paste, stencils, inkjet transfers, the aforementioned Magicals, and my old standbys of acrylic paints, PearlEx powders, my hand cut stamps, leather, polymer elements, feathers and matte medium, the ideas started to bubble up, and voilà-- I was energized!

The result is my "Dreams of Africa" series of panels as you'll see below.  Each contains images or symbols which resonate with me of the people, land, adornment, and music of the continent.   These panels will debut at next weekend's African American Cultural Festival of Raleigh and Wake County; one of my favorite shows of the year. 

Creative groove rediscovered?  Check!

Wishing you new discoveries and a boost to your own creative groove,

Until next time,

MDP

 

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 From left:  Dreams of Africa:  "Djembe", "Himba", "Baobab", "Tribal Home", "River Goddess," and "Shekere". ©2018 Kindred Spirit Studios | Michelle Davis Petelinz

From left:  Dreams of Africa:  "Djembe", "Himba", "Baobab", "Tribal Home", "River Goddess," and "Shekere". ©2018 Kindred Spirit Studios | Michelle Davis Petelinz

Thankful Thursday - Creating Bridges

"True teachers use themselves as bridges over which they their invite students to cross; then, having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create bridges of their own."  ~Nikos Kazantzakis

This quote resonates with me, and reflects many of my experiences as a teacher.  As I've written about before, I present art classes to children and to adults with disabilities.  I do consider myself a bridge, showing my students the way to explore new things, or to use familiar things in new ways.  I encourage them to make their own creative choices, which often lead to wonderful discoveries and exclamations of "I didn't know I could do that!"  One recent example:

 Note the red paper "blood drips".  The artist explained that they came from the T-Rex having eaten a Stegosaurus.  This detail was added once the artist saw how "cool" the mouth and teeth were.

Note the red paper "blood drips".  The artist explained that they came from the T-Rex having eaten a Stegosaurus.  This detail was added once the artist saw how "cool" the mouth and teeth were.

On the first day of art camp, a 6-year old drew his ideas for a dinosaur to be created out of a wine bottle.  The drawing included a wide mouth with many jagged teeth, a scaly body, and beady eyes.  Of course, being 6, he knew everything there was to know about the T-Rex (which I did know too at one point, when my son was that age), but thought he "couldn't make it look like what I drew."  I assured him we could get close.  He was doubtful, but eager to try.  Unfortunately, the original drawing was discarded, but here is the result of several hours of foiling, taping, tissue papering, marking with pen, and hot gluing.  When he presented his creation to the class, he proudly said:  "I didn't think I could make it, but I DID," which was music to my ears. 

Penny, Jeanne, and I will be the bridges our Creative Explorers will use to explore and express their individual artful voices during our unique mixed media experience.  And while we can't promise you'll be making wine bottle dinosaurs, because we are creative women, we know there will be much sharing of talents, techniques, and expertise among us all (developing even more bridges--how wonderful!) 
Time is running out, so if you've been thinking of joining us, but haven't registered yet, now's the time.  

Wishing you an astoundingly artful day. 

Until next time,

MDP

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Thankful Thursday -- The Power of Community

One of my favorite things about living a creative life is the incredible people that I encounter along the way.  The creative community at large is rife with interesting folks, and in the subsets of individual disciplines we are afforded the opportunity to learn from one another on an entirely different level.  Whether in the role of teacher or student, new knowledge and connections (just can't seem to escape that notion, can we?) are ours for the asking...

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In my most recent workshop, I had the pleasure of teaching a few folks that I had never worked with before.  This added an additional layer of discovery to the day, as we shared our passions (two of my students were fellow devotees of the fountain pen) both shared and uniquely our own.  So, in tandem with my gratitude for the power of community, I am also immensely thankful for the ongoing sense of discovery that comes with it.  Whether that means the discovery of something altogether new to me, or learning more about something that I already love -- there are gifts to be had from the coming together that we never encounter when we are on our own.

From the name of this endeavor to the logo that represents us, Your Creative Connection is dedicated to the expansion of creativity in community.  As our behind the scenes preparations build in intensity, we are likewise feeling the building excitement as we cruise on toward October.  It's not too late to join us!  What are you waiting for?  Register today, and join our circle of creative women!  New discoveries, adventures, and friendships await.  We'll see you soon!

Thankful Thursday - Making Meaningful Connections

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We've often talked about connections--no wonder, since it's part of our name and our mission!  I was reminded again of the power of meaningful connections last weekend when I attended the Visual Art Exchange Summit.  This daylong event brought together a variety of people in the Triangle (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, NC) who work in the arts, including arts administrators, consultants, makers, museum directors, teachers, etc. to ask the sometimes difficult questions about inclusion, diversity, community relations and presentation of challenging artwork.  It was a stimulating day, filled with more questions than answers, but productive dialogue around these topics is a great jumping-off point for viable future solutions.  

One of the breakout sessions revolved around the notion that meaningful connections between people and among groups form the basis of shared trust, commonality of experience, and knowledge, which can then lead to positive change, collaboration, and forward progress.  Yes, this sounds easy, and is probably pretty intuitive, but how many of us really take the time to do it in our daily interactions?  By taking the time to seek out information from the person across the table or over the telephone, you'll find areas of shared experience which will lead to greater understanding.  Even if it's someone with whom you've worked before, you may find amazing things you share.  Case in point:  I have a colleague with whom I've worked for about a year in my disability arts teaching and board of director roles, but it wasn't until we sat together at the Summit that we discovered we both have had spinal fusion surgery (albeit 34 years apart)!  Something clicked into place for both of us upon the realization that we share something very few people do--and we almost simultaneously said "I KNEW there was a reason I liked you!"  Our future collaborations will be informed by this realization, and our relationship will be stronger because of it.  Cool, right?!

We know our Creative Explorers will make many meaningful connections during our time together in October.  There will be ample time to ask, learn, and discover the wonderful things we share as creative women.  It's already shaping up to be quite the event, and we can't wait to welcome you into the Circle!  Time is passing quickly, but there is still time to take advantage of our payment options.  Your deposit is your first step on the Your Creative Connection journey, so don't delay--Register today.  And, if you know of a woman who loves all things mixed media as much as you do, make the connection with her, and share our information--we'd love to welcome her into our Circle too!  

Until next time,

MDP

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WOW Wednesday -- Did You Know...

…art strengthens problem-solving and critical thinking skills?

We think it is beyond wonderful that doing something we already enjoy is actually beneficial to our aging minds.  In addition to beautiful scenery and amazing people, Your Creative Connection is good for your brain!  What more reason do you need to join us in October (11-15, 2018)?

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Imagine:  4 days in the idyllic setting of Haw River State Park and it’s protected, old-growth forests; all of your meals attended to by the chefs, including a freshly baked treat every afternoon; and the creative merriment of 3 Days, 3 Artists, 1 Surface, and a Show! – all of which is designed to send you home inspired to carry your new enthusiasm for creating into the Holiday season and beyond. 

Your space in the circle is waiting – there are new friends to make, new skills to learn, and the strengthening of your mind at hand!  Your deposit secures your spot for an art retreat experience like none other.  We can hardly wait to share this incredible, creative experience with you!  Register today, it’s not too late to take advantage of our flexible payment options.

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WOW Wednesday -- Did You Know...

…what we commonly refer to as Rice Paper actually contains no rice at all?

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Admittedly, in spite of her love of paper, Penny was intrigued by this particular “Did you know?” – having no idea that the name referred to the source vs. the material(s) of composition.  Upon researching the topic, it was made a bit clearer.  The best, single-source article for a pleasant read on the varieties and historical significance of the thing was found at Larry Hodgson’s Laid Back Gardener Blog.

To better accommodate the offerings of Our Artists, we will focus our attentions on the wonders of Stonehenge, 100% cotton paper as we present our vision of 3 Artists, 3 Days, 1 Surface, and a Show! in October (11-15, 2018) in the beautiful setting of Haw River State Park.  No worries, tho’ -- Penny has assured us that there will be a little rice paper in the creative mix!

Your space in the circle is waiting – act now!  We can hardly wait to share this incredible, creative experience with you!  Your deposit secures your spot for an art retreat experience like none other.  Register today to take advantage of our flexible payment options.

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Thankful Thursday - Your Perfect Place to Create

"What's your vision of the ideal artist's studio?
What would your perfect place to be creative look like?
What would you include if you could have anything you wanted?
What would you definitely leave out?" 

 Some ideal artist's studios...what's yours?  

Some ideal artist's studios...what's yours?  

These were questions I posed 11 years ago, and I'd love to hear your thoughts.  I've answered them for myself and my own work...what's your perfect place?  

I am fortunate in that I have a dedicated studio in which to create my mixed media work.  In fact, we purchased our home 11 years ago in large part because of the unfinished daylight basement which became our studios.  My husband and I designed the space, and he built our custom side-by-side studio and storage spaces.  We work differently, and we loved being able to design the spaces to fit each style.  My side has wrap around counter space, wall shelves filled with bins of supplies, plus my drawing table, chair, computer desk, space for two file bureaus, a cabinet for paint, and a comfortable 'guest' chair.  His has lots of floor space for his huge, standing easel, a drawing table, a standing work table, and his paints and brushes arranged on the walls and shelves.  Because it's at ground level, it's filled with light, and you may recall that I've described the wildlife show that goes on outside our windows here.  

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I'm so thankful that I have this space.  It nurtures me and provides a place for exploration and discovery; it's my perfect place.  Like many artists, I have created in much smaller, more cramped conditions--so I am thankful for the freedom to stretch out, to leave work on the table to come back to at a later time, and to hang work in progress to assess and refine.    

Your Creative Connection will provide a beautiful place for our Creative Explorers to find the freedom to express themselves during our unique mixed media experience in October.  Our Studio Sessions at the Haw River State Park facility will be held in a room with a wall of windows looking out over the beautiful, tree-filled park.  And while I'm sure everyone will be riveted to the instruction taking place and the work on their tables, I'm also sure there'll be much gazing out the window onto the glorious show of Nature!  Won't you join us and be inspired by all that we have to offer?  It's not too late.  Register today.

Until next time,

MDP 

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WOW Wednesday -- Did You Know...

...there are only 3 months until we gather at the river?

Time is definitely flying, and spaces are going...  It’s hard to believe that in a mere 92 days we will be welcoming our Creative Explorers to Your Creative Connection -- Haw River 2018!  All of our planning and preparations will come to fruition in 4 days of creative revelry as we present:  3 Artists, 3 Days, 1 Surface, and a Show!  If you are seeking a restorative break in the beauties of nature replete with creative adventures, great food, and jovial company we have just the break you need.

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It has been said that time flies when you’re having fun.  We tend to think it flies whether you are having fun or not!  SO…  Why not have fun more of the time?  Like virtually anything else, it is easier once you set your mind to the task.

Won’t you join us for a walk in the woods?  We can hardly wait to welcome you into our creative circle of amazing women – artists each and every one!  Register today to take advantage of our flexible payment options.  Your deposit secures your spot for an experience like none other.  October is calling!

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Thankful Thursday – Cell Phones, Flexibility, and Simple Pleasures

Greetings!  Have you ever stopped to consider that the technology that we walk around with everyday is more powerful than the 1st (or 2nd or 3rd) computer that many of us ever owned?  It really boggles the mind – my mind, anyway!  It is so much more than a phone, and yet it is not quite a replacement for sitting down in front of the computer…  I learned the hard way this week that mobility isn’t always everything that it is cracked up to be, but with a few quick work-arounds the job is quite easily dispatched.

That takes me to my second thankfulness for this week:  flexibility.  Not unlike the studies that highlight the myriad benefits of autonomy in the work place, a good partnership allows for a fair amount of wiggle room in the face of all that Life can bring our way.  As the astute reader might have gathered with this post being a tad late, I was in need of that bit of kindness this week.  Not all of Life’s surprises are unpleasant, and it is nice to be able to “roll with it” when the more pleasant ones come our way.  If you ever find yourself on the receiving end of surprise reservations for a long-anticipated dining experience, lean in – accept and be amazed – be thankful – be gracious – be flexible.

I have enjoyed some of my most favorite things, recently:  time outside, *in spite of the heat!* kayaking, star-gazing, and (a new favorite thing?) camping (!) *in spite of vicious, biting bugs!*  While most of these I do every chance I get, the camping thing is pretty new to me (since it has easily been 30+ years since I last did it with any regularity).  No, we don’t have ALL the comforts of home but we have enough to make the lacking livable…  There is something magical about watching the moon rise over a lake, seeing the bejeweled night sky reflected on its glass-smooth surface, and hearing the chorus of hundreds of tree frogs after the heat of the day has faded.  Moments to treasure and anticipate enjoying again – simple pleasures, awaiting our notice, there for the taking…  Lucky are we!

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Until next time,
 - PLA

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