Welcome to a month of WOW Wednesdays!

Happy Independence Day, and welcome to our latest, informational series here in Blog-land:. WOW Wednesdays!  We will be conducting a tour of our website by way of some interesting factoids about color, time, vision, and butterflies.  

Did you know that the human eye can discern more shades of green than any other color?  Perhaps that explains the simple joy we find in taking in the myriad hues of green in the Spring and early Summer.  So very many different greens, giving the earth the appearance of being enrobed in multi-toned velvets!  Not at all unlike the natural beauty that awaits you at Your Creative Connection -- Haw River 2018.  

HRSP greenery.jpg

The Haw River State Park is a naturalist's dream.  Great stands of native evergreens and deciduous trees provide the ideal setting for a period of creative discovery and reflection.   All of the beautifully verdant photos on our website were captured on location in 2017, within a week of when we will gather there in October (11-15) of this year.  Isn't it glorious?  The rear wall of our Studio space for the event is all windows that look out on that leafy splendor!  Space is limited, and we don't want you to miss a minute of what this experience holds.   Make your deposit today to secure your spot, and we look forward to welcoming you into our haven of creative exploration this fall.


Friday Feature: Spotlight on Michelle Davis Petelinz

My Studio Session will focus on a variety of ways to create surface texture and pattern with paint and ink.  In my own mixed media work, many of my texture and pattern discoveries come about from my asking questions:  "What if I combined...?", or "How can I create...?"  Intricate, multi-layered, and multi-hued patterns resonate with me, and I often include them in my paper, paint, and clay work.  I am excited to share what I've discovered with our Creative Explorers, and I can't wait to see what they will create during our time together.  Penny, Jeanne and I have been working on our content for Studio Sessions, and below is a peek at what I've created so far in preparation for mine, including embellished monoprints, tape transfers, hot glue and foam stamped prints, 3-D elements, and painted papers.  

Here's what I've got planned: 
Creating texture and pattern with custom tools:  I've found that to make my work truly my own, I had to create my own, custom-designed stamps and texture tools.  I will show you how to design foam stamps, hot glue stamps, texture plates, paper combs and masks, 3-D elements, and whatever else we can dream up to put your own, unique stamp on your work (pun intended); we'll let our imaginations soar!  

Getting the most from your Gelli prints:  using your new custom tools and a variety of techniques, we'll create fantastic monoprints on our luscious Stonehenge paper.  We'll be layering, transferring, embellishing, and adding natural elements to our prints for use as stand alone works, or as components of larger pieces.  If you've never used a Gelli plate, you're in for a treat (it's truly engrossing), and if you've worked with one before, this Studio Session will offer you new ways to use an old favorite.

Exploring composition:  once we've designed, created, and experimented with our new tools, it'll be time to put them to use in your compositions.  Tips and tricks for effective compositions abound, whether you're looking to enhance your paintings, to create 2-D or 3-D mixed media work, or to complete the pieces you'll display in the Your Creative Connection show.   Oh yes, there's going to be a show...and next Friday, Penny will complete our June "Friday Features" series with a look at her Studio Session content and more details about the show.  Stay tuned.   

If you haven't done so yet, Register now, to be sure you'll be able to join in the fun.  



Friday Feature: Spotlight on Jeanne Faith d'Orleans

As announced last week, each remaining Friday in the month of June will feature one of our Artist Instructors and the Studio Session that they are offering at our October Experience.  Our Friday Feature Series is the perfect showcase for the concept that informed the structure of this distinctive event:  3 Artists, 3 Days, 1 surface, and a Show!  While each of our Artist Instructors brings a different approach to her mixed media endeavors, they will each be presenting their methodology on the incomparable Stonehenge paper. Jeanne beautifully blends light washes of color with fiber elements to tell her own, unique story – rich with many layers of luscious color and texture.

Whether entertaining guests in her home, nestled among the greenery of a yard surrounded by trees and plants, or addressing small and large groups in professional training events:  our Guest Artist Instructor, Jeanne, is an excellent communicator!  She has a natural ability to put folks at ease and comfortable people are most often quite happy people.  She has a passion for creativity that has spanned a variety of interests in her youth and throughout her adulthood.  We are thrilled to have her on our team for the Haw River Mixed Media Experience in October, 2018.

In her Studio Session, Jeanne will lead Creative Explorers in exercises designed to incorporate assorted fiber content (fabrics, roving, and threads) and notions in their creative, mixed media expressions.  Bringing her love of nature to the table, Jeanne will inspire the inclusion of organic elements to evoke a sense of place as well as bringing dimension and texture to the work.  In answer to the declaration “Oh, I don’t sew…”  she responds “You don’t have to!”  She will share stitch-free (and stress-free) methods for incorporating more fiber in your work – and is a firm believer that we can all do many things we think we can’t if we come at them from a different angle.  She looks forward to spending the day in the studio, coming up with new ways to combine paint, thread & fiber, fabric, and paper in imaginative and innovative ways.  Have questions for Jeanne or about this creative adventure?  Contact us any time – we look forward to hearing from you!

Next week, we’ll see what Michelle has in store for our Creative Explorers.

Introducing Friday Features!

Hey!  Hi & Hello…  As noted last week there has been much going on behind the scenes of late, in the Your Creative Connection environs.  All of that loveliness has reached it peak, and we look forward to doling out heaping helpings of creative inspiration and temptations throughout the rest of June.  Each of the remaining Fridays this month, we will feature a different Artist Instructor for our Mixed Media Art Experience at Haw River State Park in October.  You’ll be treated to all new photos of our Studio Session samples for the retreat as well as a closer look at the Artists themselves.  While new information is regularly being added to the website, our Friday Features will be highlighted in their own Blog posts with plenty of links to put you in touch with any and all extra information. 


Newsletter subscribers can also look forward to an exclusive special offer during the 2nd half of June.  What’s that?  You don’t get our very incredible and not at all intrusive Newsletter e-mails?  You can remedy that, post haste, if you sign up today!  Subscribers get first dibs on all things Your Creative Connection up to 10 days ahead of public announcements.  Your e-mail address is always safe with us and will never  be used without your permission.

Have a great weekend.  We’ll see you back here, soon!


Thankful Thursday - Options

Years ago, before the advent of personal GPS units and Smart Phones, I learned a valuable lesson from the man who would become my husband – which he had learned from his father, a retired Army Special Forces Sgt. Major:  Always have three (3) ways to get to and from where ever you are going.  At the time, and respective to the issue at hand (primarily, ensuring that you had an alternate route to avoid delay and/or aggravation), it was impactful enough.  Over 20 years later, I find that that simple notion has informed virtually every area of my life in one way or another…


In my most recent incarnation as an Artist and Instructor, “I am all about having options” might well be considered my Mantra (!)  I often open a workshop by informing my fellow artists that I am there merely to show them some ways to do A thing – not THE way to do some things.  In previous working and leadership positions, I have relied on entertaining multiple options as a means to involve the minds of all those involved in a project/event/undertaking – sometimes, the best ideas come from the team member least likely to interject.  Everyone appreciates feeling appreciated.  Creatively speaking, having options often equates to finding new ways to use old tricks/materials/mediums – it is a fun way to challenge myself and an easy way to keep things fresh/new.  As with any endeavor, having options can be the golden ticket to increased success, comfort, and/or safety for all involved.  What’s not to love about that?

Additionally, numerous studies now confirm that increased productivity and autonomy (aka:  Options) are directly linked in the workplace*.  It stands to reason that these findings would hold true in other areas of Life, yes?  Having options, or autonomy, or the sense of freedom that they impart instills a happiness that only heightens our joy and lightens our load.

If one is allowed to choose what they are remembered for, I should like to be fondly recalled for having spread joy, offered ease, and smoothed the rough edges of this world – even if only for a while.  What ways can you offer yourself options in the next week?  How might you develop that action into a habit?  I’d love to hear how having different approaches works for you!  Leave a comment, here – or drop us a comment on Facebook.


Alas, like fine wine and lovely cheese:  nothing lasts forever.  So it is true that the end of this month (05/31) will bring to a close one of the Payment Options that we offer for our Your Creative Connection experience.  If you want to take advantage of our 3-Payment Installment Plan, act quickly – register today, and get your deposit in by 05/31.  Should you have any questions or concerns about registration, the content of the event, or something we have not addressed on the site:  please contact us!  Things are falling nicely into place behind the scenes.  We'll have LOADS more to share in the coming weeks & we can't wait to see you in October! 

Until next time!
 ~ PLA



*Based on articles at:  Business Insider, Phys.org, Harvard Business Review, and Inc.

Thankful Thursday - The First of Many

OR:  The Perfect and Pleasant Premier Pop Up Event

The weather may have been less than ideal but the fine fare, dashing décor, and captivating creativity made for a most splendid day indoors!  We welcomed our intrepid Creative Explorers to the tables to explore Notes to Our Future Selves – a trio of mini Studio Sessions featuring:  Kintsugi Hearts, Mindful Mandalas, and Found Poetry in a blending of creative expression, words, and colors capturing ideas and moments both real and imagined…  Each of our Artist Instructors illuminated this theme in a way that highlighted their primary medium. 

Our Special Guest Artist for 2018, Jeanne Faith d’Orleans, incorporated her love of fabric in a textile version of Kintsugi.  Guests released themselves and/or others with the symbolic mending of fissures in the heart with golden thread while using the written word to release past hurts or present misunderstandings.  The results were phenomenal, and the sharing of the messages (or their intent) brought an echoing chorus of “OHs.”

Your Creative Connection Co-Founder Michelle Davis Petelinz brought her love of pattern and color to the fore with her presentation of Mindful Mandalas.  In addition to expanding the use of the humble water-based marker in an amazing way, our guests explored the symmetry of the form as well as building a base for the presentation of words that matter in the now.  This print-making exercise brightened a dreary day with the creation of multiple “stained glass windows” in our work space, punctuated by the murmur of satisfaction in creative discovery. 

To close out the afternoon of creative fun, Co-Founder Penny L. Arrowood guided all present in the construction of a bit of Found Poetry – restructuring and/or redacting existing written words to tell another tale, whisper a different wish, or construct an alternate reality.  The sharing that followed was in turns humorous and touching – leaving us all a tad gob-smacked by the vivid images one can create with nothing        more than words.

Throughout the afternoon, guests enjoyed an assortment of fresh fruits, dipping sauces, pound cake, lightly salted nuts, iced tea, and water.  The perfect fare to fuel our creative engines as we wiled away a rainy afternoon ensconced in the reverie of community, artistic expression, and the sharing of the stories that unite us all.

All of our projects throughout the afternoon were completed on Strathmore Artist Papers Mixed Media Papers (Toned Tan and Gray, Toned Blue, and Heavyweight).  Each of our guests received a trio of sample pads featuring these luscious papers – two of which (Toned Blue and Heavyweight) are not yet available in stores (!) 

Pop Up participants also received the first public viewing of samples for the Studio Sessions on offer at the ‘big event’ in October (11-15, 2018 at the Haw River State Park).  In another unique twist on the art retreat/experience, in addition to three full days of creative instruction Creative Explorers at Your Creative Connection Haw River will incorporate works from each Studio Session into a physical vessel of their experience at this event.  Providing for an incredibly tactile reminder of a magical time, as well as a visual recounting of what was learned and enjoyed on this leg of their Artistic Journey. 

Our special thanks to photographers Alan Christianson and Holly Sullenger for so beautifully capturing the event in images for us to treasure!  Our thanks also to our Creative Explorers for the day!  We enjoyed spending time with each of you, and loved seeing how gloriously different the outcome from each exercise based on the individuality of the maker.  We are already looking forward to next time!

With gratitude and appreciation,
 ~ PLA & MDP


Thankful Thursday - Art in North Carolina

We are thankful and fortunate to live in a vibrant, growing community which values its art and artists.  Your Creative Connection joins a variety of artful venues offering a diverse array of creative opportunities and exhibitions.  Here are just a few of our favorite NC artful destinations:

Visual Art Exchange (VAE):  Established by artists in 1980, VAE is "a hub for a diverse network of artists, a venue for artists to advance their careers, and a voice to influence positive change for the creative community".  VAE, the creative incubator, is Raleigh's longest running private, non-profit visual arts organization.  Frequent, cutting edge exhibitions, SPARKcon (a yearly, citywide art extravaganza), and the Ignite Creativity Summit are just a sampling of what VAE offers.  

Street art at SPARKcon 2017. (photo: ssimmerman)

Street art at SPARKcon 2017. (photo: ssimmerman)

North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA): The North Carolina Museum of Art serves the people of North Carolina and all visitors as a premier destination for compelling encounters with art, and its vision is to "enrich lives through the power and wonder of art." No visit to the Triangle area art venues is complete without a tour of NCMA.  From its newly expanded African Gallery in the East Building to the light-filled expanses of the West Building, the Museum offers something for every artistic taste.  Add in special exhibitions, sculptures in the Museum Park, and films in the outdoor amphitheater, and you get a full spectrum creative work across centuries and disciplines.  

Jaume Plensa,  Awilda & Irma , 2014, stainless steel, H. 157.5 x W. 157.5 x D. 118 in. each, © J2017 Jaume Plensa, Courtesy Galerie Lelong, New York. 

Jaume Plensa, Awilda & Irma, 2014, stainless steel, H. 157.5 x W. 157.5 x D. 118 in. each, © J2017 Jaume Plensa, Courtesy Galerie Lelong, New York. 

Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University:  "promotes engagement with the visual arts for the Duke and Durham communities. The museum is dedicated to presenting innovative and accessible collections, exhibitions, publications and programs that stimulate intellectual discourse, enrich individual lives and generate new knowledge. Drawing on the resources of a leading research university, the museum serves as a laboratory for interdisciplinary approaches."  We love its thought-provoking special exhibitions, as well as its commissioned works, such as "Shadow and Light," shown below.   

Shadow and Light, by Odili Donald Odita, Nasher Museum, Durham, NC.

Shadow and Light, by Odili Donald Odita, Nasher Museum, Durham, NC.

And, while not a 'destination' per se, we are immensely thankful for the Carolina Mixed Media Art Guild (CMMAG):  If not for the Guild, we wouldn't have met!  Founded in 2002 by mixed media artist Jeanne Rhea, the CMMAG mission is to:  advance the education of mixed media arts via meetings, workshops and exhibitions; encourage personal and professional development of member artists; explore techniques in a wide variety of media; develop opportunities for member artists to show their work to the public; and promote mixed media work to galleries, museums and the public.  We have both served as Guild President, and credit working on Guild programs and special projects as the catalyst for the idea of Your Creative Connection. 

CanvaSynergy II by twenty five members of CMMAG, 2016

CanvaSynergy II by twenty five members of CMMAG, 2016

If you're a mixed media artist interested in joining us for our Haw River, NC Retreat in October of 2018, sign up for our Newsletter, so you'll be the first to know the details, including getting first crack at registration when it opens later this month.  We'd love to have you join us for what promises to be a wonder-filled artful experience!  

Wishing you a creative day,



Introducing Thankful Thursday

     While it is fairly common for folks to spend the month of November listing the things, people, and/or experiences for which they are most thankful, we thought it a practice worth keeping year-round.  Whether we do so in tandem (like today) or as individuals, we will offer up a thing or three for which we are most thankful here on the Blog on Thursdays.  We invite you to share elements of your own attitude of gratitude in the Comments, below.
     According to Harvard Health Publishing, there is scientific evidence that gratitude leads to happiness:  “In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness.  Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”  All of which is very much in keeping with our philosophy, here at Your Creative Connection! 
     All of that to say this:  We are ever-so-thankful to be sharing our latest artistic adventure with you!  ...and there is SO much to share!  In the coming weeks, we'll be seeing you here on the blog with updates, announcements, and special 'behind the scenes' snippets in hopes that YOU will be thankful of our efforts.
     We are extremely grateful for all of the possibilities that our partnership in Your Creative Connection brings to the fore!  We are also super excited for the creative connections that this will afford each and every one of our Creative Explorers.  All of which makes us absolutely giddy with the knowledge that Your Creative Connection is no longer a dream; it is a full-fledged reality.  The only thing missing is you!
      We'll see you here again, soon!
       ~ PLA & MDP