More Loot to Love!

In this weeks installment, we are sure to have something for you to be thankful for.  As mentioned in the announcement for this venture, we said we would be including original work from each of us.  I am here to give you the low-down on those inclusions *w00t!*  In addition to these bits of eye-candy, be sure to read to the end for extra opportunities to add some creative mojo to your holiday preparations!

First off, from the wildly talented Michelle Davis Petelinz of Kindred Spirit Studios, we have a gorgeous alcohol ink pendant on a black, cotton cord with an adjustable chain.  These pieces are absolute stunners – photos do not do them justice (as with most shiny things).  It will be just as at home with your favorite jeans and denim shirt as with your fancier duds for a night on the town.  No two are alike, so you can rest assured that you are getting a true, one-of-a-kind piece of wearable art.

Then, from Penny L. Arrowood of Art Paper Love, we have a trio of marbled magnets mimicking the mineral Lapis Lazuli.  *wow – try saying that 3 times, real fast!?*  Created on Ampersand Stampboard substrates with multiple layers of Marabu EasyMarble and backed with a super powerful neodynum magnet, these lovelies will dress up any notes that they hold.  Their glass-like finish is the result of a layer of resin that gives them additional depth of color.  Whether they reside on your fridge or your filing cabinet, they will bring beauty to your day and add a little art to your day to day surroundings.

Just a reminder:  it’s not too late to play along!  You have until tomorrow (11/30) at Midnight EST to take part in our 1st Anniversary Giveaway of The Cornucopia of Creative Goodness.  Please see the announcement blog post for all of the details on how you can earn entries into the drawing for this amazing bag of plenty!  Take a look at our Instagram feed to see each weeks additions, and don’t forget to join us on Instagram and Facebook tomorrow for the final inclusion.  The winner will be announced on Monday, December 3rd.  Will it be YOU?  It could very well be – but you can’t win if you don’t play! 

Seats are filling for our very first Art in the Parks series event – don’t miss out on a surefire way to add your own signature style to your gift-giving this holiday season!  Join us on Sunday afternoon, December 9th at the Millbrook Exchange Park to explore Monoprint Magic:  Gorgeous Cards, Wraps, and Tags.  You will leave loaded with inspiration to add pizzazz to your gift presentation this year, and take home tips, tricks, and techniques that you will use year-round next year.  Cost of $50.00 includes workshop, all materials, light refreshments, and Your Creative Connection surprises throughout!

Finally: this week marks the close of our weekly Thankful Thursday postings. After a year and a month, we are turning our attentions toward other ways to provide regular content here on the blog. We fully intend to continue this practice, and it is our sincere hope that we have inspired you to regularly reflect on those things for which you are thankful – on Thursdays and every other day!

Until next time,


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,



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,



Thankful Thursday - My Circle of Women

I attended my 40th college reunion earlier this month, and was struck by how easily I was able to share stories, collaborate, and reminisce with many women I hadn't seen in 4 decades.  The shared experience of four years of college bonds us in ways outsiders will observe but never really understand, and it is that experience which guides our interactions with each other all these many years later.  Of course, we're all different, we've chosen divergent paths in both career and family, but our Wellesley experience is our commonality.  This is even true with alumnae from other decades, which can be even more extraordinary; knowing I have a bond with a 96-year old woman riding in the alumnae parade in the Model-T (that'll be me in 30 years!) is a very special feeling.  

My circle of women challenges me, nurtures me, and keeps me grounded.  I am privileged to count among my circle women of diverse ages, races, backgrounds, and geographic locations.  And, thanks to Facebook, that circle is even wider than ever.  I love having the ability to communicate ideas, share successes, ask and answer questions, and have a window into the lives of the women I know.  Of course, face to face conversation is best (and a glass or two of Prosecco doesn't hurt), but catching up with a friend in South Africa on my computer is very cool indeed.

The Your Creative Connection unique mixed media experience will give our Creative Explorers the chance to widen their own circle of women while they learn, discover, experiment, and create beautiful things.  What could be better than that?  If you're intrigued by this notion, click on over to read about what we have in store for October 11 through 15th, then register.  We look forward to welcoming you into our circle of women!  

Until next time,



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.  



Thankful Thursday - The Power of Sharing Your Story

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Quite often at art festivals and exhibits, people ask me about the inspiration for a piece they're viewing, or how I became an artist.  I welcome these questions because they allow me to share a bit of my personal story.  Sharing my story opens a window into my life and permits my listeners to imagine themselves seeing the world through my eyes for a moment.  This can become a powerful connection.  While I'm describing my artist practice, techniques, or what inspired me to create a specific piece, I love it when what I've said sparks another question, an observation, or an "aha moment" in the conversation.  Years ago, when I was just beginning to sell my work, I remember reading an article which pointed out that collectors purchase not only the piece of art, but also the artist's story.  And, that oftentimes, the artist's story is what ultimately gets the collector to purchase the work.  This was an eye-opener for me.  I know this to be true of my own art collection; when I look at a piece, I often recall the event, the artist, and something of the connection we shared when I acquired it.  I hope my collectors do the same with work I've created that they've chosen to live with.

The sharing of stories and gaining insight goes both ways, of course.  This is one of my favorite examples:  During a busy art festival, a woman returned to my booth several times, always drawn to the same piece.  When I asked her what questions she had, she said she didn't have any, but wondered aloud why she was drawn to that piece.  I told her it was one of my favorites too, because of the color palette.  She agreed, saying she loved it as well.  I pointed out that I often worked in variations on that theme, finding myself returning to it again and again, not really knowing or examining why.  She paused, then said:  Well, do you think it's because it represents Earth and sky?  And, though it now seems obvious, I was stunned; you could almost hear the gears clicking into place:  YES, it does, and that's why it resonated with us both! We smiled in shared recognition, she bought the piece, and I hope she remembers our connection when she looks at it.  

I'm thankful to be able to share my work and my story with the world, and I look forward to doing that with Penny, Jeanne, and you, our Creative Explorers in October at our Retreat.  When creative women gather, the sharing of stories, laughter, experiences, and insights creates a special magic.  Wouldn't you like to take part in this powerful connection?  We'd love for you to join us so we can hear your stories....Register today! 
Until next time....



Thankful Thursday - Friendship

Are we always laughing?  
"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born."  ~Anaïs Nin

      I love this quote because it describes my relationship with my dear friend, fellow creative soul, and business partner, Penny Arrowood.  Our first meeting was unremarkable:  as a guest at a gathering of the Carolina Mixed Media Art Guild, in the diminutive back room of a local craft store, I met many women that evening. Penny was busily taking notes on the proceedings, so I assumed she was the Guild's secretary (an assumption which turned out to be prophetic), and her enthusiastic welcome and genuine interest in my work was wonderful (you can read more about our Guild adventures here). 

“There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate.”  ~Linda Grayson

      From that unassuming, almost random beginning, a true friendship was born that thrives today.  We've shared many triumphs, weathered many a storm, and through it all, our affinity for each other (and a well-turned phrase, a well-engineered pop-up book, or a well-made chocolate bar) has grown.  The "new world" which has evolved from our friendship is Your Creative Connection, and we seek to share our vision of camaraderie, creative exploration, and community with you.

      Our first event, "Notes to Our Future Selves," is in just two days.  We are looking forward to presenting artful mixed media techniques and our third Teaching Artist Jeanne Faith d'Orleans, meeting new Creative Explorers, and giving just a taste of what's in store during our grand, mixed media retreat in October.  Sound like fun?  It's not too late to register. All of the details are here.  See you on Saturday! 

Until next time,



Save the Date! April 7th, 2018

Greetings, fellow creative explorers! 

We are thrilled to announce our very first Pop-Up Event!  Make plans now to join us on April 7th, from 1:00-4:00pm, at Sertoma Arts Center in Raleigh, NC for an afternoon of creativity in community.  You will enjoy a mini workshop that highlights every facet of the jewel that is Your Creative Connection:  Creativity, Community, and Self Care.  Spaces are limited, register today for Notes to Our Future Selves.  Enjoy hands-on fun as you meet the Artist Instructors that will present our premiere event at Haw River State Park in October.


We will while away the afternoon in creative bliss, as Jeanne, Michelle, and Penny share some of their favorite techniques.  We will work on lovely papers from our friends at Strathmore Artist Papers.  You will be creating fully functional art, as our final compositions will work as artful reminders to yourself or beautiful gifts for others by way of Mixed Media Mail Art!  We will busy our hands with the creation of Kintsugi Hearts, Mindful Mandalas, and Found Poetry.  Participants will leave with at least three frame-able and/or mail-ready mini masterpieces.  Plus:  there will be Door Prizes, refreshments, and special offers to be had.

As if all of this isn't enough to tempt you:  Attendees of the PopUp Event will get the 1st look at samples for each of our Studio Sessions in October!  What are you waiting for?  Register today.  Double the fun by inviting a friend!  Don't wait too long -- spaces are limited!  We look forward to seeing you for artful adventures on April 7th.