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.


WOW Wednesday -- Did You Know...

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


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.


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 - The Gift of Curiosity

Did we all learn the word "curious" from this little fellow?  

Did we all learn the word "curious" from this little fellow?  

Curiosity:  a quality related to inquisitive thinking such as exploration, investigation, and learning, evident by observation in humans and other animals.  ~Wikipedia

We artists are a curious bunch, and perhaps mixed media artists are the most curious of all.  We constantly ask "What if?",  "What can I use to...",  "How can I?", and best of all:  "Why not?".  The thrill of exploration, experimentation, discovery, and ultimately mastery is what keeps us going, posing questions, and leaping out of bed in the morning (well, maybe not actually leaping, but a reasonable facsimile thereof!).  And, we love to share our results with each other, in hopes of answering someone else's "How can I?".  Of course, the Internet and YouTube videos in particular have made this information and technique sharing easier to access (Curious about how to create marbled paper with shaving cream?  Make mono prints on clay?  Use that Fiskars cutter you just bought?  There are multiple videos on each topic).  But to me, there's no substitute for being face-to-face, learning about another artist's original "wild" idea, first plans, unsuccessful results, back-to-the-drawing-board moments, retries, and ultimately, seeing her successful project realized.  It's those bumps along the road which are most instructive, and which often lead off onto another creative tangent or 'accidental' discovery which can be used later (those are the best!).  


We here at Your Creative Connection celebrate and embrace curiosity; we encourage it in all we do.  Penny, Jeanne and I can't wait to reveal what we have been working on to share with you in October!  In future blog posts, we'll show you our moments of experimentation and discovery which were born out of our asking "What if?" and "Why not?" in preparing our Studio Sessions for you, our Creative Explorers. 

We're excited about what's to come, and if you're curious too and want to take the leap and explore with us, why not register for our October 11~15 retreat? 

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.

Thankful Thursday - The Joys of Friendship and Collaboration

The past two weeks have provided ready reminders for much of which I am grateful, not the least of which the sense of completeness that has ensconced the happenings here at Your Creative Connection!  We are now a solid TRIO for all of the wonderment that is our October gathering at Haw River State Park (10/11-10/15, 2018).   This addition comes with some glorious strings attached, as our Special Guest Artist for Haw River ’18 is *among many other things* an incredible fiber artist!

For me, this collaboration represents the joining of two creative forces in my life – an alliance of two Tribes, so to speak…  The resulting energy has been a joy to behold!  Michelle and I had the opportunity to spend some time in the studio and at the planning table with our Guest Artist last weekend, and WOW – just:  wow!?  We have significantly upped the “mixed” portion of this unique, mixed media experience to wondrous ends!  …and I truly believe we have added to the very heart of it, as well.  Our friend and fellow creative adventurer brings her all to her artistic endeavors – her work unites heart, hands, and mind to amazing effect.

Please help us welcome our friend, collaborator, and creative hummingbird:  Jeanne Faith d’Orleans!  You can learn more about Jeanne, her creative process, and see more of her work on her Gallery Page.

We are thrilled for this creative connection, and are wildly excited for what lies ahead.  Speaking of which:  if you want to have the inside scoop on all things Your Creative Connection, please take a moment to become a Newsletter Subscriber.  You’ll get first dibs on all the latest news and announcements *up to a week ahead of everyone else!*  Hey, we are a low-volume affair and we’ll never sell/share your information with anyone.  We only want to ensure that you don’t miss out on any of the exceptional goodness that is happening in the coming months!

Until we meet again!
 - PLA


Thankful Thursday - Expanding Vision

Just like George Peppard portraying the cigar-chomping John ‘Hannibal’ Smith in the 80s *camp* TV classic The A Team:  “I love it when a plan comes together!”  This perfectly sums up the latest work from my creative efforts! 

It began last year, when I decided to commemorate my journey to the big, 5-0 with a series of mini-canvases.  Dubbed “#50for50,” I chronicled the progression of these diminutive beauties in daily Facebook posts and weekly wrap-up posts on my Blog.  In Week 3, I was showing three canvases each day – the photos became a little puzzle for me – my challenge to find a visual line that continued across multiple surfaces created at separate times.  It was a fun little break in the routine of photographing, editing, captioning, and posting the tiny offerings each day.

A snippet from the Blog, Monday, May 22, 2017 - Week 3 Wrap-Up

This past Christmas, I had the occasion to do more of my “line finding” in the creation of a few special gifts for a few special people.  Once again, I was taken by the simple joy of finding/creating a link where one did not intentionally exist.

A trio in primary tones -- yet another favorite.

My latest work features more of this method, employed to greater effect by using more sizes of mini canvases and working with intentional color ways.  I have also adapted the background to the theme, and I think it makes a world of difference (!)

The first three pieces in the new series:  Melodies of the Sea

What JOY!  …to roam freely in the realm of creativity – finding new ways to do a favorite thing – creating novel ways to employ/expand ones vision – making a technique already beloved even more ones own…  These are the tendrils that enrobe me, when I am well and truly “in the zone”.  What takes you into the perfect creative state?  What is your favorite thing about spending time there?  Wouldn’t it be great to spend 3 or 4 whole days in such a place?  It’s easier than you might think to do just that!  If you are not subscribed to our Newsletter, today would be a mighty fine day to change that!  If you ARE a subscriber, Thanks *ever-so-much!*  …keep an eye on your Inbox:  Big News is on the way!  

Later days…
 - PLA