Throughout 2018, I create a piece of optimistic, happy artwork every week for my One a Week Art Challenge. I challenged myself to meet this goal and I was committed to it and succeeded.
But to be honest, 2018 was a hard year for me and I learned that choosing happiness is not always as simple as it sounds.
In our country's current political climate, when truth and facts are blurred and integrity and ethical behaviors are not the norm – it is SO easy to feel the negativity. It is SO easy to be consumed by seeing the bad in others and SO easy to forget to find the good. On top of that, personally, during 2018 I experienced a series of circumstances in which I was disappointed and let down by people that I trusted and respected. Candidly, there were times throughout the year that I felt like I had lost my faith in humanity.
Had I not had this One a Week Art Challenge in 2018, I know that I would not have remained as optimistic as I did. That's how ART taught me that Happiness is BOTH a practice and a choice.
How do you practice HAPPINESS?
Make it a HAPPY day!
For a LONG time - a really LONG time - I have been saying that I need to exercise. And, many times, I started, but after a week or two, I would lose motivation and quit.
As you may know, during my One a Week Art Challenge in 2018, I learned TONS about the power of persistence (read about that here). So, I decided to attack my lack of exercise with the same commitment...so on April 22, #100DaysofMOVE began.
Yep, from now until July 31, I will exercise everyday. Spring is blooming here and the weather has been nice, so thus far, my exercise has been walking around my town.
What does this have to do with ART?
Honestly, when I started this 10 days ago, I would have never imagined how much this would connect to my artwork. But, #100DaysofMOVE, has been filled with lots of inspiration in some of the most unexpected places. To keep me motivated, I am documenting my walks with photos.
Here are some of the inspiration that I have found on my walks.
This has proven to me - yet again - that inspiration is everywhere! I just need to remember to look for it! Thank goodness that #100DaysofMOVE reminded me.
I hope you enjoyed a peek into my daily walks!
Make it a HAPPY day!
This is my most recent piece and I am kind of digging it!
But these happy flowers are currently unnamed and I want your input!
What should I name these flowers?
A little bit about this piece of art...
Please let me know your idea for a title for this artwork in the comment section below.
Make it a HAPPY day!
Art has taught and continues to teach me SO many lessons! One of the biggest lessons is the importance of persistence.
I used to tell myself that I was a good started but a terrible finisher.
Let me explain.
I am a master at generating ideas - and I am pretty skilled at starting the implementation process. But, in the past, when things got hard - or when it was no longer "fun", I would get discouraged, put on the brakes and screech to a halt.
It’s hard to keep on keeping on. ...Especially when the task becomes challenging or is no longer fun.
But because of art, I realized that I do have the skills to be a good finisher. Art has taught me to persist.
When I am creating art, there is a time, with every single piece – EVERY SINGLE PIECE – that I hate what I am creating and I want to pitch it into the trash can.
But, guess what??!!... I found that if I persist and continue on - Sometimes after taking a break – other times after redoing parts – that almost always, I end up creating something amazing!
I learned that EVERY THING – even things that we love – SUCK at times. The "suck" is just part of the process. And, I found that if I dramatize the "suck" – then the "suck" becomes suckier.
So when the "suck" arrives I try to simply notice it and not to make it bigger than it needs to be. I tell myself “Ok…we are here, at the 'suck'. It’s temporary. And, all it really is, is just a problem to solve. I’ve got this.”
For me, learning to push past the "suck" is how I came to understand the value of persistence.
What are your thoughts about PERSISTENCE?
I would love to hear in the comments below.
Make it a HAPPY Day!
Whenever I am struggling to figure out what to create, or when something that I am creating is not working out, my go-to biggest inspiration is FLOWERS! I love flowers! It is impossible to see a flower and not smile! Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The earth laughs in flowers" (and I couldn't agree more!) So, often I find myself collaging fun, whimsical flowers!
Here are my top seven favorite flowers collages that I created (in no particular order).
This simple flower was one of my early collages. It is made entirely from magazine clippings. I love it because deciding which petal papers to use was a fun study of color, pattern and design.
Interestingly, this was also the first original piece of artwork that I sold.
No Rain, No Flowers
Inspired by the saying, "No Rain, No Flowers" I created this fun patch of flowers.
What I most like about this one is the quirkiness of the entire design. Putting the clouds, rain drops and puddles on both sides of the whimsical flowers, instead of merging them together, was an unusual choice for me - but I really love how it turned out. And, the bee felt like the perfect finishing touch.
The original of No Rain, No Flowers is available in my shop.
Again, like the "Daisy" this sunflower is made from magazine clipping with the addition of a black sharpie marker for the outline. I really appreciate the pops of the oranges and yellows against the contrasting blue.
Sunflowers have to be one of the happiest flowers! And, this sunflower always makes me smile!
These little pots and vases of plants and flowers are another favorite! I loved this creation so much that I made two other very similar pieces.
What I like most about this artwork is how I incorporated happy "secret" messages in my paper choices.
The original is Grow is available in my shop.
How could you not feel at least a wee bit happier when you see these playful posies?! ...At least that was my thought when I was creating this piece.
There are a few things that makes this art one of my favorites. I love the color combination and quirkiness of the flowers. Also, while the picture does not do it justice, the background on the original is made from a bunch of different layers and is awesome. Lastly, I love the word "happy" since it was the first time I hand cut cursive letters. The entire piece came together nicely.
We Create our Own Miracles
The simplicity of this artwork make this one another favorite.
This piece was commissioned art. While I really like the daisies, the background of this one is the best part. The layers of paint, the beauty of the old wood (that I create this on) and the turquoise-ee color is what I most love about this creation!
These little sprouts make me happy and this is my husband's all time favorite! Something notable about this artwork is that most of the paper that I used to create the pots is from the inside of envelopes.
I have collaged many, many flowers since I started creating art and know that I will be creating a bunch more - because as I often say to myself...
"When all else fails, CREATE FLOWERS!" and thus far, that has been a great mantra!
Which one is your favorite?
Make is a HAPPY day!
PS... Prints are available of all of these flowers in my shop. Check them out here.
Over the past couple of year, I have become more familiar with a type of artwork called "Surface Design". Surface Design is artwork, that is created, often in a pattern, to be applied to a surface to enhance its appearance.
Here are some examples of artwork of this genre that I found in my house:
I don't know about you, but a design on an item is often why I buy something. In fact, the pillow shown above, was my inspiration piece for our new sunroom and so many decisions I made for that room were based on the colors and design of that pillow. Also, I wasn't planning to purchase a journal the day that I spotted the fun purple paisley pattern, but I loved the design so I decided to add it to my cart.
Is this similar for you? Does design help to guide your purchases?
After learning about Surface Design and becoming familiar with that genre I have become more and more interested in creating art that could be easily applied to various surfaces. Some of my past artwork lends itself to becoming surface design - but some of it does not. So, this week I decided to create a piece specifically with Surface Design in mind.
Since much of the artwork in this genre is a pattern, I decided to create this Funky Fun pattern.
I am kind of digging it! It's has a retro 1960s and 1970s feel. I think it could be fun on a shower curtain, or socks, or a phone case, or a scarf... The options are endless.
My next step with this piece is to scan it and make it digital so that it can be applied to surface.
Who knows, soon you might be seeing this artwork on some products!
Let me know what you think. What types of designs do you like to see on stuff you buy?
Make it a HAPPY day!
There are some days, that I am simply GRUMPY! Maybe someone said something that set me off, or I got frustrated with myself, or my kids got on my last nerve, or...??? Sometimes, I don't even know why I am feeling out of whack.
I try hard to choose to be HAPPY most of the time, so I thought that I would share my
top 10 ways to turn my grumpy mood into a HAPPY one!
3) Get out into Nature. Getting out of my house, and spending time with the trees, birds, squirrels and sunshine always lifts my spirits. The simple act of seeing the earth's beauty immediately puts my woes into perspective. Most of the time, after about 30 minutes or so, my grumpiness feels minuscule and unimportant.
4) Sing a Silly Song. Admittedly, I tend to only sing (out loud and boldly) when I am in the comfort of my own home. But, belting out a goofy, nonsensical rhyme in a made-up tune cracks me up! And, BONUS - it embarrasses my kids! It is impossible to not feel better after that!
...Maybe it's just me who makes up wacky tunes... but I bet singing a "real" song will help to turn round any crabby mood.
5) Dance. Turn on your favorite tune and shake your tail feathers! Dancing always makes me feel good!
6) Remember a Happy Time. Our world is so fast-paced that we often forget to be thankful for the good times. Thinking back on a favorite memory and feeling grateful for the experience is one of my quick mood-changers.
9) Smile. Even if I am not feeling it, a smile ALWAYS makes me feel better! And... there is science to explain why this is true for all of us! Learn about it HERE. PS - laughing works too!
10) Do Something Different. Most of the time when I get crabby, I just need to stop what I am doing and change my environment and activity. Simple things like taking a moment to stand up and stretch, or going to get a small snack, or running a quick errand can change how I am feeling and get me headed in a happier direction.
There you have it - 10 ways to turn a grumpy mood into a happier one!
What are your strategies? I'd love to hear them - Tell me in the comments below!
Make it a HAPPY day!
Artists typically work alone and I think that makes the creative process seem a bit mysterious and daunting. But, creating art is like most things we do in life. Sometimes it turns out smashingly, and other times... well... not so much...!
I have been regularly creating art since 2013 and in that time, there are many piece that I have started and not finished. Sometimes I get stuck in the creation process and can't figure out how to get unstuck. Other times, I really, really dislike (HATE!) what I am creating. And still other times, I am just not longer inspired. Therefore, I have stashes of unfinished artwork in my art studio.
So, today I thought it would be fun-ish - and a wee bit embarrassing - to share my undone pieces of art.
Maybe you can help decide which ones should be resuscitated and which ones should be put out of their (and my) misery.
So there you have it. A peek into my Art Cemetery. There are more...but I'm going to stop here.
What do you think...is it worth resuscitating any of them? I'm not sure...
Make it a Happy Day!
WoooooHooooies!!!! I am celebrating Friday's launch of new products featuring my artwork in my online shop SO... I am giving away this adorable pillow. The drawing occurs on Thursday, March 14 at 8pm EST. Enter below!
I am often asked about my art. Here are the questions (and the answers) that I get asked over and over again...
Where do you draw the inspiration for your work?
There are so many ways in which I draw inspiration for my art. I might notice something while on a walk, or want to capture the magic of a vacation, or I hear a phrase that speaks to me. My inspiration comes from my everyday life and experiences.
However, I am inspired most when I see good in the world. In today’s day and age, it is so easy to get sucked into negative energy and that can be draining. So, I purposely look for and find positivity, then use those moments to guide my work.
What message do you hope to convey in your artwork?
The mission of my art is to bring “a little bit of happy into the world one piece at a time”. I truly believe that optimism can have positive and powerful impact on everyone’s life. And, I hope that my creations add some goodness into the world. The way I figure it, is that if someone smiles because they saw something that I created, then I have done my job.
To convey this message, my artwork is filled with bright colors, whimsy, playfulness and optimism. My art has been described as “joyful”, “soulful” and “smile-making”.
What is your medium/How do you create your art?
Most of my artwork is paper collage. I use a wide variety of papers – maps, books, ledgers, graph paper, magazines, newspapers, the inside of business envelopes, blue prints, postage stamps, postcards, etc. I even make some of my own textured and patterned paper with acrylics, colored pencils, or other mediums and digitally. Recently I have been using scraps of wood for the base of my artwork and therefore, much of my materials are recycled or repurposed.
Cut or torn paper is used to create my images. I like to refer to it as “painting with paper, scissors, and glue”. All of it, including the letters, are cut by hand.
Do you have an art background?
I did not go to school for art. In fact, through much of my life, I didn’t think that I had much artistic talent at all. It wasn’t until I was in my early 40s in 2011 (I randomly took a fun online class called the 30-day Do the Doodle Challenge) that I even begin to explore my love for creating art. Since that time, I have been on a journey of discovering my artistic talents. I have been creating art, fulltime since 2017.
Originally, I began creating artwork for myself – because when I made time to be creative, I found that I was a happier person. In 2012 the first real artistic endeavor that I took on was to illustrate a picture book, Moments Meant to Savor, that I wrote. The book was published in 2013 and through that process, I realized how much I loved creating art, and I decided to pursue it more seriously. Since then, I have done commission work, including a large project for a “Discovery Hall” in an elementary school, licensed my designs to an art and wine business, participated in art shows, and most recently held my first solo art show with artwork from a year-long, One a Week Art Challenge.
Make it a HAPPY day!