I'm keeping up with the daily challenges in the journal. I am finding that I am working more and more in the new journal since the other one is almost full. There's still room to add some things, but when I need to space, I turn to the new journal with the blank pages.
We had to say good bye to our sweet boy Oreo last night. His health had been steadily failing over the past few months. He wasn't eating much, he was losing weight, he just wasn't himself, and it was just time. We didn't want him to suffer anymore.
Oreo came to us about 15 years ago as a two year old boy who had been urinating inappropriately in his home. His family at the time thought that he might do better in our home, and he did. His problem diminished but never went completely away, but we adjusted. He was a very sweet boy, and he loved nothing more than cuddling on your lap, though he was not by any means a petite boy. But as a way to invite him up, you had to sing his song. Some how we began simply singing his name to the tune of the song the witch's guards sing in the Wizard of Oz. I'm not sure where it came from, but years later when we heard the exact same thing in the movie Wreck It Ralph, we realized that we weren't the only ones to think of it.
At some point, he developed lymphoma. We were able to treat it, and he lived quite a few years. In the end we believe that the lymphoma came back and led to his failing health. We watched as he lost weight, developed difficulty walking, and lost that spark in his eyes. Our friend and veterinarian, Krisi Erwin helped him to the bridge, and we are grateful for her support and reassurance through the end of Oreo's life.
The house seems emptier without our sweet boy, but our spirits are lifted a little by the thought that he is no longer suffering.
I can't believe that it's already May. Time is passing quickly. I do have two workshops coming up for the month May, and I'm hoping that you can join me for at least one of them.
First, I'll be teaching my Line and Wine paint night at the Round Hill Arts Center next week on Friday, May 12 from 6:30 to 9:30. This is my take on the popular wine and paint nights, but with a unique spin. There's no example to copy, no step-by-step and everyone makes the same thing. It all begins with an intuitive line, and everyone makes a very unique piece.
I've taught it on several occasions, both in my studio and at the center. It's always fun, and I love seeing the different things that come from it. I hope to see some local folks there!
Later in May I trek down to Asheville, NC to teach a two-day workshop at 310 Art in the River Arts District. I love Asheville, and I am excited to take an more in depth version of my Luminous Liquid Layers there where we can delve into more mixed media techniques, image transfers, and developing imagery. I'm looking forward to creating a creative mess for two full days! There are only 2 spaces left, so hurry if you want to join me in wonderful Asheville.
I hope that you can join me for one of these awesome workshops!
It has been nearly a year since I handed in my resignation from teaching in the public schools, and nearly eight months since I received my last paycheck from the school district. And I must say that things are going well as a self-employed artist. That doesn't mean that it's been smooth sailing without bumps and stress, but the bills are being paid each month and I am finding steady opportunities.
There is one thing that I have come to understand through all of this. The universe always answers. I have become a firm believer that our thoughts and our beliefs create our reality. If all we think of and feel is a sense of lack and overwhelming scarcity, then the universe answers. We feel that we never have enough, and it always seems like we are not getting our fair share. However, if we believe that the world is one filled with abundance and opportunity, then the universe answers. There always seems to be enough, and opportunities seem to be plenty and seem to come up out of nowhere.
I have seen this happen again and again over the past year. I have seen how the universe has answered.
When I resigned from teaching, my wife and I had saved a good chunk of money, and I figured that we could survive on it for seven months if nothing came through - if I didn't earn any money. But here we are, eight months into it, and for the past three months we haven't had to touch our savings, and looks like it will be the same for the next handful of months.
From the beginning, I adopted an attitude of abundance. I firmly believe that there's enough in this universe where I can not just carve out a living, but thrive. Now I haven't just been sitting back and doing nothing relying on the universe to provide. I've been out there hustling, and making opportunities happen, but more often then not, things just seem to come up. Opportunities materialize seemingly from thin air sometimes. Now I know a lot of those opportunities have come about from the connections that I have made in the past, but it's been amazing to see how many opportunities pop up at this time. From my part time job as Program Manager at the Round Hill Arts Center to presenting for the Art of Ed Online Conference, from chances to exhibit my work to providing workshops, many of these things have simply come up. The universe has answered, and I am extremely grateful.
There's probably no bigger opportunity than one that came up at the end of last year. Back in November, I got an email that completely took me by surprise - someone asking if David I would like to come teach a workshop for teachers. There's nothing too unusual about that, but this wasn't an ordinary workshop. We worked out the details and finalized everything a couple of months ago, but silly me just hasn't shared the news.
I am quite excited to announce that David and I have been invited to Hawaii at the beginning of June to teach the Summer Institute for Educators at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center for an entire week. We will lead a three-day workshop for elementary teachers and a three-day workshop for secondary teachers. We will share the power of the visual journal not just in the artroom, but also in other classrooms. The institute is for all teachers, not just art teachers. We are quite excited, and we are very much looking forward to it. I can't wait. It's about a month away!
What an amazing opportunity, and an awesome example of how the universe answers!
I was fortunate this weekend to spend a full day teaching my Luminous Liquid Layers at Larkin Arts in Harrisonburg, VA. I haven't spent much time in Harrisonburg since David graduated from the MFA program at James Madison University, so it was nice to go back. Larkin Arts is an cool spot right in the heart of the city, and it's an all-in-one stop for the arts. They sell art supplies, have a gallery, rent out studios to artists, and offer classroom space for workshops.
There were only three students in the class, so we were able to spread out as we worked. Using Golden High Flow Acrylic, we built layers, textures, and patterns, and spent six solid hours playing with the paint.
The process was one of discovery, and I encouraged the students to not have a preconceived idea of what they were painting. Allowing the painting to develop through cultivating the accidental and the unpredictable always leads to creative surprises that you can't get through meticulous planning.
I want to thank Valerie Smith, owner of Larkin Arts, for hosting me and the students as we made a creative mess, and I hope to go back and offer more workshops in such a eclectic space.
Two weeks ago I was teaching classes in Portland at Art and Soul, but it's taken me this long to finally create a post about it.
Unlike like last year when David and my wife both went to Portland, I went my myself this year. Though I enjoy exploring a new place with someone else, it's also very satisfying to wander and explore by myself. I flew into Portland a couple of days early so that I could do just that - explore.
I started of my first full day exploring the Japanese Gardens and downtown Portland. Despite the rain, the gardens had a lot of people, but not so many that it was a bother. I was struck with how green everything was, and the leaves on the trees hadn't even started to bud. But with the copious amounts of rain Portland gets, moss was everywhere. The gardens were breathtaking, and I thoroughly enjoyed exploring all the nooks and crannies of the place.
No trip to Portland would be complete without a stop at Powell's Books and Voodoo Doughnuts. I explored the shelves of Powell's for a couple of hours before heading over to Voodoo for a snack of tasty vegan doughnuts. YUM!
I found time during my first couple of days to initiate my new journal, and I worked in it in my hotel room, at the hotel bar, and in the lobby of the hotel. The size of the new journal makes it a bit more conducive to working in public spaces.
I kicked of my teaching with a mixed media postcard workshop, Wish You Were Here. I only had one student, so it was quite awesome to have a one-on-one session. We took a look at some of the positive moments of our lives, and used them as the inspiration for our cards - basically visual journaling on 4x6 inch mixed media cards.
That evening, I had a good sized class for Stencil Savvy, a stencil making class. We spent 3 hours explore a wide assortment of ideas for cutting original stencils. Using Grafix heavy duty stencil film, and a hobby knife, we started with simple shapes, and worked our way up to more complex ideas.
My final full day in Portland, I taught a visual journal class, Journal Fodder Junkies of the World Unite. Based on the the very first workshop David and I taught together about 12 years ago, we explored a variety of media, techniques, and writing prompts.
Although David wasn't there in person, he was there in spirit. I had silhouette stencil of him with me and several students used it in their work.
Although I didn't have packed classes, I was reminded why I love teaching these workshops. I love sharing my art and my processes for working on art. I love exposing people to new ideas and connecting them with their innate creativity. It was a lot of work, but a lot of fun.
It you missed all the fun, don't worry. I'll be teaching these same three classes a little closer to home when Art and Soul comes to Virginia Beach at the beginning of October. Hopefully David will be able to make it this time!
Registration is open now! Check out the classes here!
It's the 111th day of the year, and I've completed 111 daily visual journal challenges. Here are some of the results from this week. Some of these were done in my new, smaller journal that I begun at Art and Soul a couple of weeks ago. Enjoy.