It's coming around again .... SCHOOL. While it is still Summer time, My kids are starting to feel the weight of the impending school year. Summer projects still need to be completed, and most of our exciting activities have been checked off our list. Only a few more precious weeks of freedom!
One thing I can say I'm looking forward to about August is that my art classes start back up. This year I'm doing a little something different. I'm starting an advanced watercolor class. It will be Wednesday during the day for those who have taken art classes with me in the past. We plan to dig deeper and incorporate a book called, Art and Fear. The class will be a bit of discussion on art and life, then lots of experimenting and learning. We'll linger over our projects and hot tea longer and take each piece to the next level by starting with sketches and then bringing them back and forth to the group for discussion and feedback. I'll learn and grow right along with the students.
Tuesday evenings I'll continue the beginner to intermediate class from 5 to 6:15 . It is fine if you have to come a few minutes late, just come. Let this be a time that your children or husband step up to fix dinner while you enjoy painting. Seriously, you won't regret carving out this time for yourself. This class covers basic art theory such as light and shadow, perspective, composition, color mixing and much much more. We also talk about the emotional side of making art. I weave into the classes my theories on what I call, "Creative Truths." Here they are below:
(If you know these creative truths, you can jump ahead and read details on class pricing, get a syllabus, a supply list and sign up for either class here.)
Call yourself what you are.
If you love to create art, you are an artist. If you love to write music, you are a musician …
Proficiency in something or getting paid for it does not make you those things. Your passion for them does.
Quit trying to fit.
No matter how much you may want to, you can never completely divorce yourself from your own style, nor should you try to. It will follow you everywhere. You can get better and change your mediums and methods but your own unique style will always shine through.
Recognize that God made us to enjoy our work.
“ I have noticed one thing, at least, that is good. It is good for people to eat, drink, and enjoy their work under the sun during the short life God has given them, and to accept their lot in life. And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life--this is indeed a gift from God.”
- Ecclesiastes 3:18 - 19
Do things that scare you.
Art and creative pursuits make you vulnerable because they are so subjective. Embrace this vulnerability and fight through the fear. When we stop fearing failure, we are free to start being creative. Your mistakes are part of your process. Learn what to keep and what to erase and recognize that it is all part of learning.
Compare your work to your own work.
Yes, it is good to be inspired by other's work that you love, but when you are comparing, look to see how much your own creative work has grown and changed. A friend of mine keeps all of her old paintings so that each year she can go through her notebooks and see how far she has come!
Keep some white space.
Just as white space is important in art and design, it is also important to keep on our calendars as well. I'm still learning not to book up every moment, but when I leave some days unplanned and unscheduled, it leaves open space for refreshment and inspiration.
Learn to accept criticism.
Ask for feedback and develop thick skin to be able to receive it. Understand that most criticism can be used constructively. Begin to recognize what feedback is helpful, and flush that which is not.
When you think you are embarrassing yourself, keep working.
As we begin to make progress learning something totally new and outside of our comfort zone, the self-doubt kicks in hard. We think, who am I to do this or that, or why did I even think I could try this! This is where it is easy to get stuck. If not recognized for what it is, the fear of embarrassment can become an unconscious form of self sabotage. Don't let that happen.
Take the next right step
Don't wait to have it all figured out before you prayerfully do work you love. This quote by Agnes De Mille says it well, "Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what's next or how. The moment you know how, you begin to die a little. The artist never entirely knows. We guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark." For me this means faithfully moving forward.
Now's the time to get details and sign up for either class. Hope you can join us!
We all know that Oviedo has been mentioned in "top cities to live" lists in multiple publications, but what strikes me the most, what really makes me smile are the intangibles...
Between my three kids' activities and selling art at shows, I get to meet a lot of people around town. From getting to know young families to older folks to city officials, it got me thinking about the things I love about our town.
1. In this town, we support one another's endeavors.
We try our best to attend each other's events and activities. Just look at how many small businesses and work-from-home ventures we manage to support. We understand the old adage that another's success does not diminish our accomplishments, instead they often add value. I've been amazed by the support I've personally felt in this community and have tried to pass that support on. I see others around me doing the same. It's inspiring.
2. We know one another.
Yes, at times it can be tough quickly running into Publix or Target without stopping to chit-chat but you have to admit, this town of 60,000+ can sometimes feel like 500. It's not that we are a group full of gossips, it's just that our lives overlap. We are interwoven like the lattice top of a blueberry pie. This occurs by attending many years of school events, church gatherings, sports and service projects. We are raising our families together. I know that if my kids are out acting a fool that I will hear about it. Conversely, when they are doing things right, someone is going to compliment them. It's part of the parent network and it's healthy.
3. We tolerate annoyances well together and know how to laugh at them.
There are things about living in any town that are frustrating, but as a bunch, I think we exercise a lot of patience. Like how we are the only ones who can decode the multiple names of one street. Or how we've painfully stuck by our mall hoping for eventual improvements. What about the way we love our little chickens, even if it means waiting for them to slowly cross the road? There is also the growing traffic and that eyesore of the Albertsons plaza. These are things beyond our control as residents and yet we manage to work around them.. These things might be mildly vexing, but the issues can be complicated and it's easy to overlook a thing or two when you know how good you've got it … and we all know.
4. We help one another in times of need.
In the 17 years that I've lived here, I've seen this town truly rally when crisis hits. In case you doubt me, remember back to a few names; Madison Mickens and the flag football tournament to raise money for support of his family and medical expenses. Nadia Bloom and the incredible search and recovery of that precious young lady. Or how about hurricanes Charley and Mathew? We slept over at one another's houses when we didn't have power and cleared our neighbors' and friends' yards with chainsaws that we didn't really know how to use. It was a great time of community!
5. Neighbors feel like neighbors.
Recently, I've become aware of a group of young teen girls living in an Oviedo foster home. A dear friend of mine asked if I'd be willing to do a watercolor workshop for them. When I got there to paint with the girls, I was surprised to see two other friends. One was ready to help the group paint and one was dropping off a McDonald's dinner. I had no idea they were quietly involved in this type of service. It became known to me that these ladies were a part of a group called Foster Friends of Oviedo. As awareness of the girls' needs grows, so has the number of people stepping up to bring meals, donate items and raise funds. It's been incredible to witness! My eyes well up thinking of how our community will rally when we know about a need... everyone sharing or doing what their unique circumstances will allow. If you'd like to get involved or give, check out iwillprevail.org. As a show of your support for the girls, you'll receive a "LOVE Oviedo" sticker donated by the creator of the Oviedo 32765/32766 Facebook page, Emma Reichart.
Beyond the parks and amenities, it's those hard-to-put-your-finger-on elements that really make the town of Oviedo feel like home!
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*The above list is courtesy of Lars White, Our Oviedo Fire Chief
Many cool cities across the US have a mural of wings that visitors can stand in front of for fun pics. I remember seeing them in Deland when I was at the Deland Fall Festival of The Arts. Now Oviedo has its own set of wings.
Because of her love of all things, Oviedo, Kerry Kisling, of the Orange Door Boutique is sharing the side of her historic building for this unique purpose.
She hired me to collaborate with her and make her artistic vision for #oviedowings come to life.
We started the process with a meeting and then a sketch to get the shape right. I liked what we came up with ... part angel, part butterfly and all grace.
Early Monday morning I sketched the wings onto the wall with chalk to get the proportions and balance right. It was a fun few days, mainly because friends who stopped by and Kerry kept me fed with snacks, coffee and fresh fruit! I'm a sucker for refreshments : ). Truly the weather was sunny and breezy and I couldn't have asked for 3 nicer days to paint outdoors. By the end of the first day, I was able to get the basic white shape of the feathers in place.
Days 2 and 3 were all about the modeling and shading of the feathers. Kerry wanted some pops of color, so after some deliberation and experimentation, we decided to add in some sunlit yellow and cool complementary shades of blue.
With the exception of a major paint spill from me, it went pretty smoothly. If you know me, you know that I have a ferocious klutzy side!
By the end of Day 3 the wings were in place and ready to fly. This morning I brought my youngest son and hubby up there to check out the shop, meet Kerry and test out Oviedo's own set of artful wings!
Hope you enjoy seeing them as much as I have enjoyed painting them!
The school where my youngest child goes has begun teaching one of my favorite concepts to the children. It is the idea of a growth vs. a fixed mindset. I'm sure many of you have heard of it but if not, you'll want to read a little about it here. The idea is that students (and all of us) do not have a fixed level of intelligence, ability or talent but rather that we can continue to grow and change. I've known about this model for some time and I share it with my art classes. When I recently attended a school meeting and learned that they were sharing it with the kids too - I teared up. With all of the negative press of common core and the constant pressure on the kids with standardized testing ... something very very valuable is still being taught.
The Desire To Learn
The Beauty of Curiosity
The idea that you can learn and excel at something you love inspires me. People with a growth mindset believe that intelligence can be developed. Challenges are seen as an opportunity to grow. On the other hand, people with a fixed mindset believe that you are what you are at birth, and don't change with practice. These people focus on looking smart over learning, and they interpret mistakes as a sign that they are not able.
I gave up trying to look smart a long time ago.
It's hard to learn when you are so busy trying to look like you are competent in a thing. In my workshops and classes I want people to feel safe to ask questions, make mistakes and grow from them. Learning to create art, like any other kind of learning makes you vulnerable. A growth mindset focuses on improving not on performing well. It's a shift in thinking, and one worth making.
I had the priveledge last week to teach six unique women. This group works for Orange County Schools helping students access their curriculum. Holli and I had so much fun teaching these ready-to-learn educators how to paint geranium flowers. We were both inspired and amazed at how beautiful their paintings turned out.
Are you willing to step outside of your comfort zone and grow in a new skill? I'd love to hear what you've pushed yourself to learn. Always remember: It's a mindset.
If you love art and want to make it yourself, check out the upcoming art classes I'll be teaching after the Summer break. I promise you'll amaze yourself with what you can learn to do.
Whether I am working with a client on their brand identity, teaching students or creating a watercolor piece, I hope to refresh and inspire others with my work. Read more ...