Best of 2018

Exciting news! I am happy to announce that I won Best of 2018 small business award through Overland Park. In particular, it was for my art classes and parties which advertise under Art Fun For Everyone.

My Paint Your Pet classes have been a huge hit and usually book out over a month in advance. I have done everything from children’s birthday parties to corporate team building paint parties.

For 2019, I am partnering with RE (formerly Restoration Emporium) in the Crossroads. I will be offering my classes in their amazing new space. If you’re interested in more information concerning classes, look here!

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We’re all just walking each other home

So I’m going to be raw and personal right now. Bear with me, the beginning of a new year makes me incredible reflective.

I was looking back on this year and my heart filled with so much gratitude for my life that it flowed out of my eyes as tears. I can’t contain it.

I have had people make comments to me that they think it’s been easy for me. That I have everything. I once had a boss make a comment about how I’ve had everything handed to me because I seemed so confident.

What most people don’t know about me is this. I grew up in a small farm town in Kansas.

Becoming.jpg

Becoming, Acrylic on Canvas

I feared for my life as a toddler. My father was/is an abusive alcoholic and drug addict that left my mom for dead more than once. There is death on his hands. I lived in a constant state of flight or fight. At the age of 6 most girls were thinking about being a princess and I was thinking about how I was going to keep my siblings together when my dad succeeded in killing my mom.

My wrists are incredibly weak because my dad use to throw me into walls as a child and sprain them constantly. I’m overly sensitive to loud or unpredictable situations. I tune into everyone’s energy around me because it was essential as a child to gauge my environment.

My mom fortunately got us out of that situation. With no education and 3 kids she fought like hell for us. She gave us everything she was capable of giving. Her best involved working 2 jobs just to meet the bare minimum. My childhood was used clothes (boys or girls), not joining in on school functions because we didn’t have the money, and never quite fitting in.

As a teenager I fought so hard to change the view people had of “who” I was. I studied, I worked, and I built relationships and friendships. I also struggled. I felt like love was very conditional and I struggled with depression (not knowing what depression was). I spent hours trying to figure out how to make it all stop. But there was one thread that kept me from ending it. One thread of hope that one day it would be better…that I could be better.

I had a decade of searching and figuring out who I was. Then I suddenly and quite unpredictably became a single mother. I spent the first year crying myself to sleep while my baby slept in my arms because I was afraid I would never be able to give him what he deserved. How I would never be the mother he deserved. He slept with me on a blow up mattress for the first 6 months because I couldn’t afford a crib.

And I fought. I have fought for everything I’ve had and done. I haven’t always been right. It hasn’t always been pretty. But I did what I had to do.

I’m not writing any of this for sympathy. Quite the opposite. I’m writing this because I want everyone to know that it can be better. You might have to fight, but there is so much out there.

I get so excited every new year because to me it’s a like an open book with blank pages. A new chapter. One I get to write.

As a child I always had the same wish when I saw a shooting star, “to be happy”. I had the sudden realization this week that I’m happy. Not just a little happy, but sitting smack in the middle of my chaotic messy life and am ridiculously happy. I have a partner that isn’t perfect, but he’s perfect for me. He supports me in my crazy ideas and puts up with my absent-minded ways. I have a child that breaks my heart wide open and makes me a better person. I’ve been able to give him the childhood I wish I had.

021bba63-0ee6-4600-b693-a868aa65fc18-1428-0000022b0d8d4b1d-3I have made and continue to make my dreams come true as they grow bigger. I have traveled the world, have the kind of friends that can only be considered family, and have surrounded myself with love. And I wish this for you. Not every day is great. I stumble A LOT. But I keep fighting.

I face this new year with gratitude and love. I wish for each of you a life worth fighting for. Remember that when things look easy for someone else and your journey seems so hard, you have no idea what has brought them to this place.

Thank you for being part of my journey. And I promise to write less intense blogs in the future. 😉

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I’m so excited I might pee my pants!!

Ok, maybe not pee my pants, but I’m beyond excited!! I just received notice that I was chosen for an artist residency in Bali!!! This is a serious dream come true. I just keep thinking about this crazy artistic life journey.

I remember when I was terrified to show my work to anyone because it never felt good enough. I remember becoming a mother and thinking that my dreams of travel were over. I remember thinking that this sort of thing only happened to other people, not small town girls from Kansas. I’m glad I didn’t get derailed for too long!

In February I’ll be heading to Ubud, Bali for a 12 day artist residency. (I don’t apply for anything more than 2 weeks unless my son can come along). Unfortunately, due to school, my son will not be coming along on this residency.

I will be collaborating and working with the Balinese art community. I’m so excited to see what I can learn, and how it will transform my own work. I plan to soak up every ounce of inspiration and experience I can!

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Art Exhibit going up at Bowlus Fine Arts Center

I am excited to finally announce that I have been asked to present an art exhibit at the Screen Shot 2018-11-26 at 11.25.00 AMThomas H. Bowlus Fine Arts & Cultural Center in Iola, KS January 18 – Feb 18th, 2019. My art will be hanging in the Mary L. Martin Gallery.

There will be an artist reception January 19th. If you are in Southeast Kansas, come by and see me!

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People and their pets

This year I started teaching Paint Your Pet Portrait classes once a month. As a result, I’ve been booked for many private parties and additional classes. Pets weren’t really something I started out to paint much of. I have been painting cows and farm animals for awhile. You can see those at here.

Something has happened while teaching these pet painting classes though. They make me happy. They make me happy because I see how happy they make my students. They paint their fur babies, and walk away with pictures they love and will hang. image1

Tonight as I taught a private party, the birthday girl got a little quiet and melancholy after her picture was done. I thought the piece looked great and wanted to check in with her. The pet she had chosen to paint was of a beloved pet that had recently passed. The painting made her very happy but also reflective. It touched a place in her heart.

That meant a great deal to me. This is why I love teaching this class and doing pet portraits. I have 2 dogs and a cat. They are a huge part of my life and I understand the attachment my students have to their pets. I’m honored to be able to bring this to them.

 

 

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My Head is Spinning

In the past 2 months I have:

  • Shown in 7 art shows
  • Participated in 2 art festivals
  • Completed 4 commissions
  • Made 1 tv appearance
  • Had my art featured in a magazine
  • Gave 1 art talk
  • Taught 6 art classes
  • Started selling prints and cards in 2 boutiques

It’s been a bit of a whirlwind, but I couldn’t be happier. Artists often worry that winter months are slow, but I’ve been enjoying the hustle and the ride. 

With the holidays around the corner, I expect to have a little more time in the studio. To celebrate, I am announcing Custom Pet Portraits! If you have someone in your life with a fur baby, you might consider a one of a kind painting! Click below for more info and pricing.

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Paint Your Pet Parties

When I walked into Flying Pig Local Mercantile Boutique a few months ago, I went in to discuss them selling my cards and prints (which they do now). I wasn’t really thinking of teaching again.

I was offered a space to teach a class, so I thought, “what the heck, I’ll teach41515098_10156672144951369_8060428157343236096_n.jpg a class I love”. That would be my paint your pet portrait class. Participants send me a picture of their beloved pet before the class and I sketch it onto the canvas for them. The day of class, I help guide them through painting their fur baby.

I never expected the class to become hugely popular. In fact, I have now done several private parties for friend gatherings, corporate events for employee moral, and more classes in more locations.

Here’s a few I have coming up. If you’re interested, get signed up now! A few of the classes only have a few seats left! Sunday,

Nov 11, 1-3:30 p.m.
Sunday, Dec 2, 12-2:30 pm
Sunday, Dec 9, 12-2:30 p.m.

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Shows, shows, and more shows

I just realized that I have 3 shows up. If you want to see my work, you can currently view it at several places throughout the Kansas City area.f2559e962f3a1720ee9232917da7236c--life-paint-intellectual-quotes

Buttonwood Art Space in Kansas City (juried “Bloom” show) that will be up through the end of August. A portion of the proceeds from the sales go to the non-profit organization HALO that works homeless children to provide various resources.

Heartland Credit Union Association is currently featuring my artwork throughout their office in Overland Park. This show is through the ArtsKC Now Showing Program, connecting local artists with businesses. This show will hang through October.

New York Life Insurance in Overland Park will be hanging my work for the next three months. As part of an office morale initiative, they have decided to hang local artists work to help brighten their space and add a little color to their office.

In addition, I have several events already booked for September that I will be sharing. You can also find my cards and prints at Flying Pig Local Mercantile in Kansas City, MO all fo the time.

 

 

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Full circle round

I was asked to hang my work and give an art talk at an office I worked at 11 years ago Artist Tea Talk Flyer_Updatedthis week. It also happens to be my sons 10th birthday. The interesting part about all of this is that it all coincides.

11 years ago I was working a temp job at New York Life Insurance while selling off everything I owned. I was preparing for a life as a nomad. I had won an artist grant and fellowship to work in India with the kerosene brides doing art from a therapeutic aspect. I had just come from Europe after a year of artist residencies. Kansas City was a temporary stop.

Then, the unimaginable happened. I got pregnant (on birth control). Needless to say, it wasn’t in the plan. I had sold everything I owned, was working a temp job, and didn’t even have a lease on a place. I was in the perfect position to live out of a suitcase galavanting around the world; not to be a new mom.

I shed so many tears over my predicament that my boss told me with relief once I confided in her, “Thank God, I thought you had a terminal disease from all the tears”. Let’s cut through all the sweat and tears and determination and hard work, and fast forward to 11 years later.

unnamed-1My amazing son has traveled 10 countries with me, many for art related travels. He has been raised in an art studio and as a result is super social. I get a phone call from a company I was once a temp for, asking me to hang my paintings and speak about my work. If you had told me 11 years ago as I sat at my desk hyperventilating and crying that in 11 years I would be hanging on the walls as an artist and speaking about my work, I would have never believed you.

This really has come full circle round. It’s been a super reflective week for me, and I am so grateful for everything single moment of the past 11 years. I was pushed past what I ever thought capable, was given the gift of motherhood, and was still able to make my dreams a reality. It reminds me of that saying “Just when the caterpillar thought the world was going to end, it became a butterfly”

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Paint Your Pet Portrait – Take 2

This class ended up booking in out in 48 hours. It was such a huge hit, that I’m offering IMG_4808another by request.

If you’re in the Kansas City area July 19th and want something fun to do, come join us. You do have to pre-register due to the nature of the class (I have to draw your pet on the canvas first)!

You go sign up here! Paint Your Pet Portrait

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