Sunday, October 25, 2009

Once an Artist, Always an Artist

"Two of Them" 1977

"An Ocean of Possibility" 2009

The portfolio of my art that I created as a three year old child is perhaps the best birthday present I have ever received! My mom held onto my early creations over all these years and finally put the collection together after my recent visit to see her in Detroit. While there, I shared with her that from time to time I kick myself for throwing out all of my old drawings and paintings from the art classes I took in high school and college. The purge occurred when I was going through my divorce and was paring down during my move to a new home. Looking back it was a time in which I did not honor my creative self and, as a result, put my expressions on the curb to be picked up with the trash, not thinking of the regret I would feel years later.

A friend recently shared with me that perhaps I wasn’t meant to hold onto my old artwork. That maybe to have held onto it would have been like holding onto the past and that I need to live in the now and look to the future. While I agree with him on an intellectual level, from time-to-time my heart still yearns to reconnect with my younger, more innocent self in an effort to see my growth and measure how far I have come, both as an artist and as a person.

So when I opened the portfolio of my childhood art and saw shapes and symbols in the form of circles, lines and dots that still haunt my consciousness and my paintings today, thirty plus years later, I felt a completeness in my soul I have never known and I wept. The tears flowed as I was reminded of who I am: a creative being and one with my Creator. And now I understand why I paint what I paint: energy and my vision of our oneness – because it is who I am. One.

Once an artist, always an artist. Once an expression of love, always an expression love.

Deeply we are one.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Data Device Detox

Zen Buddhist Temple in Ann Arbor, Michigan

How did we stay connected before the advent of emailing and texting? How would I break the ice at a networking function if I didn’t ask someone if they’re on Facebook or Twitter? And I know I’m not the only one who’s response to some unknown factoid is, “Let’s Google it!” But is all this technology really enhancing the quality of our lives?

Last week I attended Deb Davis’ discussion on social media. While I have already been using Facebook, Twitter, and Blogspot to connect with others and market my artistic endeavors, Deb taught me new tools and short cuts that I am optimistic will enhance my online presence and marketing efforts – assuming I make the time to use them.

How much time spent using online social networking tools is the right amount of time to promote one’s business or ideas? For all the hours I have spent online building my Fine Art America profile, adding enhancements to my Blogspot, connecting and reconnecting with friends on Facebook, and tweeting away on Twitter what do I have to show for it? Have I received a return on my investment? While it hasn’t cost me monetarily, it has been an enormous investment of time.

As I ponder these questions I am pleased report that after posting links on twitter of two new paintings I uploaded to Fine Art America today my profile received 60 visits in less than four hours. Not too shabby considering prior to using twitter my FAA profile only averaged 60 visitors per week!

I do think social networking works, but despite the seemingly endless advancements in communication technologies, nothing can replace connections to be made with face-to-face human contact. Like the glint in a friends eye as she tells you her cancer has gone into remission, squeezing a friends hand to let her know she’s not alone when she tells you she separated from her husband, or the sound of laughter as you share an inside joke.

So I’m challenging myself, and you, to turn off our cell phones, computers, and other data devices for just one day each week and to listen for a higher call. Who knows, we might actually receive the answers, solutions, or inspiration we’re looking for if we take a data device detox. I’ll start mine just as soon as I post this blog, RSVP to an invite on Facebook, tweet about tomorrow night’s plans, MapQuest directions, pay my bills online, catch up on my email correspondences…okay, maybe I’ll start my detox tomorrow.

Deb Davis is a marketing consultant and owner of 3D Communications. For more information about her services visit

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Power of Saying Yes

"Infinite Love" 2009
Acrylic & Mixed Media

After First Friday Art Walk last night over drinks with friend, mentor, and fellow artist Laurie Maves I shared with her that the day we met changed my life forever. It is all because I said Yes.

I discovered Laurie and her work online late one night back in May when Google imaging other Denver artists. Out of curiosity I wondered if there was anyone else living in this spiritual Mecca I now call home feeling compelled to paint circles. Since these aura like images also haunt some of Laurie’s paintings it didn’t take me long to find her.

Laurie’s work is both dark and light in her use of color, as well as the emotions her paintings convey. I could study the somber faces with spirit orb eyes and the trippy, drippy poppies for hours as the symbolism and built up paint layers transport me to another plane of existence. But it’s not just her paintings that speak to me, it’s all the philanthropic work she does. So the night I discovered her I sent an email and asked her to let me know of opportunities to paint AND support a cause.

Not use to the kindness of strangers back in Michigan, I wasn’t expecting Laurie to email me back, but she did and invited me to visit her at an upcoming show. I get goose bumps recalling our first conversation. It was like standing at a cross road and what I said, Yes or No, would determine my fate forever.

When Laurie asked me if I am a painter I hesitated because up until that moment I had not given myself that title. Sure, I’ve always been expressing myself creatively in some capacity, but I didn’t have a name for it. But then it occurred to me that Yes, I paint, so I am a painter!

I’ve been painting nearly every day since arriving in January. It’s part of why I came out here: to simplify my life, establish healthier boundaries with the ones I love, and to once and for all, create the place and space in my life to allow myself to paint with consistency. When I started painting again five years ago I was only averaging one painting per year. It was all I could produce in my limited free time with the responsibilities of living in a house and the social expectations of living twenty minutes from family. But since moving out here I’m averaging one to two paintings per month.

I said Yes again when Laurie asked me that first night if I was showing anywhere. Granted, I was only showing one painting, “Infinite Love,” and it was the first show that I had ever submitted a piece of my work to. But I was showing in the “Mandala” juried fine art show at Mile Hi Church so I said Yes, because it was true, I was showing somewhere!

Back in Detroit I haunted a few galleries, hung out with a couple working artists, and occasionally took a painting class, but it wasn’t until I moved to Denver that I found the courage to start submitting my work. I am grateful that I found this courage because had I wavered, had I answered No or down played the significance of my painting practices in response to Laurie’s questions, the world as I know it today would not exist.

So I keep saying Yes to every artistic opportunity that comes my way and it seems that the more I say Yes, the more opportunities the Spirit of the Universe gives me to say Yes to. This is an enormous challenge as I work full-time and therefore have less time to paint than I would like. But to have more opportunities to show than I have work to hang is a problem I don’t mind having. It just means I need to be mindful of the things I say No to so that I can see Yes to the things that I want to.

I said Yes again last night when Laurie invited me to paint live with her at Tommypolooza in November to support a children’s charity. I would be lying if I didn’t say that the thought of painting in front of a live audience and on an easel (of which I don’t own yet because I paint flat) doesn’t scare the shit out of me. But what an awesome opportunity to paint with purpose for a children’s charity, plus, paint in front of a live audience, grooving to live music, with the amazing and talented Laurie Maves at my side. Can life get any better than this?

Details to come regarding the Tommypolooza live painting event.

To see Laurie Maves paintings and learn about her philanthropic work visit