Friday, May 28, 2010

The Fine Arts Ministry: My Portal into the Denver Art Scene

It is hard to believe it has been one year since my first art show. It was the “Mandalas” show at Mile Hi Church, organized and curated by the Fine Arts Ministry. Like a portal, my first art show at Mile Hi opened the door for me to the Denver art scene and my life has not been the same. I have since shown in seven more group art shows and had two solo exhibitions. And last week I was asked to curate an art show later this summer for a local theater group in their lobby. None of this would have been possible if I had not taken a leap of faith and submitted my painting “Infinite Love” into that fateful show.

The new Fine Arts Ministry art show “Portals” was hung today in the sanctuary lobby. My painting “Eightfold Path” is among the sixteen works on display. I was told by Cyndy Beardsley, Fine Arts Ministry Coordinator, that the number of submissions was record breaking so it is an honor that my painting was selected.

The common definition of a portal is of an opening, entrance, doorway, pathway or gate in the physical realm. However, a portal can also be used as a metaphor for spiritual growth. It can be an invitation for deep exploration into the inner pathways to our inherent nature, consciousness, and self-awareness. In Buddhism the Eightfold Path describes the way to the end of suffering, as it was laid out by Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha.

The Fine Arts Ministry is made up of a team of Mile Hi Church congregants who possess a passion for art. The team meets every twelve months to vision themes for the next year’s shows. Submissions are judged by members of the Ministry who have not submitted a piece of art. Work is judged on content and design, expression of theme, presentation and skill, and overall artistic expression and creativity.

Fritz and Doris Penning, artists and members of the Fine Arts Ministry, hang the new shows every two to three months. Together they take great care in arranging the paintings, photographs, and mixed media pieces to best feature each work of art. Fritz is the winner of the 2009 Eye of the Camera Best of Show and his photography can be seen at the Littleton Museum through May 30.

Mile Hi Church is located at 9077 W. Alameda in Lakewood, Colorado. “Portals” runs through August 5 and can be viewed in the sanctuary lobby on Sundays from 7:30 am to 1:30 pm and Wednesdays from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. For information on upcoming themes, dates, and submission requirements please email One need not be a member of Mile Hi Church to summit their artwork to the Fine Arts Ministry.

10% of the proceeds from the sale of “Eightfold Path” will be donated to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in memory of Karen V. If you, or someone you know, is feeling helpless or hopeless PLEASE call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or visit

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Painting the Town Red

Who has time to write a new blog posting when there are SO many fun things to do in Denver in the spring time? Pictured are the highlights of another weekend lived to the fullest!

Got ready to step out and paint the town red Saturday night
in my patent leather pumps with matching pedi.

My fiancĂ© Sean and I started dinner at Strings with appetizers
in the bar under my painting "It Begins With Me." 
The HOPE Art Show will be at Strings through June 5.

Visited my painting "Hope" (left) and a painting by Laurie Maves (right) upstairs at Strings. Both have been donated to the Cunningham Foundation for the June 5 HOPE Ball silent art auction.

Cut lilacs Sunday morning before heading down to 16th Street Mall
to look for the piano I painted for Downtown Denver Partnership's
"Your Keys to the City" for Spring 2010.

"But it would match everything I own!"
I loved this bag, but Sean talked me out of buying it. 
How many shoulder bags does a girl really need?

There it was, the piano I painted, at 16th & Welton!
And to my delight, a little boy was playing it!

The smallest of all the pianos painted,
mine kept attracting the children until...

...this women came out of a store,
aptly called Only In Colorado, and started playing Mozart!

She played with such passion! 
It brought my piano to life and me to tears - of joy!

It turns out her name is Sue and she works at Only in Colorado. 
She told me she plays every day during her 15 minute break!

I don't really play, but I pretended to. 
You can pretent, or play for real, through Friday, June 18.

Sunday eve we wound down our weekend with a BBQ and a bon fire
in Kittredge at our friends Tom and Jeanne's house.

That's Tom and Jeanne - the Propritors of Knot New Wood. 
They custom design and build furniture from salvaged wood. 
Check out their website for their summer art festival schedule:

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Your Keys to the City - Spring 2010

The Downtown Denver Partnership invited me to paint a donated piano for “Your Keys to the City” for Spring 2010. Be on the lookout for painted pianos on a corner near you in the 16th Street Mall area.

I am one of ten Denver artists asked to participate this Spring. The other artists include Laurie Maves, Eric Matelski, Dan Ericson (aka DUNN the Signtologist), Audrey McNamera, among others.

Front Before

Back Before

Second Coat of Primer - Front

Second Coat of Primer - Back

The Color Palette

Painting a Leg
Photo courtesy of Sean Richardson

First of Two Coats of Color
Photo courtesy of Sean Richardson

Getting Ready to Paint blogspot URL
Photo courtesy of Sean Richardson

Painting blogspot URL
Photo courtesy of Sean Richardson

Front Finished - With blogspot "Spots"

Back Finished!

They said we didn't have to paint the backs as they will be covered with tarps that will will be pulled over the pianos at night. But it was calling to me to give it some color.

This piano could not have been painted without the assistance and support of the following individuals: Jen Craven – thank you for emailing me; Laurie Maves – thank you for giving Jen Craven at the Downtown Denver Partnership my name and email address; Laurie Maves & Eric Matelski – thank you for answering my questions; Sean Richardson – thank you for packing my lunch, being my driver, carrying my supplies, and taking photos; Melissa Kline – thank you for emailing me my blog URL when I couldn’t remember it; and thank you to everyone that shared my excitement prior to painting my first piano, cheered me on throughout the process, and anxiously anticipated the photos. I am SO blessed!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Perfect Sunday

In my quest to find some balance this weekend, we went for a hike in Mount Falcon Park in Indian Hills, Colorado. No painting or writing. Just taking in the beauty of nature and the wild flowers that are starting to bloom.

The Lone Wild Tulip

Red Rocks in the Hazy Distance

Purple Wild Flowers

View From the Top
Photo courtesy of Sean Richardson

6,800 Feet

Like Three Baby Birds...

...Waiting for a Feeding

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Living Proof

Anyone who has been following my blog for a while knows that the blues, or what Holly Golightly describes in Breakfast at Tiffany’s as the mean reds, and I are no strangers to one another. But many people don’t know that eight and a half years ago I was hospitalized for life threatening depression. Life threatening. That’s a gentle way of saying I was suicidal and an imminent threat to myself.

Audrey Hepburn in "Breakfast at Tiffany's"
Photo courtesy of Paramount

Despite the painful events that lead up to my breakdown, or what I prefer to call my breakthrough, being hospitalized was perhaps the best thing to ever happen to me. It was in the hospital where I was reintroduced to art in the form of art therapy. If it weren’t for art therapy, I wouldn’t have celebrated my first solo art show last November where I sold five paintings opening night. I wouldn’t currently have a 4 x 3 foot painting hanging in the middle of Strings, a five star restaurant in downtown Denver. And I wouldn’t be adding published author to my list of accomplishments because of the essay I wrote about art therapy that is being published later this year.

Through my struggles with depression, and my second chance at life, I have learned that it is the difficult challenges we overcome that have the potential to propel us into our greatness. I only wish I had been more forthcoming with this wisdom before my friend Karen decided to make her transition last month. Transition. That’s a gentle way of saying she took her own life. She committed suicide.

As I finished reading Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way and posted my last blog entry four weeks ago I wasn’t entirely sure what the next chapter in my life had in store for me. But when I learned of Karen’s passing two days later it became clear that it is my responsibility to tell my story. If my experience as a suicide survivor can inspire just one person to make a different choice, to choose life, then everything I’ve been through will have meaning.

I will continue to paint and blog about my journey navigating the Denver art scene. But the memoir/self-help book I am writing about my struggles with depression and the steps I take to live joyfully has taken precedence. What once was a blog about an emerging artist is now also a blog about an aspiring author.

If you are feeling helpless, hopeless, or having thoughts of suicide PLEASE call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or visit Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. You can begin again. I’m living proof.