Lil’ Place

My day was spent making plans, solving problems, dreaming of future what if’s with so many unforseens. I felt frazzled, my mind in a place of disarray. Not knowing how to organize my thoughts or what I needed to focus on first. I wanted my heart and head back in rhythm.

As the day wore on my agitation and anxiety consumed me….one thought kept repeating, “I just need to feel nature.” Close my eyes and let it win. It never lets me down or fails at calming me.

Finally I’m home. Only a short two minute walk. It’s the single, most pressing thought at this point. I imagine feeling its magic cure for all that clouds my mind.

I remove my shoes, my soles reach the soul of the earth. Instant bliss. Touching the water, even for a single minute, takes every stress away and sends it down river.

I know this river so well. I know its bends, I know its flow, and how it rises in the rain. I know the way it feels in every season and the beauty I always beg it to let me capture.

I took a deep breath as I watch the sky change color with its reflection. This is what it feels like to breath in color. A mood. A vibe. A shift begins to envelope me. The clouds and sun beautifully moving as the day just fades away…I wish I could create art as beautiful as this. I absolutely know I will never come close.

Life makes sense here in this little place that feels like mine but, is most definitely not. Free for all to enjoy but, my special place none the less. There is no limit on the amount of peace and clarity it can bring anyone quiet enough to listen. It gives rhythm back to my head and my heart follows. Thank you, “lil’ place”.

Celebrating Individuality

Both of my children have very big personalities! As they grow and establish their own uniqueness, I feel that it is very important to nurture that. They have ownership of their own body, soul, and mind. I find letting them choose how they want to express that builds character.

We must guide them but, not decide who they should be. I want my kids to feel confident and proud of who they are! I want them to love what makes them different from others but also bond over similarities. I celebrate them everyday by supporting and believing in them.

This photoshoot is about just that! Celebrating these beautiful little creatures that I love watching grow!

Abby Rain

She has grown so much in the past year! I can see her think about things more deeply than before. I notice little things here and there where her mind is opening to greater thoughts and creativity. I love her excitement to share what she loves with the world!

She is fierce when it comes to her baby brother. “Ain’t nobody gonna mess with bubba, momma. Nobody!” As she looks at me with fire in her beautiful blue eyes. She is my little super star and very much uniquely Abby.

Asher Dean

My little heartbreaker. This boy and his eyes make me just swoon! He has the kindest heart of any person I’ve ever known. With his infectious laugh and bright personality he naturally draws people into his happy little bubble.

As he gets ready for kindergarten, in a little more than a month, I find myself wondering where my baby went. He is so full of ideas and excitement about what school is going to be like! I am super excited to see him blossom but, also feel that twing of heartbreak that my kids are no longer babies.

My fears mostly come from a selfish place. Not wanting them to get older and start needing me less and less. But, I begin to realize isn’t that what we want? We want them to grow and be strong on their own! This thought immediately puts the more selfish one to rest and my excitement builds in knowing I get to be part of their beautiful lives and help guide them through it!

I believe as parents our role is to never force identites on to our children. It grows resentment and bottles up who they really are. One day all that built up pressure will explode. Some parents feel because they have similar DNA, that they own their children. Every move their child makes is decided on and they have no say in the matter. No human being should feel that way especially our own children. Let them think for themselves. Let them believe they are amazing the way they are. Let them decide!

When I say this I do not mean let your kids do whatever they want, obviously. -just don’t take away who they are. It’s important to teach them perseverance, strength in character, dedication, and compassion but, not force anything on them that isn’t in their nature.

No one is perfect. Not our children and definitely not us. We must celebrate our differences and teach our kids to be proud of who they truly are!

2 a.m. Thoughts

We all have secrets we hid. Sometimes we’re too afraid or ashamed to even admit to ourself. During college, the university I attended had a Post Secret like exhibit. All that passed were invited to contribute. I didn’t at the time, just observed and read.

I thought, what an inspiration -enlightening and beautiful. Some with art, most without. Even as a visual artist, I’ve always felt the words in post secret are the art. The truth is the inspiration found within people bearing their souls. How freeing it is to write down words you’d never speak from your mouth on paper for other’s to read. It makes you feel less alone. I have always loved reading post secrets and found such bravery in the ones who share. I recently shared -not one but, four secrets.

I guess life has caught up to me and I needed to feel free. Anxiety and panic attacks have recently got the best of me. I may hid it well enough most of the time but, I have inner struggles that are very hard to get through. Lately, it’s been much worse than I’d like to admit. Combined with my insomnia it’s too much.

After visiting a doctor and lining some things out, discussing options for how best to get through this hard period in my life -I discovered how much of my time was spent thinking about the past and its effects on me. Releasing some secrets into the universe and not keeping them to myself lightens my heart. It helps me on the path of healing.

Maybe more people should give it a try, what secret would you write to free yourself?

The Wall That Heals

Memorial Day, as Decoration Day gradually came to be known, originally honored only those lost while fighting in the Civil War. But during World War I the United States found itself embroiled in another major conflict, and the holiday evolved to commemorate American military personnel who died in all wars.

Many Northern states held commemorative events and reprised the tradition in subsequent years; by 1890 each one had made Decoration Day an official state holiday. Southern states, on the other hand, continued to honor their dead on separate days until after World War I.

It became offically known as Memorial Day and observed on the last Monday in May in 1971 as a federal holiday.

This Memorial Day my family and I had the opportunity to visit The Wall That Heals. It is a two-thirds scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, honoring the lives of more than 3 million Americans who served in the Vietnam War.

The wall rises above you as you walk towards the apex in a chevron-shape. The names of 59,220 fallen soliders are listed in order of the date of casualty and alphabetically on each day.

It was brought to Crystal Bridges in honor of Memorial Day 2019 and is displayed on thier front lawn near the Bucky Ball Sculpture. Seeing the wall at night was so touching. I am humbled by the experience and beauty. It is a stunning tribute.

I am grateful for all who have served and for the sacrifice that every family has made. You deserve the highest of honor. From the bottom of my heart thank you for service and dedication.

Beautiful Mess

Our house is always changing. I never keep something in one place for too awfully long. I would love to say I have it in order…like ever but, I do not. Art is always leaning against the walls. I collect weird things and live in a old house. I have an obsession with mirrors and for things that glow softly.

But…..right in the middle of my crazy mess is my husband. Loving me for my need for change, my haphazard way of acting like I have my shit together and the never ending crazy that is me. He is my constant, calls me his beautiful mess and finds my artistic brain endearing. We grow together and learn more about each other everyday.

Our journey is definitely not perfect but, I find these moments and am proud of this beautiful life we have created. 💛

A Love Like Johnny & June

Rings of fire burning with you, I wanna walk the line, talk the line, until the end of time. I wanna love, love you that much.

Inspiration hit hard this past weekend. If I wasn’t creating art, I was thinking about it!

I found inspiration in the form of love. A bond between two people so strong it overcomes all obstacles.

Johnny & June are the perfect love story. He absolutely loved and adored her. This drawing of a letter he sent her on her birthday represents that in the most beautiful way.

If You’re Gonna Post A “Selfie”

This isn’t my favorite painting. Not even my second ;)…..it’s a self portrait from 2012. Created in place of a night I couldn’t sleep. Not unusual but, that night was especially rough. I decided to focus my energy. I had a mirror that was eye level and thought it would be challenging to do a self portrait as a live oil painting. Adding a whole other level of difficulty I painted it on a piece of glass. I spent 6 hours painting as I looked in the mirror. This is much MUCH more difficult than I thought it would be!!

First off, oil painting is a skill that is only honed by practice….LOTS of practice. Second, looking at myself for six hours from night to morning is a whole other depth I wasn’t prepared for and I’m yet to do it since.

You force yourself to look inward. Do you like what you see? Can you focus and portray that to others? Are you beautiful? Do you love yourself?…Do you see your weaknesses?….as an artist and as a person????…..All questions I asked myself when painting this…along with a massive train of other thoughts.

I don’t “like” this painting but I do love it. I love what it means to me. I LOVE that I don’t have a photo to reference. I love that it was in the moment.

I really love that I can look at this painting and know I did my best at that point in time.

I’ve had other artist tell me they hate it. “The detail in the hair just isn’t there”…”your eyes make me uncomfortable.” “Why does your forehead look that way?”….blah..blah..bluhbadi, blah..

To be honest, I don’t care if anyone likes it. I have learned to judge my art on my own level. If I feel it has value I don’t care if others see it. Or even like it.

It means something to me. That’s all that matters.