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March 2013

As the journey progresses...

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I've given a lot of thought over the years to what might have been had I not acted upon an opportunity, or seized the chance to learn a particular skill.  When I was a little girl the only art materials available to me were crayons and a coloring book.  I got some color pencils when I got into middle school and used paint only when I was in college. My dad was the artistic one of my parents but he was of a generation that didn't allow for such "self-indulgence" and work was the priority in his life so his family could be happy.  He died young still talking about the art he wanted to do and the places he wanted to go.  My kids were young when my dad died and I promised myself that I would not separate my artistic self from my "work" self and that somehow I would find ways to meet my obligations to my family and to my creative self.  I introduced my kids to every possible opportunity to try creative things and activities.  Our house was the "hub" for trying out projects, solving problems, and making things.  I looked for ways to bring creativity into my life and the lives of those I worked and played with.  As an early childhood teacher, program administrator, and college instructor I reinvented my classes so that the curriculums were exciting, creative and challenging focusing on problem-solving and oppportunities for real thinking from my students whether they were 4 or 40.  As a teacher of Acrylic painting and mixed media I am still doing it.

Doors open and doors close.  That's what life is all about.  We must be ready when the door opens for us.  Ready to take action, seize the moment and make a life worth living.  I am celebrating the doors I have walked through that have brought me to this time in my life.  I have such gratitude for the many mentors who found something in me and encouraged me.  I have such appreciation for the gift of being able to find joy in creative expression.  It is never too late to learn something new. Once you master something be sure to share it with someone else.  Then it is set free to keep moving through the world from one person to the next.  

I would be honored if you shared the doors that have opened to you in your life.

Artfully yours, Chris

Spring light, working bright

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The onset of spring is so prevalent that one cannot go but a few steps without encountering it.  The delight of it all overwhelms me.  It makes me want to indulge in color, jump out of the winter blues and grays and embrace the warmth, brightness, and invigorating colors that are making their way into the world.  I'm gearing up for some big time workshops in the next few months.  CREATE Mixed Media Retreat is just around the corner and I'm doing 4 workshops, two of which are nearly sold out.  I'm excited to share what I do with so many others from all over.  We'll be working bright for these two classes which has kept me busy in the studio prepping.

I'm also working on a new project which will be revealed very soon.  I can't wait to see the end product.  Lots of little projects are coming to and end as well.  I recently put up a happy little show that is sure to keep the customers of the business smiling for the remainder of spring.  There is nothing like see the walls splashed with color.  In a couple of weeks Julie and I will be doing our first book signing down in Palm Desert, CA at Venus Studios Art Supply.  I'm hanging a mixed media show and teaching a 2-day intensive class as well.  

I hope you are all embracing the joys of color.  Remember to keep your mixes clean by using colors that play well together.  If you need help with that check out Acrylic Solutions.  It should be available any moment now!

Artfully yours, Chris

A change in the air...

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As I battled my way through the loss of that precious hour last weekend I began to observe all the wonderful signs of spring making their way in the world.  New leaves are appearing on the citrus trees, the roses have pushed out their first shoots of those oddly burgundy leaves found only when rose bushes make their very active push into spring, more birds are busy picking tiny insects off of plants, and a few nests are in the works.  There is something tremendously invigorating about spring.  It creates an energy that moves from a tiny ember slowly raising in warmth and activity to move things right through dormancy to a new "birth" so to speak.  I can feel my own creative and personal energies increasing and that is a good thing.

In the next couple of weeks there are some serious jobs to be done.  Passover is barely two weeks away and that requires a major effort in my house.  Lots of cleaning, cooking, and then feasting to be done.  It is good to mark seasons with serious events which require us to rise to the occasion.  It may be an art exhibition, the completion of a body of work, getting together with families and friends to mark special occasions or holidays, or just making a commitment to moving forward.

Sieze the momentum that spring offers.  I am.

Artfully yours, Chris

Building upon what others begin...

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I spent the weekend at a women's retreat in Ojai, CA.  The weather was warm and sunny at first, chilling off considerably at night reminding me that Spring was truly right around the corner.  There was evidence of new growth on the trees and the birds were lively and singing.  I led a workshop on Saturday evening.  My participants were mostly inexperienced with acrylics and I wanted only for them to find the joy of working with color and spaces.  I set up tables with two people and one large piece of good watercolor paper.  Each person had a brush some water and some paint (Red, Blue, Yellow).  We talked about fluid lines and practiced with water on the paper first before adding any paint.  Then they began.  Tentatively at first, but with building excitement as they explored what would happen as one color bled happily into the next.  After about 40 minutes we put these large pieces aside and began working on smaller paper individually.  We returned in the end to the large pieces, but each group worked on the piece another group had started.  We changed the primary palette to Magenta, Turquoise, and Nickel Azo Yellow so we could see our layers more clearly.  The groups worked with more confidence seeing how this new layer enhanced and changed what was below.  Sunday we displayed them and they were all delighted.  I agreed to take two home and add my layers.  I think I must continue to do more collaboration.
Artfully yours, Chris