I've never really seen a photo of myself teaching.  But this weekend several were taken.  And I realize I gotta smile more while teaching.  haha!  I never worry about what to say or how to say it.  But I do get terribly teary when I get to a certain point.  So perhaps my frowny faces are from trying to not be a blubbering idiot while instructing.  Above I'm sharing the tiny sketchbook I take to school.  Trying to share how I get from idea to canvas.  I think for some people that is the hardest obstacle to overcome.  "What do I paint?" they always ask.  The technique we use in my workshops takes the stress of how to draw out of the equation.  But what to draw really should be something that comes from within.  The end results from the weekend were lovely.   

I hate to draw personally.  But love to paint.   So my style is this.  I sketch lots of little ideas out in my sketchbooks.  When it comes time to paint I use one of the sketched ideas to then sketch onto a panel.  It's all very quickly done.  I try not to worry too much about the details.  And then comes the paint.....oh how I love to pick up gooey color from the palette and place the first stroke on the board.  It's like little pieces of happy being placed onto the panel.

After the class was done Saturday I realized a lot of what I usually about say about painting I left out.  Perhaps it was not being in my own studio that got me off my game.  Although somehow everyone completed an amazing piece of art to take home.  And perhaps my heart and head knew that these students needed to hear something a little different. 

Now I'm back to reality.  To my little classroom filled with crazy imaginations.  To little anxious creative minds.  To the smell of tempera paint and brown paper towels (they smell funny).  I'm going to work on smiling while teaching.  But mostly I'm going to work on inspiring. 


Southern Circle Retreats...through instagram

So it happened.  This past weekend.  Our first Southern Circle Retreat.  Man.  It.  Was.  So.  Amazing.  Seriously.  We were both raising our glasses with tears at Saturday night's dinner.  In all our planning we never doubted we could pull it off, it's not that.  But to finally experience it and the weekend exceed expectation.  Well now, that's something to bring tears of joy on for certain.
We took more photos than a wedding photographer I think.  It was hilarious.  But honestly, some of my favorites are from my phone.  In particular the ones I took through Instagram.  If you have an Instagram account check out our hashtag #southerncircleretreats to see all the photos everyone was taking.  Turns out we ALL had i phones.  We even had a mini Instagram how-to session at one point so everyone could join in the photo taking fun!
Serenbe couldn't have been a more gracious host.  From accommodating our last minute needs, to an ever friendly staff we felt comfortable and loved.
We stayed up late making art....in our PJ's of course!  I only put on shoes to go to breakfast I think.  The rest of the time I was in the turquoise cabin socks below.  Cindy called her house shoes on the left something funny and now for the life of me I can't remember what.  Ah...the memories we made.  The 10 of us.
We made journal boxes, painted, and sewed together.  Everyone left with 3 completed projects.  Everyone left with 9 new friends.  Everyone left wanting more......
We didn't miss a detail.  Even celebrated a special birthday with Gretchen.  And yes, below is a decadent homemade strawberry cake sitting on top of a table covered in vintage linens and milk glass.
 Saturday night during the sewing circle I made this hankie art.  It says.....
"Love What's Next".....So who's joining us for next time?  Who wants to see what's next?  Who wants to join the circle?  Because the best thing about a circle is the more friends you add the bigger the circle gets. 


Sometimes Love

"Sometimes love is what we need to reach new heights".......J Horne

In about 48 hours Tiffin and I will be setting up for the first ever Southern Circle Retreat.  Wow.  A little seed was planted in the fall of 2011 when we attended Art and Soul in Portland together.  We discussed what we loved about the big retreat atmosphere but how we longed for a more intimate setting where we could truly discover ourselves and art in a special weekend.  Fast forward to the summer of 2012 when I started hosting the PSW workshops in my home.  After having people come from literally 3 states to attend a one day workshop I said to Tiffin...now or never.  Let's do this!  So we started the journey in August.  Luckily we balance each other perfectly.  Her strengths are my weaknesses and visa-verse.  This retreat is everything I'd want as an attendee.  A special way to socialize, yummy food, amazing projects, amazing setting, and 10 people who don't know each other.  Perfect.  I'm packed, pretty sure she is too.  I'm not nervous at all.  Teaching is my passion.  And with as much joy and love as we have invested into the weekend.....well as photoed above, sometimes it's pure love for what you do that can help you to reach new heights.  Skills are great....but when passion comes into play then.....then you can be simply amazing.


Neighborly Love

This painting is still in the works...but i think it's fun to see the process don't you?  Not sure if you can tell but the house on the left is filling the house on the right's chimney with hearts.  We've been totally blessed with both houses great neighbors.  At our old house Miss Sissy lived on our left.  Lily LOVED her.  In fact I used to have to call her to come home.  When Lily saw her car she'd run as fast as she could to it, Sissy would open the door, and Lily would ride on home with her.  When we went outta town she stayed with Sissy, even slept in the bed with her!  We miss Miss Sissy.   Now in the new house we have the Barber family on our right.  Totally awesome family...that even hung out from 10-12 midnight with the gas guy when we had leak #2 while out of town! 

Good neighbors are truly a blessing.  And make me feel warm and fuzzy inside.  When I lay my head down to sleep there is a true comfortable knowledge that their sweet families are next to mine.  Nurturing, loving and spreading kindness my way.  And we are sending puffy hearts their way as well.


Artful Blogging

Magazine swooning.....that's what I did yesterday when I found this gently placed in the mailbox.  Especially when I saw my little hot air balloon painting had made the front cover.  I about cried. 

I've been featured before in Artful Blogging with this blog, the Jenni Horne Studios blog that is, years ago.  But as you know since March 12, 2012 I started the 52 Canvases project with a new bright and shiny blog.  I have absolutely loved this project, this new creative journey.  It has given me reason to keep the brushes and paints out.  Folks there are some weeks when between teaching, laundry, often 2 hours of homework with Mailey a night and trying to get a run in...I could have easily let the brushes start collecting dust.  This project has given me such purpose with my art.  It has made me search myself for what I want to say as an artist.  What I want to put into the world with my name on it.  It's very interesting, the way the paintings have morphed into a pictorial journal.   Each week getting a little more personal.  Perhaps this art has been the best type of therapy a person could pay for.  Because I have most definitely learned a lot about myself during this year.  I hope if you are nearby the Naked Art Gallery in Birmingham, Alabama on the weekend of March 15th and 16th you'll come see for yourself the show.  I'll be there with a giant box of tissues.  Just saying.

If you'd like to see the journey from the start head on over to :  52 Canvases in My 40th Year


Painting and Mojo


Nothing like a deadline to get the juices flowing right?  Over the Christmas break I had such intentions of getting into the studio and painting away for a show coming up.  But the break was strangely arranged on the calendar, which left me with literally only 3 days to play (due to travel and family gatherings).  And guess what?  Those three days I was sick as a dog (and the 4 prior and the week after...it was a ridiculously long virus)!  Turns out the music teacher had the exact same thing too!  I've finally gotten my energy back.  And my painting MOJO.  I know you all know what I am talking about when I say sometimes I feel it, sometimes I just don't.  Thank the good lawd I am feeling it right now!  And having the BEST time creating.  All new work....all new ideas....attempting new colors.  It's good folks.  It's good.  And just in time.  Because next weekend at our retreat, Southern Circle Retreats, I'll be ready to inspire our attendees.  And that is a very good thing! 

BTW...the above painting sold before I even got it to the show.  I love FB friends!


Hot Chocolate 5K 2013

So I am a runner.  I say this officially now because less than a year ago I couldn't even run a mile.  Seriously. Now... it's kind of an obsession.  And kinda runs in my blood.  Because of the 68 year old man on the left.  He started running when I was a kid....I told this story already on the blog so I won't bore you.  And I have other things to say about running I'll save for another post.  Because this is more about the 3 generations above that ran a 5K yesterday!  3 generations!!  (The above photo was taken at 5:30 am...I have on no make-up and the bangs and pony are not my favorite look..  Luv the bangs when my hair is down, but not back.  haha)

After my 13.1 I was on a high to find new races.  A 15K honestly is a wonderful long distance race.  Hot Chocolate...and running...well those are two amazing combos I think.  So I signed up.  And so did my Dad!  After my 13.1 he got the bug.  But silly man didn't train.  And you just can't go out and run 9 miles cold.  In the meantime Mailey decided she wanted to run the 5K, so I signed her up thinking she and Dad could go together.  Saturday night rolls around and we finish a yummy dinner and are getting ready for the race.  I look it up on FB out of curiosity as to how many are running.  16,000 plus runners in the race.  Holy cheesecracker!!!  Mailey, I'm running with you, forget my 15K goal.  As a mother there was no way in hell I was letting my 10 year old run through the streets of Atlanta with 16,000 strangers.  Not to mention side liners.  The scenarios running through my head were nuts.  So I texted my 15K running partner not to look for me after all.

5:00 Sunday morning rolls around (my 17th wedding anniversary btw!!) and we all rustle to get ready.  Mailey is so excited.  Really...I love seeing her joy for something I truly love doing.  The run started at Turner Field where the Braves play ball.  We found our way over and were really impressed with the fact that 16K people were all mingling getting ready to do the same thing we were!  It totally didn't feel crowded.  Plenty of porta potties (very important guys)....crazy DJ getting everyone motivated...people warming up...etc...It was exciting.
The bibs had Corral letters on them...luckily Mailey was in corral C...a runners only corral.  And towards the front! Look at the sea of people behind us! Dad had to go back a tad since his bib was not for the 5K, and he thought he'd have to walk.  Another good reason my momma bear instincts kicked in.  She wouldn't have been with Dad anyways.  Since SO many runners were present they started each corral in 3 minute increments.  It was a great idea.   Waves of runners started....we pushed forward, and another wave moved forward.  Our official start time was 6 minutes into the race.  The new chip time technology helps this process and makes your time more accurate.  Basically your time starts when you cross the start line and stops when you cross the finish.  It's magical.   Later they post the times online.  I have NO idea what our time was since MAPmy run wouldn't freaking save at the end.  But pretty sure it was right at 30minutes.  I didn't look at the clock when we ran through the finish line.
Cool shoes make running so much more fun.  I am loving my new light shoes.  HUGE difference.  Seriously. Like 1 min. off each mile love!   I tried to get a photo while running of the streets filled with people.  But it turned out blurry (duh), and there was no way to stop else the runners behind me would have toppled and started a lovely domino falling effect.  The sea of people bobbing up and down the streets of Atlanta in dense fog was an amazing site.  Mailey was in awe.  She loved the entire experience.  And watching her run...she's like a gazelle.  So graceful.  I made her keep my pace so she'd not tire out.  Although at mile 3 she was like, "Where is the finish line???"  Once the finish was in site though dang that girl put on the fire and finished super strong!  In fact, our family who was at the finish line totally missed her!  I ran over to them to wave.  She didn't know to do that, but does now.  So no photo of her grand finale!
 Mailey and I made it back around to the finish line to wait for Pawpaw.   It was so exciting to see him running towards us!  He ran the entire race in about 40minutes!  Go Dad with no training!!
After the race runners filed into a tent to receive their finishers mug.  Which was filled with fondue, hot chocolate and tons of dipping goodies!  How fun is that?  Overall it was such an amazing experience.  Afterwards even William said, I shoulda run this with you too.  Hopefully we'll be running as a family next time around!  We were home by 9:30am.  After a long hot tub soak Mailey and I watched Miss America and took naps.  It was a great way to spend a Sunday!  Hope you guys had a lovely weekend as well.  See ya later in the week with lots of new art in the works!

***Okay...this just in.  I just peeked at the race results.  And this is very exciting!!  Mailey came in 105/516 with a 33:00 time.  I came in 189/1170 with a 33:10 time and Dad 9/13 with a 45:44 time.  Holy cow!!  And actually when I looked at my running app the distance was actually 3.56 miles.  Not 3.1.  They shoulda moved the finish line up a tad!  So our times are even better really.  Woohoooo!!!!


Southern Circle Retreats

I can not believe that in two weeks and one day with Tiffin I'll be hosting the first ever Southern Circle Retreat.  I am a tad freaked that the dream is now a reality, a tad nervous and WAY excited.  Really.  This is such a dream come true.  We are two WOMEN that once we decide to do something we do it.  And we've planned everything down to a tee to make it very special for our attendees.  From goodie boxes overflowing with fun products, amazing projects to make, yummy food, and special treats throughout the weekend I know this first time out is going to be magical.  Really.  Wish you could attend?  We have 3 spots left for this time around.  If that's too soon, be looking for a Spring retreat.  The Lake House above where we are staying has a porch we can not wait to use for art making all night on!  It's a wee cold this time of year for this, but not come spring!

Here's the web address link.  And be sure to check the blog in February for a load of fun pictures from the weekend's events!  Wish us lots of happy thoughts and smooth sailing!


Painting With Ease

Do you ever have those times when painting is easy?  When the ideas just flow out of your head and onto the page?  And the brush glides gently across the wooden canvas?  That was me this weekend.  I drew out 3 canvases and went to painting before the family was even awake!  I love the sweetness of the above painting.  I just can't help but paint silly happy things.  Not that I am always as happy as what I'm painting.  But in my imaginary world I certainly am.  And I like putting out this happy energy into the world.  There isn't anything wrong with that!

Hope you have a blessed week!  And have time to paint a little something happy for yourself!


A Holiday Break

Wow....another Christmas come and gone.  I am sure you are saying the same thing, where did the time go?  Billy took the entire break off with us which was a real treat.  So what did we do for the past 10 days?  Well, first we sat and enjoyed this tree and watched a ton of HGTV and movies.  Literally....Mailey and I made this nest of bean bags and blankets right by the fire and barely moved for days.
Yep, we looked like a band of pajama fairies for days.  Is that bear not the cutest dang thing ever??  When we had gas leak #1 in our home from a bum fixed furnace I grabbed Lily and ran....Mailey grabbed him and ran.  Hilarious. (and yes, there was more than one gas leak...sigh)
This little toot was beyond happy to have us all home to herself.  And yes, we were wearing sweaters and hats in the house.  8 days and counting with no heat downstairs.  Upstairs is cozy, but the family is just used to living all together.  I guess the years in the tiny house made us that way. 
We traveled to see family in South Alabama and then turned around and saw family in North Alabama.  I used the 12 hours in the car to perfect my laddering technique.  It's quite addicting.
And when there was downtime at home I turned the kitchen table into my studio.  Like I said, we all wanted to just be together. 

Yep...together we spent 10 days straight.  No sleep-overs and hardly any friend time.  Just us time.  It was nice.  And I don't remember the kids being to fussy with one another like usual.  Perhaps it was the Christmas spirit.   We had days upon days of rain.  Which made us even lazier.  I guess its what we all needed. 
Yep....another Christmas season has come and gone too quickly.  Hopefully we made memories that will last until next year.  I hope your Holiday was filled with joy and a little magic too!
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