We're Getting SNOW!!

Ok guys...this is a big deal.  We finally got SNOW!  SNOW!!! SNOW!!!  Last night when the rover call came in that the kids didn't have to go to school but teachers did I was like great.  Another day we're going to have to make up for no freaking reason.  Well....I'll be a monkey's uncle it DID!

In fact, I was at school cleaning out the art closet bomb when the principal came over the intercom and said, "Due to heavy snow precipitation we need for all faculty and staff to evacuate the building immediately."  You didn't have to ask me twice.  After a chick-fil-a run (fearing no chick-fil-a for days) I was home by 12:30.  We watched an awful movie a called ATM.  You heard of it?  Well it's sick.  And I would have turned it off but I wanted to see how it ended.  Which was bad.  Like twisted sick how do people write these scripts without needing serious therapy?  

We all bundled up and went outside for some fun in the snow after that!  
Lawrence loved it the most.  Seriously he was beyond cute running around and eating it.  He even walked the 1/2 mile to the big hill for sledding with us.

Even Ellie Bellie came out to check it out.  

Lily and Lawrence had a blast in the snow.  I can't wait to go back out again and get more photos.  Oh, and none of these have been edited.  Not to shabby.  I love the first one of my kids.  Well...naptime is in order.  Doggies are exhausted.  I told the kids we should pretend we are in a 5 star ski resort and go hot tubbing.  They laughed.  I was serious.  But won't be photographing that activity.


Southern Circle Retreats

 Tiffin and I hosted our second Southern Circle retreats in the beautiful community of Serenbe this weekend.  It went flawlessly.  Everyone created amazing works of art.  We crafted yarn wrapped wreaths, original paintings and embroidery hoop art.  The weekend was packed with yummy food,  late night visiting, art making and more.  It's the perfect creative escape.

We don't miss any detail.  It's the attention to details we feel makes our retreat so unique.  It's like one puffy heart moment all weekend!
This is the lovely group of women that gathered with us:  Tiffin, Lisa, Jenni, Cindy, Mary Beth, Melanie, Jill, Gail, Lawrence, Chris, Becky, Lesley, and Samantha.  These women came as far as Oregon to create with us.  Some drove more than 6 hours.  That's just a tad humbling.  Humbling that they would come, some never having met us before, leaving their families (many had 4 kids) behind to come spend a weekend creating with us.  It speaks volumes to me that these women chose a getaway that has them exploring their inner creative spirit instead of a weekend at the beach with umbrella drinks and sand in the toes.  It's flattering and inspiring all balled up in one ball of rainbow twine.

We are already planning the next retreat.  Although this morning I am a tad poopered out, I am beyond inspired to continue the circle.  It is our desire to nurture the creative spirit in all of you.  I hope you'll consider joining us at some point. 



Southern Circle Retreats

Today is the day.....here's last year's post about the retreat in case you wondering what this is all about.  In a nutshell it's about friendships, creating amazing art and exploring yourself in a new light.I pray that these 11 women will come with huge open hearts and minds so that they can truly experience the retreat as it was intended.  Tiffin and I pour ourselves into this weekend giving it every little detail we can.  We look forward to sharing our gifts with these women and hope that you will consider coming to our next retreat.  See you Monday with loads of photos from the weekend.  Or you can follow along on our instagram feeds:  artsyorange and linwoodavenue. 

Be amazing...in all you do.  Jenni


Embossed Leather Cuffs

Ok guys...I am just in love with how these embossed leather cuffs have turned out.  I got so carried away that there are now 21 headed to the Naked Art Gallery for the Microlove opening next weekend!
 Each turns out so different even when I'm using the same powders and stamps!

The dreamer one below is a favorite because of the "happy accidental extra" powder all around the letters.  Most of the time I brush off the extra but this one looked pretty clever a tad messy!

These will all be available at the Naked Art Gallery. Vero would be more than happy to ship to you!!

I leave you with this...I know that I've talked about narrowing down my creative mind and just painting.  But I can't.  I really can't.  I see things I want to try and make and do and my mind starts freaking OUT.  Because I had tricked it into thinking it couldn't, shouldn't wouldn't.  And that's just plain stupid.  I recently picked up the book, Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon.  You need to stop reading this blog and run out and buy this book like now.  Pronto.  It has totally changed my perspective on being a creative person.  Thank you Jeanne Oliver for suggesting it!  In the book one my favorite lines so far is this, "take time to mess around.  Get Lost. Wander. You never know where it's going to lead you."  I am so glad I took the time to get lost.  To wander.  Because in the end I created something pretty awesome.


E-Course...Studying Under the Masters

I love to learn.  I do.  I nurture my creative side through e-courses, in person workshops and teaching workshops myself.  These classes all play an integral role in building who I am as an artist.  And although I don't always take tons away from each class, I do find something that resonates and helps to build my art story.  I think it's important as artists that we always push ourselves to look outside of our "box" and extend vocabularies.  It keeps our work fresh, exciting and believable.
The new class I am taking is led by the beautiful Jeanne Oliver.  She has masterminded a 9 week course where 9 different women artists are teaching us how to Study Under a Master.  Basically we are all going back to the beginning....looking at works of art by artists who have left us physically but left behind a rich art history that we can learn so much from.  I like that we aren't copying the actual present day artist, but rather an artist that has made an impact on art for modern times.  It's a different type of e-course.  It's very daring for Jeanne.  I love her for doing this.  It's nice to see how art has evolved over time and how it influences so much of our culture and art today. 
We are on week 2 of the course.  The first week was amazing.  Really.  Jeanne teaches much like I would if I taught High School.  There's a passion for the artist she taught us about that you can only get when you really absorb the work.   I will say the course is quite time consuming.  The first week alone had over 7 hours of videos.  Of course my school has the site blocked so watching during lunch which was my plan, is out the window.  By the time I finally watched all the videos I didn't have time to really make anything because now we are already on week 2 with more videos.  I don't mean this as a complaint but it is a lot of material to absorb in a short time frame.   A week in between each artist to truly absorb the information given and to be a part of the artist's work would have been nice.  I'll never be able to participate in any dialogue or share my work with the group because of time. I think the course is open after the 9 weeks so I can go back and dig in where I missed. 
I did attempt this one piece in a Matisse style....but quickly it morphed into something else completely and is no where near Matisse like.  But it did get me out of my comfort zone and trying something new.  We were supposed to look at a Matisse piece and copy it.  By copying you are practicing and by practicing you become who you are as an artist.  I tried.....but as you see it became a Jenni.  I never paint figures though so that is totally new. I love her.  And it got me in my studio instead of the couch watching LMN.  haha  Have you seen Flowers in the Attic yet?  Oh my....my mother never let me read the book.  I know why now.  It's freako.

So....are you guys extending your art vocabularies these days?  Stretching beyond the normal ho-hum and finding something new to integrate into your work?  I find that my work is beginning to loose it's common thread.  But that's okay because the main thread running deep and wide is that it's all made by ME.


Leather Cuffs

I've been crafting cuffs for years.  Trying this and that with them.  Never really making a living off of it, just enjoying the crafting of something different.  I actually get tired of painting.  Gasp.  Right?  And this is something fun that uses stuff I have around the studio.  This past weekend I went to the mart for the January gift show.  There's a vendor in the cash and carry area I LOVE to buy my leather cuffs from.  Yes, I could be thrifty and use belts, but his leather is like freaking butter on your arm.  So I buy his.  It kinda helps he's from some foreign country, talks real smooth and is hot in his skinny European blue jeans.  Did I just say that out loud?   This time I bought some fun colored pieces too...including white, hot pink, navy and orange! 

Anyhoo....I was taking Claudine Hellmuth's online class where we learned a bazillion new techniques.  One was using embossing powder on sticky back canvas.  And although I really like that particular technique, there was a little light turned on in my noggin to use the embossing powder on leather.  Oh sweet baby in a footed onesie, this was the mecca.  First because I've been a buying stuff for years including embossing powder and rubber stamps.  So the piles where there waiting for their rising from the studio grave.

This is kinda addicting.  In case you try it.  So many combinations.  So many end results.  These are of course headed off to the Naked Art Gallery.  The first batch I made and sent her all sold the first month.  Birmingham people know good stuff when they see it I tell ya.  If you like any you see however on my instagram feed let me know before I ship.  Be glad to sell one to you.  BTW I'm artsyorange on instagram. 

Well...gotta go make some dreams come to life.  Hope you guys are having a fabulous Thursday!


Amazing Times

Hey guys.  Just popping in to say, "Be Amazing".  Yep.  That's it.  Well...maybe I have a little more to say.  (You didn't think you'd get off that easy did ya?)

I recently found while cleaning out our bedroom my journal from around this time last year. This is the exact time I started to not feel well.  A year ago.  Wow.  I can't tell you how grateful I am that you didn't abandon me.  I am sure my posts around this time until just recently were rather depressing.  I'm sure I sounded like a lost child.  (I was.)  What ever happened to that spunky fun artsyorange?  Well she's slowly making her way back.  I have such an amazing calm about me now.  We even made an impromptu Dunkin' Donuts run after baseball last night that made both my kids go, "Mom...this isn't like you."  I'm trying to enjoy the little moments.  I've spent so much of my life looking ahead and being disappointed in big moments that the little moments have been overlooked.  And honestly, that little stop at Dunkin' Donuts was silly, fun and yummy!  It might actually be remembered and talked about later by those 2 tweens..."Hey Mom, remember that time we stopped at Dunkin' Donuts and you....." 

 I never really found out what was wrong with me.  It started as a simple infection that snowballed.  The bottom line is I think too many rounds of antibiotics and anti-fungals turned my body upside down and inside out.  I've gained about 10 pounds back (...I lost close to 20pds at one point).  I'm running again.  I'm avoiding LOTS of foods I used to enjoy. I'm sleeping great.  That sorta thing to stay healthy.   They did find one blood test that caused alarm.  I have a hard time explaining it and you may know exactly what I'm talking about but I tested positive for an antinuclear ana or something like that.  Basically this is an indicator that you then have to go see a rheumatologist to be tested for autoimmune diseases like Celiac and Lupus.  Luckily my original blood work from that (11 tubes of blood) came back clean.  BUT...I will have to go back to her every 6 months for the rest of my life to be sure that the real disease hasn't come to party in my body.  It's my understanding that these diseases can be rather quiet and attack you in hidden ways.  And if I feel anything whacko going on in my body she has to be informed immediately.  Great.  Nothing like sitting on the edge of my seat waiting to know if this disease is going attack me.  Sneaky butt-head disease.  I don't like you at all.

So...perhaps this new light at the end of my tunnel has brought on a calm which resonates throughout my daily life.  Whatever it is, I like it.  I like this me.  And I hope that this new me brings back the "scatter joy" to this blog.  (I realized I've taken it outta my blog banner...I gotta put it back!)

Because on top of being amazing, being joyful is pretty good too.  So go ahead...BE AMAZING!!

Smacks to you....Jenni


Little Trees

Every once in awhile I come across an old painting that makes me stop, smile and remember exactly why I paint what I paint.

Hope you have a lovely start to your week.  It's my 18th wedding anniversary today.  Already he's surprised me with a sweet gift and card.  And dinner out tonight at a favorite seafood restaurant is on the agenda (although with my recent allergy testing I'll be sticking to the fish).  Our kids were like "18 years?  Really?"  I don't think they think about the fact that we had a life before them.  It's a been a really fast 18 years.  I look forward to the next 18 and all the adventures they bring!


New Birdie Art

You know how I love to paint birds.  It's kinda my thing.  I get away from them and paint other stuff like campers and trucks on occasion.  But I always wind back around to the birds.
These two new vibrant birds are a part of a series completed for the Naked Art Gallery in Birmingham, Alabama.  Each year Vero hosts a "Microlove" art show where artists are asked to create paintings under a postcard size.  I always participate in the jewelry portion of this show, never the tiny art part.  This year however, I made 16 tiny paintings for her.  Yep...these are just 4" squares people.  Teensy tiny for me.  Interested in purchasing one?  Then head over to my page on her website here.  I'm sure she'd be happy to sell one to you!  Oh, they are $38 smackers each. 


Inclement Weather Days

Sunday night we got the call....the call every teacher dreams of, every kid prays for and every parent dreads. Due to inclement weather our county was shutting schools down for 2 days.  Now you Yankee folks and Mid-westerners that get snow can laugh at us for shutting down before snow even hits the ground.  But in all honesty the real reason I think we shut down at first sign of bad weather is this, we are a very diverse, rural Georgia county. Diverse in terrain and economic status.  Our county has places buses have to be able to navigate to that honestly need 4-wheel drive on occasions.  By law, our county has to provide transportation to and from school everyday.  The thought of a little child standing at the bus stop in 7' weather without proper attire for who knows how long waiting for a bus that might not even have heat is too much for my heart to bear.  You'd be amazed at what children wear to school when it is blazing hot much less freezing cold.  I've a whole soapbox for that but don't want to get into here.  Ask me when ya see me sometime.  Even my daughter made a comment about an 8th grader who showed up yesterday in 10' weather in a mini skirt.  I mean really.
So the roads never iced, and the snow never fell.  But it was cold.  So for 2 days we did a bunch of this above and this below.  It was amazeballs.  (I may have stayed in my PJ's LONG past coffee time)
I finished our bedroom project.  And then worked on a little project for Tiffin and I's upcoming Southern Circle Retreat.  We are kinda in dreamland right now because it actually sold out this year!!  We are switching up just one project so samples had to be developed.  And inclement weather days in bird flannel PJ's were the perfect days to do just this.
In the end we had crazy cold temps and that was about it.  Luckily our family didn't experience any frozen pipe issues and our cars cranked up just fine.  These weather days fell at the end of our Christmas holiday so we had exactly 16 days off in a row!!  Man am I geared up to teach now!  Hope you are staying toasty warm like we are here in Georgia.



I love to nest. I do. This week I was all set to rest and never get out of my PJ's. And I did do plenty of that. Until Billy hung the new curtains in our bedroom and I decided that the wall color looked like poopy with the curtains and the bedding. So yeah.....I painted the bedroom.  The great thing about painting a room for me is that I remove everything from the room. All the piles, all the junk. Then carefully bring it all back in. It's an awesome feeling. Do you do this too? I've got a fantastic pile going for a yard sale. My neighbor and I are already conspiring the weekend.  Oh how I love a good yard sale!

Anyhoo....it's back to work for me tomorrow. I'm actually really looking forward to it.  When you do something you love you don't dread the going back. I'll be back later in the week with a bunch of new art.  When I get the files on this computer that is.  I'm not sure if I told you this or not, but my computer crashed earlier in December so for Christmas Billy got me a MAC.  So far I'm not really that impressed.  I know there's a learning curve, but I find it weird all the hidden things you've gotta do to get to where you need to go.  In a PC you right click and save.  Right click and go.  This computer you have to know where all the secret places are.  Oh and the first day I had it I was on the phone almost 2 hours with Apple Care because my brand new computer had some whack corrupt file so I couldn't do anything on it until they removed it.  That was a great first experience right?  Although I will say Apple Care was fabulous to work with. So I'll keep asking this thing questions to figure out how to do this and that.  I am kinda questioning why these things are so expensive though.

Oh and in case you want to know this kinda thing....I am still in my PJ's at 11:05 on a Sunday watching chick movies on TNT. Lawrence is on my shoulder, Lily on my feet snoring.  I've gotta get the last drop of Christmas holiday outta these fleece PJ's!  Have a lovely Sunday friends.
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