Southern Circle Retreats

This past weekend Tiffin and I hosted our 3rd Southern Circle Retreats. Every year it gets a little easier. Every year it seems to get a little more magical. We tweek this and that to make it an event to remember, look forward to and want to come back to! So this post is going to be all photos, no chit chat. I'm going to let the photos do the talking. Let's just say they tell an pretty good story. They are not really in order of what we did in the weekend either. Just little glimpses into our beautiful weekend together at Serenbe.

The end. If you are interested in attending our next event be sure to follow my instagram feed: artsyorange, my FB page or here. We announce the dates in early spring. And always sell out. Which is so cool and humbling in one ball of sticky wax. We love sharing our gifts with these women and can't wait to meet you! For now be sure to check out our website for all the details here.


Working on New

Every once in awhile I just have to paint for myself. Something new. Something a little outside of my comfort zone. The poppy field and the soft still life are examples of such. Two weeks ago during Sunday Studio I wanted to try to paint without the black background and try to work the negative space using white paint. I think I said that right.
 More than anything I was trying to be looser with my brush and softer with my palette. I really enjoyed the still life one. The poppy I had a hard time making my brain work on the positive space.
So Sunday Studio didn't happen this past week. We had our art retreat. Which was amazing.  And honestly once I got home, unpacked and sat down....my brain and body decided a nap was in order instead of any painting. Like drool on the orange velvet pillow sleep. Doggies snuggled up in every nook and cranny sleep. Man I love that kind of sleep on a cold Sunday afternoon. Now that Sunday Studio has become a bit of a tradition I hope to blog about it weekly. So you can see into the backbone of my creative journey. Making time to be creative weekly is a constant struggle. It's like I really want to go into my sunny yellow studio and make awesomeness.....but then life happens. I kinda like my life right now, so not complaining. But carving out time to be an artist is something I've decided has to be penciled in and I have to hold myself accountable for. Because making stuff like the paintings above is a pretty cool part of my life too.

Anyhoo....off to teach this morning Mandalas, snowflakes and mittens. Don't you wish you could be a fly on my art room wall? We have such a great time together everyday. Have a lovely Tuesday.


Southern Circle Retreats Take 3

This weekend I am off with this sweet chick doing what we love.
This weekend we are hosting our 3rd Southern Circle Retreats.  It's a weekend long art retreat held in the beautiful community of Serenbe. It sold out by spring....so that's why I haven't been chatting about it too much. I can't believe it....SOLD out within like a month of opening registration. Such a blessing for Tiffin and I.
We'll be making jewelry, painting, sewing, eating amazing food, staying up late in flannel PJ's, drinking wine on the porch under heaters and blankets, and most importantly building girlfriend bonds for years to come. I can't wait to meet the new group!
This year we have friends coming from as far as Hawaii. I know right? I love that we have both been given these gifts and that we enjoy sharing these gifts with others.
 If you are interested in attending next year, please follow either of us on instagram @artsyorange or @linwoodavenue for dates and registration. We are probably changing the dates up a bit, but usually we host it in January.
Each year it's a little different. But always the same is our joy for creating with others. I'll be back next week to share photos of the weekend!


The Tryouts

Look at these handsome boys. Friends and teammates since age 7 I think. Last year they tried out as 8th graders and made the 9th grade high school team. Today they start tryouts for JV and Varsity. I am nervous excited for these boys. The potential in each of them shines so bright. I was telling one of the mom's the other day that one thing I love about them is the encouragement and joy they seem to have in one another's success. They each play different positions so there's no competition there. They each have strengths and weaknesses at the plate. They each have so much love and support from their families. So no matter what happens after this week, my hope is that this support continues. Real friendships are built on this type of foundation. Good luck boys! We all love you!


Making Time to Paint

We are 2 weeks into the e-course and I can not even tell ya how thrilled I am with the work that the students are posting. Good grief I am one lucky girl to be a part of these aspiring artist's journey's. Everytime I offer the class I find myself more and more inspired to be a better teacher. What a gift I have been given to share what I know about painting. It is not lost on me that not everyone can teach. Each night I sit down with my laptop and cruise the flickr feed of their work and think "WOW....I have inspired this person to do that?" I mean seriously folks....it's humbling.

But then there's the trade off that because I have chosen the teaching path I am slowly chipping my personal studio time away to almost nothing. Like this afternoon I thought, ooo...I'll try and sneak some painting time in. I really have a big new idea I want to see come to life. But instead remembered the lengthy list of Hobby Lobby items I need to teach next weekend and that realistically it would be in my best interest to do that this afternoon. Next week at night before the retreat is going to be very busy with other details. (Like cooking for my family and 15 retreat attendees at the same time. Several board meetings because I've gone and gotten myself "involved". Long training runs. Baseball tryouts. Braces off for Will. And.....) So alas......I will set aside a little Sunday Studio time this weekend. Hopefully this Sunday it will involve less cleaning and more doing! As a teacher one thing I need to do is paint. How is one to inspire if not invested personally right? So wish me luck and happy painting. Hopefully next week I'll be able to blog about something that has to do with PAINT!


This Time Last Year

This time last year we had our first days out of school for snow. Actually the first time it was just ice. The next time was the above blanket of gorgeous snow. Yes, January was a bitter cold, icy and a snowy month for us southerners. And I loved it. I feel more alive and excited and energized by the cold weather. In fact, my running has a different cadence about it in the cold. I can literally run farther AND faster in weather below 40'.

During this time I also have a new urgency to paint.
I have a few new ideas swimming around in my head. This afternoon I intend to get some of them out. I can not wait and hopefully share with you the excitement on the canvas.

On another note, the Honorable and I have been married 19 years today!  WHAT? How in the world did 19 years go by? I'll be honest, it has not been an easy few years. And recently we had a heart to heart about our marriage and it's flaws. It was the hardest conversation of my life. I knew deep down that our love was better than the one that was on the surface. So we've scratched away at the surface and are going deep lately. Just ask our kids....we are totally grossing them out I think with our affections. hehehehe....But we can't help it! And we are talking and doing stuff together we've not done in ages. Reconnecting so to say. It's amazing what can come out of one conversation to make you wake up and realize you just might loose what you love the most.
This is us above in our most favorite place in the world to be together, the beach. We have big plans for a trip in early June. Just the 2 of us. Cheap hotel. Lots of ice cold beer. And lots of oysters. Today we will just be celebrating with a simple family dinner and cards. And reminisce about the night we said "I do."



Every once-in-awhile I just HAVE to make jewelry. I just do. I get an idea in my head and have to run with it. These are made using the awesome techniques I learned from Stephanie Lee. The techniques she taught me years ago have really broadened my jewelry making vocabularies. I love seeing how far I can take the skills learned. Pushing new shapes and designs. It's rejuvenating.
Over the holiday break I had such an wonderful time playing in my studio. I actually started with these, then after a deep cleaning and reorganization of the studio, I painted the watercolor boxes. I had to let the watercolor box idea percolate a little more. In other words, I was over thinking the watercolor boxes and knew it so I had to let it sit until I could focus.
Do you get like that with your ideas? Sometimes I think and plan so much on an idea that by the time I get to the doing of the idea they FLOP. Spontaneity can be a good thing for my artsy brain. Otherwise I'd just sit and think about ideas all the time and never get anything done. These jewelry pieces were a total spontaneous idea. I was actually cleaning the metalsmithing table and thought...I wonder if I could make a 3-D heart shape? And I could.
These are at the Naked Art Gallery in Birmingham if you are interested. They are $48 each. I sent 12 different ones. Vero usually gets everything online here. Check it out and all the other cool artist in her gallery!


The Watercolor Boxes

I teach K-5 Art Education in a public school near our home. It's a great job...really stress free because it's not a certified position (even though I am certified in art k-12). So I get to come to school...play art with kids all day....and go home. Seriously, where else could I find a job where I get to do that right? In my classroom I am probably not the norm when it comes to the typical "art teacher". I like a very neat, clean and organized classroom. In fact I go through days of cleaning. Purging crayons, testing markers and throwing out stinky paint. Side note peeps, old paint is the worst smell on the planet. Hands down. No lie. Blerg. Anyhoo.....before the holiday break I always do a major paint station clean up. Because of said smells. I didn't want my room to smell like dead paint upon return in January. I was throwing watercolor pans out by the dozens because well, they don't make them like they used to. In the old days we art teachers could buy the individual pots of colors and replace the old ones. Especially colors used out quickly like blues. And poor yellow. He gets to be yellow for one student and then he becomes green or orange. Yellow doesn't stand a chance in an elementary art room. While throwing all these pans out I had a vision....first I started thinking they'd make cute pencil boxes for our upcoming Southern Circle Retreats. I'd wanted to make something special for the attendees from me to keep their supplies in we use and voila! They worked perfect. (can't show yet because I want them surprised)

And then I started to look at the larger containers closed up without the watercolors pans in them and found they were stunning on their own. The various paint colors splattered all over. Hmmmm....I wonder if paint would adhere to the inside so that when closed it becomes sorta a magical shadow box?
The answer to that question is yes. Yes. Yes!! Of course it took some trials on what to put first to get the paint to stick. Again, clear gesso came to the rescue. Superhero of my studio these days!
Now I did remove some paint in areas so you could see my images a tad better. Not much though. I just love these so much and am tickled to think my creative brain actually thought this up!

To stamp I decided on the outside was best so you could really read the words. Plus it gives the overall affect of 3-D better. Now, ding dong me just grabbed a stamp pad not looking for permanency. Urgh.....So then I had to spray a little clear on top to protect the words from smearing. Lost one in the process. Bummer. Oversprayed it and made it cloudy. Then the light went on in my head to look for my staz-on pad. What would I do without that sucker?

These too are headed to the Naked Art Gallery Microlove opening. Although I might make some more for my Etsy shop. I'll be sure to let you know if I do.


I Puffy Heart You

I used to say on my blog all the time "I puffy heart you". A few years ago when I found these metal "puffy hearts" at the mart I had to buy them to paint on. And yep....they sat in my studio for years. The even got packed in moving boxes from one studio to another if that tells ya anything about age.
Each year my favorite Birmingham Gallery, The Naked Art Gallery, hosts a Microlove art show. All the work has to be tiny, like no larger than a postcard. Each year I do something fun. Last year it was a series of 4" encaustic paintings. They were so adorable. This year I pulled these out! They turned out awesome. I just wish I'd bought more.
The metal surface was tricky to paint on so I used clear gesso first. Clear gesso has got to be the best invention like ever. Ever. First of all it's clear. (duh jenni) Second of all it has this awesome sandy texture unlike white or black gesso. It makes the paint go onto the surface dreamy. And I was able to leave the heart above with metal showing through since the clear didn't affect the color of the metal. The other 2 I got a little carried away with the flowers and painting. Last step I sprayed them with a clear spray which the name of is escaping me but it comes in a turquoise can and makes your work look like glass. Anyhoo....if you are interested in these they will be available at Naked Art Gallery.

Hope you had a fabulous Christmas holiday. I was a little quiet here during the break for personal reasons. Sometimes you need to step away and gather yourself before you can present yourself again. It was not the best Christmas to be quite honest, too much stress and not enough joy. If I looked back on my blog posts from previous holidays I'd probably have said the same thing. My hope is that during 2015 holiday, yes already thinking about it, we change something. Yeah. Something.

Later guys.....
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