I am excited to share that I will be facilitating a painting workshop at The Artisan Cove in East Rochester- Piano Works Mall. I thought it would be fun to add a little twist (no pun intended) to the usual painting fun! (you can find the website for Artisan Cove here!)
What if you grabbed your bestie, sister, mother, or other and did a co-painting? Or come solo and paint something wonderful too! For all attendees this is only meant to be a spark for your imagination- be inspired by this or paint something else- Be free and creative! I have every confidence that you will make something quite spectacular- I will be there to cheerlead you every single step (and change your paint water and stuff). I can walk you through these paintings or help you paint something completely different- the choice is yours!
No skills are needed, just a readiness to explore and have fun! Tickets are $35 a seat and include all the things you need to create a painting alone or with a group of friends!
Another perk to this event? Glynis Valenti of Art Soul Wine will be popping in to share her passion for art and wine. Her website is lovely and can be found here: Art Soul Wine. She has a wealth of knowledge and this will be a fun and added treat whether you drink wine or not, Glynis has a breadth of knowledge sure to impress!
There is limited seating, so please reserve your seat today! Let’s start March off ready for fun and taking a few moments to be creative. It’s important- YOU are important, Fun is important!
Last night I gave a demo at a local shop for creatives. It was a mixed media demonstration that I have given dozens of times before.
I will be completely transparent here…It’s been a rough few weeks. There have been deaths, sickness, and heartache, and well, it’s January dipping into February in Rochester, New York. So, everything is GREY!
Interestingly enough when I was setting up, there were a couple of other artists in the room. We were talking about how important making art was for us and how vulnerable it is to do a demonstration or create in public. We talked about how that can lead to imposter syndrome and well- I then confessed that I had been struggling. I wondered if I had anything to offer the world. Was I making a difference? My fellow artists were very supportive and sort of laughed at the notion. But sometimes it is hard to see value or accomplishments when life is such a challenge.
I decided (what was I thinking?!) it would be a great idea to start with a blank canvas. I generally do not do this. It is easier to show progress if you have the basics at least started. However, I paint rather intuitively so, I felt that my spirit would take over and it would go fine.
Welp. Paint and medium take a bit to dry. So a twenty-minute or even an hour demonstration was not going to be all that impressive. I got in my head. (surprise?) It was difficult to show real results with slow-drying media. Add that to the fact that I was carrying a lot of sadness, and well, to say I was unhappy with the results is probably an understatement.
I am old enough to know that everything has something to teach me. I can still hear my mom ask me what I was grateful for every time I complained about nearly anything. So this is what I learned…
First, I am not alone in doubting myself. Perhaps the real lesson here is to just be. Art has a way of healing. For me, it isn’t a performance it is a path, a process. That is exactly what I was there to share.
Secondly, my husband often suggests that I am “too hard on myself”. Maybe. More to the point. I think when I spin in the negative cycle I get in my own way. Art is healing and joy for me. It is part of my spiritual practice. It is a life-giving activity for me. When I get in my own way or lead with expectations that muddies the water and the pressure is too great. Perhaps if I just took a deep breath and worked through the process I was there to share, I would have been happier with the results.
Lastly, I am grateful. Last night wasn’t perfect, but it did teach me a lesson. It taught me about myself and about others. It made me realize that I am not alone in my self-doubt, I am just working on the journey like everyone else is. That said, I showed up, I shared the process, and well… I started a painting.
Be gentle with yourself… we are all in this together.
So many people in my life are struggling. I am also not immune to the challenges of life. The past year or two have been a rolling and interesting series of challenges but also joys. I know that there are people struggling hard with health issues, financial issues, and otherwise.
I remember having what I perceived to be one of the worst days of my life. In the span of about three hours, during a horrible snowstorm, I was in not one but TWO car accidents, (with my youngest child in the car) ran over someone’s mailbox, ran over a squirrel (I have never killed anything!), and came home to a flooded basement. I remember calling my mom, just wanting to hear that it was going to be okay. After I shared my tale of woah, she responded…
“What are you grateful for?”
Seriously Mom? I am not grateful for anything that happened today. She then went on to explain that while the squirrel might not agree, everything else could be fixed. It was just stuff. My son and I were both fine. UGH. That was so frustrating…
But she was right.
So… right now. In your current situation, I ask you- What are you grateful for?
Sometimes it has to be the smallest thing. I have a roof over my head. I have heat. I have a car to take me to work. I have food to eat. The leaf on the sidewalk is brilliant. Sometimes it is the smallest thing. But I try to see that as the pinhole of light I might need to light up a dark day.
Gratitude is a lifeline- especially on the dark days. I hope you find the light today.
I was talking with a friend last night about the term artist. He suggested that there are broad definitions of the term. I hadn’t really thought of it before in the way he suggested. However, as I age, my needs and desires in the realm of art seem to be more defined.
Let me explain. He suggested that there were some artists that create art as a means to an end, for pay. Just like any job. They have a skill, they use that skill for a purpose. They are artists. This would include any creative. – Writers, musicians, fine artists.
There are also artists, that have a deep need to create. They create because it is a part of the fiber of their being. While it is lovely to sell or share a piece of art, this is not the main motivation. The goal is to create. This can be again for any form of art. Personally, I always refer to the act of creation as my oxygen. My husband can testify, that when I am not making art I am much more stressed and unfun to be around.
My friend asked me what my earliest happiest memory was. I shared that it was my Gumby light board. I was six or seven creating a magazine that I had written and illustrated. I used the Gumby lightboard to make copies for my family. (and tried to charge them money to have a copy that I carefully copied on the lightboard) He suggested that from my earliest memories, I was happiest when creating.
“Do that”, he said.
I looked at him with a sort of disbelief. I wanted to say, “NO KIDDING!” I then calmly explained that being in any business, even an art business, seemed to be even more about the business aspect, rather than the creation aspect. I am honest to tell you that I shared my discouragement. The last couple of years (thank you Covid) have been rough. It feels like I spend more time on everything other than actually painting. Nope.That is NOT what I want.
My friend sat across the table from me with that sweet Irish grin he has and simply said,
“So, paint. Just paint. Create. We will figure out the rest later.”
It seems so simple when he said it that way. In my head, I had a hundred (or more) arguments about why this wasn’t possible. (this all happened in the span of a few seconds). In the end, I looked at him and said,
So. I think I have a lot to think about. I know that change is in the wind. I just have to figure out where this is all going… I will let you know when I do. <3
I said to friends just yesterday, it seems like our current mentality is that we either have covid or we are healthy. The last two years seem to have captured our attention and narrowed the view.
It’s just not true though. Pain is everywhere. Disease is too. We have loss, we have heartache, we have incredible challenges.
Everyone handles things in their own unique way. Some share widely, some very quietly. I suppose there are as many ways to handle life’s big challenges in as many ways as there are things that challenge us. I say this because I think that it is sometimes difficult to see when others are hurting (especially if we are hurting ourselves) if they are not actively sharing. Sometimes we make judgments about people having no real clue what might be going on in their lives.
Unemployed, aggressive cancer, repetitive cancer, damage from having covid, chronic pain, unstable home life, addiction, unidentified health issues, heart issues, covid, loneliness, depression, loss of a spouse, loss of a child, loss of a home, concern for their family who live in Ukraine, isolation, mobility issues, and so much more.
These are just a few examples of pain that I recognize in my small circle. These are people not sharing their burdens. They are just going through life, doing the best that they can. They ask for nothing. There is no fanfare, no attention, nothing. They are simply trying to navigate their lives.
So… please – be gentle with those around you. You have no clue what they might not be sharing. The burdens are deep. Remember just a little gentleness goes a long way.
Yesterday was a people day. Like you, I have been very isolated and not out in the world, so to be honest, it was a bit of a shock to my system! Friends and strangers alike were picking up art and cards at my studio. It was MUCH more peoply than anything in recent times! Socially distant and with masks on- Each one shared a few moments with me. Most shared how discouraging life is right now. Each one shared about their losses, their sadness, their frustrations, and discouragements. 2020 has certainly been a year for challenges.
Covid has touched all of our lives. Too many lives have been lost which has broken the hearts of so many families. Our habits have changed, our realities have changed, our celebrations severely modified or canceled altogether. LIFE IS very DIFFERENT.
I too am finding this journey all so overwhelming at times. Some days are better than others, but in general, I am overwhelmed by the challenge of this pandemic. I am saddened by not seeing my children and granddaughter. I am stressed over trying to safely support those who are elderly or compromised by health concerns safely. It is a dark time, requiring so much energy and thought.
We are all in the same crazy challenge but are living it very alone. Now more than ever, it seems it is important to return to basics, recognize that life isn’t “the same”, nor can it be. I believe some of our strife comes from the fact that we mourn the loss of what was normal, and often forgetting the blessings we do have. Sometimes counting blessings is very difficult to remember.
Here are some thoughts: This is what I know- kindness always feels better. Sending a card to people you know, love, and maybe a few that you don’t know! (I am not suggesting this because I own a card company, however, I do – Greetings4Good.org), Call someone who lives alone, sometimes just a five-minute phone call can make a difference(for you both). Pay it forward somehow, there are countless ways to do that- especially at this time of year. When we take a moment to put someone else first, that seems to balance us a bit, introduce some light in the darkness. Small things seem to make a big difference. Also–self care. Take a walk (bundle up if you live in Rochester!) Drink your water, get your rest, meditate, breathe deeply, eat food that nourishes your body, MAKE ART! (yes, everyone can do this!) Read a book, turn off the electronics. Light a candle, sit in silence. Call your family/friends on a video- seeing each other’s face is a good thing! Write down every single thing you are grateful for. (yes, everything- it helps, I promise)Do things that are good for you. Celebrate what you have the ability to still do!
It seems we are given this lecture often. There also seems to be some wisdom to the fact that you are given a lesson repeatedly until you learn it.
I am not in any way suggesting life will be perfect if you send Uncle Pete a greeting card, I just know that I am happier when I claim the little victories, recognize the light around me and celebrate that. I think the bottom line here, is that while I recognize that life (for me as well as others) is an incredible challenge, I also want to do something about it. Some days I really struggle. But the good news is, I am celebrating each new chance I get.
There are all these little repostings around the internet about checking in with each other, about mental as well as physical health. This is me, reaching out to you. Do your best to reach out to others too. – both of you will benefit. Life is easier with a willing connection to others (even if we cannot have a cup of tea together in the same room).
I was very young when I recognized that pride in my country was just about mandatory in my family. My parents would cry at hearing the national anthem, my father would talk about how his parents arrived from Italy hoping the new world would afford them unimaginable opportunities. (grandpa came over TWICE!) My parents flew flags, voted, and believed the United States was the best place to live on earth.
This was not without its harsh realities. My parents were not blind to the faults of our political system, the horrors that those coming to the new world perpetrated upon the indigenous peoples, and the savagery that is glossed over in the (very white) history books. Still, my parents shared such pride in being a United States citizen, it was difficult not to attach to that sentiment.
Once my brother entered the military, this sentiment was multiplied by about a million percent. (you think I am exaggerating, trust me, I am not) They were very proud of the sacrifice my brother made to serve with honor and ambition for thirty years. They were also proud of his family, who served right along with him, missing special occasions, long periods of time with him, and every day life. Trust me, they BOTH served. But yes, I digress.
As an adult, I feel like patriotism has been a requirement of my humanity. I have voted every opportunity I could (I actually both cried AND laughed the first time I was able to vote- I was so excited to do so), I have paid attention to the details when I would have much rather bury my head in anything but politics, and I have researched every single person I have ever voted for (or against. )
It sounds like a cliche, however, I believe deep in my being the ability to vote is my right AND my privilege.
Those are not just words.They are a directive.
Recently I have become quite enthralled (not the right word) captivated? (perhaps) by the Suffragette movement. (Both in the United States and abroad. )These women had the gumption to believe that every single person is equal and has a right to express their unique opinions. This was sparked on a trip that I took with my daughter. We stopped in Seneca Falls on the way home and visited The Women’s Rights National Museum. To say it was a profound experience was an understatement. To be there with my daughter was even more defining.
A few years later my daughter, a friend, and I returned to Seneca Falls on Inauguration day in 2017 to protest. If you know me at all, this is completely out of my character. I don’t rock the boat too hard on purpose, however, I felt the need to voice my opinion. I felt the need to stand up for what I believe in. It was uncomfortable, it was scary and uncertain.
I am so grateful that I took the chance to stand with countless others that day. I cannot begin to express to you the power I felt, the history in the making, the unity of every person there. The speeches, the actions, the gatherings were that of proactivity, not of hate. It was of unity, it was of action, it was life-changing for me. I felt like I was a part of something much bigger than myself. I felt like my opinion really did matter.
Thinking about the actions the original suffragettes took is incredibly powerful to me. They risked everything, (including their lives) for their beliefs. They took action daily to gain even an inch of progress. They were relentless in their pursuits. Eventually, they won women the right to have a say in what happens in their lives.
Skip to 2020- I have heard things like, “I don’t even want to vote this year.”
HOW DARE WE GIVE AWAY THIS OPPORTUNITY.
I am not going to tell you how to vote. That is not my desire or my mission. My mission is to remind you that this is not something to be taken for granted. This right, this privilege has been fought for by many. How dare we squander it because of our frustration. It is all the more reason that we SHOULD vote, that we should voice our opinions.
Today, I visited the grave of Susan B. Anthony. Maybe it was all the research I have done on her, maybe it was the sisterhood, but I felt such power standing there. It was a moment for me. I was alone, standing at the grave of the woman who gave me so much. She gave my daughter, my granddaughter, my sister, my nieces. so. damn. much.
While Susan had a tribe of women and men who fought the fight with her, she is an icon. She is a symbol, a reminder.
Susan said,” Forget conventionalisms; forget what the world thinks of you stepping out of your place; think your best thoughts, speak your best words, work your best works, looking to your own conscience for approval.“
I believe her wisdom still applies.
I charge you with this… dig deep, research, look at the facts, look at what each candidate stands for. Do this for every. single. level of government. Vote for who YOU believe in. Don’t worry about what Uncle Jon thinks, what Aunt Tilly might say, this is between you and your ballot. This is between you and your future. This is important.
These last four months have been some of the most challenging of my entire life. I find myself literally feeling “all the emotions” all in one day. It is like riding a roller coaster that never ends and is not nearly as fun as a real roller coaster. I feel hope, joy, courage, and also, discouragement, despair, and depression.
The ramifications of the Corona Virus are far reaching. It is not just the disease itself, it is the consequences to our hearts, our minds and our spirits. It is the loss of those we love, it is the lethargy of life, it is the holding our breath waiting normalcy.
Like many of you, I have used this time to work on “me”. To separate out the negative and work wholly on the positive. To grow, to learn, to evolve. I suppose these are lofty goals during a time where many days I feel like I am trying to keep my head above water. Growth always seems to happen best for me in adversity. This is adversity. This is a huge challenge.
I find that I cannot manage too many things at once, (when at one time I considered myself quite the effective multi-tasker). I allow distractions to work against the progress, I get wrapped up in the silliest of things and this defeats me and welcomes in the negative emotions, depression, and anxiety.
I guess I feel like somehow I should be better than this. My lists (there are many) of goals should be completed and sparkling. It is almost like I think I should not be affected in any way by a GLOBAL PANDEMIC. I should be in harmony, changing the world, in an Olympic quality healthy body, successfully growing my business, and… Well, you get the idea.
The external influences (social media, obligations, pandemics, you know- all the things) stir the pot even larger. It creates the ramp-up of whatever I am feeling much more intensely. Often these are negative influencers rather than positive.
My husband has always said that I perhaps should be a little more gentle with myself. There are times I can honestly say I am not even sure how to go about this. Another nugget of wisdom he shares is that I should ask for what I need. (In theory, I UNDERSTAND what that might be) In these times of global challenge, I believe that the identification of needs can be difficult.
My challenge for each of us:
If you listen to any “expert” they will share with you that any positive change makes a difference in your well being. I will be completely transparent to say that the things that frustrate me most these days are my environment and my lack of balance.
I feel like both are reflective of the internal weirdness that I am currently caught up in. It is up to me to stop the struggle and find a way back to harmony.
Today is July first. The sun is shining, the Rochester morning air is crisp and cool, it’s my nephew’s birthday (Happy birthday, Jake!) and it is the beginning of a brand new set of thirty-one days. It is a clean slate in many ways. (as every single day is!)
I seem to be one who enjoys launching a new initiation at the beginning of something. So today is the day! I invite you to join me.
July for me is about harmony. The three things I see as having me most imbalanced are as follows-
My physical well being. Prioritizing my health has always been a struggle for me. We could dissect the psychological reasonings, but in many ways, it would be one more distraction. I could tell you ad nauseam why I don’t prioritize my physical self. However, it is time to make a change. For the month of July, I commit to doing that. I will keep track of the positive things I do for my body. Hopefully, in the next thirty-one days it will be a habit, not a challenge. I invite you to join me in doing this.
My balance of work/life. So, this year my business is ten years old. It has become a huge focus for me. During the pandemic it has become a greater focus. I work seven days a week, many many hours a day. If I am not actively working, I am thinking about working. Yet I find that I am not reaching my intentions, I am not finishing as many things as I hoped.
This is multi folded- first, I AM ONE PERSON- doing the job of probably three or four without the expertise of the aforementioned individuals. Also, without balance you are ineffective! (which is why social media, words with friends, and solitaire become so gosh darn dangerous!) I think to myself, I “deserve a break”- well yes, I sure do, but a real one, not a chew up my time and gain nothing from it kind of break.
So… I will work daily on a new form of balance. I will create this habit as a way to manage my business and become more effective. (and chill too!)
My environment. I have spent most of my adult life thinking that this house/apartment is temporary. We want something bigger, different, in a different location, or whatever. So, I exist there instead of living there. I have boxes full of my parent’s home as well. Still. in. boxes.
Also, when I moved to my new studio in February, I moved in five days before the grand opening of the new collective. So while I am there, I am not moved in. I don’t have my everything in containers, with labels and neatly stacked in my storeroom. Again, I want to live there.
So. Daily, at home or the studio, I will do something to improve my environment. I believe that the opportunity is great here. I NEED this. I believe many other things will fall into place once some progress has been made.
So, welcome, July. I know and appreciate that these days are difficult. The uncertainty tears at our very souls, but I maintain we still have a great amount of power. We still have so much opportunity. I hope you see that too.
Will you join me? Will you seek a little more balance ? I would love to support you and would welcome your support of me. One step at a time, my friends….
Sending you so much love,
P. S. To help you see your progress- I have created this so you can see all your efforts in a wonderful and visual way! xo
I try NOT to rock the boat. I tend to be a peace at any price kind of girl. But I cannot stay silent. I cannot.
What I seem to have no way to convey or express is that I am feeling angry and desperate and hopeless. The horrors of what I witness in our world seems to be much more than I can comprehend. It is unfathomable to me that the targeted murder of specific human beings is discarded without a global uproar. It is somehow accepted as the latest new story and not a motivation for EVERY.SINGLE. HUMAN to cry out. Why on earth do we accept this?
Please don’t tell me that there are “bad apples in every bunch”. I don’t want to hear it. The killing of innocent people is happening too often for it to be the isolated incident of one or two power hungry people.
I have a healthy respect for the police. I know many who are downright altruistic and some of the finest humans on the planet. This is not the issue. The issue is much larger than that. It is a segment of society that has a complete disregard for precious human life.
Throughout history, we have experienced incredible loss because of violent action prompted and propagated by ignorance and unreasonable fears. We have lost to those who seek power. We have lost to those who disregard the sanctity of life. I can assume nothing else. What we do not know, we hate. What is unfamiliar, causes fear. Fear inspires violence. Violence destroys. The cycle continues.
I could spend the day naming historical dates and actions that would support our total lack of regard for human life.
Make no mistake, we have not evolved as a human race, we are still driven by our own power and need for territory. We have stuffed ourselves into a quiet little corner with our protections and locked doors. We are afraid to cross the street to help our neighbors, we are encouraged to “keep to ourselves”.
If you are quiet, you are complicit.
Read that again. If you are quiet, you are complicit.
We are blessed with a world full of color. Humanity is a plethora of colors, talents, dreams, and opportunity. Our reaction seems to be not one of curiosity and opportunity but one to abolish all that is not the norm for “me”.
However, I feel like because the color of my skin I have no right to declare my dejection. I do not feel the depth of despair that a black mother feels mourning her gunned down child. I do not live in fear that I will be accused of something going about my normal daily activities. I am an invisible middle-aged white woman who generally goes about a day with little apprehension for my personal safety.
But I feel it none the less. I feel hopeless. Humanity should be better than this. I am confused and revolted by the propagation of fear and need for power that results in lives being destroyed.
For most of my life I have tried to love. I felt like this was my gift. To love all humans, not just the ones that looked like me. Dr. King’s sentiments of “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” have been words I try to live by.
At this very moment, the world feels very dark. It is not just the pandemic related to the Coronavirus and the hundreds of thousands of lives lost. It is indeed, the pandemic related to the flagrant disregard for the sanctity of human life, of human rights, of freedom.
It is time for each of us to examine our very soul and discover the light and the ugly. It is time to look in the mirror and face our fears, understand the motivations, and begin to resolve the darkness. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; ONLY LOVE CAN do that.
Seeking the light in every human is not a choice but a necessity. I have no delusion that we are all peace keeping hippies trying to save the world. I do believe that when you assume darkness in every human that is exactly what our tainted eyes will see. What’s worse, is that we are literally all in this together. One pebble in a stream causes the change in the flow. One light, illuminates the darkness. One person’s actions influence the actions of those that surround them.
Benjamin Franklin said, “Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.”
We ALL should be outraged at the behaviors that have led to the loss of life, the destruction of families, of dreams, of possibilities, of the future. We all should hold this personally. We all should seek change, responsibility, and clarity.
We all… should say their names:
George Floyd Trayvon Martin Breonna Taylor Ahmaud Arbery Tamir Rice Oscar Grant Eric Garner Philando Castile Samuel Dubose Sandra Bland
Let America be America again. Let it be the dream it used to be. Let it be the pioneer on the plain Seeking a home where he himself is free.
(America never was America to me.)
Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed— Let it be that great strong land of love Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme That any man be crushed by one above.
(It never was America to me.)
O, let my land be a land where Liberty Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath, But opportunity is real, and life is free, Equality is in the air we breathe.
(There’s never been equality for me, Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)
Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark? And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?
I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart, I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars. I am the red man driven from the land, I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek— And finding only the same old stupid plan Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.
I am the young man, full of strength and hope, Tangled in that ancient endless chain Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land! Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need! Of work the men! Of take the pay! Of owning everything for one’s own greed!
I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil. I am the worker sold to the machine. I am the Negro, servant to you all. I am the people, humble, hungry, mean— Hungry yet today despite the dream. Beaten yet today—O, Pioneers! I am the man who never got ahead, The poorest worker bartered through the years.
Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream In the Old World while still a serf of kings, Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true, That even yet its mighty daring sings In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned That’s made America the land it has become. O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas In search of what I meant to be my home— For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore, And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea, And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came To build a “homeland of the free.”
Who said the free? Not me? Surely not me? The millions on relief today? The millions shot down when we strike? The millions who have nothing for our pay? For all the dreams we’ve dreamed And all the songs we’ve sung And all the hopes we’ve held And all the flags we’ve hung, The millions who have nothing for our pay— Except the dream that’s almost dead today.
O, let America be America again— The land that never has been yet— And yet must be—the land where every man is free. The land that’s mine—the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME— Who made America, Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain, Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain, Must bring back our mighty dream again.
Sure, call me any ugly name you choose— The steel of freedom does not stain. From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives, We must take back our land again, America!
O, yes, I say it plain, America never was America to me, And yet I swear this oath— America will be!
Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death, The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies, We, the people, must redeem The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers. The mountains and the endless plain— All, all the stretch of these great green states— And make America again!