Monthly Archives: June 2015

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 – A Time for Everything

Jun 26, 15

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 – A Time for Everything

There is a time for everything,

and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,

a time to plant and a time to uproot

a time to kill and a time to heal,

a time to tear down and a time to build,

a time to weep and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

a time to search and a time to give up,

a time to keep and a time to throw away,

a time to tear and a time to mend,

a time to be silent and a time to speak,

a time to love and a time to hate,

a time for war and a time for peace.

This passage of scripture has really spoken to me over these past few weeks. So much emotion – so much going on in my personal life and this chaotic world we live in. A week ago Monday, my second daughter walked down a sea of green to get her high school diploma.

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Leading up to this special day, I spent countless hours pouring over old photos and then spent more tedious hours syncing each photo so that it would appear just at the right time during the several songs I specifically chose for the fifteen minute memory span of her 19 years.

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How did the time go by so fast! My emotions were raw for weeks as I was preparing to let go of another chapter of our lives and let go of yet another amazing child into this world. She is kind, she is compassionate, she is loved and my prayer for Catherine Anne Neilson as she ventures out on the next chapter in her life is that she would have a faith that sticks in this world. That she would know she is fearfully and wonderfully made and that GOD has big plans for her, plans to prosper her and give her hope and a future.

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I cling to GOD’S promise and truth in Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” It was a great week of celebrating!

Then four days later, the news of the Charleston shootings. Devastating. As a mom I cannot imagine the pain that these people in Charleston are experiencing. As a believer in Jesus Christ I know there is HOPE – especially in the outpouring of forgiveness that comes from the hearts of the people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. My most precious time of prayer and worship is in my studio as I paint angels. Praying for people known and unknown, needs known and unknown, I allow the Holy Spirit to sculpt these beings onto the blank canvas.

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We packed up nine care packages of “Angels” and sent to the families who lost their loved ones last week.

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We will continue to pray for the entire Charleston community for healing, comfort and peace. They need a time to mourn…but we know that there will be a time to dance again! Peace and Blessings to all.

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CUSTOMER APPRECIATION

Event date: Jun 25 - 27, 2015

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Up Close and Personal with Marta Spendowska

Jun 24, 15

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Name: Marta Spendowska

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Hometown: Green Bay, WI for now, but I’m hoping Charleston, SC soon. Originally I’m from a very old and beautiful town called Jawor in the south of Poland.

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What restaurant do you recommend in your city, hometown? Z-Harvest and Bleu are the best places to eat vegetarian.

Favorite place to travel to: For the longest time Vienna, Germany was my favorite place is the world. Then I saw Asheville, NC and it won my heart. After that New York. Since I have started traveling regularly to Poland,  the Polish Sea and it’s majestic gray nature (like Polish people’s heart) is my all time favorite spot to paint, be with my family, walk on beaches and dig my toes in the most fabulous sand.

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Favorite Cocktail: Red wine. You surprised because I’m Polish and I didn’t say a vodka cocktail, are you?

Collectable Item:  I collect art books, catalogs, poster books. I have this unhealthy obsessive relationship with my brushes and fountain pens—there is never enough. I’m also just starting to collect original artwork.

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Best Book: Century XXI by Ewa Kuryluk who is a Polish pioneer of textile installation, painter, art historian, novelist and a poet. 
She was fascinated with Vienna and at some point I thought this will my be my home.
 It’s like a vortex of archetypes and myths, clashed with contemporary real people and fantasizes, where Simone Weil talks to Anna Karenina and Malcolm Lawry meets Joseph Conrad, where women want to go to the moon to escape the earth.  Anyways, the moment I read the first sentence I knew I’ll melt “ The red sea of my mind…” which I adopt to my artists statements.
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Most influential person in your artistic career: Growing up I got fascinated by the musician and a visionary Björk. Her originality, boldness, out of the box living and the way she was making theater out of her life and music made me believe life and work can interwind in the best inspiring way.

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Studio Location: Right now, before the move I paint in the home studio. Once we move I hope to get a place with big windows and beautiful natural light.

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Moment you knew you wanted to be a full time artist: I’ve always wanted to be a full time artist. Before committing to it, I went through years of being a designer and an illustrator once I  felt I’m ready I decided to become a full time artist.

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What was your path to becoming an artist like? How did you make that leap?

I came to Atlanta GA for an internship during my 4rd year of University and I explored. I was shocked; by people, possibilities, colors, smiles, things, museums, that you could rent any number of books from the library, young people, cars, freedom, openness, again possibilities. Poland is gorgeous but it’s a hard country to live, be an artist.  I sold my first original sitting on the pavement in Atlanta and I knew I could make it happen here. But I had to go back and to finish my Masters. After that it’s pretty much impossible to fly back to America. The USA has very strict rules for Poland.  Once you’re out of collage you can forget about getting any visa if you don’t have any family here, lots of money in Poland (to prove you’re going to come back). So, I faked it. Yep. I borrowed bunch of money from everyone I knew, I got all documents from my deadened job (proving how awesome and needed I am in there), basically faked my stable roots. When the immigration officer looked into my eyes he knew. I was the last person to enter the room. He knew I had plans bigger than to see New York and travel for 6 months. How a young Polish girl could afford to just travel in America..? He looked at me and he said : you better make it worth it.  It was a miracle.  He was a miracle worker.

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Where do you find inspiration?  I actually have set times for looking and searching for inspiration. There is too much noise out there. Galleries, flea markets, books are my favorite ways to get inspired. But a nice long yoga session will do it too. I try to work and get my inspiration from progressing in my art. It’s very easy to get distracted by the work of others and social media.

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What influences your work? I always say that my year starts after I’m back from Poland, so usually in June. 
While there I rest, make plans, revisits my previous year and so on. 

Poland is my mother country that I intentionally left to pursue art.
The sentiment for dusk, fog, blooming of plants and for the long empty but full of contrast spaces and loneliness is always with me. That visual is always there, in my head.  But the most important, the Polish sea, Bałtyk… it is like no other in the whole world. Foamy, capriciously hot or cold, violet-gray and sentimental. It smells like the sea should smell: iodine plus warm sun. This is my most beloved place in the whole world. The imperfections, its raw force is truly what influences my very fluid and nostalgic work. The movement of the paint, the impulse of taking a chance on paper or canvas, fast, loosely, with no plan — like when I hopped on the plane with a one way ticket to a promised land. I paint with Bałtyk water actually. I use it in Poland and I bring it back here. I just add few droplets throughout the year to keep that presence in my work. It’s the most important, physically, component in my paintings.

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What would you be doing if you weren’t an artist? Actually I really thought I’d be a writer. You won’t hear any crazy poetic eloquence in my English, but I grew up with a family working in linguistics and literature so I read and wrote stories all day long. I attended amazing schools thanks to winning a few literary scholarships and almost met Björk in Paris after being chosen a runner upper in an international writing competition. Almost.   After some time in USA I started feeling isolated because my Polish was useless and my English felt ok but not perfect at all.  I painted all my life, my mom always says she was lucky because all I needed was a set of watercolors,  and I grew up with my father being an amateur painter.  After coming to USA I specifically made a commitment to communicate visually.  I think it came from a point of sadness about loosing that special gift of eloquence which I wasn’t able to use in English.  If I think about it now I almost feel that I came back to painting out of upset.  It became my best decision, art is everything to me. I hope that every piece I paint and send is making my collectors feel joyful and inspired every time they see it on their wall. This is the best job in the whole world.

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Favorite Quote: “The red sea of my mind…” – Ewa Kuryluk

“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”

– Mark Twain

 

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PLACEMENT with Anne Neilson

Jun 16, 15

When I saw pictures of this house being built I asked our client who she was using as an interior designer.   She said it was just something her and her husband like to do.  I was blown away with how gorgeous this house is!  We just sent this commissioned Anne Neilson angel painting to Saint Louis, Missouri.  Already loving the way it looks!

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Up Close and Personal with Rick McClure

Jun 15, 15

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Artist: Rick McClure

City: Oklahoma City, OK

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Best Breakfast in Oklahoma:  Jimmy’s Egg

Favorite place to travel: St. Remy de Provence, France

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Cocktail of choice: No cocktails. I prefer handcrafted beer, especially “Mustang Washita Wheat” a local OKC brew.

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What is your favorite item to cook? I rarely cook. To busy painting and playing golf.

Collectable Item : Golf Clubs

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Best book: Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet.

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Most influential person in your artistic career? James Reynolds.  I continually refer to my “James Reynolds” Book of Landscape Paintings.

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Studio Location:  A short walk behind my home.

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Object people ask about when they visit your studio: My bodybuilding trophies. I was a National Masters Bodybuilding Champion in 1996.

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Studio Mates: My two black cats, “Frenchy” and “Lion King”.

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Moment you realized you wanted to be a full time artist:  Very early, I think about at the age of 7 or 8.

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Inspiration: The landscape, God’s awesome creation.  Love taking a country drive or walk thru a quiet natural setting.

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Do you ever get creatively stuck? How do you unblock your creativity? Yes, I keep at it. By being persistent I eventually get there.

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Quote: “The 3 P’s – Patience, Persistence, Preparation” My own quote.

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PLACEMENT with Sweet Home Charlotte

Jun 11, 15

Artist Marcy Gregg‘s painting Stella’s Folley installed into a beautiful home whose interior design is by Sweet Home Charlotte‘s Taylor Presson.  Big fan of Taylor’s style, blog, and now interiors!  Loving this gorgeous home and can’t wait to find more artwork for it!

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Up Close And Personal with Stephanie Strange

Jun 1, 15

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Name : Stephanie Strange

Hometown : Born in Dallas, Texas currently resides in rural Corsicana, Texas.

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What restaurant do you recommend in your city, hometown? No reservations required at this country café but if you want to eaves drop on the most entertaining rifts between local farmers and ranchers visit Peggy’s Place that also doubles as a gas station down a farm road in the middle of pastureland. It will make you want to own your own overalls while you enjoy a slice of homemade pie and a giggle. Or maybe that’s me.

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What is the best place you have traveled to? Oh, that’s a difficult one, I’m not sure wanderlust allows for a favorite destination with me. The thrill of the next exploration is always present. I might have a favorite journey, walking the 96 miles of Scotland’s West Highland Way. Something in the wind, the moors, the culture, and history, this trail seemed charged and full of energy that came up from the earth through the bottom of my feet. I was pulled to the lochs like a magnet and there was a mystery in the air that beckoned me to the hills. Something about falling asleep in a tent high on the hills of the city to the sound of distant bagpipes slow dancing with the fog resonated with me.

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Favorite Item to Bake: Naming a favorite recipe is similar to a favorite location. I find that I enjoy the process of cooking more than an item. Learning the culture and history of a region through preparing their traditional or modern dishes is wonderful. Its almost like traveling. But If I had to name one item from kitchen to lips, it would be iced shortbread cookies. What is better than the comfort of butter and sugar coming sweetly together.

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Collectable Item: I have this little habit of picking up things during walks. Especially rocks and feathers, I think weight wise they balance each other out. Any trinket of interest can be included. Leaves and seeds or any organic matter will usually catch my eye. Sometimes a growth pattern of a plant I will find particularly beautiful. Sea glass and bells that can be suspended find their way to my space. And bricks. Discarded bricks, or ones from old forgotten building sites tucked away in forgotten places. This started also as the result of picking something up on a walk and ironically, the bricks are now part of a walkway.

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Favorite Book: The one book that has been in my life longer and with more impact than any other book is a mysterious one and full of wisdom. It has comforted me and perplexed me for years. The Holy Bible is a marvelous life long study for me.

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Who is the most influential person in your artistic career? I would make a Frankenstein to answer this question. There are three, four, five more people that have unlocked doors or given me an important key. Most of them involve the ‘how to’ of my own creative journey. The Renaissance man, Leonardo Da Vinci, he seemed to know something more. His studies reached in many directions and this inspired me to allow my own creative curiosity to explore in the same manner. It freed me from being boxed in a singular path of a modern business model of being an iconic artist. When I wavered in the idea with the thought, ‘different times call for different measures’, I recalled a modern artist that also filled that role of variety, Richard Tuttle, in his own way. Creative energy is a mighty force and it is my destiny to follow it and no other model. If that means one day I work with tools of pencils, typewriters, welders, or mixing concrete then I take that journey and stay true to the art. Frank Lloyd Wright also inspired me with his complete in-depth approach to architecture. He seemed to come at it at every angle and radiate from it just the same. Reading Jung for the first time was an electrical charge in my mind and like magnets clicking together. I felt that I spoke his language. The analytical observational aspect to my mind was given approval to question and explore. And Michelangelo, yes, his work is magnificent and I am stilled to awe when I see it, but so was his approach to working. I once read a quote by him that stated, “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” This was a revelation to me. It had nothing to do with technique or skill that could not be taught. It was the clarity I was looking for in my own practice of finding the spirit in the art and giving it a form. So these are a few parts of my influential Frankenstein.

Studio Location: I have such a nice cozy studio in the small attic space of my parents’ home. It is set in a Texas rural area of Corsicana. It is a perfect place to practice my philosophy transformation of living/working minimal and mindful. I am learning many advantages of a small space. Projects that I work on are with intention and focus. Space no longer allows for project parts or items to pile up and close in the room. Tools and supplies are kept tucked neatly in place when not in use. It helps eliminate visual and psychological clutter. The sort of confinement creates a real liberty for energy flow. There was a time that I sought space and more space with the idea that I always needed a bigger space. But I discovered that I already have this. So much of my work is gathered in the air, as I interact in nature with the plants, animals and weather and urban streets with people, history and culture. I take these experiences back to my work space, open the French door to the balcony when I can and let in the sound of wind through the tree tops and bird song. It’s a lovely atmosphere.

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Object most commented about when people visit your studio:  I didn’t mention this item in the previous question about collecting. I think for me, the typewriter is in a category of its own. I am often asked this question even before a studio visit. “How many typewriters do you own?” Perhaps thirty four is a high number for an antiquated machine but each one stands on its own. Different fonts, platen and type sizes, typing styles and ribbon value or colors, all these elements are discerned in each work I create using the typewriters. Of course I do the same with my pencils and drawing. I have at least thirty different variations in the graphite value and function but pencils are small and don’t have many distinguishing characteristics to their form so they don’t get much questioning. But I enjoy a studio visit and talking about the typewriters or any other element in my studio.

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Favorite Quote:  I think my creed comes from the spiritual side of human nature. It is one word but not at all simple but then again, it is. Love.

Moment you realized you wanted to be a full time artist: Going to the mall with my mother has always been fun. When I was a very young girl, we visited one particular mall that included a fenced play area for kids in the courtyard. It was full of beautiful stylized round smooth animal sculptures made of bronze with a patina. Kids were having a fun time climbing on them but I was not. I was more concerned with quizzing my mother on how I could also make art that a mall might want to buy. I was frustrated looking at them because I didn’t know where to learn how to shape metal. It seemed mysterious and out of reach. At school we were learning our alphabet with fat pencils and coloring with crayons. I was irritated that I didn’t know where to take my art that I would make when I grew up so that a mall could buy it. I remember asking my mom where the store was that sold art. I knew of museums and malls but had a great deal of anxiety because I did not know where they went to buy their art. I felt that I needed to know so that I could go there with my art one day. I think I never decided to be a full time artist, I was just aware that I was an artist and wanted to create.

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Inspiration: I have pondered many times what it means to have a moment of inspiration, wondering where it comes from. Although there are many things that intrigue me, I can’t fully say they give inspiration. It is something more. It seems that finding it could be a matter of asking and listening for the answer. I have recently been embracing the ancient idea of having a group of guides or angels that communicate inspiration. Maybe this can explain why the more alive a piece feels the less it came from my own direction. Communication fascinates me. I believe it has an invisibly energy. I liken it to the wind. The effects can often be seen in moveable objects and sometimes it can be traced by elements like smoke from a fire, or bird flocks in the sky. Communication is similar; the effects can be seen and sometimes traced. It is everywhere and in all life forms as just the act of surviving is communicating. Being surrounded by it is convenient to observing it at any given time.

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What influences your work? My father often says, “Everything has consequences” and I believe it too. So it would be easy to say that everything influences my work whether I am conscious of it or not.

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Do you ever get creatively stuck and how do you unblock your creativity? There is a practice that I do to stave of the stuck. For example, its been said that a writer should write everyday, a painter should paint everyday etc. I do something creative everyday. Sometimes it’s as simple as allowing a creative thought to crest, but to do something. The most severe moments of blocked creativity for me comes when I allow fears or doubts to occupy my mind. In these cases the most effective way to unblock the flow is to move. I can go for a walk, I can dance about, I can write nonsense, I can scribble or do lots of things. The import part of the movement is that I attach a metaphor of what I am doing to moving through the fear. Soon I am flowing in creativity again.

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What would you be doing if you weren’t an artist? I couldn’t imagine…but I do have a long list of interesting possibilities. At the top, I might try my luck at being a stand up comedian.

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