A House for Dreaming Big Dreams

collage, acrylic, ink

Greetings, My Lovelies ūüôā

Happy Almost-Friday! ¬†I’ve decided to share with you another new art piece that I’m excited about. ¬†This piece helped fuel my inspiration and basically makes me happy every time I look at it. ¬†It opened doorways that allowed me to re-envision an ongoing art project that I put aside for quite some time. ¬†Yata!

What I love about the technology age is that there has never been a better time to be an artist. ¬†Why? ¬†Because we have access to so many styles and tutorials at our fingertips. ¬†No longer must one simply go to an expensive art school to learn traditionally. ¬†There is certainly nothing wrong with going the traditional route, but in today’s fast-paced, modern world, not everyone has time or money for this. ¬†Even if they do, everyone can benefit from additional education and opportunities for growth.

I learned this collage technique from artist¬†nicoletta zanella¬†in this video. ¬†I encourage you to go online and find some art classes or web videos to watch. ¬†Engage. ¬†Be curious. ¬†Take on a new challenge. ¬†See where it takes you and how you can incorporate it into your own personal style. ¬†And in the end, you may find that you’ve expanded your world and you can be more YOU.

When It Rains

Even the flowers cried in their beds…

This piece is displayed in tribute to the recent flooding disaster in Detroit.  A tragedy too close to home.  I know what it is like to experience flooding.  My thoughts and prayers are with all those who experienced loss.  Let us remember that the city is made strongest by the strength of its people.

The Message

The Message


As you know, I’m not one for making abstract art…usually.¬† But I did give it a try last summer.¬† See my post on Expressionist painting.¬† Somehow I ended up with another one!¬† This one came about at a birthday party at Painting with a Twist.¬†¬†If you’re not familiar with this place, let me give you a¬†quick¬†explanation of how it works.¬† You¬†show¬†up and they¬†supply all painting materials for a fee.¬† The honored guest chooses the painting style from hundreds of themed paintings (everything from Monet to modern).¬†¬†Did I forget to mention you can bring food, music, and wine?¬† Who doesn’t want to eat birthday cake while painting?¬† Just don’t get the cake (or the wine) on your work of art ūüėȬ† Anyway, my friend chose an abstract painting of the French fleur-de-lis.¬† As you can see, I didn’t quite follow the instructions…but luckily, that is part of the fun.

I guess I was feeling ethereal.¬† It started with the¬†light blue and white wispy cloud puffs.¬† The feather sealed the deal.¬† But then it was time to make the fleur-de-lis.¬† I contemplated leaving it out, but¬†wasn’t sure how much of a rebel I wanted to be.¬† Then I started searching for symbol variations.¬†¬†When I saw a pair of wings, I knew I had found my muse once¬†again!¬† I went straight to work with the gold paint and didn’t stop until I was nearly finished.¬† I stepped back to admire my creation.¬† Apparently another guest was admiring it too.¬† She said, “Looks nice.¬† Isn’t that the health symbol?”¬† Yikes!¬† I had not intended that at all.¬† Where had I gone wrong?¬† Well, that’s a question many artists ask themselves upon completing a work of art.

But the story doesn’t end there.¬† Not content to leave things as they were, I began a search on the healthcare symbol.¬† The results were quite interesting.¬† It turns out that the symbol I painted was the caduceus and goes back to mythology.¬† It’s¬†the staff¬†of the Greek messenger god Hermes, a trickster who is associated with trade/commerce, negotiation, traveling (including transitions and boundaries), literature and poets, and invention.¬†¬†This staff¬†was also carried by Iris, the messenger goddess of the sea and sky as well as rainbows.¬† The staff is said to send the awake to sleep.¬† As a chronic insomniac, I like the sound of that ūüėČ

Statue of Mercury at National Gallery of Art:
Mercury (akin to Hermes) is the Roman god of poetry, communication, travelers, and luck!

So¬†how did this symbol come to be associated with medicine and healing?¬† It’s actually a case of mistaken identity.¬†¬†The¬†true medical symbol is actually known as the Rod of Asclepius.¬† It depicts only one snake wrapped around a rod and never includes wings.¬† Funny how symbols evolve over time…

I’d like to think I was meant to create this caduceus to guide me in my pursuit of becoming a published author and illustrator of children’s books.¬† But the truth is as mysterious as the origins of this¬†symbol.¬† One thing I know for sure is that the subconscious mind is more powerful than we can ever imagine.¬†¬†And art is a great way to channel this boundless energy.¬† But you have to be willing to take chances, and you must be open to signs from the universe.¬† What message will you¬†be open to receiving today?

One final note.¬† I had¬†food poisoning (not from the party) while¬†painting this.¬† So perhaps the message was health related after all ūüėČ


Bring on Spring!

Slot Canyon










I created these acrylic paintings last summer, but haven’t had a chance to show them until now.¬† I thought they’d be a great way to welcome spring.¬† The character on the right is known as Kokopelli.¬† This figure is¬†considered a fertility god in the Southwest.¬† His symbol is found carved on many¬†ancient rocks.¬† He also represents music and storytelling.¬† By playing¬†his flute, he is said to chase away winter and call forth¬†spring.¬† Some consider him a¬†trickster similar to the Greek god Pan, which is fitting for this April Fools’ week ūüėȬ† Kokopelli is often associated with the hummingbird as well.

My husband¬†and I first¬†encountered the Kokopelli symbol on a trip to Sedona, Arizona.¬† And then again in Utah.¬† These paintings are based on photographs we took¬†while hiking there.¬† They’re a gift to my husband.¬†¬†For some reason we¬†feel very at home in the Southwest.¬† While we were in Utah, we¬†walked through narrow slot canyons, saw hummingbirds¬†feeding near a ranger station, and viewed petroglyphs¬†at Capitol Reef National Park.¬†¬†We saw many¬†little¬†lizards¬†scurrying around, too.

The hummingbird is a symbol of optimism and the lizard is a symbol of dreams.  I hope you feel optimistic about your dreams as you approach springtime!  If not, consider making a change.  Both of these animals are also symbols of adaptability.

Happy spring!



The theme for this year’s Tomie¬†dePaola¬†children’s illustration competition couldn’t be more fitting with the current weather we’re having in the Midwest.¬† We had to illustrate a poem titled “Sneeze” in full color for babies and toddlers.¬† As you can see, I got a wacky idea in my head (or should I say nose)¬†for this one.¬† I chose bold, basic colors and a simple image for this age group.¬†¬†Children can count the train cars and learn their colors while identifying the familiar train image.¬† Kids love trains!¬† It’s reminiscent of Donald Crews’s Freight Train, but with a twist ūüėȬ† Older siblings will appreciate the oddity of the situation.

Click here to check out other amazing entries.  Apparently, great minds think alike.  See if you can find another image with a similar concept as mine.

Stay warm!

I Am the Canvas


This painting represents the holiday Holi which is an ancient Hindu festival  observed in India, Nepal, and other places.  To celebrate spring, people spray each other with colored water.  I was fascinated when a friend told me about this tradition.  I wish I could participate!  The closest thing we have is The Color Run in Ypsilanti.

What makes this event so special?  As an artist, I would say it is the opportunity to be a blank canvas again and then turn yourself into a rainbow.  We wear a lot of masks in society, some of them are thrust upon us while others we don ourselves.  What if we could take them off for one day?  Would it make any difference?

Given the opportunity, how would you paint yourself to the world?  Please share!



I must admit I’m not a big fan of abstract paintings.¬† First of all, I don’t really “get” them.¬† What am I supposed to see in a bunch of squares and dots?¬† I think my mind just doesn’t know what to make of it.¬† If I can detect a form or something tangible in a piece, then my mind at least has something to grasp.¬† If there’s an explanation or a title, that definitely helps.¬†¬†But usually when I’m at a museum¬†or gallery, I hurry through the abstract paintings and head straight for the Impressionists.¬†¬† For me, this¬†style of art is the perfect balance between abstract and realistic imagery.

But recently I had an experience with making abstract art that changed my way of thinking…at least a little bit.¬†¬†A neighbor of mine is also an artist.¬† I admire her because she hangs her art all over her house.¬†¬†You can’t help but see it.¬† More than that, you can FEEL it.¬† That’s because¬†her style is Expressionistic.¬† She¬†seeks to evoke a feeling¬†or idea more than anything else.¬† She says she¬†hides herself in her work, which is really interesting.¬†¬† She’s always asking me what I see¬†in her paintings.¬† Sometimes I have to admit that I don’t know.¬†¬†But it isn’t¬†as simple as that.¬† I feel something immediately, but I can’t conceptualize it right¬†away.

I love a good mystery as much as the next person, but I couldn’t let it go at that.¬† The more I didn’t get it, the more I wanted to.¬† I’m stubborn like that ūüėȬ† I was just going to have to try it out myself.

My neighbor invited me over to paint.  Her dining room is her studio.  How cool is that?  The number one rule:  there are no rules (except to wash out the brushes.  She was serious about that.)  Then she put on some chill country music (because if there is one thing about country singersРthey know how to feel!)  She told me to pick out a canvas, any shape and size, and motioned to the large tubes of acrylic paint in every color you can imagine.  I think she could sense my hesitation.  Her only advice:  Start with your hands.

I felt a little silly at first, like a kid again finger painting.  But you know what?  It helped me loosen up.  Something about getting your hands in it.  Like playing in mud.  It was a goopy mess really.  But with a little dab here, and a splotch there, I was starting to get into it.  I stopped focusing on the end product and started focusing on the process.  I was definitely feeling something, although if you asked me about it, I probably couldn’t put it into words.

Before I knew it, I was done.  Was it a masterpiece?  I don’t know.  But I was proud of it anyway.  I’d tried something that scared me.  And isn’t it the stuff we don’t know that scares us the most?

I‚Äôm not going to tell you what it means.¬† I‚Äôll leave that up to you.¬† It was my husband who named it.¬† When he looked at it I turned the tables and asked HIM what he saw.¬† ‚ÄúEnergy,‚ÄĚ he said without batting an eyelash.¬† Okay, so I guess some people just get it right away ūüėČ

The only thing about it I can tell you for sure is that I was grasping at something.  Something a little bit mysterious.  Something probably divine.

Brain Still Life

brain series; acrylic

So, let’s all breathe a sigh of relief now that we are at the end of the brain paintings… for now.¬† I saved the comic relief for last.¬† This painting calls to mind another visit to the Toledo Museum of Art.¬† I remarked to my friend that I was not fond of “still life” paintings.¬† In a word, I found them boring.¬† Nothing is happening.¬† No action.¬† They¬†usually contain fruit.¬† I’m a writer.¬† I like a story.

I hope that you can imagine a story when you look at this¬†painting.¬† I hope it at least arouses suspicion, a question or two.¬† Unless you are like me and didn’t study the painting much because¬†as soon as you saw it was another still life, you yawned and moved on.

I guess I’m a hypocrite, too, because I’ve always been fond of drawing bottles.¬† I like working with shadows.¬† Now I’m also learning to work with light.

What if we served our mind up on a platter?  Like the piece of meat that it is.  Letting go of our thoughts like drifting clouds.  How would we feel?  Empty?  Free?  Think about that, then let it go.  Bon appetit!

Heart Mind

brain series; acrylic

I hope I can do this piece justice in my explanation.  I will first talk about how the idea came about.  I had seen an Egyptian exhibit at the Toledo Museum of Art.  I remember reading about how past civilizations believed the brain was just a useless mass, so they removed it and did not retain it in a sacred jar like other organs.  The heart was believed to be where mental function took place and was left intact.  I started thinking about how we now know the brain to be the center of thought and emotion, yet we still refer to our hearts in terms of love and feelings.  What does this mean?

I decided to research the heart further.  As it turns out, the heart has many nerves running through it, not just blood vessels.  This suggests that perhaps the brain and heart are connected on a deeper level.  Perhaps they are even mirrors of each other.  Twins working independently and simultaneously.  But in the end, which is which?  Do they influence each other?

I came across another term in my research: Bodhicitta.  This is part of Buddhism.  It is a term denoting an awakening of the mind that unites compassion and wisdom (the heart and the mind).  It basically refers to the idea of enlightenment whereby you see your connection to the universe and all beings and let go of the sense of self and ego.  I especially liked the idea that a person can still follow his or her vocation as long as he or she is motivated to help others in the process.

Some other interesting words to note: “Kokoro,” is a¬†Japanese word referring to the heart¬†AND mind.¬†¬†The Chinese word would be “xin.”¬† Imagine if we all used our collective¬†“heart mind,” which is¬†essentially one in the same!

So getting back to the painting, I wanted to convey the idea of the heart and mind connection.  I wondered what would happen if I painted a heart where the brain (or head) would be and a brain where the heart would be.  I made the heart purple with gold light reflections because the crown chakra is represented by these colors.  I made the brain green with pink arteries because the heart chakra is represented by these colors.  I decided the heart should resemble the brain and vise versa.

How will you use your¬†“heart mind” to help the world today?

The Fruit of Knowledge

brain series; acrylic

This piece is very special to me, partly because it took awhile to complete.  I had a struggle with it.  It is a reminder to the human spirit.  How we want to give up on something.  But to give up on it would be like giving up on ourselves, so we persist.  That is when the magic happens.

This piece has a lot of layers.¬† I’m always drawn to the story of Adam and Eve and particularly the garden.¬† The idea of knowledge.¬† The moment we received it.

I’ll let you draw your own conclusions as to who is holding the apple and who is receiving it.

If you look closely, you might see another image in the painting.  The eye of the serpent.

The ultimate question: Is this knowledge a gift or a burden?

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