Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Ronald McDonald House Project

As an artist, of course it is nice to get "paid" for creating your art.  After all, the "Starving Artist" label gets old after awhile.  However, there is definitely a feeling that money just can't buy and that is when you create artwork for the sheer enjoyment of others, without any money being exchanged.  I had the opportunity to do just that this past summer at the Ronald McDonald House. 

I had been contacted by an interior decorator in the spring and asked if I would be willing to do a total makeover of the family/TV room at the RMH in Spokane, WA.  Not only was it ready for a new look, but they were wanting to make a special wish come true from a darling little boy who had been in and out of the RMH over the past 8 years and had lost his battle to cancer in February.  Realizing how many children stay in this place, I knew this little guy must have made quite an impression on the staff if they wanted to do this in his memory.

Skyler had been an avid Sponge Bob fan and had expressed the need to change this room and make it have a Sponge Bob theme.  After meeting with the powers to be on several occasions, it was decided that we would showcase Sponge Bob, his pineapple house and his friend Patrick, along with many other creatures you would see in the ocean.

This room is where the children and their families spend many hours either watching TV, playing board games, read books, play video games, just relax and enjoy.  The theme of an underwater playground needed to not only excite the kids but also offer a calm and reassuring feeling.

The task of painting the entire room an ocean blue was the first thing that needed to be done.  Dana took on this huge task and it set the stage for all our characters.  We searched diver magazines, salt water fish books, coloring books, sea animal internet sites, all sorts of differant resources to come up with a host of suggestions for this project.  Once we had a pretty good idea of the layout of the room, it was a matter of getting these ideas on the walls.

I truly enjoy being an artist but one of the special advantages of networking with fellow artists is finding not only like minded people who enjoy spending hours allowing our creative juices to thrive but in the process you form some wonderful friendships.  I asked three very close and creative friends to give up their time and talent over the summer to help make this dream project a reality.  Without hesitation they said yes.  Two of these gals had already proved how they love to share their gifts because they had already traveled to Tijuana, Mexico with me several years ago and spent countless hours transforming 5 rooms for Baja Bible College.  I'll write a blog on that someday as that is QUITE a story in itself.

Gerri, Deb and Annie were instrumental and inspiring to work with on this project and as always, we feed off of each other, teach each other and appreciate each others individual talents.  I drove the 1 1/2 hours each way about 9 times over the summer to work on this room.  Throughout the entire project, we only came upon one hitch.  I had envisioned this underwater room with 3 dolphins and not just any dolphins.  The ones that I had seen had been air brushed and that offers a totally different look than what we can accomplish with our brushes, sponges and other tools of the trade.  I have proof that people are still very good hearted and will step in when asked as I called a total stranger who I had learned of from a flyer I had recently picked up at an art store.  George, the owner of Air Illustrated did not hesitate to pitch in and complete our vision with his 3 dolphins that he quickly air brushed.  As a side note, we were so impressed with the speed that he accomplished this task in that we have all taken his air brush class which is offers the last Wednesday of each month at Spokane Art Supply.  I highly recommend it.  

We wanted our room to also offer a challenge for the kids, something to keep them busy when they were not involved in a game or TV.  We needed to be very careful of using any plasters that could be scraped off and ingested so having a "feel" center was not an option.  We came up with 24 hidden objects that were painted around the room that they need to find.  Most of the objects are things that you would see in the ocean such as sea shells but we decided to add some hamburgers, after all, it is the Ronald McDonald House! 

Although everyone gets busy in their lives and we all have just 24 hours each day to enjoy as we wish, I would suggest that if you can give your time to a philanthropic project-DO IT.  The feeling you have knowing that your gift of talent from God is blessing others is priceless.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Importance of Picking Your Friends (or Mentors) Wisely

Sometimes events or people in your life just seem to "happen" randomly and you refer to it as "fate" or just good luck.  However, I think there is much more that goes on behind the scenes of our lives that impacts us so much.  Like meeting someone and just having a connection that is very hard to describe.  That is what happened well over 6 years ago when I finally got to meet a lady that I had been visiting with via the phone for over 2 years.  I had gotten her business card from Whitman Cellars, a winery that just shouted FANTASTIC WINE not necessarily because the wine was or wasn't great- but because the owners cared enough about making their tasting room absolutely beautiful by hiring this artist to work her magic on the walls, and therefore they must also care very deeply about crafting fine wine.  This is also true about how your home reflects your values and your personality.  That is why being a wall artist and creating the  personality of the homeowner through decorative wall art is so rewarding.

My new friend, who quickly became my mentor was Donna Maiden of "Maiden Design" and as I shadowed her for the next six years on jobs around the Walla Walla, WA and Milton Freewater, OR area, my respect and admiration continued to grow and grow.  I have taken countless classes from highly respectable teachers within the industry but making sample boards is one thing.  Putting that technique to the wall atop a 20 foot scaffold, dragging 80 pound buckets of Italian Plaster up the ladder and using way too many rolls of painters blue tape to mask around wood brings on a whole new meaning to the words...wall art.

I found that Donna's love for creating art and beauty in her client's homes or in commercial settings (especially wineries) was at the top of her priority list, just below "grandkids".  She blew away the hesitation on my part to just jump right in and create, carefully guiding me along as I put to work the techniques I had been taught and then she showed me how it was done in the "real world". 

I have spent many hours with this gal and have just about split a gut laughing at her silly comments, listening to her sensitive responses when a client can't make up their mind on the personality they wish their home to take on, or just soaking in many words of wisdom.  My favorite is "smoke and mirrors".  If she did not know exactly how to achieve the finish a client wanted, she would spend hours researching, creating sample boards and asking for constructive criticism until she achieved the perfect finish for that client. 

I don't know if she really knows just how much she has affected my life or just what an inspiration she has been to me all these years.  Because of her, I have had opportunities to work with mediums I would most likely have shyed away from, she has given me the assurance within myself to tackle jobs I would have been afraid of, and she gave me the respect as an artist that I really desired and needed.  She may not be some high paid teacher but she is the best art teacher I have ever been lucky enough to tutor under.  Thank you Donna, for your friendship and your mentoring. 

These pictures are some of the projects I have worked on with her and the finishes that she lovingly creates.  As an artist, we take pride in our work but it is also very gratifying to share our knowledge, good and bad experiences, and just help other artists along in their journey.  This is also a Biblical principle found in Titus II that as women we are to teach others what we have learned.  I hope I can help others and share my knowledge along the way.  You may find that what you give away comes back two-fold and that is quite a blessing.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Carved Artistry

I never stop being amazed at all the fascinating ways that people create and what materials they chose to create with.  I also find it interesting that simple can far exceed the complex things in life.  Sometimes we get too involved in all the "politics and business" of creating art by attending conventions and all we hear is BUY, BUY, BUY.  Of course alot of these are good products, but also expensive.  Maybe it is high time we get back to the basic things in life.

Today I happened onto a fascinating and INEXPENSIVE way to create absolutely beautiful art using MUD.  I have always loved the smell of dirt after a rainfall and as a kid I could spend hours in my playhouse making mud pies.  Maybe my true inner self has just been waiting for a time in my adult life that I can go back to the basics of  just having fun with MUD. 

If you would like to know what I am referring to you must check out this fascinating website:http://www.strawbalestudio.org/ and take a look at that gorgeous work of art on the wall.  It is sculpted MUD.  With all the interest in going green, this is just a perfect answer.  Amazingly, I was also looking at pictures today from a friend's recent visit to Africa and there were lots of beautiful pictures of MUD homes, isn't it funny how some countries think they are so advanced and yet we are just getting around to figuring out some of these things that the so called "not so advanced" countries have known for years.  I just found this all rather interesting, hope you are following my thoughts on that.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Collaborate and Innovate

I periodically see articles that really hit the spot and a recent one sent by Alyson Stanfield, a marketing coach with ArtBiz.com. did just that.   You know how sometimes you feel like the pastor has been listening in on your private thoughts because the sermon he just gave seemed to be directed totally at YOU.  Well, maybe some of you don't have a guilty conscience and have not experienced that but how about when you just seem to have bitten off more than you can chew and rather than coughing some up and admitting that you have done it, you would rather quietly just sit there and choke!

This article seemed to be written especially for me as I feel like I have got too many irons in the fire and if I don't watch it, I just might get burnt.  See what your personal take on it is.

In order to innovate, something that takes time and energy has to go.  When you have no extra SPACE on your plate you need to delete, along with working smarter not harder.  There needs to be a challenge in order to get me motivated.

Ask yourself some questions like:

Are you a member or leader of an organization that is no longer serving you?
If you are doing something that you think might not be working ask yourself:

Is it fun?
Is it a challenge?
Am I learning anything?
Am I working too hard and not smart enough?

The answers to these questions should reveal alot of things that maybe you didn't even have the time to think about before.  You only get one shot at life, this is not a dress rehearsal.  Therefore, make each day count and if you are not truly enjoying what you are doing you had better figure out what will make you happy and DO IT!

I love to create and do my art.  I don't like computers but it seems to be a necessary evil in order to allow my "fun" jobs to expand and allow me to do what I like. I love cooking and teaching my gals new and differant dishes they can fix for their families. I also like to spend time with my kids and grandkids.  Maybe the next article will be about finding "balance".  I can't wait to see what suggestions there may be.

If you have any suggestions please let me know.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Allow Your Home to be a Journey Through Time With Textured Fresco

Inspired by plastering methods once used by craftsmen in ancient Rome, the Old World Look can offer a unique, handcrafted appearance that has incredible depth and dimension.  These dimensional qualities offer a journey through time by reproducing the characteristics of aged, weathered walls-adding a  true sense of history to your home.  This finish is fantastic for new homes as it gives instant character, yet is also perfect for older homes that may already be sporting some "character lines" with cracks in the wall that you no longer want to hide but enhance!

If you would like to create this look for yourself, I would suggest following these easy steps.  Before taking on any project, you should always do a sample board for your finished look as there is a learning curve to any new products and tools.  I always create a sample board for my client's project, even if I have done the technique 50 times before.  Using the colors chosen by the homeowner, they will have a very good feel for what their room will look like when completed.  Be sure to always keep in mind however that because this is an artistic piece of work, the design varies though out the finished wall.  This will give you a "one of a kind" finish and unique to your personal home.  Of course the colors remain the same but the variance of color and pooling gives the highly sought after look and artistic balance.  If you prefer an "exacting" finish you should chose wallpaper, that any other homeowner can purchase.

Remove all furniture, cover floors and anything you might not want to be "wearing" plaster.  Tape off all areas around doors and windows.  You may also need to wash the walls with TSP cleaner to remove any dirt or grime before starting.

Apply plaster with a small sea sponge mini roller in a curving, sporadic motion.  Only work on an area that you can manage easily.  Don't get too far ahead of yourself because while this plaster is still wet you want to follow by back troweling with a 10" rounded trowel to smooth down the texture of the plaster.
Continue around the entire room.  Allow to dry completely.

When dry, apply 2 coats of matte paint in the desired color.  Use a sash brush to cut around the edges of doors and windows and then while still wet blend these edges into the body of the wall.  This is very important because if you do not blend you will end up with a framed look around the wall and that is not very attractive.Dry completely

Mix glaze and your choice of color for the final finish.  Apply small amounts of the glaze mixture in a random circular action using either a mitt, brush and leon neon or whatever tools produces the finish you are wanting.  Once again, continue across the walls working wet into wet and blending all edges so there are no harsh edges.

To complete approximately 400 square feet of wall space it will take 2-3 days allowing for dry time.  If you would prefer not to attack such a project please feel free to contact me via email at:val@surfacesolutiondesign.com or calling 509-991-8334.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Walk Through My Thoughts

For the better part of a year I have realized that we have been "missing the boat" when it comes to seizing the whole "social media marketing" craze.  Only as recently as November of this past year did I really realize how the market was passing us by and we were in no way, shape, or form ready to grab ahold without getting drug through some mud while we were trying to catch up.  For those of you who have been business owners for the past 30 to 35 years and think you can do things just like back in the good old days, I have news for you.  It ain't going to happen.

I have been using the excuse that I am an artist and my artist brain just does not think that way.  Well, I realized my artist brain just needs a huge portion of "technical bootcamp" if we hope to let people know just what a beautiful part of the country we live in and what an amazing home we are willing to share with the people who pass through our doors. 

North Idaho has got to be one of the places that you can truly say is a little piece of heaven.  Yes, we have had our share of rain these past few months but how do you think the magnificent shades of green are captured on our hillsides?  Just taking the time to appreciate the river as it flows swiftly downstream headed for the Coeur d'Alene Lake is enough to say "Thank you God for allowing me to live here".  The snow pack always allows a grand show this time of year as it melts away and the level of the river rises higher and higher. 

See what I meant by "a walk through my thoughts" as my thoughts can start wandering here and there.  Back to my social media predicament...I met a wonderful gal who has been walking me through this jungle of social media.  Everything from facebook to blogs, from Aweber to Dropbox, new websites needing to be built, SEO and Google Analytics.  For those of you who learned to play on a computer at age 3, this most likely sounds silly but for those of us who just want a phone that rings so you can say "hello" or a TV that just has 4 channels so you don't have to ask your 5 year old grandson how to change the channel, this has been QUITE a challenge.

I would like to highly recommend the person who has taken on the job of being my bootcamp commanding officer, Christy Ruffner.  She has helped pull me through the mud when I have fallen down and keeps on encouraging me--even after the 5th time that she needs to explain something -yet once again.  I know this whole endeavor will be well worth the final outcome but like anything else, when you are right in the midst of the storm you cannot see the safety of the shore.  Her patience and professional manner are appreciated and if you are a small business who needs help with Web Design or Internet Marketing Support just contact her at http://www.organicmarketingsolutions.com/
P.S.  She taught me how to add this link and I am VERY proud of myself!

Good Times Had at Spokane Home Builders Show

This past week I had the pleasure of having my "first ever" booth at the Home Builders Show at the Spokane Fair Grounds.  I shared the booth with fellow artist Annie Chermak as she is fantastic at graphic art murals and I do my wall finishes so we thought we would compliment each other.  And that we did, along with allowing some great time to discuss the industry as artists and what we can offer our clients.

The turnout was great, maybe the crummy weather had something to do with it but whatever it was, it was well worth it.  It was constantly busy and I met and spoke with the most interesting people over the three days that the show was going on. 

This show consists of just about every aspect of building or improving your home and is a great "one-stop-shop" when looking for all those components needed to complete whatever project you have in mind.  I met great people in the insulation business, roofing, hard-wood floors, landscaping, building contractor,you name it-they were there.

I was suprised that there was only one other company other than myself representing decorative painting.  My friends from ArtWorks Spokane have had a booth for years so we were the "newbies" and that was just fine.  The one group of professionals that was missing and I was totally surprised about was interior designers.  There was absolutely no one there to represent this market segment and this really shocked me. I thought it was quite a loss on their part.  There are many people who have an idea about what they want, they just don't know how to pull it all together and that is where a designer comes in.  

I would say all in all that this was a productive three days spent showing off my portfolio and plan to be involved next year.  It also is always very good to view people appreciating your art and creative ability as there is so much that goes into creating a piece of art and many times that piece goes unnoticed-until you hear the ohhs and ahhs and someone is telling you how talented you are for creating such a beautiful piece of work.  We can all use a pat on the back now and then...even us older folks.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Totally Unique and One of a Kind Creation

This past week a friend of mine, I shall refer to her as my "partner in crime" came to stay at our bed and breakfast and we had no plans but to CREATE.  We just wanted to get out lots of product and make up some beautiful finishes and that we accomplished.  It is so much fun to just let your creative juices flow without any interruptions.

I had attended the International Decorative Artisan's League yearly convention in Portland this past July and had taken a fantastic class from Krista Vind and Susan Bickford called Transitional Temptations.  The gals are awesome, very talented and a barrel of laughs to be around.  The products were included in the price for the class and readily  available.  I had fun creating and brought home some beautiful sample boards.  However, the problem arises when you go to create this look and you are missing about 11 out of the 12 products needed to recreate. Of course these are not items you would ever dream of purchasing at Michael's or Home Depot but ordering via the internet and paying the shipping from Chicago or wherever else they may be located.

The first sample we decided to create was named Chrome Bubbles.  Of course we quickly saw that we did not have Wunda Size to serve as the adhesive to attach the silver foil required, nor did we have a stupid tool (if  they were not referring to our brains of course) and we ended up calling the next door neighbor to see if she had any bubble wrap crammed into a closet left over from some Christmas gift.  We also were lacking the Venetian Gem Black Onyx so this was a great challenge to try to create something a little similar, yet using our products we had on hand.  This also proved to be a very fun challenge that we were ready to take on.

After first basecoating our sample board with black paint, we were ready to start our rounds of substitution.  I had a big bucket of Armor Faux, no color added and we troweled a layer on.  Before it was allowed to dry, we impressed the bubble wrap, overlapping in some areas to create texture.  Let is set and lightly knock down with a clean trowel.  Dry completely.  Then  we troweled more Armor Faux through a Laser Excel circle stencil which I already had.  I just randomly put small, medium and large circles here and there.  When that was dry we did not apply Wunda Size and let dry till sticky, nor did we use silver foil but instead painted the entire surface black and after that was dried, rolled on some silver metallic paint mixed with glaze and then squeeged it off.  This left some beautiful silver in the pits of the texture.

The final step was to mix some Van Dyke Brown Stain & Seal with Rich Brown and apply it the the entire surface(didn't use that stupid tool required).  After the entire board was dried we propped it up to ohh and ahh over our beautiful creation.  I am convinced this is how unique, "one of a kind" finishes are created.  Go ahead and try for yourself.  It is quite a sense of accomplishment!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Featured Artist for First Friday at Arbor Crest Winery

Last night I had the pleasure of being the "Featured Artist" at Arbor Crest Winery in conjuction with the Spokane Valley First Friday Affair.  It was absolutely fantastic!  I had been almost to the point of cancelling due to the 2 sprained ankles I was contending with BUT I am so glad that I persisted and went...with my elephant sized ankles and all.

The winery is located high atop of a hill overlooking Spokane Valley and is quite a sight in itself.  I had taken along over 40 samples of my work including Marmarino, Venecian Plaster, Frascati, faux brick breakaway, foils, metallics, concrete overlay....just alot of beautiful works.  They were very kind to help pack everything in when they saw me hobbling along, people are so nice. 

This event is quite new to the Spokane Valley, has only been going on for 4 months so they warned me of low attendance and apologized in advance to me and the caterer who had an absolutely fantastic spread for only $10 a plate.  Well, as the evening progressed I think not only my ankles were swelling but also my head!  It was an extremely busy evening, over 40 people came to enjoy the wine, food and art and I knew 24 of them! !

Needless to say, I was blown away by the support I got from my friends and I also have to admit that the group of 12 arriving in the limo to celebrate a birthday did not come just because I invited them however I did happen to know 5 out of the 12 so I think the people at the winery thought I was quite a celebrity with a following!  It was a nice coincidence on that one. 

I received many compliments on my work and it is nice to see people appreciate my creative spirit.  I think that as an artist your work is very personal and as with many art pieces, some will love it while others will not.  However it was just what I needed at this point in my career to hear people appreciate what I do.  I am beginning to realize that at times I may be my worst critic and I need to listen to others more and not my little inner voice.  I am happy that I had this opportunity to show off my work and I will definitely be getting out on the First Friday of each month to visit the other venues involved with this event as everyone was having a wonderful time.

Monday, March 21, 2011

You CAN update those ugly formica countertops without breaking the bank!

I have enjoyed taking many classes over the years, everything from cake decorating to International cooking, tole painting to glass cutting and most of them were great for the moment but did not linger long on my "to do" list.  However, the knowledge that I have gained over the past few years in the world of concrete has been something I am still intrigued with and continue adding more and more information into my brain whenever I have the opportunity. 

I started out making simple concrete leaves and then moving onto giant concrete bird baths.  You can be so creative with this media and can create simply magnificent things.  I have taken several classes in the concrete overlay system and it has been interesting to compare differant products and their unique characteristics.  I will admit, I now use a combination of 4 differant company products to produce my finished pieces but it works and I love the results, as well as my clients loving it too. 

My son has been working on a 102 year old house located on the South Hill in Spokane.  It has so much personality, about as many quirky architectural features as it has major problems due to age and neglect from the past owner.  This big old rambly home has been converted into 4 apartments, all which have quite a personality in themselves.  We have now completed 3 out of the 4 units and I will take you on a little tour of apartment #3 just to show you how, with a little imagination, a little money and a whole lot of elbow grease and downright hard work this project has become the poster child for turning TRASH into TREASURES.

The first sight for sore eyes was the kitchen.  One counter had old vinyl glued on, along with the other one having brocken formica that really dated the entire kitchen.  The great thing about concrete overlay is that it is not like solid poured concrete that weighs so much that the underneath cupboards need to be powered up to endure the weight.  This overlay consists of 3-4 very thin layers of a special polymer concrete mixture and it gives the look of solid concrete without the weight.  With the colorants and then epoxy finish, along with a protective topcoat no one would ever know the differance.  You can apply it directly over formica, MDF, tile, whatever the substrate is that you are working with.  This also saves alot of time and time is money! 

I enjoy working on these older homes as the old world charm can be captured so easily with the interesting architecture.  In less than 3 days I finished these countertops and offered an updated look to this small but adequate kitchen space.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Beautiful Accent Ceiling Makes That Fifth Wall the Focus of the Room

I had the wonderful opportunity to work all last week in a home that is going to be simply magnificent when it is done.  I was asked to do some decorative finishes on the ceilings but was amazed at what type of ceilings these were.  The best way I can describe them is that it was 9 tray ceilings "within" a ceiling and each was outlined with 15 inches of beautiful finished hickory wood frames. The dining room walls are a soft gold so I chose a 5 color glaze consisting of Mannered Gold, Restrained Gold, Fenland, Latte and Jute Brown.

Although I had done 2 differant sample boards for each of the three rooms, the finished look is dependant on what the original surface is like.  I was quite surprised to find out (very quickly) that the white on the ceiling was NOT a coat of paint but just the primer.  Evidently the owner had told the painters that the ceilings were going to have a special finish so the interesting texture had just been sprayed with primer.  If you know anything about working with glazes you will also know that the surface will grab the color VERY fast and get sucked in.  I alway like to put at least one or two coats of eggshell or satin finish on my surface before continuing with the glaze as it just makes for a smoother glide and longer workable time to have fun creating.

Therefore, I spent the first day taping every single inch of that beautiful hickory wood, burnishing it with my credit card so as to not have any paint accidently slip underneath the painters tape and then as an extra precaution, I sealed the entire edge with clear glaze.  Some have commented that if you are a good enough painter you should not have to wrap the entire work area in painter's tape.  I do not agree as I feel like the extra time that it takes, along with the money spent to purchase tape is only showing respect for the expense the homeowner has shelled out for the wood.  Even if there is just glaze being applied, the surface is left dull when wiped off!  I like to be a professional and treat all of my jobs as such.

The following day I was able to start my creative blending with my 5 colors of glaze.  I normally put the dominant color on 40% of the surface, then 25%, 20%, 10% and 5% with the remaining colors.  You need to work in small areas so as to not let the glaze get away from you, possibly dry a little too soon before all the blending is done, yet working the outside edges so that there are no lap lines.  Although the ceilings were not unusually high, I kept getting off my scaffolding and going to the floor to look up at the progress.  It looks differant at the differant angles and I wanted to make sure that before I move on I am very pleased with the finished look.  This is also a fantastic way to get your exercise...with the exception of the leg cramps that wake you at night after going up and down approximately 45 times that day!  I completed the ceiling by the end of that day and was rewarded by the overwhelming compliments of the homeowner.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

This is a beautiful concrete overlay that mimics black marble.  This really enhanced the kitchen of this lovely home located on Coeur d'Alene Lake.

All About Concrete

This is just one of the samples of what you can do with concrete overlays and imagination .

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Save the DATE: Spokane Valley "First Friday" April 1

I am so excited that I just have to share a bit of news with someone...anyone!  I made a sales call to Arbor Crest Winery as I felt that after seeing their tasting room (lovely but plain) and then knowing that they were remodeling the mansion due to the fire of Dec. 09 my "Old World" wall finishes just might be what they need.  The owners were not there but the "events coordinator" was kind enough to visit with me.  I am finally getting bold enough to take my portfolio with me on these excursions and just happened to have several sample boards with me.  I showed them to her and she loved them! ! !
Not only do I expect to be hearing from the owners regarding some wall makeovers but I have been confirmed as the FEATURED ARTIST FOR APRIL'S FIRST FRIDAY. 
I am excited to be able to show my work and have an audience that will appreciate my art.  I think I am most excited with the comment made when leaving the winery.  I asked a question and her response was "I don't know, you are the artist so do what you think is best."  I was referred to as an ARTIST.  Yes, I think of myself as an artist but haven't really ever had anyone else think of me that way.  Wow, I have finally arrived! !   So, mark your calendars for April 1 and plan to attend the Spokane Valley First Friday at Arbor Crest Winery.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

What a beautiful Sunday

It is a beautiful day in St. Maries.  I woke up to a new fresh blanket of snow, now the sun is shining and there is nothing prettier than the river and snow.  Unless it is blue sky, 85 degrees and the river, but that's not going to happen for awhile so enjoy the season.
After having a perfect morning of listening to Pastor A.J. followed by our adult Bible study (we are doing Revelations and it is fantastic, I highly recommend it) I came home and took my dog J.J. for a walk.  He loves running his nose along the snow, like scooping up snowcones and tossing the snow in the air.  I think the Husky in him is definitely showing up.  That is not all he tosses in the air.  It must be his New Years Resolution to Rid Shepherd Road of all Rodents.  Once he catches one, he tosses it in the air so that he can catch it with a big CRUNCH, then drops it and goes on to his next unsuspecting critter.  So much for just "bopping them on the head"!
I feel like being creative today so I am going to spend some time working on new sample boards.  I have a client who has requested a "wow" wall for her powder room.  Her colors will be seafoam green, pink and taupe.  I recently purchased some new foils and plan to create something from a technique I learned in a Gary Lord video.  I don't have the right colors today but that's okay.  It will be lots of fun.  I always enjoy working with paints, plaster, foils-- they seem to remind me of the carefree days as a child when life was just about having fun and using your imagination.  When I am doing artistic things it does not seem like work but more like playtime.  Wouldn't it be great if everyone enjoyed what they do so much that it is 8 hours of play every day rather than work.  Go ahead, get creative yourself.  You will be amazed at what a "freeing" experience it can be.

Friday, January 7, 2011

New Years Resolution...I'm going to learn to love my computer...or else

We are already 7 days into the new year and I feel like I have finally arrived when it comes to computers.  I did NOT say I finally understand them, but I have decided that a very important part of this year is to "embrace" this little machine rather than run from it.  For those of you who know me, you know that this is a MAJOR leap of faith for me.  Yes, I have worked on computers for the past 34 years doing airline business, but that does NOT mean that I had time to enjoy, play, or explore differant facets of the computer.  For 8 hours a day I would type away in "my program" and never ventured out.  When the internet arrived I certainly did not want to play on this machine, after all, it was WORK and I had already put in 8 hours.  Thus, 34 years later, I am finding that I have been completely left behind when it comes to my computer knowledge.  No longer.  I have spent hours, turning into days and weeks only to now realize a few months later, I have alot of catching up to do.  It is amazing how God works in our lives, and I am so glad he does.  I have had the wonderful opportunity of meeting a gal that has helped me so much already to move forward with my commitment of getting "connected" to facebook and blogs, something that sounded like a foreign language to me up until a few months ago.  She not only is very smart with all this stuff, she is extremely patient!  I warned her that I was computer illiterate and need to be told how to do things again and again.  Today we spent several hours going over my facebook and blog, her fingers work so much better than mine so while she typed away I had a blast with her 3 absolutely darling little girls.  Did I tell you that my new friend is young enough to be my daughter and her sweet girls could be my grandchildren?  After she left, I was reminded of a dear freind of my, Louise who was 36 years older than myself but who I found to be just a kick to be around.  I learned so much from her while she credited me with giving her the courage to do things she thought she was too old for.  Together we had a wonderful time and many happy memories.  I think I just might have met a younger version of Louise, like 66 years younger!  Thank you Jennifer