Come Back As A Flower

Come Back As A Flower
Mixed Media Self-Portrait (Sculpted clay mask, fabric & digital illustration)

At Last ~ The Penland Experience | Art That Heals

A new journey of transformation begins today, and in this season it is with the purpose of healing.  For five consecutive years I have come to Penland.  When I arrived five years ago I was completely broken and distraught, and as I look back near death.  My journey of transformation stated with a class with Kelly and Kyle Phelps, where I meet Carrie Warvel Longley and a class of adorable artists.  My transformation started in my hands, as they learned a new way of making.  The transformation that stated that summer continued to grow with each summer experience through Cynthia Bringle, Angelica Pozo, Kathy King and Paul Wandless, Margaret Cogswell and this summer through MaPo Kinnord-Payton.  Along the way I have met some of the most incredible and creative artists in the world.  I will forever be indebted to each person who has enriched by life.

The summer the transformation that began in my hands is now transforming my physical appearance.  I'm being changed from the inside out.  For the first time, I'm arriving at Penland "pain free."  To some that may not be significant, but when you have lived with constant non-stop oppressive pain 24/7 for five years, it is a miracle.  I am living proof that the "Penland Experience Transforms," and that "ART" can truly save your life.

This summer my goal is to share my transformation.  I need to give visual representation to the pain of loss, grief, isolation, fear, guilt, abandonment, loneliness, and heartache associated with walking out your "Trail of Tears."  I come to Penland to create art to help Jaki Shelton Green and Angela Kennedy, my beloved sisters, who are where I was five years ago -- to  collectively unite our hearts in healing.

Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing! #18/30 Art That Heals

Penland Logo from Craft House Porch
I'm in a Mighty Marvin, Tammi Terrell groove today because 11 days from now I'll be back on Penland mountain.  Sweet Baby Jesus ~ Hallelujah!  5th session at Penland rocks because we've got that extra weekend.  It's especially perfect for me because I'll be staying for Auction.  I'll already be in place and ready to roll to help prepare for Auction.

Rocking Chair Waiting 4 U!
I want be on registration this year and will miss meeting and greeting all of the patrons and LMLs.  I'm moving to VHQ, which is the ideal Auction assignment for me.  I get to give back to others all the love, kindness and joy that Penland gives to me.  How cool is that?  I'll be a VHQ Crew Chief in Training, guided by Randy Hinson.  Watch out because Penland and the world will never be the same!  A dynamic duo will be in VHQ!  Unfortunately, our fearless VHQ leader, Patty, will not be joining us this year.  But, she'll be with us in spirit!  I love Patty, and will miss her, but the Penland's Auction like life goes on.  Auction is our performance art presentation, where we get to strut our stuff like drama folks.

So, if you don't mind working hard for 4 days with some of the top visual artists and crafts people in the world, while having the best time of your life ... JOIN US!  Let the Penland Experience change you and empower you to be more than you can dream!  Penland is truly a "Real Thing Experience"  and it's nothing else like it!  Life is short and fragile ... don't let the Penland Experience Train leave the station without you!

It Seems To Hang On! #18/30 Art That Heals

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.  -Marcel Proust

"Dancing Clouds" Oil on Canvas.
Why am I doing oil studies of clouds?  To help me reconnect with my skill of observation and to help me develop strategies on how to render what I see.  I chose clouds because I want to teach an arts integrated lesson on clouds.  I initially taught this lesson in the Spring and it got me to drawing and observing clouds.  After years of not painting using oil paints, I needed to begin again to realize my vision using this medium.

So far this summer journey is healing and bringing me back to myself.  The oil studies that I'm creating and posting aren't meant to be finished paintings.  Instead, I am gathering information and developing a knowledge base in preparation for making paintings.  I'm trying to see the world through new eyes that have been clouded over from some painful circumstances of my recent life.  The process of painting clouds is helping me discover how to stay in the moment and witness the beauty that surrounds me everyday.

Painting in oils is like reconnecting with a best friend that been gone for far too long.  Oil painting is seductive like working with porcelain in clay.  With oil painting, the seduction lies in the way it flows and blends on the canvas and in the aromatic smell of the materials.  I'm hooked even more than I was 25 years ago.  I guess it's because of its absence from my daily life.  This go round, oil painting is a keeper.  I can hear my Mama saying, "you don't miss what you had until it's gone, so count your blessings if you get a second chance."  Well, this is my second chance, and I'm holding on.  Second chances in life are blessings to be treasured and nurtured!

I Greet This Day With Love In My Heart #16/30 Art That Heals

Step 2 Mixed Media Canvas
Love really does make the world go around!  As a maker of things, love has to be the fuel for my creative energies.  To be full of radiant light I have to be full of love for myself and others.  For me this means letting go and letting God.  Sometime ago an artist told me that he didn't like what he creates, consequently he was reluctant to share his talents with others.  His words and actions taught me a valuable lesson, that as a teacher I share with my students:  "Just make it happen by throwing your heart into it, knowing that your brain will catch up!"  "You can do it!"

It goes back to that question, "What do you want to create today?" or for me, "What do I want to create today?"  Do I want to create in love or in some type of blue funk frustration?  I can only change me, and let my experiences witness what's in my heart.  Xavier Toubes was one of my professors at UNC.  He told me that their was already a lot of negative stuff in the world, and asked if I wanted to add to the negative stuff or add to the positive.  Well, I want to add to the positive.  I want to make the world and my surroundings better than I found them.  I want to be a blessing to people who cross my Earth Walk. So, without discrimination as to "them vs. us" I will greet each day with love in my heart!  I pray for Divine Mercy for all of us on this 4th of July!  Today I will create drawings in color on two mixed media prepared canvases and prepare more canvases with colored gesso for cloud paintings.
Step 2 Mixed Media Canvas
Step 1 MM Canvas

Order My Steps #13/30 Art That Heals

"Where am I going with art?" is my question for today.  I pulled out by Creative Capital notes and workbooks yesterday to begin the process once again of supporting myself as an artist.  None of us have the ability to understand our path until it's over.  But Creative Capital taught me that an artist's life is between two sensibilities -- the process of creating and being "the greatest salesman in the world."  Art passes on gifts and brings us together as human beings.  So, today I begin anew with excited joy about what tomorrow will bring.  "Dancing Clouds" are teaching me humility! 

And in 20 days I'll be physically dancing in the clouds on top of Penland Mountain.  Penland is my healing, peaceful fortress in the clouds.  It's all the good that I've done come back to me.  The good that I share that's never acknowledged, the good that never receives a kind word or a thanks.  Life isn't fair.  But, all of us reap what we sow, even if it's a late crop.  Oh, what a life!

New Process:  Clouds and sky are now a vertical mixed media background.  I'm having to create mixed media paintings to prepare of an upcoming fall class:  Putting It All Together with Mixed Media at Wilson Community College.  Description reads as follows, "Explore painting, drawing, collage, transfer images and printmaking techniques with acrylic paints, gels and mediums.  This process can be used on paper or canvas to create beautiful works of layered imagery."  So, I spend all day with this process.  This is painted paper collaged onto a canvas.  Can't see it in the photo but I drew a flower that I'll paint using acrylics. Beautiful end product but very time consuming to create.