It is SUPER EXCITING seeing something you have worked so hard on over the course of, well, decades, if you count all of the paintings I have done, finally come into fruition. The cover and back cover are beautiful, thank you Emily Montes DeOca. The publisher did a fabulous job! Thank you #Twopennypublishing and the quality of the printing is fantastic. But what about all of the struggle, hard work, blood, sweat and tears that led up to the finished product. Mine and those who helped me? The "behind the scenes" mayhem, frustration, cursing and endless promises of "It will be done in two weeks!" "oh, it's not done"...."Two weeks"....."Still not done".... "oops, photos are not formatted correctly".....(even though you paid to have them formatted correctly) ...... The months and months of laying out each page, picking out each verse, picking out each photo of each painting, doing everything via email because nobody uses the phone anymore. The endless chipping away to produce a work of art that is not only pretty to look at, but you hope will bring people closer to God, give them a reason to maybe not feel so lost in the chaos of the world and hope that they might read just one small passage that might help them get through the day. The process was/is what God meant it to be for me.... a true test of patients. You have heard the phrase "All in God's timing" right? Well this little book is a true testament to God's timing. I can honestly say I prayed and/or journaled every day this past year that every verse, photo, written word, formatting issue and design would come from God and not from me. I prayed that he would show me what to do, what would come next and guide me to do it all for him and not for my own selfish gain. That was the hardest part. I have been and still am trying to rely only on his prompting. I have to constantly reel myself in. I want it done now so I can get to marketing it, having book signings, reaching out to the public in hopes that they will buy a copy and that it might inspire them to open a Bible or get back to church or even go to church for the first time in their lives. But the way God is starting to reveal it to me is this.... I have a vision of reaching the masses and God sends me a single person who tells me privately they can't wait to start journaling in it. I want my 100 plus books that I ordered for me to finally come so I can start my small but exciting book tour around St Augustine Florida where I live, but God has not given me those books yet. Matter of fact, the books are being ordered one. person. at. a. time. My vision is big and exciting and fast paced. God's vision is slow, reaching one person at a time. Calculated so that he can touch each reader personally, one on one when he has their undivided attention. Yes, I am excited that this little art book, journal, devotional has finally seen the light of day, but I am more excited to hear or see how God uses it to meet people where they are in life. My hope is to hear from all of you that buy a copy, borrow a copy, read the blog, go to my website or FB page or follow me on IG. I can't wait to hear from all of you. Thank you for considering buying a copy. Peace to you all.
They say when someone imitates your work it is the highest form of flattery. I used to have a hard time with that until I read a book by Austin Kleon entitled #steallikeanartist. I have spent many years, decades working with individuals who have physical, mental and or addiction issues. I teach them to use art as a diversion. A healthy escape from challenges they may face in their day to day life. Many times I would use my cups as a template for others to copy. They are simple shapes but allow the artist to use their imagination as to what forms, shapes or decoration might go on or around the cup. Creative choices can give a person back a little control in their lives when control can sometimes be out of reach. Other times I would use the cup template to teach form, shape, and composition to students who just wanted to learn how to paint or draw. I recently connected with a friend who's son took lessons from me over 10 years ago. She shared with me that he still has the cup he painted when I gave him lessons. (see picture below to right) I was so excited and overwhelmed that he felt connected enough to his painting that he still has it displayed in his room all of these years later! Whether I was using my cups to work with Veterans (see picture below to left) in recovery or just using them in general for painting and drawing classes I love that there are copies of my cups out there in the world. Beautiful works of art done by beautiful people. #steallikeanartist
I am a paddlepuss I would love, LOVE to learn to surf, but at 54 I am afraid I would be much more of a Barney than a MR. Don't get me wrong, I'm a strong swimmer and I think I could get over my fear of seeing the occasional NOAH but until I can get my courage up, I will stick to watching videos of my son surfing and Surf Now TV. Have you ever watched Surf Now, It's pretty RAD. What does learning how to surf have to do with 100 Cups of Compassion? 100 Cups is my art initiative that has spanned a decade or more and has culminated in hundreds and hundreds of 4 inch by 4 inch paintings of tea/coffee cups that are now all over the world. Putting my Cups of Compassion out into the world has sometimes been difficult. I don't always want to give my paintings away. I also worry about how they look and how they will be accepted, however, they have slowly been morphing into my personal Greenroom over the years. Learning to surf would mean putting myself out there for the world to see me as well. Not only see me in a bathing suit, but also to see me looking funny and failing over and over until I would hopefully get it right. Each of these situations brings to light so many of my shortcomings but through my years of training in art and my rich prayer life I have learned to trust God in ways I have never been able to do before. My Cups of Compassion are now on a trajectory that I would not have seen coming years ago. As for my surfing goals, maybe my desire to be an MR or Aggro is a little far reaching. Maybe my goal in the surfing world should just be that of a Grom Mum for the time being. As for my Cups of Compassion, I am putting them out there in a BIG WAY! They are on a gnarly path. Let's see where the fetch takes them and pray I don't get pitted. Stay tuned...
My son surfing.
It's always good to get out of the town you live in and take a break from your normal surroundings. Being a Florida girl and visiting PA is always fun. Especially when there is a foot of snow on the ground and it's 20 degrees. You just don't get that in Florida! The break has also allowed me to do one of my favorite things, visit local coffee shops.#littlecitycoffeemonogahalia I have also had time to catch up on some reading. These are my favorites and if you want to learn some pretty creative and fun life lessons, these are the books to read. #austinKleon #steallikeanartist #showyourwork #keepgoing So grab your journals, take a trip and visit a local coffee shop. You will be glad you did. #becreative
Do you ever feel like NOT being compassionate? I do.... a lot lately. Sometimes I create these little works of art and I don't want to sell them or give them away. I grow attached. I put in a lot of my time, effort, money into these cups. They can become like my children. I nurture them and they grow. It is usually at the point when I post my work on social media (social media BLAH) that someone will inevitably contact me and want a cup. There is always a worth while reason a person wants a cup, a sick friend, a mission trip, a horrific event like 9/11 or a mass shooting. I have been contacted to create cups for all of these reasons. When the work is finished I sit back and think..."I hope this will make one person happy but God, please don't let this end up in a garage sale or in the trash.." I guess this is my own pride getting in the way. Pride stifles compassion. I then have to question why I create these things. Is it so I will feel better about myself when I give them away? Is that true compassion? I think about these two questions a lot. I don't think I really have an answer yet, but I believe that, making the commitment and sacrifice to hand over one of my creations is always a step in the right direction even if I don't FEEL like doing it sometimes. So I keep painting them, I keep giving them away. There are hundreds, maybe even a thousand or more at this point all around the world. I hope they have brought smiles to those who received them. I hope they enjoyed owning a little original work of art and I hope I don't ever see one in a garage sale. In the mean time, I will keep PRACTICING compassion.
By getting out into the community, I have the opportunity to meet strangers, engage in conversations, and give my paintings away to COMPLETE STRANGERS! In practicing using my Art as a form of compassion, I must overcome my ego to use my time, talent, and money to create an original work of Art to give away, not for sale in hopes of making someone else’s day a little brighter.