Now Open! "Podtastic"

Now Open! "Podtastic"
Painting, journaling, color mixing and more!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Flow of Life and other Creative Musings

It's not easy to take a break when you work for yourself, and yet if you don't take it easy every once in a while, it's soooo easy to go over the cliff of exhaustion that seemingly never ends. One thing I've learned over the last several years is that self care is hugely important no matter what you do for a living.

With taking a break and making time to work on some personal projects in mind, I pretty much cleared July and August of most major obligations so I could do a few things that were on my plate that I haven't had time for.

The Purpose Filled Life  6x6  painting on wood

And of course, as I cleared the path, the path filled up with things for me to do. Which, by the way, isn't a bad thing to be busy, to be needed, to have things to do. But there are always the surprise things that come up that aren't as welcomed which eat up time you were supposed to be doing other things.  Like for example,  one of my hosting sites for my online classes closing down tomorrow (July 31st as a matter of fact)  Yep.  So that has encompassed my mind, my time, and my work obligations for the better part of the month.  
Looking out on Chautauqua Lake while eating lunch with my family back home in NY

Even still...I've managed to take two mini vacations with my family and my sons.....create lots of art,  play a bit with friends,  work on new pieces, and organize my studio.  Oh...and make way for a new venture coming up in September locally.      The new venture is something that I hadn't planned on either, now that is a very good thing to counterbalance the bad thing.   Even with the surprise move by one of my website partners,  I found a solution through 2 other dynamic individuals who are working very hard with me to make the move for a few of my classes as seamless as possible. So there again, we have some light shining down even though the big picture at first glance wasn't so bright.

Rolling with the punches and trusting you will figure out your next move in life is half the battle.  I try not to get consumed by the what ifs but when they happen, the best thing to do is to be decisive in your steps and make the move toward problem solving. I use this technique in my art as well.  I don't always know what to do. I don't always know what color to use or which brush stroke to take.  But after I evaluate my choices, I make a decision and then I make the decision work. I figure it out.  And if I don't figure it out perfectly, I try something else.  
Figuring out something else...I tweaked this older painting a bit this month "Explore" and enhanced the previous version.

The alternative to not figuring out problems in art or life is to stand still and fall down. Or just simply stay where you are while the rest of the world keeps on moving.  

I wanted to take this time to showcase some of the things I did in July with my family, friends, and my art...yes just some of the things.  I thought at first I did practically nothing in the month but when I looked back at all 462 of my July photos (I catalog by the month), I realized, even a month not filled  to capacity with have to's, can be filled with memories that will last longer than an overgrown to do list.

So here's a walk through Jodi's July......

My oldest son Zach...on vacation with us in NY at my Mom's

Zach's girlfriend Chelsea came with us for our family vacation.

My youngest son, Josh,  who obviously does not like his picture being taken.

I don't have a lot of pictures of my this one is extra special to me.  While in NY, her and I snuck off for a little event at one of our favorite wineries in Westfield, NY   "21 Brix" that place, if you are in the stop in.

We spent part of the 4th of July out on my second cousins's farm out in East Otto, NY,  for a family wonderful that was to see family that honestly, some of us hadn't seen each other in 20 years or more!!!!!  How does that happen and why??

...A favorite picture of mine featuring my niece and beautiful God-child, Lizzy, my sister Becky and me. We went on a super fun adventure to Buffalo one Tuesday evening while on vacation with all the kids to a food truck rodeo at a renovated artsy district called Larkin, music, awesome food, and good wholesome fun!  

I ran into my pops in NY  (he lives in Florida when not visiting his other half in PA)...we always seem to run into each other in July every other year or so in NY....other than that, sadly we don't see each other any more.  

Even though my home town of Dunkirk, NY,  has had a really rough 20-25 years because of industry leaving and the lack of great opportunities for young and old career wise, the community still knows how to come together and enjoy a beautiful evening, making memories along the lake with family, friends, and neighbors (which are sometimes one and the same).   I miss that sense of belonging to a community  and brother/sisterhood likened to where one grows up. I suppose I probably romanticize it a bit in my head, but going home always feels like a warm hug.

Our week back in NY was quiet yet busy.  Remarkable but yet peaceful.  It was just what I needed before getting back and hustling my bootie  for a week in between my next trip.  During that 'down', week I did tons and tons of art.

I mean, look at all these 'kids' I brought into the world!!!  And this is just a smidgen....there's more:

I started cleaning my studio and tweaking a bunch of pieces I had from class samples or experiments while working on classes.....

Put long overdue hangers on pieces that were semi finished....I mean, how hard is it to put on hangers?  Pretty hard if you consider this piece has been complete other than that last step for 2 years...I've had it sitting so long that it doesn't represent what I do any longer! lol

Took more pics of pieces I sampled...this one I was going to sell, but it's actually representative of a class I want to do with abstracts  so I think I'll hold on to it a little longer.  But at least now she's unburied and out from under piles of 'orphaned' pieces.

Along with my small bird pieces, I did a few bigger birdies...I love the conversations my critters have with one another. This one says, "Ya, this is my first time online dating, too" they make me laugh and I hope they make my viewers smile or giggle a bit, as well.

Mid week in between my break, my friend Ophelia came over for a full day of painting together. We've been planning this play date for umm I think 3 We work together a lot doing demos for Jerry's Artarama in Raleigh and every year we make plans to get together and just paint.  I'm so glad we finally made it happen because it was awesome to work with another kindred spirit without any guidelines or deadlines to worry about.     Why don't we make time to just 'do' more often??

Here's my piece that was born from our play date.  I love's called "The Flow of Life".  I've been thinking a lot about the 'Flow' lately so I'm sure you'll see variations of the ideas come out in my pieces for awhile as I work through some 'internal' stuff.

I journaled a ton in July too...again, just working out things in my head but also getting ready for some mini classes I'll be holding locally soon....stay tuned for that! :)

The Last 20 Miles  20x20 on canvas
While doing my assortment of birdies this month, I had this piece on my easel to work on with the extra paint I had on my palette. I just love how it came out.  I really, really, I mean really love working in abstract.  It isn't my highest selling category of paintings but it's one that I love probably the most. Go figure :)

This is one  of my last art 'renovations' before Josh and I headed off to the mountains for a few days with one of his buddies.  The one arty week I had at home sure was productive now that I look back. I left out a few pieces even.  I think I do work better under a deadline now that I reflect back on the last 30 days. I didn't really have a deadline so to speak, but at the same time, I knew that in order for me to take time off this month, I had to create as much if not more in the time not on vacation to keep things rolling in the business.  That's the thing, it's ONLY YOU to do things, so if you don't do it...nothing happens.   The blessing and curse of a solo- entrepreneur!

So the next little adventure was a trip to Lake Lure, NC (remember Dirty Dancing and The Last of the Mohican's)?   We rented a little place with a beautiful setting via Air first time using that website for a vacation rental,  and although the setting was beautiful, the exterior of the sugar shack was beautiful, the resort was beautiful...the inside and overall state of the cabin was not what we all...  The ranch manager did his best to make us comfortable but honestly...not happy with the booking agent at all who switched our condo for the cabin. Anywhoosers...we still had a great time despite the upgrade  downgrade in accommodations.

The boys and I spent one day on a 'not so lazy river" tubing adventure on the Green River. Oh my, I almost didn't go because I was a bit scared of umm...rapids, rocks, and snakes.  Hahha...but I went and it was one of the most fun times I had and even better having spent it with the kids.     3 1/2 miles equated to about 3 hours of floating, paddling and navigating the cool river...pure bliss!

After we did the tubing, we detoured for another couple of hours to the south end of Lake Lure and enjoyed the most peaceful time swimming in the calm and picturesque surroundings of the mountains.

I sometimes think one can 'float' their worries and stresses away.

These pictures do not even really do the scene justice.  

We all had a blast.

In the evening, it was off to the ice cream shop to wind down with some  delicious frozen treat and watch the sunset go down beyond the mountain tops.

Speaking of mountain tops...our last adventure during our trip to the mountains was over to "The Gorge" in Saluda, NC for a day of Ziplining  (The Gorge has the steepest ziplining course in all of North America...whoowee, right!!!) .  I mean the boys did me! I was the camera girl!   I asked Josh to put a few things down on a list for the summer of what he'd like to do and not that we could do everything, but I'd try to do some of the things for him and ziplining was on the no bummer summer list.  

I'm so glad we went because it was a really great experience for us all, we all did things that were outside of our comfort zone and we experienced a part of the state we hadn't been to before so it was a true adventure. Not to mention the fact we got to spend time together and away from most distractions.

The Simple Life  20 x 20 acrylic on canvas

And now, here we are are at the end of July and I've been back to work for a little over a week now, finishing tons of paintings,  but mostly working on changing my online classes over to the new venues, you know doing things that require a lot of work behind the scenes but nevertheless are part of what it takes to make all the moving parts of our careers operate on a day to day basis.  

I almost started off the blog by apologizing for not being around much this month...but the truth of the matter is,  I was purposefully kinda quieter socially so I could take care of my inner world.
The next big thing is just around the corner...I can feel it.

:)  Jodi

Question of the day,  what was your July like? Did you take time out to enjoy life??? I hope so!!

Stop by the shop for LOTS of new art!!!

Summer by the River  24 x 24 acrylic on canvas

Friday, July 10, 2015

Summer Reading? Check These Titles Out!

Passing on a great deal from one of my affiliate partners over at Interweave-, tons of print and digital magazines on sale!  I don't know about you but I love collecting artsy magazines and lazing back on a summer day leafing through a magazine with a cold glass of tea.  Heck, that sounds like a great day any day!

Magazines for $1.99 and up at Interweave Store

Get Digital and Print Magazines from $1.99 at Interweave

I just returned from vacation mid week this week and am slowly digging out from the backlog of work and projects that need attention.   I'll be back next week with lots of upcoming news, new class releases, some upcoming changes and of course some goodness for my readers.

Happy Friday!!

Looking for something special?  Let's chat! Stop by my shop to see what's new!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Experimental Art: When You Explore...You Become Brave With Each New Step You Take

When I first posed the idea of creating this class to a couple of people that I work with in a parallel sort of way,  they were unsure of it's appeal because of how different it is and how dark it can be compared to my other work. 

Sometimes darkness equates with not so nice things like death, macabre, destruction.

But there are ways to put light into darkness and to come full circle from the different to the enlightening.  

In some ways, that's what we accomplished this week in my first full length live version of my class Grunge, Ink (which has been for almost a year an online class of mine).  I've done demonstrations first with high school students and then with a small group of artists, but this was my first time teaching it on location with a group of adventurous artists.  

The venue for so much inspiration?  The Art More Place in Melbourne, Florida.  As you'll see from some of these pictures, the place is HUGE. It's colorful. It's inspiring! It's a electric!
I'ts magical.  First because of the space, but secondly and most importantly because of the people at the helm who are fostering all of this creativity,  Sherri Otcenasek and her 'gift daughter'  Jane. Then those people at the helm keep multiplying as more and more artists meander their way through for residencies and for classes, all of which attributes to the magic that abounds through the air as soon as you walk through the doors.

Some of the questions I heard from students about to take the class or who were taking the class but still unsure if they were going to like the process...

But do I have to use this?  Is there anything else besides Yupo.  I don't want to use black.   Can I use ....can I do...

The answer I had to say at least for this instance was to just trust me.

Trust that I'm going to lead you down a path of discovery.

It's going to be experimental.  You are going to either love it or hate it.  My goal in either of those cases is to guide you into a experimental zone of creativity.  To open up your mind and help you explore what is possible.  Be open to what can happen when you simply EXPLORE.

 When you become brave with each new step you take.

You also enter a world of discovery when you step out of your comfort zone.

When you are not tied to the outcome, you leave room for break through moments.

 The more you experiment, the greater chance for success that you have.

I'm so glad my students chose to trust me and to enjoy a day...a weekend of play and experimental processes!

The room was overfilling with joy and many aha moments.

Let's try this with that....

Why not???

How about I do this? 

Can I????

Wow! Look at this??

Is this not cool?

Pieces, papers, artwork, paint,  tools...oh my...everywhere!

I started off with like 200 hundred sheets of paper and every sheet was either used or sold at the end for additional practice at home.

That's a lot of art!!!!!

Here's some of the students and a piece or two that they chose to exhibit from their 'collection'.

I love the diversity of each and everyone's work!!

I love the fact that every student took a chance on their self and did something that may have been way out of their comfort zone or so unlike what they normally do.

It's not easy to be immersed into something new with a room full of friends we haven't met yet.

Despite any initial hesitation,   we all saw that inspiration from each other fed into our own work and that led to some pretty fantastic moments throughout the entire weekend.

I also saw many students work with each other as is the case in all classes.  You didn't have to look far if you needed encouragement or advice, or even to use something someone else had brought along.  Artists are so giving and kind.  

I think the hardest part is being kind with ourselves.  

We are our own worst critic.

We need to get out of our own way to soar to new heights. 

Everyone around us is cheering us on...just look.  You can find the support system you need to do whatever it is you want to do...just look!

I'm so grateful this entire group took the plunge and joined in our workshops this weekend!  Having never taught in Florida before, I was entering into uncharted territories myself and was even rather nervous about it!!
I'm always nervous before teaching...especially when I'm teaching something I haven't taught (in person) or in a new place.  

If I let my fear of doing something new...trying something new,  going someplace new,  experimenting with new ideas...well I would have missed out on a great opportunity to work with 
fantastic artists such as all these women and more that I'm featuring today.    

The bigger picture...I'd miss out on really so many things that my career has blossomed into.
The list is endless.

For those of you who missed this weekend of workshops at Art More Place,  great news--I will be back next year!!!  I am super excited about returning!  We are still working out dates and possible classes but whatever we do,  I hope you decide to join in on the fun. As you can see from the pictures, its a wonderful venue in so many ways and on so many levels!!!!

My next class for Grunge Ink (Live) will be at Random Arts in Saluda, NC where I kick off a weekend of workshops with this class at the end of September.  Random Arts is another little magical place nestled in the mountains of North Carolina that I love love love so much.  It's a smaller venue so be sure to sign up soon, the class is limited to 12 students. 

**I'm also planning on a couple more in person classes in 2016 for this workshop as it is just really fantastic and 'needs' to be shared! lol!!!   

If an in person class is not in the cards right now for you,  I do teach a version of this class online over at  Click here for more information.

EVEN if you have taken the class online,    I recommend taking the class (and vice versus) in person.  It's kinda like buying a cd from a favorite musician and then going to a concert...or like I said, vice versus.  There are benefits to both options that are just as energizing and educational.

More happy smiling students and new friends!

I love all the colors everyone chose for their work!

I love the marks they made and awesome texture discovered!!

So back to the questions I had from many of the students before we began....

When you ask why,  I respond with why not?

Can I?   I say,  it's worth a shot,   I don't always know an outcome when I venture into an 'experiment'. I don't always like what I do, but I always learn something new.

And there are times when I venture into something I new...I fall in love in ways I never thought were possible!   That's the moment you feel most alive!

We communicate with others through our art.  It's hard to say what you don't know, until you just say it while following your instinct.  That's how you get passed the unknown fear. You do it so many times until it becomes second nature and more about your vision, than your idea if that makes sense.

Here's Sherri, the Owner of Art More Place   she is the magic behind this amazing venue!

The more knowledge we gain through experiments and unbridled learning,   we become more confidant.

Knowledge breeds confidence.

Don't be afraid to learn.

Thank you for trusting your experience this weekend in me...and thank you to all of you who have trusted in me in the past to teach you not only about art, but hopefully a little bit about yourself.

***Looks like a missed a few peeps in their 'exhibit' shots'.....sooooo sorry!!!!!*** But here we are all together!!!

See you next year or sooner!

Keep experimenting.

Keep being brave.

Keep believing in yourself!!!

Keep arting!!


Until we meet again!