What is Enough?

Check out the article in the Bangkok Post which explores the meaning behind our group exhibition, “What is Enough?”

“I am a self-taught artist and have been painting and drawing since I was a child. There was a 10-year gap when I stopped, but since reigniting my creativity four years ago….”

Read more here

Create with Me

"Creativity takes courage. ”  Henri Matisse

In the painting class I teach I use different tools to introduce the concept of painting using the primary colors (red, yellow and blue) and how we can use those colors to create the other colors in the rainbow (orange, green and purple).

I use painted rocks as part of the class to explain these concepts and the rocks came originally from my garden, I needed something to hold down a sheet of fabric so it wouldn’t blow away and looked around for something I could use. I planned to use this fabric as a place where we could lay our final paintings so that they could dry in the sun but before the paintings were ready to dry I needed something heavy to hold the fabric down.  When I picked up the rocks I had that familiar thought I have when I pick up most objects, ‘Wouldn’t this look better with some rainbow paint on it??’

So I began painting these rocks and had a great time preparing them, I used my hands to apply the first layer of paint and the excess became extra color for the desk in my art room.  One thing I talk about in my class is that nothing in art is wasted and I practice that everyday.

Another thing I speak about a lot in my class is perfectionism and how that feeling used to stop me from creating. Even now thoughts of perfectionism come into my mind and they retuned again when I began painting the words onto the rocks.  I worried for a moment about my hands being steady enough to write the words and I wondered if I would be able to fit everything I wanted to write on such a small space.

I reminded myself gently that there are no mistakes in art and that I can always try again to achieve the results I want.  Even now after painting everyday for the last three years I need to remind myself of this when I begin something new. I try to remember that a fresh coat of paint (or a fresh perspective on any subject in our lives) can give us the new start we need to begin again, and that by giving ourselves permission to begin again we can get even closer to achieving the result that we desire. 

If heart to heart conversations and painting sounds like something you would like to get your hands into join me for my next art class by Booking the Experience.  Looking forward to meeting you and creating with you soon.

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What have you always loved and how can you bring more if it back into your life?

When I started painting three years ago it began as a response to quitting smoking, smoking cigarettes had become a crutch - a way to cope with the bad and the good in life. Feeling stressed? Have a cigarette. Celebrating something? Have a cigarette. Bored? Have a cigarette.

In leaving cigarettes behind I knew that to be successful I had to replace one activity with another. I reached out to the friends that have known me the longest, including my friend Katie who I met when I was six, and I asked each of them a series of questions about myself as an attempt to find answers and to provide some much needed guidance when I felt so directionless.

One of the questions was “What is something I have always loved?” The answers returned and over and over again I saw the same things, creating art was something they always remembered me loving. So I began again, I set out to find the kind of art that would reignite my love of creativity - I tried making jewelry, sculpting with clay, writing, re-purposing recycled materials and then I found it. Painting.

Painting felt like coming home and I have been coming home ever since. My paints are my passion and my gift to the world is what I create using my two hands and all the colors of the rainbow. If you have met me in person I probably asked you, “what is your favorite color?” and handed you a heart. It’s the way I spread love in the world and to share the abundance of gratitude I have for finding painting again.

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Showing Up

 “In order to be an artist, I must show up at the page.” Julia Cameron

Everyday I show up in front of white space and color it with my thoughts and the medium I’ve chosen for the day. A certain level of comfort is developed after facing the white space each day with courage. It’s wonderful to acknowledge how fast we can actually learn something new if we aspire to learn it, but it is important to keep pushing yourself to try new things.

For my birthday my Mama bought me a beautiful set of high quality watercolors and watercolor paper, I intentionally never purchased the best art tools in the beginning because I didn’t want the added pressure to not waste the paint on top of trying to learn how to paint, and I was on a budget.

So when she and I went to pick out the paints together we discussed the choices for hours at the store before deciding which ones would come home with me. She has done a lot of research about the different paint brands and techniques and I’ve learned so much from her that is very different than the type of creative knowledge I seek out. I’m the abstract to her realistic and we compliment each other very much in our varying approaches to the white space.

I was waiting to open my new art supplies to use on my birthday trip to the beach, I opened each tube of paint lovingly and used it to create the piece you see here. The process of using paint from tubes is something so foreign to me now (I usually use watercolors in trays - it’s easier to travel with) and I felt the perfectionist rising up with each new stroke.

But I persevered because I am familiar with the pattern of my mind when trying something new. It goes like this... “This is fun, this is cool, this is terrible, I can’t do this, I want to stop, this is okay, I’m alright with this” and then finally “I’m proud of you for following your curiosity even though it can be scary.”

Learning new things is scary, loving is scary, creating is scary, but what will the world you make be without learning to lean into the scary to love and create the life for yourself know you deserve?

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Blank Spaces

What do I need to be seen today?
I asked myself this question when I sat down after my morning exercise.

While contemplating this silently for a moment I realized quickly that, for today, what I needed was to see the words that existed only within my thoughts to exist instead on the page in front of me.  Writing allows clarity to form within my mind and making space for this activity in my life allows what I truly need to come to the forefront of my understanding.  The world can feel really loud and my thoughts can get tangled up in the thoughts of others so quickly; the moment a smart phone switches on a flood of opinions that are not your own enter the mind and can make a home there permanently, if you let it.

But within the blank spaces in our thoughts and worlds lies the possibility of coming to understand what we truly need in the moment.  The blank spaces I have chosen are the white computer screen, an empty page in a notebook and a fresh canvas, these spaces bring me back to myself each day to remember what is really important.

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Flowing Towards Yourself

I see you
You are the one with all the ideas
Ideas that fill your mind and all your thoughts
Thoughts of a better world
Worlds away from where you feel now
Now that you have settled into yourself
Yourself as you are is perfect
Perfect is the home you find every time you paint
Paint to express what lies in your soul
Soul colors surround your dreams
Dreams may last for days or hours
Hours turn to minutes when you are in the flow
Flowing towards yourself again

Rediscovering Creativity

I have always been an artist, from the moment I could hold a pencil I was always drawing, writing or painting something.  I kept a journal faithfully from the age of six to sixteen and in those notebooks I mentioned many times that one day I would become a writer.  Anne Frank was my hero and the personal account of her life that survived the war made me feel this sense that even children have really important things to say.  Knowing then that there is no time like the present I became a faithful reporter on my own life, accounting for all the details of my daily activities in over thirty books throughout that period of time.

Around the age of 16 I stopped writing along with almost every other form of creative expression that wasn’t mandatory in school and picked up Marlboro Reds instead.  I smoked for over ten years and used cigarettes as a way to meet people, fit in and fill the gaps in conversation that are present in every interaction but feel especially awkward during those years.  As a child I used my creativity as a way to navigate those uncomfortable feelings that can sometimes turn into loneliness and as I teenager I turned to more destructive activities.

Ten years later I was able to quit smoking and began painting again to keep my hands busy.  The year I began painting I did so quietly in the privacy of my home, sharing what I created with only the closest friends while using the time I spent with my paints as a cathartic way to express myself in an abstract form.

During one solo weekend trip to the beach I packed up a suitcase with a few clothes and saved the rest of the space for as many art supplies as I could fit within my bag.  Over the next few days alone I walked, listened to music, ate great food and created so much art.  Especially pleased with the results one evening I deceived to share two of the pieces on Facebook.  I was met with support from a wider audience than I was used to; one person even asked if I would hold an art exhibition in his restaurant.

In response to this invitation I returned home and began to work on this piece.  The first layer of “Out from the darkness she came into the light” was what I created and it looked nothing like I had hoped it would when I started staring at the blank canvas.  The colors were much darker than I had intended and I felt deflated when I realized I could not control my creative process in the way I had hoped.  I would learn later that most of my work is developed on its own time and requires many layers until it is finished; while I respect and admire my unique creative process now it would take many more evenings of painting alone to come to realize this.  So at the time, when what I created did not immediately look like the masterpiece I had hoped it would be, I shelved the idea that I would ever hold an exhibition, I put the canvas away and did not approach the subject of showing my art publicly until a few years later.

Instead I resumed again what felt natural, creating quietly alone and playing with paints using my hands as brushes to see how the colors would work together with as little tools as possible.  The result would become my first art series, “The Movement of Color,” a two year experiment with color that you can see in my portfolio.