Le Voyage Paris... Day 2

Aaahhhh...a day in Paris.  It is like no other!  I started my day in a Patiesserie.... and had a full on love affair with this chocolate eclair.  The food here is so amazing.  Every bite is like an explosion of flavor.  Each morsel something to savor.   It was raining out so my plan of painting in the streets was out....so I decided to just paint right in the Patiesserie! [caption id="attachment_860" align="aligncenter" width="225"] The beginning of a page[/caption] I had been playing with my watercolors on the way to Paris.  This page got started on my layover between Omaha and Chicago.  I was just mixing colors and wanted to get a background down on a page in my art journal. [caption id="attachment_861" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Supplies out and ready to go![/caption] I got some of my supplies out and started to create.  Using paint markers, stencils and some ephemera I created the next few layers on the page. [caption id="attachment_863" align="aligncenter" width="225"] An Art Journal Page emerges.[/caption] Look closely at the middle of the page.  The part that says Brioche Doree was torn from my napkin at the very place I was eating!  I thought that would be a fun reminder of where I was when making this.  I still want to add some type of centralized image or overlay to this when I get home..... but for now it is complete. Just down the road from where I stopped to eat and paint was the Moulin Rouge!!  I am going to have to watch the movie again to see what little bits of reality I recognize in it.  I walked by singing the song "Voulez vous coucher avec moi?" in my head.  The funny thing is that the district this club is in is really a bit risqué...sex shops literally line the street.  So I am pretty sure if I had sung that out loud someone would have turned around and said "yes!".  The attitudes about that are so different here.  I heard it described as follows "It's great to be Catholic here.  You fill your life with pleasure and sin, and then you go to confession.  Then you sin again!"  Hilarious!   [caption id="attachment_858" align="aligncenter" width="258"] Adorable shoes![/caption] After my breakfast and mini painting session, it was time to take myself and my cute new shoes for a walk around Montremarte. [caption id="attachment_864" align="aligncenter" width="225"] UP many stairs...[/caption] Paris is not a city for the weak of foot.  You walk everywhere.  From Pigalle to Montremarte there are several giant staircases like this.  I wandered around and made my way closer to the artist village - what some would say is the heart of art in the city of Paris. [caption id="attachment_865" align="aligncenter" width="225"] Making my way there...[/caption] A few steep staircases later and I was about to enter into a fairyland of art.... [caption id="attachment_866" align="aligncenter" width="225"] Local artist painting a girl[/caption] I turned a corner to find an entire square filled with artists painting portraits of passerby's.  It was so fun to stand there and watch them work.  What amazing talent was right there all around me.  Even in the rain, they worked.  They simply set big umbrellas up over their work stand to keep their subject and their supplies from getting wet. [caption id="attachment_867" align="aligncenter" width="225"] The portrait of me[/caption] I found an empty seat and gave my poor feet a much needed rest as this portrait was created.  It was so funny to watch the people milling about watching the artist from my new perspective.  People would look at me, then look at the picture he was creating, then look back at me.  Some would pause and watch for a few minutes.  Some would barely glance at it.  And some even took pictures of me, just as I did of the little girl in the picture above.  It struck me as kind of cool that I will be in someone else's photo journey of Paris.  They will be saying "look at this girl getting her portrait done".  How funny to think that my experience will be something that a stranger mentions when talking about their experience! [caption id="attachment_868" align="aligncenter" width="225"] My artist - Steve[/caption] This is my artist.  Steve.  I was expecting something like Francois or Germaine....but no.  His name was Steve.  However, Steve was from America and now is an artist living in Paris.  Fascinating!! [caption id="attachment_869" align="aligncenter" width="225"] The Sacre Cour[/caption] As I made my way back towards a metro station to head back to my hotel, I looked up to see this wonderful sight.  The Sacre Cour in all of its glory. [caption id="attachment_856" align="aligncenter" width="225"] Shit Happens![/caption] I had my first Parisian experience with "pay toilets".  I got a huge kick out of the fact that you can purchase pretty toilet paper.  I was dying laughing to find this toilet paper as an option!! [caption id="attachment_870" align="aligncenter" width="225"] Ahhh heaven[/caption] My next stop was a local art store to pick up some paint.  I had stopped by the day before, only to find it closed and not open until 2pm!  (I want to run a store with French hours!)  Le Senelier was a little bit of artist nirvana.  Paint and art supplies were stacked floor to ceiling.  The place was packed with people, all crowded around.  I quickly realized I was not the only artist in Paris who feels like paint in many colors is like a drug in my veins. [caption id="attachment_871" align="aligncenter" width="225"] Artist nirvana[/caption] It was quite interesting to purchase things there.  If you notice in the pictures, most of the paint has only one bottle or jar out.  So you have to ask the sales person for what you want and they fetch it for you from places unknown in the back of the store.  I had not brought any acrylics with me as I had gotten mixed information about the ability to bring it on the plane - even in checked luggage due to flammability issues.  I also must be honest, the idea of buying paint in Paris was a bit fabulous itself! [caption id="attachment_872" align="aligncenter" width="225"] Master Perfumer[/caption] Our group then gathered at a perfumery, Jovoy.  This gentleman taught us the many nuances of perfume and how it is made.  In the picture he is spraying a scent on a paper stick for us to smell.  The amazing thing about a high end perfume shop is that it does not smell like perfume at all.  I was expecting to be overwhelmed and not be able to distinguish the different scents, but it was not so.  Part of the reason is that the tester bottles there are not for spraying.  You sniff the lid of a little bottle and that gives you enough of the scent without a spray and without burning your nose. [caption id="attachment_873" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Treats![/caption] As we listened to the gentleman talk about the scents he was showing us, we were treated to this lovely assortment of treats and champagne!  I learned that perfume has 3 motes to it...the top note lasts about 10 minutes.  The middle note lasts about 10 hours.  And the bottom note can las for a couple of days.  I also learned that people used to wear perfume on their clothing and not their bodies, so the game of perfume making all changed when it started being applied to skin and a person's body chemistry came into play. [caption id="attachment_874" align="aligncenter" width="225"] Beautiful bottles...[/caption] As in life, in perfume there is a difference between seduction and sensuality.  Seduction has bolder notes of vanilla.  Sensuality is a soft note of vanilla with a bolder note of amber.  I did purchase a new scent to wear.... I will leave you guessing what one it was! [caption id="attachment_879" align="aligncenter" width="225"] Divine chocolates[/caption] We gathered in the evening for a salon at the apartment Tonya Leigh is staying in.  Our discussion surrounded desires - what desires we have already created in our lives, and what desires we have yet to attain.  I shared with the group that one of my desires is to have my art displayed in a gallery in a major metropolitan city some day. What better to accompany a discussion on desire than an assortment of the world's best chocolate!  As I ate each piece I closed my eyes and let the flavor just seep into my mouth.  The succulent flavor washed over me - each piece with different tastes and texture then the last.  It was paradise in a tiny bite! What a day....what an adventure.....what a city!        

Le Paris Voyage....Day 1

[caption id="attachment_832" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Bon Voyage![/caption] And we finally have lift off!  The trip from the States to Paris was oddly comfortable...I was able to upgrade to business class and the seats laid all of the way down!  They also had a menu - a real live menu - that they presented us from which to choose our dinner.  I got a chuckle out of that though, because you had to choose a 1st, 2nd and 3rd choice.  The more frequent travelers got their first choice, and on down the pecking order.  I ended up with my 2nd choice, which was still delicious!!  Then it was lights out until we landed. [caption id="attachment_833" align="aligncenter" width="415"] Art Fair Le Marche De La Creation[/caption] When I got to Paris it was around 10am.  The hotel rooms were not available until 3, so I dropped my bags with the bellman and was off to start my adventures.  I decided to brave the Metros (subway) right off.  Buying a ticket was a little confusing but fortunately there was a nice American in the line behind me that showed me the ropes.  I made my way to this delightful little art market that is only open on Sunday's. [caption id="attachment_834" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Journaling at the cafe[/caption] After my feet got tired I sat down for a hot chocolate and to journal.  I have a journal challenge while I am here - I am only using the colors black, white and red.  That was inspired by the itinerary given to us for the trip.  I thought it would be kind of fun! [caption id="attachment_836" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Lunch!![/caption] I followed up the hot chocolate with an amazing tomato and mozzarella salad...light, delicious and just right on the cool crisp afternoon!  Then it was back into the metro and heading towards the Louvre.... [caption id="attachment_837" align="aligncenter" width="300"] The Louvre[/caption] When I got to the Louvre I found out it was free to get in today.  Therefore the line was WAY to long.  So I wandered around outside, taking pictures and just enjoying the magnificent architecture. [caption id="attachment_838" align="aligncenter" width="300"] The arch by the Louvre[/caption]   Beautiful statues are everywhere.  People are milling about.  I am surrounded by ground steeped in beauty and history.  It is a humbling place to be! [caption id="attachment_840" align="aligncenter" width="225"] Mary in the gardens outside the Louvre[/caption] I finally sat down in the beautiful green gardens, kicked off my shoes, and just sat for a bit.  I played a few songs on my i-pod....sketched a bit....and really just soaked up the surroundings.  I was among hundreds of people, yet completely alone.  It was a wonderful opportunity to just connect in with myself and be grateful for the opportunity to be right where I was at that very moment.   [caption id="attachment_842" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Bridge over the Sienne[/caption] I slowly meandered my way back to the hotel, and was delighted to make my first non-food Parisian purchase!  There were street vendors selling old books and magazines.  For those of you in the art world, you understand that finding material that can be used in our art that is out of the copyright date ranges is HUGE!!!  I picked up a number of things and plan to create with them in my paintings all week long.  I am so excited about that! [caption id="attachment_843" align="aligncenter" width="225"] Welcome Reception for Le Voyage Paris[/caption] After a short nap and a long shower I was ready to go meet my travel companions!!  Tonya Leigh greeted us with champagne and macaroons....what a delicious combination!!  There are 12 women on this trip.  I intend to come home with 12 new friends!!  Tonight was the first time I have met any of them in person.  These dynamic women all had to apply to be chosen for a spot on this trip.  We are all here for different reasons - some are making changes in their lives, some had a desire to travel more, some want to embrace fashion and femininity in a whole new way.  I am just beginning to know their stories, and can not wait to form what I hope are some lasting new friendships! [caption id="attachment_845" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Dinner at Fernards[/caption] After the welcome reception a small group of us went to dinner.  It was about a 10 minute walk from our hotel.  Did I mention that you walk everywhere here?  I think it partly explains why the French are so skinny!! [caption id="attachment_846" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Dinner....Delicious![/caption] Over great conversation and a bottle of white wine I savored every morsel of my mung fish and rice.  So good!! Back to the room to crash for the night....and when I arrived I found this beautiful bouquet of fresh flowers in my room!  What a thoughtful touch from our trip coordinators!! The first day in Paris was amazing....I can hardly wait to see what the rest of the week has in store for me!!! Bonne nuit!  Mary      
October 07, 2012 by 1

Sydney's Story...

[caption id="attachment_824" align="alignleft" width="300"] Sydney's Mom[/caption] I'm heading out on my journey to Paris today.  While I hope to blog about my fabulous trip, I may not get that done while I am there.  So I invited Sydney Stone to do a guest blog post today for you all!  Sydney is the creator of Stylaphile.  I found her site and loved that our messages have a lot of connectivity!  Her site says "Women come in all shapes and sizes. For far too long, the fashion industry has promoted impossible standards of beauty and unhealthy body images. Stylaphile celebrates those in the fashion industry who seek to challenge the status quo and encourage women to be healthy as well as fashionable.  When fashion becomes more appealing to all types of women, everyone wins."  After reading that I knew I had to reach out!  Here is Sydney's post - enjoy! - Mary I Need to Lay Off the Meat & Potatoes: How One Thoughtless Comment 25 Years Ago Still Affects the Way I See Myself Today Growing up in the very small town of Gadsden, Alabama, I had one big dream as a kid: I wanted to be an Emma Sansom High School majorette. My mother was a majorette at the same high school back in the 50’s. When my older sister was in high school, a few of her best friends were majorettes. I wanted to be them. I loved going to the football games to watch the marching band perform during half-time. I was mesmerized by the beautiful girls out front twirling batons in sparkly uniforms with big smiles on their faces. It was a big deal to be a majorette at Emma Sansom High School. So, at about the age of seven, I started learning to twirl. It became my obsession. I trained like an Olympic athlete every single day with one goal in mind – becoming an ESH majorette. I even endured that awful one-year period where you had play a musical instrument in the band and wear less than flattering band uniforms. [caption id="attachment_825" align="alignleft" width="180"] Syndy as a kid with her first baton![/caption] My sophomore year, I tried-out for majorette, and I got it! My dream had come true. I’d done it! I was one of the “chosen” ones. My high school popularity was sealed! I was living my dream. Then, something happened that would affect me every single day for the rest of my life. A new band director was hired – “Mr. P” as we unaffectionately referred to him. He didn’t like the majorettes. He thought we took away from the performance of the band because no matter what fascinating formations the band was doing, nobody was paying any attention because the whole crowd was watching us. One day during band practice, Mr. P was “addressing” the majorettes about what we were doing wrong (there was always something). He looked at me, and in front of the whole band said, “You need to lay off the meat and potatoes.” [caption id="attachment_826" align="alignright" width="124"] Sydney's high school majorette photo - considered "fat" by her band director.[/caption] Even as I write this blog post, I can still feel the utter humiliation that I felt that day. From that very moment, I have always thought of myself as overweight. I’m not, and I wasn’t back then (I was a size 8 at the time). I’ve never been a skinny girl. I inherited my mother’s hourglass figure and I’ve always had curvy legs. Mr. P actually took it a step further and instituted a weight requirement and weigh-in prior to the next year’s majorette try-outs. This is when my eating disorder started. I learned to stick my finger down my throat and purge anything that might keep me from being a majorette the following year. I passed the weigh in that year, but something else was happening. My self-image had changed. No longer was I out front twirling and happy, but I was constantly thinking to myself during half-time performances, “all of these people are looking at me and thinking I’m fat.” The joy of achieving my childhood dream was gone. One comment by one man had taken that away from me. I quit the band at the end of my junior year. Mr. P was changing the majorette line to a “dance line” and I really had no desire to be a part of it. But two really good things happened to me that year. I joined the tennis team and got really interested in health and fitness and I stopped sticking my finger down my throat.  One day during my senior year, I passed Mr. P in the hallway and he told me that I looked great and that I should come back to the band. I told him to “F” off. Now, in my adult life, I’m actually a size 6 and a lot thinner than I was even in high school. I work out every day and I take very good care of myself. But I still weigh myself every single morning and regardless of what the scale says, I still hear Mr. P saying “you need to lay off the meat and potatoes” and – 25 years later - I still feel fat. [caption id="attachment_827" align="alignleft" width="173"] Syndey now - gorgeous and glamorous![/caption] Sydney Stone lives in New York and writes the style blog “Stylaphile” at www.stylaphilemag.com.
 I hear stories like this all of the time.  A careless comment can change the way a person thinks about themselves.  That is part of the reason I started the Body Fab-YOU-lous Line - to help inspire women to find peace in their bodies right now, today.  It starts with noticing your own negative thoughts, and ends with you practicing new ones that lead you towards peace!  If you would like to receive a daily (Mon-Fri) Body Fab-YOU-lous Love Note, helping you along your journey towards comfort in your own skin, then click  here to subscribe!
Au Revoir!  - Just Mary
October 06, 2012 by 1

What brings you JOY?

In a world that can sometimes seem crazy, upside down and full of challenges there are always bright spots of joy.  Today, I am wondering what brings YOU joy?   I find joy in many things.  I find it in the sweet, sleeping face of my grandson, Baby T (sometimes that joy is because he has stopped crying!  ha ha).  I find it in the beauty of vibrant color that surrounds me in my art studio.  Joy is found in the comfort of my home, the soft cozyness of my bed, and in the beautiful green expanse of my yard.   I get a lift of joy when I come home after the cleaning ladies have been here (joy that my house is clean and joy that I don't have to do it!).  Joy finds me at my office when I know I have done a good job helping a client.  Sometimes the sweet taste of a delicious meal fills my mouth with joy, and sometimes its in that first sip of hot, hot coffee after I awake.   I have huge joy watching my youngest son play football, and my daughter grow into her role of motherhood.  Joy fills me each time my oldest son passes another college course (joy at his accomplishment and joy that the tuition bills will soon be done!).   I feel a burst of joy in seeing someone I have mentored succeed or be inspired by guidance I have given.   Listening to my sister sing delights my ears and fills them with joy.  So does silly music that I sing at the top of my lungs to in my car.  When I sit at the piano and tinkle tho ivories, joy flows out of my fingers.   Watching my own parents love on my grandson is a special kind of joy that tugs at my heart.  Breathing in the smell of hazelnut scentsy in my kitchen fills my nose with joy.  Meditating and feeling the touch of God fills my soul with a deep peace and sense of joy.   And painting, painting, painting spills my joy out onto a canvas.  Where do you find your joy?
September 16, 2012 by 1

23 Delightful Paris Experiences!

[caption id="attachment_795" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] The Postcard
(Click Image To Purchase)[/caption] In 6 short weeks I will be packing my bags and heading out on a Parisian adventure.  My excitement is bubbling over into my art, and I am finding myself painting things that are rustic, antiqued and travel oriented!  Le Voyage Paris has been put together by the amazing Tonya Leigh (Check her out - you will be glad you did!).  Tonya's mottos is French Kiss Life!  How fun and flirty! The trip that she has put together is for 12 women to go EXPERIENCE Paris.  You had to apply and be chosen as one of the 12.  Part of my excitement is knowing I am going to meet 11 amazing and dynamic women.  I am sure that over champagne, french chocolates and vibrant conversation we will become great friends! Tonya challenged us all to think about what we wanted our Paris experience to hold.  To me that meant more then a list of places to go and tourist attractions to visit.  It meant doing some thinking in advance about HOW I want my experience to unfold....what beauty, allure and sparkle in Paris is calling me? So here is my list...what I intend to experience and delight in while on my Paris adventure! 1.  Soak in the beauty that abounds at the Louvre. 2.  Paint on the Siene in a lime green beret. 3.  Sit at the foot of the Arc De Triumph and journal about the next bold move I want to make in my life. 4.  Investigate the delights of the Sorbonne. 5.  Sip a cocktail at the Eiffel Tower. 6.  Dance with wild abandon at the Moulin Rouge. [caption id="attachment_798" align="alignright" width="296"] Fleur 44
(Click Image To Purchase)[/caption] 7.  Sketch with the artists at a streetcorner in  Montmarte. 8.  Boutique shop at the Quartier de la Bastille for the perfect shoes. 9.  Rent a Velib bicycle to ride between arrondissements. 10.  Say a prayer at Notre Dame. 11.  Sip a Cafe Creme on Les Champs Elysees while watching the Parisian women stroll by in high fashion. 12.  Kiss a dashing Frenchman at a club in Pigalle. 13.  Gallery hop at random soaking in color, texture and verve. 14.  Indulge in a relaxing hotel spa massage. 15.  Purchase custom fit french lingerie after consulting with a professional lingerie consultant - ooh la la! 16.  Create my own signature scent at a parfum atelier. 17.  Savor the gourmet tastes of delicious food at a soiree. 18.  Wander an open air market with a chef and watch them cook the fresh produce for lunch. 19.  Nurse a glass of Veuve Clicquot on a Siene River cruise while watching the twinkling lights of Paris pass by. 20.  Discover the perfect scarf to accentuate my femininity. 21.  Nibble artisnal chocolates - so divine! 22.  Befriend and connect with 12 dynamic women. 23.  Smell the bouquet of lovely flowers in a public Paris garden. Wishing you the joie de vivre the french carry off with such flair!!

Giving Back...

Last year I took a class called Flying Lessons from the amazing artist, Kelly Rae Roberts.  There were around 350 women who took the e-course along with me.  Together we have spent the last year pursuing our artistic endeavors, building our galleries of finished work, creating websites and stores, and sharing the journey with each other.  I have gained so much from these fellow "Flyers". Several of my classmates have crossed the line from classmates to on-line friends, and some have gone from e-buddies to real live friendships.  Whatever the status, this amazing group of women has grown together over the last year to wonderful new personal and professional artistic heights. One of the reasons that I feel so closely connected to them is the spirit of giving that surrounds this group.  We help eachother every single day.  We ask questions and someone knows the answer - from art technique, to blog or website questions, to selling work, to setting up art booths.  I am so proud of our latest endeavor - banding together to celebrate our own success by creating a scholarship for the next generation of Flying Lessons students!  Our little tribe of artists have raised enough money to sponsor 8 students in Kelly Rae's next (and last!) run of Flying Lessons.  And to top it all off - she is going to match our donation with 8 spots donated of her own!! If you are an artist wanting to take flight, click here to find the link where Future Flyers can submit a letter explaining your wish to Take Flight!!  The winners will be chosen at random, and will be announced on 8/29/12 both by our group and on Kelly Rae's blog!  I hope you win and begin a wonderful artistic journey of your own!  You can also read all about the journeys of other flyers on this page. If you are not quite ready for her whole course - check out her Flying Lessons e-book (see the right hand side of my blog for a link to click)! My flight in the last year has taken me on quite a journey - here are some of the highlights!! *I created a blog and website - Just Mary Designs was born! *I developed an art line called Body Fab-YOU-lous - marrying my love of mixed media art with a message close to my heart - dedicated to helping women find peace and end their struggle with weight loss and body image challenges. *I have sold 4 original paintings and around 25 prints!  I just picked up a paintbrush for the first time 2 years ago...so selling my work is an amazing accomplishment! *I was asked to create a piece that will be featured in a new magazine launch issue next month!  Soon I will be published - holy cow!! * I have taken many e-courses to develop my skills and in the process learned wordpress, photoshop, how to design patterns, how to paint large canvases, art journaling and more! *I have connected into groups where each day I am in contact with several thousand artists - learning and sharing! *I launched the daily email Body Fab-YOU-lous Love Notes - a little reminder that peace and love are available in your body right now.  I received a letter of feedback telling me that one of them made the reader weep with recognition.  That tells me these are important.  They are making a difference in peoples lives.  I'm also promoting inspirational art from my network of e-buddies - another way to give back to my artistic community! May your own year be one of amazing accomplishment, and your flight take you soaring to new heights!! Here is a list of my Flyer Sisters and their posts about their own flight! Janet Forrest http://www.tatterednworn.wordpress.com Cat Athena Louise http://www.catathenalouise.com Stacey Bockness Curry http://starhitchedwagon.blogspot.com/ Kris Lanae Binsfeld http://cherishdesigns.wordpress.com/ Renee Burke http://happilyeverafterbyreneeburke.wordpress.com Michelle Reynolds http://www.shellsinthebush.com Constance Rawlins http://livingwithinyourharvest.com/2012/08/19/fly-tribe-anniversary/ Kelly Hoernig  http://www.kellyhoernig.blogspot.com Cindy Jones Lantier http://www.lantier.org Kathleen Conard http://newfromoldcreations.blogspot.com/2012/08/giving-back.html Claudia Dow http://www.claudiadow.blogspot.com Susan M. Walls-Beverly http://susanscharmingtrinkets.blogspot.com/2012/08/flying-lessons-and-art-of-giving-back.html Linda Barutha http://baruthadesigns.com Linda Kinnaman http://lindakaysart.com/blog/2012/08/19/my-dream-journey-one-year-now/ Cheryl Dossey http://www.cheryldossey.com/ Sofia Dabalsa http://sofiadabalsa.blogspot.com Jill Lambert http://jill-lambert.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-spirit-of-giving.html Sally Rose http://sallyhow2.blogspot.com/ Ursula Smith http://EasyScraps.com/blog Deborah Eaton http://www.deborahgeaton.com/blog/ Lori Leissner  http://www.leissnerart.com/2012/08/giving-thanks-giving-back-giving-flight.html Creative Clearinghouse http://creativeclearinghouse.com/Online-Class-Reviews/blog/Ursula-Creative-Clearinghouse Lenore Angela http://www.lenoreangela.blogspot.ca/ Katharina Star http://www.blog.katharinastar.com Rachél Payne http://wp.me/pWRyw-10P Sherry Richert Belul  http://www.simplycelebrate.net/cherry-blossom-soup/gifts Deborah Velasquez http://deborahvelasquez.blogspot.com/ Shannon Etnyre http://www.livingwithumami.com Live Laugh Love Retreats http://livelaughloveretreats.com Kelley Miller Artworks http://kelleymillerartworks.blogspot.com/ Wini Dougall http://artloveandjoy.blogspot.com Carol Bray http://theredpaintedcottage.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-spirit-of-giving-back-by-giving-flight.html Tracy Yarbrough http://chickpeastudio.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-spirit-of-giving.html Diane Enright  http://dianeenrightphotography.wordpress.com/ Jamie Burch http://www.dancingdownserendipitystreet.blogspot.com/ Mary Cottingham http://www.barnbugstudio.blogspot.com Susan Dietz http://flutterbeforeyou.blogspot.com Lori Moon Studio http://lorimoonstudio.blogspot.com/2012/08/fly-tribe-blog-hop-giving-back.html Kim Hyer http://www.apaperaddict.com Tina Carlborg http://www.tinachicky.blogspot.com Catherine Pistone  http://catherinepistone.blogspot.com/ Mary MacIlvain http://maryart.macilvain.com/ Carolyn Chenault http://carolynchenault.wordpress.com/2012/08/20/the-big-giveaway

This Artist's Way...

I was invited to join an on-line Artist Way (by Julia Cameron) Book Club by fabulous artist Jessica Brogan.  I thought it would be a year long adventure of learning to do things in my life in a more artistic way.  Turns out I was wrong - it is so much more than that!  The Artist's Way is about looking inward to find what is blocking your creativity and how to breathe life into your inner artiste. Our group is doing one chapter a month.  I sort of scoffed at that, thinking it would be a piece of cake to complete.  Turns out I was wrong again!  We did the first chapter in July, and I spent parts of the whole month really digging in and following the path that it took me. Part of the book advocates taking weekly Artist Dates.  A time that you have carved out to do something that inspires and ignites the sweet whisper of latent creativity lurking within.  Week 1 I went to the marvelous DaVinci Exhibit at our local Art Center.  Week 2 I spent an afternoon at the Barnes and Noble coffee shop ingesting book after book of art and pictures (and a few cups of coffee....and the most delicious peanut butter cup cookie!!).  Week 3 focused on lessons in a Class called Supplies Me - where you learn to better use all of your art supplies - which is awesome for me because I do have pretty things that I don't use frequently!  This past week I had a friend come over and we spent the afternoon creating canvases together - she was hoping to learn some new techniques that make art feel like play.  And I got to practice teaching - what fun! Today I had my Artist Date right out on my back deck.  It's finally cooled down enough to site outside.  So me and my colored pencils took an art journal outside and went to town.  I practiced faces, bottoms and backs.  The breeze was perfect, the leaves were rustling and time simply slipped away. The other main part of the assignment is completing Morning Pages - 3 journal pages a day of whatever is on your mind.  It's really a little nutty what happens to be on my mind some days!!!  The focus of the Morning Pages this month was finding the little voice that wants to convince you dreams are unreachable...impossible...crazy...never going to happen.  I found that little voice and guess what he was saying?  That "art is not worth creating unless someone is going to buy it".  Really?  I had no idea that belief was in there.  I kept going and found that this belief is tied to "No one ever will really buy your art, so why do it."  and finally to the mother of all nasty, creativity stomping thoughts "Creating something just for you is a waste of your time." The beauty of finding this inside me is now that I have examined the thought, I am rejecting it as untrue.  Guess what little voice - this time YOU are wrong!  Creating beauty just for me is totally worth my time.  Sometimes what I create will speak to someone else and they will want to see it often enough to own it.  And I believe that they will - they already have!  But even if they don't, the process of pouring my soul onto canvas is healing and magical for me.  And creating magic in my own life is always, always worth my time. I've posted some pictures of art journal pages that I have recently made.  Art journaling is just for me.  To express.  To try new things.  To play with beauty.  So this particular Artist's Way is meandering on a path through Art Journaling on the bookclub journey to creativity unleashed!  

Body Fab-YOU-lous Love Notes...

[caption id="attachment_732" align="alignleft" width="298"] Believe In Your Beauty
Print Available Here[/caption] I delighted to share with you a new adventure from Just Mary Designs!  I have just launched the Body Fab-YOU-lous Love Notes - a daily email designed to help women find peace with their struggle with weight and body image issues.  The Love Notes will all include a lovely piece of inspirational art to brighten your day. I believe that peace CAN be found in the body you inhabit - right now - today.  I don't think you have to loose those 10 pounds first.  Or fit into those jeans.  Or attract the eye of that special someone.  Peace is waiting there inside you, patiently waiting for you to hear beyond the negative voice in your head and find it's whisper. I invite you to subscribe to our Love Note mailing list - do so by clicking here.  I would love nothing more than to remind you each day that a brighter future awaits you! The daily Love Notes will feature each feature an artist - both my Body Fab-YOU-lous series of work, along with inspirational art by a multitude of talented artists.  If you would like to be featured as our Artist of The Day submit your 72dp image, no more than 200px wide to mary@justmarydesigns.com.  Send me whatever is inspiring you in your life that you created, and include your weblink and any shop link you have.  I can't wait to promote your art while I spread my message of body peace and a brighter future! Take a peek at the first Body Fab-YOU-lous Love Note....
Welcome to the very first Body Fab-YOU-lous Love Note!
Body Fab-YOU-lous is all about helping women find peace and end their struggle with weight loss and body image challenges.  I don't care if you are a size 2 or a size 20 - the harsh and negative feelings most women have about their bodies are very real.  Sometimes they dominate our lives and do so for years.  I want to help show you a path towards peace with your body, which leads to freedom in your heart.
  How often have you looked in the mirror and had nothing but negative thoughts? "Ugh - look at my thighs!"  "My butt couldn't BE any bigger!"  "I hope no one notices how tight my pants are"  "God I'm so huge."  And on, and on, and on....   But the reality is - beauty and your body are not mutually exclusive.  You might know this logically, but most of us don't really believe it.  We think beauty is for other people.  Thinner people.  Happier people.   I'm here to tell you that the first step in laying down the constant struggle with your body is to start paying attention to the negative thoughts in your head.  First we have to notice the track that is playing in our own mind daily, and then we can begin to change the thoughts that fill up our own minds.   I hope this love note will be a beautiful reminder that a better future is possible - one filled with belief in your own beauty!  You truly ARE Body Fab-YOU-lous!   Warmly wishing you a brighter future, -Just Mary

When You Embrace Your Own Radiance...

When you embrace your own radiance, you inspire others to shine themselves. So true, isn't it? When we are not afraid to let our own light shine, it brightens much more than our own lives. It touches everyone who comes in contact with it, and brightens their's as well. I have been asked by the lovely Renee Burke of Happily Evert After to be a guest blogger for her "SumMEr of ME" Project.  The theme is about self care - how do we incorporate self care into our lives?  I believe that the greatest piece part of self care is allowing your own radiant light to shine, and surrounding yourself with the type of people who are inspired by it. So many of us are afraid to shine - afraid someone may feel diminished by your success. But in truth, that is backwards. It's your radiance that frees the rest of us to embrace our own.  Light attracts light.  Radiance attracts radiance. I have been in relationships before where people did feel threatened by the progress that was happening in my life.  People have been jealous of  the happiness I had found, or the personal fulfillment I had gained.  These people wanted to tear me down.  Bring me down to their level so that they felt better about themselves.  I refuse to engage in relationships like that anymore.  I refuse to connect frequently with someone who is somehow made small by radiance instead of inspired by it.  I choose to be around people who celebrate the success and radiance of others and who are inspired to shine radiance forward into their lives as well. My word for 2012 is Radiance (see the earlier blog post about it here)- and I created this painting both to remind myself to live my word, but also to celebrate the awesomeness of the "SumMEr of ME" Project.  I think Renee has done something amazing for all of her readers.  She is bringing the art of self care to the forefront of our consciousness.  If that isn't putting light out into the world, I don't know what is!! So go out and shine - shine brightly - right now! (Prints of this painting can be found for sale here in my Etsy Store)
July 14, 2012 by 1

Check out this art retreat!

Why attend an art retreat?  Because it can change your life.  Seriously.  It changed mine!  How?  Because it opened my eyes and my heart it an entirely new world.  I had never even picked up a paintbrush.  But there was a little voice whispering inside me... I kept looking at paintings and thinking - I think I could do that, I just don't know how!  I saw an add for a retreat in Portland, OR so I ordered some art supplies, packed up my bag (and my courage!) and set off on an art journey.  What I learned there was amazing.  Not only did I learn the HOW behind the gorgeous art I admired, but I found a whole new community of women to celebrate creativity with. I will be teaching at the Creatives Celebrating Sisterhood retreat in April 2013.  Find out all the juicy details here.  The other teachers are Junelle Jacobson (yes ladies - she is a serious rock star!), Kris Lanae Binsfeld (who has a smoking new deal with Demdaco!), Rachel Payne (big time advocate of artists), Ann Marie (awesome and inspirational mixed media artist), Linda Kinnaman (who will be debuting an awesome collaborative art journal there!), and Jacquie Williamson (artist extrodinaire!). The head of the retreat asked me to do a video about this retreat.  This is my FIRST attempt at video - but its from the heart and it shares with you my journey about what a retreat did in my life.  I hope you come.  I hope it changes your life!! Check out the video!  Mary's Retreat Video   See you at the retreat - and don't forget the early bird discount available until July 1!