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 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 Cat Athena Louise Stacey Bockness Curry Kris Lanae Binsfeld Renee Burke Michelle Reynolds Constance Rawlins Kelly Hoernig Cindy Jones Lantier Kathleen Conard Claudia Dow Susan M. Walls-Beverly Linda Barutha Linda Kinnaman Cheryl Dossey Sofia Dabalsa Jill Lambert Sally Rose Ursula Smith Deborah Eaton Lori Leissner Creative Clearinghouse Lenore Angela Katharina Star Rachél Payne Sherry Richert Belul Deborah Velasquez Shannon Etnyre Live Laugh Love Retreats Kelley Miller Artworks Wini Dougall Carol Bray Tracy Yarbrough Diane Enright Jamie Burch Mary Cottingham Susan Dietz Lori Moon Studio Kim Hyer Tina Carlborg Catherine Pistone Mary MacIlvain Carolyn Chenault

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  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

Step Boldly Towards Your Future...

[caption id="attachment_711" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Step Boldly Towards Your Future
(Click on picture to purchase)[/caption] Step Boldly Towards Your Future. The time is NOW!  I want this quirky and cute piece to uplift your spirits and remind you that every step forward is a step in the right direction. And while you are stepping you might as well do it in kicky and adorable shoes! We all face challenges that take time and effort to get through - sometimes much more effort than we think we can muster. Recently, I have been dealing with some challenges that kind of rocked my world for a while.  My daughter had the most beautiful baby ever (really - he is!) in January.  Soon after, she developed post-partum depression which led her into post-partum psychosis.  She spent several weeks in the hospital getting stabilized...and meanwhile...all of a sudden I had a baby to take care of.  No doubt that I am madly in love with my little grandson, Baby T.  But loving him as grandma's do, and all of a sudden raising him, are two different things.  Not to mention my constant worry and anguish as I watched my daughter go through the most difficult time in her life. I am so grateful that I had people willing to help us.  Baby T's grandpa helped with some of the nights.  Friends recommended a great day care and a night nanny who is worth her weight in gold.  Caring doctors helped get my daughter back to a place of stabilization.  My own mom visited often and gave me a much needed break.  My team at work was there for whatever I needed, even lending me strollers and baby blankets.  And I had a lot of loving caring people who reached out with a helping hand. Never-the-less, the midnight feedings, colicky evenings, and hospital visits were very wearing.  I forgot where I wanted to go with my life for a while and just concentrated on surviving through each day - taking care of Baby T, taking care of my own two sons, taking care of my company and my clients, taking care of my sick daughter.  There simply wasn't time or energy to take care of me.  But the magic in life is that I got through it.  I'm on the other side of what seemed to be an insurmountable hill.  And I am finally able to start looking forward again and taking those steps towards my own future dreams. My daughter is doing so much better.  Baby T is happy and healthy and just starting to sit up....he will be crawling within days.  I have high hopes that the future for both of them will be bright.  And I  have a smile on my face as I think about where I am now heading myself. I want this piece to remind you that every hard, long, uphill step is so worth taking. Because your dreams matter. And your journey towards the future you want is beckoning you!  Now go put on a rockin' adorable pair of shoes and take that next step.  BE BOLD!!!

A Retreat That Will Rock!

I'm so excited to tell you about a retreat that not only am I attending - I am teaching at!  The Creatives Celebrating Sisterhood Retreat promises to be an amazing time of art, connection, and learning.  This retreat was created by Linda Barutha of Live, Laugh, Love Retreats. Have you been to an art retreat?  I went to my first one in Portland, Oregon about a year and a half ago.  I had barely even picked up a paintbrush before, but I kept looking at art around me and thinking "I can do that - I just don't really understand HOW to."  But I knew the creativity was inside of me.  So I found a retreat, signed my bad self up for it, and off I went to Portland - paintbrush in one hand, blank canvas in the other - not knowing a soul there. What I found there was the artist inside of me.  What I learned there is that mixed media art was the home I didn't even know I had been longing for.  What I took home with me was the knowledge of how to do all those cool techniques that make me stop and want to TOUCH a piece of art.  The texture, the colors, the layering, the beauty....I learned how to do it all.  Going to that retreat might have been the best gift I have ever given myself. The Creatives Celebrating Sisterhood Retreat will be special for another reason too.  I took an online class with several hundred amazingly creative women last summer.  We have stayed in close contact, supporting each other in our creative and artistic endeavors.  Many of them will be attending this retreat.  And I am DYING to meet these women who have become my creative sisters!! I am going to be teaching a mixed media class on how to create the painting below.  It's called Believe In Your Beauty and is part of my Body Fab-YOU-lous line.  I will show you how to do the layering of paints, ink and papers.  We will learn how to do collage and incorporate an awesome transfer technique.  Plus, you will learn all about creating hidden messages inside of a painting for yourself.  While things dry I will share with my class what I have learned about finding peace in the body you inhabit - right now.  That is what Body Fab-YOU-lous is all about! I hope you join us at the retreat - we would love to have you there!!

Introducing.... the Body Fab-YOU-lous line!

[caption id="attachment_541" align="aligncenter" width="692" caption="Click here to purchase!"][/caption] It's finally here!  I am excited to unveil my new art line - Body Fab-YOU-lous!   The Body Fab-YOU-lous line is dedicated to helping women find peace and end their struggle with weight loss and body image challenges. We all spend so much time wishing for that thinner version of ourself to reappear. But here is what I have learned - it's not the thinner version that gives us what we want. What we want is to FEEL the way we think being thinner will feel. We want to be energized. We want to feel strong, lean, and alive. We want to feel beautiful. And we want to feel free - free from the struggle of weight loss and body image negativity. I don't think I have all the answers, and I am certainly not inside what I perceive the ideal body to be.  But I have learned how to find peace from what has seemed like a never ending struggle - peace right now as I am today. The key to ending the weight loss and body image struggles that so many women have begins with changing the thoughts that fill up our own minds. I hope my art in the line will be a beautiful reminder that a better future is possible - one filled with belief in your own beauty!  I want to help women believe - believe in themselves and that peace can be found right now, in the body you inhabit today. The full line can be found by clicking here!  Enjoy the images! Prints of my work can be purchased on my Etsy Store.  Come on over and have a look at the different inspirational weight loss art.  You truly ARE Body Fab-YOU-lous!