Hope - The First In My New Series About Cancer

Hello friends.  I am delighted to share with you my new painting entitled "Hope".  Hope is the first in my new series about cancer.  Most of you have either had cancer or have loved someone who has had cancer.  It's a devastating illness. I wanted to create a bit of beauty to counteract the stark reality that is the disease of cancer... and Hope is my initial canvas to lead the way.

My little sister fought lymphoma twice...and won.  My friend fought lung cancer twice...and is winning.  I know dozens of people who have beat this horrific illness, many who are entrenched mid-battle, and so many more who didn't survive the fight.  This series is dedicated to them - all of them.  


Each aspect of this little 4x4 canvas is packed with detail.  The sides are elegantly crafted with blacken and white designs.  The front is a mixture of collage, micro bead art, a jewel & tulle embellishment, and the inspirational message complete with a little glitter.  

My new series is entitled Beyond Cancer.  For people who have survived, there is life beyond cancer that when cured or in remission, may still not be simple or easy.  Cancer forever changes you and I hope my art helps inspire your journey as you prepare to keep living.  For those who are going through treatment, I hope this series is an uplifting message of hope that there is more to you than the fight against cancer, and beyond your illness is a life filled with spots of beauty.  To my dear readers who have lost a loved one to cancer, let this evoke a special memory that makes you smile as you move forward.  

As a special note, 50% of all sale proceeds from my Beyond Cancer Series will be donated to our local Cancer Center for research.

August 07, 2016 by Mary Sterk

Your wild, courageous, brilliant self.

This week I finished and mailed off this commissioned piece for an 8 year old girl named Tori.  Her mom had sent me a color scheme of Tori's newly decorated bedroom and asked me to paint something for her daughter to treasure.  She sent me the following quote to incorporate into her painting - "Have only one rule.  Be your wild, courageous, brilliant self every single day.  No matter what." (Quote credit to Curly Girl Designs)

I asked Tori's mom why that quote resonated with her.  She said she wanted to give her daughter a powerful quote inside of something beautiful as she watches her grow.  That brings tears to my eyes.  Don't we all want our daughters to be their most powerful, brilliant self?

I had them send me a list of things that Tori was into - things she loved.  This ended up prompting a great conversation between mother and daughter, and Tori's mom found out something new.  Tori loved cheetahs.  She loved watching videos of them run, and looking at pictures in books about these fierce, beautiful cats.  Tori also loved the movie Frozen.  I thought that was so amazing - a love for Frozen right next to a love for cheetahs.  And then I realized how perfect the quote actually was for this little girl.  After all, what do the movie Frozen and cheetahs have in common?  Wild, powerful courage.

I hid this quote underneath the layers of the painting.  You can't see it but Tori knows it is there.  

When she lies in bed at night and looks at her painting, I imagine her smiling to herself and connecting with her inner cheetah.  Go Tori. Be your wild, courageous, brilliant self.  

No matter what.

February 20, 2016 by Mary Sterk

25% Off Holiday Sale!

It's that time of year!  Families are making Thanksgiving plans, Christmas lists are being drawn up, Black Friday is approaching, and Santa is getting his sleigh flight ready!  Gear up for your holiday season with a print or an original piece of art from Just Mary Designs.  Use code HOLIDAYSALE to get 25% off of your entire order now through December 20th.

A big THANK YOU to all of you who attended the Benson Burner show last night!  It was good fun, good food, good people and lots of good art!  Congrats to D Benson who was the winner of the Holiday Magic print giveaway!

Happy holidays!!!


November 14, 2015 by Mary Sterk

To Change Your Body...

[caption id="attachment_613" align="aligncenter" width="692"] To Change Your Body
Purchase Here[/caption] We all want that magic pill...that miracle diet that will immediately transform our bodies into the icon of beauty that we desire to be.  The path towards that body doesn't start with anything external - it all starts with something inside of you.  Your thoughts are the key.  I learned from the amazing weight loss coach, Brooke Castillo, that your thoughts create feelings - and those feelings create actions - and those actions create results.  If you want the results in your life to be a body that is changing towards what you want it to be, you must start by changing those internal thoughts. Our internal thoughts sometimes are really mean.  So many women beat themselves up - for eating that extra cookie, for saying something dumb, for carrying that extra 20 pounds (again!), for somehow failing as a mother, as a wife, or as a friend.  If we are not busy beating the crap out of ourselves with the negative track that runs rampant in our heads somedays, then most of the rest of the time we are busy ignoring ourselves.  Distracting ourselves from things we are afraid to feel.  Sometimes we disguise distracting ourselves with being busy.  Or caring for others.  Or working too much.  Or eating. The path towards finding peace with your body all starts in your head.  Pay attention to your thoughts.  If you don't like them, find some new ones that you do like.  Some new thoughts that you can buy in to.  Thoughts that support the direction you want to go.  That support the fab-YOU-lous life and body you can have!

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!!