working

‎”I’m not interested in my legacy. I made up a word: ‘live-acy’.
I’m more interested in living.”
~ John Glenn, age 90 (in February 20 issue of People Magazine)

When I first started researching the artistic life, I would scrutinize the background of artists, and sift through their blog to see if they had won the lottery, inherited wealth, or through some other way been handed an art career on a silver platter.

I’m finding out that both present and past artists merely have a strong dedication to their passion, and cannot live without giving it expression. Many of them do have other jobs.

Even the women I met at The Creative Connection Event, who (to me) have become celebrities, whose work is recognized and truly branded, those who have been published and are generating numerous followers through inspirational workshops don’t seem to have gazillions of dollars.

When I decided to remodel my life instead of my kitchen, it startled people, too. I don’t have a (wealthy) husband to ‘take care of me’ which tends to be the presumption of many people about female entrepreneurs.  A few books that nudged me toward my decision emphasized that it’s not the $1 million mark that allows you to live your dream. It’s not about the money. It’s about choosing a lifestyle.

“If you do something just because you love to do it, then
you’ll find that you will never have to compete with another.”
Jiddu Krishnamurti in Philosophers Notes Podcast #77

Being an artist is hard work! Creativity takes dedication. It requires a schedule and deadlines and organization. Lauren Levato describes it as “endurance.

When I began my sabbatical I had visions of just being in the studio all day long and creating. Instead I spent weeks just organizing my supplies.

My collage projects take prep work of perusing my photo archives, calibrating the printer so the quality is right, sorting through wax and paper colors and combining themes, patterns and words.

Then there are a few hours of bliss, being in the zone of creating, seeing where my materials and colors lead me, exploring new techniques.

The moment a project is complete the business aspect kicks in again. Where is this going to show or sell? What calls for art are out there that I might submit to? Where do I want to go with my art?

“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse
than the suffering itself.
And that no heart has ever suffered
when it goes in search of its dreams,
because every second of the search is
a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.”

Paulo Coehlo, The Alchemist 

Crafting a new career takes some strategizing when savings won’t last forever (and that rescue fantasy of the millionaire husband/winning the lottery is thoroughly debunked).

It is a process. Like everything else in life, it doesn’t come easily. Right now I am replenishing my funds with a freelance project in my old field. It is frying my brain. I am re-learning what was a routine just over a year ago. That job was, and is, incredibly hard work, too.

We watch people achieve success and think it comes so easy to them. We don’t see all the behind-the-scenes work they’ve done. The honing of skills, the prioritizing, the sacrificing of time, money, or interpersonal activities. Overnight success is a myth. It is often preceded by years of pursuing that dream, that innate need to do what they are doing because they cannot be anyone else.

“Whatever hard surface layer of reality may present itself,
it is only a single facet of the whole.
And when we are able to look around or below or beyond it,
possibilities shimmer, and
worlds within worlds reveal themselves.”

Noelle Oxenhandler in The Wishing Year

I am aware now that one year is not enough for a career change. You have to allow for shifts, for development, for truly crystallizing that goal. My initial goal was to get out of the grind I was in and follow my passion. I did rest, I did get to travel, and I am pursuing my dreams, while honing my skills.

However, succeeding in living my dream will take time. It could be years. The people I follow are at least 7 years into their careers. I cannot use where they are now as my milestone for January 2013. 2018 might be more feasible to be where they are at.

“I live very very very well. I have my creature comforts and
I know I have to work for it.

I could stop and live carefully but that’s ridiculous.
I don’t want to live carefully.

So I would rather work and live the way I live
and work the whole time.”

~ Joan Rivers in A Piece of Work (at age 77)

I am fortunate to be in this place of soul-searching and exploring the creative life. It was preceded by years of hard work, strict financial discipline, and lifestyle trade-offs. I still have bouts of inertia, fear, and discouragement. I judge myself as much as the naysayers out there.

No one’s life is simple. We all make choices every day that influence the next day. It is nice to pretend that those who ‘made it’ lead the simple life, but they are juggling as much as you.

The key is to enjoy where you are at. Appreciate your journey, savor each moment. The only way to know bliss is by comparing it to non-bliss. It’s your path, and you’re the one meant to walk it.

“Your unique talent is built into the miracle of your own unique being
and it emerges with practice, life experience, and time.
It is your talent, unique and precious, and
only you can mine it and discover its depths.”

Carolyn Blakeslee, Making a Living as an Artist

winter brightness

heartprint by Maike's Marvels

After a recent snowfall I was inspired by OrangeMarigold to look at the tracks that had been made. It’s such fun to see the patterns in people’s shoe soles.

snowprints by Maike's Marvels

Spring is on its way, but there might be a few dustings before the full bloom.

defying winter by Maike's Marvels

My first Crocus sighting on Sunday! 🙂

crocuses by Maike's Marvels

Fortunately it’s been mild temperature-wise, and the sunshine lures me out. I love the crisp blue skies of Midwest winters.

lake view by Maike's Marvels

This weekend PerficalSense Studios is hosting another exhibit opening.

Exhibit Announcement by PerficalSense Studios

I look forward to perusing Bridgette Guerzon Mills‘ art work, who has me snapping pictures of branches lately.

clouds and branches by Maike's Marvels

Crystal Neubauer’s work looks intriguing too. Both artists will be hosting workshops at PerficalSense this spring, so keep an eye on their Facebook page for announcements.

sunburst tree by Maike's Marvels

Have a fabulous snow-free week!

Inspirational women at the Innovation Panel

“Bees draw the good out of a flower source
and transform that into something sweet and good.
I see that as a metaphor of
looking to seek and draw the good out of people.”

~Brenda Palms Barber

On Tuesday I attended the Black History Month Innovation Panel hosted by WIN. The panelists’ credentials were impressive, and it felt like quite the scoop to be among such celebrities.

Black History Month Innovation Panel

What I did not expect was how down-to-earth these amazing entrepreneurs are. Press releases and online bios show a lot of glitz and glam (especially for the ladies in the entertainment industry), but from the get-go the atmosphere was warm and inviting.

Four fourth grade children of Turner Drew Chicago Public School had created posters about our panelists for their Black History Month project, and other posters lined the walls.

What they learned during their research, and moderator LeeAnn Trotter pointed out:

“Their careers have not been straight lines.”
~ LeeAnn Trotter 

Growing up loving Barbie doll’s clothing, Barbara Bates always knew she wanted to be involved in fashion. As a sophomore she got pregnant and was sent to a ‘special’ school. When she transferred back to her regular school after her son was born, she had enough extra credit to graduate a year early at 17, with honors. While her mother took care of the baby Barbara worked at a bank.

She would wear her self-designed clothes to work, where coworkers would ask to buy them. In 1986, a partner invested in her business and she hired four sewers. She designed for Michael Jordan, which led to designing for other celebrities such as Whitney Houston and Oprah Winfrey. She is part of the upcoming TV Show Fashion Star.

“I didn’t have a business plan but I had a passion.”
~ Barbara Bates

Stating that she isn’t the most talented, Barbara quipped “My grandmother would always say, ‘you’re not the cutest of my grandkids but you’ve got a nice personality.’ You sell yourself first and then you sell your product.”

Regina Taylor always wanted to be a writer.

“The ability to write your own imagination down
to create worlds within worlds with little girls that looked like me
was the way I could begin to create my world.”
Regina Taylor

Through a journalism class Regina was asked to audition for a movie with Joanne Woodward. From there she went to New York. After ‘doing the struggling bit’ she became the first black woman to play Juliet on Broadway in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

“It was a good time to be in New York.
Seeing all these worlds within blocks and being inundated with arts.
You could walk down the streets and see entertaining things.”
Regina Taylor

She later played the role of Lilly Harper on the TV show I’ll Fly Away. In addition to acting, she is also a playwright. She is currently working on the Goodman Theater’s summer 2012 production of Crowns the Gospel Musical.

“It is interesting to be able to cross different mediums
and fulfill dreams.

You first have to be able to dream
and then to fulfill them.”
~ Regina Taylor

Brenda Palms Barber wasn’t as clear as Barbara and Regina on her dreams as a child. “I didn’t know what I wanted to be at all when I grew up,” Brenda said. She remembers listening to her peers in the playground discussing what their parents wanted them to be. When she asked her mom that day: “Mom, what do you want me to be when I grow up?” her mom responded: “I just want you to be a good citizen.”

“I was really disappointed. …
But then I saw the blessing.
My mother didn’t frame an expectation (of who I should be).”
~ Brenda Palms Barber

Brenda embarked on a career in nonprofit organizations, starting as “the girl who buzzes you in at the YMCA.” She identified a passion in workforce development. When a person finds work “the person begins to restore a sense of who they are,” Brenda said.

Then she was asked to find jobs for a community on the West Side of Chicago and encountered what has been termed “The new Jim Crow” when 60 percent of the population of North Lawndale had been incarcerated. Her task was to find jobs for these ex-offenders, which proved virtually impossible. She realized that if no one was going to provide her with job openings for her charges, she would have to create jobs herself, and founded Sweet Beginnings, LLC.

“I hope we will no longer be #1 in the world when
it comes to incarceration.

There are 2.3 million people behind bars in this country.
90% of men and women will return
to communities after incarceration.

We have to recognize it isn’t going away.”
~ Brenda Palms Barber

This statement has particular relevance for Barbara, whose second son is in prison. Days after she learned of his 19-year sentence she found out that she had breast cancer. 17 rounds of chemo and 35 radiation treatments later, Barbara was in remission and began advocating for the release of her son and for lower prison terms for non-violent drug-related crimes. Her story about her son reminded me of this New Yorker article.

Challenges have only made each woman stronger, however.

“I’ve been challenged from age 16 until now.
It was not an option to fold up. …
I came to work after (undergoing) chemo because
I had people depending on me.

I had to go to work.
I didn’t have a 401(k) fund, I didn’t have AFLAC. …
You do it just because you have to do it.”
~ Barbara Bates

Brenda is inspired by Maya Angelou’s writings, and in particular quoted a passage from “New Directions.”

“I looked up the road I was going and back the way I come,
and since I wasn’t satisfied,
I decided to step off the road and cut me a new path.”
~ Annie in Maya Angelou’s New Directions

Facing pressure about how she would expand, Brenda wasn’t always sure of the ‘how.’ Listening to her customers and staying true to her vision, along with holding fast to her faith led her to solutions. When customers told her that they wanted to see her product in Whole Foods, Brenda approached the company, which started carrying Beelove in 2007. The product is now distributed in five more states.

“People love to tell you what can’t be done.
It bothers me and it hurts my feelings.
But then I’m like: Are you kidding me? …

I took their criticisms and turned them into strengths.”
~ Brenda Palms Barber

Another goal was to have a beehive at an airport and sell the Beelove line to tourists as souvenir gifts from Chicago. This will now be the case at O’Hare. The vision continues on a broader scale: “I want to help people rethink what green looks like. The bee and nature is a beautiful thing and we have to connect with it in the way we are.” (not necessarily wearing Birkenstocks and shunning make-up) “I like my make-up. That doesn’t mean I can’t connect and be a good steward of this planet,” Brenda said.

 

And while these women are proven success stories, they continue to face challenges, like anyone else.

“I have learned to believe more in myself.
I often give power away to others. I needed others to believe in me.“
~ Brenda Palms Barber

Regina concurs that we often are the biggest culprits in not moving forward.

“We have obstacles in our lives and a lot of times
our biggest obstacle is ourselves.
Sometimes we get focused on the cannot
and we can’t see beyond that.”

~ Regina Taylor

Regina is inspired by her grandmother who one day packed up everything and moved to Dallas with her 9 children in tow. Her husband believed she would come back, but she never did.

“There is always a way, we just have to commit to that.
There is hope. I’m here because of their prayers.
You find that way.
If there is no door that you can knock on,
then you go and make that door.

There are people who are angels among men.”
~ Regina Taylor

Barbara stated that sometimes one’s own community can be the most condescending. She often faces criticism for her high-end products.

“A lot of work I do is with African Americans and
we are the ones that pull ourselves down.
I’ve not noticed it from other groups.
I hear it from people just like me.”
~ Barbara Bates

Knowing exactly how ridicule and exclusion felt as a pregnant teen, Barbara ensures others learn that they are not alone. When she was asked to speak to a group of teen moms years ago she promised each of them a prom dress if they graduated from high school. Although she didn’t think of herself as a speaker she agreed to additional engagements for the next six years because “sometimes you don’t know where your help will come from.” She made prom dresses ‘under cover’ for 10 years.

After being asked about a dress for full-figured girls, the Barbara Bates Foundation was established (in 1999), which has provided 1,000 prom dresses and tuxedos to students. “I just want to reach out and make them feel special as they should on prom night,” Barbara said.

Women's Innovation Network

While each of these women are making a difference in their communities, advocating for those who do not have a voice, and becoming the role models they didn’t have while growing up, they each see a need to keep moving (and paying it) forward.

“There are still opportunities for us to pioneer.“
~ Brenda Palms Barber

“I want to continue to pass down the positive and to
continue to support the positive.
Instilling certain values in young people and to
be there and present for young people.”
~ Regina Taylor

“I just believe in supporting businesses.
I’ve got to share.
I just believe in circulating money and keeping it going.”
~ Barbara Bates

Woman of Color by Alma Richardson

Woman of Color by Alma Richardson
at Noyes Art Center through March 21

Dinner was served by Chef Aleta of Loquacious Catering and Chicago Chocolate Tours provided dessert via Toni Patisserie. More photos can be viewed here and video of the event (by Final Draft) will soon be posted on the WIN YouTube channel.

“Be nice.
Say something nice or hold your tongue.
Pay something good forward.”
~ Barbara Bates

ADDENDUM: As of March 10, 2013, I no longer support the WIN Board and its actions. However, I do support small business, women-owned businesses, and the gracious hosts of past WIN events.

Art Share February

Saturday was a lovely day. The sun was out, I did some reading about artists, and then stepped out for a journal-making demo. It was surprisingly simple, but I am holding off on supplies until I take a bookbinding class later this spring.

Art History reading

Being in a crafty mood, I perused Tom Thumb where I had such fun observing children discovering the store. The exclamations of “Look at this!” and “I want to make this!” filled me with joy.

That evening I attended the Chicago Painters and Artists’ Group Art Share.

Art Share Work

Works shared during Art Share

About 20 of us gathered at Edenton Studios where we perused the varied work of a few artists.

Edenton Studios Chicago

Edenton Studios

Brett Edenton recently moved into his bright and spacious studio, and creates portraits (human and canine) and still lifes with oils and charcoal. He also hones his trade by copying the works of masters.

Brett Edenton shares his work

Brett Edenton introduces us to his work

Brett Edenton's paintings and drawings

Oil paintings by Brett Edenton 

Edenton Studios will host open studio sessions on Monday and Wednesday evenings in April.

I brought a few pieces too.

Maike's Marvels collages

Civic Center submissions by Maike’s Marvels

Shane Zimmer described himself as an occasional painter who strives to find a balance between representational and abstract motifs.

Shane Zimmer oil painting

Oil painting by Shane Zimmer

Brave Rhonda Goldstein brought pieces she had never shown outside of her home before and invited comments on a painting she had just started. We had a lovely conversation about drawing the balance between the materials we have on hand with discovering new mediums and embarking on a new collection of art supplies.

Rhonda Goldstein collages

Collages and oil paintings by Rhonda Goldstein

Started in September last year by Jennifer Yang, the Chicago Painters and Artists’ Group has grown to 100 members in 5 months. The group’s mission is to share resources and support each other as fellow artists, since we often tend to work alone.

MeetUp description
Sharing the vision and goals of the group

Upcoming events will include learning more about art materials, a digital art workshop, more art shares and art challenges such as plein air painting, or theme-based works.

sharing portfolios

Discussing our work, the artist’s life and the joy of creation at Art Share

Marina Muze shared some lovely digitally drawn illustrations for a children’s book she is working on. She also creates murals, which weren’t as easy to transport.

Marina Muzychenko Illustrations

Digital illustrations for a children’s book by Marina Muze

Tony Brown brought in a selection of his handmade jewelry.

Tony Brown Jewelry

Jewelry by Tony Brown

Jason McPhillips brought in one of a three-panel series based on past, present and future that each incorporate the elements of black, red and white. He likes to see what impressions people bring to the piece.

Jason Past oil painting

“Past” by Jason McPhillips

talking about David's work at Art Share

Perusing Art Share’s art works

David discussed the difference between working on-screen and then printing his work out. His work is based on photo references and hand-drawn on a tablet.

David Spjut's Digital Art

Hand-drawn digital art by David

Piotr Wolodkowicz, whose work was also too big to transport, announced his upcoming gallery opening event, which will be held February 25 from 8 to 11 pm with Lewis Rice, Alan Emerson and Kathryn Gauthiers in Ravenswood through Phantom Galleries.

mingling at Art Share

Mingling at Art Share 

Sharing is daring is caring. It was a fun evening of bonding, making new connections, and being inspired and uplifted by fellow artists. I’m excited about the next event.

WIN Black History Month Innovation Panel

“There is no royal flower-strewn path to success.
And if there is, I have not found it
for if I have accomplished anything in life
it is because I have been willing to work hard.”
~Madam C.J. Walker 

It’s Black History Month in honor of which the Women’s Innovation Network will be hosting a panel discussion this Tuesday, February 21, 6 pm at International House, 1414 E. 59th St, on the University of Chicago campus. It promises to be an evening full of inspiration and empowerment. There is still time to reserve a spot via www.ladiesofwin.org.

The title of the event is: “Super Successful Black Women Entrepreneurs Share How They Did It – the Story Behind the Glory!”

“Now all we need is to continue to speak the truth fearlessly,
and we shall add to our number
those who will turn the scale to the side
of equal and full justice in all things.”
~ Lucy Stone 

Here’s the promo video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIn6n3QqF40&feature=channel_video_title

More information on the event from the WIN press release:

“Moderated by NBC TV Reporter LeeAnn Trotter, … attendees will hear success stories from an inspiring panel at this exciting event.

Panelists include: Regina Taylor, Golden Globe-winning actress and playwright; Brenda Palms Barber, social entrepreneur and founder of Sweet Beginnings; and Barbara Bates, fashion designer and a contestant on NBC’s forthcoming Fashion Star TV show.

“With this powerful event,” said Valerie Beck, president of the Women’s Innovation Network (WIN), and founder of Chicago Chocolate Tours, “we are filling an important need for education and connection, and making it fun in the process. Get ready for massive inspiration, as our panelists share the story behind the glory!”

Moderator LeeAnn Trotter is NBC’s entertainment reporter, covering everything from restaurants to celebrities to what’s happening around town. This Chicago native joined NBC in December 2005, after working at CLTV for eight years. There, she anchored the weekend news and hosted the award winning entertainment show, “Metromix: The TV Show,” which earned her a local Emmy and several nominations for Best On Camera Performance.

Panelist Regina Taylor’s career continues to evolve with exciting and challenging projects. Taylor is best known to television audiences for her role as Lilly Harper in the series “I’ll Fly Away.” She received many accolades for her performance in the show including winning a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a TV Series, an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series and two Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. Taylor was most recently seen starring in the CBS hit drama “The Unit”. She took home the NAACP Image Award for “Outstanding Actress in a Drama” for her work on the show.

Women's Innovation Network Chicago

Since becoming the North Lawndale Employment Network’s (NLEN) founding Executive Director in 1999, Panelist Brenda Palms Barber has grown the organization from two to 14 employees and has generated an annual budget of $1.9 million. A wholly owned subsidiary of NLEN, Sweet Beginnings is a transitional jobs program that provides green collar jobs to formerly incarcerated individuals, producing honey in an urban neighborhood setting, and manufacturing and marketing honey-based personal care products under the beeline® label throughout the Midwest region. Whole Foods Markets and other high-end specialty boutiques like Mark Shale are important partners and distributors of beeline products.

A contestant on NBC’s Fashion Star, which airs next month, Panelist Barbara Bates has been a designer for 25 years. Barbara’s heart and dedication to the community is as large as her designing talent. In 1999, Barbara established the Bates Foundation which donates prom gowns and tuxedos to the neediest high school students in Chicago. Barbara is also a cancer survivor who never misses an opportunity to advocate for testing to aid early detection.

The WIN Black History Month Innovation Panel will be catered by Loquacious Catering, a WIN Member. Tickets to the event are free of charge, though contributions for food and beverage may be made at $10, $15, or $25, and spots may be reserved at www.ladiesofwin.org.

An energetic and new-thinking organization, the mission of Women’s Innovation Network (WIN) is to foster massive business growth for women entrepreneurs through innovation, inclusion, and inspiration, in a positive and ethical environment.”

“I think, with never-ending gratitude,
that the young women of today do not and can never know
at what price their right to free speech and to
speak at all in public has been earned.”

~ Lucy Stone

 ADDENDUM: As of March 10, 2013, I no longer support the WIN Board and its actions. However, I do support small business, women-owned businesses, and the gracious hosts of past WIN events.

FUSE-ing

I recently attended a FUSEDChicago meeting where Janet Bloch shared tips about proposing exhibits to gallery spaces, writing artists statements and applying for grants. I met the wonderful encaustic artists whose work I had admired and scrutinized before, and was admitted into their circle as a member, yippee!

pink skies by Jenny Learner

Pink Skys and Teardrops for Raoul by Jenny Learner

The meeting was held at Zhou B Art Center, where Jenny LearnerDawn Korman and Barbette Loevy share a studio space.

Zhou B Art Center entrance 

Jenny Learner’s textural work is so inspiring (I’m keeping tabs on her spring workshops to learn more).

Pink Trees by Jenny Learner

Pink Trees by Jenny Learner 

encaustic detail by Jenny Learner and Dawn Korman

Details of Dawn Korman and Jenny Learner works

A vibrant heart by Dawn Korman.

All Better by Dawn Korman

 All Better by Dawn Korman

The third floor hallway is filled with inspiration.

hallway on 3rd floor of Zhou B Art Center

Installation by Martin Bernstein 

I used to roll my eyes when my mom would ‘drag’ us to galleries when we were kids. Now I still may not always ‘get it’, but I do have a much greater appreciation for the process of art-making, how pieces were constructed, and the message artists are trying to convey.

Zhou B Gallery’s main floor has some intriguing art work.

Blue by Injung Oh Zhoushiz
with Diamond Sale Study and The Rain

This wall is full of small music-box mechanisms that are wired to play a lovely tune. It is mesmerizing.

Movements Installation by Ethan Rose

Movements Installation by Ethan Rose

After the very candid discussion on how difficult making a living in the art world is, I left (armed with Janet’s book) wondering whether to pursue the career of a fine artist and get into galleries, or whether to become licensed like Kelly Rae Roberts and Curly Girl Design. Is it possible to have both?

Strategic Marketing Tools for Visual Artists book by Janet Bloch

I like having money. It feels good to earn money and it feels fabulous to have money. I also know that the pursuit of a six-figure salary cost me chronological time, a social life, and almost robbed me of my (mental and physical) health. Either path (or both) will require hard work, dedication and be filled with steep learning curves for me.

Snow Queen by Jenny Learner

Snow Queen by Jenny Learner
(colors better in real life)

Sassy Aphrodite’s message of being extraordinary means I don’t have to decide on one particular avenue just yet. My life has never conformed to standards, so I should not expect it to do so now.

The future will come when it is here. For now, it is enough to savor the moment, and enjoy the bliss of being in a vibrant creative community full of inspiration, aspiration, and support.

Gardening Angel by Dawn Korman

Gardening Angel by Dawn Korman

The day of love

“Do you believe in love.
Do you believe it true?”
~ Huey Lewis And The News 

Believe in love

Happy Valentine’s Day to all the lovers out there.

Love really should be celebrated every day (not just tomorrow), and the couples who do have the best relationships.

However, the most important love one can have is for oneself. Being a lover of life is a key ingredient to that.

This year, Life is my Valentine. I’m so happy with how it has treated me. It hasn’t been easy and I’ve had to work hard to be where I’m at, but overall, there is nothing I would trade because it all helped me become the person I am today. A Valentine is supposed to bring out the best in you, isn’t it?

Hearts of Wax

If you are spending the day of romance on your own, make it something lovely for you (such as R.O.C.E.). Honor the person you are, and that celebration of yourself will attract other lovely people into your life. Be your own best friend and companion. Solitude can be a wonderful way to fall in love with your soul.

true love by Maike's Marvels

Above all, never give up on love. It can be found in many forms, and doesn’t have to be manifested in a romantic relationship to exist. Sometimes life can be more fulfilling in solitude than with someone. It may take years of waiting, of trial and error, of having crushes crushed and ideals re-evaluated. But I firmly believe that what is in the heart is meant to manifest. Whatever your heart’s desire is, it will be fulfilled in due time.

I DO believe.

“Frank: What about you? Is there someone else? 
Kathleen Kelly: No. No, but… but there’s the dream of someone else.”
~ Dialogue in You’ve Got Mail

Sassy Aphrodite

“With her, beauty comes.
The winds flee before her and the storm clouds;
sweet flowers embroider the earth;
the waves of the sea laugh;
she moves in radiant light.
Without her there is no joy or loveliness anywhere.”

~Edith Hamilton, Mythology

There she is, in LOVEly company at Dick Blick Art Materials.

You can view these melancholy, humorous, inspirational and beautiful art works until March 18.

love show at Dick Blick Evanston

What I love about the Agora’s Aphrodite statue is that the sculpture has such an aura of confidence and contentment. This is a Goddess who is self-aware. She is proud and knows her place in the world. As the embodiment of love and beauty she channels that love and beauty. She has wonderful curves and embraces her femininity.

Greek mythology portrays its pantheon as very human, prone to mood swings, at times quite selfish and with extreme (often ego-driven) fluctuations in morality and its enforcement (I guess not much has changed with regard to people in power). Aphrodite was no exception.

“In later poems she is usually shown as treacherous and malicious,
exerting a deadly and destructive power over men.”

~Edith Hamilton, Mythology

Sassy Aphrodite by Maike's Marvels

That is what I like about the statue though. She is so human. Her form may be exquisite, but beauty would not be recognized without contrast, and we often have that contrast residing within ourselves.

I started my Aphrodite with a background of hearts. The wedges of those flower petal stamp pads make fun shapes. The Mini Hearts stamp from Impression Obsession added pattern. The words were written with a fountain pen ink-dispenser.

background of Sassy Aphrodite by Maike's Marvels

Then I typed words that I associate with love and a happy relationship and printed those out. They are an affirmation of self-love and the growth and joy that comes from being loved by another. I fused them onto the canvas with encaustic medium. I also added some purple I had left from the Swallowtail project.

text for Sassy Aphrodite by Maike's Marvels

“The Goddess of love and beauty, who beguiled all,
gods and men alike; the laughter-loving goddess,
who laughed sweetly or mockingly at those her wiles had conquered;
the irresistible goddess who stole away even the wits of the wise.”

~Edith Hamilton, Mythology

I used letter stamps to stamp the word aphrodite onto a sheet, along with a butterfly stamp from a bargain bin. Paper scraps were fused with a pink encaustic paint.

exquisite, elegant, extraordinary--Maike's Marvels

Exquisite, elegant and extraordinary are my words for the year.

A friend called me elegant recently, and I realized I needed to hold that thought and embrace it as I move forward. It embodies grace and luxury at the same time.

Exquisite is how I want my art to be perceived, and myself too; why not?

Extraordinary represents every day. I am no longer living a life of conformity, nor am I an ordinary person. I need to embrace that transition and the flux that comes with it.

love is within by Maike's Marvels

Because Aphrodite is so self-contained, and because not everybody (yours truly) has a partner on Valentine’s Day, I wanted to convey that one does not need someone else to have love. “Love is within” is something I hold true.

We project loveability onto others. We seek approval from the community to validate our being. But ultimately true love comes only from oneself. It is a huge burden to make another person the source of one’s self-esteem. The power you give that other person can be abused and mis-used.

Because a Goddess has a higher power, I wanted to give her a bit of an aura. The purple glow was applied with a sponge that had purple ink on it. I then ‘floated’ Sassy Aphrodite onto the collage with mounting tape.

floating aphrodite

The key is to accept oneself as one is. Aphrodite didn’t have a perfect life. She was blamed for many things. She influenced situations for better AND for worse. The love and beauty she doled out didn’t always lead to a happily ever after. There was pain, manipulation and death. But per this representation, and all the other confident hip-jutting statues of her, she owned who she was and didn’t apologize for it.

So stand tall, embrace your beauty. And love who you are.

believe you are special

You too, are exquisite, elegant and extraordinary, and you should celebrate every aspect of your uniqueness.

Boundaries at Park Schreck Gallery

In addition to the Black Cloud Art Bazaar, I also perused Park Schreck’s gallery on Friday evening. Through FUSEDChicago I had learned that encaustic artist Jane Michalski was exhibiting as part of “Boundaries” with painter Ted Stanuga.

My shyness kicked in at this gallery so I snapped shots outside but not inside. Jane Michalski’s pieces are abstract with beautiful layers of colors. She explains her process here. This exhibit ends March 12.

Boundaries at Park Schreck gallery

The acrylics were mesmerizing too, a feast of textures and vibrant colors on a very large scale. I also examined the sculptures by Brigitte Wolf  and work by Ray Becoskie in the back of the gallery.

Boundaries by Jane Michalski

In the spirit of day-to-day sign reading, I enjoyed these affirmations:

Of course my car navigated itself right in front of my biggest vice when I parked for Black Cloud:

Meanwhile, I am receiving so many lovely messages from friends and new acquaintances that my heart is soaring with joy. I had such a need for validation at the end of last month, and now it feels that even though the goals I have set aren’t quite tangible, the energy to get there has multiplied ten-thousand-fold.

It’s like I’m getting this huge shove to keep moving, and not stop to think about all the fears and downers and coulda/woulda/shouldas.

Onward and Upward, as one of my favorite entrepreneurial mentors says. 🙂

Origami Cranes on South Halsted (Black Cloud behind me)