Tuesday, June 26, 2012

"City Celebration" is in the Top 10!!

"City Celebration"
60" x 36" acrylic on canvas

Last weekend was a quiet and relaxing one for me.  I showed some property; rented out one house and continued the purging of "stuff" around the house.  Once again, I began the ambiguous dance around my paints and brushes, staring at them wistfully but not touching.  It's been over six weeks since I've picked up a paintbrush (an artist's one, that is) and I'm mystified at the creative block I've found myself in.  

Switching on the computer to check my emails, I saw a "Congratulations -- you've won!" in the headlines and almost deleted it as SPAM until I noticed the sender was Abstract Artist Gallery.  Clicking on the link, I was surprised and thrilled to see that my "City Celebration" painting had placed in the Top 10 of their International Abstract Art competition!!  You can see the list of the winners here:

I had not submitted my art to a competition before, but decided to do so because I absolutely love this site and the amazing artists whose works are featured there.  Figuring I had nothing to lose, I submitted two paintings along with my entry fee and am honored to have ranked among their Top 10 winners.  

Winning this award has given me the inspiration and energy to keep pushing through the "sludge" that my Muse is making me wade through.  I have a feeling she has something awesome in store for me, and I can't wait!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

A Note from a Mentor

One of my favorite abstract artists and most beloved workshop leaders is the talented and incredible Robert Burridge.  Besides making and teaching inspiring art in places all over the world, Bob's energy and enthusiasm is contagious and I can honestly say he played a significant role in giving me the confidence and marketing skills to make the leap from real estate developer to artist. 

When MORE Magazine printed my interview in April, I shared this fact with them and their readers.  Since the article's publication, I've received over a dozen emails from people who have also taken a "Bob" workshop and they all say the same thing -- "he's amazing!"

Last week I was thrilled to open my emails and see the following letter:

"Dear Judy,
Wow and belated congratulations!
A student of mine brought me a hard copy of the article in More Magazine. I am super proud of you and very grateful to you for mentioning me.
It's always great and satisfying to know that I have inspired others to follow their bliss. Many have inspired me to do what I do -- together we can all keep this ball rolling!
Love, Peace and Happiness.
I learned how to invite my Inner Child to come out and play at Bob's workshops and I haven't stopped since.  Every once in awhile I need Her help in coaxing our innocent imagination to the forefront of my mind but thanks to Bob, I know She's there, waiting for the tasks and worry from the day to disappear so She can pick up a brush and begin having fun.  Here's one of the paintings I created in a Burridge workshop in Mendocino!
 "Mendocino Fences"
18" x 24" acrylic on canvas
- SOLD -

Monday, June 18, 2012

I love Craigslist

Temperatures reached 105 degrees in  Sacramento this weekend, and I spent most of the time indoors, running all the fans and occasionally turning on the central air-conditioner.  It was the perfect time to continue the purging mode, and this time I concentrated on my bedroom.

In that room, I had an espresso-colored contemporary sideboard from IKEA that I used for storing my CD's, batteries, household tools, extra keys, etc.   I had used the surface for my unopened mail; books; dirty clothes and whatever else I could throw on there.

On Saturday, I determined this sideboard must go away and I called a couple people I knew to see if I could unload it on them.  No, ummmm......they didn't want anymore furniture and were in the same "simplifying" mode that I've been in.  My neighbor said Goodwill would take it, but that would mean getting this heavy thing moved, which was not high on my To-Do list. 

So--I took a couple of photos and wrote an ad to put on Craigslist.  Since I didn't want any money for it (I just wanted it gone!), I listed it in the FREE Classified section.  Within half an hour, I had 32 emailed responses, and I called the first one who left a phone number to see how soon they could pick it up.

The woman and her husband arrived within 25 minutes, and were thrilled with their new find.  I was excited about having the extra room, and the energy of the bedroom has completely shifted.  It feels lighter and cleaner and last night, I slept like a baby - something I haven't done for ages.

"Night Dreams"
- SOLD -

I know I just said this in my previous post, but seriously I really don't know how I've managed to accumulate so much stuff.  Even though I've gotten rid of SO MUCH, there is more that needs to go. 

Next purging session is my studio/office.  Even though I haven't picked up a paintbrush in weeks, my mind has been mixing colors and patterns as I've been cleaning and I can't wait to start painting again!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Clearing the Mind by Clearing the Stuff

It's been a busy month since I last posted the news about closing my studio.  June 10th was the official end date for Bell'Arte Studios and I'm finally able to relax now that everything has been moved and inventoried.   We had a final closing sale where I sold 25+ paintings and a lot of fused glass items, but even with the sale, I managed to bring home quite a few paintings and supplies.

When I found out we were closing the gallery, I was overwhelmed at the thought of taking everything down and hauling it back to my house.  I live in a small 842 square foot 2 bedroom, 1 bath home with a detached 1-car garage that is my fused glass studio.  To make a long story short -- there simply isn't room to store more stuff!!!

The news prompted me to go through my closets, drawers and rooms to eliminate what I didn't want or need to make room for the things I did want to keep.  I got rid of a complete set of dishes and silverware (when was the last time I had a sit-down dinner for 12?), 2 grocery bags of worn linens and rags that I had saved for cleaning up when making art; 4 bags of books (some that I've never read) and a ton of art supplies that were constantly staring me in the face, challenging me to stop working on my current project to go play with them.

I managed to whittle down my shoe inventory from 42 pairs to 19, and happily donated them and 7 bags of suits and business clothes to charity.  I gave away a complete set of golf clubs to a friend (I rarely play with 1 set--why was I holding onto 2??); shredded files of invoices, taxes, and bank statements from 1995 to 2007 and happily tossed the skinny jeans and clothes that I'm just not going to guilt myself over anymore.

My niece and I had a garage sale with some of the nicer items, and after 2 hours in the heat, we packed it all into the car and dumped it off at the Goodwill.  All of it.  What a good feeling it was to put that chapter behind me!!!

I'm enjoying the cleared-off tabletops and empty spaces on my bookshelves.  I can actually see all of the clothes in my closet and the shoes I have now fit on the shelves.  The energy in my home has become "lighter" and my mind chatter is becoming quieter and more thoughtful.  New ideas are starting to form and instead of feeling overwhelmed at these concepts, I'm feeling excited again.

This morning a friend of mine announced on Facebook that her daughter's school is accepting donations for an upcoming garage sale.  I sent her an email letting her know I'd have least one carload of things to donate - if I look hard enough I'll find more stuff that I don't need/want......and if we're both lucky, I may just have two.