Monday, January 31, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award

This past weekend I received this Stylish Blogger Award from long-time blogger friend Rhonda Carpenter. Rhonda received her award from Peggy Stermer-Cox who told her that it came without strings and that she did not have to do anything but accept it, Rhonda chose to share it with me.

Rhonda wanted to share with her readers about Cherie, she told Cherie's story and about my quest for cards. Rhonda also talked about Art With Heart, my fundraising book for Cherie, and the website my husband and I put together for her family to take donations.

I'd love to ask you again to consider sending Cherie a card for her 43rd birthday which is February 2nd, Groundhog day. On this day, throughout our childhood, I called her "Hoggatha" all day. You may address your card to her this way, and she'll know I sent you!

Cherie Stannard
c/o Sue Merrick
515 11th Court
Vero Beach, FL 32962

Rhonda's card and small paining are in the mail, on their way to Vero Beach, FL where Cherie will be cared for permanently by her sister Sue and her brother Rich and their spouses. This car accident has altered all of their lives forever.

Thank you Rhonda for helping me to spread the word to YOUR readers too. We can all make a difference in our own way by opening our hearts and sharing our talent. Rhonda said it perfectly "Give love away and it will return to you ten-fold!

Rhonda, I did run my first half marathon after the age of 40! I'm currently training for an Olympic distance triathlon which will take place three days before my 43rd birthday. When I am tapped out and I think I don't have anymore gas in my tank, I think of Cherie, and I push harder, farther, than I think I can.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Fruits and Veggies

Onion Red, 8x8, collage on cradled panel, ©St.Hilaire Nelson

I posted the album on my Facebook fan page today, these 8x8's wold make great kitchen art. They were produced for giclée prints, the photos have been taken and now the original are available. These are on cradled birch panel with the paint wrapping around the 1 5/8 inch deep edges, no need for framing. They are wired and ready to hang! How about the gift of fine art this Valentine's Day?

Four of them are going to the Florida Museum for Women Artists' shop, they include the pepper, radish, banana, carrot. This beautiful museum is located in historic downtown Deland, FL.

If you are interested in purchasing any of the other originals, they are each priced at $120.
email me.

Monica Paints Milla

© 2011 Monica Dahl, sketchbook project and detail, watercolor

Yesterday I received an amazingly heart felt email from Monica Dahl who told me that she had come across Cherie's story via Kimberly Santini's blog when she did the painting of Milla, Cherie's cat. Monica wanted to do the same.

This is a watercolor study that Monica included in her sketchbook project. This little book and the portrait of Cherie's beloved cat Milla, will tour the country and be on display in five cities. Check out the project here:

Monica asked me to forward these images to Cherie, which I did through her sister Sue. I also wanted to share it with you. The kindness of strangers never ceases to amaze me. Whether it's Kim Santini mailing me palette papers I can use in my collage work, or Aurore Brunet sending me hand-painted papers, or all of you who have sent Cherie cards, notes, donations, and purchased or submitted artwork to Cherie's art book "Art With Heart" (click here to learn more about how to buy the book or donate).

Thanks Monica for sharing this with me, and with Cherie. Since Cherie just arrived home from Spinal Cord Rehab YESTERDAY, these images could not be more timely!

If you are interested in learning more about Monica's artwork, you can email her:

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Cherie's Progress

Cherie (right) and I, somewhere in Spain, 1984

Cherie is making the long trip home to Vero Beach today from Atlanta! She's all finished at Shepherd Center for spinal cord rehab. They are driving 10 hours, stopping every half hour for her to reposition. She is returning to her sister's house and I encourage anyone who'd like to send a hand-made or even a store-bought card to welcome her home! The family has used donated funds from and the book I produced, to help pay for a manual lift, installing a ramp, and widening doorways in their home.

February 2nd is Cherie's 43rd birthday, won't you consider sending her a note? I'm planning to drive down and visit her. I'm sure that embarking on this new year of her new life is overwhelming, and I know that our thoughts and cards can only help.

Thanks for caring about Cherie:

Cherie Stannard
c/o Sue Merrick
515 11th Court
Vero Beach, FL 32962

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Girl Scouts Seek Inspiration and Perspective

Our local Girl Scout Leader Sandy Bloom contacted me again this year about helping her troop earn their art badge. Last year I went to their meeting, this year they came to my studio.

The girls were excited about my studio space, I heard a lot of "this is so cool" and "I want a room like this" and "I love to draw!" I told them the story of how the studio was a shed and that my brother and I built it together from the ground up on the old concrete slab.

We talked about art licensing, I showed them canvas print reproductions as well as my art on Flashbags. We talked about the fact that all the graphics and patterns on their shirts were designed by artists, the girls went on to other examples like wallpaper and fabric and books. I am always so happy to inspire kids about a career as an artist. When they come and see my studio and then I point out to them the addition on my home that is our graphic design office, I think it helps them to see that art can be a successful and fun career.

Then we talked about deadlines and pressure to be creative even when you don't want to, and juggling work and a family and how work comes and goes when you are self employed. A little reality never hurts! I reminded that that art is a job just like any other.

In the end I gave them some one-point and two-point perspective, this was part of their badge requirements. Overall, I hope the visit to my studio gave the girls a little MORE perspective than just about the vanishing points!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

"Fine Feathers" a stop action animation

My husband Doug Nelson is a photographer and all around technical master mind. Lately he's been experimenting with stop-action animation and decided to set up a camera that would automatically click a digital image every 20 seconds in my studio. The result was 1300 photos shot in about a 7+ hour timeframe. As I worked on Fine Feathers in the studio, the camera clicked away. He later took the photos into his MAC and put them together in Final Cut Express where he also added the acoustic guitar solo by Jon Liebing entitled "Red." Jon grew up around the corner from and attended school with my London roommate Suzanne Miazga who died in the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 in 1988. I met Jon after the plane crash when I was visiting her family in upstate New York. I mention this because it is amazing how one event can change your whole life even 23 years later. Jon sent me his CD about two weeks ago and I listened to it while I was working on and filming the progression of this art! (hear more of Jon's original music here) If you have not yet seen my story on how these events changed my life, check it out on Growing Bolder!

Being a first attempt, Doug was not totally happy with the way the light of day dramatically changes the light on the artwork throughout the day. I have windows on every wall of my studio space and despite the fact that I had lights on in the studio, you can see it get much darker as the day progresses. Next time he plans to cover the windows and work solely with artificial controlled light balance.

I'm super happy with the results, I think it's a neat and interesting way to show the process from start to finish of this piece which is now on display at the Grand Bohemian Gallery Downtown Orlando. You can see the images of sketch, underpainting and finished collage in this previous post.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Artists Wanted

Artists Wanted is a collaborative project between several New York City artists and creative organizations working to build new lasting opportunities for emerging talent. We have experienced first hand the difficulties in breaking into the professional art world and it is our mission to make this process more welcoming, dynamic and open-ended.

Please check out my portfolio

The portfolio with the highest of the number of votes and star rating will win the People's Choice Award and receive a $2,000 cash grant and an online feature of my work!

Fine Feathers

To create this extreme horizontal format my husband attached a 20x24 and a 16x20 set of American Easel Wood Painting Panels together for me. He use wood filler to smooth the surface on the front and used both screws and glue to adhere the panels together.

After the sketch was completed and the wood was primed, I completed an under-painting as I always do. I posted the underpainting to my Facebook fan page and had a couple of people ask why I would want to cover the painting with paper, because it was already so nice! I appreciated these compliments, but I try never to fall in love with my under-painting for just this reason.

"Fine Feathers", 20x40, collage of hand painted papers on cradled wood panel

Upon close examination of the final piece, I'm sure you will agree that covering the under-painting with my collage technique was still the way to go! I delivered this piece to the Grand Bohemian Gallery in Downtown Orlando and they are quite pleased with it. If you live locally, you can go downtown and see it in person!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Caramel goes to a good home

Lucy naps with her reindeer

Angie B. was taken with Caramel and purchased my Paper Painting by the end of the day yesterday. I asked her if she had a golden retriever or yellow lab, since she was so excited about the piece. "Yes I do and her name is Lucy!" Angie told me, and she sent me this photo. 

Thank you Angie for your purchase of Caramel, I hope it will bring you almost as much joy as Lucy does.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

New Work - Caramel and Co.

Caramel, 12x16, collage of hand-painted papers on cradled panel

Over the holidays I worked on four 12x16 dog collages and Caramel is my favorite. Do you think it's any coincidence that it's the last one I did? Do you think that once you get yourself into a good groove with your art that you really do your best work?

Yorkie, 12x16, collage of hand-painted papers on cradled panel

Chi Hua Hua, 12x16, collage of hand-painted papers on cradled panel

Shih Tzu, 16x12, collage of hand-painted papers on cradled pane

Now that I've I just entered the "good dog" groove, I'm moving on from dogs to another big peacock (you can see the sketch on my Facebook fan page) because I have a short attention span and I'm all dogged out. Do any of you experience short attention span with your art? do you feel the need to jump around just to keep yourself from going crazy? I sure do. But short attention span also means that I never sit still, or if I am sitting still, I'm not idol (Yorkie was created while I was a passenger in the car on our holiday road trip. Shih Tzu was created in the hotel room on the same trip). I just have to be doing something at all times, the key is to learn how to make your shortcomings work for you and not against you. I use my restlessness as motivation toward being a prolific artist.

So I've moved on to peacocks again, another favorite subject of mine. This time I'm working on a 20x40 piece, a very extreme horizontal format.

In Addition to Art

Spring is coming and that means Triathlon Season! I have started my training regimen (four months to prepare for May 8) and have committed to start the season off with the Danskin Women's Triathlon, which was my first triathlon ever. This will be my third time competing in this race which takes place at Disney World in Orlando, FL.

If you have ever thought about trying Triathlon, this race is amazing! First, it's all women (so I guess that means it's amazing for you if you are a female!) Second, it's all levels of fitness, from folks who don't even exercise, to elite pro athletes! Third, a portion of the proceeds go to breast cancer, cancer survivors participate in the race. How cool is that?

Look them up online, they are all over the country!

Pier One Imports

Love, Dream, Laugh, 12x20, collage of hand-painted papers

Pier One Imports has accepted these inspirational patterned pieces for their 2011 print collection. Be sure to let me know where you spot them! I'm super excited about this opportunity and hope to hear from you when you come across them in your neck of the woods!

After putting together the images for Pier One digitally, I cut the 12x24's in half to create brown barn-wood framed original 12x12's, currently featured in the Grand Bohemian Gallery in Asheville, NC and Orlando, FL.

Atlanta Collage Society Show

Ferst Center for the Arts at Georgia Tech

I am in good company in the Atlanta Collage Society Show at Ferst Center for the Arts in the heart of Atlanta, GA. I have been a member of the Atlanta Collage Society for over a year now and have to say that they show in some fantastic venues!

Last year the ACS afforded me the opportunity to show at the Quinlan Visuals Arts Center in Gainesville, GA where I am scheduled to present a workshop this year.

Undulation and Syncopation, 20x20, collage of hand-made papers

The ACS is a wonderful group of diverse collage artists from the Atlanta area, but their reach is broadening. There had been some talk of them becoming a South East Collage Society, I'm not sure if that will come through, but you do not have to reside in Atlanta, or GA to be a member of this group.

I am also a member of the National Collage Society which has members from around the world. This year I was accepted for the second time into their Annual Juried Exhibition, quite an accomplishment! This means that I am 2/3 of the way toward earning my "Signature Member Status." The NCS only accepts about 20% of submissions each year for this show. 

The Annual Postcard Exhibit showcases 4x6 pieces from EVERY member who submits, if you want an opportunity to hang your work with other collage artists! Both of these Collage Societies are worth looking into if you are interested in collage art.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Cherie's Progress

Cherie in her room at Shepherd Center in December
It's been a while since I noted Cherie's progress and I wanted to let you all know that her time at the Shepherd Center for Spinal Cord Rehabilitation in Atlanta has been extended! Her original discharge date was January 13, but they have given her another week, now she will discharge on January 19 and hopefully continue to receive outpatient services after that, until the end of the month.

Since Cherie has no health insurance and the rehab is being paid by Medicaid, we are all very happy and thankful for this extra time she has to perfect her skills with adaptive equipment. When I was there she told me that she was learning to operate the computer completely by voice, with Dragon software. She was also learning to control her electric wheelchair with "sip and puff" technology. Basically, since she is paralyzed from the shoulders down, all adaptive equipment utilizes "sip and puff" which is basically using a tube positioned near her mouth at all times, to blow or inhale, as a controller for highly specialized equipment.

Cherie maintains a positive attitude, she has made friends with another patient across the hall from her and now has someone to talk to and share down-time with. Her sister told me that they all enjoyed Christmas dinner in Cherie's room. It snowed in Atlanta this Christmas, I think it was the first time it did that in about 100 years! Maybe this is a sign of very special things to come for Cherie.

I wanted also to report that my fundraising book Art with Heart has raised over $500 to date for Cherie's family, which they are utilizing to convert her sister's home to accommodate Cherie, building ramps and widening doorways. The biggest expense they face is a customized van, the expense of this is overwhelming.


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Vadim Bora Legacy

Playful cat public sculpture, one of many by Bora in Asheville, NC

Vadim Bora, husband of my friend and Grand Bohemian Gallery director Constance Richards, passed away this week. My heart goes out to Constance, she did a wonderful job on Asheville TV, speaking of her husband's incredible artistic accomplishments.

read more about his work in my previous post

You can see Constance in the Asheville TV news story here:
WLOS ABC 13 News :: Top Stories - Vadim Bora Legacy

Friday, January 7, 2011


I just added a new workshop at Village Gallery and Framing in Orange Park, FL. If you are interested in spending 2-3-4 days learning the art of collage, keep checking the right hand sidebar of this blog for an ongoing list of workshops near you!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Sweet Savannah

SCAD Graphic Design and Admissions Bldg. makes me want to go back to art school!

We left home on December 27 from just North of Orlando, FL. My husband and my two kids and I drove to up MA to visit my family for three days. After sledding and enjoying the snow (and food) in Western Massachusetts, we headed over to Northern New Jersey to visit my husband's family. After visiting NYC and getting over the novelty of snow and cold, we headed back home to the South.

Grand Bohemian Gallery at the Mansion on Forsyth Park, not to be missed on your trip to Savannah

Today we arrived in Savannah, GA. We wanted to stop here before our last four hours to Orlando so that we could stay at the NEW Kessler boutique hotel Bohemian Savannah Riverfront. Since Kessler hotel's Grand Bohemian Gallery represent my collage work, I wanted to visit the NEW Savannah property and go over to the Mansion on Forsyth Park to introduce myself to new Gallery director Sasha Nikulina. Sasha recognized me right away when we walked into the gallery, what a warm welcome!

Espresso Gallery, coffee, art, and very cool light fixtures

Walking around Savannah with the kids was a lot of fun. In a city that is host to such a school as Savannah College of Art and Design, you know I could replenish my collage glue! After having an AMAZING lunch at Kayak Kafe on Broughton Street, we ventured across the street to Primary Art Supply. Are you kidding? This is like a candy store for me and I wanted to just get glue but my husband was right, I HAD to look around.

TWO levels! All the SCAD students are shopping here with their class lists, reminds me of my freshman year at SU

Behold the paper selection!

Connor chooses a glittery version of printed floral, My husband Doug gets a kick out of his excitement.

Connor found the art papers selection and helped me pick out a few glittery sheets, he's always one for the BLING when it comes to paper. This place had a huge selection of art papers and I gathered a big pile of paper, in addition to my glue for the 4-hour road trip home tomorrow.

Savannah Candy Company, Connor and Emilie were in heaven!

After dragging the kids around the art supply, I had to take them to the Savannah Candy Kitchen to sample their famous pralines, buy some chocolate covered marshmallows and chocolate bark. Mmmmmmm, sugar.

View from our balcony, watching cargo ships head down the river from the port.

Back at the Bohemian Savannah Riverfront Hotel, we loved the lobby, the room, the rooftop bar and The Rocks On The River Restaurant for dinner. The restaurant offered amazing interior design, original artwork, excellent service, and a diverse menu. We thoroughly enjoyed our dinner.

I love Savannah and I'm super lucky to be represented by the Grand Bohemian Gallery here. It was great to meet Sasha in person and to share the experience with my family. Tomorrow we head out for Orlando. Since we only drove two hours today, I made minimal progress on my Yorkie collage. Tomorrow I might get close to finishing that piece now that I have more glue!

Yorkie, 12x16, cradled birch panel, in progress