Mutt Lynch Winery "Rusty" 2008
©Kimberly Kelly Santini
With an Open Mind, Open Heart, and Open HandsLast week I had the pleasure of a long overdue visit from friend and fellow artist Kimberly Kelly Santini. Now Kim will tell you that the pleasure was all hers, as she came to Sunny Orlando, FL from Almost Canada, MI. We had an amazing week, packed with fun, lots of rain, and some sun. When it was time to bring her back to the airport, I just kept saying "Can't you stay longer? I have so much more I want to show you!"
Me: OMG What's THAT?
Kim: Um, That's your finger.
Open Your Hands - GenerosityMy DVD and Book and workshops have been my way to open my hands and share my papers, my knowledge, my techniques and experiences with others. I hand over what I know and have gleaned from other artists in these publications. Fellow artists have shared with me, and I share with others. This is good karma, it comes back to you two-fold. Sharing with other artists will actually help you to learn and grow, reaching new heights in your work and on a personal level. Nothing compares to the appreciation of others when you teach them something new.
For those of you who don't know, I met Kim right here on this blog in 2010. One morning I was catching up with email over coffee and my iPad when I noticed an email from someone with whom I was unfamiliar. She introduced herself, admitted she had stalked this blog but NEVER commented. She went on to say that she was toasting me with her OJ that morning, because she had used the techniques she had gleaned from my DVD and book to create "Rusty" a dog portrait which had won first place and the honor of donning a Mutt Lynch wine bottle label that year. Sweet, love winning, but more importantly.... "you stalked this blog for years and NEVER made a comment?" That's just wrong.
P!NK in concert in Orlando, you don't get any closer than the PIT!
Me: This was going to be a surprise but you can't leave the pit once you're in and I figured you might have to pee first.
Kim: What? Are you kidding me? And yeah, I gotta pee.
Kim, My crazy teenage daughter Emilie, and Yours Truly at the concert
Emilie: My mom and her friends are so cool
(that may have been taken out of context)
One email lead to another, one text lead to another, one phone call lead to another, and good karma brought me an amazing friend who I was lucky enough to spend last week with. We took in a LOT in a few days, and we had a ton of laughs. At the P!NK concert, we laughed SO HARD when I couldn't figure out WHAT was over the lens of my fancy iPhone camera. (Kim says she's never been photographed as much as she has been with me) Turns out it was my finger. Thanks Kim. We are still laughing about that.
Kim has opened her hands to share marketing tips with me, to trade a painting with me, and to help me through a few artistic dilemmas along the way. "Um, is this too colorful? have I gone over the top? I mean he's supposed to be a BLACK turtle and he's now PURPLE!" Kim, the voice of reason, gave me advice and talked me down from the ledge of the varnish table.
L to R Kim, Robin Maria Pedrero, Yours Truly
In my studio, painting together
Robin at the varnish table, she works flat
Kim at the table top easel on my fancy new countertops
Kim simultaneously painting and blogging
Me being impressed with her multitasking
Open Your Heart - FriendshipAs artists, our daily painting is a solitary pursuit. We are in the studio alone, we don't talk to anyone while we work, there is no water cooler to stand around and gossip about the weekend with co-workers on Monday morning. A good friend, and especially a good artist friend, can really warm the heart of a solitary painter. She can relate to your struggles with commissions, your challenges in capturing a likeness, and your obsession with keeping it fresh.
Kim and I have become fast friends since 2008. Orlando artist Robin Maria Pedrero and I met at Gallery on First when I was dropping off work one day a few years before that. She came running out of her studio and said "Hey! I've always wanted to meet you." And we've shared many a lunch, glass of wine, and even exhibited together (twice) since that day.
It was wonderful for me to be able to introduce Robin to Kim, as they too had come together online via Yours Truly. Robin drove a long way up from south Orlando to come and spend the day painting with us in my north of Orlando studio. ALL the way out of her zip code, that means a lot to me. After all, I have a 3-mile radius.
Kim, "I have no upper body strength" paddling away from alligators
along the Wekiva River and 3-miles from my house (well within my radius)
Open Your Mind - Life is a JourneyYou never know where life is going to take you, but you can't get on that train if you don't have an open mind. I mean really, "The Polar Express," people!
"When was the last time you did something for the first time?" I saw that quote embroidered on a pillow at an antique shop in Upstate NY last summer and it really resonated with me.
Last year I was contacted by the Traverse City Art Center and asked to teach there. My geography stinks and I'm usually too lazy to look things up. So I called Kim, "how far is Traverse City from Almost Canada?" Basically she said "I'll pick you up at the airport and we'll drive up together." We did, and she took my class to boot. That was the first time we met in person.
I told kim she could bunk with me while we were in TC. She told me I should not agree to share a room with a total stranger, and that she might murder me in my sleep. I assured her that I'd probably be able to over power her, or get to her first.
Agreeing to spend that weekend together in person was a leap of faith and that leap required an open mind... and a little bit of a death wish, after her threatening me and all.
Learning Something NewWhat experiences have you had in this journey of life because you have been wiling to take a walk outside your comfort zone? Sometimes that includes taking an art class in a medium your not familiar with. Like art journalling. I was way out of my element at Kim's class she taught here in Orlando at the Craft Shack, but boy am I happy with the journal I made! And it was super nice to be a student for a change.
Kim, Yours Truly, and Maggie Weakly, a wonderful woman I also met online, who took my Craft Shack 3-day workshop and then came back for Kim's journalling class. Of course they met online too!
Inside the Craft Shack, my new favorite place to teach
probably because it's within my 3-mile radius, despite being OUT of my zip code
My handiwork with stencils and magazine letters
Open to Inspiration
Speaking of something new, we took a road trip to the Salvador Dalí museum in St. Petersburg while Kim was here. What an amazing collection of work in a visually and architecturally stunning building. I love visiting museums and galleries because at the end of the day, my mind is typically whizzing and whirling with ideas and possibility. I'm very motivated and inspired by other artists.
Geodesic glass dome combined with concrete, amazing architecture
A Wishing Tree in the garden of the Dalí Museum.
Patrons remove their admission wrist bands,
write a wish upon them, and tie them to the tree.
My Wish: A Longer Journey