Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Very Special Inspiration

The painted background:  acrylic on a bed sheet! After showing the clients the ‘big picture’, I cut this into 3 sections while they watched.  While I was painting the background,  they were busy sorting fabric scraps by color and cutting them into business card-sized pieces.

Adding fabrics to the tail section. Color beginning to build up. 
We’d work on the bird for 20 minutes or so every couple of weeks.

Earlier in the year I was contacted by Sher Harnish and she asked my permission for her School of Occupational Therapy to use my cardinal collage from the 2013 Lang Calendar as inspiration for a project for her clients with the early stages of Alzheimer's Disease. Of course I was more than happy to be the person she chose for artistic inspiration! 

Sher plans to enter the piece in the 2015 Dallas Quilt Show! How exciting is that for her project and her clients!

We have corresponded for the past several months as the project progressed, today she sent me the photos and a very touching e-mail, I wanted to share it with you.

Elizabeth, we had corresponded earlier in the year about Stepping Stones, our community-based socialization and activity program for persons with early stage Alzheimer’s Disease. This is a weekly program run by our Texas Woman’s University School of Occupational Therapy faculty and graduate students. We used your oriole paper collage from a 2013 calendar for our inspiration.  I thought you might like to see the final wall hanging and some pictures of the process.  The quilt is large, 76x82”, and heavy with all the acrylic paint and glue stick!  It’s been displayed at a local caregiver’s conference and currently as part of an exhibit of Memories in the Making, a watercolor painting group designed for persons with dementia.  Many of our Stepping Stones members overlapped with the Memories project.

Adding more  layers to the tail feathers.

Lots of fabric scraps, lots of layers: and a lot of glue sticks!

The process was an extraordinary experience for our participants, our volunteers and our occupational therapy students.  Several family caregivers related how much the clients enjoyed taking part in making the Cardinal, even though they may have had a hard time figuring out what it was going to eventually become!  Once they saw it in a finished form, however, they were so please with themselves and amazed at what they had accomplished.  The process of the activity was so satisfying that we’re thinking of doing another one this coming Spring semester with the group.  We mentioned your name on the quilt label as providing original picture inspiration.  I plan to enter the wall hanging in the Dallas 2015 Quilt Show in the non-juried group category.  I think the basic process of cut-n-paste to a colored background then stitching it together under the netting, is something that can be adapted to just about any group, from Alzheimer’s clients to girl scouts to church groups to summer camp.  I think fellow quilters will be interested in both the technique and the final product as well.  If we get accepted, I‘ll let you know! 

Sher Harnish, MA, OTR
Academic Fieldwork Coordinator
School of Occupational Therapy
Texas Woman's University

Early work on the mid-section.  Matching fabrics with the colors.  It was fascinating to watch as some just covered the section haphazardly, while others were so precise in their alignment or color selection.  We used glue sticks to hold things in place.

The 3 sections together spread on the floor in the early stages…a glimpse of what the final project might look like. There are still more layers to go at this stage, and some misplaced colors to be moved around.

The sections were layered over muslin backing & batting just like a regular quilt.  The edges of the 3 sections are butted together as they are rolled through a quilting machine along with a layer of bridal netting on top to hold all the loose edges down.  That’s my sister at the quilt machine stitching all the layers together. Although you can’t see much of the stitching in photographs,  there are loops and whirls and ‘feathers’ and texture  - from the back you can clearly see the cardinal and his branch!

The finished wall hanging in my backyard. The colors really sparkle in the sun.

I am honored and humbled to have been the artist chosen for inspiration in this project. To inspire others is quite a gift, and I thank the Universe for that. You just never know where art will take you.

Thank You
for being a part of
my Art Journey,


Monday, September 29, 2014

Art Retreat Fun!

Today marked the end of an AMAZING art retreat in Petaluma, CA called Art Is…YOU. This was the first time I have taught for Salianne and Ellen. In fact, this was the first time I ever heard of Art Is…YOU, but it's been going on across the US and in Australia for a number of years now. 

The event was all week long at the Sheraton Sonoma County, all the students stayed here and all the classes took place here. It was a great opportunity to meet new friends, take classes in multi disciplines, and even attend an art trunk sale. 

My class was 21 students and our room overlooked the marina

Most of the people in my class were local to the bay area, but I did have a student from the Netherlands who got the gold star for traveling the furthest. Thank you Kitty! 21 is a big group, I tried my very best to give as much individual attention as I could to each and every one. Artists of all skill levels take my class, but everyone works on the "Small Apple Exercise."

Jodi, in deep concentration

Jodi stopped me at the elevator on the day I arrived and said, "I know who you are… you are the REASON I am here!" And then she giggled "I've been stalking you on Facebook." Isn't technology amazing? Jodi did a great job with her apple collage, I was very proud of her. 

DeBi (back) has been following me on FB for years, she brought her lifelong friend Melissa to class

I had two sets of women who came to the class together, as friends. I had 21 women who made friends and left the class not only with new knowledge, but some new friends. 

Everyone was given hand-made name tags by Salianne and Ellen

Salianne and Ellen paid attention to every detail. We had morning motivators at breakfast, we had an Artist Trunk Show on Saturday night, We enjoyed lunch together. There were so many different classes here all week long, it was a lot of fun to talk to students and teachers from other classes to hear about what kind of projects they were working on. One class even made their own hats, I am sorry I could have have been a student in that one!

At the trunk show I was setup next to Stencil Girl AKA Mary Beth who was fun and friendly and even invited me to sit with her and Tonia Jenny from North Light Books at lunch today. It's always nice to be included, isn't it? :)

I had the opportunity to meet assemblage artist Michael deMeng on Saturday night who was also teaching here this week. He and his wife were both setup at the trunk show on the opposite side of my table.

Busy hands, Tammy gluing paper

In my class, we painted paper on Saturday, and glued it down on Sunday. So much paper was painted and everyone thought they had enough, but come Sunday I heard a lot of, "I don't have enough paper." Which always makes me smile, because you can NEVER have enough hand-painted paper. Tammy (above) won the door prize for saying it first. She got a signed copy of Alyson B. Stanfield's art marketing book I'd Rather Be in the Studio. 

Mateo, Annie, Tiago, and Me

I was lucky enough to have a dear friend in San Jose who picked me up from the SFO airport on Thursday and took me home and made me dinner. We visited the San Jose Art Museum and I got a tour of this town that she grew up in. Annie and I have known each other since 1990, we met in London when we were both working in the city. We have matching tattoos twice over. It was so nice to spend time with her and her family. On Friday afternoon they all drove me up to Petaluma and pointed out all the bay area highlights along the way. We got into Petaluma early evening, checked into the hotel and had dinner at Real Döner, a wonderful Turkish restaurant in town. The falafel and Baba ghanoush were to die for! Thank you Annie for your hospitality and for driving me all over... and back! 

The Small Apple Exercise in progress, by Joyce

At the end of the class, I take an hour to critique each and every apple at the front of the room so each student can learn from their classmates. Everyone tells me that the critique is extremely helpful, I think so too. 

When class was over, everyone was sad to say goodbye, but lots of folks exchanged emails and I hope they will stay in contact or even get together, since many are from right here in Northern California. 

The alcohol resist technique, the best piece of paper I made in the demo

If you are interested in a mixed media retreat that offers multiple classes and teachers, then Art Is…YOU might just be what you are after. It's not just in California either, oh no. You can find this retreat in SIX locations, Olive Branch, MS; New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, Australia; Petaluma, CA; and Stamford, CT.

Standing all day requires creative yet comfortable footwear

I certainly hope I get invited back to teach next year at this wonderful retreat, be it CA or CT or MS, and wouldn't it be amazing to be able to go to Australia to teach? 

You just never know where art will take you. 

Thank You
for being a part of
my Art Journey,


Monday, September 22, 2014

Cherie's Progress

Cherie and I at her home in a few weeks ago in September

For those of you who have been following my childhood friend Cherie's Progress since her paralyzing auto accident on 9/30/10 (four years ago this month) I have some news.

First of all, she remains to have a positive attitude. She's been having in-home therapy through the VNA association ever since she came home from Shepherd Center for Spinal Cord & Brain Injury Rehabilitation. The VNA feels as though they have brought her as far as they can, so they helped her make a video and fill out the application to attend Brooks Rehabilitation in Jacksonville, FL for a four week program of multi-disciplined intensive therapy.

If you want to make a tax deductible donation to Cherie so that she may continue to fund her progress, please visit her HelpHOPELive website for more information.

When Cherie first came home from Shepherd Center in Atlanta, GA to Vero Beach, FL, I reached out to my artist friends and asked them to make and send her cards of encouragement, to help keep her spirits up. Cherie has told me over and OVER again how much those cards meant to her, how much the kind words of strangers meant to her.

I'd like to ask you again if you would send a word of encouragement to a stranger to you, but a dear lifelong friend to me. Cherie's mother was an artist, she worked in soft pastel and was the first person to ever take me to an art museum.

Email me for the snail mailing address for notes and cards for Cherie.

Thank You
for being a part
of my Art Journey,

Sunday, September 21, 2014

An Amazing Journey-Part Eight

The Topkapi Palace Museum was stunning

This summer I had the amazing opportunity to cruise the Mediterranean with the entire extended Nelson Family. We took in some amazing art, architecture, and 3000+ years of history. Our journey will be in day-by-day blog entries.

Istanbul offered many mosques and museums featuring portraits, jewels, thrones and robes of Sultans and even a private Harem.

Part Eight/ You can follow along:
Growing Bolder Elite Blog

Thank You
for being a part
of my Art Journey,

Saturday, September 20, 2014

An Amazing Journey-Part Seven

Winding along the back streets, shopping

This summer I had the amazing opportunity to cruise the Mediterranean with the entire extended Nelson Family. We took in some amazing art, architecture, and 3000+ years of history. Our journey will be in day-by-day blog entries.

Mykonos, Greece was pristine white and blue everywhere you looked. The photos are stunning.

Part Seven/ You can follow along:
Growing Bolder Elite Blog

Thank You
for being a part
of my Art Journey,

An Amazing Journey-Part Six

The incredible Amalfi Coast of Italy

Pompeii, Naples, Sorrento, Positano, Italy

Castings of the people of Pompeii on the day time stood still

This summer I had the amazing opportunity to cruise the Mediterranean with the entire extended Nelson Family. We took in some amazing art, architecture, and 3000+ years of history. Our journey will be in day-by-day blog entries.

The Amalfi Coast showed us breath taking views and Pompeii was an amazing look into the past and a city that is frozen in time.

Part Six/ You can follow along:
Growing Bolder Elite Blog

Thank You
for being a part
of my Art Journey,

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

My Claim to Fame in Denver

Alyson B. Stanfield and Me at Rocky Mountain National Park

I know that those of you who really know me are thinking that my claim to fame in Denver MUST mean that I ran across Denver natives Big Head Todd and the Monsters in a crosswalk, or out to lunch, or in the grocery store, of at the USPS. No luck. However, I did pre-arrange to spend the day with the wonderful and amazing art marketing coach Alyson B. Stanfield of Art Biz Blog and her super friendly husband Rob. And oh! what a wonderful day we had. 

When I agreed to teach a workshop for Art Makers Denver, Alyson got wind that I was coming to town and reached out to ask me if we could meet in person after years of corresponding and even working together online. What? YOU want to meet ME? Of course I said yes right away. 

Alyson and Rob met Doug and I in their hometown of Golden, CO at the light rail station. From the minute I saw her waving at me, I knew we were going to get along just fine. Alyson and I have known each other online for several years. She has featured me on her blog as a guest blogger in an article about how I funded my ArtPrize exhibit last year. 

Before I was a guest blogger, I found my way onto Alyson's radar with some marketing techniques of my own that included baking cookies for gallerists. She featured me and my cookies (but not my secret recipe) in a 2010 article entitled Is food the way to a gallerist's heart?

As did many other professional artists, I read Alyson's marketing book for artists I'd Rather Be in the Studio from cover to cover and back again. I have dog eared pages and notes in the margin. I tell all my art friends and students that it's the art marketing bible!

Today, our first full day in Denver, was about Alyson and Rob taking Doug and I to the Rocky Mountain National Park and to lunch in the small town of Estes Park along the way. As we were driving, Alyson and I chatted a bit about art marketing. We exchanged stories of traveling to teach and how we taught back to back workshops in Amelia Island, FL one year, but never met. She told us a bit about the art marketing makeover workshop that she is hosting in her home town of Golden, coming up in November.

We stopped at her favorite home town coffee shop where she told me she wrote most of her book. She's currently working on a revised version of her book, she admitted that she should have been working instead of playing today. I guess that's part of having a flexible schedule.  The owner knew her and asked if she would have her usual. He extended a warm welcome to all of us. We took our coffee and water bottles to go and headed out of town with Rob driving their red Mountain Truck a nick name Alyson gave it to justify the dirt and dust. Who cares about housekeeping, these Floridians were headed up a mountain! As the altitude took it's toll (Doug was seeing spots), we reminded Alyson and Rob that we come from ZERO feet above sea level and now were almost at 10,000. Not to mention cracked lips and dry, swollen tongues.

Back down the mountain in Estes Park we were fortunate enough to view two elk (so big!) a few deer, and a rabbit. Alyson and Rob were happy that we were actually able to witness a small taste of the famous Estes Park elk rutting bugling ritual. Pretty cool, and very loud.

Today marked the one year anniversary of the 2013 Colorado floods, people were out and about to celebrate roads and homes being rebuilt and put back together. As a result of the crowds, Estes Park restaurants were overcrowded and under staffed. Have no fear, we decided to head out of town for lunch and took a beautiful drive back to Boulder. We decided to have our late lunch at a local watering hole with outside seating, great food, and local beer. Did you know that Colorado has over 300 days of sunshine per year? Beautiful.

Although I did not see Todd and his crew ponied up to the bar, the day could not have been better and the company could not have been more fun or accomodating. Alyson did give me a few good tips on marketing and even told me that had she not been out late the night before, her plan was to bake me cookies and bring them along! How funny. I might just have to mail her some.

An friend and fellow artist once said to me "My art has often been something that could start a conversation. Art offered me the opportunity to meet people and form friendships that without it I may have never had." Today was a perfect example of that for me.

Thank You
for being a part of my
Art Journey,


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