What’s in my heart…

Today my heart is heavy…

as it is the anniversary of my dad’s death.  2 yrs ago today he passed, in one sense I can’t believe it’s been 2 years and in some aspects it seems like it’s been a lot longer.

I was on the fence on whether or not I would do a post on this.  I have been struggling this week, well if I’m being honest I’ve been struggling for about a month now – since mid-March.  That was when it all started – he got sick we found out he didn’t have long to live and 5 weeks and 2 days later he was gone.  But it didn’t happen quite that simple.  There was sooooo much turmoil.  My mom has dementia and so trying to handle her, and help take care of my dad was mind blowing exhausting.

At the time I just did it, I didn’t think, I immediately jumped back into my role of caretaker and just did what needed to be done.  My mom mostly wanted me (I have been the one she has leaned on a lot when was growing up and a young adult) so whenever one of my brothers couldn’t handle her I got a call to take over.  My sisters were all at a distance and did not partake in the care taking, they came to visit and left.  Not that it mattered because again my mom wanted me and you can’t reason with someone who has dementia no matter how hard you try.  Not her fault her whole world was being turned upside down.

The last night was the worst. My dad was really bad couldn’t walk or get out of bed, was constantly choking and throwing up fluid and my mom was just off the wall because with dementia you need routine and well she was not getting it.  It was not her fault but it was a nightmare.  My one brother was staying over night with me that night.  I don’t even know what time it got to because 1 hour seemed like it lasted the whole night.  It was constant go upstairs because my mom wanted to go to bed, run down stairs bc my dad is choking – ugh.  The details are unimportant at this point it just seemed like time drug on and on.  I will say that my brother who was with me – one that the family does not look highly upon for stupid judgmental reasons was a ROCK that night.  He helped me with my dad and handled my mom like a pro, so much love and compassion and tenderness.  I thank God he was there with me!

You know how when 2 people share an unbelievable traumatic experience it bonds you – like forever because you were both there, you lived it together – well that’s us!

The ironic thing about my dads death is that even though we were never close it’s hard, it’s sad, it’s all those feelings all over again from 2 years ago.  As I write this I am not looking for sympathy I am just sharing my story, and that if you have a loved one who’s “death” anniversary comes up and you are all kinds of emotions and sadness – I get you!  Mostly I would like to share a few pics of my dad with all of you and to have them on here as a memory. Although he was not the greatest dad, I loved him, he was my dad.

This was an old painting done of my dad when he was in the Air Force.

Me with my parents at my brother’s house probably about 6 years ago.

This is almost my whole family one sister is missing in this photo 

I thought you would all enjoy this throw back to when Elias was just 5 months old – I was 20 Yes I had long hair and a bit of an 80s style haha – don’t judge

This is a photo of my parents at my first wedding – yes they are a little bit country for sure! 🙂

This song reminds me of my parents so much, I wanted to share it with all of you.  They were married for 60 years.  I would not say it was 60 years of bliss but I know that in their own ways they loved each other.  They both came to their partnership with their own baggage and sometimes people never learn to unload it and get over it.

and a photo of my mom and I the week after my dad passed.  This is the last photo I have at their home – the home I grew up in.  Yes she is drinking Starbucks with a ton of sugar haha – it became my ritual in the morning after my dad passed ….stop and grab us both coffee at Starbucks before I headed to her house.

A life time of memories with my dad ended for me at the age of 43 – seems too young to lose a parent, but when you are the youngest of a large family you get the least amount of time with your parents.

Thank you dear friends for once again allowing me to share my life with you, and for taking your precious time to spend with me.   xxoo- Sherry

My Journey Continues + New Video

Hi Friends,

So I had a really deep / strong awakening the other day.  It was so enlightening and so beautiful that I really wanted to share it here with all of you.

If you are not interested in reading about my journey you can scroll to the bottom where I have a fun creative video tutorial for all of you. 🙂

I am currently taking a class that helps you find and connect with your Animal Spirit Guides, in addition to working with my Spiritual mentor I have come to know that Swan, as I mentioned before is one of my Power Animals as well as Bunny.

Up until a couple days ago when I was working with my oracle cards I still didn’t know why either of my Spirit Animals were with me, what messages they might have for me or guidance they might give.

So when I was using my oracle cards and had a realization that the Swan was here to help me mourn my loss of innocence as a child and my loss of my childhood.  Growing up how I did, created a situation where I really lost my innocence very young. Below is the deck and the Swan Card from the Deck that I was using.  Until this moment I had not really a great connection with this deck, I loved the imagery but never really connected to the meaning written on the cards.

After my latest class in my Spirit Animal Journey I realized that Swan is here to protect me.   I went into to the meditation and actually was asking Bunny what message he had for me. It started out with visions of sitting on the grass when I was a child, it was sunny and the grass was soft and warm.  There were daisies all around and I worn a crown of daisies (not sure where that came from as I never have worn any flower crown), but I did used to pick daisies in the field by our house, they grew wild there and there are lots of them.  

Swan came up behind me and wrapped her wings around me as if in a hug from behind.  It was then with my eyes closed in meditation that the tears started to flow.  As I laid down on the grass Swan sat beside me and spoke to me. She said “I’ve always been here you just didn’t know it. I have been here protecting you since you were young. You have a special journey in this life to help others and I am here to be with you to protect you and so you are never alone”.  At this point tears were just pouring down my face. – now at this point even though all this is happening I’m still thinking “Bunny what is the message you have for me”

Swan continued to comfort me and even though I didn’t want to leave that spot we got up and went into the woods I sat on a log of a tree. Bunny showed up, he let me pet him.  I continued to ask the bunny what his message was for me. I did not get an answer, he just sat there looking at me.

The swan gave me a hug and then offered me a small branch,  she said you are someone who needs something physical to remind you I’m here when you need me. Take this, put it in your medicine pouch so you remember to call on me when you are in need. She hugged me good by and I begged her not to go.  

I allowed myself to cry healing tears when the journey was finished.  As I went about my day I hadn’t really thought much more about my experience as it’s been a hectic day.  As I was outside taking Luna to the bathroom I looked down and, right in my front yard was the branch that the Swan had given to me.  It doesn’t look like much but in my vision it was just like this with that little knot and most of the bark taken off it.

I never got the message I was looking for from Bunny but I suspect that Swan believed I’d had enough for one journey. 

I know to some this story may seem a bit far fetched but I kid you not this is just how it happened.  I took a few minutes to write it down after it happened so that I would remember the details.  I truly believe that if you open yourself up to the healing your heart and soul needs that it will come to you, even if it’s not exactly how you expect it.  I feel strongly on documenting my journey here and I cherish each and everyone of you who has decided to come along for the ride.  Having so many of you in my corner really feels amazing and I appreciate each and everyone of you!!!

Now for some creative fun

This video comes from a place in my heart that I feel strongly about.  So very many people do not want to write or draw in their art journals – lest they “ruin” them.  I’m here to tell you that you most certainly should be writing and drawing in your art journals.  Art journals are personal they are a piece of our own journey sometimes the journey is just in art and that’s ok but you should put your signature on it.  Write a quote, add some marks, create some doodles, you get the idea.  I am here to share with you a couple very simple line drawings that you can add to your art journals to give them that personal touch.

I hope you enjoy todays tutorial and if you did be sure to leave me a comment, subscribe to my channel and if you give this a try tag me on social media so I can see your beautiful artwork. 🙂

Look for another fun video next week on how to enhance your art journals.

Thanks for sharing your time with me today my friends!  Have an amazing evening!

xxoo – Sherry

It’s Time for another Artist Feature

Hi Friends today I would like to Introduce you all to a wonderful Artist I admire Meg Smiley.  I met Meg Smiley on Instagram when I saw her beautiful and adorable animal paintings and was drawn in by her infectious positive attitude and smiling personality.

Please share little about yourself:

Hello! My name is Meg Smiley yes, “Smiley” is my real name, courtesy of my husband!  I lived in southern California until I was 18 ,but have since lived in three different states: Iowa, Pennsylvania, currently New York). I got started in art at a very young age– I honestly can’t remember when because I haven’t stopped drawing since I could hold a pencil. I never really considered that art could lead to a job growing up, so my first actual “art class” was a beginner’s course in high school. Thanks to my teacher’s encouragement, I decided to major in Graphic Design in college. I worked as a full-time Graphic Designer up until a year ago, when I had to quit my job due to an increasingly painful chronic health condition (called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome or EDS). A few months after that is when I finally self-published my first children’s book. It’s been a wild ride but a very rewarding one as well.

What got you started in children’s books

About three years ago now, while I was still working full-time, I decided to participate in a side project to take my mind off work. This project was an Instagram challenge called the “The 100 Days Project,” and is still hosted yearly (I believe) by “The Great Discontent.” It encourages creatives of all kinds to make something (anything) for 100 days, and post their daily progress using #The100DaysProject. I wanted to teach myself how to use acrylic paint, so I decided to go for it, and almost immediately fell in love with the medium. My favorite subjects to paint, I discovered, were whimsical, colorful animals! I painted a peacock first, then a friendly but magnificent lion with a fiery, curly mane, and I just didn’t want to stop. I didn’t have an “art” or “business” account in Instagram, but I gained followers who were also participating in the project, and they started cheering me on every day!

After I had painted 10 animals, I knew I wanted to make a book. I had dreamt of writing and illustrating my own children’s book since I was a child because I love to write silly stories as well! A couple of years passed before I could finish the book because of stressful life circumstances. My husband and I moved to New York for his doctorate program, and I was just trying to keep up with work while my EDS symptoms grew worse. After I quit my job a year ago, however, I finally finished and self-published “Animals Under the Bed!” It has easily been the most rewarding personal project I’ve ever done and inspired me to start a business as well called:  Phigment Design Studio.

Please share 2 of your favorite pieces of art and tell us a little about them:

This is the mom and baby elephant painting from my children’s book, “Animals Under the Bed!” This is one of my favorite paintings, partially because it took me the longest to paint! However, I also love the sentiment behind this piece. Growing up, I was blessed with parents who encouraged my love for art and my free-spirited nature. They celebrated the fact that I colored my trees purple, drew my flowers taller than my people, and gave my people heart-shaped heads! The elephants spread in “Animals Under the Bed!” is all about the joy, silliness, and fun that parents share with their kids, which is something from my childhood that I will always be thankful for.

This painting also from my book, was originally painted for my husband in 2017 as a Valentine’s Day gift. This piece is significant to me for a few reasons. Only a few months after we got married, my husband was in a job interview and they asked him what animal he would be and why. He thought it was a strange question, but he immediately said: “Definitely a penguin. -Because i just got married and they mate for life.” I thought it was so funny that he came up with that on the fly! And then I thought it was adorable, of course, so we’ve been “penguins” ever since.  This might sound silly, but I also love this painting because penguins endure a lot of hardship to take care of their mates. Since my husband and I have been married, almost 6 years, we have moved across the country twice and been through some hugely stressful circumstances including grad school programs, chronic illness, job loss, and more). However, we have still managed to take care of each other through it all and I have never been more thankful.

I would love for you to share your website with all of us:

At my website, www.animalsunderthebed.com, you can learn more about the making of my children’s book, “Animals Under the Bed!” and purchase signed copies of the book, painting prints, mugs, and greeting cards. I also JUST started a blog all about my self-publishing process there! Several of my followers have asked me for self-publishing tips, so I am gladly sharing what I have learned.

Where can we find and connect with you on social media:

I’d love to connect with you on Instagram (www.instagram.com/phigment_design_studio/) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/PhigmentDesignStudio/)! Here’s what you can expect from my posts:

Honest, heartfelt sharing: there is too much “fake” on social media, so one of my goals is to be real, vulnerable, and “human” so that I can genuinely connect with and encourage others. – Art inspiration and new paintings: Most of my inspiration comes from my faith, my marriage, or my honest life struggles!

Share something that many may not know about you:

I live in a 250 sq. ft. apartment with my husband and dog, which is certainly an adventure lol!

Any last words or advice for my readers:

Here is my “in-a-nutshell” advice to you, inspired by my life experience so far:

Never underestimate what you can learn, accomplish, and get through in life with God’s help, motivation, and willingness to learn! You are never “stuck” where you are in life. There are always new opportunities for change around the corner, even when you can’t see them yet. – Meg Smiley

Thank you so very much Meg for sharing your art and your heart with myself and my readers today!

Thank you friends for joining me for another Artist Who Inspires me feature!

xxoo – Sherry

Where the hell have I been? +New Video

Hi Friends,

I know I have been away from all of you for awhile now.  After getting sick in January things have been a bit hectic but even more so I have felt it really time for me to take sometime to myself.  During this time a lot has happened to me.  It has really been an intense time of grieving and healing for me.  I do still have a long way to go but many things have healed for me which has made me feel a bit lighter and happier.  I know that grieving is a process and I am trying to allow myself kindness, patience and love while I go through this process.

I am currently working on finding my animal spirit guides to help me though this process and to have beside me in my life.  I have taken on a Spiritual Mentor which has been such an eye opening experience and so very helpful to me on this journey.  My heart has called for me to take this journey to heal, not just current wounds but many from the past as well.  And while doing all of this “internal” work is not glorious and beautiful the end result has been a happier more peaceful life.

The swan is one of my spirit animals.  On a chilly afternoon walking at the park with Luna I saw one of the swans that I usually only see in the fall, out there swimming in the lake

I have also had such a strong pull to create.  I have been creating from my heart and what it desires and craves.  I realized that although I enjoyed my time on various creative teams it was not allowing me to create for me, to create because my heart and soul are yearning for it, create for none other than the pleasure or to get my feelings & emotions down on paper.  This year I have choose not to re-sign up for the teams that I was on or to try out for any new teams.  This year I will be strictly creating what comes from my heart.

I created a bunch of these soul cards made with magazine snippets and a bit of watercolor and ink

I was thinking of creating a youtube video on how I created my soul cards – let me know in the comments if this is something that you would be interested in seeing a tutorial on. 🙂

Some of my art work created during my spiritual journey:  Earth Goddess, Feather, Spirit Owl and Spirit Deer.  The owl and the Goddess came from a class with Micki Wilde, although if you go back and look at her samples mine are quite different as I like to create my own take on my paintings even if it’s coming from a class.

Along with Animal Spirit Guides I have been learning to work with the Goddesses as well.  Below I created this art tag of Kali – it was inspired by a Goddess Deck that I own.  She is the destroyer of all things that are no longer serving you.  She is strong and bad ass and doesn’t take any crap from anyone.  She is someone I need in my corner as I’m not all that great at times at standing up for myself.  She has been walking with me on this journey and given me strength when I feel weak.

Below meet the Goddess of Darkness.  She is my latest work and right now the one I am most in love with and drawn to.  It took me a couple weeks to finish her.  She appeared to me in a dream.  At the time I started to create her I was not sure who she was, as she slowly unfolded and I finished her I then realized that She was the Goddess of Darkness.  She is a healer of the darkness inside of you.  She will be your strength when you feel that the darkness may swallow you up.  It is so amazing to me that when you open  yourself up to this intuitive nature and allow the light in that there are so many ways the universe has to offer you strength and guidance.

There was a period of time in the middle of last year that I thought the darkness might swallow me up.  I felt it slowly creeping up inside of me consuming me a little bit at at time. The Goddess of Darkness has come to pull me out of the darkness and has shined her light on my heart and is helping me restore myself back to the loving person I have always been.  For that I am forever grateful!

I realize this was quite a deep post but one thing I have to always be is honest to myself and to all of you.  My art comes from my heart and I may not always be on the same journey year after year but one thing with remain constant with me and that is my integrity and honesty and my belief that art heals and brings people into your life that you need.

I do have a video I created for some fun inspiration that I wanted to share with all of you.  This video will show you how I used some ephemera in my stash from Tiare Smith Designs to create this 2 page art journal spread.

Hope you all enjoy and thank you dear friends for sharing you time with me today!! xxoo – Sherry

 

Looking for a boost of inspiration?

 

Hi Creative Friends and Happy Friday!

Those who know me and have taken my class in Hacking the ColorWheel Session 1 (which is still available and you can check it out here )know that I just love MOOD BOARDS.  I have a Pinterest board dedicated to just mood boards here , I am not sure why I am so drawn to them but when I start looking at them it’s like I can’t stop.  I guess it’s because they do “create” a mood and feeling that stirs inside of me and it’s almost euphoric!  So In December I shared the first Mood Board that I actually created and you can see that in my post here– it had all the makings of feeling cozy, festive and holiday-ish with a little bit of a romantic feel.  – at least when I was putting it together those are some of the moods / feelings that came up for me.

So today for a bit of inspiration I have created another “mood board” that I want to share with all of you.  But first I would like you to just grab a piece of paper and a pen.  Now when you see the mood board don’t over think it just write down the first things that come to your mind. Itcan be anything from a feeling, to a texture, to a memory – it doesn’t matter anything and everything that you put down is RIGHT!

Okay are you ready?

you sure?

haha just teasing here it is 🙂

Once you have all those thoughts and ideas down on your paper now you can use them to jump start your creativity – to create in your art journal or a piece of art.

Using mood boards is a great way to get out of that “creative rut” – to try on new textures or “moods”, even to experiment with new color combinations.

This mood board gives me lots of ideas and I decided to create a watercolor wreath using the color palette from it.  

I loved the berries in the top photo so incorporated those into my painting.  I also added a quote that I found, as the white roses with the book pages left me with bit of a romantic feel and the birds gave me a feeling of being free.

I would love to have you share anything you might create using this mood board.  If you have a blog then please link back to here.  If you are posting on IG or FB please tag me.

One of the greatest pleasures I get as an artist is when I inspire someone.  Thank you my friends for stopping by and choosing to share some of your time with me today!

Due to the ongoing construction at my house making it impossible to do a voice over for my video I will be sharing the video I have for this month’s free download tomorrow.  I thought I could get it done for today but it’s just not going to happen with all the noise that’s going on.

Here is a sneak peek at this months freebie that will go out in my newsletter, I will also be holding off and sending out my newsletter tomorrow as well.  So if you aren’t signed up for my newsletter you have one more day to do so and still receive this months free download.  You can do that here.   And a little sneak peek below…

 

What’s coming up on my blog in the next few weeks?…

January’s Artist who Inspires me

January Watercolor Wreath tutorial 

My Must have art supplies 

What am I currently crushing on

One last reminder – the BadAss Art journal Workshop starts February 5Th so be sure to grab your spot here .  This workshop is truly amazing!  Just check out some of the stunning artists who have contributed classes, this is one you don’t want to miss.  And the best part is that it’s self paced and you have lifetime access –  Woo Hoo – lets make some BadAss Art together my friends!! xxoo Sherry

How to enjoy the holidays & a Freebie

Hi Friends,

I know I haven’t shared a lot in the past week, to be honest I have been buried in projects that I can’t share at the moment, I’ve just been working away like a busy bee trying to get a jump on things before the holiday season is in full swing.

I really enjoy the holiday season but that was not always the case.  I grew up in a house with a lot of turmoil around the holidays so to be honest the holidays used to be my least favorite time of year.  As a matter of fact I used to tell my husband that I hated Christmas -yeah I know there are many who are saying … WHAT???  How could you hate Christmas.   Then there are those of you who – get it.

Either way that has all changed for me now and I fully embrace the holiday season, and I’d like to share a little bit with all of you how I was able to “flip this Sh*t around” so to speak.

I actually started to look at why I hated the Holidays so much, what was causing me to wish they would just not come this year.  So if you are feeling the same way, I would recommend you make a list and do it now. The sooner you do then the sooner you can change your feelings about the holidays – below is my list and after each one in pink is what I did to change my situation / feeling.

  • I disliked having to go to my extended family on the holidays just to be critiqued or have my little family critiqued – Quite frankly Just stopped going, I didn’t want to hurt peoples feelings so I would make up little white lies but once I didn’t have to go anymore my anxiety level went way down.  Because lets face it you have a whole year to do what everyone else wants you to do if that’s what you choose, it doesn’t have to be around the holidays.  
  • I disliked that at the last minute I was the one wrapping all the gifts and my husband always wanted to shop at the last minute for more things that I ended up wrapping (sorry but he’s so slow at this task lol) – I set him a deadline and when we start to go out shopping – he will always say oh we don’t need to get that now and now I say yes we are getting the shopping done and out of the way if you want to get it for (fill in the name) then let’s get it now.  At first he bucked at this a bit but I’m a tough lady (sometimes you just have to be lol) and I pushed and you know what? he’s pretty much used to it now.

  • I hated that my husband would always shop for me the day before Christmas which meant that instead of spending time together he was out shopping again another deadline for him lol, but you know what we talk about it way in advance so that this doesn’t happen and for the most part it has worked out.  He knows that it’s more important to me that he and I to spend time together than it is for me to have a bunch of gifts.
  • I disliked feeling like there was so much to do and to get ready but I was the only one that was doing  –  leaving me no time to actually enjoy the holiday season we talk about things ahead of time and see who is going to do what task, and what we plan to do together ( and both my husband and son help out a lot!).  Then we MAKE time to do fun holiday things.  Every year our local park has a 3 mile lights on the lake that you can go to and before it officially opens they have a night where you can walk through them in the evening.  It’s a tradition now that we go.   We head to Starbucks early grab a peppermint mocha and then head out for the 3 mile walk.  We have a lot of other things that we do as well, such as a near by Village has what they call a Dickens Christmas. We spend a day there walking through the village shops, sipping hot coffee or cocoa and then having a late afternoon lunch as this beautiful restaurant on the lake.  

So the moral of my story (and yeah it was a long one lol) is that the Holidays are Beautiful and Magical and wonderful to me now because I choose to let them be.  I let go of all the other “stuff” that was not important and made the holidays about spending time with those I love.  And I hope that my sharing all of this helps at least one person out there that might be feeling the same way. That maybe this can help you start to enjoy the holiday season!❤️

Okay moving on to some art!

I have been unable to get my hands on the new Jane Davenport collection and finally yesterday I was able to get the aquapastels and a package of the confetissue pieces.  So here I share a little info- video of my take on them. Someone asked if they were like gelatos and I would have to say no.  Once they are dry they are pretty set – they don’t continue to move but if you added more water they might- they seem more like a watercolor to me but definitely  not as creamy as a watercolor crayon.

A little peek at things I have been working on

I wanted to let you in on a little secret – Saturday the Stencilgirl team is having a magnificent Holiday hop so be sure to stop back in for some amazing inspiration and start your holiday crafty season on the right foot!

Now I can’t spoil what’s in store but I can share a little sneak peek with you – below and let you know that my project has a bit of Old World Holiday – Vintage Flair to it.

November here in the States

is known as the month of giving thanks.  Many of you have already begun the Gratitude Junk Journal online workshop with us.  For those who want to still want to sign up you can click here to join we are only on day 2 so not much to catch up on.  Also for those who might not know this is a “go at your own pace class” which makes it all that more amazing and you don’t have to worry about finishing each part right away or even in sequence.

Now a little something for all of you

to show my thanks for all your continued support!  I will probably be saying it over an over especially this month but I want you to all know that you are truly appreciated.  Throughout the year you share my posts, you leave me love and comments on all of the different socials media sites and here, You have bought my products, you have joined my workshops and you have shown me love and kindness that just cannot be thanked enough.

So throughout the month I will be giving back to all of you.  Today I have a beautiful free collage sheet for you to download, just signup below and your collage sheet will be immediately emailed to you.

Thank you my friends for all you do throughout the year!

xoxo – Sherry

Upcoming things to look for:

11/4 – Holiday Blog hop with StencilGirl Creative Team

11/6 – Monday will be the first post of a new blog series and you won’t want to miss this!

11/6 -November’s Newsletter will be going out 11/6 with the free monthly download -Be sure to sign up for my monthly newsletter here – this month’s download is all about tags so don’t miss out!

I also have another “BIG” secret that I can’t say much about yet other than I have something amazing planned for 2018 and I’m dying to share with all of you. I am hoping that by the beginning of December I will be able to!  So be on the look out for sneak peeks here and there on my different social media sites! ❤️

 

An Art Retreat to Remember

Good Morning my dear friends, how is everyone?  I’m hoping you are all doing amazing. As you all know I was away last Thursday through Monday for the StencilGirl and Friends Art Retreat an Art Journal Affair.  It’s been a busy week since I’ve returned but I wanted to take the time to share with all of you some special moments from this retreat.

When I signed up for this retreat I think it was at the end of 2016 or the beginning of 2017 (it was so long ago that I honestly can’t even remember when it was, but I know it was long ago enough to think that by the time it came around that my life would have calmed down and I’d be more than ready to go)

Most of you know that Labor Day weekend I lost my dear pug Pebbles which has really knocked me off my feet and as if that wasn’t enough less than a week before I was to leave for the retreat I received some upsetting news about my mom that hit me once again to the point where I almost didn’t go.  I said several times to my husband that I just can’t go and put on a happy face for 5 days, I can’t my heart is not in it.  I have spent most of my life just hiding my true feelings and being the strong one for everyone around me appearing to be this pillar of strength, but the events that have seemed to continually occur for the past year and half have left me tired and weary.   My husband kept saying it would be good for me to get away and so I heeded his advice and last Thursday morning I took off on a plane by myself with a pain in my heart and a lump in my throat headed for Paducah, Kentucky.

I arrived at the Chicago airport with 3 hours layover and a text from my hubby saying how much he already missed me…. the feeling was mutual and I was close to tears just feeling alone.  I texted Lisa Dobry who I knew was going to be on the same flight, we had been friends online for quite sometime but never met in person.  When she arrived we hugged and the loneliness melted away.

Sherry & Lisa

We met Elaine Huffman as well as Seth Apter at the gate.  I asked the lady sitting next to me if she would mind switching seats with Lisa so we could sit together and she was happy to do so.

Lisa and I sat and chatted the whole way as if we had been friends in person forever.  We never missed a beat, we laughed, we cried, we hugged, we shared, we were together after so long of the online friendship we were together and the question of whether I should have come or not slipped away as I felt loved among friends.

The first morning was Nancy Curry’s class  called Transformation (and well who knew that meal service was not like that in NY and much slower lol) – so we were a few min late for class – sorry Nancy!! Here is the link to her website so you can check her out.

Well this really started the artfully fun weekend for me – we learned a lot and Nancy was fabulous, fun and an absolute joy to be around.  We ended up sitting next to each other in classes the rest of the weekend and I so enjoyed getting to know her!!   What an amazing lady!!

Sherry & Nancy

The next few days was a flurry of conversation, making art and sharing our hearts with like minded friends.  To say it was amazing is really not even close to expressing how special this weekend was to me.

Day 1 was Pam Carriker and MaryBeth Shaw and all I can say is that these amazing ladies touched my heart with their classes and teaching.  It was a bit overwhelming to have so much greatness  and talent in one room.

Pam Carriker’s Class:

MaryBeth Shaw’s Class:

My fav technique from MaryBeth’s Class was this thing with whiteout, the technique was so simple but yet added so much – if you ever have the opportunity to take a class with anyone in my blog post all I can say is go for it.  You won’t regret it as everyone of them was soooo amazing!!

In person with the Stencil Queen herself what an amazing experience !!!❤️

Traci Bautist’s class:

Seth Apter’s Class:

I didn’t quite finish any of my projects from the day but it’s ok because I enjoyed the techniques and now I can work on them at my leisure.

I was asked by MaryBeth Shaw to teach a mini demo on Saturday night which was a lot of fun.  Thank you to Lisa and Trena for getting me everything I forgot to bring to the demo table you ladies are the best!! ❤️

This was the tag that we made using beautiful StencilGirl Stencils of course

I have a bunch of photos of friends that I would also like to share with all of you it was hard to get a photo with everyone.

This is Mary Nasser and I she is even cuter in person and what a total sweetheart!!❤️❤️

The welcome reception was just amazing and it was so much fun to stencil our own aprons.

Thank you to StencilGirl and all the artists who were beyond generous with all of the artsy gifts that they gave us.

Here is Carol Baxter and I.  I love this lady she was so much fun!!  Yup I’m a kisser just deal with it lol ❤️  She works with the StencilGirl team for those who might not know so her and I have talked many times on the phone but this was our first in person visit.  Hopefully first of many.  Again it was like old friends it usually happens that I call for a quick question and 45 min later we are like well we better get back to work haha.

Saturday night by the fire with friends what a fabulous evening we had with stories and sharing and just beautiful friendships.  Thank you ladies!! all of you.

Pictured here is Patty, Lisa and Myself and the top left is Dee, Patty, Lisa and myself.

From top left we have Debi Adams (stencil girl teammate), Patty (we met through Lisa Dobry – StencilClub) Kiala Givehand (stencil girl teammate), Dee we met through stencilclub and have been friends online for quite sometime and of Course You all know the amazing Carolyn Dube (and yes she is super amazing in person and a total BLAST to be around – she will make you laugh so hard your stomach will hurt!! ❤️)

It was so much fun to meet some of my other teammates and to meet friends that I have known online in person!!

My Roommate, Elaine and I went into town on Friday for awhile and we found Curls and Cream and some amazing views / scenery

The videos aren’t the greatest lol, but I wanted to share a little bit of what we saw there with all of you.  They also had an awesome handmade soap shop in there little town which I bought some yummy soaps there to bring home.  They smell amazing !

Thank you to my wonderful roommate for taking care of so many things so that I didn’t have to, it means more to me than you will ever know!!

Thank you to all of you who made amazing goodie bags and to those who made me special goodie bags I can’t express how this event has filled my heart and made me feel so special.  To those who I didn’t get a photo with I’m sorry but you are still in my heart and my thoughts.   This event was such a blessing and it was all the people who were there that made it what it was, it will forever be etched in my heart.

The moral of this story is that I didn’t have to put on a “happy’ face because these were my people and they loved and embraced me for who I am, and they didn’t need to be someone I’m not.  They love me for who I am and I had a real happy face because of this.  When people talk about finding your tribe I know that I am blessed to have found mine but even more than that I found my “family”.

I am headed into this weekend with a full heart and special memories with good friends on my mind.

Wishing you all a relaxing and heartfelt weekend !!

xxoo Sherry❤️

 

What sparks your creativity?

Hi Friends,

I know it’s been awhile, things got a little bit hectic for me these past few weeks.  I am preparing to leave for Kentucky on Thursday morning for a StenciGirl and Friends art retreat where I will be attending some fabulous classes with some of my favorite artists…. MaryBeth Shaw, Traci Bautista, Seth Apter, Pam Carriker and more.  I will also be teaching a pop up demo there myself so, life has been moving at lightening speed for me.  I promise to take lots of pics and if I have time I will post some here in the evenings just to share what’s going on with all of you.

This leads me into today’s post…… What Sparks your creativity?

Knowing the answer to this will help you when you have a creative block.  So now I bet you are asking …well Yeah but how do I figure that out?  Well it just so happens I have some tips to help you figure that out.

If you are like me there is nothing worse than sitting there with that blank sheet of paper in front of you and having absolutely nothing creative come to mind.  And yes I have read all those online posts about throw some paint on to the paper – just start – don’t worry about what you make – yadda yadda yadda, I’ve read them all.

And the truth is none of those things have worked for me.

And I do care what my paper looks like

And throwing paint on a sheet of paper does not spark my creativity.

In fact all those things frustrate me more because when I try them and then don’t work well it’s down right disappointing and again if you are like me you are asking yourself at this point – ok how does this stuff work for everyone else.

Well the truth is maybe it works for some but it doesn’t work for everyone, like I said it doesn’t work for me.

And if you think that because I can put out nice looking art that I don’t get creative block – HA!  WRONG.  I get it, many times.  So here is how I have figured out FINALLY what sparks my creativity.

I pay attention.  Yup it’s that simple.  I pay attention when I am in a creative mood and I notice what kinds of things spark my creativity.  I make notes, I keep a journal, sometimes even take pictures and that allows me too find my way back to my creativity when I have lost it.

Below I share with you things that work for me but again, we are not all alike so what works for one does not always work for everyone, so I encourage you to pay attention to yourself, be mindful and take notes.

One thing that works for me is cleaning things out – not always just my art room but any room in the house, closets, cupboards etc.  Why does something like this help me?  Well although I’m not completely sure I think it is the fact that It helps my mind concentrate on something else.  It’s busy work and allows lots of movement which is a lot different from when I’m sitting and creating.

Another thing I do is take lots of walks – especially during different times of day when I normally wouldn’t and I try to notice the world around me, the sites, the sounds, the smells, the colors.  I try to stimulate my other senses to spark that creativity.  I don’t try to force it I just relax and enjoy myself getting out of my usual environment always makes me feel refreshed and renewed.

And finally this last one may not appeal to everyone but when I’m in a creative rut I love to cook.  Sometimes channeling my creativeness into the kitchen helps me just feel better and refreshed. I love to create new dishes and lots of times just doing something totally different yet creative helps me tremendously.

Share in the comments your ideas, tips or things that help you.  If it helps someone else or gives someone that creative spark again it’s so worth the share!!

Now I’d like to share with all of you what I’ve been up to creatively.  I’ve been working in my art journal and a new watercolor journal. I have decided to take this new watercolor journal and turn it into a true visual journal where I take notes with tips and techniques that I learn along the way in watercolor and I will also be adding personal bits of my learning experiences and things that have gone on each day.

So here I have created my own little mix of colors, I was feeling the need for some deeper fall colors and since I didn’t have quite what I was looking for I just mixed up a little palette.

and well it is getting to be almost pumpkin time here so thought I would do a little watercolor practice on some pumpkins. So above I have the traditional orange and below some fun Teal / Turquoise.  I love to do things like pumpkins because they are a simple easy shape to draw which allows me more time to practice watercolor painting techniques and shading – color blending and layering.

and lastly I want share one of my art journal pages I created.

Thanks so much friends for stopping by and sharing your time with me!  Hope all of you have an amazing rest of the week, I will be back soon with pics from the retreat!!

xoxo – Sherry