InMyStudio… PaintingLove

I looked back and saw that I had started this painting at the end of January but I got so overwhelmed by the size of my canvas and my over ambitious undertaking that I abandoned it. As I was prepping for my Solo Auction, I was pulling out my pieces from the year and that one found it’s way forward and I placed it on my easel to remind what still had to be done. After painting “Mother of the Mourning Doves”, I thought I wanted to continue working with birds and that piece definitely inspiring this one.

It’s where this piece started but it isn’t where it ended. I continued working and allowed it to evolve and lead me where it was going to. I was so deeply loving working on wood and working bigger, playing with paint and a theme. Besides their beautiful faces and quirky hands and skinny arms, I so loved the plant details. The halo ended up looking more like an archway and the blue leaf to me reminds me of a stain glass window.

So I called this piece…

“Santa Maria del Fiore”, inspired by the beautiful name of the cathedral in Florence… St Mary of the Flower. I have had various feedbacks about this piece and what people have felt and how they connected with it. From 3 sisters to mother and daughters to seeing Italy in this piece. Maybe it’s a bit of all of it. Maybe they are all one in the same person but separate too and maybe they are still birdlike. All in all very enjoyable and I worked through this piece every single day and that was totally wonderful for me.

I can’t wait to get back to my easel and paint some more. My urge and need to paint is still so strong and although my energy levels have been a bit on the low side and I am working carefully, I’m so loving being here.

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Creative Time in Florence

One of the things we got to do in Florence was take a mini-class at a little art school… painting into Fresco (wet plaster).

It was harder than I was expecting and after day 1, I was grumbling a bit and I was wondering if we had made a mistake about signing up for another 3 days of this. But I’m glad we pushed through.

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After day one’s awkwardness and discomfort, I have to say day 2 was much better. Apollo, our Italian art teacher gave us a new recipe for our fresco surface (the sand and lime ratio) and our surface was much better and gentler to work with.. It was the first time I had painted with pigment powders and it was a new learning space for me. I have to say I’m a little smitten with the process. After day 2, things had shifted from discomfort to something we were looking forward to. Plus it was a fun way to get us into the studio each day too.

Other than that, it gave us a tiny glimpse into this process and how challenging it must have been to paint this way. All I can say is I have huge respect for what they did. I feel my heart stretched so much more in terms of understanding.

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I am so grateful that Ariane and I got to take this journey together and that Jackie joined us on day 4. It was something different to do, maybe a perfect thing to do in a foreign town while traveling. There are always great gifts that come out of putting yourself out there, in uncomfortable situation that promotes growth. We really enjoyed our time with our teacher, Apollo. The art studio was an interesting space, for sure and we meet some new people from class.

My favorite was meeting a really beautiful Jewish lady from New York, we had our lunch together on our last day. I was wearing my Hand of Hamsa earrings and it sparked off a conversation between us. She was 83 and traveling alone in Florence, walking everywhere she needed to go and taking an art class by herself. After her time in Florence she was moving on to Luca to take another class learning to speak Italian. She shared about her years of travel and I was so deeply moved by her absolute courage and the gift of travel she had given herself and her family through the years. She utterly blew me away. This little story will be forever tucked away in my heart. I am so grateful for this brief encounter.

I would imagine this would be a great way to get integrated into a community if you were spending some extended time in a foreign place. I really loved that.

St Mary of the Flower…

What could be more perfect than naming your Cathedral, St Mary of the Flower (Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore).

The thing I love most about this beautiful Gothic Cathedral besides her sheer majesty are her exquisite colors of green and rose. She was our touchstone, our landmark to remind us where we were at all times, in the greater scheme of things. By the end our week of walking and discovering we really got to figure out the lay of this land quite nicely.

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Every time we found ourselves coming around the corner to face her, she took our breath away and we got to photograph her almost single day for good measure. She’s absolutely stunning! I am in love with Gothic buildings.

Thank you beautiful old girl for holding our direction all week.

#365TinyCaptures

Can you believe we are already into the double digit days that are currently left in 2019 and as a friend reminded me the other day… down to less than 90 days left in this decade.

Wow that’s a sobering thought!!!

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I am so in love with my images for this year and I’m sooo thrilled to have a bit of my beloved Italy in this years project. How magical. I’m so over the moon!

Stunned into silence...

I’m sorry I’ve been so quiet here but I’ve literally been stunned into silence after my trip.

It was so BIG and I am once again feeling like a deer caught in the headlights. I don’t know how to find the words to express all it meant to me and the sheer volume of photographs, so overwhelming that I am really not sure how to narrow it down. I don’t want to make the experience small and I so badly want to share it all with you in a way that makes sense too.

I’ve been back just over two weeks now, I think. And I have a lot coming at me in terms of things happening in life…

PYHAS 2019 - Mini Lesson is Live

On Wednesday, my mini lesson for PYHAS2019 went live, I hope you find your way there and keep me posted how you go. If you haven’t signed up for PYHAS2019, you can still. I hope you enjoy my mini lesson, I loved putting it together for you!

Have fun!

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ClayPlay

Last night I had a clay class which I was trying to do before I left for Italy. I had completely forgotten I had rescheduled to do it when I got back. Even though it has crept up on me, it’s always a good evening. Honestly, the last time I did this class was when I made all those gorgeous plates as gifts for my hosts when I went to America and I was long overdue a ClayDate.

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AuctionLove

I am so excited to mention that my Solo Auction page is up and running and my auction days are coming at me fast. I have a little left to do to get ready but I am happy to say, I’m quite prepared this year. I have a variety of different kind of pieces from small to big, stitching to drawings and paintings, even a few fabric bags. I feel there is something for everyone and I’m hoping very attainable… I am always mindful of this. I worked strategically with this in mind this year. So I really hope you will come along and join me and Stephanie Gagos as we prep for the days ahead. Please click on the button to join the auction and be sure to press on “going”. Look forward this time with you!

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Painting, Painting, Painting

I have come home just wanting to paint which is a good feeling to come home with. Before I left for Italy I started working everyday in studio again. I was working hard to show up especially after my Stitching class went live. Of course, in Italy everyday was dedicated to creating and touring around art. It was such a spoil to spend my days this way and with likeminded friends. My creative love tank was filled to the brim. I wanted to come home and continue creating this way. My first week back was really good but this week was more challenging, work and life is real. My work days have increased and I’ve been prepping for my auction. I have a creative block weekend coming up and I literally can’t wait. I was so happy to finish this piece. I started her in Italy, not at this place… but she just kept evolving and her story kept unfolding and I absolutely love where we ended together.

Mother of the Mourning Doves… 10”x12” on Linen Canvas Board

Mother of the Mourning Doves… 10”x12” on Linen Canvas Board

This week I also started another class at the Practical School of Philosophy and I’m really loving this bit of time I’ve been applying to expanding my mind and heart a bit.

Now that my images have been safely downloaded to my Mac, I can start letting the story unfold as I unpack the treasures of each moment while I traveled and I hope to share with you as moments come up for me. Here is wishing you all a beautifully quiet, creative and gentle weekend.

Much love, always Jeanne-Marie

Back to my first love…

I am always a little amazed at how I feel when I haven’t been painting for a while… I start to panic and feel like I may completely forget everything I’ve learnt. I have mountains of fear and then when I start… it’s like that old familiar feeling of coming home and back to something so utterly comforting to me. As hard as it is to allow myself to move away from this medium from time to time, I do know the break always does me good. The deep learning in new areas always adds a new depth to my practice and work.

As you know, I dabble in many things but I do believe I am a painter at heart. It was while I was painting almost a decade ago, that I knew I wanted to do this everyday for the rest of my life. Something happens for me when I paint. Good or bad, learning or relearning, it just feels deep, like it’s where I’m meant to be.

I have struggled for years to admit this part of me but it really makes my heart soar.

Sofa Secrets on wooden cradle board… 12”x8”x2”

Sofa Secrets on wooden cradle board… 12”x8”x2”

So after my weeks of stitching non-stop and the busyness of putting a little class together, this felt like a magical time just for myself. I’m so grateful I got to push paint around and just get lost in the layers.

Nothing made me happier than finding these two beings sitting quietly on the sofa together.

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Thank you for your patience and grace around my technical glitches with my mail-chimp class send out on Monday, it was rather stressful. Thank you to all who have been so kind and patient with the process and so willing to help me iron out all the glitches that come out in the first week. I’m so grateful my schedule has been such that I could deal with them as they came up. As for my ambiguous last blog post - thank you for the adorable emails I received, I had a few giggles.

So just a to be clear on that, you would have only received an email from me with the login details, if you had actually signed up for my PaintingwithThreads class.

Thank you Thank you Thank you

Again, I can’t thank you enough for all the love I’ve been receiving this week for my little class. I am so overwhelmed by the response.

Much love, always JM

***PaintingwithThreads - Class is in Session


I have been holding this little class close to my heart the past few weeks and have been sharing parts of my journey with you as I went, but I'm so excited to let you know that my little class is READY. I know it's a little earlier than I was expecting but if you are happy for me to let you in a bit earlier then this is to let you know that the logon details have been sent to your email.

If you haven't received anything from me, please let me know.

Sending much love <3

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(Email sent to those who have signed up for this little class)

It’s not to late to sign up if you haven’t yet - please follow the button below.

Holding my breath...

So in roughly a week, this will be my view and reality. I’ll be immersing myself in art and culture and more. I started searching for an art school where I could take some lessons in Florence and it’s been a tiny bucket list dream ever since. I knew since 2014, I wanted to return to Florence because we had some unfinished business with each other. The last time I was there, they were having a train strike and our time was cut short. I still have so much to see and experience and this year will be this time. I will be meeting up with my dear friends and fellow artists Ariane and Jackie to take this class together and soak ourselves in all of it. I am feeling so utterly blessed right now. I love seeing dreams come to fruition and trusting that even though things take time… sometimes just planting the seed is enough. SoGrateful.

Picture found on Pinterest

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***PaintingwithThreads - coming in to land...

Thank you for the love and support for my little class. I am so grateful and touched by the kindness around this little unusual class. I had a target for this tutorial style class and I have reached it with a few extra and I’ve been so deeply moved by this.

I knew all along it would be a small and intimate class and it’s beautifully so. For all of you who are here with me, I’m excited and I’m working furiously to tie it all together and hoping to release a little earlier than expected. Please continue to hold me up in your thoughts that all goes smoothly and beautifully… to delivery.

So grateful for so much.

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365TinyCaptures continues...

I’ve loved this project equally as much this year as I did last year.

It’s been so pretty and again so comforting. The daily practice continues to teach me so much and perhaps I will continue this practice forever. Well it feels like that today. With less than 140 days left to go - it’s been a breathtaking whirlwind of a year and I’ve been so grateful for these daily touchstones to keep me in this present moment.

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A little journal play...

The other day I met my friend, Liezl at a coffee shop with the focus of meeting together to discuss her trip to Amsterdam and Portugal and my upcoming trip to Italy and to journal together. I was nervous about journaling in a coffee shop but it was actually one of the nicest coffee dates I’ve had in such a long time.

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Thank you my friend for getting me out the house and for such a sweet time. I look forward to doing that again soon.

My beautiful pouch...

I’m so smitten with the outcome of this little pouch.

When Kitty was in Istanbul she brought home a little sling bag pouch for herself and Corks. She was so thoughtful with her gifts and consideration of all. Corks started using her little pouch everyday and said it was the best gift ever and it seemed to become an extension of herself - like having an extra pocket on her body to carry small things. While I was walking past one morning I put my finished stitched square on the flap and I thought it looked so lovely. I asked my friend, who makes bags if she thought it was something she could make for me and she said “yes - let’s try”. And I love the outcome sooo much.

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I will be testing this sweet prototype when I travel now when I don’t feel like taking a big bag with me.

I plan to have a few more ready for my auction when I get back from Italy.

What beautiful responses I had to my pouch - I am so humbled and touched by this!

Thank you!

It hit me hard…

Digz and I have had flu so we have been recovering and I don’t know about you but when I am not well, I get quite introspective. We are quite busy at the moment, with Digs taking Corks out of town for her monster race last weekend, me prepping for my class and prepping for Italy, Kitty embarking on her last two big block exams and her final dance and also getting everything done for her apps for varsity and Corks training and prepping for her exhibit at the Zietz Mocca… it’s been full on. My mind wondered ahead to what things will look like when I get home from Italy and with Kitty finishing school in the next month.

And BAM just like that - it hit me squarely in the chest.

For the past 21 years my days have literally been built around the school drop off and school pick up times and in a months time… we will be DONE. No more school runs…. no more. Gulp!

As chaotic as they were and still are for a moment longer, we have loved them. The crazy car trip, the ridiculous chatter, the radio general knowledge quiz game, all of it. Digz and I often grab a coffee afterwards… we chat, we regroup - so much will change.

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I have been so focused on Kitty' finishing school and being so over all the pressures that comes with it, for her, that I didn’t stop to think about what this means to me in terms of my routine. Over the years I built my working hours around these two time zones and now I don’t have to do that anymore and what does this mean in the greater scheme of things. I got quite chocked up. 21 years is a long routine and I know I’m not alone in what this feels like or what this means. And for a moment yesterday, I panicked and scurried around trying to think of ways to fill those spaces so I wouldn’t feel the loss or the void.

Would I feel the freedom or would I feel lost to myself?

I don’t know the answers yet. It feels like a fine line. I have more than loved my momma job and although I totally understand that will never come to an end, it’s going to start looking a little different. It made me stop and take a moment yesterday, how absolutely blessed and lucky I have been to able to work the way I have - freelancing wasn’t by any stretch of the imagination easy but the sacrifice has been worth it. I’ve really had the best of two worlds, of being a working mom who was lucky enough to be there every afternoon for my girls. it’s something I will cherish for the rest of my life.

Literally, it will be the first time in 21 years that I won’t be bound by other people’s routines… the thought so utterly advanced in concept that I can’t quite fathom it yet.

So yesterday I felt panicked but today I’ve decided to take a deep breath and slow my mind and allow the idea and concept to permeate into my soul and I am going to take a moment to contemplate what it all means to me. The slowing down of my schedule might be the gift of quiet I’m constantly seeking. I have a few things I would like to start thinking about and doing when I get back from Italy and next year but I want to be wise in my choices. I want to be mindful and careful about my time.

***PaintingwithThreads… giveaway

Just a little reminder that registration is open for my online stitching workshop.

{Painting beautiful tiny Portraits with Threads}.

It starts on the 31st August and I am giving away two free spaces. Please comment on this post and share.

I will announce my two winners next week.

Thank you for sharing the love!!!

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***PaintingwithThreads - Thank you

The news about my little class was released 10 days ago today. And I just wanted to pop over to say THANK YOU if you have signed up already.

I have been so touched by the love and well wishes - thank you.

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I will be running a promotion on facebook in the next few days for 2 free spaces. Please watch this space. If you are still interested in signing up please follow the button below.

Thank you again and so much love.

Painting of a different kind....

I have been painting the interior of our home walls the past week or so. This is not an easy house to paint because of all the quirky zones and the high ceilings. I’ve been waking up early and doing a few hours before life starts and stealing moments here and there to do specific spaces to help break up this mighty task.

At the beginning of 2018 we started painting a few walls inside… A wall in the dining room and two bedrooms. We thought we would carry on but life happened and fast forward a year and half and we are finally at it again. I am not sure how so much time has passed. The old painted walls have really been getting me down and it’s been on my to do list for ages. I finally couldn’t take another day of it and I’m happy to say painting is underway. I have a small section to finish in our bedroom and the back zone of the house needs to be finished. Kitty will paint her room when she’s finished with her exams and Corks painted her room these holidays.

I managed to do our entrance hall where my beautiful framed 365TinyCaptures lives.

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The darker walls in this zone works beautifully and I’m so happy.

I love ticking off projects on my to do list and this one feels particularly good because its such a big project and it’s so visually pleasing. Happy hearts this side of the world.

It really is in the small things and in the details.

Inspiration…

I have been studying some artists that have been deeply inspiring to me so I thought I would share some of them with you…. as you know I am a huge fan of color and this past year I’ve been so inspired by nature and have been including both these elements in my work. These beautiful works keep appearing in my Pinterest and each one is more inspiring to me than the next.

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Brooke Wandall and on Instagram

Brooke’s floral work is breathtaking to me. Loose, free and her colors are exquisite.

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Anne-Sophie Tschiegg and her Instagram

I LOVE Anne-Sophie’s work and her portraits are brilliant too.

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Cathy Cullis and on Instagram

All I can say is I am a huge huge fan. I love every single thing Cathy puts out and one day it’s my dream to own one of her works. Her latest window and book scenes are my favorite. Her colors are so pleasing.

In fact, I think all the artists I’ve shared here’s use of color is so utterly appealing to me and probably one of the main reasons I’ve been so drawn to their works.

I would love to hear your thoughts about them and what’s inspiring you at the moment.

Much love, Jeanne-Marie

When in Florence….

When we knew Kitty was heading to Florence, we asked her to pop into Zecchi’s Artshop.

In 2012 when we finally found it in Florence, I bought some special watercolors there and some treats for the girls. It was one of those special encounters in my life. Art supplies to the ceiling and the beautiful smell sensations. I had regretted not getting a little Zecchi’s fabric bag. So when I knew Corks was going to be in Florence in 2014, I encouraged her to find the cutest little artshop in the world and to bring me home my fabric bag :-). She struggled to find “my” little shop and told me that when she did eventually find it that it was closed. When she got home, she surprised me with her picture standing outside Zecchi’s and my fabric bag. Two years apart and we had both stood in the same place, that moved me deeply.

We asked Kitty if she would consider doing the same gesture… to carry on traditions and all but she said she couldn’t promise us that. I didn’t put her under pressure.

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While she was away she said she had my gift for me and asked if I wanted to know what it was. I said if she felt she wanted to share it with me early, that I would be open to listening. Then in the next minute, her image came through of her standing outside Zecchi. Corks and I erupted and fell in an absolute heap, once again so deeply moved and a little tearful.

Kitty was studying her map to find it when her Principal asked her where she was going, so she told him the story how I had been there, so had Corks and that she had to find her way there. He told her to lead the way and they would all go with her. She ended up leading the whole art group to Zecchi’s to get her picture for me and then all agreed to have their picture taken for me.

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I was totally in tears.

The best part for me was how deeply moved Caitlyn was about finding the spot where we had both stood before and capturing her moment. It hit her square in the chest. How unexpectedly connected she felt to us and that place and how important it became to her too. Each of our journeys so unique to each of us but so equally touching and so important. I know being in Italy really affect her deeply. I had a feeling it would, as it did Corks. She carried me with her every step and I was with her in heart. I love that about us, all of us.

What I didn’t know in 2012, when I took my first trip to Italy when I fell head over heels in love with her, that firstly, I would be back. Somewhere inside of me I knew I wanted to take my peeps there one day. I went back again in 2014 when I included Florence and Venice to my travels and in 2017, I took Digby back with me and we toured new areas together. I couldn’t personally take my girls but they have now each had their own turn to discover beautiful Italy with their art school studies.

My heart is so blown away by this. What started out as a small dream of mine to take my whole family one day, has now actually come true. None of us can say these words… “I’ve never been to Venice”. That has been a long time family joke of ours from when the girls were small and it has tickled us all pink.

I head back to beautiful Italy in less than 2 months and I will find myself standing outside “our” precious Zecchi Artshop for my 2nd photo… standing where both my two girls have now stood too and I simply can’t wait.

#InMyStudio...

While Kitty was away we escaped to the coast for a week. The rest of us are all on leave. While I was there I filmed my lesson for Ivy’s beautiful Studioworks and did some painting and stitching for myself. I can’t remember when last I got to work creatively uninterrupted by life and all the demands on me and it was so good for my heart and soul. No words can express I grateful I was for this time of quiet. I set up a temporary studio in our room and got to leave everything out for that week. In between creative time and rest, we walked a lot and read and really rested.

The past while I have been mindful about wasting my leftover paints and when I’ve finished a block painting session. I’ve been keeping blank canvases close at hand and I use the leftover paint on that before I clean up. This is where this special girl came from. Originally she was painted solely from my leftovers and I was blown away about how profound that was to me. There was a kind of detachment in creating her this way. Which created this ease and how she just seemed to flow right out of my brush.

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I have subsequently tweaked some final touches with normal paint. But she’s really special to me and I really loved creating her this way. I keep thinking if I had just washed those paints away, maybe she wouldn't be here.

I know it’s not quite like that but it’s a sweet thought.

***A New Class - Painting with Threads....

At last… I have a little tutorial style class to share.

Thank you for being patient with me and waiting for me to feel ready to share again. And I’m feeling like I’m ready to share this new addition to my body of works and it feels very close to my heart. I know people have been asking me to share my process and my threading stories… so here is more information.

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I can’t wait to share more about this amazing little one in my class. I know it’s going to be a small and intimate class and I’m strategically not making it too overwhelming. It will be a simple and sweet class of creating emotive tiny portrait painting with our needles and thread this time as opposed to our paint brushes.

Can’t wait to share more as I create my classroom.

Much love, always Jeanne-Marie