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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

My Favorite Pictures of 2014: What a year it was!

Did you have enough Art yesterday??   What??!  Can one ever have enough art? Well maybe.  Maybe there is a little life beyond the canvas. Today I wanted to share some of my favorite photos, maybe not award winning photos but pictures that brought me back through some of moments from 2014 that were special and worthy of a trip down memory lane. 
As I was going through each month (that's how I save my pictures), I realized that there aren't enough pictures of my everyday life. I have tons and tons and I mean tons of art pictures.  Not nearly as much of my kids, friends, family or from things we've done throughout the year.  There's a lot don't get me wrong, but I dare say it's a 20/80 mix.
That's something I'd like to change in 2015.  More everyday life memories captured.
Hmm...wonder how I can do that?  A picture a day challenge perhaps?? Or at least every other day?? It's something to seriously think about.

Well..without further adieu, here are some of my favorite photographs from 2014

1) This picture was taken last February,while I was with some friends at the Ferrington Village Folk Art Festival in Pittsboro.  We've managed to go for the last several years in a row and it's a lot of fun. The artwork can be primitive but no less intriguing and thought provoking. These beer bottle caps were on top of one of the artists vendors truck. You should have seen the rest of the truck!  
Taking time out to do fun things with friends other than going out for dinner or drinks is something I want to do more of as well. 

2)  Kicking off the year of teaching around the country, my first stop was at one of my favorite shops, Random Arts in Saluda, NC.  I love seeing all the smiling happy faces of my students and friends.  Hey see our 'guy' in the corner?? This year I had several men take several of my work shops which was wonderful, too!   It makes me happy that my teaching appeals to such a diverse group of eager and fun students.  

3) For the last several years I've taken a 'work' trip with two of my friends out to the Outer Banks in the late winter/early spring to deliver our new collections to our shops along the OBX. Here we are in Nags Head...what a view. Ya, hard job we have, right? :)  As much as I enjoy doing what I'm doing, when I can share the time and work with friends, talking about dreaming about all the things we are doing or could be doing, it makes it that much more enjoyable.  It's not a job, it's an adventure.

4)  This is one of my rare photos of me and my Mom (along with my stepfather, Craig; and my son Josh).   For Easter they treated us with a week at the beach.   Here we are taking a side excursion to see one of my artist friends, John Walters at his home in Georgetown, SC.  This is a view from his apartment roof.  Can you believe that?    My Mom lives in NY and of course we live in NC so our visits are to few and far between but this year we had 2 weeks together which we all cherished.  Lots of laughs and memories.

5) We made it back home in time to see the dogwoods blooming.  This picture makes me sad in a way because lightening struck my beautiful tree in my front yard and killed it. I probably should replace it with a new tree this year but I am so not skilled in the gardening and horticulture arena.  Did I ever tell you the story of the 80 dollar tomato and my crush on the man who owned the flower/vegetable shop I like to go to? lol  Another time, Maybe!

6&7)  Here's a glimpse of our first ReMe retreat on Ocracoke Island.   Just the fact that we realized a dream of doing something amazing and special for artists, students in a location that has so much meaning to us..well that in itself is a big check off the bucket list.   The friends and lifetime connections we made with our guests was worth all the work we put into this venture in itself.     I just love looking at the front porch of our historic inn and the students walking towards the great expanse of the Atlantic Ocean...through the dunes, magic and memories are made.

8) Josh is going to kill me if he sees this picture...but I had to share. My baby boy in his first tux at the end of year school dance for the 8th graders.  Did he have to wear a tux. No.  But the boy has always wanted to wear one  since he was a little kid. I had to talk him down from having his school pictures taken in one several years in a row. I told him he'd thank me one day for not letting him do  Anyway, this is a favorite of mine because it really shows how mature Josh has grown...he's not my baby boy anymore. Well, he is..and always will be but both of my boys are becoming such fine young men. Proud Momma here :))

9)  Most years I go home to NY for 4th of July but this year we spent the day over at my friend Mary's lake house on Lake Tillery in NC.  We go there a lot and have so much fun, I really love the beach but growing up on Lake Erie, I have a soft spot in my heart for lakes, hills and mountains.  Mary and Richard's home have become a safe haven and a home away from home in the summer time to us, it's not just the beautiful setting, it's being around friends that we love so much.  

10)  July was a busy month for sure.  After the 4th, my friend Jean and I headed up highway 95 to go teach at Create Mixed Media Retreats in New Jersey.  This picture is from my last class of the week there, I don't have a lot of photos from me teaching so this snapshot Jean captured of me in action is special.  I can't tell you how much each and every student has touched my heart. It's wonderful when you can meet people in person and truly get to know them, see their work, and hear their story.  I find that we are a lot more connected to each other than we ever could imagine.

11) After teaching several days in row (and all the prep time prior to the event)...I'm pretty much spent for the next few days and can barely do anything.  Normally, I head right back home to unpack and jump back into the next big thing but I wanted to include this picture because one of the many things Jean has taught me is to stop and take a breather, even when you are more exhausted than you can imagine.  On our way home from New Jersey, we took our time heading back and spent the night in a quaint hotel in the town of Natural Bridge, Va.  Can you tell where it got it's name from?  
See, if we would have rushed home, we would have missed this stop along the way. It was breathtaking and awesome to say the least.
12) Just a few days after returning from NJ  I headed to NY with my boys to go to my nephew's graduation party.  Here's a shot of my Dad and his girlfriend, Nancy.  I don't have many pictures of my Dad either as he lives in Florida and we might get to see each other 1x a year if that.   Heading back home each year means a lot to me, it's hard living so far away from my family. I do feel my kids are missing out a bit, not having their cousins or grandparents right nearby to be around more often. The time we do have together means the world to us.
13) Most of the time when I travel and really pretty much all the time I teach, I drive to my destination.     This picture like the one from Natural Bridge was taken on the return trip from one of my teaching excursions. I actually drove. to. Dallas. Tx.  Do you know how many miles that is?? lol.  I'm insane.  Stopping in Mississippi just for a few, but at least I stopped to take a moment and enjoy the view.

14).  This isn't the best picture of us (myself and my friend, Jean) but the moment was spectacular....Jean is an amazing friend. On our way to Ct to teach at Art is You, she had made prior arrangements to get us tickets to a taping of "The Chew" which is my favorite daytime talk show..and I might have a crush on Michael Symon. :) She totally surprised me, can you believe that?   We had a ton of fun during the taping, I got to see...not hug or kiss unfortunately my was in my glory!   We even got some parting gifts, that's another story altogether!
15)  After the taping of the show, we walked around Manhattan--what a spectacular place to be.  It's hard not to be inspired or stimulated by everything to see.  We didn't have a lot of time, so basically it was just a walking and eating tour as we had to head up to CT later in the day to get ready for several days of teaching.   See what I mean, Jean has really taught me or forced me to stop and enjoy life a bit, there's more to see and do beyond work even though I eat, sleep, and breath my life.  

16)  Once in Ct, I kicked off several day of teaching at Art Is You. This picture is from my class, Podtastic which I taught in person during a few events.   Such great memories from AIY, I've met so many people that I will never forget for many reasons.   This event is also one that gave me my first opportunity to teach on a larger scale, and for that, I'll always be grateful. I"m sad I won't be back in 2015 but hopefully down the road our paths will cross again.

17 &18)   It's October in these 2 shots and we are back in Ocracoke for our fall retreat of ReMe. I had to share this picture of Lynn, one of our guests as I think it says it all about how we all felt during the event...happy, smiling, having fun..and at peace.  Lynn took one of my very very very first classes I ever taught when I first started teaching workshops and has since taken many other classes from me and become one of my biggest patrons of my original art, she's also a dear friend. I have many individuals I can say the same about, I am very lucky to have made many friends in those that have taken classes from me.     We are all brought together for a reason I believe.

19) Okay so I had to share a little November I received a copy of the book my work was featured in.  I've been very very lucky to have been published several times, but this particular publication is super special to me because I was recognized for having a top painting in the mixed media category for 2014.  And it's my pods, which I love doing. If you are interested in purchasing a copy of the book, it's called, Incite 2 .   One other thing I want to mention is the fact that I didn't just get picked, I had to enter into a juried contest so while I may not be the best ever in mixed media--it's still cool to have that recognition.  Plus, it just goes to show you that things don't just fall in your lap, you have to go after them! :)

20, 21, and 22)    Again, not the most profound pictures but certainly meaningful...the top picture is a view of my living room..nothing fancy but it's my first house and I'm still making it more of our home little by little as I can afford to make changes. This month we took down the mammoth entertainment center and replaced it with a new tv and stand.  It totally opens up the room. I love looking at our tree which is now filled with tons of handmade ornaments I've acquired through swaps from artists plus of course my boys ornaments from when they were little.  
The fact my art has allowed me to even buy a new tv and tv stand as well as host a Christmas and party for donate many things for charity and angel just amazing. lol.  I'm grateful to YOU for helping us achieve dreams as well.  Anything is possible if you believe and work towards your dreams!
Middle picture--Zach just moved out of his Dad's house and is now on his many of his gifts were to help him out get started in his first place.  Here he is opening up a kinda sorta joke gift but one that he can use...tons of spices.  :))
Last but not least....I can honestly say this has been a great holiday season. I have to admit, I had gone through a little slump in the past couple of years,  not truly enjoying the holidays as much as I used to but this year we tried to do things that really gave us much more than just gifts, our time with friends and family gave us the gift of memories.

I know everyone loves to open up gifts. Totally get that.  But beyond holding that shiny thing in your hand,  isn't it nice to be able to hold good memories in your heart forever?

Let's do more of that in 2015.


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