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Whole-Hearted Living

by abby on January 9, 2017 | Comment

watercolor purple and red heart

Happy 2017! I hope your first week of all the new year went well. At the start of a new year, I like to reflect on where I am in path for my career and my life. So, I recently rewatched a TED TALK by Brene Brown: The Power of Vulnerability. It’s a worth your 20 minutes, I promise. It’s very inspirational. Brown hits several great points, but there’s one in particular that I latched onto. In this talk she defined the word courage slightly differently than the modern definition:

“Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor – the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.”

Please read that quote again.

This view of courage brings its meaning back to inner strength and authenticity to one’s self. This courage is about hearing the whole story. Your story includes your strengths and your struggles. The good and the bad. The joy and the fear.

Another way you can describe these types of courageous people are whole-hearted folks. They live with their full heart and accept imperfections.

I’ve decided that, “whole-hearted” is my word for 2017. I am going to embrace myself whole-heartedly. Will you join me in this mission? Let your entire self be seen and live with a whole heart.

Spread the courage!

A Book is a Dream

by abby on December 31, 2015 | Comment

Niel Gaiman quote on books

Well, we made it to the last day of 2015 and I thought I’d end with this fabulous quote I came across this month on a holiday visit to NYC. Don’t you just love this Niel Gaiman quote: “A book is a dream you hold in your hand.”

It hits home for readers, but also for the people who make books: authors, illustrators, editors, art directors, and book designers. I’m so grateful to be in an industry where we can inspire, educate, and provide joy to others.

I want to take a moment and thank you for all your support in 2015 and wish you a very Happy New Year!

Happy Thoughts-A New Print Collection

by abby on August 21, 2015 | Comment

watercolor abstract painting with quote of Hafiz Shiraz

Since I’ve started this blog I’ve enjoyed sharing inspiring and positive quotes and sayings with you—like this beautiful quote from the Persian poet, HAFIZ. Making these small watercolor and pencil paintings is a bit it like therapy for me. I never know what will happen and I’m free to explore. The final color palette and overall emotion of the watercolor paintings directs me to what messages I want to add.

It struck me recently that these would be beautiful when printed out on my digital watercolor paper too. I like the idea that their messages could be seen off the computer, in a chosen place of YOUR own. Instantly a new collection was born: HAPPY THOUGHTS: a print collection of Visual Inspiration and Positive Intention.

6 small prints showing watercolor painting with words of inspiration {The first group of prints of the HAPPY THOUGHTS Collection}

I’ve hand selected the first prints of this collection. These prints are available in my Etsy Shoppe and will be available at my booth at Clothesline Arts Festival on September 12th and 13th.

The HAPPY THOUGHTS collection will grow and I am interested in hearing what quotes or sayings connect with you and you’d like see become a print.

Have a great weekend!

What you…

by abby on June 23, 2015 | Comment

carl jung quote

Ever since I’ve returned from France, I’ve been doing quite a bit of yoga. And Sunday was even International Day of Yoga! Love it. With my yoga practice I am able to stay grounded and quiet the mental chatter, so I can hear my heart better. Yogis: does this happen to you too? If you have never experienced yoga, you need to try it! It’s amazing.

Last weekend, one of my instructors said the above quote to us to help us breath through a difficult pose. But honestly, it really hit home to me beyond my yoga mat. I instantly thought of a large art project that I’ve been avoiding. I’m a little timid to start, but this quote made me realize that delaying is only causing me more anguish.

It’s time for action! I’m done with the worry and I’m breathing deep and strong as I start my project this week. Will you join me in tackling an area in your life that you’ve been resisting?

Green is Great But…

by abby on March 17, 2015 | Comment

rainbow paper collage {I heart color wheels}

…there’s a whole world of color out there!

On a day when green dominates I would like to share with you the JOY of a color wheel! Over the weekend my friend, Kari, and and I had an art date together. We do this ever so often and we both always come away feeling refreshed and lighter.

This get together was all about creating darling little paper collage color wheels. Check out our handy work!

collage color wheel

rainbow color wheel on wood board

I was the one who suggested we create color wheels. I had seen a stained glass color wheel a few weeks ago in a store and the image was stuck in my mind. There is something so perfectly beautiful about seeing all the colors in a rainbow. Makes me giddy.

I glued my paper collage color wheel on a wood panel, so I could display it in my studio. You know, a little more color never hurts!

I thought I’d close this post with this lovely quote by Marc Chagall:

In our life there is a single color, as on an artist’s palette, which provides the meaning of life and art. It is the color of love. —Marc Chagall

Well said Chagall. Well said.

Be Light and Free

by abby on March 13, 2015 | Comment

I vow to let go of all worry and anxiety in order to be light and free. quote from Thich Nhat Hanh

I found this quote very inspiring and wanted to pass it along to you! I hope you shine brightly today. Happy Friday!

Big Magic

by abby on January 20, 2015 | Comment

big magic book
{image from Penguin Books}

I had one of those moments last week, when you read, watch, or hear something that resonates within your core and slightly changes your perspective and you know that you won’t ever be the same again. For me moment happened when I watched Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED TALK called: Your Elusive Genius.

Gilbert is the author of the international best-seller: Eat, Pray Love (remember THAT one?). She gave this talk in 2009 and has been extraordinarily popular (talking millions of views), but I only discovered last Wednesday! Artists and anyone who has felt a moment of sheer genius or struggled with creativity should listen to the talk.

Gilbert explains that society or at least artists themselves should have a shift in thinking that instead of a person “being” a genius they should believe they “have” a genius. It’s easier if Gilbert explains her view of creative genius herself. Here is an expert from an Etsy interview on the topic:

“I’ve always embraced magical thinking when it comes to creativity. I see inspiration as a mysterious external force that comes to us from unknown realms, in order to collaborate with our imaginations. This is how humans saw the artistic process for thousands of years, and it still works for me! I certainly like this fanciful approach to creativity better than the modern notion of the tormented artist, suffering alone in anguish and martyrdom.”

Wow, right. Watch her talk, seriously. I’d prefer to stop the roller coaster of emotions as a working creative, so I took hold of this idea of separating of the moments of amazing creativity from the day to day routine of practicing art. I like the idea that I have a bit more control and that with genuine effort in my projects, inspiration and brilliance will find me. It’s kind of a lovely idea to not beat up yourself if something isn’t quite working on a project. There’s nothing wrong with you. Your genius was on break or just didn’t show up that day, but she’ll be back. It’s not the end of the world. And it’s also a lovely thought to be humble when you to experience a moment of pure creative bliss. I know it sounds a little silly, but we all need a little help in this world! As Winnie-the-Pooh says, “It’s much friendlier with two”.

Expanding off of this TED TALK and a few other talks, Gilbert has written a book on the subject of creativity. The book has an awesome title. It’s called: BIG MAGIC. The cover was revealed last week.

new book by Elizabeth Gilbert

The book will be released on September 22nd of this year. You can pre-order copies now, too through Penguin Books. I will be reading it and hope you will join me. I’ll leave you with one more quote from Gilbert explaining the title:

“People don’t make art because they’ve got all kinds of spare time for it; they make art because they need to make art. They make art because it brings their souls to life in a way that nothing else can match. That’s what I call Big Magic, and it’s well worth the trouble.”


Changing Your World

by abby on January 6, 2015 | Comment

I hope you make mistakes
{Mistakes can help you learn. They aren’t all negative.}

Happy 2015 everyone! I hope your new year is off to a great start. I’m beginning my new year with a cleaned and organized studio and I’ve even updated my blog email too (did you notice?). All the newness feels good and I’m liking the fresh start.

To help you find a little more motivation for January, I’m sharing a fantastic quote that a friend shared with me yesterday. It’s from author, Neil Gaiman. His words ring true for me!

Making mistakes is alright and might even be necessary. This idea was a little mind blowing. I really don’t like making mistakes. In fact I’d say I hate to make mistakes (little or big). But the truth is that without taking some risks and stepping out of my comfort zone, life would be pretty boring and I wouldn’t grow and that’s not what I want either. I’m going to embrace a little risk taking this year.

Many people take on words for the year to help guide and focus their energies. My word of the year is COURAGE .I have a lot of BIG goals for 2015 and a lot of new steps to make. I might be making some mistakes along the way and that’s quite alright because I’ll also be LEARNING, GROWING, and CHANGING MY WORLD! (I just need to keep repeating this sentence!) I hope you will pass this quote on to other folks and spread the inspiration.

If you were to choose a word for your year what would it be? (Click on the comment button below and let me know!)

You Are My Sunshine

by abby on February 25, 2014 | Comment

watercolor painting of a yellow sun with quote You are my sunshine in script
{Feel the warmth!}

I think I’m doing everything I can to will warmer spring days and less snow. Even as I was creating this piece of art mother nature was mocking with me more snow falling! Oh well, I’ll keep thinking cheerful color thoughts and I hope you will too.

I’m considering making my inspiration quotes available as art prints in my shop. What do you think? Would you be interested?

Have a great day!

Dancing Purple Eggs

by abby on February 18, 2014 | Comment

color sketch of ballerina eggs inspired by Mark Rothko quote
{ a sneak peak into my sketchbook }

Oh I’m longing for spring and warmer weather! Are you too? This happens every year, but with the amount of winter snow and ice we’re had in upstate NY this year, the day dreaming of sunshine and spring colors is even stronger.

I’m sharing a silly doodle of mine today to pass along a smile. I was creating patterns for Easter eggs while brainstorming card designs when I noticed the quote at the bottom of my sketchbook/journal: “I think of my pictures as dramas; the shapes in the pictures are the performers.” It’s a quote by the artist Mark Rothko.

Maybe I was in a silly mood, but the first thought that came to mind after reading the quote was: dancing ballerina eggs! (hehe) So here they are! I think is is why sketchbooks and journals are so fantastic; they let you be free and open (and even a little silly).

Have a great day!