Art Is...You!

Alright, I just sat down to blog and it wasn't working out so well. Repeatedly I kept writing about three or four sentences...I'd pause what I wrote...say to myself, "what was I even thinking?"...hit delete...and start over. I expressed my frustration to Aaron (the writer), and he said, "yeah, that's what you call a "false start"...they happen all the time...they're not so bad really, because at least you are writing something...not just staring at a blank screen. It's just that you haven't found your angle yet. I have notebooks absolutely full of "false starts" did Scott Fitzgerald, and he ended up publishing them...blah blah bluh bla bloh blah blub blahbee blub blooh blah bla blippity blug blah..." Sorry Aar, that's what it sounds like when you go off on your Literary jags. Just kidding, he knows I'm kidding! ; )
Anyway, the whole false start thing was getting a bit annoying. Especially since I wasn't looking for an "angle". I just wanted to post some new that I'm privy to and others are not. But I get Aaron's point. There always is a bit of an "angle" the one I've settled on...the one you just read. The story of my "false starts" has now become my real start. Okeedokee, with that out of the way now I can get to the info that I'd like to make you all privy to.
Coming this Fall...October 7 - 11, me and Aaron will be instructors at a fantastically awesome east coast art retreat, known as "Art is...You".To say that I'm excited is like saying that my dog Carlos is the light of my life... Understatement of the century! Well, we were contacted like last week about doing Art is...You for October 2011. This is a year and a half from now...and this is usually how far in advance they plan these things. Right away me and Aar were like heck yes, we'll do it. And we sat down and started sketching out ideas for classes. Despite the event being like 18 months away...enough time to have two babies if your name is Michelle Duggar...we were totally amped and ready to go. Well, it's a good thing that we were amped...because then the gals from Art is...You got back to me and said that after some spirited urging from Kecia Deveney and LaurieMeseroll (fellow faculty at Art is...You) ...they were nearly forced to ask us if we would consider jumping on this year's bill...Art is...You in, a few months from now!! Very last minute for us and very last minute for them. They like to run things with lots of organization and plenty of time for adjustments. So it's a bit of a nerve wracking leap for all parties!
So we just are totally psyched to take part in this super fabulous event. Of course Art is...You has a brass tacks website that you'd be wise to reference, but I'll give you some enticing details. As stated above, Kecia Deveney is an instructor. Now take it from me...I was in a class of Kecia's...a class she taught right in her home (so what!...if you are jealous, then move to Jersey!) Kecia is a master, or should I say mistress?, of the art of soldering. Soldering, the one thing that I think all of us wish we could do well. It's so magical to render with metallic feels like you're breaking elemental rules. Like you're harnessing the power of something that was heretofore untamed. And what's more, the end result of Kecia's projects...the objects that you leave her class with are so delicate and pretty. Me and Aaron walked into one of her classes at Art Opera and we saw so many beautiful works in progress.
So what I'm doing now is setting up your schedule for October 7-11. First of all, you'll be in Danbury Connecticut, at the Danbury Plaza Hotel & Conference Center. You'll be enjoying luxury amenities such as a heated indoor pool, a fitness facility, high speed internet access, a nearby Starbucks and Trader Joes, complimentary breakfast, and a free cocktail every night. You'll be at Art is...You, surrounded by hundreds of other super cool gals (and some guys) like yourself...and you'll be busy all day and night, exploring all sorts of creative mediums and methods. Early Sunday morning you'll have an indulgent fried dough & coffee breakfast at the famous Elephant Trunk Flea Market...after which you'll go back and attend some more workshops...and then...Here's the cherry on top of Sunday'll attend the official Art is...You dinner with a super special guest speaker...the one and only Jo Packham, of Where Women Create fame! She'll be there to discuss all the good stuff...Wow! what a night!!. And just think...all week long you will have been taking classes from me & Aaron and from Kecia. If that's the case, you will be leaving Art is...You with a nearly complete artistic experience. I say "nearly" because there is one more hole in the creative journey left to fill. And you can ask Laurie Meseroll for assistance in filling it. This is Laurie Meseroll of Mudcakes! Yes, that Laurie Meseroll! I have been a fan of her work forever and ever. The other day I was talking with Kecia through Facebook or something and we were talking about what our schedules should be at Art is...You. Kecia was like..."yeah, I'm just trying to figure out what schedule will work best for me...because I want to have time set aside so that I can take a class with this painter that I love"

And I sent Kecia a message a day or so later saying that I hope I'm able to teach our classes and also have time left over so that I can take a class taught by Laurie Meseroll." Well, Kecia was like "holy cow! that's who I wanted to take a class with...that's the painter I was talking about the other day! (disclaimer: these quotes from Kecia are not verbatim...just close approximations...I cannot swear that she ever said the phrase "holy cow" ever in her lifetime...or she might say it all day long...I'm just saying...these snippets of conversation are just representational.) And here's a disclaimer that I'm not putting in parentheses: I didn't mean that the only way to get a full artistic experience at Art is...You is to take classes taught by Me, Kecia, and Laurie. I was just joking around and relating my own personal ideal schedule...there are in fact way too many amazing instructors to name here. After you are through reading this blog (and leaving me a comment!) you have to then go check out the Art is...You site. It is clear, concise, and full of info!
So yes, class space is limited and probably fills up'll have to compete with me and Kecia for a seat in Laurie's class. But, here's the and Aaron are very last minute additions to this fabulous Art is...You event. That means I'm letting you guys know blog readers will have first dibs. There will be three in total but being that we just found out...give a girl a break...we're still finishing up the third. And I just checked the Art is...You site. Check out these links here and here to see the full descriptions of our first two classes. I went to the page where you would purchase a seat in our classes...but they are not yet activated. I think we need to first give them our third class before they can activate them...but if you are looking to sign up for our classes I bet you can shoot them an email to possibly get on a list. We'll have the third class ready very soon...I check back often!

5x7 mini plaque
Here on the blog I've got some great example pictures for the classes...AND...the one image is actually our newest collage painting that we have for can buy it now right here on the blog! It's title is easy enough: "Sweet"... It's available as a matted print in a couple sizes and as a 5 x 7 plaque. I'm totally in love with this piece because it features maybe my all time favorite collectible that I own...and because it's just the perfect collaboration of me and Aaron. As you may have seen on here lately, all of my newest collage pieces have this distinct feel and color palette. If you were to tear a page out of anywhere in my winter art journal you'd be holding an image very similar to what these latest pieces look like. So I had an 11 x 14 collage that was just screaming out for a focal point...and Aaron is really good at painting pretty faces...doll faces & pin up girls especially. (in fact, remind me to get him to paint more pin ups and especially, more DOLLS when he can spare a minute...he used to paint a lot of pin ups and they were great...we did a couple variations of coffee tables with pin ups on top...full body...they were so fab! with fancy scrollwork, roses, and leopard print!) So anyway, I asked Aar if he wanted to paint our favorite bunny baby on my collage...a little while later we had "Sweet"! Totally love this piece! I'm not sure which version is my fave...the 11 x 14 print is great because that's the actual size of the painting and at that size it's a real stand out piece for a room...but then the 8 x 10 is really great because when you shrink an image down it will look better...the details become tighter...some of the colors pop more...and 8 x 10 is smaller without being "small" ya know...still a good size...and a classic, standard, size...easy to find a great 11 x 14 frame. And lastly, there's the 5 x 7 wood plaque, we call those our "mini" plaques. The mini plaques are fab because they are like chunky little pieces of candy that are ready to hang as is...and we always use this format for our artwork...a bunch of Everyday is a Holiday minis make a fantastic collection! Actually, right here in my home...not as part of the permanent decor...but more like the waiting zone before the stork delivers them to their expectant parents...I have the mini plaque of "Sweet" propped up between the two mini plaques from my previous blog post. Not to be a "sales" person, but they seriously look so great as a trio like that!
Alright, while on the topic of our new painting "Sweet", let me give a the descrip of our class entitled:

"Creative Mise En Place"
df. mise en place- (meez en plas) a cook's meticulously arranged supply of essential ingredients. Everything in it's place.

(please note: this is a loosely structured course as far as finished if you are looking at the bunny in the photo and/or candy colors...and you are thinking..."that's not me"...well don't be scared off. This is a mere example of what you can arrive at, using the techniques that we'll be exploring in class. So by all means...bring on the jewel tones & earthy neutrals if thats what floats your boat.) This course will focus more on techniques rather than a specific finished product. Of course, you'll be walking away from class holding your very own self made masterpiece...but we're more focused on the journey, than the destination! We create new artwork every single day and we use dozens of skills and handcrafts that we've perfected for more than 15 years as working artists. We'll be giving you guys an inside scoop on all of our time honed artistic "tricks" and "secrets". We believe in using as many facets of the creative process as possible to create truly unique mixed media pieces. You'll experiment with "overpainting" on vintage photographs..."re-painting" on existing imagery. You'll learn how to use everyday items to create special textures and shapes. It's all about finding your comfort zone and then going ten steps past that. If you are inexperienced, you'll be shocked at how skilled your hands suddenly seem to be. Or you may be a paint spattered veteran looking for a fresh perspective. (trust us...we are a pair of artists who have been locked away, creating for 16 plus years...we definitely can show you some techniques that haven't exactly seen the popular light of day!) We'll work to define your personal palette...not only your color palette but also your material palette...that's WHAT you use when you sit down to create. Let's call it...your recipe for art....or your: Creative Mise En Place. Let us all bring our own essential ingredients to this creative kitchen.You'll be drawing, painting, cutting & pasting, collaging, blending, shading, speckling, doodling, color washing, etc...We'll spend time on dozens of techniques...which you'll create personal samples of as you learn them. (these pages can be incorporated into future projects, or even pasted into your own art journal.) In the end you'll create a piece of artwork, of your choosing, that puts to use some or all of the techniques that you practiced throughout the course. Each student will leave with a ready to hang canvas that they've rendered using their brand new artistic recipe. We can't wait to see what everyone bakes up!!
That's actually the whole description as it appears on the Art is...You website....well, except for the materials list. There is very detailed list of necessary and optional materials. And you can of course email us with any further questions. This class is really open for your interpretation...a very free class in which you'll dictate just how far you go. We're really excited about it because we have the feeling that the students will very likely turn a creative corner and leave much "bigger" than when they arrived!

Alright, here's the descrip for the next class. And here's the cool part... Each year Art is...You has an overall theme. This year it's The Wizard of Oz! We just thought..."wow!...our little home making project! perfect!

There's no place like home!!"
This class will focus on the start to finish creation of a very personal multi media work of art. We will demonstrate dozens of techniques using myriad mediums & materials. The theme is There's No Place Like Home and we will provide all the specifics necessary to create a piece very similar to what you see here. But this class is anything but rigid. We hope to provide a mere starting point for your own creativity. Whether you work in the realm of realism or total will find this project to be conducive to your whims. Imagine that the shape of the house is just a blank canvas for your art journals...the four walls and the roof taking the place of your pages. You'll be working with wood, cardboard, patterned paper, old photographs, vintage ephemera, paint, glue, pens, pencils, markers, stamps, inks, sandpaper, etc... You'll have access to adornments such as vintage millinery flowers, silk and velvet ribbons, seam bindings, glitter, lace trims, etc... You will be using techniques such as decoupage, collage, cutting & pasting, painting, speckling, assemblage, color washing, distressing, doodling, antiquing, etc... Again, when working with this pattern, to make this house and pedestal, you can be as loose or as tight with the instructions as you desire. Whatever your color tastes are...if you like busy patterns or serene'll make this your very own home sweet home.
So that's it. Like I said...the third class is coming very very soon! We hope you love our new painting "Sweet"...and what the heck...just go ahead and buy one for yourself or a friend! ha ha! And remember that the previous post has some stuff for sale AND the post before that one has our Art Opera kits!! Still some left. I assure you....You will LOVE making either one of those kits! Thanks so so much again for reading! The weather is finally getting good...well I think it's getting consistent at least...go out and get some of it! more thing!...

Hey, in case you didn't know, Today is Earth Day! It's a day with double the meaning in our family. Aaron is out bringing home dinner and he's stopping at his brother's house to drop off a card & a little birthday gift. Aaron's bro was born on Earth Day...not just on a random April 22nd but on the actual, original Earth Day. Well, it's a holiday that I really like. Of course it's one of those recently invented ones, like Valentines Day...and I like invented Valentines. There are those grumps who say "ugggh! Valentines Day was invented by Hallmark just so they can exploit men's need to impress women and sell more cards blah blah blah blah...." ...and to that I would like to say: "yeah? so what? does it hurt you to get a card for your girl? get her flowers? or chocolate?...well it shouldn' do us all a favor and drop your conspiracy theories and let Hallmark rule your world for one day of the year! Your girl will like you better."
And the same goes for Earth Day. This planet is so gorgeous and awesome! One Day! Just like Mother's Day...this is Mother Earth's Day. Give her some love. Maybe DON'T buy her a card...because that cuts down her trees. Maybe DON'T go for a drive in the country to observe her beauty...because you'll be clouding up her air with all your car exhaust. The best thing to do is to probably just THINK about all the stuff you could be doing every day to make your relationship with earth better. Because being good to the earth is certainly not a one day affair. It's about your Everyday behavior. And it's hard to be conscientious every single day. That's why Earth Day is great...take today to think about how you could be doing better. Write it down maybe. A little list next to your calendar. Turning lights off, turning the heat down, using less air conditioning, turning off the water when you brush your teeth, all those little things that you probably do already but you know what I mean...just try to be better. We all can be better. We don't have to be Ed Begley jr. And by all means, you don't have to be preachy about it. You can 100% keep it to yourself. The best thing about Mother Earth?...she aint got no ego. You don't have to brag to your friends about your relationship with her. The reason I even bring up the whole idea of keeping it to yourself, is because of the haters. They love to hate on Al Gore and anybody who is "Green". And caring about the sky and the water and the dirt and the trees, all of the sudden becomes a political issue. That is just so bizarre to me! I find it best to just not give anybody any ammunition. Especially when I can't stand their cockeyed point of view...I'd rather not even have to hear them speak! I can love my Mother Earth without wearing the t-shirt. But maybe you like confrontation...if so, good for the words of Ricki Lake audience member number 3,872, circa 1995 : "you go girl!"
Anyway, just take some time today to think about how you'll love your Mother for the rest of the year. Hey, maybe it's as easy as switching what Chips you eat! How cool is it that Sun Chips now have a completely compost-able bag?! I saw the commercial a few weeks back. Of course, I've given up chips altogether, but it's still really cool.

See you soon!!
xoxo Jenny


  1. JENNY!!! I just ordered my SWEET plaque!! I am so excited and cannot wait to get it and add it to my collection :) I have said it before but I will say it again and again, you two are sooooo talented!! Aaron just blows me away with this bunny!! SO REALISTIC!
    I am so excited for you both to be teaching these classes. Anyone lucky enough to attend is really going to come away with something special. I would LOVE to learn from you! The classes look wonderful and so unique, which I LOVE!!
    Happy Earth Day sweet friends!!
    Love and hugs,

  2. Oh my goodness, this is the most exciting thing I've heard since I moved to Jersey :) I'm so glad I live close enough. Now to mark the calendar and set aside some funds, haha!

  3. Awesome!!! I love any little thing that you can is great!
    Hugs, Lisa

  4. You crack me up! When in the world do you find time to write such long posts!! I haven't written in a week!! Love all your new class projects. The house is adorable. Wish I lived closer to take a of these days!!

  5. Sounds exciting. Love your new work, especially the birdy house.

    Kudos always.

  6. Jenny- everything looks fantastic! I am into the swap! Count me in!

  7. Brilliant post!

    Love the whole idea!


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xo Jenny & Aaron

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