My environment makes such a difference in my mood. Many of us can relate to the feeling of unrest that comes from clutter and the feeling of serenity that you can feel from a clean space. That's why experts say that making your bed in the morning helps create a sense of order and calm that leads to productivity. I've actually been good about doing this and I think it works (at least until the kids come in and jump all over it, or just generally wreck my concentration!)

I've always loved to decorate. My husband says I'm "playing house" and that we have too many throw pillows (nonsense!) Here are some photos from a couple recent instagram posts showing a little of my aesthetic at home.

It wasn't until last year that I finally decided to dedicate some energy to creating an art studio for myself. This was the kick off of what is becoming a journey of paint and exploration.

The only space we have for this studio is the unfinished basement, but it's better than nothing and it actually gets a small amount of natural light. As a bonus, it's away from the hubbub of family activity that's happening upstairs AND it's right next to my husband's work bench so I can just reach over and grab tools I need for matting and framing (and believe me there are many). That sounded gender stereotypical. I have plenty of my own tools but he’s kind of a tool pack-rat as you can see. My kids have their own space for crafts in this shared unfinished basement so there are days that all 4 of us are downstairs creating, puttering, or working on some sort of project.

Ummm.. my space is clearly messy enough - and no, I did not clean up for these pics - so I think I'll save sharing the kid's area for a future post on organization (I can dream, right?)

What's your favorite space at home?

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School's Out My kids are out of school and our routines are changing. I'm not one to love too much structure but I'm definitely someone who benefits from it. When I travel, I dream of having an empty calendar and the freedom to make each day a spontaneous adventure. It's just not practical (especially in a family with young kids) and usually leads to wasted time and grumpy kids. "I'm bored" and "What are we even DO-ing!" are phrases that don't relax any of us when we are on vacation!

It's the same tug and pull I have with my creativity. I don't necessarily want rules or schedules to limit how and when I express myself, but I do still need instruction and some planning to keep me on track and hold me accountable.

This painting, "Surf", has it's own tug and pull. There is a lure of the ocean waves captivating the boy's (in this case, my son's) imagination. My challenge was to capture the softness of the wet sand morphing into shallow waves under an overcast sky. The colors are so muted and gentle in an ocean just tantalizing enough for a boy who is not yet sure of his abilities on the boogie board. I fell in love with the magentas working in this piece and the way they highlight his face and make sneak appearances elsewhere in the composition. I like how they contrast yet hold their own against the warmth of the bright yellow board.

Back to my ramblings about structure... keeping a monthly newsletter helps me stay consistent and I hope it helps satisfy your curiosity about my artistic journey. If you aren't already subscribed to my newsletter then what are you waiting for? :) Visit my contact page to subscribe.

Surf Detail
"Surf" (Detail)

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My newest work is called "Midtown Possibilities." I just love the energy of New York, although I always say that I can handle being in the city for a few days and then I need to get back to more greenery and a slower pace (if you can call life in the D.C. Suburbs with two young kids "slow"... I guess it's all relative).

We all need a change of scenery sometimes. This particular scene is from a work trip that I took last fall. I had taken the train up to NYC for an all-day training course on management. You're jealous, I know. As luck would have it, I was able to time the trip so that I could take an afternoon peak at the Alyssa Monks exhibit, which happened to be running at Forum Gallery that month. If you don't know Alyssa Monks, she is an incredible Brooklyn-based artist who's 3-day workshop I will be taking later this year (I can. not. wait!) The way color dances around on her canvas to create captivating images is mind-boggling and I study her technique whenever I can. Her works are large in scale and to see them in person is a treat.

So back to this scene. I think I was so full of energy and inspiration after having experienced Alyssa's portrait work that I started snapping photos like crazy on my hustle back to the hotel. This pink umbrella and the vibrant colors popping out from the otherwise "gray" city scene caught my eye and I captured what I saw as I crossed a midtown street.

Enjoy! "Midtown Possibilities" is hanging at the June Show at Gallery 209 from 6/7-7/2 (12276 Wilkins Ave., Rockville, MD 20852) First Friday reception is Friday, 6/7 from 6-9pm.

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