Monday, November 11, 2013

Simply Put...Art Heals

         “To send light into the darkness of men's hearts - such is the duty of the artist.”  Schumann

It is November, the month of rain and falling leaves, gray days with sun streams, warm hearts and full bellies.  It is the month of giving thanks and remembering love.  It is a living canvas of beauty.  And I am thankful for art, because simply heals every soul it encounters.

I remember clearly the time I had a cancer scare in high school and another one in college.  Along with prayer, the support from my family and friends, composing music on the piano, and writing poetry and stories (all while watching my mom paint) helped me heal in ways I cannot explain.  It helped me process the fear of my illness and the unknown, while allowing beauty and peace into my wounds.  Now jump ahead (quite a few) years later to a time when I've immersed myself into mixed-media art, too, and have experienced great joy and pain in between.  I cannot express how freeing it is to create something in an art form that knows no boundaries!  Mixed-media is poetry, music, documentation, image...everything that the soul can express. 

I happened across these quotes I found to be stunning and striking in a way that cannot be ignored.  These quotes should be carried around in your heart as a reminder that art heals if you allow it:

"Art opens the closets, airs out the cellars and attics. It brings healing." ~ Julia Cameron

"Art is a wound turned into light." ~Georges Braque

"Art is our one true global language. It knows no nation, it favors no race, and it acknowledges no class. It speaks to our need to reveal, heal, and transform. It transcends our ordinary lives and lets us imagine what is possible." ~ Richard Kamler

"I think artists can go to a level of vision that can often save us from a situation which seems to have no solution whatsoever." ~Susan Griffin

"Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures." ~Henry Ward Beecher

“The main thing is to be moved, to love, to hope, to tremble, to live.”  ~Auguste Rodin

"Art is the stored honey of the human soul." ~Theodore Dreiser

"Making art is like giving a gift: evidence of your spirit and that you are here." ~Patty Mitchell

"I live and love in God's peculiar light" ~Michelangelo 

"At the deepest level, the creative process and the healing process arise from a single source. When you are an artist, you are a healer; a wordless trust of the same mystery is the foundation of your work and its integrity." ~Rachel Naomi Remen, MD


As you step out into the darkness that is pain, remember your duty as the artist, or the lover of art, to bring light into the world, to bring gratefulness to the gifts that are presented to you, the gifts of creativity and sharing. 

Peace, love, and gratitude,

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Mixed Media Christmas Ornaments

I'm diving in early and making mixed media holiday ornaments.  This is the first time I've ever made ornaments like these, and I have to say I'm addicted.  I wanted them to have a Paris flee market vibe...a Parisian Christmas type of elegance.  What do you think? 
I'm making these as gifts, but several people have asked If I would consider selling them as well.  It has crossed my mind.  The problem is finding a price that will work for both the buyer and for me.  Most people spend anywhere from $5 to $25 on a holiday ornament for the tree or a wreath.  But most of those ornaments or replications.  Mine are all originals and no two will ever be exactly alike.  In fact, it would almost be impossible for me to replicate any given one.  I don't like doing that anyway.  So, the debate in my mind goes on.  How much would I charge or should I bother?  Should they just be presents?  What do you think?  And what would you pay for one of these?  Artists often have trouble pricing their art because they want to sell their creations, but at the same time they want to get back at least part of what they've put into creating (making art is expensive).  Just to create one of these ornaments took a lot of time driving from place to place, treasure hunting, finding the right specialty art papers, paints, and embellishments.  Not to mention the time that goes into composition, creating, and layering.  And there are always those burned and sore fingers.  Hmmm.  I love every minute of it though...don't you worry!

What are you creating this holiday season?

Happy creating,


Friday, October 18, 2013

The Calm Before The Storm: Reminiscing Art

The Calm Before The Storm: Reminiscing Art

Last October, I went on a jaunt with one of my best friends, Amy.  We hopped into her car and drove from Loudoun County to New York City.  The anticipation of NYC is always something that's hard to explain.  That city holds mystery and a certain beat that's quick and changing, much like a rock song performed by an orchestra...a "thing" that's unexpected, unusual, surprising.  Every time I visit the Big Apple, my journey is different and I always return revived.  It is the city that delivers the creative soul into the hands of possibility.

This time, we went for the purpose of taking an art class with master mixed-media artist, Lynne Perrella.  We hauled and lugged our art bags (Amy in heels no less, with me hobbling on a bum ankle) around the streets of Greenwich Village (or the "Village" as locals call it), bumping into kind strangers as we tried to navigate our way to the Westbeth Center from the train station.  New York City people are some of the nicest I've met.  They're not fake, nor are they above giving much needed directions.  In all my visits there, I had never been to Greenwich Village, so finding The Ink Pad's creative space at the famous Westbeth Center was an adventure, to say the least.  Westbeth Center, by the way, is an artist colony that has been in existence since 1970.  This building houses artists, dancers, musicians, actors, writers and film makers (some famous, some not) and sits on an entire New York City block facing the Hudson River.  It's a living picture of art history.

We spent the day under Lynne Perrella's instruction.  She is a humble, extremely talented artist who inspired everyone in her class with her unique techniques.  We bonded with other artists that day, all of us from different walks of life, with our own stories to tell...all of us attempting to complete one goal...a stained glass inspired piece of art in one intensive day.  I believe most of us completed our individual pieces and all probably treasure them to this day.

When Amy and I arrived at the train station late that evening, we were exhausted, but completely inspired.  I took off my shoes (Amy flung off her heels), we sat on the floor and admired each other's work.  There were thousands of people swarming in and out and around us, trying to get to their own destinations.  But for us, there was calm and satisfaction in our hands because we were holding art...we had experienced art.

The coming of the Hurricane had us up and out early that next morning to head homeward.  Little did we know it would be such a devastating storm in New York and New Jersey.  To this day, when I see the piece I created, I think of the calm before the storm.

Here's a few snapshots of my completed piece, which definitely took me the entire some.  I actually tweaked it a little when I returned home, too, where I added a little encaustic.


And here, Amy and I are devouring a massive cookie the size of NYC, which we bought at Macy's.  Some man had the gall to walk by and tell us that we should know better than to eat that cookie.  I suppose he thought he was being helpful?

After our trip, I also created a piece using many of the techniques I learned from Lynne.  The piece I created below is titled New Year's Eve.  It was a piece I made from the inspiring memories of NYC.  This exact piece I sold at the Waterford Fair this year.  It was sad to say goodbye to it, as it was like saying goodbye to a fond memory...but I'm always happy to know when a piece of my art finds a good home and hopefully helps someone else reminisce about the day they made an artistic discovery.

New Year's Eve (close-up)



New Year's Eve (shot 1)

Happy art to you!



Saturday, October 5, 2013

Mixed Media Adventures at Waterford Fair

This year, I participated in the Waterford Fair.  This is a special year, because it marks the Fair's 70th anniversary.  There are many wonderful artists participating in the fair and all of them put so much passion into their art...whether it be pottery, oil paintings, furniture, or painted guards (to name a few).  I was excited to play a part this year with eleven of my mixed media art pieces on display in the old Red Barn.  When they asked each artist to write an artist's statement, I didn't know where to start.  So I just started here... 

Artist's Statement
             God made us to create.  I think in part because there is something healing and holistic in making something out of darkness.  Art heals and leads us to revelations...or the "light."  The Creator created us with a kind of magic called imagination.  When we take yarn and weave, clay to mold something 3-D, paint to create and blend shapes, play notes to produce cords, and choose words to form syntax...we are on our way to finding some meaning, our perhaps even bits of ourselves.

 When you take a blank canvass and all the work is ahead of you, and you don't censor yourself by putting expectations ahead of the process, you are likely to do some of your best work.  It's having faith in the unraveling, faith in the colors, the sounds, and the words as they appear through and in you.  Art heals.  Simply, it heals from the inside out.  It is a gradual release and it takes faith and amazing courage.  I hope you enjoy my art and I hope that you are encouraged to pursue that which inspires you.

    A few fun facts about me:  I make my home in Loudoun County, Virginia with my husband, our two wonderful, slightly mischievous, sons, and two characters of the canine variety named Ruby Tuesday (you know, the one The Rolling Stones sing about), and Benny Bob.  Home is where I create mixed-media art, write stories, screenplays, and poetry, edit other authors' fabulous stories, compose on the piano, and still pretend I’m going to be a rock star someday. 

My favorite art supplies:

  • Brushes of many sizes
  • Canvas
  • Embellishments of all kinds
  • Encaustic
  • Ephemera
  • Fabrics
  • Funny sayings
  • Historical images
  • Imagination
  • Ink
  • Paints
  • Pastels
  • Poetry
  • Quotes from inspirational people
  • Reclaimed wood
  • Sandpaper
  • Stamps
  • Typography
  • Vintage papers
  • Wax seals
After I turned in my artist's statement and my artwork, I went to the Fair as a lover of all things handmade, where I spent too much money, but original art is always worth it. 

It's a tradition to go to the Waterford Fair every year with the two best moms in the world, my mother and mother-in-law.  They wouldn't let me take pictures of them, so I took pictures of our beautiful surroundings.  Mom1 and Mom2 always make the trip memorable.  Here are some shots from our adventure:

German Redware I purchased at the fair.  Isn't she beautiful on my kitchen counter! 
She has the old English nursery rhyme about 24 blackbirds baked in a pie
This happens to be the same nursery rhyme I sang to my boys
almost every night when they were small.
There's one more day left of the fair!  So if you are just a few hours away from Waterford, Virginia.  It's worth the drive.  Otherwise, there's next year...
~Mary Rand Hess





Sunday, September 1, 2013

A Cow Named Aromella

Raise A Glass Of Milk To Aromella!

She's done it all ... provided milk for the masses, glowed in her silky, red skin, and rang that bell of goodness that had children run from pasture to kitchen with fresh milk and cream.  She's been "moo'd" at by humans and cows alike.  And she's inspired me to create a story about her on canvas.  Meet Aromella!

When I start a piece of art, I like to tell a story (much like when I'm writing, I'm not always sure where the story is going to take me). Often times it's a quirky sort of story, filled with humor, inspiration, beauty, or mystery. It depends on my mood and who I have in mind when I'm creating a piece.

For A Cow Named Aromella, an antique cigar label inspired me when my Aunt Mary Helen sent me an envelope full of these vintage inspirations.  Mary Helen happens to love cows and paints them herself.  She's a fun and talented artist who gives personality to her subjects, as I like to do.  In this case, I imagined that Aromella was THE COW who provided milk for Opie and the crew on The Andy Griffith Show.  See, my aunt lives in a small town in North Carolina called Siler City, which is far from a city and more reminiscent of Mayberry.  In fact, once upon a time, Aunt Bee (a.k.a. Frances Bavier) actually lived in Siler City, where my uncle was her lawyer.  So linked get a passion for cows, a love for milk, The Andy Griffith Show, and all that is vintage.


"Opie, you haven't finished your milk.  We can't put it back in the cow, you know." 
                 ~From The Andy Griffith Show

Next time you pour a cold class of milk to go along with a slice of Chocolate Chess Pie, think of Aromella and raise a glass to her goodness.

Chocolate Chess Pie (the way "us" Southerners make it)

Mix: 1 1/2 cups sugar
          3 tablespoons of cocoa
Add: 1 small can evaporated milk
          2 beaten eggs
          1/2 stick melted margarine or butter
          1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Mix all together well
  2. Put in unbaked pie shell.  Bake 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until set.

Pat in Pan Pie Crust

1 and 1/2 cup of flower
1/2 cup of oil
1 teaspoon of salt
1-2 tablespoons of sugar
2 tablespoons of milk


  1. Place the flour, sugar, and salt in the pie pan and mix with your fingers until blended.
  2. In a measuring cup, combine the oil and milk and beat with a fork until creamy.
  3. Pour all at once over flour mixture.
  4. Mix with a fork until the flour mixture is completely moistened.
  5. Pat the dough with your fingers, first up the sides of the plate, then across the bottom.
  6. Flute the edges.
  7. Shell is now ready to be filled with chocolate goodness (see above)

Monday, July 22, 2013

A Royal Place to Visit

Hear ye, hear ye...a royal baby boy has been born!  And in honor of everything English, I have included a piece I recently finished titled THE LOO.  You know...everyone has to visit the royal loo sometimes, especially after an abundance of tea.

Celebrate the birth of all possibilities, most importantly creative ones.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Happy Spring, friends!  I hope you are finding inspiration outside (and inside your heart) in this amazing life that's growing and sprouting all around you.

Seeing that we are in four months into 2013, I thought I should do a quick review of what happened in my world this past 2012 before I get into my "plans" for the remainder of 2013.  First, let me explain that I spent the good portion of 2012 publishing/editing a wonderful children's book by Jodi Moore and illustrated by Brendan Flannelly-King, titled GOOD NEWS NELSON. It was beyond amazing working with these two talents.  If you haven't checked out the book yet...what are you waiting for?

Between my sons' ballgames, school functions, home life (including the holidays), church, etc.  I was also able to get a little bit of art in, which definitely cures what ails you.  I was thrilled to do multiple mini pieces for two Chick's Picks shows in the fall of 2012.  This time, I showcased my mini-mixed media art on easels.  I love doing minis as they are great to use in decorating with an eclectic, vintage style.  You can see a few samples in the pictures below.

Lately, I've been finding myself wanting to do more silhouettes again.  Below are a few I did not too long ago.  One was sold at an auction (the dancer with the heart) and the other was given as a gift to my cousin.  I'm not sure exactly what I want to do with silhouettes, but I can't wait to see where my creativity leads me.  I'm also looking forward to finishing up a few writing projects.  Somehow the urge to write and create art never truly leaves me.  Whenever I start to have my doubts and feel tired and weary, it seems the Good Lord plants the desire right back in my heart.  It's kind of like Spring over and over again.  
So, what do you have planned this Spring?