Orlando Workshop November 10-11, 2018

Value in Women's Voices

Kelsey Le Mesurier teaches poetry in the NSW in Australia and has graciously obtained permission to use my work on the cover of her booklet for school. I opened the booklet to find the first poem is absolutely one of my favorites! Thank you Kelsey!


Still I Rise

By Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
’Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
’Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise

Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise

When In Doubt, Add a Third Eye

Sometimes, a painting just needs to be revisited and addressed further. This happens to me more than I readily admit but this painting was an obvious case. The first attempt was a piece called Speechless that I painted for my solo show Journey to Bliss (at Arts on Douglas Gallery in New Smyrna.) The peaceful woman on the left represented how I try to live my life; completely calm and in the present moment, absorbing and cherishing every moment for the gift that it is. The woman on the right represented how I could freeze, become speechless and loose my voice when confronted with anger, hostility and non-acceptance by a certain person from my past. This was yet another classic example of my art as therapy!

Speechless, first round

Speechless, first round

The more I stared at Speechless, once it was back in my studio, the more I wanted to change it. Was it because it was about being passive or feeling helpless? Or was it because the painting itself just didn't work. What would I say about the piece if it was a student or a fellow artist? The composition is split in half down the middle, leaving it too awkward, too clumsy, too bright, too this, too that. After a solid hour of staring at it, I figured it out. I broke my own rule about components in odd numbers. You can't divide a piece down the middle with only two fragments! So that was the solution; when in doubt, add a third eye. 

In the traditions of the chakras, the third eye is the center of intuition and foresight. The function of the third eye chakra is driven by the principle of openness and imagination. This third eye may not have been on her forehead, but it symbolizes the reflection and the awareness that both my painting and my predicament were missing! I love this painting so much more now. Fixed and that much closer to healed!

Speechless Again, second round

Speechless Again, second round

Other third eye paintings I love! 

New Abstract Paintings

I am loving my new McRae studio and I have been working away on a new series of abstracts that I just love!! Here's a preview. Come see in person at the McRae opening:

McRae Art Studios Spring Open House

Saturday, May 19, 2018
6 to 9 pm

License is Required 36" x 48"

License is Required 36" x 48"

Love Teaching at McRae!

McRae Art Studios is such a great place to host workshops, especially with my new studio there in the heart of it. And what a fabulous group of women! Thank you for sharing all your great energy!

The public can come check out McRae at our next opening;

McRae Art Studios Spring Open House

Saturday, May 19, 2018
6 to 9 pm

Teachers! The studios are available for rent for workshops. See all the details  on mcraeartstudios.com.

Want to play and make art this weekend?

I am setting up for my workshop at McRae Art Studios and I still have space for a few more people who want to make art! It's not too late to sign up- come play!!

  Drawing and Painting on Mixed Media Collage 2 Day Workshop at McRae Art Studios, Orlando, FL

April 14-15, 2018, Saturday and Sunday 10 am to 5 pm

$195 Click here to register


Drawing and Painting with Mixed Media Collage

Learn the joys of mixed media collage.  In the workshop, I teach the fundamentals of collage, drawing and painting. I will address working with papers, fabrics, found objects, past art work, pencil and charcoal drawing, and acrylic painting.  The materials used will be the choice of each student, but students are encouraged to incorporate some of their own prior art work into new pieces. The objective of the workshop is to explore new mixed media techniques and excavate each student’s authentic voice in their art.

I teach 2 drawing methods using the student's own photos. I teach how to graph a photo for any size free hand drawing and also a tracing method that works well for small pieces and individuals who are intimidated or new to drawing. We learn the fundamentals of collage on the first day and then spend the second day drawing and painting over those collages. I do drawing demonstrations on the first day so that you know what to expect and what kind of photo reference to bring. I work individually with each person trying to get their projects to a place that they love.

I encourage everyone to incorporate mixed media collage into what they already do! I will work with each of you on whatever style project you would like to work on whether it is faces, figures, landscapes, still lives or abstracts. There are no set rules in my workshops. I try to create a fun time that introduces new techniques and a comfortable learning environment to enhance where you already are. All levels are welcomed!

How to Help Children With Learning Disabilities to Get Involved in the Arts

How to Help Children With Learning Disabilities to Get Involved in the Arts

By: Lillian Brooks


Founder of learningdisabilities.info

Just because your child has a learning disability does not mean that your child cannot have a successful education. Some of the world’s most successful people had learning disabilities, including Walt Disney, Nelson Rockefeller, Charles Schwab, and Whoopi Goldberg, among others. Many children with disabilities have leadership abilities and exhibit high levels of talent in sports and arts. A good way to build their capacity is to get them involved in the arts.



Importance of learning about the arts


Arts serve a purpose greater than occupying the minds of children with learning disabilities. They are a critical tool for learning and imparting life skills. For instance, drawing and painting help with improving your child’s motor skills and introducing concepts such shapes, mathematics, contrasts, and boundaries. On the other hand, a learning disabilities specialist can use music to teach academic facts and the alphabet.  Performing in plays can be a way for children to learn history and a tool for boosting their confidence and teamwork. Crafts can help to develop problem-solving skills while promoting self-expression.

How to get your child involved in arts

 1.         Choose art activities that are suitable for children with learning disabilities

Suitable forms of arts include visual arts, performing arts, music, and crafts. When deciding which art activity your child should do, consider their interests, age, strengths, and learning styles. For instance, a child who is a visual learner will do well with visual arts, while a child who is an auditory learner will be best suited to take up music. A kinesthetic learner will enjoy drama, dance, and crafts. Consult a learning disabilities specialist for more guidance on the most suitable form of art for your child.

2.         Designate a playroom for your child

 Set up a room or part of the house where your child can engage in their form of art without restrictions. In this room, your child can be messy, make mistakes, and practice freely. Equip the room with all the necessary items such as painting brushes, paints, music instruments, pencils, papers, or watercolors. Let your child know that in this room he or she is free to work on hobbies and to be messy.

3.         Consider partial participation and individualized learning

Some children with a learning disability may exhibit greater ability in sports than in arts. In such a case, partial participation may work well for them.

Partial participation is when the child does not get involved in all the steps of the specific art but gets involved in as much of it as possible.  Work with a learning disabilities arts specialist to identify which art activities your child can learn. Also, since each child may exhibit special abilities or disabilities, it is important to individualize their learning of the arts to suit their specific needs and abilities.

4. Get involved

Every child needs love, support, and encouragement. This offers them positive reinforcement to help build a strong sense of worth. Once in a while, join your child in their hobby room or art classes and take part in the activities they are engaged in. It offers them social and emotional support. Talk to their art teachers to keep up to date with your child’s progress. To offer your child optimal support, learn as much as you can about their learning disability and the art they’re practicing.

Success means different things to different people. With a special-needs child, think life success rather than academic success. Getting your child practicing art will help equip them with important life skills such as resilience, self-awareness, self-confidence, and knowing how to interact with other people.

Photo Credit: Unsplash