Lordy, it’s been too long!

Hello there loves,

I can’t believe it’s been so long since I last wrote.  Clearly I need to do a better job of committing to this blog.  I enjoy writing… I just never seem to make the time for it.  It’s one of those things that really relaxes me though–putting my thoughts into words.  I recently began reading a book by Nicholas Sparks (yes, I know, he gets a lot of flack… but I’m a sucker for predictable romances and Hallmark stories.)  Anyway, there was a tidbit in the prologue which got me thinking… man, I would love to write about that!  However, that will be my next post.  This post hearkens to the original intent of my blog; my art.  I’m going to share a bunch of pieces that are for sale; I’ve recently moved and am trying to downsize a bit… plus what artist doesn’t want to share their work?!

A few are paintings that are actually hanging at the Broad River Coffee Shop in Boiling Springs, NC, so you can see them in person if you’re local, and I’d love to meet up and talk about the piece if you’re interested.  If you’re not local, that’s cool too, and we can definitely talk about how to get the piece in your hands… I want my art to go to people who love it and WANT it, regardless of my relation to you; regardless of whether or not you share my meaning; regardless of price, honestly.

Others are some of my more recent greeting cards, quite a few of which are also at the coffee shop.  I LOVE doing these on a custom basis, as well… so if you see something similar to what you might want, holler at me, and we can definitely set something up!  All my greeting cards are handpainted watercolors, individually crafted to meet the client’s wishes (or my vision, if they’re not commissioned).

Anyways, here they are: Paintings first:

Absurd Monotony
Map of Self
Fantasy Landscape: Dreams are Real
As the Train Goes By
One by One
$300-negotiable (recent price drop)
Sinful Pleasure
Time Passes: Memory Fades

And now for some watercolor greeting cards: I’ve been on a bit of a Halloween kick lately… and have a lot of florals to add once I can get my hands on them (they’re at Broad River Coffee Shop, if you want to see!!)  Each card is 5″x7″ and totally customizable, if you want different colors, or say a different animal with a  witch hat, or whatever! My logo and signature will be on the back, and I can add writing on the inside if you choose. Each card comes with a size-appropriate envelope!  All cards are $6 for pre-made, and $8 for custom, plus shipping!  You can contact me here, on FB, phone, email, or in person if you see me! haha.  Typically payment is done through a Paypal invoice, but I also accept cash and checks (and bartering, to an extent 🙂 )

Nowhere Near…

Do you ever have those days where you realize you’re NOWHERE near where you thought you would be at a certain point in your life?  Maybe you thought you’d be married by a certain age, or done with school by a certain year.  Maybe you thought you’d be traveling or living/working somewhere exotic.  Maybe you never thought you’d leave home, or vice versa, couldn’t wait to leave, but haven’t.  Maybe you’ve failed at something, lost a job.  Maybe your significant other broke up with you, or you have been disappointed, stepped on, or let down in more ways than you can count.

Maybe you never had any idea where you’d go, who you’d be, or what you’d do…

Maybe you still don’t.

Can I just say that I honestly think Philippians 4 is my favorite chapter of the Bible?! 4:11 and 4:13 are two of my favorite verses EVERRRRRR! 

This is something I struggle with sometimes (okay… a lot).  I’ve always been the type of person to look forward to the next thing; graduation from HS, graduation from College, working, marriage, living life… I’m generally happy and easily excitable, but am I content?  Do I know how to really live in the moment, soaking it up and enjoying all the wonders that God provides every day?


As I sit here, on the day I turn 27, I reflect on the past years of my life.  I’ve done a lot, seen a lot, loved and worked a lot.  I’m not ANYWHERE near where I thought I’d be, had you asked me at 10.  I harbored fantasies that I’d be married by now (yes, I’m one of those people who have a pinterest board dedicated to my “one-day dream wedding”…no, I’m not ashamed), working at a job I loved, in a really cool place with lots of things to do, and of course I’d be making art, writing, reading, and doing all the things I love.

I’ve lost my hearing at 5, gained a Cochlear Implant at 6, played soccer for 16 years, graduated from High School as valedictorian, completed college with honors, struggled with an eating disorder (from which I learned a lot, and am eternally thankful for the people who supported me even when it made me want to hate them), run marathons, taught school, obtained a Masters degree, worked in museums, worked in a coffee shop (YUMMMMMM!), and am now wondering what else I will do.  I’m on the brink of potentially doing some things I couldn’t have pictured before; I’ve changed and grown a lot over the years, and I think I have a healthier perspective now than I’ve ever had.

There’s really only one thing I’m sure of… (okay; two… coffee is DELISH).


Okay, I think I’ll leave it at that for now.  Sorry (not sorry) for all the images, but as an artist, images often speak more than text alone.  I should make some images with verses and watercolors and sell those… hmmm… or just plaster them all over my walls to remind me of what I never EVER want to lose sight of!

Love you all!


New Greeting Cards!

Hello lovelies!

Happy February to all of you!  Gorgeous and sunny here for the first day of the month!  PERFECT time to buy last-minute Valentine’s Day cards…

Not that I’m dropping any hints or anything… But this post is primarily to share some of my newest commissioned Valentine’s Day cards and some spring/generic ones!  ALSO, I have Etsy linked up more fully now, getting more full by the day!  ANNNNND, I have my Paypal invoice system all ready to go for easiest payment and delivery of the cards!

Without further ado, here they are (please pardon the blurriness on some of the photographs!)

And then a few artsy in process shots:

Hope you enjoyed them, and STAY TUNED for more!  If you’re interested in ordering any for ANY occasion (Even Christmas 2017!) contact me below!

I’m a Ragamuffin… and proud of it!

Whoo-Thank goodness yesterday’s crazy Friday the Thirteenth AND full moon are both over… I don’t believe in those things actually affecting life, but yesterday was an absolutely insane day for me, emotionally.  But that can be a different post; today I don’t want to dwell on yesterday’s sad moments.  Today, I want to share a book I’ve been reading lately.

You may know by now, but one of my jobs is working as a Barista at a local Starbucks.  One particularly long day (I had come in early to help with coverage, and stayed through my shift, and it was a busy busy day), a group of three older (not elderly, just not necessarily young, either) people came in; one adorable couple and one man.  Working at the cash register, I get to meet a lot of interesting people, so of course, when this group came to the front of the line, they were CHATTY!  Both men were pulling pranks on the other, buying drinks and then changing orders, typical goofiness, really.  Being deaf didn’t help me much, since my Cochlear Implant can’t make mumblers talk more clearly…

I thought I was going to be annoyed, honestly.

Boy was I wrong!  Turns out, both men are pastors and best friends who’ve known each other for YEARS.  The lady with them was just as tight.  Their friendship was so much fun to witness, and then after a while, one of the men comes back up to the register (once I’m less busy, thankfully!) and asks if I’m a Christian.  I responded that, yes, I am a Christian, and he proceeds to turn to his friend and yell, “I told you so!”  Pretty sure my eyebrows hit the roof.  He turns back to me and said, “I just knew it… you seem so happy, so joyful.”  I couldn’t talk to him much then, but I thanked him, and was humbled to realize that people are watching all the time.  I was also honored that my happiness–definitely a God-given joy from within, ’cause Lord knows I wouldn’t be happy of my own accord sometimes–was a glowing light recognized by a fellow Christian.

After my shift ended that day, the group was still sitting at their table, talking and visiting with each other.  As per their request, I joined them, and we talked for another forty five minutes or so.  They asked about my art, pored over my site’s images, and tried to convince me to move to Hilton Head Island in SC to work at their church.  They almost got me, too… HHI is lovely!

But anyway, I digress.  A week or so later, I received this book in the mail; one that had been recommended by one of the pastors.  The title is “The Ragamuffin Gospel” by Brennan Manning.  I was so touched that he had thought to mail it to me, and proceeded to begin reading it immediately.


It’s a tough book; if you want to be a complacent Christian, it’s not for you.  I’ll admit there were times when it was hard for me to read Brennan’s words because they hit so close to home.  Ultimately, though, that’s what makes a good book; TRUTH and HONESTY even when–especially when–you don’t want it.

There are so many tidbits in this book that go down as “Golden Nuggets” in my mind, but I’ll only post a few excerpts here… you should read it for yourself, though!


“Genuine self-acceptance is not derived from the power of positive thinking, mind games, or pop psychology.  It is an act of faith in the God of grace.”

“We have been given God in our souls and Christ in our flesh.  We have the power to believe where others deny, to hope where others despair, to love where others hurt.  This and so much more is sheer GIFT; it is not reward for our faithfulness, our generous disposition, or our heroic life of prayer…My deepest awareness of myself is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ and I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it.”

When “we grow complacent and lead practical lives, we miss the experience of awe, reverence, and wonder.  Our world is saturated with grace, and the lurking presence of God is revealed not only in spirit, but in matter–in a deer leaping across a meadow, in the flight of an eagle, in fire and water, in a rainbow after a summer storm, in a gentle doe streaking through a forest, in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, in a child licking a chocolate ice cream cone, in a woman with windblown hair. God intended for us to discover His loving presence in the world around us.”

“In faith there is movement and development.  Each day something is new.  To be Christian, faith has to be new–that is, alive and growing.  It cannot be static, finished, settled.  When Scripture, prayer, worship, ministry become routine, they are dead.”

“The biblical image of the victorious life reads more like the victorious limp.  Jesus was victorious not because He never flinched, talked back, or questioned; but having flinched, talked back, and questioned, He remained faithful.”

That’s just a WEE peek into the book.. I’m going to have to read it again and mark more, journal more, and overall absorb more of this book.  It’s not a quick read, and it’s not a guideline for life.  Rather, it is an example of how to live a Christian life that is fully reliant on God’s grace and actively using and living out that grace.  Knowing that there’s nothing I could ever do to deserve His grace or mercy, but knowing that I need to always pursue Him, rest in Him, and live for Him.  Knowing that I NEED His grace and I NEED His mercy, now more than ever.

If you’ve read this book, or others that you’d like to share, I’d LOVE to hear about them.  I thoroughly enjoy reading and discussing books, and am eager to continue growing in my faith, for which I need community!

Love you all!




Hello!  I know; you’re shocked… two posts in ONE week?!  Well, as I previously stated, one of my resolutions is to do better with using my time and social media.  That being said, this post is dedicated to images of my most recent Christmas Cards!

This year, I decided to paint each member of my family a card.  I painted a card for each couple, individual or family, depending on who lived with whom.  Since I haven’t had a lot of time to make art, due to working two jobs and whatnot, this was a GREAT outlet to be able to relax and just let my creative juices flow!  PLUS, I discovered that I really enjoy painting cards, and it’s DEFINITELY something I plan to continue.  In fact, check out my Etsy site, and let me know if you want any custom cards for anything–I’ll be happy to collaborate and help you create whatever you want!  All from my heARTmade shop!

So, I’ll post each card, and then describe why that card fits that family/person/couple!  Super fun and if you have any questions, comments, or ideas, I’m totally game!


This one was made for my cousin and her husband.  My cousin is an avid Disney fan, so I chose to “arrange” multi-colored glass ornaments into the classical Mouse Ears!  Stay tuned for a post dedicated to another Disney-themed Christmas project, as well!


This one was done for my brother, his wife, and their ADORABLE two year old son (yes I am shamelessly smitten with my nephew!).  I thought the little penguins would be fun for them, especially for my nephew, and there are three penguins ’cause there are three in their little family!  The penguins are skating since my brother’s family loves to do active things together, and we all know that ice skating is one of the best ways to spend a winter day with family!


This was definitely one of my favorites to work on–the color combinations were so much fun!  This is one I did for my aunt’s family (aunt, uncle, and three kids).  Each year, my aunt decorates with the most fun “chunky” Christmas lights and a Charlie Brown-inspired tree, so I couldn’t think of anything better than fun lights for their family!


This one was actually done for one of my closest friends from school.  We both love pickles and it’s kind of a running joke between us.  So, in the tradition of the Christmas Pickle, I simply couldn’t resist!  My family has ALWAYS done the pickle tradition, as long as I can remember.   My parents would hide the green pickle ornament in a “difficult-to-find” spot, and my brother, sister and I would scour the tree!  Usually, I ended up finding the ornament first, but my sister would “shove” me out of the way and claim the prize!  Whoever found the pickle first would open the first present.  She’s competitive; I’m not…


This adorable snowman (if I do say so myself) was created for my mom and dad.  My mom LOVES snowmen… like, really loves them.  She decorates multiple rooms in our house with snowman decor that usually lasts until… errrr… March?  Haha… Needless to say, a cuddly snowman reaching out for a hug was perfect, since my parents give the best hugs, and I adore them for SO many reasons!


This one, I painted for my aunt and uncle, both of whom share my love for a nice hot beverage!  In fact, my aunt is a frequent customer at Starbucks (I’m a barista, but not at the one she frequents!), and I have her drink memorized to a TEA… (heehee… see what I did there… she drinks Chai Tea Lattes!)   Anyhoo, cold days, hot drinks, warm hearts is what Christmas is all about!


This is the one I painted for my grandparents.  My grandmother always notices the pinecones loading the trees in her backyard, commenting on how beautiful they are, and my grandfather taught me the importance of working hard, including yard work.  Thus, a pinecone in all it’s complexity and simply painted seemed suitable for them!


I have a dear cousin whose goofiness can be very politically-inspired, including obnoxious RWB outfits and whatnot…. So I chose to paint him an Uncle Sam inspired snowman!


This is another of my favorites… largely for the same reason as the lights; all the colors mingling together were so fun to play around with.  Plus, I love the repetition of the circular/spherical shape of the ornaments.  I created this one for another dear cousin who is incredibly talented in design, calligraphy, and those types of things.  Therefore, I wanted to make a card that was more design-based than concept-based.  This was/is the result!


This was done for another aunt and uncle who are some of the classiest people I know.  I’ve always felt that their home and style were pretty traditional, and I have always loved visiting their house!  It’s so cozy and has remained mostly the same since my childhood, so I figured a simple, traditional ornament hanging on a bright ribbon would be perfect for them!  Really happy with how it turned out, too.


This is for another more traditional family member… ironically, the daughter of the previously listed aunt and uncle!  She lives with her hubby and their two adorable kids in a really sweet little house, so I wanted to depict that cozy welcome that a wreath brings to a front door!


This is a whole different kind of cozy!  This one went to a couple (my cousin and his wife) who live in Charleston SC, and have made a lovely life together running dive charters and working in the great deep blue!  Unlike Olaf, this snowman isn’t melting as he basks in the sun…no puddles here!  Plus, the sun is really an ornament… so I don’t know how much heat it really generates… 😉


This card was/is for a VERY musically talented cousin-family of mine!  My cousin, her hubs, and their adorable kiddos are all AWESOMELY musical, and the daughter would totally be the pink birdie, teaching her little brother the right notes to sing, as the bell rings below!


Last, but not least, this is the card I painted for my little sister and her new hub!  First married Christmas this year!!! Yay!  The two live in Nashville, hence the cowboy boots, and the hubby is a HARDCORE steelers fan… hence the spurs.  Plus my sister is as crazy for Christmas as I am, if not more, so a traditional Santa hat was a MUST!

Well, that’s all folks!  I hope you’ve enjoyed looking at these cards as much as I enjoyed making them.  I don’t know about you, but I get SO excited about sending personalized things to loved ones that I can barely wait to give them whatever I’ve made or bought.  That being said, this was definitely something exciting for me this year, and I look forward to future Christmases (and other occasions) to paint cards!

If you have any traditions you love about the Holidays, I’d be thrilled to learn what they are!  And if you have any questions about ordering cards, shoot me an email or message me on here, and I’d be happy to see what we can concoct!


Love you all!


New Year, New Resolutions


Okay, so we hear about New Years Resolutions EVERY year at the beginning of January.  I get it; we are probably all sick of hearing about it.  I doubt anyone wants to read about my three resolutions, but I’ll share anyway.  PLUS, I am long overdue in posting about the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon I am doing as a St. Jude Hero in March!

First, the resolutions.  Last year, I honestly didn’t “set” any.  This year, they kind of came about on their own.  Perhaps it’s necessity?  Perhaps I’m just growing up?  Regardless, here they are:

  1. I plan to lead a “tidier” lifestyle.  Rather than allowing myself to be bogged down with work, time constraints and other things, I’m going to try to keep my room/living spaces and my car cleaner.  I know that I tend to breathe more easily in a clean, clutter-free, organized space.  One might assume that knowing this would simplify my problem, but it doesn’t.  I can never seem to find time to clean deeply, so things build up and then can get overwhelming.  Sound like life?  YUP.  In theory, I’m hoping that cleaning a little more each day, putting things away more immediately, and just working to improve overall cleanliness will carry into my time management of life, in general.  Having time is not the issue; choosing to USE the time I have is.
  2. My second resolution is pretty straightforward.  I am going to work on my Social Media presence when it comes to marketing my artwork and other projects.  I have an Etsy account, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat, but I don’t use them well.  2017 is gonna be the year in which that changes.  If anyone has tips about that one, PLEASE let me know, because I’ve clearly not been too successful in the past.  Again, I do think that the use of my time influences this as well.  I need to use the time I have to create things, market them, and reach out through Social Media more regularly.
  3. Last, but definitely not least, I want to build my relationship with and faith in God.  While I know what I believe and where I stand, I want to become even more enthralled with my amazing Savior; I want to spend time poring over His Word, His Grace, and the abundance of His love for me.  I want my introspection and devotional studies to overflow the vessel of my body and heart so that others can get a glimpse of the amazing God I love and serve.  I want Him to be enough.  REALLY be enough.  Not just in theory or word, but in active practice and daily life.  I want to build up my fellowship circle, which is currently lacking, as I’ve recently moved.

Okay, so that’s the basic gist of my New Years Resolutions… and NO, I am not going to talk about Mariah Carey at all… let’s just say that 2016, as lovely as it was, is behind us, and I am looking forward to all that 2017 has in store!

Speaking of what 2017 has in store… I’ll be running my FIRST Rock ‘n’ Roll race on March 11, so I’ll begin my marathon training regimen soon, and would simply LOVE to hear from other runners what you typically do in the months prior to a marathon, or any race, really. I’m super excited about this race, especially because it’ll be the first time I’ve done a race as a St. Jude Hero.  This means that I’ll be raising funds for research at the St. Jude Children’s Hospital, and running in support of (and supported by) St. Jude.  Here’s a link for more information about this AWESOME charity/endeavor.

I’m particularly excited about running for St. Jude because 83 cents (on average) of every dollar raised goes directly toward research and treatment for the children supported by St. Jude.  This allows families to get the help and care that they need at NO cost to them.  To me, that is one of the most important things in the life of these families; they are able to be together in a safe environment where people care about them and helping them improve their situations.  See here!  So far, I’ve raised $530 at the Bronze Level for St. Jude.  Mathematically, this means that all the people who’ve supported me so far have sent about $440 dollars directly to St. Jude.  While I’ve actually reached my initial goal set in 2016, I want to see how far I and my lovely friends, acquaintances, coworkers, and other generous people can go.  If you, or someone you know, would like to donate, here is a link directly to my donation page!


Whoo– that’s enough for tonight, I believe.  Remember, Social Media improvement is part of my NYR… so do expect to be seeing more from me soon! 🙂  Perhaps my next post will involve some homemade Christmas items from my own heARTmade collection!

Happy New Year, and Happy New You!  May your 2017 be as awesome as I intend to make mine!  Love you all!



Running for a CAUSE!

First of all, HELLO again!  Goodness-it feels like it has been forever since I’ve written anything.  Probably because it HAS!


While it’s unfortunately true that I’ve not been painting or creating much lately, so I don’t have much to share, I have still been busy in other ways!  Since the last post I’ve written, I’ve moved to PA, started two jobs, potentially a third in January–CRAZY!  I’ve also worked on, and almost finished, watercolors for my Christmas cards (don’t worry–as soon as I get them all sent out, I’ll post pictures, but they have to remain a surprise until then!).  Lastly and perhaps most pertinently for the remainder of this post, I ran my FIRST 50K!!! Yes, 31+ miles… at once.

I’ll be honest; at first, I really did not think I would be able to do it, had never planned to try a 50K… I was satisfied with marathons.  BUT, my brother is the Visitor Services Manager at the US National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, and they were hosting a trail 50K, called the WC-50 Ultra… 31+ miles on trails with my brother and a chance to see my adorable nephew and the rest of my family… I definitely couldn’t resist!

And now, I AM HOOKED! The atmosphere of an ultra is completely different than that of a marathon.  I had heard as such before, but didn’t know what to expect.  The “ultra world” seems so laid back, supportive and community-based.  Don’t get me wrong; I LOVE both–marathons and ultras, now.  Unfortunately, I tweaked my knee a bit around mile 22, and had to walk more than I wanted, but I finished, and I’m planning to do another one soon!  Needless to say, my brother didn’t have to work NEARLY as hard to convince me again; I have something to prove, now! haha

Which leads me to my next topic; I’ve signed up to run a Rock’n’roll marathon in DC as a ST. Jude Hero… I AM SO STOKED ABOUT THIS.  I’ll write another post completely dedicated to this venture, why I’ve decided to embark on it, and how it is going, etc.  But for now, I’ll keep it to a minimum, ’cause no one wants to read me ramble on and on and on… I’ve committed to raising $500 for St. Jude, and so far have raised $120.  If you are interested in donating (please don’t feel obligated–sharing word of mouth and awareness helps, too!) to the cause, I’ve attached the link below:


If you have any advice or want to share any FUNdraising ideas, please feel free to let me know!  And keep your eyes peeled for the next post; fully dedicated to St. Jude!

As always, peace, love and Jesus!


“Patience is a virtue”

We’ve all heard it said AT LEAST a million times… “Patience is a virtue.”  I honestly have no idea where this quote originated, and let me spare you the time of looking it up online; you’ll get a zillion different answers, and who knows which one is correct!

For me, I’ve heard it the most from my parents…

As a kid, I was ready to start playing soccer before I was old enough… “Patience is a virtue.”  (Although, my Athletic Director father went ahead and let me start)

When I lost my hearing, I was impatient to get to the next step, because I had to wear useless hearing aids (hearing aids are great, but when you have NO hearing for them to aid, not so much)… “Patience is a virtue.”

Growing up, I’d be super-impatient about something with school, theatre, art, etc… there it was again… “Patience is a virtue.”

Applying for college… “Patience is a virtue.”

Now I’m at a point of my life where I’ve heard it SO many times, I’m about sick of it, honestly.  I graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology with my MFA in Fine Art this past May, and have VERY impatiently been applying and waiting for jobs.  In fact, I’ve been so impatient, I let fear rule my thoughts, and I almost took a job I didn’t really want, simply for the sake of working again–I’m so ready to get out on my own again, pave my own way into this crazy world, meet new people, see new things, visit new places…

But am I REALLY ready?  I know I’m mentally ready… but maybe I’m not physically, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually ready… All I know is that God has been really working on patience with me lately.  I KNOW that He will provide a job and sustenance and that His timing is so so so so much better than mine.  I KNOW that.  I trust Him.

But do I really LIVE out that knowledge, that trust?

I think that’s what God is trying to tell me.  Until I can 100% trust Him, maybe I’m not really ready to be on my own again.  Maybe He wants me to stay with my parents longer than I want, so I can be part of their lives, and enjoy the time I have with them, ’cause goodness knows it won’t last forever.  Maybe He wants me to be close to my brother and his wife, so I can watch their ADORABLE child, Bailey, grow up a bit before I leave and go elsewhere.  Maybe, maybe, maybe…

That brings me to today’s devotional reading from “David: Seeking God’s Heart,” a devotional study written by Beth Moore.  Today, I was reading in 2 Samuel, and the title of the chapter in the study was “Right Place: Sometimes God reveals Himself through experiences we don’t understand.”

Hello, smack in the face!

Today’s specific passage was 2 Samuel 2:1-7.  David has just heard about Saul’s death, as well as that of Saul’s sons, including Jonathan, with whom David was incredibly close.  David is trying to decide what to do, and where to go from here.  Instead of acting of his own accord, David ASKED God what he should do!  This is super important to note–at least for me–because David ALWAYS asked God what he should do before he did ANYTHING.  David knows that God can answer and that He will… in HIS time.  This is where Beth Moore says, “He had taken some wrong turns and some right turns, but he took virtually every step crying out to his God,” which reminds me that, no matter where we go or what we do, if we strive to plant our feet in God’s Way, we will get where we are going… it may  be a different route than we originally think… it may not be the scenic route… and it may start MUCH later than we want it to… but God knows what His plan is, not us… and HE knows what needs to happen in order to make it come to fruition.  We just need to trust and follow.

I used to think that constantly asking God for direction would be like pestering Him… like, He has SO much going on that I shouldn’t “bother” him by asking for the same thing over and over again.  But that is exactly what David does.  He asks God for direction, repeatedly, until God gives him specifics.  And until God does supply these specifics, David stays put.  I’m not saying that we shouldn’t do anything or go anywhere until God says something extremely specific (I honestly believe that God can and will use us anywhere, even if it’s somewhere that seems unlikely).  In fact, if you struggle with that, you should totally read the book, “Just Do Something,” by Kevin DeYoung.  It’s a pretty good read!

one day.jpg
Unfortunately, I cannot take any credit for this absolutely gorgeous and inspiring collage! 

Basically, what I’m saying is that, maybe… just maybe… asking God for specific directions isn’t a sign of impatience or a lack of trust.  Maybe it’s a sign of deepened trust; a trust that transcends the fear of becoming a bother.  Maybe, like prayer, asking God for specific directions is more for us, as humans, than it is for God.  Perhaps it is a reminder, a daily mantra, to help us persevere in our patience and remember just why it is that we are patiently waiting for God’s direction: ‘Cause His way is the ONLY way!

Beth Moore left some pretty good guidelines/suggestions for how to learn to listen to God’s Word when we are in doubt or struggling with what to do.  I’m gonna leave them here, and challenge you, and myself, to try to incorporate these more daily:

  1. Acknowledge your specific need for direction.
  2. Continue to pray and study His Word daily.
  3. Ask God to HELP you recognize His answer (we humans can be pretty darn dumb)
  4. Ask for a confirmation if you have any doubt. (God didn’t even hate Thomas for doubting, way back in John 20:24-29, when he appears to Thomas and the disciples after the Resurrection… He won’t hate us.  He’ll just help us understand.)

Sorry it’s a bit of a long one this time… I guess I had a lot to say!

Peace, love and Jesus,


Artist Highlight (Friday Funsies)

Hello lovelies!

So, as I sit here finishing up my coffee (always a sad moment), I’ve been pondering what to write about for today’s blog.  I considered an updated photos blog, but realize I have already posted my final MFA work, and have been so focused on job-hunting that I’ve not done a whole lot of new work… sooooo, I figured I would implement “Friday Funsies!”  For me, this will be a chance to reflect on an artist I appreciate and admire.  The artist may be long gone, currently working, or quite up-and-coming.  The opportunities are endless, but it’ll serve as a chance to share my inspirations, and what I like about their work!

If you know me at all, you won’t be surprised that my first “Featured Artist” is Salvador Dali… I’ve loved his work for as long as I can remember; the smooth blending techniques, bright colors, and abnormal juxtapositions that define Surrealism… I could go on!

Salvador Dali was a Spanish Surrealist painter, born in 1904 in Figueres, Spain.  He studied in Madrid, and later came in contact with well-known artists like Pablo Picasso, Rene Magritte, and Joan Miro.  These interactions are what led Dali to his first Surrealist phase, during which he produced “La Persistencia de la Memoria,” or The Persistence of Memory, one of Dali’s most famous works.  In case you don’t know, this is the “melting clock” painting!



Surrealism is a movement in art that focuses heavily on the artist’s rendition of his or her subconscious mind.  In the Surrealist Manifesto of 1924, written by Andre Breton, it is said that “the Surrealists sought to overthrow the oppressive rules of modern society by demolishing its backbone of rational thought. To do so, they attempted to tap into the “superior reality” of the subconscious mind.”  Although many of the tenets of Surrealism were present in the former Dada movement, Surrealists claimed to use the disparate objects, experimentalism, and juxtapositions more intentionally, focusing on Freudian concepts of dreams. (more on Freud)  “Breton defined Surrealism as “Psychic automatism in its pure state, by which one proposes to express…the actual functioning of thought…in the absence of any control exercised by reason, exempt from any aesthetic or moral concern.”2” (MoMA)

My personal favorite part of Surrealism has always been the hyper-real landscape style, and the way the artists add totally unexpected, out-of-place objects that are so beautifully rendered, you can’t help but believe them.  I suppose this sense of suspended disbelief is also what I love about theatre, fantasy novels, and movies… I never thought of it that way, but it does make perfect sense!

Salvador Dali certainly fits the Surrealist motto, as his paintings and life were heavily influenced by his parents and their relationship to their son.  His mother was a devout Catholic, but his father a self-proclaimed atheist disciplinarian.  One can only imagine the struggle a young artist may have faced, due to a potentially divisive parentage.  Dali, the Surrealist that he was, used his experiences as fodder for his work, as many artists do.  Many of the painter’s pieces have been analyzed through the Freudian lenses of dreams, subconscious, and unrestrained thought, all characteristic of Surrealism.

While I could go on and on about Surrealism and Dali, I won’t; here is a link that provides OODLES of information and is a very enjoyable read: http://thedali.org/timeline/. I highly recommend that you visit!  Meanwhile, here are some of my favorites of Dali’s paintings:

I simply LOVE the hidden objects in this painting.  One of my favorite things about Dali is that you can seriously enjoy them over and over, since new things become apparent each time.  To me, the best art keeps the viewer coming back for more, and I think Dali is a MASTER at that.                                                                                                                                         Swans Reflecting Elephants 
Dali often used his wife, Galatea, as a muse for his paintings.  Here, I love the way he renders her; you can clearly see her beauty, but he has fragmented it in such a creative way… you almost see it as a whole, then as various spheres!             Galatea of the Spheres 
Ah! The Hallucinogenic Toreador! Totally one of my favorites… Just look at how amazing Dali’s hidden objects are, and how beautifully he merges one thing with another, until you see a different emphasis EACH time you view the piece.  

Well, I do believe I’ve probably bored you all by now… but if not, I’ll be happy to share more information with you all!  In fact, here is a link to a paper I wrote about Surrealism and the Femme Enfant… and seriously, get online and lose yourself in the amazingness of Dali and other Surrealist artists… in fact, I think next Friday will be another Surrealist!

With love,


Surrealism and the Femme Enfant

This is a paper I wrote for a class in my MFA program while I was at RIT.  It included a presentation and the following document.  Needless to say, I LOVE writing, especially when I am able to pick a topic so near and dear to my heart as art, specifically Surrealism!

Enjoy and, as always, feel free to comment and/or contact me!

The Femme-enfant as Employed (Objectified) by Surrealist vs Western Contemporary Art’s Objectification of Women

(with an analysis of Breton’s Nadja


In much of Western Contemporary art history—the practice, the critique, and the institutional existence— the dominating force has been that of white,  heterosexual males.  Due to this prevalence, a certain “standard” of creating artwork involving the female nude has emerged as “natural,” though its precise role in art has changed throughout history.  In many Western Contemporary pieces of art, from the paint ejaculations of Jackson Pollack to the violently dominating strokes of Willem De Kooning, the female nude has been employed as an objectified means of transcendence.  The artist uses the abstraction of the female nude to seek liberation from the confines of Realism and morality and to escape the feminine threat of castration, inherent in the female nude.

According to Phyllis Evans in The Mirror and the Muse: Female Artists and Surrealism,  there is at least one group of artists who reject this dominant use of the female nude in Western art: Surrealists.   The Surrealist use of the female nude is referred to as the Femme-enfant; based on the the French words for “female” and “infant.”  As such, the potential complications of the term itself become evident.  Although Surrealists, unlike many of their Western Contemporary counterparts, outwardly advocate the liberation and creativity of women, they arrest the development of their muse.   In theory, by rejecting the rational thought portrayed in the transcendence-seeking nature of Western Contemporary art, they idolize the characteristics and connotations of femininity.  However, in practice, they are just as objectively patronizing as their Western Contemporary counterparts, if not more so.  In their work, the portrayal of these women is immature, incomplete and dependent, but beautiful.  Often, the Femme-enfant is inhibited or restricted, as they are in much Western art.  It could be argued that the Surrealist Femme-enfant is more restraining than Western Contemporary Art’s objectification of women, because the female’s body is frequently portrayed as visually and physically incomplete, literally immobilizing her and/or restricting her movement.

To fully understand the Femme-enfant, one must first analyze Andre Breton’s surrealist writing, Nadja.  Breton writes about his unequivocal love for a woman named Nadja.  Nadja was mentally disabled and unable to “distinguish between illusion and reality, obsessive behavior, and dark eccentricity” and so she represented, to Breton, the completely irrational complement to the rational side of masculinity.  (It is important to note that Breton also wrote The First Surrealist Manifesto of 1924)  At first, Breton falls in love with Nadja for her irrationality and natural intuition, both of which are embodiments of the Femme-enfant.  Recounting his words to Nadja, Breton says “you, the most vital of beings, who seem to have been put in my path only so I may feel in all its rigor the strength of what is not felt in you.  You who know evil only by hearsay.  You, indeed, ideally beautiful.”   This is where the Femme-enfant’s innocence and lack of rational, cerebral (masculine) knowledge begins.

However, over time, sweet, helpless Nadja is unable to overcome her “growing madness” caused by the lack of restricting rationality in her nature.  This madness renders her portrayal not so different than femininity’s portrayal in De Kooning’s Woman series.  Eventually, Nadja is institutionalized for her so-called insanity and the Femme-enfant is known as an irrational muse, who needs the rationality that men provide in order to survive in an agreeable state.  According to Breton, men are able to withstand the irrationality of the subconscious because they inhabit the rational realm of logic, whereas the Femme-enfant only exists in the liminal space between reality and the subconscious, yet natural, dreamscape.

One might argue that, since the Femme-enfant is portrayed as less dangerous as the female nude is in Western Contemporary art, surely it is a favorable representation?  While it is true that it may not be flattering to be deemed a threatening Western Contemporary female nude, at least such a view places a power within the female that is absent in the Femme-enfant.  In Surrealist art, such as Autumn of Life and The New Babylon, by Svetoslav Stoyanov, the female subject is kept under tight control, and there is no visible attempt to escape her threats or what she may signify.  Such an absence of “danger” could be translated into the idea that the artist has already transcended any threat the female poses and is no longer afraid.  In this case, perhaps Western Contemporary artists should be jealous of Surrealist men and their liberation from Western Contemporary confines.

It is clear that the Femme-enfant is not a Gorgon-like objectification of women, as it is translated to Western Contemporary art.  In both Autumn of Life and The New Babylon, Stoyanov’s Femme-enfant is seen as naive, pure, and youthful; her beauty and innocence signify a close connection to the “intuitive world of the unconscious imagination” and dreams, so upheld by Breton’s Surrealist Manifesto of 1924.   As such, it is no surprise that many Surrealists use the female nude as a muse.  “Surrealists value the illogical, intuitive, emotive, and irrational,”   as evidenced by Stoyanov’s consistent use of the Femme-enfant as an idealized and idolized subject.   Like many Surrealist artists, Stoyanov believes “there shouldn’t be any rules and restrictions in art, but only freedom of thought.” This desired freedom of thought—intuitive in nature—does not align with the Contemporary Western idea of masculine knowledge.  Masculine knowledge is cerebral; it is gained as one “feeds” his mind and so is granted far more power than intuitive knowledge, which is the realm of femininity and the Femme-enfant.  This is the knowledge of innocence.  It is innate; the possessor does not work to earn it.  The Femme-enfant, like a child, is not imbued by secular trials, and is free to figuratively travel between dreams and reality.  The natural, psychological, dreamlike traits portrayed in Stoyanov’s works like Autumn of Life and The New Babylon are associated with femininity as weak and dependent; childlike.  There is a difference here, between childlike and childish; the women are not visually or physically portrayed as children (childish), but rather as full-grown, luscious women, representative of the innocence, intuition, and natural connections often associated with childhood (childlike).

In Autumn of Life, Stoyanov portrays a nude female torso, stretched out over what appears to be a bare, branchless tree trunk.  The subject’s arms are raised above her head—or what would be her head, had Stoyanov graced her with one—and her legs are absent.  The missing head, the adherence to the tree trunk, and the absence of legs work to successfully immobilize the subject and render her helpless.  Without eyes, the woman cannot see to go anywhere, were she able to leave the tree trunk into which she appears to be carved.  This type of immobilization seems worse than the small “silly” legs of De Kooning’s Woman I.   At least De Kooning’s Gorgon has legs, even if they appear too small to benefit the figure.

The background of a crisp blue sky, white clouds, rolling plains of grass and trees speaks to the Femme-enfant’s relationship to nature.  This relationship reminds the viewer that the subject is intuitive, innocent, and lacking the cerebral, worldly knowledge associated with the dominant fantasy of the white heterosexual male.  This lack of knowledge reveals that the subject is not only helpless, but specifically dependent upon the male’s prowess.  Furthermore, the tree trunk to which the subject is affixed is rigid and vertical, which reinforces the immobility of the subject.  The trunk is also bare of any branches and there is minimal evidence of bark, which creates a smooth vertical shape that resembles a penis.  This reading of the shape of the tree trunk echoes the Western Contemporary threat of castration in the white heterosexual male’s dominant fantasy.  It could be read that Stoyanov is forcefully keeping the phallic power to himself, controlling the female subject acutely by superimposing her within his own power.  Because the viewer looks upon the figure with no reproach from the Femme-enfant, the viewer also possesses this phallic power at the expense of the subject.

The pose and position of the torso places the female in a place of exaltation and a state of exultation.  Because she is in the center of the canvas, Stoyanov elevates her to the idolized muse-like status of the Femme-enfant as the embodiment of the dream state, naturalness, intuition and freedom from Western Contemporary secularity’s evils.   The subject’s placement also reiterates Stoyanov’s objectification of her.  Furthermore, because Stoyanov so clearly forces the viewer to emphatically gaze upon the female’s outstretched body, the viewer is placed in the entitled, voyeuristic, objectifying view of the white heterosexual male.    As is typical of voyeurism, the subject does not look out of the piece.  In fact, the subject of Autumn of Life—lacking a face—has no means of looking back; of challenging he viewer’s gaze.  Thus, despite the differences in depiction and rendering, the objectification stressed by Western Contemporary art (and superficially rejected by Surrealism) becomes inescapable.  With her arms raised above her absent head, the subject seems to be praising something, presumably nature itself.  However, it does not seem that she is praising nature of her own accord.  Looking at the piece, one could almost visualize handcuffs holding her hands back, forcing her exultation.  The falseness of such forced exultation does not matter; the control of the female subject is all that matters.

The similarities between Western Contemporary art’s objectification of the female body and the Surrealist’s Femme-enfant is even more prevalent in Stoyanov’s A New Babylon.  Once again, Stoanov’s subject is a female nude, surrounded by and interacting with nature.  She is strictly controlled and inhibited by Stoyanov’s portrayal.  Similarly to the situation created by Autumn of Life, in The New Babylon, the subject is restricted by natural elements, despite—or perhaps because of—her close connection thereto.  The Femme-enfant is immobilized by a blanket of sea and the replacement of her legs with a rendition of the Tower of Babylon, which is representative of the Biblical Tower of Babel.  In Genesis 11, the people of Babylon attempted to build a tower that would stretch into the heavens.  Because the Babylonians were building the temple self-righteously, God dispersed their language, causing them to be unable to understand each other.  This unintelligibility prevented the tower from being finished and earned it the name, Babel, which is indicative of the Hebrew word for “confused.”   In this piece, Stoyanov appears to be completing the tower, either ending or exploring the confusion of the men of Babylon.  By placing the Femme-enfant on top of the tower, Stoyanov asserts her intuitive spirit as the answer to the confusion.  Aside from referencing the parable, the immobilization of the tower gives the subject a helplessness, dependent upon the non-intuitive knowledge that can “only” be found in the phallocentric man.

Perhaps an even more accurate reading of A New Babylon is that Stoyanov is referencing the Biblical parable of whore of Babylon, found in the seventeenth chapter of Revelations.  The whore of Babylon is the ultimate adulteress; the lust-throne of “the kings of the earth.”  Certainly Stoyanov’s luscious Femme-enfant outwardly resembles a whore.  In Revelations, the whore sits upon a crimson beast with seven heads, representing the seven kings who have fallen prey to her sexuality.  Correspondingly, there are seven tiers of the tower visible below the Femme-enfant’s truncated torso.  Furthermore, in verse fifteen, the angel of Revelations declares that the waters upon which the whore sits are nations, languages and multitudes, which easily relates to the multitudes dispersed in the parable of The Tower of Babel in Genesis.  Stoyanov also places his whore—his Femme-enfant—upon a sea.  The Revelations whore’s name is written on her forehead, but is unreadable; we do not see the forehead of Stoyanov’s Femme-enfant.  Lastly, the whore of Babylon—the great city of Babylon—will be ruined by the beast upon which she sits; the kings of the beast will strip her, leaving her naked to be destroyed.   Needless to say, Stoyanov’s Femme-enfant, once again, epitomizes this aspect of the scripture.

In a sort of juxtaposition to the Biblical references, the viewer is confronted with the typical, idealized, natural background of Surrealism.  We see a crisp blue sky, deep golden sand, and a visually calm, if not metaphorically, ocean surrounding the muse.  Despite her obvious maturational development, the subject is rendered innocent and childlike by her surroundings.  Even the positioning of the tower resembles the shallow spaces in the ocean where young children play at the beach.  The tower itself, has a sandcastle-like appearance, which relates to the innocence of childhood.  Such reflections evoke nostalgia in the viewer.  This nostalgia is another layer of inhibition; the subject is trapped in the childlike innocence of the past, unable to match her physical maturation with a corresponding mental capacity, because her knowledge is intuitively expressed rather than cerebrally gained.

Stoyanov has again used the placement of his Femme-enfant strategically.  In The New Babylon, the subject is placed in the center, at the top of the tower—a place of elevation.  In this way, she is at once exalted and controlled.   The sheer size of the subject in relation to her surroundings, including the small male figure in the foreground, heighten her exaltation.  Likewise, her arms stretched above her thrown-back head, with hands almost prayerfully joined, create the sense that she is praising something; basking in its glory.  Because we are presented with the Femme-enfant, it is likely that she is worshipping nature and the dreamlike connection of intuition and the subconscious.  As with the branchless, rootless tree in Autumn of Life, the tower’s strong verticality and thrust resemble a penis.  As the phallic shape of the tower covers the Femme-enfant’s own genitalia, we once again read an attempt to control and escape the threat of castration in the male-dominated phallocentric fantasy.

There is a butterfly on the left side of the canvas, presumably peeling back the carpet of sea that entraps the subject.  However, it is apparent that, even if the butterfly fully removes the floating ocean, the subject would still be immobilized by the tower out of which she rises. Perhaps a more silent means of inhibition is found in he small male figure in the foreground, who holds an ironically phallic-shaped object; a staff.  One might wonder why he holds the staff, but the staff is a means of control.  Thus, through phallic power, Stoyanov allows the voyeuristic male—minute compared to the female muse—to control the Femme-enfant.  He is clearly gazing, without opposition, at the subject.  Since his back is turned, the viewer is instantly placed within the piece as a fellow voyeur, completing Stoyanov’s objectification of the Femme-enfant.  This obvious and implied gaze, along with the subject’s upturned face lacking any sign of awareness of the gaze, creates the same voyeuristic tendencies found in many pieces of contemporary Western art.

Perhaps the “rift” between Western Contemporary Art and Surrealism is not as stringent as either party imagines.  Stoyanov says his goal is to “bring out the beauty and delicacy of the world around us, and the magnificence of the human mind,” which Surrealists believe is best reached by escaping reality and opening the mind to the subconscious.  This “escape” strongly echoes the transcendence described by Duncan in MoMA’s Hot Mamas.   Although Stoyanov incorporates the female nude in many of his works, he claims she is not his muse or focus.  He “paints what [he] loves to do. Sometimes [he] paints naked women, because [he] likes the woman’s body. This is the only reason.”   However, given Stoyanov’s subjects, it is nearly impossible to deny a strong objectification of the female nude.  Not only do the subject and background speak to the intuition and natural/dream aspect of the Femme-enfant, but the consistency with which these themes are displayed in Stoyanov’s work suggests, at the very least, a subconscious objectification of the female nude as a submissive Femme-enfant.  The phallocentric male fantasy of dominance, frequently attributed to Western Contemporary Art, prevails. Autumn of Life

Svetoslav Stoyanov, Autumn of Life, oil on canvas, 2012

New Babylon

Svetoslav Stoyanov, The New Babylon, oil on canvas, 2011


Breton, Andre, and A.S. Kline. “First Manifesto of Surrealism – 1924.” Poetry in Translation. January 1, 2010. Accessed October 24, 2014. http://www.poetryintranslation.com/PITBR/French/Manifesto.htm.

Broude, Norma, Mary Garrard, and Judith Brodsky. “Introduction : Feminism and Art in the Twentieth Century.” In <i>The Power of Feminist Art: The American Movement of the 1970s, History and Impact</i>. New York: H.N. Abrams, 1994.

Duncan, Carol. “MoMA’s Hot Mamas.” <i>Art Journal</i> 48, no. 2 (1989): 171-78. Accessed October 26, 2014. http://www.jstor.org/stable/776968.

Evans, Phyllis Leverich. Phyllis Leverich Evans: Digital Art, Photography and Encaustic Painting. January 1, 2008. Accessed October 25, 2014. http://www.phyllisevans.com/essays/01_essay_mirror_muse_01_01_09.html.

“Genesis 11: The Tower of Babel.” Bible Gateway. Accessed November 8, 2014. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=genesis 11&version=NIV.

N/A, Sophie. “The Unconscious (and Surrealism), Part Two.” Troubling Rationality. March 26, 2010. Accessed October 24, 2014. http://blog.lib.umn.edu/kerma005/rationaltrouble/2010/03/the-unconscious-and-surrealism-part-two.html.

ORLICH, Ileana Alexandra. “Surrealism and The Feminine Element: André Breton’s Nadja and Gellu Naum’s Zenobia.” <i>Philologica Jassyensia</i> 2, no. II (2006): 213-24. Accessed October 25, 2014.

“Revelations 17: “Babylon, the Prostitute on the Beast.” Bible Gateway. Accessed November 8, 2014. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+17&version=NIV

Stoyanov, Svetoslav. “Surrealism, Erotic Art, Landscape.” Svetoslav Stoyanov Art. January 1, 2011. Accessed October 24, 2014. http://svstoyanovart.webs.com.