I'm not sure if it's proper blogging etiquette to announce your own birthday. I can't recall what my practice had been prior to 2008, but I know on May 17th of that year I drew attention to it, and told the story that I share the birthdate with my sister Shannon. I made a post about us, flashing big birthday wishes for her, knowing she'd visit my blog from her hospital room. She turned 40 that year. It was her last birthday. We had forty birthdays together. And now I've had five without her. Five. When a loved one departs for heaven, you tend to mark the time by the hour, the day....then one week has gone by, then one month....you notice the date on the calender with every page you turn. The 10th. As time passes that number seems less significant. The day to honor is the day they were born. The day to celebrate is the one you were gifted by their presence on earth. And so today, the 17th, I have to call attention to my own birthday, because it was hers too.
Before 2008 my gardening experience was laughable. A few attempts of growing herbs or vegetables were pathetic. Sure, I potted flowers on the deck once...but then Graham took over and they fared much better. In July, five years ago, I planted a pink rose bush to honor Shannon. Then I planted a few more. I was chicken to cut off that first blooming rose, but learned that the more you cut, the more it grows. So now I have 21 rose bushes and that first one is 10 feet tall. I'm a rosarian. Who knew? I have an angel watching over my garden, I'm certain of it.
While I love discovering the first bloom each May, I also love looking deeper to see all the buds that are waiting to show off. So much life tucked in there. Maybe they will open up today, and wink at me, as a sign from her.
I've shown many pictures of the two of us together on this blog....here's one from the archives that you haven't seen yet. A glorious Spring afternoon, skiing in Aspen with my parents and our brother. I believe it was 1983 but I could be wrong. What I remember clearly was singing loudly on the chairlift together, and giggling. Look at the twinkling smile of hers, I bet she is thinking of that too. *blows kisses to the sky* Happy Birthday to US.
Above: two happy instructors following another wonderful weekend as we took on Far Away Places. Another enthusiastic group of artists met us in the generous studio space where we sprawled out and got messy for three full days of numerous creative projects. Some stellar work and special memories forged at our lovely venue. Oh, if we could just bottle up that energy and feed off it every day! We extend our thanks all the courageous voyagers and hope to meet you again, here or anywhere! Lynne and I had an utter blast and are already looking forward to next year, with lots of ideas for what that will entail. Stay tuned to our websites if you are interested in joining us - annoucement likely in just a few months. We need to catch our breath and soak in all the good vibes generated over these past two weekends.
Unfortunately, I never did the rounds with my camera on the first weekend, my apologies to the artists. Below are just some of the art pieces being made in the second weekend. Most students created three or more works of art - so fun to revisit the work spaces and busy hands through these photos!
Winner for the book giveaway: Diana Wilson!
Thanks to all who entered, and thanks to Julie for the generous offering.
Check out today's harvest of four leaf clovers. It was a beautiful day and I hit the jackpot when walking to to mailbox! They pulled through for Fallon and I as we shopped for prom dresses this afternoon. We were at the fifth store when we found a dreamy selection tonight. Whew! I think I will spread the luck around by offering a giveaway.
My talented friend Julie wrote (and photographed) this cool new book with her workshop partner Chris. They signed copy and Julie sent one for me to share with my faithful readers. How cool is that? Acrylic Solutions: Exploring Mixed Media Layer by Layer by Julie Prichard and Chris Cozen. You will love this one - super clever to have it as a spiral bound format so you can leave it open on your studio table and work through all the informative and useful chapters on creating with paint and all the juicy options for building in layers. It's one of those books that you will continue learning from as you endeavor to elevate your work. Don't you love when a book reveals lessons just when you need them? I've already put post-it notes on pages that I will return to soon. Lots of handsome visuals, and tons of great tips. If you want to see more, check out Julie's workshops. She powers out some stellar online classes, with well produced videos you can watch over and over, then get feedback and assistance as you work through the lessons. An amazing value, from the convenience of your own workspace.
LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW TO BE ENTERED IN THE BOOK GIVEAWAY. I will draw a name out of the top hat on Sunday, May 12th. It will be a Happy Mother's Day for a lucky reader, and a tip of the hat to Julie who is celebrating a birthday then too!
Just back from Connecticut where Lynne and I hosted an enthusiastic and talented group of artists for the first edition of our workshop. This is the only evidence photo I have - so you'll have to believe me when I say it was an utterly delightful crew of travelers, a fantastic venue, and a very special experience to teach, learn, create, and explore together for three full days.
It was such a pleasure to meet new friends and reconnect with returning students. Thank you ladies, for a memorable weekend. It was such a treat to see each of you express yourself so beautifully with individual flare and finesse. Keep the momentum going!
We are looking forward to a repeat adventure next weekend! Plus, Lynne and I have already been conjuring up our agenda for next year! The question is: how do we top this? Ha! I'm cracking myself up because that statement might be hint for our preliminary plans. I will keep you posted as we flesh out the concept and prepare to announce the workshops for 2014.
The day is almost over, but the month has just begun. A very full schedule ahead. My lilacs are fragrant, bursting open yesterday. I found my first four leaf clover of the season. I didn't get a ding-dong and flower basket (like we did as kids on May Day) but the mailman did ring the bell to deliver a big package of merchandise with the new HIM cd!!! Mini-tour has started, I get to see them soon after a very long dry spell. Bags and bins are packed and ready for my departure tomorrow morning - to Far Away Places - a workshop with my friend Lynne. Looking forward to riding in the van with my band, not literally of course. A road trip is the perfect way to become immersed with a new album. I will report in on the weekend after I get back. The first batch of pre-orders from The Gothic Collection will go out tomorrow too. Thank you so much for the enthusiastic response. My manufacturers pulled off a fast turn around. Life is good!
The first video....
*waves, and blows kisses*
p.s. Gabriele, I got your lovely envelope, and clipping on the collection. I ordered it...should be here anyday. Thanks for thinking of me. It was a super fun thing to get in the mail. <3