A sparrow's journey through this crazy, beautiful life...

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Soul Food Meet and Greet: Roberta Laliberte



We are now offering payment plans in either 2 or 4 payments  You can read the details next to the PayPal buttons on the SOUL FOOD page.


Watch a fun little promo video for SOUL FOOD HERE.


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Today we are welcoming Roberta Laliberte! After you read her interview, be sure and stop by her blog and enter her GIVEAWAY!!!



 My journey began as far back as childhood.  I would copy Disney cartoons, my favourite. When I was 16 I was featured in Dateline Arts magazine in 1986 as one of the Artists of the year 2000. Ironically, I was pregnant in the year 2000. I did attend art school at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick Canada, a small university with a well known and prestigious fine arts program. Of over 1200 applicants 24 were selected for my class. When I look back on that it shocks me. It never really sank in then. I have mostly been self taught, growing up and living in a small community there were no opportunities for art classes. Until my late twenties I always thought I had really done well if my paintings looked so real you could hardly tell they weren't a photograph. So often it seemed that was how people would gauge an artist's abilities.  I broke free when I met a friend from Africa who painted her house wacky colours, bold and vibrant and she made things that just made me see things differently. Colors came alive and I no longer wanted them to look real. At this point I was still doing mostly realistic work and in watercolour. A few things happened in recent years that kind of made huge changes for me. I went from having no clue how to use a computer four years ago to learning to blog, to learning how to create digital artwork which I began selling in my shop when I opened it up a couple years ago. Around the same time, I found my first issue of Sommerset Studio magazine and fell in love! It was exactly what I saw in my head and rejected because it was not accepted in the art community. I realized then that I didn't care. As of late I have begun doing a lot of teaching and workshops in schools. I have been fortunate enough to have been selected for some grants through the Manitoba Arts Council and just this past month I attended an International Educators Workshop at Julliard at the Lincoln Centre Institute in New York and I loved it! 


To get inspiration, I love to browse my Sommerset mags. Sometimes it is the Sommerset Life magazine. I love to use the gorgeous colors and textures in the photos and sometimes I use those for inspiration. I pull the colours, textures, even the composition sometimes. I  actually use the pages themselves for collage every so often. I love browsing other artists techniques on youtube, blogs etc. Sometimes just cleaning and organizing my workspace helps. I need to get real messy when I am creating and when I am done I can't even think about starting another project until I have a clean space to work. Things that nourish my creativity are usually things that give me an emotional response. Time of day, the lighting, music. I often play music while I am out walking usually in the evening or morning when the sunlight is peeking through trees, I walk feeling like I am part of a dramatic scene in a movie, something beautiful. My favourite scene from a movie was the swan scene in The Notebook. I just loved how beautiful and romantic it was. I love stuff like that and I love seeing that in my own everyday life. The beautiful, meaningful moments in life that so many of us miss while we are busy in the grind.

Right now my signature colors, I guess, are turquoise, pink and warm green. That changes but for some reason I seem to constantly gravitate towards those colours. Sometimes my intention is completely different and then I go to do my thing and poof, all of a sudden those colors are there. 

One piece that I created that I was really proud of was my first public art installation. I had never created anything so large before and I must say I was rather proud of how it looked hanging in that library. It was also a very self affirming experience for me as the professional artist that I collaborated with on the project could not say enough about my abilities and my work ethic and professionalism. It was also a project that made it possible for me to get the grants that I have been awarded lately so I am sure thankful for that!


 One piece of advice I would share with learning artists is to trust your own inner voice. I learned by copying others work, studying it and figuring out by trial and error how they did what they did. This became a problem when I realized I had to think for myself and had nothing original, my own, to contribute. It took a long time to hear my own little inner voice and to start "seeing" things or more to the point reproducing "how" I saw the world. It's hard to jump off the reality boat it's kind of a crutch, but once you do it is so freeing. So if you feel like you are not sure if you can take it if someone says something discouraging about your work then don't ask them what they think. Just strut your stuff and if they ask why did you do that just tell them that was how you meant it to be!







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Check out our new class coming December 30, 2013! Join 39 artists over 6 months for a mix of art and craft projects as diverse as the different personal styles of our instructors: cool mixed media techniques, art dolls and other sewing projects, jewelry making, handmade journals, abstract art, portraits, sculpting, works on canvas and in journals. Find out more!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Soul Food Meet and Greet: Pascale Hutt



We are now offering payment plans in either 2 or 4 payments  You can read the details next to the PayPal buttons on the SOUL FOOD page.


Watch a fun little promo video for SOUL FOOD HERE.


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Today we are welcoming Pascale Hutt (Glycerine)! After you read her interview, be sure and stop by her blog and enter her GIVEAWAY!!!






I’m Pascale Hutt, a French artist, also known as “Glycerine”. I’m 46 years old, have 6 children, 2 dogs, 2 cats, 3 hamsters, fish, etc. I’ve created art for as long as I can remember but decided about 7 years ago to make it my work and my life.

Because of my different commitments with my family etc, I usually paint in the afternoons, right through until I either have to, or need to stop! I also often work during the night, when everyone else is sleeping.
Life experiences, Nature, things from my past, and things that come to me in my dreams all feed my creative soul. I always try to listen to my heart, and I especially love to tell stories in my paintings - hoping that someone will see something in the layers. I also love to keep some secrets hidden away in my work. Art is my life and I couldn’t live without it!
I love to share things with other artists because I believe that enriches me; plus it really makes me happy if I am able to help them.
The very first piece I was really proud of was came about by chance. I was painting a beautiful lady with a lot of jewels, and suddenly I just felt the need to put my hands into the paint and cover a big part of her. You will see her with this interview - a big ‘reveal’ for me because I have never shown her before.

That was the first time I really listened to my heart and the painting is still - in my opinion - the best I ever done. Moreover, that experience is what convinced me that mixed media was THE thing I needed!
The painting of the lady is hanging on my living room wall, as well as some other personal pieces; I also have paintings from other artists that I admire like Mitsi B, Lisa Patencio, Gary Reef, and many others.
So that’s me in a nutshell - and you’ll see more of me in my art! I’m really happy and excited to be part of this Soul Food adventure!













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Check out our new class coming December 30, 2013! Join 39 artists over 6 months for a mix of art and craft projects as diverse as the different personal styles of our instructors: cool mixed media techniques, art dolls and other sewing projects, jewelry making, handmade journals, abstract art, portraits, sculpting, works on canvas and in journals. Find out more!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Soul Food Meet and Greet: Regina Lord



We are now offering payment plans in either 2 or 4 payments  You can read the details next to the PayPal buttons on the SOUL FOOD page.


Watch a fun little promo video for SOUL FOOD HERE.


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Today we are welcoming Regina Lord! After you read her interview, be sure and stop by her website and enter her GIVEAWAY!!!





Tell us about you and your art journey.
My name is Regina and I live in Tucson, Arizona with my beautiful family.  Like many artists, I was very creative as a child and was encouraged to draw by my creative and supportive grandfather. He put the first crayon in my hand right away, which started a lifelong passion for art and making things.  Making art always had a presence in my life, but I went to college to become a registered nurse, thinking that I could never really be a professional artist. I did the nursing thing for 15 years when I realized how much I needed art in my life for my own sanity, self-care and for the way it gave me an incredible life force and  energy.  I finally quit my nursing job, almost 1 year ago, to be home more and work on my art full time.  Now, I know that I don't need an art degree and I don't need someone to tell me I'm an artist. I just know it.

What are some of the things that nourish your soul? How do you decide what to create - where do your ideas come from?
I find that nature and quality time with my family is what nourishes my soul the most. Living in Tucson means 100 degree temps in the summer, but the rest of the year is perfect for outdoor time. I like to go for morning walks in the spring, winter and fall. It wakes me up, clears my head and energizes my soul. Hikes with my family, on the weekends, helps strengthen our bond as a family and with nature too. Friends help with nourishing my soul as well. Lively conversation, wine, venting our life stresses and laughter offer another boost to help nourish my soul. Often times, these things; nature, family, my friends provide me with inspiration and ideas for new paintings--which leads me to the next question....

What are some recurring themes/subjects in your work?
Because of my love of nature, family and friends, I often paint birds, flowers, homes, people (mostly women). When I paint women, I like to think of the strong amazing women in my life and I also like to make them up in my mind. When I paint them, I give amazing stories. I am also drawn to birds, adding my own whimsical touches to give them lots of character. Painting homes, conjures up thoughts of comfort, love and a safe place to be surrounded by those you love.

What is one piece of advice that you’d like to share with other artists?
I have three, actually: 1) Let go of any expectations that may cause you feelings of failure. When starting out, don't expect your art to look like someone else's, or for it to be a master piece straight out of the gate. Instead, expect to learn a lot, to grow and to become a part of the process. You may surprise yourself. 2) Practice, practice, practice. If you want to be really good at something, then you need to learn everything about it and then do it over, and over again. Over time, what once seemed hard will become easy and more fun. When this happens, it's time to learn something new and challenge yourself once again.  3) Show your passion.  If you love something enough, it will show through in your work and people will take notice!
What kind of creative patterns, routines or rituals do you have?
I am not a morning person, but I have kids, which means I have to get up early. So, I usually spend my mornings helping with house and family stuff, going for a walk, doing yoga, going shopping, running errands, etc, etc, etc. After lunch, my creative juices have started flowing and I'm ready to hit my studio with some quality creative time. I have a little routine/ritual that helps me get to my creative place--mind, body and spirit. Here is what I do:


  1. Make an intention to make useful the time I have to create and have fun.
  2. Spend 5-10 minutes cleaning my space, gathering my supplies.
  3. I don my favorite painting apron that has lots of fun buttons from my creative, artsy friends. I pretend that I am calling on them to be with me in spirit as I paint and create.
  4. I burn a smudge stick to clear the air or spray some mood mists.
  5. I play some music, turn the computer off or put it at a distance so that I am not tempted to do any web surfing.


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Check out our new class coming December 30, 2013! Join 39 artists over 6 months for a mix of art and craft projects as diverse as the different personal styles of our instructors: cool mixed media techniques, art dolls and other sewing projects, jewelry making, handmade journals, abstract art, portraits, sculpting, works on canvas and in journals. Find out more!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Soul Food Meet and Greet: Kristina Oppegard


We are now offering payment plans in either 2 or 4 payments  You can read the details next to the PayPal buttons on the SOUL FOOD page.


Watch a fun little promo video for SOUL FOOD HERE.


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Today we are welcoming Kristina Oppegard! After you watch her interview, be sure and stop by her website and enter her GIVEAWAY!!!


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Check out our new class coming December 30, 2013! Join 39 artists over 6 months for a mix of art and craft projects as diverse as the different personal styles of our instructors: cool mixed media techniques, art dolls and other sewing projects, jewelry making, handmade journals, abstract art, portraits, sculpting, works on canvas and in journals. Find out more!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Soul Food Meet and Greet: Mika Diaz



We are now offering payment plans in either 2 or 4 payments  You can read the details next to the PayPal buttons on the SOUL FOOD page.


Watch a fun little promo video for SOUL FOOD HERE.


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Today we are welcoming Mika Diaz! After you read her interview, be sure and stop by her website!!!





My journey as an artist, a woman, and most of all a follower of Christ are one in the same. No, I did not always know that. There was never a time where I was not aware on some level that I was an artist, even before I knew what that term meant. I now know that I was very specifically created to be as artist, just as I was very specifically created to be a woman. (Psalms 139:14) We are all given the tools and gifts we need for our individual journeys in life, art was one of the tools and gifts I received that would echo God’s voice inside me, that I was special and loved. Like many, my childhood was a nightmare that created a painful reality of low self worth and loneliness. I was a very daydreamy child who was always off in space, doodling, drawing, and pretending.
I created my own world as early as I could remember to escape bullying, abuse and neglect. My art teacher in first grade singled me out to work on an art mural, she came into the classroom and in front of all the kids who made my life hell and chose me to be her assistant. That day changed my life. Art made me fearless, and gave me wings that won prestigious awards and recognition throughout high school. I was forced to go to nursing school by my mom, despite protests from my teachers and many of my own tears. I abandoned art and never looked back. It haunted me always, that pain never went away. After traveling around the world as a navy wife and having many awesome adventures we returned back here to Virginia, my hometown. Everyone I reconnected with asked me what I had done with my art. It nagged at my soul. I went to visit a working gallery, it was my favorite place as a teen. As I walked through, my heart began to break. Some of the artists I recognized, and some were new. It was like watching the lost love of my life with someone else. It was overwhelming. It was that day that I surrendered, and accepted the identity I was given.


Deciding what to create is like rummaging through a big box of stuff I have collected to see what excites me at that moment. Block printing, graphite portraits, collages, painting etc, I have never been able to commit to any one type of art.  When something comes together it a combination of all the the things I do individually. I’m not always aware where ideas come from, I daydream a lot. When my daughter complains about being bored, I tell her that its because she doesn’t spend enough time daydreaming.

The rough spots in life have a brutal effect on my creativity. I feel very detached from joy, laughter or any of the things that contribute to creative play. Not being able to plug into that “La La Land” of creativity makes whatever is happening feel larger than life and easily leads into bouts of depression.

A combination of prayer and connecting to the art of others is a muse that re-energizes me. Its like being a sick child looking outside at all the other kids playing. Wanting to have fun, wanting that joy is a strong motivator to pull myself out of whatever is holding me back.

One of my studio routines is to spend a day and take whatever new canvases I have and randomly cover them with collage papers or stamps, paint left on my pallet or whatever. It is fun, stress relieving, and takes me back to basics, just having fun in the process, being covered in messy paint just having fun. No purpose, no direction, just giving myself permission to be mindless and spontaneous. It eliminates blank surfaces which I find mind numbing, and when I am ready to paint, I pull out whatever canvas or surface that I feel drawn.

There are very few mediums I have not experienced, airbrush, oil paint, watercolor, acrylic, charcoal, ceramics, pastels, sculpture, block printing, sewing, metal work, jewelry design, darkroom photography, advanced figure drawing etc. are some of the things I have studied in college. I have often been criticized by professors for not being committed, and being all over the place. My painting professors feel like anything outside painting is a distraction and all professors feel that way about what they teach. It’s why I chose to pursue a degree in studio art, which gives me permission to be all over the place without commitment. There are two things that I am resisting the urge to do, doll making and encaustic painting. This year is a time to maintain what little focus I have, and not try to do everything at the same time. I know that I am being lead to do what I am doing at present, and that there will be plenty of time for other creative adventures later.

My main goal in sharing myself and creative methods is to connect with others on their creative journey and show them how beautiful and important their art is, because of how beautiful and important they themselves are.

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Check out our new class coming December 30, 2013! Join 39 artists over 6 months for a mix of art and craft projects as diverse as the different personal styles of our instructors: cool mixed media techniques, art dolls and other sewing projects, jewelry making, handmade journals, abstract art, portraits, sculpting, works on canvas and in journals. Find out more!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Soul Food Meet and Greet: Erin Bassett




We are now offering payment plans in either 2 or 4 payments  You can read the details next to the PayPal buttons on the SOUL FOOD page.


Watch a fun little promo video for SOUL FOOD HERE.


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Today we are welcoming Erin Bassett! After you watch her interview, be sure and stop by her website!!!






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Check out our new class coming December 30, 2013! Join 39 artists over 6 months for a mix of art and craft projects as diverse as the different personal styles of our instructors: cool mixed media techniques, art dolls and other sewing projects, jewelry making, handmade journals, abstract art, portraits, sculpting, works on canvas and in journals. Find out more!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Soul Food Meet and Greet: Micki Wilde




We are now offering payment plans in either 2 or 4 payments  You can read the details next to the PayPal buttons on the SOUL FOOD page.


Watch a fun little promo video for SOUL FOOD HERE.


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Today we are welcoming Micki Wilde! After you read her interview, be sure and stop by her blog and enter her GIVEAWAY!!!


soul food interview from Micki Wilde on Vimeo.
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Check out our new class coming December 30, 2013! Join 39 artists over 6 months for a mix of art and craft projects as diverse as the different personal styles of our instructors: cool mixed media techniques, art dolls and other sewing projects, jewelry making, handmade journals, abstract art, portraits, sculpting, works on canvas and in journals. Find out more!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Soul Food Meet and Greet: Dina Wakley




We are now offering payment plans in either 2 or 4 payments  You can read the details next to the PayPal buttons on the SOUL FOOD page.


Watch a fun little promo video for SOUL FOOD HERE.


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Today we are welcoming Dina Wakley! After you read her interview, be sure and stop by her blog and enter her GIVEAWAY!!!




Tell Us About You and Your Art Journey:
I wish I had discovered art earlier in life, but I am so glad that I did find it. I've always been involved in creative pursuits. I started scrapbooking in 1995. That led to stamping, which led to collage, which led to mixed-media, which led to visual journaling. I started art journaling in 2004. I've kept a personal journal since I was nine years old, so art journaling was a very natural transition for me. In fact, if you go back and look at my childhood journals, you'll see drawings and calligraphy, so in a way I have always been art journaling.

One piece of advice to share with other artists:
Give yourself permission to make ugly art. They'll make more paper! Just make art and don't stress about whether it's good or bad. The process of making is so important, and you only get better if you're devoted to it.

What kind of creative patterns, routines, or rituals do you have:
I get up, shower, dry my hair, put on my makeup, and get dressed. Then I go the studio. I find if I go to the studio in pajamas, I don't get much done. But I feel "official" if I am dressed, showered, and ready to work. I always "warm up" before I work, too. I put color on tags, or on journal pages. I goof off artistically and create a mess, create with no agenda. It helps get the creative juices flowing! I'm not a morning person at all, so these things help me move on with my day.

What drives your sense of validation as an artist:
It is great when I get comments and approval from others. I can't deny that feels good and that it helps me feel like "I can do this." However, I do believe that some validation has got to come from within. It can be hard to get there, because we are SO critical of ourselves. Still, for validation to be lasting and fulfilling, it needs to start from within and then radiate out. Think positively about yourself and your art. Don't compare. Put value in the process and not just the finished result. And, I think that what you put in the universe comes back to you, so if you are finding you need some artistic love, try giving some first. Then it will flow back to you.

How have the rough spots in life affected your art:

Because I am a big believer in journaling, I make art through the good and the bad. If I am struggling through something, it definitely shows up in my artwork, mostly through the words that I write on my pages. I do disguise my writing so it's difficult to read, but sometimes I write phrases that pop into my head. The process is so therapeutic for me, and I have filled entire journals working through some of my problems and sadnesses.


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Check out our new class coming December 30, 2013! Join 39 artists over 6 months for a mix of art and craft projects as diverse as the different personal styles of our instructors: cool mixed media techniques, art dolls and other sewing projects, jewelry making, handmade journals, abstract art, portraits, sculpting, works on canvas and in journals. Find out more!