Wednesday, May 29, 2019

springing into summer with a recap's been an intense couple of months! Normally, I write these recapping-types of blog posts in a somewhat linear fashion, but this time is a bit here goes! I'll start with what's happening now.

My 42nd Brushstrokes With Impact (tm) "Paint-a-Thon" takes place in just a couple of days! I've had a solo show at She Doesn't Like Guthries in Lewiston for the month of May, and the first Art Walk Lewiston/Auburn of the season is Friday, May 31st - how perfect is that? I've titled this event "Second Helping!" because this is the second time I'll be having a Brushstrokes With Impact (tm) "Paint-a-Thon" at Guthries, and it's also the second time I'll be raising money for the Good Shepherd Food Bank. It's a great cause and a fantastic venue...I hope to see your smiling face on Friday! Here are some photos of the show:

In early April, I was fortunate enough to take part in a week-long yoga/meditation/astrology/painting retreat at the Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico, with the ShivaShakti School of Yoga. It sounds kooky to say that I was out of my comfort zone, because all of those activities are among my favorite things to do, but it's true. The week consisted of scheduled days beginning with Kundalini yoga and meditation in a yurt, followed by breakfast, then yantra painting class (with the incredible Mavis Gewant), then lunch, then yantra painting class, then free time, then dinner, then back to the yurt for astrology class. As soon as astrology class ended, a period of "social silence" would begin. "Social silence" would continue on into the next day, only to be broken after the end of the morning yoga/meditation session. I'd never done anything quite like this before, and I can honestly say this retreat was (and continues to be) a life-changing experience. It's already had a major impact on my artwork: so far, I've created four paintings as a direct result of my time at the Ghost Ranch. Who knows what will happen next?

My 41st Brushstrokes With Impact (tm) "Paint-a-Thon" (entitled "Spring In My Step!") took place on Saturday, April 20th, just outside of Indrani's at the Tontine Mall in Brunswick. I had only been back from retreat for about a week and a half, but I already had a new painting inspired by my time away (which, thanks to the power of social media, was sold before I even had the chance to hang it- a personal record). I knew I wanted to keep exploring the sights, feelings, and ideas I'd been exposed to while on my trip, so the painting I created that day was entitled "Skull, Ghost Ranch".

the "pop-up" show

the beginning...

"Skull, Ghost Ranch": finished!

I'm happy to say that the winner of "Skull, Ghost Ranch" was none other than Alex Coombs! Alex is a friend, a collector, and a long-time supporter of Brushstrokes With Impact (tm), and last month was his first time winning a painting! Congratulations, Alex! Plus, thanks to everyone's help, together we were able to raise $140 for the MidCoast Hunger prevention Program's "Backpack Program," which brings the running total raised since December 2015 to around $6000. Hooray!

Yes, that's my painting on this year's Altered Couture poster!

"A Is For Apple, B Is For Beatles"

a special pillow made by Christine DeTroy

Altered Couture was on Saturday, May 4th, and boy, was it a hoot! Christine DeTroy pulled it off once again with tons of style and wonderful spirit. This year's theme was "Beatles Couture," which made for an even more fun and lively night than usual. The costumes were incredible, the audience was into it, the participants were joyful and supportive of one another, the DJ was fantastic (as usual), and this year's MC kept the crowd engaged and the energy up...and I'm not just saying that!

DJ Dave and my husband, Terry, making his Altered Couture MC debut! 

I'm grateful to have had friends and family in the crowd that night, because even though it is fun to "walk the runway" at Altered Couture, it's also a bit terrifying - "fun-scary" is the best way I can describe it - so seeing friendly faces and recognizing friendly hoots and hollers makes life so much easier! Thank you to everyone who made it out! Speaking of friends, I'm very proud of the friends who were in the crowd for last year's event and chose to participate this year! Michael Gamage was the "Sun King" (brought to life with Heather Goulette), and Erica Kingston was "Norwegian Wood," whose costume featured hundreds and hundreds of hand-stained and hand-stitched popsicle sticks. WOW! My costume was made using vinyl and flexible plastic records, CDs, 45 adapters, beads, glue, paper, and 200 safety pins; the song I chose was "The Hippy Hippy Shake". 

Laurie Anne Sims as "Here Comes The Sun" and Michael Gamage as The Sun King

Erica Kingston - Norwegian Wood

Astrea Charlett - Imagine (Lady Gaga cover)

Octopus's Garden - I wish I knew her name - she was fabulous!

me with our fearless leader, Christine DeTroy (photo credit: Rebecca Boothby Conley)

I could fill up this entire post with Altered Couture photos (because I got some fun ones, and there were just SO many incredible costumes and beautiful people who participated), but I'll direct you to my Instagram page if you'd like to see some more: @brushstrokesbymaria!

Finally, I'm thrilled to report that the piano I painted is once again out on the sidewalk in front of Cool As A Moose on Maine Street- a sure sign of summer! Does anyone know anything about the cool campaign that's being promoted in the second photo? If so, please share in the comments section!

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

time marches on

YIKES! I haven't posted here since the end of January! Time to change that!

Saturday, February 23rd found me back at the Tontine Mall in Brunswick, just outside of Indrani' the way, I love that space! The cause I chose to support for my 39th Brushstrokes With Impact (tm) "Paint-a-Thon" was the Cathance River Education Alliance, so I called the event "CREAte" I love those trails at the Cathance River Nature Preserve so much, so I’m grateful I was able to help CREA in my own little way! Here are some photos from the day. 

the pop-up 

putting some miles on my sign!

the beginning


As I worked on my painting, it dawned on me that it looked like my little owl was wearing KISS makeup. This made me giggle (probably more than it should have), so I decided to go with it. As a result, the title made itself known: "Owl Was Made For Loving You, Baby"! 

"Owl Was Made For Loving You, Baby": finished!

It was a great day, filled with lots of laughter and visits from friends (and friendly faces). When it was all said and done, we were able to raise $105 for CREA. Thank you, everyone! 

congratulations, Hayley! 

thank you for the kind acknowledgement!

On Saturday, March 23rd, I hit a mini-milestone: I had my 40th Brushstrokes With Impact (tm) "Paint-a-Thon"! Of course, I called it "The Big Four-Oh". I put a slightly different spin on this month's cause: my sister, Addie, is running the Boston Marathon in April, and she's raising funds for the Hole In The Wall Gang Camp...when I heard that, I knew I wanted to help out. Thanks to everyone's support, we were able to raise $100 towards her cause! If you missed your chance to win the painting I created on Saturday, but you'd like to support my sister's fundraising efforts for The Hole In The Wall Gang Camp, here's the link:

the pop-up

the beginning


"Tulip Potential": finished!

the winning ticket!

this beautiful family won my painting!

On February 9th, I took down my solo show at Kimball Union Academy's Taylor Art Gallery, and I was totally knocked out by all the kind words and wonderful feedback waiting for me in the guest book! Thank you to the students, staff, and faculty at KUA for making me feel so welcome! I will always cherish my experience on your beautiful campus. Below are some photos from the guest book, and here's a link to the All School Meeting video where Ursula Fries-Herfort introduces "Color And Energy" to the student body:

By the way, the total raised for the Janie Chase Cozzi '19 Memorial Fund was $175, so that means the running total donated through Brushstrokes with Impact (tm) is in the neighborhood of $5800. Not bad at all! 

one last photo from "Color And Energy"!

Thursday, January 31, 2019

color and energy!

It might be cold outside, but my heart has been warm all month long. On Friday, January 11th, I had my 38th Brushstrokes With Impact (tm) “Paint-a-Thon”. It’s my first event of 2019, and I can honestly say that it has gotten my year off to a big start!

this card feels fancy! 

On Wednesday, January 9th, I drove to Meriden, New Hampshire, to hang my solo show (entitled “Color And Energy”) at Kimball Union Academy’s Taylor Art Gallery; two days later, my “Paint-a-Thon” happened (from 8am-4pm), followed by the show’s opening reception (from 5:30pm-7pm). It was a whirlwind, to say the least! On paper, it was a long day, but instead of being tired at the end, I was energized. I was so wound up, I didn’t want to sleep until the wee hours of the morning! I was originally planning on setting up my easel and painting just outside the Taylor Art Gallery, but KUA’s Ursula (Ursi) Fries-Herfort (Arts Instructor and Gallery Director) suggested the dining hall instead - and I’m so glad she did. On a side note, Ursi also helped me to hang the show, which was huge, because walking into that empty room was intimidating! Anyway, the dining hall at KUA is a major hub for the school community, and it allowed me to connect with students and faculty alike while I was working. Rather than distracting me, the steady hum of conversation and foot traffic allowed me to focus on the painting at hand. It also gave me a strong impression of what life at KUA is like, and I was struck by the culture of kindness that permeates the school. There was a friendly and respectful tone to every conversation I overheard, no matter who was doing the talking: students, faculty, or staff. Everyone who took the time to chat with me while I worked was friendly, curious, and welcoming, and those feelings were only magnified during the opening reception later on.

the beginning 


Love Light Lotus”: finished! 

The day of painting flew by, as it always does, and the opening reception was no different. The
turnout was fantastic, especially considering the frigid temperatures! I didn’t take many pictures because I was so busy chatting, but here are a few to give you a sense of what it was like.

The winning raffle ticket was drawn at the end of the opening reception, and despite the fact that I sold a lot of tickets to the KUA community, the winner of “Love Light Lotus” was Rosie Johnson from Arizona. This is the second time Rosie has won one of my paintings, so she has earned official collector status! This month’s cause was the Janie Chase Cozzi ‘19 Memorial Fund...I don’t have an official total as of yet, because the show is still up until February 9th, but as soon as I have that information to pass along, I will do so.

I feel so grateful about my whole experience at KUA. It’s a real treat to have my work on display in such a beautiful room, and it was incredibly gratifying to connect with students and have them “pick up what I was putting down,” if you will. Getting people to leave their warm homes on a cold night isn’t easy, so if you were one of the people who attended the opening, I thank you! I’m also grateful for my brother-in-law, Jerry Usery, not only for making the introduction between me and the KUA Art Department, but also for taking time out of his work day to act as my “pit crew,” helping me to set up and bringing me coffee, juice, and snacks...thanks, bro!

If you happen to find yourself in Meriden, New Hampshire, before Saturday, February 9th, please stop by KUA’s Taylor Art Gallery!