Monday, September 19, 2016

library love

My 10th Brushstrokes With Impact (tm) "Paint-a-Thon" was on Friday, September 9th, and it was a whirlwind of a day! I was at Curtis Memorial Library from just before 9am to just after 8pm...on paper, it looks like a long day, but from my standpoint, it went by ridiculously quickly!

I stopped by the library on Thursday to drop off food for my opening reception in hopes of making things easier on myself (and my husband Terry, who was being tasked with setting up the food/refreshments table due to my packed schedule). I passed by the entrance and noticed the sign with the hours posted: the library was scheduled to open at 9:30am, not 9am. Whoops! I found Melissa Hall and explained my dilemma, and she was quick to help, saying that either she or Michael Gorzka would let me in early so I could set up and start painting by 9am as planned. WHEW! I'm grateful for the entire staff at Curtis Memorial Library for making me feel so welcome (special thanks to CML volunteer Jo-An Jacobus for helping me to number my work at the last minute). I was even greeted with a flower first thing in the morning!

What a nice way to start the day! 

I hadn't done much sleeping in the days leading up to Friday's Brushstrokes With Impact (tm) "Paint-a-Thon," but running on pure adrenaline sometimes has its perks: I actually finished "Black-Eyed Susan" early!

"Black-Eyed Susan"

The opening reception that night was filled with friendly faces and awesome music. A new five-piece band was formed out of a jam session, and they have a great name, too: Fat Boy Drive In!

for your listening pleasure: Fat Boy Drive In!

Michael Gorzka was working overtime for sure! He took video footage throughout the day, and locked up the Morrell Meeting Room that night...good thing, since the last time I had a solo show at Curtis Memorial Library and tried to lock up, I set off the alarm! Thanks, Mike! Here's a video from early in the day: 

...and here's a video of the winning raffle ticket being drawn: 

The winner of "Black-Eyed Susan" is Amy Mullin! This is rather fitting, because not only has Amy supported every single one of my Brushstrokes With Impact (tm) "Paint-a-Thon"s, she is a librarian! Thank you, Amy...and thank you, Rebecca Boothby Conley, for doing the ticket-pulling honors (and for playing such beautiful music with Eileen Armstrong and the rest of your new band, Fat Boy Drive In)! I'm thankful for everyone who bought a raffle ticket, or attended the show, or helped me to promote the event. You are all appreciated! 

If you weren't able to attend the opening reception, you've still got time to see the show: it will be up through Tuesday, September 27th. I don't have a fundraising total as of yet, because in addition to splitting the raffle ticket proceeds, I will be donating 10% of all art sold at this show to a worthy cause: Curtis Memorial Library! In the meantime, here are some photos...and wherever you are, please support your local library! 

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

looking back, looking forward

EEK! It's the last day of August already! It's been a busy month, and as a result, I'm overdue for a blog let's get started!

On Tuesday, August 16th, I had my 9th Brushstrokes With Impact (tm) "Paint-a-Thon" ("Rising To The Challenge!") and it was a wonderful experience. I was set up at Roger's Haircutters in Auburn, raising funds for their Dempsey Challenge team: a perfect fit! The staff and patrons at Roger's Haircutters were friendly, welcoming, and helpful, and I was even treated to an in-person visit from Robert, Tammy, and Robert Neilsen Jr.! Friends and family reached out with support via email, phone, and online raffle ticket sales (including - but not limited to- Amy Mullin, Kathleen Powers Vermaelen, Chris Rose, Keith Spiro, and Julia Villacara) and, as always, I am grateful. Together, we were able to raise $145 for the Roger's Haircutters Dempsey Challenge team! Here are some photos from the day:

my event made the paper!

"Flat Pat" photobomb!

me through the window

work in progress...

with Robert from The Intergalactic Yurt Band and The GOODS! 

The winner of "Rising" was Ella Evans, who happens to be my niece (and she is amassing quite a little collection of my work, I must say)! Congratulations, Ella! Thank you once again for giving my work a good home. 

I'm thrilled to announce that my next Brushstrokes with Impact (tm) "Paint-a-Thon" will be on Friday, September 9th at Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick! This will be my 10th event in this series, and I'm calling it "Library Love!"  My work will be on display inside the library's Morrell Meeting Room for most of the month of September, but I will have my easel set up in the front lobby. I'll be painting from 9am-5pm near the entrance, and then I'll be moving my paints and easel (and myself!) over to the Morrell Meeting Room, where I will be having my opening reception from 5pm-8pm. I'm going to need to eat my Wheaties that day! As usual, raffle tickets will be sold online and in person ($5 each or 3 for $10), and this time, 50% of the proceeds from raffle ticket sales (and 10% of all artwork sold, excluding magnets) will go to Curtis Memorial Library. Since this will be a longer-than-usual day for me, the winning raffle ticket will be pulled sometime towards the end of the opening reception. I'll have food, refreshments, and live bluegrass music by The Star Charmers! Woo hoo! 

performing live from 5:30-7:30! 

Speaking of Curtis Memorial Library, I have some more news: this fall, I will be hosting a four-week series called "Playing With Paint"! Here's the write-up:

Maria Castellano-Usery will host four "Playing with Paint" classes at Curtis, Tuesdays this Fall. Paint your version of these four artists' famous masterpieces — with help from Maria! Vincent Van Gogh, Jackson Pollock, Georgia O'Keeffe and Marc Chagall. FMI and to register:

If you're interested in joining me, the dates/times are as follows:
Tuesday, September 27, 6:30 – 7:30 PM — Vincent Van Gogh
Tuesday, October 4, 6:30 – 7:30 PM — Jackson Pollock
Tuesday, October 11, 6:30 – 7:30 PM — Georgia O’Keeffe
Tuesday, October 18, 6:30 – 7:30 PM — Marc Chagall

Friday, August 5, 2016

big news and a new challenge

A lot has been happening...and there's more on the horizon! Let me fill you in on at least some of it!

On Friday, July 15th, I had my 8th Brushstrokes With Impact (tm) "Paint-a-Thon"! This one was at Cool As A Moose on Maine Street in Brunswick, and the chosen charity was Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bath/Brunswick. It was crazy hot that day, but I happened to be set up right under their air conditioning vent (a coincidence), so I was cool as a cucumber while I worked! I had visits from friends Keith Spiro and the lovely Rebecca Boothby Conley and I met some new friendly faces as well...including a fellow Long Islander, who bought a "Back Yard Buddha" print as a graduation gift for her niece!


The staff at Cool As A Moose made me feel welcome, as usual, and when the winning raffle ticket was drawn at 6pm, the name on it was not one that I recognized: a first! Lindsay MacDonald was the winner of "Magical Mystery Flowers," and it turns out that she is the Executive Director for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bath/Brunswick! As always, I'm grateful for everyone's support...and now, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bath/Brunswick are $100 closer to their goal of buying a play parachute for school-based mentoring programs!

"Magical Mystery Flowers" and Lindsay MacDonald!

My host for the July Art Walk Lewiston/Auburn was a new place to me: Roger's Haircutters on Main Street in Auburn, just a few doors down from Gritty's! On July 21st, I set up my work in their front window, and when art walk came around on Friday, July 29th, I set up my magnets and my easel in Festival Plaza and did some work on a painting that I had been struggling with. Despite the forecast of rain, it was a beautiful night, and I was able to make some progress on my previously abandoned piece. I also had a very nice visit from some of my loyal magnet collectors, Donna Alexander and her husband, who helped me unpack my car and set up- thank you both for the help and the company! 

the front window at Roger's Haircutters!

can you spot the new magnets?

Speaking of Roger's Haircutters, I'm happy to announce that they will be my host for my 9th Brushstrokes With Impact (tm) "Paint-a-Thon," which is scheduled for Tuesday, August 16th! I'm calling it "Rise To The Challenge" because the charity will be the Roger's Haircutters Dempsey Challenge Team! This is an awesome cause and I'm so happy to be a part in helping them to reach their fundraising goal. Want to be a part of it? Either stop by Roger's Haircutters (I'll be there from roughly 10am-6pm on Tuesday, August 16th) or buy raffle tickets online! Here's the Facebook event page:

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

overdue but not over, dude

EEK! I haven't posted here in almost a month! How did that happen? Well, I have managed to get in a couple of blog posts for Curtis Creative Spaces over the last couple of are the links for those...please enjoy!

This one is all about a recent trip to The Painted Dog in Brunswick:

...and this one is all about a recent trip to the Portland Museum of Art:

The big news right now is that on Friday, July 15th, I'm having my 8th Brushstrokes With Impact (tm) "Paint-a-Thon"! I will have my easel set up in the front window of Cool As A Moose (128 Maine Street, Brunswick), and I will be painting from 10am-6pm. At the end of the day, the completed painting will be raffled off, with 50% of the raffle ticket proceeds going to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bath/Brunswick. Want to support this worthy cause and possibly win a painting? You can buy raffle tickets here!

The Cupcakery in Lewiston hosted me for June's Art Walk Lewiston/Auburn, and it was a wonderful experience! It was a beautiful night, and the community really turned out for it: Lisbon Street was bustling with art lovers of all ages, and the evening went by very quickly. I sold a bunch of magnets, I saw some familiar, friendly faces who were happy to see me, and I made a lot of new, lovely acquaintances as well. Hooray for art! 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

altered recapping

It has been a busy week! Forgive me if I recap things out of order...

On Friday, June 10th, I had my seventh Brushstrokes With Impact (tm) "Paint-a-Thon"! This time, I was in the front window at Wyler's (150 Maine Street, Brunswick). It was my second time painting at Wyler's, but the first time, I was set up in their toy room (which is right in between Wyler's and Local). This time, I was in the window right on the corner of Maine and Pleasant Streets. It is a slightly more high-profile location than the window in the toy room, and I was up on a small platform, which made me feel more out of the way. It was a sunny day, so I had lots of great natural light, and I was able to hang my work so it was visible to both people inside Wyler's and anyone walking or driving by. Fun! The friendly staff at Wyler's and Local made me feel welcome once again, and I am grateful for their hospitality.

the window facing Pleasant Street

Not only was this my second time painting at Wyler's, but it was my second time "painting4thecure": this month's cause was the National Foundation for Cancer Research's "Play4TheCure" program. Keith Spiro was the winner of "The Lotus in The Lemon"...very fitting, since he is such a passionate supporter of NFCR's efforts! Thank you! 

photo credit: Sylvia Wyler

On Thursday, June 9th, I had the pleasure of participating (once again) in Altered Couture! In case you aren't familiar with it, Altered Couture is a very fun fashion show/contest put on by the lovely and talented Christine DeTroy. Creativity is the key: participants make outfits using recycled materials, found objects, and their imagination! This year's theme was "Color Couture," so I chose the song "She's A Rainbow" by the Rolling Stones for my walk down the runway (which is scary, but scary in a fun way). I am most definitely not a seamstress, so I wanted to keep the sewing to an absolute minimum. I had some unstretched canvas tucked away in my studio, so I laid it out on the floor with one of my wraparound skirts up against it. I marked off where to cut with a pencil, crossed my fingers, and hoped for the best! I primed and painted the canvas, attached some velcro tape, and presto- I made a skirt! I found a small canvas apron I could use as a bodice, so I painted it, attached straps so it wouldn't fall off, and stuck some old brushes on it for good measure. I cut strips of unstretched canvas, painted them, and sewed them to an elastic band to make my headpiece. Art for art's sake! 

"she comes in colors everywhere..."

One of the things I love about Altered Couture is the sense of community that comes with it. All the participants are supportive and encouraging to one another. People of all different backgrounds, ages, and skill sets come together for this event (this was the 6th one!), which is always sold out and always raises money for a good cause. This year's recipient was the Lewiston/Auburn Maine Folque Co-ops Young Fiddler’s Ensemble, who put on a fantastic performance that night. Way to go, Christine DeTroy! You put on an awesome show every year, and you are a true builder of community. I'm happy to have been a part of the fun!

Brunswick Art Collaborative represent! With Amanda Heath Walden

I also managed to get a new blog post written for Curtis Memorial Library! Here's the link in case you're currently in a blog zone:

Next on the list: ArtWalk Lewiston Auburn is Friday, June 24th, 5pm-8pm! I'll be at the Cupcakery (97 Lisbon Street, Lewiston). Please stop by! It's sure to be a fun night! 

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

love is served

How is it the last day of May already? Time just seems to zip by when the warm weather is here!

This month's "Paint-a-Thon" (entitled Small But Mighty!) took place on Friday, May 20th at She Doesn't Like Guthries in Lewiston, and it was a beautiful day from beginning to end. Heather and the staff at Guthries kept me going with good music all day long- and they rewarded me with a lovely glass of red wine when I was finished! The winner of "Serving Love" was Chris Rose, who is now officially a collector of my work! Coincidentally, May 20th was Chris's birthday, so thanks to his kind contribution to the Good Shepherd Food Bank, I was able to contribute to his day of celebrations. Yay!

"Serving Love," moments after being signed!

My show at Guthries is still up for a few more days (I'll be taking it down the morning of Saturday, June 4th), so I won't have my final fundraising total until then...but I will certainly let you know what that number is when I have it!

Now that my May Brushstrokes With Impact (tm) "Paint-a-Thon" has passed, I'm excited to announce the "Paint-a-Thon" that's coming up in June: Paint4TheCure Part Deux! The National Foundation for Cancer Research's "Play4TheCure" campaign was the charity I partnered with for my very first "Paint-a-Thon" event back in December 2015, and I'm happy to be working with NFCR once again! I will be setting up my easel in the front window of Wyler's (the venue that hosted me back in February for VANtastic!) on Friday, June 10th, and painting from 10am-6pm. The completed 8" x 8" painting will be raffled off at the end of the day, with 50% of the raffle ticket sales going to NFCR's "Play4TheCure" program. Stop by, say hello, buy a raffle ticket...and, as always, thank you for your support!

Here's the link to the public Facebook event page (feel free to share!):

...and here's the link to the Carii fundraising page:

Monday, May 9, 2016

may i catch up?

May 1st was the one-year anniversary of my mom's passing, and yesterday was Mother's Day. I can think of no better way for me to pay tribute to my mother than to dedicate my next Brushstrokes With Impact (tm) "Paint-a-Thon" event to a cause that she was passionate about: feeding others. Every time my parents would go to the grocery store, my mom would have multiple items in her cart for the church's food bank (canned goods, peanut butter, sometimes even cookies). After they would get home, my dad would reach for a cookie (not realizing its intended destination) and she would scold him, saying, "That's for the poor!" to which he would reply, "Well, what's for the rich?" My dad had a million of 'em, including the phrase he used to describe my mom, "small but mighty," and that's the name I'm giving to this month's event. Please join me at She Doesn't Like Guthries on Friday, May 20th, from 10am-6pm; this month's charity is the Good Shepherd Food Bank! If you can't be there in person, that's okay: long-distance support is always appreciated! Here's the link for the Facebook event page ( and here's the link to buy raffle tickets online ( 

So...what else has been going on? Well, my dear friend Tim came to visit recently! We had a great time, and not only was he able to pick up "Earth Flower" (the painting he won in April's Brushstrokes With Impact (tm) "Paint-a-Thon"/Every Day is Like EARTH DAY), but he added "Mexicali Ganesh" to his collection as well! Talk about going to a good home...thank you, Tim, for your friendship and your support! I am grateful for you. 

saying "so long" in Brunswick...

...and "hello" from its new home in New York! 

Oh, yes: last week, I led my first-ever paint bar-style class at Curtis Memorial Library! I was nervous, but it went really well. I wrote about it in my most recent Curtis Creative Spaces blog post, so if you'd like to read that story, please click the link: In the meantime, here's a picture!

photo credit: Sarah Brown

Finally, I'm happy to say that my May show at She Doesn't Like Guthries in Lewiston is a two-person show with Keith SpiroKeith has been a collector and a friend, as well as an advocate for my Brushstrokes With Impact (tm) campaign, but we've never shown our work together until now. The show went up on Friday, May 6th, and we really packed the place! Please stop by sometime this month to see for yourself, and while you're at it, treat yourself to some tasty food

a taste of the show!