Thursday, February 9, 2017

a recap and an announcement!

I'm overdue for a recap, but I'm right on time for an announcement!

On Saturday, January 28th, I had my 14th Brushstrokes With Impact (tm) "Paint-a-Thon" (SOUPER BOWL II). It was a low-key affair, especially when you compare it to the other Super Bowl, but I'm not about comparing apples to oranges, and you shouldn't be, either. Tee hee. Anyway, I'm grateful to Paul Clark III from Morton Real Estate for allowing me to use the vacant space next to Believe Fitness at 25 Stanwood Street in Brunswick (thank you, Paul!) and I'm grateful to everyone who stopped by and/or purchased raffle tickets online. Together, we were able to raise $100 for the Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program's "Backpack Program"! Yay!


the setup!


the start...



...and the finished painting, "Hungry For Peace"!


The winner of "Hungry For Peace" was none other than my niece, Hayley Evans, who has entered these raffles many, many times before and until now, she had never won...so congratulations, Hayley! I wonder if "Hungry For Peace" will adorn her dorm room wall when she's off to college in the fall...I guess we'll have to wait and see! 

In case you didn't stop by, you might not know that I now have "Lucky Cat, Readfield Emporium" tote bags available for sale! These are sturdy little bags, and they're $20 each, perfect for hauling groceries or anything else you might want to carry around. 

totes! 

Okay, time for that announcement: my next Brushstrokes With Impact (tm) "Paint-a-Thon" will be on Saturday, February 25th, and I'm going back to Claremont: I'm calling it "Nourish New Hampshire"! Thanks to the kind cooperation of the Greater Claremont Board of Realtors ® Community Service Committee and the Pleasant Street Restaurant, I'll be setting up my easel once again at 84 Pleasant Street and painting from roughly 9:30am-5:30pm on Saturday, February 25th. At the end of the day, the completed painting will be raffled off, and 50% of the proceeds from raffle ticket sales will be donated to the Claremont Soup Kitchen and Food PantryRaffle tickets can be purchased in person or online (https://www.paypal.me/BrushstrokesByMariafor $5 each or 3 for $10.  Here's a new twist to increase your chances: donate 3 cans of food and receive 1 free raffle ticket for that day’s drawing (limit 1 free raffle ticket per person)! I will also have a “pop-up” show of my art at 84 Pleasant Street and 10% of all art sales (excluding magnets, but including tote bags) will be donated to the Claremont Soup Kitchen and Food Pantry. I hope to see your smiling face there... but as you know, thanks to the miracle of the internet, long-distance support is possible (and very much appreciated)! 

OH- one more thing! If you like blogs, I should also mention that I have a blog on Curtis Memorial Library's "Curtis Creative Spaces" page! Here's my most recent entry there: http://curtiscreativespaces.com/with-roses-in-her-eyes/


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Friday, January 20, 2017

hope is a good thing

Tomorrow is my birthday, and because of that, I feel hope in my heart. Some people dread their birthdays, but I love them. I always think of my dad, who was fond of saying, "It beats the alternative." Did I mention he lived to be almost 88? Anyway, I know there is a collective feeling of dread floating around today, but I'm committed to doing my damnedest to stay positive and spread light; trying to make a positive impact when I can, where I can, in a way that feels right and good and authentic. I guess you could say it's my goal for the year (or for the next four years), but it's kind of been an ongoing goal of mine for a while now...want to help? Well, here's an opportunity:

My first Brushstrokes With Impact (tm) "Paint-a-Thon" of 2017 is coming right up- and it's called SOUPER BOWL II! For those of you keeping track, it will be my fourteenth event of this nature. Thanks to the kind support of Morton Real Estate (R), on Saturday, January 28th, I will be setting up my easel at 25 Stanwood Street (right next to Believe Fitness Center) and painting from roughly 9:30am-5:30pm. At the end of the day, the completed painting will be raffled off, and 50% of the proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program's "Backpack Program". Raffle tickets can be purchased in person or online (here's the link: https://www.paypal.me/BrushstrokesByMaria) for $5 each or 3 for $10. I will also have a “pop-up” show of my art at 25 Stanwood Street and 10% of all my art sales (excluding magnets) from this show will be donated to MCHPP's "Backpack Program". Here's a link to the Facebook event page (it's public, so please feel free to share it with friends, family, and anyone else who you think might be interested): https://www.facebook.com/events/231544660631395/.

Speaking of feeling hope in your heart, something interesting happened yesterday: I got a text from my dear friend Erica, saying that her aunt used a photo of my painting, "Keep It In Your Heart," in a Facebook post to encourage someone in their healing process. I've never met Erica's Aunt Judy before, and I haven't shown that painting in years! Isn't that wild? I'm going to take that as a good sign...and with that, I will leave you with a quote from one of my favorite films, The Shawshank Redemption: "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

what a coincidence! 






Saturday, December 31, 2016

catching up and wrapping up

It's the final day of 2016, so I suppose I should wrap up this year with a blog post!

On Saturday, December 17th, I had my 13th Brushstrokes With Impact (tm) "Paint-a-Thon". This one was at Selby Shoes Etc. in South Portland, and the cause was the Press Herald Toy Fund. Snow was in the forecast that day, and boy oh boy, did it come down! Fortunately, art was in the forecast as well, and my "Paint-a-Thon" went off without a hitch. True, foot traffic was a bit slow, but thanks to the miracle of the internet, I was able to sell lots of raffle tickets online. Plus, the hearty souls who did come out in the winter weather were friendly and engaging: I sold a bunch of magnets (and even a print) to new people who had never seen my work before! The staff at Selby Shoes Etc. were absolutely wonderful, too. They provided a welcoming, supportive environment that was fun to paint in all day. I'm grateful to the Selby folks for making me feel so appreciated. It's obvious why their customers are so loyal...plus, the boots!


my setup!


in progress... (photo credit Dennie Campbell)


in progress 2... (photo credit Dennie Campbell)


"Give From The Heart"- finished!


the winning ticket!

The winner of "Give From the Heart" is Kathleen Meade! Since Kathleen lives locally, I am planning to deliver the painting in person, but due to the craziness of the holidays, we haven't been able to meet yet...I will be sure to post a picture when it happens! Thanks to everyone's support, together we were able to raise $173 for the Press Herald Toy Fund! That means over $2300 has been raised for national and local charities since I had my first Brushstrokes with Impact (tm) "Paint-a-Thon" in December 2015...pretty cool, huh?


Speaking of cool things, something very cool happened this year that I haven't had a chance to blog about yet: my work was used on the cover of the AGA Correa & Son catalog! Andy Correa saw my work at Mister Bagel in Brunswick when I had my show there in late 2014. He bought an "El Camino" print from me, and when we met to make the transaction, he asked if I'd be interested in a commission for some paintings of his jewelry creations. I said, "Well, they won't look exactly like your work," and thankfully, he said something along the lines of, "I want them to look like your work". I breathed a sigh of relief and said, "Okay, then- yes!" It remained an idea for a while, and then Andy contacted me earlier this year to see if I was still interested. He loaned me a Fish Float pendant/necklace and a Turk's Head bracelet (GASP!) and I got to work...not easy, since Andy's jewelry is so very intricate! After a false start or two, I was able to come up with these two 5" x 5" paintings...


Fish Float and Turk's Head, Maria-style...


...and soon, this showed up at my doorstep! 


cover me!


I didn't want to sign my paintings on the front because I wasn't sure if it would be a distraction (or which way he wanted to lay the image out), so I signed them on the side. Thanks to the miracle of Photoshop, Andy moved my signature from the side to the lower left corner! He also achieved a very cool paint-spilling-over-the edges/coloring outside of the lines effect that helps to tie everything together. Thank you again, Andy! I'm so grateful for this unique opportunity! 


check out this write-up on the inside front cover!



I know that 2016 has been a challenging year for many people. I'm happy to say that my year has been filled with a whole lot of goodness, and I'm grateful to everyone who made it that way. Thank you all for your support...and let's kick some ass in 2017, shall we? 
















Wednesday, December 7, 2016

the art of giving

In a week and a half, I’m having my thirteenth Brushstrokes With Impact™ “Paint-a-Thon”! I'm calling lucky number 13 "The Art Of Giving": on Saturday, December 17th, I will be setting up my easel at Selby Shoes Etc. (220 Maine Mall Road, #5, South Portland, ME) and painting from roughly 10am-6pm. At the end of the day, the completed painting will be raffled off, and 50% of the proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to the Press Herald Toy Fund. Raffle tickets can be purchased in person or online (here's the link: https://www.paypal.me/BrushstrokesByMaria) for $5 each or 3 for $10. I will also have a “pop-up” show of my art at Selby Shoes Etc. and 10% of all my art sales (excluding magnets) from this show will be donated to the Press Herald Toy Fund. Here's a link to the Facebook event page - it's public, so please feel free to share! https://www.facebook.com/events/1619557585007067/

I'm excited to be supporting such a worthy cause: the Press Herald Toy Fund has been helping families in need for sixty-seven years! Artist (and director for the Press Herald Toy Fund) Kathleen Meade reached out to me to see if I would be interested in supporting their mission with a Brushstrokes With Impact (tm) "Paint-a-Thon," and naturally, I was intrigued. I hadn't heard of the Press Herald Toy Fund before, but after doing a little research, I knew it was a cause I could get behind. Simply put, the Press Herald Toy Fund is a "Secret Santa" for Mainers. They are behind-the-scenes in their approach, allowing the families they serve to keep their participation "under the radar".

I'm also happy to have Selby Shoes Etc. hosting me! I am a fan of that shop, and I'm a fan of Selby Shoes Etc. owner, Dennie Campbell! Dennie is the mom of my dear friend, Heather (check us out in this boot ad from a few years ago!), and she's a wonderful photographer as well. In fact, several of my paintings are based on her photographs!


"Dennie's Dandelion": SOLD at this year's 10x10 Brunswick


"The Joy Of Pollination"


"Milkweed Pods"

So, mark your calendars for Saturday, December 17th! Support a good cause, pick up some art as a  unique gift for someone special on your holiday list, and treat yourself to some awesome footwear all at the same time! 




Tuesday, November 22, 2016

you can go home again


My 12th Brushstrokes With Impact (tm) "Paint-a-Thon" (entitled "Feed Your Soul!") has come and gone- and what a wonderful experience it was! This was my second out-of-state event of this nature, and my first one in New York- which was extra-special for me, since it took place in my hometown of Bellport

I'm grateful to everyone who made this event a joyful homecoming and a wonderful success. The entire staff at Cafe Castello was friendly, welcoming, and happy to be a part of this interesting little experiment of mine...plus, the food is fantastic! My oldest and dearest friend, Julia, also happens to be the best point-woman ever. Julia pounded the pavement to promote this event: she spoke to all the local merchants about my work, plus she printed up and handed out cards and posters, which ended up in windows and next to cash registers all over the place. Let me tell you, it was a real trip walking and driving down through downtown Bellport and seeing my artwork represented in the windows of so many shops! 


a little surreal for me


Friends and family turned out in droves (thank you, Tim, Charles, Jen, Donna, Laura, Kathleen, Betty, and my awesome sister, Addie, who was with me pretty much all day, taking photos, videos, and being my all-around special helper), and so many others supported me via long-distance (just to name a few: Keith, Marc, Ellen, Amy, Chris, Lisa, Heather, and of course, the fabulous Schmoopie himself, my husband, Terry, who wasn't able to make the trip with me, but who got put to work unpacking my car moments after I pulled in the driveway on Sunday night). Also, I'd like to give a special shout-out to Trent Griffin of Monarch Massage who squeezed me into his schedule before my trip to New York so my arms and shoulders could be as loose and relaxed as possible for eight straight hours of painting! 



inside



outside


I arrived in Bellport late Thursday evening. Julia and Addie helped me to set up the show late on Friday night, and on Saturday morning, I got right to work just after 9:30 am. The day went by quickly, and it was filled with a lot of hugs, laughter, and meaningful conversations with friends and strangers alike. I met a ton of new, friendly faces, including two different people who told me that I had inspired them to go home and paint- how cool is that? I sold 32 magnets (which I think is a record for me!), plus three prints, and a painting! 



let's go, let's go, let's go



almost there...


I signed "Heart Beet" at 5:30 pm on the dot, and then the winning raffle ticket was pulled: here's the video



signing "Heart Beet"


Yes, the winner of "Heart Beet" is Laura Miller! This is the first time the winner has been present for the raffle ticket drawing, so it was very exciting to see Laura's happy reaction in person! 


winning! 


I will always hold a part of Bellport in my heart...and now, parts of Bellport hold my art! Thanks to everyone's support, together we were able to raise $286.50 for Long Island Cares, Inc.- The Harry Chapin Food Bank (what a coincidence: the telephone prefix for Bellport just happens to be "286")! In case you've been keeping track, that means that twelve months of Brushstrokes With Impact (tm) "Paint-a-Thon" events have resulted in over $2150 donated to local and national charities! Woo hoo!


"Mandala Fiasco": SOLD to a VERY good home! 




Wednesday, November 9, 2016

keep a candle on the path


Love. Healing. Hope. Positive energy. This is what we need right now. Hell, this is what I need right now.

I meant for this to be a light-hearted post about how excited I am for my next event, but I didn't have a chance to write it until today...and I think it's safe to say that so far, today isn't panning out to be the day I expected it to be.

We can't change what's happened...so how do we make things better? We need to keep shining our light. We need to make it brighter. Good always ripples out, always. Even small acts of kindness make a difference. The darkest of times require the brightest of lights. So...

My 12th Brushstrokes With Impact (tm) "Paint-a-Thon" is called "Feed Your Soul". It's another out-of-state event...this time, I will be in the town where I grew up, where I was raised, the place I called home until I moved to Maine in 1995: Bellport, New York.

On Saturday, November 19th, I will be setting up my easel at Cafe Castello (141 South Country Road, Bellport, NY) and painting from roughly 9:30am-5:30pm. At the end of the day, the completed painting will be raffled off, and 50% of the proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to Long Island Cares, Inc.- The Harry Chapin Food Bank. Raffle tickets can be purchased in person or online (here’s the link: https://www.carii.com/fundraising/Paint-a-ThonFeedYourSoul) for $5 each or 3 for $10. I will also have a “pop-up” show of my art at Cafe Castello and 10% of all my art sales (excluding magnets) from this show will be donated to Long Island Cares, Inc.- The Harry Chapin Food Bank.
Here's a link to the Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/838475276294152/. I hope to see you there...and if you can't be there in person, long-distance support is always appreciated.



"Essential Birthday Wishes"

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

home and away

My 11th Brushstrokes With Impact (tm) "Paint-a-Thon" (entitled "Make Yourself At Home") took place on Friday, October 14th in Claremont, New Hampshire. This was my first out-of-state event of this nature, and it was such a blast, I hope to be able to do it again soon! Here's how it went!

Before hitting the road, I was fortunate enough to get a fantastic massage from Trent Griffin at Monarch Massage! Thanks to Trent, my previously stiff and achy right shoulder was loose and ready for eight straight hours of painting. WHEW! A sidebar: if you're interested in a great massage at a bargain price, today's your lucky day...

You're welcome.


Anyway, back to the trip! The car had to be packed just so for the 3+ hour drive: we needed to fit four display racks (each one being 6 feet tall and 2 feet wide), art supplies (an easel, paint, a palette, etc.), a whole bunch of artwork (paintings, prints, and magnets), plus two adult human beings (us!) and our suitcases. Did I mention I have a sedan? Once again, my husband Terry packed the car like a pro: everything fit and we didn't feel cramped. Yay!

We arrived in Claremont late Thursday afternoon. My mother-in-law, Ellen, greeted us at 84 Pleasant Street with tables, a boom box, and a list of people who bought raffle tickets through her! Terry and I unpacked the car and immediately began setting things up so I could just walk in and start painting the next morning.

GO time!

Friday flew by (as it usually does)! I had visits from family members, friends (thanks, Alex!), folks from the Pleasant Street Restaurant, curious passers-by, and even members of the local press (thanks, Cameron and Bill)! I sold two prints, a handful of magnets, and even more raffle tickets (both online and in person).

signing "Autumn Leaf"! 


6 o'clock was fast approaching, so I asked Terry to get an impartial person from the Pleasant Street Restaurant to draw the winning raffle ticket. The dinner crowd made it impossible for anyone on staff to leave their post, so instead, Terry brought the tub of tickets to the hostess station.


the winning ticket!


As you can see, Christine Guilmette is the winner of "Autumn Leaf"! I don't believe I've ever met Christine, but we went to the same high school! Christine was in my sister's class, and she is now living in North Hollywood, California. Thank you, Christine, for giving my work a good home! 


"Autumn Leaf"

On Monday, I was greeted with articles from the Eagle Times and the E-Ticker News! Here's the link to the Eagle Times article: 



a screenshot of the Eagle Times article


...and here's the link to the E-Ticker News article (go to section B, page 23):
http://www.etickernewsofclaremont.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/10-17-2016-Section-B-i.pdf


a screenshot of the E-Ticker News article


I'd like to give a BIG "thank you" to everyone who supported "Make Yourself at Home," my 11th Brushstrokes With Impact (tm) "Paint-a-Thon"! Together, we were able to raise $227.50 for Realtors Against Homelessness! I'm filled with gratitude for your help, your generosity, and your kindness. I couldn't do it without you! 


thanks to Elizabeth at the Greater Claremont Board of Realtors for making this display!


Here's some more cool news: I recently hosted a four-week series at Curtis Memorial Library called "Playing With Paint"! Curious? Here's a link to the blog post I wrote about it for Curtis Creative Spaceshttp://curtiscreativespaces.com/playing-with-paint/. Do you live locally? If so, you can check out the awesome work that was created during "Playing With Paint" in person: it will be hanging in the library's front lobby until November 10th! I stopped in to Curtis Memorial Library on Tuesday to see how everything looked...here's a video of my visit! Thanks to Michael Gorzka for shooting this footage, and thanks to Melissa Hall for doing such a great job hanging this show! 




yay art!