Tuesday, April 11, 2017

loving you is easy 'cause you're beautiful

My seventeenth Brushstrokes With Impact (tm) "Paint-a-Thon" is this Friday, April 14th! It's called "Library Love Part Deux," and- you guessed it- I'll be at Curtis Memorial Library! My easel will be set up right in the front lobby, and I will be painting from 9:30am-5:30pm. At the end of the day, the completed 8" x 8" acrylic painting will be raffled off, and this month's host and cause are one and the same: 50% of the proceeds from raffle ticket sales will be donated to Curtis Memorial Library. Raffle tickets can be purchased in person for $5 each or 3 for $10. I will also have a small “pop-up” show of my art on display, and 10% of all my art sales (excluding magnets, but including totes) will be donated to Curtis Memorial Library. Please contact me via email (maria@brushstrokesbymaria.com) for raffle information.

All the talk about funding being cut for libraries makes me upset, so I'd like to help in my own little way. Libraries are important, and I'm fortunate to live in a town where the library is AWESOME. The timing works out well, too: it's National Library Week! Please stop by...support independent art and Curtis Memorial Library all at once!

Friday, March 31, 2017

shoes and bees and art

My 16th Brushstrokes With Impact (tm) "Paint-a-Thon" was on Saturday, March 25th at Selby Shoes Etc in South Portland, and it was so much fun! As you may or may not remember, the first "Paint-a-Thon" I had at Selby Shoes Etc was in December 2016, and there was a big snowstorm that day. Well, guess what happened when I was setting up my "pop-up" art show on Friday, March 24th? WE HAD SNOW! Thankfully, the severity wasn't even close to December's snowstorm, but Dennie, Ed, and Paul at Selby treated me to some good-natured teasing nonetheless ("Do you have a snow cloud over your head?"). The forecast was clear for Saturday, though, and Friday's snow was gone as quickly as it came. WHEW!


all set up!


Besides clear skies, Saturday was filled with laughter, visits from friends (thank you, Jen, Jenn, Lori, and Heather!) and encounters with new, friendly faces. I sold a handful of tote bags, including two to a woman who purchased one, walked out to her car, and came back in to get a second for a friend. I even met Ellen from Dobra Tea in Portland, who invited me to show my work at her shop on Exchange Street. Woo hoo!


The beginning...


progress...


The eight hours flew by (as they usually do), and suddenly, I had a finished painting! The title came to me through a conversation I was having with Dennie while I worked: "Let It Bee"!


"Let It Bee" and my Fluevogs!


Ed was kind enough to do the raffle drawing honors, and sure enough, the winner of "Let it Bee" was Heather Goulette of Monarch Massage! Heather is one of my dearest friends, and she has supported many of my previous Brushstrokes With Impact (tm) "Paint-a-Thon"s, but this was her first time winning a painting. I'm thrilled that her name was on the winning ticket, and I know she will give "Let It Bee" a good home, because Heather is a collector of my work! Plus, I will get to visit, which is always nice. Thanks to everyone's support, together we were able to raise $100 for the conservation efforts of Maine Audubon


Hooray for Heather!



In other news, I will be hosting another four-week "Playing With Paint" series at Curtis Memorial Library! Take a look at this wonderful write-up in the library's newsletter by Sarah Brown: 


PLAYING WITH PAINT-NEW CLASSES
Due to overwhelming demand, the library will offer a repeat series of free Playing With Paint classes.  Each class will focus on a different famous artist and one of their paintings:
  •  Sunflowers by Vincent Van Gogh, April 6, 5:30-6:30
  •  Convergence by Jackson Pollock , April 13, 5:30-6:30
  •  Red Canna by Georgia O'Keeffe, April 20, 5:30-6:30
  •  Blue Circus by Marc Chagall, April 27, 5:30-6:30 
 Maria Castellano-Usery, a well-known artist in the Brunswick area, will teach the classes.  Maria has a wonderful sense of how art is created, what is required to dive into the process, and how to have fun while doing it.
Maria will talk briefly about the artist and their work and style and then class members will paint (and take home) their version of one of the artist's well-known masterpieces.
  The goal of Playing with Paint is to learn about painting and art, and have fun in the process!  Come by yourself or bring a friend with you - it will be an enjoyable, relaxing evening with some interesting learning mixed into the process.
Appropriate for ages 14 years and older, the classes are free and all supplies will be provided.Class size is limited to 12 attendees-so sign up early! Sign up limited to two classes per person, with the option of adding your name to the wait list for the other two classes.
Please sign up by calling the library's reference desk at 
725-5242, ext. 204.-SB



Speaking of Curtis Memorial Library, if you're interested in checking out my bi-weekly blog for Curtis Creative Spaces, here's the link to my most recent post (they go up every other Wednesday, in case you'd like to follow along): http://curtiscreativespaces.com/. I think that's it for now! 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

marching on and on

It's mid-March already! Here's what's been going on with me.

Thank you to everyone who supported my 15th Brushstrokes With Impact™ “Paint-a-Thon” on Saturday, February 25th in Claremont, New Hampshire! Together we were able to raise $105 for the Claremont Soup Kitchen and Food Pantry. It was a fun day, complete with visits from family, friends, and new, friendly faces. I even sold a painting! Here are some photos: 


The start...


...and, eight hours later, "Avocado Star" was complete! 



"Perpetual Light": SOLD! 



The winning ticket! Yay for Rebecca!  


The winner of "Avocado Star" is none other than the lovely and talented Rebecca Boothby Conley of Boco Video Pro! As you can see, Rebecca was very excited to win, and I'm thrilled that "Avocado Star" has gone to a good home where it will be loved and appreciated! In addition to running Boco Video Pro, Rebecca hosts the Evening Sun Blues radio show on WMPG! Tune in to hear her every other Wednesday from 5pm-7pm (and you can stream it online if you're not local)!


the handoff! 



In other news, I painted a Little Free Library for Curtis Memorial Library's "Booked For The Night" fundraiser, which took place on Saturday, March 4th! I wrote all about it for my Curtis Creative Spaces blog, so rather than writing the same thing twice, here's the link if you're curious:
http://curtiscreativespaces.com/in-the-books/


Speaking of Curtis Memorial Library, I'm happy to say that "Playing With Paint" is coming back in the month of April! We'll be focusing on the same artists as last time (Vincent Van Gogh, Jackson Pollock, Georgia O'Keeffe, and Marc Chagall), but we're changing up the paintings ("Sunflowers", "Convergence", "Red Canna", and "Blue Circus", respectively). Woo hoo! 


Time for another announcement: I’m having my sixteenth Brushstrokes With Impact™ “Paint-a-Thon”! On Saturday, March 25th, 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 conservation efforts of Maine Audubon. Raffle tickets can be purchased in person 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 conservation efforts of Maine Audubon. Please contact me via email (maria@brushstrokesbymaria.com) for raffle information. Here's the link to the Facebook event page:  https://www.facebook.com/events/286541395116060/


I'm excited to be going back to Selby Shoes Etc.! They were so nice to me when I was there in December...hopefully the weather will be nicer this time around! Fingers crossed...

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!