Wednesday, November 29, 2017

all good things in time

Today's magic word is "time"! 

Remember when I posted back in May that "Strawberry" had sold and I was so excited? Remember when I blogged in August about how bummed out and embarrassed I was that the sale ended up falling through? Remember when I mused that perhaps this happened because "Strawberry" was meant for someone else? Well, thanks to Float Harder, "Strawberry" has found the right people! Thank you, Sam and Kate, for giving my work a good home! I'm happy to make your acquaintance! There are a couple of wonderful "firsts" here: Amy at Float Harder told me it's the first time they've sold any artwork, and Sam and Kate told me that "Strawberry" is the first painting they've ever bought! In fact, they said they previously had "no art at all" in their house. How cool is that? I feel so honored! 

so long, "Strawberry"! 


Last time I blogged here, I didn't mention where I was going to be showing my artwork in December, but I figure that now is as good a time as any to make those announcements! My 25th Brushstrokes With Impact (tm) "Paint-a-Thon" will be on Saturday, December 9th at Selby Shoes Etc. in South Portland! Once again, the cause will be the Press Herald Toy Fund, and I'm calling it "The Art Of Giving 2"! As usual, I'll be painting for 8 hours straight (10am-6pm), and the finished 8"x8" acrylic painting will be raffled off at the end of the day. Raffle tickets are $5 each or 3 for $10; 50% of raffle ticket sales and 10% of all art sold (excluding magnets, but including totes) will be donated to the Press Herald Toy Fund. It's hard to believe that December officially marks two years of Brushstrokes With Impact (tm) "Paint-a-Thon"s...it's been a fun and rewarding challenge, and I look forward to keeping it rolling! 


I'm also going to be one of 8 vendors at the Holiday Pop-Up Sale at the Merrymeeting Arts Center in Bowdoinham! This is a two-day show: Friday, December 15th from 6pm-8pm, and Saturday, December 16th from 9am-4pm. I'm excited because it will be my first time showing my work in Bowdoinham, and I think it will be a great opportunity for people to get in their last-minute holiday shopping. Stop by and say hello! Click this link for a list of vendors and information. 




Sunday, November 26th was the Meditative Walk With Mandala Making for Adults at the Cathance River Nature Preserve, and I'm grateful I was able to assist my dear friend Heather Goulette of Monarch Massage and Wellness with this program. The original date for this program was Sunday, November 19th, but due to a rainy and windy forecast, it was rescheduled for the weekend after Thanksgiving. This ended up being perfect...who couldn't use an opportunity to decompress right after a busy holiday (and right before another one)? I wrote all about it in my Curtis Creative Spaces blog, so rather than write it all out again, I'll just include the link and you can read it there. Spoiler alert: it was wonderful! 


Before I forget again, I'll close with two links to videos I meant to include in my previous blog post! First, the lovely and talented Rebecca Boothby Conley stopped by my studio to capture some footage for this Maine Public spot...thank you, my friend, for including me! Second, Chris Tucker has done it again with a wonderful video about the community in and around Curtis Memorial Library...I'm grateful to be a part of it! 


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

attitude of gratitude

Thanksgiving is this week! Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, because it is all about gratitude. I try my best to cultivate an "attitude of gratitude" every day, and that's why I used that phrase as the title of my 24th Brushstrokes with Impact (tm) "Paint-a-Thon", which took place of Saturday, November 11th. "Attitude of Gratitude" was a fitting title for a number of reasons: this was my first event in Massachusetts, so I'm grateful for that; the cause was the Greater Boston Food Bank, which is an organization that helps so many people to have a happier Thanksgiving; Elizabeth at Birch St. House & Garden is lovely and kind and her adorable shop is a real community hub, so I'm happy she was such a warm, welcoming, gracious host; and I'm grateful that I was able to share my work with a whole new audience that I never would have been able to meet before. Plus, I now have a brand-new collector: I sold "Home In My Heart" (a little 3" x 3" painting) to a woman named Libby, who shared a story with me that made me get a bit emotional. Libby bought "Home In My Heart" as a housewarming present for a dear friend of hers who had lost his partner earlier this year...he was starting his life in a new place without his "other half," and she wanted to give him a meaningful gift as he began this major transition. As she told me the story, she said, "This is going to a very good home," which made me tear up, because that's always my hope whenever anyone buys my art, especially a painting! Well, you can imagine my joy when Libby's name was on the winning raffle ticket, and I'm happy to say that she was pretty excited when I called her with the news! Here are some photos from the day:



setting up


ready, set, go!


"Home In My Heart": SOLD!


"Not-So-Delicate Flower": finished in the nick of time!


winner winner! 


Thanks to everyone's support, together we were able to raise $105 for the Greater Boston Food Bank! This brings the total raised for national and local charities from two dozen (that's right, two dozen- another thing to be grateful for!) Brushstrokes With Impact (tm) "Paint-a-Thon"s to roughly $3700! I feel pretty good about that. Anyway, if you find yourself anywhere near Roslindale, please stop by Birch St. House & Garden to say hello and pick up something fun! That shop is as cute as can be, and you can find something for everyone on your list- including yourself! What's on tap for December, you might be asking? Stay tuned...I will fill you in next time! 


Thank you, Elizabeth! 


Another fun thing that is scheduled to happen this week (weather permitting, of course) is a Meditative Walk and Mandala-making workshop at the Cathance River Nature Alliance with my dear friend, Heather Goulette of Monarch Massage and Wellness! It's free, and it will be a wonderful way to decompress and get grounded in nature after and before the hustle and bustle of two major holidays. Join us! Here's a link to the Facebook event page. We would love to see you there! 








Friday, November 3, 2017

24 and there's so much more

My 23rd Brushstrokes With Impact (tm) "Paint-a-Thon" was on Thursday, October 26th, and I had a fabulous time! The staff at Halcyon Yarn was welcoming, friendly, and helpful from start to finish,  the space was beautiful, and the music was great. Together, we were able to raise $100 for the Welcome Blanket Project, and the winner of that day's painting, "With Liberty And Pumpkin For All," was none other than Halcyon Yarn's very own, Gretchen Jaeger! Thank you, Gretchen, for giving my work a good home, and thank you to everyone at Halcyon Yarn for being so awesome!

the poster...

the set-up process...

the beginning...

...and the winner! 

So, #23 ("Blanket Statement!") was my first event in Bath, and I'm happy to say that the location for #24 will be another "first" for me: this month, I'm heading to Massachusetts! On Saturday, November 11th, I'll be at Birch St. House & Garden in Roslindale; I'll be painting from 10am-6pm, and in honor of Thanksgiving, I'm calling this "Paint-a-Thon" "Attitude Of Gratitude!", and I'll be raising money for the Greater Boston Food Bank! In case you're new to this blog, here's what I do: I set up my easel and paint for 8 hours straight; at the end of the day, I raffle off the completed 8" x 8" acrylic painting, and I donate half the raffle ticket proceeds (along with 10% of all art sold, excluding magnets) to that month's charity. Please come and see me...I'm excited to add another state to my list! 


I also had a solo show go up this week at Float Harder in Portland, and I'm pretty psyched about that as well. Have you ever floated in a sensory deprivation tank? Well, it's an incredible experience, and you can find out for yourself at Float Harder...and if you do it during the month of November, you'll be able to see my work in the waiting area! 


"Full Moon Through Pines," on view at Float Harder!










Tuesday, October 24, 2017

blankety-blank-blank

I’m having my twenty-third Brushstrokes With Impact™ “Paint-a-Thon”, and I'm calling it "Blanket Statement!" On Thursday, October 26th, I will be setting up my easel at Halcyon Yarn (12 School Street, Bath, 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 Welcome Blanket Project. 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 Halcyon Yarn and 10% of all my art sales (excluding magnets, but including totes) from this show will be donated to the Welcome Blanket Project.

You probably know the drill by now, but I'm trying something a little different this month, specifically for people who want to participate from a distance. Would you like a print of the painting I will be creating on Thursday? How about a free shot at the original itself? Do you like surprises? Well, for $25, you can get a signed, unframed, 6” x 6” giclee print mailed right to your door! This translates to $20 for the print plus $5 shipping, for those of you who care. Please allow 30 days for the prints to be made and shipped. The painting won’t fully exist until the end of the day, so I can’t tell you exactly what it will be (which is part of the reason for the bargain price), but if you’re reading this, chances are, you have an idea of what my work looks like! Prints can be purchased via PayPal (https://www.paypal.me/BrushstrokesByMaria), and of course, 10% of all print sales will be donated to this month’s cause, the Welcome Blanket Project! This print purchase also gets you one complimentary chance to win that day's original 8" x 8" acrylic painting. Woo hoo!

In case you were wondering (and even if you weren't), the sidewalk piano I painted has been officially stored for the winter! Originally, I thought the piano would have a temporary existence (one summer only), but instead, the kind people at Cool As A Moose decided that a single season wasn't enough. It's slated for a few minor repairs and some TLC (along with "a long winter's nap"). I'm so happy to hear it's being taken care of!





In other news, on Saturday, October 21st, I assisted my dear friend Heather Goulette of Monarch Massage and Wellness with a Mindful Nature Walk for Kids at the Cathance River Nature Preserve in Topsham. It was a gorgeous day for a walk in the woods, and we even created a mandala with ingredients we found on our hike! Below are some photos, and you can click here for a time-lapse video of the mandala-making process. Take a peek!













Friday, September 29, 2017

end of summer speed round

September is almost over and I have a lot of catching up to do! I'd better get started...

Well, I've had two different Brushstrokes With Impact (tm) "Paint-a-Thon"s since the last time I posted: #21 was in August ("Library Love #3"); and #22 was in September ("Gimme Shelter")! Both took place right here in Brunswick (Twice-Told Tales and Indrani's, respectively), and both were such positive experiences, I've already chatted with my friendly and gracious hosts about the possibility of doing it again. Here are some photos in case you weren't there!


 
  they made me a sign!  

 
the entryway of Twice-Told Tales


part of the show




from start...


...to finish! "Transform With A Book"


the space just outside of Indrani's is perfect!

"Always Keep A Peaceful Center"


Julie Williams was the winner of "Transform With A Book", and Kathleen Meade was the winner of "Always Keep A Peaceful Center". Thanks to everyone's support, I was able to raise $100 for the Friends of Curtis Memorial Library, and $191.50 for Brunswick Coastal Rotary's "Shelter Boxes For Texas" campaign, bringing my running total to roughly $3500 raised since I started this little adventure in December 2015! Woo hoo! 

I had the pleasure of participating in Curtis Memorial Library's "How-To Festival and Block Party" on Saturday, September 16th, and that was a ton of fun...I actually wrote about it on my Curtis Creative Spaces blog, so if you'd like to read the full version, just click here! The short version is this: my dear friend Heather and I did a four-hour "paint a community prayer flag" workshop, and people of all ages spent time painting with us and sending positive energy out into the town (and beyond)! 


love always wins


The biggest news for the month, though, has to be this...do you remember the sidewalk piano I painted back in June? Well, my piano is one of three featured in this Maine Public "Out And About" short film by my friend, the lovely and talented Rebecca Boothby Conley! Take a peek (and feel free to share it with others)!


June 21st, 2017

One last thing before I go: my website has recently been spruced up! If you haven't visited in a while, please check it out: www.brushstrokesbymaria.com. Until next time...



Monday, August 28, 2017

take-backsies

I try to focus on the positives- in my life and in this blog- but I also want to be real and authentic, and sometimes disappointments happen. I realize that in the grand scheme of things this is such small potatoes, and thankfully, I've been in a great mood lately (thanks in no small part to having seen 4 Chris Robinson Brotherhood shows in a week with friends and family, among other cool, fun things that have been happening in my life)...otherwise, something like this might have sent me into a major case of the blues. I'm not trying to whine, I'm trying to be honest and make sense of what I'm feeling...I want to get topsy-turvy on it and make a negative into a positive. So, here goes:

Back in May, a student from a local college put down a small deposit to buy "Strawberry," one of my paintings. We had some communications right after we first met and made several attempts to hook up to make the final exchange of funds for the painting, but the timing wasn't right, and she went home for the summer holiday. Since I know the fall semester is starting any day now, I emailed her yesterday to check in and see when she might like to meet up. The response I received was along the lines of "Sorry, I wasn't thinking clearly. I can't afford the painting. Please keep the deposit for the inconvenience."

As soon as I read that email, my first response was a sinking feeling of foolishness: I'm so embarrassed- I posted that this was sold! I posted about how excited I was that someone saw the price tag on that painting and said, "yes- this is worth it." Anyone who knows me knows that I have a very hard time pricing my work, and this sale felt like a validation of sorts. Before you say it, let me clarify: no, I'm not painting for other people, I'm doing it for myself, and I'm not just doing this for money (anyone who has seen my work can figure that much out)... I know that validation comes from within. That being said, ideally, you want to touch people in a positive way with your work, and when that results in someone ponying up some dough for it, that feels pretty good. When it's given and then taken away, that feels pretty crappy. I'd just as soon have it not happen in the first place.

My inner critic (who I refer to as "Marge" for no other reason than it makes me laugh) wasted no time piping up: "People who don't like you will laugh when they find out about this" and "What's wrong with you- haven't you ever heard the saying don't count your chickens before they hatch?" and "I told you you shouldn't have raised your prices," and on and on. Quick sidebar: why do we say such horrible things to ourselves? We would never talk like that to a friend or a loved one, yet when it's us talking to ourselves, it's a totally different story. "Marge" is kind of a b*tch. Anyway... I'm happy to say that "Marge" was joined by a softer, yet equally forceful, voice that said, "This just means that painting is meant for for someone else. She isn't the right person. The right person hasn't come along yet, but they will, and in retrospect, you will be so glad this happened. Sometimes what seems like a delay is actually the universe getting the timing just right."

I've done deposits/payment plans with strangers before, and it has worked out well. Do I change my approach because of this experience and stop offering that as an option? Do I let one negative interaction change my way of doing business? How do I keep this as a possibility without setting myself up for a "fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me" situation? Artists- has this happened to you? If so, how did you handle it? Can you relate? I would love to hear your thoughts...

Monday, August 7, 2017

mid-summer check in

EEK! I didn't post here at all during the month of July! Well, it is summer, and things move at a different pace during this season, don't they? July was a busy month in a lot of different ways, some of which I'm not ready to blog about (but eventually, I will)...for now, I'll do what I can!

On Friday, July 21st, I had my 20th Brushstrokes With Impact (tm) "Paint-a-Thon" at Dobra Tea in Portland. Number 20 was called "Green Is Good!" and the cause was Maine Audubon's conservation efforts. I wasn't sure exactly what I would be painting until the day before my "Paint-a-Thon," but when I woke up to the happy sound of cardinals singing, I knew what my subject would be!


the sketch...

I started painting at 10:30am, and just before 6:30pm, I was signing "Happy Cardinal"! 


...and the finished painting!


Tristan at Dobra Tea was kind enough to do the ticket-pulling duties once again (thank you!), and my niece, Ella Evans, was the winner of "Happy Cardinal"! I believe that's the second painting she has won, and both paintings have been of birds...I find this interesting. Anyway, I'm so grateful to everyone at Dobra Tea for hosting my work for two months, and for allowing me to have two different "Paint-a-Thon"s while my work was there! You all made me feel so welcome, and I appreciate it. Thanks to everyone's support, together we were able to raise $124.50 for the conservation efforts of Maine Audubon


congratulations, Ella!


So...now that it's August, I'd like to announce my 21st Brushstrokes With Impact (tm) "Paint-a-Thon"! This one is called "Library Love 3!" and it will be in a new venue for me: Twice-Told Tales (11 Pleasant Street, Brunswick)! 50% of the raffle ticket sales and 10% of all art sold (excluding magnets, but including totes) will be donated to the Friends of Curtis Library. Please come and see me from 10:30am to 6:30pm on Friday, August 11th! "Library Love 3!" will coincide with Brunswick's Second Friday festivities, so it should be a fun night to be out and about in town! 


a screenshot of the Curtis Memorial Library newsletter! 






Friday, June 30, 2017

over the moon in june

Yikes! A whole month has gone by without me writing a blog post here! I have posted twice on the Curtis Creative Spaces blog, though- does that count for something? Anyway, the reason I haven't posted here is because June has been a very busy month indeed...and since today's the last day in June, I better get on it!

My 19th Brushstrokes With Impact (tm) "Paint-a-Thon" was at Dobra Tea (89 Exchange Street) on Friday, June 2nd - First Friday, to be exact - and although it feels like a distant memory right now, it is certainly a fond one! "Do Tell" was my first "Paint-a-Thon" to take place in Portland, which was a milestone for me. Just to recap, my solo show at Dobra Tea went up at the end of May, and that show will be up through the end of July, so my June and July "Paint-a-Thon" events will be in the same location. I'm grateful for this fact for several reasons, the biggest one being how awesome a venue Dobra Tea is! The place is gorgeous, the staff is friendly, the tea is wonderful, and the clientele is laid-back and peaceful. It was a great place to spend the day painting, and I experienced something I've never experienced before: I finished an hour early!


the beginning...

"Blossom In My Driveway": finished! 

I'm happy to say that the winner of "Blossom In My Driveway" is Daniel Alperin! Danny is a very dear friend of my sister, Addie, and her husband, Marc, and I know he will give my work a good home. I even have photographic evidence:

proof!

Thanks to everyone's support, a check for $100 is heading out today to The Telling Room. Yay! I'd also like to take this opportunity to announce my July "Paint-a-Thon": yes, it will be at Dobra Tea, but this time, it will be on Friday, July 21st; I'm calling it "Green Is Good," because this month's cause will be the conservation efforts of Maine Audubon! Here's the link to the Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1819678748346092/

Another thing keeping me busy in June was getting my piece ready for the Taste of Tidewater 10x10. The show isn't until August, but the deadline for dropping off work was today...and I managed to get it finished a day early! WHEW. I give you "Office Daffodils"! 

"Office Daffodils"

What else has been happening? Well, I've saved the biggest news for last: I painted a piano and it's now living on the sidewalk on Maine Street in Brunswick outside of Cool As A Moose! This is a very long story, but I will try to be as brief as I can (which probably won't be brief at all, but whatever). Caroline from Cool As A Moose reached out to me a while ago to see if I'd be interested in painting their offering for the Brunswick Downtown Association's "Pianos on The Streets" initiative. Naturally, I jumped at the chance, and soon enough, the wonderful folks at Maine State Music Theatre came up with a piano they were happy to donate! You might remember how much rain we had in the early part of this month along with the unseasonably hot and humid days scattered in between...well, the initial plan was for me to paint the piano right out on the sidewalk, but due to the crazy forecast, I asked if there might be an indoor space where I could work. Again, the awesome staff at Maine State Music Theatre came through, and offered up their small rehearsal room at 22 Elm Street. Not only was I able to work in air-conditioned comfort during some very hot days (and work long after dark during some other nights), I was able to eavesdrop on rehearsals for "Tommy" and "Guys And Dolls"! What fun! 

priming, June 7th

June 8th

June 9th

June 12th

June 13th

June 14th

June 15th

June 15th


After 44 hours of work over 10 consecutive days (yes, I kept track), the piano was finally finished. You can see all of my progress photos on Instagram, if you'd like...here is the link: https://www.instagram.com/brushstrokesbymaria/


Like little angels in the night, the MSMT interns surprised everyone and moved the piano after hours (I've been told that there's a video of the big move, but I have yet to see it, and I am SO curious!), and on Wednesday, June 21st (Summer Solstice!), my piano made its debut. 

HOORAY!

I'm grateful to Caroline from Cool As A Moose for asking me to work on this project, I'm grateful to Curt, Kathi, and everyone else at MSMT for their hospitality and for making me feel so welcome, and I'm grateful to Patti, Trevor, and everyone else at Brunswick Downtown Association for all you do for this great little town I love so much! I've heard that there is going to be a celebration of all of the sidewalk pianos on Second Friday (July 14th)...stay tuned (no pun intended)!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

tell me

Guess what? I'm having my 19th Brushstrokes With Impact (tm) "Paint-a-Thon" THIS WEEK! I know, I know...a little notice would have been nice...anyway, I'm excited about it for a variety of reasons...and now, I will list those reasons... :)

In case you're new to what I do, allow me to explain it here: I set up my easel and paint an 8" x 8" canvas for 8 hours straight. I sell raffle tickets ($5 each or 3 for $10) and at the end of the day, the completed painting is raffled off, with 50% of the ticket sales (as well as 10% of all art sold, excluding magnets but including totes) being donated to charity. I name each "Paint-a-Thon" as I go along (just so I can keep things straight), and I'm calling this particular event "Do Tell!" because this time, the cause I'll be raising money for is The Telling Room! You might be asking, "Where and when is this happening?" Well, those answers make up a couple of the other reasons why I'm so excited! First, the venue...I will be at Dobra Tea, 89 Exchange Street, Portland! I have a solo show that went up on Friday, May 26th, and it will be up through most of July, which means I will be having TWO "Paint-a-Thon"s there during that time period (but let's focus on one month at a time, shall we?)! Second, the date..."Do Tell" will be happening on Friday, June 2nd, which also happens to be First Friday Art Walk! The art walk isn't 8 hours long, though, so I will be starting my painting around 10:30am and (hopefully) finishing up around 6:30pm. I'm planning on hanging out a bit afterwards and having the winning ticket get pulled closer to the end of the art walk (which is 8pm). If you can't make it to "Do Tell!" and you still want to support The Telling Room by buying some art, don't worry: the 10% donation from all art sold will continue throughout the month of June!

side wall


back wall


a lovely place to enjoy some tea!


So...what else has been going on? A lot, actually! Some of you reading this might remember that back in late February/early March, I painted a Little Free Library for a silent auction at Curtis Memorial Library's "Booked For The Night" event. Well, now that the warmer weather is here and the snow is all melted, my Little Free Library has been installed at its new home: Crystal Spring Community Farm! If you're driving by, you can see it from the road, so please pay it a visit if you're in the area (277 Pleasant Hill Road, Brunswick, to be specific)! The front faces the farmers' market space...

...like so...

...and the back faces the driveway to the CSA pickup area...

...like so...

...and I couldn't be happier about it! 

...like so! 

Speaking of Brunswick-area events, the seventh annual Altered Couture was last Thursday, May 25th, and if you missed it, you missed one hell of a show! Altered Couture is the brainchild of the lovely and talented Christine DeTroy, and this year's event was entitled "Masquerade Couture"! It was my fourth time participating, although the first time was only as a last-minute fill-in model for someone else's entry, so that makes this my third time creating a costume...anyway, in case you've never been to Altered Couture, here's the rundown: roughly two dozen participants each make a costume based on a theme. You're not supposed to spend more than $25 on your outfit, and the emphasis is on getting creative with recycled/repurposed/inexpensive/non-traditional materials. You choose a song, and you "walk the runway" wearing your creation. It is the best example of "art for art's sake" that I have ever been a part of. Every year, Altered Couture raises money for a different cause, and this time, Christine chose ArtVan to be the recipient (and if you're reading this, you know I love ArtVan and their mission). My costume was based on the song I chose: "How Many People Are You" by PhishI wrote out different words that might describe me onto oversized paper labels and Mod-Podged them to the unstretched canvas skirt I made for last year's event (which I repainted). I kept those words to six letters or less so they could be seen from a distance. I duct-taped more labels to an old tomato cage, decorated it with ribbons and beads, and wore it on my back via elastic straps. I cut up and painted one of my husband's old, oversized tie-dyes as the top to pull it all together. It's always scary "walking the runway," but having Phish playing (along with having friendly faces in the crowd and wearing a mask) made it a lot easier (and no, I wasn't out there for the full 8+ minutes of the song, just the first two and change)! Also, all of the participants are super-supportive of one another "backstage", encouraging each other and calming frayed nerves...it's really a nice environment. Plus, Christine is awesome, and everyone wants to do a good job for her because of that fact! Here's a link to Susan Perrine's photo album of the event, and here are some pictures of my costume!

the front

the side

the back

backstage with Christine DeTroy!


I know this is already a really long blog post, but I didn't want to end it without sharing this great little video with you! My dear friend Rebecca Boothby Conley shot this piece for Maine Public featuring another friend, Tammy Neilson, hanging out in her kitchen and discussing her mad gardening/canning skills! It's the first episode in Maine Public's new original web series, "Living Off the Land," and my art makes a cameo at the end. Way to go, lovely ladies- and thank you for your support!