Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Art as Charity--- UPDATE!

    What a difference a week makes! Wow guys. I am so happy that we were able to do our donation project through the print sales. And it went above and beyond my expectations! If you'll recall, last week there was an issue about illegal immigrant children that was really weighing on me. The only way I could think of to help was to offer a portion of print sales to donate to Catholic Charities, which is the organization appointed to aid these children find a safe transition and new home. I thought, perhaps, we'd raise maybe $50. I'd be happy with that. We reached that goal in about a day! I grew more and more excited as we edged up to $100. Then guys--- you bought every charity print I had! And we raised a total of $120! That is amazing!!

   On Friday I organized all the orders and got them packaged up and shipped out--- so if they haven't already arrived for my buyers, they will very soon. Then it was time to make the donation, and we gave the $120 raised to Catholic Charities of OKC, earmarked for the children of Ft. Sill. 
   It turned out that the OKC diocese wasn't set up to accept paypal payment, so I made the donation through my own checking account. I'm showing you a portion of the receipt email here, edited because it also contained part of my checking account info, so please pardon the cropping ;) 

   So....yes...THANK YOU to everyone who was so kind as to buy one of my special charity prints. I knew it was a great cause, I just hoped that one of my prints was enough of a incentive for people to make a purchase. So you can't imagine how gratifying it was to sell each and every one! 

   It's just proof to me that when we work together, we can do more than what we could imagine doing alone. And you've helped me to know that there are good people out there in the world--- that compassion and giving is alive and well in this world, even if it works quietly and behind the scenes.

  I hope our donation can help make a real difference in these children's lives. I have a feeling the spirit behind it will carry on to do even more good in the world!

Thanks SO much,

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Tasha Tuesday-- On Wednesday

   So it wasn't that I forgot Tasha Tuesday yesterday. It was just that I never got a chance to come here and celebrate it. Ah well, that's how it goes. There's a lot going on around here these days, and my mantra has to be "I'll get it done when I get it done."

   One thing I did get to do yesterday--- even though it too isnt finished--- is work in my garden. It has been terribly neglected this year because, as it turns out, having a newborn really gets in the way of your gardening, ha! I would look out my kitchen window and just sigh in sadness over the weedy jungle growing out in my garden.
   However yesterday a cold front (in July!!) came through and the morning was just deliciously cool and perfect for yard work. I was able to get some time on my own to weed out some of the things that had me sighing and let the plants I actually wanted out there breathe.

  Of course its all very humble out there now, especially compared to Tasha's garden. I envy her talent and her climate! I'd love to have a garden as lush and mature as hers. I also think that working in her garden--- and it is some good, dirty work--- kept her fit and sharp. I hope I can have just a fraction of her garden success and health when I'm older!

   Today it is gray and still cool, and a drizzle is falling. It is the perfect weather for an English cottage garden, if only it would stay! But this isn't Vermont, and it certainly isnt England either!

   I'm hoping I can get out to do some more work soon-- as I've only done a small dent. And dream of next year's garden, when its a bit easier with baby to get things done.

   How is your garden doing this summer?
Happy Tasha Tuesday....er, Wednesday!


PS--- Thank you SO MUCH for your awesome response to Monday's post! We've already raised $60 at last count! I hope by friday I can get even more funds together, and I'll make the donation on Saturday.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Art as Charity, a new project

     I dont know about you, but sometimes reading about the current news makes my heart hurt. Especially as a mother, I am shocked and saddened at the violence and cruelty there can be out there in the world, and even in our own countries, states and towns. It is so easy for me to feel helpless and overwhelmed, which, if you know me, are two feelings that I really hate.    

    Recently, there has been a lot of talk on the news here in Oklahoma about the large wave of illegal immigrant children who have flooded into the US from Central America seeking refuge from instability and violence in their own countries. Many of these children have been detained by the government and have been temporarily housed in a handful of army bases, one of which is Ft. Sill in Oklahoma, to figure out where they should go and if they have any proper US guardians they can be sent to.

    In many of these cases, the children have been sent alone, under dangerous circumstances with people who probably don't have their best interest at heart, to a foreign country, whose language they don't speak. Many times, these situations do not end well--- they end up in human trafficking where they are abused and exploited. In some cases, they don't survive their circumstances. Yet they are fleeing from situations in their home countries that are even more dire. Can you imagine, as a parent, playing these terrible odds on your child's life? Of being so scared of what will happen if your child remains with you, that you are willing to send them off, maybe to never see them again, into situations that are extremely dangerous, in the off chance that they'll survive? I can't fathom it. My heart just aches. That is every parent's nightmare.

   Yet, knowing this, the welcome these children have received in my home state has been anything but compassionate in many instances. I've decided I wont go into my opinion on that here. It's not the place. Where my place is, though, is to speak up about how compassion is never the wrong thing to offer. How there before the grace of God go I, or my child. I read an article recently that pointed out that Christ himself was an immigrant child fleeing violence. And that it was the kindness of those along the journey and in the safety of Egypt, that helped him and his family survive. Or lets think about Moses, getting floated down the river in a basket. What a terrifying gamble his mother had to make for his life. Were these moments of compassion worth it? I'm going to have to say: yes.

    And so thinking about this, I kept wondering "what can I do to help?" I don't speak spanish. I don't have any legal expertise. But I do have art. And through art, I can donate money to the organizations helping these kids, and countless other vulnerable people in the world who could use the no-strings-attached kindness of strangers.

   So I read up on the issue, and found out that it is Catholic Charities of Oklahoma out of Oklahoma City that is organizing aid for these children to ensure that their next steps in their journeys are towards somewhere safe. As I explored the other charities they offer, I noticed that they aided a variety of really worthy causes--- such us disaster relief, aid for homeless women and their children, aid for women with unplanned pregnancies, legal aid for immigrants, refugee resettlement and social justice. All in all, some wonderful programs that I am excited to help in some way.

  My way of helping, of course, will have to come through my art--- and you can help! I've decided that for the next few days (or until my supplies run out!) I am going to donate $10 of each print of "Lamb of God" and "Madonna of the Blossoms" (which has just been freshly restocked in the shop!) to Catholic Charities of Oklahoma. If you'd like to purchase a print to help with this cause, all you need to do is buy your print in the shop as usual, and at the end of my offer I will make the donation to Catholic Charities of Oklahoma. According to their site, they can take the donations via paypal and I'll post a receipt of that donation here on the blog so we can see how much we can raise.

   Suddenly my feelings of sadness have lifted, and I feel good. I'm grateful that I'm in this country where I am safe, where my family is fed, clothed, dry and warm, and that I am able to use my own gifts to help others. 

   And if you'd like to buy a print, you can find there freshly posted in my etsy shop:

Thank you so much--

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Lakeside Independence Day

    Last week we snuck off to the Ozarks, and enjoyed a perfectly calm clear and cool day at the lake. My husband's parents live off of Table Rock Lake and on the 4th we went for a drive in their boat and for a little swim. The lake was swarming with others enjoying the day-- but we had our own fun too!

  It was good to get away and unplugged. Sometimes being to 'plugged' gets overwhelming. I felt like I was in a rut and just needed a change. It is always good to be informed, but in this everything instant day and age, with connection from the outside infiltrating at every turn....it just makes my mind buzz sometimes.

  So it was nice....We drove by countless fields full of Queen Anne's Lace, and the summer wildflowers were out in full force along the rural roads. We wound through the dense trees of the Mark Twain National Forest, so thick and dim, with roads so winding and ear popping. When we got to the lake we went on slow-time. It was good.

   Of course, as soon as we got back I got terribly sick. I need to take better care of myself and this was an alarming reminder. Thankfully I'm feeling much better now and trying to channel the lull of the lapping waves and those bits of summer that are soothing and lovely (which is hard for me, since I am no fan of summer....its just so hot and bright. But I'm trying to be positive here!)

  A few things summer is good for though is lazy days....curling up with a good book, a big glass of iced tea. Drawing the curtains to the swelter of the hot part of the day and taking an all-house nap. Those are the things I enjoy about summer...how about you?

Til next time,

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Tasha Tuesday: Nell Dorr Portraits

    A few weeks ago I was able to borrow the book "Mother and Child", which features the work of American photographer Nell Dorr within its pages. Dorr was a pioneering photographer, who loved to create photos of families-- especially mothers and their children. She also happened to be a very close friend of Tasha Tudor and her husband-- and Godmother to her children.

   The photos span several years, and feature Dorr's own children and grandchildren. There is no rhyme or reason to the photos, but they are all very moody and heartfelt, full of nostalgia and sweet scenes, for sure. Several of the photos are recognizable from the film "Take Joy" about Tasha's life.

   This last photo of Tasha with her hands in little Bethany's hair just kills me. It is so sweet, and that look on Bethany's face of a little girl admiring herself in a mirror, taking in her pretty dress....this is the stage I am in life right now with my girl. Its so bittersweet and lovely to see a snippet of Tasha at that time too.

   Well, friends, it is nearly 10 pm on Tuesday. Im sorry its taken me so long to get this post up! But, well, life and babies...what can I say? I made it, just in time though--- right?

Til next time--

Monday, June 30, 2014

Summer, inside and out

  Here it is, the last day of June! And the sweltering bright days of summer are here for a while. Earlier we walked down to the post office to send some prints to their new homes, and that was about all we could muster for outside time. Being outdoors is now best done in the morning or evening--- that's just life out here, I guess ;) 
   I'm trying to keep the garden going though and I'm so happy to see the zenias starting to bloom! I sprinkled zenia seeds all over this yard in the spring--- and its no overstatement to say they're now coming up everywhere! In the lawn! In the cracks of the old rock garden! It's marvelous--- zenias are my new favorite. So dependable, hardy and easy.
   When the sun is high in the sky and its a little too hot to go outside, we can still enjoy nature from out our big old windows--- and lately the funniest little squirrel has been entertaining me out in the cedar tree just out our dining room window. I snapped a photo of him lounging on a low branch, resting his chin on a nut. He's not above doing a branch belly flop either, slinging himself across a branch and eating a nut while his tail dangles!
  As for me, I'm making good progress on the large commission Im working on and looking through books for, yes, Christmas art inspiration. And also thinking about what I will do with the new studio space! I cant wait to get moved over and spread out over there. I have no fear that I will be able to use every inch, ha! I cant wait to share the progress with you!
   Well, off for now! Will be back later---

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A studio for Audrey Eclectic

    When we bought our house last year, we were thrilled to find that it also came with a wonderful, quirky, and full-of-character old carriage house. The bottom of the carriage house is a very long and narrow (by today's garage standards) garage area with a few dark and mysterious storage rooms (remind me to tell you the harrowing tale about how an old sink out there broke during the winter and hot water went streaming up to the ceiling and left  me standing in the water, trying to hold a broken knob on the spouting knob and call everyone I knew to "help me!" and it was 15 degrees outside. It's one of those 'funny after the fact stories ;) )

   Above the garage is an apartment, full of old timey details and many little rooms. Since we moved in last year, my brother has been renting this apartment from us, living there with his two big dogs, a German Shepherd and a Weimaraner-- known at our house as 'the Germans,' while my spaniels are 'the English.' As you might imagine from your history books, the Germans and the English are best kept separated! 

   We've loved having them just across the yard, and Jordan was pretty much a model tenant. However, he's decided he'd like to move on to more modern digs and so.....I am soon to have a lot of extra space (which I wont complain about!) and although I'm sad to see my brother and his pups go, I am nervously excited for what this new building will mean for Audrey Eclectic Folk Art!

   I don't know specifically what I'll do until I actually get myself moved in and start working in this new space. I do know that it will be really nice to get all my painting stuff and craft show supplies out of the house-- as my painting methods seem to turn into 'total wreck of art supplies' in a record amount of time!

   I'm planning on using the two back rooms with the big bank of windows for my painting space. There is also a bathroom and kitchen, and then three other room used for....well, to be determined! I think one would make a good storage and shipping room. A good change from packing up prints on the dining room table! That will leave me two more rooms though, and so I'm thinking of perhaps using them as display rooms-- and perhaps doing special open house days for people to come and shop.

   Something else I'd love to shoot for-- especially since Im not going to be doing shows this year-- is a St. Nicholas Day Open House, since St. Nicholas Day falls on a Saturday this year, so it seems just too perfect to pass up.

   There is a ton to do to get to that point though. But these are the ideas that I'm mulling over. The studio wouldnt be moving over til August, so there is time. I wanted to share this with you though, and share my excitement! I feel so lucky to have this opportunity to grow, and can't wait to see what the future brings!~

   Well, off to start the day!~
Talk soon,