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Deck the Walls Art Exhibit

Can I just say – What a fabulous opportunity! The Downtowner Gallery in Round Rock hosts the annual Austin Tinplate Trackers Train Show during the holiday season, and this year I got to have my artwork on display and for sale for thousands of spectators to enjoy! The “Deck the Walls with Artwork” exhibit was my first gallery exhibit and was quite the experience. I sold 4 out of 10 pieces, and had a few people reach out to me about custom orders after seeing my work on display. Each time I checked in with the gallery, I had to replenish my stock of business cards, which is always a good sign and a confidence booster! If you’re local, the Downtowner Gallery is an excellent resource for workshops, events, and exhibits.

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Christmas on the Square

Have art, will travel. Burnet is about an hour away from where I live, so this one was a bit of a trek. Between all of the structural/display items and inventory itself, we always take two vehicles (both SUVs) to my shows. Our first thought was, “is it worth the time and gas?” Well, about 20 minutes into setup, my immediate answer was “Hell yes!” Christmas on The Square is an annual event, and I’m glad I learned about it in time to participate for the first time. Well before the event was to start, there were people walking around the square and checking things out. I’ve never had so much traffic at my booth; it was truly non-stop, and I soaked up every minute of it. Overall, for both engagement and sales, this was a huge success! My husband and I were both able to shop the other booths and find some great last-minute Christmas gifts ourselves.

If you have the means to do so, don’t be afraid to travel a little bit for an event. Do some research, and don’t be afraid to ask the organizer what type of turnout they expect, etc. It was more than worth it, and I absolutely plan to attend again. By participating in this event, I was able to learn of the 37th Annual Bluebonnet Festival, a 3-day event that I will be attending in April 2020, which is said to bring in over 30,000 visitors. If you’re in Burnet or local enough, follow Burnet Chamber of Commerce to learn more about large annual events like these. 

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Prete Plaza Artists’ Popups

I am so grateful for the local arts community in Round Rock. The city itself, The Arts & Culture Department, Parks & Recreation Department, and The Downtowner Gallery do a wonderful job at helping emerging artists get their names out there. Between offering multiple events a year and even free artists pop ups every Spring and Fall, the opportunities are plentiful and beneficial for beginners and novices alike. I highly encourage anyone interested in the arts, local activities, or vending, to follow their social media and subscribe to newsletters to stay up to date on all the happenings. 

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Austin Arts Fair

Austin Arts Fair is hosted by Artly World, a nonprofit organization that provides arts & music programs and creative experiences for children, families, and communities in the Austin area. Prior to this event, a member of Artly World came out to meet me at the Round Rock Art Walk and did a short video interview about me and my work (another 371 steps outside of my comfort zone). I believe what they are doing is wonderful for our community and as an emerging artist, I am so grateful for it. They promoted my video and my work through their social media outlets, and even now, several months later, I see my work and photos being shared on their Instagram. Follow them, participate, contribute to their mission if you can. Arts & Music is so important, and I think striving to keep it prevalent in our communities and with our children is worth supporting.

The event itself was a nice change of pace because it was indoors. Not fighting against the elements for once was definitely a bonus. One of my favorite things, however, was that vendors were given the chance to set up an activity for children during the event. Since this was close to Christmas, I opted for a wood slice ornament painting activity. Unfortunately, due to time constraints I wouldn’t have been able to do a pouring class, so this was a great alternative, and families really seemed to enjoy it. Again, this was a great way to get to know some local individuals and plant some seeds about who I am and what I do.

Note my little sidekick who was along for the ride this day – She was a great helper setting up for the event, and of course didn’t complain about having some extra screen time when we were busy

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Downtown Round Rock Art Walk

The Downtown Round Rock Art Walk was set up in addition to the usual Artists Popups at Prete Plaza. Attendees could continue their stroll down Main Street to shop various booths on this absolutely gorgeous November day. My husband is my biggest supporter and I am beyond grateful to have his help throughout this entire journey.

At events like this, the location you’re assigned can always be hit or miss. It could make or break engagement and sales for you, if I’m being honest. But again, take the shot and gain the experience anyway. It’s not always about how much you sell. It’s about getting your name out there, engaging with your community and customers, and just enjoying the ride. I met a couple at this event that reached out to me after browsing my website, met me for a private showing of over 40 pieces, and purchased over 20 of them. They are now frequent customers and we are currently discussing a large commission piece.

While I’m typically the type of person who revels in deep conversations, I truly enjoy the small talk at these events. You have an opportunity to hear what others think of your work, what they are looking for and you can add value to their lives by offering tips and tricks of your trade. This builds relationships, which I believe is key to becoming successful as a maker.

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Artists Inspiring Artists

“I need this to be an album cover. This exact piece. This one. It has to happen. How can I get it?”

As an artist, there is just something extra awesome and flattering about your work speaking to others, even if it’s not in the same way it speaks to you.

My goal is to inspire others to discover and embrace their own creativity, and sometimes you never know just what it is you are sparking in someone.

This was an intentional piece for me – “When you can’t look on the bright side, I will sit with you in the dark.” I had a vision, and I brought it to life and instantly fell in love. If you read the first sentence of this post, apparently I wasn’t the only one who did.

A friend of mine, and fellow artist (musician) reached out immediately when I first shared a photo of this freshly poured piece. Stuck in a rut at the time, he was inspired right away by this piece and just knew he had to have it. Honestly, I was shocked. I wouldn’t even begin to think that my artwork could inspire others in a way to get their creative juices flowing again, and I’m honored to know that this piece will be well loved and have a very intentional purpose in its future.

Your takeaway from this is: Keep creating. Or start! You never know what will come of it and what you might spark in others. Everyone sees art in their own way, and we should continue to share it in all of its forms so that it may inspire or bring joy to others. 

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What we can control

Fluid art can be so unpredictable. Much like life, there are times you feel like you are in control and can see how things are going to play out beautifully, just to be thrown off course if you make one wrong move.

While some may think this art is “easy” and just thrown together, there is a lot of precision, thought, hard work, and time that goes into trying to produce specific results and mastering certain techniques. It takes effort and research to determine what pigments work well together, how you need to layer your paints based on their weights, and so on. Sometimes it goes as planned [or even better]! Other times, surprise! Everything has been blown out of proportion [literally].

It reminds me of just how precise things need to be with our nutrition and our habits in order to produce specific results for our bodies. One minute, I’m chugging along thinking I’ve figured it all out – I’ve got a handle on my health, and I know the key components and how they work together to make me feel and look my best. Then that one wrong move comes along in the form of a Mooyah double cheeseburger and oreo shake, accompanied by a side order of sleeping in instead of working out…and BAM! I’ve lost control and it now feels out of my hands and I may as well give up, right? WRONG. Just because I have one bad painting, or one bad night of painting, doesn’t mean I’m going to give up. I chalk it up to a learning experience, I switch up my recipe and try again next time until I get it right.

It’s time for me to get that mindset back with regard to my health and wellness journey. I can accept that I lost control, and that things haven’t turned out quite how I planned when I started this journey a few years ago. But what I cannot do is allow myself to let it consume me and make me quit. I’m no longer going to allow myself to believe that I have nothing to work for and that I’ll never get where I want to be. If I can put that kind of passion and dedication into my art and my business, then I absolutely demonstrate that attitude and passion for other areas of my life and figure out what will work for me and my health to achieve the desired results. I need to take control over the things I know I *can* control. Which I’m learning isn’t everything… #recoveringcontrolfreak

I’ve gone many miles down the wrong road, so you can bet this is going to be one hell of a mess. But we all know by now, out of the mess comes the masterpiece…

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Saying Yes

Let me switch gears on you for a minute…

This business, my blog, my social media… They aren’t intended to be only for sharing my artistic side. It’s not just to promote and sell my work.

It is meant to be a space where I can share about every messy facet of life. It’s about encouraging others to embrace the mess, experience it, and grow through it to find the masterpiece waiting on the other side. I know I haven’t share much to that effect as of yet, but I want you to know that you can expect it. That may not be everyone’s cup of tea, and some may prefer to follow just for the art and choose to unfollow if it gets to personal up in here or if it seems like I’m completely switching lanes. But that’s okay, because this is my space, and I intend to be unapologetically me – with regards to my art, my parenting, marriage, my personal growth and overall journey through this messy, magnificent life.

I believe that being real and sharing more about myself will help my followers relate to me more, and that’s what I want. When I came up with the idea for this page, I struggled to find a way I could incorporate my love for art and desire to turn it into something MORE, with my desire to add value to the lives of others and blog about daily struggles [messes, if you will] and all the trials and triumphs that are experienced along the way. I finally settled on a name that I adore, and think is absolutely fitting for my “bigger picture.” However, I got swept up in creating art and not being ready to be vulnerable again. I wasn’t sure how to transition into something more serious, but I suspect I do it the same why I did it all to begin with: Just START somewhere. So that’s what I’m doing. This post is my “start.”

“Say Yes to The Mess” means all messes. It doesn’t just mean to let go and get creative and forget about the cleanup that eventually comes after. It means to say YES to the blankets and pillows strewn around the room covered in dog hair. Say YES to there not being a chair to sit at the dining table for a few nights while your 6-year-old continues to be the creative, fun-loving kid she still is in her blanket fort. Hell, say YES to the mess of getting down there with her! Say YES to playing one more game, to treating yourself to a nap, to reading a book or going for a walk – by saying YES to letting the dirty dishes sit awhile longer and the floor go unswept until another day. Say YES to her helping with the sprinkles, even though you know you’ll be finding little nonpareils underfoot for the next year.

It’s about letting go of the unattainable idea of perfection. It’s about trying to step aside from my anxiety and letting go of the need to be in control. It’s about enjoying the little moments, the precious memories that come from those messes. It means to say YES to the hard things. My workouts sure as hell aren’t done in proper form and don’t look pretty. It’s not easy any more right now. They are tough. They are a MESS. But I know I need to say YES to that one, too!

This isn’t my “highlight reel.” This is my unedited, uncensored, unapologetic, raw self. I’m a little bit awkward, and a whole lotta weird. This is my mess, and I want to share it with others and inspire them to share theirs, too. So hopefully you’ll stick around and muddle through it with me while we create and find the masterpieces that await us at the end. 

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Pancakes and Booze Art Show

This show was AH-MAZING. I was utterly terrified, if I’m being honest. The fact that it was held at Elysium in downtown Austin until 2:00a.m. was the least of my worries, though. I knew going into it that I was approximately 2,815 steps outside of my comfort zone. This particular show felt LEGIT. It was an art SHOW – not just another vendor booth at a festival. This required a specific selection of pieces and title cards to accompany them, which was a fair bit different, and challenging it its own way.The Pancakes & Booze Art Show is held in various cities all throughout the US, and I just happened upon their information right after the call for art deadline passed. I took a leap of faith and submitted my application anyway and did not expect to be accepted. Imagine my surprise when they immediately responded that they love my work and think it would be a great addition to the show.

This experience was truly like no other. At first I was nervous and self-conscious, but the energy in this place was invigorating. Attendees took the time to really engage with the artists, and I had some lengthy, meaningful conversations about some of my pieces. My first customer of the night was so enthralled with a particular black, red and gold piece. We talked about it for several minutes and he continued to browse the show, checking out that piece each time he passed by. On the  third pass, he said “Okay, I have to have it. Let’s do it. I can’t get it out of my head and I need to own it before someone else does.” It meant so much to see someone get excited about my work, but also to have multiple people be interested in the process and take time to ask questions and listen. I sold several pieces that night and made many invaluable connections with other artists and individuals.

Even if you’re uncomfortable at first, I urge everyone to take a leap of faith and just go with the flow. The results may surprise you. 

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Painting with a Purpose

I’m a philanthropist at heart. I say at heart, because my wallet doesn’t go deep enough to truly live up to the definition. However, I’ve always had a passion for helping others. I’m that person who always says, “If only I were rich, I would do ALL THE GOOD DEEDS!” I absolutely mean it, though. As my schedule allows, I like to try and fit in volunteer opportunities and advocate for a variety of causes as much as possible. Honestly, that hasn’t been much lately, but where I lack, I try to make up for in as many random acts of kindness as possible.

That said, let me introduce to you my “Painting with Purpose” initiative. I have always known that one day, if I ever took my crafting to the next level, that I would “Craft for a Cause” and use my creativity as a way to give back to organizations that mean something to me. So, now that I’ve taken on this new artistic style which involves paint, I’ve settled on calling it “Painting with a Purpose.”

Each month, I will create a collection of pieces geared toward bringing awareness to various movements, organizations, and the like. September was National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. You can see my favorite piece from that collection here.

The purchase of any of these items will then have a percentage donated to an organization chosen by the buyer which supports a cause associated with that month’s featured collection. I will, of course, provide receipt proof to the buyer that their donation was made. I decided to make it an organization chosen by the buyer because I know that every individual has their own beliefs about various charities and which ones they would prefer to support. There may periodically be initiatives for which I promote a specific charity/non-profit of my choosing as well.

I know this is a small effort, but it is an effort. While finding a way to support these wonderful organizations in a monetary way, I would also like to think that the art I create and pour my heart into would speak to someone who perhaps has struggled, is a survivor, or even just an advocate themselves.

The purchase of any of these items will then have a percentage donated to an organization chosen by the buyer which supports a cause associated with that month’s featured collection. I will, of course, provide receipt proof to the buyer that their donation was made. I decided to make it an organization chosen by the buyer because I know that every individual has their own beliefs about various charities and which ones they would prefer to support. There may periodically be initiatives for which I promote a specific charity/non-profit of my choosing as well.

I know this is a small effort, but it is an effort. While finding a way to support these wonderful organizations in a monetary way, I would also like to think that the art I create and pour my heart into would speak to someone who perhaps has struggled, is a survivor, or even just an advocate themselves.

All products that have been created for this initiative will be titled “Painting with a Purpose” so that you may know when browsing my shop that there will be a portion of that sale donated.

For October, I will be creating some items for causes that are near and dear to my heart. October is both Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month and Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Follow me on Facebook for sneak peaks and to be the first to see some one-of-a-kind pieces for this collection. If you have a story that you would like to have represented in your own custom piece of art, commissions are always open and you can email me your request!

I always love to hear what causes everyone else supports and believes in. If you have any suggestions for a collection that I should create, or an organization/non-profit you’d like to see supported, please drop them in the comments below!