A Soothing Inspirational Original by Katrina Koltes

Katrina Koltes is a woman I admire over the internet.  We “met” in an online workshop by Jane Davenport.  Katrina had an instant knack and talent, from what I could see.  There is a beautiful grace to her art…a whispy airiness, and a comforting warmth.  I bought a few prints from her journal pages, early on in her career, and thought “this woman is going to BE someone”.  And now, years later, I have managed to score one of her originals in her first online solo auction!  And she is building her art business and reputation, and I couldn’t be more proud to call her my friend.  She inspires me every day, and proves that a woman with small children CAN chase her dreams, grab them by the coat tails, and learn to not only fly, but soar.

I am SO amazingly grateful that this beautiful piece is hanging in my home, above my art table, where I feel she is watching over me as I create.  She is “The Guardian”…soft and strong, confident and kind.  I love the combination of her flawless skin and the textured background…like even through a storm she is gentle grace and compassionate freedom.  Nothing is going to stop her or those she helps on their journeys.  She is strength and courage and love.  This is MY interpretation.  Tell me about it!  Share a picture!  Did you get it?

Wildly Inspiring Print by Annie Hamman

“Abundant Love” is the name of this GORGEOUS giclée print by Annie Hamman, from South Africa.  And 11×15 inch print, I love the way the colours of the frame and the matte accent the painting.  This is a very special piece for me.  I wanted the original, but it went so quickly at auction that I didn’t have a chance.  Lol.  Which is amazing for Annie!  I am grateful she made a handful of prints for people like me who missed out and ADORE this painting.

When I first saw this painting, I was in awe…look at her hands!  I LOVE the way that Annie paints hands, and faces, and I absolutely admire the way that she blends a perfect painterly portrait with intuitive colours and scribbles.  The combination of beauty and “destruction” is captivating.  I dream of painting like this…both her amazing colourful portraits and with the free spirit she also incorporates.

Annie’s “story Art” truly tells a story, and touches hearts across the world.  This piece resonates with me on so many levels…I had to have a copy of it.  I feel like she has a secret to share with me…some deep down in her heart wisdom to reveal, when the timing is right.

For now, I think her message is that help is available when you are willing to ask, and to trust your wings.  Be gentle and kind to yourself and others, for anything is possible when the heart leads the way.  There may be obstacles, and there may be hard times.  Embrace your beautiful imperfections…the glorious mess of your life, and own it, for you alone know what it is like to be inside your head.  Most importantly, you are not alone, and you are loved.  This is what she says to me.  What does she way to you?  What does she make you feel?

Do you admire people who make similar things as you or those who have a totally different style?

Convenient Portable Payment

Look!  I have a Square!  A portable debit tap, and credit card reader!  How cool is that?!  It was a bit of a long process to get it…always a story…never a straight path…always more of a meandering trail.  lol.

So I went to a panel talk at Steel City Studio a few months ago, and the panelists got into how they accept payments, and the pros and cons of the Square vs Dream Payments.  And so, based on the opinions laid out before me, and the price of my general artwork, I opted to try the Dream Payments system.

I should have been more suspicious when it was out of stock locally, and I had to order one from BC…because within a couple of weeks, before I even had a chance to activate it and start accepting payments, I learned that Dream Payments will no longer be supported.  Yep…I spent a bunch of money on a system that I thought was superior when in fact it is obsolete before I even got to play with it.  Lucky for me that they set a date that they would offer refunds to people who ordered after that date, and I fit into that category.  …but then, of course, I had a little trouble returning it.  In the end, that all got sorted out, just took some time and emails and phone calls.

And then, I went out and bought myself a Square.  Because the biggest, easiest way to get out of a purchase is “I don’t have cash on me”.  I say it all the time!  Well, let me help you with that.  😉  It was super easy to set up and link to my business bank account, and it walked me through test payments and refunds.  So now, I just need a real customer to give it a try.  Maybe tonight…at Art Crawl…James Street North, Hamilton.  Come and visit!

Have you used a square to make a purchase?  Do you love the convenience of being able to use debit or credit on the fly?  Or are you hesitant to trust the technology?  I must admit, I feel much more legitimate as a vendor having the ability to accept debit or credit…even if I haven’t used it yet.

Tattoo Reminders

I am sure many of you have seen my tattoo…but do you know what all it symbolizes to me?  Likely not…because I have been selective who I have told what, and not really shared the entire message with any one person.  There is so much depth to this seemingly simple little doodle, that I didn’t even understand the impact it would have on me fully until after I had it and spent some time looking at it, reminding myself to be kind to myself, pause, and keep going.

The story behind my first tattoo…it started with an online art workshop by Kelly Rae Roberts called “Hello Soul, Hello Mixed Media Mantras”.  Kelly Rae encouraged us to write our intentions or affirmations on our hands or arms while we created.  So I spent a lot of time writing on both hands and/or arms, until I started getting deep and embarrassed for other people to see what I wanted to write to myself.  So I started playing with symbols and a sharpie.  At that same time, I was introduced to the semicolon project, and being in the state of mind I was at the time, it really touched close to my heart.

Have you heard of Project Semicolon?  It began in 2013 as a social media movement, encouraging people to draw a semicolon on themselves and post a picture.  The semicolon represents mental health struggles and the importance of suicide prevention.  “A semicolon is used when an author could’ve chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to.  The author is you, and the sentence is your life.”  This grew into a non-profit organization…a “movement dedicated to presenting hope and love to those who are struggling with depression, suicide, addiction, and self-injury.”  Multiple projects were inspired by this movement, including the Semicolon Tattoo Project.  “(The tattoo) is a conversation starter…People ask what it is and we get to tell them the purpose.”  There is a huge stigma associated with mental health.  The more we talk about it, the less power that stigma has…for shame cannot survive when spoken.  It’s kind of like saying Rumpelstiltskin, he can’t survive hearing his name.

I had been struggling with a severe depression, following a head injury, and was learning a number of different strategies and tools to help me get through the tough moments and eventually each day.  I was constantly reminding myself to pause, and breathe, and be mindful of my feelings and my current surroundings.  So this symbol and the thought of a visual reminder to “pause, and then keep going” really resonated with me.  I drew a semicolon on my arm with sharpie for a few days…but it wasn’t enough.  I was still reminding myself in those moments of pausing to be kind to myself.  To practice self-compassion, acceptance, and forgiveness.  And just like that, the dot became a heart.  And I loved it and I wore it around for a week or two like that.  And no one knew what it meant except for me, and I was practicing my affirmations without embarrassment.  But it still didn’t quite seem like it told me the full message I needed to hear.  In my mixed media mantras, my intentions were becoming “trust your wings” and “follow your heart”, and so, just fiddling around, I added wings to my doodle.  BOOM!  There it is.  And if anyone asked that I didn’t want to explain it to…I could tell them it is a stylized dragonfly…I love dragonflies so this was suiting as well.

So I got the tattoo!  I played with colour a little bit, and settled on this amazing teal.  And then, I got thinking about dragonflies…and did a little research into their symbolism and well, that just added to my excitement.  First, dragonflies, like butterflies, are a symbol of transformation.  “The dragonfly, in almost every part of the world symbolizes change and change in the perspective of self realization; and the kind of change that has its source in mental and emotional maturity and the understanding of the deeper meaning of life.”  Take for instance that the dragonfly can move in any direction, or hover.  It is highly adaptable and able to change direction smoothly in an instant, living in each moment.  The dragonfly can also see in 360 degrees, symbolizing the ability to see beyond the limitations of the human self.  It also spends time living in water, on land and in the air, demonstrating comfort with change and evolution, and again, adaptability.

How perfect is this?  What started as a little doodle has become such a significant symbol in my life.  So significant, that besides using it every day as a reminder to pause and be kind to myself, it has become a part of my logo…the symbol of my art journey.  Again…how amazingly cool is that, the relevance of all that it stands for.

Do you have a symbol that means something special to you?  How did you come up with your logo if you have one?