Last night was the opening for my first art exhibit. I entered this piece into the Vision of the Flint Hills jury selection process back in July.
I was thrilled to receive my acceptance email last month.

Last night was exciting for me, my first exhibit on a First Friday, my first exhibit ever. The space was filled with beautiful work reflecting the beauty of Kansas, the Flint Hills in particular. Many gorgeous paintings were present. My piece was not like the others, not “fine art” if you will. I was surprised that it was selected with this particular grouping.

About two-thirds of the way through last evening, one of the gentlemen from the art space removed my piece from the wall. His comments were that it should not have been put up to begin with, that the wheat was falling off, etc. Rather than facing this conflict among the crowd of people, my husband and I quietly left.

After speaking with another representative of the exhibit today, I was again told that there was a concern with the mud falling off the piece. When I picked it up, all the mud and wheat were intact. My thought is that they felt it just did not fit with the exhibit but were not quite sure how to remove it because of the jury selection process.

Despite this rejection, the experience as a whole taught me a great deal. Aspects of art that I had not considered include people’s differing perception of what art “is” and fitting art into a particular market. My naive mind assumed that true art lovers would look to the heart of each piece and what it represented. And I also realized that this particular exhibit was a fundraiser. The target market was the wealthy, elite.

While thankful for this experience, it will not change my focus. I will continue to create for the purpose of worshiping my Creator, and for personal expression and growth. And although it didn’t remain, I’m still excited that my piece was selected to be in the exhibit.

amanda ∞


Adventure lies ahead

amsterdam Or rather, the adventure is laying out now. As I prepare for the Amsterdam Discovery trip, I am already amazed at the growth and stretching that is taking place in my own life.

In celebration, Wendy’s trip costs have been covered by donations, plus she will have just enough extra money to cover the meals and expenses not included in the trip cost.

For my own fundraising, I have been holding classes in my home. So far I’ve taught several soldering classes, and a visual journaling class. I have a couple more classes lined up for the month of October. I’m also selling an Amsterdam soldered pendant from my Etsy shop. Amsterdam Pendant

While all of this is helping to pay for the trip, I’ll be working into 2010 to fully recover the costs.

Here’s what I’m discovering:

  • I love to teach
  • I love to prepare classes
  • I love to get others excited about creativity and expression
  • I am inspired by the uniqueness of each students work
  • I love the relationships that are developing from these classes
  • I feel that I am being prepared for something else
  • I don’t enjoy marketing myself
  • I don’t like collecting money
  • I have a greater respect for all teachers that are prepared and thoughtful about the classes they teach and the time invested to bring the classes together

All in all, I have learned so much by holding the classes, and the experience has affected the vision and goals for my future. Exciting times!

Soldered Jewelry Classes:

Visual Manifesto Journal Classes:

amanda ∞

Art Journal Morphing

First Fridays at VERONICA’s Voice are so much fun. The art journaling class has morphed into a general art class due to necessity. I found it difficult to explore new art journaling techniques when so many times the women in class did not have their journals or had not begun one yet. Many times the class was about making a new journal or altered book which did not develop past the cover. There were a faithful few who brought their altered books to add more to their pages, but overall I began to lose enthusiasm. So today we tried something new.

The assignment was to choose an image from a magazine, any image that spoke to them, and glue it on a piece of cardstock. After adding a bit of gesso, I had them add words, words about their day, their feelings, or why this image spoke to them. Then the layers with creamy Portfolio pastels were added. Some were very satisfied at that point while others journeyed on with layers of paints. My favorite part was listening to the stories behind the finished collages. One spoke of her mother, another of her new life, another of her freedom, beautiful stories, eyes lit up with sharing.

So my sweet artist friends, if you have ideas to share for this art class, please leave comments. I need projects that will work as a one-time class with limited supplies, since the audience is different from month to month. Have you experienced a project or taught a class that would work well in this setting? Art = community.

amanda ∞

Circle Journal Joy

My dear friend’s inspiration has evolved into something grand. Alexandra invited many of her Artfest sisters to join in on a collaborative altered book project. Since then the idea has become a circle journal with a group of about 15 gals making and sending their journals around the group each with a distinct theme.

I was so fortunate to be the first to receive Alex’s book. Here’s the cover and pages she made using a Victor Hugo novel. I love Victor Hugo, but alas, I could not read it in French:

Her page is on the left which opens up to a sign in page for all the participants:

And the pages I added:

Page in progress (I love mud and weeds):


My own journal, below, which was sent to Amy has the theme, Symbols – Personal Imagery. I made the journal from a book cover and filled the inside with Bristol paper. The journal is bound with rings so that pages can be easily added and removed, and chunkier pages will not be an issue.


Sign in page:

This is an old dictionary page with the definition for symbols, symbolism, symbology, etc. Although I sent this journal on already, when it finally arrives back home, this page may get another going over. It just doesn’t feel done to me. I was in a hurry to mail:

And my personal recurring symbol is trees. The tree on this page is a sketch I did about 8 years ago at a park in Nashville. Ah, memories, the children were so young:

And on the flipside of that notebook paper is a journal entry about my feelings for trees, the cottonwood in particular. It can partially be read if held to a mirror.

Right now I have Jessica’s journal and look forward to adding a page before sending it on. Her theme is Signs and the journal is just incredible.

More pictures to follow as this journey plays out.

amanda ∞

Symbols Shaping Space done!

Artfest was over 2 months ago. I am still finishing up details and adding thoughts to my Artfest journal. Yesterday I was thrilled to have completed the mobile from Katie Kendrick‘s class: Symbols Shaping Space

This was my absolute favorite class. Katie is an intuitive artist, so as she taught, she drew out creativity in each of us. To begin the class, she broke our minds free with some non-dominant hand exercises which were incorporated into the final piece. I learned so much and was overflowing with emotion.

I hung my mobile from a piece of an antique rocking chair seat. The shape of this wood just called to me.

The mobile is covered with thoughts and remembrances of childhood, from the pieces of my favorite childhood book, The Owl and the Pussycat, to the antique barrettes that were my mother’s.

I was hoping to share with you a song, Beautiful Pea Green Boat by Laurie Anderson, but sadly cannot find it. For those of you who have the Bright Red album from 1994, go back and take a listen. It’s delightful.

amanda ∞

Clean = Inviting

Inviting and refreshing, that is how the art studio feels when it is clean. As we wrap up the school year, I have had very little free time to express myself creatively. To hinder me further, piles were accumulating and swallowing up my work spaces. Today I tackled the studio and won the match. Creativity reigns once again.

After putting away the clutter, I was able to finish a page in an art journal and continue on a couple other projects that were buried in the rubble earlier. I feel invigorated, recharged.

Tonight I think I’ll curl up with this book by Kelly Rae Roberts,

Taking Flight by Kelly Rae Roberts

Taking Flight by Kelly Rae Roberts

my journal, and a cup of tea and allow swirling thoughts to settle in my brain.

amanda ∞

A Handmade Life

Issue 4, Creative Community, is available.

Handmade Life

Robin at Alchemy Studios puts out an inspirational zine, A Handmade Life, and she was so gracious to include some art and writing by moi. Other contributors besides Robin herself include Patricia Mosca, Dawn Rice, and Jim Dubois. Check it out, folks. And thank you, Robin.!

amanda ∞