Sunday, December 28, 2008

Hummingbirds, Cardinals and Owls, Oh My!

This year's Christmas Tree in my studio has a Bird Theme. I've got more hummingbird ornaments than any other type. What a surprise! Ha, ha! See photos of my favorite hummer ornaments and vote for your favorite on my Squidoo Lens, "Five Steps To Happy Hummers"!

Friday, December 26, 2008

This Testimonial Really Fuels My Fire!

Sometimes people say the nicest things. This note really made my holiday week extra special. Thank you so much Pat!


"I wanted to drop you a note for a special thank you for the great work you did for Stacy!! She was feeling a little apprehensive about turning 40 this year. Creating a special painting for her has been the highlight of the year for both of us. I can't thank you enough for your thoughtfulness and efforts with this one of a kind gift. Your talent is truly wonderful and we are thrilled to have your art work in our home. Thanks again!!" ~ Patrick M. Kennedy ~ 12/22/08

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Holiday Tradition, Alive and Well

When all the girls moved out of the Sandy household, it became a yearly tradition to get together at Christmastime and have a holiday cookie party. Each sister and Mom would make a couple of different kinds of cookie dough and we'd all get together and bake them, eat and share them.


That way we all ended up with lots of kinds of great cookies that lasted us well into the winter. Now that the family is spread out all over the East Coast, Denise and I are the one's in this area to carry on the tradition. In Florida, Mom and Gaile still have cookie parties and Ellyn in SC will soon continue it with her daughter, Meadow. What kind of holiday traditions do you keep alive?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Are You A Present Peeker?


Tami Close, aka, The "Fun" Coach, is one of my many new friends on facebook. She's also the head of a group that I belong to called, "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun". Tami's currently taking a poll... peek or no-peek? Did you peek at your presents before Christmas? She adds; "I'll be the first, my name is Tami, and I'm a peeker!"

I responded;" My name is Sandy and I am a reformed peeker! One year as young teens, my sister and I found and carefully unwrapped every present our parents got us that year. My mom knew, but she never let on. It sure was a let down for us on Christmas Day when there wasn't a single surprise under the tree. I learned a big lesson that year. I've been a non-peeker ever since!"

I'd love to know if you guys out there are a peekers or a non-peekers too!

Here today is a scan of a Christmas card I created and sent out in 1978!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Holiday Nostalgia

Nothing brings out the nostalgia in me like the holidays. It's a time when we remember childhood thrills and celebrations with family and friends.


Incidents like mom's "Hallmark Christmas" that went terribly wrong did not seem humorous at the time however. In retrospect, some of our holiday bloopers have turned out to be the most treasured family memories. So when things don't go as planned, stay positive and remember, chances are, someday it'll make for great stories and maybe even holiday nostalgia later on.

"The message of Christmas is that the visible material world is bound to the invisible spiritual world." ~ Author Unknown

"Christmas; that magic blanket that wraps itself about us, that something so intangible that it is like a fragrance. It may weave a spell of nostalgia. Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of prayer, but always it will be a day of remembrance; a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved." ~ Augusta E. Rundel

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Optimist’s Creed by C. D. Larson

The Optimist’s Creed, written almost 100 years ago by Christian D. Larson, is still as powerful and relevant today as it was back in 1912 when it was created. I hope you find inspiration and comfort in these thoughts now at Christmastime and throughout the New Year.


Promise Yourself
Also known as The Optimist's Creed

Try reciting these statements with the words, "I promise" before each line.

To be so strong that nothing can disturb my peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person I meet.
To make all my friends feel that there is something special in them.
To look at the sunny side of everything and make my optimism come true.
To think only of the best, and expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as I am about my own.
To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature I meet a smile.
To give so much time to the improvement of myself that I have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear
and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

~ Christian D. Larson

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Basket Full Of Fall


I just went through my photos on my digital camera and came across this image that was taken on Sunday. Autumn house decorations out, Winter and Christmas decorations in! This laundry basket helped with the transition. I like these fall colors, textures and composition . Beauty is all around us if we pay attention.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Giving Thanks

Selling most of my work myself, I've been making personalized handmade thank you cards for everyone who purchases an original painting from me for years. The pay off is well worth the effort. I archive each painting with an ID code and a photo which is kept in on file. I use an ink jet print out of the piece and glue it to quality paper and write the title of the piece and a personalized message for each painting purchased. It's also a great way of keeping a record with pictures and addresses of my collectors. My buyers always comment on how much they appreciate the notes and look forward to receiving them in the mail. Often these notes find their way onto people's desks at work or get carried around and shown to friends and family.


Later they end up attached to the back of the piece. I am fortunate that people get excited about my work and it's a way for them to show it off without carrying the actual artwork around. In this day and age, I need all the collectors and help I can get. Thank you cards and personalized attention help to turn my customers into collectors and friends.I am very appreciative of my collectors and live by the saying that the quickest way to stop the flow of abundance is to neglect showing gratitude for that which you have already received.

I often get responses like this one from my web site testimonials page. "I just wanted to let you know that I took the watercolor out of the packaging last night. In short, it is a beautiful piece of work, and I am truly happy with it. I also want to thank you for the nice card that you included with the watercolor - very classy. Thanks again Sandy, and I hope to buy again from you in the near future." ~ Jason C. Nelson, Dallas TX ~ 8/14/03

"Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it." ~ William Arthur Ward

See Robert Genn's opinion on artists writing Thank You Notes and other artist's responses here.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Power Animals

I just joined a group on Facebook called: GRATITUDE For Angels, Guides, Goddesses & Power Animals. On the group home page was a post by Lynn Guy from Australia that really got my attention. Lynn talks about going cross country on a motorcycle and being forewarned of danger by a cloud animal, namely a Thunderbird. That got me frantically searching for this photo I had taken years ago of the same creature.


Animal totems don't necessarily have to be actual living creatures, but can come in many forms to those who are willing to keep an open mind and pay attention. See more about animal totems and my book about the same here.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

6 Year Old Guitar Master

Lucciano Pizzichini plays blues, Santana and Rock & Roll. See him here at only six years old! Although he's now playing electric and singing, his acoustic guitar playing (with no singing) is my favorite. His ability, rhythum and style far exceed that of any person I've ever seen of his age. Makes me want to pick up my old forgotten guitar again.


You know, I think it is a true trait of a master when they make you feel such a strong connection to what they do. I'm not implying that I'm a master, but one of the nicest compliments I get as an artist is when someone likes my work so much that they want to own it. I remember, years ago as a rider it was when someone would say; "You make me want to ride that horse." Well, Lucciano Pizzichini definitely makes me want to connect to that universal language of music and feel what he's feeling, even if it is just a little bit. Too bad I don't speak Spanish. See more of my Lucciano Pizzichini favorites on my YouTube channel.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

smARTist Telesummit 2009

Artists — Get Recognized, Exhibited, and PAID what you deserve!
Check out the smARTist Telesummit — The best art career conference online or off!


I participated in the smARTist Telesummit last year and learned so much from Ariane Goodwin's great line up of art and marketing experts! My personal growth has been incredible as a result of this amazing event. Truly a bargain, it equipped me with the tools and confidence I needed to build a better online presence. The very best group of tele-seminars I have ever taken, these engaged my creative spirit and energized my career. I'm so excited about the upcoming lineup of speakers and have already signed on for 2009! I highly recommend it to creative people and artists at all levels. ~ Sandy

"When you put your work in the world, shining, we all have another chance to see the deeper truth about who we are, and our collective, creative spirit." ~ Ariane Goodwin

Friday, November 28, 2008

Does Thanksgiving Dinner Make You Sleepy?

Is it the Tryptophan in the turkey that makes you tired?
This question came up at our Thanksgiving Dinner table yesterday and maybe it did at yours too.


According to this online article By Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D., Tryptophan & Carbohydrate Chemistry, it's not necessarily the tryptophan in the turkey that makes you sleepy after the Thanksgiving feast. Other factors such as over eating, alcohol intake and a high ratio of fats and carbohydrates are probably the major contributors. This overload requires the digestive system to work harder which increases the blood flow to to stomach, thus decreasing flow to the brain. Turkey actually contains only a small amount more of the chemical Tryptophan, than a lot of other foods. For example, Dr. Helmenstine states that turkey contains 0.333 g of tryptophan per 100 grams of edible portion, while chicken contains 0.292 g of tryptophan per 100 grams of edible portion. So, I guess that answers your question, Chuck!


Many Thanks to Sally and Chuck for a wonderful day yesterday at the New Jersey shore!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Easy To Make Turkey


This is a photo of a little turkey decoration made by my now 16 year old Nephew, Cody Yates, when he was about six. I always make it a point to show it to him when he visits. It sure has held up well, considering it has been on display in my kitchen for all these years. Makes you wonder what they put in them things! Anyway, you may want to save some corn next Halloween and try it with your kids!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Finally...A Puppy!

My dad sent me this picture of Lynus right after we brought him home from the breeder. I was having a 9th birthday party, but I could have cared less. My life-long dream had come true! A PUPPY AT LAST! Can't you tell I'm all a-glow with that new motherhood look?!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Feed The Birds


Winter has come to the North East. It's a blustery 28 degrees outside. We had to hook up the horses' water trough heater this morning and give the birds fresh water because the birdbath was frozen solid. I' just finished another snowperson this morning while listening to my holiday tunes. I call this one "Feed the Birds". It's a whimsical painting with an important message! Please don't forget about our wild friends now that the weather's turned colder. They need us now more than ever.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Football Fun


We had snow flurries this morning. It didn't stick, but it was pretty while it lasted. I counted ten turkeys outside my studio window in the yard. The snow seems to bring them around. I put on Christmas CDs and really had fun painting my holiday feel-good art. Here's one of the ones I finished today. Yeah, go team!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Snowboarding Snowman

I decided it was time to paint something whimsical today. Happy paintings really do lift my spirits! So with snow flakes floating in the air, I started a new series of snowmen to keep me entertained. I've got some new and exciting sports related themes a cookin'!


This original watercolor "On The Slopes" was done earlier in the year and is available along with others from my snowman series, from the Rijks Gallery in Crested Butte, Colorado.

Quotations On Snowboarding by Dave Barry:

"Skiers view snowboarders as a menace; snowboarders view skiers as Elmer Fudd."

"I now realize that the small hills you see on ski slopes are formed around the bodies of forty-seven-year-olds who tried to learn snowboarding."

"Snowboarding is an activity that is very popular with people who do not feel that regular skiing is lethal enough."

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Obama Family's First Dog

The promise of a new puppy can be all consuming for kids and families. I know, as a child I begged my parents for years to get a dog. Walking neighbors' dogs every chance I got, with the help of my two sisters, we finally wore them down. We got our first dog, a dachshund that we named Lynus, on my 9th birthday. His registered name was Fritz's Revenge, after the Red Barron. Snoopy was very popular at the time and we had wanted a beagle, but there were no puppies to be had in the newspaper the weekend we took the plunge. Finally, the day had come and there was no stopping us! We got a puppy from the first and only breeder we visited. Here's a picture I took of my sisters, Denise and Gaile with Lynus. I've got my dad looking for a picture of me holding him as a tiny puppy which I'll post here when I get it.


The soon to be First Family seems to be going about this in a more methodical, less haphazard fashion. Barrack Obama said they have two criteria to address. One is that Malia is allergic, so the new pet has to be hypoallergenic. The other is that the family prefers adopting from a rescue shelter rather than a breeder. As an animal lover and organization supporter, I think this is so nice because it raises public awareness and will set a good example for others.



My sister, Denise also has major animal allergies and has found allergy relief with a hypoallergenic breed. Pictured here are photos she took of her young Welsh Terrier, Augie.

See Denise's photography here.

See a list of hypoallergenic pooches here. "Daddy gets the Oval Office and Malia and Sasha get a puppy"

Monday, November 17, 2008

I Just Joined Facebook

I just joined Facebook about a week ago and connected with an old Moore College of Art classmate, Nancy Louie. She came to my house on Saturday and we reunited over lunch. We haven't seen each other in 30 years. Some things never change and some things DO GET BETTER with age! We really had a blast and plan on staying in touch, possibly even doing a collaborative art project in the near future!

Friday, November 14, 2008

More Fall Pictures

The bog at the end of my road looks serene any time of the year.


Some of Jerry's "Yard Art" watches over our property.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

AFTER THE FALL IN THE NJ PINES

WELL, JUST LIKE I SAID, IT WON'T LAST. This is the same view of our wood's edge that I posted last time.


Now we have to get used to a grayish brown dominance to the landscape for the next four or five months.



Thank goodness Jerry's pretty handy with the blower!

I'm glad he's been keeping ahead of it.


We'd be more than knee deep in fall foliage by now.

Monday, November 10, 2008

FALL IN THE NJ PINES

What a beautiful time of year this is!

Here in the northeast, my environment changes dramatically.


As the foliage of our mixed deciduous forest changes hues, the results can be breathtaking. Everything outdoors seems to reflect a special warmth.


I must make time to savor this ultimately fragile, fleeting brilliance. It may be gone tomorrow.



The next rain and wind storm will most likely dramatically change the physical view of my world!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Bill Maher and My 2 Cents on Obama's Victory

I'm really not a political person. I'm registered as a "Non-Affiliated" voter here in NJ and in the past never got too involved. This time was different. I started out in my usual unattached mode, but as things started heating up and Palin came into the mix, my involvement heightened and evolved. This election was so much more than electing the next President of the United States of America. I watched all the debates. I started paying more attention to what the organizations I support were saying. Watching the news, I felt the vibes. I was appalled by McCain and the Republican 's fear-mongery which seemed like a cover up for the fact that they had nothing constructive to bring to the table. Both John and his wife grew up and still are very wealthy. Barack and Michelle come from very humble beginnings and understand the middle class better. The problems facing us are huge and the transitions no doubt will be painful. Yes Bob, I do optimistically finally feel like the "Times They Are A Changin'!


"We delight in the beauty of the butterfly but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty." ~ Maya Angelou

Read CNN's Interview: Bill Maher on Obama's Victory.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The World Has Hope

Today I got a letter from Canadian Artist, Robert Genn about The Arts and Barack Obama.

Read Bob's inspiring letter here.


I feel this is not only a victory for change and reform here in the USA.
The world is watching and paying close attention, because this is SOMETHING REALLY BIG! Nothing like this has ever happened before! There is a higher energy at work here and I am so psyched!

See Five Reasons Why Obama Won the '08 Election Here.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Messages From Spirit

Messages From Spirit can come in many ways. Sometimes it's a subtle whisper and sometimes it's a downright obvious sign!


This morning when I got up, I went to my closet to grab a shirt off the top shelf. It was dark in the room and I reached up and blindly grasped the top one. To my surprise, the t-shirt in my hand was one I had not seen, thought of or worn in a very long time. How did it get on top of the pile?


Although we are prohibited from displaying any political items at the polls, I think my shirt definitely made a statement. Everyone who sees me today will know exactly where I stand.

Wolf is the embodiment of protection and wisdom and according to some native legends, the tribe's greatest teacher.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Future of Wildlife

As one of America's millions of conservationists, I'll be using my vote this year to help publicly address my particular concern for the future of our country's wildlife and natural resources.


So this year when you vote for your local, regional and national leaders, I hope you’ll also consider voting for those that will be champions for the environment and wildlife.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Freedom OF THE SPIRIT

Each Sunday, I receive "The Infinite Being" newsletter by Owen Waters. Today I downloaded his new book, "Freedom of the Spirit", just out and available online as an e-book.


Owen says mankind currently stands at the 6th and final stage of material consciousness, getting ready now to move on into the spiritual tier of conscious evolution. I strongly recommend this publication to all seekers of a higher, more evolved awareness. Learn more about this book on my Spirit Art Blog tomorrow.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Reorganization in the Studio

I spent the day reorganizing my studio, reference area and painting table today.

Jerry picked up a nice desk this week that worked out perfectly for me. Look how my file cabinet fits like a glove underneath the desk. I guess it was just meant to be!


This really helped make my studio space more functional and less cluttered. Reorganization can often be just what the doctor ordered. It's like a breath of fresh air!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED

There's something to be said for taking the "road less traveled". I took these pictures yesterday on my 20 mile trip "around the block".


The fall colors were simply beautiful and I knew they wouldn't last.


I'm glad I ventured out because today we've got high winds and pounding rain so the fall foliage may be down sooner than expected.

Monday, October 27, 2008

His Majesty's Gift

Sometimes we learn life's lessons the hard way. See the story of "His Majesty's Gift" here: Communication With Spirit Through Natural Symbolism. "In stillness I hear spirit's voice, not universal clutter." ~ Rev Kathy Graves


Animal augury has helped shape my life and opened my mind to the very real yet somewhat hidden layers of the natural world.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

FALL IN THE NJ PINES

Fall has finally come to Southern NJ. We just got our first real frost this past week. I'm not complaining. I held off turning on our heater as long as possible. Here are a few photos from around my neighborhood.

The blueberry bushes are now a red cranberry color.


Here some discarded boxes from picking time are piled up and forgotten in the field.

The dark cedar water reflects the varied colors of the season.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

"BRISK SALES IN A CROWD"

Our outdoor festivals have come to an end for 2008. We are exhausted and exhilarated! Here's a picture of Our Three Tent Setup last weekend at the Cranberry Festival in Chatsworth, NJ. We had a very busy two days. It was fun handing out autographed copies of the Show Program, reuniting with old customers and friends as well as making new ones.


I had a nice surprise yesterday morning when I found my reply included in the clickbacks to Robert Genn's Oct. 17th letter, "Lessons from a Turkish Market" . It's got a picture of me standing in front of our booth at one of our fall shows. Bob and Andrew, thanks so much! I especially appreciated the compliment you gave me under the photo too. I didn't get it until I read the comments that followed mine. You are the best!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

PRO-CHOICE vs. ANTI-CHOICE

The term "pro-life" is all part of the hype. "It's PRO-CHOICE vs. ANTI-CHOICE". No living creature in its right mind is against "life". - comment from: I am Emily X, a true-life diary of a frontline Planned Parenthood worker and activist.

Because of Planned Parenthood, I never had to face the difficult decision of an unwanted pregnancy or abortion. In my late teens and early twenties, Planned Parenthood was there to insure that I got the birth control, routine tests, health counseling and education I needed. Thanks to all you Planned Parenthood Emily X's out there. Keep up the great work! I'd hate to see the fundamentalist minority ruin decades of progress in women's reproductive rights. If they get their way, women will once again be subject to the "dark ages" and back alleys of family planning. Here's a quote that relates to our present situation that I found a bit humorous; "If we are going to teach creation science as an alternative to evolution, then we should also teach the stork theory as an alternative to biological reproduction." ~ Judith Hayes

From the most recent Emily X blog post - "If you want to reduce the number of abortions in the country, then work with us, not against us. Most of the work we do -- 98% in fact -- is prevention."

Monday, October 20, 2008

Today I Took The Test

The goal of this test is to exactly classify your personal politics, without the traditional labels. They've avoided the edgy party issues and focused on fundamental values. Your score is a measure of what you believe in, economically and socially.

Take the test yourself and see my results below:

The Politics Test Results

You are a

Social Liberal
(61% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(28% permissive)

You are best described as a:

Democrat










Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid
Also : The OkCupid Dating Persona Test