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

Friday, December 12, 2008

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.