Tag Archives: teaching

What a great time!


Five minutes after I arrived home from a painting convention today I fell into bed.   I was so tired but fell asleep and woke up with a smile on my face.    What a great time.  I taught three classes, had AWESOME students who kept me entertained and were ever so willing to hear my funny stories.   It’s so good to laugh, isn’t it?

My first class I was 5 minutes late to.  I got caught in city traffic.  I’m not used to that!      I refused to get upset about it, and when I arrived at class my students were happy to see me, they all pitched in, got everything together, helped set everything up and we were off.    Only help, love… no criticism, anger.   It was a very nice way to start the convention.

The first day I left my purse in a public seating area.  Fortunately one student (who was actually in my class last night), brought my purse up to the desk, very wisely took action and it was returned to me while teaching a class.   I wasn’t even aware that I didn’t have it!   Now move forward to last night and one of my wild friends from upstate VT had left her purse somewhere and they had it in lost and found.  How VERY NICE it is to know that there are still honest people out there who care.   It renews faith in humanity, ya know what I mean?

The first class I taught was Sallie Snow woman, everyone did great.   I suggested and they were excited about getting prints made of their painting and making their own Christmas cards!    I look forward to seeing them…. (Hint Hint…. send with chocolate!)   No, just kidding.  I’m off sugar.

Also during class a friend, fellow artist stopped in to visit and gifted me with a pack of her cards which are prints of some of her many beautiful paintings.  It was so nice!    It really made me smile!

I also realized that I had unintentionally left two pertinent colors at home on my table.   Well, I didn’t fret.  Two crazy assed friends from Maine were able to help me.  As we went up to their room they were entertaining me with a very funny.    I see panty shields in my future conventions!

Things worked out smoothly, without planning that I was able to see girlfriends and spent time with them between classes and commitments.  I love it when things flow with little or no effort.

Last nights class which we named “Saturday night live!”, we were laughing so hard that the teacher and students in the classroom next to ours ran over to find out what was so funny.     I love it when everyone is comfortable sharing funny stories, particularly female stories.  My goodness, it is so healing!

All day Saturday I was feeling “dizzy”.   Sort of “falling over” feeling.   About an hour into class last night my students were busy so I sat down, threw one leg over the other and realized that the sole of my dansko had disintegrated.    CHUNKS of rubber were missing, and the thick sole on the heel was gone!  No WONDER I felt dizzy.    I had seen all this black stuff on the carpet and wondered who the heck had taught in there the class before!    It was chunks of my sole!     Today as I walked around the trade show my every other step my shoe would stick to the cement floor.   It was so funny.  I drove barefoot on the way home, afraid that my shoe may stick to one of the peddles.

Another time I was trying to get my girlfriends attention who was sitting at one of the front tables.  Gail!  Gail!   Gail?   It was like she was in another world.  Even the girls sitting behind said “Gail, Gail” and she didn’t respond.  I just figured she was entranced in her “ever so her” usual acts of helping someone else, in this case the woman sitting next to her.    A few minutes later I was talking to her and said “Gail” again and she said “Michelle!”    I KNOW HER NAME!   I KNOW HER!   We are twin daughters of different mothers.  Why the heck did I do that?   Have you ever been so tired that you do such stupid things that it makes it all the funnier?    She also told me that she told her husband if something should happen to her, he is to split her painting supplies up between her friends and call me….  FOR A DATE!     Is that not the sweetest thing ever?

Yeah, it was a wonderful time.  A very busy time but many great memories were made, beautiful paintings were done, lessons were learned and laughter could be heard all over.  It rocked!     As I drove home, I thought about how kind, caring, and the sisterhood that decorative painting industry holds.   Helping one another, sharing stories, supplies…  What a great group of people.   I will remember more as I unpack and get back to my life.  I know I am forgetting to share other funny stories.   These are gems nuggets of gold that will keep me warm in the coldest of winter to come.

I am so inspired that I want to stay up all night and paint, but I’m just too tired to unpack my jeep!   But what a good tired… what a good tired.

Yes, I am one fortunate woman to have god given talent that I can share with others.  For all the wonderful and long term friendships and new ones started that have sprouted from teaching.   I feel very blessed.   As I head out to Long Beach, CA in 10 days to a Nerium convention, I know that there I will be with childhood friends, long term friends and will meet new friends as well.   I’m a very fortunate woman.   God has blessed me with so much.

Love to all…..


The artist that WILL, the artist that IS!


As I sat in the meeting today with a few hundred people listening to speakers who have and are sharing their success with this company, I thought about an interview that Bob Dylan did many moons ago with Morley Safer.     Always interested in his life, his thoughts, I remembered a line out of this interview that I’ve held close in thought.    He speaks of destiny.  Defines it as knowing something about yourself that others do not know.  The power to believe in yourself and the danger in sharing it, allowing others to squelch it.   He “knew” he was going to be a musician, a famous musician.

What do you see for yourself?  What did you dream about as a kid, as a young adult?  Do you still dare to dream?    Years of life kicking the crap out of me I had lost my dreams.   I’m not sure if I actually lost them, but I certainly buried them deep within the confines of my mind, locked, for safety.   It takes courage to dream.  It takes courage to love.  It takes courage to show up every day to life, to not only face the difficulties but also?   Also the good.

In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Brene Brown author of “The power of Vulnerability” shared her beliefs about using vulnerability to transform our lives!   Vulnerability is at its highest with dreams, the things we love.   The fear of achieving, losing, the fear of allowing ourselves to succeed…  I got it.    I get it.  I agree!  Check her out..she rocks!

Last weekend I was scraping ground, feeling depleted, exhausted to all that I have done and have been through in my life.   With my head in my hands, tears falling onto my lap, I knew it was time for a change.  What’s the definition of insanity?  Doing the same thing over and over hoping for different results!    I am an artist.   I will always be an artist.   I can work in a nursery, or in a restaurant, this doesn’t take away who I am.  If anything, it teaches me, gives me lessons, knowledge to take with me on my journey, life’s journey.

I have worked for many years in a career that I loved.   I used my God given talents and was largely rewarded by teaching others to paint,   By painting a picture that came from my mind, through my heart, out my hand onto canvas.  Wow!   I remember the first time I was introduced to decorative painting I saw what was in front of me, what others were doing and I KNEW, I KNEW I could do this!  Well, I did!   I accomplished what it was I KNEW I could do and wanted to do.   This is about me, my own life, my own visions.   Although I do not measure success in dollars, I know what it’s like to have few, and the pressures and energy it takes to live life jumping from one bill to another.    I don’t want to live the rest of my life this way.  As a cancer survivor I’ve been blessed with another chance at life.   In some ways I think it would be beneficial to all to have a diagnosis of a potentially fatal disease…. why?  Because it gifts you, well I should say, it gifted me with perspective.   No, 20 years from now it’s not going to matter that my electricity was shut off, that my bank account was belly up.    What I truly believe is how we give to and help others.    I learned at a young age that to give without strings is to receive.  The feeling that encompasses your mind, body and soul is of peace, warmth, love.  There is no greater gift we can give another than ourselves, of our time.

I’ve lived a purposeful life teaching others to paint.   To help another person get in touch with their creativity, to see the looks on their face when they finish their painting with pride… well, it’s very powerful, rewarding.   I could be in the worst funk possible, go into a room and start teaching, by the end of the class I was whistling and singing.  Seriously!  Teaching has been an experience that I never want to lose, though the subject matter may change.

I have dusted off the cobwebs and busted out of confinement my dreams of past, and dared to dream for the future.  HOPE.   What more could you possibly give another than HOPE?   What are my dreams?  Well, there are materialistic desires, though I will always be careful to not live a materialistic life.  Hey, it would be great to have a car that runs, I hear they have seat warmers and fans now!  Who knew?   It would be great to have a house that I can open the windows to fresh air.   It would be great to not have the constant worry of how to survive, financially.   This has affected me physically and also spiritually.   I have not been at my best nor can I be at my best when my mind is preoccupied with such troubles.

So last week I did something that I only told one person.   I’m not sure it was a good idea (LOL) but this stood for hope, determination.   I dusted off the cobwebs and busted out of confinement, my dreams.   I care not to share them, for the very reason Bob Dylan shared in this interview, but I will share my favorite and most meaningful dream.  I would like to teach painting to cancer victims, to their families as they sit with their loved ones while going thru the long and scary road of treatment.   I would like to give forward, what was given to me when the disease knocked on my door – an ear, a hand, a hug.  Encouragement when I felt like I could go no further.   A smile, laughter through tears which is absolutely my favorite emotion.    I will one day soon, have the time and means to jump on and ride out this dream.   It’s funny, I was reading a decade old magazine in which I was interviewed.    I knew THEN, prior to my own journey through cancer, that this was what I wanted to do.   My own journey only reinforced this vision.    I CAN do this, and I WILL do this.

I have never seen anyone who only does for themselves truly happy.   How could you be?   Until we can grasp the gift of giving, I don’t think we can achieve longevity in happiness, peacefulness.   Selfish acts will pour out gold perhaps, but will that make us happy?  I believe in karma.  I believe that what we put out comes back ten fold.   I’ve been too bogged down with fear, uncertainty, discouragement to pick myself up and jump to a new track!   Sure, material things are nice.  I’m looking forward to driving my new Lexus, it IS going to happen, I’ve made the decision.   It’s about a decision, failure is not an option.  I will not stop until I accomplish what I want to accomplish, very much like what I did in the decorative painting industry.   I wanted to teach others, I have and do.  I wanted to have my artwork in magazines, I have.  I wanted my artwork on the cover of a magazine, I have.   I wanted a website.  I had one!  Decided it wasn’t worth the work!

So, how do I get there?  Where do I sign up?  How do I start?   It all begins with renewed if not the beginning of hope.  I have grabbed onto an opportunity that I KNOW will not only get me there, but have a LOT of fun doing so!   I’m meeting fun, positive, kind people.  I’m sharing seats with others who are realizing their visions, their dreams.   Next is to believe, to envision, to send it out to the Universe or whom or whatever you believe feeds, channels you.   Before I leave this earth, I will know what it feels like to teach cancer patients to paint, to find their creativity through the tubes, the uncertainties, the difficult and reach for and paint their way through the challenges of cancer.

I know this trek will be full of ups and downs.  So has my life been!  So I might as well go through those ups and downs with others who want me to succeed, who will and are helping me to get beyond the ghosts of yesterday and move onto today.  Powerful.  Powerful.  Powerful.

I am psyched, pumped and ready to roll.   I can do this, and if you so desire?  You CAN, too!    I, we can expose our hidden dreams, and come up with a few new.  It’s time!   What have you got to lose?   For me?  A few pounds, wrinkles, age spots AND the constant worry of survival.    Stay tuned!   ♥♥♥



Exercising the left side of my brain….


Have been working diligently on organizing the piles of paperwork that make up the last 10 years of my life.    My career, somehow made it through these beehive shaped piles.   I have another 3 or 4 weeks, 40 hours a week, to go to get it in shining mode.   I must admit, it has felt good, actually great, working on it, making progress, using that left side of brain!

Part of my organizing is a portfolio of sort, photos of my work.    I sometimes, particularly in the winter when I am able to double up on isolation, I wonder why I  do this.  Why do I sit in my house and paint, work, paint… I feel discouraged, my confidence level goes down.  Well, in putting together this ‘photo portfolio’ I was in awe of what I have accomplished, created!   Pretty darn cool!   I sat back tonight, looked at the partially completed album and could see my art change.  Organizing by year, and I can pretty much remember what year I designed what in, I could see the difference in my colors, in my work or lack of work during difficult years.  The first year I split with my ex I barely designed at all.  I was busy remodeling my home to accommodate a studio/classroom.   I was also busy travel teaching, conventions, and more.   As I was getting the paperwork in order I couldn’t believe how many years have gone by.   Honestly they were all challenging years, but where did they go?   Also the year I was diagnosed with and started treatment for breast cancer(s) that was a light paper weight year.     It’s been interesting studying the work I did, when I did it, and seeing how it relates to how I was feeling…  well yah… it’s art!

I sell pattern packets which are individual instructional “lessons” for decorative artists.   I also publish in magazines.  Another surprise for me in my hoeing out are the amount of packets I have, and the amount I have online.  I have over 150 packets and only 48 on line in only one place.   I’m working on that.   Perhaps?  Perhaps if I get my shit together I can actually starting making money???

The girls and I are headed to bed early tonight.  It’s been a busy week, but a good tired.    Hope you have a great evening!   Hope someone makes you smile, laugh, and I hope that you feel loved!  We all need to feel that!  ♥

Post gig!


I had a teaching gig in New Hartford, CT this weekend.  Such a great group of women.  Lots of laughter and smiles.   I drove home after class today and upon my arrival home my body was just spent.  Brought my mother home who fends for my animals when I’m away, and now I am crashing.

I think there is a 20/20 on tonight, cannot remember if it’s tonight or last night.   Will be nice to relax and enjoy some quality television.

I sit in my house, paint, and am isolated particularly in the winter.  I question my existence, I question my talent, I question my career… and then after I teach my self esteem, self confidence is restored and I question how I could ever question my work.    I love seeing the smiles on faces when students are painting.  I love it when they “venture out or go outside the box” and change the design and LIKE what they did!   They have allowed their own creativity to flow.  They have put down the dagger of fear and picked up their paintbrush with confidence, with pleasure, with contentment.  

Women need other women.   No matter how “good” or “supportive” the men in our life are, we need to spend time with other like minds.   The best laughter I have ever had was with my sisters, my brother followed by time with girlfriends.   The majority of us “get” each other.  

I sit tonight, in peace, with satisfaction, with pride that I taught a great class.   After all the years of teaching I still get nervous before the class, I question whether I will succeed or fail…  Truth is, so far I’ve haven’t failed, so why do I fear it?   And if I wasn’t at my best, I should rest assured that decorative artists are so kind, caring, giving.   They would pitch in and help me…because that’s what they do.   I am grateful for my work.  I am grateful for the talent that was given me at birth, and I’m grateful to share this with others, to offer a helping hand, confidence to others.  Joy.

When I think of what I have accomplished on my own I wonder how I could ever doubt my stamina, my motivation.  I wonder how I got through the difficult years after Jim & I split, when I was teaching mere days after breast reconstruction surgery out of need.  I question how I traveled 2-3 weekends of a month, and come home to teach 3-5 classes a week in my studio.    I’m 10-15 years older, I’m tired, but my love for art is still strong.  My need to create, likewise, and the feeling of accomplishment following teaching is, indeed, still present.

Still, with all of this, it feels wonderful to come home, kick off my shoes, change into comfy lounging clothes, sit and take a big sigh of relief.   Home, home…there is no place like home.

Positive students


Oh how I love a class full of fun students who are happy to be there, excited about the piece they’re painting and have positive attitudes!  

It’s so cool when you get a group of women (or students) who joke amongst each other, when laughter is heard every couple of minutes, and if someone painted something they do not like they do not panic or degrade themselves for doing so, they can laugh at themselves, thus we all get a good chuckle out of it, then we fix it!

It is such a wonderful feeling as a teacher to know that while you are instructing your students are relaxed, enjoying themselves, and that it is visibly obvious that their piece is coming along nicely.

If at the end of the day they leave with a painting they are happy with, you can pretty much guarantee that the next morning they are going to be ecstatic with it!  As most painters know, while you sleep the paint fairy comes in and fixes all the blemishes and things about your painting that you didn’t like the day before, thus you wake up to a masterpiece!

Class Kickoff


Today marks my first day of teaching in 2011, and starts the year rolling with classes in my home studio.  This coming weekend I will kick off my travel teaching.   It is going to be a very busy week.   I always take off 7-8 weeks in December & January to organize, design, and complete the long list of deadlines that the New Year brings around.    I enjoy my time at home without traveling.    I enjoy sleeping in, leisurely lunches with friends, taking my mother shopping, attending my cancer support group, going to dinner with friends, and spending some weekends in pajamas snuggled into my humble abode with furry family, good eats and plenty of canvas.   A couple weeks into it I think “dang, I wish I didn’t have to travel or teach”.  Then the deadlines come rolling in, the money runs low, my students are calling wondering when classes are starting and I’m in panic mode…  I’m constantly asked “Why do you procrastinate?”  I sigh.  I admit, some of it is procrastination, it can be a great motivator for me, creativity doesn’t just fly when I want it to, at least not for me.  I have to get into a groove to truly create the way I love to, and I only get to do this three times a year.  We’re talking dishes piled in my sink, getting to bed at 3 or 4am, complete chaos in my art room or classroom, actually, everywhere.     I absolutely love this flow of energy, I am like a mad woman!  I have a table set up for jewelry design, a table (and three rooms) with canvas, brushes, surfaces, sketch pads, paints, books, things that inspire me,  journals and note pads on my kitchen table alongside my laptop so that I can work on my book, write blogs, work out some emotions I’m feeling on screen.  Friends know that this time is special, they honor my space being careful not to just drop by, as they may find me sleeping at 3pm, or in nothing but socks, undies, and my extra large over sized covered in paint men’s denim shirt that my mother looks at, shakes her head, rolls her eyes and I’m sure wants to throw away!   It is a fabulous time for me.

As true with everything all good things must come to an end, and I find it sad (not to mention exhausting) when I have to start packing up (and cleaning up) my disaster of a house.   Usually I’ll call my mom and say “Hey mom, what are you doing today?”  She will laugh and say “What time are you picking me up?”  This year however, she’s unavailable to me, so I had to be a big girl and take care of this all by myself.  Holy Pits, Batman!    But I have to say, as my classroom starts to come together, and I pull out the supplies, the surfaces and prepare for my first class, I am no longer mourning for what has passed.   I love teaching, I love my students, and I am so grateful for this part of my life and my career.  Teaching is a gift.  I get to share what God gave me naturally with others who truly appreciate it.   My students range fromages 21 to 84.  (Travel teaching last year I had an 88 year old woman who was a complete joy to have in class!)  I wonder sometimes, do my students realize how much I learn from them?

Today has been a crazy day preparing for my class tonight.  From drawing, packing, to sanding the driveway.  I look forward to the arrival of my students, my friends with great anticipation.  Today marks my first day of teaching in 2011, and starts the year rolling with classes!



Monday, March 15th

I’ve been looking at the amount of time I actually sit down to paint and design versus all the “other” stuff I have to do to keep my business afloat, and also…. the time that I waste.  Ugh!

I recognize that I need to set time aside EVERYDAY to paint… Even if its just an hour, but chances are, once I sit down, I’ll just keep painting…  But maybe not.  This weekend I did paint, but I feel like I wasn’t painting or designing well.  And one thing I realized in this is…. I have unrealistic expectations of myself!  (again) Rolling eyes.

I put so much pressure on myself when I sit down to design that it has to be GOOD, that I don’t allow myself the time to just paint… and see where it takes me!   I knew I did this, but I had no idea the affect this has on my painting/designing….  When I go here, I am not at my best!   So one thing I changed over the weekend is to just paint….  So what if the new design isn’t coming out well, not every piece I do is going to be a masterpiece!  And I so want to continue to enjoy my creativity, painting, writing… so beating on myself about when I’m not at my best only serves to stiffle my creativity…. and that’s not a good thing.

So, I had two pieces going this weekend, and as I stand up and walk away from one and come back to the other one… I’m much happier and much less critical of self.

Another thing I am aware of, is its time for me to take on some challenges… to learn some new things… I spend so much time teaching others, and I need to give myself the joy of learning!  After all, there is so much to learn, and I really do feel alive when I am learning….   So, I’m going to look around for some art classes for myself!