Friday, March 7, 2014

Family and Letting Go

I guess the title of this post might be a tad misleading. It is about family, and it is about letting go, but not letting go of anyone.

Detail view of Family, a mixed media piece by artist, Melissa Sherbon.
By Family, I mean my latest canvas. It's called Family, and it was a commission with a twist. My best friend's father asked me to paint a piece for him, but he wanted it to represent my own family. I was so touched that my family means that much to him, so of course I couldn't wait to get started on the piece!

Detail view of Family
Like I mentioned in an earlier post, I always doubt myself. I always freak out a little bit over commissions for one reason or another, and this was no different. I started worrying I wasn't going to be able to get my emotions out effectively. That I wouldn't represent my loved ones well. That I wouldn't get into a flow and the piece would never come together. See? I freak out a little!

Well, like always with my creativity, I find inspiration when I least expect it. I was out picking up the canvas and got side tracked in the scrapbook paper. (Who hasn't done that before, right?) I found so much wonderful paper! Ideas started churning, images started popping up, and suddenly I had an arm load of paper and ephemera before I even got to the canvas aisle!

Thankfully, the wave kept up! I tend to be moody during a painting. I have highs and lows, hate it then love it, then hate it again. It's just part of the process sometimes. But not this time! I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this piece. It felt like it was flowing from a greater source, and I couldn't be happier with the outcome! It's my favorite piece of mine.

That's where the letting go comes in. 
I really enjoyed the process on this one! the colors came together so well! (Detail of Family.)
I do a lot of pieces that just hang on my own walls. I do a lot of them solely for myself. This piece pushed me to do something I would probably not have undertaken on my own because the subject always seemed too close to me. I'm grateful for this challenge because, even though I have to let it go to a new home, I was pushed to paint something very close to my heart. And that push helped me really think, really connect with all my wonderful family memories and put my whole heart into the piece. 

Family, a 30x30" mixed media painting on canvas by Melissa Sherbon.
So that's what I mean by Family and Letting Go. Family has to be my favorite piece of my work to date, but it just feels right that it won't stay here with me, but go out in the world. Sort of like my actual family... They make the world a little brighter just being out there. And that's exactly what I hope this piece will end up doing!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Has It Really Been a Year?

One of the beautiful views on St. Pete Beach.
WOW! Has it really been almost a year since my last post? I'm so fired!

So much has been going on! The end of 2013 was a whirlwind of activity that seriously changed my life for ever. Don't worry, it was for the better! I grew so much as a person and artist at the end of last year that I can't even fully put it into words, but I'll sure try...

I don't know about you, but I struggle every time I get out a canvas or a piece of paper to work. I was feeling stuck and almost ready to give up and put my paints away for a while until my mojo decided to return. I'd dabble here and there, but I couldn't really find myself anymore. Then, October rolled around.

October is always exciting because I get to celebrate another year of marriage to my wonderful husband, but this October was so much more than I could have ever expected! A day or two before my anniversary (5 years!!!), I got a Facebook message from my friend, Monique. Now, I've never had the pleasure of meeting Monique face to face; we met through our blogs and mutual love for photography and have been Facebook friends for a few years. Anyway, I was doing the ol' Facebook check before getting dinner going, and I had a message from Monique! She said she had signed up for a workshop with Tracy Verdugo in Saint Petersburg, FL and couldn't make it...would I like to take her place?
Some of the beautiful dunes on St Pete Beach, Florida.
I was SO floored! Just plain struck speechless and beyond touched that she thought of me, of all people! I told her, not only was she making my day, month, and year, but helping me mark off a bucket list item! (Tracy Verdugo is one of my favorite artists!) I still haven't found a way to repay her unbridled generosity, but I hope I can some day. 

Just a few of my workshop supplies!
All I can say is, October 2013 was when my mojo returned by way of Tracy's Paint Mojo workshop! It was also the time Life was trying to teach me to accept good things when they happen to me, face my fears, and have heaps and heaps of faith. I was scared to death! My mind started racing...I won't know anyone there! I've never been to St. Pete! I've never been to a workshop, what if I screw up?  There will be real artists there...I'm not anywhere near good enough for this.
Rob stopped me and told me to just breathe. He was right. I wasn't about to let my anxiety screw up another opportunity. This was the chance of a lifetime! I set about collecting my supplies and getting a hotel. A week later, we got up at the crack of dawn and struck out for St. Pete and a workshop that would change my life forever!

I was so nervous! A two and a half hour drive gave my silly brain unlimited time to freak out. I don't know how many times I told Rob I felt like I was a kindergartner on the very first day of school! I was just glad Rob could walk me in and help me get set up. The first few moments were scary...walking in, finding my place, saying hello to a few of the other students. As the room filled up and I unpacked, I got a little more comfortable. Rob kissed me goodbye and I was on my own.

Rischa and her mom, painting their hearts out!
But that was the last time I felt that way! As Tracy started the class, and we met one another and spent time in a wonderful circle on the beach, I wasn't as nervous anymore! And, as it turned out, synchronicity had another hand in the day and I ended up sitting next to someone who would become a sister I never new I had! It just so happened that Rischa and her mom, Mrs. Billie, were my long lost friends. At lunch break, we discovered we were all from the Augusta, GA area, we both have special health issues, we are both introverted creatives, and we both needed this mojo boost! By the end of the second day, we were best friends and soul sisters! 
Rischa and me out and about in DeLand!
The 2013 Paint Mojo Workshop gave me so much more than I could have ever expected. It wasn't just a class, but an awakening. I still can't find the words to give it the justice it deserves. I can't thank Monique enough for the gift and opportunity, I can't thank Tracy enough for helping me find my creative spirit again, and I can't thank the Universe enough for the life long connection I have with everyone in that room. I finally found my Tribe!
My fabulous St. Pete Tribe! Love you ALL!!!!

I had to get a picture with our Tribe leader, Tracy! 
Rischa and I have been inseparable since then...and our husbands, too! I mean, it really feels more like a re-connection with old friends rather than a new one. I feel so blessed! That workshop opened a flood gate of creativity in me that I can't explain. If you ever have the opportunity to take one of Tracy's workshops, DO IT. You won't regret it at all. I didn't just gain knowledge and new techniques. I found an entire new family. A tribe I gather love, strength, and creativity from every single day. I love them all!

So...yeah. There's been a lot going on around here! I've been on a creative wave since then, and I am so thankful! And in 2014, I will try to update more than I did last year. I hope you'll stick around!