Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Stuff a Stocking with Creativity

"Inside every woman a gypsy girl dances by the fire."
Happy Holidays! Just a quick note to let you know I have made some very cool things that are being offered for a limited time. Lipstick Ranch Holiday Gifts can be found on my Collage Camp site.
You do not need to be a member of Collage Camp to check these out!  Order in the next 48 hours and they are guaranteed to arrive to you or your gift recipient by Christmas Eve.

But put an on-line class in their stocking and no shipping is necessary! I will send a special artsy e-mail to you to send to them announcing your gift and how they can access the classes. Collage Camp (my main workshop) is almost half off right now at http://collagecamp.ning.com/page/lipstick-ranch-gifts...just for the holidays!


Happy Happy...Merry Merry.

KC

Please check out my new blog the Trinity and the Trailer Park!




Monday, November 29, 2010

The Trinity and The Trailer Park

"The two things that most shaped me...for better and for worse...were being raised in the Southern Baptist Church and spending a lot of my youth in the microcosm of society known as the trailer park. These are descriptors...when attached to your name...do not get you nominated for homecoming queen."


The rest of this Blog can be found in my new blog....The Trinity and the Trailer Park. Lipstick Ranch will be my blog for art and whatever....the other is where I will tell the stories of my life. Never a dull moment there...I promise you. I hope you will follow both.

Love you. Mean It.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Their Spirit is Fireproof

On Labor Day I went to my gallery for a little while to meet with some folks who were visiting from out of town and wanted to come to my studio. When I drove to the gallery it was a clear and beautiful day. When I headed back home the world had changed for some folks living in the foothills west of Boulder. I came up over a hill heading back home and it looked like the mountains had disappeared...behind a big, dark wall of smoke that seemed to go on as far as I could see. I quickly scanned the horizon (what there was of it) to get a feel for where my home was compared to the smoke. I felt a momentary sense of relief, but the further I drove, the grander in scale this thing seemed to get. This did not look good. The air was thick with smoke and by time I got home ash covered my back deck.

When all was said and done over 60 homes were destroyed many in a beautiful place called Sunshine Canyon. Darkness had come to the happy mountain road. But what I was most concerned with was whether my friend Rosie's childhood home, the home her dad grew up in was still there. Yes, this was a family home, but it was so much more. This was Colorado Mountain Ranch. A kid's camp, an adult retreat, a place for weddings, horses, fun, adventure. This was a piece of this area's history for over half a century. Families could trace generations that had spent childhood summers at this place.

Finally I got a hold of Rosie's boyfriend TJ. Now let me digress a moment....because here is how I came to be connected to Rosie and the Ranch. TJ is Rosie's guy, but he is also my guy...my third stepson. Seven years ago I backed my U-Haul up into a driveway here in Longmont and this cute, thirteen year old kid knocked on my door and asked if he could earn ten bucks helping me unload. I said sure....and he has been a part of my life and my family ever since. When he got a little too rambunctious in his teens and got in a wee bit of trouble...Logan and I helped steer him clear of bigger problems. We believed in him. In the last years of my aging Labradors lives it was TJ I most often trusted them to when I couldn't be home. My Chocolate Lab, Josie, was completely blind the last few years of her life and I was devoted to her well-being. I trusted very few people to see to it that she was kept safe. I trusted TJ. When Josie would hear his voice she would get into such a hurry to get to him that she looked like she was inside a pinball machine...ricocheting off of walls she couldn't see in her hurry to get to him.  He loved my Yellow Lab, Buster, and he cried with me when we lost him.
Today, at almost 21, he has a family with Rosie and Baby Jade.

So when I heard his voice the day after the fire started...I knew it wasn't good. But I asked anyway. "Is Rosie's house ok?" "Nope,"  he said bluntly. "It's gone."  "The Ranch?" I asked.  He just got real quiet. "Alot of it is gone."

Somehow they managed to get over 30 horses down off the mountain to safety that day. Rosie's dad, Mike, never left the property during the entire firefight. Through his efforts the Lodge and other buildings that would have been lost are still standing. And even though their home is gone, Mike and Lynn Walker's main concern is to rebuild the Ranch so the kids can come again next summer. Not five years from now. Next summer!

That's where Art comes in. The week after the fire Rosie asked me if I wanted some horseshoes. TJ had told her I liked old, rusty stuff. I have NO idea where he got that notion. Rosie said they had horseshoes "and other stuff." She also explained that if I didn't take some of these things from the rubble, bulldozers would haul them away. The next day she and TJ unloaded a Suburban full of wagon wheels and saddle parts in our driveway and a few days later they took Logan up to The Ranch and he came home with another truck full. We stood looking at the piles and we immediately knew what needed to be done. We would make art from the remnants of the worst fire in Colorado's history and we would benefit the Colorado Mountain Ranch with the sales. From my Ranch to their Ranch. Made perfect sense.

 So to make a long blog even longer....for the past 6 weeks the Lipstick Ranch studio has been on fire in an entirely different way. Logan has been making amazing larger pieces with components of the ranch fire debris and me and my gals (Rosie included) have been making our own tributes...big and small. When Rosie first brought me piles of horseshoes I thought I most likely wouldn't do anything with them. Horseshoe art is a little cliche for me. I vowed to not touch them unless I could do something really different...something that looked like what I do. Something Lipstick Ranchey...like maybe girly horseshoes?

And this piece, one of my favorites, has become the Signature Piece for the Ranch to Ranch Art Show and Benefit. I made it from items that had been in the barn. Curry combs (horse combs), hinges from the doors and buckles from harnesses all housed in a beautiful frame that Logan made. It's called The Garden. Things in a garden "go to ground" as they say in the south and then they grow again. Parts of Colorado Mountain Ranch have gone to ground...but they will grow again, as well.


So tomorrow night, November 4th, 2010, Logan and I will welcome the Walker Family and a hundred or so of our closest friends into our gallery for  the Opening Reception of this benefit show that will run until December 4th. Some of the artwork is available on line. A great way for folks who can't make the show to own a piece of the work and contribute to the rebuilding.

All of us who have worked on art for this show have been honored to hold pieces of this wonderful place in our hands and breathe new life into them. The iron and rust have survived the flames, but so has the spirit of this community and the Walker family, along with everyone who loves this Ranch. It will come back to life. Kids will stand on the wagon and have their pictures taken. Horses will be saddled up on a cool, mountain morning...and laughter will echo off the mountains again.

Fireproof hearts...fireproof dreams.



Ranch to Ranch Benefit
KC Willis Studio and Gallery
321 Main Street
Longmont, CO
303-834-9419
November 4th-December 4th, 2010
Opening Reception, Thursday, November 4th... 6-9 p.m.
Open Gallery Night, November 11, 2010 6-9
Closing Reception, December 4th, 6-9


To donate directly to the Colorado Mountain Ranch visit www.coloradomountainranch.com

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Walk down HGTV Memory Lane

 One of my favorite moments regarding this HGTV piece that was done a few moons ago...is that when my family gathered around the TV to watch it for the first time....when I came on the screen...my sister Rhonda commented very calmly about my hairstyle...."Oh look-she's got a bitch-flip." I get no respect.



Sunday, October 31, 2010

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Times Like These

It's been a tough year for a lot of people....myself included. These Art Streets are mean streets these days. Spend way too much time hanging out at the corner of Frustration and Overwhelm waiting for the light to turn green. It does....I start walking... and I get hit by a big old truck with Torn Rotator Cuffs Are Us written on the side. What's a girl to do?

Well no one would blame me if I just took some time off and did a little window shopping for a new dream. But ya know what? I like my old one just fine, thank you. It's my dream...my mixed media dream and it was given to me by a God who meant for me to have it. You got one of those? A God-dream? Well if you do my friend you've got to fight for it. No rolling up the sidewalk on your street and calling it a day. Dreams are important and sometimes you've just got to fight for them. Dress yourself in that Armor every day and kick some dream-killing ass. When people bring you their negativity, telling you that art will never take care of you....well you just kick some of that too.  And that is best kicked with confidence, determination and never-give-up-ness.

And here's another little thing I learned....a little thing that will turn everything you do on it's ear if you will live by it. Times tough? Do something for someone else. Make it about someone other than you. Money tight? Give your last ten bucks to the guy who has ten cents. Are you hurting? Hold someone's hand who is hurting even more.  In need of something that will make your life better....give some stuff away. Be available to the world around you and you will stir things up in ways you never imagined. 

So in the midst of fighting for that dream of yours...don't forget to play a part in helping someone else fight for theirs. Stand firm. Stand tall. Ain't no kind of wind can blow us over when we are on the side of what's right for us. Oh sure...I might bend in that wind a little, but that's just cause I'm stretchin'.

Love You. Mean It.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Lesley Riley and Me....Teaching Together

Just a quick baby blogette to let you know that Lesley Riley and I will be teaching a two-day workshop together at my studio and gallery here in Colorado in May 2011! Needless to say I am very excited about this finally happening. This has been years in the making. The class promises to be filled with laughter, technique, inspiration and info on how to sell you work with the right marketing mindset. Fabulous Fun!

The complete two-day itinerary can be found at www.studioretreats.ning.com.


Art & Attitude :: Marketing & Meaning
KC Willis :: Lesley Riley
A Weekend of Discovery & Direction


Friday and Saturday, May 6-7, 2011
KC Willis Studio and Gallery
Longmont, CO


Thanks for checking it out!  Love you. Mean it.


KC

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Jenny Doh, Sarah Fishburn and I Wanna Give You Stuff

Vision. Some people say I have vision. Others...I'm quite sure....think I am hallucinating. Maybe there's not that much difference between the two. They are both seeing things differently from what they are. I stand in my big ol' gallery sometimes and I see you. I see you filling up this space with laughter, tears, art and strength. I see women encouraging each other...I feel you encouraging me. I see the lights that shine on the art on the walls and I see the light that shines from you...illuminating the woman next to you....who could use a little more light in her life. I see minds opening and hearts expanding to take in new thoughts and dreams....and I see the generosity of the fortunate women that we are... giving to those artists who are in need of a little dream-come-true-stand-on-our shoulders help. Ain't we amazing?

Ok...I'm hallucinating. Or am I? Four times next year I will open my doors to groups of women and we will change each others lives. But I am not a big art retreat....I don't have massive amounts of artists waiting to sign up for events that they have known about for years. This is a new thing going on here. I am a single artist fighting like heck to maintain a vision and not have it be a hallucination. There's not a whole lot of folks in the world who know about this Colorado Collage Conference with Jenny Doh and Sarah Fishburn, The Faith-based Conference...Imagination Congregation is a well-kept secret....and Rebecca Ersfeld (of Vintage Living fame) is joining me in March for this vision of mine.

So how do we get the word out about these special, (limited to only 25 folks) events? How about if I told you that I am collaging a box, as we speak. In that box will be special goodies packed just for you from the studios of Jenny Doh, Sarah Fishburn, Rebecca Ersfeld and Yours Truly. Talk about Christmas coming early! I can't wait to see what they put in the box! Oh I love surprises!

So take a peek at these 2 amazing events and tell your friends in a blog with a link to www.studioretreats.ning.com (or e-mail to your list)...write back here and let me know you did that (with a link to your gushing words) and you are in the drawing.  I will ask one of these wonderful women to draw a name on November 15th.

Thanks my friends....

You see...I have a vision...and you are in it.

Love you. Mean it.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Finally....

Hi there! Just a really quick note to let you know that my Marketing Mindset workshop is now available on DVD.  In these first series of videos I teach using straight-forward practical advice, 10 years of successfully marketing my work...and more than just a little motivation to see you through. An abundance of information for whatever your medium.
The videos on the 2 discs are:
•Developing Your Signature Style (I have had class participants tell me that this video changed things for them in a big way)
•Selling Your Work Consignment
•Selling Your Work Wholesale (this is how I do most of my business...lots to learn here)
 and...
•Developing an Internet Presence



Check out http://www.lipstickranch.com/books.html or press the Learning with KC icon on the blog here... to purchase this set of videos for only $73. This is a tax deductible item that may be a game-changer for you. These DVD's are burned, packaged and ready to ship immediately. No delay. :-)

This class is also available in an on-line version at www.marketingmindset.ning.com.

Just sayin....

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Imagination Congregation

Dear Ones....

Ya know...I have been all over the place this past year and half in search of exactly what it is I am supposed to be doing with my life.....Teaching. It just keeps coming back to teaching....and perhaps a little bit of preaching. :-) (Check out the blog just before this one for the story) So let me share this with you...  Take a peek and if you are so inclined...please link to this...write about this. I am not going to offer a giveaway to entice you....I am simply going to trust that once you read this you will WANT to open the doors for others to see what is in the works.

I believe art can change people's lives. It is through the work of an artist's hands that hope and joy is spread to the hearts of those who stand in front of it and whisper under their breath..."Cool."


You see...I have a vision....
To create a Movement that encourages Christian artists to make art that glorifies the Lord, but prove that Christian art can be sophisticated, smart, and collectible by the art community in general. When you say Christian Art (and I would like to have a different word for it even) people think Christian Gift Store "happy hands at home" stuff. Not that that doesn't have its audience....it does...but I want a place where Spirit-filled artists are taught the "back-story" to making their art. That they don't have to have to paint the image of Christ to make Christ-inspired work. If in the making of their work, and the interacting with the public in selling their work they evoke the Gifts of the Spirit...love, joy, peace, kindness etc. this is Spirit-filled work. If there is a sense of gratitude for the moments when we can create the work of our hands...this is Spirit-filled work. And we can step into Art and beyond it into a place where Artists play a part in keeping hope and joy alive in a world that has less and less of it.
I want to encourage artists to understand that art that is made by hands that belong to God are making God-inspired art. We can send a message of hope and peace to the world if we are worshiping the Lord by honoring the creative gifts he has given us. This is a real general overview. When I make a piece of art with a Native American woman on it and the quote is one of hope and then someone who owns a piece of that work says she reads it everyday before she goes to Chemo.....Praise be to God...He is being honored in my work.
And I also feel compelled to encourage artists to give back....maybe even especially to other artists. For example...I know a doll artist in Texas who recently left an abusive marriage and is starting over. She longs to begin making dolls again and sell them again. As part of this art ministry I would love to be able to connect artists who have an abundance with artists who don't. Hooking them up to share supplies, knowledge of selling on Etsy or blog-building...that kind of thing. We are after all our sister's keeper. :-) Imagine this.....


IMAGINATION CONGREGATION

A Multi-Day Workshop and Seminar Experience...Honoring God with Your Art
KC Willis Studio and Gallery...The Main Street Teaching Space
Longmont, CO
March 18-21. 2011
With Guest Speaker/Artist Rebecca Ersfeld
June 2-5, 2011
Guest Speaker/Artist TBA


Limited to 20 Participants....




Day One:
Morning Session...KC Willis

Imagine....
"Art and the Believer....Beyond Inspiring" (plus KC's Testimony) and "Artistic Attitudes that Align with God's"

Afternoon Session: Art Workshop
Imagine.... "Joyful, Joyful..we create"
Exploring the techniques of improv and inspiration moving quickly and confidently through the creative process without over-thinking it.
Most materials included for the $25 materials fee.

Day Two
Morning Session...KC Willis
Imagine...
"Art and The Gifts of The Spirit"

Afternoon Session...Art Workshop
Imagine..."Creating a Personal Devotion Space in Your Home or Studio"
In this fun, half day class we will create a personal "Altar" using an old drawer or an old window (included in the materials fee) that will become the focal point of a prayer corner or devotional space in your home or studio.
Most materials included. $40 materials fee.




Day Three
Morning Session...Lecture Seminar
Imagine.......An amazing morning with Rebecca Ersfeld
"A Re-Purposed Life"
Plus Rebecca teaches a mini-workshop on cold connection jewelry. In this fun and meaningful class you will create a necklace or bracelet out of found objects. Taking something broken and making something beautiful to wear that will remind us of the work the Lord is doing in us on a daily basis.

Afternoon Session...
Imagine...."Cross Marketing" Marketing Spirit-Filled Art to a Mainstream Market

Special Evening Dinner with KC and Rebecca

Day Four
Morning Session...
Imagine...Art and The Believer....Art and Redemption...Taking it into the world with a new message.
Afternoon Session...
Imagine..."Today's Scrolls" An art workshop to create a collage piece made entirely of paper mounted to canvas. On it we will make a series of artsy scrolls where we will write our thoughts, prayers, blessings etc and seal them in wax. These words will hang on the walls of our studio or home prayer space.
All materials included for the $25 materials fee.


And in Closing...
Imagine... Giving Back to Artists in Need "My Sister's Keeper." Introduction to a program we are developing where artists who have an abundance help struggling artists with supplies, encouragement, or practical advice etc.

For those of you who want to soak up all the marketing info, inspiration and collage workshops that you can possibly squeeze into a 5-day event and are not inclined to making it a spiritual retreat...you gotta check out Colorado Collage Conference with special guest, Jenny Doh! January and June 2011.

Thanks dear friends for taking a peek.  "Cool."

Love you. Mean it.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Times They Are A Changin'...

Hello dear ones....Do you ever have those months (no, not days MONTHS) where everything seems to just get turned completely upside down? Nothing is as it was...and it is scary as heck. You have trouble falling asleep, no matter how tired you are and then you wake up in the middle of the night with your heart pounding and fear is the blanket you are sleeping under?  That's what I've been living. And you know what....I am so grateful for it. Granted I'll be equally as grateful when it's over...but I needed to go through this. I needed to turn my life in a different direction. I screw things up fairly regularly in my life and God just keeps reminding me I am a Child of Grace and He is looking out for me...in His own kick-my-butt kind of way.  I insisted on sailing my ship in MY direction...and He kept showing me the GPS (God Positioning System)  and said I was gonna get lost. I didn't listen...really...just sort of...sure that he would turn my ship at the last minute just like he always had. This time though....he sank my battleship.

I began having trouble with my arm in early August. A slight ache that wouldn't go away after my long drive to and from L.A. became an injury that really limited my life. I thought one had to serve tennis balls for a couple of decades to get a rotator cuff injury. Alas....'tis not the case. Apparently ten years of ripping fabric will do the trick. So for two months now I have been in almost constant discomfort. Sometimes out and out pain, mostly just uncomfortable and limited in what I can do. Now if you are someone who knows me at all...me and limitations are not the best of friends. But it became very clear to me in early September that there was no way in the world I was going to be able to drive to and from the East Coast. Even flying was considered and then decided against. I was just in too much pain too often. So with a heavy heart....I canceled a 5 week teaching tour. Very sad. I was so thankful for all the wonderful support from those on the other end of the trip that was not to be.

So I stood under my grapevine covered arbor out in my garden every morning and talked to God. After all He IS the Vine. Many times I felt like David in the book of Psalms....."Hellooooooo are you there? I'm dyin' here!"  David might have been a tad bit more eloquent. But God became silent and still (except for the moments he was busy sinking my ship) and I started to feel rejected, confused and then angry. What the heck! I'm doing my best here! You told me this is what you wanted me to do! You said to teach! Give it all away. Well I'm trying to teach....I have given it all away and you have completely abandoned me! Hellooooooo!

Then my niece Meghan came to live with us. An angel. My angel. Through her eyes I began to see things differently. She had just been through a really rough time and was so grateful for every little thing. She started posting pictures on her Facebook in an album called "My New Life." Pictures of a raspberry bush, a funny looking little dog, an art studio, a leaf on the ground, a peach pie on a countertop, sun tea on a deck railing.  I looked at those pictures and I smiled. Nice new life ya got there, kid. But wait a minute...the life she was taking pictures of was mine. That was my dog and my peach pie!

And then I thought about David again.

Yes, he had railed against God and complained that he had abandoned him in his time of greatest need, but he also did something I had stopped doing. I had stopped being grateful....I mean REALLY grateful. Not the kind of grateful after you are almost in a car wreck, but avoided it. I am talking about a state of thankfulness. Grateful for a raspberry bush. David would complain (alot actually) but he usually sandwiched it in between thanking God and saying He was good. I mostly complained. I see now that God wants me to trust Him. I can not trust Him to take care of me...to clear the road for me...when I am not grateful for the road in the first place. And so I stopped complaining (mostly) and started thanking him in the time under my grapevine. And you know what? He said to me just this morning...."Ok...new ship...get on it...trust me to be the wind in the sails."

Now? Yep...now.

2011 will be the last year I will be teaching my collage techniques in a strictly Art Workshop environment. Oh I'll still make art...I'll make lots and lots of art. I will no longer teach what I do unless it is a part of something a bit more meaningful...more well rounded. After 2011, I will begin to limit myself to teaching in my Colorado Collage Conference held twice a year and in my Imagination Congregation, also twice a year. One will focus on Art, Marketing and Motivation and the later on God and Art....combining the two into a creative life that will change lives. I am determined to finish my book of humorous, personal essays called "The Trinity and The Trailer Park" and to speak around the country about the art I love and the Grace that saved my life in more ways than one. I'm gonna be an Art Preacher.  I'm going to dedicate myself to a Mixed Media Ministry.

So this is the new ship. The U.S.S. Honor the Father.  Wanna sail with me?

Love you. Mean it.


To see the schedule for Imagination Congregation visit www.studioretreats.ning.com

Monday, September 27, 2010

Jenny Doh is Coming to Colorado

They were probably wondering what we could talk about so long and so excitedly. What the wait staff at the great little restaurant in Santa Ana, CA didn't realize was that they were lucky we didn't stay there until midnight. :-) KC Willis and Jenny Doh exchanging ideas was one fun lunch! It was an awesome experience to meet someone whose energy matched mine and whose passion for what she does and for all things mixed media is so contagious.

KC and Jenny in Santa Ana


So when the idea of Colorado Collage Conference became a reality a few days ago....Jenny was the first person I called. And when she immediately said yes and we spent some time on the phone talking exchanging ideas I knew this was going to be something special. I knew it was time. It has been in my line of vision, since I began offering workshops last year, to host an event in Colorado that would allow artists to come together for a multi-day event encompassing art workshops, motivational gatherings and marketing seminars....all in one trip to our gorgeous part of the world. You really must check out the great schedule we have worked out for the Collage Conference.
One of the walls in my oh-so-spacious gallery
But I also wanted to keep it small. By limiting the conference to only 25, Jenny and I will be able to spend good "eye contact time"; good sharing and getting-to-know-time with each artist attending. Dinners and lunches will be with a "family of artists" and not a gymnasium of artists. Know what I mean? :-)  Good times. Good times.


The front of my gallery on Main Street Longmont, CO

It is my intention to share everything I know with anyone who wants to listen. I love to teach art, to inspire and motivate with storytelling and to empower by bringing out the strengths inherent in each individual. And with Jenny Doh here to speak, interact at the workshops and be present in a way that she is rarely able to be...this will be one special artistic romp. I have set The Conference up so that you can purchase those days you want to be in session with us, one day at a time or plan to be here all 5 days at a special discounted price.

This is a brand new event so it's going to take some time to get the word out to the mixed-media world. Won't you help share this exciting event? Just hit the Share button here on the sidebar or better yet...mention it in a blog and attach a link to www.studioretreats.ning.com. Leave a comment saying you have done that and you could be the winner of a box of goodies put together by Jenny and I....just for you. Sweet!

And I want to thank all of you for all your support since I stepped into Blogland and Teaching-Land in Spring 2009. What a difference you have made to my world.

Love you. Mean it.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Piece and Possibilities

Hi All! We have had a busy week getting caught up on ALL our orders for KC Collage Camp Kits, Altered Book Kits and Workshops in a Bag. They are all on their way and it feels great.  A few of you ordered a small piece of my work to go along with your workshop DVD's so you could have a sample to look at. Good idea. So good in fact that we now have a 12x14 original fiber collage piece with a pocket on the back with all of my art workshop DVD's on it. So you get the classes, a sample piece to look at while you make yours...which later becomes a great piece of art for the wall.

So many of my ideas for marketing come from you all telling me what you want. Thanks so much. You inspire me.

Everything from the little Workshops in a Bag to the big-enough-to-be-a-purse, Pouch O' Possibilities and now this....comes from your suggestions and my running wild with them. You asked for my Marketing Mindset workshop to be available on DVD (so you can get it together as far as selling your work goes)...and so they are.

All of these very cool things help me bring my classes and my work to you...when an injured arm insists I not travel this fall. :-(  Thank you all for your prayers and good wishes.

Love you. Mean it.


Monday, September 13, 2010

The Be-Gratitudes

I went looking for a change in attitude...but opted instead for a change of gratitude. Here's my list.


Blessed are those with family....for they shall always have a home.

Blessed are the positive...for they shall pass on hope.

Blessed are the healthy...for they shall have the strength to help the ill.

Blessed is the gift of creativity...for it will always remind us of the ultimate Creator.

Blessed are the animals...for they shall remind us what it is to love without reservation.

Blessed is a sense of humor for we can always laugh at ourselves.

Blessed are those who have a roof over their heads....for they have a roof over their heads.

Blessed are those with compassion...for they will entertain angels unaware.

Blessed are those who are grateful...for they shall never feel the lack.

Blessed are those who embrace joy....for they shall shine.




Chances are I can come up with a few more...how 'bout you? Blessed are they who share this post.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Colorado Collage Conference


Just wanted you all to know I am serious about teaching and about helping to change artistic lives....


This is my answer to everyone who has said they wished they could take more than one class when they make a trip to my beautiful Colorado....

Colorado Collage Conference.... Art Workshops....Marketing Classes....Writing Classes and Sessions all about empowering you. All in one multi-day shindig at my gallery and workshop space in Longmont, Colorado.

Love you. Mean it.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Heart Dogs




I was never much of an animal person. Not intentionally....just never had any...at all. My folks weren't keen on animals in the house...or how expensive they could be. So we just never owned so much as a hamster. My lack of interaction with dogs became sort of a fear of them later in life as much as an "I don't really like dogs" sort of attitude. I recall a friend of a roommate coming to spend the night and she brought her small dog. I used the no-dogs-allowed in our apartment building as an excuse to send her over to another friend's house. Sheesh. I just didn't like dogs.

Then I married a man who from the get-go dreamed of having a dog...a Labrador in particular...a Yellow Lab to be exact. For the first ten years of our marriage, whenever he saw a Lab, this usually reserved- to-the-point-of-being-boring-man would say "Woof!" No matter where he was or who was listening. I sensed that a dog might bring out the best in him.

I'm not even sure what happened to make it finally seem like I couldn't put it off any longer. Maybe if was the fact that I realized he would never want children. I didn't either...if truth be told, so I thought a dog might fill the gap I felt existed in our marriage. I said ok...get a dog...have your Lab...but he's got to stay out in the yard...and no dogs on the bed! I regretted the ok as soon as I said it.

In June of 1992...something amazing happened in my life and I would never even come close to being the same again. He was 8 weeks old, weighed not much... And chewed on everything in sight. He got into the trash, ate my shoes, piddled on the carpet and was a general handful. His name was Buster and he changed my life. I was referred to as Mommy and I was never alone again. It took me a few months to open up my heart to this little, yellow guy, after all I had never loved an animal before... but when it happened the world was a different place from that point on. And limit him to the yard and no getting on the bed? Fahgettaboutit. Never happened.
My first husband was a well-known jazz musician and he was gone 6 months out of the year. I loved my time alone....but I didn't like being lonely. Now that I think about it...even when he was home I was lonely. But Buster was always by my side in a way that only a dog can be....and he taught me how to be a better person. With him came patience, humor, sweetness, unconditional love and puppy breath. I was hooked. I was completely and totally in love with a much younger guy who never kept score, never judged me and who lived for the moment I walked in the door. A year later we got his Chocolate female counterpart and I had a family. Buster and Josie...oh yeah...and what's his name.

With the addition of Josie it was very different experience. I had a year as a dog-mom and I knew what that meant. When we picked up this little brown girl I was in love immediately. Buster had taught me how to do that. I named her after the feisty heroine in the novel I was writing and she proceeded to rule the roost. She was 10 weeks old and she took sticks right out of Buster's mouth, hid his toys (or at least it looked like that's what she was doing) and in general told him how it was gonna be. The sweet, gentle guy that he was....let her have her way. He never got rough with her. The first time we put her in "Buster's Pool" he sat beside it and looked at me as if to say..."Uh...mom...you've GOT to be kidding." They slept next to each other for 11 years. She would whine and look out the window if he went somewhere without her, and years later when she lost her sight, he would get between her and any other dog we passed. Buster and Josie....those 3 words were really one word.

When what's-his-name ran off with what's-her-name I said give me the television and the dogs and be on your merry way. He left for Barcelona and I left the t.v. on for the dogs. During the emotional few months that followed the end of a 20 year marriage...I had my dogs. They slept with me, got me outside when I would have preferred to stay behind closed blinds, smiled at me when I used my Mommy voice and when I cried Buster would actually worry. Even if he was in the other room or sound asleep, if he heard me crying he would literally get in my face. More than once he wiped my tears away....with a big Labrador tongue, his tail wagging telling me it was okay. He was the man in my life now and he seemed to know it. I can't even begin to imagine going through what I did without these amazing creatures by my side. Josie began to lose her sight when she was nine and for the next six years keeping her safe and secure was one of my main goals in life. Even completely blind she was such a happy dog...she was my girl.
Two years later I met Logan and he and the boys opened up their hearts and their home to me and my two dog-kids. You know a man loves you when he takes in you, a slowing, aging old boy and a completely blind girl. He understood they were my children, he understood they were where all my maternal instincts had been devoted for many years...he understood these two were my heart dogs.

Six years ago I lost Buster suddenly. On Sunday evening he was fine....by Thursday he was gone. I was there with him at the Vet and I stayed with him almost until the end and then I got overwhelmed...and scared. I had never experienced anything like this before. Logan took my place. I couldn't do it. Needless to say I came to regret that decision, but it was done and Buster Man had a guy who loved him very much seeing him through to the end...his head on Logan's lap. Josie looked for him for days. My big yellow guy was gone. A week later, on my birthday, I received his ashes. No finer gift.
And just a little over two years ago, Josie, who lived to be 15 years old, told me she had had enough. I knew I would know when it was time and I did. This time I stayed to the end. Logan, Tate and I sat on the floor with her and she went on to the Rainbow Bridge with all three of us touching her and telling her we loved her. That's exactly how I want to go, thank you.

So now I know. Now I know what it's like to receive pure love. Pure. Love. And I know what it's like to be devoted to an animal. To have a place inside me come so alive that it never dies...even when they do. What an amazing gift God has given us with these beautiful, warm creatures we are privileged to spend our lives with. And still they are here with me. Not in some weird, macabre way, but in that way that you are not the same because they were here. Their collars hang casually at the end of our balustrade and once in awhile I touch them and am reminded of the amazing personalities that once wore them. I am so thankful for them. In the last couple years of Josie's life she would find her way to the bedroom at night and search out her blanket. I would sometimes say out loud "Good night, Miss Josie, Mommy loves you" so she would know I was there. Now I say it out loud once in awhile to remind me that she is there.

And so life goes on. I have had moments, though, when I am sad about one thing or another and thoughts of these two come to me and I feel a moment of surprise that I have actually been able to go on without them. But I honor them even today when I teach. In Collage Camp quite a few members chose to do a piece with an image of the dog or cat (or horse) they had loved and lost as their theme image. Such beautiful work was done.  And so their legacy lives on.

Thank you Buster and Josie for all you have done for me. I will never stop loving you. And one day when my Father in Heaven welcomes me home and all my family is there to greet me...they will have to wait for their embrace, because Buster and Josie will get to me first.

Happy Dogs. Healthy Dogs. Heart Dogs.



Monday, August 30, 2010

Giveaway Winner!


We have a Winner! My niece Meghan, who is staying with me right now, drew the name for the giveaway mentioned 2 blogs ago. A $200 art shopping spree on www.lipstickranch.com! The winner is Miss Sandy! Ok girl...drop me a line and we can work out the particulars. I can be reached on the contact portion of the site. Congratulations! Thanks everyone for all your great comments and blog posts. As a good friend of mine always says...."Love you-mean it."

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

When Words Are All You Have

This is the story I wrote recently for my friend, Jenny Doh. It was part of her Art Saves project on her site.

Words from today...about the words of yesterday...empowering tomorrow.



I make my living as an artist, but until this medium walked into my life (OK rode in on a horse) I had never made anything with my hands before. I make my living sewing, but I don't know how to sew. I never took an art workshop in my life ... but I was in love with art books and dreamed of paintbrushes in tin cans on windowsills. Problem was I couldn't paint. I thought I couldn’t be an artist because I couldn't draw. That is until the day I first put layers of paper and fabric together and changed my world.

Empowering with Words
In my twenties and even into my thirties I was a professional singer. A songbird is a storyteller with lyrics. When I retired from the road I put pencil to paper and wrote a novel ... definitely a storyteller in an obvious way there. And when I first began to do the work that is now my signature style, words were a part of it ... and still are. So the thread of storytelling continues through my life. This time I am singing with mixed-media at the top of my lungs. Words. Always words. Everything I do they are a part of it.

So when I began to send “my girls” out the door of Lipstick Ranch and into the world, women began to send me their own words ... telling me how they read the piece of my art they owned before they walked out the door to a job they hated or before they went to chemo. They told me how the words I wrote on my work were their saving grace in a day without laughter, in a house where they were powerless. I was humbled and prayed I would always put my best self into my words and that they would continue to make a difference, continue to empower women.

Tears & Anger
Then one day in 2002, completely out of the blue, my husband of 21 years announced he wanted a divorce and that he was in love with a girl 25 years younger than me that he had known for two weeks. All righty then. It was a marriage whose better days had come and gone and I had often thought that it should end ... BUT no woman wants the man she has been with for half her life to leave her for a girl who was 4 when they got married. I was so angry. Quite sure I could have spit nails. But when I get angry I don't spit nails ... I cry. It’s just what I do. The girls I breathe life into in my work are perfectly capable of said spitting, but I am a crier. Everything came to a halt as I cried from morning to night ... pacing, angry woman, sometimes little girl lost ... but always crying. Then I got angry that I was crying so much. Problem was I cry when I get angry. Needless to say my work came to a halt, walking my dogs became a chore, everything changed.

But three weeks into this shift in my life a friend of mine called me. It was midnight ... she had had an epiphany ... and probably a couple of vodkas, but nonetheless. My phone rang and she said very emphatically, “KC! Go in your studio and read your own work!” Excuse me? I know what my works says. What the heck good was that gonna' do? She insisted, saying, “No, I mean really read it. Take it in like you've never seen the words before. Please.” She loved me, but she was also sick and tired of the crying. I could hear the begging in her voice.

Women from the Past
So I hung up the phone and went into my studio. There they were ... the women from the past ... all over my walls. I didn’t need to walk from piece to piece and read the words. I had written them. I knew them by heart. What I needed to do was listen to them. Shhhhh. Listen. So I closed my eyes and heard their words ... this time speak to me. “My hands are strong, my back is strong, but most importantly my heart is strong,” “If a girl wants to be a legend, she should go ahead and be one,” and “I may look like a girl still, but it was the women in me who made it over the mountains.”

I had sent hundreds of pieces out into the world. Pieces that had inspired and empowered the women who owned them. But now they were giving it right back to me. I walked out of that room, never shed another tear, and have never looked back. Words sent out ... coming back home.

Full Circle.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Bye Bye Box...Hello Giveaway!



Well it's been real....it's been fun....it's been real fun...but KC in a Box is going away. Sort of. It has been an amazing few months trying our darndest to keep up with the orders from all over the planet. But alas....I must admit...the delay in getting these out sometimes has been in getting our hands on the boxes (and my AADD under control) :-) So I did some thinking....I do a lot of that. What you all loved about the boxes was the signed collage on the outside and the three workshop DVD's on the inside. The box was a groovy apparatus for holding little bits from my studio. But not everybody wanted the bits....seemed though that everybody did want the DVD's.


Soooooo.....how about a compromise? Let's do a funky little collaged fabric bag with a signed KC collage on the outside, stuffed full of hours of mixed media workshops on the inside (in the form of my DVD's) and get it out the door to you within 3 days of your order (instead of 3 weeks). KC Willis Collage Camp, Altered Books, as well as Altars and Shrines. Imagine the possibilities! Workshops in a Bag! Which is exactly what we will call it.


KC in a Box will be available for one more week. So if you got the box, loved the box and want your art buddies to have a box....best let them know about it pronto. They can get it right here on my blog. As a matter of fact, in order to give the beloved box a proper last hurrah.....I am going to do a giveaway on said blog. Write a few sentences on your blog about the box and it's final days with a link to this blog and I'll put your name in a drawing for a $200 Lipstick Ranch art shopping spree (art being the key word here). Mention my live workshops (a step up from the box for those interested in stepping up) and add the link to www.studioretreats.ning.com in the same blog and your name will get entered twice! Mention Collage Camp...my on-line workshop and link to (www.collagecamp.ning.com) and your name will be in the drawing yet again. How often to you legally get to enter a giveaway three times? Drawing held on August 25th. All you have to do (besides do the aforementioned) is leave a comment on this blog that you have done that, post link back to your blog so I can take a peek and voila.....entered...potentially multiple times. $200...not too shabby.

So bye, bye box.

Love ya.

Mean it.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Collage Camp Live! Going Nationwide!





Hi Friends....Hope your week is off to a great start. We are busy here at my gallery getting ready for the amazing Judy Wilkenfeld workshop here beginning Friday. Just a quick blog to invite you to take a peek at the new workshops added to my workshop site www.studioretreats.ning.com.

I will be in the Midwest and on the East Coast beginning September 15th for about 5 weeks. I'd call that a tour! Now if I only had a bus. I will be teaching in Wisconsin, Ohio, the mountains of VA, Maine, Connecticut (Art is You), the DC area and North Carolina. I am working on New York City and NJ. Holy cow. These are very special one and two-day classes taking place in everything from an art store in the city to a farm in the mountains of Virginia. I really hope you would take a peek at the details. Something might just grab you.

I will be teaching in Memphis and back to North Carolina in December. These 2 classes are posted at www.studioretreats.ning.com/page/kc-on-the-road already. I am working on Springfield, MO, Savannah, GA and Ocala, Florida for this trip as well.

Check out the KC on the Road 2011 while you're on the site. Phoenix, San Diego, Amarillo, TX and Clark Mansion outside of Austin are there. The Mabel Dodge House in Taos, NM coming soon.

Thanks friends...Let me know if you have any questions.
And forward this blog to your artsy friends! :-)

Many thanks and many blessings....

KC
www.lipstickranch.com

Monday, August 2, 2010

Heading to Arizona


Arizona in the middle of winter? Dare I say I can't wait! I'll be teaching a one-day class at Mystic Paper in Mesa the day before the Super Bowl, Feb 5th, 2011. This is a one-day class called "Mixed Media at Mystic" where I will give away all my secrets for the vintage collage work that is my signature style. I'll tell you everything I know and leave you with enough inspiration and motivation to last you 'til in snows in Phoenix. :-) This will be an intense day of working hard to complete a piece in a short period of time, but I promise you tons of good techniques and lots of laughs.

http://blip.tv/file/1994328

I mentioned "Mystic" to my on-line workshop participants at Collage Camp and it is over half full already from that announcement. So dally not! Info on this class and the ones to follow, as I head to San Diego after this class, can be found at www.studioretreats.ning.com/page/kc-on-the-road.

Thanks and have a great week everyone!



Watch my blog for a new look and a new purpose to my life and my work....gonna share it with you soon....right here. xxoo

Monday, July 12, 2010

Wonderful Wilkenfeld


See this book? I have held it in my hands. It is amazing. A week or so ago it arrived in a box with Australia written all over it. I knew what was in it and I couldn't wait to open it. Every page you turn is more amazing than the one before it. It is rich in history and rich in skill. The thought of learning the techniques that Judy teaches is pretty darn exciting. And to think the workshop that will show us how to make something as magnificent as this...will be held in my gallery in 4 short weeks.

There are 7 wonderful women signed up for this class and room for more. Judy isn't here every day...Judy doesn't live in the US. So if you look at these pictures and you feel your pulse beat a little faster...don't let this class get away from you. Three days with Judy (and I will be lurking about as well) will be an experience of a lifetime. Just ask anyone who has taken a class with the Wonderful Wilkenfeld. :-)
Hope to see you there.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Studio 54


I am 54 today! Don't tell anybody. And keep it quiet that I am actually NOT going into the studio today. :-)

Quite a few folks e-mailed me after the Collage Camp for $48 "thing" had ended. Felt bad about that. So here's the scoop...in honor of my 54th "Born day" Collage Camp will be only $54 from now until I leave for my workshops in California on Wed., July 14th. It's typically $75.

Tell all your Collage-y friends...or join yourself. I give away all my secrets in this very detailed and fun workshop. Believe me...you don't want to miss my secrets. :-) www.collagecamp.ning.com

I am off to Colorado Springs to spend 2 whole days "junkin'" with my sisters. Heaven.

Blog or inform your art group about this special and let me know you did that with a comment here and you will get in on a drawing for one of my Altered Books.

xxoo Thanks dear ones.