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 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 '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 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..."'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 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.