Thursday, October 8, 2015

New from the studio (fall art)

We're suspended in-between days of hot temperatures which feel like a tease that summer is still here and cool mornings where we dive back under the covers.  But overall the mysterious, cozy, moody sense of fall has arrived.  Foggy mornings and changing colors have certainly settled into my soul and fingers when painting lately.  

Several new autumn art pieces have lined the shelves of my shop, in honor of this brand new season. 

These minis are perfect for tucking into an envelope and sending a friend a treat…no tricks here!

These next few pieces are so dear to me but aren't finished yet. I've definitely been in the studio every single day, painting.  And I love that.  Some days it's for five minutes, other days an hour.  Some days I love what I paint, other days I want to throw it out.  But these pieces….I love.

I'm curious to see where these 8x10 canvas panels will end up.  The dark, rich shades of autumn are definitely affecting my color choices.  It feels different than my norm and I like that.  For the top piece with the circles, I wanted the dark to feel as dark as a winter night and the bright spots to feel as light as Christ's love that never, ever burns out.  Ever.  
I mentioned briefly on Instagram one day about having lots of artsyideas (as always), but not knowing what to do with them or where to put them or whether to say them out loud or keep quiet for now.  I miss the people that came with doing retreats and classes and craft nights.  But after two events having zero sign-ups it's hard to want to try another.  I'm not sure if I don't have the correct marketing or whether I should steer away from local classes and try an online one instead (so all you lovely blog readers could take it!).  We shall see.  For now, I bravely continue to paint, reminding myself "it's not the critic that counts, but the one who is daring greatly."  

God has this.  Totally not a cliche' thing to say, like He really does.  He wouldn't make my soul light up and pound hard over art and beauty and details and photography and people only to torture me with it. I'm loving my people and community well, praying to know my Jesus better, and waiting.  Praying for the right opportunities to come…for wisdom to know when to say yes and when to say no, for the right people to spur me on with the right intentions (you lovely readers already do that, thank-you), to not compare myself into quitting when it feels like there isn't room for me at the table…
real-life thoughts and prayers of showing up and being an artist.
I suppose my "plan" for my art for the next year to ten years or even longer kinda feels like this piece above.  Every time I have extra paint at the end of a session I wipe it here instead of wasting it.  I'm hoping to eventually create something beautiful from little dabs of this and that, that would have otherwise been wasted.  I have no plan for the next year, but to grow as an artist.  To fly. To take bits and pieces of life from here and there and make beautiful art with it.  Art that speaks to souls..that makes tears jump into eyes without warning. Art that makes us feel.

This work in progress is one of my top favorites I've ever done.  Something about that blue…
gets straight to my soul.  I'm excited to show you where this piece is headed once I work on this a bit more.

This happy space is my sanctuary.  You can't even imagine the prayers uttered by the thousands I've said while looking out that little window.  Thank-you for allowing me to share my journey as an artist with you.  It is one of my greatest pleasures to grow, stretch my wings, and paint and be able to share it with you.  Let's see where autumn and winter takes us, shall we? 
One day at a time, one painting at a time, one sketch at a time…putting heart and soul right onto the paper.  I'll be back soon to share more studio scenes, but until then,
dare greatly, my friends. 

(Shop Talk: 8x10 art prints are made with archival inks and Epson Ultra Premium Photo Paper Luster.  Original canvases have been sealed to protect them from the elements.  All packages mail in a sturdy, cardboard mailer with a Do Not Bend sticker and you are notified within 24 hours of purchase of your shipping date.  Each package always contains a little extra something) 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Homemade Chicken Pesto Pizza

Our garden has taken a turn for the worse, I'm afraid.  Back in August it just got so hot and we were surprised with a few days of rain which only made the weeds grow even faster.  At first I attacked them with great diligence, but then slowly they outnumbered my determination.  But you know what I also found?  Even though the garden looks worse and certainly isn't magazine-picture ready, it's still producing.  Still thriving in the midst of all those weeds.  Perhaps we too, can thrive in the midst of life when it feels choked with weeds?  That'll preach. 
Let's preach ourselves right on into this homemade chicken pesto pizza.  Seriously delicious.  Homemade crust, basil pesto made with ingredients from our herb garden, mozzarella cheese, and chicken pulled from a whole chicken in the crockpot.  My girls love this pizza and will even gobble it up in school lunch the next day! 

Let's start with the chicken.  I always buy a whole chicken in the meat section and then put it in the crockpot on low for a whole day.  You could easily add an onion or something to flavor the chicken to the pot, but I always keep it simple and just add water (maybe around 6 cups) and italian seasoning.  Once the chicken is cooked, I pull the meat off the bone and use some/freeze some.  This can be used for pizza, enchiladas, taquitos, soup, etc.  

To make the basil pesto, I use this recipe and leave the pine nuts out (only because I'm cheap). I make the exact amount they say and use half for each pizza, instead of a red sauce.
For the crust, I use this recipe, which makes two crusts.  I always bake both pizzas because this will feed our whole family for at least another meal the next day.  It works great for lunches!

Add a bag of mozzarella cheese and you're on your way to a great, easy pizza! 

I usually start the crust late afternoon because it needs about an hour to rise.  I've tried a lot of homemade crust recipes and this is by far the best.  The crust is perfectly in the middle, not too thick, not too thin.  After rolling out my crust, I place it on a cookie sheet and then add a generous amount of pesto.  Next, add chicken and top it off with cheese.  Bake according to the crust directions and you're done!  *You will want to place your pizzas on something with a rim or edge because of the olive oil in the pesto.  I didn't do this the first time and used a pizza stone, which caused the olive oil to seep into the oven and make a lot of smoke.*

Now take this pizza out to the porch for a picnic…..and enjoy all that autumn has to offer. 

Monday, October 5, 2015

In favor of beautiful, everyday life

A couple of years ago I had this idea that I randomly mentioned to Brett one evening. 
To photograph everyday life for other people. After all, that is the medium I choose for my own photography style.  Photography is somewhat like painting, so picture with me a shelf with bottles of paint labeled with various types of photography.  Props and Still Life, Real Life, Posed….

Kind of like a choose your own adventure.  I've often read one type of photographer slam another and I think it's not fair.  Whether you shoot with a phone camera, or have years of expertise in the field, I think your eyes matter most to me when I view your photos.  Because when I look at your photos and even mine, the ones that get me might not even be technically "right".  But they get straight to my heart, make tears spring up, make me feel something.  And isn't that what this flesh and bone body is made to do? To feel

I think so.   Back to my idea.  I had the idea, tossed it around in my head, and then let it go.  As I shared my idea with the world, I watched it trail away, this way and that, not knowing where it would land (or if it would at all).  And that seems to be the stuff of dreamers right there.  The few and far between lucky ones have instant success, big numbers, and dreams that land immediately.  For the rest of us with our heads partially in the clouds, we wait and wonder.  And how brave we are! Not silly, not ridiculous.  

Last week a friend approached me and asked if I would photograph her family, in their home, doing their normal routine.  "Really?!" was my response and my soul leapt!  

Really.  Today, here's to sticking with ideas and going with your gut. 

(and if you'd like to book your own lifestyle shoot with me capturing your beautiful story, email me at 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Our trip to Dallas

About a week ago Brett needed to travel to Dallas for a work trip and lo and behold, we decided to tag along.  I made up my mind to go and then not go…and then go again time after time.  I was worried about the traffic because I've never driven in city traffic before and I wasn't sure the girls would sleep well for two nights in a hotel.  Basically I was being a worry-wart and party-pooper all wrapped up in one.  Then adventure got the best of me and we decided to go.  

I am so, so glad we did! 

The drive there was supposed to take 5 and 1/2 hours and instead took 7.  YIKES.  I had us well-stocked with snacks and entertainment so we were ok…just going stir-crazy.  The girls slept awesome in the hotel the first night though and we headed out to the Dallas Zoo first.  I was beyond proud I made it there by myself with the girls and didn't get lost! 

My favorite thing about this zoo was how interactive the children's section was and how friendly the staff was!  This nice lady let the girls plant some wildflowers and then water them with mini watering cans.  They were thrilled! 

I mean seriously, how adorable!

After the morning at the zoo we headed to Sonic for lunch (not good, but it worked) and then went to the Dallas Arboretum, which is their botanical garden.  Two things: one-this place cost a small fortune to get in and we didn't even have to pay for Betsy.  The real kicker was the extra $15 for parking; two-this place was AMAZING and worth every single penny we paid.  We should have arrived at 9:00 and spent the entire day there.   Even the $ for parking was worth it because we parked in a parking garage and I wheeled the stroller and girls in the tunnel that went under the road to enter the garden.  It was so easy and safe. 

I seriously almost don't even know what to say about this place, it was just unbelievable!  It was built right next to the lake so everywhere we walked in the children's garden had a view of the lake.  It was breath-taking. 

There were many, many interactive exhibits for the kiddos to learn and play with, from nature to flowers to water.  The girls could have easily spent an entire morning just in the kids section alone!

After we were done playing we quickly walked over to the main garden and only got this far! 

The Pumpkin patch/houses were a sight like I've never seen! I read there were 75,000 pumpkins and gourds there.

Just magic.  

The "funny" (kinda) part is it was at least 95 degrees while we were there.
Like miserably hot.  But these pumpkins sure put the autumn spirit in you, don't they?!

I think this bumpy one was my favorite. 

My princesses.

Overall this trip was so much fun! I felt like I'd won an award for bravery for driving in the traffic, the girls slept great in the hotel both nights, Brett had a good work trip, and we stopped at Ikea real quick on the way home.  It was such a treat to get all the time in the car with Brett and the girls did really well riding that long!  We made it to the last hour of the trip home and Betsy Grace started saying "Get me outta here!"  lol.  :)  This trip woke up my adventurous spirit again!  

Where should we go next? 
Blogging tips