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Showing posts from 2017

Art-o-mat for Christmas

I asked for one thing this Christmas, and my family gave it to me.  It's a cedar display for my Art-o-mat collection. I am so happy with this display.  Steve built it.  Alex and Clarice sanded it and applied the polyurethane finish.  I have added to this collection over the years, but the Swap Meet during the  Art-o-mat 20th anniversary at SECCA this year really helped me expand my vast Art-o-mat empire. Here is what started it all:  fellow Art-o-mat artist Dennis Wells put his handiwork on display earlier this month, and so I immediately put my order in to Santa . Photo courtesy of Dennis Wells, who is  an amazing artist. Check out his work here . My cedar display is possibly my favorite Christmas gift of all time.  It will bring so much joy for years to come.  Now that I have met most of these artists in person, each piece of artwork means even more to me. Essential Holiday Run to Delurk Gallery In the final days before Christmas, I promised Claric

Notes from the field: Art-o-mat Little Inspirations

photo courtesy of Little Inspiration patron, Abbi Spreading inspiration, one work at a time In November, I received a lovely note from Abbi, who is a student at the beautiful  Salve Regina University in Rhode Island. She and her friends purchased art from the Art-o-mat machine at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts. If you don't know what Art-o-mat is, then check out this blog post or contact me and I will explain how to get involved in this affordable art phenomenon.  Art-o-mat celebrated its 20th anniversary this year.  You can learn how it started and how many people it touches by listening to this awesome podcast . Here is Abbi's kind email: Hi Nicole! My name is Abbi and I was at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston yesterday. I wound up purchasing one of your pieces out of their old cigarette machine. I just wanted to let you know how amazing it is and how my friends even continued to put money in the machine and buy more of your work. They

Finding meaning in what's "real"

Yesterday was my wedding anniversary.  During the day my 15 year old daughter took the opportunity to ask me, "How does it feel to be married for 17 years?" It's nice to think I once was this young because I don't look like this anymore! How does it feel? I could not give her a brief answer that would explain the ups and downs of devoted love.  But I did remember a story that describes the value and pain of redeeming love. So, tonight as a family, we sat around the Christmas tree and re-read an old favorite,  The Velveteen Rabbit  by Margery Williams. Almost 100 years ago in 1922, Margery Williams wrote The Velveteen Rabbit , a children's classic that begins with the arrival of a stuffed animal bunny in a little boy's Christmas stocking. If you want a refresher on this tender novelette, you can find it  here on Brainpickings , along with lovely illustrations by Japanese artist Komako Sakai.   The Velveteen Rabbit  illustration

Thanksgiving Greetings

I love this time of year. I love walks in the woods with the smell of wood-burning fires close by. I love the warm, woolly textures we wear as the air becomes crisper. I love Nature's last hurrah of a showy celebration of color. I love re-reading old books that were favorites from days gone by... and finding unexpected bookmarks in the form of letters from a dear friend long ago. I love how hanging holiday lights reminds me of happy memories,   and how there's always a chance to make new ones. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones and may you find a special peace and happiness in this season of love and sharing.


It's November, the month for being grateful. I am ashamed to say that I have let myself get so busy  that I often forget to be thankful each day for something positive in my life. So I've been trying to think of all the things that I'm grateful for this year: the friends who gave me maternity clothes,  the friends who gave me baby clothes, the friends who have made my new baby very welcome, the unexpected kindness of someone I don't know well, the friendliness of my co-workers. I am learning that I am a more grateful person  when I make room for the time to s-t-o-p,  slow down,  and think about the blessings of life. Lately, I'm trying to bring those positive thoughts to my artwork. Hope you enjoy this really short video of my latest floral Thank You cards. I recently gave these to some ladies who have positively influenced my life.

October 31 Creative Break: Things Worth Sharing

Hi, y'all, Happy Halloween! I hope this short list recharges your  creative  batteries or gives your mind a rest.  Enjoy these  things worth sharing . 1.   Stranger Things 2  debuted  on Friday  on Netflix, and this season's unsung hero looks to be Bob Newby.  Actor Sean Astin reminded us all that the  world needs more positive male role models  who are sweet, kind, and would fight for you no matter the cost.  #BobNewbySuperhero is currently trending on  Twitter . 2.  Computer-generated graphics have already changed film experiences for us. Ever wonder what our  movies may look  like in the future? 3.  Here's a list of  10 ways to slow down  and enjoy life:  much needed advice in our hectic and always-connected world. 4.  Many artists celebrate October as "Inktober," and this year provided beautiful examples of good, old fashioned,  2-D drawings . 5.  Give yourself 3 minutes to enjoy a  short video  of a watercolor floral painting in process.  I

VIDEO: Simple Watercolor Floral Demonstration

Recently, I completed a series of 50 small watercolor paintings for Art-o-mat , in honor of the Georgia O'Keeffe exhibit at Reynolda House. I hope you enjoy this short painting demo . Currently, I'm putting together a full-length version with some value-added extras (including the hand-lettered accents) for a full class on Skillshare .  Stay tuned!

Vintage Bottlecap Necklaces + Friday night in Winston-Salem

Vintage Bottlecap Necklaces September was a really fruitful month of Art-o-mat activity.  I added sentimental value to my Endearing Young Charms handmade necklaces by using real, vintage bottlecaps on each necklace.  I particularly love this Strawberry Soda font. The front side of each necklace is handstamped and drawn with a special word like "love" or "joy." (Alex helped.) I hope that if you vend one of these special edition Endearing Young Charms at an Art-o-mat location , that you will enjoy the trip back in time that these bottlecaps represent. Some of the bottlecaps are from the pre-plastic era and had cork inside.   All the Diet Sundrop Colas have cork liners. I thought the Caravan brand Orange and other flavor bottlecaps were lovely since they depicted camels crossing the desert with Egyptian pyramids in the background.  Pretty detailed for a bottlecap! My cousin and I used to call "RC" his dri