Rain or Shine... How To Prepare for an Outdoor Art Show

I recently was a vendor at a popular outdoor Art and Craft Show in Lancaster County, PA. I was excited about being a first time vendor there but I was not excited about the weather forecast. It was calling for rain and thunderstorms both days as well as the set-up day before the event! What could I do? I began to do some research on line and began to prepare for the rain. I'm very glad I did. Let me tell you some tricks and tips you can use for your next outdoor vendor event when you have a rain or shine event.

The first thing you want to have are side panels on your canopy. These are a must if you are anticipating inclement weather. They keep your canopy enclosed and protected from wind and rain.


Here is my outdoor canopy ready for the show to begin. All side panels are up except the front panel.

I discovered you can spray your canopy cover with liquid starch to keep the rain from penetrating through your canopy. Once it is sprayed and dry, the water will run off the roof of your canopy. Be sure to spray the top of your canopy before you set up. I sprayed the top of my canopy the day before the event to give it time to dry. I sprayed it outdoors. I purchased the liquid starch spray at the Dollar Store. I was thrilled to find it there. It had a nice fresh smell which was really nice.

To keep the rain from pooling on the top of your canopy roof, use hula hoops to gird up the roof. The photo shows you how I did this. I used duck tape to secure the hoop to the metal part of  the canopy. I also used duck tape to secure the hoop to the cloth. The tension of the hula hoop kept it in place but the duck tape secured it from slipping. On the day before the event when vendors were setting up, one vendor had set their canopy up before the downpour of rain. Unfortunately the weight of the rain pooling on top of their canopy was so heavy, it had collapsed his tent. The metal part of his tent broke and he had to purchase a new tent for the event. It's important to set up at a time when the rain is at a minimum. Another thing you can do is keep your items dry as you store them in plastic bins. I found the perfect size for me at the Dollar Store. I also used very large ziplock storage bags to carry my paintings in.

The day before the event, rain poured so much that flooding occured in many streets and areas. Fortunately the rain did not last long and the two days of the event were cloudy at times but no rain! I'm very glad I prepared for the rain. I learned what to do for any future event when the rain does come. I will be ready! And so can you be. By the way, I looked for hula hoops at many stores and finally found them at Five Below for $2 each.

So at your next art show, rain or shine, be prepared and enjoy the sales and connections you will make!

The Transformation of an Art Studio

Organization and keeping things tidy have never been my strengths. Being an artist gave me an excuse to be messy. When I'm painting, order is not a high priority, so I was not that bothered by my messy art studio... well not too much. I would have times of "cleaning" my studio but in reality I just cleaned surfaces and rearranged things. I hid stuff in boxes, drawers or cupboards. There may have been a semblance of order or cleanliness but I knew better.

Since January of this year I have known that I needed and wanted to do a deep cleaning, de-cluttering and re-do of my art studio. My daughter Sophia had helped my husband and me de-clutter the other rooms of our home. But my studio was left as it was. Despite my wanting to tackle my cluttered studio... I was not having much success. I would walk into my studio and sigh. I would pick up a few things, clean off a few surfaces but never dig deep and get into the work of de-cluttering. That all changed when I was given the opportunity to be interviewed on video tape in my studio. Now I had a deadline and motivation.

This is the before photo of my studio. Oh my!

Even though I had a deadline, I felt completely overwhelmed. Where should I begin? My art mentor Matt Tommey gave wise counsel in one of his live question and answer sessions. He stated that the best way to organize a cluttered room is to take everything out and only put back what you need and use. That made sense. I had been praying and asking God to help me with this endeavor. During one of my prayer times, I was given a vision of how God saw my studio. He saw my process of painting as entering His throne room. That really got my attention and gave me a picture of what my studio could look like. It was that vision that got me started with the work of transforming my studio from a place of clutter to order and beauty. It is that vision that kept me going when I felt tired and overwhelmed.  If my painting process was like entering the throne room, I wanted my studio to reflect that reality.

I began by focusing on portions of my art studio at a time. I would take everything out of the room in that particular space of my studio. I then combed through everything and decided what to keep, what to throw away and what to give away. I found some great supplies that had been hidden and also got rid of a lot of old supplies I was not using. I even had a give-away of one of my older paintings. Since I was taking my time and really getting into every nook and cranny, I decided to paint my walls and paint my shelves white. I found some great buys of a file cabinet, white book case and dresser that I incorporated into my "new" studio.


Transformed studio

Here is one section of my studio after it was de-cluttered and cleaned.

What I discovered

Besides finding old and un-used art supplies, I discovered that I really enjoyed coming into a studio that was roomy, clean and in order. It made creating in that space more enjoyable and easier. I wanted to be in that room, even if I was not painting. I enjoyed just going in there and looking at how beautiful everything looked. I found myself cleaning up after I painted and putting everything back where each item belonged. The transformation had not only happened in my studio... it had happened inside me. My mindset was changing about how I saw my workspace and how I saw myself as an artist. By cleaning out my studio and examining every item I had, I was forced to examine myself. It's never too late to get rid of things that don't serve us anymore. It's never too late to get rid of old habits that don't benefit us. Is it easy? No, but it is definitely worth it. Time will tell if I will continue to keep my studio clean. I believe I will because the benefits I experience are greater than the little bit of work it takes to put things where they belong.

I had to face the fact that my studio was a mess! I was running out of places to hide things in my studio. Having a vision of what my studio could look like was key. I kept returning to that vision when I felt overwhelmed. My studio looked worse before it started looking better. In the end, I'm so glad I did the work of transforming my studio.

If you have a room that you want to transform, it can be done. It may take some time. My studio took 2 weeks! If I can do it, so can you! Here is to a new transformed room and new transformed you!

The dresser was purchased for $6 at a local thrift store and painted white. I now keep prints, and unframed paintings there along with a few other items.

The dresser was purchased for $6 at a local thrift store and painted white. I now keep prints, and unframed paintings there along with a few other items.

Back Home

This past weekend we had our grandson James stay with us without his parents. He's almost two years old and is now talking pretty well. We couldn't wait to enjoy his presence and have him experience our love one-on-one. What we did not anticipate was him missing his parents.

As we drove away with him in the car from our meet-up place in Charlottesville, VA, he said with a sad, soft voice, "Back Home... back home." We weren't that alarmed since we thought  he would get used to being away from his parents once we got him to our house. We figured he would remember the fun times he's had with us there. I wish I could say that was the case, but it wasn't. James is a very well behaved, smart, articulate, physically active boy who knew he missed his Mom and Dad. During his stay with us he had a painting session with me, rode a tractor, played with gravel, shovel and pail, visited his aunts and uncles down the road, sat in a speedway car, rode a mechanical children's car, saw some amazing parrots, played with lots of toy cars, had several books read to him over and over again. He ate at Chipotle and Sweet Frog and listened to songs we sang about him and his visit. And despite all these fun things... he would softly say in the most heartfelt voice when anything reminded him of his parents or the fact they were not with him, "Back home... back home" He wanted to go home. It broke my heart!

During the three and a half car ride back to Charlottesville, something broke in me and I began to feel the weightiness of what James was saying in those two words... back home. He had been separated from his Dad and Mom. He felt the loss of their presence and nothing else could take their place. He just wanted to be back where they were. To him, home meant being where they were. Not so much the physical house, but being with his Dad and Mom was being home. As my heart felt the gravity of James's simple heart cry for his parents, I gently heard the Father's voice say to me, "One day you will say those same words as I get ready to bring you home. You will know that's all you've ever wanted... to be with Me. All the activities and excitement of this world cannot compare with being with Me. You will know it as James knows now that all he wants is to be with his parents... with his Daddy." When I heard I heard this spoken to my heart by God, I began to cry tears of joy and sadness... tears of love for James and love for God. I was so grateful that He had allowed me to feel the depth of this reality. I cannot forget James's words... the way he said them.... softly and sadly, with yearning to be with his parents again.

We are told that unless we become as a child, we cannot enter the Kingdom of God. I think it's because only the heart of a child knows how important the love of their Daddy is. Their whole world is about their Dad and Mom. James knows he is loved and it was such a blessing to see him as he smiled and reached up to his Mom and Dad when he saw them. He was hugged and kissed and then he was internally free to be happy, explore and enjoy the rest of his day. Isn't that the way it is with us? When we know we are loved and we feel that love from Father God we are free to be all that we are created to be. I want to be like James... like a child, so aware of God's love and His presence. I don't want to get so distracted and concerned with this world that I lose touch with the one thing that really matters...being home.  Home is where the heart is. I want my heart to feel so at home with God that nothing else matters except being with Him. Thank you James for showing your Nana what love really looks like. I thought I was going to teach you how to paint but you showed me how to be loved. And in the end whether we  are painting or working hard at our jobs, only love really matters or remains.

Remember to talk to your Heavenly Father and let Him know that you want to be where He is... let Him love you. He's always loving you. Sometimes we just need to reach up our arms and let Him in.

The Process of Prophetic Pours

Every January for the last several years I have painted 30 Paintings in 30 Days. Prior to 2018 those paintings have always been intuitive paintings on Yupo paper with acrylic ink and acrylic paint. But this year I had to continue what I began at the end of 2017. I had begun pouring paint onto  canvases. I had entered the world of acrylic pours.  I had to admit I was hookedI I LOVED watching the paint pour onto the canvas. As the paint slowly covered the surface of the canvas it gave life to new, beautiful images. It was my task to "see" the seed of those images in the wet paint and later give them further clarity once the poured paint had dried.

"Out Of Egypt", 10"x11", Acrylic on Yupo paper

"Out Of Egypt", 10"x11", Acrylic on Yupo paper

This process of mixing the paint, pouring the paint, manipulating it a bit while it was wet, seeing an image and then painting in the details of the image once it dried, had become my daily creative process since January 1, 2018. I'm now on day 29 and I have a substantial body of work that has been birthed in an atmosphere of worship and prayer. I've had faith to believe that each time I poured paint onto the canvas, God would show me an image. He has been faithful.  I have seen images emerge every time I poured. Some of these images were extraordinary, some were ordinary. All of them taught me about the process of God's pouring His love onto the canvas of our lives.

Just as in the process of an acrylic pour, the beginning of a poured out canvas, looks very different than the finished piece, so our lives look very different now than they did when we were first born. Siblings born into the same family will each have their unique personalities and giftings, no two will be alike. So it is with an acrylic pour. The same colors can be used for two paintings but those two paintings will come out completely different. Any slight variation in the amount of paint or the tilt of the canvas creates a whole new image. There are times during the process of the pour that the canvas looks like a mess... just a bunch of paint on the canvas. But God, but the artist, can bring out something beautiful and unique from that "mess".  Our job, as the canvas, is to be patient when we don't see what God is doing. A poured canvas needs time to dry before the artist can further define the seeds of the image. As children of God, we need patience and faith that the good work that God began in us will be brought to completion.

He will use all things in your life for good. Nothing is ever wasted. Trust the process of waiting. His timing is perfect. Don't be afraid of the unknown. Let go and let God refine and define you. You are in good hands. You are that prophetic pour in the hands of the Master Artist.

"A Rose For My Lady", 16"x20", Acrylic on Stretched canvas

From Captivity To Creativity

Captivity, noun, the state or period of being held, imprisoned, enslaved, or confined. 

How does one go from a place of captivity or fear to a place of creativity or freedom? As I write this blog, I'm reminded of a recent type of imprisonment I experienced at a part-time job. I didn't realize until I was hired and attempting to learn the job that I felt oppressed, imprisoned and fearful. The demands of the job were beyond my grasp and as hard as I tried to master the job, I always fell short. The harder I tried, the more I just didn't measure up. I had taken the job because of a financial need. In retrospect I believe God wanted me to trust Him for the provision we needed. Instead, I jumped into a job that I was unable to master. The more progress I made in learning the job, the more I was required to learn. I finally gave up and gave my notice. I stayed until a replacement could be found.

During my stay at this job I learned a great deal about what God created me to do and what he did not create me to do. In order to fully thrive and walk in freedom, it's important to know what freedom looks like. Sometimes God lets you experience what captivity or imprisonment looks like to understand freedom and creativity.  As a creative person, it's important for me to be free to create my own schedule and have the freedom to say yes or no to an assignment. It's important that I know my limitations and my capabilities. When I had this part-time job, I longed to be home to paint and work on my art business. It gave me the determination and courage to take my art to the next level. It was while I was working at this job that I created my new website. I also joined an on-line Facebook mentoring group for prophetic artists. I began to take my art more seriously and that has made a huge difference for me. If I don't value what I do, how can I expect others to value what I do.?

I no longer feel like I need to get a "real" job. Being an artist IS my job. It is what God has called me to do. He has made it very clear. Sometimes God takes us through a period of captivity to show us that He came to set us free. We have the key to get out of our place of captivity. We can say this is not what I was made to do... I was made to create... to be free to create. What has God made you to do that only you can do? What has He given you a passion to do? If you don't do it and take that next step, you'll stay in your place of captivity. He came to set you free. Walk in your freedom and come out of captivity. Take your step of faith. God has his hand stretched out to you.

"From Captivity To Creativity"  Acrylic Ink & Acrylic Paint on Yupo paper,  Painted after I left my part-time job

"From Captivity To Creativity"  Acrylic Ink & Acrylic Paint on Yupo paper,

Painted after I left my part-time job

The Power of a Vision

The Lord has always spoken to me through visual means. Sometimes it is through a dream, a picture in my mind's eye, a painting or photograph or the beauty in nature. About a year ago the Lord captured my attention through a vision I had during worship at our church. As the worship time was coming to an end, I sat down with my eyes closed. As soon as I sat down I saw a lion only inches away from my face. He startled me. His eyes were looking into mine. I could literally feel his breath and fur on my face. And then he put his paws on my shoulders. The weight of them penetrated my being. I could not move,  not because I was afraid, but because I was in awe. When the music ended, my eyes remained closed. I wanted to linger in the presence of the lion that I had just previously visited me.

That day my husband and I had planned to attend a Memorial Day Art Festival in Harrisburg, PA. I was determined to find a photo of a lion so it would remind me of the experience I had that morning. I wanted to put the photo in our prayer closet. I looked at many photographs that day and then found the perfect photo of a lion. The eyes of the photographed lion captured the strength and heart of the lion I saw in my vision. I explained to the photographer why I wanted the photo and he shared how his photography was his livelihood but also a ministry. That was a blessing.

In the months that followed I prayed and sought the Lord about what He was trying to show me through the lion. It appeared the Lord was calling me to a greater intimacy with Him and an impartation of courage. I believe He was preparing me to launch my art business to the next level. That level would require me to take risks and believe what God had told me about painting for Him. He wanted me to be bold, step out and believe.

So it was with great excitement when I saw the eyes of a lion begin to form as I intuitively painted one of my 30 paintings in 30 days in January of this year. As soon as I saw the eyes beginning to form in the paint, I went to get the photo of the lion in our prayer closet. I wanted to look at it so I could capture the intensity of his eyes.

The eyes are forming

This was the "seed" of my painting. I further defined it until I had the image below.

Normally I don't look at a photo reference when I paint but rather rely on my imagination. This lion, however,  needed to be as real as possible because I knew God was letting me paint the lion I saw in the vision and that lion was very real to me.


The Lion

My finished painting of the lion I saw in the vision.

Just as there are many layers of color in this painting, there are many layers of meaning to the lion vision God gave me during worship. People who see it, often tell me of their lion stories and what God is showing them through a lion that has appeared in their dreams, visions or in His Word. I find myself needing more courage these days as I face greater challenges in our finances, in my art business and in my spiritual life. But then I remember the vision of the lion and I feel the breath and fur of the lion on my face. I feel the weight of his paws on my shoulders. God is with me. His strength and courage are with me. He sees me and He sent me a lion to remind me that sometimes He is like a lion. Sometimes He wants me to be like a lion too.

May this year be your year to be courageous and bold like a lion. May this image of "The Lion" encourage you.