Tuesday, November 08, 2022

It's Been SEVEN years! An Update:

 I can't believe it's been SEVEN years since I posted on this blog.  So much has happened in that seven years!  Let me give you a quick synopsis:

  • I learned to crochet in 2016 and have been "hooked" ever since.  I crochet a couple of hours every night and on weekends, sometimes all day.  It is the most relaxing, anxiety-reducing activity you can possibly do and I highly recommend it!  I learned by watching YouTube videos and practicing - a lot.
  • I went gluten and dairy free in May 2017 after learning I was having a major inflammatory response to both.  I have felt better since than I've ever felt in my life - better even than when I was in my 20s! I plan to remain on this diet for the rest of my days. I feel too much better to ever turn back. 
  • Of course we all know about 2020 - whew what a year!  The year of the pandemic!  We will never forget that.
  • November 1, 2021, I became "Grammy Deb" to the most beautiful little boy I have ever seen - Nolan Thomas.
Of course during all these years, I have continued to create.  I think the discovery that most changed my artwork during this time was when I went to Walmart one day and bought a pack of spouncers.  I just saw them and thought - hmmm... what can I do with these.  That is when the "whimsical watercolor blooms" were born.  I went home and started with circles spaced sort of randomly on a sheet of watercolor paper - ust dipping the spouncer in watercolor and stamping it onto the page.  These naturally became flower centers in my mind. And years later, I'm still creating these paintings.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

My 2015 in Review and What Did You Do in 2015?

I’m going to do something I haven’t done in a while. I’m writing a blog post!

Dear Readers, I hope I still have a few stray readers out there; it has been a full year. I have tried many new things this year and now at the near-end of 2015, I have sort of come full circle – back to the sketchbook and the act of sketching from life - in watercolor and colored pencil. I just ordered six (6!) new sketch books from Dick Blick – who, by the way, is having a sale until midnight tonight – 20% off and free shipping if you spend $69. I can go for that!

I got very much into Documenting my Faith around the first of the year with Stephanie Ackerman – you can read about that here. I enjoy that and plan to continue it in 2016. That led me to also try Bible Journaling. I bought a journaling Bible, actually two, and tried it for a few months. I eventually decided I don’t like drawing in my Bible, but would rather read my Bible and study it as I did before. I’ve always written in my Bible, made marginal notes, and colored the text and underlined it. I love using colored pencil in my Bible as a highlighter. But drawing in my Bible actually distracted me from the Word instead of drawing me more into it. So I gave away one journaling Bible and I will keep the one I did the most art in. Now I know. You can’t know until you try; right?

In October, I realized another dream of mine – I opened a booth in the downtown antique mall – Deborah’s Designs and Finds. My plan was to create like mad and fill it with hand painted glass rescued from local thrift shops, my artwork, and things I find at auctions and thrift shops. Stocking and running my booth has proven to be far too much stress for far too little enjoyment and no profit whatsoever. So December will be my last month renting a full booth space. It is located in the downstairs of the antique mall and maybe doesn’t get enough traffic. The owner suggested I rent a small display case upstairs at much less rent and with far greater exposure. I am considering that very seriously. That way I’m not giving the idea up entirely. And most of my “finds” are teacups, books, art, and other things that would fit nicely on display shelves.

My most exciting (for me) new endeavor is My Etsy Shop! I have an Etsy Shop – DeborahAlexanderArt, featuring notecards and prints of my artwork! I hope to expand this shop and add original artwork.

Another endeavor I took on this year is the role of my church’s librarian. That’s a huge project as the books have never even been catalogued!

I lost my job in June of 2015. The first time that has happened to me in my career. Feeling worthless and devastated and rather desperate I looked frantically for a job for months, and when I say looked I mean online looking – I posted resumes for every job that I was remotely qualified for. I even contemplated – was this my chance to finally make art full-time, the thought of which sent me into hyperventilation. I’ve wanted to do that for years and years – as long as I can remember, but when I was faced with the actual possibility of realizing that dream, the thought of not having a steady income and health insurance for my family was more than I could handle. I got so nervous at the mere thought of it that I froze. Faced with a whole day at my disposal, I paced the floor not knowing what to do with myself. Then I made a list of all the things I could do to make myself useful and not idle.  Thankfully, within the next day or so, I got the awaited job offer! I have a wonderful job at the community college where I got my Associates degree! Back home. Full Circle. It’s a busy, fulfilling job that I absolutely love.

So you see 2015 has been a very exciting and busy year.

What have you been doing in 2015? And what are your goals for 2016 - artfully, spiritually, physically, career-wise, or otherwise? I’d love to hear from you in a comment.

And I’d like to wish you all a very…

This Christmas Card is available in my Etsy Shop! 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015


I'm feeling inspired today by fellow blogger Brenda Leyland over at It's a Beautiful Life. When I read her posts, it's like having a cup of tea on a cool summer morning out on the veranda. I can just see the green grass and trees in the morning mist - the flowers laden with dew and the sun just breaking through. And I am there - content, cool, contemplative. That is Brenda's writing. Soothing. Peaceful. I love her blog. You really need to pay her a visit. I wish I were her neighbor and could just pop over to her house for a visit occasionally.  But her blog is a welcome respite as a substitute.

I am blessed with a possibility for the very first time in my life to maybe, just maybe, work from my home. I pray that this wish comes true, for thinking about it just makes my heart soar. My work day would not start until 10:00 and that would be bliss for me. I have always wanted to spend my mornings in the sunroom, sipping coffee, journaling, reading my Bible. Even the tiniest thought that this little dream might be realized almost sends me into orbit with happiness.

Though a bit messy, and a little blurred, above is a view inside my happy place - the sunroom. My sweet Tucker has decided to occupy my seat for a bit. He likes my happy place too. His favorite spot is usually over on the wicker love seat. I had to snap a pic of him curled in my desk chair. What a cutie!

Hopefully if this wonderful dream of working from home is realized, I can paint more, keep my blog up to date, and enjoy my beautiful home. For now I will leave you with an 8 x 10 acrylic canvas I painted last week in my other happy place, my basement studio.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Bible Journaling - Documented Faith

Since the beginning of the new year 2015 - I have been documenting my faith with Stephanie Ackerman (click on the link to go to Stephanie's blog and learn all about Documented Faith) and the Documented Faith Group on Facebook. I also joined Facebook's Journaling Bible Community.  This has given me new meaning and purpose and excitement in my art. What's better than combining my art with text from God's Word and my faith?!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

How Great Thou Art

8 x 10 mixed-media canvas


Snow Day in Studio

After my fantastic weekend with the Journal Fodder Junkies, I got the added treat of a SNOW DAY today! Home in the studio. What could be better than this after getting inspired at the weekend workshop. I want to share more about that workshop and all I learned and created, but for now I will post about today's artistic endeavors.

First I got out a big sheet of watercolor paper and just played with color and texture. I will do more to this later on - this will be a background for something. Just don't know what yet.

Given my self-diagnosed ADD - or at any rate my complete inability to concentrate on one thing for very long - I jumped to another project...

I purchased a hardbound 11 x 14 Strathmore sketchbook at the workshop from Eric Scott and (even though I have about 20 sketchbooks started and unfinished right now; unable to resist this brand new sketchbook) I made this background with watercolor and a stencil...

...then I looked over and saw the pad of tracing paper and began looking through old sketchbooks for a sketch to copy. I found the sketch below from autumn 2002. I had made some color notes in the margin and this scene has always appealed to me. I knew I could never duplicate it with the same feel as the sketch, but I've wanted to duplicate it into a painting since 2002. Never thought much about using the tracing paper before.
I traced the sketch onto the tracing paper, and then used carbon paper to transfer it onto a sheet of watercolor paper the same size as sketch - 6x9 (I already had pieces cut to this size!). Once I had it transferred it looked like this:

And above is the final product! Yay! I finished something today!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

I spent Valentine's Day with THE Journal Fodder Junkies

Right here in my small town of Galax, Virginia! David Modler and Eric Scott - conducting two separate workshops this weekend at Chestnut Creek School of the Arts

I could have spent the entire day just looking through their journals. Volumes and volumes of ideas, inspiration, and creativity! These gentlemen are so creative and full of artistic energy! I came away with so much that I went straight down to my basement studio with a cup of tea just to sit and savor the experience, the emotions, the tremendous creative energy of today.  I want to hold onto it while it's still tangible and solid, this feeling of being filled with excitement, enthusiasm, energy and inspiration - spending the day with like minded people and creating page after page of images and colors and words. Today reignited my passion for art journaling - visual journaling. I have a whole new grasp on what it means to practice Visual Journaling. No more simply making a pretty page, I want to be free to just express what is in me. To spill onto the page whatever is inspiring me or speaking to me that day - enjoying the process more than the product. I want to explore and record my findings. I want to play with my materials - like I did today. Just spreading everything out and playing with colors and techniques - experimenting, feeling all the textures of papers and stencils, and fodder - the stuff we collect and feed into our journals. 

Is this not the most beautiful thing you have ever seen?! These two pictures of tables filled, covered, brimming with energy and excitement - the tools of our trade!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

What's on my easel

December 4, 2013

I began my first acrylic painting (mixed media actually) after getting my acrylics paints, easel and brushes back. Sometimes a good studio purge (provided you have a friend who understands that you might need to get some things back) is very good therapy. It reduces the over-stimulation long enough to let you see more clearly what it is that you can't do without. Acrylic painting on canvas, my whimsical images with layers and layers of brush strokes and collage, was something I did not want to do without. Art journaling and watercolor and sketching from life is great, but it's not enough for me. I was itching to stand in front of a large canvas and let it flow with no concept of what I was going to paint, no realistic drawing from life, just an idea in my head of what I wanted to say with this piece. Then just throwing caution to the wind and beginning. No drawing on the canvas first, just wild abandon. I mean after all with acrylic, if you don't like it you can cover it up later and just keep layering. It's scary at first and you work and work and think - what if I screw all this up and can't recover it and lose all this time and paint and effort...but you keep going. 

December 29, 2013

I knew the quote I wanted to use - "Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is more people who have come alive." - Howard Thurman. I love this quote! ALIVE. I want to be alive and I want my paintings to be alive - alive with color and lines and shapes and words. 

I stopped with the above version for a while, but it wasn't alive at all. I was just afraid to move forward. So I was stuck for a while.  

But then I decided to pick up with brush again and keep working. I got out the oil sticks and just went wild again - fearless.  And then!  It came alive!!!

And then it made me come alive all over again! Just look at these juicy flowers and swirls of oil paint on top of the acrylic colors. POP!

And look at the fireworks popping out of the flower centers! Love it.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Friendship, Inspiration, and Realizations

Saturday, November 23, I had the extreme pleasure of attending Jennifer Edwards' art show and book signing at Southwinds Gallery in Kernersville, NC. I realized just how great this thing of blogging and internet groups, Facebook, etc., really is! I would never even know Jennifer if not for this form of communication and avenue of sharing our art and our lives. 

My life is so much fuller and busier than it used to be that blogging has moved down on my list of priorities, but when I think of stopping altogether, I realize what would be lost! And I think, "What if Jennifer had never blogged about Genevieve?" "What if she had never written and shared Letters to the Artist, which has encouraged me so much?"

These thoughts also bring me to the realization that what I have to share matters just as much. What you have to share matters just as much; because our sharing touches the life of at least one other person. Each of us has something to bring as an offering to God and to others. We are artists and our unique vision matters. Our voice matters. Money made from our work is not important - that is not the goal of our art, though it would be nice to enjoy that benefit, what really matters is what we give to the world by expressing what's inside of us.

It's possible no one will get it. Maybe we will never feel or experience the glory, the praise, the joy of others' approval, or financial success from our art. Maybe we're criticized. But how will we ever know if we don't offer what we have - dare to live an artful life. I don't want to spend the rest of my life seeing what others can do, watching others be brave, standing on the sidelines in fear of what might happen. Like Genevieve, I have a kite to fly. We all have a kite to fly. 


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