Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Legend of the New Year

Ancient legend foretold of a sacred time of renewal of the human spirit. The Muses of Inspiration granted a blessing on earth and created a window of time when human beings can create a fresh start. During this phase, all the mistakes, regrets, missed opportunities and errors in judgment are purged from the human memory in the primordial fires. It is a time when all fear of failure is transformed into strength of character and clarity of purpose. With proper preparation and humility we are told the human soul can make a request of the universe and our inner being: to transmute the flame of regret into the torch of dreams fulfilled and ignite the fire of burning desire in the heart of the seeker.

The legend was concealed to prevent its power from being used for less than honorable purposes and was hidden in the heart of each new being born on the earth. Each new baby is born with the spark of truth and the essence of their life's purpose on earth. If the human pursued their heart's desire, the spark would begin to glow and take hold and lead the seeker to success. If the human took the path of least resistance and settled for a less than glorious life, the ember would grow cold and life would be empty, no matter the achievements. There was only one magical time of year when all sparks could be renewed and unite into a glorious blaze of triumph, at the birth of each New Year.

The Legend of the Sleeping Giants
As each year of human existence passed, the flames of truth buried in the hearts of humanity grew dimmer and dimmer. The nine sister Muses, the guardians of inspiration for the human race, were saddened. Did the humans not know that their lives were meant to be a blessing, full of love and abundance? Why did they live like insects, small and insignificant; did they not remember they were Giants, with the power to manifest wonders? Could they not see how beautiful and glorious they are? Why did they choose suffering over joy? How could they create poverty over wealth? Why did they choose anger over love? Did they not know that they had the power within them to create a magical world of joy? It was as if a veil of sleep had fallen on earth and humans became the victims of life instead of the original intention, which was to be the Victor. All a human had to do was follow their heart's desire, protect their thoughts from negativity and focus on love.

The nine sister Muses, being of one mind, declared a moratorium on Strife and set out to create a remedy to aid the sleeping human race. They called upon the qualities of the Ancient Ones to restore balance on earth. They besieged Mnemosyn (Memory) to free the minds of humans from their past. With a blank slate each spirit could start anew. The Muses requested the following gifts to be bestowed on humankind:

  • Eros (Love) fills the heart with compassion, first for self, and with that peace comes unconditional love which flows to others.
  • Himerus (Desire), who lives in delight, breathes new life on the spark of truth in each heart and renews the passion for life. 
  • Father Time granted a window in which humans could purge the past. By the stroke of midnight on December 31st each year, the past must be completed and all issues must be burned in the fires of regret for the rebirth of spirit to occur. 
The Muses called on the collective strengths, wisdom and powers of the ancient Gods and Goddesses to support the humans in facing their fears, making amends and forgiving themselves.
  • Zelus (Emulation) granted humans the ability to recognize their gifts and qualities in others and the vision to find their mentors. 
  • Cratos (Strength) fortified the human will with courage to face the things that must be faced for the human spirit to grow. 
  • Eos (Dawn) promised a new beginning every 24 hours and Helious (Sun) gave warmth and encouragement. Soliel (Moon) promised rest and recuperation of the body.
  • Eunomia (Order) reminds humans of the first law of abundance, order in all things, for as within our hearts and mind, so is our outside world revealed.
  • Dike (Justice) reminds humans to forgive all debts, right all wrongs and release those who have hurt us. For as we forgive are we forgiven.
  • Eirene (Peace) provides the silent mind in which we can hear our inner voice guide us to our unique truth.
  • Charities (Graces) endows the human spirit with gentleness, so that we tread lightly on this earth and bless those we encounter.
And when the sister Muses saw the stage was set for a glorious rebirth of humanity, they made this decree:
"Every human who accepts these gifts, lets go of the past and blesses each other with forgiveness and grace will be released from the pain of their past errors. They will be granted the guidance and protection of Metis (Thought) and receive the gifts of Nike (Victory) in the year to come." 

The Muses cautioned humankind to guard their dreams from the effects of negative people and events. 

"Tell only one who will hold your vision as dearly as you hold it when you are nurturing the seeds of possibility. Build a fortress around your mind so only positive thoughts are entertained. The laws of the Universe govern the results. Whatever thoughts you plant will reap a harvest. Be vigilant to plant thoughts of love and positive energy to reap a harvest of abundance."

And so Calliope, the chiefest of all the Muses sent this blessing to earth:

"Children of the Universe, the time of renewal is upon you. By the stroke of midnight on December 31st you must complete the cycle of the past, forgive yourself and your brothers and sisters, be thankful for your blessings and stake your claim on your future."

And with this gift received and acted upon, the embers in the hearts of humankind started to glow and burn brightly. The Muses and the heavens saw our lights burn brighter and brighter as we reached out and touched the lives of all around us. We traded our weapons for plowshares to feed each other, we shared our gifts with those less fortunate and with each life that was renewed with love, the gifts of abundance and joy filled the lives of all humankind.

May this next year bring you blessings of love, health, wealth, passion, companionship, happiness, fun and just a challenge or two to keep you focused!

Note: I've had this legend for years. Unfortunately, I don't have the "source" of the legend and I have no idea who wrote it. However, it's too good not to share! 

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Something New…

One of many wonderful things that came out of the classes in the fall was that several of the "Imaginary Travelers" decided to take on the 100 Paintings Challenge in a Year. To further help those taking on the Challenge, I've created a blog where we can offer encouragement and support to each other as we travel together. Anyone who is interested in taking on the challenge can join in. Please see the blog for all the details.

What is the 100 Painting Challenge, you ask?

The Challenge is intended for artists that are dedicated to the growth and development of their style as well as their artistic voice. The Challenge also provides a means for overcoming areas in need of improvement.

This is done by creating 100 paintings within one year. (The year can start at any time. It does not have to start in January.) The paintings are usually a mix of small, medium and large pieces, some sketches, plein aire, and studio work; work from life as well as from photos. The variety is meant to push the artist out of any comfort zones (rut), to provide ample opportunity to create no matter what time constraints the artist is dealing with, and to challenge the artist if they do not create in one of these categories. The work can be done in any medium, but it is strongly advised that the artist choose one medium in which to do the Challenge as this will help facilitate faster growth than trying to master multiple mediums.

It is also very important to NOT JUDGE the artwork! When a piece is complete, the idea is to set it aside and move to the next piece of work. Quantity over quality! The thinking goes that quality will take care of itself as we strive to do our best ANYWAY every time we touch paint to paper. Learning to suspend judgement of our work is a major step forward in the development our skills. The blog is meant to hold the artist accountable as well as to provide positive encouragement and support. Most folks find the Challenge to be demanding and there are periods where the going gets a bit tough. 

If you're interested please pop over to the 100 Paintings Challenge blog and check it out! And I hope that even if you're not interested in taking on the challenge, you'll still encourage others who are by leaving supportive comments! And as always, let me know if I can answer any questions!

Note: My apologies for the odd type this morning - Blogger seems to be a bit cranky and doesn't want to play nice!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy!!

'Tis finally here!!

May blessings fill your stockings,

May happy dreams fill your sleep,

May yummy stuff fill your tummy,

May family and friends, from near and far, fill your home,

May love fill your heart.

These are my holiday wishes for you and your family!

Merry, Merry Christmas!!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Run, Rudolph, Run!!

And what would Christmas be without our favorite reindeer, complete with lights and………

……a '52 Chevy Half-ton Pickup Truck?!?!!

In another lifetime, Chris and I were the proud owners of the Chevy pickup. Now, I will freely admit that anything within a 100 feet of me was subject to be decorated at the holidays. However, this was ALL Chris' doing! He may say "bah, humbug!" but on the inside he has the spirit. Especially if it's just a little off center or odd!

We used to have a great deal of fun riding around during the holidays with this get-up - we'd get waves, and horn honks, and a few shouts as well as the occasional odd look or double take. After all, it's not often you get to follow a deer butt down the road!


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Oh Look, It's Santa……Bob!!

Santa Bob

If you follow the blog, you know my life has taken some pretty sharp turns here of late, and so, in keeping with the zaniness that is defining this holiday, I thought I would share Santa Bob with you!

Santa Bob is the mascot where Chris works, The Compounding Shop of Riverview. His real name is Bob Skurrel. He works in Marketing and Purchasing as a manager in addition to bringing cheer to the office. He sometimes comments on my blog as "Drugstore Bob."

In addition to Santa, Bob has been known to dress up as a pirate for our local holiday, Gasparilla, the Easter Bunny, a doctor (just for fun) and even as a turkey in honor of Thanksgiving - he takes his job of cheering the office very seriously.

Bob knows and uniquely understands the value of humor and lightness during times of stress. He learned this during his ordeal being a victim of vehicular homicide and his reincarnation as Bob Skurrel. He is known to often comment "You gotta laugh or you'll cry. Laugh and the world laughs with you. Cry and you'll get ran over. No. Really. It happened to me. Let me tell you………………"

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Santa Bunny and the Winter Solstice

Ol' Santa Bunny
Watercolor ACEO

You remember Santa Bunny, right? Old and a thousand years wise, with ears as soft as silk to listen to our heartfelt wishes for the holiday season. Even the lightest of wishes does not go unheard! He knows your heart's desire……

We are moving towards having a Christmassy holiday, after all! The floor is finished in my studio (YAY!!!!) and I was able to enjoy it for about 20 minutes before the "stash-a-thon" began! What's a stash-a-thon? It's what you do when your whole house is a wreck due to renovations and you're hosting a party in 5 days for 25 people!

My studio has become the "storage unit." At least, that's what it looks like. Bet not to many people have a storage unit complete with crystal chandelier and hardwood floors! We also have lights up outside, and the tree is up. It stands bare-naked in the living room waiting patiently for its adornment.

Tomorrow is the winter solstice - I plan to pause in my hurries and review the last few months and look ahead to the season to come, what goals I've accomplished and where I'm going. I hope you'll join me!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Just Poppin' In to Say Hi!

The Christmas Penguin
Watercolor ACEO
2.5 x 3.5 inches

It's been a long, busy week here in the land of renovations. I now have about three quarters of a floor in the studio and 48 feet of baseboard waiting to go in. Actually, one wall of baseboard is in due to the huge "Bookcase of Knowledge!" Yay! I've found the crown molding that will be going into the studio, but we haven't had time to go pick it up yet.

It is still chaos and bedlam throughout the house. There may be a mouse stirring (not), but if there is, I'd have a hard time finding him! The cats, however, would make short order of that situation. They're master lizard hunter/gatherer/munchers! How different could a mouse be - if we actually had one?!

We've also had a change of plans for the holidays……I learned this morning that we'll be hosting the family Christmas Eve party for about 25 folks. This will put a kink in the studio plans, but this is a family emergency and that's what families do!

So, how's your holiday season? Gifts all purchased, made, wrapped and under the tree? Speaking of, is your tree up? How about the outside lights? My answers would be no, no, no, what tree and what outside lights?!

Hope your season is running a bit smoother than mine!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I'm A Guest Blogger over at Christine Kane's Blog, Live Creative!

Hi, all! Just a quick heads-up that I am the guest blogger over at Christine Kane's blog, Live Creative!

If you've read the blog very long, you know how important having a word of the year has become in my life - I recently had the opportunity to write the article for Christine's blog and it's up today! YAY!!!! Please check it out!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Gratitude List! Share Yours!!

It's that time of year……everyone is stressed about the holidays, the gift-buying, what to get, how much to spend, overeating, who's coming over, who's not, and who has had their feelings hurt. Not to mention the expense of the decorating, partying, food, gifts, travel, and everything else that goes into making this the "happiest time of the year." So, enough already, let's try something different………

Watercolor and black pen

Stop, take a deep breath and exhale some of the stress. Now, think about what are you grateful for this year. Chances are good that several things will bubble up to the top of your mind in just a few seconds. Write them down! Share them! Celebrate your abundance and your gratitude by blogging about it!

I'm starting with a gratitude list of 10 things (in no particular order). If you're inclined to share your abundance and gratitude list, leave a link in the comments for your blog post! Got more than 10? Share them! Less than 10? Share them! The season is really about joy and peace and love. Let's take a moment to share that with each other! And please invite others to participate when you add your list on your blog!

I'm grateful for……
1. The health and happiness of my family and myself
2. Finding a profession that I really love (teaching) and being able to share what I'm most passionate about (watercolor painting)
3. An imaginary world! (
4. Lots of new friends found in the blogosphere and in my own town!
5. The time to nurture those friendships
6. The freedom to pursue my dreams regardless of my gender, age, religion or any other limitation
7. New opportunities that are popping up a regular basis AND being able to pursue them!
8. A great new studio floor (and a clean, reorganized studio)!
9. A great marriage to a great guy
10. Winning Best of Show in the FSWS' 2009 Open Aqueous Show!

What are you grateful for??!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Learning and Living. Imperfectly.

Yesterday, I tried (on my own) to remove the base boards in my studio. I found out quickly there's a trick to it, and I didn't know what the trick was. This morning, after we picked up the flooring for my studio (yay! FINALLY!!), I asked Chris what the trick was.

I was told it was a chisel. To get behind the board and then use the hammer to tap the chisel down behind the board and lever it away from the wall. Sounds straightforward, right? Except that this base board was installed by my father-n-law and his theory goes something like "if one nail is good, three or four are better!" In fact, when he built the cabinets for the kitchen in our old house there was a standing joke that if we got hit by a hurricane that kitchen would still be standing afterwards BECAUSE it was so well built (read that as nails, lots of nails)!

I did get the base board removed. Imperfectly. And that's okay. I now have a new skill in my house demo-ing toolbox. I also finished painting the last two walls today. That went a little imperfectly too, but nothing that a gallon of paint couldn't cover up. We hope to begin putting down floor on Saturday. Having learned how to do it imperfectly in Chris' studio, I'm hoping mine will be a little less imperfect. Since nothing in this house is square, that's going to be quite the challenge.

I apologize for not having any artwork these days, but I'm truly a fish out of water with no studio and everything in total chaos around here. I couldn't even find an eraser yesterday and I'm pretty sure I have a couple dozen, if not more. Somewhere. I just saw over on Caroline Robert's blog that she's accomplished what I can only dream about - an organized studio!

The little ACEO was done while my mother-in-law was very ill. My father-in-law would give us a word each week to illustrate, then Chris and I would go off to do our own interpretations. We'd then share them the next week. The word for that particular week was "starlight" and it was December. Some things just create themselves. If we're open to it.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Are You Sure?

Are you sure it's December? I know the malls are playing the Christmas music over and over, but they start that nonsense in October! I keep looking around for some indication that it really is December in the Ferlita household and, well, let's just say something's missing. As in decorations. As in festive plans. As in a clean house.

Bedlam and chaos rein supreme - the floor in Chris' studio is complete and his studio is about 50% reassembled. Disassembly of my studio is now underway with about 50% of the contents strewn about the house where Chris' things are not taking up space.

It's a bit disconcerting. Usually, the tree is up, the lights are up outside and the serious deep cleaning the house gets every year at this time is underway. Nada. Nothing. Zip. It's all you can do to walk in here! I'd be out of my mind to try and clean anything around here.

However, progress is being made although it is so slow that one would walk right past it and not see it! The card up above is a double ACEO 2.5 x 7 inches and it is all watercolor - even that cute little border! It's a favorite and so I thought I'd share!

Hope your season is suitably festive so far!!

Saturday, December 5, 2009


I went by one of my favorite Christmas shops yesterday, and look what I found–the Eiffel Tower and Big Ben! I always try to buy a couple of ornaments each year that represent the year's experiences - these are perfect, no?!!!

I think they are the perfect representation of Imaginary Trips and all the cool places I've been this year, the new friendships I've made and wonderful experiences I've had. When I came home, I carefully unwrapped the ornaments and put them on a small shelf in my office so my fuzz bugs (aka cats) wouldn't accidentally knock them down, over, or chew on the hanger cords. (Not that my little darlings would ever do anything like that, but accidents DO happen!)

My paint palette and waterbrush were up on the shelf for the same reasons. When I went to pick up the ornaments to take a photo for this post, I realized I had a perfect set up right where they were - in front of my travel guides, with my pocket palette and waterbrush–serendipity, you've gotta love her! She has such a sense of humor!

As an additional note, An Imaginary Trip to Paris and An Imaginary Visit to the Beach are now posted on the web site and OPEN for registration! The itinerary for England is on the table and being discussed - so many cool places to visit, so much to sketch and paint! It's really hard to decide and narrow it down! An Imaginary Trip to England is tentative scheduled to leave April 5th, and as always, I'll list it here when the registration is open! You can also check the web site, Imaginary Trips for more info on all the classes!

To latest edition of Imaginary Trips newsletter, Trav•e•logue, is also posted. If you would like to receive advance notice about class information, please send me an email by clicking on the button in the left hand column of the blog or visit the website!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Little Frivolity!!!

Watercolor Painting of Antique Ornament

As you can see, Painted Thoughts Blog has undergone a rather festive transformation! I am so in the mood for celebrating as I've been able to close some outstanding items from the computer crash waaaay back in September! I feel this great sense of accomplishment and I'm so ready to celebrate and play - care to join me?!!

Run your mouse over some of the darker areas - see the little sparklies??!!! Isn't that fun?!! It's fairy dust and if you look around you might even see that it's snowing here at Painted Thoughts! It's a fun, happy change - for a while anyway! I do hope you enjoy!!

Me? Over the Top?!!!

Well, it seems that Teresa over at Blueberries, Art and Life seems to think so - she even gave me an award to prove it!! Thanks, Teresa! Teresa is a fabulous colored pencil artist who also happens to love chocolate and blueberries - a girl after my own heart! I hope you'll pay her a visit to see her fabulous art - she has recently completed a dog portrait WIP - gorgeous! Oh, and she also happens to be a great writer as well - check out her newspaper articles. They're quite entertaining.

The rules are:

Pass this award on to five people, and answer a list of questions in ONE word. 
(like that's gonna happen!)

So here we go:

1. Where is your cell phone?…chilling
2. Your hair?… messy
3. Your mother?… fun
4. Your father?… ornery
5. Your favorite food?… chocolate
6. Your dream last night?… yep
7. Your favorite drink?…coffee
8. Your dream/goal?… sustainablelivingasanartist (hey, that's one word, right?)
9. What room are you in?… office
10. Your hobby?… painting
11. Your fear?… blindness
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years?…happyandsuccessful
13. Where were you last night?…home
14. Something that you aren’t?… sick
15. Muffins?… nothanks
16. Wish list item?… time
17. Where did you grow up?… here
18. Last thing you did?… typed
19. What are you wearing?… pj's
20. Your TV?… sony
21. Your Pets?… multiple
22. Friends?… several
23. Your life?… zany
24. Your mood?… quiet
25. Missing Someone?… no
26. Vehicle?… blue
27. Something you're not wearing?… bra
28. Your favorite store?… art
29. Your favorite colour?… OnlyOne?!!!
30. When was the last time you laughed?… today
31. Last time you cried?… Wednesday
32. Your best friend?… Hubby
33. One place that I go to over and over?… mountains
34. Facebook?… yes
35. Favorite place to eat?… Chili's

And the 5 lucky recipients:

1. KJ over at Catching Happiness, a new blogger
2. Pat at Pat Reese Designs, is this lady ever talented or what?!!
3. Vickie over at Garden of Weeden, is another very talented artist and super nice person!
4. Susie at 1st Floor Flat. Susie has several blogs and all of them, as is her art, is outstanding!
5. Cheryl over at Scrappy Cat, a very talented calligrapher, journaler, and artist

Hope you go and take a peek at these ladies as well as at Teresa's blog - you're in for a treat! Thanks again, T!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

December, What Are You Doing Here Already?!!

I must be mistaken, but I've double-checked the calendar twice and it still says it's December!! Can that possibly be right? Egads, if it is, I'm already behind. Not that it would matter or be any different than usual. 

This little tree is gracing my studio at the moment. It keeps saying it's December too. If you look closely you can see the green wall is now in the studio, complete with blue painter's tape - the latest in home decor! Well, at least at my house, it's the "in" thing. 

I ran across the tree while I was pushing things back and forth across the room (not literally!) so I could get some painting done this weekend just past. I decided to decorate in the latest color incarnation of the studio. The photo doesn't really do the tree justice (not to mention the image is lopsided. Which is the fault of the photographer and not the tree).

We've put in half the floor in Chris' studio and hope to start on mine this weekend. I'm thinking it will probably be mid-week, next week. We still have work to be done in my studio before the floor can go in. The work can't be done until there's room to work in there. Since our house already looks like a storage unit with Chris' studio stuff piled everywhere, my studio will have to wait until his is reassembled. 

Then there's the small matter that I haven't made up my mind what flooring I want yet. I think now that all that fabulous color is in, I can make a better decision. I hope–as I'm gonna be stuck with this stuff for a long time to come!

Hope your Thanksgiving holiday was wonderful with lots to eat, family to visit, friends to catch up with, shopping to do, places to go and whatever else there is that makes it a great holiday for you!

P.S. Does anyone have any idea why Blogger is suddenly adding double spacing and small type in the posts - that look normal in the composer???