Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Creating My Own Art

Created this morning

I have been on an Art Journey for quite some time now.
With each new day I grow as an Artist.
I am inspired by so many others,
their techniques, style, color choices,
designs and their own personal journeys.
I have taken some wonderful classes,
in person and online
with some pretty spectacular teachers!
I have learned one technique here,
one there
and all the while I was developing
my own personal style of art.
Implementing the skills and techniques I had picked up along the way.

I am grateful that there are so many artists
out there willing to share their style of art,
write books along the way
and teach creatives like me!
I myself have taught many classes,
I have loved sharing my process to others.
I feel I now have something to share.

I think it is important to learn from others.
We are all together on this artistic walk of life.
Fellowship with other creatives is a must!
Whether just getting together as friends,
going on retreats, taking a workshop ...
certainly whatever works for you.
We need to be with like minded souls.
It fills our vessels for those times we can't be together.

I have learned a strong lesson along the way ...
I needed to take what I had learned and 
create my very own style.
I don't want to copy someone else's work or style,
I want to create my very own.
I do believe I have ...
I finally am comfortable in my own creative skin!
I create only what I want to create now,
and that is such an important lesson to learn.
My wonderful hubby reminds me all the time
that my work is unique,
my colors choices are great
and he loves my work above others!
(It is nice to have your own personal art cheerleader)

I created this small watercolor journal to play in
and created the cover work this morning

Early morning play on the art table

I began with a small sketch,
added watercolors,
then ink, then splatter, some oil pastel,
than pen and just kept going!
I wanted to just play and see what I came up with
for my blog post this morning.
It is all about the process for me,
not always the end result.
I have learned to create from Intention.
I needed the process to speak to me ... and it did!

Art is a way of life for me,
whether I am creating with inks, paints, 
or even my palette of threads.

A peek at my Tapestry table in progress

I create my art for ME,
(sometimes as a gift of love)
no longer for sale.
I went down the Etsy Shop journey years ago,
and found great success; but I wasn't happy.
I was creating just to refill the shop.
I was even part owner in an Art Gallery,
again I found myself creating to fill my little area ...
Art wasn't fun anymore, it had become work.

Now I create mainly for me.
I need to create ... it certainly calls to me.

Handpainted silks by Mirrix Looms
for my next Tapestry Project

I create because I need to.
Because I am called to it
Rather than filling my mind with
mindless television and wasted time,
I return to my studio ...
over and over again.
Each time might not be perfect,
or I may not create a beautiful work;
but I am there
granting myself the gift of peace,
quiet and serenity.
That my friend is worth it's weight in gold!

I don't want to copy anyone else,
trust me with social media these days
it would be easy to just imitate what I see.
There would be no originality in that.
I create my own art
because I love it,
I am finding my own true voice
through my work.
It has taken me years to like my work,
trust me ... there were times I did not!

I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic!
What inspires you?
What is your creative process?
What does your Art mean to you?

We had a beautiful 62 degree day here yesterday
in Virginia Beach,
today is very windy and dropping to 30 degrees!
I feel my studio is calling me ...
wonder what else I will create today?

Donna Lee

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A peek inside my sketchbook

My latest sketchbook

While visiting in Providence, Rhode Island
at Squam in the City a few years ago,
I visited the amazing RISD Museum
(Rhode Island School of Design)
Oh my goodness their gift shop
and Art Supply Store was out of this world!
I purchased several accordion watercolor journals
and brought them home!
I have been in love with these little journals,
and am on my last one!
I haven't been able to find them since,
so guess I will try to online shop with the museum
to stock up on a few more!
I am in love with the accordion journals,
they are portable, and you can draw on both sides!!!

I decided to share it with you today,
and let you have a peek inside.
I love to carry a small travel bag at all times,
I only carry this small journal,
a portable watercolor palette,
pencils, micron pens, eraser
and of course a water brush.

I never want to find myself without supplies,
there is so much inspiration out there in the world,
a quick sketch is just a moment away.
I am practicing my sketching skills,
I'm not always good with perspective!
I guess I didn't pay attention enough in art class!

Documenting my favorite OBX destination

Just sketching what I see

Drawing and Sketching are used in so many
parts of my life ...
sometimes it is nice to step away from Zentangle®
which is a very focused and meditative way of drawing.
Even in my Tapestry Weaving journey ...
drawing my cartoons are important,
which then become a woven cloth.

I've been playing with all my watercolors
in a different journal I created
for my friend Mindy Lacefield's
Watercolor Journal Course 
(she is amazing and I'm just relaxing and playing)
I'm learning to just enhance my painting and design skills

That's it for today ...
just a peek inside my sketches.
Wishing you warmth, love, creativity
and above all
peace in your daily walk!

Donna Lee

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Spiritual Renewal

I was in for an amazing gathering of women!

This past weekend I was able to attend
the Women's Retreat (IF Gathering)
with my Trinity Church.
It was held at the beautiful Westin Hotel
in Virginia Beach
and I spent the night with my longtime
spiritual sisters and friends
Debbie Bailey and Donna Irwin.
What is a retreat if you don't get a night away
of fellowship, laughter and jambes?

The gift of long time Sistership

Our 13th floor window view over Town Center

The experience was filled with
laughter, tears, worship music,
guest speakers, delicious food,
testimonies and sharing.
It was so good to fill my spirit,
renew my heart once again,
and be with like minded women.

My Spiritual Peeps for the experience ... such beautiful women and life stories here!

Life has been so full of busy "stuff",
family illness and the death of my aunt for me.
I've been working, trying to meet deadlines,
feeling overload and over commitment lately.
I haven't had much time to do my writing,
and very little time to do my art!
You know we all get to that point, 
over and over again.
For me this retreat just allowed me to PAUSE ...
for just a short time and focus of my spiritual walk.
It was just what I needed at this moment.

Trinity Church came to my life several years ago,
when I was leaving a church that hurt me,
disappointed me and did things I didn't agree with,
they rocked my spiritual steadiness a bit.
I am so grateful to be in a place 
where I feel safe again,
safe to worship,
safe to share my talents and my life.
It is good to feel healthy again!
Thank you Trinity Church,
you have my heart!

I came home restored, renewed and focused.
Something I was certainly needing
and I am sure I can say that about all the women
that were in that gathering with me!
As women we need to come together,
re-focus, share, laugh, dance and sing!
It is good for the soul!
Life isn't always easy 
and it is so good to hear from other women
their life experiences.

If you get the chance to attend an IF Gathering,
I urge you to do this!
It was my first time and I can't wait
to attend again next year.
What an amazing team and organization
of faithful and insightful leaders.
Their lessons, testimonies and stories were powerful.
Thank you IF for your amazing presentation.

My friends
I do hope you will live the rest of your week
in love and in peace.
Know there is a loving God in this life,
who cares about your every moment,
your precious heart
and all that is about you!
You are amazing just the way you are!

I am truly grateful we are friends
and we are here together!

Donna Lee

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Thoughts on Social Media

 Yearning for some sweetness these days!

 Wow it has certainly been a whirlwind of emotions
on Social Media ever since this political season began!  
I am not sure how I feel about it all just yet.

When I first came onto Facebook,
it was a way to reach out to my artistic friends
I had met at art retreats I had attended,
That was many years ago for sure.
I love being able to communicate long after
the retreat had ended.
It really was when Facebook was something special!
I still enjoy connecting in special groups
with my FB friends
and being able to see what is happening in their lives.
That part is still fun!

Instagram came along and I was hooked (I still am!)
It truly was the reason purchased my first iPhone;
because back then it was the only way to get the Instagram App!
Photography is something I love,
and Instagram was a way to share a photo
and a quick description of what
I was walking through in my life at the time.
Now there are so many users,
and Instagram has definitely changed.
I believe it has become even more commercial
and that saddens me.

Facebook has become a political nightmare!
It is where anyone can say whatever they want,
at any time, with no regard,
I don't enjoy it anymore,
and frankly ... it scares me a bit.
I find myself staying away each and every day.
Too many outspoken opinions,
our world is in unrest.

There seems to be so much anger
and discontent in our nation presently
and it sure doesn't seem to be calming down at all.
I want my old Facebook back ...
a place where I could see what my friends were up to,
a place where I could post ...
"Hey my blog post is up"
 "Hey look at this picture"
"Hey this is how I am feeling today ..."
"Hey this is what I want to share today!"

We are running so fast these days,
we aren't taking the time to be considerate of one another,
slow down on the highways,
be kind to each other in the grocery store,
we are forgetting common courtesy 
and I could certainly list so many other ways.
We are too busy looking down at our phones
in our hands
not paying attention to the beautiful world 
happening around us.

I'm pretty close to saying bye bye to Facebook,
not Instagram, just yet.
I want a slower pace of life,
I want to a kinder and gentler nation,
I want to respect my President,
yet I am having a time even liking him.
I want people to slow down,
look at me in the eye with a smile
and just say good morning.
I want to hear myself think.
How about you?

Social Media can be a good thing
and it can also be very dangerous.
Think carefully how you are using it,
how it is affecting your well being.
Perhaps we all need to lay off of it a bit
and just return to the simpler things in life.

Today I wish you a day filled with love for your fellow man,
Peace in your heart and soul,
Quietness and Rest whenever you can grab it.
Thanks for being here and reading my thoughts,
it means the world to me!

Donna Lee

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Journaling with Heart

My latest journal keeping my attention

I have been Art Journaling for eight years or more
and I totally love the process!
It is where I can be myself,
record my thoughts and dreams and experiences,
it is mine and no one else's!
I do see that my techniques have changed over the years,
and my journals are becoming
even more personal, refined and fine-tuned.

I purchased the sweetest journal (pictured above) 
from Anthropologie (my favorite store ever!) last year,
and I have been working in it recently like crazy!
When I was at Squam 2015, two years ago, I had the pleasure
of taking an all day journal class with the amazing
it was entitled "Turn the Page"
and my journaling changed from there on out!
We were to bring a book, any book and we would learn
that day to transform it into a magical place of the heart.
I warn you ... it is a truly addictive art!

I completed that book recently,
carried it back to Squam 2016
to show it to Colleen and let her know
how much her guidance meant to me.
 It is filled with moments, ideas, love and so much more.
I was truly saddened when I filled the last page!
What a treasure I now have!
It is filled with my life's journey!

My completed journal

I began working in my Anthropologie journal last year
when I traveled to Providence, RI
and spent sweet time with an amazing group
of creative sisters.
I have been working in that journal ever since.
These journals take time to fill and work within,
I am in no rush to fill them, I want them to
grow and grow.

Each day I write a poem, an idea, personal thoughts
and so much more.
In fact just today, my little Grandson Grayson
drew a page of art for me to cherish forever!

My little artist Grayson's addition

With each page, my heart is attached to the journal
even more.
The pages begin to fill with all kinds of wonderfulness!
I sew, glue, use washi tape, draw, watercolor,
tear magazine images, transform pages, build pockets, Zentangle® borders,
draw Mandalas, record my hopes and dreams  ...

How this one looks today!

When someone sends me a love note in the mail,
I save it.
If someone quotes something amazing I don't want to forget,
I save it
If I attend an amazing workshop or retreat, 
I always bring it with me,
filling the pages with ideas and notes I never want to forget.
I've learned to play with my art, collect pictures,
change the pages,
add "stuff"
making the pages a wonderland of my own little world.
Here are a few pages I would like to share with you ...

So if you haven't had the pleasure of working on a personal journal,
I encourage you to just begin.
Go find a journal that speaks to you ...
literally jumps into your hands,
or buy an old book and convert the pages,
just find one and begin.
Make it personal, make it yours ...
don't forget to write things that are important to you!
Moments you don't want to forget,
Record your heart feelings,
do some sketching,
save special mementos,
just begin!!!!

I promise you it will be worth it
and as the years pass you will have recorded
your life ... your amazing life.
What a treasure it will become, I promise you!

Donna Lee

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Random Donna Lee thoughts . . .

My Beaded Cuff Project

I promised myself in 2017
that I was going to create
only the things that spoke to my heart
whether in painting, weaving, drawing or writing.
It seems that Tapestry Weaving
has been taking most of my time lately.

Time seems to be such a precious commodity,
so I am trying to manage it wisely,
create beautiful projects that speak to my heart
and slow myself down a bit!
Here it is mid February
and it just feels like things are going at such a fast pace.
I've been caring for family needs; they always come first.
So if there is ever time leftover to play it is a gift for sure.

I haven't taught any Zentangle® classes yet this year,
I needed to take a small hiatus after the holidays!
I feel as though teachers need to fill their personal well,
in order to give to students what they need
don't you agree?

I know I am a day late, but here is
a small heart creation for you to enjoy!
I have just had a micron pen in hand
and creating and drawing for the love of it.

Happy Valentines 2017!

My Beaded Tapestry Cuff is coming along,
I can't wait to put it all together,
promise to show you at another date!
I am in love with weaving with beads!
I wrote a blog post for Mirrix Looms
about this project ...
you can find right here!

This weekend I went to the hardware store
and I bought a lot of galvanized piping
to create a new loom,
I found the link here . . .
and so wanted to try it,
one can always use an extra loom right?
I plan to blog about it later,
when it's all put together!
Tapestry weavers are amazing
and willing to share with each other.

I wanted to share this Mandala painting
I was able to create for my co-worker Janel
for her new home ... for her Harp Room.
It came together beautifully,
the entire time I painted it I listened
to Harp Concertos!
I really love the way it turned out!
I am always grateful for taking Louise Gale's
Mandala Painting Course years ago,
I learned so much and still use all of her techniques.

Spending any time creating Art is a gift!
Don't waste a minute ... time is precious.
You have a lot to say . . . so SAY IT!
You are Unique
there is NO ONE exactly like you.

Thanks for dropping by
Donna Lee

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Poetry ... Words in Motion

Woven Meanings . . .

There are threads of many colors
woven to a certain beat ...
over, under, over, under.
They are gently combing in the woven fiber,
to create a beautiful and intricate design.
Simple rhythms become life's gentle beating

I am a Tapestry Weaver
taking the time to weave
each and everyday;
coming full circle after many years away.
Inching slowly up the warp of the loom
A beautiful fabric is forming before me

Tapestry weaving is teaching me daily,
guiding me to a slower pace of life.
My fingers guide the weft fibers
along their woven way.
I have returned home here . . .
here just sitting at my loom.

This loom in my studio is a hundred years old.
 I often wonder where she has been,
and who wove here before me.
It might be something I will never know.
So for now I will channel it's weavers before me,
cherishing each and every woven row.

Woven Meanings
applied to my daily life journey ...
The sturdy Warp I weave upon
is the foundation I walk with each day.
The Threads of many colors and textures
are the experiences and people along my life's way

Donna Lee
always searching for creative wonder!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Good Morning February!

A recent watercolor play of mine

Today we woke up to a new day,
a new month,
the second month of our new year!

I love beginnings don't you?
This is a great time to stop and re-group, again!
Your January is gone,
you made all kinds of promises and goals for yourself,
how did that go for you?
One month gone . . . ask yourself if you are still on track???
If you were honest with yourself, 
you would probably say NO you are not,
like me!

My January was filled with creativity,
caring for family,
emotions about our nation's future,
a bronchitis slow down for days,
reconnection with friends
and so much more.

So here are a few thoughts running through my head . . .

Election years create turmoil...
I'm exhausted from it all

Creating Art is healing for the soul ...
spending time in the studio is a gift

Spending time in quiet is much needed ...
I just need to hear myself think

Leaving the television off is a good thing ...
The news is so biased and negative

Staying away from social media is an even better thing ...
I'm tired of Facebook ranting for sure

My Grand babies love is the best gift ever ...
their smiles and hugs are just what I need

Not always expressing my thoughts out loud is good for me ...
it is definitely a form of discipline

Watercolor painting is soothing and gentle ... 
It grants a certain kind of peace within

I am a bit overwhelmed with what is happening around me ...
I feel like I'm losing my grounding a bit

I know I need to surround myself with positive souls ...
 Stay away from emotional vampires

There is so much beauty in our world ...
You just have to look for it to see

So happy beginning of a new month today!
May you step a little lighter
Smile at a few more people along the way
Find time to love others
be good to yourself as well.
Take the time to give yourself what you need right now!

 Watercolor version #2

I'll be here next week for sure!

Donna Lee 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Finding time to just play

Just a small vignette 

Sometimes we just need to find the time to PLAY!
The holiday rush is over, 
thank goodness the Election is over,
the voting, the elections, the inauguration, the news comments.
WHEW ... it sickens me to absorb and watch it all.
Never have I been more disappointed in the political system.
Facebook became a political place to throw up
our opinions on each other ... it just isn't the same anymore!
I don't enjoy visiting FB as when I began so many years ago,
I am torn to stay or leave,
 because I love keeping in touch with my creative friends,
and my family members all over the country.
So for now I have to pick and choose the parts of FB I can accept.

I also believe that creating art is a most beautiful thing,
I am renewed every time I am able to create something!
I also know we don't always have the energy to create elaborate works
all of the time . . .
sometimes we just need to get our hands dirty,
pick up a paintbrush and just play . . .
to calm the soul
and soothe the nerves.
Art heals every time!

I took an e-course with the amazing and fun Jane Davenport years ago,
through 21 Secrets ... (an online course with 21 different teachers!)
She was fun, vibrant and so full of creative exuberance!
If you don't know yet, she has an entire line of art supplies
in Michaels now.
So I purchased one of her watercolor sets, and two of her 
water brushes,
I wanted to try them out.
The colors are vibrant and fun!

My new palette of colors to play with

So I began creating some fun little watercolor flower pots,
added some ink with my Micron Pens, size 02
and created some fun mini 5 x 7" vingettes.
I am always seeing fun things on Instagram
and on Pinterest,
so these little watercolors were inspired by what I saw,
and embellished my way!
I think watercolor and ink is such a fun medium.

Flowers are so fun and easy!

While I was creating these fun little works,
I decided that they would be
"Pay it Forward" gifts.
I plan to write a small message on the front
and leave them in fun areas
for someone to receive.
So watch out Hampton Roads ... a fun artwork is headed your way!
I love to do that with my Zentangle® works,
this time it will be with Watercolor cards!
Here are a few I have created . . .

Each one is a little different

The very first one I created,
I sent to a friend ...
I created a card and sent to her
while she was resting after surgery.

Soooooooooo ...
my message to you is 
find the time to just play,
with crayons and coloring books,
(they are certainly a hot craze these days),
sketch in your sketchbook,
(don't be perfect, just draw what you see!),
play with your set of watercolors
(I know you have some stashed somewhere),
pull out your beads and make a bracelet 
(We all have a little container of beads)
Just play for the fun of it,
don't overthink it,
relax and just enjoy the play.

We need to escape 
from the noises we are filling our vessels with.
They can certainly take over if we let them.
So tomorrow morning,
I plan to leave my first little painting,
right where the sugars are ...
at my local Starbucks
with a message saying . . .
Just Breathe.

So as January of 2017 quickly comes to an end,
I faithfully wrote a blog post every Wednesday,
I enjoyed NOT teaching any art classes after the holidays,
and I am totally loving my year long e-course
with Elizabeth from Squam,
It was a gift I gave to myself and it is off to an amazing start!
I promised to be good to myself this new year,
and that is exactly what I'm doing!

Be well, be happy, be creative
and please find time just to play just for the fun of it,
you won't be disappointed!
I promise!

Donna Lee

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Celebrating Life

Breakfast in the Cabin

This past weekend I celebrated my 40th Anniversary!
January 15, 1977 I married my surfer boy
and we have been together ever since!
Yes there are always bumps along the way,
but ours have been pretty easy bumps!

We traveled to the Blue Ridge Mountains,
I wanted to stay in a cabin near the mountains,
and my hubby made all the plans.
We stayed at Steele's Tavern Manor
and it was everything we wanted and more!
Our cabin was situated on a beautiful pond,
with cows in the background,
beautiful blue herons
and a peaceful path to walk.

 Our beautiful home for three days

 It's just about the simple things that thrill me!

 Our cottage by the Pond

 Josie enjoyed our Anniversary trip too!

 Hearing the sounds of MOO in the mornings across the pond

We traveled into the town of Lexington,
with its quaint shops and rich history!
We ate delicious food
and visited nearby attractions for the day!
What a charming town!
You know I had to hit every gallery
and art shop there was!

 The buildings were so charming!

We entered the Blue Ridge Parkway,
but it was such a cloudy day we couldn't see anything,
it was a bit disappointing but we made the best of it!
We even decided to turn around,
(mountains, fog and me aren't a good combination)
It was a bit scary to say the least!

 Here we go!

There was so much inspiration around us,
we made the best of a rainy misty day!
I was totally intrigued by this stone wall,
it will become a tapestry for sure!

 Tapestry and Color Inspiration

 Geese by the waterfall

 Jimmy and Josie (my two J & J's)

I carried my Hokett Loom with me for
some tapestry weaving,
and the surroundings outside were so peaceful
and relaxing, I enjoyed having my loom with me
early mornings.
Tapestry weaving is such a quiet art,
I fall more in love with it each and every day!

Weaving by the pond

I believe we must celebrate life in every way 
that we can.
Celebrate the monumental steps in your journey,
celebrate even the small daily wins!
Make the most of the time you are given,
each and every day.
There is so much goodness out there,
if only you will see!

I am truly grateful that I have a
passionate heart.
I have been through some tough stuff during
this lifetime,
but each time I came out on the other side,
stronger, wiser and willing to lead others,
from my own experiences.
Life is all about what you make of it.

Early morning coffee and quiet

So make the best of where you are in your life
at this very moment, 
enjoy the simplicities
that this life can also give to you
and please . . .
don't waste a minute of it. 

I challenge you to celebrate your life,
with all it's complexities
and joys that come with it.
We can learn so much about ourselves
when we get away,
slow down and listen.
I think that is going to be my theme for this new year.

I had a beautiful getaway
and now we are back home and digging into routine once more.
It was truly awesome to get away,
alone and together!

May your week be full of good stuff!
Donna Lee