Saturday, March 31, 2012

Flower Essence Aromatherapy for Overly Empathic People

One of the issues Paul and I help people with in our practice is one of being overly sensitive to other people's feelings. Someone asked today if I made a flower essence aromatherapy formula appropriate for that. Yes! Yes, I do... it's called Mama Love for Inner Strength and Protection.

I originally designed this formula for family caregivers and others who got so wrapped up in caring for other people that they forgot to care for themselves. I called it Mama Love for Balanced Caregiving. But even though it's very effective it hardly ever sold. Talk about attempting to market a little known niche product to a very narrowly focused market! At a certain point I needed to expand what I thought this formula was about.

So I tried again and gave it a new name related to battling codependency. It did better. Apparently Alcoholics Anonymous has done a good enough job with that label but it still wasn't a big hit and, honestly, it was still not a complete enough description.

So I tried again. How does this formula make me feel? Solid, less vulnerable, able to hold my own... okay, let's try "Inner Strength and Protection." It's not just about codependency anymore or about excessive caretaking... it's good for sensitive personalities, empathic people, people who spend too much time with people who hammer at their feeling of inner sanctity. You know those well-meaning people who "only have your best interests at heart" but never fail to make you feel inferior, or who fill your head with so many well-meaning suggestions, worries and concerns that you can't figure out what you think anymore. Or those who require (or demand) so much of your attention that you're thinking about them all the time.

Or maybe it's just because you're tired, run down and need a stronger inner core of protection. I recently was diagnosed with severe anemia and am taking supplemental iron which has helped quite a bit. But before I found out about that I literally felt so vulnerable to other people that I was overly sensitive to anyone's bad mood or negative attitude and could not stand to be touched. Imagine that everyone has an energetic shield, an ability to roll with the punches, to maintain a decent attitude even when others do not. Being sick and run down can tear that energetic barrier down. The Yarrow in this very powerful formula helps rebuild that energetic shield and keeps it up.

Available on my Mama Love website.
And in my Etsy shop.

Mother Mary Folk Art Style Painting

My second self-framed mini painting! This one is inspired by the Mexican folk art we saw so much of in Santa Fe. This piece is based on a scene I saw in the children's garden at a tiny rural Catholic church. Mary was played by a Barbie doll and her hair was blowing in the breeze from under her makeshift shawl. Something touched me in the scene—the sweetness and naivete, perhaps. I took a photograph and created a painting from that. Available now in my Etsy shop.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Is there a Difference in Acrylic Paint?

I'm in the process of doing mixed media mini paintings combining giclee prints on canvas with traditional art materials like acrylic paint and gel medium. This Buddha painting was the first one and in the process of painting the background I started to wonder if I might invest in better paint... or even if I could. After all I was using one of the best known acrylic heavy body paints in the business—Liquitex— and I always thought they were pretty darn good.

But on this piece I noticed the paint was too heavy. It didn't spread well enough and while I could mix some gloss medium in (and I did) I really like the intense pigment of paint used straight out of the tube.

As "luck" would have it I currently have a part-time job at an art supply store -- Ellis Arts in Chico, CA -- and getting to know the inventory so I can do a good job selling it is kind of part of my job responsibilities.

So, with full support of my boss, I got to sample paint. We have several lines of acrylic paint at Ellis. Golden, Liquitex and Graham are the "professional" grade brands. We also carry student and craft grade paints. I tried out the Galleria series by Winsor and Newton and Art Advantage.

Was there a difference? Yes!

First off, all the brands made a similar color mark on the page — Mars Black was the color I tried. But the Galleria and Art Advantage paints were matte finish instead of glossy. That means they don't reflect light very well and if that's the effect you want then it would be good enough. Not for me, but since we're on the subject — for those who care — the next question is, of course, was there a difference in those two brands? Way big! The Art Advantage is very inexpensive — which means you get a lot more for the money — but the Galleria was a much darker paint. You'd have to use more of the Art Advantage for the same effect. Basically, pile it on thick and be glad it's cheap enough to do so.

But I don't like the matte effect. I want the most intense colors I can get and I love sparkle and shine. Glossy paint looks wet even when dry and to me the colors always look much more vibrant. So I ruled out the student grade paint right away and turned my attention to the professional ones.

This is where having a photo of the test on the internet could really win the day. Of course, I don't have one -- maybe I'll get one later -- but it's not the color you need to see. The color looked very much the same across the same brands. All glossy, all deep black, all pretty much what you'd expect, but the smoothness and coverage was wildly different. The Golden (the most expensive and currently the most respected brand) and the Liquitex worked pretty much the same. But the Graham was amazingly different. Glossier, smoother, and intense coverage all the way down the page.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention... all the way down the page? What was the test? Me and another employee swiped a small amount of paint from the top of the tube and wiped our fingers clean on a clean sheet of white paper. Approximately the same amount of paint was used for each test. Liquitex and Golden swiped about a third of the way down a 6 inch piece of paper before starting to fade out. Graham made it all the way across—keeping its intensity almost the entire way.

That's the paint I want for the work I'm doing now. Great color, great smoothness—a pleasure to work with—and the very best gloss. It's the least expensive professional grade acrylic paint our store carries which always makes people suspicious. But when you're not as well known in the business, apparently, you have to try harder. It feels REALLY weird to be writing what is essentially an ad for some company's paint and not be receiving a kickback or anything. But it's also weird to be launching into the business of trying to sell my paintings and wanting to share a bit about the process of something as mundane as choosing a brand of paint.

(But I guess that's what blogs are for.)

The Buddha mini-painting above is for sale in my Etsy shop.

Happy Customers Make Me Smile -- Mama Love Flower Essence Aromatherapy

I just got permission to print an excerpt from a recent email as a testimonial:

"The Open Hearted Loving oil makes me feel so great that I'm curious to try the others. Spring seems to have sprung a little early, and I feel like I'm blossoming and buzzing! My heart feels so open; I really feel good about myself, and this self-love is spilling out to my home projects... I realized that the more I love and accept myself, the more I can make changes to my environment and life so it reflects who I am and how I feel. I also think I can make some other changes that may make my husband feel better. I haven't felt like this since I was in my early 20s and was a bit of a hippie! Who knew I'd feel this great a few months shy of forty years old? Thank you!" -- Jill McGlothlin

Hooray! I've always loved this one and wished more people could find out about how well it works. Ones more related to stress-reduction and dealing with feeling bad sell much better. But it seems to me that feeling like this is how anyone would want to be! Thanks, Jill!

Open-Hearted Loving on the Mama Love website.
Also available in my Etsy shop.

1 dram oil

1 oz oil

2 oz oil

1 oz Spray

2 oz Spray

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Whimsical Cat Poster, Print of Handmade Art on Etsy

I'm continuing to make prints of my art available on Etsy but now we can print sizes up to 13" x 19" ourselves at home as a 6-color giclee on high quality paper! This image of a whimsical cat resting under a vase of flowers was the first subject I tried in silk painting. The lines were applied with white and black gutta (wax resist) and dyes are painted in between. The original is not for sale but prints are available in our new graphic arts oriented FutureSoBright shop.

Friday, March 23, 2012

To Bring True Love Into Your Heart...

open your heart first to yourself as well as others! Whenever I make my "Attracting a Partner" flower essence aromatherapy formula I really love the way it makes me feel— so open-hearted and positive. There's a definite feeling of compassion in this one which extends to self as well as to others.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Future So Bright

Buy this print directly from me through my Etsy shop.

I've been an artist in one way or another since childhood. My mom was a frustrated artist — a child prodigy who put her art aside to be the best mom she could figure out to be. She never went back to it for her own sake but she taught every one of her children to love art and crafts and spent many a weekend introducing us to every artform she could think of or came across in a magazine.

I continue to work in a wide variety of media, dabbling in almost anything I get my hands on. I'm gravitating more right now to acrylic paint, colored pencil, powdered pigments, pen and ink, handmade and decorated papers, and digital photography—but I started my art career as a graphic designer and still love combining text with graphics and my original digitally enhanced whimsical illustrations. I recently realized that I've developed two completely different styles and opened a new Etsy shop to migrate over my most graphic art-related pieces along with graphic works by my life partner Paul Hood and things we've done together. It's called "FutureSoBright" after the old song "The Future's So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades." Kind of an intention-setting device and affirmation for me to take in whenever I add something to the page.

Paul and I continue to sell our photographs, paintings and mixed media work at The newest thing I've added there lately is my first mini mixed media painting of the Buddha shown below. It's done on 8" x 10" stretched canvas with the black and gold "frame" painted right into the picture and on the sides which makes it ready to hang as soon as you receive it.

Buy this original painting directly from me through my other Etsy shop!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Flower Essence Aromatherapy for Beginning Again with Renewed Faith and Optimism

If at first you don’t succeed, it’s time to try again. But when things don't go the way we planned —especially if you've gone through a devastating defeat— it's easy to lose confidence and give up hope. This formula was designed to help you release the effects of past mistakes and disappointments and gain a healthier perspective. Come back to the innocence of your youth when life was an adventure and getting back on your feet after a fall was just part of the plan.

Back by "popular" demand -- well, two people asked -- in my Etsy shop.