bella grace:
an ordinary artist

I am so honored to have my poem “make-believe” published in Stampington and Company’s gorgeous new magazine, Bella Grace: Life’s a Beautiful Adventure.

To launch this first issue, Stampington set up a blog hop, as a way to introduce some of the featured artists and also to offer you a chance to win your very own copy! It really is a gorgeous publication, more book than magazine, filled with beauty and grace and words from so many fabulous artists.

In addition to the free issue, I’m going to send the lucky winner your choice of any 8×10 print from my etsy shop, and a pair of silver earrings as well! All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post before midnight on Wednesday, August 20th. I’ll announce the winner on Thursday, August 21st.

Stampington will be updating the blog hop page daily, so be sure to hop over and check out the other artist’s posts for even more chances to win a copy of Bella Grace.

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an ordinary artist,

an ordinary life

The other day, I was painting outside… not art, but my house. Because it needed to be done and it was a perfect-painting-weather day and autumn will be here soon enough.

I was working away on the back entryway, repainting the door my dog insists on scratching when he wants in, and I heard a sound in the stones behind me (we have a pea gravel patio area). When I turned, I saw a very large toad hopping his way across the stones, heading right for the spot where I stood, like he was in a big hurry to get there. After he made it to the rectangle of sidewalk just outside the door, he stopped. And then, keeping one eye on me, slowly made his way over to the pair of sneakers my husband keeps tucked beneath a bench for when it’s lawn mowing time. I watched as my new friend climbed into one of the sneakers and settled in. Apparently, this is where he lives.

Later, as I was painting along, I had to move the bench and in doing so, scared Mr. Toad out of his hiding spot. Before I could stop him, he hopped inside the door I’d left open, and then hopped/fell his way down the basement stairs. And then I couldn’t find him. But two days later, just as I was throwing a load of wash into the dryer, there he was, hopping right up to me again, asking to be rescued. And so, Mr. Toad was set free.

This is my life.

And I am an artist.

When I was young, I thought being an artist somehow meant being special. Weird in a good way, extraordinary, or at the very least, different.

But I was young (and therefore somewhat foolish) and if there is one thing that life has taught me, it’s that I am just like everyone else. A perfectly ordinary woman living a tiny little life in a tiny little house.

If you met me at a party, you’d be quite bored. As an introvert, I’m not good at being charming or social, I don’t dress like an artist, I don’t look like an artist, I usually don’t even tell people I am an artist (unless, of course, they ask). I live in a small town in a very rural setting and my life centers around my family, nature and my garden, the seasons, my art. There’s no exciting city or cultural life going on here. In fact, most weeks, I leave my house 3 or 4 times total, and at least two of those excursions involve food shopping. I call myself a hermit as a joke, but the truth is, I’m pretty much a hermit.

Yet here I am, making my living as an artist. I wouldn’t say it’s an easy life, but somewhere along the way, ordinary magic found me–when I wasn’t even looking. I planted a garden and fell in love with the sky. My pencil found its way back to the page. My camera became a daily accessory. These days, I mark the passage of time by charting the seasons, and the friend I speak to most often is a mockingbird. (I could say it’s a cat, but I’m more inclined to call them family).

I spend my days making something from nothing, and there is no other word for that but magic.

A client needs a brochure, and from a jumble of words and thoughts and half-ideas comes the piece they pass on to their customers. I plant a tiny seed, and a few months later I have a flower. A pile of beads and silver becomes a lovely bracelet. A blank screen with a blinking cursor turns into a poem about love and life and supermarket flowers. A camera and a quiet moment become my latest favorite picture. A refrigerator filled with vegetables becomes the perfect pot of soup.

It’s all magic. It’s all so ordinary.

And it’s all art.

I sit outside when I can and listen to the world. Where I live, that means bird song and tractor sound, grasshopper whirs and wind in the poplars, hummingbird wings and toad feet on gravel.

But I am a busybody when it comes to art. There is never enough time and there are always words waiting to be written, weeds needing to be pulled, birds with new stories to tell. I do the best I can to strike a balance, but most days, I wouldn’t say I’ve succeeded. Most days, I work long hours on the work that pays the bills, and just a few on the work of my heart. But I always squeeze that time in, making it part of my daily existence, part of my ordinary, part of who I am. Art is what keeps me whole and centered and I have learned that, for me, there is no other way to be.

Art is life. Not some glamorous, mysterious pursuit. Nor some extraordinary gift. Not something to be kept in a box, only taken out on special occasions.

Art is the rain dripping from the tips of my favorite flower, the steam rising up from my first cup of tea, the pattern of my footsteps on this worn wooden floor. It’s washing dishes and making beds and painting scratched up doors. And it’s showing up, every day, to do the work. Again and again. The work of living.

Life is, indeed, a beautiful adventure. And ordinary magic is everywhere you turn.

In fact, some days it comes hopping right up to you and makes its home there, at your feet.

All you have to do is say, welcome.

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Don’t forget to comment below to enter to win!

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an ordinary artist”

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