Thursday, December 22, 2011

Local Workshop Announcements for January 2012

"Do You See Me?"   by Crystal Neubauer
Local Workshops were announced in last weeks Image of the Week Newsletter. Here are the details and a date change to the workshop being offered in my home studio:

Intuitive Collage & Encaustic Techniques

Sunday January 15, 2012 at Perfical Sense Studio in Evanston, Illinois. Visit the website here for details and registration information.

Wax, Wire, and Paper

Saturday January 21, 2012 at my home studio in Grayslake, Illinois.
10am - 4pm with 1/2 hour break for lunch (bring a lunch and drinks will be provided)

This class will focus on combining wire frames and paper with encaustic wax for personal adornment, sculptural works, or adornments (a spin-off of my Wax & Wire Jewelry class taught at Art&Soul and EncaustiCamp). Working with encaustic and paper students will also learn to create non-traditional collage works free of any structural forms. Materials are included, but students are encouraged to gather found papers from their personal collections for a more personal experience.
$120 per student - 1/2 down with registration and balance the day of. 
Email crystal_opf@comcast to register.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Clean Slate Series

"A Clean Slate Series" by Crystal Neubauer

Sometimes my art informs my life before I even understand it - this new series is titled "A Clean Slate" and made its debut at Chicago's One of a Kind Show this year. 

As I looked at the works in this series- named for the centerpiece shown above- and talked about it to those visiting me at the show it struck me over and over how profound it was, the way it came together and the timing of it all. The series consists of several large works that have been evolving in the studio for several months. I've agonized over some of these pieces and was not able to bring them together to a satisfying outcome. Over and over again I would pull them out, work a little on them and then in frustration put them away thinking it just wasn't going to happen. Then just a few days before the show, when I was supposed to be framing and putting the last minute details for the booth together it all struck me so clearly - I could see what each piece needed and I worked frantically adding the black fields of Indian Ink and some graphite details. Better, much better. But still needing something. More pencil and mark making I thought. So I picked up a small pack of drawing pastels, in which a white piece was included, and as I put those white marks to the black ink I knew it was done. The worn chalkboard appearance with all the visible erase marks. Words came out of that white pencil. Labels I wanted to be free of. Names I had been called, or had called myself. And places I had been that I never wanted to go back to. 

I wrote and I wiped away and A Clean Slate series was born. 

But little did I know as I put it all together how much more it would mean to me just a few days later. 

"A Clean Slate" by Crystal Neubauer

On the bottom left of the centerpiece is an old ledger page, over 100 years old, that I had splatted with ink during a time of worship as the words "by your stripes I am healed" were sung. It is significant to me that this page wound up in the collage without my knowledge of what the finished piece would be about, symbolically adding to the theme of a clean slate, speaking to me - "your debt has been paid, the slate truly has been wiped clean."

 "More Then a Woman" by Crystal Neubauer

I've written about this piece in the past. I thought it was done, but was never quite satisfied with it. As I worked on the centerpiece of the series I spied this one hanging on the studio wall and had the same epiphany as I had with the first work. More mark-making and the slate appearance was added, more words and labels written and erased, and I am so fully satisfied with the result. 

"You are more then the labels they want you to wear. More then your past mistakes or any one thing. You are more then a woman. You are uniquely made and have unsurpassable worth." 

 "Do You See Me?" by Crystal Neubauer

This one also came off the wall to be reworked. The thoughts and feelings being poured out on the canvas. 

"Sometimes I think you look right through me. Sometimes its like I'm not even there. Do you see me? Does it even matter to you? I'm a real person - you can't turn me on and off. I am not disposable. I matter. Do you even see me?"

A new chapter is beginning in my life, with a clean slate. I am blessed by the places I've been, good and bad, as they have made me the woman I am today. I'm looking to God to show me the next steps and am following hard each day, the places He is telling me to go as I heal and begin again. I have many workshop announcements and exciting things to share so be sure to come back in a few days. Meanwhile be blessed.You too have unsurpassable worth.


Thursday, November 24, 2011


Native Son by Crystal Neubauer - 10" x 10" collage mounted in 20" x 20" shadowbox frame

As I begin the day with thoughts toward baking pies and welcoming guests to enjoy the holiday feast, my mind turns to a friend who is away from all that is familiar to her while serving the underprivileged in a far off country. The difference in the lives and life styles she is experiencing there is startling to her and I can't help but feel just a little more poignantly this year, the gratitude I have in my heart for the simple things I ordinarily take for granted. I am grateful for all of you today and pray that you are enjoying the harvest of a life well led.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Standard Blank Book

 A Standard Blank Book        by Crystal Neubauer
4" x 4" collage matted and mounted in 11" x 14" frame

In letting go of the traditional career path and embracing the passionate pursuit of an artists life I am facing each day without a script. The old life felt as if I were a poorly cast understudy suddenly thrust on stage and unable to remember my lines. Now I write my own story, each day is a new page in a standard blank book waiting for me to make my mark.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Autumn Stroll Through New Orleans

Autumn Stroll Through New Orleans by Crystal Neubauer
 4" x 4" mounted & matted in 11" x 14" frame

Fall is upon us in all its glorious splendor here in the Midwest. I've been taking advantage of these warm sunny days and getting out for a walk each morning before hitting the studio. Next week I'll be heading to Louisiana with my husband to welcome my step-son home from Afghanistan after a long year away. I'm looking forward to seeing him return safely home and taking an Autumn stroll through New Orleans.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Following Boldly Their Path. . .

One of the great things about being an artist is getting to meet and make friends with other artists. And one of the best things about making friends with other artists is watching the journey of their own calling as an artist unfold. Today I want to share with you some of the exciting things my friends are up to.

This is my friend Jan, well this is one of Jan's girls. Jan lives in Hawaii where she is a wife, mom, and owner of a successful indie business selling her beautiful hand-stamped jewelry online. But down deep in Jan's heart she felt a yearning to release her inner artist, so she began taking steps to answer that call. This past week she has launched both her beautiful new website, Jan Avellana, Art and Words, as well as a new Etsy shop featuring her mixed media art. Stop in and say Hi to Jan, start your Christmas shopping early or just treat yourself to one of her beautiful inspiring mixed media girls, I certainly did!

 And then there is my friend Sue. Sue has been following her dreams as an artist too. She is a painter living in Camano Island, who has added Encaustic Art to her resume. The beautiful work here is Sue's carton of roses work. She entered this work in a gallery show, which led to her being asked to teach encaustic workshops there. Taking one bold step has led to another and another, and pretty soon Sue began to see her dreams coming true. I can't tell it as good as she can, you'll just have to read it for yourself on Sues blog, here.

This beautiful encaustic work is by none other then artist Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch. You've probably heard me mention her name a time or two. Talk about a woman following hard on an artistic journey unfolding a step at a time! Trish endeavors to bring the art of encaustic wax to the world of mixed media and make it accessible to all. She has launched her own line of products, picked up endorsements along the way, is the founder and fab leader of EncaustiCamp (a not to be missed summer retreat!), and has just had her second inspiring book on Encaustic's hit the store shelves! What an inspiration and motivating friend!

I've admired Bridgettes paintings and encaustic art online from afar for some time. She has a blog called Contemplating The Moon, where I would see inspiration every time I visited. I don't remember when or where or how we first met, bt come to find out she lives just a hop, skip and a jump away in Chicago. Bridgette also came to EncaustiCamp to teach her technique on encaustic and bookmaking this summer. In spite of raising her two youngsters, Bridgette makes it a priority to stay connected to the artists in her own community and those who she meets and admires online. Her desire to connect with other artists led her to reach out to two very talented people, Seth Apter- who writes a popular blog called The Altered Page, which led to his upcoming book, "The Pulse of Mixed Media" - and the very talented Jen Worden, to suggest a collaborative project a few years back. That action led to lasting friendships and now their works are being featured in an outstanding exhibit at the Arts Center in Logan Square. You can catch the exhibit until September 30th, but if you aren't in the Chicago area be sure to stop by Bridgettes blog to read more about it here.

There are so many others, friends I've met on my journey as an artist. Each one following boldly their own path, without knowing exactly where it might lead. I can't share them all with you today, but I hope to leave you with a sense of the possibilities that arise when you take just one step. And then another. And then another. . .

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

American Craft Expo Recap, or, Things I Learned at the Show - Part 2

One of the questions I was asked frequently, as I sat in my Emerging Artist booth at the American Craft Expo, was "Where do you get all these papers?". . . Oh flea markets, estate sales, auctions. . . The question was sometimes posed as a remark "You really like to collect!" or "You must have a lot of stuff!". . .Yes, yes to both. I've got quite a collection and yes it is a lot of stuff!

It was interesting to watch and see how different people responded to different elements of my collage work.

Some were drawn to letters, words, or documents that had a certain familiarity to them and they would share with me their stories.

Others were fascinated with the use of ink in the work and would comment on the placement of it within the composition. Many were brought in by the textural aesthetics of a particular element or combination of elements and wonder what the bit or piece within the collage they were viewing had originally been and say that the threads and strings of frayed edges and spines of books were especially appealing to them.

Yes, I would agree, Yes, these were some of my favorite things too, these bits and pieces and scraps, these ink blotches and fragments, they were all very appealing to me as well.

But somewhere in the back of my mind, I could still see them in their original form. Not as they were when they were brand new, off the press sheet music or newly purchased books, but as they were when I found them. Discards of long forgotten lives. Beat up, worn down, time weathered and well, just plain old trash.

The stuff I use in my work is typically the stuff nobody else wants. I don't need to rush to the estate sale and line up at the crack of dawn. No, the books I use are falling out of their covers and the book dealers have long since left the premises, no doubt turning up their noses at the editions that I treasure. Many times an estate dealer will breath a sigh of relief to see what I am purchasing, as they thought they would surely be throwing these things away after the sale.

And so I marveled as person after person proclaimed to me "You need to raise your prices!" and looked at my work time and again throughout the show wondering, as somebody was handing me money, what would compel a person to tell me they were willing to pay an even higher price for something I had made? Did they really look? Didn't they really see what it was they were buying? 

And it was one such remark, said on the last day of the show, after hearing this remark many times over the course of the event, as a man passed through my booth complimenting me on what he saw, parting words said in sincere exclamation, "You need to raise your prices!" that caught my ear just so and I turned my head once again to look.

And I felt a stirring in my heart and heard a whispering in my soul, as I first caught sight of myself in the glass, and then looked beyond to see the collage I had created inside, and heard that voice within. 

God saying to look. Really look and see what it is that they see. 

"You see trash, each bit that went into it as an individual element in its found form, but they see the whole picture."

Profound, that moment felt like one of those scenes from a movie, where all around the activity faded to a far away black and white scene and the noise receded to nothing and all I could hear was the beat of my own heart, and that whisper inside.

"Is there anything here you would have left out? Is there a particular element you wish you had not included? Anything too dirty to be a part of this picture?" No, I shook my head silently. Each element had been carefully selected. Each one, no matter how dirty or worn it had been when I found it, was important to the overall composition. Together these things formed the complete picture, every last bit was important, I wouldn't have left anything out.

And then the picture blurred again and I caught my own eye in the glass.

And I heard it again, I saw it in my eye, felt it in my heart...

"You see your life the same way you see these collage elements. You see the past, certain events and choices, as nothing but trash. You feel ashamed of some and think if only they knew . . .but I see you as a complete picture. There is not a single element that I would remove. Each one is vital to the overall composition of who I created you to be. And each piece has value. You have intrinsic value to me."

"You need to raise your own price, my dear, I paid for you with my life."

Monday, September 05, 2011

American Craft Expo Recap, or Things I Learned at the Show - Part 1

Today as I come off the high of my recent experience of participating in the American Craft Expo as an Emerging Artist, I am reflecting on how the experience impacted my life and all the things I learned in the process of preparing for and being at the show.

For starters, I learned a little about my sense of fashion and personal style.

Face it, I'm an artist. I spend my days mostly in isolation working at home in my own studio. My wardrobe consists mainly of comfy clothes, including what I affectionately call my "studio pants". A pair of army green capris, with those little stretch bungee things that scrunch or loosen, depending on what I ate for lunch, that I salvaged from a bag of one of my daughters cast off's and wear year round with tank top or sweater, depending on the temperature in the studio, or the cycle of my hormones.

and while I can get away with this in my own studio, I was wise enough to realize the caliber of this show warranted taking a second look at my clothing options.

One of the first things I learned is that I do like to shop at real clothing stores, in places where many different clothing stores can be found together, along side entire stores for shoes, and others just for make-up. I typically spend as little money or time on myself as possible, coming from a background laden with a distorted sense of guilt, and what it means to sacrifice, putting others needs ahead of my own, etc. etc. and past shopping trips for my own clothing has traditionally been done in stores where I can also purchase the family groceries, and tires for the car, and fertilizer if I felt the need.

It was fun trying on all those clothes and after a long day at the mall I selected some new jeans, cute new shoes, and a couple of what I felt looked like artsy-yet-dressy tops, but the first night at the show I felt out of place and uncomfortable in the first flowing artsy top I wore and the second day I put one on and wound up taking it off in favor of a more classically cut blouse I had hanging in the closet.

By the end of the show I had a dawning recognition of my true style, a little tailored, a little classic, and just a little trendy and I treated myself to a post-show shopping trip to both, celebrate the successful outcome of the show, and my developing sense of personal style.

Setting up my booth in the Emerging Artist section, I wasn't sure what to expect from the attendees of such a prestigious show coming to view the high caliber craft and meet the established, experienced artists who had created it. I imagined there would be long stretches of silence watching the action from afar and an occasional visit from a curiosity seeker, a sympathetic patronizer of the arts, or a lost visitor looking for the bathroom.

I was very pleasantly surprised to find more then just a trickle of curious onlookers, but an onslaught of eager-to-talk, look, and buy art lovers and sincere friendly and encouraging men and women. In the process of answering questions, many that were asked several times over the course of the 4 days I was there, I learned how to loosen up and talk about my art in a sincere way that included the intuitive process and my experience of working in silence in my studio. I shared how I felt my time of creating was similar to a time of prayer, meditation and worship. I shared that I viewed many of my smaller works as "wordless prayers" or blessings meant for the viewer and recipient of the work as much as for myself. I learned that when I spoke with this kind of openness, not trying to pretend I knew more then I did, or that I had a well thought out artistic plan that led to each creation, and not trying to hide the spiritual side of my creative process, that I was received with the same genuine openness that I had shared and I was allowed a glimpse into the heart of many who shared with me in return.

This was more then I expected to receive in this environment and I left with an increasing sense of awe and reverence for they way in which we were created as humans, with an earnest desire to connect and be relational, open and real with each other.

Many of these conversations not only led to purchases, but also to inquiries about commission work and interest in private workshops to lead students through the intuitive process and these inquiries led me to the next thing I learned at the show, which was that the business side of my craft matters as much as the art itself. I found myself unprepared with business forms, written information to answer questions on how to commission work, or schedule a workshop. I need to establish a contact list to follow through with inquiries and remember who had asked for what service. I left with several scraps of paper, a notebook, and some mental notes and the feeling that something important had been forgotten. But, I tell myself, this is part of the emerging process. Learn from this experience and be better prepared for the next show.

And this thought, of improving on and growing from the place that I am leads me to the most profound lesson I learned at the show. That of seeing myself as a whole and complete picture. It was a moment that time slowed down and the curtain was pulled back and I felt a stirring of recognition in my heart as if I were staring in a mirror and really seeing myself for the first time. I learned that God can speak to me anywhere, at any time, and I don't have to be on my knees pleading with him or sitting in the silence of my studio to hear it, though these times are important, but that when He really wants to show me something, especially something that He has been working with me on, He has a way of getting my attention. He can use even the most seemingly innocent remark from a total stranger in passing to say the most significant thing. I will share more in my next post as I mull it over and keep it close to my heart a few more days.

For now, I'll just leave you with a few pictures of my booth and a heartfelt thank-you for following me along this journey. . .

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Month Of Highlights

Its been an extremely busy month with so many exciting things happening. I haven't been good about getting posts up for any of it so this one will hit the highlights.

I wrote a fun article for the July/August issue of Cloth Paper Scissors on a great way to show off your vacation photos combining digital collage and acrylic painting. Head over to this link to order your copy if you haven't picked yours up yet and catch the online freebies - three digital download image transfer sheets I've created from original antique ephemera and illustrations.

I just turned in another article that will be published in the November/December 2011 issue about using plexiglas as a support for Encaustic Wax. I took advantage of my time in Oregon at EncaustiCamp and challenged the other teachers and some of the students to join me in creating work for the article. Can't show you what we came up with, but you won't want to miss it!

I had the opportunity to interview for the American Craft Expostion Blog, where each of this years emerging artists are being featured. I really made the poor girl doing the interview work for it as I was extremely busy getting ready to leave for EncaustiCamp and had a ton of packing and shipping to do after my clearance sale but it certainly was an honor!

I've been having fun the past few months with my Tumblr blog where I feature art that inspires me along with my own recent works. You can check it out here.

And of course the biggest hightlight of the month was my trip to Oregon where I taught my Wax & Wire Adornments class at EncaustiCamp. It came and went so fast I've hardly had a chance to catch my breath since I've been home, let alone manage to put into words the experience. It went beyond workshops and teaching. The atmosphere was a true summer camp environment on the grounds of the Western Mennonite School in Salem, Oregon and many of the connections made there were the beginnings of lifelong friendships - for the students as well as the teachers. Many of the students have posted outstanding blog posts about their experience there so I'm going to link up to some here. Take a look at the pics and links..

Jessica Greene has an excellent blog and website called "Seek Your Course" where you can find course offerings and workshops from all areas listed and writes reviews from her personal travels and experiences. Check out her review of EncastiCamp part 1 and part 2.

This beautiful piece is by Roxanne Stout. She has a nice write up of her experience and plenty of pictures of art, students and teachers at her blog River Garden Studio here.

This shot taken on the last full day sums up the entire experience - real bonding and pure joy! Check out Don in the middle there. Look how innocent he looks while everyone around him is cracking up. I won't tell you what he said to cause such a raucous - it was a group moment among many. The beautiful woman with her head tipped back on Don's right is Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch. Our fearless EncaustiCamp leader and founder. Down in front clapping and cracking up is Judy Wise and Mary Beth Shaw. Judy taught a great class and Mary Beth came to partake of the camps goodness as a student. Trish has several great write-ups each day of the event with gobs of great photos of the event at her blog here.

 Here I am in the middle with the other teachers, Michelle Belto, Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch, Bridgette Guerzon-Mills, and Judy Wise.

 This is a great shot of nearly the entire group of students and teachers. We are all keeping in touch via our facebook group now. Its never too early to start your planning - same place next year for EncaustiCamp 2012!

By the way, if you are regretting you missed EncaustiCamp this year, you can get a mini-version in Michigan in September with Trish and I as we team up for a Foundations in wax experience at The Maranatha Conference Retreat Center in Muskegon, Michigan right on the shores of Lake Michigan. Check out Trish's blog post or go here for more details on registering.

And now I am off and running - just a month to go to get ready for the American Craft Exposition. I'll be hiding out in the studio trying to produce some new large pieces of work along with additions to my Uttering series. I'll try to get some pics up here and on my website of new works and more highlights this month.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Store and Studio Inventory Liquidation Clearance Sale!

First I want to say a very special thank-you to all who helped to make it possible for me to accept the position of emerging artist in the American Craft Expo and secure my booth through your purchase of art during my Celebration Sale last month! Being at the show in August will be even more meaningful knowing that you supported me!

As my career begins to move forward, my focus must shift to creating art and workshops more earnestly then ever, leaving me little time to continue with my passion of collecting and selling objects and collectibles through my Etsy store "Other Peoples Flowers" so I am busy this week listing clearance lots of all my remaining store inventory and vendor props.

Head on over to Other Peoples Flowers on Etsy where you will find deals of 50% off and more - most listings are by the lot and your savings will be pennys on the dollar. Stock up for your own altered art and assemblage projects or stock your own store inventory - these deals cannot be beat and will not be repeated!

Along with the clearance of my collectibles and objects, I will be focussing on continuing to add art to my new website and eventually closing OPF studio on Etsy where I currently sell my art. So I've decided to retire several of my art series and have currently listed many of these at 50% off the list price. If you've had your eye on a particular work, head on over to OPF Studio now - this is the time to grab it!

Thank-you all for continuing to support me through your purchases and your e-mails and blog comments. I really appreciate you!

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

War! Huh...What is it Good For? Absolutely Nothing?

"In The Beginning"       by Crystal Neubauer

Today my step-son is heading home for a well deserved 2 week leave from fighting in the war in Afghanistan. The longer he has been away, the more difficult it is to talk about him without tears springing to my eyes. I am so excited to be able to put my physical arms around him and see that he is okay and show how much I care for and have missed him!

And as much as my heart is bursting with desire to spend every single moment he is home with him, I know how torn this young man will be, between spending time here with me and his dad and his dad's side of the family, and spending time elsewhere with his mom, step-dad and their side of his family. And of course there are the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, not to mention the siblings and friends who have prayed for him, missed him, and can't wait to spend time with him.

So as I think of him heading home on a plane at this very moment, I simply feel grateful and excited for him. Grateful that he will be able to spend the next two weeks being surrounded by his family and friends and their love. Grateful for every second of time he is out of harms way and for every night we can put our heads on our pillows knowing he is not hunkered down in a hole somewhere being shot at with a gun in his hand.
"To Serve and Protect"           by Crystal Neubauer

And as I think of how much he has matured since he enlisted, even more so since he left to fight the war, I am in awe. While speaking to my husband on the phone this morning of the celebration that was given to the soldiers upon arrival at their first stop here in the US today, he expressed his own gratitude for how he already feels like he is home. He is already seeing with new eyes and a new appreciation all that we tend to take for granted around us.

He will be forever changed from this experience. No doubt there will be emotional wars he will need to fight, even years from now, as his body and mind continue to process and deal with the stress he is under daily during his time of service, but this time away at war is also shaping him into an incredible man, with a perspective on life that many men well beyond his years have yet to gain.

"Almost Home"        by Crystal Neubauer

This evening, after working her second day on a new rotation for her Podiatry internship, my daughter will be moving into a new apartment in the city with five roommates. She has been excited for the transition, looking forward to being able to share an apartment with these friends and no longer having the long commute from the suburbs, but today she is feeling the stress of all that she has on her plate between work and moving and life.

There are a few conflicts arising, as would be expected, from six adults trying to coordinate moving into a four bedroom apartment, and she has found herself in the unfamiliar position of having to speak directly and negotiate with so many personalities in a way that is truthful but doesn't harm. She feels a little anxious about it, worrying about hurting feelings but not wanting to stuff her own. And I see how this is a type of war as well - on an inner level. But that through it new communication and life skills are being learned.

 "Follow Me"         by Crystal Neubauer

It is hard to learn to speak up, speak directly, truthfully, and clearly about our needs sometimes. Depending on our pasts so many of us, especially women, have learned to just acquiesce and defer to the needs of others, putting ourselves last and denying our own needs, but then resenting that our needs aren't being tended to.

Would my daughter be learning these skills of self-care so young if she wasn't forced to deal with the natural conflicts arising from moving in with so many roommates? She feels uncomfortable today, as we tend to do, after asserting herself in a healthy way when she isn't used to it, but her emotional muscles are developing and so is her sense of well-being and self-worth. I'm proud of her for being open to hearing my advice and resisting the urge to blast out of her frustration or deny and stuff her feelings.

I couldn't help but reflect on these two very different "wars" my grown children are in today and see the value in it for each of them. And it led me to think of my own battles of late, those that are, for the most part, unseen. I woke today in the midst of an ongoing personal struggle with the deepest sense of gratitude for what the battle is teaching me and how much it is helping me to grow. If it weren't for this "war" I am fighting, I would not be learning to find my own voice, to set limits and hold healthy boundaries, let alone to recognize that the source of my fulfillment and love does not come from a place or person outside of me, but from Gods love planted inside of me, from the love he wants me to have for him and for myself, from which I am then able to truly love and be loved.

There are wars in life we are all required to face. Perhaps a financial battle is required to get you to look at how you handle money. An illness may increase your faith or change your perspective on equating your self-worth to your level of productivity. Overcoming addictions or bad habits and attitudes may force you to face and root out issues from your past, but bring you the long lasting peace you never believed could be yours. What of the battle of accepting one's aging appearance in the mirror? Or learning a new job skill when you thought you'd be retiring at the company you once worked? Accepting the illness or death of a loved one? At times these battles may seem overwhelming, purposeless and certainly unfair. But is it true that war is good for absolutely nothing? No, it is not without it's purpose, and I can honestly say, I am grateful for the wars I am facing today.

Monday, May 30, 2011

More Than a Woman

You've spent your life looking after the needs of others. You don't even know who you are anymore. You are wife, mom, short order cook - but there is more to you then what they see. You are more than a Woman.

You have dreams, desires, and stories inside. You are more then even you realize.

It may take time to excavate the treasure of your own life, but you are worth it. She is worth it, every last layer you are required to peel away in order to find her - that person you've tucked away and nearly forgotten. The beauty that exists only in you.  Yes, You really are more then just a woman.

"More Than A Woman" by Crystal Neubauer - click image to purchase

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

True Confessions of a Starving Artist

I have a confession to make. I am a starving artist.

Well not literally, but very nearly so, yes. This week the groceries were bought by a very dear and generous friend, without which, I don't know what we would have done. Yes, we are existing on a shoe string budget, to say the least.

Life has been difficult for some time now, with our family facing things that I am sure many of you have been facing during this tough economy as well. Unemployment, illnesses without insurance, cars needing repairs, unexpected obstacles, and side jobs that have fallen through.

My husband has a new business that is taking off and in just a few short months things will be turning around, but in the meantime I have received the best news of my life at the worst possible time.

You may have read in my earlier post of my acceptance as an emerging artist to the prestigious American Craft Expo. I am thrilled beyond belief, honored, humbled, and terrified. Sick to my stomach actually, as there is no money in the budget to cover the booth fee and I am in jeopardy of losing the opportunity in just a few short days.

And so I decided to hold a sale - and several of you have responded. Thank-you! But I am afraid I am still short and so I stand here, in full disclosure, transparent and honest before you. This is not just a celebration sale, but a "Help Me Get There Sale".

Yup. I need your help to do it. Not that I haven't had your help all along the way. Without your support, encouragement and patronage I wouldn't have made it this far. And I surely wouldn't have had the guts to even apply this year for the American Craft Expo. So for all that you have already done to support me, I thank-you. And if you are able to, I ask that you take advantage of the sale I am holding - Free Shipping Worldwide and an additional 10% off all art now. Read on for the details:

There are only 3 days left to take advantage of the celebration with a 10% discount on all art sales and FREE SHIPPING WORLDWIDE on any purchase you make through Friday. Remember, you can now find my available work at my website, here, or if you are a member of Etsy or would like to become one, you can still purchase most of my pieces at my Etsy studio, here. Read on for details and thank-you again for all of your kind comments and encouragement this week!

Purchasers from my website: Click on the item price to be taken to a PayPal invoice and payment details. In the note to buyer section please include the coupon code: celebrateACE and make your payment. Your 10% discount and shipping charges will be refunded to you within 24 hours, and most likely within a few hours of your purchase.

Purchasers from my etsy store: Make your selection, entering coupon code: celebrateACE when prompted. This will deduct the shipping cost from your purchase. Proceed to PayPal and make your purchase and your additional 10% discount will be refunded to you within 24 hours, and most likely within a few hours of your purchase.

Last Few Days To Take Advantage of My Celebration With Free Shipping and Savings!

Last Few Days To Take Advantage of My Celebration With Free Shipping and Savings!

Your response of congratulations and well wishes on my announcement of my acceptence as an emerging artist to the American Craft Expo has been overwhelming and humbling. I am honored to have so many supporting me along my journey as an artist!

There are only 3 days left to take advantage of the celebration with a 10% discount on all art sales and FREE SHIPPING WORLDWIDE on any purchase you make through Friday. Remeber, you can now find my available work at my website, here, or if you are a member of Etsy or would like to become one, you can still purchase most of my pieces at my Etsy studio, here. Read on for details and thank-you again for all of your kind comments and encouragement this week!

Purchasers from my website: Click on the item price to be taken to a PayPal invoice and payment details. In the note to buyer section please include the coupon code: celebrateACE and make your payment. Your 10% discount and shipping charges will be refunded to you within 24 hours, and most likely within a few hours of your purchase.

Purchasers from my etsy store: Make your selection, entering coupon code: celebrateACE when prompted. This will deduct the shipping cost from your purchase. Proceed to PayPal and make your purchase and your additional 10% discount will be refunded to you within 24 hours, and most likely within a few hours of your purchase.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Celebrating My Acceptance to the American Craft Expo!


Celebrating My Acceptance to the American Craft Expo!

Over the past few years I have had many reasons to celebrate on my journey of growing as an artist and this week it is my pleasure to announce I have been accepted as an emerging artist in the highly competitve juried premium fine craft show, the American Craft Expo. This is a goal I had set for myself that I hoped to achieve 5 or so years down the road. The emerging artist category was even more competitive this year, being cut from 13 available positions in the past to 10 this year, and to be accepted on my first attempt to apply is beyond my wildest dreams and expectations. I am floating on the excitement!

The show is annually presented in the Chicago suburb of Evanston, Illinois by the Auxillery of Northshore University Healthsystem and is also a major fundraiser supporting breast and ovarian cancer research. This year the show will begin on August 25 with a Special Benefit Preview Party and open August 26th through the 28th to the public.

To show my appreciation to all of you who have supported me over the years in so many ways, I am offering a 10% discount on all art sales and FREE SHIPPING WORLDWIDE on any purchase you make between now and next Friday. You can find my available work now at my website, here, or if you are a member of Etsy or would like to become one, you can still purchase most of my pieces at my Etsy studio, here.

Purchasers from my website: Click on the item price to be taken to a PayPal invoice and payment details. In the note to buyer section please include the coupon code: celebrateACE and make your payment. Your discount and shipping charges will be refunded to you within 24 hours, and most likely within a few hours of your purchase.

Purchasers from my etsy store: Make your selection, entering coupon code: celebrateACE when prompted. This will deduct the shipping cost from your purchase. Proceed to PayPal and make your purchase and your additional 10% discount will be refunded to you within 24 hours, and most likely within a few hours of your purchase.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

EncaustiCamp bloggerama; Crystal Neubauer!

In continuing my series of features on upcoming Encausticamp's workshop instructors, it is my turn to share my excitement about the retreat, and though I will be teaching my "Encaustic Adornments" class, this is what I most look forward to sharing with you.....

‘When you share your strengths you create competition. When you share your weaknesses you create community.” ~Rick Warren

Recently I have been sharing a dialogue about a dream of developing a series of workshops and retreats where women can go deeper in their creative lives, a place where they will be supported, encouraged, and strengthened in their identity and worth as a woman and come away with the tools they need to begin to trust the voice they hear inside to guide them. A place that feels more like a community of friends who have gathered for a weekend of fun and fellowship then just a series of art-project oriented workshops.

The process of using art as a tool in healing from the past and uncovering my true identity has been such an integral part of changing my life that I’ve begun to share it with other women in some of my art workshops, uncertain of how they would respond or receive it knowing they were expecting to simply learn how to create a specific project. But each time I’ve included something as simple as a breathing technique I learned in my own journey, I find at least one woman who writes to say it was the most important thing she learned that day.

 As the dialogue with my artist-women-friends begins to solidify into a clearer vision of a deeper more meaningful art retreat experience and dates and locations begin to be penciled in on our calendars, I’ve wrestled with letting go of my desire to teach at some of the larger more well-established venues, but then an email shows up in my inbox telling me of how the breathing technique I shared became a lifeline during a family crisis and I know in my heart this is the direction I was intended to go.

This July I will have my first formal opportunity during a two-hour breakout session at EncaustiCamp to share what I have learned along the way. I will bring a kit for each student who wishes to participate, that will include collage materials to be used as we walk through exercises designed to release that “inner-self” and allow one to experience what it means to “hear” or “listen to” their own voice and allow it to tell their story. The tools I hope to pass on in this exercise will go beyond paper and glue. This uncovering, discovering and releasing-of-self, is a journey so many women find themselves in the midst of and often without the resources or knowledge of what to do with all of these unexpected feelings and emotions. I will come, not as an expert or teacher, but a fellow sojourner sharing what I have learned along the way.

Of course, encaustic art will be the main focus of EncaustiCamp, but I am excited that the intention is to create an atmosphere that will be safe, cozy, intimate and restorative. This is where art becomes more then just a pretty picture; this is where it becomes a seed through which inner-healing can flow.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Mother's Day Weekend Trunk Show

In the Chicagoland area? Come out to see me this Friday and Saturday for a Mothers Day Weekend Trunk Show at Randy Heller Design in Highwood~

Monday, April 18, 2011

EncaustiCamp Spotlight: Bridgette Guerzon Mills

Continuing my series of guest bloggers from the EncaustiCamp retreat here is Bridgette Guerzon Mills from Contemplating the Moon....

"I mentioned in my last post that I will be previewing the instructors that will be teaching at Encausticamp this July in Salem, Oregon. This week it's my turn.

I am really excited to be combining two of my passions in one workshop this summer- bookmaking and encaustic. Well, actually three, come to think of it, because I will be covering mixed media techniques and incorporating those into your encaustic practice.

As readers of my blog, you all know that I have been creating handbound journals for many years. But my love of making books, goes beyond binding blank journals, it goes into the book art forum.

What is book art? Book art is works of art in the form of the book. Simple as that. But when you think of the book as a medium of visual expression, well, that opens of a whole world of visual exploration! Book art is the artist's interpretation of a "book". What I love about book art is the interaction between the artist and the audience. A book is not just meant to be looked it, but opened, touched, perused. So form invites exploration, while concept also engages. My first ever exhibit I was in was a book art show in Seattle, that included two of my pieces. I have been experiementing with book art forms since high school when my ceramics teacher, an exhibiting book artist, took me under her wing and introduced me to this fascinating art form.

mixed media book, includes pigmented beeswax
published in L.K. Ludwig's True Vision: Authentic Art Journaling, 2008

It was only a natural progression that I would start exploring marrying encaustic with books. I am excited to be sharing my process at Encausticamp this summer in the workshop entitled "A Book of Images and Wax".
 In this workshop we will go over incorporating photographs with encaustic with either collage or transfer techniques. We will create these on boards which we will bind in an accordian type of binding. I will also go over using paper with encaustic, one of my favorite things to do, and incorporating those creations into our book of wax and images.

If that sounds like fun to you, then head on over to Encausticamp to register for 3 days and 4 nights crammed with all things beeswax. This is a retreat that is for all levels and beginners in encaustic will feel at home here too. I think that people are often intimidated about starting to paint in encaustic, so this is a wonderful way to venture into painting and creating with wax. 

a little sample book I made of encaustic pages coptic bound"

~Well I don't know about you, but if I wasn't already going to be teaching at EncaustiCamp, Bridgette's class would surely be enough to convince me to go!