Saturday, December 12, 2015

The Darkness and The Light

China Doll     9" x 9" x 2.5" Collage Mixed Media by Crystal Neubauer

I am finally feeling I am starting to get caught up after the past few months of moving and show prep. I have started to hang art in my apartment and just finished up the last of the Christmas decorating, I am working on getting good images and listing art in the shop, scheduling workshops and shows for next year, and the inbox is under 100 to be read. Whew!
On any given day I confess, that I feel guilty for the time I am not using to the utmost of productivity. I have a difficult time allowing myself to relax and do nothing - even if there really is nothing to do. Compounding this issue, sales were slower than expected at the show this year and I will have to continue my efforts to generate the income I need to support myself through the next few months when I was hoping to be able to focus on some new ideas in the studio and getting my website updated.
Fear and anxiety are ever threatening to creep in and steal my peace, the fallout of a hyper-alert childhood conditioning that I am incrementally healing from. It is a tricky balance to take care of what I am responsible to do and trust that everything is going to be okay. But a recent conversation with a friend reminds me that fear is a liar. And I'll add, control is an illusion.
We are in the midst of Advent. A season of waiting in darkness before the coming light. In spite of the darkness that seems to be increasing in the world out there, and sometimes in my world within, one thing I know to be true is that the light is inside of me. I am a carrier of the light.
The first scripture I ever memorized has amplified in this season with it's threatening fears. It reminds me that I get to choose what I meditate on. Will it be the dark days we seem to be in or will it be the light? Today it may seem to be just a flicker, but I choose to focus on the light, because I am reminded by that scripture "Greater is He, that is inside of me, than he that is in the entire world."
Or in other words “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
And there is enough love to do it my friends. Do not be afraid. 
Love really is enough.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Sneak Peek At New Work and 25% Off Everything For Cyber Monday

Blogger is on the blip and my images won't load, but that won't stop me from sharing the news...

It is Cyber Monday and I've posted 14 of my new works in my shop before I pack them all up for the One Of A Kind Show and Sale in Chicago this week.

Each of the new works is listed at $50 below retail PLUS you will get an extra 25% off at checkout when you enter the word GRATEFUL. The discount code works on everything in the shop; original new works of art, retired works of art, prints and local workshops - come on over and check it out at this link, today is the day you get to shop for yourself!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Take Heart

On my way out of my brother's house this morning dreading the day of packing and getting sick from the mold air in my house, I find a pot of coffee and a note that the sugar is organic. 

The early morning quiet and empty house are too enticing to resist, I have not slept in my own home or my own bed for nearly a month and I am exhausted, so I reach in the cabinet and pull out the first mug. 

This. Message. Waiting. For. Me.

"Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart."

The mug says the author is unknown, but I'm pretty sure it's Jesus. 

Yeah it was Jesus:

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

He comes in many forms and many ways to remind me. From a pot of coffee and a note about sugar, to the offers to help pack, and the many many email messages from friends and strangers.

Take heart. I am with you today.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Today I am unpacking my suitcases of the supplies from my last several workshops and getting organized to begin packing my studio and new home after discovering the air is filled with mold spores that I am having a severe allergic reaction to.
I felt overwhelmed by the task when I walked in the door this morning and alone in the world. But this is a lie designed to cripple and defeat me. So I reached out to a few who know me and who each blessed me with their words and prayers. I am now bolstered in the spirit and ready to face the task at hand.
I know where I am going will be good. Not just good, but very good. I also know that this first move was not a misstep, but part of the plan God has for my freedom.
As I cried out to Him on my last night here, asking why He would lead me here and let this happen to me, He reminded me of the Israelites finally finding water on their way to the promised land only to discover it wasn't suitable for drinking. The lack was not evidence of a lack in God's leading or His provision, but it did uncover the lack of trust in God on the behalf of the people.
As they journeyed they had opportunity to learn a moment by moment abiding and trust in Him and in this place, I am learning the same. I am being freed of fears that have plagued me my entire life. I am learning to love and care for myself even when others may not see or agree with what I need. I am learning confidence in the voice God gave me and my ability to use it in an assertive way that does not harm another, but will not allow myself to be harmed. I am learning to hold others accountable for their responsibilities and speaking up when I would have hidden my needs and felt shame for having them in the past.
These things are break through moments for me and the impact will be life changing. And so as I unpack my bags in preparation of repacking my studio, the symbolism is not lost on me. I am unpacking the worn, used, and no longer useful behaviors of the past and leaving behind what no longer serves me. I will repack these boxes, and though they may contain the same supplies and dishes and items I came with, the load is much lighter then it was when I arrived.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Retired Works (or happy birthday to me sale) Are In The House!

I've been overwhelmed and encouraged by the loving responses to my current living situation you have all been sending. It is a difficult turn of events, but I am heading in such a good direction as I see the doors opening before me that I can hardly wait to tell you! 

Meanwhile, I have been toting my retired works from workshop to workshop this past few months and sent many of them off to new homes. As my daughter pointed out to me today, it is the very last day of my 40s, so what better way to celebrate than to list the rest of the works that I am letting go and send them all off to you? 

These are carefully selected works from the past 5 years that I am very fond of and proud to offer to you. In letting them go at greatly reduced prices, I am welcoming the next decade of my life and all the possibilities it brings! 

Head on over to the shop here and click on the Retired Works tab and grab one while they last!

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Not Everything That Glitters Is Golden

"Grown Ass Woman" Collage on Canvas by Crystal Neubauer
Confession: I have slept in 8 different beds in the past 2.5 weeks and not all because of travel related to workshops.
Astonishingly, the home I just moved into has a mold issue! Once all the unpacking and decorating was finished and I finally had time to do more than fall into bed exhausted at the end of the day, it hit me that the health issues that were flaring up were being triggered by the air I was breathing – inside my home!
The landlord responded to my call and took the initial action I asked her to, but it did not resolve the problem, so she took further action on a trouble spot that had been previously water damaged and the most likely culprit of the offending odor, but an air quality test has come back showing a high percentage of spores in the air that are known to cause the reactions I am having. I can no longer spend any lengthy period of time in the house without a serious flare up and I am growing discouraged.
There are deep seated internal lies being uprooted through this experience. I see God working on me in amazing ways. Good ways. Healing ways. Not at all what I was expecting from this season, but it is what it is.
After the long process of packing my home and my studio, moving to a new location, all the unpacking on my own and maintaining a teaching schedule on top of it all – two workshops in the past 3 weeks, one of which was 2000 miles away- I am worn, and I just want to crawl into bed and recuperate. But I can't stay in my own home.
I don't know what the next step is. I am allowing myself to have all the emotions and all the exhaustion and all the uncertainty that this sort of thing can bring. Will the landlord be able to sufficiently deal with the spores in the air so that I can breath healthy air and live in my home? Will I be putting my things in storage and starting my world teaching tour early? Only half kidding- but will I be putting it all in storage? I don't know.
But one thing I do know for sure. I have a God who leads me. He has spoken to me in the wee hours of the night and I know He is using all of this for my good. I am leaning in and listening and trying not to let the stories in my head, or the lies being unearthed in my heart, get the better of me.
I am learning a moment by moment existence and trust in Him. All is well with my soul.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Day Twelve - September 9

Another series of recent Facebook posts to catch the blog up with my life....

I finally got a new computer today and the office nook is all organized and ready to go. Now begins the arduous task of getting caught up on my email correspondence and writing & scheduling workshops for 2016.

I've also begun to unpack my studio. To say I am craving a little art time after weeks of packing and moving and unpacking would be putting it lightly.

Soon the days will be humming along in a routine and what I now think of as my new normal will just be my normal.

Turning a house into a home is more than hanging pictures on the wall and putting dishes away in the cabinet; but there is something vitally important in setting up these spaces where I will be spending the next days of my life.

Whether for less than 6 months, as it was in the Chicago apartment, or for many more years to come- having a space that reflects my style and personality invites my soul to settle in and linger for a while.

This space, that is at once familiar yet unfamiliar, is the space in which my heart will begin to heal. It is the space where I will learn even more about my authentic voice. In my childhood hometown where I will grow both roots and wings.

Day Seven - September 4

Another series of recent Facebook posts to catch the blog up with my life....

It's hard to believe I have been in my new home for a solid week now. I'm feeling immensely proud of myself for hanging these shelves today. A prospect that just a few days ago sent me spiraling into a fit of depression.

I mean, here on my own, who is going to do things like hang the heavy stuff and open the jar of peanut butter?

But I am stronger than I think I am- the shelves are hung and I don't actually eat peanut butter. And I know there must be some kind of device on the market to help me when a stubborn lid does present a problem.

Not so easy to fix is the sadness that fills my spirit. I'm not going to lie, the decision to separate from my husband did not come easily and I will not diminish myself by denying the need to grieve.

So here I am, day 7 of my new normal. Satisfied over a job well done and sorrowful for the empty places that need to heal.

It is the glorious mix.

Day Two - August 29

Another series of recent Facebook posts to catch the blog up with my life....

It is the end of day 2 of this new life of living on my own in my childhood midwest hometown far from the city. I'm vascilating between bouts of tears and depression and moments of great joy.

After much scrubbing and elbow grease, I finally have all of my kitchen unpacked and put away.

Nary a box has been unpacked in the new studio.

I have a brand new bed coming tomorrow thanks to my cousin and her husband- tears of exhausted joy!

I found a very cool organic/local farmer grocery store down the street and just ate my first home cooked nutritious meal in weeks.

I popped open the good bottle of wine that I was saving for the move. More tears of exhausted joy!

A woman I knew from the Midwest Collage Society up north messaged me to say she just moved down here too. Artsy community excitement!

And the cicadas are still singing.

God provides and he is good.
Life is hard and good. But mostly it's good.

Day One - August 28

Another series of recent Facebook posts to catch the blog up with my life....

I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that I no longer live in Chicago. I can't just open my bedroom window and see the reflection of the moon on the lake. instead I am listening to a chorus of Cicada's and crickets and the sky is vast and filled with stars and possibilities.

As as of today, I live in the house with the orange doors in my childhood hometown of Champaign/Urbana.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Just Breath

"Ribbons of Grace" Series in progress 
Summer of 2011: "I was in the car when I realized the truth of the state of my marriage and my inability to save it. I felt foolish for believing I ever could. I pulled to the corner of an intersection and glanced to my right, noticing yet another business had closed and felt the sadness of it. This one, a video store, seemed to be a sign of the changing times rather then the poor state of the economy. 

As I pulled away I saw life everywhere around me and recognized the organic nature of it. That while one business had died away, others were being born, and isn't that true of the living and dying of people and relationships as well? 

That takes away the sadness somewhat. It is what it is, simply a living breathing organism of endings and beginnings. The cyclic nature of it creates the hum of life, the ebb and flow, the inhale exhale breath leading to breath all interconnected. 

The desire to remain or to hold on to something dear to us is simply a reminder that we aren't yet home. There is something bigger then us.The forever we know in our hearts to exist doesn't take place in the now of this life. It is our promise for the future. The guarantee of death leading to eternal life. 

Meanwhile, it just isn't that complicated. Enjoy the living among you. Watch the sunsets and sunrise. Appreciate the time you do have. Love the ones you are with, but don't hold them so tight. Speak the truth always, but be kind. Mourn the losses and let go of what is beyond your control. Live at peace and find the joy in your purpose. Accept what is for today and never let go of the hope for tomorrow. Believe there is something more and go forth without fear."

I wrote the excerpt above almost exactly 4 years ago when my marriage was about to end for nearly the 400th time. Only slightly an exaggeration, I had been down this road before and this time felt like it was for real, but then it wasn't. 

Today I am trying to be gentle with myself. It is the morning after my husband moved out, a week before I will move back to my childhood hometown. 

It is my choice. Was my decision. And I am reminding myself that the things I learned over the past four years needed to be learned. The things I learned over the past 14 years of this marriage, hell over the course of my lifetime even, are the things I needed to learn in the way I was able to learn them to be the person I am today. 

It is the thing I speak about in my art- it all matters. 

Every scrap of paper represents a point in time, it is all valuable no matter how tattered the individual element appears to be; each experience is relevant to becoming who we are and making us the people we are supposed to be. Not one part of my life could be left out without changing me. 

But some days it's harder to see that than others. 

Today is one of those days. So I will just sit here and breath. 

Tomorrow I will tell you a little more perhaps, but today I will just let myself breath.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Some Catching Up To Do: On The Road Again

In an effort to catch my blog up with my life and in anticipation of my commitment to begin life-journal blogging again in the very near future, I'm posting my last few newsletters. Apologies for the repeat to those who subscribe to both lists.

"To Love and Fear" 10" x 10" Collage by Crystal Neubauer

On The Road Again!

I am just back from teaching 3 fabulous workshops at Art Unraveled in Phoenix and am still feeling the glow of all the many things I can count as blessings from the venue and the attendees who participated in my classes there. A big shout out to all of you who signed up for my newsletter and are getting this for the very first time! Thank you for helping to make those classes a success!

I can't even begin to think about writing this weeks news without hearing Willie Nelson bellowing in the background of my mind. It just might be time to turn the TV on for a little distraction!

As you may know, or have deduced from my elusive notes in the past few months, I have been searching for a new home that would allow me to bring my studio and living space back under one roof. The good news is, I have just signed a lease on a house that I feel will suit this need well. The surprising news is, because there are other circumstances involved, I have made the decision to take a bit of a departure from my original plan to find that space here in the city, and will be relocating for a time (1-2 years) to my hometown of Champaign/Urbana.

With the recent release of my book, The Art of Expressive Collage, my desire to write more has been stirred again. I will begin blogging my journey and stories to share with you, the good, the humorous, the frustrating and the victories soon after I get settled in. To say that the way has opened before me once I made this decision would be putting it mildly. What else can I do but share it all with you?

When I opened The Healing House Art Studio, I knew the location was temporary. What I didn't know, was just how much I would fall in love with that little cabin by the lake and the community it sits in. My time there has been profound. I have met many of you as a result and have come to a more solid understanding of who I am and the intent of my life and art.

With this move comes many changes, and I considered, for a time, changing the studio name to reflect that. But this new location feels much like a Healing House also. I will continue to host workshops in the same format, but now I have the ability to offer semi-private, small group intensives with lodging as well. I can't wait to tell you more about it!

The Healing House Art Studio - new location, same spirit. I hope you will consider joining me there!
"Ribbons of Grace Series" 7" x 21" Encaustic Mixed Media Collage by Crystal Neubauer
A Farewell Workshop
I can't leave the original Healing House Art Studio behind without hosting a farewell workshop. Simply titled, "Collage with Encaustic and Paint: A Farewell Workshop", this two day class will feature all the techniques used to create my recent Ribbons of Grace series as shown in the photo above.

Check out the store here for details and registration. I do hope you will join me for this very special workshop- the second to last class, and my personal last time to teach at the original location of The Healing House Art Studio.

Some Catching Up To Do: Book Release Party Started Without Me

In an effort to catch my blog up with my life and in anticipation of my commitment to begin life-journal blogging again in the very near future, I'm posting my last few newsletters. Apologies for the repeat to those who subscribe to both lists.

"The Art of Expressive Collage: Techniques for Creating With Paper & Glue" by Crystal Neubauer

So The Party Started Without Me!

I've been telling people for months that the book is due out at the end of August, but might actually get released ahead of schedule. Like a month ahead of schedule. 
You know, T H E  E N D  O F  J U L Y.

Yup, I've been saying it for a long time. But apparently not long enough for it to have actually sunk in that the release date was eminent. I woke the day after returning from EncaustiCamp - well technically it was the same day, since mechanical problems caused us to have to unboard the plane and catch another one 4 hours later and I did not get home until 4am, but I digress- I woke to find an excited post on my Facebook wall that my book had landed in somebody's mailbox. And then there was another excited post. And another one! 
And so the party started without me!

But oh what a party it is! To see the photos people are posting and tagging me in, of my book being opened and read with such enthusiasm! To have already received so many emails and messages on my website with literal (albeit written) squeals of delight!

You like it! You really like it! Just writing that made tears spring to my eyes! Seriously, I'm looking for a tissue...

I am running just a bit behind schedule, so my pre-order party pack of goodies is not quite ready to go, but I have not forgotten you! And not having the PDF and bookplate ready does not stop me from proceeding with the main event - a drawing for a piece of art featured in the book. I have all the names of those who wrote to tell me they pre-ordered the book and sent me an image of their receipt when I announced the party way back when, recorded on a spreadsheet. Each name has a corresponding number. Each number was written on a piece of paper, then cut up and put into a bowl. After vigorous stirring, said bowl was placed upon the top of my head, whence I reached in and pulled out number 20.

And so without further ado - JULIA KELLOGG - you are the winner of the piece of an original work of art featured in my book! Hooray Julia! The work will be traveling with me to Art Unraveled this weekend and upon my return, will be mailed to you. Congratulations!

Thank you to every single one of you who signed up for the party! Stay tuned for more details!

Some Catching Up To Do: No Before and After

In an effort to catch my blog up with my life in anticipation of my commitment to begin life-journal blogging again in the very near future, I'm posting my last few newsletters. Apologies for the repeat to those who subscribe to both lists.

"Ribbons of Grace Series" 7" x 21" Encaustic Collage Mixed Media by Crystal Neubauer

No Before and After

"The During is as holy as the after, and it's okay" ~Glennon Doyle Melton

Have you ever come across an article or blog post that was exactly what you needed to read at exactly the moment you needed it? I'm sitting here trying to compose this email to you. Telling you of all the cool things happening in my life and to be honest, it is a struggle to focus on it long enough to get it done. Already I've decided that it's too late to send it out this morning and I'll just have to schedule it to go tomorrow, which will be Thursday morning, and today by the time you read this.

Focus: my mind has been filled to the overflowing lately with a few major transitions that I haven't told you about. The truth is, there is this mix. This real-life glorious mix of great things and not so great things that we all have to deal with and I'm just not ready to talk about it all quite yet. And I spiral into a sort of condemnation. Because, you know, I'm nearly 50 years old and I should have this stuff all figured out by now! But I'm trying to live by a new mantra - ridding myself of the "Shoulds" that shame and blame and hold hostage the growth God intended for me.

So I sit here trying to compose an email about the great things and not talk about the not-so-great things and I remember there was a time when I used to share it all. 
And I want to again. And I will. But not today. 
Today I will share with you that article, the exact right thing I needed to read at the exact right time I needed it. A blog post by the author of the blog "Momastery". Read it now or later, but don't forget to come back and hear about the great things I am ready to share. . . 

Some Catching Up To Do: The Importance of Community

In an effort to catch my blog up with my life in anticipation of my commitment to begin life-journal blogging again in the very near future, I'm posting my last few newsletters. Apologies for the repeat to those who subscribe to both lists.

"Grown Ass Woman"  9" x 9" Mixed Media Canvas by Crystal Neubauer; Now available as Prints and Canvas reproduction
One Thing I Know For Sure - The Importance of Community

On the heels of my nearly two week time hosting my friend Jan Avellana, during which we co-taught a workshop and worked collaboratively and individually to meet deadlines for other projects, I received many messages about the importance of developing creative community when living the creative life or pursuing a career in the arts.

You didn't have to tell me, but it was affirming none-the-less that to truly become my fullest artistic self, I cannot work exclusively in isolation as an artist. I am here in Chicago, Jan is there in Honolulu, but the support and encouragement we have given each other over the past 7+ years has been invaluable to each of us in the pursuit of our artistic careers.

To commemorate our time together, Jan and I created a series of collaborative works titled "Birds of a Feather", a joy to be sure!

To say I am in a time of transition in my life and career seems like the understatement of the year. If you have been following my blog, newsletters, or Facebook feed, or you know me in person, you know that my career path has been one that has unfolded in a faith-filled step by step process. One in which I take the step before me, lean in and listen until I feel led to the next. It was in this place of leaning in to listen that my husband and I decided to make our move to Chicago this past spring. A surprise to be sure, but many times over, we've felt that decision confirmed.

The details are still unfolding, decisions still need to be made about the studio, and I'm still processing where I will place my creative energies and focus for the next year, but one thing I know for sure, it will involve community. Online and face to face, the importance of living and working around like-minded people is invaluable to me. Thank you to all of you for joining me in this space.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Little Pockets of Joy (or how do you eat an elephant?)

Work In Progress: S.O.S. (Save Our Souls) 30" x 36" collage by Crystal Neubauer
Work in the studio goes slow these days. In the midst of one of the busiest seasons of my career as an artist, we moved to the south side of the city from the far north suburbs. It is a time of transition that came by surprise, but is so right. The next right action in a series of actions that have brought me closer to who I am and what I want my life to look like.

I drive back to my studio several days a week, but I'm limited to a set number of hours when I'm there or I deal with heavy traffic that lengthens my commute to nearly twice it's already long drive.

I feel it. the separation from the ability to create on a whim, to be able to run down before breakfast, or again after dinner to paint or glue. But the next has not fully opened up yet, and so I accept and I wait. And I seek out other means to feed my creativity.

A walk along the lake front with my husband. A drive after dark just to look at the city lights. Lunch with my girls, laughing as they make similar dance moves from their seats to the music without even looking at each other. These moments are my little pockets of joy.

I know the next will come. Incrementally it opens as I take the step before me. It's funny, I am being bombarded with reminders of this step by step process. Like the elephant analogy - how do you eat one? One bite at a time. Or the butterfly effect theory; how one small fluttering wing somewhere in the world can create a storm on the other side of the globe.

I am a work in progress.

Back at the studio this piece is nearing completion. It speaks of the global impact one person's actions can make. For the good or otherwise, how we treat other people matters. Oppression isn't a problem to be solved out there somewhere.

Just like the eating the elephant, climbing the stairs, or the near imperceivable movement of a tiny wing, how we view and treat other people in our daily lives is a step that makes a global difference. It is the thing you can do in the here and now. It doesn't have to be big. Smile at a stranger. Befriend someone who is not like you. Don't cross the street or look the other way. Move into the neighborhood. Defend the person being treated rudely. Rise up and own your own power and help empower your sister and brother.

And share your own little pockets of joy.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

How Many Times Can We Meet In June?

How many times will we have the opportunity to meet in June? Well, three, to be exact! Read on to find out about a Chicago exhibit and two workshops to kick off a creative summer!

In case I haven't enticed you enough, feast your eyes on the delicious hand made mark-making tool I taught students to made at my recent Mark-Making and Collage workshop in San Antonio. Doesn't it make you want to drool?

Join me in Kansas City for "Mark-Making and the Painted Collage" in just a few short weeks and kick off a creative summer learning to make your own mark-making tools, and then put them to good use in your very own collage!

If you've never been to Kansas City, you'll want to leave room in your schedule to explore. By several accounts I've read, KC has the distinction of boasting the highest percentage of visual artists per capita in the country! And it just so happens that the workshop falls on the same weekend as the popular First Fridays in the Crossroads, an event that draws thousands. Now that is an inspiring way to kick off the weekend! 

Don't miss out - head on over to the registration page here. See you in Kansas City!

As soon as I get back from my trip to KC, I'm heading over to hang my work at Motor Row gallery, where I have the honor of participating in a group show with 10 other very talented Chicago artists. Just featured on Art World Chicago, check out the details and mark your calendars for this very special exhibit and sale!
Chicago’s historic Motor Row is getting some zoom from 11 artists who are bringing energy and experimentation to this near-south neighborhood. Once home to auto showrooms and Chess Recording Studios, this stretch of South Michigan Avenue is being re-invigorated and re-imagined by artists and entrepreneurs.
Motor Row Gallery will be the epicenter of a celebration of art and rebirth called unchARTed. It will feature 11 emerging and established artists, along with live music, food and craft beer from Motor Row Brewery.
Opening Reception:
Friday, June 12th, 5pm- 9pm
There will be live music performed by the acoustic duo, Pearl Morning, complimentary refreshments and wine, and craft beer from MotorRow Brewery.
Opening weekend:
Saturday, June 13th, 11am-6pm
Sunday, June 14th, 12pm – 5pm
Motor Row Gallery
2345 S. Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60616
Motor Row, once the home of the largest auto-mall in the U.S. and major recording studios, including Chess Records, is undergoing an urban Renaissance and quickly becoming one of Chicago’s trendiest neighborhoods. Motor Row Gallery’s non-traditional space is a uniquely apt setting for this creatively rich pop-up show and sale.
The unchARTed art exhibit at Motor Row Gallery will showcase 11 artists who leap into unknown territory to share their neo-expressionistic visions in mixed media painting, collage, clay and photography.
Amy Van Winkle /
Bill Sosin /
Crystal Neubauer /
Cynthia Lee /
Dianne Martia /
Eve Ozer /
Janet Lewandowski /
James Edward Scherbarth /
Nancy Pirri /
Pam Peterson /
Turkan Ilkdemirci /
Motor Row Gallery 708-354-4333/630.248.4437
And as if all that goodness wasn't enough to make my summer complete, I have a very special workshop planned with my good friend, award winning artist and designer, Jan Avellana at The Healing House Art Studio. Jan and I rarely have the occasion to have our feet on the same piece of land. And this time around I get the once in a blue moon opportunity to share her with you!

Jan and I will be joining forces for a very special one day workshop on June 20th and we don't want you to miss out! Head over to this link to register for "Encaustic Wax Collage Doodle in a Box". 

"Encaustic Wax Collage Doodle in a Box". That pretty much sums the techniques up nicely, doesn't it? In this fun filled day, you will start by creating an encaustic collage designed to fit inside a container or box of your choice. After lunch, spend a relaxing afternoon working on some fun doodling exercises with Jan, and then bring it all together by picking one to become the focal point of your box assemblage. We'll show you several great image transfers to achieve this and Wallah! You've got yourself a mini-masterpiece and a memorable fun day spent in creative community!

Be sure to find out more about Jan on her website here and then run, don't walk, on over to register here. See you in June, smiles included!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Amazon Has My Book Available for Pre-Order and I'm Throwing a Party!

**Update 7/8/2015 -- I am so very grateful for the great number of you who have written kind words and registered with me for the pre-order party pack. At this time I am at my capacity for the number of packs I can fill. HOWEVER - There is still time to get in on the drawing to win a piece of original art featured in the book. Simply follow the steps below to pre-order through Amazon for the remainder of July and your name will be entered. Thank you!!
Amazon Has My Book Available For Pre-Order and I'm Throwing A Party!
How exciting is this?? I've just discovered that Amazon has my book available for pre-order! Call me just a little bit inexperienced at these things, but I had no idea this would happen so quickly! I have already heard from tons of people on Facebook that they've placed their orders!      
W h a t ? ? ? ! ! !

So I wanted to just take a quick second to let you know that I am planning to throw a virtual party and you're invited! Now because we are all scattered in different locations across the country, and even the globe, I know we won't be able to physically party together, but that won't stop a creative group of people like us!

I am busy busy busy putting together a pack of party goodies to send out to everyone who gets in on the pre-order action over at Amazon. I'll be posting again in about a month with all of the details of the goods to be included, but to whet your appetite, there will be downloadable PDFs, an autographed book plate to stick in the cover when you get your book, your name entered in a drawing, a goody or two from some of the contributing artists, and maybe even a group conference call (if I can master the art of technology).

Very important information here: Amazon doesn't provide me with a list of the pre-orders. If you want to join the party here is what you need to do:

  1. Pre-order the book at Amazon here
  2. Take a screen shot, or forward your confirmation email from Amazon to me at this email address: - be sure it includes your mailing address (but not your payment info.-no need for me to see that!) 
  3. Wait for the party to begin! (information on party pack delivery dates to be announced at the end of May) 

One last tidbit - Amazon has a release date of the end of August listed, but a little bird tells me it may be much sooner! Whoot!!

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Special Easter Offering: On Praise of a Clean Slate

"A Clean Slate" 24" x 24" original collage by Crystal Neubauer

As I spent time thinking of all the good that has come my way recently, my thoughts turned to this work of art titled "A Clean Slate", which has been touring the country and abroad for the past 2 1/2 years.

The process of creating this work was one that was very connected to a time of healing and release in my life. As often is the case, the things I am working through in my personal life, make themselves known when I am in the studio. This is what I wrote about that process in my original post, back in 2011;

     "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."

Ultimately, "A Clean Slate", with it's telling antique ledger paper slashed by India ink during a time of worship, is about redemption and second chances. The slate has been wiped clean, the debt has been paid. It represents ones ultimate value - that which comes from The Maker and not from ones own accomplishments or feelings of worth. It speaks to the fact that all of your life experiences are being used to create the beauty of who you are today, not one thing being valuable while the rest is hidden. A true beauty from ashes, garment of praise story!

With the recent move to the city, and Good Friday and Easter Weekend upon us, I've decided it is time for "A Clean Slate" to come home. And to help me celebrate the homecoming, I have decided to share it with you. 

Before it began it's tour, I had the collage professionally photographed at a fine art printer and for a limited time, I am releasing a limited quantity run of Giclee prints in three different sizes at celebration prices. It is my hope that by issuing this work as a fine art print, it will be able to impact many more people in the deep and cathartic way that it has me. 

If you'd like to have your own hand signed and numbered edition of "A Clean Slate", you can check it out here

And Happy Easter to you. He is risen! He is risen indeed!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Shary Bartlett Video - There is Still Time to Join Us!

Guest artist Shary Bartlett is coming all the way from Canada to teach at The Healing House Art Studio next weekend! Have a look at Shary's new video introducing the techniques she will be teaching and then head on over to sign up for one of her workshops.

Friday March, 27 have fun sculpting wonderful works of art from wax and fabric in Shary's Hot Fabrication class. More information and registration can be found here.

Saturday March 28 and Sunday March 29 join us for Shary's Photo Encaustic Explorations weekend workshop. Really be sure to watch the video for the flavor of this amazing class. There are only 4 seats left - be sure to hurry and grab one now! 
More information and registration can be found here

Be sure to check out all of the workshops coming to my studio at the workshop tabs above, or head on over to find out more info and register for the entire line up here.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Have You Met Tonia Jenny? The Healing House Art Studio Visiting Artist

Felted Vessels by Tonia Jenny
I'm seriously excited to be introducing you to Tonia. Not only is she a proliferate and talented artist, she is also my editor! I am thrilled beyond belief to have her accept my invitation to come teach at The Healing House Art Studio, and I can't wait for you to meet her!

Tonia Jenny
As an acquisitions editor for F&W Media, Tonia is constantly on the lookout for new talent, but it is in her role as life-purpose coach that she is truly passionate to come alongside others to help them discover their own gifts and talents. A talented mixed-media artist herself, Tonia has authored three books, co-authored many more, and is acting author and editor for the Incite Best of Mixed Media series.

Tonia is teaching three individual workshops for you to choose from, or hang out with us for all three! Click on the individual links below for more information and details on registering, or go to this link for all the workshops being offered at The Healing House Art Studio this season.

A Palette of Inner Beauty; Beaded-Love Bracelets - May 12
A Palette of Inner Beauty: Elemental Vessels - May 13
A Palette of Inner Beauty: Woven-Self Wall Hanging - May 14

As with our first guest instructor, Shary Bartlett, Tonia is traveling a great distance to be with us and there is a minimum enrollment needed to make the trip sustainable for her. If you are planning to register, I want to encourage you to go ahead and do it so we can guarantee the pleasure of having Tonia here.

**(FYI - We did hit the minimum enrollment for Shary - Wahoo!)

Friday, February 20, 2015

Startled Out of Complacency - Moving on Up

"Mirror Mirror" mixed media Collage by Crystal Neubauer
Last month I shared with my newsletter readers how I had been humming along working on a series in the studio without realizing how much time had passed. It's easy to lose track when you're engaged in something you love, and these past few years I have certainly been engaged in a life and community I love. So much so, that I can hardly believe it's been 2 1/2 years since the events that brought us to this place. But finding out our time living in this home is coming to an end has served, once again, to startle me out of complacency.

My husband and I have long been intrigued at the idea of living in the city. We seriously considered it at one point, but the timing just wasn't right. So when our landlords told us they needed their house back, we joked about having a city adventure. But something in the joking of it started to stir within us, and as happens when those stirrings start to come, we got confirmation everywhere we turned and we knew we had to follow it.

And so we are off! Trading in our spacious 4 bedroom house in the suburbs for a tiny, no frills hi-rise apartment in Hyde Park. Our master bedroom will overlook Lake Michigan and looking out the window of the spare where the desk will be, offers a birds eye view of the Art Center just down the street. Some of the goals for this adventure of ours are to grow closer together and more fully experience the arts and culture community of the city. I've already been invited to participate in a group show of 10 Chicago artists and am looking forward to even more.

Back on this journey of having just enough light for the step I am on, my studio will remain right where it is; I'll commute a few times a week and for scheduled workshops, but I'll be keeping my heart open for whatever comes next.

It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going. ~Hebrews 11:8

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Second Chances Dream Series: (Revised) The Rock

The second chances series started with rejected works that have been languishing in the studio that I decided to use for experimenting with new techniques. Working intuitively with mark-making and acrylic, I saw a theme begin to emerge around several dreams and revelations I had as 2014 came to an end. I'll post each one here on the blog as I feel led, along with the deeper meaning behind the piece. 

First up from a dream that seems to have layer upon layer of connected meaning: "The Rock". 

"The Rock" Mixed Media by Crystal Neubauer

 **I am updating this introduction after a reader expressed concern to me over my use of the word "Handicapped". I am grateful at her respectful and kind approach to me.

This post is a sincere and accurate accounting of a dream I had, in which the word "handicapped" was a part of the inner dialogue. I know it isn't a respectful term and isn't one that I use in my daily life. I thought about changing it as I wrote, but realized it was relevant to the deeper meaning of the dream and without it, it wouldn't be an accurate  reflection. 

One of the biggest rocks I've had to lay down over and over again is that of over-functioning, codependency and people pleasing. I tend to take on the responsibilities and feelings of other people as if it were solely up to me to solve their problems. With much counseling, I understand the driving force behind this behavior, the desire to be loved- and ultimately, the missing love and protection of my father growing up. But I've also come to understand the damage that can happen to myself and others when I take on responsibilities that I shouldn't. 

For those of you who come from similar backgrounds, the deeper meaning may be more readily apparent. To me, the thought that the rock was "handicapped" revealed the thought process I go through when I am acting out in my codependent belief system - that another person is incapable of solving their problem without me. It has nothing to do with their ability and everything to do with my faulty way of trying to be loved.

As you read the accounting of the dream and view the work that came out of it, I invite you to reflect ...What are the rocks you are struggling to let go of today?
"The Rock" Mixed Media by Crystal Neubauer

I'm leaning against a low red brick wall capped with white limestone. The air is still, not a cloud in the sky. I tilt my head to the warmth of the spring sun and feel calm in my heart. I sense that I am on the grounds of an English boarding school.  Idyllic rolling green hills surround me. I am wearing an old fashioned prairie style school uniform, pumpkin gold skirt and crisp white blouse. Other students are near, enjoying the afternoon sun and fresh air between classes. 

Suddenly a large gray rock comes tumbling awkwardly down a path of small darker gray cinder rocks that ends at my feet. As the rock comes to a stop, I lean over to look at it. It has a face, eyes and a mouth made of white crayon scribbles drawn around and around, floating just above the surface, animatedly blinking and trying to say something to me. 
"Oh It's handicapped!" I think to myself.

The other students begin heading up another path on the hill to my right, it is time for class to begin. I turn to follow, but I don't want to leave the rock. It has no arms or legs and won't be able to get there by itself. It is literally stuck in a rut where the path it tumbled down ends and the path to class begins. 

The mouth and eyes are moving quickly, as if pleading with me to carry it. I know if I do, it will be heavy and weigh me down. I look around for help, but none of the other students seem concerned about the rock at all. It's as if they think the rock has a choice. If it wants to get up the hill it can do so. But don't they see?? The rock is handicapped! It has no arm or legs. If I don't help it, how will it get up the hill? 

"The Rock" Mixed Media by Crystal Neubauer
I look back at the rock "Help me! Carry me!" it silently cries to me. It's face is sad. So sad, that rock. Now I am sad too. 

I look back around and see that the other students are walking right by, unconcerned for the rock or for my feelings about it. They are intent on making it to class on time, and I know, if I pick up the rock, I will not make it up the hill. It won't help the rock. And it will hurt me. Haven't I been in this place before? Haven't I tried to carry many rocks up that hill already?

I stare at the rock for a long time, willing it to stop being a rock and get up! My mind is swirling with possible solutions. A wheelchair maybe? Or perhaps a wagon? If someone else would just help me carry it! 

"The Rock" Mixed Media by Crystal Neubauer
But I know in my heart it will not work. I have to let go of the rock. 

And so I do, though I am torn; I turn away and start up the hill alone. Silent tears streaming down my cheeks as I leave the rock to find its own way.