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.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Have You Met Shary Bartlett? The Healing House Art Studio Visiting Artist

Shary Bartlett: "Severed Beauty IV" Encaustic Fabric Assemblage
Have You Met Shary Bartlett?
Having the ability to Host other artists in my own studio has been a dream I've held near to my heart for nearly a decade and I'm thrilled that my fellow EncaustiCamp instructor, Shary Bartlett, will be the first artist heading our way - all the way from Vancouver, Canada!

Shary teaches Fine Arts at Capilano University and Langara College in Vancouver, Canada and leads mixed media workshops and retreats in the United States and in Bali, Indonesia. Her mixed media body of work includes highly textured collage, encaustic, acrylic, fibre arts, prints, sculptural assemblage and altered photographs.

Shary Bartlett: "Daedalus' Gift" Encaustic Fabric Assemblage
What a treat it is to have her here! Shary is offering a 1-day workshop on Friday March 27 which will focus on encaustic wax with fabric application. You can find out the details and register for "Hot Fabrication: Fusing Fabric, Fibre and Encaustic Beeswax" at this link

Shary Bartlett: "Balinese Peacock" Photo Encaustic Collage

She will also be conducting a two-day workshop on Saturday March 28 and Sunday March 29 focusing on utilizing photos with encaustic wax. Check out the details and register for: "Photo Encaustic Explorations for Paper, Fabric and Fiber" at this link
I want to strongly encourage you not to wait to register for Shary's classes if you are considering doing so. With her flying all the way from Canada, and being the first instructor up on the schedule at The Healing House Art Studio this year, we only have 2 short weeks left to meet the minimum enrollment for the workshop in order to make it worth asking Shary to travel this far. The good news is we are only a few students away from that happening!

How to navigate through purchasing a workshop on my Square store:
  1. From this link, click the photo icon of the class you want to take.
  2. From the pop up window of the workshop you have two buttons "Full Workshop Fee" or "Deposit" - click on the one you want. (Simply clicking the large "Add to the basket" button will automatically default to the full workshop fee)
  3. Then click on the blue button under the option buttons that says "Add to the basket"
  4. The window will close and a smaller window will open at the top right showing your class in the basket. If you are done selecting classes hit the "Go to basket" button.
  5. If you wish to choose additional classes, click on each class icon and repeat steps 2-4 until you are done choosing classes. Then hit the "Go to basket" button.
  6. The basket has a button to check out.
  7. Check out will give the option to register an account with square or check out as a guest.
  8. Enter your information as prompted and continue through purchase complete.
  9. If your browser does not allow you to complete the transaction - please email me at and I will email an invoice to you. 

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Second Chances Series: A New Direction from Old Works and New Dreams

"Second Chances Series" by Crystal Neubauer - A New Direction from Old Works and New Dreams
From left to right: "Seedling #804"; "Tea and Baloney"; "The Rebellious Woman and The Baby Elephant"; and "Girl, You're Gonna Carry That Weight A Long Time"
I had a chance to hang out in my studio last week with no agenda other than giving myself the freedom to play. It started with a bunch of collage rejects I had sitting in my closet and a desire to experiment with paint and the ideas and thoughts just came pouring out of me. 

Turns out I had a series waiting to be birthed and it centers around several dreams I've had over the past few months. 

Not the kind of dreams that you have for yourself, like "Someday I hope to write the great American novel" - but the actual dreaming in the middle of the night when you're eyes are closed and you're sleeping kind of dreams. The ones you wake up from in the morning and realize are profound and direct messages from God. Or the subconscious. Or both. 

Yeah, that kind of dreams. The kind I rarely have, but for the past few months, it seems I've had one nearly every other week. 

I wasn't expecting them to show up on these canvases either. And certainly wouldn't have envisioned them in this style, but there they are. Most of them done, or nearly so. 
"Second Chances Series" by Crystal Neubauer - A New Direction from Old Works and New Dreams
"I'm Not Uptight. You're Just Not Funny"
I'll be writing about each one in individual posts over time. Perhaps one a week, or every few weeks? I'd like to say "Every Tuesday ..." but I'm beginning to accept that thing about myself that balks at the restrictions of this kind of schedule. I plan to share the thoughts behind these works, as I think there is something in them for you, as much as there is for me. 

Meanwhile I also plan to spend some time here featuring the workshops and guest artists and other adventures that are coming my way. Stay tuned.....