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gifts to be remembered

TITLE: GIFTS TO BE REMEMBERED. Prints available in my etsy shop.
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about how everything we experience in life shapes us and offers us the opportunity to grow. For this painting, I played a lot with collage. I rummaged through closets and drawers and grabbed anything I found that made my heart sigh.

I searched for things I’d buried in drawers-those old pages from the manuscript I wrote a few years ago, the notes I took in my children’s novel writing classes, the directions to the writing conferences I attended, the lease from my old condo in Chicago, the grocery receipts from my six week writing workshop in New Hampshire. All things I’ve slowly moved away from, but things that still mean much to me. And I wanted to honor, celebrate and remember those important moments in my life. 

You may remember this painting- a work-in progress I revealed to you a few weeks ago. Can you see my new painting GIFTS TO BE REMEMBERED in there? I had worked so hard on this girl’s skirt, cutting each half oval from origami paper and you can still see those ovals, they’re just covered with loads of acrylic paint. I was having a ton of trouble finding her face and character. My heart wasn’t into it, even though I loved that skirt.

After weeks of her sitting just like this in my studio, I realized it would be the perfect painting to play with and add all of those pieces of paper from my past that I wanted to remember. So, I layered and layered all of those memories and infused them into what became this painting.  

 TITLE: GIFTS TO BE REMEMBERED. The Original Mixed Media Painting available in my etsy shop.

And you know what the funniest thing is? That gift she’s holding. I didn’t even plan that. I cut an oval for her belt and adhered that yellow square as the buckle. Then, without thinking (so key…) I drew those three looped-di-loops on top and that black line down the center to make the perfect tied ribbon. Even the part that became her hands holding this surprise treasure were actually the bottom part of the original belt. It just so happened they were skin-toned and fit right at the point where her hands would be. Amazing! I LOVE it when that happens!
I stepped back and thought, “What the heck is that? She’s holding a gift? Who is this girl? And why on earth does she have a gift?” If I would have let myself stop there, I probably would have covered it up and turned that gift into a pretty belt. But then there was the a-ha moment. 
I had been so focused on painting a girl with a fancy ruffled dress that I nearly missed the meaning. Those little pieces of paper, all of the memories and moments I remembered while creating this piece, as I was bringing them up and letting many go, I felt an incredible freedom. And slowly, I realized they are all 
GIFTS TO BE REMEMBERED.
I have so many other new paintings to share with you later this week too! I can’t wait! Beautiful birds and owls were definitely my theme over the weekend. And I picked up some lovely new art supplies and am so excited to share some new techniques I discovered using them too!

21 Comments

  1. I love every bit of this story behind this painting. Isn't that amazing when we get out of the way and let things happen!

  2. juliette, she is fabulous! i just received Spring and the Book Dress and couldn't be more delighted. I can't wait to put her on the wall. The colors are fantastic. I'm even keeping the envelope for my inspiration board–you did such a good job on that too (and I love being called beautiful:)! I didn't know you were a writer. My “real job” with my Enlish degree is a writer–freelance. I used to be a medical writer for our local children's hospital. My dream is to write picture books someday! Cool that we have that in common too!

  3. Just found Poppy Princess–love her! What an expected surprise. Lot's of stuff to keep me inpired. Thanks again!

  4. Great post! I loved the story behind the painting and the painting too :) Andrea

  5. Your excitement is contagious–I love your creative spirit. And I love when your art piece tells you what to do–you just have to listen.

  6. Thank you so much, ladies! It is so wonderful to hear from you all!

    Glad you love your SPRING AND THE BOOK DRESS print, Carrie. And that you found the little Poppy Princess magnet in the envelope too!

    xoxo,
    juliette

  7. Lovely, lovely, lovely. The skirt is so gorgeous too and great story. Have a super week. Hey im going to be hosting a challenge on my blog (more news on it tomorrow), id love for you to join in. Basically picking a color for each week in August and creating with it…x

  8. Lovely process and painting…

  9. This is such a lovely post! It's so sweet and your new painting is gorgeous!! Such a meaningful piece and such a lovely reminder of a wonderful sentiment! Have a lovely merry happy week and love to you!

  10. This is such a poignant piece and so important for you. I love knowing the story of how you came to process and paint this lovely girl. Happy creating…

  11. So lovely and so healing. Beautiful painting!

  12. you are in a beautiful place creatively right now….so lovely to watch

  13. This was such a beautiful, personal, touching post, that I am actually getting choked up and teary eyed. You are so special…thank you for sharing your gifts with all of us. YOU are a gift.♥

  14. Such a beautiful painting and wonderful to read about her unravelling. I so look forward to seeing more of your lovely work….and am even more excited about receiving my picture of “hope”!! :0) Her nestling place is already marked out in my home! X

  15. Hi Juliette,

    She is just perfect and thanks for sharing your process and the meaning behind this piece. I love hearing the story behind the Art.

    Smiles

  16. thank you so much for all of your lovely feedback and support! i am starting a “kindness” folder so I have your words to look back on. thank you!

    sending you all warmth and kindness :)

  17. woaw character often looks like a gorgeous princess. I am fascinated by your characters. A big hug

  18. Lovely to read the background on how you created the work. Beautiful!

  19. I love the evolution of this painting! Lucky lucky person who ends up owning it!
    Beth

  20. layer after layer of beauty!
    YOU are in flight, dear one!

  21. Love how you used pieces of your past to create something new. This is such a great analogy of how our past experiences, good and bad, all come together to form something new and lovely. Thank you for sharing your story at Crescendo!

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