My Art Home: The Word Is Art Gallery

In between where I live and downtown Culver City, on the corner of Venice and Bagley, there’s a beautiful building I’ve long admired. One day, when Mr. P was just barely two months old (8 weeks and three days as we counted in those early, foggy days), he and I made the grand voyage from home to downtown.

Then, this felt like eons away. In reality, it’s like a ten minute walk. But it’s far from the safety of the changing table and the upholstered rocking chair where every hour I’d nurse him with the Boppy and my Purell and my water bottles all lined up like little soldiers. As each week marched on, I felt just a little more adventurous. More and more at home in my new mommy skin. More and more ready to widen my worldview beyond my precious Mr. P. I was ready to include something new. Just a little something-something. But what?

Well, that day on our walk, I noticed that the beautiful building was changing hands. Gone was the old flooring business that had occupied it for so long. Inside I could see piles of paintings and art being hung on the walls. I stopped in my tracks. I saw a sign in the window “Artists Wanted.” I did not know what it was but I knew that I wanted to be a part of it.

I soon met with Renee who founded the gallery. I found out it was a co-op of local artists. How cool!

Now, I’ve been a part of the gallery for 8 months. One thing I loved about Renee’s description of the gallery was that she called it an “art home” – I truly feel like The Word Is Art is my art home.

I have a place to show my work. I’ve met so many amazing local artists that I’m thrilled to say have become good friends. I work about one shift a week – that’s one shift a week. I meet so many local people who are thrilled the gallery is here.

Another thing I was pretty excited about was the opportunity to be featured in the Venice window. I would have the whole window to myself for three whole weeks and host a special event where I’d be the featured artist. I was exhilarated by the possibility, daunted by all the questions: What would I do? How would I find the time? What new work would I create? Who would I invite? What would the theme be for my event? Food? Wine? Entertainment? Where would Mr. P be through all of this? Could I be artist, writer, dreamer and mommy all at the same time?

Well… in retrospect, I am able to tell you I did it. The event was over a month ago and just now I am coming up for air to blog about it. I will write again and tell you all about it. For now, I just wanted to jump in and share some of the backstory. If you have about 15 minutes to spare, I’d love you to check out my interview. Renee interviewed me the day before my event and her husband Jon filmed and edited the video. Yet another wonderful part about the gallery, it’s so nice to be celebrated and how great to be interviewed. Click here to watch the interview.

I’ll be posting again soon with a photo essay of the whole event.

Until then, darling readers… Wishing you wonderful things.

Love,

Melissa

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View more of my paintings on my Flickr.

 

A Day In Pictures: Patchwork Long Beach

Nothing gets me more fired up than seeing artists, designers and crafters all in one place selling their unique, handmade goods. Except maybe when there’s also live music and food trucks… That’s why I planned my May around the Patchwork Indie Arts and Crafts Festivals. First stop, Patchwork Long Beach on Sunday May 20th. Even though we had an action-packed day for my husband Bob’s birthday, we made Patchwork a huge part of our day of fun.

As soon as we arrived we ran into some new friends… it’s such a tiny little world! That’s Sim on the left, yours truly in the middle and Jamie on the right. All of the products in Jamie’s company, Maisha Designs, were handmade in Tanzania by members of a women’s tailoring group. Proceeds help support programming that promotes the alleviation of poverty. How amazing is that? Check out the Maisha Designs Facebook page here.

Then, we were instantly drawn to the live music… we tried to capture a shot of this darling little girl playing her red piano but alas, the moment had passed.

Food trucks! As much as I love the concept of food trucks, I have never actually eaten at one…

Until now! I made a B-line to The Lobsta Truck for a lobster roll. That is my idea of heaven on earth.

Bob had something else in mind. A red velvet cookie ice cream sandwich for the birthday boy!

I love this idea by ISM: A Community Project. They support collaborative creativity by producing international art experiments and providing free public programs. They were at Patchwork spreading the good word about their “Cheers” project. The idea: pick up a coaster and use the blank back as a canvas to share your paintings, photos or poetry.

All coasters will be on display at the ISM 10 year anniversary exhibition on July 7, 2012. I picked up three… I better get to work!

As a stationary lover and creator, I was totally drawn to the Merry Blues Art booth and was so happy to meet Ana Belen. What can I say, Ana’s setup is just awesome and so are her eco-friendly cards and products. The view of the water is a pretty magical backdrop. Check out Merry Blues Art on Facebook here.

There were so many mind-blowing products and booths. Of course I didn’t capture them all, but here are a few more favorites… Here’s Camille Larson of Garden Gnome Arts. Turquoise is my favorite color so I’m pretty sure that’s what magnetized me to her booth.

Her work is so smiley and bright…

I told you I love turquoise! So when I saw the official Backyard in a Jar “Jam Van” in person I was so excited. I was even happier to catch Patchwork co-creators Nicole Stevenson, left, and Delilah Snell, right, together. These super-crafty ladies are also the dynamic duo behind the Craftcation DIY and Indie Business conference I went to in Ventura in Late March.

Backyard in a Jar is Delilah’s line of hand-crafted artisan preserves from the yards & farms of Southern California. I wish I had gotten a shot of the white picket fence that lined the side of her booth. So charming! Check out the Backyard in a Jar Facebook page here.

Random Nicole! It was so great seeing all of Nicole’s one-of-a-kind clothing, art and accessories. I especially went crazy over the quirky-awesome hand-sewn onesies and t-shirts. Check out the Random Nicole Facebook page here.

Here’s Bob checking out the onesies… And please note, Bob is still wearing his bright yellow pit pass from the 3-year-old’s monster truck birthday party we had been to that morning. Always an adventure!

Here’s an example of two creators working together to share a space. On the left, Gilded Moon Jewelry. On the right, Two Hand Design. Not my finest photography moment, it’s a little dark, but nonetheless…

I am such a fan of the artful and iconic nature of Two Hand Design.

And I love the soulful pieces by Gilded Moon Jewelry.

Well… that’s my photo journey of Patchwork Long Beach. This post is dedicated to all of the amazing creators out there, you rule! And a special birthday shout-out to my partner-in-Patchwork-crime that day, the birthday boy himself, my husband Bob. Here’s a shot of him enjoying some delicious wine at his birthday dinner later that night…

 

Now I better get back to work getting my Said The Butterfly gifts and goodies ready for Patchwork Culver City! Will I see you there? I hope so.

Thank you darling readers for reading this, for being here, for being you!

Love, Melissa

**

Become a fan of the Said The Butterfly Facebook page here. When we reach 203 fans (three is my lucky number!) we’re having a party-style-drawing for this “Balance is beautiful” journal:

See the Facebook page for the details on how to enter. Who’s gonna win? Will it be you? And don’t miss out on any of the creative fun. Get Good Things Darling delivered to your inbox. Enter your email in the box on the right here. 

A Day In Pictures: Stems Mother’s Day Art Show

I had such a great time at the Mother’s Day show at Stems Floral Design last weekend. It was an exciting day debuting the new line of Said The Butterfly originals plus all kinds of new items including bookmarks, notebooks and tiles. Most of all I loved sharing all of this with great friends old and new. So much to tell, so much to share. I’ll let the photos do most of the talking.

Here I am all set up and ready to go:

I can’t even tell you how exciting it is seeing all twenty originals as cards as last.

Tiles! Brand new Said The Butterfly offering…

Part of my new improved display thanks to soooo much new knowledge and inspiration from the Craftcation Indie Business and DIY conference I went to in late March.

First buyer of the day. She got teary eyed when she saw the “You’re My Favorite Song” card. I love love love knowing what speaks to people. I also love that that line came from a poem I wrote for my husband Bob for his 30th birthday a few years ago.

And there’s Bob! Taking a yoga break/lesson from Lincoln. Bob needed the break after helping me setup all morning. Lincoln is such a great teacher!

Lincoln picked out a few things. So did his Mama.

Bookmarks for Mother’s Day! Anthony, Francesca and Giana. They were going to add these to their Mother’s Day cards. Good thinking…

The Lublin clan. I think they bought one of everything, including an original. Selling an original is always especially meaningful to me. This one was “Life is one great big unfolding yes.” Jenn is the inspired and gifted photographer behind my recent Said The Butterfly photo shoot.

Maria! A Mother’s Day gift :)

I bet Judy is going to fill up this whole journal. How exciting :)

A print for Susan. “Every time I think of you I smile inside and out.” I am so in love with seeing which pieces speak to people.

Bernadette spotting! Bern is my oldest (as in I have known her the very longest since freshman year in high school back east) friend in LA and one of the most avid readers I know.

You guessed it! That’s my sister Lauren making a few Said The Butterfly purchases. I love that she didn’t even know I had tiles. It’s not often that Lauren does not know something about me. Is that smile priceless or what?

Courtney brings in the aloha…

A journal for Christina’s mom :) Christina was also selling her amazing creations at this show. Keep scrolling, you’ll see.

Gemma Del Rio and her magnificent scarves. I love how bright they are. They look so great blowing in the breeze. Peacocks and butterflies and leaves and flowers and abstracts, oh my!

Sarah Munoz of TSB Designs. That’s short for The Space Between. Her jewelry is stunning and so unique. Happy to say I have several pieces I’ve gotten as gifts from my sister.

Christina Pezzolo and her magical mermaid handmade wrap towels. I love how her daughter was her model in those photos in the front. Priceless!

There were about nine of us artists. I didn’t get pictures of everyone, but there was so much creativity flowing that day.

Happy shoppers, sunny gorgeous day. On more than one instance I found myself saying “I feel like I’m in a movie set.” That’s how charming Stems is.

More happy shoppers…

Yes, that is the ocean right across the way from Stems and its home in magical Malaga Cove. This place will always have an extra special place in my heart because my sweet, darling mentor and friend Gemma Taccogna‘s studio was in Malaga Cove for years way back when, way before my time here in Los Angeles. But her tile work is still all over the plaza… and of course, so is her spirit.

A big Said The Butterfly thank you to Katie, the owner of Stems and the mastermind behind this fabulous show. Thank you Katie!

My next show is Patchwork Culver City and I’m super-beyond-excited for that too.

Thank you friends old and new, near and far for showing me so much love that day. You are appreciated more than you’ll ever know. And thank you darling readers for reading this, for being here, for being you!

Love, Melissa

**

Become a fan of the Said The Butterfly Facebook page here. When we reach 203 fans (three is my lucky number!) we’re having a party-style-drawing for a journal. Who’s gonna win? Will it be you???

Happy Birthday Team Said The Butterfly

This is the flagship piece for Said The Butterfly. Full of treasures, flowers, little hand-carved skulls and mostly, filled with love and inspiration.

Exactly a year ago today I launched the Said The Butterfly page on Facebook. I sat there and held my breath as one by one friends and followers discovered the page and clicked the famed “Like” button. Then, finally, I relaxed into it and suddenly there were so many of you. It felt so amazing to “get it out there.” Now a year later, it feels so energizing to have a place to instantly share thoughts and discoveries and most of all, to share new work. For example, last week I shared the just-finished “Forever Starts Today” and it was beyond energizing to keep getting so many thumbs ups! Thank you, thank you, thank you.

If this is your very first time reading about Said The Butterfly, please know I am so glad you are here. And I would love for you to join in on the creativity and inspiration. If you haven’t seen the Said The Butterfly website, you can check it out here. If you are so inspired, please “like” the Said The Butterfly Facebook page here. I promise to only share the positive, the beautiful, the magic, the soulful and of course… the creative.

As a special first birthday present to all of you supporters and believers in Said The Butterfly, I want to extend a 15% discount on any purchase made in my Said The Butterfly Etsy shop to all the likers/lovers of the Facebook page. This offer will be good for a whole week: from today until Monday April 9th at noon. (Good news, if you are just liking the Facebook page now, you can still get the discount!) The super secret coupon code is SAIDTHEBUTTERFLYONE.

With love and gratitude,
Melissa

A Basket of Dreams for the Dwelling Place

Well hello darlings. It’s been a while. A long wonderful while. I have so much to tell you. I’ve decided I’m going to tell you one thing a day. So today, here’s my thing. In the spirit of “Good Things Darling” I promise it will always be a good thing.

Today’s good thing: This past October, I was happy to donate a basket to the Silent Auction for the Dwelling Place of New York Fall Gala. The Dwelling Place is a transitional shelter for women in midtown Manhattan. I’ve gotten to know this amazing place very well these past few years and have been on the Gala committee thanks to my dear friends and coworkers at Sawtooth. In full Said The Butterfly style, I created the “Said The Butterfly Basket of Dreams.” It was three framed posters, a set of ten cards and other goodies like a journal and colored pencils. This was very exciting because:

a) I love the Dwelling Place.
b) It felt so good to be donating something that I loved creating.
c) It marked the official launch of Said The Butterfly posters onto the planet earth.
d) The basket got lots of attention at the Gala and there was even a bidding war.
e) I raised money for a place I love doing what I love. That’s my idea of success.

Here’s me shopping for the perfect basket. I can’t even tell you how excited I was to find a basket exactly the width of the frame. Score!

Here’s the set of three framed posters.

And here’s the whole shabang!

A big thanks to many of you who bought raffle tickets, too! If you haven’t had a chance to “meet” the Dwelling Place yet, check out their site here. You may just fall in love. I know I did.

Lessons from Twelve Resting Caterpillars

I have twelve caterpillars lying on my coffeetable. They’ve been there since last weekend resting and feeding and growing. But they are by no means ready to fly. Sometimes they scream at me:

“Hey you, get over here and work on me!”

“Don’t you wanna get a little creative?”

“Come on! Stop everything else. And start painting.”

“Can’t you finish what you start?”

But mostly, they whisper to me ever so sweetly:

“It’s ok… you’re doing your best.”

“We’ll be here when you’re ready for us.”

“You’re doing so many good things right now. We’ll wait.”

“Thank you for making us. We wouldn’t even exist without you.”

And then they confide in me…

“We’re in no rush. We are so happy to be resting and at peace.”

So I am reporting to you, darling readers, and I’ve made peace with it in my mind, that the major studio time that I told you was coming, has come and gone. And I have twelve half-sort-of-started caterpillar paintings to show for it. They are farther along than the blank panels you see above. But they are by no means ready to share with you. So I am faced with the great unknown. What to tell you? What to make this post about now that we are already this far into it? The truth. I promised this to you in my very first post, I just didn’t think it would be happening so soon. My creative process is taking a little longer this time. I need to listen to the lessons from my own writing and artwork. To have the faith to “just see.”

Another lesson? Balance really is beautiful. And I am proud of myself for not just writing that and painting that and selling cards that say that… but I believe that. And I’ve had a remarkably balanced few weekends. I joined a new gym. I’ve had some extra-special quality time with my husband. I even had a day-long business and budget meeting for Said The Butterfly. These things are so important. Almost as important as the paintings themselves are the managing the details that allow me to make them, sell them and share them with the world. I even took two naps and got a mani and pedi. I know! Indulgent and amazing.

I also think of my frustrated self this time about four years ago. I hadn’t painted or written one thing in what felt like forever. I confided in Gemma like I always did and she reassured me with clarity and brilliance like she always did. “You’re living it,” she said. “When you’re ready, you’ll make a million paintings and write a million books. Right now, darling, you are living it.” * Gemma made everything make sense. Everything was exactly as it should be.

I can’t wait to share with you completed works of art that emerge from these resting caterpillars. Until then, let’s have the faith to listen to the message from the mellow tree. Let’s remember that balance really is beautiful. Let’s live it. Good things, Melissa

*Please note it’s been a long time since I’ve spoken in person to my dear friend Gemma Taccogna. She passed away in May of 2007, the day before her 84th birthday. Any attempt I make to quote her on this blog is the essence of these beautiful memories that I am so grateful for. “You’re living it” is an exact quote that I will never forget. The rest is the essence of what followed.

 

 

 

We Have A Winner!

We have so many reasons to celebrate! First of all, thank you everyone for all of your wonderful emails about my official launch of the Said The Butterfly website and this very blog, Good Things Darling. The Facebook fan page has been there since April and it’s been encouraging to share developments baby step by baby step. The community is growing and it’s just plain awesome. For me, it’s like the sunshine in the quote that inspired Said The Butterfly from the very beginning.

I decided it was time to celebrate with a surprise giveaway. Tonight was the drawing. I thought it would be much more special and fun if I shared it with you so here’s how it all went down. First, I wrote every single one of Said The Butterfly’s 149 Facebook fans names on a little piece of paper. I had a grateful moment with each of you as I used my extra-special LePen to write your name in cursive on scrap paper.

What better “hat” to draw from than this head vase by Gemma? This was the very first piece I bought when I started collecting Gemma’s work. I have so many now I’ve lost count. One of these days I’ll share my whole collection. For now, I thought it was the perfect way to kickoff the fun. I can just hear Gemma proclaiming it a “parteeee!”

Then I decided I could shuffle all the names better if they were in a bowl. So I shook it up and down like popcorn to mix up all the possible winners. Did you feel yourself with the sudden inclination to jump up and down? If so, now you know why.

Then I put all the names back in the Gemma head vase…

And drew the winner. Congratulations to you, Elise Palinkas. You are now the winner of your pick of any 5 Said The Butterfly cards.

Take your pick. Let me know which 5 you’d like and I will mail them to you.

As promised, we’ll do this again TWICE when we reach 200 fans on Facebook. Tell your friends and let’s all get in on the creativity and the good times together.

I’m looking forward to some major studio time this weekend and I can’t wait to share some works in progress with you. Stay tuned darling readers. Until then, good things to you. Melissa