Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Fireflies, castles, cheese coneys oh my!

After a wonderful evening at the Blink Artist Showcase reception, I returned the next morning to the Art Design Consultant (ADC) gallery for a brunch that was held for just the Artists.  The brunch looked and smelled lovely (unfortunately I couldn’t eat anything, I rarely do at events/venues away from home due to my food allergies), the weather was gorgeous outside, and the view from the windows was fabulous.

The brunch was an excellent opportunity for us as artists to get to know and talk with the staff at ADC, and that was nice as more often than not, unless you’re a local artists you primarily work with them over the phone – and it’s always great to put a name to the face.

It’s also an opportunity for the artists to get to know one another alongside of their works.  I’m always an advocate for artists getting to know each other, but I’ll save that for another post.  Instead I want to talk about fireflies.

So I’m at the ADC gallery, everyone is having a lovely time, and I decided I needed to give my poor flat feet a rest, and sat down in a chair next to a lady in a beautiful red dress.  I had to compliment her on the dress, it was such a flattering color on her, and next thing we knew were having a lovely conversation.  She and her husband (who was an artist in the exhibit) had traveled from Colorado and were having a lovely time on their visit, but she had one goal that she wanted to accomplish on her visit to Cincinnati.  She wanted to see a firefly.

I was  intrigued as to why and was immediately thinking of ways to help her get that mission accomplished.  They were having a lovely time on their visit to Cincinnati, they walked along the banks, had popped in on one of the festivals going on, and like most visitors to the city had been told they must eat at Skyline. It was during our conversation that I learned about her personal mission, fireflies, the flashing kind that we all know and love here in the Midwest simply don’t exist out west, and she, having hailed from Loveland, Colorado had never seen one and was determined to see one before she left Cincinnati.  Wait! (record scratch) YOUR FROM LOVELAND COLORADO!!!!  I couldn’t believe it!  She and her husband were from Loveland, CO.  That immediately caught my attention because I grew up in Loveland, Ohio a suburb of Cincinnati.  It was destiny, I HAD to help her out!

Photo from cincinnatiusa.com
I told her that she can’t come all the way out from Loveland, CO and NOT visit Loveland, OH.  Especially since Loveland Ohio has a castle, Chateau Laroche, something truly unique.  To be so close to Loveland, OH and not visit would be a shame.  She was however in luck, she had meet me, and I immediately knew how she could check off a few items on her list, most importantly fireflies.

I immediately took out my cell phone, looked up and texted her the links to where they needed to go and in what order.  First stop, Loveland Castle, they would be closing at 5pm and it was the furthest away, if they got out there by 3 or 4 they would have plenty of time to explore the site and afterwards they could go to old historic Loveland.  Next, I gave them the address to the Skyline Chili on Loveland Maderia Rd., and told them that they should go there after exploring the castle and the City of Loveland, as it would likely be approaching dinner time.  Last, I gave them the address to Lake Isabella.  This park would be the perfect place to see fireflies, located in Loveland, shady, next to the river, and open past dusk (because they do night fishing at the lake). And near the expressway, so they could easily point their car back to Cincinnati.  I told her to text me and let me know if she ended up seeing a firefly! 

We continued our conversation for awhile more, and then broke away to mingle and meet others.  It was a pleasant morning, and I truly enjoyed getting to meet so many talented individuals. I had a wonderful time and am thankful and appreciative of our host ADC for having put the brunch together.

But the best moment of the day came hours later when I received a text….. from the lady in the red dress!  Her mission had been accomplished – she got to see fire flies!  Better yet, they had on my suggestion made the trip out to Loveland Castle, ate at the skyline, relaxed on the dock at Lake Isabella and saw fireflies. 

I smiled so hard when I read that text I’m pretty sure my eyes got a little watery.

Thursday, July 5, 2018


May was a chaotic blur, and June had finally arrived.  It was June 8th and I was anxiously looking forward to a kid free night with my husband and attending the opening reception for the “Blink Artist Showcase”.

Despite May having been for the most part bitter cold (I’m pretty sure I saw snow while at my son’s baseball game only a few weeks before) mother nature had decided to turn on the heat, in full blast in Cincinnati.  Lucky for me I had a comfortable, weather appropriate outfit, and a fabulous pair of Dansko dress shoes to keep my freshly pedicured feet comfy! 

The City of Cincinnati looked lovely on our short drive to downtown.  I think one of the prettiest views is when you approach the city going south on Reading Road, between 5pm and dusk on a beautiful sunny day… the city just glows and has this warmth to it.

When we arrived my dashing husband escorted me inside the building where we were greeted by the friendly staff of Art Design Consultants (ADC) at the check-in table.  After checking in we rode the elevator up to the 5th floor and walked into the gallery.

“Pink Champagne” (the large yellow and pink work)
at the Blink Artist Showcase Exhibit Opening Reception.
If you haven’t been to a reception at ADC, you need to go sometime.  Beautiful art, wine, lite bites, and most importantly friendly, knowledgeable staff and inviting atmosphere.  Oh, and great views of the city (which one can easily miss, because you will be too busy looking at the art to remember there are windows to look out of!).  

I have to say that I really enjoy my job as an artist, as it allows for me to have the opportunity to meet incredible people.  Not only do I get to meet other artists at events like this, I meet art collectors and enthusiasts and learn more about them and what connects them to art.  It’s makes for an enjoyable time and this reception did not disappoint as it was well attended with art enthusiasts and artists from around the country.  But more about that in my next post…

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

A different kind of busy.

One would think that with summer in full swing that things would be slow.  Quite the contrary, things have been exceptionally busy.

First and foremost, I’m a mom to an amazing soon-to-be 8yr old and 6.5 yr old.  I love them tremendously and try to spend as much time with them while I can (and while they still want to!). I am also a sole proprietor and have a brick-and-mortar gallery/studio.  What that means is not only do I have the full mommy workload, but I also am a one man show when it comes to my business – I’m not only the artist, I’m the marketing, IT, sales, maintenance and accounting departments all wrapped up into one.  Then there are my philanthropic commitments… Sometimes my life can be a bit crazy.

I chose to take 2018 off in terms of outdoor shows, they make for long, brutal days away from my kids, and instead decided to turn my focus in new and different directions in terms of promoting and showing my work, and hopefully reaching a wider, national audience.

One of the things I decided to do was participate in the Art Design Consultants (ADC)  Blink 2018 print publication and online resource.  ADC, located in Cincinnati, OH is a reputable gallery with clients across the nation. The publication in which my works are featured is now out, and it looks great.  I have a copy at the gallery – so be sure to check it out during your next visit!

Being a “Blink” artist, I was invited to submit a work for their “Blink Artist Showcase”.  I had just finished “Pink Champagne” literally, the paint was still wet when I submitted my initial images that I had snapped with my iPhone!  I had my talented friend and amazing photographer, Gary Kessler (Gary Kessler Photography) professionally image the work along with several new works.  When ADC said they would accept “Pink Champagne” I was thrilled… as I am biased and happen to think it’s gorgeous.  If you haven’t read the story behind the painting, you need to check out my blog post “Pink Champagne” https://aydzn.blogspot.com/2018/04/pink-champagne.html

As most parents of young children know – May is an insane month, the only other month that is equally as crazy… August.  To say I was looking forward to the opening reception for the “Blink Artist Showcase” in June would be an understatement.   I was in need of a well deserved night away from the kids (even though I would still be “working”) and dying of curiosity as to where my piece was located and partnered up with in the gallery……  

but you will just have to wait for my next post to learn more about that!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Pink Champagne

"Pink Champagne" Original Artwork by Amy Yosmali
Do you ever wake up and think to yourself, this is going to be a great day?  Nothing to stress over, no appointments, meetings, or potential for unexpected time sucks to pop up.  Just a good start to the day to a low-key day.  Today was one of those days, the only thing that could make it any better would have been if the sun had managed to come out from behind the clouds.

I love when the day starts off just right, coincidently on a day that I had blocked off as “paint time” at the studio.  Before I had even got out of bed, I knew that I wanted to paint a large canvas painting today, and that the colors speaking to me were pink, yellow, and green.  

Miraculously, my young children somehow managed to get dressed and out the door for school without the need for me to go into “mommy drill sergeant” mode, amazing – I know!  So, having managed to keep my great mood in tact I got myself out the door and straight to the studio before anything else could come up. Now it was time to prep for doing the large painting. 

I like to paint flat, and usually work on a large workbench.  But with large canvases, I will lay down drop cloths on the floor of my gallery and work.  I work all in one painting session, so I need to have everything laid out and easily accessible.  Once I start painting, the clock starts ticking, and I’ve got to work fast enough to complete the work in the time that I have allotted for that session.  While working I’m constantly moving all around the paintings, reaching, bending, stretching along the way.  It makes for a very, very long but rewarding day.

"Pink Champagne" in progress,
Artwork by Amy Yosmali
Today, like all the others in which I complete a large canvas painting, I take a few minutes to focus and cue up a song (or sometimes songs) that I will listen to repeatedly to help amplify and sustain the mood that I am in while painting, since I paint emotionaly.  It was a great day, but nothing that I normally listen to was speaking to my emotions, so I decided to switch over to my Pandora station and see if it offered anything that would catch my ear.  Pandora did not disappoint, and sure enough it offered up the song “Pink Champagne” by Venus Hum which seemed to be a perfect fit for me in that moment and my color palate!  I really like the funky, happy vibe of the song.

To me it feels as though time is suspended yet at the same time it flies while I’m painting.  And next thing I know the painting has come together and is completed.  Too often I don’t take pictures or video of the works in progress, as I either forget, or don’t want to break from being in my “zone” so to speak.  But today I did manage to get a couple of in progress shots that I hope you will enjoy.

This was a wonderfully fun piece to create and I hope that you will love it as much as I do!

"Pink Champagne" Original Artwork by Amy Yosmali
“Pink Champagne”
Original Art by Amy Yosmali

acrylic on canvas (gallery wrap) 
Retail: $4645

Monday, April 16, 2018

Sunshine, Snow, and Inspiration!

A slow start to Monday.  The good news – I managed to get to the gym.  The bad news, I missed my water aerobics class.  Hey, I at least got to the gym that was a challenge considering that its cold and snowing here in Cincinnati in the middle of April – it was extremely difficult to fight off the urge to stay in bed and hibernate this morning!  Apparently Mother Nature is a hot mess like I am.

Fight it off I did, and I’ve been spending my time getting ready for this week.  I have somehow managed to double book myself for this Friday, as I have both an Open Gallery Night, and will be participating as an art vendor at Ault Vines Fine Wines fundraising event at Ault park.  Luckily for me, my husband Tim will be taking over my duties at the Gallery and showing everyone my works as well as my talented friend Gary Kessler’s photography while I will be at Ault Park. 

While at the gallery today, I was prepping some new works I created last week to bring with me to the Ault Park event.  At the moment I don’t have titles for any of them (I’m always open to suggestions). The three smaller works are 3”x3” in size, are mounted in a 5”x5” mat (which will fit a 5”x5” frame).  The larger work is 9”x11” in size, mounted in a 16x20 mat (which will fit a standard readymade 16x20 frame).  The pallet I used consisted of Prussian Blue, Kings Blue, Gold Ochre, Silver, Warm Grey, Burnt Sienna, Rose Quinacridone, Venetian Rose and Turquoise Green, and iridescent white.  Contact me if you are interested in purchasing (or come see them in person at Ault Vines this Friday!)

I paint very emotionally, and last week I was in a very unusual place.  I had just resigned from an organization I had been part of for just shy of 6yrs.  It was a very difficult thing to do as I have several good friends in the group and I really enjoyed seeing them at our meetings.  On one hand, I was sad for the loss of seeing my friends, but on the other, I was relieved, and strangely looking forward to exploring new options with my time and interests.  The weather in the latter half of last week was also beautiful, and I found the time I spent with my kids at the park after school and during their sports practices to be greatly rewarding.

When I paint, I almost always paint while listening to music.  I have a great Pandora station that I created in 2012 called “Amy’sSpring2012Creativity” that somehow always serves up tunes that perfectly fit my emotions – like a jukebox with ESP.  I get asked all the time if music inspires me – it most certainly does considering that many, many, many moons ago I was a Music Ed Major in College and am a college level musician.  It’s because of my love for music that I paint – and I paint like a musician performs.  Perhaps one day I will share more about that journey from musician to painter.  Until then I’ve listed below a few of the ecclectic mix of songs that Pandora kindly served up while I was painting that I emotionally connected to while painting last week.

I’ve shared with you my inspirations – feel free to share in the comments below the music or colors that inspire you!

Friday, April 6, 2018

My DIY Reusable Custom Planner & Organizer

Things have been busy lately, and as I’m sure many of you can relate, it can be difficult at times in terms of time management.  I have always been one to write “lists” to keep myself organized.  Often, I would grab any piece of paper I could find, lose or in a notebook and scribble down my list of things “To Do” for that day.  I’m surrounded by notebooks full of my lists, or the backs of envelopes with lists written on them tucked away in my purse.

As a business owner, who is engaged in the community, and a mother of 2 kids, I need more than a list, I need to plan and be organized.  I have over the years used many different sorts of “planners”.  Often, I find that there are components that I like and use, but that entire sections go unused as they don’t fit my purposes.  It’s not just time management I need to focus on, but projects that I am working on for my business, personal/family and community.

This past year I did find three great planners that I really enjoyed.  Rituals for Living Dreambook and Planner by The Dragon Tree, and the Productive Flourishing Momentum Planner by Productive Flourishing.  What I liked most was that they help to define and direct focus on long term goals (12 mos) and breaking them down into quarterly objectives, and then into reasonable actions in months and weeks.  The Dreambook is ideal for creatives, and really encourages you to think in terms of not just work but life as well.  The Productive Flourishing Momentum Planner is excellent from a business and time management prospective.  I also found several aspects of the SELF Journal by BestSelf Co to be very beneficial in terms of project management, especially in breaking down project goals.

I decided in the last half of the year that I liked many aspects from all three planners, as well as some from others I have used over the years, and bought a 3 ring binder and cobbled together a “planner” consisting of the pages I chose to use from the Dreambook, SEFL Journal, and Momentum Planners, and a page or two from other sources.  All of the sources were available as digital downloads, so I was able to print off the pages I needed and cobbled together what I referred to as my “Frankenstein Planner”.  It worked, and I was productive and organized. It was particularly helpful in a time when I was unusually busy with unexpected obligations that I somehow got sucked into.  But there were several “cons”.  Namely it was bulky, it used a LOT of paper and ink (the same “blank sheets/templates” being printed off over and over), and it was a pain to remember to print more pages off every month.  After several months the inconveniences become too much and once again I abandoned yet another “planner”.

It infuriated me that I had come so close, I did really like what I had cobbled together.  But I needed something that would be more efficient.  My first thought was to find an app for my iPhone.  Unfortunately, I didn’t find one that fit my needs.  Then I remembered having come across some time back a “smart notebook” that acted much like a dry erase board, but in a spiral notebook form!

Enter the “Everlast” executive notebook by Rocketbook.

The notebook is pretty cool, it is spiral bound – so it is easy to open flat or fold over pages.  You can only use Pilot FriXion pens and markers on them, and that’s ok as they are easy to find in stores and come in a rainbow of colors.  They (the pens) write smoothly on the pages and can be erased (suing the eraser on the pen), and they dry quickly (within 15 seconds) onto the surface.  When your done taking notes, you can use the notebook app on your phone and it will scan the page and send it to whatever drive (google, dropbox ect.) or email address you have directed the app to send it as indicated by the symbol you mark at the bottom of the page.  Pretty cool.  But wait, it gets even better when you are finished you can use a slightly damp cloth and wipe it all clean.

The manufacture is adamant that you can only use the FriXion pens and markers, and that using anything else will be permanent on the page.  And that got me thinking…. What if drew, with a permanent marker a “template” for each custom page I wanted in my planner into this notebook????
I posed the question on Amazon, and fortunately the manufacturer replied that yes, indeed people have used a permanent marker to create templates and that they have been used quite successfully that way.

Eureka!!!!!  That was exactly what I had wanted to hear!

My calendar "Template"
So I purchased a notebook, and after consulting with my local art store, decided to purchase and Sakura IDenti Pen (permanent marker), a ruler (my kids had managed to lose mine), and created my own light box  (I was about to order a cheap LED light box tracer because it was cheap, but had managed to find everything I needed to create my own light box: a clear plastic storage box I had lying around, that I threw a few battery operated LED lights I had into, and then placed a clear frosted clipboard I had on top as a writing surface).

When the notebook arrived, I printed the pages off, and used them along with my DIY “light box” and traced out my templates. 
It took some time, and I did make a few mistakes, but in all I am
Easy to erase!
extremely pleased with the

The note books are a bit pricy, but you can reuse them a thousand times, and the cost is about the equivalent if not less than a ream of paper and ink to print off a years’ worth of one paper planner let alone multiple paper planners!  The thirty-Six page, 6”x9” executive notebook is also more convenient in comparison to my overstuffed 1” three ring binder that served the same purpose.  The pens are a little pricier, but you can buy them in bulk and get refills to reduce that expense.  What is truly
priceless is that they are completely customizable and you can use the Everlast Rocketbook to create not just your own planner/organizer, but templates for your classroom (journals, writing projects…) , or frequently used forms  – the possibilities are endless!

So get out there – get creative, get organized, be efficient!

Sunday, February 25, 2018

It's all about the shoes!

As I’ve gotten older, my feet have gotten to the point where cheap shoes won’t cut it, and if I want to stand a chance of being able to stand on my feet years from now I need good shoes with good support.  I felt like Goldilocks over the years trying the many different brands of shoes recommended by others for their orthopedic qualities, but in the end I have pretty much determined that when it comes to flip flops I’m an OluKai girl, and that when it comes to all other shoes (except gym shoes) it’s nothing but Dansko’s for me.

I know, I know, most people think Dansko’s are just for work, and when you mention the brand name all that comes to mind are the traditional Dansko clogs.  But they actually have some pretty cute sandals, boots, heels, and dress shoes.  Dansko’s can’t be that bad, Vogue just had an article out this past September about how they were the current fashion darlings (Dansko Clogs Are Fashion's New Ugly-Chic Shoe Trend – Vogue)  Who knew that frumpy ‘ole me and my collection of Danskp’s would be on trend for once!

When I started buying Dansko’s I quickly learned that there are some that are highly coveted and collectable.  Yeah, I was surprised too!  It took a little over a year, but I finally managed to procure a pair of the “Paint Splatter” Dansko’s in excellent condition. 

Why the paint splatter clogs – Why not?  Hello, I’m an artist!  They are brightly colored, much like my art and best of all they are comfortable to wear.  They are sooooooo me!

I LOVE these shoes – I can’t wait to wear them all around town, and to events related to my art business! 

They are fun to look at, and inspire me to dream about how perhaps one day maybe I could design a colorful “art” clog for Dansko – wouldn’t that be fun!  A dream, but you never know – perhaps just putting it out into the universe, maybe someone reading this may know someone who could make that happen! 

Speaking of smiles – I would love to know what shoes make you smile when you put them on and why?  Be sure to share your stories in your comments below.

Dream big, wear comfortable shoes that make you smile as you journey through life!