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!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Worth the risk...

I arrived at my studio today with the intent to get caught up on my paperwork, but as I was checking my email, and later after a phone conversation with a colleague I decided what I really needed to do was to take a moment to pause and reflect upon my feelings about issues that were of concern to me. 

"Worth The Risk"  (c) Amy Yosmali, 2018 All Rights Reserved.
A few days ago, a friend had made a post on social media that were essentially along the lines of the famous quote “No Good Deed Goes Unpunished”.  I can most certainly feel as though this is a true statement, as many times I have gone far and above what others would even consider doing in supporting a person or cause in which I believe in. 

I think that it’s important to point out that there is always a risk of putting oneself out there for another, or for a cause.  There is the risk that, if I may quote Luke Skywalker “This is not going to go the way you think”.  I think it is because of this risk, that people are often too afraid to step up and do what’s right, and support whom and what you believe in.

You know what, Luke is right.  Often it does not go the way you think.  Often, you are successful to some degree in helping, but in the process, it may alter your belief in others or the cause.

Belief.  It’s what drives passion.  It is the strength that allows me to overcome the fear of risk. For me, I need to “Believe” in the person(s) or cause in which I am of support of. 

There have been many times in my life where I have helped where others would not have.  And on occasion, although I may have been successful on many accounts on assisting where there was a need, I may walk away from the experience having lost belief in who/what I have supported.  Perhaps it’s because by being involved, it gives me a front row seat and access to information that makes me more aware of the entire breadth of the situation.  It certainly has often provided me a unique perspective.

I have never questioned “why” I help others, and if I asked would I do it again the answer will always answer “yes”.

But that’s not to say that my opinion, or respect for the people who I was in contact may not have changed because of my helping.  In most cases, it has elevated my respect for others, but on rare occasion, it has lowered it.

Disappointment in others – it happens. 

Loosing respect for someone, hurts and certainly gives pause to helping others.  When I feel like I want to give up on helping others, I always “test” myself…  just to see, “Do I still have it in me”.  Most often it’s a small act of kindness for a stranger or a friend, but it is always effective in giving my soul the fuel it needed.

But for every disappointment I have ever experienced in helping, I can point to how my relationships are flourishing, appreciation and respect in others has deepened, knowledge was gained, and new relationships gained continue to blossom, and for that I am grateful for having offered to help.

The risk is ALWAYS worth it if it is something that is in line with your values!

"Worth the Risk"
by Amy Yosmali
(c) Amy Yosmali, 2018. All Rights Reserved

Acrylic on Yupo
Painting: 11x14  Mat: 16x20 (not pictured)

Click here to inquire about purchsing!


Dusting things off!

It's been awhile.... bloging that is!

Many of you have indicated that you would like to know more about what inspires me.  So, I've decided to blow the dust off of my old blog, crack my fingers and give it a whirl again.  I invite you to join me in my adventures, and take a peak into what inspires me.  

I can't make any promisses in terms of frequency so I'm going to take is slow and see how it goes.  Audience participation can be both a motivator and a sorce of inspiration as well so please feel free to share your thoughts as well!

~ Amy Yosmali, Artist