Category Archives: Artists I Love

Here you’ll find photos of art that makes me happy, some information about the artists, and how you can have it for your very own.

A Few of my Favorite Things…and People

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Everyone loves Florida….but only some are lucky enough to call it home.

This post will introduce you to a family so talented and unique, I’ve often wished to be adopted into their little clan. For a period of time I feel that I was, and I’m very thankful for the time they generously spent being a surrogate family to mine while we lived in Florida.

The Wackes family–Jane and Alan Wackes, their daughter Megan Wackes Wells, and their daughter-in-law Lou Velarde Wackes–are my featured artists for the summer. I find it simply amazing for so much talent to abound from one family.

Separately, each of their work is very different–different themes, mediums and all that artsy talk. Together, their work is an eclectic mix of some of my favorite things. With way too much goodness for just one post, I’ll take time to feature each artist individually in different blog posts. I have no doubt you’ll adore their stories and beautiful work.

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Jane and Alan Wackes are Ft. Lauderdale natives and darling (I’ve seen the photos!) high school sweethearts. They married and raised three children, Robb, Katie, and Megan. Alan is a retired contractor, and Jane has never quite retired from busily working in the home.

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Showin’ some love to my home state!

We met the Wackes family at church shortly after moving to the Ft. Lauderdale area in 2008. Soon they were sharing everything with my family from Fourth of July fireworks to “Christmas Adam”–a clever Wackes thing. (Jane says since Adam came before Eve, the day before Christmas Eve is “Christmas Adam!”) My children even knew them by their endearing grandparent names, “J-mom” and “Pop,” and though years have passed, my oldest child still remembers them as the “artist family” in Florida.

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How cute and functional is this lego table?

Alan was always a skilled woodworker, and Jane a talented artist and crafter. Once retired, they were able to dedicate more time to their love for creating, and after several joint projects they began SonRooms Furniture and Art.

Together they create unique furniture and art, with Alan constructing the pieces and Jane completing them with vibrant designs. Between Jane’s unlimited imagination and Alan’s excellent woodworking skill, SonRooms produces hand-crafted pieces unlike anything you’ve seen.

True to their Florida roots, Jane and Alan’s creations have a “classic and coastal” vibe. Using various forms of reclaimed lumber from Florida docks, the finished product is beautifully rustic with the original saw marks and patina that “only time can create”.

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Wet bar complete with ice bucket and bottle opener!

Pieces range from dining room sets to wooden sea creatures and anything in between. Alan will build to order and Jane can paint whatever your imagination thinks up! The couple travels to select art shows and have become a sought-after vendor.

Before leaving Florida, I knew I wanted my own SonRooms masterpiece. I described for Alan the type of table I was looking for to use as a TV stand, and he built it. Jane used a special technique to paint the piece and to this day our family cherishes it. I have many antiques and family heirloom pieces, but the first piece people comment on is my SonRooms table!

I am super thankful for my connection to this family. Moving frequently, God always puts a family or two in each place we go who takes-in our young family, providing a place of comfort when we are far from home.

271198_10150322731255218_2192167_oWhile the artistic talent is a unique bond for this family, they are held together by much more than their pursuit of creating. Keeping their faith at the center of their lives–during good times and bad–is the bond that keeps this family whole. I learned a lot about art and free-living from the Wackes’. I also learned that keeping God alone on highest display in life is the surest way to find contentment.

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10685528_10152633780150218_8142899972647941822_nCrab-walk on over to Facebook and “Like” SonRooms Furniture and Art. Browse their gallery of amazing work, and keep up with locations for their next art show.

J-mom and Pop with their cherished grandchildren.

Jane and Alan now live in Yankeetown, FL where they enjoy the slower pace and beautiful landscape.

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Doodle Bug

I love cute stuff.  Even though I’m not nearly as “girly” in everyday life as my designs might suggest, I simply love cute stuff.  Sometimes people will tell me, “Your designs are so ‘cute’.”  I love that, because did I mention I love cute stuff?  But I never want the conversation to end there.all you need is LOVE

Each doodle and painting–no matter how “cute”–has a purpose behind it to outlast cute trends.  My hope is that a design would comfort and encourage the recipient.  Some designs are made for those facing trials, while others are made to celebrate life’s joys.  Music has always been a big influence in my life, and many designs come to me while listening to good music.  But all designs are from a deep place in my heart, and are intended to please not only the eye, but the soul.

LOGO BIGTake for example the simple logo for A Little Happy.  When I realized God was going to slowly grow this blog and hobby into a ministry I decided it was time to choose a logo.  Some people see this as a daisy, but it’s actually (supposed to be) a sun.  Originally the outside was orange, but I changed it to blue, representing the hint of sadness that often surrounds me in life when depression hits.  The little smirk says, “I’m okay because God’s promises are still true.”

saved by graceOne of the first Bible verses I doodled was Ephesians 2:8, “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith. It is the free gift of God.”  Sitting by the pool in the summer of 2013, I doodled “Saved By Grace” in my sketch pad.  Upon seeing a life preserver nearby, I knew that was the image I wanted attached to this verse.  The perfect reminder that I am rescued by God’s grace.

I often draw reflections of my home state, Mississippi.  The first Mississippi design was doodled on some old Kindergarten-lined paper.  I was just doodling cotton bolls and kept going to create this fun collection of things that remind me of Mississippi. The cotton, the river, the coast, the capital and the Choctaw tribe.  I never knew I’d end up selling this as a print!  If I had known, I may have cut it into a more exact shape, but it is what it is–a doodle on Kindergarten-lined paper.

One particular season of life I found myself strapped for time and pulled in a million different directions.  I just wanted to slow down, and in my quiet time one day doodled a snail.  I named him “Slowpoke” then began looking up scripture references for my new friend. slow poke

While many verses can complement Slowpoke, Jeremiah 2:25 hit home.  It reads, “Slow down. Take a deep breath. What’s the hurry? Why wear yourself out? Just what are you after anyway?” That’s not all, however, it concludes with, “But you say, ‘I can’t quit! I’m addicted to alien gods.'”  Now this is some scripture that calls you to self-examination.  Ouch, I like it! 

I like having visual reminders of truth all around me, it fulfills the need to be reminded where my hope lies.  Much of my personal home decor carries a spiritual theme, be it a Bible verse, decorative cross, or inspirational painting.

I used to be very intimidated when a person’s home was decorated this way, thinking surely they’d “arrived” to feel confident enough to display their beliefs so boldly.  But over time I’ve learned people of faith don’t display messages of truth because they are these things.  They display them because they know how quickly they can forget these things, and follow “alien gods.”

When I place Joshua 24:15–“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”–prominently in my foyer, I’m not proclaiming my little family has “arrived” or perfect.  I’m proclaiming we are a family in constant dependency on God, who is perfect.   JESS BIRD SCAN
I was once taught a proverb that says, “Place something for the eye to see, so the heart will remember.”  That proverb pretty-much describes what I want A Little Happy designs to do.  In fact, that’s what this ministry is built on–using words and images to help people remember their only true source of happiness is God’s enduring love for us all.
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These designs and many others are available on canvases, magnets, note card sets, and select designs on t-shirts.  If you know of a charity that would like to partner with A Little Happy, or needs a donated item for their charity event, please email me.  And be sure you come see me on October 18 at the Wesson Flea Market!

 

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All Dogs Go to Heaven

I am so excited to feature Mississippi artist Scott Jennings of Syntropy Creations and Sacred Space Urns.  Scott is a veterinarian by profession, and when his love of animals collided with his love of art, a beautiful concept was born.

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Scott in his element.

The amazing human-animal connection has captivated Scott in his professional and personal life.  It was only natural that his compassion for animals–and their humans–became a central focus for his unique pottery pieces.

Along with Scott, Dr. Brigid Elchos (also a vet) and Beth Adcock (animal lover and marketing extraordinaire) share in the creative energy that drives the operation.  The company’s intention is to honor the life and death of loved ones, capture significant moments and recognize the magic of ordinary days through creative expression.  

Read below about how Scott’s innate desire to construct and create led him to pursue pottery, and how his heart for harmony flows into each piece he constructs.  I introduce to you, Scott Jennings, Doctor of Veterinarian Medicine and potter.

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113_170_csupload_38217858My interest in art led me to play and experiment in varied mediums such as watercolor and oil painting, as well as building and construction.  Pottery became my focused medium about five years ago after taking some classes in my local area.  I knew immediately this was something I wanted to pursue seriously.  The classes not only inspired me, but it was evident that through pottery I could really make the most of my interest in creating functional art.

Raku pottery is particularly appealing because of the aesthetics that can be achieved and how the effects are so different from other forms of ceramics.  Creating pottery has coalesced my interests and desires into a means for authentic expression.  As a veterinarian, this has taken form in a manner that benefits both humans and animals.

Earth Shade Raku Urn

Earth Shade Raku Urn

I have always been “creative,” enjoying the process of forming pieces that are both functional and visually stimulating.  I guess you could say it is “art in service.”  As in my veterinary career, I found my artistic interest is in honoring life itself and how the lives of humans are enriched by connections with animals and each other.

Every piece I form, whether urns, candle holders, bowls or other pieces, flows from my relationships to family, friends, customers, animals, and Life Force or Spirit of all that is.  The overall governing intention has always been to express compassion.  In veterinary medicine this happened through relationships with clients and patients, and now it happens through my art.

The Fire Collection: Holly Berry Vase

The Fire Collection: Holly Berry Vase

I love color.  It inspires, stimulates, and informs my creative process.  Colors just speak to me.  Color combinations pop out at me and I can see how I want to apply them to a piece. You can use color in one way that feels erratic and then in a different way to have it feel peaceful and calming.  Tone of the color really matters to me.  I strive to achieve a perfect tone with my combination of colors.

For the pieces I make for others, I try to see those combinations through their eyes.  With color, I endeavor to create a sense of serenity and aesthetic pleasure.  Because my art honors the spirit of the individual, there is intentional effort for timeless rather than trendy.  My hope is that every time they see my work, they still enjoy it.

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Syntropy Creations and Sacred Space Urns has made a way for people to cherish their animals and honor their lives in a beautiful way.  Visit the web site and find out how Scott can create an individual piece for your beloved pet.

Scott and his team feel true compassion and demonstrate concern with each pet urn purchase.  Read testimonials from across the country of the wonderful experience people are having with Syntropy Creations and Sacred Space Urns.

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Thin Mint Theology

Yesterday my husband brought home a box of Girl Scout Thin Mints, and we told the boys they could have one after supper.  Lucky for me, I don’t care for them, but the children were watching the clock and the box like an intense tennis match.banner thin mints

Well, our oldest has never had the most patient spirit–a paternal gene, I’m sure–and he continued to talk about the Thin Mints, and beg for them.  Finally we told him we’d throw the Thin Mints away if he didn’t show us some self-control.  Immediately my middle wails out, “No, mommy, NO! I’m not begging for them. Will you still throw them away even if just he is begging?”

My strange brain immediately jumped to the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, where the Lord is telling Abraham he’s going to destroy the two cities due to their wickedness.  Abraham began boldly negotiating with the Lord to spare the cities, and ends his pleas with, “Will you destroy them if there are just ten righteous people found there among the wicked?”

I giggled to myself at my innocent child’s patriarchal parody.  He may as well have said, “Mommy, if there’s only one righteous child in this house will you still destroy the cookies?”  I couldn’t help myself and replied, “No, Nathan, I won’t destroy the Thin Mints since there is at least one righteous child in this house among the wicked.”

all GS cookiesThe moral of this story is Girl Scout Cookies are anointed and should be brought into the home of all true Believers.  The end.

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Featured Artist: Karrie Drake

I’m happy to introduce featured artist, and my friend, Karrie Drake.  I met Karrie at church in Florida, and although I knew she was a talented photographer, I had no idea how talented until we had both relocated from Florida.  (Thank goodness for Facebook!)

my friend KarrieKarrie now lives in beautiful North Carolina, which gives her plenty of inspiration for her work.  She’s a wonderful mom to two busy boys, and successfully manages her growing business–Karrie Drake Photography.

A few months ago, I noticed via Instagram that Karrie and I were both illustrating our morning devotions.  Even more intriguing was that many mornings we were using the same scripture reference.  I knew I had to get back in touch with Karrie and learn what all God’s been up to in her life.

Karrie chooses to cling to God’s promises, even when life is messy and uncertain.  Her artwork allows her to share this belief with others.  I know you’ll enjoy reading Karrie’s story below.

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My parents retell the story often, especially during family gatherings. “Karrie, you have never known a stranger.”  The story starts with a 3 year old Me at the grocery store with my mom. I sit down on a bench next to an elderly woman.  I talk her ear off; the ramblings of a child are very important, you know.

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Karrie offers FREE printables on her blog!

The woman laughs out loud and looks over at my mom and says, “You need to watch out for this one.  She’s so young and talking to strangers can be very dangerous for a sweet little girl like yours.”  My mom nodded, smiled, and answered, “Yes, ma’am, I know.  That’s the way God made her though.”

I am still this way.  Smiling and talking to strangers, whether in passing in line at Starbucks, sitting on an airplane, or just posting on my Instagram feed.  I will talk your ear off.  The ramblings of an artsy Mom of boys are very important, you know.  Let’s call it “Outgoing Extrovert.”  This personality trait has gone hand in hand with my art journey.  It starts here…

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A favorite of mine, Karrie’s
TUESDAY-HUESDAY. Follow
her on Instagram to see more!

Art has always been a love of mine.  Since I was a school aged child I can remember loving my Art class above all other subjects.  Even in my English classes where I would have to write a story or write a summary for a book report, I included an illustration even if it wasn’t required.  I wanted to create all the time.

At the beginning of my college career I actually wanted to go into nursing.  It didn’t work out because once I took my first college drawing class, I changed my major to Fine Arts.

My concentration in college was pottery.  I loved throwing clay on the wheel to create functional pieces.  Photography, painting, and illustration were the other main art courses I took.  Since graduating from college, my art journey has included all 4 media.drake pottery

With the accumulation of 4 states and 6 moves, the constant relocating has afforded me new creative opportunities.  Each move has drawn me closer to one of the 4 art media I mentioned above.  I have taught middle school Art in the North Carolina public school system, and I traveled to different areas in the state to sell my pottery at festivals.

While living in Illinois, I began collecting rubber stamps to make my own greeting cards because, for me, handmade is so much more personal.  My photography business began in Georgia, as did my idea for illustrated Biblical promises.

My TearsOne morning, while reading my devotions, I came across a Davidic Psalm when a vision of a painting appeared in my mind.  I quickly sketched out my ideas and painted the promise based on Psalm 56:8 – “Record my misery; list my tears on your scroll–are they not in your record?”  The footnotes read, put my tears in your wine skin.

The Davidic Psalms are my favorite.  The poetic verses and raw emotion speak to my spirit.  I can relate to them so well.  The painting is a depiction of myself crying, my tears rolling into the wine skin, which is also shaped like a tear.  The painting was completed in 2009.

honest and goodMost recently, I have been posting my Indexcard Verse Art via Instagram.  Most of my Indexcard Art is from my morning devotions.

Sharing my everyday life, my experiences, and my heart are all connected to my creative process.  My desire is to love–to love The Lord and to love people.  My God who created me as an artsy Outgoing Extrovert gave me a big open heart to love people, and to share His promises with them.  I am thankful and I am blessed!

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Go see more of Karrie’s work on her blog.

She has written and illustrated her own children’s book, Autumn, and offers a 2014 calendar featuring her landscape photography.

Follow Karrie on Instagram: @karriedrake  and Twitter: @karrie_drake

AUTUMN

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Being Remade

I’m so excited to start featuring artists I love!  And by “love” I mean I love their work, but even more I love their HEART!  This week I want to spotlight Jacquelyn Berry Rogers, of ReMade in Mississippi.

The last time I saw this beautiful girl, she was about six years old sitting still while I painted her face at the Wesson flea market.  Reconnecting with her as adults is fascinating, and seeing how she’s embraced life is why I knew–even way back then–great things were in store for her.

I asked Jacquelyn to tell me about why she pursues a creative path, specifically in working with jewelry.  I know you’ll be as blessed as I was and feel her charming, warm spirit just oozing through her words.

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jacqueline berry

For the life of me, I cannot recall a time when I wasn’t a crafter. I grew up watching my mother and grandmother sew, quilt, crochet, and embroider. In his free time, my father repaired his own arrows and reloaded his brass casings and shotgun shells for hunting. Hands-on work appeals to me and always has.

At a young age I began simple cross stitch and–bless her heart–my mother attempted to teach me to use a sewing machine. I could spend hours in my room with a hot glue gun, popsicle sticks, construction paper, and empty Coke bottles. I, of course, went through the “glitter everything!” phase, and over my high school years I painted and repainted every piece of furniture in my room. Multiple times.

I have dabbled in pottery, ceramics, woodwork, and metalwork. Every morning I wake up with a new project in mind, but most of them never make it past my sketch/ideas journal. Time and space are limiting factors for me as they are for many crafters with lofty ambitions, so our journals get thicker and heavier.

This is what brought me to jewelry. My hands stay busy and my compulsive need to create is satisfied while my two year old plays “big trucks” at my feet or naps in the next room. Is jewelry a passion for me? No, but creating is.

The “remade” aspect of my craft, however, I am passionate about. While I am not a super-environmentalist, I try to do my part. I recycle, try to buy local produce, cook as many “meatless Monday” meals as my husband will allow, and only buy sustainable sourced seafood (you don’t want to have a conversation with me about salmon or tuna). With that being said, reusing and re-purposing materials is my way of trying to contribute to the “green” movement by making something desirable out of another something that would otherwise be forgotten in a drawer or thrown away.remade in MS

My ReMade in Mississippi jewelry is the beginning of a journey I am pursuing with the support of my loving husband and amazing family. I hope that one day what started out at a tiny work desk in my living room will end up pushing my skills and patience to the limit in a workshop filled with sawdust, tools, a pottery wheel, and all sorts of broken, dented, cracked, and rusted materials begging to be ReMade.

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   Browse ReMade in Mississippi jewelry at  www.etsy.com/shop/ReMadeMS 

Thank you, Jacquelyn, for sharing your story. The image of forgotten things being found, cherished, and made into something beautiful reminds me of our own Creator. What a picture of God’s heart for us your jewelry is: making something desirable out of something that would otherwise be forgotten.

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Retreat!

Busy, busy, busy describes most of our lives.  If we aren’t busy, we’ll find something to do, and even if we can’t find something to do our brain is kept busy.  But busy-living is a heavy burden and you can’t go on that way for long.  It is right, and good, to stop every once in a while and scream–“RETREAT!”  My word, even Jesus got to a point where he and his disciples didn’t have time to eat.  It’s recorded in Mark 6:21, “He went away from the crowds and said to His followers, ‘Let’s go somewhere lonely and get some rest.'”

Memorial Day weekend my husband and I took a much needed retreat.  Having been married 11 years, we realized we’d only had 2 getaways as a couple.  That’s pretty darn sad.  New to northern Virginia, we searched the area for appealing options and discovered a hidden gem, Wintergreen Resort.

Blue Ridge Morning

Blue Ridge Morning

Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of central Virginia, this affordable getaway made for the perfect escape.  If you’re a ski buff–which I am not, nor have I made plans to be–this probably isn’t your place, with man made snow and 3515 ft at it’s highest point.  But if you love lonely mountain life, God’s green beauty surrounding you, and really good food within walking distance, I’d keep Wintergreen on your radar.

The Memorial Day festivities included live music, yummy BBQ and a craft show. Believe it or not, I’ve never been to a real craft show, so I was super-duper excited.  I don’t know what was better, looking at–and buying–the arts and crafts, or talking to the artists about their lives and their work.  Below you’ll find pictures, life tidbits, and contact information for the artists I met.

The weekend rest and fun was a good thing, but the best thing was remembering how to spend time with my husband and how much we love music and nature. No matter where you are in life, whether it’s carrying a heavy load, or surprisingly calm and rested, we all need to get away from the crowd to a lonely place.  Remember the things you love, those lovely things you have pushed aside to take care of the urgent daily tasks that dominate our energies.  -Oh, and never ever get too busy to eat.

“Art is fulfilling work, because

we were created to create, by the Creator.” -just me

Teethable Toys

Teethable Toys

A retired Virginia cattle farmer hand carves wooden toys and then practically gives them away!  For only $7 each I had to have one of each animal.  The couple was so genuine I truly hope I get to see them again one day.  They lived off the land and in their camper while they hand-built their dream log cabin.  Their organic garden supplies all of their produce needs and plenty to share with neighbors and friends.  You can visit http://www.valleygreengallery.com to find Robert and Linda Wilkes’ wooden toys.  By the way, they don’t own a computer–only a phone–so don’t try to find them on Facebook.

Brian Lacy Pottery

Brian Lacy Pottery

Next stop, pottery.  Oh, how I love pottery!  Pottery isn’t a cheap addiction, which is why I don’t have more of it, but potter Brian Lacy offers many affordable and functional pieces.  I walked away with this adorable steal, a teensy vase about 4 inches tall and $7.  My husband said, “Look it’s a shot glass!” and I said, “Look it’s a teensy vase!” and Brian Lacy said “It’s a shot-vase!”  The shot-vase is a perfect addition to my kitchen window sill, and holds half a dozen zinnias perfectly.  Brian is a stay-at-home dad and a full time artist with a gentle spirit that makes you want to own something he’s created.  He makes a colander I’m pretty sure I must have, so visit him with me on Facebook, “BrianLacyPottery.”

Must Have Pendant

Must Have Pendant

Linc and Ginny Warner of Greensboro, North Carolina, another retired couple, make Smokey Mountain slate look good.  While Linc makes oil-burning candles from the larger slabs of rock, Ginny creates beautiful pendants from the smaller pieces.  Ginny is a proud grandmother and chatted with me briefly, assuring me I really will love my grandchildren even more than my own children.  I wonder if her grand babies dig through her baubles and beads “making” jewelry while she’s not looking?  This necklace (chain included) was a mere $7.50, and you can order your own at stone-of-fire@earthlink.net.

Hunter Wolfe

Hunter Wolfe and ARE

Musician Hunter Wolfe and his 16 year old drumming sister totally stole the show in the battle of the bands.  My husband and I were captivated by their raw talent and couldn’t help but hope big things for this duo.  Their first album, The Go, has such strong Mississippi references, I had to inquire–and hope–they were from my home state.  No such luck, they are from Tulsa originally, but the lyrics prove once again that everyone loves Mississippi.  They are very humble, approachable and did I mention talented? Find out more about this group at http://www.hunterwolfe.com, while they tour the UK beginning in September.

The final artist I want to feature is Carolyn Schallmo from Richmond, Virginia.  Carolyn is the mother of four–count them FOUR–girls, and has been painting ever since her childhood art teacher told her she had no talent.  Carolyn’s work is inspirational, uplifting and many pieces are underscored with scripture references.  While googling Carolyn, I found she’s illustrated many children’s books! You can find Carolyn on Facebook, “carolyn! eclectic expressions of color and mirth.” Browse her art and get some for yourself, because I truly believe she pours her love of life into each piece.

Create!

Create

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