Invitation to Coalesce, My Upcoming Exhibition

Invitation to Coalesce, My Upcoming Exhibition

I am so excited to invite you to my upcoming show in collaboration with Marta Staudinger. Our show is called “Coalesce”, an exhibition of expressive abstract paintings. Marta and I chose this name because it seemed like we just kept coming together over and over in multiple business capacities over the last year. We keep merging and working together that doing a show together seemed like a natural step.

Marta is an artist, curator, gallery owner (Latela Art Gallery) and Smithsonian lecturer. In choosing what this show would look like we decided to limit our color palette and closely discuss the vulnerabilities, transformations, difficulties and happy mistakes that naturally arise during our artistic practices.

We talked and experimented quite a bit together while working on these pieces. This is what is exciting for me that even though we had clear color palettes, and ideas in mind, all of our works look so different yet cohesive together. Clearly by different artists, but in the same flavor and palette. Collaborations like this are so fun and rewarding.

It is with great honor and excitement that we extend the invitation to you to come visit our show! I the meantime I hope you enjoyed some of the up close detail shots of some of the pieces coming to the show!

This show is hosted by The Byrne Gallery. The exhibit will begin on October 4th and continues through Sunday, November 3rd. There will be a reception on Saturday, October 13th, from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. It is open to the public and everyone is cordially invited to attend.

To RSVP to the reception please go to our Facebook Event or shoot me an email. If you can’t make it during the reception, please visit the Byrne Gallery to see Coalesce on exhibit for October 2018. The Byrne Gallery is located at 7 West Washington Street in Middleburg, Virginia. Gallery hours are Monday and Tuesday by appointment only, Wednesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday noon to 5 p.m. Contact the Byrne Gallery for more information at (540) 687-6986.








Sensory Deprivation: My Experience

Sensory Deprivation: My Experience

This fall is shaping up to be a little bit insane for both me and my husband, Joel. We both have a lot of very long, strange work hours. Earlier this week my husband surprised me with the news that we were trying Sensory Deprivation as a fun date.

Sensory deprivation is something I’ve wanted to try for a long time. If you don’t know what it is, essentially you lie in buoyant saltwater at your body temperature in pitch black and complete silence for 90 minutes. The goal is that you are completely disconnected from your bodily senses.

I’ve heard all kinds of crazy things about it. I heard of people having polar opposite experiences. I’ve heard some people say that it’s like being on drugs and they hallucinate, that it’s more relaxing than a massage, that it can heal injuries, provide pain and stress relief, and unparalleled mental clarity and spiritual transformations.

On the other hand, I’ve heard some pretty negative things too, like giving people panic attacks, inducing severe stress, and causing strange hallucinations.

With such mixed reviews, I was really curious to try it for myself, and Joel knew it would be the perfect date. We went to OM Float in Ashburn, VA. Where they offer 90-minute float sessions. I read some of the philosophy behind the theories of healing just to prepare for the day.

Putting everything I knew aside I was going to try and see if I could have a positive experience. The reasons we wanted to go was to see if it would be relaxing and to try something new. We weren’t going to try and get bodily healing, or have a super spiritual experience. This is what my experience was like…

Our appointment was booked a couple of weeks ago (because who knew, they fill up so fast.) Before you come, they send you an email reminder of your appointment. Our appointment was for 9 a.m. They recommended we only eat a small, light breakfast and go light on any caffeine. They like you to get there a few minutes early and are very kind and welcoming when you arrive. After arriving they offered us tea and water. We waited in the sitting room while they made sure our rooms were ready.

After about 5 minutes they lead us back to a hallway with about six different float rooms. Each client gets their own room, Joel and I did not share a room or a tank. Each room has low, calm light, a shower with body wash and shampoo, a float tank with adjacent filtration system, a towel, washcloth, bathrobe, sandals, waterproof earplugs, and Q-tips.

Here is what they told us to do. They ask that you shower with soap before you get in the tank. Each tank is filled with ten inches of very, very salty water. The water is set to the temperature of human skin which is about 94 degrees F. They advise that you float naked, but I brought a swimsuit anyway.

There is soft, spa-like music playing when you enter the room and that music lasts for fifteen minutes before you’re in silence. They tell you to lock the door to your personal room, and make sure you know that there are no locks on the float tanks.

With all of the info on the table I was lead into my private room where the fifteen minutes of music was playing. I locked the door, stuffed the earplugs in my ears, took a shower and jumped in the tank. I would say that the first 30 minutes was torture, mostly because I didn’t put my swimsuit on, because I was trying to embrace the whole experience.

In the first 30 minutes the music had stopped and it sort of felt like I was floating in space but I also felt like I was spinning to the right in a circle and I got really really nauseous. I also was super uncomfortable without any clothes on and my mind was racing at the speed of light no matter how I tried to calm it down. I jumped out of the tub, put my swimsuit on and jumped back in.

The nausea and spinning feeling came back but I was finally able to relax and focus on releasing all the tension in my shoulders, neck, lower back and jaw. I started to focus on my breathing and looking at the bursts of color I was seeing under my eyelids.

I fell asleep for almost the rest of time, bobbing around in the nothingness.

I awoke with a jolt and almost had a heart attack when one of the strings on my swimsuit brushed against my arm. I thought I was going to die and there was something in the water with me till I realized it was my swimming suit. I started to calm back down when the music started playing and the low lights started to come on inside the tank.

I got out of the tank, showered again (but had to shower when I got home too because wow there was a lot of salt still stuck in my ears and hair). I got dressed and Joel and I left.

Overall, I would say bizarre. It was one of the strangest experiences I’ve had, but I’m glad I tried it. Here is what I enjoyed.

The facility was clean, and I felt good about that. The service was great and the people were kind. I liked the lighting and how they really try and set the mood. I do feel like I could and still can feel some of the tension gone from my shoulders, knees and feet.  I liked the way the salt made my skin feel and it still feels super soft today, it also helped heal up some bug bites that had been irritating my skin the last few days. I liked the smell of their soap (it was lavender). I liked the feeling of weightlessness and floating through space, but I think I’d rather do it under the stars not in pitch blackness.

Here’s what I didn’t like. I didn’t like how nauseous I got at the beginning. I didn’t like floating without a swimsuit at the beginning. I didn’t like how there was salt all over my clothes afterward. I didn’t like that water got stuck in my ear even though I used the earplugs (got it out with rubbing alcohol). I left and spent most of the rest of the day feeling exhausted and out of it. And maybe this is wrong of me, but I’m sort of disappointed I fell asleep? I don’t know.. it sort of felt like an expensive nap?

What did I get out of it? Well I can say I’ve tried it. I do feel like tension was relieved from my shoulders, knees, and feet, but not more than a massage would give me. I don’t feel like I had any spiritual revelations (but I wasn’t looking for any). It was sort of crazy how wild my mind felt and colorful visions were throbbing under my eyelids.

Conclusion, would I do it again? Honestly, probably not. Not because I had a bad experience, on the contrary, I feel like I had a very mixed experience. Overall I feel like it was more positive than negative, but for the money, and for my goals, I think I would choose a massage, or a facial over sensory deprivation. To me, those are more relaxing experiences.

So that’s it. Let me know if you have any questions, and I encourage you to try it once for yourself. I won’t be going again, but I’ll never forget the time I had! Hope you enjoyed this post!

Music to Paint To

Music to Paint To

I have synesthesia. All it means is I associate colors and moods with letters, numbers, words, but mostly sounds. I see colors when listening to music. Sounds strongly affect me and usually locks me into a mental state of deep thinking and creativity. Listening to something always invokes visions of color and a mood. Listening sparks a memory or deep thought or new experience. Sound is something that greatly impacts my life, mood and artwork. I’m usually listening to music I would describe as chill, relaxing, calming, or soothing. I’m the person who wears ear plugs to concerts, movie theatres, and even church. Loud or music that is too hyper really stresses me out and gives me real anxiety.

While painting you can find me listening to music like that or an audiobook, or podcast. I always work better and get into a better flow state when I am listening to something. I can do a comprehensive list of books and podcasts I listen to later, but one question I get asked a lot while painting is, “what are you listening to?” People will frequently ask how I listen to music and whether or not I have playlists?

Yes, friends I do have playlists. Here is the comprehensive introduction to the music I listen to on Spotify. Each of these are curated playlists for my life and I listen to all of them while I paint too.

There really isn’t a method to the madness. I usually just put on the playlist that I am feeling the most. I usually start with a specific song in mind that I know is in a specific playlist and just let the playlist shuffle from there. You can find my Spotify Profile Here.

Here are the playlists in definitive ranking of what I listen to the most:

Little Picks:
This playlist is sweet, calm, and melancholy. It’s probably my favorite of my playlists and often find myself picking around in it or just letting it run from beginning to end. This playlist is 8 hours and 40 minutes of pure reflection and calm. If you’re a melancholy person like me, or just enjoy a good downer, this is the playlist for you. Put it on shuffle and soak in all the feels.

New Beginnings:
This playlist is more upbeat and playful in comparison to the last playlist. The beats are little faster, it’s more lively and puts you in a good mood. This a positive, forward looking playlist that I always turn on for a pick-me-up.

The Divide: 
This was the playlists I was listening to/creating while I was working on my last collection, The Divide. It is a mixed bag and it have different meanings in my mind, but if you haven’t been burned out with those two previous playlists then you should give these a listen too.

I have several other playlists, but I’m going to let you choose your own adventure there. One is all French music, one is just classical music, there are a couple of Christmas playlists, and of course my favorite 80’s music (because 80’s music is basically my all-time favorite). Those main three playlists are what I listen to on a regular basis. Here is the link to my Spotify Profile.