28 September 2008

freehand freedom - my journey

It was Feb '08 that I went out and purchased a sketchbook and this is one of my first attempts! I just created a new Flickr set of the same name tonight because I started to sketch again, slowly but surely, and I'm very excited about it and anxious to continue!

I come from an artistic family ~

- my father snapped and developed several BOXES of photos as a youth, beginning in 1936 at 16 years old and continued throughout his entire life! Well into his eighties he submitted a brand new series of photos called "From the Forest Floor" for juried review at Mount Snow, VT's "Art On The Mountain." Even though he was turned down, dad never stopped believing in his abilities and continued adding to this collection!
- he also took oil painting classes from my mom's step father. One of my favorite winter landscapes hangs in my living room!
- my father's father drew several, professionally framed, pen & ink drawings at the turn of the LAST century. Four of them grace my walls.
- my father's sister, now 92, is an accomplished (hobby) painter & pastel artist.
- my mother's mother's father was a "decorative painter" of furniture. Just this year I located a copy of the 1880 census which lists that as his profession at 17! Many years later, he started a successful furniture finishing business (stains, lacquers, varnishes, etc) that is still in business today, 133 years later. QUITE an accomplishment! After a quick search, I found the company website tonight! ...where you can read about the history (Est 1875).

I have always had an artistic soul yet, of all the many things my parents exposed me to, photography is the only form of art that I pursued into adulthood. In my tweens & teens I had a solid feeling for lettering and perspective and I am grateful for my father's influence. It came to me quite naturally and, although I dabbled briefly in ballet, poetry, acting and drawing, nothing ever really took hold of my attention and HELD IT. I've had the opportunity to develop an eye for composition, detail, negative space, line, texture, color and observation as a result of my 25 year love affair with photography. The next brick in the foundation was when I learned about rubberstamping and cardmaking 10 years ago. I've been enamored with Paper Art ever since!You can only imagine the THRILL I felt when I discovered mixed media collage in April 2006. Thanks to the internet, my eyes were opened to a whole new world of artistic expression, and since then I have grown both artistically and personally in SO MANY WAYS. After 2.5 years, I feel as if I am still at the beginning of a very precious journey!

Thank you for sharing it with me! - xo

17 September 2008

Giving Back - Our Future Depends On It!

I have been a part of this amazing organization for more than 10 years and am anxious to tell you a little bit about it. I am THRILLED to see the many ways in which Animal Therapy plays such an important role on this NY campus, for young students and residents alike. It includes such wonderful programs as: "ECAD" (link below & photo above) where some of the students get the opportunity to train Assistance Dogs, "Farm on the Moo-ve" where there's an opportunity to bring animals and their student care-givers to local schools, both wildlife & farm animal rescue where children can learn "if they can heal, so can I!," as well as participating and winning awards for 4H and Equine Therapy for the handicapped. The list GOES ON!

(Please note--> Because there is such a WIDE scope of campus & community outreach programs, portions of this post are excerpted from their official website. Please follow any of the links I've included to learn more - I promise that you will be amazed!)

"Green Chimneys is a nationally renowned, non-profit organization with a mission of restoring possibilities and creating futures for children with emotional, behavioral and learning challenges through educational, therapeutic and outreach services, while providing care for animals and nature, thereby promoting a philosophy of dignity and worth for all living things.

Each year, Green Chimneys' restoration system gives children and their families the tools that enable them to positively experience their youth, regain a sense of self-worth and create hope for the future as independent, positive and productive adults.

Founded in 1947 and headquartered in Patterson, NY it is recognized as the worldwide leader in animal-assisted therapy and activities. Green Chimneys operates

  • a residential treatment center for children,
  • a farm and wildlife rehabilitation center,
  • a certified organic farm and horticulture therapy,
  • a therapeutic riding program,
  • community based services in NY and CT including
  • a runaway shelter and community outreach center,
  • Clearpool Education Center,
  • Nature’s Nursery and Hillside Summer Camp,
  • the Good Friend youth mentoring program (learn more), <--- where it all started
  • group homes,
  • LGBTQ programs in New York City (learn more),
  • ECAD or East Coast Assistance Dogs (learn more),
  • programs and special events for the public and
  • adult services programs in Connecticut.

    Green Chimneys Farm now encompasses 160 acres, almost 400 animals, and over 40 varieties of rare birds. The school has both residential programs and day treatment programs attended mostly by boys, half of them from New York City. The others come from the surrounding area including Connecticut as well as from other states. Doctors, veterinarians, and social workers from around the globe have visited Green Chimneys to learn about its amazing work!

    View a list of over 15 Upcoming Events.

    Each year, Green Chimneys serves more than 3,500 children and their families. There's a permanent link if you scroll down on my sidebar under "Please Visit," or click HERE!

      I'll be posting (soon) about my personal involvement!