OPERATION: Bring Art to the People- the Donna Marathon 26.2 Edition

So last year, my 17 year old athletic younger sister told me that she was going to start training for the Donna Marathon in February 2013. At the time, it seemed so far away, but before I knew it, the big day had arrived.

As her big sister, I did what any supportive non-athletic artistic person would do: I made her this awesome poster…

The Dingo Loves The Donna Poster :)

The Dingo Loves The Donna Poster πŸ™‚

As you can see, the Jax Dingo made an appearance, sporting pink, wearing a ribbon, & covered in glitter to show his love and support for breast cancer awareness and my little sister.

So with poster in hand, we made it out the door before the crack of dawn, into the freezing cold temperatures, to witness history in the making. But to our surprise, we hit some pretty massive traffic in Ponte Vedra. The clock was ticking, my sister was getting very impatient and after what seemed an eternity, she yelled as she bolted out of the car, “I didn’t train for months and pay all that money for nothing!” She ran 2 miles just to get to the starting line. She made it just in time.

Then the race had began. As she commenced her 26.2 mile journey, my mom and I hopped a shuttle and proceeded to the 10 mile mark. We anxiously awaited my sister as we cheered on random runners, as we people watched,Β  as we sang, as we danced, as we jumped up and down to keep ourselves warm, and as we entertained ourselves, then we finally saw her…

Lil' sis at mile 10 :)

Lil’ sis at mile 10 πŸ™‚

Usually, a very serious runner, her face lit up when she saw us (and the fabulous poster of course.) We yelled & cheered “WAY TO GO ANGIE!!!” as she flew by. We were so proud, but now we had to wait for her to loop back around so I did what I do best when left to my own vices: I shared some free art πŸ™‚

Shared some art love at Sun Dog Steak & Seafood 207 Atlantic Blvd.

Shared some art love at Sun Dog Steak & Seafood 207 Atlantic Blvd.

Random bench on Atlantic Blvd in Neptune Beach.

Random bench on Atlantic Blvd in Neptune Beach.

Shared some art love at Sun Dog Steak & Seafood.

Shared some art love at Sun Dog Steak & Seafood.

Then, it was back to the race and guess who we saw at mile 17 looking as fabulous as ever? πŸ™‚

My lil' sis at mile 17.

My lil’ sis at mile 17.

That’s right, my little sister shining as bright as the sun! Now it was time to make our way to the finish line so we hopped on another shuttle and made our way.

My lil' sis crossing the finish line of her first marathon!

My lil’ sis crossing the finish line of her first marathon!

We couldn’t of been more proud of her as she crossed the finish line with a time of 04:29:31. Such a huge accomplishment for such a young person. It really shows that if you set a goal and work hard, you can accomplish almost anything! Or at the very least, get an awesome Dingo Love poster made in your honor πŸ˜‰

GO ANGIE! YOU ROCK!

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Update: FREE Local Art for the Holidays?! Dingo Calendars and More :)

Free Art?…

That’s right, as I continue my public art/social awareness project that I like to call, OPERATION: Bring Art to the People, more people than ever are being connected to the power of art through random FREE art drops in our fabulous city and beyond. Sometimes the free art is big, sometimes it’s small, regardless of the size, it’s an original, one of a kind random act of kindness used to spread the word of how important it is to keep the arts alive in our city. My inspiration for this project came from Chicago artist, Patrick Skoff and his art scavenger hunts and now thanks to him and many other artists around the globe, the Free Art movement has become a worldwide phenomenon known as Free Art Friday, with a local chapter right her in sunny Jacksonville, FL: FAFjax. So, if you are looking for Free Art this holiday season, there is a very good chance you will find some at a random location near you πŸ™‚

*If you would like to help fund OPERATION: Bring Art to the People, today is your lucky day. With your donation, not only will you be part of this fantastic movement, but you will also be helping to fuel the Free Art machine that helps spread the message that: Art is For Everyone!Β  πŸ™‚

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Don’t Feel Like Hunting Down Free Art in the Streets?…

No worries, you also have the option to buy art directly from me. I have an online Etsy Store that showcases some of my latest works, along with my 2013 Dingo Loves Jax Calendars & 2013 YCL Art Childhood Series Calendars, I have a Fine Art America Store where you can buy high quality low cost prints of many of my original works or you can also plan toΒ  visit to my studio during Art Walk or make an appointment to personally look around at all the goodies I have avaialble for your shopping pleasure. Don’t forget, if you want to have something especially created for you or for that somebody special just in time for the holidays, feel free to contact me asap to discuss the details and pricing.

Click the images below to purchase:

2013 Dingo Loves JAX Calendar available on my online Etsy Store

2013 YCL Art Childhood Series Calendar available on my online Etsy Store

Doggie Love Art available on my online Etsy Store (Pictured: Labrador Love)

One of a kind hand painted holiday ornaments will be available for sale during December’s First Wednesday Art Walk at my studio. Be sure to stop by to pickup yours πŸ™‚

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Check it out! The Dingo Graces Folio Weekly’s Charity Ornament Auction!

Check out Folio Weekly’s Charity Ornament Auction. 10 local artists were selected to create an ornament that highlights Jacksonville and all proceeds go to the artist’s charity of choice, I selected Teen Challenge. Click the pic for details on the auction, and to find out more about Teen Challenge, and to get the story behind this ornament. Happy bidding and don’t forget that the auction ends on 11/26/2012 πŸ™‚

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Thank you, Thank you, Thank you…
As always, thank you to everyone, especially to those who have helped to keep our local artists in Jacksonville by collecting our art, supporting our events, and spreading the word. Our roots are growing deeper and deeper and soon our local scene will be in full bloom with the help of all of you and our hard working artists.

The Bus Stop Memory…

So, tomorrow is my mom’s birthday and I can’t help but stop and be amazed at the incredible creation that she is. With so many odds stacked against her, she has persevered, conquered, & overcome so many things in her life in a way that many could never imagine. As a single immigrant woman, she saw many hardships & pain, but her strength and faith in God got her through some very dark chapters in her life.

Often, when I go by bus stops, I try to imagine what it must of felt like for my mom, being so vulnerable & exposed in a foreign land, with no one to turn to and 2 little girls completely dependent on her. Though most of my painting are usually focused on the happy-go-lucky simple times of my childhood, this one has a slightly darker side touching on what might of been my mom’s emotions during that period of her life, while still emphasizing the warmth & refuge she provided for us.

OPERATION: Bring Art to the People- Road Trip to Chattanooga Edition

Anyone who knows me, knows that when I tell a story, I like to start from the beginning. So to tell you about my latest trip to Chattanooga, you guessed it, I have to start from the beginning. So here it goes:

In 2003, after a messy breakup from a an almost 3 year relationship, I found myself being a single dog/cat “parent”, without a place to live or even a bed to sleep on. My fairly new BFF came to my rescue and offered me a place to stay in her one bedroom apartment with her Japanese Akita dog lovingly named, Jade.

Jade liked to dominate everything, including the bed she was not allowed to be on (pic taken apprx 2009)

The tight living quarters posed many challenges. For one, my “bedroom” was actually the dining room and second, our dogs were having a super hard time getting along because of their conflicting personalities. Jade, due to her breed, is naturally stubborn, protective, and bossy while Gambit, for who knows what reason, knows he’s not the alpha dog, but that doesn’t stop him from trying to prove otherwise any chance he gets. So needless to say, there were many scuffles between my 50lb dog and my BFF’s 100+lb dog, but eventually, they learned to get along and became BFFs themselves.

Fast-forward several years and many countless memories and life changes later, and my BFF & Jade, have since moved from sunny Jacksonville, FL to Chattanooga, TN and last week I got the phone call that I knew would one day be coming in one way or another: it’s time to let her go. So with much sadness, but with much happiness for a chance to see her one more time, I started to plan my trip to Tennessee. My mind kept going back to just how blessed Jade was to have found my amazing BFF and just how blessed my BFF was to find such a wonderful dog like Jade.

Dogs are truly amazing creations. It’s not hard to imagine them as angels in disguise, whose sole purpose it is on this earth to give us companionship, unconditional love, protection, comfort and so much more. Most of my art work is based on both my first dog, Snoopy (he’s the blue & white dog in my Childhood series) and my current dog, Gambit. If you can’t tell, I have a very warm place in my heart for these wonderful creatures.

Brinkley, Jade & Gambit At the dog park...

So as I prepared for my trip, I realized this was a good opportunity take OPERATION: Bring Art to the People with me on the road for a few Sneaky Love Art Drops, and not only would it be a good distraction from the reality of the visit but, a chance to share the love of art with the focus of the work being on: Doggie Love.

I selected a couple of my favorite works, loaded them & the dog into the car & hit the road. My first drop was at a rest stop somewhere along I-75 North about 2 hours south of Atlanta. As I got closer and closer to Chattanooga, the reality started sinking in again and I couldn’t wait to spend some quality time with my BFF & Jade, and as an added bonus her other BFF & her dog, Brinkley, also drove up and joined in on the get together.

That night, we all talked, we laughed, we cried, we ate, we took pictures, and we loved on the dogs, especially Jade. There were moments when we acted normal, almost as if we had forgotten exactly why we were all there, but then reality would strike us again & the mood would quickly change, but then one of the dogs would do something ridiculous and we’d be right back to laughing uncontrollably. It really was a bittersweet experience.

The next morning we took all the “kids” to the dog park and watched them frolic and play without a care in the world. It was sad though to see how differently the dogs played now compared to 10 years ago. There was less running, less fighting, but there was still so much love & happiness oozing from each of them that we couldn’t help but smile.

Then it was time to say our good-byes to Jade…

We were all numb afterwards, not really knowing what to say, how to act, it didn’t seem real. My BFF didn’t want to go home, she wanted to be distracted, so I suggested an Art Drop and she was all for it, but I have a feeling, if I had told her that I wanted to balance & rotate my own tires, she probably would of agreed to tag along just so she wouldn’t have to stay home. It was amazing how quickly we got distracted looking for the perfect spot to drop the piece, the excitement of trying to go unnoticed, and the exhilaration as we ran away from the scene of the “crime.” For a few minutes, we allowed ourselves to enjoy the present moment before we reconnected with reality.

My BFF playing the part of the Sneaky Agent in Chattanooga...

The next day, I woke up early and started my journey back home with Gambit. Two hours into my drive, I got off at one of the first exits for ATL for the the final Sneaky Love Art Drop of my journey, where a super cool looking diner called the OK Cafe caught my eye, so I strategically dropped the last painting into some bushes for a random person to find. From that same exit, I refueled the car with gas, the dog with some water & myself with some coffee and hit the road again. As I drove down I-75 South, I reflected on my trip with an appreciation for the blessing that my BFF is on my life, for the blessings that our dogs are in our lives, for the moments and memories, both good & bad, that are made a little easier just by releasing the love in our hearts towards each other, whether it’s your best friend or a complete stranger. Our lives are short on this earth, we really need to live everyday with purpose, figure out what we were put here to do, and with a loving heart push through and get it done, help people along the way, never stop searching for wisdom & understanding and embrace every precious moment as the blessings come pouring in…