Here we are at midsummer, and its time for flowers, the windows open, light airy color and new beginnings. It's also time, I think, for a good giveaway!~
"Born At Home" is one of my newest pieces-- the original is still available in my etsy shop and I also have prints. I thought this piece would be perfect for a giveaway---- and can be given in many different contexts--- a family with a new addition, to a nurse or midwife, a family celebration, a birthday....it's really up to you and why it may catch your fancy!
So I'd like to offer an 8x10" print of this painting for giveaway here on the blog--- all you have to do is leave a comment here on THIS post! Let me know why this painting speaks to you :)
Giveaway is open through the week and winner will be announced on Friday JUNE 24.
Share on social media for multiple chances to win--- comment again to let me know where you've shared and increase your chances of winning!
Just wanted to take a moment to say "Happy Father's Day!" to all the sweet daddies out there. I am very lucky to have a husband who is such a good daddy, and a great Daddy myself. They are currently both out enjoying their day on the golf course ;)
I count it as a great compliment to have many guys out there who enjoy my folk art and from what I can tell--- they tend to have one important thing in common; they are great dads. So if you're a dad reading this---- I hope you're enjoying your day and know you're treasured and appreciated! Your families love you!~ :D
And if you know of a good daddy--- even if he's just 'dad' in actions more than biology--- tell him how much you love him and appreciate him!
I have a bit of a contrary relationship with technology. I do enjoy using my phone and staying connected to friends and family online--- and I conduct a majority of my art business through the miracle of the internet. However. There are often times when I feel like what I need most is a break from being so connected--- where I feel like my mood and my time are being sucked into this online world and I need to literally disconnect, be outside, take things slow, enjoy peace and quiet that only nature can give. More often than not, its the perfect tonic for what ails. That's why I was so intrigued by the concept behind the book "Life From Our Land" by Marcus Grodi-- a book about shifting away from frantic business and material progress to a more nature centered and God centered existence. What I liked so much about Grodi's book is that it is geared toward everyone--- you dont need to be living on a homestead of rural bucolic acreage to relate. His meditations revolve around our relationship with God andstewardship of the Earth, our responsibility to nature and to each other, of not trying to subdue our surroundings, but live in harmony with them. Things that can be done no matter how large or small a patch of earth you live on! "There are many things that being created in God's image means," Grodi writes. "One is particular is that we are to be like Him and act like Him. Mankind has been created to have 'dominion' over this world, and because we have been created in God's image this means a dominion of love, humility, and selfless giving. Likewise, this is how we are to carry out our responsibility to 'subdue the Earth.' The way God loves, cares and provides for all creation is to be our model." Grodi also points us towards meditations on nature as a salve for our mixed up priorities, to ease our anxieties and keep our perspective. Which is, as Grodi admits, hard to do in a culture insistent on being constantly connected, constantly over-scheduled, and constantly in cars, in cubicles and indoors. "Life From Our Land" is one of those interesting books that can be read cover to cover, or in isolated chapters, depending on the issues that are tugging on your heart at the moment. A bit of a memoir, a bit of a farmer's advice column and a lot of Biblical Roman Catholic musing, this book can be approached in many different ways.
I personally enjoyed reading it in small pieces as there is so much information to meditate on, often with accompanying scripture, that there is something to deeply ponder in nearly every paragraph. Grodi, as you may know, is a founder of The Coming Home Network and hosts a series called "The Journey Home" on EWTN about people joining the Catholic Church. So it should come as no surprise to see that Grodi's deep Catholic faith is very evident within this book. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a connection to nature founded in spiritual, specifically Christian, practice and philosophy. If the ideas of faith inspired stewardship, connection to the real world, and preservation are important to you, then this must be just the book you're looking for. Because there are many 'back to the land' books out there, but very few take a stance on this lifestyle is a spiritual way. That said, as someone who lives in a town well within city limits and no farm to my name--- there is plenty I can still get out of Grodi's story. Because, ultimately, no matter who and where we are--- we are all connected to nature-- life from our land. How we live within it, shape it and let it shape us--- is dependent entirely upon us. What are some ways you like to get in touch with nature? Or how has your faith been shaped by your experience in the natural world? Let's chat in the comments! And if you'd like to get your own copy of this book, it is available through Ignatius Press, Amazon, and other book retailers.
“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
-- Mother Teresa
Sometimes in the morning I go out into the garden, just to look things over. See what seeds have sprouted up. What flowers have waned. Where there is a bare spot that needs something, or where something has grown completely out of hand and needs to be pruned back.
They say in gardening, the best way to do it is the old fashioned way....take a little time, do it by hand. Water everything yourself so you can take a moment to look at each plant and see it--- see what it needs or if it's just doing it's thing.
The garden will change all year and there will be frustrations and thrills. I love that constant change, but also the familiar rhythm of the garden. As some things fade, other things bloom. It's alive and growing and it makes me happy to tend it.
In the scheme of things in the wider world, this garden really doesn't mean much. I enjoy it, the animals enjoy it...I hope that when people walk or drive by that they enjoy it. But it's not promoting world peace or doing much more than bringing beauty to the surroundings and keeping us occupied. But then again, maybe that's important in itself?
"Do small things with great love" Mother Teresa has said. You never know when some small, good hearted thing will become something very large and important. She's a great example of that.
This quote has been going through my mind a lot lately as I contemplate the changes that will come our way in the months ahead--- especially as I take on a larger portion of my oldest's education and I focus more on my little book. I am forcing myself to slow down and realize that that is ok-- I dont have to do it all right now. And it's a worthwhile thing to collect larkspur seeds for future gardens, to get only as many chores done that get done, to stop and play instead of work work work. Because the work is never done.
Things may get a little quieter, but no less important. I've been reading some wonderful books lately and I'd love to share them with you! I will get art done too, and I'll share that as well. But I'll be doing plenty of little things as well. And with great love.
"The highest form of art is prayer" Jonathan Jackson writes in the opening of his book "The Mystery of Art", and I find myself nodding in agreement.
Ever since I was a little girl, the way I learned to still my mind, to focus most clearly, and to create was through drawing and creating art.
Day after day and year after year, I've gone back to that special place that making art creates, and only now as an adult to I understand that what it really is that I've been attracted to is the meditation, the prayerful centeredness of the act of 'making.' and when you open yourself up to it, it becomes something really wonderful, especially when you invite God to join you.
Of course when I think of 'art' I think of visual art, but what is so interesting about Jackson's book, a new publication fromAncient Faith Publishing, and Orthodox Christian publishing house, is that he explores many types of art.
Jackson is an actor, and I've honestly never considered the 'prayerfulness' of acting, but Jackson does a wonderful job in his writing in exploring and explaining how any and all acts of creating can become a religious experience. In any art, you as the artist becomes the instrument of creation--- whether you are speaking, painting, writing, sculpting, sewing or thinking.
He shares a great C.S. Lewis quote: "The first demand of any work of any art makes upon us is to surrender. Look. Listen. Receive. Get yourself out of the way. (there is no good asking first whether the work before you deserves such a surrender, for until you have surrendered you cannot possibly find out."
The best way I've found to approaching this book is to read a little at a time, and then mull it over. There isn't a specific narrative or story to be followed. It's broken up into sections of philosophical elements to mull over-- such as 'art as mystery', 'art as prayer', 'art as belief', 'art as sacrament and 'art as offering' and seems to be meant to be read in small sections to be digested before moving on. This book is written with an Orthodox Christian audience in mind, but I think it has an appeal to artists of other faiths as well since the main discussion is so universal. In his writing, Jackson ultimately discovers that every person is an artist--- no matter their vocation. We all create in some way. The enduring question to all of us, of course, is are we creating something that adds goodness to the world, or are our motives more self-serving? The meditations offered by Jackson are great ways to examine if what we're creating offers anything of real value and spiritual fruit, or not. According to Jackson, "the role of the artist is to bridge this gap (of the sacred and the profane) and fill the world with grace." All too often, I think, this world is filled with people whose end goal is money, status, power or fame. But if we are constantly looking to 'fill the world with grace' in place of these things....I think our lives and our world, will be much better for it. If you'd like to read this book, it can be found in most major book retailers, including Amazon, and through Ancient Faith Publishing.
Last week there was a special delivery at my doorstep--- a selection of rugs that made me so thrilled that I had to open up the packaging right then and there--- this had been such a long time coming! These rugs are very special to me. Because--- I created the art for them! The whole project began last spring when I was approached by Mark Ford from American Dakota, a small family owned, American made rug company. He asked me to create a couple of rustic folk art inspired rug designs and thus "Cabin in the Pines" and "Black Bear Creek" were born! These rugs are now appearing in the 2016 catalog for American Dakota and are available to sell retail. I am ALSO able to sell the rugs, and have a rug page here on the blog where you can see sizing and prices. I am so happy to see this project come to be--- from my painting table to a loom to decorating my home. It's been such fun and I'm proud to have been able to work with such a great company. If you choose to purchase one of these rugs, not only are you supporting my art and my little family, but another American business and family. That is really important to me as an artist sending my art out to be manufactured, and also as a consumer supporting businesses at home. These are the designs currently available:
"Black Bear Creek"
"Cabin in the Pines"
If you see one (or both!) that you'd like to bring into your own home, let me know! I can have the rug of your choice shipped directly to your door! Please see the RUG PAGE for more information, and let me know if you have any questions!~ Thanks for stopping in today!~ H
Welcome to Audrey Eclectic! So glad you're here! My name is Heather Sleightholm and I am an artist and writer-- lover of books, history, rambling cottage gardens and sacred things. I began this journey with a folk art business named after my daughter, Audrey, and now I am pleased to offer not only original art, prints and postcards, but books as well! Please make yourself at home and feel free to leave me a note! So glad you've come by!