Faith & Grace & Angels…Oh My!

Flower - Original mixed media collage painting by Julie Bernier of South Portland Maine featuring lyrics from Amos Lee's song, Flower. 12x12 on cradled birch
Flower – Original mixed media collage painting by Julie Bernier of South Portland Maine featuring lyrics from Amos Lee’s song, Flower. 12×12 on cradled birch

Hello, friends. How has so much time slipped by since my last post? I’m already halfway through Year 2 of owning the company store/art studio and so much has happened. This year, I chose Faith and Grace as my focus words. Little did I know that simply by saying YES and pursuing this dream of owning a working art studio and gift shop, I’d be lifted up by angels…but it’s entirely true. There’s no denying that there is an unseen force working with me to make sure that the shop survives and grows and thrives. The fear is always there in the background, but whenever I feel it surfacing, I hand the reins right over to my angels and guides. I’ve put them in charge of prosperity and abundance and I stay open for signs that I’m on the right path and moving in the right direction. 2018 is also The Year Of Saying No. I simply could not go on carrying the weight of so much on my shoulders – doing wholesale and retail shows, teaching classes, making new art, designing new products, supporting artistic entrepreneurs in growing their businesses…oh my! Add moving twice in less than a year and I was…exhausted physically and spiritually. So, after the crazy holiday rush (it was wonderful!), I spent the first three months of 2018 being quiet and contemplative and making some decisions. I won’t be doing many, if any, art shows in 2018. It’s just too hard to get someone to cover the shop while I’m traveling the countryside and putting up art displays for a day or two. I withdrew from wholesale trade shows for 2018. I needed time to work on my product line…refining products that are popular, tossing others that weren’t working and creating new stuff to add so that Earth Angel Arts puts only the best work out into the world. Each time I said “no” to something, I felt stressed and anxious, but as soon as I created space for myself, those feelings floated away and I was left feeling sane and calm and grateful. I loved the “space between” seasons that happens in retail. Holiday season was insane – there was hardly anything left in the shop by December 25! And then everything immediately got very quiet. The snow piled up. And I had all of this time available to create. Twenty-four new paintings filled that “space between” – 12 Joyful In Nature paintings and 12 Radiate Sunshine mixed media paintings, enough for two brand-new calendars for the coming year. And they are spectacular – my best work yet for both lines. The Joyful In Nature animals I painted each have “something extra” – a flower tiara, glasses, a hat – so they are a bit more silly and whimsical for the 2019 calendars. The Radiate Sunshine works are really bright and bold, with great themes of empowerment, overcoming of obstacles, finding joy. There’s one with a high top sneaker, another with a vintage camper, and others featuring an ice cream cone, a sailboat, a tea cup, a butterfly and more. So fun and so meaningful. Saying no to some big things also created an opening for more charity work and I supported a few of my customers with their fundraising for the Tri For A Cure. I held two charity art classes, made a big beautiful painting for a triathlete to sell at her auction and had a wildly successful Ladies Night in May during which I donated 10% of sales to charity. And I donated a TON of your favorite products to fundraisers being held by additional triathletes. I’m so proud and honored to be a part of raising money for Maine cancer research. And it’s been so meaningful for me to engage with so many local women who are soldiering through cancer treatment and support them as they move through some of the most difficult days of their lives.
Meanwhile, I’ve also been finding some amazing goodies to stock in the gift shop. The “new baby” area is fully stocked with adorable swaddles, receiving blankets, stuffies, onesies and much more. I’ve got the best smelling candles in little travel tins, awesome glass water bottles with bamboo lids that have lovely inspiring words on them and lots and lots of new jewelry for you to enjoy. Finding new products for the shop is definitely a fun and rewarding part of my work. And watching the reactions from customers is magical.
This week CIA Cafe in Saco (the sister to CIA Cafe in SoPo right across from my shop) hung a new show featuring nine new mixed media paintings from Earth Angel Arts, along with a bunch of wonderful paintings by my friend, Jim Williams, of Mainely Labs (our studios are side-by-side). Three of my new works are shown above. It was a nice challenge to create a new body of work with input from Jeannie Dunnigan (artist/owner of CIA Cafe). The collection is called Life In Music. Each painting features lyrics from a song. Many of you are aware of how important music is to me, and lots of you have enjoyed listening to music while you’re in the shop or attending class here. I chose music by Van Morrison, Ray Lamontagne, Tift Merritt, The Head and The Heart, David Gray, Gary Clark Jr, Christina Aguilera, Amos Lee and The Alternate Routes and embedded the lyrics into the pieces – either subtly or overtly. I feel very attached to each piece and the studio feels empty without them. I created them in a span of about three weeks. Phew! The show will be up until September 24, so stop in at CIA (9 Beach Street, Saco) from 7-4 any day of the week to check them out and have a great cup of coffee and a snack.
Looking forward to August…I am sad to say that I will not have my art tent set up at Art In The Park on August 11 in Mill Creek Park in SoPo, but I’m happy to be attending my sweet stepson’s wedding that day. You will be able to find lots of my new stuff in the Beachdashery tent, though! My great friend, Kate Clark, is sharing her tent and selling Earth Angel Arts goodies alongside Beachdashery art prints, calendars and greeting cards. Yay! And though Beachdashery has left Knightville and relocated to the Old Port, I have a full line of Kate’s jewelry in my shop so you can still shop for it on this side of the bridge if you’d like.
On the 18th of August, the Knightville Festival will take place at the far end of Ocean Street beside Foulmouthed Brewing. There will be live music, beer, food and lots of activities for kids. You can also watch at least ten local artists painting in Thomas Knight Park from 3 to 5. The festival is from 3 to 8 pm, with children’s activities from 3-5 and music from 6 to 8. Come out and enjoy Knightville and the beautiful park alongside the Casco Bay Bridge.
In October we plan to have another fantastic event in the neighborhood focusing on fall and pumpkins! Stay tuned for info about that beginning in September. The businesses of Knightville can’t wait to put on a fun event for you all again. Lastly, I just want to say thank you for supporting small local businesses like mine. We would not be here without your love and kindness and support. Come see me soon in the shop!

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