Be Part of Something by Mary Jennings

Don't get yourself caught in a pickle. Join some groups that help you get outside of yourself. I love to be quiet and solitary and that's why I encourage myself to be active with groups and clubs that either help me or I can help them. It's part of being a good society.  

Recently, I have been very busy and have been agonizing about how to manage my work and be in attendance in my groups. One group in particular, a painting group, I keep on being to busy to attend.  I had to scold myself.  First off, it is a privilege to even be asked to be part of an established painting group and second, I need to paint ALL THE TIME.

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Appreciation is Contagious. Better Catch It. by Mary Jennings

Loving The Rain! I posted a status on my FB account this morning.  I had to.  I couldn’t help it.  I really wanted to share the amazing delight I was feeling at that very moment.  I just knew that others would enjoy what I was experiencing.  Finding the right words to express my moment were also part of the fun.

It got quite a few likes, but it also made me think about how fortunate I felt to be experiencing something so simple and so impossible for me to create by my own hand or skill.  I was wholly appreciative.  I have noticed some other grateful updates being posted by some of my other friends on some other social media sites.

A young photographer friend was prompting people to make sure to take time to stop and notice the beautiful sunrise and sunsets we are blessed with daily.  Such wise advice for such a young girl.  She might have been preaching to the choir, though.  I have seen an increase in stunning sky photos on FB and Instagram with people doing just that; looking up.  Vacation will have that effect on you.  I’ve enjoyed looking at and clicking like on every last post I’m fortunate enough to encounter.

Beauty Discovered

I also love that I have several artist friends who are able to see the beauty in some not so expectedly beautiful things and are generous enough to share their discoveries (and be thankful on top of that).  This was posted by a friend and former Moore College of Art classmate who made my day with her midnight snack.

So, all of this is to say, look up, stand still, soak in and share.  Appreciation is contagious; better catch it and share.  It might just also be the cure for all that ails.

A Good Home. Will My Art Find One? by Mary Jennings

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Spring is a popular time for creative fundraising and I get several calls to donate my art, time and/or talent to the these events.  I am always more that happy to do so.  As a matter of fact, I was working on a painting early this morning and reflecting on how participating in these various events have helped me place my work in some wonderful homes. corolla bridge

A couple of weeks ago, during a Wine Tasting and Silent Auction, the winner of one of my plein air watercolors gave me a great big hug as she was genuinely thrilled to own this art.  I feel  settled in releasing these works when I am confident that they are settling into a good home with new happy owners.

These works are like my children.   I remember when each work came to life.  It's like I'm their mother and it's natural that I would care about whether or not they are loved and cared for by their owner.   It is so interesting to know that most people who don't actively build their art collection are mostly unsure where to put the art when they get it home.  I understand how that can be a delicate process and if you are unsure, there are ways you can get help.  As a matter of fact, I can help with this.

I am able to conduct in home art placement consultations.  I am able to help you place your existing art and make suggestions about other art that you might feel comfortable about purchasing to add to your collection.  Yes, you can be an art collector.  It's a wonder way of adding warmth and character to your home.

Screen Shot 2013-05-11 at 11.15.15 AMAnother wonderful opportunity to consider in the search of a comprehensive art collection as well as agreat ideas for the home and garden is the 13th Annual Tuckahoe Elementary Home and Garden Tour, Saturday, May 18, 12:00 noon to 5:00pm.  This event benefits Tuckahoe's Discovery Schoolyard.  You can purchase tickets here.  Or you can learn more about the amazing Discovery Schoolyard here.

One of the homes on the tour will be filled (all rooms, every floor) with my art.  It's a brand new home and the builder asked if I would be interested in placing my art in this house.  I was thrilled.  This is a fundraiser that is near and dear to my heart.  My kids went to Tuckahoe when the Outdoor Discovery Schoolyard was being created and I was actively supporting fundraising efforts and know many of the parents who spent many hours dedicated to bringing this outstanding learning opportunity to life for our kids.  This program has grown and is now also part of the curriculum at several Arlington (and other) Elementary schools.

I have several pieces of work that are inspired by the beautiful Discovery Schoolyard itself.  Come see my art and watch me paint too.  I am setting up my easel and pallet to paint the day away while many visitors tour this beautiful house.  This is a huge house, yet from the outside it maintains the existing charm of the cul de sac lined with established Arlington homes.

Sidenote: I will be dedicating the whole day to a dear friend who passed away last week.  Penny Kiser was extremely active in the formation, fundraising, and support of the Discovery Schoolyard up to just a few weeks ago.  She gave her best and we are privileged to have benefited from her time and talent.  She will be very missed, but her love and hard work found a good home.



Experiencing Observation: Gratitude by Mary Jennings


36"x36" oil on canvas. SOLD I didn't doubt that I would make it to this sixth installment of my blog series on experiencing observation, but I didn't actually lightheartedly skip along the pathway either.  It can be told that I have loved writing about all the subtle differences in observation.  Who knew that looking around could be so distinctive depending on a certain mindset?  I'm not sure I even appreciated this until I began to write about it.

So far, I have covered getting caught, making memories, being restored, hunting, capturing and now I am going to write about experiencing observation through the lens of gratitude.  With a mindset of thankfulness, what you see is not simply what it is.  It becomes greater in its substance due to the context in which it is being viewed.

A sunset, with its color, movement and mood, has a pretty good jump-start in being receptive to gratitude filled observations.  Not everything has it this easy.  With some things like a pile of unfolded laundry, a flat tire, an icy walkway, or a bad hair day, it takes a little bit of work getting a fruitful observation experience with a mindset of gratitude.  And because of this struggle, it is so very rewarding when you do see what others may not see.  This is a highly creative experience.  This is the stuff great poetry is made of.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "What is a weed?  A plant whose virtues have yet to be discovered."  I agree.  We are given so many wonderful "weeds" in life and we try to eliminate, hide and sometimes ignore them and their virtues.  In the spring of 2009, I did a video with a focus on inspiration and determination using the dandelion to support my message.  It is extremely consistent with the message I offer many times to this day.  It was nice to see I am staying on track to help inspire and encourage creativity.


Watch it and see how I demonstrate how rich our observations become with a heart of gratitude.  Gratitude is a great place to take NOTHING and turn it in to a treasure.

Turn that frown upside down.  Turn that trouble into triumph.  Celebrate your creativity by seeing things that are good, helpful and productive from what we would avoid finding any beauty in at all.  With a mindset of gratitude, experience observation where treasures can be found in trash.

Share any observations you have made in the comment section below.  We want to see what you see.