How we got to Europe!

Hello!  It’s been a while.  Last time we blogged, we were trying to sell our house in a hurry so that I could go to school in Barcelona.  So much has happened since then!  We have been on an interesting adventure to say the least.  It has been nothing short of a series of uncanny miracles, almost too many to write about in one blog.  So I’m going to start where we left off on our blog last summer when we were thinking about selling our house.  This was the start of our adventure: a faith journey of believing our dreams could come true. Last summer, there were so many serendipitous events that surrounded my ‘By Endurance We Conquer‘ exhibit at Bromwell’s.  Between 2014-2016, I made 19 paintings about Sir Ernest Shackleton and his brave crew going to Antarctica on the SS Endurance. I exhibited them at Bromwell’s to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the crew’s rescue.

The exhibition opened in July of 2016, and it was during that time when I felt like God was challenging me to apply to the Barcelona Academy of Art, an atelier offering courses in classical approaches to art.  I didn’t have the money to do this at the time that I applied.  In fact, I barely had enough money to cover our living expenses in Cincinnati.  And I didn’t know how it was going to possible for me to have a house, pay the mortgage, while paying tuition and paying for an apartment in Barcelona.  So it seemed impossible and impractical.  But again, I felt God challenging me to believe that all things are possible with Him!  So I applied.  And I got in!  Over the next several weeks, we were caught up in a whirlwind of activity, packing our house and studio up into boxes.  We still had no idea how we were going to pay for going to Spain, but we took steps of faith.  And just in the nick of time, we sold enough art work to go!

20160829_180320It was like a wink from God that we even received a check in the mail from a client of ours on the very day that Shackleton set out on the SS Yelcho (a boat loaned to him by the Chilean government) to successfully rescue the rest of the Endurance crew who were waiting for him on Elephant island.  The check was postmarked exactly 100 years to the date!  You can see for yourself on the PBS NOVA website how the timeline matches up: August 25th 1916 and August 25th 2016!  I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried!

the-good-news(This is a painting I did in June of 2016 about Shackleton’s rescue of his men on Elephant Island.  The ship he left in on August 25th 1916, the SS Yelcho is in the distance.  He made it to Elephant Island on August 30th.)

Not only did God provide the financial means for me to get to school and get an apartment, He also provided a solution for what to do with our house while we would be away.  And what is funny about that is the fact that it was an answered prayer that I’d actually forgotten about.  Let me explain:

Early in 2016, I was dreaming about spending time in Europe and going to Barcelona Academy, but I didn’t see how it could be possible.  And I didn’t know what would be the wise thing to do with our house.  So I took a day to fast and pray and ask God what to do.  I was willing to lay my dream down if that was what God’s best plan was for me.  So I asked God, ‘should we sell our house or should we rent it?’   The next day, I walked out my front door and I’m not kidding, there was actually a ‘for rent’ sign laying right there on our front sidewalk!  I had no idea where it came from.  I was on my way to the grocery store with Evan, and when we got back home, the sign was gone!  So I said to Evan, ‘hey, I think that was God’s answer to my question!  We are supposed to rent our house!’  At the time, Evan didn’t like the idea of being a landlord, and he preferred to sell it.  So I let it drop and continued to wait to see what might happen.

Fast forward several months later: It’s the end of July and I just found out I was accepted into Barcelona Academy.  It’s exciting news, but we had no money and only six weeks to sell our house.  We met with a real estate agent, who said to us basically, it would be very difficult and next to impossible to pack up our house, get it ready to sell and actually close a sale on it in time for me to get to Spain.  Well, that same night after meeting with the real estate agent, we went over to visit our neighbors and told them about our good news of me going to school and our house dilemma.  And it just so happened that our neighbor’s daughter was wanting to leave Indianapolis and head back to Cincinnati.  Our neighbor encouraged Evan to contact her and see if she’d be interested in renting our house.  When Evan messaged her that night, she happened to be out with a friend talking about how she wanted to move back home.  She responded right away to Evan’s message and said, ‘I’d love to rent your home!’  And on top of that, she even agreed to take care of our cats for us!

(Our black cat, Moshi loves to hang out in the bathroom!)

It all worked out perfectly!  And this was just the beginning of our journey.

Stay tuned for the next blog where we tell you about some of our adventures in Europe!  


Meditation Gallery Talk at Wash Park Art Gallery

Here’s an insight into our artists’ brains!

Evan and I hope you enjoy this view behind the scenes of where we draw our inspiration (individually as artists) and the process of collaboration as husband and wife.

This talk was filmed by Evan Mauntel at Holly Doan Spraul’s beautiful gallery in downtown Cincinnati, Wash Park Art.



The Mural was a great experience!

wooden boat shop mural

It was so cool to make this mural in my community. In many ways this was a dream come true for me. It gave me an opportunity to emulate the illustrative style of one of my favorite artists, N.C. Wyeth. And it’s a wall in my neighborhood that I’ve been looking to paint for years. I am very grateful to the Sayler Park Village Council and Butch Davis of the Wooden Boat Shop for making this mural a possibility! Thank you to the community and to the Sayler Park Historical society for your financial support of the scaffolding. And I’m thankful for all of the logistical help from my husband and the guys at the boat shop and at Parnell’s. All of you have helped me make this mural a reality, and for that I am very grateful!

For more pics of the mural and the unveiling, you can visit my facebook mural album here.

Mural Days 17 & 18

I spent these days working on creating transitions between colors in the water. The wall gets sun all day, and it’s very hot– unless it’s overcast, the cinder blocks kind of bake the paint on most days. So it makes blending very close to impossible. But what is really neat is that Novacolor (the company who makes the paint I used) has a varnish that can be used to glaze more translucent layers of color. These translucent layers create the illusion of blending and subtlety–especially from a distance. It was so good for me as an artist to constantly back up from my work and look at it form far away–it really made me aware of the big movement (gestalt) of the whole piece. Another benefit is that I haven’t had to wear my glasses nearly as much when I read. I think that the mural has given my eyes a good workout and has actually helped me to see better!
Misc 503
Misc 504

Mural Days 12 & 13

On Day 12, I finished up the upper right corner and added the trees that peak up above the hills. I also finished the reflections on the water right underneath. Then the guys at the Wooden Boat Shop moved the scaffolding for me so that I could start the boat!
DAY 12

Something magical happened that day too: our friend Ric Hine stopped by for a visit and brought his gopro quadcopter camera and had the camera flying in the air and filming me painting! Stay tuned for video footage! Ric and his wife, Barb are such cool people!