Its been a minute since I’ve last written a post. Life has a way of coming at you from all directions. But I wanted to let you all in on what I have been working on. A few years ago I started creating these wonderful intuitive mixed media paintings, not quite knowing where they would lead. I am a strong proponent of listening to spirit, if I don’t, it tends to get quite loud until I do.
The paintings are quite special as I don’t plan what I am going to create. I just listen to spirit and step out of the way. The pieces begin with a message, words of encouragement or prayer. They are then sprayed with essential oils to bless them and allow the images/messages to come through. When I begin to paint its as if I am in a state of meditation. Its with ease that they are created and I am always pleasantly shocked at the end to see the beauty of what has emerged.
Process of the painting; Board with blessing, the beginnings of the backgrounds using paint & papers, the image as it begins to emerge
A glimpse at the mixed media painting of Medicine Woman in process
About 3 years ago I began to feel the nudge as to what direction these special pieces were heading. They would eventually become an oracle deck. Whats an oracle deck you ask? Oracle decks have been around for hundreds of years, some believe that they evolved out of the original tarot decks. The first oracle card deck is believed to have been created by Marie Anne Adelaide (Madame Lenormand). Oracle cards can be used in a similar ways; as divination tools for spirit and guidance. Unlike its predecessor, Oracle cards do not have set rules like in Tarot of arcana, suits, court or pip cards, an Oracle Deck doesn’t hold by any rules. It may contain images, words or messages, something to speak to the reader.
Jessica’s deck with magical animal paintings
My artist friend, Jessica Swift, created a deck with her animal paintings, during the same time I was painting mine, its called “Animal Allies”, she lets the animal spirit world guide us with her beautiful deck. I was so glad to be on that journey with her, I was able to learn a lot.
In January I heard spirit whisper, that is was time to begin to prepare for the birth of the deck out into the world. Wouldn’t you know I had created enough paintings to assemble a deck. Instead of sitting at my paint table and listening to spirit, now I sat at my computer and researched printers, designed the deck and prepped the files. It was a beautiful thing to watch. I don’t know about you, but when I step out of the way and let the universe take over, things tend to run smoother.
Speaking of the universe, it has a funny way of letting you know when you are on the right path. While in the process of beginning to assemble the deck, I came across a book by Tosha Silver titled “Its Not Your Money”. I love to let books that I need to read, come to me when I need them and this one did precisely that. Its about getting out of your own way around abundance. A few days after I began to read this profound book, I was working on the deck, looking at a set of orcacle cards I use with art by another artist friend, Katie Daisy, titled “The Wild Offering Oracle”. I had seen something I hadn’t noticed before. To my surprise the deck was created by Tosha Silver, yes the same author of the book I had begun reading. The empowering deck is kind of like a companion to the book. I sent Tosha a message telling her the story of the book, her cards and mine and she told me how much she loved it. Talk about kismet.
“It’s Not your Money” book by Tosha Silver, the Oracle Deck by Tosha and Katie Daisy
When the deck is completed and I’m ready to release, the deck will be title “Soul Whisper Oracle Cards”. As of now it will be a 52 card deck, with an image of a painting, title and a few words to guide the reader with their thoughts and journey. I may do a Kickstarter campaign to produce the cards and I will announce that as the production of the deck gets underway.
Mock up of how the deck will appear
In the meantime listen to the universe it has a way of speaking to you that in this noisy world, unless you quiet yourself, you might not hear. Its kind of scary to begin to birth the deck out into the wild, I’m hoping my labor of love will speak to others, from my soul to your soul, may it whisper. Keep listening.
For more info on Tosha Silver, her book and deck go to her website at: https://toshasilver.com/
To order a set of Jessica Swift’s beautiful deck go here: https://www.jessicaswift.com/shop/oracle-cards/animal-allies-oracle-cards/
My little piece of art in its humble home
We never realize how simple little actions, can change someone’s day and in some cases maybe their lives. Life has been a little unpredictable for all of us recently since our presidential election. We may not have any control over the election results, but we can choose our attitudes and how we treat each other. Simple acts, a smile, holding a door, letting someone in line, can make a big difference. No Name Art Group’s recent project could be that simple act.
Since 2011 I’ve been fortunate to be part of this fantastic group of artists whose motto is to use art to promote positive changes for ourselves, our local communities and our world. It was started in 1999 by a small group of artists who worked in the corporate world of deadlines and overtime. They had forgotten what it was like to make art, just for art’s sake. By collaborating on art for art’s sake, they began to make art fun again.
Image from No Name Art Group’s recent project
It didn’t take very long for other artists to joined in on the fun, to remember why we truly make art as artists, to answer that call from our souls. They started to hold shows with the art that was created and people wanted to buy the art, but the art was about the act of simply creating. So they decided to use the proceeds to make a difference. We have raised funds by adorning wine bottles, note cards, water bottles and much more. We include the charities that we’re working with to help their causes. Now the group is “Artists Making A Difference”.
No one could have predicted that the world would need some extra loving when our latest art projects were to be released into the wild. But sometimes the universe has a way of taking care of us when we need it most. The current project touches the world from my little corner of the woods in Doylestown, Pennsylvanis to New York City, California and far off places like, Costa Rica and Australia.
We were all given a rock to create our masterpieces on. When finished, our task was to leave the rock in a spot that someone could admire it and carry the love we’ve placed into them. The art of these tiny canvases is wonderful. Our group has set up a web page to track the rocks travel to their forever homes. You can see it here at http://www.nonameartgroup.org/rocks/ .
Close up of the art’s progression
Creating my piece in a pen and ink style with a scattering of a flowers I placed it a spot that was close to my heart. With the hopes that someone in their time of need, hope and encouragement would find it.
I spent many years volunteering as a chaplain at Doylestown Hospital, visiting with patients and families in times of joy and sorrow, in the ER, ICU and patient’s rooms. It always touched me that I was allowed to be a witness to their heart’s joys, sorrows and pain. Those encounters affect all in involved and leave an imprint on our souls. I still carry a part of all those visits on my own soul.
The Chapel at Doylestown Hospital with its George Nakashima furniture
My little piece of art was left humbly in a tiny little corner of the hospital, atop a majestic piece of art created by the infamous master furniture maker George Nakashima. In a room adorned with a beautiful stained glass wall created by local artist Ed Byrne. The Mary and Gerald Santucci Chapel is a place of hope, quiet and solitude. It was my wish that my little rock would bring the same to someone.
Colorful stained glass by artist Ed Byrne
I’m excited to watch all the little gems created by our group find their ways home and look forward to our next project. It’ll be another chance to make a difference in the world, even if in a small way. Remember its the tiny pebble, that when thrown into the big lake, makes ripples. Choose today to make a difference, share your smile, hold a door or buy a cup of coffee. It will not only make someone’s day, but your own as well.
My Surtex 2016 promo piece
This post is being written as I make final preparations for 2016’s Surtex show in the big apple that’s set to launch this weekend. I scurry about cleaning up files for my portfolio, look at my to do list for the hundredth time and pack up my suitcase filled with the regular travel items, as well as the essential show stuff.
Close up of the banners that will adorn booth #568
This journey has been a long one, beginning with my dream to be an artist when I was a wee one. For as long as I can remember I have been passionate about being creative, its what makes me happy and truly makes my soul sing. The path has had some detours but with my decision to go back to school a few years ago to finish up a degree started many moons ago and my subsequent graduation in 2014, I’m pretty sure I am following the right road.
I have walked the hallowed floors of Jacob Javits Center in years past, beginning as a returning student in 2013. I went to NYC to see what this giant art licensing show was all about. When I arrived I felt like a kid in a candy store, with all the art and inspiration around me. I took notes, asked questions and made connections. The following year I returned the day after graduating with my degree in graphic design and illustration from Moore College of Art. I walked the floor with a book of art and surface patterns created for my senior thesis. That year I had more contacts and had become friends with many from the show the year before. Some of those friends were from a collective I had joined, the Cultivate Art Collective. So in 2015 I dipped my toe a bit further into the Surtex arena with the collective. My art and its style were accepted and some art directors had interest. That gave me the courage to dive in and fully embrace the Surtex experience this year.
My Surtex freebies, calendars so people can remember my art everyday
Now mind you this exhibition is not for the faint of heart, as it is a huge undertaking, not to mention expensive. I read that someone had priced out the square footage of a booth for the 3 days the show is open to the public, would be equivalent to renting an apartment at $900,000 for the year. I know real estate in New York City is expensive but that takes the cake. With the support of my family, I choose to invest in myself and my dreams and get a booth on my own at this year’s show in their new “design district”. A place intended for first time show exhibitors, a virtual 5’x5′ box with a table and 2 chairs.
There were moments in the last few months after I made the decision, that I wondered if I would be prepared and if the monies would be there to find this expedition . The amount of work needed was never a problem, as I have continued since graduation building on my portfolio weekly. Taking on challenges given each week through creative groups I belong to. This was to be my investment into my dreams.
I’ve been a busy gal putting together the pieces needed to complete my booth, banners, signs, portfolios, marketing pieces and new art. As well as promoting myself and the show to the industry through emails, postcards and marketing campaigns. All the while continuing the freelance work that helps support our family.
This will be a first for my daughter Kayla too. She has just finished her second year at the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC. Kayla will be helping me out in my booth, giving me a break when needed. We will also have a few designs that she and I have collaborated on together. Who knows maybe this will help launch her design future too.
A bonus sign for my booth
As the minutes tick by till I board the train to New York and meet my daughter on Saturday, my stomach does tumbles and my sleep is tossed. I have no doubt that I will learn much, but I also hope that this week is truly the moment that propels my dreams into full blast. If you are attending the show make sure to stop by my booth #568 and say hello. You can also follow along with me on my instagram page at http://www.instagram.com/gracefull_arts as I will be posting pics while there. Make sure to look out for my next blog, when I round up my time in New York and see what the outcome of all this prep is. Until next time; here’s to fingers, knees and toes crossed!
Last week after a good bit of time thinking about it, several months researching and putting it together, I finally launched my online art shop. My new shop http://www.theshopatgracefullarts.com will be a place to find original art works, as well as prints that I create. A way to put myself and my art out into the world. The internet has made it possible for artists to be in charge of their careers and not wholly rely on stores, galleries and agents to represent and sell their creations. That can be a good and a bad thing. I think it is especially fortunate to those of us who are in the infancy of our careers.
“Oh Joy” – mixed media piece, available now as a print in the new shop
I took a bit of time to really find the right fit for me and the shop. I wanted a software program that would work with my current brand and would allow me to tweak it so that it would communicate with my current blog and website. I also wanted to make sure that my delivery of a fine product would also represent me. That meant determining the best products and printing practices to use, for a quality product. As well as what was the best way to package and ship the art once it was purchased. That research wasn’t all work but a little fun too, as I got to pick the brains of some of my favorite artists and buy a little art from them for myself so I could experience their process. (It was research remember) Lucky me as I now have their work hanging in my studio. Thank you Stephanie Ryan and Jessica Swift for answering questions and for the new art on my walls.
The print “Tribal Gecko”, part the PHD collection in the shop
After I had all my ducks in a row, so to speak, in regards to the software, shipping and printing, I then had to figure out what work would best represent me in the shop. I have two art personalities, one is more graphic in nature and the other more painterly. I wondered how I would integrate them both into the shop. The answer was right under my nose and it took my good friend, artist Joe DeVito, to point it out. He said that even though the styles were different, their feeling and meanings were the same. So the more graphic feeling art will fall under my Pamela Hamilton Designs collection (or PHD). That’s where a lot of my surface pattern work and posters live. The other more painterly mixed media art lives under the Gracefull Arts collection. Both collections portray my hopes that my art can make someone happy, bring a smile to their face and a whisper to their souls.
One of the things I wanted to incorporate into the site were testimonials. I was a bit shy in asking others to tell me how my art made them feel, but not one person said no. It also was a blessing to me when they did start sending me their words of appreciation rolled in, as it proved to me, that what I was feeling and seeing when I created my art, they were feeling it too. So many times I create art intuitively, not knowing what will show up or the message that will come through. This was proof that I was listening.
“Be Yourself” available as a print with or without the quote
Here are just a bit of what some have said.
“When I look at Pam’s work I find that I smile. Her choice of colors make me Happy. The world could use more Happy!” – Susan Smith
“Pam I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy that you have decided to pursue your love of Art. The variety of technical skills you apply to both old and modern style art and prints are all wonderful communications of your emotions and provide perfect harmony with hints of nature throughout! Thank you for sharing your treasures!” – Lisa Walton
“I love the way Pam’s artwork makes me feel. Each one of her collections has a unique appeal for me. The color and patterns used in her textiles are pleasant – and touch a warm cord inside. The photography collections are amazing- whether its the dynamic colors of flowers in February (lending hope for spring) or the patterns of New York- there is something so simple, and so soothing to look at. Her artwork, provides a sense of serenity.” – Sue Ann DiVito
“St. Francis” and “St. Clare”, part of the Angels, Saints & Sages collection in the shop
Once the decisions were made on the collections, I needed to figure out which pieces in particular would fit the shop. Some of you may remember from my last blog about the peace prayers that were held in Syria by my friend Jimmy Twyman, well the two pieces above are the pieces I began during that peace vigil, St. Francis of Assisi and St. Clare.They were special to me and had to be included. You’ll also find original pieces from time to time for sale and they have their own separate page in the store. Along with our Furry Friends, Everyday Beauty and Angels, Saints and Sages. Then it was time to photograph the pieces and prep them for the website, figure out what I wanted to say and put it all together.
Here is an original for sale “Air Mailed #3” part of a 6 piece series
I wanted to be able to have the shop work seamlessly with my current website at http://www.gracefullarts.com as well as the blog you are now reading. So that degree in graphic design from Moore College of Art and Design came into practice, as I was able to brush off my coding skills and make the the three sites communicate. I was able to make it so you can reach the shop from the link at the top of this blog or from the shop link in the website. As well as reach my website and the blog from within the shop. I’ve also added links to my Society 6 shop where you can order on demand specialty items like; phone cases, shower curtains, pillows and much more.
Just a sampling of the items available in my Society 6 shop
The shop has been live for over a week now and I think we’ve shaken out the cob webs and glitches. It’s been fun watching the analytical numbers of how many people have visited the shop, the folks who are signing up for the newsletter and best of all the sales of people who are happy with the art. In the words of Sally Fields in her 1984 Oscar acceptance speech, “you like me (or I should say my art)… right now… you like me. Thank you.”
So hope on over to the shop and have a look around. Let me know what you think. As a thank you for our grand opening use the discount code Blog GO10 for 10% off your next purchase. I’m headed back to my easel now as I begin to prep for the 2016 Surtex show coming up in NYC in May. So you’ll know where to find me and the pups.
Here are the links to my shops and sites;
http://www.gracefullarts.com (full website) http://www.theshopatgracefullarts.com (the online store) and http://www.society6.com/gracefullartsbypamhamilton (the Society 6 shop)
And a HUGE thank you to those friends who let me pick their brains;
Mixed media piece of Ganesha, “Those who wish to leave footprints will never fly”
I know there must be others, who feel the unrest and wish that they could do something to help foster peace. At times it can seem overwhelming with everything in the news. It can make us weep at how others are treated and make us think, that as one individual, we can’t make a change. I too have felt this things, but I have also realized that, as one I may not cause a big wave of change, but as a group we can. Two opportunities have come about this week to participate in and begin that wave.
Think of us all in a giant football stadium. I use the term “football” because throughout the world we all have one, whether we play American football, rugby or soccer. Now imagine that one person raises their hands and stands up. Soon others join in and eventually a giant wave begins to roll throughout the whole arena. It takes a few trips around to create momentum, but even if you originally didn’t want to participate you get caught up in it. This is how we can begin to cause a change in the world. Mother Theresa tells us to “be the change you wish to see in the world”, others have said, “to act as if and the change will happen.”
In the early 2000s I was searching for a way to understand it all. I had been teaching yoga for a few years and one day it dawned on me, that even though we may all have different belief systems, we would all come together every week to practice our yoga and meditate on making ourselves better people. I wondered if there was a way to do the same in the outside world.
I joined the Seminary of Spiritual Peacemaking, a true seminary, but with a different name and a different philosophy. I wanted to learn of the world’s religions, not of just their differences, but more importantly what the commonalities were. Trust me there are many. I felt if we could focus on what was the same, what was in-common, then we could begin a dialogue of change. I spent two years studying, receiving my Masters in Divinity and a title I never use, Non-Denominational Minister, except when my children call me out on something with “Reverend Pam”, our children truly are our greatest teachers.
1/My friend Meredith Murray and I in front of a waterfall they actually turn off everyday
2/A peace (pace in Italian) flag that we carried on the pilgrimage and gifted to the Pope
3/ “The peace troubadour” Jimmy Twyman and myself at the Vatican
During that time I had one of the most life altering experiences. In 2005, I traveled with 70 Spiritual Peacemakers from 17 countries on a 130 mile 9 day journey following in the steps of St. Francis of Assisi, for a pilgrimage of world peace. Along the way we were greeted with much love and support by the Italian people. Even at times as TV stars as the Italian news followed us. On the walk I saw beautiful sights, experienced shifts and made life long friendships. On September 21st (United Nations World Peace Day) we made it to Rome and to an audience with Pope Benedict. That long journey from Assisi to Rome tested me physically, mentally and spiritually. One big lesson it did teach me was, that as one person we can make a small ripple,but joined by others we can make a big wave.
Now onto the two opportunities I spoke of to create a ripple of peace. This past week my friend Jimmy Twyman (in the picture above) traveled to Syria to hold a peace concert in the war ravaged area and on February 1st, to be the anchor of a world wide peace prayer. Hundreds of thousands of people joined in at specified time, for ten minutes, to hold the vision of peace in the world. A monastery that I’ve worked with in Southern India, the Drepung Gomang Monastery, also joined in from their prayer hall, where thousands of Buddhist monks prayed for peace. Now the media was calling him crazy, that he was going to end up hurt or even killed, but I’ve seen Jimmy go into other places in the past to do the same; Bosnia, Iraq, Jerusalem, so I knew he would be safe. He was joined on the ground with leaders of the three Abrahamic traditions; Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
In a post after the prayer vigil to those who joined him in prayer, he told us that “just before we began the world synchronized meditation, a battle raged in the village directly across from us. The sound of guns and mortar shells rang through the air. As we approached the time of the vigil something suddenly changed. The fighting stopped and everything grew calm. Around 100 people were present with us as we watched the villages and we began holding silence as people around the world began sending their prayers of peace. It felt like healing rain was falling all around us. When the vigil closed we were amazed to hear a pack of wolves begin to howl for exactly 1 minute just beneath us, as if the earth itself felt our prayers.”
Those on site at the prayer vigil planting a peace pole, photo courtesy of James Twyman
The second opportunity to join in and participate with the peace ripple affect is coming up and I hope that you might join me with this. There is an organization that since 1994 bi-annually gathers art work from around the world and distributes it among the participants. The idea behind this peace project is that we can create community among us through a gift of global friendship. This wonderful project was nominated for a 2002 UNESCO Peace Prize for tolerance and non-violence. This is how it works it works, go to their website at http://www.globalartproject.org and register. They will then match you up with someone else in the world. The art exchange occurs during the week of April 23-30 “resulting in thousands of people sending messages of peace around the world at one time—visions of unity simultaneously encircle the Earth.” You may be saying but I’m not an artist, that doesn’t matter, in fact this is open to adults as well as children and the art can be anything created with love. In a past global art exchange I received a beautiful book of hand written poems.
My piece from 2012’s exchange to my art partner in Japan
Students in Kita, Mali who sent their art to The Village School, California, USA.*
Annette Hoermann from Bruxelles, Belgium was sent to her partner in Prescott, AZ, USA.*
*Photos courtesy the Global Art Project
So do you still think that one person can’t begin a ripple to change the world? Remember even a kind smile can change a persons day. Hop on board with me on the wave of change, I”ll be the one standing next to you in the arena. Till next time keep the waves of change rolling.
What is in those small quiet moments when we take the time to disconnect from electronics and the crazy world spinning all around us. Many times we are caught up in our jobs, the kids and the to do lists, rushing from one place to the next. Yet somewhere deep inside we sense that there is a calm place that our angels and guides are speaking with us, whispering words of encouragement or nudging us towards or away from something. Recently I listened to those gentle nudgings and signed up for a six month painting course with an artist from Portland Oregon, who I have long since admired, Kelly Rae Roberts. The name of the course is what really spoke to me at first, Spirit Wings-An Angel Painting Course to Inspire and Manifest Your Dreams.
Kelly Rae is one of those people who beams with such joy and happy grace. You sense that in her art work, blogs, books and if you follow her on Instagram, you see it in snap shots of her, wear your joy project. I first learned of her when I picked up and read her book, Taking Flight, the book spoke to me in many ways and made me realize that our paths of listening to that small voice were similar. I have been a believer in spirit, angels and the good of the world for many, many years. Its always nice to hit upon a fellow soul traveler. Since picking up that first book I have had the honor of taking and learning from Kelly Rae often. I watch and study how she runs her business, creates her enlightened art and inspires a community of liked minded soul seekers. One of the things I am loving about this course is the introduction to new materials. Much of my freelance work is digital and has me attached to a screen and keyboard. This course is so freeing and such a great opportunity to just dive in and get my hands dirty. Many of my family and friends know how angels or butterflies have been a constant in my artwork and I have done mixed media pieces for many years. Getting lost in the layering and textured backgrounds that it creates. What I haven’t really experienced up till now was the use of oil pastels into the mix. I have to admit I am in love with their rich buttery textures and how easily they blend together. It is like working with creamy buttery yummy-ness. Since being introduced a few weeks ago I’ve been playing with and trying to incorporate them into other pieces that I’m currently working on.
An angel through the process –
“Listen to the notes that whisper on the wind”
What has truly been exciting about this art making process, is quieting my mind and truly just stepping out of the way. For me it has become another form of meditation as I just play with the materials and allow the piece to unfold. I have always admired great artists and writers who, as you gaze at the work or read their books, you have a sense that they stepped aside and allowed spirit to create through them. This is kind of how I am feeling with this current work. I am not sitting down and composing or planning the piece before I start. Honestly I am surprised when I am finished, its as if I am seeing it for the first time its a gift given to me by spirit. I learned a long time ago that when something is effortless and brings you joy, its what you are meant to be doing.
Thank you Kelly Rae for inspiring us all with your work and sharing your talents. I look forward to spending the next five months with you and our fellow “spirit angel seekers”. It is my hope that as I continue to quiet my mind, this new artwork unfolding will not only whisper to my soul, but speak to the spirit of the viewer as well. Until next time dear friends, grab a moment from your busy day to take a few breaths and listen for your own quiet whispers too.
To learn more about Kelly Rae Roberts check out her link here; www.kellyraeroberts.com