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09/13/15
Moo Cards
Filed under: General, Photography, Mixed Media, Creativity, Design, Creative Every Day
Posted by: Mary @ 5:42 pm

I ordered some square moo cards today! I am getting 2.5″ square cards made with 5 different designs of my artwork on the back. They are an alternative to the traditional business card and I thought I could use them to tell people about my blog and website.They are more like a calling card than a business card for me. I don’t have a business and am just doing this for fun as a way to chronicle my artistic growth and share my work with others.

     

     

     


Mary MacIlvain

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08/28/15
Photo Collages
Filed under: General, Collage, Photography, Creativity, Inspiration, Art Journal, Design, Creative Every Day
Posted by: Mary @ 4:26 pm

Today I enjoyed a vacation day, the start of a 3 day weekend, and went to White Flower Farm in Litchfield. I wanted to see flowers,take pictures of flowers, and be surrounded by beauty. And it was so awesome to be there. Hard to imagine there could be so many flowers blooming at the end of August. When I got home I played with my new and all time favorite phone app, PhotoGrid. It is an android app to make photo collages and there must be something similar for the iPhone. But PhotoGrid is truly great! Here are my photo collages from several gardens (my friend Kate’s gardens, Ballek’s Garden Center, my brother Larry’s gardens, and White Flower Farm) and of course this blog post wouldn’t be me without some shameless selfies :-)


Mary MacIlvain

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08/02/15
Just for One Day
Filed under: General, Collage, Photography, Mixed Media, Creativity, Inspiration, Art Journal, Creative Every Day
Posted by: Mary @ 5:40 pm

Here is what I created for week 4 of Inner Excavation with Liz Lamoreux - poetry and Photo Grid selfy collages.


Mary MacIlvain

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12/14/14
‘Tis the Season
Filed under: General, Photography, Creativity, Inspiration, Family and Friends, Creative Every Day, Quotes
Posted by: Mary @ 11:34 am

December brings the winter solstice and the shortest day of the year. December brings holidays, family gatherings, and renewal of friendships. December brings a flurry of activities as well as a quiet contemplation of all the things in life to be grateful for, however large or small. December can also be a lonely time and it is important to reach out to others and let them know that you are there. It is also important to reach out to others when you are feeling alone as that will bring you outside of your inner world.

I have experienced a tremendous amount of growth and healing this year. From somewhat tentative steps taken over the past few years to make my life better, I have found self acceptance and self confidence that was not there before. I have been through a lot of very difficult times but I kept going and did not give up. There are a number of things that have made a difference in my life and I want to honor those here.

• Online art communities, online art classes, and art journaling

• Deepened, reciprocal relationships with my children as young adults

• My job, where I feel a sense of belonging and appreciation

• My friends, there for me even when I feel a need to pull back and withdraw

• My family, always there even when we don’t see each other often enough

• My doctors, who keep me healthy - can’t say enough good things about them

• My favorite person, for making it safe to open my heart and to trust

• The earth, the sun, the moon, the stars, the water, the sky above us all

• My faith in God and my belief that everything happens for a reason


Mary MacIlvain

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10/05/14
Fall is in the Air
Filed under: General, Photography, Mixed Media, Painting, Creativity, Inspiration, Art Journal, Book of Days, Quotes
Posted by: Mary @ 12:43 pm

Fall is a time for renewal and rebirth,
for growth, change, and transformation.
Fall is a time for  examining where you’ve been,
where you are, and where you’re going.
Fall is a time for chili in the crockpot
and crunching leaves as you walk along outside.
Fall is a time for losing yourself
and then finding yourself once again.
Fall is a time for centering yourself
and for going deep inside to the wellspring.
Fall is a time for reaching out, seeking,
and connecting with kindred souls.
Fall is a time for lovers to know
the depth of feelings that they share.

Usually I write a poem on paper first with a lot of crossouts and changes, but this one flowed right out of my fingers through the keyboard. I have Pandora music on in the background playing the New Age channel. Fall is my favorite time of year and it brings such good things for me. I have always lived in New England with the cycle of the four seasons and it is a strong part of how I mark the passage of time.

I am spending some time in the kitchen today. My son is coming over and we are going to enjoy a variety of foods… chili, guacamole and chips, penne augustine, and apple crisp. Those seemed like the right things to make on a fall day. Spending time preparing food to share with loved ones can be a sacred, meditational act.


Mary MacIlvain

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Power Elements
Filed under: General, Photography, Mixed Media, Painting, Creativity, Inspiration, Art Journal
Posted by: Mary @ 12:39 pm

In the Book of Days 2014 Volume Three art journaling class we explored four power elements as part of a mini-series in this 12 week class. The four power elements are illustrated in the following four art journal spreads. I chose to use selfies instead of painted self portraits as I do not enjoy painting portraits and I wanted this to be fun for me. The facial expressions of the photos I chose reflect the feeling of the element. One of the things that I love about taking classes with Effy is that she presents the lessons in detail and encourages you to do your own take on the ideas. She also lets you download the art instructional videos which is so generous. I have been taking classes with Effy for two years now and she is an inspiration. Effy is teaching in Life Book again this year, a celebration and honouring of you. Life Book is an awesome year long mixed media art class run by Tamara Laporte from the UK and there are 25 inspiring teachers in all. I love taking online art classes - the videos are great and I can go at my own pace and fit the classes into my life.

Here are my four spreads: To Know, To Dare, To Will, To Be Silent. Simple and yet powerful. Sometimes something simple says a lot more than something complex.


Mary MacIlvain

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08/17/14
Selfies: It’s Not What You Think
Filed under: General, Photography, Mixed Media, Painting, Creativity, Inspiration, Art Journal, Creative Every Day, Book of Days
Posted by: Mary @ 11:26 am

What do all these selfies mean anyway? I am somewhat self conscious about myself and my appearance at times but I am certainly not self absorbed. I am a very introspective person and spend a lot of time looking inward and seeking answers to the eternal questions: who am I, what am I doing here, where have I been, where am I going, and where am I at this very moment in time?

My Book of Days art journal spread this week does not follow the class lesson but I prefer to use an art class as a jumping off point. This spread exuberantly shows what I am all about, who I am, and where I see myself in relation to the world. In a way, that makes this a defining statement about feeling empowered in my own life. If I chose to let my past hold me back, I would not be able to feel these wonderful feelings that have grown inside of me. It is the challenges of life that have made me become the person who I am today and I honor the lessons of my past while letting go and moving forward in life.

I created a planner page with my wish list for week 29. I could have made a list of things that i want for myself but that did not resonate with me. Instead I listed the intangibles that are basic to humanity. These are things that have no easy solution but they are important to hope and pray for, to add to the collective consciousness of all people on our planet Earth.


Mary MacIlvain

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07/21/13
Helen Carlson Nature Sanctuary
Filed under: General, Photography, Creativity, Inspiration, Creative Every Day
Posted by: Mary @ 6:15 pm

To celebrate the end of the heat wave today, I turned off the A/C, opened all the windows, and moved furniture around! My appetite having returned I spent some time in the kitchen cooking and made meatballs for pasta and a big bowl of fresh salsa. They had bunches of fresh cilantro in the grocery store yesterday and it looked and smelled luscious. Tasted great in the salsa too :-) Later in the day I decided to go to the Helen Carlson Nature Sanctuary and walk through the stillness of the vegetation. I saw frogs jumping and fended off mosquitoes with no bug spray on me. I just can’t stand the feel of that stuff on my skin. The nature sanctuary becomes more overgrown each time I go there so I make my way around the fallen trees on the path. It is very peaceful and serene here.

Yesterday’s blog post with photos from a garden center opened wide my nearly 4 month blogging hiatus and thinking about this made me realize that it is important to me to keep going and share my art and photos here. Right now I am loosely working through Inner Excavation by Liz Lamoreux in a guided study group with Effy Wild. Loosely means I am excavating the present, the here and now, not memories of the past which is more the focus of the book. This book has made me realize how much I love taking photos and I had forgotten that I like to write poetry too, so I want to branch out and incorporate more of these elements in my mixed media work.


Mary MacIlvain

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07/19/13
Summer Days
Filed under: General, Photography, Creativity, Inspiration, Creative Every Day
Posted by: Mary @ 3:00 pm

We are in the midst of a heat wave, that hot, humid, bring you to your knees New England weather that has everyone staying indoors. The gardens are still lush and green as water is plentiful here and the rains will soon come to clear out this oppressive air.

I have not written a blog post in a while and have been re-evaluating what I want to do with this platform. At this point I don’t really know. I have been taking art journaling classes online but my journal spreads do not reduce well to fit the size of my blog structure. Some of what I am doing is too personal to share publicly as I am using art journaling as a tool for self discovery. I admire people who are open and can share easily but I just don’t feel comfortable with that.

I would like to share a list of creative people online who speak authentically, who motivate and inspire me these days:

Effy Wild http://effythewild.com/

Flora Bowley http://braveintuitiveyou.com/blog/

Liz Lamoreux http://www.lizlamoreux.com/

21 Secrets http://www.dirtyfootprints-studio.com/2008/05/21-secrets-art-journal-playground.html

Jill K. Berry http://personal-geographies.com/

Sarah McMurray http://she-tribe-project.blogspot.com/

Cat Caracelo http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=P0im-kYEO6o#!

Visit their blogs or spaces and let them inspire you too!


Mary MacIlvain

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03/30/13
Low Tide at 3:51pm
Filed under: General, Photography, Creative Every Day
Posted by: Mary @ 9:15 pm

It was low tide at 3:51pm at Hammonasset today and it was sunny and warm for March in Connecticut, so my son and I took a ride down to the shoreline with our cameras in our backpacks. There was a stiff offshore breeze that was bone chilling at times but the air was crisp and clean with the salt spray I love so much. You could see Long Island clearly across the sound, about 20 miles away. It was magnificent to be there as always and my hair still smells like the ocean.

Yesterday UPS brought me 2 new inspirational books: Inner Excavation - Explore Your Self Through Photography, Poetry and Mixed Media by Liz Lamoreux; and Brave Intuitive Painting - let go, be bold. unfold. - techniques for uncovering your own unique painting style by Flora Bowley. Both books are just what I need at this moment in time.

I would like to share an Irish Proverb from Flora Bowley’s book.

Work like you don’t need the money.
Dance like no one is watching.
Sing like no one is listening.
Love like you’ve never been hurt.
Live life every day as if it were your last.

I am taking the 21 Secrets Art Journaling workshop that starts April 1st and can’t wait!


Mary MacIlvain

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03/05/13
Jeanie’s Quilt
Filed under: General, Photography, Creativity, Inspiration, Family and Friends, Design, Quilting, Creative Every Day
Posted by: Mary @ 10:11 pm

Last weekend I went to a quilt retreat at YMCA Camp Hazen in Chester, CT. I had a wonderful time in the lodge with my quilting friends and over the long weekend I made this photo graduation quilt for my son’s girlfriend. When I came to the retreat I had a gridded plan on graph paper, 16 photos printed on Printed Treasures pretreated printable fabric, and a sweater box filled with a varied selection of purple fabric. The quilt went together like a puzzle and then was free motion machine quilted on my Bernina. Last night I gave the quilt to Jeanie and she was thrilled to have this warm cuddly memory of her college graduation.


Mary MacIlvain

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01/13/13
Luminance at the Cranberry Bog
Filed under: General, Photography, Creativity, Inspiration, Creative Every Day
Posted by: Mary @ 5:15 pm

I went to the cranberry bog today to try out my new hiking boots and be present to nature. We have been closed in with fog most of the weekend but the sun came out mid-day so I threw my camera and small sketchbook in my backpack and headed out. The first boardwalk was slippery but that didn’t stop me from continuing down the trail. When I reach the area near the beaver house it always feels like I have entered nature’s sanctuary. There is never anyone here because it is not on the map, no one knows about it except for a few local people, and the trail is no longer maintained. There is a special wildness and serenity to this place as it is rarely touched by human footsteps. The only sound is an occasional call from a water bird breaking the silence.

Every time I come here I discover something new and try to capture that with my camera and sketchbook. Today I found luminance that bordered on ethereal. It was awesome and magical the way the light reflected off the soft ice creating a wonderful effect of interspersed light, shadow, and reflection. It turned out to be a precious, fleeting moment of impermanence as the clouds moved back in while I was exploring my surroundings. It made me realize how important it is to be present to and aware of what is happening around you or you may miss something that could make a difference in your life.

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11/23/12
Low Tide in November
Filed under: General, Photography, Inspiration
Posted by: Mary @ 7:12 pm

It was warm today even though it is almost winter in Connecticut - sunny and 55 degrees out. I checked the tide charts for Hammonasset state park and discovered that low tide was at 1pm and decided to get down there by noon today. There were some people there enjoying the nice weather with their dogs and/or their families, and some were on horseback too. I was there alone with my sketchbook and camera. It is my favorite place to go when I want to think things through and sort things out in my life. It is a place where I always reconnect with myself.

At low tide you can walk past the rocks and salt marshes all the way out to the hidden point. This part of the park is ordinarily cut off from the main area at Meig’s Point by the tide rolling in over the passageway, so you have to time your visit accordingly or you could get stranded.

The water was very gentle and quiet today with no wind to stir up the ocean waves. It was very peaceful to be present to the place where the land meets the sea. There was a quiet reverence for place that I felt deeply in my heart. When I go there, time transcends space and it is as if I become one with all that is good in this world.

I want to share some photos that I took along the way and in some small way share my journey with you.


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11/09/11
Where I’m At
Filed under: General, Photography, Creativity, Inspiration, Creative Every Day
Posted by: Mary @ 9:29 pm



This photo was taken in the aftermath of the October snowstorm that came when the trees were still full of leaves, weighing down and breaking many branches and trees. This photo belies the ordeal we all went through losing electricity, some for a week or more, and living with the cold and the darkness. Everyone was grateful when they got their power back and we had crews from many states including Michigan and Maryland who came here to Connecticut to help us. Big thanks to all!

I have been busy adjusting to a new job as a Marketing Coordinator at an architectural firm and can honestly say I love it there. The work is varied and interesting and the people are great. It’s a very upbeat place! They do work that matters, projects ranging from community centers to homeless shelters to transitional housing for battered women to affordable housing to educational facilities to commercial real estate. It’s awesome to be a part of this.

My creative work has slowed down quite a bit recently and I am taking this time for reflection about where I’m at. I have been doing a lot of personal journaling to try to clarify my direction and see where I am going. I would like to set some goals but I don’t want to push myself. Right now I am more into letting things flow naturally and freely.

Ask yourself some questions and dig deep for meaning. What is important to you? What do you want to do with your life? How do you feel about yourself as an artist? As a person? What really excites you? What do you really want to do? What inspires you? Who inspires you? What is holding you back? Sometimes the questions are more important than the answers.



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09/08/11
Walking in the Rain
Filed under: General, Photography, Inspiration, Creative Every Day
Posted by: Mary @ 11:57 am

It has been raining for a few days now and I walked to the library yesterday underneath my purple umbrella to check out some books and videos. I almost walked past this dramatic leaf and then stopped and backed up to have a closer look. The leaf was huge and probably a variety of hosta or similar plant. I am not a gardener like my mother, although I did make an attempt at gardening at another time in my life. My garden always seemed to be an overgrown haven for invasive plants that spread underground runners and took over things.

This leaf stands alone, its veins marking the passage of time and its coloring heralding the coming of fall. The drops of rain along the surface stand up quietly to announce their presence on this quietly grey day. The shape of the leaf folding back on itself is what intrigued me to take a closer look. Sometimes, when we hurry through our lives, we miss the small things, the important things, the quiet beauty of the things all around us. Just for a moment, really see instead of just looking. Try to capture this beauty in your mind and hold it close to your heart.


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04/26/11
Newport Doors
Filed under: General, Photography, Creativity, Inspiration, Digital Art, Design, Creative Every Day
Posted by: Mary @ 11:28 am

Recently I visited Newport, Rhode Island and walked about the charming neighborhood just south of the Newport bridge near the edge of Rhode Island sound. What enchanted me the most was the colorful entry doors to many of the homes, each with a personality all its own. When I got home and studied my photos from the journey, the concept for this poster came to me fully formed as an image. Don’t you just love it when that kind of serendipity happens?


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01/29/11
Snow Tunnels
Filed under: General, Photography
Posted by: Mary @ 10:06 pm

We got another 14 inches of snow Wednesday night and we have so much snow now that we don’t know what to do with it all. At over 40 inches (101 cm) of snow we’ve broken the 100 year record for snowfall in January. Getting out of a driveway when you can’t see over the snow tunnel is hazardous at best, and I have to back out of mine. It certainly is an adventure venturing forth!

Walking down the sidewalk tunnels makes me feel like a little kid again as the snow is 4 to 5 feet high in some places. It is kind of fun when you get past the difficulty of maneuvering and the constant pain in your back, arms, and hands from all the shoveling. When it warms up above freezing the snow tunnels start caving in, so you have to keep shoveling to keep the path clear. This reminds me of the old New England story my father used to tell of how he used to walk uphill 5 miles in waist deep snow to get to school.

Creative posts will be coming soon. I did get out to a local scrapbooking event last night and had fun creating pages with my holiday photos, using a different approach to my pages for this new album. And I finished a long term project last weekend - a small crazy quilt memorabilia piece with photos of my children on fabric.


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01/22/11
Walk in the Snow
Filed under: General, Photography, Creative Every Day
Posted by: Mary @ 8:21 pm

Went for a walk around town in the snow today. It was good to smell the cool, crisp air and feel the sun piercing through the cold winter day. We are all tired of the snow around here and there is more snow forecast for Wednesday. Not sure where we are going to put it all but it certainly has piled up in front of the police station right around the corner from me. And yes that is a squirrels nest there in the tree. I didn’t notice that when I took the picture, my chilled hands fumbling with the camera controls through my knit gloves. But I saw the nest when I offloaded the camera into my laptop.

It is easy to miss small things if you don’t look long and hard at what’s in front of you or are focused on something else. Walking always clears my head and brings me back to my center. A long row of icicles runs down the side of the library, my absolute favorite place in town. Books and friends - what more could you need? I am so happy here in my little town.


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01/13/11
Digging Out
Filed under: General, Photography, Inspiration, Creative Every Day
Posted by: Mary @ 8:14 pm

I have been rearranging my space in an effort to make my creative supplies more accessible and easy to get to… a kind of digging out if you will. Things got hectic in December because I made a lot of Christmas gifts for family and friends: earrings, snap bags, an apron, and a pillow. In the process I realized that my art, craft, mixed media, scrapbooking, and quilting supplies were disorganized and so I have been enjoying going through everything and finding special things that had been forgotten. Beads, wire, fabric, yarn for doll hair, buttons, ribbons, papers, art journals, altered books, sea glass.

We’ve had a lot of snow since Christmas including a blizzard Tuesday night into Wednesday. My sister has some great snow photos to share on her blog - she lives about an hour from my house. I measured 24″ when I did the back walk and another inch fell later for a total of 25″. It was a lot of snow! I had major help digging out and am very grateful to live in a small town where people care and are there for you.

There is something about a long snowstorm that gives you pause to think and reflect. The hush that falls over the land brings a special kind of peace. There was almost no movement of vehicles and I only heard one siren during the storm. Usually I hear the ambulance all the time as I live not far from the bridge and that’s the only way to get over the river to the hospital.


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10/31/10
October Beach
Filed under: General, Photography, Inspiration, Creative Every Day
Posted by: Mary @ 8:32 pm

A meandering fall foliage ride on backroads and byways yesterday ended up at Hammonasset Beach, one of my favorite places in Connecticut. The sun was brilliant, the surf was pounding, and the stiff offshore breeze pushed me back a step several times. For me there has always been something magical about walking the beach at any time of the year. It is invigorating to feel the saltwater spray in my hair and let my thoughts follow the sound of the waves while walking the tide’s edge.



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