Tag Archives: Outreach

Change your Life with Art


Art is for everyone! Yes, even you. I’m a firm believer everyone should live with and enjoy original art and sometimes that means “do it yourself” art.  Many people leave their walls blank because they are not sure how to fill them and feel it would be costly to do so.  If you have the funds, you won’t regret investing in art that moves you.  But you don’t need a big budget to enjoy beautiful art on your walls.

If you have children, have you framed or hung their art from school? This builds their confidence and adds joy and color to your home. Here’s another fun idea; head to your favorite art supplier, buy a canvas, and gather the family or friends around, each with one paint color and a brush.  Then have everyone begin painting the area in front of them until you all meet in the middle.  You will have a beautiful “under painting”. (image 1)  Now throw paint across it like Jackson Pollack (image 2) or collect objects to attach to the canvas.  Flowers from your garden or leaves make great stamps. You can dip the flowers and leaves into the desired paint color(s) and press them into your canvas (image 3).

Creating a collage is a favorite “do-it-yourself” project of mine because it’s personal.  Using your own photos, post cards, maps, and ticket stubs, you can create an piece of art that reminds you of some of your favorite memories. You will need canvas and “mod podge” (available at the local craft store) to attach your selected items.  First, paint the canvas with your favorite color(s).  Then tear the images you will be using along the edges or in half for an abstract look.  After the images are glued to the canvas in a pleasing arrangement, I like to apply some metallic paint to the areas in between in a random pattern using a sponge (image 4).  Try framing special documents, postcards, or architectural drawings as a way to put your personality in your space.

If doing it yourself doesn’t interest you, you can always consider purchasing art from local art fairs.  It doesn’t need to be costly to begin your own collection.  If you see something that inspires you, buy it! You won’t be sorry.  Whether you buy a finished piece or put it together yourself or with your family, I am confident that you begin to look at the walls as a place from which you can draw happiness through art.

Note: The images in this post are taken in Ethiopia where you can find me sharing my passion that art is indeed for everyone.
Article as seen in the August 2012 Women’s Lifestyle Magazine

A Day at Ekodaga


I love the countryside of Ethiopia, with its rolling hills and open spaces. I relish in escaping the urban chaos of the capital, Addis Ababa. So it was with a smile on my face that I arrived in the rural village of Ekodaga to the north.

I had come to this Tesfa Foundation School to teach an art class. Ekodaga is a very small village, a cluster of huts about a half-hour walk from the town of Chancho. There is no road leading to Ekodaga, just a vast field with some cows, a few shepherds, and in the dry season, our mini-van, much to the dislike of our driver.

Happiness came over me when I saw the school. A school where none had been before. A school the Tesfa Foundation had built. It is painted bright blue and green. There is no electricity, but with the African sun shining brightly through the sky lights, that doesn’t matter.

The children had prepared for our visit, welcoming us with a traditional coffee ceremony and song and dance. Their little faces with big beautiful brown eyes had broad smiles spread across them, and something else, too: pride. Pride that comes from a village that has a school, and they were attending that school.

After spending some time getting to know the children, we focused on the business of making art. After I explained the lesson and did a brief demonstration, the children plunged head first into their art. The lesson was to think of their surrounding landscape and paint it. Once they began, we rarely saw their eyes again, just the tops of their heads as they immersed themselves in their little masterpieces. It is pure joy working with kids who have not yet learned to be self-conscious about their artwork.

Reluctantly, when our lesson was complete it was time to leave. I felt that familiar tug on my heart that means I’ll be back another day, but not soon enough. I was sad as our mini-van pulled away, leaving my new friends behind. I was comforted by the work we do at The Tesfa Foundation, knowing that without our generous funders, this organization, and the hours of volunteer labor, these kids would not be in school at all, and my visit to Ekodaga would have been very different.