"A Little Fun One"
Acrylic Paint & Correction Tape
People ask me if I run out of ideas.
My style is so free and playful and fun. That's where it begins. It starts with a mindset of play. And there are endless possibilities.
Maybe some days I don't feel as bold, as creative, as ready ... but once I begin... the ideas come.
hold the phone
(do they even say that anymore?)
I have completed 51 mini 3x3 canvas paintings and sister pages. Imagine my eyes getting really big like a cartoon character.
Friends, I am so happy with this project. SO very happy so I thought I'd pop over into blog land and leave a little love note of sorts to my first 50 +1 mini's
((ps. sister pages live in an art journal that I get to keep forever and ever! yay))
I am not really sure how long this little project is going to go. But here is what I do know...
I want to make it to 100 days. At least.
After the project is complete I will sell the mini's. They will be available to purchase in groups or individually.
I'm still working on the fine details.
Are you following along???
hello. It's 2018 and though I have been on a youtube binge, a netflix bender, and reading a hefty book... I've also been working on my art like a boss.
that's right. I've been busy.
and for me being busy is all about balance, because if I don't balance out then I could bottom out. Emotionally and physically. And sometimes that happens. (I am human, which means I am an excellent mistake maker).
(Just look at all those grammar errors)
I just wanted to pop in to this blog space... clear the cobwebs and fill you in on some of my projects in the works.
Daily Mini's- I started a daily painting project. I paint a little 3x3 canvas (palm size) every day. DAILY painting is a huge goal of mine so I thought to create a project that is both small and huge. Something I can easily do in a short amount of time each day that will add up to something significant. And bonus, because I am such a generous paint squeezer-out-er I have also been painting a "sister page". The sister page is just for me, to keep a tangible document of this project for the days when all the mini's find new homes.
What I love about the mini project-
the daily practice it promotes, the joy and playfulness of exploring new ideas, having something to post on my Instagram everyday that is brand new, how stinking cute they are, the feeling I get when I display all the mini's together, now I am keeping pretty good track of what day it is.
What I don't so much love-
cleaning my brushes or lack there of said clean brushes, bad lighting.... if I have to paint late in the day it means my photo is late in the day which means less than stellar lighting.
You can follow the Daily Mini project on my Art by Jaci Musec social media. Instagram updates daily, Facebook twice a week.
Recently I had the honor of painting a special commission for my friend Xochitl. She wanted a commission piece as a gift for her niece Rebecca.
The story she told me, Rebecca's... is brave and beautiful. I knew right away that I wanted this abstract to unfold like my Through Infertility paintings. Every layer representing a piece of Rebecca's journey.
Rebecca was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at a very young age. She spent 15 years of her young life in and out of hospitals, undergoing treatment and grappling with the realities of her diagnosis. As time went on it became clear to her doctors and her family that Rebecca's lungs were failing. Then in October 2017, after a much anticipated wait, Rebecca received the call she had been waiting for. Lungs. This brave girl underwent a double lung transplant, and manages to post the most amazingly positive posts on her facebook blog. You can help support Rebecca and read all about her journey at https://m.facebook.com/Rebecca.cfstrong/
This is her painting. An abstract representation of her story.
Standing very still
at the moon
as it stood in front of
the glorious sun
Mountains of hard. Endless and overwhelming they rise up before me. I feel tired and overcome. The mountains of hard. They undo me.
That's exactly how I was feeling as I sat in my latest therapy session.
exhausted. Feeling the weight of everything.
All the grief, depression and fear. Frustration, loneliness and heartache.
It felt like this huge daunting task to even think about beginning to step towards anything.
Mountains of hard.
That's where I was.
Talking helped. Sleeping helped. I took one step and then another.
The medicine began to work, I felt energy seeping back into me. Giving me a little more energy.
I saw people. Friends. My family. I hugged. I talked.
I began to sing again.
I painted again.
the small shifts. the small steps forward.
they moved me. To a new place. to a spot where I could finally breathe and stay awake.
Where I could see the mountains but I could also see my strength. Not a valley.
More like an open field. With tall wavy grass and sturdy oak trees. Where wildflowers bloom and butterflies roam. Where the light hits golden on every inch of land.
Oh my soul.
I took deep breaths.
The mountains are still here. But they are on my canvas and they have less power. I know I will climb them and face them and be surrounded by them. But I will not be undone. Not now.
I found my way back.
here I will rest a bit.
Somewhere, deep within me, my authentic self is calling "come back to me"
I've been out lately. Not out on the town, or out of my mind... just out. Checked out. Clouded by a haze of depression and loneliness. Fog filled days of napping and surviving.
It all seems so dramatic to write out. But when I look back over the past two months I can see it clearly... like a river flowing through, wide, deep and unrelenting.
I didn't realize I was somewhere amidst it's depths, struggling for air and light. But now as I work my way to shore it is so clear. It is so incredibly clear. The river was so loud I couldn't hear, I couldn't see, it took me for a ride. I think it's letting me go now.
I'm holding on to hope. Moving forward, doing the things I know that can help me crawl out of this. I can see it. I can feel it. Things are shifting and I am on my way back. Forward.
life is a combination of breathtaking beauty, overwhelming possibility, heart shattering pain, and simple wonders. It is fleeting.
Ever changing. Always moving.
Sometimes it is painfully, and devistatingly motionless. Sometimes it is brutally fast. We blink, years fly.
I see all of this in the life cycle of a peony. (Or any flower)
that's why I choose to look. To see. To relish the days. Whatever they bring.
Let's talk, shall we.
I recently had an Art By Jaci Musec sponsored event, featuring the Through Infertility series.
Perhaps it is a little silly to host my own event/art show this early in my art career but
it was time to get the word out about this series, and share the stories, the paintings and my intentions for this project.
So... let's start there.
What is this all about?
This series is a Collective Experience & Abstract Expression
Representing Individual Unique Journeys… Through.
Let's break it down... this is an exclusive opportunity for individuals who have/had or are experiencing infertility. It is a special experience of working with (me) the artist, to create an original one of a kind painting, that represents THEIR unique journey through infertility.
How it works?
Individuals provide detailed information in a series of questionnaires.
(Providing as much information as they are willing.)
I spend time reflecting on the experience. Then a 12 x 36* original- abstract- intuitive painting is rendered.
1 in 8 couples experience Infertility.
Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive or carry a pregnancy to term after 12 months of trying to conceive.
The idea for this project came to me while prepping for my first solo art exhibit. I was reflecting on the emotional healing power that making art had had on my own infertility journey and I wanted to be able to help other couples in similar situations. (Read about that show here )
So I put the call out on social media and spread the news via word of mouth... asking couples to participate.
It was an experiment of sorts.
Would people participate?
Would I be able to actually do what I was setting out to do?
Would it in fact be healing like I had experienced in my own art making?
Five couples signed up. Five couples sent me their stories. Five times I read and read and cried. Each story impacted me. Each story was heartbreaking, hopeful, peppered with pain and uncertainty. I could, having walked my own journey, identify with so many expressed emotions. So many of their pivotal moments mirrored mine, and yet, we were all on completely different journeys. AND we were all at different places in our infertility paths.
Each of these five painting have a very unique story to tell. So, here they are:
There Will Be Hope
This couple connected with me while in the midst of their infertility journey. It was here, as they found themselves deep in the trenches, that this painting came to life.
They have been struggling, trying and coping with diagnosis; managing fear and confusion and frustration and hopelessness for a while. In fact, they were on this journey for three years, unable to ovulate doctors had prescribed medications. Several months passed, as they watched their dreams and hopes slip farther out of reach, a miracle---they found themselves pregnant.
What a joyful surprise it is to have a treatment finally work.
However, after far too short of time, they experienced loss. The baby did not make it.
Dread, devastation, and heartbreak.
And yet, they had a renewed sense of hope. They moved forward with a more aggressive protocol. Setting parameters on how long and how much they would attempt before moving towards IVF. Now, as they cautiously hope for another miracle, they find themselves planning for what is next... treatment and the unknown factors of the life that lay before them.
They have also begun work towards becoming foster parents.
Currently they are in a season of active waiting.
Always Meant To Be
This Couple’s story begins several years ago. They learned early on that having their own biological child would be an extremely long and uncertain journey. While this news was difficult to process, they knew that God had called them to explore other options; specifically adoption.
They decided to end treatment and pursue adoption. In a fortunate turn of events they did not wait long. A birthmother choose them and the course of their lives changed the day they adopted their son.
Several years have passed since the thick of their infertility journey and adoption story began, but they have spent these 4 years with a continued hope to grow as a family with another adoption miracle. They continue to wait.
This couple’s story is particularly gripping for me as it centers on some of the negative emotions that are brought to surface in this journey. Physical pain, emotional pain, isolation, frustration, bitterness, jealousy, being misunderstood, hurting, longing, and loneliness to name a few. These are the words they used when describing their story.
I connected with them in the midst of their infertility journey. After years of trying to conceive, they find themselves in the thick of the treatment. Dealing with pain and heartbreak of loss and months upon months of what is known as “charting”. Countless tears have been shed. They continue to hold onto the hope of one day seeing their dreams come true.
Scars Of Heart
This couple’s infertility story is another that continues to unfold. They have been trying for over five years. After a diagnosis of PCOS, and several attempts with medication, a doctor suggested a weight loss surgery for the female to increase odds.
Saying this was one of the hardest things she has ever faced, she no longer can eat normally and often struggles just to eat.
After healing from surgery, they did in fact become pregnant. A miracle. Heartbreakingly, only 9 weeks into this pregnancy they lost the baby.
Devastation and depression hit hard. They are working to heal and have begun to take steps to try again.
Growing and Grieving
This couple’s infertility story is another unique look into the emotional challenges of infertility. After struggling to get pregnant and then finding out that they would have issues conceiving, they worked diligently on altering their lifestyle to optimize their chances before taking the next steps with treatment. With the greatest excitement they became successfully pregnant. However, in the midst of this joyful time, devastation took hold as it became clear that her mother would soon be leaving this earth.
Focus continually shifted between worry and excitement for the growing baby―And heartbreak for the slow loss of her mother. The two experiences becoming so intermingled, and heavily affecting the emotional well being of this couple, that it took years to heal from the trauma.
They couple later went on to go through treatment to conceive their second child.
This project... it is so powerful.
Not only did five couples participate. They all remarked on the experience as having valuable, powerful and HEALING effects on them. GUYS--- that was my intention the whole time.
Here are some of the responses they emailed me after receiving my frequent updates or the final email. One participant couldn't wait, so she called me immediately after receiving the final email.
IT'S ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL!!!! I'm in tears! It tells our story so well! Again, I am so honored to be a part of this.
Omg Jaci...wow. I LOVE it. Seeing it finished has left me speechless. I don't think I'll ever be able to express what this painting means to me. I am so very grateful for you and this project. Thank you for this creation and for all your encouraging words along the way.
Wow...your vision and how you connect and portray things! I am super excited to follow the development of this. Like silly excited!
I'm speechless. I cried looking at the photos you sent. I love knowing that our story is literally the heart of this painting. --Again you leave me speechless. I am moved to tears looking at this painting. You managed to capture everything we've been feeling in one picture. I absolutely love it! -- This process has been so healing. It's given me time to reflect and really think. I've cried a lot this week- thanks to you and hormones!!! Thank you so much for everything!--I cried as soon as I saw the pictures. When I read that the textured circle is baby Shaw, I sobbed. I was not prepared for how this reveal affected me. This painting is absolutely perfect and we can never thank you enough for this amazing gift.
Oh my gosh! Jaci! This is amazing!!!! I love the colors and I love how you interpreted that part of our lives like a shadow. I'm beyond pleased and honored about being a part of this! Also, I'm keeping all these emails to put in my scrapbook!
As an emerging artist, it is amazing to be able to work on projects that are well received. And even more amazing to work on something with so much depth and heart.
I thought for a time that maybe my work would only be deeply personal to me.
This series taught me that there is a whole new level for my work, I am thrilled, inspired and so hopeful.
So, I had the show... displaying these five paintings publicly. Now, these five paintings will go to live with their families. I hope that the paintings continue to bring healing, joy, hope and strength to these couples.
And yet, this project... this series... it has only just begun.
I have opened this up as a special commissioned art service.
If you know someone who would benefit from an experience like this... tell them.
If this project moves you... consider sponsoring a painting for a couple who may not be able to afford one.
IF you are someone who would benefit from an experience like this... please take that first step. Email me... let's connect... YOUR STORY MATTERS!
Read more or sign up for your own commissioned work here.
The act of creating art became a powerful tool in shaping the person I am today.
I love using words to connect with my fellow humans.