Thursday, April 23, 2020

Day of Gratitude -- You Made A Difference!

A creative jump-start exercise from artist Sandhi Schimmel Gold. 

Bored? Write.

  • Get started with this which you simply write a paragraph about 5 individuals who arrived at an important juncture in your life; or made an impression, gave you inspiration, power, championed your abilities, handed you special knowledge, gave guidance, got you through a difficult period or something else. 
  • Something that helped form who you are now. 
  • You may have already thanked them, but here's another way to let people know their life has meaning, and may have touched another so profoundly...and inspire others to do the same. 

An "It's A Wonderful Life" Exercise without angels.

Do not include ANY family members or spouses. That's too easy.
You'd be surprised, once you get started how more people/influencers will pop into mind.

1. Person's first initial ONLY.
2. What challenges you were facing at the moment.
3. The circumstances for your meeting or why something changed about your circumstances.
4. What the person did in 4 sentences ONLY that made an impact so strong that you changed you in a positive way forever.

By the time you're done, your day will be brightened!

Mine are below. See my comments on the bottom. 

1. J
2. Starting a new job/career that I was afraid I was unqualified to do.
3. Visited his office space, housed in my new workplace.
4. He was an extraordinary person who once had everything but lost it. He found himself in a position to solve a problem by using a few connections and a simple idea that became a world-wide movement. His personal sacrifice and unwavering commitment to the poor and hungry slowly wormed it's way into my psyche. I learned about and embraced compassion for my fellow man that has changed me forever.


1. S
2. She was my boss when I was assigned a new role.
3. I was assigned a project that was way beyond anything I'd ever done in any capacity.
4. She saw something in me that gave her the confidence to assign projects that were not only out of my comfort zone, but beyond my experience. She listened patiently and was able to sift through my protestations. She gave me one quick tip and permission to pursue my ideas. She checked in with me only enough to allow me to blossom and complete a very successful project that gave me confidence to try new things.


1. L
2. Lovelorn and lost.
3. We had mutual friends and developed a close friendship.
4. I was going through a very tough time personal/relationship-wise and she was always there, at the end of the phone or the end of her driveway to help. She not only eased my loneliness, she gave me encouragement. When I met someone very special, but geographically undesirable, she discouraged my interest in pursuing more. Her advice? "God sent you an angel" meaning this person's only purpose in my life was only to let me know that I was desirable, and ready to move on and not settle for less than what I deserved.


1. L
2. Developing a career.
3. She was my new boss.
4. She was funny and talented but also very aloof, selfish and lazy. In this way, she gave me the lion's share of work, but took credit for it whenever she could. Her advice to me when I didn't know what to do was "Figure it out" as she walked away. Thanks to her, oddly enough, I did figure it out...over and over and over...and I finally got recognized for the creative work I was doing!


1. B
2. We worked our regular jobs together, were both entrepreneurs, separately, on the side, and shared ideas.
3. When I was fired from a job, we were able to put into action a plan for a future business we discussed over drinks, writing ideas on cocktail napkins. His creative thinking and my creative doing paired with hilarious brainstorming sessions turned into a lucrative business [for a time]. He has two attributes that gave me the freedom to create: bravery and playfulness. Although our business ended years ago, he continues to buoy me up, poke my brain and make me laugh. 


As I started thinking about this, and who I would choose, a common thread appeared  in my mind. The people who have made the most impact are those that allowed me to create, to think outside the box, to express myself, who don't judge, who care about others. 

If it wasn't for the people above, maybe I wouldn't have made some major changes and shifts in my life. Maybe I wouldn't have had confidence or courage to do my own thing, my own way. 

What's most important to you?

So it's no surprise that I became an artist after all. Creative freedom is everything to me. And social justice. And love. 

I can't wait to read yours!


Sunday, September 24, 2017

The Camel - Mixed Media Tapestry made from Upcycled Junk Mail -- "The Last Straw"

 The Last Straw.

It came to me in a dream. A lucid dream, where I was holding a baby camel. I laughed out loud, but stayed asleep. So vivid was this dream, that I immediately looked up the meaning of the dream.
The Last Straw  

 Of course, a dream about a camel can be about endurance, long journeys, reaching goals, but it also can symbolize burdens. That resonated immediately... carrying too many problems on my shoulders, too many responsibilities, clinging to emotions instead of expressing them and releasing them.
So profound... at this juncture of my life, I am thinking about these burdens, about letting go of emotional baggage, about the "things" that I've held on to for so long. 
A few things happened in my most innermost thoughts... more to do with people who I feel responsible for holding up, helping out, opinions I keep to myself, words not expressed...
And it was that dream that made me confront those thoughts, those plans, those unexpressed desires and pent up rage... and as I drove home from an acupuncture treatment, the words spilled out of my mouth. 
"That's the LAST STRAW!"
In my mind's eye was an image of a camel, standing in the desert, the heat of the sun radiating behind him, the blue sky around him. 
As with any composition, I start with a simple pencil drawing... and let my imagination go... let the impulse be the action... 
I keep junk mail, calendars, postcards, business cards, greeting cards, and other paper ephemera around. I use paper to create my compositions. 
After the pencil drawing, I began to paint. Just a bit... and began collecting, from boxes of paper, an assortment of photographs. Could be Drew Barrymore's pic on a Vanity Fair fly card, or a pic of someone's baby from a Christmas card... perhaps a photo of me, a greeting card's puppy dog or cartoon...a campaign postcard's featured candidate... and eureka, an enormous pile of photos cut into little squares. I used the squares to create the body of the camel. I created a coating mixed with some acrylic paint to soften the photos; some lighter, some darker, all a little hazy... and outlined the camel with black. 

What is the meaning of the people as camel? Well, they symbolize the past, the ghosts and traumas the myriad of experiences. They are not literal.
The background was also improvised, and became a sort-of tapestry / oriental rug / geometric design. 
I created it with squares, triangles, circles and flower designs.
 Junk mail, patterns, textures... from a huge variety of papers I've been hoarding.
As you see in the photos, my camel is hairy... furry? Made from variegated yarn in beige and brown tones, cut with tiny scissors and flung on a sticky surface.

 I added some rough ribbon tot he composition for a bridle, and created some tassels from yarn, ribbon and beads, added chains, bells and other decorative touches. 

Along the bottom are desert roses, also made from paper, which are a bit dimensional. These flowers are native to countries where camels are used as beasts of burden.

You may wonder why I do not attach large files or hi-res photos to these blogs. 
I have a reason. 
I have seen my work reproduced as prints at art fairs, and for sale as designs for other commercial products.
The process of creating is the necessity for me. Once I create a piece,
I no longer need to own it. I work out my issues and have all the self-talk while I am in the studio.
  After many weeks, I am done. This is truly a mixed-media work, a paper mosaic, a tapestry, a dream realized. A slight departure from 15+ years of paper mosaic portraits!
The camel is for sale, it is 36" high x 48" wide, on canvas. Please contact me if you are interested in owning this unusual work of art.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

And now...a Fine Art Installation for Residential, Corporate, Retail and Hospitality.

One of a kind.
Hand made.

The Art Room - a fine art gallery in Petersburg, VA - features a wall of squares...not quite tiles, and not exactly like many other installations of this kind. Today, 135 individual little masterpieces adorn one wall.
The squares, loving called "miroir aux alouettes," are not manufactured, not mass produced, not based on trends, and not for everyone. The name refers to traps for larks [the birds!] which always feature mirrors, like these small treasures.

They're not glass or wood... they are small canvas squares [6x6x1"] that are hand painted and embellished with all sorts of unusual things... old Christmas cards, real gold foil, vintage pendants, glass mirrors, cannibalized jewelry, keys, tiny animals, beads, rhinestones, toys, tiles, tacks, gears, bait, buttons, bows and bits and pieces of a zillion different things. No two are alike. 
They are hand made by a duo of artists [known as Ibby & Ommie] who found inspiration in many places, and save every little thing that might be useful.

Many other artisans create or manufacture memory blocks, tiles, or plaster, paper, copper, tile...create installations of a few or hundreds of pieces. Here are some examples from Sid Dickens, Houston Llew and Cedar Mountain... and hand made mosaics from Dusciana Bravura in Venice, Italy.
Houston Llew Copper

Cedar Mountain Mass Produced Blocks

Dusciana Bravura Mosaics

Sid Dickens Plaster Memory Blocks

For a high-end client who wants to make a similar impact, but also wants something no one else can possibly own, consider a grouping of these unusual little masterpieces -- that will begin many a conversation. Everyone that sees these unusual works of art stays and looks, and wants to know more.
On a bookshelf

Tiger, tiger...burning bright
Oh, Deer!
Penguin on a Bike!
They are elaborate, yet lightweight and can hang on a single small nail. They are not perfectly square. The edges are painted and adorned with ribbon or webbing; all are sealed with gloss coating. They will last for years without any maintenance

Orange Mandala

A client in Calabasas, CA with her first!

Currently priced at $125.00 USD per piece; with volume discounts for groupings. The artists can customize pieces with your clients' colors, themes, and can include bits and pieces, logos, marketing materials, etc. They can match pantone colors or interior paint colors.

And, they make lovely, unique gifts!

For more information, visit The Art Room's Facebook Page...The artists can also be contacted through
Follow on Instagram

Friday, April 3, 2015

Oh Venice, you did it again...UPDATED 4/4/15


Third trip to Italy - this time I visited Rome, Cinqueterre, Mantua and Venice...and this time was the first time with my darling husband.

I was inspired EVERYWHERE, and wandering the streets [canals] and alleys of Venice always leads me to something that inspires me. Everything outside and inside. I have more ideas than hours in the day.

On our last day, we were off in a different direction when i came upon a gallery that took my breath away.

Too bad they were already closed, I might have tried to purchase everything. Yes, I took photos through the window. Naughty me. Look at Dusciana Bravura's amazing sculptures online. But...the wall of little square mosaics captured my attention.

Check these out! Of course, they are made from GLASS...I don't know if theyre grouted or fused or what... but they are meticulously made from glass tiles, mirrors, millifiore cane, maybe cermics?

I know how to create glass mosaics, but I work in paper. This display gave me an idea that I could incorporate [borrow...steal...?] into my work with junk mail and found objects.

So with proper PROPS to Dusciana Bravura... here's my venture into creating small pieces: on canvas - using/ upcycling a smattering of stuff I had on hand - in my many drawers of junk mail, Christmas cards, ceramic tiles, beads, crystals and jewels from my Grandmother and Mom's collection [they were jewelers in the 50's] mirrors, rhinestones, electronic parts, hardware [tacks, bolts, etc.]. souvenirs, wood, clock parts, napkin rings, glitter, glass beads, bobbins, plastic toys and more:

 Now I'm obsessed with making more! So far, I've made 16. They are 6x6", on thick canvas. They're painted all around with lace trim on the side... very shiny and no two are alike. They have a very high gloss coating. Here are some detail pics:

I have a few more ideas up my sleeve from that trip... 

For you non-creative types... LOOK AROUND YOU and you'll find a world of inspiration!

I'm calling this collection of little canvases "Miroir aux Alouettes"
Each piece has mirrors - round, tiny squares or larger ones. All of them include gold leafing and reflective materials. The term refers to traps used to catch larks. They had tiny mirrors on them, to attract the birds that like "shiny things!" All of the canvases are coated several times with a glossy medium; some have glitter, some are irridescent, some contain glass beads or other shiny lacquers. 
24 as of 4/7/2015

Monday, March 23, 2015

The oddly glowing and extravagantly bejeweled Blue Hippo of Luck and Love in Situ.

Imagine you are wandering on your own, contemplating your future when your reverie is interrupted by a huffling noise amid the nearby grasses. A grunting noise accompanied by that of squishing of muck and mire, green blades of grass moving to and fro. You explore further and come upon a clearing - a puddle of mud occupied by a single, blue hippopotamus.

This beast is not only of unusual color, but also covered in a pattern of sparkling jewels. He glitters in the sunlight, his eyes are shimmering sapphires. Typically, hippos are dangerous to humans, but this particular specimen is not. In fact, you have discovered a mystery, a good luck charm, an enchanted being with the power to distribute luck and love to those who find him by accident. For those who need a boost of luck, or a true love to arrive, you only need to find him.
Gaze upon him, then close your eyes and visualize that which will fulfill your heart's deepest wish. His power is yours for just a moment, as he will disappear as quickly as he arrived.

The Oddly Glowing and Extravagantly Bejeweled Blue Hippo of Luck and Love In Situ.

Sandhi Schimmel Gold's Blue Hippo
in si·tu
/in ˈsīto͞o,ˈsē-/
adverb & adjective
adverb: in situ; adjective: in situ; adverb: insitu
in its original place."mosaics and frescoes have been left in situ"
in position. "her guests were all in situ"


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Clever, Funny, Creative, Knowledgeable, Insightful, Experienced and other superlatives...

No, not talking about me.

No...the funniest guy in the room - is also the smartest one - the brain you want to tap into - is my Brother...Jeff.

His memories of our childhood, he would argue, is different than mine. He was the golden child - literally - golden hair, golden skin, bright green eyes with long golden lashes. A golden orb glowing from within. The kid with the straight A's. He grew so fast during junior high, if he stood still you could watch his pants grow shorter. We fought like cats and dogs, nearly to the death, at times. In some ways I was jealous of how smart he [was] is.

He was going to go places. And he did - he was a huge fan of Bruce Lee, so he became one of his teacher's students. Jeff earned a black belt in Jeet Kune Do [a system of fighting - Kung Fu-ey] and studied Mandarin. That meant college in Seatlle. College at Cornell, in Arizona...  law school in NYC and Los Angeles. The kid my parents thought was the one and only hope for the American Dream [of refugees] was on track  -- but secretly  unhappy and frustrated. A family of creative types spawned another generation of unabashed creative types.

A Psychocybernetics workshop conducted by our old family friend Shirley unearthed an unspoken dream...which was confirmed by my good friend Joyce, an astrolger... [I got Jeff a reading as a gift] Jeff's real talent, and future would lie in his ability to write.

So, the Doctor of Jurisprudence moved to the City of Angels and thus began a 30+ year multi-dimensional career that included writing for Television...Movies...Stand-Up Comedians and more.

Jeff has produced more than #1 rated Radio show and has an been an active member of the Writers Guild. He's been clever, nimble, intelligent, funny...and more. He's worked with more celebrities than I could name... from writing their jokes to screenplays...[movies that actually got MADE]. He even pitched our Mom's story to a movie studio - which got optioned by none other than Steven Spielberg!

Many people in the industry, not just newbies, turned to Jeff for advice. He gave it freely... and was spot on. A lot of people would concur. Me? I admire him from afar. During one hiatus, Jeff developed a workshop in response to a writer's group in Phoenix. He flew over, put a bunch of people in a room and after 2 days they walked out with their brains bursting - full of know-how, and a healthy dose of reality. We all know that you have to take your Hollywood ambition with a hefty grain of salt.

I've been bugging my brother to bring his "workshop" to my neck of the woods, and he is. Maybe you just need your script punched up, maybe you want to ask questions about pitching your idea for a TV show, maybe you're thinking of buying a typewriter...He is one cool dude, he will not only tell you everything he knows, he'll also tell you what not to do, in a smart and affordable way.

So if you've EVER thought of writing for Television or Movies... or jokes, or other projects, this is the time to sign up - if you live in Baltimore, or Washington, or are willing to drive there for a weekend... if you live in or near New Orleans...or Phoenix... and if not - contact Jeff and maybe he'll bring a workshop your way. He's the funniest guy in the room, and he's got the chops to teach you a thing or two.

I still admire my brother, I think you will, too. Click on the link above to see what he's up to -- Maximum Screenwriting - and if you have a writer's group, contact him - and if you, just you have always wanted to write? This is the guy to know. He's not so blonde anymore...but he's still golden - and glowing, as far as I'm concerned!