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Dear friends,

Today, I am happy to launch a new blog series on my Blog here: Notes from the Artist Studio.  In this blog series I will be sharing insights, inspirations and an insiders glimpse into my creative process as I design and create from Waterfront Studios.

This first entry is literally my notes to self after a coaching session with my dad, Fred Eck, MFA, about next steps on a commissioned portrait painting that I was in the last stages of.

Here are my notes from his suggestions and below then, you’ll find a series of in progress pics from start to delivery.  *Disclaimer: This type of commission was a one-off, done as a favor for a friend, was a huge challenge, as portraits are generally not my specialty, AND, I chose water-based oil paints as the medium~ super challenging medium for me too.  So proud of myself that I completed the project successfully and that my client was super super happy with!

Top foot- extend toes closer to end of fabric
Lines all around feet – look at pic and paint in lines
More straight less curvy

Dark under lower leg
Top of bottom thigh dark

Dark curve lower leg at curve

Eyes
Left eye- more white left side

Right eye- white goes under iris
Add a little green to white right side
Add eye liner
Paint in shadow on right eye corner
Move iris white highlight move to left

Hair- left side curlier
Lips alter left side
Shadow under lower lip
Chin shadow a little darker

Jewelry – add in
Hands
Lower leg ankle with darker purple color

Highlight on right hand with fabric -Like other area above left hand

Touch up outer edge green right

Touch up green background – upper right side

Dry in sun
Varnish

Deliver to happy client. 🙂

 

The preliminary sketch

 

Hands-on tutorial by my dad showing me how to block in lights, darks and mid-tones. 

His own large format paintings surround the scene.

 

 

The completed painting.

Thank you for reading and I invite you to share your contributions via comments and connect to me via my Facebook page, explore my Art with Lórien art classes on YouTube, and if you would like to make sure you are notified about more content like this, join my newsletter here to be the first to know about launches, events and more.  Keep in touch!

May your days be filled with a sense of wonder, love and the spirit of Aloha,

In love, gratitude and beauty…

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Hello!  I am happy to be back writing here in my blog, after a turn-of-the-year hiatus and by demand of very clear, poignant and pivotal events of late. In this blog, I am embarking in an area that is not often openly talked about and is quite a complex, layered, and profound area of the human experience.  For some time now, what has been brought to my attention once again, is the grieving process, the stages of grief and my own personal layers of grief that began in earnest with the death of my six-year-old sister when I was eleven years old.  For me, grief had been a very scary and sensitive topic (death and dying included) and I avoided or denied those feelings with some underlying.  I was a young girl, just in the 6th grade and the space and stages of grieving were paused and delayed in earnest until I was about eighteen years old and a freshman in college.  It was a car accident where I was injured, shaken up and overall, experienced trauma and stress, and was the catalyst to a profound spiritual awakening and the earnest start in my search for meaning and truth.  It also was the impetus of my own conscious grieving process of the physical death of my only sister and my desire to connect with her spiritually.  This process has been a constant, as with every death “out there,” all loss and grief is re-triggered for me.  And like everything in life and personal growth, progress not perfection has been my ally as I continue to navigate the many losses and feel the grief in my life and in the collective.  One of the ways that I process and integrate loss and grief now is through my art practice and I will be blogging more about art, healing and grief in subsequent blog posts… stay tuned.

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Here are my observations right now and what inspired this post today.  The veils are certainly thin these days, and I am being reminded once again how truly precious life on Earth is, to cherish every moment and to continue to LOVE above all else, especially when the external realities are extreme and polarizing.

sobonfu Sobunfu and I at the Rowe Center, MA, June 2000

This is from January 19, 2017: Today I started my day like many others, morning rituals, welcoming a new day to embrace, embark and do my very best.

I learned of the passing of one of my very special teachers, a powerful healer named Sobonfu Somé. I do not know the details of her passing to the Spirit world other than the fact the she was with her family in Burkina Faso. What I do know deep in my bones, is the impact that she had on me and the sweet memories I have with her, studying her books, learning from her culture, the Dagara in Burkina Faso and most importantly, being with her in sacred ritual at the Rowe Camp and at the Omega Institute in NY, both in 2000. Her name itself means, “keeper of the rituals” and her work and legacy touched many many lives here in the West.

I was introduced to her work through another teacher and mentor of mine who has also passed, Joy Parker, who was studying with Malidoma Somé. I was excited to study with him but destiny guided to study with Sobonfu instead! After devouring her books, I was able to be with her in person at one of her grieving ritual 3-day retreats, this one at the Rowe Center. It was powerful, transformational and taught me about honoring the sacred in everyday life, to honor my ancestors and to embrace grief, something that was and still is a life long learning curve.

Sobonfu also taught me about the sacred element Water. She founded Wisdom Spring, working diligently to provide various villages in West Africa with drinking water and to provide resources for education through its various programs including Art for Africa and Walking for Water.

Ironically (or is it?), there is a Grief Ritual scheduled for March 2017 near Washington, D.C.

Anyway, I’m continuing to reflect on how knowing of and receiving Sobonfu’s life gifts here on earth has impacted me and what more I can do to integrate and honor her legacy.  To learn more and benefit from her wisdom, visit http://www.sobonfu.com

It is comforting to me to know that she is crossing over to the realm of the ancestors and her Spirit endures through her work and us…

My reflections so far about Sobonfu and her teaching will continue in forthcoming blog posts and revolve around her legacy of discovering and sharing our gifts and for me that includes the healing, art-making and evolving through the grieving process.

Something that I heard today from another wonderful teacher/friend of mine, Georgette Star of the Life Blessing Institute, who said. “I’m learning to “share this intimacy of grief with others who can hold that level of sharing. What an incredible gift to connect heart to heart.”  And, with that my friends, I’ll share that my heART is here to heal, to teach and to inspire healing the hearts of others and the world through engaging intimately with the creative process.  I truly look forward to sharing my three new art program launches this spring which range from a foundations in art-making course to a program that facilitates a deep dive into your creative healing process with me as your gentle guide.

Thank you for reading and I invite you to share your contributions via comments and connect to me via my Facebook page, explore my Art with Lórien art classes on YouTube, and if you would like to make sure you are notified about more content like this, please sign up for my newsletter here.

May your days be filled with a sense of wonder, love and the spirit of Aloha,

In love, gratitude and beauty…

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Art with Lórien Studio Video Production Set

Hello My People!

It has been a bit since I have posted here, and I will just say that I have been involved!  Involved with creating and producing lots of art and art education content!  Whew!  Check it all out on my website, especially take a look at Art with Lórien, my fairly new online learning platform and community!  Woot!  I have also been up to the following hobby of mine, which is supporting women in the media.  One of my favorite organizations is the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, an organization that engages, educates, and influences the need to dramatically improve gender balance, reduce stereotyping and create diverse female characters in entertainment targeting children 11 and under.

Also, I am a huge fan of the #heforshe campaign that Emma Watson launched with the support of the UN Women organization.  Check that one out and recruit your guys to support!  🙂

One of the “armchair” ways that I support women in the media, is my consumption of films that are directed by women, are written by a woman and/or feature stories about women.  One of my guiding litmus tests for the content of a film, is applying the Bechdel test.  What is  the Bechdel test you may wonder?  It asks whether a work of fiction features at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man. The requirement that the two women must be named is sometimes added.

So, to solidify my commitment to my hobby and quest, in January 2016, I pledged to watch one film per week as part of the #52FilmsByWomen campaign sponsored by Women in Film.  What I am really excited about is discovering the #52weeks List of Gayle Nachlis, Women in Film Senior Director of Education, so many superb films on her list! I also learned about Film Fatales, a network of women filmmakers who meet regularly to mentor each other, share resources, collaborate on projects and build a supportive community in which to make their films. Here’s Film Fatales list of films directed by women streaming on Netflix USA, 245 and counting!

In other news this year on my journey, I went a red-carpet premier in Hollywood at the TCL Chinese Theater where the series was created and written by a woman.  Even though the content was not my style, too much violence and cursing, it’s always good to see a woman get up and address a full theater of guests (invited) viewers, supporters and talk about their vision being supported, funded and birthed into the world!  Super cool!

And, so as we approach the end of 2016, and my 52-week pledge, I am sharing what I have enjoyed so far… And, I do pledge to continue into 2017 and beyond.  With our evolving landscape, values, priorities and the balancing act that is occurring, there will be much to catch on the screen, big and small!  Enjoy and join the fun!

My Ever Evolving LIST from 2016 through the present day: (in no specific order)

Miss Representation- Watched this in 2014- a must see on the topic.

The Women’s List

Jenny’s Wedding

Joy

Bessie

Iron Lady

Mustang

Woman in Gold

What Happened Miss Simone?

True Cost

Diana

Tig

Tangerine

Trainwreck

Hello, My Name is Doris

All About Eve

The Story of Ruth

East Side Sushi

Séraphine

The Lady in the Van

Coco Before Chanel

Suffragette

Brooklyn

Carol

Joan of Arc: Virgin Warrior

He Named Me Malala

Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel

Hanna

Miss Potter

The Passion of Joan of Arc

Maggie’s Plan

Frida

India’s Daughter

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny

Zootopia

Me Before You

Dukhtar

Girlhood

Middle of Nowhere

Selma

Ride

Pariah

The Letters

Big Stone Gap

Under the Same Moon

Testament of Youth

Still Alice

What Other Couples Do

A Ballerina’s Tale

Conviction

The Intern

Me Without You

Under a Tuscan Sun

Ai Wei Wei Never Sorry

Citizen Four

Wonder Woman

Planeat

The Future of Food

The 33

The Whole Truth

Our Kind of Traitor

Mia Madre

Certain Women

Lovely and Amazing

Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story

The Post

Ladybird

Maudie

I, Tonya

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Paris Can Wait

Moana

Jackie

Florence Foster Jenkins

Eat Pray Love

Girl Rising

Anita: Speaking Truth to Power

Eighth Grade

 

and counting…

And, please take a look at a blog post here that features a new documentary called Seeing Is Believing: Women Direct by friend Cady McClain,  She wrote, directed, and produced this documentary along with Kate Super.

Thank you for reading and I invite you to share your contributions via comments and connections and would love to hear your comments here, reach out via my Facebook page, check out my Art with Lórien art classes on YouTube, get to my website, or email me at artwork@lorieneck.com.

May your days be filled with a sense of wonder, love, creativity, adventure and play!

In love, gratitude and beauty…

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insta_WaterIIIWith one of my healing Water paintings, Water III. To lean more about my Water Series, click here.

I am thrilled to start up a new blog series theme: Artist Interviews.  In this blog series, I will be interviewing inspirational artists and will sharing these insightful and inspirational messages in a variety of ways that I look forward to launching soon!  For now, I am sharing the first interview of yours truly.  In 2014, I was interviewed by Art 4 All People as part of an art exhibition focused on arts and healing.

Here is the interview, short and sweet!

How would you describe Transformative Art? 

Transformative Art is art that reaches into the soul and acts as a mirror revealing the deep and rich inner beauty of the Self, as well as the shadow self.  It has the power to shift consciousness and not only raise the vibration of an individual, but shift the collective consciousness.

What inspires your own Art and what does Art mean to you? 

My own spiritual journey and quest for beauty, for what is true, and as a devotion to the Sacred is what informs and inspires my art practice.

In my experience, art serves as a visual response to the questions that one asks or that the collective is asking.  For example, questions about the nature of reality, what it means to be a Spiritual being having a human experience, or about what is possible in the human experience.

As an Artist what is the significance of doing Transformative Art in these times, in this century in the now?

If an individual feels the call to create and share their art with the world, the significance of doing Transformative art now is ad infinitum.  Art is a bridge between the mundane and the Sacred and has the capacity to bridge the gap of disparity between suffering and pure bliss. Artistic expression gives meaning and healing to the human condition.  Art is the glue of the Universe and provides a safe space for the Soul to rest and take refuge.  More than ever, art and artists serve as the foundation for the evolution of human consciousness.

 

Thank you for reading and I invite you to share your contributions via comments and connections and would love to hear your comments here, reach out via my facebook page, check out my Art with Lórien art classes on YouTube or email me at artwork@lorieneck.com.

May your days be filled with a sense of wonder, love, creativity, adventure and play!

In love, gratitude and beauty…

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Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.

~ Denis Waitley

When asked to explore the topic of BE LOVE from my friend Kat of Gently Moving Forward, I felt overwhelmed and still do honestly. The topic of Love is no small thing. Artists of all kinds, from fine artists to songwriters, authors, screenwriters, dancers, musicians, actors and on and on have been diving deep and pulling up expressions on Love for millennia. I am reminded of something that a good friend and mentor said to me once, ART is like LOVE, it’s not easy to define or contain, Love is endless like the ocean. So, with that, I will contribute my current musings on this call to explore “Be Love.”artist palette

My artist palette, water series.

Love is finding a soul mate and life partner in the most roundabout and curious manner… I am amazed and grateful each and every moment of this miracle.Kevin and I

LOVE with Kevin

California Adventures!

Love is Mother Nature in all of her manifestations, the vast oceans, rivers and lakes, the rich and varied earth forms, the life-giving air, and transformative fire. She is my core inspiration for most of my artistic expressions in painting. The four primal elements and our home planet Earth give Love to us so abundantly and freely without any complaints, demands or refusals. She is always giving selflessly.mamma ocean

The majesty of mamma ocean

Love is the joy of creativity in any medium. I create art through painting and I have also discovered the joy of cooking for others in what I call my “creative kitchen.” I believe that conceiving of and preparing a meal for a beloved and loved ones is a simple necessity that has become one of my creative expressions throughout the days… as the saying goes, “a girl’s gotta eat, right?”creative kitchen

Home-made meal for two!

Love is the creatures of all types—four-leggeds, winged-ones, swimming ones, creepy crawlers, buzzing bees and the humming birds…. Every day I am in awe of our co-habitants and Spirit helpers. Love exemplified.wild dolphins

Sweet sea soul companions

my babies

Angel and Shanti

img_1341

MuBee- a few weeks old!

Love is that profound knowing and love between my family, both biological and kindred-spirits in community. Love is when we just look at each other, communicate telepathically and feel each other through the breaths of everyday living, whether near or far.

Alisa and I

My inspiration, my sister Alisa and I at the tide pools

Love is feeling compassion and being loving to the Self and Other despite the emotions that are stirred up when seeing injustices, inequalities, imbalances, or the pain and suffering of any living being through inner or outer wars or violence of any kind. Being a highly sensitive and empathic individual has its benefits for sure, though we may feel too much sometimes. The key I am discovering through the gentle and ongoing practice of Self Love is to continue to love, accept and be at peace with all aspects of the Self and of Other. A couple of modern-day teachers who explore this perspective are Byron Katie according, author of  Loving What Is  and  the work of Matt Khan and his Love Revolution and book Whatever Arises, Love That.

The I Inside

Looking ahead with the drishti (or soft divine gaze of Love)

Love is “not taking it personally,” this principle being one of my key intentions for the year of 2016 and believe me, once I shot that arrow into the air and shared that intention publicly, the little tests showed up and sometimes continue. The inspiration for transformation is LOVE indeed!

And, lastly for now, Love is remembering Who I Am. After many years of awakening, of teachings from teachers, readings from astrologers channelers and the like, to meditation retreats in India, Central America, across the US and beyond, guided rituals, self-help and psychology books, volumes of personal journals and on and on… One thing I have heard and seen over and over are these wise and simple words, Know Thyself, Remember Who You Are. And this my friends, is BEING LOVE and it’s free of charge, simply requires remembering more in the game of remembering and forgetting.

I leave you with one of my favorite poems on love by Rumi.
Let us fall in love again
and scatter gold dust all over the world.
Let us become a new spring
and feel the breeze drift in the heavens’ scent.
Let us dress the earth in green,
and like the sap of a young tree
let the grace from within sustain us.
Let us carve gems out of our stony hearts
and let them light our path to Love.
The glance of Love is crystal clear
and we are blessed by its light.

~translated by Azima Melita Kolin

Thank you for reading and I invite you to share your contributions via comments and connections and would love to hear your comments here, reach out via my Facebook page, explore my Art with Lórien online classes or email me at artwork@lorieneck.com.

In love, gratitude and beauty…

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Art to Awaken Your Heart, Nourish Your Spirit

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My featured Guest Blogger is Cady McClain.  I met Cady through a mutual friend from my childhood and boy am I glad that she reached out!  We connected through our shared interest and passion for women’s voices and representation in the field of arts, both visual and performing.  My video post on balancing the genders in the arts connected us online and I am so inspired and excited about the powerfully awesome documentary film that Cady is directing, writing, and producing along with Kate Super.  I promise, you will feel inspired and like me, looking forward to the release of her film.  Thank you Cady for being you and sharing your inspiration here and with the world!
Cady’s Blog Post:
For the past five months, I’ve had the honor and privilege of getting to interview women who direct film, television, and theater for a documentary I am working on called Seeing Is Believing: Women Direct. I’d like to share with you a little bit about a couple of women I’ve spoken to in order to give you a bit of the inspiration I’m enjoying!
Leah Meyerhoff is the founder of a group called “Film Fatales,” and graduated from NYU Film School with an amazing film called I Believe in Unicorns, a coming of age story filmed so sensitively, so creatively, I practically felt like she was whispering to my inner teenager. Film Fatales consists of female filmmakers who create “peer-to-peer mentorship” by meeting once a month at each others’ houses and participating in conversations that help each host with a topic related to the project on which she is currently working. This organization is also making a mark on the Independent film scene with its outreach programs and support of filmmakers on the circuit. I admire Leah so much I was practically shaking when I met her, but by the end of our conversation I felt quite at ease. She’s that kind of person. Incredibly well-spoken and clear, thoughtful and kind, super organized (which I loved), and without the slightest tinge of bitterness for the gender bias that is so rampant in our industry. She says that she “took the script and flipped it,” and I love that expression. Instead of identifying herself as being at the hand of gender discrimination, she proudly took on the label of “woman director” and created a whole movement of creative women who are now all owning their gender status and creating flourishing careers. I am proud to say I am now a fellow fatale!
 
Screen Shot 2016-01-07 at 8.02
 (This is Leah Meyerhoff with a traveling coffee mug that looks like a camera lens. A gift from me to her as a “thank you” for her wise words and journey!)
I also got to interview Deborah Kampmeier  whose first film, Virgin, had a huge run on the festival circuit, and whose second film, Hounddog, caused an international scandal due to its subject matter: the rape of a child. Honestly, I was very concerned myself about watching the film, but I’m so glad I did. It’s a beautiful film and nothing like what it was made out to be. Sensitively done, considerate and respectful to the issue of sexuality in a developing girl, and surprisingly insightful into female sexuality. Deborah works with a passionate authenticity and a deep respect of her and others “womanhood.” She understands things about being a woman that I never heard anyone say, or even suggest. Listening to her talk I was brought to tears by her commitment to her artistry, and her passion for her unique vision. Her work is daring, original, and important, and reminded me that I must take risks in my own work, despite everything.
Deborah
(This is a shot of my interview with Deborah, taken while playing back on my big screen TV!)
I think that is what really inspires me the most: women committing to their unique vision, despite all. No matter what anyone says, no matter what the statistics are, they persevere, the drive forward. Sure, everybody gets afraid sometimes. But these women (and many more) don’t submit to the fear. They continue to stay above water and true to themselves. There’s no being shut down by “the business” and all that talk about how you “have to compromise.” No mam. They talk about being clear about who they are, what they love, and how to work in spite of the obstacles.
And that’s inspiring stuff!
Here’s a link to a promo about the film: https://vimeo.com/145945236
And to the films’ FB page: https://www.facebook.com/WomenDirectors
Cady
(And this is me with Mr. Peanut, my loyal and loving super buddy.)

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Kathryn and I met in a yoga class on our adjacent mats at Metamorphose Yoga in Kauai.  In that moment, I felt a total kinship with her upon our first Ommmmm that day.  When I learned that Kathryn was a fellow artist and designer, I was lucky enough to be able to visit her Art cottage studio and even pick up some of her By the Sea Company merch!  I love my butterfly dress and aloha pom-pom organic sarong, and of course, a few organic gauze market bags.  I was so inspired by Kathryn’s vision, our conversations about being artists and her highly creative, diverse collection of handmade goods and artworks.  I also was so happy to be able to participate in the Kilauea Art Walk with her!  Kathryn, you are a beacon of beauty, creation and light!  Shine on sister, and mahalo ke akua for sharing your art and gorgeous gratitude list with us!

hello paradise - 11. I am grateful beyond words for the natural beauty that surrounds me. I create in a tiny Art cottage perched in the jungle of Kauai, Hawaii. Tropical fruit trees, a vegetable and herb garden are at hand, plus the majestic rainbow eucalyptus trees standing tall in my yard. I am immersed in nature, with birds singing, roosters crowing and trade winds gently blowing. The shapes and colors inspire me daily.

eucalyptus trees - 1

2. I’m grateful for my conscious awareness, which directs me to create messages of positivity and enlightenment, with uplifting visual cues.

art is medicine - 13. The ability to invent and create freely, without limitation. I left corporate America 10 years ago and my healing journey began. I am successful at running my own business as an Artist because I don’t listen to negativity. Everyone will have an opinion about what you are doing; what others think does not affect me. I am strong yet flexible in my beliefs.

kantha on the rocks - 1By the Sea Company kantha on the rocks

4. Imagination is the BEST nation! My imagination and creative impulses are the driving force in all I do.

artwork assortment - 1

Current projects include:

Just a Thought, daily inspirations for living, set to release in 2016.
The Hawaii Coloring Book, release date, January 2016.
An illustrated book called The Heart Farmer, for all ages, because the world needs more love!
I dreamed of a game for therapists, woke up and created it . . . “the feeling better game.”
Participation in Art Tribe Kauai. (A group of us create beautiful weddings by the sea in the Hawaiian islands, including beautiful decor and amazing handmade flower leis and haiku).

sarongs and jewelery - 1Running my own fair trade company for organic home goods: www.bytheseacompany.com

beautiful - 15. My ability to help make the world a better place by spreading positive messages and teaching people art, especially those who think they are not creative. Everyone is creative! Some people have been told they are not good at art—it may take time and practice to find out what inspires you artistically.

Indigo dye6. Working with indigo and color. Indigo is one of the oldest-known dyes. It is pure magic to work with! The color starts as chartreuse and changes right before your eyes to navy . . . truly wonderful to work with such amazing techniques.

textile love - 17. I am so very grateful for all the support I receive from the community, their participation and encouragement for my sharing of creative projects.

love rocks - 18. Random acts of kindness. I have always been a giver;
giving is the gateway to abundance and it feels so good!

work space - 19. Winsor & Newton paints and Copic markers, Berol Prismacolor, organic dyes and really, really fine papers!!

hawaii - 110. Divine guidance. I am divinely guided in all I do. Source works through me. When I create art, source is with me, guiding my mind. I am grateful for my personal spiritual alignment which allows me access to the universe and brings forth global messages of positivity and higher knowledge.

5 second bunny - 1p.s., Everyone who comes to visit my Art cottage is asked to draw a 5-second bunny. This has been a tradition in my house for many years and always a great laugh!!

life on the edge - 1Living on the Edge

selfie - 1Kathryn Letson was born and raised in Minnesota, where she spent time in the city and the woods. She went to Parsons School of Design in NYC and graduated with a BFA in Fashion Design, going on to work at some of the most well-known Design houses in the world. After traveling the globe as a Corporate Trend Director, she become a mentor at Parsons, an illustration instructor and a global speaker in the Fashion industry as an expert in textiles.

Kathryn moved to Hawaii to make her dreams a reality. Now creating Art and textiles from her home office in Kauai, her life is focused on sharing knowledge, creating new concepts to better the world, and serving others through Art. What could be more powerful? Your imagination is the engine that runs your life, and Art is a direct pathway into your imagination. Kathryn lives life with love and gratitude.

www.bytheseacompany.com

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