Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Family; Not Easily Broken

With a strong foundation, a family can survive and thrive even in a tough year. According to scripture,”Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken (Ecclesiastes 4:12).

The painting in this post is called “A Cord of Three Strands.” It is a portrait of a couple -kind of like my husband and I - who hold onto God and hold onto each other. Can you see the cross in the picture?

This watercolor painting, about 30x30, was created from an idea I had a number of years ago. I made a little 6x6 painting of it at the time. This new larger painting takes the idea further and expands it. My friend Maritza and her husband, Matt graciously modeled for me.

This painting, along with two other paintings, was created as part of a series on family, worship and praise for Living Springs Community Church in Glenwood, IL. The three works were created specifically for the church under the direction of Pastor Dave and Allen, the Director of Administration. Indiana artist Sharon Ruane created a number of works throughout the edifice previously.

This painting, “A Cord of Three Strands” and the other two works will be unveiled in an upcoming event at Living Springs Community Church on Sunday, January 17, 2010. I am scheduled to speak about the work at the 9:15 am service and the 10:30 am service.

This painting was especially wonderful for me to paint because it reminded me of my own family. Because of God, we were not easily broken. I am also reminded of those who supported me during this last year. Because of them, I was cared for and supported.

Five teachers/mentors who helped me or cared for my artistry were:

Demetria (Thanks Mom!)
Joyce R. (My other Mom)
Jimmy W.
Lupe and Mary G.
Alyson S. (

Additionally, five friends who helped me this year in vital ways:

Cynthia H.
Anita B.
Sylvia H.
Teecie J.
Maria R.

I want to inspire you to remember in some way the folks who helped you this year. In The Success Principles, Jack Canfield says that one might not remember five people who won the Nobel Prize or the five wealthiest people, but one would remember five people who touched one’s life.

My family went through many challenges in 2009, but with God, prayer, family and many friends we are beginning 2010 with gratitude and appreciation.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Utilizing Art to Serve

Reading is a Family Affair ©Antonia Ruppert
for the Markham, IL Public Library
Watercolor on Paper
My friend Cynthia called me last night with three words, “Let’s do it.” My first gut instinct was like, “girl we can’’s too late...I’ve got too much on my plate already.” But then I thought about it being this time of month and this season and was like , “OK! Bring It!” as my friend Lisa likes to say.

What am I talking about?

A little background. October is/was domestic violence awareness month. This topic is near and dear to my heart. My daughter and I attended a vigil held for victims of domestic violence. It freaked me out to see the Illinois Silent Witness Exhibit - the memorial of so many beautiful people - gone just because someone could not control their anger.

To do something to make people more aware and to serve, last year Cynthia and I( and a whole lot of other folk in our network) donated hair care products and other feel good products for women associated with three domestic violence agencies including South Suburban Family Shelter. Our friends helped us raise over 100 treat bags of hair care products, makeup and etc.

So let’s do it. We are organizing another "We Care Drive" to support several domestic violence agencies. We are collecting hair care products, lotions, nail polish, makeup and other feel good items. More to come on this...

Speaking of artists giving best bud Tina is starting a ministry which is from her heart to support women who’ve lost babies prematurely. From Tina, "The purpose of these baskets is to have resources available for a mother who has lost her child due to miscarriage, stillbirth, or early infant death. These resources would be centered on Christ & include the following; Bible, books on the loss of an infant from a christian perspective, a journal, framed artwork of Jesus with your baby, scripture cards, & more... I would need several different renditions of the Jesus/Infant picture for the different mothers who would be mourning. Such as a caucasian infant, hispanic, african-american, etc. As well as a picture of Jesus with twins."

These baskets will be distributed to hospitals and other centers free of charge. Tina has prayerfully asked funders, artists, publicists and other creative types to help her create these baskets and get the word out. Tina is expecting again and would like many baskets to share before she delivers in February. I encourage anyone who’d like to assist her to contact me.

In Jack Canfield’s book, The Success Principles, Principle 62 is ”Find a Way to Serve.” He says, “When you spend a lot of time serving with people who serve, you build up a network of generous, caring people who love to give and make a difference.” I wholeheartedly agree.

I have been working with another caring artist whose passion is to serve through her art. Algonquin, IL artist Marg Rehnberg of Compassion Art. shares her work in many forms including artblox. These artblox are used to raise money for worthy causes around the world including Compassion International. Through her work, she inspires other artists to use their art on these blox to support causes. It’s really neat to see.

Utilizing art to serve. We’re headed into that season of giving. If you are interested in helping Cynthia and I in our “We Care” drive for victims of domestic violence, Tina’s basket ministry or Marg Rehnberg’s Compassion Art, let me know. I’d love to see you get involved.

Please leave a comment on the blog. Feel free to share how you’re utilizing your talents and skills to serve.

Let’s do it.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Purpose: Using Creativity to Encourage and Connect

Higher Learning ©Antonia Ruppert
Watercolor on Paper, 36x42
I just started reading The Success Principles by Jack Canfield - the co-creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. In the second principle, Canfield expounds that one must be clear why one is here. After a few exercises, I’m sharing with you my reader my purpose. My purpose is to use my creativity and interpersonal skills to encourage, recognize and inspire others to joyfully express their God-given talents to help others and connect with them.

This week, I connected with some friends on Facebook asking them to name this painting. Based, on their comments, this painting is called “Higher Learning” also known as “Our Father.” Thanks to Shawanna and Chenetha who provided these name suggestions. I am in appreciation to everyone who commented.

This watercolor painting is 36x42 and is part of a “worship series” for Living Springs Community Church, a church 40 minutes south east of Chicago. After the church administration chose a theme, I created a series of photographs from models(Thanks Rance and Buddy). After creating some sketches, the administration chose one for me to work from.

Next step? I will complete a final painting in the series with the theme “praise.“ I’ll be looking for an African American woman model from Chicago to photograph with chin length curly hair who has a beautiful smile. Based on my original sketch, she might look a little like me. Any suggestions?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Vision Board and Affirmations 2010

Today is the day of new beginnings.

I thought I'd share what I've been learning in the Blastoff class with Alyson Stanfield - with I am learning to prioritize myself and my dreams in the past few days after a few weeks of nonstop creating, working and networking, etc. We are on day three of the class. In this post, I will share my new affirmations and my vision board. Having a vision and affirming it daily are the key to Life and Beyond Average Existence. Here is my vision board which includes a trip to Florence Italy...

..And a few of my affirmations:

*It is October 2010, my daughter Kayla and I just returned from Florence, Italy.
*Money flows easily into my life, blesses me, and continues on to others.
*I talk less and listen more, allowing my actions to speak louder than words.
*I do one task at a time to completion.
*I paint everyday and have 25 or more marketable oil, watercolors and pastels to prove it.
*I can’t wait to share my artwork with new people
*I take good care of my money.

What are your goals and affirmations?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

New Show at Orland Park Library

Oak Forest, Yankee Woods
©Antonia Ruppert
Mixed Media on Paper

In conjunction with my month-long exhibition, Orland Park Library’s Outreach Services is sponsoring a Meet the Artist night on Friday, September 4th, 2009 beginning at 7pm. In addition, I will present my talk, “Aging with Dignity and Compassion” on Tuesday, September 15th, 2009 beginning at 7pm.

For the last year, I have been grappling with the idea of aging and connecting that to my artwork. This new artistic direction came about when I started caring for my grandmother in the summer of 2008.  I cherished singing hymns with her or having her ask for more strawberry jello or black walnut ice cream.

After painting grandmother several times, I focused my artistic energies on capturing fleeting moments with her. I had no idea she’d leave us this past February.

Fleeting. Changing. Temporal. I found that with my experience with my grandma. I also found that same experience in my recent trip to Saugatuck, MI at Oxbow. The sun was there and then it wasn’t. Shadows moved across the space with the clouds. I had to paint, design and carve out negative spaces that moved.

Life is short. Creating helps me enjoy it.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Mmm! Oxbow School of Art in Saugatuck, MI.

Oxbow path ©Antonia Ruppert
Mmm! Ox-Bow, school of art and artists’ residency. Good views. Yummy food. Soulful people. Oxbow is in Saugatuck, MI and is affiliated with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. It has served as a retreat for visual artists since 1910. This past week, I took a drawing/painting class with New York artist, Jimmy Wright. He pushed me and challenged me in significant ways - allowing me to create some paintings that are precious to me.
Here are some views of Oxbow and my first painting. Well not exactly - I had actually spent a day painting a still life of peaches which Jimmy abhorred. 
The next day he said, "No more peaches." He suggested I get out into the land. So this is actually my first finished landscape painting using the techniques he taught us.
View from my easel ©Antonia Ruppert
Landscape painting, layer one
©Antonia Ruppert

Don't you love learning something new?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

I'm Going on an Adventure

Desiree's Desire ©Antonia Ruppert
Oil on Canvas, 11x14

Do you know about Saugatuck? I am headed to Saugatuck Michigan for a week to paint.  No computer. Just lots of painting supplies, nature and Mr. Jimmy Wright - my painting instructor. I'm so excited. More to come about this adventure. I am learning there is one thing I must do to make this adventure happen.

Stay open to the beautiful. Enough said.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

New Painting: "Strawberry Eyes"

The painting, "Strawberry Eyes" is for my friend Mia and it is of her grandson. I really like this watercolor piece because I had a chance to develop it slowly and spend time with each layer. Why rush, right? 

 I also purchased strawberries to practice painting so I could get it just right. Yummy! Well, here are the results of taking my time. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Out and Around Southland Chicago

I'm sharing some pictures of recent shows and happenings. During the month of February, I was out and about in the Chicago Southland area. In addition to Calumet City, I was blessed to be at Tinley Park High School and Country Club Hills for African American History Month Programs. Thanks to Vikkey Perez(TPH) and to Joann Wade(CCH) for facilitating these events.

Here, I am pictured with another Antonia. Yes, that is my new best bud and name sake Antonia. We met at the Country Club Hills, IL African American History Month Program. We are standing in front of some of my artwork.

Here I am with Earline Hayden who is a staff member of the Village of Country Club Hills. She was really helpful to me at the show.

Here, I am with my mother at a presentation for the Senior Services Center of Will County. I presented "Aging with Dignity and Compassion" - paintings inspired by my grandmother. It was a bittersweet time - we held grandmother's funeral two days prior....A big Thank You goes to Wilma Hopkins for facilitating this event and for the invitation to share my work.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Praising God for Provision

Hot Pink Earmold ©Antonia Ruppert
Watercolor on Paper
The sun has been out, spring is coming and I'm praising God for his provision. So many good things have happened so far this year. Here are a few:

**Two of my paintings have been accepted into Women's Works 2009, a juried art show sponsored by the Northwest Area Arts Council in Illinois. I am thankful to art coach Janet Bloch who told me about the show.  One of the paintings is shown here - "Hot Pink Earmold."

**I was awarded an "ootra Girl" scholarship through the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Thank you to Debbie Jagel and the entire "ootra Girl" Family.

**I participated in a well-attended African American Heritage Celebration, February 7th in Calumet City. Thanks goes to my sister Teece for helping me set up my vendor booth and keeping me company all day. Thanks to Mayor Michelle and Val Williams for an inspiring day.

Remember the scriptures - Proverbs 14:23 - All hard work brings a profit AND Philippians 4:19 - But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

I am praising Him for His provision.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Putting One's Faith in Action

Sleeping in Safety ©Antonia Ruppert
Watercolor/Pastel on Paper

This week, I watched a TD Jakes video entitled Put Your Faith in Action. It inspired me to not let my dreams die. In the message, TD Jakes said faith works if you work it. This week I worked it.

I painted more. I added exercise to my daily routine. And I simply prayed. Praying is always an example of putting one's faith in action. It takes faith to be close to to believe.

This watercolor painting - "Sleeping in Safety" describes what I want for myself, my daughter and women everywhere - to experience love and safety. The swirls and waves came to me like a rush. I painted them first on watercolor paper. Then my daughter allowed me to draw her which I did. That pastel/charcoal drawing was then added on top of the watercolor. Voila!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Faith to Continue the Course

"Release for Tina"
©Antonia Ruppert
Watercolor on Paper

As I begin this blog, I know I can stay the course with faith. I can alter the destination slightly. What I need is a good paint brush, some arches water color paper, a vision and music by "Mary, Mary" in the background. I'm an artist and artist's create. With a faithful decision:

1. I can further my artistic education - the goal is artistic mastery.
2. I can choose to embark on a path that is perfect for me - painting.
3. Jan, 1, 2009 is the beginning of the rest of my life.
4. I take full responsibility for the changes I want to see.

In this post, I am including one of the images I loved creating in 2008. I created it for my friend Tina who was going through a storm.  It's called "Release for Tina" and was created with watercolor. It was a joy to know that this work helped someone else get through a tough situation.

I have faith to continue the course and practice resiliency. I am most grateful to be able to create, for my supplies and for people to share my work with.