Sunday, February 26, 2012

Your Future Success is Tied to Your Outlook

"Breaking Free" ©Antonia Ruppert - Acrylic, 8x16 inches
Something happened today, yesterday and will continue to happen to people everywhere:

The average person will generate 25,000 to 50,000 thoughts per day.

This was reported by David Carnes of  He quotes Hara Estroff Marano, Editor at Large of Psychology Today magazine. 

Many of these thoughts will be surprisingly negative. Billions of earthlings everywhere will think and act on these thoughts.  Many of us, myself included, are becoming more intentional about our thoughts. I'm getting more creative about keeping a positive outlook.

My painting "Breaking Free"(shown here) illustrates the pushing past of negative thoughts.  The words say, "No" and "No not you." At some point, the hands come up to push aside the negative words.

This is important because "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he..." (Bible, Old Testament).

Working at Being Positive
 I work daily on being positive by:
  1. Calling friends when situations got dicey.
  2. Calling upon my believing mirrors when I just don’t feel like painting.
  3. Catching up with my artist friends and checking in weekly about artsy stuff and family stuff.
  4. Focusing on what I have to be thankful for.
I try to maintain a positive outlook, despite the fact that my outlook does not always match my situation.

For example, yesterday my youth art class, “Artists with a Purpose” started in Tinley Park, IL.  This unique class will raise money for a local charity by creating 100 acrylic painted panels and selling many of them.  As I drove to the class, I realized that I had not grabbed all of the acrylic paint--nor did I have gesso(acrylic primer) for the 24 panels I wanted my students to work on.

As I was strapped for time, I made the decision to be on time for my class and not make an emergency run to Hobby Lobby. At first, during my journey, tears were in my eyes as I thought of the “disastrous” class that awaited me.  Then something shifted, as I thought of my daily affirmations:
  1. I Thank You God that your gracious hand is upon me.
  2. I Thank you God that your favor keeps my enemies from triumphing.
  3. I Thank You God that your favor will make a way.
  4. I trample all obstacles and roadblocks to receiving unlimited
  5. The more grateful I am, the more reasons I find to be grateful.
 I had no idea exactly how it would all work out.

When I arrived, I met art teacher Carolyn - who was just finishing her class.  A master teacher, she told me she had been teaching at the Tinley Park Park district for 18 years. 

Without me asking, Carolyn and her aide Linda started helping me set up for my class.  First, Carolyn gave me tips on making my first day of class great.  Second, Linda actually helped me place newspaper on the tables to protect them - saving me loads of time.  Third, Carolyn pointed out that there was a bag of new acrylic paints in the supply cabinet. 

I felt overwhelmed with God’s favor.  In conclusion, the first day of “Artists with a Purpose” was awesome.

Final Notes about my Artistry
As promised in my last post - here are some of the work shown at my last show with artist Sylvia Westbrook at the Meet the Artist Night at Acorn Library in Oak Forest, IL.

This is "Happy Friday"...

"Happy Friday" ©Antonia Ruppert - Mixed Media, 9x12

and this is "Delivered and Set Free"...

"Delivered and Set Free" ©Antonia Ruppert - Acrylic, 8x10

I’ll leave you with this quote by LeAndria Johnson, Grammy winner -best gospel/contemporary Christian music:

“Always be positive.” “Don’t focus on the negative things in your life. Focus on the positive. The yes in you will be the yes for somebody else.”

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Successful Art Show (And What Made It So)

So, how was our show? Tinley Park, IL artist Sylvia Westbrook and I spoke to an interested and packed room.  We shared 22 works of art.  And folks loved the 12 sweet potato pies that my Mom made.  Besides having the presence of Mom's pie, there were other factors that helped us.

Artist Sylvia Westbrook and I - ©vanWestrop Photo
 What made our show successful:
  1. Completion. Sylvia and I focused on completing our respective tasks.  We kept at it until each task was done.  Sometimes she reminded me of tasks(most times) and sometimes, I reminded her.
  2. Collaboration. Working with another artist on the show from beginning to end was delightful.  Teaming up with Sylvia made the experience fun and halved the work.  After working with her, I have decided to never again run a Lone Ranger show. 
  3. Commitment. We decided to commit to the show and to each other. I never felt that Sylvia did not have my best interest in mind. I got to the point that I did not have the frames--for my  pieces.  Sylvia had hers, but I did not have mine.  Sylvia was an encouragement.  Another  artist, my friend Pamela Casey further encouraged me and I committed to getting the frames.  The miraculous happened.  I was helped by seen and unseen hands that day and was able to frame the pieces I desired to frame.
Sylvia Westbrook speaking; painting by Toni Ruppert - ©vanWestrop Photo

More on Committment...

In “Be All You Can Be,” by John Maxwell, the author quotes a card which he at one point carried with him:

“Until I am committed, there is a hesitancy, a chance to draw back. But the moment I definitely commit myself, then God moves also, and a whole stream of events erupts.”

Sylvia and I committed to utilizing social media, texting, e-mail and etc.  We committed to honoring other artists (Boston based artist Lois Mailou Jones and Chicago based artist Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly.)  We also committed to prayer about our nerves, tasks, responsibilities and minor stuff like the Powerpoint presentation.

Guess what? Folks responded.  They brought people that we had no idea were going to show up. I should not have been shocked when things worked out.  In the Old Testament, Proverbs 14:23 says, "All hard work brings a profit..."   

©vanWestrop Photo

©vanWestrop Photo

We were thrilled to see friends - old and new in our audience...
©vanWestrop Photo
  I will share more of the paintings I shared at the show soon.  More show images will be posted to my Facebook Page.  Feel free to head over there.  If you have not--I invite you to “like” my page while you’re there.
Toni Ruppert speaking; painting by Sylvia Westbrook; ©vanWestrop Photo

So, how was our show?  It was a lovely experience.  I'm glad you  - my reader - were able to experience it here with me.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Getting Excited About Presenting Art History Makers in Oak Forest, IL

Detail of "Breaking Free," ©Toni Ruppert, Acrylic on Canvas
Sure, I’m geeked. So much has happened since I last posted and so this post is a bit longer.  Hang in here with me, OK?

First, let me tell you that the image you are seeing here is a detail of a painting I call “Breaking Free.” The full painting will be shown to attendees at my next show. If you are planning to be near Southland Chicago in February--plan to stop by and see the full piece. Yep, I’m enticing you. You’ve got to come to the show to see the full piece.

The details about the show are below.

About the Presentation
Chicago Southland artist Sylvia Westbrook and I thought it would be great to not only showcase our work, but also share the work of Boston based artist Lois Mailou Jones and Chicago based artist Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly.  We will be presenting our findings about them on Thursday, February 9th, 2012.  The night will include our work, a presentation about Ms. Jones and Ms. Pitchford-Jolly and will conclude with questions from the audience.

Research: Lois Mailou Jones
Sylvia Westbrook is a breath of fresh air when it comes to research.  Her goal was to find out about Ms. Jones and find compelling stories about her.  Ms. Jones, a textile designer, mask maker and painter worked in a number of mediums including watercolor, oil and acrylic. 

Ms. Jones believed that talent is the basis for a career, but hard work is what determines ones success.

Sylvia will present Ms. Jones' art and a bit of her history. One story that had us both laughing was when Ms. Jones broke art world color barriers in 1941. She won the Robert Woods Bliss Award for the “Indian Shops, Gay Head, Massachusetts” - a landscape painted in 1940.  This was awarded to her though the Corcoran Gallery which had a policy that forbid African Americans from participating.    Ms. Jones had a friend who was white submit the painting for her and so that she would not be rejected, she accepted the award via certified mail.

Much of Sylvia's research comes from resources such as The Life and Art of Lois Mailou Jones by Tritobia Hayes Benjamin.

Research: Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly

Ms. Megan Mall with the Acorn Public Library helped Sylvia and I both come up with resources.  I was thrilled to find information about Ms. Pitchford-Jolly, a sculptor.   

I found that Ms. Pitchford-Jolly, now retired, contributed to various art organizations in Chicago.  Her work is documented via the History page on Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly.

After hearing about her story pots, spirit women and friendship pots from Sylvia, I had the idea that maybe I’d meet her at some point. 

Good news! Sylvia assisted in orchestrating a phone interview with Ms. Pitchford-Jolly.  I was a bit nervous, but really thrilled to actually talk with her.

One of the things she helped me see was the idea of honesty in art.  She said, "Going with what is popular is a dead-end street.” She went on to say that even though an artist might not "want to be ridiculed", one “can’t help it.”  One must be “honest about doing what’s not popular.” 

I have taken pages of notes from our conversation which I will first share with attendees of our reception tomorrow.

Details of Our Show:

Meet the Artists
Thursday, February 9, 2012

Acorn Public Library (large meeting room)
15624 Central Avenue
Oak Forest, IL 60452 / 708-687-3700

The actual exhibit dates are : 

February 1 - February 28, 2012

All attendees need to register in person or by phone at:

Acorn Public Library - 708-687-3700.  

Think of your biggest obstacle right now in your own field. What would you do if you could have an established person in your field speak to your circumstances?  What would you hope they’d say? You can leave a comment below.