Last Ireland Paintings in this Series

Although these 7 paintings complete the 24 piece series I set out to do for my solo shows in March, I don’t feel like I have said, artistically, all I want to say about my trip to Ireland. I feel inspired to paint a few in a looser style and at least a few with pen and ink. I considered doing that with a few of these, but opted to show my typical style throughout the series with lots of detail, high contrast, great texture and rich color. So- stay tuned for another show in late spring. Details about the two venues to see this series in person- and perhaps choose one to enjoy in your space everyday- are at the end of this post. I hope you can join me!

Oh how I love the ocean! The crisp shadows on the rocks and the contrast of the warm sand with the cool mountains and sea were irresistible. The Atlantic is so fierce there. Strandhill Beach, County Sligo. 20″ x 16″ framed $375

This view captured a fantastic crashing wave and the iconic Ben Bulben mountain. I enjoyed creating the softer shadows as the rocks curve towards the sun. Ben Bulben from Strandhill, County Sligo. 20″ x 16″ framed. $375

I began with a lovely stone building from Glenfarne and then added elements from our drive through that area that appealed to me. Almost Autumn, County Leitrim. 11″ x 14″ framed $265

My favorite things: rich color, striking contrast, diagonal lines, interesting textures. What fun I had enhancing the photo from the day! Green and Gold, Mullaghmore Inlet, County Sligo. 16″ x 12″ framed. $285

So much texture and intense color here, it begged to be painted! Gorgeous geraniums and cascading petunias soften the hard stone and brick. Rocks and Blooms, Aghaboy, County Monaghan. 11″ x 14″ framed. $265

This is one of the first scenes I painted. Here I explore it from a different perspective and slightly larger. I loved building up the texture in all of these elements. Weathered Beauty 2, Aghaboy, County Monaghan. 14″ x 11″ framed. $265

Another scene I couldn’t help doing twice. For the last painting in the series, I picked these great stone buildings with the warm glow of the setting sun. Afternoon Glow, Emyvale, County Monaghan. 12″ x 12″ framed $265

To see the full collection live, I hope you’ll join me at one of these venues: March 13 at Stonehill College or March 15-17 at The Irish Cultural Center in Canton, MA Both events are free and for those dates only. Paintings may be purchased prior to the shows, but must be available for display at the shows.

Continuing the Artistic Irish Journey

I have happily continued to be inspired by my Ireland photos. I have finished the 24 paintings I planned for this series. Below are 7, the rest will follow tomorrow!

I had to do at least one painting of Ben Bulben, which is iconic in County Sligo. The dark almost vertical marks on the side of this mountain are deep crevasses that people hike. Eek! This one is sold.

This is one of those sweet little scenes that was so common to see along my journeys around central Ireland. What can I say, I’m a sucker for a stone wall and all of that lovely dappled sunlight! Autumn Harvest, Aghaboy, County Monaghan. 13″ x 12″ framed, $245

Don’t you just want to knock on that gorgeous blue door? I thought this lovely home was very inviting with its meandering drive flanked by stone walls. The autumn colors and shadows made it impossible not to paint. Irish Welcome, Clones, County Monaghan. 12″ x 16″ framed, $260

This sturdy stone building in Northern Ireland was clearly built to withstand the fierce winds of the region! A lovely purple clematis had taken up residence and the texture and color drew me right in. Enniskillen Stone, County Fermanagh. 14″ x 11″ framed $265

Its a bit funny to think of islands within islands, but here you are! This is Lough Erne and Boa Island. I loved the contrast between the lush greens and the dark water. Boa Island, County Fermanagh. 12″ x 10″ framed $245

On our way into Newgrange, we spotted these thirsty cows surrounded by all of those wonderfully textured greens. This was one of the scenes I couldn’t wait to paint! Bru na Boinne (forgive the lack of fada) Newgrange, County Meath. 20″ x 16″ framed $375

Purplish clouds against yellow leaves and golden grasses compelled me to paint them. The sturdy building graced by a hardy red rose seem to have withstood untold trials, yet here they are in all their splendor. She Persisted, Blacklion, County Cavan. 12″ x 12″ framed $255

watercolor of rainbow over county sligo Ireland

More Ireland Images

I’ve been painting away and have more images to share with you from my trip to Ireland. I will admit that I haven’t been painting them in the order that I saw them. I am putting the county and town as part of their title so you may find the places that are meaningful to you.

watercolor of Tyrone County

Tyrone County View, 12″ x 18″ framed $375

This scene greeted me at the top of a hill while exploring the Ulster American Folk Museum in Omagh.

Dublin Ivy, 11″ x 14″ framed. $275

The two almost hidden pigeons enjoying a protected perch intrigued me. The crazy variety and colors of ivy adorning this weathered door in Dublin city made it irresistible.

watercolor of Castle Mullaghmore in County Sligo Ireland-by Kristi Johnston

Castle Mullaghmore, Co. Sligo. Approx.20″ x 25″ framed. $400

I shot this amazing view quickly after hopping out of the car alongside a VERY winding road. I love how the sheep are just casually in front of the massive castle and oblivious to the sharp cliff.

watercolor of autumn leaves and iron gate in Emyvale, Co. Monaghan Ireland

Autumn Gate, Emyvale, Co. Monaghan. 10″ x 13″ $265

The colors and textures stopped me in my tracks, and I had to try to capture it in paint. This invitation to step in closer embodies the feel of the place and the people.

watercolor of rainbow over county sligo Ireland

Sligo Rainbow, 10″ x 11″ framed $245

It wouldn’t be Ireland if there weren’t rainbows! After a brief downpour, this one dazzled me on our ride from Sligo and Strandhill. The colors danced in and out of view and played peek-a-boo with the mountains.

More are coming! These are available for sale unless otherwise marked with the caveat that they be available for the upcoming shows March 13-17, 2019. Contact me at kndjnstn@comcast.net to purchase.

Interpretations of Ireland, How it Came to Be

Watercolor of cottages in Ireland Kristi Johnston

“Along the Way” approx. 12″ x 10″ framed $205

*SOLD*

I’m so excited! I traveled to Ireland in September and enjoyed a week of being shown around by a friend who has lived there all of his life and it was AMAZING!! Before I talk about the paintings I’ve made as a result, let me tell you how this all came about. It’s all a result of a childhood connection, Facebook, shared interests and the internet. Here’s what happened….

I met one of my  best friends when I was in second grade in a tiny town in upstate NY. Her name is Kathy and her parents were both from Ireland (sadly, they have both passed away). Kathy’s older sister is Mary and when we were children, I would see her briefly when I visited their home- like most older siblings, she didn’t have much to do with the little ones. The family moved back to Ireland when we were in elementary school, but Kathy came back for our high school years. Like best friendships everywhere, we picked up where we left off, as if no time had passed at all. Unfortunately we then lost touch after college. Then Facebook made the world smaller and finding people easy and I was able to find her through one of her cousins, who was also an old neighbor of mine growing up. Of course, once Kathy and I re-connected there was an opportunity for me to become connected to her sister Mary who had remained in Ireland and married an artist named Nelius. Thanks to the wonder of the internet, Nelius and I were able to enjoy seeing and commenting on each other’s artwork and sharing our professional and family lives. Over the ensuing years, thanks to similar interests and connections, a friendship developed.

When I mentioned casually one day that I would love to see and pint Ireland, Mary and Nelius are such kind and generous people that they invited me to visit and stay with them!! I took them up on that incredible offer (how could I not??!) and that is how I ended up spending a week being shown around by a native Irishman who happens to share my artistic aesthetic and therefore enjoys the same kind of views and scenes that I do! It was heavenly!

Now I’m back and so inspired by the beauty, peacefulness, and ruggedness of the Irish countryside that I have decided to create at least 24 watercolor paintings to share my interpretations of that land. I’m on my way towards that goal and will be sharing the images and their locations here on our Blog.

The one above right is from Emyvale, Co Monaghan. I actually took the photo while riding in the car. I snapped a photo of these cute little cottages on two occasions I liked them so much!  Here’s two more from Emyvale:

watercolor painting of a stone building with red and green doors and a pink hydrangea

“Red Door, Green Door”, approx. 7″ x 10″ framed $180

“Weathered Beauty” approx 71/2″ x 10″ framed $180

You may guess by looking at these that I am captivated by texture and contrast. Ireland was full of these things- I felt like a kid in a candy store!

These two were done from photos taken after Nelius stopped the car and we were able to get out and walk all around. It happens that there were several views of this little area that I am inspired to paint, so you’ll see more from here!

“Bales”, Lough McNean, Blacklion Approx. 14″ x 11″ framed. $245

This one below is of the grounds of a lovely little restaurant called Ambledown in Glaslough.

“Ambledown Door” approx 9″ x 11″ $185 framed

To the right is a sweet scene that is to me the epitome of Ireland: many shades of lush green, gently rolling landscape with dots of sheep. This has the added attraction of hay bales and marsh grasses catching the warm afternoon light.

I have another nearly finished from my tour of Dublin, and another landscape coming hot on it’s heels, so stay tuned!

My Dad Is My Hero

One of the most difficult times in a person’s life has happened, I lost my dad last week.

This is so very hard! Myself and my siblings are all really tight knit. My mom and my dad created that. They are the reason that we’re so close today not only to each other but to most of our cousin’s too. We’re Greeks, we love HARD!

Two days after his passing, my brother George and I were sitting in their living room and it hit us that we need a eulogy. We both looked at each other with wet eyes and said, “I can’t do it, You can’t do it either! There’s no way Steven or Nicole could. Who’s going to do it?” We thought maybe his brother Chris. It turned out he wasn’t doing any better than either of us were.

I remembered that when my father in law died a few years ago, his oldest daughter gave the eulogy. I thought to myself; Wow, she did a great job! She gave that beautiful speech about how wonderful her dad was through tears and such grief but she did it! I thought then, how brave of her. I realized now in these moment that bravery had nothing to do with it. It was all about respect and love. That’s when I knew I had to do it.

This is what I want you to know about my dad Jimmy…

I love you Dad, I’ll miss you so much!
~Andrea

Dad’s Eulogy  

Let me tell you a little bit about my Dad. 

He was a man’s man. He was handsome, he had an ear to ear smile. It’s just recently that I realize that I got my big mouth from him. (You can take that any way you like.) He had many friends. (Although I’m sure that most of this was my mother’s doing) They had dance friends, lots of them. He had his ‘poker buddies’. He even added heat to the garage so that they could have a place for a regular game in the winter. He’d tell you that he always won or broke even. He had the friends he’d make with each restaurant he owned too. And what meant the world to to us, his four children is that he always made friends with our friends. All our friends knew him and as we grew up many of those friends would ask about him. 

He’d answer the phone and always take time to goof off with our friends before we ever got to say hello. Mostly he embarrassed us, something that I know now is a parents job and privilege. Our house was “that” neighborhood house. It was in the middle of the neighborhood and it was a corner lot. So all through school and even later on, our house always had kids in the yard. In the summers, after dinner Dad would often pile whoever was there into the station wagon and bring us all to the Ash Street tennis courts. As Rona said recently, “We’d stay until the lights went off.” 

My mom would want you all to know that he loved his life. In his last year or so he would tell her often, how together they lead a very good life. He’d say he was lucky. 

Dad taught us a lot of things, again his job and privilege. 

George would probably say that he taught him to always “show up”. You see, G always played sports though school. There was always a game and dad never missed one! He was always our best cheerleader no matter what we had going on or what we were facing in life, he was always there for us.

Nicole says that he taught her the value of a good laugh. She learned to be goofy and never be embarrassed by it! I believe it’s a key part of how she makes friends. 

Steven learned how to work hard for what you want. He learned that you get out of life what you put into it. 

Me, he taught me my two greatest assets. He taught me patience. He taught me that if you wait it out, you’ll see the whole picture. 

Which goes hand in hand with the most important thing he taught us all. He taught us all not to judge! There was no room for judgement in our house. He never used the words, but we learned that if you judge a person you don’t see the whole of that person. Today that’s my best quality. 

Everything he taught us, he did by example. He rarely sat us down and lectured, he didn’t have to. He raised kind and caring children. Of all the things he did in his long and very full life, raising us to be kind and all around good people is what he’s most proud of. I hope I do half as good a job raising my child as my dad did raising me. 

 

Why Being In Your Body Is Your Fist Step to Change

By now we’ve all heard people saying, “Get back in your body.” or “I really need to be in my body more.” But, do you know what that means? More importantly, do you know how to do that?

Being in your body or getting back into it isn’t as easy as it sounds. It’s a process and there are no shortcuts. If you try to take a shortcut, you can get close but, you’ll feel the affects eventually. You’ll pay the price for cheating yourself. Not finishing is like scrambling three eggs but leaving one yoke whole. It may taste yummy but ultimately, you and anyone else looking closely can see that it’s just not completely done.

In my work over the past few years Spirit has often reminded me that the only way to make concrete changes in our lives is to be fully in our bodies. That is to say, We must take ownership of our physical being in order to make physical changes in our lives, especially to make changes in our physical bodies! Doesn’t that make sense? Oh Spirit, you’re so wonderful at pointing out the obvious voids in our messy human ways.

But How? Stay with me here, I’m going to take you on a little journey inside of yourself. Do this with me…

*Stand up tall. Feet are hips width apart. Back straight & strong. Chin up.
*Arms hang down with fingers consciously pointing to the earth.
*Deep breath in through your nose. Fill your lungs and belly.
*Slow breath out through your mouth. Empty all the air in your lungs & belly.
*Repeat! This time hold the breath in for 2 seconds. On the exhale, push your belly to your spine to make sure that all the air in your body is out.
*Repeat! Be totally away of the breath moving into your body. Feel how cold it is on your nose. Hold the breath for 2 seconds. Release slowly through your mouth and feel the air releasing.
*Allow your breathing to be complete full breaths as you return to normal breathing. Take a full breath.
*On your next breath become completely aware of your lungs and heart and how they occupy the same space in your chest.
*Inhale into your chest and as you exhale imagine that breath moving down INSIDE your body. Bring it down as far as your belly.
*On the next breath breathe into where you left it on the previous exhale and then carry it down into your hips and tailbone.
*The next breath will bring it into your legs. Here, imagine that breath being carried through the marrow of your bones all the way into your knees.
*The next breath will bring it down the marrow of your calf bones.
*The next breath brings it into your ankles, let it circulate there for a full additional breath. (I’ve found many blocks there. Let the breathe do the work to open them up.)
*The next breath brings it into your feet.
*DON’T STOP HERE
*Breathe it into your toes and souls of your feet.
*One more breath will release it down into the earth. This is where you become fully grounded and totally in your body.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to complete all the steps. The first time will take longer than the second time and the third time will be even shorter and so on. Eventually you’ll be able to move through these steps in just a few minutes. It’s really important, in order to In Your Body, that you take your time. If you are connected to the earth with your roots all the way down like the Mighty Oak, you can do anything.

Now go on and take control of whatever comes your way. Make those changes and move through anything in your way! You got this!

With much Love and Gratitude,
I Wish You Light,
Andrea

Taking Care of Yourself

selfcare at Center for Holistic Healing and ArtSpoiler Alert!! Taking care of yourself doesn’t get easier as you get older. Sorry if that comes as a shock. The daily requirements of getting enough (including appropriate amounts and kinds) food, water, exercise and sleep continue to remain a challenge for me and many of my friends. I somehow anticipated that it was only an issue for the “newly adulting” set, back when I could count myself in that group, but no- it remains a challenge at the best of times for myself as well as for friends in their third decade as well as those in their seventh decade. I have to assume that it continues until, as in childhood, someone else becomes responsible for taking care of us. Add in illness, an increased stress due to major life changes, or both and it becomes a recipe for disaster in the realm of self-care. This is when friends and loved ones are essential. They can offer gentle yet insistent reminders and encouragement to not only meet those basic needs, but to also juggle the myriad questions of what medicines to take and how much, how to modify food and liquid intake, exercise, even when to call out of work!

This is the time of year when so many are getting some kind of transient illness. I encourage you to do two things: 1. Reach out to your friends and family if you are sick and get the support you need so you may get better faster. Don’t try to be superhuman and handle it all on your own. 2. Don’t listen to your friends and family when they are sick and insist that they are “fine”. Give them a little TLC even if it’s just daily phone calls to remind them to take care of themselves.

My message here is this- taking care of yourself is challenging. Don’t give yourself a hard time for having to work at it and think about it on a regular basis. No one really does it automatically, it just looks like that from the outside. It’s worth it to keep aiming for the ideal balance, but it’s not a goal you can attain and then never worry about again. The need for self-care is inescapable, so embrace it and honor the fact that your body’s need change from day to day. Be kind to yourself on this journey, and don’t be afraid to reach out for support. That’s our specialty at Center for Holistic Healing and Art, supporting you on your journey so you can shine!

Your Vibe Attracts Your Tribe

Today I met with a neighbor who finds herself going through changes. She spent 30 years in the very high pressured business world in Boston and has suddenly found herself with loads of time and not very much to fill it with. You know how she’d like to fill her time?? You guessed it, She’d love to submerge herself in the healing and Spiritual world. That’s one mighty big change. So, how does someone do that? And by that, I mean do a complete 180.

Let me preface by telling you that she’s a Reiki Master and she meets with a particular group of other healers at least 3 times a month. She’s been doing this for a couple years. You might say she’s been dipping her toe in the waters for a while. We discussed finding places, shops, centers to spend her time in and meet other like-minded people. We’re in the outer suburbs of Boston, there isn’t too much out here outside of our space which is open by appointment only. She needs more than that. I could only come up with a couple other places without going closer in to the city. 

What next? I’ve been thinking about this since we left each other and this is what I know to be true…
We attract what we put out! It’s the Law of Attraction at it’s finest. If what we’re looking for is something that is different from what we’ve been doing, than we must change what we’re doing. We must change the energy that we put out into the world. Likes Attract! If you’re looking for a new tribe, change your vibe! 

By now you’ve all seen all the memes and received all the inspirational emails but have you really paid attention? Have you actually dropped off the people and the energy that bring your energies down? I can’t stress this enough. Here’s the clincher; If your answer is Yes but your vibration hasn’t risen, than it’s not them, it’s you. You must do the work yourself. It’s not easy but if you don’t do the work, you don’t grow. It’s pretty basic really. It’s like not doing your homework but expecting your teacher to still give you an A+. It’s just not going to happen. Your teacher here is actually your higher-self! Your higher-self needs for you to grow and wants you to get your homework done. This means, meditating and getting fresh air and laughing and moving your body and being with people who vibrate higher than you do and, if you’re a Reiki practitioner (or any other healing practitioner), doing your self Reiki daily. Self care is so important when we go through changes. 

Change is constant. Be the change you want to see in others. 

Namaste
~Andrea

Releasing What No Longer Serves

I love fall in New England! I love the colors, the crisp air, the intense blue skies, and the crunch of leaves on the ground. Ever since I began meditating and working on self-discovery, I have been hearing about the need to release things that no longer serve me. With its falling leaves, autumn now serves as a reminder for me to let go. The trees set a perfect example as they drop their leaves and in fact need to release them in order to enter dormancy to safely survive the winter. The fact that this happens annually also reminds me that letting things go is essential to moving forward and that it is not the “one and done” kind of exercise. It is ongoing and recurring as different aspects of issues that no longer have use in my present life pop up. I used to think once I had identified things I wanted to release and then focused on letting them go, I wouldn’t have to worry about them anymore and they would no longer effect my life.

Oh boy, how wrong I was! Take my eating habits (please!) Many years ago I figured out that some of my poor eating patterns are from my childhood. I had an “ah ha” moment and then set out to leave those behaviors behind. Now just recently I’ve realized that I’ve been letting my 5 year old self make food choices for adult me. Not such a great plan! Now I’m working on taking over adult control since 5 year old me likes carbs far too much!  Each time I understand a new facet of how my past is influencing my present, I deal with it. Old stuff seems to have buried into my psyche in many spots and each one seems to surface under different circumstances. I admit, I get frustrated when something I thought I had gotten rid of entirely turns out to still be influencing how I function. Still, it’s always been worth it to wrestle with it again and release this new aspect of it into the earth. Just like it does with leaves, the earth takes old, unwanted energy and transforms it into something beautiful- like flowers! This season be like the trees and let that old, unwanted stuff go (again, if necessary!)