I Am A Real Artist

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Painting I did after my surgery … called Irreplaceable Friends

Five years ago as you can see by my Facebook post below, I was playing  with art and I still am today, however today I feel like I can say I am a true artist.


I love art. It is my way to escape and go to a place that brings me great joy.

Today,  I can say that I have been commissioned to do a painting with my favorite art partner Cristine Wells.  I have sold several of my art pieces. I have had my art turned into dresses and other pieces and have sold them, but that is not what makes me an artist. What makes me an artist is that I love painting and I paint from my heart. If I never sell another piece of my work I will still be very happy because art for me is a wonderful way to cope with all that life brings our way.

I have keratoconus  a progressive eye disease,  so this November I had crosslinking and limited PRK. I did not expect that I would be unable to drive and lose a bit of my independence for awhile. My vision is not good enough that I am able to drive yet, but I can do lots of other things.

I need an outlet and being able to do art has been my gift! Even though my vision is limited , I can also have moments of amazing clarity. I expect in a year it will be stable and all the vision I took for granted will return. Until then I plan on doing a lot of painting.

I love that as a school counsellor I can paint with students. It is as therapeutic for them as it is for me. So paint away my friends, no matter what is happening in your world , it will allow you to be free and to be a real artist. As it says in the Velveteen Rabbit,

“once you are real you can’t be ugly except to people who don’t understand.”


Beach Hearts

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I spent some time on the beaches of Nova Scotia this summer. Walking and talking about so many things. Some people when they walk notice the sounds and the beautiful sight of the ocean. I notice what is not there or should I say the beauty in the small things. The seaweed called me to create hearts. I loved the results, not only for my own pleasure, but for the pleasure of others. Knowing that someone else would find my hearts on the beach made me smile. Processed with MOLDIV

My seaweed beach hearts were one of a kind. I know that they were washed away to sea never to be seen again, only in the photographs that I or maybe someone else took. That gave me great joy. I loved the hearts so much I decided to share some of the hearts on my redbubble site. I love creating and finding new ways to express my emotions.

Walking along a beach for me is therapeutic. Although I often don’t write about the painful things in my life, I do release them into my art.IMG_9251

I work extremely hard at celebrating each and every day in life, always looking at new ways to express what is in my heart. Creating Art allows me to do that.

You can find a few more of my hearts here. I hope you discover the love of creating and share your joy. If you happen to be walking along a beach somewhere in the world and discover or make a heart please share with me.

Celebrating The Artist In Me

Truly before #ETMOOC. I did not even believe I could paint, or draw or really do anything artistically. Now , I know that is not true. I just need to be me and let the fear of making mistakes go and just go with the flow.

This past couple of weeks some very close friends of mine have bought my work. I was very excited to see them in it!!!!

I did not do this for the money.I did it for the fun , the joy of creating!  My son told me about redbubble, (although a friend had told me about it earlier ). I thought if he thought it was cool then it must be and so and it is!

Redbubble turns your paintings and drawings into dresses, prints, cups, shirts, bags, pillowcases and much more.

I am grateful that people even enjoy my creations . If you happen to be one of those please send me a pic!


Change as a reason for putting yourself out there

It’s been a crazy year of change for me – some of it eagerly accepted, and other stuff  has rolled into my life, invited, and at times feeling like it is going to roll over my life and take me out complete.

Laid off like thousands of other Calgarians, finding a new job and starting all over again at a stage in life where routine feels like a rhythm that gives comfort and everyone’s familiar with the melody.

But change is causing me to step back and ask myself once again, what do I really want to do?

AspenIt’s funny how your body sometimes knows more than your mind is willing to accept. In the months following my layoff, I painted like my very life depended on it.  Like I had to get it all out of me cause I only had a short window to let it all flow out. … it was not usual to find me in the middle of the night with paint on my face and a paintbrush holding up pieces of hair (or was the hair holding up the paintbrush?)

But the ideas didn’t stop coming… In fact… once I started listening and painting to the images in my mind – my head got fuller. Images pulled out of the ether and flocking to my brain because they were finally being heard and going from a thought to a existence.

I still have so much to learn and so many ideas that I want to paint. Painting may not be a source of income for me at this point – but that’s okay. Creativity is source of happiness, and I’m not looking back now…In fact, I feel like I am just getting warmed up.

So now what? Sharing my paintings seemed like such a bold move. But at this point, what do I have to loose? Perhaps when we know loss, we begin to see what we have in so many other areas of our life. I am so fortunate for the amazing relationships that I have, friends and family…

So here it goes! The sharing part of it all – putting myself out there… So hold on and enjoy the ride.  I don’t promise to be consistent or  regular… but isn’t that what makes for an interesting journey?

Collaboration and Art

img_3339img_3356Art pieces can be so fun when done with a person who you respect and shares a vision that you have. Cristine and I have done a number of pieces together and while we play and converse while we paint; we have to learn to let go as each of us has ideas about what we think the outcome might be. We are getting good at going with the flow …

Past The Pain

Past The Pain @sspellmancann

Pushing past the painful things that can happen in life is not easy , but we all have to do it. Art is such a healing process and allows us to express what we cannot put in words. As Edward Hopper so eloquently says, ” If I could say it in words there would be no reason to paint.” So paint away and heal.



Jump for Joy … celebrate the moments in life

Julie Jumps for Joy @sspellmancann

Life is to be celebrated. Each moment counts. I love to capture the joy that our children feel when being by the sea. The smell of the air , the sounds of the ocean can still the mind and allow joy to flow through the body. Being near the ocean is an artists dream. At least for this artist it is!


There Is An Artist In All Of Us

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Five years ago I did not paint and now thanks to great friends and my experiences in ETMOOC , I have more confidence and find it one of the most rewarding , therapeutic experiences that I can imagine. I take mini courses and I watch lots of youtube videos to get tips. It is so much fun.

I have keratoconus a progressive eye disease, ( I was diagnosed later in life ), so I think partly that diagnosis has driven me to create visually in case my vision ever gets really poor. Painting is therapeutic and healing for me. I have played sports all my life and I absolutely love to read, both which can bring me flow , but nothing brings me the kind of flow that painting does.

Painting brings me flow the kind of flow that was discovered by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Fifteen hours can feel like five minutes for me. I love that it brings me joy and that I am completely absorbed in the process. It is fun and easy and yes I think anyone can benefit from art and painting. If I can you can too.


I plan on using the painting that I did above, thanks to the online instructions from theArtSherpa ( see below) with the students I work with. Art and Counselling definitely go together . Paintings tell stories often times with hidden messages. Students can put their hidden messages in their paintings in several ways.

Process for students:

Let students know that they are going to embark on a journey of letting go of any negativity and go with the flow. Tell them that for the next two hours they are not allowed to say to themselves I can’t . If they hear themselves speaking those words tell them to take their note pads out and write I can … I will.

So before the students actually begin their painting,  have them start by being mindful and breathing. Lead students through a short mindfulness process to begin. Let them know that they are going to create a special painting today where there are no mistakes. They can create their trees and painting anyway they like even if it is different from the paining they see. Like mine birch trees do not produce multi coloured leaves , but I did just because I wanted to visually and I love the effect. Tell them this workshop ( seminar) is about being themselves and letting go.

If they would like to follow the step by step instructions here they are:

  • Have students write messages of hope and their dreams for their future in pencil on their canvas before they begin to paint.
  • Ask students if anyone would like to share their hopes and dreams with others.
    The size of canvas it up to the student. ( Have students bring the size of canvas they want to work on.) or provide a canvas for them.
  • Have students divide their canvas into six equal sections. They don’t have to be exact and students don’t have to measure them. Tell students they can estimate.

So begin by telling the students that they are going to be creative today and create their own story through art . Let them know they will be painting a rainbow with trees. Tell them they can use any method they like to paint colors on their canvas.

I used upwards stokes, but really any would work. Start with red, orange , yellow, green, blue and purple.

Guide students through the process being as creative as you like in explaining what they can do next. Constantly remind them it is ok to make mistakes ( really there are no mistakes, but they may perceive them as such). Remind them that their perceived mistakes lead to more creativity and it is ok to be as creative as they wish going with the flow and what their heart wants to paint.
Trees can be very symbolic and you can discuss this with students.Trees are strong and unique just like each of them. Birch trees can mean new beginnings. You can discuss with students what they believe their trees mean for them. I chose nine trees, but they can choose any number that means something to them. The lovely thing when you create art just for the sake of it is that there is no right or wrong . There are no mistakes. It just is … creative , how wonderful and freeing.

I hope you have fun , enjoy the process and let go and go with the flow. Happy painting!

If you decide to do this process with your students , please share your creative ideas with me @sspellmancann.

Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life

Pablo Paccasso

Thanks to the Art Sherpa for the detailed instructions in this video.