Show Highlights 2016

We had an amazing turnout on Nov. 5th 2016 for our art show in Mesa, Arizona!

Over 200 visitors came to the show and through our efforts we raised approx. $1,444 to divide between the two charities that we selected.

Here are a few highlights:
















Artist Demo by Antonetta (Netta) Dill

Artist Demo by Antonetta (Netta) Dill

What’s Next?

We are talking about our next show for 2018 and will be looking for a unique charity that makes a difference in our community and needs the support of our team of creative and entrepreneurial artists.

We invite you to create the next ripple by channeling your appreciation of art into the betterment and support of our community. Our art shows extend a unique opportunity to serve our community through fundraising for important local charities. By organizing a show we engage with art at a different and significant level.

The following charities we have helped over the past few years:

Show: Inspired! 2016
House of Refuge
Arizona Brainfood, Inc.

Generations Show – 2015
Sunshine Acres
AZ Wall Project

Show: Artstrings – 2014
Relay for Life
Free Arts for Abused Children

Fairy Tale Illustrations Inspired by Dreams & Grief

Fairy Tale Illustrations Inspired by Dreams & Grief

by Claire Perkins

My latest art project is a series of illustrations for a spiritual fairy tale I’ve written. The story itself was inspired by a dream from many years ago and a phrase that has rattled around in my brain ever since, begging me to unravel its mysteries, to understand its meaning.

wip-intotheunknown1smallerIn my long ago dream, I have lost my four-month-old baby and I am beside myself with grief. At the memorial service for the child it comes to me that I will create the “Deep Water Leaf Society” and that will alleviate my grief and create healing for many others as well. When I woke, still disturbed by the deep feeling of grief the dream expressed, I was puzzled. My children were all growing up; I had no more “babies”. And I wondered what in the world a “deep water leaf” might be, much less a society of them.

Fast forward several years – seven, to be exact – and I did lose a child, my eldest son who was 26. During my deep grief, I spent a lot of time revisiting my old journals and filling many new ones with my journey to healing. Along the way, I found the record of this deep water leaf dream and it resonated deeply.

My son, Cameron, was born in April. Suddenly “four-month-old” became a metaphor for this child of mine, born in the fourth month, who I now grieved so deeply for. The dream seemed to hold a prescription for healing. In time, I wrote my first book partly as a chronicle of my own healing journey and partly as a self-help roadmap for others who were grieving. I titled it The Deep Water Leaf Society in honor of the dream.

But I still wondered, what IS a deep water leaf? Inklings of the answer had come through in the book I’d written, but there was more mystery yet to be unraveled. The question continued to rattle around in the back of my mind.

Over the years since Cameron’s death and the publication of the first book, my dreams and meditations have slowly been answering that question. In my new book, Fallen, I explore the answer in the form of a fairy tale or fable about the first Deep Water Leaf.

In it, my protagonist Alora falls from the Dreaming Tree into the strange new land of Lake Sojourn where she struggles to remember who she is. Will she continue to drift on the surface, always at the mercy of the elements? Or will she find the courage to face her fears, dive deep and reclaim her true power?

No spoilers here. You’ll have to read it to find out. 😉

Fallen, the Adventures of a Deep Water Leaf is scheduled for publication January 2017.

Several of the original illustrations – 11 x 14 watercolor and colored pencil on bristol – will be on display in the Southwest Visual Art League’s INSPIRED! Art Show this November in downtown Mesa, Arizona.


Raffles & More

Sponsor Raffle Gifts and Donations

Thank you to our sponsors for financial and services donations, check them out here.

Raffle prizes will be going on throughout the day of the art show. Raffle tickets are sold for $3 each. We have many generous donations. All proceeds from the raffles go to the 2 charities; House of Refuge and Arizona Brainfood Inc.

A  few of the prizes:

  • Red Mountain Golf: A certificate for a round of golf for a foursome or it can be used 4 time by one person. $200 value.
  • Six Salt Therapy Sessions donated by Salties Mind and Body Spa
  • Skin Care Starter Collection donated by Joelle Martine Skin Care
  • Gift basket of essential oils and a diffuser
  • Dog themed goodie basket
  • Basket with dessert plates and entertainment items
  • Lotions & Potions Basket
  • Happy hour baskets
  • Art supplies baskets
  • and more!

Charity Fundraiser – House of Refuge

houseofrefuge-web“House of Refuge is a faith-based, non-profit organization helping homeless families in crisis by providing transitional housing and supportive services that assist participants as they strive towards self-sufficiency and seek to obtain permanent housing.”

The 20 acres and 88 homes located at the former Williams Air Force Base were conveyed to House of Refuge in 1995 with the stipulation to provide transitional housing and supported service programs to eligible homeless families and individuals. In October 1996, the first resident was accepted into the program. Since that time, they have assisted over 7,000 individuals out of their homeless cycle and averaged a 90% success rate in moving them into permanent housing. Many of the residents come from a history of domestic violence.

In May 2016, HUD notified 50% of the USA transitional housing programs that grant funding was discontinued retroactive to February 2016. House of Refuge was impacted by this decision and, at that time, their 81 housing units were fully occupied. This budget reduction forced residents in 69 housing units to be relocated to other living facilities. Currently, their budget can only support servicing 12 units and they are seeking private funding to cover the costs to reopen the unused units. There is a waiting list of over 100 requests.

House of Refuge is hosting their 20th Anniversary Event on October 29th and the theme is “It will be a Night For Refuge to REBUILD THE HOUSE”.

Mesa United Way named House of Refuge its 2015 Agency of the Year. For more information, visit their website:


Charity Fundraiser – Arizona Brainfood Inc.

As a result of organizing this art show, we enjoyed the unique opportunity to join forces with a group of creative people who are working together to bring more visibility to the visual arts in our community.

As individual artists and as a collective, we embrace this event to share our artistic creations with the general public in addition to giving back to the community.

Each year our art show has a fundraiser for chosen charities. Our goal is to make a difference in the community through donations to these charities and raising awareness for their causes. This collaborative project is truly rewarding! Donation funds are generated from raffle prizes, sponsor gifts, and artists’ donated original art. Because our show is in Mesa this year, we chose to sponsor the following local, vitally important, non-profit charities: Arizona Brainfood Inc. and House of Refuge Inc.

Arizona Brainfood Inc.

AZ-Brainfood-Logo-2“Arizona Brainfood is a non-profit organization that discreetly provides a backpack of food to feed hungry school children on weekends. We hope that each child will return to school every Monday mentally aware and physically able to concentrate.”

In the fall of 2009, Arizona Brainfood’s program began by providing food bags to 180 children in two Mesa elementary schools. Its mission was to make sure that elementary children wouldn’t go hungry over the school year weekends so that their Monday mental and concentration skills were positively impacted. The program has grown considerably over the last seven years and continues to grow. It has even expanded to other Arizona cities (Chandler, Gilbert, Tempe, Fountain Hills, etc.).

At the beginning of the 2016 school year, 3,400 food bags were discreetly provided to a total of 104 Arizona elementary schools. Included in that total number, approximately 2,000 food bags were provided to 55 Mesa elementary schools.

Many local businesses and individuals donate all of the resources needed to make this a successful program. Major contributions include food, packing materials, and delivery trucks/drivers. Mesa Public Schools provides a “pro bono” warehouse space to store and pack all the food bags. Every Thursday morning, approximately 80 volunteers fill and load the food bags into the trucks for delivery to the elementary schools. On Fridays, teachers/counselors discreetly put the food bags into each designated child’s backpack.

Arizona Brainfood’s Board of Directors and Staff are all volunteers. For more information, visit their website:

Art That Inspires

Art That Inspires

On a recent European trip, I had an opportunity to visit the Louvre. My group quickly went upstairs to view the Mona Lisa painting. I stood close enough to her to inspect the lady’s eyes. I always try to get some information from art… She looks at her audience with eyes that seem to see. The painting gives life to her eyes in smooth, seamless realistic strokes. She lives behind these painted eyes. I admire the technique. I look carefully at the drawing and painting. I want to gain information for my own drawings from what I see. Of course, I don’t suggest a skill as deep as this artist’s but I am inspired to try to mimic what I see. I am moved to develop my skills.

At the Speed Museum in Louisville, Kentucky, there is a Van Gogh painting. Typically it is a portrait of an unsmiling, middle-aged woman, dressed in dark clothing. She sits up straight backed with her hands crossed on her lap. As an artist, I stood close to the painting and examined her hands. Her hands were crossed with her fingers resting gently on top. The knuckles, the nails, the bent thumbs show a life-like artistry that I look at for instruction. I look for ways to copy what the artist has done. I am inspired to try to develop my technique.

Artists paint in tents for months during the season in Phoenix. It is a joy to meander through their exhibits and watch them work in oils, watercolor and metals. Their paintings always inspire me to go home and work. I see a pictures of a rock-covered river bottom. I want to go home and paint water… and maybe, rocks!

To the casual eye, art can be enjoyed by simply viewing, but as an artist, I always am stirred to go further – not just looking, but practicing and developing my artistic skills.
~ Elin Bates

Inspiration Comes to Us

Inspiration Comes to Us

I am transformed. The process was an unobtrusive and unexpected one, a quiet and total surprise. The words of Brenda Ueland, “Inspiration comes to us slowly and quietly… prime it with a little solitude” fit me so well, as if she wrote these words specifically for me. In solitude during periods of soul searching, I am pleasantly lost in exploring my inner world. An idea can surge within suddenly but to further develop that inspiration into art takes time. To add my uniqueness to the idea, to make it my own, it is a slow and quiet course to be inspired.

As I reflect on this growth, where I started as an art student and where I am today, I can see beyond my once narrow world. I am able to see the subtleties of line, shape, color, space, form, value, and texture within a face, within a tree, within architecture. Ahhhh and capturing the heart and soul, the beauty of those nuances in visual art, is undoubtedly sheer pleasure.

Visually re-creating the heart and the soul has brought new learning and continues to be an ongoing study challenge. My learning, my art is not complete, when one goal is achieved, new goals emerge to give expression to the beauty within me as I embrace the beauty around me. What a lovely and healthy obsession, training to see beauty, the more I see beauty, the more I recognize it surrounding me, the more beauty I see and so on.

With just a simple glance, art evokes an emotion. I am astounded by the art I am now am able to create.

In humility, I write these words because I also marvel to see the artwork of peers. I am moved by what I see. In deep introspection where there are no words, art gives a tangible visual expression to this emotional place within me. Being inspired and creating visual art is a cathartic experience. This awakening emotion related to art, this practice is sublime.

The transformation, I now see beauty all around me, this on of itself is spectacular, but to feel this beauty to feel it at the heart and soul level is an ethereal feeling. As inspiration comes to me, I am pursuing each slowly as to savor every moment, extending the ethereal feeling. Creating art has changed me exponentially for the better. And with each inspiration that comes to me and the exquisite evolution of feeling, seeing and creating beauty all around me ends with a smile, bliss and culminates with…an inner peace.
~ Maria Cristina Hornyan

To Everything there is a Season

To Everything there is a Season

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
~ From the Birds (based on Book of Ecclesiastes)

I’ve been ruminating on this Blog post for several weeks. Ideas have been floating around in my mind connecting my artwork to what I feel, observe and enjoy. One of the pieces that I worked on is called ‘Seasons’ (16×20 in Colored Pencil). And it’s really been an expression of my life over the last few years.


When I started this art piece a little over 2 years ago I worked on it because I was inspired by the life cycle of sunflowers. The sunflowers at full bloom were HUGE and glorious. However what really intrigued me was when they started dying. They were bent over from the weight of the flower, though their leaves still grew upward. The shapes of the dying petals reaching up for a last glimpse of light and others fell downward into the quietness of rest; which was beautiful in it’s own dramatic way. In my art illustration I tired to capture the abstract feeling of the change in seasons.

Little did I know at the time, I was expressing the season that I would soon experience on a deep and personal level.

Within a short time I unexpectedly lost my mother who was my closest confidante. In the same season within a year I became as they say an “empty-nester.” All of our kids moved on and out of the house.

Currently as I work on my kid’s portraits I’m working through all my mixed feelings of being in the season of ‘empty nest’. Through each stroke of my pencil there may be a thought, a feeling or a memory. It’s truly therapeutic.

I’m grateful to the other artists I’ve met over the last several years who are such an inspiration. Through this art community, I’ve made such good friends, been challenged to see more deeply by artist Helen Rowles and have artistically expressed the things that are difficult to verbalize. ~ Christina


We Are Planning Our 2016 Community Art Show

This November will be our third year for our community art show. However it’s really more than an art show. It’s a collaboration of creative people who are working together to bring more visibility to the visual arts in our community and also to share the work that they create.

Each year we have a fundraiser for chosen charities and our goal is to make a difference through donations and to bring visibility to their causes.


Last year we raised monies for Operation Welcome Home and Sunshine Acres Children’s Home. Making a difference in the community through artwork, our fund raising generated raffle prizes, sponsor gifts, and artists’ art-card donations is truly rewarding.

If you would like to be part of this show as either an Artist or a Sponsor please contact us for more info here.

A Look Back


Artists from 2015 Show

Artists from 2015 Show


One of our marketing materials from the show.

One of our marketing materials from the show.


Raffle Baskets

Raffle Baskets


Raffle Baskets

Raffle Baskets



Art Show 2015


Art Show 2014

Art Show 2014


Marketing for each Artist - shown from 2014 show.

Marketing for each Artist – shown from 2014 show.


The Artists all have a unique style!

The Artists all have a unique style!


Does fear hold you back?

Does fear hold you back?

Am I good enough?

Does this statement or thought hold you back? It does me.

“When I am good enough, I will…”
• Do more artwork
• Show my artwork to others
• Participate in an art show
• Not be anxious to put myself ‘out there’
• Insert your statement here

Self-doubt is one of the dark places for artists. The inner critic takes over and tells you “who do you think you are?” “Look at your work compared to their work – they are better “, “insert your critical comment here”.

It will never be the right time and sometimes we don’t feel good or ready enough. At least I don’t. You have to take the risk, stop listening to your inner critic and give yourself permission to go to new places with your art, even if you don’t feel ready. I don’t think any creative person ever feels truly ready to step out and be seen.

Stepping out can feel so vulnerable when art is so personal.

Will you give me permission? As a child, did you show your work to a parent or peer and look for validation? “You’re a good artist”, “Wow, you’re talented”, “You should become an artist.”

Validation is good; however if you’re not finding the validation that you need from others, don’t let it hold you back.

It’s time to stop asking for permission. Give yourself permission and you will become empowered.

Beyond judgments. As you let go of self-doubt, comparisons and approval seeking, you can begin to move beyond the feelings of judgment. Self-judgment, self-doubt and the fear of not being good enough are deep pits that keep creativity stifled.

The What Ifs. But what if no one likes my work? What if they judge me? What if they gossip? What if I’m rejected?

We need to face the worry head on. Stop focusing on the fear and focus on the process of doing the work and the self-discovery it brings.

If you’re doing what truly makes you happy, the reward will be so much more than the fear of what if.

What if you go to new places as an artist and new doors open to adventures you’ve never dreamed of? What if you find the peace of mind and self-expression that art brings? It’s all worth it.

Can anything be sadder than work left unfinished?
Yes; work never begun.
–Christina Rossetti


“Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen.”
–Robert Bresson