Welcome to my Wild & Whimsical World...!


You've stumbled upon the world of SERENDIPITIES by Dena ... where I share my whimsically hand-painted furnARTure & accessories with those who are looking for something off the beaten track ...

I'm a folk artist -- completely self-taught. I discovered that I could paint at age 40, that I had a gift of coordinating/clashing various colors and patterns, in a way that "breaks the rules" and yet delights the senses. I take great pleasure in giving stuffy and serious furniture the "permission" to express their inner frivolity & frou-frouness, all the while retaining their inherent functional usefulness ...

... a lamp still lights up the room, even while it lights up the heart.

Serendipity means "an unexpected treasure" ... as I scour the countryside, looking for unwanted and forlorn furniture to rescue, repair and resurrect, I often come upon an unexpected treasure hiding in a yard sale, a flea market, a thrift store, or even a dumpster (yes, I horrify my children by digging in the trash!). I bring home these discounted diamonds in the rough, seeing past the rough exterior, into the hidden potential. After cleaning, repairing, and priming each piece (creating a blank canvas), I let the inner joy and beauty of each piece come out -- I'm often as surprised and delighted as anyone else, to discover what it "wanted" to look like, as the unexpected treasure emerges ...

(for the record, I see human beings the same way...).

After each piece is "adopted" by the new owner, my desire is that this treasure will continue to inspire delight and joy, as it catches the eye, and brings a smile -- transforming the mundane moment-at-hand into an unexpected treasure.

I have a covert plan, to infect the world ... invading every home on the planet with one of my creations, lightening each heart, and bringing about a contagious harmony! I'm out to transform the planet -- one piece of furnARTure at a time..!

Shows & Events (Past, Present, Future)

Local 14 Art Show
Foresty Center
Portland, Oregon
October 14-17, 2010

Charbonneau Art Festival
Wilsonville, Oregon
October 1 & 2, 2010

Silverton Fine Art Fair
Silverton, Oregon
August 21 & 22

Art in the Forest
West Linn, Oregon
August 14 & 15

Davenport Days
Silverton, Oregon
August 6, 7, 8, 2010

Dallas Summerfest
Dallas, Oregon
August 1, 2010

Salem Art Faire and Festival
Salem, Oregon
July 16, 17 & 18

Cracked Pots UnGarden Show
Forest Grove, Oregon
March 6, 2010 - 11:00-6:00

Portland's Christmas Expo
December 4, 5, 6, 2009

McMinnville Crazy-Christmas Bazaar!
November 27, 28, & 29, 2009

Charbonneau Arts Festival
Wilsonville, Oregon
October, 2009

Hops & Heritage Festival
Independence, Oregon
September, 2009

Master Gardener Fall Fling
Dallas, Oregon
September 2009

Dallas, Oregon
July 23-26, 2009

~ The Story Behind the Art ..! ~

What a delight it is to discover the many ways in which we are creative beings! Whether as artists, or writers, or gardeners, or cooks, or actors, or salespeople, or entrepreneurs, or singers, or organizers, or parents, or students, or whatever our particular bent..! What joy to join God, as co-creators, in this life we've launched into! I love the sense of *beingness* that I experience when I'm lost in the moment-of-now, in the midst of the creative Process & mindset ... I forget time and even my surroundings ... as the clamor of the tyranny of the urgent fades mercifully into the background, and I just get to BE who I Am... ahhhhh, sweet Rest-infused-with-energy!

Recently, I've REdiscovered my artistic-bent ... the past several years have been tumultuous, and creative in other ways ... and quite frankly, my spiritual/emotional/transitional journey took over my life with a huge intensity. And so, something that I love to do had to take a backseat for a while ~ a temporary hiatus.

However, it's become clear to me that it's time to bring it back, to reclaim this sidelined part of who I AM ... that my inner-creative-bent must come out to play! And so, I've started to paint again ... not portraits or still-lifes, or even walls (I do that too, as a faux-artist), but in painting my wild and wacky furniture as art, or FurnARTure. I've shared the photos on the side-bar ----> (& then down a wee bit), but I'd like to share a little bit about why I do what I do ...

I was bulimic for many years, from 1979 - 2000 (ages 18-39)... very seriously addicted, and came close to dying many times ... tried everything to recover (you name it, I did it, to no avail). I felt like a totally spent, useless, discarded human being, a complete failure ... utterly hopeless. In the fall of 2000, I got the sudden out-of-nowhere urge to paint-over a little stool in my house (this after having had all creativity sucked out of me by the addiction - when one is in "survive mode", there's no room for thriving).

This particular stool had a Pennsylvania Dutch "hex" sign on the seat, of a two-headed bird ... each head looking into different directions. It suddenly spoke to me of "double-mindedness"... conflicting inner desires - a confused-compulsion for self-destruction on one hand, and a haunting desire for life (rather than merely existing) on the other. That stool wordlessly taunted me, reflecting the inner-judgment that tormented my soul. A silent indictment. I couldn't bear to look at it for a moment longer!

I primed that little stool, marveled in the inviting clean-whiteness of it, and launched into the creative process ... it was as if the life and joy was coming to me, more like through me, from some forgotten place deep within me, as if the stool spoke to me about what it wanted to be -- somehow reflecting what I wanted to be, or to remember who I am...

I was delighted with the final outcome, and quite frankly astonished -- I felt a spark of long-forgotten joy in my heart. I continued, transforming many items, just for the sheer joy of it. It was a thrill to take old, discarded, unwanted, useless items (which I found in yard sales, thrift stores, and dumpsters), to clean them up, prime them (that fresh blank slate), and bring out the hidden inner-life. Something within ME was feeling the hope-of-life again...

Three months later, in an incredible moment of transformation, I was healed of bulimia (the tool/mode was Theophostic prayer) ... it was as if something said to me, "as you did with the furniture, so I do with you ... you are not old, discarded, unwanted or useless ... you are a conduit of joy and life, which I'm now bringing forth, from where it was long-hidden." The outward manifestation was a pronouncement, a foretelling if you will, of what was happening within me, where it could not yet be seen.

Out of the ashes of a life deemed hopeless, beauty has emerged. I am the most astonished & grateful of women! I've transformed from barely surviving, to gloriously thriving!

And so, my painting continues to be an affirmation of life and joy ... complete with the inherent imperfections that come with the rescued, and forgotten, and passed-over things of this life ... testimonies of where they once were, and what they have now become. Nothing wasted, nothing regretted. All good.

I love that I rescue these diamonds-in-the-rough out of the landfills (recycling in a sublime form - more rewarding than merely rinsing out cans, LOL!) ... that I give them new life and purpose again ... that they serve to bring joy and delight to those who see them. They're meant to be beautiful and useful, if "only" to bring a smile to the face and the heart, when they catch the eye.

I call my art Serendipities by Dena ... for each piece is an unexpectedly-revealed treasure, a reminder that within each of us, without exception, there is a hidden source of joy and beauty, a spark of Life, that can come forth if only we take the time to draw it out...!

I dare you, I challenge you, and I hope to inspire you to freely-express YOUR joy and creativity today...!

Shalom & Namaste,

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Results of Black/White/Gray Show...!

What a night!

This being my first-ever entry in an art show, I didn't know what to expect ... I told Mark and the kids to stay home, in case it was boring and stuffy.

I dressed up in black and white (but of course!), and ventured forth to Keizer (about 20 miles away). I was amazed and astonished at the caliber of art in the show...! Mon Dieu, but it was GOOD! All manner of mediums ... oils, drawings, sketches, etchings, watercolors, mosaics, sculptures, 3 dimensional collages, photographs ... and my table and chair. SO much talent was represented!

I had several artist, judges and others come up to me and say how much they loved my work ... quite nice and gratifying, coming from "real" artists (I feel like the Pinocchio of the art-world, a "not quite real" artist ... a pretend-artist). One gentleman was an attorney ... one who happens to know my father, who's a circuit court judge ... one who would certainly enjoy black and white art...! ;)

We were encouraged to vote for 3 artists whose work we most enjoyed ... I was feeling just gauche enough to vote for myself (if I don't like my work, who will?), as well as two other artists ... one was a sort of bustier-sculpture ... it spoke of freedom from enslavement. Another was an oil painting of a small boy's face, from the nose up ... looking up to his (off-canvas) father ... the father's gnarled hand on the boy's head (the boy looks a lot like my Benji, my youngest). I *wish* I'd remembered to bring my camera..! The votes will continue throughout the month-long exhibit, as others come to view the artwork on display.

Then it was time for the awards ceremony ... I sat with the rest of the artists ... they were all thrilled with the turnout ... it seems that there were more entries than in years past -- 75 pieces of artwork in all -- and that the quality of the art was outstanding. They wanted to honor first, second and third places ... as well as 5 honorable mentions, out of the 75 pieces. I couldn't believe my ears to hear that my art was awarded one of the honorable mentions...! Me! The not-quite-real artist, who snuck in the back door ... the one who almost didn't paint in black/white/gray ... the one who almost didn't enter...!

They went on and on about how much joy my art brought them ... how it captivated their imagination, and even invited them to sit in the chair ... and one of the judges said, "be sure to check out her photo album -- she sells other items, and even takes commissions" ... LOL, the judge was plugging my work!

And then, right in front of everyrone, the middle finial came unglued and fell off...! Right there at the show! Stinkin' white gorilla glue didn't hold up! Rather than it being a terrible moment, one of the judges rushed off to find some Elmer's glue, and held the finial in place 'til it dried ...! At least it waited 'til after they jurying...

Later, I was having a blast talking with one of the women ... she was vibrant, energetic and highly complimentary of the art, including mine ... we were discussing menopause, and the freedom to finally speak our minds ... she told the art director to be sure to bring the art to the next city council meeting, and to get it in the newspaper. I asked her if she was on the council ... everyone laughed, and said, "she's the mayor!" Hoo-boy! I was schmoozing with the mayor about menopause!

Not the stuffy and boring event I was anticipating -- what a lovely surprise all around! Wishing Mark had been with me ... but there'll be a next time!

I'm guessing this means I *might* be a real artist now...!

Maybe I'll even start feeling like one...

Shalom, Dena


MysticBrit said...

Ah... I can so empathise with that poor ol' finial. coming unglued 'n' falling off:)

What a wonderful time you had, my friend. May it be the first of many!

To Life!

Mark said...

The only one that questions whether or not you're a real artist is you. Think about how many compliments you have had from other (real) artists.

I love who you are and what you do. Life with you is always an adventure!!

Paige said...

Congrats Dena! (Hands clapping)


:)Paige (The Idaho Paige. You know so many, lol.)

Stephanie B. said...

I'm so happy for you, Dena! I love the table and chair. I'll have to go to the exhibit. Keizer is just up the road from me.

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