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,

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Upcoming Art Show in Keizer, Oregon

I'm expanding my horizons ... trying something new...!

I recently joined a wondermous organization ... Artist in Action. It's an organization for artists, based in Salem, Oregon. Fabulous folks ... not only hyper-talented, but they struck me as honest and authentic folks. Much appreciated in the world of art, were pretension can loom large.

While at their meeting, I caught wind of an art exhibit being featured in Keizer, Oregon, not far from my home. It's called the "Black, White and Gray" show ... and, true to it's name, all artwork must only be in shades of black, white and gray. At first, I snorted at the concept (yes, I snorted outloud, in the meeting), since my art is all about vivid color. But it stayed with the ... the concept of doing my art in only the non-color tones ... challenging ... intriguing ... all-too-tempting...!

I got hooked on the concept. I purchased every shade of gray I could find, schlepped them to my home studio, and looked about my "nekkid" furniture, to see which would be good candidates ... one little tea table jumped out at me ... round top, twisted base, and curved triplet "feet". Perfect. Then, I found a lovely vintage chair in one of the local stores wherein my furniture is displayed and sold ... "Some Things". The chair from the 1920's ... and was painted in a crackled green. Charming as it was, and yet it was crying out for a new expression (I heard it!). Again, perfect.

So, after much experimentation, the chair is now a riot of black, white and gray ... looking very much like I had taken a B&W photo of one of my multi-colored items! Without relying on colors, I had to focus on shape, shade, and details ... using a smokey gray for the legs, I then painted a subtler-lighter shade of gray for flowers ... let it dry, only to return and find them GONE! I *knew* that I had indeed painted 200+ flowers on that chair, but they had evaporated, seemingly into thin air(!) ... sigh ...

After wondering whether I'd gone completely batty, and ruling out an odd metaphysical experience, I discovered that the shade was the same as that on the legs, despite having a different name, and made by differing companies ... and while it went on a light shade, it dried darker. Rats.

So ... I had to do it again, using a customized shade I derived out of adding a blip of black into a wallop of white ... and voila -- the ideal shade for neutralized-flowers, which I then detailed with high-gloss black. I used a conglomeration of all the shades to create a lovely marbleized effect on the seat ... polka-dots, swirling vines, and checks complete the presentation. The crowning touches are finials I created out of various wood pieces, and then painted ... gluing them to the top. When it's sprayed with varnish, I'll add beaded glass fringe, and it shall be complete!

I did much the same for the table, adding strings of pearls to accent the twisted base -- tres elegant!

I'm quite pleased with the effect ... it's all much like seeing a transformed "plain Jane" get dressed in formal attire ... the result resembling a tuxedo and an evening gown.

I'll bring the pieces to the gallery in Keizer this Wednesday ... and hope that they'll get juried into the show. IF so, then they'll be on display throughout November, launching with a reception. The opening reception for family, friends and the public is Saturday, November 7, 5PM to 8PM.

Keizer Art Association & Enid Joy Mount Gallery
980 Chemawa Rd NE, Keizer, OR 97303
Phone: 503-390-3010 – www.keizerarts.org

This is my first art show of this sort ... rather than being a vendor at an art show, I'd be displayed. NO idea of whether what I've done (what I do) fits with their vision ... I could be utterly outside their box (wouldn't be the first time, LOL!). Then again, they may be charmed.

No matter ... I'm charmed. I love what came out of me, onto these items ... and as soon as they're finished, I'll share the photos here. In answering the challenge, I've discovered a whole new "line" I can share with others...!

Shalom, Dena

1 comment:

MysticBrit said...

Well... white contains the whole spectrum, which fits you... also as you're not a 'black & white' sort of person the infinite shades of grey should suit you perfectly.:)

All power to ya, my friend. Have a creative blast!

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