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Presentation to Manasquan River Artists Group (NJ)

Since 1990, I’ve participated in more than 500 art shows, my work has been displayed at numerous venues in the Tri-state area, and I’ve served as a board member and jurist, helping to organize several arts events. I’m grateful for all the judges, curators, colleagues and my clients who helped me to thrive as a productive working artist.

In my High School Art Studio, a perceptive art instructor encouraged me to use acrylics sensing it was a good medium for me (after watching me struggle with pastel and water colors). She also guided me to create my first painting on slate, a very forgiving surface. I’d go on to produce hundreds of these paintings. I still love working with the natural lines and quirks of each “rock” and find the slate surfaces (and now masonite) very receptive to acrylic paint, perfect for layering and changing one’s mind! Acrylic paints are also incredibly adaptable; just add water to thin for a watery effect, use additives to create body, highlight with oil pastels and spray on some gloss finish – magic!

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In 1990, I began working with vintage postcards making them the focal point of my work. Although I haven’t kept track, I’ve created and sold well over 1,000 pieces. My artwork hangs on the walls of offices and homes throughout the world. 

One of my former writing instructors once said to me that she believed writers were born, not made. Many feel that way about artists. Although art has always been a part of my life, I didn’t set out to have a career as a Fine Artist (or an author), but if it is true that we are born, or destined for a vocation, than the Creative World is one where I’ve learned I belong, even with all its inherent set backs.

The Art Show life presents many challenges; rain storms, high winds, blizzards, the ability (or inability) of an event promoter to promote, the health of the current tourism season (in the Northeast, H. Sandy ended many events), a weak economy and competitive venues offered by on-line options.

Then there are the long rides to get to show sites and the physical labor of putting up tents and displays and dealing with “neighbors” who encroach on your designated (and well paid-for) show space, or complain about how terrible an event is (I actually began writing as a way to shut out their negativity).

While I enjoyed my community of fellow-artists and customers, many who became friends, working so many weekends caused me to miss  numerous occasions like weddings and family reunions.

For the past seven years or so, I’ve spent time transitioning to the life of a writer, but lately, missing the painting process, I’ve spent more time on that side of the loft (see previous post). Now, my aim is to create on-line marketing initiatives to help promote my artwork, relying on my Social Media platform, while retaining a handful of in-person events. It’s also rewarding to reconnect with returning customers who are happy to reconnect and add some new pieces to their collections!

As I patiently await some publishing news (something that is ongoing and comes with the territory), I find peace, inspiration and “my rock” in the process of painting where I can just add water and go with the flow or start over when ever I feel the need.

To follow me along the Creative Path,  and of course check out art (and writing). Please LIKE my professional page and visit often as I’ll be posting paintings on a daily basis throughout December (and beyond). https://www.facebook.com/LisaBeginKruysmanAuthorAndArtist/

Thank you.

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Most of my days begin with the battle of creative expression; do I head for the mouse first and draft a chapter or two, or grab a brush and finish a painting? Physically it isn’t a difficult choice, as my loft space is divided in halves; one side dedicated to drawing and painting, the other where the writing takes place.

Some days I let my muse guide me, others, I ask my dog to choose the side he prefers at the moment. It’s only fair as my writing often celebrates the canine-human bond. 

I’ve worked as a fine artist since 1989, so a few years ago, when people heard that I’d taken up writing, they’d assumed I’d be an illustrator as well. To them I continue to explain that I’m a painter, mostly landscape, and illustration is a very different animal. Also, up until recently, authors didn’t typically illustrate their own work (in fact, the two rarely even communicated to keep each one’s unique vision intact), although currently there’s an increased call for author/illustrators.

Recently, however, wondering how I could combine words and image in my own creative projects, I received a fortuitous call from the Program Director of a local arts guild. She’d heard about my paintings that incorporate vintage postcards, and my books, and asked if I’d give a presentation for their annual membership dinner in November. They’d even pay and feed me and allow me to sell books. Who could refuse?  I said, “yes,” then hung up, grasping the challenge of my audience; talented well-known artists. 

Because it’s a story that originates in New Jersey, I’ve decided to focus on Around the World in 1909: Harriet Fisher and Her Locomobile, (American History Press – 2014) a fun and informative book about the first woman to drive around the world. It’s filled with inspiration, history, travel and even pets!

For this event, I’ve created Postcard Paintings featuring three destinations in Harriet’s history-making journey; Paris, Lake Como, Italy and Japan. Time doesn’t allow for Fisher’s tour of Egypt, India, Sri Lanka, China, and back through the American West, but hopefully they’ll appear in subsequent presentations.

For the past several years, I’ve addressed historical societies, elementary schools, women’s clubs, a university association and although each event has focused on a different book, many people want to hear about the story behind the book, or seek encouragement to write one of their own.

Although my interest in writing and painting was evident early on, my official Path to Creativity began at age 30 when I left a great job in the entertainment industry, traveled to Italy for a painting course, returning home a Full-Time artist. Fifteen years later, after taking a writing course, I began composing short stories and drafted my first book. I believe that the discipline and professionalism gained in the corporate world in my 20s has helped me to structure my writing and art life. It hasn’t been an easy or straight-forward path, but I always tell those who ask for advice to think of a goal as a journey filled with small steps and to keep learning and form alliances with those who share your vision. 

My journey goes on. Currently, I’m “barking up” new projects, and my story of Teddy (our foster-to-forever dog) will be featured in an Anthology published by the Baker Publishing Group in Fall 2018. It’s always good to have several projects in the works because the path to publication has many twists and turns. And of course, it never hurts to surround yourself with great family members, friends and to have a loyal dog (or any loving pet) curled up at your creative feet, no matter what side of the studio your creative muse, or dog, dictates.

So, if you invited me to present at your next event, what would you ask, or like to learn? Please leave a comment, or reach me at lbkauthor@gmail.com. 

Happy musing! Here are the images for my presentation (all are 8 X 10 – acrylic paint on mat board. All postcards are originals from 1909-1914).

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Paris – postmarked 1914

 

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Lake Como, Italy – postmarked 1909

 

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Japanese garden – 1910

 

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Enter a caption – Flip side with postal markings.

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Earlier this month, I had the honor of presenting to the Medford-area (NJ) Branch of the American Association of University Women. Last fall they had contacted me after Tricia Reace, Vice-President of the chapter’s literary group read coverage of my book Around the World in 1909: Harriet White Fisher and Her Locomobile that had appeared in the Times of Trenton. http://www.nj.com/mercer/index.ssf/2015/01/book_details_ewing_residents_1909_journey_around_t.html#incart_river

 

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Cid Richards (L) and author

The AAUW’s mission is to advance equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research, breaking through educational and economic barriers so that all women have a fair chance.

When Cid Richards, Vice President of Programs, contacted me she explained that each year the group invites a woman author from New Jersey as their guest presenter at their annual Book & Author Champagne Brunch. The goal of this occasion is to raise money for their scholarship fund. As this book was authored by an author from New Jersey, about a New Jersey-based automotive pioneer, she thought the event’s attendees would appreciate this subject matter during Woman’s History Month.

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l to r – me, Mary Anne Brookes, Cid Richards

At this gathering that over-looked the beautiful grounds of Medford Leas, I addressed a roomful of women (and a few men) that were fascinated by the life and travel of Trenton’s Harriet White Fisher and her intrepid band of traveling companions. Together, this team covered four continents during the course of thirteen months in a vehicle called a Locomobile.

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Rich Kruysman and Tricia Teace

During the event, I received several questions about Harriet’s trip as well as inquiries about how I came to tell her story and about my writing process and impressions of the publishing industry. What a great opportunity to share, and hopefully inspire, others.

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June Ramondetta (l) and Diane Levy

At the conclusion of the address, I had the pleasure of signing copies of Around the World in 1909 as well as copies of Dog’s Best Friend and Something’s Lost and Must be Found. As an added bonus, I learned that a donation had been made in my name to the Alice Paul Institute. The Alice Paul Institute educates the public about the life and work of Alice Stokes Paul (1885-1977), author of the Equal Rights Amendment, and offers heritage and girls’ leadership development programs

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“The Men” Ish Chawla (l), Paul Ramondetta (m) and Rich

I thank all of those of the AAUW involved in making the day so special including Elsie Behmer, Co-President, Treasurer Mary Ann Brookes, VP of Membership and Publicity coordinator June Ramondetta, Co-Vice President Literature Group Tricia Reace, AAUW NJ State Board Member Mary Switzer and of course, Cid Richards, Tri-Vice President of Programs; my point of contact throughout the planning process.

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In turn, I will be contributing a percentage of book sales from this event to my “Be the Change” collection to benefit a local animal advocacy group.

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Signing copies of Around the World in 1909!

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Another terrific Women’s History Event-Speaking at the NJ State Library on 3/30 as part of their Author Lunch Hour series.

Happy National Women’s History Month, Happy Spring. Watch for exciting news about National Dog Week 2016 in a subsequent post. Visit and LIKE the NDW Page:https://www.facebook.com/National-Dog-Week-218596591491974/?fref=ts

 

 

Meet Honk Honk Fisher, the first (and pawsibly only) dog to be driven around the world

Meet Honk Honk Fisher, the first (and pawsibly only) dog to be driven around the world

This summer, my thoughts are focused on dogs and travel. Having just returned from California, I had the privilege of signing copies of Around the World in 1909: Harriet White Fisher and Her Locomobile (American History Press) at the fabulous Bookshop Santa Cruz venue. This story begins in New Jersey and meanders through the NoCal region so it was especially fitting, and of course it features the incredible Boston bull terrier, Honkie, the first dog to be literally driven around the world. In keeping with this traveling theme, I introduce a pair of sisters who have published a book that has Captured: The Look of the Dog in their own unique manner. Welcome Fern and Gloria!

Cover of Captured!

Cover of Captured!

According to Fern and Gloria, dogs nationwide are begging their humans to read this book. Dog lovers and their best friends now have an evocative whimsical read. This collection of fictional short stories, poems, prose and faceted photographs expose the reader to a fanciful awareness of canines. It answers questions like, “Poo Diddy Poo?” – do dogs have bad hair days – including revealing details of puppy pee-mail.

One reviewer writes…
This book is essential for all dog lovers and pet parents! It captures the essence of dogs – the images itself are beautiful, and the copy is clever and very well-written. You can tell that the authors put their heart and soul (and paws) into this book – and it turned out wonderfully.
Another stated…

It is a good read and not too long and not too short. It is just the right amount of each dog and their little story. It makes you laugh, smile and in some case sad or makes you think. This book makes you want to read more and get to the next dog and the next story. It captures your mind and in some stories your heart!
Captured! is available via Amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com.

Websites: http://www.GloriaYarina.com and http://www.FernGoodman.com

In keeping with our summer travel theme, Gloria and Fern offer these “Oddball Pointers” (their own words) for First Time Dog Travelers:

Before you go-go…
If you are staying at a pet friendly establishment for the first time, make sure to ask them if there are adequate outdoor accommodations. You would think since they are pet friendly, they would have thought of the excrement ramifications, but don’t assume. There is nothing worse than being surrounded by cement or stairs or on the fifth floor when your Labradoodle has to diddle in a hurry.

Speaking of the fifth floor. Be aware that all pet rooms/cabins are not created on the ground floor. Does your Border Collie know how to climb stairs? Is your Boxer afraid of being boxed in on an elevator? When that elevator door opens, my 90 pound hound mix charges inside, not caring if there is someone trying to get out of the elevator or if they are afraid of him. Find out what floor you’re on.

A word about packing, well two words…extra towels. This is in case of rain or beach excursions. Wet-dog smell is never an air freshener scent. And another three words…extra dog food. You can’t always find your brand if you run out.

And awaaay you go…
When our moms told us, “wear clean underwear in case you’re in an accident” I think she meant in case you have an accident. For years I stuffed a pair of clean underwear in my purse just in case.
Here’s a scenario. Dog travels in a car long distance for the first time, maybe excited, maybe nervous, maybe both. You have the dog in your lap or your dog leans over the front seat or you open the crate to let them pee and PLAHH. Your precious pup pukes on you and your clothes. Have a change of outfit handy is all I’m sayin’.

You arrive…
Examine the room/house where you will be staying. Dog-proof it to eliminate potential disaster. For instance, dead lizards and bugs in corners should be removed to avoid consumption. Floor vases, tail height glass objects, magazines on coffee tables could be transferred to higher elevations.

Out and about…
Be prepared for attention. Strangers may gawk at you like your clothes are on inside out. They’ll want to pet your pooch or feed ‘em while you’re dining. Hopefully they’ll ask permission first. Know what breed of dog you have. You’ll need to know this for curious minds. If you have answers ready you’ll me more relaxed. And isn’t that the goal of travel, to relax? Go for it.

Thank you Gloria and Fern for sharing with the fans of National Dog Week. Safe travels to all!

Hooper

"Is it dog week yet?"

"Is it dog week yet?"

Michelle Mongelli and Wheezey

Pike, at Geiger Key

Hooper in the Keys

Hooper in the Keys

“Two Culprits” by Steven Hall

Logan & Koda

DJ

DJ Goes to Westminster

Zac and Cooper

"Look daddy, I can fly!"

“Hooper” – Best in Snow

Pita in Matt’s Garden

Hooper with cousin Roxy, Summer 2009

Me and my “Hoop”