Defining Luxury

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Luxurious Living

Luxury is most often associated with the idea of money, but luxury, by definition, is a condition, not a cost. It is a mindset, not a monetary value.

Luxury is defined by Merriam-Webster in a few different ways that add meaning to the idea that luxury is not defined by money. Here they are:

  1. A situation of great comfort, ease, and wealth.
  2. Something that is helpful or welcome and that is not usually or always available.
  3. A condition of abundance.
  4. Something adding to pleasure or comfort but not absolutely necessary.
  5. An indulgence in something that provides pleasure, satisfaction or ease.

Notice in definition number one, the only reference to anything resembling money, the use of the word wealth. However, monetary wealth is certainly not the only or even the most fulfilling definition of wealth, nor the qualifying characteristic of measuring luxury.

Consider other key words and phrases like “a situation” or “a condition.” Situations of ease and comfort are created by far more characteristics than simply money.

Definition number two, describes a condition of scarcity. It may be true that money is scarce, but it’s not the only thing. Having a close, reliable friend could qualify for this definition, as could having more time or a necessary skill, neither of which require money, but perhaps an investment of another kind. Likely you’ve heard of “making time” as opposed to having time. Or even the admonition “to have a friend, be one.”

When I focus on the other conditions suggested by these definitions such as comfort, ease, and satisfaction, numerous possibilities present themselves to make life more luxurious irrespective to the amount of money involved.

For me luxury is measured not in how much money I have, but in my surroundings. Surroundings can be luxurious without being expensive. One way I define luxury is being surrounded by beautiful things. There is much beauty in life, but there is also much of the crass. Luxury carries with it the idea of expense, but beauty is not always, nor does it have to be, expensive. It is true that many times expensive things are luxurious, but beautiful things, luxurious things, are not always expensive.

I love beautiful things. I love to collect beautiful things. However, there is a little more to my idea of luxury than simply that.

For example, making dinner is much more pleasurable and definitely easier (pleasure and ease being conditions of luxury) in a clean kitchen. Life does not always provide an abundance of money, but I can certainly be wealthy and live luxuriously with an abundance of comfort, satisfaction, and pleasure. I simply had to realize for myself what things represent conditions of luxury, but also do not cost money, or at least cost money that I don’t have.

I realized that many of these things were things or situations I can create. Luxury can be created! Sometimes this requires a little more effort or planning, but I discovered I enjoy the planning and the effort is always worthwhile in the end. I can make life more luxurious simply by making it more beautiful.

By these definitions, excessive spending isn’t prerequisite to luxury. Luxury doesn’t cost money. At least, it doesn’t have to cost money. Luxury needn’t be expensive. When luxury is prescribed to as an idea, not a monetary cost, all kinds of possibilities open up.

What are the things in your life which bring pleasure, comfort and satisfaction, but don’t cost money? What can you do to create and abundance of these things?

Creativity: a contingency

Plan C: Make Lemonade

Creativity, Personal Muse-ings

“C” For Creativity. Creativity isn’t just for making art projects. Creativity is for making life better, no matter your circumstances.

As a child, I always wanted to be a mother when I grew up. That was plan A. There were several influences which contributed to this desire. The primary would be my religious beliefs. The second would have to be that my own mother was a homemaker and raised eight children. I love my big family. The idea of a career never really appealed to me. Another could have been simply that I didn’t really know anything else.

This didn’t really ever change as I got older, though I did learn more about what other pursuits interested me, as well as a broader definition of a career. After I got married, I was fully ready and prepared to put my education on hold for the higher and nobler calling of motherhood. But things didn’t happen as my husband and I had planned. So, on to plan B, I continued my education. I thought, the Lord knows I’m willing to quit school to be a mother, maybe He wants me to graduate. A few years later I graduated. In my personal prayers I started telling the Lord I was ready now. Still no children.

Struggling for answers to why my heart’s desire would be denied to me, wondering what the Lord wanted me to do instead, and even what I wanted to do with my life, I was faced with the awful reality that I hadn’t prepared a contingency. I had no plan C. The necessity of a plan C had never occurred to me.

Practical thinking said, get a job, but I already had two part-time jobs. Teaching positions, plus a few private art students. I was using my degree in art. The thing was that I had never really faced the reality of a career as anything more than temporary or in addition to being a mother.

Facing the reality of plan C after I graduated was a very discouraging and emotional time for me, and I hid this fact from most who knew me, further isolating myself from friends and associates.

What ultimately rescued me from depression and despair was the realization that I’d been given an opportunity. Rather than despairing over my inability to change my circumstances, I needed to focus on being happy doing what I could. There were a lot of things my friends with small children couldn’t do. I’d majored in fine art (entirely impractical, I know) so now I’d have to get creative with my creativity. Rather than focus on what I didn’t have, I started asking myself what else I wanted. What were the things I’d told myself “maybe someday?” Publishing a book was one of them. So, in need of a plan C, I decided to see if this was “someday.”

I know I’m not alone in saying life isn’t always what we expect or want it to be. But there are always possibilities that will bring joy. As Maria said in The Sound of Music, “When the Lord closes a door, somewhere He opens a window.” The Lord doesn’t always give us what we want, even if it’s a righteous desire. God gave us a portion of his creative powers. (Read more about Art and Creation here.) Sometimes we have to get creative with our contingencies.

Our greatest disappointments just may turn out to be unexpected opportunities, perhaps for something we never would have considered otherwise. Instead of being a mother, I have two dogs, a Bachelor’s degree in fine art and I’m writing a novel. I never would have planned my life like this, but I’m happy. And the next time life hands me lemons, I already have a recipe for lemonade. The key is being creative.

How have you made lemonade out of life’s lemons? Share in the comments.

5 Cautions for Creative People

5 Cautions for Creative People


Every virtue in excess can become a vice. This is true of creativity. Here are five ways creativity can be a vice and how to deal with them. They are:

  1. Distraction
  2. Loneliness
  3. Sensitivity
  4. Perfectionism
  5. Competition
    1. Creative people are easily distracted. There are so many options and ideas to choose from. Learn to focus, work hard, and finish what you start. Finishing what you start will bring the needed closure, clarity and motivation to move forward. It will teach you things that you can’t learn any other way. I know of this first hand. In a conversation with my mother, I made an exasperated statement in discouragement and overwhelm, which was not only self revelatory, but has helped me to overcome the very frustrations that plagued me. I said, “It’s exciting to start new projects, and it’s gratifying to finish them, but the middle part just feels like work.” I remember my mother laughing, and it was her laughter which helped me put things into proper perspective. I realized where I was struggling and what I needed to do to overcome it.
    2. Creative people are subject to loneliness. Learn to balance the introvert that has learned to focus so intently that they inadvertently cut themselves off from the outside world. Introverts risk loneliness and depression if they become too isolated in their quest to create. Learn to collaborate. Get out and meet new people. You will be surprised how this gets the creative juices flowing. Likely you already know, but you need to learn to recognize and regulate when you’re isolating yourself. But also be careful not to self-sabotage because you think your ideas are the best. Creative people are proud of their ideas- all of us. Give yourself both time to socialize and stay connected. Don’t starve your inner muse because you must always be working, but don’t procrastinate by not taking the time to focus on your work when independence and quiet solitude is needed to do this. Remember that it is not only in isolation that we risk loneliness. Being present in public is not the same as connecting with people and maintaining healthy relationships. This too requires work and skill. Loneliness can also stem from feeling misunderstood. It is one thing to create a work, but it is an entirely different skill set to help others see the vision of your work. Know that communicating the vision of your work to others is separate from the work itself. Be patient with others and yourself as you learn this skill too.
    3. Creative people are sensitive. Learn to disassociate your identity and personal worth from your work. You are not your work. This sensitivity is a blessing, but it can also feel like a curse. It is a rose, complete with thorns. This sensitivity infuses your work with meaning that resonates with your audience. You put your heart into your creation, but when it’s finished you have to learn to take it out again. A University professor of mine, Jeffrey Carter (you can see his work here), shared a perspective on this that helped me recognize this mentality in myself for what it was. Recognition is the first step to dealing with it. He said, that his ego wasn’t tied to his art, but that it was tied to his music. I hadn’t thought of this consciously before, but I had felt it. I saw my own experiences in a new light. It shifted my paradigm around my work. It was a message I could implement because it was one I related to. Before I began my journey as a fine artist, I thought I wanted to be a singer, but I had a hard time disassociating myself from my work. My performance never seemed to live up to what I knew was my potential and this was discouraging. Looking back I recognize that although I had learned to sing, I had never learned to perform. That too a different skill set. As a painter I discovered I could stay behind the scenes while my work was on stage. Another professor, James Lorigan, shared this advice with the class: When you create a work of art it’s like a little puppy. You love that little puppy and become attached to it. Sooner or later, every puppy becomes a dog. “Sell it before it’s a dog.”
    4. Creative people are prone to perfectionism. Like distraction, this to can lead to feeling overwhelmed. Creative people constantly face the need, and the desire to improve. This is because we learn and improve in the process of doing. In the time it takes to do something, you’ve learned how to do it better. Leonardo DaVinci said, “Art is never truly finished, only abandoned.” I have learned to tell myself, “I’ll fix it on the next one,” and move on. Another hopefully positive message on this topic is a quote from Ira Glass. ira-glass-quote
    5. Creativity is not a competition! Competition is merely a vehicle for improvement. There will always be those who are better than you and there will always be those who are not as good as you. Let those who are better inspire you to new heights, new ideas. Then turn around and inspire someone else. To lift another is a truly fulfilling experience. One of the most beautiful things about creativity is that it promotes an abundance mindset. Creativity is a well of possibilities that will never run dry. Learn to have the same abundance mindset with your peers that you have within yourself and your work. There is not a limited number of ideas and you won’t run out. Two people can come up with the same good ideas. Your voice is unique even if your ideas aren’t. But so is everyone else’s. Learn to see these would-be competitors as opportunities to network and collaborate not as opponents to beat. Don’t get too hung up on praise. Praise does not make an idea good, just as the lack of praise does not make an idea bad. Recognize that the primary purpose of praise is not accolade or affirmation but connection and rejuvenation. The audience is having their own creative experience that must be respected as part of the whole. Be quick to praise another.

How have you overcome your creative vices? Share in the comments.

Books are a Luxury

What 10 Books Have Improved Your Life?

Ex Libris

Books are one of life’s luxuries. Throughout history, literacy has always been associated with the aristocracy- the class of wealth, power and luxury. This is still true of our modern affluent society, though perhaps less obvious and even taken for granted. Nevertheless, reading is arguably the most readily available asset to bettering life. Reading is a luxury.

A while ago I was challenged by a friend on Facebook to list 10 books which have affected my life. This process took much thought, debate and narrowing down. It was not only an introspective exercise then, but it the idea has lingered with me each time I have picked up a book since. As an avid reader this has provided a plethora of opportunities to be aware of the information I’m consuming, not only in books but elsewhere.

Here is the list I posted on Facebook:

    1. The Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Christ, because I know it’s true. This book is the word of god, just like the Bible.
      1. 5. The Holy Bible, KJV, because how can I claim to be Christian and not have the life of the Savior affect my own. And Tyndale’s translation is simply masterful, which I have come to appreciate more through my study of Latin and ancient Greek.
    2. Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, by John Gray Ph.D. because this book taught me about myself as much as about others. Just a note that I could add a whole slew of similar books, but I chose this one to represent them all. I would also include in this category the book: You Don’t Need to Slay My Dragons, Just Take Out the Trash, by Beverly Campbell, because this book added the spiritual element I felt was missing, to the Mars and Venus idea.
    3. Believing Christ, by Stephen E. Robinson, because this book brought to my attention the destructive side of my perfectionist tendencies and taught me to rely more fully on the grace of the Savior.
    4. How to Get Ideas, by Jack Foster, because this book opened my eyes to a new world of creativity. And I would add that this is another category where I have read other valuable books and essays with similar and compatible ideas. This one represents the lot.
    5. How to Make a Living As a Painter, by Kenneth Harris, because this book was so different from all the others I have read on the subject and it communicated to me what success ultimately means and that there’s not any one right (or wrong for that matter) way to do it.
    6. The Witch of Blackbird Pond, by Elizabeth George Speare. This book was among my favorites as a child and remains so today. It is a gem. I have read it so many times. I own three copies- all in different states of wear.
    7. A Quiet Heart, by Patricia T. Holland. This book was a gift most timely given. An inspiration. It has become a precious reminder that daily communion with the Spirit of Christ is a vital part of a healthy soul.
    8. Sunset’s Western Garden Book, because let’s face it, my garden would be dead without it.
    9. Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Book 12 the Centauromachy, because this was the story which inspired me to tell a story of my own.
    10. The Twilight Series, by Stephanie Meyer. (Before you laugh, hear me out. This is not a team Edward or team Jacob thing.) I enjoyed the series and was entertained for the time it took to read it, but the true inspiration was the feeling that the story I want to tell is at least that good and if this could be successful, then I could too. So, a toast to the pursuit of dreams.

Ok, ok I sort of cheated with the 1.5, but the scriptures really do go hand in hand and I needed room for another book without having a number 11. This was difficult, believe me. (Well, difficult in terms of narrowing it down to 10, not in terms of knowing which books have impacted me.)

Are you a reader? What books have had the greatest impact on your life? Share in the comments.

Every Home Should Have Original Art

Why Every Home Should Have Original Art And How To Get It

Luxurious Living

Sure I may be biased as a fine artist, but I believe that every home should have original art. Why? Because original art is a luxury. And who doesn’t want their home to feel more luxurious?

There are two ways to get original art.

  1. You could buy it.
  2. Or you could make it.

The first option to having original art in your home: buy it.

You’re probably thinking that “original art is expensive! I don’t have thousands of dollars to invest in a painting.” While expensive may be true of some original art, it is not true of all original art. If you think all original art is beyond your price range you probably haven’t shopped around far enough.

A high-end art gallery with hundreds of dollars of overhead isn’t the only place to buy art. There are art fairs all over the country (and likely the world) where artists (probably the starving ones) are selling their original work, searching for patrons of their creativity. Still think that’s out of your price range?

Try your local high school or community college. These institutions are filled with art students eager for their first clients. I know I was. And it wasn’t just about the money either. There was a sublime satisfaction in the plausibility that my work was “good enough” that someone actually wanted it enough to pay something for it. Students know they’re still learning their craft.

In addition to owning original art you’ll also be doing the artist an invaluable service not only by validating their efforts, but by giving them some practice in the real-world skill of selling and negotiating while working with you as a client. Because believe me, for any artist, negotiating prices for their work is the hardest part. And I would add that now, fifteen years later (not to mention that much more skilled at what I do) it is those first few clients who helped shape my career and who most qualify for special discounts and deals. Every artist would much more desire a patron than simply a one-time customer. When you demonstrate patronage you are more valuable as a customer and the working relationship moves beyond a simple transaction of money.

If you thought about it I’m sure you already know personally at least one artist whose work you admire. There is affordable original art out there.

The second option to having original art in your home: make it.

I know, I know, you’re thinking “that’s easy for you to say, you’re a painter.” But, as a painter, I can testify to the sense of fulfillment that comes from having my own art on display for the world to see. Well, any who enter my home that is. If in the very least it is a conversation piece with guests when you can say, “I painted that myself.” Still skeptical?

Enroll in a class. I can promise you as an art teacher with 15 years experience helping creative skeptics just like you, that with a little expert help from a teacher, you will be amazed at what you didn’t know you could do! Try it. You might even enjoy it.

I had a young student who sold his work of art within ten minutes of completing it at my studio. As a nine-year-old, “five dollars richer” made his day. And the buyer went home with a lovely piece of original art.

The thing about children and art is that children have no inhibitions to their creativity. Still struggling with the courage to pick up that brush? A child will do it without hesitation, and as a child you did too. Unleashing your inner artist is very much like freeing your inner child. Remember what it was like to be that child willing and able to try the new and exciting without fear of judgment or the stifling prospect of being “good enough.” A child will always tell you they’re a good artist. They have no doubt about it. Until they learn to doubt it.

Sponsor a child artist or better yet be creative together!

One final note about displaying art. No matter the quality of the work, the right frame can make or break the art. Yes I know, believe me, frames can be expensive too. But they don’t have to be. They do however have to compliment the work and not detract from it. Choose wisely. The simplest piece can look exquisite in the right frame, while the wrong frame can detract from the most beautiful painting. More on frames later.

No matter which of these methods you choose, having original art in your home will always add an element of luxury.

Do you have original art in your home? What significance does the work hold for you? Share in the comments.

Don’t Buy Luxury, Create it!

Luxurious Living

Contrary to popular belief, luxury in life need not be bought, it can be created. The truly luxurious things in life, seldom require money at all.

As an artist in the blogosphere, what is my message? Well, not surprisingly, my message is about creativity. The world needs more creativity. Why? Because creativity solves problems. Creativity enriches life. Creativity brings joy and satisfaction to both the creator and those with whom the creation is shared. And because a creative life is a luxurious life. (You can read my Artist Statement here.)

Let me explain. Most of the time luxury is associated with money. And perhaps there is some truth to that idea. But that is not what I’m talking about. Creativity makes life better. Creativity makes the ordinary extraordinary. Creativity makes the old new again. Creativity envisions, inspires, motivates and produces. But it doesn’t end there. That’s the magic of creativity. As the old adage says, creativity can never be used up because the more you use, the more you have. Creativity is the ultimate natural resource.

And here’s the secret: Everyone has their own limitless supply, a creative well which will never run dry. It is a well which can be drawn from endlessly, any time, anywhere. Perhaps your creative well is rusted from neglect. Luckily, the pump can always be primed.

  • My motto is “Live Luxuriously, Be Creative.”
  • My message is that luxury has little to do with money and everything to do with being creative.
  • My mission is to inspire and teach others to enrich their own lives by unleashing their creative powers.

Since you’re here on my website, you’ve undoubtedly seen my tagline: “Living Luxuriously as a Starving Artist.” I can attest to the fulfillment that comes with doing what you love, even if it’s not viewed as practical. It is certainly a luxury.

If you are creative like me, I have no doubt you have already experienced this, and you know that nothing gets the creative juices flowing faster than being inspired by someone else’s creativity. I look forward to connecting and collaborating.

If you are skeptic, let me prove it to you. I can promise you that once you open the creative flood gates, your life will never be the same again. I’m not necessarily saying it’s easy. Creativity is work. There’s an old saying: Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life. This is false. It is a subliminal message that work is a nasty, evil conspiracy that makes our lives miserable. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the sentiment meant by the message. Believe me, there are plenty of tasks that are not fun, that I just plain do not enjoy doing, but that are still a part of life. But that’s not what I’m talking about either. Work, the right king of work (and with the proper mindset I might add), can be richly rewarding, but it is still work with all the blood sweat and tears implied by the idea of work. However, creative work is a work that is fulfilling. It is a work that is never drudgery even when the immediate task at hand is unpleasant. Because when we live creatively we have a whole new mindset. Work becomes about accomplishing goals. Work is about creating something that didn’t exist before. It is about production. And that too is a luxurious way to live.

The new, the extraordinary, that which brings pleasure and fulfillment, all these are luxury. Where creativity is found in abundance, luxury inevitably follows. I’m excited to share more about how creativity can enrich life. Additionally I’ll share my own creative experiences, both successes and failures, in the hopes of getting your own creative juices flowing. Here’s to a luxuriously creative life!

What are the obstacles to creativity in your life? Share in the comments and let’s conquer them together.

Setting and Achieving Goals

Personal Muse-ings

In his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey references the story from Aesop’s Fables, The Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs.

The story tells the account of a farmer who discovers his goose had laid an egg of pure gold. Each day another gold egg appears and soon the farmer is very wealthy. As his wealth grows so does his greed and impatience. Thinking to get to the source of the treasure, the farmer takes an axe and kills the goose, only to find there is no store of gold inside.

Covey explains that the eggs represent your product, or the goal you wish to accomplish, or even an ideal. Then he says that the goose represents your production capacity, or your ability to produce the desired results. He refers back to this metaphor all through out the book and continually asks the reader is he/she is taking care of their goose or foolishly (or even ignorantly) killing it like the farmer.

As I pondered this fable, another analogy came to mind. Namely, how the process of forming habits is like exercise. It is commonly said that it takes 21 days to form a habit. Cultivating the will power to establish a habit is like building muscle. The muscle must first be conditioned. This three-week period of conditioning is critical because it is during this time when you are simultaneously building capacity and learning to accomplish new tasks associated with your goal. It is, in essence, an attempt to do something which you are not quite capable of doing. You are lifting weight which presses the boundary of your strength in order to increase your capacity. To do so requires a considerable amount of discipline.

Elder Jeffery R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said of this principle: “For a while the harder you try, the harder it gets, take heart. So it has been with the best people who ever lived.” (Read more of his address here.)

Covey’s analogy made me look at this fable differently than I had before. I realized that I had, as many people do, made a judgment based on the literal meaning of the story. I had failed to apply the universal principle. I thought, in effect, “how stupid of the farmer to slay his goose.” Yet I often fail to recognize my own golden goose, and effectually slay her, whether by the direct and immediate damage of outright violence or by the slow and subtle, yet inevitable, destruction of neglect.

I started asking myself, not only what I wanted and what my goals were, but also the more difficult questions. What is my capacity to accomplish them? Is my capacity what it needs to be? What am I doing to improve, and what am I doing that hinders my own accomplishments? How can I change or eliminate them? The answers were difficult to face because acknowledging these things would necessitate change.

Fear, doubt, laziness, lack of commitment, ignorance, selfishness, are all habits that destroy our golden geese, depriving us of the wealth of joy in obtaining the golden eggs, and there’s likely more than this list. I know I’m guilty of all of them in some form or another and at any given time. I don’t want to be like that, I’d rather have the golden eggs. Wouldn’t everybody?

A common maxim, carpe diem (meaning seize the day) has always intrigued me. Admittedly not because it is a motto by which I live, but rather because I have always found its meaning rather vague, subjective, and open for interpretation. More specifically, I find I must tell myself to seize the discipline necessary to exercise and increase my capacity in order to accomplish my goals. This daily struggle to press forward through the brief period of strength-building difficulty to develop the discipline will allow me to claim the golden egg as my reward.

As I pondered my own goals as well as my capacity to achieve them, introspection came in the form of a question (and I was pretty pleased with myself when I discovered it rhymed): Are you cultivating your capacity to produce, or slaying your golden goose?

Consider for a moment: What is your golden egg? What do you want? What is your goal?

Now consider: What is your golden goose? Are you slaying her by some bad habit? How can you change that habit to cultivate your capacity?

I love it when another person can offer fresh insight to something I’ve thought about. Please, share your insights in the comments.

How is your book coming?

Current Projects

In any endeavor this is the sort of question which either inspires excitement or dread. Recently I’ve had numerous inquiries about my book. These inquiries have begun to make me think it’s time to bite the bullet and start getting the word out. After all that was, in part, why I started this blog in the first place. I wanted a forum where I could send people so they could see my progress, especially when I feel like the most frequent answer I’ve had to give has been that I’m working on revising (yes, still). Editing and revising a manuscript isn’t a very concrete concept to someone who has never done it. It can be a long and painstaking process.

Additionally, I have been doing lots of research on publishing and marketing in anticipation of finishing the manuscript and the desire to be prepared for the next step in the process. As part of this research, I recently participated in a webinar hosted by writer, Jeff Goins, about his most recent book, The Art of Work. In the webinar he said something that stood out to me (among other things). While writing his first book, he said that people would ask him about his progress. This would always depress him because he wasn’t where he wanted to be in the publication process or in terms of his writing career. He said that by the time he finally “made it” he was glad to have a community of people to share it with. This concept impressed me because it rang true with my own ideas about creating and sharing art.

I have no idea what the journey to publication will be. Likely fraught with any aspiring author’s share of rejection, disappointment, and much more time than is ideal. All of this aside, in the end I want to be able to say I conquered my fears and went for it. Success or failure ahead, I would love to have you along for the ride.

To commence the journey (which actually started a year and a half ago when I decided to buckle down and finish the manuscript) I’m preparing a couple of series to function as a sort of “teaser trailer” in anticipation of the books.

The first will be a collection of information about each of the stories from Greek mythology which either inspired or make an appearance in the story. Hopefully you love Greek mythology as much as I do. You can see a collection of my reference material and research here.

The second will be a collection of character bios for each of the characters in my story. My plan is to include sketches and some finished paintings. You can keep up with my latest paintings in my Facebook Gallery.

My challenge will be to stay on top of all this, and pray I haven’t (as my daddy always said) bit off more than I can chew. Something my mother said recently, which has been on my mind, is that you feast in company, but you binge alone. So I suppose I can say that I’m tackling this project like eating an elephant- one bite at a time. I hope you’ll join me for the feast.

What does “me graphsen” mean?


Me Graphsen” (με γραφσεν) literally means, “wrote/drew me” in Attic Greek. From grapho (γραφω), meaning to write or to draw/paint. From this same word we get other common English words such as graph, graphic, calligraphy (meaning beautiful writing), geography (literally meaning earth writing), biography (life writing), lithography (stone writing), and many others.

In ancient Greece, craftsmen (potters and painters in particular) would sign their work with their name, followed by me graphsen, (This phrase was commonly used by the painter of Greek pottery), or the more common, me poiesen (με ποιησεν, meaning so-and-so made me, used to denote the potter). The statement, spoken in the voice of the art itself, implies that the art spoke for its creator.

As an artist, a writer and a lover of mythology, I chose this statement as the title of this blog to represent the conglomerate of my creative passions and pursuits- things I’ve made, my writing, and my drawings and paintings. Read my Artist Statement here.

In the fine art department at Brigham Young University-Idaho, I took a few ceramics classes. These are some images of one of my projects. This was one of my favorite assignments in which we were to recreate a historical piece or technique. Because of my passion for Greek mythology, I chose to recreate a lekythos (ληκυθος), which is a cylindrical-shaped vessel used for storing olive oil. In the images you can see both my potter’s signature and my painter’s signature.


City on a Hill

Personal Muse-ings
Acropolis, Athens

Acropolis, Athens

     The Savior said: “A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel.”  He concluded with the injunction to “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)

IMG_20150321_115842219I think it would be easier to be a candle under a bushel. I don’t consider myself shy, though I am definitely reserved and introverted. I don’t want a lot of attention. Particularly the negative attention which inevitably follows any effort to stand up for Christian ideals in the public sphere. Nobody likes condemnation, but I would much rather have it from men than from God.

Acropolis, Athens

Acropolis, Athens

Though this blog is primarily about my creative and artistic endeavors, there will be the occasional religious reference as such is a significant part of my life. I may share spiritual thoughts and lessons which I have learned on my own journey to become more like my Savior as well as those things which pertain to my work. I do not intend to preach, but my religious beliefs are an intrinsic part of who I am. They cannot be ignored. You may choose to disregard them if you wish, but I did not feel I could truly follow this commandment from the Savior, by omitting the religious and spiritual aspects of my life, particularly since it is to God that I owe the credit for all my talents and opportunities.

In sharing these things, I do not intend to exalt myself as admittedly the title may suggest. Rather, my intent is to be obedient to my God. I hope that you will see that I am like you. Imperfect. Daily I make mistakes for which I must repent. But it is through repenting that I draw closer to the Savior.

A most fitting sobriquet describes God as the Creator. I believe that artistic creation, in a way (and particularly with an appropriate, reverent mindset), is a form of worship in which to celebrate the Creator. You can read more about my views on art as creation here, or read my Artist Statement here.

Acropolis, Athens

Acropolis, Athens: A big thanks to my very dear friend at for the photos of the Acropolis.