cassy tully

How this Painting Brought Me Back to Authentic Me

tea time calm

A few weeks ago I did this painting under the expert guidance of my friend and artist, Cassy Tully. I was nervous about painting something from scratch as I’d really never done it before. But the invitation for a night of pizza, friendship, and fun, which included John too, was too delicious to pass up.

At first I wasn’t sure I’d display my ” work of art.”  I was too busy inwardly criticizing myself that it wasn’t “good enough.”  But John brought our paintings home yesterday after stopping at Cassy’s studio.  Cassy had wrapped them in pretty green tissue and a blue organza ribbon.

I set it to the side and didn’t even open it. This morning when I got up, I looked at that wrapped artwork sitting on the kitchen table. I scolded myself for being so hard on myself.  Just open it, I silently said. So I did.

I smiled. I recalled the special night with John and Cassy. I felt happy and yes, even a bit proud. So I decided to put it on my kitchen counter next to my basket of tea selections and also my favorite pottery tea cup I got in Asheville, NC this past fall.

If I had chosen to continue to get lost in negativity that I wasn’t good enough, I’d miss out on the joy this painting brings to me. It’s not really about the painting.

It’s how it came into creation. It’s about how good I felt learning something new. It’s about spending time with two people I love dearly. It’s that I tried. It’s also about something I love… tea. Then added next to my tea selection and cup it added another aspect of joy for me, which is making  things cozy in my home.

This little corner in my kitchen has made me smile at least five times already today and evokes a warm feeling in my heart.

It also made me think about how hard I’ve been on myself lately and my writing. Working on my new book Joie’s Gift-Finding Purpose in the Pause has been a struggle lately– even feeling daunting some days. My inner critic has been very loud.

This painting is a reminder that like writing it is a practice.  Just showing up is enough. Though I’m not sure I want to keep showing up for painting on a regular basis, I do want to show up for my writing.  Even on days when I feel like I wrote nothing that matters or it does not seem to make sense. I remind myself good writing days will come again. They always do.

All this from unwrapping this painting today and looking at it through new eyes. Which brings me to something new I’ve evolved to over the past few months which is being more aware of my thoughts– watching them go by and then pausing and shifting them. This leads me back to what matters– and it leads me back to authentic me.

Painting the Night Away in Italy- A New Side of My Husband I Never Thought I’d See!

2014-02-15 20.03.05 eSee “Painting the Night Away” photo album on Facebook

Last night John and I were treated to a special painting party. Now, let me say, I can’t say I’d have ever pictured a day that we would be sitting next to each other lost in creativity. After 35 years together, I can say I fell in love in a new way with my husband last night.

As many of you may recall, John spent countless hours volunteering his time and construction talent to help build our dear friend and artist, Cassy Tully’s dream studio and framing shop. September through December were a flurry of activity making this dream come true.

Cassy studied in Italy and her shop reflects that Tuscan warm glow. Before the project began, Cassy presented John with a proposal of her dream studio dubbing it “Room to Bloom.” And bloom it did!

So were we really in Italy painting?  No, but it sure felt like it.  Enveloped between the warm yellow heavily textured walls, and archway behind us, surrounded by exquisite art, the front of Cassy’s studio looks out to the main street of Plymouth, Wisconsin. Peering outside through the large glass windows with the original stained glass that sit atop the windows, which perfectly match the Tuscan effect, cars whizzed by, and the family restaurant across the street was aglow. Next to Cassy’s studio is the new wine bar to our area called Pourvino.

Cassy got us started for our night of painting with each of us first sketching what we wanted to eventually paint. I decided on a tea cup, and of course in the color perwinkle, as that is my favorite color.

John began his sketch and we had to guess the location he was drawing. Near and dear to his heart are the many hours spent on a bench that sits in front of our home, which he spent talking with Cassy when she lived with us for the summer. Many hours of mentoring and bonding that bench holds.

Looking out into our yard from that bench and many days of sunshine, was the scenery John decided to sketch, and then paint.

I have to admit I was nervous about both sketching and painting, as I feel like I am not good at either. But with Cassy’s expertise and patience she shared with me that sketching, as well as painting is just a series of shapes.  Sure enough!  Before I knew it, I had drawn a tea cup with pencil and chalks.

John did beautifully with his sketch of our front yard and I loved peeking out of the corner of my eye to see him lost in his own little world. To see John relaxed and happy is one of my greatest treasures because he works so hard.

As I began to paint what I had now sketched, I was worried I’d make a mess of the whole thing. But again, Cassy cheered both John and I on, giving us tips as we moved through our enchanting creative venture.

As we painted away, people walked by on the sidewalk, some glancing in at us, or looking at the paintings in the windows.  Some made  their way into Pourvino. It was magical to be transported to a new place within myself, lost in thoughts of shapes, colors, and paintbrush gliding along the canvas, with the bustle of outside activity going on.

As John and I were well on our way creating our “masterpieces,” Cassy took a break and scampered outside, and down two buildings, to the best pizza place in town to pick up our to go order.

After filling our stomachs with delicious pizza, we picked up paintbrush once again to add the final touches to our paintings. True to all artists, one must sign their work, and Cassy encouraged us to do just that.

As I think about the wonderful evening last night, I can’t help but be reminded of how important experiences are. It is not the stuff in our lives that count, but the moments that carry our hearts through each day. It is what makes us rich. Rich in love. Rich in friendship. Rich in what matters.

Today, I count my blessings for feeling like the richest woman on earth after painting the night away.

The Moment that Made this Wife So Proud.

1459282_10102706053334307_545952545_nWe are in the home stretch. Cassy Tully – Fine Art studio and shop almost complete. Grand Opening this Friday, Dec. 6th, 6-8pm.  A labor of love and friendship that John and I have been so happy to be a part of for our dear friend, Cassy.

There are many moments I’ve been proud of John. But the past six months I have watched the man I knew I loved from the moment I met him, make me even prouder.

John has given of his time and construction talent in helping Cassy’s dream come true of a new studio and framing shop. This past Friday we had a little celebration with some family and friends at Cassy’s shop as we make our way to completion of her “room to bloom” creative project.

Through a few tears, Cassy thanked everyone for their support. She then presented a plaque that will hang in her new shop and studio:

Cassy Tully – Fine Art

Building our dream Studio and Framing Shop made possible by Barbara & John Techel & JT Construction.


Special thanks to the generous support of Pat & Tim Tully and all of our family and friends.

Watching Cassy show the special plaque to John, I thought my heart would leap right out of my chest with adoration and love. The look on John’s face is the man I’ve known all these years who cares deeply, gives without asking anything in return, and is proud to say Cassy is part of our chosen family.

I’m  so. very. proud of this man I call husband and friend.