Friday, January 13, 2017

Focus 2017 cover

When the Sequoyah County Times asked me to make a piece for their Focus 2017 magazine cover, I was humbled and really excited to share something that is on my heart.

You see, I was born in Sallisaw and besides a brief stint away, this is home. A lot of my family and husband's family is here. Many of my childhood friends are still here. I've got great memories in Sequoyah County. 

But for all the great things I see, there are some obvious glaring unlovliness. 
-Drug use 
-Unemployment 
-Few sidewalks and many in disrepair.
-Lack of green habits (no recycling centers and country roads with a ridiculous amount of trash that has been tossed out of car windows, just to name a few)


Where some see problems, and it is so easy to grumble about the problems, I see possibility. 

And that's the word I focused on. Possibility. 


 Here's the first layer: newspaper bits, an envelope of my grandmas from the 70s, the hymn Why Not Now? from Hanson Baptist's hymnal book and other papers.

Several layers later, I was happy with the background. 
 

I put out the call on Facebook for help with the wording and here are some of the GREAT responses I got: 

Possibility is hope unleashed. 
She she's possibility everywhere. 
Where hope is planted, possibility grows.
Possess your ability. 


I almost put, "I will be a part of the possibility." But I thought that sounded really pretentious and could be seen as snooty. Who does she think she is....I can hear it now. 

I decided it needed to be an invitation because that always goes over better than commands.  

Come & be a part of the possibilities.
 

An invitation to those that live here to do something, anything, to contribute to cultivating community and being a light.

An invitation to those thinking about moving here that they have something to contribute. That we are open to their ideas, their stories and their dreams. 

An invitation to those just passing through while they are here for Diamond Daze or just filling up at the gas station to pick up the Focus magazine because the cover caught their eye and maybe they'll want come back soon.

I believe in possibilities and I believe in the good in Sequoyah County. 

There is a growing community of runners and bicycle riders that you'll see early in the morning or late in the evenings. 

Mommy meet ups are happening weekly at the area parks. 

Fort Smith has a growing arts & culture scene thanks to the Unexpected Murals that we could be spring boarding off easily. There is a plethora of blank canvases in downtown Sallisaw.
We. Need. Murals. and that's all there is to it. 

We should take notes on Fort Smith embracing the western/cowboy vibe. With the Marshall's museum  that is suppose to be built, it will be attracting tourists. So why aren't we embracing our Indian heritage? We are the first big stop on I40 for travelers and the Cherokee Nation estimates more than 12,000 visitors this year to Sequoyah's Cabin. A quarter of our population is Native American so it's not that far of a stretch for us. For people on road trips we are the eastern entrance to the Wild West. 

Speaking of Wild West, I'm putting out a call for someone to make a Pretty Boy Floyd reenactments happen. It can and should be done! 

Arts, history and culture not your thing? Thankfully, we are a hop, skip and a jump from several lakes and the Arkansas River. A good chunk of our southern boarder is protected by the federal wildlife refuge and is a duck hunter and fisherman's paradise. Tenkiller, Kerr and Brushy only add to the beauty of our rolling hills. Load your boat up and spend a day on the water! 


I'm not the only one that sees the good and sees the possibilities. Ask your neighbor, your friends, your kid's teacher, your preacher, the lady checking out your groceries, the boys and girls club director, your council member, the bank teller, anybody really. 

Find those that you share a vision with and make it happen

Those Blessing Boxes that have sprung up all over the county, that is because people saw a need and made it happen! 

Did you know that there are a few Little Free Libraries around the county? How cool is that? Making our citizens more literate and well read, all while providing opportunities for interacting with each other, for free! Score!

So, to wrap this puppy up, be a part of the possibilities, not part of the problems.

Cooperate and collaborate, don't complain. 

There is good here if you choose to see it. 

And I am choosing to see the good. 
Will you join us?



Mixed Media Hearts

In the spirit of the art drop last summer/fall (which you can read all about here) everyone who signed up would get two canvases, one to keep and one to hide when the world starts getting crazy. Hide them out in public, in your grandma's back yard, at school, wherever they want to because the world needs more art and joy.
This project is super messy, and keeps me hopping from table to table helping everyone get their next layer started, so here is a brief rundown of the layers, some with pictures, some not so much.
Layer 1: collage 

   
 
Layer 2: Faber Castell markers
Layer 3: acrylic paint
Layer 4: alcohol ink
Layer 5: stamps
Layer 6 stencils + ink spray
Layer 7: acrylic ink + water 
 
Layer 8: Cut out hearts and use them as a stencil to spread turquoisy goodness on with a palette knife. 
 
 
 
Layer 11: add words with stickers or stamps💚 
 
 
    

Friday, January 6, 2017

Van Gogh Chairs

Van Gogh is turning out to be one of my favorite artists. Over the years we've done Starry Night, Sunflowers and now we are adding the yellow chair to the list! I took a mixed media approach to this since oil paints ain't gonna to happen, ever. 
 
First we sketched out our chairs, then added bits of papers in the same colors as we'd be painting later.    
 
    
 
 
 
 
Adding a splash of color. 
 
Defining the shapes with a pop of black.
 
 
Then, they used washi tape, stamps, stencils and ink spray to add fun texture.    
    
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
     
 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Intro to Bible Journaling


This class really started when a random lady at the Indian clinic I go to for all my prenatal appointments (have 3 kids in under four years and people start to recognize your face) came up to me and said she follows me on Instagram, is so inspired by my bible journal posts and if I ever do a bible journaling class or retreat she'd be the first to sign up. Well that sweet lady was in for long suffering because teaching adults was not even on my radar. Teach kids, absolutely. Blindfolded, you got it! But adults frighten me. Still. 

But that sweet random lady is also abounding in loving encouragement because she didn't give up. She kept encouraging me every doctor's visit and on every post. So when my baby was 10 months old I wasn't nursing her every two hours and I decided to needed a few days of my teaching fix. Cyber Monday I posted the link for the four classes I was offering after Christmas and guess who was first to jump on the list for the intro to bible journaling....you guessed it, long suffering Marlina, the most encouraging Cherokee in Sequoyah County. 


New Years Eve, 15 ladies took the plung with me into the uncharted waters of me teaching adults (well 3 of them were kids because I think we can learn a thing or two about the artistic bravery of kids.....and truth be told so maybe I would be a tad more comfortable.)


 

I made a 17 page booklet with:
-5 different ways to approach bible journaling, one book at a time, through your prayers, by topics, using sermon notes and using your supplies as a springboard. 
-Info on podcasts worth listening to, artists worth following, devotionals worth reading, creative books worth looking at and small companies worth buying from.
-Creative mistakes I've made and how to avoid them. 
-How to write intentions in the front of your bible to help you stay focused on the WHY of bible journaling. 
-Encouragement to keep playing.


 


After introductions and a quick rundown of how my spiritual path and creative path met, I stressed the importance that this is NOT just about making pretty pictures. 

It's about hiding the word in your heart. 

It is about documenting what God is teaching you. 

It's about praising him through art. 

That all effort if pure is pleasing to him. 

So those stick figures praising Jesus in your margins are just as lovely as a perfectly painted flower because the posture of your heart is what matters. Sermon over.

Next, they tried my favorite pens (Signo micro and bold) and practicing some basic hand lettering to get their creative juices flowing, I broke everyone up into four stations and they got to play with my go to supplies: black gesso with white gel pens, colored pencils, fluorescent gel pens, water colors, stamps, water color pencils, stencils, stickers and various black pens. 

About half the group had journaling bibles and half used sketchbooks. 

 

  

This has to be the coolest thing ever. Three generations of Coleman ladies doing bible journaling. Talk about making memories! 

 

Apparently I was so freaked out about teaching grown ups that for the first time in 3 years of teaching art classes I didn't take a group picture. Tears. Oh the tears. But they could not have been a more gracious bunch of gals. Many asking when the next class was. And sweet, encouraging, long suffering Marlina is ready for bible journaling 2.0!!!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Abstract winter tree inspired by Karen Tarlton

So after a year and a half maternity leave from classes, I ended 2016 with four class offerings and a new adventure of adult classes. Insert freaked out look here. But before I post about that here is the awesome winter trees some new and old students got to create! I'm already dreaming up summer painting possibilities. 

Palette knives + 10 year olds were something new for me! Inspired by Karen Tarlton's work.

This lesson can be summed up in lots and lots and lots of layers of paint and lots of blow drying between layers!

  

            
 

Monday, October 31, 2016

First time here? Read this!

I've seen a bit of a surge in traffic on my humble little blog since this news story ran last night on 5news.


Here's a quick rundown about me, Lesley Manning. 

1. Wife to Chase for 8 years and counting!

2. Mom to Milo (4), Griffin (2) & Sage (8 months). They are a full time job to say the least.

3. Former elementary school teacher. I taught summer art classes for three years when the boys were little but after the little girl was born, I thought it wiser to take the summer off. 


4. Oklahoma Native. Born, raised(besides a brief stint in Georgia) and planting roots in the land of the Cherokees. That's me and my friend since practically birth, Amanda.


5. Bible Journaler. I paint and draw in my bible and some may find that weird but I think God is ok with it.


6.  Small house dweller. After kicking around the idea of minimalism for many years, my husband and I dove head first in it and cut our square footage in half when we moved. Five people in 1020 sq feet is an adventure that I am enjoying!


7. Art dropper. When things start going crazy in the world, I put out art to change up the dialog and infuse some love in the community. My three sidekicks also enjoy it.


8. Mixed media artist. Collage, glue, washi tape, paint, stencils, spray, inks, pens, stamps and anything else I can get my hands on. 


9.  Child of God.