Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Failure Syndrome

Are you stuck in it?

The Failure Syndrome is where you have a perceived failure, then become so upset over it, with feelings of anger, frustration, self-loathing, sadness, and worst of all, hopelessness. Your pereception is that you have failed, yet again, and there may never be hope. You will never get back to that place you were before. You will never be able to achieve your goal. And so, you begin to engage in even more self-destructive behavior. You give up. Then, more failure follows.

It doesn't have to be this way.

Remember how I like to say that failure is important? We must strive for failure - it is our best tool for learning! It is our best tool for growth! Failure makes up the sturdiest stepping stones on our journey through life.

I encourage you to view your failures - even the really big ones - in a new light. Don't get caught up in The Failure Syndrome because it is just a self-fulfilling prophecy. Everyone fails, even the most successful people in the world. The difference between them and those who never manage to fulfill their potential is how they view their failures.

There may be anger at a failure. But be more angry that you didn't learn something from your failure and make a change.

There may be frustration at a failure. But take that energy and use it to push past your frustration into a learning experience. What will you do different next time?

There is no room for self-loathing. Failure is not a defect, but a golden opportunity for growth, change, and a chance to try again.

There is no need to be sad. You just learned something new about yourself! Your failure means you actually tried to do something out there in the world! Please keep trying! We need your fabulousness out there!

Shove hopelessness out the door. Tomorrow is a new day. The minutes roll by - each minute after this very minute right now - that you are reading this blog - is an opportunity for change, for improvement, for growth, for inspiration. That's why you're here, right? You keep reading, with the knowledge, way back, deep in there, that there is hope.

The new year is approaching. In my opinion, it will be a tough one economically, easily rivaling this past year. Many terrible things have failed this year, and many wonderful things have happened too. It doesn't matter what kind of failure your are struggling with. A failing business, a failing job, a failing diet, failing at making art, failing in relationships.

Embrace your failures, maybe even write them down. Draw hearts around them.

Then, more importantly, plan your change. Don't go crazy. Start with baby steps. But know that the change is possible. It's all at your fingertips. The next minute is a whole new minute in the universe, waiting for your change.

It's all your choice.

The possiblities are endless.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Pregnant Trees

Whoa! It might actually be winter around here - or more Fall-ish by the majority of the country's standards. In short - IT'S COLD! I mean ARCTIC! It actually got below 32 degrees last night! I had ice on my front lawn! Shock! Horror! Coldness!

I'm a weather wimp, and I'm not ashamed to admit it.

My bright green front lawn managed to weather the cold last night better than me. It's still lush and green, even after the ice defrosted as soon as the sun came up...

Here's a Mr. Lincoln rose, petals glowing in the sun, after the rain. I just took this photo about 10 minutes ago in my backyard!
A relatively new theme that has started popping up in my art lately is trees. The butterflies are still there, but trees have become a big part of my thoughts. And what better metaphore to use on my plaster casting of my pregnant belly. This casting was done four days before giving birth to The Little One.
I painted the background with acrylics, then drew the tree with a black Sharpie pen. I added to some gold paint to a few random leaves. Yah, I like that. I started this piece at Julie's sleepover art party, and I finally finished it two weeks ago.
I've been drawing lots of trees. Practicing trees. What are you practicing?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It Takes Practice - and CARD SALE!!

Yes, yes, it's been waaaaaay too long! No excuses, really. Just life getting a little out of hand at this time of year, and it seems the blog was last on the list.

I've been dying to blog about this since last month! The Middle One came running to me just a few days before Thanksgiving, all excited, eyes wide.

"Mommy! Mommy! You won't believe what's going on in the backyard! Come see NOW!"

Well, I thought, how much could really be going on in our backyard? I mean, come on! But, I followed her anyway, mildly intrigued. What I saw when I peeked inside her bug catcher nearly brought me to tears. I was shocked at my reaction, but then, if you know my life recently, it only took me seconds to realize how everything was coming together...

This is what I saw...
It was beautiful. This was what had emerged from the dried up looking, what I was SURE was dead, cocoon that had been hanging in that darn bug catcher for at least a month, if not longer. In fact, there were two (what I thought were long dead) cocoons hanging in that bug catcher. The other butterfly had already hatched and was long gone when this one came out!
The butterfly hung out there for almost an hour before it began moving its wings. Then, it started flapping its wings and walking around the inside of the bug catcher. It practiced this for another 15 minutes or so. Practice, practice, practice. Back and forth. Back and forth. What could an hour and 15 minutes be out of the life of a butterfly - probably a lot. They don't really live very long.

It needed a lot of practice before heading out the door of the bug catcher, and into the big, bad world full of the nectar-filled flowers in my garden.

This is such an important lesson for all of us. We must practice and practice. We must try and try, and then try again before we are able to fly and find our true purpose. We must be patient, diligent, and keep practicing.

Of course, butterflies have so much symbolism for me, personally. I am trying to be that butterfly, and it takes a lot of practice too. I'm practicing living in my new body. I'm practicing some new attitudes and outlooks - not only on food, but on life. It takes practice.

So, to celebrate I'm having a CARD SALE!!! Yay!

All cards on my website (yes, ALL) are $2 each, with only $5 in shipping (no matter what size your order is) for all you cool blog readers. All you have to do is email me your order with the item number and how many of each, or you can download my pdf order form and fax me your order to 818-206-5320. Cards will ship the next day. Please include your VISA/MC account info or paypal info with your order.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Great Harvest Bread Co.

I'm giving a shout out to one of my new customers!

Great Harvest Bread Company, a nationwide chain of bakeries, was one of the new companies this year to order custom gift card holders from little ol' me! Check their website for a store near you! Buy a gift card, and a gift card holder to go along with it! You can even buy gift cards and bread on their website.

Happy Shopping!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Workshops Coming Up This Weekend!

Hello All!

Just an FYI, that I have three workshops coming up at Artful Living this weekend - all in one day! Sign up for one or all three!
I have also updated my website with classes for the first part of next year at Viva Gallery.

Sunday, November 16
10am-12:30pm Wine Presentation Box $35

2pm-4:30pm Personal Assemblage $30

5pm-7pm Handmade Holiday Cards $35

We will be making a special wine gift box, hand decorated by YOU! Price includes most materials. Here's a sample of what you can make:

Next, we will be using the top of this box (if you want to) to make an assemblage chock full of personal images and meaning. Learn some basics of creating assemblages. Use the end result as a gift for yourself or someone special!

Finally, spend two hours with me, a card crazy woman, making as many handmade cards as we can muster in 2 hours. Lots of supplies are included in the cost of the class, including paper and some goodies in the store. Below is simply some suggested designs, and I will have supplies for all these designs available for you. Or, make your own designs. I will be brining lots of extra stamps, papers, and goodies. You will likely walk out with at least 20 cards at the end.

You better believe I'll have that beautiful ornament stamp for you to emboss with gold or silver sparkly embossing powder, along with that yummy hand dyed silk ribbon, printed satin ribbon, and German scrap!

If you don't manage to accomplish what you hoped, do not fret! I will be bringing my supply of my Papier Studio cards for purchase at a nice discount!

Please call Artful Living to sign up for the classes and for supply lists, etc. 805-640-0800.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Taming the Tiger

by Tally Oliveau

I open the cage door
every day,
hearing the growls
of my angry tiger.
I find myself deluded
by thoughts
that I have trained
my tiger well,
and that it is
to do my bidding.
in its dark cave
it awaits
to pounce.
I am unaware.
I am naive.
I stand alone
at the cage door.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Lookin' For a Good Time? more ugly campaign ads and no more ugly warehouse look to my family room! Things are lookin' good, baby!

While I like having big orders, especially in this dismal economy, I didn't like having a family room that looked like a warehouse. Lots of big brown boxes full of pretty cards and envelopes. Well, they're all gone now, except the normal stuff that lurks around here anyways, and is at least semi-contained and out of sight.

So, if you're lookin' for a good time, go here! Click away and see what happens!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Yes We Can!

Can you feel the excitement in the air? There seems to be a new hope, a new energy, about what the future holds for this country as of Tuesday night. From both sides of the political spectrum, there is a wide smile as we prove to the world that America really is the greatest countries on Earth. Our hearts swell as we can all truly say, that we are proud to be an American.

We will make a comeback – but as Obama said – it isn’t going to be easy. What I liked most about his speeches and his plans was that there was a lot of “we” in there. I think most of us know that one man, even the president of the United States, cannot make sweeping changes anywhere. It is The WE that will make those changes. It will take some sacrifice, but WE can do it. WE can make it happen. WE will survive, WE will grow, WE will prosper. Yes WE can!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Happy Universary

This is the sweet sign hubby and I came home to on Sunday afternoon, after spending our FANTASTIC weekend in Ojai! The Middle One made it, and I just love it.

Well, it was our 15 year wedding anniversary, and I couldn't have asked for a better way to spend the weekend. We did lots of mountain biking...
Had ice tea on "The Terrace" at the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa...that's pretty much what a normal person can afford there...
And we stayed in the most wonderful place - Artful Living, an art store and retreat destination in the center of Ojai. Give Barbara a call at 805-640-0800 and see what wonderful things are happening here.
How can I say enough about Artful Living? The store is beautiful, with so many goodies, so well presented.
An amazing array of classes. And GREAT accomodations for the guest artist and guests, alike. It's kinda like staying at a B&B, only very resonably priced. 100% worth the short drive from Los Angeles, or wherever you're coming from! It is a destination.
There I am, sitting on the wrap around porch after a LONG day of mountain biking.

We also went kayaking on Lake Casitas.
The early morning was quiet, with almost no other boats to disturb our natural splendor.

Then, Sunday morning - off to work, well really just more fun - meeting these lovely women who came to take my Image Transfer class at Artful Living! Don't they look busy?

Well, they were, learnin' up a storm. This has been one of my most popular classes for the last three years, and for good reason! You learn no less than EIGHT image transfer techniques in about two hours. I like to make sure you get your money's worth!

After class, a little time was left before needing to return to reality. Only a block away is the heart of downtown Ojai. Beautiful fountains...

and the coolest stores I have seen in a long time! Check out some of the amazing artwork at Human Arts store on Ojai Ave. I really fell in love with this one:
Don't miss the found object bowl behind the sculpture.

The faces and lizard in these sculptures actually open up into another assemblage inside! The one on the left opens up twice! If you're in Ojai, DO NOT MISS THIS STORE!!

So, what does a girl do after such a fabulous weekend? Why, package up about 10,000 gift card holders, that's what! They're showing up here tomorrow. If you don't hear from me for a week or so, you can take a guess at what I'm doing...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


When you're Jewish, the holiday season begins in September. Oh yah - we have craziness for four months straight. It all starts with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year and doesn't end until the secular New Year.

In between all that, I managed to attend a fun art party at my good friend Julie Molina's house. She has great photos on her flicker page - so go check them out! There are some really goofy pics of me. You can also see some early parts of my latest work - painting the plaster form that was made of my pregnant bust and belly the same week I gave birth. Boy, was I BIG!

This weekend, I am looking forward to teaching my two most popular classes - Visual Journaling and Image Transfers - at Artful Living in Ojai. They have no website for me to link you to, but if you'd like to sign up, please give them a call at 805-640-0800.

Lately, I've been thinking about all this teaching I'm doing, blogging, my card business, other large art projects I have recently taken on, and what it all means to me. Why am I doing all this? Has my life become too busy? Why do I put myself out there so much?

Well, the answer came to me on Yom Kippur last week.

Yom Kippur is a day of repentance. A day of forgiveness. It is a day where I, and most Jews around the world, fast - that means no food, no water, not even brushing your teeth - for 24 hours. (ok, ok, I do brush my teeth) Let me tell yah, by 3:00 in the afternoon, you need God more than ever.

That's when I came out of my stupor to hear the rabbi say: "Don't think about what you will eat tonight when the fast is over, think about who you will nourish tomorrow."


That's exactly what I needed to hear. I am here, because I can only hope that my words, my feelings, my experiences will help nourish you. Others can learn from my experiences - my successes and my failures. Others can benefit from what I'm doing. It makes their life better in some way, even if it's really small.

In return, I get nourishment from all of you. Your comments let me know you're out there. Your blogs let me know what you're doing, what you're learning, and I learn too.

So, I begin this year, seeking to nourish others and myself. I look forward to meeting new friends this weekend in Ojai and putting myself out there a little more.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Nice Jewish Girls

Here we are - two nice Jewish girls hangin' out in LA. Many of you will probably recognize Judy Wilkenfeld of Red Velvet Creations. Her amazing artwork inspires me. It makes me even more glad to have such a wonderful and complex history, culture, and religion. Judy puts important meaning into every piece she does.

I was so excited to get her email that she would be in LA (from Australia!) and wanted to get together. We spent the day with some of her family, did some serious shoe shopping, and a little sight seeing. Here is another example of two people who may have never crossed paths if not for the internet. We've been corresponding for over a year on our blogs, and here we were - together in person!

Judy is off teaching at Art and Soul in Portland this week, then she's off to Canada.

A few days before that was my birthday! I've been doing a lot of visual journaling lately. It really helps mark my days/weeks and work out thoughts and feelings.

The white gel pen above is a line from a Norah Jones song:

"Come away with me

in the night

and I will always

love you." I am feeling a little stifled by my sweet, loveable baby. She runs faster than I do on those little legs and feels a need to get into EVERYTHING! She doesn't stop moving. My brother is currently visiting, and he even said that he's still not sure what she really looks like, because she hasn't stopped moving for him to get a good look.

Wishing all the nice Jewish girls and boys out there a Shanah tova u'metukah!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Glamour Has Substance!

I find that nothing is better to distract myself from the hard work I'm doing on the elliptical machine at the gym than a good ol' trashy magazine. You know the ones - lots of pictures of celebrities walking out of the grocery store or Starbucks.

Well, yesterday I thought I was in for the same ol' fare when I picked up the latest issue of Glamour magazine. I was more than pleasantly surprised to find a fantastic article by Jessica Matlin entitled "Tips From the Women Who Make You Gorgeous". (October 2008, pp. 127-132).

"Oh great!" I thought. More silly tips on applying makeup that I rarely wear.

But wait, there was more...

These were short little snippets of interviews with some of the top executives in the beauty industry - we're talking about president of L'Oreal Paris, Karen Fondu, legendary supermodel Iman, CEO of Shiseido Cosmetics, Heidi Manhaimer (the first American woman to hold this position in the company's 136-year history), president and CEO of LVMH Perfumes (guides brands like Dior and Guerlain). There's more, but I'd like to get to the point...

These are definetely women who have worked hard to climb that corporate ladder and have broken through the glass ceiling. Here are some of the important things they had to say about business and success:

"Don't be afraid to admit you have no idea what you're doing. It's not a sign of weakness; it's a sign of courage. I ask my mentor...for help all the time."

"It's normal to be nervous about new challenges. Anyone who isn't scared by something brand new is crazy!"

"My beauty ideal is that modern woman who is slightly not put together. I think imperfections are beautiful."

"If you overreact when you make a mistake, you'll just make another. Instead, reflect upon how you can fix things and avoid the problem in the future."

Um - are you listening to this? These are top executives - and yes, they have the same fears, hesitations, and doubts that we all do. But do they let those fears stop them from getting and going for what they want? NO!

They not only push past this fear, but they accept it as a part of the package. True courage does not come from doing something easy that everyone can do. True courage comes from doing something scary, something risky - DESPITE that fear. It's not that the courageous have no fear, they just see it as part of the package and continue to move forward.

What can you do TODAY to move past a fear? Ask yourself "What's the worst thing that will happen?" It's not half as bad as you think. It's just the flimsy tissue paper wrapped around the gift that you really want and deserve.

Read the whole article here.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Open Your Wings

by Tally OliveauI left my cocoon today,
wet wings frigid,
shaking with anticipation.

I know I can fly.
I feel the wind on my face.
It makes me tremble
on this tiny

Emerging slowly,
cautiously testing
my footing.
Still holding tight
to what seems a dream -
the life of a catepillar
the life that only yearns
for change.

So, Here I Am.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

New Cards!

Things have been busy around the studio this past week. A whole slew of new designs are popping up for 2009, and holiday orders are EXPLODING!!

Feel free to pop by the website: to get a gander at some of the new stuff coming out of Photoshop. I think I've really gotten a swing of Photoshop - at least I let myself think that for now. I know I probably have only mastered a very small percentage of what this amazing program can do - but I don't let that stop me from creating! Here's a sneak peak!

The water drops above came from a photograph I took of my car windshield while it was raining! Some minor adjustments, a few photoshop brushes of my doodles - and voila! dreaming of the sea...

As some of you may know, one of my specialties, besides the patented gift card holders, is my line of Judaica cards. This is close to my heart, since I have found a vapid hole of classy, artistic Judaica cards. I am doing my best to fill that hole.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Artful Living

I am so pleased to announce that I will be teaching two of my most popular classes at Artful Living in Ojai (details below). They have no website for me to link for you, but their telephone number is 805-640-0800. According to Barbara, the owner, if you call, or email them at they will send you their newsletter and registration information and pricing.

I am very honored to be teaching at a location where the likes of Lyn Perrella and Kelly Kilmer, to just name a few, have taught.

Here's the details (hours are approximate):
October 18: 10am-4pm
Visual Journaling - Caverna Magica
Come along on a fantastic voyage of self exploration through art journaling. Using music, breathing techniques, and guided visualization, Tally will lead you on a spelunking adventure you will never forget. We will be digging for the artistic archeological treasures that are hidden in your subconscious. We will shed some light on the dark caves of your mind that maybe you haven’t explored in a while – or maybe never even been discovered.

October 19: 10am-12:00pm
Image Transfers
Image transfers are a wonderful way of getting a very translucent image over decorative or other papers without using a transparency. The transfer actually becomes almost part of the paper. Students will be learning different image transfer techniques in this class including gel medium transfers onto paper and fabric, packing tape transfers, gin transfers, and transfers onto metal. This is a wonderful technique that you will be able to apply in hundreds of ways in your own art. This is a techniques class, therefore, you will not be creating artwork in class.

Even if you have taken my Visual Journaling class before, each journey is different and even the same journey can be different at a different time. For additional details and supply lists, please visit my website (link at the upper right of this blog), and click on the link to "Workshops".

I hope some of you will join me!

Monday, September 1, 2008

I Love to Look!

My dear friend Peggy has honored me with this award that she created herself! She gave this award to blogs she loved to keep visiting over and over, not only to look at the art, but to hear personal stories and outlooks on life. Thanks Peggy!

I just named a group of blogs I love in this post. I hope you'll go visit. Peggy would love it if you would pass on this award to others you love to visit.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Oh yes, that was a big...long...sigh. The DH and I finally got away - even if it was just for 24 hours - to this place. Yes, yes, I know it's very fancy. But, we haven't been away by ourselves for THREE YEARS! We so deserved this break, and it's so close to our house - no time wasted on travel.
That's a picture of the very best part of the hotel. The Spa. Those lounge chairs are the size of a double bed - and located in a coed section of the spa, overlooking the ADULT ONLY saltwater pool and Japanese pagoda garden. Perfect for cuddling with your loved one after your Thai massage, as your endorphines surge through your blood stream, and all you can seem to do is stare outside at the happy yellow umbrellas and blue sky.

This your view from the women's only waiting area. It has the same lovely lounge beds. I closed my eyes, listened to the trickling water of the fountains, and cast myself into outer space.

I can't even believe how recharged I was, after only 24 hours! If you have the time and money, I encourage you to visit this place soon! If not, go to the link I gave you at the beginning of this post and flip through the photo gallery. It'll get you a third of the way to nirvana without spending a dime.

Not four hours after coming home from this lovely retreat, I was off to teach an art class at Viva Gallery.
Tonight was gelatin monoprinting! Oh what fun! I think everyone was a little surprised at how easy this technique is. I wasn't at all surprised to see how these talented artists ran with this new technique and created such different and wonderful things! With their permission, here's a look at what they made:

My next workshop at Viva is on Wednesday, September 17 - we will be making tissue paper collages. I also just scheduled another Visual Journaling class for Monday, October 13.

I also have exciting news about a new venue where I will be teaching - please stay tuned while I get the proper links and such.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Dude! It's Jesse Reno!

He says dude a lot.

Dude! Finally! Am I the only one from the class that hasn't posted anything about Jesse Reno's class? Here's me and Jesse. He shoulda been pooped on that third day of teaching, but, heck, he's young. He can sweat it. Do you think I'd look good at the next PTA meeting with that hair?


I've never shown up to one PTA meeting ever?

Oh yah.

I only could make it to the third day of the class - needless to say, I missed a sh*t-load of learnin' and bonding with this big group. But, I was happy to see so many friends. You'll get to see them in a minute, links and all, but let's get down to art!
Here was one of the main workspaces. You can see Mija to your left and Tamara to your right. I began working at a table outside, with the wonderful Catherine Witherell and some other lovely women (whose names fail me completely but were also lovely and talented). However, the heat started getting to me, and I moved to the table above (with air conditioning). It was so nice to sit with these two old friends - Mija, whom I've known for a few years now, and Tamara, whom I've known online for about the same amount of time, but met in person for the first time here! yay!

Here's me and Catherine:

I immediately knew she was wonderful when I found out she loved my BFF Lisa. She is an amazingly talented PMC artist - so you really should go check out her blog asap.

Jesse has a very interesting technique, that is kinda scary, but produces wonderfully complex paintings. This technique involves beginning with his background, painting layers and layers randomly - with no specific purpose, per se. Then, when he starts seeing an image or one of his creatures materializing from the paint, he begins to define them (or it) with black paint/pencil. As he paints, he may "block out" entire portions of his already developed background - that's the scary part. He will just take a wad of paint and blot out portions of his painting that he doesn't like. Check out Catherine's blog (link above) for a few good picks as the days progressed. Remember, I was only there on the last day.

By blocking out some sections of the painting, and then repainting over them, you can get a very complex focal point - his are creatures. I'm not really sure I was courageous enough yet to fully have tried his technique, but here's what I came up with:

I really like the first one. I worked on two pieces at once. Jesse likes to work on multiple pieces at once. He also likes to paint with his hands, and he likes to paint on wood. The piece above is a 11"x22" piece of wood. I loved working on the wood! It feels great under my hands - all mushy and full of paint! The second piece is not even half way finished, but here it is in all it's strange glory:
This is an 11"x14" canvas board. It only has 4 layers, so it still has a ways to go. Perhaps I will have some time in the next few weeks to work on it.

A big group went out for dinner after the class. Here's all these totally cool women, some I only knew online for so long, and finally got to meet. Some, I had admired their art in different publications and finally got to meet in person. Some were just plain new and wonderful.

L-R: Kelly Snelling, me, Deryn Mentock, Pilar Pollack, Lorraine, Catherine Witherell, Tamara Comerford, Mija Marie, and Tamara's hubby! What a cool dude to be hanging out with all us cool chicks. You really should check out all the links above - most have more great pics from this wonderful workshop at The Carol Parks Studios.

Go link amongst yourselves...