Art with Cause

Copyright notice: All original photographs, images, designs and text appearing in Art with Cause Blog are the property of J.Murray and are protected under United States and international copyright laws. The images may not be reproduced, copied, stored, or manipulated without the written permission from the Artist: Jessica J. Murray. No images are within Public Domain. Use of any image as the basis for another photographic concept or illustration is a violation of copyright.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Tis the busy season...

Please check out my daily activities on facebook: CLICK HERE

With the economy being in the shape it is in, I know that quality handmade gifts are becoming a difficult thing for so many to afford. If you are not a crafter or artist you may not know that it cost more these days to make something than it would cost to purchase it. (Not to mention selling them for what they are really worth.) But don't give up on a hand-made holiday season.

I have spent the year making hats and scarves (to donate to charity) from my supply stash... which has dwindled down to one small shoe box of yarn. I am ready to send them off to warm the heads of people who need a blessing. I am very thankful I can do something with my nothingness to help others. I hope all of my creative friends can find a way to use their skills and talents to give back to the world this season. I know that when I do I get very introspective and so very grateful for all that I have. (It really isn't much but it is so much more than others.) This thought process stirs up a form of creative inspiration and strength.
This year I think we all NEED that holiday magic more than ever.

Creativity is the Change we Need!

Thank you for following me, supporting me, and encouraging me to continue to be creative. You feed my soul enough to keep me going and hopefully spread the inspiration back to others.

Let's make this a creative, magical and thankful holiday season.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Didn't get selected...

I received this letter via email:
Thank you for your patience while our juror, ...., reviewed more than 1,000 entries to the Northeast competition.

I regret to inform you that Ms. ..... did not select the work you submitted for this year’s edition. Over the years, our competitions have become increasingly competitive, and we can only accept 40 artists. We do hope that you will compete again next year. Many artists submit more than once before being selected.

Thank you again for competing.


Sigh, I was hoping that I really was as good as people say I am. I guess not on a national level, yet. Well, back to the ol' drawing board (easel and paints)!

Keeping things in perspective:
I paint because I am compelled to; not because I want to win prizes, earn recognition, or be the next "mother" of an art movement in the art history text books. It is just because something in me must create, something compels me.
I admit I enjoy the validation given to me by winning art shows. However, I think the burden of "being known" might impede my creative flow. I will still enter shows, because it would be a shame to have so many lovely creations just sit around and never be viewed.
And I have many pieces in the works already that I am excited to finish.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Keep on keeping on

I know I preach: Create!
I know you think: I don't sit home all day in a studio like you do. I don't get to research on the web while my paint dries. My time is stretched over family, work, and other important things.
You should know - time is limited for me as well...

Earlier this year I vowed to myself that I would expose myself a bit more and let myself be more vulnerable because I want my paintings to show my soul and a raw honesty. So in the spirit of keeping it real, I will share with you a bit of my struggle.

I am the busiest unemployed person you will ever meet. I spend most of my day looking for a job (God forbid I miss a great opportunity), and even more time networking. I volunteer at all sorts of things - never want to be accused of sitting back enjoying life while collecting unemployment. I am paying it back every way I can. (and some say I don't have to, but it is the kind of person I am) All this business doesn't change from day to day... I am busy!
...and now more has been added to my plate.
My child plays soccer, which is a huge commitment on a parent and school has started. (Anyone wanna contribute to our fund-raising efforts?) His practices are only an hour and a half long in the evenings, but has taken a huge chunk to time away from me (with transportation... snack and homework before... etc). I am not complaining. I love watching him flourish, but it is honestly harder to create. Just as it is time to pick him up I get this great idea and don't have the time to put it down on paper and by the time I do - it is gone.
Stress sucks creativity out of you. Not having a job or enough unemployment to cover our bills is a bit crippling from time to time. sigh
And my financial buffer that helped us get this far through it (a.k.a. the room mate) is moving out. Which is a whole different set of stressers and time consumers: Sorting out my stuff to make sure her stuff didn't end up mixed in - packing up - boxes everywhere - can't even reach my easel... sigh

I shared all this just to say: I have EVERY EXCUSE (legitimately) NOT TO CREATE.

But I must. I am NOT feeling as inspired as I usually do. But I must keep going. My creations don't have to be amazing. But it must keep flowing from me.
I have been here before and stopped creating. It dries you up really fast. Then it feels like moving a mountain - to pick up a pencil to draw. (If that is where you are, start scribbling!!! You will find your way in practice not in thoughful preparation.)

So I am on this journey to keep on creating.
I will share with you my struggles along the way. Maybe it can inspire you - maybe I will fail and you can see where I took the wrong turn. Maybe it is all a waste of time for you. Maybe it is just for me that I share - keeping me accountable for my actions.
All I know is I cannot stop creating. I dried up and it killed me. Yes, I died once and now have been given a second chance at life. (an abstract story for another time)
So, I am off to crochet - I can reach my yarn even if I cannot reach my easel. Something will pour out of me...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Art... it is more than just a painting in a museum!

It is a life style. It is a compulsion. It is.. when someone says "hey - the spare room should be cleaned out" and Art can't just put on the radio, pick up a dust cloth and clean.
No! Not Art! Art just oozed out of me and all over the idea!

Empty room - (make house cluttered and unbearable)
Paint room - (paint two thick layers so it takes two days to dry - while house is still unbearable)
Take on a fireplace painting project at someone else's house - (home still cluttered - can't even find the stove - it might be behind that bed standing upright in the kitchen?)
Pull out back - (ah rest.. but only half day cause clutter drives me nuts... do laundry, dust pick-up to try to reclaim order)
Go shopping - (well I did need a new dress for an upcoming wedding)
Vacuum and steam carpet - (well, I lived with the clutter this long and I might as well while all the furniture is out)
Put away all the stuff that isn't going in that room - (this isn't all the way done. Ya see I have to move the cape cod decorations in my room and move some things around to make new "homes" for things. I think I will put the cape cod decorations in the bathroom... which should be painted... and needs a place to put the towels... do I feel a new project?)
Once floor is dry, move back in furniture - (but I debated buying paint for the bathroom first!)

So to rest, I will crochet a throw pillow for the bed in the newly cleaned up room. Maybe even make a curtain. tee hee.

Before and after pics:

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

It has been a week....

So I was hope'n that I could learn of some progress being made on the judging of the show I recently submitted to.
Sadly all I learned is that they extended the deadline to Friday. If I had known I could have tried to create more and see if anything new would be mind blowing... although with the kid going back to school and the rooms in my house needing a fresh coat of paint and some organization before we close up for the winter... I have been busy bleeding my creativity through sweat.
I knew waiting to hear about this one would be hard. I purposely waited until the deadline to submit so the wait wouldn't be as long!
So no holding your breath... it will be a long time 'till I can update you with anything substantial!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Just putting it out there and hope'n for the best!

Let me get a bit honest and vulnerable:

I am not usually an insecure person or insecure artist. I am creative and well skilled, so their isn't much to be insecure about. Right?

I just entered the most competitive art show to date.
I am such a lame person - I usually only enter shows I know I will place in. Sad but true, I am comfortable being a big fish in a little sea.

Well, today I submitted work in a national level art competition (work that I have had very little input about - meaning an artistic critique of). I am feeling very insecure. At best I hope to just get my work accepting in the show; I don't think I will place. It is a bit nerve wracking.

Being mostly optimistic, I am trying not to get my hopes up. My chances of getting in are very slim. This show is known for only selecting the best of the best. It has such a reputation that many artists who are not already "making it" don't even bother entering. So I am out on a limb here.
Wish me luck - say a prayer that they find favor in my works - and I will keep you all posted.
Unfortunately we will not know anything for a while - so no holding your breath!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

End of Construction Zone

I was able to get the images back up, although I moved quite a few of them over to the Painting Tab (instead of in multiple locations on this site).
Hope to have a few more painting completed soon. As well as making a few more changes along the way. Thank you for sticking with me through this journey.

Under Construction

!!Sorry Again!!
Under Construction

The images are down -
We will be back up with them soon.

Thank you for bearing with us!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Another Painting Completed

A few random thoughts...

When I was a teen and young adult, I thought everything I did was gold and tried to preserve it all. I thought my art should last forever and was devastated when I gave a piece to someone and they treated it like it was from a bargain bin of prints they bought at a discount store.

Now, I enjoy the thought that a moment was captured for a moment.

This makes the Mural Project I am working on with the Mayor of my home town a difficult task. She is doing everything in her power to make sure these murals will be cared for and will last. So what ever I do, I will be known for it – for a long time.

While I am still growing in my art and still discovering my visual voice it is difficult to put something out there. A mixed media piece will not last as a mural, which is what I am currently doing. Weather will destroy it.

But how can I pass up the opportunity to paint a mural?! I am surprised that I have put this out there for so many ppl and yet few actually want to do it. Why would anyone pass up this opportunity?

I originally hoped to get a team of a few artists together, create the sketch with them (incorporating their styles and techniques into the final product). As a mural team leader, I never intended it to be MY Mural with helpers, but a team mural with many artists’ marks left on this town. As the deadline approached and time was short and getting together difficult and multiple concepts shot down – I had to come up with something. I had to make it mine.

Most of the artists I asked to join me will be returning to art school soon, so it works out for the best. I still will need some help and those who are left; I am familiar enough with their abilities that we will be able to blend our styles nicely. (If those who are left are still in here and haven’t bailed out too.)

So, they ordered the paint today. I don’t know how long it will take to come in. I hope we will work on this next week.

In the mean time tomorrow I need to go to the site and finish priming it and I am still working on my series of portraits for my personal portfolio.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Mural Prep-Work: Primer

When the super-poke ad comes up on this slide-show click the "X" in the lower right hand corner of the photos. Then you can read the captions about our day.
(I understand they want to advertise - but over top of our slide-shows? This is why I don't use slide very much anymore!)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

SPAC Celebrates an Artist!

SPAC Had a great idea last year - they invited Artist to come paint/draw during a performance of the Philadelphia Orchestra. It was such a good time they did it again this year!
I was invited to go sit on the lawn and paint/draw and enjoy myself while listening to a live performance! It was a good time - I LOVE drawing while listening to classical music!

My handy dandy helper (in the photo to the left, looking off at someone else painting) made yummy food and kept serving it up all night!

Before the show I laid out the groundwork for what I wanted to draw. I was photographed by SPAC's Marketing department and chatted with many people passing by. So I stepped back to take a photo of myself - unsuccessfully! lol
We will have to wait for the shot SPAC took of me!

Here is my completed drawing - of course I used my camera phone to take the pic so it isn't the best... not to mention I was drawing in the DARK! But it was a good time! I hope I can do it again next year!!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Children - the ultimate inspiration!

Saw a cute pic today - of my nieces at the beach. It is their favorite place to be.

I was thinking last night that I would love to pack myself up and spend a day at a beach.

So I spent today at the beach with them!!!
...well actually it was a day in my studio with paint
...and I didn't end up putting both of them in the pic because it was more dynamic with just the one.

But I had a good time.

And now I have to do a painting of the other niece so she doesn't get jealous! lol

Friday, July 16, 2010

Newest Painting/Mix Media

This almost looks like my desk. I try not to stress about it. But the truth is, the recession is hitting us hard. I am ready to write on a piece of cardboard: Will work for food.
But it seems that the bill for the internet is the issue.
Will work for internet access!!
Will paint for internet access!!! lol
I'll just call it "The Recession"

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Award Ceremony For Art Show - Opens Tomorrow

The Preview and awards ceremony for the 59th Annual Central Adirondack Art Show. It was a wonderful time.
As soon as I walked in, I saw mine upstairs looking over the whole gallery.

The curator of the show and I stood and watched the people who when over to it. Some squished up their faces and walked away clueless, but most had an 'ah-ha!' moment when they understood it. AND we counted at least 8 people who touched it. It kinda begs to be touched!

215 works of art! AND so many people there!

One name stood out to me, an old family friend. But I didn't see her there, not that I would recognize her. I am not a lil kid anymore - so I am sure she has changed too!

Art work from all over the nation: CA, MA, PA, VT, and of course NY (just to name a few).

They called all the winners up, one at a time, for a group photo. There I am on the end (I wished I stood up straight).

And here are all the winners.
I saw two men there who I couldn't help but stare at - they looked SO familiar. I feel bad that I stared. It was too busy to go up to them and say: hey you look familiar. So I held back and eventually had to go home.
BUT in the car on the way home, don't you know, I remembered them!!
Daniel Buckingham and Greg Lawler, they were a teachers at Munson William Proctor in the early to mid 90's. I don't know if either of them are still there. I wish I had gone up to them and said hi. But now I am the creepy girl who stared at them. Sigh

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I won 2nd place!

I was just informed that I won 2nd place in the mixed media category of the 59th Annual Central Adirondack Art Show. This show is open to artist from all over the nation and they said they had the largest number of entries in the history of the show.
I am very happy to have won a prize.

The show opens Friday, July 16th and runs until August 15th at The Art Center/Old Forge.
It is located at 3260 State Route 28 in Old Forge, NY.

For more info:
or call 315-369-6411

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

59th Annual Central Adirondack Art Show

July 16 - August 15 The Arts Center/Old Forge will host the Central Adirondack Art Show.
"Fine arts exhibit of acrylics, oils, watercolors, drawings, pastels, mixed media and sculpture. The show is designed to challenge the professional artist and to encourage the beginning artist." - In The Sun publication June/July 2010

I have a piece in this show: I submitted my mixed media piece "Grandma's Quilt" for the Unique Portrait Category and the Mixed Media Category.

If you are thinking of making the adventure up there, then let me recommend that you go the weekend of July 17-18. Then you can go to two events in one drive because Inlet's Arts in the Park is just a couple miles up the road!!!
July 17-18 = Arts in the Park, Arrowhead Park - Inlet, NY
"100 artisans and craftsmen... music... food... (315) 357-5501" - In The Sun publication June/July 2010

Word of caution from my own person experiences with driving up there (2.5 hours from Albany, NY):
if you see a sign for snowmobiles crossing, don't worry - they hibernate for the summer!
BUT BEARS, big black colored bears, sometimes cross at those signs!!! The are not hibernating now!!! Stay inside your vehicle if you see one and hide your picnic basket! (and have your brakes checked before you go - so you can stop in time!)

The Arts Center/Old Forge - 3260 State Route 28 - Old Forge, NY
Free for members - $8 for non-members

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Strive to be Creative

Busy day - little time to get creative.
So I pulled out my camera while visiting Grandma,
and snapped a few 'creative' pics (as well as pics of the family and pets).

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Article from the Gazette

Here is the article from the Gazette in a format that should be easier to read. Click on the image to make it larger (and readable).

Opportunity to give!!!!

Here is a wonderful opportunity to give!!! I am always looking for them (and share'n them with you). As well as many activities you can get involved with for our own personal enrichment.

FOVAPA (Friends of the Visual and Performing Arts) is an organization in my county that "strive(s) to increase opportunities for youth and adults to experience, appreciate and participate in the arts in Mohawk Valley" (quote from their mission statement).
Many reputable artist work with this organization including my favorite art teacher: Joel - teaching a printing class with them!

The following is a direct quote from FOVAPA's Website. Contact them directly with any contributions.

We are in need of the following items for our summer workshops:

~ plastic bags

~ fabric strips

~ cellophane

~ foil

~ newspaper

~ Syrup bottles

~ Large coffee cans

~ Creamer containers

~ Gift wrap tubes or large tubes/pvc pipe

~ Drink mix containers (the kind that has the individual packs inside that make 2 quarts)

~ Sticks for drum sticks

Your support is appreciated!

Friday, July 2, 2010

City Clean-Up Day

The city had a day to clean up the downtown area. I of course had time amidst my cleaning to take photos. Here are some of the one's I like.

If you'd like to see other clean-up pics then check out our Facebook fan page and/or Click Here.
* * * * * * * * * * *
So why am I so interested in a clean-up day. Well, besides being completely devoted to being involved in causes... I was asked to head up a team to create 'street art' on the abandoned buildings. I picked out one of the most interesting buildings in that area. Now to pull together a team, list of supplies, and a work plan - lets get it done!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Finalists - Please Vote!

Here are the garden photo finalist, please vote for your favorite.

One of these photos will be entered into a Photo Contest. Please vote for the one you think can win the contest. Just leave a comment here or on facebook which letter you like the best!

Friday, June 11, 2010

11th Photo Day

Look at this, I am catching up! Here are the pics from today!
Maybe there are some new choices for the garden photo contest?

Again I am a day behind

Sorry I was unable to post again last night - I was trying to take pics of a concert.
I need a better zoom lens and a faster shutter (or off camera flash). Very hard inside high school auditoriums.
So I am posting one of the best of the bad pics so you can see how bad my photography was!!! Then some better pics from after.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


I am thinking of entering one in a photo contest, but I need help picking just one.

Please vote for your favorite "garden themed" photo of mine.

I'll go with popular vote.
Pick one and cast your vote as a comment here or as a comment on Facebook.
I have numbered them one through thirteen just leave the number!

Thank you for your help!!

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