When was the last time you were given paints, paint brushes, and a canvas and given the freedom to just create? Last month I was invited by my friends from Arts and Dreams to attend their affirmation painting and collage workshop and I was given that freedom. I felt like a child, a limitless, hopeful, dreamy little kid that could do anything. When you are growing up and in art class, there isn’t a right or wrong, no rules, it’s just full creative expression. I think we all could use a dose of ‘art’ class as adults.
My artist friends Laura Baran and Patricia Geremia created these very unique workshops to encourage children and adults to dream; to imagine who they want to be and where they want to go, and express those dreams through art. Using cutouts from magazines, as well as markers and paints, ‘artists’ create affirmation paintings and collages to remind them of their power and to give them hope for what is possible. This is a positive-thinking tool for healing emotional wounds and painful events that life sometimes delivers. Meaningful art projects are made to empower and expand self-love long after the workshop ends.
Living in NYC, I have the luxury of attending these workshops and supporting my friends in person, but I am happy to announce that they are creating an Arts and Dreams illustrated children’s book to help kids love themselves through empowering art. It is being published by Balboa Press, a division of Hay House. I am incredibly proud of their efforts and so very excited for their life changing work.
Affirmations are just little prayers to the universe affirming what is true; they make impressions in your thoughts and in your heart the more you read them and say them aloud. You may not have access to Laura and Patricia, but you can write a little post-it note to tape to your computer screen or put in your child’s lunchbox or slip into your wife’s pocket. You can sit down with your kids and create your own little Arts and Dreams workshop, painting and collaging to create lasting messages to guide them to their future.
I love and accept myself, exactly as I am.
You are safe.
Beauty is all around me.
I am worth it.
Everyday is a new day.
I am enough.
In the spirit of being a child and working with a blank canvas… when was the last time you made pizza? I remember growing up in the Midwest, homemade pizza meant buying the Chef Boy-Ardee pizza kit. It might as well have been crackers and ketchup with some dried, fake parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top, but I felt like a rockstar getting to take my dinner making into my own hands! Nowadays, pre-made pizza dough is readily available from the grocery store or you can even buy it from your favorite pizzeria. Roll it out, add a red sauce or pesto, cut up vegetables, meat toppings, and cheese. Easy as a bowl of peas! The combinations are endless and you can get pretty creative. No rules!
I am so grateful to Patricia and Laura for inviting me to participate in their last workshop and I’ll be letting you know when their book is complete and you can have these very special ladies’ work in your hot little hands. Here’s to Arts and Dreams, pizza, and feeling like a kid again.
Grilled Fig Pizza
- 1 ball of ready made pizza dough
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 9 fresh figs, halved
- 1/2 onion, thinly sliced into rings
- 1/2 cup basil pesto
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese chards
- salt and pepper
- a small handful of torn fresh basil leaves
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Preheat a grill pan, spray with nonstick spray. Place the figs cut side down and let them caramelize for 2 minutes. Remove from pan. Place the separated onion rings onto the grill pan. Let them begin to caramelize. After 2 minutes, turn them over. Cook one more minute, remove and set aside. Roll out the dough, and gently stretch it with your hands to fit into a sheet pan until 1/4” thick. Don’t over handle the dough. Drizzle the dough with olive oil and smooth it onto the surface with your fingers. Place the figs and onions all around, drizzle with the pesto and sprinkle with the cheese shards. Season with salt and pepper. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden. Toss the fresh torn basil leaves on top of the pizza.
Thank you to Patricia for lending her photography talents to the blog this week!