A New Idea!

Teaching is one of my favorite things to do…

Over the last few months, I took the opportunity to teach a few flower painting classes using watercolors. From what people told me both during and after the classes, I quickly learned how much they enjoyed the process of not only developing their creative talents but also connecting with a community of like-minded people. In particular, one student’s comment really resonated with me: “I loved how you combined creative learning and self-care! It awakened a part of me that was asleep!”

 

After watching this group devour all sorts of new information as well as improve their skills in just a few days, I knew that this was just the beginning of something special. This one experience made me realize that I had so many more project ideas that I could share! I instantly decided that I wanted to teach people all sorts of things that I’ve created over the years while marketing and branding my socially-responsible business, producing arts and crafts to raise money for my philanthropy causes, and teaching art classes in local art stores. I definitely wasn’t done yet.  

So, I’ve been thinking…

What if there was a small community of people that I could both teach and learn from? And what would happen if each member of the community could learn from one another? The wonderful magic that we create could be transformed into a concept I’d like to call:  “Artful Giving.” The idea behind Artful Giving would be to involve yourself in a unique and creative journey to make beautiful, but simple, hand-made treasures that would be identified by your own personal brand. The end result would be sharing art with people around you to bring true joy to their lives – something that is much needed in these current, uncertain times. 

Keep your eyes open. I will be sending you an invitation to join me in a few days. I am really excited about launching this community. I hope you will become a launching member of the Artful Giving Community!

Welcome September!

Where did the summer go? It’s amazing to me that the COVID months from March to August just flew by with lightning speed. Here we are entering the last four months of the year without knowing what the future will bring for all of us. Here are some thoughts I have about how we can proceed safely into the autumn months.

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Some things worth sharing…

The Power Within You

Author: Louise Hays

I bought this book in audio format. I listened to it while walking my dog Max on warm summer evenings. What an inspirational book it is! After listening to each chapter, I realized how important it is for us to keep our power within us. When we give our power away to others, we become victims to life’s circumstances. Let’s keep our power within us and remain strong and independent!

I made hand painted gift wrapping paper + a card!

Lila is a sweet young lady with special needs. I bought her a coloring book for her birthday.

To give it a special look, I made my own wrapping paper from a newspaper print (purchased at Lowell’s) and drew large flowers using colored markers. The bright yellow ribbon helped to brighten the package. Lilly loved the gift!

I had fun painting this sweet picture!

I used watercolor gouache to paint this picture and was surprised at how bright the flowers came out. I’m always drawn to painting little girls with their dogs. I guess it’s because I love dogs so much. They are the sweetest, most unselfish friends we can ever have. This painting will keep me feeling bright even in the gloomy winter months.

I’m sharing this painting to encourage the students who took my watercolor workshops to keep on with their painting practices. Keep showing up and let your creative energy flow!

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Lots of exciting things are coming up. Keep tuned!

Why Paint Intuitive Field Flowers?

What does the word INTUITIVE mean to you? Here’s what I found in Webster’s Dictionary: Able to know or understand something because of feelings rather than facts or proof.

In the watercolor workshop I gave on July 25th, “Let’s Paint Intuitive Field Flowers”, we practiced how to paint colorful field flowers using our intuition vs. expectations.

What kind of mindset is needed to paint with intuition?

  • Give up our controlling mindset.
  • Relax and free our minds of clutter and worries.
  • Open up our hearts and absorb all the magic that enters.
  • Draw shapes and flowers without putting expectations.
  • Find the beauty in anything we draw or paint.
  • Say, “I’m ok the way I am”.

“Living in the moment means letting go of the past and not waiting for the future. It means living your life consciously, aware that each moment you breathe is a gift.” -Oprah Winfrey-

I never thought giving a free on-line watercolor class would bring me so much joy, appreciation, and gratitude. When I saw the beautiful work created by the students in my class, I forgot about the hard work it takes to pull off a workshop such as this one.

Here is a student project gallery. Aren’t they great?

I appreciate all the comments from the students who participated in the class.

I loved the class yesterday!  It really was lots of fun.  You are not only a very talented artist but a great teacher, too.  You make everything look so easy; when the truth is you are so very creative along with your natural talent. You are very generous to share your many talents.  Thank you!I look forward to the next one. -Margo-

It was really a fun class and I enjoyed a lot of just letting go and relax and draw and paint. I thought it was very interesting so see everyone’s work being so beautiful and unique. I liked what I was able to create. Thanks for the wonderful class. I’m looking forward to the next one! -Yoko-

I truly enjoyed class on Saturday. I’m working on a birthday card for a friend using my “new talent”. Hmmm… somehow my animals don’t look like yours. -Melanie-

I really enjoyed this session. I was surprised HOW NICE mine turned out. Thank you for sharing this process. -Arlene-

Kay, I absolutely loved your class. My flowers came out very pretty and I know I will do more of this. Thank you so much! This was a bright spot in a stressful time. -Sue-

I loved your class and am so excited to learn a new technique! I ordered tome pens today and more watercolor paper. Please let me know if you teach another class. -Stephanie-

What a fun Saturday morning hour! Free, open creativity, simple, colorful, whimsical etc. etc. You are so generous with your knowledge. Thank you! Sign me up for your future classes! -Garnet-

Let’s Paint Intuitive Field Flowers!

When we don’t know what the “new normal” will be like, instead of worrying about it, we can open up our hearts and lean on our intuition. How can I do that, you ask. The first step is to let go of your control and let your intuition guide you. You will be surprised and pleased with the outcome. Attend my free workshop, “Let’s Paint Intuitive Spring Flowers” and we can learn this technique together!

This is a free Zoom class! Please register here.

There is only a limited amount of space so register early to save your spot.

Recommended supply list:

Watercolor set, brushes, black or colored pens, and watercolor paper of your choice. If you have a set of colored crayons, bring them!

An Open-Hearted Conversation about Race

I’ve known Antuan for five years. As we worked in the salon together, we talked about our customers, our work, and occasionally about our families.

I didn’t have the courage to ask him about his feelings and thoughts about the human injustice that’s been displayed towards Black Americans and people of color in our country.

I finally got the courage to ask Antuan if he would be willing to engage in a video conversation with me where we both share with each other about our feelings during this time of unrest and anger in our country.

Antuan agreed and we shot this video.

I found out that Antuan and I have something in common… drawing and love for our animal friends. I asked him if I can share a few of his artwork and he agreed. His art is so different from my art and when I thought about our differences, I realized this is what makes America great. It’s because every ethnic group brings their unique cultural gifts to the table. When we are able to open our eyes and hearts and learn from each other, the end product is called INNOVATION!

Thank you Antuan for opening up your heart to me. We all have a lot to learn from each other. We will create societal changes by working together toward our goal.

Animals Come to Your Living Room

Surely you’ve seen some of the videos of penguins wandering around zoos and wildlife flourishing in cities while the human traffic is diminished. What about video chats? How many of you have met your co-workers dogs and cats or introduced your pet on a Zoom call? Animals bring us all so much joy, especially at times of crisis. How do you think rescued animals and animal welfare organizations are surviving during this COVID-19 season? Please watch this video conversation I had with Brenna Anderst of Pasado’s Safe Haven.


Meet Some Very Special Animals…

Here is a story of Babs, Ole’ and Jaque. We at Studio 904 Hair Design have been supporting Ole’ and Jaques for three years. These sweet donkeys are loved by our team and customers. Watch this video!

Visit Pasado’s Online for a Virtual Tour

Join Pasado’s Safe Haven for our first-ever virtual tour! You’ll have a chance to “meet” the charming animal residents from the comfort of your home as they take you on a walk around the sanctuary.

Date: Saturday, June 6 11am – 12pm

Sign up here: https://www.pasadosafehaven.org/tours/ 

If you’re interested in learning more about Pasado’s Safe Haven and the important fight to end animal cruelty, please visit https://www.pasadosafehaven.org/

Let’s Paint Blooming Flowers!

The wait is over! Many of you have asked me if I would create a simple art class that will take you from beginning to end, resulting in cards, tags, and miniature art.

Please see the poster below to get the details of this class. We will have a good time in this interactive Zoom workshop. No experience is needed. Sign up soon so you can gather your supplies. You will receive the supply list right after you register. I hope to see you there!

Sign up below:

https://kayhirai.mykajabi.com/let-s-watercolor-blooming-flowers-2

Register for the “Let’s Paint Blooming Flowers!” below:

https://kayhirai.mykajabi.com/let-s-watercolor-blooming-flowers-2

Sharing a Few of My Personal Thoughts

When I think about the COVID-19 pandemic and the stay-at-home quarantine that we are now experiencing, it feels strangely similar to the time when I had a bad fall a few years ago. While walking one early evening with Max, my Terrier dog, another dog owner approached close by. Unfortunately, his dog did not have a leash and immediately lunged at Max. I had to do everything I possibly could to protect him. To make a long story short, I fell during the process and sustained a terrible injury to my mouth; it resulted in 33 stitches and the loss of two teeth.

The dog’s leash wrapped around my legs and I fell face down and sustained a terrible injury to my mouth. It resulted in 33 stitches and the loss of two teeth. This unfortunate incident forced me to sit back, catch my breath, and reevaluate my life.


To make good use of my time while sequestered at home, I decided to start keeping a journal to help make sense of the events, put my life into proper perspective, and formulate a new vision for the future.

My untimely accident made me wonder if the last three months have offered any of you the opportunity to catch your breath in the same way. Of course, life during a world pandemic is harder in so many ways. It’s not solely about us as individuals; it is the tragedy that the whole world is going through while watching the grim news hour after hour on our TV, tablets, and phone screens.

The one thing that the shutdown is forcing all of us to do, however, is to hit “pause” on the way we used to live. It is also giving us more free time to reexamine our lives. For most everyone, our schedules are cleared, we have fewer distractions, and we can no longer hide behind the excuse of “I’m just too busy!” 

Since many of you now have extra moments to reflect, have you noticed that both good and bad things are coming to the surface and being exposed? The familiar patterns and insecurities in the way we do things magically appear when we slow down enough to think about them, right? Our rhythms, habits, desires, and underlying worries are all magnified during these types of traumatic situations.

This process is certainly not an easy one because it makes us feel uncomfortable to think and rethink about our core values. How we decide to make this work, however, is valuable and important, so it is worth a little discomfort. Are you exhibiting these same feelings in your life? If so, ask yourself these questions:  What will we learn from this? What changes will we make because of this? What do we want to keep about this slowed-down pace? What are we excited to get back to?

My Little Art Practice

Can you relate to this drawing? Does it feel like you need to hang on to your life because things are changing and it feels totally out of your control?

In the midst of worrying about catching the virus as well as its economic impact on our lives, let’s make an effort to catch our collective breaths, look for beauty and goodness, and accept the reality that we are going to have to reset to a “new normal.” Someday, I hope that we can look back and see how the time we spent during the COVID-19 quarantine helped us to pivot our lives in the direction of becoming not only more caring and giving persons, but also ones who have developed a strong sense of purpose for improving social consciousness in our world.

I’d love to hear your viewpoint on what the new normal might look like for you. Please leave me a comment below.