Sunday, September 25, 2011

Paint-Around Benefits Bastrop Fire Victims

Ring 'Round the Rosey II, 12x12" pastel by S'zanne & Friends

The above painting was started and finished by me, and also painted on by Carolyn, Richard, Linda and Donna. (To see the original painting this was based on, click here.)

Tonight, Austin Pastel Society members gathered at Tres Amigos, the first of this season's monthly meetings, to watch a "paint-around" between five artists. Pastelists who placed in last spring's annual juried member show were invited to reproduce their award-winning artwork in the paint-around. Participants were local artists and APS members Richard Banh, Donna Crosy, Carolyn Kilday, Linda Wells, and myself, S'zanne Reynolds.

A "paint-around" is a painting demonstration where the artists have ten minutes to work simultaneously on his or her own painting, before passing their painting to the artist on their right. Then each has another ten minutes to paint on someone else's artwork before again passing the art to the right. The process is repeated until your own piece comes back to you in which you have the last ten minutes to put on the finishing touches.

So, we ended up having five wonderful paintings that had five different interpretations of the same artwork. It was so much fun to see how each turned out!

The best part of the evening was the post-production silent auction. APS members and guests eagerly bid on all five paintings. A hundred percent of the proceeds of the painting sales are going to help the Bastrop fire victims, as one of our dear members, and many of our friends lost everything to the Central Texas wildfires.

I found this experience to be a great reminder of how truly unique each of us really we each have our own vision that must be expressed.
The process made me cherish our individuality all the more, and value the great possibilities we can create when we come together on behalf of our communities. The world can never have too many artists, visionaries or dreamers!

God bless.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Through Fire or Flood...

"Frankie's Fall Foliage", 12x12" pastel by S'zanne Reynolds

I'm happy to report that the above pastel arrived safely through the fires on Friday to its new owner in Ft. Worth, TX, today. The client bought it for his wife's birthday. Fun!

I'd been procrastinating on completing the sale as I was a bit concerned and confused about how to ship a pastel. I'd mailed a pastel only once before and it was rather disastrous. I knew I could try more expensive delivery options that specialized in fine art, but I had not built this into my price. And by Friday, I had to contend with wild fires spreading between Austin and Ft. Worth.

No worries anymore! Kudos to EcoBox who came to my rescue!! (Great guys, very helpful...we love them!) I packaged and shipped the piece in a large frame, for about $50, including packing supplies, frame corners, insurance and $15 delivery...quite a deal! Ecobox has all the packing materials, recycled and new boxes, UPS and FedEx accounts. UPS got it there unsinged, early Monday.

Several of my friends, and many, many others, were not so lucky and lost everything in the fires. A portion of this sale will go to the wild fire victims here in Texas.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

As American as Apple Pie

Thinking about 9/11 ten years ago, I'm struck by the awesome spirit of the American people to pull together in fellowship and community. I am especially moved today by this indomitable spirit in the face of the continuous wild fires springing up all over Texas and the floods in the northeast. Whether in the face of natural disasters or terrorists, joblessness or recessions, corruption or hard times, Americans come together and hold strong to their faith in their God, in each other and in liberty for all.

I watched the NYJets/Dallas game tonight at a local establishment. As taps was played in honor of the fallen heros of 9/11, a reverenced hush fell over the crowd. Burly football players choked back tears and the audience here was visibly moved by areal views of New York's Twin Tower Memorial at Ground Zero while Lady Antebellum sang the National Anthem. Afterwards, the crowd cheered on their teams and spirits soared in hope. I thought to myself, truly, this is America--as American as apple pie!

My heart and prayers go out tonight in gratitude to Americans everywhere. God bless.

How did you remember 9/11...please feel free to share your thoughts and stories.

As a side note, I'd like to share an inspiring email on the subject from Scott Heiferman, Co-Founder & CEO of

Fellow Meetuppers,

I don't write to our whole community often, but this week is
special because it's the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and many
people don't know that Meetup is a 9/11 baby.

Let me tell you the Meetup story. I was living a couple miles
from the Twin Towers, and I was the kind of person who thought
local community doesn't matter much if we've got the internet
and tv. The only time I thought about my neighbors was when I
hoped they wouldn't bother me.

When the towers fell, I found myself talking to more neighbors
in the days after 9/11 than ever before. People said hello to
neighbors (next-door and across the city) who they'd normally
ignore. People were looking after each other, helping each
other, and meeting up with each other. You know, being

A lot of people were thinking that maybe 9/11 could bring
people together in a lasting way. So the idea for Meetup was
born: Could we use the internet to get off the internet -- and
grow local communities?

We didn't know if it would work. Most people thought it was a
crazy idea -- especially because terrorism is designed to make
people distrust one another.

A small team came together, and we launched Meetup 9 months
after 9/11.

Today, almost 10 years and 10 million Meetuppers later, it's
working. Every day, thousands of Meetups happen. Moms Meetups,
Small Business Meetups, Fitness Meetups... a wild variety of
100,000 Meetup Groups with not much in common -- except one

Every Meetup starts with people simply saying hello to
neighbors. And what often happens next is still amazing to me.
They grow businesses and bands together, they teach and
motivate each other, they babysit each other's kids and find
other ways to work together. They have fun and find solace
together. They make friends and form powerful community. It's
powerful stuff.

It's a wonderful revolution in local community, and it's thanks
to everyone who shows up.

Meetups aren't about 9/11, but they may not be happening if it
weren't for 9/11.

9/11 didn't make us too scared to go outside or talk to
strangers. 9/11 didn't rip us apart. No, we're building new
community together!!!!

The towers fell, but we rise up. And we're just getting started
with these Meetups.

Scott Heiferman (on behalf of 80 people at Meetup HQ)
Co-Founder & CEO, Meetup
New York City
September 2011

Monday, September 5, 2011


"Lifelines", iPhone image by S'zanne Reynolds

Passing through Fredericksburg, I stopped to take this image Saturday. Regretfully, I didn't have my good SLR with me so I pulled out my iPhone. I loved the shadow cast on the church from the power lines which made a cross over the church's door. Afterwards, I was intrigued by the way the power line to the church seemed to connect to the sky.

The image makes me ponder what really empowers us. Is it man made, nature made or divinely bestowed? Where do we place our power and who do we give our power to? As such basics as fire and water are in extremes in our lives here in Central Texas, it gave me pause to reflect on what our real lifelines are...and how much we each can express the divine source of power, right where we are. We seem to see this with the most clarity in times of disaster. As the Good Books says:

"You're blessed when you are at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and His rule." The Message, Matthew 5:3

Thoughts and prayers go out to the fire fighters, families and individuals struggling with the Central Texas fires...especially those hardest hit in Bastrop. May all your lifelines be strengthened, preserved or restored with love and care.

Marker Detail of Lifelines, iPhone image by S'zanne Reynolds

Saturday, September 3, 2011


"There is nothing that can be taken away from you. You cannot lose your real treasure." ~Osho

What do you treasure today? a three day weekend? family time? painting time? a loved one? your country? rain? the earth? your neighbor? yourself? a job? good health?

"My Father has my treasure and He will walk with me." ~a hymn

Happy Labor Day Weekend!