Giving 2’s Day

 

 

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“ReClaiming My Spirit” Child Artist Living In Presbyterian Night Shelter

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday behind today is Giving Tuesday.  As I sat and sifted thorough my inbox I decided on my own invitation.  It takes 2 for an exchange. My invitation is for us to make an exchange.  I’m invite you to donate a whatever number you choose and in exchange I will expand that resource by using the labor or making art for social change.  What does that mean?  It means that you and I will be the change we want to see in the world.  If together we partner up and decide that all people can be dynamic dreamers, conscious creators and intentional thinkers then that is the world we will begin to manifest.  It takes just one action step, one change in your day today, one new thought different now than before to start the ripple of a movement into greater consciousness.  In fact why stop at 1 make it 2, double your first thought align with me in the mission and see what happens when 1 dreamer decides to inspire another to give and together that connection becomes the conduit from my heART to yours and then out into the world as it will flow into everyday and today becomes tomorrows reality accessorized by the sprit of giving, collaboration and intention.  Make Your Contribution 2DAy Donate Here

brandi warhol Brandi Cottingham is an Artist Facilitator from Fort Worth , Texas using the action of creating Art for social change.  Launching a Non Profit organization BeARTSee to expand her work out into all aspects of the community where the spirit of creation is ready to exist in a more powerful way and be the conduit for connection and expansion.

 

 

 

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Cross My Heart And Hope To Fly

Works from Project Success Young Artist

Art Love Event projectsuccessfortworth.org 

If you’ve been in ear shot you’ve heard me preach about the amazing experience Tuesday nights at The Cop Shop has brought into my life.  It’s no secret my belief in angels, guardians, fairies encapsulated in human bodies.  Overseer’s who quietly place their healing energies and resources into seeing energetic bridges built between souls.  Driven by an internal knowingness that life is more sophisticated then the distraction of everyday drama.

To the outside world the outreach program Project Success between Fort Worth Police and community volunteers to create a space for children living in our local shelter to break bread and create art.  Peeling back the first layer one might see there is so much more.   This program has become a platform for healing, expanding and growing.   With a quick glance one might focus on the beautifully crafted works of art that is the end result of the real work that goes on in the sacred Tuesday night space.  If you walk with me I will give you a peek behind the curtains into the intention of how and why I design what to some looks like fluid chaos of glitter bombs, oops drops of paint and children voices many decibels louder then the librarian would allow.

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“The Mayor’s Path”

The very first project designed was a series of wooden crosses.  A powerful symbol in it’s own right a cross can mean many things to many people.  For this project the design of a cross was to me like arrows launching in every direction.  The strong wood structure, inspired by the guardians creating the space for the young artist to reveal,  would be the medium to capture the child artist expression.  Giving them options of broken, old, reclaimed objects to symbolize material can be found in the less obvious parts of our life if we are willing to see the possibility in any object.  I use Art as a metaphor for life.  A way to speak to the ego and gain the clearance to co-create an experience where together we can expand.

As the weeks have added up so to has the development of the artist child.  Every week I build on the previous week answering a series of questions that reveal.   Each child has their own unique expression which is built by their unique life story filled with the obstacles and distractions that keep them from knowing their greatest work.  They come in with different moods and attitudes about themselves and life. Slipping in and out of their work, they want to be stimulated.  They get bored,  negative emotions pop out and sometimes just need to unplug from whatever internal dialogue is running them.  These young artist are living in a world and facing stresses of an adult world in their young minds.  Like a master fisherman my wish to hook each child into a project where their inspiration takes them away, pulls them into themselves in a powerful way as their perception of life starts to bend and they start to feel their own power to manifest their dreams.

I’ve seen these children grow in such a short time.  Instinctual they have a knowingness once they feel safe with the platform to express they become dynamic dreamers.  In the last couple weeks I’ve watched them move from pre designed projects into asking, really demanding the blank canvas for their own design.  Going from needing a guiding hand to becoming a beacon of light for themselves and those their life touches.

“Keep Calm And Look Pretty”

This isn’t just tossing paint around.  These children have worked through emotional road blocks to create what you now see.  At first blobbing out their expression wanting to be done quickly for immediate gratification and a check mark of a completed project.  I started sending them back to do more and another week goes by when I ask for them to go deeper and add another detail.  The energetic foot stomping as I push back and invite them to stay longer in the dialogue of each pieces.  The frustration when the piece doesn’t represent it self like in the child’s minds eye.   As they want to toss it aside or destroy it and start again but then accept the proposal to stay with it and work through the dark, blocked and uninspired part of the process to find what ends up being their favorite work.  The adults in the room take on the role as servant leaders open to be whatever they need to be in any moment to see each child continue to unfold.  Words of encouragement turn into act of labor as sometimes just adding to the detail work takes off the edge of frustration when the child realizes they aren’t on their own.  They have a community of believers believing in their dreams.  Believers willing to add resources to see their imagination birthed into the world.  Weeks have come and gone as these young artist have been given assignments at different levels of sophistication sometimes navigating through multiple projects at a time as individual artist and also partnering up and being a collaborative artist.  Learning that feedback is neutral and other’s opinions are just that..others.  They’ve gotten so used to the artist lifestyle they don’t realize how they speak more open and free about themselves, eye contact and the intimacy of their words has grown to reveal they feel safe to share a little more of themselves to the world.  As they share what inspired them to create such work they are telling their own story and chapters once never read by the public.

See I have a dream that if I can be the Regent Artist today and hold a space where anyone

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Sponsored by Regent Services

can come to align their artist energy with mine. Then they can go out into the world and be a dynamic dreamer, intentional thinker and manifest their imagination into reality.  I dream that by becoming an artist with me, even for a moment, they will see they have the tools to be whatever they can dream.   My dream isn’t about paint and canvas those are just part of the tools I use for the labor of artistic expression shows us the way.  So now that I’ve see all these individual pieces of wood that were arranged in the symbol of a cross which got filled with the expression of these young artist children I reflect on one of my favorite craftsman Jesus and the wisdom of his story has been to my life.   My dream is about using my work to inspire others to own something that we all came into this world to be… A Creator!

 

 

brandi warhol

Brandi C. Art & Playing with Paint is committed to create individual and group experiences where art is used as a conduit to grow the participant in one moment of action. Brandi has worked with groups from 2 years of age to 500+ participants spanning 5 continents. See more collaboration pieces at http://www.brandicottingham.me

Everyday I make connections with individuals and organization’s with a desire to add Right Thinking into their lives and practices. If you would like to see this work grow and be used as a powerful tool in our public schools, mental health programs, VETs, Recovery programs and more decide to add your mark and be a sponsor to see this work grow into all aspects of our communities. Donate Here its not about the amount its about the choosing it was Right thinking used to take 5 fish and feed 5000.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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See Like An Artist

 

It’s been too long for the writer in me since we last came together through these words in a moment of shared consiousness.  Many inspired topics have flown through my mind like the virtual world seems to have speed up my life.  Today caused me to pause and quietly reflect on the words I had been speaking over the last weeks.  The story tormenting me to  get it out and into this message.

Many new projects have been placed before me, all inspired as a fantastic menagerie of work has kept this artist expanding.  It’s this new platform that has been opened to me and my work I speak to you.

My life work has connected me with children, children of all ages; the ones in little bodies and the larger older embodied children.  My focus to open the Artist archetype in All.  I reference the Artist, which I believe lives in us All, as a child like personality.  In the beginning the Artist can present naive and cautious peaking it’s spirit out to see if it’s safe to come out and play.  It wasn’t that many moons ago that I too was first opening up, reintroducing my artist spirt into the world after years, decades of keeping her securely packed away as my adult life explored safe grounds to set her free.

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“Because I Can” One of the the first Brandi C. originals. 

Today my Artist presents rebellious to social norms that feel suppressive, empowered to claim total ownership of my expression laced with a trust caused by the surrender to my healed intuition, and symphonic conduit taking the single cords of my practice across new terrain blending patterns for bold leaps of connection through my imagination.  It is this Artist Warrior that breaths inspiration into my daily life boldly creating sacred grounds for other Artist Children to shed their shell.

One of my current projects, which moves my hands from this keyboard to brush away tears of grattitude as I write and think about this amazing opportunity, has brought me to build a space where children living in local shelters, Police Officers and Community Volunteers come together every Tuesday evening to create art.  This program has been living unknown to me in my community for the last 4 years and now as my work has prepared me it is my time to weave my wisdom into this web.  It is my Artist Warrior Mission to use the words and actions of creating art to plant seeds in the subconscious minds of these young beings, in order, to guide them into being dynamic dreamers, intentional manifestors and curious creators.  Not only do I believe I know, because my life is proof that if anyone decides to cause their dream to reality it can become truth.  i.e. Brandi Cottingham Art.  I AM a working artist not from technique but from the passion that sparked inside of me and the courage to allow it to grow!

Angela's Guiding Light

“Angela’s Guiding Light” 9×12 Mixed Media can be yours with a donation to Project Success. 

Like Jesus I believe we are carpenters of our lives needing physic and physical material to build.  It can be the biggest challenge to see life is always offering that which we need to construct the bridge into our new reality.  It is the Artist which is how I identify the sub conscious right brain core of our imagination and creativity.  It is the Yes to our logical brains No.  It is the abundance which overlays societies driven scarcity.  It is the place in us all that realizes anything is possible if we focus our minds to it.  Or better yet when we set our “Right Mind” to it.  Seeing like an artist we see material in everything.  Living outside the “Material World” ones heart feels the abundance that elevates the lack into freedom.  This week with the sheltered youth I embraced there lack of transportation and funds unlike my  weekly trips to craft stores for very obvious material.    I decide to bring them into the consciousness that does not lack these things instead it sees the abundance in every moment.  “See Like an Artist” I speak out to the room,  see the broken crayons melted like resin on your project, see the broken toys as texture on your canvas, see an old board as your canvas.  See others trash as your treasure. She the beige as brilliance and beauty.    See that your world is filled with material. And from that we start to build.  When I allow myself to “See Like an Artist” I see through the obvious and open my mind to the abundance we all equally came her to receive.  I was raised on scripture that taught me “The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth.”  It wasn’t until my Artist began to filter my perspective that I understood the wisdom of these words.   It is this wisdom that caused my wings to expand.

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“Broken & Beautiful” Burlap, Acrylic & Ink on Canvas June 2014

I don’t choose to see the difference between me and the unsheltered children who share a couple hours with me each week.  Three years ago, with no proof, I leapt into putting my Artist as the full time provider for me and my children.  The first 30 days I cried myself to sleep in pain and great fear of the cliff I was jumping.  I felt without security emotionally homeless as I was entering a new world which I had no proof would shelter me and keep me and my family safe to thrive.  Three years later I could not have known the storm which would rage through my life through a health crisis and the risk I first measured become exponential.  Even with the unexpected  obstacles the learning of this wisdom, of seeing,  would be the gift-to become present.   Many moments I’ve felt sheltered from a lifestyle I use to live, scarce from the amenities I gave up to pursue this yearning welled deep in my soul.  Often feeling allienated  from loved ones who did not understand me choosing my artist life work over a “secure career”.   Yes, I still have days my logical mind measures whats not and then a need blankets my wants, until I regain my balance and see that if I see with artist eyes,  then my perspective widens as I see what’s all around me and I see the all as the exact material I need to build whatever type of bridge into my next reality!

A reality were my artist warrior builds spaces for artist children to feel safe to play with their creative expressive self.  Sharing every ounce of wisdom with their artist minds and collaborating with them to capture their expression’s into inspired pieces of work.  It is this work which will tell their story.  They might not have traditional modes of transportation but I know I can connect their heART with the heART of our community by revealing their work, exchanging their creativity for resources which will then return to them so they, these brilliant artist children can build their next reality.  Will you partner with me and see the world where bridges are built through the conduit of the creative expression?  Donations, Volunteering, Purchasing Art are just a few ways you can take an committed action to see programs like Project Success and Brandi C. Art merge the energies of Creativity into social action.  Project Success Original Art work can be seen at Brandi Cottingham Studio, Arts Google & Fort Worth Art Love Fundraiser.

 

Everyday I make connections with individuals and organization’s with a desire to add Right Thinking into their lives and practices. If you would like to see this work grow and be used as a powerful tool in our public schools, mental health programs, VETs, Recovery programs, sheltered youth and more decide to add your mark and be a sponsor to see this work grow into all aspects of our communities. It was Right Thinking that takes 5 fish and feeds 5000.  Donate Here its not about the amount its about the choosing.

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Project Success Social Outreach Program by FWPD serving local children living @ Presbyterian Night Shelter

 

brandi warholBrandi C. Art & Playing with Paint is committed to create individual and group experiences where art is used as a conduit to grow the participant in one moment of action. Brandi has worked with groups from 2 years of age to 500+ participants spanning 5 continents. See more collaboration pieces at http://www.brandicottingham.me

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Left in the Dark Turn Right

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What’s Right About The Brain

One of my favorite historical minds was quoted in saying;

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
― Albert Einstein

This week I had the privilege share my life work with some of the most current day brilliant minds whose work is focused towards researching and developing a cure for Brain Disease.  What my artist mind defines as collaboration they call a consortium.  Regardless of the word the destination is the same; to share ones resources be it, talents, energy, money, time, knowledge, wisdom or attention for the sake of all parties expanding into something larger-growth!

Can I imagine living in a world where in all my engagements I exchange a energy of growth with those whose life I touch and they mine?  I dream this dream everyday and then make the pledge to do my best work.  I no longer focus on critiquing or measuring perfection by my technique or result.  I’ve learned to rewire my gage and allow my attitude towards the moment to inspire the desire to always grow which satisfies the need for my logical mind to do better.

What I just explained is the way I rewired my perspective to allow my Right brain to find balance in my left brain dominated world.   Why would I be inspired to share my ideals to a group of scientist, neurologist, phycologist and researchers?  When handed the mic in front of such a distinquised group of minds why would I take my five minutes of their captivated attention and speak of the importance of Right Brain Balance? IMG_3784 Why not speak a myriad of other topics from the art world?  I mean I was the declared Artist in the room.  One, it’s become clear to me its my life work to do so, my entire life journey has lead me to this moment to share and reveal my personal wisdom.  Not because a degree says I can, but because, my life story has become the proof that the bet I hedged in 2007 (my right brains corrects me to say 4/20/73 the moment I was born and before), the hypothesis I felt as truth is being realized in this moment.

IMG_3646The summation of my belief came after working with this group during a 4 hour Pop uP Studio event which included 2 canvas panels, some paint, brushes and dialogue which included an invitation to Play With Paint, express oneself however it feels it needs to express with a less obvious request to allow the right brain to dominate the moment.  I took the captured visual conversation on canvas back to my private studio world and asked my inner artist to remember what I had learned while facilitating the viewer artist and speak back into the canvas.  Merging their thoughts and ideas into a cohesive piece.  Taking the individual thought and merging it into the

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Below is the work of the viewer artist Above is the continuation of the work which is currently being finalized in studio. 

overall conversation of all.  How do I do such work?  It’s the balance of my own thinking the left and right brain working as if dancing with each other leading and following until the work is complete.  Why do I do this work?  To create an experience where in the moment one engages they create a new thinking pattern and walk through a portal that can become a new reality.

 

 

What are the distinctions of these left and right brain subjects?  The words I share with you today are the same ones I spoke earlier this week as I stood in front of those who have spent more hours then most focused on the mechanics in the world of brains.  It’s just the way I have defined it it and may not  be the “The Truth” for you or anyone, but it’s my truth and I believe it’s the only one I have permission to speak for-My Truth.

I believe the Left brain, houses our logic, it’s the tool which keeps track of all the information we’ve gathered in our lifetime.  It’s where the critic lives a home built by our schooling, environment, neighborhoods and culture.  It regulates by knowing something and can understand concepts only from the gage of perspective it’s been built.  Your left brain will see the world as big or small as you have built it to see.

I believe the Right brain counterpart is where our imagination and creativity reside.  It doesn’t understand concepts of the physical world doesn’t perceive the difference in what you dream or actual do (meaning your dreams are just as real to the right brain as if you actually do it in the physical world), its boundless goes as far as your imagination will take you and as far as your open to travel in someone else’s imagination.  It holds no gauge of measurement or competition it doesn’t see a boundary between itself and another self. I believe it’s the energy that flows through us all.  We all have the same amount because it’s infinite.  It’s where we all meet as equals and the energy of collaboration is birthed.

So why would this self taught artist have any wisdom worthy of sharing with anyone especially you if you’ve made it this far?  Because if your here with me you have a curosity which has lead you to wonder if you align with me in my Truth.  I believe that the changes  and expansion that is taking place in our culture the ones that “Need” to happen and those that are happening as our wisdom grows through the conduit of our Right Brain thinking.  It is our imagination and creativity that leads us toward the solution of little and great problems.  It is our right brain that takes over when the left brain has exhausted all it knows.  It is our right brain who holds the torch of light when the left brain goes dark.  It is Right thinking that will both heal and grow you into a new moment.  It was my right brain who took over in a moment my left brain was injured by an environmental exposure.  Because I had grown access to my right thinking it lead me through the darkness of the illness I’m still recovering.  This last year I wasn’t the most efficient as my logical sequential thinking was wounded my right brain took the lead and even my darkest moments carried a spark of light to my future.  I believe we should all be armed with the full capacity of our thinking.

In 2007 I declared “I Am an Artist” now I realize what I was saying was I’m committed to allow my right brain to develop and be if not more important in the way I think, perceive and now create my future.  It was in that moment that I allowed my right brain to lead the way into my personal emotional healing crisis, which lead to a physical manifestation of art work and then took my canvas work into a larger world of conceptual art which then expanded again into seeing my concepts and ideas be birthed from my right thinking into the world of left brain seeing, touching and feeling.  It took the original dream and hobby and moved it into my daily work and occupation.  Now I’m far beyond the original dream my left brain once held the power to define.  What I saw as truth then has grown from a younger scared broken girl into a fearless (right brains don’t understand the concept of fear or courage they just be undefined), whole, inspired, expressing woman.  With a fire in my heart to share all the nuggets of wisdom I gathered along the way and to plant as many seeds into the collective sub consiousness minds of those my journey crosses,  to open up and send out an invitation to allow this great tool to work with you-allow the right brain to give you the gifts it was designed for you to be.

My left brain wants me to acknowledge I’ve spent more time promoting right brain thinking and I do so as I see a culture both in my backyard and beyond dominated by an imbalance of left brain thinking style.  My perspective has grown as my work has had me paint with viewers from all over the world.  I see the challenge in America as our school systems, appropriate cultural attitude and communities are measured by the left brain success ruler.  My work is ultimately about balance and how to use all you are to be the greatest expression you can be!

Albert Einstein also was quoted to say “Logic will take you from A to B.  Imagination will take you everywhere” 

Won’t you take this journey with me.  Going beyond our dreams when we allow our left and right brain to collaborate and realize how to become master dreamers, dreaming ourselves into the next greatest story of our lives!

Right ON!  Brandi C. 

If your curious about what your right brain has to offer come by my studio.  Open paint sessions, classes given by local artist and events focused on right thinking are happening all the time.  If you live outside of Fort Worth dream with me that I might pop uP in your town.  Playing With Paint has a 2016 dream to be on the road.  Come take an adventure Turn Right you’ll find me!  Check out Brandi Cottingham Art on Facebook

Brandi Warhol

Brandi C. Art & Playing with Paint is committed to create individual and group experiences where art is used as a conduit to grow the participant in one moment of action.  Brandi has worked with groups from  2 years of age to 500+ participants spanning 5 continents.  See more collaboration pieces at www.brandicottingham.me

Everyday I make connections with individuals and organization’s with a desire to add Right Thinking into their lives and practices.  If you would like to see this work grow and be used as a powerful tool in our public schools, mental health programs, VETs, Recovery programs and more decide to add your mark and be a sponsor to see this work grow into all aspects of our communities.  Donate Here its not about the amount its about the choosing it was Right thinking used to take 5 fish and feed 5000.

 

 

 

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2015 A Broken Wing Heals Spirit to Fly

2015

A toast to 2015 and all it gave to inspired me.  The year started with me facing a health crisis.  Challenging my motherhood, my work and all that was my “normal.” I embarked on a journey which would bring me closer to the core of all that had mattered to me and then opening up a world I had never touched to enlarge into a greater source of care to myself, my world and my dreams.  It was my artist spirit who forged the way as my logical mind became challenged with “The X Factor” mystery culprit poisoning my system.  The first days of the year I spent mostly researching from my bedroom with doctor orders to put down the brush and change my career.  It was my rebel who flared up to save the life of my artist archetype being in the forefront of my expression, to express courage and say “NO” it’s my body and my life and only me will give direction to what will or will not receive nurture from my resources.  I started to clean up my life in every realm body, mind and spirit….

Then the largest project of my career came calling and inspired me to jump back into work using my creativity to design ways for me to be in the experience without being in the odors, chemicals and solvents.  I believe it was a call out to the Universe to say “I AM Still An Artist Bring It” challenging my commitment to this off the wall dream I had been dreaming.  And so the call out came again just weeks after my first big gig another one even bigger which would challenge my physical and mental stamina.  The year was on it’s way and with little time to call in sick.  

Thank you 2015 for giving me the opportunity to bring my work to the lives of 2000+ viewer artist.  With my main engine down for maintenance 2015 created room to build a team around me.  It was other artist, supporters, contributors, collectors and believers who showed up to bolster my artist, my motherhood my life in every way to see me nurtured back into Thriving!  Which allowed me to see my work shared with people for all over the world and then the physical work travel across the country to live in worlds only of my dreams.  

If you shared a brush stroke on my work you touched my life.  I stood in front of corporate America, a dream I didn’t know I had, as it became clear that every brush stroke I had captured is infused in every new piece I create.  The Butterfly effect I so believe as a source of my own creation continues to ripple through me.  

I’ve written and spoke this and will say it again.  I was a girl who decided in a moment to follow my passion.  Without any proof it could be true.  No education or formal training was on my side.  I had few supporters at that time a couple friends who purchased those first piece’s as if possibly a passing hobby.  8 years later I write these words as 4000 people have read my blog this year.  I’ve Popped uP and painted with over 2000 people from all over the world.  Last night I read the edit of the article written about my work and the concept I created which has changed my world and possibly changed the trajectory of a couple of you who have worked with me.  I write these words from a body that is showing signs of reclaiming her wellness, from a mind who claims a clarity unknown from her past (detox a year without carbs and sugar WHOA how life looks different) and a spirit who is launching her wings not from a platform covered in fear but from an excitement to know my greatest works and how it will touch the lives of others.  I give you these words to say if I can dream it and believe it into truth then you too can allow your greatest dreams to come true!  

Thank you 2015 and all those whose life work merged with my life work in the spirit of collaboration to exchange the energy of expansion!  Thanks you 2015 for all that will be inspired to bloom in 2016.  Won’t you express your dream with me!   Brandi C. Art & Playing with Paint “Team”

Thank you to the following sponsors of 2015 Projects

Fort Worth Community Art, West 7Th, Amphibian Theatre, Cat INC, Danny Richardson and Frito Lay Texoma, Recovery Resource, Tanglewood Elementary, AAMD, Dr. Andrew Walker, Texas Custom Window & Door, Jerry Wenninger Art, Chuck Shanlever Photography, Trinity Vista Dermatology, Constance Hall Law, CDK Agency, The Community Food Bank, Michaels Cuisine, Beverly Fletcher Fort Worth Independent Schools, Grace Cattle, Ridglea County Club, Elegant Design, World Affairs Council, Jo Dufo Art, Matt & Mary Ann Dufrene and all those viewer artist who shared a stroke of their artist expression!

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Learning How Angels Are Born

Angel Painting CB

Guarding my Dreams as I sleep from one of my favorite artist Carol Boarman. For many years this painting was a dream to own and then one day her wings made it from Indiana to my Texas wall.

I believe in angels both in of the celestial world and the courageous ones who choose to mingle with earthlings. I have one that hangs above my bed reminding me to be open and allow the power they give to our lives.   There has been a few moments, in my life, I’ve become present enough to feel the touch of both. Today I sit and watch as one of my favorite beings is returning to a more infinite space.

I sit and write these words being inspired by her as she so peacefully, just as she lived her life, lays with the occasional connections with me through her eyes. She hears my muffled sobs and does what she’s always done with me, using all the depleted energy she can claim from her tired body, she perks her ears raises her head and speaks to me through a depth of love and care I’ve rarely have known from my human family, as if to say, “Your good you can do this you have the capacity to feel every drop of every moment we’ve shared and then allow me to go.”

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October Bale travel back to my parents land sitting with the girls during tea time munching on carrots enjoying the MidWest Fall.

I was just a young women when she strolled into my life. I thought I was doing her a favor when this little bag of fleas popped onto my porch. I jumped to her attention with cat food and a back yard bath. A trip to vet revealed her life on the streets and the stress it had placed on her body. Her first night with me could have been her last night on earth but instead, as if, we made a silent agreement to each other she decided to choose me and I her. I would take care of her and she would be the one stable force in my undulating young adult life. She’s watched me grow up both in years and wisdom. She’s lived with me through the intimacy of the bad days, the really bad days and every intimate amazing moment of my adult life. When the scope of my dreams enlarged she escorted me from our Indiana roots to Texas when I decided to venture out of the safety of the only nest I had known. Again with the quiet stable force she encompassed the Universal Mother it was always known me and my children her chosen liter.

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Bale inspired me to pick up a brush after months of only painting for others. Today I painted for us. She also inspired me to write this post. Again after months of more important tasks two of my most beloved passions of expression to paint and write she gave the inspiration for both!

So many days passed when I didn’t take the time to connect with, look into her eyes and lay my hands on the warmth of her nature. She never loved me any less, regardless of my humanness she always stayed centered in her love and devotion to me. Even her weariness I find great strength in her guiding me through how to be with her now. Keeping the world at bay today, no matter the level of importance, she is my only focus. Staying home laying here with her I ask her if there is any unfinished business to address. My legs are her legs and today I will carry her.

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In 2007 I found the healing energy though painting. The paint and canvas have been my tools to work out my toughest conflicts. Paint Therapy is a growing trend. Allowing the right holistic brain to assist the left brain logic is a powerful way to allow the emotion to flow and be freed.

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I believe we all are artist even the 4 legged furry friends of our lives. She may not have been able to walk but she still was able to stamp and brush her furry paws over the canvas.

Her eyes tell me everything I need to hear. As she watched me pick up the paint brush and paint my first strokes she has witnessed the birth and creation of my artist life. I’ve painted collaboration pieces with my son Logan and daughter Sydney and yet each time she patiently watched us capture the moment. Today it’s her turn. In these last moments I want to capture her into an object. I want to be inspired by her essence and gifts she has given to me over the years. My longest dearest companion. Finding a patch of light shed by Mother nature we sit in the sun. Taking this moment for us to create the most powerful experience that we each can give to the other and to capture it on canvas so after this moment passes I’m reminded by her to soften, quiet myself down to center and be the force of nature she reminds me to be. An expression of my life being touched by her pure love.

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Stormy giving Bale one last sniff and lick. Sydney believes they are husband and wife. I believe her daddies dog and mommies dog had a special bond maybe titles are too small when a boundless love exist.

After making rounds of her final visits we spent the day laying and painting in the front yard. I gave her one last bath held her in my arms swaddled up like a baby and released the purest love I’ve ever known. IMG_2822
And that is how angles are born! During tears of our first night without our guard laying at the foot of the bed my 6-year-old saw Bale sitting with us in the bed. We believe in Angels!  Today my family celebrates the 16.5 years Bale Ann served as our family dog, my companion and the mark she left on all those our journey’s crossed (even the cats!)

Bale' Ann 1998-2016

Bale’ Ann 1998-2016

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Frito Lay entices Collaborative Competition

“Where Great Things Happened”
48x60x2 Mixed Media on Canvas

My work has brought me another great gift, after many years  “The Approval” of my 12-year-old son!   I thought I had claimed this mark after completing a project with CAT INC. brand earlier in the year.  With Logan’s fascination of driving Bob Cats for all of the life he has memory.  However I truly received favor after the call came from Frito Lay.  My curiosity of his heightened interest in this project slowly revealed as the project unfolded.  As one of the marks of my work the lines have become blurred of who is enamored most?  After developing a relationship with the people, of Frito Lay, whose hearts beat at the center of this household name.

Logan becomes the first kid to take Pre launched Doritos Roulette for lunch to share with friends. And excited to pak the pantry with one bag of every child under the Frito Lay Brand.

Logan becomes the first kid to take Pre launched Doritos Roulette for lunch to share with friends. And excited to pak the pantry with one bag of every chip under the Frito Lay Brand.

During the first design session it became clear, the ask was not just to bid another job, it was also an invitation to expand my process into frontiers I had only explored in my mind. In fact Danny (Frito Lay Frontline Man) was emphatic that this work would be the mark of both our Greatest Work.  And so it would be true!  This is what I learned along the way…

IMG_9816Every collaboration project starts with a design and a vision of the final result.  Taking the logical and creative desires of the client and building a concept and vision for the foundation is where each piece begins.  With all my life I believe the most powerful way for me to “know” something is to live through the experience of that something so I can collect all the nuances which my logical mind may not capture in theory.   After the first design session was complete my research started.  Getting to know this organization learning what matters as a corporate philosophy and looking for the way I could be in relationship with their mission to enter my experience with this group of viewers who I would eventually ask to trust in my process and choose to create something with me out of nothing they had familiarity.

Learning through my personal FL advisor Danny and my fascination with google research I combed through the tale of  two men, Herman Lay and Elmer Doolin, what I found was the significance of collaboration in a tangible story and the result when 2 or more people bring forth their greatest talents, share them fully with the merging into another and the result becomes mind-blowing of the compounded relation.  In this case the merging of Herman’s logic and Elmer’s  creativity results in a company who sells 7 out of 10 snacks purchased everyday.   Knowing where the pattern of Frito Lay started I felt equipped to merge my work into their pattern and see how the compounding of my creativity and their logic would express!

Danny was clear he was asking his people to do something new which some would find fun while others may resist the choice to risk in the uncharted experience.  I too began to enter this work through new portals and place myself on the same playing field.  I may be labeled the “Facilitator” of the project however I choose to take new risks as my act to even the playing field and creating an equal collaborative spirit in me.

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Danny sharing our story and his logic doubting while also trusting me and my creative process.

IMG_0436 The design became clear we would paint into the regional Logo.  I would invite the participants to tell their story and I would expand my process over the course of the entire 3 day Rally.  Day 1 Popping uP up at Billy Bob’s as they tossed me and what the viewer thought was the finished piece of work on stage.  I stood in front of the microphone with the glair of lights hung for famous country singers (kinda like tossing a lamb in the lion’s den)  and spoke into the darkness which held the 350+ audience.   The introduction began as I shared my Artist story, my declaration to become part of their team for 3 days and the invitation for them to collaborate with me from the same spirit of Herman & Elmer the men who had launched the pattern we found ourselves continuing.   I concluded my time as the large piece was taken a part and revealed the illusion of 1 had become 4 individual parts.  IMG_0444

IMG_0452Day 2 the sales force of TEXOMA entered their evening celebration to find me and my team  Popped uP and turned a banquet hall into an Artist Studio. IMG_0456 The 4 panels from the previous evening had transformed to blank objects as the clarity of their labor became defined.  I declared myself the Artist however my labor with them would not require a paint brush but to create a space for them to know their artist.  As I would grow to know their individual stories and see how each person added something unique to the overall collection of strokes which would tell the 1 Story of today’s Frito Lay TEXOMA region.

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Frito Lay Front Man Danny Richardson.  Constantly plowed open the space for me to create my work.

Frito Lay Front Man Danny Richardson. Constantly plowed open the space for me to create my work.

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The Viewer Artist have spoken and now my artist picks up the brush and starts to weave together the story I see and have heard during my time connected to this group.

Day 3 and 13 hours after the conclusion of Day 2 I delivered the 4 panels back into the original 1 piece, with individual artist mark and my finalized version of weaving the story together to a fluid cohesive piece.  What made this process even more powerful for me was the choice, even under this deadline and without proof I could hit my mark, as I feverishly painted from early morning hours

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Front Yards and porches become Pop uP Studios

Front Yards and porches become Pop uP Studios

I STOPPED put down my brush and decided having breakfast with my six-year-old and driving her to school was more important than taking a shower and applying make-up.  Preparing for the quickly approaching final Corporate presentation looked different for me than once imagined which received me 2 standing ovations I had not imagined either and more proof that sometimes getting it “wrong” what I think should matter, is appropriate or “right” is more powerful.  Choosing what Mattered to me most became a powerful  part of my presentation.

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How to wear your jammie’s to give a Corporate Presentation? Wear your Ass Kicking Girl Power Boots and a fabulous Hat.

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In the end I hit my marks, the ones intentional declared and the ones gifted to me through the experience.   I learned so many things about myself and the human condition through working with this still very “Family Oriented” company.  Working with this group the term “Collaborative Competition” sparked as a term I’ve added to define my work.  I witnessed an organization who nurtures their sales force by inspiring them to compete amongst themselves, not to create silos or one champion, but to ignite the spirit where each person is doing their best work to inspire those around them to do their best work. Which inspired me to go beyond where I had taken myself, not in my own time, rather in a time which was the most powerful for All.  IMG_0154

Six Year Old Sydney assist in the finalization process by learning to leaf silver foil reminding us of a bag of chips!

Six Year Old Sydney assist in the finalization process by learning to leaf silver foil reminding us of a bag of chips!

Last week I took the fully completed and finalized piece to Frito Lay TEXOMA Headquarters where it will hang amongst the collection of objects, photos, trophies and 50+ years of items which tell their story.  A part of me is forever painted into that canvas just like a part of them will be in every brush stroke of my future work.  And the clarity of slogan, dated back to my childhood which bridged a connection I share with my son “Betcha Can’t Eat Just One!”  It is the essence of Collaboration when the energies of 2 or more entities is exchanged and the balance of each is expanded into where The Greatest Things Happen!

“The Greatest Thing Happened”  can be viewed  and copies purchased at http://brandicottingham.smugmug.com/Frito-Lay-Rally-2015

Brandi C. Art & Playing With Paint work in both the private and corporate culture.  Experiences have been created for participants from 0-ageless and groups from 2-500

Assisting in Service to the Artist and Facilitor Ms. Hannah Taylor local Art Student.

Assisting in Service to the Artist and Facilitor Ms. Hannah Taylor local Art Student.

I AM Photographer Chuck Shanelever captured over 600 photos of process which can be viewed at www.brandicottingham.me

I AM Photographer Chuck Shanelever captured over 600 photos for this project which can be viewed at http://www.brandicottingham.me

Local Fort Worth Artist Jerry Wenninger doubled to move studio and share his talents in adding authentic Frito Lay imagery.

Local Fort Worth Artist Jerry Wenninger doubled to move studio and share his talents in adding authentic Frito Lay imagery.

Brandi’s stationary studio is located at 827 Currie St., Fort Worth, TX 76101 where the viewer is invited to come see and participate in the act of creativity.  Brandi C. Original canvas work can also be seen and purchased at Michaels Restaurant Cultural District Fort Worth.

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