Author Archives: Vanessa Lee Thomas

VOLUNTEER RECOGNITION: Joyce Moulden Retires after several years as LAA Secretary

The pandemic has not stopped milestone events in the lives of volunteers for our arts organizations and one that needs to be celebrated is that of Joyce Moulden.

Joyce has served the Livermore Arts Association (LAA) community as a dedicated secretarial administrator for several years and has decided it’s time for a change. However, it does not mean that Joyce has ended her support of the arts community and lockdown ushered in new connections and opportunities for her to share her expertise and one example is the Online Tech Team Group consisting of members of the Pleasanton Art League (PAL), Livermore Arts Association (LAA) and Dublin Arts Collective (DAC).

The Group is an off-shoot of a larger collaborative effort between the three Tri-Valley Arts nonprofits (PAL, LAA and DAC) to address technical challenges faced by visual artists as they pivot in the pandemic. PAL President Beth Okurowski initiated the larger Tech Group meetings and the sub-group is led by Christine Watters, Vice President of LAA.

Transitions like these can be intimidating but delving into new ways of doing things and approaching novel problems with courage is not new to Joyce.

“Her attention to detail, willingness to learn and caring and considerate approach has made her a valuable team member as well as a delight to work with,” said Vanessa Thomas, DAC Co-Founder and Fables and Flora Owner. “It has been a joy getting to know her and great to discover that we share an interest in science and literature.”

“It’s been great to get to know Joyce through this process.  She quietly makes corrections and keeps track of us as we have worked at finding our way through new (for us) online processes.  Thank you, Joyce.” – Lorraine Wells, PAL and DAC Board Member.

“Joyce, thanks for your steady support on the board and now with the tech adventures. I always looked forward to meetings at your house. Glad you are along for the tech ride!” – Christine Watters, Vice President and longstanding colleague at LAA

“I have known Joyce for only a couple of months now, but we hit it off immediately; it feels as if we’ve known each for a long time! I have always heard about Joyce and her academic & scientific accomplishments from a common friend, which was exciting coming from a family of scientists myself! Joyce’s expertise & experience keeps the Tech Team on track, encouraged, calm and composed. It has been such a pleasure to know you, dear Joyce, you’re not off the hook yet – you are stuck with us now!! I wish you all the best and look forward to working with you on new and exciting projects!” – Meghana Mitragotri, PAL Board Member and LAA and DAC Member.

We would like to extend the heartiest thank you to Joyce for all that she has done and continues to do for artists in the Tri-Valley.

Merit award for pal members show

In trying times when it’s not always possible to focus on my art – it was a joyful moment to receive a Merit Award by Pleasanton Art League Members’ Show judge Paul Kratter for my photograph, “Morning Revival”.

Merit Award Winning Image

There were several other participants in the show and the full gallery can be viewed online on the Pleasanton Art League website.

Congratulations to all the winners especially “Four Seasons” theme winner Chandana Srinath for “RUTHU-Life Cycle In Seasons”!

Where do we go from here? Which option should I paint?

Which option would you like to see me paint 🎨?

Thanks to the multi-talented Anne Giancola I have my next public art project for the Livermore Artwalk Light on Oct 10.

I’m stuck on which of these options to paint for the “Where do we go from here?” Theme.

Your feedback would be appreciated – please rank the options in order of preference starting with your favorite e.g. 2,3,4,1,5

Thanks a bunch! 💐 😊

Vote 🗳 for your favorite option for me to paint!

A Woman’s Touch – Up Close & Personal

Artists thrive on positive responses to their artwork and I was delighted to receive the following message – “Congratulations, Vanessa! You have been selected as our ‘Up Close & Personal’ featured artist in ‘A Woman’s Touch’!!

Rose Pink Swirl Macro Photography Vanessa Thomas

Later tonight or early tomorrow [Sunday] morning, this gorgeous rose macro swirl & a brief bio will grace our homepage for the week beginning 9.6.20. You are invited to share the homepage featuring your work on Social Media, with family & friends, and in any group discussions thread that fits. Fvl.” Brooks Garten Hauschild

Brooks Garten Hauschild has led a remarkable creative journey and it’s wonderful that she has decided to support other female artists in this way!

You can visit the “A Woman’s Touch” Group here to see more beautiful artworks!

If you’re a female artist – drop your blog link in the comments!

 

 

 

 

Fifty, Forget-Me-Nots and Joa Jerboa

jerboa, character, cartoon, illustration Introducing Joa Jerboa, a friendly, kind and adventurous critter

It’s a week away from my fiftieth birthday so it’s been a time of reflecting on years gone by, appreciating what I have in my life and planning for things I’d still like to do.

With my 50th looming I had one specific goal to achieve before then – which was to publish a self illustrated picture book. So on that subject, I would like to introduce you to the lead character of my recently e-published picture book – Joa Jerboa. I wanted a character that was African, friendly, kind, adventurous and that mixed raced kids like my own could connect with so Joa was born. Joa has her own unique style and like the typical jerboa looks like a mixture of a mouse and a kangaroo. What makes her unique is the addition of a magical tail which has a story of its own.

The picture book is called “Days of the Week with Joa Jerboa” and is now on sale in the Kindle Store on Amazon. The rhyming story was originally written while we were in the United Kingdom when my son was little and learning to read and I then posted a narrated video on YouTube just using some free clipart to illustrate it. It had always been my plan to illustrate it myself one day and with my early birthday gift of an XP-PEN drawing tablet from my husband that plan reached fruition today!

A closer look at the cover art on the picture book reveals the little blue flowers inspired by Forget Me Nots. One does not reach this age without experiencing highs and lows and lately there seem to be more of the latter. My thoughts have turned to those I’ve loved but who are no longer around to celebrate this milestone with me – like my parents.

Whenever I look at Forget-Me-Nots my thoughts go to those who have passed on and I whisper a prayer acknowledging what they meant to me. It’s no surprise that Forget Me Nots are associated with remembrance but interestingly their genus is Myosotis derived from the ancient greek word for “mouse’s ear” because of the shape of their leaves.

flowers, forget me nots, photography, macro Forget Me Nots by Vanessa Thomas

It is therefore apt that Forget Me Nots are scattered throughout the picture book published in my fiftieth year of existence and paying homage to all those past and present, near and far, who make my life more meaningful, purposeful and beautiful.

Today is a gift, and I celebrate the joy of surviving planet earth for half a century. Tomorrow is not guaranteed so today I hope you dance with your being and hold those you love close in your heart. There is no time like the present to be kind to yourself, to honor your journey and what you’ve overcome and to keep on making your ruckus!

 

A new fur baby leads to ‘Plums A Lot’

Delighted that the “Plums A Lot” photo was featured in the Camera Art Group on Pixels.Com today!

Plums A Lot Photograph by Vanessa Thomas

So what’s the story behind this photo?

Like so many other families we adopted a puppy after the first couple of months of lockdown. Thankfully the Valley Humane Society was still arranging adoptions with special safety measures in place.

Little Archie has been a playful, fun and cute addition to our household and has drawn our attention to certain things that had become part of the background. The ornamental Plum tree in our garden being one of those!

Spring Awakening Photograph by Vanessa Thomas

It’s a tree that produces the prettiest blossoms in Spring and an abundance of tiny plums in Summer so it’s a pleasure to have in the garden. Little Archie was excited to play with the little burgundy fruit balls which of course was a nightmare because plums pits are toxic to dogs!

So on a blistering hot Summer’s day during a Zoom call break my husband took on the task of pruning the tree and I helped to collect some of the fallen fruit. What a task!

It seemed such a waste to simply add them to the garden refuse so of course I set a few aside to photograph first. For those of you who are interested – here is also a pic of little Sir Archie.

Little Sir Archie in the garden

 

Creating an Adirondack Chair to Remember

A Chair to Remember – The journey of an Adirondack Chair as part of a Temporary Public Art Program by the City of Dublin, California https://dublin.ca.gov/. The chair named “Of Poppies and Pollinators” was designed by Vanessa Thomas. Local Artist Teresa Yue assisted with the painting and assembly process.

The design for this Chair is inspired by the flora in Dublin with the added theme of protecting pollinators vital to our planet’s well-being.

This chair design raises awareness of the important work of bees, butterflies, moths, hummingbirds and others.

The problem of declining populations of native pollinators is complex, and there are multiple factors at work. But population decline can be largely be attributed to habitat loss, diseases and parasites, pollution and pesticide use.

The home gardener can help support native pollinators by creating pollinator-friendly landscapes and gardens.

A total of 20 Chairs were created by local artists and are up for auction via the City of Dublin website until September 2020.

Images used in this design have all been photographed in the Dublin area by Vanessa Thomas and include:

Image 1: Wisteria from Emerald Glen Park

Wisteria

Wisteria in Emerald Glen Park, Dublin, California

Image 2: California Poppies in the Meadow in Scarlett Drive

Orange Poppy Pair Adirondack sml

A pair of Californian wild Poppies

Image 3: Baby Blue Eyes wildflowers photographed in Fallon Sports Park

Baby Blue Eyes Wildflowers Adirondack sml

A collage of Baby Blue Eyes Wildflowers

Five Quotes To Help You Stay Creative In Times Of Stress.

It’s been great to connect to fellow artists during shelter-in-place and some of us shared our thoughts with the Pleasanton Art League.

Our vulnerability has been highlighted in no uncertain terms in the current pandemic and rapid and complex changes have placed us in extraordinarily stressful times. Yet in the midst of it I am recalling quotes that have inspired and motivated me and I hope that by sharing them they can lighten your load a bit as well.

Blossoms Pink Spring

Pink Spring Blossoms in our neighborhood

Quote 1: The first was shared by my artist friend, Sawsan, who was making some jewelry and found an inscription on a piece of metal which read: “Every problem has a gift for you in its hands.” (Richard Bach) When I set aside my anxiety and looked for a gift in this unprecedented situation I came to realize that there were indeed gifts – closeness of family that I don’t usually get to enjoy, stepping off the hamster- wheel of meetings and events and finding quiet spaces to connect with my passions of writing and floral photography.

To read further please visit the Pleasanton Art League website and click here.

« Older Entries