Good Morning. Today I have thoughts of gratitude and peace in my mind and heart, by that I mean contentment. It is hard when we are always reaching for tomorrow and then worry sets in. I have a speaking engagement today and I always hope what I have to say can touch someones life in a positive way. I do have a little bit of advice for you today. Each night before I go to bed, I and Andrea and Heather, better known as the author Barbara Jean, exchange messages of five things we are grateful for each day. I am grateful that these two women take the time to share with me as every night before I go to bed I am reminded that i have something to be grateful for though I must admit during trying times it is occasionally hard to see the grateful between the tears. So today I would encourage you to find someone you can exchange five things or more that you are grateful for each day, whether it be in person or by text. It can be someone you have never met but are close to on Facebook. Gratitude does makes a difference and if you do it, let us know if it changes your life.
This morning as I was writing in my gratitude journal I noticed my quite for the day and it was “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” I am very blessed to have over 700 friends on my personal page. In that number I can count on one hand those that post comments that incite and fuel the flames if discontent that is fueling what is happening in this country. I believe they don’t do this to cause problems but to point out how they feel and to try and bring people to their side if thinking. They aren’t bad just want to be heard. Unfortunately sometimes the way it is posted fuels the fire. They may choose to I friend me but I choose to keep them as friends because I like them and there is the chance that the kindness and positivity of my other friends will change the way they present their opinion. Think of it, out of 750 friends I have three only that post negatively. I have watched as those friends have posted that they have dropped people as friends because if the spewing hate if the posts. Today I am going to choose joy and I am going to make a commitment to advocate peace instead of hate. I challenge you to do the same and to test those who feel hate in their hearts and choose to share that hate, treat them with kindness too. As my quite says we don’t need to wait a single moment to improve the world” The quote was by Anne Frank and if she could make that commitment during one of the most hateful times in history, we can too.
When I meet someone with talent I admire I swoon. I have never been a groupie for rock bands but if the word expanded to artists or authors the name would fit.
I am not shy of name dropping about those I have met who are famous in their world such as in my author world. Since at heart I feel as if I have the heart of an artist I have added painting to my groupie world and one of the people I follow is Watercolor Artist Charlotte Warmka Laxen.
I can claim knowing her, since high school in fact. We have maintained a friendship over the years but recently have reconnected and spent more time together.
So today I would like to share the artwork and story of my friend Charlotte in her own words.
Creating has been part of my life since I was a little girl. My love for watercolor began when I took my first class from Gerald Korte at St.Cloud State University where I received my B.S. in Art Education in 1972. My passion for watercolor began after my first trip to France in 1991. I have been blessed over the past years to receive both emerging and career grants from the Southwest Minnesota Arts and Humanities Council with funds appropriated by the McKnight Foundation to help me continue to move forward in my artistic growth and recognition.
Having seriously been painting in watercolor over 24 years, I still continue to find new ways to get excited about the beauty and expressive qualities of this medium! I am presently exploring painting watercolor on canvas!
I generally paint in my studio but also venture outdoors often to paint as well. I began my journey to teach myself “plein aire” (outdoor) painting by painting the “Arboretum Through the Seasons”-an eighteen month period of painting at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum from 2005-2006. This was followed by a show in their Reedy Gallery from Oct-Dec. of 2006 which shared this journey!
The privilege of teaching watercolor painting in Monet’s Gardens in Giverny France, through a school called Art-Study Giverny, was realized both in 2007 and 2009 and I have also painted in many different regions of France over the years. My work is found in private collections in the U.S., France and Australia.
I still find my passion in French themes or from this inspiration at the core of each new subject I choose. Even more importantly to me, the past few years, I have been able to share my personal Christian faith in many God inspired paintings such as Rabboni and the Lion of Judah. (see faith gallery) I love to share God’s amazing provision to encourage others. I was born and raised in rural southern Minnesota, a farmers daughter and the 7th of 8 children. I am the mother of two wonderful adult children and the grandmother of six. I have a deep love for God, people and painting. I have enjoyed sharing my home with people and students from France and other countries.
I was an art teacher part time in the Minnesota school system from 1973-1988 and presently, in addition to painting, I teach private lessons and group workshops in watercolor. I have a new desire to offer opportunities that will allow art to bring people healing and to a closer walk with God.
On Saturday I attended an Art Exhibit at The Interchange in Albert Lea, Minnesota featuring Charlotte’s work. A couple of weeks ago I took my first watercolor class with Charlotte and visiting her show I could understand better what she does to create her beautiful paintings. So I am a follower not only of her artwork but of the way she chooses to live her life inspiring others. Please take time to visit her website http://www.charlottelaxen.com and support her artwork, put one of her masterpieces on your wall or attend one of her classes. I guarantee you will come away inspired.