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Our Neighborhood is the Bee's Knees!

 

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Our original, tried and true fans will remember us being located in downtown Erie for Whimsy's baby years. It was a wonderful location and we had the honor of making art in a beautiful historic brick building on Briggs Street. It was perfect for us! We loved being a part of the thriving downtown Erie bustle, so close to so many great shops and restaurants. We really felt like part of a family! But the time came where we were ready to move Whimsy onto its next exciting adventure. That location is here at the Orchard Town Center!

We love being at the Orchard because we have the opportunity to make so many new friends, yet it's still close enough for our Erie family to visit us! It also gives us an opportunity to really spoil our visiting artists with additional amenities that allow them have a special night out!

If I were to plan a super fun night out at Whimsy, here is what I would do; pick up a yummy smelling lotion for myself at Bath and Bodyworks and go a little too crazy at the brand spankin' new H&M, enjoy a little lunch at Which 'Wich, visit the Macy's cosmetics counter, then meet up with my friends for a little glass of adult grape juice at Wine and Cheese.

When good and ready, we would stop by the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory for some (in my dreams) calorie-free goodies, and then just walk twenty paces into Whimsy, reserve some seats, order a bottle of wine to share, and get settled in with our choco-covered apples for a really, super fun night. (In my Whimsy-dream, I also totally win the nightly Grease Dance-Off to roaring applause and get a free drink, but that's a different story for another week.)

That's just one variation. You can also throw Target shopping in there and then a movie at the AMC, or The Cheeky Monk and then some dainties at Victoria's Secret.

We are so unbelievably lucky to be part of such a wonderful outdoor mall that has such a warm, yester-year sort of feel, but also has so many fun things going on, all within finger-length of one another! It has been such an asset to what we do at Whimsy! PLUS we are open at the same time as all of your favorite shops, so you can visit us and take advantage of Open Studio during weekdays, you know, when the shopping just gets too much and you wanna let that inner artist out!

Next time you're shopping at the Orchard Town Center, come visit us! We are easy to find, always very easy (and free) to park, and if I do say so myself, very easy to love!

Come get addicted!!!

Much love,

Shannon 'The Art Girl Next Door' Hodgson

Are You Getting The Holiday Jollies and Tinglies? We Are!!

 

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Well, it's official. Orchard is covered in twinkly lights, the speakers out there are playing songs that encourage you to hug your loved ones, and it is decidedly more brisk than it was twenty minutes ago. Wait, now it's warm again. Nope, definitely chilly.

A man walks by in a pair of khaki shorts and a big puffy coat. Children are bundled up in furry things and happily blowing away in that sunshiney wind. Later they might make snow angels, but certainly not before getting slathered in sunblock by mama.

Beautiful ladies run from shop to shop, intuitively understanding how to truly glamorize a pair of Sorels and a puffy vest. After all, function IS elegance.

What on earth am I jabbering on about? I'm talking about Colorado winters, silly!
Admittedly, I reread my words just now as a Reclaimed Coloradan spending my first winter at home in three years, and I glimpsed just how absurdly special our little slice of heaven is. I grew up, as I'm sure you did, too, with this half-joking-but-kinda-serious mantra: Every Coloradan should always keep in their car the following items:

1. An umbrella
2. Michelin Man coat
3. A swimming suit (just in case you have an overwhelming need to be a mermaid real quick)
4. Sunblock

I am sure there is more to this list, but these really cover the bases to get you through the holidays in Colorado. What was the strangest holiday weather you remember? Did it change your choice in activities?

Here in the studio, we are feeling very spritely and excited for all of our friends (that's YOU!) to stop in for the holidays!

We have been bouncing around, adding even more festive art to the calendar, creating super-wonderful holiday deals for you, and switching out all those painted punkins' for (even more) twinkly lights, and sugar and spice and absolutely everything that is really, really nice. Like wine. Wine is very nice.

In our classes, we are already beginning to see a number of gorgeous, hand-made paintings that are becoming presents to loved ones. That is my favorite! I love nothing more than seeing so much joy and dedication on a person's face when they're painting from their heart for someone they love!

Whimsy is an excellent way to do two wonderful things at once! Come in and create a memory with us this week with someone really neat, and leave with a special painting for someone else who is really neat and on your shopping list! I like to think of it as an opportunity to be one of Santa's elves, if Santa's elves drank on the job. Let Whimsy be your North Pole!

And though I hate to bribe you, my little elves, we have officially begun wearing our holiday hats during class. A lot of love went into their creation, and we look smashing wearing them, if I do say so myself. So, if for no other reason (though there are SO MANY), come for the hats.

Stay warm and festive, friends!

Shannon 'Jinglebell' Hodgson

Meet Our Art Mastermind, Lindsey! And also a little Thanks-Givin'...

 

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If you've ever been to Whimsy, you've probably had the pleasure of being taught by our lead art instructor, Lindsey. Not only does she teach the majority of our classes, she is also the creator of many of our most popular paintings!

Her special brand of dry humor and gentle, relaxed and simplified instruction have been enriching classes for nearly three years at Whimsy. What makes Lindsey so special is her patient, warm nature and humility related to her accomplishments. She is very matter of fact about her talent! Lindsey has mastered a fail-proof method for making sure that everyone leaves with a good ole' dose of pride in themselves. After all, at Whimsy, NO MAN gets left behind!  

She says, "My main goal when teaching is for every one to leave with something they like and encourage people to push from point A to B. It's cool to see people do something they didn't think they could do!"

So how did Whimsy's wonder-artist get her cape?

Many moons ago and armed with a degree in children's book illustration, she walked into Whimsy's former location in Erie and looked at the walls covered in our wonderful early paintings. She told Raye and Jess that, despite her lifelong paint-stroking skills, she had never painted a flower before!

No problem though, because the moment she showed Raye and Jess her impressive portfolio, she was hired on the spot! Since then she has been creating art for us that is impressive to look at while still very easy to create. It's not uncommon to walk into the studio during a weekday and see her simultaneously creating five brand new paintings that are all different from one another! And yes-she mastered painting those flowers.

The first class she ever taught was a little intimidating, and then she began to find her own special style of teaching.

"I started to get the feel for it, then I felt like I was throwing parties!"

She, along with all of our instructors, are the reason why Whimsy has continued to foster giggles and smiles among our guests for many years.

'Tis the season to be grateful, so we take this moment to say thank you to the creative minds who make/have made Whimsy possible each and everyday.

A special thank you also goes out to YOU for being the reason we do what we do each and every day. We are the luckiest people in the world!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! If you're out shopping at Orchard for your favorite people on Black Friday, stop in and visit your Whimsy family for some post-shopping wine and art-making, or a gift card! We have a special Black Friday offer JUST for you!

From our wacky family to yours, we wish you many pies, sleepy-turkeys and hugs from your loved ones this weekend!

Smiles-

Shannon

Art is Oh So Good for You!! Here's why....

 

It's no secret that we fill our studio with a lot of fun and laughter each day at Whimsy, but the benefits of getting a lil' messy with paint may surprise you.

For this week's post, I thought we might delve into the subject of creative expression as a therapeutic tool.

Let's talk about our old friend stress. You know, that meanie-pants that makes us lock our keys in the car while rushing into work late in the morning? In today's world, we are constantly trying to balance work expectations with the needs of our personal lives and dear ones WHILE being barraged by additional stressors, like that guy who just cut you off on I-25 or forgetting to reschedule an appointment. All of these daily factors take their toll, and they can happen so often that we begin to feel like it is normal to have a fight-or-flight response all of the time, like nervous little bunny rabbits.

So let's talk about how we can become CREATIVE and PEACEFUL bunny rabbits. Research in the American Journal of Public Health shows that the creative arts give us a feeling of overall "well-being by decreasing negative emotions and increasing positive ones".  

In a research study with 30 patients dealing with chronic conditions, the results showed a measured decrease in stress, anxiety, distress and negative emotions, but an increase in positive emotions.

While losing all of this icky stress, you can expect to gain spontaneity, sense of self, a boost in confidence, and-get this-a social network. And these researchers didn't even know about Whimsy when they wrote that!

 If making art helps build a social network, then that's perfect, because getting together with our friends and loved ones, giggling together and making great art is sort of our specialty at Whimsy!

So, my little bunnies, before the stress of the holiday season makes you go bananas, do me a favor. Call up your favorite friend to laugh with, make a date, and come paint with us. You will feel so much better. You might even get done holiday shopping early and go ice skating!

P.S. I have also heard that a splash of moscato is good for stress...and we happen to have that here, plus a whole bunch of other wonderful drinkies.

From our family to yours, have an excellent, stress-free week!

Smiles,

Shannon

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Brrr it's cold outside, warm up with a hot chocolate and painting day!

 

Brrr! In less than twenty four hours, flip flops are giving way to puffy jackets and moon boots (am I the only one who still owns moon boots?) As the flurries swirl by our colorful windows here at the studio, we take a moment to grab a cup of Chamba Chai and reminisce about the fun fall we've enjoyed at Whimsy so far.

In mid-October, we celebrated our joining the Broomfield Chamber of Commerce by hosting a ribbon cutting ceremony. Raye used her expert scissor-cutting mojo to really get at that ribbon and just cut the darn thang! It was a very special moment for your Whimsy team, and we were so grateful for the excellent turn out of supporters and chamber members.

The Saturday before Halloween, the Orchard Town Center hosted its annual Malloween event. It was a festive fashion-parade filled with many tiny Princess Elsas and a few (not quite) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Lindsey and Shannon had the absolute best time watching the little ones toddle up and ask for a goodie. Do you remember being little, and feeling like your costume was the most important outfit that you would ever wear?
 

The weather was beautiful, so we pushed the doors to the studio open, and Lindsey painted some spooky-cute pictures while Shannon passed out candy and did the Monster Mash. It was a spectacular time!

Perhaps the most special part of our fall thus far has been the number of wonderful causes for which we have hosted fundraisers for. We love hosting fundraisers, there is always an extra-special feeling in the air when everyone is painting for one special purpose. Do you know someone who needs to raise some funds towards an amazing cause? Call us, we want to help!

As the holiday season ramps up at Orchard, our calendar has begun to fill up FAST!!! Have you had an eye on one of our pieces of art? Sign up ASAP, we already have wait lists for several of our classes!

We are so excited for this warm and fuzzy time of year and have been adding classes to our calendar to keep up with the demand. We have many of our classics, some great new Lindsey art, and some festive, wintery pieces coming up this month and next.
(Psssst! You know that one person who has everything, and is so hard to gift? I can tell you what they DON'T have yet-a masterpiece made by YOU! Just think it over, okay?)

We hope that you stay warm and cozy on this especially chilly day! We wish you cinnamon rolls and a warm fire!

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A cute little story that will warm your heart!

 

A family of 7 women came in for open studio yesterday. They were so sweet & cute. They were all dressed up in black &/or tiger prints. The grandmother of the group used to paint supposedly extremely well. Unfortunately, she has dementia & isn't able to do things like she once could. She started crying & it took a bit for us all to calm her down. Then one of the ladies thought of the cute idea of everyone contributing to her painting & it turned out super cute!!! :-) It made the artist on duty tear up when the grandmother pulled her in close & said how great of a family she has.

It's stories like these that just warm our heart. We are so happy to have been a part of making this particular Grandmother's painting day a special event.

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cre·a·tiv·i·ty

 

 

Kay's Definition:
cre·a·tiv·i·ty
-An incarnation inspired by boundless imagination; an expression of deep subconscious emotion, drawn up from the pit of the artist's very being; a Translation:
through strokes, sculpts, exposures, sounds, words, stitches, shapes, colors, movements and any other tactile measure of feeling.

Yep, she about pretty much summed the "ceativity" definition up don't ya think.

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Whimsy Artist Spotlight: Rebecca

 
Painted at Whimsy: 17 times
Loves: (the…)  how excited I get when I know I am going to Whimsy, especially after work.  Just makes the whole day better.
Favorite painting event memory:  back in Erie when Raye and Terry were there with their doggie.  It just felt like home and They walked around showing us great tips. One that sticks in my mind is the help husband gave me on how to create the mist of water on the dragonfly and moon painting
Favorite painting so far:  Irredecense 
Tell us something interesting about you:  I love children and I enjoy getting to be the fun aunt with all the kids that come across my path.  Gardening is another love of mine, it is relaxing and very satisfying to watch things grow and bloom.
I love to paint because:  it is a wonderful world of self discovery.  I remember my first time to visit whimsy, I was so nervous.  I went by myself so I was conquering 2 fears at once.  Going alone and painting.  It helped me overcome some of my personal fears and build great friendships with the artists and a few regulars too.
I’d rather be:  living in San Diego in a little beach house that faces the ocean painting pretty pictures and growing beautiful flowers.
I love to listen to: (musical choice,band). Michael Buble pandora radio while I paint.
I’m a:  person that is never to old to learn new things. 
I recommend Whimsy to my friends because:  for all of the above answers.
Lil story, February 2013 I said to my husband I want to learn how to paint.  He jumped on the opportunity and told me he would by me a few classes for my birthday.  Even though my birthday was not until April he did not want me to lose my momentum and encouraged me to find a place to go.  I looked into many studios and when I found Whimsy it sounded perfect and it still is!  My husband is my biggest fan and loves decorating the house with my artwork.  He commissioned me last year to paint Irredecense on 2 - 24 x 36 canvas's.  I was petrified!  It took me 7 months to get the nerve to really try it.  I invested in another Irredecense class to remind me how to paint it, get tips from Raye on the kind of paint to use and encouragement from Lindsey and here are the results.  My husband is so proud!  Thank you Whimsy for the way you have brought joy into my life!
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Creating an ART full life

 

Creating an artful life doesn't mean that you have to have a paintbrush in your hand and create big giant colorful canvases to hang on your wall. That's just one idea of art. There is so much more to it than that. It's where the expression "Art is Everything" comes into play. It can be an inspiration, a feeling, a thing, a look. Everything is art. Even something as simple as a beautifully set table. There's freshly pressed linens, sparkling water glasses, a pitcher of mimosas sitting next to a vase filled with dainty flowers. It's visually appealing (art) but also emotionally appealing (art) it makes you feel a certain way. It doesn't always require a paintbrush.

Whoever set the table in the image below is an artist. Their canvas is a table. What is yours?

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Well that didn't help!

 

Well that didn't work. We sent Jess to Florida for a much needed vacation. She came back, packed up and MOVED there! Don't worry, you'll see Jess again, she works 
remotely on the computer and will fly in to teach occasionally!

We love you! ..... Mom


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