Tag Archives: people art

Don’t Keep Your Pain A Secret

Don’t keep your pain a secret. From what I have learned by listening to others, it is better to get your pain out into the open. Since Saturday I have received many private messages and emails from women telling me about their miscarriages. Most of them have never told anyone, beyond their closest friends and family members, about their experience. They keep their pain a secret and suffer silently. Many of these women said they wished they had told people about what had happened to them. They said it was difficult to hide their sadness.

Don't Keep Your Pain A Secret
Mixed Media by Lillian Connelly 24×20

I created this painting using acrylic paint, sharpie markers, found papers, and a slice from a book. I didn’t have a plan when I started. I just added some paint and sprayed it with water so it streaked and ran. Once that dried I decided to paint a face. Then I went looking for papers.

I found this book “Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff For Teens” in a thrift store. It was damaged and in the “free” bin so I picked it up. It has much better advice than the regular “Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff” series. It’s got practical suggestions for real situations and offers some helpful coping tools too. If the book hadn’t been so damaged I probably would have slid it onto the bookshelf in the hopes that Tiny-Small discovered it one day.

Don't Keep Your Pain A Secret.
The book page.

Instead, it’s been feeding my mixed media ideas and often when I flip through the pages I find the perfect words to accompany one of my pieces. That’s what happened last night: Don’t keep your pain a secret. I couldn’t have bumped into a better sentence if I tried.

Don't Keep Your Pain A Secret.
Close up.

Of course, some things are not really “small stuff” and even the small stuff can feel really big at times. I do know talking about it with caring people is really helpful. If you are in pain for any reason right now, don’t keep it a secret. Find someone to share it with and let go of pretending everything is fine. Pretending not to be sad is too big a burden to bear.

Grief and loss are nothing to be ashamed over. It’s part of life. Pretending otherwise just causes more pain and secrets often do too. If you can’t talk to someone, write. If you can’t write, paint.

Tell your story in whatever language you can. It helps. I promise.


Girl With Cat Collage Painting

Girl With Cat Collage Painting by Lillian Connelly from itsadomelife.com
Girl With Cat Collage Painting

I started this girl with cat collage painting by gluing down some paper. I had no idea what would come next, but it turned into quite a cute little painting. It reminds me of being a girl, well, it actually reminds me of my whole life. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have a cat. Funny this theme should turn up in my art work now. Kind of a nice surprise! Especially since Tiny-Small is all gaga over cats lately.

First I painted a face and then I drew in the cat looking at the face. It seemed to make sense. You have no idea how many times I have stared out the window with my cat. We are like two old ladies spying on the neighbors over here. That’s not even counting all of the times I stared out the window with our family cats when I was a child. It’s practically a profession of mine with all of the experience I have doing it. Too bad it doesn’t pay very well, right? Anyway, what I mean is, I feel like this girl and this cat are staring out of a bedroom window. What are they watching? Probably some birds, maybe a neighbor mowing the lawn, maybe some kids playing baseball in the street….

When Tiny-Small was little she would stare out the window with our dog. Apparently this gift for staring runs in the family. I seem to have passed on my fondness for animals and spectacular backyard views to my innocent, unsuspecting offspring.

Tiny-Small and Rosie waving bye to daddy.
Tiny-Small and Rosie waving bye to daddy.

She still looks out the window with our dog, even though she is practically grown up now at the ripe old age of three. There is something about sharing that moment with an animal that is kind of strange, but great. I mean, it’s like sharing a perspective for a moment. Or admiring how amazing the world is outside with someone or some beast that truly gets it.


Tiny-Small and Rosie in the window a year later.
Checking out the scenery.

When I am looking out the window with my cat, she always turns to look at me. Just like the cat in my painting. I can almost hear her saying, “Did you see that delicious bird fly by?” Indoor cats are always sort of dreaming about what it would be like to roam free, at least that’s what I imagine they are dreaming about. Then again, maybe that is what we are all dreaming about from time to time.

I know there are days I would much rather be outside bird watching or rolling in the grass or just running with the sun shining instead of inside doing laundry and typing on a computer. Even at this moment I keep stopping to look out of the nearest window for a moment. The wind is blowing my flowers around and the shadows are changing as the sun slowly makes its move across the sky. It seems a shame to be inside working on a beautiful day like this, and yet here I am.

I am sure my cat really just wants me to open the window and let her jump out. I can’t really blame her, but for safety reasons and life obligations, we’ll both have to settle for looking out the window for now. Sometimes being a grown up kind of stinks. I guess it stinks to be an indoor cat sometimes too. I hope it doesn’t stink for these two souls trapped inside my mixed media collage painting. At least they have each other, right?

Do you ever find yourself side by side with your pet staring out of the window and wishing you could just run outside and play?




Faces and Words in Mixed Media Art Paintings

Faces and words in the making for mixed media art paintings..
Faces and words in the making!

Faces and words, faces and words, faces and words…I am collecting them for my mixed media art. I keep stashing quotes on pinterest (want to follow my extensive collection of boards and pins? Click here) and painting little watercolor, acrylic paint, sharpie marker, and colored pencil faces. Wow, that was a mouthful. I forgot to add Sharpie paint pens, which are a new and pretty awesome addition to my art supply collection.

Faces and words in my attempt to emulate a Kelly Rae Roberts painting.
My attempt to use faces and words like Kelly Rae Roberts ( this is a mixed media work in progress – it needs some pizzazz!).

I’ve been really inspired lately by artist Kelly Rae Roberts and her beautiful paintings of women and words. Her work is so dreamy and inspirational. Her color palette is creamy and soft. It’s truly lovely. I wanted to try to emulate her so I got out some of my fancy papers and got to work. The thing is, my colors and lines have a harder edge. I think there is an uncomfortableness about my faces. My faces are not really dreamy, they are more intense and in some instances a little creepy. I can’t quite pull off that buttery effect I admire so much about Kelly Rae Robert’s work. Still, it’s fun to experiment with. I think I am on my way to developing my own faces and words style. One thing I particularly like about the paintings Kelly Rae Robert’s makes is her people often don’t have arms or hands. I find that liberating since I struggle so much with making those body parts look natural. When I started to notice the arms and hands were absent I realized I could do that too. Also, no feet or toes to deal with. What a relief!

My face painting in cool colors.
She needs a little warmth, doesn’t she?

I’ve been making faces nonstop since I bought one of artist Jane Davenport’s books. She taught me the art of drawing whimsical faces. Her faces are much warmer than mine and probably have more whimsy, but it’s been a terrific learning experience and also fun to do. When I look at Jane Davenport’s people I see movement and expressions that I have not yet mastered. She is very talented at skin tones and blending too! I am working on making my faces more three dimensional. They still look a little flat. I need to add more paint.

I will practice more with these faces. I haven’t been blending enough. The colors I use are too cool and too sharp. I think that’s why my faces are sort of alarming at times. I mean, when I walk into the room and sort of feel someone watching me, I usually turn around and find myself eye-to-eye with this pale-eyed lady. She makes me shudder, especially when I am alone and it’s late at night.


Art face painting staring at me.
She is always staring at me with those piercing eyes.

Hopefully as my skills develop I’ll be able to make faces that blend well and have more warm tones. I need to work on the piercing stares too, but for now they will have to do. I think unsettling and weird has its place in this stage of my faces and words creations. One day I will probably link back to this post and be surprised at how much my skills have developed over time.

Mixed media Face painting with leaves.
Fall Is For New Beginnings (another mixed media work in progress).



P.S. My friend Alex wrote about the mural I made her daughter on her blog today. Visit it and read her funny story about her kids and the painting. She’s also got some links to other good posts around the web you might like to read: More Popular Than Interactive Artwork.

Princess art mural