Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Let's Get Real--- Depression Sucks

There's no sense in trying to sugarcoat this, so I'll just be out with it.
Hannah and I have an issue with depression.

I have grappled with depression as far back as I can remember, even as a young child. It was/is a family of origin problem.
It has kept me from important decisions, from direction in life, from being the kind of mother that I always meant to be. It has often destroyed my quality of life, and I'm sure made those close to me miserable.

I have tried a variety of medications since early adulthood.
I've never liked the disconnected fog I felt (or the weight gain!), and nowadays I avoid most medications and look for more natural alternatives. I really did not want to put my kid on medication.

My whole business model is based on the notion that creativity heals....body, mind and spirit. Art Saves.
No doubt that's why I'm still here.

Imagine my realizing my child not only LOOKS identical to me; 
she struggles with the same issues... 
the feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, the often inescapable darkness.
Now imagine the feeling that I couldn't help her with her struggle.
Nothing I'd done for myself, or for other people in my work was helping her.

I was watching her sink deeper and deeper, the stresses of her senior year adding more pain. 
It was so difficult watching her, not enjoying those once in a lifetime moments of her last year of high school.

Earlier this year, she sank low enough to become suicidal.
I had to act, and fast.

Fortunately we were able to find a therapist that she truly respects and even enjoys.
Her closest friends, and a kind teacher who goes far above and beyond, have been loving and supportive.

That therapist gently suggested a trial of medication. I relented, wanting so desperately to see my child better.
I can honestly say that I've (and I think I can say WE've) been pleasantly surprised, especially after finding the right dose for her.
It is so wonderful to have my child back! I am loving seeing her participate in life now!

A few months back, still in the throes of that darkness, we made an amazing discovery.
Well....not amazing to me, because.....ART SAVES, after all, and creativity heals, right? It's what I preach!

I had been "doodling" for a while, finding that it helps to calm my brain and focus better, taking my mind off what's going on in my life, and in the world.
I understand that many create mandalas for the same reason, as a meditation even. I never enjoyed mandalas, because symmetry is just not my thing and I would just become frustrated.
I found though, that when I let go and just DO IT, I can create quite lovely designs. Not perfect designs, but lovely all the same.

One day I doodled a huge black/white border on a poster-sized piece of foamboard, intending it for use as a vision board.
When Hannah saw it, she insisted I allow her to color it in with markers.
I couldn't say no.

It obviously brought her a great deal of pleasure.
Well, of course I couldn't use it as a background now, could I?
She demanded that I fill in the center with more and allow her to color it as well. 

Again, I saw some joy in her... some focus (other than television), some sense of purpose.
our original poster, flaws and all
 She begged for more designs. I obliged. I bought her better markers.
Soon I was designing every day, and she was coloring the designs as fast as I could finish them.
I can't even keep up with her insatiable desire to color!
 She says she loves that this is something we do together, something for just the two of us.
In fact, it's so meaningful to her, she's decided she wants one of her favorite mandalas tattooed on her body!
It has been so delightful watching her not only coming back to the land of the living, but blossoming.

Naturally I have scanned all the black and white designs before allowing her to color them in, and I've scanned all of the finished products.
We now call our designs Zen Rainbow, because all this outrageous color has brought us such peace.

Very soon, we will make a big announcement, because we want to give back.
 But for now, I will be scheduling some Zen Rainbow "color therapy" time at the studio.
Anyone is welcome to come and color with me, but there will be a special rate for mother/daughter pairs.
Stay tuned here for our exciting announcement!


Monday, February 16, 2015

Honest. Raw. In Other Words, REAL. And Unapologetic.

I thought I was ready when I began The Chrysalis Project.

Little did I know that there was more of a process for me, that it had so much more to teach me before I'd be prepared to share it with the world. 

With all the social media hype bringing more awareness to "real women" (oh I'll come back to that one momentarily for sure), my mind kept calling to me "come on Jenny, it's time! The world is ready; jump on the bandwagon!"

Something in me kept saying no....most likely my ol' pal FEAR.
"Things have changed", I'd say to myself. "I'm single now. My body has changed over the last few years. My old life has burned down to the ground. How do I explain that I wasn't ready? That I was afraid?"

For the last few days, my Spirit has been nudging me to do this... you know that racing heartbeat and quivering gut response.... The nudging has become more of a push, and the quiver has made me nauseated. This has become a or die. Now's the time.

Briefly, I wanted to do something significant for my 50th birthday. 

At first I thought I'd do something wild and crazy like have my friends paint my body a la Chris Zydel. 

That's when I began to realize the issues I had with my own body.

I needed something more intimate. I needed to get to know my own body and recognize its beauty.

Since I was a child, I'd been shamed and told I was fat and unattractive. A few years ago, I discovered some photos of myself from my teen and young adult years. I was shocked to see that I wasn't just NOT fat, but I was pretty as well!
During my Chrysalis shoot, rage came up for me, along with tears, when I realized how much had been stolen from me in my earlier years. 

It was difficult to look at my photos alone, without anyone there to do any coaching, but as I sorted through them, I slowly began realizing that I was beautiful just the way I was--- overweight, body altered by bearing and nursing 5 babies and ravaged by years of chronic illness. 

Let me tell you something--- 
We are ALL beautiful.
There is no such thing as "normal". The term "real women" sticks in my craw a bit as well. All of us are REAL women, Ladies. ALL of us.
Perhaps what is meant by "real" is HONEST. 
RAW even.
In my photos, you will find an honesty and a raw-ness that you may find uncomfortable. You might even be offended. That's ok. That's your issue.

A lot has changed since this photo shoot at 50.
Am I comfortable in my own skin?
I can't say that I am completely....yet....
Certainly more so than I was before this process. 
And even more so now at 53.
This shoot changed the way I viewed myself completely. 
I'm ok.

And yet, this still requires an enormous amount of courage, sharing my photos with the world.
My desire to help other women see their beauty has grown larger than my fear. 

For more information on what the Chrysalis Project entails, and how it came about, please visit my Chrysalis page.


Friday, May 16, 2014

Open Studio with Moon Mama, May 22

Painting for Thursday, May 22 Open Studio

Come one, come all!
No wait.... I have a smallish studio.....

I'd like to invite all those who want to experience a taste of studio life at Over the Moon Creative Possibilities to come up and create this beautiful painting with me.
This time, Open Studio will be Thursday, May 22 at 6:30 pm.
(The following week, I'll be open on Tuesday, May 27, and subsequent Tuesday evenings. Painting for the week will be posted here)

The cost is $30 per person, and includes all supplies, with a limit of 10 painters.
Please let me know by Wednesday May 21 at noon so I can hold your canvas and set up the studio in advance.

And YES, for those who've asked, I am available to travel and paint with your group!


Monday, February 17, 2014

Monday, February 3, 2014

After All This Time.....

I've finally done it!

I've FINALLY created a blog just for listing my art.
I know, right? 
Why am I just getting around to this?

I'm still working on it, fine tuning it, but I just can't wait to share it with you
so without further ado -----

(The Art of Jennifer Schildknecht)

Do come and visit  :D

Saturday, November 16, 2013

A New Adventure

Here's to a brand new adventure with my ever-creative, ever-Fearless Sisters in Paint!
Look what we've just created... an oracle deck like no other, filled with the power and inspiration of this amazing group of women!

They're being printed as we speak, and will be here in time for holiday gift-giving.
Order yours now by contacting me at

See more of our artwork included in this deck below---

Monday, June 4, 2012

NOW SHOWING---Art Journal Inspirations!

Where in the World is Moon Mama??

As many of you know, I have been doing some traveling of late.
I've visited Tim's family in Cardston, Alberta, Canada, and more of them in Utah. I've been home for a couple of weeks, but have been laying low.
Except for some photos posted on my Facebook page, I haven't even had the time to talk about my trip!

So I have a little confession to make....
Well actually I have a pretty big confession.
Been a wee bit busy! Too busy to blog.
My dear friend Durin and I have been working on a super secret project together for a while, and now we're ready to share it with the world.

Funny story about how Durin and I met---
Durin is a designer for one of the biggest digital art companies in the US, and I was a big fan of her work.
We became Facebook friends, and after a while I noticed that she and I had several mutual friends who lived nearby. Finally I had to ask just where this chick lived, and how she knew my friends. Turns out we went to the same high school (she a few years behind me), and she lived less than 10 miles from my home (in fact, she lives in a home that I'd considered renting 25 years ago!)! Talk about a small world!
We chatted more online, and eventually she came to visit me in my Athens studio. We became true friends from the very first, and eventually decided we should join forces, artfully speaking, and take both the art world and the digital art world by storm.

Durin is an amazing digital designer--you can scope out her and her work here
Artist friends---before you go rolling your eyes, hear me out!
We are not talking about "CUTE" here. We are talking about ART!
Durin is a very artistically-inclined digital designer. I am a....what am I? Is there a name for what I do?
Some say mixed-media. I tend to claim the title of "multi-media" artist, as I'm into a little bit of everything.
Through her visits to my studio, and observing my artwork and play, especially my art journaling, Durin realized that we could combine our work and offer the resulting products to a wide variety of artists.

We knew that there had to be so many artists out there who could use our products, for so many reasons.
We know how many there are who are dying to try their hands at art journaling but are terrified of the blank page, or they're not sure they'll do it "properly" (have you SEEN my art journals?? No such thing as "proper"). Then there are seasoned artists who are pressed for time and would love to be able to sometimes just jump right in without having to do a lot of page preparation.
Then there are those clever and creative souls who could take a look at this stuff and design all manner of projects!
We are so very excited to finally offer our work to all of you artsy folk (and to see what you do with it!)!

Here's how our first products are described in the online store---

"For the advanced art journal artist with little time, or those beginning to express themselves with art journaling, this set of pre-designed art journaling papers and journaling prompts offer a convenient and inexpensive method to explore this popular art form. The pre-designed papers can be used as backgrounds on which to base your art journaling, or as collage pieces or even as digital scrapbooking backgrounds. Perfect for digital scrapbooking and digital art applications, art journals, mixed media, altered art projects, and paper crafting projects." 

At the moment we have 3 themed e-books to choose from (with many more to follow!)
These are the covers; each has 25 digital papers and 2 pages of journaling prompts---

Have a look-see and tell me what you think, here or on my Facebook page!
Right away, I'll have some sample layouts posted that Durin and I have put together.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

29 Faces, The Rest of May

I made it!
I managed 29 faces, in one form or another, even with over 2 weeks of travel!
Granted, some of my faces are....well....different, but I'm grateful for the practice. 
And I'm thinking I should continue drawing faces regularly. I'd forgotten just how much I enjoy it!