Know Me, Know My Art

I absolutely, positively love and enjoy the mixed media art I create. It has become a best friend, teacher, healer, listener, consoler, coach, guide, critic, sustainer and inquisitor. It is evolving, honest, authentic, curious, and all original. Every piece gifts me with escape, self-expression, peace, joy, tears and giggles in the creative process. The process is more intuitive and liberating as I continually explore, play and experiment with different textures, materials, themes and panel sizes. Every piece is tethered to my left hand, overextended right brain, highly sensitive heart and perfectionist soul until I loosen my grip to reach DONE for show, tell and sell.

Far be it from me to artistically suffer from FOLO (fear of losing out), FOMO (fear of missing out) , and one that I personally came up with: FONKU (fear of not keeping up.) But I can and I do. I want to be more successful with my art. I continually seek out those wiser and more experienced in art, social media, marketing and sales, and organizational techniques. I started investing more time and energy trying to learn and understand more platforms, implement and utilize them, all the while trying not to get too overwhelmed to do EVERYTHING at once. It is not possible with my schedule. I still value and need live, face to face social interaction and my full time job.

“Creativity always stirs up terror because creativity asks you to enter into realms of uncertain outcomes. And fear hates that more than anything. It ‘s just terror. It passes. It’s an appropriate way to feel.”

Elizabeth Gilbert, Author

One of the areas I wanted to improve and have been ever since I started this body of work was talking about my art when I am not doing a show. There are no props, just my business card which has some adjectives and a picture. When it comes to describing what it is, the inspiration, motivation behind it, I need brief and pithy.. ( Say WAH?!! Ya lost me!! ) At shows, I have the actual work to visually speak, support and connect on its own and am ready to jump start with eye contact and some conversation. I like to observe, give a person space to connect to the work, observe what they gravitate towards, and then engage in conversation and work toward selling.

I am a “moderately” private person (aka someone not of this generation who once cherished all privacy and appreciates boundaries.) I TOTALLY understand the need and requirement to become more open, personal, and engaging , which I enjoy live and in person, but online, I am a bit more reticent. Time to loosen the reigns on all platforms. Not only are individuals knowing and buying my work, they are also knowing and buying me, the artist.

On the cyber side, I am WAY out of my comfort level when it come to utilizing and keeping up with ALL the ever changing strategies, platforms, apps, techniques and technology to social media marketing. THIS is where most my FOLO, FOMO and FONKU comes. Art NXT Level has been an ASSET in this area. I am reminded to be patient with myself. However, in these constantly changing, very accelerated times, it is essential to adapt and be adept at keeping up, learn even more, engage more in person and on social media. I need to be relevant, find my audience and have them find me with increased exposure opportunities, It’s an entirely new algorithm and hashtag ballgame. I am definitely making time and working on this!!

“Enjoy the Process, Love the Process more than the numbers, likes and followers.” - Sergio Gomez, Artist, Curator, Creative Entrepreneur Art NXT Level.

Last September, I noticed other artists I know embracing a Chicago-based online coach tailored to the business of art and being an artist. They all had one thing in common: success stories. They were nailing it on social media, marketing, press with positive results. There is a wealth of shared how-to information and resources. I love having access to all this valuable insight and guidance at my disposal.

I wanted in and to be a member of this insightful, generous online art community. I signed up for Art NXT Level , masterfully, passionately, and brilliantly led by Sergio Gomez, a Chicago based Artist, Curator at Zhou B Art Center, Gallery Owner, and Creative Entrepreneur and his wife, Dr. Yanina Gomez, author and wellness coach..

I have no fear when it comes to balancing work, passions, interests and health. The challenge is integrating, making and taking time for each. I am comfortable with sacrificing some things and I do. I know how and have no problem saying NO, especially when it comes to my passions and health. Is there some JOLO!! - The Joy of Missing Out! involved.? Absolutely.

EXAMPLE: In March of this year, I traveled to Cambodia!!! to feed two of my passions : Asian culture and yoga. I have never been to Southeast Asia and this was the farthest I ever traveled to date I had two weeks (requested this off a year in advance to make sure I went) and decided to spend it in one country after researching various flight and visa configurations. Simplified this trip! I spent 1 week on a yoga retreat beautifully taught by Pierce Doerr and Rachel Sherron Matrejek in Kampot and the other in Siem Reap and Angkor Wat. I brought back statues that will be incorporated in my art and a rejuvenated, happy albeit VERY jet lagged soul!! I definitely want to see and do more travel in this part of the world.



If you would like to get to know me, and see more of my art, please click the links below. Contact me through my website, email me direct at

Fine more details on my website

SOUTHPORT ARTS FESTIVAL Saturday July 13 10-7 and Sunday July 14 10-7 Booth 173

GLENWOOD AVE ARTS FESTIVAL Saturday August 17 11-9 pm and Sunday July 18th 11-7pm

EDGEWATER ARTS FESTIVAL. Saturday September 29 11-7 and Sunday September 19 11-6

INSTAGRAM: Check it out!!!

PRESS: Voyage Chicago

I was approached last September by VoyageChicago wanting to know if I would like to be featured, interviewed and appear in their The Thought Provokers- Celebrating Artists and Creatives section. It went live in February 2019.


I am working through my obstacles, establishing new beginnings and acquiring more likes and followers! Getting a little support from Ganesh and Clear Buddha and Buddha with Citrine is much appreciated. They are for sale!!

Ganesh with Clear Quartz, Acrylic, Mixed Media, 6”x6”x1.5” cradled wood panel, © Marilyn Grad 2018

Ganesh with Clear Quartz, Acrylic, Mixed Media, 6”x6”x1.5” cradled wood panel, © Marilyn Grad 2018

“I am Calm. I am Peaceful”. Buddha with Citrine. Acrylic, mixed media on 4”x6”x.5” cradled wood panel © Marilyn Grad 2018

“I am Calm. I am Peaceful”. Buddha with Citrine. Acrylic, mixed media on 4”x6”x.5” cradled wood panel
© Marilyn Grad 2018

ALMOST Show Time

The Summer show season is about to begin for me and I am doing much in the way of preparation for it. Trying to keep stress at a productive level and not panic and freak is priority number 1.  I am excited to be introducing new works using new materials that I purchased at the Tucson Gem show in early February.  As of June, I have three shows scheduled: Southport Arts Festival, Glenwood Ave Arts Festival in Rogers Park, and Edgewater Arts Festival (pending.) 

With the shows I am doing or applied to, some decisions were mine, otherwise ALL were the jurors.  I was first on the wait list for Arts Fest Michigan Avenue and chose not to do it when it the opening became available. I did not get into the Lakeview East Arts Festival in September. It was my first time applying and I will try again next year. I tend to do or apply to only city shows....for now.

I made the decision this year to apply to less outdoor shows. Quantity of shows done does not always or necessarily translate into quality.  I am finding and learning to navigate my artistic place in shows. I don't fit everywhere.  With that said, I felt it better to review and reassess EVERYTHING that I have learned and experienced from the five years under the white tent.  Taking the time to focus on areas that need improvement, discern where best to invest my time and resources serves me best this year. I will visit more shows to consider for next year.


" Even Buddha Gets The Blues with Om Mani Padme Hum  9" x 12" cradled wood panel © Marilyn Grad 2018

"Even Buddha Gets The Blues with Om Mani Padme Hum 9" x 12" cradled wood panel © Marilyn Grad 2018

For example, one of the areas that needed improvement, and lessen the stress load, was my booth set up and display. So this year I purchased six new wire panels that give me more flexibility to display my art, and go well with what I already have.  I noticed some other artists using them at higher end shows and I liked them. I can always order more.  A better booth will also help me when I apply to more shows next year.

NEW! I am now offering smaller paintings that using Deities and crystals/gemstones at lower price points.

Acrylic, mixed media, crystals, gemstones, 4"x 6" cradled wood panels © Marilyn Grad 2018

Acrylic, mixed media, crystals, gemstones, 4"x 6" cradled wood panels © Marilyn Grad 2018



Saturday July 14 10am-7pm
Sunday July 15 10am-7pm
3704 N. Southport from Waveland to Grace
Booth 159 near the Mercury Theatre
Updates can be found on my website and Facebook as show nears

Please come by and visit!!




Take 5: From Draft to Publish

I am calling this Take 5, part homage to one of my absolute favorite jazz musicians, Dave Brubeck and his Take Five composition, and mostly as an admission that this is my fifth attempt to write, save and publish content that passes the muster in this space. There were four drafts from last year that were never completed. Ideas and thoughts changed, An overly sensitive, critical and who cares? mindset ensued from what I had written. So they ( me) sought comfort and refuge in draft and delete mode instead. So much for What's Up, What's Happening and What's New. 

I challenged myself artistically more than ever before in 2017.  I was ambitious, competitive, perseverant and very determined with my goals and intentions. I made my g&I  list, complete with deadlines, and most of them were met with gratifying results, The others on my list got attempted starts.  They were more marketing and technology related, and required more time for a learning curve and outside support, which I gratefully and most appreciatively found!!.  By Mid-July, I became acutely aware of a tug of war going on with my goal list: I created realistic vs. unrealistic goals and deadlines. There were unforeseen and extenuating situations that came up (ALWAYS) that shifted the priorities and deadlines.  With that being said, and it being 2018 and almost five months into this year, it is time to edit and finish this Take 5 post to the Publish line. 

Here are five highlighted items taken from the four prior drafts. For added reading and viewing enjoyment, AND appreciation for your patience, here is another Dave Brubeck favorite:   Blue Rondo a la Turk. Please return to post after clicking!!

1) I needed to find a new photographer for my art which set me back several months until II found the right one. Art can be hard to shoot, and I need quality for website and show applications. I eventually did with deep THANKS from an artist referral. It was/iS SO worth it:  Steve Greiner Photography.

"No Longer Disturbed by Distracting Influences" Buddha with Snowflake Obsidian © Marilyn Grad 2017 Photography by Steve Greiner Photography

"No Longer Disturbed by Distracting Influences" Buddha with Snowflake Obsidian © Marilyn Grad 2017 Photography by Steve Greiner Photography

2) I was cautiously optimistic in November when I opened an email from Switzerland through my website wanting to purchase 6 of my paintings. After much Googling and very detailed back and forth communication and coordination, I felt this was really legit. I had been duped before but that one was easy to detect and that it made to the trash seconds immediately after a few word reply to them.  I did my due diligence on this one. I googled and contacted the international shipper he provided to get the quote, which he signed off on. From the start, I confirmed and we agreed upfront that I was NOT paying for anything: all duties, taxes, custom etc were being taken care of by "Switzerland." I packed everything. All ready and just needed the credit card to get  this on its way. The piece de resistance. That was when my gut was telling me this isn't right. It was taking awhile to hear back so I emailed for an answer. I even asked if he still wanted this and I got a definite YES! Long story short, with further googling, more time lapsing, more emailing and getting blessed and grateful assistance from Propay, the credit card processing company I use, this was looking and smelling like a SCAM. We had each other's backs. Yep, it was a SCAM alright.   The only money I was out was $1.69 for packing tape. My paintings never left my apartment. I sold two of the ones domestically that would have gone to Switzerland. My ego took a hit and the money would have been really nice. It really could have been worse. Seriously, a 5 week lesson. 

What's Up and New for 2018

3) I went to the International Gem Show in Tucson for the first time this year. A dear and gracious friend that I grew up with in Cincinnati and lives in Tuscon had been telling me about this show for a couple years, persisted I come and this year I accepted.  It was also a wonderful reunion with two friends from high school! It lived up to everything!! I loved this show. I found and bought deities and buddhas in brass, bronze, different gemstones and miscellaneous other things. All new to use in my art. So excited!! Scroll down to the Super'shrooms painting to see a few of the Tucson treasures used in a recent mushroom themed exhibit I participated in in March at Infiniteus. 

4) I am almost done with Big Cartel on my website. Not ready to go live yet. Unrealistic goal. Taking longer as I am still figuring the best way  to quote and incorporate shipping costs and tweaking my policy. I will be using USPS for sure. I can always use FedEx too. My mail carrier has been so helpful as have everyone I have asked and researched how and who they use. An extra bonus, I wlll know how to ship internationally, when and if I decide to do so. Ahhhh, Switzerland.

5) 2018 Show Schedule is slowly coming together, some results still pending.  I applied to 5 shows this year in July-September:  Southport Arts Festival (IN),  and results pending for Glenwood Avenue Art Festival,  Lakeview East Arts Fest (Not accepted,) and Edgewater Arts Festival. I decided not to do the fifth. As soon I know everything, I will post on my website. Ahhhhh, patience.

I believe this is it. In less than Take 5 seconds to Save and Publish this post it will be LIVE AND FINISHED! An intended goal completed!  Until next time...




"Super 'shrooms: Rich in Spirit,   High in Values" Guan Yin, Ganesh, and Buddha with Jasper gemstone. © Marilyn Grad 2018

"Super 'shrooms: Rich in Spirit, High in Values" Guan Yin, Ganesh, and Buddha with Jasper gemstone. © Marilyn Grad 2018

Show Me Intentions, Confessions and New Art

What's Up

My intentions to write a bi-weekly to monthly newsletter/blog have fallen short. Right now, by all account, it has two months since I posted anything. I tried to write in May about my experience with my first show of the season being shut down early due to unsafe weather conditions. It started out honest and but the more I wrote I was getting more upset. I was sick afterwards. Lost my voice and felt funky. I was disappointed, actually more exhausted, and trying to articulate it with even the slightest coherency, was a challenge. Note to self :Why keep living this and holding on? Let it go I am the only one reading this. It would be June until I actually got it to where it was click and publish worthy. Instead, I deleted it entirely.

I am not a full time artist. As much as I would love to dream so,  I have a great 40/hr a week job in hospitality. My employer and coworkers are terrific., My schedule is perfect as it allows me to paint, do shows, and pay my bills.. I am not ashamed by any means. It is in my About Artist statement!!  I am happy, grateful and proud, it's just something I don't advertise on Facebook.  I work at Marilyn Grad Handpainted Mixed Media Creations. And I do work a lot at it.

See, if I were a full- time artist, in my mind, I would have more time to write bi-weekly/monthly in this space. I would not be 2 months behind my intentions. I would have the shopping cart on my website already.  It will get done, that I know.  I am happy with my lifestyle for the most part. I have a nice balance. I created it. I do what I can.  But, there is always a but, a learning curve, an excuse and a sacrifice.

I wanted to have a post for July before August. So this is it.  My What's New is really not that new to me. But August will be!! I still have a few weeks. .

What's Happening?

I have two July shows coming up in five days. Both in Chicago. This entry is actually posting in JULY and ahead of show schedule. YES!!! It can and will be done.

July 14: Friday Art Market on the Daley Plaza
50 W. Washington between N. Dearborn and N. Clark
Booth Location 107 near the fountain and N. Clark
Hours: 8:30am* - 6:00pm
* The show really starts at 8:00am but it takes me longer to set up my booth.

July 15-16:
Southport Art Festival
3700 N. Southport between Waveland & Byron Grace (Near Brown Line)
Booth Location: 159.5 near Mercury Theater (3745 N. Southport)
Saturday : 10am-7:00pm
Sunday: 10am-5:00

August 4: Friday Art Market on Daley Plaza - LAST ONE
August 19 & 20: Glenwood Ave. Art Festival in Rogers Park


What's New

I have been busy painting. I will have twelve new paintings making their debut for the July shows. Abstract, Natural Elements, Geisha, Deities, Whim(sical) and Buddha themes. They will soon be professionally photographed to have on my website. I photographed these myself.

So, I hope you will come visit me for the shows this weekend if you are in the Chicago area, check out my show schedule for more shows, and my website for new art shot professionally!! I will mention it in my next newsletter!





Natural Elements: Wood, Stone and Costa Rican Sand Rock, 2016/17 Acrylic, recycled stone tile on 8" x 6" cradled wood panel

Natural Elements: Wood, Stone and Costa Rican Sand Rock, 2016/17
Acrylic, recycled stone tile on 8" x 6" cradled wood panel

Whim(sical): Glam Girls: 2017 Acrylic on 10" x 8" cradled wood panel

Whim(sical): Glam Girls: 2017
Acrylic on 10" x 8" cradled wood panel

External Chaos, Internal Calm, 2017 Buddha with Blue Lace Agate, Acrylic, resin Buddha,  Costa Rican sand stone on 6" x 8" cradled wood panel  

External Chaos, Internal Calm, 2017
Buddha with Blue Lace Agate,
Acrylic, resin Buddha,  Costa Rican sand stone on 6" x 8" cradled wood panel

Deities: Ganesha with Citrine, 2017 Acyrlic, recycled Ganesha, glitter, on 8" x 8" cradled wood panel

Deities: Ganesha with Citrine, 2017
Acyrlic, recycled Ganesha, glitter, on 8" x 8" cradled wood panel

Introducing the What's Up Pop Up Newsletter

I mentioned in my first blog post, Me and, that I wasn't sure what to do with this space called Blog that came with my website. I am not obligated to use it. I can turn the space into anything.  I have a blog on Tumblr -  The Art of Creative Pursuits and Passions about the creative process and things that inspire me.  Mind you,  I haven't posted on it in over a year but I still like it. So I will keep it and show it more love and attention.  ( I can just hear a professional organizer that helps you purge stuff telling me to get rid of it but I'm not ready yet.)

This space is a fresh opportunity and the start of brand new day/endeavor for me. (You can groan. Photo is one of 8 pop-up sunrises I took in Costa Rica in Jan 2017 and wanted to apply it somehow in this context). 

I gave myself time to come up with some ideas until one hollered NEXT! There are definite voids in my "must have"  marketing and social media arsenal that need filling, attention or both. My website took first priority. Now that that is in good shape, I have decided on my NEXT and have the perfect space to do it!  Clue: You'll find it two paragraphs up.

Pop Ups are all over city streets and neighborhoods filling vacant spaces that need transforming. They are host to rotating artworks, kiosks, events, and other creative, inventive uses. And they are not limited to one theme or idea so there is flexibility to change and reconfigure when and if necessary. With this available pop up space on my website,  I am taking on the role of creative landlord to transform it into something fun, informative and inspiring. It's so close to my home, head and heart, just a matter of feet and inches so there is no commute. AND, the rent is already paid for the year so I don't have to worry about eviction.

So with some fanfare and much relief, this Blog space entitled What's Up,What's New,What's Happening, will be used as my newsletter. For now until I convert to MailChimp-maybe..I like that it is the same platform as my website. Shaves some time off the learning curve and I use the same URL to log in. I am becoming more comfortable and confident using this platform. All the more reason to use and promote it more.

I felt horrible when I recognized that the only time I truly reached out to connect to everyone was when I had a show coming up. This includes people I met and talked to at shows,  gave me their emails, purchased my art, and all the supportive friends, acquaintances, coworkers who continue to help and encourage me. The appearance of 'Sure, contact me only when you want to make a sale.  Erratic and inconsistent communication'  certainly makes it easier for them move on and for me to be forgotten. I want to be taken seriously. Absolutely, positively FAIR. I have learned and hope to change this. That is why this newsletter and this space in important to me and my definite NEXT!.

I am looking forward to connecting more with you, being less fair weathered, sharing more of what is going on with my art, what's up with me, interesting events, and yes, what's happening with shows I am doing.  You can always come to this Pop Up Newsletter to find out What's Up, What's New, What's Happening. My NEXT! holler plan: creating a Shopping Cart for my site. Can't wait to begin that learning curve.