Healing Arts to Help Victims of School Shootings

To aid victims of school violence, Joy’s Garden healing art project encourages painting to promote processing trauma.

The Painting Lesson Virtual Studio is FREE, as well as the CreativSOUP Facebook Group. Healing art posters will be donated by artist Dorothy Fagan to victims. joysgarden.org for information

My heart is breaking for these kids at the school in Florida. Watching the violent attack on the news, rattled me to the core. I can’t get it off my mind. How many young people, 3,000 at that one school alone, were traumatized. We have a whole generation of young people growing up in a war zone.

Watching them, I felt my own traumas flooding back all over again. And it makes me keenly aware of just how much healing this generation of young people will need. How to even begin?

I received an email from a fellow artist this morning, Brainard Carey writes, “We face the reality of another school shooting in the US, the 18th, by expert accounts, in the calendar year. That’s a rate of over 2.5 per week so far in 2018. Atrocities against children. As we all struggle to deal with this latest disruption of our already fragile sense of security, art can offer a path to healing for so many.

“Art is a language through which that which cannot be spoken is portrayed. Art heals, it exposes, it decries and demands. Art disturbs and disrupts our comfort zones and requires that we re-calibrate how we encounter the world.

“As an artist, you are the voice box, so to speak, of a world that is full of indescribable cruelty. You bring beauty and truth, you offer an unedited look inside the mess that is humanity.

“The responsibility you carry is great. The burden is heavy. Do not leave the details that may be an obstacle to getting your message out to the world to chance. Find the path to optimum exposure and pursue it relentlessly.

“Absorb your community and let it absorb you, dive deep in the waters of those who share your spark and passion. Let them hold you up as you, in turn, hold them up. No one with a message so powerful that it compels them to follow a career path as precarious as this can possibly exist without a village. Find yours and hold tight.

“Make art that speaks loudly to your journey, your beliefs, your convictions, and to the way you want to see the world changed forever. Do not for one moment let anyone tell you that this is an impossible endeavor. Find a way. Insist.

“As we reel in the losses that will become more clear over the coming days, it is impossible to ignore how fleeting life itself really is. What are you waiting for? Do it today. Take charge and make your future one that you want to live. Make it count. Fall and fail but do not give up.

“Remember the words of George Bernard Shaw:

“A life spend making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”

“Do something. Your moment is now.”

Something clicked into place as I read his last words. Immediately I knew what to do with the paintings on my easel. Unlike anything I’ve painted before, this new series is colorful, whimsical, and joyful.

inspirational art as prayer poster
Falling Stars Wash Dreams Ashore

The titles are longer than ever before. Titles like, “Prayers Go Up, Stars Light the Sky”, and “Falling Stars Wash Dreams Ashore,” and “My Heart Rising Radiates Passion & Dreams.” And the posters and wall decals with those prayers and artwork that have been floating in my mind ~ suddenly have a destination and purpose.

inspirational wall decal poster
Wall Decal or Poster, Prayers Go Up, Stars Light the Sky

I am donating Free Virtual Studio here on The Painting Lesson to anyone who wishes to use it. The CreativSOUP Facebook Group is Free to participate as well.

In addition, I have set up Joy’s Garden on my art website and will donate a poster for every three sold to anyone you name. Learn more and participate in the Joy’s Garden Healing Arts Project.

If you prefer, you can donate to the project by sponsoring. 

CreativSOUP Treasures in Tuscany

A Few Spaces Left in the Tuscany Painting Holiday

See Tuscany’s Colors with an Artist

Step Off the Beaten Path
Explore Your Creativity with Dorothy Fagan

See Tuscany’s Unspoiled Landscapes, Stunning Vistas, Villages, Rocky Coastlines with an Artist’s Eye for Color

September 29 – October 7, 2018

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Stir Up Your CreativSOUP!

Taste the home grown wine, olive oil and prosciutto, Hike the trails, paint in the gardens. Swim in the enchanting emerald pool, paint the stunning vista of Monte Amiata.

Hang out at ‘home’ at the Sant’ Antonio Villa
Enjoy gracious indoor and outdoor living areas on this spectacular 2500 acre Restored 15th Century Estate.

September 29 ~ October 7, 2018
$1800 – $2800 / person

King Bedroom w/ Private Bath
$2800/1 person, Add spouse + $2400=$5200
Deposit $900

Twin  Bedroom w/ Private Bath
$2400/1 person, Add companion + $1800=$4200
Deposit $800

King Apartment w/ 2nd Twin Bedroom, Great Room, Kitchenette & Private Patio
$3200/1 person, Add spouse + $2400=$5600, Add 3rd person +1800=$7400
Deposit $1000

INCLUDED  Daily continental breakfast, Tuscan cooking lesson, optional daily art activities including demonstrations and lessons, and two festive dinner parties. Main house library with fireplace and wireless, TV, DVD, Apple TV and Sky, lounge, kitchen and dining areas, screened porches and decks, guest kitchen with fridge, microwave, snacks, and ice maker.  All rooms have private bath, efficient hot water system, washing machine, dryer, dishwasher,  microwave.

NOT INCLUDED  Transportation is not included. A car is recommended for getting around small villages. Fly to Florence or Rome. Rent a car at Hertz. Drive 1.5 – 2.5 hours. Or take high speed train to Grosetto, rent car and drive 30 minutes.



To Reserve Your Room
Make Deposit Now
or Call Dorothy 804-366-0990

Select Room & Make Deposit

When you make your deposit, an invoice will be emailed to you showing DEPOSIT RECEIVED. You will also receive Dorothy’s personal welcome and information about preparing for your retreat, including how to add a second person to your room.

100% Refund before January 31, 2018, 50% Refund before March 30, 2018. No refunds are available after March 30, 2018.

Questions? Call txt or email Dorothy 804-366-0990

My Pond, Really!

art cottage retreat
The view from my studio looks out on a woodland pond. I’ve lived here for 18 years, yet just recently begun to paint and interpret the pond.

I used to worry about jumping from one thing to another. Being stretched too thin? Not enough time? I’ve finally just accepted that this is my pond, really!

This issue has followed me for decades. It was not until last year when I returned from Italy that I painted this abstract landscape of the pond outside my studio that things began to change.

Returning from a second retreat in Italy this year, ripples from across the pond lapped at my door.

abstract pond painting
My Pond, Really! Original oil painting on canvas, painted with palette knife, 30″ x 40″

My Pond, Really!

Throughout the year,  I’d been letting myself enjoy a little fiber art, making jackets and scarves from my paintings. I’d resisted thoughts of this for years. I thought it would keep me from doing my serious painting, get me bogged down in sewing projects, things I didn’t have time to do.  So I started very slowly.

I made one thing.  In a while I made something else. Bit by bit, I collected a rack of wearable art in my studio. Friends occasionally stopped by and bought a scarf.  Before I left for Italy last summer, I designed a kimono based on the painting of my pond.

Stir up your creativity, vitality, heart, & mind>

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Studio by the Pond

This Sunday a couple rang my doorbell. I wasn’t expecting anyone. I slid my shoes on and invited them in.

In the studio I showed them paintings, the progressions of subjects and styles. Watercolors from my journals in Tuscany to oil paintings, plein air and studio pieces I’d painted returning home.

We chatted about healing art, how my retreats in France and Italy had inspired me to write and share my art in new ways. I told Jeanette how delighted I felt to meet her, that I understand the Creator attracts kindred souls. I listened as she told me about herself, her dreams of retiring soon.

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When they asked about my hand painted jackets, I pointed to the oil painting on top of the armoire and lifted the kimono off the rack. Explaining how I printed the painting on challis and painted back into it with shimmering fabric paints, then designed the pattern and sewed the jacket ~ I handed it to Jeanette to try on.

dorothy fagan studio
Jeanette and me in the studio ~ Jeanette is wearing the kimono inspired by the painting, “my Pond, Really!” that is displayed on top of the armoire. I am wearing a hand knitted jacket I designed from remnant wools in my stash. No, we didn’t know each other was going to dress in black!




My Pond, Really!

As I saw the colors of the jacket radiating from Jeanette’s hair and face ~ my mind flashed to the moment Sara Tassi adjusted her designer  jacket on my shoulders in her shop Maison 39 in Figline.  She and my friend Antonella insisted I try on a jacket I never would have selected for myself.

Putting it on, suddenly I felt radiant. Flashing forward again, my hands preened and smoothed Jeanette, as Sara and Antonella had done for me.

Italian fashion designer
Sara Tassi, fashion designer and owner of Maison 39 in Figline, Italy and me!

When Jeanette and Brian left the studio, I knew I had changed. I felt different, as though I’d stepped through a magical doorway. Simply expressing the obvious ~ how beautiful her colors looked to me ~ transformed me. And then I received her email.

“Thank you again for yesterday! It was an extraordinary experience that I will treasure ~ like taking a peek into the future,” I could have written her words myself.

She went home wearing her dream of doing kayaking retreats when she retires in June ~ and left me standing at the door in my own pond, really!


To think I questioned the Creator’s urge with my concerns! When all along it was never about time and space at all. If I had not accepted Antonella’s invitation to meet Sara ~ and allowed myself to purchase the jacket she designed … Well

Ripples across the pond . . . we’re all in this pond together!

What are you concerned about doing ~ if only you had the time?

Use the comments to share your story. What would you do if you had time?  Is there someone you know who would be inspired by this story? Don’t be stingy ~ share your thoughts with them!

Stir up your creativity, vitality, heart, & mind>

Wearable Fiber ARt
Wearable Fiber Art Kimono hangs on the wall when she’s not wearing it!

Come by the studio to try one on!