Blessed…. and Beautiful Cleveland

          open door donations                                                                          Willoughby Hills Community Center Beautiful Cleveland 2016

In the past couple weeks I have been overwhelmed by the donations received for Help Save the Kids. I had the opportunity to put up some ornaments, magnets and note cards at a local coffee shop in Madison. For donations only -towards Help Save the Kids you could choose your choice of one or several items. The customers at the coffee shop were amazing….and Help Save the Kids will be blessed with just over $350…all from donations! What a community we have! Open Door Coffee Shop customers are wonderful! If you have the chance to stop in-do so! There is a wonderful atmosphere….not rushed and the staff is friendly! (Madison Ohio…in the village square!)

And…Beautiful Cleveland! I am honored to be part of this show. It is at the Willoughby Hills Community Gallery…..and up for over 2 months. Three wonderful photographers and me….! It’s an honor to be included….I can’t wait to see how the gallery will hang the pieces we bring in! See the photo above! The gallery is in the same building as the library so the building is open almost everyday! Wow!!!!!

As 2015 winds down, I have been blessed to show in some wonderful locations… Penitentiary Glen Nature Center, North Chagrin Nature Center, Creative Space Art & More in Avon, Valley Art Center in Chagrin Falls, the May Show at Lakeland Community College and several other locations….including the Cleveland Hopkins Airport for nearly 5 months! I am also currently in the University Hospital Geauga Medical Campus in Chardon Ohio….a hall of art…It is an honor to be here too, many people who are in the hospital-either staff or those seeking medical care will hopefully feel the peace and light of the painting I have chosen for them.

Did you know that I have note cards available? I have several different packs available…in nice brown craft boxes! Perfect for gift giving or for yourself. Each box has  8 cards-9 envelopes, (4 designs-2 each). There is “Strictly Cleveland”, “Sun/Moons” , “Trees”, and “Landscapes”. I also have a set called “Abstracts” , “Florals” and “Urban Scenes”. They are $15 per box plus Ohio Sales tax….and I can ship a box for $3…I will flatten it so it won’t get crushed… If interested contact me at .   They are also available at a few locations in the area! These are some of my favorite images!

                 pack strictly Cleveland  Sun Moon Pack  pack -trees landscape pack

I hope you have been inspired by the beauty we have been given daily. Each day I open my eyes, I see another wonder of God’s creation. Lately the sky has been gorgeous, the clouds, the sunrises, the sunsets….even the gray clouds are inspiring. I notice them more and more… I notice the nature that surrounds me more and more….and I am blessed to be able to see it…  Today while I was walking before my family arrived for Christmas brunch, I saw many bluebirds…wondering why they were still here in Ohio……amazed at their beauty….last night I was able to view the full moon! What a wonder we are given each day-each night. I am thankful for that I am looking with different eyes! What a gift we are given each day-although some days we may face fears, unknowns, and even trying times….we are also given a wonder to be thankful for.





What does “Sticky Rice” have to do with my art?

That’s a good question…. and I’ll try and explain it! “Sticky rice” is one of the crops that the students at Help Save the Kids recently harvested as part of their sustainable living projects. And they have harvested other crops as well. (If you read earlier posts they are also learning how to build and working on their own classroom as well as learning their traditional schoolwork.)

One of the main reasons Wall Expressions by Julie exists is to be able to send funds over to the school-each painting, print, note card sold, or faux  painting job completed helps me send a large portion of my profits to help with expenses. It might go towards food, medical expenses, school books, or clothing…maybe even buy a window for the school or seed for a crop, but each and every dollar I can send makes a difference! So you are also helping-and I appreciate that.

Below are some pictures. The rice is wrapped in banana leaves and then cooked in bamboo over a fire. I heard it was very good
hstk rice  hstk sticky rice   sticky rice in bamboo  hstk sticky

Where can you see my art in person?

I currently have a selection of prints, original paintings and note cards at the Holden Arboretum “Gifts from the Heart of Nature” show that continues thru January 3rd. This event is open to the public and there is a large selection of art and gift items to view and purchase!  And I have about 25 paintings hanging in the University Hospital’s Geauga Campus in Chardon-on Rt 44 between Rt 306 and Rt 87. These pieces are for sale as well and will be on the walls thru at least Mid-January.   I also have some note card packs and a few prints at Valley Art Center in Chagrin Falls.  And I have several pieces of art available for sale at Beach Club Grille in Concord/Painesville Ohio. (they have great food too!) If you are interested in seeing a painting and are in the area of where I am or where I travel to and fro I am more than happy to show you the piece in person.

As 2015 winds down I think back to just a couple years ago…when I began this journey. I am very thankful for the support I have been given, either by purchases, encouragement or a helping hand to set up or take down at shows and more.  I hope that my art inspires, encourages, lifts up and makes a difference in your life as well as the students at Help Save the Kids. I’m learning a lot and enjoying the process and continually looking for new ways to get the word out and my art seen.

when buying from an artist 2

For a Good Cause

I am listening to a book on CD called “It Ain’t Over Til It’s Over” by Marlo Thomas….She interviewed many women who started different careers or adventures after they were 40 years old! It’s an inspiring book to listen to! One of the women written about started to make jewelry and also donated a percentage of her profit to the YMCA and a non-profit that group that built bike and hiking trails. She was thrilled when her company made a profit-not only for her but because she could then give to a “good cause”.  I could relate to her story-to her dream-to her vision. My good cause is Help Save the Kids, an organization in Thailand that helps at risk children from the Burma/Thailand border. They teach them, feed them, clothe them and love them. They give them hope and a dream, they give them something they never even thought about-life beyond what they knew. The children are so grateful-it’s so wonderful to see the joy on their faces, to hear the “life” in their voices. I was able to talk to my daughter yesterday via Face Time and also spoke to several students. One was a young man of eleven, he is strong, he is one of the students that is helping to build the dormitory that they will live in. He is learning a skill-that will be useful for years to come. I asked him his favorite subject….English… and he spoke quite well!

Here are some photos that I’d like to share with you. The students harvested their first crop of sesame and tomorrow will harvest their first crop of mountain rice. Sticky rice will soon be ready!  Next season they will plant more. If any of you have gardened and experienced the joy and satisfaction of growing your own food you can understand how these young people feel when they will be able to harvest a crop that they do not have to give over to a landlord. They will harvest a crop that they actually will be able to eat! This brings me joy-to know that I have a part in this. help sesamehelphelp kelly


Another Season-More Art to Share

I love the fall! I’m expecting to be “wowed” once again by the colors my eyes will be gifted with. Yes, gifted….I appreciate so much that I can see-although I need corrective lenses (and pretty strong ones) to do that.  Why else do I use that word? Because I feel that since I’ve been painting, my eyes have been open to our Creator’s creativity and beauty in a new way.   This summer I took special notice of the sky-day and night …. Take a look for yourself and enjoy!

As previous blog posts have noted I have had the opportunity to be in several shows recently. I’ve had art accepted into the Mandel JCC Art Show, The Valley Art Center’s “Urban Culture” show, The Akron Art Prize, The Creative Space Art and More “It’s Cleveland” art show, and the Dorothy McNamara Maloney Memorial Art Show of Lake County.

And now it’s just a day before the next big show opens. I have many new pieces to share and a few that have been shown publically before. This show will be at the North Chagrin Nature Center in one of Cleveland’s Metroparks on the east side. I literally grew up going to this park and visiting the observation tower and walking around the duck pond. (It’s different now but still wonderful) I grew up checking out Squires Castle and hiking the trails and having picnics in the various picnic spots.  Cuyahoga County has a great metropark system and so do all of the other counties I have nearby me. (Lake, Geauga and Summit are some I’ve seen so far)

Here is the link for more information.

I’m thankful for this and all the other opportunities I have been given to show my art. It’s exciting to know that with each painting sold that I can help others. It’s exciting to see how the money is being used in the little remote village in Thailand on the border of Burma. It’s exciting to see the students learn new skills, it’s exciting to see the new classroom/dorm going up, and it is soul-lifting to me to know that I can help and that those who buy my art are helping also.

I am writing on a dreary day but sharing this news seems to brighten it.

Here are some pictures that show some of the progress.

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And here are a couple shots of the students when they went to another village to teach others.12019769_10153007471416607_917835133152370551_n12036927_10153007470686607_285093992376973525_n12027654_10153007471126607_691363149966137278_n

Goose Bumps…..and Art Receptions

Can you get goose bumps and be inspired or renewed at an opening for an art reception? Yes..certainly-if you see a piece of art that speaks to your soul-to your heart…!!! But as the artist being at the reception-do you expect to get goose bumps and feel that excitement while you are there? I don’t…I am usually not feeling comfortable at an opening of a reception-I am honored that my art is there and accepted by the judges-but I am out of my element… I am more comfortable alone-or at least not in a large group…. Tonight though I experienced the thrill of having a couple of one on one conversations about my art. I talked about why I paint…how the sale of my art helps so many children at Help Save the Kids….I talked about how I got started to paint on canvas… how it came about-accidentally…how things have progressed and doors have opened….I had goosebumps and felt that perhaps those that I was talking to felt my passion, felt my heart, for why I paint. People asked me questions, and although I might have told them more than they wanted to know-I still felt they genuinely heard why I was compelled to press through and work at my paintings…to push-to try…to enter…to face rejection-to gain acceptance….for my art to be seen-so that it has a chance to touch lives-not only for someone who sees it or buys it, but more importantly for the children who benefit from the sale of it.

Doors have opened for me-beyond what I could have imagined when I started on this journey a couple years ago…I have grown…my confidence has grown, my art skills have grown, my social interaction skills have grown and my fears have become smaller… And when I am afraid, or not sure that I really belong where I am-I remember why I started on this path…and why I am doing what I am doing—and knowing that my art has a purpose-makes it all so much easier.

I am grateful to everyone who has encouraged me, who has come to see the shows I’ve had art in, who has helped me along the way, who has purchased a note card-or a painting…who has just listened to my story. Thank you!

urban culture brochure urban culture artistMoonglow over city watermark

The yellow city painting is one of the paintings that I have in this show! Next up-Akron Art Prize…download the APP and get all the info!

Akron Art Prize App

Here is a picture of the dorm/classroom building going up at the school in Thailand-they are learning a trade…and a picture of the children harvesting their first rice crop-grown on the schools land-self sustainability…If you want to be a part of helping out these children….get in contact with me…and I can connect you!

hstk building roofing hstk rice 2

Summer has rushed past….

Summer days….Summer nights… have all gone by too fast…. Personally although I love all the seasons, I would like summer to go on for a bit longer… I love fall, but I feel I might not be ready for it!

I’ve been painting this summer but not as much as I had been and because I have a solo show coming up in October, I need to get with it! The sky this summer has been absolutely beautiful-from the early morning sunrises I see when I head out to exercise to the breathtaking sunsets in the evening. And the clouds…..oh the clouds have been inspiring to say the least… shall I paint them to look like they are real or shall I let them inspire me in another way, another style? I see the sky and I thank God for His creation-His beauty-His gift. Sometimes I think He is giving me that view just for me-so I can see His constantly changing creativity…and sometimes I think it’s for me just to share the beauty of the sky with my daughter who lives so far away…But although she is seeing something different, she still sees Our Creator’s beautiful works.

I’ll be in some upcoming shows soon… Akron Art Prize 2015 which will officially open Sept.5th  Hopefully this link will work for you and explain it all. There is a free app you can download called Akron Art Prize and although you can only vote if you are in the location of the artwork you’ll still be able to see the exhibits.

I have two paintings accepted into the “Urban Culture” show at Valley Art Center in Chagrin Falls Ohio…That opening is Sept 4th in the evening and it runs until October 14th. For more info you can look at

And I have a painting that will be at the Mandell JCC art show opening Sept 17t-November 30th.

In October the show will be at North Chagrin Nature Center in Willoughby Hills- Part of the Cleveland Metroparks park system. More information in another post when I have details.

ALL of this is exciting! And I am thankful for everything that is going on even though there are times when I find it overwhelming to be more social than is my nature. I know that God has opened up doors for me and I need to step in. How can I help if my art isn’t seen by others?  If you read my posts- or know me, you know that I send a large portion of the profit from each sale of art to Help Save the Kids where my daughter and son in law work. They help at risk children on the Thailand/Burma border.

A new piece I am working on…

new way flowers start

And here is one of the way clouds have inspired me.

clouds adrift

That’s all for now… back to work.




Busy Days….

The painting that got accepted at the May Show at Lakeland CC Gallery
The painting that got accepted at the May Show at Lakeland CC Gallery

Wow, the show at Penitentiary Glen in Kirtland closes on Sunday-and it’s been great! So many people came out to look and support not only the Lake Metropark system through a purchase but also helped me be able to donate a large chuck of my profit to Help Save the Kids. (

Not only does that show close on Sunday but so does the one at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in downtown Cleveland. I have 2 pieces there and that show was about water and the spiritual nature of it.  It was a great opportunity to be at this gallery and display the pieces. I also met and spoke to several people-including a woman I went to high school with.

Friday-the May Show at Lakeland Community College Gallery opens with a reception and awards. I entered this show and was pleasantly surprised to get one piece in called Spontaneity. I love this piece and it flowed so well-It is mostly painted with a hair comb!  I am actually quite new to these “juried” art shows and this is a big honor to be accepted.

And Saturday and Sunday mark the opening of the event at Elevate Gallery in Slavic Village in Cleveland. This gallery has accepted 4 pieces.

Additionally I have art at the Rabbit Run Arts Association show held in the Madison Library. I was excited to receive recognition for one of the pieces I entered!

Why do I share all this? Not to say that I’m in this show or that show…but I would love for you to come look at my art…or send others you know like to support local artist.  Not to say that I paint pieces just to get in shows-because that is the farthest from my mind…but to share with you that God is opening up doors to show my art-and I believe that opportunity will help me let others know about what I do and why. This in turn creates more opportunity for paintings to sell- which will allow me to send more money to Help Save the Kids to assist them in covering food costs, clothing, shelter, medical and educational needs.  I’ve helped with these children and this organization and I know that every little bit helps-no matter how small.

I’ve met so many people, and had many new opportunities! My days have been quite busy and I haven’t gotten to paint as much as I’d like soon….very soon I’ll be able to create more art. Looking forward to that and more.

The painting that the judges liked at Rabbit Run Fine Arts
The painting that the judges liked at Rabbit Run Fine Arts


Grateful and ……

pen pen Glen with Kelly 1 Pen Glen Julie Cook 3.21.15 pittenger

The Penitentiary Art show is in full swing. The link for more information is . The show is open from 9-5 daily until May 17th.

As I was thinking about writing another blog, the first word that popped into my mind was gratefulness. So, I looked up the definition and then I looked for a quote that might express some of what I am wanting to express here.

“At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” Albert Schweitzer

I am thrilled with the opportunity to do this show. This is my first “solo” show and there are 84 paintings on display in the gallery. There are many other prints for sale at the gift shop and some originals that are matted and sleeved for sale there also.

I am grateful for the great press coverage and the PR that the park system is giving me. I am thankful for each person who has attended and for the sales that I have had. I was able to write a check and mail it-this will assist Help Save the Kids to clothe, educate, feed and help in whatever way is needed most to over 60 children on the Thailand Burma border. Every little bit helps…and I know that there is a difference being made in these children’s lives.

There is a picture above that is of my daughter and me together in front of some of the paintings on display. She is here for 3 weeks from overseas -she works with Help Save the Kids. It is great to have her home -it’s been over a year and a half since I saw her last.  Skype, Facebook, email and chat are great but there is nothing that compares with one on one time with one of your children.

There are so many people who encouraged me in this endeavor, some didn’t even know they did this, some didn’t know my dream but gave me a word of encouragement, some people helped in other ways-by teaching me or coaching me in areas that I had never stepped into yet. Some helped me by showing my work, or sharing my work with others, some gave me opportunities that built my confidence….believed in what I was doing when I was questioning it.  I could go on…but I indeed know that I have been blessed by many people.  I know that I have been prayed for and lifted up as well. I appreciate it all.

I started all this to be able to help Help Save the Kids…. I found out that painting also helps me….it gives me a way to express my emotions, and what I see and feel from my experiences. I hope that my work gives a light to those who view it. I pray that I am able to rekindle someone else’s fire if theirs has gone out.

If you are local to NE Ohio, stop in to see the show. Let me know how you like it…what your favorite piece is and why.





Opportunities and Blessings

Penitentiary Glen Spring Show 2015The show at Penitentiary Glen is almost completely set up…. The rest is supposed to be a surprise for me! I am scheduled to be interviewed on Friday….withTV8 and the marketing department of the park system. For anyone who knows me this will be a challenge–and something I certainly couldn’t have done several years ago.  I used to mentally practice saying my name and something about myself when I had to introduce myself to a group of people.  (and I knew 75% of them!)  Anyway, I do believe this is an open door-an opportunity and a blessing beyond anything I could have dreamed of 2 years ago. I am grateful, I am blessed and I am thankful.  This week I learned all the effort it takes to put up an art show, how much thought and how much physical and mental energy.  I think that I also learned that sharing your heart doesn’t have to be as scary as it seems. So many people have helped me and have been supportive since I’ve been on this journey….family, friends and people I have just met.  I thank you all.

expressions of nature 3Be bold

As I think about the opportunities that have developed in my life lately, I can’t help but think of the opportunities and experiences the children in Thailand are getting by others sharing their time, love and yes, even financial help with them. Help Save the Kids is doing a great work with these young lives. They are educated, fed and given medical care if needed, they are taught new skills, they are taught that they are valuable and they can make a difference in their world. But most importantly they are shown in so many ways how much they are loved…  One exciting thing that is happening is that a building project for housing is underway on the property. And the children are learning skills on how to build. The children are also learning new ways to farm-new ways to be sustainable. This is exciting and they can take the knowledge back to their villages. One of the older boys is already studying medicine and wants to set up a village medical clinic to help others.

hstk schoolhstk gardenIMG_0476IMG_0491

In closing, it is my hearts desire that my art will make a difference-not only in those that view it, or those who buy it, but to those who benefit from the sale of it.  (Help Save the Kids)  I know that I am changed because of it-I see things differently, and I am growing.  One of the songs that has been running through my head is “Who Am I” by Casting Crowns. I’ll let you look up the lyrics and search it out on YouTube. If you listen to it-or read the words- may you realize you are also the “who am I”.  Be blessed…


Exciting Updates

Penitentiary Glen Spring Show 2015 pen glen flyerPeace in the woods 2

It’s been a while since I’ve posted on the blog. I’ve been busy painting, and setting up an inventory program so I can better keep track of my artwork and where it is-and if it’s on display somewhere or sold or in my basement! This program is also helping me with updating people on an email list and building a customer base.

Painting! Lets see…. Several of my art pieces have been accepted and are now hanging on the gallery walls at the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. They will be there till the end of July.  There was a jazz band playing in the airport for this event-and they were very good. The gallery in the airport is between concourse A and concourse B.  There is also art in the alcoves of the ticketing lobby level. Two of mine are near the end wall that is green and where the drinking fountain is.  This is so exciting for me-and a great honor to have some of my pieces selected for the show called “Inspirations”.

The painting of trees here was one that was accepted into a juried show at the Valley Art Center in Chagrin Falls. That too was an honor and an encouragement for me.

And shortly-starting March 21st and going until May 17th, I will be showing at Penitentiary Glen Lake Metropark -in the nature center’s gallery. I have delivered over 80 paintings that deal with nature and soon will be helping install the pieces for the show.  (see pictures above)

I’m very excited and also realize that I am more suited to be painting or working on a project than doing PR work in letting others know about the show and also getting this attention. But, in saying that-I am willing to be out of my comfort zone because I believe that God has opened these doors for me so that I may be able to show my work and have an avenue for the sale of the paintings. The sale of my paintings means that I can send money to Help Save the Kids, an organization that works with children on the Thailand Burma border that my daughter and son in law work with. I believe they are doing a good work and helping the kids learn skills and receive an education and opportunities that wouldn’t have been available to them. They are making a difference and in turn these children will be able to make a difference in their world.

So it’s been busy here during this long cold Ohio winter. I love all the seasons Ohio has to offer and I am so blessed to live in a location where I can appreciate the natural beauty around me! I am grateful that I have found a way to express the creativity God has given me-I pray that I indeed can make a difference in the children’s lives and in others as well. I know that painting has made a difference in me!