Art and Serendipity

My word of the year is serendipity,

the act of finding something valuable or delightful when you are not looking for it.

So joyous is this word in both sound and deed, that I may choose it again for next year.

2014 is also turning into my year of art. In January I won (yes, won!) this gorgeous Butterfly Sprite. The mixed media piece, created by the generous and talented Pauline of The Contented Crafter.ย  I smile at this carefree sprite every day, and every day she smiles back. Butterfly Sprite lives among soothing greens and flowers and texture that lifts my spirit. Art does that.

butterfly sprite

Butterfly Sprite by artist Pauline King

Also in January, I took a mixed media art class at A Work of Heart in Willow Glen and dabbled in my own little art project. I thought about Pauline the whole time.

Remarkably, I won another beautiful piece of art, a Bavarian textile knee blanket lovingly crafted by Dani of Teddy and Tottie. I guess this sort of thing happens when you choose a word like Serendipity.

Bavarian Knee Rug by Dani

Bavarian Knee Rug by Dani

I discovered another blogger via Dani and Pauline, and because you can’t make this stuff up, Fran blogs at The Road to Serendipity.

Last week my friend Whitney shared an album of photos for her upcoming art show in Gilroy, California. Whitney is a creative arts graduate of San Jose State. We met on Facebook via mutual friends. As I virtually thumbed my way through her online album, this sunflower rainbow stopped me in my lurking tracks. The piece celebrates three of my loves: old windows, brilliant colors and sunflowers. Seren-dipity-do-da!!!

whitney with painting

Artist Whitney Pintello

I asked if it was still available, she said yes, and now it’s hanging in one of my garden seating areas.

Sunflower room

We like to sit here in the evening to escape the heat

sunflower window front and back

Window painting, front and back

Whitney creates and sells vintage window paintings at a couple of local festivals each year. From her website:

Painting old windows is Whitney’s favorite medium, and came from exploring how to reuse old architectural elements. The process involves reverse painting: starting with the details of the painting first, then the subject, then the background, all on the back of the glass. Patrons like the casual, rustic quality the paintings have and the “found art” reuse of the vintage windows.

Who knew there was magic in a carefully chosen word?

38 thoughts on “Art and Serendipity

  1. I love that old window all painted up – it is a stunning piece of art and what a great idea to recycle old windows in this way! It makes me so happy that you still love your butterfly sprite and that you have Dani’s beautiful rug – though I imagine it is much too warm to be using at the moment – and then there is Fran fitting into the whole thing like a hand in a tailor made glove! Serendipity indeed! All you need now is a Stevie-boy spoon!

    I wonder what you will win next!

    You need to keep working on your mixed medias too – you obviously have a talent! Are you planning on more classes?


    • I think it’s a great idea, too. It’s a wonderful ‘canvas’ for her art. One could write a short story about he house or building the window came from. Wouldn’t that be fun?

      I love my butterfly sprite. I love my Orlando card, too, which keeps me company on my board near my desk. How is my sweet fellow?

      Thank you for that incredibly sweet compliment on my mixed media. I should try to take another class in the fall. It’s a great way to explore without having to invest in all the materials. It was so much fun. I really appreciate your encouragement.


      • It would be fun! I am so glad you like your art pieces ๐Ÿ™‚

        Dear Orlando has turned into a bit of a tease – and poor dim and dreadfully enthusiastic puppy falls for it every time. Orlando is doing okay ๐Ÿ™‚

        I agree about the classes – one could spend a fortune …. and it is so great to learn the techniques and bounce ideas around with other people too. Classes are the way to go!


        • Orlando, you are a naughty kitty…but I’m grinning anyway since mum describes your four-footed roommate as ‘dim’. Ouch!

          Please do consider a little peace offering now and again. We know you’re the boss, but little fluffy cutey pup is just trying to be friends.


  2. Lovey word, Serendipity! A positive and kind and adventures word, no wonder you attract all these lovely things when focussed in such a way.
    The painting is fascinating and you do it honor by displaying in your garden, they compliment each other. Have a great weekend, Johanna.


  3. Oh, Alys, that is breathtaking yard art!!! I cannot wait to get to that stage in our landscaping. And i love the phrase, “Be a butterfly.” Wish you were my neighbor.


  4. What a happy piece of art. I can see why you gravitated to it. You know, that’s a really original idea that Witney’s down. It’s like a stained glass but so much more fluid. I bet it looks so beautiful with the sun shining through. We Wilma (Createful Dodger) and I popped into an art installation, one item was a bunch of coloured bottles on wheels, each going in different directions. There was a not to spin the wheels and turn on the flashlight (which was an eco friendly wined up. Very clever and like Whitney’s, very original. Did you plant the coleus too match or is that serendipitous too? I love how you have a photo of the artist. I like to affix an envelope to the back of framed are as a record of it provenance. Loving it! Nighty night Tater bugโ€ฆxox


    • It is happy, isn’t it? And yes, your analogy of a stained glass window is a good one. I originally thought I would hang it on a wall, but quickly realized that it needed light shining through. It’s gorgeous mid-morning when the sun passes through it.

      I love the bottle and wheels you’ve described. Di you take pictures for a future blog post?

      I replanted the box which was looking pretty sad. The lettuce did well till the heat set in and then it bolted. I took it out about a month ago but never replanted. The lovely sweet peas you gave me are planted toward the back, but they keep drying out. I don’t know what I”m doing wrong. They are still there if you look closely, and I got my first white flower late last week.

      I bought the three annuals (Celosia)and two small trailing plants (Creeping Charlie) to compliment the painting.

      I’m so glad your comments are coming through again. xox

      Liked by 1 person

  5. What a wonderful word for the year. Serendipity. I see it quite often in so many ways. You have been so well gifted this year that the word is appropriate. That was one of my favorite “Pauline” pieces. Loved the butterflies and even the crocheted knee cover. The colors and pattern are happy. But the painting on windows does me in. I’m drooling here and will have to go take a look at her work. Thanks for the introduction. I have always loved old windows, fences, tools and other things to hang on walls to give that shabby chic look. I’m going to work toward that. The sunflower painting makes your garden look even happier. I am now energized to get back to work. Will this extreme heat ever dissipate?


    • Marlene, I’m feeling centered and happy and content with life. All these special life gifts are reminders of how wonderful the world is and how fortunate I am to keep discovering that every day.

      Shabby Chic is a great look. It’s uniquely special to everyone since it’s pulled together from a variety of treasures. She is clever buying these old windows and doors as a painting medium.

      Darn that heat. I’m glad you’re energized. It tires me like nothing else. What is your seven day forecast looking like? We’re cooling down a bit (89 – 90) but better than 94 – 92 Iguess.

      What’s up this week?


      • We are grateful when the temps go down to 89. ๐Ÿ™‚ I think we finally see a few days of mid 80’s so I will be able to continue working outside in the mornings only. Carpet was installed today and we are busily pushing furniture back into 3 room. Now I can really unpack and start work on the outside. Maybe even paint the last 2 rooms. Kitchen and guest bath. I like the yellow kitchen but it’s no longer nice. Bathroom is lavender and too small for the color. I’ll just use accents for color. I am so delighted all the flooring is in now. Once new carpet smell goes away, we will be fresh and sweet. Content is a really good word too. I use it a lot when people ask me if I’m happy. Happy is such an overused word that has no real parameters. I’m happy any minute I choose to be. It’s almost Canada time! I’m excited for you. Hugs


        • It’s all relative, isn’t it? In the winter, 68 feels chilly in the house, but in the summer I’m grateful of the evenings when it ‘drops’ to 68. 89 doesn’t sound much better than 95 yet it is.

          Hurray for new carpet. Hopefully that new smell will be gone soon. You would think we could improve on that, wouldn’t you? Makes you think.

          I can’t wait to hear more about your color/accent choices. What fun to be starting with a blank canvas (or at least a changeable one).

          I agree with you: happy is the opposite of sad and we need to feel both and all that falls on the spectrum. But content is content. A good state to find oneself.

          Canada awaits. I’m excited too. hugs.


  6. I’m just catching up, Alys, and I’m so pleased to have caught up with this post. I LOVE that window art in your garden! It’s beautiful and so very clever to use an old window. Now, that is repurposing at its best! Thank-you also so much for mentioning me alongside two amazing artists in Pauline and Whitney. I imagine my Bavarian rug in the middle of a San Jose summer would be as useful as an ice cube on a ski slope – I guess you could swing it around your head and generate a breeze, though! You are so kind to mention me. I still get the giggles when I remember how many entries I had in that mug and I mixed and mixed and plunged my fingers to the bottom, pulled out one scrunched up piece of paper – and there was your call sign! Serendipity indeed! xoxoxoxoxox


  7. Pingback: One, One-Thousand – Gardening Nirvana

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