My First Art Show!

Shalom Schultz in front of her work, “Sunflower Study”—part of a community art exhibit at Figge Art Museum in Davenport, IA.

Earlier this summer, I attended the opening of a community art show at Figge Art Museum in Davenport, IA, in which I’d entered a piece (the bright orange sunflower on a blue background).

“Sunflower Study”, mixed media collage by Shalom Schultz

While it was not a juried show, I very much enjoyed the challenge of creating something different than I’d ever done before. Several months before the show opening, I’d gone downtown to sign up and received a 12″x12″ piece of foam board on which to create an original piece of art for the show.

Since my main reason for joining the show was to put myself “out there” in a way I’d not done before (having been content for years to make art only when the mood struck & rarely show it to anyone), I chose to use this as an opportunity to experiment with new materials. The result was this sunflower, inspired by a photo from my garden (and–loosely–the work of children’s book author/illustrator, Eric Carle), and made with tissue paper, glue, watercolor, colored pencils, collage, and gel pen.

I had no goals in mind, while creating, other than to have fun with it and make something pleasing to look at. And that has pretty much become my art philosophy ever since.

Community art exhibit at Figge Art Museum in Davenport, IA

Seeing my work on the gallery walls of the same museum that also exhibits the works of some of the greatest artists in history was profoundly satisfying and inspiring. It made me want to achieve more in my art journey than I’d ever allowed myself to dream of before. And I’ve been hard at work, ever since, building up my body of work and saying “Yes!” to whatever ideas come my way. Good things are happening in my tiny little home studio…

Year of the Fierce Woman

FIERCE word art in bold colors of black, white, orange and pink. Ink and marker drawing. Geometric and abstract.

It’s done!!! This, the first piece of entirely hand rendered art I have completed in over 7 years, represents the attitude with which I intend to face everything this new year tries to throw at me. Nearly a year ago, seeking an outlet to express my frustrations over so many different things, I started it. But, as they say, “life got in the way”. In less than 4 months, I’ll be turning 40…this past year has given me much to think about and at the end of it I finally came to a crossroads. After what I like to call a “slap in the face from the universe”, I realized that the time to reach for my dream of becoming a full time artist is now, that “someday” will never come and that I’ve allowed doubts and personal insecurities to hold me back long enough. I’ve set my 1st goal of completing 10 pieces and re-opening my Etsy shop before my birthday at the end of April and (unlike in the past), I’m logging my time to ensure that I reach it. A favorite quote says, “We are what we repeatedly do”. So, I’ll be making a lot of art this year and I couldn’t be more excited! Keep an eye out for progress updates, new pieces and help me stay accountable, won’t you? Bring it on, 2019!

Patterns of Decay in Ombre

Fall leaves arranged in an ombre color patternMost of the leaves around here are now turning brown & crunchy (perfect for raking up big piles for my son to jump in!). So, I’m glad I caught the last bit of fading colors while I could. I’m particularly drawn to the organic patterns that form on the leaves as they start to decay…creative inspiration for sure!

Wood Bead Garland with Thrifted Vintage Finds

Handmade wood bead garland with vintage wooden curtain rings for fall or autumn decorating on mantel or shelf

The larger wood rings on this garland used to be curtain rings. I didn’t know what I was going to do with them at first, but they were calling to me from their hook in the antique mall (where they were hanging in a dusty clump). I almost left without them, but then turned back at the last second, unable to resist their charm. Now I love how they contrast with the other shapes and colors around them.

The Most Romantic Month

It’s been said that June is the most romantic month of the year. I always remember this whenever my hollyhocks come into bloom.

Hollyhock blossoms in summer

I imagine, in years gone by, courting couples taking long, leisurely summer afternoon walks through gardens, bursting with color and bloom. Perhaps, seeking a moment of privacy, they would pause behind the towering hollyhocks stems; and, surrounded by frothy blossoms conjuring visions of lacy dresses, the man would drop suddenly to one knee.

Hollyhock blossoms in summer

With his heart in his throat, he’d hold up a tiny box and ask the woman one simple question. She’d pause just a moment to catch her breath and then give him her answer.

Hollyhock blossoms in summer

Promises exchanged and sealed with a kiss, they’d clasp hands and head toward home, the ring on her finger catching the sunlight while a breeze gently lifted the petals in her hair.

Recycled Bathtub Veggie Garden

Recycled Bathtub Container Garden

I’m so excited to FINALLY have a vegetable garden in my backyard! For the past few years, my edible growing aspirations have been limited to a few herbs and the odd tomato plant – things I could easily grow in containers and barricade against the plethora of wildlife, ever venturing forth from their nearby forest habitat in search of tastier snacks. But when we decided to remodel our bathroom last year, we ended up with a large, unsightly (no antique, claw-foot beauty here) cast iron bathtub that sat forlornly in our backyard for several months, waiting to be disposed of. Then one day in early spring, while there was still snow on the ground and I was daydreaming about sprucing up my yard & sinking my hands into soft dirt, it dawned on me that the raised veggie garden I’d always wanted might be right under my nose…

I sat down, sketched out a rough design and asked my husband if he could build it for my birthday present in April. He must really love me because it took up the better part of his spare time for a good month, but now I have THIS beautiful, custom cedar piece in my backyard!!!

My tender plants are safe from greedy paws, which means not only will I actually get to enjoy the harvest I’ve labored towards, but I don’t have to mess with chemicals or other deterrents to keep unwanted animals away.

Watering and tending my garden is a breeze – with just a flip of the latch, the front doors swing wide open.

And it all started with a simple desire to make this monstrosity disappear…

Recycling Rocks!!! 🙂

The “Art” of Recycling

Something “new” I’m working on, out of foam stencils, coated in several decades of cracked spray paint and reclaimed wood from my neighbor’s old deck. Still just playing around, but I have big dreams of a rather large, custom art piece with hand painted details to hang over my couch. There’s something very calming about not only the process of making art, but also imagining ways to breathe new life into old objects, formerly destined for the dumpster.

Buried (in a dumpster) Treasure

Last month I was backing out of my parking space at work (a historic mansion currently undergoing renovations) when something sticking out of the dumpster caught my eye…before I could talk myself out of it, I’d dug up 11 vintage wood drawers + 1 matching chest, a metal bin and 2 planks of wood. I had just enough time to stuff them in the back of my car (narrowly avoiding ruining my dress clothes) and speed away to pick up my son from summer camp. Not everyone understands the thrill of such a find appearing right next to your empty car (ahem…my husband), but to the natural-born junkster, such a gift cannot be ignored.

And I’m happy to prove that I’ve since put *most of my discoveries to good use. My 5 year old son, Connor, immediately claimed the metal bin for his toy cars (smart kid). But I’ve turned 2 of the lovely, chippy drawers into functional & decorative storage boxes and the chest, which sits next to my kitchen table, is great place to keep paper plates, cups & napkins within easy reach for summer entertaining.


I love having such a convenient & well-lit spot to put reading material (with extra room for my coffee!) and even my husband can’t deny that his keys aren’t getting lost nearly as often. A thrifty find is always thrilling, but hands-down, nothing beats free!

*OK, so I still have no idea yet, what I’m going to do with the other 9 drawers or the planks of wood, but experience has taught me that if I wait long enough, inspiration will come. Until then, my “collection” is stashed safely out of the way in my basement laundry room.