Mary Montague Sikes for August 2016

1. My Upcoming Artists Workshops ...
"Creating Paintings with Texture and Design"
Art Academy, Hilton Head, S.C.
September 2016 (Contact me at for more information.)

"Painting, Fun and Free"
Gloucester Arts on Main
Gloucester, Virginia
Friday, September 23, 2016, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Contact Kay Van Dyke at 804-824-9464 for more information and to register

"Painting Like Georgia (O'Keeffe)" (acrylics)
"Painting, Fun and Free" (watercolor and acrylics)
Williamsburg Center for Contemporary Art
Williamsburg, Virginia
Fall 2016 (Contact me at for more information)

2. Navigating Your Writing Life Symposium, "The Word's the Thing" ... 
Although I didn't know either Kim Dalferes or Angela Carter, the other two authors on "The Word's the Thing" panel for the Virginia Writer's Club Symposium earlier this month, I enjoyed the opportunity of discussing word choices with them from our three diverse angles. Kim talked about comedy; Angela, poetry; and I spoke about words in feature article writing and the word connection dredged up between art and writing. It was a lively and compelling panel, I heard afterwards from symposium attendees. Unfortunately, because of fire regulations for the room, some people were turned away at the door.

As I prepared for the panel, I started to think about the importance of word choice. Long ago, when I first started writing for an afternoon metropolitan newspaper that no longer exists, I remember my shock and awe at the headlines written by others to go above the stories I filed. Those headlines brought extra power to the words in the leads I chose for my stories.  Sometimes the headline words changed the meaning of what I wrote and got me into trouble with county and town officials. Before I started my freelance writing career, I had no idea that such word power existed.
 Monti with linda
During the day at Piedmont Community College in Charlottesville, I enjoyed hurrying by student artwork hanging in the hallways. Although I didn't stop to study the art, I found the atmosphere of the college enhanced by the presence of original paintings, prints, and photographs on the walls.

We left as a severe storm began to pour rain down on the parking lot. While we drove away through the raindrops, I pondered what I had learned, or had reinforced, by the day spent with writers.

Keywords. Select the right ones, group them together on Amazon, and get your book listed in the multiple categories. Target your audience. Create more than one elevator pitch. Craft a few Twitter pitches complete with hash tags.

Market. Market. Market. (It works for art as well.) No matter what else you do as a writer, remember, "the word's the thing." All the great writers knew that.
3. Visit Glen Allen Cultural Arts Center to See the MRRA Art Show ...
For the month of August, the Glen Allen Cultural Arts Center has an exhibit of art work created by members of the Metropolitan Richmond Artists Association displayed on the Slant Wall near the entrance. All the work is for sale. I have three paintings in the show and other work in the Center's sales shop. If you ask at the desk, they will open the sales shop for visitors. The shop is always open during theatre productions and other events there.

4. Angels and "Soul Song" Paintings for Individuals ...
 Soul songs example
In late July, I demonstrated my journey into the world of meditation with a presentation at Dara LeBlanc-Haynes' Mathews Country Galleria, located on Brickbat Road in Mathews. My "Soul Songs" capture words and color for individuals as I intuitively gather an unique vision for them. An artistic image forms. Words grow into a poem. The art and the writing become personal focal points for inspired meditation.
Soul songs

For many years, I have been interested in the metaphysical experience. My workshops featuring the creation of meditation art and writing were part of the 2013 World Healers Conference in San Diego CA. I also demonstrated my meditation painting at Cielo Bella Art Gallery in Sedona AZ.

"Angel of the Marshland", one of my favorite angel paintings of all time, is now on view at the Mathews Country Galleria. This painting and my Tapestry for Peace project painting were both inspired by Eve Mackintosh, a lovely lady with whom I had a meeting in Denver, Colorado only a few months before her untimely death in 2005. That day, Eve told me about a vision she had in 1997 while driving along Florida I-10. She saw a gigantic angel in front of her, reaching high with the planet earth in one hand and holding another earth planet close to her heart. Overcome with wonder, she pulled to the side of the road where she heard the words, "There's a place in space for peace." That vision inspired the Tapestry for Peace project, a 264-foot long linen tapestry that first hung at the 2006 national convention of the National League of American Pen Women in Denver, Colorado.

A place in space for peace. How very much we need that now.

Please contact me at if you have questions or are interested in commissioning a "Soul Songs" personal painting and writing. I have found this to be a meaningful meditation project.

5.  Monday Club Gala Video ...


Visit us at West Point eVillage