Tag Archives: gratitude

Percolating As An Artist

Local artist, Sandra Waugh, with the book cover she designed for author Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino and Hay House Publishing.

Local artist, Sandra Waugh, with the book cover she designed for author Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino and Hay House Publishing.

As part of my job as a contributing writer for my local newspaper, I have the great fun of interviewing many talented, local people and highlighting their work. One of these people is artist Sandra Waugh of Limerick, Maine.

Like writers, artists often struggle to find paying gigs (hence the terms starving artist/starving writer) and usually supplement the creative work with more prosaic jobs like retail, dish-washing, and serving food in restaurants. Nothing wrong with it. It’s a noble tradition of sacrifice for the sake of art. In addition to the supplemental jobs, artists and writers often do well to find niche markets for their work, freelance jobs that bring in a little extra cash–and cachet!

A self-taught artist, Sandra has been perfecting her watercolor art over the years in many niche markets. For example, Waugh recently designed and illustrated the cover of a new self-help book put out by traditional publishing house, Hay House Publishing.

The book, PERCOLATE, was written by Maine author Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino, founder and CEO of the Best Ever You Network which includes workshops, a magazine, a radio program, and other networking opportunities for entrepreneurs, authors, and everyday people in all walks of life. PERCOLATE has a tag line of “Let Your Best Self Filter Through” and is a guide for creating positive change in a person’s life.

Waugh worked with Hamilton-Guarino previously on a children’s picture book that was self-published. When PERCOLATE was being written, Elizabeth asked Sandra if she’d be interested in creating artwork for and designing the cover of her new book. “She was very specific about what she wanted,” Waugh said. “She made many changes, and we kept fine-tuning the design until we got what she wanted.” The cover’s painting of a white coffee cup with colorful words steaming out of it over a brown background was done in watercolor paint. Inside the book, sketches of coffee cups and three little creatures–an aardvark, a platypus, and an armadillo–were done in graphite. Waugh also designed the layout for the book cover.

“I used to be a graphic designer and worked in pre-press work for ten years, so designing the cover was going back to my graphic arts roots,” said Waugh.

Not sure if Hay House would chose to use the design or would go in-house, Waugh was excited when the publishing company decided to pick up the cover and use her artwork. Hay House is a traditional publishing company, not a self-publishing enterprise, though it has a self-publishing line called Balboa Press. Hay House offers books on the subjects of self-help, inspirational, and “transformational books and products,” according to the company website. It publishes work by such well-known authors as Dr. Wayne Dyer, Dr. Christiane Northrup, and Jerry Hicks.

PERCOLATE is available in local bookstores and online.

Now that the PERCOLATE cover project is finished, Waugh says she is working on a new book illustration project for a children’s book by another local author.

Waugh also recently opened her own store on Etsy.com where she sells her fine art. “Etsy is an online artisan community where artists sell their products, everything from knitting to jewelry to pottery to fine art. The list goes on and on,” Waugh said. Her original watercolor paintings can be viewed on the site at www.etsy.com/shop/waughtercolors. She also paints people and pet portraits on commission. Her website is found at www.waughtercolors.com.

As always, I encourage you, my dear readers, to look around in your own towns and cities to find local artists, writers, and creators of all sorts of wild and wonderful things and support them with your good wishes and your dollars. Keep the cash circulating locally, build good-will connections within your community or neighborhood, and enjoy a Localista lifestyle that is anything but bland. Create an environment that is unique rather than cookie-cutter!

And thank you once again, dear readers, for stopping in to Localista.

(This post was published in another form in The Reporter newspaper. Support your local newspapers, too, with your advertising. Advertising pays for the articles you enjoy reading!)



“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” –Melody Beattie

Dear Reader:

At this time of Thanksgiving, I thought I would share an article I recently wrote for a friend’s newsletter. You can read the entire newsletter at the Nurturing Tranquility News link here. In honor of Small Business Saturday (heck, let’s make it Small Business MONTH), if you are in the neighborhood, consider buying salon products or gift certificates from this wonderful salon & spa.


There are many ways to view the commonalities of life that we all experience; we fit these commonalities into patterns or schemas that allow us to organize them, contemplate them, analyze them, and then act according to them. One of the many schemas available to us is the concept of energy centers or chakras. In this short article, we will talk about chakras as they relate to a system of healing known as Reiki. Reiki healing is based on “ki” or life force that comes from your higher power, whatever your higher power happens to be. For you, that may mean God. For someone else, it may mean simply their highest self. For a Star Wars fan, it may be The Force.

According to the Reiki system of thought and healing, the body has several “energy centers” called chakras. Each chakra has certain characteristics and affects corresponding areas of the body. These energy centers can become blocked, causing physical and spiritual problems. A Reiki practitioner can use gentle hands-on healing techniques to open the energy center, allowing the ki, or life force, to flow freely. Individuals can also nourish and open the chakras with meditation and focus. And that is what we are going to talk about this month–opening the 2nd chakra with gratitude.


The 2nd chakra is located in the lower abdomen and is known as the pleasure chakra. It is here that we experience joy, creativity, sexual pleasure, enjoyment, and sensuality. This is the center where, if open, we are able to take pleasure in life and all it has to offer us. We can enjoy the beauty of a pink sunset, the taste of chocolate on our tongue, the way our partner’s eyes crinkle in the corners when he/she laughs, the rhythmic beat of our favorite piece of music, etc. Blockages at this chakra can produce feelings of apathy, dissatisfaction, and depression. You may feel tired. You may do things out of a sense of duty rather than creativity and pleasure.

One way to open and nurture your 2nd chakra is to practice gratitude. At this time of year with Thanksgiving just around the corner, this is a wonderful time to give gratitude some thought. Taking time to appreciate what you have–even the smallest things–opens that old 2nd chakra and makes way for more good feelings and energy to come your way. This concept is related to “the power of attraction” we’ve heard so much about lately. If you focus on what is pleasurable in your life and feel grateful for what life has given you, you are likely to attract MORE good things to you.

You don’t have to be a Reiki practitioner to recognize the universal nature of this concept. Most religions teach about the practice of gratitude–praising God or making offerings of thanksgiving. Seems that on some level there is a universal understanding that appreciation, gratitude, and thanksgiving are healthy for human beings. Focus on what is good in your life. Focus on the flavors of the food you eat. Focus on the pleasures of touch. Focus on the sounds of your favorite music. Use all your senses. Then, think:

“Thanks, Life (God, Gaia, Universe, etc.). This is really, really wonderful (delicious, gorgeous, tasty, mind-blowing, fabulous, etc.)!”

You may be surprised at how fulfilled and joyful you feel. Gratitude really is the “magic” ingredient for a more joy-filled, pleasurable, creative life.

Second Chakra Orange

I wish all of you, my dear readers, a happy and healthy Thanksgiving and the beginning of a joyous winter season.