Painted Ladies

I know I seem to be obsessed with Mermaids, but I also have another favorite theme: the Circus Performer. I don’t know why, maybe I am just being trendy and am subliminally inspired by Steampunk (honestly, I would dress in Steampunk daily if it was OK). Maybe I love make-up and playing pretend (definitely true!) Even as a Nurse, I painstakingly apply my makeup each and every morning. I enjoy it – and find it to be an artistic endeavor. I love blending eyeshadow, and layering on mascara. I have worn lipstick under my mask for the entire pandemic. I also enjoy washing every last part of it off at the end of the day…. black flecks of lash thickener speckling the sink and my white washcloth – another work of art completed, and a clean canvas for the next day.

Circus performers — actually, all performers —– apply makeup and embellishments to create the illusion of something otherworldly. That is what we all do – especially women – on a daily basis. We put on our facade. We apply makeup to hide our flaws and emphasize our attributes. It is our costume.

These paintings were true sources of joy to paint. It was like getting to play with my Barbies as a grown up. The stippled stars are meditative to create, and I recommend drawing with dots as a way to relieve stress. My brother Kent taught me about stippling years ago — and I have always enjoyed it. Dots creates perfection. Lines sometimes come out wrong, and they can be so final, but small dots will never fail. They are the best art for the perfectionist…life broken down into pixels….so satisfying.


I created this original art keepsake box inspired by words I collected from old books. The word “farewell” caught my attention, and was the inspiration for this piece. After the year humanity has endured, I want to say FAREWELL….but not only to the pandemic: farewell to toxic relationships, farewell to negative thinking, and farewell to all the past ways we’ve been holding ourselves back.

I grieve for the loss of life this year has amassed. I grieve for the relationships that have been shattered. As a nurse, I have been working non-stop, and realize I have suffered from burnout and stress related issues. I have felt unappreciated.

While I grieve the person I was, I embrace the woman I have become. I have stood up for myself and my loved ones and have remained fiercely loyal to those who have always been there for me.

So I say farewell to the woman I used to be. She tried to fly under the radar and didn’t stand up for herself. She made excuses for those who treated her poorly. She was too polite. She was too passive. Goodbye! Au Revoir ! Adios!

‘Farewell’ is such a dramatic way to say goodbye. Only movie heroines say it, or literary characters as they go off to war. Sometimes we all need to be a little dramatic in our lives: take a risk and venture out of our comfort zone. We need to finally get brave enough to change the whole trajectory of our journey. I am definitely not there yet, but every now and then, I get a little bit brave and take a stand. I HATE change. I have moved too many times over the years – changed careers, residences, continents, and I went kicking and screaming each and every time. The beauty of time and age is definitely wisdom, and I now know that every stressful life event has resulted in resiliency and overall improvement in my soul. What if I never left my comfort zone? Who would I be ?

When I created this image, I wanted her fiercely looking over her shoulder with stoic fortitude in her eyes. She is done with the past and has no regrets.

She is now in my etsy shop, JulieShinnStudio.