Category Archives: Artsy Heather

I’m Positive!

I try to turn problems into opportunities.  Sadness into lessons.  Hurts into motivation.  Negatives into positives.

I try to tell my daughter that old saying about life giving you lemons then make some lemonade.  She said that if life doesn’t give you some sugar too, you’re gonna have some shitty lemonade.  SHE IS SO RIGHT!  So, what I’ve found is that there is plenty of sugar in life, you just have to make sure you remember that when it’s pouring lemons!

I used to beat myself up all the time.  Then fifteen years ago I decided to take positive steps to believing I had superpowers and was worthy of love and happiness.

I had hit a pretty good stride with all of that, then some bad stuff happened around 2010 and lasted for a while and then another hard thing happened in 2011 that called a lot of things into question for me. About who I was.  What I was capable of.  What I should let go of or hang on to.  I kept working hard at bringing myself out of that dark pit of despair and decided I was going to learn whatever it was these lessons were going to teach me.  And I feel much more back in balance again.  It helped when I focused my energy OUTWARD.  When I stopped thinking of just how things were affecting me and how they hurt me.  Sure, I had to do some triage first and get some intensive care out of the way,  but once I was no longer spilling my guts everywhere, I could then see more than just my own pain.  And more importantly, I could see beauty again.

The truth is, the world is full of chaos and we can’t do much about it.  We can’t stop waves from washing over towns or people from driving like shitheads on the beltway – but we CAN control how we react to things.  There will always be good times to come.  But there will also always be tough times, too.

I like to think of it like other types of practice and exercise.  A wave can knock you over but the better the swimmer you are the more quickly you can recover and the more likely you can swim back to shore.

My recovery from self loathing and low self esteem started with belly dancing classes.  Since then I have picked art back up, started photography, theatre and visual art journaling and writing stories.  All of those things helped me see inside myself and express it in a way that helps me heal.

Below are some early photos, digital collages and art I never would have done if I hadn’t started believing that I was capable of doing something worthwhile in this world.

Minolta DSC Minolta DSC Minolta DSC Minolta DSC  Chrildrenofthemoon Minolta DSC Minolta DSC Minolta DSC Pink Cat

Minolta DSC Minolta DSC Minolta DSC Minolta DSCforgivenessblog. vj01 vj04 vj05 vj08

artheartfate robinfairyAS_01 jg_01

Minolta DSC Minolta DSC chrisfairy_watermarked_550pixwide class torso heather full Minolta DSC Minolta DSC


PS – there is no HeatherBartlettArt anymore.  It’s all under Heather Brooks or Heather Hardy (my fiance’s last name).  Though after all it has taken to get my name back in order after my divorce, I’m not a 100% sure I will change it again.


C You

I’m still putting this little apartment together.  I get distracted sometimes with projects that seem less pressing than say, organizing the kitchen.  But I like to put my own personal signature style on things.

We didn’t have a letter on our door when we moved in.  The door was painted and it hadn’t made it back on because the place was only vacant for like twenty minutes.  Will used a piece of blue masking tape to make a temporary letter for our door.  But I kept thinking of Dharma and Greg and how they had a fun piece of art hanging on their door in that show.  So I decided I wanted to do the same.

Year before last I helped a friend paint her mailbox for her house.  I really liked the way it came out, so I decided to do a similar theme for my front door letter.  Will had actually purchased a letter “c” in standard font in standard black, but it fell into my daughter’s belongings and made its way to another state.  So, I went ahead for something a little less standard.


Materials (all from the local craft store):

Acrylic craft paint
Round and flat paint brushes
masonite precut plaque
precut letter C
Spray varnish (for when it’s all done and you want to have a slightly glossy seal)

I hung it with Command velcro style strips.  VOILA!

Here is the mailbox Christiana and I painted for her new house.  I’d love to do more crafts with her if we lived closer together.  She’s got a wonderful natural eye for composition and design.



Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean

I used to do some community theatre in Southern Maryland.  Then I took an eleven year break.  I hadn’t even been doing it that long;  a few years.  It was a lot of fun and I met some wonderful people.  If you are new to a town and looking for friends, volunteer at your local community theatre.  It’s usually brimming with interesting and creative people who often are friendly.


I’d been living here in Greenbelt for about a year and half when I saw on the Greenbelt Arts Center (GAC) Facebook page that they were looking for people to audition for a show called Come Back to the Five & Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean.  I sent a note asking if they needed production crew as well.  And they did.  I sent them my very short theatre resume and the producer, Andy, welcomed me on board. I was officially the set dresser and props mistress for the show.  I am a HUGE fan of vintage and era related set decoration and props, so this was a really good fit for me.


It’s always a little nerve wracking for me when I am in a new group.  I’m pretty friendly but you just never know what you’re walking into.  Will walked me to my first production meeting at the community center.  Turns out he knew a bunch of the folks by coincidence.   Known as “Bill” to them from back in the MAD theatre days (we’re talking a couple of decades ago).  You really couldn’t meet a nicer bunch of folks.  So he spent a few minutes hugging and chatting and just generally being glad he’d come along.


This was the first show I’d ever officially decorated and propped by myself.  I had done a few with my friend Karen and we’d made a great team and I learned a whole ton of great stuff working with her.

I got my concept down and theories about the show and checked in with the director.  I had some help from the cast and producer and a few other helpers who were great at procuring things I could check off of my list and added some authenticity to the stage.  It was a really good team, I think.  And a good show to step back into doing a bit of theatre work.

Fun Facts

The show was set in 1975 with flashbacks to 1955, without set changes.
The two clocks on the set were stopped at 5:45 – the time of James Dean’s death.

A bulk of the stuff on the set was borrowed from two of my friends, April and Hopi and some belonged to Will and me.

The theatre is within walking distance of where I live.  That makes it extra awesomely convenient.

The set was designed and built by a very energetic and high spirited young woman named Liz, who also played Sissy in the play.  Also, her organizational skills are unparalleled!

The vintage style candy was purchased at Cracker Barrel in Shrewsbury, PA.  The people there were incredibly helpful and excited about what I was doing.  I really need to send them a link to this so they can see what it was for.

Instead of doing a modern newspaper, the idea of just doing a “clipping” was proposed to me. I used some newsprint purchased at my local craft store.  I made up some fake news stories based on the 70s.  Nobody could really see the front side, it was the back most folks saw.  But you have to have printing on both sides so that it looks authentic or you break the spell.  I cut the paper to fit into my printer and made a graphic to print on the front and back.  Here is what it looked like:

Newspaper side1



Sissy with her newspaper clipping prop.




Fairfax Times

Greenbelt News Review (page 12 – scroll!)

The next show coming to GAC image below.  SUPPORT LOCAL ARTS!