Tuesday, September 23, 2008


"GRAPES" by Nina
Let's welcome Nina, whose shop on Etsy is called Nina's Window. What a exquisite painting! I happened across Nina's work and was so entranced by the colors and designs, that I had to write her and ask her if she would be a "featured artist" on my blog. Happily, Nina agreed!

Read below to hear what Nina has to say about herself and her artwork. I think you will find it truly inspiring and wonderful! Be sure visit NINA'S WINDOW and her other links to see and learn more about this talented artist.

What led you to start creating your art/craft?

I discovered my artistic ability after being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis about 9 years ago. To say that my life would change drastically would be an understatement. Before my diagnosis, I was an extremely active person. I played organized softball, rode mountain bikes, went camping, enjoyed hiking, water skiing, and snow skiing. My husband and I did a lot of this together along with our three children.

One day out on a walk with the family, I began to stumble and I could not figure out why. We sat for a while and after resting I felt fine again. As time went by, I began to have more and more of these weird feelings in my left foot, numb feelings on my ribcage, blurred vision and feeling completely exhausted. It was a frustrating road to diagnosis because the doctors were unable to pin point the cause. It was not until five years later and several MRI’s that I was diagnosis with MS. I was told there is no cure. Doctor’s do not know how, or why, some people get it. Some doctors believe it is caused by genetics, cold weather, and certain vaccines. It is a progressive decease.

“Progressive” was the operative word for me. I am a realist. I had a pretty good idea of what my future was going to look like as far as my physical activity level and mobility was concerned.

I understood it was not a pretty picture. But it is what it is; I needed to put into perspective what I planned to do with what I had. I’m not only a realist, I am also a fighter. I began to pray diligently. I asked God to give me a new passion and purpose in life. I knew that God had not given me, an outgoing and spirited personality to end up in a wheelchair just looking out a window. I knew he had a purpose and a plan. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us, “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Dwelling on that, I kept praying.

A very good friend and neighbor gave me some paints and a canvas for a Christmas gift. She said “I know you would be good at painting. You are so creative and outgoing!” I responded, “Thank you”. When she left, I put it all in the closet, "out of sight, out of mind". I had never painted a thing in my life. Truth be told, I had no desire to. Going to art shows or museums was boring in comparison to my previously active lifestyle. So, I kept praying and telling God that I needed Him to give me a new passion…by the way painting was not what I had in mind.

Meanwhile my disease was progressing. I was experiencing less and less mobility. Throughout this entire process, Mondays were coffee days in my neighborhood. This particular Monday I woke up with a different feeling in my heart. As we were all sitting around talking and laughing I announced that I was going home and I was going to paint. I remember going to the closet, pulling the paints and canvas out and wondering how on earth I was going to make something look like anything on this white canvas square staring at me. I was scared. This was not my thing… or so I thought. But I felt that God put this desire in my heart for some reason. I do believe that when God closes a door He opens a window. The door has closed for me physically but He has opened a beautiful window for me with my art. That is why I call my artistic ability “Nina’s Window”. I give God all the glory and the credit. He has been so faithful to me. I love painting. It is so inspiring and it has given me such a venue to express myself.

I love seeing the joy on my friend’s and family’s faces when they see my art. Watercolor is my favorite painting medium. I like the unpredictable qualities it has. Through art, I have met wonderful people and I have learned a lot about myself as an artist and as a person.

Is living with MS difficult? Yes. Do I have difficult days? Sometimes. Am I angry? Absolutely not. My husband and I have three children. Our daughter Erika is 24, married and has a baby boy. Our sons are Ryan, 21, and Jeremy, 19. I have to be honest and say that I don’t know what the future holds for them. Difficult times and challenges come to all of us. I want them to see how full life can be in spite of very difficult challenges. I want them to persevere, be tenacious and to be fighters. I want to inspire in them the belief that God is faithful and that He will never leave us or forsake us.

How did you decide what medium you wanted to work with?

I started with oils (which is what my friend gave me), but it took too long to dry. I switched to acrylics and really liked it. However, once I tried watercolor I was sold. I love how it can be so unpredictable. It is by far my favorite.

What aspect of creating your art/craft do you find the most enjoyable?

I love that there are no rules. I paint what I want, when I want and if someone likes it? Well that much better. Getting lost in color and creating is the best part.

If you had to choose a fruit OR a vegetable, to describe your art/craft, what would you choose, and why?

I would choose a red chili pepper. I love the color red. I think of my work as very colorful, passionate and spicy. Making a statement.

If you had to choose one other medium in which to display your “creativity”, what would that be, and why?

I would say "music". Specifically, the trumpet. I am a real tomboy. Piano, violin, flute, etc. they just weren't me. I love the sound of a trumpet.

What message, if any, do you want to convey with your art/craft?

Fun! How color lifts your spirit!

What advice do you have for other artists/crafters?

Paint, paint and paint. Don’t give up. The more you paint the better you get. Don’t let anyone discourage you. There is no such thing as a mistake. You learn something every time you paint. How can that be a mistake?

Nina, I can't tell you what a pleasure and honor it has been to have you out here on my DZFANTASY blog as a featured artist. I'm sure your story will inspire others. What a great spirit and gift you have! Be sure to visit Nina's links to find out more about her and her wonderful work.

A CHERISHED MEMORY (Nina's other Etsy shop)



Sue (aka Soo) said...

I find it so ironic, that Nina and I have both been featured today since we have so much in common. But maybe that's how Donna planned it. Reading Nina's bio, I now wish I had copied the one from my website which gives more Glory to God. It is tough living with a neurologic disease, but Nina has certainly been a terrific witness to God's faithfulness through it all. Nina's paintings are simply exquisite, and to think she uses watercolor, which can get muddy if you aren't good at using it...well, I admire her her ability! Best wishes Nina, and God bless you. Donna, you're a truly special gal. :)

Liz said...

What a wonderful post about Nina. I have seen her beautiful art and I am overwhelmed every time I see a new piece of her artwork

White Iris Designs said...

Loved reading this about Nina..I love her art and now the inspiration & story behind the art makes it even more special...You are right...God does open windows...you just have to learn to fly from the sill.

His dreams for us are far bigger than those we dream for ourselves. Makes me wonder what other gifts we have been given that we haven't even discovered yet!

What a blessing you are Nina! Thanks Donna for sharing with us.

twenty pound tabby said...
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twenty pound tabby said...
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Thank you all for taking the time to share your thoughts on Nina's Window.

I think we all agree she is truly a wonderful inspiration, as are many other artists I have met while doing these "features".

The Muse said...

iemporium has been a great place to get to know one another in that creative sense, in the business sense and yes in the sense that we are a community. I am honored to know Nina and to have her work...As well I am proud to be a client of Donna and hope that future continues to and creativity reaches for the stars!

(Donna you can find your badge on my blog...
under the blog posts is the Testimony section...you are welcome to copy and paste that!)

LisaLisa said...

Wow!! What a wonderful story..truly inspiring. Nina has a gift that God wanted her to share with others...giving many people hope knowing that know matter what door may close God will always open another . Great Post!!!