Who we are
Colorful Living Studio LLC and its subsidiary Ahava Farm (אהבה: Ahava is Hebrew for love) came into being in 2018 and represent a harmonious balance between the creation of art and the natural world.
Forced by circumstances (to be addressed more fully in upcoming blog entries) to change my course of 20 years in animal rescue, I returned to art without hesitation. I learned to knit when I was 11 years old-taught by a beloved cousin at a resort in Maine one summer-delighted to be excused from water-skiing in the frigid waters of Linnekin Bay as my cousin taught me a simple stockinette stitch. The yarn was rose colored wool. Sewing came next in middle school and, in spite of the frustrations presented by sleeves, zippers and buttonholes, I continued making my own clothing throughout high school and college .I was perpetually inspired by bolts of fabric and jauntily ignored the prospect of long hours bent over my machine to keep my end goal of a beautiful garment in sight.
In high school in Nutley in the 1970ʼs I was introduced, by two of the finest art teachers ever (Louis San Giovanni and Carl Olsen) , to drawing and painting and decided on Connecticut College primarily because of its superlative fine arts program. My professors at Conn opened up a world of color inspired by Josef Albers and a long and illustrious history of modernist painters . I had found a language I needed to learn. Upon graduation I worked in retail and then for my familyʼs textile dye business-married and had my son Josh-but continued to paint and returned to art full time in the late 80ʼs after my divorce from my first husband.I exhibited enthusiastically, hauling my work all over New Jersey, and eventually was inspired to start teaching after a trip to Eastern Europe in 1990 took me to Thereisenstadt in Czechoslovakia. The Czech governmentʼs internationally acclaimed exhibit of the art of Jewish children incarcerated at Thereisenstadt and executed at Auschwitz convinced me that young people need this form of self expression as much as they require food and sustenance.
What followed was 25 years of teaching-privately, as a substitute teacher, and doing workshops in public and private schools.Always my aim was to loosen up the strictures of of other peoplesʼ opinions for my students-in this I was inspired by a great therapist who had helped me during my divorce. She encouraged me to shut down every negative voice I had ever heard -including those of my parents- to paint effectively. A tall order-but I was pretty sure that the kindergartners I taught had considerably more freedom to create than their second grade schoolmates who were already, at age 7, painting the sky the color they thought it “should” be rather than what their instinct told them it was, or might be. This internal marriage in my approach to art-between therapy and creative work-
was no accident.
My maternal grandfather , Lawrence Kubie, spent the greater part of his astounding career as a psychoanalyst exploring neurotic barriers to creativity in his patients, and his first wife, Susan Hoch, my grandmother, worked with and wrote a groundbreaking book with her friend Gertrude Landau about group work with the elderly.
Growing up in the 60ʼs and 70ʼs in Nutley, my parentsʼ house was filled with music, art, and an appreciation for Broadway theatre-the latter being considerably less expensive in those days than it is now. My favorite part of every year in elementary school was the class play-except for my third grade play in which I was cast as a turkey (!)-being on that stage was a delight that followed me all the way through high school. I played everything in high school from the Maid in Ionescoʼs “The Lesson” to Lucy in “Youʼre a Good Man Charlie Brown” and notably forgot all of my lines in the dress rehearsal of Tenessee Williamsʼ “The Case of the Crushed Petunias”. My teachers, Tommi Hyland and Dianne DeRosa, were dedicated, literate, and imaginative drama coaches . I am very lucky to have rejoined the world of theatre with Marc Donovan and the Haddonfield Theatre Arts Center with a group of lively adults who may well have some memories like mine.
My sister, Becky, and I were so used to listening to musicals on my parentsʼ living room stereo that we were able to sing the entire scores of My Fair Lady, Man of La Mancha, Sound of Music , South Pacific , Carousel, Oklahoma, and dozens of other scores without batting an eyelash.as teenagers. Beck played the piano, harp, flute and piccolo and sang-and my younger brotherJohn - a magnificent musician to this day- played oboe, clarinet and piano (in addition to sharing my love of theatre.)
Dan, our serious older brother, played the French horn-fittingly. I veered away from musical instruments after discovering I actually had to practice - and there were quite a few musicians in the house already (including my lute and classical guitar playing mother.) So towards the visual arts I went.
My beautiful daughter, Lizzieʼs birth in 1995 and my marriage in 1996 to my husband , Russ launched a new chapter in my life . Our home in the woods of the New Jersey Pinelands, a source of great joy for Lizzie as a young child, was filled with both art and animals-cats and dogs were her constant companions .
When we moved to Camden County in 2000 we had added horses and donkeys to our family as well. For many years, the care of animals dominated our lives but inevitably the pendulum has swung back -just in time for my grandsonʼs entrance on the scene!
The blessed entrance into our world of my grandson, Greyson Bryce Killough, on December 8, 2018 heralds another chapter in our lives-one which is a welcome and natural evolution. My daughter Liz and her fiancee, Andrew Killough , are assuming much of the responsibility for Ahava Farm and are entranced by the world of animals that little Grey will enjoy as he grows up here in the NJ Pinelands.
Jaunty character that he is, Greyson is already taking long strolls with his Mom around the corner to visit with Jack, Cinder, Dusty, Abe, Bernadette, Mandy, Lady, Geordie and Prince (the horse and mule contingent) and Angel and Cowboy the cows. A wildflower meadow will be planted this spring at our farm property-both in loving memory of animals and people no longer with us and in celebration of new life.
In November of 2016, just after the election, I decided on a whim to go to Arthur Murray Studio to learn swing-and back I went into the musicality of my childhood . Understanding the language of dance-just as I committed so many years ago to
understanding painting-seems a natural progression for me, particularly as I get older and require a more structured approach to remaining physically healthy. Once again, the therapeutic qualities of ballroom dancing are central to me and my fellow dancersʼ enjoyment of this lovely art form.
Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your comments and questions. I welcome your feedback on the site and am happy to discuss lessons in painting, drawing, and knitting here at the Studio. Children Welcome!