Thursday, January 26, 2017

Time In A Garden

There is a great deal of peace and serenity to be found at Selby Gardens in Sarasota, FL, and I found myself in need of a place to unwind and decompress after my whirlwind experience at the Suncoast View show. Selby was the perfect place!

What was even better was running into two of the artists who sometimes join me at Keeton's for classes. They even had their kits with them!

There was a light breeze coming in off from the bay that kept things nice and cool. I walked around for a few minutes just soaking in the ambience before pulling out my Stillman and Birn sketchbook. This is the Zeta version and it's their smallest softcover size at 3.5 x 5.5 inches, closed. It's perfect for small bags and pockets!

The sketches above were all done on location, but with a two-hour drive in front of me, I chose to add the color after I arrived at home. (It was only when I went to paint this that I realized I had not finished the tree that went with the really odd bloom at the upper right side—it looked like it was ready to strike! I didn't even take a photo! I must have been distracted!:)

I will be teaching a two-day workshop there in March, Painting Postcards in the Gardens, and we'll have a chance to explore this phenomenal place together in our sketchbooks—I hope you can join me! I will be returning in April for a second class as well.

Please let me know if I can answer any questions and I hope to see you there!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Playing Around With Lettering

Many of you know that back in October, Chris and I decided to open a booth at a vintage market, Picker's Place in Plant City. One of the side benefits of this adventure has been the opportunity to use my creativity in unexpected the sign you see above.

It's not perfect lettering and it didn't need to be for what it is—an attention grabbing sign! It was soooo much fun to do not to mention quick! (I copied the original for extra copies rather than lettering four different signs. It also stands out in the booth, letting folks know we have a few things we're looking to move out to new homes.

I love that I'm finding new and practical outlets for some of my creative energy!

Below is a peek at our booth:
This was taken during December. If you look closely, you'll see more lettering on the wall. You'll also see that insanely cool guitar lamp my uber-talented hubby made from a real guitar! Isn't that awesome?!
Here's a close up of the guitar lamp. It still has the strings and the volume knob is how you turn the light on and off! (Since I have "connections" to the guy who creates these beauties, I also have one hanging out in my living room!)

The clipboard was another opportunity to play around with yet more lettering (see a trend here?). It's a paper/cardboard clipboard from a discount market and was about to go in the trash. I slapped some chalkboard paint on it and spent a few very happy hours lettering out the saying.

I cannot tell you how much I enjoy adding an artistic touch to ordinary things and in unusual places. Sure, a lamp is a lamp, a wall is a wall, but why not add some flair to both by looking for ways to add your artistic style?!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Oh, The Surprises Life Can Throw At Us!

I found myself blessed with a VERY unexpected opportunity late yesterday—I was asked to appear on the Suncoast View as a guest to talk about Art Journaling!!

The cohosts finished a piece of artwork I had started (we only had five and a half minutes!!) while I answered questions about art journaling and gave a plug to Selby Gardens as well as the two upcoming classes I’ll be doing there in March and April.

If you’d like to see my very first LIVE appearance on television you can see it at the following links. The show airs at 4:00 pm today and will be available afterwords on the web site. I think my segment airs in the 30 to 45 minute section of the show.

Live stream link online at h​ttp://

Facebook: w​ww.

Following the broadcast and live stream, links to full episodes can be found at w​ 

I’d love to hear what you think (just be gentle—I've never done television before)!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Making Waves!

Can join me on Saturday, January 14th, for Anatomy of A Wave? 

One of the artists who is frequently in class made the statement, “I understand things better when I can hold them in my hand,” and she’s absolutely right. It is often easier to translate a 3D item onto a piece of paper once we understand how it is put together by holding it in our hands...but how do we hold a wave in our hand? It’s not possible!

What is possible is to look at a wave from different angles and see the shape it takes from those angles. Once we begin to understand a little of the shape, it becomes easier to adapt what we’ve learned to other viewpoints. By working in gray values so that color does not confuse us, we can learn the shape of the waves:

From there, we’ll need to work out the paint colors needed to replicate nature’s colors. You might be surprised to learn that we only need a handful of colors and among them you’ll find orange and yellow as well as violet! Below are some of the paint mixed used to create the final wave at the bottom of the post:

Last, we’ll put together what we’ve learned and we’ll create our wave in four steps. In the first step, we create just the basic shapes. In the second step, we’ll add shading to form the depth and volume of the wave. In the third step, we’ll adjust values. In the fourth step, we’ll add the “icing” which is the details of foam using a white pen. Each step builds one upon another to give you the final portrait of a wave breaking:

By studying shapes from different angles and understanding how a wave is formed, it becomes much, much easier to create those shapes on paper! I hope you can join me!

I hope you’ll come and join the fun of painting Anatomy of A Wave on Saturday, January 14th from 9 am to 12:30! Please note, to register for this class, please contact Keeton’s directly. Their number is 941.747.2995. They're located at 817 Manatee Avenue West in Bradenton, Florida.

UPDATE: For some folks, there are two small, blue boxes with question marks in them showing just above the first image and just below the last image. For some reason, I am unable to delete them. Only three images should be showing in the post regardless of those little blue boxes. My apologies for the confusion!

Friday, January 6, 2017

After The Holidays...

Happy New Year! 

Isn't it wonderful to begin a brand new year with a sense of hope and a lighter feeling? A whole calendar of days, pristine and unstained by what's come before (or so it seems). I'm not sure what it is about the new date that makes me so ridiculously hopeful and even expectant of good things to come, but there it is.

Unfortunately for me, 2016 ended much the way 2015 did—sick an upper respiratory infection that started way before Christmas. At the end of 2015, I wanted to throw the whole year in a trash heap and say forgetaboutit. 2015 seemed like a horrid, awful year even though it really wasn't. What I realized and wrote about here was that I was judging the whole year on the last two weeks of December when I was so ill.

Realizing I had not done a very good job of keeping track of my goals and accomplishments for the year, I resolved to make some serious changes. At the beginning of 2016, I got myself a planner and an accountability partner. I have to say those are probably two of the smartest things I've done in a very long time!

I also chose a word of the year (see below) and incorporated it into my planner as well as some art that hung out on my desk all year so I would not forget the word I'd chosen. These changes had a tremendous impact!

Fast forward to the end of 2016. Even though I've been sick for two three weeks, my feelings towards the whole year are completely, totally different. I can thumb through a stack of weekly emails that tracked what I worked on and when, goals accomplished, areas that could stand to be improved and a few areas where there simply was not enough interest to keep going. I redirected that energy into areas that could benefit from more attention.

My word of the year started out as progress and then progressed into thrive around the middle of the year. I was able to create more "live" teaching opportunities for 2017 with classes at Keeton'sMarie Selby Botanical Gardens as well as a chance to teach a week-long workshop in England with The Blue Walk! That's when I realized my progress was turning into thrive as many of my goals were beginning to come to fruition!

I found that having someone read my list of tasks week after week was a great motivator to get things done that probably wouldn't have happened without that check-in. It was also nice to have someone ask for specifics on an ongoing project as it helped me to get interested again when I found myself getting sidetracked by too many other tempting opportunities.

It also motivated me when I had one of those weeks that went off the rails and nothing on my tasks list was accomplished. My partner was there offer insights, to help me pick myself up and to push me forward rather than letting me sink into a pity party (that had the potential to derail the next few weeks).

As the year marched by, we started to refine our lists and efforts in ways that helped us to see where we were going and what we were doing as well as what we were accomplishing. We celebrated each other's accomplishment and milestones. We had occasional meet-ups so we could discuss things more fully than you can via email.

When we met late last year to wrap up 2016 and celebrate our accomplishments, we started working on ways we can leverage last year's success into making 2017 an even better year. The year has already gotten off to a crazy-busy start with several streams of attention that I'm attempting to juggle.
I suspect both my planner and my accountability partner are going to key to keeping me on track. Otherwise, I'm fairly confident I'm going to fall victim to attention splatter (read more on that here).

I'm looking forward to a prosperous, happy, 
fun-filled year that is my best one yet!

How did your 2016 shake-out? I know some of you were going to use planners while others were going to use a bullet journal or a program online and some of you lucky duckies were retiring...what worked for you and what didn't??

 Let's learn and grow from each other by sharing ideas!