Just try…you might impress yourself.


I’ve admired paintings like these for years because their little faces just make me happy. I can’t afford to buy everything I look at so I figured I’d try to paint them for myself…figuring “no way can I do this” but hey, NOT BAD, eh? It really is silly not to try when you think about it. We are all capable of amazing things when we want to accomplish them. Go for it, try something that makes you smile this week!

As for my 365 blog idea…yeah, 3 weeks of company and it wore me out to be creative and host people I love. I decided to show myself some grace and post once/week instead. It’s more fun for me and not a chore. Working full-time, being mom, wife, friend, host was just too much (I’m WonderWoman not SuperWoman)…be gentle with yourself too.

Try Something New

Modern Wave

I have an appreciation for modern and abstract painting–especially if I try it and it’s harder than it looks (which happens most of the time)! A dear friend introduced me to Heather Brown’s modern Hawaiian art and I love it. I’ve been looking at the piece she gave me for years now and smiling so I thought I’d try one for myself. It didn’t come out exactly the same (much messier too) but I still like what I did and I’m glad I gave it a go.

If you find a piece of art you love–why not give it a try?! If you stink, that will make you appreciate it so much more and if you rock it then you’ll feel proud of yourself, right? Go for it! 🙂

Here’s a piece of her art to give you a taste…check out her website for more.

Heather Brown Art: heatherbrownart.com

Being Creative When You Have Company

Fiona Art (You Tube)

I am a creature of routine. Like a toddler, I do best when I keep a regular schedule, eat healthy foods, exercise and have play time. When we have moved or taken vacations my routine gets messed up and I find it challenging to slip back into things easily. I begin to make excuses, blow off my workouts, eat junk, and put off my art time. I do the same when we have company–I love hosting friends and family but I let the “rules” slip. I drink more, eat more, workout less and rarely sneak away to do anything as self-indulgent as an art project. I’m trying to come up with other creative outlets while we have company…forcing myself to blog is helping. I decided to research a few videos on You Tube and plan some projects for the weekend. I subscribe to a few but recently came across this one, “Fiona Art” and really love her work. It’s worth a try and thinking about the project gets me excited and wanting to commit a couple hours to playing.

I can’t be alone here–do you ever take time for yourself when you have company? Any advice?

The Guilty Voyeur

My role as a photographer is to take. I enjoy this but its a guilty pleasure that I often feel bad about doing. It feels selfish to take. I can justify a lot of it by saying, “they agreed to it,” or “if I tell their story, maybe it will help someone else,” or “maybe these photographs will help this person move on or see how beautiful they are or tell their story.” I say a lot of things but I’m often left feeling heavy or guilty or selfish…but fortunately, more than anything, I feel privileged and trusted.

I am working with a beautiful soul who has lived through more pain than any girl ever should and has made it to the other side now. She isn’t far removed from the tough stuff but she’s come a long way and won’t go back. Her scars tell their own story but I wanted to go deeper than the scars on her skin. I wanted to learn about the scars on her heart and in her head. The healing is just as impressive as the stories themselves. She is healing and growing and becoming. It’s amazing to watch and I am grateful for her trust.

For our “before the healing” shot, I asked her to paint a self portrait of the person she felt like when she was in the thick of the pain. We will follow up soon with a joyfilled photo of her in a happier place (where she is today)…but this is her yesterday…before.

feeling the pain
the process of remembering

Pour Me…cheap therapy

beauty rising from the darkness

Art has become my therapy. Creating is very satisfying. Today I poured paint and torched it to make this cell effect. I am learning how to execute a technique and recreate it again and again. It’s a learning process for sure. I think a master artist is one who can create something over and over. I’m still a novice with paint but it’s a cool journey.

world on fire
lava fields

Parallel Play for Adults

Sagebrushers Art Collective Workspace

“Have fun at your therapy today” he said.

“Thanks, I’m sure I will.” I responded.

I dropped in on a Wise Women Mixed Media workshop at Sagebrushers Art Collective today. We began by sitting in a circle and setting our intention for the day. We were led by a lovely woman named Maria who talked about clarity and her desire for it and that we can all benefit by having some of our own. I couldn’t agree more! Then we were released to play! I had an idea of what I was going to do going in but changed it when I started. I went with a Dante’s Divine Comedy themed project. Here they are:


I’m not sure what stage or phase I’m in now personally…feels like inferno on Monday, purgatorio by Wednesday and paradiso on Friday afternoon…hmmm….linked to something? Life is too short–might have to consider how I can wake up to paradiso every day.


Avoid Click-Bait Temptation and Use Your Resources!

watercolor octopus

I’m often tempted to click on those persistent ads on FB when they pop up in my feed. One that I did click on recently is a watercolor subscription. They send you an adorable kit once/month for $35 that includes the image, the paint, brushes and a how-to video. So, I thought…hmmm…I could sign-up and review this on my blog and have some fun too. Then I realized, I have watercolor paint, brushes, graphite paper, mixed media paper and a whole bunch of google expertise! 🙂

So, I downloaded my favorite octopus tattoo picture, busted out my graphite paper and traced it to the mixed media paper.

Then, I watched the video on the website (you can view any of a thousand on youtube for free too) and painted my first octopus. Not too bad. I have some room to grow but I am digging it so far. I love water color because it doesn’t make a big mess, you use far less paint and it feels less toxic (I honestly don’t know).

Bottom line–check your inventory before you spend a bunch of money of more of what you probably already have in your garage! Happy painting!

Perfect practice makes perfect-ish…

I painted today. This always makes me smile–in spite of all the wankers who try so hard to ruin my day. Some people jog to clear their heads, I get my hands dirty. Funny enough, my grandmother liked to paint with her hands too but I never once saw her paint. I saw the art on the walls but she never shared that with me…I wonder why? Sharing your art is a gift.

So, back to the fun. I have been thinking about my triptych project and although I’ve been thinking about horizons, I don’t want all 3 pieces to look the same or for the horizons to look uneven or forcibly random (is that a thing?). This is why I practice with small canvases.

Here’s today’s attempt. I created my horizon first and worked from there. I appreciate the layering process so I began by painting the canvas with 2 colors on opposite ends of the color wheel–my favorite combo of red and blue.

inspiration colors

Next, I decided to play around with 6 different colors that made me think of a sunset at the ocean. From the bottom up I mixed black, blues, purple, more blue and transitioned to warm yellow hues and back to black/blue. I applied these colors with a small brush and then dabbed a small, round sponge over each color.

While the paint was still wet (but drying fast) I took a wet paper towel and cleaned up the silver line and then pulled the paint from the silver line down to give it some movement. I also took the wet paper towel and dragged it across in a horizontal and vertical pattern to make the “sky” feel more natural but still abstract. Voila! I have my little sample!

sample abstract sunset painting

What do I like about this? The colors are gorgeous. I like the pull you see in the blues and the gradual fade of the oranges into the black. The texture isn’t captured well here but it is very textural–another thing I enjoy. What do I want to do differently next time? Move the horizontal line away from center–it’s too balanced. I don’t like the 50/50 look here. It’s much more interesting when you view things in thirds vs halves. Next time I will consider elongating the sky and minimizing the sea. Another thing to make your art amazing is to share a story or at least create a head-scratching name for your piece. I call this my sample (because it’s a practice piece) but I could call a final version something much more abstract like “poets dream” or “sadness” or “through the lens.” You get the idea. 🙂 It’s a journey you want to take your viewers on with you or at least make them think you are deep and artsy.

The Blank Canvas Challenge

Blank Canvas

Does a blank canvas motivate or paralyze you? I used to be paralyzed until I began painting and repainting and another coat of gesso and more paint…and now, I love them. I keep small, cheap canvases on hand for practice and inspiration. I’ve painted over this one at least 3 times in the past month–it’s a 5×7 canvas and I have 3 of them that I’m using for practice. My plan is to paint a large triptych when I finally figure out what I want to look at for a while (because once I ask the hub to frame them and hang them–they will be on the wall at least a year). I tried a few Rothko style paintings and they felt heavy and clunky. Then I tried Bob Ross style fan brush tree and it was too light and practically flew off the canvas. My next attempt will be a variety of brush strokes and sponge work with a little horizontal line to center the eyes…we’ll see what happens! I was inspired by my photo of the ocean yesterday and want to capture it in paint.

Grab a canvas or a piece of paper and some colored pencils and join me, or, like my daughter, grab your tablet and stylus. It’s blank canvas week!


Can Procrastination = Success?

Life Force

I am the queen of excuses and the master of procrastination. I watched a TED talk about procrastination once (see below) and the whole time I was shouting to my hub, “Check this out, I’m not the only one!” Procrastination has rarely failed me…ok, it has recently when I missed a deadline for a grant application (insert lots of anguish here) but honestly, I usually ROCK under pressure. Timelines are my friend. I have learned one very valuable lesson though (which was reinforced when I read the book Outliers) you have to have your spaghetti ready when the time comes, you can’t just wing it and succeed. LOTS of practice prepares you for success when you’re under the gun. Case in point, my latest piece, “Life Force.”

Over a month ago I picked up my 12×12 wood block from the art gallery knowing it was due on August 4th for the upcoming fund raiser show. I honestly had no idea what I was going to do with this piece–I wanted to do something new, something different and creatively satisfying. So, I took some of my hub’s scrap wood and played around with different techniques. In the meantime, I’d been playing with a new technique where you add silicone to acrylic paint, thin it out and use a palate knife to paint designs on canvas. I created at least 25 pieces until I felt like I was mastering this particular technique and then I walked away for a while. Until last night…2 nights before my piece is due to the gallery. Paralyzed with indecision, I leaned on what I’d been practicing and felt confident I could execute and went for it. The result is this piece and I’m thrilled with it because it shows the movement of the waves I love so much. Water symbolizes life and to watch it move with such force makes me feel so small and my problems insignificant. I love the ocean and I’m happy to offer this piece to my local gallery–I hope it sells!