An Artist's Quest


Happy Campers

Gina and Mary showing their work and smiles

Mary and Gina showing their work and smiles

Anne and Laura another pair of happy campers

Anne and Laura another pair of happy campers

The rain took a break this weekend here at The Bishop’s Ranch but a group of creative souls and I hunkered down inside the Art Center to experiment and create for 2 fabulous days of color and collage. On Saturday everyone created a large sheet of art paper experimenting with stencils and carved stamps. Spraying, stamping, spritzing, making and marking. In the afternoon we cut up our creations to make little collages to use as cards, small art pieces, bookmarks and more. I stopped at 4pm but this intrepid band of creators, spurred on by a glass of wine stayed in the art center until dinner and some stayed into the wee hours of the night and others came early in the morning to continue making that’s how energized they were to create! Sunday the fun continued with more collage and making of paper lanterns. I learned a lot from my students and they were all thrilled with their weekend. I look forward to leading this retreat again next year – the first weekend in December – mark your calendars.


Christina all smiles - loving her creative weekend experience!

Christina all smiles – loving her creative weekend experience!

My next creative retreat offering is Creativity Bound – February 21, 2015. For this creative retreat I team up with friend and poet Laurie Glover. Laurie will lead us through the process of writing a poem in a very non-threatening process guaranteed for success, and I’ll lead the making of the collage accordion book. We came up with a process where the collage elements inform the poem and the poem informs the collage. The day will unfold just like the accordion book. All the instruction happens Saturday but we are offering Sunday as an open studio day with all the materials out for those of you who want to extend and continue your exploration. I hope you’ll join me. Creativity Bound workshop signup.

Laurie's book made on our creative play date to prepare for the CREATIVITY BOUND workshop in February.

Laurie’s book made on our creative play date to prepare for the CREATIVITY BOUND workshop in February.

My book made on our creative play date to prepare for the CREATIVITY BOUND workshop in February.

My book made on our creative play date to prepare for the CREATIVITY BOUND workshop in February.

Rainy Days & Sundays

Uke and Blue Birds, drawn this Sunday on my iPad in my jammies on the couch next to my dog Lucky!

Uke and Blue Birds, drawn this Sunday on my iPad in my jammies on the couch next to my dog Lucky!

I’ve had a busy couple of weeks – a studio sale weekend before last that went very well (thanks to all who made the trek!), an extended visit with my folks full of industry from dragging brush, making apple butter, driving to appointments and a bit of Christmas shopping elf work, and of course a lovely Thanksgiving at my brother’s house with extended family and the requisite abundance of food. Busy, bustling weeks behind and busy, bustling weeks ahead – so when we got to our getaway house in the redwoods this weekend we were relived to find rain forecast for the entire weekend! Nothing to do but sit by the wood stove read, draw, listen to music, eat, chat, draw some more. A basic blogging theme of mine is how time flies and leaves me reeling muttering, “How can it already be (fill in the month) 1st?” So here I am again but today I feel renewed and recharged. Three days of staying in jammies till noon drinking coffee and eating a yummy breakfast were the only things on the to-do list. We turned on our favorite pod-casts and stretched out in the living room watching the rain through the redwoods. Time slowed – even with the constant ticking of my grandma’s cuckoo clock and the yellow bird reminded us with an resolute “coo-coo, coo-coo, coo-coo” how crazy we are to worry about time and industry, and that sometimes there is nothing more important that watching the light and the rain pass by the window, nothing more pressing than turning on kettle for a cup of tea and listing to the tick of the clock, the drip of the rain and creak of the wood stove. Here’s hoping you find some ways to turn down time to a low simmer in the coming weeks of busy and bustle – make time to slow time.

Don’t for get you can mark time for 2015 with my art calendar here is a link 2015 CALENDAR


Pomegranate - drawn on my iPad using the Art Rage app.

Pomegranate – drawn on my iPad using the Art Rage app.

I had a little quiet time one evening this week, my husband was away, my to-do list was contained, the dog had been walked – and this pomegranate had been beckoning me all week to stop and pay attention. So Thursday night I cracked open this miracle of nature grown with almost no attention from me in my yard. The pomegranate is an ancient symbol of abundance and fertility seeped in myth and story from ancient times, some argue that it wasn’t an apple that Eve shared in the Garden of Eden but a pomegranate! Today this mystery of myth, miracle of abundance sits humbly waiting on my kitchen counter. The tough skin is a challenge there are youtube videos available to watch advising how to crack one open but I just make an orbit around the poles with a sharp knife and crack it open – bursting with juicy jewels that would be right at home gracing the delicate neck of some long ago princess … I just pop them in my mouth like the heathen that I am. With each kernel a pleasant pop then sweet, sweet nectar spreads a bit of winter joy! So here’s to experiencing abundance, to indulging in the myth and mystery of life’s little pleasures when they find their way into our world!

November is racing along, when does time slow down?

November View

November View

It’s past mid November and yikes the holidays are almost here! I had a busy teaching filled October and had some idea that the days would go by a little slower in November but that doesn’t seem to be the case because here I am wondering where the days have gone. When I imagined my empty nester life – as my son went off to college – I thought that because there was one less character on the stage in this little play I call life that time would bend a bit, slow down, be less hectic….but it’s not. Umph! Time is ticking and the days are passing and one thing on my todo list that I haven’t gotten to is to tell you dear readers about the art calendar I have made for 2015. There is a strong dose of irony here I must say – I am selling time in the form of a calendar but can’t seem to keep track of where the days have gone. I know you’ll love these beautiful images of the Russian River Valley from my wonderful perch here at The Bishop’s Ranch as much as I do. The practice of creating a calendar is a good one, it makes me mark the month in color and light, leaf and bird, forces me to sit and observe what the essence of each month in this place. Here I’m giving you a sample of images November, above, and February, June and September below. Hope it helps you mark time.

Won’t you join me in holding dear the days? Here is a link to order a calendar for you and a friend – they make great holiday gifts too!

February the mustard blooms

February the mustard blooms

June days bursting with color

June days bursting with color

September golden grasses fill the pastures

September golden grasses fill the pastures

October: I Ran a Creative Teaching Marathon!

This month has sailed by I can’t believe it’s October 31st! I want to share with you some of my art teaching highlights, and since a picture is worth a thousand words….. here you go:

198K 198j.leaves

10/11/14 Here is the sweetest group of nine and ten year olds you would ever want to meet.  We went for a walk and gathered leaves they laid those under a piece of glass from dollar store frames – then outlined the leaves with paint marker. Then flip and paint the other side with acrylic paint. Let dry pop back in frame … they loved the results.

198i.encaustic 198h.encaustic








10/12/14 Encaustic collage Playshop. An all day exploration of collage encased in encaustic medium, look at those smiles! There where eight happy creative campers that day and everyone left with an armful of art!

198l 198m



















10/20/14 St. Paul’s Healdsburg Women’s Group mad Our Lady of Guadalupe altars using art papers, and traditional and non traditional Mary images.










10/21/14 Kindergarteners at Healdsburg Elementary School cut a kindergarten version of “Papel Picado” for a Dia de Los Muertos art (skull drawings were added later).  They were so excited it was like opening a birthday present as they unfolded each one they cut.  They turned out remarkably well for ones with beginning fine motor skills!

198d 198cLuminaria










10/24/14 Teaching at the CREATE Conference in Seattle.  I had a wonderful class for my 6 hour Luminaria workshop.  Plenty of time to explore and try out all kinds of ways to decorate the Grafix Dura-lar substrate.


198b. brushes demo










196a.ArtRage app demo

10/25 More CREATE Seattle teaching. A Marathon day of nine hours of iPad art.  One 6 hour class teaching the Brushes app… the one with the feathers is my demo piece for the day. Then a 3 hour evening class teaching the Art Rage app- the apple is my demo piece.






It’s been fun but I need a little break.  Right now I just have my 3 days a week at the Elementary school on the Calendar but more to come in December…. I’ll keep you posted!


195.gingkoI was visiting my folks this week my dad has had some health issues lately and is in a tippy spot of limbo waiting to get an appointment at the UC Davis Cancer Center. The not knowing is hard and knowing is hard and limbo is hard. I went up to add a bit of cheer and to change the flow of their days a bit (I only fell into a baby of the family rant once when the back seat driving was getting overwhelming). My cousin was visiting too so there was some good distraction and lots of chitchat. I of course could offer my dear dad no wisdom. I did offer a stale “one day at a time” mantra which is all well and good in theory but when one is standing on a tightrope in the wind holding a big umbrella.. well it’s not so easy to do. So on my long drive home I had a while to ponder what could I do? Truth be told there’s not much to do but be present, to listen, to be real, to be true. And so I thought perhaps the “one day at a time” mantra isn’t so trite but I think it needs to be fleshed out a bit to be useful. About a month ago a friend of mine took a facebook challenge to list 3 good things each day for 5 days and to tag five people to do the same. She tagged me. I thought it was a fine idea but I didn’t have time.   What no time to notice 3 good things!? I put the idea in my notebook to use someday but didn’t actually list 3 things when I wrote the idea down… I know what you’re thinking, “what does this have to do with her dad?” and “what about the one day at a time thing?”.  Well on that car ride home I started thinking again about the 3 things and about today is today and tomorrow is tomorrow. I think when we are young we don’t think about mortality at all it doesn’t factor into our thoughts. As we grow older we push it aside and figure we’ll think about it later but the truth is there are not guarantees….we don’t get an expiration date stamped on our wrists when we’re born, I’ve had lot’s of friends die before their time. But that’s just it we don’t have a time – it just is, for all of us. So taking today- today, marking the wonders of today now does seem like a wise way to live, and not just when we are standing on a tight rope in the wind with an umbrella in our hands but also when our feet are planted firmly on the ground the sun on our faces the breeze at our backs. So here I go with my expanded version of 3 fine things about today:

  1. What I learned today: I learned that my Daddy’s hug as I left him today was as strong and comforting today as when I was a child and as strong and comforting as the day I left for college 30 years ago, the same as on my wedding day 20 years ago, and the same as at the funeral of a close friend 11 years ago, I learned today is today and today is good.
  2. What did I see that surprised me today: I saw a bright butterfly shaped kite with it’s string tangled in a tree but flying gaily just the same waving brightly at the traffic rushing by. That kite wasn’t worrying about tomorrow because today it was flying and today is good.
  3. What made me smile today: My little dog Lucky made me smile today as I returned home- her tail wagging fiercely to greet me as she leaned strategically off the edge of the couch to give me a kiss. Lucky is always in today –tomorrow has no meaning, today is today and today is goood.

So here it is – today is today, today is good – tomorrow is tomorrow – that’s all it’s ever been and that’s all it will ever be.

Teaching Time

I love to teach and have been teaching in all kinds of settings for years. Yesterday was a whirlwind of creative teaching that I thought you’d love to hear about. I teach art 3 days a week at my local elementary school to preK-2nd grade. Yesterday I did monoprints with 2nd graders. All you have to do is look at the picture to see the joy, excitement and pride they had in their creations. They were amazed that I was letting them paint on the table then they simply drew with q-tips to make a design, lay down the paper, rub and voila it was like magic, such exuberance and surprise and awe all packed into a 50 minute class.

2nd graders thrilled with their monoprints

2nd graders thrilled with their monoprints

When the school bell rang at 2:30 I dashed back The Bishop’s Ranch retreat and conference center where I’m the Resident Artist. As part of my duties groups can request an art workshop during their stay, so yesterday afternoon I donned my art teacher apron again this time with a group of women who have been friends for over 50 years and met in Jr. High if you can believe it! They were so full of fun and ready to try something new. I lead them in a Georgia O’keefee style flower painting class inspired by the flowers found at the Ranch.

Women's group thrilled with their flower paintings

Women’s group thrilled with their flower paintings

Both these groups were thrilled to be creating and making art, I get a lot from helping people open up their creative side, young and old benefit from the experience. In October I get to dive deeper into the creative process at the CREATE SEATTLE conference. The great thing about teaching at a Create conference is everyone there is so open and excited about learning new techniques. The 6-hour classes give lots of time to explore and get immersed in something new and exciting. I can’t wait to mix it up with my students during the Light up Your Life Little Luminaria class on Friday 10/24, the possibilities with these materials is spectacular and everyone with leave with at least 4 luminaria and the skills to take home a whole new way to brighten up their world – especially relevant with the holidays coming!

Light up your life Luminaria class I'm teaching at CREATE Seattle

Light up your life Luminaria class I’m teaching at CREATE Seattle

I’m also happy to share an artist tool that is under used so far….the iPad. On Saturday 10/25 I’ll be introducing participants to their iPad as art tool. The 6 hour class will dive deep into the Brushes 3 app that has so much potential. Everyone will leave with a knowledge of all the potential of this app and I’ll walk you through creating a digital collage like this one! Ps this is the app David Hockney used for much of his work in his recent SF and NYC shows.


iPad as art tool the Brushes 3 app class I'm teaching at CREATE Seattle

iPad as art tool the Brushes 3 app class I’m teaching at CREATE Seattle

Waterless watercolor the ipad as art tool using the ArtRage app class I'm teaching at CREATE Seattle

Waterless watercolor the ipad as art tool using the ArtRage app class I’m teaching at CREATE Seattle

Saturday evening 10/25 I get to share another favorite art app called Art Rage. This 3 hour class focuses on the watercolor tools. I’ll lead you in creating a water color still life using only your iPad. I took an online watercolor class from one of my favorite teachers Jane LaFazio and instead of actual watercolors I used my iPad and the Art Rage app. I loved the results and I can’t wait to share what I’ve discoved with you.


I’m really looking forward to meeting you and having the time and space to create with you at CREATE SEATTLE coming up soon! Sign up for the Seattle classes here see website for more classes


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