Sketchbooks How and Why and My Favorites 

Sketchbooks How and Why and My Favorites 

When I was in college, all my art classes listed a sketchbook as a required supply. I got kind of sick carrying around sometimes 4 wire bound books. I was so glad to find some regular book bound type and switched some of my sketchbooks over them those. In the beginning, I didn’t see the use for these sketchbooks and would rather use sheets of paper. But as loose papers do, those sheets went missing, torn edges and some looked like I dropped them in the parking lot and cars drove over them. I looked a bit like the Peanuts character, “Pig Pen,” though I had art supplies and papers instead of dirt and dust. I was into my second year when all became clear. I had my drawing board that had big clips to hold paper and such and a huge rubber band. It was easy to keep things contained and I didn’t lose so much as I hiked around campus. 

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Keep Your Creative Juices Flowing

Keep Your Creative Juices Flowing

To create everyday can be a challenge. Things that are not about art seem to get in the way: dishes, laundry, and even day jobs. But if you can carve out 5 minutes a day to create a bit of art, you would be amazed by what happens.  Stampington has a line of magazines to be inspired by. One of my favorites is Sumerset Studio. I found this list about creating and renewing your creative spirit. It’s a good place to start. 

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10 Things I love About Making Art

10 Things I love About Making Art

When I started thinking about a new blog post, I knew I wanted to stay with my focus on art, inspiration, the creative process, and what helps me become more creative. What came up is what makes me an artist and what I have discovered in my art life and my journey. With all this in mind, here are the 10 things I love about making art. I hope you find inspiration here and explore your art journey and why you create.

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Reflecting Back To Move Forward

Reflecting Back To Move Forward

There are themes and techniques in our work that will persist and continue through out our creative lives. Finding some paintings, drawings, collages or other art forms from years back can sometimes cause head-scratching, gasps, and overall feelings of regret. But there are learning experiences that can come out after some investigating. If you have found these old paintings or drawings and are wondering why you framed them, or what to do with them, I have ideas. 

I was talking to my students and almost each one told me that they found work from other times. We talked about what to do with them, like they were some sad, abandoned toy. Do we tear them up? Do we un-frame them? What can we do with work that seems to no longer reflect the way we paint now, or that we think is not frame worthy.  I too have these questions because I’ve been sorting and organizing my garage and storage room. As I did, I came across photographs from college, old drawings, and designs from my 2D and 3D design classes.  I dug deeper and found paintings from not too long ago, that I created in watercolor classes as an adult. I framed some of those. Oh boy, what was I thinking? In my eyes now, they are not frame worthy. 

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Every Summer

Every Summer

Every summer when I was in elementary school, if I didn’t have summer school, my dad would give me math lessons from the dreaded orange arithmetic book.  Back in the late 50s, summer school was for kids that didn’t have the grades to pass. I did my time in summer school and I thought that when my report card showed I didn’t have to “do summer school,” I’d have a break.  My dad thought differently. No summer school meant that I had to do math problems from that orange book. 

Every night, my dad would come into my room and have me sit at my desk and then he would explain what I would be working on the following day. No playing in the sprinklers or flooding the front yard with the irrigation pipes for the fields. I’d be doing math problems. He would start with the page number and what was on that page. 

“Do the problems 1 though 20 but skip every other one. Only do the odd number problems, show your work and don’t cheat I’ll know if you do.” I didn’t know that there was an answer book that he used to check the problems. I also didn’t realize that in the back of the book was a lot of answers and some “how-tos” that explained some problems and also gave the answers. I suffered though each summer doing math problems that included some word problems. I thought, “who in the world would needs that junk?” Somehow I made it through.

Summer programs for kids need to be somewhat fun. I’m not saying that all summer should be games, trips to the big Disneyland, sleepovers, video games and the like, but enrichment is always a good thing. Giving kids an option to take an art class, music or try some tumbling enhances their brain. Studies show that kids that are involved in some kind of art perform better academically.    

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My Natural Path

My Natural Path

I’m an artist. I teach private lessons and workshops and I’ve been creating some kind of art for about 65 years. I’ve always been drawn to nature.  I spent the last year searching for a new creative direction for my art and the resounding NATURE echoed in my head. I can’t live without plants, flowers and trees in my life. 

Royal Gorge

There’s something about being in nature that brings me peace and relaxation. I feel really connected to the earth. I don’t just stand on it, but am deeply rooted here. A breeze rushing through pine trees in a forest and a nearby babbling brook can make me so relaxed, I could fall asleep just standing there. Driving through the redwood forests up north was always a joy for me. I’d roll down the windows even if it was raining and take in all the colors, smells, and sounds whipping by. Slowing way down or going into a turn-out to stop. All the sounds: birds chirping or a deer stepping on a branch would bring an involuntary sigh. The smells and colors of the fora would feed my senses.

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Why Do You Paint?

Why Do You Paint?

I’ve been asked, “Why do you paint?” Sometimes people ask, “why do you create?” I’ve always answered, “I can’t not create.” But, I think there’s more to it. I think I’ve been holding back from my collectors, students, and people in general. 

I’ve been thinking about so many things this past year. Thinking about our world situation and watching the news has sapped my energy and made me feel like a panicked mess. I haven’t wanted  to think about art, let alone paint.

I played some with some of my old favorite tools and mediums, and signed up for some online classes that were not me at all. I wanted something to drive me forward and help me back to making art even if I wasn’t really feeling these new classes. 

I started thinking about my students and how much I missed them. So, I taught myself how to create virtual classes on Zoom. I pushed myself to build content to engage and inspire my students. I took a few more classes and fell back in love with watercolor. I created more content and lessons that I could launch online for groups of people. I felt that even though we couldn’t be together in person, I could still offer my students good quality classes.

But what about me? What got me creating? What did all those classes do to get me going? And, why am I still feeling I’ve lost my way?

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Pending Euphoria

Pending Euphoria


From the Greek, from euphoros-healthy. From eu+pherein, to bear-birth, deliverer,produce.

euphoria…a feeling of well being or elation

To be marked by elation by high spirits

Rhapsodic…extravagantly emotional

Enthusiastic…filled with or marked by enthusiasm

From the Greek, enthousiasmos, from enthousiazein, to be inspired

Enthusiasm…1. a belief in special revelations of the Holy Spirit. 2. A strong excitement of feeling

Pending…while waiting

There’s a feeling I get. It’s a happy, elated feeling. Something’s coming, but I don’t know what it is. It feels good, and I get very excited at the thought that I might be on the verge of something grand. 

“Pending euphoria” is a tool that you can use to get your creative nectar going. In general this feeling doesn’t have a checklist of behaviors that can be diagnosed. It’s just a good vibe that, if left unnurtured, fades and withers like a tender, unwatered seedling. When the pending euphoria hits, it may feel  like a brick thrown through a window. Or sometimes, it’s like a gentle breeze tickling my skin saying, “Hello Sweetie… I’m here. Something’s coming.” That’s pending euphoria.

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Moving On

Moving On

Sometimes we need to listen to what some call — the inner voice. Or you might say the universe is trying to tell me something. I have not been listening for awhile.
I’ve told my students to paint/create from the heart. It’s in us. Everything you need is already there. It’s in all of us. Finding and listening to that inner voice or the universe can be difficult. We think we know it all. But if we were honest with ourselves we’d see we don’t know it all. We have tendency to just leave things where they are. It’s going along. No need to disturb a thing at rest. But where is the adventure?


I’ve been humming along with my business, 511 Art Studio for over ten years. The past six years I have had 511 Art Studio as a stand alone space for artists to come and create. People that wanted to learn a medium could come, create and enjoy making art. I’ve had lessons, classes, workshops, open studio time, and private lessons. I had up to six different teachers coming in and teaching at the studio. The studio is booming. As with all businesses there is paperwork. Taxes, keeping supplies on hand, keeping track of the other teachers as contractors, and attendance of students, plus scheduling every body and every class has been a full time job in itself. But I have done it all. I’m not trying to show off here. I just want you to see that running an art studio is a big job.
My business sense come from working for Hallmark Cards for over ten years back in the 90’s. Hallmark was the top at business and they would not accept anything less from their account reps or district trainers (my two jobs while I was there).


Things clicked with the studio and I just held on for the ride. I’ve met a lot of great people, have wonderful students and each time one of them won a ribbon or sold a piece I was a proud Mamma. I’ve seen children grow up and become artists in their own way. After teaching for over fifteen years and having the 511 Art Studio open for over six years, I’m listening to my inner voice. It’s been a tapping on my shoulder. “It’s time, go make your art again.” For the last six months or so, friends and artist friends, have said I was doing too much. I was told if I don’t slow down and refuel I won’t create the art I want to create. And because this has been my goal, to help others be creative and make art, I need to follow my own words. Create every day, even if it is just a little sketch. Bring more art into the world. We need it. We need to create art because I believe that art makes the world a softer place. Even the wild, crazy, and emotionally jarring art makes us softer. So many people tell me that they are not creative and I’ve proved them wrong. It brings me so much pleasure when they say, “I didn’t think I could do it.”


“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose…”

This is my time. My time to move 511 Art Studio back to my home. My time to create more. My time to have a more relaxed atmosphere for my students. I will still have classes, private lessons, and open studio time once I get my space set up to accommodate a group larger than four. Maybe once in awhile I’ll have one day workshops.
Change is difficult. I know that and understand that some will have issues and challenges. But I will help them through that, just as I helped the learn to create, paint, and draw.

“The only thing that is constant is change.” –Heraclitus

Thank you to art teachers, students, partners, business associates, fellow artists, and most of all, family and friends that have supported along this journey.

Stay tuned for updates. I will be posting my move and renovation of 511 Art Studio.