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Fancy Envelopes

Fancy Envelopes: Mindalopes by Carpe Diem Papers, with a cup of tea and shortbread, stamps and penThis afternoon in sweet Ashland, Oregon, it’s pouring icy fog rain, dark by 3pm, wind howling around the house and I am recovering from part one of some dental work. Before you turn green with envy, there is an upside. I’m home for the afternoon doing “nothing”. “Nothing” is a requirement when I’m supposed to have some down time but it doesn’t prevent me from binge watching Season 3 of “The Crown” (omg), sipping tea (it goes half way in) and organizing my fancy envelope collection!

Organizing and prepping because enough people have asked me, “do you ever sell these?” to which a savvy entrepreneur would reply, “of course!” and which I used to reply, “uh, not really, I hoard them”. Business School, 101.

But now I am putting some fun assorted packs together so we can collectively keep the art of the illustrated and handwritten note alive. Details are here and I’m excited to share. Hand painted ones are coming soon.

As always, thank you for reading, creating, laughing and enjoying the little things on this creative journey.

See you in the mailbox. xo

 

Paris in April 2020!

Come join us on this magical unique week long event hosted by Deep Travel Workshops. All the merveilleux details here.

April 4-10 2020

Table Setting

Table setting is an art. You can’t get it wrong, the only requirement is using your good stuff, your everyday stuff, whatever makes your heart sing stuff and group it together. There are berries to pick outside or your grandparents salt and pepper shakers or your tapered candles that you’re “saving”. Use them today. If you do have nice china, take it out. It will make you feel so good! Stack your plates, use more glasses than you need, extra forks, the teeny tiny ones, the sugar cube tongs with the claws, you name it, if you’ve got the funny when will I ever use this stuff, use it this holidays!

There is total joy in both creating an artistic inviting table and sitting down at one. I don’t like precious. I want people to feel comfortable. Lasagna on Limoges? Ok! Or sparkling water out of cranberry glass goblets? Sure! Grocery store bought shortbread cookies on a pink china and matching tea cups, oh yeah.

Tea for two? Dinner party for eight? Last minute leftovers for three? All worthy for a table setting created with love and imagination. xo

This painting had the holidays in mind, china from my cabinet, berries from my front yard, Crown Derby plates and vintage flatware and white pumpkins from the farmers market.

Available here (and FREE SHIPPING!!!)

Table Setting

Table setting is an art. You can’t get it wrong, the only requirement is using your good stuff, your everyday stuff, whatever makes your heart sing stuff and group it together. There are berries to pick outside or your grandparents salt and pepper shakers or your tapered candles that you’re “saving”. Use them today. If you do have nice china, take it out. It will make you feel so good! Stack your plates, use more glasses than you need, extra forks, the teeny tiny ones, the sugar cube tongs with the claws, you name it, if you’ve got the funny when will I ever use this stuff, use it this holidays!

There is total joy in both creating an artistic inviting table and sitting down at one. I don’t like precious. I want people to feel comfortable. Lasagna on Limoges? Ok! Or sparkling water out of cranberry glass goblets? Sure! Grocery store bought shortbread cookies on a pink china and matching tea cups, oh yeah.

Tea for two? Dinner party for eight? Last minute leftovers for three? All worthy for a table setting created with love and imagination. xo

This painting had the holidays in mind, china from my cabinet, berries from my front yard, Crown Derby plates and vintage flatware and white pumpkins from the farmers market.

Available here (and FREE SHIPPING!!!)

Paris in April: An Artist Life Workshop

I’m not sure what is more exciting, painting in Paris, sitting in a café in Paris, roaming the gorgeous streets with no other purpose than experiencing beauty and architecture, sitting in a park absorbing life and culture, visiting world renowned galleries, shops and museums or….visually documenting all this in the beauty and comfort of a perfectly located Parisian hotel in the Marais. Best part? We don’t have to decide!!!

I am thrilled and excited to share more of the upcoming Paris workshop hosted by the wonderful team at Deep Travel Workshops.

They are hosting a one week Paris trip focusing on the Artist’s Life through the art of illustration. We will be painting small postcards and in sketchbooks to send home or to keep (mailed of course from a Parisian “la poste”), spending time in classic cafés, taking fabulous photos with our iphones to document the treasures we find on our daily journeys, visiting museums, galleries, parks and iconic Parisian landmarks that have inspired artists through the generations.

My part in this is l’instructrice. Or…instructor, guide, helper, art teacher, biggest fan, enthusiastic art supply sharer and moderate french speaker should you temporarily lose your mind in Ladurée or Sennellier and want a wingwoman. I’ve got you.

Anna and Christina, your Deep Travel Workshop hostesses, say it best here with their Paris Mini Guide. They have taken people to Mexico, Morocco, Spain, France, Nepal and beyond and have made lifetime friends and connections in the most unique pockets of the world. Including Paris. Read here for all the details and sign up information. This is a very small group so we can travel easily together, be spontaneous with schedule changes that fit everyone, enjoy classic french meals ensemble and truly soak in the Parisian culture for a week.

Dates are April 4-10, 2020

Day to day scheduling is subject to slight variance due to weather and/or tickets to museums/galleries. This trip will fill your creative cup to brimming. We hope you will join us for this slice of la vie Parisienne. xo

P.S. A word on painting and art supplies. This is for all levels. This is not an advanced instructional workshop requiring equipment and supplies for painting en plein air. We will be using watercolor and gouache for maximum mobility and ease of use at the hotel, in a park, café or any public space. We will be documenting and illustrating our trip as we go. It might be a charming french tea tin, the view of the Luxembourg Gardens or a portrait of a french poodle. (Les chiens do seem to be more charmant there!) The goal is to illustrate our time there in whatever manner inspires us. I will help you get set up with appropriate supplies before we leave. I am a big advocate of EASE. I want the art and painting part to be joyful and simple. No drawing or painting experience is necessary. Everything we will be using is portable and light. Feel free to email me directly if you have any questions about the painting portion or specific art supplies.

P.P.S. Merveilleux details here.

Creativity Takes Courage

“Creativity takes courage.” Henri Matisse.

Yes it does. And if not courage in a lion roar kind of way, a gentle consistent showing up no matter what kind of way. Do some paintings feel slow or hard or above my learning curve? You bet. But when there is joy in the activity, the courage shows up and walks beside me and shows infinite patience in the messy middle temper tamtrum stage of art. (Nod your head, painters, you’ve been there.)

I would not consider myself an exceptionally courageous person in life pursuits. I push my own limits….comfortably. I’m not an adrenaline junkie or speed freak, I never liked downhill skiing much because of the speed, trees I was likely to run into and fear of…trees and speed.  I tend to play it more cautious but there is something about painting and art and most creative pursuits that makes me say, WTF, why not. What do I have to lose? What if Matisse never painted those crazy colors because it was not in vogue at the time. He knew. He knew he had to muster the courage and paint irreverent goldfish and pink art studios and portraits that he was told were “garish”. But he did it anyway. And well….Matisse.

Creativity does take courage. And a sense of humor. And perseverance. And good snacks. I’m sure Matisse would agree. He was French, after all.

Thank you, Henri Matisse, for the brilliant and simple reminder. xo

“Creativity Takes Courage” 24×30″ oil on gallery canvas. For inquiries, please email

Bonjour (and April in Paris)

What is it about Paris? Other than everything…for most everybody…?  For me it represents history, architecture, culture, the arts, the dedication to a life lived in the small beautiful details. The people watching. The air, the color, the river, the romance, the food, the coffee, the fashion, the freedom. I’m not alone.

It’s been many years since I’ve been and even conjuring up the last visit, I can find an endless well of inspiration. The muse is generous in this city. Paris appears to have been built to help writers, artists, musicians to pause and create. I’ve captured or remembered photos and memories in Paris that have inspired paintings years later.  No detail is too small. The packaging. The storefronts. The parks. The museums and galleries. The bateau mouches, the perfect olive green outdoor park chair at the Jardin de Luxembourg. Les croques monsieurs!!!

I’m thinking about all of this because next April 4-10 2020 I am giddy thrilled (je suis ravi!!!) to share that I am part of a week long Parisian Artist’s Life workshop in collaboration with the incredible team at Deep Travel Workshops

I have often teased the owners of Deep Travel that I want to go on their kind of trip! Their adventures are culinary, literary, artistic, creative, organized, fun and include those special details like discovering that perfect art supply shop or that buttery croissant or that quiet cafe or….the perfect light to spend hours sketching and painting in the park. Sign me up.

We will be exploring, capturing photographic moments, savoring the cafe life and painting what inspires us. We’ll use postcards, sketchbooks and canvas, no experience necessary, just the love of Paris. This will be about the art of feeling, seeing and creating. Have you ever dreamed of painting a Parisian postcard and sending it home? Moi aussi.

More details more blog posts more photos more paintings more inspirations as the months unfold. I am dreaming of Sennelier on Quai Voltaire already….

Merci Christina and Anna of Deep Travel Workshops for creating this workshop. It will be merveilleux!

A bientot. xo

P.S. Click here for questions, inquiries and details about this trip and all their adventurous offerings.

 

Oil v. Acrylic Part II

Hello from Atlanta, GA! I’m in the swing of trade show season but wanted to follow up on my painting experiment.

First and most satisfying result: I finished the 30 paintings! No small feat when life happens, days turn into a few days into a weekend into…oh shoot, it’s Christmas! But I stuck with it, did not complete in my optimistic 30 days but did finish. High five to finishing! There’s power in seeing something through that you enjoy (I have to add “that you enjoy” because I’mall for walking away from a meh project.)

Unexpected fun results: I sold many of them!  I wasn’t sure if I would sell them when I started and people inquired so….they are for sale.

Secondly, it lead me to participate in the Southern Oregon Plein Air Festival hosted by Central Art Supply. It was a lovely unexpected challenging fun delightful experience that challenged all of my comfort zones but I did it anyway and so grateful for the experience. Note to self: you really do get results and/or growth when you challenge what you think you can do! Oh yeah, that lesson. Even more surprising and fun, I received Honorable Mention for one of my paintings I submitted! What!!???? Yup.

Third, I re-remembered that everything I want to get better at takes practice. Running, tennis (don’t get me started!), cooking, writing…it’s repetitive. 30 paintings certainly doesn’t catapult me into capital OP Oil Painter but it started taking the fear and worry out of it.

I could write a Top 10 list of the results and observations of acrylics v. oils but this writer/painter/greeting card purveyor has to put on another hat today and pop over to Atlanta AmericasMart and represent Carpe Diem Papers!

Ciao for now! xo

 

Paint Brushes

Let’s talk tools of the trade. I’m looking at my supplies more closely recently–oils v. acrylics, canvas v. masonite board or panels, “everyday” brushes v. investment brushes, spray varnish v. gloss medium…and on.

I changed up my brushes a few months ago. The whole truth is that my aunt in Victoria was taking a painting class and her instructor recommended a collection of go-to higher quality brushes but would last a long time and make a big difference. Hmmm. I’m of the school that the “everyday” workhorse brushes are just fine, especially for a painter like me who is fairly rough on them…forgetful to wash, leaves out, etc…I asked my aunt what she thought after switching over herself and she thought they made a big difference…so that was all the suggestion I needed. Off to the candy store I went.  I have 6 total–so nothing crazy but one each of my most used sizes. Three are Princeton and three are Aquatec and they seem about equal quality to me and they were in the same price range. I’ve also heard that Trekell sells terrific brushes–haven’t tried yet but know that I know they matter….I’m on their website.

Verdict? Totally, completely 100% worth it using fewer brushes that are better quality. They feel different. They are holding their shape. I’m cleaning them more frequently. My paintings feel better. And…they’re so pretty!!!!

“Paintbrushes in Harney Tin” 8×10″ SOLD

Oil v. Acrylic

Somewhere between now and March 3rd (which is when Madame Blog here tells me I last posted) I have been slowly, quietly, nervously experimenting with a new medium: oil paints. I decided to conduct a 30 day challenge for myself: 30 paintings in 30ish days. I didn’t quite make it, I think I got to 26 or 27, life came knocking. But that’s ok. Close enough to be happy with my experiment and being as unscientific as they come, these lab results work for me.

My self imposed rules: 30 paintings on the exact same size panel. A 6×8″ masonite board. That seemed small enough to complete but big enough to get a feel for the oils. Above is #1-15. I kept the oil paint selection simple. I used Gamblin Colors upon the recommendation of…everyone I asked. I’m sure there are equally wonderful oils out there but this was what I used. I think I started with 6-8 colors on the first week then treated myself to a few more “fancy flavors”. But really, a small selection compared to the acrylic collection I have. The other “rule” was that I didn’t want to overwhelm myself. For a medium, I used Gamsol and Galkyd, that’s it. Kept it simple so I could get it done.

Results in and….I love oils. Love love love oils. I also love acrylics but for more mechanical reasons–dry time, ease, affordability. I’m not 100% sure because this is new still but I feel like I’m moving into oils more permanently. I type that oh so reluctantly with my fingers barely punching the keys. Eek. What if I change my mind? What if…

What did I love about oils? Color, texture, creaminess, saturation….in a word: buttery-ness. Oils are butter. And I found that they do on their own what I’ve been trying to achieve with acrylics…a looseness and impressionistic feel that is so natural.

I started in oils when I first started painting in Sausalito, CA. I met with a local artist and painted in her studio, usually Sunday afternoons. She was an oil painter so….I was an oil painter. When I moved to Ashland, my mentor used acrylics and the combination of the vibrancy of her artwork, the high quality of acrylics now and (very!!!!) fast dry time, I happily switched over. Learning to paint when you are waiting a week for something to dry is not for the patience challenged.

So here I am at a little painting crossroads. I’ve done several on large canvases so I’m committed to practicing on larger canvases but full disclosure, still feel a trepidation. Why? I’m not really sure. Learning curve, out of my comfort zone, new things, new supplies, it’s harder, messier, more technique driven…ok, maybe I do know.

Sharing the journey live from the studio. Will post the 2nd collection asap.

These are for sale if any strike your fancy. They are $75 + $5 shipping. Please email if you have any questions.

(L-R is #1-15. 3, 6, 8, 14 and 15 are SOLD.)