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En Plein Air

Do you paint en plein air? I have done it once at a festival, wrote about it my book and have thought about it ever since. Which to me is a sign, I probably want to go back to it.

En plein air painting means to paint outside. The concept is that you paint what you see while outside in nature: the ocean, mountains, meadows, gardens and more. You bring a portable easel, art supplies and any other equipment you might need. Much like camping for the artist. Pack in, pack out. I watch a variety of YouTubers that specialize in plein air painting and there is something so relaxing about…watching. Maybe not quite as relaxing as doing!

But I still dream. Especially during this covid time. I continue to studio paint a lot but there is a calling or craving to get outside and switch up my practice. Stay tuned please.

Any new art practices or mediums you’re trying or contemplating that have come out of the stay at home order? Curious.

Stay healthy everyone! xo

“En Plein Air” 11×14″ available here

Tennis Sweater

When I was in high school, I used to borrow-steal this beloved vintage tennis (cricket?) sweater from my dad’s closet. It was and remains the perfect sweater. It’s both nostalgic and classic, a perfect memory set to the soundtrack of Footloose, Breakfast Club, Flashdance and Pretty in Pink.

My paintings are nostalgic. And sometimes funny and quirky. And after all these years and classes and tutorials, museum visits, art gallery wanderings and youtube watching, I’m at peace with this style.

I wrote about this in my book, about finding a style, not knowing what my style was, borrowing other people’s, wanting it to be “fine art” (what is fine art??). I still don’t have an exact answer. But I do know that style comes from repetition and following your own bread crumbs of curiosity and inspiration. Read the books that interest you for no reason.  Flip through the mags that light you up. I don’t know why I can watch plein air videos for hours…I don’t paint that way. But something about it informs my own art. Why do I love making envelopes? I don’t know. But it makes me happy so doing more of that informs the next thing I paint. It’s all about staying plugged in. Banana bread baking, plant watering, art supply restocking or online class obsessions. All of it is part of what becomes your style. Figuring this out as I went along was exciting because it took the pressure off me to think I needed to be born with a precise aesthetic or talent. Nope. Just keep showing up for the things that you love and the creativity will inevitably pour out.

“Tennis Sweater” 12×12″ Sold.

PS. This will be a card, available on my website in 2 weeks. Stay tuned.

PPS. Creative paper goodies available here, reading material on this very topic here and as always, where it all began, Carpe Diem greeting cards here.

Happy Friday, friends!! xoxo

The Corona Muse

The muse has a sense of humor. I think.

Exhibit A, “Vintage Typewriters”. I was more than half way in on this painting, enjoying myself enjoying the subject matter, taking my time with each still life piece working my way around the canvas. I arrived at the vintage black typewriter, one of my dearest possessions, that sits right across from my easel and started painting in the name: CORONA. Really??  I couldn’t have noticed this before I started? But I didn’t…or it didn’t click or I’ve seen it so many hundreds of times I never thought of…the other Corona.  For a split second, I thought of painting it out, changing the typewriter or changing the name. But I didn’t. This is part of the creative process. The happy (weird?) accidents. I left in the Corona because that’s what it is, a Corona Typewriter and that’s what we’re living through, a Corona Virus pandemic. Other than the temporary “huh”, I loved capturing these plants and marbles and pots and things that make my side table happy.

What else is new in the land of painting and greeting cards and small business? Painting lots. A new Carmel-by-the-Sea collection is available at elizabethW Carmel (online and in their shop). Also hot off the easel is a fun new series for Watson Kennedy

Painting, writing, cooking and baking, all things creative, have helped me so much during this strange season. I’m ready to emerge but also not ready. Is it possible to become used to this? No, it isn’t. But there is something about a sustained period of creativity that helps with momentum. That, I like.

What else fun and juicy? I’ve been designing and ordering new Carpe Diem Papers greeting cards, Fancy Envelopes and sending snail mail like a turn of the century (last century, the old one) tea drinking lady. I’ve also been getting terrific reviews and response on my book so that makes me happy.  I promise, a book party or release or something, when things are more “normal”.  Maybe I’ll rename it, “Don’t Launch Your Book in a Pandemic”.  No, I’ll save that for the sequel.

Anything else…? It’s summer where I am, hotter than hot, the way summer is supposed to be but i’m melting. I still don’t know when I’ll be allowed or want to travel. Trade shows are cancelled for the summer. I’ve started running again. Not far, mostly on a treadmill, but it feels good.  I’ve read and listened to some very good books, this one stopped my world for several days, and this one I just started and I’m already hooked. Suggestions always welcome…my love of books surpasses my time to read and listen but I’m always hopeful.

Happy weekend, friends. Hope the muse finds you or you find it or both. xo

“Vintage Typewriters” 18×24″ SOLD

Beach Day

Well, not sure where you are, but where I am, it is most definitely NOT a beach day! Where I live in Ashland, OR we get summer weather: big storms, thunder, lightning, the actual bolts like Zeus is throwing a javelin, extreme heat and some nice frosty days with hail thrown in for good measure. The heat is on today. But the AC was on early in the week.

But what remains? Painting. Staying at the easel. Working, Emailing, Paperwork for business. More painting. Keeping close track of the news and openings so I can follow where my customers are finally opening their stores. One of my first customers and my longtime friends at the elizabethW shop in Carmel opened this week. It’s a big deal. We’ve all been sheltering in place since mid March and between that and George Floyd’s murder and the subsequent long overdue social changes and systemic racist conversations that are happening out loud, we are coming out of this period different than when we went in. Better? I’m not sure. But we’re coming out. One of the pandemic truths that I have learned is that it’s a privilege to both enter society again and to shelter in place as “punishment” or national directive. No going to war, just staying inside. This is the year we’re waking up. Maybe next year we’ll look back and see how 20/20 our vision needed to be for things to change….??

But in the meantime, painting and creating and trying to stay on course when the news cycle is begging me to to stop. One of my motivations is knowing my friends are opening their shop, the walls need new art and we all need uplifting whatever that looks like for you. For me, it’s the beach. Carmel Beach in particular is one of my favorites. No superlatives do it justice. It’s just that postcard perfect rugged wild northern California patch of ocean and sand.

This piece and more (soon to be revealed) headed to elizabethW Carmel early next week.

Wishing you all a weekend of peaceful kindness and simple pleasures.


“Carmel Beach View” 16×20″

P.S. Sending snail mail and Fancy Envelopes now that the pace of life has slowed down? You might like these. I know my postman gets a kick out of my outgoing mail.


I’m in the mosaic zone! Collage, mosaic, patchwork, creative anthems, painted stories, whatever they’re called, I’m IN.

I want to write about these came about for a couple of reasons. The primary being, in creativity, nothing is lost. Things you do or create now that seem like nothing or not satisfying, will most likely pop up somewhere down the road in a new way that lights you up. Exhibit A: Lemonade.

Years ago, 10 at least, I worked a lot with paper ephemera and collage. Like, alot alot. It was my career. I worked for a company as creative director who’s primary aesthetic was vintage ephemera and I, also a personal collector, would create art on the side using the scraps. My most common theme was this blocky patchwork collection of ephemera all glued together, letters, music sheets, old maps, ticket stubs, you name it. I’ve always had a soft spot for paper goods. These ephemeral collages never really went anywhere–they were backgrounds on journal pages, the starts of paintings that couldn’t get lift off, ideas for stationery products and often just fun ways to use all my beloved paper. And envelopes. Of course, always making envelopes!

Cut to movie montage soundtrack to 2020. Pandemic. Sheltering in place. All the ideas and inspiration in the world have left my heart and brain. Forever. More montage, more small violin….and boom. I went for a long walk and on that walk, I “saw”, literally saw, the large canvas I had been struggling with,  in completion like a flashback to my paper collages. Except this time it was paint. And they were themes. They were stories within stories and a series of them bubbled up through me like I was taking art dictation. I’m five in now and loving the process and how they “appear” before I start them.

This one is “Lemonade”. Inspired by the global health crisis we’re going through, turning lemons into lemonade. How in 24 hours, homemade lemon bars appeared on my doorstep, Meyer lemons were collected from a friend’s tree, a webinar I watched had a funny turning lemons into lemonade story and every where I looked, had some kind of lemon theme. And yes, I believe in signs.

So if you’re doodling or baking or doing something that isn’t “working”…my guess is that it is, just maybe not yet. When I think of the piles and piles of paper collages I did, I find it so funny that this “idea” didn’t come to me earlier. It’s not new or original. I’m sure there are many painters who have worked in this format. But it was new to me and that lightning bolt from Zeus himself is hard to catch.

Lemonade. May we all be turning some of the pandemic hardships into something a little sweeter and softer and maybe even inspired.

P.S. Still sending out lots of mail these days. New batch of Fancy Envelopes up on the site as well as a variety of new greeting cards. One of my nice lemons into lemonade this season has been sending way more mail than normal! And…receiving mail!! How about that! (And as always, free shipping on everything on my website.) Happy Thursday friends! xo


Full Sail Ahead

It appears that the world is reopening, cautiously or with abandon, depending on where you live.

My little town of Ashland, Oregon is in the slow lane and we’ve been given word that retail shops, salons, personal services can begin opening, or i should say, begin the application to open May 15th. The vibe is tentative at best. No one really knows if it is safe yet. Should we hunker down for another month “to be sure”. What’s sure?

I’m somewhere in the middle. My logic common sense follows science and doesn’t want to rush back into the danger zone. My pandemic fatigue is ready for a cut and color! Not to mention a mani pedi! My heart aches for my retail friends. I want them to be open! But I also want them to be safe and do what feels right. Are we full sail ahead? I guess yes, with a life preserver and land in sight. xo

“Full Sail Ahead” 24×30″


Hello out there! Pandemic fatigue, anyone??? Day 50 here. Shocking really. Shocking that it’s day 50, shocking what we get used to and shocking that it’s not over and I’m oddly used to feeling like it won’t be truly over any time soon.

Lots of things are opening around the United States today but it feels like a false start. The state I live in, Oregon, is still on a stay at home order. School is cancelled for the year. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival here in Ashland is cancelled for the season. Summer is not looking healthy, more like cautious recovery.

But here I am, spending the days, like everyone is, in a new routine, some of it, even good! I’m painting consistently. I’m finding inspiration in new books I haven’t opened in years. I’m listening to podcasts I didn’t have “time” for. I’m binge watching some TV that’s fun that I have zero guilt over. I’ve even organized my studio and purged lots of supplies. And…I’m painting BIG. Ok, I painted exactly one BIG painting (36″ x 48″) but it feels like a lot. It’s on a canvas that I probably bought two years ago? Swore it was on on my 2019 must complete list and then boom, 2020 and…you know the rest of the story.

I think I’m either hard-wired this way or it’s human nature, but i needed to approach this behemoth canvas like a cat. Slow, on my terms, when I wanted. Nope, just kidding. Not interested anymore. But wait, don’t put it back in the garage. I might be interested Or not. I’ll decide.

And I did decide. There are three half starts underneath this piece. An abstract, a landscape and a seascape. All were exciting and inspirational when I started and all fell flat when I started working.  There was no mojo. Nothing. So i stopped and started again and again once more. It was finally on a walk that something clicked in my brain and I knew I had to return to my collage roots. But in paint form instead of paper. You know an idea has struck when the urgency in action matches the sparkly must start instantly feeling. (For years, I worked in paper ephemera and did many blocky pattern mosaic-type pieces.)

After 2+ years of walking by this 3ft x 4ft beast, I walked up to it like i had bought it yesterday and started. And didn’t stop until I was done. There were several sleeps in between but you get the gist.

It’s part patchwork memoir and part diary of what’s happening in our community and world. Kindness. A whole lot of kindness. I’ll write more when this is over about the crappy parts of living through a global pandemic because it’s not all pollyanna perfection. But right this minute, this day, I am struck by how kind humans are when put to this kind of neighborly test. We’re truly all in this together.


“Horizon” 36″ x 48″

Named “Horizon” because one of the first things I learned on a sailboat was to look at the horizon. It will keep you from getting seasick. Advice that stands for these rough waters too.


“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” Aesop

Even though times are wrought with anxiety, sadness, worry and fear, there is profound kindness happening all around us. I see it or hear about it every day. It’s the tiny to the huge. The big tip the stranger leaves for the restaurant staff. The picking up the neighbor’s groceries. The thinking about you card in the mail. The extra waves and nods from every one out walking. The face mask donations to the local hospital. The unexpected calls and texts just to check in. The purposeful 6ft people are giving each other in line ups, the meaningful, how are you. And the pause afterwards. Really, how are you?

We’re still in the middle of all this so it’s hard to know how we’ll be on the other side. We’re in it.  But the kindness element? That’s real and optimistic and on days that feel like Hulu or Netflix is about all the decision making I can make, I’m hanging on to kindness.

We will get through this. xo

Snail Mail Renaissance

You ok over there? I’m ok over here.

Times are scary, sad, uncertain and…strangely morphing into a new normal. Day 25, day 26, 27.

For me, I’ve found routine and purpose critical for this sheltering in place. In no particular order, I make the bed, do the dishes, walk the dog, cook, do the occasional consolidated errand run in town, send fun mail, pack orders organize cupboards, work on my business, do website maintenance, look in the fridge to see if contents have changed, they haven’t and other super exciting things. (Inset glazed stare out the window…)

I’m not complaining. I’ve got plenty to do, plenty I’ve not done over the years that I suddenly have “time” for…and plenty to be grateful for. I’m painting, I’m creating, I’m staying in touch. I’m finding it interesting hearing from friends what they can and can’t do right now. What we’re drawn to during this bubble. I can’t read. I love reading. Nope, not now. I can half heartedly listen to books on Audible but my attention span for fiction isn’t there. I’ve been able to flip through illustrated books & my coffee table art books but that’s it. I can dip into Netflix and AmazonPrime (Ozark and Unorthodox…) I can watch CNN, listen to endless podcasts and a variety of news shows.

I have one friend who is cooking up a storm and doing neighbor deliveries. Another who is writing lengthy letters to her friends and family. One is homeschooling and working and about to go crazy if it wasn’t for her daily meme exchange with girlfriends. Another adopted a dog! One is winning the jigsaw puzzle game. The common denominator? Everyone is finding their happy where ever they can. I cut fresh azaleas from our shrub outside and those hot pink blossoms in a little vase made me SO happy. Fresh flowers in the time of covid?? Such a luxury. Everything has become so acute. Strong coffee, a simple egg salad sandwich, roast chicken. We’re going back to the basics.

That’s all for my wee ramble today. My joy sparker this week was definitely placing a new order of greeting cards (pics coming soon) and new fancy envelopes! The silly sweet satisfaction of sending great mail…I love it so much.

I received a sweet note in the mail today (added bonus of sending mail…you receive it back!) and my friend said, can’t wait to see you IRL ACV (in real life, after covid virus.) We can still laugh. xo

P.S. I’m still offering a FREE 12 pack of assorted greeting cards with every order on my website. Snail Mail for everyone!!!

The New Normal

Remember when a bubble bath was a luxury because you’d been out all day or super busy and needed to destress? Yeah, me neither. Pretty sure we’re on week forever and a day of quarantine and for us here in the United States, we’re looking at least least another month. Exhale.

How’s everyone holding up? I’ve heard from lots of people and it seems the consensus is the same. I hear this.  I’m ok. Today. I’m ok. This afternoon. I’m….ok. I’m hanging in. I’m coping. I’m taking it day by day.

I would agree with all that for me too.

I would also add that I lean towards optimism and glass half full thinking and I have seen so much kindness, generosity and human goodness in the last three weeks, it’s heartbreakingly beautiful. My little town has developed a program called “Adopt a Neighbor”, there are random food deliveries on my doorstep, I am delivering home cooked meals and treats, people are checking in on each other, strangers are waving as we walk our dogs, errands are being run for those who can’t and there is a general sense of “we are in this together.

So, do we deserve a bubble bath? I think yes. I posted this one and a bunch of new pieces on my website if anyone feels like looking at happy art and escaping for a minute.

Wishing everyone a peaceful evening or morning or end of week wherever this finds you. I’m grateful, more than ever, for this extended community of blog readers and supporters and like minded art community. We WILL get through this together!!! xoxo

P.S. Still including a FREE pack of 12 assorted greeting cards with any order placed on my website. No code needed.

P.P.S. Fancy Envelope update! If you have ordered these, my new shipment arrives tomorrow and your order will ship immediately (I have an actual tracking #…) If you’re thinking about ordering them…new batch of designs is great. Snail mail will get us through! xo