Believe it or not, despite my bakery loving aesthetic, I do eat fruit and the occasional green juice. I completed this fruit platter after a similar, more caloric, Valentine XOXO cookie platter, and it reminded me that there is quite a good selection of available (and colorful) still life props right there in your local grocery store! Go figure! Have you tried a pomelo? So good…a grapefuit, lemon and orange walk in to a bar….

I’m painting more these days, not quite at the pace or flow that I’m accustomed to…but better. And better counts. I’m switching things up a little…like painting fruit! I’m sure this phase will last one painting (hey, this painting is rare!! lol) but fun to arrange on my platter and take arty photos at 10pm when I should be thinking about winding down. This is the bliss and pitfall of working from home.

Whether this finds you in a fruit or fancy cake mode, I hope your week is sweet. xo

“Fruit Platter” 11×14″

Saturday Still Life

It’s a blue sky February Saturday, it’s still & peaceful and this is a slice of life I truly cherish. The quiet putter, errands mixed with book reading, shelf organizing, coffee with a friend, a productive and relaxed kind of Saturday.

This still life in oil was painted in a three day in person class I took in December. It was terrible timing for me. It was cold and rainy. I was over committed work wise and felt guilty for taking three days to paint. It was awkward because I hadn’t painted much and I wasn’t in the mood to be social (three days in a row!) and…it was absolutely perfect and exactly what I didn’t know I needed. I’m using that class and the unexpected gifts that came from it for two creative reminders: uncomfortable is the precursor to growth (dang, again???) and the less is more concept. It was a still life class and the invitation was skies the limit for what we wanted to bring to incorporate what was already provided (flowers, fabrics, a lovely assortment of vases…). I know myself well enough to know that if I’m not carting around something vintage or a fancy tea or sweet treat, I might seize at the easel AND…I didn’t overthink it. I popped 2-3 potential painting subjects in my canvas tote, gathered bare minimum oil paints, my brushes (which I’ve paired down to as few as possible), a palette, a few oranges to snack on (which became part of the subject) and a handful of canvases. It’s only taken fifteen years but I’m learning!

Bringing too much to the easel whether its’ supplies, ideas or props can cause creative analysis paralysis. Three days, one painting. Well, I didn’t completely follow the directions however, I took them to heart. I slowed down, I enjoyed the group, the chatter, the silence the unexpected lessons our instructor demo’d for us. It was a perfectly imperfect still life.

Happy Saturday! xo

“Citrus & Sweet Still Life” 11×14″

“Spiral Gyre #2” In Montana Watercolor Society Online Show

Greetings! I am happy to announce that my painting Spiral Gyre#2 is showing in the Montana Watercolor Society Signature Membership Online Show. The Details. This is the first time the Montana Watercolor Society (MTWS) is holding an online show of works by its signature members.  It is an honor and a pleasure to participate.  The show […]

The post “Spiral Gyre #2” In Montana Watercolor Society Online Show appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox.

The Bliss of Is

Last year, I finished up a Very Big Project that won’t get out into the world for a while, so I decided to create a little passion project for fun…. 

And now I am delighted to announce my first hardback book: The Bliss of Is.


Inside this book, you’ll find little poems and paintings. The poems mostly emerged over several years of writing daily for National Poetry Month. I selected thirty favorites and—in keeping with the quick-spirited writing—painted one watercolor a day for a month for each poem. All in celebration of the daily practice of presence. 


I invite you to that practice. Take a moment to meditate on a poem-painting each day for thirty days, or read them all in thirty minutes, or both! May you enjoy playing in the realm of art + word + spirit. 


Here’s one of the poems:


I spot a scrap of fallen paper,

& as I bend to pick it up, I see

it is not trash but a square of light.

I pick it up anyway. 


If you’d like to enjoy the full gathering of meditative poems & paintings, you can order yourself a copy here. Do note that this particular book has very long ship times; think of it as a surprise when it finally arrivesa gift to your future self in time for this year’s National Poetry Month!

If you’d like a copy sooner, I still have a few left of a limited run of signed books. More info in my newsletter. Contact me if interested.


May we know the bliss of is—of being right here, right now.





Pretty in Pink

It’s February, it’s cold, it’s winter…and it’s one of my favorite cheerful color palette months! I love pink, all shades, tiny highlights or all out nothing subtle about this kind of PINK (see painting…lol). I’m dedicating the first two weeks of February to painting and posting all things “pretty in pink”. Old and new, some from the archives (this one was a large 24×36″ commission for a lovely client several years ago). Others are on the easel now with wonderful pools of pinks on the palette ready to go.

Other than loving this shade, I’m also reminded that having a limited palette/supplies/subject is EASIER!!! When I took art classes 15 years ago I’d walk in with the equivalent of an art supply store inside a carry on luggage and wonder why I didn’t complete anything. I had too much! Too many options kill the vibe. When i had everything to choose from, my inspiration was stifled. Narrow it down to 2-3 canvases, bare bones brush selection, 5-6 tubes of paint, some paper towels, a good snack and I can almost guarantee that you’ll complete something you really like. Less is more.

Happy creating or lounging or both on this pretty in pink February day. xo

Of Green Fuses and Flowers


The force that through the green fuse drives the flower… 

               Dylan Thomas 

The first month of the year makes for great hibernation—for hunkering down into the soil of the creative work. For me, January is like the Monday of the year; it gets the “green fuse” going. This month, I sent out a big project into the world (here’s hoping!) and prepared to announce a little one (soon!). 


Big or small, all the work happens day by day until one day, what was the bud of an idea finally blossoms. Not unlike the amaryllis above. Though I took the second photo only two weeks after the first, this can be what a year looks like. Or a decade. Or a life. 

Oall the planting and tending that precede the beauty of bloom!


Blessings on all the things flowering in your life this year.




Top 5 Detox Tips for Artists

Leah’s Top 5 Detox Tips for Artists

Embark on a healthier art journey in 2024! Read about Leah’s experience with traditional, toxic art supplies through her 20’s and the impact on her health as she shares 5 detoxing tips for artists. Read Leah’s Tips Here Eco Artist of the Month:
Mayuko Fujino
Capturing Nature with Stencil Art & Natural Pigments “Working with Earth Pigments and Gum Arabic Powder has a feeling of intimacy like home cooking and a sense of a little more direct connection to the world; like seeing apples on a tree rather than in a supermarket.” – Mayuko Fujino  Continue Reading Mayuko’s Interview 4 Free Tubes of Natural Acrylik Paint! We want to start off the new year with a thank you! With your support 2023 was a great year for us as we launched our newest product, Natural Acrylik Paint

To say thank you we are giving away FOUR tubes of Natural Acrylik Paint to one lucky winner on our Instagram page. Click the link below to see the rules and how to enter, good luck! Enter the Contest Now! Follow Us on YouTube! Did you know we have a YouTube channel? See behind the scenes, paint tutorials, and craft videos for the whole family! Subscribe Today! Is Acrylic Paint Really Toxic?

Acrylic paint is one of the most commonly used paints in the world – but do you know what ingredients are inside and how they’re affecting your health? 
  Want to get creative with your favorite Natural Earth Paint pigments?

Check out the Recipes section of our website for innovative uses of our products for fine artists and families! Have questions about our eco-friendly products? Visit our FAQ page or send us an email at [email protected].

Practice Calligraphy with Anne Brooke

Practice Calligraphy with Anne Brooke

Practice Calligraphy with Anne Brooke, artist and member of the Calligrapher’s Guild, starting in February. Six weeks on Tuesdays from 2 to 4 pm. Workbook and pen provided. Register with Anne Brooke at 541-941-7057. $150 covers it all!

Eye of the Tiger

Let’s try this again, blog! It’s been too long. Happy New Year! Last year required extra eye of the tiger strength with family illness, big loss, grief and a myriad of travel & unexpected challenges but…as Anne Lamott says “Life is lifey”. And here we are–2024 strong. I learned a lot from last year and a lot that I’m still processing. But what stands out is both practical and obvious. Life (in all ages and stages) is beautiful, precious, messy, infuriating, fabulous, it is truly the best of times, it is the worst of times. But mostly it’s the best of times.

I didn’t paint as much last year but what I did paint felt meaningful and focused. I was drawn to exotic animals, chinoisserie patterns, florals, vintage classics and had a renewed love of plein air painting. (I’ll leave that for another’s sort of like “enjoying” a marathon…maybe the feeling after is the high?)

On a work/creative update: I went deeper into collaborations with customers and their shops, elizabethW and Watson Kennedy. I took two painting classes, one I attended in person and got a lot out of, (recommend!!!!) one I attended online and missed every class. I worked in oils more, invested in my work space and reconfigured some furniture (because I paint in the living room!!! Yup, it’s true.) I packed a lot of orders and neglected digital work. I learned Canva and love it. I tried a selection of instagram apps and hated it. I spent more time looking at art in person, museums and galleries. I renewed my love of vintage books and natural history. I ate more cakes than I painted. I did a lot of short distance sprinting last year. Not actual sprinting…the creative burst “get through this week” variety. And that’s ok. Some years are like that.

All of that to say, thanks for subscribing and following along (even with the pauses) and I hope you’re still painting, baking, sewing, knitting, running and cooking too. Insert soundtrack for Rocky and find your eye of the tiger.

“Eye of the Tiger” 16×20″

2024 Chairish Art Gallery at Bergdorf Goodman NYC

I’m thrilled to be participating in the 2024 Chairish Art Gallery at Bergdorf Goodman group art show! Show runs from January 11-April 8, 2024. There are approximately 30 artists, all work can be purchased at the show on the 7th Floor at Bergdorf Goodman in New York City.