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Happy start of the holiday season!!! Most orders to retail stores are out the door, I didn’t cook this year (which is a crazy unexpected luxury of time and energy…I LOVE cooking and doing the whole shebang but wow does it free you up and when you’re a guest!!) and I’m settling into a busy season of painting. People ask me, what’s your busy season? All the seasons! But for different reasons, different products. Late November and into December is all painting, all the time. It’s catching up on custom pieces, working out series and themes for the new year and sometimes most fun of all, the just because it’s fun to paint cupcakes type of paintings that emerge. I’m calling these little guys the Painted Bakery Collection.

And what Thanksgiving newsletter would this be without a sale sale sale!!! My “marketing team” is spread a little thin and probably won’t be able to figure out how to add a CODE22 to my website so let’s just say, anyone reading this (thank you, we’re a small and mighty group!) receives 4 FREE HOLIDAY POSTCARDS in any order placed through Monday, November 28th. I also do all year round free shipping so jump on the freebie train if you’ve been eyeing some goodies for Christmas. (Holiday postcards will be assorted but they are all new designs.)

Wishing everyone a relaxing Sunday. Big plans here include dog walking, cupcake painting, a zoom family chat and coffee with a friend. Happy days!

“Cranberry Cupcake” 6×6″

P.S. No code necessary if you order. Holiday Cards, Postcards, Calling Cards, Fancy Envelopes…all in stock shipping this week.

Storytelling in Collage Italy with Roxanne Evans Stout

fourth 2022  
Greetings, you dear friends and artists!

I have a lot to smile about from here in my studio. It feels good to be home after an incredible art retreat in Morocco. It is important to have time to soak it all in and center myself before I travel again, and that is what I’m doing. At the same time, I have a trip coming up next year that I am absolutely ecstatic about, and I want to tell you all of the amazing details!

Beautiful Montelparo, Italy, where we will stay September 16-23, 2023! Imagine Italy in the Autumn with Me The colors, the villages, the coast, a beautiful boutique hotel … All of it for you to savor. Won’t you join me for my beloved workshop, Storytelling with Collage, at the boutique Hotel Leone in Montelparo, Italy, September 16-23, 2023? Register before December 1 to save 150 Euros!

I cannot wait to share my processes and techniques with you! In student-favorite workshop Storytelling with Collage, we will create a handmade artist book or art journal that you will fill with creations during our retreat. We’ll work with paint, collage, attaching, stitching, and mixed-media projects that tell your story of this very special time and place.

We will spend one day with our supplies at the beach where we can wander and picnic as well as create! All skill levels are welcome.

Come and Be Captivated with Me… Storytelling with Collage in Italy includes:
▪ 7 nights of luxury accommodation – see their rooms!
▪ 4 days art tuition
▪ Group airport transfers to and from either Ancona airport or Pedaso
▪ Unlimited use of lockable studio
▪ All meals including breakfast, lunch and evening meals
▪ Delicious local house wine with lunch and evening meal
▪ Full day on location at the coastal town of Pedaso on the Riviera del Palma
▪ Visit to a mountain hilltop town and a privately guided nature walk
▪ Full day excursion to the beautiful town of Ascoli Piceno, including a privately guided walking tour of this beautiful Renaissance town full of history as well as fabulous boutique shops, charming cafes, and one of Italy’s most beautiful piazzas

Storytelling with Collage in Italy is going to be so full of fun and inspiration!

Join the Enchantment!

Located in a historic palazzo, Hotel Leone is a small, privately-owned 11-bedroom boutique hotel and retreat center offering luxury accommodation.

With gorgeous views from every window, a beautiful studio for us to create in, incredible food and wine, and many outdoor sitting areas – including a patio area with a pool – you will be enchanted by Hotel Leone!

The region of Le March, where we will stay, is considered one of the best-kept secrets of Italy. With its hilltop towns, art and culture, amazing coastline with hidden beaches, patchwork-quilt countryside, and stunning mountain ranges, you will be filled with delight and inspiration.

Join me for Storytelling with Collage: An Art Journey, September 16-23, 2023, in Montelparo Italy!

Moroccan Memories…

I am still savoring the experiences and memories from my trip to Morocco in October, where I got to teach a four-day workshop as well as travel the land — including travel by camel! I posted on my Instagram and Facebook pages as I lived those wonderful days, but I wanted to share a few favorites here as well. Thank you so much to Michelle Fletcher for planning and hosting the whole amazing experience, and to all of my dear friends and students from Kasbah Aitisfoul!

Moroccan prayer flags rolled into scrolls, part of our art adventure
Our wonderful guide took us safely through the desert and provided so much fascinating information!
Magic and symbols were everywhere in Morocco!
This was a favorite for me.
I fell in love with the people, the land, the culture, and the camels of Morocco!
Sending love to each of you, my students and friends!
If we were together in Morocco, I feel so blessed and thankful.
And I hope to spend a week with you in beautiful Italy next year!
Won’t you join me for Storytelling with Collage in Italy?!  

Online Classes (E-telier) At The Art Students League Part 2

I would like to share more with you about the online classes I took through The Art Students League of New York’s E-telier. Marcelo Doldoce, Figure In Watercolor. Continuing on with my studies, I took a “The Figure In Watercolor”, with Marcelo Doldoce after Ms. O’Neil’s class (see previous article). Mr. Doldoce’s online class was …

Online Classes (E-telier) At The Art Students League Part 2 Read More »

The post Online Classes (E-telier) At The Art Students League Part 2 appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox.

The Long Game of Joy

I am delighted to announce the release of my new book on the first year of marriage!

The Long Game of Joy is the book I wish I could have read before I said “I do.” It’s a blend of memoir, manual, and meditation; interwoven within the story of our first year of marriage, you’ll find practical advice from savvy relationship experts and bits of poetry for those moments when no practicalities will do. You’ll encounter a wild mix of the sacred and mundane—the Enneagram, rivers, the wound-that-heals-us, RITZ-cracker communion, the True Self, corn dogs, and a key thing called zimzum. This is a playbook for couples looking to up their game by practicing grace to live in gratitude, faith to trust, and forgiveness to love. May we celebrate marriage in all its mud and wonder, all its stains and stars. Here’s to the learning curve of love for the win. 

Below you’ll find a bit of the first chapter, “We Fought About What?” 




I titled this book The Long Game of Joythough I’m not a huge fan of games—there’s usually just one winner. But I discovered that on the playing field of marriage, both players can win. On this Unified Field of Love, two can become one and know joy. 


Which might sound sweet…. 


But it’s also a marvelous-hard healing process! 


I confess: the first year of marriage was rough for me. And I’m pretty sure it would have been rough regardless of whom I’d married; I had too much of my own unlearning and learning to do—even though I thought I’d done it. 


That’s one of the many things I wish I’d known but discovered only after talking with people who’d been married 10, 20, 30, 40+ years. And after reading poems to help with mystery. And after reading books on marriage to help with practicalities. All of which I’ll reference often in these pages. Like this bit of wisdom from Winifred Reilly: 


I thought of how helpful it would have been to have learned, early on in my marriage, that not every problem can be solved and not every irritant can be negotiated away, that a good marriage is a mixture of delight and disgruntlement, that unhappiness comes from expecting it to be otherwise.*


That’s good advice for the long game.


And what is the long game? 


A long-term endeavor. 


A marriage…. 




You can read the rest in the book (both as paperback and eBook).


My gratitude to Bo Stern-Brady for her lovely endorsement:   


Anna Elkins has the ability to capture a world of emotion, turmoil, joy, and hope in just one sentence. In her newest book, The Long Game of Joy, she tells the story of her first year of marriage with a mix of disarming transparency and delightful self-awareness that only serves to elevate the magic and mystery of love. This is the book for those who suspect that true love still exists, but it is messier, sturdier, and yet more beautiful than the fairytales have led us to believe.Bo Stern-Brady, author of Beautiful Battlefields 


Here’s to grace, faith, and forgiveness in all realms of life,


Anna (pictured here with my husband, Jared, at the start of our long game)


PS: If you enjoy The Long Game of Joy, please do leave a review!

PPS: And do share it in social-media-land: #TheLongGameOfJoy


* Winifred M. Reilly, It Takes One to Tango: How I Rescued My Marriage with (Almost) No Help from My Spouse—and How You Can, Too (Gallery Books, 2017), 236.

Rainy Days

It’s that time! October and Halloween have come to an end and boom, wind and rain are here and it’s all things HOLIDAYS!!! I tend to ease into it…I don’t need the Christmas music just yet but I do enjoy seeing the changing displays in shops, grocery stores, bakeries etc…the fruit is more rustic, root veggies are ready for sheet pans and soups, stews and holiday cookies are on the horizon. It’s that sweet spot where we can still think about, mull, about all the cozy traditions and not stress…yet. Ha!

Enjoy the in-between and wishing you a creative weekend!

I’ve updated the website with new holiday cards, an assortment of holiday paintings and even a few new Calling Cards!

Autumn Caramel Cake” 16×20″

Storytelling with Collage in Italy

Won’t you join me in Le March, Italy

for a mixed media art retreat

At the Hotel Leone & Retreat Centre, Montelparo, Italy

September 16th-23rd 2023

This is the Perfect time to make your Flight Reservations!

Register before December 1st, 2022 and you will be saving 150 Euros!

Here are just some of the things That

Storytelling with Collage In Italy will Include:

  • The creation of a hand made artist book or art journal that you will fill with creations during our retreat.  We will work with paint, collage, attaching, stitching and mixed media projects that tell your story of this very special time and place. All levels of skill are welcome.  

  • 4 days art tuition, one at which we will take our art journals and supplies to the beach to wander and picnic.

  • A full day on location at the coastal town of Pedaso on the Riviera del Palma.

  • Pedaso is a small seaside town with both pebble and sandy beaches and enjoy lunch in a restaurant on the beach edge.

  • Full day excursion to the beautiful town of Ascoli Piceno including a privately guided walking tour of this beautiful Renaissance town full of history as well as fabulous boutique shops, charming cafes and one of Italy’s most beautiful piazzas

  • Visit to a mountain hilltop town and enjoy a privately guided nature walk

Learn more about Hotel Leone

Come and be Captivated with Me!

I cannot wait to share my collage techniques and processes with you!

Learn more about my Retreat

Everything really is on your doorstep!  In an historic palazzo, Hotel Leone is a small, privately-owned 11-bedroomed boutique hotel and retreat centre offering luxury accommodation.  

With gorgeous views from every window, a beautiful studio for us to create in , many outdoor sitting areas including a patio area with a poo and incredible food and wine, you will be enchanted.

Le March is known as one of the best kept secrets of Italy. With its medieval hilltop towns that are full of art and culture, amazing coastline with hidden beaches, patchwork quilt countryside and stunning mountain ranges, you will be filled with delight and want to return again and again.

Imagine Italy in the Autumn with Me

The colors, the villages, the coast and this beautiful boutique hotel …

All of it for you to savor.

Come and Join Us

Candy Apples

Happy Halloween!! Dressing up? Answering the door with miniature chocolate? People watching? Walking the neighbourhood with little ghosts? Whatever the day offers, I hope it brings a smile to your face.

My little town has a charming Main Street parade and an exuberant Halloween happiness. The caramel candy apples are in the front window at our local chocolate shop and kids and parents are walking around in buddy costumes with straight faces, like doesn’t everyone dress up as a full size crayon and walk down Main Street? Of course they do!

Happy Halloween & wishing you a sweet & colorful day!

Candy Apples” 11×14″

Une Pomme

An apple a day….keeps the doctor away? Or at very least provides a cozy autumnal muse for most recent artwork. Fall is my absolute favorite season, the weather, colors, clothing, food, the relief of post summer and the crisp activity of pre-winter burrowing. Like everyone, I look at the calendar these days and think, what, how is it late October? I’ve been traveling, and more to come, and finding that I’m needing to dig a little deeper and listen to my own advice I give to artists–schedule your art! Show up at the easel as an appointment. Take the mystery and “inspiration” out of it!

I spent time in Victoria recently and was talking to a family member who is also a painter and we lamented (and laughed) that why, why, WHY do we need this reminder over and over? It’s no different that daily self care or a weekly spiritual practice or exercise or anything we do that requires repetitive habits…just show up! So I did. I picked some apples, figuratively not literally. I’ve got some larger pieces in the hopper that are natural history inspired and thought rather than start big, put the corner piece of the jigsaw puzzle together first. Showing up slow and steady, an apple a day, is often the only way.

“Une Pomme” 10×10″

P.S. Lots of new updates on my website, Postcards and Greeting Cards and even new holiday cards.

Book Brinking

It’s almost that time…publication time! My newest book has a November due date, and as I wrap up all the pre-pub stuff, I remember all of the resources that helped me write my own. 

This photo shows a fraction of the (way-too-many!) books I read and quoted in my own upcoming book about the first year of marriage. I am immensely grateful to the authors who shared their wisdom on relationships and communication, and I hope that my writing will be helpful to others, too. 

And so, on this brink of a new book, I thank the brave souls who write about the hard things. My already-deep respect for you has grown!

Here’s to forging joy….


Bienvenue autumn travel, a new season and fresh creative paths. We had a glorious downpour yesterday that was like a light switch on summer. On, off in one day. We are now fall.

With that came the irresistible urge to look up soup recipes and finish up canvases that have been lingering around the easel. It’s a version of spring cleaning in reserve. Prepping the art cave? I’m not quite ready to hibernate but I adore this transition. I’m a natural “back to school” person even when I’m not enrolled. This time of year often feels more new year than the actual new year. I’ve got some fun travel coming up (no, not Paris, as above painting might suggest), I saw pumpkin pie at the bakery and there’s rain in the forecast all week. Life is good! Next up, replacing all my old brushes and stocking up on art supplies. (I still remember how fun it was shopping for back to school supplies!)

Wishing you a cozy Sunday where ever you are!

Bienvenue” 22×28″