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Write Like a…

I recently taught a still life painting workshop with lovely ladies, charming props, delicious treats on china and strong coffee in Polish pottery mugs. It was a snowy day, gloomy outside but sweet and cozy inside, with a patter of conversation and music in the background. Everyone’s paintings were so adorable and quirky and perfect and mine was going down that path minding it’s own business until….THIS MUG. I’ve often said that paintings have a mind of their own once you start and this was a perfect example. The still life props were rated PG. Lemons, limes, dominos, old ephemera, books, marbles, apothecary bottles, tea cups. The things I love and collect. But for some reason, this bright white shiny new mug demanded I not only drink my coffee out of it but be placed smack dab in the middle of the painting. I did it, the class laughed, not thinking I would actually paint it, but it worked.

Life is like that. All sweet and warm and planned out then plunk, life’s equivalent of Write Like a Motherfucker Mug in the middle of your day. Huh. I didn’t wrestle with it this time. I took my own advice, listened to that little voice, and added it. It’s a sign to me. A sign to have more fun, to listen to creative intuition, to teach workshops because damn they are nurturing, and yes, the obvious, to write like a motherfucker. (Thank you Cheryl Strayed and The Rumpus for the quote. And the mug. Available on her website.) Adding the unexpected brought me more joy, more laughter. The unexpected can be exactly what I need to get my good crazy back. The painting is mine now. Not selling it, propped it up in my kitchen to remind myself that unexpected can be the best part of your day. xo

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Vintage Florals

It is not just snowing. It is blizzard snowed in snow plows snow boots snow suits snowing. BUT! Spring can not be far around the corner…can it? The irony is not lost on me that I am painting more florals than ever in a winter white village where I’d be lucky if a half-chipped pine cone served as my floral inspiration. Thank god for Trader Joe’s flowers!!!

My vintage florals are available at a few west coast boutiques, ElizabethW (San Francisco and Carmel) and Watson Kennedy (Seattle). I’d be thrilled to find a few other shops to partner with, Portland perhaps? Or some east coast cities? Please feel free to call or email (above) if this strikes your fancy. More blossoms and blooms for everyone! xoxo

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Happy New Year

It’s 2017. I’m not going to recap 2016, lots happened, lots good, lots happened not so good, and that is life. Big picture, the fun, the opportunities, the artistic growth, the community, has far outweighed and I’ll take it. No looking back.I did not h…

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Still Life with Lime

It became winter. Just like that, all things pumpkin started appearing, my little town looked like an east village of foliage delight, Halloween came and went, said foliage dropped off the branches, a storm front moved in and boom, daylight savings and…

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Hacienda Rosa

Hello blog. Oh dear, I am truly terribly inconsistent bloggess…bloggeur? Just checked the date of the last post and the shame! And what to do about it? Update, I suppose. In no particular order, I have been busy and not busy. Being a full-time artist often is a game of Hurry Wait. Hurry to finish a show, wait until sales or orders come through. Hurry to get samples together for customers…wait until they make a decision. Hurry to organize a new catalogue….wait until it is done. And on it goes.

The even more honest answer why there is such a long gap between posts is that work, art, painting, small business life is hard. Hard when it is slow. Hard to hustle when you feel like you’re giving it your all and your all is…not all enough. Really hard to stay upbeat and motivated. There are peaks and valleys with the creative life, I’m the first to write about it, preach about it, celebrate it and commiserate with fellow artists going through it. But when you’re in it? When I’m in it? Ugh. Poo. Yuck. Blah.

And yet I continue. I am painting. I am reaching out to customers. I am keeping the faith. I just returned from a wonderful visit to Mexico, a long planned Christmas/Birthday gift from my mum and step-dad and that was a colorful palette shot in my arm. Every corner, every turn was a new inspiration. A hacienda, topiaries, hand painted frescos of Mary, lanterns, cobblestone streets, hand lettering, tropical greenery, and the color! Oh, the magnificent palette that was Mexico.

Hacienda Rosa, the pink house. Time to get out my rose colored glasses and put them back on. xoxo

“Hacienda Rosa” 8×12″ available for purchase on Etsy at https://www.etsy.com/listing/483504175/hacienda-rosa?ref=shop_home_active_1

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When I Was in Paris


When I was in Paris…. Pretty much anything you say after those five words sounds dreamy and cosmopolitan. Croissanty and delicious, images of silk scarves, olive green lawn chairs, majestic architecture and outdoor cross-weave café chairs lined up like little soldiers, or bouquinistres lining the Seine.  It doesn’t matter if it’s:

“I broke my leg.”

“I was mugged.”

“My hotel reservation was lost and I spent two nights in a broom closet.”

“I ate a bad croque monsieur and had the worst diarrhea of my life.”

It is all good. Your story is already magical because you said When I Was in Paris. It is impossible to feel sorry for any hardship and it’s also impossible for even a mediocre story to sound bad. You sprinkled the fairy dust. Because it happened When You Were in Paris. Chocolate is richer. Tea is spicier. Coffee is stronger. Cream is thicker. Croissants are buttery-er. Weather is moodier. People, clothing, buildings, vehicles and art are sexier and more stylish. The city is je ne sais pas quoi because precisely that, roughly translated, I DON’T KNOW WHY! It just is.

These are a few things I did when I was in Paris.

When I was in Paris, I bought a journal and a good pen. Several pens.

When I was in Paris, I drank coffee in cafes and people watched.

When I was in Paris, I went to many museums and galleries.

When I was in Paris, I walked everywhere.

When I was in Paris, I ate delicious meals. Even the simple things tasted better.

When I was in Paris, I bought a navy blue sweater.

When I was in Paris, I walked the farmers market.

When I was in Paris, I slowed down. I savored. I noticed details.

When I was in Paris, I painted.

When I was in Paris, I wrote.

Simple, lovely.  Not all that different from what I do here minus the museum and gallery portion. I can feel this way today. As an artist, I am susceptible to the grass is greener feelings, I could create if I was painting en plein air at Le Palais de Luxembourg. Sitting on a lawn chair. Eating a baguette. Ok, that’s possible. I could. But I could also be painting right here, in my studio, drawing upon my dreams, photos, memories and passion for that city or that feeling that the city gives me. I could be writing in a café. Hemingway style. Drinking in the locals, nodding to the familiar waiter. But today I’m not. But I can still do the writing, the painting, the order packing and the business dreaming.

Because When I was in Paris, I dreamed of doing what I am doing today. xo

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Do Anything


I have lots of words and ideas constantly perculating in my head. If you had a front row seat in my brain you might think, good lord, I can’t believe she sleeps, she’s written so many books, taught so many workshops and painted so many pieces. Ok, I have painted a lot. My hands and feet do a fairly decent job in doing the action part of getting to the easel. I show up, the rest is a crapshoot. Julia Cameron says something divine about artists needing to be responsible for the quantity and God will take care of the quality. I’m cool with that arrangement. In painting.

In writing, not so much. The Actual Writing v. Musing, is a lawsuit that I’m hoping to settle very soon. Or now. How about now? I paint for a living. I sell greeting cards for a living. So I guess you could say I make my living as an artist or a creative entrepreneur. Let’s be clear. I don’t make a great living. Living is great, but this three year journey has been a very rocky road no cliché big enough to describe. But I do it. I show up every day and take some kind of action towards my company and my art. My success is often, sorry, like watching paint dry. But again, there is the showing up part that proves to me, over time, all the little pieces will become something bigger. I am trusting that regular writing, and sharing, has the same effect. Practice. I practice at painting many times a week, hours on end. I share my work. I have thick skin. I bounce back. I start over. What if I could treat the writing process the same way? What if I didn’t worry what people thought? Ok, that’s not realistic because we are human beings that by nature of breathing in and out we will always always always care even a little what people think. I care a little less than I used to, I really do, but again, the human thing.

People often ask me about my life as a working artist or card company owner. I can guarantee that one of the questions I get asked is, how? How do you do it? How do you pay your bills? How did you start? How now brown cow. The answer could fill a book, and it is, but the truest answer is this. One tiny step of action at a time. Always action, no matter what. Nothing is too small. No email is useless. No sketch on a napkin is silly. No phone call goes unanswered. All action all the time. I get plenty of down time, I do. I am not That Person who’s always on the go busy busy can’t stop talk to you later. I’m very laid back, shy even. I need a lot of quiet time. But I always take action steps towards my art and my business every single day. And that includes writing a blog post. Or going to the post office. Ordering business cards. Following up with a sales lead. Packing an order. Putting cards in cello bags. All of these manageable baby steps are not intimidating. It is telling the universe, telling my company, I’m ready for business, I’m up and running and ready to roll. If I looked at the bigness of all the things I’m not doing, because there is A LOT I’m not doing (Mailchimp campaigns, photoshop, building my list, networking, going to conferences, creating a slicker website…oh lord, I’m overwhelmed already.) So I do what I CAN do. Those things on the list are valid and it’s likely I’ll get to them in the natural order of things when my action steps lead me there, but in the meantime, I do what I can. All the time.

So maybe that theory, those small action steps, can be applied to other things like, say, running? Writing? Cooking? Maybe it would behoove me to think less about the marathon and more about the 2 miles around my house. Or drop the why write it’s all been said before blues and say it anyway, your way, my way. And cooking? I don’t have to be Ina Garten to have people to my home.

Some how, some way, I have managed to live this principle with my painting. I really don’t know how I did it other than I just did it. Someone should use that as a slogan. It makes me happy. I do it with joy. I do it often with dedication. Day after day, week after week, shitty paintings became so-so became moderate became my style became sellable in stores and galleries became a company and the rest…I’m making it up, and writing it down, as I go along. xo

 “Yellow Hunters” 11×17″ available at ElizabethW Carmel. Email: [email protected] for inquiries.

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Chapter One

One.

One page. That is all I need to do and all I promised myself. I am reading, no, slurping up Glennon Doyle Melton’s first book, “Love Warrior”, and while her message is profound, mesmerizing and pay-attention worthy, all I can think is, I can do this too. But I am not doing this. So why am I not? I am not because in the precise moment I read this breath-taking sentence by her “My inhale is reading, my exhale is writing.”, I was lying on a chaise lounge in blistering heat, soggy and a little cooler post swim at my local hippy-dippy public pool where this is an actual Krishna and incense to pray to when you reach the deep end. I love it. My JCrew red one piece and lobster print beach bag are an odd fit but we belong to each other. (Jackson Wellsprings AND the swimsuit.)

Now Glennon. Or the story of What Glennon Made Me Realize Today. There is so much power in action. You can read her book to absorb her story. It’s worth it. Even if it isn’t your story, you will relate. There are gold nuggets everywhere. But my story is the story of why that one sentence, that chance meeting, that painting in the museum, stops you dead in your tracks and pushes you onto a new rail. My new rail is one page, one word at a time. One blog post, one painting, one order, one run in the woods. All of the onesies added together equal an entire wardrobe. High five to self.

None of this realization is entirely new. What makes it a little more electric today is this new font I’m writing in. Remember, I was just in the pool. There is also a shallow end. New font, ok, larger font, allows me to see what I am writing! This is no small thing. I am reading the words clearly, no longer hunching over in a miserly just-finish-it-state of most essays I wrote to finish my English degree. This feels fun! Fun enough to use an exclamation point!

The other thing that has jarred me awake is doing something different. It’s hot here today. Like uncomfortable hot did I really complain about the cold only a few months ago kind of hot. There’s AC in the house but it’s old and cranky and never seems to be that cool. I longed for a boat or a lake or lake house with a boat docked in front and because I have none of those things, I decided to go swimming at my local pool. I don’t do this very often. So many layers. A towel. A swimsuit. Snacks? No snacks. Water. Book. Back up book because what I’m reading might not fit my pool mood when I get there. Phone. Case to put phone in because it might get wet. Magazine. Stop. Enough distractions. Don’t call anyone, you don’t need to go with a friend, just go now, get in your car and jump in that

crazy sulphur wellspring swimming pool. And that’s what I did and that one little action of doing something different today made me think about things differently. And that is more than enough. That is Chapter One material right there.

Back to this writer and her sentence. “Reading is my inhale. Writing is my exhale.”

I can seriously read that line over and over and think that’s it, nothing more needs to be said. But I can also read that sentence and think, I want to write sentences like that. My story, your story, our good sentences all need to be told.

I am home now from my daytrip. I am regenerated. I swam, I lay out on my favorite white and navy striped beach towel, I wore a big straw hat, I read a book. This is all it took. I changed my radio dial for three hours. There is no doubt that the dial will find it’s way back to something crackly and indiscernible and I’ll have to press search on the radio to bring in a clear station, but today its coming in good.

The other thing, today is full of other things, is the acceptance of not doing just being. I live in Mecca for all things transcendental and meditative, healing crystal rocks and ascended masters. But for real.  Walking out the door with no plan other than to lie on a chaise for a few hours when I have a lot of work pending is reckless? Stupid? Irresponsible? Nope. I’m hanging a show on Monday morning at 9am and need 20 pieces finished, not telling where I’m at this moment, but you can assume I’m not sitting on the couch admiring my work. Leaving today felt important and right. I feel more energized to paint, to write, to cook a healthy dinner and know that my brain melt this afternoon was the recharge work and over-work does not provide. Busy-ness is a total scam.

Today I honor unexpected muses. A new writer (to me). A great sentence. An afternoon by the pool. A hot summer day spent doing a hot summery day activity. A big hat that made me happy and feel vaguely European.

Now I’ll start my painting day. Chapter One can start any season, any age, any afternoon. xo


“Chapter One” 24×24″
Available at Weisinger Family Winery, Ashland OR August 1-31st, 2016

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Red Sky

Red sky at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky at morning, sailor’s warning.I haven’t sailed for years yet I have an obsession and deep love for all things nautical. It’s part of my genetic makeup being raised on an island, always around sail boats, marin…

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Red Dot(s)

I have a show up right now and I sold a painting. Scratch that. I sold three paintings. At the risk of tooting my horn or sounding immodest or any other thing we’re taught as good girls to not do, I am freaking happy, proud, elated and actually did a dance, and it was happy, in my kitchen. These paintings are hanging in a beautiful venue, South Stage Cellars, for 6 weeks and they have honest to goodness red dots beside the price.

Selling my art is one part of the artistic arc of living a creative life. It’s the one not many people talk about, they mumble, they ask polite questions, but we really want to know, do you make a living? Can you pay your bills? How does it all….work exactly? Because as working artists, small business owners, the road not taken path followers, we are, I am, still a little surprised that this gig is working out. There has not been one single Monday in three years that I have not woken up astounded, grateful and a little bit surprised, like forgetting you’re not at home when you’re traveling, that this Monday, this work week, is my play to direct.

But how exactly does it work? I am not kidding, it works on faith. I can only speak from my experience but based on the countless essays and books and ted talks and e-courses and and and….from what some pretty smart and experienced authors and artists are telling me, I’m not alone. It’s faith and action. Or action and faith. This is how it works for me. There is a whole lot of boring sitting, puttering, painting, prepping and doing before there is an art show. Or a card order. Or a gift fair. The one constant variable that leads to a sale or to any monetization of art, is doing the work. It has taken me several years to really believe as this philosophy can also feel like watching paint dry, really, ordering business cards is the only thing I need to do all day? Yup. It’s action. Do another thing the next day. More action. In one week you’ll have seven action steps that all together are kind of big. It might even be a whole painting or essay or business plan or art show application. I’m not the one who invented this. I’m just saying, it works.

Back to art. And selling. And red dots. And those questions. Can I pay my bills? Do you make a living? How does it all…work exactly? Yes (With some debt. Not lying. Working on improving that.) Yes, in a creative manner. Day to day. Week to week. It works by swinging arm to arm on the monkey bars. Card orders, paintings, commissions. It’s all momentum. Maybe there will come a day when I’ll re-read this post and think ah, that’s so sweet that I am so earnestly trying to make a go of this thing. I hope so. It will be worth it. I want to always know that happy dance red dot joy. I think maybe because it’s the joy behind the action that makes it work. Exactly. xo

“Still Life with Louis Sherry” 8×10″ SOLD

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