Friday, April 16, 2010

My Published Works

Ah, the smell of a freshly printed magazine!
Especially when it contains some of my artwork in it.
The new issue of Somerset Studio Magazine arrived today, and I had another piece published in it. I like the write up that was done for it, and I am very pleased with the detail photos. When I sent this piece in, I was concerned with how well the fine gold flourishes would show up, and they did a good job getting close-ups of them.
Okay, okay, it sounds like I am boasting.
I prefer the term blatant self promotion.
I love teaching, and I really love teaching art. There is something magical about the way students can take the techniques I share, and make something that is truly their own expression. I always learn from them as they are willing to trust the way they create.
The part of teaching that I don't really enjoy is the part that does not involve teaching. The publicity, the financing, the location, the arrangements. I put so much effort into researching, developing and preparing classes that are wonderful and unique and well worth the time. That is where I want to channel my time and energy. I love it when someone asks me to teach a class, and I can say, "You get this many people registered and I will teach it" and they say, "You got it", and then I just concentrate on getting ready to teach.
Here's the thing -
There are excellent artists, who are not very good teachers, and they are teaching a lot.
There are "so so" artists, who are excellent teachers, and they are teaching a lot.
All of them have to be good at self promotion.
By the way, if you have to choose - go with the excellent teachers. They will help you make the art your own.
I have been working and practicing for over 30 years to be a good teacher, and over 50 to be a good artist. One thing I have learned from others - the best teachers are very generous, with time, techniques and experience. But more on that later.
So I am learning how I can share the love - of art and creation.
Getting published helps. Thank you, Somerset Studio.
Blatant self promotion helps. Check out my art web for more images, and artwork, and classes. I will post them tomorrow on
Now I need to go get more paint on my hands.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Welcome Back, My Friends, To The Song That Never Ends

Mike was in another bike accident today. This time a car turned right in front of him and he couldn't stop in time. He crashed into the back corner, head over heels, snapped his bike in two, cracked his brand new helmet. He remembers all of this, so I guess that means this one wasn't as bad, since his mind did not block it out. Or maybe his mind is just getting sick of all this.
And this time he called me and I (not the EMTs in the ambulance) am the one who went to the scene, picked up the pieces, got the information from the driver and the policeman, and drove him to the Instacare.  Mike insisted he didn't need to go to the ER, so this was a precautionary trip to make sure he didn't break anything new or rebreak anything that has been busy building up calcification. His shoulder is hurting and he is having a hard time lifting it.
The doctor at the instacare took one look at his anything-but-normal looking clavicle and his eyes widened. Mike quickly explained that the clavicle break was from a bike accident 3 years ago, and the shoulder and ribs were broken 6 months ago. We showed the doctor the cracked helmet. He said, "Well, that's what those are for."
He took an x-ray, and let us look at it with him. He sounded impressed as he pointed to all the broken and misaligned bones to make sure they were all accounted for in Mike's recent accidents. As far as we could tell, no new fractured bones.
Now we get to worry about soft tissue injuries. That takes time.
I got really concerned when I asked the doctor if Mike could still go on a planned skiing trip tomorrow. The doctor said, "I don't see why not" at the same time Mike said, "I'm not sure I can do that."
Usually it is the other way around.
Well, I did ask him the last time he was in the hospital, that if he was going to get in another accident, make sure his bike got the brunt of it, and not his body. Bikes are easier to replace. Maybe he is just working toward that kind of result. This time, at least it is his bike that is in multiple pieces, not him.
I am grateful he works so hard at staying mentally, emotionally and physically well with all this biking. I just wish it didn't keep smashing him to bits.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Sister Act

So I just got back into town - again. I was home from Hawaii only a few days before I left to go to Artfest. This is a great art retreat by Teesha Moore for mixed media artists, held in the spring in Port Townsend, Washington. Artfest is turning into a yearly tradition for my mom, sisters and me. This is the fourth year for most of us, and the second year some of our daughters have come as well. Katherine has been teaching there for a few years, and I will apply to teach next year. We have both been accepted to teach at Journalfest, an offshoot of Artfest for art journaling which is held in the fall. Don't worry, the shameless commerce is not yet over.
Here is the thing about leading a very busy life - it is hard to justify or follow through on going to something like a retreat, or classes that challenge you, even when it is also a gathering of family members that live far apart. If we didn't have to register far in advance, and pay a deposit, and coordinate travel plans, and promise to bring supplies to share, and rely on each other for rides, it would have been easy and convenient to say, "There is just too much going on. I don't think I can make it this year."
I was still on such a high from being in Hawaii with Mike, and concerned about handling everything that still needed doing at home, it was hard to take off again. But I'm very glad I did.
I drove up to Montana, picked up sister-in-law Penny, we drove through gorgeous country to Port Townsend with some fun stops at thrift stores, and met up with Mom, two of my sisters and two nieces. I  like seeing how three generations are now a part of this.
For 4 days we were immersed, with 700 others, in seeing, learning, teaching, demonstrating, trading, experimenting and sharing creativity and visual art. I was a part of 2 collaborative books, was able to trade several hundred pieces of art, and took 3 classes. Katherine traded packets of materials she had gathered on a recent trip visiting family in Paris, India and China. And she taught classes in glass mosaics.
We stayed in one of the old officer's houses where Artfest is held at Fort Worden. Each night we would show the work we had done and share new techniques with each other. We always invited the 6 women from next door to come for dinner, and had a great time crowding around the table talking about classes.
This year I had classes in drawing, watercolor, resin work and metalworking. Loved all of them and am already using new techniques I learned. I am working on teaching proposals for 4 new classes. I will post them on my website ( after I submit them. You can also see what I will be teaching at journalfest there. The blog on that site will have more details.
In the early morning, before going to class, I loved walking down to the beach and around the lighthouse point. A very different beach from Maui, but still beautiful. I also loved seeing the deer all around the Fort. They just watched us walking past on our way to class, patiently putting up with our intrusion on their space.
My favorite event outside of class was the Iron Artist Challenge. 20 of the teachers were each given a packet of materials, and one hour to complete a piece of art.
We were able to go around the room and watch them as they worked. It was fascinating, and inspiring to see how each used the same materials in their individual way, making a unique artwork. This is Keith LoBue, Karen O'Brien and Julie Haymaker Thompson at Iron Artis Challenge.

My favorite acquisition - a ring made by one of my teachers, Susan Lenart Kazmer. It is magic in so many ways. Made from a shell used for women's money in Papua New Guinea in the 1800's, and another 1800's shell used by African women to decorate their hair.
My main reason for going - time with wonderful women I get to be related to, either through blood or through art, or both. Women who constantly challenge each other to be creative in all ways. We have much in common and many differences. Being a part of creative exercises helps us celebrate and honor it all together.
Go to and check out "retreats" to see more about Artfest and Journalfest. If you have never done anything like an art retreat, I promise an amazing time no matter what your level of experience. It is the way I teach my classes. The visual techniques develop skills that impact every part of your life.
And, it's a blast.