A Blank Canvas

Since I can remember, it’s been a tradition for me to start every new year with a painting. Today, I will prime a blank canvas with a fresh coat of white gesso and I will think about what my new painting may look like and I might even sketch out a composition. I will also review the past year and decide if I need to make changes, resolutions or set any goals.

Over the last few weeks as 2016 has been drawing to a close, I have been thinking about what I really value and most importantly, what I don’t. I realize that life needs to be simplified by getting rid of things I don’t need. Too much precious time has been wasted on buying, organizing, cleaning and looking for things I can’t find. My closet is full yet I can’t find anything I want to wear.

I want to spend more time observing and experiencing  life through my eyes instead of a camera lens or through a small screen. I wish to talk to my family and friends directly instead of passively seeing their lives through texts or Facebook. I plan to spend more time outdoors, to breathe fresh air, to sweat and to push my body to it’s limits.

The mirror shows that I’m getting older and thankfully, my health is good but I know that life is short. I need to be even more careful about what I eat, drink and do because I don’t really have the time to waste.

My goal for 2017 is to consume less and experience even more. I will minimize time spent on social media and I will make the effort to call, visit or write my loved ones. I will not bring my phone to a restaurant or over to a friends home. I will reduce the amount of things I own and I will have more fun.

Every New Years Day begins with a blank canvas and my plan is to mindfully fill it with love, art, gratitude and purpose.

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Nano Sketching

I like tiny things and recently I found the coolest little pocket palette from Expeditionary Art which I filled with my very favorite watercolors. I needed to find the perfect pouch to store my water brushes, tiny paint kit, fine tipped pens, pencil and tiny journal and after a long search I found a nifty case originally intended for makeup at a thrift store and it was perfect for holding everything I needed. nanosketch5The idea is if I have a little art kit with me at all times I will have more opportunities to sketch and paint. Keeping my nano art kit with me at all times has allowed me to observe a busy world by slowing down just enough to take the time to draw a subject and paint it, wherever that may be. nanosketch1

Nano sketches are quick gesture drawings done with a pencil (no erasing) keeping the lines loose light and free. You can always erase later but I like to get the composition down on the paper very quickly. It is helpful to photograph your subject first so you have a reference to go to when the scene changes suddenly.

The paper you choose can make such a difference and I love bound journals that come in all shapes and sizes as well as paper types.  I found some great unlined micro journals by Paperblanks and discovered they accept watercolor quite nicely but the little Moleskine watercolor journal is the best I have tried so far. nanosketch2It’s also a good idea to keep it simple because the drawing area is so small, a vast landscape may be difficult to capture if not a bit overwhelming. As a long time diary keeper, I like writing my thoughts on the paper as well. Visual journaling is so much more fun and interesting. It’s true, a picture is worth a thousand words!IMG_3932I prefer to use transparent watercolors by Daniel Smith and Holbein. My primary mixing colors are Quinacridone Rose, Hansa Yellow Medium and French Ultramarine Blue or Pthalo Blue and I can make just about any color I want without making mud. I might add more transparent colors, a couple of neutrals and earth tones to the palette but I always have my trusty primary colors with me.

I hope this post inspires you to start sketching every day and if not every day, as often as possible.

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I’ve been Doodlewashed!


Thank you Charlie O’Shields of Doodlewashed.com for having me as a guest! I enjoyed sharing my Nano-sketches with you and your readers. It’s been fun! Click here to go to the post.

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Meditation Banner

I made this meditation banner with acrylic paints, mediums and stencils on ATC cards but this technique can easily be used on canvas, board or any paintable surface. I love how the gloss medium contrasts with the matte acrylic paint from Holbein. Check out my tutorial on the Artistcellar blog!IMG_3366

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Kumomi Mindscapes at Art Unraveled!

I am excited to be the guest artist today on the Stencil Girl blog where I talk about my workshops at Art Unraveled in Phoenix this year. I am teaching Kumomi Mindscapes on August 2nd and a folded Kumomi Bijoux box on August 8th. Art Unraveled is a week long art retreat in Phoenix Arizona and offers great workshops by amazing artists. I am glad to be participating again this year and am looking forward to August!


Kumomi Mindscape II

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And the Winner is…

I had a wonderful time being a part of the Artistcellar blog hop and in the company of so many wonderful artists! I hope you all had fun too. Now it is time to announce the winner of a set of Diamonds Series stencils, and the winner is…
Barbara Bishop
If you would like to receive a beautiful folded crane from yours truly please hop on over to my Facebook page,  leave a comment on this blog hop post and make sure you “like” the page. This offer closes on December 15th so hurry on over and now everyone could be a winner!

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Stencil, Doodle and Fold Oh My!

Artistcellar Blog Hop and Giveaway!IMG_1008

Stencils are one of my favorite tools to get the creative juices flowing and Artiscellar has a brand new set entitled the “Diamonds Series” which is based on the faceting structures of real jewels. I am excited to be a part of this blog hop with a group of talented artists to announce these beautiful stencils and host a giveaway. So let’s have some fun!

These stencils are are well made and can withstand vigorous scrubbing and creative techniques. The new designs are versatile and really I love the six inch size because they fit perfectly on origami paper.

For this project I cut 24b inkjet paper into 6″ squares. Standard origami paper is a little too delicate. I used the ACS111 Brilliant stencil because of the mandala shape but all of the Diamond Series are great for this project.

I taped the stencil over the paper on the edges and applied dye based stamp pad ink with a stencil brush, scrubbing in a circular motion from the center going outwards.

I used several ink colors to create a blended airbrushed look. Use any type of ink or paint for this as long as the brush is fairly dry. I removed the stencil from the paper and started doodling using a pigmented pen in the spaces of the designs. This process is very meditative and calming.


I used my trusty Prismacolor pencils to shade in the doodled areas then blocked in other areas with the black pen for contrast and wrote the word “love” around the circle to finish.


Once the drawing was completed, I was compelled to fold it into a crane. What else does one do with a square sheet of paper? Some of the drawing was hidden in the folding process but I thought the crane turned out surprisingly beautiful. Click here for a video on how to fold a crane. Now share the love…IMG_0998

Inspire and Giveaway!

I hope this post inspired you to use stencils in a different way. I had fun participating in my first ever blog hop and the best part is I get to give away a set of  Artistcellar Diamonds Series stencils to one lucky reader of this blog post. Just leave one comment below to be entered and I will announce the winner on December 9th. Easy peasy! Be sure to visit the other participating blogs and you can even enter to win by leaving a comment on their post.

11/30 – Lisa Cousineau/Artistcellar, artistcellar.com/blogs/news
12/1 – Wyanne Thompson, www.wyanne.com/blog
12/2 – Jane Lafazio, janeville.blogspot.com
12/3 – Sue Bleiweiss, suebleiweiss.com/blog/
12/4 – Karen Elaine, YOU ARE HERE!
12/5 – Jill K. Berry, jillberrydesign.com/blog/
12/6 – Effy Wild, http://effybird.com
12/7 – Felicia Borges, artistcellar.com/blogs/news


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