Monday, April 29, 2013

Full of Beauty

Full of Beauty

Spring has finally arrived in all its beauty.  The garden is slowly coming to life. My eyes are waking up to the untamed inspiration all around me. Flowers, nature, insects, animals; these are my muses, and I'm compelled to paint them. I can't help myself.  Flowers especially are deeply stirring to my blood.

Full of Beauty

This was a scribble, a 'mish-mash' of flowers in my sketchbook.  The daffodils are alive, the others are yet to wake. Oh what joy is was to sit in my garden, the warm sun on my back, the children playing, hubby digging away, and me sketching.

Full of Beauty

I'm a simple person really, I don't need much more than this in life...oh, well the ocean maybe, but that's it!!

Full of Beauty

This page was was done in my Sillman & Birn Epsilon Series Sketchbook using Tombow Dual Brush Pens.

Full of Beauty

Thanks for checking in. xx

Friday, April 26, 2013

Words To Live By

"The beauty of all things lies in our ability to appreciate them."

Learning to appreciate who you are, what you have, and where you live, is integral to happiness.

Discovering ourselves is a lifelong journey that is filled with ups and downs. It's our ability to roll with the punches and get back up again that helps define us.

Life is attitude!  So much is out of our control that to be bothered by everything that goes wrong is nothing more than self-destructive. Learning to simply 'appreciate' is the most important part of becoming a beautiful person and living a happy life.

We are all beautiful people, it's just that some of us choose to focus on the negative rather than the positive, therefore hiding our beauty from the world around us.
It's hard to find the 'beautiful' when your stuck on the ugly.

Positivity takes practice and once you embrace it, then beauty comes naturally.

Have a beautiful day and thanks for checking in. xx

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Ticking Them Off...

I've had lots of deadlines looming over me this past month and I've felt a little stressed about it.  But I'm pleased to say that I've been ticking off the tasks on my "To Do" list.

My Life Book 2013 lesson, "Divine Color", is coming up next month and I've been so excited about it.  I've poured my heart out into the lesson and probably given way too much for just a single week class.  But that's the way it all materialized, so I went with it.  Hopefully the Life Bookers will enjoy it!  (The good thing is they get to download ALL the materials and work through them at their own pace.)

This month has also seen 21 Secrets launch and it's been amazing.  There are so many beautiful, courageous, sparkling art journalers circulating through all the amazing workshops.  My offering, "Sparkle-arkle" has been wonderfully popular and every time I log in and see what these amazing artists are producing, I'm humbled and amazed.  Who doesn't love sparkle? 

I have also been working very hard on updating some of my current classes.  I like to keep my offerings fresh and relevant, and as the online art class market place floods more and more with offerings, it's hard to stand out. So in the interest of quality, I decided to pull several of my bigger classes offline at the end of 2012 so I could update them.

This week also saw the launch of my most popular luminescent watercolor technique class "Mastering Twinks".  The feedback from this class last year was amazing, and participants told me that there was just too much good information for such a short time frame.  Many suggested that I stretch the class out to a 3 month offering, others suggested I split it into 2 or 3 separate classes. I took the feedback very seriously, and decided to split the offering into two classes.  This meant reworking everything, adding loads of new materials, and producing lots of new videos.

I'm pleased to say that the first of the new "Mastering Twinks" series, "Twinkling Discoveries", is now open for registration and I'm so humbled by the response after only a couple of days.  I'm still editing video and putting the finishing touches on this class which goes live on July 11th, and I'm beyond excited. My studio is dazzling with Luminarte's Twinkling H2O's and I have so many wonderful projects to share that I'm still trying to decide which ones to include.  I guess we'll see!! 

The second part in the "Mastering Twinks" series is called "Twinkling Expressions", and will go live in the fall of 2013.  Thank you to everyone who has been asking when this class will come back on-line, I appreciate your patience and support.

I am also in the process of updating my "A Taste Of Silks" class, which showcases Luminarte's Silks Acrylic Glaze.  As techniques evolve and Luminarte add to their stunning collection, I like to bring this class up to date.  It is 90% complete and will be opening for registration very soon.  Stay tuned for details.

I have several other wonderful projects in the works, including some collaborations and giveaways, and I'll be making announcements very soon.  In the meantime, here is a little page I did in my Stillman & Birn "Beta" series sketchbook using "Twinkling H2O's", watercolor pencil, and ink. If you're doing Life Book 2013, you'll get to see a little more of this in May.

Registration for both Life Book and 21 Secrets is still open. These programs run right through the year and it's not too late to loose yourself in some AMAZING art journaling workshops.  If you'd like more information, or would like to register for any of my classes, please click here.

Thanks for checking in. xx

Monday, April 22, 2013

"Mastering Twinks-Part 1" Online Class

I am extremely excited to announce that "Mastering Twinks" is BACK!!

Twinkling Discoveries is Part 1 in the new "Mastering Twinks" Series based on the HUGELY popular "Mastering Twinks" class of 2012.  It is a glittering, shimmering online class that begins on July 11th, 2013 and runs for 5 weeks.

Twinkling Discoveries is a sparkling journey into the world of luminescent watercolors. Through a kaleidoscope of color, techniques, hands on exercises, and projects, participants will become wonderfully immersed in stunning watercolor techniques that will bring their art alive with the dance of light and color.

In this class, we will explore the mysteries of Luminarte's beautiful Twinkling H2O's in all their glory.

The original "Mastering Twinks" workshop ran as a single class in 2011 and was delivered exclusively by PDF downloads. This new series sees that original class extended and divided into two separate classes; Part I - Twinkling Discoveries, and Part II - Twinkling Expressions (scheduled for Fall 2013).

Each class contains both original material and a host of new material, which includes new projects, new topics and techniques, new PDF downloads, and loads of brand new videos.

Twinkling Discoveries is the first class in this new "Mastering Twinks" Series and is NOW OPEN for registration. If you've been waiting for this class to come back online, then now is your chance to participate.

If you participated in the original "Mastering Twinks" class in 2011 or 2012 and would like to participate again, know that this class is based on the original content with the addition of new material, including video.

Mastering Twinks 1 - Twinkling Discoveries begins on July 11th, 2013 and runs for 5 weeks.
The cost of this class is only $55 and registration is NOW OPEN. 

Please join me on this beautiful, twinkling journey into the world of luminescent watercolors.
For more information, or to register, please click HERE.

Thanks for checking in xx

Friday, April 19, 2013

When Artists Cook: Green Beans

Green Beans

It's coming up to that time of the year in my part of the world where we start to plant our vege gardens. My hubby is planning on taking the mantel this year because my efforts at growing veges have been disastrous.  I'm far better and painting them than I am at growing and nurturing them.

Green Beans

It's funny really, my mother is a wonderful gardener and my father is a wonderful artists.  My sister inherited my mothers gift in the garden, and I think I take after my father on the art front.

Green Beans

One of the veges that we all seem to love to grow (and eat right off the bush) is green beans.  But cooking them is somewhat of a challenge for me.  I never seem to know what to do with them.  But last summer I found this fabulous little recipe that is perfect as a side for BBQ's, roasts, and just about anything.

Green Beans

Green Beans with Feta & Tomatoes

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 chopped onion
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped oregano
1/2 cup white wine
1 tin diced tomatoes
1 cup trimmed green beans
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup cubed feta cheese

Heat oil in a saucepan, add onion and cook over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and half the oregano.  Cook for a further minute. Pour in the white wine and cook for 3 minutes, or until reduced by about one third. Stir in the diced tomato and cook uncovered for 10 minutes. Add the beans and cook, covered for another 10 minutes. Stir in the balsamic vinegar, feta, and remaining oregano. Season with sea salt and pepper. (Serves 4)

Green Beans

And the boys in my family?  Well, my mother is also a piano teacher, and my father was a corporate executive before he retired, and as fate would have it, my younger brother is a full time pianist/musician and my elder brother (and my sister for that matter) are both corporate execs. (Just sharing a little of my family).

Green Beans

Thanks for checking in. xx

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Awake At Night

A Mouse In The House

What keeps you awake at night?

A Mouse In The House

For me, mostly it's issues surrounding my children, the future they face, the state of the world, am I doing enough for them, am I a good enough mother?  

A Mouse In The House

Then it's my art business, create more classes, get on the road to teach and demo, publish my books, hold exhibitions...the list goes on. It's always a battle between resources, energy, priorities, opportunity and time.  

Mouse In The House

What keeps you awake at night?

A Mouse In The House

This little mouse was done in mixed media including, Silks Acrylic Glaze, Ceramcoat Matte Acrylic Paint, Albrecht Durer Watercolor Pencils, Tombow Dual Brush Pens, and Gold Gel Pan. It was done in my Stillman & Birn Epsilon Series Sketchbook.

A Mouse In The House

Thanks for checking in.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Developing Expressions

Last week my 7yo received a letter. It told her that her artwork had been chosen to be displayed in an exhibition at the Hearst Center for the Arts.  The Hearst center is a beautiful arts facility and gallery in our area.

The exhibition, called "Developing Expressions: Student Work from Cedar Falls Schools" showcases the best art work produced by students from K-12.  I don't know exactly how many schools are in the Cedar Falls area, but there are a lot.

Yesterday was the opening reception and I was deeply honored when several of our very special friends came to celebrate and honor our little artist.  Megan was so proud she was speechless.

I thought the exhibition would be HUGE, with hundreds of pieces of art, but I was amazed when we arrived to see that it contained only about 70 pieces of amazing art. The curator and the gallery really did a wonderful job choosing and showcasing some real talent from the Cedar Falls area, and I have to say, there is some real talent.

This was a wonderful achievement for our little Megan, and in the spirit of celebration, we held a little party at home afterwards.  Megan's art teacher submitted her work for consideration and I am so grateful to her for giving Megs her moment to shine. 

It saddens me deeply to think that art, music, languages, and physical education are often the first to loose when there are budget cuts in schools.  These disciplines are critical to our children's well rounded education and even more critical to a well balanced society.

Congratulations Megan, and to all the other students who were honored for their artistic talent.  Whether any of them go on to make art their careers in some way remains to be seen, but what matters is they have all been given a vital moment of acknowledgement and validation for their art.  And from this point forward, and for the rest of their lives...they will have that!

Thanks for checking in. xx