The first step in al my paintings is simply covering the canvas with color. Big splotches of color, drips of color, then often stamped patterns over that first layer....

I've had a large canvas sitting around for months in this first stage. I loved how it looked and was afraid to paint on it for fear of messing it up. (Isn't that silly?)

The other day I started painting on it, though. It started out badly. I thought "oh no, I wrecked it, just like I knew I would". I let it sit for a few days. Then I went back to it and decided to paint over what I'd painted before; I couldn't even stand to look at it, so I just painted right over it with some big patches of flat color. And something started to happen..... I started to like it! There's something in me that's calling me to simplify simplify simplify right now, and the patches of flat color were really satisfying that.

These 3 images are different sections of the painting so far. I sort-of wish they were 3 small canvases that looked just like this, but I find it interesting once again looking at my own work in progress through photographs. I can just see it differently somehow.

It's inspiring me to do a series of abstracts, I think. It scares me, because "I'm not an abstract painter", "people will think I'm copying someone if I start painting something different", etc etc. Man, that fear voice can really do a number on me!

But I really like how these patches of the painting are just all about color and shape. I often feel like my work needs to have MORE than that, like some deeper meaning and significance, but really when it comes down to it, color and pattern are my true loves. Why can't my paintings just be about that?

Anyway. I also started playing with these fun new toys earlier this week?

They are Stabilo Woody crayons. They're sort-of like a cross between crayons and closed pencils.... sort-of. And you can get them wet and smear them around, and I really love them!

Here's a painting I finished yesterday:

This one started out so ugly I almost scrapped it completely. But wow, it feels so good when I persevere through the discomfort of creating something ugly and can salvage a piece and turn it into something I actually like!

 Art, man. It's so hard, so fun, and so rewarding!

Hi guys! I have some brand new mugs available in my shop today. I'm in love with these ones! I will definitely be making more in the coming weeks, but for now there are 4 colorful mugs with uplifting words and messages. Check them out! 

There's the Wild Spirit mug, which you can see above and below.


The Hello Beautiful World mug:


The Dreamer mug:

And the Really Good Stuff mug:


The mugs are standard size (11 oz), white ceramic with bright color printing, and are microwave and dishwasher safe. And they're printed in the USA, which is awesome.

You can find them all together in my shop right here.

I hope you like them! 

This past weekend I went on a business lady retreat with some creative friends. The best part is that it was in Portland, so I didn't have to fly or drive anywhere far away -- our retreat house was about 3 miles from my own house! 

We rented this amazing AirBnB pad called The Fenix House. These people are Portland hipsters to the max. Their kids are named Brave and True. Their house was filled with weird/awesome art, cool colors, Pendleton blankets, feathers, and interesting objects and books, and their basement was a crazy den with a huge comfy couch, Christmas lights, and a fireplace. It was so fun!

How insane is that huge ox head? Is that even what it is? I have no idea, but I want one. I posted the photo above on Instagram, and 2 people actually told me where I could get one here in Portland! So you know I'll be going to look into that this week. Barring the possibility that it might be, like, $500 or something crazy, I feel like there's a good chance one will end up in my house. Ryan will be so excited.

They had great plants, boob pillows (!!), and awesome kid art.

How cute is that panda?

We spent time doing "deep dive" sessions on each other's businesses, sharing what we're up to, what's going well, what's challenging, what we need help with/advice about, and it was pretty amazing. The really great thing is that each session, even the ones that were not about my own business, gave me some sort of insight into my own operations. Each of us is a different kind of creative business owner (a retail store owner, an author and creative business consultant, an illustrator and retail/wholesale company, conference and craft show organizers, and me, a painter, surface designer, and teacher). The insight I gained from each person's different perspective was really quite amazing! 

And look at their funky little car! These people are Portlanders through and through. I love it.

On Sunday morning before starting our deep dive sessions, I headed out for an early morning 7-mile run on the waterfront with my running friends, and it was SO foggy. The geese were out and about, floating around. The whole scene was so beautiful, I had to stop and take some pics. I love fog. They looked like they were floating in midair at times. I love how running allows me to get out and see my surroundings in a way that's sort of in between walking and driving. It's faster than walking, so I can see more, but I'm also outside, unlike in a car, so it's more experiential. Who wouldn't thought I'd ever be a runner? So crazy. 

Before I put my bag away after unpacking yesterday, Juneau (of course) decided to get in it.



(There's a cat in there!) And just to complete my Morocco-reminiscing, here's a shot of one of the rugs I bought there last year (and my favorite boots!): 

Why oh why didn't I bring home more rugs??! That was a mistake. Guess I'll have to go back to Morocco one day. Or Turkey! Ooooh, that's on my list, too.

Happy Tuesday!

above: 'Lakshmi' original painting

All I wanted to do last week was paint paint paint, and look what happened!

A new Ganesh painting (number 8 in my Ganesh series) and a Lakshmi painting, the Hindu goddess of wealth, love, prosperity (both material and spiritual), fortune, and the embodiment of beauty, appeared. Perfect for the beginning of the year, no? Invite some prosperity, abundance, and leaping into the unknown in for the coming year!

The original paintings are each 8x8" on wood panel and are $175 apiece. Ganesh is here. Lakshmi is here

above: 'Ganesh of Flight' original painting


There are also print versions of each one, in 3 different sizes:

Hope you love them!


And all will be right in your world.

I looked down at my painting palette yesterday as I was mixing up this color and my heart jumped a little bit. That color!! Isn't it so pretty? Someone on instagram said it was 'volcanic'. I absolutely love that description.

Sometimes I mix two colors together that I've never mixed before, and it creates magic. This one was Magenta + Indian Yellow. Indian Yellow is one of my all-time favorite paint colors, ever since I discovered it in college. Wow, I love color!

Here's what I was working on yesterday:

If you remember, I posted its beginning on Monday. I'm not sure exactly where this painting will end up, but I'm having fun with it an trying to stay loose. I'm also feeling patches of bright, flat color for some reason, so I've been covering up messy areas with patches of flat color. I think this might be a fun technique to try for a series of abstract paintings... I'm always a little scared to do abstracts; they're deceptively hard!

Anyway, that's what's going on with me today. Color color color on a grey grey Portland day. :)

I was hoping to have these brand new gift hearts available for the holidays, but alas, it was not to be. But I'm very happy to share them with you today, because what better timing, actually, with Valentine's Day exactly one month away from today?!

These sweet little sentimental heart ornaments are part of my Beautiful Soul line with Midwest-CBK. I adore them. I've got this one hanging right next to my desk:

I love the fierce + fearless reminder! (Also, on the back it says 'be bold, be brave'. Each heart has a different word of phrase printed on the back! You can see an example of one in the photo at the top.)

This Heart Sing gift heart might be my favorite. (I've got the matching paperweight sitting on my desk. Apparently I need a LOT of reminders!)

And who doesn't need to be reminded that Today Is Going To Be Awesome? That's what this one is for:

And the quote on this Thank You gift heart, I think, just cuts straight to the heart of everything:

I mean, really. If I just said thank you for everything, I think my world might be completely rocked. I should try it.

And also but not least, this little gem, reminding you that your dreams are listening for your YESes. Today's the day to be brave and say it!


{Smile right now! Why not?}

You can find all these brand gift hearts in my shop right here.

 I think they're such wonderful gifts for yourself or someone you love -- a dear friend, your mom, your sister, your daughter.... 

I hope you love them! 

This morning I took myself on a walk around my neighborhood. From the moment I first looked out the window of our bathroom as I was brushing my teeth and saw the gorgeous sunrise and knew it was going to be a sunny day, a voice in my head said "get outside as soon as you can".

So naturally, I decided I'd better get to work first. Because that is what you DO on a Tuesday morning! Am I right?

Then I remembered something that Johanna Beyer suggested to me yesterday. She suggested that whenever that Fear Voice (you should be doing this, you should be doing that, never enough, blah blah hooey) leads me to ignore the other quieter, true, wise inner voice, that I can choose to pause, say "thank you for trying to protect me, Fear, but I'm ok and am going to choose this other option now", and then to go do that thing or be that way that your inner voice is guiding you to do or be. She said it much more eloquently than that, but you get the idea!

So when I realized that I was ignoring my instinct and desire to go outside and enjoy the fresh, sun-filled morning air in favor of working working working (as is my general M.O.), I decided to choose differently this morning. So I grabbed my camera (my real camera, not my iPhone camera!), put on a jacket, and headed out the door. And blessed be, what a glorious morning! It felt so good. And now that I'm back, here I am, refreshed and ready to work. Thanks but no thanks, Fear! My aim is expansion this year, not being small and staying stuck in my old, depleting ways.

So. Here's what I saw this morning that captured my attention. Thank you, sweet universe, for your glorious beauty!

This sweet little kitty is not my cat, Juneau! I ran into this friendly little sweet-face on my walk, and all she wanted to do was meow, roll around, and be pet. Who knew Juneau has a twin in the neighborhood?!

Happy Tuesday!

As I mentioned last week, I took a bit of a hiatus from painting over the holidays, and last week I started fresh in the studio. It felt good! A bit scary, but good. I discovered that I sort-of love taking a photo of a piece in progress and looking at it to help me discern my next move in the painting... I discovered that unintentionally (as I was really just taking a photo to post on Instagram (come join me there!), but now I think it's a tool I might use regularly.

Something about putting a bit of distance in between me and the painting helped me see it in a different way (not being so close to it) and to realize what I like about it so far, what areas need work, how the colors are working, etc. 

I've also been thinking a lot about the idea of simplifying lately, and I realized while I was painting that I was starting to get too busy. That's often the case for me. But paintings need to have space that gives your eye a chance to rest, so I began covering over areas with flat color, and then it started to feel a bit more spacious. 

So I wrote myself a note above the painting to remember to simplify. I think keeping that in mind in general will serve me well!

Also, I wanted to let you know that I'm teaching again at Art Makers Denver this year:

I'm teaching 2 days of painting and one day of pattern design (it'll be like a condensed version of Pattern Camp, but in person)! Details are here. And registration is here (you can register early at a discounted price now through January 31st, fyi).

And if you're intrigued by the idea of an in-person Pattern Camp, stay tuned in the coming weeks as I have something brewing.....

Happy Monday!

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