Abstract Attempts


Abstract I


Abstract II 

A few days without making something made me grouchy, so I took a little time this afternoon to try another of Karine’s exercises; abstract watercolors. It was super difficult for me, but wonderful to be challenged in this way.

Out of 16 little studies, these are the only two I liked.

I learned a few things about myself:

1. I don’t like my brushstrokes to “show.”
2. I prefer organic shapes to geometric.
3. I need to paint more. Every day. All the time.
4. I suck. ;)

Regarding #4, don’t worry! I don’t REALLY think I suck, and yet I really DO think I suck. Get it? :D

It’s just that human thing.

In other news… we’re living in Downtown Seattle now!


Taken on my walk this morning; sculpture across from the Seattle Aquarium.


New Tutorial! Guest Teacher Diane Culhane


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Diane Culhane came into our studio a few weeks ago to film this little project tutorial for you. She talks about painting using negative space… have fun with it!

And a big THANK YOU to Diane!

Diane is a painter and art educator living in Seattle. She has held two online classes through us, “Between Speech & Silence” and “Table Top: Drawing & Painting.” Both are available as self-study classes now.

The Walking Giraffe

In the above video, Wes saves the day for my grandson, Liam. ;)


When I have the time, I try and follow along with classes by our other teachers! These are my first attempts at abstraction, a la Karine Swenson and her class, “Intro to Abstract Painting.”

Karine’s excellent guidance allowed me to really focus on NOT finding an animal in the marks, for once.

And I always forget how much I love charcoal until I get it out again!

We’re Moving House & Studio!


“Roxy,” monoprint 

Steve and I are combining our home and studio into one downtown location this month. We have the keys to the new place, and I’m writing from there now;  we are both really excited about this change!

In the print above, “Roxy,” is ready to play. (A dog in this play position is one of the best things about having a dog, don’t you think?!)

In my Year of the Fairy Tale class, I’ve given myself the mandate to focus on experimentation and play, as I believe it makes for more exciting, meaningful, and personal work.

Apparently Steve and I like to be similarly experimental in our lives. ;)

Living in downtown Seattle is an experiment, and it might not work!


But it MIGHT!

Wish us luck!


Two Repeat Classes Open for Registration!

Hello! Registration is now open for the following two classes (repeats of previously held classes):


Junk Mail Artist’s Book
One-Week Class * $35
March 24-28, 2014

A mixed-media artist’s dream class!


Watercolor Transfer Paintings
One-Week Class * $35
March 24-28, 2014

Super neat watercolor textures; cool technique.

As always, if you have previously signed up for any of the above classes, you are welcome to join in the fun this round as well at no additional cost. Just email Matisse at matisse[at]carlasonheim.com, and she’ll get you signed in!


NEW CLASS on Abstract Painting!

Hello! I’m delighted to introduce to you my friend Karine Swenson and her new class, “Intro to Abstract Painting: Finding Your Voice.” I met Karine 10 years ago when we both lived in Salida, Colorado. A wonderful painter and person, I know you will enjoy meeting her in the video, below:

Class Details:

From Karine:

Have you have ever had an interest in abstract painting? Would you like to paint with more freedom or feeling? Even if you don’t intend to be an abstract artist, you will find this class exciting.

In this class we will explore a variety of mark-making techniques with an emphasis on finding what works for you as an artist. I will demonstrate drawing and painting intuitively. I will also share with you a few of my favorite abstract painters and help you understand some of the concepts behind non-representational painting (painting without recognizable imagery).

I will encourage you to try new things as a way to experience breakthroughs and encourage you to work quickly. You will be finding ways to develop your own way of applying paint and to compose the visual space.

During this class, you will work on many (up to twenty) small sketches and 3 to 4 paintings. I will also have you create a painting in a format you haven’t tried before.


Who is this class intended for:
-Anyone who wants to explore non-representational painting
-Anyone who wants to strengthen and develop their own voice as a painter
-Anyone interested in taking risks with their painting
-Anyone who wants to have more confidence in their own way of painting

Note: It is recommended that you have some painting experience in acrylic or oil paint before taking this class; I will not be showing you how to mix paint or choose colors. The focus will be primarily composition, values, mark making, and a search for individuality.consolation

Sign Up Today!

Click here for details.

Karine_PortraitKarine Swenson grew up just outside of a town called Rapid City, South Dakota in the Black Hills. The closest neighbor was a mile away. Reared in this environment, Swenson’s connection with the natural world was strong. After receiving her BA in painting from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, she moved to Colorado. She has spent most of her life in small towns that sit right next to the last remaining bits of wilderness. From the mountains of Colorado, the ocean surrounding Maui, Hawaii and now the desert near Joshua Tree, California, she feels the most at home out in nature. In the studio, her second home, she can explore her relationship with the natural world. Her oil paintings are reflections of this relationship. Swenson has been a full time artist for the past ten years.

See Karine’s blog to see more of Karine’s wonderful work!


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