Guest Post by Diane Culhane; Three class GIVEAWAYS


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dianefilmingDiane during the filming of “Table Top: Drawing & Painting
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From Diane:

This is my first written writing blog ever. Yeah!

I am a multi-media artist and art educator. In my paintings I try to capture the spaces between speech and silence in a narrative way through play-filled whimsical settings. For the past 12 years I have been painting full time and show my work nationally.

I also love to teach! I have taught at Seattle Pacific University, Bellevue School District, Eton Montessori, Kirkland Art Center, Pratt Arts, and the Bellevue Art Museum. In the summers I run an art school for children “Go Go with Van Gogh.”

I live in West Seattle and my studio is in Ballard, WA. When I am not in the studio you can find me biking or hiking. I have been blessed with two beautiful daughters who are outdoor enthusiasts living in Hood River, OR.

I wanted to announce my 2nd online class:


“TableTop” Still Life: Drawing and Painting

via – offered starting November 11th.

Yeah for Traditional Still Life painting from artists that came before us
to record an event that happens daily —
gathering loved ones to share in a meal and intimacy.

Make your moments concrete in your world
by recording them in drawings and building skills that grow into paintings.

See * Explore * Experience * Color * Create

Today is your day to rise up
& participate in with a community of incredible people
that come out and “play” together – Delightfully being more for you.

See you online & contact me any time (

Buckets of Paints for you !!!

Diane Culhane

Diane, hiking on her birthday!

* * * * * GIVEAWAY DETAILS * * * * *

Diane and I are giving away THREE class spots! To enter, “friend” me on facebook (Carla Sonheim) and then “share” the Table Top Giveaway Post you see there on your facebook page. Thanks for helping spread the word about this great online class and GOOD LUCK! I’ll pick three winners on facebook randomly Saturday (11/9) at 10pm PST.

Airplanes! Haiku!


I’m getting on another airplane today. I’ve flown more in 2013 than I ever have — in fact, I think I’m going to be a GOLD member in 2014 because of it.

Some of you who know me well (or took my “Wretched Girl Journaling” class a few years ago), know that when I fly I am overcome with the urge to write cranky haiku. Here are a few from my last flight:

I cannot stand it
one minute longer. My legs
are falling off.

Window seats are great
when you can stretch your legs out.
But now, pure torture.

Those are the tame ones. I will spare you the really snarky one, where I attack the poor stewardess. (See? I’m TOTALLY not all smiles and sunshine over here.)

I’m off to visit my son and his college for Parent and Family Weekend. We have reading to do to prepare for it!

I’ll report back Monday with any new haiku.

Giveaway: Artistceller Stencils


I don’t often work with stencils, but I couldn’t say no to Tamara Laporte’s request to help celebrate her two new sets of stencils from Artistceller!

I started by incorporating some of her buildings from the “Whimsy” set into kind of a timeline art journal page (foreground):


But then had my almost obsession-like urge to abstract them somehow to make them “my own.”

I  scanned in some leaves, messed around in Photoshop and printed the image out on watercolor paper (the peach background and the grey “flowers,” below). I then masked out parts of Tam’s stencils to create the stems and flower details with PanPastels.


I really liked working with these cute stencils! And I like that there are so many ways you can use stencils.
There’s a giveaway and blog hop going on, and at each blog/day there will be two winners: one for Tam’s Whimsy set and one for the Inspiration set. Just leave a comment for a chance to win one of these sets, and I’ll pick the winners randomly on Friday, noonish (11/1). Thanks!
The winner for the Whimsy set is commenter #87, Janie Schulz, and the winner of the Inspiration set is commenter #130, Herma. Thanks everyone for your comments!
Tam’s Artistceller Stencil Blog Hop List
10/26 Artistcellar
10/27 Jill K. Berry
10/28 Dawn DeVries Sokol
10/29 Carla Sonheim
10/30 Micki Wilde
11/1 Effy Wild
11/3 Jane Davenport
11/5 Tamara Laporte

A Surprisingly Deep Post

gofish“Go Fish, Go!” PanPastel and pencil.
Last week I talked with someone for over an hour. During the conversation, she asked about all the “positive energy” I put out there, and if I had always been such a positive person. (Not the exact words, but something like this.)

I had to laugh, as I don’t think of myself that way.

I spent almost all of my 30s and into my mid-40s struggling with clinical depression. I was the most unhappy person I knew!

Except when I wasn’t depressed, and then I was one of the happiest people I knew.

(These swings drove Steve to distraction, as you can imagine.)

But the thing is, I only can do my artwork when I’m in a good place emotionally. (I know that many people find doing art a therapeutic way to work their way through depression, but for me, I just can’t put pencil to paper when I’m crying or “down.”)

I’ve been in a much better place emotionally the past five years or so. I’ve tried to work my way through the depression in as many ways as possible — therapy, anti-depressents, thyroid diagnosis and treatment, and now, exercise — and it seems to be paying off. Yay!

But for some reason I felt the need to set the record straight on this: Life is hard, it’s not easy, and I don’t run around with joy overflowing every minute (and in some ways I wouldn’t want to — how annoying for everyone around me!). I’m a depressive currently in a remission of sorts and am grateful for each day that I wake up feeling good.

Today I feel good, and I’m grateful!

If you’ve made it through this surprisingly “deep” post, I wish you the very best today as we all struggle with this difficult and wonderful thing called life.


Student Blobimals + Beckah Krahula!


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These blobimals (“blob animals”) were created by the Thursday-Friday Little Bird NYC class last week; camera troubles put the ka-bosh on photos for Saturday-Sunday (sorry!).

I loved what Patricia Gaignat had to say about her blobimal experience at her blog, here.


Thank you, Pat, for the laugh and the beautiful work!

Finally, here is a demo piece I did for the painting class in Colorado the weekend before:


It’s an 8″x10″ mixed-media painting on wood…

My 2013 teaching seems to have come to a close (except the remainder of the giraffe class!), but I’m already looking forward to new online classes in 2014. At this time I’m only scheduled to teach one in-person workshop in 2014 (Colorado, September, details forthcoming).

I wanted to give you all a hint about what’s coming in December… I was able to secure mixed-media artist and teacher Beckah Krahula to teach a two-week class from December 2-14, 2013. This is Beckah’s only online class based on her phenomenally best-selling book, “A Zentangle a Day.” If you have ever wanted to learn how to Zentangle, I think Beckah’s the one to teach you!

If you would like to be the first to know details about Beckah’s forthcoming class, sign up for my newsletter here, or check back at the blog around November 5th.

To get to know Beckah a bit more, read this inspiring interview at The Good Weekly blog.


Some Famous Still Life Paintings, and Diane’s Class Video


Diane Culhane’s Online Class: Table Top Drawing & Painting (via Carla Sonheim) from Silly U on Vimeo.

Diane’s new class (“Table Top: Drawing & Painting”) is starting in just over two weeks, and I’m super excited about it! I really am looking forward to interpreting traditional table top/still lifes in my own style.

I was thinking about the class last weekend when at the MOMA and the Met in NYC — just look at these beautiful examples from artists such as Picasso, Matisse, and Van Gogh (and a few others I’ve lost the names of).tabletop2 tabletop3 tabletop4 tabletop5 tabletop6 tabletop8tabletop10 tabletop11


Diane is super cute in the video, don’t you think? And please join us!

Blobimal Artist Books – Class Demos

Following are several “blobimal artist books” I worked on during the live class at Little Bird Studios in NYC this past weekend (click to enlarge).





Class demo pieces are often hit-or-miss, but I’m *mostly* happy with how these turned out. :D

I’m working to gather some student work that I’ll post in a few days… Plug: If you are interested in making your own “blob-animal artist books,” I do have an online class that is available as a self-study: Blobimal Artist Books.

Tomorrow: A teaser video for Diane Culhane’s class beginning November 11, “Table Top: Drawing & Painting.”

Excuse Time


“Dog,” demo piece for NYC workshop at Little Bird Studios, PanPastels and pencil.

I’m home in Seattle this morning after a very long travel day yesterday, which included TWO pricey taxi fares to both LaGuardia and JKF airports — :D — yes, I went to the wrong airport and nearly missed my flight by the time I got to the right airport!

Steve couldn’t believe I did that. I couldn’t either, but I had an excuse.

(One can always come up with excuses for bonehead moves, I think.)

Now it’s laundry time and catching up on email time.

I hope you are well this week!

Blob Hunting in New York City



I’m in NYC to teach an “Imaginary Animals” class for Little Bird Studios (still room in both classes, email me if interested!) The classes start tomorrow, so today I walked 70+ blocks and saw all kinds of fun stuff. For example:

I dorkily asked this girl if I could take a photo of her green dogs:




Taken in the City Diner while waiting for pancakes:


And an hour-long stop at Mood Fabrics:


And of course, blob hunting:



Enjoying myself immensely already and truly looking forward to four days of teaching and art-making.


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