New Class! The Beauty of Composition with Anita Lehmann

A Note from Carla:
I learned so much when we filmed Anita teach this class! Anita has a unique way of making composition really fun, like a puzzle. I hope you can join in! 

The Beauty of Composition
Instructor: Anita Lehmann
Class Dates: March 26 – April 11, 2019
6 Lessons over 3 Weeks • $85

Class Description

Plato wrote, “It is beauty I seek, not beautiful things,” and a strong composition is the underlying beauty of every successful drawing or painting!

Composition is not a set of rules we must follow, but an elegant “language” in which to communicate. Anita calls composition her “best friend” that sits beside her through all her work. Rather than restrict freedom, compositional elements and principles can give you more confidence, making for freer, stronger work.

In this class Anita gives us a bunch of great exercises to introduce and/or reinforce the concepts of balance, rhythm, emphasis, repetition, positive/negative space, quiet corners, foundational grids, and more. You will work in a variety of drawing and painting media including ink, charcoal, pencil, watercolor and pastel.

Composition is a beautiful thing in and of itself. In this class Anita presents the concepts of design in a fresh and exciting way, not as a set of rules but as an elegant language.


Some samples of artwork Anita produced for this class:

Lesson 1

Lesson 2

Lesson 3

Lesson 4

Lesson 5

Lesson 6


Class Itinerary

Lesson 1 – Musical Response and the Four Felt Forces
We’ll start with a mark-making response to music as a warm up, then create several studies each of the following “felt” compositional forces: Repetition, Rhythm, Emphasis, and Balance.

Lesson 2 – Foundational Grids
In this Lesson we will introduce foundational grids Intervals and the Rule of Thirds and complete two exercises: one in collage and one in ink.

Lesson 3 – Torn Paper Compositions
Sometimes collage is the fastest way to understand compositional concepts; we’ll work quickly to create numerous temporary compositions, adding the 80/20 “rule” to the mix.

Lesson 4 – Cropping
In this lesson we will take a simple subject — a chicken — and compose her in various formats, keeping in mind beautiful Positive/Negative Shapes and a Quiet Corner.

Lesson 5 – Interior Still Life Space
Today we’ll take a more complicated subject — a room interior — and break the shapes down into Foreground, Middle Ground, Background Shapes. Then we’ll do a charcoal rendering, adding the Editing component to the process.

Lesson 6 – Final Still Life
We’ll start with a quick analysis of a master painting by Winslow Homer, then do the same process with our own composed still life. Our final assignment is to complete detailed working drawing and then finish with a final drawing, painting or collage of your still life.


Click HERE for more information and to sign up for The Beauty of Composition!

What Kind of Drawing Exercise Are You?


Quiz: What kind of drawing exercise are you?

Contour Drawing
You take things slowly and watch every curve and bump. Things can get tense quickly if you don’t remember to breathe and enjoy yourself!

One-Liner Drawing
You rush from one thing to another and have a lot of fun doing it! Wipeouts sometimes occur, but usually they are no big deal and you just move to the next one.

Scribbly Drawing
You rush head-on into a project, make a mess, and finish in a way that surprises everybody.

Haiku Drawing
Someone of few words, you go through life bringing just the right grace and poetry to any situation.

Wrong-Handed Drawing
Offbeat and funky, you remind us all to have fun, let go of outcomes, and embrace imperfection!

Blind Contour Drawing
Like contour drawings, you are measured and slow and keep your laser focus on the project or person at hand. The results can be a bit funky, though, so give yourself permission to be a Cheater Blind every once in awhile!


Answer in the comments! And have a wonderful day!

Registration is OPEN for Lendon’s New Class: Inspired by Place!

Meaning Making: Inspired by Place
Instructor: Lendon Noe
6 Lessons over 3 Weeks • $85
Class Dates: February 26 – March 14, 2019

Class Description

We are moving from the home in which we have lived for 20 years. I have loved this place. It’s really hard to believe it’s been 20 years!

What are the significant places in your life? It could be the home you are living in now, the home you grew up in, your school or the place in which you worship. Or perhaps you are travelling and each place you visit is memorable. Or perhaps your memorable places are in nature.

I would love to have you join me in working with imagery and projects designed to help us focus our attention on our most important places. You will work with drawing, collage and photographs in your sketchbooks, on larger paper, and in the format of two handmade books.

All together we will create a series of projects that will remind us always of our special places and hopefully lead into some significant works of art!

Come join us!



Class Itinerary

Lesson 1 – Sketchbook Warmups
Our focus in this class is on our significant place. Your place may be in the landscape, others may be in the city and architectural. Our only requirement is a connection that we have forged. Let’s start by doing some small warm ups in a loose and abstract way in our sketchbook using  only three values, then we’ll do a couple of bigger versions with torn paper collage. Begin photographing your significant place, adding printouts to your sketchbooks.

Lesson 2 – Map!
Where is your significant place located in the grand scheme of things? Let’s make a map! Actually, let’s make two, one by masking roads and one not.  I’ll give you plenty of good “how to” as we explore our territory.

Lesson 3 – Enhancing the Memory of Place
In this lesson we will be using a series of “creative prompts and constraints” to draw inspiration from our significant place. It’s a recipe that includes a rubbing, a French curve, some drawing and a little collage. Fun!

Lesson 4 – Let’s Take a Walk!
In this project (over two lessons), we are going to create a little flip book that documents a favorite walk.  We start by making photographs and then narrow our walk down to seven steps by doing some quick contours in our sketchbook.

Lesson 5 – Flip It
Now we will develop our images from the last lesson into a flip book using 4″ x 6″ card stock and some markers. It’s quite spectacular to watch our walk take place before our eyes. I will show you a simple Japanese stab binding you can use to hold it together.

Lesson 6 – The Book of the Interior
In our last lesson we will focus on an interior and make a slightly funky book often called a flexagon. It creates a pleasing square folded form as well as a pleasing full page spread of squares within a square when unfolded. We will use our cameras and focus on what might be defined as still life. We will be looking for the quiet moment, the still moment (this reminds me of Eudora Welty) and we will be focusing particularly on light and dark. But before we finish, we will jazz our photos up with some mixed media experimentation. 

For more information and to sign up, click HERE!



Steve and I have gotten into the dubious habit of eating chocolate chip cookies for dessert at least four times a week (a box of six lasts two days, and we average two boxes each week).

A trip to the doctor not long ago (and the accompanying weigh-in) has gotten me to thinking that perhaps I need to knock off the cookies a little.

So I asked Steve not to buy the cookies anymore, or at least hide them really well, because if I know they’re in the house, I will eat them.

I found them IMMEDIATELY.

Do you see them? He hid them in the VEGETABLE drawer, thinking I would never find them there.

This reminds me of my “Muffin Rules” that I might have shared here before, but bear repeating as they apply to Cookies as well:

  1. Eating a muffin is always justified if you want one. 
  2. A second muffin is only justified if you really want it.
  3. A third is never justified, unless you REALLY want it.


Have a great day!



We have our three grandchildren staying with us this week and today I called them up to my studio to do a little collage project. Similar to one of the assignments I gave in Lesson 1 of Year of the Collage, I had them glue a piece down, then draw something in relation to that piece, then glue, then draw, etc. Here are their three collages:

Liam’s, age 7:


Ethan’s, age 5 1/2:


Ellie’s, age 4:


Masterpieces, each one.

We hope you are having a wonderful day!

Two Things



Hi everyone! Two things:

1. I did a podcast this past week with mother-daughter team LeAura Alderson and Devani Anjali of iCreateDaily. I enjoyed the 50-minute conversation about creativity, business and life! You can watch or listen to it HERE.


2. Registration has just opened for an in-person workshop that I am doing with Studio Crescendoh in California in May! We’ll be making animal artist books with the Gelli® Plate as our main tool… it’s a two-day workshop (May 11-12) and costs $285. See details HERE, and I look forward to meeting some of you!

I hope you have a wonderful day!

Registration OPEN for “Make it Move” with Kara Kramer

Make it Move!
A Low-Tech Intro into Animation
6 Lessons – $85
Class Dates: January 29 – February 8, 2019

Have you ever wanted to animate your artwork? Make a character wink or walk across the screen?

This class is for anyone who wants to play with movement in their art. It’s for all ages and skills — anyone who can draw a line or a dot can make an animation. There are no mistakes, it’s easy to do and the best parts are the surprises!

We will learn how to use a simple animation app, but will also be spending a lot of time with our artwork. We’ll be thinking about actions, design and character. We’ll do fun drawing exercises, brainstorming, and collage play. You will come away from this class with at least 10 short animations.

SPECIAL FEATURE! At the end of this workshop, you will can (optionally) submit your animations for a class-end “reel” which will be featured on our blog, website and social media platforms.

Some sample animations!

Class Itinerary

Lesson 1: Set Up and Spiral Animation
We will begin by creating our at-home animation set-up station, downloading the app and making a simple “spiral” animation.

Lesson 2: Line, Dot, Scribble!
We will be making three “cell” animations using a line, a dot, and a scribble as our starting points. You will need a pile of paper and your drawing tools ready as we jump right in. We will continue to explore more helpful features of the app.

Lesson 3: Collage Bits
In this lesson, we will start by using pieces of collage paper to create several “stop-motion” animations. Experiment with the timing of each frame… speeding up, slowing down, and adding pauses to create a better story.

Lesson 4: Faces
More collage animations! Our focus will be on faces. Continue to work with timing, deleting, and copying and pasting a frame, and we’ll add — SOUND!

Lesson 5: Ideas and Storyboards
Today we will put away our cameras and focus on searching for new imagery and ideas. We’ll start with a quick drawing exercise to generate tons of ideas, then pick two of those doodles and create storyboards for your final animations.

Lesson 6: From Storyboard to Animation
A big day! Today we will take our storyboards and bring them to life! You’ll start by creating the drawings for your cell animations, then animate! Upload your animations to be featured in the class reel!

We hope you can join us! Please click HERE for more information and to sign up!








Seattle Artist Michael Alm – Interview


An artist we interviewed for our 365 class last year, Michael Alm, was featured at the Colossal blog this week! This is a big deal! And so well deserved.

Steve and I have been planning to release some of the 365 interviews over this next year, so this is a perfect time to share Michael’s inspiring interview.

Learn more about Michael at his website: