In-Person Workshop in Oaxaca, Mexico in 2016



I don’t often teach live anymore, but I couldn’t say no to a week-long co-teaching trip with Lynn Whipple in Oaxaca, Mexico! We will be continuing our “Year of the Spark” online class, where we have been infusing more art, more creativity, more inspiration, and more fun in our lives!

And… there will be wonderful FOOD!

This trip is being organized by Kathie Vezzani. Kathie, also an artist, has been organizing culinary trips to Mexico with Culinary Adventures, Inc. and Marilyn Tausend for the past twenty years with chefs such as Rick Bayless, Diana Kennedy, Susana Trilling (from Oaxaca), Roberto Santibanez, and the late Elaine Gonzalez. Additionally, she tested recipes for Tausend’s last three Mexican cookbooks. Kathie’s tours combine two of her passions, food and art.

Joining her as she has with Culinary Adventures’ tours, is Ane Elena Martinez, a pastry chef from Puebla who coordinates details in Mexico.

Together with their many friends and contacts in Oaxaca, they have planned a once in a lifetime experience for us!

While in Oaxaca we will:

• Draw with Carla
• Paint a Mexican Muse to music with Lynn
• Make a mini book with Carla
• Collect and collage with “local flavor” with Lynn
• Draw and paint imaginary animals with Carla
• Create a mixed media and water color painting with both Carla and Lynn
• And more!

The trip starts and ends in Oaxaca and costs $3100 based on double occupancy and includes:

• seven nights accommodation at Casa de las Bugambilias
• all meals except one dinner
• cooking class at Susana Trilling’s Season of my Heart Cooking School
• visit to black pottery studio with master potter
• visit to a master woodworker of albrejis (the colorful wooden animals)
• Farewell Dinner at coveted restaurant in Oaxaca with special menu planned for us
• And more! (Excludes airfare to/from Oaxaca and taxi to/from airport — approximatley 250 pesos)

The trip will be limited to 12 participants.

Click HERE for more information!

Meet the Artist Stephanie Hargrave: A Q&A

Theol 1 (12x12)
Theol 1, 12″x12″

stephaniebioOver the next few months I want to introduce you to our wonderful teaching artists in a bit more depth! And, since Stephanie Hargrave is starting her second class with us tomorrow (“Creating a Modular Encaustic Painting”), we’ll talk with Stephanie today!

(Then when you receive instruction and feedback in a class, you can know who you are learning from! For details about Stephanie’s upcoming class, which begins June 23th, click HERE!)

Stephanie lives in Seattle, WA and works primary in Encaustic. She writes, “I find bee’s wax to be inherently lovely, and work with it always mindful of how its natural beauty and transparency can coexist with my ideas and imagery.”

Aggregate 1 (18x18)
Aggregate 1, 18″x18″

aggregate 2 Detail 1
Aggregate 2 (detail)

* * *

6 Questions about Artistic Process

1. What was your first artistic medium? (As a child or an adult)
My first medium was clay! My mom took me for pottery classes as a kid and my feet could barely reach to get the kick-wheel going – yes, kick wheel . . .

2. What are your favorite art tools / supplies?
My favorite tools are pottery tools – so straight forward and utilitarian. My favorite supplies are beeswax, clay, graphite, charcoal pencils, paper, micron pens, water colors, oils and wood.

Aves (triptych 12x36)
Aves (triptych 12×36)

3. What is the greatest challenge of being an artist?
The obvious answer is making a living – how to sell enough work consistently to pay the mortgage . . . but the deeper challenge is keeping the momentum of it up while also taking care of daily life – keeping that flow of ideas and that beauty alive so the “American dream” vortex doesn’t suck you into succumbing to day jobs or excessive consumerism or the allure of beauty products . . . keeping yourself focused so the modern world doesn’t interfere with your main goal of pursuing your creative process as a lifestyle.

4. What is your favorite color?
Ox-blood red

5. What is the title of your life in one sentence?
Creative Process: A Belief System to Practice Daily, Revel In and Fight For

Immix 17 (8x10) (1)Immix 17, 8″x10″

6. Three unique things about you that are unrelated to art.

1 – I used to be a competitive gymnast and it shaped me in unusual ways both positive and negative

2 – I recently visited Vietnam and my mind was more than blown – I found Saigon to be dazzling – repaired even. The country is full of young people, and seems to be over the war in a way I am not.

3 – I know I’m a human, but I feel like a bird


Thank you, Stephanie!

Registration is now open for Fred Lisaius’s NEW Acrylic Painting Class!

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

“Acrylics: Painting Flowers”
with Fred Lisaius
Two-Week Class; 6 Video Lessons

Class Dates: July 7-18, 2015


Create a beautiful floral diptych with Fred Lisaius!

Seattle artist Fred Lisaius is known for his stunning, unique floral paintings. Luckily for us, he’s a very generous artist and is happy to share his acrylic techniques with us!

Fred writes:

Acrylics paints are beautiful. The medium is creamy, colorful, and very versatile. This class is designed to introduce beginners to this beautiful medium and to excite more advanced students with new information and techniques. I look forward to painting with you!





Class Itinerary

Lesson 1: Overview of Supplies; Design your Diptych
Lesson 2: Squeegee & Brayered Underpainting
Lesson 3: Masking Techniques
Lesson 4: Paint the Flowers
Lesson 5: Finishing the Flowers
Lesson 6: Preparing the paintings for display

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Join us! For more information, please click HERE!

Turtle and Fish


I had a pretty perfect weekend!

On Saturday I attended a painting workshop with my friend Diane Culhane… she taught an in-person version of her online class “Paint Your Garden.” The workshop was held at ArtsEast in Issaquah, WA. I enjoyed spending the day (mostly) working on the above painting (which went a bit off-topic with animals, of course!).

On Sunday I spent the day with the grandkids and spent lots of time reading, snuggling, jumping on beds and even painting.

How was your weekend?

“The Joy of Collage” Begins Tomorrow!

catlynn2“Cat Collage a la Lynn Whipple,” mixed media on paper, 7″x10″

I created this cat today using the wonderful techniques from Lynn Whipple’s online class, “The Joy of Collage,” which is repeating starting tomorrow.

If you haven’t taken this class, you’re in for a treat! (It’s not too late to sign up!)

If you have taken it and would like to repeat it now at no additional cost, please email me and I will get you on the list! carla[at]


Decorative Tape GIVEAWAY! Etsy Craft Party

I won a bunch of decorative tape; so can you!

Hello everybody!

I’ve been a member of since 2005. At the time I had decided to focus on getting my art out into the world, and stumbled upon etsy one day. Etsy was pretty new, and it seemed a big risk to spend $80 on a camera to use to photograph my artwork. Little did I know how my art life would be wonderfully shaped by Etsy!

I was one of the first 4,000 artists to join Etsy (#3907!), and in those days it was easier to be found than it is now; I was lucky that my store became one of the Top 100 Sellers! (Click HERE to see my avatar in the #38 spot in September 2006.) And my editor for my most recent book, The Art of Silliness, found me on Etsy, too… I love Etsy!

Tomorrow is the Etsy Craft Party, “a global celebration of meeting and making,” which will be held around the world on Saturday from 12-6pm. (Seattle’s event will be held at 1430 Western Ave., right in front of Ugly Baby and La Rue [@uglybabyandlaru]. It’s a street party for artists! There will be swag bags and hourly raffle prizes… I donated classes from Carla Sonheim Presents to the raffle, so if you are in Seattle, come by for a chance to win a free online class!)

When I registered for the party, I was entered in a contest to win a box of decorative tape from 3M/@scotchproducts (a sponsor of the event)… and I WON!

(See? Etsy has been so good to me.)


So I’m sharing my tape-wealth. :D

If you would like to win a stack of tape, comment here with how you might use it, and I’ll chose 6 random winners (International entries welcome). Winners will be chosen around 1pm PST Tuesday, June 9th.

And the winners are:

#17 Teri Lynn
#58 Paige
#29 Patti Sandham
#68 Carina
#31 annacarin-sol
#52 2bcrafty

Thanks, everyone!

Registration Now Open for Stephanie Hargrave’s New Encaustic Class

Create a Modular Encaustic Painting from Carla Sonheim Presents on Vimeo.

Class Dates: June 23 – July 4, 2015


Push your encaustics to the next level!

In this class we will build a large, composite painting from individual smaller panels. With each panel, we will add a new technique including draw-through prints, graphite, oil paint, reticulated shellac, carving, paper, and thread.

Throughout the process you will be encouraged to work on each panel as a complete piece in itself, and then look for ways to bring them together to create an interesting, rich, varied whole.

If you are familiar with encaustics, you can jump right in to this class! If you are new to encaustics, consider taking Stephanie’s “Intro to Encaustic Painting” as a self-study first.






Class Itinerary

Week 1:  
   Tuesday: Lesson 1 – Review and Layering Color
   Wednesday: Lesson 2 – Draw-Through Prints
   Friday: Lesson 3 – Graphite

Week 2: 
   Tuesday: Lesson 4 – Creating Line with Oil Paint
   Wednesday: Lesson 5 – Reticulated Shellac
   Friday: Lesson 6 – Assemblage and Presentation

Click HERE for more information!


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