Creatively Create Creative Creations


When you create creatively, you practice creativity, and when you practice creativity, it will result in creative creations created creatively.

If you don’t create creatively, you might not (probably will not) get a creative creation.

Put another way, you may not get a creative creation unless you creatively create.

In order to create creatively, one must get creative. Creativity is created by creative moments, creatively created, and result in creations that create and inspire more creativity. 

Without creativity, we would be uncreative.


Kids Art Week 2019 – FREE!


Hi everyone!

Kids Art Week 2019 is now open for registration! The dates are M-F, July 22-26! In the past we’ve had over 5,000 kids and kids-at-heart sign up… please join us for another week of fun art projects!

Every summer we offer a week’s worth of free art classes for kids on their summer break. And while they’re aimed at engaging the imaginations of younger kids, we’ve found that people of all ages and abilities have fun taking them, so feel free to jump in no matter how old you are!

This class is totally free—really! To access it, simply go HERE and click on the Add to Cart button and go through the checkout process. You can then follow this class in your Online Classroom. And if you liked this class, be sure to check out our other free Kids Art Week classes as well as some of our paid offerings.

We hope you enjoy this class. Click HERE to sign up!



P.S. This year we have a wonderful Guest Instructor from the Netherlands, illustrator Nelleke Verhoeff!

P.S.S. The theme this year is “sidewalk cracks,” so the first thing you’ll need are some printouts of some cracks! Here is the link for the PDF of the 15 cracks you’ll want to have on hand to choose from this week… just print out on regular computer paper! SWCtearout1KAW

*If you don’t have a printer, don’t want to print or just would love to have as many cracks as you desire easily, I’ve created a book which contains 150 total cracks (10 each of the 15 designs)! The cost for the book is $15.99 and can be found HERE.


Class Itinerary

Lesson 1 – Sidewalk Cracks!

Lesson 2 – Sidewalk Story Book

Lesson 3 – Sidewalk Crack Collage (with Nelleke!)

Lesson 4 – Find a Bird In It

Lesson 5 – Packing Tape Animals








Teacher News

Hi Everyone!

We have a wonderful group of online instructors (as many of you know!). Sometimes they teach in-person workshops and I wanted to let you know about the following opportunities, just in case you live close or are wanting to travel to any of the following wonderful places!

Anita Lehmann is teaching two week-long retreats on expressive drawing this Fall in Civita, Italy.
Karine Swenson is teaching a two-day workshop on abstract painting August 3-4 near Santa Fe, NM.
Lendon Noe is teaching a three-day workshop in Sewanee, TN August 2-4.
Melinda Tidwell is teaching a three-day workshop on collage August 16-18 in Santa Fe, NM.

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Anita Lehmann

Anita is teaching two week-long expressive drawing workshops in Italy this Fall!


Click HERE for the class brochure for pricing and more information! And email Anita with any questions:

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Karine Swenson

Karine is teaching an in-person class in her studio, just 30 minutes south of Santa Fe, NM, August 3-4, 2019.
Email Karine with questions:

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Lendon Noe

Lendon is teaching is teaching at the St. Mary’s Retreat Center in Sewanee, Tennessee August 2-4, 2019.

Creativity and Spirituality: A Mixed-Media Workshop

As artists we are always looking for inspiration. One of Lendon’s sources for inspiration has been in the lives as revealed in the letters of her favorite poets and authors. In this three-day workshop she will share some of these approaches and ideas.

The price of this retreat includes all meals, two nights lodging, and a modest materials fee. For more info go to or email Lendon with questions at

* * *

Melinda Tidwell

Melinda is teaching a 3-day workshop on everything you ever wanted to know about making collage from discarded books.


The Mini Enchilada 
Aug 16-18, 2019 (Fri-Sun 10am-5pm)
Santa Fe Studio
Cost: $450+tax; Max of 8 students, 3 seats open!
Email Melinda here with questions:


Have you Created Lately Just for Fun?

Art by Lynn Yokley, @sly_pics


I asked in a recent newsletter, Have you created lately just for fun?

This might be a strange question… but it came up for me because I’ve found myself needing to create stuff that isn’t for an upcoming class, isn’t for sale, etc. 😀

Here are some of the responses… thank you to everyone who took the time to write!


Hi Carla, I have been creating ATCs  just for fun, inspired by the ATCs you have been making and the up coming Cori Dantini class you mentioned in the May newsletter.

What I really like about making these is because of their small size I do not feel so pressured or afraid to try different techniques and I can make them in a small amount of time which is so helpful to me when I am short on time.

Lynn Y.
(Lynn’s artwork above)
Hi Carla,

I loved this question! Here’s what I did just for fun. I had read that John Cage created watercolor paintings by using the I Ching to randomly choose colors, brushes, river
rocks and other items so I wanted to try it. Amazingly I found an article with photos of some of his paintings plus a video of his actually making some in 1988:

One of Cage’s last rock paintings is 28 feet long and 8 and a half feet
high!  It was just recently found after being lost for almost 30 years and
is now on display at

Watching the video and coming up with my own version was a big part of the fun and as Cage said there are no wrong answers. This is a brief outline of the first idea I tried which is of course just one of many possibilities.  I used a small piece of watercolor paper about 5.5″x7.5″, randomly picked one rock at a time from six small rocks of different
sizes by tossing a die, and placed the rock on the  paper at a random location on a grid. Then, like Cage, I painted a wonky circle shape around the rock with a brush and a color both chosen at random. I then repeated the process for a random number of shapes from 5 to 9. (Note that individual rocks, brushes, and colors might be picked more than once or not at all.)

Susan J.

Hi Carla,

I mostly create for myself. I think after 34 plus years working at a government job that I deserve to play and do what I want! I think its also why I don’t want to follow direction. LOL
I love taking classes and feel very motivated and produce a lot of art so I try and hold off judgement till something is done, no matter the direction it ends of going. I am very dedicated artist and usually work in my studio many hours each day and feel so blessed to be able to do so. I am so happy to do what I feel I should be doing. Art! And filling art journals is my favourite thing. I have about 300 journals of all sizes and types and its awesome because one journal can hold so much art, not like a canvas.
Patti S.
I love playing with my materials, but like you mentioned, too often there is pressure to deliver a particular thing inside a particular timeframe, and that can lead to less play. So, recently I found myself struggling with the expression of a particular idea (the non-literal merging of solid form with negative space), and decided to approach finding a solution from the perspective of play.

I asked myself what processes in the past were super fun (the play aspect!), and gave me an interesting series of marks and painting beginnings – and that answer was simple! Lynn Whipple’s spin drawing (from Big Bold Blooms), and your random collage beginnings (from Year of Collage). So that’s what I did – I grabbed some bits of interesting paper, glued them down (without overthinking), and then spin drew overtop. I mixed things up a bit – put an isolation layer of clear gesso overtop the collage so that the surface would uniformly accept new marks, and substituted water soluble graphite, crayons and pencils for (Lynn’s) pastels. Then I practiced intuitive response to what was there, pulling out bits that I liked, and altering those I didn’t (with more drawing, painting and collage).
The process taught me so much on all sorts of levels, and while I haven’t completely figured out my challenge of merging positive and negative space, I do feel as though I am getting all sorts of other gems to add to my toolbox. And I have accumulated a number of studies that will be fabulous beginnings for large scale paintings.
Kimberly S.
Art by Kimberly Santini.
Hello Carla!

I put a lot of pressure on myself/my art too sometimes. I’m doing my first ever 100 day project. That may sound like pressure but actually, choosing a to do a tiny piece with limitations on my media and the form (circles) allows me the relief of not having to ‘choose’ what to paint every day. This allows me to play within my constraints. My 6 year old has also joined me in the studio which is fun and inspiring to me.
You can see our paintings on Instagram #100daysofcoastalmeditations. Here is an example
Hi, Carla,
As someone who sells her paintings – my “just for fun” stuff is usually something un-salable – like painting with water, collaging with magazines, and stringing beads are my favorites.  : D
Hi, Carla,
I’ve found that my creative pattern tends to be to paint flowers and plants in the spring, marine subjects in the summer when we’re spending a lot of time on our sailboat, landscapes with all the glorious color in the trees in the fall, and experimenting in the winter.  Interesting that your time to create just for you is the season directly opposite mine!
Hi Carla,
I also find the change of seasons, and changes in venues a great excuse to explore new ways of seeing and truly looking at things—to me all art is the act of seeing, the visuals we create are  more the result.  I’ve been traveling a lot recently with an art residency in California piggy backed onto 2 weeks in Japan to work on a commission. Somewhere in there I learned some rather challenging family news. As a result I needed to find positive, faith filled, hopeful energies in the world around me. I’d been working on climate change issues in California, and then sought refuge in the gardens of Japan. The result is an exploration of growth, colour and hope through the wondrous flowers that seem to be lovingly tended and appreciated everywhere, no matter what continent I’m on, nor what the challenges of the day might be…
Lisa C.
Art by Lisa Cirenza
You are so very right about trying get free of the “why” and just play to have fun. After 30 years as a production potter it has taken me a couple of years (!) to allow myself to just explore and enjoy. One thing that really helped was classes such as yours offered online. I can watch how someone else thinks about their work, see new processes and new materials. We have such a wealth of talented artists who have classes which I can watch in my bathrobe or in the middle of the night ! One of your classes was the first one I took. Anita’s Landscapes class which I have been revisiting since it first came out. The class really helps me get out of the trap of the familiar. It can be so easy to feel constrained by work an artist has done repeatedly and/or for a long period of time.
Glad you are doing a blog about this. Certainly there are new comers to discovering their creative talent  but I would guess many people are trying to free themselves from a production mindset. I had a wonderful art teacher in college who said “always ask yourself, ‘what would happen if I…….’ “. (That is some weird punctuation)
Thanks again for offering these classes. I don’t have to enroll in a school, travel, park, lug art stuff. Oh, one last thing that it helpful for “playing” is to have my supplies ready to hand. Shelves, a table, light, supplies. Need not be huge but it is so freeing just to sit down and peruse the toys. Treating myself to a new color of paint, new tool or substrate can be play-inducing as well.
Betsy R.
“Joy on a Frontier Direct (a Few Friends)” by Carol Armour
Painting for the fun of painting…..versus for the customer.  A great huge difference!!!  I have learned that my creativity abounds now that I have stopped doing shows, and being more concerned with what will sell.  I am just painting and creating for the joy of the process, the experimentation, the pleasure, the learning experience.  LOVE IT!!!

Trudy H
Hi Carla,

All of my creating is just for fun!  I have a demanding technical career, and creating art (painting, drawing, jewelry making, art journaling) allows me to decompress and give the right side of my brain some exercise and some expression.
I take a watercolor class, I did Sketchbook Revival (watched all of the lessons, did as many as I had time to/felt called to), I’ve done other online drawing/painting/gel print classes, I do beadwork, I recently filled an entire art journal (50 pages, something on both sides of every page).  I post on a few closed groups just because it’s fun.
Call it “art therapy” if you will.  🙂
I took a course with Ingrid Dijkers called the Chimera Codex. I have been having a blast playing with all of her collage sheets and creating a book. I have no agenda for it. It’s just fun!
Cristiana G.

I Have a Lot of Unfinished Art


(Please forgive the double post for some of you! This was part of today’s newsletter — if you would like to subscribe, please go HERE!)


I have a lot of unfinished art — I probably have more unfinished art lying around in various drawers, stacks, etc. than I do finished art.

For whatever reason, I abandoned these perfectly good starts.

Sometimes the whole thing just got off to a wrong start, but I didn’t want to throw it away and waste the good paper.

Sometimes I liked a part of the piece and not the other, and was afraid to move forward because I might wreck the part that I DID like.

Sometimes I had invested a lot of time into the piece only to have it still not work, but was unwilling to give it up because of the time invested.

And sometimes, there was nothing wrong with it at all, but for whatever reason I was interrupted and just haven’t gotten back to it yet.

I keep all of this unfinished art in the hopes that some of it will catch my attention later and I might finish them.

But I’m realizing that — like interrupted conversations or even relationships — the unfinished art is just a part of being human.

It’s unlikely that I’m going to find the time or strength of character to revisit each piece of unfinished art and bring it to a resolved finish …

Complete the Last Sentence

A. … but I can try!

B. … and I need to be okay with that.

* * *

I hope you have a wonderful month! We have a new class starting June 18 with Cori Dantini… and then our yearly FREE Kids Art Week will run the week of July 22-26, 2019 — mark your calendars!


Registration Open for a NEW class with Cori Dantini!

Mixed-Media Girls with Cori Dantini
6 Lessons – 2 Weeks – $85

You cannot imagine how excited I am to be sharing my own little world of mixed media painting with all of you! By layering vintage paper, we will create a different type of an underpainting, one that will (typically) reveal its own message as you draw and paint. We’ll spend time looking for our own illustrative style of faces/people and will become familiar with using a pen nib and ink as our drawing implement.

We will create a series of mixed-media paintings and will talk mediums, color pushing, line, pattern making and — for our final hurrah — we will use white paint to hold everything together.

Oh! and I almost forgot…  we will discuss the magic of all the layers and how they push and pull each other forward and backward, not to mention all the tiny little written details floating around, which help to create a different kind of story.

It really is a delightful process filled with its own kind of magic. I hope you will join me!

OOx, Cori

For details and to sign up, click HERE!

All Jumped Up

I wrote the phrase “all jumped up” in a 2015 journal and now have no idea why… it was under the “ideas” column.

Perhaps I was thinking a that a pogo stick could be “jumped up.” We had one as kids — bouncy, bouncy, bouncy. All jumped up.

Maybe it meant that one of my grandsons had jumped onto a low stool, and therefore was all jumped up.

Or perhaps it struck me funny that day for a reason that I can’t now remember.

Or — and this is the honest truth now that I am looking at it more closely — it doesn’t even say “All Jumped Up.” It says “All Jumbled Up,” which totally makes more sense since I am almost always jumbled up.


Animal Book Demo + Thank You


I just got back last night from a 4-night trip to Southern California.


This was the demo artist book I worked on during a workshop I taught at Jenny Doh’s Crescendoh Studio. Thank you to the 13 wonderful women who attended, to Jenny who hosted me, and to all of you for the fun time!

Screen Shot 2019-05-15 at 3.49.04 PM copy

I was also able to have a fun dinner with Jenny and Pam Garrison, a downright wonderful person and artist. We laughed continuously throughout our very long dinner….


And I spent an extra day visiting my step-mom, Laura, who lives in my hometown of Riverside, CA…. We also laughed a lot. 😉

I’m happy to be home and hope you are having a wonderful day, too!




Today is My Birthday

Today is my birthday… 56!




This is a little ATC that turned out as kind of a self portrait with my first cat, Snowball.

(This blog is technically called “Snowball Journals” as Snowball was a main character in my first remembered dream, and my blog all these years [quite a lot now, ahem] has in some way functioned as the “working out” of that dream.)

I know I look sad but I’m really not!

A little tired, maybe….

But a “good” tired. I am blessed.


The Painting Techniques of Anne Marie Grgich – Registration Now Open!

The Painting Techniques of Anne Marie Grgich
6 Lessons • 2 Weeks • $85

Class Dates: May 28 – June 6, 2019

Work on six paintings in a fun frenzy using all manner of mixed media with internationally recognized Outsider Artist Anne Marie Grgich as she shares her approach to mixed-media painting. Anne demonstrates that creating expressive portraits is accessible to anyone.

We all have an inner magical child. Letting our intuition guide our shapes and forms is a process that is fun, freeing and creates authentic results. We will do this by working on multiple paintings at one time, using any and all media at hand, as Anne demonstrates her beautiful way of working that is at once both intense and wonderfully casual.

Build, with paint and pens, faces that tell a story, speechless yet full of human emotion.



About Anne

Born in Portland, Oregon in 1961, Anne Marie Grgich began making spontaneous art at the age of 15, mostly junk constructions and clandestine paintings in her family’s books. She first introduced collage into her work around 1988, but took it to a higher level in 1997 during a period of illness. After her recovery she began to produce collage paintings – images of people encountered over time in the street and in mind journeys that manifest themselves and recombine, according to her mood, in the process of creation. Over the past 30 years, Anne has been featured in numerous publications and exhibitions, and her books and paintings are in public and private collections worldwide.

Join us for this unique opportunity to learn from Anne online!