Hi everyone… I hope you are well this new Monday!

Every year for the past six years we have offered a year-long art class.

The first, in 2013, was called Year of the Giraffe. The idea is that we would approach creating a single subject in many different ways throughout the year: drawing, painting, collage, sculpture, writing and even animation!

In 2014 we did Year of the Fairy Tale. In this class we illustrated eight fairy tales with a variety of techniques and approaches.

In 2015 it was Year of the Spark, a creativity class I co-taught with Lynn Whipple!

In 2016 it was Y is for Yellow, a class in which we tried to focus on working in series while at the same time doing exercises and assignments inspired by the alphabet.

In 2017 we did 365: Activate Your Art Brain, where my husband Steve and I produced a short video creativity prompt every day.

And in 2018 we mixed it up by doing 365 AGAIN, the first time we decided not to switch gears with the theme of the year-long.

Every year has been wonderful and fun and challenging in its own way!

In 2019 we will have a new theme once again, and we are working hard on preparations to get the class up for sale by the end of November.


P.S. The drawings above were from a recent 365 assignment.

P.S.S. And if you missed these classes, three of them are available as self-studies here!


And just a note: We have a new instructor, Seattle Artist Anita Lehmann! And her first class begins tomorrow… Translating Landscape. Won’t you join us?


NEW Class Open for Registration: Translating Landscape with Anita Lehmann

Hello! I’m delighted to announce that our last FALL online class is now open for registration! Please join Seattle Artist Anita Lehmann as she leads you through her process of creating evocative, expressive, abstract landscape drawings and paintings.

Translating Landscape
6 Lessons • 2 Weeks • $85
Class Dates: November 6-16, 2018

Anita believes that the landscape is a gentle way of exploring the elements that are integral to making meaningful work: line, value, color, shape, edges, composition. She also believes that drawing connects us to our experience with an intimacy not otherwise possible. 

In this 6-lesson class we will use our study of landscape to work at finding our unique mark, learning and reinforcing design concepts, drawing with intent, and simplifying. 

The joyful and fun exercises will include experimental mark making, design studies, grid paintings — all working up to larger paintings. We will work with an small “orchestra” of simple materials to help maintain a loose and more abstract mindset.

Are you ready for an adventure into the beautiful unknown?

Class Itinerary

Lesson 1 – Your Mark: a Media Exploration
Let’s keep loose. Discover new marks and, more importantly, your mark. We will be using all the supplies listed, different papers and tools. We will respond and interact to music, perhaps draw with your non-dominate hand while keeping in the moment. Explore and see what happens. We will work within a ‘design field’ in which to play.

Lesson 2 – Design Elements and Motive: a Playing Field with Pears
Let’s continue our mark-making looseness as we learn about space: powerful notions of negative and positive space; key to beautiful and strong design within your art. We will become familiar with our ‘tool belt’ of design elements and create eight small “Pear Shape” studies and explore each of the following design concepts: Shape, Value, Space, Texture, Edges, Line, Composition, and Color.

Lesson 3 – Design Elements and Motive: a Playing Field with Landscapes
In Lesson 3 we move from a simple shape (a Pear), to “Landscape Shapes.” The landscape may be slightly more complicated due to additional shapes to contend with. Again, we’ll create eight small studies with various media, each focusing on a Design Element. In our ninth study, we pull it all together into one piece.

Lesson 4 – Value + Space + Shape, all that, in Landscape
When I look at scene through a photograph or real life, I begin differentiating the 3 main layers of space with foreground, middle-ground, background shapes. We need to simplify this chaos (at times, chaotic) and begin to discern the beautiful shapes creating no more than 5-7 shapes. Keeping it simple is key today as we create several small paintings.

Lesson 5 – Driving Through Paintings
In this lesson we will “pack light” and continue to stay abstract as long as we can, thinking in terms of our design elements, drawing from memory and creating beautiful landscapes, simply, in a grid of up to 25 small squares. A fun, satisfying and surprising exercise!

Lesson 6 – Putting it All Together: Intentional Expressive Landscapes
In this final lesson we will be working incrementally to a larger format painting. We will progress from 6″x 6″ then 8″x 8″ and finally an 10″x 10″. Selecting an image from Lesson 5 squares, you’ll discover the obstacles and opportunities of working larger and therefore, as a result, becoming more intimate with your work. Enjoy the process, the rewards will be mighty fine.


To learn more about Anita and this class, click HERE.







FIVE Things

1. Above is a page-through of the artist book we’ll be making in “Doing More with your Gelli® Plate,” the online class starting Tuesday! It’s not too late to join… please do!

2. “I hope I don’t get hiccups no time soon.” — André 3000

3. Iranian artist Farshad Farzankia (Google his name, then click images!).

4. One more little abstract collage:


5. Are you signed up for my newsletter? I send it out about twice a month, and include a sidewalk crack to draw from (changes monthly). Here’s October’s Crack: october2018crack

Click the link, print it, and then find a creature or a face!

If desired, sign up for the newsletter… and have a great day!

Abstract Collages


I spent last weekend in Denver, Colorado, at a collage workshop with Melinda Tidwell, an artist out of Santa Fe, NM. The class was called “Mastering Abstract Composition,” and I really enjoyed it!


These first five images are small, on 6″x6″ paper.


Some of the material was provided by Melinda, and some of it was Gelli® Plate prints that I brought.



These next three were larger pieces, about 8″x10″.




It really was a terrific class… thank you, Melinda! And thank you to Art Makers Denver for hosting the event!

I also got to visit my sister and my mom, who both live in the area. A good time away, but I’m so happy to be home, too.

I hope you are well today!




Registration OPEN for the New Gelli® Plate Class!

NEW Class!

Doing MORE with your Gelli® Plate
Instructor: Carla Sonheim
6 Lessons – 3 Weeks
October 16 – November 1, 2018

Hi everyone!

This new class combines three of my favorite things: Animals, Printmaking, and Artist Books!

With imaginary animals as our theme, we’ll start with some cutting exercises to create our own stencils from found shapes and contour drawings. From there we’ll be working with a variety of techniques including ghost prints, masking, and transparent layers. We will be working with fluid acrylic paints which gives us some unique results and textures, different from the traditional heavy-bodied paints normally used with the Gelli® Plate… it makes for lots of happy accidents!

One of the great things about gp printing is that you can create a lot of artwork in a short period of time, and this class is about making lots of stuff!

Once we have a pile of prints to work with, we’ll be going in with mixed-media to complete your animals. Some of our pieces we will stand alone as finished art pieces, and others will be bound into our Artist Book.

This class is about experimenting and following where it leads… and having fun at the intersection of accident and intent! Please join me!



Click HERE for more information!


FIVE Things

Five things I wanted to share today:

Tony Bennett: “Jazz is so fabulous, because you do the same song you did the night before differently than you did the night before.”


I was in Santa Barbara, California, last week, helping a friend with her teenaged daughters while she was away on a business trip. The girls were wonderful and easy and the weather was beautiful… and Santa Barbara is one of the most beautiful places I know! But I felt kind of melancholy all week… the last time I really spent that much time walking Garden Street and my old neighborhoods (and downtown) was almost 30 years ago, when I was a young woman, and my oldest child was the cutest, friendliest toddler in the world. I miss him.

My computer got too full again last night and I had to move the file titled “BOOK” to an external hard drive. (“BOOK” is a folder full of images and Word files and Indesign files that supposedly I’m trying to organize into a new book now that I have a studio with a door that closes [that my office/studio was in the middle of our living room was my excuse for the last five years of why I haven’t been able to get my head around organizing said book].)

There were over 3,500 files that needed to be moved over.


Two drawings by my grandson, Liam (who turns 7 tomorrow!):

Have a wonderful day!

Bubble & Spectacles

Bubble, Spectacles suggested by tccre8ive



Please comment here or at the blog with any two words (they can be related to each other, or two random words), and I will pick a pair and try to come up with a drawing or piece of writing based on those two words.

Dream & Big

Dream BIG suggested by ifoundmypaintbrush


The other day I laughed out loud when I saw the following note I had written to myself in the “notes” app on my phone:


I don’t remember writing it.

I love dreams. I wish I could remember mine more, as where else would one come up with buttered bananas?

I mean, what was my subconscious thinking?

Perhaps in my dream I mistook the banana for corn on the cob… that would explain the butter…

Perhaps “things that are yellow” was the over-arching theme that night…

Or perhaps it’s as simple as my subconscious putting together the banana I have every morning and the butter I see in the refrigerator door multiple times each day.

I don’t know.

But I do know that the “crying” part of that sentence has me wondering if the dream wasn’t about something bigger than fattening fruit.


Please comment here or at the blog with any two words (they can be related to each other, or two random words), and I will pick a pair and try to come up with a drawing or piece of writing based on those two words.

Elephant & Barcode

Elephant, Barcode suggested by Greta Ann Stratman

Gelli® Print


Please comment here or at the blog with any two words (they can be related to each other, or two random words), and I will pick a pair and try to come up with a drawing or piece of writing based on those two words.