Repeat Session! Intro to Abstract Painting

Hi Everyone!

Karine is re-running her very popular class, “Intro to Abstract Painting,” beginning Tuesday, May 29, 2018! If you have signed up for “Intro to Abstract Painting” previously and would like to be part of this repeat session, just email me at carla[at] and let me know.

Thank you! And the rest of you? I hope you can join us!



Intro to Abstract Painting
Instructor: Karine Swenson
2-Week • 6-Lessons
Repeat Session Dates: May 29 – June 8, 2018

Have you have ever had an interest in abstract painting? Would you like to paint with more freedom or feeling?

In this class we will explore a variety of mark-making techniques with an emphasis on finding what works for you as an artist. Karine will demonstrate drawing and painting intuitively, and share with you a few of her favorite abstract painters and help you understand some of the concepts behind non-representational painting (painting without recognizable imagery).

She will encourage you to try new things as a way to experience breakthroughs and encourage you to work quickly. You will be finding ways to develop your own way of applying paint and to compose the visual space.

During this class, you will work on many (up to twenty) small sketches and 3 to 4 paintings.

Click HERE for a list of supplies needed for this class.



Join us! Click HERE for more information and to sign up!


#Things 3, 4, 5, 6 & 7


Sometimes I start something and, well….

My idea for this blog series — creating “word posters” from your suggestions — IS NOT HAPPENING right now… so sorry! But I can share some notes I took on some of your previous suggestions, and I will:


#3 – Awkward Frogs and Busy Chickens, suggested by Julia

Awkward frogs are one thing, but busy chickens are another.


#4 – Moving, suggested by Sara

Moving is something that I apparently love to do.

(Not the body-motion kind of moving, but the house-location kind — the former would be a little too close to exercise and, well, I think you know where this sentence is going….)

But moving to a new house? Where I will be able to shed all of my piles of stuff and it will be neat and fresh and sparkly? Something with a view perhaps? Or a studio space where I can close the door?

Yes. (Zillow here I come.)


#5 – Why I’ve believed six impossible things before breakfast, suggested by Beth

I love this. It opens the mind and Lewis Carroll was brilliant to write it.

But I can do the Queen one better. Here are SEVEN impossible things that I believed before breakfast this morning!

  1. That I will meditate for five minutes today like I’ve been told to do (and which will change my life).
  2. That I will make it to drinking my coffee without checking my email for “drawing emergencies.”
  3. That I will take a shower and get dressed before noon.
  4. That I will get at least one thing completely done on my to-do list today.
  5. That I will find my to-do list.
  6. That I will vacuum on a regular basis, starting today.
  7. That I will make a word poster like I promised.


#6 – Siamese cats, suggested by Nancy

I would like to write a poem
about these Siamese cats in my head

But they are meowing

In unison

And there are quite a lot of them

Maybe 3,643
Give or take a few



#7 – The sky was yellow and the sun was blue…
– From Scarlet Begonias by the Grateful Dead, suggested by nlharty

When you think about it, this makes as much sense as the other way around.


I promised you 10 so three more to go! Please comment with a topic (it can be just one or two words, or a sentence, a quote, etc.). Thank you!!

Registration OPEN for a New Class with Tracie Lyn Huskamp

Birds & Butterflies
Collage + Painting
Instructor: Tracie Lyn Huskamp
2-Week Class • 6 Lessons • $85
Class Dates: May 15-25, 2018 


Birds and Butterflies inspire our imagination and capture our hearts!

In this fun, nature-inspired class we will begin by gathering photos of birds and butterflies. Next will make acrylic paintings on fabric with a step-by-step technique that makes realism surprisingly simple.

From there we will embellish our realistic butterflies and birds with stenciling, bits of old lace, stitching, buttons, pearls, sequins, beads, or vintage rhinestone jewelry, and then put it all tougher with found collage ephemera to make intimate, personal, and fun pieces of art. Once we start assembling our collages, the sky’s the limit for the different things you can do.


For a list of supplies needed, click HERE.



Tracie Lyn Huskamp holds a B.F.A. in Graphic Design from Wichita State University. After graduation, she worked as a Product Designer/Illustrator creating mass-market products. A number of her designs sold in Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, Costco, Hobby Lobby, Lowe’s, and Walgreens. In 2007, she left her corporate position to focus full-time on her own art. In 2009 her book, Nature Inspired, was published by Quarry Books. Her work has appeared on the cover of Somerset Studio Magazine and in Somerset Memories, Artful Blogger, Quilting Arts Gifts, and Life Images. Tracie licenses her artworks to manufacturers of fabric, calendars, stencils, scrapbooking, stationery, home goods, and bath. She shows in various galleries and recently participated in an invitation-only exhibit hosted by her hometown, the City of Wichita, Kansas. See more of Tracie’s work at




#2 – Lost in the Forest


Lost in the Forest, suggested by Barbara Fox


This is how I feel these days. I’m walking in a forest, and every tree is in my sight, taking equal attention. One is not much bigger than the other or, if it is, I am studiously ignoring that one.

For example, today: One tree is making little animals. One tree is trying to clean my studio. One tree is maintaining Anne’s class. One tree is putting up Tracie’s class. One tree is meeting with the web guy. One tree is writing an email to Jason. One tree is coming up with reasons not to make this little writing thing into an illustrated essay, like I promised.

Even though I am lost in this forest of my work life, it is, for the most part, enjoyable. I like to hear the birds sing and feel the sun peek through the branches.

It’s lovely, actually.

But I also feel a little bit scared, if I’m honest. Which way is the right way? Aren’t I just walking in circles? Is there a right way, to … somewhere? And if so, where?

Or is this the journey, to be in the forest, wandering around, enjoying each tree as I stumble upon it?

But I can’t help but wonder: Are there any big trees that I need to pitch a tent near and camp out for awhile? And does the path lead to a cottage made of candy? Without the witch?

I suppose it’s a combination of both, like everything: Work on being able to enjoy the moments but also move along the path to where I’m going. (I don’t have to know where the path leads, but that there is a path I can’t deny, even if I think that all I am doing puttering in the forest.)


Please comment with a topic (it can be just one or two words, or a sentence, a quote, etc.), and I will pick one and either make a word poster like I intended or wimp out and just do a little bit of writing, like I did today. I am doing 10 of these….

Thing #1 – Gargoyles

Gargoyles, submitted by Lisa



Comment with a topic (it can be just one or two words, or a sentence, a quote, etc.), and I will pick one and create a “word poster” like the one below (topic: Rube Goldberg). I plan to do 10 of them… please suggest some topics if this sounds fun to you! Thank you!!

NEW Blog Thing!

Hi everyone! In 2017 I did three different blog “runs” which I loved doing, and am finally feeling free enough this year to start a new one. (If you missed them last year, you can find them HERE, HERE and HERE,and follow the “next post” arrows through the end.)

Comment with a topic (it can be just one or two words, or a sentence, a quote, etc.), and I will pick one and create a “word poster” like the one below (topic: Rube Goldberg). I plan to do 10 of them… please suggest some topics if this sounds fun to you! Thank you!!


San Cristobal, Chiapas, Mexico


The past two weeks I was on my way to… IN… and on my way home from San Cristobal, Mexico. I taught a week-long art class to these lovely women. The class was “Favorite Animal Artist Books” and it was perfectly organized by Kathie Vezzani of Bellissima Art Escapes.


On the first day of “class” we walked to Taller Lenateros, a collective started in 1975 by poet Ambar Past, who gathered Mayan women together to document their stories for generations to come. They create exquisite books, posters and fine-art prints from handmade recycled paper.



We got to make some paper from recycled materials and also purchase some paper, which later turned in this little mini project:




I returned home refreshed and full of ideas! It was a working vacation, but with an emphasis on vacation, as it truly was a wonderful experience. (I think I need another one soon!)

Thank you to everyone who came and especially to organizers Kathie and Ana Elena.

NEW Online Class with Anne Marie Grgich!


The Collage Techniques of Anne Marie Grgich
Collage + Painting
Instructor: Anne Marie Grgich
4-Week Class • 9 Lessons
Class Dates: April 17 – May 11, 2018

“Anne Marie Grgich is one of the most original and innovative artists in the group of American artists known as Outsiders. Completely self-taught and the cover story of Raw Vision Magazine (#22), she became known for her one-of-a-kind books filled with page after page of impassioned, expressionistic faces and figures. Grgich often employs collage and vigorously applies layer after layer of overpainting, covering found texts and images, yet allowing some of the underneath to remain visible. This layering suggests generations of mystery and mystique to her exotic characters.”               — by Phil Demise Smith, 1998 

* * *

We are grateful to be able to bring you this 9-lesson, 4-week online class where Visionary artist Anne Marie Grgich generously shares her process refined from her lifelong passion for making art. Incorporate Anne’s creative approach and techniques to augment your skillset. You will learn step-by-step the Grgich technique as she demonstrates mixed-media elements of ornamentation, printing, drawing, painting and cold wax treatment.

You will learn how to assemble overlays of collage and cutouts and build up colour fields and use subliminal tactics, like overpainting collage with “glow in the dark” paint, to achieve a deep transparent layering.

In this class you will create a large, compelling, mosaic-like collage painting filled with complexity.



A selection of art made with the techniques Anne shares in this class:




“It’s fun to be weird.”
– Anne Marie Grgich

Anne will also share with class participants an extensive pdf of clip art imagery she uses in her own work. Please join us for this unique opportunity to create alongside the wonderful Anne Marie Grgich!



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.

Anne was mentioned in The New York Times in January 2018 and is exclusively exhibiting her prolific work with ZQ Art Gallery in NYC and New Jersey City (visit their site in April when they hold a huge international auction of her work!). Anne lives with her sweetheart and collaborator Steve Fisk, Seattle record producer. Together they create and support each other and live in the Ballard neighborhood.
See more of her work at



Liam & the Funny Guy


Liam’s turn! 

The above drawing is by my oldest grandson, Liam (6). I think the colors are fantastic and it is a good example of a symmetrical composition. For the most part, the piece is divided straight down the middle, with both sides of the axis mirroring each other.

(There are slight differences, such as the grey line extending down past the box on the left side. But that is balanced beautifully by the grey “bulb” on the right end of the middle horizontal line. And while the two red orbs are different sizes, the slightly brighter yellow rays coming out of the smaller one balances it out.)

I really love this drawing.

Here is a recent animal of mine:


Have a great day!