Dogs & More


A demo piece from the workshop in Mexico. Mixed-media on wood (collage, watercolor, pencil, gesso).


My attempt at an abstract!


And one of the little dogs I made for the participants of #sparkoaxaca.

I’ve been home almost two weeks now, and am JUST TODAY feeling caught up with sleep.

(What is happening to me?!! 😀  )

Have a great day!

Teaching Trip to Oaxaca


I was fortunate to spend last week with these women in Oaxaca, Mexico. Thank you everyone who came all that way! (Lynn Whipple and I co-taught a workshop through  Bellissima Art Escapes … #sparkoaxaca)

Here are some images from the trip:







You see I had animals on my brain even when away! The above guy was created during one of Lynn’s teaching days.

A HUGE thank you to Kathie Vezzani (Bellissima Art Escapes) for a wonderful trip!




Registration now OPEN for Karine Swenson’s New Abstraction Class

Abstraction: Diving Deeper
Instructor: Karine Swenson
Drawing, Painting, Mixed-Media • $85
Class Dates: March 22 – April 1, 2016


Have you ever asked yourself “how do I know when a painting is finished?” If you have ever struggled with this question, this is the class for you.

In this painting class, we will dive deeper into our abstract paintings in order to make discoveries and learn, but we will also be constantly asking the question “is this painting finished?”

The focus of the class will be to work through three stages of a painting – the start (so fun, such excitement!), the middle (“oh NO! I ruined it!”), to the finish (Wow! I did it!). I will offer suggestions to help you through each stage as we work towards a resolution. You will be encouraged to use your preferred kind of paint, whether it be acrylic, oil or watercolor. (I will be using oil, but will try to offer tips for other kinds of paint as well.) You will also be encouraged to find your own approach to each part of the process. I do not teach specific techniques as much as I wish to help you find your own techniques and style.

At the end of the class, depending on how quickly you work, you will have finished at least one, if not two, larger sized works. (if you prefer to work small, that’s fine too!) I do encourage you to try a larger painting, if you have been wanting to do it. I encourage risk taking, and I will help you find ways to “save” a painting if you think you’ve pushed it too far. We will be spending a lot of time painting in this class, so push up your sleeves and get ready to move around some paint!
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So I took a stab at some flowers “a la Lynn Whipple” today!

Normally I am in the room when she films a class, but for “Big Bold Bloom Wild Painting!” I was only present for part of it. This is my made-up version…


… so I am very much looking forward to her class! 😀

If you would like to paint Big, Bold Blooms with Lynn, the first lesson goes live this coming Tuesday and runs for five weeks… a class not to be missed! $165. (By request I’ve added a 2-payment option as well.)

Join us!

Creative Business: Some Questions Answered

Hi everyone!

I’ve been working on a business-related article for an outside publication, and recently put a “feeler” up on Facebook. The questions asked were great, and I thought some of our teachers might be able to better speak to them! Thank you to Cat Bennett, Diane Culhane, Karine Swenson, Alison O’Donoghue and Lynn Whipple for your time in weighing in!



Q. How do I move from doing art to making money with art? OR, Specifically how to step out of your comforting walls of your studio, stand up tall and find clients, how to make yourself seen?

Cat Bennett

I had a bustling illustration career for 30 years. I’ve now left illustration and am doing independent art projects. It’s like starting over. Even though I have years of experience selling my work, this is a whole different thing. But basically I’m taking the same approach as years ago: I do my art for myself and when I have a body of work, I ask around. 

In the beginning, it wasn’t easy to approach new clients. Sometimes I would be walking into a big newspaper and feel my heart pounding. I just put one foot in front of the other. I realized if I didn’t show up, nothing could show up for me either. Of course, I encountered rejection but I found I could often learn from it. Sometimes my work needed refining; sometimes I was seeing a client who had interests very different than mine. We grow to see who we are in these encounters. I learned not to invest in outcomes but just to keep going. I think that helps lead us to our own best path.

Making art that is true to me and taking chances with it is what I really care about. I love encouraging my students to find their own strengths, their own voice and the courage to express themselves fully just as they are. They end up doing such great work; we all do if we work that way. It takes time but it happens.

My suggestion is to share. Finding and collecting “your people” happens in a variety of ways. Instagram and Facebook are great ways to share images of what you are creating. Offer a link to your site or way to contact you for more information. 
Signing up for shows is another great way to get your work out there. There are online shows that you can enter as well as “in person” shows… from a coffee shop featuring your work to a juried art show. Gallery shows are great as well. The great thing about entering shows or contacting galleries is the deadline to prepare your work and your offerings. Deadlines are a fantastic tool to create a “push” to make things happen. 

Karine Swenson

Start small and local! Find a venue to have a showing of your work – either a non-profit art venue like a local art council show, a coffee house, or an artists’ collective. Make sure you are present when your work is shown – at least for the opening night. Try to talk to people about your art. Ask them questions and be prepared for a large range of feedback. Listen to what they say so you know how others see your work. You will learn more by listening than you will by doing all of the talking. 

Build on each experience. Join a local art council or organization and meet other artists. You can learn a lot from other artists. Support other artists in their endeavors. Start building a mailing list right away. Your friends, fans and collectors are your biggest asset. 


Q. How do you develop a balance between producing material that “sells” while still being true to your own creativity and expression? 


Karine Swenson

Paint what you love. The people who love what you love will find your work if you keep putting your art out in the world. The more you show your work and listen to what people say about it, the better idea you will have of what people are looking for to buy. Make art that you would want to buy.

Diane Culhane

I paint for myself and I believe that making authentic work will sell — authentic work being from the place of discovery that comes from deep inside.  One thing I will do is adjust the work when getting ready for a show, knowing I need a variety of sizes and color combinations. I’ll look at what I have and decide if I need some paintings with warmer colors or cooler colors, or smaller or bigger sizes. But in general, always be true to your creative expression and you will find an audience of your people.

Alison O’Donoghue

Be sure to allow space to work on what you truly want to do. If it’s a commission request, consider carefully the pros and cons. If you end up doing too much of what people want you to, you may end up discouraged, feeling unfulfilled and frustrated. Also, trust your own voice as being the one that sells, even eventually, build on that, even if you have do that simultaneously. Allow space. 

Cat Bennett

My basic approach is to make art that has real meaning to me, that I really care about. I try to respond to what makes me feel most alive and engaged and curious. That makes me laugh too. I get a certain feeling and I know I’m on track. Whenever I’ve tried to make art simply to sell, I haven’t felt good and the world hasn’t responded that well. That’s how it has worked for me. 


Q. How can social media help sell my work, more than just “Please buy my work?”? OR, How do I use social media effectively?

Alison O’Donoghue

Social Media is good for gaining exposure and viewers but keep it classy. Meaning, show it with confidence. Well edited photos. No self doubt talk. 

Be serious, but friendly, respond to responses. Think about the image you want to create for yourself and your art: A real working artist. Don’t try to sell except when directing to a selling site like Etsy, etc. Use hashtags. 


Q. What helps you manage /prioritize your time & activities? How do you order your day when you are managing producing work & running all aspects of your biz?

Karine Swenson

You must treat your art like a “job.” Have sacred studio time that nothing interferes with. Make the studio a priority. The business aspects have to be squeezed in too. I do the “un-fun” business part at the beginning of the day, that way, going into the studio to paint feels like a reward. 

Cat Bennett

I work every day. I do email, writing and web stuff first thing. That’s the business part. Then, studio time.

I mostly have a project I’m working on and I get to the studio around 8:30 am and leave around 4 or 5 pm, four days a week. I’m quite disciplined about that. I do one project at a time. The other days I have other things I do. And I’m always working in my sketchbook too—playing with ideas, pasting in bits of inspiration, or just drawing. It’s a way of keeping in the flow and also growing my own vision. I do that every day, all the time. 

At the end of the day, I take a look at where I am in the studio and make a note of what the work for the next day is. Every month I also do some bigger picture planning. What do I want to do in the next three months? The next year? For me, it’s helpful to plan like that though I keep it fluid because things change as I work. I always make time for friends too, and fun, and seeing things.  And for reading. It’s all goes together. When I’m having a show or have a book deadline, I work more  intensely but I always come back to a more easeful rhythm. I like life best that way. 

Diane Culhane

What helps me manage my time & activities is asking myself what is essential — I spend a lot of time looking at my calendar, determining what really needs to be done and in what order. I write the list on the left side of the page, and then the SMTWTFS on the right side of the page. I’m constantly looking to see how to order my steps efficiently. Exercising and being with friends is also important because it keeps me happy. But the truth really is, I always want to be in the studio and just paint. Some days I can barely get out of my own way to get out the door. I get so excited. 

This is an ongoing juggling act! Something I have implemented recently and find super helpful and nourishing is to put on my calendar, in writing, at least 3-4 days a week of “Pure clear studio days”  When I looked deeply at the way I most enjoyed creating I found that days that had nothing else scheduled for at least 5-7 hours at a time really made me feel happy, relaxed and free to play and enjoy my studio practice. I now “protect” that time and even let people know that I am not available and why. 
This system also allows for a day or two to stack up the “business” side, with computer work, writing, etc. 


Q. What is a good formula for pricing work?

Alison O’Donoghue

A. Think about what has already sold and at what price and how quickly art of a similar size, quality, and time density has sold. 

B. How consistently has this happened? 

C. How long have you been selling your work? Is there a demand? 

D. If you are selling work for the first time – look around at other artists prices, then lower yours – maybe considerably lower, as an introduction to the market. It’s hard to tell without getting the ball rolling. If it is in a good venue for sales, and sells very quickly, then raising the future price is a good idea. 

Lynn Whipple

There are lots of different ways to approach pricing. One way that I have found helpful is to do a pricing comparison with similar works from other artists. This can be done online, visiting gallery sites and artist sites. It is also helpful if you are attending a show in person, to take note of pricing. After “walking a show,” you can collect information that can help you settle on the price that feels right for your work. 

Other things to take into account when pricing your work include the cost of materials, framing, shipping and of course your time. 

Size of work seems to be a factor as well, seemingly smaller works are priced less and larger works are prices more, though there are lots of examples that don’t follow this pattern. Every artist, medium and market is different. 


Q. What are some pitfalls to avoid with a creative business?

Alison O’Donoghue

Remember, when the money rains, it pours. Prepare yourself for the drought because it is surely coming. Budget the money from the good times. Pitfall #2. Don’t overbook yourself. Doing fewer shows better is much more important  than lots of shows but being stressed all the time and even having to back out of shows, which can burn bridges, and damage your image. 


Do you have something to add to the above? Please let us know in the comments. 😀

Process and play in the studio :)

Lynn Whipple painting!! Lynn posted this on her blog today… fun to see her process!

lynn whipple's blog

Making layers! It’s amazing how a painting goes through twists and turns… are a few images of the process. Do you ever fall in love with an early layer and get frozen? Me too, but I push forward. The best part is getting lost in the moment 🙂

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loosey goosey layer….

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loud music please…..


more layerS!!!!!

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both hands!




I am thinking it’s getting close to done!! Wheeeeeeeee!!!

Have a great day!

If you are interested in doing some Big Bold Blooms Wild Painting with me, check out my newest online class starting February 23!

Many thanks!



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Celebrate Trees with Diane Culhane


Hi everyone!

I hope you are having a great weekend, doing just a little of something you love in the middle of things you MUST attend to. 😉

I wanted to post a reminder that Diane Culhane’s newest class, “For the Love of a Tree,” begins this coming Tuesday (February 9th)! If you love Diane, love her work, or love trees, you will, well, love this class!


This is a two week class that consists of drawing, collage, and painting exercises, as well as completing two small and one larger painting.

Here’s the class video again, and click HERE for more information and to sign up!

Registration Open for Big Bold Bloom Wild Painting! with Lynn Whipple


Big Bold Bloom Wild Painting!
A 5-Week Course with Lynn Whipple
10 Lessons • $165

Class Dates: February 23 – March 24, 2016


Paint Big! Paint Vibrantly! Paint Loose! Paint Blooms!

Are you ready to work large and loose with lots freedom and color?? I am thrilled to share with you a playful, layered approach to painting and drawing that embraces your wild side!

Using acrylic paint, charcoal and colorful chalk pastel, I will walk you through exercises, methods and techniques that will allow you to push your work towards abstraction. We will explore together a fresh, painterly interpretation of a traditional subject matter… FLOWERS!

For more information and to sign up, CLICK HERE!








Lynn Whipple: “Where Women Create” Giveaway


Hello! Lynn Whipple was in Seattle this past week filming her upcoming class (which will open for registration tonight!). Steve says it’s “the best Lynn Whipple class ever,” so get ready!! 😉

Lynn shared the Winter 2016 issue of Where Women Create, where she was featured! Congratulations, Lynn!





We are giving away three copies of this issue of “Where Women Create!” Just comment here by noon on Wednesday, February 3rd, and I will pick the winners randomly. International entries welcome.

(And please stay tuned for Lynn’s next new class details!!)