Kids Art Week starts tomorrow!

dogfightDogfight, 2010.


Hello everyone!

It’s Sunday evening and I wanted to check in and remind you that the FREE online class, Kids Art Week, begins tomorrow! We will start with a Picasso Dog exercise (above is a “souped-up” version), and move on to five other fun lessons from Diane Culhane, Lynn Whipple and myself, one each day of the week (through Saturday).

Join 3,000 others (yay!) who have already joined in… click HERE to sign up and get the first lesson in your inbox first thing in the morning! It’s free!

Thank you everyone who has shared and signed up already!

New Class! “Scissors, Paper, Rock” with Lynn Whipple

Hi there! When Lynn Whipple was here a few weeks ago, she snuck in a filming of a quick “Lunch Hour” class for August. A fun one! ;D

Scissors, Paper, Rock
A 3-Lesson, “Bite-Sized” Class with Lynn Whipple
Drawing, Watercolor, Mixed Media • $25
Class Dates: August 11-14, 2015


Love Nature? Love Art?

Then join Lynn Whipple for a summer celebration of nature through drawing, painting, cutting, collaging, documenting, photographing, rearranging and gift-giving!

Each lesson you will outside and gather both inspiration and your “pieces and parts” to use in the assignments. Inspiring shapes, colors and possible combinations are everywhere in the outdoor world. Muse artists for this class include Andy Goldsworthy, Opal Whiteley and  Tim Hawkinson (his giant rock bear is super cool)!

Your itinerary:


Lesson 1: Journaling with Nature as Our Muse
Tuesday, August 11th
Looking deeply we will appreciate the amazing design found in the great outdoors. After some drawing exercises, you’ll alter your objects with paint and pencil and attach them to your journal pages (like a naturalist making notes)!


Lesson 2: Nature Ninnies
Wednesday, August 12th
Today you will alter images with found outdoor objects using a smart phone or camera to document. This is fun and fast; you will capture the image and start again! Goal: Make great unexpected combinations and laugh.


Lesson 3: Rearranging Beauty = Free Gifts
Friday, August 14th
Playing with pattern and pieces and parts found in nature, we will combine things together in a fresh new way. Document with your camera or phone, add some writing or paint if you wish.  As a bonus we will taste the joy of leaving a little something anonymously out out in the world as a free gift for a lucky passerby. 

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Join this fun class today!

Happy Monday!


Hi Everyone!

I hope you had a good weekend. Mine was great; all day with the grandkids on Saturday and all day at the studio table on Sunday.

I have realized a pattern lately that is scaring me, and that is that once I share work online, I feel “done” with the media/series, even though I haven’t really explored it fully!

So I’m going to experiment with waiting before sharing.

Has anything like this happened to you?

Above is a PanPastel and pencil bunny on an index card that we found recently… a super old piece!

Have a wonderful week!

Do You Love Kids’ Art?


Do you like kids’ art?

I love it, which is one reason why I love teaching art to kids… I get to be the first to see all of their wonderful artwork!



I found these three drawings the other day in some old notebooks from around 2000. The top one, by “Ashley,” is someone I don’t remember, but isn’t it cute? And the two drawings above were done by my son Wes, when about 5.

I love how fragile the lines are, the charming personalities of all three characters, and the super interesting details, such as the two bumps on Ashley’s little face, or the shapes next to the bird’s feet.

Do you love children’s art, too? If so, Why?

And please share a link to some kids’ art if you can!

Kids, Art & Giving Back




How are you today?

The above two paintings were done 10 years ago when Steve and I went to Nicaragua and taught art to children over a week… we went to work with The Rainbow Network, a NGO based in Managua. This amazing organization empowers people in remote villages by working with them to provide healthcare, housing, education and economic development.

Nicaragua is a country that has been battered by civil war, earthquakes and hurricanes. It seems almost impossible for the folks in rural areas to get ahead…almost. We believe in Rainbow because they believe in the people they are helping. Almost all of the staff consists of native Nicaraguans, from the program directors to the doctors and teachers.

We give a portion of our profits to provide school and art supplies for elementary schools as well as scholarships for high school students who must pay tuition to attend. If you would like to know more about The Rainbow Network, click here:

Keith Jaspers, the founder of The Rainbow Network has asked Steve to produce a full-length Documentary (yay!). Steve will be taking a small crew down in the fall to begin gathering footage… we need to raise funds to pay for travel costs (all of their time will be donated). Click HERE if you feel led or are interested in learning more!

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Speaking of kids! Tomorrow I’m sending the class links out to over 2,700 people who signed up for our FREE Kids Art Week, which begins Monday.


If you haven’t yet signed up and would like to join the fun (open to kids of all ages!), click here for more information.

Thanks, everyone, and have a wonderful day!

Master Copy Drawings by “Sparker” Laura Lea Laws

Hello! I wanted to share with you the amazing artwork of Laura Lea Laws, one of the participants of the Year of the Spark! online class. In May, one of the warmup assignments was to do ONE Master Copy Drawing. Laura has taken hold of this assignment and has delighted all of us with her incredible output of over 60 drawings!



Here are some of Laura’s thoughts about her wonderful, growing body of work:

I have done 66 master sketches so far. I think what grabbed me [about this assignment] was that, since I am not a master artist, it allowed me to let go of that idea that I would make something matching the master artist’s talent. What amazed me is no matter how I tried to draw like the artist, I was consistently finding that it looked like my artwork. So in a way it calmed my inner critic and I was able to let things go as imperfect because I wasn’t trying to be perfect.

That is where I discovered the thrill of the challenge. I had to discover ways to problem solve with pencil (mechanical and colored pencils) to make paint strokes where you can blur lines and you can allude to things without making specific lines.  Pencil almost by the nature of it forces you to make a line choice. I also made a pact with myself that no matter where a piece was going I would finish it and post it.


This is where I started listening to my conversations with myself. At first I have an emotional response to the artwork I chose. I ask myself, “Why is she sad?” or “What is she thinking about?”

Then I probe why the artist chose the colors or background or placement of hands or angle of face to depict that mood/emotion? That is where I start usually. Then by the middle I’m having those moments where I am exclaiming, “Oh my, look the artist faked that hand, there are only three fingers!” or “That touch of green in the face is intriguing and works so well to depict the shading and mood.”  The middle phase, I think, is where I’m happiest. I see things I’d never noticed before.


After I finish my pieces I look down and see some amazing things. I see sometimes that my own emotions go deeper into the faces. A contemplative or reflective look on a woman’s face in the original becomes a worried or tired look in mine due to my own mood. Sometimes through lack of skill or my own emotions, my subjects age.  

I think I will continue doing them throughout my life as it gives me great pleasure to look closely and observe art, it helps me slow down and breathe while giving my soul a wash of everyday worries. Plus I get to move my hands and try new things and I love experimenting, problem solving, and exploring through art.


I am learning to draw the human form; it is my goal and I’ve been practicing, but this sketching from the masters has totally captured my imagination and has challenged me with problem solving that I believe is training my eyes to see and my hands to move more confidently. Thank you Carla!

My three favorite pieces so far are:


Portrait of a Woman by Mischa Askenazy (1888-1961). I like her strong face with her prominent nose, and the tilt of her head. I love the color blue and her outfit and matching earrings frame her face. The pink with soft orange in the background makes the blue surrounding in her sing. I like this one for its simplicity and directness. 


I love all the Francoise Gilot sketches I’ve done but my personal favorite is The Girl with a Crown (1967). I love the colors in this. It places me at about the same age of this girl. I was an early reader and imaged myself in all the fairy tales I read.  I like her strong face. I like the simple floral crown. I love all the blue that she added to the white skin.  It has a dreamy quality and is very poetic in nature.  I was a dreamy girl who was writing poetry instead of doing my schoolwork and reading myths and fairy tales from my grandmother’s floor to ceiling bookshelves down the one end of her hallway.


My third favorite is Pescadora Valenciana/ fisherwoman from Valencia by Joaquin Sorolla. I know that my version of the woman looks nothing like his, but I enjoyed these colors so much. — Laura Lea Laws

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Thank you, Laura, for allowing me to reprint your images! If you would like to see all of Laura’s images, go to her flickr site here:

Free! Kids Art Week – 6 Online Lessons – Join us!

Hi Everyone!

Lynn Whipple, Diane Culhane and I have been working on a 6-lesson class for kids! … and it’s FREE! Please share with anyone you know who has kids (or would like to create like a kid), as “kids” of all ages are welcome! But, especially, kid kids. :D

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“Kids Art Week” FREE!
with Carla Sonheim, Lynn Whipple & Diane Culhane
One-Week Class; 6 Video Lessons

Class Dates: July 27-31, 2015kidsartweekwebslide

Carla Sonheim, author of “Drawing Lab,” would like to invite you and your kids to join us for a week of creativity and fun. Carla is joined by artist-teachers Lynn Whipple and Diane Culhane and they have created six video lessons for kids of all ages. All you need are some basic art supplies and less than an hour a day!

… and, it’s FREE!

First lesson July 27th…

Sign Up for Kids Art Week






Class Itinerary

Lesson 1Picasso Dogs with Carla

Lesson 2Crayon Resist Night Sky with Diane

Lesson 3: Leaf Printing with Lynn

Lesson 4: Nature Faces with Lynn

Lesson 5: Oil Pastel & Paint with Diane

Lesson 6Modigliani Portraits with Carla

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Supplies Needed:

Tempera or acrylic paint, markers, crayons, watercolors, pencils, oil pastels, imagination and sense of fun!

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It’s Free! Sign your kids up today!

Sign Up for Kids Art Week

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Who we are:

Collectively, Carla Sonheim, Lynn Whipple, and Diane Culhane are professional artists and educators who teach all ages.

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• FREE! Sign up today!
Sign Up for Kids Art Week

Pause for Paws


I created this as part of Irreversibly Moi’s “Fabulous and Free Art Journaling Challenge,” where I weighed in on the “Pause for Paws” theme. Here’s the link if you are interested:

This was collage, acrylic, pencil on paper… here are some detail shots:




Have a wonderful week!

P.S. Fred Lisaius’ new class, “Acrylics: Painting Flowers,” begins tomorrow! This will be our last class for the summer… join us!

Creativity Tip: Do Nothing!


In my last post I gave myself permission to do nothing that day. Nothing. I didn’t even read. I fell asleep, twice. I only answered emergency emails and did my best not to think about work or creativity or exercising or housework or anything else.


The reason was that recently I’ve been slightly overwhelmed with the chaos of summer, and was finding it hard to get to my art table.


I knew it would probably do me good creatively to have one day where I had NO “things” to do.


And it worked! The next day ideas started bubbling up and I was creating again.


Creativity Tip: Do Nothing!

Have a wonderful day!


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