Category Archives: Uncategorized

Whatever Is MOVING!


I have not posted here since February because an accidental fall broke my hip on February 6, and I have been recovering from surgery since.

The other thing I am trying to heal is the confusion in my online life. What to post where is a biggie.

Back in December, I launched my Art-FULL Life blog which is hosted on my artist site (

I am leaving the Whatever blog here so archives can be accessed, but from this date, I will only be blogging on Art-FULL Life. Much simpler.

If you are Subscribed to this Whatever blog, you do not have to do anything. I have transferred your subscription, and you will now get post notices from Art-FULL Life.

If you are not subscribed and want to be, you can make that happen at this link:



Merry Christmas from Santa Fe!

lorettolightsIt’s a low key Christmas. Family is elsewhere and we can’t be, because when you are in retail, in a tourist destination, you don’t close your gallery and go away.

I love how the faralitos (what they are called in Santa Fe) line the pueblo architecture of the Inn at Loretto. This is the iconic Santa Fe Christmas shot, but I just took it with my iPhone, so it’s not all it could be. My hands were cold! Continue reading

Prints Charming . . .

Casita-Studio “Santa Fe Studio with Picture Window” © 2014 Jessica Wesolek

I didn’t quite meet my challenge to create six paintings this week. I only made it to four so far, but so many good things have come of the effort, that I’m not even disappointed about it.

I have gotten my garden room cleaned up and set up as a working watercolor studio.

I have unearthed all the wonderful tubes of paint that have been waiting such a long time for me to come back to them, and I have spent a LOT of time painting.

Because of a puppy dog tummy ache, we got up at 5am yesterday, and I painted for 4 hours before going down to the gallery.

Found out that early morning is a wonderful time to make art – putting it first before anything else but coffee (and dog walking, of course).

I love the studio in the painting above and wish mine was that pristine.

One of the really fun things is incorporating some of the style details that are so unique to Santa Fe, like saltilllo (sal-tee-o) tile floors and vigas (vee-ga) and latillas (la-tee-ya).

The vigas are the large telephone pole-like beams that go through the walls and hold up the ceiling.

Latillas are the smaller sapling logs that cover the ceiling on top of the vigas.

When I have my Santa Fe Retreats, this is the stuff that charms the chile (yes – spelled with an “e”) out of my students because it is so “arty” and fun to sketch. I can still fit a couple people into the September Retreat if anybody else wants to come see for themselves.

Here is a little “reading room” I painted with a Kiva (kee-va) fireplace in it . . .

Casita-Kiva-Fireplace“Casita with Kiva Fireplace” © 2014 Jessica Wesolek

Kiva fireplaces are patterned after horno ovens (orno) which are adobe brick ovens, usually outside, in which the Pueblo people bake bread. They look something like this . . .hornooven

First, you build a fire in the oven in the early morning. When the kindling burns away, you clean out the ashes, put your loaves of bread inside on pieces of stone (so they don’t get sooty) and the retained heat in the adobe bricks bakes the bread. Makes you appreciate our oven’s pre-heat feature, doesn’t it?

I have eaten bread freshly baked in an horno when visiting a friend at one of the local pueblos. It was really delicious and different.

I have never seen a fireplace like this in any kiva (ceremonial room), so who knows how that name came about.

And my fourth painting this week was an outside view . . .

The-Note“The Note” © 2014 Jessica Wesolek

Many exterior patios and porches are flagstone or brick. This time, you see the ends of the vigas sticking out through the adobe wall.

And we also have a chile ristra (ree-stra). Fresh picked chiles are bound together and hung on an outside wall or portal (porch) to dry. The cook then grabs one from the ristra whenever needed.

Blue doors and gates are considered good luck and they are thought to ward off evil.

This morning, I built a web page for my prints, and put them in the Shopping Cart . . .

You can see all four paintings together, and you can purchase the prints.

Thank you so much to those who purchased the first print last time.

It is really fun to share the style and culture of Santa Fe with you – and it’s REALLY fun to be painting again!

Someday, My Prints Will Come

Casita-with-Blue-Window“Casita with Blue Window” ©2014, Jessica Wesolek

Do you know how it is when seventy hundred people have told you for 10+ years to do something, and then one day, you finally do it?

Weird. That’s how it is.

I have never actually offered my art for sale online – despite 10+ years of cajoling.

Well, now I am going to. Here’s how it happened . . .

Our tourist season here in Santa Fe is just around the corner. Our gallery has a wonderful selection of high color, whimsical artwork hung all over the place.

Looks great.

Except it’s not MY wonderful, high color, whimsical art.

Why not?

Because I don’t DO IT!

I do everything else instead, thinking I will get around to painting as soon as I am done with all that.

Ha! I’m NEVER going to be done with all that - who am I kidding?

So I set myself a “job” this week – to create a painting a day. There will be 6 altogether because I already completed this one yesterday.

AND, I am going to offer prints for sale both in the gallery and online (with free shipping!).

Prints are the same size as the originals this time (6″x6″) printed with archival inks on my very special inkjet vinyl which is waterproof and tear proof.

The sheet size is 8.5″x11″ so a variety of trims are possible for matting and printing, but the cool thing is that it can just be tacked to the wall or even hung on a clipboard because the print can’t be torn or damaged by moisture.

I used to make printed pinwheels on this vinyl and keep them in the garden!

Prints are hand-signed by me after they are printed, which is why there is no signature on the one above. That signature makes the print more valuable.

Prints are $20 and ship free within the US by regular mail.

I will have a webpage for these when they are done, but right now, if you want this one, here is a direct purchase link

Casita with Blue Window

A casita is a tiny house and this series will be cozy casita scenes and maybe some Entradas (entrances – gates and doors).


As you all know, I have been easy with usage of my images over the years, but this is a little different.

Because this is part of keeping me in paint (and pet food), it is NOT okay to print this image for personal or any other use. I.E. it is not ok to print it from the blog and hang on the wall, like you do with a lot of my other stuff. I’m fine with that a lot of the time, but this art is for creating income. Everybody needs a little of that!

Brilliant Watercolor

A reader left a comment on the watercolor post (thanks, Ernie) about yet ANOTHER brand of watercolor paint I have not tried, called Mission Gold, which she said is the Inktense of watercolor – super brilliant.

Oh dear.

But I must not get distracted right now, I must not get distracted.

Also, if my work got *more* bright and brilliant and color saturated, would it actually explode in a sunspot?


A Dagwood Sandwich . . .

dagwoodsandwichOne of the best things to come from conversations with my friends Betsy and Valerie in Colorado was this analogy…

My life is a Dagwood Sandwich.

It has all these wonderful things in it that all look so tasty (well most of them – I don’t know what that purple thing is!).

But I can’t possibly eat it all.

I ran into a good friend in the market last evening.

She is a very talented artist and concentrates on one medium.

Her work is doing well enough that she will soon leave her part time job to devote all her working hours to her studio.

Something about that simplicity of purpose is SO appealing.

But, at the same time, I know that is not me. To begin with, I could not choose one medium because I have a high level of devotion to two, and enjoy a very lively relationship with a third.

That’s three layers on the sandwich already and we haven’t even started with the businesses, husband, dogs, cats, garden etc.

When I come to the realization that I have always made a Dagwood Sandwich of my life and am unlikely to stop anytime soon, it becomes clear that the ingredients to remove from my sandwich are the ones that don’t taste so good – like that purple thing perhaps.

Like stress, multitasking, unreal expectations, shoulds, hurry, etc.

The thing about being self-employed is that you work for a boss who is too demanding.

It’s almost like you have to over perform to make up for not having a “real” job.

And the lack of a “real” paycheck that comes along at a certain time, is a real motivator for doing too much, too fast.

There are things that must be done on time – like planting the bounty from AJ’s Nursery before anything dies.

But most things could be approached in a more reasonable manner, and get done when they get done, and I could drop the guilt about that.

I am the one making this sandwich, after all.

I could make it more manageable.

I learned a lot over the past two weeks:

1. I can’t be a daily blogger unless I make a sandwich of just that. And the result of blogging more was nothing to write home about. It did not increase business, slightly decreased subscriptions, slightly increased readership – blah blah blah.

2. My two businesses are seasonal. The online business slows down in the Summer, and Summer is the high season for the gallery, so shifting my attention seasonally is a good idea (thanks to Valerie and Betsy for that one).

3. I have written a MONUMENTAL amount of instruction material over the past 13 years – more than would EVER be expected of any author anywhere. So I am taking a hiatus from writing new workshops and workbooks for awhile. Instead, I will dust off and refresh existing stuff which is as good as ever, and should be made available again.

For example, I have the best digital photography course on the planet. I stopped offering the workshop because giving feedback on all the students’ photos was way too time consuming for the income produced.

But the course is great on its own, and I can make a Whenever Workshop of it, or series of Workbooks maybe.

That is just one example of many.

4. I can still keep this blog if I am true to its name “Whatever . . .Whenever”, and take the self-imposed OBLIGATION out of the sandwich.

I know it is not you, dear readers, who put the pressure on – it is me, and I can change that. I know you will be fine with whatever, whenever I manage to post.

Better than never, right?

These are not all the answers, but it is a start.

If I can’t eat that sandwich all at once, at least I can balance it meanwhile.

And speaking of BALANCE . . .

Many of you are familiar with my sister, Cassie Schindler, from past blogging days.

She is now an MBSR instructor (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction) in Silicon Valley trying to help de-stress the employees of some of the biggest corporations there.

But she is also trying something new – based on what she is learning in her practice.

She is creating an online life-balancing “buffet” workshop which is individually customized to your needs.

It starts with a personal phone conference with her in which you both decide which learning modules work best for you, and that then becomes the structure of “your” workshop.

It’s a fascinating concept and the first session starts next week (AND it’s very affordable).

I know Cassie has some fans among my readership, so I wanted to let you know about this. Details are here:

Stop, Balance, Go Customized Workshop


The Backwards, Decorated Hair Dryer . . .

birdbathblueI can’t even express how moved I was by your responses to yesterday’s post. Your friendship is what holds me to the whole blogging idea.

Many comments brought tears to my eyes, and one made me fall on the floor laughing. Vivian – the hairdryer backwards and decorated was hysterical.

The “hairdryer” is a little porcelain bird who sits in a porcelain birdbath and holds water for my watercolor painting. His feet are covered over with clear glaze so it looks as if he is standing in water – even when I don’t have water in the dish.

Those of you who have been around for a very long time may remember that I like to use very special containers as part of my watercolor ritual.

A tip for those who would just as soon recycle a container for their water . . . this comes from my friend, Betsy, who recycles everything.

Fage Greek yogurt containers, with their little fruit cup, make great water containers. Keep clean water in the little cup, and use the larger cup for brush cleaning water. (Eat the yogurt first!)

yogurtcupI tried this and it works great. I wish I liked Greek yogurt more.

Back to the birdbath bowl . . .

birdbathbowlredThey are created by artist, Shandi McConnell, and we carry them in the gallery ($38). I am debating whether to include them in the online Market because we sell out of them so quickly that I never know what color birds we have in stock. The bowls are all this watery turquoise blue and the glaze is crackled.

If you want one meanwhile, email me and I will tell you what we have on hand.

And speaking of special things made by special artists, I have gotten several emails lately about our handmade art journal bags. I am down to the last one in the gallery and must place an order, so once again, I will offer you a chance to get one in the color and pattern you want.

artjournalbagsClick here for full details, and you can order from that same page. The price is $36 and the turnaround time is 2-3 weeks. There is really nothing like these bags – they should be a lot more expensive.

Handmade Artist Journal/iPad Cross Body Bag

or here is the direct link to buy one if you already know all about it

Art Journal Bag Purchase Link

Now, about some of your ideas from last time . . .

Send Sheer Heaven Samples to some craft bloggers for review. This is a very good idea. Sheer Heaven has been featured on blogs and in books and magazines over the years, and that is always a good thing. I have never initiated that, however, and it’s something I should think about.

Can any of you share links to your favorite craft or art blogs in Comments below? This would be good for me, and it would be good for all of you who might like to know about some good blogs.

I also have to make a new Sheer Heaven transfer video for YouTube. Time flies and I didn’t realize how changes in YouTube quality have shrunken my video to a little fuzzy thing.

Problem is, that video has 150,000 views, which gives it a high search ranking, and you can’t just put a new video in that space. You have to start over, and the best thing you can do is put a link to the new one on the old one. See what I mean about how complicated this whole thing is?

Hanne mentioned that the iPad Studio link on the new Cre8it Home page doesn’t work. That is because I am redoing  the page it would link to.

The iPad Studio workshop was written in 2012. You all know how fast iPad stuff gets updated. There are several workbooks that need updating and I don’t have another year to devote to that, so I am dismantling the workshop, and am going to make the Workbooks available individually – as they are updated – or when I write a new one (there are now 13 workbooks instead of the original 11).

That means creating new web pages on my site. They are almost done, and as soon as they are, that Home page link to them will work again.

I’m tellin’ ya – you might get a headache from my sharing some of what is involved backstage here. It’s ok – I have some ibuprofen if we need it.

Word of Mouth . . .

This is the best thing ever. Word of mouth has been the biggest thing behind the success of Sheer Heaven.

As you know, I love to tell you about the places and things I love, and if you love it here, the best thing you can do is to spread the word.

Quinn Creative

I am really glad Quinn’s name came up.

I first met her when she took a workshop of mine at Art Unraveled. She is a lovely person.

She is also an amazing thinker and an amazing writer when it comes to things creative. In fact, I LOVE the way she creates pictures with words.

Her blog is wonderful and is on my very selective list of favorite blogs (scroll down the sidebar for that list).

Her latest book is about a new way to think about your inner critic and I haven’t read it yet, but I love her Raw Art Journaling book and plan to review it here soon. Here it is on Amazon:

Raw Art Journaling by Quinn McDonald

So, that’s enough for today. I am off to our local Studio Tour (local to our little village of Eldorado). There are 90+ artists in it, but I am most excited to see the new work by my friend, Sharon Brush. She is creating a whole new look for her first showing since she moved to Santa Fe a year ago.

She is a master ceramicist. You can see some of her past work here:

I’ll be back tomorrow.



Drawing and Painting on Your iPad . . .

ipadartstudio600It really is fun taking apart the workshop I spent a year putting together.

That sounds very strange, I know, but all things change and the changes around here are actually causing the wind to blow. Or maybe that is just Spring in Santa Fe doing that?

I decided some time back to take apart the iPad Studio and offer the workbooks individually, so iPad users could choose their areas of interest. The original plan was to just update the books, but that has only worked out on a couple of them. Some have been completely rewritten (iPad Photo Arts), and some are brand new workbooks that were never part of the Studio (iTangle and iPad Printing).

Choosing which workbook comes next has sometimes been a bit serendipitous . . .

We have been having wonderfully warm Spring weather, and amazing things have been happening – like the Santa Fe River actually having water in it . . .


 I cross this footbridge on the walk to the gallery from the parking lot.

OK, OK, I can show you at least one picture of this mysterious gallery. Vesta took this one when she was here . . .


 Two interesting things:

That’s the Santa Fe Plaza at the end of the block.

Our name (WOW!) reads the same backwards as forwards – good for when the door is open. We won’t know whether we are coming or going – which is not unusual.

There will be much more gallery to come. but back to the next iPad Workbook . . .

Or at least to the Hummingbird part of the story . . .

My friend, Betsy, spotted the first Hummingbird last Saturday, so I got the feeders out.

But then, we had this really weird late freeze come through on Monday (yesterday). I was very worried about my Lilac buds, and about the Hummingbird feeders freezing – and I was reminded of the time (2011) when my “pet” Hummingbird would not leave me and I had to heat the feeders with clip-on lamps.

I thought I painted a picture of that. Did I? Couldn’t find it.

Then I remembered my iPad. I was painting a lot in the Art Studio app then . . . and sure enough, that’s where it was – not even finished, but there.


I was working in layers – a pencil sketch, ink layer, and paint layer. Here’s how it looked with the pencil sketch layer visible . . .

warmfeeder2So great to be able to turn those layers on and off! Messiest pencil sketch ever!

And it started me thinking how much I LOVE the Art Studio app.

I actually call it my “Photoshop killer”. If I could have only one art app, this would be it.

I wrote a book about it.

That should be the next Workbook I release, I thought!

Luckily, that book required very little updating, even though this app gets updated all the time. It is the greatest art app ever. It has everything the other high-end art app have, and most of what Photoshop has as well. And it only cost $4.99! Your can create art AND do image-editing AND combine it all together.

This workbook teaches you how to draw and paint on your iPad just like you do in real life. And how to bring photos “into the picture” so to speak (like for collage). It’s a must-have if you really want to “do art” on your iPad.

It’s a 50 page PDF Workbook again, and the cost is $15 (again).

Here’s the link:

iPad Art Studio Workbook, Drawing & Painting on the iPad

All download issues from last time have been fixed. Just put the long, hyphenated Order Code (NOT the Order Number) into the box provided and the book is yours.

NOTE: If you are a student of the iPad Studio Workshop, you already own this book (Workbook# 10).