Category Archives: Learning

Can you have fun Resizing Photos?


As all of you know, I have been teaching computer graphics online for a LONG time. And I am pretty good at explaining stuff that seems complicated.

But there is one thing that remains unteachable for the most part, no matter how hard I try.

That thing is resizing photos. I have taught myself blue in the face and still, most folks just glaze right over when the subject comes up – or God forbid, the need arises.

I was reminded of this again the other day when a nice customer at the gallery offered to send me some pictures of a rusted raven he bought from us – now nicely ensconced in his garden. He said he would just send them all since he hadn’t really edited them yet.

OMG. I got almost a gigabyte worth of email with HUGE photos that took forever to download, and when they did, I had to scroll to see them – on my 24″ display!

Sound familiar?

So the irony is that we now have more photos than at any time in history, and yet we don’t use them or print them much because we can’t figure out resizing.

I also teach art journaling, as you know, and when we had the Santa Fe Retreat last September, I knew that people were going to want to take pictures of Santa Fe – AND they were going to want to put them in their journals. AND they all had iPads.

So I wrote a book about it – and gave it to them – and they loved it – and NOBODY had a problem about their photos being the right size to fit on their journal pages – regardless of what space they had to occupy. And nobody wasted any photo paper because we could print a bunch of photos of varied sizes on one page.

And nobody had to even think about pixels or resolution or anything else like that. They just arranged their photos to fit their pages layouts. And it was fun and intuitive and creative and artistic. All of that – really.

So, I updated the book and added some helpful templates – for cards and things as well as journal pages, and I have published it just in time for the busiest PHOTO season of the year.

And some of you might get iPads for Christmas if you haven’t got one already.

But for sure all of you are going to greatly increase the number of photos you don’t know what to do with during this holiday season, so you NEED this book.

You don’t need any background or to have taken the iPad Studio Workshop. This book stands alone.

If, however, you don’t know squat about photos and images on the iPad – like where they are kept and how to move them around and stuff like that, you might also want my iPad Studio Workbook 1 – which covers all that stuff. Therefore, I am offering a bundle of the two which will save you $5. It’s in the Shopping Cart.

SO, here is the link to this revolutionary Workbook. You will never have to worry about pixels again!

Printing Photos from Your iPad

What else is new . . .

Tis the season to be SO busy. I’ve been making art glass, buying a new car (had to), and planning the big gallery move.

I have things to share but it will have to be next time because the timer just ding-a-linged to tell me my famous baked potatoes are done and there are people around here who cannot wait!

Here’s that recipe in the Wisdom Woman Archives . . .


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Happy In My Own Skin . . .


“From the Depths of My Heart”, Kiln Fired Glass, Sterling and Fine Silver, © Jessica Wesolek,2013

This time, I went missing for three whole weeks!! OMG, where have I been?

Have I been navel-gazing and contemplating the meaning of it all? No.

Have I been whining and crying about too much to do in too little time? No.

Did I take my planned trip to Tubac and bask in warm weather and warm-hearted sisterhood? No.

Then what in the world have I been doing?

I have been making art, my friends.

Making art and that is all.


“Rainbow Raven Coasters” Kiln glass silkscrened with powdered glass. © Jessica Wesolek 2013

It has been many years since I have felt like this. That I am absolutely firing on all cylinders.

When I made a promise to myself in my twenties that I would live by my art, or die trying, I knew that there would be much compromise made between what I longed to create and what I would HAVE to create in order to keep a roof over my head, and some food under that roof.

Because I was always being “creative” in some way, however, I have never been unhappy in my commercial endeavors and have, in fact, enjoyed them.

But there is nothing in this world as amazing and all-encompassing as the JOY of immersing myself in art for me – making whatever I want to make and learning, learning, learning in the process.

I have been logging 12 hours studio days one after another. Luckily, the studio is well warmed by the new kiln, which is running all the time. I don’t know or care what time it is, or whether I remembered to eat something all day.

I am making art.


“You and I” Sterling Silver, Fine Silver, and kiln-fired glass. © Jessica Wesolek, 2013

I think I mentioned last time (so long ago, it seems) that I was about to take a workshop in Powder Printing at the Bullseye Glass Resource Center here in Santa Fe. I was excited, but I had no idea that I would fall head over heels into a new world, and LOVE it SO much.

Being reminded of how it feels to be completely absorbed in art making, has reminded me also that artists are the luckiest people alive.

And yet they spend more time soul-searching, self-doubting, and indulging in self-sabotage than they do making art.

If they would just put all that energy into making art, there would be none left for worrying about making art.

I speak to me as I speak to thee, because I am as guilty as anyone of barking up that very wrong tree.

Today is Thanksgiving, and I am grateful for so many things: my family, my health, and my dear friends (such as you).

But this year, I am reminded to give thanks for the greatest gift of all . . .

That I can make art.


“Wild Horse Canyon” Image powder-printed with reactive glasses and kiln-fired. © Jesica Wesolek 2013


“Family Ties” Sterling Silver and Reactive Glasses Kiln-Fired. © Jessica Wesolek 2013


Nightlight, Kiln-Carved Cathedral Glass. © Jessica Wesolek 2013

Happy Thanksgiving, my dear friends!

You Don’t Have To Have an Exciting Life . . .


You don’t have to have an exciting life to have an exciting art journal.

In fact, although travel journals are wonderful things, some of my favorite art journal pages are about nothing at all.

The amazing success of the TV show, Seinfeld, was due to the fact that it was about nothing – just the everyday life moments of the characters.

On Tuesday, October 8, a very ordinary day, I felt the need to point out to myself that I actually had gotten many things accomplished since greeting the dawn.

Enough for a whole journal spread, in fact. (Done with ink and water soluble markers used from a palette, in my Stillman & Birn Beta sketchbook).

Let’s take a closer look . . .


The window in my studio is double hung. This means that both sashes move. Every Fall, it is a major, two-person production to shut the window for the Winter, because when you shut the bottom sash, the top one moves down enough in sympathy, that you can’t lock the window. Usually, I have to use a broom handle to hold the top sash up tight while Mark leans over the bench shears in a very dangerous stance to pull the bottom sash down and lock it. So far, no body parts have been cut off, but we still face this task with great trepidation.

JFTHOI (just for the hell of it), I thought I would give it a try by myself last Tuesday. I got on a step ladder, leaned carefully over the bench shears, and snuck up on the bottom sash, slamming it down before the top sash had a chance to notice. The lock could be set!

I danced for joy, but got off the ladder first. This little miracle deserved a journal entry!

Earlier in the day, I had packed a whole box of colorful sponge balls to send to my sister. That was just plain cute enough to go in the journal.


Tax Extensions always seem like such a good idea in April, but the devil comes back to bite me in October! A piece of everyday has been about THAT. I hate THAT.

To escape THAT, I wrote and published a blog post, did a couple greenhouse chores, and went over to the gallery to help Mark move a cabinet. It was heavy and it hurt and I got a sliver. Had we only known a lady would buy it the very next day!

Then, I stopped in the market for some *essential* vittles.

All of that could be easily forgotten in the flotsam of my days. But, now it never will be.

This is the best part of sketch journaling (my name for illustrated art journaling). Everyday moments and everyday things are great subjects for drawing and painting.

Because I know how to draw and paint everyday things, I am able to record my everyday moments.

So, I have created a BRAND NEW art journaling workshop series about just that . . . learning to draw and paint everyday things in your art journal.

I am very excited because I will use a BRAND NEW blog format for the workshop, and I have lots of BRAND NEW tricks and tools to make my teaching even better.

Better still, there is just enough time before the official start of the HOLIDAY SEASON which eats everyone’s life it seems. Not mine, but most people I know.

So, I will run the live session of this BRAND NEW workshop between October 26 and November 23, 2013 (four weeks).

The workshop will be held on a private blog. Conversations will be in the Comments. Lessons will be videos and slideshows and PDF step-by-steps. All lessons can be downloaded so you can keep a copy. At the end of the 4 Weeks, the blog will stay there permanently so you can always access it.

I am currently trying to find the best place for students to upload and share their journal pages. Any suggestions?

Note to all former Love This Journal students: This is all BRAND NEW content, but with the same great FUN content as the Love This Journal workshops had.

We will learn to draw and paint things and then explore ideas for basing journal pages around these illustrations.

CLICK THE PICTURE BELOW to see the detailed Workshop description page . . .



Let’s sneak in a fun workshop and a lot of art making before the HOLIDAYS are upon us! Sneaking up on my window worked, so sneaking might be in season!


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REALLY Easy Art Journal Color . . .

coneflower1 Been trying to loosen and lighten up in my art journal/sketchbook because I have run into a problem.

Since switching to the Stillman & Birn Beta Sketchbook with the wonderful cold press watercolor paper, and getting my magnetic watercolor kits set up, I find that I am not journaling – I am PAINTING.

This is not a bad thing, but it is very time consuming, and gets in the way of the idea of recording my little life moments.

I found my water soluble markers. They can be used as a “palette” for watercolor sketching.

I had never considered that possibility for several reasons. I used them for rough sketches in the graphic design business, but never liked their lack of blendability when applied to a page.

In my fine art, I never even thought of them because they are not lightfast. I only had them around for that huffing thing rubber stampers do, and I’ve got more important things to get huffy about. (My server was down all day yesterday. That was a huff. Hail hit my garden Friday – during the only two hours I had the protective netting off the plants in the last THREE weeks. That was a huff and a half!)

I have to have control of my looseness, of course (yes, I know that is very peculiar) but I could do something with this idea.

And I work in books now, so lightfast is not an issue, because the pages get very little light.

I got out a small piece of Sheer Heaven to use as a palette – as I do with watercolor pencils.

But, so much of the marker color sunk into the Sheer Heaven that not enough color could be picked back up with the water brush. The colored pencils sit on top of the tooth, which is why they work so much better this way.

So, I turned the Sheer Heaven over, scribbled with the marker on the slick “wrong” side, and picked the color up with the water brush.

It worked GREAT and the best part is that this is a way to re-use your Sheer Heaven pieces left over from transfers, because you are using the backside. AND, when you are done painting, you wash the Sheer Heaven off under a running faucet, dry it with a paper towel, and it is fresh and clean for the next round. I LOVED this. Now, could I make a decent illustration this way? coneflowerpage I first sketched a fantasy Cone Flower from memory – and did not remember the petals are pointed. Oh well.

Then I got out the beautiful pink Cone Flower I bought at Lowes the day before and sketched it – a blossom and a leaf and bud. Love the name of this hybrid – “Butterfly Kisses”.pink-coneflower2 Isn’t this beautiful? Lowes had red ones too. I might have to get one.

The markers don’t have to be expensive. I have a set of 50 made by Crayola, that cost me $6.99 after coupon at Hobby Lobby. Sargent is another cheapo brand.

Expensive is not necessarily better in this case. LePlume, and Tombow, have much more pigment, but they don’t flow so well with this technique.

I have a set of 100 Fibracolor markers I like best that cost only $22. watermarkers I used a combo on my Cone Flower page.

Triplus markers by Staedtler are great and I wish they came in more than 20 colors – but you can mix extra colors right on the Sheer Heaven.  They also don’t seem to be available anymore.

All you need for this journaling experience is a pencil (and eraser), Pitt Pen, Water Brush, a piece of used Sheer Heaven, and a few markers. Plus your journal, of course.

If you don’t have these markers around, your kids or grandkids do. And I know you’ve got some used Sheer Heaven to recycle. Give this a try. I think you’ll like it.


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OMG and WTF . . .


I don’t text.

It seems crazy to do all that thumb typing when you can leave a voice message instead. I talk faster than I thumb type. Maybe I’m just old-fashioned. I don’t want to develop big muscular thumbs either.

Thumb typing is an arduous activity, and it takes a long time to become proficient enough to do it while driving. (Don’t look at me like that – I’m kidding!)

But, there is something to celebrate in everything.

Because thumb typing is so arduous, and because Twitter limits tweets to 140 characters, and because we are a ridiculous people who must make a hurry-up version of everything, acronyms have been created for many common phrases. You’re all familiar with LOL and BFF, of course.

My absolute favorites are OMG and WTF.

They have wonderfully rendered my favorite expletives harmless, while retaining all of their expressive power.

Face it – “Oh My Gosh!” just never did the job.

And uttering the F word as often as I felt it was called for, was no more ladylike than having big, muscular thumbs.

But I can pull out an OMG or WTF any old time without offending anybody.

However you choose to interpret it is up to you, but all I said was O.M.G. or W.T.F. (Both of these acronyms are even more potent when separated with periods, BTW).

Now, of course we had acronyms before smart phones and email came along.

We had the PTA and FBI and AAA, to name just a few.

But, IMHO, they weren’t good for much. No punch, no emotion.

I mean, you can’t get a big surprise and then exclaim “P.T.A.”, can you?

So, I am grateful to the texting trend for this gift.

Now, WITW (what in the world) does any of this have to do with that beautiful Asiatic Lily at the top of the post, you might be wondering.

Well, I’ll tell you.

Every rain we get this year seems to come with ice cubes.

We crave the water – our gardens love it.

We hate the hail – our gardens become salads because of it.

I have been such a clever girl devising protective cover for what is planted in the ground (will share in a later post), but for the containers, I use the old fashioned way, which is to carry every GD (gol darn) one of them into the house or green house – and out again after the danger of getting mulched has passed.

I watch the RADAR, dontcha know, and when it looks like this . . .


The plants come in. See the Red pin in the middle? That’s me.

Sunday night, the plants were in the house – all over the place.

Monday morning, one plant was partially mulched on one side anyway.

“WTF?”, I said. It had to be the cats.

Then, I realized it was the Asiatic Lily.

Better look it up – just in case.


Then, it was time for “OMG!” And a call to the vet.

Most lilies are highly toxic to cats, and this Asiatic hybrid is one of them. In fact, don’t mix your cats with any lilies because there are only 3 or 4 that are not toxic to them (Calla being one).

This is serious toxicity – can cause kidney failure and death.

Luckily, my cats did more mulching than actual eating and did not develop symptoms.

Now I know – and now you know – and the lily stays outside from now on.

This was my second poisoning scare of 2013.

Back in March, we came home from a party to find that one of our three dogs had emptied a package of sugar-free gum containing Xylitol, which can cause severe liver damage in dogs, and also critical drops in their blood sugar. Who knew?

We did not know how many pieces of gum were in the pack, nor which one of our pack had eaten them. The most likely culprit got blood tests right away.

And we lucked out then too, because nobody consumed enough to make trouble. They are big dogs. But a little dog could be in big trouble from just one piece of gum.

That’s something else that few people know. Xylitol is all over the place – used as an artificial sweetener. It is in most sugar-free gum and candy and also any products made to treat dry mouth. Make sure any product that might contain it is kept out of reach of the pups.

Here is a very helpful link for the Pet Poison Help Line

If more people were aware of the everyday things that are harmful to animals, our furkids would be a lot safer.

Gotta go take the plants out. The sun is shining.


Good, Bad, and Wonderful


This is a Juniper Titmouse – my favorite, favorite, favorite bird – and he (she?) is responsible for saving my sanity and sense of humor this week.

I saw a sign the other day that said this:

“Sometimes, it’s just not worth chewing through the restraints.”

And that felt so right.

And sometimes, you feel like putting those tire spike things on both the entrance and exit ramps to the internet highway – so you can’t get on, and they can’t get off.

I won’t even tell you all of it. Just a sampling will do.

I got a surprise email from Dick Blick – where I recommend ALL the art supplies for my workshops WITH LINKS to the products. They said they were changing their affiliate program to run through a new source, and by the way, none of my links will work any longer. That constitutes a couple of weeks of work for me to fix. It’s not fixed yet. So, if you click a Supply link in any of my workshops or workbooks, it won’t work, I’m sorry.

And, every once in awhile, if you have an internet business, you run into customers who must be very bored because they have LOTS of time to spend complaining about nothing or about their own mistakes, like not reading a product description, or not being able to download a PDF. The solution could be simple, but they don’t hear it, because they are too busy telling you how you could run your business better.

These folks don’t come along very often (thanks be), but this week, there were two.

Here is my advice for anyone who runs a business online . . . never, never, never, engage in conversations with these people. You can tell who they are in their very first email. Their ensuing emails in pursuit of their determination to be right about being wronged will never end. I give them their money back. It is so much easier and cheaper than wasting all that time. Even after the refund, you may get a few more tirades, but at least you don’t have to read them.

And for my iPad Workshop, I offer the first workbook as a test drive. You can see how you like it, and then apply the purchase price to the whole workshop. It’s important that Workbook 1 be perfect.

So, this week, I find out that an app which I talk about for TWENTY pages of that 50 page workbook, has suddenly and mysteriously disappeared from the app store. I call the company. Yes, they say, they permanently discontinued it. Oh.

Luckily, I have found a replacement that I like even better, but, of course, there are those TWENTY pages to re-write. I will let you know when that is done.

I wish I could say that was all of it, but it wasn’t. I am, however, going to quit whining and tell you about my favorite bird.


Lots of good things happen, but two of them are that birds start nesting outside my office window, and my Huskies start blowing their coats. Well, maybe that second one isn’t so good, but it is interesting. You could start a pillow and mattress business with just three dogs.

These two things go together because . . . wait for it . . . the fur makes GREAT nests.

I tuck bunches into tree branches, and fill a suet container or two . . .


and instead of going to the landfill, it makes bedding for birds, rabbits, and even mice – whoever is in the nesting mode.

To my great joy, a pair of Titmouses (Titmice?) have decided to make their home right outside my window in this house . . .

birdhouse1 titmouse4

The top picture shows the house blowing in a 34 mph sustained wind, another Spring thing around here. In the second picture, one of the couple is bringing a snack to the other who is working inside. Bad lighting in that one could not be helped.

So, my saving grace this week has been watching these two discovering the Husky fur, and stuffing as much as they can into this house.

They work on it every morning. Pretty soon there won’t be room for them.

So, let’s take another look at the first photo in this post . . .


See the white fluff now? This is a clump of fur that has blown onto the ground (34 mph wind will do that), and been discovered by our friend.

The next step is impossible to photograph well – the light is bad and I am shooting through a window. But the idea is that you shake the dickens out of the fur . . . cleaning it maybe?


And then, when you have it just right, you fly into the tree with it and do your best impression of Yosemite Sam before taking the fur to the house . . . 


Now, who could maintain a sour mood when looking at that!?!

So, I Cheered Up . . .

And started thinking about the Art Journaling Retreat in September.

I went out sketching on location a couple of times just to get a feel for how wonderful I want it to be. I thought and thought about it.

But, one thing kept bothering me – something which bothers me about all the retreats I have hosted or participated in before.

I really enjoy the experience, and then collapse on my face for two weeks.

Does that sound familiar at all?

The problem is that too much gets crammed into too little time.

Instructors sometime over-produce content (would I do that?), and students must hurry to get through it all.

And students get so used to that idea, that some of them hurry along everybody else with an “are we there yet?” pace which results in “learning” a whole bunch of new things, practicing none of them, going home with the resolve to do them all, not doing them all, forgetting how to do them all . . .sigh!

Does that sound familiar at all?

I don’t want to do that.

My friend, Sandy doesn’t want to do that.

Several potential attendees, who emailed me, do not want to do that.

SO . . . being that art journaling is really about recording the *MOMENTS* of our lives, savoring them, and saving them for future fond remembrance, an Art Journaling RETREAT, especially one in “Paradise”, should be relaxed and mindful.

You should have a chance to actually get some of that artwork in your journal, think about it, share it, ENJOY it without feeling hurried.

And that is what we are going to do.

I have finished the page of great detail, and the Retreat is now open for registration here:

Art Journaling in Paradise

We really wish everyone could come, but we must limit enrollment, so we put in a Payment Plan for those who need it. You can save your space with just a deposit.

I have a feeling this will be one of those “imprint” experiences that stand out in any lifetime!

I hope you can join us.

Moving My Art Around . . . Part 2, How


A few years back, when I was developing what was to become my Creative Drawing Workbook, I did this very loose sketch as a demonstration of how much of a nature scene can be created with just one shape – a simple arc like we “draw” when we add parentheses to our writing.

Take a careful look at this sketch. There is nothing else in it except four little circles. And, technically, a circle is a collection of arcs. This just shows you how simple drawing can be if you look at it in a certain way.

While sorting through some sketchbooks the other day, I came across this flower sketch, and remembered that I just loved the “bounciness” of it. I can feel a breeze when I look at it.

I wanted it in my art journal – to illustrate a poem I had just recently written about being in the moment.

Of course, I could draw a simple sketch like this again in the journal, but it would not be the *same* sketch. I have a thing about preserving my drawing and sketching “moments” too.

So, the Sheer Heaven transfer was the perfect solution.

And my new favorite journal, the Stilman & Birn Beta Sketchbook, takes those transfers wonderfully.

Note: This perfect art  journal is now available from my website. Just click Stilman & Birn Beta Sketchbook,

Tutorial Step-by-Step

So the first step was to trace the sketch onto Sheer Heaven with my 3H pencil. Of course, I could scan and print instead, but with these simple lines, tracing is faster.

Yes, Sheer Heaven will transfer graphite too – a fact which I only recently discovered.

I have to make a disclosure here. My students will realize I am not using a 3H pencil here because the lines are too dark. These shots are from a video and I had to use a darker pencil to show well on camera.

I use my 3H pencil for sketchbook transfers everyday – it works great and is much more subtle.

Step 1. Tape a piece of Sheer Heaven over your sketch with artists or drafting tape, which will not damage the paper. The rougher side of the  Sheer Heaven should face up.

This will reverse your sketch in the transfer. To avoid that, trace on the slick side of Sheer Heaven first, then flip it over on some scrap paper and retrace on the front.

I am going to use a reverse sketch in my journal spread as well, so I am just tracing on the front.

Step 2. To transfer the sketch, you mist it with 70% rubbing alcohol. Your spray bottle must produce a fine mist. They sell that type of spray bottle at fine art supply stores, but I prefer an empty pump style hair spray bottle. They make a fine mist and never send out surprise droplets.


Misting will first produce a really light coating of alcohol, then start to look like orange peel, and finally smooth out to a glassy finish like that shown below. Do not wet past this stage.


Step 3. Hold the misted Sheer Heaven by the very edge and turn it over onto the journal page. Burnish gently with the side of your hand. The Beta series sketchbooks have a slight cold press texture, so a gentle burnishing with a bone folder is also a good idea to make sure every part of the tracing makes contact with the page.


Step 4. Carefully and slowly, peel up the Sheer Heaven and the pencil sketch will now be on your journal page. If there are any missing spots as you peel, lay the Sheer Heaven back down and gently burnish that area. If you missed a spot while misting, it will be missing from the transfer. Those little jags at the bottom of the grass are my fault. I accidentally moved the Sheer Heaven when laying it down.

trans6For my spread, I want to flip and repeat this transfer t the other page. When I trace this transferred version, I will end up with a right-reading transfer for me left page.

Step 5. When the transfers are dry, which does not take long because this is alcohol we’re talking about, I use watercolors to paint them:


Step 6. The next thing is to apply a wash for the sky area. If you weight the Stilman & Birn pages, they do not warp or curl while drying. I just used my paintbox. With a heavy moisture application, you will get gentle curving of the page when dry, but that will flatten again if you close the book and set something on it for awhile.


Step 7. My final step is to add the poem. I do not love my own lettering enough to use it here.

So, I turned to my Mac where I have lots of fonts that are perfect for the job. I used the Pages software because it is so simple. Guides were placed on the page to indicate the exact measurements of my journal spread and where the bottom illustration began. I placed the type centered on each page, then flipped it so it would transfer right reading.


After printing the page on Sheer Heaven, I cut it into two pieces which matched my journal page size exactly, so I could align the transfers by matching up with the corners of the journal pages. The type for each page was transferred separately.

And the result was a spread which combined a very old sketch, some fresh watercolor painting, and a new poem into one saved experience in my art journal . . .



Art Journaling in Paradise Workshop . . .

We got a great response so far, Sandy has agreed to spend her birthday here in Santa Fe at this event, I got the classroom reserved and I will be publishing the highly detailed sign-up page this coming week.

We do know the exact retreat days will be Saturday, September 14 through Thursday, September 19, 2013.

Plan to come in on Friday, as we will gather early Saturday morning (9 am) in the hotel courtyard to start our adventure.

Thursday, the last day of the retreat will be a full studio day. No formal instruction, but both Sandy and I will spend the day with everyone in the studio. If you must skip that day to get back to work, we will understand. We plan a relaxing catch-up day of art journaling for Thursday the 19th.

Cost for the Workshop will be $650 for the six days. This does not include lodging costs.

Suite style rooms with kitchenettes will be available at a rate of $55.50/night (plus tax). You will make your own reservations – dealing directly with the hotel. You do not have to stay at our hotel – we just happened to find the best deal in town for you!

Meals are not included, but you will have a kitchen and a supermarket a few steps away. Santa Fe is a dining mecca and has great restaurants at every price level if you want to eat out. Bag lunches are a good idea, but there will be plenty of time to wander out and find something delicious if that is your preference. We may surprise you with a meal out on us.

NO skill level is required. All we ask is creative enthusiasm and willingness to try.

We will have a payment plan (for the workshop) so you can hold your spot while saving your money. Your hotel will not have to be paid until you get here, although you will probably have to guarantee your reservation with a credit card (standard procedure).

This is all the info that is solid until I publish the sign-up page.

While I appreciate everyone’s input on when and where we should hold this retreat (I loved the suggestions from a few people that we should have the Santa Fe Art Journal Retreat on the East coast), we have reasons for our timing. Santa Fe is full of tourists and twice as expensive during the Summer months. By mid September, all is quiet and beautiful.

Any questions on what we know so far, pleas email me:

Think it through, because once we open the registration, we can only accept 24 students and we have a lot more emails of interest than that already.

I will let you know here when the final details are posted (and Sandy will do so on her blog as well).

Happy Easter! Hug a Bunny of you see one.

Talented Students Meet Great Art Pencils . . .

Cherryl Moote Botanicals


Given that this Friday, March 15, is the start date for the second session of my Inktense, Soup to Nuts Workshop, I thought it would be good to show off some of what students in the current session are creating – because I am so pleased and amazed.

So this is sort of a “gallery” post. I wish I could show you all the art, but a sampling will have to do.

This gorgeous accordian book at the top of the post, by Cherryl Moote, pops off the page in more ways than one, because of the brilliance of Inktense color.

And this Snowman by Susan Jeffers has a whole lot of personality.

Susan Jeffers

This has nothing to do with snowmen or Inktense, but the carrot nose reminds me. You know how you learn something everyday? Well, yesterday, reading an article on heirloom seeds, I learned that carrots were originally purple! Just thought you might like to know.

Seeing a Winter scene, and maybe being sick of the season, one might turn to thoughts of running off to Florida beaches, or conjure up some Spring Tulips or Butterflies . . .

Daniela Mellon Sea Life

Underwater scene by Daniela Mellon.

Jan Ruhnow Tulips

Tulips by Jan Ruhnow

Tyanne Agle butterfly+small

Butterfly by Tyanne Agle

Here’s a very clever idea using dry Inktense techniques, by Christine Anderson – “Cliff Notes”

cliff notes Christine Anderson

Elaine Golt Gongora painted these really lovely ink bottles using Inktense wash techniques . . .

Elaine Golt Gongora Ink Bottles

And Jeanne Minnich used some of the same techniques on this boot . . .

Jeanne Minnich Child Boot

Jerrie Hall found it relaxing to create what we call Zen Flowers . . .

Jerrie Hall Flowers

Inktense can be used on dark papers if you know some tricks – as demonstrated by Jaffra Masad’s Heart . . .

Jaffra Masad Heart

And you saw some of Sandy Steen’s stuff last post, but I had to share these characters – done on gray paper with a hand carved stamp . . . Those hens are very cute! I wonder which one that rooster will date?

Sandy Hens

So, lots of creative fun is being had by all, and a brand new session starts tomorrow.

Join us if you can. No skill level is necessary and no inner critics are allowed.

Inktense – Soup to Nuts


Pinterest, Copyright, Confusion . . .


This Mother & Child photo is the lucky result of a roadside stop to take a photo of this horse . . .


It took 15 minutes to get her to turn around, and meanwhile, a little sheep family ran up in the field across the highway. They wanted tp know what I was saying to the horse.


Of course, once I spotted the baby, I grabbed my telephoto lens for the portrait of Mom and Baby.

This all took place along a highway on the way to Fredericksburg, Texas, and a Llama and Shetland pony were involved too.

So what does this have to do with Pinterest and Copyright, etc.?

After yesterday’s post, I got email from many of you who are excited by Pinterest, got a request in Comments for a little how-to, and another reader sent along a link she found while searching for Pinterest, which brought up some copyright issues.

I thought maybe, I could address all that, but could not think of any photos to go with the topic, so you get to meet the folks above.

And, I guess these photos are on topic because, when I post them in this blog post and have given you permission to Pin them, they enter the fray of confusion about copyright and Pinterest.

The confusion is well founded because, in the act of pinning to a public board on Pinterest, you are republishing an image without permission – unless, you have been given permission via a Pin It button on a website, or a statement of permission as I posted last time.

Now, the Fair Use section of current USA Copyright Law says something like this:

Copyrighted work can only be used without permission when someone is criticizing it, commenting on it, reporting on it, teaching about it, or conducting research.

I am no lawyer, but it seems to me that when you Pin an image, and type your comment to go with it, you could be doing any of the above. Certainly, you are commenting on it, and I have yet to see a Comment that was not singing praises (although I have read that there are snarky folks on Pinterest too.)

I have said this in conversations we have had about copyright in the past: Copyright Law is about money. It takes a long time and a lot of money to get a copyright case to court, and when you do, you have to show that economic harm has been done to you in order to win it – that someone else is making money with your image, and therefore, harming your ability to make money with that image. End of story. Nobody gives a hoot about your pride of ownership or hurt feelings. Were you harmed economically? Otherwise, go home and quit wasting the court’s time.

Having people come to your blog or website or Etsy shop because your image has been shared on Pinterest, would not be considered economic harm. Quite the contrary, in fact.

If you are not publicly posting your images on the web for attention in the first place, then why are you doing it? So, the more attention, the better, right?

People are busting their humps trying to figure out how to gain followers and customers and visitors for their sites. Pinterest is a very good way to do that.

With those thoughts in mind, here are some tips on being an upstanding Pinner who is not lilkely to get in trouble:

Pinterest Tips

When Pinning from a blog or website, be sure there is no notice on the site or on the image saying that Pinning is not allowed. Those notices are usually quite evident.

Look for a “Pin It” button on the site or blog and you know it’s alright.

The biggest problems on Pinterest come from Re-Pinning. When you are viewing the boards you follow, there will be a Re-Pin button on each item. By clicking it, you pin that item to your own board. ALWAYS add your own comment to stick with Fair Use sharing principles.

Unfortunately, the source of that image may not have been pinned correctly.

BEFORE repinning, click the image to go through to the source. Make sure the source is a direct connect to the creator of the image – their blog, website, etc. If you click through and land on Google images, Flicker pages that do not belong to the originator, or Tumblr pages that are not the artist’s own page, DO NOT repin.

If you really like and want to pin the image to your own board, Google search the artist’s name and find the source of the image that way. Pin from that page and you will be linking to the artist.

DO NOT copy/paste the whole tutorial, recipe, story, article, etc. in your pin. That is prime territory for trouble. Remember that Pins are reminders and you are MEANT to click through to the source.

To make your boards really interesting – and to call attention to your own creations, Pin your own content. Strangely enough, many folks don’t realize how easy this is. At the top of your own Pinterest account page is an ADD button. When you click it, you have a choice to Upload a  Pin. Click that and choose any photo from your own computer to put on your board with a comment.

This is a good start. If you have more questions, please ask and I will try to answer.


By popular demand, I will run another live session of the Inktense Soup to Nuts Workshop starting March 15. Here’s the page:



Interesting Things and Pinterest


She (me) was last heard from somewhere in Texas!

My trip was wonderful, and I plan to share some of the best experiences.

But, as soon as I got back, an unexpected event just knocked me right out of my life routine. My Mom got pneumonia (she is recovering nicely), and I moved in with her to be Nurse Cratchett for the past week and a half.

So nothing has been normal as far as scheduling goes.

But, things are lightening up, my Sis came to town to give me some breaks and a chance to consider some of the interesting things I want to pursue in 2013.

The photo above is an interesting thing.

When I set off for Texas, I knew I would be traveling through some familiar (and uninteresting) territory.

So, I challenged myself to find one interesting thing in each small town I drove through.

Believe it or not, there are small towns where I failed to find anything at all. But, there were some treasures along the way.

The town of Ft. Sumner, NM is a place I have previously found less than interesting even though they have a claim to fame – hosting Billy the Kid’s gravesite.

But, this time, because I was searching, I found several murals on buildings in town that are painted by local artists (although I couldn’t find the names of the local artists).

I loved this dog, who seemed to be sniffing out interesting things in unlikely places – just as I was doing along this lonely highway.

And, I am always doing that on the web highways and byways as well – which are never lonely!

Social Media . . .

Have you ever been more sick of hearing about anything in your life?

Me too.

As a person with an online presence that is important to my livelihood, however, I have had to spend a lot of time figuring out whether I need to to have Twitter accounts, Facebook pages, etc. as a part of my “brand”.

I do have a Twitter account and can see no point to it. From my perspective, it is just another link source, and I care nothing for anything that anyone can say in 140 characters.

Facebook is also a completely foreign concept to me. Although I enjoy seeing family pictures of my nieces, nephews, their kids, etc., and it reminds me of birthdays, I would no more share my daily thoughts in that type of forum than fly to the moon.

I do have a Facebook page and post a link to my blog posts there for the sake of some friends and family who enjoy the blog.

But I rarely check the page, and when I do, I often get information that is sad (old and dear friends passing), or intensely irritating (old, dear friends who have fallen off some political cliff and can’t stop ranting).

I rarely watch television news, and I filter the news I get through my iPad to only my areas of interest (no murder, Hollywood, or politics). When I spend my precious time reading, I want to come away having gained something valuable.

Much of my reading for entertainment used to come from art and crafts magazines and books.

These days, it is very rare to find anything inspirational in those publications because they are all catering to one style.

But, here comes the positive part (I can’t keep whining) . . .

Awhile ago, a good friend turned me on to Pinterest.

Because it had pretty pictures, I joined up, even though I didn’t really understand what was going on.

Some time has passed.


Therein, I have found all that is missing from the art publications.

It’s a treasury of beauty and wonderful ideas on all the subjects that interest me most – art, photography, gardening, home decor, etc. I have even gathered some recipes! And I don’t like to cook!

For those who have spent the last few years under a rock, Pinterest is a place for you to save those inspirations you come across online – in a place where you can easily find them – on your own set of virtual bulletin boards. A bulletin board can be kept all to yourself, or you can share your boards with “friends”. Your boards can have themes.

You can also follow the boards of others – friends or not.

Every time I log in, there are pages of things my “friends” found interesting enough to post to their boards – all the newest additions to the boards I “follow”.

It’s so exciting – like years ago, when I ventured into a Texas Art Supply store and found a whole room of art books I had not seen before! New and different – got to love it!

I learn new things and get new ideas every time I visit Pinterest.

SO . . .

I have decided that Pinterest will be my “social media” place to be. It is there, on my boards that I will share all the things I come across that never make it to my blog because they have to wait until I have time to post.

I will also have boards with links to my blog posts, workshops, workbooks, videos, and everything else I do, so everything will be organized in one place.

So, I invite you, dear friends, to come and join me on Pinterest, and follow the boards that you find interesting.

You do not have to make boards of your own, but I bet you will end up doing that.

You have my permission to pin anything from this blog on your Pinterest Boards as long as the pin links back to my blog post.

And, you have permission to Re-Pin from my boards to yours.

As creative people, you will love the ideas, the inspiration, the learning, and the wonderful, visual environment.

Yes, there is a danger of spending too much time there, but I would never call it “wasting time” because there is no better way to spend your time than learning and feeling the joy of creative inspiration!