Category Archives: Sunday Morning Coffee

Sunday Morning Coffee #29


I have long been fascinated by the concept of a hole in the sky.

Don’t know if it is a “Someday, I’ll fly home” thing or what.

I used to paint some pretty strange skies – long before I ever encountered the even stranger skies of New Mexico. One of those paintings has a little girl (the scared me) watching a little boy (the brave me) “returning” a red balloon through a hole in the sky. The painting is owned by a wonderful lady in Canada, but I may be able to find a photo to show you, and you will know how weird I really am.

This hole occurred about 6 pm on January 10, and I broke all the village speed limits getting home to the good camera. I shot this from my back patio.

About Sizing Photos . . .

I’m not sure how many times I have posted how-tos about this, but this time, I just want to say how important it is in our new digital existence.

It is an essential skill to put in your digital knowledge bank.

Because most phones and cameras save photos at a screen resolution of 72ppi, they are sized like billboards because the camera records a LOT of pixels (millions) to get a sufficient amount of image data for prints.

And 72ppi is the right resolution to use if you are sending or posting the photo on the web.

But the size MUST be adjusted.

The billboard size makes for a LARGE file which fills up your friends’ storage capacity, and makes trouble in many online formats like blogs and websites.

We have just recently seen what they do when added to our comments – you can’t see them and can’t scroll them.

I really want you to share photos with your comments, but they must be no wider than 600 pixels because that is the width of this column.

There are many ways to resize photos with software like Elements, iPhoto, etc. and there are online services that make it really easy.

Here is one I featured in an old Technical Tizzie post:


Once you resize your photo, save it with a new name (maybe add web to the title?) so you can tell which is the resized one when you look for it on your computer.

Personal Use Policies

I was so gratified by your response to my last post.

I think the time has come for artists to speak up about this – to the manufacturers.

Like you, I walk away and do not buy art and art tools that have the dreaded PU policy – and P-U is appropriate.

But most of those folks don’t know that I walked away.

So, from now on, I am going to do something extra, and I hope you will too.

In such situations, I am going to email the artist or manufacturer and tell them why I walked away from their product.

I am going to say something like this (and you are invited to copy/paste and use it yourself).


I have been admiring your site and the products you offer.

I was ready to make a purchase when I found your “Personal Use Only” policy.

Because this makes no sense and prevents me from selling anything I make using this tool, I have walked away.

Artists through history have wanted to become good enough that someone would want to purchase their artwork. To close the door on that opportunity is not supportive of art and the artists who make up your customer base. It is as odd as saying paint and brushes and canvases (which someone, somewhere, invented) cannot be used to create art for sale.

If you ever rethink this policy, I could be a valuable customer.

You could add or subtract your own words, or mention the product/tool by name if you want. But I think if people actually knew the sales lost because of the PU policy, they might want to think about a change.

The Silhouette Online store just lost $240 from me yesterday. I was going to buy their largest subscription because they do have some items with Commercial Licensing.

But, when I read the small print about the terms of the subscription, it was – you guessed it – PU only.

Bye bye, subscription – and the $64 worth of items that were in my cart!

I want to recommend . . .

a site called


The Commercial Licensing is presented in the most professional, simple, and well-thought-out way I have seen yet. Their product line is well designed and very attractive as well.

You might also want to drop a positive note to sites you find very empowering to artists!

A Wonderful Blog Post . . .

My friend, Sandy Bartholomew, is too cool to describe in few words, so I am going to do a whole post about how amazing she is.

Meanwhile, I just read her most recent blog post, and found it so SO inspirational that I want to share it with you . . .


Read the post now, and I will tell you why Sandy is so amazing later.

A Question of Balance


If you’re human, you wonder about balance once in awhile.

Artist, Michael Grab thinks about balance ALL the time, and uses it to create some very incredible sculpture that you must see to believe . . .


Enjoy the rest of your Sunday.




Morning Coffee #28 – Art Blossoms . . .

I love drawing and painting flowers.

This photo was actually taken last fall when my love affair with Hibiscus was just beginning because I had bought some plants at Trader Joe’s! Sky dog had been painting earlier but she wore herself out and needed a nap.

Here is the blossom I was painting . . .

And here is the finished painting . . .

I painted it in one of my very favorite watercolor books – the American Journey Travel Journal. Page size is 12″ x 9″ and the surface is 140lb Hot Press. Finding hot press watercolor paper in a book is rare. These are not inexpensive, but they are on sale for $19.99 at the moment, and they are worth every penny.

American Journey Travel Journal

A really important part of being able to paint flowers is being able to draw flowers. If you have taken my Art of Photography Workshop, you know that I did not even allow you to take photos of flowers for your first challenge, maintaining that a monkey with a cell phone could take a great photo of a flower because they are so darn beautiful.

Not so with drawing flowers, though, because they are complicated. Lots of folks are afraid to try because they don’t know where to start, and monkeys are especially afraid. I’m not talking about doodling fantasy flowers here, which is easy. I’m talking about drawing flowers that are recognizable, even as a line drawing.

You know I like to make complicated things easier, so back around January, I started writing a book on the subject. I was also trying to see if I could create a whole workbook just on my iPad. I have worked on it now and then since, and yesterday, I finished it. Ta-Da!!

It’s a 60 page, instantly downloadable, PDF E-Workbook, and it teaches you how to look at a photograph (or a real life flower), and draw it. I have a formula and a plan to follow that makes it all very easy.

This is the first in a series of Draw Simple Books (I hope), and I did create it entirely on my iPad. It’s available now for $15 here:

Draw Simple Flowers

Suzanne McNeil Wannabe

Not really, but sorta.

I would be surprised if many of you did not recognize that name. Suzanne is an artist who started a company some years back called Design Originals. She publishes single subject art and craft books that are only about 35 pages long and sell for $12.99.

I remember thinking that was pretty pricey when I first encountered them, but then I bought a couple and realized how chock-full of information they were – no waste, no filler. I bought more and so did a lot of other people.

Design Originals grew into a very successful company.

Now – switch the subject to me.

I was publishing PDF ebooks 12 years ago – when everyone who did not have a computer art background was still saying “Huh?”

Well, now ebooks are “all the rage” as they say.

The best format for an illustrated book is still the PDF. Everybody can open, read, and print them, and all the pictures and type stay where they are supposed to. They are better than a real book in that you can zoom in for a closer look at details, and they are searchable.

You can also put them into iBooks on your iPad and read them, search them, zoom them, there.

I think some other tablets can also accept PDF files, but I don’t have any other tablets, so I don’t know which or what. I do not think Kindle can because their format was set up for text only books, and has a hard time with graphics still.

ANYWAY, one big thought blossom that did get put into the permanent To-Do vase was that I want to publish Art-E-Workbooks of all kinds, and that is the business I want to build along with my Sheer Heaven business. Hopefully, I’m off to a good start.

In fact, what do you think of that as a name for them – Art-E-Workbooks? Arty – get it?

The Banana Slicer

You really must visit this product on Amazon if you want a good laugh. Don’t bother with the product, but read the customer reviews. I don’t know where the Review Police were, but the reviews are hysterical. It’s sort of like a flash mob happening in the review section. People just picked up the humor and kept it going . . . hurry before the Review Police get wind of this . . .


Artist Showcase – Nagai Hideyuki

Honestly, I could not wrap my brain around this until I watched the little video provided, and then still . . . These are just two flat sketchbooks! And the artist is just 21!

3D Sketchbooks

It’s a Beautiful Day . . .

And I am going out to the garden to draw flowers. You can too. I know where there is a great how-to book! (grin)


Sunday Morning Coffee #27

This photo was taken by my niece, Gloria, during our family reunion in early July. Some family members rented local vacation homes, and Gloria added several cairns to the courtyard at this one.

Cairns are manmade piles of stones used to mark or memorialize spots on the landscape, and they are often used as trail markers. I love this photo for its simplicity, balance, and for all it represents for me right now. Maybe I love the idea of a single path going one direction best of all. But that is still only a dream for me.

Finding balance is an ongoing theme, as you all know, and I am still looking.

But, I LOVE this cairn as a visual icon and as a ritual idea. What if you assigned the elements you are trying to balance in your life to individual rocks – maybe size could indicate their relative importance.

You could then try to stack them in priority order and see how well they balance – or if they can balance at all!

If you don’t want to play with real rocks, this cairn would make a wonderful art journal page. Rocks are easy to sketch and paint, and you can write on them if they are on paper.

I will be exploring this idea in my journal, and I wanted to share it with you in case you have some things to figure out and want to do it in a very creative way.

Not Just on Sundays . . .

My Sunday morning series of blog posts is fun, and it is a great way to relax for my readers. However, my choice of Sunday was a little short sighted. That is the only day our gallery is closed and Mark and I can do things together – like relax, maybe?

So, although there will still be occasional Sunday coffee posts when time and energy allow, I am returning to the freedom of also posting whenever and whatever – which is the name and the original idea of this blog anyway.

iPad News . . .

I have posted the first three iPad Studio Workbooks for individual sale and download.

I have also set it up so if you buy the first one, and then decide you want the Workshop (to save money on the rest of the Workbooks and share the iPad art experience with other students), you can apply the purchase price of the first Workbook to your Workshop tuition.

For example, each of these workbooks sells for $15. So, if you try the first one and want to go on, you can either continue to buy the Workbooks individually, or opt to sign up for the Workshop for $110 instead of $125.

There are six Workbooks published so far, and all six are available when you join the Workshop. Only three have been released for individual sale so far.

It’s a good way to see what this is all about before committing to the workshop. Here’s the Workbook Page.

Garden News . . .

I have to fess up. Gardening is one of the BIG rocks in my Cairn. When the gardening season is here, there is nothing I would rather do than . . . garden! Of course, it does not make me a living and it costs me a ton of money, and there are so many other things for me to be doing instead (notice I did not use the word “should”), but I am obsessed, and there’s just no stopping myself.

Remember the Morning Glory battle – that ended up depending on sheets of Sheer Heaven to keep the bunnies at bay? Well, here’s how they turned out . . .

Of course, the red, white, and blue thing did not happen in time for the 4th of July or the family reunion, but it’s all there now! Also, notice my edging bricks. Yes, I got carried away and when I finished everything inside the courtyard, I came outside the gate and kept going. I have more photos to share sometime.

One of my most favorite birds is the Bushtit. I love them because they are so social. They all show up at once and make a big “bird ball” on a suet feeder. They are so tiny that a dozen of them can all fit on a single suet cage. Everybody has a few bites, there is lots of activity and flying around, and then they all leave at once. Sort of like a bird tour bus came through.

Here’s a photo I took yesterday  during one of their visits . . .

They think nothing of acrobatics – like hanging upside down . . .

One of the best things about gardening is the bird visitors. I could watch them for hours – and I do.

Art History . . .

SmartHistory is simply wonderful. From a very compact and user friendly web page . . .

. . . you can access a fairly comprehensive tour of the history of art, from ancient to modern times. Clicking on any image brings up a short video featuring everything you ever wanted to know about that image and artist and era.

This is a masterpiece interactive web book. You will only likely have time for a bit at a time, but bookmark it and return often for inspiration and a broadening of your understanding of art.

Smart History

Dogs in Cars . . .

And this is for nothing but fun . . .

29 photos of dogs doing that thing they love so much – sticking their heads out the car window. I love it!

Car Window Dogs

That’s all for now, folks. I am going to try painting in the garden and see if I can resist fooling with the flowers long enough to paint or draw a few.




Sunday Morning Coffee #26

I was looking through my photo files for something that suggested the 4th of July (that wasn’t a flag). This one not only has the red, white, and blue, but also a symbol of American “pop” culture. So, I thought I would share it.

Sunday on Monday again, but I didn’t want to let it go this week because I can tell you for certain that there won’t be a Sunday post next week.

For the first time in twelve years, we are having a family reunion, and this time, it’s here in Santa Fe. Since I have a sister and five brothers, it doesn’t take much extended family to make a sizable crowd.

So, the computer will get next weekend off, but not the iPad . . .

The Talking Stick Tradition . . .

I think this is such a good idea, I want to share it in case any of you have family gatherings coming up.

Family history is always such a valuable thing that most of us don’t think of until we are sitting around some day wishing we would have recorded more of it.

The Talking Stick is a Native American tradition that was used during important Council meetings. The official Talking Stick is held by the person whose turn it is to speak, and no one else may interrupt.

Storytelling is another wonderful Native American tradition.

So, we decided to combine the two at our reunion. My Mom has asked everyone to come up with a favorite family memory (story) to share.

We will sit in a circle and use a Talking Stick, only the Talking Stick will be my Mother’s iPad with a Recording App turned on. Each person will hold the iPad while telling their story.

This way, each story will be recorded as an audio file Mom can listen to over and over.

If some photographer (me?) takes a photo of each person telling their story, the two can be combined on the iPad later. (Yes, I did consider video, but it makes people too self-conscious.)

Even if you do not have an iPad or iPhone, I am sure that most smart phones have recording apps.

Think about this as an activity at your next family gathering.

And, speaking of the 4th of July . . .

Sheer Heaven 20/20 Sale ends at midnight, July 4!

This is likely the last time this sale price ($1/sht) will ever happen, and it’s offered to blog readers only. Accessible only through this link:

Sheer Heaven 20/20 Sale

And speaking of stories of my family members . . .

Cassie Launches Wonderful New Magazine . . .

Many of you know my sweet sister, Cassie, This is a shot I took of her in Madrid (New Mexico) this past April.

Well, something of a dream-come-true has just happened in her life. She has a passion for helping other people, and has wanted for a very long time to do that through a magazine format.

Through a fortuitous encounter with a California publisher, and a boatload of work on Cassie’s part, that desire has been fulfilled – a magazine called “Wellness Matters, The Art of Living Well”.

It is a real-world magazine distributed widely in the San Francisco Bay Area.

I am honored to have contributed photography and a few words to her endeavor, and instead of telling you all about it, I am going to send you to read it online – for free. It is a gorgeous publication – a respite from stress – between covers. (Use the Zoom for close-ups)

Wellness Matters

Cassie is my Artist of the Week this time.

If you want to let her know what you think of the magazine, you can email her:

Videos of the Week

If you like to doodle. if you like Zentangles, or even if you don’t, these little videos (and there are 45 of them!) are very entertaining – and very fun!

And here’s some breathtaking BEAUTY! You may have had someone email you this link. I had three people send it to me, knowing I would love it to pieces – and I do.

Here is Nature at her most amazing! How in the world do they catch this stuff on film!?!

Well, I am going to celebrate Independence Day with a little freedom from the computer. I hope you all have a great holiday, and give thanks for the freedoms we enjoy – while you’re having your picnic and watching your fireworks.


Sunday Morning Coffee #25


Here is my favorite photo from the garden this week. I hang garden jewelry in several places and try to coordinate the colors with floral colors when I can.

For the first time last year, I had Doves in my garden. They came back this year. I just assumed they were Mourning Doves. But I finally got a good photo of one and realized they are actually Ringneck Doves which are not that commonly sighted in the wild. I guess most are kept as pets. I know some of you live nearby. Have you seen this kind of Dove in your area?

Anyway, they coo like a Mourning Dove, but they also have this great cackle-laugh. For awhile, I didn’t realize that sound was coming from the same bird, and couldn’t figure out what other creature, with a strange sense of humor, was living in my yard. And what’s so funny?

Speaking of things rarely seen around here:

Sheer Heaven 20/20 Sale!!!

I have not had one of these sales in more than a year – April, 2011 to be exact.

By the time the next one might have come along, I was facing the no-Sheer-Heaven-retooling crisis, and the fear that the product would cease to exist.

As you know, I stepped to the plate on that one, resulting in a new supply of product and a hike in pricing to help pay for the big bucks I was forced to spend to make that happen.

Looking at the current pricing structure, I honestly have been thinking that a 20/20 sale is an unrealistic idea. I no longer even sell the 100 Pack – which represented that $1.00 per sheet pricing.

But, to celebrate that Sheer Heaven DOES still exist, and I have enough stock once again, I am going to do this one more time – just through the 4th of July.

On a 20 Pack for $20.00, you save $17.00 off the regular price!

This Sale is for blog readers only, and cannot be found through the regular Sheer Heaven pages. It can be accessed only through this link:

Sheer Heaven 20/20 Sale

There is no limit to how many 20 Packs you can order, but be aware that only two fit the Flat Rate Envelope. Three or more packs will go into a Flat Rate Box and incur an additional $5.50 in postage. If you use a credit card, I will add that when processing your order. If you use PayPal, you must add it to the amount you are paying because I can’t change that. The Shopping Cart can’t figure it right, so we have to.

International orders have a a Two Pack minimum.

And speakaing of strange things in the garden . . .

Sheer Heaven Rescues the Morning Glories . . .

There’s more to creative living than drawing pictures! You have to be thinking out-of-the-box to solve most problems.

I have mentioned that my Morning Glories, which are outside the courtyard gate, were getting eaten every evening by somebody (I suspect those Bunnies). None of my usual tricks were working, so I built cages for them made of hardware cloth . . .

See those extra pieces between? Those were the covers I put on top every night.

See those tendrils? Morning Glories have to be free to grow up the trellis. But everytime I let those tendrils out of the cage – poof – gone!

We ALL got frustrated. I had to get mad every morning, the Morning Glories had to grow new tendrils over and over, and even the Bunnies were not having the easy time they used to.

I put long sticks in the ground inside the cages so the tendrils could climb up them to the trellis. But I obviously could not put the covers on then, and those Bunnies would just be having Morning Glory Kebobs.

Then I thought of Sheer Heaven. I still have a few large sheets that I use for making lamps. Why not use them as a protective “chimney” . . .

I do this with all three plants every night, and take them off every morning. Bunnies and Mice can’t climb it, and water can’t hurt it.

This has worked great! And I can still reclaim the Sheer Heaven when this crisis is over.

I know you don’t have big Sheer Heaven sheets, but I bet freezer paper might work if you are having this problem.

Product Review – I LOVE IT!

Big surprise in Hobby Lobby (or Michaels?) the other day. My Mom wanted some all purpose glue to fix some of the things her kitten is breaking (grin), and she asked my advice.

My first glue answer is always E6000 because it will glue anything to anything! (Remember my picture hangers on the stucco walls of the Garden Room? They are still there and doing the job.)

But the problem with E6000 is that it is so thick and gooey. It is hard to use it for small jobs. Also, you have to wait 24 hours for it to cure, and clamp or brace things for a couple of hours so they don’t move while the E6000 sets.

But lo and behold – E6000 now comes in a thinner version!

Did you know this? I did not know this!

The thinner viscosity means it can fit in small places – you can even apply it with a toothpick – and best of all, it sets in 2-3 minutes.

You can find it at most craft stores and online.

Artist of the Week Riusuke Fukahori

This video was sent to me by a blog friend (thank you, Anne). Artists like this just amaze me. It is not only the intricacies of what they do, and the incredible results, but their almighty patience with a subject. Why has this guy not gone mad from looking at and painting so many goldfish? How can goldfish hold his attention for as long as they have?

Now, don’t miss seeing this because you aren’t a big goldfish fan. It is truly mesmerizing. Here’s the link:

iPad for Sale

Anne Lloyd has her iPad 1 for sale for $225. It is the same model I did all my learning on and I loved it, and sold mine to someone else who loves it when I got my iPad 3.

Here is the description provided by Anne:

This is a lightly used iPad. It’s the original version -16 GB WiFi. I purchased this when they first came out, and very quickly realized that I needed the wireless capability. So this iPad has taken a back seat to the one I use all the time.

It has been updated to the latest iOS version, and I would use the “reset” process, so it’s ready to go. I loaded the art applications Procreate and Adobe Collage to try them on this iPad, and they work well. I have about 25 art and photo apps on the 1st generation iPad I use all the time, and have no problems.

The power adapter is included. I’ll also include a great case – the leather Convertible Bookjacket from incase – that can be configured to form a kind of easel. The price I’m asking for iPad with case is $225.

And here is the link to . . .

Contact Anne

I become more convinced everyday that every artist in the world should have an iPad. It’s a game changer.

Sunday Morning Coffee #24

Re Growing Celery

I think this idea may have gone viral. I had never heard of it, and then I read about it twice in three days.

Since I currently have SO many pots of soil around, I thought I would try it instead of just saving the idea for later.

The celery I had in the refrigerator was on its last legs, and then some, but if I went to the store for more, I would loose my get-it-done momentum.

I cut off the bottom inch and a half or so of the bunch. It looked like a blossom of sorts. Because the very bottom was dried up and sort of brown, I cut a slice off that too.

Then I set the little blossom in a pot of moist soil and set it in a part shade spot in the garden.

By the second day, I saw the points of leaves starting to peak up inside the “blossom”. By a week later (yesterday) my leaves were going to town, and the blossom part was drying out, so I covered it with potting mix. This is how it looked this morning.

Supposedly, this will become a whole new bunch of celery! So far, so good.

Garden Progress Report . . .

The hardscaping is mostly done. I now have to remove the volunteer baby trees and sunflowers growing up through my non-grout.

After that, I will sprinkle Preen into the spaces between the flagstone, and it will prevent any weed seeds from germinating.

Are you familiar with Preen? It does not kill any growing or rooted plant. It is a pre-emergent. It keeps weed seeds from germinating and it really works. You sprinkle it where  you don’t want weeds, and then wet it down with the hose.

Preen Routine Video

I went back and got earlier photos to show the progress I have made in the garden so far this year. It does me good to see them because sometimes I feel I’m not making enough headway. But, even I have to admit I got some stuff done when I look at these photos.

This last photo was taken this morning while Timber and I had coffee in the garden.

Timber takes it all quite seriously – watches my every move, and gives lots of advice.

Artist/Blog of the Week

This artist blog is delicious in many way!

Heather Diane is an illustrator and sign painter living in Berkeley, California.

Her two loves are image making and food, so she combines them in her wonderful blog:

Illustrated Bites

One of my favorite things is the illustrated How-To, and Heather does such a wonderful job with them. Her style is so simple, and yet so rich.

I will be adding Inspired Bites to my blog roll – I like it that much!

My Latest Jewelry Projects . . .

I love words in jewelry, but am sick to death of the same old 20 that always show up.

So, I call these pendants Great Expectations – wear what you expect (or want) to have more of in your life. They are fun to create, and yes, I did make the bails, because I couldn’t find any that would work.

More pictures than words this week, but a picture is worth a thousand words, right?

Sunday Morning Coffee #23

Food thoughts this holiday weekend run to hamburgers and hot dogs, which often go well with fries. Potato salad usually takes over at this time of year, but these sweet french fries go with anything because they are made of cake – and that is raspberry “ketchup” for dipping.

And they are easy to do . . .

The “Pictionary” Art Journal

Making daily entries in an art journal is an elusive goal for many, if not most art journalers.

I recently was reading about One Sentence Journals. The idea is to write just one sentence per day. memorializing the small moments, so they are not forgotten.

I was thinking about how that idea could be translated to an art journal, and thinking about simple drawing brought the Pictionary game to mind.

If you have never played Pictionary, the idea is to get your partner to guess a word by drawing a simple picture. This is done in a big hurry, of course, so the drawing has to be REALLY simple.

If only we artists could keep things SIMPLE!!

Anyway, I wondered if I could record something about each day with a simple drawing.

The hardest part seems to be picking the one thing that stands out in a day, because a LOT goes on around here –  every day.

But here are a couple of examples I came up with . . .

Friday was “about” Gopher Baskets (more about those in a moment).

Saturday was all about wind. It was one of those awful windy days we get here in the Southwest in the Spring – sustained winds of 38mph, and gusts of heaven knows what speed.

Now, this is not great art by any means, but it’s fun to figure out the most simple way to illustrate a thought.

I created these in one of my iPad art journals. June will bring the Art Journaling Workbook to the iPad Studio Workshop. If you love art journaling and have an iPad, now would be the time to join us (all past workbooks are there in the classroom as well, and the May Workbook is all about creating visuals for your upcoming art journals.)

About Wind . . .

Does anybody love wind? I know there are folks who love rain and snow and thunder, but does anybody love wind?

I just can’t make friends with it. It makes me a little nuts. No, it makes me a lot nuts.

I remember when I was a school teacher and the students would all be a little nuts whenever we had a really windy day. That was in California, and we didn’t have that many really windy days. I don’t think I would survive as a school teacher here in the Spring.

About Gopher Baskets . . .

I found a great solution to my disappearing plants problem – Gopher Baskets. Of course, if you are a He-Woman, you can make your own baskets out of small hole chicken wire or hardware cloth, but I can’t afford that much blood loss (even wearing leather gloves does not save me!).

So, thankfully, someone else makes them.

They come flat, and in several sizes . . .

And opening them up is not too hard once you figure out how. Basically, you pull the wire into a basket shape, and then bend the metal sides over at the bottom (This is not my picture – I use a pliers to bend those corners AND I wear gloves!)

So, everything is going in baskets this year. I have even dug up some favorites from other years and replanted them with baskets. I get mine from some nice folks in Arizona . . .

Arbico Organics

Woe is Me . . . MobileMe, that is

All of my workshop videos are hosted on MobileMe because it was the best possible platform for watching them, and because it allowed students to download their own copy.

Apple is doing away with MobileMe on June 30.

I am working feverishly to get some new platform set up, but meanwhile, if you have purchased or taken a video workshop from me, and have not downloaded all the videos yet, do so before June 30.

My workshops with PDF lessons are not affected. Affected workshops are Love This Journal, Art School, Watercolor, and PanPastel. Links in all these Workshop Guides will be changed once I have the videos parked in a new location.

Greatest Wedding Proposal Ever . . .

This is one those things you watch, and you feel your smile getting bigger and bigger all the way through. How wonderfully romantic:

Isaac’s Proposal

Artist of the Week

Kumi Yamashita is one of those artists who just amaze. Not only is the creative thinking involved in the projects astounding, the time invested in bringing them to fruition is beyond my ability to comprehend.

Remember doing “rubbings” with crayon or chalk? Well, imagine creating someone’s portrait using a gradual build-up of pencil rubbings from the raised numbers of that person’s expired credit card!

Or how about figuring out how to make this happen . . . or even thinking of it in the first place!

Explore her site – and the Press section, which gives you some insight into her process:

Kumi Yamashita

My coffee cup is empty, my plants are thirsty, and I better get outside. The winds are much calmer today and maybe I can get something done!

Enjoy your holiday!


Sunday Morning Coffee #22

I know I have said this before and I am sure I will say it again: you never know what a week has in store for you.

May 15 was the date to shoot photos for the One Day project that I mentioned a couple Sundays ago – and I hope some of you remembered.

If I needed to depict what my life is about on May 15th, it needed to be about the garden.

May 15 is the first safe planting day, and therefore, the official start of the gardening season, although we have had an early Spring here and I have been planting for weeks,

I often tell my students that a monkey with a cell phone can take a good flower photo, so if my subject would be flowers, I would have to come up with something unusual – and challenging.

So I chose a time close to sunset, and limited myself to only flowers with sunset colors. Photography students also know that yellows, oranges, and pinks are very difficult colors to expose correctly. So it was a good challenge.

The Petunias above are called Pink Lemonade, but to me they had the sunset colors I was looking for, and they were tossing in a breeze so the colors were changing several times a second. I shot a whole series. This was my favorite.

My Peonies also usually open around May 15, and on Monday, it was SO close that I went out and had a conversation with the plant about the One Day project, and asked it to please cooperate. It did, and I was able to get this shot by Tuesday evening. These are “hot” pinks and yellows – even more difficult than pastels.

And finally, I went after an orange and yellow begonia . . .

I have uploaded to the project here

and on May 30, they will launch the official website with the thousands of photos that tell the story of May 15, 2012 around the world.

A Cinderella Fella Story …

Ok, HIS name is not Cinderella, it’s Timber, and he doesn’t even have wicked step-sisters, but his story is just as good – you’ll see. I did not shower him with rose petals here – my wild rose bush did that.

I actually met Timber two weeks ago at an adoption event at our market center.  I could not believe that a perfect angel dog like this had been stuck in the shelter and rescue system for more than a year!

A Husky-crazy friend of ours wanted him right away, but she was moving to a place without sufficient fencing. Siberians are hard to place because of the “call-of-the-wild” side of their personalities. It is inbred because though they worked in the Winter and lived in the house with Chuchri families who originated the breed, they were let go to survive on their own in the Summer.

When I found out our friend could not take this boy home, I wanted him, of course, but we have three rescue Huskies already and Mark was being difficult about it – or sensible – one of those.

Not me. I sprung Timber from his kennel cage and took him home – only to foster, of course. It took until this past Wednesday to spring him (paperwork, you know).

So we went to town to shop for flowers and met a wonderful person named Carol, who has been looking for the “right” dog, and who fell in love right away like I did.

Long story shorter, on Friday,  I took Timber to his new home in the foothills in Santa Fe . . .

From a cage in a kennel to this in two days. That’s what the magic of love can do.

Dogs don’t care about palatial digs like we humans do, of course, and what matters most to Timber is how much room there is for him in Carol’s heart, not her house, but this makes a wonderful picture story anyway.

When I showed the pictures of Timber’s new home to the animal rescue ladies, they literally grabbed their hearts, and one gal said she would love to jump in the air and click her heels together – if she was only that coordinated. Yay for Timber!

Mark is going around singing “Movin on up . . . to the Eastside”.

I love happy endings – and I still get to be Timber’s babysitter when Carol needs one!

A Very Important Twenty Minutes  . . .

If you make art, if you want to make art, do not miss this fabulous commencement address by Neil Gaiman.

Artist of the Week

Sue McNenly’s blog is one I read consistently. She is on my Blogroll in the sidebar.

I sometimes try to analyze what makes a blog one that I read consistently – because I would like to make my own blog one of those (at least I am *writing* it consistently now and that’s progress!)

I love to read an artist’s “story”. I don’t mean their bio or their mission statement. And I don’t mean what they have for breakfast on Tuesdays.

What I mean is hard to put into words, but it is access to the artist’s process. What do they think that moves them along the path of creating? What discoveries, which mistakes, which inspirations and which frustrations lead them to the amazing art they make.

Sue works mostly in Silver Metal Clay – but her work is not what you would expect. She creates little worlds to visit, and invites you in.

I LOVE her work, and hope to be able to collect some one of these days.

Happy Sunday. I am off to plant flowers, and I hope I have planted some seeds of inspiration for you this morning!





Sunday Morning Coffee #21

Happy Mothers Day!

This should really be called Sunday Night Wine because morning is long gone, but better late than never, I always say.

These are my two favorite Mother and Child photos. The Praire Dogs were caught in a rare moment. I am pretty sure that Mom was sharing some of life’s better secrets.

And this will always be special to me – one of those really rare photo ops that you can’t believe is happening. And you thought you had a mouthy kid! Mom looks like she’s really on the edge, doesn’t she?

I don’t have any furless children, and the furry little ingrates I do have did not even come up with a card! After all I do for them!

But part of being a mother is being selfless, or so I hear.

On that note I want to share something that at first take, seems a little dark. But, when you think about it, nothing says “self-less mother” better.

In the early days of photography, the subject had to stay still for quite some time for the long exposures necessary. Babies and small children are not always willing to sit still, so their mothers had to hold them.

What I don’t really understand is why nobody wanted Mom in the photo.

Anyway, they covered the Moms with dark cloth. Problem was that the shrouded Moms did not disappear into the background..

The shrouds were not always black, and there was some real cleverness in the draping. There is a whole Flickr page of these strange photos here:

Moms Under Wraps

Exciting New Sheer Heaven for Art Journals

Sometimes, letter size sheets of Sheer Heaven are just not right for the artwork you are doing – especially if you are an art journaler.

Maybe you want to print one photo to transfer to your art journal. It does not make sense to waste a whole sheet to print one photo, and if you wait until you have a group of small photos, you will probably have lost your “groove”.

Maybe you want to use a small piece for a drawing or painting, but if you cut it off the larger sheet, the larger sheet won’t feed through the printer anymore.

Maybe you want to create a portable palette to fit perfectly within your journal, or make an overlay for an illustration.

When I recently converted my new mill roll, I had the opportunity to turn some of the Sheer Heaven into smaller sheets, which would work well for all of these art journaling ideas. Most inkjet printers will print a 4×6 sheet because it is the most common photo size,

So 4×6 it was, and because of a lot of things you don’t want to know about how mill rolls fit machines and how cutting must be done, I can sell this size for 23% less than the regular sheets ($8.50 for 20 Sheets).

For a limited time, (Until June 1, 2012), to celebrate the introduction, I am selling the 20 Pack at a 35% Savings!

Each 20 Pack is only $7.50!

Also, because the whole transfer idea has taken over Sheer Heaven’s identity, most folks have forgotten all about the fact that it is the most amazing paper to use with any and all media. It will not wrinkle, tear, or react to any amount of moisture. These small sheets allow for experimenting and creating any type of illustrations – watercolors for your art journal if it doesn’t have heavy pages, for example.

There are lots of other things too, and videos to explain them.

Find the details on the new Sheer Heaven Art Journal Page:

Sheer Heaven for the Art Journal

Have You Noticed?

For the first time, I have added a list of favorite blogs to the sidebar. This is an easy way for you to check back to the blogs I have recommended in previous posts. These are the ones I personally consider worth following, and it is a small list.

I did not find an Artist of the Week this week, but I really enjoyed watching this video about a jewelry maker in Brooklyn. I think you will too.

Dirty Librarian Chains

Now I must go sleep.

Sunday Morning Coffee #20

If there is something more heavenly than Lilacs, I don’t know what it is!

Surprise late frosts have meant no blooms for the past two years on my many Lilac bushes (and one that I have to call a “tree” now because it is huge!)

Well, I guess they stored up all that beauty and fragrance because this Spring’s bloom was amazing. My largest, the “tree”, is right outside my office window and  fills the room with that fabulous scent.

Garden Lesson Learned This Week:

Gophers love Siberian Bugloss (perennial Forget-Me-Nots). One day I had a full, lush plant filled with sky blue blossoms like this . . .

and the next morning. . . nothing.

I was able to dig up the crown of the plant and pot it for recovery, but no more little blue blossoms for this year.

Three days later, all the leaves of my David’s Phlox did the same disappearing act.

I don’t kill things, but I am sorely tempted.

So, we have a war going on, with me trying to make things unpleasant enough that my little pal will move out of the courtyard. MoleMax and cat litter clumps and black pepper and even mothballs – which nearly drove me out of the garden!

Sheer Heaven is back!!

Finally . . . things are back to normal. The machine is fixed, the first mill roll is converted, and I can once again supply this magical material to artists worldwide. It has been a very trying time, but all’s well that ends well. Maybe I can relax a little now? Nah.

Let’s talk about copyright infringement and what it really means.

Copyright Law is really about money (isn’t everything?)

The intention of the Copyright Law is to protect the income and reputation of professional artists. Professional artists means artists who sell their work.

So, really, when you get right down to it, 99% of the ballyhoo online about copyright is, well, just ballyhoo.

Yes, it is true that you have an automatic copyright to most things you create, even if you just picked up your first art tool yesterday. But unless you are willing to hire an attorney and take your “right” to court to present a case that your economic well being has been harmed (never mind your hurt feelings), you may as well not worry about it. You can (and should) put a Copyright notice on work you publish, and if somebody blatantly copies you, you can write them and tell them to stop. But going off on a half-cocked tirade is wasting your time and spreading a lot of negative energy all around your art – which is not good for it, or you.

I will demonstrate my point through three little stories:

#1 Silliness Based on Ego, Misperception, and Biting the Hand that Feeds You

There once was a widely known and rather bad tempered online “art” personality, whose endeavors were appreciated by a well known blogger, who picked up a sample illustration, and wrote a glowing little review of the woman’s site. This resulted in a public rant that lasted for weeks about how the blogger used her image without permission – blah blah blah.

In the first place, this would fall under Fair Use, which covers writing a review of an artwork. In the second place, the blogger caused a lot of people to visit this lady’s website, which I am sure, resulted in increased sales for her. Meanwhile, her rampage caused a lot of people to no longer visit her website – because nobody really wants to listen to a rant.

This is not copyright infringement. If it was, I wouldn’t do it – and I do it all the time. (No, I was not the blogger involved).

#2 Silliness Based on Misinformation and Inflated Self Image

There once was a blogger who drew little birds by sticking a “beak” (a letter V shape) on doodles of the letter O. It is a cute enough little thing. Oh… and she added a spiral.

But, evidently, someone copied this little birdie on their blog, and the first blogger has not shut-up about her “rights” to her birdies since.

Unbeknownst to her, she has no rights to chirp about.

Animals, birds, and certainly the letters of the alphabet, are iconic symbols and are part of the public domain. The Spiral appears abundantly in cave art. Copyright Law holds that most possible renditions of these shapes have already been done, and no original work is possible. Ergo, no copyright protection.

Now, if the animal, etc. is part of a whole original composition, that’s a different story, because the composition can be copyrighted, but these little birdies are just little abstract birdies.

Copyright infringement? Not.

#3 Serious, Criminal, Copyright Infringement

Ann Kullberg is a very well known colored pencil artist, who publishes a wonderful online magazine on the medium, calle CP (Colored Pencils).

If you are interested in working with colored pencils, you can’t do better than her magazine.

Well, someone out there decided it would be a good idea to put new covers on the issues she purchased, and republish the entire magazines as her own – with a new title.

This is serious copyright infringement which can be prosecuted. There is very obvious intent to defraud, and damage to the livelihood of Ann Kullberg.

We will talk more later about the real nature of copyright in our ever-changing digital lives, but these three examples should help illustrate that most of the hollering out there isn’t worth the energy.


Remember when I used to tease you with things that aren’t here yet? I haven’t done that in awhile, so here goes.

I have known for awhile that publishing is a big part of where Cre8it is going, and there will be a lot of variety in what happens in that arena.

One fun thing will be a series of workbooks ($15) which will be filled cover-to-cover with creative thinking and doing.

Most content will be new, and some will be “legacy” – inherited and revamped from my past ten years of writing for art sake.

I mourn the loss of truly creative publications. Most of the market in periodicals and books has gone in the direction of parroting one style. These workbooks will be new and fresh and fun.

I am hoping Volume 1 will be ready for release this month, and I am wondering what you think of this idea. Seems like nobody has time for creating unless something is stuck right in their face, and looks easy to do. That is the idea of Creativity Knocking.

Seize the Day . . .

This project really pleases me. What a wonderful, worldwide idea.

In short, on May 15, 2012, everyone is invited to take a photo that illustrates something about life as we know it. There are categories and ideas on the site. All photos will become a part of the website and some will be chosen for a book.

I am certainly going to participate and I recommend that you do too. (and please, no sniveling about rights to the photo you upload).

Art of the Week

Here are 144 cartoons related to books and their role in our lives – New Yorker cover style:

Blown Covers

And that’s all for this time . . . enjoy your Sunday.