Monthly Archives: September 2013

Art Journal Retreat


It seems like forever since I’ve had a chance to chat with you all.

As you know the great Art Journaling In Paradise Retreat happened September 14 -19, and it turned out so much better than we ever even dreamed it could be. No foolin.

I had no time to blog, but Sandy Bartholomew did daily posts of her experiences at the retreat, which you will enjoy:

The whole idea of this happening was to spend some fabulous fun time here in Santa Fe, and to learn enough about drawing and painting to capture it all in our journals.

We had a few cancellations dues to health issues, but still had 25 wonderful ladies in attendance. It was an amazing group with so much talent!

We started out with some Mindfulness exercises and then learned to paint a realistic Tortilla Chip (very important food here!) using wet-in-wet watercolor techniques. We also learned tricks to capture the usually blue skies of Santa Fe, which is why my tortilla chip is high flying in the picture above.

However, at first it was hard to tell we have such beautiful blue skies in Santa Fe . . .


I have never seen it rain for four days in a row here, but that’s what it did  for four days before the retreat started. Very good for our land, but pretty soggy going for early arrivals.

Saturday, our first day was still a bit rainy, but we were mostly in the studio that day so it was okay. From Sunday through the rest of the week, we had beautiful weather.

For lunch on Saturday, we had nachos, and everyone had to draw anything they put on top – along with a page of tortilla chips.


We started by sketching our chips – adding some of their curls and twists, and then painted them with the techniques we had learned.


On the other side of the spread, we drew and painted all our add-ons . . .


In the process, we learned how to draw all the basic shapes.

This spread turned out to be the favorite for many of the students.

I will be sharing more of my journal pages from the retreat as soon as I can finish them.

AND, I will soon be posting the information for the 2014 art journal retreat in Santa Fe.

I am also planning an art journal retreat in early April, 2014 which will be held in Tubac, Arizona – using an 1885 Schoolhouse as our classroom. How cool is that?

And all my readers know how much I love Tubac!

Hopefully, I will be back to blogging  more often now that the retreat is successfully behind me. I usually feel that my life is a wild thing, but somehow, it seems so quiet right now . . .


Holding a Hummingbird In Your Hand . . .


I think the most stress-producing thing in the world is to feel powerless in moving your life forward toward its goals.

When I get absolutely crazy about some things, Mark will say, “Relax. You’re not driving the bus.”

That makes me even crazier.

I like to know where I am going and I like to be in control.

Without boring you with details, we are currently in limbo about the timing of our gallery move. Our current landlord is playing musical chairs with tenants and we happen to sit in the middle of it all. Bunches of other people have to decide about their plans before we can make ours.

I can’t get any answers and it makes me nuts.

So I was sitting on the garden swing steaming and simmering over the latest non-answer.

I kept hearing a strange noise. 

I couldn’t place it but I just felt like it was some critter in distress, so I started searching all over. Couldn’t find anything. But I did find that the bird feeders needed refilling.

As I was going in the front door to get the birdseed, I heard the noise loud and clear – from above my head.

We have a skylight in the portal in front of the door, and it is set up into a box-like frame.

A Hummingbird had flown up into that box and was trying very hard to fly through the skylight, which she obviously could not do.

Those of you who have been online friends for a long time will think this sounds familiar. It did happen before and I blogged about it – in May, 2007. How time flies!

I got my big ladder and my leather gardening gloves and climbed up until my head was in the skylight box.

The Hummingbird really went bonkers then, of course, and flew into the skylight over and over. Can you just imagine how frustrating for her that the sky, which represents her life and freedom, was suddenly a barrier?

I told her that I would show her the way to go if she would trust me.

She did.

I held her in my hand and brought her down to where she could easily fly, and let her go.

She was uninjured and flew off to resume her usual nectar-gathering routine.

I climbed down off the ladder, and it hit me what an amazing analogy this was for the way I’ve been feeling – flying over and over into invisible barriers until the effort hurts.

Perhaps better to relax and trust that the hand of fate will carry you to the proper path.

I felt so much better!

And there is something so profound about holding that powerful a life force in your hand and knowing that as powerful as it is, it is also very fragile, and must be handled with extreme care.

The Hummingbird at the top of the post is not the skylight Hummer, by the way. It is the very first Rufous that I have been able to photograph in my garden, and I really love the photo. Hope you do too, and that this little story has brought a smile into your day.

Get an email announcement of each new post on this blog.