Monthly Archives: March 2014

Postcard from Tubac, Arizona

room2It went so slowly – and it went so quickly. And it was the best of times.

We have just wrapped up our Tubac Art Journaling Retreat and NOBODY wanted to leave.

It is Sunday morning in Room 2 here at the Tubac Country Inn and strangers inhabit the other rooms, something which feels, well . . . strange, after a whole week of “family” filling this place with art and laughter and just plain joy.

The retreat in Santa Fe last September was such a wonderful experience that you think such a thing can’t be as good again. But it can.

We all arrived last week-end and were so excited to see each other again. For those who arrived on Saturday, Sunday was a relaxing time to “come down” from our daily lives and enjoy the weather and the garden while we waited for the others to arrive.

Tubac is a small village jam-packed with great shopping and great restaurants, and it is amazing how much there is to do within about six square blocks. You can easily walk anywhere.

Our workshop ran from Monday through Friday, and we headquartered in the Gallery building at the Tubac Presidio State Historic Park – a block from the Inn. The Gallery building is open and light, and full of fresh air – a perfect place to learn to “dance” with watercolors.

otero otero2We learned some tricks to draw even the most complicated lettering by copying the Presidio sign itself . . .

presidiosign1 presidiosign2My sample is not perfect but it’s pretty darn close.

The grounds of the State Park and museum are bursting with interesting little scenes to draw and paint like these . . .


gourdsAnd one of our first assignments was to capture a minimum of five little scenes on a single page.

Here’s my example . . .

presidioWe spent the first two days learning everything we could jam into our heads about using watercolor, and practicing by painting scenes from the Presidio grounds.

There was much more to be painted, but Wednesday, we went out into the village of Tubac with a “scavenger hunt” list of things to put in our journals. We met up on the covered porch of Vesta’s gallery to share the challenges and see what everyone had found.

On Thursday, we went on a field trip to the Tumacacori Mission, which is a National HIstoric Site, with a beautiful old church and several adobe ruins.


Again, the grounds are so rich in history and beautiful things to sketch and paint, that it is hard to know where to start . . .

lynn tumacacori1 carolkayAnd everywhere, there are wildflowers . . .

wildflowerI am out of time this morning because Vesta and I are going to an art show up in Tucson. Thank heavens my friends Vesta and April are here or I think I would be feeling pretty lonely!

I have more photos to share – and some may even move you to pick up a pencil or paintbrush. I’ll show you some of those next post.

The next retreat will be in Santa Fe in September, and I wonder if I dare hope that we can have this much fun and wonder yet again!

New Book – iPad Photo Arts

iPad-Photo-Arts-CoverOh my. You never know where you are going with something.

Two weeks ago, I began the process of updating one of the workbooks I wrote in 2012 for the Ipad Studio Workshop. One app had disappeared and another had some changes and I was just going to update the workbook as a part of my plan to release the individual workbooks from the Studio on their own.

This workbook was about photography – about how to edit and play with photos on the iPad.

The more I got into it, the more it became obvious how much has changed in the course of two years – not just with these couple of apps, but with photography as an art medium.

EVERYBODY is a photographer these days.

OK, one guy in Des Moines isn’t.

But everybody else is wielding camera phones and digi-cams, and photos are flying through the air – Flickr-ing, Instagramming, Facebooking, Pinning, filling email (and I do mean FILLING email.)

Photos abound. Photographic knowledge does not abound.

I remember about fourteen years ago when I was trying to teach Photoshop and Elements online to artists. It was like pulling teeth to get them to accept this new way of working with images.

I was ahead of the times, but the times caught up.

These days, hardly anyone fears Photoshop anymore.

But these days, hardly anyone needs Photoshop anymore either

They are carrying iPads around with them – which contain everything they need to do anything and everything with photographs.

And it’s all so much easier.

But most people are still just poking at things without a clue how to do something on purpose with all these magic buttons we’ve got.

And so I thought somebody should maybe write a simple handbook about how to do everything with photos on the iPad.

And so I did.

But I didn’t call it “How to Do Everything with Photos on the iPad”.

I called it “iPad Photo Arts”. Classier.

This workbook has it all – how to shoot photos with the iPad, and/or import photos shot with something else. How to edit and fix and manipulate and distress. How to retouch and resize and make photo collages that are tastefully designed.

Even how to ORGANIZE all those photos you have on your iPad.

I am fond of all the books I write for you, but I must say I am especially proud of this one.

Somehow, working on this for two weeks, I managed to get everything you need to know into a 70 page ebook (PDF).

And it’s all explained simply in my step-by-step style – so there will be no inner child left behind.

Not only will you learn HOW to do everything with photos, you will learn WHY you are doing it, so you will know WHAT to do to get any desired result with your photos and images.

This wonderfully empowering workbook is $15 even though it is half again as long as the other iPad Workbooks. Any student registered in the iPad Studio Workshop can claim a $5 discount in the Shopping Cart.

Whether you are a photo hobbyist, a photo artist, a scrap booker, collage artist, or that guy from Des Moines, if you have an iPad, and any photos around, you NEED this book.

And you can get it here:

iPad Photo Arts


My Shopping Cart is temporarily refusing to download the new book automatically. I will email you a direct link to the book as soon as I see your order come in. There is no need to email me about the problem – we are working on it.


Random Thoughts and Images . . .


Last week, I put away the Windex in the refrigerator.

I think this may be a sign.

I didn’t put the roll of paper towels in there, but still.

Is anyone else feeling unplugged so far this year?

I am always operating in overdrive, I am always overwhelmed (recent ponder: is anybody ever just plain “whelmed”?), but I usually have a grip, ever so tenuous, on the steering wheel.

This year so far, I think my grip has slipped.

So, I’m just going to float along on the tides of all that I cannot control, or organize, and hope for the best outcome.

When I am in this mood, I tend to really notice details (ok, except for the Windex thing).

I was checking that my iPhone was not stuck on one of those new filters, when I noticed the scene above through the Camera app. (No, I can’t see my iPhone screen without my glasses either, but I was wearing a stronger pair.)

I shot the picture to make sure there was no filter, and because it seemed to say a lot about overwhelm. If that is just 5 square inches of my desk, what hope is there?

Anyway, many friends have that Filter problem with newer iPhones running the newest system (iOS7). You take what you think is a normal photo, and it turns out all yellow, vintage looking, or worse.

Here’s the solution to the problem.

When the Camera app is active on your phone, you will see a set of three overlapping circles in the bottom corner of the screen.

iphone1If they are shades of gray, you are ok – no filter is activated.

If they are red, blue, and green, it means a Filter is turned on.

iphone2Tap the circles icon to access the Filters control page . . .

iphone3Tap the Filter you want to be set – in most cases, “None” which is in the center. Interestingly, System iOS7 on the iPad does not add filters to the camera app.


Suddenly, it’s Spring in my mind. Or maybe my mind is just sprung. It all feels the same.

I am watching the birds starting to look for nesting materials in the garden. There are lots of them because the word has gotten around that Husky fur is what the upscale nest needs, and daylight savings time is nesting time AND Husky shedding time.

I pulled into the parking lot downtown the other day, and spotted this bird in a tree . . .

amgrybirdIt wasn’t in my New Mexico Bird Identification Guide. Hmmm.

It’s one of the Angry Birds, isn’t it?

I love that somebody did this.

How can it not bring a smile – (once you figure out you are not hallucinating).

Then, I started thinking about how cool photographs are everywhere.

So when I later parked at Target, I noticed that this was in front of me . . .

targetbark© jessica wesolek, 2014

What an awesome example of texture and color harmony and wonderful, random, accidental art.

It’s out there . . . keep your eyes open.