Sunday, April 20, 2014


a new friend this spring 

I invite you into this tender place for just a moment today, I have something for you.  

The barnyard is full of new life.  The pasture is filled with playful white lambs jumping and running at full speed.  The pens are full of munching ewes snacking on their favorite food. And the sweet Mum's with newborn-babes are snuggled in their warm hay, resting.    

In all of the things I have learned about the littlest of lambs this season, this one thought has stayed with me and touched me deeply,      

Lambs love to be held.  

Love to be Held

As I contemplate the work and words of Jesus on this blessed weekend, I am overwhelmed by what this means.  
What does this say about the Lamb of God?

*     *     *

He loves to be held 
and He loves to hold. 

He is with us, 
holding us closely, 
tending to our soft and overwhelmed hearts.

He knows what holding us does to our brokenness, it heals. 
He know what holding us does to our mourning, it brings joy (the oil of gladness).

He knows our hearts, 
our bodies, 
our faces 
need to be held

in His divine hands.  He knows.

We are so loved! 

“I will not leave you orphaned.  I’m coming back. 

In just a little while the world will no longer see me, 
but you’re going to see me because I am alive 
and you’re about to come alive. 

At that moment you will know absolutely that 
I’m in my Father, and you’re in me, and I’m in you."     


John 14 | the message bible

Oh, how He loves us...
love & lambs,


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

retreat with me

*The beginning of a three-part series on Art Retreats | Artist Dates*


With being a bit of a word-nerd, I often peruse the meanings of simple words.  I find that subtle treasures usually hide right below the surface.  May I share this word with you?

    • move back or withdraw.
      synonyms:go out, ebbrecede

    • change one's decisions, plans, or attitude
      synonyms:change one's mind, change one's plans

  1. 1.
    an act of moving back or withdrawing.
    synonyms:withdrawal, pulling back 

    • an act of changing one's decisions, plans, or attitude, esp. as a result of criticism from others.
      synonyms:about-face, U-turn

  2. 3.
    a quiet or secluded place in which one can rest and relax.
    synonyms:refuge, haven, sanctuary; 

    hideaway, hideout, hiding place, escape

    "her rural retreat"
    • a period of seclusion for the purposes of prayer and meditation.
      seclusion, withdrawal, retirement, solitude, isolation, sanctuary
      "a period of retreat from the world"

    • __________________________________________

Nurture Your Creative Seed | Winter 2014

I wanted to go on an art retreat years ago.  I don't even remember the first one that caught my eye, but the words and images called out to me...and I labored over the idea.  I wanted to go so badly!

At the time I was busy with too many little boys and endless days of tight schedules. I didn't know how to take time off. Traveling alone and the thought of traveling someplace full of unknowns was frightening. Spending time and money on myself was frightening too. Have you wished and been so scared too?

Then an art retreat came to me.  

At my local college I met an artist that I had admired.  We talked about how she occasionally taught out of her home.  I invited myself (of course) into this opportunity to paint in her studio/kitchen. No long drive. I already met her and liked her.  I would invite my parents as a holiday day gift and we could paint in a beautiful (but unknown) space -- it would be my own mini-retreat.

Gina Garner Studio | Spring City, Utah

After this beautiful experience I realized I had been severely limiting myself.  I had learned so much from a great teacher and I was much more brave than I knew!  Getting to know her was something I loved.  The adventurous aspect of stepping into a new space became a new dare (in my creative life) and planned to take the next opportunity without so much fear.  

Then it happened.  

I loved Serena the first time I met her: beautiful, grounded, nurturing, and perfectly made for this kind of art-world women's-work.  I grabbed a spot in her Nurture Your Creative Seed Workshop at the last minute and with all of the chaos of getting ready and getting there I really didn't have time to get nervous.  

The women attending were wonderful and the teaching was inspiring.  I only had a few moments of freaking out when I realized I was amongst all women (it happens every time with every retreat), I am just so used to being around boys and men.  I remembered laying on the floor in my room telling myself "I am okay."  

I am sure I am not alone in first-time-freak-outs.  

Overall, the weekend painting foray went splendidly and I was not only captivated by the place, the Pacific Northwest, but by the friendships I made and the inner connection I felt to each of the women attending.  

It was really that good.  

Teresa Ryan wrote beautifully about her experience at the retreat, she captured it better than I can ever retell it and it may touch your heart like it did mine.  HERE.  (

 See life in a new way  
step back for a moment   
take a fresh accounting of life
try a new path  
open the door to possibility 
try a new palette
sketch something new
see what you didn't see before  
turn the page
laugh and cry at the same time
hold hands

My Artist Date | NYC

I believe that every Artist Retreat I venture into is loaded with divine reasons.

With open hands and an open is always a gift.  

I am meant to be here, We were meant to be here.  

 In my explorations this spring, I want sort through some of these good things.  I think it is valuable and helpful to see, with an honest eye, what helps move my life forward as a "whole-hearted" artist. 

I have my own inside/insights into art retreats & artist dates - I am no expert, but I have some deeper thoughts.  I want to give you a fresh picture of what some of these amazing women and men are doing in this aspect of creating.  I also want to share with you my favorite retreats and where I am going next.    

 Beginning this week, I will be sharing:  what I have most recently loved and adored, the growth/challenges in building a creative life with others, what I have learned from big groups and intimate settings, how you have to risk to build brave muscles (it will make sense), and what my take aways are from these blessed events.  Join in with your questions and comments, I would love to hear.  

I do love these two

Always, in grace & peace,

Monday, March 31, 2014

the art of spring - updated

In all of the changes I am making this year, I wanted to include some of my favorite projects from last spring.  I hope you will join me in celebrating brand-new-life that comes from God's amazing creation and love. Seeing the beauty that He spills into our daily lives when we live with open and loving hearts.  

It is Spring...   

(a watercolor project for the Art of Spring)

I have been hiding in my studio, I can't help it, it is just what I needed.   

It is the time of year I am most prolific, productive, plenteous, effluent...(I do love juicy words).  
Projects pile up along long counters, bits of paper and paint stick to my sweaters, bright sketches fill 
up my sketchbooks, and calendaring out days of deadlines...  

It is a colorful and happy mess -- a very happy place.

I know in my heart that winter is pulling away.  Snow and ice still hang on my home, my trees, my muddy boots, but I feel the change in the air and it brings new energy and life to my days.  Can you feel it coming?

The sun streams in the sunroom windows.  Birds are busy outside the kitchen window making my poor cat crazy.  Little patches of green are poking through the muddy snow, making my eyes hunt for those bits of neon.

Perhaps it's why my paints exploded in color this spring~ I am so hungry for nature to come alive.  

March is always a month of messiness.  

A year ago (now two),  I launched a brand new workshop called "The Art of Wild Abandonment".
It literally made a mess of my schedule for the entire year~ new creative ideas, collective projects, new friendships, wild new sketches, and so much goodness.  I suppose this workshop is a spring celebration of that art-sprouting-wonderfulness.

Or simply a celebration of God's goodness and love.
Messiness in life and art is to be expected ~ birthing and growing is full of colorful chaos.  Yes and amen?

Would you like to join me for a new adventure this Spring?  Perhaps you are sprouting for something new, too?


Now, newly released for this Spring 2014

This is a 12 project, art-at-your-own-pace, online workshop
(This was a live workshop last Spring).
  If you missed the fun last year or are wanting to get started with some fresh Spring inspiration, 
this is a wild and colorful bundle of creative goodness.

These are some of my most favorite projects for spring... 

With so many adorable projects in all types of mixed media 
we will fill our sketchbooks, art journals, canvases, and spring studios 
with the season's most precious gifts:

spring meadows
little lambs
a wild mess of chicks
windows of grace
baby moos
potting tables
springtime watercolors
pretty piglets
and more... 

Once purchased, this Art of Spring workshop is yours for two full years.  
I will send you the link/passwords and you are welcome to get started today!  

The Art of Spring



***PLEASE NOTE: This is the same Art of Spring Class that I taught last year, 
I have updated the format on my website and you are welcome to the material for 
two full years -- no stress.  I will send you your link & password within 24 hours.  

Friday, February 21, 2014

saturday mornings - the open house!

Open House Saturday

 a springtime class open house & special treats for you...

   If you want to join this "block party" please do!  
It is open all year and is full of colorful & meaningful projects. 

Sign up here:   

Saturday Mornings : my favorite blocks collection 

Welcome!  Come on inside...I have been waiting for you!

I absolutely love having you here, you are my favorite and I have been hoping you would stop by.  
Every open house, my boys are amazed at how excited I get. I can't help it.  All of my favorite artists in one place?  Bliss~

Today I am opening my online studio to you, answering questions, and giving you a jumping off point for our upcoming class. Hopefully you will find all the answers you need! 

May I share a story with you?  

My Dad built homes, he loved his work and did it well. I am living right now in a home my Dad helped us remodel/rebuild.  It was a huge job and he lived with us in our small town for months as we rid our house of bats, old pipes, and crumbling walls of plaster.  He took simple tools and great skill and built new strong walls, doorways, and bathrooms.  We would come to see the mess each day (I had tiny boys at the time) and we would gather the blocks of wood that piled up from framing.  We would stack them, build towers and create our own fun on the building site.  I am so grateful for the amazing gift it was to have my Dad's hands building this great home. 

Building with wood is in my inner framework, too, I guess.  Having all this freshly cut wood, the feel and smell of these little blocks, they bring me to such a happy place.  Who doesn't love the smell of fresh cut pine?

These little stacks are a wonderful reminder of so many good things - 

 "creating all things new"  

Taking part in an eclectic art project (especially a collective one like this) opens all sorts of creative potential.  It is really a wonderful way to stretch those art muscles and leave you with treasures in return.  As much as I love art journaling, this block art is an easy favorite too.  


Along with a very silly name, Our Saturday Morning: favorite block collection class has a different calendar. I had to work in time for teaching this spring and of course...the lambs.  Hopefully having a weekend project will make it simple to do at your own pace -- and you and I will always have something new to look forward to!  Yes!


Dates for our NEW projects each month: 

March 8 - March 15 - April 5 -  April 19 - May 3 - May 10 

All you have to do is peek in the classroom for the new fun easy!   

For all of you that just can't wait to get started, hopefully this bit of fun may keep your creative thoughts going strong.  I love the little Sochi collection I have made.  It stands proudly in my kitchen window  (blocks made with the Olympic designs).   I feel like such an artsy athlete, perhaps you will be inspired to use one of these designs too?  

This is a beautiful image from the current winter Olympics.  What a wild designer!  You may want to use something like this for inspirations for a background.  Or just like it simply how it is!


Can I offer you a treat? 

My sister is a food-artist and works in "deliciousness".  I begged her for a menu for today and she blessed us with this one...yum.


If you haven't signed up, all the information is right here:

Saturday Mornings : my favorite blocks collection 


I hope you have a wonderful weekend!  I am thinking of you with every sketch.  My new workshops this year are taking shape and I hope you will join me on the dirt paths we find before us...
brave journeys, new experiences, wild art, and a deeper heart for God.  

Coming soon!   I will put you on the short list for this one...

Sunday, February 9, 2014

saturday mornings - a new class offering

Gifts of winter. 

All around me is a blanket of lovely new snow and quiet.  Everything is so quiet.  The crunching of my shoes on my walk is almost too loud for my ears.  The birds songs seem muted and the other creatures that visit me are like images that playfully enter the winter scene and then quickly run away:  deer and mice, barn cats, and farm dogs.  The sound of children playing at the snowy school playground is a daily fix right now.  Playful laughing as they chase home from school, sliding on sheets of ice and throwing snowballs.  If not for self discipline and the silly noise in the could sleep and read away entire winter days.  Hibernation is a quiet bliss~ 

This is the time for growing inside gardens.  Some of us will be pouring over seed catalogues this week, making big plans for spring peas.  Others will be mapping out the time to plant their tomato seeds in the sunlit kitchen windows.  Many will buy lovely winter/spring bulbs to grow on windowsills.  We just long for respite from winter's white and grey.  

I do.  

This late winter + early spring I am seeding and planting like crazy. Not so much the dirt and tomatoes as wild new projects, much loved offerings, and some of my saved-up-favorite workshops!

Can I share a much loved offering with you?  

For a mix of six weekends this spring, I will be hosting an online Saturday morning class:

a *brand new collection* of my favorite block art. Yes! 

With so many former students asking me for more...more...more... (these little canvases of wood are so crazily addictive!) I couldn't say no. These little mixed media blocks are the perfect size for blessing and gifting your weekends with new sketchy ideas, new springtime colors, and a wild mix of fresh art. Each will be uniquely different and will come with many creative ideas to make it your very own.

All new sketches & art include:

wild winter owls 
luscious blooms  
downton abbey romance   
woodpeckers, chickadees & nestlings 
{one} words ideas
artist amour
family photo treasures
friendship blocks
"He loves me" notes
& Easter adorables
For anyone coming from our wonderful Studying under the Masters Class, I will have some ideas for transitioning your new found loves into your own little masterpieces! (a tiny Gaudi? Oh, sweet...)

Every class I offer is filled with wild new inspirations and so many sketches. Every *project day* we spend together will be a treat for us both - creating new winter/spring collections of art, bringing quotes and verses into our studios, and being reminded again and are a beautifully unique artist and you are so loved! 

I will be online with you each weekend of class and our online artist communities are some of the most kind, friendly and silly-wonderful friends you could could meet. They are such heart-loving angels!

Some block art from past workshops & Stampington's "Workshop" magazine

Join me for my favorite...
(just hop on "Open House" above to get there!)

The Open House will have all my fresh new class offerings, a welcome message, 
helpful hints/tips, and of course...delicious sweets.  Oh, sweets...yum.

Saturday Morning : My Favorite Blocks Collection 


Online Class begins Saturday, March 8*

*class will run live for a mix of 6 Saturdays (two each in March, April, and May)  
You don't have to be available during those times, just jump in when you can!

This class will be available all year long, no worries.


If you need help getting wood blocks, it is simple. Take the list of measurements I will give you to your local hardware store and have them cut the blocks for you.  Kind husbands, brothers, neighbors and friends with a saw are also especially helpful - if you don't have a saw yourself.  If you would like an easier option, I will be able to ship wood blocks for your projects (with extra art supplies I have on hand) for each months projects.  You also have the option of using a canvas or some other art medium instead.  Simple!

Monthly kits: woodblocks + ephemera for 2 full projects each month are available for $25 each + $8 shipping

kits available:  


((A big warm hug))
I have been so moved by your shared love during this time of great change in my life. You really have helped me so much.  Thank you for reaching out, thank you for hearing my neediness and holding me and my mother (and our family) in prayer.  Having anyone close leave (to heaven) is so difficult, but having it be one of my heroes, my Dad, made it so much harder.  My family is doing as well as we can. Because of the way my father loved us, and his wonderfully silly and optimistic way of living this life...our hearts will always be tender but we will mend.   
If God thinks we can do this hard thing, we will do our best to trust Him.    
It makes a difference when you have a family full of abounding love, for all of our differences, we do know how to come together and love BIG. 
I love you...
in grace & peace,

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