Guest Post on Life Documented

I'm honored and excited to be the guest for this week's prompt at Life Documented!  Take a moment to check it out.  There is a lot of great inspiration and prompts if you need some motivation or inspiration to create.  


This is just a little sneak peek of my project. To see the full tutorial, visit the Life Documented blog. :) I'd love to see what you made and how the prompt and project inspired you to create!

Keeping Inspired with Art Challenges

Prompt: "Vertical", Day 14 of 30 of #ArtMarks30dayChallenge

Prompt: "Vertical", Day 14 of 30 of #ArtMarks30dayChallenge

Do you ever just need a little boost of creativity every once in a while? A way to keep you motivated and keep you feeling excited about your artwork?  I think every artist knows that it's common to slip into the doldrums and feel unmotivated to create.  I think it's a natural part of being creative.  It's good to take a break and to step away every once in a while.  But what do you do when you feel stuck in a rut and can't get out!?  Art challenges are a great way to keep motivated and creating on a daily basis.  Even if it's just one little scribble in your journal or a couple brushstrokes on a canvas--that can be enough to keep that creative flame going!  Art challenges also help you think outside the box and try new things.  By being given a prompt each day, some of the decision making is taken out of your hands and that can make it easier to make something if someone else is giving you the kindling to start the fire.  Or it can be seen as a challenge; a way to think outside of your normal constraints and maybe make something you've never done before by simply choosing a different color paint, an unusual mark or drawing upon a theme with which you are unfamiliar.

Prompt: "Vine", Day 14 of 30 of #MarticeSmithArtDaily30

Prompt: "Vine", Day 14 of 30 of #MarticeSmithArtDaily30

I'm participating in two daily art challenges this month: one is Martice Smith's April Art Challenge (#MarticeSmithArtDaily30) and the other is Rae Missigman's Art Marks 30 Day Challenge (#ArtMarks30DayChallenge).  I don't always get time to create something for every prompt, but when I do, it feels so good!  I can feel myself stretching a little bit more and growing new artful connections.  It's fun to be part of a challenge, too!  There is a social element involved, because you can search Instagram or Facebook for others who are also participating and you can see how they've interpreted each prompt.  I'm always pleasantly surprised by the variety of styles and how everyone can have something completely different even though we're all using the same prompt each day.

Prompt: "Filled", Day 8 of 30 of #ArtMarks30DayChallenge

Prompt: "Filled", Day 8 of 30 of #ArtMarks30DayChallenge

What challenges have you participated in or are currently involved in at the moment?  What are your favorite kinds of challenges? Most challenging prompt?  I'd love to hear!

I'm teaching at CraftFusion in Mesa, AZ!

I'm excited to announce I will be teaching two workshops at CraftFusion in Mesa, Arizona on Saturday June 10th, 2017!  The first will be Abstract Collage Backgrounds from 10a-1:30p and the other will be Luscious Layered Portraits from 2p-5:30p.  Most materials are supplied and you have the option to take one or both workshops!  Space is limited, so you want to sign up early to guarantee your spot!

We are going to have a lot of fun getting messy in our art journals.  I'll show you all my techniques for building up beautiful backgrounds full of color, texture and love!  We will work with a variety of materials: oil pastels, spray inks, stencils, gelli plate, acrylic paint.  I'll show you my favorite go-to techniques: oil pastel and watercolor/spray ink resist, making making colorful, unique collage paper, where to start and how to make those pages work when you feel stuck.  Each class covers different techniques--you can take one or both!  I'd love to see you there!

I had a blast teaching @ Art Lounge on 101

I had an amazing group of ladies join me at Art Lounge on 101 in March 4 & 5.  Many had never painted before or hadn't painted in a long time.  They were amazing and their artwork was expressive, creative and so unique!

Our first class was all about painting BIG!  We each had a canvas about 24" x 24" and we experimented with adding layers with oil pastels, acrylic paint, spray inks and collage to create fun, messy, abstract backgrounds.  The second class focused more on faces and portraits on a smaller background.

We started by using an assortment of texture tools to create rubbings with oil pastel, then adding stamps with oil pastel and spray inks through stencils to create our own unique collage paper.

The end results were just stunning!  Here are just a few examples of what was created in class that day...

I absolutely LOVE teaching art!  Ever since I was a kid, I've always wanted to be an artist, a teacher and an author.  Two out of three aint bad (and there's still plenty of time to check off the third!) I love to create, but I also love to inspire and share my knowledge with others.  I'd love to see you in class sometime!  Check out my workshops page for my upcoming classes (check back often, as I'm always adding new dates and venues!)  Don't see a location near you listed?  Contact me and we can set something up!  If you're a shop owner, retreat coordinator, have your own studio space or would like to gather friends for a private event, feel free to drop me an email!  

Drawing faces in my art journal

I am having a lot of fun in my art journal lately.  I love to add a quick sketch of a face to an abstract background and let some of the marks and layers show through.  This face was done in my 5.5" x 8.5" Strathmore mixed media art journal.  I always keep journals of various sizes on hand while I'm creating.  I like to work in several journals at a time, going back and forth between two or even three of them at a time!  It helps keep me going and creating without having to wait for layers to dry.

I start most of my pages the same way, by adding marks with pens, oil pastels and paint markers.  Then adding collage, spray ink, watercolors, etc.  I try to let some layers dry in between--you wouldn't want to try to collage over wet areas, for example (although, if you're in a hurry, you CAN use wet paint as a kind of "glue" and that always has an interesting look of its own!)

Next, I'll draw right over the top with my stabilo pencil and fill in the face with Shiva oil paintsticks (usually a little bit of titanium white, blend it with my finger and then yellow ochre in the darkest areas of the face--sides of the nose, under the nose, under the bottom lip, sides of the face and the hairline, and under the chin on the neck--and blend in again.  You can also add white again on top for the highlights: bride and tip of the nose, cheekbones, forehead, chin, eyelids, bottom lip--these are the parts of the face that stick out more.

Then I'll go in with my stabilo again and redraw any parts of the face that might have been covered up with the oil paintsticks.  I'll also add details to the eyes with paint pens (you can also just use acrylic paint--something opaque that will allow the eyes to really stand out).  I'll darken the hair with watercolor (or just add water to the stabilo pencil and let some of it drip down the page).  Collage bits are also fun at this stage.

You can view how I draw faces in my art journal by going to these blog posts or by visiting my Youtube channel.  Or you can join me in an in-person workshop by visiting my workshop page.

Thanks and happy creating!

Quick Mixed Media Portrait Video

I put a  little video together of a quick mixed media portrait I made in my 5x7" art journal.  You can see it here:

I started off with a messy, mixed media background in my journal that looked like this:

It consists of layers of paint scrapes, oil pastel, collage and spray ink through stencils.  Then I added a sketch of a face using a stabilo marks-all pencil and added "flesh tone" acrylic paint to the face and blending lightly with my finger.  The trick is to use just a little bit of paint so that you can still see the layers underneath.  Also, avoid coloring in the cheeks, eyes and mouth.

After letting the paint dry, go back with the stabilo pencil and re-draw in any details in the face that might have gotten painted over.  You can also add color to the cheeks with acrylic paint (I've used neon pink), color to the lips with red paint pen and brighten the whites of the eyes with white paint pen (you can also use acrylic paint if you don't have paint pens).  Add more scribbles and mark with oil pastels and a little bit more collage with tissue paper and other collage paper to blend the portrait back into the background a bit.  You can re-draw in any areas again that were covered up by collage with the stabilo pencil.

Color in the irises with acrylic paint or paint pen (I've used Liquitex paint pen in aqua).  I've colored the hair with the Mermaid Marker and then added a little bit to the irises as well (you can also use watercolor).  Then I lifted the journal up and sprayed the wet areas with water and let the ink drip down a bit.  Any areas that are too dark can be blotted with paper towel or collage paper.  When dry, add a little bit of highlights with white paint pen to the bottom lip, nose, cheeks and eyelids.  Also, when the eyes are dry, add a few little dots of white to the pupil for the sparkle in the eye.

And that's it!  Pretty easy and simple!  You can watch more videos on my Youtube channel, and check out my current class schedule here.  Thanks and happy creating!

Neon Obsessed!

I LOVE fluorescent or neon art supplies! I didn't realize HOW much until I put them all in a pile one day and saw I had collected quite a bit!  

It's no surprise, I guess, I mean, I WAS a child of the 80s and teen of the early 90s, so, maybe there was some nostalgia at play there.  BUT, I do love how fluorescents really add that nice bit of contrast or interest to a canvas or journal page I'm working on.  Seriously, when I'm feeling down, or in an artistic rut, all I need is a little bit of hot pink or neon green to wake me up and make me want to create til all hours of the night!


I'd have to say my favorite fluorescent art materials right now are Liquitex paint pens (15 mm size), Hero Arts neon spray inks, Deco Art & Golden acrylic paints and my special set of neon watercolors from my friend Vicki (hi, Vicki!) that she got at Case for Making in San Francisco.  

What are your favorite materials to play with these days?  Do you love neon?  What materials are you obsessed with lately?

I'm teaching at A Work of Heart in San Jose!

I'm excited to announce that I will be teaching TWO full-day workshops at A Work of Heart studio in San Jose, California on April 28 and 30!  Please join in on the fun!  Register early for the early-bird discount (price goes up April 14!)

We will be getting messy and working all day in our art journals.  In the Abstract Backgrounds class, I'll show you all my favorite techniques and materials as we create our own unique collage paper and build layer after gorgeous layer!  These can be left alone as abstract works of art or used as backgrounds for our favorite collage image, phrase, or even our "word of the year."  I'll show you how to take pages that aren't working, or you feel "stuck" on and together we will  conquer  the fear of the blank page!  Find out more at: A Work of Heart Studio!

In Luscious Layered Portraits, I'll show you how I build up amazing, complex and beautiful backgrounds that we will use as the backdrop and starting point for our lovely portraits.  We will play with different layers of opacity and transparency as we hide and reveal layers underneath and let some layers "peek through" our faces to create truly soulful portraits!  No drawing experience necessary!  I break it down into very simple shapes, easy steps, and we finish by adding a touch of shading to create depth.  This is one of my most favorite art projects right now!  I can't wait to share it with you!

For more info, or to sign up, please visit A Work of Heart Studio!

I'm teaching at Art and Soul Virginia Beach!

I’m excited and honored to announce that I will be teaching alongside some very amazing and talented artists at Art and Soul in Virginia Beach, VA this fall!  

I will be teaching two classes:

Luscious Layered Portraits

Monday October 2, 9a-4:30p

We will build on simple layers in our art journals to create easy yet amazing portraits. First, we will create our own unique, layered collage paper using deli paper, acrylic paint, spray ink, stencils, oil pastels and texture plates. Then we will build layers in our art journals, working on multiple surfaces, to keep the creative momentum going. We will use spray inks and oil pastels to create quick and beautiful backgrounds, and add a bit of collage using the unique collage papers we created in the beginning of class. The faces we draw will be simple yet expressive. We will then fill in our faces with color and texture using the oil paint sticks, using subtle shading to create dimension. We will use stamps and collage to reveal and hide layers in the face to create truly beautiful, soulful portraits.

Messy Mixed Media Angels

Tuesday October 3, 9a-4:30p

I will share with you my favorite materials and techniques for creating amazing, messy, mixed media backgrounds. We’ll add images of people we find in catalogs and/or magazines for incorporating them into our backgrounds as a way to “cheat” without having to draw them in and transform them into our angels. We will also explore how to save pages in our journals that aren’t “working” or we don’t quite like by building up messy layers over “not so precious” backgrounds; it’s a great way to let go and enjoy the intuitive, mess making process!)

Registration is going on now!  Early registration discount is available until April 1!

For those of you new to Art and Soul (or art retreats in general), it is a week-long event that happens three times a year in various locations around the US.  Art and Soul Virginia Beach will take place October 2-8, 2017.  There are many classes to choose from, and a vendor night where you can meet the instructors and buy one-of-a-kind, handmade art as well as unique items for making art (stamps, stencils, vintage finds, etc!).  You have the option of attending a few classes, or staying for the whole week.  There are half day and full day classes available.  The event takes place at Virginia Beach Resort Hotel.  For more information, or to register, visit:

Layered Portrait Close-ups & Video


I filmed a  quick tutorial on how I layer make my layered portraits in my art journal.  I love how this girl turned out!  I find it really relaxing and fun to play with all my art supplies while building layers in my art journal and collage paper.  Sometimes I'll sketch a face over the top and fill it in with a little bit of color with oil paintsticks.  I love how the bits of collage, spray ink and oil pastels peek through her face.  Check out the tutorial on Youtube:

I love how simple the techniques are, and how easy it is to create a lusciously layered portrait!


If you're interested in learning more, how about take a class with me sometime?  You can also join my newsletter to keep up-to-date on where I'll be teaching (in person or online!).