Monthly Archives: July 2014

Sketchbook Class at The Inkpad

Sketchbook Class at The Inkpad



I had a grand adventure this past weekend when I went into New York City to attend a class at The Inkpad taught by the wonderful Julie Fei-Fan Balzer. This is my second class with Julie, and I loved this one as much as and maybe more than the first. Julie is a great teacher–clear, supportive, and fun; and I needed all of that for this class, since the topic was outside my comfort zone. Sketching–pencil, pen, & watercolor–is just something that I have found daunting in the past. My inner critic leaps up at the first moment I even think about putting pencil to paper to draw something in front of me, shouting, You can’t draw! Don’t even try! Who do you think you are? So I knew I needed the encouragement and support of a gentle teacher and a safe classroom if I was going to get past my fears and start drawing more. And I knew Julie could be that teacher and that she would foster that kind of classroom environment. I was right, and I left feeling like, even though I have a lot of learning and growing and practicing ahead of me, I can do this.

Humor, warmth, clarity: Julie's teaching style rocks.

Humor, warmth, clarity: Julie’s teaching style rocks.




After doing a few sketches of natural objects inside, Julie took us outside to do some on-location urban sketching. After tackling an acorn and a lemon, the scenes outside the classroom were pretty daunting but by then, the challenge was more exciting than frightening, and I was able to just dive in with only a little trepidation.



This was a pretty wonky building, and my sketch adds a little wonkiness that’s not in the original, but I was pretty pleased with my first attempt at such a thing.

Julie challenged us at the end of class to keep sketching, and I know that I’ll need to make it part of my life and art if I want to improve. I’m not sure at this point how that will look–a sketch a week? a daily sketch? I heard from a classmate about an artist who sketched his breakfast every day for a year or something; I’m not sure I’m up to that. But I will be thinking of how to incorporate sketching so I don’t lose the momentum Julie’s class gave me this weekend. With that in mind, I went out this morning to my back yard and gave it a whirl.



Hey! It’s recognizable. I’m good with that. And perhaps more important, I really enjoyed the process, start to finish, even the hard parts.

Photo Monday

Photo Monday

I took myself to the Connecticut shoreline this past Friday with my camera and some sturdy footwear. I did a lot of walking, both along the shoreline and inland a bit, all at Hamonnasset Beach State Park. I didn’t get an early start to the day, and I left in time to be home to make dinner, all of which meant that I was there for the middle of the day, the worst light for photography. I know self-respecting photographers just don’t go out shooting in the middle of the day, but sometimes it’s better to shoot in bad light and make the best of it than to not shoot at all. At least in my world…

Great blue heron





It was great to be in one of my favorite places on a beautiful day with my camera, harsh light or no.


In My Art Journal

In My Art Journal

I spent this morning in a friend’s studio messing about in my art journal. We try to do some art together every week, alternating between her place and mine. I love the combination of coffee, music, good conversation, and art-making. I often find I’ve given more attention to the conversation than to the art, but interesting things show up on the surface in front of me when that happens.

This is the collage I did today:


I’m not positive I’m done with the page. It may need something else. But I’m finding that sometimes I add something, usually words, when the page might be better without. What do you think?

Thanks for stopping by!

Peace, Be Still

Peace, Be Still

I did this piece on commission after a blog reader saw a similar piece in this post. She asked for a smaller version; this is done on corrugated cardboard and mounted on a 5″ x 7″ canvas panel.

Peace 5x7

It will go in tomorrow’s mail, and I hope she’s pleased!

If you ever see something I’ve done and want something like it in a different size or perhaps with different words, I hope you’ll feel free to contact me.

A Wedding Card

A Wedding Card

Congratulations card

My daughter took a road trip to North Carolina this past weekend to attend the wedding of some college friends. She had a busy week leading up to her trip, so she commissioned me to make a card for her to give the bride and groom. I made this one using bits from the June card kit from Simon Says Stamp and the Friendship Messages stamp set from SSS.