Comparison is the thief of joy…so is Facebook


In the past few months I’ve noticed that I use Facebook as a way to compare my life to those of my Facebook friends. And while I love the life I’ve created, watching other peoples’ lives fly by in my feed leaves me with a distinct feeling of discontent. Of being less than somehow. Of wanting some unnamed thing that I can’t put my finger on.

More often than not, I close the Facebook app on my phone with a feeling of discontent in my body. Sadness at the disarray and violence of the world at large. Sadness at the things that normally kind-hearted people say to each other behind the security of their device’s screen. Just sadness.

It isn’t healthy.

A couple of weeks ago, I started a new online painting class that I’ve wanted to take for a long time. It covers a completely different portrait painting style that focuses on rawness and more realistic styling.  I eagerly dove in. I loved it!

Then I started paying attention to the images being posted in the Facebook classroom. I was simply awestruck by the paintings being shared there. The other students are incredibly gifted. Their paintings looked like fine art. Stuff you’d pay a lot of money for in some swanky gallery.

I started to feel pretty self-conscious about my attempts. While their paintings looked like works from a master painter, mine looked like a junior high art project.

I felt very small.

I stopped posting my art.

Then I stopped painting my assignments altogether.

And I felt sad.

Really sad.

Because I wanted to paint and my comparing was getting in the way.

It was in this sadness that I realized that it’s true–comparison IS the thief of joy. Why was I comparing my beginning to someone else’s middle? Most of those painters have taken the class before–and I knew that and I still felt small.

Why was I doing this to myself?

I realized then that I don’t want to compare myself to others anymore. I simply want to paint. Likewise, with Facebook. I’m over comparing my life to the highlight reels I see in my Facebook feed. I want to live my awesome life that I love because it’s awesome. Truly.

With that in mind, I’m actively going to stay away from Facebook through the end of the year as an experiment of sorts. To see if I can spend more time living–and painting–my joy during that time. It won’t be easy because is Facebook is addicting, but I’m going to try to focus more on what matters to me. Spend more time with my wife and canine kid and painting and doing yoga. If you want to reach out via phone or email or chat–cool!  I welcome it!

Heres one of my favorite YouTube videos as a reminder that it’s time for me to worry only about myself and focus less on what others are doing.

I hope you turn toward the things that give you joy this holiday season and away from things that dull your shine.



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Painting, Collaging, and Creating on the QT


This blog has been quiet lately. All my free time has been focused on sifting through the stuff that has appeared on my plate. Not all of it has been particularly easy. A lot of it has been downright hard–at least in my internal landscape. I’ve been accused of looking like I’ve got it all together on the outside.

Never let them see you sweat.

Like a duck: calm on the surface and paddling like mad underneath.

It’s funny to me, to be thought of as having it all together, but maybe from the outside it looks that way.

I’ve been making art again after a long dry spell. A hibernation, if you will. A fallow period where nothing was bubbling up, demanding to be created.

Thankfully, the dry spell appears to be over.


I’ve started painting again and working with collage and making a point to just start putting things on the page. Planning a little less. Going with the flow more. Following the impulses that occur to me and trying not to question them. This leads to happy accidents as well as some not-so-pretty results, but that’s how you learn. I’m trying to focus more on the process and on following my intuition which has, in recent years, been beaten into silence so that I can barely hear it sometimes.


More play, less planning. More creating, less trying to make art.


And it’s been fun. Refreshing. Freeing.

I like it.

Here’s some work I’ve done recently. Enjoy!













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I’ve Been Blogging in My Head!

mixed media woman with words in her hair

Spray inks, acrylic paint, markers.


So, I’m not sure what it says that I only blogged once last year, only that I’m  wicked embarrassed about it. It was a crazy year and I did plan a wedding and get married, but seriously–ONE blog post?!

Geez. That’s sort of pathetic.

I’m not ready to give blogging up entirely, but I sort of feel like this is a make or break year. Either I get on the stick or I shutter the site and stop paying for the hosting and URL. So, my goal is to blog at least twice a month. To facilitate the process, I’m going to try blogging on my mobile device over my lunches as long as my thumbs hold out. If nothing else, auto correct should prove to be entertaining!

So here’s to a renewed effort to share all of the art I’ve been working on lately! Now, on to the fun stuff in no particular order:

I’ve fallen in love with drawing and painting mandalas. So much that I’ve signed up for a year-long mandala class offered by Julie Gibbons called Mandala Magic.


Journal page mandala. Alcohol markers and collage.


Hamsa mandala

Hamsa mandala. Alcohol markers and water color paints.



Mandala from my art journal. Alcohol markers.



Love: At the Center of It. Mandala from my art journal. Alcohol markers.


Black hole mandala

The Void. Mixed media mandala from Stage 1 of “Mandala Magic” Class by Julie Gibbons. Water color crayons, acrylic paint, markers.


Multi-colored mandala

Art journal mandala. Alcohol markers.



Art journal mandala made with kids markers.


Freehand mandala doodle.

Freehand mandala doodle from work. Made with gel pen and highlighters.


I’ve been working on a new style of figure.

Beacon of light

Shine. Acrylic paint, water color crayons, collage, pencil, markers, stamping, and GLITTER!


Close up of face

Close up so you can see the glitter!


Commissioned mixed media figure.

Commissioned piece, work in progress. “Aurora” Water color crayon, acrylic paint, collage, pencil, marker


Commissioned mixed media figure.

Commissioned piece, work in progress. “River” Water color crayon, acrylic paint, collage, marker.


Work in progress

Work in progress.


And even some quick and playful collage and lettering projects.


Collage from my journal.


water color postcard

You are enough. Watercolor marker, alcohol marker.



Water color postcard.

You are not alone. Watercolor marker and alcohol marker.


So that’s my first update for February. Watch for another update before the end of the month!

Happy 2015!






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Art Update #1 of 2014

Hello Cyberspace! It’s been awhile since we’ve rubbed elbows here…and someone I know has asked a couple of times whether the silence here has meant that I haven’t been painting. I admit, there were a few months where art was not high on my list of priorities–my fiancee and I bought a house and moved in the middle of the winter. (Take it from me, this is not recommended–the moving in the middle of winter part, that is.) Work has been incredibly busy and well…we added to our family.

Meet Dakota!


So, my plate has been full, but I’ve found time for some painting and mixed media after I unpacked my studio and got through the holidays. Here’s one painting–sorry it’s a bit blurry!


I’ve started a new type of painting called intuitive painting. Basically, you start to paint without any preconceived notions and just add layers upon layers of paint until the image reveals itself. You choose colors that appeal to you, follow every urge–no matter how ‘wrong’ it feels, and see what emerges. Below is one my first intuitive paintings–I call it ‘Happy Family.’

Happy Family

Here’s my second intuitive painting. Very different!  I call this one ‘Intuitive Lotus.’


This following was painted while Minnesota was in a crazy deep freeze and I had to believe that there was a warm sun shining somewhere. I can see the influences of the intuitive painting in the background I created for this painting…can you? (grin)


And, I’ve even gotten back into working in my art journal. This entry reminds me that even the masters started somewhere. I’ve been taken by Matisse’s works and plan to go see the Matisse exhibit at the MIA soon. I was thrilled to learn that Matisse started painting later in life and wasn’t a young protege. I find this little bit of information to be very inspiring!

MatisseWell, that’s my update. More soon, I promise. I’ve got the painting itch again!



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Art Update!

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted art here. As usual, that is not a symptom of not working on artwork, but more about my urge to make art…not type on a computer! I set out this year to learn to draw faces–namely to put people into my mosaics. I wasn’t prepared to fall in love with Mixed Media as a new and all-encompassing art form! I bet I will return to mosaic sometime in the future, but in the mean time, Mixed Media has my artistic heart in its clutches and I love it!

I’m still learning to draw faces–and PAINT them–but I’ve come along way. Remember this first real attempt at faces?


Here’s where I am today…nearly a year after I started learning to draw faces with Willowing. My first few attempts grew into a wild leap into Mixed Media in Willowing’s LifeBook 2013 and then into Effy Wild’s Book of Days and Moonshine courses. Enjoy the artwork!

Madonna and Child
Celestial Madonna and Child

Bear Mother

Woman of Great Sadness (art journal entry)

It’s Good to Be Queen (art journal entry)

More than One Way (art journal entry)

Look With Soft Eyes (art journal entry)

Face sketch… one from a 30 day challenge

Trance journal entry (art journal)

Art journal entry

A composed painting called “Graffiti Madonna” in four stages.

Composed sketch

Graffiti, first layer

Face shading started

More graffiti and painting

Graffiti Madonna, finished


Trust the Universe.

This one just appeared on my paper…I thought it was a message for someone else. Turns out it’s for me.

Artistically yours,


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Good Art Won’t Match Your Sofa

Hello again! My sweetie reminded me that I hadn’t posted here in awhile and that I have lots of new art to share…so, here goes! I recently stumbled across the quote above: “Good art won’t match your sofa.” How true! See the fantastic painting by the famous artist, Fred Babb.


Art is art and should be loved for its own merit–and if it matches your décor, all the better! As I progress in my online art classes I’m learning that I just need to create–the results can’t be controlled and shouldn’t be. Just make art. Make lots of art that feels right. Leave judgments out of the equation.

“Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good  or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” ~Andy Warhol

First, I learned to create my own hand bound art journal which has turned out to be exactly what I have been looking for but had been unable to find. It’s made with 140 lb. water color paper and canvas. Here’s a picture of the outside of the journal:


I hadn’t added the tie to my journal yet…I learned how to make this journal from Effy Wild of The Glitterhood. I’ve started her Book of Days class while working through Lifebook 2013.

Here’s some art journaling that I did in that journal:

photo 1


photo 3


In Lifebook, I’ve been stretching my creative skills…this is the lesson (three pictures) that was taught by Mitsi B. Loved it, even though the face that emerged on the paper sort of stunned me with it’s pointed look.

fairy  fairy2

Here’s the finished piece:


Here’s another lesson from Lifebook, courtesy of Tam at Tam is teaching me to be more playful and to fully explore whimsy.

photo 4

Here’s another one of Tam’s lessons. LOVE this one. Played with texture alot in this lesson. Made it hard to write on, but added alot of depth to the piece.


This is a Moonshine painting…intuitive style. She just showed up on the page. I didn’t set out to paint with any ideas in mind other than I wanted to paint a face. 🙂  (Have I mentioned that I LOVE that I can paint and draw faces now?? I was always told that I couldn’t draw…hmmmpf. They were wrong, apparently.) The woman is Blodeuwedd, a Celtic goddess/queen. She was made of flowers for someone else…she eventually claimed her life for herself. I think there’s a lesson in there somewhere (grin).

photo 5


This piece grew out of Effy Wild’s Moonshine class…getting in touch with the feminine divine, feminine beauty and power. LOVE it.


And I absolutely love this face…


This is a Book of Days painting…it says, “Dear One–Trust that you are enough as you are.”


I’ve been making art–lots of art. I’m trying to spend as much time creating and expressing as I can…and it’s been fantastically fun. Keep checking back for more…I’ve got a bunch of work in process in my studio!

Enjoy your summer! I know that I am!

Creatively yours,


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Happy Memorial Day!

It’s been a fantastically long weekend filled with family and friends. I hope that you and yours are blissfully happy and content after an extra day off! It occurred to me that it has been quite awhile since my last update. While I’m bushed, I thought I would at least share some of my most recent artwork for today and let my artwork do the talking instead.


image image image image image image image image image image image

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Catching Up on Art

It’s been quite awhile since I posted last. I’ve changed jobs and moved across town, which includes moving my sizable art studio. Needless to say, it’s been a bit nuts. The good news is that I love my new job! And my new home is fantastic…and close to the new job, which is a huge plus. Anyway, I’ve been sneaking in a bit of art whenever I can. I’m a few weeks behind on my LifeBook assignments, but I’m catching up!

I’ve got three new pieces of art to share today. The first is an ink and watercolor piece I call “Joyful Anticipation, Great Hope.”



I never thought I would love water colors the way that I do! There are great fun and hard to predict, so you never know what you are going to get. At least I don’t…not yet! I suspect there will be more watercolor works in the near future!

Here’s one of the two LifeBook 2013 pieces I finished this week. The first is a “paint over a picture” piece. Super fun…not what I would normally try. This piece ended up looking like a beautiful Middle Eastern woman to me in a silk veil.



The second piece from this week is a mixed media list of the heart connections that I am most grateful for…



Super fun to do and stretched me a bit as I worked in semi-3D…

I’m tired and it’s time for bed…so, more soon. Promise.

Be creative. Be happy.


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Greetings Fair Reader!

I am posting this a tid bit later than usual because things are a bit hectic at work right now–namely, because tomorrow is my last day and Monday has me starting a new job! It’s a very exciting time for me, but change is change and, like most humans, change can be a bit, um–overwhelming? So, I have been wrapping up huge projects where I can, creating transition plans where I can’t, and packing up my desk in preparation for my next adventure.

I am super excited about my new gig–it’s a fantastic job working for a respected company–but I’m super bummed to be leaving a few of my work chums. We’ve been in the software trenches together for nearly three years…and while I know I will stay in contact with many of them, it won’t be the same day-to-day connection. That part is a bit hard. On the up side, I have a whole new group of people to get to know, learn from and bond with.

Anyway, here’s this week’s art…I think I rather like this one. The wee one in the corner is me…little Rachel…and the portrait is roughly a self portrait. (I heard somewhere that every portrait you draw is really you…even if you think it’s of someone else. Sort of Jungian, no? I digress…)

Here’s my newest piece…what do you think?




I’d be interested to hear your thoughts about this new piece…it was super fun to create. And I’m totally starting to dig the messy, layered look in the background. I’m thinking there are at least 9 layers in this piece, more if you count all the layering and blending and shading and layering some more in the face…

It’s late and it’s time for bed…so, that’s all for this week. Wishing you a blissful night’s sleep, a rejuvenating weekend, and as much fun as you can stand.

Yours, creatively,


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Courage to Leap

LeapHappy Valentine’s Day to my dedicated readers! And if you don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day for whatever reason, Happy 50% Off of Lots of Candy Eve! (hee hee!) Whatever your plans, single or coupled, remember to love yourself today! That is truly the most important thing.

Today I’m going to talk about courage and taking a leap of faith when needed. Funny thing is that “Courage” is the topic for this week’s LifeBook 2013 art project and the timing couldn’t be better. I have made a big decision that requires a leap of faith on my part. It’s a calculated choice and all signs point to the positive, but there’s still a bit of risk associated with changing; hence the leap. And when you’re wired the way I am for high-octane anxiety and asking the never-completely-answered “What if??” questions, change is change even when it’s GOOD change. So, this week’s art project is a all about courage and the times that require a person to tap into their courage. The image above–not my art, but lovely nonetheless–is in honor of that courage

In this week’s LifeBook 2013 lesson, I drew my very first full body since maybe the fifth grade when people’s heads in my drawings were big round-ish bubbles with noses that looked like upside down sevens. The goal was to draw a figure jumping with a representation of strength behind her–perhaps an animal totem. Apparently, I am not good at following directions–my girl isn’t jumping and she has a tree behind her. See below.


Often for me, the courage lies in the standing still with my decision and trusting that I have made the right choice. I am wicked good at questioning myself sometimes and because of this, my girl is confidently and peacefully standing with her decision, open to the goodness that is coming to her. Trusting.

I chose a tree as my totem for this piece since I’ve always loved an idea I heard a number of years ago that equated trees with wise elders or “wise ones” in Native American stories. Silently present except for the whisper of their leaves, steadfast in existing and yet always subtly changing with the world around them.

Not sure if the piece is completely done or not yet, but overall I’m pleased with it.

A week or two ago I mentioned that I was working on some secret art for my honey for Valentine’s Day…the gift has been opened and so now I can post a picture or two. Or three.

Val-book inside2 inside1

I made a little book…maybe 3″x3″ in size and has maybe 35 water colored pages with one of the things I love about my honey on each page…it was terrifically fun to make! (Have I mentioned that I absolutely LOVE watercolors?? Yeah, I do. Go figure. I would have guessed that I would be an acrylics girl…who knew?)

That’s it for this week–but one parting thought. If you are facing something in your life that requires courage or a leap of faith, trust yourself to make the right decision. Make your decision and then open yourself up to the goodness that is waiting for you!

Artistically yours,


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