From In The Studio

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Still Treasure Seeking

In my 55 years, I’ve held a few jobs and one “career”.   However, my education was in cultural and earth sciences – archaeology and geology.  It didn’t take me long to conclude those jobs wouldn’t pay my bills – not very well at least.  So one thing lead to another and I mysteriously landed in the world of television advertising.  (The “career”.)

Long story short, I eventually married my boss.  Yeah, I did.  We didn’t want to work and live together, so I retired.  My new husband, or the “Dream Maker” as I like to call him, set me free to discover what it is I really loved to do.  Oh God.

Yes, that may sound like a blessing to you (and indeed it was).  But, not until a years-long-tortuous-journey of self discovery . . . I had no idea what I loved!  I only knew working to pay the bills, ya know?

Somehow, my husband survived it all.  Several years later, after much searching and crazy making, I discovered I am an artist.  Which is really weird, since I was raised by a lifelong painter!  (But until this time of wandering about, I had never once picked up a paintbrush.)

These days I may paint, wander with camera in hand, write a bit, teach an art workshop or host an art retreat, but I’m still treasure hunting and documenting my findings.  This is exactly what I did as a young archaeologist.  Now I KNOW, Treasure Seeker is my calling, my vocation, my career!  I was born for this.

Through a commitment to my 7 year long painting practice, I have found my process.  (I tend to paint deep layers of color-filled strata.  Then I begin my real work of uncovering the treasures beneath.  I use a handful of tools I’ve tucked away in my treasure hunter’s knapsack.)

On daily walks and adventures, I focus my lens on the world’s treasures.  I’ll go to any length to capture small moments of wonder and beauty.

In my personal journal and sometimes here on my blog, I document and share my discoveries.  I can’t help myself.

ALWAYS AND FOREVER A TREASURE SEEKER.

ALWAYS AND FOREVER SEEKER OF BEAUTY AND THE EXTRAORDINARY.

ALWAYS THE DREAM DIGGER.

I want to share with you some of my discoveries.

If you’d like to take a look, my photographs can be found heremy “Project Wanderstruck”.

Some of my more recent paintings can be found here.

My only hope in sharing this with you, is that it will in some way inspire you to dig your own dreams . . . Enjoy!

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My Warehouse Art Studio

I’m so fortunate to share a large studio space with my Mom,

Caroline Bell, a life long painter.

But trust me.  

Our studio doesn’t typically look THIS clean.  

But after 5 years here, we just freshened up the space with new paint/lighting/fans/etc.

AND this weekend, we had clients visit (so we had to clean, right)?

7 paintings were sold that day!  What!

(6 of her’s, 1 of mine.  Sigh.  LOL.)

Do you think our purty space contributed to selling so many? 

Naw.  Surely not.

I had to take some pics before those babies leave for new homes, ya know?

So here’s a little studio tour….

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A front “office” in our warehouse studio is used as a sitting area. Tea anyone?

 

The second "front office" is used as our kitchen.
Our second “front office” is a break room.  A small fridge and microwave mean we never have to leave.

 

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Just inside the warehouse is a VERY large worktable….we often paint flat and it’s big enough to work on together.

 

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We each have a rolling cart to pull to table or easel.

 

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To the right of the easel above is a rack loaded with paint we’ve “pooled”. We now separate it into bins labeled by color – it’s easy to see what colors might need!

 

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Two work tables in the back of the warehouse are great for varnishing finished pieces and laying down our stock of blank canvas.  (Hi Mom!)  Mediums and other supplies are kept on the table to the left of Mom…..

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Another small seating area inside the warehouse area. Here, we can sit back and take a look at work in progress. Yes that’s a (fake) fireplace. It’s really a heater that keeps us warm when needed.  Concrete floors get so cold in the winter!

 

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Tunes and candles – check!

 

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The “powder room”.
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Shelf units in the back hold lots of supplies and work as a room divider – behind which is stored works in progress or finished pieces.

 

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Stacks of work await!

Hope you enjoyed the quick looksie at our renovated workspace!

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So Far This Year

I’ve grown quiet here on my blog – but it’s for a good reason . . .

I’ve been diving deep into the creative well!

Since the beginning of the year, I’ve hosted the Creative Nomad Art Journaling Adventure, attended Flora Bowley’s painting retreat in Portland, refreshed the warehouse art studio I share with my Mom, started a major renovation on our kitchen (what a mess!) and have been following the muse’s call towards LOTS MORE abstract painting.   Woof.  It’s a lot.

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Our clean and renewed studio has really inspired me! 

I can hardly wait to get there and begin making messes of the place.

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Look!

I’ve been painting lots of “mini’s” lately – it’s totally challenging for me.

Bigger is definitely easier!  

Weird huh?  You’d think the opposite.  But not for me.

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These last three are what I’d call “medium sized” canvases.

(It’s hard to see scale on these closeups.)

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Next week, a few “Fearless Painters” arrive for a reunion at my studio.

We’ve all met through the years at Connie Solera’s art retreats.

It’s so good to have tribe to run a bit wild with.

You know it’s good when they come from as far as EUROPE to gather!

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I can’t promise I’ll be more any more frequent with my posts than I have been.

I’m actually incubating a complete overhaul of this site too.  

Suddenly, I just want everything cleaner, clearer, simpler.  

“White space” in my life seems to lead to more color on the canvas!

See ya when I see ya!

 

 

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Tales From The Creative Nomad Retreat

Whew!  I’m back from hosting my first art retreat – The Creative Nomad Art Journaling Adventure!

It’s been so long since I last posted here – but now you’ll know why. I’ve been WAY busy prepping for the retreat.  All my “free time” has been devoted to it.

And what an incredible ride it’s been!

The retreat was for four days with colorful, friendly and creative people in one incredible location.  

What?  THIS is my job?  I’m one lucky girl!  Dreams do come true.

Artist (and fellow art journaler) Sabrina Ward Harrison once famously wrote “Don’t take a job, make a job.”  I took that advice to heart and I’m so so glad I did.

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Our “studio” was at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs.

Nearly everyone stayed at the hotel as well.  So yeah, we kind of took over.

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So here’s the “calm before the storm” – a clean workspace laid with goodies.

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But before long, it looked like this.  Creative chaos.  Yum.

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To stretch our legs and breathe in the warm desert breezes, we had a large balcony all to ourselves.  An extra 1000 square feet overlooking the Ace’s main pool.  Magical.

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We had two guides for our “art journaling adventure”.  They each led a two day workshop.

First up was the (adorable) gifted teacher Brian Kasstle.

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And the (uber-badass) talented guide Roxanne Coble.

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These two were soooooo passionate and generous.

I loved that their workshops were so different yet played so well with one another.

(I definitely did a GREAT job recruiting them if I do say so myself!  Uh huh.)

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As for the attendees…..wow!

It was incredible to finally meet some long time “online friends” and several of my creative “she-roes”.  You may recognize a few from the art journaling world.

The crowd also included a hand full of first time art journalers.  This thing could catch on ya know!  LOL.

Just look at the beauties that gathered.

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Above is my mom (life long painter/never before art journaler) Caroline Bell, my bestie Deby Scatchell (our retreat assistant/art journaling virgin) and yeah, happy me!  

Somehow, I found time to art journal while hosting the retreat!  Ah the power of pre-planning and great assistance!

(But the works in progress below ain’t mine….)

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above art journal spread in progress by Dawn DeVries Sokol

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above art journal spread in progress is by Carrie Todd

Below is a collaborative piece in progress . . . we all put something into this one!

I won’t tell you what we did with it after!  What happens in Palm Springs stays in Palm Springs.

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So here’s the class picture from Brian’s class called “Totem”.

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And here’s Roxanne’s class pic – her class was called “Adaptations”.

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We’re one happy bunch of creatives!  I loved loved loved every minute.

And while I’m still lingering in the afterglow, my heart is already dreaming of what will come next.

I’ll be sure to let you know – the ideas are a’swirling!

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Creative Living With Jamie – Her Chat With Me!

Recently, I had the pleasure of being featured on Jamie Ridler’s podcast.  In it we talk about everything from my relatively recent journey to discovering I was an artist, to the various types of journals I keep, to making time and space for your own artistic adventures!

I hope you’ll take a listen.

The interview is right here!

I hope you’ll find it useful and inspiring for your own creative life – do let me your thoughts!