From Mixed Media Painting


The Hwy 62 Open Studio Art Tours

Live long enough and you begin to understand what “lights you up”.  I know that a bit of “adventure” and the delight of seeing creative spaces both really do that for me!!  Combine the two?  Forgetaboutit!

A few days ago, I stumbled upon such an opportunity when a new art friend told me about the annual open studio tours in a nearby desert area we’d never visited.


Road trip with hubby + artful spaces = BLISSFUL DAY!!

Considering there were 95 studios open, this would take some planning.  There was no way we could see that many.  So we grabbed their catalog and map and charted our course.

We began our adventure in the farthest area (29 Palms) and worked our way back closer (Joshua Tree) to home.


Some studios were easy to get to – as in paved roads and close the highway.   Others were situated far into desert dirt roads.  My jeep was built for this adventure!


Half the fun is not knowing what’s around the next bend.  We were so lucky to purchase an incredibly beautiful painted drum from a Native American living in this deep desert “ranch” below!


My favorite stops were where several artists used a sprawling “communal” space.  The high desert has wide open spaces to spread out, ya know?  Artists sure know how to make ramshackle buildings fun!






I love all sorts of art, but hardly ever do I get to see where it’s actually created.  It’s really interesting . . .  I mean the studios themselves often become a work of art.


Anything can become a “canvas” – walls, tables, furniture, even large storage containers!



Look – this guy lays out a large stained glass installation.  Wow!  I never imagined that he would design and draw the piece first – of course he did.  Duh.  Then he makes, colors and cuts the glass!  Wow, that’s a lot of skill.





Such an artful adventure does require hearty sustenance.

We heard the best burger in town was here at the Joshua Tree Saloon.


The place had been overtaken over by LOTS of women bikers!  Pretty fun people watching dontcha know.


I can hardly wait until next year – there’s so many studios we weren’t able to visit.




It all had me dreaming of the “compound” I would create (if I could).  Some day!

I hear that the real estate prices are pretty darn reasonable in this neck of the woods.  Hmmmmm.



BTW if YOU are up for an artful desert adventure of your own, there is 1 seat that has opened up for The Creative Nomad art journaling retreat I’m hosting in Palm Springs.


Details are here.

Do join us!

"Under The Willow"

Under The Willow

together, my wild gang races through heavy southern heat

our games of chase and dirt clod battles disturb the quiet wood

birds take flight, bunnies scatter from our boisterous path

i’m the only one to see an ancient willow among the oaks

i part the shading curtain and disappear into its darkened circle

inside this secret fort, i stifle my giggles as you ask aloud where i’ve gone

a round of hide and seek begins as my hidden heart slows, my breath quiets down

under this willowed veil, a world of wonder and solitude unfolds

a floor of earth-scented-potpourri, a creeping tribe of rainbow caterpillars, empty nests of twig and straw await my departure, and the thick trailing leaves muffle your calls

when it’s safe at last, i reluctantly slip from under, unnoticed

some magic, one keeps to herself


Art-On-The-Go “Kits”

I do have some mad organization skills!  That, combined with a lifelong purse obsession, a tendency to hoard art supplies and a desire to tote them everywhere is the “perfect storm”!

It’s manifested in an crazy array of “art to go” kits.  Perfect for jaunts to desert or beach, art journal picnics or attending yet another art retreat.

I thought I’d share them with you today.  I’ll put some links to various supplies in case you’re interested – and BTW the links do NOT earn me affiliate fees.  They are things I really use and love.  Almost everything can be had on Amazon.

This first kit is for “traveling light”.  I use this set up most often – it’s great for road trips or for a sketch date at the beach.

In this hand painted clutch I can fit a travel set of watercolor, a sketchbook or journal, and a zip case full of pens, tape, scissors and glue.  I also love to include my portable photo printer.  It prints pics from my iPhone and even has sticky back paper – perfect for sticking straight into my journal!  

It’s not unusual for me to pack an inspirational book – this one’s about Dan Eldon – the guy who first inspired me to art journal!


In my world, everything is an art project.  I love to take canvas or cotton totes and alter them with paint.  I use regular acrylic paints and find they do not fade or wash out.  The flowered tote below was originally a gift-with-purchase bag from Victoria Secret – it’s at least 5 years old and hasn’t faded a bit.


What’s organization without a pen bag?  It holds more than I really can ever use – it’s awesome!  My husband’s bag (the green one) is filled with his cigar accessories and other man gear.  No, I do not smoke cigars lol!


My second art kit has many more supplies to choose from.  It’s the perfect “portable studio” for longer travels or for an in-person art journaling class.


The organizer is really cool!  It has a lift out tray for sketching or art journaling in my lap – and of course being plastic, it’s waterproof.  It holds quite a lot.  In it goes tapes, a sharpener, glue, water brushes, a spray bottle of water, standard watercolors, little jars of shimmery water colors and water-soluble markers and pencils.

There’s plenty of room for a sketchbook or two – I may even throw in a guided journal like one from Shiloh Sophia McCloud.  Again, I love to carry a camera for taping in photos.  This one prints self developing mini’s similar to the old polaroid cameras.




This final kit is full blown!  This amazing box allows me to carry everything needed for a days long painting retreat, except the canvas itself.

In it, I can carry paints, brushes, paint pens, a painting shirt or apron, an art journal (or two), a full size camera and more.  Pretty much anything can find a place.  Well maybe not the humungous inspiration book . . . it’s an incredible collection of art journal images by Peter Beard – another favorite artist of mine.


I bound the journal to the right of the white camera myself –  it’s soft and mushy which I love.  I ripped the cover to size from one of my own un-stretched paintings on canvas.  I filled it with luscious creamy 140 lb. hot press Fabriano watercolor paper – the best paper ever made in my opinion!!


They even make the box in other colors and sizes.  I’m seriously lusting over the turquoise one. There’s even a cool fabric one (that I will not admit to owning – uh huh).  I believe this box may have changed my life – well, my creative life – a bit, anyways!  


Tell me . . . do you HAVE to tote art supplies wherever you go too?  Am I alone in this?  Do you go on sketching dates and art journal picnics and painting retreats?





Storm Chaser



The craziest warm Santa Ana winds blew all last night.

I woke to a dozen fallen razor-sharp palm fronds in the yard

and a few big dark drops of rain on our driveway.

That’s it.  

Insane winds and giant, but too few, rain drops.

That’s what we call a storm in Southern California!


“Storm Chaser”, 30×40″ acrylic on canvas.  

Detail shots below.


The “storm” must have influenced today’s work in the studio –

a long day that produced two works on canvas!

I love it when that happens!

I probably had more fun painting “Storm Chaser” than I’ve ever had with ANY painting.

I was deep in it – hours passed before I knew I needed a break!

I adore the feeling of being “in flow” –

breathing through it, taking risks, letting it all go……

I like this new direction – I’ll likely head that way with the next canvas  – with the full intention to go even deeper.








Not sure, but I think the one below is not complete.

I’ll let it sit a day or two and check back in with it.

I do dig the indigo “glow” . . .

but already seeing ways to go further with the rocks.


“River Walk”, 30×40″, acrylic on canvas

Detail shot below.


Happy me - at my first art retreat.

The Journey So Far

In a few weeks I’ll open registration for my first art retreat – The Creative Nomad, An Art Journaling Adventure.  I’m delighted to host two incredible art journaling teachers, Roxanne Coble and Brian Kasstle.  Soon, I’ll share their stories, but today I want to write about my own creative evolution.

I grew up in a very creative household – my Dad is an entrepreneurial artist – he’s built a thriving business!  My Mom is a life-long, self-taught painter.  She’s also an incredibly talented interior designer and home “flipper”.

They probably renovated 10 homes before I moved out at 18 – each place more beautiful than the next.  I received a true hands on DIY education!  Alongside Mom, I painted many walls, planted tons of gardens, customized heaps of furniture and more!  Mom allowed – no encouraged me – to decorate my own bedrooms.

Throughout my young adulthood, I most certainly had a creative soul, although I wouldn’t become a painter for many more years.  I surrounded myself with artistic people.  I sought out creative adventures – attending art fairs, concerts, plays – I adored film, epic books, travel and exotic clothing!

In my late twenties, I partnered with Mom in opening an art gallery and interior design firm in Palm Desert CA.  We had the gallery for years.  I adored working with the artists – we even hosted a weekly radio show featuring talks with our gallery’s artists . . .

All of this – I’ve left out so much for brevity’s sake – is to say that I was a classic “Shadow Artist”.  I had surrounded myself with creatives and had immersed myself in a truly creative lifestyle, yet I wasn’t a capital A “Artist”.

Yes, I was creative – there were hints of it in how I hung our gallery or how I decorated my apartment.  But paint – or draw – or write?  Nope, that wouldn’t come until 6 years ago.  I’m now 54.

My first conscious thought that I might be an Artist arose when my decades-long-journal-keeping-habit began to include imagery.  I don’t remember why or when, but I began pasting in magazine photos.  Soon, quick sketches were also being laid down.  It kind of just happened . . . naturally . . . it evolved.

My curiosity about my new visual journaling style led to the discovery of art journaling.   Books about visual journaling had begun appearing in bookstores – or maybe I’d just opened my eyes.  I was moved to tears by the journals of Dan Eldon and obsessed with the diaries of Peter Beard.

Soon thereafter, I got really brave.  I signed up for an in person 4 day art journaling class with the idolized Sabrina Ward Harrison!  It was really expensive for me – but she was teaching in my neighborhood and it felt like a sign I tell you.  I think it was . . . I HAD to go.

I really didn’t know what I was doing during most of her class, but felt I was home!  I walked away learning so much about living a creative life and diving deep into the creative process.  But honestly, I learned more about what I needed – and I needed more art-making time, more color, more depth, more community!

I began an extensive search for my more and I found it.  My very first painting on canvas grew out of a 6-month online writing/painting mentorship with my beloved Shiloh Sophia McCloud.  I rented a warehouse studio with Mom before I finished my first painting!  My journey was underway and I’ve never looked back.

Pictures 760
Sabrina and happy shiny me
Beaming me and Shiloh

My love for art making and creative community has only grown deeper in these past 6 years – I’ve attended many workshops and retreats.  I now know I have a true yearning to support the arts AND a real mission to champion artists – especially young or emerging women artists.  Creating beautiful spaces is still a strong passion.  All of my early wanderings make so much sense to me now.

I have gathered all the tools in my backpack for this new adventure – hosting truly special and memorable art retreats.  I believe it’s what I was built for!

I plan for these retreats to be truly sacred – an escape from your routine, a chance to explore a beautiful destination, a valuable investment in your creative growth and an opportunity to commune with your artistic peers.

Please sign up at the bottom of any page of this website to stay informed.  I promise I won’t bombard you with updates.

Wherever you are on your own artistic journey, I think you’ll want to join us – I can’t wait to welcome you!