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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.


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.



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


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


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.


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.


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.)



As for the attendees…!

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.













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….)

above art journal spread in progress by Dawn DeVries Sokol

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.


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


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


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!



The Creative Nomad

Long before I was an artist, I was in love with artists!  My mother is a life long painter, and together we once co-owned a gallery.  My favorite days were those, which in response to our call for consignments, local artists would arrive with loads of paintings, ceramics and sculpture.  I’d climb into their truck beds or vans, and begin my treasure seeking.  I loved sorting through their work and talking with them about their process.  I had the privilege to handle what had undoubtedly taken them hours, days, or weeks to create.  I recognized that each painting, each jar or fragment of sculpted metal was a piece of their very own heart.

Now, my own art-making, my desire for continuous learning, my intense love of artists and the creative process has lead me to an incredible new adventure.  One it’s time to share!  In January, I will host my first art retreat at the uber-creative Ace Hotel and Swim Club in the beautiful town of Palm Springs, CA.  (There will be packages available with and without a hotel room.)

I’ve invited two of the most exciting, deeply creative and generous art journal artists and teachers I could find – Roxanne Coble and Brian Kasstle!  A few days ago, the three of us met to begin our brainstorming.  As they shared some of their latest work, I was transported back to my days of rummaging through artists’ wares.  Laying hands on the layers of paint and collage in their journals was an incredible experience.  The depth!  In their work, I found such beautiful treasure, I could hardly contain my excitement.  This retreat is going to be so rich, so beautiful and transformative, I truly wish I could open it to hundreds!

Since beginning my own creative practice, I’ve taught and attended a few workshops – both online and in person.   I have also attended several longer art retreats – I definitely have a strong preference for in person, longer retreats.  At retreats, one can dive more deeply into art making and have the greater possibility of creating relationships that last.  Creating a community of artist friends is so beautiful and supportive!  This is an aspect I hope to cultivate at the retreat(s) I’ll be hosting.

It’s also my preference to concentrate my energies on hosting, rather than teaching.  It’s my intention to create ease and a warm welcoming atmosphere for student and teacher alike.  I want you to leave refreshed, energized and creatively inspired.  I want it to be truly special and of great value to your creative life!

In the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing some of the process and thoughts behind The Creative Nomad art journaling retreat – I promise full details are coming soon!  Registration will open July 21.  (At the bottom right of each page of this website, you can subscribe to receive my blog posts via email, so you’re updated on the latest.  I won’t bombard you!)

In the meantime, my hope is that you’ll consider becoming a Creative Nomad – traveling to enrich your creative life and to gather with your artful tribe is what this is all about!





Nearly Ripe

Playing Fast and Loose

This morning, I resumed work on a painting I started a couple of weeks ago.  Within minutes, I was getting  “perfectionistic”, but stubbornly, I kept at it.

I was holding the brush much too tightly and far down on the handle.  I was standing too close to the easel and focusing on small areas.  My breathing had grown shallow and frankly, there was no joy.

I know better than this.  Time to stop OR quickly find some pleasure in the process!  I decided to set aside the perfect crazy making painting.  I chose a blank canvas – a big one – 30″ x 40″ I think.

On my pin board, I’d recently hung a photo of pomegranates I’d seen in a catalog.  Aren’t pomegranates the coolest fruit ever?  So exotic, so symbolic, so ancient….and are part of one of the best memoirs I’ve ever read!

I quickly sketched them onto my fresh surface with a charcoal pencil.  I hardly EVER sketch or plan my paintings, but doing anything different is good at times like these.  I picked a few juicy paint colors and a BIG FAT brush – I wanted loose!

Below you’ll see the progress.  It was done in about 40 minutes. It was literally a painting aerobics session!

A fast, free, joy-making dance!











There are so many areas I want to fix…but that isn’t the point is it?  So I’ll call it done – I think.


It’s.  Done.




Nearly Ripe