Yoga + Art Huddle

img_7081-800x600Not going to lie, I am grateful to Leslie and her work at Aum in the Arts. I have been lucky enough to have been featured in several of her articles. Wanted to send another shout out to her for this lovely feature. Our Yoga + Art Huddle is THIS Sunday. Let me know if you want to make it. (Space reserved to 50 people).

We will start our day with a yoga session led by Tracy (all levels welcome); please bring a yoga mat. We will then have a chance to create postcards with a variety of art materials and have a chance to write and prep them for mailing! During this time we will have a chance for conversations and ideas of what to do next.

Date: February 26th, 2017

Time:2-6 pm

Location: Center for Creative Minds, Knoxville

Check out: Aum in the Arts for more information!dsc_0085-685x1024


“You Forgot to be an Artist”

“You forgot to be an artist” was uttered to me today by my mom. I affectionately refer to her as MoMA (like the Museum of Modern Art). She said this in reference to the painting I did for her of a Blue Heron.


And it resonated deep into my core. So deep that I decided to change that.


Today, I took a small hike with my paintings. Recent and of a few years past. I hung them in trees, leaned them against nature. As the freezing wind blew through my bones, I felt alive as artist again.

These artworks are not “epic” (well, a few are to me). However, this symbolism of walking with art, hanging art in nature (that I love) opened a fire in my soul. As I write the term “not epic” I feel a catch in the heavens. Who am I to say whether the work, where I poured out time, planning and care (also the depths of my soul) are not epic. #shameonme (Promptly I forgave myself, so that I could embrace the realization that art has been buried in my soul and it needs to be created).

Tonight, I attended an art show at a local gallery. It was a Pop Up show, no entry fee, no winners, it was arranged this week. It was about current politics (of which I am mostly avoiding) and the director of the gallery is a mother of students that I teach art to on a weekly basis. It felt great. Chad came, too. He thanked me for the trip, as we left. I also said to him, “it feels so good to get culture into your soul, even if a little bit.

artinjapaneseAs for my mom, she knows me so well, it almost frightens me sometimes. I did forget to be an artist. Tonight, my heart is grateful to her, the heavens and the sketch I drew for my next painting.

when the coffee has gone cold

when the coffee has gone cold

for a moment, there is quiet and stillness. for a moment, serenity lays her fingers on your tight shoulders.

all WILL be okay.

the sunlight cascades through large panes of glass promising warmth and promising future.

rest comes natural, when your soul is in tune

faitd88b908701885c501e9fc85ff7251d09h restores, hope lifts it’s wings and takes you onto new heights

you stand, knowing what is next

knowing that your effort is not in vain and that you have given your best


warm the coffee or go grab another fresh pot

today IS your day


Seven. (on the human expereince)

This small series of artworks were created from a single stencil. The stencil was used with different media or using different techniques of manipulating the media.

The result of these works is a reminder humans are universally similar vessels and yet our approach to the world due to our unique experiences make our reactions and intake is radically differing.

Pieces one-six are the individual, and the last piece, seven, is an intermixing of three souls together. A unit or a family.




Artist & Teacher-The Struggle

Recently, there has been increased dialog in my life concerning the struggles of being an art teacher and art creation. At a recent inservice, we had a session entitled “Art Making” designed solely for art teachers. I attended and had a very revealing conversation with many art teachers. We discussed the reasons why we are not creating art for ourselves (a few: we pour into students every day and end up exhausted at the end of it all, we spend more time planning lessons than thinking artistic thoughts, we are tired, we clean more than we create, we are tired) and we discussed how to carve time out for our own art creation. We talked about how our art tends to look like our students’ art, how we leave projects unfinished and how many of us long for college days of carrying around portfolios with art materials. Several of us were almost in tears.
However, I do not want to stop there. My art may look more like the art of my K-5th grade classes, but there is a fresh-ness that comes from teaching elementary school as well that I can tap into (not many artists can say that). Teachers work hard. The librarian and I were discussing our long hours yesterday. I commented that I was leaving Friday afternoon on time because I had worked a nine hour day yesterday. She commented that she normally works twelve hour days. I looked at her and realized, is this something we really want to be proud of? As a teacher, it is easy to want to be perfect, to work longer hours than the next person, to have the perfect lesson, perfect class…and now, to work even harder because our salaries depend upon showing student growth. Yet…where do we get this notion to work ourselves into the ground? Internationally, we work more than most countries in the United States (exceptions being several Asian countries), and yet many of the greatest artists of the past have emerged from the more laid back European lifestyle. What does it benefit me to work so hard that areas of my life that I love suffer? Where can I find the rest that I need as a teacher to rejuvenate myself and resultantly be a more productive artist and successful teacher by default. Showing growth is important to the government, but if I am vibrant and love my students and what I do, what is not to say that all those areas will not increase as well.
What I am asking/proposing, is that I carve more time out for myself and make art a priority. I may not be ‘Teacher of the Year’ or artist of the year…BUT, life is way too short for the worries and cares to consume my day. I want to spend time appreciating life, art, my family, my friends, my students. I want to create more, breathe more, forgive myself more and laugh more.

As an artist, teacher or other soul looking to grasp more time for yourself and what you love, what suggestions do you have, reader?

One suggestion was to look at time management and the following diagram was given to us to fill out, it was very revealing to me (I work 50% of my day).

taken from:

Another suggestion was to journal daily. Online there are several daily art challenges and websites dedicated to these thoughts.
As we consider this thought, I am off to create a painting for an upcoming show! May creativity and bliss fill your morning!


Painting Restoration: “Paris Street; Rainy Day” -Caillebotte

Until stumbling upon the celebrity version of art restoration in National Treasure it is easy to overlook this work that goes on daily in museums around the globe. Fascination and awe are two words that describe the craft that goes into painting conservation and restoration. I was unaware as an art student that this was even something that occurred-no one should ever touch a painting!- as I almost dutifully walked through museums keeping my hands to myself. After careful studying of the layers upon layers of richly applied paint and seeing their yellowish tinges and glazes dull the otherwise vibrant works of art, one acknowledges the need for works of art to be preserved-ever so delicately.

Strolling through the Art Institute, a giddy art student indulging in a solo trip to to this amazing museum, I fell in love with Gustave Caillebotte’s massive work, Paris Street; Rainy Day.

The sheer size of this painting is breathtaking hanging at over 6 feet tall and over nine feet wide! Walking around in the Impressionist wing of the museum, it is easy to get lost, and absorb so much art that your head becomes slightly dizzy. Especially for non art-geek types. 😉 However, when you enter the room where the Caillebotte is housed, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. Caillebotte, a 29 year old French Impressionist, applied and blended the colors on this canvas to perfectly Impressionistic. The rich, neutral tones give rise to the dreary, yet beautiful colors of a day filled with slow, constant rainfall. Just observing the painting for a few moments renders the viewer in need of a cup of tea and a book to read, curled up on the sofa.

The video below shows the time, effort, and obvious love that is taken upon this painting restoration by Faye Wrubel, for the Art Institute.

One is left feeling grateful and satisfied that Ms. Wrubel has allowed this exquisite piece of history to hang, shining on the wall for all to experience, in a better state than when she found it.



Today my art work is hanging in the UT Downtown Gallery in Knoxville.

This painting represents my struggle to balance reality and abstraction. It’s loose but defined.

My friend completely helped me find this painting inside of me. She walked with me, we talked about angles and struggles and the result is here before you.

It combines my desire for the freedom to create as I want and yet as my friend noted, a maturity was found on this piece.

The show will remain until the end of May and born in me is a freshness and a fire to create. A mountain bike tire is in progress as you read.


It is amazing to feel this release in art. Finally. To sense my self in the work I create.


Painting, for me, is a continual adventure.

Recently, life has afforded me the chance to surround myself with a freshness that mirrors the spring that has also engulfed my home. Many creative thoughts are buzzing around including new artworks…one, hopefully for an upcoming show I am to turn work into next weekend.

I wonder where artists get the inspiration to continually create artworks with a similar theme and yet remain relevant. I stumbled upon the beautiful artwork of Conrad Roset and am in awe again of another artist who has mastered artwork that eminates beauty, simplicity and modernity.

His work has a theme and a relevance (he has worked for companies such as Adidas and FC Barcelona) and his work is beautiful.

How does one do it?

I am assuming it’s the copious amount of hours one puts into working as an artist (of which I do not have sadly enough of the hours to do this) I also suppose it is an innate gift that emerges along with the soul creating the work (of which I hope and desire for this gift!).

Today, I have started a new painting. I am experimenting with color, texture and pours (all things I am deliciously falling in love with as I work more and more).

I have painted now, casually, for 15+ years. I have shown work and sold work and cried about my work and danced with my work.

I will continue to work, as an artist must.

Art demands dogged work. Work in spite of everything and continuous observation.

Van Gogh reminds me from a magnet on my fridge as I type this.

Alright, world that is aligning before me in these moments…I am off to work!



I have been hosting ‘art nights’ for quite some time now. They have evolved from my college days of sitting around with three art students and creating with masking tape, to a bit of a sips and strokes theme to the current working alongside of a personality that is very similar in my own in our inner workings and desire to create.

To me, art is one of the greatest adventures.


When choosing a path for a career in college–which is always so tricky–you are so young–I chose art because I felt it was something that would always challenge me.

Unlike many people whom I sat with in my art practice classes in college, I was not a natural born artist.

Over the years, I have S L o w L Y come to accept that yes indeed, I am an artist. It still makes me swerve to see that written.
BUT, that is quite the reason why I continue to do what I do…plugging along at the drawing board. Literally.

This past Monday, my friend and I sat down to create on roofing paper. She had seen this on an arts conference website and wanted to try it. She always has the best new things to try.

The results are beautiful, bold and very similar to molas. I love the big, free, colorful results of our work. (Hers being the lizard, and mind of course the mountains and a little Mayan dude….I’m kinda missing South America right now.)

The link we researched to see the soap resist process and some examples is here:

During our evening we discussed many things, including personalities found by the Meyers-Briggs tests, and how best to delve into creating art that explodes with our inner selves and passions. We both are classically trained artists, but we may both also be lacking in the ‘how to’ push that past simply the knowing of art and into the actual creating process.It definitely takes a brave soul to communicate in this manner and I feel several artists DO create in this manner….Munch for example of a Classic artist…but yet how to create the inner workings of people and their passions with an added glimmer of hope…as Munch’s works are definitely without that aspect.

Ahhh, these musings shall continue…for now, I’m off to grab my paintbrush!



There is an adventure that I will never have embarked on enough in my life, that of creating art.

The irony, yet understandability, is that I teach art. So 10 months out of the year, I am attempting to inspire others. When it comes to my own endeavors, I tend to lack in this area.

My neighbor once said, “The cobbler’s kids have no shoes…” and that quote has stuck with me for a long time because it is so applicable to my own life.

Today, however, my dear soul sister came over and we created.


Our conversation started out with a discussion about how we both wish that we could portray a discussion of international views on women. We started out discussing the hijab, and how we would love to paint veiled women, Muslim women, but knew that it is not always considered respectful. (I have been wanting to do this since I lived in the Middle East 12 years ago.) Then, we discussed human trafficking and landed on how there are human trafficking laws that were passed in our home state of Tennessee recently! I am shocked to see that this is a tragedy that is close to home…one that I literally lose sleep at night knowing it is closer to home than I ever thought.


We had no idea. From this article, we were led to more discussions and the website that mentioned a former young girl who escaped the wretchedness that is human trafficking.

There is help here.

From there we discussed how an artist can portray the emotions wrapped up in human trafficking, rape, and other atrocities that some women have had to face in their lives.

How do you paint this?


Without words…

Just using paint and emotion to convey a meaning…


The result is the artwork that you see here. Artwork that involved our discussions, our lives in the past and present – and our souls as women and as earthlings. Our end result brought freedom to our souls, and reminded us that release and peace are attainable to anyone…regardless of what has happened in the past. We both had stories to tell, we all have stories to tell.

Some things define us…whether good or bad, but the ultimate goal was to see through our artwork this day that life keeps on being lived and a Hope that surfaces in the midst of pain.