Spring Workshops


I'm so excited to have three awesome workshops coming up over the next couple of months, and I invite you to join me for one or more of them.

In just under a month, I'll be teaching a full-day workshop at Larkin Arts in Harrisonburg, VA. I taught a workshop there last year, and I am excited to be heading back on April 14th to teach my Artful Layers workshop! If you're anywhere near this Shenandoah Valley city, you have to join me for a day of art making fun!

And later in the month of April, I take Artful Layers to Kansas City, MO to teach at friend Amanda Jolley's Studio Joy. It'll be my first time there, and I can't wait to share an expanded two-day workshop version of this workshop the weekend of April 28th and 29th. If you're in the Midwest, I'd love to have you at this in-depth mixed media workshop.

Finally, in May I'll be heading back to Asheville, NC to teach a weekend workshop at 310 Art in the Riverside Arts District. I'll be offering Mapping the Journey the weekend of May 19th and 20th. I love Asheville, and I taught a sold out workshop there last year, and I'm excited to be heading back. If your anywhere Western North Carolina, I'd love to see you there!

I am looking forward to all of these workshops, and I can't wait to share my approach to art with you all! I hope to see you there!

Stay up to date with all of the JFJ workshops, exhibits, and happenings by checking out the Events and Workshops page.

Journal Friday #57: Tracing and Teaching


Sometimes getting to work in the journal is a simple as tracing something, and this week I focused a little on using a variety of circles to trace. Though I have a variety of store bought stencils and templates, it can be interesting to trace found objects like rolls of tape and paint palettes and found stencils like punchinella. I used water soluble pencil and ink to trace a series of circles on several pages in my big book, and I used watercolor to paint through some of the punchinella.

I didn't have too much time to work in my journal this week, but I did have the opportunity to work with a group of high school students at Roxbury High School in Succasunna, NJ. David and I taught an all-day workshop with about 50 students, and it was great to see their enthusiasm and willingness to dive into the journal.

Journal Friday #56: Layering

For me the journal is the slow accumulation of actions, which means that a lot of layers get built up on the pages. Though I didn't spend too much time this week working in my journal, I did manage to add some layers using watercolor paint, ink, and water-soluble pencil in both my big and little journals. Often when I layer, I kind of ignore what's already on the page, and I add lines, shapes, or colors pretty much at random, especially for the initial layers. As I develop pages, the layers get a bit more subtle as I become more deliberate with the marks that I make. Many of the pages now are in that initial stage and only have a few layers. It will take time for them to develop more completely.

I did find some time to work on a couple of other pieces using a similar layering notion, and I created a video of how layers are built up in a particular piece. For the video I used a 9"x12" piece of Strathmore 400 Series Mixed Media paper, and steadily built up layers. Of course in the journal the layering takes place over time and over many pages. But the video still gives you a glimpse into my layering, and it must be said that this isn't a set procedure that I follow when I create art or work in my journal. The sequence of layers is particular to this piece.


Journal Friday #55: The Portable Studio


One thing that I really like about working in the journal is the ability to anywhere and anytime. Whether it's in a little journal or in the big 11"x14" journal, it's nice being able to take the journal with me and work in it. I've been known to work in coffee shops, bars, restaurants, airports, and hotel lobbies. Today it was the coffee table.

This portability is one of the reasons that I use the materials that I do in the journal. By limiting myself to watercolor, watercolor pencil, collage, pens, markers, and a few other materials, I can fit everything in a brush bag and a couple of pencil pouches. I'm not limited to a dedicated studio space, making it much easier to get to work. Having the flexibility to pull out the journal anytime makes anywhere the studio.

Journal Friday #54: Fodder and Interaction

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The basic definition of fodder is the coarse food fed to livestock, but another definition is the widely available materials for a given purpose. For me, fodder is the flotsam and jetsam of everyday life -- the ephemera that gathers from some of the most mundane places. I don't go to an arts and crafts store, a thrift store, or an antiques shop and buy papers, materials, and photos to use in my journal. I collect it from my life -- movie tickets, business cards, labels, maps, name tags, and much, much more. These are the things that I collect on my excursions out into the world whether I'm going to see a play or traveling across the country to teach.

Over time these bits and pieces gather into piles, trays, and bins, and they seem to take over my studio. Although I collect all of this stuff, I'm not great about gluing it all into my journal, and it piles up. So I sat down this week, and began using up some of this fodder. I dug through old and new alike, and decided to use as much as I could, and in fact, I spent a couple days where about all I did was glue things into my journals - maps, tickets, labels, drawings, and so much more. I used up an entire jumbo UHU glue stick.

When this fodder is glued into the journal, it's transformed from the mundane to the extraordinary and it becomes a great way to document my travels, my activities, and the little things that happen along the way. So I glued pieces to pages with lots of layers and also to blank pages as the initial layer. 

With some of the fodder, I worked and layered over top of it with ink, watercolor paint, and watercolor pencil as a way to push the collage into the page. This makes these somewhat random pieces become an integral part of the page. Since this ephemera is food for the journal, the journal slowly becomes fatter and fatter as the extra layers of stuff build up on the pages.

Along with gluing fodder into my large journal, I worked quite a bit in my smaller book. I began this book a couple of weeks ago as I began pondering ideas for a new workshop that I'm hoping to teach in a variety of places in 2019, but my approach has been a little different.

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I've been thinking about how pages can relate and tie together, and I've been linking pages with similar colors, similar lines, and similar ideas. This week, I added more fodder and collage to the book as well as ink, paint, and watercolor pencil. I've also been trying to create more interaction between and among pages with windows, cutouts, tunnels, wrap arounds, and even page tears. It's been a challenge to think of the journal in this way, and though I'm using ideas and techniques that I've always used, it's been great to stretch myself in a new direction. It's been interesting to explore how to create a visual narrative that threads through, between, and among the pages.

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As I have worked in both journals, ideas and themes are beginning to emerge, and though this emergence is still in the early stages, certain pages have started to take on a direction all their own. I love witnessing how these pages take shape. I never have a specific idea in mind when I start, and ideas and concepts emerge in the making. I can't wait to see where these pages and ideas are heading!

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Galax, Here I come!

I am super excited to be heading back to Galax, VA to teach at the Chestnut Creek School of the Arts, March 10th and 11th. I love trekking to this small southwestern Virginia city known for it's furniture and it's blue grass music. In part, I love where I get to stay - a little cabin minutes from  the downtown area, but I love the people. The class at the school have been small, but they've been filled with such awesome folks. I can't believe that it's just two and a half weeks away! Better sign up now!

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On Saturday, March 10th, I'll be teaching my Monster Maker Workshop as an all-day class. I just taught this at Art and Soul Portland as a three hour evening class, and everyone had so much fun. I can't wait to teach it as a six hour class. I'll be bringing my oven so that we can create polymer clay as well as shrink art creations, along with drawing, painting, and collage. Come on out and spend the day making monsters with me.


On Sunday, March 11th, I'll be teaching my Artful Layers class as another all-day workshop. We'll be exploring the layering of mixed media including watercolor, collage, ink, watercolor pencil, and much more. I recently taught this to a full class at the Round Hill Arts Center, and we had a grand time painting, drawing, and collaging. Come on out and may a solid creative mess with me.

I'd love to see you in Galax, VA for one or both of my workshops!

Art and Soul: Portland


What a fantastic week! I had such a wonderful time teaching in Portland at Art and Soul. I am truly grateful to everyone who came out for one of my three classes. It was fantastic having so many awesome students.

I kicked off my teaching with an evening stencil cutting class on Monday. Silly me got so caught up in the class that I completely forgot to take photos, but we had a good time creating unique stencils. I hope that the students got to use them in some of their other classes. And no blood was shed, which is always a good thing when students are wielding sharp craft knives.

We had a relaxing time Tuesday evening in my monster class. We drew, painted, and collaged a variety of monsters. There were a lot of giggles as the students created cute, humorous, silly, and wonderful monsters. It was great hearing from a few students how they continued to draw and create monsters even once class was over!

On Wednesday, we spent the day making a big, creative mess in my liquid acrylic painting class. We stamped and stenciled, scraped and splattered, transferred images and drew. Such fun!

I had a blast sharing my art, connecting with my students, and getting to know so many new people. A big thank you to everyone!

And of course, I made it downtown to check out Powell's Books and make a stop at Voodoo Doughnuts.

I got back late Thursday night, and despite a full day of travel, I'm totally energized by all of the awesomeness from my teaching experiences this week. Such awesome students, and such awesome energy. I rested and recharged a little yesterday, and I can't wait for my next workshops in a few weeks at the the Chestnut Creek School of the Arts in Galax, VA.

For all the happenings, check out the Events and Workshops page.

Journal Friday #53: Themes and Travel

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Despite spending four days in Portland teaching at Art and Soul, I was able to find quite a bit of time to work in my journal, especially during those in between times, and I began to develop some ideas and themes in both my big and little journals. I traditionally like to start a new journal with an I Am page so I added the words to the first page of my big book. Also, this week I've seen further evidence that the universe is always conspiring with us, so I had to ponder that in my journal as well, along with a few other thoughts.

I always love to journal when I travel, and I was able to begin a few new pages. One of the hazards of traveling with art supplies is that my checked luggage often gets searched. But on the bright side, the little note that TSA leaves makes for great fodder - as does the luggage tag. These bits and pieces are perfect for documenting a trip.

Finally, I was able to continue working in my small journal. This is the journal that I've been working out ideas for a new workshop, and I was able to add some embellishments to a few pages as I sat waiting at airports and restaurants. I was also able to begin a few other pages. The small size makes it easy to carry around and work in whenever I want.

2018 Western Loudoun Artists Studio Tour


I am excited to announce that I'll be part of the 13th Annual Western Loudoun Artists Studio Tour, and I'll be opening my home studio to the public the weekend of June 2 & 3, 2018. After missing the tour last year because of a teaching engagement, I am looking forward to sharing my art once again as part of this annual event that showcases the talents of such a diverse group of Northern Virginian artists.


So save the date, and stop on by June 2nd & 3rd!