The Artist’s Palate

“Rise & Shine” Mixed Media on Canvas

I used to look forward to my first cup of morning coffee. I would breathe in the smell of the ground beans, sipping the rich, burnt umber brew. Breakfast included sweet violet blueberries over cinnamon scented oatmeal.  A splash of white milk blended with the violet berries, created a lavender hue. Breakfast used to be aromatic and sensual and not just flavorless sustenance.  Then Covid struck. And while I am quite grateful to be recovering quickly, I am dismayed to find sense of smell and taste to be lost. Thankfully, my vision is not impaired, and I can still enjoy my color palette if my tasting palate is temporarily out of order.   I find myself searching through my paints, mixing vibrant colors that visually satiate. Can I create colors that I will be able to taste, smell and even touch using my remaining senses?

I am relying on my three remaining senses as I dive into my painting entitled, “Rise and Shine,” inspired by my summers in Virginia Beach. Like most beach lovers, my most favorite part of the seaside moments is the sunrise and sunsets. The rich rays of colors illuminating the sky fulfill all my senses. I can breathe in the sunrise, smell the ocean, and sand melding with the morning heat. I can feel the light breeze and the sun rays simultaneously warming and cooling. And as I drink in the colors with my eyes and listen to the rhythms of waves, I can almost taste the sweet and salty air. More than ever, art is a precious gift.

To get back into the teaching groove, I am going to offer a FREE Make Your Mark Monday on February 15th. Everyone is invited to join me. Please RSVP at and I will send out a link with supplies. We will explore Heart Art and use prompts to give our creative souls some love.

“Peace & Love Mini 1” Mixed Media on gesso board

We are still at the beginning of the new year. Learn how to create an art habit and make a mark every day. My first video series, Make Your Mark -For Mixed Media Artists. These classes take you step by step through my art process. You will be inspired to develop your own visual imagery, creating a variety of unique hand painted papers which you will then use in grid-based collage composition of your own design. You can register for this class by clicking HERE. Get 20% off all my classes by using the coupon code “GIFT” good through the end of March.

“Castles in the Sky” Mixed Media on paper

For those of you interested in art printing, I have a recorded class, Make Your Mark: Monoprinting and More! This class introduces you to a variety of ways to make printed marks using some very interesting, but less familiar techniques in addition to the ever popular gelli plate. This class demonstrates each method in detail and features a printing method which I learned from a fascinating British artist, Dan TirelI encourage you to read his interview HERE and then watch his videos at his website

You can explore a variety of my own monoprinting techniques in my online class by clicking HERE.

Stay tuned on the next Make Your Mark series where we will celebrate spring!

Moments in Time

We are all figuring out ways to stay sane during these difficult days. We are seeking comfort …in familiar foods, in escapist entertainment, even in our daily routines.

We are walking more, appreciating the beauty in our own backyards, and staying social, yet six feet apart from our fellow humans. Finding comfort through my art and helping others do the same keeps me motivated and moving forward. As a teacher, it is so rewarding for me to create art activities that inspire other artists to try something new. It also pushes me to re-envision my own art.

“Moments in Time”

My “Peace & Love” solo art show in August at the The Reston Art Gallery & Studios, is a collection of work created during lock down when I was away from my studio.  I did not have my usual supplies and was forced to work with limited materials.  The first set of “Peace & Love” minis was created with only glue sticks, old book pages, magazines, color papers and scissors. The work is adhered to gesso boards. Creating them provided a form of art therapy as I ripped and cut out shapes.

“Moments in Time”, a grid composition consisting of nine individually framed 4″ squares is a reflection of our current state. We are all learning how to stay connected while social distancing. We are learning new methods of communication and one in particular is quite square. I am referring to Zoom of course where we prepare the top halves of our selves for our digital presence. We see ourselves and we see others all framed within our own unique settings. Many of us are connecting with local neighbors as well as far away friends all over the world. “Moments in Time” captures the individual in collaboration with the group. Each piece is composed of hand painted papers placed in a strata format referencing colorful landscapes as well as the heartbeat of our souls. Click here to see my video on You Tube for more detail about “Moments in Time”

For me there is much comfort in moving images around, finding interesting ways to group shapes and colors and then adding layers, hiding what once was and revealing a new and unexpected narrative.

My wish is for my visual stories to offer you comfort as well in the form of a deep breath of fresh air. Just breathe in. Reflect. And breathe out.

Check out my webstore for great art prints and gifts by clicking this link: ART STORE.

Register for my online art classes here: ART CLASSES

Make Your Mark – a mixed media art class

This spring I was selected to teach a class that I created called, “Make your Mark”, at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, Virginia. Julia in class I have been inspired by a variety of mixed media and painting instructors, but quite often the courses targeted a more advanced student and I noticed that students who were interested in learning new techniques were feeling overwhelmed. During the winter I dedicated myself to researching and learning methods on how to teach painting and mixed media art. My daily exercise routine of watching Netflix movies while on my stationary bike switched to binging on YouTube, viewing art instruction videos and paint demonstrations. As I pedaled my Schwinn, I took notes in a giant sketchbook with a giant Sharpie marker. From these notes,  I created lesson plans which evolved into an eight-week class based on how to tell a visual story with your own unique voice.

virigina art classWhat does it mean to visually tell a story in a painting? How can our own personal marks help illustrate emotion, character, texture etc.

Make your Mark started on April 2nd, 2018 and ran through May 21st. The students had eight classes to learn how to create their own artistic voice. Our first class started with an icebreaker. We painted a collaborativeShenell and students painting on craft paper and used a small palette of paint.  With brushes dipped we walked around to each table and made a mark. Some brushed, some splattered, some dripped. It was fun to see how each of us chose to mark the paper. Shenell and abstract artWe were not creating a masterpiece; just warming up to each other and getting into our painting mode.

As we progressed through the weeks, we learned how to let our lines speak-giving them a true artistic voice. We learned how build character into our work through texture and collage and we created conflict through contrast, value and tone. DeeThere were seven students in all and half way through the session we began to really bond, feeling more comfortable sharing our work and our stories.

Patty with finished tulips

I owe a giant thank you to my friends who signed up for my class and supported my new endeavor. And another thank you to the new students and now friends that I have made during this new adventure. Myrta with abstract artThey worked hard to learn the new techniques and were super supportive of their newbie teacher.  Teaching at the Workhouse was a new challenge that was a bit out of my comfort zone. Dorothy and abstract artEight weeks later, I am feeling proud of myself for not only creating the class but also successfully teaching structured lessons. The feedback from my students has been encouraging and I look forward to planning another 8-week session for my next class. Stay tuned!

Learn more about the Workhouse Art Center by clicking

Remember to visit my website at to buy originals or copies of my art in almost any format.  Canvas, prints, art cards, pillows, art cards, tote bags, coffee mugs, phone cases……we have it all!