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 #5 Mixed Media 4″x4” (1/9)

Here in Virginia, January has brought us gray skies, low temps and we have entered what some call, the “winter blues,” as we continue to deal with Covid. What can we do to rejuvenate our spirits? We can consider ways to warm up our creative soul, for if we can’t change the chilly weather, we can at least paint away the gray skies and add heat to our palette! We can light up our world with markers, crayons, colored papers and more! For me, I have found that by staying creative, I am refueling and preserving my own inner spark. Just like daily exercise, it’s important to stay in routine keeping your creative spirit flexible, relaxed and open to learning new ideas.

There is something about stepping into a playful mode that allows your mind to relax. Your senses become awakened with the possibilities of color, texture, and even a quiet rhythm. By giving yourself the gift of time to explore, you will find yourself on a new and private adventure taking you to places that only you can build.  

This reminds me of the children’s book, “Howard and the Purple Crayon,” by Crickett Johnson, where Howard draws his imagined world. Howard doesn’t take time to think about his process. He just picks up his purple crayon and goes! This winter, let’s learn how to play again. Just pick your favorite colors and warm up your creative soul!

Connect with your creative self and let yourself play again! To help you with this, I have three recorded mixed media classes available as self-paced studies. These classes are really fun, no matter what level of artist you are. You can register for those courses HERE. Use coupon code “GIFT” to get 20% off through the end of January 2021.

The Workhouse in Lorton Virginia has asked me to teach this winter via Zoom. The class is called, “Introduction to Mixed Media”. It starts next Wednesday evening and runs four weeks (January 13 through February 3 on Wednesdays, 6pm-8pm). Please register by clicking HERE.

I am also starting my drop-in classes again called Make Your Mark, Monday! This class is ongoing, and you can pay as you go. Make Your Mark, Monday! offers motivational exercises to help ignite your creative practice. This class is livestream through Zoom where I demo an exercise or two. You will then have time to continue to take the exercise further or work on your own art. We take time to share and discuss our work and I want to stress that this class is for ALL levels of artists. It is a positive and encouraging environment and I hope that you will consider joining us. Register HERE.

In other news, I have just completed a commission for a client who has a home in DC.

“City Stripes” Mixed Media 30″x30″

The idea was to create a piece of work that captured the essence of Mid-century Modern but also conveyed a sense of urban culture. Hence, “City Stripes” was born and is the first in my new Urban Pop collection. I was inspired by my personal photo collection where I have hundreds of images capturing both DC and NYC. Two summers ago, I focused on collecting graffiti and urban art found on concrete walls, telephone poles and boarded up buildings. “City Stripes” contains layer upon layer of hand painted papers including old books, magazines, deli and water color papers and marks using hand crafted stamps.

Please consider joining our Make Your Mark community to explore the mixed media process. All levels of artists are welcome. Let’s begin to color our year one layer at a time! And don’t forget to check out my webstore for great art prints and gifts by clicking this link: ART STORE.

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!

Happy Hummingbird

My mixed media teacher, Melanie, had suggested, as an exercise, that we all try to paint a hummingbird into our work. Hummingbirds are fascinating birds, so tiny and jewel like.  Once in a while, a hummingbird visits our deck, attracted to our red and pink begonias. What a treat to peak out from the kitchen window and find a tiny bird, fluttering its wings at the pace of a butterfly. It’s emerald and blue body, a visual charm for the lucky observer.Humming Bird

Hummingbirds are the smallest birds of their species-usually measuring between 3 to 5 inches. They are called hummingbirds because of the sound that their wings make with their rapid flapping. Hummingbirds mostly reside in the tropics, however, there are 17 species in the United States. As with a lot of wildlife, these birds are threatened by the loss of habitat that comes with urban growth. We can make small changes to our own gardens to help sustain the life of the hummingbird. Our tiny bird friends will know that they are welcome when they find plants like honeysuckle, bee balm, sage and tubular flowers to feast on. By adding hummingbird feeders to our yards, we can help them survive the migration. If you are interested in learning more about hummingbirds, the following sites are very informative:

“Happy Hummingbird,” is a sweet reminder of how much happiness we receive from maintaining a vibrant garden. Not only do we have the visual pleasure of the flowers and their nature friends, but we are actively helping our environment by giving back and providing food for precious birds and insects. I look forward to my next hummingbird spotting and in the meantime will continue to incorporate more hummingbirds into my art.

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

If you would like custom work, please email me at

Moon Flowers

Artists who venture into their gardens on a warm summer evening may find new inspiration. That is exactly what happened when I decided to take my camera out after the sun had set and the moon was shining over the pond, casting its shimmering rays on the drowsy blooms. Daisies, lilies and hydrangeas seem to smile in their sleep and with my camera set for night, the flower images twinkled in the lens. Moon Flowers

“Moon Flowers,” is a 14 ¼ “ x 5 ½” watercolor paper, mixed media acrylic on cradle board. The tree glistens under the moonlight and the flowers glow as their petals cool from the stifling heat.

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

Little Gems

Little Gems was originally inspired by a photo of multi colored glass wind chimes that I photographed at an arts and crafts market in Israel. The glass tiles glistened with jewel tones; sapphire blues, emerald greens, ruby reds and golden ambers.Little Gems

The first layer consists of handmade tissue papers and acrylics. It was originally in my mind to recreate the feeling of the glass tiles gently swaying. As the transparent glass tiles overlapped, they created brilliant colored layers and patterns. So, as I continued to add my paint and collage, I realized that the piece was looking a bit flat and could use more texture. After inking in lines and dripping more acrylics I let the piece rest for a long period of time. Most of my pieces seem to go through a resting stage where I set them on a shelf and contemplate whether they are finished or need extra attention. Since this piece is on the smaller side, the rich tones were a bit overwhelming and there was too much similarity with both the medium and the overall tone. In the end, it needed an extra layer which is when I introduced the color twine which loosely connects the dried paint chunks creating a flying bouquet. The colors, lines, shapes and textures all come together in a harmonic mixed media collage.


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


The summer of 2015 our family traveled to Israel. And by family, I mean the whole mish-pa-CHa, (that’s family in Hebrew…make sure to accent the “cha” with a gargly gurgle sound.) We were 13 in total including my parents, my husband and four kids, my brother and sister in law with their two kids and my sister.Thistles Too

13 in Judaism is actually a good luck number for it’s when a child becomes a Bar Mitzvah or an adult in the Jewish community. In a way, our family experienced a Bar Mitzvah traveling to Israel together. It was politically awakening, culturally exhilarating and most of all spiritual. We became educated on Israel’s modern technology, their innovative approaches to agriculture and their secrets to surviving in the middle east.  Learning how to farm fruits and vegetables in over 100 degree weather where water resources are miles away was truly mind blowing.

The Israeli’s are known for creating underground mazes of irrigation systems, channeling water for crops from the Sea of Galilee. What a surreal sight it was to see lush orchards of pomegranate, clementine, fig and date trees. Imagine dessert sand and rock and then fields of yellow, where sunflowers grew to be farmed for flour. The Thistles picture was inspired from a photo that I took in the Golan Heights. I had a personal date to wake at sunrise and photograph the northern terrain as the sun burst pink rays across the fields. The thistles glowed with lush hues-indigo, violet and gold. I returned to the states with not only amazing memories, but over 2,000 photographic gems that continue to inspire my art.


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

If you would like custom work, please email me at

Laila the Lab

Laila the Lab mixed media collage

I don’t think that I was ever really a dog person. Growing up in Iowa, everyone seemed to have a dog and apparently I was quite timid around most furry friends. That is until I had one for my own. My husband is a cat person and even though I really wanted to add a puppy to our already full household, we started with a one year old tabby called Ginger. (More on that later.) Meanwhile, now that we have two teenagers, a tweeny and one tween wannabe, I figured our kids could use a little Lab love.

Most of the responsibility of being a dog owner lies in my hands. However, each child has been involved with walking, feeding and grooming whenever I ask for help. Child number two is greeted with a lip smacking Laila as soon as he walks in the door from school. Laila  eagerly waits her turn as #2 feeds Ginger the cat first and then proceeds downstairs to take care of the pup. Each child has their own relationship with our pets who in return show so much love and affection to our family.

Surprisingly, Laila seems to have figured out how to transcend canine status, making herself a very credible fifth child. She craves attention, expects extra snacks, in between meals and doesn’t always listen when called. She does however, accept her regular, daily feedings without the usual familiar family whine, “What are we having for dinner?” “Ugh…not that again!”  Thank goodness she doesn’t have the human “back talk” feature.

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

If you would like custom work, please email me at

Courage Art Show – “Fiery Birch”

On Sunday October 8, 2016 from 2 to 4pm, I will be at the Jo-Ann Rose Gallery – Lake Anne Community Center in Reston exhibiting one of my favorite original pieces, “Fiery Birch” as part of the “Courage” art show.  The show will run from October 1 to October 31.Firey Birch I specifically chose this piece since it is one of the first mixed media collages that I experimented with the notion of “pushing through my comfort zone.” Most of my paintings have been inspired by my photography and usually have a very illustrative or representational nature. “Fiery Birch,” a tree located in my neighborhood, is a bold and older tree that I say hello to when Laila, my lab and I pass under its twisting limbs on our daily walk. The tree’s bark looks like fat braids with knots twisting around its trunk. There is a path that is now bumpy from giant roots lifting from the ground that curves around the base of the tree. The path dweller can feel the strength of the roots, pushing through the cracked pavement. And like the artist who fights the contented voice whispering to stay within the conventional limits, the tree cries out, “just try and stop me!” Please come and meet this inspirational tree and me at the “Courage,” Art Show reception, Sunday October 8 from 2pm to 4pm. Address below: Jo-Ann Rose Gallery – Lake Anne Community Center 1609-A Washington Plaza Reston VA 20190 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