How To Re-enter The Studio After A Long Break

The Sky is Falling, Anchor the Light, 80x96, 2017

I recently went to Bali for a month, and upon returning, I headed back out my door to teach a workshop in the Bay Area. I am now back, home for five weeks now, and I am just starting to get my feelers back in the studio.

Leaving can be a challenge to any art practice. A friend of mine recently gave me some priceless advice. She said she got it from a movie. I am paraphrasing, but it goes something like this:

Bob, who is a temp in an office, is slacking on his work. His boss says to him one day, "Bob, I notice you have an artistic temperament. You need to go back to your desk, settle down, focus, and catch up." That simple. So that is what I am doing and—surprise!—a finished painting came this week, one that I began after a shamanic journey I did last summer. The journey brought a wise guide to my side who handed me nine pearls to swallow. Why I ask? His response, "The sky is now falling, you need to anchor the light, now go paint.”

Snowing in Santa Fe

The wind is kicking up, and it is snowing on the first day of February.

I have recently had participants inquire about my next intensive workshop to work through barriers or what might seem like dead ends in their art practice.

You might want to check out the lectures on George Land. He states that creativity is actually un-learned in our society. It has been studied that 5-year olds hold more creativity and the ability to think outside of the box more than an adult. This does not surprise me. Having taught adults for twenty years, our main focus is usually on how to recapture the innocence and trust in simple mark-making that we had when we were young. We are quickly moving from the information age to the conceptual age and with that, we need more art-based learning practices to help carry us into our trust to produce more creative problem-solving for our planet!


What I am offering is a 6-week Skype seminar for those who cannot get away. We meet once a week. I show you what I am doing in the studio, and we work in a mentor fashion. Individual projects with deadlines! You can find this under my workshops.

As for workshops: The Center of The Arts in Jackson Hole Wyoming will be hosting my class, Alchemy of Mixed Media from May 22 to 25.

Happy New Year

It was a whirlwind end of the year.

I hosted a student show from Art Workshops in Santa Fe in my studio in November. Eight local participants have been steadily working away for the last year. We had a fantastic turnout and an image of Laura Newmark's work "Pain Body" had a half-page print in the November issue of THE magazine, Santa Fe. The new year workshops have begun.

Wednesday Ongoing Painting: focused on your individual needs within a group 1-4 and beginning Feb. 23.

Tuesday Night Mixed Media 5 Week Intensive. 

Check out the workshop page—there is still room.

I am teaching a Drawing I class at Santa Fe Community College this term and will offer an acrylic and color course through continuing education at the Community College beginning April 5th.

May 23: I will be in Jackson Hole, Wyoming at the Art Association teaching a 5-day Alchemy of Mixed Media.

I had a solo show open at Friesen Gallery Gallery in Ketchum, Idaho the day after Thanksgiving. This begins the official ski season in the area. The show, Intersections of Vast Things, is my first exhibit with Friesen and I am thrilled to be a part of them.

Friesen Gallery- Installation View

Friesen Gallery- Installation View

After a nice, long break, I am back in the studio. I am part of a group show at Chase Young Gallery in Boston in January 2016. I am finishing pieces for Mark Woolley Gallery opening in Portland, Orregon March 20, 2016. A peak at a piece (no title as of yet):

mixed media - 30x40 2016

mixed media - 30x40 2016

Life appears to be diving into depths of some unknown and known facets that are emerging through paint. Lightness of being seems to be temporarily on the shelf. Sometimes deadlines push me into gear. Other times, I freeze and all avenues to a groove of working seem to be nowhere in sight. Looking for the door, the shimmer of light, I pace. Pace around like a dog, looking for the perfect comfort spot in which to enter. I know this process. I have been here before, many times. Not quite sure why every time feels like the first time. The beauty is, once you’re in, the dialogue can begin, but the waiting is a form of magic. Painting is not done alone. There is a cohort that beckons. Sometimes it speaks through the painting itself, and I can enter into relationship. Sometimes it just comes where a harmonic symphony takes place with three or four pieces at once. I paint, waiting for just these moments.

I have been thinking a lot about how all this translates into teaching. How to communicate what happens in the studio. If I have left my process for a time—a week, a month—I have to search out the delicate balance between who I was when I left the door and who I am now in the moment: pick up and carry the conversation forward. Do the work. I just want all to know that we are not alone in this process.

John O’donohue said it so well in his book, Beauty:

“No person is a finished thing, regardless of how frozen or paralyzed their self image might be. Each one of us is in a state of perennial formation. Carried with the flow of time, you are coming to be who you are in every new emerging moment. Life is a journey that fills out your identity and yet the true nature of a journey remains largely invisible."