Painting Workshops

C O N F I D E N C E

A full list of exhibitions and summer/fall workshop schedule 
may be viewed at the bottom.

Vernal Passage I mixed media on panel, 48” x 40”, Friesen Gallery

Vernal Passage I mixed media on panel, 48” x 40”, Friesen Gallery

When I was seven, we lived in the tropics of Miami, Florida. Our backyard had a large sprawling lawn that butted up against a canal that I was sure was full of people eating alligators. I was terrified.


In the winters my grandparents would escape the New England cold of Rhode Island for the sunshine state. My grandfather was a retired physical education teacher and I was a budding gymnast.

Our green grassed backyard was the perfect place to saunter my cartwheels and practice my moves.

I took to hanging upside down and sideways quite easily, but when it came to the idea of springboarding and twisting my body backwards into the air, you might as well have thrown me into the canal with the alligators. It was the same kind of hand-sweating heart-racing fear.

In the late afternoons in plaid Bermuda shorts, white tee shirt, and baseball cap, my grandfather would set up his green plastic lawn chair on the back patio. Sitting, cane twisting in his gnarled fingers, he would wave his cane like a baton and conduct my performance. But mostly what I remember of him are his words of encouragement to boost my morale.


He would say, “Now what’s the word?” I remembered it was very long and began with a capital C. He would then slowly say, “C-O-N-F-I-D-E-N-C-E.”  It’s just a word, but my brain was distracted just long enough to do the thing I feared. This word has surfaced many times in my life since then when faced with the fear of "I can't."


Recently, I was asked to speak in front of an audience of 120 on the creative process. I was hand-sweating heart-racing terrified. Yes, I teach in front of people, but speaking to a large audience seemed much more daunting. While telling a friend,  “I can’t do it,” she mentioned that the quickest way to move into the natural flow of our lives is to do something just beyond what we think we can do, which reminded me of what I learned from my grandfather at seven. Confidence might just be a word, but changing “I can’t" to “I can” is a powerful cognitive shift which can trick us out of our comfort zones, so we can be terrified and do it anyway.

I survived standing in front of a crowd in the end and realized I actually enjoyed it. A new flow to approach in the future with added confidence.

The exhibit Stewards of Light is still up in Ketchum, Idaho. View the exhibit here

Paint Big and More: Anything Goes  May 2 - 5 at Mantecón Studio, Santa Fe, NM (1 space left!)

Open Studio Sale July 14 from 1 - 6 pm (2:00 pm art talk)
A variety of large and small pieces will be made available for purchase at studio prices.

Wrangling Paint + More  July 18 - 20 at Mantecón Studio

The Space Between Painting and Intuition September 26 - 28 at Mantecón Studio, Santa Fe, NM with Lauren Mantecón and Stacy Phillips  

Big-Small-Big: Approaches to Mixed Media Painting June 24 - 28 in Cullowhee, North Carolina

The Alchemy of Mixed Media October 12 - 13 at Weehawken Art Center in Ridgeway, Colorado

Paint Big: Abstract Expressionism October 31 - November 1 at Mantecón Studio in Santa Fe, NM with Lauren Mantecón

Ongoing Wednesday Open Studio from 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm at Mantecón Studio in Santa Fe, NM

Virtual Studio Mentorships Buy a series of personalized sessions 
catered to your own individuals goals. This could be setting up accountability 
schedule, critique of work, writing statements, researching ways to get your work out into the world.

Swallowing Beauty

Swallowing Beauty

My friend, Jens, has no filter when speaking his brilliant mind. It’s a quality I admire, especially when discussing creative edges that push our limits and call out for personal growth.

Recently, Jens and I were in my Santa Fe studio. Large disheveled under-paintings I had just begun were leaning against the wall. Over-worked paper pieces were scattered on the floor—in progress or abandoned? (It could go either way.) They felt vulnerable, raw, and not too sure of themselves.

Jens was animated as he discussed his latest project of turning mud into functionality and grace. He had just bulldozed and excavated a cave on land he recently purchased on the outer borders of New Mexico into Arizona. He was making livable space. Art.

I talked of mind clutter and the impatience/anxiety of feeling discomfort in visible vulnerability hovering around me. I mumbled something about re-creating what I had done in my last series. Exploring the tension points between the visible and unseen. Smokey, clouded layers covering the ambivalence of life.

Jens leaned in close, “So are you now making fake paintings?” I knew what he meant. I was at that edge believing painting existed in a realm that could be birthed like a machine.

I quickly responded, “Almost, but not yet.” That was the truth: Take the plunge of investigating the heart’s longing in the now, or be an imitated version of myself set on automatic go.

Zombie Formalism is what comes to mind. A term coined by artist and art critic Walter Robinson in 2014. My definition: production of abstract painting that is devoid of passion and more concerned with how it is made. Image, shape, color, singing together in a doable composition that is pleasing to the eye. Sometimes when hitting that uncomfortable edge, it’s tempting to go there. Production.

The how to, neglecting the deep inner crevices inside ourselves that ask of us “the why.” It takes time and care to birth a project. When we are not tending to the delicate needs, creativity requires of us bridging mind to heart, a radical distrust can set in.

For me, I usually need some space to become a bit untethered from daily left brain life. I guess my growing pains are asking of me to raise my frequency of light from the inside out. I still crave to paint just that.

And when I am still enough to wait out the unlpleasantries of my mind, I sometimes glimpse the realization that my vulnerabilities are my courage moved from the outside in, waiting to swallow beauty whole.

Personalized Private Classes and Studio Mentorship 

Open Studio Wednesday

Why Color is Important- One Day Workshop- Saturday October
6th


Large Scale Painting Workshop October 25th-26th

Women's Spiritual Hunger's November 2nd-3rd

Video Tutorials

View the full list of upcoming workshops for the year.