my birthday weekend!

Agnes & Ginger

I flew to Berkeley, California last weekend to spend my birthday with my BFF Ginger. We signed up for Flora Bowley’s Bloom True Workshop, so that we could spend the weekend playing with paint like little girls. We had so much fun, finger painting, eating amazing food, laughing, chanting & re-connecting.


Flora has this fabulous ability to inspire everyone to find their own style within while showing all her tricks & techniques to paint intuitively. This is a very different approach to painting than I have been taught in all my instructing. It is how I began painting, but then found my way back this weekend. I loved how although it felt as if we may have been going down an endless path she gave a way to pull it all together in the end. I wished I could have spent a week with her, it was that easy, flowing & fun.

Now the trick is to jump back in & keep exploring what moves me.

this was the beginning

The way Flora starts us out by just making marks & having others make marks on our canvases. Then you take a look to see what is happening.

This is what started to emerge.

The Teahouse Studio

then we added lines

THis one is done

not quite done, but almost there

Ginger & I had a fabulous time eating incredible food that included brussel sprouts, mussels, smelt & rhubarb pie!!

rhubarb pie

this is what flora created

Well to wrap it up, I fully recommend a workshop with Flora, even if you have never painted nor do you want to paint. Her process is really a metaphor for life, letting go, waiting to see what emerges, having patience, doing the work, trusting, being okay to make a choice, commit to something, & oh my goodness! more & so much more. I don’t want to give it all away, but sign up, rush to sign up, she fills up quickly. You won’t be sorry.

I also recommend stealing away with your best girlfriend for a weekend of pure indulgence on your birthday!.

I love you Ginger, thank you for letting me be me & loving me in spite off it. :o)

Big Luscious Love,


Going to the Teahouse for my Birthday . . .

I am on my way this Friday to celebrate my 46th birthday in the best way possible!!! I’m going to an art workshop with Ginger (aka Dianne, with two n’s), my bff, in Berkley, CA.  The artist is Flora Bowley & the studio putting on this fabulous workshop is Teahouse Studio, a center for joyful living, art & conversation. Doesn’t that sound like a place you want to visit?

The fabulous, Flora Bowley

I’ve been trying to figure out how to bring Flora to Houston to teach a workshop but lets face it, Houston is just not that exotic. Not enough to entice her away from traveling to Bali & Mexico. She is a busy woman who is clear about where & how she wants to spend her time (I love this about her!). So when I saw she was teaching in Berkley on my birthday, I called Ginger & we made adventurous plans to fly in for a creative, communing weekend away from dogs (Ginger’s) & babies (mine) oh & husbands.

Here is one of Flora’s paintings. What I’m most excited about learning from her is her process. It is over a series of procedures, meditations, communing with nature that painting like this emerges from within. I love this idea, of course I haven’t actually taken a course from her and her book, Brave Intuitive Painting, isn’t out yet, so I’m merely speculating based on what I’ve heard from others at Squam Workshops last year.

I will let you know what I find out & report back with pictures of course.

Art Workshop in Somerset, UK!!!

Alright, who wants to join me in the UK this coming September for wild creating with soul-fillled teachers.

Check this out!

The featured instructors are

I took an online workshop with Madelyn this past fall & loved it, I grew so much from her guidance, questioning & way of looking at the world. And . . . my Best Friend Ginger & I are taking a workshop from Flora Bowley at the Teahouse Workshops in Berkley for my Birthday in March. She is fabulous & her process is so intuitive & expressive. I can’t wait to work with her & learn from her.

And still this looks magical! How fun to be in the UK for art making. Who wants to join me? These events are always so much more than just learning some art tips and skills. These can be transformational because of the synergy that occurs when artists converge in one space for the purpose of expanding.

So who wants to join me this next fall in the UK?

The Tor in Glastenbury

monotype for a beginner (me!)

my last monotype

For the last few months I’ve been taking a class on Monotypes. When I signed up for the class I actually thought we were going to be making something that I now know is called linoleum prints. Although I was at first a little disappointed, I became pleasantly surprised when I found out how fun & addictive this medium really is.

Armando Rodriguez taught the class in such a laid back yet supportive way that made it fun to just explore different styles, different palettes & more.

It turns out that I learned that a monotype is a print made from a plate that can printed only once. It is not like a linoleum print or a wood block print that can be printed again & again. It turns out that they are discovering that most of the great artist have done some monotypes throughout the past few hundred years.


painting the plate

The process begins by painting onto plexiglass, letting the paint dry, soaking cotton paper in water for a few minutes, blotting the water off the paper, laying the paper on the plate & running it through the printing press. Then wahla!!! There is the print, like magic. It’s so fun.

painted plexiglass

Scotti at the press

Maria painting - (Maria was Armando's art teacher in high school! Isn't that so cool?)

Prints drying

Most of those in this class have been taking the monotype class for maybe years. They just show up semester after semester to play & create with Armando & each other. They are very bonded & developed as artists. It was fun to be a part of this group, show up every week & spend the Thursday mornings with them.

I spent the class trying on different styles to see what works best with this medium. I did some scratching away, some impressionistic landscapes, abstracts, & flowers. I wanted to try out some nudes, perhaps by scratching them out & maybe I will get to that later.

one of my prints

my print

my print

pinned to my wall

If you google monotype & go to the images you will see the most vast & amazing array of monotypes that have been created by others. So cool to see the swirling sea of creativity!!


dirty laundry last saturday night . . .

Sounds like a title to a song!

No it’s just what we are calling our beloved art gatherings that are blossoming ever so slowly, & gently with perfect timing in an ever-so-not-precious way. Which is important, of course. There is nothing precious about dirty laundry right? Also you don’t need to give it a lot of brain power, you just throw it in a tub, slosh it around a bit, wring it out, rinse, slosh, splat it, wring it, dip it, wiggle it, wring it again & then hang it up for everyone to see! under garments, unmentionables & all. Just hang it out to drip on the ground, letting it be absorbed into the earth, creating more life, growth, & so on! I’m sure you get the picture!

what i painted via a transfer of a photo of a plastic jesus

The only difference is we are doing all the wring-ing, sloshing, dipping, & wiggling with paint, brushes, inks, stamps, paper, wood, glue, gel mediums more paint & god only knows what!! It truly is a cleansing process & so amazing when it is done & you look down at what you created & then around the room at all the other creations & it’s like Whoa!!! How did that happen? Where did all the time go? How did we get so many amazingly different & unique creations?

the mess we left behind

Last Saturday night we gathered at my house for some Dirty Laundry (when you say dirty, think of the movie Joe Dirt & be sure to pronounce it, der-teeeee, or not). There were four of us luscious ladies, two men drinking wine in the other room, a toddler running in & out, & a teenager heading out to a Homecoming dance with her date & then returning before we were finished. It was a busy evening, but despite all that, we got some great creating done.

The theme for the evening was Ubuntu to go with the blog I had just wrote & it coincided with a talk that Vayu had just heard that day by Robert Thurman that spoke of a Buddhist idea that was very similar to ubuntu. From what I recall he spoke of how we can all be so arrogant in our thinking we are better, or smarter than others but we can only truly know when we know & listen to all points of view (I am probably not doing it justice but that’s what I got out of her sharing).  How serendipitous is that?

I must confess, I was so into the creating & being with my dirty sisters that I forgot to capture the moment in images to share here. I did however take photos of the mess that still sits on my dining room table, & asked the dirty girls to send me some photos of their creatings & some thoughts about the night.

Here is what the lovely Sara wrote, I love hearing her tell the story of the evening through her eyes & words.

sara's ubuntu of women

“Last night my sisters and I gathered to create art in the spirit of Ubuntu.  Amid a scattering of paper bits, paint and glue and a surrounding of candles, wine and soul food, a new sisterhood was formed.  Women who had not yet met, orbited one another, careful of each others unique dialects, learning to quietly arrange and pattern their movements in an unfamiliar hive.  We stretched ourselves to learn a new form of expression.  To
create art out of the generous offerings of our hostess in a method unexplored and somewhat uncomfortable for us.  Not knowing where and how to step can be a gift, a door opener and a unifier.  We left with art that will remind us of our journey.  Not masterpieces for a wall in a static composition, but whispers that remind us what it means to stretch and grow, to learn of each others unique lenses.  To see through the eyes of another provides us a clue as to how we fit in the larger web.  I am thankful for my Ubuntu art.  I am thankful for my sisters – those I have danced with and those I will one day.  I am thankful for the moments that stretch me and connect me and the whispers to take home to remind me of our shared journey.”

Danielle sent me these photographs of her collages. They are both inspiring & I wish I had captured them here that night with the beautiful smiles on the beautiful women who came to create together.

this was Danielle's first collage

This collage is sweet for me to see, because this woman in the left bottom corner photo is my Grandmother, Lila, playing like she is beating up her friend. The middle photo I took in 2001 or so of my good friend Ariana in Carlsbad, CA. She was one of my first clients. Then the top photo is called, The Journey & was taken on Camp Pendleton in California again back in 2001.

Danielle sent me this photo of her 2nd collage

I love how Danielle just jumped right in & started pasting paper on wood. Very audacious of her, & if you know me, you know I love audacious women.

My focus was to master the art of transferring images. There are numerous ways to do this but tonight I wanted to try two different ones. The first was with a gel medium painted on the ink side & laid down flat to dry then pull off, & the second is using transparent shelving paper. 

gel medium transfer of dictionary paper - i know it is backwards!

In these images both the plastic Jesus & the dictionary page were glued down. I think it is important to wait for them to dry. I didn’t & the image came up in areas, so I decided to paint over the plastic Jesus – which turned out pretty good – well I like it anyways.

ubuntu, in his name

The next way is outlined in Sara Ahearn Bellemare’s book, Painted Pages. I think it is on page 90, it turned out pretty good, but I think I could have taken off more paper. Again, I decided to paint over it, which I like but if I try again will not put so much paint – not over paint anyways. It’s one of those things I’m discovering.

transfer soaking from Painted Pages by sara ahearn bellemare

soak & rub off the back

end result - pretty translucent! I love it!

This is where I’m seeing that less paint could be more in this situation!

don't mourn her shackles, embrace your freedom to choose

the new girl . . .

the new girl

Yesterday I had a very productively creative day. In the morning I had my Monotype class at the Art League of Houston where I made three new prints & started working on another.

Then I drove home went straight to my studio & started painting. I haven’t done that in a while & before I knew it I was lost in the creativity & the love of my new palette of three colors (thanks Misty Mawn & mary beth). Quinacridone gold is currently the most magical color in the entire world – YES in the entire world, possibly the universe.

When I was all painted & done I realized I was sitting with a new girl. Where did she come from? It was a few serendipitous glances, connections with other’s art, stories of a monkey named cookie, softening, becoming less precious with my strokes, allowing, opening a little & there she was, “the new girl.” I’m not sure what her name is just yet. She looks a bit surprised to be here possibly just as much as I am surprised she showed up. I’m thinking she needs a crow or a fish or at least a few flowers to keep her company or perhaps another friend to sit next to her.

I also added some cool embellishments to my photo of three stuck leaves in Nosara, Costa Rica at the Nosara Retreat Center (that’s a nod to the fabulous Abbie who owns the property).

don't rescue the beautifully stuck

monoprint - waterfall

new monotypes

All in all, I would say it was a lusciously, creatively, productive day. But what is really cool is that I know I’m doing what I’m meant to do for now at least because I can so easily lose time when I’m painting or creating. It’s either that I lose time or I step into an alternative time sequence that measures time in a totally new way either way I love it.

we need each other . . .

oodles of supplies to play with

Last Friday night my dear friend & fellow artist, Sara came over for a little art/craft playtime in my studio. It was our first creative get together (first of many) & we had so much fun (we hope to grow our gatherings to include others). I was feeling a bit melancholy that day for no reason other than the earth turned & I woke up feeling this way. But I was able to create through it & Sara was gentle & compassionate with me.

We drank banana smoothies with just bananas & a few cacao nibs and I showed her some of the ways that I create collages on wood with paper, paints, stencils, inks, stamps, words etc. Our rules were – Don’t be too precious & move quickly so as not to engage the brain.

Sara's collage

We talked easily about ideas, thoughts & then a magical thing happened. While our fingers were busy painting, gluing, cutting we shifted into a place of creative flow &
started putting pieces of big dreams together. We talked of ideas of collaboration,
unique & different ways to exhibit. Then our biggest dreams swooped in from
those hidden places we barely allow ourselves to visit & it was this kaleidoscope
of exhilarating dream sharing.

my collage "hey cupcake be curious"

We can’t wait to do this again. Next time Sara is going to show me how to make milk paints or encaustic painting.

Sara told me today that her creativity is buzzing to create more & ideas keep flowing it of other paintings she could do. We’ve continued our collaborative dream building these last two days through text messages back in forth.

It’s amazing how when we sit, create, share, witness, truly see, collaborate on ways to  fully blossom together.

I recently learned that if the dream is big enough for me to carry out, it’s not BIG enough. We need each other.

enamored with red & green at squam . . .

i love training my RAZ to see one color & then capture that color with my camera. I was drawn to the greens & reds everywhere i walked. words cannot do justice to the inspiration I felt while walking the trails at Squam. enjoy & let the color soak in.

love this skirt

the edge of richness - I love edges!

art in the woods - created by a beautiful soul

ondawa - place of joy-filled crocheting in circle of women with roaring fire

the inspiration i bathed in . . .

I went to Squam Art Workshops not knowing a lot about what was going to happen. It was my first time & I didn’t know anyone. I went with an open heart just to see what this would be & eager to learn all that I could. My creativity is still in a development stage & I’m just trying everything on to see how it fits, flows & brings joy. I keep reminding myself that I’m just playing, nothing serious is going on here.

I was lucky enough to be in the airport shuttle to the camp with five amazing women who so funny & kind – we laughed the whole way there & I knew the weekend was going to wonderful. I can’t even begin to list all the things I learned & all the ways I was changed, but I am NOT the same woman who arrived that day.

If anyone is interested in expanding their world of creativity, no matter where you are today, I HIGHLy recommend you getting your butt up to New Hampshire (bring your winter clothes) and dive into this lake of beauty, community, creativity, laughter & color called the Squam Art Workshops. Join me next year!

Misty Mawn taught my first class on Painted Icons. I have been a fan of Misty’s work for some time now so I was a little star struck when I first met her. I was giddy to be able to play with paint with her & the amazing women in that class. The paintings that we created that day were all so gorgeous, emotive & unique in everyone’s own expression.

Here is what it looked like:

Misty Mawn

Misty Mawn

icon sketches

start of icon - I used Iraqi girl photo to left, Our Lady & the Santa Fe sculpture for inspiration

my icon

Icon painted by Jenica McKenzie - I LOVE this !!!!!

Then I learned how to crochet a necklace in a cold, dark room by the colorful Alix Bluh. Alix is an amazing jewelry artist (think blacksmith or smithy) in San Fransisco. The class ended up in front of a roaring fire crocheting, telling stories & feeling great. It was so old world (perhaps not the right term) but I loved it. I wish I had more of that.

my talisman creation - I stamped BIG LOVE on it!

On Saturday, I spent the morning mixing paint to create color pallets with Mary Beth Shaw. This class fit right into my desire to understand color better. Mary Beth cleared a lot of my confusion around color palettes. I still have some, but I think the more I play with it, I will gain an intuitive sense of works for me.

painted palettes

one of my palettes

It’s hard being back & trying to get into the oh-so-different pace of this world with baby, teenager & husband all wanting my attention but it is also so nice – it’s always good to be home when home feels like home, & this home does.

Big Love, Katariina

Emerging from Squam . . .

On Sunday, I returned from four fabulous days in the wild creativity of New Hampshire. I was in Holderness on the edge of Lake Squam attending the Squam Art Workshops. I had an amazing time, learned so many things (mostly about color, Yay!!!) & was inspired beyond expectation.  I love to lose myself in creating & playing with art but when it is done in a group of people it is magical. I can’t wait to go back again & again. I would love to have you all join me next time!

I want to share with you some of the amazing people I met but first I think I will just show you some of the poetry I was inspired to create in photo images while walking on the pine needle covered paths that connect all the cabins.

my cabin - sunny bank

my room

I was the only one with my own cabin, everyone else shared. This was the perfect experience I needed to be alone with my thoughts, but it did get lonely at times & who knows what could have bloomed had I had some housemates. Next year I’d like to have a more community oriented experience perhaps I will bring Larry too. He would be in heaven surrounded by all those beauties.

two loons swam by

squam lake

waters edge

the ice house

a real ice box filled everyday with lake ice from last winter

color-full people

Jennifer Lee - author of the book The Right Brained Business

self-portrait with new retro app