new paintings

half of me

Just wanted to share my latest paintings foraged from the depths of my soul using the process learned by the magnificent Flora Bowley.

Instead of planning what I want to paint before picking up the brush, Flora suggests an entirely different approach. She likes to keep adding paint in different manners, using different colors, turning the canvas around until she sees something between the lines, splotches and dots. Then she told us to commit to that insight for a little while and keep adding more paint and on and on. I know that isn’t the best explanation but you’ll have to take one of her workshops to really get it.

The important thing that I learned was that the painting emerges most of the times as a surprise and in order to do this you have to let go of your thinking side and allow your right brain to lead the way.

Some ways to get into your right-brain more are to dance like a fool, move, talk nonsensical or make up silly songs quickly without any thought. Really anything that moves you into your body and out of your head will work.


These are just some of the first paintings to emerge from this style. I love this way of painting and I’m excited to see more emerge in this manner.


watching over me

easy to love

in our morning garden

This morning in my garden when everyone was still sleeping upstairs I slipped outside to sip coffee, listen to the birds sing. It was as the fog was slowing lifting that I noticed these little amazing beads of dew on the kale leaves. The light hit them just so that they twinkled and caught my eye. The dew drops were on every other plant but not in the same way they were perched on the edge of the kale leaves like perfectly sewn translucent  beads.

The kale was bedazzled by the morning dew. I’m sure there is a scientific reason to simply explain this jeweled phenomenon but from my ignorant standpoint I just saw beauty & sat in the wet grass trying to capture the balls of perfectly formed water with my iPhone camera. It’s these moments I wish I had a macro lens, but instagram did a pretty good job.

Being an artist is all about slowing down, noticing the things that make your heart stop or just catch your eye & then spending time communing with those things by capturing them in a sketch, having a conversation with them (a snail, tree, small child or a dog) or taking a photo so you can soak it all in later & again & again. Artists see the world differently than most.

As Julia Cameron who wrote the book The Artist’s Way points out, it’s all about paying attention. What are you noticing, paying attention too these days?

the necessity of creativity . . .

This morning I had an easy stroll through a part of the Heights yet explored by me. It’s hard to keep a good pace when I see so much that needs to be captured. My creativity has reached a point of flowing so loudly, I cannot silence it, even if I wanted to.


like liquid fire

Creative expression is not a luxury for any of us, it is a necessity much like air, water, food, sleep, etc. It’s just that when we are out of practice of unleashing that need to express, it gets quiet & slowly dries up, yet it is still there, always there waiting for us to start noticing & then coaxing it back into a full flow again. That is where I am today.

But I know what it is like to have life, work & family take over where it feels as if there is no time or energy to express my creativity. I may have been busy, but part of me was dead, lifeless & I ultimately didn’t feel fulfilled or complete.

why just fence between these two trees?

I love my new iPhone for this purpose. I have a lot of cameras, from simple to complicated ones, but today my favorite is still the instagram app on my iPhone. It makes creating interesting, soul-full images easy, less time-consuming, with an instant result.

teal & grass green

I believe the best first step in recovering your creativity, is to start paying attention to what catches your eye. If it is a color, or a building, a contrast of two colors, a person, a crack in the sidewalk, the roots of trees, it hardly matters, but notice it, ponder on it, notice everything that draws your attention. Take photos of them.

Slowly that aspect of your inner being will start trickling a long with your interest in it, then it will give you more, open up further, wider until you won’t be able to stop it. You will need to write a story, a poem, take more photos, rip up paper, get out your pencil & doodle, sketch, paint, sculpt & dance. You will be filled with so much energy you can’t stop or slow down & there will never be a lack of ideas of what to create or express next.

three faces of red

love this polaroid app ~ shake it!

my book of scraps . . .

book made from scraps

I made this book for collage class. I love the layered edges where all the different papers & cardboard show. The cover was a failed collage that I cut up, see so it really is made from scraps. I love this idea. It sort of feels like all my art is made from scraps of my memories. I can’t say it was my life, not the reality of my life, who knows really what that was, all I have are my memories & the meanings I gave to these events.

So within the pages I wrote snippets of thoughts like scraps of memories, songs, words, inspirations, they may make no sense but it would be incredible if anyone who read them just pieced the scraps of words together between the flipping of textured paper & scribbles & allowed these words to make a personal meaning of their own.

last page

For years, I have dreamed of piecing together a book of images, words, etc from my experience in Iraq in this sort of way, that wasn’t linear or even very clear, more like sifting through scraps of images, poems, memories, bits of stories perhaps unfinished. The reader/viewer would be a bit of a voyeur who found a box of scraps & pieced them together to give them meaning, personal meaning.

Let me know if you think this would be interesting. I think it is organically coming together as I progress in my creativity.

The image above is one of my photos from Iraq transferred onto a brown paper bag using matte medium, letting it dry and then rubbing off the paper with water & my fingers. The bottom one is on cardboard that I gessoed first. I love the gritty feel it creates. It’s as if a photo has been found from a century ago, hidden in a dusty, damp attic. I love imperfection.

peony transfer with added tissue

there is no need to be precious . . .

mini pizza box from Collinas!!!

Two mantras I’ve been creating by these days are, “There is nothing serious going on here!” & “Don’t be too precious!”

These both keep me light, child-like & in the realm of fun & open to so many possibilities that could flow in from just about anywhere. Nothing is off-limits in this realm. An old washer found on the street can be a pendant on a necklace, an old greasy pizza box can be a canvas, we can paint with our hands & tear bits of paper to make art.

This is the approach I took to my recent collages that I created on mini pizza boxes from Collinas. The first box actually does have pizza grease & a little sauce inside, but the second one I asked them for after I finished the first one and realized I wanted to make a pair. I chose a color palate out of one of my Sibella Court books, Nomad  for inspiration for the second one. The first one I was just using shades of blue & green to create a pseudo color wheel (which then after it was done made me realize it was the shape of a pizza – go figure!)

Pizza Box "not so precious" collage

The words read, “There is no need to be precious. Perfection is not required, nor ever sought after. Create to celebrate.” I borrowed the sentiment & re-worded it for this box from another design book called, The Homemade Home; living with art & craft by Mark & Sally Bailey.

This color wheel turned into a flower & an ode to Chipotle, with its burrito wrapper & chips bag. This one is my favorite. I had added words to it but didn’t like the look so covered up with more crepe paper (that was easy!).

So I used crepe paper, tissue paper from stores, silver paint pen, paper bags, burrito wrapper & masking tape! Then I went over the edges of all the tears & cuts with Tim Holtz walnut distressing ink & charcoal pencil. The first one also has blue chalk. I took the collage around the sides to create depth.

Color palette from Nomad; A global approach to interior style

I carried it over to the edges

Make one, if you feel so inspired & share the result with me! It’s fun, easy (if you use the tiny boxes), & great therapy!!! Come on & play with me & repeat after me, “no precious, no serious!”

Big Luscious Love,


PS. Here are the cool books that inspire me again & again!

new collages . . .

I’m taking a collage class at the Art League of Houston. Our instructor is Armando Rodriguez whose diverse background & wealth of knowledge of art & art preservation is expanding my world & understanding. I’ve learned so much in the first three weeks, it really is so much fun to be presented new & interesting possibilities with glue & paper. These collages below were inspired by Kurt Schwitter’s work, of course they are nowhere near the depth that he has created, but I’m soaking it in & finding my own expression by slowing down, planning colors & outlining a composition before just cutting & pasting like mad.

I’m really interested in telling stories with my work, writing, life, everything really. I think collage is a great medium for this.

This collage above was created from the lines of the canyons in New Mexico, The Land of Enchantment. The scribbles are from Finn who poetically added his input to a weekly meal plan. Larry asked what was for dinner on Wednesday night & I told him I wasn’t sure that I put the list in my collage. But now that I peak closer, it looks like something with veggies. :o).

ancestor worship

This piece above was inspired by Chinese New Year & the Taiwanese Taoist practice of Bai Bai. Which is essentially burning paper money for the ancestors to use in their after life so they won’t come back and haunt them (as it was explained to me by local Taiwanese – I am not a scholar of the Tao). In this collage there are pieces of the paper money, receipts, tissue paper from Anthropologie, the store which not only is pricey but is named after honoring cultures. It all ties together somehow, I’m sure you can see it! :o)

In the Name of Righteousness

Well this one is packed full of meaning, but it would be great to hear if any of you guys or gals reading this have any thoughts. Write them below if you do! I’d love to know. Oh & there are no wrong answers everyone will view it differently because we all have different perspectives, right? Right!

Much Love,



I see you! I am Here!

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” – Maya Angelou

I’ve been trying to get to my computer for a few weeks now to write down some thoughts but things have just been too busy with family, extended family & kids. Our nanny left for Mexico to visit her family & that kept my hands full. Thankfully she is back – we LOVE Anna!

Tonight, on the eve of the New Year, Larry & I are having a reflective evening alone. Finn is in bed & Raine is at a friend’s house. We have been compiling all the favorite moments from last year, basking in the gratitude of all that transpired, all that we created, accomplished & experienced. It’s quite a big list.

My highlights were winning the final court case to have full custody of Raine, receiving my first EVER child support check (we’re putting them all away for when she is ready to take off on her own), attending Squam Workshops, visiting my sister in NYC (staying in Village), finishing our pool, attending the Sophia Conference & deepening my friendships. with Ginger, Sara & Judith.

"Sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." - Lewis Carroll

Oh & starting this blog & keeping up with contributing has been another highlight. It’s been validating to share my thoughts & creativity with everyone who pops on in to see what’s going on.

Tonight I was reading Mark Nepo’s, The Book of Awakening (which you may know, I love),  the December 31st entry is about an African Bushmen greeting. He explains that when one becomes aware of his brother or sister coming out of the bush, he exclaims, “I see you! and then the one approaching rejoices, “I am here!”

This warms my heart because I know the sweet feeling of being witnessed by all of you. I went out on a limb & shared with you my creations, my vulnerabilities & things that perhaps could have been shame-filled. But you all absorbed my words & images with grace & joy. You witnessed my unfolding as one would witness a butterfly emerging from a cocoon. And for the gift of your witnessing, I proclaim with joy, “I am here!” And in the light of this bushman greeting, I want to proclaim with JOY, I see You!!! All of you! (You know who you are).

Mark Nepo goes on to write, “For as stars need open space to be seen, as waves need shore to crest, as dew needs grass to soak into, our vitality depends on how we exclaim & rejoice, “I See You!” “I Am Here!”

Happy Dance!

May we continue to see each other with joy, may we let go of competition & embrace our one-ness, may we all shout from within with our own unique expression, “I Am Here!” AND May this next year be the best year of your life! EVER!

With so much love,


66 million trees lost this year

As I walked along the path down the middle of the boulevard this little shiny star caught my eye. So tiny, so bright, so misplaced. My hope is that everyone that notices it will smile upon seeing it.

We have had such a severe draught this past year in Houston that the water table is lowered considerably & trees that were taken care of by the water underground and the regular rain are now suffering & dying. This is a little memorial I created this morning on my walk to commemorate all the trees that have been lost this year, changing the look & feel of Houston for years to come.

This was a freshly cut tree marked with the orange spray paint. I gathered the sticks from its branches & built a little raft with a shell of berries for sustenance. I covered the hole with a web of sticks & then honored the hole with other natural do dads from around the stump. I didn’t actually give it much thought, just threw it together with what was available.

My hope is that everyone who walks by & sees it will smile a bit & think about it. Perhaps they will ask a question or just get it immediately & say thank you to the trees that have passed & love the ones that are still thriving.

shell of berries

Walking is getting more difficult as I have to photograph everything & now stop & build little natural sculptures. Perhaps nature isn’t the best place for me to move my body!! To much beauty & intrigue catching my eye. It’s much too distracting. :o)

animal totems in my yard

A monarch butterfly fluttered through our garden & into our neighbor’s garden startling & surprising both Larry & I. We stopped what we were doing & just watched, it didn’t quite don on me why it was so surprising until the next day snake slithered up my driveway to say hello. This time it was clear, both butterfly & snake are meant to be either hibernating or in Mexico for the winter not hanging out in Houston in the last days of November. Why were they here so late?

When I thought about the symbolic meaning of these beings, it made sense. Butterfly is about total & complete transformation from one form to liquid to another very different form. She was hanging out in our garden a little late for her, she missed the migration. I took this to mean it is never too late for me to completely transform. Even at 45 and even in the winter months when we are meant to rest, it’s not too late. One the other hand, hibernating can be considered transformative. It just looks like nothing is going on, but is it really?

My slithery friend the snake is a beautiful totem to reflect on. He is so close to the ground, connected & grounded completely to the earth, to Mother-Earth. Snakes speak to transformation, death & rebirth, the taking on of a new skin, new roles, responsibilities & even attitudes.

I definitely have been in a process of transformation these past few years. I’ve been shedding my old skin for a new one with new roles & definitely newer, softer attitudes. I’m still shedding the skin of my old identity as a Marine while at the same time taking on a new skin of an artist as I discover my voice, my deeper voice, each day with every creation.

Here is prairie dog with little-girl-pink-faery-wings sprayed on a utility box on Montrose by Coolidge (our version of Banksy). I first saw this image a month ago, but it was quickly painted over. When I drove by this one, I didn’t waste any time to capture it on my iPhone. I have a deep love for Prairie Dogs from my time in Santa Fe. They are everywhere up there & many are displaced or on the brink of being evicted from their homes – imagine an entire subdivision of families being evicted or “relocated” to a foreign space with new threats, etc (there’s a Pixar movie in there somewhere). They are fascinating community creatures & when they show up in your life, even as a graffiti they are nudging you in the direction of opening up to more community in your life (something I have been intentionally creating just this fall with art nights & coffee-house meet ups). So thank you Coolidge for painting Prairie Dog whimsically on our streets. I love it!

Altogether this is the message I took from these three encounters. Keep transforming even into the winter months, don’t stop, I don’t have another five years to get on with it, the time is now!! Second, stay grounded, keep shedding that old skin even into the winter months. Lastly, I am a community-being so continue to develop, open up to, be vulnerable with my community. Grow myself & my community together.

Hmmmm? I like that!

After photographing this prairie dog, I took a walk along Buffalo Bayou on the running trails thinking about this desire to just create art & share in a public physical space like street art, yet not in the illegal way, where being incarcerated is a possibility. I just think that art should be viewed by the masses & not made such a to-do about. I want it to be fun, not perfect, not even permanent, just raw expression shared. So what would that look like for me?

I reached an open field that had just been cleared of all its pesky trees (she says facetiously, but they were probably victims of the drought). All that was left were stumps (Giving Tree style) & thin straight sticks, the kind that are perfect for kindling. I suddenly was overcome with the urge to create my own non-permanent art just for the fun of it, to share with all the runners passing by. I saw something like this at Squam Art Workshops last September.  I picked up all the sticks while trying to stay out-of-the-way fo the runners, stacked them against the perfect tree & then gathered some brown leaves for the base. I just went with the feeling to create something out of nature, in nature, but wasn’t natural, so it would catch the eye, beg a question or two. This is what I created.

nature sculpture

It’s simple & subtle, yet intriguing. I didn’t have any red berries but I like the subtlety.

Lastly, along the vein of animal totems, Pixie Campbell blogged about creating your own bundle to burn for Winter Solstice. Check out her blog post Make Your Own Releasing Bundle Instructions . Larry & I are going to gather our community here in Houston & do ceremony on the Solstice. Wouldn’t it be great if we were all doing a ceremony similar to this around the world at the same time. Just a thought.

Much Love to all of you luscious beings,


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!!