Acrylic Painting Fun

  I am often inspired to try new techniques and methods after seeing the work of other artists. Earlier this year I took an online class from Sandrine Pelissier called “Painting Flowers from imagination in mixed media“. This is my painting from the class. 9″ x 9”


Another artist who has inspired me this year is Angus Wilson. I have a ways to go to loosen up but I love his color choices and learned a lot by giving it a go. This is a music box given to our kids by an aunt with cool taste. 6″ x 6″


I also took an online class, Explore Colour, from Este Macleod this fall. This is my Project One painting. 16″ x 16″


I just really enjoy learning various techniques from artists whose styles I love. All of these paintings used acrylic paint in one form or another. The online class paintings both used imagination and a negative painting process.

Zentangle Class Time for August

Black, tan and white sample tiles

Black, tan and white sample tiles

I have scheduled five Zentangle classes for Thursday and Friday, August 20 – 21. An “Introduction to Zentangle” class for kids 6-12 years will be offered Thursday morning, 10:00 – 11:30 am in downtown Orofino at The Wild Hare. Additional “Introduction to Zentangle” classes will be also be offered Thursday for teens or adults, from 1:00 am – 3:30 pm and 6:00 – 8:30.

Students in the Introductory classes will be introduced to the Zentangle drawing method and the steps for creating original Zentangle artworks. No artistic experience is necessary and students are provided with clear, simple instruction in a safe, judgement free environment.  The number of students in each class will be limited to 12. Supplies are included in the class fee.

Two new classes are being offered on Friday, August 21 for individuals who have previously taken an introductory Zentangle class. Susan will introduce students in the “Introduction to Zentangle Renaissance” class to drawing on toned paper utilizing brown, black and white pens on tan tiles. They will learn to create shadows and highlights with graphite and white charcoal pencils and other media. Students should plan to bring their pens and pencils from previous Zentangle classes.

In the “Introduction to Black Tiles” class, students will use the the Zentangle Method with black tiles, white Gelly Roll® pens, and white Zenstone Chalk. Susan will also introduce other options for shading and adding color to the black tiles.

Pre-registration is required for all classes. To pre-register, stop in at the The Wild Hare, 208-476-3358, downtown Orofino. Please contact me for more information, to inquire about arranging classes in other settings or at different times, or to arrange for private lessons.

Zentangle is a fun and easy to learn method for creating beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. Learning to create through the Zentangle method can improve focus, stimulate creativity, increase confidence, and improve fine motor skills.

Every Day in May #21 – 31

EDiM #21 – The spot where you regularly sit to read.
When I sit to read in the summer this is my spot – on the bench, near the edge of the house, in the shade, facing the county road and neighbor’s field with the breeze coming around the corner of the house. One day last summer, I looked left over my shoulder to discover that a deer had wandered into the nearby shade of the trees to take a break like I was. This is also the spot where I have completed many of my EDiM posts.

sketch of bench seat on porch

EDiM – #22 Something that hangs in your home.
In real life, this is a terra cotta colored, heavy clay, happy not pensive, very round face that was a gift from my mum. It hangs in our living room and I love it.

This feels like more of a painting than a sketch but I guess I can call it a watercolor sketch and move on.

sketch of suncatcher ornament

EDiM #23 – an interesting architectural feature
This is a kitchen corner in our timber framed home. The frame is entirely held together with oak pegs and only two show in this corner. There are several corners like this in the house and when I looked at this sketch from a distance, I realized that it reminds me of joyous, outstretched arms – a very favorite symbol of mine. We designed and built our home and it continues to be a source of interesting architectural details.

sketch of timber frame in kitchen

EDiM #24 Keys

sketch of keys

EDiM #25 An apron, or something you wear as a cover during messy activities
This large, old white shirt reminds me of my Mom, who wears one still for all of her messy activities and of Dad, who was a big, tall business man with worn shirts to spare. It is my favorite go-to cover-up for painting and gardening in the hot summertime.

sketch of cleaning shirt

EDiM 26 – A sign
This sign hangs on our front porch above the spot I regularly sit to read…EDiM #21.

sketch of white house sign

EDiM #27 Something furry or fuzzy
I chose to wander through the garden to see what I was ready to tackle. While I considered the Lamb’s Ear plants, the “fuzziness” and color of the chives against the hardness of the river rocks and the turquoise rock settled it for me.

sketch of chives

EDiM #28 – A yard ornament or statuary
This was an ornament in our yard for a week and left halfway thru my sketch. I was able to finish from a photo. As I worked on this, I enjoyed the memories of our youngest in DH’s lap saying “Draw dozer Dad, draw tractor Dad.” Skip the reading and get to the drawing! Sweet memories!

sketch of excavator

EDiM #29 – A faucet
Sometimes I have to dream up a challenge and sometimes it just lands on my doorstep. A box of Micron pens arrived in an order the other day and much to my dismay they were 005’s and not the 05’s I expected. I didn’t even know anything that small existed other than in the Rapidiograph line. It took me a bit but I accepted the challenge and drew our kitchen faucet using a quarter of the page size I have been doing most of the EDiM postings. This one is roughly 3.5″ tall by 4.5″ wide. The line width on the border is the size I was expecting.

Our kitchen sink is a big, old, cast iron double sink with a slanted back. In order to use a modern faucet, my clever husband crafted an angled support from wood and mounted it all in place.

sketch of kitchen faucet

EDiM #30 – A Birdfeeder
For today’s drawing I used the same fine pens, Micron 005, and searched bird feeders on Pinterest. I’m certain I haven’t done justice to the special one that caught my eye but here it is! It is small for me – about 3.5″ wide by 5″ tall.

sketch of bird feeder

EDiM #31 – Eggs
Woo Hoo! I did it! Completed the entire month. At day 24, I realized that I had the urge to sketch more, beyond the daily challenges. I’m moving on to June to see what next month brings. For some reason, my last three sketches have landed on the first page of my sketch book!

sketch of eggs


Every Day in May #11 – 20

EDiM – #11
A cap, a hat, or other headgear
This lovely, rusty cap sits in my garden on top of a bowling ball…just because.

sketch of bowling ball with metal crown

EDiM #12 -Some stairs or steps
Trying to capture the stairs and metalwork that DH has done.


EDiM #13 Last thing(s) I bought, eggs and salt

sketch of eggs and salt shaker

EDiM #14 – Something you use everyday

sketch of hands that I use everyday

EDiM #15 – Something you could throw/give away – Daffodil bulbs
They grow like crazy in my clay soil and I am always happy to share.

sketch of daffodil bulbs

EDiM #16 -Ingredients for a favorite recipe

sketch of favorite meal items

EDiM #17 – Something used for Measuring
So many ideas for measuring items…a quick brainstorm through art, crafts, and building activities in our house gave me a big list but I narrowed it down to these tools. I think the contour gauge is pretty cool. I see that I spelled gauge wrong twice! and what is it with letting the ink dry already? Slooowww learner here…
Finally a drawing with no pencil set up, used acrylic ink, dip pen, and still loving the watercolor even if it is black only.

sketch of tools in black and white

EDIM #‎18‬ – Lipstick or lip gloss
I don’t own any lipstick but if I did I would want it to have a nice case like this. My apologies to the poem author for the spelling error – no undo button with ink. If you want to read the rest of the poem, just web search the title. Pen, ink, and Tombow markers.

sketch of lipstick

EDiM #19 – A Cupcake
A Learning-full day – yes, it may be a new word. Today’s subject is cupcake but here are the challenges for the day. Start with a gessoed paper, acrylic ink and do it all left handed, no pre-drawing with pencil. Was going along as expected until the watercolor hit the ink on gesso – not so permanent and it all ran together. So, I started again – no prep, left handed, dip pen, acrylic ink, accidental splotches, watercolor, and some fortuitous splatters. Almost forgot the wind and bugs…surprised the cats didn’t come by!

BTW, I made these cupcakes a few years ago with homemade marshmallow and a special cutter my DH made for the snout shape.

sketch of cupcakes

EDiM – #20, Your wallet/billfold…
or in my case the next best thing since I don’t use a wallet or a billfold. This is a funky, fun little bag that just jumped off the rack at a rock and mineral show.

sketch of a small handbag


Every Day in May #4 – 10

EDM #4 – Spice Jars

sketch of spice jars

EDM #5 – Something Hot
It’s hot in the winter for sure, not so much now. The question is – is it White’s black woodstove or is it a black White woodstove?

I discovered too late that the De Atramentis black ink doesn’t seem to want to be permanent on this watercolor paper although it has been fine for me on other papers.

sketch of wood stove

EDM #6 – Something with Bristles
Wouldn’t it be fun to have paint brushes with fancy ferrules like these? Credit for the inspiration goes to Valentina Harper from her book “Creative Coloring Inspirations”.

sketch of paint brushes

EDM #7 – Envelopes
I decided to make them up…some that I would enjoy giving or receiving.

sketch of envelopes

EDM #8 – Something with a Handle
Changing it up this time, taking less time and learning to be sure the ink is dry first! Pencil, dip pen, acrylic ink, watercolor. Door handle found on Pinterest.

sketch of door handle

EDM #9 – Something with an Interesting Label

sketch of apple and hard cider bottle

EDM  #10 – Something you can turn on and off
This is an attempt to capture a small portion of a water feature that one of my sons created for me. My DH later wired an on/off switch at the house for me. I love it.

I often think these days should be called “An Experimental Drawing Every Day in May” since every one of these posts feels that way! I never really know how or where to start or stop, so at some point I just do.

Also, I accidentally discovered that the thin paper between the watercolor pages in the sketchbook could be painted/sketched on with watercolor. I was tired and didn’t realize I had done the initial sketch on it…too tired to change it so I went forward and it all worked itself out…just right.

watercolor sketch of rocks


Every Day in May Drawings 1-3

Time to play catch-up. I’ve been participating on Facebook in the Every Day in May Sketch or Draw Challenge group. There is an item listed for each day of the month and the idea is to sketch or draw the item and post it for members to see. So far I have been able to keep up. For this post, we’ll look at days 1, 2, and 3. The text with each post is what I posted with my drawing/sketch/painting.

EDiM #1 -Your Favorite Food
I’m inconsistent with sketching but I want it to be a habit so I’m going to give EDiM a try. Really, pumpkin pie is my favorite but its May and I’d rather sketch than bake right now. Since I can eat these fruits without reservation, they are my new favorites. Tomorrow I’ll set a timer for sketching to speed and loosen things up.


EDiM #2 – A Tree
This is a tree with tire swing that I see every morning and have for over twenty years. It’s clear to me that the scale of the pine needles is off. Oh well! Here’s what’s good about it.
It’s done…second consecutive day.
I sat outside in the sun on a beautiful 68 degree afternoon and finally did something arty with this view.
I finally tried a fan brush and scraping into the paint.
I can do this experiment again any time I want or not…there are so many more experiments to be tried.


EDiM #3 – A Curtain. This was a challenge for sure. Today I played with a little masking fluid. I’m learning about what to leave out and in what order I should sketch and paint things.

Sketch of a shower curtain

Plenty more to post…stay tuned.

Zentangle Each Day

In a previous post, I mentioned that I like to start each day by drawing in my Tangle-a-day Calendar book. The coil-bound calendars are created by Carol Ohl, another Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT). They are portable at 8″ x 5″ and are made of sturdy, smooth paper stock that is really nice to draw on. I can use a variety of pens, pencils or slightly wet media to change up my pages.

Spiral bound, the book pages have the numerical date and boxes for up to three days on a page. At the beginning and end of the month, Carol has included tangles, step-outs, and Zentangle inspired drawings called ZIA’s. Sure, you could create your own book, divide up the pages or not, and do some daily drawings – but I know I wouldn’t. For some reason, I have not yet been able to sustain a daily sketchbook habit. Usually, I am able to keep up with the Tangle-a-day calendar. I currently have two books going – one for 2014 and the current one for 2015.

Image of 2 Tangeladay calendars.

Carol Ohl’s Tangle*a*day Calendar Books

I fell behind several times in 2014 so I’m still playing catch up. That’s what the orange tabs are in the photo above. I’m down to about 30 days to finish my first book and it has turned into a priceless personal source of ideas for future projects. It also makes me realize that I should get on with a daily sketch habit that isn’t Zentangle inspired.

What daily art habits do you follow?

Are you signing each of your art pieces? Even though you know you did them, who will know who created them years down the road. Will your distant relatives know?

If you keep a sketchbook of any kind, have you added your name and contact information in case it gets misplaced?

Crafty Chicks Felting Day

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of leading a three hour felting class with five Crafty Chick friends. After a potluck lunch we got started with creating a wet felted piece then moved on to needlefelting. Most had not made felt before but all of the Chicks dove in and were great sports about it all. They were even game to try out my Needlefelting machine. I had a great time and I think they did too!

I shared my felting books and showed them my favorites written by Moy McKay, Scottish artist and felter extraordinaire.

5 ladies wet felting

Starting with wet felting

5 ladies sitting at the table needle felting in details

Second step is needle felting in more details.

wet felted piece

Sue’s felt sample created prior to class and used for a demo.

felt with flower

Michelle’s felted piece

CCBonnie's felted pansie

Bonnie’s Felted Pansie

felted piece ready for stitches

Kearsten’s felted piece ready for hand stitches.

felt with flowers

Kathy’s felted piece.

felted piece with many flowers

Cheryl’s felted piece

With the addition of a little stabilizer material, the pieces are all ready for additional machine and hand stitching to add more details and embellishing. I think they look great for first timers and a short 3 hour lesson. I loved how game everyone was to try a variety of things.

Creative Days

Someone told me recently that they thought I was like a little bird with my art and craft activities, suggesting that I “flitted” from one to another. I couldn’t figure out if it was a compliment or not. At 5′ 10″ tall, it’s hard to picture myself flitting about.

I do know that I sometimes have trouble getting started on a particular project when I have many on my mind, in the works, have new-to-me things to try, or want to revisit a favorite medium and technique. Sometimes though, I just like moving various projects along a few at a time.

Take this last week or two for example, I’ve been all over the place. I’ve participated in an online webinar for lampwork glass, watched DVD’s about oil and acrylic painting and gourd painting, helped my friend Sheila get started with needle felting,

Sheila's needle felted bird in progress

Sheila’s needle felted bird in progress

created at least one small Zentangle related drawing each day in my Tangle-a-day calendar book,

One page from Zentangle-a-day calendar

One page from Tangle-a-day calendar

created at least one small daily painting almost every day,

A daily painting.

A daily painting.

taught wet and needle felting to a small group of friends,

Crafty Chicks Saturday Felting

Crafty Chicks Saturday Felting

worked on samples for an online felting class with Fiona Duthie,

Felting Surface Design class samples

Felting Surface Design class samples

and continued work on a hooked rug pillow that I’ve designed around a theme of water.

Rug Hooked Pillow top-to-be
This list doesn’t include the time I’ve spent reading and studying artists and art books. And now it will include getting two blogs posts out before March 1.

I still don’t know if it’s flitting, lack of focus, or just a crazy, strong desire to create. I do know that I love the learning and accomplishing of my creative days. Whatever you want to call it, I appreciate that I have the capacity and time for it. Do you create with single minded focus or do you like to have several projects in the works at a time?

Felted Poinsettias

I managed to slip in a little felting during the past holiday season. I had the urge to play with felt and create a holiday card or two for a special friend.  I started with a desired card size, laid out my merino wool fibers in 3 layers, then wet felted the fibers until I reduced the size by 30 percent. It took quite a bit of rolling to get the size down and I would have been just as happy to have it be less dense and spend less time doing it.

I fused the felt to a thin piece of interfacing for added stability. Next, I needle felted some additional dyed wool nepps in the flower center.  The nepps are little felted balls of short fibers created when a second pass of the sheep shears is made. I placed a single layer of plastic bag over the felted piece and drew on the plastic with a dark marker to create a plan for my machine stitched lines. I did not stitch through the plastic.

I also felted a separate piece of red felt, stitched some small petals and needle felted them in place. After the stitching was completed and additional nepps were added, I fused the felt to card stock using an iron and fusible web.


wool fibers laid out for felting poinsettias

Merino wool fibers laid out for felting poinsettias


 Merino wool fibers arranged for felting poinsettias.

comparison of lightly and heavily felted poinsettia pieces

 For comparison – lightly felted on the left, heavily felted on the right.


 Thin layer of plastic placed over the felted to visualize where stitching will go.


 First stitching completed, red thread.


 Second stitching, green thread, ready for small petals.

felted poinsettia piece

 Final piece, ready to be attached to card stock.












New Year, New Site, New Building Project

I am so happy to be here on my new site for my first post of 2015! I’ve been working with Holly Knott of Holly Knott Designs. She’s a Pro and has been great to work with. I’ve appreciated her patient explanations as we worked toward a common understanding of what we were each thinking. The desktop patterns, tools, supplies and items came from photographs that I provided. She did the hard work of making things right for the images and the site.

I used a previously carved repeating stamp for the patterned area of my home page. It’s shown in the photo below on top of the beginning drawings for our planned garage and studio. We’re both wanting to get it all built in 2015. Tam is tired of working on vehicles in the rain and snow and I would really like to move my supplies out of our living spaces. Just one of so many projects on my list for 2015!

carved stamp

carved stamp


ATC’s and Mini-Quilt is published!

It’s finally out! I am pleased and honored to share that I have written an article about my Zentangle inspired, stamped and stitched ATC’s and miniquilt for the current December/January issue of Quilting Arts Magazine. Check out the cover and Table of Contents page here – .

Paper Floor Project

A short post this time to share my papered living room floor. I used a similar technique about eight years ago for my entry way walls. Start to finish on this project, 450 sq. ft., was two weeks from initial prep to final 4th coat of polyurethane. I will work up some details for another post. Suffice it to say, it took about the same amount of time for my arms and hands to stop aching and start to return to normal! We love how it warms up the room and has a glow all it’s own.


There is plenty more work to do in the room – like finish the drywall that was hiding unfinished behind a full bookshelf! My next adventure here is to use my iPad and SketchClub app to help me decide on a couple of large area rugs. 

Retirement Cake

By popular demand…How I spent most of my birthday (and at least four days before it). My friend Stephanie and I created many cakes together during our careers in GIS and map making. She created mine when I retired in 2012 so it was definitely the thing to do for her retirement. Her chosen party theme centered around cartography, pirate ships, mapping, and sailing off into uncharted territory. Only the ship, plastic critters – deer and moose, trees, and the top part of the sign were inedible. I created everything except the critters and the orange and yellow “trees”. Equivalent to 7 cakes in the end and only a calorie or two in sight!

I used Betty Crocker Buttercream frosting recipes – vanilla and chocolate, the LMF Marshmallow Fondant recipe from Liz Marek at The Artisan Cake Co., and the Gum Paste recipe on the Wilton Gum Paste can. I wasn’t happy with the way the cakes tasted in the end but creating all of the parts and pieces really was a blast.

I’m a maker – from the initial thought, to the planning, researching, and working through the plan with changes and fun discoveries – it was all great fun. I loved every bit of it – changing the dining room and kitchen into the studio for most of a week and even cleaning it all up again!

Special thank you to Liz Marek for creating and posting her great videos. She is inspiring, encouraging, and charming!

A special thank you also to Ann Wood of Ann Wood Handmade for her ships patterns. I used her largest ship as a starting point, reduced it by 50%, and altered a few things.

There are several videos on YouTube that steered me for making the green trees. Think miniatures and model railroads.

Here is the best photo of Steph that I have. The lighting was pretty awful but Steph looked great!

From the backside
From the North west corner

The Compass Rose

 From the middle of the backside

Sea Serpent


Zentangle class of new recruits

I taught a fun, relaxed Zentangle class last Saturday with a great group of gals. I changed up some of the tangles used from the usual beginner tangles. To decide which tangles, I look for those that are examples of things I like beginners to learn. I’m always surprised at how time flies and how much more I want to share.

This is my demo tile on 12″ x 12″ scrapbook card stock. On the left is where I stopped after demonstrating the process. On the right is my final after looking at it the next morning. I’m still really tempted to put an aura on the purk. 

image of zentangle tiles

 These are the student tiles. I love how they turn out so uniquely.

image of student zentangle tiles