Sir Robin

I know, I know…my creative, little gray cells went wild when creating Sir Robin.

This is my latest submission to Somerset Studio magazine. Being a nature artist, I started out the process for creating a Robin’s Egg Blue piece in a predictable safe manor. Then I found this robin wall decoration while purging some of my old teaching files (Yes, this might be considered vintage. I think I was putting this up on my kindergarten class wall in 1984).

In a flurry of robin’s egg blue I pulled embellishments and painted papers from my art studio stash. It was fun to dress Sir Robin like an altered paper doll. His bloomers and pocket watch are that beautiful color of blue green. Bright yellow green pops next to robin’s egg blue. Purple and orange add extra snap.

A variety of surface methods were used on the painted papers. An ink roller, dipped in acrylics, was rolled over cardboard to make the bloomers. The ascot was created from layering liquid acrylics with stencils. His magnificent crown was created by adding surface texture with everyday objects on painted papers in a variety of vibrant colors. An antique quilt square, vintage lace and a bright green button were applied. Don’t you think they gave Sir Robin that certain flair of soigne.

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How to Creatively, yet Effectively, Plan Your Week


How do you keep motivated to complete your dream project? It’s easy to keep a new idea fresh in your head, but it can be overwhelming when brush/pen hits paper. Here is how I keep a fine balance between momentum and delivery.  When I find myself stalling I simplify action steps.  Progress resumes as I wrestle that bugger to the ground, yell, “I did it!”, and resume moving to my end goal. 

Over the last two years I have developed my own unique planning system. I just simply couldn’t find a store bought system that would give me the focus and flow needed for my art and writing. Most day planners I found were blocked in daily spaces which are fine for to do lists, yet I needed a system that would enable my thought process to match with action steps. I needed to figure out a system that would flow as I moved closer to producing on paper what my thoughts were creating.

I took the basic design of a bullet journal and added sections for tracking follow through on specific actions. Using a Peter Pauper graphing paper journal a basic template was laid out for art and pen. From my three month short term goals I add more concise weekly goals.  For example, I needed to get into a consistent social media routine. By graphing out when to post for Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest on a weekly basis, I found that I began to naturally post week after week during those times.  Bullet lists seem to work best for me. My personality tends to want to get to the point and ignore the fluff.

Each week I try a different color scheme and lettering.

My intention for the week is on the top left corner.  For example, “Be open to learning new things, take action steps to increase your learning curve in technology”.  Another one I’ve found from this year, “Shine your incredible, amazing bright and beautiful light!” Most intentions focus on keeping persistent, energized, and not giving away power to unproductive thoughts. Setting the tone for each week seems to kick start a good attitude for the next 7 days.

A quote on the upper right corner motivates me for the week. Each quote is arty. Some of the sketches have been done on the fly and end up inspiring me to draw more designs in that style. “Be messy and complicated and afraid and show up always”, is from Glennon Doyle Melton. Many quotes that I find are about staying on the path and ignoring obstacles.  I often add scripture such as, “How great is the love of God that has been lavished on us, that we should be called the children of God”, First John 3:1. When my spirit wanes these quotes revive my soul.

Planning each week in my unique style has resulted in valuable results. Friendships with other writers and artists extend around the world. My Etsy shop is selling Garden Letters. I wrote a book. My paintings are being shown in local galleries. Wow! Each project was daunting in its complexity.  Fear might have shut it all down. Instead, I dared to dream, and then took baby steps toward completion.

Have you tried bullet planning? How do you add creativity to your planning?


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Janae in the Garden

During the summer of 1983 there was a very special angel in my vegetable garden. She watched lady bugs and snuggled next to cabbage leaves. While I plucked diligently to remove weeds she joyously scooted along rows of greens.



Having my daughter with me in the garden helped me to cope with her disability. Somehow getting my hands dirty and nurturing plants calmed my worries. Being out in the garden brought peace to my heart. So I tilled the earth, while my curious toddler explored the patch of zucchini.  Janae was unable to stand and walk on her own. Her lack of muscle tone, due to Down syndrome, caused her legs to look delectably plump, yet I knew it would take her longer to get around. This delay did not stop her.

She configured her own way to move so that she could explore.  I’d never seen a stink bug, but folks told me that she reminded them of that bug when she crawled.  She would put her feet on the ground, straighten her legs to stand, and then bend over to support her weight with arms in a crawl position. I think she crawled this way because she could pull herself to a stand, yet her hips couldn’t support her full weight.

Butt in the air, she would move through the zucchini while following the cat. She was so cute, with her blonde pigtails bouncing, and a sweet smile on her face.


Here is a current picture of Janae. She is a confident, independent young woman. During visits home she often offers to help me in the garden. Gently yet thoroughly she tends to the perennials. Gardening seems to an innate part of her character. She is still my angel in the garden.

Together we enjoy bird song, getting our hands dirty, and the special love we have for each other.




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My Favorite Online Art Instructor – Carla Sonheim

I adore Carla Sonheim. Carla offers online art classes that consistently cause me to grow as an artist. She is an insightful instructor. Her classes are fun, engaging, and bring out your creativity.  Following Carla’s prompts help me to express myself as a confident artist with a style of my own.

During the Fairy Tale Summer class we were encouraged to create paintings within illustration frames. Images were designed using pen, watercolors, and painted collage papers. I created these images to illustrate the story, The Frog Princess. Making a sleeping, drooling princess was fun.



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