Make This Your Creative Summer!


Summer to me means putting the school books aside, stopping all lessons of any kind, vacation, pool days, dinner on the patio, s’mores at night, books read and the ease of creating art wherever we are going!

If you have been a part of my The Living Studio retreats or you follow the FREE online video series…you know that I encourage everyone to carry a portable studio with them so you have no excuse not to practice and create.  I know this has changed so many things for me about not waiting for the perfect time (won’t happen), enough time (no excuse…you are already waiting for someone.  Might as well sketch while you wait) and the best supplies (stop buying more supplies and use what you have).

This summer we have THREE incredible mini courses coming up that will make THIS your creative summer!

** Starting on June 1st is Pattern Play! **

Guys, for some of you THIS course could be a game changer!  Can you imagine taking your doodles, paintings, creative ideas and learning how to turn them into fabrics, patterned papers and more!  Learn how to use Photoshop to take your art to the next level and beyond.  Bari J is a licensed artist with years of experience and beautiful ideas to encourage YOU to take the next step.

 **Starting on June 8th is Nature’s Canvas **

When I first saw what artist Tania Bain was creating and then leaving for others in the woods to find and appreciate I KNEW she had to teach on my creative network!  This is the heart of what art is all about.. I have to tell you that THIS has me sooo excited to take some of my favorite woods in our area and make them even more special with art by the kids and myself.  Won’t you join us in enjoying nature, creating in new and creative ways and then the pure joy of leaving them for others to find too!

** Starting on June 15th is 2015 Summer Art Camp for Kids **

Artist and author Courtney Walsh is back this summer with ALL NEW projects and even special projects just for boys!  With an easy supply list, fun step by step directions and art projects that kids WANT to make…this will be your summer go to when the afternoon rains come or when everyone needs a break from the sun!

These courses are for you and for you to share with your children and grandchildren.

These are one week (easy to accomplish) courses that are affordable and FUN!!!

I hope to see you in class!


Ivy Newport Studying Under Marie Laurencin {Sneak Peek}


I am so excited to give you a sneak peek into the gorgeous week that Ivy Newport has created as she studies under Marie Laurencin.

She has lavished the students!

Take a peek…

This 6 week online course has lifetime* access and is $82.

To read more or to register click HERE.

You can also pay instantly below!

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A Still Heart and Loud Laughter {Part Two}


I can often be heard saying that I feel peace in the country and alive in the city.

I have had multiple international trips where I have purposely chosen to spend time in both the city and countryside…and the combo is magic!

My trip began in Gardenstown, Scotland in a tiny fishing village by the sea.

I shared a peek into my time in a previous post.

When it was time to say goodbye to the sea and our cab was pulling away I had my head turned to the sea until it had disappeared from site.

As we passed pastures, flocks of sheep and stone fences…we knew that what we had just experienced was real and deep.

It was time to board a plane to London and to experience as much as we could in a few short days.

I have to start off with food because our first night in London we had the most incredible Indian food at The Red Fort.

I have to tell you that until my time in Scotland and England I had never had Indian food.  How is that even possible? The most fascinating fact I learned was that Indian food was becoming the official food of England.  Baby, we have come a long way since I was in England 20 years ago and I thought fish and chips was the jam.

I am now pretty much obsessed and I must find good Indian food in Denver (so if you know of one please let me know).

Even though some of the other women from the retreat were also spending time in London this was really a time for Alexis and I to end our trip together all alone.

We were able to meet up a few times with Judy, Kathie and Michel but also to explore on our own schedule.

It was marvelous.

We spent a whole morning at The National Portrait Gallery viewing the visiting exhibit of John Singer Sargent. I never get tired of seeing his incredible use paint to create light. It makes you gasp sometimes.

{A tiny bit of one of the most gorgeous paintings I have ever seen. Ambrose McAvoy}

Because a friend had told me how wonderful the food (and view) was from the gallery’s upstairs restaurant we took our time with lunch and then just walked around London.  That night we just popped into a restaurant near where we were staying and did what we do best…talk and dream and scheme and laugh.

The next morning we headed out to the Tate.  Good stuff I tell you!  I was in heaven and I could have spent all day looking at the art, drinking coffee and just spending time with my friend that gasped at the same paintings I did.

We were able to see the Marlene Dumas: The Image as Burden  exhibit and it was one of my favorite exhibits I have ever seen.

It is one of the sweetest gifts in the world to have a dear friend that shares your loves.  To travel, create, explore with my dear friend is a true treasure and something I hold onto until our next adventure.  Our conversations never run out and it covers family, faith, art, children, dreams, somedays…all of it.

After the Tate we made our way back to the hotel for massages (tough I know) and then to get ready to see Sunny Afternoon! Our seats were incredible and the cast was phenomenal and truly sang and danced their hearts out.  I can’t wait for the show to come to the US and to get to see it again.  Our night ended with dinner and drinks with our other traveling friends and then everyone headed back to bed for early flights back home.

I think it takes days, weeks and sometimes years to fully understand the beauty that comes from taking time for yourself and seeing the life that grows from it.

In bits and pieces I am beginning to process this incredible dream trip and what it means for me.

I hope you do something small or big or bold or quiet just for you.

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The Living Studio Along the Danube {Prague, Vienna, Budapest and more}


Ever since I have been a little girl I have been a lover of history, architecture, art and I have ALWAYS known…I would travel.

I am greatly driven by my desire to learn, explore and to discover more of this world.

My family makes choices all of the time that will make it possible for us to travel more and to have less of other things.

We want to collect adventures and memories and not just things.

I have an extremely exciting announcement to make and we have been working on it for awhile now.

For all of you lovers of adventure, history, art and travel…this is for you!

Join me in October 2016 for The Living Studio Along The Danube! 

Imagine exploring and creating in Prague, Regensburg, Vilshofen, Passau, Linz, Weisskirchen, Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest!

Just imagine…

Explore different cities and villages and never have to repack your bags!

Enjoy gourmet food, cooking classes, lectures!

We will have structured art classes on the ship and then creative prompts that will encourage you to create in the cities and villages.

THIS is the heart of The Living Studio!  It is my desire that you make the whole world your studio.

This is not just for painters and sketchers…this is for all of us!

If you love history, art, architecture, live music, wine tasting, cooking classes, lectures, bike tours…this is for you!

The best part is that you get to choose each day what you do or don’t do. You can participate in the classes or you can lounge by the pool…or both!

The details…

How about grabbing a bike from the ship and exploring an ancient village?

Here is a more detailed itinerary if you choose to include Prague into your trip.

I hope you choose to explore and create with me!

To read more or to sign up click HERE.

If you have any questions at all please leave your comment below or email me at

Take a peek into life on the ship…

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Jenny Doh Studying Under Joan Miró {a sneak peek}


Good Morning!

I have loved seeing all of the work coming out of the Studying Under The Masters III online art course!  Last week I lead the study with Horace Pippin.

This was an artist that I had never heard of until I saw his painting Christ Crowned With Thorns and I knew I had to study him.

This week Jenny Doh will be leading the course through the art of Joan Miró!

Come and take a peek into our week exploring abstract art…


Joan Miró: To Coax the Complex
by Jenny Doh

Joan Miró’s art makes me feel free, simple, clear, unburdened, and playful.

He was born in 1893 in Spain and died in 1983. He lived a long life filled with art and was highly experimental with his approach to making art.

He is known for having developed a style called “automatic drawing” where instead of using rules and lessons conventionally taught by traditional art institutions, he made line drawings randomly and intuitively. This automatic drawing method allowed him to create pockets of color within intersected sections. And beyond that, the emergence of assorted creatures and stories.

Though simple and clear are feelings I get when viewing his work, I think it’s important to note that simple does not equal simplistic. I think it takes great effort and artistry to show what’s there, by not making everything be there.

The other thing I enjoy about Miró’s work is that even the simplest line or circle can have many different characteristics to it. Is it smudgy or clean? Is it big or small? Is it watery or opaque? Is it on a white or colored background?

Ultimately, Miró’s work is a compelling invitation for all humans to be part of art if they want to. Nothing complicated is needed. Because even with just a dot or a line, there is a wide universe to make it characteristically distinct. And to coax complex stories out of it, if it feels right to do so.

This 6 week online course has lifetime* access and is $82.

To read more or to register click HERE.

You can also pay instantly below!

A Still Heart and Loud Laughter {part one}


It is such a rare and special treat for me to get away to create art just for me.  No teaching. No responsibilities. Just the joy of being still.

{A piece I created while in Scotland from my sketches of Crovie and a vintage photograph of two women from the villages}

I prefer to travel with my family so to take this kind of time and money for just me is hard too but so needed.

I homeschool our children and this has been one of the hardest and most rewarding adventures of our family.

I have my studio at home even though we could really use it NOT in the home.  The reason my studio is still in the house is so I get interrupted and that I am surrounded by my family.

Most of our trips are as a family unless I have to teach which we have made the very conscience decision years ago to only teach 4 times a year away from home.

I have to say no to many offers but that was one of the smartest decisions we have made as a family.

As much as we work for our business we have the joy of BEING together most of the time.  Sure, we may be running to piano, French, gymnastics, play practice etc. but we also have hours a day of just studying and learning together.

As much as I love being with my family I also need to take care of me and make time to create, learn new methods and ultimately give my heart and head a chance to talk.

The last trip I took for myself to just create art was over 1 1/2 years ago.

To not only have this creative time but also time with one of my dearest friends was a dream.

Imagine traveling back in time to such a simple village along the sea in Scotland that your body just instantly exhales and waits for the inspiration that is sure to come.

Maybe it came in heart changes, mind changes or art changes.  It was different for each of us.

It was a gift to meet Gillian in person and not only have our friendship through emails, working together etc.

When I arrived in Gardenstown I told Gillian that she pulled me to that village with her color palette (which is similar to mine), the haunting beauty of her art and ultimately the story her art told.

I just told her I was searching for my story.

{My friend’s portrait of her mother}

As I watched Gillian create a pastel piece, using a photo of my friend Alexis and me as inspiration, I was instantly overwhelmed and found direction by what MY story is.

Leave it to me to have tears flowing down my face as I see things that have been in front of my face the whole time.

That whole story and my story will be another post.

{The pastel piece that Gillian created from our photo}

To Gillian I am forever grateful for bringing me to the sea, to allow me to sit at her feet as she creates and to allow inspiration to come.

If you ever have a chance to create in a light filled studio by the sea with Gillian Lee Smith I hope you do not hesitate. She is not only humble and talented beyond words but also one of the most generous souls I have ever met.

{Some of the art I created while in Scotland}

{Pure joy to watch Gillian create}

{Alexis adding to our wall of art}

{A peek into our studio by the sea}

{The view from our studio windows. So incredible}

{I look at this and can’t even believe I was really there}

{Some of Gillian’s gorgeous work}

{For. Real}

To read more about Gillian and her other retreats by the see click HERE.

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2015 Summer Art Camp for KIDS!


Summer brings with it the promise of sunshine, long, lazy days and a slower, simpler pace we’ve all been craving. But, if you’re a mom or grandma, it might also bring with it two of the most dreaded words in the English language:

“I’m Bored.”

Enter 2015 Summer Art Camp for KIDS! A brand new online art class for ages 5 – adult that will allow kids to cut, glue, paint, watercolor, sketch, collage, create and stretch their creative wings, all the while kicking boredom to the curb.

Author and paper artist Courtney Walsh will take kids on a guided journey through each of the five mixed media projects, encouraging students to think outside the creative box as she leads them through each step, breaking it down in a way they will easily understand and follow.

This online course is the perfect way to bond with your child, so feel free to get in on this artsy fun, save projects for rainy days or do them all in one week, the choice is up to you! Let’s have a creative summer together, shall we?

*The class will include 5 projects with art videos start to finish. This year we are bringing in more projects for BOYS too!

*Each course will have a supply list and templates


To register or to read more click HERE.