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What is art?

I received two different opinions on my art pricing at the December 3 ArtWalk from two different people.
The first said that my prices were just right. “Not as high as New York City, but this is Billings, and this is just right.” She said this as if she were suggesting I could charge even MORE than I do (and she did like my work).
The second one asked, “Why is your art so expensive,” overlooking all of the cards and reproductions that are priced from $3.50 to $25.00 (which is not expensive).
I had to take a deep breath, remember who I was and where I was before I responded, “I actually don’t think it’s expensive when you take into consideration how many years it took to learn to do this, how long it takes to make each work, and all of the expenses that it takes to maintain my studio and communicate with potential collectors. Here–let me show you some very affordable pieces…” at which point I directed her to cards and prints. She didn’t buy anything.
But I like this response better, because it gets right at the heart of the value question. Thanks, Seth Godin. ????
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Why artists spend so much time alone

In a recent arts newsletter I received, the writer referred to a podcast featuring Anne Lamott and said that she referred to artists as “narcissistic loners.” I love Anne Lamott, but if she really did refer to artists as “narcissistic loners” she’s wrong about the narcissistic part (for most of us, anyway). There’s nothing narcissistic about trying to cut out the noise of other voices in order to center and align oneself in order to hear God better. I recommend Susan Cain’s book, “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.” THAT is why so many artists spend so much time alone. One cannot connect to God’s Creative Conduit in a crowd; it takes solitude and a listening posture to do that.

Artistic community is so important, but we can’t get our important work done in that crowded space. The community is where we connect with other people who are like us and understand us, and where we can share what we are doing with people who do understand us (because the rest of the world doesn’t). But the important work only happens when we are alone. We each have work to do that only we can do, and that only happens when we get quiet and alone with the CREATOR.
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December 2023 ArtWalk was FUN!

Thank you for helping to make it a successful event. ????

The Holiday Stroll / Billings ArtWalk is my favorite one of the year

Thanks to all of you who turned out last night for the December 2023 Billings ArtWalk and Holiday Stroll. It is my favorite one of the year because it’s so festive and fun. We had great weather for strolling, and nearly non-stop traffic through the studio for the entire four hours. It was such a pleasure visiting with everyone who stopped by.

To get ready for this particular ArtWalk, I redesigned my website. It now has a fully updated online store full of my original artwork. There is also a link to my Pixels website where you can get all manner of merchandise with any of my art you choose. It took me a couple of months to get my website ship shape in time for the event but it was worth it. I hope you’ll check it out.

My next endeavor is to break up with Facebook. About two years ago, a glitch in the Facebook system disabled my ads account. I have been trying for two and a half years to get tech support from their help team. Instead of getting it fixed, they kept telling me that there were no flags and it should be working, and in the process of “helping” me they made it so that I can no longer access my art business page. I can see it, but I can no longer edit it or post anything to it. They keep closing the support ticket saying that they have resolved the issue, but it is nowhere near being resolved.

So, I am going to be spending more time on my own website in my blog (blogging the things I would normally post on Facebook), YouTube, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. Be sure to go to those pages and Like and Follow me to keep up with I’m doing.


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Join me for the December 2023 Billings ArtWalk

Join me on Friday, December 1, 2023 for the Billings ArtWalk. I will be in my downtown Billings studio at 113 N. Broadway, Suite 406, which is on the 4th floor of the Montana Power building, next to the SkyPoint, directly above the Montana Brewing Company.

Enjoy delicious holiday refreshments and beverages, view my artwork, and perhaps even collect some unique gifts for your friends and loved ones this holiday season.

I provide FREE SHIPPING* on any purchases over $100, so if you are shopping for holiday gifts that’s an expense you can cross off your list! I provide free gift wrap on all purchases, regardless of the amount.**

Join me for a festive time! I’m looking forward to seeing you!


*Last day for FREE SHIPPING in time for arrival by Christmas is Monday, December 11th

**I will gift wrap for you later, and deliver for free.

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Miniature purple irises in progress

I got some painting time in for the first time in a really long time today. Turns out my little home studio is actually functional, and even comfortable to work in. I set up my table and then found this little painting that got interrupted when we moved last summer. It felt sublime to disappear into a painting for a while.

If this painting appeals to you, or you think it might make a good gift for a friend or loved one, contact me contact me and I’ll be happy to talk with you about it.

Life is good and I am grateful.

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Why I have been away for a while…


To any who may be wondering where I’ve been and why I haven’t been posting…

Firstly, this was a rough year for my husband’s health. He was in the hospital three times since last August for five days each time. He is fine now, but it was a very scary year. I used all of my personal leave time (including winter break and other school holidays) from my day job tending to him and getting him back on his feet.

Secondly, as soon as school was out, despite being exhausted from a difficult school year and my husband’s health issues, I had to start packing because we are moving into a new apartment just a few days from now. This move is a very good thing for us; a downsize and an upgrade that we are very much looking forward to. But it was not the best timing after an extremely difficult year.

Thirdly, in the middle of packing up our entire house for the big move, my mother died. She was 81 and had been suffering from Alzheimer’s for about two and a half years. She was moved into a nursing home a little over a month ago, contracted COVID-19 a couple of weeks later, and after struggling with it for two weeks she passed away while I was visiting her on a mad dash last minute trip to see her one more time before she left this earth.

Now we are in the last days of the move, which will be completed on the 30th.

Then in late July I am driving to Alabama and back for her funeral and memorial service. I’m driving because I’ll be bringing back a Uhaul trailer with some of her things (priceless family heirlooms). I am extremely grateful that my cousin Mark will be accompanying me on that trip.

Because of that July trip, I anticipate not being up to participating in the August Billings Artwalk. I’ll be 0 for 4 on ArtWalks this year at that point because of all of this “life stuff.”

I am very much hoping to resume teaching classes at Crooked Line Studio sometime in July or August. I am also planning on participating in both the October and December Billings ArtWalks (fingers crossed on all of that).

“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:
A time to be born, And a time to die;
A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill, And a time to heal;
A time to break down, And a time to build up;
A time to weep, And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, And a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain, And a time to lose;
A time to keep, And a time to throw away;
A time to tear, And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, And a time to speak;
A time to love, And a time to hate;
A time of war, And a time of peace.”
~Ecclesiastes 3:1-9

God only knows what is in front if us at any given time. I am grateful that She’s given me the strength and the courage to persevere through all of this, the resilience to keep going with an open heart, and the hope to believe that despite all of the difficulties and darkness that better times are coming.

“Yes, I know what plans I have in mind for you, Yahweh declares, plans for peace, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
~Jeremiah 29:11

I know that all of this will only inform the new art that I have yet to make, and I’m looking forward to creating it and showing it to you when this is all behind me.

Life is good and I am grateful.

Here are some photos of my beautiful mom. ❤

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Obie – my second YVAS donated pet portrait

“Obie.” This is the second pet portrait I did for the Yellowstone Valley Animal Shelter Pet Roulette fundraiser. In March of 2023, Yellowstone Valley Animal Shelter invited artists to donate our time and skills to their Pet Roulette fundraiser. Once we volunteered, we were sent a photo of an animal to draw or paint. The choice of medium was up to us and completed art was limited to a maximum size of 8″x10″ so it could easily fit into an envelope to be mailed to the recipient. The person who provided the photo made a donation to the Yellowstone Valley Animal Shelter in an undisclosed amount. They had no idea who would be doing their pet’s portrait. It was so much fun! Isn’t Obie just darling?

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The enemy of creativity is perfectionism

I don’t normally share ads, and I’m not sharing this because I want you to buy this. In fact I’m telling you explicitly: DO NOT BUY THIS, or anything like it, just to create a mandala! You don’t need fancy tools to make mandalas or Zen doodles.

When I teach doodling and doodle-mandalas to my students, inevitably there are a few who ask if I have some things they can trace to make the rows of circles perfect, and the shapes within the rows perfect. These are the students who are focused on perfect results rather than experimentation, exploration, discovery, and fun.

When I teach adults who approach art projects in this way, I am not surprised. They’ve had a lot of practice at driving those things out of their lives in favor of the illusion of perceived perfection.
But I am always sad when I have a teenage kid wanting to take that approach, because it means that their short life has already had the fun structured right out of it and they are more concerned about failing than they are about having some fun making some art.

One of the jobs of an art teacher is to teach children to play, and reacquaint them with play, while also guiding them to more complex results through experimentation, exploration, discovery, and fun.
If you are someone who wants to be creative, but you are tempted to buy something like this, DON’T BUY SOMETHING LIKE THIS! Get yourself a sketchbook, some pencils, colored pencils, markers, and watercolor paints. Then pull up some Sketchbook Skool videos on Youtube and start PLAYING with your supplies. Have FUN. Don’t try to be perfect. None of us are perfect. Just practice every day and allow yourself to ENJOY what you are doing. Do NOT judge your results.

The enemy of creativity is perfectionism, but playful enjoyment and exploration are what cause creativity to bloom and thrive.