And that makes 10!


Wow, that was a lot harder then I thought, and even though I didn’t finish in 30 days, I did create 10 new posts for my blog in the month of August. I’m not really sure I’m completely happy with what I wrote about. I would like to focus more on my painting and drawing and illustrating of children’s books then just writing about the business of becoming an artist, but it is what it is I guess. Maybe my next post will include a painting of this beautiful bouquet from my garden. So lucky to live with an amazing gardener. Here’s to completing a challenge and looking forward to more conversations to come….

Sometimes Even an Artist Needs Inspiration



I checked this amazing book out of the library the other day. Full of inspiration, techniques, art projects and ideas, it’s given me new inspiration to get back to work. I have always struggled with pastels, but in a little over 15 minutes this first sample project came out pretty good I think. Most of what I have learned as an artist I learned at my art desk from books. I have a great colored pencil book and a watercolor book as well that I have used for years to study from.


What do you do to stay inspired?



Movies I Love?


When I first posted my 30 day challenge, someone asked me about movies. I wasn’t really sure what they meant but I have created a list of my favorite heroines from the big (or little -TV) screen:

Kathleen Kelly  from You’ve Got Mail – I love the way she tries to be so nice, and is always like “there’s no excuse for me to be like that,” If only I could be so polite.

Becky Fuller from Morning Glory – Another one of my favorite actresses Rachel McAdams plays a relentless workaholic dedicated to achieving her dream and doing whatever it takes to succeed.

Brigitte Nyborg – from LinkTV’s drama Borgen – I love the way she leads her country. My favorite episode is from Season One Espisode 5 Men Who Love Women. I will never look at women’s rights or equality the same way again. I especially love the part where she convinces the biggest business man in the country to agree to their new bill requiring all businesses to have 50% women on the boards by saying he will get the best women by being a leader.

The women from HBO’s The Newsroom. Especially Mackenzie, Maggie, and Sloan. I love the way they believe in providing real news that is important information for their viewers.

There are probably others I am forgetting, and there are male heroes as well, but this is where I will start today.

I always feel like the test of a good book is if you wonder what the characters are doing when you are not reading the book. I think tv and movie characters work that way too if you think “What would Becky Fuller do?” Did you know that you can follow many of your favorite characters on twitter? Leastways I found the cast members of the newsroom are some of my favorite tweeters!

Do you have a favorite movie or tv hero or heroine you specifically love that motivates you to be a better person?


Two Books That Changed My Life

I read both of these books before I was 21.


The first I read in fourth grade. Sasha, My Friend by Barbara Corcoran. This book is about a little girl who moves to Montana with her dad after her mom dies in a car crash. They live on a Christmas tree farm in Northwest Montana. After reading this book, I decided I was going to move to Montana. All through High School I received Montana Magazine in the mail and although I can’t say I ever read any of the articles, I devoured the pictures. When I was 21 I moved to Missoula to attend the University of Montana. My junior year, I got a job for a private contractor planting trees for the USFS. I met my husband on a mountain and the rest is history. Coincidentally we live on 20 acres of Christmas Trees less then 50 miles from where Hallie the girl in Sasha My Friend lives in Montana…


Washington Square Press [Pocket Books]  1987

The second book was Laura Lisle’s Portrait of an Artist: A Biography of Georgia O’Keeffe.  This biography not only introduced me to one of the greatest artists of all time, but Georgia’s move across the country to Texas and then eventually Sante Fe, not only inspired me to move out west but gave me the courage to do it. I left for Montana less then a year after reading this novel.

How to brighten a painting to look like the original?


Do you ever get frustrated when things don’t go how you want them to?

I usually say there are just computer challenges, no computer problems but this summer has been this motto has been harder then usual to keep. Today, I found myself at my art desk, starting a new old project. I thought I’d figured out the solution but it wasn’t working either.
Then I broke out my computer to see if I could figure out how to brighten a photo of a painting I took so it would look bright like the original painting when I printed my notecards. I think I might have brightened it up a little but I still feel like the greens are just too dark and not like the bright lime greens of the original painting.


I also can’t seem to figure out how to make my jpegs rotate in wordpress. Even if I rotate the image in iPhoto or Preview, when I upload it to wordpress it still shows up vertical instead of horizontal.
Ohhh maybe time to go back to bed? Or back to the drawing board…


Email Capture

The importance of email capture

Your email list will become your most valuable asset in your business. This is your customer base, your tribe, your audience’s invitation into their life. This is your opportunity to test ideas for new products, to get essential feedback, and connect with your readers in a personal way.
If you read Robert Kyosaki’s book Rich Dad, Poor Dad you will learn the difference between an asset and a liability, why it is so important to have more assets then liabilities and how your passive income should work to increase your cashflow. An email capture is a way to build an asset and it will come under the passive income column because it will form while you are sleeping.
Social networks, search engines, and platforms, will come and go, change on a whim, and/or appear out of nowhere but your email list will remain in your control. Capturing email addresses in a list is different from collecting followers of your blog. It specifically gives you your clients individual email address to connect with their inbox.
So how do you build an email list? How do you gather those addresses anyway? This is what email capture allows you to do – collect peoples emails and order them in a list. It requires a simple form that you can download from either MailChimp for free or Aweber for a monthly fee. You will need to create an account with one of these services and follow step by step instructions to load the form on your website.
Its nice to have a free offer for your subscribers when they start to follow you and give you their email. This usually consists of a pdf or ebook that you have created that shares your knowledge. Many people call this a mvp for minimal viable product. You can put this free offer on its own landing page or on the side bar of your website. When you want to get fancier you might create a banner ad with your email capture form at the top of your website.
Both Mailchimp and Aweber will also keep track of a range of figures for you including your open rate. Your open rate lets you know how many people are actually clicking on your email and reading it. Its nice to have an open rate in the 80% range but at times they might go down towards 30%. Providing valuable content for your audience is the best way to keep your open rate high.
I hear over and over, i wish i would have started collecting email addresses sooner, so start today, get that email capture up on your website and begin building your assets.
Do you have an email capture on your website? Which service do you prefer? Do you offer a product for your audience? How often do you email your subscribers?

The Saavy Painter

Wow, found a great new podcast to listen to. The savvy painter. She rocks with great interviews and inspiration for building your platform and creating a growing business out of the work that you love.

I have only listened to a few episodes so far.


Duane has some great pointers for reaching out to people on the internet and building a tribe that enjoys your work and giving them access to your work.

Two weeks since my last post!

OK, well the biggest lesson I learned if I make a challenge to write 10 blog posts and post them every 3 days is I better write them first. Haha. Well I have 9 days left to write 6 more posts I think, so I still have a bit of time. I also think that I need to make a better estimate of what I can get done while working full time.


Some other challenges that have got in my way these last two weeks. I can’t seem to update any changes on my website I created with iWeb. I remember someone from Godaddy telling me they didn’t think iWeb was supported anymore and I am wondering if this has finally come into effect for me an I have to redo my whole site. I am avoiding this thought as I can’t imagine having to redo all of that work, but I suppose it’s a possibility. Maybe the next site will go faster?


I am also still trying to learn how to put an email capture form up on my WordPress blogs. I think perhaps I am going to have to buy a hosting site? Or maybe I just need to call Godaddy support? I have an account with them. I don’t know. It all seems much more complicated then I expected. And I have watched several videos etc. I have learned a lot about other topics for future reference but I still haven’t solved this problem on my blog itself.


I have done a lot of reading. Thanks to Stephen King’s On Writing I don’t feel guilty about this at all. I actually feel like this is the best thing for me to do. He has a schedule he keeps where he writes 2o00 words each day no matter how long it takes. The rest of the day is spent reading. Since I am working full time, there are lots of days where the only energy I have left is to read so I feel like if I read on those days and other days when I am in the writing mode and can write 2000-5000 words in a day, that works best for me. Perhaps it’s an excuse not to be as disciplined as some but it works for me right now.


I think I had a bit of impostor syndrome creep in as well. I feel like I constantly hear people say “You need to add value” in order to build a following, and I wondered what value I am really offering. I guess eventually following my journey might add some value to your life. I hope so anyway.


Do you ever get impostor syndrome? How do you overcome it? What challenges have you succeeded in and what ones have made you feel like you met your match? I’d love to hear your thoughts.



Jones Beach with my nieces.

When at the beach this summer on Father’s Day with my brother’s family, my niece said to me, “What’s that?” when I was writing in my journal. I thought haven’t you ever seen a real journal before? How can that be? I have over 40 of them at least. I realized that one of my special skills is describing things in a visual way with lots of details to capture a moment.

A lot of times, my sketches in my journal provide valuable images for a final product and can enhance a photograph’s limitations when expressing the mood. One example of this is my Glacier Park Bear Notecards I made last summer. I took lots of pictures of the lake, but it was my journal entry from my first day there that helped me capture the essence of the sun hitting the lake and the young couple in love on the bench.

IMG_0023  DSCN5030 DSCN5032IMG_0022