Bloom Anyway

24″x 18″ pastel on sanded paper

Life can be prickly. Bloom anyway.

I painted this cactus painting as a demo for the Rockwall Art League. Always fun to introduce pastels to a group of artists (or non-artists) that aren’t familiar with the medium. The brilliance of the colors and speed in which a painting appears from blank paper always brings ooooos and aaaaas.

If you would like to learn more about pastels, consider taking one of my classes or workshops.

Cork and Canvas is an evening class appropriate for all experience levels. It is different from painting with a twist, in that you will make your own art from a photo of your choosing (can even be your own). It is just as fun as painting with a twist, and beginners will be just as successful, but the art is higher level. 2 day sale! 25% off Cork and Canvas. Code: CC25OFFOCT2018

This coupon code for 25% off the Cork and Canvas session on Oct 27, 2018

My workshops are a deeper dive into the process of making art. They are usually 2 full days to a week long. Doing a longer workshop can take your art years farther than you would get on your own (in just a few days). I teach workshops in pastels, oils, and mixed media. Learn more About my workshops.

I still have a few spots left in my 2 day mixed media workshop coming up Nov. 14th and 15th. I supply all the materials, and you will will go hone with two 16″x20″ paintings. Sign up today. Just think what cool Christmas gifts those paintings will make!

“I’m not an artist”

If I had a nickel for every time someone told me “I can’t draw” or “I’m not an artist” or “I wish I could learn to draw” or “I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler”…then I wouldn’t worry about the state of my 4 kids college funds.

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” -Pablo Piccaso

You can learn to draw and paint quite easily with practice and instruction (way easier than playing the violin). For some reason people close the door on the possibility of making art quite young. I meet people every year that say something like “my second grade teacher told me I would never be an artist” sometimes, through tears, they admit that for 60 years they wished they could make art. I have a small mission in life just to crack open those doors closed so many years before. Sometimes I think the fact that art leaves a paper trail is part of the problem. No one can “see” a record of your child’s first violin lesson, they look at the result of a year of practice and lessons at the recital. We judge ourselves too harshly too early, and we close doors on our possibility.

I have theory, as to why so many of us long to create, but stop ourselves. I think we expect that since we have gained mastery of writing letters and numbers we have gained mastery of a pencil, and since we cannot use it to make art, we are not artists. (Somehow we forget about the preschool and early elementary years practicing forming those 9 numbers and 26 letters. We think, since we have mastered those 35, we should be able to draw a human face). I also think as grade schoolers, we rank ourselves among our peers and make decisions that effect the rest of our lives. Take for example a child that spends ages 0-9 riding bikes, and fishing, and mastering every kind of ball. One day they show up in a classroom with another third grader. They both are given an assignment to write a short story about their holiday and draw a picture to go with it. The kid sitting next to the athletic-outside play kid might have spent her childhood drawing pictures and painting. Perhaps she has a mom like me, when they ask “how can I make this look more real?” They get really good instruction. Then the first third grader, with words never exchanged, looks at the illustration of the kid next to them who created ART with 24 crayons, decide for them self they lack an artist ability to work crayons and therefore are “not artistic.”

“Every artist was first an amateur” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

If your door closed a long time ago, and you wish you were one of those “artistic types”, let me give you some hope. With a little instruction, and practice, I promise you will become an artist. Those artistic kids practiced for hours and showed up in your third grade classroom, and maybe you decided you had inferior talent. What you had was inferior instruction and practice. Give yourself a chance.

“Creativity takes courage” -Henri Mattise

putting in effort over time adds up to huge effects. If you don’t believe me or get discouraged, read or listen to the book “The Compound Effect.” Sign up for a class, and start making art. What if you told yourself you can keep the 100th painting, but the first 99 are just practice. When you go to your first art class, remember, no one signs up for a recital they day they start violin lessons.

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” -Thomas Merton

Teaching is my favorite part of art. I would love to help you crack open your door! I also would be delighted to hear about the classes you found in your town, and what your journey is like to learning to make art!

Learn more about my classes

Cork and Canvas

Do you have an itch to try making some art, but feel intimidated by signing up for an entire workshop? Cork and Canvas is a perfect chance to make an original piece of art in a fun, relaxed setting, with plenty of direction to ensure success. I provide all the materials. You simply bring something to sip, and an apron. You can even work from your own photo if you want. It is a perfect way to capture a special memory, and finished paintings make great gifts!

Use coupon code: CC25OFFOCT2018 for 25% off (expires Friday, September 28th)

Sign up for Oct 27 Cork and Canvas (6:30-9pm) or

Schedule a private painting party

Hot and prickly

7″x5″ pastel on sanded paper

5×5 pastel on sanded paper

7×5 pastel on sanded paper

Here are some demos from my workshop today. These were an example of the power of working in a series, and working fast.

I love to paint, but I think I love teaching students, to love to paint, even better. It has been an amazing class, and I am so proud of my students. I pushed them, they did the work, and man, did they get the results!

If you are interested in taking a class, I have a cork and canvas October 27th, a mixed media workshop Nov. 14th and 15th and several oil painting and pastel workshops in 2019.

Learn more about my classes

And since most of you didn’t get to spend the weekend at Mo Ranch with me, enjoy a small visual tour, it is a treasure in the Texas Hill Country. Besides the amazing scenery, and live oak trees, the architecture is fabulous!

Yon Oak

7″x5″ pastel on sanded paper

This was another quick study, there was a brief rain, not at all gloomy. I loved how the grey and yellow worked together in the Sky.

Live thy Life,

Young and old,

Like yon oak,

Bright in spring,

Living gold;


Then; and then



Gold again.

All his leaves

Fall’n at length,

Look, he stands,

Trunk and bough

Naked strength.

by Alfred Lord Tennyson

Yonder Oak

7″x5″ pastel on sanded paper

I am teaching a pastel workshop at Mo Ranch. I have a wonderful class, full of interesting and talented students.

I love the Texas Hill Country, and I LOVE live oak trees. They are stretching their branches all over this retreat! This is just a little study to satisfy my longing to paint these beauties…

Mixed Media Abstracted Figure Workshop Nov 14 & 15

Do you look at my paintings and say to yourself “that looks like fun” Or “I wish I could do that” Or “one day, I am going to learn art”? Here is your chance! Sign up, and play! You can give yourself an early Christmas gift of time away while learning something new, have fun, AND create a couple more gifts in the process. The class is 2 days from 9:30-3:30. All materials provided, you will leave with 2 finished 16×20 gallery wrapped canvases. All levels are welcome!

Read what my students are saying

If you know someone who would love to do this, please forward this to them. Or better yet, invite them.

I always start my workshops by setting an intention for the class, and I ask every participant to do the same. Yesterday, one of my students said “I am here because I really wanted my mom to do this workshop.” At the end of the day, she greeted me smiling ear to ear “my mom is making art again, and I am so surprised, I LOVE it! This is something we will be able to do together!” They had found a new way to connect and be together.

Sign up here!

Fresh Start – Mixed Media

Today is a fresh start!

I have many take always from “Walking to School.” One is that I love working on a series. With the “what” to paint decided, I found the “how” was much more interesting to play with. Another take away is I plan to paint more big mixed media pieces. I broke all the rules I know about making art and just played with my mixed media pieces in “Walking to School”. It was so fun! I embraced the drips and runs, I used negative space as much as positive, and if it would make a mark on canvas – I used it. I love adding collage and letting it hide and seek its way into the painting. Confession: I LOVE to paste. (If only acrylic medium had that minty smell I remember Elmer’s paste having.)

I am going to teach a mixed media abstract figure class in November if it looks like fun you too. I have planned 2 days where I will provide all the materials, you just bring any collage items from your own history, and your sense of play and you leave with a couple finished 20″x16″ canvases. Don’t worry if you can’t draw, I will have figure templates you can work from, or you can send me images of people in your life and I will sketch them before the class starts. Learn more or sign up here. Just think what a cool Christmas gift it would be to make some original art for your child doing what they love! It could be your daughter dancing, or your son playing football, with their drawing, or practice schedule, or tickets collages underneath it all.

Wonderful opening

“Walking to School” is hung. Whew! It is so wonderful to see my work displayed in a gallery. The opening was a huge success, and a week later I am still high from all of the people who took the time to come see my show. For those of you who missed the opening, below are some pics! The show hangs until October 28th if you are in Dallas and would like to see it.

The Sundermann Gallery is located in the Great Hall of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Cathedral

5100 Ross Avenue at North Garrett

Dallas, Texas 75206

The Gallery is open

Monday-Friday 9:00 to Noon

Sundays from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm

and may be opened by appointment

by calling the church office: 214.823.8134

or Evelyn Luciani: 972.333.6675

Tomorrow I am going to Mo Ranch, in Kerrville, TX to teach a pastel workshop. It is a full class, and I can’t wait to share the magic of pastels with them.

As You Wish

60″x48″ mixed Media on stretched canvas

I never cease to be amazed at my children’s ability to wish and imagine. They don’t seem to be limited by reality, or practicality. For example, if you were to wake my youngest daughter up for school, on a regular Tuesday morning she would look up at you and smile “good morning. .” Then she would ask “what is for breakfast?” If I were to make a couple offers, they would be based out of limitations and practicality: what groceries we had in the kitchen, and how much time before school. I might offer “peanut butter toast or cereal?” If, however, I ask open ended “what would you like for breakfast?” she might answer “Eggs Benedict with fresh raspberries sounds good to me.” Practical limits vs. joyful desire. Here is where the magic happens, once named, wishes have a way of coming to fruition…I might pick up some Canadian bacon and English muffins at the market and then have a little “how to make hollandaise ” cooking activity for the kids after school, and by Thursday, a dream breakfast has become a reality. A reality that blesses our whole family.

It is much easier to complain, to say what you don’t want, than to name that which would fulfill your life. We too often forget to dream, to wish, and to think big. We keep limiting ourselves by what is practical.

In this painting, I love the tension between the backpack and the dandelion. Never forget that kids carry burdens too, in addition to books they carry anxieties, fear, and things we adults weigh them down with. We have the power to lighten our loads: we can wish, dream, and imagine – and then eggs Benedict and fresh raspberries may just be served on a regular Thursday morning before school.

What would our lives look like if we wished like our children?


“Walking to School” September 13- October 28, 2018 Sunderman Gallery. Opening reception, Thursday September 13th 6-8pm. 5100 Ross Ave, Dallas, TX. The gallery is located inside St. Matthew’s Cathedral. Learn more about the Cathedral Arts Program. I hope to see you tonight!