Today, after making my toast and coffee, I decided to read all the headlines in The NY Times- and then leave the news until the evening. I have found that listening to the news throughout the day only make me more anxious and more distracted, making it hard to focus on work. And I have a lot of work, despite the quarantine.

And today I felt angry. Angry at America, at our government and our institutions, at our lack of available testing and at the short sightedness of our president. There: I said it. No more political posts.

These poppies and peonies are painted with an abundance of frustration and energy, which I feel right now. They still remind us there is beauty in the world.

These are trying times. Most all of us are isolated indoors with the threat of the Corona virus looming. Uncertainty, anxiety, fear are just some of the feelings that I am having. What about you?

For the first week or so, I could not fathom making a watercolor painting, or creating a new piece of beadwork. Yesterday I pushed myself to do so- just to experience the simple pleasure of laying paint upon paper and gazing upon something simple and beautiful. Thank goodness that Trader Joes has fresh flowers. These coral roses are likely to bring be days of beauty and refuge.

I figure I will eventually get to new designs for my beadwork, but until then- when the muse strikes me- I continue on many orders that I have stacked up. I feel lucky to have plenty of work during this time. It helps me to just stay to some semblance of normalcy and get to work.

I hope you all are well. xoxoxo.

It’s that time of year when I am working mostly, and mostly working. I have three trade shows coming up within the next month. Outdoor Retailer is the trade show for my work in Nepal, with hand knit sweaters and accessories (next week) in Denver. After that, I fly to New York City for “Metal and Smith” – a wholesale show for my jewelry, and then I go to Baltimore for the American Craft Council Show for wholesale and retail.

I work round the clock to get samples finished, with the aid of my wonderful artisan helpers. It’s exhilarating and nerve-wracking, and I alternate between excitement and self-confidence, and fear + insecurity. These shows usually set the tone for the year in terms of sales and orders. Once I finish the samples and set up for the shows, it’s out of my hands, and I just have to roll with it. There is also a lot of marketing involved, and I try my best to stay on top of that also.

One reason I really do enjoy these shows is the fact that they are very social. It’s meeting people, telling stories, accepting criticism and praise, learning about other regions and perspectives. And of course, I love having the reunion with other artists and designers, often catching up with each other, or sharing a meal. In a world where I work by myself 95% of the time in my workshop, this is a welcome change. But I’m always so happy to be home and back to making things when it’s all over.

February 2020 starts my year with the Trade Show season. I will be participating in both a new show (for me) in New York City called “Metal and Smith” which runs simultaneously with the gigantic show “New York Now” at the Javits Center. I will be at 518 West 38th street on February 3 and 4, Monday and Tuesday. There will be a pop up show, open to the public on Monday from 5-8 pm, and on Tuesday from 1-4 pm

I will also be back at the American Craft Council Show in Baltimore, February 19-20 to the wholesale market, and February 21-23 to retail/public.

Preparing for these shows is a colossal task, but from my background in the garment business and merchandising, I tend to get REALLY into it. I design a whole new collection for museum stores and galleries, as well as OOAK pieces for special customers. It’s full of high-adrenaline and non stop work. But I love it.

I will come up for air at the beginning of March!

Those of you that follow this blog, and my work, know that I am enchanted by watercolors. I love the free-flowing, unexpected nature of the medium and the way the colors interact and behave. My paintings have become a near-daily discipline. And I love painting each day.

While on a run yesterday, I was hit by a “lightbulb moment” and had the idea of combining my beadwork with my watercolors. I love the irregular, and capricious nature of color placement with paint and wanted to try to combine this nature with beads. Like pointillist dots on a canvas, the little seed beads sit tightly embroidered next to each other, but interact with the eye to create colors in the viewers’ mind.

I have never considered beading this way. I have always worked with blocks and shapes of color, and while I have varied the colors within these shapes, I never thought about combining them as loose brush strokes across the canvas.

I made this piece very quickly. I couldn’t stop. I was obsessed and excited to see how it would emerge. I think that the fact that I didn’t really plan it, helped in its spontaneity. That is, if you can ever explain bead embroidery as “spontaneous!”

I wish you all a happy, healthy and creative new year full of color and freedom and risk-taking! These Stargazer Lilies and Sweet Peas say “JOY!”

I feel myself moving into a kind of happy limbo between water color painting and mixed media. Also between painting what I see, and abstracting it. It’s an interesting place to be. I like the limbo. I love to paint flowers, landscapes, aspects of the natural world around them. But I am not that interested in making sure they are close to real. I want to convey the feeling and joy I have at experiencing the colors and shapes. So I’m enjoying being a little more messy and raw, but hope the emotion is starting to come through. I’m not one to hold back, and in this sense – I’m just rolling with it.

I have been enjoying using, in addition to watercolors – colored pencils (both water based and wax based), oil pastels, inks and some turpentine to smear the oil/wax based medium. Having fun.

I have been “pushing” my watercolors into a new direction- combining them with ink and colored pencils and patterned papers. It’s a collage effect, but hopefully not too crafty. I want to convey the effect of altered surfaces and the impulse of control with lack of control. I love the precision of watercolors and the sequencing, but also love the random nature of water and watercolor and ….mistakes. Seems to hit the mark for me right now. But I will continue to work and work on my watercolor technique.

I’ve been painting landscapes of winter lately, and though I have been loving doing so, the bare winter palette becomes so limited after days and days. I need flowers. I know it is a convention: painting pretty flowers. But it makes me so happy to look at flowers and their amazing color and variations, their shapes, their depth. I miss them right now! The black background belies the convention of the Dutch masters, but I love the way the inky black makes the colors pop. I also incorporated colored pencil into to this one- just a little bit- and feel a kind of satisfaction drawing briskly across the paper with a blunt pencil. Looking forward to incorporating more mixed water-based materials in the future.

Have a great weekend.

After more than a year and a half, I have been swept up into painting with watercolors again. It’s all I want to do. I have to limit myself, time wise to about 45 minutes or so in order to get all my other work done. It’s a busy time- finishing Christmas orders, doing CADs and tech packs for my design job in Nepal, and planning out a new wholesale collection for 2020.

The image in this painting is a little lake at the trail head of Reservoir Ridge at Michaud road in Fort Collins. It’s small and perfect. I took the photo on a much sunnier day than it is today.

The painting gives me a moment in each day to breathe and to suspend time. I am totally focused. Sometimes I am very inspired and the paintings turn out well, uninspired. Other times I make myself paint, and am happy with the results. But as a rule, it’s the process that is compelling, not the finished product.

The discipline and quotidien nature of creating one little painting each day is a pure joy.