An Abstract Conversation: Going Deeper with Our Art

In my never-ending quest to discover more and more about the creative process— especially about painting—I am taking another look at the concept of abstracting. I’m very excited about my upcoming class Stretching Toward Abstraction (July 13-14), as well as my free presentation (June 18th), both at ArtEAST, (more info below).

Both the class and presentation focus on finding ways to personally express ourselves, using studio strategies that match who we are as people and artists. Because we’re all unique, there isn’t one solution to this problem.

In my upcoming presentation I’ll be showing slides of a variety of artists’ work in the context of where this work lies on the continuum between completely representational and completely non-objective.

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I’ll talk about the painting process of several of these artists, with a focus on enlivening our own art and our artistic process. To me, it is not about picking sides—abstract vs. realistic—it is about digging deeper in order to find our own most natural form of self-expression.

This expression, of course, can be influenced by other artists, and will not stay stagnate. But in order to find that place, we have to be willing to mess around and play. This kind of play is not frivolous, but deep and wild and challenging. It can also be enjoyable, and it often is…but not always.

I paint best when I’m willing to let go of control, stay present in myself, and keep an attitude of what I think of as the Dance. I come in and out of this state. Finding and being in this state is easiest for me when I’m beginning a painting. Why? I have less to lose. I haven’t invested as much at this stage. Moving on with the painting, into the stages of editing, changing and refining, I can tend to tighten up.

I’ve given a lot of thought to how I can rekindle the Dance state as the painting moves along. I have a lot of ideas about this that I’ll share during this presentation and in my July workshop.


I invite you to come to the Salon presentation and be part of this conversation! Bring your own thoughts and questions on the subject, as well as a notebook and a pen. I hope to see you there.

For more info on the upcoming Salon, click here.

Click here to register for the Stretching Toward Abstraction workshop.

Upcoming Class: Creative Journaling

I’ll be teaching a new and wonderful workshop, Creative Journaling, May 18-19 at artEAST in Issaquah.

Creative Journaling is all about exploration and expression, without the pressure of trying to produce artwork for exhibition or publication. It’s a private place to create, fool around, delight in, explore, and develop ideas.

Who is this class for? Everyone.

You don’t need to be a practicing painter, writer, sculptor, or musician. . You may be a breadmaker or forestwalker. Whatever you choose to do, you can find ways to enhance your ways of being in the world.

This workshop will include a wide variety of expressive techniques, using words and various art methods. Some of the exercises will be:  Art Journaling, Freewriting, using a Sketchbook, Book Altering, Poetry, and Creativity Coaching. It will be an experimental journey with many ideas you can take with you.

The great thing about journaling is you NEVER have to show anyone. It’s just for you. This isn’t about making something “good.” It isn’t about pleasing anyone, including your inner critics. It’s messy, mistakes are allowed — and even encouraged — as is a friendly attitude toward our imperfection. 

Journaling can act as:

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  • A way of kindling and engaging the creative process and developing ideas

  • A way to explore our stuck places and our fears about ourselves as people and artists

  • A quiet and meditative way of spending time with ourselves

  • A way of expressing ourselves with words, and beyond words

I invite you to join me for this Creative Journaling class on May 18th and 19th at artEAST in Issaquah. For more information visit my workshops page, and to register for the class visit

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Such Is Life

Who I Listen To, 19x24

Who I Listen To, 19x24

The painting series, Such Is Life, I’ll be showing at Columbia City Gallery this April comes from musings that have been with me for quite a while. Unlike my Personal Prayer Flag or Palimpsest series, though, the concept is more complex.

I’ve been thinking about what it means to be a human being on this planet, specifically when it comes to relating to others. As I was painting I kept in mind the fact that we tend to connect with people similar to ourselves, and far too often implicitly fear those who are different.

This past year or so I’ve been thinking more about race. A friend of mine had a horrible experience which, I believe, was a result of the color of her skin. I began thinking, talking, and reading more about race, as well as considering my own white privilege. I’m not going to create a meaningful relationship with someone of a different race if I’m in denial of how my racial privilege affects my life and theirs.

When I did my Gender Personal project (, I spent over a year exploring the concept of gender identity, and an important way for me to process these new ideas has been through my art. I believe that the personal expression of art allows us to tinker with, delve into, and form connections with new concepts.

Getting Along with Strangers, 30”x30”

Getting Along with Strangers, 30”x30”

Another influence on this latest series has been the book Lost Connections by Johann Hari. Johann writes about the huge number of people worldwide, who suffer from anxiety and depression.

After years of research and traveling the globe, he has come to believe that this is related to our disconnection from each other, from ourselves, from meaningful work, and from the natural world. His work is all about rediscovering and rekindling those connections. No matter who we are or what our life experiences have been, we crave and need these connections to find meaning in our lives.

I’m also reading The Book of Joy by Douglas Abrams, which is a presentation of discussions between the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu. These wise men also maintain that it is connection with others that underlies a deep feeling of joy in our lives, especially when this includes compassion and support.

Such Is Life will be at Columbia City Gallery from April 3rd through May 12th, and I invite you to come by and see it. The opening reception is Saturday April 6th, 5:00 – 7:00.

Time Enough , 24x30

Time Enough , 24x30

Here’s a list of books which inspired me as I was creating this series:

  • Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – And the Unexpected Solutions by Johann Hari

  • The Book of Joy, a presentation of discussions between the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu, written by Douglas Abrams

  • Things that Make White People Uncomfortable by Michael Bennett

  • What Does it Mean to Be White: Developing White Racial Literacy by Robin DiAngelo

Different Ways of Seeing It All, 30x30

Different Ways of Seeing It All, 30x30

Not the Same, 24”x24”

Not the Same, 24”x24”

For more info about the Such Is Life exhibit and Columbia City Gallery visit Jacqui’s exhibits page.

To view the Such Is Life series as a whole, click here.

If you want to walk fast, walk alone. If you want to walk far, walk with others.
— African proverb

My Latest Art Video!


My latest video, Using Stamping in Acrylic Painting, is the third in a series of videos about making and using stamps in acrylic painting. This video covers techniques for applying and removing paint with hand-made stamps.

Be sure to watch the other two videos, Creating Carved Stamps, and Creating Adhesive Foam Stamps.

Check it out, and let me know what you think!

Presentation: Decision Making in the Painting Process

Thursday September 27 2018, 6:30 – 8:30

I’ll be giving a presentation called ‘Decision Making in the Painting Process’ at artEAST on September 27th.

The talk will focus on questions artists ask ourselves as we paint, for example:

How do I make decisions when I paint? How do I know what to keep and what to change? What do I base my decisions on? What can I do when I get stuck?

I will be discussing this topic using a slideshow of my paintings in process. You’ll have a chance to see paintings from start to finish as I describe how and why I made the choices I did. I’ll also bring finished and unfinished paintings to look at and consider as a group.

There will be time at the end of the program to look at some of your paintings. Bring one of your favorite stuck paintings for the group to consider and discuss. We’ll use a lottery to choose whose paintings we’ll look at.

**This Salon is open to Members and Non-Members of artEAST. Bring a friend!

**Bring a painting you’d like to look at with the group to get ideas for moving it forward.

**People who attend will receive a $25 off coupon for an initial 1 ½ hour Creativity Coaching session with Jacqui (regular price is $135) or $15 off a one hour Creativity Coaching session.

Date: Thursday September 27, 6:30 – 8:30
Location: artEAST (95 Front Street North, Issaquah, WA 98027)
Fee: artEAST members – free; Non-members $10
To Register: to register for the Salon, click here.


Here is the painting Decorating the Ordinary, start to finish:

Decorating the Ordinary – Step 1: Getting Started

Decorating the Ordinary – Step 1: Getting Started

Step 2

Step 2

Step 3

Step 3

Step 4

Step 4

Decorating the Ordinary – Completed Painting

Decorating the Ordinary – Completed Painting

Creating a Carved Stamp

Check out the latest post to my YouTube Channel, where I go through the process of creating a carved stamp. It's the first video in a series to come, where I'll cover topics like stenciling, collage, monoprinting, and incorporating text into paintings.

Here is a list of supplies Jacqui used in this video:

Artist & Craftsman Supply:

Speedball Linoleum Cutter Blades:

Speedball Lino Cutter Handle

There are many brands of the material I use to make stamps. The one I tend to use most often is Speedball Speedy Cut Blocks. You might want to try several kinds to see what you like best.

Speedball Speedy Cut Blocks

Soft Kut Block Printing Material