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.

Roof Prowl_paper_web.jpg

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:

Cr Journ_2_web.jpg
  • 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

Cr Journ_6_web.jpg