Binge-worthy art show

With temperatures hitting over 100 degrees for 4 straight days, YouTube is a good alternative to looking outside for art inspiration. My newest video obsession is “Home is Where the Art Is” – a British reality show that features artists and buyers.
The producers find three artists who specialize in three different mediums, and match them with a buyer in a competition for an art commission. The artists snoop around the buyers’ home, then each has a chance to show a selection of their art and pitch an idea to the buyer. The buyers pick two of the three artists to go on to the next stage. Those two artists then create a unique piece to fit the likes and needs of the buyer.

Watching the artists’ creative process as they work through the commission piece in their medium of choice is very inspiring. In the end, the buyers have 2 unusual and very personal pieces to choose from. The show takes you full circle, from inspiration to idea to completed art.

Everyone is really polite and enthusiastic and it is an uplifting, feel-good show. At the end, you get to see the art in its place in the buyers home, and the host recommends that anyone looking for art look to local artists to create it for them. Check out the 2nd season here.

Artist in Residence

Things are a little weird out in the world right now. Like a lot of folks during the Covid shutdowns, I have found myself with an abundance of time on my hands. To get my art fix I have turned to online classes and YouTube videos. I’ve been working on a variety of projects, and I have revisited some mediums that I have ignored for quite some time. I thought it was time to share what’s been inspiring my studio time.

My first projects were handmade books. I have been binge watching The Paper Outpost, Johanna Clough, Moonside Parlour and Amity Bloom as well as others. Give them a look see if you have time. Plus if you are having any worries about the future of our world, Nazi at Amity Bloom is pure sweetness and light.

I’ve made recycled paper bag journals, a huge Field Guide with removable watercolor notebooks to record flora and fauna and some altered book junk journals.

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I got on the mask bandwagon for a few days too, making sure that my peeps all had the protection they needed. I’m not the best seamstress, but they are cute and they work. It was a good excuse to dust off my sewing machine and sort through my fabric stash. I’ve been meaning to do that for a while.



I’ve also dipped my toe back into the mixed media world with some collage and Gelli plate printing. There are some really fun new techniques out there for your Gelli printing plate, including magazine photo transfers and alcohol ink printing.  I especially enjoyed combining all three techniques. There are a ton of videos, so search around. I used the collages and prints to make cards and book covers.

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I have taken a few really nice online workshops including Wandering Muse from Jeanne Oliver and Sketchbook Revival from Karen Abend. Wandering Muse had several lessons on drawing faces in different mediums, plus finding your artistic voice, block printing, creating an inspiration board and sculpture…. very cool stuff. She also has many free classes to get you started. Sketchbook Revival was a free course with lots short lessons on working in your sketchbook, taught by teachers from all over the world. Something for everyone!

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I’ve also been working on a few new paintings. Its been a few years since I really painted, so I’m a bit rusty, but it feels good to slow down and paint again. Here are three I’ve completed.

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And, don’t worry. I have also been spending some time outside when the weather allows. We have been kayaking as often as possible.

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Some of my other favorite instructional sites are:
Carla Sonheim
Ivy Newport
Flora Bowley
Susan Lenart Kazmer

Some of my other favorite YouTubers are:
Illustrator James Luke Burke
Illustrator Leigh Ellexson
Resin Artist Artsy Madwoman
Watercolorist Watercolor MIsfit
Journaler Ali Brown
Crazy Creative Struthless
Jack of All Trades and a Voice Like Butta TheCrafsman SteadyCraftin

I hope you enjoy some of these fabulous teachers. Sandy

Studio Assistant, Sparky

a new beginning

November marked the beginning of a new era for me at work. After nearly 30 years working in a small satellite office, I was asked to report to the main office 2 days a week. This office lies smack dab in the middle of Norfolk’s NEON Arts District.



While the drive is a serious pain in the ass with its traffic, tunnels and tolls, the rest of the deal is pretty sweet. The building is full of creative folks to play with and its location offers plenty of opportunities for lunchtime art adventures with my art buddy Siobhan.

The surrounding buildings are being adorned with murals of all styles and themes, with more murals popping up all the time. Even the sidewalks are painted!



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The building I work in is just a short walk to the Chrysler Museum, and I’ve managed to catch a few awesome shows. My favorite so far is the Georgia O’Keeffe exhibit. It is small, but shows examples of her flowers, photos, abstracts and landscapes. The small size of the show allowed for plenty of time to read the accompanying words – my favorite part. She was a real piece of work.

Georgia O’Keeffe: A Place of Her Own










Saints and Dragons: Icons from Byzantium to Russiabyz1
Tseng Kwong Chi – Performing for the Camera

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Across the street from the building, we also toured the newly renovated
Glass Wheel Studio.

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Inspiration is around every corner in Norfolk’s NEON district!
I’m glad I get to be a part of it.



the art of video games

The Art of Video Games
Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, Virginia


 The Chrysler presents an exhibition that does more than trace 40 years of creative artistry and technological advances in digital entertainment. It poses the question of whether video games deserve to be considered art.”


My Daddy was so excited in the late 70s when he brought home PONG- the very first video game I had ever seen. We all sat around the TV and played for hours. I remember playing Pac Man and Space Invaders at the Pavilion in Myrtle Beach in the early 80s. I have fond memories of Frogger, Asteriods, the Atari system and Mario. When my baby was growing up in the 90s there was Pokémon and Donkey Kong. My most recent video game purchase was a Wii system and Wii Fit, Wii Dance Party and Wii Bowling. Its crazy how much video games have changed in a relatively short amount of time.

This exhibit at the Chrysler Museum of Art shows video games from the beginning of time (or so it seems) —  to the present. It was interesting to see how much the graphics have advanced over the years. I enjoyed playing the vintage arcade games, but my favorite part was the art that the visitors made depicting their favorite video game characters.

The exhibit ends this Sunday. Check it out if you can- it was a hoot!

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no excuses art journaling

BOOK REVIEW: ‘NO EXCUSES ART JOURNALING – making time for creativity’

no excuses copy

If you have ever started an art journal (or any kind of journal for that matter), you know it takes commitment!  Every time I pick up a beautiful new journal full of empty white pages I just know that THIS TIME I am going to stick with it. After all, the book is so beautiful and I have so much to say…

After a few days or weeks of diligently working in it – pouring my heart and soul into it, covering pages with gorgeous colors and textures, and making art JUST FOR ME, I get excited about another project and leave my book behind. I don’t mean to abandon it…. it just happens.

This time has been different! With Gina Rossi Armfield’s No Excuses Art Journaling – Making Time for Creativity I have been working in my new journal EVERY DAY since October 1st. I look forward to getting home from work and playing in it for a few minutes each evening! On the weekends I watercolor the pages and work on the weekly and monthly prompts. It doesn’t take long, and it is truly a labor of love. It has been such as rewarding experience, and I love to look back on my brightly colored pages and see what I have accomplished.

The NO EXCUSES website describes the process like this: Using a day planner as your art journal, you’ll find daily, weekly and monthly prompts that you can adapt to fit your real-life, busy schedule. Along the way, you’ll learn fun and convenient techniques to add sketching, watercolor painting, collage and more into your journal, all while setting goals, creating art and chronicling your unique life.


Of course, there are lots of ways to make the journal unique to you! I started out in a small watercolor journal just to see if I would keep up with it. I really loved the paper in it, so for my 2015 journal I chose a larger watercolor journal instead of a planner and I draw the boxes and dates in each week. This gives me the freedom to spread glorious watercolor all over each page!

If you have ever been interested in starting an art journal I would highly recommend this book and Gina’s process. From getting your book ready for use to inspiration each month, she really does take away the “I don’t have time”  and the “I don’t know what to write” excuses! Gina’s website also has a gallery of artist’s pages for you to find even more inspiration!

ps…. this process offers lots of practice drawing, writing and painting, and it’s a great project to use your rubber stamps and stickers again!