Looking out my kitchen window, I saw a little sparrow in my forsythia hedge eating the flowers off the branches. I’ve been enjoying the birds in my yard for a long time now, but I had never noticed that’s what the sparrows were doing before! I couldn’t resist doing a quick little watercolor sketch of that little guy with a mouthful.



It has been a fabulous week in Portland, Oregon.  I arrived on Friday night and spent the weekend with my daughter, Caitlin, walking neighborhoods, shopping, eating, and even hiking at Horsetail Falls.

The Art and Soul Workshops started Monday morning at nine o’clock. I had signed up for a two-day session with Donna Watson called Boro/Wabi Sabi:The Japanese Spirit of Collage. (  The tables were set up to allow two of us per table and we all eagerly spread our supplies out. I shared the table with Sandy, who owns Loose Ends Paper and Art in Salem, OR with her husband.  After we chatted awhile, I realized I used to see her demonstrations on The Carol Duval Show on HGTV.

Donna Watson has a Zen-like approach to her art and her teaching method. She started us off both mornings with easy yoga stretches to get the blood flowing. Her muted, calm color choices make her work easily identifiable as hers.  We were encouraged to use our own color preferences and Donna guided us to share ourselves in our artwork.  Her philosophy is “art is always communicating, and we need to be conscious of the message.”  

On Wednesday I took the Stencils and Masks workshop with Jane Davies,  all about layering shapes and textures onto painted backgrounds. (  Her approach to art-making is exuberant, loose, colorful.  We had a lot of fun experimenting with color and techniques.  With both artists we used the Gelli plate, which was new to me. We applied acrylic paint to the plate with a brayer and pulled prints, using masks and stencils to make shapes and adding layers of paint until we were satisfied with our piece.   I loved this class!


Thursday with Jane Davies again – Balancing Opposites/the Yin And Yang of Composition. We didn’t use the Gelli plate this time, but studied the relationship of elements in collage and painting. The way color, texture, busy-ness,calm, line, shape, and contrast all affect our artwork.  Jane generously shares her talents online with a number of tutorials, so check it out.


Overall, my first experience with the Art and Soul Retreat was a really good one.  I’m so glad that I treated myself!                                                                                    



I’m off to Portland, Oregon for the Art and Soul Retreat this week.  Yay!  It’s something I’ve wanted to do each year I see it advertised.  And with my daughter living in Portland now, I thought it was time to jump on it.  Over a four-day period, I’ll be taking different collage workshops, two days with artist Donna Watson and two days with artist Jane Davies. They are both favorites of mine, and I’m excited to get a chance to learn from them.

Here are their websites:                                                                                                                         

Can’t wait to spend time with my daughter and to dive into creating!