Creativity Interview: Janice Mason Steeves, artist

Janice Mason Steeves with two of her nature inspired paintings

Janice Mason Steeves is a visual artist who lives on 15 acres west of Toronto, Ontario in Canada. The luminous, serene nature of her paintings caught my eye. Her inspiration from nature, and wild places caught my interest. She works in oil and cold wax.

Janice Mason Steeves

 HW: Can you briefly discuss your childhood/formative years as they relate to your development as a creative adult?

JMS: I grew up at the edge of town in a large prairie city in central Canada. My brothers and I were given lots of freedom to roam where we wanted as long as we were home for meals. I had no exposure to the creative arts as a child except for what we learned in school but I’d say that my creativity developed through using my imagination as I played in nature.

I had no interest in studying art when I went to university. I wanted to learn about, understand and help people. I attended the University of Manitoba, eventually earning an MA in Clinical Psychology.  

By 1984, I was working part time in school Psychology and had two young children. A friend suggested that we take a night school class in watercolour at a local college. It was a major life-altering experience for me. The watercolour instructor opened a door into a world of creativity and wonder and I skipped through. I never stopped painting from that day onward. 

In 1986, I applied to study Art Therapy, thinking to combine my skills and interests. I applied for a leave of absence from my work in psychology, and negotiated a revised Art Therapy program using my existing credentials. Just 2 months before I was to begin the program, the school informed me of  massive changes to their program. I was very frustrated and angry that all the changes made it impossible for me to take the program. I had to drop out. When I gathered myself together, I decided to take my leave of absence anyway and see if I had the discipline to work at painting on my own. I never went back to psychology.

Over time, I took many art workshops and eventually went to art school as a full time student. I loved going to art school in my 40s. I sat at the front of each class, wide awake and full of questions during slide shows, unlike the young students dozing off behind me. Graduating from art school gave me a huge boost of confidence and solidified my commitment to an art career.

“Earth Poem: Light” 40 x 40″ oil on panel

HW: What personal qualities do you think you have that have helped you achieve your creative goals? 

JMS: Curiosity, a love of learning,  perseverance and an appreciation of awe in the world.

HW: What have been your biggest creative challenges and how did you deal with them?

JMS: Making art, every painting is a creative challenge. That’s one of the things I love so much about making art. And when the wind is blowing from the right direction and the stars are in certain positions in the sky, it’s possible to make a deep soul connection to your creativity. A window opens. Your painting simply flows. It doesn’t happen all the time. But when it does, you remember.

HW: What have been the biggest rewards?

JMS: The surprise of the journey; that by following my bliss (as Joseph Campbell would say), I would have such a full and joyous life.

HW: Did you have a mentor? If so, who was it and what did they provide you? 

JMS: I didn’t have a mentor in the traditional sense. There was a much older and well-known Canadian landscape painter named Doris McCarthy who inspired me and who I was lucky enough to travel with. We travelled to the high Arctic in January before the light came back, to  paint and to experience the cold and the dark.  Doris’ dedication and drive certainly inspired me. I feel grateful though to have mentors in the broader sense of the word, from my children who  encourage me and offer welcome advice, and the support of friends, students, and collectors. Because I didn’t have a mentor in the traditional sense, I developed an Art Mentoring program where I offer advice to guide individual artists, helping them move their work forward.  

HW: What advice would you give young artists/creatives?

Janice’s studio west of Toronto, cleaned and ready for teaching when the world opens up again

JMS: Make a dedicated studio space in your home if possible, even if you can only find a corner of the basement. 

Make a studio schedule for yourself, working at least 2-3 mornings a week

Don’t show your work to others too early, whether early in your art career or early in the development of a particular painting. Their words, whether positive or negative can change the direction of your work in the fragile beginnings of your painting career.

Learn to trust your own judgment. Trust the big ideas that come to you and act on them.

The very most important thing is to love what you do.

HW: Your work is very connected to nature and remote locations. Please describe routines, exercises or practices that influence your creative process.

JMS: As my painting developed, I realized the importance of place in my work, influenced especially by travel. I took artist residencies in various countries. This is an inexpensive way to travel, meet other artists and have dedicated time to work on projects. I was awarded artist residencies in Spain, Sweden, 2 in Ireland and in Iceland.

Gathering Light 7 (1437) 60×60″ Oil on canvas

About 10 years ago, I moved into abstraction to better express myself. As the artist Sean Scully writes: “The depiction of the real world somehow obstructs access to the spiritual domain. And it is that domain I am trying to gain access to with my paintings.  That’s what I’m always trying to address.  And that’s why I paint abstractly.”

My art sales dropped dramatically at first which led me to teach painting workshops.  I loved teaching. I’ve taught cold wax and oil painting in Canada, the US, Sweden, and Iceland. The majority of my students are older women who, like me, started out to become artists late in life, after raising children and/or pursuing another career. I’m writing a book about this phenomenon as the baby boom generation ages. I’ve interviewed 140 older artists for this project.

While visiting an artist in New Mexico, I came up with the idea of teaching a workshop that would combine nature connection exercises to inspire abstract paintings. I came back home fired up with the idea of teaching painting workshops in remote places where artists could connect more deeply with nature. I found a castle on 2000 oceanside acres in Scotland and a remote outpost in Mongolia. I floated the idea of these travel workshops in a blog post and was overwhelmed with the positive response.  I hooked up with a travel agency and Workshops in Wild Places was born! 

Besides teaching artists how to create strong paintings, my goal in these workshops is inspiring artists to create a new response to the environmental crisis that goes beyond facts, pessimism, arguments, and blame, and instead offers up what nature means to our spirits; the love of it. I search for small, remote inns with easy access to the land for my workshops. In the workshops, I suggest outdoor exercises so the artist has a greater awareness of nature, a deeper connection through mindful walking, awareness and listening exercises, acknowledging that the earth is alive. My intention is to help artists create an intimate relationship with nature and then to use this relationship as a point of reference for creativity. 

Of course, an artist must create paintings from their own connection to the land, from their own experience. I can only offer suggestions for the direction of their work. To assist, I give students a 3-page handout which asks questions to help direct their focus. I ask questions about visual ideas: observe what calls you, what is predominant for you in the landscape, where does your eye go, what are the colours of the landscape; physical ideas: collect some objects from the environment that might have meaning for you, record the weather; sensing ideas through mindfulness: how do you feel in this environment, feel the energy of the place (the genius loci), what can you smell; in the studio: what do you want to express:  the silence, the calm? How can you express those feelings? Then I invite them to freely play on small sheets of paper in order to develop those ideas and I discuss the importance of composition for their larger pieces.

Gathering Light 24 (1454) 40×40″ Oil on panel

I have an abundance of really exciting ideas for when we’re able to travel again.

I am offering a workshop to St. Ives in Cornwall in late September 2021, where we’ll meet up with a local artist who gathers earth pigments and makes paint out of them. We’ll collect some of our own pigments and learn to make paint from them. This will be followed by a 5-day painting workshop. We’ll stay and work in a beautiful hotel on the beach in the small historic village of St. Ives, known for the quality of its light. There are 5 spots available.

In early October we’ll travel to a small historic stone village on the Camino in northern Spain. We’ll stay in a retreat centre in the village of Castrillo de los Polvazares with out trips to visit petroglyphs in a remote valley, and a tour of a small cave on the Mediterranean that houses neolithic wall paintings. At the retreat centre, we’ll have 5 full days of painting from the inspiration. There are 3 or 4 spots open on this trip.

In November, I will teach in Morocco. We’ll meet in Marrakech and tour the city for 2 days and then head inland on the ancient caravan route to the village of Ait Ben Haddou, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Staying in a small riad, with our studio nearby, we’ll make out trips to an oasis and visit to a Kasbah. This trip may have one place available.

Other ideas in the works for 2022 include a mountain retreat in western Crete; an inn in a former lighthouse keeper’s house on Quirpon island on the north tip of Newfoundland along Iceberg Alley; and a joint workshop with a creative writing teacher in the Burren in Ireland, and farther out, into 2023, a workshop at a renovated former monastery in Umbria, Italy.

While Workshops in Wild Places can’t travel right now, we can deepen our relationship with the natural world where we live. I offer a Zoom workshop/retreat, to explore our wild selves in relation to the beauty and mystery of the world around us. Artists will create abstract paintings and receive feedback on their work. The workshop will take place in the artist’s studio and in a place in nature near their home. A creative writing instructor will discuss climate change and suggest a creative writing exercise.  While Zoom seems to be a distant sort of format, I’ve found that the artists develop a deep bond in the group and with the earth.

For travel workshops in 2021, go to Workshops in Wild Places:

For zoom interactive workshops: Janice Mason Steeves website:

To learn more about my upcoming travel and online workshops, please sign up for my mailing list when you visit one of my websites.

Creativity Interview: Carl Philabaum, Software Designer

“Knowledge is that fascinating resource: you can give it away and you still have it!”

Carl lives in Tucson, Arizona. We met in his home office. Carl’s professional focus was the interface of creativity and machines, designing some of the early software that changed how humans interact with computers.

Carl in his home office

HW: You describe yourself as a “Digital Impresario”. Can you tell me more about your background, education, training, etc.?

CP:  I grew up in a little town: 1,200 people in rural Ohio. My father was the chief engineer of the local radio station. That was the biggest influence on my growing up, with interesting insights about life. He put responsibility on my shoulders at a very early age. He said, “You’re a smart kid, you are responsible for yourself.” And he left it at that.

In college at Ohio State I just wanted to be educated and took all sorts of things: Political Science, every art history course offered. French and German literature…and I took a Computer Science course. One of the few schools with a Computer Science Department, in 1969. Big computers with punch cards. Super nerdy. I kept going. I liked it.

I was introduced to another grad student named Mike Allen, who was trying to see if computers could be used to teach. I helped with the analysis. Some of our best projects were in Biology, Genetics, German Language, Psychology, Landscape Architecture, Philosophy. I was interested in how people who weren’t computer people might interface with these things. 

I saw: Here’s the machine, and over here is the person with the problem they want to solve. I wanted to move beyond programming to telling the machine to do things. Why can’t we move that closer to the human?

Preliminary landscape architecture sketch

We went around the country, talking to people. The chemist who tried to teach students how to use a distillation laboratory by building a simulation. Someone else did a game for children, some math problems. There weren’t too many things that were very exemplary. 

We studied: How do creative people work?

I had friends who were architects and I watched them work. The fascinating thing was they didn’t approach this by writing down their design document. Say they had a client wanting a house who was really into cooking. The architect would get out their “medium”-a piece of paper and a pencil- and immediately start to sketch. Get a lot of detail in the kitchen, without even knowing how many bedrooms there were going to be. They immediately got into their “medium”.

We went to a choreographer to study dance. They didn’t write down their ideas-the dancer got up and tried to move; a painter would start to put paint on a painting-then paint over it or rub it.

Preliminary painting study

So the interesting thing we found was that creative people tended to start without knowing all the details of where they were going to end up. And they start by getting into their “medium”.

We went back to develop a way for people to tell the computer what to do. So you think about your problem, not translating it to something the computer understands. Leaving much more mental energy to solve your problem!

We went off on our own in 1984. The Macintosh computer had just come out, we bought the first one in the state of Minnesota. Mike and I built a company to do this. I made some “drop dead” dates, if we didn’t have money by this date we’d have to stop. We didn’t make them, but we didn’t go broke, but damn near did!

We found a way to make a handful of symbols or icons, a graphics interface, that you could arrange, and you couldn’t arrange them in a way that didn’t work. When you did that you had a toolbox. You could draw, make images, move it around wherever you want. You are working in a medium

If you want to animate something you have an image on the screen and you run through animation, run the program and you just click, click, click and draw a path. Specify a time. Should it repeat? If you want to change it, there ‘s the animation path, you change it, delete it, whatever!

That was called “Authorware”, aimed at education and training. It was built to be interactive. We started to make it possible to do these things. We merged with an animation company out of Chicago and made a company: MacroMedia. A few years ago it was purchased by Adobe. MacroMedia was my format. Adobe purchased MacroMedia-it was a big purchase for them.

It was crazy: small town kid does ok! I stuck with it and it was totally fascinating to me. In the late ‘80’s I would go to conferences and people were using some of these tools you had made

HW: What were the biggest professional challenges, and how did you deal with them? 

CP: It was a tremendously hard and fun world to be in. There were maybe 50 people in the technology world making things happen. And you would talk to each other. You were competing, but not really. So it was a very different world, and I got to play in that world.

We presented our ideas in ’84-85, to every group that had money in Minneapolis, to try to get them to fund us. Asking for money. All these Venture firms. They would love it, but at the end they would say,  “But we don’t invest in Software companies”.

So we would leave, go home and try to work on our ideas. We had to solve this problem. You become your own cheerleader. You have to figure out how to get in there. I believe it is kind of believing in yourself, not stupidly, but realistically: Do you understand the problem you are trying to solve, and do you have some smart ways to try to tackle that? Realistically evaluating your skills, your value, and your potential, and then cheering yourself on. Because no one will do it for you. 

It took about 4-5 years. And that is really an important part: not to fool yourself, but to believe in the real strengths you have. And to try to always find new skills, and new things. 

Computer components at Carl’s house

HW: What personal qualities have helped you achieve your goals?

CP: I can work hard, and for a long time, on something. When you try to make big steps it takes a long time. It’s harder than you thought it would be. So there is always a point where you say, “Oh Shit, is this the right direction?” You might steer in a new direction, but you can keep your eye down and look forward to see something. I’m not bothered by that.  

I like to be able to go deep into things. I’ll get the problem in my head and that takes awhile, and once you get there then you can start to work. Solving really hard problems, you have to do the work. 

And I love those times; time disappears. I think that is one of the joys! To be able to really focus on things… You start to see constraints, see how something impacts, and affects, something else. You very quickly can see when some new thing pops up here, how that impacts and changes the overall.

It’s hard. It’s really hard! But it’s that that can drive some success in a project.

HW: What advice would you give young creative people?

CP: Part of my concern in technology: these things are really, really hard. I don’t know if anybody really understands these things we’ve built because they have only worked on a tiny piece of it. They don’t really understand the whole, and how things fit, and how they evolve. Sometimes the way things need to evolve is that whenever you want to add something new, you can’t just add it on without thinking of the whole picture. Try to come up with a way that might be even simpler than you had. And that is hard work. But I think that is the way you make real progress. 

Creativity Interview: Victoria Eubanks, Artist

Victoria Eubanks in her Denver, CO studio

Victoria lives in Denver, Colorado and is a professional visual artist focusing on Encaustic (painting with hot wax) as her primary medium. She is also a popular teacher of encaustic techniques. What follows are some highlights from the Creativity Interview I had with Victoria. 

HW: You are an artist and instructor: can you discuss your training, transition, and integration between the two creative pursuits?

VE: I learned pretty much everything in life by the seat of my pants, so the art and art instruction is no different. I found that I loved encaustic, so it was the thing I needed to do. A fellow artist asked if I would teach a class. A few of those individuals told other individuals, so between my art showings and my classes, I naturally slipped into teaching. I have no teaching credentials; I think my passion takes care of that.

Some of the equipment Victoria uses for her encaustic painting includes hot plates, liquid wax and pigments, and heat guns.

HW: Can you talk about your creative inspiration and process? Do you have routines, exercises or other practices that enhance your creative process?

VE:  Yeah, I think everybody does, whether you are aware of it or not. 

I have been a yogi for a long time. It’s a wonderful physical and spiritual thing to get in that place. It’s a good way to start your day, being mindful. I know when I am getting too frenzied, and I need to say, “OK, just stop, what are you trying to do here? What are you thinking? Be present.”

I am in my studio every day, even on weekends. It’s important for me to have a continuum. I might not be doing “creative stuff”,  I may be prepping panels or cleaning up, but I’m in there. I take pictures of my art in process, and work on the computer a lot. There is a lot of time that is not melted wax, if you will, not hands-on in that way. I had to give myself permission to do that. “… you are so doing research, you are so being creative. It doesn’t matter if there isn’t a brush with a color on it in your hand, it all counts.” And I’ve come to realize that of course it counts, but it took a while to give myself permission to do all that background work. 

Encaustic landscape painting
Encaustic landscape painting, installed at Pattern Shop gallery

HW:  I really loved the landscapes you made, the ones you cut.

VE:  Thank you. I like the juxtaposition of the loose melted color and the rigid lines. I loved what was going on there; I like the layering that encaustic allows. But it is not enough to do it just because you like the layering. To me, it always has to push a little farther. 

Encaustic landscape painting
Encaustic landscape painting

As a guest artist at the Pattern Shop Gallery, I talked about process and the medium, not the why at all. The whymatters more and more to me. People are so interested in the process, because it’s different and not well understood. I can, and do, speak to that, but I want the other half discussed as well. What’s my thought process? My Why? What does the viewer see? For example you saw landscape immediately. The why of my art is becoming very important to me.

HW: Do you experience artist’s block”? If so, how do you deal with it?

VE:  I do experience it, it surprised me. I had a lot of stuff going on earlier in the fall and I realized I’m just not doing anything in the studio.

The usual family stuff, election stuff, just anxiety — that was my excuse anyway. So it was really good to have a body of work needed for that Pattern Shop show. I purposely took the summer off, and I was out of the studio for a long time, and it was hard for me to get back in.

Having a deadline really helped, lots of things help. Having a tidy studio helps. If I stay organized, I don’t have to clean up before I can be creative. I can walk in and be ready to rock.

Blocks of custom wax blocks Victoria makes, organized by color for easy access

HW: Do you keep a notebook or sketchbook of ideas ready?

VE: I occasionally do. I work on the computer. I take a ton of pictures. There are certain things I go back to that are a comfortable vocabulary for me. I can find a bird image, or a tree full of birds and start manipulating that, I can imagine it on fields of color, or what would it look like with some texture. And it works.

HW: Did you have a mentor? If so, who was it and what did they do for you?

VE: I’ve had a lot of mentors throughout my life, including me. I thank that man who hired me the first time. I thank the individual who asked me to teach the first time. There have been people who have been very kind to me. People who suggested that I participate in this or do a certain thing, all of those people are mentors.

My Husband, who is a huge mentor, tells me, Do what you need to do. I take classes from people whose art I admire, or technique I want to master. But I don’t think of them in the same category, they are different. I think of mentor as from the softer side of life.

It’s not really a coincidence what happened in my life. You look back and see that a change happened here, but it was started earlier back here. So I look back, I think Yay me. I turned some good corners.

HW: Do you have a motto” or guiding life philosophy?

VE:  I do, actually. I have several. One is, Do the right thing, another is You are in charge of your own happiness, no one else can do that for you. Hopefully that optimism can extend little ripples of happiness out into the world.

Current work, made in 2020

HW: Do you have regular contact with other creative/artistic people? If so, how does that happen and what does it provide you?

VE: The answer is yes. And if you are going to be creative it is vital, it is really vital!

You read all this advice: “Go to openings, go to galleries, meet other artists” and I didn’t think I could do that. Oh my gosh! I have met more fabulous people, that’s exactly what you have to do. 

Yes, I get so much good juice from being around creative people. I love the side conversations we have in class– about this little section of your painting, down here, and look what’s happening with the lines and color… Who else can you talk to about that sort of thing?

Everybody needs a tribe. 

New painting, made during 2020

HW: It has been awhile since we first spoke, can you give me an update on how 2020 has affected your creativity and your art?

VE: Ah, 2020, what can I say? The year of art hanging in galleries that folks couldn’t see. The year of minimal creative contact due to cancelled classes. I wish I could say I hunkered down in the studio and produced amazing work, but that didn’t happen. It was the year of low creative mojo. Luckily I had a large installation project for the Arvada Center for the Arts, that kept me busy through June. Since then I’ve been working small, for the most part, with what I’m calling my Encyclopedia Series using thin pages wax saturated pages from a 1911 version of Brittanica. My thought was to honor the massive information contained on those old leaves, and that knowledge and wisdom would somehow energize the viewer. Ah! In reality it looks like people wandering—it captures so much of what is going on for me! 

If you would like more information about Victoria’s art please visit her website at:

Creativity Interviews: Introduction

Student engaged in the research and analysis phase of a large scale landscape architecture project.

“… I see your life as something artful, waiting, just waiting and ready for you to make it art.” Toni Morrison

While teaching graduate courses in Landscape Architecture I observed a puzzling phenomenon.  It had to do with students transitioning from the analytical, research-oriented start of a project, to the creative, design-oriented portion of the assignment. Students are generally excited to start “being creative” and designing, but extensive research tasks must come first to inform the design solutions. 

Sample analysis diagrams used to assist with design solutions.

These bright, engaged graduate students were ready to start creating. However, once the design phase began a curious thing happened: the students somehow “froze”. 

Going from desk to desk I found the same problem repeated: they could not think of solutions. They were creatively stuck. They had almost no ideas. After generating one or two basic, obvious solutions they would reach a wall. Frustration was typically quite high.

Architecture graduate studio

We discussed the difficulty of being creative. How challenging it is to “turn on” creativity, especially when deadlines are looming. We used exercises, discussions, inspirational images and other techniques to spur their creativity. Eventually ideas flowed. By the end of the assignment they had viable, inventive solutions to complex design problems. Completed projects were often impressively innovative, well beyond expectations. It was exciting to see student’s ideas expand over the course of an assignment.

Final presentation boards, Landscape Architecture graduate student projects.

But I began to wonder about the nature of Creativity. Where does it come from? Can it be enhanced? How can we support our creative energy? How do we go from being “stuck” to being inspired? What types of decisions help maintain a creative life? I wanted to help students learn skills to support a profession that requires creativity, often on demand with tight budgets and short timelines.

Final Architecture student models

As a life-long working artist I was also interested in the personal implications of understanding more about the creative process. I became increasingly interested in the personal experience of living creatively, and began to interview creative individuals, talking to a wide variety of creative people in differing fields about their experience of living a creative life. 

We discussed how they maintain their creative energy, and the benefits and challenges they faced along the way. I spoke with people of different ages, races, genders, creative outlets, locations and professions. They have been creative in a widely differing ways, including designing a life that supports their creative drive.

This blog will feature partial summaries from hours of interviews with these creative people. I hope you find them insightful as you develop your own creative practice. 

Edge of the Cedars State Park

Chacoan Great House, Edge of the Cedars State Park

In addition to Arches and Canyonlands National Parks I visited several interesting state parks on my recent trip to Utah. My favorite type of driving trip includes opening a (paper) map and simply exploring.

Edge of the Cedars State Park is in southern Utah and worth a stop if you find yourself in the area. I wrote a guest article about this park for my brother’s ceramics-focused blog: He covers everything ceramics from contemporary artists to archeological finds.

Historic pots and bone sculpting tools

Housed in a very attractive building, the museum has a nice collection of historic artifacts, including some impressive ceramics, turkey feather blankets, historic tools, and a Chacoan Great House and Kiva at the site.

Historic ceramics with contemporary designs
Museum second floor displays

Intentional Creativity: American Parks, Arches and Canyonlands

Arches National Park

Intentional creativity requires nurturing, exploration, and synthesis. Our parks systems are excellent resources for this part of a creative practice. A couple of weeks ago I visited Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park in southern Utah. Both are part of our amazing national parks system, and are remarkable places. Along the way I explored several state parks as well. The trip was part of an intentional practice of feeding my creative language, and embedding visual experiences with emotional responses. This type of practice develops a “reservoir” of ideas and memories that is an important part of building internal creative resources. New ideas flow from new experiences and help prevent stagnation of thought. 

Arches National Park
Sunrise, Arches National Park

One outstanding part of the trip was sunrise in Arches. While I resisted getting up before dawn, this was a “not to miss” experience. The intense morning light makes the incredible landforms glow, illuminating layers of open arches in a golden rosy brilliance. The crowds are thinner, the air fresh, and we wandered on “primitive trails” that brought quiet and time for personal reflection.

Morning light, Arches National Park

Another exceptional experience was leaving the Moab area for the southern The Needles entrance to Canyonlands. Because this area is more remote large crowds do not seem to gather here. While not alone, we had lots of space to explore this amazing and unusual landscape. The trail we chose winds through slot canyons and lower parts of this vast park, then climbs up to the sentinel rocks with fantastic vistas. 

The Needles, Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park
The Needles, Canyonlands National Park

As an artist I felt overwhelmed with inspiration, and creative impulse. I took extensive reference photos, and consciously tried to embed the feeling of space, beauty, and visual information to bring it back home with me. I am currently working on a piece about rocks and arches. Also percolating in my mind are gestural pieces that relate to motion and forms, more than specific places, on this trip. It remains to be seen what emerges from my studio, but the creative nourishment from this trip remains an inspiration.

Land patterns, Canyonlands National Park


In the past few days a couple of pieces I made during the summer have been catching my eye. Often a piece of work that is nearing completion needs to be set aside for a while in order to decide whether it is finished. 

This “curing time” provides for more objectivity when assessing a piece of work that is in progress. This is a common practice among many creators. The distance from an intense period of work on a painting helps me decide whether it is truly resolved to my satisfaction. During this break I begin work on other pieces, become somewhat less emotionally involved with the original piece, and am able to view it more objectively. I keep these pieces in my peripheral view around my studio, and periodically assess them. In this way I have time to decide whether I find a piece intriguing enough for prolonged viewing.  Minor, or even major, adjustments may follow this phase.

This week I noticed two pieces have caught my eye. One is small, the other more mid-sized. Each of them is giving me a sense of completion, and having achieved my goals. I share them here, and they can now be found on my Home page for this website as well.

“Morning On the Path” 8 x 8″; Oil and Cold Wax on cradled board
“Thunderstorm-Sonoita, AZ” 24 x 24″; Oil and Cold Wax on cradled board


One of the best things about trying something new is the learning process that stretches us as we grow. When I started this website and blog the process was entirely new to me.

This week I am looking behind the scenes to understand some of the hidden functions of running a website and blog. I expected my Subscribers (thank you so much for your support!) were receiving notice of my blog posts. However, that was not the case. So I am learning different ways to post my material, which in turn is teaching me more about how websites function.

We never know what new experiences will teach us, but the journey remains a big part of the adventure!

Also, I have been planting in my garden on these cooler Tucson mornings!