The Art of Growing Up

My husband bought me this little gem of a book while we were on vacation. He said it sounded like something I would enjoy reading and he was right. In The Art of Growing Up, best-selling author Véronique Vienne gives us wisdom, wit, and encouragement for aging glamorously and discovering the true art of living. I typically dislike self-help books and I wouldn’t consider this book to fall into that category. I enjoyed every word of it because of her wit and light heartedness. This book was so easy to read and would be good to leave out on a coffee table or guest room.

Not All is Lost

“Renewal requires opening yourself up to new ways of thinking and feeling” Deborah Day (author of Be Happy Now!)

Kenwood Inn & Spa, Kenwood, CA

Kenwood Inn & Spa, Kenwood, CA

Hello friends,

Recently I lost all my document files on my computer and wanted to share this with you. My tech-savvy guy had offered to take care of something for me and I never checked back on it even though I had small clues now and then that I should have paid attention to. I won’t mention names but I live with him. This taught me a big lesson. After losing my mind and getting angry, I calmed down and asked myself “so what should I do now?” and so I began looking through thumb drives and luckily found my most important book files there. Everything else was gone for good. Which led me to the next step.

First I decided to just make this a new start. Meaning that maybe it was time to let go of what I lost and begin a new way of teaching, documenting, and simplifying my notes. After all, nobody can take from me what I know and love in my heart. To live and breathe creativity is a big part of me!

Next, we took a vacation to the Sonoma Valley in California. Yes, I forgave him and took a trip with him. In the scheme of things, I told myself they were just files. Although I had to repeat that to myself several times, eventually and after a lot of great wine, I felt much better.

And the biggest thing I learned was that I alone am responsible for tech support results and learning yet another computer lesson was a good thing in the end. So back up your files, ask questions, and get help when you need it. ~Maria

To Be...

Looking back at this photo from my files (2012) inspires me to get back in the game. Putting the finishing touches on my painting that was selected for IMAGINE 2012 featured piece. Grateful memories!

Looking back at this photo from my files (2012) inspires me to get back in the game. Putting the finishing touches on my painting that was selected for IMAGINE 2012 featured piece. Grateful memories!

I’ve been thinking about my artistic abilities as I am getting my paints out and ready to engage with three canvases at one time. I don’t think of myself as being creative enough at times, especially when it comes to painting— I want to get better at it. But it’s not about my technique, or my ability to mix colors that I’m talking’s about putting down on canvas what I find interesting, creative and exciting. I love the feeling of waking up and looking forward to getting back to the canvas to try something, a new idea etc.

Painting is this: You begin with an idea, you put paint on the canvas, and then you have this weird relationship with the piece of work you call your art until you both come to an agreement that it is finished. The creative process is rather mysterious and I love it.

To be more creative, to be excited, to be surprised. ~Maria

Tell Me...

One of my favorite groups on FaceBook is Cynthia Berg’s page, “Of Ink + Insight”. Tell Me Tuesday is a weekly writing prompt she shares from the deck of cards she created, Tell Me Insight Cards. I always look forward to reading and participating with the group…Cynthia has a special, magical way about her and how she leads this group.

This one really spoke to me as I’ve been thinking that I do need a better plan, and maybe a little bit of a change in what I’m doing with my art, workshops, books, etc. It’s time to write out some specifics in my notebook and take some daily actions. Thank you Cynthia Berg! ~Maria

Photo by Cynthia Berg, Of Ink + Insight

Photo by Cynthia Berg, Of Ink + Insight

Travel Inspiration


I recently visited San Francisco for just a couple of days. My favorite way to explore a new area is to walk it and along the way, photograph things that inspire me as art. I may want to paint these street scenes or simply sketch them in my notebook. I am amazed at how much we can do with our phones and an editing app in just a few minutes. ~Maria


Hello Creatives, (Yes, you are a creative too) I have been thinking about how I spend my time, where I take it and where it goes, sometimes without my permission—a lack of schedule and the disruption of a schedule. Some days I feel like I misplaced that lifeboat long ago and need to find it because I’m still living. I am adopting a new meaning for the word schedule—a mock-up of reason and order… thanks to this quote.

How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time. A schedule is a mock-up of reason and order—willed, faked, and so brought into being; it is a peace and a haven set into the wreck of time; it is a lifeboat on which you find yourself, decades later, still living.
— Annie Dillard, The Writing Life

Be Prepared to Be Creative

clear expandable file

clear expandable file

Hello Creatives,

One of my favorite things to do is gather a mix of images, paper, and words from old magazines and recreate something new with them. Make a card, alter an existing one, collage some art. Me and my creative circle peeps sit around my table tearing and cutting out stuff. I just recently put my different categories into an expandable file. From time to time I’ll show you a few examples where these came in handy. Until then, Cut, Tear, Glue, Repeat.


Weekend Inspiration

Hello Creatives,

I watched The Book Club last night and found quite a few moments of inspiration. Maybe not for creating art directly but certainly indirectly. Here’s one thing — Something that Don Johnson said about listening to an album on vinyl from start to finish…both sides, made me think about how much I used to enjoy that. We have albums and a turntable so today is vinyl day!

Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.
— Plato

I like writing these little things down while I’m watching a movie…to remind me. Tell me, what are some of your methods for finding inspiration and doing it?

Have a relaxing weekend! ~Maria

Nothing is Original

“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery - celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from - it’s where you take them to."
― Jim Jarmusch