Art Classes at Cafe Tu tu Tango

Tango fall ClassesI’m trying something new after my seven years of teaching art at a local Montessori school. I’m offering classes at Cafe Tu Tu  Tango on Sundays, from 12 to 2 pm. The classes are $25.00 per Sunday and include all supplies. On Sundays the Cafe has brunch additions on the menu and all you can drink Bloody Mary’s. It’s the perfect time of an art class, not too busy and good lighting to get some creativity good on! It has been very enriching and fun for both my new students and myself.

For the past few weeks we have been art journaling. Last week we did some Gelli printmaking and added them to our art journal pages. It was very fun and the results turned out wonderfully. Later in the week I tried a new piece using the same materials and did some art therapy for myself, as my 13 year old daughter just quit dance. I’m just a little heartbroken. Above is a schedule of my upcoming classes.

Flying Squirrels & Letting Go


Ted Andrews who wrote “Animal Speak” and many other great reads is one of my heroes. I learned so much from that book and a few others he wrote that I automatically pay attention to the animals that I encounter in my daily life as a sign from spirit.

Last night we had an unexpected visitor that our cat “Sivee” (meaning grey in Ukrainian) brought to us just as we sat down to dinner. We had the back door open because the temperature has finally dropped in Florida. It was an injured flying squirrel. Seeing no visible injuries or blood on it, my husband took it outside, hoping that it would regain some strength and return to the trees. Later my daughter Maya and I checked on it only to find that it had died. So innocent and humble it was. Immediately, we were angry at our cat. Calling him out on it, he only stared back at us and disappeared for the rest of the night. I’m hoping that Sivee found it injured instead of making the kill himself. I guess I’ll give him the benefit of doubt this time, since it’s the first creature he has brought home to us.

So what does this mean? Here are some squirrel attributes.

Squirrels are often observed scrounging about for food and digging holes in the earth and storing nuts and other food sources for later times. Their keen sense of smell will enable them to find their stored caches even if they do forget where they buried their nuts.  Flying squirrels, do not really fly. Their skin stretches and enables it to glide from tree to ground or tree to tree. It is nocturnal. It strongly dislikes being disturbed during the day. Owls are usually the flying squirrel’s chief predators.

I ask myself; 1. Are you too active? 2. Not active enough? 3. Are you not planning at all for the future, distant or near? 4. Are you becoming too erratic–running to and fro and not accomplishing anything? 5. Do you need to learn how to save and ration on any level–including time, money, energy, etc.? 6. Are you afraid you will never have enough? 7. Are you getting too hung up on collecting and accumulating? 8. Are you gathering and not giving?

I qualify for “yes” to over half of these questions. Squirrels can teach us balance within the circle of gathering and giving out. If we are doing too much of one or the other, squirrel may appear to help us. Squirrels are the masters at preparing but they also are reminders that in our quest for our goals, we should always make time to socialize and play. Work and play go hand-in-hand, or the work will create problems and become more difficult and less fruitful.

So like a squirrel, for the last few months I have been dividing my time and energy on several different projects or jobs, hoping that one or two of them would bring more abundance into our lives. While all have brought money, my time, energy and temper are stretched thin. So the message is clear to focus on the areas where the nuts are bigger or more plentiful. In a nut shell it’s time to pare down those projects that attack my time and energy and yield little reward.

Flying Squirrel 1

Things to consider when working with the squirrel totem:

You are preparing for the future by storing up time, resources, and energy; resting during unproductive times. You are moving to a higher level of consciousness to avoid harassment. Sometimes its appearance means changes or the approach of adversaries. Warning, wisdom, change, trust, discovery, truth, balance, harmony. Use as a spiritual watch-dog to warn you of danger on any level.

What animals have you encountered lately?

Sivee my Grey Cat

Art & Clay Summer Camp 2013

Every year the fantastic clay artist Katherine Mathisen and myself hold a week-long art camp for children in Maitland. It is always a great time for the kids and so much great art is produced.

I helped the kids create the 2-d projects. We made a watercolor of an elephant and I guided the children through a step-by-step drawing process of the elephant. We created a mixed media still life,  using old pages out of science books, acrylics, oil pastels and rubber stamps. We made Gelli prints and used the prints as the flowers of the mixed media piece.  I assisted Katherine Mathisen in her portion of the clay camp. She expertly showed the children how to make a bust, a bug on a leaf and a decorative heart.

We also made a series of greeting cards. It seems sending and receiving cards is becoming a dying art (thanks to e-mail and the immediacy of the internet) and I asked to keep one of the cards to save as a pen pal kind of project. I’m working with a friend in Australia to see if there is a group of children there that would like to make some cards and start an exchange with my art campers. Keep your fingers crossed that it works out.

Thanks for taking the time to view my blog. It’s been a while since I posted. With the return to the school year, perhaps I can get back to a regular weekly posting. 🙂

View some of Katherine’s awesome claywork:


Gelli Prints

Here are a couple of photos of my wonderful Middle school art students and the prints they created using Gelli Plates. We had such fun! Here is a link to the website where you can purchase a plate for yourself;




Doggie Art Festival 2013

This past Sunday was the 10th Annual Doggie Art Festival. I had my art and booth there, as I normally do for almost all 10 years of events! I’m getting old and time flies by! Thanks to Brian and Jeff, owners of the Doggie Door in Winter Park, FL. this has turned into a must attend dog and art event attracting art and animals lovers from all over the state and beyond. Profits go to help the non-profit

The wonderful Brian, owner of the Doggie Door.

The wonderful Brian, owner of the Doggie Door.

It is always such a fun festival to do and attend. There are so many different types of dogs. definitely like a dog party. My GSD Sasha was in attendance, enjoying a perfect weather day outside with her family and the squirrels.

Our dog Sasha obsessing about the squirrels on Park Ave. She had a great day!

Our dog Sasha obsessing about the squirrels on Park Ave. She had a great day!

I learned about a new breed of dog the “Tundra Shepherd.” The biggest German Shepherd Dog I have ever seen casually walked into my booth standing as tall a Great Dane and with a slightly wild look of a wolf. I was so taken a back that I didn’t get a photo of him. The owner said the Tundra Shepherd is a rare breed, first bred by the military in the 1960’s. He was gorgeous and created a crowd of dog lovers around him. The owner called him his “Rock star”. For more information and photos check out this rescue group in Arizona;

Tundra Shepherd

Tundra Shepherd

Clients, relatives and friends stopped by. Here are a few photos to share. Click on the image for a larger view and slideshow. Enjoy and make sure to catch you’re next dog event in your town! Such fun!

Rainbow Zebras & 4 Year Olds

This year a parent from our Montessori Pre-school asked if I would do some private lessons with their 4 year old daughter.  Their daughter is quite gifted and likes to stay busy, so accepted the task. At this age children like to tell stories and draw from their imagination in their artwork. So I am trying to approach her lessons with that in mind while at the same time teaching her the basics of drawing and using different medias. In teaching her, it made me think back to my first drawings and I realized that I still had one hidden inside an old music book. I had drawn it when I was 4 and I had drawn it inside the first page of the book. Naughty me! I thought that this may be a good lesson for Alexis to try in oil pastel.

My 4 year old self's Rainbow  Zebra's.

My 4 year old self’s Rainbow Zebra’s.

When teaching one-on-one I usually paint/draw along with the student, kind of showing them a step by step process and at the end of the project we have 2 finished pieces. Both usually go home with the student. When we started working I realized how much better Alexis was at drawing and color then I was at 4! I also realized that I still approach art in the same way I did when I was 4. A whimsical central subject and lots of color! So both Alexis and I are still learning. Do you have any of your artwork from when you were 4?

Alexis' Rainbow Zebra

Alexis’ Rainbow Zebra

My Rainbow Zebra!

My Rainbow Zebra!

Pondering the finished product.Pondering the finished product.

After School Art- Assemblage!

We just finished a 4 week assemblage project in my after school art class. The children did a fantastic job! I am just amazed with their creativity and imagination. We used mainly repurposed materials. Jewelry that I collected over the years, scrabble tiles and inspiration from the fantastic Lynn Whipple (my old studio pal from McRae Art Studios), corrugated cardboard from my husband’s warehouse and more that I can’t remember to list. Enjoy!

Here is a definition of assemblage;

assemblage –  a collection or gathering of things or people : a wondrous assemblage of noble knights, cruel temptresses,and impossible loves.• a machine or object made of pieces fitted together : some vast assemblage of gears and cogs.• a work of art made by grouping found or unrelated objects.• the action of gathering or fitting things together.

Picasso did quite a few assemblage pieces. Here is a link to an example of one using similar materials;

There are really no rules in assemblage, just the limits of your imagination! You should try one!

To see more of Lynn’s great work:

Website of a great co-op art studio in Winter Park, FL.

Instagram – Instant, Connecting, Creative & Invasive


I’ve recently discovered Instagram and was inspired to do the photo-a-day challenge thanks to one of my dance mom friends. It’s really quite easy and I’m quite happy at how artsy my images are turning out. I guess I will try to upload them continually to this post throughout the month. Here’s what I’ve done so far.

Photo-A-Day Challenge; Your view today!

DAY 1 – My view today. Painting with little dancers. 🙂

Day 2 Photo Challenge - Fav Holiday Movie.

DAY 2 – My favorite holiday movie

Day 3 Photo Challenge - Red

DAY 3 – Red. At South of the Border

Photo Challenge Day #4 Joyous!

DAY 4 – Joyous. The 10 of cups embodies that word.

#photochallenge #day5

DAY 5 – Today’s Temperature. From my car’s dashboard in sunny Florida.

#photoadaychallenge #day5 #shopping Anthropolgie, my favorite store. Can't afford much from there these days. Cie La Vie!

DAY 6 – Shopping. Anthropolgie. One of my favorite stores.

#photoadaychallenge #day7

DAY 7 – Bright. My neighbor’s palm tree. It gets decorated every year and just gets brighter and brighter!

#photoadaychallenge #day8 #ornament

DAY 8 – Ornaments. Although we haven’t gotten the tree up yet, the ornaments are down from the attic. So I just snapped one of the prettier ones.

#photoadaychallenge #day9 Wanted to read it before I saw it.

DAY 9 – What I’m reading. Cloud Atlas.

#photoadaychallenge #wrappingpaper #day10

DAY 10 – Wrapping paper. Busy day. Uninspired….

#photoadaychallenge #day11 #green my awesome milkweed plants! #milkweed

DAY 11 – Green. My beautiful butterfly plants after an overnight rain.

#photoadaychallenge #day12 #abeautfulsight My daughter dancing. #dance

DAY 12 – A Beautiful sight. My daughter dancing.

#photoadaychallenge #family My loves!

DAY 13 – Family.

#photoadaychallenge #christmastree #day14

DAY 14 – Christmas Tree. No Christmas tree at our house yet, it’s the one from the sushi resturant.

#photoadaychallenge #day15 #favoritechristmassong

DAY 15 – Favorite Christmas Song.

#photoadaychallenge #day16 #outdoorChristmaslights

DAY 16 – Outside Christmas lights.

#photoadaychallenge #packages #day17 #cutecat

DAY 17 – Presents. My grey cat Sivee is the best present!

#photoadaychallenge #stockings #day18

DAY 18 – Stockings

#photoadaychallenge #candy cane #day19

DAY 19 – Candy Cane.

#photoadaychallenge #day20 #treetopper

DAY 20 – Tree Topper.

#photoadaychallenge #peace

DAY 21 – Peace

A Herbert Christmas Tradition! #tradition #photoadaychallenge #day22

DAY 22 – Tradition. Christmas Cookies, A Herbert tradition.

#photoadaychallenge #day23 #scarf

DAY 23 – Scarf. It doesn’t get very cold in Florida. This was kind of tough.

#photoadaychallenge #favoritepartifChristmaseve #mightnightmass

DAY 24 – Favorite Part of Christmas Eve. Midnight Mass.

#photoadaychallenge #day25 #morning #Christmas

DAY 25 – Morning. My grey cat Sivee is the best present!

#photoadaychallenge #day26 I want to focus on this more in the New Year. It's good Mojo!

DAY 26 – Grateful. Want to be more so in 2013.

#nighttime in Florida #photoadaychallenge #day28

DAY 27 – Night Time

#photoadaychallenge #day28 #words

DAY 28 – Words. From a book of Russian legends.

#photoadaychallenge #day29

DAY 29 – Sky View. Shot at the entrance to our neighborhood.

#photoadaychallenge #day30 #yourwinterwonderland My childhood winter wonderland

DAY 30 – Your Winter Wonderland. My childhood winter wonderland, circa 1971. Yikes! So long a go now!

Fun with beaded purses!

DAY 31 – Fun! Christmas Eve with my designer friend/client KC Malhan. Check out their website!

The other really cool thing I love about Instragram is being able to see celebrities view of the world through their Instagram posts. My current favorite is @bigbaldhead or Norman Reedus or Daryl Dixon from The Walking Dead. Here are some of his latest posts.

Recent Portraits

I completed a couple of portraits lately and thought I’d share. I paint animals much easier than people but it is all about the process, applying the paint, choosing the right colors, letting the work grow and speak on its own.

The piece above was done for a girl turning 13, for her bat mitzvah. I’ve watched the girl grow up. Her mom is part of McRae Art Studios in Winter Park, FL. A co-op art studio that I belonged to for over 10 years. She has always been sweet, smart and goofy. Filled with grace, and sometimes aloof. A beauty and a tomboy.

The next piece was part of a donation the I agreed to do for my Montessori School PTA fundraiser. The winners of the donation were a very much-loved and hip teacher couple who work at the school. They are fans of the work of Sylvia Ji. They asked my to do a piece similar to her work. Enjoy!




Curious Cats

Cats are Always Curious About Flowers!

This is a commission I just completed and that I think really turned out well!

Here is the process;

1. I receive photos from the client and we agree to a size and price.

2. I create one or two pencil sketches for approval.

3. I begin the painting which can take a couple of weeks or a couple of months, depending on how crazy my life is.

4. I ship or deliver it to the client and they add it to their decor and awesome art collection!

For interior design help in the Washington D.C. area check out;

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