#mixedmedia #redheads

Portraits consume my every painting hour~ alas, I cannot paint enough of them to satiate. Bringing their moods to life is divine. LOL.


Anyway, I am really having fun with them. Here, I used an older, holly hobby-like piece I did, and then remixed. Lots of layers and texture in the background.




When Couples Fight: the fastest wins? Yes.

When we fight with our loved ones, we need to repair FAST. Here’s why.

From Stan Tatkin, expert on neurobiology of relationships. See his book “Wired for Love”:

Our brain is biased toward making war more than love. Our brainstem and lower limbic structures are always on the lookout for threat and danger. And painful memories are more easily made than pleasurable ones. This bias serves the human imperative “thou shalt not be killed.” Memories are formed, at least in large part, by glutamate (neurotransmitter) and adrenaline (hormone). Strong or intense emotional experience, aided by glutamate and adrenaline, will help long term memory formation, particularly if the emotional intensity is protracted.


When one person hurts another, intentionally or not, the injured party seeks relief. If relief is not provided in a timely manner, that hurt will likely go into long term memory. When partners ignore or dismiss injuries or make unskillful attempts at repair, the offending partner is CREATING a bad memory in the injured partner — something that will certainly come back to haunt.

Remedy: Fix, repair, make right, or do whatever is necessary to relieve an injured partner (can be a child or any other adult) FAST or as quickly as possible to keep that experience from going into long term memory. From the point of injury to the point of repair (relief) — the clock is ticking and it is ticking against both parties. An acute reaction to injury changes neurochemistry and that as mentioned can be remedied by swift repair.


However, chronic reaction to injury can have deleterious effects on both brain and body. Chronic hurt (bad feelings) due to improper or non-existent repair —leads to negative psychobiological consequences for both the injured and offending partner. The relationship becomes more dangerous, negative thoughts and emotions amplify and spill over to other events, and both partners immune systems take a hit.

Repair, fix, relieve your partner even if it isn’t/wasn’t your fault. The fastest wins and those who delay will lose.

Don’t just take my word for it. See for yourself and let me know.

~Stan Tatkin
PACT “Wired for Love”

Garland of Roses

  From my workshop #Entwined, #misty mawn. Portraits. Portraits. Portraits. How endlessly fun and challenging it is to draw and paint their moods. I love building up layers of skin tones, rubbing lines out with gauche, re-highlighting parts, etc. Its like a strange puzzle that I am drawn to doing over and over.




Experiments with portraits

“The object isn’t to make art, it’s to be in that wonderful state which makes art inevitable.” ~Robert Henri

IMG_1569 - Version 2

I’ve been steadily working my way along in Misty Mawn’s online class. My favorite part is portraits. Portraits. Portraits. How endlessly fun and challenging it is to draw and paint their moods. I love building up layers of skin tones, rubbing lines out with gauche, re-highlighting parts, etc. Its like a strange puzzle that I am drawn to doing over and over.

As always, I like showing the process, just as I love seeing almost anything in a Before and After format. Here are the phases of a couple of older portraits. I started in one direction then veered away in another:




This little piece belongs to a children’s story my mom wrote, that I’m working on illustrating. The story is about a little family of birds that forms, lives, dies, and learns to fly.


IMG_0266 (1)


Here’s a wonderful quote from Mary Oliver that feels reassuring to me these days.

“Creative work needs solitude. It needs
concentration, without
interruptions. It needs the whole sky to fly in,
and no eye watching until
it comes to that certainty which is aspires to,
but does not necessarily
have at once. Privacy, then. A place part- to
pace, to chew pencils, to
scribble and erase and scribble again.”



An Egon Sheile study

Here’s my painting of Egon Shiele’s self portrait…from an online tutorial with Misty Mawn. Egon Shiele was a prolific protégé of Klimt, and was highly influenced by another his work, but evolved into his own style. I’m moved by Shiele’s ability to take a few lines and create a moving work of art. He spent a lot of time focusing on self portraits and the human figure. His work was often erotic and sometimes disturbing. Egon Schiele was born in Austria, dying of spanish flu at the age of 28 ~tragically, a couple weeks after his pregnant wife died of the same plague.

Characteristics of Shiele’s work:
Strong, sometimes jagged defining Lines, especially of knobby hands, emotional and often provocative sexual forms, bold colors.

Here’s my study of his self portrait, which I chose because of the articulated joints of the fingers:




I used a photo of my son, with his shocking hair, to capture a similar Sheile-like quality. Then added some fun photo filters from pxlr, while listening over and over to a steel drum rendition of David Bowie’s The Man who sold the world:






Here’s a favorite poem, by a favorite artist, Lawrence Ferlinghetti:

Don’t let that horse
eat that violin
cried Chagall’s mother
but he
kept right on

And became famous

And kept on painting
The Horse with the Violin In Mouth
And when he finally finished it
he jumped up upon the horse
and rode away
waving the violin
And then with a low bow gave it
to the first naked nude he ran across

And there were no strings

~Lawrence Ferlinghetti, 1958

Painting: kimonos and french curtains

I’m practically a hermit…all I want to do is paint! Here’s a recent piece. Kathe Fraga is a Northwest artist who’s sweet, warm paintings I love. They remind me of Asian kimonos, french soaps, and vintage wallpapers. As I am trying many styles this year, I painted this piece, ala Kathe Fraga. Starting with 3 panels, juicy pinks & reds, and some nice gray to tone it down:


I can’t tell from her online paintings if she used stencils or hand paints, Asian style her detailed blossoms. Her paintings feel like blankets and pillows that I want to grab a cup of lemon grass tea and curl up in.

I was listening to this extremely cool French singer ZAZ in the streets of Paris, while I painted.





Psychobiological approach to CouplesTherapy

About 8 years ago, I had the amazing fortune to watch and learn from Stan Tatkin, psychologist, researcher, and synthesizer of neurobiological information about relationships and connection. His writings and process with couples transformed my work with couples. Couples go from frustrated emotional outpourings and habitual story lines…..to dynamic in-office break-thrus providing deep, relieving connection.


I’ll be beefing up my psychology tab with several articles that I think everyone will find a nugget in. Relationships are complex, challenging, growing-machines. Face it! I know these articles will give you some fresh tips–and validated your intuition about feeling more secure and how to move toward that in your relationship.


Here’s a great articles from the psychobiological approach to couples therapy (PACT) by Eva Van Prooyen:

“Healthy, secure relationships are a source of vital energy. PACT therapists know people feel good when they understand how to be successful partners. We are energized by a secure connection to another person. Our need to be securely attached is so powerful that it can get us through the hardest of times and help us float through day-to-day routines with ease, skill, and grace.

Secure functioning is based on a high degree of respect for one another’s experience. Interactions and shared experiences are fair, just, and sensitive. If your partner feels even slightly unwanted, undervalued, disliked, unseen, or unimportant, he or she will—quite frankly—act weird and underperform in the relationship.

Insecurity and insecure attachment negatively affect brain performance. Development can be slowed down because the brain is using most of its resources to manage being in survival mode instead of being free to move toward evolution, growth, and complexity.

In general, couples can get tripped up in creating a secure and healthy relationship and end up not liking their partners, situations, or experiences because they don’t know what to do or how to manage them. This can leave them feeling badly about themselves as well as their partner.

In line with the main treatment goals of PACT, couples are encouraged (and ultimately expected) to both know themselves and know their partner. That is, to know who they are and how they move through the world, and also to understand who their partner is, and how he or she operates. To be clear, that is not how they wish their partner operates, but how their partner actually operates, navigates, and maneuvers through the world. This knowledge, which requires a healthy dose of curiosity and attention, creates a strong foundation of understanding. It pushes forth the secure-functioning principles that “your partner is your responsibility and in your care,” and “you are responsible for knowing how to manage your partner.” Your partner then holds a sacred and honored position no one else in the world gets to occupy. That said, we often joke that actual wedding vows should probably include, “I take you to be my perfect pain in the butt.”

PACT teaches couples how to manage their partners so they can move and shift them into better states of mind and moods; lower their stress level; and decrease their sense of threat, anxiety, and depression.

The idea of being responsible for knowing and caring for your partner in this way and putting the relationship first tends to be the hard sell for some couples. When you truly understand the benefits of adopting this idea, the stance of “but it’s always about them, it never gets to be about me” loses its power as an argument.

My answer is, “You do this because it serves you and is good for you. You get your needs met by shoring up the vulnerabilities in your partner so he or she can in return do the same for you. You both get the benefits of that investment.”

Love and genuine connection create libidinal energy—life force energy that can be renewed in an instant through a simple act of friendliness, a glance, a look, a moment, and a knowing that “my person likes me.” Part of creating a secure relationship is making sure you are helping your partner perform at an optimal level. To do that, messages that communicate “I’m good at you,” “I’m good at being with you,” and “You are in my care” must be reflected every day.

If you want to put this into practice, one way I encourage that is to pay attention to everything your partner hears you say about him or her. What messages are you conveying? Another thing you can do is to introduce your partner to other people, when you are together in public, in a way that is elevating.

PACT principles help couples enjoy the experience of being loved for who they are, as well as appreciate all the day-to-day benefits their relationship brings.”