Tea Shop Paintings

Saku Tea Bar~ Bellingham.  I Currently have an art show hanging here!

This “Tea Shop” collection was painted after a dear friend requested a piece for her tea shop named “Amsu”–in Osaka, Japan. I ended up with more than 9 pieces. I am drawn again and again toward painting expressive faces and hands–adding tea cups and kettles was surprisingly fun for me.

Here are a few pieces from this “Tea Shop” collection:





Artist Statement

My Process

I tend to make rapid choices about what to paint. I often won’t take the time to prep the wood I paint on. For me, all of my interest and energies go into building up the layers–working fast and often sloppy–in the beginning. I do this because the mistakes and surprises are the most compelling part of painting for me. I always work on 4 or 5 pieces at a time, glancing, waiting for the insight I’ll suddenly have about how to finish a piece. I love that moment–and the next hour–more than anything. Watching a face or hand come through into something with true expression is everything. If I’ve accomplished that, I’m happy with the piece.

I’m influenced by Egon Schiele, Oswaldo Gyuasamin, and Jylian Gustlin and love online workshops with Misty Mawn and Jeanne Oliver. Being a Behavioral health therapist and a mom are both creative processes, but its been a tremendous please to discover painting in mid-life.

Laurel Holmes,  Bellingham, WA





Saku Tea Bar, now called 11th Hour Tea~













Forming a friendship gang

Belonging is so key to our well being.

The longest living human beings are women on Okinawa–a tropical island off of Japan. They eat a lot of local seafood and sea vegetable (nori, Kambu, etc). They laugh a lot. But all of them claimed their belonging to a group of friends was the most important aspect of their lives.

It’s ironic that as young teens we orient to friends at any cost. Breaking curfews, begging for more time with friends, skipping responsibilities in order to just hang out with friends….

And our culture forces us to focus on personal interests and careers and self survival for the next 60 years….

And finally…if we’re damn lucky…we can once again return to our friend groups….prioritizing hanging out together…fulfilling an obviously central experience to human well being.

Sigh. Pack animals. Monkeys. She who laughs last, laughs loudest say the Okinawains. 👭👭👭

My wish for all young women and mothers and ageing women – is friendship packs.

If you’re an introvert or struggle with group anxiety, join a women’s group on any topic. Group connections are facilitated and you can relax and enjoy the process.

Belonging is key to our well being. 🌿


I’ve always taken photos like a documentarian rather than a portrait or landscape photographer. I picked this up from my dad-who would randomly take a photo -when nothing but life was going on.

Here are some photos of the interior of the remodel after decorating and sunshine filled the spaces. And a kitty.

Wheatstone Remodel : before & after

🔻🔸🔻Wheatstone farm remodel🔸🔻🔸

FIVE months later, we completed the bulk of big projects by the end of November. We mopped Bona Traffic sealer on the plank fir flooring, as we backed our way out the front door–headed to a Thanksgiving getaway weekend.

We’re deeply, deeply tired. But have managed to complete six remodel projects: bump outs for our new living room and wood burning fireplace, converting a bedroom to an entryway, designing a new staircase, and creating a dormer for the upstairs bathroom, with subway tiled shower and clawfoot tub for our aching bods.

The holidays came and we had our first roaring fires and gathered our families and friends and neighbors and new remodel buddies –in for food and rest and reflection. Very cozy.

We’re exhausted but satisfied. There a dozens of smaller projects left. Those could take another year, bit by bit. For now, we need our daily lives back. Our painting, our music, our social lives, our quiet time. Our weekends.

Now it’s April. Our Winter rest felt so good. My new focus is the conversion of the garage to a dream art studio- where friends and community can come enjoy art making together!