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Contemplating Monuments, New Work Monday!

Contemplating Monuments

“Go outside…amidst the simple beauty of nature…and know that as long as places like this exist, there will be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be.”  Anne Frank

My life has been a whirlwind of teaching, traveling, and art-business these last few weeks.  But I have finally found my way back to the easel.  Not nearly enough hours with paintbrush in hand, YET!  But space, time, and contemplation are a part of the painting journey.

What is a MONUMENT?!


Photo Credit to Blair Speed


I often need Webster’s help to dig up a simple definition…this one was illuminating for me.  Watching the sunset on these amazing sand structures has a mightiness that takes your breath away.  You can’t help but feel connected to both the land and the beautiful calmness that occurs when you’re in the presence of something bigger than you…something absolutly magical.  Peace through nature.  Everything is relative.  Get Outside! 🙂

A monument can be built by man, or nature.  Either way, it is a reflection of the past.  Both a gravestone and a powerful site like Monument Valley (that took nature 300 million years to create) highlight the steps it took to exist in a present moment of celebration.

Celebrating the lives that are no longer with us, and the ultimate power of nature over time.

In our culture of instant gratification, we oftentimes forget to give space to the slow and methodical.  Some things simply take TIME.  The importance of the slow and continuous work of sand, erosion, water, and weather is literally what MADE these amazing Monuments.

Paintings take time

Decisions take time

Grief takes time

Change takes time

Rivers take time

Healing takes time

Goals take time


May we all remember to give ourselves more time, more patience, more recovery while knowing that the beautiful Monument is on the other side.

ANYTHING is possible.  One step at a time.

Contemplating great people among the Monuments.

“Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone, and as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Marianne Williamson

I am inspired by the entirety of life, therefore so are my paintings.  People, places, time, weather, movement, music; there is glowing inspiration in everyone and in everything.

Sit in the quiet and find your own way to shine.  Shine in a way that only you can.

Cheers to whatever that means for you!

For me, I’m off to paint (and to continue to contemplate MONUMENTS)!!

If you want a little more information about the formation of Monuments like those at Monument Valley, click here for a short video. 

Shine on,


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Spotlight! Artist in Residence information!

Art is important, for so many reasons.  

Are you looking for more art in your life, or in are schools??  Read more to learn about the variety of residencies I provide.

The arts help to expand cognitive abilities and develop creative thinking skills at a young age that will carry over through the process of education and into adulthood.  Creative problem solvers will be the next engineers, entrepreneurs, and innovative individuals.  We must train our students to succeed in education.  This means teaching to all of the various intelligences and allowing the most authentic voice of each individual to be heard.  Everything is possible in our lives, and art showcases the bewilderment of the great unknown more than any other subject matter.

School Art Programs

Montana Artist in Residence MT State info

As a Montana State Certified K-12 Art Educator, the possibilities of school residencies are endless!  I have taught year-long drawing classes, collaborated with entire schools to create murals, connected art projects to a local gallery, art history, and national exhibits in addition to having a great amount of practice creating specialized projects.  I have experience combining technology with education, and I have taught art to a K-grey audience.  I would love to connect art to your current school curriculum and standards or design an independent project specific to your needs.  Though my personal love is paint, I teach a variety of media.  Please contact me for questions, a list of project ideas, or for a referral from one of my current residencies.

Arts Standards according to grade level:


.56 cents per mile

Supply fee depending on lesson

Grant Funds are available


Residencies (references available upon request).

Butte Central Schools, Butte, MT

Great Beginning Montessori, Bozeman, MT

Hawthorne Elementary School, Bozeman, MT

Emily Dickenson Elementary School, Bozeman, MT

Belgrade Intermediate Schools, Belgrade, MT

Hawthorne Elementary School, Helena, MT

Hylight Elementary School, Bozeman, MT

Lamotte Elementary school, Bear canyon, Mt

Healing Art Programs

Arts and Healthcare Residencies

I offer a variety of art-making offerings depending on populations as well as their goals, needs and abilities.  Focus will be on art as a process of self-discovery, fun, and practice.  I work with therapists and other professionals as the “art guide on the side” helping to use art to heal and bring about happiness.

All ages and abilities welcome.  Can’t visit my studio?  I can travel to you.  Contact me for more details.


.56 cents per mile

Supply fee depending on lesson

Grant Funds are available


Additional in- house or PIR day residencies are available for teachers as well as other populations.  

The options are endless, let me design a program that works for you.

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Three EASY ways to trust your art-instincts.

Art is truly in the eye of the beholder.Lees-Valley-NZ_art

Art stirs up our emotional selves; love, hate, nostalgia…

art affects each and everyone of us.

Own it.

Our senses are what respond to art even before our brains can react.  Our senses tell us what we like, approved of, are fearful of, or dislike.  This response is extremely quick and can be difficult to translate into words.  It is a feeling, an instinct, a rapid unconscious reaction.  Art making, participation, listening, and viewing are found as biological and emotional reactions in our senses.  The arts have very specific and complicated psychological effects on us.

Three EASY ways to trust your art-instincts.

  1. Pause.  Take a moment, look, and then draw your attention inward.  How does your body feel?  Is it tense, did you just breathe a sigh of relief, do you feel transported to a different time or place?  Take note, this is your truth.
  2. Be confident and kind.  You have eyes, you have experiences, you have SEEN things and experienced them.  Whatever your truth is, it’s your truth to have.  Do challenge yourself to be curious, investigate, contemplate, and imagine other perspectives.  But you do have voice and an opinion simply by being a living breathing human!
  3. Dare to Disagree. Disagreement is not bad, it simply means we’re different people. In the search to be the most self-actualized versions of ourselves, our differences actually make us more interesting.  Talk to your friends, try to hear what they’re saying and see what they see.  Open your eyes to the amazing, beautiful truth that we really do all have different perspectives and that we’re better (and more colorful!) together.

Our brains on art

It has been found that all types of art enhance our cognition over time and that our reactions to art are very personal.  Each of us likes and dislikes things depending on our personal preference.  This preference shows up in researched results.  The field of “Neuroaesthetics, like evolutionary aesthetics and other scientific notions of aesthetics, is predicated on a class of emotions whose biological function is to generate an appraisal of the properties of objects” (Brown and Dissanayake 44). Our senses react to art before we can make an educated verbal response to what we see or hear.  This reaction has been termed, feel good behavior, because quite simply, it can elicit a change in body state very quickly and allow an individual to experience happiness and contentment.  How our bodies react to art is extremely biologically based and extremely fascinating.

If you like it, it’s hard to fight it. 

Art appreciation can allow us all to feel good or alter our state of being but why does this happen?  When we look at a picture that we like, our emotions change triggering a physical response that is then translated into a feel-good emotion.  It has been determined that, “when you look at art – whether it is a landscape, a still life, an abstract or a portrait – there is strong activity in that part of the brain related to pleasure” (Mendick 1).  The level of the response coincides with a larger amount of blood flow.  This is similar to the emotional and physical response that our bodies experience upon attraction, blood flow increase to a specific area of the brain when a person likes what they see, which is evident in pupil dilation and in the blushing of the skin.

So own it friends, enjoy art, talk about art, think about it…and have an opinion all your own!

PS More art talk coming next week!

PPS My bibliography and more information in regards to quotes found in this blogpost are available on my website under Thesis. 🙂