New Class: Commonplace Books for Self-Care

Commonplace Books are a journal…for keeping ideas, quotes, notes, and ephemera. They’ve been used since the Middle Ages to collect, organize and store information for later use.

I’ve been keeping Commonplace Books for over 30 years and over that course of time my notebooks have taken on many forms, but the thing that remained the same with each was how they inspired me and helped me to focus. They let me write something that is relevant at the time, to ponder on it and return to it at a later time.

Using Commonplace Books for Self-Care during times of stress or loss will give you a record of what you’ve gone through and how you have changed. Over time these books turn into a personal anthology of thoughts and reflections.

In this class I’ll share the history of Commonplace Books, how to use them as Self-Care, the different types of Commonplace Books and then I’ll demonstrate the two ways I use Commonplace Books. One being lines and lines of text and the other a collage style that combines visuals with bits of inspirational text.

The lessons include:

  • What is a Commonplace Book?
  • History of Commonplace Books
  • Using Commonplace Books for Self-Care
  • Types of Commonplace Books
  • Supplies Needed
  • Project 1 – Text Commonplace Book
  • Project 2 – Collage Commonplace Book
  • Commonplace Book Flip-Through


This class is offered on Skillshare and will also be available through my website.

Skillshare is a monthly subscription service. By becoming a Premium member, you’ll get access to ALL classes on that platform, not just my classes. There are thousands of classes available.

Follow the link to get 14 free days of Skillshare premium if you’re a new student!!

Income-Producing Activities for Creatives

I’ve created a fun eBook that shares a ton of Income-Producing Activities (I.P.A’s) for Creatives and I’m giving it to you for FREE.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the ideas and way others are making an income as a creative person. We usually hear people speak of making “passive income” as a creative artist, but there are many steps that are taken before those passive incomes begin to work. I’ve created a combination of daily, weekly and monthly task lists, along with detailed information about the different ways a creative can earn an income.

Income Producing Activities for Creatives eBook – $0.00

Charcoal with Digital Elements

I’ve been working on a new Series of Charcoal Drawings mixed with Digital Elements. After taking Renee Mueller’s Collected Stories class I explored drawing with Charcoal again, but I found that bringing those drawings into Adobe Fresco or Procreate I could then add digital elements to finish the illustrations.

By adding the digital elements I can add textures and colors with the brushes, as well as ephemera and handwritten text that can be incorporated into the background by using layer modes.

These techniques are the same as the ones I use for the Mixed Media Graphic Art illustrations that I teach in my class.

I’m loving the level the emotion I can create in these illustrations by combining the analog drawings with the digital elements.

Mixing Charcoal and Adobe Fresco

I’ve been taking the “Collected Stories” class by Renee Mueller, so I’ve been doing a lot of charcoal drawings.

Charcoal drawings are a bit intimidating for me. I’m not sure why since it’s how I started as an artist when I was a young kid and I always make my way through a drawing, but there’s something about it that always makes me a bit anxious at first.

My beautiful daughter has become my muse for this class, which I love because I get to draw her over and over again.

Renee is such a wonderful teacher and encourages her students to explore ways to incorporate the things she’s teaching with our own style, so I took one of the drawings of my daughter and uploaded it into Adobe Fresco where I added digital elements. First I started by adding tons of live oil brush strokes on different layers and then changed the layer modes. (I teach all how to do this in my class Mixed Media Graphic Art).

Then I used a smudge brush to smooth out the charcoal lines in her face and then with a large brush and broad strokes I blended out the edges so they merged into the oil brush strokes I had added.

I added a couple layers of ephemera and then some handwritten text and it turned out better than I could have planned.

Playing with different elements and techniques, mixing things you don’t normally and trying techniques outside your comfort zone is so important to our growth as artists.

Journaling through grief

Journaling is a common activity therapists, doctors, family and friends suggest when going through loss or grief, not because it makes the pain go away, but because it releases the pressure that builds beneath the surface.

The words you write won’t take away the pain, but they will offer you acknowledgement in a time when anything else is inadequate.

The words won’t be perfect. They may even be ugly and a bit scary, but they hold the power to comfort in a time where nothing can make it right.

Your words are your story, and they deserve to be heard, even if only by you.

I wrote all about each of these steps in this post.

Wade through uncertainty

Being creative comes with an enormous amount of uncertainty.

We get ideas as we create about adding a new color or exploring a new technique but it’s the fear of messing the piece up that holds us back.

What if we gave it a shot and it was the very thing that took our piece from good too great?

What if we gave it a shot and it ruined the piece or we have to do extra work to fix it?

Both of those what if’s bring us to a better place. Those moments of uncertainty are pushing us to be better, even when the thing we tried doesn’t work. We would never know how it looked if we didn’t try.

Wading through uncertainty, and pushing ourselves through the uncomfortable, is all a part of being a creative!

Art After Loss Workshop

The Art After Loss Workshop was created out of my own journey through loss after we lost our baby boy when I was 25 weeks pregnant.

Our Noah’s little feet prints

Art After Loss is modeled after the steps I took to work through my loss, so you’ll take similar steps, but your journey will be a personal one.

Each lesson is offering you a way to express yourself with art. It’s not about creating something that looks just like mine. It’s not about perfection or doing it right.

I’m not a therapist, just an artist who used creative expression as a way to explore emotions, develop self-awareness, cope with grief, and give myself permission to do and say whatever came out.

The lessons are structured in how I implemented them in my own journey, but please feel free to jump around. Start where you feel the most drawn to.

Lesson 1 will focus on journaling

Lesson 2 we’ll explore collage journaling

Lesson 3 brings in acrylic paints as a way of expressing your grief

Lesson 4 we’ll get messy with chalk pastels as we venture outside

Lesson 5 we’ll create field notebooks with watercolor and ink. Here I’ll take you exploring the Oregon Coast and then hiking in the coastal mountains as we work through old fears.

Art After Loss Class

I offer this class on Skillshare, but I’m now offering this class through my website. You will be given a password and life-time access to the class page where you’ll have text to read along side the video lessons and downloads.

The benefit of purchasing the class through my website is any changes I make to the class page, or updated video lessons will be made live here only.

It is my goal to make all my classes & workshops affordable to anyone and easy to watch and incorporate into your day.