Monday, December 5, 2016


I've been attracted to mandalas lately. Well, I guess that I have been attracted to them for quite some time. I've always seen my radiating designs as mandalas of sorts, but it hasn't been until now that I have pursued making more formal mandalas. 

It wasn't until I saw the movie Doctor Strange that I decided to explore mandalas of my own. There was something intriguing in the way mandala designs were used within the movie. I've never read the comic books, so I don't know if these sacred circles were part of their visual vocabulary. But I was fascinated by the visual impact in the movie, and I had to start making my own. I didn't copy the ones from the movie, and there are lots of mandala images, resources, and tutorials on the web. But I needed to find my own way.

I grabbed a compass, a ruler, pencil, eraser, and my Faber-Castell Pitt Pens, and began exploring. I'm in the initial stages now of experimenting, and I don't know where this is leading. But that is the fun and excitement of art. An idea takes root, and through cultivation, you get to see it grow and change and bloom.

Have you created mandalas? What drew you to them? What insight did you take away from making them?

Monday, November 28, 2016

21 SECRETS Retirement Sale!

21 SECRETS Spring and Fall 2015 are being retired by Dirty Footprints Studio, and that means Retirement Sale!

If you want to save $30 off the $98 regular price on this jam-packed set of workshops, act fast. This sale starts today, November 28 and lasts through Saturday, December 3! After this date, the 2015 workshops will no longer be available for purchase, but buyers will have lifetime access to all content and videos.

We were very grateful to be part of the Spring 2015 workshops, so if you want to take advantage of this awesome deal, use the coupon code: RETIRE, and check out the 21 SECRETS website!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Art and Soul Portland 2017

I just uploaded a fun little video to promote our spring workshops at Art and Soul in Portland the weekend of April 8 and 9, 2017.

For more info and to register check out the Art and Soul website.

If you can't make Portland, check out our Events page to see our schedule of events, appearances, and other workshops for the Spring.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

New Job!

I am excited to announce that come December 1, I'll officially be the new Program Manager at the Round Hill Arts Center. Right now I'm doing some work behind the scenes as I learn the ropes and ease into things. It seems a little strange that after 20 years of teaching art in the public schools to have a position that isn't directly linked to public schools, though this new position is all about art and teaching. In my new role, I'll be responsible for scheduling a variety of classes, events, and programs the center has to offer. Not only will I be bringing in some fabulous local artists to teach at the center, but I will also have the opportunity to teach some workshops myself. It's a part-time position which will give me time to work on my art and my own projects, and I'll still be able to travel and offer workshops in a variety of venues.

I'm so excited to start this new adventure, and I think that it will fit in well with what I'm envisioning for myself. So keep a look out for things to come!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Fall Conferences

The view from the hotel in Naples, FL
This fall has been extremely busy with travel, exhibitions, yard sales, and more, but the biggest thing has been the conferences. Over the past few years, Dave and I have been very fortunate to be able to attend at least two fall art education conferences each year, and this year was no exception.

Working on the keynote for FAEA
October found us in Naples, Florida presenting at the Florida Art Education Association's Conference where we gave a talk about being artists and educators. We even tied in my analogy of teaching being a giant hairball, and aptly enough we titled it The Artist, the Educator, and the Hairball.

Dave giving some directions during our workshop

We also led a hands-on workshop on the visual journal, and had a good group of art educators engaging, reflecting, and creating.

Dave's journal during the FAEA workshop
Later in October, I presented solo at a completely new venue for a completely different audience. I was honored to present at the International Association for Animal Hospice and Palliative Care Conference in Tysons Corner, VA. At the urging of my wife, who is a licensed veterinary technician, and a good friend, who is a veterinarian, I put in a proposal for using the visual journal as a means to cope with the stress and grief of pet loss. It was nice to present to a different audience on the power of art and the visual journal.

The conference packet and my journal page for the IAAHPC Conference

Dave was able to attend the West Virginia Art Education Association's Fall Conference in Daniels, WV. He presented multiple seminars and hands-on workshops to a new audience of art educators. (Sorry, I don't have any photos.)

A view of the mountains from the town of Breckenridge.
And finally, Dave and I just got back from Breckenridge, Colorado for the Colorado Art Education Association's Fall Conference, where we presented a keynote and two hands-on workshops. We stuck with the same topic that we used in Florida for our keynote, and we presented a workshop on opening up to creativity and one on the visual journal.

Journaling in our room at the CAEA Conference
It's been an awesome month of connection, and I've thoroughly enjoyed working with and inspiring not only art educators, but also folks in the veterinary field. I feel truly at home when I'm sharing my art, myself, and the power of the visual journal, and as a self-employed artist, I am now free to do more of this type of thing. I am truly grateful to everyone responsible for making these events happen, and allowing me to share my journey and my passion.

Workshop participants priming the pump of creativity
If you'd like to share in the journey, make certain to check out all of our upcoming events. If you'd like for us to come to your school, your association, or your studio, please contact us, and we can work out the details. We are always looking for more opportunities to share and connect.

Dave gearing up for our CAEA keynote
Thank you to all the board members and all the membership of the FAEA, IAAHPC, WVAEA, and CAEA for making it all happen.

Keynote selfie

Art teachers just gotta make some art!

Monday, October 31, 2016

Artwork in Lexington, VA

I spent a beautiful day yesterday driving to Lexington, VA to hang up sixteen pieces of art at Gladiola Girls at 34 S. Main Street. Although the shop sells mostly women's clothing, they do sell some homewares and other miscellaneous accessories, and there was ample wall space for my pieces.

I took primarily newer work, much of it completed in the past four or five months, but I also took a couple of my larger, older Excavation pieces to hang.

I might be biased, but I think that my art complements the contents of the shop quite nicely. If you're in the Lexington, VA area, make certain to stop by and check out my work. It'll be up for all of November, and original artwork makes for the best presents for the holidays!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Yard and Art Sale!

We're having a Yard and Art Sale this Saturday, October 29, at my home studio in Purcellville, VA from 8AM to 3PM. Come on out to find cheap household items and awesome art! Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Something in the Works!

I've been excitedly working on a new project over the past week after attending a talk by friend and writing coach David Hazard. David talked at a local library about becoming a self published author and how easy it is now with print-on-demand technology. It got me thinking about the possibilities of self publishing more Journal Fodder Junkies books as well as some other books that I have had in mind.

An idea has been brewing inside of my brain for the last few months, and I kept thinking about how I could bring it to fruition. David's talk sparked a catharsis, and I now have a clear direction in mind. Over the past couple of days I have been brainstorming, writing, and diving back into old journals working on an idea for a new book.

That's right, I want to self publish a new book, and I'm setting myself a deadline of next spring to get it done. I'll nail down an exact date in a couple of months when I get a bit further along in the process. I won't share too many details right now, and I think I have a title. I need to think about it a bit more, but my idea is to create another visual journaling book that would fit in with our other two books - 8.5"x11" with 144 pages, full color. I'll share more details over time.

I'm so excited! I can't wait to share this new creation with the world. But I'll have to wait because I'm just in the very first stages. Until then, I'll be sharing my progress.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Saturday Fun - Line and Wine

This past Saturday was my first Line and Wine workshop in my home studio (also known as the garage). I think this time of year is a busy time for lots of people, so it was a very small and intimate class of one. My friend Marcia stopped by, and we spent a couple of hours painting.

I led Marcia on a little exploration of drawing intuitive lines before tackling the 16x20 inch canvas, and then we painted. It was great getting a chance to know Marcia better, and to spend time teaching painting skills. Though I might not be a public school teacher, I am still a teacher, and I am looking forward to my upcoming Line and Wine classes.

Though this intuitive process usually leads to rather abstract or non-objective results, it doesn't have to, and the painter is free to turn the lines into something recognizable. Neither Marcia's paint nor mine went in a representational direction, but I love the fact that our paintings are completely different. I just can't teach someone to make exactly what I'm making.

I want to thank Marcia for coming out to my inaugural class. It was a lot of fun. I'm hoping to present this class in the future at some of the local wineries.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Line and Wine

There are just a few days left before the first Line and Wine painting Workshop at my Purcellville, VA studio. If you're planning on signing up, do so ASAP. Spaces are filling up!

Click here for more information and to register.