Monday, September 19, 2016


  1. 1.
    exchange (goods or services) for other goods or services without using money.

I love to barter! art in my house has been acquired through bartering.
Now let me say this about that...that does not mean I will trade for anything. It has to be something I really want, have room for, can use or need.
When we had our picture framing business I did a lot of bartering. Extensive dental work was bartered for framing! 
Yes, I love good bartering.

One of my loves is wind chimes. If you watch any of my videos on You tube, you will hear my wind chimes in most of them instead of music. Often I combine the two.
My Dad made wind chimes with beautiful sound to them. He was a welder by trade but this was something he did when he retired and he did a local art fair and made a killing!
This is one of his. I only have 2 left. It's been about 35 years.

He would etch his own drawings (very good ones) into the plexi clapper. birds mostly.
When you come to our house, you come to the back because the front faces the lake. We have a 2 car carport and when my Dad was still alive and making his chimes, this carport was lined with his chimes and the sound was what heaven must sound like to me. These were pipe wind chimes and he hung them just right for the tones to be melodious.
We called it "Dickson's Cathedral" (Dickson was my maiden name)
Wish I had a pic of how it looked then but these are some pics of the ones I have now and, of course, they all have stories:
The bamboo one up front, my daughter bought for me when she went back to the Bahamas for her one year wedding anniversary.
The blue one was a gift from "Blue Moon Art Gallery" when they closed. I was with them the 17 years they were open.

This one I bought in the Bahamas when I went there in 2008 to my daughters wedding.

This is a beautiful Shell one I purchased 
just because I love it! 
The pipe one in the background is another one of my Dad's

This is a large pipe chime I purchased...nice deep sound.

I SAY ALL show you the wonderful barter I did recently with my new friend Jeri Bellini who, among other things, makes wind chimes out of recycled everything!!
When I saw them I knew I wanted and had to have, and when I learned she coveted one of my Journey Journals, well...the rest was history!
So here is my new treasure!! Bottle caps, forks and knife, cradle for a casserole dish and the top from an old light fixture on top!! Now, sound is not what this one is all makes sound but not really a chime, more of a "clank"...this one is about taking discarded treasures and turning them into something wonderful!
I LOVE it!!!

And here is what Jeri got.

Journey Journal No. 87
and this is "Sassy Suzi" (Jeri's name) which was inside.

We are both happy campers :)

I've loved being able to have treasures from other artists through the years and loved that they want my art enough to trade. I've only been turned down once by an artist I admire but that is okay. I also have had to turn down offers on my end also. 

Just wanted to share a little about bartering!
thanks for stopping by,

Thursday, September 8, 2016


I have a "couple" of wallpaper books (and this is not all of them)
And these are not just your B grade wallpapers...these are very very nice wallpapers!
I have a friend who is a decorator and I finally had to say "no more" least for now :)

I also have LOTS of old books. Some I have acquired and many given to me by precious people like you!
So the other day I was working on an order for a Journey Journal
and got to thinking "Why not make Wallpaper Journals"?
Why Not.....
So here I am, purging some wallpapers and some old books and really having a good time!
These Journals will be different sizes but in the smaller (5x7 and smaller) range and mostly gorgeous wallpaper with other miscellaneous papers interspersed.

Here is my first one
To find out all about these journals and price and ordering information CLICK HERE.

Hope you will want to grab one up!
Thanks for stopping by,

Saturday, September 3, 2016


Lea Ann, Kea and Cindi
I just spent 2 GREAT days teaching these 3 gals and I have to say how refreshing it was!!
Now this is NO reflection on those of you who do a lot of workshops, but as an instructor it was great to have 3 students who didn't even know what Alcohol Inks are but still know how to do terrific art!!
And it was wonderful to have 2 days of not being compared to other instructors, and I have had several terrific students who don't do that, BUT, I've had many who do.
It was just refreshing.
So here are some photos from our two fun days together.
We spent the day learning about mark making and using those marks to make painted papers and trying out all kinds of different papers that are all around to paint on.

"Now what did she say?"

 Can you tell these two are sisters?

 "I think that's done"

 Thinking about what colors I need

 Drying time and it was a beautiful day to string up the clothes line!

 By the end of day one this was the collection of paper!
Nice stuff!!


"Oh dear! I'm scared to death!!"

Time to start gluing all those papers down

"What do I do with that purple spot in the middle?"

"Hmmmmm....where does this go?"

And when it was all over....
Lea Ann's beautiful masterpiece!
Don't you love Kea's piece!

And last but not least is this terrific piece by Cindi.
Her angel in the middle is not yet finished but going to be beautiful!
And the BEST part of the two days was lunch provided both days by Lea Ann and the weather was beautiful to eat out on the deck!!!

Thanks ladies for giving this old worn out instructor 2 days of laughter and learning and getting to know each other!

(I think we are going to do this again!)

Blessings all,

Wednesday, August 31, 2016


If you hear a workshop instructor say,
"Oh it's okay if my class doesn't make, I'll come teach anyway"
"I don't care if it's one person, we will have the class!"
"It's okay if you don't have airfare in your budget, I'll just fly out there at my own big deal"
or any thing like that.....
they have:

A: a husband with a very good job 
or a pension from some big company

B: a sugar daddy

C: Had a very good job themselves with a great retirement program

D: An anonymous donor who is paying all their bills

E: They won the Lotto

F: Born with a silver spoon....

or other similar situations.
In other words, they are able - God bless 'em - to teach for fun.
BELIEVE me, I wish I could do that...

HOWEVER, My husband and I live off of his police pension and my social security....and...
my art.
Without that last one, we would be selling our home.
I'm serious.
I'm not saying all this to gain sympathy or sales or anything like that...I'm saying it because I think the public needs to be educated on artists who make a living or depend heavily on their art to pay the bills vs. those who do not.
Believe me, there is a huge difference.
One is looked on as "oh aren't they generous" and the other looked on as "Greedy"!!
I guess I got to thinking about all this as I prepared my studio today for students coming in tomorrow.
This studio didn't get paid for by money I "happened" to have.
It came about from a loan.
And I didn't build it to teach in...I was doing about 13-14 art fairs a year at that time. I was using it go create art to sell to pay my bills.
As I have blogged before, It all changed in 2009 when I went back to work as a nurse and I only sold in galleries or online until 2012 when I retired.
Guess what.... the studio payment was still there and all the other bills and I needed to make money.
Thus, the beginning of my teaching venture.

If you have been keeping up with my blogs, you know that all that is changing once again, but what doesn't change are those bills.
Over the years I have come up with all kinds of things to sell besides my original art:















oh this list is endless!!
Some things are successful, some not so much....
Some just plain died from lack of interest!

But I keep trying.
I guess what I'm trying to say here is ... be patient with those of us who struggle with this need to make a living through our art.
ESPECIALLY, those who are setting up their tents all over the country. THOSE are the ones who are serious. Many instructors are just "playing" but art fair artists are not.
We are very very serious!

Creating art is something that is inside of us and has to get out, but we need to survive also.
I wish I could just paint..paint what I want...and give it away just for the joy of creating.
I wish I could just pack up and go teach without concern of paying for the trip....
I wish....but as a dear person in my life used to tell me
"If wishes were horses, beggars would ride"

Yeh....the truth is.....
I have to make a living
and so do a lot of other artists.

And I for one DO appreciate all of you who get this...
This is more for those who don't..

Thanks for listening

interesting tidbit about Suzi:
I haven't always just done nursing and art.
My original career was as a draftsman back when draftsMAN was the correct label and women just didn't do this. In my drafting career I was an architectural draftsman, a steel detailer and a pipeline detailer.
I have been a bookkeeper. My Parents owned their own welding business and Mom was the bookkeeper. My children's Dad was a welder and I learned the bookkeeping and we took over the business when my folks retired. 6 years into it my husband was killed in a truck wreck and we had to sell it all.
At one time I was a jewelry engraver at a local jewelry store.
I was a police dispatcher for University City in St. Louis.
That was a very interesting job and I loved it.
I also found my husband John there :)
Oh, and I did some legal secretarial work for awhile.
I also worked for several years as an activity therapist 
in a mental health center.
Nursing wise I was a Labor and delivery nurse, Office Manager for a Pediatric Clinic, taught Lamaze childbirth, Surgical scrub nurse, worked on the Urology floor at Jewish hospital in St. Louis (Now Barnes - Jewish) and my last nursing job was as medical office supervisor in an Drug and Alcohol center as a detox nurse.
Just thought you might enjoy that list of things I have made a living doing in my life.

Saturday, August 27, 2016


In light of my recent "ethics" events, I've been thinking about artists copyrights. I've talked about what is ethical but what about what is legal. Here are some facts and an example of how so many just don't get it.

This situation (part I and part II) is not the only time it has caused me pain and cost me a friendship, but first let me say this...

The artists signature on the art copyrights it.
I only have one painting out there that I know of that I forgot to sign and I know where it is and it is safe :)
The watermarks that you see on images (which are very annoying) hopefully help prevent people from copying and reproducing the piece. Some people put them all over the piece but I haven't been able to bring myself to do that....yet....

These two steps do not stop people who don't care....and with all the photoshop type programs out there...they can unfortunately be eliminated.
So far....I have not caught anyone doing this to my art although I am sure it happens...and yes, yes, I know "copying my work is the highest form of flattery"......whatever.....
I don't find it flattering and neither does any other artist I know!
I have a dear friend who is an AWESOME illustrator. It is what he has done for a living all his life as far as I know...he deals with it all the time but then he also has an agent that takes care of all of that for him. Still doesn't make him feel any better. 
We have had long conversations on the subject....

But then there is something like this situation.....

Earlier this year, I put out a coloring book
Inside the front page is this:
A little hard to read but the gist of it is...this work is created and copyrighted by me and no part may be reproduced, etc. without my permission.

Now I "had" a friend who bought the book, took one of the images, reproduced it and used it to make a needlework piece out of for her granddaughter I think.
She proudly sent it to me and it was really cute and I honestly didn't mind her doing it for her granddaughter...but then
she proceeded to tell me how she was going to send the pattern to another friend and if any of my students or anyone wants the pattern I can give it to them.


The conversation went downhill after that when I made an attempt to educate her about copyright and permission, etc.
She honestly had no idea she actually needed my permission to take my work, reproduce it, make a pattern and give it to others and it offended her.

After several heated emails from her, and me trying to educate her....we parted company....end of story....end of friendship.

I try to think what would I have done if the roles had been reversed.
I'd really like to think I would have said "Oh I am so sorry, thanks for the info and thanks for allowing me to do this and I won't do it again without asking"
I really think that is what I would have done....

Hmmmm...would I do it again? Yes. I didn't do anything wrong. I was educating a friend. If she had not been a friend, it would have been an entirely different story.

I say all this to educate you all.
I know her intentions were good....I know most of you have nothing but good intentions,
but stop and think before you take another artists work and make it your own.

"Here endeth the lesson" - Sean Connery, "The Untouchables"

Thanks for listening!

Thursday, August 25, 2016


This is my studio. It opens up from my bedroom.
Several of you have played in the paint with me here or toured it through videos.

And this is my "little studio"

but let me give you a little history...
The home we live in was my parents home. My Mom went to Heaven in 1987 and my Dad lived here until his passing in 1994.
I'm an only child, therefore, it is now my house and everything in it!! My parents were depression era people who lost 2 homes in the great depression so NOTHING was ever thrown away!

My Mom was a wonderful seamstress and loved to sew. The "little studio" was her sewing area. It's a closet in the main living area of our house and was built just as a sewing area, nothing else.
When my Dad developed cancer in 1994, John and I were living in St. Louis and I came to Hot Springs to take care of my Dad. 
I was strictly a watercolorist then and didn't need a lot of area to work so John converted this little closet for me to work in while talking care of Daddy which was only 2 months. It served me well for about a year until we could move here permanently then I converted a small bedroom into a studio.

In 1998 we opened a frame shop downtown and I had my studio there for about 6 years but when it came time to close that and move home, I needed MUCH more space so we added on the room that is my studio today. That was about 2003.

Working in mixed media collage and teaching and making journals and doing all the "stuff" I do, it has served me well and will continue to....but sometimes I find myself sitting with my husband in the evening watching T.V. but thinking about whatever art is laying on my table in my studio.
Today it occurred to me that I could reclaim that "little closet studio" and now that I am working more in water media, I can do work in there and be in the main room with my husband and watch T.V. - the old "two birds with one stone" trick :)

Tonight I initiated it and it felt wonderful!!

I'm beginning to think I am turning back time....
first I get an urge to do my old medium, watercolor,
then I decide to do a few art fairs after 7 years,
and now I have reinstated the "Little Studio"

Next thing you know I'll be wanting to play jump rope!!!