Thursday, May 28, 2020

We are like sheep

Anger. Anger is everywhere these days. My friend Jen Cushman encountered an incident in her hometown that displayed the current state of emotions in our country. She told the story about a woman who displayed anger in a public place.
I've been thinking about current events and thoughts came about how I deal with anger. Sometimes it's through my artwork. When I was in college my first car, a 1963 blue chevy impala was stolen out of the dorm parking lot. The police found my car My hubby and my father fixed the engine and everything else for me. I drove that car till it fell apart. That's what Shafers do. No trade ins for us! So, from that experience I designed a board game for my illustration class...all about stolen cars.
Today I went up the ceramics studio to do some work. I was going to make more birds for an outdoor sculpture. Anger set in over the day's political events streaming from my I Phone. so.... I switched gears and started working on a boat with some figures.
I decided to morph the figures into sheep ...sheep ears. As I worked the second and third figures I became angry with the way the faces were coming out. It occurred to me that if I covered the eyes a bit it would solve the problem....ah ha! The wool pulled over their eyes!
So, here is the greenware stage of the work.....yet to be fired and glazed in the kiln.
We shall see where that anger leads.........who knows...this might turn out to be the prototype for something bigger.....

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Healing Garden

My garden has been a healing place for me since my Mom's death. I've spent hours weeding, planting and mending. There is still work to be done, gardens are never "finished". My hope is to share this with my future students when I open up my studio and garden for workshops. I'll keep you posted!

The garden is full of new life. We've had an impressive amount of rain, more than we've had in years.
Mom loved the rain.......


My nephew flew this Buddha from Japan for me while he was stationed there for the Navy
do you see my little friend in the foreground? He was made by a disabled student at Palomar College. I made the clay house in high school! 

My Irises are blooming from my friend Chris Clark...thanks friend!

                My first Epiphyllum bloom for spring!

Thursday, April 9, 2020


My Mom passed away last week after a long illness at 95 years old. No memorial, mass, service due to the extraordinary pandemic guidelines. The burial will be limited to 10 family members tomorrow. It all seems so hollow, said my brother.

I wrote this poem about her while taking care of her.

She loved when I put cream on her back and said “ahhhh”and thanked me every evening. Her back gave her a great deal of pain and was bent with age. 
She was so kind and gentle and considerate to everyone who helped her. We were taught grace and manners by her at an early age, we all knew how to set an elegant table for dinner. 
Her Virginia roots were in the garden with Camellias and Azaleas under our 150 year old CA coastal oaks. When the flowers bloomed we carried them into the house to float in bowls. 
We would have our adult beverage at 5:30pm, dinner at 6:00. Rituals were important. Binge watching was great entertainment for her last months at home. Her landline phone was her lifeline to family and friends and she loved her iPad for words with friends and email. She was very democratic and voiced her opinion when the nightly news came on. I can still hear her “oh”, huffing away at something she didn’t agree with. Waiting to hear Shields and Brooks on PBS was the highlight of the week.
Every morning a caregiver would come to get her up and dressed for the day. Soft clothes and pretty patterns were important. 
She held onto routine throughout the day, listening to classical music or to the birds singing outside. 
As her health declined she held her head high with grace and dignity, always worried that she wasn’t gracious enough, or forgot someone’s birthday. 
Her left handed writing was still in cursive, so distinctive and lovely. 
When she couldn’t walk anymore, she would say “I’m such a mess’ and I would say “ we love you for who you are’
When she was in her final hours she said ‘Tell everyone I love them’, still holding on to her giving self, one of love and courage. We all miss her so.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Today is the launch!

Today is the launch of my online class! Here is the link to all of the lovely details. 

You can also view details on my Online Classes page....Cheers! 

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

New Venue, New Zealand, New Mexico

New is the key word today....I'm pleased to announce new and continuing workshops and classes!

My first online class Watercolor Florabunda is open! I'm so excited to be part of the Create arts online group of instructors! This will be a course on dropped in color and mixed media for all levels.

I've been invited  to teach for Fibre Arts New Zealand next Spring! Here is the link for this year's workshops so you can get an idea. Next May will be the retreat for 2021.
I will be teaching my Woven stitch Collagraph Book workshop. My brother and family live in the Auckland area so it will be a perfect visit!

My New Mexico retreat for Madeline Island School of the Arts is in April. There are still some spots open for you to sign up! This workshop is 5 days full of fun, creativity, and friendships. I can not stress how fulfilling it will be to paint, print, and draw continually, learning new techniques each day. We will also paint outdoors under the beautiful skies of New Mexico. Please join me for a week of Santa Fe charm.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

A Painting from my Archives

 From my Casa series
Today I'm sharing a painting from the archives...this was a commission for a client in San Diego. They wanted a personal touch to their lives so I added the sail boat and shell. If you are interested in a painting contact me!

I usually start out by painting light to dark, working inside the shapes first. 

I started adding contrast with a dark burnt red to give myself a goal for a broad value range. 

and lastly, some details 

Friday, November 22, 2019

My favorite time of year

This is the season of cooler air, of fall colors, rain, cosy soup dinners and longer nights. This is the time to me to rest, regroup, nest, garden and create.

I ran my last workshop of the year a couple of weeks ago at San Diego Watercolor Society with 19 wonderful students and a great support staff. Thanks to all!

Next year's workshops are up for viewing on my workshops page.

I'm most excited about my upcoming spring workshop for Madeline Island School of the Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico in April. Details here.
Think about joining us for a totally blissful week of painting, printing, and drawing.
Imagine yourself in one of the most beautiful, artful towns in the western US.

Here are some outstanding student samples from this year's workshops in Santa Fe

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Queen's Ink and Baja in September

I'm gearing up for some fantastic workshops that will be held in September.

Queen's Ink in Maryland is hosting me for 3 workshops..we have some spots left in each workshop...sign up now!

Natural Curiosities Journaling 

Watercolor Block Prints
Woven Stitch Collagraph Book

and in Baja at Rancho Bellota....only 3 spots left!
We have invited a special guest to the ranch. She is a biologist who is working on her masters on the local flora of northern Baja. I'm very excited about this adventure!

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Art I come

Hola everyone!
I'm gearing up for my workshops at Art Unraveled starting on towards the end of next week. The vendor show is Saturday, August 3. I'm packing my car with clay goodies and paintings for sale....and I still have room in my workshops so take a look!

Beasties ...I'm painting the glazes and all will be fired at cone 6. 

These unglazed works are parts for my totems that stack on a metal pole. They will be glazed today and fired again in the kiln soon.

You buy the individual pieces to design your own totem. I've started an oceanic theme this summer!  I'll have poles available at the vendor show.


 .                                              Natural Curiosities Journaling
                                                              only 3 spots left!