We are camping near the Galena Trail and rode our bikes up to Alamo siding. New Denver used to be a mining town and now it’s very quiet! This is my first bike ride on a trail and it was challenging and exhilarating, although for anyone who is more than a beginner will find it fairly easy! The stones and roots rattled my arms and I did quite well.
Here are some photos of my grandparents’ cabin, where we are camping for the week. It smells amazing, lush and green, with all the cedars. Such a relief from California drought, and the fresh mountain water tastes amazing. So grateful for water!
Even though it’s July, there is still snow up Idaho Peak. Later this year, tourists will be able to drive up to the ridge we hiked to, park in the parking lot, and hike along the ridge to the old fire lookout house. But for now, you will have to leave your car at the 8km mile marker and hike up the alpine bowl to get to the good views!
It was going to be either a brilliant family vacation or a comedy of disaster- my husband and I were flying into Saskatchewan from California, than packing into my parents Bluebird bus and driving to the Slocan in British Columbia inside of 48 hours. It went well, though my dad’s driving was a bit scary (I only sat shotgun once). My moms dog, a Puli, was the most adorable, though she is spoiled rotten. She is the black mop in the photos, they have natural dreadlocks!
I was recently chatting about my art, and I mentioned I occasionally took commissions and showed my work.
Most of the time when I tell someone I am an artist the response is “My friend or relative is an artist too.”
I usually request to be put in touch to see their work and do some networking with other artists.
But an even happier response is, “Can you make some art for me? I will give you money” and that is usually how I land happy commission like this one of Lou and Julie.
These two versions I will present to my client and hear if they capture the spirits of her animal friends. If so, I will collect the remaining fee [a deposit was paid before I started] and if not, I will collect feedback and do another version so that I know it is just right.
These two dogs are best friends and Lou is the elder. I really enjoyed the feel of charcoal on vellum and when I finished I sprayed them with Krylon clear coat as a fixative.
When I was in art school, the best way to clean paintbrushes was to wipe the excess paint off the brush (and into a jar of grey paint reminiscent of Torrit Grey) and then take the brush to the brush cleaning station.
Cleaning Paintbrushes with Microbes
ECUAD describes it thus, “Each Painting Studio is equipped with a Smartwasher, providing a more sustainable studio environment for students to clean their paint brushes, preventing solvents from being introduced into the waste stream.” It uses little microbes to break downs solvents and grease, very handy and wonderful. By far, this is the best way to clean a brush, especially for oil painters.
But haven’t all we artists had a paintbrush slip underneath the canvas, hiding its dirty bristles until they hardened? At that point, it is often to late to save the brush, which is why I prefer cheap nylon brushes!
As I paint, I do my best to keep the brush wet- sitting in a glass of water, until a lull in creative motion occurs, which is when I take them all to a sink to wipe off and rinse out. This is when the greatest trouble occurs- paint embedded deep in the ferrule does not just rinse out so easily. Sometimes I end up scrubbing my brush which I know is not good for it!
Forgive yourself for those ruined paintbrushes: You can choose to care for your brushes better in the future! Here’s how:
We do not all have access to a Smartwasher. So here are the best ways I could find for you to clean your paintbrushes at home!
Mineral spirits and solvents are for oil painters, but the other tips are applicable to painters in all mediums.
Always, definitely, wipe the paint off the brush before washing it. Its lovely if you can save the excess paint, and just like my mom, I like to wipe excess paint onto a pair of painters’ jeans. Artist’s regalia.
You can get brush cleaning tools which comb out excess paint. Don’t pull the bristles out!
James Gurney recommends brush washing soaps and conditioner. Basically, mineral spirits strip the brush, and conditioner restores it.
Bob Ross recommends a combination of odorless mineral spirits followed by cheerfully beating the devil (and your frustrations) out of the brush!
Brian Santos recommends fabric softener! This is my favorite tip of the lot!
- Mix up several gallons of this magic potion in a 5-gallon bucket: For every gallon of warm water, add 1/2 cup of fabric softener. The fabric softener is a surfactant — it actually makes the water wetter, so it can more easily dissolve paint.
- Dip your brush into the mixture, swish briskly through the water, and count to 10. The paint will release from the bristles and settle to the bottom of the bucket.
Anna Mosely suggests boiling regular white vinegar, than simmering your paintbrushes for five minutes. But since heat can loosen the ferrule and cause the brushes hairs to come out, this is a last ditch effort, best saved for ruined brushes.
Lori McNee of Fine Art Tips crowdsourced a variety of tips including soaking brushes in Murphy Oil Soap or Baby Oil before cleaning them. She does use dish soap, which others advise against.
How do you care for your paintbrushes?
How I Create Little Streams of Income
I love blogging, I really do. Sometimes I wish I got more comments, or more traffic, or money from it, but all in all, my results are quite satisfying. I could have more advertisements, I could probably put my products and services more front and center, and I am always practicing balancing my shy introverted nature with the necessity of selling my freelancer skills! These little ways of making money online are small but significant, they don’t take very much time or energy, and anyone can do them (whereas you have to know WordPress or Art to be an illustrator or website creator, some of the other ways I can make more substantial dollar amounts online).
Making Money With Chris Guillebeau
This is the easiest way I’ve ever made money online and it’s also where I’ve learned so much!! Chris Guillebeau is one of the biggest inspirations I’ve had in starting and maintaining my blog. He even took me out for Tim Hortons Coffee when I lived in Vancouver and asked, “How Can I help you?” (seriously, how cool is he!) I’ve made over $700 as an affiliate for him not to mention the priceless knowledge and encouragement I’ve gained from his writing – I have so many of his products and they are ALL AWESOME! Get yourself some of his travel-creativity-writing-wisdom here, and then apply for the affiliate program yourself. It’s win for everyone!
Making Money with Sponsored Tweets
I used to be a social media consultant – charging $75 to teach people how to operate their social media accounts. Usually they didn’t listen or follow through, which drove me nuts. So now I just run ads every now and again on my twitter. Not too much – and I make sure I have a feed of great, free, useful content that posts way more often than ads. It’s easy to sign up and pretty much click, click, paid. It adds up!
Making Money With Zazzle
I created this banjo-playing velociraptor on commission for a friend, and then I posted it for sale on Zazzle. It makes me a few dollars every few months. Pretty much anyone can come up with a simple t-shirt design, and it does provide a little income here and there.
Making Money On Fiverr
I pick up quick and easy photoshopping and article writing gigs on Fiverr. I have to be careful about what gigs I accept so that I am not undercutting myself – ie. photoshopping a photo can easily turn into a job more than 1/2 an hour long if I let it! I’ve made over $140 on this.
Making Money on Etsy
Want to start an Etsy Shop? Get 40 free listings when you sign up after clicking this link. Visit my etsy shop LIGHT LOVE ART and see my items. I sell vintage patterns from my late friend Val and original art and prints of my artwork. I haven’t built up enough business to do much more than cover my etsy fees, but it’s very satisfying when I make sales!
Like the saying goes, “There’s an app for that!” The bird-watching app I use has helped me identify all different kinds of birds where I live – like the difference between a Stellar Jay and the Scrub Jays that frequent our balcony! My friend Becci recommended The Merlin Bird ID app to me and I have proudly discovered the names of all kinds of different birds and even to tell what sounds belong to which bird.
Watch the Western Scrub Jay drink from this teacup!
Discovering Different Kinds of Birds
I put out this self-filling water dish at a height the birds could use, and they are loving it! I’ve mostly seen California Scrub Jays, and while I know we have Stellar Jays around the apartments, they haven’t been seen here. I did see a tiny hummingbird this morning, but I didn’t get a chance to identify it. Thanks to my friend Becci who recommended the Merlin Bird ID app, I have been able to accurately recognize the California Towhee, Scrub Jays, Mourning Doves, and more of the birds in our area, which is a popular place for bird watchers.
I created this illustration because these lovely birds are inspiring with their beautiful blue feathers – I hope they’ll drop one for me and I’ll use it in a dreamcatcher. Magical!
Merlin Bird ID – the Best Bird- Watching App
I also like to use this app to play bird calls that will attract the blue jays to come and say hello. I sometimes try to imitate them with my voice and it sounds terrible! And the scrub jays are not known for their beautiful calls to begin with, haha.
There’s a pair of Scrub Jays that hang out on our porch and watch us as much as we watch them. When we go inside, the male watches my husband through the glass of the door, and just now, one of them hopped over to look in at me through the open door before drinking some water.
I lent out the watering dish to a dog whose people are out of town (don’t worry, the roommates are looking after him) and before I got a new dish of water outside, the blue jays got perturbed and dropped one of my crystals off the ledge onto the porch. So funny ! I would love to get a hummingbird feeder up, too!
‘The Secret’ For Pragmatists
For everyone who thought The Secret wasn’t scientific - You are the Placebo by Dr. Joe Dispenza is your ‘secret’! Exploring medical miracles – and the science behind them, this tome shows you how your own mental state can impact your health and recovery.
How to Create a ‘Medical Miracle’
It’s incredibly dense, packed with readable and interesting studies and scientific explanations. And it definitely falls on the side of science: this is a contemporary healing book of facts! Dr. Dispenza doesn’t believe in medical miracles – what he shows us is how our beliefs can create apparent miracles – and how these ‘miracles’ follow the laws of the universe, science, and physics. There’s no such thing as magic!
The Placebo Effect is All In Your Head
I was just reading 4 things you didn’t know about Seasonal Allergies on BoingBoing.net, and this stood out to me: “Placebos work really well for allergies,” Mitchell Grayson said. “The placebo effect is around 20-to-40 percent.” This book explores how to achieve that placebo success for yourself.
One of the things I really respected about You are the Placebo is that Dr. Dispenza doesn’t talk about the ethics of tricking someone into believing they are taking medicine – this is all about your own self, your own suggestibility and programming.
Meditation and The Cutting Edge of Thought
Most of us are not on the cutting edge of medicine and thought. And so we don’t see how practical spiritual practices such as medicine fundamentally impact our bodies – instead, it all seems a little woo. This solid, substantial book marries what adepts know about the power of the mind, with what science knows about the human brain’s plasticity. Dispenza includes a meditation that you can record for yourself, and you can also purchase the pre-recorded guided meditations as well.
This is an invaluable book for deep thinkers!
I love getting magical gifts in the mail! I was super excited when these Chakra Oracle Cards came in the mail. These chakra divination cards are created by Tori Hartman and illustrated by Gretchen Raish Baskin, and they are lovely.
“They’re a brand new kind of deck that helps set your intention, remove blockages and achieve your dreams – an extraordinary divination system that puts your changing relationship to your chakras first.” Watkins Publishing
Oracle Cards for Every Chakra
This deck features 7 chakras, with the traditional chakra colors for the 7 main chakras. It’s a great introduction to the chakras, if you’re not an adept already (and face it, very few of us are yet adepts)! It comes with an accompanying guidebook, which is filled with original mythic stories that explore an aspect of each chakra, and a small meditation for anchoring each aspect. This deck could keep you busy for a long time!
My first impression was that the packaging is gorgeous. The soft yet brilliant colors have me displaying the chakra deck out on a shelf, which means I am going to be using these more often since they are out for me to see. My Goddess Tarot cards, which live in a drawstring bag, because I don’t have a box for them, do not enjoy the same privilege, although I love them too. I also noticed that the characters are a range of cultures – including First Nations/Native American. I love that! One of my favorite of these cards is ‘She Shaman.’ It felt very inclusive and universal.
Fables Of The Rainbow
This deck has a balance between clearly positive aspects, and some aspects which at first read I thought were negative. For example, the ‘rejection’ card- rejection carries so many negative connotations! But when I consulted the guidebook, I discovered the truth about the card- that rejection can protect you from getting involved in undesirable circumstances. So rejection is actually a form of protection: something wonderful! This is actually one of my favorite cards because it depicts an artist who hears the voices of critics in his head. So if you find yourself wondering what an illustration means, its vital to consult the guidebook to get the meaning of the fable behind the illustration. As an illustrator myself, I really enjoyed the whimsical depictions and bright watercolors that depict the different aspects.
Do Oracle Cards Actually ‘Work’?
And I know what you’re wondering – are these Oracle cards actually effective? Well, I will tell you this – I drew two cards for a friend immediately, and she wrote back that they were SPOT ON. Since we hadn’t talked recently, there was no way for me to predict which cards would resonate with her; in fact, I wondered if I should draw again so that I could send her “better” cards: but I didn’t, because the whole point of Oracle cards is the chance to interact with divine wisdom through chance!
As for myself, I first drew out my favorite cards, picking the illustrations that resonated with me – including “Renewal, Creation, Instinct, Perception, Self-Worth, Miracle, Impartiality, Rejection, Prayer” – surprisingly finding that I had created a self-portrait when I laid them all out side by side. Oracle cards are not some magical computer algorithm; they are a mirror that reflects back to you your own self and awareness.
I wholeheartedly recommend this deck, and I am delighted to add it to my collection of spiritual tools. It is incredibly inspiring, and a perfect deck for creative thinkers. I hope you enjoy your deck as much as I do mine. Order on Amazon.
FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from Watkins Publishing for this review. The opinion in this review is unbiased and reflects my honest judgment of the product.