"Attention," the mynah bird began to call again from the other side of the house.
Will shook his head. "Attention to what?"
"To this."
—Aldous Huxley, from Island

I teach drawing and watercolor to help people pay attention.

Once you learn to put aside the ego trip of "I'm not (or it's not) good enough", etcetera, etcetera, drawing is one of the simplest and most efficient ways to raise your level of consciousness, to enter the present moment and stay there. At least for a while. Guidance, accountability, and practice is the thing that makes the experience stick.
Drawing is a way of seeing. Draw something you look at every day and you will see it, as if for the first time.
Join me for my online course in drawing and watercolor and learn the fundamental elements of drawing and watercolor with encouraging support and a method to help you develop good habits of practice. The course is a tried and proven, step-by-step method. It benefits you on many levels. Read more here.
This is your final opportunity to enrollso click here to read all the details. We start next week. I hope you can join us!

"I am a great advocate of drawing, not in order to become an illustrator, but because I believe drawing changes the brain... Drawing also makes you attentive. It makes you pay attention to what you are looking at which is not easy."

― Milton Glaser


Are you a wait till the last minute type?

this is pretty much your final chance to enroll in

Introduction to Drawing and Watercolor Online Course

This 8-Week Online Course starts on October 1st and runs through till November 19with a bonus holiday lesson and DIY course you can keep for later (or work on through the holidays).
Registration door is closing...

Enroll now!


If you need a reason to smile

Smile and the world smiles with you.
In traditional Chinese medicine, one diagnostic tool is to assess a person's well being is to check the corners of a person's mouth.   Next time you're feeling radiantly healthy (and may that be every day!), notice how light the corners of your mouth feel and how naturally they turn up.
Many years ago, a friend met Thich Nhat Hanh and shared a smiling practice he'd given.  I can't remember the specifics but, in essence, the practice was to inhale while smiling a number of times in a row, to notice the beneficial effects and how easy it is to start such a practice. Try it once a day. See if you notice a difference.
Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.     —Thich Nhat Hanh
Good Reasons to Smile
  • Smiling is better for your face than frowning
  • Smiling makes us feel better by releasing endorphins
  • Fake a smile if you're unhappy.  It will make you feel better
  • You're more attractive when you smile
  • Babies prefer a smiling fac
Check out the Spontaneous Smile Project.  You may start to spot smiles everywhere!

Watch the original context of Charlie Chaplin's song Smile.

Click here to listen to Nat King Cole sing the words added in 1954 by John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons.

And, if you're in for a good, long listen, click here for the Beach Boys entire original Smile album. (If you must, click ahead to 43:55 for a super charged smile.)

You don't have to run around with a fake grin spreading from ear to ear, just turn up the corners of your mouth!

Still not smiling?

Watch the final scene of Lindsay Anderson's O Lucky Man
(one of the great films of all time.)

Let a smile be your umbrella.



There's nothing quite like reading through older poems about September to really get a grasp on climate change. Or maybe it just feels that way because the summer weather hasn't broken yet, and I'm in the south.
I found a September poem by John Updike. I love it, so I'm sharing.
Although I've never read a novel by Updike, he exerted a strong influence on me. By chance (is anything, really?) I heard an interview with him in the mid-80's in which he said that he always wrote at least three pages every day. I've been writing three pages every morning since.
In the mid-90's, I heard part of another interview in which he said that there are stories that you tell your friends, stories that you tell yourself, and stories that you bury, and those last are the stories that you write about.
I lifted that almost word for word for one of my songs (Farther Still) , cited the Updike source from the stage one night, and an audience member came up to me after to tell me that the source was really Dostoevsky's Notes From Underground.
As soon as I could lay my hands on a copy, I read through the book, and sure enough, found the original quote. Exciting!
Finally, around 2007, I went to a book reading by Updike and carried his Still Lookingthrough a long, long book signing line. I made some comment (of which I have no recollection), and with a line streaming for rooms behind me, he stopped and considered what I'd said, as if we were sitting over coffee and had all the time in the world together, and offered a genuinely thoughtful response. I fell in love with him right there and then.
"The breezes taste
Of apple peel.
The air is full
Of smells to feel-
Ripe fruit, old footballs,
Burning brush,
New books, erasers,
Chalk, and such.
The bee, his hive,
Well-honeyed hum,
And Mother cuts
Like plates washed clean
With suds, the days
Are polished with
A morning haze."
- John Updike, September

Promised Reminder

Introduction to Drawing and Watercolor Online Course

This 8-Week Online Course starts on October 1st and runs through till November 19with a bonus holiday lesson and DIY course you can keep for later (or work on through the holidays).

Enroll now!

Don't cry because it's over

After Matisse, Vue de Collioure et la mer, 1911

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

~ Dr. Seuss

Just a quick wave...

...goodbye to the heart of the summer on a warm, muggy evening.
I hope that you've enjoyed the season and that you've found joy in the sun and the heat.
Except for my far flung private coaching clients and students, I have so been enjoying my time offline this year. I’ve been writing letters and cards by hand (receiving the same in response), and working with small sets of students in person. Still, I miss issuing regular(what I hope were) inspirational missives... sharing my drawings, watercolors, photos, and amusing finds on a weekly basis.
Working with small sets of students in person forces me to create quick demonstrations at a moment’s notice and tout de suite. Above is a watercolor pencil copy I made on Tuesday of a Matisse oil, Vue de Collioure et la mer, made in 1911.

How to

I had great fun making the above copy on the fly, and absolutely love helping people learn make watercolor copies of oils.
I thought I would offer my online basic drawing and watercolor course again sometime in 2016, but the next year is shaping up rather differently than I'd imagined. So... for those of you who've been waiting to work (and play) through my online course in basic drawing and watercolornow is your opportunity.
You can learn to do this on your own with my handy-dandy DIY course download Enter Here to Draw and Watercolor through which you’ll learn to do exactly that through clear instructional text and 5 fabulous videos with voice over instruction. Loads of photos and art history links, too. The easily downloadable course starts with thorough instruction on basic drawing and use of watercolor pencils. Click here for complete description and knock yourself out at your very own pace. It’s a great value at only $47!
Or... you can receive that course as a bonus if you sign up for my 8-week course in Basic Drawing and Watercolor.
This fall, I’m running the course for an 8 (rather than the usual 12 or 24-) week run and include for you a bonus lesson designed specifically for the holiday season as well as the complete Enter Here to Draw and Watercolor course.
This course runs from 10/1 - 11/19 and we meet by phone on Thursday evenings at 8 PM ET. (All calls are recorded, all student work is constructively reviewed—whether or not you can attend the weekly call live), and the dates are: 10/1, 8, 15, 22, 29, + 11/5/ 12/ 19.
Then comes Thanksgiving and you’re off on your own through the holiday season (with that additional bonus holiday lesson if you have the time to play).

Think about it...

...over the holiday weekend. I'll come back at'cha next week with a reminder to see if you'd like to enroll.
However, space is limited so if you know you want to, enroll now to secure your place!
As always, let me know if you have any questions.