When I grow up I want to be just like Judy Wise

When you speak to Judy Wise, you have her undivided attention. She is one of those people who looks you straight in the eye and actually listens to what you are saying. She is multi-talented and has earned her living as a very successful artist. Any question I have about art, I just ask Judy and she can explain it.

As I have traveled with Judy this past year, I have to keep pinching myself that she, the equally adorable and very special and talented Katie Kendrick and I are a team. We are planning trips clear into 2017!

And do I love Judy’s work ethic. She mentions she is thinking about adding another online course and two weeks later, it’s up, she’s advertised about it and is taking sign ups. She has online courses about painting faces, making sculpey dolls, hot wax, plaster, cold wax, and journaling. Her journals are amazing and part of her daily art practice. She even illustrates her wardrobe when she travels so she can see it and choose combinations from her journal.

I love that Judy, despite her years of practice, is still curious and continues to attend workshops. In fact, I am meeting her and our friends from our San Miguel trip, Jeanne Oliver and Alexis Garrett in Scotland right after my upcoming trip to Mexico City, to attend Gillian Lee Smith’s A Moment In time workshop in a small fishing village on the northern coast of Scotland. Scotland, people, I am going to Scotland and then to London to go to a few museums before returning home. This, too, will be an opportunity to learn from Judy. Like I said in the title, I want to be just like Judy when I grow up.

Our next trip and another great learning opportunity is to Bali in September with Sue Stover. The two of them have incredible knowledge and experience with dyeing. Combine that with the beauty of Bali….I am very excited to see and experience it all. Pinch me someone before I wake up. What a ride I am on.


We still have room on our Bali trip, contact me if you are interested or want more information on this trip to Bali or if you would like to be contacted regarding future trips with Judy and Katie — Amsterdam May 2016, Spain Sept. 2016, Chiapas and Italy in 2017.

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Viva Frida and Danger!


Several years ago, Jane “Danger” Davenport created her very first online course and I was one of the participants. Since then I have followed and taken almost every one of Jane’s courses. I can’t even begin to tell you how excited that I am actually going to meet her on Friday and that I have organized a trip for her and her peeps to Mexico City. If you know Jane at all, you know how much she loves all things Frida so I know that this is going to be a very special trip for her and I am excited to be there to experience her joy.

See you soon, Danger!

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Paint Mexico City – Part Four

More special moments during Paint Mexico City with Judy Wise and Katie Kendrick.

A very special evening was spent with friends photographer Nacho Urquiza and his wife, food stylist Laura Cordera in their beautifully decorated, art filled home where they provided a very special meal for our group based on the book, Fiestas de Frida for which Nacho was the photographer. Laura selected recipes from the book and we happily indulged ourselves and listened to wonderful stories told by Nacho about his family’s association with Frida and the story behind his shoot for the cookbook.

We traveled to Frida and Diego Rivera’s Blue House which was a moving experience for many in the group. It’s quite the experience to actually see where Frida lived for twenty years, see her studio, where she slept and her clothes including the many braces she endured while wearing them. Interesting note, Nacho told us that while he was photographing for the Frida cookbook, he was allowed with special permission to take pictures in the house for only 30 minutes. If you have ever been on a shoot before, you understand the impossibility of that time frame. Of course, Nacho did it and accomplished what he needed.

Next up was Dolores Olmeda Patina’s enormous house with quite a few paintings by Frida and Diego. There is a lot of controversy over her collection and how she ended up with the paintings. We actually saw the dogs pictured in this painting.

We finished the day on the ancient waterways of Xocohmilco where we floated, like Frida,  in our trajinera accompanied by musicians and another boat that provided us with delicious mole.

Visiting Chapultepec Castle was another fabulous moment on our trip. Set high atop what is known as grasshopper hill, it has wonderful vistas that overlook the city and Chapultepec Park. We wandered through what was Emperor Maximilian and his wife, Carlota’s castle for three years during his reign. It is filled with beautiful artwork and furnishings.


One of my favorite museums in Mexico City is the Arte de Popular filled with popular art from throughout Mexico. Here are just a few pictures of what is inside.

After eating comida at the blue tiled Sanborns near the zocolo where the filming of the latest 007 movie with Daniel Craig was wrapping up, we stopped in at the Pasteleria Ideal where enormous cakes bought by the kilo were showcased upstairs in the 2-story bakery. The first floor smelled like heaven with its enormous collection of breads, cookies and gelatins. You grab a tray and pile it high with your goodies before checking out. It was a sight! Luckily we were full so we were not tempted.

Our final meal together was at Pleno, a neighborhood restaurant that was just outstanding. Chef Alberto Kalach and his staff provided wonderful service, beautifully plated food which tasted as great as it looked. We had a wonderful evening and it was hard to say farewell to the this wonderful group of artists (and significant others) but we welcome each of them into our art tribe. Until the next trip – Bali with Judy and Sue Stover in September, and then San Miguel de Allende in October, and a hint as to what is to come in May 2016.


Last dinner at Pleno


Amsterdam with Katie and Judy, May 2016

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Paint Mexico City – Part Three

Two of the highlights for me on the Paint Mexico City trip was spending time with Craig Hudson and Carlito Dalceggio. Craig is co-owner of the Red Tree House with his partner Jorge Silva. Carlito is their friend and has painted two walls in the Red Tree House and a beautiful mural that hangs in the stairwell.


Mural by Carlito Dalceggio

Craig is very talented and I love the assemblages that he makes. They are witty, playful and irreverent, have moving parts and are made with a lot of love. Craig used to teach which is obvious when he starts talking about his work which he does with great infectious enthusiasm. He is a set designer having worked in Ashland, OR for many years and still travels every few weeks back there to work not only on sets, but he is also in the throes of designing a restaurant. The man can do anything!


Not only is Craig a fabulous artist, but he and Jorge are great collectors and supporters of local artists and their fabulous B&B is filled with eye candy everywhere you look. Not only is the Red Tree House a beautiful place to stay, but the staff is so wonderful that you will never want to stay anywhere else once you have stayed there. You are truly spoiled by the beautiful accommodations, service, and camaraderie that you share with the other guests. We had a lot of fun explaining why we were at the Red Tree House and other guests were intrigued to hear what we did each day. Here is some of the beautiful artwork that hangs throughout the Red Tree House.

When we met Carlito at the door of the building where he has his art studio, we knew we were in for a treat. His aura is very special and you know that you are in the presence of someone who is a human being filled with compassion, generosity and a unique spirit. He travels often, living where it inspires him before moving on to the next city. Toward the end of our visit he calmly walked over to his desk, grabbed some ink, a brush and some paper and proceeded to sit on the paint-strewn cardboard covered floor and drew a picture for each one of our artists in the space of about 15-20 minutes. Remarkable. To say that we were awed is an understatement.

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Paint Mexico City – Part Two

Classes with Judy Wise and Katie Kendrick are filled with painting lessons, techniques and wonderful projects. This trip did not disappoint. Judy started by talking about perspective and composition and then how to paint faces using the local paint that she loves using while in Mexico. We proceeded to paint faces that we would later use in a project with Katie.



Katie showed us her method of painting faces that we used for our dolls made with felted wool. I have become quite addicted to making these and now have another supply item to hoard.


Katie painting faces. Photo by Judy Wise




Judy’s doll, made with sculpey, was also an exercise in painting and assemblage. It was amazing to see what everyone produced from these two doll classes.

Our final project was making a cardboard frame with lots of texture using the Mexican version of plaster. We added our pictures made earlier with Judy. Again, everyone made spectactular projects and I was really impressed how the artists accomplished so much in such a short, concentrated time.

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A recap of Paint Mexico City – Part 1

Paint Mexico City was filled with so many great moments, that it is hard to hunker down and write a recap. It’s just going to have to be done in installments, like Judy and Katie did.

As usual, the staff arrived early so that we could buy supplies, get the lay of the land and introduce Katie and Judy to the Red Tree House and the Condesa neighborhood. After Ane Elena and I dragged them around buying supplies, we were dropped off at El Bajio, one of our favorite restaurants for comida. This was the calm before the storm.

Ane Elena told us that the Modern Art Museum was just across the street……well that street ran the length of the huge Chapultepec Park (similar in size as Central Park in NYC) so Katie and Judy got a preview of some of the places we were going to visit later in the week. We certainly earned our 10,000 steps on Fitbit that day! And like NYC, some of the cabs we attempted to climb into said that they wouldn’t take us to Condesa, we assumed because of the Friday night traffic, so we walked, again. With a little help from a few very kind strangers, we made it back to Condesa, to familiar territory. We celebrated getting back to the neighborhood by imbibing in a delicious mezcal margarita at a local bar near our home away from home, the Red Tree House.


The following day we went to the Saturday market in San Angel. It was cold and rainy but we managed to spend a few pesos. We visited the Centro Cultural Isidro, a former municipal palace now filled with art. You were not supposed to take pictures, but I had already taken a few before we were told to “alto.”

Before our group of lovely artists arrived, Katie and Judy shared their special gifts that they made for our group. I love traveling with these two and being part of their sharing their talents with other artists.


Portraits painted by Judy Wise


Dolls created by Katie Kendrick given to Paint Mexico City participants

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Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah

If you ever have the chance, visit the Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, Georgia and make sure that you book Shannon Scott as your tour guide. He is a mesmerizing speaker with wonderful stories. Though it was cold, we were enchanted with the cemetery for over two hours and could have stayed longer had it been a bit warmer.

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Sweet Savannah

One of the highlights in our recent trip to Savannah with the Living Studio and Jeanne Oliver was our exposure to the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). The school has over 12,000 students and owns over 65 buildings in the city, many rehabilitated by the school. There are six galleries that are open to the public and the SCAD Museum. Serendipity allowed us to visit this museum because another museum was closed. There were three exhibits, an assemblage/mixed media exhibit by Nari Ward entitled “So-Called,” a representation of  beautifully designed Oscar de la Renta dresses and an unusual display of cigarettes for which I was thankful I didn’t have to stage because the smell of tobacco was overwhelming.

Outside there was a small house with a piano covered with keys and on the back was a screen showing the original store with thousands of keys and locks with a running story. Pretty cool for an assemblage artist to see.
The exhibits were great, but the most exciting thing we did was to participate in a live model studio. Everyone was so gracious to us and several insisted that we take our sketchbooks in and draw. Jeanne was over the moon because we were actually living her dream for the Living Studio. And we were so proud of our group because they all jumped in and sketched. It was my first time sketching live models.


The man on the right worked for Dreamworks for 20 years as an animator, is a graduate of SCAD and is drawing on the computer while the rest of used more traditional methods.

On the way out with our minds and hearts full we spied an antique store across the street. That was another good find. This was the way our last day went, one serendipitous thing after another. We ebbed and flowed with the best group of women who wholeheartedly joined in the adventure.
On one of our walks home, Jeanne and I discovered another SCAD gallery. Everything in the exhibit by Scott Carter  is made out of sheet rock, including the walls. Pretty awesome.

Here is our group of wonderful artists that we enjoyed so much in Savannah. Jeanne’s next Living Studio stateside will be in my hometown of Seattle next year. Details will be forthcoming but if you are interested, message me to be put on the list to contact.


Our merry band of artists!

Here is the link to the post Jeanne wrote about our trip together.

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Building history with Lisa Pressman

Lisa explains her method of building history in her paintings in this video. This is an example of what we will learn with Lisa in our workshop in Bali. If you are friends with Judy Wise, you can see what effect attending Lisa’s workshop has had on her paintings since she attended her retreat in Portland in January. She has been producing amazing work in acrylics. Lisa inspires all levels of artists to produce great work. I’ve seen it in person. She has the ability to make you look at your painting with a different perspective and quietly guides you by saying “what if?” It’s her favorite mantra. What if you go to Bali, learn from Lisa, and what if you go home with a life changing experience? What if?

Want to play with Lisa? In Bali, in an amazing hotel on the east coast of Bali with visits to temples, a weaving village with time for hiking, snorkeling and hanging out at the pool? Join us for Capturing the Essence of Bali August 29-Sept. 5.


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Create with Katie Kendrick and Pam Nichols

This year’s travel schedule is jam packed but I am sneaking in a couple of workshops at my house between trips. The first, Self on a Shelf with Katie Kendrick is March 7-8. We’ll be creating primitive dolls like the ones that a group of us made while in Bandon, Oregon. I have been felting wool sweaters which is fun in itself to see how much a sweater shrinks. You don’t have to be a seasoned sewer to create these magical creations, you can hand stitch the entire doll. Once you create your doll’s face on canvas, the magic begins as you sift through the pieces of wool, creating your little creature. You can accessorize using just about anything that strikes your fancy. Katie and I both used pieces of wood that we picked up off the beach in ours. Fern is just adorable and Katie’s style is so reflected in this doll. The pieces of wood for her horns are just fabulous, don’t you think?!

The two-day class cost includes some materials, two lunches and one dinner. Cost is $325



The second workshop is with the rust queen, Pam Nichols. If you have read my website, you know how much I love rust and wax. We had so much fun at our last workshop together that we are hosting two more Dyeing to Rust workshops, the first is May 29-31 and the second is July 17-19 (only 4 spots left). We’ll learn to rust the first night, creating wonderful rusty goodness to use in our encaustic pieces over the next two days. You will swoon over Pam’s collection of rust and we’ll be adding to it with a trip to her favorite scrapyard in early May. Pam will share her techniques on how to incorporate your rusty papers, fabric and even the rust itself to encaustic paintings. She’s a wonderful teacher and you will be amazed at what everyone creates. The price includes two dinners, two lunches and some supplies. The cost is $350.

Here are two previous postings about Pam – here and here.



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