HAPPY NEW YEAR! From Art Camp for Women





I am in the throes of completing the Old Year – 2014 so I can have a clean slate for the New Year – 2015. I have done this every year for at least 15 years and I find it the most powerful of all my practices for living a present and conscious life.

When I first started doing this I made up my own questions and goal-setting exercises. Now – as it has become a popular as well as an effective exercise – there are several websites and activities oriented around your effectiveness and productivity.

Here are some links to my favorite sites for completing 2014 and inventing 2015:

The Art of Non-Conformity, Chris Guillebeau – How to Conduct Your Own Annual Review
Married with Luggage, Betsy and Warren Talbot – How We Plan a New Year
Unraveling the Year Ahead 2015, Susannah Conway – Lets Make Some Magic in 2015
Best Year Ever, Michael Hyatt – Your Breakthrough Year 

I don’t get paid by any of these sites or products, they are just good sources that I use myself.

HOUSEKEEPING NOTE: We will be doing some maintenance and upgrading here on this site for the next week-and-a-half. We will only be able to post sporadically in the time this is going on. Please bear with us – The Journal Project and the Traveling Art Journal will return to you live as soon as possible. You can see what we are doing over at Facebook to some degree. Thanks.


Mojo Missing Alert! Art Camp for Women

It’s Monday and her Mojo is missing! See what Lori W.  says about finding it over at Artistcellar.

Mojo Paper & Tape

A Space for Art-Kelli Nina Perkins Guest Post-Art Camp for Women

Art Camp for Women welcomes Kelli Nina Perkins as our Guest Blogger this week. Kelli will be teaching mixed-media art at Art Camp for Women in October 2012. She will be teaching at Deluxe Camp as well as “The Works!” Camp! Welcome Kelli.

This is Kelli Nina Perkins guest blogging for Art Camp for Women. I’m already looking forward to fall and vibrating with ideas for our upcoming session! We’ll be exploring self-portraits with juicy, colorful projects and a bit of self-exploration. I’ll share more about that later this year.

Self Portrait by Kelli Nina Perkins

Self Portrait by Kelli Nina Perkins

I bet that if you asked a group of creatives what the most important art-making ingredient is, you’d get responses like; “talent,” “practice,” “the right supplies,” “intention,” and even “imagination.”

All of these are wonderful and impart their unique flavor to the process, but you can possess all of them and still make no art. Here’s an example. In the past six months I’ve taken no less than three online courses in art making. Each was taught by a good teacher and covered material of interest to me. I watched and absorbed the information with fascination…then I filed it away for another time. Classes taken: 3. Art created: 0. I believe the reason these online classes didn’t translate into art is a matter of space. I didn’t make space for art.

Make Space for Art

Original art by Kelli Nina Perkins

Making space for art isn’t about having a studio or an award-winning cache of craft supplies. It’s about intentionally making place space, time space and mental space. All three are necessary if we are to move our creative work forward.

Place Space

Place space doesn’t need to be large or fancy, but it must be ready for our explorations. That means a spot we don’t worry about messing up, a place with some tranquility of mind (or a good pair of headphones) and a space with supplies uncapped and ready to use. The only materials you’ll use are the ones at your fingertips, so lay them out where you can see them. If your place space is the break room at work or a the doctor’s waiting room, have a mobile art kit with supplies that are easy to take out and put away (hint: this requires planning ahead).

Tips for making place space

  • Find a comfy chair and a place to spread out your supplies.
  • Make sure you have adequate light and the right kind.
  • Create a shelter without sound distraction, or grab some headphones.
  • Change your venue to get away from the everyday. The dishes will wait.
  • Limit communication so you can focus on art.
  • Have your supplies prepared, open and mixed, so you don’t have to search.

Time Space

It’s a cinch that you’ll never make any art unless you make time.There are always competing interests, so don’t wait for an open slot. Look for those small gaps in your everyday life that could accommodate some art. Most of us feel that we couldn’t possibly squeeze another drop of doing out of each day, but the time really is there; it’s just small. Write it on your calendar or your daily “to-do” list so you know that in this specific time space you will be making art. Then, show up prepared and ready to go.

Art can fit in small (time) spaces

Art Can Fit in Small (time) Spaces

Tips for making time space

  • Remember that life is made up of moments and not big blocks of time. If you can string a series of moments together, you can make art.
  • Slow down and concentrate on this one thing. Multi-tasking is the enemy of art.
  • Accept that whatever time you have is enough for now.
  • Always have a mobile art kit ready so there are no excuses.

Mind Space

 If you want to make art, this is coming from a place deep inside of you. There are plenty of people telling you what you should do, and what you must do, from bosses to spouses to friends. If making art feels like a guilty pleasure, give yourself permission to create! Listen to your inner voice and make mental space for art in your life. All the place space and all the time space in the world won’t add up to anything if we don’t believe we deserve to be creative.

You Have Permission

You Have Permission

 Tips for making mind space

  •  Be a beginner–there is more freedom to play when you’re learning something new.
  • Act spontaneously. That’s the only way to discover new things.
  • Refuse to think about what others expect you to make (and that includes yourself).
  • Accept your skill level for what it is now; not for what you hope it will be someday.
  • Leave the inner critic outside in the cold.
  • Promise yourself that you will recognize your inner voice and give it permission.

When it comes to making space for art, the perfect place is Art Camp for Women! We’ll set aside a time for nothing but making art, in a place with all the supplies at the ready and with our mental energy focused on making to our heart’s content. Women who’ve attended often make more art during a few days at camp than they do the entire rest of the year. Art Campers arrive home with a stash of tasty projects that display the work of their hands and act as a reminder of what happens when we truly make a space for art.

bring your imagination

Art Camp for Women - the best space to create!

Here’s to a wonderful 2012, filled with art!

All art and photography on this page by Kelli Nina Perkins.


Stitch Paper, Fabric Paper and Free Motion Sewing ala Kelli Nina Perkins & Beryl Taylor

Being a very Jill-of-all-trades type of person, I can pretty much do anything I put my mind to.  Once in a while though, I find myself trying something and becoming frustrated because I cannot do it the first time I try it.

Napkin fabric-paper

Napkin fabric-paper - duds to practice free-motion stitching on

Often I just throw my hands up and give up.  Such has been the case with free-motion sewing. I read Kelli Perkins blog, see her beautiful stitch paper and other projects and think, “Oh I can do that – that looks fun.”  Or I read about the fabric-paper in Beryl Taylor’s book and begin a project, only to come to a screeching stop at the part that involves a sewing machine.

Last summer I was introduced to the Bernina Super-Machines and since then my excuse has been that my sewing machine sucks and if I had that $4000.00 model all would be well. Well, my dear, I would just like to say, “have you seen the machine embroidery coming out of Pakistan, Guatemala and other equally impoverished places?”  I’m sure they are mostly using old treadle Singer machines.”  (Yes, I talk to myself too.)

I have made a few pieces that involved a bit of sewing, mainly by muscling my way through, starting and stopping, using the presser foot on the machine. Then a few months ago I bought a free-motion sewing foot and have tried it three times. The last time, yesterday, I ended up pretty much in the same place as the other two times, swearing and frustrated with three or four broken needles. To add insult to injury, I am in the middle of a severe allergy/hay fever season, so my nose was running too.

Couldn’t I just follow the path of least resistance and be someone who doesn’t sew?

Epiphany? Insight?

I woke up early this morning and had an epiphany. This is a three-day, holiday weekend. No one expects anything of me, what if  I apply myself to figuring this out. How about if for 10 minutes out of every waking hour I try to free-motion sew. Practice makes perfect – right?

First three sessions

First three sessions from the back.

And what about a plan. Instead of just jamming ahead willy-nilly,  what if I work on something specific like perfecting making spirals and then other circles of various sizes. If it goes well I can try some other things.

First three sessions - front

First three sessions - front

What could deflect me from my chosen path this weekend? Well we could have disastrous weather and given the way the wind is blowing, we just might. Or the grand kids could come by – they are more distracting than the worst of storms – I should be so lucky.

Session 4

Session 4 in which I started breaking needles again!

What else, well at the rate I’m going I could run out of sewing machine needles.  “My dear, you have great coupons from both Michael’s and JoAnne’s you can get more needles.”

Well what if I do all that and still cannot make spirals and circles or anything else? I just have to say, that I will be better at it than if I don’t try – I probably couldn’t get any worse – so what have I got to lose? HA!

So as soon as I get dressed, it is now 5:45 am,  and get through my exercising, I will begin. I will keep you updated. Coffee.

12 hours later

Now it is about 5:45 pm and here is the update – I am getting better! AND this is going to take more than a little bit of practice. At some point I started worrying about the upper thread tension and went to YouTube and found a tutorial that addressed the issue within 2 minutes!

What have I learned so far?

Session 4 - Front

Session 4 - Front

1. Some things take more than one try. (Or more than many tries.)
2. Some things are worth working at over time.
3. I am a bit embarrassed to put these photos up.
4. This is fun, I like the look, even the kind of scrappy, primitive (i.e. bad) sewing.
5. I’ll be back at it as soon as possible, if not tonight – it’s my turn to make dinner – then tomorrow.

Gosh, my business partner is a master at art quilting and might disown me when she sees this post. Nah…

Alumni 2007 – Valli Thayer McDougle

Valli Thayer McDougle, Contemporary Water Media and Collage Artist

AC4W: Valli was already an accomplished artist when she came to our first Art Camp for Women in 2007.  First of all – thank you so much for taking a chance on us coming to that first camp.

A Step in Time-72, Valli Thayer McDougleAC4W: Valli, what are you working on currently?

VTM: I am always working on a number of different things at once.

I am working with my art group on a project to get people interested in, and used to, buying original art. The art group meets every Friday afternoon at Shack Man Glass Studio and Galleries, 3918 Tennyson, Denver. Using only what art supplies we already have, we paint small paintings, a 5″ X 7″  format that can be popped into a frame and price them at $10.00. We then sell them through Shack Man Glass Studio and Galleries, on First Friday and also throughout the month.

I have made well over 100 of these little art pieces in a number of different series, i.e.  18th century shoes, flowers, dresses on hangers, a clothesline series, birds and many more.

Outside of the group I am currently working on a new bigger format (22” X 30”) series. This is a series of painted and collaged pieces of figures flying in the air. The figures are abstract with lots of texture. I haven’t named the series yet.

Also I have shown in 2 or 3 other gallery shows since the beginning of this year.

August 1, we are opening a show at Shack Man Glass Studio and Galleries, that will run through August and feature the art of our Art Group. The show is called “Group of Us.”

In July I will be hosting an Open Studio for the monthly event In the Artist Studio with Sellars Project Space.

AC4W: Valli’s work in all media and sizes (not just 5 X 7)  is available at Shack Man Glass Studio and Galleries, 3918 Tennyson, Denver, CO .

AC4W: Now I would like you to talk about your experience at Art Camp for Women. Not counting the art workshops, what do you recall most fondly about your experience at camp?

VTM: Outside of the classes, the camaraderie and downright hilarity with other women artists. Having all our meals fixed and to be free to do art and go for walks… in general being able to indulge in just doing the fun things in life.

AC4W: Art Camp changes a little bit each year and this year it changed quite a bit. Lorri Flint and Lori Wostl are teaching the art classes that contribute to the ‘camp’ experience. And then hiring outside artists for the major portion of the classes.

What was your experience in the classes regarding the level of teaching and materials supplied?

VTM: The classes were all well taught and thought out. It was so wonderful to not to have to bring an entire suitcase of supplies. As I said before, I could just do the fun things.

AC4W: What lasting impact did coming to Art Camp for Women have for you?

VTM: On a very basic level; I am still using the stamps I made with Lorri Flint in 2007. The stamps are unique and the not perfectness fits my art perfectly. While I do no fabric art, the techniques I learned with Lorri (F) inform my collage art.

When I was at camp Lori W. did not teach art classes, but focused on her specialty in personal coaching. The biggest and most lasting impact from camp was the coaching we did together. It made a huge difference in taking me, Valli Thayer McDougle,  seriously as an artist, for myself and for others. I have seen Lori’s (W) art journals since then and do like her ‘books.’

AC4W: Is there anything else you would like to say?

VTM: Camp also reminded me how much I like to paint with other people. I now participate in a weekly art group and a critique group that meets once a month. I also participate in many art associations i.e. Colorado Water Color Society, Arvada Art Guild, Foothills Art Center and the San Diego Water Color Society. I also teach from time to time at Art and Framing of Stapleton and will teach a few classes in the next series at Park Hill Art. Not because I am so into teaching, but because I like to share art with other people.

AC4W: Thank you so much for your time today Valli, and for what you are contributing in your way in the art world.

To see more about Valli Thayer McDougle, please visit her website by clicking here.