Folktale Week!

Very much yes to this 🖤

from @jenniferpotter: It's time to grab some cocoa, settle into a cozy chair, and curl up with your favorite fables, because for one week starting November 12th, I'm teaming up with a bunch of talented illustrators from all around the world for #folktaleweek! We've got the prompts all ready to go, and we'd love it if you joined us! .
How it works:
On October 29th, we’ll release the prompts. Then, for seven days starting November 12th, follow the prompts and create a piece of art. Interpret the prompts any way you wish and with any medium you like.
Use the hashtag #folktaleweek and #folktaleweek2018 to show your work and interact with other artists. The challenge hosts will be pulling work from the hashtag to promote in our stories! At the end, we’ll share our favorites in our feed!
This challenge was created to encourage artists from all around the world to share stories and explore character creation and visual storytelling. We want to see your bewitching characters and dreamy scenes!




The first #4OutTheDoor deadline is tomorrow. This postcard of The Astronauts will be going out to my mailing list. 

STORYSTORM has paid off with a little stack of nearly 40 story ideas, six of which appear worth plucking out and polishing up.

I am grateful for these projects. There is nothing better for quieting the critic, for moving through the self-doubt, than learning and doing actual things.



I am new writing as a daily practice. In high school I loved writing and even tried to get one sci-fi short story published, I have written some fantastic snail mail in my day, and I have had a long stint of writing visual arts press releases for local newspapers, as well as, helping others write, revise, and edit their own artists statements.

But, writing fiction, writing daily, and with the intention of sticking through it until drafts are polished and then polished again, at that, I am new. So I seek accountability to keep me on the rails and moving forward.

STORYSTORM, which began at the start of January, has been an excellent experience. The goal is to brain storm at least one story idea per day. I've had some thin days and some with 5 or more ideas. Interestingly my ideas have gone all over the place in terms of genre and target audience, and there has even been a few non-fiction ideas coming up.




Back to school month, for many anyway. I'm looking back over what has somehow become a decade of teaching art--hundreds of students in a variety of public and private venues. I feel so much pride for these individuals and knowing who, how, and why some of this work got made makes it even richer than what these images can show. But that is private, this I can share, this tip of the iceberg of work produced by my students over these ten years.


Rather than business as usual, PTSD’s ICE Program kicked-off 2011 with an experiment: 

Cancel all regular classes in favor of a week of intense focus on a particular subject.


During this amazing Project Week, I teamed up with teacher/consultant Daniel Molotsky to lead students, K through 8th grade, in a concentrated look at Patterns in Art and Nature.  For four straight days we worked inside and out to explore environmental art and visual concepts, such as, pattern and line, accumulation, repetition, symmetry. 

All the images in this post are rad student work.


Our days began with an introduction of a new concept, some discussion and a look at examples of the days’ idea from both visual art and nature.   Students then spent time working on projects indoors.

These projects encouraged independent thought and work and introduced a particular design concept: repetition, symmetry, pattern. Then around lunch time we bundled-up and went outdoors to work on-site.  Now students could get their hands (and knees) dirty and express what they were learning about environmental art.  My take on it is that environmental art improves the artist’s relationship with nature.  It is artwork that emerges from the essence of a particular place and is created entirely from available natural materials. And, most importantly, it is ephemeral; made to change and eventually disappear.  The kids embraced these ideas--moving with grace and confidence they took their time getting to know the places–-woods, meadow, beach–-that we ventured to.

The future of the environment depends largely on this generation having a healthy relationship with the natural world.  Environment-based education education expert David Sobel puts it this way:

“It’s good to have streams where kids can and obstruct the ecosystem; the nature of that play is more important, and worth it to the environment in the long term,” he says.  . . . . “You can make the same argument about tree houses, which undeniably damage the tree, but that occasional damage to a tree is not as important as what children learn when playing in that tree.”

Without exception, the students were gentle and respectful in their interactions with the natural world. There is some unavoidable impact when taking twenty-some students out into the wild to make art. With this in mind we were sensitive to select work sites that were near trails or other spaces already frequented by people/

I came across this David Sobel quote while reading Last Child in the Woods, by Richard Louv.  Louv’s view is:

“Passion does not arrive on videotape or on a CD; passion is personal.  Passion is lifted from the earth itself by the muddy hands of the young; it travels along grass-stained sleeves to the heart.  If we are going to save . . . the environment, we must also save an endangered indicator species:  the child in nature.”


I am happy to think the environment might benefit from kids who know it well.  As I watched my students at their play/work/interaction with the natural world I see in them respect, understanding, and love.  These children are the ones who grow up desiring to protect the environment. Even greater satisfaction  came of witnessing the effect the great outdoors had on all of us-–making us happier, more-tolerant, creative and playful.

Again from Last Child in the Woods:

“Natural spaces and materials stimulate children’s limitless imaginations and serve as the medium of inventiveness and creativity observable in almost any group of children playing in a natural setting.”  [Louv is quoting Robin Moore, a play and learning environments designer.]