Twas the Day after Christmas . . .

At the risk of sounding rather Ebenezer, am I the only one who is really glad that Christmas is over? Ho, Ho, Ho, already. Now, let’s get on with the show!

Christmas used to be my favorite holiday. I come from a very large family (seven kids), and the holiday was always filled with love and fun and hilarity. Even into adulthood – especially the hilarity.

But then, I left California and moved to Santa Fe and went into the gallery business, which means we could not travel to California for family holidays. When you are in the retail business in a tourist destination, you are stuck in place during this final visitor season of the year.

Neither Mark nor I have the extra energy to deck the halls and then un-deck them at home, and after freezing our appendages off for a few years doing the beautiful Canyon Road walk on Christmas Eve (usually the coldest night of the year), we sort of retired from celebrating – with the operative part of that word being “tired”.

I don’t like cooking, as we all know, but I have found a way to make a holiday meal with next to no effort (as illustrated above). It’s great – try it. And if you are expected to COOK, just throw the packages away and pretend you did.

When not involved in the hurry-scurry of it all, you really notice how over-produced everything has become, how commercial, and in some cases, how downright irritating.

So, I am very happy that Christmas is over.

My favorite holiday is actually New Years Day (in a close race with Memorial Day).

New Years brings a lot of energy around starting new things, cleaning out old things, and making everything ready for a shiny new year. I do a lot of daydreaming and planning during this week between holidays.

I have fun ideas for 2018 and hope I get to most, if not all of them.

Here are a few . . .

Top priority is to create a website for my gallery. I have been putting that off long enough. And I am going to add an online gift gallery to it.

Since we moved to gallery row and went upscale a couple years ago, I have been unable to put “gift” items in the gallery, but I still love gift items, and create them and buy them from my favorite artists, so I decided an online gift gallery will be the perfect solution. It will be called “Some of a Kind” – watch for the announcement coming soon.

My handmade glass palettes have been a big success and I am working on ways to offer them more often. I have also created a glass brush rest, which is REALLY colorful and fun. They sold out in the gallery, but I am making more to share with you.

Last year, I did a magazine called Captured Moments. I loved doing it, but it was a difficult thing because of its broader scope. Artists wanted more art stuff and non-artists thought there was too much about art. It sold well, but not well enough for the effort and time required. That is why there has not been another one.

In 2018, I will try a smaller and more focused e-“zine” (small magazine). I chose the topics most dear to my heart – sketching and journaling. It will be a publication for “People who love to draw in books”, and the title is “Sketch N Journal”. The first issue will be along in January if all goes as planned.

AND . . . perhaps the most ambitious project of all is something I have been thinking about for many years.

I am not an Urban Sketcher because I am not very “urban” and I don’t work well on site, but I love the Urban Sketcher ideal of traveling the world through sketches.

For all my years of meandering back roads on my many road trips, I have loved the interesting stories I found in small towns along the way. Small towns are where you can still find the “personality” of a region, and I would like to preserve some of that through sketches.

I have purchased all the necessary digital real estate to found a new movement called “Small Town Sketchers“, which will hopefully become a collection of the visual stories of small towns around the world. Sketchers will hashtag their small town sketches so we can find them, and we will gather them into a searchable database that anyone can visit.

So, start searching your archives for any sketch you have done on a small town subject, or get out now and do some exploring. For our purposes, a “small town” has a population of less than 20,000. Distinctive neighborhoods of larger urban areas can also be considered small towns if they have their own personality.

This will be lots of fun, so stay tuned.

Let me know in Comments what you think of all or any of this.

Meanwhile, Happy New Year and I’ll see you on the other side!




  1. Love this idea! What fun!
    Also I am loving all of my glass palettes, including the ones you offered right before Christmas.

  2. I love all of your New Year plans and ideas! I’ll be looking forward to the online gallery for sure! The Small Town Sketchers sounds like a fun thing too, although I have never really developed any sketching skills (I need to go through your Art Journal classes again). My sketching skills are quite non-existent at the moment. Is there any possibility of including small town photos, perhaps if manipulated with watercolor or other artistic effects? If not, no worries, it was just a notion!

  3. Love my Crock Pot, and you gave me a great idea for a meal! I’m one of those who will miss Captured Moments, but I always look forward to seeing your next project. I particularly look forward to the website and gift gallery. Since you are such a good photographer, I anticipate lovely photos of beautiful items. And I am intrigued by the idea of small-town sketching—perhaps it will get me off my duff and back to the art of sketching! I will search for any I’ve done that I deem worthwhile….

    And may 2018 bring us all peace and harmony.

  4. I too am glad that Christmas is over and this is the first time in 73 years that I have accepted that this is how I feel. Living in a country where double digit below zero and amazing amounts of snow can accumulate in a short period of time, we are leery of making any travel plans to visit family. And I hate to think of family having to travel just to see us. I have also reached a point where I feel the meaning of Christmas is how many boxes,bags and gift cards one can collect. I don’t put up a tree and really don’t decorate. As a matter of fact Christmas day was upon us and I realized I hadn’t hung any of my beloved quilted Christmas wall hangings. Haven’t really missed them either. I really am not “Bah Humbug” but I do long for peace in the world much more than any gift.

  5. I would love a “beginners sketching” class! We did get some in the Art Journaling classes, but I guess I need to review those again!

  6. Thank you so much for your responses, my friends.

    So glad you are loving your palettes, Delores. Seems that they have been a big hit with everybody and I understand. You couldn’t get mine away from me for love or money.

    Shelley – I am actually toying with the idea of including small town photos in some way, but I have not figured it out. I am afraid the sheer volume would make handling the database a problem, but if there is a way to do it, we will. Meanwhile, there is so much joy in sketching and no rules at all. Try an app like Procreate (in its simplest form) and put your photo on a layer with lowered opacity. Make a new Layer and practice sketching over your photo. Don’t try to trace every line and detail. Just go for the big shapes and most important parts. You can apply color just like paint in the app too. This is a much better way to create a personalized sketch than using filters, and it has the added bonus of teaching you to sketch. Before you know it, you will be able to just look at a photo and sketch it – and then, real life scenes will be more readable.

    Llynnda – your weather does sound dreadful for holiday travel, but I think admitting how we feel about things like holidays, without guilt, is a good thing. There is a lot of cheer in sketching – even when you have to do it from photos during certain times of the year.

    Sue – I plan to have a lot of sketching info in the e-zine – little lessons etc. Some will be gleaned from my past workshops – which technology has left behind so I can’t just resurrect them – and much will be new.

  7. Jeanne – please do leave the “duff” and start sketching again. I know where you live (not a threat) and you are srrounded by some of the most magical small towns in America! Time’s a’wastin, girlfriend.

  8. I will look into Procreate, Jessica. It sounds intriguing. I don’t even own a tablet yet. Is that a necessity or can I use a program like that on a PC? On a related note, what would you recommend if I do spring for a tablet?

  9. HI Shelley. You could do something like that in Photoshop or Elements if you can draw with a mouse, but using a tablet is more like pencil and paper and you really learn to sketch that way. Of course I would recommend the iPad because it’s awesome for art and photo apps. If you can manage it, the iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil, which is nothing short of a digital sketchbook that feels exactly like drawing on paper. You can rest your hand on the screen and the Pencil has a point like a real pencil. You can also get a no interest for 12 months credit card at the Apple Store online. That’s how I do it – and then pay it off in the 12 months.

  10. It seems amusing to me that a small town is “under 20000 people”. My town is about 1700 and the veteran support farm that I am associated with ( is in a town of 600. Our capital is about 7000-8000. Our state metropolitan area is 5 towns and has about 75000 altogether. Yes, I have visited places like Orlando, and know that you make sense, but I try not to think about it.

  11. HI Marilyn – and your small towns are the very ones we want to explore. The higher population number is actually the definition of small city. But many of the places I have found really charming have a higher population and it is hard to leave them out. However, the smaller, the better, and I look forward to any sketches you contribute from tiny small towns. They are the best!

  12. The holidays are pretty stressful for me too and I feel the amount of work involved is overwhelming. This year I did not put up a tree or decorations but I did make my own cards. My friends and family got a kick out of them. A little too late I learned how to score and fold. Thanks for the tips Jessica!

    I am very excited about the small town sketchers project! I just made two more over the holidays. :- )

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