Creative Workshops Led by Top-Notch Instructors . . . hosted by Barbara Buckles

I Miss You!

Although I'm officially "on hiatus," I sure do miss you all! So...I've decided to stay in touch by letting you know about some art-related things I think you might enjoy and also about what's going on with some of our fellow instructors and classmates.

First up, do yourself a favor and check out Jeanne Oliver's website! Earlier this year I joined the "Reflections: Paint Your Story" online art journaling workshop, and it is truly life changing! In fact, this workshop has inspired me far beyond the art has opened pathways that were blocked and I'm now also writing like crazy. Once you join the workshop, you're a member for life (or as long as the site is maintained). Jeanne herself is a dynamo ...well, I don't want to get carried away here, so just visit her site and see for yourself!

Chris Cozen Part 2

Colorful Chris Cozen was back for Part 2 in our "Playing With Paint" acrylic series. I say "colorful" because Chris is more comfortable yet daring in her use of color than anyone else that comes to mind. She casually picks up just the right shade of yellow (Hansa) and mixes in just the right shade of blue (Teal) to make just the right shade of green for the piece she's using for her demonstration and in doing so gives everyone else the courage to experiment with the extensive array of Golden Acrylic paints she's brought with her for our unlimited use. 

The fun doesn't stop there. The subtitle of this workshop is "Pigment, Paper & Pattern: Intuitive Painting Techniques"...countless stencils are daubed, myriad hand-painted and decorative papers are torn, more paint is applied, multiple layers are created. Time rushes by until, in what feels like the blink of an eye, lo and behold, mixed media masterpieces have taken shape on every student's work surface, and class has reluctantly come to an end. 

Playing with paint, indeed!


Well, 2015 sure started off in high gear…two two-day workshops in January, the first with art journalist Orly Avineri, the second with mixed media artist Seth Apter…a dynamic duo, to be sure! Having broken my hip over the holidays, I wasn't sure I'd be able to pull it all off, but somehow I did and boy was it worth it!

Orly has a unique way of teaching that is so personal, it just draws you into the warmth of her creative aura. She leads with her heart, and you follow with yours. In this workshop, "Mapping Me: Passport to Journal," old passports were transformed into visual journals filled to bursting with ephemera and bits of this and that. Along the way, students were treated to examples of her young nephew Gil's innovative recycling-as-art-journaling and the story of how their heartfelt exchange inspired her to pursue this particular format as a workshop. Participants also shared the often moving stories behind their passport was a meaningful experience all around.

Seth's first workshop, "52-Card Pick-Up," was the perfect way to start the year…making the most of the synchronicity of a deck…52 cards, and a year…52 weeks. Students created a mixed media unbound "journal" to be used to document a year in their life week by week. Tons of simple yet eye-popping techniques for creating layers and textures and collage resulted in tables overflowing with unique works of art…winning hands for everyone. Day 2, "Picture Windows" was so filled with exciting and enticing new techniques for creating a die-cut photo album cum wall hanging that we ran over on time and never even had time to take a class photo. Seth will definitely be back!  

2015 promises to be a winning year…some favorite instructors are coming back, and some new ones are joining our little community. Last year at this time, the workshops were only a dream…today they're a dream come true, thanks to YOU! Best wishes for a happy and fulfilling year! 


Guest Post: Chris Cozen

Painting for me is the pursuit of what's possible. Exploring. Playing. Experimenting. It's all part of the process. The process is what is important to me. I give myself permission to make lots of mistake so that I can learn what is possible and what is not. Along the way paintings get completed, but the process is always ongoing.

For me, process rarely starts with a plan. Process usually starts with an action like choosing a color and adding some to a canvas, then adding another color and maybe some mediums or gels. Each action requires an observation before continuing, a few "what ifs" are always good, and then more action. Twenty actions might occur in just a few minutes because after so many years of processing what's possible, I've gotten very fluid in my thinking and can act quickly. Being unafraid helps a lot! What's the worst that can happen? There are always more actions that can be done. That's one of the biggest reasons I love working with acrylics. They are so versatile, forgiving, malleable, and filled with possibilities.

I'm looking forward to sharing my enthusiasm with you at Make Art In L.A. and helping you build a love for process and acrylics. Together we can play and experiment with color and layers, explore the possibilities that are waiting for us. We'll make mistakes and fix them or let them lead us where they may. We will indulge in serendipity and sometimes figure out damage control. But during all that we'll be up to our elbows in amazing color and magical products that can lead us to all kinds of outcomes.


"A Little Big Book of Dreams" was one of our more feminine-themed workshops as would be expected taught by an admitted girly-girl like Holly Stinnett. 

Holly was an avid Barbie collector back in the mid 90's, and when she had the opportunity to move to L.A. from northern California, she knew she wanted to work for Mattel. Within weeks of landing at LAX, she was brought in to work in their Consumer Affairs Department, and once they found out that Holly had endless knowledge about Barbie, her history, and the fashions, they set up a special "help" line to connect other Barbie collectors to her. They all spoke the same language, and Mattel loved it.

After about seven months Holly moved on to another division, but the time she spent being the "Barbie expert" is one of her fondest memories during her seven-year tenure there. Her association with the company ended back in 2002 and she went on to work for other great companies such as Disney and Warner Bros. Now she wears many hats, teaching art being one of them.

Lots of new faces in this workshop, lots of girl talk, and lots of big smiles. Holly will be back with a completely new project…stay tuned!


My Love of Layers

A guest post by Seth Apter. There are still a very few seats available in Seth's workshops coming up on January 17 and 18.

I have often been asked to describe my artistic style – something that I have a challenging time doing. In thinking about this question, I typically look for commonalities in my work, regardless of the medium. In doing so, I have noted that I favor certain color palettes, aim to create surface texture, often utilize text as both a design element and method of communicating my message, and integrate found objects into many of my pieces. But, the aspect of my work that truly stands out to me as a defining characteristic is my love of layers. While this does not necessarily differentiate my work from others, as many people use layering in their art, it may just be the most important aspect to my creativity.

I love layering. Paint. Paper. Objects. Anything really. Part of it is the look that is created when layer after layer is applied to a surface. There is a depth that is developed that just cannot be made any other way. As a new layer is added, it is both informed by and brings changes to the previous and future layers. Even the earliest layers that cannot be seen help determine the look of the finished surface.

Layers are about adding and subtracting. Covering and revealing. The artist’s hand is evident in every choice. Two artists, layering the same two colors of paint or paper, will create completely different pieces. Two hundred artists will do the same – and by the same, I mean different!

Layers create history. They add a sense of time passing and a feeling of experience. In this way, they echo our lives. And this may be the most salient reason why I love to layer. Layers in my work are symbolic of the layers of my life. You can look at a picture of me and see the surface but there is a lot underneath that you do not see. It is those layers that really define and determine who I am. In this case, it truly is a case of art imitates life.

Intuitive Collage and Mark Making with Crystal Neubauer

What a blast! Two days filled with such a sense of creativity, community, and heartfelt sharing! Crystal is a wonderful teacher...very personal, intense, funny, generous, and of course talented. She really made everyone feel confident and capable of creating satisfying and meaningful art, and every one of us did just that! Amazing how we used the same basic materials and techniques, yet each piece was utterly unique. Thank you, Crystal, and thank you all!

Little Book of Lettering...Big Day of Fun!

So much fun! No wonder Kelly Kilmer is such a popular instructor...she's not only incredibly generous with her knowledge and skill but with a veritable treasure chest of materials and supplies! This was as close as it gets to feeling like a kid again playing with art for the sheer joy of it, but in this case each of us took home a gorgeous hand-bound book worthy of a gallery gift shop. 

Thank you, Kelly... we look forward to having you teach another workshop!

Finding Ourselves with Brian Kasstle

Brian "Paper Bear" Kasstle's art journaling workshop was overflowing with a variety of diverse techniques spread out over three distinctive projects. So many talented artists, even the first-timers! Some favorite moments include passing paints and brushes from student to student to mix things up, and sharing our thoughts and work with each other at the end of class.

I think I can speak for everyone when I say a GREAT time was had by all...thank you, Paper Bear!

(Note: We have Seth Apter to thank for recommending Brian as an instructor. Seth will be teaching a workshop in January...stay tuned!)

Wax Works!

What an amazing two-day intensive encaustic workshop with Kandy Lozano in her studio perched in the Santa Monica mountains above Malibu! A great international group...two artists joined us from Germany, and two from Mexico City. It was very much like an art retreat with, in addition to generous top-notch instruction, delicious healthy food prepared by the lovely Linda, amazing views in every direction, a personal walk thru Kandy's home as she shared the processes involved in her large-scale encaustic pieces...even a visit to a neighbor's property completed with vineyard and zoo! I for one didn't want to leave...and I don't think anyone else did either as a few stayed and worked well into the evening.

Thank you Kandy, Linda, and everyone who attended...hope to see you all again before too-too long!

Guest Post: Brian Kasstle

Enjoy this heartfelt and inspiring blog post by Brian Kasstle. You can sign up for his upcoming workshops here.

©Brian Kasstle


"I grew up on a small farm outside of Kalispell, Montana. My father was creative, he was a machinist, he also created potter's wheels for artists and was an amazing sketch artist. My mother was creative in her own way, she was a homemaker and she grew a huge vegetable and flower garden and raised chickens. My brother Greg and my sister Sheila were very artistic. Growing up I would play for hours at a small table making my make-believe world out of clay, and sometimes I would draw. 

When I was about six or seven, my mother looked at one of my drawings and remarked, "You're just not as artistic as your brother and sister." She never realized how that off-hand remark changed me. Growing up, I believed that simple statement and allowed it to block me as an artist.It was not until I was in college, when I took some pottery and intro to art classes, that one of my instructors looked at one of my installations and said, "You're an art major, right? You KNOW you're an ARTIST, right??" This went against everything I believed about myself. And it was not until I was in my 40s when I took a couple drawing courses just for enjoyment that again my instructor said, "You're an art major, right?" 

Again I took another "artistic break." I was in my mid 40s and was looking for an artistic outlet when I happened upon art journaling online. I was hooked and flabbergasted at what I was seeing, folks creating in a book all for themselves. It was very private, for their eyes only. I knew I had found a medium that went to my soul.

For me, art journaling is about channeling your experiences, passions, pains, and soul into creating in a very personal way. It is all about expression. I have shown my journals to friends and it is not until they looked at a completed journal that they "got it." One friend exclaimed, "This is a masterpiece, it's like your own personal gallery!"

I firmly believe we are all artistic, and I believe art journaling is about reawakening the artist within each of us. Art journaling is a language, a visual language. You would not expect to be able to speak French in a week. It takes time to learn this language as well. In learning personal visual language, we learn about ourselves and heal."

A Few Words About Linocut

©Alex Krastev -

©Alex Krastev -

Linocuts have a long and esteemed history in book illustration and wall art. Lately I've discovered more and more handmade artists books featuring short text or poems accompanied by linocut prints. Designs can be intricately detailed or contain just a few lines.

If you're into paper or book arts of any type, open yet another door to additional creative possibilities. Check out Etsy or Pinterest to see what I mean. Then I hope you'll sign up for Linocut 101 with Joseph Vorgity on Saturday, March 8, 2014.

Paper Trail

It seems to me Marie's paste paper workshop on Saturday had an unexpected zen-like quality. Using just a couple simple tools and a basic color palette, each of us went into a peaceful reverie, making one sheet after another, each a little more intricate and daring than the one before it the deeper we went.

Happily, Marie will be coming back in May to teach a second workshop introducing additional  tools and slightly more complex processes.  

If you haven't already, be sure to sign up for our newsletter to stay informed about upcoming workshops. Next, on March 8, Linocut 101 with Joseph Vorgity.

Two New Workshops!

So excited to announce not one but TWO new workshops...Linocut 101 with Joseph Vorgity, and Crystal Neubauer's Intuitive Collage with Mark-Making! Check them out on The Workshops page. 

I met Joseph Vorgity at the L.A. Printers Fair (where else?) having bought notecards from him there three years in a row, and in January I had the pleasure of visiting his home studio. Visiting an artist's workplace is right up near the top of my list of favorite things to do, and this time was no exception. Joseph was in the process of creating an edition of hand-carved individually pressed cards, and dozens of them were "hanging out to dry" (in a positive way :) around the studio.

While Vorgity's work is evidence of not only his skill as a printmaker but as an artist of fine caliber (including watercolor and papier maché), linocut printing is actually quite simple and something that can be done by those of us with more meager talents; a simple sketch can render wonderful results! A quick search on Etsy or Google will show you what I mean. Also, think graphics such as words or symbols, or stylized sketches and shapes.

Did you know that Picasso and Matisse  (among other masters) were accomplished linocut artists? I love how  with just a few lines, their unique style is instantly recognizable.

Next up: Meet Crystal Neubauer!


What a great time was had by all at our Dick Blick promo yesterday! Jeannine rocked it with some simple yet very appealing bookbinding projects (and chocolate!) to introduce folks to our upcoming workshops. Everyone loved them...our table was full from the time we set up to the time we finally had to shut things down. Biggest many MEN joined us! 

Many thanks to Kelly and Kevin at DB for all the help...can't wait to do this again!

Meet, Make, and Take

Going into an art supply store is like going into a candy store...only a bazillion times better! 

Jeannine and I are going to be at the Dick Blick store at 7301 Beverly Blvd. (at the corner of Poinsettia and Beverly Blvd., a few blocks west of La Brea) this Saturday, January 18th, from 1-4 p.m. to promote the workshops. We'll have samples of the books we'll be making in the workshops, and Jeannine is offering a simple (free!) make-and-take booklet for those interested in dipping their toes into the fine art of bookbinding.

Come by and say hello...we'd love to see you!

Give the gift of creativity! Gift certificates are now available in our shop. Or, sign up for a specific workshop and when checking out, indicate "Gift" in the Notes/Special Instructions box.

Some of our 2016 workshops are now available for registration with more to come throughout the year. Sign up for our newsletter, follow us on Twitter,  or "like" us on Facebook for instant updates!

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