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Seth Apter

23 Jun


We are so lucky to have Seth Apter visiting Blue Twig Studio to teach for a few days. Seth is a wonderful mixed media artist with a fun style that I absolutely love. He graciously agreed to teach here, even before meeting me or visiting my shop (we have since met a couple times). I am very grateful to him and I know that everyone will make him feel very welcome when he is here.
me and Seth
Here we are at CHA. ūüôā
Here are a few questions and answers to help you get to know Seth a little bit better.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.  I am a mixed media artist from New York City. When I am not making art, you might find me teaching, designing products or writing. And you will often find me online, managing all of my social media sites that go hand-and-hand with being an artist these days.

Have you always made art? When did you start? What made you start? I came to art later in life. Although I always loved art, I had no interest in being a maker until a random and serendipitous meeting with an artist in 2000 introduced me a whole new world.
What is your earliest art related memory? My earliest art memories relate back to the art projects that I made in grade school, including what was my first collaboration in 4th grade when I made a poster with a classmate for a reading program.
Do you have an art degree or art credentials? I do not have an art degree and my “training” has been limited to individual workshops with artists I admire and a series of courses at the Center for Book Arts in NYC.
How long have you been teaching?  I have been teaching just over 4 years, having taught my first workshop in NYC.
What is your favorite class to teach? Don’t tell the other workshops, but my favorite class to teach is 52 Card Pickup. It is a fun, free-spirited workshop and one which always seems to bring smiles to the faces of the students.
Do you have a favorite art quote or words of advice? My mantra these days is “You’re only one layer away from magic.” That is the beauty of mixed media!
Where can people find you?
Thanks so much for sharing a bit about yourself.
Seth Apter is teaching 4 different classes at Blue Twig Studio. Here are the links (shown below each class sample photo) to the classes on the website so you can find out more details. There is still room for a few more people in the classes – but don’t wait too long to get registered!
Photo Op 1
Photo Op – Sept 16th 10-1
Background Noise – Sept 16th 3-6
52 Card Pickup – Sept 17th 10-5
Mixed Media Dossier – Sept 18th 10-5
These classes all look fabulous and I can’t wait to see what all the students create!!!
Let Your Inner Artist out to Play
5039 N Academy Blvd
Colorado Springs, CO 80918

Bringing you Mindy Lacefield

7 Jun
I am so happy to be able to bring in Mindy Lacefield to teach at Blue Twig Studio this summer. I hope you can make the time to take a class from her. We are so lucky that she has agreed to travel to Colorado and teach here. It is an opportunity that doesn’t come around very often.
She is super sweet and you will absolutely adore her. This interview will help you get to know her better.
serendipity 2011 459
Tell us a little bit about yourself, where you live, etc.
-I live in central Arkansas out in the woods with my husband, Tim and two poodles Merlin and Sammy.
Have you always made art? Or when did you start? What made you start?
-I always drew as a child and felt at ease with a paper and pencil. But I guess my priorities and interests became more focused on basketball. I played all the way through middle school to college. I never thought I could be an artist. I always¬†thought I had to go to university and major in something practical and get a “real job”.¬†Luckily with the internet and social media I was able to create and sell art online and begin to make a living doing it. I picked up a paint brush about 10 years ago when I saw the full moon over the Pacific ocean. I realize now it was God calling me to Him and to reach out to others through painting and teaching. The path He has laid out has become so clear and I am so grateful to connect with¬†other¬†kindred, creative spirits on this journey.
Is your family artistic?
-Yes, in fact my uncle is a wood carver and ventriloquist. He made several puppets from wood and has performed at craft shows and other area shows. I also have two cousins who are highly artistic.
How long have you been teaching?
-I have been teaching for about 5 years.
How did you get started teaching? 
-I went to an art retreat as a student. One day while we had some free time, a sweet girl came up to me and asked me if she could sit and watch me paint for a few minutes. As we sat there, I thought why not lead her through some of the reasons why I put different colors in the face and where to apply them to achieve depth and dimension. Afterwards, she went back to her table and created the most amazing face based on my instruction. I was floored and instantly addicted to teaching. After that, I began inquiring about teaching different places and others starting reaching out to see if I’d come be a visiting art teacher.
pixiedustlight051 - Copy - Copy
What is your favorite class to teach? 
-I love teaching how to paint faces and how to make discoveries along the way. Making mistakes is key in finding your voice and own joy in painting.
What is your favorite art medium? And why?
-I love acrylic paint. I love that it dries quickly. I also love bleeding tissue paper, watercolor pencils, and stencils.
What is the most unusual venue you have taught at?
-I taught last May in a huge red barn in Nebraska. So inspiring and full of nostalgic energy!
Who is your favorite artist? Why?
-Anne Patay. Her work is full of beautiful marks with such an incredible energy and depth.
Do you have a favorite art quote to share? Or some words of advice?
-Two of my favorite quotes are:
“It took me 4 years to learn to paint like Raphael and a lifetime to paint like a child” – Picasoo
“Art is not about thinking something up. It’s about getting something down.” – Julia Cameron
Where can people find you? 
instagram: mindy_lacefield

~Mindy Lacefield


divinemagic049 - Copy - Copy - Copy
Mindy will be teaching a 2-day workshop at Blue Twig Studio – Aug 19th & 20th – Inner Radiant Child. Use this link for more details about the class. It is going to be so much fun! Space is limited so be sure to get registered early.
Let Your Inner Artist out to Play
Blue Twig Studio
5039 N Academy Blvd
Colorado Springs, CO 80918

Artist Helen Shafer Garcia

15 Feb

Helen Shafer Garcia will be coming to Blue Twig Studio to teach in April. I took a class with her at Art & Soul last year and loved her style, so I figured other people would love to take a class with her as well. She has shared a little info here about who she is so we can get to know her better. And of course, if you take one of her upcoming classes you will get to know her even more.


Helen Shafer Garcia: ¬†I’d like to introduce myself. I live in north San Diego area with my husband, son and 2 cats. My son and husband are both welders and engineer type minded people. Our casa is called Garciaville, which includes my cool studio, my son’s metal shop and my husband’s metal lathe shop where he makes beautiful cue sticks. My cats just sit around meowing and buzzing. I have a 1/2 acre garden that keeps me in tune with my plants and other assorted creatures.

I teach watercolor and acrylic at Palomar College, water media, Pastel, and Book Arts at 2 other locals, Escondido and Fallbrook. You can find all sorts of info at my website and my blog I also teach workshops internationally and across the USA. My art friends Laurie Mika, Jane LaFazio, Lynn Leahy and I will be returning to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico next year in October/November for a week long workshop adventure….a trip of a lifetime….

After finishing up my BA in Art I started working with clay, making vessels and slab rolled pots. I also started building up a portfolio in watercolor. My emphasis was larger than life succulents and other southwest images. Galleries in New Mexico, California, and Arizona began to show my works starting in the mid 80’s. At the same time I began working as an illustrator. I contracted with major resorts and hotels, creating watercolor images of the buildings and amenity features. I also illustrated Garden edibles for San Diego Home Garden Magazine for 8 years.

I’ve come full circle now, back to a career in teaching. Teaching is incredibly rewarding. I meet the most amazing and talented people, with new directions bouncing around in the classroom. Great energy!




Here are Helen’s upcoming classes at Blue Twig Studio. Just click the links to get more info. I look forward to seeing you in her classes. These are going to be awesome!


color pencil journaling


Colored Pencil Mixed Media Journaling: April 17th 

Colored pencils are such good therapy. Pressing down pure color on smooth
paper leads to endless good vibes. We’ll combine watercolors, water-soluble
pens, and colored pencils while learning clever user-friendly ways to draw.
My drawing methods will ease those ever so present inhibitions about
drawing lines and shapes. Learn how to blend beautiful color layers and
create dark and light mixtures. You’ll be prompted to create small poems
that will be collaged in a clever way throughout the works.
This paper quilt is loaded with colorful crinkly textures. Paint and ink will flow into
the crevices giving the papers a wonderful aged look. Explore this special
watermedia batik like technique on Masa rice paper. We’ll use an acrylic ink
technique to make marks and paint with watercolor, letting the colors blend and
fuse together naturally. We’ll also make lines with water -soluble oil pastels; add
translucent paper layers and fabric raw edges. Dive into detail with colored pencils,
ink lines, adornments, and collage elements to embellish the shapes. And to
complete the remnant look, we’ll add sari ribbons to embellish the edges, giving the
quilt a delightful aged look.
Blue bird for email
Reach into the sky and create connections between branches and earth while creating universal Tree of life themed mixed media paintings on Masa paper and canvas. A special batik technique with Masa rice paper will create wonderful textures and crevices for the paint to flow into. Draw and paint elements and symbolic icons of a tree of life, including birds, flowers and other great, joyful creatures with bold watercolor dropped -in color techniques. You’ll play with colored pencils, ink lines and collage elements to further embellish your paintings. Discover how beautiful and bright watercolors can be with this special process. The watercolor paintings will be sealed with an acrylic varnish to protect the surface. Borders and embellishments will be added with acrylics.
Just looking at the beautiful photos of her work makes me happy.
Let Your Inner Artist out to Play
Blue Twig Studio
5039 N Academy Blvd
Colorado Springs, CO 80918

Sharing one of the Zentangle videos again

13 Sep


I wanted to share this video again. Just as a reminder to visit my you-tube channel. ūüôā

And to inspire you to try your hand at Zentangle¬ģ of course. Zentangle is relaxing and calming and mindful and creative! I have an Intro level class coming up soon if you are interested. And of course, I am always available for private classes. If you have already taken a class, then I encourage you to practice and have fun with it.

I’ve been doing my daily Zentangle for my 100 days to 100% challenge and have really been enjoying it. It seemed that I had neglected my own daily practice for awhile, but I am back to tangling every single day again.


Let Your Inner Artist Out To Play

Blue Twig Studio – 5039 N Academy Blvd – Colorado Springs, CO 80918



Easy Mixed Media Project

20 Apr

We recently created a fun mixed media project for our Arty Party. The Arty Party is a monthly class that is a lot of fun. Every month we do something different and always have a good time being creative. The best part of the Arty Party is that it is a mystery. You don’t get to know what the project is ahead of time. You just show up and then we start playing and creating. Everyone always does an amazing job!

For this project we started with a painted canvas board and set it aside to dry while we worked on the painted papers. (You can also use a cradled canvas.) I used black paint because I like the contrast, but you can use any color you like.


Then we started painting our papers. Just start layering paint. I like to use the scraping method (using an old gift card or key card works great), but you can use a brush too. The key is to keep adding layers, but to let each layer dry completely in between (you can use a heat gun to speed up the process). If you don’t let them dry, you will end up with a muddy mucky mess. You will want to add some extra layers with paint, using stamps or stencils or drawing with skewers or spraying or dripping. The more layers the better. ¬†The layers are what makes the art interesting.

For this project, keep a lot of variety in your work. Since you will be cutting up your painted paper, be sure to keep it layered and interesting. It is OK to have an ugly paper. In fact, this project is perfect for some of those painted pages you have that you maybe don’t really like very much. We all have them!

Once you have layers that you are happy with, you can move on to the next part. ¬†You will now take a marker (I used black) and start writing on your painted page. Write big and bold and cover your page. You can write a message to yourself, your favorite words, a quote, the names of your kids, etc. We are going to cut it all up so it doesn’t matter too much what you write.


Then you will take a smaller nib pen, preferably in a contrasting color. I like to use metallic pens. You can do more writing if you like, or you can do what I did. I used fake writing. It is kind of fun. I just sort of use loopy scribbling and pretend to write words and just covered the painted page again. I will often turn the page in different directions, making sure to get a lot of coverage.

For the Arty Party, we used Aileen’s tacky paper which is a great adhesive paper. It is marketed for fabric, but I figured it would work just as well on paper. ¬†Peel your tacky paper and adhere it to the back of your painted paper, carefully smoothing it out. ¬†Now start cutting it up. I also tried this using gel medium as an adhesive. I found that if I was using the cradled canvases, I needed gel medium. The tacky paper didn’t work quite as well on a surface that has some give to it. (It did work great on the hard canvas boards though.)

Then I started cutting up my paper. You probably need to have a general idea of the look you want before your start cutting. I started by cutting strips of my paper and then cut those strips into small squares. You can also use the strips by themselves and cut the in different lengths (like one of mine shown at the end of the post), or cut random shaped squares and rectangles or various other shapes. Use your imagination and have fun with it.  You can really get creative in this (as the Arty Party students were).

After you cut up your paper, then you just start rearranging them into a different order. Really mix them up, turn some bits upside down or sideways to create even more interest. After you are happy with the placement, start adhering your pieces down – either using the tacky paper or the gel medium. (Keep in mind you will probably end up with lots of extra bits.)

If you are using the sticky paper, I recommend piling some magazines or books on the piece for a couple of days to really adhere your paper. If you are using gel medium or mod podge, be sure to use plenty on the bottom and on the top of your bits to adhere it really well.

Super easy and fun to do. Have fun!




Let Your Inner Artist Out To Play

Blue Twig Studio – 5039 N Academy Blvd – Colorado Springs, Co 80918 – USA


Modern Hand Stitching book review and a giveaway

7 Apr

My friend Ruth Chandler has a new book out called Modern Hand Stitching. I know I have mentioned that Ruth is a stitch goddess, and I truly mean that.  She does amazing hand stitch work and she makes it look so effortless and easy and beautiful, so that you really feel like you can do it too!

Modern Hand Stitching by Ruth Chandler

Modern Hand Stitching by Ruth Chandler

I am loving her new book Modern Hand Stitching. She has been working on this book for awhile now and I am pleased to say it is finally available for purchase.

The book is broken up into easy to read chapters with lots of great photos. There is information on the tools of the trade, including needles and threads and thimbles, etc, plus a nice section on how to create your own Stitch Play reference book (in case you aren’t able to take the class from Ruth).

She walks you through numerous basic stitches and then variations of the stitches. I love the little boxes with extra helpful tips to make your stitching experience the best it can be. Even if you have never done any hand stitching at all, you can follow along with the easy to read instructions and close-up photos. She truly makes it easy for you to do!

There are fabulous Inspiration Pieces (which we will be doing individual classes on in the near future) ¬†included that Ruth has created, each one using only one type of stitch for the entire piece. If she didn’t tell you that, you would never know, because they all look so rich and detailed and complex. There are also art pieces stitched by others that are included in the book so you can see examples of using hand stitching in a variety of ways (full disclosure: I have a piece in the book).

One of my favorite things about the book is that Ruth encourages you to be creative and make the stitches your own. Go ahead and be wonky and use unusual materials and layer your stitching. ¬†She truly does want you to have fun and enjoy the stitching. Too many of us grew up learning embroidery and having to take out stitches that weren’t exactly perfect. That takes the fun out of it. Ruth isn’t the “embroidery police”. She says if you make a mistake, just keep going. It’s OK! ¬†Nobody is going to notice it anyway.

I’m happy that the book is finally in my hands (and in my store). I recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about using hand stitching in their art work. And if you are able to take her class – that is even better! I know you will take away a new set of skills and learn that hand stitching can be enjoyable and relaxing and can be included in a variety of art projects. Plus you will make the adorable Stitch Play sampler reference book.

Stitch Play Sampler by Ruth Chandler

Stitch Play Sampler by Ruth Chandler

We are hosting a Book Signing at Blue Twig Studio on April 12th from 10:30-11:30. If you are in the area, please stop by to meet Ruth and get an autographed book. We will also be having some giveaways during the book signing, so you will want to stick around. If you aren’t local, you can still purchase the book here, and I will have Ruth sign it for you (be sure to let me know in the comments section of your order if you want anything special written).

If you are interested in taking the Stitch Play class with Ruth Chandler, be sure to get registered early as there is limited space available.

And finally, we are doing a giveaway of a this fabulous book! Just comment below to be entered in the drawing. Please comment about your favorite stitch to do, or what stitch you would like to learn how to do.

If you share on any of the social media platforms, leave a message stating that and that will give you another chance to win the book. Of course, Ruth will autograph the book for you too!

Leave your comments and share the post and be sure I can reach you to let you know you have won (or check back to find out). I will draw the winner on April 13th.


Let Your Inner Artist Out To Play

Blue Twig Studio – 5039 N Academy Blvd – Colorado Springs, CO 80918




Ruth Chandler – stitch goddess

31 Mar

Ruth Chandler is a stitch goddess. She creates the most amazing stitch work and she inspires me!

She teaches at my shop Blue Twig Studio as well as at other national venues. She has a new book out called Modern Hand Stitching. And I am happy and proud to call her friend. I wanted to share an interview with her to help you get to know her better too.

Ruth Chandler

Ruth Chandler


When did you start creating art?  I started stitching at age 4. I learned hand stitching from our Japanese landlady Рwe would sit on the porch and stitch and eat mandarin oranges and Japanese crackers. I started by learning Sashiko and then added more stitches. It was a special time sitting and stitching together.

What other types of art or creativity have you done?¬† Mostly I have worked with fabrics. I learned to sew my own clothes and also to do quilting when I was very young. My first quilt was a hand appliqued, hand quilted, queensize Hawaiian style quilt – probably not the best choice for a first quilt! ūüôā ¬†But I have also done indigo dyeing and fiber arts. I have designed my own line of bags and created patterns and written books (she is also the co-author of Fabric Embellishing: the basics and beyond). While I have tried a few other art things, including a recent class on using PanPastels, I much prefer working with fabrics, textiles, fibers, and threads.

Who has inspired you the most?¬† Since I grew up in Japan, I am most inspired by the Japanese style of art. One of my favorite artists is Hiroshige,¬†a Japanese artist from the 1800’s. I think the Japanese influence shows up in most of my art.

What are you doing now?¬† Japanese ¬†Boro – an art form from the early 1600’s ¬†(very wabi-sabi). It is kind of like recycling – never throwing anything away – using what you have – repairing instead of replacing. ¬†(I am excited to tell you that we will be adding a class on this technique in the near future.)

Where have you taught classes?  Well of course here at Blue Twig Studio, but also at other  local quilt shops and guilds, Art & Soul mixed media art retreats, Houston IQF,  Textile Evolution retreat and on-line book study, and other shops across the country.

What are your favorite classes to teach? ¬†The Stitch Play class because it opens people’s eyes to possibilities, and the dyeing class because you don’t know what the results are going to be¬†and there are always¬†happy surprises.

What would you like to learn?  My word for the year is EXPAND, so I am trying to expand my creativity by learning new techniques and styles and pushing myself out of my comfort zone.

Any other comments? I love to see what students do with what they learn in my classes. The students inspire me and that is why I love to teach.

You can find Ruth at Textile Evolution and at Ruth Chandler Designs Blog.

Ruth has several classes at Blue Twig Studio, including the Stitch Play class that goes along with the new book.  Not only do you learn a lot about hand stitching, but you make this really cute reference book (similar to the one Ruth is holding in the photo above).

You can buy her book here. And since I know her personally I can have her autograph the book for you.  We are also hosting a book signing party at Blue Twig Studio on April 12th, so if you are in the area stop by.


Let Your Inner Artist Out To Play

Blue Twig Studio – 5039 N Academy Blvd – Colorado Springs, CO 80918 – USA


Student Zentangle work

16 Jan

I love to share the student Zentangle¬ģ work that comes from my Intro to Zentangle¬ģ classes. It is always so inspiring to me to see the amazing results that happen. Everyone always starts with the same supplies and the same instructions, yet everyone has their own interpretation and that is the beauty of Zentangle. There are no two alike!

I know I haven’t shared any student work for awhile, so here are some samples for you to enjoy.

P1020681 P1020682 P1020808 P1020809 P1020944 P1020945 P1020859 P1020860


Isn’t it amazing how unique and beautiful each Zentangle tile is?

Zentangle can be done by anyone. It is easy to do, very relaxing, meditative and mindful. You can’t do it wrong! If you can hold a pen in your hand, you can do this.

I hold regular intro level classes at Blue Twig Studio. You can find them listed under the classes category on the website. I can also do private classes for you or host a class for a group of friends. I am happy to help you get started with the wonderful world of Zentangle. If you are looking for supplies, you can find them here. You can visit for more information.


Let Your Inner Artist Out To Play

Blue Twig Studio – 5039 N Academy Blvd – Colorado Springs, CO 80918



Arty Party Fun

25 Jul

I love hosting the Arty Party every month. There are always different people attending, with varying degrees of artistic skills. Some people are quite comfortable in their artistic skills while others have had very limited experience with being creative or artistic. It is what I love most about doing the class. Seeing the ones that think they can’t do it, actually create something fun and beautiful and suddenly realize they CAN do it! Woo Hoo!!!!

I especially love seeing how everyone takes the same directions and creates something completely different from everyone else. Each person expresses their own artistic talent (yes everyone has talent, even if you don’t believe it!) in a way that is unique to them. Their art pieces speak to their own color palette and style and aesthetic. Each class inspires me more and more as I see the seeds of creativity start to sprout in each student. It is absolutely amazing to watch and experience and I know that is why I love doing these classes.

For the July Arty Party I really wanted to try to encourage the whole ‘mixed media’ style of art. The idea of using multiple techniques to create the piece is what mixed media is all about. For this project we started with a cradled canvas panel, then we used various paints, stencils, sprays, gel medium, napkins, photo copy images, ¬†and lots of embellishments. We also used Gelatos, Inka Gold, Pitt Big Brush Pens, and Identipens. ¬†Everyone really did create their own mixed media art piece.

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I love the variety that was achieved. I can’t wait til next month to see what we do. I know the students will be exploring their artistic side and finding out that they can do it and that they like what they are doing! Amazing!

Perhaps you will join us at the next Arty Party. You know you want to!


Let Your Inner Artist Out To Play

Blue Twig Studio – 5965 Whiskey River Dr – Colorado Springs, Co 80923 – USA

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Wonderful Student Zentangle Work

17 Jul

Do you know about Zentangle¬ģ?

Zentangle is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. If you can hold a pen, you can do this. The philosophy behind Zentangle is all about the mindfulness and focus that you learn while creating these little bits of fabulous art.  I encourage you to visit the Zentangle website to learn more. I also recommend that you  find a CZT (certified Zentangle teacher) in your area to take a class from. I am a CZT and am available for classes. I teach in my in-home studio as well as offering up private classes in your home or business. This is a wonderful way to de-stress and relax and relieve anxiety and tension. Please contact me if you are interested in learning more about Zentangle.

It seems that I haven’t posted any of my student’s Zentangle¬ģ¬†work for quite a while. Unfortunately, I don’t have all the photos from most of the previous classes as I had a computer meltdown a while back and wasn’t able to save all the photos that were on the hard drive. But I do think I have a few class tiles available to share with you.

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You can see how beautiful all of the tiles are in these beginner classes. I so enjoy teaching this class and seeing how wonderful the student work is, even when they don’t think they can do it when we start the class.

You can see other student work here and here.

You can find out about upcoming Zentangle classes by visiting the Events tab on the Blue Twig Studio website. I look forward to seeing you at a future class.


Let Your Inner Artist Out To Play

Blue Twig Studio – 5965 Whiskey River Dr – Colorado Springs, CO 80923 – USA

You can register for the Blue Twig Studio newsletter here.



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