Tag Archives: artist

Work in Progress



Greetings! It has been awhile since my last post – 2015 is a busy year already!!!

I took a class on Creative Live taught by James Victore titled “Bold and Fearless Poster Design” a few days ago. He talked about being a creative person in general, not just in terms of poster design. My major take away from the class was the challenge to be sure I use my own voice to create unique and meaningful work.

Victore probably wouldn’t approve of this particular design – it is a bit cutesy – but I don’t really care because I enjoyed illustrating Sir Thomas Browne’s quote, and I feel good every time I look at it. Using crayons to complete this particular piece made sense because I wanted to embrace a playful approach to the illustrations. I am going to play with more designs that bring out other parts of who I am as a person and creator while continuing to work on illustrations that are simply pretty and happy – the world needs that too.

New cards are available in my shop (https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheFreeRangeArtisan). I posted new pieces that will be lovely little trinkets for Valentine’s Day too. I’d love for you to stop by!

A local art gallery will be offering my cards in the gift shop next week, which is exciting for me. I’m going to be printing and packaging them over the weekend… and playing with color and words whenever possible. In other words, I’m a…

IMG_3731.. and really, aren’t we all?

May you embrace the wonders you carry within.

Creatively Yours,


The Free Range Artisan


See something you like on my blog that is not in my shop? Click “contact the shop owner” and we can easily arrange a custom order.


Fresh Off the Presses!


We enjoyed a wonderful Christmas, and I hope that your own celebrations were full of joy and peace!

It’s time to return to work, and I’m happy to say that I finally added to my Etsy shop inventory.

I have a new collection of wearable hand drawn original illustrations (here are just a few):




I also posted a new card design:


Last night, I finished another illustration. The phrase “Fear Not” is one that I’ve been thinking of for awhile, but it wasn’t until watching my son’s Christmas play that I realized the way in which I wanted to frame it:


You can see pictures of the creation process in my instagram account: http://instagram.com/thefreerangeartisan

I’d love for you to stop by my shop to check out my fun and colorful pieces – let me know if I can put together something special just for you and yours!




See something you like on my blog that is not in my shop? Click “contact the shop owner” and we can easily arrange a custom order.

The Blank Page – or Adventures with Fecundity


Fecundity is my favorite word. It is the ability to produce. When I am at my best creatively, I am relaxed, comfortable, and feel free. This state of being does not come naturally. I have (as do you, I suspect) what feels like A TON of things that must be done. I have roles of mother, wife, and friend that are important to me to fulfill. It is easy to feel very limited.

Yet, when I see a blank canvas:

behind the scenes 124I can’t wait to gather my paints:

behind the scenes 130

And fill it with color:

behind the scenes 129Don’t get me started when it comes to what is possible with polymer clay:

behind the scenes 126I can begin a piece feeling discouraged or sad, but it’s nearly impossible to hold on to those feelings when I play with colors and design:

dream onjourneywhat a lovely dayfeel betterjoymay find yourself smiling oftenbeloved let us love

As some of you know, I occasionally work with students in English. Yesterday, I spoke with a mother who needed guidance in how to help her daughter with her writing. She said that one of her assignments simply asks the student to write a story and provided a blank page. For the reluctant writer, a blank page is overwhelming. We discussed ways in which she could help her daughter brainstorm and organize her thoughts, which is really an amazing process when I stop to think about it.

Today, I think about how, even though a blank canvas, page, or a glob of clay doesn’t phase me, staring into the face of the unknown is daunting – just as a writing assignment with no real prompt and only white space was daunting to the reluctant writer. Jean Paul Sartre writes of this sensation in Being and Nothingness. To have nothingness can be ideal in that there is great freedom, but it can also be the source of great existential angst. Great power lies in the ability to create – and great responsibility accompanies that power.

I think, in the midst of experiencing some uncertainty in my own life, that returning to the metaphor of the artist is one that can inspire me to push through the angst and toward the sensation of hope, wonder, and playfulness. In the words of Fr. J.J. Lakers (who I write about in my post on Journeys), “I claim a certain right to expound a vision… by analogy with artists in a theory of artistic creation… when artists meet insuperable limits on the full and free expression of their longing in this actual society, they feel the limits intensely. Yet, where others who meet these limits may repress the longing or adjust to the reality, the artists refuse to surrender. They therefore set out to create new forms of life and interaction, if only in imagination.”

Here’s to the artistic spirit that dwells within us all – waiting to be unleashed. Here’s to fecundity.

– Free Range Al


PLEASE NOTE: excerpts of this blog using Fr. J.J.’s words may not be used without written permission.

behind the scenes 124


Projects and My Other Hat


Saturday’s market was enjoyable. Thanks to those who stopped by my blue umbrella!

New pieces like these were displayed:

behind the scenes 055

I actually turned my flower sketches I shared with you awhile ago into pendant designs, like these:

behind the scenes 037

I had to keep one for myself, but I made many others and am looking forward to making more.

behind the scenes 045

I work with homeschool students when my husband has a day off from work or when my son is at school, and I’ve been wearing my English teacher hat for most of this evening as I prepare new courses (Animal Farm for one and a unit on J.D Salinger for another). I’ll put on my artist cap in a day or so… I want to post new pieces and more raindrop glass pieces are coming my way – I have big plans for them!

Creatively Yours,

Free Range Al



Already At It


In my last post, I mentioned having projects that were waiting for me. I’m happy to report that I’ve been able to complete a few of the items on my creative to-do list…

One of my far away friends will be receiving some company while she recovers from surgery:

Almost ready to go...

Almost ready to go…

Ready to go with a newly designed card!

Ready to go with a newly designed card!

I also began working on what I call flower globes, which I plan to bring with me to this Saturday’s market:

Flower Globe

Flower Globe

If you know someone hoo (I know, and I’m not really sorry) might enjoy an owl, there is a small flock of them at my Etsy store: http://www.etsy.com/shop/TheFreeRangeArtisan


I’m looking forward to putting the finishing touches on my outgoing mail, posting my new card on my Etsy shop, and making another globe or two before calling it a night.

Creatively Yours,

Free Range Al

Winding Down, Starting New


I participate in our local Farmer’s Market on Saturdays, and I enjoy the opportunity to interact with customers. The heat is not something I care for, but there are truly worse things in life. It’s silly to commit to complaining about standing under a big umbrella surrounded by gorgeous fruits and vegetables and pleasant people while selling one’s creations, so I won’t go on about that.

I had some time to sketch during the market, so some new design ideas are brewing…

behind the scenes 025

I’d like to create some more greeting cards similar to my Joy postcards in the days to come:

Although a more reasonable expectation might be that I produce a finished piece in the weeks to come, because I’ll be out of town Tuesday through Friday. Still, there will be time for sketching, and I’ve come to embrace those moments!

Creatively Yours,

Free Range Al





Illustration Friday First Attempt: Beard


Being the Free Range Artisan means that following the prompt of another does not always come easily, but the flowers from our bike rides and attempting to draw a beard for the first time made the challenge from Illustration Friday one that I thought I should attempt. Fellow artists might want to check out the site: http://illustrationfriday.com/about/how-it-works/

This week’s topic, in case you haven’t already figured it out, is “beard”. Here’s my creation:

His Inner Garden Grew

His Inner Garden Grew

Now to figure out how to submit it electronically… hmmm…

Meanwhile, here’s to you who dare to do what does not come easily, who take on challenges that will help you grow, and who create for the sake of creating.

Free Range Al


An Introduction: What’s In A Name?


In short, I think a lot can be in a name – ask any character from The Odyssey … then again, it’s easy to put too much into one’s name, or title – ask Romeo or Juliet.  When someone asks me what I do, I have to quickly decide if I will keep it simple (stay at home mom while adding that I do not like that phrase), or if I’ll avoid a label and provide a quick summary of what I do (write, create, mother, work with English students, support my husband, support those who are dear to me). As you can see, a quick summary is actually not possible, and each part of that summary has a story behind it. We all do a great many things, and our activities and areas of emphasis vary from day to day. That is how The Free Range Artisan came into being. It’s my attempt to have an identity without being limited by it. There are so many ways in which I love to create:


Dream On

Polymer Clay

Owl Buddies

Mixed Media

Mixed Media Purse


Heart Felt Bottle

I could go on…

The world of ideas is also really important to me. Reading and writing has always been part of my life, and an objective of mine is to be published. I daydream about being a published author and respected thinker as often as I daydream about being recognized for my artistic creations!


I wouldn’t mind being a professional drummer either…

Behind the Scenes

Sometimes having a great many interests and passions can be painful – it actually hurts when I do not have the time I need to write to the extent I want to write, or when I cannot stay in my studio by myself all day to make sure a drawing is just right – but these interests are also sources of great joy, especially when I can incorporate them into my current life as a mother. My son helped me prepare my business cards while I stamped bags today…

business card prep

… and it was a joy to share my love of nature with him during yesterday’s bike ride. I think my experiences of motherhood and the opportunities I have to build and maintain meaningful relationships will enhance my work in the future when I’m able to devote more time and energy to my writing and design.

What about you? What are your passions? How do you honor your own desires while being sure to care for those you love?

Take Care,

Free Range Al

One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.” – Nietzsche