Lessons on Learning For a Modern World

This article is so rich in content and inspiration. It’s worth every minute spent reading it.  Grab a hot cup of tea and enjoy this food for thought.

A Thousand Rivers: What the Modern World has Forgotten about Children and Learning


My favorite room in the house

Over the past 11 years, I have moved my art studio to 6 different spots in our home. I’ve worked in the basement, in the kitchen, in a bedroom & in our sitting room to name a few of these spots.  They all have worked for a short time, but after a couple of creative sessions, the charm wears off and I realize the lighting is terrible, or I have to clean up so we can use the table for dinner. The bottom line is none of the spaces have felt right for creating.

Then, one day I looked over at our front room and saw that it wasn’t being used.  In fact, it had been awhile since we really used that room.  So I decided to move in.  I pushed the couch out of the way, cleared off some shelves, and brought in my drafting table.
drafting tableIt was a perfect fit.  I’ve been working out of this studio now for a few months, and I love it.

Studio 2

This room receives sunlight from 2 large pictures windows on either side of the house.  The lighting in here is great all day long, and the huge shelving unit provides plenty of storage space.

studio 1

studio storage Studio shelves

The best parts about working in the front room is that it’s centrally located to the rest of the house. So, when I’m working on artwork, I’m not off in a secluded part of the house away from my family.  I can easily take a break to engage in a conversation and jump right back into my work.  Plus there is plenty of room to share!

kids painting

Inspiration Board: Calligraphy

I move through seasons with my artwork, just as I do in life.  Inspiration boards are where I gather what is currently inspiring me.  It’s a way for me to catalog the journey.

Calligraphy Lessons ::  St. Francis of Assisi  ::  Muir John Potter script  ::  G. K. Chesterton  ::  Monk

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How to write calligraphy

Lessons in calligraphy

I Promise To Write

My soul reason for being on social media is because my heart craves community.  We all do.  It’s how we are designed.  As an artist, I gain inspiration from the interactions that I have with other people.  However, social media can be a double edged sword.  On one hand, it connects me to friends new and old, near and far.  While on the other hand, it causes me dissatisfaction and frustration.  I spend my time writing what’s on my heart, and then I spend even more time crafting updates to try and maximize the number of people who will see it.  The result is a few brief interactions with friends.  Whether I’m sharing about what God is doing in my life and on my easel, or letting you know there has been an update to my Etsy shop, it is all in the hands of Facebook as to who will actually see the words I’ve written.  The bottom line is this isn’t working for me.  My heart and soul work is my artwork.  Everyday I’m inspired to create, but if people aren’t seeing my artwork, or reading what I write, then there isn’t much reason for creating.  Quite honestly, I don’t have the time or the money to play Facebook’s games in getting my content in front of my friends eyes.  So I have decided to take a different approach, connecting through mail.

I want to have the ability to connect with my friends and supporters directly.  If I am going to take the time to sit down and write what is on my heart, I want to know that you are receiving it.  So this year, I want to begin connecting with you through letters that are delivered straight to your inbox.  Joining my email list is now the BEST way to stay connected to what is going on with my artwork.  All of my most recent updates, and special offers on artwork, workshops, and retreats (also new in 2015!) will be sent out to my email list.

How do you join my email list?  If you look over in the left-hand sidebar you will find a green button prompting you sign up.

If you don’t want to miss out (and trust me – you don’t), then sign up!

Why social media & I don’t get along.

Social media has enriched my life in a number of ways.  I love the connections that I’ve been able to make with people outside of my normal circle of everyday interactions thanks to FacebookPintrest has become my primary resource for finding new ideas and creative ways to do things.  And Instagam has inspired me to challenge myself artistically and encouraged me to keep working at skill that I struggle with to see growth over time.  In these ways, I can’t imagine my life without social media.

Over the last year, in a push to grow my business, I started focusing on social media, spending more time creating posts working toward a consistent schedule and a stronger online presence.  This strategy has been good for my business, but not so good for myself.

To begin with, it is a distraction.  For every 20 min. that I spend doing something productive, I spend another 60 min. distracted on a rabbit trail.  However, time management is a challenge for many entrepreneurs.  No, my issue with social media comes from a deeper, personal place.  For me, social media is a constant source of discontentment and jealously.

As I scroll down my Facebook timeline, I see all the places that my friends are traveling to, the concerts they are at, and the restaurants they eat at, and I feel jealous.  I log on to look at the pins that have inspired those who I follow on Pintrest, and I see beautiful homes, inspiring studios, and gorgeous works of art.  I compare these with my own home, studio and artwork and I feel discontent.

Jealousy and discontentment are not character traits that I am comfortable holding in my heart.  They rob me of joy.  Yet, it doesn’t stop there.  When I’m not on the computer, my mind is still on those social media sites as I ponder how to best document my life for maximum social media impact.  I’m not being present in the moments of my life if my mind is pondering ways to leverage my life moments on social media.  Trying to live my life as a promotion of my brand is like creating artwork because I think it will sell.  Neither is an authentic expression from my heart and neither is very fulfilling.

I ask myself why I spend my time participating in something that plants seeds of jealousy and discontentment and causes me to live my life without authenticity.  Sadly, the answer is, to grow my business. This is not a good enough answer.  I believe that if I continue down this path, it will instead be the death of my creative business.  For how can I expect to receive God’s inspiration, and create meaningful art if I am not being authentic?  For this reason there will be some coming changes as to how I stay connected with all of you.  More information about these changes will be coming later.

In the mean time, I’m wondering how social media has effected how you live your life?  Share in the comments.

When Painting Means So Much More

I am a third generation painter. My father is a painter, as was his mother before him. Painting has always played an important role in my life. My training came along side life training. I remember learning about points of perspective, and proportions of the human body, just as I remember learning to ride my bike and dancing ballet. Every school project became an art project. In fourth grade, I made a life size statue of George Washington for a history project. and in middle school, my presentations were shrink wrapped and displayed as fine art. Creating has always been second nature to me. It is a treasured bond that I share with my dad. As I have grown older, creating art has also become a way for me to connect with my heavenly father.

Rhythm & Balance LernerIn 2014, I had the privilege of doing some artwork for a fundraiser hosted by Elkhart General Hospital in Elkhart, IN. During this time, there was a tragic shooting that took place in our community. In response to this, the hospital asked if I would paint a memorial piece in memory of the shooting victims. It was my great honor to create an art piece entitled “A Three Stranded Cord”. The monument represents the strength of our community during that hard time. It shows that with love, hope, and unity, our community is like a three-stranded cord that cannot easily be broken. This was my first time painting for hurting people. The experience opened a door in my heart and gave me direction for my artwork.

Martin's 2 sidesShortly after the memorial dedication, I was asked by St. Joseph Regional Medical Center in Mishawaka, IN to begin painting their oncology unit. When I began, I didn’t realize how much this project would impact my life. As I have watched cancer patients view my artwork, I have seen them gain hope, and determination to keep up the fight, and this experience has greatly inspired me, offering me my greatest fulfillment as an artist.


When people are sick, it is important that they get out of bed, walk around, and have a renewed hope, and inspiration for life.  Art can do that.

When people have lost someone dear to their heart, it is important that their memory live on, that others remember their life and are inspired.  Art can do that too.

Art can offer hope.  It is an inspiration of life.  It can soothe the soul and offer healing to the hurting in way that words cannot.

As I dip my brush into the paint and I make brush strokes across the wall., it is my prayer that those who see my paintings are able to see God’s heart for their life, that in the darkness of cancer, His presence is known and His love for His people is felt. This is why I paint.