Doodling Back to Nature


If you’ve been following along on my adventures for awhile you know that I am a nature girl.

I’ve always loved the idea of creating a field notebook to capture my observations out in the natural world. But the truth is, I’ve never had the patience to stop and draw and document while I’m outdoors. I like to be moving, exploring, touching, seeing, smelling.

SunlightRiverPatterns21FebAnd the funny thing is, since I’ve let go of this idea that I need to have (what I think of as) a traditional field note book/nature journal, I’ve begun to capture the essence of my outdoor experiences more & more with my doodles.

So when Kelly from Wings, Worms & Wonder asked me to bring my nature doodling to her blog hop (introducing her cool e-course Draw Yourself Back to Nature) I felt super honored.

Fooses9AugShe asked each of the hoppers to share their experience of journaling nature, and since using simple patterns and icons is really the way I back into nature journaling I thought I’d share a few of my simple sketches depicting some of my days in nature and near the water.

Fooses Creek is a sketch from a photo. Although this is one of my more complex, and dare I say realistic sketches, it is really simplistic — using lines and color to capture the essence of where we stopped for a little break from our hike.



To the left is a sketch depicting a trail we pedal along called Silver Creek. I think that may have something to do with the mining days – and while there is a creek it is not silver.

I added some flower doodles, too, to remind me of the gorgeous wildflowers on that day.




My Brown’s Creek sketch reminds me a bit of mermaid tail (how appropriate for this mountain mermaid:) and it reminds me of how I got myself close up to the rocks to feel the spray from raging Brown’s Creek Falls on that hot summer day.




On this August afternoon I dipped my toes in a creek that has never flowed, until this summer, in the nine years I’ve lived in Salida. My curving colored lines don’t look a thing like the creek, and they still remind me of the wonder of that afternoon and “the summer that Cottonwood flowed”.

I had a snake encounter that day, too! Woah!


RiverPlunge30AugIt has taken me some years to embrace my doodling as a form of capturing nature.

I think the different drawing classes and snippets of practice I’ve embarked on over the years have helped me feel comfortable with my doodling style that has emerged.

And I’m so looking forward to my next drawing class – Draw Yourself Back to Nature with Kelly at Wings Worms & Wonder. How will that impact my future doodles?

I encourage you to dive in – with markers or pencils – and start creating doodles that represent a nature experience you want to remember. Your doodles will help you to seal a beautiful memory in your mind’s eye.


If you want to try doodling with the Daily Musings Journal, as part of the blog hop I’m giving away a PDF download of the remainder of 2015. Please share with me in the comments how you like to remember your nature adventures – and if you just might give doodling a try as a way to do that. I need to hear from you by Sunday October 11 at 10pm MT.

And maybe I’ll see you at Draw Yourself Back to Nature, too.






P.S. The 2016 Daily Musings Journal is now available for sale.  You can get all the deets, and purchase yours, here.


Filed under Creativity, Daily Musings Journal, Journaling, Lettering, Nature, Playing

A Pretty Picture

doesn’t always share the story…

of driving across the valley and up a dirt road to reach this high spot with a perfect view.

of wandering around the field amongst the grasses and cactus as the day waned.

of munching on sandwiches & garden carrots & chips on the floor of the van

of quiet conversation between husband and wife

of anticipation of the rising

of the rise – with naked eyes and through binoculars – of the super harvest moon

of watching that moon move into full eclipse

of breathing in and out

of winding back down the dirt road and across the valley as the moon grew dark and orangish

Our world is full of so many beautiful wonders!
What a extra-ordinary treat it was to experience this natural phenomena.
It was a beauty.

And, as Jamie Ridler asks for this full moon, what dream did I want to bring to fruition? Today I said a big yes to Chris Zydel’s next Wild Heart Expressive Arts Teacher Training Program. Dream come true!

And today the 2016 Daily Musings Journals arrived from the printer! Another dream come true!
You can check out the details for purchasing here. Pssst…if you’re on my mermaid tales list you’ll be receiving an early order discount code on Thursday. Sign-up here.

draw hop 2 day 5 graphic

The last bit of news I’m excited to share – I’m participating in Kelly Johnson’s (Wings, Worms & Wonder) Draw Yourself Back to Nature Blog Hop. She is a super creative nature journaler. See Kelly sparkle as she explains the details on her blog here!

I’d love to see you back here on Friday, October 9 when I’ll be sharing some fun doodling back to nature.

Until then…enjoy some extra-ordinary, ordinary wonders of our beautiful world!





Filed under Creative Play, Creativity, Daily Musings Journal, Entrepreneurship, Everyday Adventure, Inspiration, Journaling, Joy, My Salida Backyard, Nature

adventure and joy in expression


Where to begin…I thought it best to remember my space. Here in the shadow of this stunning desert landscape I painted a landscape, of sorts, of my own.

If you had told me when I arrived to Ghost Ranch for a week of Painting from Your Wild Heart on Thursday afternoon that I would be taking home a 6ft high by 7.5ft wide painting a week later I would have chuckled with amusement and disbelief.

I came to this magical land with an open heart and little expectation. I left with a full and open heart, and another magical landscape of my own. My new landscape is so full of possibility and love and enthusiasm for the creative process – mine and seedlings of more ways to share it with others.

[note – this is a rather long post, and I have written it as much for me as for you]

PaintingBegins My painting began in a predictable way…with curving lines. These lines are always comforting to me, and form a river. The female figure was a bit of a surprise, but it was still a river. And the colors – purples & blues – all me!

Adding the golden leaves also felt predictable and comfortable, especially as it is September and fall in the high country.

The next day I covered the leaves with rocks, and I also played with color and texture in the river. I honestly wanted to be finished then – because I thought this lovely figure/river would look beautiful where I had another tall intuitive artwork piece in my studio.Phase1Complete

But the point wasn’t to create a piece for the wall, it was to go where the juiciness laid.

What scared me Chris would ask?

I was was scared, and also intrigued, to go bigger. This river wanted to be turned on it’s side and have paper added above. And so I listened…

Once I added paper I did not know what wanted to happen next; my first lines were words written with a white oil pastel: Every being and spirit deserves to be, even me. The next lines were not all that unpredictable – the rock cliffs I was looking out upon as I painted.

Angsty feelings arose as I added color to the cliffs with watered down paint – until some magic happened.

PaintingLight-ShadowThe sun hit my painting and the most amazing shadows appeared in the ripples of the paper. I felt like I was looking upon the beautiful canyon walls that surround Ghost Ranch. I could not have not done this if I had tried.

Next I created a night sky.

Then I wanted to add a Coelophysis dinosaur (I had walked along the Coelophysis Quarry on one of my hikes and my fascination had taken me to the Museum of Paleontology on the Ghost Ranch grounds afterwards.) I am not confident in my drawing skills, and I only had a hazy recollection of the skeleton I had seen at the museum.

Phase2-InProgressChris firmly and lovingly told me that I could not look at anything for reference – that this would squash my creativity. But she insisted I could create the dinosaur, and it would be my creature.

Ha I thought…and then…what could I lose by trying. I went for it, and I love him.

PaintingDetailsMy painting began to become a world for every being and spirit (even fairies:) This was not a plan when I wrote the words underneath the surface of the painting.

Can you catch a glimpse of one of the fairies in the image with me painting?

All of this over the days that included an amazing movement practice and aliveness check-in each morning with the beautiful circle of women I was painting with; and walks to and from camp where Gandalf the Grey (our trusty camper van) was home; hikes amongst the landscape; tears and laughter; star gazing and desert sounds.

MeChimneyRockAnd then one evening my painting told me it wanted to get even bigger! What!?

I wanted to add some sort of shelter, but it felt like it would not fit on my current painting.

And so I added another panel using the paper I had smudged with left over paint a little earlier.


And yes – this unfolded, too. It was a crazy, alive, some times scary and frustrating, joy-filled adventure – to just keep painting, adding color and life to this painting on paper using cheap tempera paints.


And then our time Painting from the Wild Heart came to a close. I felt a sadness, and also a satisfaction and a joy. I had shown-up and painted from my wild heart, spent time in circle with beautiful women, wander in the stunning landscape that is Ghost Ranch, and created a joy-filled piece I would never have guessed was inside of me.

I loved being in my body and outside with the painted desert cliffs as I painted, choosing colors and images that called to me. Even if they weren’t realistic, they were filled with life & laughter, joy & adventure. I say yes to this is my life.

This is an experience I will not forget, and I look forward to painting with my whole self again – soon I hope.

The adventure and joy of expression – this is creativity my friends – in whatever colors and forms it takes for you!

Where can you find adventure and joy in expression? There will you will find your creativity, too. I hope you will take a few moments to create from your wild heart.

And I’d love to hear about your adventure!




Filed under Art & Design, Creative Play, Creativity, Daily Musings Journal, Friends, Inspiration, Joy, Nature, Playing, Spirituality, Travel

the Dawning of a New Age


I have a birthday coming – tomorrow!

I’ve heard this particular age called double nickels, a speed limit, and – my favorite at the moment – 55 and foxy! Yes – I like that thought!

And now I’ve revealed the number of my age.
But this number is not really what is significant.

Making peace with the changes that come with this number …in my body, mind & spirit…is what I’ve been thinking about.

In my body: I’ve been so healthy most of my life. And as an avid outdoors person I love to mountain bike, hike, ski, and…
I’ve always considered myself a very active person.
In the past several years I have found myself being a little more intimidated on some of my adventures. When I fall from my mountain bike it seems to hurt more and take longer to recover.

And I don’t seem to have the same stamina and strength that I used to. There are spots that I used to pedal through without thinking, and now I find myself getting off my bike and walking through some of these sections.

If I’m honest I don’t enjoy the bumpy jarring over the rocks when I used to be able to seemingly glide right through.

I’ve also had a few health issues, and it has been challenging to not always feel 100%.

In my mind: This new age is a challenging transition – learning to come to terms with these changes in my body; to realize that it is my ego mind that wants to pedal through every rocky section of the trail I have in the past and doing this, or not, does not make me.

In my spirit: I am grateful for the yoga practice that I have found in the past several years. It is helping me to navigate these changes in my body and to BE with what is in each moment. It is helping me to let go and love myself now; to enjoy each moment, and BE OK with not doing some things to the same level that I used to.


I have thought a lot {about this} as this birthday has approached. I am grateful for all that is in this moment.

Life is too precious, and it is time to make peace with this new age.

Where can you make peace with where you are in this moment – no matter what has been in the past, or you wish for the future? I’d love to hear how you navigate the inevitable changes that happen in your life.

Thank you for being on this journey with me.





P.S. I am off to Ghost Ranch in Abiqui, New Mexico – to be in the space where Georgia O’Keefe painted, and to paint with Chris Zydel of Creative Juices Art. I look forward to being in each moment of this coming week in this very special place – with very special people who I have not yet met. I’ll be sure to report back about my adventures…see you in a few weeks.

Sept-Dec2015DMJcvrIn the mean time – if you missed the Doodle Days [of Summer] Musings Adventure, I’ve created a printable download of the rest of the year of the Daily Musings Journal. Click here to check it out and get yours today!


{Selfie images taken down my the Arkansas River on September 7 – no planning, no filter, no adjusting, no make-up – just me in the moment.}


Filed under Everyday Adventure, Inspiration, Joy, Nature, Outdoor Adventure, Playing, Self-care, Spirituality

Adventures in Musings & Images


Here I am – nearly a week ago – as we pedaled along the Continental Divide Trail.


It has been a few years since I’ve pedaled along this renowned cycling section of the Continental Divide Trail called the Crest Trail.
This section of the trail is not too technical, but it is a long ride at high altitude, and there are sections of the loop route we chose that were definitely technically challenging.


I will remember this day as an extraordinary bike adventure — creating the doodle helped to etch it in my mind’s eye – the challenging moments, the whee moments, and the beautiful vistas.



This scene is an extraordinary everyday moment. This view – looking across the valley at Mt Ouray – is from the Arkansas Hills just above town (and very close to home). I am not the best at getting myself up here early in the morning, but the reward of this light and shadow, beauty and quiet alone time is well worth it when I do.


This morning will forever be etched in my mind’s eye from this doodle.

Musing in doodles allows me to reflect on what felt important for my day. These doodles don’t always come to me on that day, but they do seem to come.


Some days I feel a bit scattered, too many things vying for my attention, and those doodles often reflect this, too. Wednesday this week had a bit of that feel…and turned into a mandala which grounded me as I created it.

How do you like to remember your days – the good ones, the challenging ones and the scattered ones?

I hope you find some way to enJOY each one of them.





Sept-Dec2015DMJcvrP.S. If you want to have a go at doodle musings to remember your day, the 2015 Daily Musings Journal – Sept – Dec, is now available as a printable download. Click here for all of the details.

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Filed under Creativity, Daily Musings Journal, Everyday Adventure, Journaling, Joy, Lettering, My Salida Backyard, Outdoor Adventure, Playing