Try Something New

Today has been one of those busy summer days, spent getting packed to go on another adventure! I’ll be leaving Friday to spend 5 Days teaching in sunny CA and I’m looking forward to spending time with my art buddies, Lisa Bebi and Renee Richetts.

During my packing however, I picked up the last issue of Cloth Paper Scissors to add to my stash of airplane reading material. As I flipped through it Serena Barton’s Workshop article again caught my eye-this was something I wanted to try. I had the good fortune to meet Serena at Art & Soul via Lesley Riley and we are going to be roomies for Art Unraveled in August and I love her work!

What I loved about this article is that Serena didn’t use any pencil-no sketching-just paint to paper, building shadows and highlights and eventually adding details with a brush.

I worked off an image on the art info cards I had made up. I liked the idea of turning this statue like face into a real person. I practiced looking at the little image I was modeling my painting after more than at what I was doing on the paper and as I was only doing this on a piece of paper I really wasn’t worried with how it would turn out. It’s just for practice.

So following Serena’s tutorial I spent about a half hour working in little spurts between packing. I tried to work fast and step away to look at if from a distance. I really wasn’t concerned about the outcome, just wanted to play with the process.

I liked the process, it’s different from how I usually work. I learned some things I can incorporate into the way I already paint and most of all I found just a little time to create art today.


May’s Marathon

I’ve completed the first part of May’s Marathon by teaching two classes and having a book signing at Art & Soul in Hampton, VA. This was my first A&S experience and it surpassed my expectations ten fold!

Jesse Reno, me and Lesley Riley

The first night I met up with Lesley Riley at the Managers Reception. I cannot say enough nice things about Lesley. We met online a few months back when she asked to do an interview with me for Art & Soul Radio. Those things can be nerve-wracking, but the minute we started talking the hour flew by and I felt I’d found a new friend. We’ve emailed back and forth since and she helped me navigate my way with the Matisse Derivan product line. I highly recommend her Artist Success newsletter, website, and services. Lesley kindly offered to meet up with me that first night and proceeded to introduce me around making me feel completely at home.  I want to be like Lesley when I grow up:-)

About Jesse? Well let’s just say he is high energy, true to himself, and a complete pleasure to talk to. I will be taking a class from him at some point when I can work it in. One of the amazing things about attending a live teaching venue is the down time between workshops when you get to sit with other creatives and just talk about art. Lesley just finished interviewing Jesse so keep an eye out for that, sure to be interesting!

Student work

More Student Work

and even more student work

Signing books after class

One of the most memorable moments happened in the restroom…I was washing my hands and someone walked up to the sink next to me and I kind of saw them do a double take out the corner of my eye. Then they said “You’re Pam Carriker- I had a dream that I met you at Art & Soul…in the BATHROOM!” Totally cracked me up! Not sure about the meaning of that dream but I probably won’t ever forget being recognized in the bathroom-lol!

The student work was really amazing

Michelle Tomkins and me

What’s the best thing about attending an Art Retreat? Meeting new friends you feel like you’ve known forever!

As for my post title ‘May’s Marathon’ well next week I head to Colorado to shoot a DVD for Interweave, and then come home for a couple of days before heading to CREATE Costa Mesa. I’m living life out of my art suitcase this month and trying to enjoy every minute of it!

Officially Excited!

Well, I’ve shared a bit about working on some things with Derivan Matisse and yesterday I signed on the dotted line to make it official-a product line of new and exciting art supplies! This is something I’m so excited about, things I want for art supplies in my own studio and now I get to help make them available to you as well.

This company produces top-notch artist paints and mediums making it very easy to say yes to working with them. I’ll share more specific details when I can, but I want to thank everyone for the well wishes on Facebook. It is so wonderful to be able to share and celebrate things in that way with each other.

I’ve also been busy getting ready for two upcoming Art Retreats. Here are some samples of what I’m teaching. I’m really looking forward to it and hope to see some of you there!

ART & SOUL Hampton

Renaissance Women

Arcimboldo Style Self Portraits

CREATE Costa Mesa, CA

Painting with PanPastels

Journal in a Day

What Would Lesley Do?

This is a newsletter from Lesley Riley. If you haven’t yet signed up to receive it, I highly encourage you to do so.  I was honored to be interviewed about Living Art at the Speed of Life by Lesley-you can listen to it here, and love how real she is and how she speaks from the heart.

Why I Do What I Do

Starting on a new journey is hard, especially when you do it alone. Alone is sitting by yourself day in and day out trying to figure out what the next step is. I have a few people I can bounce ideas off of and a coach/mentor helping me grow and expand my new adventure, but when it boils right down to it, the buck stops here. I have to craft my own way. I have so many ideas, so many things I want to do that I spend most of my time just figuring out where to put my attention and efforts. There’s a note stuck above my computer that reads, “Where do I want to make a meaning investment?”

You see, it’s about meaning – not time, not money, although that does factor in, of course. With a ton of money I could implement everything by hiring people to help me turn ideas into reality. But for now, it’s just me, alone, at my desk, trying to make sense of it all. Some days, I just want to throw in the towel, get a 9-5 somewhere where I can make a difference in people’s lives, but without having to figure out the how.

Well over a year ago, I asked myself, “What is it I really want to do with my life?” The answer was exactly the same as the answer I got over 10 years ago – I want everyone to find the same happiness I did when I discovered how to express myself through art. Basically, I wanted to become the person I had been looking for all of my life, someone to show me the way, to teach me the game of ART.

For some it comes naturally. It’s those lucky people who make the rest of us think that we are not cut out to be an artist. But there’s a passion in there we cannot deny, so we persist. I spent so many years trying to find my way, exploring different media, taking classes, and reading. Damn it, I was going to figure it out if it took a lifetime.

And then one day (all alone), it all clicked. Once it fell into place, everything I ever wanted started to happen. Fast. Everything I ever dreamed of. I was on the magic carpet ride of success. But still, something was missing. I was riding away from the very reason that I started teaching in the first place. And that was to help others find that magic ingredient that makes it all click.

So here I am trying to figure out the how. Not how to help you find the magic ingredient – I can teach you how. The how I’m trying to figure out is how to convince you that what you are looking for is not another technique, or a new art supply but something buried deep inside of you. You take a class because you want to know how that artist does what she does. You think knowing how to do it is your answer. But that’s her answer.

Your answer lies inside of you. I was unhappy until I found it. I don’t want you to be unhappy. That’s it. That’s why I do what I do. Right now I’m trying to figure out how to best help you find your answer. Since you are reading this, I’m not working alone anymore.

So have you got any ideas, partner? I’d love to hear what you think.  Email me at  This operator is standing by.

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Lesley Riley, The Artist Success Expert, is the founder of Artist Success, Solutions for the Struggling Artist. To receive her bi-weekly articles on creating your own success as an artist, visit

Preparations for Paris

I’m just back from a trip to see my family and now with only two days left to pack for Paris, my house is a flurry of activity. Laundry is being done, mail being stopped, emails being answered, arrangements to have our pets looked after, packing, packing and packing.

I was so excited to be able to share my book with my family and I’ll be packing that as well for the workshop attendees to get a first peek at it!

All of these exciting things have been put into a new perspective by the events of the past couple of weeks and as exciting as they are, the anticipation of Christmas, the trip of a lifetime, the unveiling of a book two years in the making, I realize the truly important blessing is simply being healthy. Something that is easily taken for granted.

So my wish for you this Christmas, family and friends, is for good health in the New Year. It will be the prayer uttered from my lips as we ring the New Year in in the glow of the lights from the Eiffel Tower.