Notes from The Voodoo Lounge
Interviews with artists, rants, ideas, opinions--as long as I don't sing, it's all good.

Today I’m joined in The Voodoo Lounge by Sal and Ellen, creators of Art Is You retreats, and we’re talking about Living in Generosity, their program for raising money for worthy causes at each retreat. And the coolest thing is that you don’t have to attend a specific retreat to be involved: you can mail in your donated artwork or your favorite art product to be added to the live auction. Sal and Ellen and their faculty and attendees raise thousands of dollars every year for everything from breast cancer research to efforts to protect koalas in Australia to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. There are lots of ways for you to participate, from making a journal to designing a black and white drawing for their children’s coloring book. To find out more, go to

Direct download: Living_in_Generosity_podcast.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:49 PM

Sarah Ahearn Bellemare is a painter, an author, a blogger, a business owner--and a mom. Sarah loves wearing all those different hats, and she loves that her career allows her to spend time at home with her daughter, but she's also honest about how hard it is to integrate being a new mom with a life as a working artist. If you spend much time online, you know how rare this is: artist moms make it sound like new motherhood is a fairytale world of cupcakes and bubble baths, and hardly anyone admits that, no matter how thrilled you are to be a mom and no matter how delightful you find this new little human who's living with you, it's hard. Very, very hard. Sarah has some tips for ways she's made it easier, refreshing ideas from someone who's willing to admit that while there are plenty of fabulous days, there are also some that are just tough. You'll want to invite her over for a good schmooze and a glass of wine.

You can find out more about Sarah and her creative life on her blog, and you can see her work on her website. You can find her book, Painted Pages: Fueling Creativity with Sketchbooks and Mixed Media, here, and her Etsy shop here.

Direct download: Sarah_Ahearn_Bellemare_podcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:26 PM

I've always wanted to go to CHA, the Craft and Hobby Association's annual January show in Anaheim, and I figured the next best thing to being there would be getting a report from Mary Beth Shaw, who has a fabulous time wherever she goes. Even if you have no interest in ever attending CHA, you'll love the vicarious adventure. What's not to love about a convention center filled with booths that include not just one, but two life-sized elephants, plus a totally decked-out Volkswagen bus?

 You can see Mary Beth's work here, and you can read her blog here, and you can check out those amazing stencils here. You can go here to buy her first book, Flavor for Mixed Media.

Direct download: Mary_Beth_Shaw_at_CHA_podcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:32 PM

Fabulous polymer clay artist Christi Friesen kind of knows a little bit about travel. In 2012, she spent a *lot* of time on the road and in the air, flying back and forth across the Atlantic and teaching everywhere from Prague to Australia. So when I wanted to know how travel can inspire creativity, whom better to ask? Nobody, of course--Christi is enthusiastic, inspiring, easy to work with, professional, and--best of all for me!--lots of fun. While you're listening to her talk, you can check out her website at, where you'll find her work, her books, her teaching schedule, and a whole bunch more really cool stuff, including that link to her eblather newsletter, which I love.

Direct download: Christi_Freisen_talks_about_travel_podcast.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:18 PM

Michelle Belto says, "My whole life has been about the absolute joy of creating art," and what could be better than that? When she did a webinar for us over at, I was struck by how she took an intimidating medium--encaustic--and made it seem totally approachable. In Michelle's hands, it becomes inviting and amazing: it's perfect for mixed media artists because they can incorporate so much of what they already do, whether it's painting or collage or mark-making or sculpting or, well, just about anything. 

Michelle's first book, Wax and Paper Workshop: Techniques for Combining Encaustic Paint and Handmade Paper, was released by North Light Books in September 2012. You can see more of her work and check out her teaching schedule by going to her website,

Direct download: Michelle_Belto_podcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:19 PM

In this conversation, Jill and I take a minute to look back over 2012--the things for which she's grateful, the things she's trying to finish up by the end of the year--and then look ahead to 2013, a year Jill believes is going to be just amazing. As always, we crack each other up and kind of meander around, talking about everything from a family road trip in a Prius to Facebook to libraries to--well, you know how it goes. And a fabulous time is had by all!

To see more of Jill's work, go to her website and her blog.

Direct download: Jill_Berry_7_podcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:21 PM

I have more fun talking to Tammy Garcia of Daisy Yellow--she makes me laugh like a goober through pretty much our whole conversation. I suspect she does this on purpose just to see how often she can crack me up. As always, Tammy has some excellent suggestions for bringing more creativity into your life, and she's got two great prompts--one is a general creativity prompt, and the other is a writing prompt. We talk about a whole bunch of other stuff, too, but of course neither of us could tell you what it was because we both promptly forgot.  I hope you have as much fun listening as we did talking. You'll want your notebook nearby for this one so you can make some notes about the prompts. Or you could just listen to it over and over and over, either way.

You can find a whole bunch of cool stuff over at Tammy's website at

Direct download: Tammy_Garcia_4.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:57 PM

In this conversation, Mary Beth and I talk about how she finds inspiration in unusual places, like abandoned buildings and junk yards. Of course, if you've listened to our other conversations, it will come as no surprise that we also talk about other stuff, like toenail clippings and dead animals in the freezer. I did cut out the part about post-nasal drip, so you're welcome for that. 

Seriously, though: I think it's vital to hear how other artists think about things like this, about inspiration and ideas and how their creative brain puts things together. The further apart your brain and theirs are in terms of processing input, the more you can get from hearing them talk about this stuff. New ways of seeing and thinking and working--it's all fabulous fodder for your own practice. 

You can find out more about the fabulous Mary Beth on her website and her blog.

Direct download: Mary_Beth_Shaw_on_Inspiration_podcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:29 PM

I have loved the work of Chris Roberts-Antieau since the first time I saw it. I can't remember *where* I saw it, but I remember being blown away at the combination of simple, primitive/outsider/childlike images and amazing technical execution. Plus it has two of my favorite things: color and humor. So imagine my delight when we were walking down Royal Street in the French Quarter this summer and I looked up and there was a brand-new gallery: her gallery. I loved getting to see her work in person--getting up close and really looking at the way she puts the pieces together. 

The gallery in New Orleans started as a pop-up gallery in 2010, and Chris is doing more of those, including one that opens this weekend--Saturday, November 10th--in Ann Arbor, Michigan. To find out more about that and to see more of her work, go to

Direct download: Chris_Roberts-Antieau_podcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:03 PM

In this podcast, Melanie Rothschild introduces us to three art centers in Northern California-- Creative Growth Art Center in Berkeley, Creativity Explored in San Francisco, and NIAD (National Institute of Art & Disabilities) in Richmond--established to provide studio space for developmentally disabled adults. The centers joined together last summer for Create, an exhibit at the Berkeley Art Museum, and it was so inspiring Melanie visited each of the centers. They're not at all what you might expect--listen as Melanie talks about how the visits moved her.

When you visit the links above, be sure to follow the links to works by various artists--there's truly a lot to see. Go here to see work by Judith Scott, to whom Melanie introduces us in the conversation.

Melanie Rothschild has an undergraduate degree in anthropology and a graduate degree in The Study of Creativity.Her work has been featured in numerous gallery shows and shops including Neiman Marcus and the shops at The Smithsonian Institution, and her work has been licensed to Target. You can find out more about her and her work on her website.

Direct download: Melanie_Rothschild_NIAD_podcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:32 PM