Ink Stomp










Join us on the February Art Walk to meet Mary Peterson, the force behind some incredible art making in our community. Mary will  be here to tell you about this incredible feel good event called Creative Connection, a community art outreach through Alderwood Community Church. 
        Participants used paint sticks and cans of latex paint to create their masterpieces. The pieces are for sale by donation of any amount. Any sales will go towards the VOICE (Vocational Opportunities In Community Experience) program, and the Lynnwood High Life skills program. The art will be on display for the month of February at ARTspot. Come by during the art walk night to purchase your pieces and support this wonderful program.
        The Creative Connection event is happening again this March 25th at Alderwood Community Church. All are welcome! call to RSVP your spot! This is a free event open to teens and young adults with special needs and their friends.

One Ink Stomp piece will also be displayed for night of Art Walk only. There are only 3 prints left for sale from this incredible group art session held at Schack Art Center in Everett.  See video of the making of pieces. This 4'x5' piece is framed and ready for hanging. Currently being exhibited at the Museum of Special Art in Bothell and is for sale for $400. Any sales will also go to the Lynnwood life skills program.

Local artists take 25-day creativity challenge

By Laura Daniali | Apr 10, 2015  | The Edmonds Beacon Newspaper

When Tracy Felix opened ARTspot along with Denise Cole, she envisioned it as more than an art supply store – she wanted to create a space for artists to create together and work together.

Felix didn’t sit back and wait for the artists to come to her, either. She has been actively engaging the community – established artists and dabblers alike – for nearly three years by hosting workshops and classes, and even setting out art books in her sidewalk Lending Library outside the shop at 408 Main St.

Local artist and owner of ARTspot Tracy Felix demonstrates painting techniques on 5x5 inch canvases in her shop’s studio. She hosted a 25 Day Creativity Challenge for other artists, challenging them to create 25 5x5 inch original pieces in 25 days.    Photo by: Laura Daniali

Local artist and owner of ARTspot Tracy Felix demonstrates painting techniques on 5x5 inch canvases in her shop’s studio. She hosted a 25 Day Creativity Challenge for other artists, challenging them to create 25 5x5 inch original pieces in 25 days. Photo by: Laura Daniali

Her latest project, the 25 Day Creativity Challenge, brought together 25 local artists to create 25 5x5 inch original pieces in 25 days from March 21 to April 14.

Felix was inspired to launch her own challenge after taking part in a 30-day challenge in Seattle.

“When you’re under the gun to get something done – multiple pieces like that on a short deadline – it really pushes you,” she said, “and you don’t over think your art process.

“You just keep going, because you have this deadline. It can kind of help to push artists more than they might push themselves in the normal studio time.”

Artists Victoria and Jeff Galbraith agree.

Victoria encouraged her husband Jeff to take the challenge with her, and she said it has pushed her to try new directions with her work.

Typically she has a more traditional style, and the challenge led her to explore painting in a more modern, abstract way, while incorporating items such as small metal widgets from the hardware store to maps gathered on trips.

Jeff is a photographer, and he used his photos in combination with encaustic, or wax-based paint, techniques to explore variations.

He considers himself more of a photographer than artist, and said he tries to enhance his photos with encaustics. It’s a bit of a crossover, he said.

“This has been a fun exercise,” he said. “This was fun, because we got to feed off of each other.”

Victoria said the challenge was fun, and it was a pleasure to work with Felix.

“Tracy [Felix] just has such a joy for the process,” she said. “She just wants you to get in there, and have fun.”

Jeff and Victoria Galbraith with their completed paintings.

Jeff and Victoria Galbraith with their completed paintings.

Victoria took part in Felix’s workshops, which were held to help participants learn to paint in a series instead of going one-by-one through each.

“Your work doesn’t move forward very quickly when you’re just doing one painting at a time,” Felix said. “When you start doing several canvases together, and you start rotating them, as you’re working you’ll always come up with the idea of ‘Oh, I wonder what would’ve happened if I had done this instead?’”

She said artists will start zipping through them in different ways, and the pieces will morph.

Participants paid $50 to take part, and the fee included 25 supports to choose from – 5x5 canvas, MDF board, canvas panel, pastel paper and watercolor paper – scheduled studio time, and the opportunity to show and sell their work during the Third Thursday Artwalk from 5-8 p.m. on April 16.

Individual pieces will be sold for $25, with $20 going to the artist and $5 to ARTspot.

“One of the big concerns was: Were they willing to sell their work for $25 each?” Felix said.

Sometimes doing a small piece takes just as long as a larger piece, she said, but most are not in it for the money.

“If we were in to our careers for the money, we probably wouldn’t have chosen to be artists,” she said, “so it’s not a money-based thing for them to do this, but it’s more of a thing involving the community.

“That’s really important for them, and having the exposure as an artist.”

Felix said $25 is an amazing bargain for some of the artists’ work, and it gives the public a chance to acquire some well-known artists’ work.

To see a list of participating artists, visit


The Edmonds Beacon Newspaper / Mar 19, 2015

ARTspot owner Tracy Felix and James Spangler, owner of ReRead Books, fill the newest Edmonds Little Lending Library with books and magazines related to general art, art history, design, architecture, painting, sculpture, photography and related subjects. Stop by ARTspot at 408 Main St. and take a book, leave a book or both.

When ARTspot’s Tracy Felix noticed Little Free Libraries popping up around town it set her creative thinking in motion.

What if she were to set up a Little Free Library that was exclusively art related in front of ARTspot, her art supply store in downtown Edmonds?

“It seemed like a great idea,” Felix said.

So about six months ago, she began taking small donations at a monthly cinema night event she hosts to help fund the project.

James Spangler of ReRead Books joined forces with her and began stockpiling books.

ARTspot owner Tracy Felix and James Spangler, owner of ReRead Books, fill the newest Edmonds Little Lending Library with books and magazines related to general art, art history, design, architecture, painting, sculpture, photography and related subjects. Stop by ARTspot at 408 Main St. and take a book, leave a book or both.

ARTspot owner Tracy Felix and James Spangler, owner of ReRead Books, fill the newest Edmonds Little Lending Library with books and magazines related to general art, art history, design, architecture, painting, sculpture, photography and related subjects. Stop by ARTspot at 408 Main St. and take a book, leave a book or both.

One of his customers caught wind of the project and arranged for a grant from Thrivent Financial to help fund the construction.

Local printmaker and journeyman carpenter Chris Minor, whose work has been featured at ARTspot, designed and crafted the library itself.

“Chris was very patient with me as I changed my mind several times about the overall design,” Felix said. “What we ran with was repurposed school lockers which fit perfectly with the used books contained inside.”

Doug Footh, the owner of the historic Beeson building at Forth and Main was also involved.

Felix showed Footh the Little Free Library a few blocks away on 5th Street. He was impressed with the concept and added his approval.

Last Sunday, Felix and Spangler stuffed the library with books and magazines related to general art, art history, design, architecture, painting, sculpture, photography and related subjects.

“It has been a true partnership of people who love art and want to give back to the community,” Spangler said.

It’s a simple idea – members of the community are encouraged to take a book or two that interests them, perhaps returning them when they are done with if they wish.

Individuals are also encouraged to bring a book or two if they are able.

You can find this latest addition to the Edmonds art community at ARTspot, 408 Main St.

For a list of other Little Lending Libraries in Edmonds, visit

Drawing Lab Session 1

By James Farrand

We worked on several things of a drawing nature at Session 1 of Drawing Lab at Artspot. Among them was the 'Surly' Seattle Seahawks logo. Here's a sequence of images of my own drawing. Fun stuff! Pardon the fuzzy ones.

Bounding Box proportions

Bounding Box proportions

Grid to help transfer image into a drawing

Grid to help transfer image into a drawing

Blocking in the Main outer shape

Blocking in the Main outer shape

Combining/Simplifying shapes and block those in

Combining/Simplifying shapes and block those in

Continued shape blocking in and erasing here and there

Continued shape blocking in and erasing here and there

More of the same including starting to get rid of original guides/grid

More of the same including starting to get rid of original guides/grid

Cleaning things up and refining shapes

Cleaning things up and refining shapes

Adding some light/middle value everywhere that has 'color'

Adding some light/middle value everywhere that has 'color'

Didn't like the top of original outer form so adjusted

Didn't like the top of original outer form so adjusted

Begin darkening the darker areas. Also decided to make inner eye white so erased around that area.

Begin darkening the darker areas. Also decided to make inner eye white so erased around that area.

Continued cleaning up and strengthening darker values

Continued cleaning up and strengthening darker values

Finally busted out my darker pencil and increased overall contrast and added some background texture

Finally busted out my darker pencil and increased overall contrast and added some background texture


A Palette of Possibilities

By Sandra (Sam) Christensen, ARTspot Contributing Artist and Writer

Houston, We Have A Purple.  Be A Dahlia, Won’t You.  Met On The Internet.  I read 

the names off the bottoms of the bottles as I choose my pedicure nail color.  This is 

what color designers do when there are fifty shades of pink and purple to name.  

Each color’s story intrigues me.  

For as long as I can remember, color has intoxicated me.  Its gluey, suction cup arms 

scoop me up and transport me into another sphere.  Locked in a tight embrace, we 

whirl and twirl with delight, unencumbered by any worldly cares.  At last I am 

returned to earth, the music still beating in my heart, breathless and longing for 

more.  Only a second or two have passed, yet I have been on an enchanted journey.  

Over the years, my love affair with color has taken me down many roads.  Painting, 

sewing, quilting, knitting, gardening, and decorating have all captivated me.  Each 

new art form necessitates the gathering of more colorful supplies.

Sam painting an abstract self portrait at the ARTspot Studio.

Sam painting an abstract self portrait at the ARTspot Studio.

Knitting requires yarn—colorful yarn.  Hand dyed, or better yet, hand-painted by 

women in Peru.  Arranged in bins, it is ready to be admired whenever the mood 

strikes.  And gardening, well, you can’t do it without colorful plants and flowers.  A 

trip to the nursery can feed me for days, especially if I return home with an exotic 

morsel of color.  Or a whole flat.  Colorful tiles, called tesserae, are the tools of 

mosaic artists, as are beads and cabochons and all manner of glass do-dads.  

Displaying them in transparent jars and bowls is a great way to quicken my pulse 

with just a glance.  Did I mention my fabric stash?  

That brings us to my art supplies.  Although I dabble in many mediums, my acrylic 

paints are my most used.  As one might expect, there is a vast array of colors from 

which to choose.  But it doesn’t stop there.  No, not at all.  Always on the lookout for 

something new to dip and smear, I’ve discovered paints with previously unimagined 

effects.  Iridescent, metallic, duochrome, and, my favorite—interference.   When it 

comes to color, I am polyamorous.  Warm, cool, intense, soft, translucent, opaque—I 

love them all.   

While taking a class at my local art store, the teacher peeked into my open supply 

case.  “Sam, you have more paint colors than I do, and I own an art store!”  I wasn’t 

sure if it was a compliment or the beginning of an intervention.  Just to be safe, I 

quickly closed the lid and changed the subject.  

Each label of my favorite paint has a hand-painted swoosh of that particular paint 

over three black diagonal lines.  Not only can I immediately evaluate the opacity, 

texture, and color, I can see how it looks over a white or black background.   And the 

manufacturer provides free hand-painted color charts of all their paints.  The walls 

of my studio are adorned with them, along with those I have made with my other 

paint and supplies.  The abundance of color feeds my soul.  It is my palette of 


This is what attracts me to my clinical work—imagining all the possibilities.

Unaware that there are other colors to choose from, most folks first enter my 

consultation room clutching giant tubes of black and white, which they buy in bulk.  

Locked in rigid thinking, they are unaware that there are other options.  Our work 

together will be focused on expanding their palette.  It is important that I introduce 

new possibilities in a manner that inspires exploration, without being 

overwhelming.  It will require both parties to be brave.  And I will rely on each 

person’s intuition about what speaks to him or her.  “But hang on to your black and 

white,” I think.  “They will come in handy.”

“I love the way you use color,” I told her as we sat at the table waiting for our food to 

be served.  “Color is about combinations,” she replied.  Knowing I was hearing the 

wisdom of a master, I scribbled down her words on the napkin in front of me.  As an 

amateur artist with much to learn, I was thrilled to be at the four-day workshop she 

was teaching—Brave Intuitive Painting.  The journey would begin the following day. 

After a mini lesson on the color wheel and the qualities of translucent and opaque 

pigments, we were set free to explore the rainbow.  By alternating warm and cool 

colors, and letting each layer dry in between, colors would remain fresh and we 

would avoid making mud.  “There are no mistakes,” she said.  “Be brave.  Follow 

your intuition.”  

Using my fingers, brushes, rags, and a variety of mark making tools, I dripped, 

slathered, and smeared.  I did a few layers blindfolded.  This playful approach 

allowed me to experiment and discover previously unrealized effects and color 

combinations.  Step by step, I built up rich, textured layers.  If I didn’t like something, 

I applied new colors on top of the old.   It was a liberating and forgiving process.  But 

after awhile I began to feel overwhelmed with the infinite options.  I wasn’t sure 

what to do next.

But I did not have to figure it out by myself; my color master was by my side, ready 

to guide me.  “It’s time to bring more focus to your work.  Let’s talk about spiraling 

in and spiraling out.”  When I stepped back from my canvas, my perspective grew.  

Seeing it as a whole got me in touch with what was working and what was not.  And 

I was better able to see the colors and elements that cooperated and those that 

collided.  A more focused palette and composition began to emerge.  I spiraled in to 

develop the areas that spoke to me and rework those that needed attention.   Then I 

spiraled back out for an expanded perspective.  The process continued.  

“Let’s get out your black and white,” said my teacher. “You can use them to define 

specific areas and add depth.  They will make the other colors pop.”  She was right, 

they did.  I had stepped out of the familiar comfort of what I knew and was 

rewarded with something richer and more complex than I thought I was capable of.  

This is a process that both intrigues and captivates me.  It is an honor to accompany 

others as they bravely explore the depths of what is possible for them.  As we build 

the layers together, we both learn more about what it is to be human.  Witnessing 

others as they open up to new ways of seeing and defining themselves expands my 

palette as well.  It is a journey for me too, one that leaves me breathless and longing 

for more.

What I've learned

By Paula White, Guest writer and fan of ARTspot, Edmonds

Most of us live on budgets, trying to make our money stretch as far as possible. There's lots of ways to do this if you're willing to spend a little time doing some research. One of my top money savers has been finding free or inexpensive  painting lessons online. While these will never replace a real classroom experience, they are very helpful in expanding your exposure to different styles and different teachers. 

One of the best places I've found so far is For just under $20 a month, you have access to hundreds of workshops from a wide variety of accomplished artists. You can stop and start at any time. These are a great compliment to actual classroom work.

Another way to stretch your money sounds like an oxymoron: use more paint! So many of us squeeze out too little paint on our palette, not wanting to waste any of it. If you're using a single color, this won't be a problem. The issue arises when you're mixing colors. You will waste paint and time, often becoming frustrated as you try to recreate the color you've been using. You will also miss out on the opportunities painting without worry brings you. You will paint more freely, bringing out the depth and beauty you've been striving for. Sometimes you'll get some happy surprises along the way.

I can hear those who paint with oils cringing and crying out about how expensive oil paint is. If you plan ahead and have extra canvases with you, you can use any leftover paint for the underpainting for one or more of your next projects. Try it the next time you paint.

Paula at the ARTspot studio creating a painting with water soluble oil paints and applies solely with her (gloved) fingers. 

Paula at the ARTspot studio creating a painting with water soluble oil paints and applies solely with her (gloved) fingers. 

If you are new to painting or thinking about trying it out, you'll probably be tempted to buy the least expensive paints, often in a set, so you can get the largest variety of colors. Don't do this! You only need four colors to start painting, usually ultramarine blue, cadmium yellow, permanent rose (or a different red) and burnt sienna. Different instructors may change those up a bit, but it comes down to the same thing. You can mix most everything with the 3 primary colors and burnt sienna. You don't need to buy the most expensive paints, but you should buy good quality paint. There's a wide selection of student or student/artist grade to choose from. You'll be happy you did.

If you are trying out watercolors, the same thing holds true for paper. Buy a good student grade paper. The cheaper paper will frustrate you and the more expensive will be wasted as you learn how much water to use with your paint. 

If you're not sure what you'd like to do, enroll in a Try It class. These are a great opportunity to try something new without having to buy all the supplies needed to for the project. If there's a particular artist who's work you admire, take a class from them. It may seem costly, but it is something you won't regret. Something about their work already speaks to you. Learning how they do it will make you a better artist.

Support your local art store.I love ARTspot in downtown Edmonds.  It is staffed with wonderful artists who are happy to help you get what you need. They are knowledgable and happy to share their knowledge. They want you to be successful. They can deliver the tools, the rest is up to you.

And the most important thing I've learned: set aside time each day for art. It doesn't matter if it's just ten minutes. Tapping into your creativity will make your day better.

ARTspotters: Concept installation at 2nd and Dayton

The fence alongside the Art Works building is an opportunity for artists to create and display art installations under the sponsorship Edmonds Arts Commission. Currently is a really interesting piece called "Seven" by Mona Smiley-Fairbanks and Lisa Wickstom Chandler....

Installation of paper rope art titled "Seven"

Installation of paper rope art titled "Seven"

“SEVEN” is borne from 30 years of friendship and artistic collaboration. Mona T. Smiley-Fairbanks and Lisa Wickstrom created this temporary sculpture as an endeavor to mesh whimsy and important ideas of our time. 

Inspired by an accompanying poem, we chose to build our rope from seven strands. In tradition seven is the number of completeness, perfection, and truth. But nothing is exactly as it seems.

This knotted rope represents the forces that bind communities, friendships, and memories.  It also reminds us of tangible connections to the nautical world at our doorstep and its integral role in our lives here in the Pacific Northwest.  Knots also symbolize boundries or things that are stuck.  Decide this sculpture’s meaning for yourself, as well as what the untethered tails (tales) of the rope mean to you. 

All the materials were previously used, collected locally, and re-purposed to create the sculpture.  This fall, they will be either reused or recycled – again.

Mona Fairbanks presenting the installation on Sunday, June 22 at Art Works

Mona Fairbanks presenting the installation on Sunday, June 22 at Art Works

Poem as part of installation

Poem as part of installation

ARTspot’s Tracy Kay Felix looks back on first two years on Edmonds’ Main Street

By Ellen Chappelle, Arts Writer and contibutor to Pivot Edmonds

Edmonds-area artists have been enjoying a cozy new gathering spot for the past two years right in the middle of the downtown core. ARTspot – equal parts art supply store, classroom, gallery and community – offers the creative crowd more than just a convenient place to shop and learn. It’s an artsy spin on TV’s Cheers, where “everybody knows your name.” And they’re happy to jump in to share encouragement and support for your artistic journey.

Just as the feeling of a home reflects its owner, the vibe at ARTspot mirrors the women who brought it to life. One of this dynamic duo (along with Denise Cole of the elegant Cole Gallery) is Tracy Kay Felix: artist, teacher, mother, encourager and warmth personified. “My life is a road map of creative pursuits,” said Felix. “Some of my career has been what I planned and most of it is walking through doors of opportunity when they presented themselves. Creating ARTspot is a culmination of my commercial art and fine art experiences – and being willing to leap when Denise Cole offered me a partnership in her art supply business.”

Her dream for ARTspot? “To be a hub for the local art community,” she exclaimed. “To support the creative process. To be a really cool store that people love. To be a contributing member of the local business community. To provide stable employment for our artists. To share the art love!”

Part of sharing the “art love” includes carrying the very best art supplies available. ARTspot is already building a reputation for their high-quality products. Richly colored, environmentally friendly paints; beautiful pencils by the last remaining American pencil company; and cool, new items like gel printing plates line the walls.

“I don’t believe in poor quality art materials because they thwart the artist,” stated Felix. “I also choose to carry as much locally, regionally and U.S. made products as I can. We support many companies that are family-owned and make their products with environmentally responsible manufacturing. It feels really good to use our own purchasing power to reward these aspects of business.”

Another exciting aspect of ARTspot is their growing schedule of classes and demos. Every instructor (and every employee) is a professional, working artist with a love for their medium and for guiding others on their own creative quest. For the kids, three-day art camps are offered weekly throughout the summer, while adults can choose from painting, drawing and creativity classes.

“We want to inspire people of all ages to tap into their creative side,” Felix explained. “We sell art journals and pens and the best, most beautiful paints, all to the purpose of augmenting the self-expression of the individual. We are here for someone to take their first class, buy their child or grandchild a journal and set of colors, or to delight in a sculpture or painting.”

Believing that an artist’s creativity is “built into their personal wiring,” Felix, herself a painter, seeks to encourage that natural proclivity in others.

“Luckily, my parents nurtured my artistic bent with lots of coloring books, then private lessons and then supported my desire to go to art school,” she explained. “My earliest memory is asking, ‘Mommy, will you color with me?’ And she did.”

After studying and working in oil, watercolors and acrylic for many years, Felix added encaustics to her repertoire “after hanging out with Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch and Lisa JonesMoore a few years ago.”

“I love the smell of beeswax,” she said. “I resisted getting into a new medium as long as I could, but the lure of the warm, luscious wax tempted me. I can do all the textures and layering I developed with my acrylic painting in a whole new playground.”

Felix’s passion, joy and warmth are contagious. So it’s easy to see that teaching others to find their creative passion is a natural outgrowth of her personal artistic expression. Felix’s favorite part of teaching is “putting the power of art in people’s hands. It is all couched in teaching techniques,” she explained, “but my real motive is to encourage people to give themselves the permission and the tools to do this thing. The process of making art is can be frustrating, difficult, challenging, but it’s also joyful, empowering and self-enlightening. Getting to share the wonderful feeling of moving color around on a surface, to see how art can make people happy, the ‘a-ha’ moments… That is why I have been teaching for years and years, and hopefully years to come.”


ARTspot, which seems just the kind of place that will last in Edmonds for years to come, has been “warmly received by the community.” And its growth has been impressive in its first two years, with no end in sight. To keep up on the latest news, check out their Facebook page. To sign up for classes, visit their website. And, of course, stop by in person to see the art supplies and the local art for sale in the store!

“I am looking for contributors to our blog, to share process and art experiences,” said Felix. “I am dreaming of putting together a non-profit to bring art enrichment out to the community – in schools, senior centers and events. I want Edmonds to have a “freewall” where artists can come from all over to paint. We have artists-in-action for every Third Thursday ArtWalk and demos every fourth Saturday. I can’t stop thinking of things we can do!”

See more of Felix’s art online at View her work in person just down the street from ARTspotat HouseWares, 318 Main Street, Edmonds.

The "Why" of ARTspot.... and art.

This month ARTspot celebrates 2 years. We are so here for you! - submitted by Tracy Felix

ARTspot believes in the inherent creativity of every person, at every stage of life. We provide access to quality materials, professional artist’s advice and support for our students in the expression of their artistic voice.

ARTspot exists to support artists. The artists that work and teach here earn a living to augment their lives as artists and members of our community. 

ARTspot materials inspire. We tailor our inventory to the materials and products we know will give a good result and satisfying experience. We seek to carry products made by companies that are local, regional, and U.S. made. Our imported goods represent the finest traditions of craftsmanship across a spectrum of cultures. We are proud to charge a fair price for our goods, as it allows us to exist to continue our mission.


Painting is one of the most intricate things we do in our lives.

By Robert Gamblin

We simply call it painting, but actually there are two distinct parts to this art that stretches back at least 30,000 years to the caves of southern Europe. Ive always spoken about every painting having two lives, the one it has as while coming into being through our efforts in the studio, and its next life that begins when we step back from the easel and say, it's done.

Our culture, for understandable reasons, tends to focus on the finished product; there are no museums devoted to the process of making a painting.  

After having supported artists processes professionally for the last 34 years I feel unequivocally that the most important aspect of painting is its creation. As much as I love interesting paintings hanging on the wall, for me, this isnt as important as the creative process itself. 

I think that making a painting is one of the most intricate things we do in our lives. The mystery of creativity requires us work with our head, our heart, our hands and our intuition. All of it comes out, brushstroke by brushstroke, though the luscious intensity of oil colors. 

It should be not be a surprise then that you feel so good while in the flow of a painting session. In that state you are pounding on all cylinders. They talk about a runners high, well there is certainly a painters elation. I feel it often. 

And by painting over a number of decades the rewards to ones life are immense. You achieve a life-long dialogue with yourself around what it is like to be a person in this world at this time. In oils you are creating a record of your life that will endure for centuries. 

What a great privilege to be born and living in a time and place where we can pursue our art. That is a lot to be thankful for. And, from all of us at Gamblin, thank you for bringing our materials to your painting process, it is a privilege to be there.


The “Art Night” Show Must Go On – Enjoy the Third Thursday Art Night This Month

by Susie Beresford of Pivot, Edmonds

March 2, 2014

Third Thursday Art Walk, Edmonds Art Walk, Art Night…whatever, let’s just enjoy some art, shall we?

Kathy and I had a lovely lunch with Tracy Felix, owner of ARTspot this past week at the Rusty Pelican. It felt like a true Edmonds kind of Day! We met with Tracy to get her take on the where she’d like to see the direction of the Art Walk go. Being the owner of an art supply store and the mom of some budding artists, it was more than obvious that she wanted this event to continue to grow and flourish in our community that seems to be quite passionate about our art.

Her hope is to continue to see people supporting local artists and enjoying what we have right here in town. With an Art Walk, there’s opportunity to not only support our local artists but to take a step in a storefront you may have never otherwise done, revisit places you’ve been before, run into friends, meet new ones and just have a wonderful evening based on the idea of roaming from one brick and mortar to another perusing the wonderful art on the walls.

With that said, several storefronts will be continuing on with the Art Walk, calling it the Third Thursday Art Night until it’s revamped by DEMA and brought back through the Chamber.

So don’t worry, the show will go on!

March 20th – mark your calendar for the following locations who are participating in the Third Thursday Art Night:


Charcoal Pencil Comparison!

By Angela Bandurka

I love drawing. Always have! And drawing with charcoal pencils on paper is especially fun. (When I draw on canvas, I usually use pastel pencils, but that's another discussion :)

Recently, while at ARTspot, an art supply store in Edmonds, Washington, I noticed two very similar charcoal pencils made by the same supplier: Faber-Castell. They had the same names on them but different coloured grips: one was tan, and said "PITT CHARCOAL" and the other was black and said the same thing on it. Both had Soft, Medium, and Hard options. What's the difference?

After some experimentation and lots of research (it wasn't clear to me on F-C's website) I discovered the difference:

The Black one is uncompressed charcoal - it's natural charcoal. On the back of the pencil in small text you'll see the word: "Zeichenkohle."

The Tan one is compressed charcoal. On the back in small print is the word: "Reisskohle."


On the right here is a visual of my apple-to-apple comparison on toned pastel paper.

My PRO/CON list for each:

Zeichenkohle/Natural Charcoal Pencil:

  • PRO: Smooth charcoal with no barbs in my test
  • PRO: Erases well
  • CON: Lead breaks extremely easily (you can see this in the photo)

Reisskohle/Compressed Charcoal Pencil:

  • PRO: Responds well to pressure, allowing for easy shifts in value
  • PRO: More stable, less fragile than the natural charcoal
  • PRO: Erases well
  • CON: Has some barbs every so often. Be careful! I've heard General's Compressed Charcoal has no barbs, but I haven't compared that here.

Here is a piece that I created, using a photo I had taken of my puppy, Oliver, as reference,drawing with the Compressed Charcoal pencils, General's White Charcoal for highlights, a short-haired brush for blending as I work, and toned pastel paper:

"Oliver" Charcoal on paper, (c) Angela Bandurka, 2014

"Oliver" Charcoal on paper, (c) Angela Bandurka, 2014


Yay! We just launched our new website this past weekend - now you can peruse our fantastic class options and reserve your spot without leaving your desk! 

We hope you'll all enjoy our new website, and bear with us as we work out any kinks over the next few weeks. Please feel free to contact us with your feedback and thoughts on our new design! Like it better? Miss the old one? Let us know :)

 -posted by Angela Bandurka

Oddmall: The Emporium of the Weird

Today brings sunshine and Melanie and Marcel Hopp into our store :) These lovely folks are the parents of two talented artists, Andy and David Hopp, and they were telling me about this great little festival going on Sunday, September 22nd at the Lynnwood Convention Center - Oddmall, Emporium of the Weird.

If you like alternative art you have to see this great event - and say hi to David Hopp, who will be participating in this event.

Find out all the details at the show's website:


Eric Maisel: Does What We Create Really Matter?

One of my favorite authors on creativity is Eric Maisel. He has written many books on issues and approaches that benefit artists and writers. He has a wonderful newsletter you can receive online. Here is one I received this month: --- tracy                                                 find him at

Eric Maisel Newsletter

Hello, everybody:
Once you are struck by the question of whether what you are doing matters, and unless the answer is an immediate and unequivocal yes, you will be stuck with and haunted by that question.
So many of the clients I work with, despite the optimistic face they put on the matter, don’t really believe that the short story, watercolor, or song that is giving them so much trouble is really worth the trouble, seeing that it “doesn’t really matter.” Does the world really need another short story, watercolor, or song? Why bother?
Over the years I’ve provided many sorts of answers to this question. One is that there is no meaning unless we make it, that we make our meaning by seizing meaning opportunities, and that for a creative person creating is one of those meaning opportunities. But this does beg the question at least a little. How can creating be held as a genuine meaning opportunity if we have already “seen through it”? Creative and performing artists wrestle with this question daily and on more days than not come down on the side of the meaninglessness of creating.
Another sort of answer that I’ve provided is the notion that we make ourselves proud when we turn to the creative projects we say that we want to tackle and that making ourselves proud is what we are actually after in life. Whether or not we believe in the project, doing it (and maybe especially doing it well) matches our values, among them that we will do what we say we will do. Here the justification for creating and the motivation for creating is not the felt meaningfulness of the work but the felt pride at honoring our commitments and living our values.
Of course there are other sorts of answers that swirl in the mix: that we might actually prove successful; that creating is a “spiritual activity”; that nothing else interests us more; that creating and performing, as hard as they are, also provide joy and happiness; etc. But, given how hard so many people are finding it to stick with their creating or performing, I think that a new sort of answer is needed. It is an odd one and controversial because it can’t really be proven. It is the following: if we see creating as one of our life purposes, then it is physically good for us to create because our genes love it if we are living our life purposes.
Take this fascinating recent study:
The headline: "The researchers assessed and took blood samples from 80 healthy adults who were classified as having either hedonic or eudaimonic well-being. Hedonic well-being is defined as happiness gained from seeking pleasure; eudaimonic well-being is that gained by having a deep sense of purpose and meaning in life. The study showed that people who had high levels of eudaimonic well-being showed favorable profiles with low levels of inflammatory gene expression and exhibited a strong expression of antiviral and antibody genes. For the pleasure seekers, the opposite was true; those with high levels of hedonic well-being showed an adverse gene-expression profile, giving high inflammation and low antiviral/antibody expression."
We might call this “genetic happiness.” We struggle with our novel and as far as we can tell it is making us sad and ill, so poorly is it going and so much work does it require. Yet our genes may well be singing and dancing, profoundly happy knowing that we are living one of our life purposes. Maybe this is true; maybe this isn’t. But it seems intuitively true to me and provides a new, profound reason for doing the things we say we value. This new reason is that, while the work may not matter from some universal perspective, the doing of it may nevertheless keep us healthy.
When you doubt that writing your novel matters, say to yourself, “It matters on the genetic level and I want to make my genes happy!” Who knows if this is literally true? But, you know, it may be.



Stop the "I'm BORED" comments in their tracks!

by Angela Bandurka

Recently, ARTspot employee and instructor, Mona Fairbanks, decided to come up with a go-get-'em plan: let's think up some fun, family adventures and then blog about them!

It was a brilliant plan. She got her family and friends involved in some creative endeavors that they then shared with the world via blogging - not only did it get them motivated, it also set up a little extra incentive to actually achieve their goals :)

Their seventh adventure this summer is a fun one: from garden to table. A plan to grow food, source other food from local suppliers/friends, create entertainment for viewing during this supper together with neighbors and have art created to spruce up the space a little. Sound daunting? Well you can see exactly how much fun they've been having by checking out their blog:

They've been having so much fun, in fact, that My Edmonds News has been following them :)

Doesn't need to be too fancy, just set up a goal for yourselves and then execute it! You can set your own expectations, and you can go easy on yourself. We're here to help!

How do you know when it is done?

Submitted by Tracy Felix Fraker

I have been asked this by many students in my acrylic painting workshops. I think the answer will vary based on the medium you are using and the goals of your artwork. It will also be a personal decision based on your understanding of composition. 

1. Short answer: you are satisfied with it.

2. Long answer: 

Critique the composition and correct

Review the way your eye travels the painting and be confident of your focal point

The work is ready for presentation - meaning does it need smudges cleaned up, edges are addressed and sheen is uniform or to your liking.

3. The painting either moves your method forward (you learned from it... you are inspired to do another piece based on what you got from this one) ... or you met the goal of pleasing a client in the case of a commission. 

4. Be discriminating in who you ask for a review of your work. Family members love you but don't always know what you are trying to accomplish, or what you need beyond a compliment.... or worse feeling the need to find a recognizable image in a non-representational painting.

5. Know that some paintings will "fall off the brush" and others may take many passes and corrections. I will set a work in progress in my family room and live with it, until I know what to do next. The more advanced the painting becomes the slower my process goes. (usually) So I don't go into it unless I know what it is I want to accomplish.

I have heard this one too... It's like when you are having dinner. You just know when you are done.

See the comments section below? How do you answer this one?