#127 Dina Wakley: Artist, Teacher, and Traveler

Dina Wakley is an artist based in Arizona. She has developed her own artistic style of mixed media art, using bright colors and many different mediums, like inks, sprays, stencils, stamps, and scribble sticks. She’s also a Ranger Signature Designer, and she’s developed her own lines of acrylic paints, brushes, rubber stamps, and more. Each year she teaches her techniques in cities all over the world. In 2020, she is even teaching at an art retreat in Mexico and combining that trip with her new love, scuba diving.

Listen here or use a podcast app, such as Apple Podcasts, Castbox, Spotify, or Stitcher.

Dina Wakley

Dina’s website is dinawakley.com.

Her Facebook page is Art of Dina Wakley.

You can find her on Instagram @dinawakley.

We talked about Dina’s art and diving retreat. You can find out about it on her website here.

Dina recommended the book Art and Fear by Ted Orland and David Bayles.

Dina mentioned that she also offers  online classes on  Jeanne Oliver’s website.

Dina and Ranger Ink are doing A Year of Gratitude Challenge. You can find the details on her blog here.

Here are some great takeaways from our conversation:

  1. Don’t be afraid to make art in your own way. At the beginning, Dina got a lot of grief from people because of how she altered photos and just slapped things on to a page. But that was the way she always worked, and it worked for her. She was making art for art’s sake and wasn’t using photos with the purpose of preserving memories, and that was O.K.
  2. As Dina says, “the great thing about art journaling is, it might be ugly, but it’s not wrong.” So make art, and love your art, and don’t worry about what other people think.
  3. Another thing she says is, “if you release yourself from the outcome, you can embrace the process.” Because the process in art making is what’s fun and can be very satisfying.
  4. And the next thing that happens is: Through the process, and making things over and over, you will become good at it. And surprise: You’ve become an artist!
  5. Dina teaches a lot of classes and independently owned craft stores. She urges you to support those stores and take advantage of the information and tips you can get from the store owner when you walk in and ask them about art supplies.
  6. If you have a few classes that you teach live, you may want to offer a list to potential locations so they can choose which class they think their customers would like you to teach. The venue owners will have a good idea of their customers’ experience levels and needs.
  7. Dina now offers an acrylic pouring medium with her line of Ranger products. When she does acrylic pouring, she likes to do it on a rigid surface so that the pour doesn’t flow down the valleys in a flexible canvas. She pours on wood panels or media board. Media board is another product she has with Ranger. It is canvas glued to chipboard. You can cut it to size. You can even peel the painted canvas off the chipboard and adhere it to other surfaces.
  8. Dina has found that her students can get quite intimidated when she hands out stretched canvases and tells them to paint on that. So she actually doesn’t do that anymore and sticks to giving them paper to paint on. Her students feel much more free to paint and experiment on paper than they do on canvas.
  9. In 2020, Dina is offering a combination art and diving trip in Mexico. If you’ve ever considered learning to dive, this trip would be for you.
  10. If you’re having trouble with color or composition with your art, you should take a look at Dina’s book Art Journal Freedom. Her other book, Art Journal Courage, is about techniques and layers.

#126 Sandi Keene: Artist and Collaborator

Artist Sandi Keene was new to Port Orange, Florida and wanting to further explore mixed media art, so she reached out to a local artist and asked that artist to show her what she does. From there, Sandi has developed her own artistic style, which includes watercolors, creating handmade books, using stitching on paper, and adding lots of other materials to her art pieces. Now she teaches online classes in book making and watercolors, and will be adding more classes later. She prefers to collaborate with other artists, so she teaches her classes with a partner, Rae Missigman, and she also hosts a podcast with artist Roben-Marie Smith, called Creatives Get Real.

Listen here or use a podcast app, such as Apple Podcasts, Castbox, Spotify, or Stitcher.

Sandi Keene

Sandi Keene and Rae Missigman co-teach their online classes. In this watercolor class, they give examples of how they use the same techniques but their results are very different because they maintain their own creative art styles.
Their most popular class is their Pocket Journal class.

Sandi Keene’s website is sandikeene.com. You can get to her online classes through the Popup Art Classes tab, or you can go directly to popupartclasses.com. These are the classes that she co-teaches with Rae Missigman.

Sandi did The Documented Life Project with Rae Missigman, Roben-Marie Smith, Barbara Moore, and Lorraine Bell. It is run by others now and it has continued on Facebook as Life Documented.

Sandi’s podcast with Roben-Marie Smith is called Creatives Get Real. You can find that on any podcast app, and it is also linked on Sandi’s website.

Here are some great takeaways from our conversation:

  1. When you admire artists through websites or Instagram, look them up and see where they live. You may just discover that someone lives in your hometown. Sandi discovered that artist Roben-Marie Smith lived near her, so she invited her for a cup of coffee. It’s great to venture out of the online world and meet a fellow artist in person. You may end up collaborating like Sandi and Roben-Marie have with their podcast, Creatives Get Real.
  2. When teaching a class, a nice thing to do for your students is to make kits of supplies that you can hand out to them at the start of class. Students love this, and it’s exciting to open a little bag and see what kinds of scraps and supplies you’ve gotten.
  3. Seeking out other artists to learn from is a great way to expand what art means to you and to develop your art style.
  4. When learning new techniques, it’s a great idea to just try them out on paper first rather than expensive canvas. You’ll feel less pressured to make things perfect, and you can just throw it away and try it again if you’re not satisfied.
  5. When you start making art regularly, I suggest you also start an Instagram feed. Start posting your art daily, and don’t worry if you don’t think you’ve fully developed your style. It’ll come, and you’ll soon find that you’ll get encouragement from others that are seeing your art.
  6. Taking classes will help to make you a better teacher of classes. You will learn what you like and don’t like in a classroom.
  7. Sandi and four other friends started the Documented Life Project. It started just because they all felt the need to be creative. Once they put it on Facebook, many more people wanted to join them. Artists want to create with other artists, so if you’re doing an organized art project and you’d like others to join you, put it on Facebook or Instagram and see what happens.
  8. Sandi prefers to teach collaboratively with other teachers. She believes that the power of two instructors is so much greater exponentially, and can be so much better for her students.
  9. Sandi also feels that teaching online classes rather than in person can be very powerful because you can teach many more students and from all over the world.
  10. Sandi and Rae Missigman have named the collaborative online classes that they teach popupartclasses. They’ve found that because they are different in their styles of making art, it works well to teach together and show how they both make very different things using the same techniques. It’s almost like when they teach classes you are getting two classes for the price of one because you are seeing both teachers’ perspectives on the art.
  11. We talked a lot about different art styles, and agreed that it doesn’t matter what type of style you have. You can still stay true to your style while taking bits that you learn from other artists. By taking classes, you are not rejecting your style, you are learning more so that you can add to it.
  12. Sandi also collaborates with Roben-Marie Smith in a podcast they’ve made called Creatives Get Real. Again, the collaboration is successful because the listeners are getting two different opinions about one subject.
  13. Sandi and Roben-Marie use Trello to record their ideas for their podcast. It’s a great organization tool for planning projects.
  14. When planning a collaboration with someone else, clearly define the different roles and tasks that each person will be doing.

#125 Carol MacConnell: Mixed Media, Oil, and Abstract Artist

Artist Carol MacConnell painted in oils for many years, and often in a figurative style. Now she is doing abstracts with acrylic, and adding other mixed media to her art. She even does acrylic paint pouring, but in a different technique than what most people have seen. She’s a lifelong learner, and takes classes from other artists both in person and online.

Listen here or use a podcast app, such as Apple Podcasts, Castbox, Spotify, or Stitcher.

Carol MacConnell

Abstract tulip created by Carol's acrylic pour technique.
Another abstract made by acrylic pouring.
"Peacock" mixed media artwork.
Gerberas are Great
First Class Flowers
This photo shows how Carol does her acrylic pouring technique. She starts with unstretched canvas and pulls up and down on the four corners to make the paint flow into patterns.

Carol’s website is carolmacconnell.com

Her Instagram is @carol.macconnell.art and her Facebook is Carol MacConnell Fine Art.

If you’re in Cincinnati, Ohio, you can visit the Pendleton Art Center to see Carol and her studio, as well as the studios for 175 other artists. They have open studios the final Friday of every month.

Carol has taken art classes from many great artists. Here are a few she mentioned in our conversation:

Lynn Whipple

Ardith Goodwin

Betty Krause

Paul Jenkins (it is his poured acrylic technique that she uses)

We talked about Carol’s latest blog post where she mentioned some great apps that can be used with Instagram. Here is a link to that post so you can read about her favorite apps: Splice, Word Swag, When to Post, and Panoply.

Here are some great takeaways from our conversation:

  1. Carol contacted her local ballet company and asked them if she could do a photo shoot while they practiced. She now has thousands of photos to choose from as subject pieces for future paintings.
  2. Another way Carol painted figures is she would sit at a restaurant and paint the other diners. She did that for about a year.
  3. A good place to look for artist studios in your town is repurposed manufacturing buildings. A lot of towns are renovating vacant buildings and offering them as studios for artists.
  4. Carol is a proponent of constantly learning and taking classes from other artists. She tries to do two in person workshops a year, but if she can’t see the artist in person, she will take online classes.
  5. The list of things you can add to your paintings to make it a mixed media piece is endless. Carol uses inks, pencils, oil pastels, and all types of paints.
  6. Carol works with companies that supply paintings for hospitals and other businesses. She makes large pieces for them, often acrylic poured paintings.
  7. When Carol wants a black background for a painting, she actually buys black canvas. She uses these because she doesn’t want brush strokes from a painted background to effect the flow of her poured acrylics.
  8. Carol uses GAC 800, which is a Golden product, to extend her paint when doing pouring. This allows you to use less paint, prevents crazing when drying, and it gives the paint a bit of a gloss.
  9. Carols uses Sennelier HC10, which is a spray fixative, to seal her mixed media paintings. Then she pours gloss varnish on them.
  10. To have your artwork put on products, like scarves, you need a professional to scan the artwork at very high resolution. A simple photo of your artwork won’t do.
  11. On Instagram, set up your own personal hashtag with your name. That way others can post things to it too.
  12. When saving videos to use on Instagram, you can save them at a smaller file size so they won’t take up as much room on your phone. The app you use to edit videos will probably have a setting that will do this. Carol uses the video editing app called Splice.

#124 Caylee Grey: Creating a Get Messy Community for Artists

Caylee Grey is the creator of the Get Messy Art creative community. What began as two women challenging each other to finish a couple art journal pages in a week has become a huge community of artists bound together by their love of art making. The community offers classes, live art dates, and collaboration opportunities. I spoke to Caylee from her home in Germany, and let me tell you, the distance doesn’t diminish the fun that you can have talking to someone. Caylee and I laughed so much during this interview. Even before we officially started our interview, we were laughing. There’s one hilarious bit that I’m saving for my end of year wrap up episode. You’ll just have to wait for that one. But between our laughter and an interruption from her dog, you will gain some great business tips from Caylee about how you can utilize an art community as well as how you can create your own business retreat.

Listen here or use a podcast app, such as Apple Podcasts, Castbox, Spotify, or Stitcher.

Caylee Grey

Caylee Grey’s website is cayleegrey.com and her Get Messy Art creative community is getmessyart.com.

Be sure and visit the Get Messy Art About page and FAQ page.

On Instagram, she is @cayleegrey and the community IG page is @getmessyartjournal. Members of the Get Messy Art community can use this hashtag to contribute to the group #getmessyartjournal.

Caylee designed an art journal and it can be purchased on Mishmash.

Caylee mentioned two businesswomen who are virtually joining her on her business retreat. If you are interested in learning more about them, they are Amy Maricle (Mindful Art Studio) and Deb Engelmajer (Tizzit).

Caylee has her own podcast called How to Be an Artist. You can find it here.

Here are some great takeaways from our conversation:

  1. When Caylee moved to a new country and couldn’t legally work, she needed to stay active to keep depression at bay. She made a list of 25 things to do. She found that the creative activities were the best at helping to keep a good mindset.
  2. Art journaling is an inexpensive way to explore your creativity, because journals or even just blank paper and cheaper than canvases.
  3. Art journaling is all about the process. It doesn’t matter if you’ve just created something that isn’t perfect, as long as you had fun doing it.
  4. When searching for a journal to use, think about the type of paper that you like to write and draw on. For me, I like a paper with a little texture to it that will absorb the ink nicely.
  5. Art journaling is a great practice because it can grow with you. It can change as you learn new art techniques and retire old ones.
  6. Art communities like the Get Messy Art community are great because you can harness the collective knowledge of all the members. In this case, there is a website that the members log into to get all the information and tutorials and to communicate with each other.
  7. The Get Messy Art community also offers Art Dates where you can join and make your own art, virtually with others.
  8. The Get Messy Art community has a library of art classes, and there are live master classes with expert artists.
  9. The mantra for Get Messy Art is, that if you go into art-making with the intention of making it messy, then there’s no such thing as failure. I love that. That’s a great way to take the pressure off of making art.
  10. Caylee does a business retreat once a year where she takes time away to plan what she will offer in the next year for her Get Messy Art community. This year she has invited two other creative business owners to join her virtually on this retreat. They will talk through different ideas and help each other out as they all plan their own business years during the retreat week. This is a great idea for a solo business owner to reach out and get help from and give help to other business owners.
  11. When Caylee does her yearly business retreat, she does it away from her studio and home so that she can clearly think about her future plans.
  12. Don’t be afraid to contact artists or creative business owners and ask them to work with you. You need to make an effort to work with others so you’re not just an artist working alone in your own studio.
  13. When planning your new year, write down all the ideas you have, no matter what they are. Then you can look at them and see which ones are the good ones you want to keep.
This is the art wall that was behind Caylee when we were talking. Isn't it luscious?

#123 Janine Vangool: Magazines and Books for the Creative and Curious

Janine Vangool is the creator of Uppercase, a magazine for the creative and curious. In each issue, she tells you about artists and makers and the cool things that they do. She’s also created a series of books called the Encyclopedia of Inspiration, and that includes titles like Vintage Life, Ephemera, and Print/Maker. All of her publications are independent and ad-free. Janine works from Calgary, Alberta, Canada where she started out in graphic design. She always had an interest in publishing, and after creating smaller books and magazines, she went all in with Uppercase. She’s in her 11th year with Uppercase magazine and it’s distributed all over the world.

Listen here or use a podcast app, such as Apple Podcasts, Castbox, Spotify, or Stitcher.

Janine Vangool

Issue 43 is the most recent issue of the magazine.
The magazine proofs as Janine receives them.
This is just one way that Janine keeps track of the production of an issue.
Uppercase Magazine and the Encyclopedia of Inspiration.
Janine with fabrics from her Volume 1 collection at Windham Fabrics.

You can find out about Uppercase Magazine, the Encyclopedia of Inspiration, and her other books on her website, uppercasemagazine.com.

You can also find Janine on Instagram @uppercasemag.

If you’d like to post photos on Instagram related to your love of Uppercase magazine, use #uppercaselove.

You can participate in future issues and learn about open calls here on the website.

Here is the link to Janine’s fabric collections with Windham Fabrics.

And finally, these links would not be complete without a link to The Shatner Show, one of her very first books.

Here are some great takeaways from our conversation:

  1. If you have a project idea, no matter how unusual it may be, go for it anyway. Janine created a book celebrating William Shatner, and she had a whole party and book launch for it that was a huge success. Why not? As she said, it put the Uppercase name on the map.
  2. There’s something to be said for not overthinking a project ahead of time. So often you just need to jump in, like Janine did when she started her magazine. If she had thought too long about it, she probably would have focused on the obstacles to overcome and she may never have done it.
  3. Magazine publishing can be good for you because they are put out on a regular schedule. You may like that type of work if you like routine and the feeling of accomplishment each time you complete a new issue.
  4. You also may like the accountability of a regular schedule. Many business owners need that external accountability to get things done.
  5. Think about how patterns that you have designed can be used for other things. Janine used the spine patterns from her magazines to create a line of fabrics for Windham Fabrics.
  6. Janine uses the app Evernote to keep track of all her projects. It’s also great for when you are at the idea stage and you just want to keep track of ideas you have for future topics. If she sees someone on Instagram she likes, she takes a screen shot of them and then saves that in Evernote so she won’t forget them.
  7. Janine got a call from someone who asked her how she does things. She ended up inviting them to collaborate on a project with her. You never know when or where you’ll find collaboration partners, so think in those terms when you talk to other creatives and business people.
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