Friday, June 29, 2018

Making Space to Share Art

About a year and a half ago,
I took my girls to a 
get together
at the newly built Red Owl Hall
at Red Owl, South Dakota several miles off SD Highway 34
along the gravel Red Owl Road.
Little did I know,
that day with my girls
would begin beautiful new connections
of sharing art.

That day,
I met Hester Prouty
who quickly became
a kindred spirit,
sharing my love
making art,
making space for others to create in community,
turning creative projects into opportunities. 

Right away, Hester began sharing ideas with me
and she introduced me to Kerry Burns in Philip, South Dakota.
Kerry had recently opened a coffee shop called ginny's
in a Victorian house painted deep green with purple trim
and transformed inside
with whimsy and charm and happiness.

Ginny's Coffee House {aka Bad River Coffee Company}
is located on Pine Street near the Bad River in Philip.
Kerry and her daughters have hosted several of my art classes
and a fun pop-up artsy event.
This year I will be there with my turquoise tent on August 11.

Hester recently jumped all-in
and set up space to share what she loves
with the Black Hills community
in "The Gap" in Rapid City at the old Landstrom's building
at 405 Canal Street.
Her space is wide open with room to breathe,
high ceilings, brick walls, and industrial chic decor,
and a welcoming, inspiring atmosphere.
Check out this piece from Black Hills Fox:

Hester and Joe are generous with their hands always helping me carry
my heavy and extensive amount of art supplies
and are generous with sharing connections.
At Prouty Pottery,
not only can you paint your own pottery,
Hester opens up space for other artists to share classes,
she has pottery wheel classes,
clay classes,
specialty pottery painting classes,
and she sells her handmade mugs, bowls and pottery pieces.
The space is loaded with possibilities coming to life.

Goodness comes from artistic entrepreneurs sharing friends and space and ideas.
I am so grateful for the connections I am making through Hester and Kerry,
and the space they both have given me
to share my heart
with others
seeking space for creativity.
I see hearts soften, 
eyes open, 
possibility unfold, 
ideas and confidence awaken,
challenges overcome, 
and memories made.

When you travel through Philip,
be sure and stop at ginny's for some Bad River Coffee.

My next class at Prouty Pottery: 
Your Word,
a simple mixed media basics class
is Wednesday, July 25.
You can find all the details and reserve your spot here:

My next Big Bold Wildflower class will be at my home at Shaw Ranch on August 3.
Details and registration here:

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Meanwhile Back at the Ranch

Last summer was a summer
of fervent prayer

Our prayers have been answered.

green and growing
at Shaw Ranch
on the western South Dakota prairie.

 Some simple time outdoors
reveals an abundance
of beautiful things
that surfaces feelings of

my camera
opens my eyes
to the little things . . . 

little things...
that really are


that really become

by the simple act
of noticing
of really noticing...
of truly seeing...
of breathing in deep...
of giving thanks...

fills a heart

we enter His gates
we enter His courts

and praise
the pathway
into the presence

and the quickest
for me to get on that pathway
to grab a camera
for a walk
in my 

If you would like
some creative ideas
on developing a habit
of gratitude
of really seeing beauty in every day living,
take a look
at my online 
creative living workshop
Beautiful Things
right here:


Saturday, January 13, 2018

The Noblest of Arts

"The noblest of arts is that of making other people happy."
P.T. Barnum


Last Tuesday, January 2, was the last day of Christmas vacation
for my kids and my youngest had a gift card to the movie theater.
She had been wanting to see 
The Greatest Showman,
the movie musical based on the life of P.T. Barnum,
the founder of The Greatest Show on Earth...the circus...
I had no idea the connections I would make.
Or the ways it would display
how each person in unique,
yet so much about all of us is the same...

Story does that.
It has the ability to reach 
right into the depths of your core
and tap into your very own story
and create understanding.
It is why we love movies, a television series, our favorite books.
Why children love a bedtime story.
Why the Greatest Story Ever Told was about
the Greatest Storyteller,
who chose to teach us in parables.

This movie
reaches into a heart.
It reaches into
the struggles
of owning who you are.

This powerful video of the anthem of the movie "This Is Me"
says so much.
Take five minutes,
and you can't help but be encouraged.
Watch here:

If you've ever struggled
to be comfortable in your own skin,
you will get it.

If you've ever struggled
to find your voice
and then
to find the courage
to use it,
you will get it.

If you've ever been afraid
of people seeing your weakness,
you will get it.

If you've ever been mocked,
you will get it.

If you have ever had your knees knock
when you had to get up 
and give a speech,
 or sing in a Christmas program,
or try out for a team,
or go for a job interview,
I think
you will get it.

If you ever were afraid to show your face
somewhere, sometime
in your past,
you will get it.

If you've ever had a dream, a goal,
that seemed impossible,
you were afraid to admit
was even a glimmer
in your mind,
you will get it.

Researcher, writer, storyteller, Brene Brown
says that we are hard wired for connection,
this movie taps into that need.

When I started school,
I was painfully shy.
At conferences, my teachers would tell my parents
that I spoke so softly that I couldn't be heard.
They struggled to get me to speak above a whisper
when I read aloud
in class.
On the school bus
I was too afraid to ask
if I could sit with someone,
so I would just stand and look,
until the high schooler in the seat,
would move their duffle bag to make room
for me.
I would hear them whisper to one another,
"She never says anything. She just looks at you."
And still,
I wouldn't speak.
I was scared of older kids.
But they were the ones who had the bus seats
when by the time I stepped up those stairs.
I struggled to say what I wanted.
I struggled to say what I did not want.
I wanted safety.
I wanted security.
I wanted belonging.

I could not find courage.
I could not find words.

Numerous times
I needed to speak for myself,
but I did not.
Many times,
I have identified
with that
cowardly lion
in Oz,
who longed for

It has taken me my lifetime
to find my voice
and use it.
I have feared loss of connection
with the use of my voice.
Yet I am finding that 
real connection,
true connection,
comes from
living in authenticity
with my actions,
my words,
my choices.

I know it will be a process
for the rest of my days.
Using my voice
to speak
is a continual battle

The Greatest Showman
tapped into all of this
within me.
I was encouraged.
To keep being me.
And to continue to encourage
others to
discover the treasure
who they are.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year 2018

Hello 2018.
2017 has left me tired.
As I read 
social media,
watch programs,
look at book titles,
I see that I must not be alone.

It seems that a bulk of us
are craving slow.
Many of us are on overload.
We need to slow down.
To stop.
To see 
the people
in our own
To look people in the eye.
Especially those we love.
Instead of staring at another screen.

It feels like a world away from where I was
when I started this blog.
My children are in an entire new stage.
So am I.
So is the world.
Our nation...

Hard, hard things happened in 2017.
Things that brought me face-to-face with fear.
I made good decisions and I made some poor choices too.
I sure do not have the energy that I used to have
for doing everything just right.
So I don't.
Some times I just get by.
Some days are wing and a prayer kind of days.

Some of my 
favorite moments
in our Shaw family
lives happened in this

I became an auntie to twins, a boy and a girl.
Our son turned 18 
to the tune of a mariachi band at Casa Bonita's in Denver.
My daughter experienced her first state track meet, 
breaking a school record with her relay team.
Our family just enjoyed being together
at a Colorado Rockies game and the Denver Aquarium.
I realized the depths of my husband's dedication to me 
as he cared for me after knee surgery in September.

I have lots swirling in my mind
about 2017.
But it all feels too vulnerable and tender to share.
So it must not be the time.

But I am ready
for a new year.
I am ready to
embrace imperfection
and give myself
for a life
that is always
a work in progress.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Art and Photography Workshop: Wildflowers and Winging It

Oh. My. Heart!
My favorite part of summer
is this.

Prairie Wildflowers.
Give me a pasture of wildflowers and my camera
and you will find a happy Jodi.

Since the prairie wildflowers have exploded here on the ranch,
we have a short window of opportunity
 to take some breathtaking photos in the evenings! 

I am opening up a spontaneous art & photo workshop
 in my White Owl Wings studio at my home by appointment from 
3:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on the dates of July 5-8 and 11-15. 
Choose which day you would like to come for yourself and up to two more friends. 

Register here:

Here's what I have planned:

* Make your own "Winging It" Art piece
 on a round slice of birch wood 
with papers, butterfly diagrams and wire wings 
from 3:00-6:00. 


* An evening of wildflower "photography safari"
on the prairie through sunset. 
We will take the side-by-side 4-wheeler 
to some of my favorite spots for photos on the ranch.

*Limited to 3 people at a time. 
*Bring a couple friends for a very personal small group art/photo time. 
*Message or call me to reserve your date.
Register at
*$60 per person. Bring your own camera. All art supplies provided.


So here's a few things I have learned about these wildflower favorites
from my book: Grassland Plants of South Dakota and the Northern Great Plains
by James R. Johnson and Gary E. Larson.

The top photo above of the yellow flower is a Prairie Coneflower.
*"Dakota and Lakota made a tea to cure aches of the stomach, head, or side;
Dakota also made a leaf tea beverage."
*"Cheyenne prepared a solution for relieving the effects of rattlesnake bite and poison ivy."
*"The dark red phase is known as "Mexican Hat" {which you can see below}.

This photo above is a Purple Coneflower, or Echinacea, or Black Samson.

A few interesting things:
*indicator of healthy range; safe for grazing
*when chewed, the root numbs the mouth.
*"root widely used by Plains Indians to treat the following:
sore mouth and gums,
neck pain,
mumps and measles,
and more."
*"The plant was their most important plains herbal medicine."

Here is the Mexican Hat version of the Prairie Coneflower,
a rare find.

I'd love to have you join me
for my Winging It Art and Photography Workshop.
Register Here: