An Art Retreat to Remember

Good Morning my dear friends, how is everyone?  I’m hoping you are all doing amazing. As you all know I was away last Thursday through Monday for the StencilGirl and Friends Art Retreat an Art Journal Affair.  It’s been a busy week since I’ve returned but I wanted to take the time to share with all of you some special moments from this retreat.

When I signed up for this retreat I think it was at the end of 2016 or the beginning of 2017 (it was so long ago that I honestly can’t even remember when it was, but I know it was long ago enough to think that by the time it came around that my life would have calmed down and I’d be more than ready to go)

Most of you know that Labor Day weekend I lost my dear pug Pebbles which has really knocked me off my feet and as if that wasn’t enough less than a week before I was to leave for the retreat I received some upsetting news about my mom that hit me once again to the point where I almost didn’t go.  I said several times to my husband that I just can’t go and put on a happy face for 5 days, I can’t my heart is not in it.  I have spent most of my life just hiding my true feelings and being the strong one for everyone around me appearing to be this pillar of strength, but the events that have seemed to continually occur for the past year and half have left me tired and weary.   My husband kept saying it would be good for me to get away and so I heeded his advice and last Thursday morning I took off on a plane by myself with a pain in my heart and a lump in my throat headed for Paducah, Kentucky.

I arrived at the Chicago airport with 3 hours layover and a text from my hubby saying how much he already missed me…. the feeling was mutual and I was close to tears just feeling alone.  I texted Lisa Dobry who I knew was going to be on the same flight, we had been friends online for quite sometime but never met in person.  When she arrived we hugged and the loneliness melted away.

Sherry & Lisa

We met Elaine Huffman as well as Seth Apter at the gate.  I asked the lady sitting next to me if she would mind switching seats with Lisa so we could sit together and she was happy to do so.

Lisa and I sat and chatted the whole way as if we had been friends in person forever.  We never missed a beat, we laughed, we cried, we hugged, we shared, we were together after so long of the online friendship we were together and the question of whether I should have come or not slipped away as I felt loved among friends.

The first morning was Nancy Curry’s class  called Transformation (and well who knew that meal service was not like that in NY and much slower lol) – so we were a few min late for class – sorry Nancy!! Here is the link to her website so you can check her out.

Well this really started the artfully fun weekend for me – we learned a lot and Nancy was fabulous, fun and an absolute joy to be around.  We ended up sitting next to each other in classes the rest of the weekend and I so enjoyed getting to know her!!   What an amazing lady!!

Sherry & Nancy

The next few days was a flurry of conversation, making art and sharing our hearts with like minded friends.  To say it was amazing is really not even close to expressing how special this weekend was to me.

Day 1 was Pam Carriker and MaryBeth Shaw and all I can say is that these amazing ladies touched my heart with their classes and teaching.  It was a bit overwhelming to have so much greatness  and talent in one room.

Pam Carriker’s Class:

MaryBeth Shaw’s Class:

My fav technique from MaryBeth’s Class was this thing with whiteout, the technique was so simple but yet added so much – if you ever have the opportunity to take a class with anyone in my blog post all I can say is go for it.  You won’t regret it as everyone of them was soooo amazing!!

In person with the Stencil Queen herself what an amazing experience !!!❤️

Traci Bautist’s class:

Seth Apter’s Class:

I didn’t quite finish any of my projects from the day but it’s ok because I enjoyed the techniques and now I can work on them at my leisure.

I was asked by MaryBeth Shaw to teach a mini demo on Saturday night which was a lot of fun.  Thank you to Lisa and Trena for getting me everything I forgot to bring to the demo table you ladies are the best!! ❤️

This was the tag that we made using beautiful StencilGirl Stencils of course

I have a bunch of photos of friends that I would also like to share with all of you it was hard to get a photo with everyone.

This is Mary Nasser and I she is even cuter in person and what a total sweetheart!!❤️❤️

The welcome reception was just amazing and it was so much fun to stencil our own aprons.

Thank you to StencilGirl and all the artists who were beyond generous with all of the artsy gifts that they gave us.

Here is Carol Baxter and I.  I love this lady she was so much fun!!  Yup I’m a kisser just deal with it lol ❤️  She works with the StencilGirl team for those who might not know so her and I have talked many times on the phone but this was our first in person visit.  Hopefully first of many.  Again it was like old friends it usually happens that I call for a quick question and 45 min later we are like well we better get back to work haha.

Saturday night by the fire with friends what a fabulous evening we had with stories and sharing and just beautiful friendships.  Thank you ladies!! all of you.

Pictured here is Patty, Lisa and Myself and the top left is Dee, Patty, Lisa and myself.

From top left we have Debi Adams (stencil girl teammate), Patty (we met through Lisa Dobry – StencilClub) Kiala Givehand (stencil girl teammate), Dee we met through stencilclub and have been friends online for quite sometime and of Course You all know the amazing Carolyn Dube (and yes she is super amazing in person and a total BLAST to be around – she will make you laugh so hard your stomach will hurt!! ❤️)

It was so much fun to meet some of my other teammates and to meet friends that I have known online in person!!

My Roommate, Elaine and I went into town on Friday for awhile and we found Curls and Cream and some amazing views / scenery

The videos aren’t the greatest lol, but I wanted to share a little bit of what we saw there with all of you.  They also had an awesome handmade soap shop in there little town which I bought some yummy soaps there to bring home.  They smell amazing !

Thank you to my wonderful roommate for taking care of so many things so that I didn’t have to, it means more to me than you will ever know!!

Thank you to all of you who made amazing goodie bags and to those who made me special goodie bags I can’t express how this event has filled my heart and made me feel so special.  To those who I didn’t get a photo with I’m sorry but you are still in my heart and my thoughts.   This event was such a blessing and it was all the people who were there that made it what it was, it will forever be etched in my heart.

The moral of this story is that I didn’t have to put on a “happy’ face because these were my people and they loved and embraced me for who I am, and they didn’t need to be someone I’m not.  They love me for who I am and I had a real happy face because of this.  When people talk about finding your tribe I know that I am blessed to have found mine but even more than that I found my “family”.

I am headed into this weekend with a full heart and special memories with good friends on my mind.

Wishing you all a relaxing and heartfelt weekend !!

xxoo Sherry❤️


What sparks your creativity?

Hi Friends,

I know it’s been awhile, things got a little bit hectic for me these past few weeks.  I am preparing to leave for Kentucky on Thursday morning for a StenciGirl and Friends art retreat where I will be attending some fabulous classes with some of my favorite artists…. MaryBeth Shaw, Traci Bautista, Seth Apter, Pam Carriker and more.  I will also be teaching a pop up demo there myself so, life has been moving at lightening speed for me.  I promise to take lots of pics and if I have time I will post some here in the evenings just to share what’s going on with all of you.

This leads me into today’s post…… What Sparks your creativity?

Knowing the answer to this will help you when you have a creative block.  So now I bet you are asking …well Yeah but how do I figure that out?  Well it just so happens I have some tips to help you figure that out.

If you are like me there is nothing worse than sitting there with that blank sheet of paper in front of you and having absolutely nothing creative come to mind.  And yes I have read all those online posts about throw some paint on to the paper – just start – don’t worry about what you make – yadda yadda yadda, I’ve read them all.

And the truth is none of those things have worked for me.

And I do care what my paper looks like

And throwing paint on a sheet of paper does not spark my creativity.

In fact all those things frustrate me more because when I try them and then don’t work well it’s down right disappointing and again if you are like me you are asking yourself at this point – ok how does this stuff work for everyone else.

Well the truth is maybe it works for some but it doesn’t work for everyone, like I said it doesn’t work for me.

And if you think that because I can put out nice looking art that I don’t get creative block – HA!  WRONG.  I get it, many times.  So here is how I have figured out FINALLY what sparks my creativity.

I pay attention.  Yup it’s that simple.  I pay attention when I am in a creative mood and I notice what kinds of things spark my creativity.  I make notes, I keep a journal, sometimes even take pictures and that allows me too find my way back to my creativity when I have lost it.

Below I share with you things that work for me but again, we are not all alike so what works for one does not always work for everyone, so I encourage you to pay attention to yourself, be mindful and take notes.

One thing that works for me is cleaning things out – not always just my art room but any room in the house, closets, cupboards etc.  Why does something like this help me?  Well although I’m not completely sure I think it is the fact that It helps my mind concentrate on something else.  It’s busy work and allows lots of movement which is a lot different from when I’m sitting and creating.

Another thing I do is take lots of walks – especially during different times of day when I normally wouldn’t and I try to notice the world around me, the sites, the sounds, the smells, the colors.  I try to stimulate my other senses to spark that creativity.  I don’t try to force it I just relax and enjoy myself getting out of my usual environment always makes me feel refreshed and renewed.

And finally this last one may not appeal to everyone but when I’m in a creative rut I love to cook.  Sometimes channeling my creativeness into the kitchen helps me just feel better and refreshed. I love to create new dishes and lots of times just doing something totally different yet creative helps me tremendously.

Share in the comments your ideas, tips or things that help you.  If it helps someone else or gives someone that creative spark again it’s so worth the share!!

Now I’d like to share with all of you what I’ve been up to creatively.  I’ve been working in my art journal and a new watercolor journal. I have decided to take this new watercolor journal and turn it into a true visual journal where I take notes with tips and techniques that I learn along the way in watercolor and I will also be adding personal bits of my learning experiences and things that have gone on each day.

So here I have created my own little mix of colors, I was feeling the need for some deeper fall colors and since I didn’t have quite what I was looking for I just mixed up a little palette.

and well it is getting to be almost pumpkin time here so thought I would do a little watercolor practice on some pumpkins. So above I have the traditional orange and below some fun Teal / Turquoise.  I love to do things like pumpkins because they are a simple easy shape to draw which allows me more time to practice watercolor painting techniques and shading – color blending and layering.

and lastly I want share one of my art journal pages I created.

Thanks so much friends for stopping by and sharing your time with me!  Hope all of you have an amazing rest of the week, I will be back soon with pics from the retreat!!

xoxo – Sherry


Who else needs a pick me up?

Hi Friends,

First and foremost thank you to all of you who left me comments, love and support here on my blog and all my social media sites (I’ve yet to get to all the posts and comments it’s been so overwhelming heartwarming thank you from the bottom of my heart!!)  Losing Pebbles has been a hard thing to swallow and it’s definitely going to take me some time to fully heal from this.

That being said I feel like it’s time for a bit of a pick me up – Yes?  During times like this I really try to focus on the good, the positive and upbeat.  Don’t get me wrong it’s hard – I never said it was easy – not one bit.  But surrounding myself with the positive helps take the edge off.

So right now is a PERFECT time to get working on your 30 days of Empowerment cards.  I have completed days 1-6, and I wanted to share those with you.  Info on the Empowerment cards Here .

My goal for these was to infuse 5-15 minutes of Positive Creativity into my daily life.  So lets make these simple – doable – fun – uplifting.

I have been inspired by the flowers that are still around me even though fall is coming fast, there is still a lot of beautiful color out there.

What I did first was create a fun, very quick and easy background to create my cards on. And I created this short video to share with all of you on how I did it:

Next I took my steel ruler to use as a straight edge and ripped my color blocks into cards. I did not measure these (they are not all the same size or shape) and I’m okay with that.  Sometimes not being so buttoned up and squared off is nice.

As you can see from my video, I’m still very much into my watercolor obsession lol

The next thing I did was come up with a positive affirmation or a quote that I looked up on Pinterest to coincide with my prompt for the day.

So here are days 1-6 prompts that I used for my cards

  1. Passionate

  2. Strength

  3. Worthy

  4. Purposeful

  5. Brilliance

  6. Peaceful

Here are my 6 completed cards drawing some inspiration from flowers and their beautiful colors.

Need some ideas to get started?

  1.  Do a bunch of backgrounds using a brayer and only a couple colors of paint
  2. Use an old store card to scrap paint onto a large sheet of paper – rip your paper into cards the size you like to work on
  3. Use 2 or 3 bold colors of paint to create some intense backgrounds – dry or set aside to dry then apply a light layer of white with a brayer to mute them down so you can write or draw on them
  4. Use and old magazine and add a layer of white gesso – let it dry then add some spritz of color with your spray inks – no spray inks water down some arylic paint and splatter it on with an old tooth brush or your paint brush.
  5. Use an old piece of cardboard to create a textured background on some paper – paint it on the cardboard with a foam brush and then press the cardboard onto your paper in a random pattern using a couple of colors for more added fun and pizzazz.

Don’t forget to share your creations in our Facebook group, as well as on social media using hash tag #empowerment-cards.

Hope you all have a positive and uplifting day!!

xoxo – Sherry

Words can’t express….

Hello my dear friends,

While I had a fabulous beautiful post planned for today, with my heart so heavy I feel I must wait to share it and instead share with all of you what is in my heart right now.

Last night with very little warning I had to put the pug love of my life to rest.I got Pebbles when she was just a tiny puppy about 6 weeks old.  My son who is now 24 was just 9 at the time.  She was this teeny tiny scared little pug.  She was shaking and when I held her she nestled her head into my neck and went to sleep and stopped shaking.  It was then that I new I had to have her.

I was a single mom at the time and so she slept with me in my bed.  She loved to be snuggled, held and have my arms wrapped around her under the covers.  She was what I needed and I was what she needed.  I took her everywhere with me, I carried her like a baby she would rest her head on my shoulder and was so content to be in my arms.  When I shopped I could carry her like that with on hand and shop as if she were a baby because she actually held onto me with her paws.  When someone else would try to take her from me to hold her she would pull back towards me and grip on with her paws to my shoulder and make this noise like a kid if anyone took her out of my arms.  She was 110% my baby.

Yesterday morning when I got her up she was not acting herself and as the day went on she got progressively worse.  By evening when I took her out she could barely walk.

We brought her to the vets and after blood tests, X-rays and an ultrasound, they found that she had a tumor in her stomach that had started to bleed.  It was inoperable, even if she was strong enough to operate on, which she wasn’t because it was also attached to her kidneys and well she couldn’t live without at least one kidney.

She always had these crazy sleeping habits – sleeping with her head hanging out of her beds lol.  She was such a silly pug.

By 10pm last night we made the decision to let her go.  I held her for almost 2 hours at the vet crying, hugging her, loving her one final time.  Letting her go and saying goodbye was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do.  But she was fading in my arms, too weak to even hold her head up.  I held her while she took her last breath and loved her to her last moment on this earth with me.  She was almost 16 yrs old and I know I have been blessed to have her in my heart and my life.  But tonight for one night I am having a moment of sadness for myself.  A moment of why me, why did I have to lose her when I’ve had so much lost in the past year and a half.

She was my shadow and followed me around the house with every step I took.  So everywhere I look I see her missing.

My other 2 pugs are also lost without her.  She was the leader of the pack and they have been wandering around the house all day at a loss of what to do.

This is how Pebbles always was with my Son, Elias.  Kissing him every second she could.  She would stretch her head up as far as she could to give him licks. lol

It’s been a hard couple days for me and my family.  It’s just been so shocking because she just never showed any signs of being sick.

I will be back tomorrow with more on our Empowerment cards and some inspiration for them.  As well as sharing what I’m doing and the ones I’ve created.

But tonight, tonight I just need to hug my other pugs and cry for a bit, because my home will not be the same with out my Pebbles.

xxoo – Sherry

Let’s stay inspired together

Hi Friends I just wanted to pop in to share with you the fun creativity we have going on here at Canino’s Artistic Cafe.  So grab a cup of coffee and let’s chat for a bit.

Sending a huge heartfelt thank you to all of who joined us for the Empowered Creative Woman Online workshop.  We had over 100 fabulous women join us and I feel honored that you choose to spend your time with me!

So whats next?

Well I have some classes in the creative works as well as some collaborative classes I’ve been invited to teach in but I can’t share much on those at the moment.  But what I can share is what is going on right now.

My first monthly newsletter went out today – super excited about that!!  Its filled to the brim with artsy goodness!!

For those who maybe haven’t signed up yet or are wondering what’s in for me if I sign up?  Well besides lots of inspiration and exclusive creativity right to your inbox – you will receive a free monthly download.  This will only be available through my newsletter.

This month I announced a Challenge that I have going on – We will be creating 30 days of Empowerment Cards based on the list of prompts that I have supplied. – How do you get that list of prompts and all the details?  Its all in my newsletter and you can Sign up for it  here.

I am opening up our Facebook group for this challenge as well and the link to that will also be in the newsletter.

Just a little more on the empowerment cards – I plan to keep mine fairly simple since I will be creating one each day for 30 days I want to be sure that I have time to create them and don’t get overwhelmed with the challenge.  Honestly I expect to spend between 5 – 15 min max each day on my card.

Creative ideas for your cards as well as some for those on a limited budget:

  1. Create on old store tags
  2. Cut up junk mail or a cardboard box from your recycle bin into cards to create on
  3. Use one or more large sheets of paper to cut into cards
  4. use tags from the office supply store
  5. use any old packaging you might have in your recycle bin

Time saving tips: paint all your backgrounds at once and use 2-3 colors that blend well together so you don’t make mud.  Cut out a bunch of quotes from an old magazine or newspaper and put in a baggie or bowl that you can easily reach to have on hand as you work along on each days card. – Any media goes so use what you have ! ❤️

Don’t forget to share your cards in our Facebook group and on social media use hashtag   #empowerment-cards

This should get you all started and I will be back in a couple days with some more tips and inspiration.

How about a little pug love for all of you before I go 🙂

Happy Friday my friends and thank you for sharing your precious time with me!!❤️

xxoo – Sherry