art and soul

Art and Soul: Portland 2019


I got back a few days ago from the annual Art and Soul retreat in Portland, OR, but it’s taken a few days to recover. Travel is always good, but it tends to wear me out. I’ve taken it easy the last couple of days, but now’s time to get back into the swing of things. So, I thought that I’d reflect a little about Art and Soul to kick off the week, and perhaps I can squeeze a new Materials Monday in before the end of the day to get back on track with those as well.

But onto Art and Soul!

I must say that I had a blast in Portland, and the week just whooshed by so quickly. I flew in on Monday, and didn’t have a class until Tuesday evening. So I grabbed lunch with a friend who lives in Portland, and spent a couple of hours wandering downtown Portland. I was almost late for my own class when I narrowly missed the train back. Luckily a train runs every 15 minutes, but that 15 minutes difference meant that I was nearly running to get back on time. Luckily I got to class with 5 minutes to spare, and we had a great class. I taught my Artful Layers class which I’ve done before as an all-day and a 2-day workshop, but this time it was a three-hour evening class. I was so into the class that I completely forgot to take photos, but we had fun layering watercolor, watercolor pencil, collage, and more.

On Wednesday I taught my Monster Maker Workshop as an all-day class, and we had so much fun creating little creatures in watercolor, polymer clay, and collage. It was a small intimate class, and I remembered to take photos. I’ve had so much fun making my monsters over the past several years, that it was good to see others who enjoyed it just as much.

Beyond Blank Pages was my all-day class on Thursday, and it was great to teach a brand new class. I developed the class as a week-long workshop for the John C. Campbell Folk School, but it was cancelled due to low enrollment. I turned it into a one-day class for Art and Soul, and we spent the day creating pages that linked together through color, repetition, cut-outs and more. Though it’s based on journal workshops that I’ve taught before, it’s a new spin on the journal as you try to consciously create a visual narrative that runs through the pages as ideas, themes, colors, lines, and more all connect from page to page.

I had a fantastic time working with the students, and it was so nice to see so many new faces. Though a couple had taken classes with my before, most were brand new, and many knew very little about me or what I do. I’m so glad that my classes appealed to them. Teaching at Art and Soul last week reminded me why I teach — to connect with others and to share my love of art. I am grateful for everyone who came out and made art with me, and I am looking forward to next year!

In the meantime, I have a couple of other teaching gigs lined up for 2019, and I’m hoping to add more. In May, I’m teaching the Creative Prayer Book as an all-day workshop at the Round Hill Arts Center in Round Hill, VA. In October, I’ll be repeating Artful Layers, Monster Maker Workshop, and Beyond Blank Pages at Art and Soul in Ocean City, MD.

Art and Soul: Portland 2019

I’m excited to be heading back to Portland, OR in a couple of months for Art and Soul where I’ll be teaching three workshops, and I hope that you can join me. I love Portland, and Art and Soul is always a big ball of creative fun!

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Tuesday, March 12, 6:30pm-9:30pm
Artful Layers
Immerse yourself in the art of mixed media layering, and delve deeply into a wide range of techniques for creating artful layers in your work. The focus of this workshop is on exploring the possibilities of layering materials, ideas, and images and incorporating personal themes, ideas, and images. Explore how to build up color and texture using transparent media like watercolors and water-soluble pencil. Experiment with collage, image transfers, and personal text to develop themes. Learn to embellish and enhance elements to draw out focus and detail, and walk away with a variety of richly layered work.

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Wednesday, March 13, 9:00am-4:30pm
Monster Maker Workshop
Unleash your mad scientist in this fun mixed media workshop as you bring a variety of creatures of the imagination to life. Learn to conceptualize and create cute and cuddly, or scary and menacing monsters with pencil, ink, paint, collage, and polymer clay. Build your creations from stock parts or invent your own. Customize your monsters with a variety of details, textures, and accessories, and walk away with your own menagerie of little beasts. Evil laugh optional.

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Thursday, March 14, 9:00am-4:30pm
Beyond Blank Pages
Challenge your notions of what a book can be and how pages can relate to one another, and engage in a wide range of artmaking and writing activities to weave a visual and written narrative. Transform blank pages into a unified artistic vision as you explore the layering of materials, ideas, and themes. Consider how colors, images, and words can figuratively and literally flow among, across, and through your pages as you change and manipulate the structure of pages with pockets, pop-ups, tears, cutouts, widows, foldouts, and more. Bring your own store bought or hand bound journal or sketchbook, and explore the possibilities for transforming it into a vessel for your creativity.

I hope to see you there!

Art and Soul: Virginia Beach 2018


I'm excited to be heading to Virginia Beach in October to teach another round of Art and Soul. I'll be teaching three workshops, and I'd love to have you join me in the creative fun.

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I kick off the week with my Monster Maker Workshop as an evening class on Monday, October 1 from 6:30-9:30 PM, so come on out and get in touch with your inner mad scientist as we create cute or scary or silly creatures and monsters!

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On Tuesday, October 2, I'll be teaching my popular Stencil Savvy class where students learn the basics of creating and cutting their very own stencils. So, if you love using stencils, but want to learn to create your own, please join me from 6:30 to 9:30 PM.


And finally, I'll be teaching my Luminous Liquid Layers as an all-day workshop on Thursday, October 4, from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM. Come out and join me in learning to use liquid acrylics to create layered work that seems to glow!

I hope you can join me in one or all of my workshops in Virginia Beach!

Art and Soul: Portland


What a fantastic week! I had such a wonderful time teaching in Portland at Art and Soul. I am truly grateful to everyone who came out for one of my three classes. It was fantastic having so many awesome students.

I kicked off my teaching with an evening stencil cutting class on Monday. Silly me got so caught up in the class that I completely forgot to take photos, but we had a good time creating unique stencils. I hope that the students got to use them in some of their other classes. And no blood was shed, which is always a good thing when students are wielding sharp craft knives.

We had a relaxing time Tuesday evening in my monster class. We drew, painted, and collaged a variety of monsters. There were a lot of giggles as the students created cute, humorous, silly, and wonderful monsters. It was great hearing from a few students how they continued to draw and create monsters even once class was over!

On Wednesday, we spent the day making a big, creative mess in my liquid acrylic painting class. We stamped and stenciled, scraped and splattered, transferred images and drew. Such fun!

I had a blast sharing my art, connecting with my students, and getting to know so many new people. A big thank you to everyone!

And of course, I made it downtown to check out Powell's Books and make a stop at Voodoo Doughnuts.

I got back late Thursday night, and despite a full day of travel, I'm totally energized by all of the awesomeness from my teaching experiences this week. Such awesome students, and such awesome energy. I rested and recharged a little yesterday, and I can't wait for my next workshops in a few weeks at the the Chestnut Creek School of the Arts in Galax, VA.

For all the happenings, check out the Events and Workshops page.

Art and Soul: Portland 2018


In just under a month, I'll be heading back to Portland, OR for Art and Soul. Portland is definitely a favorite place for me to visit, and I'm excited to be heading back there for the third year in a row to teach three awesome workshops. I invite you to join me!


On Monday, February 12, I'll be teaching Stencil Savvy as an evening class from 6:30pm - 9:30pm. This class is all about learning the basics of hand cut stencils, and we'll tackle everything from designing simple, yet effective stencils to strategies for successful cutting. So come on out and create your own unique stencils to use over and over again in your art.


On Tuesday, February 13, I'll be leading another evening workshop when I teach Monster Maker Workshop for the first time to an adult audience from 6:30pm - 9:30pm. I've taught it as summer camp for kids, but monster making is fun no matter what age. This mixed media workshop is all about drawing, painting, and collaging monsters. It's going to be an awesome way to spend an evening. So, strap on your mad scientist apron, and come make monsters with me!


Finally, on Wednesday, February 14, I'll be teaching my Luminous Liquid Layers class as an all day class from 9:00am - 4:30pm. I've taught this class several times over the past year here on the east coast, and I'm excited to be taking it to the Pacific Northwest! This messy class is all about building layers using liquid acrylics. We'll use a whole slew of non-traditional and experimental techniques to create paintings that seemingly glow. Spend the day scraping, stamping, stenciling, and much more.

Art and Soul is going to be some creative fun! And I hope that you can join me!

Art and Soul: Virginia Beach


I can't believe that in less than 6 weeks I'll be teaching at Art and Soul in Virginia Beach. This will be my first time teaching at this Art and Soul venue, but I am very excited since it's sort of in my backyard - it's about 4 hours by car. I'll be teaching the same three workshops that I taught at Art and Soul: Portland, but I can't wait to bring them to an east coast crowd.

It's not too late to sign up, but you better hurry. A couple of them are almost sold out. For more information go to the Events and Workshop page, or click on one of the links in the sidebar to the right.

Art and Soul: Virginia Beach

The spring has been very busy with travel and workshops, so the summer will be a bit less so. I'll be teaching summer camps and a high school gifted and talented program, but the travel and workshops gear up a little bit in the fall. So, if you're looking to take a workshop, the fall will be a perfect time.

At the beginning of October, I'll be teaching three classes at Art and Soul: Virginia Beach. I'm looking forward to teaching a bit closer to home, and invite you to join me in one, two, or all three of the classes. These are the same classes that I taught in the spring at Art and Soul: Portland. Check out the listings below, and I hope to see you there.

Stencils have become increasingly popular over the past few years, and many of us look forward to the latest releases by our favorite mixed-media artists. But what if we could design and make our own? What if we could use our art, our handwriting, and our photographs to make personally meaningful stencils? In this hands-on workshop, you’ll see just how easy it is to create your own distinctive stencils and templates. We’ll start the day by working with simple shapes and designs, and we’ll wrap up with using more complex artwork and photographs. Walk away with a variety of unique stencils and templates ready to be used in all of your mixed-media endeavors.

Who doesn’t love going to the mailbox and discovering a postcard from some exotic destination sent by a friend or relative? Who doesn't love sending postcards in return when they travel? But we don’t have to wait to explore the world in order to document our memories and capture those special moments. We can create our own postcards about our experiences of the past, the current events in our lives, and our dreams of the future. In this mixed media workshop we will use the events of our own lives as inspiration for making art postcards that speak to our memories and to our aspirations. We will explore the milestones and signposts of our experience as the inspiration for small personal works of art that could possibly be mailed to ourselves or to others or simply held and treasured as mementos of our lives.

Come explore the possibilities of a Visual Journal. A Visual Journal is a personal record, a tool for self-exploration and reflection, and an art form for expression. In this mixed-media, hands-on workshop, you will explore the creative possibilities of the Visual Journal as you delve into a variety of activities designed to break your creative blocks. Come see how some simple materials and ephemera can lead to richly layered, and personally meaningful pages.

Focus will be placed on engaging the blank page, using writing and text, layering materials and concepts, and incorporating personal imagery. Join Eric, and stock up on techniques and ideas to add to your creative arsenal.

Art and Soul Portland

Two weeks ago I was teaching classes in Portland at Art and Soul, but it's taken me this long to finally create a post about it.

Unlike like last year when David and my wife both went to Portland, I went my myself this year. Though I enjoy exploring a new place with someone else, it's also very satisfying to wander and explore by myself. I flew into Portland a couple of days early so that I could do just that - explore.

I started of my first full day exploring the Japanese Gardens and downtown Portland. Despite the rain, the gardens had a lot of people, but not so many that it was a bother. I was struck with how green everything was, and the leaves on the trees hadn't even started to bud. But with the copious amounts of rain Portland gets, moss was everywhere. The gardens were breathtaking, and I thoroughly enjoyed exploring all the nooks and crannies of the place.

No trip to Portland would be complete without a stop at Powell's Books and Voodoo Doughnuts. I explored the shelves of Powell's for a couple of hours before heading over to Voodoo for a snack of tasty vegan doughnuts. YUM!

I found time during my first couple of days to initiate my new journal, and I worked in it in my hotel room, at the hotel bar, and in the lobby of the hotel. The size of the new journal makes it a bit more conducive to working in public spaces.

I kicked of my teaching with a mixed media postcard workshop, Wish You Were Here. I only had one student, so it was quite awesome to have a one-on-one session. We took a look at some of the positive moments of our lives, and used them as the inspiration for our cards - basically visual journaling on 4x6 inch mixed media cards.

That evening, I had a good sized class for Stencil Savvy, a stencil making class. We spent 3 hours explore a wide assortment of ideas for cutting original stencils. Using Grafix heavy duty stencil film, and a hobby knife, we started with simple shapes, and worked our way up to more complex ideas.

My final full day in Portland, I taught a visual journal class, Journal Fodder Junkies of the World Unite. Based on the the very first workshop David and I taught together about 12 years ago, we explored a variety of media, techniques, and writing prompts.

Although David wasn't there in person, he was there in spirit. I had silhouette stencil of him with me and several students used it in their work.

Although I didn't have packed classes, I was reminded why I love teaching these workshops. I love sharing my art and my processes for working on art. I love exposing people to new ideas and connecting them with their innate creativity. It was a lot of work, but a lot of fun.

It you missed all the fun, don't worry. I'll be teaching these same three classes a little closer to home when Art and Soul comes to Virginia Beach at the beginning of October. Hopefully David will be able to make it this time!

Registration is open now! Check out the classes here!

New Journal

Last week I was in Portland, OR to teach at Art and Soul, and while I was there, I began a new journal. This journal is a bit of a departure for me. For the past 18 years, I have been using an 11x14 inch hardbound sketchbook as my journal - at first Cachet Classic Sketchbooks and then more recently Strathmore Hardbound Drawing Journals. Over the years, I have filled 24 volumes of these large books. David and I have a preference for this size simply because it's bigger than what we are all used to - 8.5x11 inches. From magazines to printer paper, 8.5x11 is the standard size of so many things, so the 11x14 makes us confront a different kind of space. Over the years we have also used 4x6 inch hardbound books as well. Again, their size creates a different space for us to react to.

But for my new journal, I wanted a change. I wanted something different. So I went with a Stillman & Birn 5.5x8.5 inch hardbound book with mixed media paper. I have used similar sizes in the past as sketchbooks and when I was fist getting onto the visual journal, but this is the first time that I am making a journal of this size my main journal. It's a bit of an experiment, so I'll have to see if it's something that I stick with or if I go back to the larger book. In the photo above, the journal on the left is the one that I am currently wrapping up and the one in which I have been doing the daily challenges. The journal on the right is my new one, the one that I began last week. Having four days in Portland and teaching a full-day class on journaling gave me a lot of time to get things started.

Check out my short video below that shows a quick flip through what I have done so far.

Art and Soul: Portland

I can't believe that Art and Soul: Portland is just a week away. My classes aren't until the 8th, but still,  in a week and a half, I'll be in the Pacific Northwest. I'm looking forward to teaching three classes there.

Saturday, April 8th: Wish You Were Here
This full-day, mixed media class is all about using our lives as inspiration for making art postcards. Won't you come and and make tiny wonders of art?

Saturday, April 8th: Stencil Savvy
This evening workshop is all about making your own stencils. Using a see-through blue stencil film, we'll be using shapes, images, and writing to create unique one of a kind stencils. What fun!

Sunday, April 9th: Journal Fodder Junkies of the World Unite
This full-day journal workshop is all about diving into the journal with some tried and true layering techniques as well as a few new tricks. Why not come out and play in your journal all day?

I hope you can join me in Oregon!