The Brooklyn Art Library Sketchbook Project



I want to do this again! I am an official card holder from 2011 when I completed and sent my sketchbook in. It took months to complete. I painted a story from one of my favorite authors of the past, George McDonald, The Back of the North Wind.

I want to go there someday too. My friend M Shannon Hernandez was just there ❤️

From their website:


Located in the heart of Williamsburg, Brooklyn Art Library is home to over 41,000 sketchbooks from over 130 different countries. Participants of the project order blank sketchbooks, choose a theme, fill them up and connect their books online with search terms, an artist bio and other unique content. Every single sketchbook that is sent back to us is cataloged and placed on our shelves for visitors to view. That means you, as a visitor of Brooklyn Art Library, can search for just about anything you can think of, from the thousands of search terms our participants have logged. One of our librarians will then pull the book down for you and allow you to hold and flip through it.

Visiting  Brooklyn Art Library is a practice in accepting randomness. We encourage you to let the process happen and see what you discover. Oftentimes visitors will be surprised by the most unassuming books, the ones with blank covers and original binding. There are thousands of stories created by people from all over the world.


Interview with local author, Sara Bell

Today I have the pleasure of speaking with Sara Bell, a local author in the Twin Cities.  Sara is a participant in Brush and Pen: Festival for Artists and Authors,

Welcome, Sara! Thanks for taking the time to talk with me today.


Katelyn– Hi Sara can you tell us a bit about yourself that isn’t writing related.

Sara-I am an event professional by trade and in 2016 I left the corporate world to care full-time for my Nana who has Alzheimer’s. I started a little virtual business doing marketing and customer service support for digital entrepreneurs and small companies so I could pay my bills while being a caregiver.  After my family found a great Alzheimer’s home for her, I went back to work for about one year. In May of this year I was laid off from my latest job and flung myself back into full-time self-employment (and couldn’t be more fulfilled)!
Katelyn- What a wonderful thing to do for you Nana and had to be a big decision for you. I am excited to see what happens now that you are following your calling!

As a writer, I am always curious to know why other writers started to write.  What got you started?

Sara- I’m an avid reader and there just came a time when I was reading and I realized I have stories to share too.  Even though I’m generally outgoing, I can still be pretty shy/insecure and I feel like I’ve spent years hiding behind a mask.  Always trying to fit in and be well-liked.  Writing has let me be myself- first in my journals, then more and more on social media, and now in blogs and books.

Katelyn- I think a lot of creative people can relate to hiding on some level. I started as a journal writer followed by blogging too.  I felt like it was easier to be myself in my writing.
Do you have a favorite genre of writing?
Sara-I love all things self-help. It’s super cliche but I need all the help I can get and I can’t get enough of it! Give me affirmations, inspiration, and encouragement and I come alive!  It’s the most energizing thing!

Katelyn- We all need that sometimes don’t we?!  I am curious why you write.

Sara-I am very introspective and love to know why I think a certain thought or what caused a feeling.  Writing helps me process my thoughts and feelings and make sense of my experiences.  I’m also a teacher at heart and if just one person can learn from my mistakes or my knowledge, I want to share everything I can.

Katelyn- I understand that completely.  It is easier to see what is bouncing around in your head when it’s on paper so you can sort it out and gain insight.
Can you tell our readers about your books

I have two books so far- one chapter book that I co-authored and one children’s book that I’ll launch and take orders for at the festival!  Obstacles Equal Opportunities was a compilation of stories from several authors.  In it, I shared a bit about a pivotal point in my life when I got divorced, lost my job, and my Papa died – all catapulting me into caregiving and self-employment. My children’s book is called Nana Forgot My Name and it’s a rhyming, full color illustrated book that uses symbolism and silly rhymes to help younger kids make sense of Alzheimer’s (or at least make as much sense of it as the rest of us!).

Katelyn- I think honest stories about our own struggles are so helpful because they let people know they are not alone in their struggles.  I love the idea of a children’s book about Alzheimer’s! It can imagine it is really confusing for children when it happens to someone they love.  My kids were young adults when it happened to their dad’s father and it was still hard for them.

I don’t know if this happens to you but most creative people have creative blocks at times. What do you do when you get a creative block?

Sara- Play!  I love creating joy in my life so if I feel stuck, I do things that bring me joy.  It depends on the time of year and where I am, but that could be anything from going swimming or reading by the pool, to snowboarding, exploring, traveling, the list goes on… I just allow myself to truly take a break and enjoy life where I’m at today.
Katelyn-That is brilliant and so simple!

Do you have favorite authors that inspire you?

Sara- I love Alexi Panos and Danielle LaPorte and also Gabrielle Bernstein.  And any of the great thought leaders of the early 1900’s through today, really.  The list goes on but those three are all women whose books I read over and over again.

Katelyn- I just started listening to Gabrielle Bernstein on YouTube.  She is awesome.  The thought leaders of the early 1900’s were amazing.  I like that a lot of what they were saying at that time fits today.

I imagine there are people who are reading this who would like to write a book and just don’t know how to start. What advice would you give to aspiring writers? 
Sara- Get over yourself and write! It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to get done!  Sometimes the hardest part is getting started.  If you really don’t know where to start, just start writing about that- what are the thoughts going through your mind?  Journal and eventually it will start to pour out.
Katelyn- That is such great advice!  Just start and don’t worry what comes out.
How can people support you in your writing career?  

Sara- If they already have purchased my books or if they like my articles or blogs, they can keep me in mind for freelancing opportunities.  I write for a number of small businesses (mostly newsletter/blog post copy) and am open to new projects or collaborations.

What is your web address or where can people see your art? is my official business site.  I don’t house my books on there (yet!), but people are always welcome to connect with me via email or social media ( or @saraannbell on Instagram, and I’m on Facebook as Sara Barnat Bell)

Thanks, Sara, I hope we see all of our readers at the Festival Saturday, August 18th!

Interview with Local Artist, Jennifer Swenson

Today I have the pleasure of speaking with my friend Jennifer Swenson, a local artist in the Twin Cities.  Jennifer is a participant in Brush and Pen: Festival for Artists and Authors,

Welcome, Jennifer! Thanks for taking the time to talk with me today.

Katelyn- Can you talk a bit about yourself that is not art related?
Jennifer- I am the owner of Heaven Sent Healing Massage and Wellness Center in Inver Grove Heights, Mn. I have been a massage therapist for 8 years specializing in Cranial-Sacral therapy, Oncology, PreNatal, relaxation therapies. I am a Reiki Master and medium. I like to treat the body as a whole – mind, body, and spirit.
I also teach art classes around the state. I love getting people to create and relax – the world needs that. 🙂
Katelyn- One of the things I know you do is classes where everyone does their own version of the same image.  It looks like so much fun!!
What inspired you to start making art in the first place?
Jennifer- I have been an artist all my life since my sister put a crayon in my hand.  I have been doing it professionally for about 30 + years. I use art as a way of relaxation. I always have a million ideas in my head!
Katelyn- I have watched you over the years and it is true that you always have millions of ideas.  One of the things I love about you as an artist is you are always experimenting with new medium.  Do you have a favorite medium and why?
Jennifer- Honestly, just a regular old #2 pencil. But most of my art is in watercolor, acrylic, and pen. I love fluid art.
Katelyn- That’s interesting that you say a pencil.  One of the other artists I interviewed said pen.  It got me thinking about those two things in a different way.  I have seen it as a basic tool but thinking of it as a medium expands my understanding.
I am always curious about why artists chose to create art?
Jennifer: Maybe as a way to escape. We live in such a harsh world right now, its a great way to ground and revitalize oneself.
Katelyn- I agree that it is a great way to escape and create beauty in the harsh world we are experiencing right now.  You said you always have lots of ideas but do you ever get a creative block and if so what do you do to move through it?
Jennifer- I doodle. I was the kid who got into trouble in school for writing on the desks etc. Sometimes doodling lines help me out of a block.
Just keep creating something and eventually, it starts to flow again. Don’t stop dreaming or let others opinions crush that creativity within you.
Katelyn- I was that kid too!! I was often in the hall for punishment because I was drawing or doodling something when I was supposed to be doing something else.
Do you have favorite artists that inspire you?
Jennifer-Norman Rockwell, Charles Schutz, Monet – I could keep going.
Watching new artists emerge always helps to stimulate new ideas and try new products-
Katelyn- I imagine there will be aspiring artists that find this blog.  What advice would you give them?
Jennifer- Andy Warhol once said
 “Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.”
Katelyn- Warhol was right, thinking is the death of art!  It will stop creation every time.
How can people support you in your art career?
Jennifer-Buy from your local artists.
My art is always available online or at local shows. Even if they can’t afford to buy anything just sending a supportive message to those you know who are artists creating that helps get us through the tough times and self-doubt in the art world.
Jennifer- I agree.  Sometimes those special notes from people about our work are more valuable than money.
What is your web address or where can people see your art?
Facebook: Heaven Sent Creations
Instagram: Heaven_Sent_Creations
Etsy: HeavenSentbyJennifer

Interview with Local Author, Rowan Glaser

Today I have the pleasure of speaking with my friend Rowan Glaser, a local author in the Twin Cities.  Rowan is a participant in Brush and Pen: Festival for Artists and Authors,

Welcome, Welcome Rowan! Thanks for taking the time to talk with me today.


Katelyn- Can you tell us a bit about yourself that isn’t writing related.
Rowan-I’ve made my mark in this world by being a custom motorcycle painter.
I’ve had bikes in national magazines, museums, and art galleries as well as receiving many awards at bike shows for my work.
I got into painting because I knew it was time to start a new career having recently left the Navy where I was an air traffic controller, and then driving cab in St. Paul.  So one day, I’m standing in the living room and I happen to say out loud, I wonder what career I should do next? To my amazement, a disembodied voice replied, “Auto body.”  Figuring it was my guardian angel, I called the local college and asked if they had an auto body program and sure enough they did, and it was starting in a week. I signed up and the rest is herstory.
Katelyn- I love how you were able to listen to your guardian angel and go with it.  A lot of people can’t do that because they don’t trust that voice.  I have seen your motorcycle painting and it is amazing.
I am always curious what inspires an author to write. What inspired you to start writing?
Rowan- For twenty plus years, I was driven to heal myself from childhood and military traumas.  As changes resulted and I became more of who I wanted to be, I recognized the amazing transformations that were taking place and recorded them in journals.  Stacks of them!  lol
At the same time, when out and about in different social settings, people always ask what everyone does for a living.  When I’d share my career, fascination resulted followed by more questions – which allowed me the opportunity to fine-tune my response into an exciting account of the adventures I’ve lived.
The catalyst for the book came in 2012 when my life fell apart and I had to implement all the lessons previously learned, in order to make peace with the chaos swirling around me.  Returning to writing, I melded my top life adventures with ways to heal and rise in vibration, thereby lifting my own self back up while hopefully cutting a path for others to follow – knowing not everyone has time to spend researching for 20 years.  In the end, I discovered we weren’t born to pay bills and die.
Katelyn- I totally understand journaling transformation.  All of my books started in my journals…lots of journals! It is like the book was written for you first so you could grow and then you want to share what you learned so that others can grow.
Do you have a specific genre in your writing and what you read?
Rowan- Biography, Self-help, Personal Growth, Visionary
Katelyn- I can see that in your writing. As writers, we usually have a higher purpose for writing.  Why do you write?
Rowan- To raise awareness and effect healing.
Katelyn- That’s a great reason especially in the times that we are experiencing now.
Most creative people get creative blocks. What do you do when you get a creative block?
Rowan- It never happened – I found I couldn’t stop writing.  Some days it was 14+ hours in front of the computer.  I had to buy a better chair.  lol
Katelyn- It sounds like you were in the flow of some powerful inspiration!  It is hard to stop when you get to that place because it is so easy.
Do you have writers who inspire you and why?
Rowan-Dan Millman, Lynn V. Andrews, James Redfield, Deepak Chopra, Baird T. Spalding, Vladamir Megre. They help me be hopeful of the good things coming.  To discover the Truths that are hidden within us.
Katelyn- Those are some of my favorites too.  I especially like the ones like Lynn V. Andrews and Vladamir Megre who come at teaching from the aspect of stories that have so much wisdom in them.  Sometimes is it easier for our mind to believe when it comes in story form verse fact.
I imagine there are many people reading this who would like to write a book someday. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Rowan- Write for the love of writing, express what you need to say.
Katelyn-It really is that simple isn’t it?
How can people support you in your writing career and find out about your cycle painting?
Rowan- If you enjoy my book, ask yourself if there is anyone you know in the publishing, marketing, or distribution fields that you can pass this onto to read.  Word of mouth is the best advertising.  Toni Woodruff, part of the family that owns the Buffalo Chip in Sturgis, loves my book so much that she shares it with her people – and is even promoting me at the Bikers Belle symposium even though I can not make it there this year.  Situations such as this make me feel truly appreciated for taking the time to record what I’ve discovered.
But since I know not everyone cozies up with a book, I put together a presentation on alternative healing methods along with some readings from the book, into a half hour video.  It is available on YouTube at
Lastly, for those who enjoy social media, the Facebook page is:
What is your web address or where can people find your books?


Interview with Local Potter, Ray Caron

Today I have the pleasure of speaking with Ray Caron a local potter in the Twin Cities.  Ray  is a participant in Brush and Pen: Festival for Artists and Authors,

Welcome, Welcome Ray! Thanks for taking the time to talk with me today.


Katelyn- Ray, can you tell us a bit about yourself that isn’t art related?

Ray-I work full time at the University of Minnesota.  It’s a staff position that offers great benefits. I received my second degree, a BFA, through using the Regents Scholarship program.  I’m an avid fisherman. I commonly practice “catch and release” so I think it might just be an excuse to get outside and on the water.

Katelyn- I love that you were able to get your BFA as a benefit of working at the U of M, that’s awesome.

I am always curious what inspires an artist to start making art. What inspired you to start making art?

Ray-My parents encouraged me and my siblings to draw.  There was a basic drawing course on PBS that we would gather around to participate in.  Many years later, I took a series of vocational aptitude tests. The counselor there said “you have the habits and unrealized abilities of an artist”  I know it’s not a romantic beginning but the coin dropped and off I went.

Katelyn- What great parents to instill creativity in their children!! That isn’t true for a lot of us.

Can you tell us what is your favorite medium and why?

Ray- I painted with acrylic paints for many years.  I found them preferable to oils. Now that I’m a ceramicist I’m getting finicky about clay bodies.  I mostly use a Stoneware from Continental Clay. It’s sturdy to sculpt with and I like the lighter kilned color that takes glazes easily and looks good unglazed.


Katelyn- Ah, a painter turned potter. I love how you let your imagination free on the surface of the mug.

I am curious about why you create art.

Ray-Creating Art is essential to my well-being.  Everything I do to support and sustain making Art I call “feeding the Art Monkey”  My artist friends are somewhat taken aback by that but I’m hooked. It’s the center of my being in a way.

Katelyn- I think that is a great way to say it! The Art Monkey has to eat too.  Most creative people have creative blocks sometimes.  What do you do when you get a creative block?

Ray- When people talk to me about being blocked I think of Van Gogh, who at one point painted his boots.  There’s loads of inspiration and motivation around us every day. It’s a matter of letting yourself see it.  In clay, there’s a multitude of variables and directions to go in and draw from. I also keep a sketchbook of projects to complete.  That’s my back up plan for feeling that I’m drifting. Or I just start working and see what happens.

Katelyn- I agree, there is so much around us to be inspired by. It is just a matter of letting yourself see.  I think seeing is an art in itself.

You mentioned Van Gogh which makes me wonder if you have particular artists that you are inspired by.

Ray- Antoni Tapies is an inspirational figure for me. He created works based on the texture of the material most people pass by every day.

Katelyn- I had to look him up because I had not heard of him before.  I can see his inspiration in your work. I love the idea of using materials other people overlook.

I know there will be aspiring artists reading this. What advice would you give them?

Ray- One of my favorite musicians once said onstage one night “Don’t (venture into making Art) unless you absolutely have to.”

Katelyn- As one of those people who have to do art, I totally understand!

Can you tell us how we can support you in your art career?

Ray- I like it even if people visit my Facebook page and follow it. Asymmetrical work is far from the norm in functional ceramics, especially for mugs.  I’m making Art that I hope will resonate with others. I’d like to develop a dozen or so conversations about ceramics and art.

Katelyn-What is your web address or where can people see your art?

The Facebook page for my ceramic work is Clay Panther Ceramics

A very good catalogue of my work is on Pinterest at Functional Art -Ray Caron ClayPantherCeramics and I have an Etsy shop: Clay Panther Ceramics.


Interview with local author, Deb Regan

Today I have the pleasure of speaking with Deb Regan a local author in the Twin Cities.  Deb is a participant in Brush and Pen: Festival for Artists and Authors,

Welcome, Welcome Deb! Thanks for taking the time to talk with me today.


Katelyn-Tell us a bit about yourself that isn’t writing related?

Deb- I was a partner practicing employment law in a large Minneapolis law firm when my dad was fired for ‘being sick’ (he had brain cancer). He was fired just days after the Americans with Disabilities Act went into effect, and I had the great privilege of representing him. We prevailed, and I knew that was why I was supposed to become an attorney. I also knew at that point I was done practicing law.

I then found space clearing (in truth, space clearing found me). Talk about a shift out of the mainstream! My husband describes space clearing as acupuncture for a space – it releases stuck energy that is present.

Katelyn- I got chills when I read what you wrote about your dad. It was totally divine intervention that you went into law! Wow!  And congratulations for following your heart and leaving law to open to a bigger calling.

I am always curious what inspires authors to start writing.  What was your inspiration?

Deb- I started creating the oracle deck and writing the guidebook because of the transformation that I had seen in my clients after they connected with their spaces. They truly began to experience more peace and clarity in their space, recognizing the mirror that it provides for their own growth and evolution.

Katelyn- So you created an actual oracle deck that people can work with to help them create new living spaces in their home.  I love that idea!

What genre do you write in and what do you like to read?

Deb- My writing genre is self-help and empowerment. For my reading genre, I still love a good legal thriller!

Katelyn- I imagine it is more fun seeing the law from the outside these days, through a good book!

I am curious why authors chose to write, what is your motivation?

Deb-I write because it helps me express my ideas. I love being in the flow!

Katelyn- Most creative people get creative blocks at some point.  What do you do when you encounter a creative block?

Deb- I step away from the computer and get out in nature with my two dogs! It absolutely moves me out of my head (where any creative block resides) and into my heart.

Katelyn- Nature is one of the ways I use to and it is the perfect way to get out of your head and into your heart!

Do you have any writers that inspire you and why?

Deb-I like exploring the bigger picture, i.e., who are we, why are we here, so writers who inspire me include, Paulo Coelho, Carolyn Myss and Greg Braden.

Katelyn- I love all three of them too, but especially Paulo Coelho for his wonderful storytelling and Greg Braden for his ability to blend science and consciousness.

I know there are probably a few aspiring writers reading this right now.  What advice would you give them?

Deb- Keep going! We all have a voice. We all have something to share. Don’t fall into the ‘not good enough’ trap that the ego loves so much!

Katelyn- That’s great advice, I think a lot of people stop before they even start because they don’t feel they are good enough to do it.

How can people support you in your writing career?

Deb-Share your story with me! Every time we connect with others there is inspiration to be had. My card deck and guidebook came through when I was sitting with friends at a Women’s Summit!

Katelyn- Where can people connect with you and find your oracle deck?

Deb- The ‘Oracle Wisdom from Your Space – Loving Insights for Your Life’ card deck and guidebook can be found at There is a free ‘Create a Great Space’ 30-day challenge on the website as well. My session website is


Interview with Local Artist, Patricia Peuschold

Today I have the pleasure of speaking with Patricia Peuschold a local jewelry artist that I just met earlier this year and fell in love with her work. Patricia is a participant in Brush and Pen: Festival for Artists and Authors,

Welcome, Patricia! Thanks for taking the time to talk with me this morning.

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Katelyn- Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself that isn’t art related?

Patricia- I was born in Córdoba, Argentina into an extraordinary creative artistic family. World travel feeds my creativity and soul.  Expressing my creative side in the kitchen is one of my passions.

Katelyn- What a blessing to be born into a family who understood the importance of creativity.  I agree with you about how world travel can feed your creativity and soul. It does the same for me.

I am always curious about what is the favorite medium artist like and why? Can you tell us what yours is?

Patricia- I love vintage & antique medallions, amulets, or pendants. As well as vintage & antique gemstones, pearls, metal, or wood beads. Refurbishing & repurposing vintage & antique jewelry is the hallmark to my jewelry.

Katelyn- I love your creations.  They are like vintage treasures, each piece so unique and beautiful.

Can you tell the readers why you create art?

Patricia- I love statement jewelry and giving life back to a vintage/antique piece is truly exciting.

Katelyn- I imagine people who buy your pieces treasure them. Every artist gets a creative block sometimes.  What do you do when you get a creative block?

Patricia- I listen to murder podcast!
Katelyn-  I had to look up what a murder podcast was.  From what I can tell it is a murder mystery where they try to solve murders.  I can see how that would expand your creativity because they have to be really creative to figure out what happened and when you watch them you are in the same frame of mind trying to figure it out.

Do you have a favorite artist who inspires you?

Patricia- Nature totally inspires me.

Katelyn-I understand that completely.  That is my go-to place to find inspiration too.  I imagine there will be some aspiring artists reading this blog. What advice would you give them?

Patricia- Find your personal voice in your art and soar with it. Creativity is healing and peaceful.

Katelyn- So true, creativity and making art is very healing. How can people support you in your art career?

Patricia- Please follow me on Instagram: pptaller11. I appreciate all the love and comments I receive.

Katelyn- I remember talking to you when we met and you said you have a very active Instagram page and that is the place you post your new pieces first, so if people want to follow you they will get the first look at your new creations.

What is your Instagram name?

Instagram: pptaller11

Etsy Shop: pptaller

Interview with Local Artist, Izzy Welsh

Today I have the pleasure of speaking with Izzy Welsh a local artist that I just met last weekend and fell in love with her work. Izzy is a participant in Brush and Pen: Festival for Artists and Authors,

Welcome, Izzy! Thanks for taking the time to talk with me this morning.


Katelyn- you tell our readers a bit about yourself that isn’t art related ?

Izzy- I’m a fairly recent transplant from North Carolina, about a year and a half now. My husband is a Minnesota native who was stationed at the army base about an hour from me back home and we pretty much decided that we were going to get out of the south and move to the Twin Cities around our third or fourth date. I hold a degree in Creative Writing from NCSU and will be teaching writing and performance classes at the newly opened (and absolutely freaking incredible) Creators Space in Lowertown. I’ve worked in the theatre/film industry for a couple of decades predominantly as an actor and scenic artist and have lent my voice to some Japanese cartoons. My grandest aspiration for the near future is to write and produce a musical puppet show about chronic depression. I have a toothless chihuahua named Goblin and am a Twin Peaks superfan.

Katelyn- We met at Creators Space at the Open House last weekend. It is an amazing space to be in and to teach in.  I came up to your table because I was drawn to your art and a fun playful conversation broke out! It was a great way to connect for the first time.

What inspired you to start making art?

Izzy- I was the only child of a working single mom, so I became very adept early on at finding things to do to keep myself busy. I can’t really remember that “first time” I picked up a pen or a crayon or a stick and drew on something…I guess I’ve been drawing for longer than I remember, ha ha, it’s just something I’ve always seemed to do. I remember this book I had when I was, like, five where you drew little animals with basic shapes and step by step instructions and there was a snail in there that drove me absolutely bonkers because I couldn’t get it right. I mean I fixated on it, trying to draw that damned spiral in his shell over and over, always doing it wrong somehow. This culminated in a massive tantrum and I think I tried to tear the book but I couldn’t because it was made for children. At five, I was having an existential crisis over a cartoon snail. I’m in my mid-thirties now, and I really haven’t changed all that much. I can draw a snail now so I can say I’ve genuinely improved.

Katelyn– LOL! your first existential crisis at five, with a book that was supposed to help you draw!  I remember those books! I think I might have gotten frustrated and traced the pictures.

Do you have a favorite medium to work in?

Izzy- I like acrylics because they’re quick and easy. They’re sort of the one-night stand of paints. Oils want you to have this whole long-term relationship with them. I paint on wood because it’s durable and forgiving…also, you can make it into an end table if it comes out really nice.

Katelyn- Okay you are cracking me up!  And end table would be fun, it’s kind of like a one night stand!

So…Why do you paint?

Izzy- Oh man, there are a few answers to this one. On the practical side, it’s just a really handy skill to have. Like all art, really. That’s why I don’t understand them taking art out of schools! I mean, if you need a birthday present that’s original you can’t go wrong with something hand-made. Have an ugly wall in your house? Get some latex paint and make it look fabulous…you know, that kind of thing. You can actually save a lot of money when you do your own decorating. It’s gotten my foot in the door at some theatres, too. To be honest, though, I think I really just paint to keep from going completely insane.

Katelyn- The insanity factor is big for me too! Art is the best therapist.  Don’t get me going about taking art out of schools, it’s ridiculous!

So most artists have creative blocks from time to time. What do you do when you get a creative block?

Izzy- I try to work on a lot of projects at once so when I get bored or blocked with one, I’ve got something different to fixate on. I’ll work on a piece for a while, get completely infuriated with it, sequester it in a corner, then discover it six months later after getting mad with something else and be like “Wow! This is a goldmine! Why did I ever stop on this?” I also play video games when I get totally burned out. They are an invaluable part of my creative process.

Katelyn- I have some paintings like that which are taking me years to finish. Sometimes I stumble on something that was tucked away and say “Wow, who painted this, it’s amazing” forgetting it was me.  I can see how video games can unlock a creative block too.

What Writers inspire you and why?

Katelyn- I’m fired up by writers who aren’t afraid to satirize. Like Vonnegut. Or the guy who wrote A Confederacy of Dunces…John Kennedy Toole! I can’t believe I forgot his name. He was a GOD. I mean, he’s got this fat arrogant man-child sidling around New Orleans being a jerk to everyone and it’s absolutely freaking hilarious, but it also captures the very ESSENCE of the human idiom – how enslaved we all are by the act of “fitting in” and earning money and that modern society generally just kinda makes itself miserable. He could have explored these same concepts in a very heavy-handed tome with lots of tragedy or a thesis paper or something but he didn’t, he made it hilarious and breezy and NAILED IT. I think that’s the most beautiful thing when an artist doesn’t take themselves too seriously. We have this weird notion that high thought can’t be funny and I just think that’s dumb.

Katelyn- High thought and play can be the funniest most awaking form of art!

I imagine there will be some aspiring artists reading this interview. What advice would you give to aspiring artists?

Izzy- Don’t listen to ANYONE who you don’t like. Also, spend the extra money on the good brushes…you’ll be happier in the long run.

Katelyn- Ah, good brushes, Yes! I would add to that to clean them well.  When you think they are clean, clean them some more.

How can people support you in your art career?

Izzy- Please sweet God, buy my art. Have a friend buy my art. Give my art to family members on national and religious holidays. My art is free of trans-fats and safe for those with nut allergies.

Katelyn- Oh my Gosh! Fat and allergen free, what could be better.  Buy Izzy’s art right here…

Izzy- I have a lot of my work available on Redbubble at and my official site,, should be up and running any minute now! So Check Back!!


Interview with Local Author, Lisa Metwaly

Tonight I have the pleasure of speaking with my friend, Lisa Metwaly author of, Kindness Travel.  Lisa is a participant in Brush and Pen: Festival for Artists and Authors,

Welcome, Lisa! Thanks for taking the time to talk with me this evening.


Katelyn- Tell us a bit about yourself that isn’t writing related.

Lisa- I love to laugh, dance and go on adventures. My gardens are out of control with flowers and I also love to give bouquets away to randomly nominated people that live in my city. I’m currently engaged with World Kindness USA and getting trained to be a global ambassador of kindness.

Katelyn- I love the kindness bouquet campaign you started. I nominated my chiropractor and she was so surprised to get the flowers.  She said it made her day.  I imagine this act of kindness it making a lot of people happy. I have watched the Kindness work you have been doing grow over the years and it is very inspiring!

I am always curious what inspires authors to write. What inspired you to start writing?

Lisa- I was inspired to start writing when I owned the Q Kindness Café. I took on the job of marketing, P.R. and general front of the house management. I had to get better at writing by default. The stories came easily because so much kindness happened there. People shared their stories and I wrote about them.  

Katelyn– I loved Q Kindness Cafe!  You had so many things around the cafe to inspire kindness in people.  It was so much fun!


This is your book, Kindness Travels, Penny Power. It is written like a children’s book but adults can learn from it too!  What genre do you write and what do you like to read?

Lisa-  I love to write self-help, inspiration and meaningful passages. Sometimes I write poetry and other times its short stories. I love to read self-help and a good mystery.

Katelyn- I am always curious why authors write. Why do you write?

Lisa- I write to get the thoughts out of my head to make room for more play time. It’s my hope that what has helped me will help others. Kindness really is everywhere to be found. It starts with us and boldly we can move it forward into the world. I believe that our children are our best hope to help better the world. This is why my kindness books are intended to reach the schools in a pay it forward, kindness travels, fashion.

Katelyn- I have been impressed with your commitment to getting the book into a lot of hands and the buy a book and a book gets donated to a child.  What a wonderful way to spread kindness!

I know every creative person gets creative blocks once in a while.  What do you do when you get a creative block?

Lisa- I get around water. I’ll put my fingers in a plate of water and swirl it around as I sit with the question of “what do I need to know?” Water is a great conduit for intuition.

Katelyn- You are so right about water.  It immediately opens you and like you said helps you to tap into your intuition.

What writers inspire you and why?

Lisa- Sark, Susan Branch, Rachel Awes, Maya Angelou … they all write from their heart. They inspire kindness and playfulness.

Katelyn- Sark was an early inspiration for me to open up creatively.  Her books can really help with breaking through creative blocks too.  Rachel Awesome has a similar style and way of helping us to expand the way we think.  Great choices!

I imagine there are some aspiring writers reading this blog. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Lisa- The only thing that cannot be fixed by an editor is an empty page.

Katelyn- That made me smile.  I always say, just start writing, it doesn’t matter what comes out, just let it come out!

How can people support you in your writing career?

Lisa- I’m always seeking sponsors that want to get their name out to the local schools. If you have schools that would like to do a kindness project, I’m here to serve. Please send me referrals of principals or teachers that would be open-minded to more kindness.

Buy a book or host a book party where kindness is created. Kindness books can be purchased in bulk at wholesale and sold at retail for fundraisers.

Katelyn-What is your web address or where can people find your books and connect with you about your kindness work?