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.


Live Your Wild Nature


Are you living your wild nature? This is a question for women and men. If not, why?

The truth…the current program on the planet doesn’t want us to have that much power! Because if we take back our innate power the world will transform into something unlike what we have ever seen!!

We aren’t programmed to be authentic. We have to dive deep to find our true self.

This is a quote from Clarissa Estes Pinkola, about women but can pertain to men as well. This is our innate self.

“When women reassert their relationship with the wildish nature, they are gifted with a permanent and internal watcher, a knower, a visionary, an oracle, an inspiratrice, an intuitive, a maker, a creator, an inventor, and a listener who guide, suggest, and urge vibrant life in the inner and outer worlds. When women are close to this nature, the fact of that relationship glows through them. This wild teacher, wild mother, wild mentor supports their inner and outer lives, no matter what.

“So the word wild here is not used in its modern perjorative sense, meaning out of control, but in its original sense, which means to live a natural life.”

how would your life be different if you were living from your true nature?



Laughter is the best medicine!


Laughter has been my greatest medicine. On any given day if you call me or connect with me in person, no matter what mood I am in there will be laughter. Sometimes I see things clearer when I look through the lens of humor.

I think there is always something to laugh about, even in the back of an ambulance in a foreign country or in the Emergency Room if you are with me there will be something to laugh about.

I crack jokes with my cats and we all laugh. 😹😹
I love comedy, silly jokes, even groaners make me laugh.

We take life too seriously and that in itself is funny. Laughter isn’t a defense for me, it just feels good.

Even when I say I am in a mood at some point it just becomes funny. The other day when I posted about being in a mood, there was a lot of laughter at my house.

I never looked at the healing benefits of laughter before. Here is what I found;
Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.

Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.

Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.

Laughter protects the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.

Laughter burns calories. OK, so it’s no replacement for going to the gym, but one study found that laughing for 10 to 15 minutes a day can burn about 40 calories—which could be enough to lose three or four pounds over the course of a year.

Laughter lightens anger’s heavy load. Nothing diffuses anger and conflict faster than a shared laugh. Looking at the funny side can put problems into perspective and enable you to move on from confrontations without holding onto bitterness or resentment.

Laughter may even help you to live longer. A study in Norway found that people with a strong sense of humor outlived those who don’t laugh as much. The difference was particularly notable for those battling cancer.

Do you feel passionate about laughter? How does it help you?


It’s Easier to Hide than be Seen.


The way I have chosen to use Facebook is to allow people to watch my inner process as it unfolds, uncensored. This is unprecedented work because people don’t do this sort of thing on social media. They probably do do it in real life either.   It’s easier to look like you are all together and positive all of the time. I don’t know about you but I am not always positive and upbeat. I like to think I am a balance of both. Sounds human to me.

I have been called to do it differently. The books I write and what I share on social media are real, authentic, raw life as it unfolds. It makes some uncomfortable and others feel the connection to something in them.

I am living a human experience just like the rest of the humans on the planet. Some can relate to something I say or feel because we all feel these feelings at times in our lives. I am just saying it out loud. It’s through our openness, rawness and realness that we heal, not only ourselves but those watching who can take it in.

The problem in this kind of sharing is it is subject to interpretation which may or may not be accurate. People might think I am falling apart when I am not. People might thing I am broken when I am not. The interpretation is based on individual filters.  I am okay with that. If someone thinks I am crazy, oh well…

Vulnerability hasn’t always been easy for me. Trust me when I say it has taken 30 years of deep inner work to feel comfortable letting people see me when things might not be so great. One has to be comfortable with what is happening before they can say it out loud to other people. Shame, embarrassment and fear of judgment usually stop us from being authentic. I had to work through all of that.

I am on the planet to help empower others. I do that by sharing who I am. By sharing my struggles and my victories and by normalizing the whole human experience. It’s okay not to be okay all of the time. It doesn’t take away from your value. In fact being vulnerable increases our sense of love and belonging.

Sacred Garden


I woke up at 3 am with the words “Fertile Loam” in my head. It reminded me of another painting I did at around the same time as the one I posted yesterday. I love how my paintings continue to speak to me. This one was painting 18 years ago when it was speaking to me about something else and now it is informing my present moment.

This one is called Sacred Garden. It is a reflection of the beauty that can come from the compost of our lives. You can see the decay and also the beauty that is growing from it. The decay is as important to the process as the flowers.

I feel like I have been in the composting phase of my life. A lot of what wasn’t serving me has turned to decaying organic material that can nourish the new seeds that I want to plant. This part of the process isn’t fun. It’s tumors, heart issues, financial difficulties, the stuff of my life right now. The things that are going into the soil to make it fertile for new growth.

Thinking about the new seeds I want to plant in my life’s garden and what they will grow into is fun. What are those seeds and how do I define them so they can come into my reality?

Can you relate to this process ?

Look out…I’m in a Mood


I am in a mood…not a bad mood but a real mood.

Wow, I just scroll through my newsfeed on Facebook and so much ‘we create our own reality, and this is all happening to make you a better person’, and that kind of thing. No offense to anyone because I think that way too.

I get it… but sometimes reality sucks. It really does!

Right now I am thinking that being grateful and holding a positive intention when life looks the complete opposite might just be a way of bypassing reality. I have done it for a while waiting for a shift. Yes I see increments of change but not enough and not fast enough.

I am in the muck for some reason and it’s real. I am just looking at it objectively and wondering what to do with it. I have felt all the feelings, I have combed through my inner landscape for clues and gems, and treasures and I have found the real me. Today the dust has settled and I am wondering what is this stuff called my life and what am I supposed to do with it?

I have gone through almost 3 years of challenge with my heart, breaking open, healing, breaking open and healing again. Now to have to deal with a renegade parathyroid. To top it off all of this has left me in a challenging place financially. In physical reality each one of those things would be a challenge all by itself!  I actually don’t know how I have done it for almost three years.

So the muck is real. I know lotuses grow out of the muck and mud and become beautiful flowers. I am just not there today! Right now I see mud!


I painted this mood years ago. It’s a familiar place. The painting is called “ The Cauldron of Creativity “. I don’t know if she is sinking in or rising up.



Local Artist Interview With Emily Engelhard

Katelyn: Today I am interviewing another participant in Brush and Pen: Festival for Artists and Authors, Emily Engelhard.  Emily and I met at a local art crawl and immediately connected. I learned a lot more about why the instant connection when we did our interview.

Hi Emily, thanks for taking the time to share a bit about yourself with our readers.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself that isn’t writing related?

Emily: During a recent conversation with a painter friend, we both decided we were artists because “creating art feels like the most worthwhile thing to do.” But, four years ago, inspired by my friend Suzanne (who taught me to do something about it rather than just whine about it), I discovered something that feels even more worthwhile than creating art: taking care of wild birds. From mid-spring to late summer, I volunteer for The Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota in Roseville ( You’ll find me in the crowded songbird nurseries, smeared with bird poop and loose feathers, dropping mealworms and crickets into noisy gaping beaks, and gently cupping tiny feathered (sometimes completely bald pink) bodies in my hands to check for dehydration and warmth. Nothing, I tell you, nothing feels more holy than healed wild wings flapping against your hands.

Katelyn: That’s wonderful that you are helping the songbirds! I know exactly what you mean by having wings flapping against your hand being a holy experience.  I volunteered at the Twin Cities Raptor Center for 7 years and I felt blessed whenever I was able to hold a bird.

Can you tell us what inspired you to start making art?

Emily: From the time I was a baby until about, say, (yes, I’m actually admitting this), high school, I wasn’t fully human. Although the duration of time shortened as I grew older, I spent most of my waking and dreaming hours as another creature living on another world. Nope—save for Halloween, I didn’t dress like an animal, especially once I hit middle school. My imagination was just that powerful. A week could go by, for example, and my Dad would don the same set of eleven-point antlers, my mom the same muddy brown and black wings, my sisters the same pointy ears that twitched toward sounds and drooped when they got into trouble. Since the time I stuck a straw in my diaper for a mouse tail, worlds other than this one were more appealing, richer with adventure, deeply saturated with kindness and magic. Those were the worlds I believed in, the worlds I trusted. When you have faith in something, and when you want the ones you love to believe in and be a part of it too, you write it down. And so, I picked up a crayon and began to draw.

Katelyn: You were so lucky to have parents who let you play in your imagination.  Imagination is was of our greatest senses as far as I am concerned.  It is more important than intelligence for a lot of reasons.

I am always curious about what an artist’s favorite medium and why?

Emily; Ballpoint pen. I love this medium because when I make a mistake, I can’t erase. Instead, I must choose between one of two options, both of which are challenges for me: just let it go and start again, or find a way to transform the mistake into something meaningful, maybe even beautiful, within the big picture.

Katelyn: I was really impressed with your ballpoint pen work.  Here is an example for our readers:


Katelyn: Why do you create art?

Emily: Mostly, I create because it calms and centers me and makes me a more tolerable human. But on a deeper level, I create because I feel it’s what I’ve been called to do. The creatures I draw want to be born into this world to serve some purpose—whether to be a gift, to awaken something within the viewer, or to be sold to raise money for a cause—and they’ve chosen my hands as their portal into this world. When I deny my creatures this life, I deny myself, and I suffer. When I grant them life, I’m given a taste of the realm from which they came, and I’m filled with a bliss and understanding so divinely beautiful it’s beyond describing.

Katelyn: I imagine your creatures are very happy to come out of your pen onto paper! I can relate to it being a calling and almost having no choice but to listen and create.  Like most artist I also imagine you get creative blocks at times too. What do you do when you get a creative block?

Emily: Typically, I have a temper tantrum and avoid my studio for a month. But the world cleverly gifts something sweet when you grow bitter. Last year, I discovered Inktober, an international drawing event started by illustrator Jake Parker. During Inktober, which occurs every October, ink artists respond to a different one-word prompt each day. For example, my two favorite prompts last year were “screech” (to which I drew an owl) and “rage” (which came out as a wolf). I’d never before done prompt-inspired drawings, and I loved it! The pacing granted me permission to play, to let go of the desire for perfection in everything I drew. Now, when I’m derailed, I mindfully seek out some sort of prompt—I play my way back into the groove.

Katelyn: I would bet most artists have had a tantrum or two in their career!  Thanks for sharing about Inktober.  That sounds like a great resource for artists and even writers to use.

So what artist/artists inspire you and why?

Emily: First and foremost, my Mom (a painter and sewer) and Dad (a musician and carpenter/woodworker) because they have nurtured and encouraged me since day one. Also, my younger sister, Julia, the one who inspired me to dabble in ballpoint pen and to explore the stranger corners of my imagination. We are family and are made of one another, and so I find their work, above all others’, the most beautiful and inspiring. But I also, of course, love the work of artists whose skill astounds me and whose creatures, I imagine, might befriend my own. A few of these artists are Caitlin Hackett, Sarah Leea Petkus, Tai Taeoalii, Susan Seddon Boulet, and (a few locals) Paula Barkmeier, Annie Hejny, Lindsey Kahn, and DC Ice.

Katelyn:  You have some of my favorites on your list like Susan Seddon Boulet and I love DC Ice!  What a blessing to come from a creative family who understood the creative process and how to foster it! A lot of artists don’t have that kind of support growing up so what advice would you give to aspiring artists?

Emily: Do all that you do—including all things art—in the spirit of love. If monetary success is your only or primary goal, your art and all other personal endeavors will not be genuine, will not come easily, and will ultimately abandon you. Remember that love for your talents, your self, and others is the truest wave to ride. But if you get knocked in the wrong direction for a time, forgive yourself. In the end, what matters most is that you keep turning back in the direction of love.

Katelyn:  That is so beautiful!  It is so easy to get caught up in the making money part, I know I do at times, and forget that when it comes down to it we do create because we love to.

One last question before we go because one of my reasons for creating the festival is to help support other artists and writers so how can people support you in your art career?

Emily: Talk to me, collaborate with me, share with me opportunities that will allow me to more fully engage with and support communities through the avenue of art. Art is the way I feel most comfortable and empowered to do some good in the world—help me learn where and how I can do that good. And, of course, buy some of my art and help my creatures find their homes.

Katelyn: Thank you so much, Emily, for taking the time to share with the readers a bit about your creative process and thoughts.

What is your web address or where can people see your art.

Unleash Your Wild Creativity



When I use the word ‘wild’ I don’t mean out of control. In it’s original sense, it means to live a natural life with innate integrity and healthy boundaries. When you are in touch with your innate nature you are in union with your creativity.

In our natural state we carry everything we need for healing and staying in balance. We are in touch with our deep knowing. We don’t censor ourselves and we live authentic lives.  We are in touch with our dreams, desires, personal signs and symbols and have the tools to access them.

As a society we have lost touch with the instructive psyche, our inner guide and we rely on outside sources to guide our behavior and decisions. The inspiration, insight and images and dreams we carry are not allowed to develop.

Would you like to get in touch with your innate creative nature which is part of all of us? Would you like to revive your spirit of play and have fun?

Most people lose touch with their spirit of creativity around 10 years old whe someone criticizes something they created. That sense of play gets shut down and life gets serious. Creativity is a skill that when developed is life changing.

How can you activate your creativity?

Here are a few ideas:

  1. Learn meditation
  2. Finger paint
  3. Start a journal
  4. Create a collage
  5. Dance like no one is watching
  6. Sing in the shower and make up the words
  7. Start a Garden
  8. Go to the Zoo and talk to the animals
  9. Watch a funny movie
  10. Start a blog
  11. Play with children
  12. Do a zigsaw puzzle
  13. Go to the craft store and pick out a new craft and dive in.
  14. Walk in nature and talk to the trees and see if they talk back
  15. Record your dreams in the morning and see if you can decide what they mean
  16. Lay on the ground and see if you can see things in the clouds, like animals, birds, angels
  17. Have a tea party with friends and have everyone dress up.
  18. Read a science fiction novel
  19. Write a poem
  20. Talk to your pets like they are human. Tell them a story

Ready, Set, GO!





The Importance of Incubating an Idea


Sometimes it is crazy being a creative and visionary who thinks outside the box. If you are anything like me you understand because our minds are always popping with ideas.  When an amazing creative idea pops into my mind I get so excited that I want to share it with someone immediately.

I have to stop myself because I have learned the art and importance of incubating an idea.

Nature, a great role model of incubating, is teaming with examples. The egg, the seed the cocoon and the womb are all examples of incubators.

To incubate an idea means, to provide a protective environment where an idea can develop and mature. I see incubating as one step of the four stages of creativity, which are:

1: The Seed Idea Stage: That is the idea that seems to drop in from no where. It’s like the embryo, the caterpillar or seed in nature. It’s fragile and needs protection.

2: The Incubating Stage: This is where we provide protection from outside influence so our unique idea can grow and mature naturally. The idea is not ready for the light and needs the darkness in order to percolate.

3:The Building Energy Stage:  This is where the idea takes shape, and often transforms into something more powerful. Sharing our idea too early dilutes it and reduces its energy. Others might pooh pooh it, or try to distract you or claim it as their own if you share too soon.

4: The Release Stage: The idea has come to life and is ready to be shared with others. Did you know that if a butterfly is removed from the cocoon too early it either dies or is never able to fly. We want our creations to take wing and fly.  


All four stages are important to the successful launch of a creative idea.  There is not any set time and you will know when it is ready if you pay attention to your process.

I have this little journal to incubate my ideas.


Next time you get a creative inspiration step back before you share it and remember it needs to incubate.