Stripey, zen teacher


Full of wisdom. Curious about everything and always living “in the moment”.
See! Hear! Taste! Feel! Smell! Paying attention to every situation can help you develop your idea.
Work from the depth of your being.
Have faith in your ideas and execute a well-thought plan.
What puts a lion in your heart?


Simplify your life.
Listen to your dreams, they are orders from the universe and can infuse your imagination with a great storyline and fanciful drawings.


Surround yourself with the things you love which includes the people in your life.
Get enough sleep.
Make your bed everyday.

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When creative Calligraphers get together

This is Francine Oller, calligrapher, from my “Studio Group” drawing on the paper tablecloth. A roll of paper, and several different types of oil pastels; water-soluble and regular, chalk pastels, colored pencils, intense colored pencils, brushes and water. Several others join in. The “tablecloth” is covered with swirls, marks, sea waves and a sinking boat!

Then we write. A fountain pen talk by Greg Minuskin, pen nib expert (see his website: We are off in heaven, writing and experimenting with a relay of a multitude of fountain pens all with different nibs that make different marks. Some vintage, some contemporary, flexible, italic, needlepoint, different sizes. Talking and making mental tabs on our favorites (fountain pens).

Janet Martorello is now sharing her work. She did an amazing installation on a cross for a Catholic Church in San Francisco, dazzling beadwork. We all take turns showing a project we’re working on, getting honest feedback, sharing information and most of all giving support. We have been together since 1991, meeting one day a month, pretty much all year ’round and always have some sort of group project going. We love letters and ink, eat well together, talk a whole lot, laugh, and care for each other’s well-being. Start your own creative support group.

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Round Robin Journal Adventure


Page two of my journal entry “Nature”: I am one of 18 other artists in a round robin journal exchange put together by calligrapher and artist, Renee Troy. Each of our handmade journals are themed and require 2-3 pages of artful creativity. One month to create and release, and then receive a new journal to be written and embellished with our own personal stamp. It will be a year and a half before seeing my journal again. Other themes such as “Outrageous”, “Red”, “Metamorphoses” are to name a few.
The anticipation to create something new onto blank pages is enough to get all of the “creative mind sprockets” working in overtime.

I begin with a main image (the marsh bird with a beak-speared list of nature ideas). Then I build text and other imagery around the page. Next, another image to balance the bird, the journal log. Then I add other words and images filling in blank areas on the page, each time being mindful of space and color relationships. I think of the text blocks the same as I do blocks of imagery. Color is another design element that can be used to pull all the parts together on a page. At other times, a full background can be painted first. The way I’ll be working on “Hearts” next, you’ll see.

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French Roundhand

A mini-calligraphy workshop at the home of illustrator and toymaker, Marilyn Scott-Waters for the Orange County Children’s Book & Illustrator’s Schmooze Day. There I am demonstrating the letterform “b” with “eeks”–not enough paper on top for what should be a longer ascender stroke.

French Roundhand, the chosen calligraphic hand done with a pointed, flexible steel nib in a straight holder. This hand was chosen because of its beauty and simplicity (vertical stroking) that could be learned in a limited amount of time. A beautiful spring day, lemons and wisteria in the garden in bloom and every chair filled with incredible illustrators that work magic daily with their other tools.

Note the inkwell: the bottom part of a plastic wine glass. (At your next party, enjoy the wine, toss the drinker part and save the base). Then for stability, that “inkwell” is set into the top of a “Pringles” potato chip lid. The depth of the inkwell filled with ink is a perfect dip for a pointed nib.

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Furnace Creek Ranch General Store

Afternoon sketching at Furnace Creek Ranch drinking cocoa.furnacecreekranch2

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Welcome to my website

The Toymaker and the Nature Journal Girl are having fun figuring out how to assemble a decent website. We need to break for lunch!

Marilyn's Rooster from

Marilyn's Rooster from

Click on the picture to make your own little paper book

Little paper book

Click on the picture to get a PDF to make your own paper book.

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The Dunes at Sunrise

First the mountain range behind me turns into glorious pink lavender tone, and then for a moment the sunbeams catch on the sand and turns everything in its direct path golden. Glowing golden. Magical. Iridescent. And now golden sand with long blue lavender shadows.

Some dunes sharply angular and sculpted, others a sea of soft undulating waves. Creosote bushes far between, dotting the landscape like seaweed, spring green from a two-week-old rain. Wind drifts the sand smooth with ripples. Another mountain range, still sepia blue, the sun behind it. That magic moment is long… timeless.

I am like the moon as I sit atop this mountain of sand; sun side is softly warm, opposite side feels the chill of the desert morning air. 7:59 AM Morning wind whistles in my ear.


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Booksigning and Limited Edition Prints at the L.A. Pen Show 2009

This year at the Los Angeles Pen Show Janet signed her book, “Artful Journals” which has sold over 9,000 copies world wide since its release in November 2007.

Also had limited edition prints which have been fully matted and include a certificate of authenticity. Janet’s prints, can be seen in closer detail at this page Janet Takahashi Prints were a big success this year.

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