Weekday Art Classes for Adults and Kids

This month has been a big one for us at Gypsy Studios Art and we look forward to all that our new studio space will be able to offer to the community! We would like to thank everyone that was able to make it (and those who were there in spirit) to help us celebrate!

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NOW Hosting Adult and Youth Art Classes!

We are now offering weekday paint classes in both acrylic and watercolor mediums! Classes will be hosted at our new Gypsy Studios Landing in Buellton (597 Ave of the Flags, suite 103)

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Adult Classes (ages 15+):

Learn to paint in a fun environment with encouraging people in a conveniently located studio right here in Buellton!

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Youth Classes (ages 10-ish – 15):

We are excited to introduce a beginner paint series for the youth in our community to come out and expand their talents or learn a new skill! Youth art classes will be geared toward children 10(ish)-15 and will allow for your budding artist to learn to paint a subject of their choice in a 5 week class!

Beginning August 29 from 3:30pm-5pm 

A very special extra thank you to Bill Candela, Morgen McLaughlin (SYV Vintners Association), Kathy Vreeland and Jody Knoell (Buellton Chamber of Commerce), Jessica Yacoub (Mercado 43), Chelsea Ward (Sketchy Notions), Dr Amy Parker, Joy Culley, Linda DeLaura, Hazel Wells, Brie Parker, Tristan Durbiano, Diego Hernandez, Kenny Klassen and all the countless others who brought moral support and endless prayers. We are eternally grateful to have you all in our lives.

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This Mother’s Day…Shine Like The Favorite Child You Are

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Isn’t it time you showed mom just what a great job she did in raising you–by giving her the BEST Mother’s Day ever? Treat your mom to a Painting in the Vineyard event and secure your place as her favorite 😉 This year you have two events to choose from over the weekend. On Saturday, May 13th we will be at Brander and on Sunday, May 14 we will paint at Sunstone (with an optional lunch available afterward). With choices like that there is no way to strike out. You provide the gift and we will provide a memorable day.

Not able to make a Mother’s day weekend painting? Why not plan for another event we have planned…not only for mom but anybody you love and want to make feel special. We have gift cards available and will be offering five more weekend painting in the vineyard opportunities before we head to Italy for the month of June! May 20th we will be setting up our easels at Ca’Del Grevino. Over the long Memorial Day weekend we will be offering 3 painting in the vineyard experiences! You can catch us Saturday, May 27 at Rideau and then on Sunday and Monday at the beautiful Lincourt Winery. And our last event before Italy will be June 3 at Roblar.

If you have been allured and in contemplation about joining us in Italy next month, now is the time to make that dream a reality! Or if you REALLY want to treat mom… 😉 hehe. But, really, we have space for a small group to join for the first week of our Italian Art Retreat in the Tuscan hillside and only 2 spots remain for the second week! We are so excited to further get to know our participants and from what we have learned from them thus far, both weeks are shaping up to be an amazing time–the only thing missing is YOU! Sign up today, and reserve your spot. We will help you reserve your plane ticket, find the right transportation to our Villa and arrange to pick you up at the train station with a glass of rose waiting for you. Join us in discovering your bliss!

Love + Art,
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page.”
~St. Augustine

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Gypsy’s Landing

We’ve landed!

This is quite literally a DREAM COME TRUE and an answer to so many prayers! Gypsy Studios now has a home base in Buellton. We can’t wait to open our doors! We’ll be hosting daytime & evening art classes as well as art parties, workshops and camps for adults and kids   We plan to open our doors May 1st…or perhaps even earlier if we can!

We’re launching a new series of art classes to break in the new space starting the beginning of May. Why don’t you join us for our evening 6-week beginner painting course beginning Tuesday, May 2nd, at our new location in Buellton (597 Ave. of the Flags, Ste 103)?! We’d love to have you help christen the new studio.

If you’re starting to think maybe we’ve lost our gypsy souls…don’t worry, we’ll still be hosting regular Painting in the Vineyard classes and Art Retreats in Italy and California’s Central Coast we’ll just be offering more now!

That’s all for now. Just wanted to share our excitement 🙂

Don’t forget to check the calendar for upcoming Painting in the Vineyard events and stay tuned for a grand opening event!

Love + Art,
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page.”
~St. Augustine

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What brings joy, frustration and ultimately timeless memories?

Painting in the Vineyard classes are back! 😉

Spring has sprung and it’s a spectacular show of wildflowers all over our hills and mountains up here in the Santa Ynez Valley and we can’t wait to paint them all. Spring always seems to bring with it all things new and fresh…and we seriously have so much new, fresh & exciting news to share with you that it won’t fit in this email alone. So, be on the lookout for an announcement email  arriving in your inbox in the next couple of weeks! Can’t wait to share more details about a dream finally realized!

Speaking of dreams realized, I did want to mention that I gave a talk out at Casa Dumetz last week for their Friday Night Speaker Series about my personal journey starting this little business I like to call Gypsy Studios. It was pretty raw and honest, but hopefully somewhat encouraging for any of you who have ever found yourself stuck in a dark place…depressed, unmotivated, defeated etc. It is posted on the website here if you’d like to give it a listen. It feels quite vulnerable to share if I’m being honest, but I believe our vulnerability is what connects us…and there’s nothing I love more than connection. SO, listen away! 🙂 …but be gentle.

As I was saying earlier, tons of Painting in the Vineyard events have recently “sprung” up on our calendar and we are looking forward to a couple NEW locations this year! We will setup our easels for the first time at Camp 4 Vineyards with Kita Wines on April 29 and at Ca’Del Grevino on May 20th. We’ll also be celebrating holidays like Earth Day,  Mother’s Day & Memorial Day weekend with Painting in the Vineyard events. Earth Day will be at Kalyra on Aprill 22 and Saturday of Mother’s Day Weekend will be at Brander Vineyard. Sunday (actual Mother’s Day) we’ll be at Sunstone and there will be a lunch included–details to be released shortly 🙂 Painting in the Vineyard is such a perfect way to celebrate your mom. These events produce memories that will last a lifetime and a painting to commemorate the occasion…what more could mom want, honestly?! OH! and…if you’re in town over Memorial Day weekend–we have an event EVERY DAY. Saturday, Sunday and even Monday. Check out our calendar here for all of our upcoming events!

In other news, you guys…we are only 10 weeks away from painting in the Tuscan countryside! We’re filling up, but we still have spaces available for both weeks…so if you’ve been debating about this years’ Bellissima Art Retreat in Italy–here’s your nudge. Life is short. Open the good bottle. Eat dessert first. Take the trip! 😉

Speaking of Bellissima Art Retreats…we just finished up our first local art retreat here in Ballard and it was so idyllic! We had such a great group–couldn’t have asked for anything better. The Santa Maria Sun actually just did a write up about it if you’re interested in reading more. Also–here’s a link to photos if you’d like to live vicariously through the participants 🙂

Love + Art,
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page.”
~St. Augustine

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Born Creators

We are all BORN creators. Like Pablo Picasso says: Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.

Do you believe that? That every child is an artist? I do. Picture a classroom full of preschoolers, or kindergarteners…they’re fearless, right? Born creators. They love it…can’t get enough. Ask your kid, ask any kid–they will tell you they LOVE art—in fact, the majority of them do. What happened to all those kids that loved art?

I would offer that that little art-loving soul is still inside of you. It still loves art and imaginative creating but hasn’t been allowed to play in a very long time.

Before we became hyper-aware to this mysterious judging panel watching our every move, we were five—drawing with abandon anything we could dream up, using every color imaginable. Then we would run to our parents, “look at what I made!” So proud of what we had created. We rode bikes, and fell, and got up and tried again. That is, until they reach age 8 or 9 (or somewhere in there). This is the time when we start learning all the things we’re good at and the things we’re not so good at. It’s those formative years that we start defining our own limitations and creating boxes for ourselves to fit nicely inside of.

I think we stop creating art as adults because we put an insane amount of value on whether our efforts are stellar and impress others, instead of whether we are changed and moved by our experiences. Creating always involves an emotional experience. That’s why Art Therapy works.

Though I am not a therapist, I have painted with many of you at a “Painting in the Vineyard” event and have witnessed the creative experiences of, literally, thousands of people. I’ve observed a very distinct pattern in the way we, as humans, experience creating. We all seem to go through a specific cycle of emotions, or an arc, really. In fact, an artist friend Luis Ramirez, (who has a show up at the Elverhoj Museum right now, actually–check it out!) posted this perfect photo on the creative process the other day on one of his social media feeds that I follow and it was the most relatable thing I’ve seen in a long time.

Creative Process Flow Chart

Best, right? I apologize for the swearing, but it was just so perfect. It hilariously describes the creative arc. It’s what I’ve observed while teaching many of you–and what I experience every time I paint. It’s the beginning when most everyone feels pretty confident and excited–the “this is fun, I’m not too bad with a paintbrush” stage…but deteriorates pretty quickly to the “oh no, what have I done–this will not end well” stage. Then we’re onto underpainting when everything seems wrong and counter-intuitive. This stage and perhaps the one before is usually where people begin to be very self critical–vocally. Self-sabotage and negativity is rampant in the painters’ dialogue. But, then, when we’re nearing the end (or once the painter steps back from what they’re working on for a second), there is a shift. We round the corner and suddenly the painting starts looking like something. Details and highlights are added and it starts taking shape. Everyone’s starting to feel better about their paintings.

Now, you may or may not ever get to a “this is awesome” stage…especially on your first painting, but come on, cut yourself some slack…FIRST painting, people. Beside, any artist will tell you that behind every good painting is hundreds of…meh paintings they would never show.

I share all of this to say that I think we’re missing the point of creating. Creating feeds our soul—it is nourishment. It is not a competition or a self-evaluation tool. It is good for our mind, body and spirit.

I also understand, though, that creating is one of the most vulnerable things we can do. Kids do it instinctively, but as we get older, we’ve learned to be careful with what we expose of ourselves. Because it’s scary & risky and vulnerable to make something and show it to the world. It’s a little piece of you that you offer up and say “here…I hope you like it.” It stretches us and challenges us to be vulnerable and to discover parts of ourselves we didn’t yet know existed.

And to try and pick something up now…as an adult? Forget it. That’s so scary! When you’re five, you know that trying something new involves learning and practice. Now that we’re adults we seem to believe that by virtue of the years we’ve put under our proverbial belts, we should be able to deliver perfection the first time we do anything new. And this anxiety often deters us from making good on that inkling to pick up a paint brush, take a dance class, sign up for that jewelry making lesson or ceramics class.

Don’t let that voice win. Doing something creative, trying something for the first time is not really about the outcome. It’s about the process.

I wonder if, when we practice things that we’ve told ourselves (or others have told us) for years that we can’t do or we’re not good at–we might just surprise ourselves? It might just be terribly therapeutic to learn a new skill or practice something long forgotten that was once a piece of us.

I tell my classes all the time—just try it. If you get lost in it…if you lose track of time, do more of it! That is life-giving stuff—that is good for your soul. We need to engage in activities that are good for our souls. We all have heard the buzz word “self-care”—it’s being talked about for good reason. When we care for ourself…when we nurture ourself…only then can we nurture those around us. As Eleanor Brown says so eloquently: “Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the OVERFLOW. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.”

Love + Art,


New Year…New Art

Happy New Year to you and yours! We at Gypsy Studios are looking forward to all the excitement that 2017 holds for us and all the adventures it is sure to bring. We hope you’re recovering from the holidays and looking forward to a fresh start as well.

This new year brings with it new options for getting your art on in our beautiful Santa Ynez Valley…and beyond! This year we will be teaming up with the Buellton Rec Center to offer a Wednesday daytime class for anybody that has wanted to learn to paint but has been unable to attend our evening classes. That class begins on February 1st. Our evening 6-week beginner painting series will still be held beginning on Tuesday, January 24 at the Bethania Lutheran Church Hall in Solvang at 6pm. So, gather a friend or two and make this year YOUR year, to nurture and grow yourself from the inside out :).

Another new AND super exciting thing is that I (Christi) have been invited to hang my personal work in a group show at a local gallery. I’m creating a new body of work for this show and I’m really excited about it. A little backstory…Connie Rhodes, owner of the C Gallery–a contemporary art gallery in Los Alamos, used to be Christi’s high school art teacher before she retired and started a gallery. She thought it would be a cool idea to gather a few of her former art students that are now working locally in the arts together to put on a show! How fun. Along with Connie & Christi’s work will be Chelsea Ward of Sketchy Notions, and Callie Martin Robertson–Santa Ynez High School’s current art teacher. We are all thrilled about this collaborative show and hope to see lots of familiar faces at the opening in March. Date TBD!

We have already begun filling spots for both weeks of our Italian Bellissima Art Retreat, so if this is something you have interest in joining, please be sure to reach out and secure your spot! Don’t let yourself miss out on the experience of a lifetime!

Lastly…Chelsea and I are planning a weekend-long restorative art retreat in March–most likely in the Santa Ynez Valley or SLO! Think yoga, figure drawing, plein air painting, delicious, healthy food, wine and more! Stay tuned for more info 🙂

Love + Art,
“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time”. ~Thomas Merton

Announcing our Annual Italian Art Retreat–Bellissima Art Retreats!

Bellissima Art Retreat in Italy!
Ciao Amici!

Hope this message finds you enjoying the crisper weather and the anticipation of the holidays. Speaking of holidays, I’m actually hosting my first Thanksgiving this year…so that’s fun (and a bit nerve-wracking), but at least it’s my favorite holiday. I just wanted to write to you to let you know about a couple of really exciting things!!

First and most importantly, we solidified our June 2017 dates and all of the details for our second annual Bellissima Art Retreat in Tuscany! Chelsea Ward of Sketchy Notions & I have teamed up and actually started a new business in addition to our own separate businesses that we’ve named “Bellissima Art Retreats.” We will be hosting our annual week-long art retreats in Italy as well as quarterly weekend retreats stateside! We can’t wait. Stay tuned for more info on a weekend retreat in late February or early March on the Central Coast. And in the meantime–please check out our new website to see what we’re up to and learn more about the Summer retreats. (This year we’re doing TWO).

Florence art retreat, art retreat, tuscany art retreat, italy art retreat, art holiday, tuscany art retreat

Also–if you’re way ahead of the game & already holiday shopping, well…I applaud you. That is super impressive! I’d also love to offer a couple of suggestions. We have gift certificates available for 6-Week Painting Classes in the Valley, Painting in the Vineyard events and if you’re feeling especially generous–you can even gift an Italian Art Retreat to a special someone!

Beside that–please take a look at the upcoming events and classes below!

Thank you and I hope you have an incredible Thanksgiving meal…er, holiday 😉

Love + Art,

PS…if you are in charge of your office’s holiday parties this year–know that we offer private parties and can come to you–or go wherever–because, you know, we’re gypsies.

New Events & A bit of Sap…

While the weather might not be reflecting it–Summer is most definitely just around the corner! We’re booking new events left and right (see below for the most recent additions) and attendance at our painting in the vineyard events is better than ever 🙂 So exciting for this small business owner! Please excuse the sappiness that follows.

Events things to do in Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Barbara County Wineries Painting in the Vineyard Sunstone Winery
With just a little over a year in business, I have you to thank for the amazing journey we’ve been on. Thank you to each and every one of you who encourage and continue to support me and my business through your words, emails, by coming to events, signing up for classes and sharing about your experience with others. You’ve helped make this girls’ dreams come true.

One of the most exciting dreams is our Bellissima Italian Art Retreat. I can remember a time not too long ago (literally–November of last year) when this retreat was just a dream we wished would happen one day. It’s actually happening and we’re getting SOOOOOO excited! The first week of July Chelsea of Sketchy Notions, Erin DiAngelis and I will lead a group of 6 women on a fantastic creative retreat! If this is the first you’ve heard of it and you’re thinking you’re bummed to have missed out, don’t fret–we’re already planning our trip for next year–so stay tuned!

Speaking of planning, just this past week part of our group got together to solidify plans and schedules but mostly just dream a bit about Tuscany over a homemade Italian meal (courtesy of Chelsea–I can’t claim any part of that meal–cooking falls outside my realm of creativity). When I say homemade…I mean from scratch…like, handmade tortellini, focaccia and fried sage leaves, caprese, Italian sausage, potatoes and peppers etc….along with tons of other accouterments–cheese and charcuterie, cannelloni and obviously, great Italian wine. 🙂 (Happy National Wine Day, btw)

Of course it’s not rainbows and unicorns all the time, but being able to share art and a little of my heart with you makes all of the less desirable tasks (i.e. budgeting, ordering, packing, unpacking, cleaning brushes, unwrapping thousands of canvases, admin…) worth it! Thank you. It’s been quite the year.

Cheers to you! …and lots of Love + Art,

Paintings, Poppies & Priorities

POPPIES for days!

watercolor poppies

If you aren’t fortunate enough to live in these parts, you may be unaware of the incredible wildflower show that occurs during this time of the year in the Santa Ynez Valley.

Here’s a little example of what I’m talking about. Look at all those poppies behind me and my cute (and super happy) pup! If you’re in the area and haven’t yet–make the trek out to Grass Mountain to catch a glimpse of God showing off. If you don’t live in the area–perhaps it’s time for a trip! It really is incredible…not to mention great inspiration for art.

Last email I mentioned a 30 day challenge that I had just started (#MakersMarch) where I challenged myself to complete a painting a day. Well…it’s almost over and I’ve learned quite a bit. Here’s a recap of my take-aways if you’re interested:

  • I’ve realized that it’s easier than I thought to make time for it (most days). It’s amazing how creative you can become with your schedule and medium when you have to figure out when & how you’re going to make time for art during the day. Daily art doesn’t have to be as arduous as we make it out to be. It doesn’t have to mean pulling out a new canvas, mounting it on our easel getting paint out, setting up and clean-up time etc. It can just be a little watercolor or a sketch. Something to exercise that creative muscle. For example: the poppies to the right were just a quick sketch with a tired hand & worn-out body after the Grass Mountain hike (4.3 miles UPHILL) that I added a touch of watercolor paint to. It didn’t take more than 4 or 5 minutes, but I created art…and that alone shows me that this can be incorporated into my daily routine.
  • I’ve learned that I really enjoy experimenting with techniques and subjects I haven’t tried before.
  • I’ve found that, like exercise, creating becomes more enjoyable with practice. I like painting more than I did a month ago. When we get out of practice, it just doesn’t sound as fun…or good for us…or as life-giving as it truly is.

More than anything, I’ve learned that if it is a priority, we will make time for it. If there’s something that you LOVE doing…that makes your soul happy….that is life-giving…that you lose track of time when you are engaged in it…do more of that! Make time for it. It will be more enriching than you know.

Here are some of my favorites from the month (if you’re interested in the seeing all 30 days visit our Instagram page):

Lompoc Flower fields painting, santa ynez valley art  Alpaca my bags, alpaca art painting  Horse Painting, equine art, Santa Ynez Valley  Dal Lake India Kashmir Sringar, Painting, lake living

If you would like to purchase any of these or other paintings you’ve seen, let me know. They are most likely for sale–email [email protected] for prices if they aren’t listed. I’m currently working on creating an online gallery of artwork for sale.

Love + Art,

Upcoming Events

Our events calendar is filling up with fun and interesting ways to enjoy the beauty of the Valley. Check out the line-up below. There’s a little something for everyone!

Paint in the Vineyard at Gainey Winery, Saturday, April 2, 11am – 1:30pm

Still Life Painting at B*Living Store in Solvang, Thursday, April 7, 5:30pm – 8pm

Vines Into Water Charity Painting Event, April 23, 10am – noon
*Saarloos + Sons and Gypsy Studios are donating all proceeds to building wells in developing countries.

Art Classes

Linda Ashby Bear Landscape painting

Seriously loving the artwork that is coming out of our Gypsy Students and had to share! (painting of bears above by Linda Ashby & painting of sunset below by Kerry Robinson) If you’re interested in our 6-week beginner painting series but can’t make it Tuesday nights–why not gather a group of 4 or more friends and host your own private 6-week art class? Daytime and evening availability. Email us at [email protected] for more info.

Kerry Robinson sunset ocean painting

Private Painting in the Vineyard Experiences

Don’t see a painting in the vineyard date that works for you on our calendar? Have a place of your own that you’d like to paint? Celebrating a birthday? Family reunion? Bridal shower? Why not book a private painting experience with us. We’ll come to you, or make all the arrangements at a local vineyard. Check out our website for more info.

Do it now.

This month I have taken on a few personal challenges–one of them being an art challenge that I’d like to share with you. Lately, I’ve been putting a lot of things off–especially self-care or betterment type things–until I have “more time for it.” The problem is…more time never seems to open up. My schedule always seems to fill up with things demanding my immediate attention. It’s the darndest thing, really. So I decided to make time for it…to do it now.

I’ve felt very out of practice lately and haven’t been painting for my personal enjoyment in quite some time. That needed to change. Anytime I stop painting for fun, my soul dies a bit. Maybe you can relate? What feeds your soul? Is it cooking, playing an instrument, journaling? There’s so many ways we create as human beings.

Enter–Makers March–the 30 Day Painting Challenge. I’ll be completing a painting a day. The challenge doesn’t have a lot of rules. My only parameters are to complete a painting sometime during the day and post it on Instagram. I thought the hardest part of this challenge was going to be finding time to paint. WRONG.

The biggest challenge is the internal struggle that is the creative process. 

I’m sure you’ve all heard of writers block. Well, the same thing happens to us painters. With this daily painting challenge, specifically, my first obstacle has been the size. Because I’m committing to finishing the painting, I usually need to work small since I’m running a business during the day as well. The smallness of the canvas is proving to be much more challenging than I imagined. I tend to get too focused on the details and overwork these tiny compositions. I’m working on painting looser, broader strokes more confidently–harder than it sounds!

Another thing I’ve come to realize is that there is a lot more added pressure since I decided I would also share this journey publicly and post the completed paintings (that I’m not necessarily proud of) each day. Most artists will tell you that for every painting you see in their gallery, there are 10-50 bad paintings that the outside world will never see. Very true–so the thought of posting EVERYTHING that comes out of my studio is to say, the least, terrifying. This added pressure seems to deplete me of spontaneous and creative expression. I am left feeling much more bound to the outcome or the finished product than the process itself. Again…maybe you can relate?! ha.

Basically, it turns out–this challenge is much harder than I anticipated, but I’d like to invite you in anyway. It’s been a great learning experience and lesson so far (especially in vulnerability).

I hope you’ll join me in the journey–either painting yourself (or some other creative challenge that is more suited to your soul) or simply following along on Instagram.

And, if you (like me) have been putting something off–taking an art class, for example, joining the gym, eating better, saving–or investing, getting more sleep, writing etc…I urge you to do it now. More time rarely opens up. Do it now.

P.S. The inspiration for the Florence painting above–our Bellissima Italian Art Retreat is almost sold out! We only have 2 spots remaining. If you are interested, let us know right away!

Love + Art,

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