The Joys Of Making Art

We are all artists

Human aliveness is simply inseparable from creativity. I truly believe that creativity and intuition are intimately connected, and all people are born with deep wells of inner wisdom and creative impulses, just waiting to be acted on. Key to unlocking these inherent creative forces is letting go of fear, and the negative stories we tell ourselves about ourselves. Strangely enough - it’s not who we think we are that holds us back, but who we think we’re not.

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A Lifetime of Learning

Discovery as Inspiration

There are plenty of opportunities in life to strive, push, compare, compete and struggle. Painting serves the opposite purpose. It’s a time for self-reflection, for patience and even healing, and a chance to see parts of ourselves that are hidden away in everyday life. The canvas has no opinions. It will simply hold your offerings and reflect them back to you clearly and without judgment. It’s up to you to interpret and learn from what you create. Color, form, and line express a language beyond the confines of words.

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The Artist Way

Yes You Can

Learning to paint is like learning to drive. Remember being overwhelmed by all those actions at once? Yet with practice, basic skills became so integrated that they're now second nature to you. Learning to paint is a similar process in that lots of skills must be juggled simultaneously, as you learn to hone attention. The good news is - skills can be mastered by almost anyone with patience and practice! In time, painting becomes easier and more fulfilling - second nature even. Being human means you're already an artist.

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My Teaching Approach


Built around an integrated process, whereby painting creation is design-driven - rather than subject driven, my approach is substantially different from traditional approaches to painting, because it allows students to apply skills quickly to representational and non-representational painting alike - without the pressure to make great art. Perfect for the beginner, experienced painter, or person seeking an empowering jump start on their creative path, multi-day painting adventures are offered year round.

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Studio Time

Choreographed Play

Intellectual concepts and practical exercises for skills needed to master painting provide essential 'building blocks', as students work to create an original work from the ground up. Painting from a place of structured intuition, the typical constrictions that come with fear and self-doubt are lessened, revealing freedom to cover up, restart, wipe away, and even change course many times along the way. Nothing is made permanent, so there are no mistakes - only new discoveries and insights, leading to unfettered creativity.

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Open Mind, Open Heart

Letting Go

Even as forgiving as the process is, and as open to your intuition as you may be, accept that your art-making journey here may not be wholly smooth or easy. Painting requires that you be attentive - be present. Slow down, plan your painting, and be patient with yourself. When you spend time dedicated to creativity, you spend time dedicated to creating a more whole and authentic version of yourself. This is a gift not only for you – but for others as well. Come grow into a better version of yourself.

Students Say It Best

  • The Abstract Painting workshop was fantastic! With Yvette’s encouragement, I felt safe enough to try a great variety of new techniques and to take creative risks. She is a born teacher, and as a teacher myself, I appreciated how she met the needs of all of the workshop participants right at their varied levels of knowledge and experience. I plan to take her classes again because I learned more in three days than I considered to be possible.💚


  • The week was sensational. It was just more than I thought it would be – the process of painting was more intricate than I imagined! Yvette’s kind encouragement has made me want to paint again, so I’m coming to work with her next summer for a week. I think I will learn more from her that week than having somebody here for a year!💚


  • I will cherish my experience always! Yvette made every aspect of our event memorable with a perfect blend of stimulation and relaxation! Thank you for sharing your talents and spreading joy to others! 💚


  • Yvette is a fabulous teacher and I learned so much about different acrylic mediums and techniques. Her studio is absolutely beautiful and she and her husband Derek are gracious hosts. I highly recommend the 3-day abstract painting course and I’m looking forward to taking another course from Yvette again! 💚


  • I want to somehow convey how much these days of art and creativity immersion has meant to me. Thank you for your generosity of spirit, your willingness to share your talent, heart, and knowledge to make the world, our community and our place in it, more beautiful. 💚


  • I’ve been sitting here in the airport reflecting on this unforgettable past week that you created and offered in the most gracious and perfect way. I feel blessed to have had the time I did under your instruction Yvette. You taught me more than just about art in your wise words of wisdom. Thank you for an experience that truly has changed my life and helped me step back into art with confidence and determination. 💚


  • The dial in my minds’ eye is set to ‘artist’ and I see the design, lines, shapes and colors in all that I see. I have always been a ‘visual’ person, but the knowledge and experience I gained in these past few days, deepened my perception, wow, what could be better than that. 💚–ALICE JEAN RYLAARSDAM, SANTA ROSA, CALIFORNIA

  • I could not have asked for a more fabulous vacation than what I received from Yvette and her “team” last week during my 3-day Painting Retreat. Her beautiful and inspiring environment was perfect, and the instruction and support was exactly what I needed to progress along my path toward painting more professionally. (It is a very long path!) Yvette’s service was optimal too including door-to-door pick-ups, fabulous lunches, excellent wines, and some much needed pet therapy from Logan and Amy. Thank you! 💚


  • I am still on cloud nine after the extraordinary art weekend with Yvette and Derek. I felt like a kid in a candy store as I walked in the door! A treasure trove of art supplies at your fingertips and the gorgeous work space was “home” for three days! 💚


Painting Workshops

Abstract Painting Workshops

Suited to the experienced painter or the beginner, enjoy 3 full days of lavish studio painting and time to create your personal masterpiece from the ground up.

Workshops are conducted through Yvette’s Experiential Travel Company, Creative Life Adventures NW at her Bellingham, WA gallery/studio.

Art, Mountains, and Northwest Culture Retreat

For the beginner to experienced painter, this 7 day adventure includes 3 lavish days of studio painting in between sightseeing days, spent visiting scenic mountain places, and experiencing delightful cultural encounters around town.

Workshops are conducted through Yvette’s Experiential Travel Company, Creative Life Adventures NW at her Bellingham, WA gallery/studio.

Art, Islands, and Northwest Culture Retreat

For the beginner to experienced painter, this 7 day adventure includes 3 lavish days of studio painting in between sightseeing days, with visits to San Juan Island, area wineries, and and a bevy of delightful arts-inspired cultural encounters around town.

Workshops are conducted through Yvette’s Experiential Travel Company, Creative Life Adventures NW at her Bellingham, WA gallery/studio.