Having Patience!

By Linda Graham

When I started creating art, I felt pressured to produce a piece that I felt was worthy for others to see or perhaps purchase. I wanted everyone to love it and I wanted the piece to be completed in one sitting!

Now I need to share with you that the pressure I felt was all self induced. Yep, have to do it right and do it right the first time!  Boy, did I have a lot to learn. Talk about "creating"!!!  Creating frustration was what I was creating and let me share… a frustrated artist is not a good thing! 

I have come a long way with the expectations that I have for myself. Sure I want my artwork to have a pleasing outcome, but guess what, it’s not going to happen every time I sit down at my art table. I've learned that I may not be satisfied with what I'm working on for a few days and even a few weeks. (And that's not fun!). I have learned that I need to walk away from some of my pieces for a while and return to them with fresh eyes and a fresh mind.

Sometimes I just add a little to a piece of work a little at a time. One of my pieces has been evolving over about six months and I still don't feel that it is quite right. Do you know what? I may just paint over it and start anew. If you could see the backs of some of my framed alcohol ink pictures one would find where I had a "do over" experience. I can sum all of this up in one word...are you ready? PATIENCE!!!  Yep, something that I am learning more about and am practicing. 


The Creative Process – Rule Follower vs Rebel

By Sandy Booth

Sometimes the creative process can be frustrating. Have you ever put your heart and soul into a project with all of the best intentions and positive feelings for it to be exactly as you had in your minds eye, and then realize it wasn’t as simple as it seemed?

Most of my art is intuitive in style. Which simply means I start with a color scheme, theme or texture that I love and build layer upon layer of those elements on my substrate. As I work I notice patterns and themes begin to emerge. Each layer informs the next and eventually my painting comes to life. Intuitive art is a bit rebellious in that there are no rules or parameters. It is a process of evolving. Not only the art, but the artist.

Example of intuitive art.

Example of intuitive art.

Occasionally I like to plan out my work. I sketch an outline or work on a specific color palette. I study the rules of perspective and scale. I use a color wheel and follow the rules of design. This method stretches me a bit in that it takes a little more patience and time.

Example of planned art

Example of planned art

Both of these approaches can result in beautiful art. And both can be very frustrating getting there. But as my teachers have always stressed in any class I have taken, It’s the process that counts. Enjoy the process. Paint and create with abandon! It’s the fun of creating that is important, not the end result.

Create something every day.

Art Takes a Lifetime To Create

By~Susan Nash

A question I get asked often is:

"How long did it take you to make that?"

The simple answer would be that I like to work on several projects at the same time, each in a different stage, so I can bounce back and forth between them, as inspiration strikes. This makes it more difficult to put any sort of "timing" on it, and each project is different. So, in general, I say, I have been working off and on (a particular piece) for a month or so. 

 BUT, the truer, deeper answer is ....it has taken a lifetime. Everything along my path... all of my collective experiences go into the making of a piece. There are all of the hours spent trying out a new technique... or the time in 8th grade home economics class that I ripped out and re-sewed a zipper into a dress 7 times...or the hours I spend in the woods and fields....every class I've ever taken....the music I listen to....the food I enjoy....I think you get the idea?

We are inspired by... well....what we are inspired by! We absorb it and spit it back out in the form of our creativity, with our own spin on it. The hours or minutes spent creating are what is necessary for something to come to fruition, but it's all that background history that gives it spark and that "Susan Nash" style.  So, indeed, a lifetime goes into the making of each piece....do you agree?

With my finished piece.

With my finished piece.

Middle stages of finishing

Middle stages of finishing




Finding Inspiration in Tara Funk Grim

By: Linda Graham

Can I just say that I LOVE bright colors! Because of that love, one of my favorite artists is Tara Funk Grim.  Tara is a mixed media and acrylic painting artist. I first saw Tara's artwork at an exhibit in Naples, Florida. I was immediately attracted to her intuitive, brightly colored paintings.  A year after my first encounter with Tara's work, I was fortunate enough to participate in a two day workshop that she led. 

Was I intimidated?  Sure was.  However, after a short period of time  I was able to lighten up and overcome my insecurities. I settled in to begin my mixed media creation.

I had the privilege and pleasure this past February to observe Tara's artwork at several locations while I was in Florida. Below is a picture of the two of us as we shared a moment at the Bonita Springs National Art Festival and one of my pictures inspired by Tara.  Thanks Tara for encouraging me and being an inspiration as I embrace my art adventure!


Lessons and Sketches

By: Susan J. Stubbins

It’s easy to learn something new when you hang out with Susan Nash. This very common plant is a teasel and is considered an invasive species. The plant reminds me of thistles in Scotland.


This little sketch was done wile sitting on the porch of a cabin at The Wilds with Sandy, Linda and Susan. Hints of red, yellow and green were starting to emerge in the trees. Birds were everywhere and a muskrat was swimming in the lake keeping us entertained.


Guest Artist Jeff Shackelford

We are excited to have this talented artist joining our studio for the Art Walk this coming Friday April 5th from 5-8. Continue reading to learn all about what makes Jeff so amazing.


Jeff Shackelford was born an artist. “I knew this was something I

wanted to do since I was five years old.” Many local business people

recognized his incredible talent early on in his life, providing him with many

opportunities growing up. A few of those opportunities where painting and

creating the bicentennial theme for John Adornetto of Maria Adornettos, a

wall mural in Secrest Auditorium and painting wall graphics around the

swimming pool at Burr Oak. In fact, there is still a painting of Jeff’s

(completed in the early 80’s) displayed on the outside wall of the Sunshine

Shop on Putnam Ave.

In 1986 he began his outdoor advertising career, working for Barnes

Advertising as their “sign painter”. He painted signs from 4’x8’ in size to

15’x85’. He painted many different designs for a variety of clients, including

a portrait of Emmet Smith for an advertisement for Larry Wade Ltd.

As technology progressed, the sign painting opportunities diminished,

leaving him without a creative outlet. It wasn’t until the summer of 2010

that he began to try his hand at oils. Most of Jeff’s early pieces were of

landscapes and seascapes, demonstrating his unique ability to capture

depth and lighting.

Today, he is drawn to scenes of New Orleans and other

streetscapes which allows him to try new techniques and styles.

Now retired from Barnes Advertising, he focuses his time on his four

passions… his wife Maryjane, golfing, painting and entertaining his six cats!

Sketchbook Journals Tips by Susan Nash

Sketchbook Journaling.png

I’ve been keeping some sort of journal for as long as I can remember. Right now I keep nature journals and sketchbook journals.

My sketchbook journal is a place where I can play fearlessly. I collect quotes and sayings; I cut out images I find inspirational and glue them within; I take notes, make lists and try out new techniques. It’s a safe place to capture new ideas and expand on them.  It goes everywhere with me, along with my zipper bag full of Sharpie markers.

One of the best things I’ve discovered about keeping sketchbook journals is that they contain a wealth of inspiration and ideas. Whenever I am feeling “stuck”, I pull out my old journals and become re-inspired.

I really like the Canson brand XL Mixed Media sketchbook because it is spiral bound and will lay flat. It has a hard cardboard cover that you can paint over and make it “your own”.  I also prefer mixed media or watercolor paper because they will hold up to my markers and paints.

Lately, I have been making my own journals using recycled cereal boxes and water color paper.

Think about your sketchbook as a dream incubator…a place where you can be as crazy and creative as you want to be or it can be a quiet contemplative retreat. Either way, I think you will find you won’t want to be without one!

Watch for an upcoming class on this very topic.

~Susan Nash~


Women Can Still Be Little Girls

Wise words from our Linda Graham!

Being a woman, we find ourselves having many tasks and responsibilities from working at home, working outside the home, raising children, nurturing our marriage...the list can be endless.  We are worn out and our minds can be frazzled.  

As I have aged, I now realize the importance of time for ourselves. Time to rest, to regroup and to just play.

 Play is defined as: to exercise or employ ones self in diversion, activity, or recreation.  Often times we may feel guilty if we take time to "play" because heaven knows there are many other things that need taken care of. I find myself experiencing this same mindset when I am creating art. So often I tell myself, "You need to be working on a piece to be framed and displayed for sale."  But, it can be so much fun to just sit down with no goal in mind and just experiment and play with various art tools and mediums. Often, I find it difficult to just "let go" or "play" and be free to just let the art happen on its own.

I really need to spend more time at play. I think we all do. So women, find the little girl inside of you and play. Give yourself permission to play!  That's right, PERMISSION TO PLAY! 


The Art Loft Goes on a Field Trip


Hi, Susan Stubbins blogging today.

The other artist’s at The Art Loft and myself have talked many times about places to go for workshops, retreats and classes. It finally occurred to us we have a perfect place for an artist retreat right here in Muskingum County, The Wilds.

Fate seemed to be on our side when dr. Jan Ramer, a VETERINARIAN and director of the Wilds happened to visit the Art Loft on a First Friday art walk and loved our ideas and offered to show us around.

Although it is just in the brainstorming phase, the artist retreat at the wilds is in the works!

Watch this space for more information!!


Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway

Sandy Booth has a super important life lesson in today’s blog that we all need to hear and face EVERY SINGLE DAY!

“I love to learn. I love to experiment with a variety of art mediums. Honestly, it scares me to go to classes and workshops and to learn new things! Doesn’t that sound crazy?!?! This fear of not being good enough or the idea of everyone is a better artist than me is paralyzing. For goodness sake, how can you grow if you don’t face your fears?

Learning watercolor painting has been a challenge for me. It was the first medium I experimented with when I began my art journey. Even though I loved the beautiful washes of color and the transparency of the paint I could never get results that satisfied me.

So when the Zanesville Museum of Art offered a beginner watercolor class this winter, I choked down my fear and signed up. The class was full of both first timers and experienced painters and I learned so much. I learned lots of watercolor tips and techniques, but I also learned once again, that fear is a liar. Fear keeps you from your full potential. Fear is what keeps you in your comfort zone.

So if fear is holding you back from something your heart is telling you to pursue, feel the fear and go do it anyway, you won’t regret it!”



March Art Walk

It is that time of the month again for the Zanesville Downtown First Friday Art Walk. Every month we try really hard to find special guests to come hang out in the studio and this month is no exception. When you come to our studio during the First Friday Art Walk we want you to get a lot of bang for you buck (or your time) and having other local businesses is always so exciting.

Without further ado let’s get in to our special guests for this month.


Misty Johnson


Misty Johnson is a Zanesville, Ohio ceramic artist who discovered her love of clay while pursuing her degree in art education at Kent State University. After graduating with a minor in studio art with a concentration in ceramics, Johnson served as the Potter-in-Residence at the National Ceramic Museum and Heritage Center, now the Clay Center of Ohio, where she gave tours, taught pottery wheel classes, and gave pottery wheel demonstrations both on-site and at local art festivals.

Johnson now creates her wheel thrown pottery out of her small home studio and continues to give pottery wheel demonstrations at local schools and libraries as part of her position as the education coordinator at the Zanesville Museum of Art. Johnson’s body of work consists of a wide variety of vases, bowls, and both decorative and functional dishes. She loves experimenting with new shapes, textures, and glaze combinations to make each piece a one-of-a-kind work of art.



Mister Joe Music

Made up of Roger Touvell and Paul Mainini, Mister Joe Music plays original music as well as covers and describes their music as

“A little folk, blues, jazz and rock.”

The Zanesville, Ohio based duo can often be found playing light, entertaining music at breweries, wineries and event spaces across the region. We are so excited to have them returning to the studio!


Urban Comforts eatery

Our neighbors Urban Comforts , described as a local eatery providing home cooked, upscale comfort food and custom made cocktails, will be putting out 4 different tastes(apps) of things they currently have on the menu.

  • Mini crab cakes topped with avocado, asiago and hearts of palm

  • Mini southern burger sliders with pimento cheese, fried green tomatoes and apple wood smoked bacon

  • seared ahi tuna wontons with napa cabbage and Asian Zing

  • Crispy eggplant involtini stuffed with ricotta and herbs tipped with marinara

As you can see, we have some pretty amazing local people coming this Friday from 5-8. Grab your girlfriends, your significant other or whomever you can grab and come on out!!!

Inspiration from Florida

Maybe we should call this month of blogs our “artists on vacation” series.  We will all be back in the studio creating new pieces soon, but for now we get to take another peek in to what inspires one of our artists while traveling.  

Linda Graham has been in Florida recently and other then finding inspiration from other local artists she had this to say;


“Bright blue skies and sunshine help to stimulate my creative "juices”. It's fun to experience nature and connect what you see to words and art. Two of my fun inspirations are pictured here with my own captions.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!”


"Just stickin' my head in to say, Hello!"


“Be the odd one out and follow your own path."

“In addition to watching the antics of the birds in the neighborhood, I have enjoyed the beautiful flora that nature has provided. I find it inspiring to paint my interpretation of the flowers. Below are just a few the things I have been working on and one of the flowers that inspired them. Even if you are not on a vacation there are so many beautiful things everywhere.  I hope you find inspiration in your everyday life as well! “


There you have it, another one of our artists that is finding inspiration outside and all around them. Stay tuned to see what else we are creating in the studio next month.

Don’t forget our March First Friday Art Walk is coming up on March 1st from 5-8. There will be several amazing guests in house that you will not want to miss! We hope you will mark it down in your schedule now and see you next week.

Finding Inspiration in Australia

Susan Stubbins has been traveling with her husband and sent these amazing pictures, inspiration and story about one specific “town” in Australia. She took inspiration from the trees while sitting on a train, proving that inspiration can strike anywhere if you let it! This is the watercolor sketch she created from the view outside her window.

Water color sketch of Cook, Australia.

Water color sketch of Cook, Australia.

Cook, Australia scene that inspired Susan’s watercolor sketch.

Cook, Australia scene that inspired Susan’s watercolor sketch.

“A trip between Sydney and Perth gives perspective of the enormous size and diversity of Australia.  The Indian Pacific train trip is approximately the same distance in miles as Zanesville to Los Angeles. Although, because of timing and scheduling we flew the two hour flight from Sydney to Adelaide and boarded the train there.

A half way stop was in Cook, Australia. Cook is a small town with a population of 4 (yes, four). It is now considered a ghost town. It has lost status as a town but we soon realized Australians enjoyed telling tourist the population. Some even said three or four!

 Cook was established in 1917.  It was a railway provision stop. In 1997 the railroad was privatized and the new owners no longer used Cook as a main stop. Although today it is still used as refueling and water stop for the Indian Pacific, explaining the reason for any population.

 Cook still has several dozen buildings but we were warned not to trespass as some were inhabited and some condemned. Others had been hauled to the coast and are now being used as holiday houses.

 A most notable thing about the town is it’s trees. In 1982, 600 trees were donated (from Sydney and Adelaide) and planted with the help of the local school children. The trees were to celebrate “The Year of the Tree” and initiate “The Greening of Australia”.

The surviving trees are outstanding as Cook is in the middle of flat desert situated within the worlds longest stretch of straight railway, 297 miles.” ~Susan Stubbins

Indian Pacific train in Cook, Australia

Indian Pacific train in Cook, Australia

Cook, Australia

Cook, Australia

Trees in Cook, Australia

Trees in Cook, Australia

Joined Forces

Hello! Susan Nash here…we are hoping to all jump on and write a blog post every single week so keep checking back!

We get asked two questions often:

  1. How did the four of you decide to join forces? The short answer to that question is that we felt a little tired and needed some new energy. We wanted to all be in a space in the center of the downtown art community and the more we started discussing things, the more it made sense.

  2. How is it working out for you guys…4 women in one studio?!?!?! That four women can get along in one space may surprise a few naysayers, but the truth for me is that I have found a sisterhood of inspiration, creativity and safety. On some days it is a bee hive of activity on others it can be a quiet, soul-centering refuge. It is a place of expansive creativity, a journey of inspiration where friendships and artwork are made.


It’s funny that we are rarely all four ever at the studio at the same time…circumstances and travel keep us going in different directions. And yet…and yet, it really works! We come together to accomplish the not-so-fun-but-you-gotta-do-it business end AND we get to share in the joy of creating.

I feel so lucky to be a part of this fantastic tribe and I hope you feel our energy every single time you visit or see a piece of our artwork!

~~Susan Nash

February First Friday Art Walk

The first Friday of every month ArtCoz (The Artist Colony of Zanesville) hosts an Art Walk in downtown Zanesville and The Art Loft is always so thrilled to be a part of this walk. There are many local artists and studios in a small area so it is the perfect date night or road trip if you live in Ohio to come out and grab a bite to eat, have a glass of wine and enjoy art.

We have attached the map below:

Coming in February, we are thrilled to welcome two local favorites as our studio guests for the art walk. St. Louisville Glass and Ohio Girl Bakes.

St. Louisville Glass is a hot glass studio located in St. Louisville, Ohio. They feature original, custom art glass works created by glass artisan Aaron Buchholz. Specializing in hand blown glass gifts, art and awards, they also welcome custom requests. This months feature is beautifully created glass hearts especially for Valentine’s Day. These pieces are so beautiful and although the pictures can’t possibly do them justice, we really wanted you to get a sneak peak!

glass heart.PNG
glass flowers.PNG

Also, back by popular demand, Ohio Girl Bakes will have a complete line up of savory goodies and sweet treats. You can buy on site or place orders for gifts and gatherings. Individual packaging and bulk orders are available. White chocolate popcorn mix, savory nut mix, the perfect add on gifts for that special someone this Valentine’s Day. You will not want to miss these goodies!


We are also pleased to welcome the musical talent of Braden Israel of Brady Israel Trio.

We can’t wait to see everyone for this fun monthly event at The Art Loft in Zanesville, OH on February 1 from 5-8pm.