Newsletter Vol. 4 :: Happy 2018 from Vine & Thistle


We are a week into 2018, and even though my new year started with some winter sickness, I am super pumped about what this year will bring! I, like so many other people, spent the end of December thinking about what my goals for 2018 would be. I spent some time journaling and reflecting on last year: my accomplishments, lessons I learned, what I loved and didn't love about the year & my work, etc. 

But the real fun, for me, is dreaming up plans and setting goals for the year to come. It gives me a lot of hope for the work ahead! I find value in sharing my goals with others - it holds me accountable because I've told someone what I am planning to do, and I think there is something powerful about saying the words out loud, putting them out in the world, manifesting what I want to be. 

In order for me to see them regularly (& have a fun way of sharing them with all of you), I've hand lettered some of my big goals for 2018. 

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One of the goals I mentioned above is to teach online. One way I will be doing this is through Get Messy Art Journal as a member of the Creative Team. I will be regularly sharing tutorials for each themed season, along with many inspiring prompts. Another way I plan to do this is by creating my own Art Journaling E-Course. When I shared my in-person workshop with you and the rest of my community in November, I had a huge interest from people who are not from Portland asking if I would be making it available online. Honestly, being a mama to two little ones and not having my own studio space (outside of my home), online is a perfect place for me to teach! So, I started collecting up the equipment I will need (hello new tripod, new microphone, and new dedicated space for filming), and I am beginning to practice, plan, and write my first online course (it's going to be soooooo good!!!) 

As a part of my practice, I have created an art journaling process video that I am sharing with you FIRST before I release it publicly on my YouTube channel! Keep in mind, it is a bit rough because 1) I am testing out new equipment and a new set up, 2) I have a cold & am running really low on sleep from being sick the last two weeks (with a sick baby on top of it!) However, I'm still sharing this with you. The more I do between now & the beginning of filming for my class, the better it will be for my students!

Click below to see the video!

A Few Goal Setting Resources

Do you have goals for the new year? Are you still working on setting them? I have a few resources I'd love to share with you for setting goals: 

If you need someone to share your goals with - as a way to put it out into the universe - send me an email and share! I'd love to hear what you are working toward in 2018!!

Before I close out, I wanted to thank you for joining me & supporting me here! I appreciate the feedback and emails you have sent me following my past newsletters. I look forward to what 2018 will bring creatively for all of us.

I'm so grateful to be sending you this today! Feel free to hit reply and send me a note back! 

Thank you for your support!

xo alicia.jpg

Newsletter Vol. 3 :: Reflections on the December Art Journaling Workshop


Last month, we spent a weekend with friends on a little mini vacation in Washington state, and over dinner the first evening, as we were discussing my work, one friend mentioned creativity was a use it or lose it type of thing. This made me stop for a moment. It reminded me of the idea of some people having creativity (like being born with red hair or brown eyes or the ability to curl your tongue) and some people don't. 

Many people agree with these statements, but I cannot agree with either idea. I think we all have creativity, and I also believe creativity is like riding a bike. You'll always have it -- even if you are a little rusty, after a little practice and consistency (& probably creating some ugly stuff), something will start to feel good again. (I even created an art journal spread about this here.

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Over the last few weeks, I had the lucky opportunity to share my art journaling process with 9 eager artists in my first solo art journaling workshop. It was a 2-part series, and a perfect intimate setting for sharing my art journaling journey and experiencing these artists in their own journey. 

The above spread is in the art journal I created for the workshop. It is difficult to read the pink words on the right side of the spread, but they say: What looks like mud a few moments ago soon starts to look like flowers. Words similar to these were said by Lucinda, one of the students in my class. I instantly liked these words -- so often, the work I am creating in my art journal goes through a stage of mud, but if I keep with it, it soon looks like flowers

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One of my goals in my workshop, is to share my process and to inspire artists to find a way to make art journaling a part of their lives. Between the first class and the second class, one student came back and shared how she found an unused desk in her home and moved it to a space that was easier to access and use for art journaling (& she art journaled!!) In both classes, everyone filled the whole time creating, and we all left with many art journaling spreads completed! I think we also left wishing for more time (even though both nights ended up going over in time!!) 

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From this workshop, I realized I want to be doing so many more! I want to connect with more art journalers and wanna-be art journalers and artists! Since the class finished up last week, I have been deep in research and planning for an online art journaling workshop. I have a lot of behind-the-scenes work to do on this project, but I am SO excited for what will come in 2018! 

I have many questions to answer as I plan... Do I want one big class or many small ones? What downloadable materials do I want to create & share? Will it be a short access or a lifetime access class? What type of community do I want to create for students to connect with each other? And the list goes on!

In 2018, you will likely be hearing more from me about the online class. I will hopefully have a few more in-person class offerings available in the coming year as well!

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Here is where I will leave you. I hope your holiday season is shaping up to be an amazing one, and I look forward to reflecting on 2017 and goal setting for 2018 as this year closes and the new one begins! Much love to you and wishes for happy holidays!

As always, I'm so happy to be sending this your way! Feel free to hit reply and send me a note back (especially if you have any thoughts or feedback for what you love in an online class!!!) 

Thank you for your support!

xo alicia.jpg

Newsletter Vol. 2 :: This Creative RollerCoaster Ride, an Art Journaling Workshop, & 30 Paintings


The creative life is a roller coaster ride, and I know I am not the only creative person out there who thinks this. I am on the 3rd version of this newsletter, not because I am being a perfectionist (completely) but because, by the time I get back to writing, between all the making, my creative mood has changed! 

I have been working intensely on projects the last two weeks -- first, the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge I am doing during the month of November; then, a last minute hand lettering project I completed for Tendue including hand lettered menus, name tags, and a welcome sign; followed by the creation of over 10 art journal spreads; and then back to the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge (which I almost abandoned because it was feeling sooo uncomfortable). And between all of this work, I have also been preparing to release information for MY FIRST SOLO ART JOURNALING WORKSHOP, which I'll be teaching this December. 

I am excited to share the details of my workshop with YOU FIRST! 


In this 2-part series, I will be guiding students through my process of art journaling, which is intuitive & insightful and, most importantly, accessible for all. I will share my techniques for art journaling without overthinking, for creating spreads in a small amount of time, and for art journaling even when you are uninspired, creatively blocked, or unsure what to make.

Location: Inner SE Portland, Oregon (exact location will be shared upon registration)

Date: Wednesday, December 6, 2017 and Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Time: 6:30-8:30 p.m. 

EARLY BIRD SPECIAL through November 22, 2017: $75 Regular $125 ($50 savings!) LIMITED SPACE!! 

Seats are limited! Tickets are NON-REFUNDABLE but 100% transferable.

You can read more about the workshop here, and you can go register here

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As I mentioned above, I have been working on a project to paint 30 paintings in 30 days. I have 10 of my 30 done as of today (although, as I shared in my blog posts about the project, I started before the month of November and did 13 others... which I kind of count!) 

I wrote about the project here and here and am sharing photos of it on my Instagram account, but I wanted to tell you all a little something I haven't written about yet: I almost abandoned the project. I almost walked away. It was feeling uncomfortable. I was in an unknown place, unable to own what I was painting and feeling frustrated by how the pieces were turning out. And even though I'm working small for the purpose of making the project work on my limited art making time, I still found I was spending anywhere from 30-60 minutes on the paintings. 

But then I painted this one, and there was something about it that made me want to try it again. And now, I've done 6 paintings (including the monstera deliciosa above) that have a similar look and process. Each time, I am playing and experimenting with how they come together. I'm thinking about the paint and the brush strokes. I'm considering the composition and the process. I'm feeling really excited to play and even considering what these would look like as larger pieces, maybe even painted on panels instead of paper! 

Mostly, I'm feeling grateful that I didn't walk away too early. I'm happy that I pushed myself a little bit more and ended up making a breakthrough, even just the tiniest breakthrough. This was a reminder I needed: 

Making art can be incredibly difficult & feel pretty yucky along the way, but on the other side of it, I get the joy of small breakthroughs, the satisfaction of making something with all my creative energy, and feeling so inspired, hopeful, and full of creativity.

(All a part of that creative rollercoaster I started the newsletter with!)


The Season of Connections with Get Messy Art Journal ended this last week. I surprised myself with how much I enjoyed making this connections themed journal (mostly because the previous theme was Fairy Tales, and I REALLY loved that one!)

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To see more, check out the video flip through I shared recently!

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Here we are again, at the end of the newsletter. Thank you for letting me into your inbox and reading along! Feel free to hit reply and send me a quick note!

Thank you for your continued support!

xo alicia.jpg

Newsletter Vol. 1 :: Taking Leaps


The last few months have been months of taking for myself and my art business. I have taken steps toward building the business I hope to have in the future. I taught my first art journaling workshop with two fabulous artist (& friends), Lily Uoka & Consu Tolosa. I built a new website. I started a YouTube Channel where I hope to share more videos of my art making process and tutorials in the future. My greeting cards are now available at select Target stores around the country (more details below!) And now, here I am, popping up in your inbox with my first ever newsletter! I can't wait to see what leaps are ahead!



YES! I can hardly believe it (and actually, I had to go to a Target to see it IN PERSON to really let it sink in!) I license some stationery designs and artwork through a company called Minted. This fall, Minted started a new partnership with Target, which includes approximately 500 stores featuring greeting cards created by Minted Artists (independent artists like myself). Most of these 500 stores have 2 of my greeting cards and a select 75 have 3 additional greeting cards I designed. If you happen to spot one of my greeting cards in the wild, snap a picture and tag me on Instagram or send it my way so I can see!!

If you want to read more and see all 5 of the greeting cards I designed, check out my recent blog post where I share peeks at the designs!



Are you local to Portland? Wanting to get into art journaling or learn about my process of art journaling? I am currently working on plans for an in-person class to be offered in the late fall. If this is something you are interested in attending, keep an eye out for more information in future newsletters and through my Instagram account

Details will be available soon!!


Over the past months, I created a beautiful art journal in collaboration with two amazing artists, Lauren Caterson and Jennifer Bilton. I shared photos in a recent blog post. To see more, visit my Blog.

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I'm so grateful to be sending you this today! Feel free to hit reply and send me a note back! 

Thank you for your support!

xo alicia.jpg

Check In :: 30 Paintings in 30 days

This blog is coming to you a week into November. I've wrapped up Inktober (which was a daily ink drawing challenge for the month of October) and am now into the next challenge: 30 paintings in 30 days. I shared some of my thoughts about this new project before I even started it during the last week of October in a previous post (well, technically, I had kind of started it, because that's how I tend to roll when I decide to do daily projects!) 

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As I shared in my last post, this project has stirred up some pretty uncomfortable feelings. Doubt, imposter syndrome, insecurities from not "knowing" what I'm doing... I often don't feel the way I did going into new projects. If I'm being honest, it's a pretty unpleasant place to be, and I'm still not even sure if moving forward with it despite the feelings of discomfort is a good idea or a horrible one. I have a feeling, though, that even if the end result isn't exactly what I imagine (which it probably won't be), I'll definitely grow by doing something that scares me, makes me squirm and feel uncomfortable. 

Going into this project, I am reminding myself of a dream I had recently. In my dream, I pulled out some of my artwork to reference for another project. Someone at the table with me asked to see it (as in hold it in their hands) but they promptly stopped, saying they didn't want to mess it up. And my dream self responded to them to go ahead hold it, look at it, experience it. I assured them that I was not precious with my work, that mostly, I just wanted to get my work out, to get it made. With this project, I have set it up so I am not precious with my paintings.

My big goal for this project is to let myself play and experiment. My high pressure goal for this project is to figure out (at least a little more) what "my art" looks like and if painting abstracts is something I can "own" as an artist. Do I think I'll have all the answers in 30 days? NO, highly unlikely. But I should learn a few things. I should get an idea about what feels good and what doesn't in my art work. I should also gain some confidence because I am doing the same thing over and over for the whole month. 

I hope you will approach your art with the goal of MAKING & not feeling too precious. I hope you will do a project that scares you a little and makes you feel uncomfortable for the sake of growing as an artist. Let's all work to get our art made!

I plan to share some of the paintings throughout the month on my Instagram and would love for you to follow along.