back to nature · Leaving Las Vegas · Life · My Shop

New Life, New City

Some might claim life to be the ultimate journey. Welcome back, tree-friends, to this chapter of my expedition toward a place to call my own. If you’ve kept up with my travels in the past, you might remember that I just recently moved away from where I spent the last twenty years of my life, Las Vegas, to my new home—Fordland, Missouri.

My journey began in the early morning of August 5th. As I started my long drive, my stops included cities like Gallup, Albuquerque, Amarillo, Oklahoma City, and Tulsa. But the point of this journey wasn’t to see more of the same. I wanted brand new views and sources of inspiration, so I powered through the desert landscape of Arizona and into the lush states of New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma. I stayed the night in Albuquerque and Oklahoma City to catch up on some rest and savor my time in both cities.

I arrived in Fordland on Saturday, the 7th, at about 6 pm. Have you ever sat down for a long road trip, just the passing sights in mind and the wheel warm beneath your hands? It’s a magical sensation, a moment suspended in time where anything can happen. My intention for this trip was to just enjoy the sights and experience whatever I could. Part of me just wanted to get to Missouri, and the rest of me wanted to take as long as I could, relishing in the freedom of the road.

I was like a child on their first trip, I had the windows down and enjoyed the wind with no expectations for the world, just the simple pleasure of traveling. My favorite places were Santa Rosa, New Mexico, and Oklahoma City. I stopped at an original diner called the Silver Moon at the edge of Santa Rosa, located on Route 66 and serving delicious meals since 1959. I also visited the Memorial site in Oklahoma City and had a fantastic brunch downtown at Kitchen 324.

I have been in Missouri for almost 4 weeks now—though I’ve been settling into my Missouri life, I’m still learning the ins and outs of this new home, using my GPS to get to Springfield and learn the roads. Fordland is about 20 minutes from Springfield by hi-way, but I love the contrast of living in a rural area of about 800 people and being so close to a very progressive and vibrant city. The drive is always worth it! Getting settled into the arts community takes a bit of time but I have found a perfect starting point: The Springfield Arts Council, the hub for all things in the arts, including visual, dance, theater, symphony, and much more.

In a serendipitous moment, I’ve found the perfect spot inside of Relic’s Antiques and Collectibles for my physical location for The Healing Tree Studio. 2015 W. Battlefield Rd, Springfield, MO Booth #R-10. The location is warm and friendly with a diverse array of customers. Now I have the joy of directing anyone to this location, and I can focus on other venues for my artwork.

Moving is difficult. It’s a transition that shifts all aspects of life, and requires huge mental adjustment. But I have no regrets about my move—I love it here. The arts seem to be a large part of this city, and they certainly aren’t going anywhere. It’s perfect for me and I believe I can call this home. I hope you’ll settle with me in this beautiful new space, where creativity and growth can thrive. Until next time! 

artists · Artwork · Facebook giveaway · getting focused · Life · Spirituality

I am fucosed

How do you find your focus? Do you center yourself through meditation, manifestation, or wishing thinking? Do you outline your goals to make them achievable actions? What allows you to pinpoint your thinking, and keep track of your conscious mind? 

Recently, I came across a post on social media about being focused. It stated, “Your life becomes what you focus on.” Seems simple enough, right? But I feel that there is more to it–that finding what we focus on requires deeply personal understanding and connection. As I considered my own approach to finding focus, I realized that my morning routine was how I began the day. This meant centering myself with my thoughts and my focus. I became more aware of what my first thought was and how to change it, if I felt that I needed to. 

This realization meant that in order to feel more focused overall, I had to start with becoming aware of what I was focusing on throughout my day. In the process, I have become more conscious of repetitive and intrusive thoughts that distract my focus.  Creating a morning focus journal has been a valuable step in my process. I’ve made it my goal to use this throughout the day, writing down what I’m focusing on to keep track of my thoughts. This way I’ll have a handmade reminder and training manual to keep me focused on the moment at hand, and most importantly, what I want to create.

It’s possible that I’m over-simplifying this process–there are endless avenues to explore as we seek the best way to center our minds. But in a time of restlessness and unease, I find it beneficial to clear my head and balance my inner thoughts. Focus is all about understanding what we do and don’t desire. Once you are aware of what you seek from the world and what you want to avoid, it will be much easier to focus on the goals laid out in front of you.

Some people may disagree with this thought process and say that it’s the same thing–that there is no need to examine what you do and don’t want, because you are saying what you’d like to avoid by writing it down. In this case, maybe your focus is fractured by non-specific thoughts: “I don’t not want a black car” vs “I want a white car”. I have witnessed this in too many cases. Back when I was a hair stylist, I’d ask my clients what they were looking for, and 9 out 10 times my client would start with “I don’t want…” The same process happened during my brief time as a Realtor: buyers were so caught up in the thoughts that brought them no joy. By beginning with a negative outlook on our goals and listing the things that displease us, we’re avoiding the key idea behind centering our focus. It’s important to put the energy out into the world that you’d like to receive. 

So let’s shed the negativity intertwined with our desires by writing these thoughts down and manifesting. Today, my words to my journal are: “I want to be focused.” Tell the world what you need, and positive energy will answer. 

My personal focus has manifested in wonderful new art prints, with three new prints created from acrylic abstracts. I’ve imbued these pieces with positivity and added some inspirational quotes to each one. The first features a line from Maya Angelou against a lovely green scene with a simple tree and three soaring birds: “You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anyone.” The second print is another acrylic abstract with the words, “Without fear you are free.” For the third print with the words “Today I am grateful for…”, I used a palette knife to create a colorful surface with soft flowers of green and yellow. All three of these pieces are available as 8 x 10 in. prints, pre-matted and backed with a 4-ply hardboard. They’re sealed in a cellophane sleeve for protection and available now on my Etsy and my website! 

May is back with a brand new giveaway on my Facebook page and a chance to win one of the above prints–your choice! Just like or comment on the monthly giveaway post to enter. A winner will be chosen on May 30th at 3pm PST live on my page, so tune in to find out if you’re the lucky winner!

If you sign up for my Artist Insights newsletter today, you’ll stay up to date with everything new happening at The Healing Tree Studio with an added bonus of 20% off my prints and cards! You’ll also be supporting organizations like One Tree Planted and a wonderful small business, ZeetaBody. Partnering with these two fantastic teams brings me so much joy. 

Remember to start your day with thoughts of peace in your mind. There’s so much beauty in the world to be thankful for! 

Artwork · back to nature · Bookmarks · cabin retreat · Facebook giveaway · Life · New Items · note cards · trees · Utah · weekend getaway

Friendships and Trees

The world around us holds a web of connection, each of us tied together in ways we might never notice as we go about the steady pace of our daily lives. But if you take the time to look closer and reach out to those around you, you’d be surprised to see how many people there are in your community who appreciate the wide and beautiful universe like you do. 

I found one of these unseen connections just down the street from me in my friend Bethany. Our friendship began over Facebook where I shared my artwork in a group called I LOVE TREES; there we connected over art and nature, and Bethany purchased one of my pieces. Online conversations led to our first meeting at a coffee shop, where we shared our love for trees and creativity. I was happy to find a kindred spirit in Bethany and she was eager to support my art and improve her own technique. Over time, we’ve created together, building on her technique and sharing a deep love for nature in our work. 

This connection manifested as a weekend getaway for the two of us and Bethany’s partner to their cabin in Utah, just a few hours outside of Vegas. Here, we were surrounded by other distant cabins but isolated in the middle of nature, where vivid light outlined the mountains, backed the lush trees, and sparkled against the water. Our days there were endlessly inspiring. 


Back in the studio, I’m doing some new artwork for 8 x 10 prints, ready for framing. The new artwork will feature trees in a new myriad of colors with some including leaf details and printed quotes. Printed on 110 lb cardstock, these pieces will have a backing and be sealed in a plastic sleeve, prepared to arrive safely in your hands and look stunning on your walls.

There are only two days left until the live art fair happening on April 17th that I’ll be participating in, located at Bruce Trent Park (8851 Vegas Dr. Las Vegas, NV 89128). The fair is open from 10am to 4pm, so stop by and check it out for some gorgeous handmade artwork!  

This month, my Facebook page giveaway prize is a set of cards in my new six-color watercolor trees series, and you can like or comment on the monthly giveaway post to enter. Stop by for a live announcement on my page on April 30th at 6pm, and find out if you’re the winner! 


In the words of Shakespeare, “One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.” I believe in this idea; that together, connected by our invisible threads of thought and surrounded by the commonality of nature, we each have something special that becomes more beautiful when shared.

Bookmarks · Life · Spirituality

A guy walks into a bar…

It was December 10th, 2018. I was excited to meet a new friend at a local bar and grill for a couple of drinks. We both knew one of the ladies that worked there. She was a food server who had worked at the bar for about 12 years. I met JC, the server, a few months back. JC owned a commercial building where she invited me to do an art show with a fellow artist. It was very successful. I sold a few pieces and met some great folks. This, in fact, is where I met my new friend Samantha-Sam for short. Sam was there to collect on some gaming bets she had placed the week before. Monday’s were a day the football betters came in. I walk in and find a place at the bar towards the back. It is a fairly large bar, a two story with a false second floor, so it was completely open on the inside. It was rectangular in shape, with the actual bar in the middle with booth seating against the walls, except for the back wall. The entrance to the kitchen and office areas are located there.

Both JC and Sam owned some of my artwork. Some of my largest pieces too. I was in a good mood and ready for a drink. After saying Hi and giving hugs, I place my order for my first drink, vodka tonic with lemon. It went down smooth. Sam and I chatted for a bit and caught up on her drama. I just sat there listening and ordered another drink. It wasn’t long after that that Sam had to go. She didn’t win any of her bets and needed to attend to her dog, birds, and a hamster.

I stayed planted in my seat and ordered some bar food and another drink. JC was very good at multi-tasking. It was busy in the bar, but she could stop for a chat and continue serving food and drinks without skipping a beat. Me, I am content sitting by myself as I have always enjoyed people watching. We are a predictable but fascinating species.

I did not work the next day so I could indulge as I pleased. So I did. Another vodka tonic with lemon please. JC worked the 3-11pm shift. It was about 10pm so I decide to stay and have drinks with JC after her shift. I was drinking water and had some food, I was good to go.

JC finished her shift, did her paperwork, her tip outs, and sat down beside me, and ordered her drink. She is a charming person. Always keeps busy with her commercial building that she has her side business in, a floral and gift shop. She helps a lot of her customers that have become friends over the years.

One thing about Vegas-if you have never been to local places- is that 99% of every bar is a gaming bar. Meaning the actual bar area has video/multi-game machines. If it is busy, you have to gamble to sit at the bar or risk being asked to move so someone can gamble on that particular machine. Otherwise, if it’s not busy, you can sit in front of a machine. Only the corners of the bar do not have a machine. I tend to sit at the corner a lot.

JC and I move down a couple of seats to have one of her favorite machines to gamble on. It’s time for another drink, and the new relief bartender is here, JC introduces me to her. “Jeffrey this Maddy, Maddy, this is my friend, the artist, Jeffrey.” We say hello to each other, and I order another drink and some water. The bar is fairly empty, just about a handful of people hanging around. Maddy walks away to make my drink, and JC gives a little back story. Maddy is in her mid 40’s and has been working at this bar for about 5 or 6 years. She lost her son 3 years before an accidental drug overdose. He was 18 years old. JC nor myself have any children. I told JC that that must be the hardest thing to ever go through, to lose a child, especially so young.

Maddy comes back from making her rounds to check on other patrons, JC and her chat about the evening JC had and mentions she was just telling me about her son. “I miss him, he was too young” Maddy says

I must be in about 5 drinks now. Feeling very good and then the strangest thing starts to happen. I get a powerful feeling of a presence to my left and a voice in my head that keeps saying, “ask her, ask her.” I recall having this happen before but always ignore it and chalk it up to being intoxicated. This time I thought to myself, let me prove that I was drunk or lucky at guessing. Maddy comes back, and I ask her, “Was your son’s name, Ryan?” She did misunderstand me and thought I said, Bryson. The music was loud, but she seemed surprised and said, “Yes,” and I just went with it. I recall feeling there was a “Y” in there somewhere. Maddy left and came back, and I felt I had to go on with this. so I asked her, “Did he have dark hair, and was it swept to the side, hanging in his eyes?” Maddy said, “Yes,” And then she asks, “Are you physic?” I replied, “No, this has never happened to me before, not like this!” I ask a couple more questions, mainly for my benefit, to confirm that this is really happening. “Is he tall and lanky, and does he own a green long-sleeve pull-over?” Without hesitation, she says, “Yes” again. “Is He here? I always felt he was around me. Is he ok?”

At this point, I am totally convinced Bryson is here and communicating through me. I do recall seeing him. It was glimpses of him, with his head down; I never saw his face but definitely knew he was showing himself to me. There was a haze around him. After it was established he was here; he became an orb, a large orb. In fact, it was a double orb. It’s difficult to give a measurement, but I would say about 3 feet in diameter; the brighter smaller orb was inside, still a part of the larger one. I didn’t tell Maddy this, I just wanted her to know he was here and with her.

I answered her with “Well, he has always been around you and he is doing great!” Maddy starts to tear up and says “This makes me happy, I always wanted to know and have tried to talk to him but don’t know how.”

I am getting a vision of him releasing butterflies from his right hand. It’s a repetitive motion. So I ask, “Do butterflies mean anything to you?” She looks at me, then JC, and back to me and says, ” I have them tattooed on my back. JC, did I ever show you?” JC says, “No.” I told her I didn’t know what it meant but that he was insistent that I mention it.

Maddy makes her rounds to the other guest in the bar again. It is pretty quiet between JC and myself; she is busy trying to strike it rich on her machine. And I am talking all this in and thinking how intense it is. Maddy comes back. I tell her that Bryson loves to hear her talk to him, and he wants her to continue. I remember stressing this point a lot. He showed me a 24/7 sign, and so I said he loves, loves to listen to you, so please just say everything you can out loud.

At this point, Maddy walks around the bar and gives me a hug, we both are tearing up, and she is very grateful this has taken place. She mentions again how much she wishes she could talk to him and that she believes people can communicate with the other side. Maddy walks back around to the other side of the bar, wiping tears from her eyes. I look at JC and say, “Holy Fuck! I don’t know where this came from.” and take a sip of a beverage.

I look at my phone, and it is now 4:30 in the morning. I think to myself, I have got to go home. But there is something else coming through. When Maddy comes back, I tell her, “He is showing me a board game, something literally made out of wood, something you unfold, does thing mean anything to you?” she responds with, “I was teaching him Cribbage before he passed away.” I said, “Well, it meant a lot to him, and he really enjoyed it.” She says, “Thank you.”

On a final note, I tell her he is fading away from me and that he wants her to remember to always talk to him and to know for a fact that he is always with her, literally above her right shoulder. I look at JC and tell her I must go home now. I hug and tell them both goodbye.

The next day I wake up and feel very energized and well aware of what took place. I immediately call my friend Kathy, who is intuitive and talks to the other side all the time. It was refreshing to get this out of my head and explain what happened. She is fully supportive and gave me some insight and asked, “How do I feel?”

It has been almost two years since that event took place. A couple of other things have happened, but nothing as deliberate and surreal as that. I continue to meditate in a quiet, peaceful, and relax state. I discovered a site called GAIA.com. I will link so you can check it out for yourself. I have the app on my phone and refer to it often. It’s a spiritual NetFlix, if you will. There is a monthly charge if you subscribe. Anyway, that is my go-to for anything current and relevant to my spiritual journey.

Until next time, cheers! And Enjoy The Art Of the Tree.

artists · Artwork · Bookmarks · Life · trees

What do I see?

It was the summer of 1989. I graduated cosmetology school (hair school as we called back then) in March and was working at SuperCuts honing my skills and soaking up all the free education they offered. I lived in Wichita, Ks. I just moved into my own apartment in June. It was a renovated 3 story Hotel and I lived in a studio on the third floor and paid $175 a month. I was happy.

I was working full-time, had my own apartment and took the bus to work. My apartment building was just a few blocks from the river that ran through the middle of Downtown Wichita. I felt like I was getting settled in and it was time to start drawing again. About 3 months into my 6 month lease there was a leak in my studio roof and it rained on my drawing table I had set up. I talked to the landlord-who by the way was a fabulous gay friendly girl with dark hair and was very funny- she gave me a one bedroom on the second floor as compensation.

I am settled in again, my cozy one bedroom with no furniture except my daybed and warped drawing board. It was an open concept layout. As you walk into the front door it was open to my living, dining and kitchen. Straight ahead was a wall with narrow windows on each side. To the left was about 2 foot of space and to the right was my walled kitchen and the door to the bedroom and bath. I placed my daybed against the wall in between the windows. There was nothing in my bedroom but a small dresser.

I am now ready to draw something. I wanted something different from my usual tools, paper and pencils. So I bought 3 stretched canvases. Two of them measured 3 ft by 1 ft. the third, was a 10 by 12 inches. I laid them on the floor in front of me and asked myself out loud “WHAT DO I SEE?”

A tree trunk came to mind. Not the whole tree, just the trunk part. I thought “OK cool, I’ll draw a tree trunk” I positioned the canvas to start drawing length wise and grabbed my gel black ink pen and started drawing. If you don’t know anything about an artist canvas, then let me tell you, it’s very textured. So getting a smooth line on it is impossible. But that was OK because I was drawing a tree, they’re not smooth either.

I had no idea what it was going to look like or how big, I was just drawing a tree trunk. I went about my daily life and would draw in my spare time. I don’t recall having a TV. But I do remember listening to Hiroshima, Enya on my Walkman cassette player and laying flat on my back with the lights out and candles lit and just meditating and breathing. I really had no idea what I was doing, it just felt right at the time.

612 E. Douglas, Wichita, Ks. 67202

I found this image courtesy of Google Earth. Looks like they are still renting out as apartments. I looked at their site and prices have gone up. A studio starts at $599. And of course they are completely remodeled.

After I finished the tree trunk I thought “Now what?” I used the second canvas and turned it length wise parallel to the first piece and started on the branches of the tree. Fast forward a few more months and it’s time time top it off. A total of nine months later and after multiple ink pens I now had a finished drawing. I had completed my first tryptic art piece.

So that is how I started drawing trees. All three canvases were completed I later sold it for $275. I hope it’s doing well.

As I continued to draw my trees, I was determined to only draw with ink on canvas and paper. As an artist of any kind, you will get people that will offer suggestions all the time. I was reluctant to take any of them. I continued to draw in black and white for years. Until one day I looked at my work and thought, “wow this is really old school” I started experimenting with other techniques.

A black and white in progress

There you have it. My exciting story of how I started drawing trees. Now here it is September of 2020 and I am still drawing trees, only now they are a bit more colorful. I now paint with acrylics and use colored inks as well. I play with texture, like a home made paste with baking soda, glue and white liquid acrylic paint. Here are some examples.

Honestly, I am feeling like this took way too long to write and this is where I tend to just drop off with my stories. But, before I go, Let me tell you something. I sometimes look at my drawings and think “Holy shit! did I do that?” I think I could have gone to school and improved my skills a lot better then being stubborn and thinking I should be able to do it naturally without structure and instruction but I haven’t. So here I am, doing more intentional drawing and creating then I ever have. And I am happy.

Artwork · Bookmarks · Life · My Shop · personal acceptance

An Artists Point Of View

Literally my point of view from my studio window.

A non-stylized shot from my desk. Even my computer is open as I am writing this post. For the first time in my life I believe I am truly doing what I love. It has taken me years to get to this point. Not that I wasn’t doing what I liked prior but I think it becomes about being fulfilled as well. I have always been a creative type of person. After being redirected as a high school student because of advice from a math teacher telling me to pursue something other than architecture due to the lack in math skills I had no idea what to do. I found myself going to a local community school for Fashion Merchandising, after completing that I now had a diploma in which I could work at a Dept. store dressing windows. Next…

I then enrolled into hair dressing school. This felt like a perfect fit and it was for a very long time. From 1989-2007. I thought it the best of all worlds. Interacting with people, being creative and the multiple avenues that it offered. Everything from working behind the chair, educating, instructing, platform artist, colorist, product sales to owning your own shop. (I never did) I spent my first four years in Kansas, where I obtained my license and then moved to Vegas in 1993. My license transferred to Nevada and it was easy to get a job.

My artwork was always in the foreground, it was never a large part of what I did. Not until after I was laid off from my “Salon Manger” position that I enrolled into a leadership class and pulled out my artwork and started showing it off. I got some great comments and feedback and then I would create gifts for people, such as cards, and small drawings. At this point I looked into showing my artwork around Vegas, Anything free or a minimal charge, like $25 for a submission. I was doing this to get exposure and feedback, not to win but to face my fears of rejection and maybe not being a good artist. I was and still consider myself a self taught artist with no formal training, just a few classes here and there. As I was becoming more comfortable showing off my art, I still pursued other avenues to generate and income.

My first attempt at doing my own thing was a key chain a friend and I created and started a website and tried to sell to some friends I knew that had small retail shops. Here is a photo of the key chains.

Getdusted was the name of the company. Little vials of dust and glitter based on the name of the key chain.

This lasted about 6 months until I gave up. I keep them around as to remind not to give up again.

So for the next several years I attempted different careers such as; obtaining a mortgage license, Real Estate License, random retail and even the Las Vegas Strip positions. Even a couple of attempts to have my own studio/gallery and an online drop-ship store. (also tree themed but all imported) It seemed like no matter what I was doing I couldn’t stop thinking of how and what could I be doing on my own.

Let me fast forward to 2020 as not to bore you to death about my misadventures. It’s February and I watch a YouTube video of how this girl is closing her shop on Etsy. She talked about how it -Etsy- was changing and that it wasn’t fair and so on. At that moment I thought to myself, this is one view point, I bet there is another. And there was. Stephanie Cole-Lewis had just the opposite view point. She talked about not paying any attention to the negative comments as Etsy and any other platform is going to change. The second point was “It can still be done” meaning you can still make great money and follow your passion as a hobbyist or artist or any handmade business you choose. I subscribed to her channel and have never looked back.

So here I am in the beginning of September of 2020 with just over 50 sales from Etsy since opening my shop in early April. Side note; I actually started a shop in October of 2018 and never followed through with it. When you look at my shop and it states open since 2018 and see that there are only 52 sales, I thought this might hinder my starting out but not at all. I could have opened another shop and started from scratch but analytical me thought it would look good being open at least two years longer.

It really all started to come together when I followed my heart. I know for a fact that everything I have done up until now has been about avoiding my “Tree Art” When I created the name “The Healing Tree Studio” it was about the healing process in every aspect of the word. Not just mentally and physically but emotionally, spiritually and self acceptance and awareness. It’s about healing as a human species, a planet. Healing from the scars of regret, remorse, anger, resentment and not following your passion. Now that I have open this flood gate and exposed myself I think we can start talking about some real shit from now on.

Cheers!