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Welcome to

This is your place to learn, share and be inspired. Join Jody as she reveals her secret techniques in watercolor. You can reach your goal of becoming an artist by following Jody in her simple step by step approach to painting.

Summer Life, Painting the Animals!

Summer Life, Summer Friends…
Dear Friends,
Summer is filled with nature’s inspiration.
I hope you have spent some time in your garden,
favorite beach or forest hike…
to take in some of the sights and surprises she has to offer!
Garden flowers, birds, and scenes are a perfect place to find
subjects for your painting.
Black Bear cub Whistler BC
First you need to create a drawing.
You can work from your own photography or
go online to get the details you want for your work.
You are welcome to print out and transfer this sketch
to watercolor paper and follow along in todays class.
First I mix up some of the colors that I need.
For this forest scene I began by mixing the background greens.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with a variety of color.
In this background I use blues and browns to add interest
to the greens.
A new group of colors are then mixed for the animals. 
I need a variety of browns and blacks.
I use blues and lavender for interest in the shadows.
Notice the many shapes that are in the fawns face.
Painting in sections allows you to control your colors and washes.
 Th bear has a brown face and darker body.
Finally the tree needs some bark. 
I prefer to use a wet on wet wash and make the illusion of bark
with my fine liner brush.
After the painting has its first layer of color I begin to build up
details with thin layers of more color to create shadows.
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Details for the fur are added with white watercolor.
I use a 0 point liner brush.
Some of the fine lines are white mixed with the color of the animal. 
Can you see the beige and gray in the fine lines?
All of the steps will eventually take you to the end of your project. 
Patience is the greatest gift I have received from painting.
Remember…If you are having fun in the process you have
already reached your goal…which is enjoyment.
For more tips on washes visit my you tube channel (Click here)
and check out my videos.
Wishing you and Endless Summer of Happiness!
Love, Jody
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Hummingbirds in Flight…Painting the Magic.

Hummingbirds in Flight

 Dear Friends,
  Welcome to Summer on the 20th and Happy Fathers Day on the 19th! 
  One of my favorite things about summer is the Hummingbirds. Do you have several feeders
and love to sit and enjoy their antics? I do.
I create a new hummingbird painting every year and this one is dedicated to their flight.
Did you know that Hummingbirds have far more unique flight abilities than any other bird,
and are able to fly not only forward, but also backward, sideways and straight up.
They can hover extensively and can even do aerobatics such as backward somersaults
as they dart among flowers.
To paint them well, first you must gather some research.
I take my own photos but the internet is a great place to find inspiration.
Flowers for your composition are easy to find. I took this photo at a grocery store.
The first step is to create your drawing. You are welcome to print this out and copy it
so you can follow along with todays lesson.
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With watercolor I always paint my light colors first. 
Darker colors will run along the edge when a lighter wash is placed next to them. 
Painting light first helps keep your washes crisp.
To my light background I added some splatters and salt for texture.
Creating you palette in advance helps you match your colors evenly as you paint your
separate areas.
I will paint all of the pinks, purples and reds first.
Each area is painted separately and allowed to dry.
Green is used near the base of the petals.
Using the opposite color in a flower petal is a great trick to use to
make shimmer and contrast.
I use pink in the hummingbirds as well for “Repetition with Variation”.
When the pinks, purples, and reds are complete I move on to the stars of this show…
The Hummingbirds!
First I paint some very thin washes to create the illusion of flight. 
I panted over the lines but I know that the soon to come darker washes
will hide the mistake.
I use greens, lavenders and brown purples for the wings. Each feather is painted separately.
I am using a very light peach in the center of the feather and moving to darker shades
at either end of the shape.

The white shapes for high light in the eyes is the unpainted white of thepaper. 
A little light brown is used in the iris and curved to give the eye roundness.
Painting each feather separately and varying the colors gives the wings movement
and shimmer. Patience is required.
Voila, “Hummingbirds in Flight”. 
Enjoy Your Summer!
Love, Jody
P.S….A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush…What does that mean anyway?;)
P.P.S…. They don’t weigh anything!

 IMG_2514 annas_hummingbird.jpeg.653x0_q80_crop-smart

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Holiday Greetings and Painting the Christmas Angel.

Dear Friends,

The Holidays have many wonderful memories for all of us!
The time with Family, the Traditions, the Music, the FOOD…Wow. No wonder we love the Season.
Today I reach out with Gratitude for all the years of your support and wish all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving and Christmas!
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Now for Art Class; Painting a Christmas Angel.

When painting watercolors I always begin with the lightest shades.

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 I start with a pallet of light aqua, blue and lavender for the snow, moon, lion and lamb.

After the light blues I will paint the golds of the angels’ wings and Halo.

I use Raw Sienna and Naples yellow for the look of gold. The shadows are created with golds opposite color, purple.
The grainy look in the purples are created with Winsor Newton Cobalt Purple.
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 Each shape is painted separately and allowed to dry.

I used salt crystals to add texture to the halo, moon, and the snow.

Darker blues and teals are mixed to create the colors of dusk. Salt is added to the sky for more texture.

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Experiment with salt in your own work. After I finish a wash I add chunky white sea salt and allow it to dry completely. 
Then I brush off the remaining crystals.
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Now I can begin to paint the darkest colors. 

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I use a fine #1 liner brush and white titanium paint for the hair detail.

Red is the last color I add. Painting from light to dark keeps edges crisp. 

If you paint the red first and then try and do a light color next to the red it will bleed into the damp paper creating a pink fuzzy edge.

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A brocade pattern is patiently painted on the dark blue with my liner brush and white titanium watercolor.

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Final brush strokes add the last details…and the Christmas image is complete.
May I present for 2015’s annual Holiday image… “The Herald of Peace.”
I wish all of you Happy Holidays and a very Prosperous and FUN 2016!
Love, Jody
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The Explosive Fire of Horses!…New Show November 5,6 and 7.

Dear Friends and Painters,
The Fall Bergsma Warehouse Show is the 5-7th of November…I hope to see some of your there.
Now for Art Class!
What do you Love? Children, Boats, Flowers?
Painting things that you love is always the best place to start.
For me it has always been horses.
This last week we had a new horse arrive at the ranch and it sparked an energized equine conversation.
This kind of fire in horses is one of the reasons I love them as subject matter.
Art Class; Draw What you love.
The first step in your project is a good drawing.
The more you like your sketch the more satisfaction you will get from the painting process!
I use lots of photos for inspiration and accuracy and now it is easier than ever with the access we have to the internet.
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When you draw ask yourself.
“Does my composition have action? Balance, open space? Have I considered where the contrast will be.
Remember, light against dark and dark against light.
Transfer the sketch to your watercolor paper (dont sketch right on the paper if you need to erase like I do)…erasing ruins the fine texture of watercolor paper. I transfer my drawings on a light table. You can even use a window to retrace your sketch onto your W.C. paper.
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Choosing a color pallet; 
I create allot of premixed color on my mixing surface (I use ceramic paint holders and a sheet of glass for mixing my colors).
I wanted to have a colorful background so I started there. Clear water down first, then splashes of orange blue and brown.
Notice the use of splattering. Try it dry on wet or wet on wet. 
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I create drawings that can be separated into simple shapes and carefully lay each section of color into each shape.
If you are impatient about paint drying you can use a hair dryer to speed things up!
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Each of the sections painted separately finally make the image of horse…can you see them?
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Paint darks last. I premixed up the dark paint and painted each section to create a black horse.
I often use blue blacks or brown blacks…never black from the tube.
For the final touches I splattered a bit more paint…this time wet on dry to give the feeling of flying hooves.
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The horses made friends as they got to know each other. They created fuel for this painting.
Real life has millions of moments of inspiration. Let them be the focus of your day and them maybe paint one.
Wishing you a fine Autumn!
Love Jody
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Labor Day 25% Off Everything Online…Plus New Otter and Sketches.

Dear Friends,

 Our playful days of June-August are fading. I hope all of you had a great Summer!
Labor Day brings us to a new chapter in the year it is a fantastic time to consider painting.
For those of you that prefer instead to just appreciate Art…
Bergsma is having a 25% off EVERYTHING on the website 5 DAY SALE till Tuesday the 8th.
Just write “Labor Day 25” in the comments box at check-out and we will apply your discount
when we ship! (If you live close by did you know you can pick up your
order at the warehouse?)
New Drawings are being created (scroll to the end) and you are welcome to print them out
for your own coloring or craft projects.
Art Class; Otter Happiness.
Lets talk about painting gray. How do you make it interesting?
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 I usually mix up my grays from a combinations of blues and browns.
Using black to create gray can be flat. Instead use a mix and let the viewers eye 
create the gray,
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 Can you see the blue, brown, teal and pink in the gray?
I think that is interesting.

 I will use brighter versions of the tones in the fur and sea anemone to make the

Native Otter symbol.

“Repetition with Variation” creates harmony between your colors and binds the
composition together.
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 This otter loves his Anemone!;)

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 Once all the base colors are in place it is time to add the stains and shadows.

The splattered paint on the rocks creates texture. 

I cut out a piece of paper in the otter shape and laid that down first in order to not

get the splatters on him.

I am using a piece of paper towel to smudge and blot even more texture on the rocks.
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Finally all the details are complete and we have a new Native Otter.

I thing we will call him Otter Happiness or Spirit Brother…

What do you think?
Here are some new sketches too…you are welcome to print them out.
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The Wind of Spirit.
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 Citizens of Spirit and Sky.
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 Friends are the best part of life.
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I will pint these horses black on a splattered gold background for sun…bronze highlights.
Title to come.
Best to all of you Dear Friends, and until we meet again, be well and maybe try something new
that will make you happy!
Love, Jody




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The Bears and Moose of Alaska!

Dear Friends…

I hope all of you are enjoying our early summer and that some of the sights will inspire you to take out your paints!

 Painting subjects and colors that match the season is always a good choice. Your art will have more inspiration.
Creating a themed drawing is your first task. I often turn to the internet for references if the subject is too difficult to photograph. 
The FLOWERS can come from your garden!
Grizzly bear cub in forest, Katmai National Park, Alaska.
 Art Class…
First find your references. I use books and the internet.
I am careful to not copy other’s photos exactly. They are used for inspiration and detail only.
Arranging the characters in your art is a bit like making a  shelf display in your home. Draw a quick sketch of each piece separately and move them around till it feels right and then begin your sketch. Fill in the background with vague shapes…remember, you want your subject to take center stage. Everything else is just the adjectives.
Bears…and flowers.

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Once you have all of your ingredients  you can finish your drawing.
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 Art Tip #1; Paint your lightest colors first.
The choice of where to begin is always made for you. The lightest color in this piece will be the white in the lupine. 
I created a sky blue and violet palette for the flowers along with the palest greens.
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Red and violet are the opposite color to green so they are used to create the shadows and hue interest.
Can you see the purple in the lime?
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Use the same colors in your tray as you move from shape to shape.
The colors will blend naturally.
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For the bears use orange gold and blue.
This is more interesting than just browns…the opposite colors create vibrancy.
For more information on opposite colors and their importance visit my Video… (link)
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It take patience to fill all of the the colors in separately. 
Always add contrasting colors into each shape for movement.
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Once all the colors are in place you can add the shadows.
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Use translucent colors like a mix of thalo green with a little alizarin crimson 
and  push the wash in the darkest area with purple. Use both colors thinly.
Art Tip #2;  Value does all of the work but color gets the credit.
This means that opposite colors juxtaposed are not as important as changing values.
Light against Dark and Dark against Light. 
Place your most contrasting and your brightest colors at your focal point.
This is why the “eyes” always draw the viewer in. It is usually your strongest point of value change.
Finally I add the details of the fur with my #1 liner brush and some tinted white titanium watercolor.
The illusion of bear and cub are almost complete.
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 My friends at Alaska Wildlife Center (Link) Sent me many photos of young wildlife in Alaskan flowers as a request.

I was honored to help raise awareness of these beautiful animals through the creation of a painting.
They also requested a young moose in the Lupine…My favorite childhood flower. What was yours?
May we all enjoy a long and blessed life.
 Love, Jody
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Happy Spring Flowers and Using Opposite Colors!

Dear Friends…

  “Orange is the Happiest color…Red is close.”~ Frank Sinatra
After the bleak Winter months…The flowers of Spring are a welcome sight.
As a painter who gathers inspiration from nature it is my joy to break out the full color pallett!
In this Blog let me walk you through some painting tips to help get you started mixing colors that are bright yet balanced.
Art Tip #1, When painting saturated color remember to use opposites on the color wheel for balance.
Red and Green are opposites. To make shadows in your reds use green…and to make more realistic greens add reds and orange.

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 For a great effect in this background I have added salt crystals to the wash, just as it was drying,

 to create sparkeling patterns in the wash.

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Paint your lightest flowers first so your painted edges stay crisp and your washes will not run.

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When painting red…use yellows and oranges for the hight-lights…and a dark burgundy for the shadows.

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I used more salt washes in some of the tulips to create “Repitition with Variation.”

My Greens are my Darkest colors…so they are painted last.
Once all of the colors are blocked in…It is time to begin the shadows and details.
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I use stain watercolors in shades of purple and dark teal for the shadows.
Using stain paint allows the color underneath to still show through the new thin top color.
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Casting shadows (try and imagine  a single light sourse from the upper left) will make your image more 3 dimensional. 
This technique will lead the eye of the observer into the image by suggestion and the fact that western culture reads from left to right.
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After the shadows are complete it is time to add the last details.
For this I use opaque “Titanium White” watercolor…Zinc white is too transparent for this technique.
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The fine hairs are painted with a mixture of the color of the fur with the white and applied with a fine liner brush. 
I like a 0 or a 1 liner for detail,
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My conclusion about painting flowers is that the bright colors will make you feel happy…and that is what art is all about for me.
Next time you pick up your paint brush try treating yourself to a new boquet and take out your favotite bright colors!
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Best wishes for Happy Painting, :)
Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don’t wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. -Earl Nightingale
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Unicorns…Fact or Fiction? And How to Paint Them!

Dear Friends,

Welcome to another ART CLASS.

First let’s talk about Unicorns and some things you may not know…


The Unicorns is the most recognized mythical creature.
Did you know that Unicorns exists in Legends in many cultures.
 In the Orient the Unicorn was called Kiren. It was a peaceful creature attributed with bringing good luck.


In the Bible the Re’em was often translated as “Unicorn”.
It was described by the Greek Historian Ctesais as horse like
with intense blue eyes and a long horn in the middle of its forehead.


In European folklore, the unicorn is often depicted as a white horse-like or goat-like animal
with a long horn and cloven hooves. In the Middle Ages, it was commonly
described as an “extremely wild woodland creature”; A supreme symbol of purity and grace.


Today they have a proud place on the Coat of Arms
of many European Royal Families as well as a firm foothold in the hearts of believers everywhere!

So to bring these creatures to life it is good to start by drawing!

There are allot of great images and descriptions online to give you inspiration.

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You need pre-mixed pale colors to complete the Unicorns. Mix the colors ahead of time for consistency.


In my technique I paint separate shapes to create the illusion of the subject. Each area is colored with the same shades of paint which makes them appear to blend.


I was once told by a master…” The eyes are the place where the observer enters the painting”.

 There is nothing more important than how you paint the eyes! Notice the shadow under the eye lid.


I use salt to create crystals of interest in the back ground.

Let your watercolor wash dry slightly and then sprinkle salt…Magic, Try it!


Details are added with a fine liner brush…

Note how a simple area is painted with different colors that blend while wet to create flow.


Finally I add fine lines with White Titanium Watercolor with a long liner brush to give the feeling of the mane.

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The Finished Painting is just as I hoped…a window into the world of beauty and belief.


May your  imagination run free!

Wishing you a magical and meaningful Holiday Season,
Love, Jody



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Creating Big Foot…How do You Paint a Legend?


Dear Friends and Associates,

The ultimate artistic challenge was thrown down this last year by several of my clients and friends.
“Can Jody Bergsma paint a Big-Foot?

(If you have an idea for a title…please leave it in the comments box below… Winner gets a print!)

This was quite a dilemma for me as like all mysteries there are no models really, just ideas, legends and stories.

Two request were truly unique. One coming from some prestigious members of the  BFRO
(Big Foot Research Organization) and our local Native Americans.


I had to think about it and finally after talking to Tina Schwindt  of “Bay to Baker” Gift Store  , in Fairhaven, whose Native Grandmother had stories to tell …I saw this image.
Everything of value comes from the spark of inspiration and I had been waiting for one to happen.

Did you know that the Northwest has more Big Foot sightings than anywhere else in the world?
“The Tall Men of the Forest” have a long lineage of stories in all of the local Native tribes.
I have been told some myself, and they are chilling.

Art…Starts with the idea and sketch.
I begin with small quick sketches that then develop to a final.
It is then transferred to watercolor paper.

(The eraser is my friend…but only on the sketch…erasers ruin watercolor paper.)

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 The first washes set the color palette.

Mixing golds ,browns and forest greens will create a NW stage.
The rays of light in the forest are simply created by painting a thinner wash of color in the rays.

The under-washes set of the feeling of fur and color balance.
 The blue-greens of the forest are used in the shadows of the subjects.
I use fine #1 liner brushes for the details.
Each area is painted separately to create definition.
There is allot of detail in a piece like this…Patience is required!

The layering of color brings animals to life.
The Raven cries out…”“Listen to the howl of the wolves, the sigh of the stars, the whisper of the wind…
and the song in your heart.”~Jenetah Walker Taylor
May I present…Big Foot…A Northwest Legend.

  Wishing you the impossible…

  And dreams come true!

  Love, Jody


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Secrets of Wolves, Why Our Souls Love Them and…How to Paint them.

      Dear Friends,

What is our fascination with wolves?
Is it perhaps some primal memory of the first domesticated animal to help with our survival in the wild?
There are many legends of the cooperation and friendship between wolves and humans…
but in western literature there is also the wolf portrayed as villain and deceiver.
More recently, as the wolf was hunted nearly to extinction,
they have become a symbol of our sustainable ecology and our need to help preserve balance.

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There has never been a preservation cry as loud as the one that rose to stop the eradication of this noble creature. And now with the reintroduction of them to Yellowstone National Park, there is documented proof about the role they play in saving our rivers and the wildlife that depends on them.

“How Wolves Change Rivers”…A short 4 minute documentary!  Click HERE.

Secrets of Painting Wolves…

My goal is to share some simple steps to insure your success when you try and paint a wolf.
Step 1: Mixing the right colors.
Gray comes in many shades and you need several of them to make the fur.
Mix dark and light, warm gray, blue gray and  some beige to get started.

Create paintable sections in your drawing to help define the high and low lights in the coat.
Use both shades of gray in each wash for variety, place in the colors only after you cover the area to be painted with clear water.
This keeps the white of the paper showing through as highlights.

Paint each area separately, allowing the adjoining areas to dry so the colors do not run together.


Note how the warm and cool grays are dancing together to create the illusion of fur?


Once the pale colors of the fur are created you can paint the darker back ground.


This is just the basic layers of the fur…To complete your wolves it takes many transparent layers of watercolor in grays and browns, and finally a fine brush for fur tips and whiskers to complete the illusion…but it is all started with the under-wash. the spiky quality of the fur is born in the bottom layer. This makes the final product possible!

For more information please refer to my “How to Paint a Wolf” video on You Tube.
Click HERE.


Is there anything more important than keeping our own dreams alive?
…our dreams of freedom, authenticity and integrity?

To do so…
“Listen to the howl of the wolves, the sigh of the stars, the whisper of the wind…
and the song in your heart.”~Jenetah Walker Taylor


Wishing you a strong spirit and a never ending well of inspiration,
Blessings, Jody

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