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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.

When Summer Ends…Dont Forget Our Hummingbird Friends!

 Dear Friends and Painters,

Fall is upon us…These rainy days are the time to take out your paints

and ignite your inner summer!

In this lesson we will talk about Hummingbirds.

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First lets  research and create a good drawing. You are welcome to use any  sketches

of mine or create your own from the many good photo’s online!

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Next… spend some time preparing your palette and mix allot of beautiful colors.


This shade of Quinacridone Magenta (or Violet) is an important ingredient

to create vivid bright color.


Purples, violets and several shades of green are needed to create the bright throats

and the purple flowers that Hummingbirds love.

After the palette…the background needs to be prepared.


Tip: WET on WET WASHES work best if the background is really wet before you begin.

That is why I use a squirt bottle to soak the paper. I spread the abundant water …

carefully around the subject in the fore-ground with a flat brush.

Then add your premixed paint as you wish.
 This technique  let’s  the paint run and blend freely and helps you create fresh fun washes.
Painting the wings and other details requires coloring each section separately till dry.



The intense shade of Quinacridone Magenta is the secret to creating

brilliant transparent purple washes.


Playing with bright color is great therapy on gray days.

Color effects our moods and our energy for the better.

For more art inspiration visit my short video on painting hummingbirds and wet washes!

Cut and paste for You Tube….

Wishing you and Eternal Summer!
Love Jody


‘In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me,

an invincible summer.

                                                          And that makes me happy. “~Albert Camus



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Finding and Painting Frogs…Tip-Toe through the Tulips with Me. Signing!

Hello Friends and Associates,

Today we will talk about little green friends…
But First a short Bergsma Announcement.
I will be signing in Bellevue Washington 11:00-3:30 Saturday the 10th of May at…
Exclusively Art, Factoria Mall #B-2 . Come see THE NEW ART!
The Second Edition ARTBOOK is coming with all new drawings.
Now for Frogs!
If you listen at night they have started to sing a joyful chorus welcoming the warmer weather.
Frogs have been a favorite of mine since youth and finding one is still a cause for slippery delight.

These little green singers have become a symbol of our troubled world eco systems so finding many varieties in the N.W. makes me hopeful and excited.

Here are some tips on how to paint a frog and how to find one.;)

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Go to any pond and slowly walk the edge…they will hop right in front of you.

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Then get him to pose for you, or if that is just a bit to slimy…find some good online frog photos to work from!
You are also welcome to copy the Drawing from the New Artbook and transfer any details to your own watercolor paper. (See the end of the blog)


Art Tip…
Draw your frog large enough to really see the details while you work.
Separate the shapes into interesting and easy to paint sections.


To obtain correct color and texture ;) … A live model is best!
You will see how un-green frogs can be.
The tummy is a pale beige-grey with yellow and pink hints. The feet are often golden beige.


Adding a little Burnt Sienna and pink to the toes bring warmth and character.


Keep your washes crisp by letting each section dry before you paint next to it.


Paint your darks last…that way the edges will stay sharp.

Now for a walk through the tulip fields.
First I painted all of the greens and grey blues… not really knowing what I would do for the tulip colors.
I posted this unfinished work on FACEBOOK and asked my friends for advice. The majority wanted reds and purples.
What would you have done?

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I mixed several colors on my pallet and looked up tulip photos for inspiration.
Art Tip…Get the Paint out!

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The parrot tulip is Stunning and offers allot of color variety in one flower. I like that!



Oh no…I put my painting on the floor and turned my back for just a moment to clean my water…

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I now know how the cat hair has been getting on my work!

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When you watercolor, lint and pet hair can be very frustrating when they get mixed up in the wash.
Warning…Do not wear black wool or cashmere while watercoloring! Do not let pets sit on your painting! lol
Lint and hair are easily removed with a lint roller but watch the roller edge.
If the roll is low and the edge cuts into the paper you can mark your paper.

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While painting the tulips just use your best judgement for where to place the colors.
It is a challenge to get saturated watercolor reds. By it’s nature watercolor likes to be pastel.
Keep lots of premixed color on your pallet and as the wash is drying keep adding pigment to the still damp surface.
That is how I get smooth saturated color.

The Heron is placed to help the viewer move into the scene and guide the eye to the mountain.

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The Tulip Fields are just starting to bloom in Oregon and Washington.
You can visit the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm outside Portland…
Address: 33814 S Meridian Rd, Woodburn, OR 97071

Or in Skagit Valley you have many sites to choose from. This one is very nice.
15867 Beaver Marsh Rd.  Mount Vernon, WA 98273

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Wishing all of my friends a very happy Tip-toe through the Tulips kind of day…
Be Froggy; Be Hoppy!

28You are welcome to use this new drawing to paint YOUR frog!

I have a How to Paint a Frog Video on You Tube…Check it out ..

Type in Youtube Search, “How to Paint Using Watercolor Techniques by Jody Bergsma, Frogs”

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Spring is a Time for New Beginnings! Tulips, Hummingbirds and Frogs

Dear Friends…

The beginning of Spring is a great time to start a project or hobby you’ve dreamed of trying!
Learning to paint or  picking up some good tips to challenge your skills just might be the perfect thing.

Spring birds are a good choice. They are colorful and fresh…Lets review some tips for creating them!…
And if Hummingbirds are not your thing, how about a whale? Look for that in the next blog.

First…Find some hummingbird photos you like for reference. there are many on the internet.


If you are uncomfortable doing your own drawing…
Here is a new sketch of mine that you can print out for your personal use!
By the way, I have a file of drawings on my blog that anyone is welcome to use for free. Link


Once you have  drawn your bird paint the lighter areas first using purples, blues and greens for the shadowing.


When you design your drawing create separate shapes almost like a paint by number image.
When you paint them just vary the colors in the shape to avoid a flat looking wash.


As you build your washes don’t let the wet areas touch. This helps avoid bleeding and running colors!


Painting watercolor takes patience and if you don’t have it? …:)
You can use a hair dryer to speed things up.


Once you have all the colors filled in you may like to glaze with a brighter transparent pigment.
I have picked a bright green to paint over the top part of the bird to give it more pazazz!


 You can still see the other colors under the green like stain glass.

Some thoughts about Hummingbirds;
Hummingbirds, are spirit messengers between worlds.
They help pull our awareness out of the mundane so that we recognize the wonder of Creation.
They teach us tough independence and to get into conflicts in a way where no one gets hurt.
Hummingbirds also inspire us to protect the environment & to preserve old traditions that are in danger of being lost. Hummingbirds are seen as a symbol of resurrection in South America.
They are here… Get out your feeders please!


 Finally I add a few fine details with my liner brush and tinted white titanium watercolor. For more information about painting Hummingbirds you can visit my You Tube library at…

I hope all of you have a fantastic 1st day of Spring.
We will talk again soon.

Happy Painting and Happy Spring, Jody


P.S., If Hummingbirds are not your thing…How about a frog;).

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Spring is a time for new beginnings…. Don’t be upset with the people (frogs:) and things you cannot change. Instead move on, Let Go, and focus on the things you can…YOU can change and YOU deserve to be HAPPY!


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New Art and Happy New Year of the Horse!

Dear Friends and Associates… Happy New Year of the Horse! 马年大吉 Mǎnián dàjí

 Chinese new year starts today, January 31st, with the first new moon of the calendar year and will last for 15 days. The 31st marks the end of the year of the water snake and welcomes the start of the “Year of the Wooden Horse”.


People born in the year of the horse are said to be a bit like horses: animated, active and energetic – they love being in a crowd. They are quick to learn independence – foals can walk minutes after birth – and they have a straightforward and positive attitude towards life. They are known for their communication skills and are exceedingly witty.
  Others horse years include 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990 and 2002.

Since 2014 is a Wood Horse, the Wood element is about reaching onwards and upwards,
 and planning ahead for Happiness, Prosperity, and Longevity! 福禄寿 fú lù shòu

To help celebrate today I would like to share this weeks painting project…and how appropriate that it is a new horse!

Art Class: Painting a wooden colored horse.


 Mixing the right pallet is essential for creating the effects of shine in shades of brown.
In this close up note the use of pale yellow, red brown and mineral blues alternated along the hair strands to create the feeling of shine.

Art Tip; Patience. Painting areas separately is important so the colors remain crisp. This simply takes time.
After the mane I mixed a new pallet of pale tans and light blue grays for the bridle.
When working with watercolor it is important to paint the lighter colors first.

For the back-ground I used the principle of “Repetition with Variation”.
The light blue gray in the bridle and the darker cobalt and brown from the mane were a natural choice to create harmony between the colors in this painting.


For the darker shades in the face I choose Cobalt Blue, Ultramarine Blue,

and Payne’s Gray, all mixed with a little brown.

For the rich browns I have used Sepia, Burnt Sienna, Brown Madder and Quince-drone Gold.
All have been shaded with the Blues mentioned above to create the right blending.

Note the shapes of the washes in the body of this horse.
 Using light and dark colors gives the feeling of shine, movement and life!
 When you look at the final painting these interesting shapes will be blended together by your eye
and you may not even be aware of them.
This painting was created as a memorial to Posido, a fine Spanish Peruvian Paso Stallion owned and loved by James Perra.

May This new Year of the horse come galloping in for you
 and help you create one of your best years ever!
福禄寿 fú lù shòu
End of Class.


I have recently returned from the Seattle gift Show.
A special thanks to my long time customer…Cheryl, who owns Crystal Books and Gifts in Grand Junction Colorado
She has been selling my work for 20 years! Thanks Cheryl…(and Steve)

I am excited to share some of the new work created for that show for my customers in Alaska.


“I See A Blue Moose A-Rising” (Can you hear Creedence Clearwater?) :)


Bear River…Life is an Adventure, Live it!

And lastly, to help celebrate the Iditerod;
Courage to Run…Life is for chasing your dreams.

We may not have it all together…but together we have it all!

Wishing you a Wonderful New Year of the Wood Horse!

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Painting Oils on Red…And the Chrismas show is Here! Dec. 5th – 7th.

 Dear Friends and Painters,

For those of you that find art a mystery…here is something in the oil painting world that is an artists secret. Paint on a pre-colored canvas using bright colors for your base.

I had noticed when visiting other oil studios that often canvases were pre-painted with a single hue. Please join me in this weeks class on a step by step journey through this fantastic process.

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The effect is subtle to strong depending on the thickness of your paint. The under-color glows through bringing a pulsing life to the art.

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Tip…Get the Paint out. Pre-mixing a variety of color will give you options you might not have thought of
if you only have a few colors on the palette.

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Use a solvent like OMS (Orderless Mineral Spirits) or Gamblin’s’ Neo-Megalip
to create a thin color so the red still shows through slightly.

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Blues and greens on top of the opposite color red-orange create a neutralizing of the canvas color.

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Let your brush strokes be part of your art.

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It is amazing to me that this works! Give it a try if you feel inclined.
It is exciting to see the finished painting emerge from a red-orange field!

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I hope you can come and join me for an exhibit of these oils and all of my new 2013 watercolors
starting  Thursday, December 5th – Saturday the 7th.10 am -5pm each day. It is also our annual sale!

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We will be looking for you!

Love Jody and all the staff at the Bergsma Warehouse and showroom.

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Raven Watch…Miniature painting.

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New Watercolors and Oils By Jody, Yearly Event and SALE! December 5-7.

Dear Friends and Associates,

I am continually delighted by our natural world and even more delighted to paint it.
 My mother loved this quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson …
“Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful;
for beauty is God’s handwriting in the world…”  

Here are a few things I found worthy to paint.

But First Some BERGSMA NEWS…
The Annual Fall Show and Holiday Sale is Dec. 5-7.
I will be there Thursday through Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm.


 I look forward to our Holiday event because it means I get to see so many of you again
and share a years worth of painting and inspiration. ( A little “refreshments” and cookies too;)

There are going to be some great specials…check the website for some hints!
NEW… Puzzles, Holiday Cards, Art Cards, Fleece, Paintings and Prints and lots of things on SALE!

Art Tips for this weeks blog…

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I am often asked about my favorite art supplies.
I use the above mix of brushes to create my watercolors.
If you are thinking of buying some things for a painter in your life…Keep this list handy.
1/4, 1/2, 1″ Flat. 0 and 2 Round. 0 and 2 Liner… Princeton Brushes are a GREAT value.

Painting Class…

When you paint designing is always the first stage.
For this image the 5 kinds of returning salmon create the focal point. This took allot of study.

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Remember to mix and save a palette of color before you begin.
 Know what your opposites are!
Can you tell me the opposite colors in this painting?
Van Gogh said that discovering the power of opposite colors changes his painting from good to great.
This is a link to my video…The Color-wheel.


“We Always Find our Way Home.”
The Salmon run back to the place of their origin to spawn, die and start a new life cycle.


“Puffin with love for each Otter”.
 Seeing them in the wild is a testament to the effort of conservation groups.
At one time there was only 1000. Today there are estimated to be approximately 150,000!


“Running by the light of the Raven.”
The wolf and the raven have a rare symbiotic relationship in the wild that helps both survive.
Meaning…Friendship makes us stronger.

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“Spirit Journey.” The Coast Salish People all share two over-lighting Clan Totems; the Eagle and the Raven.


“You Lift Me Up”. Black bear cubs in the spring are the original Winnie the Pooh
in a never ending search for the honey of life!


“Night Watch”. Owls are the totem of the wise.

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I have a weak spot for horses. I have painted several new ones.
There are three colors in this painting. Gold, blue and burnt sienna.
For your own practice try using just those colors to make “50 shades of” gray.

Can you see the opposite colors? What are they?

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“Inherit the Wind.”

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“Kindred Spirits”.


Unicorns are fantasy horses…with a lot of meaning behind them.


Here is what I researched and wrote for the back of this new Greeting Card…

The Unicorn has existed in human myths for centuries.
In the orient the Unicorn was called a Kiren, was peaceful and thought to bring good luck.
In the Bible the Unicorn was known as Re’em and was described by the Greek historian Ctesias as horse like,
with a white body, deep blue eyes, and a long horn in the middle of their foreheads.

The Unicorn in the West has the attributes of purity and innocence.
They are said to help you make your dreams come true and is the restorer of broken spirits.
They have a deep connection to the Forest and Fairy People.
Those that have an affinity with Unicorns can develop amazing personal power,
even enough to affect the weather.
Because the horn is said to be able to heal and neutralize poisons
the Unicorn has been a favored totem for all gentle souls who hope to give care in this world.


I enjoy fantasy because it gives artists an opportunity to dive into the rich world of imagination.
You also can use great colors! “Long live Magic”.
 Here is the link to the new Originals…



Dragons have always had a place in my imagination.


“Let Dreams Live.”

For my personal expression I decided to turn my oil painting in a new direction.
Impressions of animals in  bold colors and painterly style will be part of the fall show.


Painting on a red background gives drama to the animal.

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Can you see where the orange shines through? Can you see the opposite colors?

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This Eagle was also painted on red-orange. There will be 8 new Animal and scenic oils at the show. I would love for you to come see them!


I was commissioned this year to do 4 new paintings for SeaWorld. Polar bear, Dolphin, Orca and Penguins!

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Year in review…It makes me wonder when I got all of these and more completed.
There is a saying that if you love your job then you never work a day in your life…this is true for me.

For daily details please check it out for inspirations and painting updates from my desk if you are interested.

Besides all of the painting there is printing, research, product development and sales that keep me busy and happy.

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A special Thank you to my great Business partner “Lithtex” printers in Bellingham Wa. Cards…Proud to be made in the USA. (Each card has a special backing that talks about the painting.)

I want to thank all of you for your support and wish you a Beautiful Holiday Season and if God is willing…
I hope to see you again soon.

Love, Jody




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Painting for the Holidays… “Owl Be Home for Christmas”!

 Hello Owl Lovers and Painters!

Every Fall I commit to painting a new Bergsma Christmas Print and Holiday card.
This year I choose to paint Snow Owls dressed in Holiday Garb. This lesson can easily be applied to painting snowmen as well.
Here are a few Watercolor tips to get you started. This is easy and so fun!
The drawing to this lesson is at the end of the blog and you are invited to print it out and paint along with me.

Below are a few of the Favorites from past years.


Bergsma News Announcement…The Holiday Sale and Show will be December 5,6, and 7.
Now…Art Class: Owl Be Home for Christmas!  or (Happy Hoo-nakah:)



First mix up a wide variety of pale blue, aqua, teal and lavender.
Paint all of the feathers in separate washes starting with clear water and placing just a bit of darker blue color at the base of the feathers.
All of the light colors must be painted first. Red is always last!


For the back ground I will first paint the snow and then add the wet on wet washes for the hint of trees in the forest.

Add a little salt to the still damp background wash to create crystals. Happy Owladaze!:)



Mix up a new palette with your brighter colors for clothes.
Paint the bright greens first.  Deck the Halls with Owls and Holly!


Pre-plan where the reds will go. Finish all the greens first. Finally mix a dark red…Alizarin Crimson and Cadmium Red…and for the light reds Vermillion. Can you see the dark red under the hat brim?


Finally add detail with some Titanium White and your Christmas Owls are complete!
Painting can add focus and joy to your life…Share these tips with your Kids and Grandkids…Perfect for Fall’s rainy days.
You can get their paintings made into your own Christmas cards at any print shop or on your own computer.
Your Family will love it!  Here is the Drawing and permission is given to print it out!

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And Lastly, just a little early.

Happy Owladays…From Owl Family to yours!
Love Jody and the Team at Bergsma.

P.S. A special thanks to all of the cleaver FB friends who came up with many of the darling owl puns for Christmas!! XO


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You Can Make a Splash in Your Own Life…The Secrets of Being Inventive.

Dear Friends and Painters and ARTISTS,

Taking risks, learning new things, or doing something you’ve never done before is a sure recipe for creating excitement in life.
We all want to be safe, no one likes to fail, but if nothing new is ever tried or experienced life is likely to get boring.

Who is willing to be brave, take risks and even fail? The artist in you must be the one that moves beyond fear of failure in order to bring something new into the world.

This principle  has kept painting alive for me.
How can I create something fresh? How can I surprise myself and my audience?
What am I willing to risk?  Perhaps I would make a dud, a washout or be rejected? (…And I have!)
But there is no art or creation without this risk. So be brave, no matter your endeavor.
You can be the ARTIST  in what you do and try something new and in the process GET MORE OUT OF LIFE.
It is uncertain…but it is certainly worth it.

Today’s Lesson. “I love the Blues”.
There are countless shades of blues and many of them may surprise you.
Deep teal, indigo, and periwinkle to begin.

A Beautiful teal is created by mixing Pthalo Green, with Alizarin Crimson and Cobalt Blue.
Indigo is made with Payne’s Gray and Winsor Blue Green Shade and Ultramarine.
Periwinkle is created with Cobalt Blue,  Cobalt Violet and Titanium White.
All of these colors  were used in the first layers of paint in the polar bear.

On my table I keep 20 shades of cool colors so a great variety can be mixed.
“GET THE PAINT OUT…and try some NEW combinations of your own”

The back ground uses  the same colors as the bear just darker.
Remember, watercolor fades back almost 30% as it dries so allot of paint  is required to get the deeper shades.

Salt crystals are used in the open areas for interest.
Mix allot of paint ahead of time and EXPERIMENT  with new combinations so you can keep learning.
“The more you put into life…the more you get out of it!”

Dive into the greatest risk of all…your own endeavors, creativity and fulfillment.
The only way you can fail is if you don’t even try.

Reach for the bigger story inside of you and let it breathe it’s own life.

“Care more than others think is wise;
Risk more than others think is safe;
Dream more than others think is practical.
And you will be more than others think is possible.”

Let your dreams be you.

Happy painting and everything.
Love, Jody


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Summer Happenings at Bergsma, New Show Friday August 2nd and “New Paintings”!

Dear Friends,

A new Show is up called “Caribbean!
 Come dive in.
(Starting this Friday and runs through the month of August.)

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 I will be at the Bellingham “Art Walk” this Friday, August 2nd from 6-8.
My new showing of abstract oils is at the “Oyster Bar” which is at 1300 Bay St. Bellingham next to Bayou on Bay.
I would love to have you visit.

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My technique for the oils involves multiple layers of thin oil glaze in clear medium which creates vibrant colors and a near “Stain Glass” effect.

This new art form is an offshoot of earlier abstracts I painted in watercolors. The oil paint allows for many more layers. Each layer takes a week to dry.


I would love to talk to you about the new work so come have some fun this Friday evening!

There are new watercolors I have been working on this Summer.

Flight of the Butterflies!
For this painting I used all of my favorite shades of blues.
Adding Purple Cobalt to the blue stains helps create iridescence.

“Puffin With Love for each Otter”.

“Running by the Light of the Raven.”


Bergsma News.
The new Magical Times Empowerment deck is getting great reviews.

I have signed copies still at the warehouse and every deck goes out with 2 free gifts.
We also have a sale on the website.
Visitors are coming from all over the west coast. I am happy to meet you at the warehouse.
Open Monday – Thursday 10-5.

I hope you are having a great summer and would love to see you soon.

Blessings, Jody
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New Drawings and Tips on Creating Drawings of your Own.

Dear Friends,

Today I would like to share a few insights that I use on how to create a better drawing.

It is always a great personal challenge to come up with something you have not seen before.

I would like you to apply this to your own projects and see if the results surprise and delight you.

(You are welcome to down load and print these drawings for your personal use.)



PolarbearsThe role of art is to make people think. One of my favorite professors once said, “Art is for communication.”

Most art is very predictable and not surprising at all. It does not have to be the subject matter that is surprising, just the presentation of the subject. In other words…”How do you keep your art fresh.”

This is a new look at a polar bear diving in the sea.


These sea turtles are a favorite and common subject, but this time you are swimming with them in the ocean!


OtterPuffinFor a new look at otters I added puffins for the surprise!


The tigers have expression.

And last, the penguins show loving emotion.


I hope that this simple statement about  “Surprise “  will be something that sticks with you…Drawing tells a story and helps the viewer see something new in a world where people think they have seen it all.

But of course, you can change that!:)


Best to you and of course, Happy Painting, or should I say Drawing.

Love, Jody

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