Goodbye, ol’ pal – CraftArtEdu closes doors, leaves freebies

Waaa-aay back in 2013, I wanted to learn how to teach online classes. CraftArtEdu was a place I’d heard of from another artist, so I emailed them and asked if they needed teachers. They told me to develop a proposal, and they’d give me 30% of the tuition (wow) that I earned.

So I designed a simple composition class that later became the AB3 System that I’ve taught at workshops all over the country.

In retrospect, CraftArtEdu wasn’t really a good fit for me since most of the classes were about polymer clay, but I learned how to upload lessons and how to create content. I didn’t earn much money at all, but I’ll always be grateful to them for what I learned in my first time out on the Internet.

Now they are closing their doors – but they are leaving behind a library of free intro classes on Vimeo that you might want to take a look at. Most of these are photo-based rather than video based. There’s still lots of good step-by-step information, though. For example:

You can check out all 166 of these freebies at this one link:

All of them are short, basic lessons that might give you some inspiration. I have to say, the video lessons and DVDs I’m doing now for Artful Gathering are a lot more rewarding, but you gotta start somewhere, and CraftArtEdu was that place for me.
Thanks, Donna and Vern! Adios!



Hurricane worries

Yesterday, I was working on a blog post about a new project, and, as all of us here in South Texas, was distracted by worsening news about the hurricane looming off our coast. That blog post is on hold until the storm is over – too hard to think about anything else.

The photo above is the current view of Hurricane Harvey as I write this. It’s a menacing spiral, not the nice kind of spirals we use in design, but spirals come from nature, and this is definitely a natural but blessedly rare example. We have friends and family in the Corpus Christi area, and some have already evacuated here to San Antonio.

What do artists do when they have to wait and worry? Well, one way they cope is to use the event for inspiration and try some creative distractions. It helps with the waiting.

Here’s the first creative distraction – spirals. I found this tutorial on drawing them.

How to draw an Archimedean Spiral

This is an easier method than trying to draw the “Golden Spiral” that you see in ammonites (and hurricanes).

And while I was thinking about tidal surges and monsoon rains, I remembered another project that I used to love (and still do). It’s called “Monsoon Paper,” and it was invented by art and business coach Quinn McDonald.

Quinn McDonald’s “monsoon paper”

It involves literally allowing rain to create natural pattern on paper that has been prepared with water media. Here’s a link to the instructions.

Quinn McDonald Monsoon Paper Tutorial

Now it’s back to watching the Weather Channel and waiting for updates from loved ones – be safe, everyone! Like all storms, this one will eventually pass.


Revival! Workshop at the Art League studio opens new doors

Nine pioneering participants joined me on Sunday to test-drive the decades-old studio space at the San Antonio Art League & Museum.

Our workshop was called “Postcards to Myself” – it’s all about learning to trust the creative process without exactly knowing where it will take you – no preconceived notions allowed.

Here’s a little video of the intuitive work that the participants created during the three-hours session.

Lyn Belisle, “Postcards to Myself” -The First SAAL&M Workshop from Lyn Belisle on Vimeo.

The time together was fun and informative. One of the best parts was the feedback everyone gave about the space itself as a venue for workshops and art gatherings. We all are excited about its potential and had plenty of ideas for improving the old studio to make it even better. Our wish list so far . . . .

  • lots of skylights!
  • another bathroom!
  • more storage space!

I’m determined to find funding to make this studio space even more vibrant as it comes back to life. It would be a perfect place for guest artists, small lectures demonstrations, and beginning art classes. It’s already very accessible.

If you’re interested in attending another session of “Postcards to Myself” at the Art League Studio in the next month or so, send me an email. And stay tuned to what’s happening at The Studio of the San Antonio Art League & Museum by signing up for our newsletter here on our website.









SAAL&M meets the phallic alien claw

The favorite so far, but not yet a winner

So let’s talk logos – the results are in. And, boy, are they mixed. Overall, designs 2 & 3 were the favorites but we still have lots of work to do to perfect a new logo for the San Antonio Art League & Museum.

I wanted to share some of your comments so you can see what a funny, complex job it is to design a logo for an organization. Among my favorites were, “The tree looks like an alien claw,” and, simply, “Phallic.”

These particular comments came from the online survey, although I received lots more via email and messaging.Here we go:



  • This is my first choice! I don’t care if the background color is green, but I like the overall feel of this logo the best❤️
  • nope the “A” look like arrows that go nowhere
  • This one feels a little chaotic to me and my eyes keep getting drawn to the “arrows and away from the pertinent info
  • I like this one best because it says today, modern, forward thinking, and it shows respect for yesterday. I would like to see it with small green triangles added to both large triangles.
  • the swoop after the T is distracting, although i love that graphic. the two triangles, of which one is an A, are confusing.
  • My favorite because of the triangle shapes. Eye catching.
  • I don’t like this one. The downward-facing arrow that’s connected to the arch has a negative vibe to me….as if it’s suggesting “down with art”.
  • Phallic
  • Not too crazy about this one. Not sure why.
  • Don’t like the triangles
  • First choice



  • Does not really reflect art but only the building
  • This is my favorite.
  • Nice but not my first choice.
  • I like this logo the best! The Turquoise and black stand out and the image of the house gives it a lot of flavor. What about the paintbrush from #3 placed under “& Museum” on its side? #3 is my second choice. Not crazy about the background color.
  • nope like the building but not the branch in front of it looks like an alien claw
  • This one is my favorite. I love the whole package. #3 is my second choice. They all look great.
  • My fav! I emailed you with comments about each one…Your survey page worked!
  • I like this one!
  • My favorite, hands down! Easy on the eyes, the relevant information is right up front, and then I’m drawn to the lovely rendering which captures visually the historic nature of the place.
  • This one would certainly encourage me to go there… love the design in the circle.
  • I like this one the best
  • Probably my favorite.
  • hard to see the photo. why is there a tree branch?
  • don’t like at all
  • This is my favorite. The circle suggests timelessness, and the type names who you are – in plain, simple letters. You might play with the color, however. The teal blue feels dated.
  • classy. favorite
  • I think this is my favorite. And since you like that bronze color, in my mind’s eye this would look fabulous in bronze!
  • LOVE LOVE LOVE this one.



  • This is my choice. Simple, elegant and to the point
  • This is the one I like best–crisp and clean, “ART” stands out, love the contrast of the vintage-looking brush against the contemporary lettering (because I did like the architectural elements in the 1st two logos).
  • I like the bold letters. It is contemporary!
  • This is super easy to read. ART being the main focus. Simplify, simplify……..great logo. Anne Brennan
  • Like the design although paint brush might lead people to only think of painting.
  • yes yes yes classic classy tells it like it is
  • I don’t care for this one. It’s not clear (maybe I’m dense) whether I’m seeing a brush or a table leg. 🙁 Of course it’s a brush because it’s art but then there’s the change in text direction. Despite the clean lines, it feels like too much to figure out at a glance.
  • The color and graphics say it all – and, in spite of no visible purple, draws me in.
  • My second choice
  • looks scatological, under the A. colors are not interesting.
  • clean, simple. love the colors: I personally like black and brown together.
  • This one is too busy, and nothing is gained from the paintbrush coming down from the ‘A’.
  • paint brush is overused
  • Not crazy about this one either.
  • OK, not very exciting
  • Third choice



  • I was too busy trying to look at the background drawings before I got around to reading the Museum part… last choice
  • I don’t like the purple and the logo is very hard to read and distinguish what it is advertising.
  • nope too busy
  • My favorite!
  • Here, I feel frustrated trying to figure out what the image is and what the dots mean. It also feels too top-heavy to me, despite the grounding line at the bottom. Please pick #2 – it’s perfect! (Let us know what you decide.)
  • What about this one in the bronze?
  • hard to see, and the purple dots don’t jibe with the (column?).
  • I like this too. The & symbol is a little lost. King William District could be a little larger.
  • This would be my second choice, but I don’t understand the meaning/reason behind the circles up top. A few suggestions: 1. Eliminate the dots/circles at the top, 2. make the top and bottom horizontal blocks less deep, and move the “In the King William Historical District” line up so that it is closer to the top of the bottom block.
  • might run into problems with the purple
  • This is probably my second choice. But, like you, I’m not too fond of the purple color here. … Also I think I don’t care for the placement of the King William banner; maybe it could be thinner: just tall enough to hold the letters. ???
  • Too confusing
  • Last choice

Thanks for all of the comments!! The are hugely helpful – I’m going (literally) back to the drawing board and refining your favorite designs – stay tuned.

Designer Milton Glasser said, “There are three responses to a piece of design – yes, no, and WOW! Wow is the one to aim for.” That’s what we wanna do for the San Antonio Art League and Museum!


I need your help with a logo design!

It’s time to update the media/branding look of the San Antonio Art League & Museum. Coincidentally,  I’m the new President and I love playing with logo design. So – aha! I get to create some new design ideas, and you get to help!!

Here’s the original design – it’s been around for years, but it doesn’t seem to reflect what we are – it’s fairly generic and undistinguished. It also has a drop shadow effect that’s hard to reproduce in print.

I like the way the old logo kept the word “ART” as the focus, so I used that in the new designs. But it doesn’t say much about the organization.

When you create a logo, you are creating a visual symbol that says “who we are.” At the San Antonio Art League & Museum, we are

  • guardians of a precious permanent collection of notable paintings that are exhibited several time a year
  • an active support organization for San Antonio artists. Our Members Gallery, opening in September, will feature work by area artists throughout the year
  • part of one of America’s most beautiful historical areas, the King William District

Getting all of that into one design is a challenge.

Here’s the first idea – The green color suggests the leafy environment in the area and the triangles add a contemporary touch. There is an architectural fragment used as a graphic element on the top right.

The next one is a clean contemporary design with a rendering of the Art League building in the circle.

This logo features my favorite vintage bronze color with an antique brush etching and a very contemporary font.

The last idea has a classic column on the right side and a paint spatter on the left side. Designers have a saying that says “purple pulls” so this one is purple, but I’m not sure about that.

You can take this link to tell me what you think about each logo, or just tell me which one you like the best. You don’t need to be an artist to choose what you like – in fact, that sometimes complicates the choice!

If you are an artist, I’m open to suggestions – if you have a design that you think works better, send it along to me via email and I will give you TWICE what I earn as the SAAL&M graphic designer. Lucky you!!

And if you are a SAAL&M member, these logos will go out in tomorrow’s newsletter for you to vote on. It definitely takes a village to support a beloved non-profit art organization like the San Antonio Art League & Museum!