The Art of Living

Life, as well as art, has its beautiful experiences. Whether one is fashioning a celebration or altering an environment to heal or bless, excite, mourn, envision, remember or entertain, we are constantly creating. To honor the traditions and aesthetic embraced by our grand culture, to understand the past and to participate well, one should have an understanding of the principles and elements of art as design and color provide the structure upon which so much is built.

As a young design student, I was thrilled to learn about color harmonies and to know that a knowledge of the elements of art simplifies the choices and decision-making of creativity. One of my professors taught us that art is about problem-solving. With all of the options out there, it is nice to know there are more-correct choices when choosing color. For students anticipating their futures; dressing for dates, creating, planning business and homes, art principles are part of the formula for success When Sir Isaac Newton first envisioned the color wheel as a scientific tool, I’m sure he had no idea how his creation would guide artists and lovers for centuries to come.

I’ve been focusing on my writing career while creating art, broadcasting at BYU and teaching art at a middle and elementary school.The following photographs include ones from articles I’ve published in the Deseret News and other media sources and original art: a list follows.

The smooth texture of the wood, grainy bread, shiny berries and organic lettuce and sunflowers, plus 2 complementary color harmonies illustrate this recipe for a hearty vegetarian deli sandwich

Getting your wee ones to eat their greens on St. Patrick’s Day is easier when they are presented as a leprechaun cottage garden. The textures and triadic color harmony of green, orange and purple keep this otherwise monochromatic composition lively.

Repetition in the elongated shapes of the vegetables contrast the mass of the triangular beef in the St. Patrick’s Day meal. The green of the asparagus cools the warm composition and the addition of orange carrots make a scene reminiscent of the flag of Ireland. European holidays are important in my contemporary homage to my ancestors and appear frequently in my writing and art.

It has been fun to observe the evolution of color schemes in wedding planning and decorating. The currently popular navy and blush palette has graced the pages of wedding magazines and provided a lovely complementary color harmony for many bridal parties and receptions. I find equally fascinating the evolution of the iconic color schemes of holidays celebrated in America. From the ever-popular contrast of red and green at Christmas, featuring elements of geometric repetition in the tartan plaids, the roundness of  ornaments, wreaths and snowmen to the spires of evergreen tree tips, candles and the cathedral spires that thrilled our European ancestors.  

In 2013, in response to a call for artists, I designed a 42″ diameter Christmas ornament covered with 100+ pounds of candy that was selected and commissioned by Macy’s corporate office in New York to hang in the window of Macy’s City Creek, Salt Lake City. When Macy’s moved into the building formerly owned by ZCMI, the community asked that they continue the tradition of the candy windows started by ZCMI in the 1970’s. Color, texture and scale were important elements in the design.

Merry represents Santa with his sack of vintage childrens’ toys and stockings on his back. This piece of temporary public art was our family’s gift to Salt Lake City.

This Christmas we created another holiday window. Selfie relied heavily on the texture and color of the candy to create interest in an outdoor scene featuring a family of snowmen (one is taking a selfie in front of the Delicate Arch) and a gingerbread village beneath the smiling Man in the Moon.

Photo by Spencer Heaps, Deseret News

This monochromatic dry point etching is entirely reliant on line, scale and texture to tell a story; only one etching tool was used in its creation. Entitled Light of the World, it is a vignette that is reminiscent of my favorite elements of a childhood Christmas, the Nativity, holly, a tartan plaid bow and a candle. 

One does not have to be selective at Christmas when a full palette of hues are available for creative fun. Repetition in round shapes provide a contrast to the geometric lines of the plaid background in this illustration for a New York magazine.

make a gingerbread house

Because of my love of history and cultural traditions, I’ve written books that are under consideration at several publishers. A good deal of my work focuses on holidays, those special days where the traditions of the past, family history and contemporary life intersect.

While Halloween is commonly known for its traditional triadic color scheme of orange, green and purple, occasionally a burst of analogous colors appear! 

Many have enjoyed a glance into the far-distant past when Israel was given the harvest celebration of the Feast of the Tabernacles or Sukkot long before the pagan practices appeared. Contemporary practitioners build beautiful sukkahs or booths in which to celebrate the blessings of autumn.

The monochromatic power hue that graces Valentine’s Day, the tetradic soft pastels of Easter, the triadic schemes of Halloween and the analgous beauty of fall; nature and culture breathe beauty into our celebrations all around the year. 

New for today, Pantone’s 2017 color of the year greenery provides a welcome healing backdrop for a country torn politically and culturally. The addition of a rosy pink creates a complementary color scheme; buttery yellows, coppers and golds create an analogous palette that I think will be a hit for weddings. When greenery graces the popular neutral decorating palettes; by changing the value and saturation, one can create a vibrant monochromatic color scheme.

In this watercolor inspired by Bouguereau’s Sheperdess, the warm earth background surrounds a cooler figure dressed in colors that mirror the sea horizon and boulders.

Tulips painted in watercolor on Yupo polyester paper, employs a triadic harmony of red, yellow and blue with green accents. Texture in the quilt background contrasts the smoothness of the tulip and daffodil petals. 

 You never know who you will run into on the plains. I discovered that my grandmother’s Webb family whose blacksmith shop has been recreated in Nauvoo, were relatives of William Shakespeare and some of the royalty of Europe. Putting that aside for the sake of the gospel, they were not too proud to race out and help rescue the Martin Willey handcart company stranded in the snow in Wyoming.

With that in mind, I created this invitation graphic for a Prairie Princess and Pioneer activity that I was in charge of that featured heirloom pioneer activities and refreshments.  The fonts are a vintage
 style and are both linear and organic.


Growing up in Carlsbad, California inspired me to love all things nautical. When presented with an assignment in a book arts class to create an altered environment (and access to an old dictionary in the recycling bin in class) I knew exactly where this would lead. After carving out the centers of the dictionary pages, I created an altered book diorama featuring 2 little mermaids, best friends named Shell and Pearl. I wrote a “nautobiography” about their lives in the village of Coralsbed. Although they considered boys to be urchins just showing off their mussels, they grew to appreciate their classmates as they learned to navigate the currents of life. I published this as a serial story on my website.

This drawing page from my Halloween book is popular among my little mermaid friends. Because coloring books are so in right now, here are 2 pages: 

This is my publishing and broadcast history from the past few years, I have contributed to articles in US News and World Report, Fortune, Parents, Good Housekeeping and other media sites:

10/25/16              Celebrate German Heritage with Oktoberfest

Deseret News, NewsOK, Google News, Bloomington Herald Times, The Reporter Times, Bedford Times-Mail, Daily American, Hagerstown Herald Mail Media, Petowski News, Aberdeen News, DNS English channel 2, Herald Mail Media

10/19/16              How to plan a successful tween Halloween                               

Deseret News,, NewsOK, Bloomington Herald Times online, Reporter Times, Bedford Times Mail, Daily American, Hagerstown Herald Mail, Petowski News, Aberdeen News, Las Vegas Review Journal, DNS English Channel 2, WRAL, CBC New Media Group, Prime Time Reporters, Connect Statesboro,, Brunch News, Santa Clarita Valley Signal, Bryan County News, Utah State World of Family and Parenting, Effingham Herald, Real Madrid News, News Report Center,

10/4/2016         2 Recipes to celebrate the natural sweetness of honey


Deseret News


3/16/2016          A St. Patrick’s Day dinner with a leprechaun garden, tiny vegetables and Irish soda bread


Deseret News, BYU SiriusXM Radio 143,,


2/23/16              These 2 simple things help ensure your relationship will last


FamilyShare, Bedford Times-Mail, NewsOK, Herald Times online, Statesboro Herald, Petoskey 

News, Daily American, Herald-Mail Media ((Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia), Aberdeen 

News, OurTown Johnstown, Central Kentucky News, Statesboro Herald, Santa Clarita Valley Signal,

Indonesia Post, The Washington Times, Bryan County News, Family How, Coastal Courier, assorted

blogs, BYU SiriusXM Radio 143


1/28/2016           Brighten winter mornings – and your family’s mood – with a tasty blueberry smoothie

Deseret News,

12/22/2015        Shortbread cookies are delectable treat; presentation is key to great gifts

Deseret News Web (Utah), Santa Clarita Valley Signal (California), NewsOK (Oklahoma), Statesboro Herald (Georgia), Our Town Johnstown (Pennsylvania), Coastal Courier (Georgia), Bryan County News (Georgia), Central Kentucky News, Great Bend Tribune (Kansas), Daily American – Schurz (Pennsylvania), Herald Times online (Indiana), Reporter Times (Indiana), Petoskey News (Michigan), Aberdeen News (South Dakota), Bedford Times Mail (Indiana)

12/22/2015         The History of Four Christmas Food Traditions

Desert News, News OK, Reporter Times,,,,,,, (?) (South Carolina),

12/15/2015         5 ideas for creative, economical homemade Christmas gifts

Deseret News Web,The Signal (Spanish Channel),,,, NewsOK,, heraldtimesonline, centralkynews,,, 

12/8/2015            Spice up your holiday gift-giving with Krisp Kringle

Deseret News Web,,,,,,,,,,,,,, HighBeam Research 

11/4/2015            8 ways to help your kids like each other

Family Share

11/3/2015          Using fall flavors of caramel, apples and cranberry 

Deseret News Web, NewsOK,,, The News Journal Search – Nigeria edition,,,, Imperial Valley Press online (California),,

10/27/2015        Upcycle Halloween candy into mouth-watering desserts

NewsOK (syndication), Bloomington Herald Times Online, Our Town Johnstown, Deseret News, SCVS, Imperial Valley Press  online,, Chronicle Independent, Coastal   Courier, GB Tribune, Bryan County News, Central Kentucky News, Aberdeen,,,,,, Upcycling Gazette (Italian)

10/20/2015        Felice Halloween: Handmade pizza and Italian treats for your Halloween festivities

Deseret News Web,DNS (English channel www),DNS (Spanish Channel),NewsOK (syndication),The Signal (Spanish Channel), DNS (Portuguese Channel), IVPress online, Herald Times online, TMnews, World News EIN, Our Town

8/26/2015            Ideas for a delightful late summer picnic

Deseret News

3/31/2015            Butterscotch nests with personalized eggs are delightful Easter treats

Deseret News, NewsOK

3/10/2015 A Greek-style pizza pie for Pi Day

Deseret News

3/10/2015            Festive foods for St. Patrick’s Day

Deseret News, News OK

2/18/2015            A dish to help celebrate Chinese New Year

Deseret News, News Ok, Bedford Times-Mail

1/26/2015            8 Lifestyle changes to expect after weight-loss surgery

Victoria Advocate

12/5/2014            Is your marketing degree enough for today’s online world?
10/30/2014         Show your creativity with costumes made at home, BYU Sirius Radio 143
10/21/2014         2 ideas for harvest, Halloween party refreshments
Deseret News, Highbeam Research
10/9/2014            A Halloween party for young children
5/29/2014            Healthy and happy snacks and diversions for your summer road trips
5/18/2014            Prepare to be prepared: The wisdom of a nursery rhyme with 5 little piggies
3/20/2014            How to help kids who are afraid of Halloween
01/04/2014         A little gratitude every day goes a long way
 10/28/2013        Frightfully fun tips for celebrating Halloween (Arizona)
10/15 – 16/2013  Tips, tricks for celebrating Halloween with a party
Deseret News Web and print (Utah) (Arizona)
08/23/2013         Smart ‘n healthy lunches for back to school

07/28/2103         The most important items for back-to-school: Tolerance and respect and (Arizona – archived link not available)

06/07/2013         Old-fashioned ideas for summer fun 

06/11/2013         How to create fond summertime memories (Arizona)

06/06/2013         Fun ways to get out and about during the summer

05/19/2013         Why Save Sex for Marriage?

03/16/2013         Renamed – We owe St. Patrick’s Day to pirates. Yes, pirates

BYU Radio Broadcasts (This is a partial list. The host, Kim Power Stilson, has been ill  so there are no new broadcasts)

2/12/2016                            Valentine’s Day
3/17/2016                            St. Patrick’s Day
11/19/2015                         Thanksgiving Help, Creating a Business
10/30/2015                         Halloween
4/3/2015                              Sweet Heat and Easter
2/13/2015                            Valentine’s Day, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Manners
12/22/2014                         Facing Grief During the Holidays/ Christmas Desserts
12/3/2014                            Christmas Angels
10/29/2014                         Fun Ways to Celebrate Halloween
6/25/2014                            Upsee and the 4th
3/17/2014                            St. Patrick’s Day
2/14/2014                            Hearts, Flowers and Sweet Heart Stories
10/31/2013                         Sweet Halloween

Also an assortment of articles including:

The Guardian (UK)


Articles Contributed To:

The Chicago Tribune

Natural Awakenings

San Diego Family  

Decorating on a Dime; Get Ready for Halloween Early

US News and World Report

Fun Alternatives for Trick-or-Treating by Kerri Zane

The Daily Meal
Mint Life (Indonesia)

Good Housekeeping
Northeast Ohio Parent
Rasmussen College
The Ultimate Catering Guide by The Majestic Vision: 20 newspapers
The Penny Hoarder

Thank you!