A Little Bit of Charlie Brown in Me

Yes, I have realized that I get a bit down on Christmas day. For many reasons, I think, but I think the biggest reason is that at this time in my life, at my age, I realize that the true meaning of Christmas seems to be lost in our day to day activity leading up to Christmas. As much as we talk about the birth of the baby Jesus and the reason for his earthly birth, I think the commercialization over shadows it most of the time. Damn that! Don't get me wrong, I buy into at times, too, but I feel an emptiness, a depression, a little down on Christmas day after all the gift opening and such. We just don't NEED all that STUFF! My favorite gift is NO GIFT. Or maybe what my mother-in-law did which was she gave us a nice sum of money to donate to our favorite charity. I can get into that! Thanks, Marlene!

Tomorrow, I will feel better. I'm going to clean and feng shui...

A Few of my favorite things...

I like to identify things that I've come to love or can't do without during this holiday season. I shot pictures of most of my "favorite things" this season. Here they are!

I just downloaded this holiday season the Carpenter's Christmas disc.  It had about 20 songs on it - a few very familiar, but others I had never heard.  I LOVED IT!  I think Karen Carpenter had one of the best voices ever - such a vocal range and pure.

I always have to have this on my lips - at ALL TIMES - especially once this MN air becomes super dry.
I got these arm warmers (like the leg warmers of the 80s which I never owned) but these are to warm the arms. I like wearing them just over my hands to keep them warm. I'm wearing them as I type. Does the job well. Thanks GAP!

Family time is soooooooooooo important especially during holiday times. This shot was from Thanksgiving which we had here at our house. Tom is a fabulous cook, and he lets the girls help out especially for the deserts if there might be something to sweet to dip a finger into... :))

The girls have been playing the piano since February and are doing a great job. I enjoyed their Christmas music so much. Their winter recital went well, and Olivia was the only one who played without her music in front of her. Way to go O!

Homemade cranberry sauce is so GOOD!!! It's so easy to make, too, and here Olivia is making it for us. Get a pack of cranberries and a large measuring bowl. Pour cranberries in along with about 1/2 cup of orange juice and 1/2 cup of sugar. Heat for about 2 min. in microwave, stir, another min., stir, another min., stir - do this for about 8 - 10 min. total and the berries will be bursting and the cranberry sauce will be nice and chunky. Viola!

I love shooting pics of my kids playing in the snow! I just got a lens that I've been wanting for about 1 1/2 years. It's AWESOME! Great bokeh (blur around the subject).

Picking out the tree on December 4th.

The first snow fall of the season is always so exciting for me! We had just gone to see "The Best Christmas Pagaent Ever" at Stepping Stone theatre and then were heading to Cafe Latte for dinner after. The snow was really coming down!
Trimming the tree! Turn on the Christmas music and let the fun (except the lights) begin!

We went to SPA's Middle School winter concert, and was I ever impressed with the skill and talent of these kids! I know much credit goes to Almut Englehardt-Kachian who teaches stringed instruments to these kids. Music moves me like nothing else, and I was brought to tears several times during this show, feeling so proud of these 11-14-year olds...

Joanie brought these shortbread Christmas cookies and hot apple cider to our last painting class. These cookies were DE-LICIOUS! Thanks for your sweetness, Joanie!

Julia gave me this reversible hat by Nike. She had ordered one, and they sent two, and I was the honored recipient of her extra one. Stripes one side and more elegant on the other. LOVE IT! Thanks, Julia!

I love J Crew's skinny belts and got this foiled ones for the holiday season. Don't worry, I will be wearing my wide, leather ones, too...

My new red Chuck Taylor's!
What a dreadful incident of that apartment building burning this week in Burnsville, MN that displaced about 65 families as they lost everything and have to start all over. A fund was started through US Bank and someone anonymously gave $1 million dollars to help these people! Tears again!!! I have gotten to where I try only to read good news stories, and one couldn't help but see this on the front page of the Pioneer Press! Yea!!! Hope and belief in the goodness of humanity prevail.

THESE have been my favorite things this season so far!



OMG!! Our Christmas tree fell this afternoon about 1:30! No one was near it - I was in the kitchen and heard this boom and shattering. I ran into the living room and there our beautiful tree had fallen and so many ornaments had shattered. We we're sad! :(((( So, after we tried to calm down and after we got over the dread of having to re-trim the tree, and I mean, start ALL OVER we got to work again! The reason it fell is that it was kind of crooked in the stand because it has a weird stump!

This picture was the FIRST time we trimmed the tree about 3 weeks ago. See how happy we were?

This was right after it fell, and we had started to sweep up all the glass... sad!

Here is the tree now! About 1/2 the lights, but still lots of ornaments! It's now 6:30.

Now, we can laugh!

We're still blessed. At least it didn't fall during the night or ON anyone...


I Feel Lucky!

I feel so lucky that though I live 1000 away from my dear family (parents, brothers and twin sister) that I am able to visit like almost being there!


Today, my sister Carole and I chatted for about an hour, and it was so nice to be able to do that knowing that I won't be able to spend time with any of my family this holiday season. I thank Apple's ichat so much!

Now, the bad thing is is that I now want a Burberry scarf like hers... :)))

Hit the Pause Button! Fast!

The Christian Science Monitor had a great article in their paper today that completely echoed the same subject of our sermon in church on Sunday. It's about slowing down - I mean taking real time to sit still, quiet the mind, and reflect on what Christmas is all about. In this hurried season, it's often hard to find that time. We need to carve the time to do it.

Read this great article for more inspiration!

I hope you all find a satisfying stillness and quiet as we reflect on the birth of our Lord and Savior. Also, one of my favorite Christmas songs, "Mary, did you know?" contains some moving words like, "Mary, did you know that the son that you deliver will soon deliver you? AWESOME!

Merry Christmas, all!



Today is my Dad's 74th birthday, and he is still going strong! I have the most wonderful Dad a girl could ever have, and I know I'm so blessed to be his daughter. He was a great businessman and still is and was always able to be around to help raise us four children. He is very musical and plays the piano when the mood hits him, and now, most days, he spends his time writing. He is about to have published his second novel in the past 4 years! He has always helped to inspire my creativity and always supported it.

Check out his site!

THANKS, DAD! I hope your birthday was wonderful, and I wish you many more!



Hey All,

I just want to wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving! I love this holiday as it feels so much to me like Christmas without the stress of gifts! I'm looking forward to a relaxing day with family slowing down and realizing all the many blessings in my life - good health, my close family near and far, and all the great relationships in my life. I am so super blessed. I hope you feel blessed, too.

If you wouldn't mind, share some things that you feel thankful for this Thanksgiving. For me, I'm looking forward to just "being." Whatever the moment brings, I want to be present in it. I've been working at slowing down my life for the last many months, and I'm just now starting to feel like it's really happening. I'm interested in what you feel your blessings are.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!



Well, I just kicked off the beginning of a great thing - Wine and Paint Parties! I had mostly inexperienced women this time and had them paint a wine bottle with garlic and onions. They did a fantastic job!!! We had a wonderful time and they all enjoyed getting to know each other, paint and sip. We critiqued at the end. Thanks for a wonderful evening Michelle, Joanie, Cari, Lori and Pam!

It's YOUR turn! If you feel the desire to be creative and do something that's all your own, give this a try. It will take you away from your everyday stresses and you will walk away with a painting. Gather up the girlfriends, and COME!

December 3
January 14
March 11
All supplies provided, so all you have to do is show up with your wine! I will also provide some goodies to eat and great music to paint to. It's fun!
Limited to 8
Fee: $85
(fee due 2 weeks prior to paint party)

Contact Claire claire@clairekayser.com if you want to sign up! Spots go fast!




Today, Wendy did a fabulous pear that we all thought was magnificent - great color and loose brushstrokes. She left class early before everyone had a chance to see, and we all agreed that it is a great little pear. What do YOU think?


"Southern Palette" Creativa Painting Journey Coming!

While I was in Athens for our show in Birmingham last week, Carole and I were able to plan our next Creativa Painting Journey for women. It is coming up spring of 2009, April 16th-19th.

More details will be coming, but the weekend will include a similar itinerary:

Thursday Arrival: 3pm-6pm
Thursday night: 7pm Wine Meet & Greet at Carole's downtown studio

Friday: Paint all day from 9-3 with a lunch break
Friday 4-7: Free time to stroll the square and historical district of Athens
Friday Night: Downhome dinner at Greenbriar's Bar-b-que

Saturday: Paint all day from 9-3
Saturday 4-7: Free time to shop, attend yoga class
Saturday Night: Dinner & Movie and late night Paint Party (cookies & milk)

Sunday: 9am Critique, Pack up work, Java-O-The-Go

Stay tuned for the fine details! This is gearing up to be a wonderfully, relaxing and rejuvenating experience! Springtime in Athens, Alabama is simply amazing. The dogwoods are blooming, things are turning green--it is simply stunning. Plan to join us! Email us/comment if you are interested in being one of the few who can join us. The journey is open to only 10. Get on our mailing list now...


SIMPLY THE BEST! the other Tina...

What a great show Tina Turner gave in Minneapolis last Thursday night!!! She is AMAZING! She still has that super passion, soulfulness and energy she's known for at age 69, and it was on fine display. Great dancers, theatrics and pyrotechnics made the show dazzling. I got to go to the show with my friend Molly with tickets given to us so generously by friends. Thanks so much for your generosity, friends!!!! We got great seats on the 13th row center!!! Go see Tina on this last tour. You won't be sorry! She delivers BIG!


Our Beloved Tina...

As some of you know, Tina got hit and killed by a car yesterday evening when she was being walked and bolted after a squirrel in front of a car.  We lost grip of the leash when she suddenly pulled away.  We miss her dearly and know she's in heaven now getting every squirrel she wants, jumping even higher than she could, running in open air.  We will miss her fun personality and warmth towards us all.  She was the best dog we ever had...  We love you, Tina!



Yes! I will be kicking off my new WINE AND PAINT PARTIES! These evenings are a great way to be introduced to painting with NO PRIOR EXPERIENCE NECESSARY or if you have painting experience, just come and pick up a brush again! The atmosphere is very relaxing and fun with time to paint, socialize and enjoy great music, goodies to eat and your favorite libation. This time is for YOU - tap into your creative soul and be taken away from your everyday stresses. I will help you on your way to painting a piece that you will take home that night!

Here's the deal:
I provide ALL materials
You bring only your wine or drink of choice
$85 fee (paid 2 weeks in advance of date)
8 student limit
Reserve your spot now!
Call Claire at 651.983.2743 or email at claire@clairekayser.com

November 5, 7-9 pm (2 spots left)
December 3, 7-9 pm
January 14, 7-9 pm



November 15
6 - 9 pm
Home of Claire Kayser
paintings, pottery, mosaic art, books & their authors, jewelry, culinary arts, live music!
Get a jump start on holiday shopping with gifts that are completely unique and one of a kind - ART!
Grab a friend and come mingle with the artists and creative people and listen to some live jazz! Buy something unique and original for loved ones on your list!

Support artists!


The Dodge Nature Center Fall Gala!

The Dodge Nature Center's Fall Gala benefit went super well last Saturday night! I was so honored to be the featured artist in which my work was highly spotlighted all night long. I donated a commissioned figurative landscape painting to the winning bidder in the live auction. It went for a whopping $3500! I was so flattered!!! See all the pictures of the nights events. Thanks to Lee Driscoll for nominating me for the featured artist, and thanks to Dodge and all the great employees I got to work with especially Ann Nelson and Pam Burkley. Thanks to you all!

The example of the "figurative landscape" painting to be auctioned off.  
This one is of my 3!

Tom and Me!

So many were highly interested in my encaustic painting which I will be producing more of in the coming weeks!  Encaustic = beeswax + pigment!  Beautiful!!!

Pam Burkley is all the way to the left in this shot.  She has been super supportive of me and my work so much that she has signed up for my next COLOR CAFE session and bought another spot for the silent auction!  THANKS, Pam!  You're a DOLL!

Eileen Armitage and me at the end of the night!  She looked stunning, as usual!



... Pam Frecentese! Wow, after only one week painting, look what she produced! She painted this image of her Wheaton Terrior so effectively using her toning - the reds and other colors surrounding the dog's head - and she also put nice color in the light areas and shadowed areas of the doge's fur. Way to go, Pam!

All of my students have gotten off to a great start this fall, and I'm looking forward to journeying through with them to tap into their creative souls!


Orr, Minnesota!

We had a fabulous week up in Orr last week.  It was our 5th year to go, and last week's weather was PURRRRRRRR -FECT!  It was in the mid 80s, low humidity during the day and cooled nicely for night time.  Lots of family and friend time and time to enjoy the beautiful Pelican lake.  I just published a little web gallery of pictures from one day there when one of the Dad's bought materials like rounded, long pieces of wood from a bannister place and tied them together using knots learned during his Eagle Scout days.  The kids were trying it out!  Check out the gallery. Will add more pics here later...


Kids Art Camp II !!!

Art Camp II was a great success, too! I had a couple more kids in this camp and all were mostly older along with young Tate (age 6) who really loves painting so I let him paint in this camp even though he was a little under the age limit. He did a fantastic job! We mixed a world of colors with primaries, secondaries and tertiaries, and learned about toning, texture, composition. We critiqued all the paintings and talked about each artist's pieces. Lots of great comments thrown out to help them along their way in their painting journeys.

Thanks for a great, fun week working with each of you, Hazen, Hugh, Isabelle, Tate, Grace, Blair and Marley!

Precious little Tate painted a thank you note for me! (Thank you for the art class). I hugged him UP after he gave that to me! Thanks, Tate!!!!


Art Camp I - Wow!

I had a wonderful group of young, budding artists this week for my first art camp of the summer! Wow, did they do a wonderful job! We did self portraits first, and this is a shot of them with their paintings. They learned basic color theory, toning, proportion, scumbling and other fun techniques. They even learned critiquing and involving in conversations about art and fun stuff! Way to go Elizabeth, Hannah, Anna, Gemma and Maggie - you were so much fun to work with, and I hope you continue on with your artistic journey!


Putting Down the Camera

As some of you already know, I have decided to end my photography services as I am concentrating solely on painting and teaching. I have agonized over the last several months about this decision with much thought and prayer and feel that this is what I need to do.

I want to thank my clients over the last few years for supporting me and giving me the opportunity to work with you as it has given me great joy in getting to know you and deliver images of you and your loved ones that will be treasured for a lifetime.

I am proud to refer work to my good photographer friend John Magnoski! John does professional fine art weddings and portraiture and is super creative. He's a great guy and fun to work with as I shot a wedding with him last year. I highly recommend his professional services for any kind of photography you might need.

Please continue to check in with me on painting stuff, my blog, my painting blog of all my latest work and if you might be interested in taking a class from me!

Thanks again!

Twins and Friends Art Show!

Despite flash flooding and power outages all through the evening of the show opening, we managed to have a fairly well-attended opening, and we certainly appreciated those who braved the weather conditions to come for the artful evening! Thanks to Chicago based jewelry artist Jean Basse for outfitting so many of us with her beautiful jewelry made of gemstones and pearls. Here are some pictures from the night! Enjoy!

The main gallery wall in Carole Foret Studio!

Carole, Carla Swinney, and me

Carole (left) and me, right.


Twins and Friends Art Show!

I wanted to post the invitation to the Twins and Friends show on the 31st in Alabama.  You see my painting which is an oil on canvas, my sister Carole's is an encaustic (pigments with beeswax) painting, and the peace bracelet made by Chicago-based artist Jean Basse.  I own this bracelet and wear it all the time - the peace sign is rough silver attached to brown leather.  She makes it with black leather, too.  Jean also works with pearls and other great semi-precious gems.  I can hardly wait 'til her site is done so that you could see what she does and order straight thru her site.  James Dean will also be showing his Pete the Cat stuff.  Great!  Check it out.  Anything can be purchased and shipped to you!  Simply contact Carole or Leslie at Carole Foret Studio at 256.232.2521.