Sign up to my Newsletter!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Come join the fun at Art Is You!!

 Art Is...You - The East and West Coast Art Retreats

 If you've been sitting on the fence trying to decide here are just a few reasons that you should sign up for the wonderful Art Is You Retreat in Petaluma California or Stamford Connecticut this Fall.

I am thrilled to be teaching three workshops at each retreat and would so love to have you come paint with me!

Sacred Marks is one of the workshops I'll be teaching ♥

 During this two day workshop we will be tapping into our deepest most intuitive selves and cultivating an awareness that everything is connected. Inspired by the Aboriginal concept of "Dadirri" and the storytelling traditions of many other cultures, Tracy will encourage students to dig deep into their own wellspring of creativity to find the contemplative space to create personal symbols and their own unique narrative.

Students will explore a multitude of abstract techniques using paint, ink, oil pastel and collage. Text and imagery will be woven together to create a unique, personal art language. Students can expect to leave with a mind overflowing with new inspiration, a large canvas and several smaller experimental works on paper."


Tracy Verdugo. 2012. Concept and Creation.

Rave reviews....

Art Is...You has changed my life in so many ways.  I have grown as an artist and branched out into so many mediums that I never would have tried before.  I started out as a quilter so the world of mixed media and ephemera were things I had never heard of.  My first class was a doll with a beaded face class.  I felt so welcomed by the teacher and students that I couldn't wait for year 2.  I took metal and soldering and altering board books and bandaid boxes, and no one told me my pages were lumpy or crooked, they said they were beautiful and they meant it.  I learned that I really did miss fabric after a fabric journal class, using luscious laces and velvets and silks substituted for the quilters cottons.  Now I still work with the other mediums but my first love fabric is always present.
 I also have grown as a person, learning that people will love me for me, I can be myself now that i have found who I want to be. We laugh, cry, hope, learn and support each other.  The genuine friendships I have developed between students and teachers will last a lifetime and I am SO PROUD to call Art Is...You family.

Sallianne and Ellen should be very proud of their family.
Colleen Peck

 Art Is...You - The East and West Coast Art Retreats

 Hi everyone,

Last year was my first year at Art Is You! And I plan to be there for many years

to come. It is art camp for adults. It is so exciting to spend that much time
with everyone learning new skills, having fun and creating. The teachers are
wonderful and people are friendly. I would not be hesitant to come by myself
now. I have made new friendships and got to be in class with teachers I have
long admired. There is so much going on throughout the day and evening. I wish I
could do it more than once a year........It was my 50th present to

myself last year. It will be your most treasured gift. It is a wonderful time :)

Terry Fryer

  I knew when I walked in and saw PINK FLAMINGOES, I knew that I was in a MAGICAL place.

When I realized that there was GLITTER all down the stairs, I realized I was HOME.  Each wonderful person I met made me realize that I was with KINDRED SPIRITS.  Michael deMeng's workshop on Sunday--pure NIRVANA!!!  I was there for only one day, but at the end of the day, each of my chakras was SPINNING faster than ever before and colorful sparks were radiating from my fingertips.  Ellen and Sallianne, thank you from the bottom of my striped socks to the top of my purple-hatted head!!!  Trish


Art-Is-You= Growing, Friendship, and Family. I am a Jersey girl with many friends, none of which were like minded. I was debating on going to Art-is-You. I got on the message boards(lurking in the background of coarse), and noticed there was a fellow Jersey girl going also. So after much encouragement and gentle nudging from Sallianne and Ellen, they managed to convince me, yes I could come on my own. I could do it! So I decided to go hunt down the Jersey girl and say hello.(Kecia Deveny). We agreed to meet up at AIY.

Still with butterflies in my stomach, I went alone. I was only in the hotel 5 minutes, ran into Kecia. We decided to dump our individual rooms and share. The rest there is history...we've been 2 peas in a pod ever since. How cool is that?! My first class was with
the very talented JoAnna Who would have ever known that we would become soul sisters. So from the beginning talking about not having like-minded people around AIY they are everywhere letting you be free to be you and surrounding you with love, sharing creativity, and laughter.  The bottom line's the place to BE!!!!!!!!!
  Jane Blanco

 Art Is...You - The East and West Coast Art Retreats
  Merrilee - October 2010 I've done alot of conferences in my day, but here's what stands out for me about Art Is....: The teachers! The learning! and, the joy of seeing El and Salli moving about through the days, taking care of little things and decorating here and there....Speaking for myself, I adored this opportunity to be with great friends, to learn from the absolute best and to have a "no drama" experience. That is priceless to me. You ladies are ROCK STARS, no you are SUPER STARS!!!! Thank you for your attention to detail, your obvious dedication to the participants and your very hard and steady work throughout the year to make this event what it was for me: one I will be back to again and again. Love you, ladies!

Art Is...You - The East and West Coast Art Retreats

 This will be my first time joining the Art Is You family and I cannot wait! Would love to see you there!!
Tracy ♥♥♥

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Flashback Friday!!

                                Me at Frida´s house

               La casa de Frida Kahlo


“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller


Traveling is such a huge love for me

exploring other cultures

connecting, wandering, wondering

learning more about myself by learning about others

the excitement of being somewhere completely new

open to the experience of the unknown

I'm so excited right now to be working on a book proposal which explores the connection between creativity, traveling and connecting to our best selves. I can't say too much yet but I am already super excited that some of the artists I admire the most have said YES to contributing.

Our family has traveled quite a bit and in 2008 we decided to take our girls who were then 11 and 15 out of school for 7 months here in Australia and travel up the West Coast of the US to Canada and then down into Southern Mexico. For the next few Fridays I am going to revisit our travel blog by posting our travel posts here as a way of reminding myself of this amazing experience and introducing you sweet readers to some of the ways I like to travel and create.


Flashback #1 

5 Days in Mexico City 

 13th October, 2008

There are no traffic rules in Mexico City, at least none that I can make out.
From the airport we weave our way through the city streets. Our driver darts in and out of lanes with expert abandon. I focus on the sights and try to ignore every close call.
Color is everywhere. Mechanics shops are painted in pinks and yellows; young women in tight black pants direct traffic, their arms gesturing wildly, whistles blowing incessantly.
At traffic lights hawkers dodge the cars, selling trinkets.
We drive by a city park where hundreds of protesters dance naked on a platform stage, banners proclaiming their cause. We ask the taxi driver what they are doing and he tells us they have been dancing every day for 3 months to protest the unfair sale of their land in Veracruz. I contemplated the headline in our local paper back home should the community decide to adopt naked dancing to promote sensible development.

Casa Gonzales-our hotel in <mex city
Sienna and Santana in the courtyard at Casa Gonzales

We arrive at Casa Gonzales in the Zona Rosa and settle in before heading out to check out our neighbourhood..
 Most of the restaurants in our budget are closed by the time we head out at 7pm so we cruise into Papa Bills Saloon, a wild west style restaurant/sports bar and feast for around $10.00 each.
Marco has an amazing dish of pan fried chicken pounded thinly and stuffed with huitlacoche (an Aztec delicacy of black fungus which grows on corn), nopales(cactus) and squash flowers and avocado. Delicious!

Fresh juice for breakfast
Fresh juice for breakfast

Next day we walk the ten blocks or so to Chapultepec Park stopping for breakfast at a busy taco stand. Breakfast is muy sabroso, tacos de pollo and papas ( chicken and potatos) with an array of fresh salsas, lime and chiles to spice it up. We stuff ourselves for around $6.00 for the whole family including fresh orange and guayaba juice and then spend the the next few hours exploring the National Museum of Anthropology. Outside the museum we are treated to a traditional Dance of the Eagleflyers, the girls buy some beaded jewellery from a Huichol woman and we head back to the hotel along Reforma.

Huichol woman at Chapultapec
Huichol woman at Chapultapec

Day 3 we are off to Frida Kahlos house, a highlight for me. We breakfast at several stands along the way to Insurgentes.. Vendors sell plastic tumblers of chopped, fresh papaya and melon topped with chile and lime and we all munch happily as we head to the metro station.
The metro is an experience not to be missed. Five million commuters a day ride this highly organized series of underground lines. For 20 cents a ticket you can ride all day in one direction. Vendors, performers and beggars jump on and off at each stop moving from carriage to carriage to try their luck. First up a crippled guitarist sits on the floor amongst the crowd singing plaintively. When the train pulls up the next stop he shuffles along the ground to exit, dragging his useless legs behind.

Frida Kahlos garden
Frida Kahlos garden

After being transported back to the fifties at Frida Kahlos we jump in a taxi to Xochimilco, the site of ancient Aztec gardens, and spend the afternoon lazily floating along the canals. Highly decorated boats filled with celebrating Mexican families and mariachis pass by.

We stop for lunch at a designated restaurant, the prices seem reasonable but when we go to order drinks the boat driver suggests we buy from the two women who have pulled up beside us in their canoe. We forget the #1 rule of  agreeing on a price before we buy and order 2 chilena beers and a couple of sodas for the girls. The Chilena beer is a traditional concoction where a tall bottle of beer is poured into a large cup precoated with chile and lime; an interesting blend but not one I’ll try again.

Chilena beer...flat, warm with chile & lime
Chilena beer...flat, warm with chile & lime

on the boat at Xochimilco
Santana on the boat at Xochimilco

We finished our lunch and drinks and asked how much…the drinks alone were 210 pesos ( around $30.00 Aussie dollars!) This was no ordinary gringo rip was waterway robbery! Marco spent the next 15 minutes arguing and the boat driver faked outrage and attempted to act as a mediator but in reality they were probably all in cahoots. We finally bargained down a price which was still unrealistic but at least better than the starting point.

Cathedral-Mexico city
Cathedral-Mexico city

Day 4- We jumped on the metro again and headed to the downtown historic district, touring the main cathedral and meeting up with our My Space friend Rocco who was just as lovely, gentle and kind in real life as on the Internet.
We visited la Ciudadela ( the largest art and craft market) and had lunch together at a great little hole in the wall café. The serves were so large we had to take half of our food with us. Later we fed our leftovers to a clan of cats living on ledges at the Insurgentes Metro station. They weren't like any ferals we had ever seen, a couple of Birmans and Siamese, they all looked healthy and strong and we sat and watched them for some time.
A young man in black jeans eyed us menacingly and simultaneously we all had the feeling we were being marked. About a dozen exits branch of from this circular plaza and we tried several of them before finding the one which led back to our hotel.  We walked home quickly. It was several blocks before we lost the uneasy feeling.

Teotihuacan-on top of the Temple of the Sun
Teotihuacan-on top of the Temple of the Sun

Basilica de Guadalupe
Basilica de Guadalupe

Our last day and we had arranged a tour to Teotihuacan and the Basilica de Guadalupe. The bus picked us up at 9am and we joined the International crowd of visitors from Chile, Brazil and Hungary. The clouds threatened rain but the skies held out as we climbed the Pyramid of the Sun and dodged the vendors selling obsidian Aztec statues, wooden drums and jewellery.

Ana Lorena, Pepe & I
Ana Lorena, Pepe & I

We arrived back at the hotel for a quick rest and shower before a scheduled jam session in the downstairs lobby with our online (and now real life ♥) friends Rocco, Kike, Priscila, Ana Lorena and Pepe. We spent a fantastic few hours playing music with and to each other not stopping until an exhausted traveller upstairs poked her head out of her room and politely asked us if we could please finish up as she was trying to get to sleep.

Marco, Rocco and I jamming together
Marco, Rocco and I jamming together

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Change, change and more change ♥

Hello lovely creative friends!

Wow!! What a month its been...I hardly know where to start!

So maybe I'll start from today and go backwards just to fill you in on all of the excitement,
the ups and the downs.......Isn't life amazing?

This weekend I got to be on the other side of the workshop format,
this time I was the student
rather than the teacher
getting to enjoy the wonderful arty wisdom of Robert Malherbe,
an extremely successful Australian painter whose works are so lush and textural
you feel like you could eat them!

Still Life with Two Fish I. 2011.Robert Malherbe 

Robert was a patient and generous teacher and although I have hardly any experience with still life in this style I was excited and willing to give it a go!

 Above is my effort after much advice and help from Mr Malherbe ( I dont mind at all when the teacher says "do you mind?" and picks up my brush!). I just love being able to work quickly and tonally to build up form and colour without being all finicky and detailed and I will definitely be practicing more.

I guess you could say there is quite a difference between Roberts work and mine but I love being a life long learner and there are always discoveries to be made. I especially like watching other artists actually paint which is why I always do quite a lot of demos at my workshops.

A Small Shift in Perception. Tracy Verdugo. 2012


Speaking of which I am sooooooo excited to be flying up to Queensland in less than two weeks to bring my Paint Mojo workshop to Buderim on the Sunshine Coast and then a few weeks after that I will be heading to Melbourne to play with 15 eager artists before heading off on my BIG U.S tour. There are still a few spots left in California, Texas, Florida and maybe N. Carolina but I know they are getting pretty close to full so check out all the info here. I'll also be at the Art Is You Retreats in both Petaluma, California and Stamford, Connecticut and oh boy have I heard of some fun going on there! Would really love you to come play with me!

On the personal front this month has been quite emotionally charged......I've been a little preoccupied worrying about a spot that I had to have surgically removed. As a melanoma survivor there is always a note of panic when a new spot appears. Thankfully the news is all good and a small basal cell carcinoma was successfully removed!

Another emotional upheaval with the fact that our gorgeous first born Santana has flown the to the big city, she has spread her wings and moved to Sydney.......for her 18th birthday we made this beautiful book all about her life from babyhood to the beautiful young woman she has become. If you havent yet heard of Blurb they make it super easy to publish your own books about anything you like!


Santana Luz Verdugo 

How quickly the years go from sweet baby to young woman and how bittersweet it is to let them go.......



and how proud we are of the young woman she has grown to be ♥

Enough of that or I'll start blubbering again!

A quick round up of the rest as its almost time to scour the fridge and come up with something creative for dinner!

very much enjoying our See Change Winter Arts festival where I am exhibiting recent works like this 


 Tracy Verdugo.2012.If I could have held it in the Breathing of a Whisper". Acrylic/mixed media on canvas.

and this


 Tracy Verdugo. 2012. The Possibility of Pleasure. Acrylic/mixed media on plywood. 30x30cm. SOLD

and enjoying the rounds of exhibition openings and the warmth of the art community here in this beautiful place I am lucky enough to call home. 


Last weekend I even got to paint in the streets in our little village of Huskisson! What a treat!

Next month mi amor is off to live in Thailand for 12 months where he has been offered a 12 month contract to help organise a major music festival in it looks like we will be visiting Koh Samui on our way to the U.S, on our way home and maybe even be spending a few months there together next year.....Luckily we all adapt fairly well to change and also know that we are extremely fortunate to have such positive change in our lives......

Well I really should sign off for now...I think thats probably enough for one post and for those of you who have just dropped in from my Art and Soul radio interview with the lovely Lesley Riley, WELCOME!!! and I hope I didnt bombard you with too much info!!

Have an awesomely amazing weekend I'll leave you with some of the wisest words ever from the inimitable Dr Seuss !

lots of love Tracy ♥♥♥

Dr. Seuss quotes

Monday, June 11, 2012

Please dont steal our lemons!

Just down the street an old man puts out bags of lemons from his overflowing tree. Taking the time to pick and bag them he pops them in a wheelbarrow out the front with a sign in black marker on torn cardboard. 


Lemons $3


Would you ever consider taking  a bag of lemons without paying for them?

I didn't think so ♥


Why am I talking about lemons??


I should be talking about how excited I am that finally

our new CD The Long Goodbyes: 1+1=11 

is finished

and ready

for your listening pleasure :)


Many of you know my paintings but not many know that music is also a big part of my life. My husband Marco, a talented musician, songwriter and producer spent years, coaxing, assuring, nurturing me to let my voice shine and I am so grateful for this, although there have been times I have fought , scratched and clawed for him not to, just to leave me alone singing happily in the shower,
with my insecurities....

This is his BIG creative dream!

and I want to help make it a success♥


This is our bag of lemons and its been a long haul to get them out into that wheelbarrow.

3 1/2 years, nights and nights of rehearsing, recording, refining, hours stolen in the middle of the day, on weekends, feeling guilty about not spending time with our families, juggling the busy lives of four people with families, jobs, mortgages, full lives outside of music,




in order to

nurture our creative SPARK

culminating in a finished product that we LOVE

and hope you will too :)


 the reason I'm feeling a little frustrated along with the excitement is that yesterday I posted a whole bunch of songs on Youtube

wanting to share

give people a chance to see if they like

and then buy.......


This morning a message from someone saying how much they loved a song and how they had popped it on their ipod (using some app which illegally rips MP3s from Youtube videos) and thanks!!!


Please don't take our songs! Its stealing!

if you like them you can tell us by purchasing and here is how


Our new CD 1+1=11 is now available for digital download at CDBaby You can download the whole album there or individual songs

If you would like a limited edition, signed, real, physical CD just deposit $20

( postage included) and we'll send it out to you in a few weeks when we receive them back from the manufacturers.

Thats it! Easy peasy :)


Click here to listen to some of our new songs! :)

Thank you so much for your support!!

and Marco, Syd and Ged thank you too ♥

lots of love

Tracy xxx

Saturday, June 2, 2012

from inspiration to (almost) finished painting!

I've been thinking a lot lately about words,
beautiful words,
evocative words,
words that move me,

words I could just roll around on my tongue a while.....

I often include words in my paintings but lately
as I venture more into the world of abstract
I've been thinking about the power of creativity
words, art, music,
to really MOVE us
get us unstuck
away from stagnation

flowing in the direction of our highest

shiniest self......

here is the unfolding of my latest painting
inspired by these lush words
from Michael Oondatje...

a work in progress

just like me and you ♥

“Everything is biographical, Lucian Freud says. What we make, why it is made, how we draw a dog, who it is we are drawn to, why we cannot forget. Everything is collage, even genetics. There is the hidden presence of others in us, even those we have known briefly. We contain them for the rest of our lives, at every border we cross.”

― Michael Ondaatje

On a large canvas I used a caulking gun and builders caulking to “write” some text from the Michael Oondatje quote. Fragments of maps, text from old books and photos from National geographic were collaged between the words representing our collective memories and the landscapes which these create within humanity. Golden Fluid acrylics were used to add the first layer of colour.

My initial application of paint is sprayed with water and I engage with the paint by tilting the canvas or dipping my fingers in it to create finger print marks, a sense of putting myself into the picture

The addition of further layers of paint adds depth and text dissolves into texture, connections and links are created, boundaries and intersections occur spontaneously, forms are hidden and new ones emerge.

What a wondrous thing it is to lose your self in creating.....

Fragments of the larger work give me inspiration for future works.

My wish is always to inspire you to find your true's hoping that I have shone a little light of inspiration your way today!

lots of love Tracy xo


“We die containing a richness of lovers and tribes, tastes we have swallowed, bodies we have plunged into and swum up as if rivers of wisdom, characters we have climbed into as if trees, fears we have hidden in as if caves.

I wish for all this to be marked on by body when I am dead. I believe in such cartography - to be marked by nature, not just to label ourselves on a map like the names of rich men and women on buildings. We are communal histories, communal books. We are not owned or monogamous in our taste or experience.”

― Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

ps I found the lovely hand image at the top on Facebook. Unfortunately there was no linkback. If anyone knows who the artist may be could you please let me know so I can add the link love ♥