Next Guest..Gina Rossi Armfield



I am so pleased to welcome Gina Rossi Armfield to the studio on Sunday, October 9.

This class is for anyone interested in learning to paint.  Beginners welcome!


She will be teaching a 1 day course on Watercolor Animals.

If you haven’t seen Gina’s work before, here are some samples.



Gina resides in southern California with her husband, two sons and many furry critters. She has degrees in both fine art and education.  Gina is the author of  “No Excuses Watercolor: Painting Techniques for Sketching and Journaling” and “No Excuses Art Journaling ~ Making Time for Creativity” published by North Light Publishing, and the DVDs “No Excuses Approach to Drawing and Watercolor” and “No Excuses Approach to Mixed Media and Collage”, also published by North Light.  She teaches at a variety of venues around the country, as well as online. She is passionate about art and believes that everyone is creative and can learn to express that side of themselves.

Click here to register.  We need your registration by Sunday, September 25th to be certain this class will meet it’s minimum so PLEASE don’t wait to register.

Watercolor Animals with Gina Rossi Armfield
11:00 AM – 6:00 PM



My first Zentangle Pattern


“The Zentangle Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns.

Almost anyone can use it to create beautiful images. It increases focus and creativity, provides artistic satisfaction along with an increased sense of personal well being. The Zentangle Method is enjoyed all over this world across a wide range of skills, interests and ages.

We believe that life is an art form and that our Zentangle Method is an elegant metaphor for deliberate artistry in life.” –


Last year I traveled to Providence, Rhode Island (took my girls with me) and became one of the 2100 “Certified Zentangle Instructors” across the world (class #21).  My main motivation for doing this is that I enjoy teaching this art form and it was (in my opinion) the ethical thing to do if I wanted to call what I was doing “Zentangle”


Over the past year I’ve enjoyed being part of this teaching community and love to see all the patterns that other CZT’s develop and share.  I tried my hand at it this summer when I was unplugged for a bit of time on a family vacation.  Here is what I came up with.



Here it is on the side of my Hydroflask.  As the name suggests…the pattern was inspired by the pattern on the Kirkland brand paper towels…just goes to prove, inspiration is everywhere!  Hope you give the pattern a try and join me in the studio for a Zentangle Workshop soon!  Click here to sign up for the next session.


18 years 1 month



So, LinkedIn keeps sending me alerts that I normally ignore..however…a few people have been wishing me happy anniversary.  Apparently it has been 18 years since I started A Work of Heart.  So many memories and such a journey seems just a bit cliche’

I’d love to say I was organized enough to have all the photos captured to present a lovely blog post with images to coincide with all the stages of this business…I have a few but not nearly as many as one would expect knowing my business started out focused on Scrapbooking!

Here is a timeline for those who are interested:

August 1998 – SO into SCRAPBOOKING…seriously..Didn’t want to go the way of many with Creative Memories.  Joined my friend Michele von Richter and started “Scrabooking…a work of heart”  We designed a logo and had it embroidered on apparel like denim shirts, sweatshirts and t-shirts.  We also (my favorite part) started buying scrapbook supplies and hosting crops for our friends.

1999 – Michele went back to work as a classroom teacher and I continued the business of A Work of Heart mostly focusing on selling supplies online (back in the age of free e-commerce web stores)  I picked up a gig via my good friend Anne Stubblefield where I started creating custom scrapbooks for one of Anne’s previous employers when she was a nanny.

2000-2002 – Taught scrapbooking classes at both Pocketful of Memories on Bascom Avenue and Scrapbook Mania on Camden Avenue in San Jose.  Continued to work for one major client but started taking on other custom jobs.

July 2002 – Husband completed construction on my dream scrapbook room in our garage..a dreamy 12’x12′ space dedicated to my passion and business


December 2002 – The scope of the projects from my one client were so large and time consuming I started sub-contracting out the work to friends.  I no longer had space to spread out as I needed in my home studio.  Opened the first commercial space of what you now know as A Work of Heart Studio at 1998 The Alameda in San Jose.  Spent 18 months there.


June 2004 – The trek across town got to be a bit tiresome for my family.  Moved to a space at 1060 Willow Street in the lovely neighborhood of Willow Glen.  Sublet part of a business where my co-tenant ran a high-tech business out of the back office and taught martial arts classes in the large adjacent room a couple nights a week.

April/May 2007 – Said co-tenant moved back east and the landlord didn’t let me take over the lease since I really had too much traffic flow with the birthday parties and classes I had started hosting.  This was also the year that a customer came in with a copy of “Cloth, Paper, Scissors Magazine” and my life passion took a serious turn.


June 2007 – Found my current 2196 Lincoln Avenue location and started construction with a potential partner (9 weeks later things didn’t work out) Continued with the plans and brought in ScrapLovers to run the retail side of things.  Christina Olson moved her online business headquarters here for 2 years and I continued to offer classes and parties with a gradual shift in focus toward more mixed media and jewelry making.

August 2009 – Christina/ScrapLovers moved out.  I continued to expand A Work of Heart’s teaching and retail offerings until it has grown to what it is today.


August 2016 – I celebrate 18 years in a business that allows me to share a place for creativity through teaching classes and collaborating with national and international art instructors.  While I’ve certainly experienced all the normal ups and downs of business ownership, I really would not have chosen a different path.  I look forward to what is next.  I have 10 months left on this lease (yes, I signed a 10 year lease!) and have started looking for a new location. We have simply grown out of our 1800sf.  Looking for more like 3000 to give everyone a bit more space to be creative and move around!


Thanks for showing up!  A Work of Heart Studio would NOT be what it is today without the faithful loyal customers who have become friends.  You know who you are!  Thank YOU!!


Final 2016 Guest Instructors


I’ve had some pretty amazing guest instructors here in 2016 but the ride isn’t over yet!  We have more to come in October & November

All visiting teachers have minimum number of student requirements so PLEASE do not wait too long to register.  You (unknowingly) might just wait too long and class will be canceled.  I don’t read minds (honestly!) so if you are even considering attending, please use the RSVP button and put a note in to let me know what is going on.  That way the class won’t be at risk for cancellation.


First up…On a Monday & Tuesday

October 10/11 – Julie Balzer

I know, some of you will have to be “sick” for work those days so you don’t miss out…but I promise it will be worth it.

10am-4:30pm – The Amazing Tape Bound Journal

And just in case you really truly can’t make the daytime class, (or simply can’t miss out on a FULL DAY) we’ve asked her to be superwoman and teach an evening class too!

6 pm – 9pm – Flips, Flaps, Pockets & Cut-Outs


Next up…

October 15/16 Diane Cook

Oct 15th from 6:30-9:30pm Gilding with Solder “mini”

Oct 16th – 10am-5pm: Liquid Enameling Workshop


October 28-30 – Robin Dudley Howes

Oct 28 – 9am – 4pm – Crocheted & Chained Multi-Strand Necklace

Oct 29 – 6pm-9pm – Crowned Perfume Bottle Necklace

Oct 30 – 10am-5pm – Bohemian Illumination


And to round out the year…

Carrie Schmitt

November 6/7 – 11am-5pm – Wild Joy Blooms!

New Book Clubs Starting


Summer is nearly over and just like that!  I’m looking forward to getting back into the swing of things with our weekly book club.

I get so many people asking “what is that book club thing I see on the calendar?”

Book Club at A Work of Heart is a way of practicing the exercises/projects in an art book (as opposed to just reading it)  Each week we cover another project.  All supplies are included in your class fee.

This fall, starting the week of August 24, we will cover 2 books concurrently.

Paint Mojo
by Tracy Verdugo
(August 29-October 27)

3 sessions to pick from: Monday 10am-12pm, Tuesday 6pm-8pm OR Thursday 1pm-3pm

Each session is $40 or sign up for all 7 for $252 – click here to register for all 7 sessions.

Paint Mojo(am) – Making Marks, Making Meaning (#1)
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Paint Mojo(pm) – Making Marks, Making Meaning (#1)
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Paint Mojo(pm2) – Making Marks, Making Meaning (#1)
1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Paint Mojo(am) – Outside the Square (#2)
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Paint Mojo(pm) – Outside the Square (#2)
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Paint Mojo(pm2) – Outside the Square (#2)
1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Paint Mojo(am) – Paint a Memory (#3)
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Paint Mojo(pm) – Paint a Memory (#3)
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Paint Mojo(pm2) – Paint a Memory (#3)
1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Paint Mojo(am) – Palette Prints (#4)
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Paint Mojo(pm) – Palette Prints (#4)
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Paint Mojo(pm2) – Palette Prints (#4)
1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Paint Mojo(am) – Little Book of Dreams (#5)
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Paint Mojo(pm) – Little Book of Dreams (#5)
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Paint Mojo(pm2) – Little Book of Dreams (#5)
1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Paint Mojo(am) – Inky Sojourn (#6)
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Paint Mojo(pm) – Inky Sojourn (#6)
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Paint Mojo(pm2) – Inky Sojourn (#6)
1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Paint Mojo(am) – Putting it all Together (#7)
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Paint Mojo(pm) – Putting it all Together (#7)
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Paint Mojo(pm2) – Putting it all Together (#7)
1:00 PM – 3:00 PM


Option #2

Fall Book Club

No Excuses Watercolor
by Gina Rossi Armfield

Book Club: No Excuses Watercolor (#1)
3:30 PM – 5:30 PM

Book Club: No Excuses Watercolor (#2)
3:30 PM – 5:30 PM

Book Club: No Excuses Watercolor (#3)
3:30 PM – 5:30 PM

Book Club: No Excuses Watercolor (#4)
3:30 PM – 5:30 PM

Book Club: No Excuses Watercolor (#5)
3:30 PM – 5:30 PM

Book Club: No Excuses Watercolor (#6)
3:30 PM – 5:30 PM

Book Club: No Excuses Watercolor (#7)
3:30 PM – 5:30 PM

If you’d like to sign up for all 7 sessions at a 10% discount, click here.

Next up…Roxanne Coble (aka. bybun)


Our next guest artist visiting A Work of Heart is Roxanne Coble.  Roxanne is a mixed media artist, illustrator, and art teacher. You may have seen her around social media (on Instagram as @bybun), or seen her work on the 2015 spring cover of Art Journal Magazine. She also recently just wrapped production on Julie Fei-Fan Balzer’s new PBS show Make It Artsy…

She is offering 2 workshops on August 18 and 19.


Come and create a mini journal with Roxanne Coble
Thursday, August 18, 6-9pm
Registration Fee: 95
Click to register

+ Class Description
This art journaling class takes you through the process of creating a miniature, two-inch, mixed media art journal. Through step-by-step instruction, we will begin by binding and constructing our mini journals by hand. Once our mini journals are assembled, the class will then take you through a variety of individual techniques, prompts, and illustrations to apply within each 2-page spread! At the completion of the class you’ll have a fully altered mini journal featuring eight different miniature art spreads.


Fantastical Fauna
Friday, August 19, 10am-5pm
Registration Fee: 136 before 8/12/16 +10 for late reg.
Click to register

+ Class Description

This art journal class takes you through the process of creating a two-page journal spread that includes an illustrated animal. What makes these animals unique however, is that they are in a state of transparency: complete with bones, organs, and unique illustrative details. Through guided step-by-step instruction, we will build up an initial background layer using a variety of mixed media techniques. With our background layer complete, you will then learn how to plan, draw, and fully illustrate your own fantastical fauna…


All Things Soft & Gentle with Danielle Donaldson (day 2)

All Things Soft & Gentle with Danielle Donaldson (day 2)

It was another amazing day learning from Danielle Donaldson


Today we learned a bit about perspective drawing and watercolor illustration.


The subject matter was my very favorite…





Such fun. It was a small class and still I didn’t take nearly as many photos as I should have because I was busy learning!

I can’t wait to sit with my supplies and play some more.

I was also  privileged to meet Danielle’s sidekick/class assistant/friend Marilyn who asked me to make her something out of the etched metal strip and leather cuffs we have in the shop.  A good reminder for us all don’t you think?


It was a pure joy having Danielle (and Marilyn!) here for 2 days.  I can’t wait book her again so we can learn more from her.


You can find more of Danielle here.

Her book is “Creative Girl” and can be found on her website or here in our shop ( I happen to have a nice stack of signed copies!)

“Be Still” with Danielle Donaldson – Day 1

“Be Still” with Danielle Donaldson – Day 1

One of my favorite part of having the studio is inviting amazing guest artists in to teach.  It is a huge perk to get to learn from my industry’s most inspiring artists.  I especially LOVE to have artist who have written a book that we’ve covered in our book club.  That is the case with Danielle Donaldson.  It is always great to spend time learning from an artist in person after learning from their book over a period of time.  (usually 7 weeks)

My great takeaway from today was the joy that is found in dirty watercolor water!  More on that later.

Now for some shots of today’s workshop.

IMG_20160731_154427 IMG_20160731_154438 IMG_20160731_154447 IMG_20160731_154452 IMG_20160731_155806 IMG_20160731_155810 IMG_20160731_155820 IMG_20160731_155826 IMG_20160731_155900 IMG_20160731_155906 IMG_20160731_155911 IMG_20160731_155916 IMG_20160731_155920 IMG_20160731_155938 IMG_20160731_155941 IMG_20160731_155945 IMG_20160731_155953 IMG_20160731_163129

It was a fantastic class and I can’t wait for tomorrow’s class.  (now officially “today’s” class since it is after midnight!)