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Glimpses of Grace

Glimpses of Grace


There are clubs out there without names or charters or offices.

Clubs without buildings or meeting rooms or chairs or calendar meeting dates.

These are the ‘groups of life’ that you join through experiences, both beautiful and tragic. The knowing glances from newlyweds as they watch their friends walk the aisle- joining the marriage club. Among the pews  are also glances of love lasted, worn or torn, that come from those with even more experience in the ‘marriage club’.

Early morning runners greet each other with knowing waves, travelers with heavily stamped passports advise those with newly issued tickets, new mothers tell birth stories (sometimes too graphically) to those whose bellies await delivery- they all share a bond of common experiences.


Then there are the tragedies. The ache you feel for someone, both known and unknown, that is walking a path you have already stumbled through. While I have not walked the path of a cancer diagnosis, or lost a child that was running through my home that very morning, I ache for them. But my pain, my thoughts, can never join their hearts in that terrible membership status like those that have received the same news.

There is a beautiful song that sings the line “we are all one phone call from our knees” and that is so true for all. This past week, I watched one of my dearest friends thrown into membership of a club I reluctantly belong to as well…the sudden death of her father. I did not want that membership card, nor does anyone else, but life sends you your journey and you must take it in hand.

Each path is different, and at no point do I make light of someone’s painful journey, nor pretend to know their exact feelings or solutions. I do, however, feel with a compassion so deep and wide for her in that loss that I have personally experienced. I left full grocery carts standing in aisles because I could not see through my sobs and tears to push any further. I have crumpled to the ground with a grief far deeper than I could have perceived would grip my heart and mind. She may not leave a cart in the aisle, but she will crumple, as we have done in such great loss, for grief is hard and strong and tough.

Yet, through it all, if one looks, glimpses of grace will be found. If you are watching and expecting and asking for it, grace comes. Sometimes it is little things, like a perfect orange leaf blowing and landing on your windshield when you can’t catch your breath, or that song that begins on the radio at just that moment. Sometimes God uses the people around you to be props when you can’t walk. Or prayers uttered across town are somehow felt in individualized ways. Sometimes it is just peace.


It is just for moments like this, the deepest darkest moments that life brings our way, that light is all you can seek. God’s grace is powerfully stronger than our deepest grief. It is there no matter the day or hour or minute. Thank Heaven for that.

I love you my sweet friend. I ache for you today. I pray for God’s grace to surround you.



Key to my Heart

Key to my Heart

DSC02662Going through the house to fill the donation box, I kept picking up frames in one room or another. Some were old, some new, some broken, some brand new from the craft store. So there I was with a stack of frames & wood & inspiration struck…

Holiday ornaments and tags were just waiting to be discovered in those wooden pieces…pumpkins needed to be adorned, ornaments wanted to be created and all in all- it was time to create!

I also had a wonderful box just delivered from DecoArt full of amazing products from their new mixed-media line to try…I have several art projects in mind for these new products (especially their fabulous fluid acrylics!)…but today I was thinking more decoratively in my home for my mixed media creating!
DSC02610Since I felt a little sparkly, I went with ornaments first (I know- out of seasonal order, but who can resist the possibility of spreading a little golden cheer!)

I grabbed the first frame, and old book, several awesome products from DecoArt’s new mixed media line, a stencil or two & raided the junk drawer for some old keys, buttons & an assortment of what-nots!

 DSC02625  DSC02629

I began tearing pages and deco-paging the

background. When dry, I did a soft wash using white antiquing cream to soften the look. Then I took one of my new favorite products,  DecoArt’s Metallic Lustre – Gold Rush, and rubbed it with a rag along the edges and details of the frame- Love!

DSC02632To create the center image for my frame, I used a key stencil, gesso & a palette knife. I taped off around the key I had chosen to make sure I had a clean image and then used the palette knife to spread gesso onto the stencil. When I removed the stencil to see my book page underneath, the dimensional key image that resulted was beautiful! The texture and richness just on a simple old book page was ‘key’

(I just could not resist that pun!)

DSC02637A little decoupage and a simple button accent, and my first frame was ready! I couldn’t wait to do more!

DSC02659So I grabbed molding pieces and primed, gilded, gessoed, and decorated, using the same ideas and techniques, but with a different look. I added strokes of gold fluid acrylic to the background for the gilded wash on the wood.

And my brush just kept going!

This was too much fun!

The possibilities are endless…

if you didn’t have old pieces, Your craft store, such as Joann’s, would have lots of frames and wooden craft pieces to choose from

DSC02660I love this tiny frame with just part of the gessoed key & and actual old key attached.

It was just a plain craft wood frame that met a cool old book page, a gessoed stencil, gilding wax & an old key! How cute would it be to do a series of these on a wall, big & small!




A few helpful tips for creating this look:

The stencil I used: Americana Decor Stencils – Vintage Keys

Products that worked beautifully for this: DecoArt Media Gesso – White,  Americana Multi-Surface Satin Acrylics – Cotton Ball, DecoArt Media Antiquing Creams – Titanium White, DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Interference – Gold Interference, Metallic Lustre  – Gold Rush

Go here to purchase these products easily at Jo-Ann’s Fabric Stores or online at: DecoArt

Now to make those pieces to tie on my pumpkins! This is so much fun!!!




Drawing With Oil Bars

Drawing With Oil Bars


Like butter.

That is exactly what I said when I started drawing using these wonderful bars. The smell reminds me of my days in the halls of the art building, where the musty scent of linseed oil wafts together with printmaking inks and smoking kilns.


The days I spent in Scotland working with these bars still make my heart leap with joy. I can’t wait to share these through the upcoming workshop at MAKE next Tuesday, September 8!


This is truly a drawing workshop…where we work through some of your favorite subjects (bring photos, pictures, printouts for drawing prompts and inspirations)

Introducing the oil bars with the charcoal and graphite allows so much room for movement, mind-changes, adjustments and learning.

The depth of the images grows more beautiful as the surface is worked with pencil and rag and palette knife…

Come discover your artist within…beginners and advanced will love this class! Learn basic drawing techniques and get to take them to the next level…or bring an experienced drawing hand and see how this medium adds to your technique!


For more information about this wonderful workshop go HERE

off to draw…

Father’s Day

Father’s Day

Father’s Day brings light divided as it enters the room.  Light comes,  full shining brightly,  as I watch my husband with our children. He is glue to our family, a centered base of love and wisdom that holds the whirlwind around him.

Between the light I see the wisps of shadows.

Shadows where my father once held geology in his hand as we inquired things of mystery.

Shadows where he hid behind a large oak, waiting for grandchildren to guess where he could be found.

Shadows where his own wisdom and love penetrated the generations in a physical, palpable way.

But it is those very shadows that allow the rest of the light to shine brightly, a contrast of past with present, an anchor to the brightness.

For where my father’s shoes once walked, shadows of his footprints still remain.

In the smile of my middle son, in the twinkle of my daughter’s eyes, in my own heart and mind that share his genes.

And as I watch the light mix with the shadows through the blinds this morning, I smile. It is the shadows of good memories and loving into the present with bits of the past that hold up the light today. Because my father loved so dearly and deeply, our light shines brightly as we celebrate the good men in our lives, past, present and generations future.

Thank you Dad.

Miss you.





The inspiration of amazing teaching, new friends and this beautiful scenery was life-changing today!

The encouragement of Gillian Smith was amazing and wonderful women in the class pushed me out of my comfort zone, and into a new place of creating. I was truly on a high this afternoon and couldn’t leave the easel…new technique, new outlook, just what I needed!


It is almost all too fresh to even put into words, my heart & head are exploding with everything I am experiencing. This week had already impacted my art and my heart so deeply and there are many days to go! I can’t wait to share in the studio back home all I am creating this week…



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