Author Archives: Lisa M

The Global Art Café’s Expanding Palette

Since creating the Global Art Café public facebook group on March 23, 2020, we have grown to nearly 80 members and are growing every day. We have members from as far away as Amsterdam, Luxembourg and Northern Wales. Our members have backgrounds from many walks of life: retired administrators, teachers, homemakers, business people, entrepreneurs, artists, cellists, beauticians, life and nutrition coaches, writers, authors, accountants, and many more.

“We are a constantly expanding palette of people and colors that inspire one another to live creatively in our own unique ways.”

– Lisa M. Kindle

The mission of the Global Art Café is to challenge one another to be the best each of us can be while providing help to one another as we achieve our goals. Art and Creative thinking provide ways to expand our solutions other kinds processes can not.

Today, we celebrate and recognize one of our members, Sybil Swanson as she shares her artistic talents with one of her favorite mediums, abstract painting!

Global Art Café Colors #1 by Sybil Swanson
The question asked of each of us was: If you were a color, what color would you be today? I chose to take that question a bit further and took those colors from my paint box: turquoise, aqua, pink, hot pink, green, spring green, white and black. As I applied my brush to the canvas, I could feel how we just start out as anonymous individuals, then we start telling our stories, a little at a time. As the time progresses, I hear laughter and tears, and we begin to mesh, we begin to get a sense of each other. Our colors begin to blend. The beginnings of friendship.

It is the icing on the cake when we are able to celebrate creative victories, such as completing a project, creating something new, or exploring new things. Please keep a watch on our members as they create and share and help to celebrate those efforts! It is through this support we continue to grow and achieve our life-dreams!

Creative Blocks and Art Challenges

Hello all, I hope you are all finding time to enjoy creating during this time. I have been busy learning new things, connecting with new people and absorbing all art I can.

Last week at the Global Art Café round table, we talked about creative blocks and a bit about the 21 Day Art Journaling Challenge some of our members are participating in.

“We are all artists, painting our lives upon the canvas of reality. Mix the colors your own way and apply emotion liberally. Don’t be afraid to let your brushstrokes show, and above all else, make sure you art has soul.”
– Cristen Rodgers

Art by Global Art Café members for the 21 Day Art Challenge theme “Over the Rainbow

When it comes to creative blocks, having outlets for both work and play will aid and becoming “unstuck.” You might even say you are not creative, but you are as creative as anyone! Creativity shows up in many ways. It can reveal itself in your relationships, wardrobe, parenting, problem solving, ideas, shoelaces, social media, cooking, and much more.

Everyone is capable of creativity.

Never underestimate the power of a creative outlet.

Put creative time on the calendar and be sure to show up for it. A routine will reinforce your daily habits and “rewire” your brain to have stronger creative connections when you make it a regular “practice.”

Most of all, especially to note for the perfectionists out there, trying and failing is better than never trying at all. Many of us don’t create anything because we think it will turn out terrible. Who cares! Do it anyway. It’s okay to “fail” – reframe that “fail-mentality” to one that says, hey, I am learning and developing my own style”, or “I’m trying something new and it’s okay if it doesn’t work out.” It is in the process of trying that you actually progress through doing something creative.

Be prepared to toss your best ideas.

Now, go grab your pencil and schedule some creative time – and your sketchbook!

The Artist’s Way Helped Reveal My Purpose

I started the Artist’s Way to a New You 2020 Facebook Group in January 2020 as a way to keep myself accountable and create a place to stay on track. I am NOT a morning person. But… I had multiple reasons to do this challenge.

I’ve had lots of changes since the fall of 2019. Part of those changes included being an empty-nester, transitioning back to working at home, and newly married! Getting up early allowed me time to do my morning pages before I started the day and have a half-an-hour for devotional time and catch up life with my husband before he leaves for work.

This simple routine slowly transformed my vision and business goals. I had also been doing a weekly Art Coffee at the Maple Grove Art Center as part of my transition to this area. I was being led to start doing classes online, and when the Corona Virus “Shelter-at-Home” went into place, it pushed me to make the leap to pursue a certification for Therapeutic Art Life Coaching and launch the Global Art Café.

As I read the opening lines of Chapter 1 again this morning to start my second twelve weeks, now posting in the Global Art Café, I have a strong sense of new beginnings. I have worked independently, largely from home for nearly 15 years, so the “Shelter-at-Home” order is easy for me, but being an empathetic being, I sense a shift and hear my calling very loudly. The need for expression of what lies within us is stronger than ever. God said, “I have created you for such a time as this…” Esther 4:14 A time to lead – a time to change the lifestyle that had come before. This is that time.

People say one thing I do well is to challenge them, to make them think in a different way. To give them the nudge to go beyond their comfort zone. To feel the joy in doing something they had feared or not made time to do.

My challenge for myself – and to you, my audience as I write this today, is to ask yourself, whether it is to my God or yours, the Universe, whatever or whoever your higher power is, if you truly believe: “God created you for such a time as this, and He has a plan for you,” in every moment, every start of a new day, how would this change your days? 

Imagine living out your days with purpose, knowing you are living the life you were created to have!

Connect with Yourself and Others through Art-Making

Inspire Tags
Class participants showing off their INSPIRE TAGS at different Art Soul Living Workshops held over the past year.
Photo features happy participants in Art Soul Living workshops from 2018-2019

Hello, all. I am aspiring to blog more. Life and work is a constant process to improve on the day before. Today’s post is about what I have been building up to over the past year when I founded my new business, Art Soul Living.

Here’s an overview of Art Soul Living, its classes; and, specifically, the INSPIRE TAG, which is used as a foundational concept in my business.

In order to inspire the art within you, Art Soul Living classes provide an opportunity to slow down and reflect in a quiet, safe space that promotes the open flow of creativity.

Classes provide a time for self-discovery using mindfulness exercises and an exploration of a wide variety of art techniques.

The “INSPIRE TAG” was created as a way to connect with yourself and others through art-making.

A key element of the “INSPIRE TAG” is the use of affirmations as a way to empower, encourage and uplift one’s soul.

The “INSPIRE TAG” is a mini-canvas for you to express your inner-artist.

Why Art Soul Living?

I am passionate about art.  Whatever the medium, I am passionate about creating and sharing it with others.  I love teaching others to slow down and make time to tap into their inner creativity.  I feel it opens them up to be more of their “true self” by allowing creativity to flow.  Art is not a simple answer, it is a process of making – digging deeper, and getting into the flow.  The greatest reward is the “light bulb moment”, seeing the smile and knowing that a soul has been touched.  I find tremendous fulfillment in sharing my passions and in the knowledge that in doing so, I have positively influenced another person’s life.  I love helping others discover the joy of creating something and the realization that creativity is something they had within them all along just waiting to come out.

As in music, art touches the soul in a way that words and actions cannot.  Like unseen faith, art provides pleasure, bliss, joy, and happiness prompted from a source deep within.  I believe that creation can be a spiritual experience. These inner-promptings come from a higher place. For me, it’s called the Holy Spirit, the “one” who gives us talent and divine inspiration.

My passion at Art Soul Living is to bring people together, providing an open space to tap into that higher place where the participant can discover something new about themselves through the process of “making”. This can be refreshing, relaxing, even healing. It is whatever you need it to be. All of this is within you.  

Participant’s mini-vision postcards. The back have positive affirmations and notes written to themselves. Art Soul Living is about finding the art within yourself – messages that take time to dig a little deeper to find. I hope that you find inspiration in your life today!

Counting the days I’ve lived was an eye-opener

I felt like the day would never arrive. I’d been counting the weeks and milestone events as they came and went since June 17th, 2019 when Dean proposed to me on a lovely summer evening. We were married on Friday, September 20th, 2019 at 7pm in the Maple Grove Central Park Labyrinth. We had a beautiful, warm fall evening for our wedding. It was the two-year anniversary of our first date. After the wedding reception, the house was cleared out by 10:30 and we collapsed. The next day, with no big to-do lists and no company on it’s way, we lounged. I finished one book I’d been trying to finish and found another little book I’d been wanting to read….. “20,000 Days and Counting, The Crash Course for Mastering your Life” by Robert D. Smith. I finished it within an hour and told Dean he “had to read it” as a kick-off to our life together. We already strive to live our lives with intention and ways to grow, so this was a perfect little book to read.

I have lived 18,356 days. Dean has lived 18,205 days. 

The book challenged us to ask questions like, “One hundred years from now, what will you have left behind? What will your legacy be”? or “How can I accomplish more in one day than most people do in one year”?

In case you ever felt like you struggle alone, fear not!

The two years leading up to this happy moment above were full of both good times and bad, as it is with most people. Over this time, many things happened. Here’s a condensed version of events: July 2018: I closed my graphic design studio after nearly 15 years. It was time, but it was still hard. I wanted to do “more” with my passions in art and photography, maybe even get back to playing my cello! My daughter was struggling with a health issue and needed my full attention. I got off-track and it led me into 2018-2019 on a roller coaster year like no other – and there have been some doozies!

Over the past year, I went through multiple jobs to keep the bills paid and had times where I had to go to the food shelf to feed us. It was hard on both work and life, disrupting relationships while I struggled with my career. As the spring approached, I was able to move into a place of recovery in my relationship; while my work opportunities began to come together.

Once we got through the worst of it, Anna (daughter) graduated from high school, got her driver’s license, and then bought her first car! I got engaged to the love of my life. We had a graduation party for Anna. Dean (my beloved) completed his Masters degree and his oldest child, Esther graduated from college and started planning her move to LaCrosse, Wisconsin for her first job at the end of the summer. Then, during that time, Dean’s youngest, his son Ben found his wings and moved out on his own. Anna would be moving into her dad’s while attending college in the fall. Suddenly, life was sorting itself out. No time to think, we began to plan for our new life. We bought a townhome and began to pack for all of the moves. Anna, Dean, Esther and me, all of us had to pack up and move (and Ted the cat, too).

Oh, and I started a new job, moved to a new town and got remarried (which I said earlier). Third time’s a charm! More on that in another blog post! 🙂

So now what!!!??? We both want to travel the world. Dean wants to make an impact in the circles of education, I want to reach people through encouraging words and inspiration through teaching art, photography, music and other events as the Spirit leads.

Now, let’s go get living! See you out there – in the great big world –embracing life to it’s fullest!

“It is not the years in your life, but the life in your years that counts.” Aldai Stevenson (lived 23,900 days)

Where did Fat Cat Art Studio go?

Hello Everyone, I have had a long list of work and life changes over the past couple years. Life is a journey and I’m thankful for all of you who have been with me along the way!

In the the summer of 2018, I quietly closed Fat Cat Art Studio to pursue new directions. I founded “Art Soul Living” and “Your LAKEWALK” – both have been growing organically, creating a life I am more passionate than ever about.

As I have been building these businesses, I have been wearing many hats and meeting lots of great people around town. I recently moved from White Bear Lake to Maple Grove, MN, where I married the love of my life and started my new job!

Earlier this summer, I was asked to come on board at Avallo, a creative web development company as their Director of Creative Services. I am thrilled to be working for long-time colleague, mentor and friend, Julie Hamilton.

Inspire Tags are a Hug for the Soul

What a fun time we had creating Inspire Art Tags!

On November 13, 2018 I led my first official art experience making INSPIRE TAGS with a small group of women, including a young girl there with her mom, participants ranging in ages 8 to 70. Our class was hosted by Dr. Shannon McCarty of SOUL CHIRO, White Bear Lake, MN in her beautiful studio.

So, yes, I was a little nervous about this first event. It had been awhile since I’d gotten a group of women together to make tags and it was never about me teaching or presenting it as a craft so it felt very new and a little scary. It turned out to be fabulous. Everyone was receptive and really got into it. Each person made a very unique card for a special person or purpose. I really liked seeing what people chose to do. There was one that was done for their 12-year old son full of daily affirmations to hang on his backpack, another to inspire themselves to go after their dreams, another got in her “zen” zone to make a truly unique inspiring card, the youngest made a fun “funny” tag for her bestie with word cut-outs and lots of bling! The more seasoned artist of the group chose some of my favorite art cut-outs to pull together a ring of special tags – while another made a motivational tag for her husband to take to work every day and a tag for a friend recovering from cancer.

Inspiring others to create and watch them engage in this process to make such thoughtful pieces, inspires and encourages me that this is a worthwhile pursuit that many can benefit from. Taking time to create art has been proven to improve both your physical and mental health. Being creative makes you happier!*


“Inspire Tags” started as part of another women’s group I ran many years ago. This community was one of encouragement, with the opportunity to share “life” in a safe place. It was a way to connect with other women in the community and build relationships. We made cards for others in our community as we felt there was a need. Over the years, women collected a ring-full of tags that now serve as a reminder of the circle of women that surround us and build a community of support, love and encouragement, especially on the most challenging of days or seasons of life. My vision for introducing “Inspire Tags” to White Bear Lake is to create a unique way for women to connect. I’d like to see women of all ages and backgrounds find common ground. I love to see women building strong relationships while building each other up through kind words of encouragement, fostering a closer knit community.

Making an “Inspire Tag” lets us slow to down and enrich our lives in many ways:

• You are investing in yourself and the person you are making the card for. •  When you give your tag to someone, you have built another bridge to that person and strengthened that connection for the good. •  Creating any form of art is not dependent on a person’s skill or talents. It’s the process that gives stress relief, aid in communication and has also been shown to assist in stave off cognitive decline.

I hope when you receive an “Inspire Tag” that you consider it, a “hug for your soul”.

*Want to learn more about the benefits of making art? article source: “Make More Art: The Health Benefits of Creativity” by James Clear.


When I moved to White Bear Lake three years ago with my teen daughter, it was a fresh start for us. It has become a special place in our lives – becoming “our town”. We love being only a half-block from the path around the South side of the lake. Our daily ritual has become at least one walk (sometimes several) along the lake.

The LAKEWALK has become many things to me: a way to connect with my daughter, exercise, practice photography, and meet my neighbors.

Oftentimes, it’s a way to escape a long day’s stresses. My photos started as a way to do more photography and sharing daily sunrise photos I took on my way to work. People started telling me how much they enjoyed my posts on Facebook. I was encouraged and inspired to create more photography of the lake as time went by in all seasons – even in the biggest blizzard last year, I was capturing the white-out conditions wrapping the shore, barely visible.

This journey has developed into a new brand, LAKEWALK, featuring these photos captured over these years. It brings me great joy to have found a home and community excited to share in my walks through my art. My LAKEWALK series now includes photography, art cards, custom artwork. Soon, I will be adding products such as caps, tees, inspirational talks, and events to network and connect with others in the community. Another way I’d like to connect with you is to invite you to join me on a LAKEWALK!

Bring your camera, smartphone, strap on your walking shoes and enjoy some time along the lake with me.


You may preorder/purchase this 20” x 30” poster featuring 77 of my LAKEWALK photos.