Black & White Show 2017

Image may contain: 1 person, textHaving it’s origin with Blue Moon Gallery, curator Carol Brewer has brought the yearly tradition of hosting a Black & White show with her to the Allied Ceramic Arts Institute (ACAI). With only black, white and grey tones able to be used, participating artists are challenged to create mesmerizing and striking pieces of work in mediums of their own choosing. This year, the show is being made up of the collective works of 30+ artists. From photography and painting to ceramics and sculpture, the creative works of art  are a delightful look into how two colors can have such a dramatic and captivating impact on the senses.

List of collective artists being featured for the annual Black & White show hosted by the ACAI Gallery:

A J Tudury, Alex S, Angela Yi Tripp, Anne Bradley,  Anthony Forster, Carol Brewer, Charles Shramek, Chris Max Thompson, Christine Capelle, Dana Bilello-Barrow, David Peterson, David Wilkerson, Dawn Star Wood, Dawna Johnson, Dita Lewis-Panter, Donine Wellman, Dorothy Champion, Gary Miller, John Brewer, Kitty Gerwig, Larry Klink, Linda Nunes, Marie Dixon, Mary Kercher, Mathew Glaisyer, Maureen Gilli, Natalie Thiele, Randy Won, Rebecca Jaggers, Rene Bershears, Robert Dovorak, Taylor Gutermute, Sid Wellman, Sue Anne Foster

Are you interested in seeing the show for yourself and are located in the Greater Sacramento Area? Well you’re in luck!

Artist Reception – Saturday, January 21, 2017 from 6pm-8pm

Show Continues – January 25th – February 11th 2017

Gallery Hours: Wed thru Fri. noon-4p,
Saturday 11am – 3pm or by appointment

ACAI Gallery & Studios
7425 Winding Way Fair Oaks, CA 95628
(916) 966-2453

Dawn Star Wood

Photo by S. J. Garrett

Today we have an interview with Dawn Star Wood, an artist in the Elk Grove/Sacramento area.

Me: So, when did you first start drawing and painting?

Dawn: Mm that is a bit of a tough one. If we’re going with when I first became interested in it, I would have to say when I was about 3 years of age when my family was stationed in Germany. While visiting one of the castles, an elderly woman who was one of the care takers of the location volunteered to watch over me while my parents were on a tour of the historical site. While in that short period of time under her care, she taught me how to draw and color. After that, I was hooked and wanted to know all I could. Professionally, I started my career a few months after graduating college in 2005.

Me: Did you always feel you were going to be an artist?

Dawn: I believe so. My earliest memories in school were teachers asking the various students what they wanted to be when they grew up. Of course there was the standard teacher/fire fighter/doctor/business owner type of responses but I was the only one who would say “I want to be an artist”. This would usually be followed by the typical “That’s nice but that’s not a job” or similar statements of “starving artist in an attic/basement” sort of things. Even in college, I was told that a person changes their major at least 5 times but I was determined to be an artist.

Me: Who were your biggest supporters in becoming an artist?

Dawn: I would say my parents were the biggest supporters of it, quickly followed by a handful of close friends.

Me: What are your standard mediums?

Dawn: My main medium is watercolors but over the years I have also started doing work in mixed media, ink, and color pencil.

Me: Why did you choose watercolor?

Dawn: To be honest, the original reason was because after college I was completely broke. At the time I wanted to experiment and discover my own style instead of what I was taught, didn’t have any money but had left over supplies from my classes. Slowly experimenting, I learned what worked for me and what didn’t.

Me: Do you have a favorite piece, or pieces?


Sultan’s Prize
Garden’s Bounty
Fate’s Red Line
Deep Old One
Live to Ride

Me: What’s it like running your own business?

Dawn: Challenging. Not only are you constantly producing pieces but with work commissioned by customers, you need to constantly make sure you and they are on the same page. There’s also the consideration of doing your own advertising, bookkeeping, keeping up on supplies, and keeping an eye on events. You’re basically doing the work of 5 or 7 different people as a single person. However, even with the constant highs and lows over the years, it’s a rewarding and ongoing learning experience.

S.J. Garrett


Today I have an interview with the local author S.J. Garrett. She has published several novels, including her latest book in the 3rd District Series, The Carmichael File. She previously published novels under the name Etta Jean.

Me: So let’s start at the beginning. Why did you start writing?

S.J.: Technically, I started because my ninth grade teacher made me. I honestly had no desire to write before that, though I was always a story-teller. I got addicted after that, however, and it just became more and more important to me until it was as essential as breathing. I started as a fanfiction author and then, when my skills improved, I moved to creating my own worlds.

Me: When and what made you decide to become a published author?

S.J.: It had never really crossed my mind that that was an option until I had people start asking me why I hadn’t been published. Published authors were in a completely different world as far as I was concerned. The idea that I could maybe make money doing what I loved? Mind.blown. I started submitting the manuscript for one of my novels about fourteen years ago. It took ten years before someone finally took a chance on me, and I have not regretted that decade of rejections at all.

Me: What was it like when you got your first rejection letter?

S.J.: Strangely, not that debilitating. I am a terrible pessimist in many ways. I went into the submission process with a realistic view of how hard/terrible the industry is, and so I wasn’t expecting everyone to love me out the gate. As nice as that would be. Hehe. It took many, many years before the rejections began to truly wear on me. I was on the cusp of giving up entirely when I got accepted. I guess things really do happen for a reason!

Me: I’ve read most of your books and you literally create new worlds, I’ve noticed. Even to an extent in your 3rd District series. Do you plan on writing any novels in the “real” world?

S.J.: If you mean “non-paranormal” or “non-fantasy” by “real” world, it’s always a possibility! Life is so mundane for me that I escape by creating worlds where magic is real, but if the right characters and setting come along, who knows what might happen? There’s a one-shot book sitting in the extremely early stages of conception that thus far hasn’t brought in anything paranormal, but that could always change. Seems like every time I try to find a conflict for characters to solve, someone decides that a fireball is the most direct route…

Me: If you had to pick a maximum of two genres for your books, what would those be?

S.J.: Fantasy and romance. Even my paranormal is fantastical, and romance is always one of the main components of anything I write–even in the middle of epic wars.

Me: Finally, what advice would you give to aspiring writers?

S.J.: Shut up and write. Sounds mean, but it’s true. Almost every time someone has said to me “I want to write a book”, it comes qualified with “but I don’t have time” or “I’m not any good.” Well, you won’t GET good unless you practice–just like any other skill out there–and even if you only write for five minutes a week, eventually that sucker is going to be finished. It doesn’t matter if it is terrible and only your eyes ever see it: YOU DID IT. You totally wrote a book. And if you find you loved the process, well, keep doing it!

Me: Alright. Thank you for your time.

S.J.: Anytime! Thanks for having me.

You can find her website at Just click on Shop to find her books, or click here. She also has them available on Amazon for both print and Kindle.

Tea Culture

Today I’ll be reviewing the tea cafe Tea Culture.


I passed by this cute looking place several times and always wanted to go in, so here I am. Today I’m sampling some green apple flavored oolong tea and honey toast with toppings.


As you can see from the tea menu there’s a wide range of ways you can have your tea, including variability in sweetness. I got 50% which seems to be perfect for me. The tea is steeped well, and you can really taste the tea, even though you have that green apple flavoring too. I never had flavored teas before, so it was an interesting experience.


The tea comes in a sealed cup so you have to pull the wrapper off the top, or you can just pierce the top with the straw. It is pointed on one side.

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What’s tea time without a little snack? From the menus above I chose Honey Toast with strawberry sauce, strawberries, and a scoop of chocolate ice cream. I figured I picked out a sweet drink, so a sweet treat would compliment that.


The strawberries were fresh and the ice cream was soft but not melting. It was also very creamy. The strawberries and ice cream went well together, but of course, that was my choice. The honey toast remained nice and crispy the entire time I was eating it, making for a very nice experience. And of course, the presentation was beautiful.


And finally, and I consider this just as important, the bathroom. Not only was it nice and clean, but it was pretty with a few flowers for a bit of decoration. I’m not sure how I feel about a large mirror being in front of the toilet though. You can’t see yourself in it, however.

Tea Culture isn’t open til 12pm, but it’s open til 11pm Sunday through Thursday and 12am Friday and Saturday.