Bonus Instrumental Ukulele Piece

I have composed a special Ukulele Expressions Holiday Etude in celebration and adoration of the winter sunshine we savor so much this time of year. This piece is in standard GCEA tuning and is played on the open strings with only your picking hand, just like the pieces that are in Ukulele Expressions – Illustrated Ukulele Fingerstyle Etudes for the Picking Hand.

You can download the PDF of Winter Sunshine below. I sincerely hope you enjoy your holiday season and enjoy every moment of sunshine and warmth this winter. (This piece is not in the book; it’s a holiday bonus!) View a special photo video montage, full of beautiful winter scenes, on the Ukulele Expressions YouTube channel here. Subscribe to stay up to date with new releases!

Sharing my Kalimba Song with You

21 Key Kalimba

I have been loving learning about the kalimba lately. While I have been practicing some songs and played a few all the way through, my real passion lies in creating my own music for it, much like I create my instrumental ukulele music for the picking hand. I started learning where the notes and chords were located and just played as much as I could. I have to take breaks often because my hand, but that’s when I work on writing down whatever it is that I just played.

If you’ve always wanted to play a musical instrument, the kalimba would be a great place to start. Creating melodies is very relaxing and therapeutic. It’s good for mindfulness practice and being present as well. I imagined clouds drifting apart here.

I am sharing my kalimba tab sheet from the song I created. I am new to creating kalimba tabs, so bear with me if there’s anything that needs adjusted (and let me know!). The octaves have all been marked correctly, I believe. This is for a 21 Key kalimba in the key of C.

I would love to know what you think of the piece. You may adjust anything that you wish or change around notes as you see fit. You can watch a video of it here on my personal channel where I post my practice, covers, and original songs for guitar, ukulele, piano, and now kalimba.

Drifting Clouds is available for a free download below.

Ukulele Expressions Has a New Look!

Sometimes, you just need to make some adjustments. And my cover was in need of a bit of makeover. I am so happy with this new cover I designed, highlighting the artistic nature of the book. The personality of the music and art shines through. The book with its new cover is now available on Amazon in Kindle eBook and Paperback at this link.

Launching Susan’s SideNotes Newsletter Soon

I would love to keep you up to date on future book releases, available song sheets, playing tips, and fun art content via Susan’s Side Notes, my monthly newsletter I will be launching soon.

Sign up today using the button below. I also have a separate page where you can sign up anytime as well. I look forward to connecting with you! By signing up, you will also receive Etude No. 6 – Spiderweb Lane, from Ukulele Expressions – Illustrated Ukulele Fingerstyle Etudes for the Picking Hand. This is in an alternate tuning of FCEA.

Enjoying Acrylic Painting…Finally!

This fall I have really embraced acrylic painting. While I have worked with inks before, acrylic paint is much different. I worked with oils in college and have just never felt very comfortable using acrylics. It’s interesting when you revisit a subject months or years later only to find out that your skills have changed because you’ve grown in other areas. I believe that’s what happened here. I’ve also found some great instructors online who share their talents and knowledge about working with acrylics.

I am a fast painter when working with acrylics as I paint using a “wet on wet” technique meaning I am applying wet paint on top of wet paint, allowing the layers to blend together. Acrylics dry extremely fast though so I have to be quick. I don’t use any extender or medium that prolongs the drying time as I feel that just confuses me and the canvas. I feel it’s better just to work quickly yet carefully. And on paintings that take a few hours to complete, I will occasionally spray a few drops of water onto my palette paper of paints. That helps it from drying out too much.

Currently I love painting landscapes and animals. I have always wanted to be able to capture an animal’s likeness. It’s not very easy to do and I find the biggest challenge is not putting too much of your own creative flair into the painting to the point that you don’t have that likeness anymore. It can be tempting though and it’s easy to get carried away when painting fur or feathers. You can get lost in it like a daydream. Instead I just try to stick to the reference photo while still painting in a very “painterly” style. I also love sunrises and sunsets as well as painting waves.

I have a Profile set up on Fine Art America. Here you can order prints, greeting cards, gifts, and more with my original artwork. I’m happy people can appreciate and enjoy my artwork from all over.

I’m also starting to paint pet portraits, something I have always wanted to do. Soon I hope to be accepting pet portrait commissions. You can see examples of my work here.

I look forward to seeing where this interest leads to. I have quite the decorated wall at home – it’s like my own personal gallery. It makes me happy to see my paintings hanging up. It reminds me of what’s possible when you really work toward something. It reminds me that it’s never to late to learn something new, and it allows me to enjoy beautiful scenes from the comfort of my home (which is helpful since it’s difficult to get out due to medical issues).

Read My Latest Article: The Simple Strategy that Helps me Manage My Medical Care on The Mighty

I recently wrote about managing your medical care and the benefits and how-to’s of color-coding and organizing your appointment notes before you go in to see your specialist. You can read it on The Mighty here. I do hope some of this can help you manage your medical care as well! (The Mighty is a digital health community that people come to for support, stories, articles, and tips to manage their chronic illness, mental health conditions, disabilities, etc.)

My Recent Articles Published on The Mighty on Chronic Illness

I have become a Contributor for The Mighty and have had two articles published. The first and most recent is The Power of Writing and Sketching About Chronic Pain and Illness. You can find that here:

The article How the Ukulele Brought Magic Into My Life with Chronic Illness can be found here:

The Mighty is a digital health community with over 2 million registered users who come to the site for support, stories, and videos. I have been an avid reader of their articles for many years so it’s wonderful to add my contributions. I look forward to writing more!

Shelf Talks Interview with Oleg Kagan

Recently, I was interviewed by writer, author, speaker, and librarian Oleg Kagan for his Shelf Talks series he created. He asked me five interesting questions based on the books on my shelves. This was such a fascinating conversation. This interview can be found on his website at the following link: Shelf Talks #7 – Susan – OLEG KAGAN

Ink Sketches for Wellness available now!

My new book Ink Sketches for Wellness – Poems on My Life with Invisible Disabilities is available now on Amazon in paperback and Kindle eBook. In this book I share my poems I have been writing over the last eight years and include a corresponding ink sketch for each one. It has been so therapeutic to write and sketch on the topic of my medical conditions. I hope others can laugh at the dark humor and possibly apply some humor to their own situation. You can read the full description on Amazon at the link in the pink button below.

*As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.