Hi, I'm Crystal Marie!


I’m not here to teach you to make art. I’m here to teach you to use your voice!

My passion in teaching comes from discovering that my intuitive voice is simply the core, most authentic expression, of my own dang voice. Learning to tune in to listen to it has led me to create art, and a life, that is beyond what I ever believed possible.


+ Everything I ever wanted was on the other side of fear +

For the first 37 years of my life, I let fear determine my path. It was a true crash and burn experience, lovingly referred to as my long slow unraveling, that led me back to myself as an artist and a human being. Finally sitting down at the studio table after ignoring my creative yearnings for so long, marked the beginning of my healing journey, allowing me to fully own and integrate my stories as integral part of the woman I am, rather than hiding them from others in shame. 

Fear is a monster of a dream killer. Facing that thing can feel a bit like a game of Davy and Goliath. But not facing that thing is a guaranteed ticket to a life filled with more of the same. Standing up to it will stir up every single core lie that binds you. 

Is that where you are today? What an exciting place to be! Feel that fear and step off the cliff anyway.


Canaries were meant to fly!

Meet the team

Each member brings their own personal strengths and skill set to the table in a commitment to nurturing and fostering the creative seeds in others, while also pursuing their own creative growth, goals, and dreams.

Lisa Visel 

Lisa hails from the same Midwest town I grew up in, yet our paths did not cross until we met in Canary Rising many moons later. A talented artist and avid quilter, Lisa is a dynamo at keeping me on task behind the scenes; researching, developing ideas, and tapping into her experience in corporate management to take care of a hundred related tasks while maintaining the warmth of your closest sister. Lisa runs our Swap and Round Robins and has recently agreed to partner with me in expanding the State of the Studio Conversations into a series of video podcasts.

Christine Graf

Writer in Residence

Equal parts artist and writer, Christine brings her experience writing for a New York arts journal to the group with a monthly member spotlight article and we are all the richer for it. Reading Christine’s words describing the artist and the art is truly a transcendent experience.

Kim Printz

Canary Rising Group Moderator

Kim jumped in with resounding enthusiasm when I put out the call for moderator of the Canary Rising Facebook group, infusing us with her southern flare, and effervescent personality. With a successful mixed media background of her own, Kim brings an experienced eye and generous heart to her role as resident encourager.

Jan Avellana

Poet Laureate in Residence

Jan’s official role is Poet Laureate of Canary Rising, but to me she is accountability partner, believing mirror, and dear friend. Jan’s wraps her readers in a warm blanket, dips their toes into the ocean sands, and meets them in the exact place they need to be.

It is rising up my spine with a tingling sensation, this resolve I feel. Like an injection of cortisol, suddenly I can stand up straight and look that old constant companion fear right in the eye and thank it for its service in all of its failed attempts to keep me safe over the years. 

Misguided as it was, it wrapped me in the safety of its cocoon. Always watching out for the shoe that would drop. The repercussion for my imperfection to come. Always mindful of the curve in the road just ahead, lest I miss it in my carelessness and go careening over the side of the canyon. It locked me in and threw away the key knowing, like the silkworm, that I did not have what it takes to break myself free. 

But what it did not know about the silkworm and me, is that the darkness was not a place of hiding, it was a place of transformation. It was a place where very real and necessary changes were occurring away from the scrutiny of the ever present "They". As in "What would They think?" A place that silkworm, and my own being, were forming wings at the very same time that our insides were learning the truth that created the opening through which we would emerge. 

It's funny what can be accomplished in the dark. Where fear and awful lies sought to bury me, the truth was doing its work to set me free. I didn't need to run myself ragged trying to find it. It was always there. 

Always had been a part of me. 

~ Crystal Marie, Blog excerpt, 9/20/2020”

Our Gallery

Let Your Heart Speak

Let Your Heart Speak covers three very distinct techniques; magazine transfers on a gel plate, the art of collage, and painting with encaustic wax medium.

Each lesson gives you the skills needed to produce beautiful works of art from that one technique alone, but the class is designed to work in succession to create a project that combines them all. 

Does it go without saying that my approach is intuitive? In this way, your heart begins to tell its own story without the need to be overt or overly concerned if the viewer experiences the final work through the lens of their own life experiences.

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