A sacred call stirs
in my heart.
I sing of the love
in all things,
of the peace that comes
with each breath.
This song is my way.
Each stroke of my brush
and word on the page
dedicated to the
I've had a deep interest in spiritual traditions and ways of peace since early childhood. In 2nd grade, I visited numerous churches and temples to find one that suited me. In the end, I decided to make up my own. I would rise early Sunday mornings, set the table for the family brunch as an act of service, and then go on a nature walk around the block, admiring the tree, flowers and plants, ants, spiders, and all.
Over the years, I've explored and attempted to incorporate various spiritual teachings in my life. In 1994, after a powerful nighttime dream, I became enamored with Tibetan culture and wisdom. The Tibetan ways of peace and their unique culture became dear to my hear and soon I began work on my first children's book, Tibetan Tales for Little Buddhas. I've now devoted over fifteen years to writing, painting, and teaching about Tibet and its mystical wisdom.
Nature is another big theme in my life. From girl scouts, to backpacking in the Sierras, to living in places of natural beauty, I've been nourished by nature my whole life. My first big painting series was of the Temperate Rain Forest which I called Art for the Ancients. I hope to return to nature themes in some of my creative projects in the near future.
For more on Naomi, see Published Essays
One of my greatest joys is being with children. They seem to get a lot of joy from me, too. Over the years, I've developed various programs and art projects for children that introduce the Tibetan culture and the simple ways of peace and kindness. Their delight in learning about another culture and in experiencing Tibetan art, chants, and peace never fails.
For more information, see Naomi's Programs
Service has always been part of my spiritual path. Along with my art, books, and teaching, my husband, Robin Weeks and I sponsor Tibetan refugee children in India. Their sponsorship helps to meet the basic and educational needs of the children.
If you'd like to learn more about this program, email me at
Naomi is currently enrolled in the Master of Fine Arts Program in Illustration at the Academy of Art University. She received her Bachelor's of Fine Arts Degree from the Northwest College of Art in 1998 to add to her Associates Degree in Visual Communication (1996). She received the Freeman Continuing Scholarship in 1995.
Naomi studied the art of writing throughout her life by attending classes, workshops, and writing groups. She is a long-time member of the Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.
Exhibitions and Publications
Naomi has exhibited her work in galleries and other venues in the United States and England. Notable solo exhibitions include Peace Wind Gallery in Santa Fe, and The Playhouse Gallery, Bainbridge Island, Washington.
Along with her books, her artwork, essays, and stories have appeared in various publications, including Bodhi Magazine, Santa Fe Sun Monthly, SCBWI Bulletin, and Real Kids Magazine. Notable Exhibitions
Writing and Illustration Contributions
About Creating Books
Creating children's books is a perfect art form for me. I love the interplay between words and images. And I love the opportunity to offer ideas of peaceful wisdom and joy to children and adults. When I put it all together into a meaningful book, it's very satisfying.
I work on several paintings at a time. In this way, I allow the paintings to inform each other. Whenever possible, I work on the paintings in the midst of polishing the stories. At those times, I become immersed in the world of the book on numerous levels. To achieve another level of immersion, I keep my studio full of books and images of places and people from Tibet. And I play Tibetan chants while I work. In this way, I hope the essence of Tibet finds its way into my work.
For each painting, I transferred rough sketches onto the canvas board using tracing paper or a projector. Then I painted a complimentary color scheme to map out the major areas of color and contrast. I used a lot of complimentary color combinations to create vibrancy and lighting. Many times the complimentary color may no longer be seen in the finished painting, but it's there underneath impacting the visible colors.
Working with acrylics allows me to experiment as I paint, to let the painting lead me. I also use the wet-on-wet approach, mixing many colors on the canvas to invite interesting mark-making and a gestural look.
To keep the book interesting to readers, I vary the lighting, perspective, and composition from painting to painting and carefully plan the book's layout.
View Naomi's book illustrations
About Writing Tibetan Tales
The inspiration for Tibetan-themed children's books began in 1994 when I first became a student of Lama Surya Das, a teacher of Tibetan culture and wisdom.
In Tibet, wisdom tales have been passed down for centuries through the oral tradition from teacher to student. One of Lama Surya Das' teachers suggested that he write these tales in English so that they may be of benefit to students in the West. This resulted in a wonderful book of Tibetan tales for adults, called Snow Lion's Turquoise Mane.
In an early conversation with Lama Surya Das, I told him I wanted to create children's books. It was then that he passed the baton of the teaching tales to me. "Why don't you turn some of the tales from my book into tales for children?" he asked. "Then the stories could be of benefit to children as well as adults."
His suggestion fit perfectly with my personal motivation to be of benefit. I had become enamored with the Tibetan people and I wanted to do what I could to help preserve and share what was left of their sweet and peaceful ways.
When working on the tales for each book, I have to modify the adult versions to make them understandable to children in our culture. As I do these modifications, I give time to allow my understanding of the essence of each tale to deepend.
About the Art for the Ancients Series
The first time I walked among the trees that grow in the Pacific Northwest Rainforests, I knew I was in sacred territory. Here was a whole system of life that had been untouched for centuries. It reminded me of the great peace in leaving things as they are. I walked with respect and reverence. When I left, a part of my heart remained there in the wet ground and wild mosses.
As an artist, I paint what is sacred to me. I painted this series with the intention of providing a window into these unique, magical, and healing environments; to inspire others to live with care in how we use our resources; and to encourage us all to value these powerful places on our earth.