Painting makes me a better writer and writing makes me a better painter. This is what I know.

I love organic green tea, dark chocolate, poetry (especially Japanese forms in English), art and crafts especially mobile art to which I devote much of my time and experimentation.

When I was in my mid twenties I wrote PURPLE, my first poem ever, after years of thinking I wasn’t creative. Now this poem has circled the world like a chain letter and has been published in many venues including the first edition of Chicken Soup for the Soul and Dr. Bernie Siegels LOVE MAGIC AND MUDPIES (Rodale Press).

I love collage, mixed media, encaustic wax, and drawing from the soul. I’ve learned more taking on line webinars from artists than I ever did in a classroom. While I work at the easel, I am fond of my iPad Pro where many of my dreams are born.

I’m a licensed acupuncturist in Arnold, Maryland where I also do nutritional counseling. Balance is the key. Working with patients is a humbling experience but so is art. Art making is a journey–and it can be a frightening one because when we paint or draw we’re constantly
bumping up against obstacles that we think we can’t overcome. Instead of retreating into a cave, and thinking I can never make a drawing or painting work, I forge ahead and surrender to the Muse.

I was born in a small Slavic town in Southwestern Pennsylvania. My grandparents were from the Ukraine and Russia, my maternal grandmother was from the same village as Marc Chagall who once wrote, “I work in the medium that likes me.”  I was fortunate to have lived in Northern Italy for several years in the 70's where I got to travel around Europe and North Africa, including Moscow and St. Petersburg. Going back to my roots was an awesome experience because all the faces I saw on the streets looked like people from my family.

Since my late twenties, I have been publishing haiku and related forms in journals around the world. My work has been widely anthologized and I’ve won many awards including Grand Prize in 2007 from the Kusamakura Annual Contest where my husband and I traveled to Kumamoto, Japan for the ceremony. We then spent 10 glorious days in Kyoto, the highlight of both our lives.

If you’re interested in purchasing my art, please visit my online shop.


In first grade Mrs. Lohr
said my purple teepee
wasn’t realistic enough,
that purple was no color
for a tent,
that purple was a color
for people who died,
that my drawing wasn’t
good enough
to hang with the others.
I walked back to my seat
counting the swish swish swishes
of my baggy corduroy trousers.
With a black crayon
nightfall came
to my purple tent
in the middle
of an afternoon.

In second grade Mr. Barta
said draw anything;
he didn’t care what.
I left my paper blank
and when he came around
to my desk
my heart beat like a tom tom.
He touched my head
with his big hand
and in a soft voice said
the snowfall
how clean
and white
and beautiful.

—Alexis Rotella