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About Me

I'm Natasha

Hello!  My name is Natasha and I believe that beauty is all around us.  And when we are in the throes of pain and frustration, the best thing to do is get out of our heads and look around.

There is beauty in weather and light, beauty in small flowers pushing up through cracks in the pavement, beauty in the birds that hang out on the patio.  And that beauty has the power to shift our perspective and focus away from whatever was bothering us… to the joy that pulses through all living things (and many wonderful places as well.)

My mission, which I choose to accept, is to celebrate the awe and wonder I feel when I see beauty all around me and share it through the lens of my art. I hope it inspires you to reclaim your authentic joy and create ripples of happiness…

However, I did not always accept my mission. I was always a creative child… whenever I fell in love with a subject, say, ancient Egypt, I read all I could and then I created elaborate funerals for the lizards my cat killed complete with tomb art and my own version of hieroglyphics…. when I fell in love with Medieval history, I turned my jeans into embroidered tapestries of castles, dragons, unicorns and princesses… I went through a horse phase and drew horses on all my notes and homework… but when I was ready to go to college, I knew I had to “get practical” and do something that would “earn a living and provide health insurance and a pension.”  I had no mentors supporting my artistic dreams, and lots of naysayers who told me to face reality.

My high school self -- played violin in the school orchestra, was the newspaper editor and photographer, embroidered my blouse and already had a coffee habit...

So I tried to be practical. But as a deeply artistic and sensitive person, that didn’t go so well. I ended up majoring in International Studies at Earlham College (for the impractical reason of being able to study in China on an exchange program in 1984, the second year foreign students were allowed in…)   thought that with my experience as an announcer and producer for our local Public Radio Station (I had a few shows, and produced a recorded show featuring children’s stories — splicing tape and overdubbing music…those were the fun days when radio was truly hands-on!), I would be a shoo-in for any entry-level position in public radio.  But that was not the case.  And with a huge student loan, I took whatever jobs I could… and tried to be practical.

We moved around a lot for my husband’s work. And I did a lot of jobs… mainly secretarial.  Always the creative one in the office.  Always in a band outside of the office. Doing all kinds of side projects and crafty things. 

In 1997, my husband gave me a henna kit for my birthday… and the designs looked like the doodles I already did… and I became obsessed…It grew into a side business… and in 2011, it became a full-time business.  Then I had to look for a new hobbies (since my henna hobby had become my full-time job) and I returned to mixed media art and collage, things I had enjoyed as a child.  I took online classes (from the Inspiration Place, and Paper Paintings, among others.)  I fell into a group that exchanged postcards once a year. My art blossomed as I began to share.

In 2018, the Port of San Diego took over the reins of Seaport Village where I had run a body art kiosk,and that was a convenient time to shift into freelance henna which gave me time to focus on my collage art.  And the pandemic of 2020 really solidified my commitment to  sharing my vision of wonder and beauty through art. I hope you find my art inspiring and that it brings joy wherever it is in your home.

My art business has been designated as a "Trusted Art Seller" with The Art Storefronts Organization, which means you can shop with confidence, and know that I stand behind the quality and value of my products.

Doing plein air collage at the San Diego County Fair!

What’s in a name?

Papousek.  It’s long, Czechoslovakian, and hard for most people to pronounce. Not even my Czech-speaking grandparents pronounced it correctly, and they didn't teach their children how to say it properly, either. But I kept my family name even though  it comes with baggage and obstacles, mainly because I am stubborn. It never occurred to me that I'd start a business.  Most artists name their businesses after themselves… but in the US, outside Iowa and parts of Texas, that just didn’t seem like a feasible choice to me.

So I decided to name by art business: Poppyfish. 

Why Poppyfish? you may ask… The state flower of California is the California poppy and the state fish is the garibaldi.  When we first moved to San Diego, we went snorkeling in La Jolla Cove. I put my face in the water and saw a dozen round orange fish.  They looked like poppies!  I called them poppyfish, and later learned they were garibaldi. Many years later when I was searching for a unique name for my business, I remembered my nickname for the state fish… and voila!  Poppyfish Studio.


I am inspired by the beauty of the world around me: my cats, my friend's dogs, the birds at the backyard feeder, local flora and fauna.  Finding joy and delight in the small things fuels my desire to create and inspire others to reconnect with their joy, creating ripples of happiness in the world.


I start with an underpainting of my subject that becomes the roadmap or guide for the collage.  I paint various types of paper, including ephemera such as old maps and sheet music, handmade paper (sometimes incorporating pet fur), and commercial textured paper. That paper is ripped up and glued onto the underpainting until I have a finished collage. The process can take weeks to complete and is very much like putting together a puzzle.

career highlights

Small Image Show: January 2017, January 2018, January 2020

Reigning Cats and Dogs Show: 2007, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020.  Honorable Mention in 2020

Juried into Spanish Village Arts Center, 2019

Juried into Southwestern Artists' Association, 2019

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1c crunched snajej

Trusted Art Seller

The presence of this badge signifies that this business has officially registered with the Art Storefronts Organization and has an established track record of selling art.

It also means that buyers can trust that they are buying from a legitimate business. Art sellers that conduct fraudulent activity or that receive numerous complaints from buyers will have this badge revoked. If you would like to file a complaint about this seller, please do so here.

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3c crunched udpkob

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