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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Four Little Angels

Just completed these mixed media angels. I saw something similar in Somerset Studios, by artist Lainie Taylor, and thought I'd try my hand. Details: faces from a cabinet card I collected, feet and hangers are beaded, ribbon tied in bow behind their wings, and a thiner ribbon for their waist, fabric for the "apron" , trims on hems of dresses, dresses made of hand-painted papers, and wings from wrapping papers or specialty papers.
It was a lot of fun collecting the materials for these ladies. I wanted bold, contrasting colors.
I sketched a pattern onto watercolor paper, and cut out sections for head, dress, arms, and wings. Then I glued various papers, fabrics, etc. onto the paper.
They're a little too heavy/big for the Christmas tree, but I have them hanging from a shelf.
This was my first one, and I hand beaded the hem here. These were so much fun! Like paper dolls times 100!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Today's Work: Hope 1 and Hope 2

This is done on a clayboard. I masked off the area of the plant that I wanted to save, and then texturized the rest of the board, with wood icing and molding paste. When dry, I used 4 colors of color washes, using fluid acrylics and smooshed it into all the crevices. When that was dry, I brayered regular acrylics across the whole thing, using 3 colors. Then I peeled off the tape to reveal the plant underneath.

It says to me: amidst turmoil and uncertainty, hope is pure and relentless.

This piece I owe to 2 people: April, who showed us how to use regular Rit dye to "explode" color onto watercolor paper a while back. And to my nephew Ryan, who posted this Emily Dickinson quote on Facebook earlier today. It seems I was saving this paper just for this specific quote.
I've always been a fan of Emily Dickinson, and the sun seems to be emerging from the storm on this page.

It felt really good to work in the studio today; I had been away far too long.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Queen Olivia, a crone of her own

Just completed this styrofoam head today. I had no idea what her name was until just now when I looked at her. She looks like royalty, ready for her afternoon tea. Her woodland crown lets you know that she is down-to-earth, She seems quite sassy to me; a crone of her own.
The head was painted, and then I carved words and doodles into her neck and painted those with a wood stain; it looks like they are carved into wood. I made the flowers in her head from tissue paper. Her crown is a twig wreath, adorned with painted leaves, silver balls, and silver sequins.
I "made up" her face with actual makeup, to see how it would look; then I painted over with fluid acrylics so it would stay. The false eyelashes I picked up at an after Halloween sale last year for 10 cents. (I just knew they'd come in handy for SOMEthing!) I really enjoy creating these heads for some reason.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Creative Spirits' Art Retreat

Our Creative Spirits' Art Group met recently to work on styrofoam heads and/or masks. Here, in various stages of completion, is our work. This one is my head. I applied modeling paste to her neck, and then etched in words. I used some wood stain that Carolyn had brought, to color in the words, and then painted the whole head. The words look like wood burning--an unexpected joy! I'm still working on her crown, and will post another photo when she's finished.
Mary is painting a mask and is going to mount it inside this wood frame that is actually a drawer. She collaged text inside the drawer. I can't wait to see this completed--very dramatic!
And here is Carolyn's head--doesn't he have a lot of character? I think he's going to take her in a new direction.
And here is Gai's adorable woodland nymph. She was the only one to complete her project, as she had done some work ahead of time. She purposely left the face rather plain, to draw attention elsewhere. What a charming personality she has.

It was another fun day at The Center. I just love absorbing the creative energy that results when we're all creating together!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

flying the nest

I've been watching these 2 baby birds since they were eggs in this nest. They're in the forest preserve behind my house, where I walk with Shasta in the morning. They are goldfinches--I know because mama was scolding me this morning for getting too close with my camera!
They will soon be ready to fly the nest. I so admire how this nest was built. It's only in some large reed-like plants by the water. And yet the nest has endured storms and high winds; it's solidly supported in the vee of this plant.
When they are ready, all they need do is fly across the pond to our backyard for some tasty thistleseed in our feeders. I'm sure mama will teach them that!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Lil Childrun

Here are my little paper doll children. I pieced these together from photographs, papers, and sight word cards. That was a lengthy process! Then I laminated them, and my hubby cut slits in wooden blocks to hold them for me.
They have such personalities! I'm really loving these, and am sure to make more now that they are finally completed. These will be in my art show Saturday.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Write it on your heart...

Just finished this collage yesterday. It's titled: Very Best. All the collaged text is taken from a very old typing textbook. Now I recall using a similar textbook in high school, while taking typing I and II. Remember the timings?! I loved that class and loved to practice my typing at home on my little portable electric IBM Selectric. That was top-of-the-line technology!
Here's a close-up of the focal point. One of the typing exercises says: Write it on your heart that every day is the very best day in the year. I love that. I keep getting drawn to black and white in my art. Which amazes me, because I'm a color-holic. But it's interesting to see the shades of color in black and white, not to mention the wonderful contrast.

And I just realized that the B in the collage can stand for: baby, boy, balloon, black, best. And I just chose the letter randomly. Must have been using my intuition without realizing it.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

countdown continues (to art show)

Another background that I made that seems to stand on its own. This is called "Cascading Thoughts."
Detail of Cascading Thoughts. You can see the layers better in this detail.
"I Want to Play" is more whimsical. I love this vintage photo of the toddler and the dog.
They both look a bit mischievous, I think!

countdown continues

Here's one I made many months ago; I just finally found a frame for it. It's difficult to find square frames! This is called "Again."
This piece is called "Songbird." As I'm looking at it here (why do they always look different to me in a photo?), it has a dreamlike quality. This graceful bird is flying to a new adventure.
Detail of Songbird. I'm lovin these colors together.

countdown continues

This one is called "Reach." I took a background I had made, and incorporated this cabinet card of a lovely lady. I have so many of these, and this one seemed appropriate for the theme. The colors are a bit unusual for me, but I really like them, especially in this burgundy frame.
Detail of "reach." I love how they used to print the name of the person in the portrait, on the card. Her name is Madge.
This one is named after the lady in the portrait, Lillah. She looks so dreamy and thoughtful; I wonder what she was thinking about...
Detail of Lillah. I think she's so sweet and feminine. I just had to put a flower in her hair.

the countdown begins

I am finishing up some odds and ends that have been hanging around, getting ready for my art show on Aug. 28. Lots to do! Here is a detail shot of the following piece, titled "Special." It started out as me just playing around, making a background, but it's so detailed I think it can stand on its own.
and here's the entire piece, framed. The colors and exuberance remind me of Hawaii, and I found this word in my stash. When we were in Hawaii, our hotel would hand out a Hawaiian "word of the day." It seems to fit.
Here's the detail of a piece titled "Light." It's a negative image of a photo I took of birds at the tippy top of a tree. I've always loved this photo.
And the frame is one that I recycled from Hobby Lobby's Clearance Aisle. I decoupaged over it with stained tissue paper that had been embellished. It has a real masculine feel to it, I think.
More to follow!!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Addison's Assemblage

Here is a little assemblage, created by my 4-year-old granddaughter, Addison. I came across it, after she had left. These are some of her favorite things to play with when she comes here--stones and "jewels" and shells--never toys!! I love it. I may have to use this photo in my art; so simple and innocent, yet so perfect. (And she would SAY that! "Perfect, Grandma!"

Friday, July 23, 2010

My First Assemblage!

Well, maybe not my first, but the first one that I feel is original and not "in a box." This is definitely Out of the Box! I've been perusing a new book by Annie Lockhart called "Objects of Reflection:A Soulful Journey through Assemblage." Her approach is one I can relate to, and I found that this piece sort of made itself, bit by bit. I did not begin with a theme in mind, but as it built itself, I could see that this was a story that has been wanting to be told for awhile.
I ran across this quote, and thought it perfectly represented what I was trying to convey. When I have a cup of tea, it's a little break, no matter how brief, from reality. It's often not even a conscious journey, but I can feel its calming effect nontheless.
This elegant lady reminds me how I feel related to all the women, past and future, who have a cup of tea in the afternoon. Her gauzy cloak evokes a dream-like quality to me.
The use of an actual teabag hopefully lends an aroma to the piece (I have no sense of smell, so I'm not sure). And the colorful paper erupting from the tea holder, and the spray of beads, add to the idea of the burst of flavor. (I do still have a bit of sense of taste.)
Although you can't see the whole spoon here, it is a beautiful gold spoon, which relates to the elegance of tea. The base of the banana holder is covered in metal that has been texturized, and it's all atop a metal valentine heart, evoking a sense of love. Atop the valentine is collaged postcards and writings, as I often have my tea while opening the mail. There is much more to this assemblage, but then that's the joy of it! Every time you look at it, you see something different.

Not sure what its title is yet. But it will come to me.

Monday, July 19, 2010


Here is a piece I finished today. It's the theme of my 2nd art show, coming up August 28. I feel that my art is in a transition period right now. I am exploring new substrates, new media, and different techniques, while adhering to my love of collage. This shows the cocoons on the left (fabric beads), text from the dictionary page that contains "transitions" and the emerging butterfly. It's difficult to see here, but the butterfly actually appears to be part of the canvas (because it is!).

The tape measure symbolizes the steps I've taken over the years. I'm pleased with the final result--after many layers, scratches, gessoing, and embellishing. My favorite parts are the window screen upon which the letters rest, and the charm in the upper right.

Hopefully tomorrow I can get to the printers to get postcards made.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Went to StampThyme today in Lockport. I go once or twice a year--and this is why! I spend way too much money. But you know, I just HAD to have these things. They will all add to my creative repetoire, right? Plus, I'm helping out the economy by spending money at an independently-owned store. OK, I've justified enough.

Here's what I got: A Compendium of Curiosities, book by Tim Holtz. It was just filled with great ideas and inspiration. Of course, it lends towards buying all his products, too. But I can use these ideas as trampolines to jump into other ideas. And a quick trip to the hardware store will suffice.

Also: Two 3-packs of minicanvases. At the store, they had a sample of a triptych of houses, hinged together. They were so so cool. And I'm still into this House Theme. I can think of a couple of ways to use them already.

Stamps: Two geometric-types that will be cool for all-over patterning or to add to a focal point. And a set of 8 birds plus 1 egg, that are very realistic. I love birds.

Tim Holtz's grungeboard alphabet set that has embossed stripes. They can also be used as stencils, masks, etc. AND Caludine Hellmuth's sticky-back canvas, just because I've read about it and I'm curious as to how I might use it in a collage.

Round metal circles in which I can place mini-collages. Tiny round irridescent stickers that I use for a variety of things (often on ATC's), and Tim Holtz's memo pins. You stick them into a base (or canvas, or whatever), and then you can put something within the split-ring circle, like the photo holders.

AND he wrapped my stamps in this lovely patterned tissue paper, which will also get used in a collage or two.

OK, I'm off to play!!!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Fence Art

I just finished these long pieces and wasn't sure what to do with them. What are they, you might ask? Well, when we installed new faux wood blinds in our bedroom, there were extra slats. I, of course, couldn't bear to throw them away, even though I had no idea what I might use them for. A few weeks ago, I decided to gesso them, front and back, and then they sat on my studio floor for a few more weeks. Then I had some leftover paints on my palette from a project, so I started playing around on the slats.
Before I knew it, I had a strong geometric thing going, so I continued with that vein. I ended up with 8 strongly-designed slats, resembling flag motifs. Still, I wasn't sure what I might do with them, but the flag idea got me thinking about outdoor possibilities. So I walked outside with them, and they told me they wanted to become part of the fence in my butterfly garden.
And so here is their new home. They really add a lot of color and interest. And of course, now I want to buy MORE blinds so I can make more of these for other sections of the fence! hmm....we could use new blinds in the bathroom, the laundry room......

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Companion Pieces

Here are two pieces I just completed. I bought these intact frames at HomeGoods, and they had an inexpensive plastic background with a photo of a leaf on them. They were on sale, and I liked the frames, as the center piece stands out from the matted background. So I disassembled them, took the center pieces out, and gessoed them after taping around the border to prevent damage to the matte.

While the gesso was still wet, I etched into it with a wooden skewer, which exposed the black background. Great effect! I then used Quin Gold, Quin Magenta, and Cobalt Teal in fluid acrylics, and just played around with them. The heart is collaged papers that I had on hand, also stained with Quin Magenta and other colors.

I'm happy with the results--cheery looking, I think. And I love that I have recycled something and given it new life. They are now hanging in my bathroom. Odd place for them, but they seem to belong there!