Monday, January 31, 2011

"Blue" - Digital Collage

The medium of digital collage fascinates me and I'd love to spend more time playing with it. It's so different from my paper/mixed media collages in that I can create without getting my hands dirty. In fact, I can create a digital collage in bed. It's created completely on the computer. And then, if and when I hit upon something I really like, I can print it out on watercolor paper and maybe even add other collage elements to the printed piece. The possibilities are endless.

I'll be away from my studio for a little while, so there's a good possibility I'll be playing with this medium for the next week. Or maybe not; we'll see where the mood takes me.

(And Connie R., if you're reading this, I'm sure you recognize the sculpture! ;D)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Three Sunflowers - Mixed Media Collage - 20x20

The sunflowers are finished at last!

Here is a side view showing how the image wraps around the sides.

And here's a re-cap of the steps toward completion of this piece. 

I think I'm going to stick with this floral theme for the show at Yellow Springs, at least in my four major pieces. Hmmm... what flower should I do next?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Upcoming Shows

I have a few shows coming up this spring for which I've promised to keep you updated regarding dates.

The first exhibit is a solo showing at Flickerwood Wine Cellars Tasting Room in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. The exact address is 116 West State Street. The opening reception is scheduled for Sunday, March 27 from 3-6 pm and will feature a wine tasting of six varieties from the Flickerwood Cellars. The following Friday, April 1, Flickerwood will also participate in the Kennett Square First Friday Art Stroll - hours are from 6:30-9:30 pm with live music and a beach theme, and I will be there as well. My artwork will be exhibited through Friday, April 29. If you've never been, the Wine Tasting Room is very quaint and situated right in the heart of charming downtown Kennett Square.

For more information, the Flickerwood website is: Tasting Room and you can follow them on Facebook: Tasting Room on FB

On April 30, the Art Show at Historic Yellow Springs in Chester Springs, Pennsylvania opens where I'll have 32 pieces of original artwork on exhibit  (different from the artwork at Flickerwood). There are about a couple hundered artists who participate in this show and it lasts through Sunday, May 15. Their website is as follows, but it hasn't yet been updated to advertise the spring exhibit: Yellow Springs Art Show

Lastly, the gals in The Artsy Girls Guild (TAGG) and I will be exhibiting together in an ensemble show titled "Animal Crackers" in May at the Oxford Arts Alliance in Oxford, Pennsylvania. I don't have the exact dates for this exhibit yet, but I'll let you know as soon as I find out. FYI, their website is: OAA

So, that's the skinny. I'll post all of this information on my website shortly. (Sigh) It's been a long while since I've updated my website and it's not going to be an easy task, but it has to be done ASAP! Wish me luck.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Moving Right Along

Unfinished Mixed Media Collage - 20x20
Added stems and leaves and glued everything down. Once again, the parts of the flower petals and leaves that appear to be cut off are actually folded over on to the sides of the canvas. No framing required.

Since this photo was taken, I've added some bugs and gold splatter and I've begun the process of varnishing.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


New and Improved Sunflower #2
Here is the new and improved "Sunflower #2." Although the original concept of using a patchwork type of paper for the petals wasn't all bad, it just didn't "read" well from a distance. (See photo below.) 

Sunflower #2 before the "Facelift"
And I wasn't too crazy about the center either. And then it was fighting "Sunflower #1" for attention. And while they were duking it out, little "Sunflower #3" up at the top was yelling, "Look at me! Look at me!" and that was just throwing everything off balance. It was wholly calamitous and why the  second flower just had to be re-worked.

Things are much quieter in the studio now, and I can proceed with stems, leaves, bugs, etc. in relative peace.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Taking a Step Back

Unfinished Mixed Media Collage - 20x20
After studying yesterday's photo, I realized that Sunflower #2 was not making me happy. This posy will have to be re-worked and made to behave before I can go any further. Major deconstruction took place this evening.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


Mixed Media Collage - 20x20 - unfinished

Small baby steps in the right direction.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Enveloped in Ogura Lace

Under Construction: mixed media collage - 20x20
 I wrapped the entire canvas in lilac ogura lace. You can see all the layers through the many holes in the paper and the lilac creates a wonderful glow.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Subdued with Kinwashi

Under construction: Mixed Media Collage 20x20

Added a layer of ivory kinwashi paper over the top of the glued on scrap papers.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Organizing the Mess

Mixed Media Collage - 20"x20" - unfinished - unnamed

Got the scraps glued into place on the dioxazine purple toned canvas.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Another Fine Mess!

Mixed Media Collage - 20"x20" - unnamed, unfinished, Heck! unbegun
And so, we begin again...

Friday, January 14, 2011

"Irises" - Mixed Media Collage - 16" x 20"

It is finished! And I submitted the jpeg just in time for the show catalog. Thanks all of you for hanging in there with me and cheering me on. It was a rather scary piece for me because typically when I work this large, I draw a detailed design of the piece first, then use that design as my template. This piece; however, was completely "design as I go." I felt a little as though I was free falling.

The final steps for this piece included outlining the petals, buds and leaves with metallic gold fabric paint and adding the beards by using extra course pumice gel tinted with quinocridone gold acrylic paint.

The flowers and leaves, which appear to be cut off on either side of the piece are, in reality, wrapped around the edges -

Just for fun, I've recapped the steps below.

Step 1 - Canvas is tinted with Prussian Blue acrylic paint

Step 2 - Random scraps of paper are glued to canvas with soft gel medium
Step 3 - A sheet of Kinwashi (transparent Japanese rice paper) is layered on top of the scraps.
Step 4 - Ogura lace papers (Japanese) in yellow and green are added.  
Step 5 - Added randomly positioned strips of marbled Momi paper.
Step 6 - Created iris blossoms from various papers including a shopping bag from a gift shop (3rd iris from left)
Steps 7-11 - Made stems, leaves, buds, bugs, and glued them all together - then splattered with metallic gold acrylic paint (my own special blend)
Next came layers of varnish - two in gloss, two in matte. The varnishes permeate the layers of paper, adding luster and sealing them. This protects them from dirt and UV rays as well as seals off any acidic properties that may be present.

Then I added the final details for the finished look at top.

It was a lot of fun, but now I need to move on to the next composition.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Steps 7 - 11

Unfinished, still unnamed, mixed media collage 16 x 20

It's coming together and I'm feeling encouraged. I took this photo after I splattered the metallic gold wash but before I started applying the varnish. I typically apply 3 layers; two gloss and one matte, and more if needed. I love to watch the varnish interact with the papers. Some papers become more translucent; others become deeper and richer in color. Some will bleed if I'm not careful and sometimes that bleed is desirable. I've come to know what to expect from each of the papers, but sometimes I'm surprised. And I'm always delighted to watch the transformation.

Once the varnish has dried I need to go back in and add textural details. I'm still going down to the wire.

Steps 5 & 6

 I'm further along than this, but I need better lighting before I can capture my recent progress.
Step 5 - One more addition to the background

Step 6 - Separate components which make up subject

Monday, January 10, 2011

Universal Truths

Digital Collage

"Universal Truths" is now available as an iGoogle desktop theme.

Step 4

Unfinished and, as yet unnamed, mixed media collage - 16x20

The deadline is this Friday... which means I have to be finished by Thursday night. Can I do it?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

"Drizzles" by Artist Susan Roden

In the past 18 months that I have been utilizing social networking, I have met the most amazing artists online. Their collective talents awe and inspire me and I love to share their work with others.

Susan Roden's work has recently come to my attention. First and foremost, I find her use of color wonderfully unique and energetic. Her paintings come alive. 

Today, the image above popped up on my computer screen and again I was struck by Susan's use of color. But what really captured my attention was the way she used those wonderful colors in depicting the cupcake paper. What a boring mundane thing a cupcake wrapper is in real life and look at the character Susan has bestowed upon it.

And for me, it brought home a significant point and that is, as painters, it is not incumbent upon us to depict the world as it really is. That's the job of photo journalists. As painters, it is our duty to feature the world as it should be; as we'd like to see it, or as we see it in our mind's eye. It is our duty to give beauty and charm to the homely and not so charming. To bring color to a colorless world.

And, Susan Roden does that spectacularly!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Another One Bites the Dust

 I got sad news today in the mail. Studio 432, the gallery in Perryville, Maryland, which has represented me for the past couple of years, closed its doors on Christmas Eve. The news was made bittersweet by the inclusion of my last commission check. Oh, how I'll miss that funky, colorful converted church and all the eclectic, creative artists who exhibited therein. 
What makes it worse, is that on that same day, Christmas Eve, Thistles, the gallery which has represented me in Lewes, Delaware for the past three years, closed its doors, too. 

So, for the first time in many years, I find myself without gallery representation, and I think I won't be looking for any either. I believe we've come to an end of an era. I've been watching little individual galleries close their doors, one by one, for the past five years now. And I've been reading the predictions of their failings in trade magazines for a long time.

So, most likely, I'll be immersing myself into e-commerce and selling my artwork through Etsy or whatever else is out there. I'm sighing deeply as I write this, because I loved having someone else doing the promoting and selling. I loved being the "star" of special gallery exhibits and I truly loved the relationships I developed with the gallery owners who all became very dear friends of mine. 

And it's sad to see galleries disappearing from the retail market. Art viewed online is nothing like seeing it "in person." Its very tactile quality disappears on a computer screen. 

I don't know what the future of my art sales looks like, but I do know this; the closing of the galleries will not prevent me from creating more art.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Melted Crayons

I've always been a fan of Crayola crayons. (Yes, I was the kid in school who had the 64 pack with the sharpener in the back.) A few years ago I had the great fortune to participate in a Trashy Women workshop and my friend, Jo Pinder, showed me some interesting things to do with crayons that I couldn't wait to try with my new metallic fx collection.

It begins with an electric frying pan. You pretty much need to dedicate a frying pan to your studio; it will become covered in baked on crayon. Turn it on to warm; it doesn't need to be any hotter than that. Place a piece of paper in the skillet and begin marking it with crayons. The crayons will start to melt as it comes in contact with the warm paper and they will glide across the surface. I find it useful to incorporate a chopstick to keep the paper still.

You can use pretty much any type of paper. This particular piece of paper came from an old atlas, but I've used sheet music, newsprint, Thai unryu... you name it.

I'm loving the sheen of the metallic crayons on the paper. 

Next I use a cheese grater (yes, you're right, this needs to be a dedicated art studio cheese grater) and I grate complementary colors on top of the paper. The shavings melt when they come in contact with the warm surface. Sometimes, to help the melting process along, I'll smash the shavings with my chopstick.

Once the paper has cooled and the colors have set, you can use it in a collage; either "as is" or  cut out in shapes such as my "circle of crabs." 

Have fun and remember to turn the skillet off when you're finished.