Tuesday, June 30, 2009

flower that loves the heat

This was a tiny little plant last year, a gift from Pamela. It came back beautifully this spring and now look at it. The heat is not phasing it a bit.

Monday, June 29, 2009


An online challenge for this week is to make some art with gargoyles. Well, how about GarGirls?

The challenge is on this site: http://artonthedarkside.blogspot.com/

Brothers and sisters

When brothers were given out, I got the prize! He called last night and we had a nice long visit. It's always good to catch up. He's off to learn more techie stuff today, hours and hours of it. I count on him to tell me what's new in the world of computers and other technical devices. Here we are way back when...

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Time Warriors

It's done. I didn't like the color of the figure on the right, or that the numbers showed over and through her. so, I painted her out in white gesso, then glazed over her again with the red acrylic glaze. I like her better this way. I didn't want the clock to be such a prominent image. This way it moves it back more. Then I also cleaned up some smudges and things I didn't like with the white gesso and worked the colored pencils over it and then the clear medium. Another change was to add the skeleton hands for the clock. You know how I love to use skeleton parts. I thought a simple title like Time Warriors would tell the story and leave enough to the imagination of the viewers. I cut the painting shorter to fit an empty frame. So, that's that. I wonder how I'll amuse myself tomorrow when it's even hotter.

Changes to new painting

Since it's so hot today, I'm staying inside working on this piece and watching old movies. One of these pics shows it with the brown column and the numbers have been glazed. I used indelible colored pencils, thinking they would stay light and not bleed like the water color ones do with the acrylic medium over it. But, I was wrong. It acted just like watercolor pencils. Intensified the colors, so they are much brighter than I wanted them to be. I also added the prayer book text blocks to cover the bad imprints from rubber stamp. The other picture is how it looks now. I painted out the browns in the columns. I also cut around the figure on the right so I could collage in a scan of the column from the book. When I did that it covered part of the text blocks, so I had to tweak them around to highlight them more. Then I found a fine point turquoise pen and started adding some faux text to the background and to the text blocks. And since I had covered part of #4 and #5, I had to redo them.

This reminds me what Roland Cheney taught in his art class decades ago, and it one thing that has stuck with me. Making art is all about problem solving. And it really is. How to get something to fade back. How to get something to pop. How to change something you don't like. When to know you are finished with it. Etc.

The right side of the figure is not attached and I may raise it a bit with little spacers. In the other raised hand, I expect to add some clock hands if I can find them - or will draw them in or collage. The story behind this piece is the power that control over our time gives us. It will probably be called "Time Management" or something like that. It started out to be a womens piece about I am woman, I am strong. Or something about not wanting to be on a pedestal. Maybe it's about aging. Hmmmm..... what do you think? Does it say anything to you?

Tweaking and playing around with new painting

The new painting is slowly changing and developing. Here is the way it looks this morning. i cut out a column from a book of Ruins and wanted it to appear as the figure on the right is emerging from the column. i was going to use the column, but instead decided to paint it. I should not say paint because it is watercolor pencil with clear acrylic medium over it. And charcoal. I tried to match the colors to the corrugated columns on the left - but now I'm not sure I like the match. I might change all three of them colorwise. I drew the little owl from a photo in the bird book and the clock stencil is going to be developed around the owl with colored pencils. I'll show this one as I go along. A few of you have mentioned you enjoy watching the progress. So far, I actually liked it better before I made all these changes. But, you never know. Sometimes something magic happens as you work on and on. Not always! That's for sure. But when it does, it's been worth every little paint stroke, and every little tweak.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Day on the Bay and an old fish tale

Matt is scheduled to do an endurance race on SF Bay this weekend. They will be on jet skis and traveling a course from San Leandro, out under the Bay Bridge west of Treasure Island, along the waterfront, up and around Angel Island, out under the Golden Gate Bridge and back. It is going to be 105 degrees here at home and he'll be out there with salt water and sea breezes. I'll be cooler just thinking of him there. It makes me wish I was young enough to do it myself.

Decades ago we used to fish the SF Bay, and I loved the area west of Alcatraz. Huge fish! Splashing waters, boats and seagulls. It was wonderful. Now, I can relive the memories of a special day when boats were tossing and vying for positions as we pulled in fish after fish, throwing back the smaller ones. There was a run of sardines and boats were trolling through it. The large mouth bass would strike at anything ! No one wanted to be at the helm because you might miss a fish, but it was so crazy with boats going every which direction, if you didn't watch out you could cross their lines, or run into someone. Thrilling. Exhilarating. It was a long time ago.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Reading labels.

We had a bad experience by not reading the entire label on some dog chew toys. They were called Puppy Nylabones. My thinking was that Buddy with his tired old mouth, would prefer a softer chew, so I bought them for the dogs. They loved them. I only let them chew them for about an hour, but they each had chewed off one end of the bones. They were all mad that I took them away, but I wanted to save them for special treats. I didn't think anything of it until the next day Nikki threw up, then Lulu. And in the mess were bits of the chews. The following day Buddy started to upchuck, and Nikki was still having little episodes. Buddy and I were up and down all night last night. I checked the package labels and on the back in normal size print were the words - Do not give to dogs with adult teeth. It did not say this on the front or have any warning about using it for older dogs. Now, I'm having to watch and make sure they pass all the bits, out one end or the other. And I'm worrying over something that would have been avoided with proper labeling. It's not enough to worry about where things are made, but also we must read the entire label to look for warnings or statements that are not obvious or prominent. The bones and all are in the garbage now. Be warned.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Turn in the Road - self revelation

Artist Friends - I had a mind altering experience. I've been working along on my assemblage pieces - and found to my great surprise that I really do not enjoy the process. It's hard on my hands, it's slow and tedious, the glues smell awful, the tools are difficult for me to use, and I'm throwing in the towel. I'm giving it up. All the stuff I've been hording for years to use this summer can now go to other artists who enjoy making 3 dimensional art. I emailed some of them already and I'm getting responses already.

When I had set aside the summer to explore this area of art, I had a feeling by Fall I would have had enough - never thinking for a moment that a week of it would have me itching to get back to my paints and altered books again. Whew! So, the Cirque will now be an altered book rather than a series of assemblages. That is dimensional enough for me. And it will be a joy to do.

You can't imagine what a relief it is to have made this discovery and know now what I can get rid of - and stop collecting. I'll probably buy things for friends that do assemblage - but I can stop collecting for me. Bring in the fork lift and dumpster!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Time to rid the studio of clutter.

How many times have I said I'd do this? And how many times did I just fill up every empty space again? My good friend Bobbi is now rid of her clutter, and harsh as it seems, how liberating it must be to have the empty space and room to create rather than just add to the clutter. So, now Sally is getting rid of a lot of her clutter. She is moving on to painting and collage from lots of other crafts and rubber stamping and things she used to teach. It's all going away so she will have room to work on her current interests. It's a good thing, right Martha?

Occasionally I look back at pictures of my empty studio when it was first built and wish it looked that way again. I am setting a priority goal to move things out every week. Get back to the work I love and not save everything I am given or collected. Taking in so much from my aunt's studio really put me over the edge, and I haven't stopped collecting since then. My basic paints only take a small space. My paper and canvases only take a small space. It's the extra stuff that I no longer use and will never use again - that take so much room. Mainly rubber stamps and stuff that I use for assorted crafts that caught my interest at one time or another.
Now, do I want to put them on Ebay? And have to wrap and mail them? Maybe I can get my 17 year old grandson to do that for a summer job. Hmmm...... He'd be doing me a great favor and he can keep the proceeds. And learn something in the process. Hmmmm....

And the assemblage stuff will be gone by Fall, used up or moved out. wow! won't that feel good? No more tripping over things and piling things on top of everything else. I can hardly wait. How liberating it will feel! And inspiring! Gotta stick to it this time. What makes it hard is - if I have my hands on art supplies, I make art.

Another digital play off the collage

My friend Jackie made a transfer onto an atc a long time ago, with a great image I saved - just in case. I used it two different layers, one behind and one on top of the collage - all converted to greyscale. Here's the way it looks today.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Entering art shows.

Even though I'm stepping back from showing my art for awhile - I urge my friends and followers to show theirs. You and I know that some of your art is amazing and show worthy. You don't have to wait til you are 70! LOL Go out there, be bold! And if your work is not accepted one place, try another one. When it gets to the right audience, it will be appreciated and admired. If we want our styles to become more mainstream - it's up to us to push it out where it can be seen.

playing with collage digitally

One of the ideas I had for this is to add columns behind the images. Photoshop and my photo files took care of it with some tweaking of brightness and contrast. Not what I had in mind but will keep for the present. One of the fun things nowadays is being able to play with your own art with photoshop. It makes it so easy to try changes and sometimes when it's on the screen, it's easier to pick out the flaws and things I want to change. Here are a couple variations. Of course these have the column layer on top of the figures. With paints and colored pencils, I can get a better effect with the columns behind them.

Bamboo tiles and other jewelry pieces

These were on my work table so I've been finishing some off just for fun. And for gifting my friends. There are a lot more of them. I had trouble stopping! too much fun!

A new collage started.

I did this a few days back, before I went to the country. I have been thinking about what I want to do next. I have some dynamite ideas but haven't settled on anything yet. I love the simplicity of the images. These are from the stencil I cut for the flag painting/collage. It was too cool to toss. I have a binder full of my stencils now, so can pull from it anytime.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Back from the country

We have been in the Sierras, for some quiet and fresh air. Between the warmth of the sunshine and a lovely little breeze - the weather was ideal. This was the first trip for Lulu, so I wasn't sure how she would take to it. She rode well and stayed in the back seat which is arranged with three little doggie beds across the seat. Usually they each pick one and stay there, but she is more restless and kept crowding Nik and Bud into giving up theirs so she could have it, then she'd change her mind and want hers back again. Everyone put up with her and eventually she settled down. At least this all happens behind me so it doesn't distract me from the drive. When we got there we immediately set out on a nice long walk so they could take care of their business and work off some energy at the same time. Once we got inside the deck enclosure, the leashes came off and she was ready to see inside. Nikki and Buddy showed her around and there was not an inch that didn't get sniffed properly. Then the girls had an all out rough and tumble wrestling match and we were right at home. They could bound from the couch to the two recliners and back without touching the floor. They tired me out! And since they had not slept during the ride, we were all ready for a nice nap. Later, I found a way to hook the leashes in the golf cart, so we could all ride together without them slipping, falling, or jumping off the seat. They were very secure and we set off for a ride around the park. We saw three deer and a squirrel that looked like it needed chasing, but they were restrained. Even Nikki seemed to enjoy the ride. The next couple days I spent reading, walking, doing artwork and visiting with friends. Gene made bacon for the dogs one evening while the rest of us ate hamburgers. He sure knows how to get a dog's attention. Cat and Gene used to have a black dog, same size and breed as Lulu. Blackie was a great dog. So they took right away to little Lulu. And Nik and Bud were already best friends with them too.

We had the park practically to ourselves. Maybe because it's Father's Day weekend, there was just hardly anyone there. It was blissfully quiet. The photos here are of the deck and my favorite reading spot. I am calling it a porch rather than a deck. It has that cosy porch like quality. Wouldn't you like to curl up there for a few hours with a good book? - or a nap?

Monday, June 15, 2009


Celebrating the 500th entry in blog, I'm putting up this little freebie for all of you. This is an altered cabinet card which shows the first ticket sold for the Cirque Noir. They are holding onto each other so they won't be scared.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Another cowgirl

I glued this little fabric bit and a scrap onto a little pillow ornament. I'll probably embellish a bit later.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

More cowgirls on the scene.

I started making a little tryptich for my friend Jill - and of course chose a Cowgirl theme. I included lyrics on the back from the song "We were the cowboys Too" written by her friend Linda Bilque, from Texas. We were riding around in her car one day when she pulled out the CD of this song and it was a special moment in time. I love the song, love the lyrics and love they way it made Jill light up.

The other piece is the finished piece the Valley Girls started for Bobbi. Bobbi is from Texas too. I think she'll like it.

New art

Before I got my work table cleared off - I thought I'd make a couple quick things while the paints are out. The face pic is something Roberta talked about, but mine came out totally different than what she described. Hmmmm.... I went wrong somewhere. The wild colored piece was done while the Carte de Arche was on the table and also the paints. Just wanted to play a bit.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Mixed Media Valley Girls

Our offshoot group met at Bev's in Modesto yesterday. We had a tour of her yard which is an amazing place. Her husband is into model trains, so there is a rail road track around the circumference of the 2 1/2 acre grounds. There is also a small village with smaller tracks and trains. A roundhouse, a station (all human sized) arbors, gazebo, etc. What a great place. They have lived there for more than 30 years so it is a reflection of the things they love.

We planned to make cowgirl paper dolls, but only Rosemary actually did that. Sally worked on a cowgirl collage, Nancy a shrine, Bev dyed a big filter with coffee, and I worked on a small tryptich that I'll show later. We then worked on a collaborative collage with a cowgirl theme to give to our pal Bobbi who couldn't be there. Here are some pics.

Amador City Wackos birthdays

The Wackos celebrated Nancy's and Cat's birthdays last Friday in Amador City. Our excuse was to go to the Great American Porch Sale, put on by Sandi of Country Living store. Her wonderful house has a wide wraparound porch filled with goodies, overlooking a wonderful garden tended by her husband John. Many of the little shops in town had joined in the festivities by putting things out on the walks - in little Mother Lode towns you can't call them sidewalks. Many are made of wood - or concrete. We all came away with a few bargains. I picked up an old book and half a big doll. Don't ask why! LOL

We had lunch at Buffalo Chips and they were ready for us with plenty of home made Apricot and Dark Cherry pies. Yummm.. And the hamburgers there are great too. The Wackos always have a good time, we laughed and joked and shared our art supplies and ideas. It was wonderful, as usual. How lucky I am to have such fun friends.

doggie update

I've been so busy with dog training and playtimes, I am running behind with posts, so will put up several today. First, this is Lulu at her first visit with the vet. He gave her a clean bill of health and everyone there in the office thinks she is chihuahua yorkie mix or another similar kind of terrier. I think this is spot on. The voice, the look, the personality - all the good things from both breeds. This is why I love mixed breeds. The best is what often comes through.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Summer of Assemblage

It's here. June 1st marked the first day of my Summer of Assemblage. I've put away canvases, papers, stacks of images and related things to devote the summer to assemblage. My mind is buzzing with ideas and images of things I want to create. I've been in the studio digging through drawers and boxes - finding all the little goodies I've been saving to use. This is the time to use it - or get rid of it. Way back in the 50's my brother, Bob , did a piece of assemblage art with an old washing machine. Maybe it runs in the family? Our dear little mother would not understand this at all. She threw away everything that wasn't being used. I save everything! Anyway, I'm looking forward to the new challenge of working with tools and glues and screws and wire. The Stockton Art League is having a juried show in Sept. My goal is to have something worthy to be shown by then. It's mostly play, but having a place to show it will be fun too. This is way out of my comfort zone - and if it were not for the workshop with Michael DeMeng I took last year, I probably never would have chosen to do this. Also I am inspired by Peggy Gatto, who is fearless -- her assemblages are imaginative, fun and funky. She has even altered matchbox cars. As a mother of three sons and having 4 grandsons, I still have lots of small old toys around. I could never throw away a matchbox car, no matter how beat up or broken it might be. I can see lots of possibilities to use some of the old stash. I also have a number of paints meant to make things look like metal that I have never tried. A secondary goal is to either use it up or get rid of it. This is going to be so much fun. By Fall I'll be ready to paint again and I'll have more room in the studio.

The photo is a little piece I did at the MDM workshop.

Dog news

Lulu (formerly known as Lola) is a kick. More of a Lupity Lu! She is adapting well, took right to us. Is now relaxed more and so her true personality is coming out. She had been trained at one time to sit, lie down, stay, and to walk at heel. At first she wasnt' doing these things, she was so hyper - but now that she knows she is in her forever home - she is calmer and doing her tricks. I have had to train her not to jump on me but to wait for an invitation to come onto my lap. First couple days she paid no attention to my pushing her off, she'd just pop right back up. But by yesterday afternoon - she had learned. Buddy had a few words with her when she tried to eat from his dish - I don't think she'll do that again. Mostly she ignores Buddy - she thinks he's a baked potato or a rock or something. Of course, that's the way he acts much of the time..... LOL Nikki is a different story. They wrestle, chase each other, Lulu follows Nikki around the garden like a little sister. They have even learned to play tug of war over shared toys. This is so good for both of them. But, when it's nap time, Nikki goes and snuggles with Buddy and leaves the other doggie bed for Lulu. We have been having a barrel of fun - except for walking on the leash. We need lots more practice with this. By next week, we should be able to have it conquered. Then we'll go back to the country for our long walks.

Mixed Media artists of Northern California

At Sunday's meeting, Pat shared her techniques for making ethereal looking pressed flower arrangements. She had a box full of her pressed flowers, ready to use. It was great. None of us have done this before, and are thinking of ways to use them in our art. We also shared whatever patriotic themed pieces we had made during the month. Our show and tell was good too, with many new things being shown. And one very welcome new member!