Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Digging out from the storm....and in between, working in my art journal....

Art Journal
The View from my Window
This is in my 9 x 12 Dylusions journal. 
 Inspired by the snow storm.  

Winter at Night
Acrylics, tape, molding paste, stamps, glitter

This is just a different view of winter.  Perhaps these paintings illustrate the two sides of my Gemini personality.....Unfortunately, you can't see the sparkles in the trees and in the snow because the camera doesn't capture it.  The molding paste pattern is my favorite part of this.  A colleague of mine at work loves to bake and at Christmas, she gave us all a little box with cookies in it and the box had this cut-out cardboard piece that was part of the box.  I saved it and used it for the pattern you see in the snow.  Pretty cool.  

Saturday, January 24, 2015

De-stressing and Distressing!

I've come to a conclusion this week....and my feelings were re-affirmed by a friend I took a workshop with quite a few years ago now...taking classes stresses me out!  She was feeling the same way.  Perhaps having a weekly challenge is too much.  And then there's the steady stream of seeing the photos of the art others in the challenge have done...now that's intimidating.

I thought if I got on board from the get-go with the new Documented Life Project for 2015, that I would be excited and create some great art.  What I've discovered is that the stress starts to build waiting for the weekly "prompt" on Saturday morning...and then trying to get the art done between other activities on my weekend...like grocery shopping, shoveling snow and ....well you know how the weekends go if you're a working person.  That being said....I spent a snowy day today working on some samples of prayer flags as I will be showing others how to make them and I've never actually made one myself!  I did have fun.  The flags will be created by everyone from children to seniors and not everyone feels they are "artsy"....but I hope to get lots of people on board.  I had fun doing this today and I made mistakes in the process, so it's good to figure some of those things out before you show others.  Here are my two samples:

Prayer Flag
Acrylics, Beads, Buttons, Felt
This is the 1st one I made.  I started with just a pencil sketch.
I know it's hard to see the lines, but I had to figure out my layout.  I think this would be easy for anyone to do and adapt to their own design.  

I started to lay in some color. I painted over the trees because I knew it would be easier to add them later with a black Sharpie. Same with the word PROTECT at the bottom.  And I like the word Family in the rooftop window. I did "Family" different in the sketch than in the finished piece.  I added beads to the trees and a button doorknob just to illustrate some of the things everyone could do and add to their work.
Here is the other flag:

Stencil, Inks, Acrylics, Paint Pens
on Muslin, backed with Batik print

Painting on muslin is not difficult as long as you iron it to freezer paper first.  That way it stays firm and smooth.  I used a stencil for the tree with an ink spray.  I used an ink dropper in different colors for the circles. The green at the bottom I painted with acrylics.  The piece in the middle of the bottom is a separate piece of muslin I stitched on.  I drizzled inks on this piece as well.
On one of the branches, very small, you can see I wrote the word "joy".  This was so much fun!  In a way, I guess I did the DLP challenge...which was using words on your journal pages...I just didn't do this art in my journal.

Monday, January 19, 2015

DLP - Georgia O'Keefe Quote

"I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way." 
---Georgia OKeefe

College - Deli paper Gelliart prints
Magazine words/photos/pen
9 x 12 Art Journal
I'm going to start by saying I have mixed feelings about these pages.  My first thought was to start with dark colors at the bottom and work my way up the pages.  I cut out circles for the right-hand page (there is one large circle as the base) and I found a page in Conde Nast Traveler that was a photograph of lots of different foods, flowers...all edible things and all in round bowls.  There was something about their colors and shapes that told me I had to use them on the page in addition to the deli print circles. The letters that spell out COLORS are from Coastal Living magazine and the two O's are buckets of paint....

The opposite page was again the deli prints and magazine words but I cut the shapes into squares and rectangles and put Georgia O'Keefe's quote up in the left-hand corner.
I definitely love lots of color in my art...why have all of the luscious art supplies if you don't use the colors!  Takes me back to my first large box of Crayola crayons...maybe there were 64 colors in the box....all pointed and fresh and they smelled good too....I still love them.  
A little story....when I was at the end of my senior year in high school, I was in the hospital with appendicitis.  I don't know how this came about...can't recall, but I had a box of crayons and a coloring book so when anyone came to visit me....I had them color and sign a page in the coloring book.  I kept that book for many years....and ultimately tossed it.  I so regret throwing it away now!

There's something about being part of a class, whether it's online or in a classroom that always challenge me.  It just adds a little layer of stress.  The quote for this DLP challenge is really wonderful and perhaps if I'd spent more time thinking about it, I would taken the art deeper rather taking it at surface value and literally just putting "colors" on the page.  Doing my art on weekends which is really the only time I have....my window to devote to art feels small.
Perhaps I'll consider doing more journaling on this quote and see what my outcome might be.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

DLP - 2015 Self-Portrait

How we see ourselves in art, is not necessarily as the traditional self-portrait. Think about some of those Picasso drawings of faces.  On the page opposite the post below, I created this page which I am calling my self-portrait.  I don't know if everyone who knows me will agree that this is me....but there are definitely elements of my personality in this painting.  It was fun to do and I love all of the colors captured in these two paintings.  If you were to do a self-portrait of yourself....not as the traditional face....what would your page look like?

And some close-ups....

DLP - 2015, Book Paper

If you're familiar with the Documented Life Project - 2015, below is my art using book paper, which is the 1st challenge prompt for this year.  It is also a place to put some goals for the year.  Here is my finished journal page...lots of color....I just can't stop.  My goals don't really change...they're always my weaknesses that I need to work on...


The first step in the process, glueing down some paper....I used newsprint, a grocery list, some deli printed paper, magazine text.  The "love life" is a pillow in the Pottery Barn catalog.  There is also a receipt from a store in New Orleans I visited a couple of years ago!  After glueing alll of the book paper,  I covered the entire page with clear gesso to protect the paper for the next step.

Next came some paint.....blue is always my first "go to" color....

I could have stopped right here.....but I didn't.
And a close-up of some camels I saw in a recent Sunday NY Times....they were just too fun to pass up.  

Thursday, January 1, 2015


Art Journal
Water Color Crayons/Ink

This is my first little drawing of the new year, at 8:27 am EST.  I love the richness of water color crayons.  First, I just took a black permanent pen and did the sketch; then I added the color and, lastly, took my paintbrush and moved the color around.  
I stayed up past midnight to see the new year in.  I have yet to concede and go to bed before that.  After all, another year is gone that we'll never have again.  I think about how fortunate I am to have a home in a wonderful place and how important that is....to feel safe and secure.  And I have HOPE because if you don't have HOPE, you have nothing at all.  Every year we HOPE that the next one will be a little bit better.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed (and throwing in lots of prayers).  

Sunday, December 28, 2014


Acrylics and collage 9 x 12
This Snow Family was created for my neighbors.  They moved here in the late '90's from NYC.  I decided to put them in a city scape.  The red awning in the background has their last name written across it.   Here is a close-up of the snowpeople....

The father snowman has his ham radio ID on his hat.  The mom has a cute hat, a little covering over her arms and a small purse.  The son snowman is wearing his favorite color, orange, with the letters of his high school on the scarf. This was so much fun to do.  I also did a snow person for my younger sister...

I created this one before I did the one for my neighbors.  I love doing snow scenes at night because you can really see the snow coming down. The collage elements on both paintings are from a Christmas napkin. I really like how her hat came out.  Snow people are such fun to do!

Saturday, December 27, 2014


My Desktop Today
Manila Folder Journal

As you can see, I barely have room to create anything on this messy desk!  However, I am determined to end the year...organized...at least in my head, about how this Christmas went...menus, what we did, how the dessert turned out, what I gave as gifts and ideas I already have for ...next Christmas.  Stuff like that.  The first thing I did...because I didn't want to lose it, is to put a very special Christmas card I received into this journal.
This journal is about the gifts in my life.  Earlier this spring, I attended the wedding of the daughter of a very special friend whom I've known for..almost 27 years. ( I blogged some photos from the wedding).  I received the most wonderful card from this new bride and groom.  

The card is a photo from the evening of their wedding...the tent all lit up and the lights remind me of stars strung across the sky.  All is calm.  All is bright.  

This is a paper napkin I collaged underneath the card....all it says is LOVE.

And this is how the pages look together.  I had done the right hand page months ago and decided the card was the perfect addition to place opposite it.
Not to be corny.....but Erica & Andrew are two LOVEly people whom I wish the best in life.....

I didn't want to lose the sentiment or the photo of them on the back of this card so that's why I attached it with ribbon so I could flip it over.  This card was a true gift.  

Thursday, December 11, 2014


Chocolate Santas

I really hate Christmas shopping.  I know hate is a strong word.  The commercialization of Christmas takes all of the "magic" out of the spirit of the season.  It brings out the Scrooge in me.  But I love it when I have these "little moments" of ideas and that's what the above picture is about.  I can show it because I've already handed these chocolate santas out.  This is a container of chocolate foil-covered Santas that I found on a recent shopping expedition.  They have the gold thread so you can hang them on a tree.  I decided these would make a great "desk drop" for my colleagues at work. It's not about the chocolate at all. I don't do something every year, but I'm feeling more than grateful for a lot of things in my life this year.  These little Santas became thank you's to my colleagues...I created a small tag for each one....

Each tag tells that person why I'm grateful for them.  ( I would have hand-written them, but the tags aren't large enough).  Examples of the messages:
Gail, I am grateful for your creativity, we are kindred spirits."; or Cathy," I am grateful for your steadfast friendship" and for Diane, "I am grateful for knowing the "non-boss" person in you....the woman on her journey."

Even though they came to thank me....I told them...no, this is my thank you to you for who you are.  So...this is a simple idea you can do for family and friends.  A gingerbread man at each place setting with a tag or attached to a pair of mittens or socks or whatever you want that item to be.  Life is short. This is a great time of year to spread a little....gratefulness.  

View from my art room yesterday
A slight dusting of snow fell yesterday afternoon while I was painting...so pretty.

I have painted a couple of things to give as gifts....that's why you haven't seen any painting lately....and no time!  I'll show some photos after I've given the gifts away.  Love the peaceful view outside these windows.

Friday, November 14, 2014


24 x 36 - Acrylics

I started this painting last Saturday.  I haven't worked on anything outside of an art journal or altered book for quite a long time.  But the time had come.  It's the dramatic mountains that set this painting off.  What I love the most is how all of the colors work.

I bought the canvas a year ago and had started a painting with a blue background and I had added some collage elements.  I wanted to start over with a new idea.  This photo shows where I used gesso to cover some of the collage elements.  I painted a deep blue sky and sketched in a village.

Because the painting is large, I can't get a good close-up of the entire painting so I took photos of individual parts.

They look a bit like individual paintings.

I'm still adding things here and there...I don't think it's quite done.  I am happy with how it looks...it needs a name!  It was so much fun to work on. 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Paint and Wine Class - November

Paint & Wine Class
Original painting by Leonid Afremov

Last Saturday I went to the monthly class and this was the art chosen for November.  Now we are all our own worst critics, but I feel like it needs more work.  I brought the paint pallet home with me, but haven't done anything further. There was so much to do for this painting and our class went 1/2 hr overtime.  I love the colors, I love the globes lit and I like the trees going down the sides.  But I don't feel like I have enough of the reflection in the path.  I would do some things differently if I decided to do it over.  It is quite a colorful painting and I like the artist.  Mainly, I just like to paint. 

Saturday, November 1, 2014


Just do it....probably one of the best advertising slogans ever.  This morning I got up and made my coffee and went right into my art room.  

I started a new art journal last weekend.  What I'm using as the journal is a book I made out of manila file folders that I covered with gesso and then used stencils and spray inks...I made this journal/book months ago. I also included other types of paper in the book.  I bought a journal at the Mall last year, mainly because I love the cover of it which is a printed fabric of someone's art work.  The journal inside of the cover is useless, however, because you can't open the pages enough to lay flat for art work or even writing in it...so it's all about the cover.  So...I basically bought a cover!  Here it is:

This book I plan on adding art work to, but also words about the "gifts" in my life that I am grateful for.  Here is the inside of the cover:

The left page is still the fabric cover and the right side is the 1st page of the manila folder book which I stenciled.

This is the 2-page spread.  If you only knew how many changes I went through with the art on the left.  At one point, I wanted to rip it right out of the book, but I have lots of words written on the other side of it, so I just couldn't do that.  You know how many times you work on a piece and think...this is just never going to amount to anything?  Well that was clearly going on with this page.  It was a disaster.  There are layers of stuff here that I ended up covering.  In the end...I'm happy with it and glad I stuck it out.  The right hand page is a very simple painting.  It reflects, as it says, joy in the morning, quiet moments, cup of coffee, etc.  

Back to this particular page.  What I learned is not to give up.  The background was in blues and yellows before I changed it to black.  It didn't pop with the blues and yellows, even though I had done shading and everything.  As soon as I added the black, it made a big difference.  This page is done on a very thin piece of paper,  like computer paper.  It was a bit of a challenge with the wet mediums, but gesso always comes through to hold it all together.  I didn't know this page would end up being a vase with flowers. The close-up gives you a better sense of the flowers.  Sometimes the scary part as you are going through the process is, will this end up looking like something? You hope that ideas will start to trickle in and it will come together.  Phew on this one.  You just have to sit down and start...just do it! (thank you, Nike)

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Mystele Kirkeeng -Artist


I got excited when I saw a new video from this artist, Mystele.  First of all, her name alone is "artistic"!  Wouldn't you want to know more about a person with such an interesting name...Mystele Kirkeeng.
The first time I saw one of her videos, I was intrigued by her approach to art.  She paints and draws with both her right and left hands!  She does very interesting, layered backgrounds.  As I watched this particular video this morning, I'm thinking...where is this going to go....how is it going to end up looking like anything...but it does in the end.  She's using up some old art supplies in her stash on this video and it's these little pieces that she transfers to the pages, that give her direction as she applies colors and marks on the pages.  Mystele loves to do faces.  
The most important part of this video is what she shares about the process, why she does art journaling, what it tells her about herself.  As you watch, listen to what she says about this at the end of her video.  
I'm always hearing people say....I don't know how to draw or paint.  On the other hand...I think a lot of people would enjoy art journaling....you don't have to know how to draw and you really only need a few supplies.  We all have something to say....you can do it in color and without words if you like.  You'll still get the message across.  And it's fun.  

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

ART - Fantasy vs. Realism

Acrylics - 10 x 10 Canvas Board

I'm taking time off from work this week to do "work" at home...preparing the house for winter.  So much to do....it's exhausting!  I also want to fit in some time for art work.  I go back and forth on what kind of art to do.  I went to an art supply store today and picked up a couple of beautiful inks and was dying to try them.  So I spritzed the canvas board with water and then drizzled the ink colors onto the board and let them "run".  And then I started filling in colors around the drizzled shapes.  It's all about an explosion of color.  It's not the type of art I want to do all of the time, but it is a fun exercise to see where your art will go.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Yellow Picture Frame

I have a slight obsession right now with yellow picture frames.  First of all, they have to be the right shade of yellow.  So far I have 5...they're not all the same shade of yellow, but they are all warm yellows.  And they each have something unique about them....none of them are plain.  The one I'm showing here has the vines cut into the frame.  I did a little painting for it...not sure it's going to be the one for this frame, but I was dying to see how the frame would look with a painting in it.  It actually might be fun to emulate the vines of the frame into a painting....I don't know.....As far as the yellow frames, I was thinking it might be fun to do a feature wall with them. I need a few more.  The vine frame has a 5 x 7 painting in it to give you an idea of the size.   The frame below holds a silhouette of Tom we had done at a local church fair a long time ago...so it's my  first yellow frame....and probably my favorite.  

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Pumpkin and the Cat

The Pumpkin and the Cat
Canvas Board
5 x 7 Acrylics

This is a small little painting...not sure why I didn't just create it in my art journal, but these small canvas boards are kind of fun to use for a quick painting.
When I first thought about doing a painting on this canvas, I was going to do a pumpkin with an interesting background.  This painting started with a green background with some other colors as well....and this is how I ended up.  I do like the whimsical nature of folk art and I also love paintings that are filled with pattern...nothing left plain.  I sometimes get into trouble with my art because I don't think things through...I go backwards which can make it actually more difficult to do.  For instance, the window was put in last....If I had sketched the idea lightly on the canvas, painting it would have gone a little bit more smoothly.  I think of the legs of the desk as sort of like the legs of a cat...rather delicate with similar feet.  This is all I had time for this weekend. The leaves are changing and it was too nice to be indoors!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


Mixed Media

 "If you knew Susie"...
Susie is someone I met only once, 16 years ago.  She was organizing a golf event for breast cancer and I work for the company that enlists people to have these events for Susan G. Komen.  We talked on the phone quite a bit because I'm in CT and she was in southern VA.  She hosted many of these events over the years until she was unable to....and there's not much that kept her down.  About 10 years ago, I was fortunate to attend her event and meet her in person.  She was hard to keep up with.
  Susie was a breast cancer survivor who had been diagnosed at age 36 when she was the mother of 3 young children.  

The flower I collaged to this page
 (from a Pottery Barn catalog) 
reminds of Susie...

The photo you see here of Susie....is a card from her funeral that tells you about the amazing person she was,  because her cancer did not define her and she lived with cancer until January of this year.  She was born in January 1948 and died in January 2014.  You can do the math on how long she lived with cancer.

 This photo is of her attending the Kentucky Derby last year.  You can't tell from
 the photo, but she's wearing a sweater that has a flower stem down the front and the flower is up at her neck....kind of like the flower I put on the page.
More photos from the journal....

I don't want to go into the details of the art except to say there is lots of pink....I made a pink house for Susie with a big heart inside the front doors.

You know how sometimes your life crosses paths with someone who you know is special and you don't ever want to forget.....well, I could  never forget Susie.
She's touched more people's lives than she could have ever imagined.  She touched mine.  I had to put her in my book.  If you knew Susie....

(doors from Pinterest)