Sunday, May 10, 2015

MOTHER'S DAY - The Girl with the Paint Brush

The Girl with the Paint Brush
24 x 30 canvas
Mixed Media
I've been working on this canvas for a couple of weeks now.  Had to paint it in my kitchen because I don't have an easel so I painted it leaning against shelves in a hutch that I have there.  I kept making trips back and forth from my art room to the ultimately, my kitchen was covered with paints and art know how that goes.  This is one of those paintings where you could keep adding a little something here and a little something a matter of fact, I came back from church this morning and I'm still dressed for church....I didn't even want to take the time to change into some "paint" clothes.  So far as I can tell, I haven't got paint on my skirt!

I'm going to show you a little bit of the progress of this painting...

I knew from the get-go that I wanted a checkerboard pattern in the painting.  I also knew that I wanted to have a female figure.  That is all I knew when I started to create this.  I drew the floor, sketched a female figure on another piece of paper and traced it onto the canvas and added  a simple table.  I hadn't intended, originally, for the girl to be painting the wall...I was going to have the figure standing in front of the wall looking out.  

I made up the flowers and I have a school of fish on the bottom.  After I had collaged the clothing onto the figure, the flowers are what I worked on next....just punches of color in lots of shapes.

A close-up of "the painter" as she works on her flower.  At one point, I had thought to put myself in as the painter, but in looking at the colors I was working with....I opted to give her red hair (not me!) to add more color.  However, I am a lefty, so I guess in my mind....there is a part of me here.
More detail.....

She has a little bird to keep her company as she paints.  The bird is probably thinking that the caterpiller might be a nice treat.  I added 3 to the painting and one is crawling on the floor.  I also added a couple of lady bugs.  

Doing this painting for me was like reading a good book....something I don't want to put down and in some ways, you don't want it to end....because now I have to think of my next idea.

I'm enjoying my Mother's Day.  Mom's put their families first for most of their lives, but I have to say, today is all about me (I have an empty nest)....having the time to do what I love to do.  

Wednesday, April 29, 2015


I'm always finding interesting things in Coastal Living magazine.  You don't have to live on the water to enjoy this magazine.  Whether it's a design inspiration or a recipe (empanadas!) or a story about a beach location from my youth, I love when this magazine arrives in my mail box. Havens or "must haves" as they call it in the May issue, features items for purchase and I saw this book and it was a must have for me!  The UPS man brought it a short while ago.

From the Collection of the
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

I love the many shades of the color blue and this book is a gem.  It's 5 x 8 and, while it may sound silly, it feels good to hold in your hand and the paper is divine...not to mention the beautiful photographs inside.  If you order this book, don't skip over the Introduction or, as they call it Blue Notes.

My very first art journal I called Simply Blue....

All of the art in this journal is about the color blue.  I started it on a beach vacation!  I have one other journal that has a lot of blue in it...actually, red, white & blue....
This book I created for my son....below is one of the pages.

Lovin' the BLUE!

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Bathing Suit

Using magazine inspiration
The Bathing Suit
Acrylics and Ink
I have to say....I love these two pages!  Cutting images out of magazines eliminates wasting time trying to "think of what am I going to paint today."  So it was between the bathing suit and the shoe.  I love them both and probably could have painted the shoe on the left page, but then I wouldn't have a place to put the inspiration pieces.  
The suit was fun to do.  I debated what to do with the background....I could have painted a seascape but I wanted the bright colors of the bathing suit to stand out so I decided to use my black ink pen and drew bubbles of all different sizes.  I love the overall effect.  
For the inspiration page, I did add color to the page rather than just glue the shoe and the bathing suit to a plain page.  And, I wrote about the art that I created.  I think you can learn a lot about painting something from a photograph.  
A close-up

Saturday, April 4, 2015


Art Journal
Watercolors and Watercolor Pencils
Using an Inspiration Photo
from Coastal Living Magazine

After I painted the vase of flowers on my previous post with the inspiration photo from a magazine, I decided to go back through a couple of my folders where I keep photos that I've torn out of magazines....sort of like Pinterest...but in a paper file the way we're used to doing.  However, those photos never see the light of day.  That being said, yesterday I took a half a dozen of them and glued them sporadically throughout my journal.  It's a great way to avoid the "white page" syndrome.  
This is where the page started.  
I did a very simple sketch of the eggs and then started to lay in some color.

I added some writing to the left side which I will continue to do when I'm using the "inspiration" photos.  That's where I write about why I chose the particular picture, or comment on the colors used, the medium, etc.  

Since it's the day before Easter....had to get my eggs photo in. 
 Happy Easter to all!

Sunday, March 29, 2015


Art Journal
A Girl, A Table & A Vase of Flowers
Magazine Inspiration
Watercolor pencils, water soluble crayons

Who doesn't love a vase filled with cut flowers in their home....I tore the photo of this vase of flowers out of one of my magazines.  Last night I drew a sketch  and started to color it.  I changed it up a bit.  The background was entirely different shades of water soluble crayons.  There was no girl in the painting when I thought I was finished with it last night.  But when I went to look at it this morning....I could see a girl in the background and I had to bring her into the painting.  It's funny how these things happen.  I still wanted to keep her in the background, but I think she makes the painting more interesting.  When I finished this a little while ago, I didn't want to throw away the beautiful photo, so I trimmed it and glued it to the opposite page, added a little color around the left side of it and then wrote about the art I created.  This is the early stages...

I need a lot more practice with faces, so I kept hers pretty vague.  Actually, I need to work on my flowers too!

Here's another journal entry.  Jungle Boy with Bird.  My sister thinks he looks like Frida Kahlo's son would have looked...she calls him Fred Kahlo.  I have painted this exact same face in another journal with a Russian hat....I really need to work on faces.  I wasn't going to show this one but might as well.  A journal is what it is.

Actually, the picture above...partial face and bird...I like better than the entire head.  I have to remember that next time....not to paint the entire face on the page.  I  do like my bird.

I like making up birds....he looks like he has some place special to go.  Bye, bye birdie!

Saturday, March 28, 2015


Prayer Flags
Displayed in Church
for Palm Sunday

It's been awhile since I posted....not that I haven't been creative, just working on this prayer flag project.  I spent a couple of hours this morning, hanging them with my very creative friend, Meredith.  The prayer flags were created by the youth and adults in our parish over a couple of Sundays in March.  And there are a few flags from non-parishioners. The lighting wasn't conducive to taking great photos this morning because of the bright white from the snow that's still outside.  I like the above photo where you can get the idea of them hanging along the wall down both sides of the church.

There are also torn strips of fabric that parishioners made knots on as prayers were said for their loved ones or for all of the things we know need some prayers.  The strips are hanging in between the flags.  

The eagle flag was created by Audrey;
 photos printed on muslin with a wonderful quote.  

I may not have stuck to what I gave up for Lent, entirely; but what I accomplished  with this prayer flag project was very fulfilling.  Amen.

Saturday, March 14, 2015


Prayer Flag
Photo printed on muslin
Beads and trim

It's Lent and this is the 5th prayer flag I've created.  I printed this photo of Tom when he was in 1st grade dressed for the elementary school Halloween parade...many years ago!  What I love about doing prayer flags is that it's not about creating a perfect work of art. I don't care about sewing perfect lines or cutting threads to keep things looking "neat".  It's about what or who you are praying about/for.  On the reverse side of this is an American flag which I did not photograph.

"Let us pray for the peace
of the world; for statesmen and rulers,
that they may have wisdom
to know and courage to do
what is right."

Actually, no piece of art is perfect. Prayer isn't perfect either.  

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Wave Goodbye to Winter


I know I wasn't going to paint one more picture with snow....but I couldn't resist this last one...That is actually what my glove looks like.  If I wave goodbye to snow....can we hope this is the last of it???  PLEASE!!!


Acrylics, Gelli prints, ink, collage

When I look at this post next year, I'll remember that this was quite the winter if I title the post "I REFUSE TO PAINT SNOW".  I'm about to head out and shovel some more....there is a sheet of frozen slush under the newly fallen snow.  The area roads I travel on my way to work are beginning to buckle.  Today I caved in to the weather and stayed home from work to take care of my house.  I paused to create some art to distract me from what's going on outside.  While it is beautiful....we've had it.  

The bird pictured here was in a packet of fun papers my sister gave me at Christmas and she carved this bird.  Love it and love when I find the perfect home for things...Birds are on my mind as I'd been putting out suet for them.  But the suet is gone and I don't have any more and I'm not sure I could even get to the tree to replace it...the snow is quite deep.  

I threw a baked oatmeal cup under the tree and hope that there is something there they will eat....

The snow in the front is piled about 4' high.  There is a boxwood hedge somewhere in there.  But the don't see much of the trunk....that's how deep it is and that's where the suet is hanging....all I can say's not Boston.....

Sunday, March 1, 2015


Art Journal

Seeing all of this snow continuing to fall, is stressing me out.  Until a couple of years ago, i never worried about the snowfall and how much was on my roof.  After all, don't they build houses to be strong and to protect us from the elements?  Well...because the snow is uppermost in my mind...that's what I put in my journal.  It's all I can think about.  So there I am in the picture literally holding up the roof...while the snow falls and swirls about.  Close up....

Monday, February 16, 2015

Artwork by Sarah Kiser

I love Sarah's art work....the layering she achieves is really great and her art is whimsical....which I love.  Check her out.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Give Me The Blues

Art Journal
Inspired by the Pottery Barn Catalog
I tore an entire page out of a recent Pottery Barn catalog that was all about the color Indigo, and glued it to the page.  I tore it out because I loved the pillows in it and wanted to save it...not necessarily alter it. could I put it in my art journal without altering it!  Well....I altered it, added a blue & white vase and also added some pillows from one of their summer catalogs.  The great thing about this is that I wasn't starting with a blank page!  I highly recommend it.  I added collage elements, paint and pen and water soluble crayons.  

 The opposite page I didn't do much to....just played with color.  Blue, red and absolute favorite colors...

I love the names of "blue" colors....Indigo, Lapis, Periwinkle, Sapphire, Turquoise.....

Documented Life Project - Layering

Art Journal 
DLP - Layering
Acrylics, Pen, GelliArt, Collage elements, Fabric ribbon

It's February and bitter cold.  You can't do art journaling without including Valentine's Day...what else does February offer us?  The ground hog saw his shadow and we are screwed...pardon my French. The Documented Life Project encourages us to practice layering...that's what makes your pages interesting after all.  You can see a lot of writing "underneath" on this page.  I was reminiscing about Valentines of long ago.  It doesn't matter that the viewer can't read what I wrote but it does add to the entire look of the page.  
My nickname growing up was (still is) Queenie...Queen of the May when my birthday is so I have a letter popping out of the mailbox that says "Queenie, You've Got Mail."  There is a stamp on the mailbox that says "Royal Mail."  A few years ago I ordered a book by Florence Pickering...a British artist and it came in a padded envelope with that stamp so the Queenie kind of worked nicely with the Royal Mail....
A couple of close-ups of the page...
and another....

All of my pages have a lot of blue in them this year....there are just so many gorgeous shades of blue.   Lots of wind and snow outside....I'll have to head to the art room to distract me and pray we don't lose power.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

For The Love of Birds...

Art Journal 9 x 12
Acrylics, Paint Pens, GelliArt plate
Watercolor pencils, Inktense blocks

In the dead of winter....which is where we are now....I miss the sounds of the birds singing.  Every now and then, I see a snowbird, a chickadee or cardinal fly by my windows.  Where are they hanging out?   The days are getting longer....can't wait to sit out on my kitchen will be awhile longer.

Close up of the details...

and more...

Before and Before and After

Art Journal
Layers and Texture
Gesso - a noun, a verb, a life-saver!

I'm starting this post with the "finished" 2-page spread.  Finished is in quotes because are you ever really "finished"?  I go back to my pages and often tweak after I've already posted.
This spread started out looking like this....

I just didn't like it at all, on many levels. ....this is where you have that conversation with yourself...if it's going to annoy me every time i open the journal....something has to change.  So I covered it in gesso.....

That muted everything.  Got to love gesso. Here are a couple of close-ups of the pages...

In the end, I love the colors and the shapes and the texture...I like the feel of the paper when I touch it.  I like the flecks of gold.  Done.  Happy Sunday.