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 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 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, 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 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 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'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 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 don't have to know how to draw and you really only need a few supplies.  We all have something to 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'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 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 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)

Sunday, September 7, 2014



These paintings came out of my head.  By that, I mean that I didn't have any photos to get my bearings.  I wanted to do a face....and from there it became the island woman.  I did the single painting first.  And I like her.  That left me with the left side page....what to do.  My book is getting difficult to work in because the left side has so many completed pages that I can't lay the book flat.  I decided to continue with the island women theme and painted some friends for the single woman.  
I drew the shapes first and then colored them in with my watercolor pencils.
Not sure what's on her mind, but I like the way the skin tones came out.

These young women are ready for a cool stroll on the beach.  Here's a close-up of them....
I decided to forgo faces on the smaller surfaces, but I should have added a big flower on a headpiece or dress....oh well. it bothered me that I didn't have any flowers for the island women... so I went back and added a couple.  Now it's done.

PAINT & WINE class last night.  We did a Gauguin painting.  Not my best effort and it wasn't one of my favorite paintings...but perhaps that's where the inspiration for the colorful island women came from.  It is always a fun time!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sunday Reflection - He Climbed Higher

He Climbed Higher - The Journey
10 x 10 Canvas Board

It's been quite the weekend/week around here as my son was gathering his belongings to move to Boston.  So happy and excited for him with a twinge of "I miss him already."  

I did this painting with him in mind.  It is loaded with symbolism...obviously, that only I would I'll share with you.  This painting didn't start very well and I wondered at one point if it would amount to anything.  But I persevered.  

Here's the first step...

A little bit of midnight blue paint and my hand what?

Hmmmm.  Where am I going to go from here? 
 Nothing is  working for me yet....

I've altered the colors a bit and covered the background....

My idea is taking shape...I have a mountain, a curvy path, some water at the bottom and a ladder reaching up to the collaged moon.   This painting is about a journey.

At the very bottom of the painting, is a school of fish (you have to scroll back up and look at the finished painting).  While Tom loves to fish....this is a "school of fish" he's gone back to school.  He loves the water...he lived at the beach this summer.  Lots of stars...he is my star.  The curvy road...his certainly has been from college to Afghanistan, back to college, to Morocco, to the beach and Boston.  He's climbed mountains to get where he is...perhaps I should make that mountain higher....I still could...and the final part is the ladder up to the moon that says, "He climbed higher."  He has, and I couldn't be more proud...he's still climbing.  I can be as corny as I want to here....
That's plenty of reflection for this Sunday!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Getting My Mojo On!!

10 x 10 canvas board
Intuitive painting

This is how it started

I love how this small painting turned's the colors that do it for me.  I started by taking two shades of blue and some white paint and spread it on the canvas.  Then I took some paprika colored ink and dripped it on the canvas.I blotted with a paper towel that gave some nice texture.    I used my brush and added the round circle and the blue marks on the left side. I rotated the picture.  I added some yellow....

The image began to change

The ball became a flower and the colors at the top right became a house.
Red, blue and yellow are my favorite colors to work with.  I really like how this little painting turned out.  I didn't start out with a pre-conceived idea of what I was going to just evolved as I kept adding marks and colors... I'm working my way up to the larger canvas I bought.....

The thing about just have to start....and see where it takes you.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sunday Reflection - Letting Go

Acrylics, water soluble crayons, water color pencils
pen, yarn

Where to start this post so it flows and makes you know how sometimes things occur that cause a "shift" in how you think about things?
I had a shift....maybe it's an awakening...since I discovered Tracy Verdugo's approach to art.  I am excited.  I've been reading her book which arrived in my mailbox this week.  It's about much more than art and I love it.  I would love to have a cup of coffee with her!  So I bought a canvas this week....yes, art outside of a book or journal....and I'm looking forward to seeing what I can create.  I have an artist friend who gave me her old easel that has been stored in her needs a little bit of TLC but once I take care of that....I'm used to working flat, but the easel is really the way to go when you're working on a larger piece.

I just finished reading a book call "Learning to Walk in the Dark" by Barbara Brown Taylor.  She's a NY Times best-selling author.  I'm mentioning this because it ties in with art for me...which is all about the dark and the light.  She says, "I have learned things in the dark that I could never have learned in the light"..... She writes, " I need darkness as much as I need light."  

Segue to Tracy Verdugo who says something very interesting: "a creative block is merely the darkness from which all light originates.  It is the crisis from which surrender emerges."    

I had a quiet moment yesterday afternoon, sitting on the floor in my attic.  I opened up a trunk that for a number of years when my son was young, I just kept putting his elementary school papers in. I haven't opened that trunk in probably 18 years!  I'm in the process of organizing the attic and getting rid of stuff and my son is getting ready to go to grad school.  I just loved sifting through his art work, compositions & poems, report cards, school photos. There were even all of the cards sent to us when he was born.  Life.  What to save and what to toss.  Some things were put back into the dark trunk.

 Dark to light.  Light to dark...                          

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Somewhere over the Rainbow -Tracy Verdugo

Tracy Verdugo....absolutely love her approach to art.....

Sunday, August 17, 2014


August - 50 Degrees at 7 AM

There is nothing that wows me about these two journal pages, but I don't like to add a post without some kind of photo....

I feel like I do more thinking about art than actually DOING the art.  I'm trying to find my "art groove".  I recently came across the art of Tracy Verdugo, an Australian artist, and she has a great YouTube video where she talks about intuitive painting and you get to see her approach to a canvas...which is absolutely fascinating.  Initially, I was attracted to her use of color but ultimately, it was how freely she paints.  

Sometimes, I think my early Catholic upbringing has infringed upon my "free creativity."  I get hung up on doing a "pretty page"...but why?  These are just art journals....isn't that where you should be playing with ideas?  But then the little voice in my head says...but other people see these...don't you want it to be a nice book of art???  Holy mackerel, I get stuck.  God forbid I put myself out there for criticism.  It didn't hold Madonna back....

I had a lot of surprising feedback on the boat painting (earlier post) that I did in my last paint & wine class... who knew!  Yes...I like my boat painting.  It tells me that I can paint something that looks like it's actually supposed to with correct shadows, etc.  Do I want to do more of that?  Maybe, but not all of the time.  I do learn something every time I go to the class, however, and all of that can be brought to the canvas/journal of whatever I want to do.  

So what do I want to do?????  I have the canvas ready and waiting....but my mind is like a ferris wheel...going round and round and waiting to get off...there's some imagery for you.  And not for nothing....I do appreciate my God-given talent.  

Saturday, August 9, 2014

A Penny for your Thoughts

Art Journal
Acrylics, Collage, Stamping

These two pages in my journal were an exercise in layering colors.  I love circles..these aren't the first ones I've done on a journal page. Sometimes I think I'm just going around in circles!  It all started with a shiny, 2014 penny that the grocery clerk gave me with my change.  It was so shiny, I decided that it couldn't be just thrown in my wallet.  It is now glued to the outside of an envelope....

The envelope is attached to the page with washi tape and I put a tag in the envelope referencing where the penny came from and asking the question, "Is  this a lucky penny?"  What makes a penny lucky, anyway...that it will multiply a zillion times while you're sleeping?  Or that having it will change your luck?  I'm sure I've been handed a shiny 2014 penny in change on many occasions this year...but never paid any attention until this one...
Yesterday would have been my mother's 92 birthday, so on the back of the envelope I added a birthday message...I got the creativity gene from I guess I am very lucky already....