Monday, December 24, 2012

Wishing Everyone A Joy Filled Holiday

harbhouse tree 5 

Wishing blessings to everyone this Season and looking forward to a very bright and creative 2013!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

My Focus for December

Finish a book.  Not the novels I read or my daily devotional reading, I finish those with no trouble.  It’s the many books I buy with techniques to try and exercises to do that go unfinished. 

I start, get sidetracked with something else like another new technique or medium or whatever and the book goes in a pile, or back on the shelf and there it sits until I happen upon it again while looking for something else.

One that I happened on that way recently is “Nine Modern Day Muses and a Body Guard” by Jill Badonsky.  I know I read parts of it, there are highlights.  I didn’t do the exercises.  Rereading I can see that doing them would be valuable, especially since my muse seems to be hiding somewhere. 

The first exercise had me go back and think about what it was that I liked doing as a child.  Make things, draw and color.  I so wanted that big box of crayons, the one with sooooo many wonderful colors!  Now I wonder, why there isn’t more color in my art.  My paintings are peaceful rather than vibrant.  sometimes they are very bright and colorful like this small one title Mardi Gras. (it’s brighter in real life)

Mardi Gras original

More often they’re quiet muted color like this Street In Greece.MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA         I like the quiet but what happened to the girl who longed for color?  She is either still there, buried inside me or she left.  I don’t know that I’ll find out doing the exercise in the Nine Muses book but I might.  Who knows, what I may learn about me if I stay focused long enough.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

I need containers

I was fortunate to win a give-away on the Cloth, Paper, Scissors blog. It was like Christmas when they arrived ….  encaustic materials including two instructional DVDs, ExtravOrganza (printable silk sheets,) 12 colors of Jacquard’s PearlEx powdered pigments, some encaustic medium and a book, The Encaustic Studio by Daniella Woolf.

The package arrived late afternoon so that evening I sat down and watched the first one instead of the news. Not much good news anyway. 

I’d done a couple encaustics previously at my friend Annie Morgan’s  studio. This is one I did there with a lot of direction from Annie.

encaustic 1

The DVD and the rest of the treasures inspired me. The next day I spent the day playing with encaustics and here are the results…

Listen to Grace hark the herald angels sing side view of encaustic

That night I watched the second DVD and now there are even more ideas floating around in my head which brings me to needing containers. This morning I started reading Daniella's book and it struck a chord. She responds to so many things and ideas come at her at such a pace that she is sometimes paralyzed so she has to set parameters, containers she calls them. She was talking about me but I haven’t learned to set those parameters and find myself going in circles way too often.

Am I too old? I taught myself to become a morning person after we won’t say how many years of being a night person. An aside, when I was first forcing myself to get up early my neighbor was over for dessert and we were talking about it. She said she noticed I was up very early one night when she got up about 4 in the morning and I was in my studio already. She didn’t realize it but she was talking about a time when I was still a night person. I’m not in my studio at 4 in the morning anymore but I might be there by 5:30.

So my task… determine some parameters and stick with them for a month. I’m going to give myself some time to think about it. Ideas are already floating around in my head… color and subject keep popping up. One thought is green. I’m a blue person, if it’s blue I’m gonna love it and if there is one color I don’t like, it’s green. Maybe I need to spend a month getting to know green a bit better. Who knows, I may learn to like it.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Another Wall Hanging

This one is a quilted wall hanging and it’s done from instructions in a book. 

wall hanging oars

Well, that’s not totally accurate, there were instructions in a book that I looked at and I really liked the quilted wall hanging that was pictured, but the book had to go back to the library before I was able to write down instructions. 

The result, it sort of resembles the one I saw and it was done by guess and by gosh because I’ve never done a quilted wall hanging like this.  My “Walks of Life” piece doesn’t count because it was small quilts put together.

The project has some flaws but that doesn’t bother me.  It’s a first, I had fun, it’s hanging on a wall in my house and I plan on doing more – of my own design.

It’s been awhile since I’ve been an active blogger; however, I still have managed to read other blogs and I learn a lot from them.  You may be interested in some of them.

One is Desiree, her blog is The Clothesline.  I started following her because I love her wonderful watercolors but she also does pastels, multi-media and fiber art.  She’s got a couple of fun collage tutorials on her site too.  Pop over and have a look.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Beautiful Plein Air Day

10 16 hemlock crossing sketch

I sketch when I’m painting en plein air and this is what I did this week.  A group of us get together every Tuesday morning and head out somewhere to paint.  This week we went to Hemlock Crossing

They have a wonderful warm room with huge windows overlooking the area and since it was a cold morning we made use of the space.  We’re thinking this will be a good place to paint in the winter.

Before settling in to paint we took a short walk to see the color and my photos don’t really show it…

the start of our walk10 16 starting the walk   a view standing on a bridge

10 16 on one of the bridgesa view of the river

10 16 the river againand again from another spot

10 16 view of the river

Next week we’re hoping to go south to Saugatuck and paint on the Felt Mansion Grounds. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Making use of fabric scraps

cp blk and color Awhile back I did some stitch and slash projects using several black and white fabrics and one black and white with color.  I loved the combination and didn’t want to waste it so I gathered up all of the scraps and ironed them to a fusible interfacing. 

That gave me enough fabric to make a small bag and these four change purses.  The bag isn’t done yet.  I hope to get it done sometime this week.

Three of the change purses along with a few others will be going to the Holland Area Arts Council’s Holiday Boutique.  The purse and one change purse will be going to the Gallery Uptown where there will be lots of gift items for holiday shoppers.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

More about stitching

Yes, I’m still stitching and finding that I can get just as lost in a sewing project as I do in a painting project.

I’m hearing my grandmother:  “Jack of all trades, master of none.”  I guess I’m a master of being a jack of all trades because I love every one of the different media I work in, paper, fabric, yarn and metal or a combination of all of them.  A wall hanging I recently finished is based on paintings I had done.

finished wall hanging The photo isn’t very good because I don’t have the space to photograph something that’s 5 1/2 ft long and I didn’t finish it until the night before it had to be delivered for an exhibit. 

Once that was delivered I went back to stitching purses getting ready for the holidays.

pasly batk clutch front

green front blue green front

I’m still painting too but nothing major.  A group of friends get together every Tuesday to paint en plein air.  I sketch but my scanner is currently not working so I can’t post any of those.  Once it’s fixed (or I’ve been forced to buy a new one) I’ll be back to posting weekly.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Not my grandmother’s stitching

After a long dry spell I did get back to some painting but in preparation for a wall hanging.  Meanwhile I’ve been playing with fabric.  I come from a long line of stitchers. 

On my mother’s side my great-great-grandmother was a tailoress, she made suits for young boys in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. 

My great-grandmother stitched quilts.  My grandmother did every kind of stitching and when she was widowed very young and had to earn a living she opened a knit shop. 

My aunt, Mother’s only sister, was an expert seamstress and made all of my cousin’s prom dresses.  She was the practical sister.  My mother, the not so practical one, was a designer and while she designed and made her own clothes as a teenager, when I was in need of a dress for a special occasion rather than make me one, she gave me one of hers and helped me restyle it to suit me.

While I didn’t think I liked sewing I’ve always been a fabric junky.  I have a stash of fabric.  Awhile back I had posted that I was starting a quilt project.  While surfing around on the internet to learn more about quilting I came upon a couple of on-line classes that sparked my interest. Add to that interest – it’s been hotter than blazes and my sewing machine is in the cool basement.

stupendous stitch test done

This piece is something my mother might have done had she played with a sewing machine like I now have but it’s a far cry from anything my grandmother would have done.  This one isn’t finished, I’m ready for the last lesson in the Stupendous Stitching class.

I don’t think either of them would have done something like the two purses that I did with layers of fabric – The Stitch and Slash Class  but I sure had fun.purse fronts

The paintings that did get done are part of a series, “Walks of Life” and since I’ve been playing with fabric I decided that they will be transferred to fabric along with some that aren’t done yet and I’ll be using some of what I’m learning in these two on-line workshops.  Here is one of the paintings in the series… “Still walkin’, just goin’ a little slower now”

still walkin', just a little slower now for web

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Another painting started

Port Salerno boat stern

It’s been a long dry spell; however, I did get some images in Florida that inspired me.  This is the stern end of an old rowboat that was obviously a working boat.  Those usually get my attention and I have visions of at least 4 paintings based on this boat . For now, just the stern end with the lines laying on the seat.  The initial drawing is done; now to transfer it to watercolor paper and then the slow process of masking and pouring. 

I think I’m going to do this one twice.  First a small piece to add to three other boats that I am thinking of reframing in a different way.  No decisions on that yet as there are several possiblities floating around in my head.

For the moment I’m just happy to have a painting underway.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Working with metal and other stuff

My mind is running full tilt with so many ideas that I haven’t really been able to do much finished work; I’ve been going in circles it seems.  I have done a lot of experimenting though.

First with metal:  I made a couple spinner necklaces based on a lesson  in Wrap, Stitch, Fold & Rivet by Mary Hettmansperger.  I didn’t have all of the  equipment or materials so I worked with what I had on hand.  The photos are fuzzy but you can get the idea anyway…

remembering dad necklace watch part necklace

Then with fabric:  I’ve been working on a quilt project over on  This one is my favorite so far.

march red

And I’ve done a little more experimenting with painting on fusible.  The gull in this was painted on fusible, then stitched to the background fabric.


And finally, I decided I need to do a Prayer Flag, praying that my mind will stop spinning and land on something to focus on… The flag says Dream but along the side it also says “Then DO, only you can make your dreams come true.”

prayer flag 1

Along the way I did some sketching too but I haven’t bothered to scan those so I can’t show you.  Trust that I am working,  just not focusing.  Guess my muse decided she needed some variety, she was getting bored.  Hopefully, the focus will come and I’ll get back to regular work and regular blogging.

Monday, February 27, 2012

“In For The Night” and another in the works

I’m back and feeling much better.  Back into the studio feeling refreshed and ready to get back to work.  When we left I left this one hanging.  I didn’t like it when I took the mask off but I know that sometimes when we put them away and get them out a couple weeks later they look better than we thought.  When I first removed the mask and hung in on the wall this is what it looked like to me. 

In for the night first look

I adjusted the photo in Photoshop to more accurately show what I first thought I saw.  I was expecting more vivid and didn’t think I got it.  I didn’t do anything more to it, just left it and left town for 10 days so I didn’t even glance at it.  When we returned and I walked into my studio this is what I saw.

In for the nightSo much closer to my vision.  I’m leaving it hang for awhile because while we were away I realized I really need some brightness in my life and my work and may want to add more to this. 

Meanwhile, I’ve started work on another one that I’m thinking will be called “Still Working.”  Here is the start of the initial drawing.  I always do my value study as a careful drawing rather than a rough sketch because I like drawing and I can eventually use the image to transfer to my watercolor paper.  I’ve got a couple more photos of this old boat so there will probably be more than one painting of it eventually.

Port Salerno boat stern drawing

And just because I haven’t done a WDE (Weekend Drawing Event) in a very long time, last night while watching the Oscar pre-show I did a couple quick watercolor sketches from the images Bonnie posted.

2 23 12  bonnies treesHere’s a link to the WetCanvas All Media Art Events site where the Weekend Drawing Events happen every weekend.  

Friday, February 3, 2012

I need a little sunshine

I love winter when it snows.  I detest winter when there is no snow and the world around me is grey and dirty.  Unfortunately, this winter is of the grey and dirty variety.  The last time we had a winter like this was 1982.  I know that because we have this photograph of my son and I on the pier Christmas day when he was 4.

mf and h on pier xmas 82

That year by the end of March I was a basket case.  This year the depression has begun and before it really gets me, we’re heading south for a short break.

I’m hoping that by the time we get back we’ll have snow.  At least we have another ski week planned and there is snow on those hills so that will feel better.

Meanwhile, here’s another of  my mixed media daily pieces.  This one is an encaustic.  I started with an acrylic on canvas that I didn’t like and some strips of a watercolor that didn’t work.  I wove the strips and glued that to the acrylic piece.   A layer of encaustic followed and I added a tissue layer with a sketch of the lilies on it.  More encaustic, a little more color added and it was done.  I’m pleased with the result.

I’m also working on a quilt project. has a free block of the month workshop.  I’m doing two projects… this one is going to be a table runner for Christmas.january red

I’m also going to make one for our bed.  I made my first quilt 31 years ago.  This is my second.  Actually, for some reason I am feeling a real urge to stitch rather than paint so it must be what I’m suppose to be doing right now.

quilt squar 2 january

I am going to take my paints along with me to the warmer weather though.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

More Mixed Media Daily

The painting is almost finished.  One of the downsides of my painting process is the wait while layers dry.  However, it’s also a positive because it gives me time to experiment with the mixed media pieces I’ve been playing with.

wine angel I’ve been reading an interesting book, Plaster Studio, by Stephanie Lee and Judy Wise.  One of Judy’s projects in the book was a wine angel using joint compound, collage and encaustics.  Since I collect angels and drink wine the project appealed to me; however,  I didn’t happen to have joint compound on hand the day I decided this would be my daily piece.

I used a piece of board, covered it with unbleached muslin that I had tried doing some transfers on but that didn’t work, covered that with some yellow ochre watercolor, decided it was too dark so the next layer was gesso. 

Next I sketched my angel and did the writing.  On my way to finding something else I came across some wine labels so I decided to add them.  Then I used collage for her dress, wings and halo before adding a layer of encaustic.

Once the encaustic was done I used watercolor crayon to add the rest of the color.  She was fun to do and now hangs over the wine rack in our kitchen.

1 20 sunsetYesterday’s piece was another sunset.  This time a fabric collage using watered  down acrylic on fusible.  At the moment it’s collage on fabric but I think it’s going to become a small art quilt so this may serve as the basis for another piece sometime this week.  Meanwhile, I’m off to do the last pour on my painting.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Finally, A Painting In Process

While art has been happening in the studio, not one full painting has happened in a very long time.  It’s time.  I have a sketch in my sketchbook that I had titled “In For The Night.”  That will be my next painting. 

Normally I use my sketch as the basis for my value study which means a lot of pencil work.  I was watching a video done by my friend Linda Baker.  She uses Pitt Pens for her value studies – much quicker than graphite and I have the set she uses. 

In for the night for half sheetI’ve also thought about doing this in with more of the boats that were there; however, that would require an odd size and I already have an idea for framing the half sheet above.  I think I’ll save the longer version, until I find a suitable frame.  This is the longer version.

In for the night

I’m still working on my daily mixed media piece.  I haven’t scanned or photographed any of the new ones.  When I do I’ll post them.  Meanwhile, Michigan Watercolor Society Exhibit entries are due soon so I need to get busy with “In For The Night.”

And go over and check out Linda’s website.  She does beautiful work!

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year – New Resolutions

How many times do we make these resolutions and then promptly forget them? I know I’m guilty though I did work harder at least one of last year’s resolutions than I ever have in the past. That prompts me to think maybe I can do better this year too.

national geographic collage

One resolution this year is to continue to finish at least one piece every day. Awhile back I challenged myself to do one small mixed media piece every day. First it was going to be the same size every day; however, since I was doing mixed media I decided to use some starts and soon the sizes weren’t the same.

A few were ATC’s done for friends button atc crossbutton atc with bundle

Art atc

The dream atcand some just for me

mother and paddy collage John and Edith collage

One day it was a broken mosaic sphere that I didn’t want to let go of.

mosaic ball

This one isn’t finished; I think it’s going to get taller. The sphere has some pieces in it that can’t be replaced so I don’t want to get rid of it for sentimental reasons.

It got broken because my grandson loves balls. He was in the garden, saw a ball and being 1 ½, didn’t know the difference between a ball to throw and a sphere to look at. (Grandpa neglected to tell him.) He tried to throw it; it hit a rock in the garden; there went my wonderful sphere

On days when nothing else strikes me I think I’ll work on the mosaic. It won’t get done in a day because the pieces have to dry before they can be grouted so I’m going to consider the tile or ceramic pieces glued on as one project and the grouting another.

I love mosaics though I haven’t done many. Now that I’m thinking about it, maybe I’ll add that to my list of techniques to learn.

Another resolution that I’m really going to work on keeping is to get back to posting regularly on my blog. It won’t be every day but at least once a week.