Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Found Art Tues. Topic for 11-28-06

The Topic this week was Button. Tough topic, I thought, because my mind just wasn't that creative over the Thanksgiving Holiday. I found a red button that "spoke" to me. And here is the work, called "Redeye." It is in a bookmark format again. I used bits and pieces of papers that have been littering my workspace forever! Just cut them up and began to adhere them using Talbot's method. The bird was and drawn on a catalog page. Acrylic paints and media were also use to lend texture.

Since my 11 year old daughter has a dentist appt. tonight, I thought that would be a good place to leave the work. The reception area is large and it should be easy to leave it without getting caught!


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Found Art Topic for 11-21-06

This past weekend, and Monday night, I was on homework duty..particularly studying for tests. I don't understand why teachers cram 7 or 8 tests into a short week for the kids. I mean that they have a 1/2 day on Wed but on Monday and Tues we had a boat loads of tests. My oldest was just loaded down and she is only in 8th grade. My twins are in 6th and had a major examine today and hours, I mean hours of home work! Gosh it is so ridiculous! NO one can succeed under those circumstances! I can't wait for the week before Christmas break! OK...off my soap box. I did manage to finish a work for found art Tuesday.

The topic this week was Cloud. My work is a mixed media piece done on a strip of watercolor paper about 2 1/2 by 5 1/2 inches. I used those artists tissue papers again to give shape and color to the sky. The cloud is Golden's tar gel and the image is something I found in a magazine ad. The piece is called "I can only Imagine." It is just about the right size for a bookmark. I am not sure where I will leave it yet...


UPDATE: I left this work at a local Borders in McHenry, IL last Tues. It did get found :)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Found Art Location for 11-14-06

I really loved Cancion por Espana and decided to keep the original. I do want to do another couple of 4 by4 squares on impressions from Spain... So what I decided to do was make a reprint of the work on a good quality photo paper. I affixed it to a piece of white cardstock and then left it at a Doctor's office in Lake Forest, Illinois. I had an annual exam and my Doctor is about an hour from my home so I thought I would expand the found art area a little :)

I will be very busy the next week or two with the holiday and quests (staying at our home). I don't know how much time I will have for art. But I do hope to at least turn out another Found Art piece for the Thanksgiving week.


Sunday, November 12, 2006

Fount Art Topic for 11-14-06

SONG. Rosa described an exercise she did in one of her art classes where she listened to different kinds of music while paining to see how it influenced her work. She suggested that we listen to a song of our choice, playing it over and over again to try to get the essence of it. In other words, how it feels, what emotions come out, what color is it, what images come to mind etc.. . Well, I often listen to music when I do my art but I never consciously listened to it for inspiration. I thought this would be a good experiment to try. I even had an idea in mind as I was reading Rosa's journal. Naturally the idea did not pan out but it did lead to the work you see here.

I am going to digress here and talk about a piece of music that is on the Mission Impossible 2 music CD and I do not know the name nor composer of the piece. I heard it at the ballet school where my children dance. My 13 year old daughter danced to this piece (along with other members of her ballet class) in Dance Chicago. I was so proud of her! Anyway the music is filled with urgency, passion and vibrancy. It is a modern piece with a very Spanish flamenco flavor. The images that come to mind were wild eyed gypsy women dancing in a very passionate and sexy way. And that is pretty much what their dance looked like. So I thought I would use this piece for my Found Art inspiration. You think I could get my hands on a copy of it? Naturally not when I was ready to sit down and create. So I left that music behind. But the images of Spain were still with me.

In 1992, my husband and I traveled through Spain. We began in Madrid and headed south through many memorable areas over a 15 day period. Those images returned in a flood as I was mentally shelving the piece I described above. So I decided to pick out a song that reflected some of the images I held close. Spain is not only a country filled with passion, energy , and color but also great happiness, joy, and sunshine. So the song I chose is absolutely one of my favorite works and reflects, not so much the passion typified in Spain, but rather the joy and happiness seen on the faces of the Spanish (be it in Madrid, Ubeda, Granada, Sevilla, Toledo...well, you get the idea). This work is by Antonio Ruiz Pipo'. It is called Cancion and Danza Numero Uno. I believe he wrote it in1933. It is a guitar work that absolutely embodies the joy I felt each day I spent in Spain.

My work is entitle Cancion por Espana (Song for Spain). I used a postcard, trimmed to 4 by 4 inches, and altered the surface using gesso. The initial background was artist tissue paper, bled and the dye was allowed to run in various directions on the substrate. The color palette I chose were those that I felt as I listened to this music; reds, yellows, some blue. Acrylic paint was used as well to enhance some of the tissue dye colors. Then I added some interesting clippings of colors from magazines. The work just seem to evolve as I was listening to the music. And I ended up with an abstract collage. Really a first for me.

I am thinking that I may do a series of my impressions from Spain in a 4 inch by 4 inch format. So I am not sure if I will put this work out for someone to find. Maybe 2 more works.... I have a variety of music from Spanish composers which reflect the moods, emotions, colors of the their world. So thanks to this little experiment...I may just have to interpret those :)

Thanks again Rosa for a great idea. It was a wonderful exercise and one I would recommend to anyone who feels in a rut. Let the music speak to you.


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Found Art Location for 11-7-06

After I picked up the children yesterday and dropped them at various activities and helped with home work (each child had 3 tests to study for,that would make a total of 9), I hit Panera Bread for a latte! I just wish it had something stronger in it! I left my flower work underneath (near the top) a stack of napkins in plain site (if you pick up a napkin). I could not stay because I had other things to do, like collapse on my sofa! Anyway. The kids have today and tomorrow off from school so we are working on some social study projects (creating Egyptian artifacts) and a family tree done in Spanish. Anything where we get to create is just great and these projects are right up my alley!
Looking forward to the next found art topic and getting some deco pages done!


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Found Art Tuesday Topic for 11-7-06: Flower

Well I am really late on this one. I had no time from Friday up until about 2 PM today to work on any kind of art. I literally put this together in 15 minutes and it looks like it! It had been a while since I played with artist tissue paper, the kind that bleeds, and so this work incorporated tissue paper both into the background colors and main image. I topped off the piece with a variety of rubber stamped images. The piece is about 3 by 5 inches and is on a heavy glossy cardstock. I forgot how much fun it is to work with this type of tissue. So I think I will use it for the next couple of things that I do just to re-familiarize myself with it. As far as where I will leave this? Not sure yet but I will get it out tomorrow in my runnings around.


Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Found Art Location for 10-31-06

So just where would I leave La Bruja? As I posted yesterday, I thought about putting it into a trick or treater bag. By the time I finished my entry yesterday, I had decided the tick or treat bag would not work because there was too much risk it would be thrown out by the child before it ever reached home. I had a hair cut appointment today and thought that the studio might be a good place to leave La Bruja. Abbey Road Studio is located in Crystal Lake. It is one of several small stylist businesses that share a beautiful building. When you enter, there is a reception area with a nice long table. I laid the work on the table with a hand written note that said Happy Halloween. Of course on the back of La Bruja, there is info about found art, my blog site and a cute little poem. It took about an hour to get one fab hair cut and the work was still there when I left. Hopefully someone will get an extra nice treat today!

Happy Halloween to all.


Monday, October 30, 2006

Found Art Topic 10-31-06

How fortunate that found art Tuesday is Halloween this year. One of my favorite holidays, I was hoping that Rosa would choose Halloween as a topic. Sure enough, logic prevailed and Halloween is our topic. One of my fascinations with Halloween is the lore. Witch stories were told to me when I was young and I remember being so frightened. The witch in Hansel and Gretel really kept me awake at night for some time. So I decided to conjure up my own witch for this weeks found art. I drew and painted this witch! I am trying to incorporate some of my own images along with the many found papers used in my collages. Found art topics allow me to practice my drawing without the intimidation. After all, no one knows me! This is a mixed media piece using found papers, inks, acrylics, and stickers. La bruja's warts are green brads. The witch, as mentioned, is my own creation. The substrate for this work is a mail post card (5 by 7 inches in size). I entitled this work La Bruja (witch in Spanish) and it is dedicated to my new found internet friendship with artist Rosa Murillo. Muchas Gracias Rosa, para la opportunidad found art!


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

10-24-06 Found Art Location

Today I had only one errand to run. I needed to pick up dog food and a few snacks for my pups. I purchase all my dog supplements, snacks , and food at a local store named Thomas Tails. It is in downtown Crystal Lake and specializes in holistic approaches to pet care. I love this store and am so grateful to have such a wonderful resource for my greyhounds. I must say they eat healthier than any of us. Anyway...I had my found art work, Secrets, in my pocket and decided to leave it in the store. I found a very obvious and safe place to perch the work. There was a wire shelf that contained dog food lids (to use on open cans of food so that they can be stored safely in the refrigerator) and I just slipped my Secrets in with the lids. I could easily see it from across the room. The store was very crowded but even with the work in plain sight, people just walked by without even noticing it. I finally had to leave or I would look too obvious. I will be returning on Thursday for a few items that I forgot and check out the wire shelf.

So another found art week has past. Maybe this time the finder will visit my blog!


Sunday, October 22, 2006

Found Art Topic for 10-24-06

This week the topic is Secrets. Rosa gave some serious thought to this. I felt I had to meet her "challenge." When I started to really think about what my secrets are...well, lets say I am not ready to divulge any..even in an anonymous format. My secrets are locked away where only I can access them. So the work came together very fast after I realized that. I actually drew something! My heart! I think the rest is evident. The work is mixed media and I used acrylics, cut out words from various sources, inks, and black tape... all done on a coaster that I think I nabbed from an Olive Garden restaurant in Santa Fe, NM. I titled the work "Locked Away." As far as where I will leave this work ... I am still working on it. Stay tuned.


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Found Art, Found at Starbucks 10-17-06

So today I left my altered coaster (see below) at a Starbucks in Crystal Lake, IL. I put it in front of the napkins in a napkin holder. Then I set myself down with a vanilla latte and waited. Starbucks always has traffic and so the likely hood that someone would see the art was pretty high. I watched as about 6 people walk right by the napkins (what is it about people and napkins...Doesn't anyone use them anymore, are people using their sleeves or what)? Then a young man, who I recognized as an employee, went straight to the napkins and picked up the work, read the back, smiled, and walked off. At least I know it was not trashed! Well, I hope this young man enjoys the work. I did get my smile. And that says something!


Sunday, October 15, 2006

Found Art Tuesday: 10-17-06

This week topic, Coffee. How perfect considering I only have a bazillion coasters from Starbucks. So I grabbed a coaster to alter, laid down several acrylic washes, stamped images, and added a napkin from Starbucks as the background. Had one of my favorite Rembrandt images, his self-portrait, on hand and decided to use it. I am not sure if Rembrandt ever had a cup of coffee; but I bet this is how he would look on a Monday Morning if he was caffeine deprived (which is why I call the work "Monday Morning")! The coffee stains are real. Used a concentrated solution of freeze dried coffee to paint some areas and to make my coffee rings. So I will leave this at my favorite Starbucks in Crystal Lake, IL this Tuesday. Art for the week will include some deco pages and a collage for a friend.



Spooky Mood

Here is a deco page I finished a while back but saved until now to post. I had to be in that kind of spooky mood! My children and I just completed the finishing touches on our Halloween decorations and so in the spirit and mood....BOOOOOOOOOO!

This work is a mixed media collage. The moon is a magazine page that I altered with De-Solv-It product. You never know how this type of alteration will turn out but in this case..it was perfect for the moon. The trick or treat bag I made from a lunch bag. The substrate is 140lb cold pressed water color paper. A variety of acrylics were used as well as inks and stamps.


Saturday, October 14, 2006

A Message for Robyn

I received a lovely message from Robyn in Dekalb the other day. I think the Found Art bug has bitten her. Robyn, this is really a lot of fun and I enjoy the challenge of making a piece very quickly to get it out there (so to speak) in just a short time. I usually begin my found art piece on Saturday, in between transporting my children to and from dance, homework, laundry, and such. If I get time, I finish up on Sunday. If not...I finish on Monday after I come home from work. I am hoping Found Art will catch on in our area. There is so much nastiness in our world, that I am sure a small piece of art, found unexpectedly, will elicit a smile. At least that is my hope. As far as the other art that I do, well, one day, I hope, to have more exposure. I know it takes time, but one day maybe....


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Found Art Tuesday 10-10-06

My family and I went to a local Borders in Crystal Lake, IL last night. They have a coffee bar called Seattles Best Coffee and I left my work, "Feel The Warmth," just under the first couple of napkins in the napkin dispenser. It was obvious to the eye if you picked up a napkin. Then I settled in with a latte to watch. Well, I bet 20 people went to that self serve station (with the napkins and lids and such) and not one took a napkin! After about 40 minutes I was discouraged and then the waitress walked over to wipe down the self serve area. I thought for sure this was it...WRONG. Oh she wiped near the napkins but never even looked down! I gave up and left. So we shall see if who ever finds the work, emails me.

If you go to Rosa's journal, you will see that someone who found one of her works, did indeed email her. How exciting is that!


Sunday, October 08, 2006

"Feel the Warmth" Fount Art for 10-10-06

This past week I was down and out with a stomach flu. I hate that. On Monday I was so wrought with fever that I could not even function. The kids all had major exams and I could not even hold a notebook to quiz them. My "poor" husband had to fill in for me. I was pretty much out of it for three days. I missed out on Found Art Tuesday too. Just did not feel like "art." Rosa posted a theme of "Home." I did manage to start it but did not finish. Maybe I will finish it this week and leave it somewhere anyway.

By Thursday I was feeling human again. I did a couple of deco pages and cleaned the house! On Friday my family and I went to see the King Tut exhibit at the Field Museum in Chicago. I came away with my own little treasures, a collection of artifact cards from various tombs, including Tut's. They should be fun to alter. This exhibit was absolutely fabulous. If you ever get a chance to see it, GO! The jewelry was incredible, as were the sculptures.

So that brings us to the theme for this upcoming week's Found Art, Sun. Now that I was feeling so much better, I actually felt like catching some rays. The Title of the work is "Feel the Warmth." It is a mixed media piece on a child's flash card. I just love altering things like that. Hand-dyed papers were used along with inks, and acrylics. I actually drew the main figure...and I don't draw, but Rosa's work convinced me I could do whatever I feel like...so why not experiment? This work is about the joy of sunshine, feeling the warmth of the sun's rays on my skin, savoring that warmth because it will soon be winter here in northern Illinois.. If I could actually catch those rays, what would I do with them?


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Found Art Tuesday 9-26-06

I left my key themed piece at Le Petite Marche (Dawns Bread) today. I snuck it in between the napkins on the coffee bar. I was the only one in the bistro so I could not really hang around. So hopefully Dawn herself will find the work. She is such a nice lady. This week will be working on some more deco pages to meet swapping commitments :)


Monday, September 25, 2006

found art Tuesday 9/26/06

I can't believe how fast this one came together. I was finishing up a couple of deco pages and the idea just sort of announced itself as I was working. And so, while waiting for various items to dry, I started on this work for found art Tuesday. The theme is key.

This past Saturday I picked up a September menu from Le Petite Marche (Dawn's Bread). This little bistro is a well kept secret, tucked away in downtown Crystal lake, Illinois. They have a wonderful wine selection, cheeses from around the world, breads, and pastries to please the sweet tooth. I like the idea of using or altering a coaster, menu, or what ever I can pick up free from local establishments. In turn, I leave the finished art piece at that establishment for someone to find.

This collage uses a child's flash card as the base. The background paper is the menu I picked up from Dawn's Bread and I spent about 15 minutes looking for phrases in a travel magazine. Acrylics, inks, rubber stamps, found papers, and stickers, were used to complete the work.

I plan on leaving this at Dawn's Bread tomorrow (Tuesday). Dawn, the owner and chief chef, is a patron of the arts and I secretly hope she finds it :)


Sunday, September 24, 2006

Found Art Tuesday on Saturday 9-23-06

I finally got to Chilis to leave my altered coaster found art piece. The topic was money and when you scroll down you can find the work. We have a fabulous waitress and so I was thrilled to leave the work for her in the payment folder. I hung around just long enough to see her pick up the folder. Unfortunately the place was so crowed that I could not see her actually open it and then my family was calling me to get moving! I have to admit this is down right addicting. This weeks topic is keys. I have a thought...now if only I can get the time to do the work! It seems like homework aid for my three children is taking up most of my evenings, work takes up my mornings, and my two greyt hounds take up my afternoons!


Saturday, September 16, 2006

Found Art: Money Changes Everything.

Rosa announced the found art Tuesday topic this past Friday and it was Money. I decided to go for it again. I really enjoyed leaving a little piece of myself for someone to find so I guess I am officially bitten by the found art bug. While working on some deco pages, I completed this work today. I have a lot of cardboard coasters from various local eateries and bars and so I altered one from Chilis. Guess where I will leave it?

This piece is a mixed media collage on a 4 by 4 coaster. I used a variety of acrylic paints and media as well as rubber stamps, found papers (my kids play money from old games) and of course some bling. I usually have several projects out on my work table and it is so easy to add on a smaller work for found art Tuesday. Everything takes time to dry....so easy to work on several pieces at once.

I am not sure when I will be able to leave this at our local Chilis. I do not have the time to eat out on a week night so I may have to fudge a little on when I leave this. Possibly tomorrow, or maybe next Saturday night, but I am sure not this Tuesday.



I stopped in at the coffee shop where I left my found art piece last Tuesday. Lo and behold, it was gone! If I had to take bets, an employee probably found it because when I left the work, it was late in the day, right before they closed.

This weeks theme is money. If I have some extra time, I plan on giving it a go. My plan would be to create a work and leave it at a local restaurant, tucked inside my bill. Rosa mentioned on her journal that she thought this was an interesting experiment. I just hope those finding the works get a little pleasure from them!


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Found Art Tuesday 9-12-06

I was so busy yesterday with being a taxi, homework, school curriculum night Mom, that I did not have time to post where I placed my little 4 by 6 postcard. After dropping my oldest off at the ballet studio, I stopped into a little cafe 4 stores down the street. Had a wonderful conversation with some old friends and then pretended to be looking at some fancy chocolate bars. I put the work in between the bars and purchased myself a latte and was on my way. I felt really good about leaving a little something to brighten someone's day. Rosa, I am looking forward to the next topic. :)


Monday, September 11, 2006

Found Art: First Work- "1995"

Opening my emails the other day, I received some information from Laura Lein-Svencner, the founder of the Midwest Collage Society. She was forwarding info from Rosa Murillo and her movement to leave a piece of found art somewhere in her community every week, Tuesdays to be exact. Found art is not a new idea and artists have been leaving little pieces of art in public places for people to find for sometime. Shari Vogt introduced the concept shortly after 9/11/01 in an effort to do something to bring smiles to peoples faces. If you want to read more about the Found Art Organization ... www.foundart.org.

I have not decided if I will join but I am thinking about it. For now I think I will try to work with Rosa's group and leave art around my community, maybe two times per month. Rosa's website if: www.rosamurillo.com

Here is my first piece. I used an old post card and altered it with found papers and acrylic. I am going to leave it at a little coffee shop near the train station in Crystal Lake Illinois. I left my blog address on the back in case the finder of the piece wants to investigate further. Thank you Rosa, for inviting the overall art community that you are involved with, in this endeavor!


Wednesday, September 06, 2006

A Delicate Balance for Sure!

Just a few posts ago, I described a monthly exploration that is common place on the Yahoo Group Art Explorations. In that exploration we made some ATC backgrounds using a technique that was described on the site. A swap was set up in which we sent 3 ATC size pieces from our background sheets to a given person. The person on the receiving end then created an ATC from one of those background cards and sent it back to the originator. The ATC sized backgrounds I received were created with a gloss type medium, acrylic paints, and bubble wrap. The artist made the backgrounds extremely textured and very glossy. I chose a yellow and green card for the work. Because it was very textured, I had the choice to either sand it down in order to use rubber stamps in my design or do a collage. I decided to leave the texture and work with it. The look of the background screamed something to do with nature to me. I found this incredible tortoise and the rest fell into place. The color and gloss look was a bit too much for what I had in mind so I toned down the color with a buff colored acrylic and added raw umber highlights. I used Golden's soft gel matte medium to adhere collage elements. Talbot's method would not have worked because of the uneven surface.

I chose the little glass fairy to represent how fragile the balance is between preserving these wonderful creatures and sending them into extinction with our never ending need for more sprawl. I really loved the textured background on this piece as it mimics the tortoise shell.


Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Recycled Art ?

Not much art was accomplished this month. August was just so strange. We had a death in our family, moved my father-in-law from Santa Fe to our neck of the woods, the kids were home and finished with all their summer camps, and we did all the get ready for school stuff. With all that going on, I did get some time yesterday to do a deco page or two and I just had to post this page. It is not much to look at but I had such a chuckle over the theme. Basically I had to create a page using items that were meant for the trash. Since I very rarely throw out anything, because I just may need it one day, I not only had a good laugh but a hard time trying to find something to use. I even went through my two trash containers in my studio...Not much there except for used tissues (of the blow your nose variety) and a rotten apple core. The best I could come up with was an old magazine reviewing wines and a wine closure (which were in a pile of long forgotten items). So here it is. This is a pure collage, using Talbot's methods, nothing fancy. Since I was not too inspired this month, I was glad to have something to work on that brought a smile to my face.


Thursday, August 10, 2006

August Exploration Results: 3 ATCs

I used the papers made in the previous post for some ATCs. The small works were completed pretty darn fast because the backgrounds sort of spoke to me. I knew that the paper painted with shades of reds would be used for one ATC with a Mexico/Frida theme. I primarily used rubber stamps and permanent inks to create the art. The second ATC is collage done with Talbot's methods. There is one image that came from a rubber stamp. The third ATC was created from the paper with shades of blues. I chose rubber stamps again and a die-cut thingie. The ATCs are for a swap that I have due at the end of this month so this exploration was timely for me.


Sunday, August 06, 2006

August Monthly Exploration

Yahoo has a huge variety of Art groups to explore and learn from. I used to be a member of a good 40 or so but have cut that number to just a handful and currently, I am very, very careful about what groups I join. There is a variety of reasons for this caution, some of which are censorship, an inordinate amount of rules, egos, or just plain nastiness. Because there are so many art related groups, I still join new ones but I give myself a trial period, deciding at a later time whether or not there can be a mutual benefit. One such new group that I joined is called Art Explorations :
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/artexplorations/. I joined this group at a tumulous time, one of ownership change. Change has never been an issue with me, change can be good. The new owner seems to have a clear idea of where this group will head and so at least for now, I am happy to check out all the fun things going on.

One fun exercise is called the Monthly Exploration. If I understand the concept correctly, a technique or theme is voted upon, a member shares instructions, and then we create whatever the explortation is and share with the group. The exploration for August is ATC backgrounds. The instructions for this particular background technique were clear and concise with a tutorial and pictures. Since I have an ATC swap due at the end of August (with another group), I decided to complete the exercise.

Large sheets, 8 1/2 by 11, of either heavy weight cardstock or watercolor paper served as substrates for the backgrounds. Our instructions were basically to mix acrylic paints with a acrylic medium such a a soft get, coat the surface of the substrate and then to create texture, use a paper towel and or plastic wrap. One can find the full instructions to this technique by joining Art Explorations. The two samples here are my finished papers. While I am not new to this technique, it was nice to have two new papers ready to go for my ATCs.

The red toned page was made using 80lb burgundy card stock and I included a swatch of the original paper. This paper would not be my choice for this technique because it does not hold up well to the layers of acrylics, water, etc.. I rarely follow instructions but here is what I did: The card stock was first coated (using a brush) with a mixture of Goldens tit. white mixed with glazing liquid. I used the Goldens glazing liquid to give more body to my paint so that when I added texture using plastic wrap or paper towel, it would hold the patterns better. After that dried, I applied yellow ochre mixed with glazing liquid followed by plastic wrap and paper towel. After that dried I used Quinacridone crimson/glazing liquid followed by the same texture effects. Finally I toned down the colors using a wash of gesso. Before the gesso dried, I patted with paper towel. The texture is visual which is what I was looking for. This will make it easy to stamp on as well as collage. I can go either way.

The second page, done in a variety of green and blues, was done on 140 lb water color paper (Arches), which is by far a better choice for this background technique. Using glazing liquid as above, I made mixtures of Cerulean Blue Deep ( applied to the paper with a brush and texturized), cobalt turquoise, chromium oxide green, cadmium yellow medium plus white, and the final glaze was watered down gesso. After each color was texturized it was dried before applying the next. The watercolor paper does not buckle and is very sturdy. I did use some plastic bubble wrap to give texture as well. I will use a variety of items to add interest to my backgrounds. Some of these include magic mesh, screenig, cheese cloth, and wax paper. In addition, I have done similar backgrounds using matte board as a substrate and 300 lb watercolor paper. These are more typical for my work as of late. For ATCs though, 140 lb watercolor paper is more than sufficient.

Next I will cut each page into ATC size "cards" and make my ATCs. These backgrounds can be enhanced when the art work is underway, or left to stand on its own. ATCs soon to follow.


Thursday, July 27, 2006


I have been thinking of writing a series of comments or short articles about where new artists, aka mixed media artists, get their inspiration from. I was hoping to write these for Susan Reynold's bog, "The Museum of Modern Paper." Susan has been under the weather as of late and busy with her business, so I decided to put these ponderings here.

New mixed media artists, who are they, and why do they call themselves that? Well I can only speak for myself on this one. I rediscovered my artistic muse back in 1998 in the world of Rubber Stamps. I suppose many of you can relate when I say you need a 12 step program to recover from the buying frenzies! I am a recovering Stampahowlic, with an art studio overflowing with stuff. Every gadget, ink, paper, tool, book, media, bead, fiber, clay, that was ever invented resides on my shelves, counter tops, tables, and the floors in my studio. When I discovered that stamping was somewhat limiting for my artistic juices I moved on, purchasing a variety of acrylics, brushes, and subtrates in order to branch out into collage and, you got it, mixed media. With so much stuff, well I had / have to use it or wind up in divorce court. And so you have...the birth of another mixed media artist. And now that I have arrived, more or less, where do I get that inspiration from?

I'd like to say that I am loaded with ideas but sadly that statement only goes so far.... I use several ways to develop ideas. The first and perhaps most straight forward is the "How to" books and instructional DVD's. I have some wonderful books by wonderful artists. They are well written with a lot of pictures. The instructional DVD's are one step above the books and are almost like taking a real workshop. Sadly, I am more of a hands on artist so I would much prefer taking a workshop with a real artist, meaning an alive person, one I can interact with! This is of course the most expensive route. Anyway, I always come away inspired from quality instruction. I have written about several workshops that I have taken in this blog. I hope to be able to continue in this vain! Each time I take a workshop I try to learn a new "technique." That can be literally a new technique or some small hint or shortcut that the artist likes to use. I zero in on that in the workshop, practice it, and then go home and practice it some more. This in itself leads to ideas because I want to use the new technique which translates into doing more art.

Another way to "get ideas" is to study an individual work by some famous artist that you admire. Strangely enough, I did this when I was much younger. I would spend hours looking at Andrew Wyeth's work and then try to copy one of his paintings. Needless to say, I never mastered watercolor. But it was Jonathan Talbot who reaffirmed this way of developing a work and gave me "permission" to have at it. That is precisely what I did with Missing.

This work is pure collage, using Talbot's methods. I incorporated bits and pieces of papers that we as a society normally just throw away. Nothing was purchased for the work. The vintage photo was obtained in a swap. So many collage greats from the 20th century used items from the world around them. Not that I could ever be in that league, but it sure is fun trying!

I think I will try to explain my thought process and analysis in another article and for another piece. It might be fun to show the actual work that I dissected and then my attempt. Hmmm this could be very addicting indeed.


Grow Peace

Today I managed to actually get a little art done. I have not been really motivated lately because I have had cluster headaches on and off these past two weeks. I spent quite some time in bed just trying to settle my head. Here is a deco page I did in which we had to use an image that included the words Grow Peace. I promptly chopped the image up and used the words and some shapes that I punched from the image. This is a collage done on 140 lb watercolor paper using Jonathan Talbot's methods, acrylics, and inks. I also finished a challenge piece in which I interpreted "Every Picture Tells a Story." I will post that before the day ends tomorrow.


Sunday, July 23, 2006


Rosa is another 4 inch by 4 inch piece that I have decided to part with. I did this work several months back for a show with other artists. She depicts an era that has long gone by and is an example of a vintage piece. I used acrylics, inks, and watercolors to achieve the look. Watercolors are the primary medium and this faux fresco technique was taught by Mary Jo McGraw at a workshop I took with her years back. It is one of my favorites because I love to get my hands in the paint. When I am doing smaller works, I will often use this technique to create either a fresco look or a worn vintage look. The substrate is 140 lb Arches cold pressed watercolor paper which is mounted to archival matte medium. It can be seen at this URL if you interested : http://tinyurl.com/hp6do

Mary Jo describes this method in one of her video workshops,
"Stamp Art Inspirations by Mary Jo McGraw." This is a wonderful video, easy to follow, and your piece will actually turn out the way hers did! However nothing beats taking an actual workshop. And I must say if Mary Jo is ever in your neighbor hood or vicinity, GO take her workshop. I have been lucky enough to attend three weekend workshops with her and I have never been disappointed. Her teaching style is laid back and she is so personable. She gets down and "dirty" with the entire group of students. I have always felt at home when she teaches and always come away some some new ideas, finished pieces that I actually like, and stained fingers. I think one of her most valuable gifts is that of honest encouragement. She is a "rebel" artist mixing media at will and that has led her to discover some interesting properties or uses of a variety of products that even the manufactures never dreamed of. Cool huh? The idea is not to be intimidated by anything out there and just give it a try....

I don't know when I will be able to take another workshop from her because the stamp stores in our area have gone belly up. Her venue is usually through a Rubber Stamp store but I think she would be happy to see that I have grown as an artist because of her encouragement, going way beyond what I thought I ever could. Thanks Mary Jo! Rosa came about because of your methods!


Monday, July 10, 2006

Art Squared

It has been some time since I listed any art on Ebay. I think the last time I listed anything was in December of 2005. The small 4 inch by 4 inch squares that I had been creating went to a show in an art gallery/coffee shop in Oklahoma. The show was a collaboration of artists all contributing work in the 4 by 4 format or Art Squared format as it is known on Ebay. Unlike ATC's, this collectible format gives more room for the artist to work with. Art Squares can be any size up to 14 by 14 inches. When the concept was first premiered, the 4 by 4 size was the only size allowed. So many of the artists involved in the movement have continued with that size. They are very addicting and fun to make. I will often work with a variety of substrates as well as media.

This offering is call Innocence prevails and it is the 4th in a series of 4, exploring innocence. The other 3 sold. The work was done using watercolors, inks, and acrylics, as well as found objects on 140 lb watercolors paper. For those who love to collect ATC's, this format offers a bit more variety. I have seen oils, watercolors, pen and ink, collage and more done on wood, matte board, canvas, paper etc... You can do a search on Art Squared and see the variety.


Thursday, June 29, 2006

It's Here!

My new scanner arrived and I spent most of the morning installing and setting it up. Then I spent another hour or so going through the features that this Hp has. I had an old Hp scanner and you would think that at least some of this new software would look familiar. NOT. It is amazing how much the technology has been upgraded. My old, now defunct, scanner was 3 years old. I guess our world considers the scanner a pretty disposable commodity. Anyway, here is a deco page for an African Mask deco. I needed to test this thing out.


Wednesday, June 28, 2006


I am waiting as patiently as I can for my new scanner, but it is driving me insane. You would think that with the speed of today's computer systems, phones, cameras etc.., that we could find a way to get stuff delivered faster without costing an arm and a leg! And isn't that the way our society is. We are so connected, maybe too connected, that we go insane when something breaks. So I won't let go of any of my art without making a jpeg of it. The scanner is an extension of my work. I have a good digital camera but I much prefer the look of the work when scanned. I use my camera for works that can't fit on the scanner bed. OK so here I sit....waiting.... and my art work is piling up waiting to be scanned. It seems appropriate that I post a mixed media piece that I did this past February called Insane. I did this work on a piece of black glossy cardstock. Found papers, inks, and a cool clip art image make up the bulk of the work.


Friday, June 23, 2006

What A Day!

Well, today was one of those sucky days. I woke up at 4:30 AM with a Migrane. Headaches and I go way back...to my early youth. It was severe and literally incapacitated me. With three children and 2 dogs...that simply won't do! I even had to cancel my haircut this AM. I was down for the count. By noon I started to feel like I could move. Thank God my kids did not have any of their dance camps today. I sat down to scan some art work and my scanner "blew" up. So I am down one scanner to boot. I ordered one from Best Buy and won't be back in the saddle again for about 7 days! The art work I completed was for decos and they must go into the mail by the 30th of this month. Hopefully the scanner will arrive a little early. And even as I write this, my headache is still there, dull, but still there. Maybe tomorrow will be better.

I decided to upload something I did quite a while back. I am posting it in honor of the King Tut exhibit that just arrived at our Field Museum in Chicago. The image came from a small post card announcing the exhibit. And this is a mixed media piece. I don't remember what substrate I used but I think I used 140 lb water color paper. Acrylics, inks, and a do dat.


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A Fishy Tale

I received, not too long ago, a deco with the theme of Fishheads. The artist included some silly poem about rolly polly fishheads that I only vaguely remembered from my childhood. I had no clue how to interpret the darn theme until I came across a a clipart image of a boy riding a fish. I can't give credit to the individual who posted the image because I do not remember where it came from but I thought it might be perfect for my page in the deco book. I painted a simple ocean/sky scene and affixed the image. I hand lettered the words and added some capitol letter stickers to complete the piece. This was done on 140 lb cold pressed water color paper. Acrylics, inks and stickers were used.

The lesson learned with this piece...It is all about the process. Finding that perfect image took a while but once it was found, the work came together quickly.


Monday, June 19, 2006

A Father's Day Photo

I managed to kill two birds with one stone with this photo. I needed a simple gift for my husband from the two newest members of the pack..Mandy and Tigger. So off to the backyard with skin kids and dogs in tow. We framed this photo in one of those themed frames with dog paws and bones surrounding it. I also needed a picture of Tigger (our newest addition) for the Greyhounds Only adoption group. Although this is not a full body shot, at least it shows that we are all happy!

Tigger is an absolute joy. He gets along greyt with Mandy and he is very loving. You can almost read his soul by looking into those eyes. With every kiss he gives there is confirmation of his gratitude. He was a little nervous and skittish when he brought him home but with patience and love, he has settled right in. If you have never loved one of these greyt dogs, I recommend checking out the numerous adoption agencies for greyhounds. They are so grateful for a forever home.


Saturday, June 17, 2006

Back to Art

It has definitely been awhile since I posted. So much has happened since my Aunt's 90th. We brought home a second greyhound whose name is Tigger. I have been walking both dogs 4-5 times daily (no fenced in yards allowed in our area) taking anywhere from 20 minutes to 35 minutes per walk! And with a new boy, you pretty much have to play alpha all day, except when they are sleeping. Happy to say things are beginning to settle. Mandy is definitely alpha to Tigger but at least they know who top dog is :))))) I have to upload a picture of them soon.

Last week, we had rehearsals and more rehearsals and then performances and more performances of the ballet, Sleeping Beauty. All three of my children had major parts. My husband and I are still recovering. The kids were great. I was one proud Mom.

Yesterday I was finally able to do my first collage in almost a month! This one is approximately 4 by 6 and is for a deco with an Einstein theme. It was done on 140 lb water color paper using acrylics, stamps, found papers, and ink. I used an inkjet print of Einstein and the color was originally black and white. After fixing the image using workable fixative and then a matte fixative, the color changed. I like it actually. It aged without me even thinking about it :))) Love when stuff like that happens. I have several more deco pages in the works to complete my deco obligations for this month and then I hope to work on a collage challenge posted on the Midwest Collage Society's yahoo group.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Aunt Mari's 90th Birthday surprise

My dear, sweet Aunt Mari turned 90 this past weekend. I was lucky enough to attend. My husband, three children, greyhound, and I piled into our van, drove 3 hours north to Appleton, WI, and along with several other out of state cousins, surprised the he_ _ out of her. Mari's three children planned a lovely party with many of her friends from the retirement community that she lives in, friends from the suburb outside of Milwaukee where she used to live, and her nieces and nephews (that would be me for one). The look on her face when my family and I entered the room was well, priceless! She cried and laughed at the same time. So did I. In this first picture, Aunt Mari is in the middle and her two grandchildren are on either side. The other three are mine. The children presented her with 90 roses. And then I presented her with my collage (the second picture). I can't tell you how much she loved it. There was a scrap book of sorts with many of the same photos in it, along with displays boards, but the collage stood out. Many were amazed at the construction of the work and others wanted to know the symbolism for some of the papers that were used. I am so glad I attempted this and was so pleased with the outcome.


Thursday, May 18, 2006

Remembering Family

It is finished! Last night at about 10:00 CST, I put the finishing touches on my Aunt Mari's collage. This was a new process for me. I used Jonathan Talbot's methodologies, but I still needed to work some things out for myself as I put the piece together. Since I most recently have journeyed from a rubber stamp world into mixed media and collage, I felt at first that this was like putting a scrapbook page together. Boy was I wrong. The process began with careful scanning and manipulation (with a crappy photo editor) of more photos than I care to think about. Then I hunted for old maps, recipes and other found papers. After about a week of gathering the material, I was off to the copy center to make color copies. More decisions at the copy center were made (do I want more yellow in the copy etc). Finally I had all the material assembled with the exception of just a few alphabet letters.

On Monday of this past week, I coated everything I had with acrylic medium (as per Jonathan's method). I coated way to much but that is OK because I can use the left over material in other works. While that was drying (both sides of the copies had to be coated), I prepared my water color paper. I used 300 lb arches natural (really yummy stuff). The final size of the paper was 16 by 20 which I then masked off to 11 by 14. The background was added to the substrate (an old dress pattern) and some acrylic paint "splashed" on. Then that surface was coated with acrylic medium. This entire process (with drying time) took about 24 hours.

On Tuesday I began to cut out and arrange the photos and papers. This was an ardent and almost nerve racking experience. There was so much material and I had this idea going that just was not translating to the substrate! I knew I had to have most of the work finished by Tuesday because of my time schedule. After arranging, rearranging, and arranging again, I had something that was pleasing to my eye. I did not want to alter the photos too much (as in a David Hockney look) because my Aunt is after all 90, and I don't think she would have recognized or understood that type of approach. I did have one dilemma though. I really like to integrate my background, especially when I am using a variety of different items. How was I going to do that and keep the arrangement I had in front of me. I had some of the photos tucked behind background elements, in the center of background elements etc...and I did not want the photos integrated into the work. So I settled for a happy medium (no pun intended). I made a detailed drawing of where all the pieces were supposed to be on the substrate and then assembled the collage in sections so I could integrate, at least partially, some of the background. It worked fairly well and although the background papers are not fully integrated, I am pleased with the outcome. A few minor additions were made, the piece was sealed and varnished, titled, and there you have it! A srapbook page? I think not, but you tell me...is it art or craft?

So today is Thursday and I am off to frame the work. Saturday is the big surprize party. I hope she likes it!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Aunt Mari

I have been frantically trying to pull together the material I will need for my Aunt's birthday present. She turns 90 this Saturday! My family and I are heading up to Appleton, WI to celebrate with her. It will be a huge surprise because she has not seen out children in maybe 10 years. So, my cousin, her oldest son, has sent me files of pictures of her and my uncle and other cousins. And the files sat for two weeks. Why? For those of you who have school age children know that the school year is fast coming to a close. I have been swamped with my children's school projects (I hate this time of year) and have not been able to do any art. Today I was able to get to Staples to make some color copies of the materials. Now I have one week to finish.

Here is a sweet picture of my Aunt Mari when she was maybe 2. I will be using this one for sure. If nothing else, this project will be a real walk down memory lane. I found an old Newsweek from 1946! Will be using some of that in the collage! I also found my Dad's Boy Scouts membership card from the 1930s. My Uncle (Mari's husband) and my Father were brothers (both deceased). I also found a recipe from my Aunt Mari that my Mom used for years and years. We called it "Aunt Mari's chocolate cake." My Aunt Mari is the last of my aunts. My parents, and my Dad's two brothers, are gone. So this project is very near and dear to me. My Aunt does not even know that we are coming and the gift, I hope, will be icing on the cake.


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

loca mesa verde

I finished my first challenge for the Midwest Collage Society. The Spring challenge was posted a while back on the Yahoo list. We were challenged to come up with a spring abstract landscape. I thought it might be fun to step out of my comfort zone and I think for a first try, it turned out OK. My inspiration for the the piece is spring in New Mexico. We have traveled to New Mexico many times over the years because my in-laws live in Santa Fe. I think spring is my favorite my season there. It is so alive and fresh. Green is a rare commodity in many areas of New Mexico but in the spring, near Santa Fe, the mesas come to life. And there you have it.

The work is done on watercolor paper, 140lb. A variety of found papers were used, and acrylic paints. I did this collage using Jonathan Talbot's method. I plan on mounting the work to an 8 by 10 piece of watercolor paper. The finished size will be 8 by 10.

Now I have to get to business on my Aunt's collage...Have to finish before the 20th of May.


Thursday, April 27, 2006

Jack of All Trades- A Finished Work.

I have three pieces I would like to start and finish before the 20th of May. Now that I have a space cleaned off on my table in my studio, I can finally get down to "business." I need to do something "artsy," as my cousin says, for my Aunt Mari's 90th birthday. OK so no problem right, HA. I decided to do a collage work ,about 11 by 14 in size, of family photos over three generations, from not only her immediate family, but mine, and another cousin's as well. So this is the work that absolutely needs to get done by the 20th of May and I have not even started! I did get a commissioned work done and although it is a minor piece (I had to work with this of photo of Jack), I am pleased with it. The third piece is for a challenge with the Midwest Collage Society.

This commissioned work is called Jack of all Trades and is a mixed media piece using Jonathan Talbot's methods. It is interesting how this piece came about. I was at a Dog Workshop at our local college. We listened to topics on holistic approaches to dog care, dietary concerns, animal communication etc... I had a small notebook ( the kind used to take notes in) and I had altered the front cover with a collage. The subject matter was greyhounds. Everyone who knows me is aware of my passion for the breed and that I have rescued two, soon to add a third. A friend that owns a locals pet store catering to holistic, organic, natural products, wanted one as well , but her breed is the Jack Russell Terrier. She gave me a picture of her departed "Jack." I did not know anything about the breed, so I researched it some and this is what I came up with. The work is done on 140 lb watercolor paper and is approximately 6 1/2 by 9 1/2. I could not bring myself to mount the work on a notebook so I copied the work and I will put that copy on the cover of the notebook and give her the original. I hope she likes it.

I have the pieces laid out for the collage challenge and hopefully I will get some time this weekend to assemble it. The challenge called for a spring abstract landscape in either a 4 by 6 or 8 by 10 format. I have already broken the rules...no big surprise, because I think the finished piece will be somewhere in-between those two dimensions.


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Of Picasso

Today is a dreary one here in Northern Illinois. I am trying to clean of space in my studio so I can begins to create once again. I have three works in mind for various commitments. Hopefully I will be able to gather materials for one of them today.

On Berger's book, The Success and Failure of Picasso, this was the first biography on an artist that I have ever read. Jonathan Talbot recommended it and so I purchased it on Amazon. Berger is an excellent writer and he drew me into Picasso's life with the first sentence of the book. I really did not have any strong opinions about Picasso one way or another prior to this book. And this was largely because of my lack of knowledge about the man and artist. I can say, however, that I have always been an admirer of his work because of the great emotions that stirred within every time I viewed any of them. Berger's book taught me a great deal about the man and his art! Picasso's environment shaped him and so much of his art reflects troubled emotions. I remember the reaction I had when I viewed Guernica while in Madrid (pictures in a book do not due the work justice). My husband and the couple we were with, left me alone...I wept. I am not sure the guards knew what to make of me but I wept and wept...Such passion and sadness.....

I think I have always wanted to learn more about Picasso but never took the initiative. I was intimidated by the material available to research...He always seemed so, well, so out of reach, so hard to understand or comprehend... so larger than life...Berger changed that for me! He did a super job of laying a foundation for his discussion about the artist, such that even a complete art history virgin, such as myself, could follow where he was leading. I often felt guilty for not loving ALL of Picasso's art because I could not put my arms around all of it. Many pieces disturbed me or I thought they were not that good or not befitting a genius. The guilt was there because I knew he was a genius and so many critics find no fault with his work. Well now I understand why I feel that way. Berger's work is a must read. It helps to dispell some of the myths surrounding the man and his art.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

The End of Jonathan's Reply

Today I have a little more time. My 11 year old son had a friend over yesterday to celebrate his birthday and well we were hoping again as usual. I had no time for profound thoughts (LOL). So hopefully today I will finish Jonathan Talbot's reply to the challenge he gave me.

This collage was also done in Jonathan's workshop at the beginning of April. This one used his methods which are described in his book "Collage, A New Approach." If you are interested in a copy you can purchase one via his website or attend a workshop and get one as part of the class. I often find myself making political and moral statements through my work. I doubt this piece will ever sell because of the nature of the it. I did need to make this statement and I think it had been brewing inside me for some time. For whatever reasons, it just spilled out of me at this workshop. I call the piece "Choices."

KL: "Your paintings and your body of work makes your statement, be it personal, social, political, or philosophical as my research and publications make mine. Am I onto something here?"

JT: "What I think you are moving toward is the realization that YOUR visual artwork will make your statement in the future just as your research and publications (and professional relationships) did in the past... and professional relationships will be important in the artb world as well."

KL: "No wonder I am in the process of exploring my own creative expression.

JT: "No, there is no surprise in it... You are, because of your experience set, particularly well equipped for this explorative process."

KL: "As for more concrete relations between the visual arts and microbiology...here is one microbiologist's perspective....."

JT :" I enjoyed you making a painters palette out of Eosin, malachite green, carmine, gentian violet, fuschin, and methylene blue. Do you know that during the renaissance most artists manufactured their own paints (they did not, however, always grind the pigments as there were others who did that... but the artists tended to buy the pigments as powders)."

KL: " Clusters of grapes, spiderous shapes, four leaf clovers, worms, chains, corkscrews, and threads ... a variety of colonial morphologies [such] as cavernous, volcano like, mesas and mountain ridges, milky ponds, slick ice patches, snowflakes, and wispy cotton candy. I once remember thinking that I was looking at a southwest landscape. The petri dish contained rich hues of sepia, burnt sienna, raw umber and colonies took on the shape of giant mesas."

JT: " The basic shapes of microbiology are not so different, it would appear, from the plane, cube, cone, and cylinder of the first year composition class... "

KL: " Mold and filamentous type organisms offer perhaps the greatest arrays of color and shapes that I have ever seen. These organisms are often highly pigmented and beautiful shades of greens, blues, yellow, reds, and browns can be observed. The pigments are rich and often are secreted into the growth medium making for an even more spectacular show. The color are sometimes surreal, fluorescent, iridescent... and always spectacular. Colony morphology is as varied as the color and can be described as great craters (like the moon craters), cauliflower heads, fluffy cotton balls, and waves (like the ocean)."

JT:" This passage sounds like a review in Art News!"

KL: " Finally, the way I approached my research should serve me well as I explore the visual arts. Experiments were planned based upon current theories, very carefully, and methodically. It was however, with a bit of serendipity and a I don't give a damn what others think attitude (of course when things weren't going well), that the most satisfactory results were obtained. "

JT: " Well said.."

KL: "Although I have no formal training in the arts... that will not hinder my process but rather challenge me to go forward. "

JT: " Since you have already acquired one formal disicipline (microbiology) and became (I quote from your message) "a sought after trainer because of [your] skills" you now have what you need to acquire formal knowledge in a new disicpline (plastic or visual arts). The knowledge is there, the trainer is there (you), the student is there (you), colleagues are there (artists everywhere, those living and those who have gone before, leaving their work behind), mentors are there (you will find them)."

KL:" In closing, I don't know if this piece is what you were looking for but it is what I was looking for. For me this has indeed been a revelation, a closure and a new beginning all in one!

JT: "Of course what I was looking for had more to do with process than product. But as I understand the process by which you put the "dissertation" together, and as I read the results of that process, there is a sense of satisfaction and I am grateful to you for it."

KL: " My work is for me now and may always be [a revelation, a closure and a new beginning all in one!] "

JT: " This single sentence is enough to form a firm foundation for a lifetime of work... May I quote you?"

Cordially, Jonathan

And so there you have it. Jonathan is a remarkable artist, capable of greatness. But more wondrous to me is what a remarkable human being he is. He read my little dissertation and put thought into a response, one that he knew instinctively, would be very, very important to me. Jonathan, if you are reading this, I thank you again for taking the time to indulge me. You words have made, and still continue to make, a difference in how I approach my art and my life.


Friday, April 21, 2006

More about the visual arts and microbiology.

Today I came home from work with one of my splitting headaches. I am usually incapacitated when this happens. So my entry for today will reflect just a bit more of Jonathan Talbot's response to me. In addition, this second piece was done at his workshop (the beginning of April). It is called "Into Despair." and is a reflection of how I was feeling that day. Jonathan had crammed so much into his workshop and I wished it would not end. I felt there was so much more to learn and experience.... This is a mixed media piece done on 300 lb watercolor paper. It is one of my favorites.

KL: " ...I retired after 20 years in my field to stay at home with my young children. They are now 11 and 9 (the twins). During my time in the field I developed a keen sense of observation (almost legendary at Abbott Labs)."

JT: " This will stand you in good stead in the plastic arts..."

KL: "became a sought after trainer because of those skills,"

JT: "This, too, will be useful as you redirect your energies to a new discipline..."

KL: "published numerous research articles including a chapter for a book, received prestigious awards for my work, and learned to say "WHY NOT?" or "WHAT IF" when others said "NO WAY."

JT: "Your ability to articulate your thoughts and feelings will enable you to engage in dialogues with yourself and with others about what you are doing art-wise and your art will be richer because of it..."

KL: "Intuition was as important as my book knowledge and so I would often find those "problematic" organisms sitting in my lab courtesy of my molecular geneticist colleagues."

JT: "When one stands upon a solid foundation of classical training and allows one's intuition "free play" the possibilities are almost limitless."

KL: " Some of those qualities mentioned above surely must be shared by those in the arts. Good observation skills, a rebellious nature, sense of adventure, childlike wonder, experimentation skills, and tenacity may be seen and felt by the observer."

JT:" Of course you are right... Just do some reading about artists (rather than art) and you will find confirmation of this. For a start I suggest John Berger's "The Success and Failure of Picasso," a short but pithy work will I believe you will enjoy. "

And here I will end for today. More to come. Oh, and I did read the Berger book. I will review that later as well. It is a must read, one that will open your eyes to Picasso.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

A response from Jonathan

This is one of the small pieces that I did at Jonathan's Collage Workshop at The Art Center in Highland Park, IL. (the beginning of April.) I really loved this free style way of creating a piece of art. It is a wonderful way to work on several pieces at once or to work on a series of pieces. The finished size of the work is 7 by 7 inches and is a mixed media piece on 300 lb watercolor paper entitled "Claire's Tree." Below I have outlined a portion of the artist's reply to my comparison of microbiology and the visual arts.

After sending Jonathan my response to his first challenge (see the April 14th entry in this blog). I really don't know what I expected. I will say that I received a tremendous amount of gratification in actually doing the challenge and in realizing that I could use the right side of my brain. I sent that Email and then left for the day. While I was gone, Jonathan called me, leaving a message stating that he wanted to reply to my visual arts and microbiology comparison. I was so stunned that I would be taken seriously by such a well-known and very busy artist. So here are excerpts from his Email. I have annotated the text with JT (for Jonathan Talbot) and KL (for myself)

JT: "Before I begin my "detailed" reply to your "dissertation" please know that I was delighted and impressed by the way you responded to the challenge I so presumptuously placed before you. Having read your words, I believe that you realized that this exercise would be a productive one for you and that I, too, might learn something in the process...Now I will move forward in "Email fashion," responding to some of the points you made and hopefully interspersing a few of my own..."

KL: "..As I write this, I feel a sense of wonder... I begin to understand why creating has always been a part of me, has always been lying just underneath the surface waiting to be recognized by my conscious self. "

JT: "Thank you for sharing that with me..."

KL: "[This dissertation] is written so that you might understand where I came from as a scientist... "

JT: " Thank you for describing the education of a classically trained microbiologist in such detail. Clearly your training formed an solid foundation for your subsequent creative work. It is like that in painting as well... Most innovators have a solid grounding in, and a respect for, the history of their discipline."

KL: " Don't be fooled...this work is by no means glamorous and is often done behind the scenes. It can be considered repetitive and downright "dowdy."

JT: " I giggled when I read the above... So many folks think painting (being an artist) is glamorous and most experienced artists realize that while there are, at times, euphoric breakthroughs much of what we do is repetitive (just look at the works of a single artist in detail and that will become clear... One does not establish a personal style without repetition). "

KL: " The sexy side of this science, if you will, is the molecular genetic or molecular biological approach... "

JT: " The cutting edge of what is going on is always exciting... and the implications of DNA "engineering" are both exciting, scary, and profound (scary because human beings are so unreliable and often out of touch with their relationship with the rest of the biological world)."

Jonathan continued and so will I, tomorrow.


Aubrey's Dream Journal

Another artist that I greatly admire (living artist that is) is Claudine Hellmuth. Her style is clean and her use of texture and color is well, legendary! I belong to her Yahoo group and frequent her blog. I have devoured her books and instructional DVDs and truly enjoy incorporating a variety of textures in my work thanks to these publications. Her instructional style is straight forward and almost easy. She teaches the kind of techniques that I bet most new artists wonder about. You know, when you look at a mixed media piece and say "I wonder how she did that?" Or how about "This looks really complicated and I could never do that!" Wrong...try one of Claudine's books and you will be hooked.

Ok so this piece is actually my third in Claudine's style. I love doing these characters for friends. I have been making dream journals for special presents. This is a journal that everyone should have. One that you can write down your wildest dreams and aspirations throughout the years. It is meant for your eyes and so no one can judge it. Cross off your dreams as your achieve them! Anyway a young woman, who used to be our babysitter, had just graduated from college this winter. This was her gift. What I do is buy a nice looking journal and then I do a painting for that individual. I either affix the finished work to an inside page, or the outside cover. In this work I use several of Claudine's background methods including rinse aid and contact paper.

As an aside note, I have asked Jonathan Talbot for his permission to publish his responses to my challenges. It is a go ahead and I will start to do so soon.


Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Of Frida and Birthdays

Yesterday was my twins birthday. They had school off and we spent a fun day shopping and celebrating. Can't believe they are now 11. Needless to say I was very busy most of the day and evening with their celebration. I worked until noon, and then I don't think I sat down until about 10 at night! Too tired to enter a journal page.

Today I have busy work. Thank you cards to make for the twins, to hand out, thank you cards for our Easter celebration, a birthday card for my Father-in-Law and well other assorted household things. No real work on art projects today :(

Frida has always been one of my favorite artists and whenever I can, I work on a deco page or two using her art or her image as a theme. Above is a recent one. This is a mixed media collage using inks and acrylics, rubber stamps, found papers and stickers.


Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Easter

What a nice day. I always love these holidays. We spent the day at my husband's sister and brother-in-law. We took our new greyhound, Mandy (she came home with us Feb 4th of this year). She is a pretty and petite brindle girl. This picture was taken Feb. 5th. Once at our destination, we all had a fun time. My children enjoyed playing with all the dogs (three all together) and the dogs got on famously. The food was fabulous and the family time was priceless. We just let the day unfold for us and did not worry about much else. Little Miss Mandy did try to escape but thank goodness my oldest had the presence of mind to catch her before she realized she was free!

I shared some of my art with my brother-in-law. He is an accomplished sculptor and painter working in mostly oils. I so admire his work and was eager to share some of mine with him. It is always gratifying when an artist asks me how I did a work. Well now it is time to get ready for the work week....


Saturday, April 15, 2006

Easter Chocolate

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It is Holy Saturday, a day of reflection and anticipation for us Catholics. I am spending the day with my family. A walk with our new greyhound, Mandy, seems very appropriate. In view of the upcoming Easter Celebration, while certainly one of the holiest in the Catholic Church, my children always seem to make it about the chocolate! So yesterday I finished another deco page with a yummy theme in mind.

Decos have been around for sometime but if you want to read about them, I suggest Lisa Vollrath's website: http://www.lisavollrath.com/pages/category/how-to/. She has a wealth of info there about decos and you should find a ton more interesting items as well. I took to doing decos right away because the support or canvas, if you will, is usually small. For me, anyway, it allows me to work out some spatial issues for larger pieces, and the smallness is not so intimidating. Also, the extra added bonus is that when your deco is done, you get to keep some amazing art! I always get inspired when I get to see and touch art done by others!

In the next couple of weeks I want to document some of my email discussions with Jonathan Talbot. Hopefully they will give some insight to those beginning their art journey and provide some interest to those already well into their journey.