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 :

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.