Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Years

With Nutcracker and Christmas behind me, I am preparing for our smallish New Years Eve party. Each year it seems that the holiday season just flies by. Our Christmas was idyllic. I cleaned and cooked, then the feast arrived. We ate, drank and were merry, just like Charles Dickens Christmas Carol. I so enjoyed watching the children open their gifts. We remembered waiting for good ol Santa and we even tracked him on NORAD! Kaitie still does not get how that is done! We dreamed about next years Nutcracker and who would get what part. Colin managed to get a part in the musical Hello Dolly. Mrs Svalander is doing the choreography for a local high school and Colin tried out. We found out right before Christmas Eve. Gosh I am so proud of my children!

For the New Year, I resolve to do more be a better Mom, and to forgive. I will leave you with a few more Nutcracker pictures.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Nutcracker Season

Suspended animation...that is what the month of December is for art, no reading, just the Nutcracker. This is our seventh Nutcracker. Right now I am pretty much exhausted...I can't even begin to imagine how tired my three children are. Last week, every night except Monday, was filled with rehearsals from after school at 4 till almost 10. That mad rush from school to the Woodstock Opera House is absolutely crazy. Dogs have to be taken out, home work done and maybe we can sneak in some sleep. Then this past weekend the performances began. Friday, Saturday and Sunday for a total of 5 performances. The kids managed to survive but grades suffered. IT was worth it though. I watched 4 of the 5 performances. And I just never get tired. I was so proud of them. My son had a little solo and I think I cried every time I saw it. These are just a few pictures that my oldest daughter snapped back stage. Kaitie has three roles this year, all requiring three different hair styles! She was on top of it though! I hope I can get a few more of my twins....

We have another weekend of this and then I guess I will have to clean the house and figure out what I will serve on Christmas!


Thursday, November 29, 2007

Virtues in Rhyme Series: With Peace in Her Heart.

I have started a little series of 4 paintings, mixed media and collage, which when finished, will read as a little poem. Each title will stand on its own but when the four are placed on the wall together, the four titles will complete a poem. I have titled the series, Virtues in Rhyme.

I have been a big fan of Matthew Kelly for years. After finishing his book, Perfectly Yourself, 9 Lesson for Enduring Happiness, I decided to pick some of my favorite virtues and create works around them. The poem idea just sort of happened.

The work is 8 by 10 finished size and the drawing was done on top of the collaged papers. Usually I will draw my work on altered papers and then collage them to a painted background so this is a little different. The title is "With Peace in Her Heart." And the second one in this series is almost completed. I just have to varnish it. The title for that piece will be "Hope in her Soul." These works are for the Raue Center show next May.


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Found Art Tuesday: 11/27/07- Woman

My Thanksgiving holiday was filled with familiar smells, relaxation, and being with my family. It was wonderful to have this precious time...the children did not have much homework nor did they have any dance. We just hung out.

On Saturday I had a once in a lifetime experience. My family and I went to see an art exhibit at the Milwaukee Museum of Art The feature exhibition was the work of Martin Ramirez As an artist, I must say next to seeing Picasso's Guernica in Spain, this was the best exhibit I had been to in years. I was so incredibly moved by his work. His history is so sad, but the art he made brought a sort of sanity to his existence. Martin's home was Mexico where he had a wife and 4 children.. He came to America in the 1920s in search of work. For a time he worked on the railroad and then in the fields. Then in 1931 for reasons unknown, he became confused and despondent and was found on a roadside.. He was unable or unwilling to communicate in English so he was committed to a mental hospital. And there he remained for 30 years. Can you imagine, 30 years! To keep patients occupied, nurses and doctors would allow them to color and scribble. While I bet many did not take advantage of that, Martin did. He drew and he drew and he drew with anything he could get his hands on. His substrates included the papers that they used on hospital tables/bed, napkins, paper bags, etc.. His collage work was done using a homemade glue from his saliva and potatoes. He used graphite, crayons, watercolors, pastels to create his drawings. And if you look closely at his work, I swear the guy never erased anything! Tragically, many of his works were lost because the orderlies would throw them out at the end of the day (clutter you know). But many of his works did survive thanks to the psychiatrist that worked with him.

Now that brings me to my found art for this week. The topic was woman and I had planned on something very different. After seeing this exhibit I decided to do something in Martin's style. This is a blatant copy and blend of two of his drawings. There is no originality what so ever, but hopefully I can remedy that. I did a small note card and plan to include a brief explanation of Martin's work and maybe a little about him. I did the drawing in marker and used oil pastels to color. I really can't even begin to say I feel his style. As a native to Mexico, his work drew from his experiences and memories of his homeland, none of which I share. The style of his work is so foreign to me.... Anyway I call this Ode to M.R. and one day I hope to do something a little larger scale that has a little more of me in it. Please take a look at the link above...his work is so worth a look see.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Found Art Tuesday 11-13-07 : Voice

I worked into this piece through a back door. My mind works all the time and it seems, sometimes, that I am wired way different than many of my friends! I am working on a 11 by 14 stretched canvas. And I came across an alcohol reduction method in the current issue of Cloth Paper Scissors. The technique has certainly been around for some time, or at least versions of it. And I have happily been using rubbing alcohol with my acrylics for at least two years. So what makes this method a little different from what I am doing is that the author of the article (Patricia Eggebruch) paints her entire gessoboard with 7 to 10 layers of acrylic paints ,different colors, and then rubs areas of her board with rubbing alcohol to reveal rich colors beneath the top most layers. I thought her work was way cool so I really wanted to try it with my canvas. The canvas piece is in a painful stage right now. I am stuck from a composition view point. And I am nervous about covering up everything. So as I fretted about all this I thought that I should try out this technique on a scrap of Illustration board.

Switch to the found art topic of Voice. I could not get the phrase out of my mind.."And a voice cried out in the dark." Don't know where I heard that or if I read it, or made it up..but that darn phase would not get out of my head. I pictured darkness with words being voiced. So in between waiting for collaged items on my canvas to dry, I picked up a scrap of illustration board and went at it. I now understand why gessoboard or ampersand board is used. You have to have a firm surface to be able to work through the multiple layers of paint. I am still going to try this with my canvas but I am still a little leery because the stretched canvas is flimsy. Oh well at least I am not going into it blind. So my piece is called "Help Me," and it is my "voice" in the dark. Weird huh? The image is about 3 3/4 inches by 6 inches. Acrylics, inks and words from a book were used.


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Found Art Tuesday 11-6-07: Book

Better late than never...that is my motto for today. My Found Art this week has to do with a "Book." I settled on a bookmark with a reading theme. The background has torn pages from a variety of books that I keep for art purposes. The art was done on watercolor paper and is mixed media and collage.

For these little projects, I like to start on Tuesday and finish up on Tuesday. When I am doing collage work, I try to let my layers air dry. So this will usually take 3-4 hours to complete even the simplest collage for found art work. I had thought about making a book or altering a small kids board book but unfortunately, I tend to take a long time doing those sorts of projects. It would be hard for me to part with an altered book.

Another Tuesday...come and gone..November marches on...


Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Fairy of the Woodland Glade 11-6-07

I final signed sealed and mounted my third fairy in my fairies of the ballet series. She is the third having to do with Sleeping Beauty. As I have mentioned in earlier posts, my children danced in this ballet two years and running. I become so immersed in their performances and would often find myself composing works in my head as I am watching the ballet. Several of the fairies, performed by beautiful young dancers from the Svalander School of Ballet in Crystal Lake, IL, were just waiting for my imagination and some watercolor paper.

This is a mixed media collage work on watercolor paper. Portions of the ballet program were included as they were for my previous two fairies from this ballet. My fairy is a transfer of a clip art image and her dress is a transfer from a photograph. She will take her place next to the other fairies in a gallery show next spring.


Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween and Found Art Tues 10-30-07

Well today is spook day! Our family loves this holiday. I am letting my three children skip their dance classes tonight after school to do the candy thing. My 14 year old still so gets into it. And of course my 12 year old twins are right there with her. Our fall colors are at their peak right now and the weather is just warm enough for the children to be comfortable.
My offering this week is a card that I made about two years ago. I cheated a little on this one because of time constraints. Anyway I submitted this little card for a contest and won a prize. Naturally I saved it. But now it will be left for someone to find. The skeleton is actually stamped into candle soot. That definitely sets the mood. And the rest of the background is just a variety of inks and stamps. Enjoy your tick or treat day!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Don't Drink 10-26-07

My daughter Kaitlyn, a freshman in high school, had an assignment to desgin a T shirt with a message revolving around not using drugs, alcohol, or tobacco. So we thought abut doing a collage and gathering some text/letters from magazines, using alcohol as the main focus. My Kaitie is somehow always behind the eight ball. She gets so much homework plus she dances 4 nights a week and weekends. It was no big surprise that I wound up doing the magazine search and the art. Kaitie helped me position the pieces for collage. She does not get much enjoyment from doing art, which is a shame. I hope some day she appreciates her Mom's style.

I did a larger monoprint this time around and the method I used was described in the Collage Techniques book by Leland and Williams (see entry below). I hope she gets an A on this :)))))


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Found Art Tuesday: Line 10-23-07

I just purchased another technique book called Collage Techniques. You would think that I had them all by now..Ha not quite! This one is by Nita Leland and Virginia Williams, It has been around for a while, published in I believe 1994. I can't believe I did not have this one in my library! I have been playing with the acrylics book (Acrylic Revolution) purchased just recently and I decided to combine some techniques from this book with what I already have been doing.

This work was an experiment in monoprinting. I used both watercolor paints and acrylics to make the background print. And added cut out forms for mountains. All else is hand drawn using oil pastels markers and acrylics. The piece is called TIMBERLINE. OK so I could not think of anything more profound. I used 140 lb watercolor paper as the substrate. Now I can get a bit more ambitious with the next little project. I plan on monoprinting a background for a project my daughter has at school. This one has to be done by Friday so I will have another example up of monoprinting. I think I will use acrylics this time around.. There will be no need to "fix" the background so it won't smear when I ad polymer medium for collage items.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Found Art Tuesday: 10-16-07 SEED

I am finally back in the saddle. This past week two really wonderful events happened, Rosa returned to her blog with a new found art theme: seed. And I will be have a gallery show at the Raue Center for the Performing Arts in May of 2008.

I simply can't believe that my work was accepted. I found myself reflecting on the fact that I am no different than many of you...I have self doubts...Am I good enough, why would anyone like my art, oh sure, it does give me pleasure and that is what counts right? And then I went to the Raue on this past Saturday and saw the work of two local artists. The work blew me away. Check out the websites of Nancy Reid and Johanna Gullick How can I even hang my work in the same gallery? These are award winning artists, professional artists. Then I found myself questioning the Raue's criteria for selection. I just keep shaking my head... I know my husband is very proud of me.... I guess I should be thrilled. At least I am back in the studio. So I have some work to do, goals to make, and dreams to achieve. This is a big one for me. The Raus is one of the few fine galleries in McHenry County. I am still in shock!

Now for the found art theme. I created a little abstract design and collage focused around the seed of life. Hence the title.."Seed of Life." Life is so precious...we are all stars. To make the decision to have children should not be taken lightly, it is a privilege. This work is done on one of my favorite substrates- a drink coaster, this one from a Chili's restaurant. I used tissues, acrylics, inks, and some doodling by yours truly.

I am so happy to resume my cyber space friendship with Rosa..although I may not participate as much as I like in the project, I know it is there for me when I need a quick release. Rosa...thank God for you!

The studio awaits me once again. I have a work in progress that I should post soon. It is about half done. It is a fairy from my Sleeping Beauty series (now of 3 paintings). She is one of the many faeries from the ballet Sleeping Beauty. Although she is not wearing a tutu nor pointe shoes, she is very real to me. I promise to share her soon.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Found Art 9-11-07- Small

I am glad to be working on this found art piece today. It has taken my mind off this grim anniversary. I remember being at the computer on this day in 2001 when I saw a "news" flash on AOL. I went down to my TV set and watched in footage of the second plane hitting the second tower. My brain became numb and then I received a call from from my husband saying that they were told to go home. My husband, at that time, worked in the Sears Tower. It was thought to be a target as well. There was mass hysteria in the city. I did not relax until Marc walked in the back door. That was a very long and sad day......

My piece is entitled "Autumn Herald." It is a reminder how one "small" leaf begins this season each year in northern Illinois. Our leaves are just beginning to turn. And soon the environment here will be awash with color and swirling leaves. I love Autumn..the crisp air, the harvest moons, the clear skies, the colors, the apples to pick.... I love it all.

So let me explain this mixed media piece. I have this book, "Acrylic Revolution." I decided that since I am not very artistically motivated right now that I would use the found art themes to practice a few of the basic techniques in the book (found here .) My found art pieces are generally pretty small and I like the idea of experimenting in this venue, much less threatening. This work was done on a piece of gesso prepared cardboard. I used a dry brush to create the background effect. I laid down some interesting stamped images which barely peek through the brush strokes and then collaged a single small leaf. The swirls were drawn with a Stabilo white pencil. I really liked the way the color and movement in the background really gave the work its "feel." Fun... I use dry brush painting now and again but never thought of doing an entire background from the "technique." Can't wait to try something else.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Found art Tuesday: 9-4-07 Changes

Last week I did not feel like doing much of anything. I was plagued again by cluster headaches. On and off all week I just need to shut my eyes. I think the strain of getting back into the school year combined with the headaches and the labor day holiday did me in. I am also waiting to hear from the Raue Center in Crystal Lake IL.,
hoping that I will have a gallery show this year with them. I submitted the application in mid August. Strangely though, I just have not been motivated to do art....

This weeks offering is a piece I call "inevitable." Our theme was Changes. I did a quick acrylic painting of trees to illustrate the seasons. As I though about this piece I realized that I am in the Autumn of my life and it will be inevitable that I will one day soon be in the Winter. Sigh..... Anyway this is a mixed media piece using acrylics and inks on water color paper.

I guess I never mentioned the show that I had in late July...Gallery in the Garden. That was a rough day with no sales. I watched as my worked slowly began to "warp" under glass. The humidity in the garden was incredible. There was a canopy of trees and ferns and all sorts of foliage, much like a rain forest! All the moisture from the previous days rain was held in that garden. At any rate, nothing sold. Items that were selling were jewelry and smaller hand made crafts. Not to many paintings sold. I guess I was pretty OK with that. But I probably will not enter again. The day was so stressful because of the high humidity, and the running around I did to see my children perform in their summer recital. Live and Learn. I can't do it all.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Found Art Tuesday: Favorite 8-21-07

This is the week before school begins at our home. We are running around, finding that perfect back pack, note books, getting hair done, dentist appointments...well those of you with school age children know the routine. There is something soothing and comforting about this annual activity. My children are so excited to start back, mostly because of their friends. While summer has been refreshing, the new school year heralds in Autumn. Which brings me to this weeks topic...Favorite. Autumn is my favorite season and I included a little drawing in this weeks offering.

Sound of Music...Rain Drops on Roses.. was all I could hear in my mind when Rosa posted the theme. I was not sure how to depict that song because I have a lot of favorites. So I took a subset of favorites to include in the work. I had this scrap piece of canvas and used that as the base for the piece. I used collage elements as well as my own drawing. There are a few stamped images as well. Mixed media would be a good way to classify the work. So I have my two favorite years, my favorite season, and my favorite holiday. The canvas was washed with gesso and then tissue paper (dress pattern) was adhered on top. Colored washed were use to achieve the look.

Now I am off to a high school orientation. Kaitie is a freshman. Where has the time gone?


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Found Art Tuesday: 8-14-07 Portable

Portable...Rosa had me on this one. The only thing that I could dream up was my hair dryer. I tried, I really did. Rosa did such a fantastic drawing last week that I decided to give drawing a try again. I sort of illustrated my hair dryer I guess. This is a pencil and pen drawing. I also used a little white acrylic paint and a touch of oil pastel on the lips of the figure. Obviously not my best but I have not done a pen and pencil drawing in years. Probably 30 years to be more precise. It was fun and different. I am going to get this drawing thing down if it kills me! If I can use more of my drawings as transfers or direct in collages, I might not have to worry as much about that nasty old copyright issue, something I really do my best to respect! And so another week has past and more found art is left in the world.

DId you see the Granola poets tagged response? It is a good one, I promise!


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Found Art Tuesday: 8/7/07-Candy

This is just a silly piece for me. My immediate thought when Rosa posted the topic of candy was Eye Candy... So I decided to list some current favorite eye candy sites...ones that I really enjoy each week, if not day. The rest just sort of fell into place. The work is acrylics and oil pastels on water color paper and the candy is really good! The title is none other than Eye Candy.

The sites I listed, one of which is mine, are really like a shot in the arm for me. I enjoy reading other artists thought processes. One site , Misty Mawn's-, always gives so much to reflect upon. She is just a wonderful artist and an incredible writer. . I will find myself smiling or saddened, happy or nodding in agreement with her reflections on moments from her life. I hope you will visit her blog. It inspires me to be a better artist and person.

Rosa's site offers a look into her thought processes as she creates a piece. When she was completing a piece called Maria, I felt I was peering into her studio weekly, to see the progress on the work. I love that sort of intimacy and Rosa does that really well. Her link is on my side bar as is Claudine Hellmuth's.

Claudine has been a favorite collage artist of mine like for the past 5 years. I have learned so many techniques from her books and DVD's. She is an excellent teacher and has a wonderful sense of humor. Her style is really unique and has a signature that many mixed media artists just can't miss.

I included Pacha's blog as a found artist. Her work is really fun and I enjoy reading her many comments on each work

Laura Lein-Svencnver is an excellent collage artist with many awards to her name. Her work flows, direct and to the point. Her style is a little reminiscent of J. Talbot and Kurt Schwitters, both of whom I adore as artists. I love to look through her work opens up feelings and emotions from deep within me. She is also the former president of the Midwest Collage Society, of which I am a member. I wish I loved just a little closer to where the meetings take place. I would love to experience her joy of collage.

I mentioned my own site mainly because it is my therapy and my record of who I was and am.


PS- This scan did not work really well because the candy is "popped-up" from the actual work with foam double sided tape. So it is really hard to read the websites. That is why I listed them in my text.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Burl has found his Forever Home

We are thrilled to welcome Burl to our pack. After much discussion, my husband and I decided on which monthly expenses we could cut back on. Look into those eyes, the eyes of an earth angel for sure. Now we just have to cross the T's and dot the I's, pay a fee and it will be official. Burl has settled in and even with his healing leg, he is doing stairs like a champ. To see his mug shot on Greyhounds only click here: Scroll down till you find his picture.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Unconditional Love

I was sitting on my sofa today thinking of how privileged I have been these last 14 plus years. My children are growing up so quickly. They are making decisions on their own, fixing some of their own meals, making/packing lunches for school, and are beginning to test their wings. I have two preteens and one teen. There are days when they look at me like I am from another planet, days that I feel resentment, days that I feel like I am taken for granted, and days when I am beaming with pride. There are so many ups and downs. I don't hear "I love you," as often as I would like. There are times when I just shake my head and wonder how I have raised my children. But for the companionship of my animals, I am not sure if I could get through the up coming high school years.

When I talk about privilege, it is about sharing my life with my animal companions, now being Mandy and Tigger. I have never felt resentment, or being taken for granted. Their kind, knowing eyes, seem to lead me to be a better person. Their is so much to learn from our animals, of that I am sure. Our animal companions offer an unconditional love every hour of every day. I can't believe how lucky I am to be a part of that.
This past week, we took in another greyhound as a foster. His name is Burl and he looks just like a polished piece of burl oak. He sort of chose us as a family when we visited the greyhound kennels for a mini reunion with other adopted greys. His racing history is very interesting. Burl raced 34 races (in Iowa) as a two year old and won (came in first) 21 times. He was raced hard because he was a winner. And then, like with many greys, he broke his rear right hock. It was a bad repair. In other words, the Doctor had a difficult time putting it back together. For other greys with injuries in this area, they typically recover in a couple of months time and use their legs normally. Burl may never have full use of this leg again. But for all he has been through, he has not complained and for a young three year old, he has the wisdom of one much older. He is so kind and gentle, allowing me to massage his sore leg and rub neem oil into his callouses and balding areas of his body. He is greytful for the love and understanding. I can feel that depth of emotion every time I stroke him. He makes sure to give each member of my family kisses and nuzzles for no apparent reason. But I know that he wants a family of his own, he wants us and this is his way of letting us know that he has chosen us. I believe my first greyt, Grizzly, send him to us because he knows that we will give him what he needs and because Burl has much to teach us about love, humility, patience, and perseverance.

We return our Burl on Sunday. I so want to adopt him but my husband but I know it will be a hardship for the family. Another mouth to feed plus medical bills make it a hard decision. Tigger, our 5 yr old, has some problems that just began as well. I had him to the vet this week to try to determine if he is having a sort of seizure and if indeed a seizure, then what is causing it. This just happened and it makes our decision even harder. My heart says one thing, but my brain says another. My husband and I will make that decision before we talk to Burl's foster Mom number 1, Linda. She returns from vacation tonight.

To know the love of a dog is something I believe every one should experience. To care for and nurture dogs that no one wants because they are not perfect is a definite calling. I hope I can do right by this beautiful animal.


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Found Art Tuesday: 7-31-07 CIRCLE

The found art topic this week was circle. Actually that was the topic last week but some of us were too busy reading the final Harry Potter book. I took this fun picture of my daughter Claire at her field day (one of the last days of school). They had games and snow cones and all that fun stuff. So here she is in a big plastic bubble, thus the title Bubble Girl. I had no particular idea for the theme so just went with the shape.

Right after I started the Harry Potter book I purchased this great new acrylic book entitled "Acrylic Revolution. You can see reviews and stuff here: It is filled with techniques and good information on the physical and chemical properties of acrylics. Since I use this medium a lot, I thought the book would be a good addition to my library. It was. It is funny though because in my mixed media adventures, I had been using a lot of the techniques in the book already. Now I have rediscovered some of them and will try to incorporate them in new works. Here in this found art piece I am using a crayon resist with ordinary kids crayons (any brand will do) or you can use oil pastels or wax pencils. So my circled themed work evolved. It is done on a piece of cardboard, 5 x5 inches in size. The photo was copied and then transferred to the gesso prepared cardboard. Crayons were used to draw circles and then color washes were over layed, fun and simple.

Below you will find my Tagged entry.


Tuesday, July 31, 2007

TAGGED by Rosa

Well this is a first for me! Rosa tagged me yesterday. The way that this works is to reveal 8 things about yourself that new friends and Internet contacts may not know about you. So I hope these will tell a little about myself.

1. I am a huge greyhound aficionado. I currently have two with perhaps one more to be added to the pack. One look in the eyes of this noble breed sent me to the deep end. I will always have greyts in my life from now on.

2. I have taken courses in animal communication and have found that I have helped some good friends through difficult times with their animals.

3. I have a MS in Food Microbiology and in my former life worked for Abbott Labs as a research scientist in the fermentation area.

4. I am a dance Mom. Well I don't dance but my children do. I take them to and from their venues and enjoy their performances (I go to 8 or 9 performances of their Nutcracker every year).

5. I enjoy nonfiction especially anything about George Washington. I think last year there were 4 or 5 new biographies about him and I read every one. He is my idol.

6. Oh here is one for you, I studied martial arts for about 5 years and earned a black belt in a form of Tai Kwon Do.

7. This should be no surprise to anyone but I am a pig. My art studio constantly looks like a tornado went through it. I thrive on chaos.

8. I studied 5 years of Spanish in high school (in AP Spanish) and two years in college. When we got to reading Don Quixote in old Spanish, I gave up on a Spanish minor and stuck to a minor in chemistry. Believe it or not, Chemistry was easier! But the Spanish came in so handy when I traveled through out Spain back in the early 90s.

OK there you have it. Not very exciting. I am thinking the things I picked to tell about myself tell just as much as the actual items.

I would love to tag the Granola Poet. He just fascinates me!

Back tomorrow with my found art.


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Found Art Tuesday 7-17-07: JUMP

Killing two birds with one stone is often how I operate. This weeks found art project was no exception. The mini collage project for Claire's art class became my found art for this week. I demonstrated the project in stages and when I was finished, I had my found art piece. I wanted to accomplish several things with this project: 1. to introduce the kids to collage and mixed media,

2. to encourage the kids to have fun with this art form at any time,
3. to give them a small project that they can finish and actually use.

So altered coasters came to mind. I detailed the steps for them by demonstrating each phase. Gesso the coaster, add some paint and scribbles, overlay with a telephone book page, age that page by removing some of it with masking tape, paint the page, use a rubber stamp to stamp a letter of the alphabet, look through magazines or old books for something that begins with that letter, adhere that cut out image. I decided to use modge podge for the glue (recommendation of the kids art teacher) and it worked fine when I did it a home. The modge podge will seal the work and they can use it as a coaster if they want to. So here is my "J" coaster. The title is of course...JUMP. Simple but it accomplished several goals that I had for myself this Tuesday :)
The kids had a blast getting all messy. I promise to scan Claire's soon. I ran out of coasters nd she used a small piece of matte board. I love the colors she used.


Monday, July 16, 2007

Carabosse 7-16-07

In-between working on the little collage project for my daughter's art class, I finally finished a work for the Gallery in the Garden show, July 28th. I was so inspired by the Sleeping Beauty performance that my children were in in June, that I decided to create a couple of the characters from the ballet. Mind you, these are my interpretations. The dancers did not look like this :)

Carabosse is a mixture of excitement and danger. She can be beautiful and ugly and very wicked. This mixed media and collage is 11 by 14. I used acrylics, inks, found papers and objects, oil pastels, and markers. I actually drew the image of Carabosse on some old leather looking scrapbook paper, cut her out and then collaged her to the work. I added color to her face using my pastels and acrylic paints (the oil pastels are water soluble and mix nicely with the paint). I gave her some serious eye make-up (just like the dancer who became Carabosse on stage) and added a spider to her crown. Since Sleeping Beauty is a French fairy tale, I drew her dress on the page of a French text book. The birds were found images. The window was hand drawn, again on scrapbook paper and collaged to the work. The vines were either hand drawn or I used a rubber stamp for some of them. In the background I have a portion of the Sleeping Beauty program and a ticket from the performance. My kids fell in love with her. I told them if they had a 100 bucks that she was theirs. I am such a mean Mom!
Next work is a depiction of the song bird fairy or Fairy of the Song Birds. She is in progress and I hope to complete her by this weekend.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Mixed media project for Claire's Art Class

I decided to give my daughter Claire some art classes this summer. An art teacher from her school is giving 3 day workshops (June, July and August) for 3 hrs each of those days. Claire has been practicing her drawing skills and she has been introduced to oil paints. I am thinking she is a chip off the old block. I will have to scan some of her work and post it here one of these days. Claire is shown here in her Sunday Best.
Claire's teacher knows that I am a mixed media artist and she asked me to talk about the process to the class. I did one better and came up with a simple project for the kids to try. I am thinking that because I have to create some samples that will be shown next Tues, that I will do the found art project using the same materials. I've decided to get these youngsters started using a coaster as a substrate. And we will go from there.. It should be fun, especially because the process is so free.
More to follow as I make the samples.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Uninspired and Tired 7-10-07

Well today is found art day and I have just been so uninspired! I think the taxi driving is getting to me. I have a show coming up July 28th and I wanted to get at least 3-4 more paintings done. Guess what..I am still on the first! I just can't seem to finish it. It is all laid out and the work is progressing is just that I feel drained. Maybe part of it is that I have been setting up a database for my artwork, sales, customers/patrons. I am using Access and so far most of my work has been coming up to speed on the software. I am not a relational database whiz but I can appreciate how useful it will be once I have it set up properly. I have also been playing around in Microsoft's Publisher. Cool program. This is the flyer I made for my upcoming show. I have finally arrived in the new century with this software!
Maybe next week for found art...


Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Found Art Tuesday: 7-2-07 BLUE

This past week was just "one" of those weeks. You know the kind...where all you want to do is scream.... Now that summer is in full swing, it seems that I have less time than during the school year. I spend most of the day in the car and when I am not transporting children to their dance camps, I am transporting children to other activities, walking dogs, or running ridiculous errands. So my found art piece reflects those feelings of stress.

The work is called Mood Indigo. I made it up of an old deco piece which I had scanned into my puter as archive material. I cut and collaged the elements that I wanted. Then I pulled out odds and ends on the table where I work. Those were added for good measure. Elements were added based on my level of frustration :( The smallish picture in the upper right hand corner is a picture of a lady weeping and the words: What bugs you? You can guess why I used the Screamer, and the mesh like material indicates entrapment. This was all done on a coaster from Chili's.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


A day late in posting but better late than never! Actually....all was completed last night but I was too darn tired to scan it. The theme this week was present. Once could interpret in a variety of creative ways...all of which escaped me. So I went with the straight forward and obvious...a present. I made a little origami box out of washi paper. Then I was going to do a gift certificate to starbucks or something like that but fate intervened. I tripped over a box lying on my studio floor, one of about a zillion, and spilled some lovely beads all over the place...again the obvious hit me in the face and I proceeded to string a simple stretchy bracelet using the beads that went all over. Needless to say, most of the beads are still on the floor but I managed to get rid of the ones that were in harms way. Not sure where this will go but I am thinking my childrens ballet studio. No doubt a child, girl child will find it :)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Found Art Tuesday 6-19-07: Father

A theme of Father naturally reminded me of my own father. Dad passed on in 1988. He was one heck of a guy. I swear all my "talent" and love of the arts came from him. He would encourage my painting by making sure I had the paints, canvas, paper etc... When I was small, I sat beside him helping him sculpt and paint. His paintings were oils, mine were paint by number. He would hang my paintings up beside his. I would always feel like a famous artist whenever he did that. When I began to draw a little, my Dad bought me these step by step books on how to draw faces, animals, birds, and horses. And when I painted my first wild life scene, my Dad framed it and hung it in a place of honor in our house. I was 17 when he hung up my first painting. Several more would follow. And then I went to college to become a scientist. So how do you measure a man like that. He gave me so much without spending much of anything. My love for the arts which includes fine arts and dance, opera, theatre, has remained with me all my life. And now as I have returned to art, I think he would nod in agreement that it is time, my time to shine. My found art piece this week is a long bookmark, mixed media and collage on watercolor paper.

"The Measure of a Man" is dedicated to my Dad. I love you Daddy and I miss you so much. Happy Fathers Day, although belated, to all Dads who have given so much to their families.


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Proud Mom

This past Sunday at 2 pm was the final performance of Sleeping Beauty. I ushered the performance, no easy feat considering it was about 3 hours long and I stood for a good portion of the performance. I always try to see my children perform in as many of their performances as possible, either by purchasing tickets or ushering. The final performance was pretty much flawless and at final curtain call, a standing ovation was given to the performers. As is tradition, Mrs Svalander, the ballet school owner and artistic director,
handed out awards and scholarships to graduating seniors and those dancers who would be attending special summer instruction at a variety of professional venues. Mrs. S, as she is affectionately known, will always give an inspirational speech at the end of the the school year and this is accompanied by the awards. It is wonderful to recognize these talented young people each year. Well this year, my son, along with another boy who is a good friend of Colin's, each received a summer school stipend (award). Neither of us had any clue and I stood there, up in the balcony, sobbing like a baby. I was/am so proud of him. He works so hard and truly wants to dance his best each time he performs. He was so surprised. Afterwards, everyone came up to him to offer congratulations. It took me some time to compose myself. I was all of a sudden being hugged and patted on the back. That made me cry even harder.

Colin and I had a nice talk after all the adulation subsided! He is so eager to begin the summer program. He has a list of things that he wants to be able to by the end of this summer session. The goals are lofty to be sure, but this award gave him all sorts of new confidence. THANK YOU MRS. "S" for recognizing him in such a public manner. It meant the world to me and gave our son a renewed vigor that I am sure will translate into his dance movements.

This picture is of my son and Ms. Lynn, one of his beloved teachers at the Sleeping Beauty cast party. We are so blessed with three talented children!


Monday, June 11, 2007

Found Art Tuesday: Light 6-11-07

OK so I have definitely been doing too much thinking as of late! With a theme of light, I decided to go after the light vs dark angle with a religious spin. This work is done on a child's flash card and is approximately 4 by 6 in size. I used a variety of papers in this collage, some were altered. The idea here is that out of darkness comes the forces of evil. Evil is represented by the big dark obelisk emerging from the flames and smoke in the dark region of the work. The human race has some choices..join the dark forces that are destroying our planet, or aim for the light (the good and righteous life) that will eventually bring us to our eternal reward. But there is a sort of in- between area. That is where the guardian angel resides, just straddling darkness and the grey region, to invite us back on the path of light (I told you I am doing way to much thinking). The angel holds a map for us. We can choose to take it or perish. Lovely huh? I call this collage "Invitation."

OH Rosa... I have got to stop thinking so much. This piece started out as an abstract...

This week I want to start formulating two new pieces in my head, for the gallery in the garden show. I plan on entering 10 pieces 8 by 10 and larger. I would like to have 3-4 new pieces but I will be happy with two. Hopefully I will get a creative urge! The show is July 28th.


Saturday, June 09, 2007

A gift for Mr. Begley.

As if I did not have enough on my mind this past week, I decided to do a mixed media and collage piece for one of my children's dance teachers, Mr Greg Begley. Mr Begley is no ordinary dance instructor... he was an original member/dancer with the famed Hubbard Street Dance Company and later, the company's ballet master. He was a soloist with the Pittsburgh ballet and a former principle dancer with Ruth Page Chicago. He now guest teaches for my children's ballet school as well as Hubbard Street, River North Dance Company, and the Ruth Page Foundation. And I am sure that I am missing something. As you might guess, he walks on water (in my mind). He has been an absolute inspiration to my son Colin. It is not very often that children get that kind of instruction and even less often that a young boy can work with a male ballet master. Colin looks up to him big time. And I think that Mr. Begley is one reason why my son keeps dancing. Imagine what it is like for a 12 year old boy in dance. All his friends at school play a sport. He rarely talks about his achievements for obvious reasons. Mr. Begley's boy classes fostered a camaraderie with some of the boys that dance at the ballet school ( And although those particular classes have been shelved, the seeds were planted (Thank you Mr. Begley).My girls have had the opportunity to work with Mr. Begley as well. They love him.
So why haven't I thought about doing something special for him before? A couple of reasons...first, Mr Begley primarily works with the company dancers at the ballet school and the oldest students. He does work with my children, just not on a regular basis (my children's regular dance instructors are super as well and we have been with them a very long time). Second, I have never felt confident enough in my art, to give a piece to another artist. Now that I learning not to take things too personally and get on with my art, I feel I can do that. And third, I had a really good reason to do something nice for him....
You see...Mr Begley also has several retail stores that carry a variety of dance ware etc... A couple of weeks ago, a fire took his downtown Chicago location. I felt terrible for him but what do you do? His insurance took care of most things but still...because I admire him, I really wanted to do something...Hence the piece you see here. It is called Swan Lake Variations. I wanted the piece to convey how I feel about dance every time I watch my children perform and also I wanted to convey how I think professional dancers and students of the dance must feel as they perform. It is a mixed media piece in the style of Misty Mawn. I really did do most of the drawing, done on various papers and then collaged onto the watercolor paper. I added color with acrylics and oil pastels.

I gave this piece to Mr. Begley today (6-9-07). I think he liked it and I think I really took him by surprise. Maybe I am nuts, but I felt so compelled to make a piece for this kind and gentle person. I am glad I did it.


A Weekend of Dance

I have been so darn busy with 8th grade graduation and now Sleeping Beauty. All three of my children are in this major (local) production of the full length ballet. We barely made it through 8th grade graduation when we were rehearsing in full force at the Woodstock, IL. Opera house It has really been nuts. The kids were still in school and we were at the Opera House every night preparing for this weekend.

It was so worth it (as always). The production was nearly 3 hours long! But for me, at least, it really did not seem that long. I wish I could say that I had pictures of my children. I did take my camera but the day was so muddled that an opportunity never presented itself. I am so proud of Kaitie Colin and Claire. They were wonderful. And while I do not have a picture from today's events, I do have one of the entire family the night of Kaitie's graduation. This was taken in the Narthex of our Church.
Now that I have my scanner up and running...I can actually load pictures and art work at will. And we finally have most everything working. My camera to computer connection is definitely a lost cause but I think that is the only casualty.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

New Computer System

I am afraid that I had to take a temporary pass on Found Art this week. We purchased a new computer system this past weekend sort of an unexpected purchase. My husband and I have been talking about a new system for weeks now. And we fully planned to have one in place prior to our oldest entering high school..but Best Buy had a deal my husband and I could not by-pass. We purchased a bundled system, another HP. And that is where our problems began. The computer is fine...but the Vista operating system really takes either a techno whiz to figure out how to get your peripherals working, or a computer programmer, which blessedly my husband is just that. OK so here is the skinny for you guys out there thinking of purchasing a new system... Unless your peripherals like scanners and printers and digital cameras are Vista ready, you had better do some homework. My husband had to download new software (actually he did this at work because at home, the hour plus software download kept crapping out) for our scanner. My digital camera does not even have a patch or new software that is supported on Vista (and it is only 3 years old and is obsolete), some of my ancient software will never be compatible consequently I will be in the market for new photo editing software... My printer needed new drivers as well.

So as of very late yesterday evening...we have the scanner up and running, my poor camera can't directly transfer my images to the system but I can take out my compacflash card and transfer photos that way. The Canon software for my camera is not very robust anymore in the Vista backdrop (guess I will put a new camera on my list). My printer is working. I am really wondering right about now, what everyone else is doing who is not very techno savvy...
As far as using Vista..well it is pretty cool. I love the little photo editor it has and the side bar is really a nice touch. You can customize the sidebar with a clock, current news headlines, your very own slide show, a calendar etc... But geesh was it painful to get up and running. It will take me sometime to learn the system. is a photo I took about a week ago. These are real pointe shoes. I altered them and they were given to Kaitie's 8th grade teacher, Mrs. Gavula. Mrs G has been one of her biggest fans. She has attended every dance performance that Kaitie has been in since the 6th grade. She is a huge supporter of her student's extra curricular activities. And she is a huge fan of the ballet. So I took a pair of Kaitie's "retired" pointe shoes and made them into Nutcracker pointe shoes. They are collaged with photos and programs and tickets from various Nutcracker performances that Kaitie has performed in. I wish this picture was better.... They turned out much better than I had hoped for. Needless to say, Mrs Gavula shed a few tears.
This week will be a wash for me in terms of my art so I think I will spend more time with Vista and trying to figure out new software for old peripherals!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Found Art Tuesday for 5-29-07: Close

Have you ever met a person or people that retreat into their own world, who believes that everything is fine around them, who won't entertain new thoughts or ideas, whose dreams are dark and foreboding, who believes that they have the answer to everything. They have existed throughout the centuries..and we know them,if not personally, then for the havoc they have wrought on society. My found art piece this week speaks to the closed mindedness that pervades society today. I entitled the piece Closed Mind. It is a mixed media and collage ATC. The stoned faced head has a latch on it to signify the locked up mind. The head is one of stone, again representing how some view the world and problems that exist in it. I have definitely been doing too much thinking!

On another note...tonight my precious daughter graduates 8th grade. We have been running around like nuts trying to find the perfect dress, flowers, getting nails done etc... She deserves it though. How hard she worked through these 8 years of primary and junior high school. I am a proud Mom.


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Found Art Tuesday 5-22-07: MOON

My idea for this piece started with another found art participant. Maybe some of you know of the Granola Poet. If you go to the link listed here you will find a poem about me! My husband can't live with me anymore because of the size of my head! LOL:

So I wanted to dedicate a little diddy to the famous Granola Poet. Now granted I am no poet...but that is what I love about the found art movement...It empowers me to try things I normally would not do. Hence the poem about the moon. This little piece is entitle Old Man Moon. The art is just so so. I really just wanted a vehicle for the poem (nice excuse eh)? I used a scrap of water color paper, water colors, acrylics, wax pencil and oil pastels. I actually scritched (is that a word?) the poem on the moons surface. My extra fine black sharpie died when I tried to write the first word. I actually like the scritching. So I guess I meant to do it! In case you can't read the poem, it is typed below. How fun this was!


Old man moon sleeps all day, then at night comes out to play.

He shines his light for all to see, a guided path for a safe journey.

Soon darkness wanes, he yawns and sighs.

It's time for bed, he says goodbye.

He will return of that be sure,

Shining for his nightly tour.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Solo exhibit wrap-up

Well my first solo exhibit is over. I took down the art on the 10th of this month. I was totally humbled by the entire process. But I did get through it. I sold 5 pieces (one was a commissioned piece) and was able to donate 20% of those sales to Greyhounds Only I did make a few contacts and I am going to participate in Gallery in the Garden..which is an annual art show in the beautiful gardens of the an artist residing in Woodstock IL This even takes place in July. Unfortunately or fortunately depending upon how you look at it, my children have a ballet recital on the same day but the artist who hosts the show, Deb Glaubke, said it would be no problem if I left early. How cool is that! I decided I would complete at least 4 new works for this show. I will include maybe 6 of the works from the Conscious Cup solo exhibit.

I will leave you with a work from my first solo exhibit. It did not sell but it is one of my favorites. I created the work after seeing the film "An Inconvenient Truth." Whatever you might think of former Vice-Presidents Gores politics, you have got to admire his persistence. I was so moved by this film and the powerful message behind it, that I created a work based upon my emotions. As a scientist I have no problem with his data. I even did a little research myself because I thought that the way the data was presented was primarily for a non-scientific public. The work is dedicated to his efforts to educate the public and it sells for $95.00 framed. The final size of the work is 16 by 20 and it is a mixed media and collage piece on watercolor paper. The title of this piece is: She Weeps for Us. Take a close look at the Earth, I think Mother Earth would nod in agreement.


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Found Art Tuesday 5-15-07: LOST

Have you ever been crazy in love, or really lost in love.... That sentiment is how I interpret the theme this week. I have been lucky in love in that I can say I have been lost in love twice in my life. Once with someone long before my husband and I were serious and of course I am lost in love with my husband.

While working on a special scrapbook for my daughter Kaitie (for her 8th grade year), I quickly made this little ATC. IT was very quick because I had the background done already in a stash of my stuff. This is a mixed media piece I call Lost in Love. Acrylics, inks, found papers and stickers were used. My studio time will be limited for a while because I need to finish the scrapbook and get graduation invites made. I guess I will be busy!

I have finished a couple new pieces but they are studies for larger works. I just wish there were 36 hours in a day!


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Found Art Tuesday 5-8-07: Mother

Mother as a topic made me reminisce about my childhood and all that I loved about my mother. That led to thoughts a bit deeper. Am I a good Mother? Who is my idea of a perfect mother. That is when I thought of the Mother of Jesus. Being Catholic, we were brought up with a statue of Mary in our home. we crowned her every May and prayed the rosary daily (well maybe once a week). Her image seemed to be everywhere. We thought of Mary as our Mother, the ultimate Mother. And so the Madre de Todos was conceived in my very messy studio at 2:10 PM today. This is a transfer from a religious calendar and the work is mixed media, watercolor and acrylics, on watercolor paper. It is about 4 by 9 inches in size.

I am going to leave this at my children's school. IT is a Catholic school and I know there are plenty of teachers who will love this.
I am secretly hoping that whoever finds this does indeed hit my blog!

Thanks for the great theme Rosa!


Monday, April 30, 2007

Found Art Tuesday 5-1-07: Water

I actually finished this piece on Sunday. I wanted my husband to take it with him today. There was a huge Outsider and Raw art show at the Merchandise Mart in downtown Chicago and I wanted him to leave it there at one of the gallery booths. Marc actually went to the show on Friday and he said it was absolutely awe-inspiring. With a gazillion galleries representing an equal number of artists, there was plenty of eye candy. Perhaps his most humbling moment was meeting Phylis Kind. She is the New York gallery owner who put together a retrospective of Martin Ramirez's work. It is traveling the country now and we plan on viewing the show in October at the Museum of Art in Milwaukee WI. Marc talked to her about this great artist quite unknown until just recently. I think he was in art heaven. And where was I? Working and shuffling kids to and from dance classes.

With water as a theme, I immediately knew that I wanted to try my drawing hand once again and create a mermaid. The ocean was made with a slew of scraps that were laying on my work bench.
I drew the mermaid on a separate piece of paper and then she became part of the collage. The substrate was a drink coaster from Chili's. She is kind of looking at a ship wondering what it is really like up there. I entitled the piece "From the Depths." I wonder where Marc will leave her....


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Found Art Tuesday 4-24-07: TOY

What a day I had yesterday. While I did finish my found art piece, there was no time to blog it. My beautiful 14 year old daughter was inducted into the National Junior Honor Society. This event pretty much was an all evening affair. I was the only Mom who balled like a baby as I congratulated her in front of an audience of class mates and parents. She was so embarrassed and did not understand my emotion even though I tried to explain it to her. You see, Kaitie has a reading disability. She is under the dyslexic umbrella. She and I worked so hard every single night for eight fricking years. Countless essays, tests to study for, books to read, assignments to do, projects to finish...I just about thought it was for naught. And now here she is, ready to graduate eighth grade, a top student. I think any Mom in my position would have done the same thing. I am so proud of her. I guess I have been pretty hard on her all these years...because I know she is capable of brilliance. But when you hate to read, I mean absolutely hate to read..well that does not get you very far in any world. So I rode her, and spoon fed her , and taught her how to memorize. We have been at each others throats for years. I guess this is sweet vindication! She can do it is she wants too, painful as it may be, she can do it.

So on to my found art piece. When I was small I would play with a variety of dolls. Barbie, baby dolls (Chatty Kathy, Thumbalina to name a few). The other thing I did was art. I had a big supply of color and paint by number sets, pastels, Crayolas, clay, and coloring books. My Dad loved to sculpt and paint. IT was one of his hobbies and I would sit with him and do my art. What I loved about my Father is that he encouraged this kind of "play." There were few rules (except clean up after or Mom will get you). When I sat down to compose a found art piece I wanted to combine the two, dolls and art. I can't sew..and regardless, to make an Art doll is out of my league. But I did have some polymer clay and so I fashioned a pin out of the clay. It is a Diva of sorts. She is painted with Lumiere paints and is enhanced with tiny beads and artistic wire.

I think I will leave this at a restaurant this Saturday.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Found Art Tuesday 4-17-07 : Travel

With the theme of travel, I immediately thought of all the places I would like to go in the world. I love to travel. It is just since we have a family, it has become prohibitive. So one of the first places I want to go after the kids are in college, is France. It is all about the art, the wine, the history, and the cheese :) Oh I wish I could go and just wander through the galleries and museums, sip wine at some quaint cafe....You get the picture. So when I sat down to create a piece about France...I came across in my pile of stuff, a piece that I had duplicated for a swap about a year ago. It is an original work, collage, about the size of a postcard. The piece is entitled: Travel France (duh). Someday........

I decided to use this as my found art work this week even though it was made about a year ago. Today is my twins birthday and my time has been very limited these past two or three days. Oh and from my little solo show I have a commission that is taking up brain space! I wish there were more than 24 hours in a day!


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Found Art Tuesday 4-10-07: Connections

The connections theme at first seemed difficult. With so much cluttering my brain as of late, I could not get my arms around the topic. Sitting at my artists reception I had plenty of time to work out the theme. And what I thought about is sort of the bigger picture. We are all connected through Earth. IT does not matter what country we live in, or what we do for a living, or what color our skin is. We are the World. And that is my title. So to depict this kind of connection, I cut out paper dolls from a map. We can be linked today through the technologies of cell phones and computers so those are included as well. All we have to do is reach out. This was a simple straightforward collage done on watercolor paper. The paper dolls lend themselves to a book mark format.