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!