Thursday, December 17, 2009

Nutcracker Season. 12-17-09

I wish I had more photos but my children have not had any time back stage to take pics. And parents are not allowed back there! But here are a few pics from the Christmas Parade in downtown Crystal Lake. Colin donned his Nutcracker costume and Claire was a Caroler (she is in the purple cape thing). I have seen 4 performances of this years Nutcracker and have 4 more to go this weekend. Both Colin and Claire were wonderful. But I think the show stealer was Colin. At 14, he is the youngest Nutcracker/Prince that this ballet school has ever had (at least in the last 15 years). I can't begin to tell you how proud I am of him. He has handled the stress well, although he was and is sick right now with a virus thingie. I am the popular Mom right now. So here is a link to Dan Swinsons website showing a beautiful "summary" photo of the show. This is the finale of Act II and shows Colin with Clara (Alexa) on his shoulder. I am speechless...He has achieved so much these past 4 months!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Finally, my finished sample! 11-22-09

It is definitely Nutcracker Season. I am in the throws of major rehearsals, school shows (my son is participating in) and all around craziness. But that is a different story. Needless to say I am very preoccupied and have not been able to keep up with Facebook, Twitter, my online shop nor my blog for some time now. Guess I know what my New Year resolution will be! OK so I am done with teaching classes for this year. Friday night was my last. I will miss the gals but hopefully will see some of them in January when I repeat an earlier class that I taught back in the summer. More details to follow once I am sure of the dates. This work is a sample that I did in the October class with papers we made. I finally added my details and presented it to Lucy at the Studio for future/prospective new students. As a side note, we are working with soft gel matte medium to adhere the papers. The students are totally new to collage and as much as I would love to teach Jonathan's method, I don't think it is economically feasible for new students to have to buy those supplies along with all the other basics that one has to accumulate. I do think that all the work that was produced in that class was wonderful. So we will continue in this vein. This scene was made up as I did it in front of the students. I actually added the details myself. I think the foliage turned out OK for someone who can't draw :)

Later I will up load finished student works from this last class. They are abstracts and wow... I still have to finish the demo piece I did but hopefully I will get it done soon!


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Part 2 of my Mixed Media and Collage Class.

I have to say that doing a class like this is so rewarding. The students were so pumped up. I had the feeling that after I rather quickly demoed how to make a landscape collage out of our hand altered papers, they were empowered. So many commented that the process was addictive and fun. And I think there were some who actually understood why I seldom throw anything out...You just never know when you will need a Dove foil wrapper from a delectable chocolate!
Enjoy the little slide show. I will have to upload a better shot of my landscape plus I have a landscape that I demoed in class that needs a few more details on it before it is finished. These have been so much fun!


MM/Collage landscape class

Friday, October 09, 2009

Final Thoughts on the Art of the Land Gallery Show (9-26-09)

Since the Art of the Land show, I have been so busy. During the week after the show, we had Grandpa over (the children's grandpa that is) for the entire week, my husband caught some kind of crud, and then this entire week I have been laid low with evidently the same crud. No art time, no class prep (for next week), no life. I am not feeling sorry for myself although it sure sounds like it :) I have used this down time somewhat productively, art productively that is, in giving some thought to this gallery show/fundraiser. So, I realized that I really enjoyed the entire gallery experience. It was shortly after doing an outdoor fine art show that I knew this type of venue was not for me. The gallery opportunities in McHenry County are few and far between and when I was invited to participate in this fundraiser, well I went for it and I am so glad I did. Although I have had several gallery shows, including one with the Raue Center for the Performing Arts, none compared to the dazzling evening at the Starline.
The Land Conservancy of McHenry County had a connection with the Starline Gallery and so that was the beginning of this collaboration. For one night, about 20 artists were treated to a beautiful show, glamorous people, great appetizers and wine, and fabulous music. The Land Conservancy made about $3000.00 which for the first time doing this kind of event, was great. Artists contributed a portion of all their proceeds to help. I have to say that my personal "Meet the Artist," openings have not even come close to this extravaganza. I was sort of like a doe caught in a headlights glare and I must have really looked like that because I was told to close my mouth on several occasions. It was almost overwhelming. My husband and I had an exciting "date" night, I got to meet some very talented artists, and learn a little about the good work the Land Conservancy is doing. There was a considerable amount of work to view and unfortunately, I could not get close enough to all the pieces to really "dissect" them. The gallery is really fabulous but there were so many people that there were often more than 5 people deep at any given work. And that is a really good thing because we know a lot of folks viewed the work. The "bad" thing is that it is often hard to make a decision on purchasing a piece in just one viewing. So, I am told via email that the Land Conservancy group loved this evening, the idea, the art and want to make this an annual event. YIPEE. To be a part of this, is not only very gratifying but it gets my creative muse off her duff! I have a head full of ideas that are competing right now with my head full of crud! Can't wait to start creating again. I want to do another abstract landscape of my Santa Fe vistas that never seem to leave my spirit. The colors, the patterns, the smells, Santa Fe will be in my blood forever. Hopefully I will have a small body of work prepared for next years show and I hope it will grow into something as beautiful as what the Land Conservancy is trying to preserve.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Art Class, altered papers

Well as usual, I am behind. Last Thurs/Friday, I taught the first of three classes in collage and mixed media. We explored a variety of papers and then set to altering them. Below are just a few pictures. I think we are off to a good start and our next class meets in mid October. The ladies will put together an "abstract" landscape (6 by 12 inches in size) and we will go from there. The word is spreading, collage is here to stay.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I am alive 9-23-09

Oh my, no art for sharing...I have been really busy with the start of the school year. My pre-k class is wonderful. Those little minds are just like sponges...always wanting to learn. We have listened to Back, Boyce, Telemann, Mozart and now Vivaldi...guess what, my class now requests their favorites. I love it when the arts are soaked up. I want to show them experts of ballets and concerts )Chicago Symphony.... Oh and yes, they are learning their site words! So I have been really busy in the afternoons and evenings. Currently, I am packing for dropping off 4 paintings to the Starline Gallery (link below) today. The Art of the Land show is Saturday. I have done breast cancer benefits before but have never done one like this where all the art is for sale and a good portion of the proceeds go the the land conservancy. I am so looking forward to this date night. I do have some ideas for more work (collages), but when I will get a block of time now is anyone's guess!


PS. Stop by Lorrie Grainger Abdo's blog for a really neat look into some new art she is doing. I really love it!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

The Studio hosts a Chamber Mixer on Sept. 1st

The Studio Art School in McHenry, IL held a lovely mixer for all the Chamber business members this past Tuesday. Lucy called and invited me and also asked me if I wanted to hang some of my art on her lovely walls. Right after dealing with my first day of pre-K, I went and hung art with Lucy. The mixer was lovely and I received plenty of nice comments on my work including that it was nicely priced. Nothing sold, but it was nicely priced :) My latest work, the three little abstracts also received plenty of good comments. I arranged them in a pre-cut mat and framed them and they looked wonderful. What was really wonderful though was that Cheryl Perrone from the Land Conservancy of McHenry County, came over and introduced herself. She asked if I wanted to be part of a multi artist show at the Starline Gallery in Harvard Illinois. The show is called, ART OF THE LAND and is a benefit for the Conservancy. OMG, I have wanted to find an excuse to get up to Harvard to see this new gallery. It is in an old factory and is supposed to be really cool. Here is the link to the gallery and blog although neither site is that up to date.

As for the conservancy, Here is a link to their site and the announcement of the show at the Star line:

The good work that this group does is largely behind the scenes. I would wager that the average resident living in McHenry County does not even know that there is a very active group fighting to preserve our prairie areas, fens, bogs, oak and Hickory grove (what little is left of them) and so much more. I do hope this fund raiser brings much needed dollars to continue their good work. I am so thrilled to be able to take part in this (just have to fill out the paper work). I am going to donate a print of my Fairy of the Woodland Gables for their silent auction and probably submit three-4 pieces. One is below, the abstract landscape, and that piece I still need to seal and mat. The benefit is slated for September 26, starting at 7. I think tickets are 15.00 pre -purchased. The details can be found at the announcement link above. If you are free and live in the area, do stop by for a really worthy cause.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Abstract Landscape 8-30-09

No title yet, the work has not grown on me just yet. I still need to varnish and will probably give the work a satin finish. The papers use in this piece were all altered by yours truly. Some of the papers I used included tissue (not sure what kind of tissue this was but it is stronger than the type you get in packages, although I have used that kind of tissue as well), paper towels, magazine papers, and brown paper bags (like the ones from the grocery store). Final size is 6 by 12. This is an example for my upcoming class. After the class is done I hope to at the very least double mat it and maybe it will go into my etsy shop. Still deciding.

I am hoping that in my next class we can make an abstract in this vein. We are also going to make that rather "small" series that I posted below. In September we will alter papers on two consecutive nights and then use those papers to create the landscape and abstract series. I added grasses using markers, acrylics and artists crayons and there is small flock of geese up near the moon that I stamped and then dusted with Pearl Ex (a mica dust). Fun

Now that I have gotten back into some abstract work, I have an urge to do another series based on some photos I took in the southwest and some photos I took while in the mountains near Blacksburg VA. (not sure which mountain range that is). I do want another gallery show mid year next year and maybe even before then! As an after thought, I managed to find the perfect already cut mat for the three 4 by 4 inch collages (below) and a frame to go with (yea Michael's). I used that 40% coupon and I am good to go. I try to present my class samples in a finished state but sometimes I don't always succeed. :)


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Balancing Act I, II, # III: Samples for my Mixed Media and Collage Explorations Class at the Studio in McHenry.

After the last Mixed Media and Collage class that I taught in mid August, I was asked for another class. I came up with a progressive type class meeting two nites in Sept, Oct, and Nov. However, here is the catch, if you miss the first one, it will be really hard to make the collages that we will end with in both Oct. and Nov. I have not decided whether we make the little series in Oct or Nov. But I have planned both this series and a larger abstract landscape, all made from papers that we will alter in the first class meetings (Sept). I am still in the middle of the landscape and I have to write up a supply list for both the Studio and the students. These classes are based on techniques I have either learned through art workshops, read about

either on line or in books, and have been using for years. I would love to teach Jonathon Talbot's method but unfortunately supplies are rather a lot to acquire for artists who may not

want to really get into collage and mixed media. Mr. Talbot brings a lot of his own tools for everyone and then he also has items for sale. The catch here is that he is an accomplished working artist, I am a part time artist who can barely afford her own materials. Anyway, if you are interested in Mr. Talbot's approach to collage, see my side bar for his site. His method is pr eferred by myself. But for these classes we will be using soft gel matte medium to adhere our papers (as many working artists do including myself for certain applications) and will go from there. I am pleased with the outcome of this small series. It has been a while since I have delved into anything abstract. But after my visit to the new modern wing at the Art Institute of Chicago, I really became inspired.

I have never seen so many Braque's and Picasso's in my life. Plus they had some awesome Kurt Schwitters pieces (which have never been on display) and a boat load of Cornell boxes (Rosa eat your heart out). Anyway, suffice to say, a little abstract work is good for the soul :)
My three pieces are entitle Balancing Act I, II, and III. They are 4 by 4 inches on illustration board. I did not want to got to much bigger because of time constraints and drying times. Anyway eventually I will double matte them and frame them all in one frame (when I have some money). For now, I still need to seal and then they can be used as our class samples. k

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Mixed Media and Collage Class: A Patchwork Portrait 8-11-09

Patchwork Portrait Class 8/ 11 and 12-09

I was very pleased with the outcome of my second class which I taught at the Studio in McHenry,IL. I had a good time and I think the ladies did too. We had 12 enthusiastic women and my daughter Claire, who by the way is a chip off the ol block. I wanted to share their finished or almost finished projects. I have to give major kudos to these gals. Unfortunately I missed a few portraits including my daughters but hers was not finished anyway. I took the photos with my iPhone so after reviewing them, I think the phone did an OK job. Some pictures are a bit blurry but that is me not able to hold my hand steady. The 3G S has a touchy shutter! I think the class was a success and Lucy asked me for more in the coming months. I have my work cut out for me!


Thursday, July 30, 2009

"Give and Take" 7-30-09

Here it is, finally. I am satisfied with it and only wish I could have finished last week. I am the worst procrastinator. This is the class sample for a mixed media and collage class that I will be teaching August 11th and 12th. She works... In the Studio's Summer schedule listings the class is listed as mixed media and collage. If I were to give the class a title it would be: Patchwork Portrait. The background of the work (which is 6 by 8 inches on canvas board), is done in the style of the incomparable Kelly Rae Roberts. I love the look of it and use this type of background often if I am "stuck", so to speak. The face is actually a magazine image which has been greatly altered. When I first began to learn the face, I often lifted images out of big fashion magazines and simply altered them. It worked for me. This idea is hardly new and a lot of mixed media artists do the same. You can find this idea in many "how to" books on mixed media and collage. Anyway, that is a wonderful way to introduce the face and still make it your own.
So, this is my current style, yes? And although not everyone will like it, a nice portrait can be achieved. The students will see how easy it is to put together a great background with little to no thought or sweat. The focal image is a magazine face or perhaps a photo copy face of a relative and then the actual drawing is very simplistic in style. I think we will work with an 8 by 10 canvas board and I am going to do another sample for the class in that size. This smaller one was the only canvas board I had at home at the time and you know how it is, I just wanted to get started and finish it so Lucy had a sample :) I titled the piece Give and Take and my thoughts for the title came from the message on the work. take hope and courage from others, give of your heart to others especially in times of darkness.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Burl and Josie 7-19-09

My skin and fur kids piled into our van on the 19th and headed to a Greyhounds Only kennel day. We were so excited to go because Burl's littermate would be there. Her name is Josie. She and Burl were the only two form their litter to race. I have to say the weather was greyhound perfect. The dogs could run for as long as they liked without getting heat stroke. I finally had the opportunity to meet Josie's human, Jan. She is truly one of those people you meet in your life that can be called the salt of the Earth. Her devotion to these beautiful greyts is unconditional. And then I met silly Josie. What a little Dickens she is/was. Burl was clearly waiting for her and I have to tell you that Josie went right up to him with a waggy tail and nudged him. He reciprocated. There was serious communication going on there and I had no doubt that they were rejoicing in meeting once again. Before I could snap a picture, the magic ended and Josie was off running like the wind. Burl watched her and then went to lay down in the shade. Our family had a wonderful time watching these graceful spirits. To see them run just for fun is really magical. Here are a few pics from the day. Our Burl is the big dark Brindle. Josie is the white greyt ticked with fawn. You can see they are brother and sister in their eyes. Mandy is the little brindle and Tigger is the big fawn brindle. We are so blessed to share our lives with these sweet greys.


Friday, July 24, 2009

MIxed Media and Collage Class - basics

Mid July I taught at a wonderful venue in McHenry, The Studio I taught a very basic mixed media and collage class that concentrated on making a few different background papers. Substrates used were 140 lb watercolor paper and matte board. The format was the Artist Trading Card (ATC), 2 1/2 by 3 1/2 and we used a variety of media including liquid water colors, acrylics, graphite, pastels (Portfolio water soluble), markers and acrylic media. I hope the students learned a little something. I dare say that for the adult students, getting messy was a little foreign, but I hope they enjoyed the freedom. Here are a few pictures from the class. You can see how messy the table ws...I was totally at home.
I will be teaching again in August and this time we will be working larger and on canvas board. I want to create a patch work background much like Kelly Rae Roberts style. Then we will add a focal image using magazine clippings of faces (which we will alter). I think Kelly's patch work collages are great for those just learning because the background is ready made. There is no real thinking, you just do. It should be fun. I plan on introducing more expensive materials in this class featuring Golden products. Those are my favorites!

Currently I am working on a sample for the class and hope to finish soon so I can get Miss Lucy a class material list.


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Stick Horse Winners

It seems like a million year since I documented something, anything! I wanted to share pictures of the top two stick horses from the Main Stay fund raiser-First place: The unicorn, second place: an American Dream for sure. Yours truly took third place. Congratulations to the winners. Great jobs! I do wish I knew what kind of material was used to make the unicorn. I had to touch it and it was smooth as can be. I don't think it was clay but what the heck do I know! Now hopefully these little gems will sell and make some money for Main Stay. Once can hope...


Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Third Place finish. 6-27-09

I was informed yesterday that my stick horse, entitled "Sea Horse" took third place in the adult division. I was shocked because the quality of the entries was amazing! So this Sunday is a reception for us. I will try to snap a few pictures. My Claire took an Artistic merit award in her division. That really made my Friday.

Monday, June 22, 2009

My twins

Well here are a few pictures from Colin and Claire's 8th grade graduation. My husband and I share the spot light in one of them. Colin and Claire, I want you to know how really proud I am of you both. Even though I have told you a million times, words just can't express my joy. Eight years just flew by. Claire, it seems like only yesterday that we were terrified that you too had a reading disability. After a year of help, you soared and never looked back. Colin, you have always been bright but you really shined in 8th grade. And now, it is the "big time." I wish for you both much success in high school. I know it will be tough juggling your schedules and dancing too, but you have excellent study skills and know how to prioritize. Remember that I will always be there at your back if you need me. I love you both so much.

Love Mom


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Summer chaos

The kids have been out since the last week in May and we have not stopped since. And for crying out loud, they have not even started their dance camps! Three teens pose a challenge to the wanna be artist. I have come to the conclusion that my art will be shelved this summer except for maybe a few examples for a mixed media class I will teach. I still do not have a driver yet. Kaitie will hopefully get her license in October. Won't that be nice, maybe....

Claire decided she wanted to contribute to the main stay event with her own stick horse and here are the pics. The horse is titled "technicolor zebra." I had her use Lumiere paints which are really bright because they contain peral ex (or something like that, a mica dust). I am glad these paints got some use because they have been on my shelf for sometime.


ps soon I will post the 8th grade graduation pictures. I am so proud of the twins!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Photobucket Photobucket
I think that I am fully recovered from long hours of driving, waiting, standing around, more waiting, more get the idea. The performance of this full length ballet was just totally awesome. And not just because all three of my children were in it. I know because a ballet mom had a friend attend the performance on Saturday the 16th. This friend is a retired performer for the Joffrey ballet. She said it was wonderful, very well done, even the costumes were awesome. If you want to see some of the dancers,sets, and costumes...I am going to send you to a photographers website. Dan Swinson took so many wonderful candid shots of these young performers. Just browse through some of the galleries on Coppelia 2009 and be prepared to see some gorgeous shots: And now I will leave you with a little video I took of my son and his partner dancing a scene from the Judith Svalander School of Ballets production of Coppelia (2009). For this kissy doll number he and his partner performed this at a local grade school for an international day celebration. The second clip, in this post, is of my son demonstrating some basic ballet moves to impress the boys in the audience. Enjoy These posts will take you to my photobucket account. For some reason I could not embed them!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Sea Horse Complete : 5-19-09

I finally finished my stick horse for the Main Stay Therapeutic Riding fund raiser. After a whirlwind 7 days of nothing but Coppelia, I was able to sit down, concentrate (an operative word here), and finish. Now I will let the horse sit for a day or two to set. May be I will make some minor adjustments and tack down a few more areas. As a side note, I used hot glue to adhere the seashells and fisherman's net. I know a lot of folks swear by their glue gun but I personally hate the thing. I burned myself about a dozen times and I don't like the look of it. I am not sure how "permanent" it is either. But it is a glue that will quickly adhere something, nice and thick, so I hope it will hold everything together. I just didn't know how to glue all the shells on without it taking a half of century!
What is next on the horizon...I am itching to start another piece. I want to do a series on the inexpensive Ampersand line of cradled boards. Maybe some Coppelia characters:))))

And I want to blog my comments on my children's performance in a local production of Coppelia as well.


Thursday, May 07, 2009

Main Stay Horse of a Different Color update: 5-7-09

Did you ever start a piece and think that you are progressing but each time you look at it you find a little more that could be added, tweaked, improved. Well that is where I am with my horse. The first side is nearly complete but now that I am looking at it, I want to add more color with the Neocolor crayons and then add a fake eyelash. The second side is definitely a work in progress. If I can get the paintings done then I have to add a mane and bridle and figure out to to affix them. I guess I am too much of a perfectionist!

On a different note, I added a link to a newly discovered collage and assemblage site. The site owner found me and asked me to submit some work to their free gallery. So I am in the process of doing that now. The site is called ARTpjm and I have posted the link with English as the main language. I believe that the main site is in French. The art in the gallery is amazing. You could spend hours there oogling the work from artists all over the world. Check it out if you need inspiration. And finally,
Here is a link to the blog of Aileen. She has a giveaway going on for some beautiful ATC's, hand drawn. I love her style, very whimsical. She also is a store owner and has some interesting supplies for collage and rubber stamp art. ENJOY!


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Sea Horse part 2- 4-25-09

So the next little bit of work I did on my stick horse, now dubbed "SeaHorse", was to add some fish. Sketches were done using my Generals graphite pencil (water soluble) and as you can see, I am redoing the eye (that came with the horse), ear, and nose. The little white fish are actually painted with gesso and soon they will be green. So far so good and this is a load of fun...It is nice to do something really different and donate to a cause to boot.


PS. Lorrie, I have not forgotten about the fixative info. While working on each mixed media collage piece I will generally use Krylon Workable Fixative. This dries pretty glossy. I have to get you the name of the final varnish/sealant I put on. It is a golden product and you dilute with a brush and brush on. It comes in glossy, matte, and satin, satin being the one I use the most. I keep forgetting to dig out the bottle for the product number!

Friday, April 24, 2009

New project : A horse of a different color

I am a sucker for good causes and when you combine a good cause with an artistic challenge, well I pretty much have no choice but to participate. We have a wonderful program here in northern Illinois that essentially involves horse therapy. The program works with disadvantaged and disabled kids or adults to help them relate in a positive and caring way to their world through the use of horse. Main Stay Therapeutic Riding Program is funded primarily by donations. So the organization is sponsoring a new fund raiser called a Horse of A different color. It is sort of like the Cows on Parade that was done in Chicago or the Trail of Painted Ponies that was done in Santa Fe New Mexico. Some beautiful resin like carousel horses are being painted by select artists. Then there are the stick horses. This is the one that I decided to get involved in. I paid for a stick horse and now I can decorate it. As I usually do, I am going to record the process. These are wooden stick horses. As you can see by my first step here, I have given a couple layers of paint and have begun to build up an ocean floor complete with a sea plant or is it see weed? Anyway. Both sides of the head will be decorated pretty close to the same. I have a lot of ideas in my head and I am really enjoying this process.

When the stick horse is finished, it will go on display in a store window that faces the historic Woodstock, IL. square. Then on June 10th there will be this huge celebration on the square. My children and their class will dance in it along with other performers. The stick horses (a select few) will be auctioned and others will be sold outright. I think the same is true of the carousel horses. It will be a magnificent site to see these painted horses all around the square. Do visit the Main Stay site just to read about the program. I am thrilled to be a part of this wonderful cause


More to follow!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Completed Work: "On the Wings of Faith." 4-19-09

Finished!!!! YEA. I really love this piece and I am struggling with giving it up. But I made it with the fund raiser in mind and so it came from that part of my heart, specifically for that purpose. So, I give it up. I wish you could see and feel the texture on this work. I really love using tissue and napkins to build up layers. While the scan does not show it, she has a tiny bit of glitter on her wings, not a lot, just enough to hint supernatural. As far as the artist crayons and blending (asked Lorrie), I will blend them primarily with water. You can keep working them without losing pigment. But I have also blended these crayons with acrylics. After blending with water, if the color needs to be enhanced, I have then resorted to using neutral acrylics to blend. That works just fine. If you want to add other media on top of the crayons, what I do is use Krylon workable fixative to hold the crayons on the substrate and then paint over or use a media over them. Before I seal my work I will spray with the workable fixative so nothing runs as I seal it with varnish. I also use graphite and of course if you don't fix the piece before applying varnish, the graphite smears and runs. THe writing on the side of the painting says: "Live by faith-one day at a time." Now all I have to do is seal the work and it is good to go. I hope who ever wins the piece will appreciate the symbols and emotion that went into it. Lorrie, if you have any more questions on the crayons, give me a holler. You can buy them individually too if you just want to experiment.

I am sooo tired. Colin and Claire turned 14 yesterday and IT was such an action packed day and we kept on going till about 11 PM. They had a final dance/mixer at their school in the evening. After the dance, which was emotional because they will soon graduate 8th grade, the kids surrounded them and sang Happy Birthday, hence the photo. Then it was out for dinner and more celebration. Too much partying for me!

Finally, if any of you are in Palatine this Sunday, I will be in a group show at Emmetts Ale House Stop by and say "Hi" and have a good beer, micro brewed of course!.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Breast Cancer Donation step 6 4-15-09

I am about 90% done with my piece for the breast cancer fundraiser. I incorporated a single flower in her hair (thanks Kris) and started a halo. Still need to tweak background, add some text, modify wings just a tad, and maybe retouch the face. I think I finally captured this earth angel features. I was going for really delicate. Note the slight color and change of shading in her skin tones. I used a current fav, Caran d'Ache Neocolor II crayons, These crayons blend beautifully with a touch of water and appear to be more rugged or durable than the water soluble oil pastels. In other words you can achieve a beautiful blending without loosing too much of the crayon. Oil pastels can't take heavy blending (in my opinion) but I still use them. After I lay down an acrylic underpainting of the skin (face, hands etc) I then go over those tones with the crayons. I love the effect, it adds a lot of depth to the face. I am really pleased that this work is coming all together. Hopefully she will be finished by the weekend. I would love to bring her with me to a small gallery show that I am in. K

Friday, April 10, 2009

Stage 4 of Breast Cancer donation. 4-10-09

I was fortunate enough to have a precious 2 hours in my studio today. I made some progress but the face and torso look really wacky to me. This work is very different in terms of the face and the full length figure. I am use to working with larger features. Her features are so tiny but not quite right. I will be fiddling some more for sure. The skin tones need artist crayon work yet and I have more to do in the background and more work on the little bird that I added as an after thought. I added more dept to her clothes and those have shaped up nicely. Kris suggested flowers in her hair and I like that idea too. So hopefully I can hit the studio tomorrow. Although, I may be heading to the clinic for a throat swab. My throat is on fire and this cough and congestion is hanging on like a demon!


Thursday, April 09, 2009

Breast Cancer donation Mixed media and collage work. Steps 3 and 4

I worked a little more on this piece this past week even though I am still dealing with a huge virus of some sort. You can see how I am building up layers on this earth angel's dress. I have also subdued the background with some neutral acrylics. The work is definitely in progress and I would say I will busy with it for several more "days." Note nothing more has been done on the face. I usually work the face first but she is not speaking to me just yet. I think I want to flush out more in her dress and shawl. Hair needs something... and I want to add gold leaf somewhere. You get the idea...I am lost right now. I tend to over think everything because I try to work out what the final product will look like before the first papers are glued down!
My heart will find the way eventually. I keep thinking of Cindy while I am working on this. The piece is supposed to give the message of faith and instead, all I can feel is sorrow.


Sunday, April 05, 2009

A Cyber Toast to Miss Cindy

Margarita Graphic Comments
It has been a long sad week at the preschool where I work. I have really been out of it and not able to concentrate on much of anything. So, Kaitie, Colin, and Claire, when and if you read this entry, I hope you can maybe understand how Miss Cindy's death really affected me. As you know, she died a week ago Friday night. The accident was tragic and senseless. So many emotions came and went all week. Shock, disbelief, sorrow, sadness, and depression all mixed together in my heart. Now I am really angry now because I think Miss Cindy should have had more sense than to be in an attached trailer, asleep, on the highway, while it was raining. Blessedly she was pronounced dead at the scene and all those that were her feel that she died pretty much instantly once the trailer started to dove tail. So this past week I just trudged to smile, no quirky look, no funny stories...they all went away once Miss Cindy died. A bunch of teachers and myself stopped at Fernandos, a little whole in the wall Mexican Restaurant that makes the best "Ritas" and drank a real toast to her. I did not order a "Rita" but rather a small Sangria. Miss Cindy knew that I never had one glass of any alcohol if I was driving but I made an exception this time. I do love Margaritas I am toasting her right here.

Yesterday was dreadful.. I was feeling sick anyway and it was so darn cold in that Funeral Parlor. I sat there for 3 hours just starring. I think I talked some but really don't remember to who. Maybe the fact that I was running a fever had something to do with it. My immune system must have been way off. I slept little last week and with all that I do and all that I am exposed to , I suppose everything caught up with me. When it cam time for the eulogy about hours after I arrived, I finally lost it. It was when Pastor read my little email that I sent to the office at Shepherd of the Hills (where I work). I wasn't prepared and when I heard my words...I was gone. And I did not stop for the next 35 minutes. You did not really see me when you guys got home, but I was a mess...swollen eyes, a pasty face streaked with makeup, and sicker than a dog. I went to be as soon as you walked into the house and have been pretty much there ever since. When I was asked to write something about Miss Cindy, it was the hardest thing I have to do in a very long time. Here is what I wrote about the my friend and colleague:

"Although I have only worked with Cindy for a few short years, I feel so blessed to share in a small part of her life. She endeared herself to so many and I was lucky enough to be included. Cindy had such a huge personality. Just one of her smiles could change the mood in dour room. We had so many "little" talks over these last few years and I came to learn how much she adored her daughter and husband. When she talked about them her whole being glowed. She adored them. She loved anyone lucky enough to be her friend. I remember that just a few weeks ago, Miss Cindy was sharing one of her friend stories with Miss Andrea and myself. She described a recent visit she had with her woman doctor friend. When Miss Cindy talked about her friends, she always became so animated. She described her doctor friend as a very serious person...rarely taking the time to smell the roses and rarely spending anytime just having fun. So Miss Cindy drove to her home with a variety of costumes and the two of them played dress up that evening. Can you imagine two adult women playing dress up. She said her doctor friend never played dress up as a child and this was something that she liked to do with her. That story really epitomized the type of person that Miss Cindy was...a wild and free spirit who deeply cared about her family and friends.

Miss Cindy cared deeply for those close to her and it showed because she was such a good listener. Many confided in her their deepest troubles and she listened with great compassion and deep concern. She offered advice freely and was there when you needed her most. She put her faith in God first followed by family and friends.

I work three mornings a week at the preschool and I knew that whatever kind of mood I was in first thing in the morning, it would be greatly improved after receiving my morning greeting from Miss Cindy. Without fail, each morning that I worked, I would walk down the long stretch of hallway to Miss Andrea's room and see Miss Cindy sitting at the children's table in one of those little orange chairs. Upon hearing me trudging in, she would lean back in her chair, cock her hear, and say "Good Morning Miss Kathy!" and then flash one of her brilliant smiles. Thank you Miss Cindy for brightening my day.

It is so hard to make sense of all this. I know though that Miss Cindy was needed for a greater purpose. Slowly I will accept what is..for it is our Lord's will. Prayer now comforts me... The words from this Lennon/McCartney song ring in my soul:

"When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of Wisdom, let it be.
And in my hour of darkness
She is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
Let it be, Let it Be,
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be."

I love you Miss Cindy and I will keep you close in my heart always.

Miss Kathy"


graphic taken from

Friday, March 27, 2009

A Happy Birthday, A little further a long and Spring break. 3-27-09

First, Happy Birthday Tigger... My sweet Tigger is 7 today. He is getting special treats all day long and of course my other two greys are sharing. Second..This week is spring break. With the three kids home, my hubby and I have been playing Entertainment directors. You would think that at 16 and almost 14 (the twins) that sleep would be a good thing. No, my poor under privileged children are bored. We have taken them on day trips which have included hitting the mall and that has helped some. In the same breath, I need my own personal vacation! No art work has happened all week. Yesterday we hit the Field Museum in downtown Chicago. My oldest could earn extra credit in her Spanish class (which she is getting a D in) if she visited one of the special exhibits there. We decided it would be a great learning experience for everyone and hit a very special exhibit on the Aztec culture, called the Aztec World. The exhibit had many artifacts from Tenochtitlan and it's sister city of Tlatelolco. I have been to see the Pyramid of the Sun and Moon and the Avenue of the Dead. I was there in 1978 just as archaeologists discovered one of the most important finds ever...the Templo Major. Anyway, the exhibit takes the viewer through the entire history of the great Aztec empire, from its origins, to it's demise at the hands of the Spanish. We learned about daily life, warfare, the societal structure, and religion. One of the most interesting things for me was seeing what is currently going on down in Mexico City. The excavations of the Zocalo (the major plaza, if you will, located in the heart of Mexico City) are going on in earnest. It is amazing what they have unearthed there. And I would think this excavation is a bit tricky because the National Cathedral sits over this site. Regardless, to have discovered the major religious site of the Aztecs is incredible. I hope we can see more of the unearthed treasures from the Templo Major as they are discovered. I learned more about the Aztec at this little day trip than I did when I was at the actual sites back in 1978! I took this photo at the museum. I am not sure about copyright here but I place it on my blog for educational purposes only. Please do not use it. My gut feeling is that the Field Museum would not be too happy about that.

Third...Here is what little I did on my latest (last weekend). This is simply a roughed in drawing of the figure. The background will no doubt change quite a bit as the picture evolves. Facial features are lightly sketched in. I want these features to be delicate and innocent rather than over exaggerated as some of my portraits have. Not sure if I will be successful. The face does not have to be highly detailed just suggestive. The work looks really busy right now but that will for sure change. Kids will be back in school next week but alas, I have filled my 2 days off with errands!