Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Birthday Post

I received a lot of wonderful birthday mail art and gifts over the last week.  Thank you so much, one and all, for helping make my Big One be such a good one!  xo

Monday, February 24, 2014

Everyone's A Winner

Thank you for all your wonderful comments on the blog, especially over the last week.  All of you are winners, because you're all playing the game of life so admirably well.

I had 51 international comments in total, and the random number generator chose number 5, which is Lorna Jones in the U.K.  Send me your postal address, Lorna, and I'll get your gift off to you this week.
On the domestic front, I had 89 comments and the RNG chose number 13, which is Anna Hinkle in Oregon.  Anna, send me your address and your gift will also go out this week.

And thanks again to everybody.  I so appreciate your support and enthusiasm for my creative exploits, and I always love hearing from you.


Sunday, February 23, 2014


Today I'm featuring work by John Arbuckle of Artjuvenation.  John and I followed each other's blogs for a while and then started swapping mail art last fall.

I adore John's work.  He does both art journaling and collage, and often combines the two digitally.  He regularly builds numerous layers into his pieces, even the ATCs, and uses really evocative imagery.

John is one of a few mixed media artists that I consider to be part of a Collage Dream Team of sorts.  Don't miss John's fab work

The magic number, 300,000, was hit early this morning here on the blog.
I'll continue taking comments today as entries into the Giveaway...
and then draw winners first thing tomorrow morning.
Good Luck, and thanks so much for all your comments!  xo

Saturday, February 22, 2014

In Other News...

For the umpteenth time, the other day I gazed at that bucket full of hand stitched and pole wrapped fabrics that have been waiting for TWO years to be dyed or discharged, the bucket that's been sitting out in my shed so I don't have to see it every day.  And I decided to begin attacking it, slowly.  Starting with the easy stuff, discharging.

These are two pieces of wonderful linen with a beautiful hand, both hand stitched.  The piece on the left was discharged with bleach, the one on the right with thiox (thiourea dioxide with soda ash).  Each piece is about 20 x 28 inches (the fabric off the bolt was 56 inches wide).  My original intention was to use these for an art quilt, but I have my doubts about whether that will happen now.  At any rate, they're finished now, so I can cross them off that laundry list of fabric to be processed.

Fortunately, when I prepped all that fabric, I marked each piece with my intended method of processing.  I guess I foresaw that it might take me a good while to get to them, if at all.  The pieces to be dyed, however, will require a bit more work at this point.  Decisions will have to be made.  A few will be acid dyed, the others with fiber reactive dyes.  I think that exercise was likely meant to be my last hurrah in shibori.

Don't forget about the Giveaway happening now.  
Leave a comment to enter every day until the drawing,
which will most likely occur on Monday, February 24.  Full details here.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Mod Squad

This was the final exercise in lesson six and the end of the class.  The challenge was to create a modular painting based on an earlier work in the class.  I chose the two 9 x 9 inch pieces below for my inspiration.  The modules above are each 5-1/2 x 5-1/2 inches.  The idea of modular piece is that it is one piece of art made up of smaller units.  Although they could be rearranged.

I did nine small pieces, my original thinking being that I would create a nine-patch modular painting.  But I pulled out from the batch the three I liked the least.  What I like best about the six above is their simplicity.  Oh, and the colorway.

Don't forget about the Giveaway happening now.  
Leave a comment to enter every day until the drawing, if you like.  Full details here.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Long and Lean

This trio satisfied the first part of the actual work of lesson six...which was to create a series of pieces based on any earlier piece we did in the class.  My original collage is below.  The tall pieces are 22 x 4 inches; the original is 9 x 9 inches.  Class participants chose different sizes for their series, not necessarily the long format I chose, and some folks' series pieces were of varying sizes.  I found in the warm-up exercise that I really liked working in odd-sized formats.

Don't forget about the Giveaway happening now.  
Leave a comment to enter every day until the drawing, if you like.  Full details here.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


This series was done as a warm-up exercise for the last lesson of Extreme Composition.  The challenge was to choose a layout, in this case abstract landscape, and then use the same elements in different formats.  All five of these paintings are done on watercolor paper, and all had bits of paper collaged onto the substrate before any paint was applied.  The piece above is 9 x 9 inches.

These two pieces are 7-1/2 x 11 inches.

This one is 18 x 8 inches.

And this one is 8 x 22 inches.

Don't forget about the Giveaway happening now.  
Leave a comment to enter every day until the drawing, if you like.  Full details here.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Big Doin's Round Here

Lots going on here today.  First, it's my birthday, and I'm 65 today.  I look at that number and can't believe this is me.  I feel younger at heart than I felt when I was just 35.  Anyhow, now I am a bonafide senior citizen, so I guess I'm in the Big Leagues.  I finally made it!

I'm also officially celebrating my 6th Blogoversary, although it actually happened middle of last month.  But another big number is about to roll over, in about a week or 10 days ~ my lifetime blog hits are about to go over the 300,000 mark.

So I'm having a Giveaway to celebrate!  The first photo is what I'm giving away to any reader NOT residing in the U.S.  I know there are a lot of you out there because there's a loyal batch of international folks who regularly comment here.  But according to my blog map I've got readers seriously spread in every corner of the globe.  So leave a comment to this post or any post between now and next Monday, for a chance to win.  But you have to let me know, in your comment, where in the world you are (and International includes Canada)This prize contains three handpainted postcards, a blank handmade button booklet, and a stamp-head ATC.

Readers in the U.S., your prize package is this photo, to the right, and it contains a handmade recycled-paper journal, a blank button booklet, three rolls of washi tape, and two recent ATCs.  You, also, have to leave a comment to enter the Giveaway, but unless you really live in another country, you don't have to tell me where you are.  I'll assume you're in the U.S.

I'll draw two names for the prizes as soon as my total blog views hits 300,000.  And that should be within the next week or ten days.

To hurry things along, I'll even take duplicate entries.  So if you leave a comment today and again tomorrow, you'll be entered twice.  If for some reason you're not able to leave a comment in the typical fashion, use the link on the sidebar to email me.

Good luck, and enjoy my birthday today! LOL

Monday, February 17, 2014

End of an Era

This 9 x 9 inch painting is from an earlier lesson in Extreme Composition.

Today is the last day of the first two-thirds of my life.  The end of an era.  Tomorrow begins a new one, and I'll say more about this then.

Today I'll finish up work for the final lesson of Extreme Comp.  And after that I'll be free to explore creative paths on my own.  I think I'm ready to follow my muse, unhindered, at this point.  I have to say, though, that if abstract painting is something you want to explore, don't miss the opportunity, live or online, to work with Jane Davies.  Really, her instruction is not to be missed.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Cappuccino and Art

Today I'm featuring San Francisco artist Pamela Gerard, of Cappuccino And Art Journal.  Pamela and I have been exchanging mail art since last year.  The photo shows just a few of the really wonderful letters and cards I've received from her. 

Pamela is a prolific sender of mail art, so much so that I kind of liken her to a Mail Art Goddess.  Her work always follows a postal theme and toward that end she really pushes the envelope, so to speak, on creativity.  This might be where the phrase "pushing the envelope," as in stretching the boundaries, came from!

I'm taking the liberty of reposting one of Pamela's posts about how to get into sending and receiving mail art.  The post is called You Want Mail? and it was published in August 2011.  If you're interested in getting started with mail art, read that post.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

On With Their Heads!

Made another batch of stamp-head ATCs last weekend.  All the background images are from late 1960s issues of the Saturday Evening Post.  The ads are the best.

A few more postal observations from my last pass through my stamp collection...and now I've got all the heads pulled out and organized by color in their own tiny baggies ~
  • 90 percent or more of the heads are of men.  It will likely always be a man's world, despite the fact that I'm definitely ready for women to run the world;
  • maybe 75 or 80 percent of the heads face stage right (our left); 
  • a lot of the men look angry, but I guess that comes with the territory if you're trying to live up to your rep as a fierce world leader. 
I've got yet another batch of images and stamps ready to go.  But also many other projects on my list of things to do once Extreme Composition is complete.  Yesterday I finished the first lesson-6 project, which was actually optional, and will start on the meat of the lesson today.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Sending Hearts

I made this dozen pink mini books last year in honor of Valentine's Day.  Thought I'd post the photo again since I don't usually do anything special for Valentine's. 

I was new to book arts when I made these, and took this opportunity to learn several new book structures.  It was a lot of fun.

Anyway, next week is a bigger deal for me than today is.  I haven't forgotten about that giveaway I mentioned back in December.  And I actually passed my 6th Blog Anniversary in January.  But I'm about to pass a big six figure milestone on the blog and planned the giveaway to honor both events.  Next Tuesday I'll announce the giveaway formally, and begin taking entries.

Today, though, I'm sending hearts, flowers and love to all my blog readers everywhere.  Your support and encouragement are all I need on this special day. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Another Big One

This is the other large piece I did for last week's composition lesson.  This one is 11 x 15 inches on watercolor paper.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Outside My Comfort Zone

This is one of two pieces I completed for Extreme Comp lesson five ~ I may post the other in a few days.  The size of this is 12 x 16 inches.

The instructions were to work on a large sheet of paper (Jane used 18 x 24" sheets for this but I don't have the room to work that big), lay down something in the background (here, the blue and green scraped paint), work in two separate areas that have been masked around (there were two six-inch squares of marks somewhere in that mess), then tie it all together.

This was really challenging for me and I almost didn't complete the lesson.  Working this big and with this many elements is not something I would likely ever do on my own.  But, it's good to stretch oneself.  So I did it despite my recalcitrance.

The best use of big work like this, in my opinion, is to cut it up and use for postcards, ATCs, or even just smaller paintings.  This piece is on 80# drawing paper, so after chopping it up I'll mount the pieces on heavier paper with PVA.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Before The Rain

A recent color field piece, 9 x 9 inches, beginning with a solid black background.

And speaking of rain, we're finally getting a good drenching on the North Coast.  I don't know the effect of this current rain on our long-standing drought in California, but some rain is always better than no rain.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

One Woman's Hands

Today I'm featuring just some of the lovely work by Leslie Sowden of One Woman's Hands.

I met Leslie (online) middle of last year, via one of the many group swaps at Karen Isaacson's Mail Me Some Art.  I decided fairly quickly that the group swap thing wasn't my cuppa, but Leslie and I hit it off.  We've been doing one-on-one swaps, often using one of the group swap ideas to do our own thing.

These are just a few of the great postcards Leslie has sent me.  And below, bless her heart, is a care package that arrived in the mail last month.

Check out Leslie's blog.  She is quite the mixed media maven.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Journal Page

I brought that transparency technique into my current art journal this week. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Transparent Too

Two more transparency-overlaid collages.
Here's my take on working with deli paper and tissue paper ~ Deli paper is much sturdier, easier to work on by and large, and appears more translucent than transparent when applied over a substrate.  Tissue paper is quite fragile, especially when being applied onto a substrate with matte medium, accepts ink better than deli paper because it is porous, and appears more transparent after final application.  In other words, they both have their uses.

A reader asked yesterday about deli paper being available in other countries.  I suggest checking out restaurant supply shops or wholesale clubs that cater to businesses as well as individuals...like Costco or the like.  Or stop into your local cafe or bistro or grocery store and find out where they get theirs.

Regarding tissue paper, many people insist on using "art tissue paper," meaning it was purchased from an art supply house (like Dick Blick) that touts it as being better/stronger/whatever.  But I've had just as good results from Dollar Tree white tissue paper.  In fact, the latter might be just a bit stronger.  I can say this, now that I'm using up a batch that I got from Dick Blick last year.  It's really not any better than the dollar store stuff.

Thursday, February 6, 2014


These two 8-inch square pieces are compositions from last week's lesson 4 of Extreme Comp.  There were several exercises earlier in the lesson, including creating transparent papers to use over collage or painting.  The transparencies are deli paper and tissue paper printed, stamped, drawn and/or painted with acrylic paint, ink, graphite and pen.

I really resonated with this lesson.  Love the transparency, love the layers.  I'll post two more of these tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

By The Batch

I made another batch of ATCs last Friday ~ all postal related and all utilizing traditional postal blues and reds.

I used travel-oriented heavy scrapbook paper for the base of all of these.  Making a batch of ATCs at once is much more efficient than doing one at a time ~ especially since I keep my postage stamps organized by color.

After I've given most of these away, I'll move on to another couple of colors.  Great way to use those cool old stamps that just cry out to be affixed to art.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Color Fields

Two color-field pieces from last week.  The piece on top is 8 inches square.  The one below is a 6 x 4 inch postcard.

Lately I've been cutting my own postcards to paint on.  I'm using Strathmore Series 400 Acrylic paper, which comes in 6 x 12 inch pads.  I get three 4 x 6 cards from each sheet.  I love this particular paper, although all the other painting I've been doing on paper has been on watercolor paper.  The acrylic paper is 246# (400gsm) and it always stays flat after painting.  I also like the woven texture on the surface.  I have a pad of 18 x 24 sheets of this, but haven't used it yet.

I've been trying out different watercolor papers for acrylic painting.  All have been 140# hot press.  I've used Fabriano Artistico, Saunders Waterford and Canson Edition.  Sometime soon I'll use a piece of each at the same time so I can decide which I like best.  For now, though, each has been wonderful to work on.

Sunday, February 2, 2014


Today I'm featuring just some of the work done by Meg Nakagawa, from Nelson, NZ.  Meg's blog is Unravelling ~ primarily she is a weaver, but she is multi-talented and becoming quite the collage artist as well. 

These are a few of the postcards I received from Meg over the last year.  And below is what she calls an inspiration packet, a bunch of inspiring cards and snippets sent in one package.  An inspiration packet is like mail art on steroids.

I wanted to begin this series with Meg because she was my first online pal, and we've been in touch in numerous ways across the Pacific for nearly seven years.  It all began when I lived in Eureka, and Eureka's sister city was Nelson, NZ, and I was a weaver at that time, and somehow the fates brought Meg and I together.  She's also become a dear friend.