Thursday, December 31, 2009

One More Word

OK, you creative people, go see Kerri Settle's beautiful paintings, and take to heart the message in the YouTube clip by Ira Glass she's put at the bottom of her post. 


So Long, 2009

What a year this has been for me as an artist, a wife, a mom, a daughter, and a friend.  It has been filled with joys and changes, a milestone birthday and artistic challenges.  I thought I'd share a few of them in pictorial form.  This is only a sampling of wonderful events that made up 2009.

Spending time with my boys has been amazing.

Will, big brother, and Matt, little brother, in my studio

Innocence restored.

 Kitchen duty at Thanksgiving

My friend, Lynette, and I took ourselves off to Boone, NC in July to take a fantastic workshop in watercolor and collage with the fabulous Jerry Brommer. 

I had two pieces in a show at the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, VA, one of which sold and the other of which was used in all of the publicity for the show.

Why Young Mothers Feel Trapped, mixed media, 11 x 14

My artist-in-residence show opened in September in the main gallery at LibertyTown, and my parents came from Texas to the opening which capped the evening perfectly.

Skyscrapers, mixed media, 12 x 16, poster and postcard image

View of the main wall in the gallery at LibertyTown 

And a crazy 19" snowfall the week before Christmas!

In addition to the above, we spent a week in North Georgia with my sis and my folks and my aunt and uncle.   I stood back and cheered as my husband went for a week-long Blues workshop in West Virginia.  He has since begun a cool hobby of making cigar box musical instruments with as much work by hand as possible.  Go Tres!

I look forward to 2010, anticipating the joys and challenges that await.  Thanks to all of you great folks in the art blogging world.  You have also added immeasurably to my life this year.  Happy New Year to you all.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Holiday Wish for You (Sonny Boy Williamson)

Here's my favorite song this Christmas. I hope you find your Santa Claus!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

New Pins on Slate

It is my hope that I will be back in my studio, continuing to create for the last few days of 2009. The time has come to begin work on a show I have scheduled for the summer. Ideas have been percolating, and since I can't keep a secret (about my work--otherwise, I am discreet!), my blogging friends will likely see it all first.

I am always a little nervous but a lot excited when I am perched on the edge of another big project. The last show was such fun and succeeded beyond my wildest dreams. I am fueled by that and really anticipating the artistic discovery awaiting me. I have paint and canvas and brushes aplenty (Jerry's please stop tempting me with coupons, already!!) Time to put them all together in new form.

In other news, I won a monthly giveaway painting from Leslie Saeta. It arrived yesterday and is just fantastic. Check out her blog. She is a wonderful painter living and working in California. The generosity of "those who blog" is astounding.

I tried to take a photo to show you the painting, but lighting conditions are less than ideal here and just didn't do it justice. Thanks so much, Leslie!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Single and a Double

Little Orange Bird, acrylic on rescued slate piece, $25

Little Couple, acrylic on rescued slate piece, 45

New slate paintings--on display and available for purchase in my studio at LibertyTown.

We're hoping that the snow stays away long enough for our big holiday open house to happen without a hitch this Saturday, December 19. Artists will be in their studios, snacks, music, wonderful artwork and crafts--come by if you're in Fredericksburg, Va.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Light as Air

Light as Air, 6 x 6, acrylic and collage on 3/4" wooden cradle board

This painting began on a map, but the map layer got lost in the creative process, I'm sorry to say. The map itself was printed in navy and sea green, which inspired the color you see in the background here. So, I left the map and bits of the colored papers I used to collage over it showing and unpainted along the edges of the painting. I'm pretty happy with the result, lost map notwithstanding!

We went to an incredible performance by the fine arts department at my son's small city high school last night. The school is so small, I would bet that a quarter of the student body participates in the music and drama departments' groups. Some students play or perform in multiple disciplines.

My son plays the upright bass in the chamber ensemble and the orchestra. I whined and complained all day because the same concert last year went on for three and one-half hours. This year, they trimmed it to two hours, and we heard jazz band, symphonic band, chamber orchestra, symphony orchestra, and all manner of choral groups perform with great skill and joy. In between the sets, the drama students presented a funny skit which distracted and entertained the audience while the set changed backstage. It was inspirational to hear and see these young performers who've worked so hard and done so well. Way to go, JayeM music and drama departments!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Cup Quake

Get it?

4 x 4 x 1.5, collage/acrylic, $75

More tomorrow. I'm pooped and cooking spaghetti sauce and blogging. Something's got to go, and I think it's me. See you tomorrow.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Cupcake a Day.....

...keeps the blues away?

These days, all I can do is paint these delicious morsels. They are usually overflowing with frosting since it is so much fun to render, but when I ate them, I prefered very little frosting to get in the way of my cake. I mean, it is called cupCAKE, after all.

This little guy is 5 x 5, acrylic and collage and is framed in the LibertyTown gallery for $85.

I'll have more to share on another day.

Create to your heart's content, everyone!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Report from the Workshop


top, Duck; L to R, Wren, Flamingo, Chicken Legs

Flamingo Flock

Cardinal ornament

I've tossed myself into a huge whirlwind of birdies and pears (see pictures.) It has been so fun. I've sent some of them (nearly 50) to my sister in Houston to hawk for me, and I've been trying to get an inventory for my own studio shop. I've made something like 170 little critters. Whew!

Yesterday after making birdies and greeting cards all week, I finally got to paint on canvas. I'll post that work tomorrow.

Howdy to my new followers. Thanks so much for joining my blog.

Y'all go see my friend Anna's blog, just brand spankin' new yesterday. She's a terrific potter and weaver who also has her studio at LibertyTown.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Quick Update

Here's what I've been working on all week. I've made a series of pins and ornaments out of paper collage that I created by collaging fun papers over 140 lb watercolor paper, cutting out in bird shapes, varnishing and "garnishing." I've had so much fun!! These are just a few of them--a couple of views.

This perspective makes some of them look huge, but they are no bigger than 3 x 3 or 2 x 3, if they are the long-legged variety. Today, I test drove one of the said long-legged variety, the one I call Chicken Legs and found problems with the legs coming off. This evening I fiddled with the recycled telephone wire legs and solved the problem beautifully!

Peace to you all and happy creating.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Waiting for the Streetcar

Yes, there is a line in it, but it is a real-io, trul-io fold-up map of The Big Easy. Should I have ironed it?? Perhaps so. I'm not that kind of artist! Anyway,this is the third in my New Orleans series, with yet another out-of-his-element bird in that famous partying town on the banks of the Mississippi River.

Here, to recap, are the other two paintings. They will all be in Small Work, Big Talent at LibertyTown which goes on the walls a week from Wednesday.

Looking for Bourbon St., 5 x 7, collage/acrylic on canvas

And below, Lost in The Big Easy, 6 x 6, collage/acrylic on deep cradle board

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A "Lounge Lizard"

Not a great photo, but close enough for now. This is on a four x four gallery canvas and intended for display at our Small Works, Big Talent show in the main gallery at LibertyTown for December. The Emporium is getting a makeover for the holidays and there will be terrific, affordable art for sale all month.

Gotta get back to work. Peace, friends!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Ornaments, Plaques and Pins

Last year I collected slate removed for renovations on the roof at my historic church in downtown. Depending on the size and weight of the pieces, I made them into pins, tree decorations or plaques that could be hung on the wall or set on a small easel. It was a popular gift item in my studio/shop.

I still have some left, so I am back at it again this year. Almost all of them start with a print from one of my handmade blocks in white acrylic paint. Then I begin adding color. You may recognize the biggest one as the cheese tree and mice block print that I used for my new cards two posts ago. I'll add ribbon to the ornaments, pin backs to the pins and leather thongs to the plaques (or saw tooth hangers.) I usually have to borrow a drill with a masonry bit from a buddy, but I may have to invest in my own this year. I think I wore out my welcome last year!!

Howdy to my newest followers. Thanks so much for joining me on my artistic rambles.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

WIP, No Longer

Detail, Huge Cupcake Painting, mixed media with acrylic

Detail, Huge Cupcake Painting, mixed media with acrylic

Complete Finished work

I wanted to show the detail photos because now you can see nearly the right color when I zoomed in on the huge cherry. When I step back, I get a light bloom on it. Sigh.

All that's left is to sign it------and give it a better title--any ideas?

I've been working on getting holiday items planned out and assembled in my little workshop in anticipation of the hordes (it is to be hoped) of holiday shoppers out looking for that special hand crafted item. I'll be doing most of my shopping right out the front door of my studio at LibertyTown in the gift emporium--so convenient. And, I'll be giving things that are like no other items my friends and family will receive made by people I also consider to be my friends and family. Can't get better than that!

Speaking of good things....the anniversary of my first blog post just passed on November 4. What a cool adventure this has been, and what interesting, creative, inspirational folks I have met through this medium. Thanks so much to all of you who post and comment through blogging. You have enriched my life immeasurably.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Back to Work

I've been battling the sinus infection from hell, but I believe I'm finally on the mend and back at work.

I've been especially working on some new holiday cards and have a couple of versions to show today. I also plan to finish the big cupcake painting from some posts ago before our opening this First Friday at LibertyTown. If you are in the Fredericksburg area this Friday, we've got a party goin' on from 5-9.

On a more serious note, love and good wishes go out to Dan Finnegan, boss and mentor and friend, as he goes in for surgery this Friday.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Pretty in Pink

Pretty in Pink, 4 x 4, collage and acrylic

This one might be fun really huge.

I'm looking forward to another day communing with torn pieces of paper and kooky birds.

See you when I surface!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Makeover or Take 2

Common Loon, 8 x 10, acrylic and collage

I'm refurbishing canvases again, painting over the uninspired efforts of earlier days , trying for something new and more interesting. Before I began this painting, I had covered the old canvas with a mixture of collage papers, but left the spirals in the lower right corner from the previous work.

Aline brought in a cool book she got for her recent birthday. It is a book of many birds of North America with a picture and something written about each, and then you can press a button on the side to hear their calls. We had a particularly good time listening to the common loon who makes a haunting, almost howling-wolf kind of sound. Good for this time of year. It brought people from all over the front of the building wondering what kind of creature was loose at LibertyTown!

I'm heading up to Alexandria tomorrow to bring home LibertyTown's contributions to From There to Here show which closes tomorrow in the Target Gallery at the Torpedo Factory. I'm pleased that one of my works sold. It was not the one I thought would sell, either, so that's nice.

He Takes After Your Side of the Family, 10 x 10, mixed media with collage, aluminum cans, acrylic

Friday, October 16, 2009

Quiet, But Working

I've been working on those map-covered canvases I showed you all last post. I'll be showing them over the next few days. This one is called Looking for Bourbon St. and is acrylic on a 5 x 7 canvas, collaged with a portion of a street map of New Orleans. There is a fold in the map that I couldn't smooth out as much as I wanted, and you can see it in the photo in a more exaggerated way than in real life.

The paintings I have just completed are of real birds, painted in my slightly-less-than-real style. The next round will be my fantastical flighted creatures. I plan to reserve at least some of them for the small works show at LibertyTown every December. I think everything must be under 11 x 14. No problem. I love working small.

Then I must begin getting serious--well, as serious as I ever am--about my next show which is in a groovy local restaurant with enormous walls and high ceilings. My house is full of boxes of canvas I've ordered to be ready for where ever my whimsy takes me!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Lost in New Orleans

Ack! Too much time has gone by since my last post (sounds like I'm in the confessional!)

I have been busy hanging a portrait show at LibertyTown, which is fabulous. Check it out on LibertyTown's Facebook page.

Above is Lost in New Orleans, 6 x 6, collage and acrylic. I finished this earlier this week, so I actually have something productive to show!

I have invested in tons of small canvases and wooden shadow boxes and spent yesterday collaging them with maps. I plan a series of bird portraits in a non-traditional style, if you can believe it of me.

Happy creating, everyone!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Drooling, WIP

I don't eat cupcakes, so I must paint them! Sigh...

Note on yesterday's photo: there was a terrible flash bloom on the big cherry, which is better in today's picture. I forgot to give the warning.

Still no clothes on the figure, but I did resolve the last few squares a bit and added some detail.

Remember, it is still evolving--no telling where it will go from here!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

"Cloudy with a Chance of Cupcakes"

...just to quote a great children's book title and a movie that did well on its opening weekend, as I understand. Anyone seen it yet?

It may be too soon to show the world how I have conceived this large painting to reinterpret the cupcake block print I just finished. But I have had fun pursuing this idea, so here it is, ready or not.

This is a 24 x 28 canvas with a painting on it that I had never been entirely happy with--ripe conditions for refurbishment, in my book! The long, narrow format also suited my purposes very well for another onslaught of the sweet treats in my original design.

I began by measuring out 8 inch squares Next, I sketched my ideas of this and that of cupcake-dom in each sector with watercolor pencil. If you look in the lower left corner of the canvas, you can see that I'm not through with the first application of paint in the last three squares, mostly because I'm not really charmed with those last three images.

Right now, the collage is restricted to the huge cherry which takes up 4 squares and the cupcake tower just to its right which takes up 2 squares. But, the matte medium may be coming out again tomorrow.

Will you still recognize this as the same painting that you saw today when next you see it? Will there still be a face in the window? Will it have clothing on? Only the Shadow knows...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ready to Deliver

21 Cupcake Salute, hand colored relief, 8.5 x 4

It's done. I have really had fun with this. I am already at work on a large painting using this format. My only problem is-- will it be cupcakes or birds....both?? Stay tuned.

Monday, September 21, 2009

21 Cupcake Salute

Well I got the whole piece printed and approved by the customer. She is really happy, which is a relief (pun intended!) I've already decided how to add color and what color to add, so I'm letting this dry well over night before I paint on it some more.

Step Two, My Lou

Work in progress, relief print, as of today 3.5 x 6.5

I had camera malfunctions, but I've finally captured my second block which I added to my first for what I'm calling the 21 Cupcake Salute--the birthday present, which I said I was delivering to my customer today. NOT LIKELY! But, I do hope to have all of it printed and to play around with how I am going to add color to the piece. I'm really pleased with the way it is turning out, and I hope she will be when I am done.

I'll cut the third block, Happy 21st, as soon as I'm through posting, and print it at the bottom of what you see here.

Thanks to my new friends who've joined the blog in the last few days. Welcome! And to new friends and old, I really appreciate all the nice feedback on my last post.

Happy creating, everyone!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

New Work

This is my sketchbook drawing of a design for the commissioned work for the neice of a friend at LibertyTown who is turning 21 in October. She likes cupcakes, so I went with that theme and created 21 little images about the mighty sweet treat for a block print design.

I decided to split the design in three smaller blocks and cut and printed the first one today. I have already transfered the second set of nine little pictures to the second block, and then I will do the bottom three cupakes on a third block so that I can remove it and still use the other blocks for a less specifically birthday work. I'll be holding my breath as I print each block, one beneath the next!

I can also see this design as a painting. I have a 24 x 48 canvas which needs rehabilitating, and this might be just the thing for it.

Friday, September 11, 2009

A Nice Surprise

When we (Carol Josefiak, Rob Landeck and Gabe Pons, plus my mom!) got to the opening of From There 2 Here at the Target Gallery in Alexandria's Torpedo Factory, I found that my little piece Why Young Mothers Feel Trapped (see the previous post) was the ad for the show all over the place. It was on its own poster advertising their second Thursday art walk as well as on the website all over including the Torpedo Factory's online newsletter) and the post card. I'm a happy girl! Here's the link to see

I'll post pictures from last night later, but I couldn't wait to share.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Torpedo Factory

Why Young Mothers Feel Trapped, collage/acrylic, 11 x 14

He Takes After Your Side of the Family, collage/acrylic/metal, 10 x 10

Two paintings of mine are in a show called From There 2 Here in Alexandria, VA which opens tomorrow night, September 10. I am planning to go up to hear the founder of the Torpedo Factory give a talk at the opening at 7 pm. This is an invitational show from the Target Gallery to the artists working at the various centers which hosted the Torpedo Factory's touring anniversary show which was called From Here 2 There. It was exhibited at LibertyTown last September. The show runs from September 10-October 18.

I am pleased and proud to have been selected for the show and am really looking forward to seeing the work of all the other artists. I hope that my parents will go with me to see this art center, which truly is the best use of a Torpedo Factory I can think of (in my own art focused, narrow-minded way, of course!)

More later...

Saturday, September 5, 2009


Small Town, Big Sky, acrylic and printmaking, 8 x 20

What a night! I was overwhelmed by the reception of my show and so gratified by how many of my friends and family came out for it. Best of all, my parents were able to come back after just having been here in May, AND just having spent the week together in Georgia in July.

The weather we ordered was perfect, a lovely night for doing the gallery crawl. The good citizens of Fred were out in force. Thanks to all my generous patrons-- I sold 15 paintings from the show and two more in my studio. And I talked and talked and talked from 5-9 pm! I had the good sense to wear flat shoes and to stay away from the wine.

My husband took me out to dinner afterwards at a terrific little farm to table restaurant called Poppy Hill in downtown Fredericksburg. My son used to work there, and one of his former roommates, Sarah, still does. When Sarah told everyone I had opened a show last night, our waitress brought complimentary glasses of champagne to our table.

In reflection on the evening: I've come a long way from that scared little girl in Mrs. Johnston's 2nd grade class who could barely speak above a whisper. I've slain quite a few demons along the way. I don't know where I would be without the support of my folks, my sister, Dorothy, my husband and boys and my wonderful art community, headed up by Dan Finnegan. And all the friends who propped me up along the way--Anna, Lynette, Aline, Beth, Stephanie, Carol--you guys rock!

Damn, it takes a long time to grow up-----if we're lucky!