Friday, June 30, 2006

Mixed Media Explorations - continued

The Blues - Altered image of one of my art dolls.

Gleaned from "Mixed Media Explorations." When a theme or a glimmer of an idea strikes start with a color palette. Paint/dye papers and fabric. Choose purchased paper and fabrics in the same palette.

Hand made embellishments mixed with a few purchased ones make a piece more personal. Purchased embellishments can be altered with paint and thread; altering embellishments helps them blend into the piece rather than distract from it. Try using purchased embellisments in unusual ways.

Dimensional ephemera, can be as simple as buttons, charms, or air dry clay castings. When considering textural elements, think cheesecloth, netting, mesh, and molding paste spread onto paper and fabric with a palette knife.

Hand stitching can tie a piece together in ways that a sewing machine can't. Use metallic thread, cords and ribbons.

Collect motif ephemera. Once you start a selected motif collection your work will take on a personal style.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

What I learned from "Mixed Media Explorations."

Plum Crazy - revisited! A friend asked if I could create a card using one of my art dolls.

When I finish reading a new book I often review it by making notes about what I've learned from the book, or what I'd like to experiment with or in some cases jot down reminders of things I've forgotten.

Beryl Taylor's book "Mixed Media Explorations" is a book that has haunted me since it arrived from Amazon a few weeks ago! Her work is completely different from mine and I have no desire to copy her style, but there is something so engaging about her color palettes, use of simple materials, and approach that I knew I could learn something if I spent some time with the book.

So, this is what I've jotted down.
We all have "early years" on our creative journey. And if we change mediums we go through another "early years" phase.
Beryl grew up in England during the same years I was growing up in the US. We both made our clothes and we both discovered creative embroidery and while I dabbled with it Beryl studied at City and Guild. It was through C&G that her love of fabric blended with creative embroidery fell into place.

We're all inspired by different things and that once our imagination is sparked we should keep it fired by feeding it accordingly.
Listen to music that inspires and surround ourselves with exciting visuals. Beryl is fond of the Medieval period. Her favorite motifs are hearts and fleur-di-lis. (Mine aren't)

Beryl agrees with me about the importance of carrying a digital camera with you. You never know what might spark an idea.

She also believes like I do that it's a good idea to spend time experimenting with new techniques and materials. Keep good notes; you never know when a touch of a technique might be the start of a new piece or the perfect finishing touch. Practice new techniques by creating small projects such as ATC's, postcards, cards etc.

Paper really does complement fabric and vice versa!

Learn some hand embroidery stitches which will add character to both paper and fabric.

Some Fun Supplies Are:
Hot water-soluble fabric
Model Magic by crayola
Wonder-under is wonderful!
Kraft paper and tissue paper
Water-soluble paper by Solvy makes great paper castings

Beryl's intricate looking pieces are actually lots of small pieces that are combined! It's her attention to detail and layers that is truly innovative.

to be continued . . .

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


I have one of the worst cases of blahs* that I've had in a very long time! I can't shake off what this FM flare-up is doing to me physically and mentally. Thoughts fly out of my brain as soon as they enter. The pain keeps me awake most of the night and stands in front of me during the day like a prickly stabbing shield. I can't break through the shield so the days become endless and unbearable as I watch them slip away from me. A day not filled with creative pursuits always seems to feel like a wasted day. I know that this won't last, it never does, but when the fare-ups last for a few weeks I mourn the end of each unfulfilled day . . . But, even in the midst of the blahs I wake up optimistic each day. I am a realist, this is what my life is, has been, and will be until it's over; life with a dysfunctional immune system that attacks itself without any reason. I have discovered that the grieving process is the road back to coping mentally. I also know that if I skip this process it will take me longer to break through the shield.

*Blah - lacking interest or general dissatisfation. This sure fits!

(Photo: Close-up of a cactus with script overlay.)

Something exciting is on the horizon! A long-time member of ExpressionVillage has volunteered to be the first Artist-in-Residence! Ginger's enthusiasm is infectious and couldn't come at a better time. Her gift to the group is a life-saver while I find my way back to a better place health-wise. Please check out her work at: And if you'd like to join us click on ExpressionVillage under links on this blog.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Abstract Cactus

Abstract cactus! This was taken with the mini digital Innovage camera mentioned below. It's a white thorny cactus with red flowers and doesn't look much like this photo.

Cactus Flower

I never remember to photograph this 24-hour bloom that a rather mundane cactus produces a couple of times a year. In the mail today was a nifty 5-inch Vanguard tripod I ordered a couple of days ago. It helps to steady the digital camera for close-ups!! The top two photos were taken with the digital and the bottom one with my mini digital toy camera! I couldn't resist a key chain camera when I saw it advertised on a couple of months ago. If you love the uncertainity, playful, arty-type photos that toy, Lomo or Holgas take then an Innovage is for you! You might get a sharp image like the flower, but more often than not there will be some uncontrollable vignetting and peculiar lighting.

I had considered purchasing one of the Polariod toy-type cameras, but I love the frugality of non-film cameras! Though, this little camera does eat up the AAA batteries!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

San Juan Bautista

Under the distressed transparency there is a chicken on the lower right corner. I couldn't resist putting the chicken into this piece, after all the chicken modeled for me! No matter how many times I photograph the Mission at San Juan Bautista I end up with something new.

I'm not sure that I like this piece as it looks derivative . . .

Crow Response!

This photo is my take on the glut of crow images in mixed media work! It's like the dunce caps, crowns and wings on people; I wonder when this craze will end. I also wonder if imitation is always flattering? Do people really need to soar with wings on them? Do they really need caps and crowns on their heads? Crows aren't all that exciting, are they? This one is a thief who often flies off with items from my front yard. He loves nothing better than to sit on the chimney and wait for me to go indoors so he can steal again. Mmmmm, well maybe crows do symbolize something in an odd and curious way . . . This thief did sneak his way into my work a few posts ago!

Two days later from Robert Genn's "Twice Weekley Letter." "Work in series so paintings come out of themselves. Cruise your work-in-progress for new motifs or designs. Name and claim your particular methods and touches." And, "Original styles start with understanding that art is not necessarily what is seen--but what is to be seen."

New motifs and designs!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

A Glimpse of Venice

Every summer my thoughts fly off to Europe! Memories of sitting at the Cafe Florian in the Piazza San Marco as the setting sun cast shadows on the Basicila was one of the grandest moments . . .

Details: the background is a Citra-solv paper with layers of monoprinting, embossed metal and a transparency of an image of the Basicila.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Embossed Metal ATC's

2 embossed metal ATC's for trade. The one on the left, with a rubber stamp image in the center, is an abstract and the one on the right is a village, in case you couldn't figure out what they are! The background paper is the infamous Citra-solv technique.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

I'm feeling a bit introspective.

"When we set goals, we are looking for a particular event to occur. That is, we have defined a specific outcome we are looking to achieve…When you are not looking for a specific outcome (Goal-Free Living), but instead are open to any outcome that could be of interest, the likelihood of a synchronistic event happening is very high.”
Stephen Shapiro

Stephen's blog:

When my energy levels are at minus zilch I love to go blogging!

Sarah Fishburn
Karen Michel
Kris Henderson
Lesley Riley
Nina Bagley

Friday, June 02, 2006

The Perfect Pose!

The perfect pose! I was photographing a window in San Juan Bautista when my friend said, "I think that chicken wants you to take a photo." The chicken stood perfectly posed for an entire minute and then strutted off to the deep shade of tree as if to say, "You nearly missed my greatness!"

Even though San Juan Bautista is less than an hours drive from home, psychologically it's a vacation!