Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Fun Accident

I started this painting of a tulip bloom, and before I got very far, I managed to spill India ink in the center of the bloom. It's been sitting off to the side of my work table for a while, as I hated to throw it away, and I didn't really know what to do with it. The other day I got out a can of black spray paint and started spraying on it. I actually love this look and plan to work on trying to duplicate it!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Coptic Stitch

I have had these signatures made for some time, but I didn't want to bind them into a book until I figured out exactly what I wanted. The pages are made from recycled brown paper bags, and the cover is mat board covered with handmade paper.

Recently I read about coptic binding, and inspiration struck. The thing that intrigued me the most about coptic binding is that the book opens flat when it is used. I also liked that the edges of the signatures showed.

Here is the book opened out, so you can see how the pages look. I love the texture and irregularities in the paper bag pages!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Watercolor Shell Fragments


Another watercolor painting --- this one is of some shell fragments that were on the beach at Asilomar. I enjoy painting close ups of objects, rather than entire scenes. It is amazing to me that I enjoy realistic watercolor painting, when most of my other art is very abstract. I guess this is the medium that provides my balance.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

New Collage Series

Vestiges #5

I have been working on a new series of 18 collages titled "Vestiges". It is a series that incorporates my photos from the Old Market district in Omaha, the Plaza district in Kansas City, and the shoreline in Monterey. It is turning out to be quite an interesting series, and I am enjoying the juxtaposition of the hard architectural lines with the soft lines of the shore. Above is one of the finished collages from this series.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Fine Print


This collage practically made itself on Monday morning. The background is a photo of a stone wall that another workshop participant gave me (sorry I don't remember who), and the strips of color are actually torn from a photo of women's dresses, then turned sideways. Collage operates under the same theory as fabric painting --- you don't have to like or use the whole piece; cut it into pieces or strips, and you will start to see endless possibilities. Once I decided to use "The Fine Print:" lettering, I had to go back in and add some small text to the background.

P.S. Go Tigers! Congratulations to the LSU Tigers on becoming the 2009 National Champions at last night's final game of this year's College World Series!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

New Work

Rural Remnants #1
13" x 28"

Yesterday I added 3 new textile pieces to my website, the Rural Remnants series. These pieces were created from photographs that I took on my husband's family farm. The farm has been in his family for over 100 years, so there is a lot of history on the property. There are photos of oil barrels, latches and handles from outbuildings, windmills, trees, grain bin numbers, rusty equipment, etc. Click here to see the entire series.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Back in the Studio


Yesterday I finally spent the day in the studio --- seems like forever since I was in there. As you can see from the morning collage above, I am a bit rusty. However, I did manage to get some paint accents added to a new series of collages (18 pieces) and a hanging sleeve sewn on a fiber piece. Today I hope to get the collages mounted and put into protective sleeves.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Photoshop Curves

The two images above were both created from the same original photo in the previous post. This time I opened the photo in Photoshop, then used Image Adjustments Curves. In the Curves window, you add points to the curve (by clicking your mouse on the curved line) and drag those points around to change the colors in the photo. I love using this option to print out variations of photos to use in making collages!

P.S. If you try this out, I would love to see your finished efforts!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Photoshop "Cutout" Filter

An artist friend recently showed me a fun filter in Photoshop that can be used to simplify your photographs to basic design shapes and colors. The photo above was taken in my rock garden and is PJM rhododendron buds about to open. This is the photo that I will use to show you the possibilities of the "cutout" filter.

In Photoshop, choose Filter Artistic Cutout. I usually have the Edge Simplicity set to 1, and the Edge Fidelity set to 2. The image above shows the photo with the Number of Levels set to 4.

This is the same photo with the Number of Levels set to 8. Be sure to experiment with different numbers of levels with each of your photos. Depending on your needs, the optimum number can vary with each photograph. Feel free to email me with questions, and stay tuned for another fun Photoshop option tomorrow!

Saturday, June 20, 2009


About a month ago, baby squirrels were everywhere in our neighborhood. One afternoon I counted 6 little ones in just our backyard. Since then, most of them have learned that we have a terrier, and that he loves to chase them up the trees and out of the yard, so they steer clear of our yard. One of them is either dumb or brave though, as he continues to try to sneak into our yard without Zeke seeing him. He does this often enough that we have named him Oscar. I think he is drawn in by the smell of the black walnuts in my dye bucket.

Friday, June 19, 2009

New Work

Peach Street
20"h x 11.5"w

Thanks to all of you that have emailed and called to see if everything was ok, because of my lack of blog posts. A family member was admitted to ICU last week, then had open heart surgery this week. So I have spent most of my days at the hospital. All is fine now --- he is back home and ornery as ever, so I hope to be back in my studio soon.

The piece above is the last piece I finished before all this happened. The screen print of the house in the center is taken from a photo of my great-grandparents' house on Peach Street. I remember the iris in the gardens at this house vividly.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Patrick Dougherty

These are photos of the sculpture that Patrick Dougherty created on the grounds of the Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas in Lawrence during the month of May. I was thrilled to get the chance to explore and photograph this structure. This particular sculpture is approximately two stories tall, and all of the saplings used in the sculpture were harvested locally from renewable sources. In September, Patrick will be coming to Omaha, creating a sculpture on the grounds of the Joslyn Art Museum, so I will get another chance to watch him create.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Collage Workshop

On the last two days of my journey, I was in Lawrence KS for a collage workshop. The photo above is from the first exercise. The instructor gave us a stack of 5 of her photos plus a word from a magazine, and we were given 15 minutes to complete a collage using all of those elements and a specified design layout. My layout was symmetry.

For the rest of the workshop, we were instructed to bring 4-5 original photos in 3 different sizes. The idea of the workshop was to create 3 collages, using only our photos; then translate those collages into a cloth wallhanging. Instead of bringing a few photos in different sizes, I brought 20 photos in one size. Well, you know me, I started creating collages and never made it to the cloth part of the workshop!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

SDA Gallery Exhibitions

The next day of my journey was spent in Kansas City, MO. The Surface Design Association conference was in full swing, and numerous galleries in the Crossroads District were featuring fiber exhibitions in conjunction with the conference. Below are photos from some of my favorites.

On The Curve: New Dimensional Works From Nature's Studio
Regina Benson
Byron C. Cohen Gallery for Contemporary Art

El Anatsui
El Anatsui
Belger Arts Center


A Pause in the Rhythm of Time
Alice Kettle
Belger Arts Center

Friday, June 05, 2009

Handmade Paper

iris, wild garlic, giant reed, abaca w/mimosa leaves, pineapple tops

daffodil, sanseveria, canna, chives, hosta

After spending a day in Columbia, MO exploring the galleries, I spent two days at Leandra Spangler's studio making sheets of homemade paper. For those of you that don't know Leandra, she is a papermaker extraordinaire, and her website is Bear Creek Paperworks. A few years ago I was lucky enough to take a couple of papermaking classes and a bookbinding class from Leandra, and we have since become friends. Now I travel to her studio once or twice a year to create sheets of homemade paper. Leandra always has a great variety of natural plant pulps ready for experimentation. The first photo is the variety of papers from day one, and the second photo is from day two.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Aberration Exhibition

Rosemary Claus-Gray in front of her textile piece, Inca Impressions, at Montminy Gallery

I have been travelling for the last week, enjoying inspirational days filled with creating art, exploring galleries, and visiting with other artists. It has been a great week, and I hope to share some of it with you in the next few days.

My first stop was Columbia, Missouri. While I was there, I checked out some of the fiber art exhibitions and jotted down the names of several new-to-me regional fiber artists. Some of the work was amazing! One of my stops was the Aberration exhibit at Montminy Gallery, which featured fiber art from the Missouri Fiber Artists. I had two pieces in this exhibition, and I was thrilled to be included with such fabulous work. It is the first time that I have truly seen a "fiber" exhibit that included the full breadth of what fiber art can encompass. There were sculptural pieces and an installation made from handmade paper, weavings, wearable art, textile wall pieces, baskets, and on and on. It was inspiring and challenging to see this exhibition!