Monday, August 31, 2009

The Puppy's New Clothes

The mornings have been chilly this week, so I thought maybe Zeke should have some warmer clothes for our morning walks. Above is Zeke, styling in his new fleece vest --- made from a 6 months infant vest.

And every artist's puppy should have some shibori outfits! This is Zeke in his new indigo shibori turtleneck, fashioned from a grey infant onesie. This really fits him well, so I may get a couple more and add them to future dye pots.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Dyeing Experiment

I have been back in the dyeing groove the last few days, and today it continues onward. The photograph above is a pot of carrot tops cooking on an outside burner. These appear to be yielding a gorgeous green/yellow. The true test will be later when I add the fibers, but for now I am pleased with the color in the pot. This is the first year that we've planted carrots in the garden, so it's the first time that I've tried dyeing with carrot tops. I will share the results in the next day or two.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Website Updates

It has been one of those paperwork and catch-up mornings. I've updated my website with several new collages.

Midnight Glow has been added to this page, along with several other individual collages.

The Destinations series is featured on this page, and all eight collages are available now.

And the Island Thoughts series is on this page.

I think that is all of the new collages that have been sitting around waiting for photography and website updating. I still have a series of cloth and paper collages in progress on my design wall, and today I plan to start working on a large canvas collage. Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Cinnamon Scones

Lots of times when my mom and I are out running errands together in the morning, we will stop in at Panera for a cinnamon scone and coffee. On a recent visit, their customer service was horrible, and even a complaint to their corporate office brought no apology or offer to make things right. This did not sit well with me, so I am now boycotting Panera.

Since this incident, my mom and I have been on a quest to find a delicious, bake-at-home recipe for cinnamon scones, and I think I came up with a winner this morning --- very easy to make, yet also very yummy!

Cinnamon Scones
1/3 cup butter
1 3/4 cups flour
3 Tbsp sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup Hersheys cinnamon chips
6 Tbsp milk
1 egg, beaten

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut butter into the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in 1 egg, cinnamon chips and milk until dough leaves the sides of the bowl. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface, and knead 12 times. Roll out 1/2" thick, and cut into 16 scones. Place scones on ungreased cookie sheet, and brush with beaten egg. You can also sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top of the beaten egg. Bake until golden brown (10-12 minutes), and remove immediately to a cooling rack.

P.S. Zeke loved the leftover egg!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Shirt & Dye Factory

Ever have one of those days where one project morphs into another project morphs into another project, and then it all spills over into a second day? Yesterday was one of those days for me. My initial goal was to clean out my closet and get rid of clothes that I no longer wear. My closet was crammed, yet I wear the same dozen or so outfits all the time. So I started tossing things into a giveaway pile.

Somehow, before the closet clean-out project was completed, it morphed into a project of cutting the ribbed necks off t-shirts and stitching them into more of a boatneck style (see photo above). So I did about a dozen of those, then started in on sweatshirts and did 3 of those.

Next thing I know I am saying to myself that I really like this one particular shirt, except that it is a white shirt. So out come the dye pots, and since I can't just dye one shirt, I start skeining yarn and wrapping other shirts in a shibori pattern, until I have a full dye pot.

Then, this morning I decided that I haven't done any dyeing this summer until now, and it was fun, so I think I'll dye some more. Above is the pile of shirts and yarns for the next dye pot.

And, of course, my closet still isn't cleaned out!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Life Is Good!

sample of Fran's work

For years I have said that there were only two instructors that I was really interested in taking a workshop from. Unfortunately, one of those artists has since retired from teaching. The other one is Fran Skiles, and I am signed up for a workshop with her in September. Yesterday I received my confirmation and supply list, so now I am excited! The supply list includes canvas, gesso, gel medium, silk, paper, ink, pigments, and images. How can you not be inspired by a list of materials like that?

P.S. I think there might still be a slot or two open in this workshop. It's in St. Louis on September 10-12. Here's a link to more info, and if you decide to enroll, let me know. There will also be some great exhibits in the area during that time, including two in the same building as the workshop.

Monday, August 24, 2009

More Color Isolations

The two photographs below are stock, copyright-free photographs from the internet that I used to practice this technique. The more I experiment with it, the more I realize that I need a graphics tablet to truly do it justice.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Isolated Color

The photograph above is one that I took in the Monterey harbor last year. For some time now, I have wanted to figure out how to isolate parts of a photograph, so that they are in natural color, while the rest of the photograph becomes black & white. I don't know that my method is the best or most professional, but I finally found a method that works for me. The photograph above is my first attempt.

One thing I have decided is that a computer mouse is not a good tool for this. It requires more precision than is possible with a mouse. If it is a technique I find myself using a lot, it would be worthwhile to invest in a graphics tablet.

Friday, August 21, 2009


This is my morning collage from yesterday. It looks nothing like the original base layer, and the thoughts behind it totally changed as it morphed into this finished version. I needed a break from washes and glazes, so this one started as a base layer of painted papers and magazine pages. Then I screened and stamped paint for the final layers.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Island Thoughts

Island Thoughts #1
7"h x 5"w

Island Thoughts #2
7"h x 5"w

I think I must be really overdue for a vacation. All of my work is starting to look like a travelogue. These pieces were an experiment in combining my new glaze/wash technique with painted cloth. The colors are reminiscent of the beauty of the Caribbean islands, hence the title.

I am still on the fence about whether or not they need some stitching. I think this series will remain as is, but maybe I'll try a new series next that uses stitching as an additional line element. Always experimenting is what keeps my time in the studio exciting.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Midnight Glow

Midnight Glow
4.5"h x 3.75"w

I am currently fascinated with the depth of layers that can be achieved with washes and glazes, and yes, I know I probably should not be mixing those two techniques, but look at the results. Each glaze layer seals in the colors below, yet removes some of the wash layers as well. It is all about serendipity and process --- there is minimal control in these works --- yet I love the results!

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Destinations #5

Destinations #7

Maybe it is because we haven't taken a trip for a while, but I seem to be consumed with collages that include postmarks and date stamps and written journalling --- all the signs of travel pieces --- only I'm not travelling right now. The photographs above are two of my recent collages. I love the blending of the colors, almost the sensation of a topographical map. The entire series will be available on my website once it is finished.

Friday, August 14, 2009


(Click on the image for a larger, readable version.)

I just received the announcement for the Foto-Fiber-Fabulous exhibition, and I am thrilled to have one of my pieces chosen for the announcement.
Rural Remnants #2 is the bottom image. After reading the list of accepted artists, I am sure this will be a phenomenal exhibition. I wish I could attend the opening reception!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Day of R&R

My husband and I decided that we needed to take a day to ourselves --- no work, no job hunting, no phone calls, etc. --- just a day to relax and enjoy each other's company and spend time with Zeke. The photograph above is the lake where we live, and we love to go for walks around it. We put a leash on Zeke and packed up water bottles and headed out for a walk around the lake this morning. This is always a peaceful and inspirational place to walk. We have seen everything from deer to snakes to egrets and ducks. This morning we watched an egret with a fish in its mouth flying overhead at one end of the lake.

One of the wonderful things about this lake is that it is protected and allowed to flourish naturally --- with prairie grasses and coneflowers growing wild all over. Today I discovered that, while I am used to seeing the "traditional" coneflower blooms pictured above, there are also gorgeous yellow coneflowers blooming in some areas around the lake. Every time we walk around the lake, we find some new discovery, and of course, Zeke loves checking out all the tall grasses along the path.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Finally Finished!

Besides cooking, canning, and freezing garden produce, the other project that seems to have consumed my summer is this stone walkway. Two years ago when we put in our arbor, I knew I wanted a stone walkway to run under it and back to the gate. At the time, the price of stone was exorbitant, so the project was put on hold. Fast forward to this year and someone giving away free stone. Two truckloads of stone later, we were in business to start our walkway. Building a stone walkway is alot like putting together a jigsaw puzzle --- you try out a ton of pieces before you find the one that fits. The photo above is the finished walkway. Although we are thrilled with the end result, I'm not sure this is a project we would tackle a second time.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Roma's are Coming!

This morning I picked another 22 Roma tomatoes from our garden, plus leaf lettuce, carrots, green peppers, and cherry tomatoes. I have lost count of all the quarts of tomatoes that I have canned already this summer and all the lettuce and tomato sandwiches that we have eaten. This week I went for something different and made a batch of bruschetta. This is such a simple recipe, yet totally delicious!

Easy Bruschetta Recipe
  • 1.5 pounds of tomatoes (about 9-10 roma tomatoes), chopped with the seeds removed
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 6-8 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Friday, August 07, 2009

Clematis Bloom

6" x 6"

This is a watercolor of one of the clematis blooms on our arbor. We are creating a stone walkway that passes under this arbor, so every day I enjoy these purple clematis blooms covering the arbor. Last week I took some photographs in the hopes of painting a few watercolors of the flowers. This is the first painting.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Final Layers

3.75" x 3.75"

I didn't remember to stop and photograph this piece after each of the remaining layers, but I think you'll be able to clearly see them all in this photograph of the finished piece. First I masked off a couple areas of the work and spritzed some gold acrylic paint flecks. Then I stamped a date on the upper lefthand corner with permanent ink. The next step was to use some blue and purple watercolor crayons to tone down some of the white gridwork. Finally the whole thing was sealed and left to dry.

I hope seeing the process of this piece will inspire you to try some of these techniques yourself, and hopefully you've learned that even if the majority of a base layer is covered with future layers, it still adds to the texture and interest of the piece.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

More Layers

For this layer, I added a piece of painted cloth to the lower right hand corner. The cloth has a snippet of illegible writing on it. This will give the finished piece some texture and interest.

Then I screened a tree image in black acrylic for the next layer. Now it is starting to have some life. Even though the tree image takes center stage, each of the previous layers plays a part in adding interest and intrigue to the work.

Tomorrow.... the finished piece!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Layers, Layers, Layers

I thought I would try to document the process on this little piece, and I actually remembered to take photos of most of the layers as I added them.

I started with a square of mat board, approximately 3.5" square. This is how I use up my mat board scraps most of the time. The first layer is pattern pieces adhered to the mat board with gel medium. Once that dried, I covered the surface with a layer of glazing medium. This gives it a slick finish that enables me to play more with the paints and inks in the next layer.

Here is the piece with the second layer. I added some blue and green inks first, and once those dried, I added some yellow acrylic to brighten up the green areas.

Here is the next layer, and I love what this layer added to the piece! I used a piece of gridded plastic and white spray paint, applied in a random pattern, for this layer.

Tomorrow....... a few more layers get added.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Another Book

This book has a cover made of banana paper, and it measures 6.5"h x 5"w. The pages are made of the same assortment of banana, mango, unryu, and other papers. In total, I am creating four books of this size with the same pages --- all stitched with a coptic binding.

Here's a side view of the signatures and binding. I love that the variety of papers used in the signatures shows on the spine of the book.

***These books are now available on my website! Click here to see all four of them.