Sunday, August 31, 2008


Emma moved into her new place this weekend and it was one of those bittersweet life passages—for me at least. Sweet because we now have more space in the house, which has been topsy turvy with her stuff for the last couple of weeks. But mostly it’s sad to see her go because we’ve had so much fun together over the summer. She starts work full time as a corporate lawyer on September 8th and it’s unlikely that she will ever be coming home again to live.
I know I won’t be seeing as much of Emma in the future either because of her job, and I shed more than a few tears when I walked into her empty bedroom after the moving van left. I guess now is the perfect time to ease that empty spot in my heart by doing some art.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Moo Challenge #22

Well, it’s Make a Moo or Two time again …or in this case, make three. It’s surprising what a challenge it is to work on such a small scale. I would like to use rubber stamps more than I do, but even though I have a ton of them, I often don’t have ones that will fit.
This week the theme is flowers which I really enjoyed, and I used Dover clip art for for my images with scrapbooking paper as a background. I know I’ve mentioned this before on my blog, but it’s worth noting again. If you sign up for Dover's weekly newsletter, there are always free samples you can download. It’s smart advertising on Dover’s part because you can’t resist buying some of the books they’re promoting.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


I was invited to submit a portfolio to a gallery for a possible show next year, and I’ve finally finished putting it together. I knew it was going to take a lot of work, but I didn’t realize exactly how much. Because I make most of my income from writing, I’m always organized in that area. When it comes to art though, it’s a free-for-all. I have stuff everywhere and anywhere.
Trying to decide what to include was the worst part—well, not quite as bad as my computer/printer problems—but bad enough. I felt that I should include everything I’ve ever done in case just one piece might sway the board in my favor. In the end, I had to go with what fit the pages of my portfolio—that, or spend weeks obsessing about it. The piece shown is an assemblage made from a large light switch that we had to alter for Carmi’s Extraordinary and Exceptional Society of Mixed Up Media Artists. In all we had 25 challenges and this was number three.
Sadly, Carmi is too busy with the One of a Kind Show and other projects to continue organizing and running the club. But I for one am grateful to have been a part of it. Thank you for everything Carmi. You really pushed me to grow and develop as an artist, as well as providing me with friendships that will last a lifetime.

Monday, August 25, 2008

What does a geranium smell like?

I’ve never had a good sense of smell. The odd time an odor penetrates my awareness, a color immediately springs to mind …i.e. bananas remind me of purple, and purple smells like a banana.
For this reason, I’m mystified when one odor is used to describe another. I mean if you say something smells like a skunk, I certainly get that because I’ve de-skunked my dog a couple of times. But on the whole, I’d have to say that smell is uncharted territory for me; when I was trying to figure how to describe the odor of a geranium, all I could come up with was something visual.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Fun with Mary

I finally got a chance to spend a few days with Mary at her boat this week and had a fantastic time. I was surprised by how large the boat is. There’s a kitchen, a bathroom with shower, a bedroom and a living room/dining room. It was wonderful to fall asleep looking at the stars and full moon with the boat gently rocking.
During the day we were busy boating around the area, and going antiquing and junk shopping. We both picked up some nifty bargains. My favorite find? Three old cigar boxes for assemblage and two rolls of player piano paper. Mary zeroed in on some great stuff as well, including a couple of big bags of brass shell casings in different sizes. She could hardly believe her luck, and when we got back to the boat, she promptly started amputating Barbie hands and feet to add to them (see below). Being in on the action meant I got some of her stash, but fortunately she has enough left over to add to her Etsy store.

In every way it was the ideal get-away for me. Beautiful surroundings, great food and plenty of time spent chatting and making art. Mary worked on her jewelry and I mainly concentrated on assemblage, although I did try Ludgera’s wallpaper technique using black gesso. (Not that it turned out the way hers did, but I live in hopes).
The experience of retreating from the cares of everyday life, and focusing on art and friendship was really rejuvenating for both of us. I’ve come away from it all convinced we can have more fun and find more meaning in our lives if we make a pact with ourselves to live in the now.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Moo Challenge #21

Because I only have one image with wheels (the Make a Moo or Two theme this week), it was easy to decide what to go with. I’d already used this Tim Holtz stamp in my journal recently, but I had to cut it up and reassemble things so it would fit into the moo format. Even though it ended up looking busy, I like the combination of elements. There’s something appealing about an old map, a ticket, a tape measure and a vintage car.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

To be or not to be

A couple of days ago I took this picture of a bee on Lily’s dog towel. The bee stayed there for ages and let me get close enough to take a good look at his wings (which looked a little chewed up in places to me). I thought he might have been injured, but after a long nap he got it together and flew away.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


I’m in an argh-ish kind of mood lately because I’m in the middle of a number of projects where there’s no end in sight. Not good for a closure-centric person like me. Have you ever noticed that what appears to be simple will inevitably become complicated? I remember writing an article a few years ago back that should have been straightforward but rapidly deteriorated. I started keeping track of all the phone calls I was forced to make and ended up with a total of 101, which has given me an aversion to anything containing 1-0-1 …i.e. Decluttering Your House 101. (Yeah, sure).

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Moo Challenge #20

I’ve been doing the Make a Moo or Two challenge for five months now, but I was tempted to forgo this one: Schooldays—because I couldn’t seem to come up with something that wasn’t generic. Then I thought I’d try something based on the traditional school picture. I wasn’t that happy with what evolved from this idea. However, it did revive my dormant interest in designing my own line of rubber stamps.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Venus & the Streetlight

I’ve never had the knack of taking good pictures on any kind of consistent basis. Percentage-wise I probably get one decent shot out of twenty. That’s why I prefer working with other people’s images rather than my own.
John, on the other hand, takes plenty of great photos. I liked the ones he took of a blue sky with a streetlight and my plaster copy of the Venus de Milo, so I decided to blend them in Photoshop and add a map. Now John says we have to have a discussion about copyright issues.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Mother Nature

Tonight is our ATC meeting and the theme is nature. Even though I thought I was organized well in advance with my cards, after I’d cut everything out, things fell apart visually. None of my stamps seemed to work and the colors looked limp. So it was back to the drawing board for me.
I ended up scanning a Victorian postcard of Mary’s and then used an istock image for the face. Incorporating this really challenged my Photoshop skills, but I was pleased with the result.
After I’d printed out my ATCs, I decorated them with a glitter pen and added a jewel. To get around the fact that the effect is slick rather than organic, I decided to call my card “Mother Nature.” I usually think of her as middle-aged and voluptuous, but who says she can’t be young and sleek?

Thursday, August 07, 2008

David's Opening

Tonight is the opening of Threshold Awareness, David’s art show at the Museum of American Glass in Weston, West Virginia, and we’re so excited for him! Emma drove down with David on Tuesday to deliver 29 of his glass bricks and to help him with the installation.
He is the first contemporary artist who has been invited to show at the museum, which has a 12,000 square foot space devoted to the history and display of factory glass in America. My grandfather was a factory glass artist—and David originally thought of being one too—so it’s interesting that this should be the venue of his first solo U.S. show.

For more information on the show and how David makes his bricks, check out the press release on his website.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Moo Challenge #19

I wasn’t sure what I could do with music, the Make a Moo or Two theme this week (mainly because I have so few musical images). But I do like this Rossetti painting called Veronica Veronese and decided to use it as the basis for a trio of moos.
I spent quite a bit of time playing with the image in Photoshop, and in the end changed very little—just recolored the background, highlighted the bird and added some handwriting of Verdi’s. Not very creative when I think about it. Still, the process of examining the painting was enjoyable.
Rossetti’s women always seem to be striking a pose, but they’re also strangely appealing and mysterious—like this particular model, for instance. Is she preparing to play her violin, wishing she knew how or distracted by the canary singing in its cage? I wish I knew.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Getting Organized

Whenever I make a serious attempt to get organized, something usually happens to derail me. This time it was my digital rodent—i.e. my mouse. Let me tell you, there’s been a lot of cursing about cursors going on around here. It’s always sobering to recognize just how dependent you are on your equipment, and the fact that it’s a long weekend doesn’t help any either.
I’ve been trying to figure out why things like this tend to occur at the wrong time, and I’ve come to the conclusion this happens when I’m taking myself too seriously.