Thursday, October 28, 2010


This is one of the few posts that I don't have a photo to accompany it. I'm still on my vacation and I'm using my friend's computer. I'm on my own for a little while today so I'm taking advantage of the time to work in my art journal a little bit. I brought along a few supplies for background pages and played with those this morning.

I've been working more in my writing journal. I think it's all of the memories bombarding me as a result of being back in Columbus. Ooh it's nice being here again! Although I was surprised that I've actually gotten lost a few times driving around. I've never had a very good sense of direction but, in my defense, the city has grown. Yes, some people would say Columbus is not that big of a city but to me it's just the right size. I'm soaking it in!

My friend and I are having the best time. We are staying up way too late, sleeping in, laughing until we cry... and this is going on every day. It's so therapeutic. Every now and then I'll be struck by something she says when she describes me. It's like she's talking about someone else. I'll file that thought away and we'll move on. One night she was on the phone with another friend and I overheard her talking about our visit (I swear I was not eavesdropping!) and she was describing the different contradictions about me. They were all very complimentary but I thought they were funny as seen through her eyes.

I've been writing this morning and thinking over a few of these impressions. I guess it's true that I see myself a certain way and my friend sees other sides of me that I really am not even aware of. But I notice when I describe some of the contradictions in her personality she has the same reaction, so maybe it's just that we know each other so well. We often finish each other's sentences and can even tell what the other is thinking by just a look. Yes, we have been very close friends for many years.

Today I'm taking my camera out and hoping to get some photos of the city and the surrounding area. It's nice and chilly outside, the way I like it. I packed all of these fuzzy warm sweaters and jackets and when I got here it was 75 to 80 degrees everyday.  :(   Now the weather is starting to cooperate!

I'm itching to make some art! When I get back home I'll be able to let loose in the studio. I am gathering all of these impressions in my various journals and I can maybe pull them together in some art pieces when I return home. Right now I'm still enjoying my friends, these crazy hours we're keeping and a few more days of just breathing it all in.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Surrendering To Dreams

Little Diary of Getting Old: VIII

And then at night, when old,
we start having vague pointless
scraps of dreams that lead us
to this place or that, since even
our failing senses insist on
outings: and lost friends reappear,
sleepwalking through the stupor
of surrendered existence...

Carlo Betocchi
Translated from the Italian by Geoffrey Brock

This is part of a poem that really took my breath away as I read it. I go through phases where I seem to be having these dreams that are so real. They usually involve my Mom. In them I know she's dead but there she is sitting there talking to me, looking like she always did. Those are the toughest ones. 

And she has been in my dreams almost every night. They are not really about her; she's just in them. I think it's because I'm leaving today to go for a week's visit back home. Well, not home, really. Back to Ohio. I'm visiting my closest friend who I haven't seen in nearly five years. We get to have a week of just "girl time". She's got lots of crazy things planned, old friends I'll be reunited with. This will be good!

But driving the four hours to Ohio, all the grief always comes back. It has been six years now since Mom's been gone. Some days it still feels like a hammer hits me in the stomach, taking my breath away. And I realize all over again that I've lost her. And so I try to put on a brave front and smile for my friend. Her mother just turned 92 and lives near her. She sees her everyday and they are still very close. I try not to wonder why my mother was taken at age 64 every time I see someone else with their mother.

So in my dreams, lately, my mother is just on the periphery. She's there but not really participating. She's just with me, I guess; a presence. I painted this little piece with that in mind. The girl represents me and the glow around her is the love and warmth of a mother that never leaves. Now I can head off on my trip in a better frame of mind. Maybe with a little extra presence with me to keep me company during my drive. 

Friday, October 22, 2010

Light and Dark: Two Journal Pages

I am doing a lot of playing in my art journals lately. Maybe it's because the prompts are making my Muse happy! The top spread is from the latest prompt in the Journal Journey group: "the darkness". Yay! Loved that prompt! I sketched the face and then added the body (minus the head) from a fashion magazine.

The background on the facing page is a piece of CitraSolv paper I had in my stash that I added some Caran d'Ache Neocolor II crayons to. I didn't know how well the CitraSolv paper would take to the crayons and the water but I was surprised at how well it held up to the addition of both. Good to know for future reference!

The words are from the song "Monsters" by Hurricane Bells. LOVE that song! Ooh, I had so much fun with this prompt. I would love to make a little family of these ghoulish people!  ;) I've had this Moleskine journal laying around for ages and forgot how much abuse you can give the pages. So I plan on using it a lot more!

This next page is in response to the free class I'm taking from Tam at her Ning network. Click on the button in my sidebar called Art, Heart and Healing for the info. You can join anytime and it's jam packed full of cool journaling techniques. She's incredibly generous to offer so much content for free. Check out her site. The first class alone covers how to draw a stylized portrait, paint it, and painting and collaging a journal background. And, if that wasn't enough, she talks about healing in your life and ways to journal about that. And that's just what's covered in the first week! Did I mention this is a FREE course? The generosity of some artists is just mind-boggling. So wonderful and refreshing!

So here is my girl for the first week. She's decided to be positive and go out and make music and dream dreams! I've used this quote before in my art because I just love it.

That's one of the things I love about art journals. You can play with the different sides of your emotions: the dark AND the light. You can be messy, be funny, be serious, just be YOU!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Warhol Encaustic

Here's a new twist on an old art piece I did. Remember my Warhol collage? This was the one I did with the Citra Solv papers (and it won their contest!). Here is the original on canvas:

I've been reading about applying encaustics over habotai silk and have been wanting to give it a try. So I made a copy of this collage onto a sheet of habotai silk and then applied that to a 12" x 12" Claybord that had two coats of encaustic gesso on it. Then I painted different layers of encaustic paints and medium over the silk. Worked like a dream. Oh, I love the possibilities of painting over the silk in the future...

So if you know anything about Andy Warhol you know he liked to drip various things onto his canvas. We'll just leave it at that. I improvised and dripped encaustic paint onto this one. ;) LOVED how it turned out and now he's joining his twin in our living room. Hubby says enough Andy and please put something else in the living room. He prefers abstracts to paintings of actual people. We'll see...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Home Fires

This is a new encaustic painting called "Home Fires". It's 12" x 12" x 2" on cradled wood. I was intrigued with a few encaustic artists who incorporate graphite powder into their paintings. I loved that look so I wanted to give it a try. I am very excited about the possibilities with that! I also wanted to make my own stencil and use the graphite powder on that so I made a crude house stencil and then smeared the powder on my fingers and was able get the "burned" house look I wanted. Then I just covered the whole thing with encaustic medium.

I'm slowly getting used to the torch. It's a bit scary but I like how it makes the wax smooth. It can also make really cool dripping effects which I'll use in other paintings. Now I have to go prep some more boards!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Love Song

This is an art journal page I did in response to the prompt "favorite musical instrument". I chose the saxophone. I don't play any musical instruments but I've always loved jazz music and the sax. This was great timing for this prompt (It's part of the Journal Journey group at Roses on My Table.Ning). Hubby and I celebrated our 20 year wedding anniversary on October 13 and we met at a Jazz/Wine Festival.

This version of the page has some digital enhancements. I added some digital brushes (paint splatters) and the frames around the edges. I especially liked the one paint splatter that looks like a heart. The rest is all the original hand-made page. I tried drawing a saxophone but it was not pretty so I glued a photo of one onto the little jazz guy that I sketched.

It's been a wild 20 years. We've had some great times, been through some sad times but have come through it all. Here's to many, many more years together!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Like A Dream

My sister spent the past week with me and, as usual, we had so much fun together. And I was sad to see her go. We laughed a LOT and the time was just too short.

She is my technology expert so when she visits I like to take advantage of that. I upgraded to an iPod Nano while she was here. Oh I have to say I am loving that little toy. We had a lot of fun searching iTunes for old and new music to load. Someone please keep me away from that site for awhile. I could be dangerous. ;)

One thing I realized this week was how much the fantasy genre influences my art. (That is what inspired the digital piece at the beginning of this post.) We both had our Nooks and were at Barnes & Noble one day browsing the ebooks. It's funny because I never used to read any fantasy/sci fi. She was always reading that genre from the time we were teens; I never got it. Now I've totally changed my preferences and my Nook is almost full of it. Go figure. The darker, fantasy fiction really interests me now and I love the ideas it is giving me for some art pieces I'm trying to put together: emphasis on the word trying.

Speaking of trying new things: hubby agreed (reluctantly) to my using a propane torch for my encaustics! Yay! Gulp!! I love my heat gun and my tiny butane torch. But after watching Daniella Woolf and other encaustic artsists, I see the results they achieve with their torches. I knew he'd be very nervous about me handling a torch. It even sounds ridiculous writing it. But I want to get serious with the encaustics. Plus I want to attempt larger pieces. I've got all the added safety equipment needed to take this next step. So after my "lesson" with the torch tonight I'll be ready to go. Stay tuned and cross your fingers that no accidents will occur.

I've been experimenting with a really cool technique of transferring graphite drawings to encaustic. So easy! The tricky part for me is the heating afterward. Transferring the graphite is a piece of cake. I did it with no problem. Unfortunately I had my heat gun set too high for the fusing part.  And when I went to fuse the graphite to the wax it was too hot on one spot and melted that area. Grrr...... So I need to practice with that a bit more. But I love the possibilities of that technique! I don't have anything presentable to show yet.

My other pieces I talked about in the last post are still sitting there glaring at me. I haven't done anything to them yet. I'm wanting to either transfer a graphite drawing to one of them or collage something...still deciding. Maybe my torch will inspire me. Maybe I'll just set them both on fire... no, just kidding.  ;)

So that's where things stand right now. Getting ready for my "torch" lesson. This should be interesting. But he has my safety (and the house's) in mind and I'll pay close attention. Hopefully there will be something to show soon!

Friday, October 1, 2010


This is how I feel this week. Like the girl in the photo (not me). Looking out over the water... thinking... listening. I'm just a little frustrated. I've been working with my encaustics the last couple of days. I love them, I do. I just wish I were more experienced with them.

You know how you get an idea of how you want something to look? Well, I've got quite a few of those ideas in my head. But when I went to actually translate some of those ideas onto wood...I did NOT end up in my happy place! So I have three canvas panels sitting in my studio in different states of ... I don't know what. So I'm letting them rest and then I'll just listen to what they have to say to me tomorrow.

I knew I was at a stopping point today when I just started laughing. I remembered, of all things, a video that Gary Reef had posted on his Ning site a while back. He must have been having one of these days but he was handling it much better than me. He is such a great inspiration and SO funny! Anyway, he was talking about his day and then out of the blue he said something to the effect that after working all day and trying to make things fit and then re-trying to paint over things, blah blah blah...what he finally ended up with was something that looked like a big pile of doggy doo doo. Then he just laughed it off.

Well I was getting dangerously close to the doggy doo doo look and encaustic wax is not cheap so I decided to turn off the hot plate and do something productive like laundry. But I've been thinking about ways to salvage those three canvases. Of course there is always the last resort: paint the whole thing titanium white and then scrape back and see what colors show through. And that may still be my best option. I'll see what my morning walk in the cool weather with the loud music blaring in my ear buds does for my Muse.

By the way, this digital piece was made with elements from a kit called Poet's Keepsakes by Lorie Davison at Scrapbook Graphics.With a name like that I had to grab it up. It's a pretty amazing kit and at least I could do something creative today that did take me to my happy place!