Monday, May 22, 2017


Image transfer with pastel over alcohol ink on deli paper background

For the past few weeks, I've been suffering from "artist's block."  Putting that aside,  when I actually do paint something it comes out awful. 

Should I try and break through this or just ride it out?
If fellow painters / crafters have any suggestions, please share.  I know it happens to everyone (almost everyone).

Thanks, friends.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Black Cats

India ink on cold press watercolor paper

"If you hold a cat by the tail you learn things you cannot learn any other way."
Mark Twain

Friday, May 12, 2017

Five on Friday

For Five on Friday, here are some favorite family photos taken in northwest Oregon over the past few years.

Cannon Beach 

Hug Point

Columbia River Gorge (Oregon on the right / Washington on the left)

McMinnville wine country (lots of wine tasting opportunities)

Route to Mt. Hood - Cascade Mountain Range

Monday, May 8, 2017


Patriarch - Watercolor with Pastel Pencil

My brother was visiting us here in Oregon, but has returned to California.   Back to artwork (and househunting) for me. 

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A while back, I found an interesting video on YouTube about altering National Geographic magazine pages with a degreasing product called Citra Solv. 

Here are a few of my results.

Here's the video if you're interested:

I can see more experiments ahead.  We bought the old National Geographic magazines at St. Vinnie's (a second hand store) for 50 cents each.  These will be great backgrounds for journal pages or for collage - more STUFF for the art box.

Friday, April 14, 2017

All Creatures Great and Small

Elephant / Elegant Writer with watercolor on watercolor paper

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful -
The Lord God made them all.
                                                                     Mrs. Cecil Frances Alexander (1848)

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The 90's

Little Marian - 7X5 / Watercolor (almost done)

I'm kind of embarrassed to admit that I never liked much of the music of the 90's.  That said, I did (& still do) love the raspy voice of Canadian singer Bryan Adams.  One of my favorite songs of his is Everything I Do from the movie Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves, 1991.

From 1996 concert

FYI Artist's Note:  Regarding these little square record "posters,"  I would not do the "cut & paste" method again (crooked & smeary results).  A digital paint program would look more professional and would be less frustrating.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The 80s

Little Alex - Watercolor / 7X5

I grew up in Detroit, a blue collar town. After my brother made a work-related move to Pittsburg, I visited often and really felt at home there because, I guess, Pittsburgh was also a blue collar town.

One of my favorite songs of the 80's came from a movie about a young woman who was a Pittsburgh steel-mill worker by day, bar dancer at night.   The heroine worked these two jobs, of course, so she could save money to attend the Dance Conservatory of Pittsburgh.  Critics hated the film, but audiences loved it.  The 1983 movie was Flashdance; the song, "What a Feeling" performed by Irene Cara.

Monday, April 3, 2017

The 70s

Three Little Girls Who Went to the Police Academy / 1976 / WikiCommons

In the 70's, there was "jiggle TV" (Charlie's Angels),  crime dramas and science fiction. 

There was also a variety of popular music - hard rock, soft rock, southern rock, punk rock, glam rock, disco (could not embrace that one).

In 1971, I fell in love with a band (yes, the entire band) called the Eagles.   When their music played on the radio, the world stopped for me.  Though they were a few years older than I was, we were part of the same boomer generation.

My favorite song (the one where you roll down all the car windows & put the pedal to the metal) is "Take It Easy."   RIP Glenn Frey.

The band is featured in a two part documentary on Netflix called "The History of the Eagles."  If you're a fan, I would highly recommend it.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Sixties

Wild Thing / Watercolor & pencil / 7X5

A revolution occurred in music in the 60's with the British invasion of America.

Even so, I was born in Detroit and would live in the city for 43 years.   The new music was exciting, but my heart belonged to Motown.

Motown was an American record company founded in Detroit 1959.    It was started in a house where the garage was converted into a small recording studio; the kitchen into the control room.  The company's first million record seller happened the following year & was a song by the Miracles called "Shop Around."

A few of the Motown family of artists included the first "girl groups" like the Supremes, and other singers such as Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Lionel Richie & the Commodores, and the Jackson 5.  My favorite group was the Temptations; the song "My Girl."

The 70's approach...

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Fifties

Arthur Fonzarelli and Richie Cunningham / Happy Days / WikiCommons

Yes, I was around in the 50s.  Unfortunately, I don't have a great recollection of that decade - mainly memories of a few friends in our Detroit neighborhood.   I think watching the old tv show "Happy Days" has taught me more about that era than what is in my memory banks.    

I have listened to most of the music, though.  This is one of my favorites.

WikiCommons photo of Elvis Presley

Performed by a 22 year old Elvis:

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Summer of '42

Charcoal on watercolor paper - 6X6

This is a quick smudgy charcoal to prep for a a journal entry - "Decades" theme.

One of my favorite songs from the 1940s is "I'll Be Seeing You."  It was actually written in the 30's, but my mom told me it became very popular during the war.  I have warm memories of my mom humming this song when I was a little girl - probably why I love it.

Almost everything below was done with a Charpak blender (transfer pen) - washed with a warm tone of watercolor.

And the beautiful song, if you care to listen:   


Tuesday, March 21, 2017


Watercolor - 6X6

This is a watercolor from last week.

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Art journal:

I was looking for a different way to transfer laser jet copies of images into the journal and found something called a Chartpak blender marker.  There are many YouTube videos describing how to use the pen.  Unfortunately, I got a little carried away with the pen and ruined the journal page, so I did what my favorite watercolor teacher suggested & cropped it.

After cropping the page, I thought it would be nice to make a "favorite songs from every decade" grouping - up to the end of the 20th century.   The one below, of course, is from the 1930s & the song is "The Very Thought of You."  These will be small - 4X4.

Friday, March 17, 2017


Art journal:

What to do with deli paper strips? Because artist Helen Moreda said the strips reminded her of her old quilting days, I downloaded some free quilting patterns from Jinny Beyer's website (thank you, Helen).   The strips were cut and combined with black card stock and can be used for pages.

As far as the inked translucent single deli paper sheets go, I decided to try cutting and piecing them for a stained glass effect.

Found this cute pattern here:  Stained Glass Patterns - Free - no drawing.  I made two copies.

The individual pieces from copy #1 were cut as you would cut a dress pattern.   The deli paper pieces were then cut to fit the pattern pieces and glued onto photocopy #2.   Even at this size, I found cutting the smaller shapes awkward, but I liked the result.

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My watercolor painting today (a leopard) was not looking too good, so I will fight with it and hopefully post it next week.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017


Watercolor - 7X5

A small watercolor practice.

Art journal entry:
I've had a song stuck in my head all weekend - Purple Haze.  Didn't mind this one, though, because I've always loved Jimi Hendrix's guitar. 

Still learning - still fun.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Two for the Road

Two for the Road / Watercolor batik on rice paper / 16 X 20

Another crazy week, so another oldie.  This is the last of the photos of batiks, I think.

This scene was also done in a red / green color palette during one of those 30-30 challenge months, but I wasn't too happy with it; hence the blues and greens here.

. . . . . . . 

Art Journaling:

I was wondering what to do with some of the deli paper sheets that were done in class.  Some of them had been heavily stamped and weren't too appealing.

I ripped strips from each piece of deli paper and laid them across a sheet of printer paper:

The strips were affixed to the printer paper with a glue stick:

When dry, I turned the printer paper sideways and cut it horizontal strips so colorful bits from each piece of deli paper would show: 

Some strips were cut thicker than others.  These will all go onto the fun pile for future use:

A few more of these were done in different color palettes.  The edges were trimmed,  but I left the pages whole so different shapes could be cut from the pages.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

The Lion of Lucerne

Lion of Lucerne - Watercolor Batik on Rice Paper / 16 X 20

We got busy doing other things the last few days, but I found another photo of a batik never posted on the blog.

It is a shortened version of a sculpture carved into a Swiss cliff commemorating the loyalty and bravery of the Swiss Guards.  The lion lays mortally wounded.  I cropped out the spear that pierces his side because it broke my heart.

Wikimedia Commons 

Mark Twain referred to the monument as "the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world." (Mark Twain, A Tramp Abroad, 1880)
. . . . .

Have a wonderful weekend.  Hope to see you next week.

Monday, February 27, 2017


Oberon / Watercolor batik on rice paper - 18 X 18

We updated our Apple computer last week and I'm disappointed to have lost iPhoto.  The new Mac photo application completely changed the way years of photos were arranged and now we have thousands of individual pics to put into computer albums.

The good thing, though, is that I found this photo of a batik that has never been posted on the blog. I met this beautiful horse when I lived in Michigan a few years ago.

Well, it's time to get back to those photos, and then onto some artwork tomorrow.

Hope to see you in a few days.

.  .  .  .  .

Here's a watercolor batik tutorial, if you're interested:

Friday, February 24, 2017

Friday with Frida


                                      These are photos of Mexican painter Frida Khalo.                                         

After painting off and on for a few days this week,  I didn't produce anything I was crazy about, so I switched gears to experiment with photo transfers to use in mixed media artwork.

I've always liked Frida Khalo's face, so I cropped a photo of her (upper left) and printed it on a laser jet printer.

Using a plastic palette knife, the photocopy was covered in four coats of Omni Gel transfer medium (dry between coats).   It was then allowed to dry overnight.

In the morning, I soaked the gelled copy in a bowl of water for 20 minutes and gently rubbed the paper off of the back.

Parts of the image are translucent, so the transfer can be pasted on top of a colorful background if desired. 

The only problem with this particular transfer is that I made it a little too big for my art journal, so it will be put aside for future use - maybe I will make a smaller "tester" for the journal.

The image on the upper right is a practice piece for a photo booth style arrangement.  To make it a little more realistic, of course, I would have made the background identical each individual photo.   I don't have a paint program, but I could I could paint them with an acrylic next time.

And that's it for Friday.  Hope everyone has a safe, happy weekend!  

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

5 X 7 / Faber Castell Graphite Aquarelle 4B on hot press watercolor paper

Since I love black and whites, I thought I'd try a graphite aquarelle pencil on hot press watercolor paper. The black is deep - like ink. Values are not my strong suit, so this pencil is made for people like me. Some lines were drawn with a dry tip and then wet with a brush, and some lines were drawn after the tip was dipped in water.

. . . . . 

As far as journaling goes, I attended a two hour class on alcohol ink on deli paper over the weekend.  Deli paper is a thin translucent material, and is becoming popular with mixed media artists.  It will accept inks, watercolor, gouache & acrylic paint, and is usually used in collage, art journals, and altered books.

Per the teacher's instruction, we covered each individual sheet of deli paper with alcohol ink mixed with blending fluid using small pieces of felt.  When dry, the sheets were India ink stamped with a variety patterns (the teacher loaned us her stamps).

Here are a couple of pieces I did in class.

Deli paper / 12X12 / with alcohol ink & asst'd. stamps

All of the background papers can be stored flat in a box or kept together in a roll.  Our teacher said it was really nice to have a big stash of these printed background sheets so you're ready to go when you're in the mood to journal, but not in the mood to paint.  They can be torn in random pieces or used in one sheet.

I don't think I'll use deli sheets as backgrounds for every journal page, but making them is  relaxing - really a creative pleasure.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Road Trip

Gouache / 5X7

"If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there."
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Oops.  I think the Cheshire Cat said that...

Monday, February 13, 2017

The Look

Gouache / 5X7

Tim and I visited friends in Montana several years ago, and decided to drive down to Yellowstone National Park.  We knew the park entrance was closed due to heavy snow, but decided we would enjoy the drive anyway.

Well, we got to the entrance.  And we also got a full appreciation of the size of some bison at the side of the road.  One in particular seemed bigger than our small rental car.  After he gave us "the look," this city girl put the car in reverse and headed north back to Bozeman.

When I asked my friend how fast a buffalo can move, she smiled and said, "Faster than you."  She also mentioned that more park visitors are injured in attacks by bison than wolves or bears...

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Art Journal - 10X7

As far as art journaling goes, I've been experimenting with applying color to deli paper.   For this page, I used alcohol inks, but deli paper will accept watercolor, gouache and  acrylic, too.  

What I like about deli paper is that I can control the color and shapes (by tearing the deli paper and collaging it into the journal).  I also love the translucency of the paper.

I'm taking a short class on inks and deli paper this weekend at a local craft store and will write about it next week.  Hope to get a few more supplies (white markers, stencils, ..), too!

"Clarity" tape transfer removed / added arrow & heart in marker

Happy Valentine's Day

Friday, February 10, 2017

Horsing Around

Gouache - 5X7

This week got away from me.

As far as journaling goes,  I've been collecting images from old magazines & watching beaucoup how-to videos on YouTube (which is why there are no journaling pics here).

But it's all artsy - all good.

Hope you have a happy, safe weekend.