Sunday, December 28, 2014

Irish Dreamin'

Irish Dreamin'
Funny how prolific I am on using this technique for making postcards.  I was up at 4:00 this morning and even before I had juice or English muffin I was creating.  I think I am now at my limit and will move on to something else.  I am not tired of the process but now want to see about a twist on it. There are several more of the postcards in this format coming though.   :-)

Saturday, December 27, 2014

American Gothic

American Gothic
I do love the original American Gothic.  It has a sense of humor about it and really does represent "middle America".  My American Gothic represents the ethic community that Seattle is famous for. Much of Ballard, a  Scandinavian founded neighborhood, a part of Seattle, is rich in culture.  This piece included a reference to Finland.  I frequently get stamps on mail from Finland which I covet and include in collages.  Finnish stamps are quite creative.  This particular one is circular with a second portion that pulls out as a second stamp.  I love that it leaves a negative space on the round stamp.

Friday, December 26, 2014

You're In the Army Now

You're in the Army Now
You might be surprised to know I was in the army for six years.  It was during the Vietnam era but fortunately I served in several state side locations only.  I have so many memories of basic training. It was the best of times and the worst.  I caught pneumonia during the eight weeks of basic.  We were told that if we missed a week's training we would be recycled.  That meant we would have to start all over again from the beginning.  I was in the hospital for five days.

When I left the hospital I was weak but determined that I would not be recycled.  I was picked up from the hospital and immediately returned to where my unit was training.  As it would be on that particular day we were being driven on a forced march by the drill sergeants.  I don't know how I made it through that day, only pushed forward by determination, but I did.

Part of being in basic training is that there are friends and family at home waiting on your return.  I lived for mail call hoping that there would be letters.  Getting a letter provided a little bit of escape from the present situation.  I would sit on the back barracks steps, a quiet place, to read the letters.

You're in the Army Now reflects the feel of that eight week period of my life.  It was a situation I was forced into but also a time when I was in my best physical shape ever.  I thought I would not survive but I did.  Reflecting back on it I really can not believe I actually lived that part of my life.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Memories

Memories

Can't you just see Grandma and Grandpa sitting in their rocking chairs on the front porch?  Both are lost in thought of days gone by.  Perhaps this woman was a dancer in her youth.  Grandpa came each night to her follies show.  He fell in love and asked Grandma out.  Now it is all history.  What story do you want to tell about Grandma and Grandpa?

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy Family? or Riverside Library

Happy Family? or Riverside Library
So many GLBT of my generation spent a great deal of time either in the closet or married and unhappy.  What a change it has been this year for marriage equality rights!  I never thought in my life time I would see such change and at almost lightning speed at that.  Many might disagree about the speed but what has happened over the last few years is truly amazing.  Just look at marriage equality maps on the internet.  Compare those maps to just a few short years ago.

It is so sad that we continually have to fight the same battles over and over in this country.  Equal rights are guaranteed under the Constitution yet we seem to be continually fighting for those rights in the courts, rights that should be a given not open to interpretation.

Happy Family? or Riverside Library illustrates those in the GLBT minority who married and lived a heterosexual life because that is what society dictated.  It is a life of the wife, the husband, and the lover.  So many men I know or knew lived that life, married and unhappy occasionally finding happiness on the side. They lived a double life.  Thank goodness change has come and is still coming. No one should be unhappy and hiding because of who they are.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Patriotic Cow

Patriotic Cow
Tim and I lived in Germany during 911.  We spent the whole year after that fateful day overseas. When we returned to the US for a visit we were hit with patriotism everywhere.  Flags were flying from cars and were in store windows.  Everywhere we turned there were flags.  In Seattle, where I live  now, we only see the 12th Man flags flying along with Seahawk flags.  I find it interesting how we channel our feelings at any one moment.

I have begun a new series called Memory Lane.  For some reason I am going down that road and so beware you will be seeing references culled from my memory for awhile.  I called this piece Patriotic Cow!  Who knows where that came from but that is what it is!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Santa Claus?

Santa Claus?
Here we are just minutes away from the Winter Solstice!  The days will be gradually getting longer as we head toward summer.  Somehow the darkness has not bothered me this year.  I guess because I spend so much of the waking hours being able to see the light.  That was not the case when I was working full time.

I started a new technique this past week.  Refining the technique is ongoing and because of the season I decided I would use Santa in this collage.  I love vintage Santa's and I was able to find many in my research.  I love how the black sets each Santa apart from the others.  In today's NY Times there was a reference to Santa Claus and the famous "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus."  Hence this piece evolved.

Whether you celebrate or not?  Whether Christmas, Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, the Festival of the Lights, Kwanzaa, or some other winter holiday is being celebrated by you, I wish you peace and good health in the new year.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Remembering

Remembering
One day recently I sat down with this journal and just started adding blocks of color in a variety of quadrilateral forms.  I had no idea where I was headed but somehow I was propelled in a way that often comes to me.....just moving forward.  I was not spending too much time thinking but just pushing toward whatever thought came my way.  Then I felt like writing and the writing brought back memories from when I was much younger.  The rest just evolved with the final focal point of the young thinking man.  He is a collage of several young men. Perhaps that is what is going to happen now that I am closing in on 65....trips down memory lane!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Cup of Tea

Cup of Tea
I found a wonderful book this year at a garage sale that was a history of the US in black and white photographs.  Using some of those vintage memories I created Cup of Tea.  Sometimes we just need a cup of tea and time to reflect on our busy lives which are often packed full without much time for pondering.  Cup of Tea reflects a busy full life that is almost like a tornado of activity at times.  Now that I am retired I have more time to sit each morning reading the newspaper with my cup of tea and for awhile just be.  It is nice!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Virgin Islands ATC Series # 6

St. Thomas ATC Series No. 11

St. Thomas ATC Series No. 12
St. Thomas ATC Series No 13


It was one humid day that we climbed the 99 steps to Blackbird's Castle.  The view was well worth it even though I was soaking wet by the time we returned to our car.  Just looking at all the finished ATCs brings back the wonderful memories of this vacation.  I thought I had made 14 ATCs but I can only find 13.  Perhaps the other one will turn up or not.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Virgin Islands ATC Series # 5

St. Thomas ATC Series No. 9

St. Thomas ATC Series No. 10
Finding ephemera on this trip took me to new places, the breakfast table and the wrist band provided by the sea life park.  In the second ATC above the coded bracelet was not tossed but used in the design.  Looking everywhere for something new to use was challenging.  Even a leaf from a tropical tree found a home on the above ATC.

At breakfast, lemon was served with my tea.  I am a cream person so lemon is never used.  However, the lemons were wrapped in a yellow cheese cloth and I could not resist bringing them back to our hotel room.  You will find the cheese cloth in other ATCs.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Virgin Islands ATC Series # 4

St. Thomas ATC Series No. 7

St. Thomas ATC Series No. 8
On one of our days in the Virgin Islands we took the ferry to St. John.  What a quaint town!  I loved the architecture and the feel of this island.  It seems much more quiet and out-of-the-way.  There is a national park on this island but we did not go there.  We should have taken the rental car on the barge ferry and then we could have explored more.  Did not know that until after we had already visited.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Virgin Islands ATC Series # 3

St. Thomas ATC Series No.5

St. Thomas ATC Series No. 6
While in the Virgin Islands we decided to drive into town and explore.  I really had not read up on the history of the islands and found out that Denmark sold the islands to the US in the early 1900's.  The oldest part of Charlotte Amalie, the main town, was full of alleys and passages.  Pirates had a presence for years in the islands.  Blackbird had a castle which was more like a tower.  We explored until the heat got the best of us.  The main shopping area is packed full of jewelry stores.  The cruise ships dock in the port and duty free reigns.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Virgin Islands ATC Series # 2

St. Thomas ATC Series No. 3

St. Thomas ATC Series No. 4
Funny how I thought I would not find enough ephemera to create ATCs while in the Virgin Islands and as it turns out I made 14 of them. :-)

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

US Virgin Islands ATC Series

St. Thomas ATC Series No. 1
St.Thomas ATC Series No. 2
What a gorgeous place to take a week's vacation!  The US Virgin Islands is definitely a destination now off the bucket list but well worth the excursion.  It took some effort to get there, over eight hours flying time, first to Miami and then on to St. Thomas.  Those airplane seats are not so comfortable for this 64 year old body.  It will take some time for my tail bone to stop screaming!

While in the Virgin Islands I continued my plan to create ATCs from found ephemera along the way. At first I was not finding what I wanted.  However, perseverance paid off and I have come up with this Virgin Islands Series.  You will see over the next week that I was rather prolific.  It was a great adventure but  I am glad to be home.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

St. Thomas - Virgin Islands

Hotel View
We are in the U.S. Virgin Islands for a week.  Totally gorgeous here.  This is the view from our hotel lanai.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Raccoon Book

Raccoon Book

Spine - Raccoon Book

At CREATE Seattle this past October I took a Katherine England class in coptic book-binding.  It was great fun but a bit challenging.  Yesterday I was cruising through Teesha Moore's videos on her Artstronauts Club site and came across a video on coptic stitchery by Steve Salik.  So I decided to try once again.  Success with reservations this time.  I love how it all turned out but it was dicey along the way.  Sewing with four needles is a challenge.  Needles kept falling off and as I sewed I,  three times, sewed into the binding thread and had to remove the stitch and start again.

I kept at it and now have a great journal.  On Black Friday I ventured out to the stores at 6:45 to buy a Dremmel at Home Depot.  The Dremmel is quite amazing.  I suppose I could have just drilled with my drill but it was Black Friday and the Dremmel was on sale!  I don't like to shop and going out on the busiest day of the year was a bit much for me.  However, I did find a few other bargains.  So it was worth it.  I love how the Dremmel drilled the holes in the raccoon book cover.

Friday, November 28, 2014

We Are Family No. 2

We Are Family No. 2
I don't know if this is going to be a series or not.  I am loving using the Liquitex Paint Markers and since I am changing up clothing and heads on existing advertisement models, I may have more family pieces in this series, two so far.  I seem to have more female models than males and so my subject matter is heading that direction.  This one is a female same sex couple who have a brother visiting their Hudson River Valley farm.  Or you make up your own story.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Girls Just Want to Have Fun!

Girls Just Want to Have Fun!
Girls Just Want to Have Fun! And so do artists.  Yesterday I spent the day with Liesel Lund in her home/studio and had a wonderful time along with three others.  We played with mica which appears twice in this piece.  I am just loving altering fashion pieces that I discover and then switching heads on the originals.  No body has seen these new fashion statements and no head has seen them either until now. (Now what does he mean by that?)  Paint pens rock!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

We Are Family

We Are Family
This journal spread took a long time to complete as it is complex in technique use.  I used packing tape transfers, stenciling, adhered tea bags, washes, collaged, and splattered painted.  The figures were found in fashion magazines and then altered.  Each has a new head on the found bodies.  All found bodies have been painted with Liquitex paint markers.

The theme of We Are Family is that there are all sorts of different types of family configurations.  No one configuration is better than another although there are some groups of people in the world who think differently.  Not in my head though.  I say, "Live and let live."  If you are not hurting one another then so be it.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Laugh On Me

Who Is This Guy?
I have been teaching a six week mixed-media class with u/Learn ArtsNow which is an adult education program through Edmonds Community College.  Last night was our last meeting and I was sharing student work by walking around and holding up the work for each student to see while they worked on their journaling.  My friend, Michele, is in the class and I saw something that I wanted all the others to take note of.

I really did not pay any attention to the subject of this piece and I was looking at it upside down as well.  I was sharing the piece with a student and talking about the fact that Michele had used used teabags in the background and that she had printed an image from a magazine on tissue paper and adhered it to the background.  I turned and said, "Michele, did you get this image out of National Geographic?"  She replied, "No, it is a photograph that I took of you which I altered in the application Waterlogue."

My mouth must have dropped open because here I thought it was from National Geographic and it was of me!  The photo was taken last summer when Michele and I attended an Orly Avineri workshop in Coupeville. In Orly's class we dressed in Middle East garb while doing some contour drawing.  We had a good laugh over that one!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Envelopes Journal with Zebra Pouch

In trying out different things with this pouch "binding" that I have been working on, I decided that I like the stitching idea.  Since the sewing machine needle gets hung up with the sticky from the tape I have another idea that works.  Create the fabric side pieces on the machine and then glue them to the sides of the pouch.  It gives the same effect.

Zebra Pouch
 I have a bunch of mail art that comes to me over time.  Of course I keep the art part but  I don't throw the envelope away wanting to incorporate it somehow into a piece of art.  There are wonderful pieces of ephemera already stuck to many of the envelopes. These are treasures!

In this case, I took the envelopes and stitched three signatures together using the pamphlet stitch. Then I stitched the three signatures together with a variation of the pamphlet stitch.  The new journal will now go into one of my new pouches.  So easy-peasy!  I am thinking I might even take it on vacation to work in when I have a bit of down time.  I hate wasting time....even on vacation.  Driven!
Envelope Journal

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Pouch with Bird

Pouch with Bird
Last week at the journaling art lunch that I attended the hostess, Jan,  had a great "journaling" pouch that she made using muslin.  I thought I can make that for "binding" a book or journal.  In fact, it is perfect for slipping a journal into for easy transport keeping everything contained.  Well, I have been going pouch crazy.  I have made eight of them over the past ten days.

I learned a lot about the process, finding that different designer tapes are not all the same.  I found that different designer tapes or washi tapes have a varying degree of stickiness. Said stickiness builds up on the sewing machine needle.  I learned that Goo Begone removes the stickiness and restores the needle like new. You should have seen me trying to thread the needle with the stickiness coating the needle.  It does not work.!

I did not have any muslin so I had to improvise with what I had around the house.  Fabric, Tyvek, paper bags, you name it, you can make a pouch.  You do not even need to sew although I do like the stitching.  PVA glues does the trick if you are not into getting the sewing machine out.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Gypsy and Stern

Gypsy

Stern
Gypsy and Stern are the last of this particular group of postcards.  Still there is seriousness!  I have had my serious moments in life but most of them are never captured by a camera.  I think I am moving into a more upbeat mode in my art this week.  See Silicon Costume Party for a reference.  I discovered Liquitex Paint Markers at CREATE.  OMG!  Love them!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Miss Ladybug

Miss Ladybug
Every single Victorian photo I see the expression is so stern.  Yikes, were they not so happy or were they just serious all the time.  Maybe I can see if anyone on the web has done any research on photo expressions during this time.  Even in the recent Masterpiece Theater show, Paradise, a period piece, stern looks are being photographed.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Bear Country

Bear Country
Many moons ago my friend Brian Kasstle sent me a art "care" package and in it were some lumberjack photos.  It took me awhile to come up with a spread for them.  Frankly life got in the way. Finally I have created Bear Country.  It was a totally fun spread to do.  Since I am dedicating this to Brian, I went back and forth between his blog and working on this spread.  I wanted to give it a Brian Kasstle look  Take a look at his blog and see if I was even remotely successful at honoring Brian's work.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Marion the Librarian

Marion the Librarian
One of my favorite musicals is The Music Man.  Perhaps that is because I spent many summers with my cousins in Clear Lake, Iowa and the musical takes place in a middle American town similar to where I visited.  In the musical, Marion, is the sweetheart of the show.  Here's to you, Marion.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Already Making Connections for the Next Date

Already Making Connections for the Next Date
Before cell phones we were connected by wires.  Such freedom we now have with those invisible sound waves bouncing off satellites.  Except is there really any privacy anymore?  I hear conversations people are having on their phones wherever I go, the grocery, Lowe's, outside the library.  Do I really want to hear them?  Get use to it, John, it is unavoidable.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Hot Mess!

Hot Mess!
I had the most terrific day yesterday at my art friend's house.  Jan invited Michele and I to a day of journaling and lunch.  It was the most wonderful six hours of just playing and chatting and seeing what each other is up to in our individual art worlds.

Not only did we have fun but Jan made the most delicious lunch.  I mean D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S!  Jan's luncheon entree was Moroccan Chicken Tagine.  OMG!  I had never had this before and let me tell you  I got the recipe and will make it for Tim either today or tomorrow.  I had never had a preserved lemon before either.  Again OMG!  She served couscous and a salad with the chicken.  Taking a bite of couscous and the tagine simultaneously was almost heaven if not outright heaven!

I grabbed my journal and started working almost immediately after arriving at Jan's house.  Hot Mess is what came of the day.  Why would I call this a hot mess?  Well because I tried out a bunch of techniques that were experimental for me in many ways.  First, I wanted to use copies of photos from a high school year book.  I decided to do acrylic paint transfers and I only had white gesso.  The transfers worked fairly well but I learned a bit more about gesso.  It is very chalky and so getting a clear transfer was not in the cards yesterday.

I wasn't liking much of what I was accomplishing as I collaged.  However, I know that one must keep going and eventually something will come of it.  In one way I like what I created and in another way I don't.  That is OK.  I believe that I should put up the warts with successes.  That is the way of this art world.  Not everything is going to come out amazingly.

I found I like painted lace.  Michele does not like lace and so I am going to get more of it from her. I like mesh potato or some such vegetable bags and shiny chips bags.  Organza is a perfect veil ( see triangle shapes.).  I just love acrylic paint pens.  I will be using more of those.  I really do love image transfers.

So the day was amazing in that I had fun all around.  Before leaving we decided to create bundles of ephemera tied with ribbon or string.  In fact, we made two bundles, one for burying and one for hanging in a tree.  Michele also made several weathergrams to hang.  We marched into the woods to bury our bundles.  We pledged that we would return in two months to see what Mother Nature did to our bundles.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Dandy Boy

Dandy Boy
He is a dandy boy, dressed to kill, wanting the good life but only wishing it the easy way.  Or is it, an easy life? Time has a way of getting even, the aging process continues on even if we try to slow that process down. Dandy boy lives for the moment not thinking much of his future.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

jail bird

jail bird
Yesterday I taught twenty-two teachers how to create original postcard collages.  Each session was 90 minutes long and so we had to huff and puff to get the postcards completed in the limited time. However, it was fun to watch amazing art evolve.  Friday I worked all day to create postcard examples for these students.  I also shared with them postcards that many of my art friends have sent me.  I have happy with the thought that many of these teachers will return to their classrooms and use the mixed-media techniques that they now have.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Fresh Trout

Fresh Trout
This is the fourth in a series of four.  Fresh Trout was inspired by Top Chef which we watch each week of its season.  Learning how to prepare fish is actually an art but definitely one cooking task that is beneficial for sure.

Whenever I think of trout I think of something that happened while on vacation when I was a kid. We were in a family style restaurant in Montana.  Suddenly the wind came up and blew in the window right onto a table of dirty dishes only a few feet from where we sat.  Five minutes previously a family of six were seated at that same table.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Time Off

Time Off
Time Off is the third of four postcards in a series.  I was not sure what I was going to do with the results of acrylic under waxed paper technique used in the background. (You lay down acrylic paint and place wax paper over the top and leave it to dry, overnight works well.  The same goes for each separate layer.)  These cards sat and sat for a long time. Suddenly they became what you see.  I love it when something basically takes a life of its own.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Silicon Costume Party

Silicon Costume Party
There was an article in a recent Vanity Fair magazine about important Silicon Valley type gurus. After reading the article I decided to try an image transfer using magazine photos.  In this case, I only transferred the guru heads and used other bodies to complete the "new" people for this journal spread. I loved the process and loved that I am back to working in my journals more.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Mean Llama

Mean Llama
Mean Llama is the second postcard in the series using the techniques described in the previous post. I sure love putting disparate pieces together to create a new work and I surprise myself all the time with what comes of it.

Have you ever had an experience with a llama?  They can be down right mean and they spit!  Beware of llamas.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Beware, Tiger!

Beware, Tiger!
I have been playing around with Photoshop and learned how to create grey-scale, overlap layers, and erase to bring back color taken away in grey-scale.  That is what I did with the athletic figures in the background.  They were then printed on tissue paper and collaged.  Behind the figures is something new which you might not be able to tell, but I have been using paint with waxed paper.  It creates the best sharp crystal like lines which are a bit lost now with the tissue paper overlay.  So this postcard was a bit of an experiment all around.  There are four in this series.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Sudden Alarm

Sudden Alarm
Last week while I attended CREATE workshops I was able to try new tools.  In this case I was introduced to Liquitex Paint Markers.  I, of course, had to orders some when I returned home.  Sudden Alarm was started in Nathalie Kalbach's workshop and completed this morning.

My Haiku reads:  Quiet woods, calmness
                              Lost alone uncertainty
                              Sudden alarm, wolf!

I love using napkins in my art and I discovered something new when using the leaf napkin I recently found. (Thank you Liesel Lund for pointing out Costume Display's fantastic supply of napkins.)  The napkin has three plies.  Ply one was the print, but underneath was ply two and three.  I discarded ply three.  Ply two had a faint bit of the design which was used in Sudden Alarm as it was so subtle. Check out the plies next time you buy designer napkins.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Chinese Bambi

Chinese Bambi
This piece is fairly complex in its layering.  I used my gelli plate, ephemera, deli paper, acrylic paint and my handmade chop stamp or mark.  I love the fact that I have my own chop mark.  I made it last February in an Orly Avineri workshop.  I have started using it pretty much in all my work of late.

Chinese Bambi looks pretty cluttered here but not so much in person.  The layers stand out much more when held.

Why a Chinese character you say?  Well, I started learning something that is Chinese yesterday.  I will leave it at that for now.  It was quite a day I might add and I loved every minute of it!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Camembert No. 8

Camembert No. 8
The Camembert series comes to an end.  At least for now that is.  I always leave the door open for more but there is so much more to create.  I have moved on to a new series using the gelli plate and French vintage ephemera already.

The reason for the magenta framing of Camembert No. 7 and No. 8 is because the pieces were a bit smaller than I normally make.  Since they are postcards I wanted to standardize the size.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Camembert No. 7

Camembert No. 7
There is satisfaction in creating a series in an art form.  In this case a series of postcards that has a theme.  It is a challenge to find threads to complete the theme.  Who would have thought that the idea of Camembert cheese would be incorporated into pieces of art?