Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Patron

The Patron
I have been taking an online class called The Ticket to Venice.  This class teaches bookbinding methods and travel journaling.  Mary Ann Moss, the instructor, is actually on a Venice trip where she emails postcards to class participants and creates videos of her experiences.  She is an on-location reporter as you will.  The class has been a blast.  Not only am I learning some fun journaling techniques from Mary Ann, who is a hoot by the way, but I am learning from other participants in the class.  There are some spectacular journals being made.

My journal is not actually of Venice which I have been to so many times I can't remember how many.  When we lived in southern Germany we used to go quite frequently.  My journal is about the my fall trip to the SW....Nevada, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and California.  However, I got inspired yesterday to create a Venice piece which is called The Patron.  When I was taking university classes, I took an art history course where we studied how patrons portraits were frequently painted into commissioned pieces.  I thought I would include my self-portrait into this new work.  My gentlemen's ATC group's theme for January is self-portraits, hence, this piece.  I will be adding the right hand side of The Patron into my self-portrait journal as well.

Saturday, December 22, 2012


During our trip to the southwest and southern California we stayed with our friends Brian and Ed.  Venturing out, we went to the Long Beach Flea Market where Brian and I decided to split a find of a box of vintage photographs, some of which are included in Widows of  Widows Sons, and Grandsons which will be the name of the total journal spread. The left hand side of this piece is still being worked on.

Last week I purchased some tissue paper  with "Horlogerie and Bijouterie" written on it.  This is French for watchmaker and jeweler.  The idea of watchmaker and jeweler combined with the vintage photos brought on the idea for this piece. Sons and grandsons appear on the left side of the piece which I will continue working on.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Day and Night....a working title?

Day and Night?
This is my latest journal page.  I usually do not have trouble with titles but this one is questionable. I have thought about calling it "Fireworks."  However, that does not necessarily reflect the whole spread.  Maybe you have an idea?

I took a basic encaustic class on Wednesday which I liked.  I now have a enormous appreciation for works done using this process.  Just knowing how it all comes together has now given me an eye in which to analyze encaustic pieces in the future.  In the class, the instructor had many papers for us to use to create collages.  Some of those were Joss papers from China.  If you have never experienced Joss paper then a trip to the local Asian market is indeed recommended.  You might have to walk around until you find them, but I assure you they are there.

The dragon, the Chinese gate and the background papers are all Joss papers.  I also tried something new on these journal pages.  I used plaster tape and watercolor pastels to create the "fireworks" and some texture.  It really helped to make the the fireworks display on the right hand side.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Dad, Gramps, and Great Gramps

Recently I opened a briefcase that had belonged to my father and discovered letters that he had written during WWII.  He was stationed in North Africa and in Italy during the war.  There were also personal papers and photos of my paternal grandfather who died when my father was age three. 

My grandfather owned a candy store in La Jolla, California before he met my grandmother.  In the collection of mementos was an old candy box from the store.  I found receipts from the business and one was for a grocer H. Jevne who made deliveries to my grandfather's store. 

When doing a search for vintage maps of southern California I discovered a site that is amazing http://www.bigmapblog.com/ .  I actually found a map with Los Angeles buildings and one of those buildings is H. Jevne, the building you see on the right.

In this collage you see my father (baby), grandfather and great grandfather.  The car is my grandfather's with my grandmother in the passenger seat.  The photo on the right is of me when I was twenty-four and in the army.  Although I never knew my grandfather or great grandfather this collage brings us all together.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Kum-pang mee hu, pra-tu mee tar

Kum-pang mee hu, pra-tu mee tar is Thai for Walls have ears, doors have eyes.  This idiom is always good to remember when you have a piece of information that only should hold tight to your chest.  Otherwise, who knows where that information might end up.
I worked on this piece in PhotoShop and tried something I had not previously attempted.  I used the posterize feature.  I have included the original for your comparison.

Friday, December 7, 2012

I Swear on Babaji

This piece was created on a recycled paint advertisement from Lowe's.  It folds in two places. 

I Swear on Babaji
I frequent the University Bookstore in Seattle and about every two months I buy the latest issue of Cote Sud.  If you have never seen this French magazine it is well worth the effort to look for it.  Barnes and Noble carries it usually as well.  Anyway, I find inspiration leafing through the magazine. Recently there was a section that covered India.  I have always been amazed at the vibrancy and the wealth of color found in India.  This got me thinking about a film that came out a few years ago, Bend It Like Beckham.  I love that movie and we rewatched it last week. 

In the film the main character has to swear that she is telling the truth.  Thus she swears to an ancestor, Babaji.  Also there is a funny part about getting married and the women at a celebration start talking about juicy, juicy, mangoes.   This was my inspiration for this piece.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Italian Gothic - Dei Ricordo

Dei ricordo, the memory,  is a six-sided work opening to the final triptych.  It is narrative in nature with the bird watcher and one of the a farmers being prominent in the narrative. Throughout this work there are hints at what has transpired in the lives of the three people.  Let your imagination piece this puzzle together. Since this was a piece of mail art, the sixth side is for the intended addressees.

Italian Gothic - Triptych
I am especially pleased with the center portion of the triptych as it really appears to be a total work in and of itself.  This portion is actually fifteen separate pieces of paper collage together to see what you see.  I learned a lot about printing on tissue paper for this work.  I also sweated over how to add the left and the right portions of the triptych so that it would appear as one work.  Since the central portion is so dramatic and bold toning down the left and the right so that the center portion would be the focal point seemed the way to go.  I also wanted to take care not to make the piece too balanced.  I considered several options for the left to counterbalance the statue on the right.  Finally I decided against that type of balance.  It would have looked too bookendish.  Just so you know, the number 13 is a lucky number to the Italians.

Of course I  have a story in my head about this piece, however, I am finding that others like to make up their own scenarios.  Go for it and let me know what you think the story might be.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

December 2012 ATC

December 2012  ATC
Who knows where this idea came from?  It just did!  Happy Holidays to You All!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Italian Gothic

Italian Gothic
This is the middle section of a triptych that I am working on.  It is my take on American Gothic.  Hmm, no pitchfork here!  The blue background is from homemade papers I made using CitraSolv.  I found the photo after an extensive search for 1920s men.  I love vintage photos and really like these two "farmers."  This piece reminded my partner of Starry Night.  It kind of does with the sky and the cyprus trees.  Watch for the next part of the triptych soon.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Patient Bird Watcher

The Patient Bird Watcher
With a hushed silence
The sun crept in unnoticed.
The woman sat still.
This piece took a chunk of the afternoon to complete.  The woman, a bird watcher, sits patiently waiting for what she knows will come today, the EuroAsian Crane.  The light changes rapidly in the early morning hour and yet a cloud passes over before the brightness erupts.
I used a vintage photograph from the 1920s for this collage.  The mediums used were watersoluable oil pastels, acrylic paint, pan pastels and of course PhotoShop. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


There is a story that goes with this one, but I will leave it to your interpretation for the time being.  Perhaps in a week or so I will give you the scoop.  How is that for a tease?

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Saturday, November 17, 2012



Martha, the woman who I honor with a journal spread, is now 91 years old and about to begin a new chapter in her life.  In December she will move into a retirement home and will be near one of her sons, my friend, Darrow.  Martha is a bit nervous about this move, but as I told her she is actually regaining her independence and only has to answer to herself in her new location.

This piece began as all my works do with a treasure that I find and in this case a wooden SE Asian statue.  I really should not begin a work of art when I am tired as I worked a little too long on it last night.  I started to make mistakes and stopped.  Over the night, as is frequently the case my brain solved the problem on how to repair the damage of the night before.  Also, as is frequently the case, I like the repaired work better than what I had done previously.

Think of the right side of the spread as a stage set.  Starting at the bottom and working to the top you see a garden and a door and windows.  The door represents everything that has happened in Martha's life and the windows represent the ability to look into her life.  The background for the stage set is Martha's childhood photo when she was one year old along with the calligraphy for her childhood name, Lok King Oy.  Let the play begin!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Waiting for Dates

Waiting for Dates at the Subway Stop
For some reason upon looking at the completed version I find that balance is what this piece is all about.  Counterbalancing items must have been in my subconscious.  Right from the start of splitting the train station down the middle at the intersection of the doors started the balancing process.  For the palm tree there is a flower, for the kola there is a seltzer, for the portrait of the man there is the stamp.  The two women break the balance and add additional interest.  I wanted to name the piece Working Girls, but I did not want them to seem to be prostitutes.  In my narrative they are just waiting for their dates to take them into the city for possibly some dinner and salsa dancing.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Just What Do Chickens Think About?

Just What Do Chickens Think About?
This was a total experiment in my flea market find journal.  (I think I will refer to it as my FMJ from now on.)  I started this piece by just painting the background with a credit card. The acrylic paint just seemed to jump around and right off the page.  Then I was looking through my stash and found the chicken.  The mail arrived from Finland and the stamps were great.  I had scraps of paper right on my desktop and so basically everything just started to be glued down with UHU glue.  I had not used it before as I usually use a more clear liquid glue called Glue-It.  However, for some reason Glue-It has not been doing what I want on acrylic.  I really did not have a plan for this piece.  It just became....

As I got going I started to think about chickens and what do they think.  AHA moment!  Around the border is what they think about and throughout are possibilities if we personify chickens a bit.  After a bit of collage work I decided that I would spray the piece with an acrylic varnish.  But NO...it was black spray paint and the right side of the journal spread was way covered.  Thank goodness for rubbing alcohol.  It took a great amount of black paint off.  Perhaps it took a bit more than I wanted as the chicken now is more impressionistic.  Mostly the piece was saved.  Distress ink covers a multitude of mistakes.  Journals are for experimenting anyway.  I learned a lot on this piece.  PhotoShop also took some of the sins away.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Georgia On My Mind, A Tribute

Georgia On My Mind, A Tribute

Months ago I created the background in a Jane Davies online class.  We were working on landscapes.  I came across that background after a recent trip to the SW.  Little did I know that it would be perfect for my tribute to Georgia O'Keeffe.

The Southwest has always intrigued me.  When I was younger I heard stories of my grandmother making the journey from LA to Santa Fe.  It was a desire to see the Santa Fe of those stories and my retirement that led me to my October vacation, 7000 miles, crisscrossing the SW.

I loved the simplicity of the adobe, the flatness of the land which really is not flat but gently rolling. The starkness of the vegetation and the light.  It is true about the light in New Mexico.  I totally understand why Georgia O'Keeffe wanted to live there.  The light especially in the late afternoon is much like the light I found in the south of France.  It is gorgeous.

This piece, Georgia On My Mind, is simple and meant to be a tribute to Georgia O'Keeffe.  The background although completed months before my journey fits so well into what I saw in New Mexico, the adobe and the colors that I saw in October.  I am in awe of the flower paintings and landscapes created by such a determined woman.  Since returning from my trip I have read two books about O'Keeffe.  The first, Remembering Miss O'Keeffe: Stories from Abiquiu by Margaret Wood, is a memoir of five years of life spent with O'Keeffe.  The second is a cookbook, A Painter's Kitchen: Recipes from the Kitchen of Georgia O'Keeffe.   Both give insight into this amazing American artist.

Saturday, November 10, 2012


The photos for this collage came from the box of photos purchased at the Long Beach Flea Market last month.  This was one of those pieces that just started on its own only being manipulate by my hands and continued with a driving force until complete.  It was as it was driven by some unknown being as was the narrative.   Throughout the collage process I was worried about this being a sinister piece.  I even wrote to friends about how I usually do not do such pieces.  I loved the selection of what I thought were disparate collage pieces but which turned out to be what you see in the completed work.  I sure wish I knew about the people featured here.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Funeral Lady

Funeral Lady
The story behind this piece is that I purchased a photo of the woman in this spread at a garage sale.  I asked the woman selling the photograph if she knew anything about the photo.  The Asian lady was the wife of her uncle who died.  It was my understanding that the woman made out like a bandit upon the death of her husband. 

This piece evolved from that photo with a fictionalized narrative.  The right hand side represents the man's death at 10:11 P.M.  The statuary symbolizes the cemetery with a cat scurrying about.  The left hand side represents the woman spending her husband's money by traveling around the world.

This piece was created for the 1001 Journal that Brian Kasstle is sending around.  I have been fortunate to have created three pieces for Brian's two journals.  It is amazing what others have created in the two journals.  Here is the link to Brian's blog..... http://apaperbear.wordpress.com/

November 2012 ATC

Man With Veil of Leaves

I exchange ATC cards monthly with two artists, Brian and Terry. There was no theme this month which left me wondering what to create.  Most of my pieces just start evolving without much thought in the beginning, I just start.  Brian, who lives in Long Beach, California, and I went to the flea market there last month where we found a box of old photographs.  We decided to split the box and so this is one of the photos from that box.  I added color, embroidery thread, the veil of leaves and mica to create this piece.

Sunday, November 4, 2012



About the only good thing about junk mail is that it provides me with journal fodder.  These monkies come from a political ad for Washington state politician.  They screeched to become the first new page in my altered journal from the Long Beach, California flea market.  There were quite a few happy accidents with this piece. The best one was that the background which was made first matches  the monkies clothing perfectly. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

It is the spooky time of year again.  Today is a very Halloweenish day in the Seattle area.  It is raining, grey, and very fall still.   Many leaves are still hanging on the trees in the colorful splender, but even more are painting the ground with yellows, reds, and orange.   HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Monday, October 29, 2012


Several months ago I created a landscape background in a class I was taking with Jane Davies.  After returning last week from our three week plus trip to the SW I started cleaning my workspace and rediscovered the landscape.  Here is what it looked like before the additions of Swen and the cows.  I enhanced the reds a bit in PhotoShop and then added the text.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Good or Evil?

Good or Evil?
Good or Evil is the third piece in the triptych Searching For Red.  I love hunting for ephemera.  On the second Saturday of each month there is a fleamarket in Seattle's Sand Point area.  One Saturday last winter the weather was not pleasant, snow was predicted, but I ventured out anyway to see what treasures needed buying.  A man from Spokane brought a trunk to the fleamarket and in the trunk were hundreds of pieces of mail, all from France to a woman who lived in the Spokane area.  I had to have a few of the letters.  I can only imagine the years of correspondence and the tales written about by the two correspondents.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Into the Sun

Into the Sun
The second in the triptych, Into the Sun started with the Volkswagon photo overlying the background.  All three pieces have red running through them to join the three pieces and each piece has a statue. Below are the first two pieces side by side.  Soon the third piece will join the others.  Each piece stands alone and each piece has become a separate postcard for mail art. Each piece began with similar backgrounds using CitraSolv papers recently made using old National Geographic magazines.  All three pieces have several other ephemera for unification purposes.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

God Is Watching!

God Is Watching!

This is the first of a triptych which actually is a six page book made from a paint brochure that I acquired after reading an idea from one of  L.K. Ludwig's books or blog.  L.K. ventures to home improvement stores and looks for free materials on which to do art.  Great idea!  I just hope Lowe's or Home Depot don't read this blog!  My first thought when I started the triptych was to call the piece Searching For Red.  Perhaps that is an underlying theme.  This piece was just another one of those pieces that just comes together without much thought and actually rather quickly.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Day of the Dead -October 2012 ATC

Day of the Dead - October 2012 ATC
This month the ATC group decided that Halloween would be the theme....hence I chose The Day of the Dead which is actually November 1.  The card is simple, but I love the expression on the skeleton and the oversized hat.  The checkerboard background is duct tape.  Happy Halloween to you all!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Donnie Series X - Whooping Cough Quarantine

Whooping Cough Quarantine

Big Nose Kate was a persuasive woman at times and with a few promises Doc Holliday agreed to hide Belle until further arrangements could be made. Doc and Kate sequestered Belle in an outbuilding behind the Great Western Hotel.  To keep nosy people away from the building a quarantine sign was nailed to the door.  Doc could not keep secrets easily.  So it was up to Big Nose Kate to spin the story for him and to keep him numb with whiskey.  They agreed that a quarantine sign would buy them some time until Belle could be secretly whisked out of Dodge.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Big Nose Kat Helps - Donnie Series IX

Big Nose Kate actually was a dancehall girl in many different towns in the wild west.  She spent several years in Dodge City before heading to Tombstone, Arizona.  She befriend Wyatt Earp and became very good friends with Doc Holliday.  It seemed to me that Kate would be a fitting character to assist Belle with her problems. I can't wait to see how Belle flees Dodge with Kate's help.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Sons of Buttinsky

Sons of Buttinsky

This piece was started in March when I attended ArtFest.  Orly Avineri was teaching a postcard class using recycled materials, a class that I loved by the way!  I did not finish the piece until this week as I had put the background aside.  Well a happy mistake occurred when all the right pieces were found.  The mistake was the background or so I thought.  But wait, the planets must not have been aligned or maybe it was that I had not found the right collage materials yet. 

I had been thinking about how there are times when I am driven and no matter what I push forward somewhat like a determined elephant.  I do not know where most of my ideas come from, but they have been very fruitful of late and so I just go with it.  This is what happened with Sons of Buttinsky.  I found some ephemera recently at a fleamarket.  A postcard had some great messages on it and an amazing silhouette.  (These will show up in a later collage I am sure. )  I just love the Sons of Buttinsky, ancient, reckless, and independent.  Then the elephant showed up as I was cleaning up my studio desk as did the moth and the hand.  It all just started to flow together, but I had to find something to finish off the piece and thus the butterfly that had been sitting right in front of me for weeks made it complete.

The message on the fleamarket postcard find was intriguing.  Upon reading the message I found the person who had received a postcard was not sure who had sent it.  This person sent this postcard to whom they thought was the sender with a message to make sure that in the future initials were added to the postcards so that the receiver would know who had sent it.  It sounds so clandestine to be reading something from strangers and now using the find in a new way.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

September 2012 - ATC

I recently was asked to join an ATC group.  The theme for September was free choice.  The following just came to me when I found the phrase Paint-By-Numbers in a magazine ad.  September's ATC is double sided and folded and is 2.5 x 3.5 inches.  I don't know if anyone names their ATCs but this one is called Paint By Numbers.  Go figure!


Sunday, September 9, 2012

CitraSolv Sculptural Book

CitraSolv made paper accoridan book

close up

This past week I really got into the CitraSolv/National Geographic paper making business.  I love the effect of the chemical reaction between CitraSolv and the ink in the magazine.  I created three books and the a book sculpture using the papers that I created.  The papers were mounted on old library pocket cards.  The legs were created from rolled up papers using a wooden skewer and the "hinges" were created from some washi tape.  There was a problem during construction....how to keep the leg supports moveable.  I had to put backing on the washi tape so the legs would not stick to the "hinges".  This project actually took two days to complete due to the continual problem solving throughout.  So that the legs would not slip off I created "barriers" top and bottom of the book portion.  Now the piece folds easily like an accordian.  The "hinges"  also must be glued as the adhesive on the washi tape lifts in the heat of the day.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The King and Queen of Spades

King and Queen of Spades
The royal family is continually in the news.  Paparazzi won't leave them alone.  Photos of anything and everything they do is instantly flashed around the world.  Prince Harry is now banished to Afghanistan after his latest adventures in Las Vegas.  Princess Diana, well we all know what happened there.......

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Intimate Conversation

The background for Intimate Conversation was made from the CitraSolv and National Geographic process detailed in a previous blog entry.  The subjects in this piece are Raymundo de Larrain and Jacqueline de Ribes. Extensive PhotoShopping was used in this piece to create the feeling of intimacy yet distance between the the two silhouetted.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Sylvie Daydreams

This collage was created from homemade Citra Solv papers, washi tape and ephemera.  Sylvie is a character rattling around in my brain.  The bridge tower was from a photograph of the Montlake Bridge in Seattle that I took five years ago.  The Montlake Bridge crosses the Montlake Cut which joins Lake Washington with Portage Bay and Lake Union.  Sylvie may have found a place on the bridge to build her nest.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Afternoon Rain on the Savannah

Afternoon Rain on the Savannah

This landscape came together rather quickly this afternoon.  I tried two new techniques, at least new to me.  First, yesterday I tried the CitraSolve on an old National Geographic magazine technique.  If you have not tried this method for creating a background it is truly amazing.  Here are some references to check out if you are interested.

Somerset Studio Magazine, The Art of Paper and Mixed Media, September/October 2012, article by Kayann Ausherman

Exhibition 36 by Susan Tuttle, Serendipitous Solvent Papers, article by Katie Kendrick

Diana Trout has a great "how to" video on her blog  http://dianatrout.typepad.com/blog/2010/08/fun-with-citrasolv.html

Gary Reef has a YouTube video on the process as well  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSwaIorBluc&feature=related

Second,  I  tried a matte medium transfer.  Once all was dry I added some watercolor and some gold glaze.  You will also see some washi tape in the landscape.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

More Collages Made From Flexagon Piece

Here are a few pieces that I created yesterday.  Once again I created a flexagon using the directions out of Esther K. Smith's book, Magic Books and Paper Toys.  After scanning the completed flexagon I cut and pasted and adjusted color to make the new PhotoShop collages that you see below.

original from the flexagon

The next two are adjusted for color saturation.

Just in case you are interested in how the flexagon looks once it has been collaged, here you go.  Once you fold the sections and link them, the flexagon flexs into three different parts.
side one

side two

Here are what the three sides of the flexagon look like when folded together.  As an experiment I taped each side with clear tape as a precaution to keep the flexagon from tearing.  It helps to keep the edges from wearing quickly.  I especially like the blue and red piece, but as you saw above cutting and pasting made for some fun grids.