Monday, March 31, 2014

Lost in Thought

Lost in Thought
On Friday, my art buddy, Michele, and I spent the afternoon making art.  We ended up giving each other about 15 prompts for our spreads.  I would give her one and she next.  We had five minutes to finish the prompt before moving on to the next.  What a blast we had!  Of course lunch went tremendously as well, that can't hurt! :-)

I made pork burritos.  If you want an easy and pretty fast recipe here goes:

In a pot add two cans chicken broth, one can of mild chopped chilies, one can stewed tomatoes, one medium chopped onion.  Next add one pork tenderloin.  Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down. Cook for about 30 to 45 minutes. The pork cooks in the liquid and turns out marvelously.  Shred the pork and add back into the pot.  Heat thoroughly again.

Warm flour tortillas in the microwave.  Place the tortillas on a dinner plate (one per person).  Pour a cup or a bit less of the pork mixture into the middle of the tortilla.  Add shredded cheese of your choice.  Fold the burrito into a rectangle, opposite ends meet in the middle method.  Add mixture broth, more cheese and sour cream to the top of the burrito.  Eat!  DELICIOUS!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Whom Shall I Choose?

Whom Shall I Choose?
I just love the Abe Lincoln stove-pipe hat.  It is so fun to see how fashion changes.  This postcard is another in my series of eight.  I am using photos found in some old books I got at an estate sale.  When I started this postcard project I decided to make the backgrounds on cereal boxes.  So there are two basic backgrounds for the series.  I found some great washi tape at Office Max which is appears in several postcards.  The radiating circle comes from Randel Plowman's site.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Geese Are Aware!

The Geese Are Aware!
Here I go again and I do not know where my narratives come from....overactive imagination I presume....these geese know about the spirit world that exists all around us.  They know of the pirate, now long dead, lurking in the marshes around their home.  They also know of the one with nature that the Native American has with the earth.

Personally, I believe that dead is dead and that is the end of it.  So for me to be discussing the spirit world is a bit much for me to ponder! :-)

Friday, March 28, 2014

Ahoy Matey

Ahoy Matey
The background on this piece is surgical tape that I got for a $1.00 at an estate sale.  I like using masking tape usually.  Surgical tape is thicker and the paint does not seem to adhere as well but the price was right and I thought I would try it again.  I painted the background several colors and then stenciled the blue.  You also see washi tape and the collage materials I found in an exploration book for a $1.00.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Dog

The Dog
I began a new series of postcards this week.  This one called The Dog came together over three days and holds a happy accident.  Most of the collage was complete but I was thinking one more thing would add to what was already created.  Then the dog just happened to fall on it from a different postcard.  Voila!  There it was.

I look at collaging as bringing new life to disparate images, images found in a variety of places.  In this case the images were found in several books I bought last weekend at an estate sale.  Each book was $1.00.  I love old books that hold amazing images.  This particular book was on exploration.  Another was on pirates, and a third was on whaling.   All three books were in excellent condition and will eventually become altered book journals.

I also recently received a box of rollers that I spent a huge amount of time tracking down.  Last month when I was in LA my friend Irene brought a wonderful roller to the workshop that we attended.  Of course I had to have one.  The only thing was that she was unsure of where she had purchased it.  She thought perhaps she got in on an excursion to Mendocino.  I called several shops but no one knew of what I spoke.  I searched the web.  Friends searched the web.  I now know more about texture rollers that I ever thought I would.  Finally I found the rollers at www.Kaplanco.com .  I say "Never give up!"  It paid off this time.

In The Dog I collaged CitraSolv paper for the ground.  Terry Garrett had suggested using the rollers on CitraSolv papers.  Genius because they really look great.  The background is a cereal box cardboard painted black and textured with many layers of gesso.  I used stencils and tissue paper as well.  A slight sanding and matte varnish finished the piece off.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

April 2014 ATCs

April 2014 ATCs
One of the themes for the international ATC group that I participate in was Memories.  In the early 1970's when the US was involved in the Vietnam War I was classified 1-A by my draft board. I decided to join the army so that I could get a assigned to a unit of my choice.  This photo was taken during basic training at Fort Polk, Louisiana.  Each of these ATCs has a secret compartment with a story that I wrote about one of my experiences during basic training.  I love that all the backgrounds turned out so differently.  Golly was I ever that young?!!!!!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Postcard Exchange

Postcard Exchange - Home Town
I am involved in a postcard exchange with three other guys, Brian, Terry, and Thomas.  In this exchange our task was to alter a postcard of our home town.  We then send the postcards on to the others for alterations. Eventually after four rounds we will decide who gets which postcard.  It is quite like the NBA draft I think. However, the process is fun. :-)

I sanded portions of each card and then applied inks.  I can't wait to see what the guys do on them!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Cultural Clash!

Cultural Clash!

I am working in a journal that I created in a class at the Pacific NW Art School last May taught by Seth Apter called Memoire.  We created the journal pages by adhering dictionary ephemera onto watercolor paper. On each page we blocked out dictionary illustrations before adding texture and paint.  Once the paint was dry the blocked images were revealed.   I thought it would be a good idea to incorporate the dictionary illustrations with whatever art journaling I would do.

Fast forward ten months and after a delay of working in the Memoire journal, an email arrived from Seth announcing that he had recently teamed with Kathy Eldon, Dan Eldon's  mother on a project which looks at how Dan Eldon's life and journaling have affected others.  I immediately went to my bookshelf to find my copy of The Journey Is the Destination, the Journals of Dan Eldon.   I hope you have had the opportunity to see a journal created by Dan .  For those of you who do not know anything about Dan Eldon, he was a photojournalist working in Africa.   Dan was killed in Somalia in 1993 while he was on a photo assignment. He was only 22 years old.

Dan lived in Africa when he was young and had the opportunity to meet and befriend hundreds of people including members of the Masai.  Dan lead a life of helping others.  His travels and life are captured in seventeen journals that he kept since a young boy.  So when I started on this journal spread I wanted to include what I had read about Dan Eldon somehow.  I also wanted to include something about cultural and environmental clashes that man has with each other and with nature.

NPR did a segment this past year on work is being done with the Masai of Kenya.  The Masai were poisoning lions with pesticides as a solution to the lion threat on their wandering domesticated animals. My journal spread includes a Masai herder and it also includes an old illustration that I found which hints at the treatment of elephants.  I leave you to interpret this journal spread for yourself.

You can find out details on the new Dan Eldon project on Seth Apter's blog.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Thanks to Connie

Over the past several months my art friend Connie Rose (A visit to her site is a treat!) has been sending me wonderful pieces of mail art. Sometimes the art is sewn along the edges.  I love the idea.  She even hides ATCs inside two pieces sewn together.  With that inspiration I decided to try my luck.  It was so much fun! Here are some of the "envelopes" that I have prepared for future ATC mailings......

ATC Envelopes #1

ATC Envelopes #2

ATC Envelopes #3

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Maude, Florence, and Minnie - Postcards

Maude #1

Maude #2


For several months I took a break from creating postcards but yesterday I got back into it big time.  Here are four that I made using cereal box cardboard for the card.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Crazy Guy #4

Crazy Guy #4
Months ago, maybe even a year ago I started working on a collaboration with Terry Garrett and Brian Kasstle.  We each made Crazy Guys for an exchange.  I kept one part and the other two went to either Terry or Brian.  This is the original of the second one I did.  I did not know what I was going to do with my guys.  Finally, I decided that I needed to collage them into a bigger piece.  I like that it looks very busy almost like the guy is camouflaged in the larger piece.

I have an art friend, Amy Duncan, who lives in Everett, Washington.  She is starting a series of art parties where one makes absolutely wonderful collaged art in many formats.  Her parties are starting soon.  So if you live in the Everett area here is the information on her terrific opportunity.....  http://fourcornersdesign.blogspot.com/

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Penny For Your Thoughts

Penny For Your Thoughts
This is the final entry in my If Walls Could Talk journal.  I tried an experiment on this spread that I really like.  Mix gesso with water so that it is the consistency of milk.  Soak a baby-wipe in the solution.  Squeeze the baby-wipe with the watered down gesso solution over the spread.  Drops gently fall randomly.  Let dry or dry the drops with a heat tool.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Pocket Journals

Two Pocket Journals

Textured Pocket Journal

Eight Pocket Textured Journal
Since August I have been teaching art journaling workshops at the Senior Center on Orcas Island, Washington.  At the moment we are working on a pocket journal.  I love the texture created using Indian papers and patterns created using stencils.  Over the next four months we will create eight paper "surprises," one for each pocket.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Collaboration Journal Ingrid/John

cover for the Ingrid/John collaboration

Three signatures in the Ingrid/John collaboration

one of Ingrid's spreads
About two years ago when I was taking a Jane Davies online workshop I met a wonderful artist, Ingrid Petrini who lives in Sweden.  Ingrid and I started emailing.  Then we became members of a international ATC group.  Our last endeavor was to create spreads in signatures that had a barn theme.  Over the past year I created 13 spreads in Ingrid's journal and she completed 12 in mine.  We mailed the signatures back and forth and now we are done with this amazing experience.  After a bit I know we will start another collaboration together.  You can see all of my barn themed spreads in past blog posts.

The cover for the spreads was created several years ago.  I never had anything to bind in it.  It turned out to be the perfect cover for our barn signatures.  It is faux leather made out of a grocery bag, paint, and stick-on letters and numbers.  After gluing on the letters I sewed over them....not an easy task since they are raised.  I loved how the cover turned out as it really finishes off this project.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Round Robin - first round


RR standing

RR page one

RR page two

RR page three
I am hosting a round robin with five others, Irene, Terry, Michele, Brian, and Jacki.  Our March task was to create the journal with a Dos-a-Dos format and to complete spreads on our "property" or section. (See an earlier post on how to create a dos-a-dos journal. January 2014)

For this journal spread I first laid down a layer of masking tape. The binding holes were made using a Japanese hole punch and I was afraid that too much paint would leak through.  Success, no paint leaked to the other five pieces of "property" or valleys in the remainder of the journal.  I then painted the whole spread black.  Next I adhered used teabags. (I love the texture created.)  I painted three or four layers of paint to get the color that you see.  It took awhile to find just the right photographs to include.

The writings that I add are words from Victorian slang.  They include:
podsnappery - assuming airs
mutton shunter - policeman
chuckaboo - a nickname given to a close friend
butter upon bacon - extravagance....don't you just love that!
make a stiff bird laugh - absolutely preposterous
basket of oranges - pretty woman
gas pipes - especially tight pants
jammiest bits of jam - absolutely perfect young females

Our finished RR journals will return to us in late August or early September.  Can't wait to see what everyone creates.  Oh, thank goodness for Facebook as we are posting on our own Facebook page each month. :-)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


Both of these photos are vintage Australian.  I love the mug shot.  Can't you just imagine what Doris has done to get herself in trouble with the law?  Her profile photo is just the best shot!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Missionaries

The Missionaries
My grandmother, Ethel, and my great grandmother, Gertrude, lived together in Southern California for years going everywhere together and raising my father.  Both died in their nineties, my grandmother accidentally backed her car up and ran over my great grandmother.  She did not know Gertrude was crossing over behind the car.  I thought I would use their names in this piece called The Missionaries not because my relatives were ever missionaries, but I needed names that sounded turn of the twentieth century.

Missionary-ism  has come up recently as I received a letter in the mail asking for money to support an acquaintance and her family while they are working for a year in Africa.  That got me to thinking about the musical The Book of Mormon and this piece evolved.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Everybody Loves a Parade

Everybody Loves a Parade
As a  child we use to go to the Seafair parades in Seattle each year.  There was something about the atmosphere that really appealed to me.  When I was much younger but already an adult I helped decorate floats for the Torchlight Parade.  I even got to drive a few floats in the parade for awhile.  My float career ended when I graduated to being a blackjack gambler representing Harrah's Reno.

When I saw these boys dressed for a Fourth of July parade all these memories came flooding back.  Now that I am older I really do not like crowds so I avoid attending parades, but I still watch the Tournament of Roses on New Year's Day.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Strange Things Happen in Pheasantville

Strange Things Happen in Pheasantville

What is it about Pheasantville that is just a bit different?  My 20 cent find at a garage sale has been perfect for the If Walls Could Talk Journal.  I have been searching for more black and white photos.  Nothing turned up at Goodwill last week.  I will keep looking.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Barn #103 - Lottie and Elaine

Barn #103 - Lottie and Elaine

The barn series is complete.  One year ago Ingrid, my friend in Sweden, and I decided we wanted to have a journal exchange and the theme would be barns.   I finished Barn #103 - Lottie and Elaine and mailed the signature back to Ingrid. These sisters actually appeared in a previous barn piece called Sisters. Ending a series is sad in a way and also exciting.  I really enjoyed this experience.  It was challenging to continually think of new ways to include barns in our spreads.  I completed thirteen spreads for the exchange and several more than that for the series.  Both Ingrid and I did not want the exchange to stop. However, there will be other exchanges in the future I am sure.  I found out this morning Ingrid will  get the signature I sent today when her husband arrives at their lake house.  Yeah!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Barn #102

Barn #102
Lots is going on in this spread.  The animals and the vegetation all came from wallpaper samples.  The background is actually one of the most detailed I have done.  I have included fabric left over from a book binding project.  There is sanded fiber paste and stencil work. The barn photo comes from a barn that I found and photographed  near the Skagit Valley tulip fields.  The farmer photos come from an old book I came across and got for 20 cents.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Barn #101

Barn #101
This is the fourth of five barn pieces in the final signature that most likely has reached its new home in Sweden.  Barn #101 came together quickly in just two days.  I attended the NW Collage Society meeting last week and while there someone had brought wallpaper book pages for the giving.  I loved the large printed vegetation pieces and here is one already used in a journal spread.  The bird and the photos were "saved" from certain death at a moving sale I attended over the weekend.  What luck for me as I love the chicken pictures that included a barn, perfect for this spread!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Fireman

The Fireman
When we were creating the backgrounds for our If Walls Could Talk journals we passed the journals to the person on our right to add a photo.  I am thinking that my friend Irene might be the child in this spread.

New characters are added to the growing narrative.  We see Hattie and her boyfriend, Charles.  Mary is significant even though she is missing in action.  Now we have a fireman, Oscar.  I wonder how Oscar plays a role in this drama?  Just why is Hattie afraid to tell Mary's family secret?

Monday, March 3, 2014

Will and the Rooster

Will and the Rooster
In the If Walls Could Talk workshop we were tasked with adding personal photos to many of the participants journals as we created backgrounds.  We also designed chop marks and stamped those on each others' "property". There is a contemporary feel that accompanies the vintage photos in this spread due to the mixing of photos.  I love the texture that is present which adds to the aged feel of the pages.

The narrative continues with Will, the boy, who can't seem to keep shoes on his feet....Hattie, the housekeeper, who has been charged with keeping a home for the boy....Mary, Will's mother who has disappeared and Will's father who is nowhere to be found either.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Secret

The Secret
If The Walls Could Talk series continues with The Secret.  All of these women are connected somehow, they all have a common thread that is wrapped up in a secret.  The secret crosses generations.

My art friend, Brian Kasstle loves it when the viewer can make up his own story.  I honor his desire to come up with the narrative for this piece.  I have one in my mind, of course.  The secret will continue to reveal itself with more clues over the next two spreads.  In this spread there is a window into the future but that window also exists in the present.   Stay tuned!

One more thing about the passing of generations. This piece sparked a thought about the mixing of people who have moved on to the spirit world.  It seems that it might not matter when a person lived once they are gone.  The gone are gone and in this world of the gone, time is no longer a concern.  Do people mix and become non-generational?  Goodness, perhaps that is a Twilight Zone scenario or the thread for a novel!

Saturday, March 1, 2014


In October 2012 Tim and I took a 7,000 mile road trip through the southwest.  We visited nine national parks one of which was Mesa Verde.  We spent the day touring through the pueblos.  I was quite taken by the one, Cliff Palace, that everyone has seen in photos.  Can you imagine being one of the first people to discover the ruins?

In the workshop If Walls Could Talk, Orly Avineri gave an overview of many walls that have historic significance including the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem.  She had placed pieces of paper along art on two of her apartment walls.  We were tasked to find one message and the one you see on the right side is the one I found.

I made an envelope out of the wax paper from a cereal box to hold my found quote.  I want to be able to hold the note from time to time and this is the way I decided to preserve it yet be able to access it.

Why did the peoples who inhabited the pueblos decide to leave?  There are many theories and we would know the explanation if the pueblo walls could talk.