Thursday, December 31, 2015


Happy New Year to you all!  We are off to a party in a few minutes and I am posting by the skin of my teeth!  I made it with the last post of the year.  I finished this piece in the envelope journal in about 15 minutes.  I am trying to push myself and be free and spontaneous with some of my collage work.  Part of this collage is a collaboration in a way as Terry Garrett sent me the envelope that you see on the left.

Have a good evening and a wonderful 2016!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015


Mail Envelope Art # 2 - Bingo
This evening I decided I had to do two more pieces of art this year, one tonight and one tomorrow, New Year's Eve.  Doing so will give me a statistic of creating a piece of art at least every other day for posting.  It is an average but since I was so close I am going for it.  This spread is in an envelope journal created from mail art sent to me.  So it is a collaboration in a way.  The portion of envelope on the right was created by yours truly and Jacki Long.  The envelope on the left was the back of an envelope sent to me from the UK and the home of Catherine Redmayne.  I created the piece in just 30 minutes as an activity to use whatever I could find on my desk.  Stay tuned for the last piece of my work in 2015 tomorrow.  :-)

Monday, December 28, 2015

Praying to the Grape Gods

Praying to the Grape Gods
Praying to the Grape Gods resides in a RR journal going on an eleven month journey beginning the first mailing day in January.  In this piece I used material that Tim gave me for Christmas.  He found some images from the 1920s that an artist George Barbier created as posters.  My nimble fingers used pieces of three posters to create a new piece.  The moon I found in a recent magazine as well as part of the landscape material.  I added teabags, napkins, and, of course, my favorite tissue crows.  Done!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Paint Transfer

Doesn't Have to Mean Anything
I have a journal that I made out of envelopes from letters, mail art, and whatnot.  The journal is a place that I add bits and pieces from time to time and practice a technique that I want to use in other journals.  So this morning I wanted to try a paint transfer again.   I love paint transfers but I tend to be impatient and want to hurry up the process.  The transfer might turn out better if I let it dry naturally. I seem to always speed up the process with a hairdryer though.  I do not mind the decaying or distressed look of the image when rubbing takes more off than I planned.

The left hand side is the transfer.  I manipulated an image in PhotoShop and printed it.  I then painted white paint on the substrate which is the interior of an envelope from a friend.  I painted white paint over the printed image and burnished it to the substrate.  Once it was dry I rubbed off the fiber backing to reveal the image.  Next came adding collage materials to both the left and right substrates. I like to tie the two side together somehow and that was done with a bit of gray material and some stenciling.  I do not necessarily feel that the composition has to mean anything.  I leave it up to you to decide if there is a story here.  I can always come up with one for myself if I desire.  Guess what?  I have and it involves LOVE! :-)

Friday, December 25, 2015

Round Robin Journal

California Washington, Colorado  Round Robin Journal
Well I did it yesterday.  I made a second journal in the requested format for my latest RR.  Now I have to make the decision.  Do I use this journal or the one in yesterday's post for this RR.?
For this journal I adhered teabags to heavy cardboard cut to size.  Then I stenciled using a wonderful blue spray paint I got from Dick Blick 's.  I bound it using binding tape and a pamphlet stitch and added a metal key tag that I got at an antique store in Bellingham earlier this month.  I plan on adding a string to act as a closure.

Next I best get to journaling as I have three RR going right now and they all have to be done and in the mail by the end of the month. :-)  Let the fun begin!

Merry Christmas, Happy belated Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa,   merry solstice, and happy anything I have forgotten.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Asian Journal

Asian Journal
I am starting a new RR with new friends mostly in California and a few "old" friends in Washington and Colorado. So I made a journal for eleven spreads.  I had some rice paper ledgers which I used for the cover and then I stenciled a simple design over this paper.  I added a dragon button that I found on Orcas Island.  It was ready to go when I shared my journal with Tim and he said, "This one is staying home, right?"  I guess he liked it.   SOOOOOOOOOOOO  I am making a second journal and then I will decide which one is heading out on an eleven month journey.  Stay tuned.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Journal 52

Journal 52

Journal 52 Coptic Binding
I was bound and determined to finish the construction of this journal today.  This morning I started on the coptic binding around 6:00 a.m. and worked for about an hour + or - another hour....probably +. Each time I worked on it something happened  I have done coptic binding before but not for a long time.  I was not happy with it for about four tries and ripped it out that many times.  I stopped, went to breakfast, and returned bound and determined I would go it very slowly.  It turned out fantastically if I say so myself.

The wood makes the journal look like barn siding.  I actually picked up the plywood for this on the beach about two years ago. Some plywood boards had washed up on the shore and since plywood is in layers, the water had worked it magic stripping the outer layers. Cleaning up the garage I found it again and said that is what I need for this journal.  So it done.  I have to work on the spreads, of course, but now that is the fun part.  Creating the journal was fun until the binding.  Now I am happy.

Thursday, December 17, 2015


RED was created in a Round Robin journal which belongs to Cathy.  Soon RED will be home as one of five surprises for this owner.  Since I never really have a plan for where a journal spread is going I am always surprised with whatever I do next.  The background is stenciled using stencils I created on Tyvek from Moroccan tiles design.  I did pen work and some e-Brush work.  Finally I collaged a bit and then added a faux encaustic finish.  Done deal!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


One of my students in my Monday garage workshop suggested that we make Christmas tags to exchange this month at our monthly session.  So the group agreed.  I even made tags for my Tuesday group.  It was fun and I am not sure what I will used them for....perhaps bookmarks or hanging on the tree.

Saturday, December 12, 2015


Self Portrait 01 
Self Portrait 02

Self Portrait 03
Last June my art buddies, Thomas, Terry, Brian, and I met in Minnesota for a week of art.  Brian had suggested sometime last year that we should do a book of self-portraits.  Terry surprised us with journals and the suggestion that this year we create a self-portrait for each of us to put in the journals. I finally got mine done last week and mailed them off to the boys.  Mine are my interpretation of a Chuck Close portrait.  I had designed a lesson for this type of portrait that I eventually taught at the Schack Art Center in November to a group of teachers.  So it was perfect for creating and sending to Brian, Thomas, and Terry.  Our journals have room for six portraits.  I will have to get busy to fill the two extra spots!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015



Dreaming has to be one of the weirdest things about sleep.  Most of my dreams I do not remember. When I was a kid I had two reoccurring dreams that I did remember.  One was about snakes entwining me and the other was about falling off of a train trestle floating in air down towards a river. Who knows why I had these dreams?  It seems that bits and pieces of information whether connected or not make up our dreams.

Dream experts say dogs dream in black and white.  How do they know that?  Right now I think I dream in color but then again since I do not remember most dreams who knows.

Dreams is a journal spread that I completed that belongs to my friend Teresa.  We belong to a round robin group of artists who live in the greater Seattle Metropolitan area.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

This is an experiment.  I am trying to create a slide show of some art and so here it is...... Well, now I have to figure out how the total image will show up, but I like th idea so far.

Photo Gallery by QuickGallery.com

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Italian Gothic Postcard

Italian Gothic Postcard
Every once in awhile I dig out people I have used in pieces previously.  My Italian Gothic men have made appearances quite a bit lately.  I have been cleaning up my desk which is unbelievably messy and I found some postcards that I had already started.  In about an hour Italian Gothic postcard came to be.  I used a stenciled background, deli-paper paint off papers, PhotoShopped images that had been altered, and my new love, faux encaustic.

Italian Gothic Postcard No. 2

Italian Gothic Poscard No. 3

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

December 2015 Envelope Exchange

December 2015 Envelope Exchange
December 2015 Envelope Exchange
Here are two examples for the envelope exchanges I do.  I got obsessed with stamping blocks of paint on the envelopes that  I made using my envelope punch board.  If you do not have one or not heard of the punch board....OMG!  Terry Garrett turned me on to it and it is just the best for making envelopes....easy, too once you get the hang of it.

Anyway, I also got some new letter stamps that a friend, Sally, had shown me.  Then there was pen work and image transferring to do.  They were mailed off Monday and will be at new homes most likely today.

Monday, November 30, 2015

ATC December 2015

December 2015 ATC 
December 2015 ATC
In my international ATC group we always have a theme or two every other month to complete.  This time it was using fabric or cardboard.  The ATCs that I made were time consuming which I did not mind.  It seems I go for the difficult when I have so many things on my plate already.   I stamped, did line work, collaged, and tore to get the results I have.  I made 17 cards this time!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

It Is What It Is

It Is What It Is
November has been an extremely busy month for me. I really like to finish works that have deadlines way ahead of schedule.  Completing this piece right before the deadline was a bit stressful for me. Tomorrow this was to go in the mail to the next person in one of the RRs I am in.  I got a reprieve as she is going to be out of town.  However, the piece is done, done, done.

I can't decide if the lettering needs to be heavier or not.  So I will get a chance to live with it for a week and then decide what to do, leave it or enhance it.  On to other deadlines! :-)

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Unspoken Truth

Unspoken Truth
These two men appeared in a piece I did called Italian Gothic.  This piece took a bit of time to do.  I did a somewhat similar background in a journal last summer for the class that Terry, Brian, and I taught in Coupeville, WA.  I love doing texture rubbings which appear in the background.  Adding tissue paper billard balls which my Florida art friend, Thomas, found really add background interest. I photo-shopped the men to achieve the pixelated appearance.  Finally I put a faux encaustic finish on the piece.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Things in Common

Things in Common

Lots of things going on here that I had never tried before.  First, it is going to be framed 20 x 24.  So it is one of the largest pieces I have done.  Second, the finish and final layer is faux encaustic.  I am in love with the technique.  I have wanted to try it and just was not sure if I would like it or not.  Yes, siree! It does have a waxy feel to it.  Not sure if one can tell from looking at it face on, but the feel is very fine.

I found some great napkins at IKEA which I used in this piece.  I love the rub off letters although they were a bear to adhere all the way around the red circle.  Thanks Seth Apter for turning me on to them.  I also have an image transfer.  I love how the background comes through the image.  It is difficult to tell which came first, the image or the background.

I started this piece when all the terrorist activity was going on in Paris.  Hence the French numbers and quite by accident, but maybe in my subconscious, I sort of have the red, white, and blue of the French flag.  So I am dedicating this to the people of France.  I love Paris and I hate to see and hear about the pain that has gone on there and in other parts of the world.  No soapbox here, just thinking of the victims and their families.  It has been a difficult year for the French and especially the Parisians.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

John's Version of Chuck Close Portrait

Chuck Close Portrait
In early November I taught a workshop for teachers at the Schack Art Center in Everett, WA.  Every session that day taught the teachers about portraits and my example for the project I taught included Chuck Close. The reason I chose Chuck Close for this portrait example is because the Schack is having an exhibit of his work beginning in May.  I am involved with student field trips at the Schack.

If you know Chuck Close's work you know that it is pixelated.  I created the background first and then collaged a tissue paper portrait of Chuck Close over the background.  I love how the transparency of the portrait allows the background to show through.

I have had several people wonder why I have disappeared from blogging.  There are several reasons....one, I was sick after my trip to Mexico.....two, I have been swamped with work....three, I am trying to curate a show with my friend, Jan, for the NW Collage Society which begins in January in Seattle.  Just a few days ago I had 17 things on my DO list.  Now I am down to 10.  Busy times.

Happy Thanksgiving! :-)

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Another Meander Journal Pouch

Meander Journal Pouch 2
Shh!  This pouch is heading off to a state just south of Washington.  It is a surprise so I can not relate to whom it is going to but it is a thank you for inspiration.  I loved stenciling the pouch and weaving sari ribbon through the sides to add more je ne sais quoi!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Exploding Box

Exploding Box 1

Exploding Box 2

Exploding Box 3

Exploding Box 4
This box is a hoot to make.  It is actually three nested boxes held together by a lid.  I chose a cat theme for the boxes.  I have a bit more to do on the inside pages and will get to them after a few other projects are completed.  There never seems to be enough time.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Meander Journal

Meander Journal
Meander Journal (open)

This journal is really fun to make.  It is created on a 12 x 18 piece of watercolor paper.  I like it because of the wrap around spine.  The size when finished is a perfectly small journal.  I added sari ribbon to give it a freeing look and to cover about 1/2 inch of the wrap around that needs a little something extra.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Meander Journal Pouch

Meander Journal Pouch
I have been missing in action for a few weeks.  First I went to Mexico with two dear friends.  We had a great time until the last three days.  I got sick.  Not fun at all when on a vacation and especially not fun to travel internationally.  The return trip was less than exciting and when I was finally home I was sick for days.  I had no appetite and I had no energy.  Part of the problem I am sure was that I was most likely dehydrated.  I am just back in the saddle and 99% recovered.  That is a good thing.

I was only able to keep up with obligations.  I had four teaching gigs which I did not cancel.  It is too hard to make them up and besides I love these groups.  Now I am just getting back to doing my own art. While in Mexico my friend, Michele, showed me a meander journal that she had made in a class she took from Judy Wise.  I have done meander journals many times but this one was different as it has a wrap around spine.  Of course I had to make one while on my trip.

We found a great art store in San Miguel Allende and I was able to get everything I needed for the journal.  The one I made was not completed exactly like Michele's example.  Since the trip I made another one, much smaller, which has the same feel but different in size.  One afternoon Judy Wise stopped by our house to visit.  I had to tell her about some projects that I had completed that she inspired me to do....without even knowing she had.  I told her I would create a pouch for her as she was intrigued.  This is the pouch I planned on sending her.  However, I like it so much I am keeping it and will make her a different one.

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Storyteller

The Storyteller
This piece, the Storyteller, has given me a fright!  I rarely, can't even remember the last time, have had issues with being backed into a corner and not having a way out.  That is not the case on this one. I definitely got backed into a corner and totally redid the right hand side of the the spread.

My idea for this one was that the man with the long beard was a storyteller.  I had somewhat of a story going on the right hand side but it just was not working.  So I covered it up with more napkin pieces and decollaged  what you see.  Then it came to me, the man had woven a story from bits and pieces of letters he had gotten at an antique store.  All the letters were written in French.  The storyteller fashioned a story from these bits.  Of course the storyteller had to have a cat who often sits on his lap when he weaves his stories.  It is up to you what that story might be.  I have my own idea.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Girl Who Spoke With Crows

The Girl Who Spoke With Crows
The background on this round robin spread was a breeze.  I whipped it off in just a few minutes.  The rest of the spread came together over a few days.  The numbers were next thanks to an artist friend, Connie Rose who sent me a postcard with numbers on it (Thanks Connie!).  The girl seemed right but what could she be doing or thinking?  Then it came to me this morning when I plopped a crow down on the spread that had been intended for another piece.  Oh yes, The Girl Who Spoke With Crows!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

October 2015 ATCs - Part I (spoiler alert for international ATC group)





My international ATC group makes a card to send bi-monthly.  This time we had a choice of either using the newspaper somehow or we could use our favorite color.  Well, I love fall colors and so they had to be incorporated and I also added clipped words from the Seattle Times.  This time of year is just about perfect weather wise and it seems that the trees could not look better in their fall finery.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Envelope Journal No. 2

Envelope Journal No. 2 (front)

Envelope Journal No. 2 (inside)

Envelope Journal No. 2 (standing)
I just love making this type of journal.  I have so many wonderful pieces of snail mail envelope art.  I love the fact that I can use the envelopes sent me to create on the four sides of each and that it is a collaboration even though the sender did not intend or know that is what was going to happen. Sometimes I add to what is already on the front of the envelope but mostly I do not.  For me, creating signatures out of the nested envelopes makes this journal extra special and it is such an easy way to keep the mail art as a contained treasure.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Postcard Journal No. 2

Postcard Journal No. 2 (front)

Postcard Journal No. 2 (back)

Postcard Journal No. 2 (open)
So many postcards now have a new home.  I really like the pocket journal that I designed with one exception.  I have to find a paper that does not split when folded.  Perhaps I am in too much of a hurry to complete the journal and perhaps I should wait a few days before folding.  Not going to happen!  I love finishing the journal too much!