Archive for the ‘Artists’ Category


This is my latest art journal page, completed this evening.

There has been some interest expressed in seeing my process, so I actually took some pictures as I created this one.  The first thing I did was cut up some left over pieces of card stock and put them onto the page using soft gel medium.


Once the gel medium was dry, I covered the whole page with white gesso.  It looked so barren I got out my PearlX copper pigment and scattered it on the wet gesso.  Then I smooshed it around with the brush I had been using to apply the gesso.


I let that dry, then put more texture on using modeling paste through a stencil.


Once that was dry, I had a conversation with a client who wanted to know how I glued all those little pieces on.   I wound up demonstrating glass bead gel and fiber paste by smearing them around on the piece.  Once all that was dry, I used some paints to color the textures.  After that, I sprayed a stencil and printed it  on the page.   Once all that was dry, I covered the whole thing with clear gesso so my sprays wouldn’t move.


Then I had to do a couple of massages.  When I was done with that, all the gesso was dry. So I got out my DalerRowney pearlescent acrylic inks and did drippage.   I experimented with some alcohol ink drops too, but didn’t really like where they were going so I wiped most of that off.   A little bit of that color remained behind, though (the blue splotches in the middle).DSCF6516

I finished off with some stamping, using stamp pad ink as well as some acrylic paint on a stamp.  Final touches were the addition of butterfly embellishments I made in November, and a simple border.



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I know that a lot of people no longer go on road trips.  Finding a good place to eat, playing hotel roulette, needing a non-existent bathroom, astronomical gas prices, unannounced road construction resulting in miles long traffic tie-ups and other hazards of the road have put a lot of people off.  On the other hand, going through security and being trapped in an airport by weather, power outages, exploding air conditioners, or bombs going off can make air travel very tedious indeed.

I have experienced train, bus, car, air and cruise travel in my life.  They all have their bonuses and banes.  I am not going into that here.  I just want to report on a few visions I have seen along the way.

Out in New Mexico there are a pair of billboards on the opposite sides of I-40 that amused me greatly.  One reads “Cline’s Corner — World Famous.”  The other proclaims “Flying C Ranch — World Famous-er.”

Once I serendipitously got a picture of a bluebird perched on a fence that was on Pajarito Rd. in Pajarito Village.  Pajarito means “little bird” in Spanish.  This amused me for some reason.

A few years ago I was on a road trip with my sister and we decided to make a side trip off the not so main highway on the strength of an entry in the book we were enjoying “Roadside Geology of New Mexico.”  We wanted to see the interesting formation mentiomed up close and personal.  Our map indicated a country lane that might be passable would deliver us back to the highway.  We decided that if it became too exciting we could always turn around before we broke an axle and retrace our route back to pavement.  As it turned out the road was fine and we wound up following hand painted signs saying “Pottery Ahead” to a place where an amazing artist threw and glazed amazing pots.  I still enjoy the little bowl I bought from Ivy Heymann.  This never would have happened if we had stuck to the Interstates.

My favorite sights are the hand made signs.  Caught a really good one on this trip out in Northeast Texas in the Caddo National Grasslands.  It was posted on a large locked gate and read:  PRAYER IS A GREAT WAY TO MEET GOD.  TRESPASSING WORKS TOO

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My new addiction

So, to those of you who used to follow me here, if you are still around, this is one of the things I have been deeply involved with, mixed media art journaling.   It is a certainty that you will see more posts like this one, wherein I share my abstract art addiction.

I may even venture into the process blog.  I wouldn’t expect any videos any time soon as I am definitely not set up for that.  I have made videos but the editing of them has escaped my meager computer talents.  I feel grateful that I am able to crop my still photos!

Anyway, in the intervening time when I was NOT blogging, I was doing a LOT of art journal pages.  This is a few of them.




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Fall color



Been a while since I was moved to make a scan.   Found some nifty things out in the woods while I was walking Ruby today.


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Since our cruise took off from Vancouver and our cruise line offered a convenient transfer there from the SeaTac airport, we decided to go a little early and spend some time in Seattle.   It was a city which we enjoyed immensely during our past Navy life when Jim was stationed at Bremerton, right across Puget Sound from Seattle.  We used to take the ferry across and spend a day there dinking around Pike Street Market, enjoying a beer somewhere.   Often we would by a couple of dungeness crabs, have them split, and take them home with crusty french bread for dinner.

All I can say is that tourism has pretty much ruined Pike Street Market.   I’m sure in the off season it is still a fun place to shop, but during the cruising season it is a zoo packed with people who are there to experience it, but not actually interested in buying anything.   The amazing displays of food, flowers and art are viewed as entertainment.   I’m sure that there is stuff being sold, but if you actually want to buy seafood, it is better to go across the street to the less popular market which is not crammed with tourists watching the fishmongers throw fish across the aisles.  Whatever.

We had scheduled a hot air balloon ascent, but it was cancelled due to foul weather.   This is still on my bucket list.   As Jim said, we just need to get out to Albuquerque when the hot air balloons are there.    The same company we scheduled with in Seattle area runs a branch in the Albuquerque area during the fall and winter.   I’ll bet they don’t get weathered out so often there.

So we took our rental car and went for a drive instead, out to Whidbey Island, where Jim served two tours of duty early in his Navy career.   He showed me the very first house he lived in there off base, and we were both impressed that it is still there 40 years later.    Drove across the Deception Pass bridge and down along the I-5 corridor to the winery area north of Seattle.   We enjoyed tasting wines at the Chateau Ste. Michelle and Columbia Crest wineries, purchased three bottles to take with us on the cruise which we shared with our cruising companions.   After the wine tasting, we headed back to Seattle with plenty of time to return the rental car before we got charged for another day.

Ha ha ha ha ha.   It has been a long time since we experienced a big city rush hour traffic congestion situation.    I hope it is even longer before I do again.   It took us over 7 minutes to go around the block to get to the rental car place.

As is our usual custom, extensive research was conducted before we left on this vacation.   Despite the fact that we lived in the area for a while, that was twenty-five years ago, and much has changed in the interim.   One of the things that has been established since then is Chihuly Garden and Glass at the Seattle Center.  Dale Chihuly is an internationally reknowned artist in glass.  I was aware of his existence when we lived in the Seattle area, and I wish to heck now that I had purchased some of his work at that time, when it was still affordable.   At the museum gift shop they had Chihuly bowls for sale, the cheapest one was about 8 inches in diameter and they “only” wanted $4000  for it, and NO, I do not have the quantity of zeros wrong.

A few years ago, Chihuly did an installation at the Missouri Botanical Gardens in St. Louis.   I visited that, and blogged about it.

When I was up in Seattle with my mother and sisters back in late May, I suggested that we might want to visit this exhibit.   When the price of admission was mentioned, $19 for all day entry and re-entry after dark, my mother deemed it “too expensive.”    The upshot was, we Smith women did not experience the Chihuly exhibit, which is a shame; I think we would have all enjoyed it.  Jim and I determined to go, and as far as I am concerned it was WELL worth the price of admission.

Even though Chihuly no longer does a lot of work due to injuries, he has a group of glass artists that carry out his visions.    And visions they are.  The museum contains pieces that date back to his earliest work, when he was inspired by North American Indian basketry.





Once you leave this room, you enter a room that is inspired by the ocean and the myriad creatures that inhabit it.   Now I have to say, this was an extremely difficult thing to photograph, what with the hordes of people surrounding it and the rather vast size of the installation.


To give you a little concept of scale, this is one of the creatures on that vase shape of glass.   It is about 6 inches long.


Also in the room were numerous smaller pieces depicting crabs, shrimp, and my favorite, the octopi:


I really had a hard time getting great shots in this room.   The lighting was designed to highlight each individual work, some of them were large and had lots of shadows.   I did not have the right equipment, and so many of the images remain in my memory rather than in digital form.  There were plenty of others that were good enough to delight.

This is one of the huge glass balls that supported one of the octopus creations.


The next room contained the Persian ceiling.   Now I honestly have no clue as to why Chihuly chose to call these sorts of things Persians.   Anyway, these sorts of forms occur all through the exhibit.   Here, there was a glass ceiling that had the pieces stacked all over it, some on top of others and the whole thing lit from above.   It was magic.    I could have shot 500 pictures in here and never gotten it all.   We spent a long time looking up in this room.  Amazing.


You walk out of the Persian ceiling into another very large room that contains an installation inspired by Chihuly’s mother’s garden.   Another one that was difficult to shoot:  large large large and surrounded by people oohing and aahing (just like we were).   The phantasmagoria of botanically inspired shapes was… well… amazing.   Sorry.  I just don’t have words.

A side note here:  more than once as I progressed through this collection of shape and color I wondered what it would be like to be on some sort of psychedelic drug while experiencing this art work.




At spots in the exhibition, there were what was referred to as design walls.   Chihuly discovered paint somewhere along the way in his glass blowing career, and began working out designs using all sorts of media on water color paper.



You can see his chandeliers in the above design wall.




Another room was inspired by an installation where he was floating glass balls in some river, sorry, don’t remember which one.   Anyway, there were people out in small boats catching the balls  at the end of town after they floated down the river,and Chihuly liked the idea of boats full of balls.  Incidentally, that boat is a real boat and about 20 feet long.


He also did a boat full of floral forms.   This is a detail of one of the flowers in that boat.


The last inside room was one that contained several giant bowl forms.   They were very large, around a meter in diameter.  I can’t imagine how many of these were spoiled during the annealing process of the glass blowing.    Absolutely incredible.




After all this intense color in black rooms with brilliant spot lights, we emerge into the Glass House, inspired by the great conservatories of the world.


Frankly, I thought it was more magical at night.


The informational signs claim that many of the forms here were inspired by the Space Needle.



I can see it.    I was fascinated by the huge botanical form, an installation of many Persians.



Outside, in the gardens, I see another inspiration for the Persians in the hardy geraniums.


The Space Needle shows up all over the place.



And now, the gardens.   Both in the grey afternoon and at night, illuminated.   I felt that some of these installations would have benefitted from being lit from underneath the actual glass piece rather than having spotlights on them.   But that is a mere quibble.   Everywhere was color, fantasy forms, details of color and light.










Last image, probably my favorite despite the blur.  There were installations on the installations; the art had become habitat.   This was the home of a little spider, all upset because my camera was so close to her, shaking her web so that maybe I would not notice her…


I hope you have enjoyed this tour of Chihuly’s visions in glass.    It was extremely difficult to cull the hundreds of images I acquired along the way through this positively fabulous collection.   There were hundreds and hundreds of pieces of glass, every one of them was beautiful.

“Even the orchestra is beautiful….”

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Fun with fabric

It is no secret that I have always been attracted to collage.   And it is also not a secret that I give my sewing machine a workout on a regular basis.   I may not have mentioned previously that making quilts was a thing that my mother has done ever since I can remember, and we were often involved in the activity.

She made quilts for all of us when we moved to Colorado, a necessity due to the aged and infirm house we lived in.  Mine was a “Rob Peter to Pay Paul” and I helped her piece it.   My older sister’s was a Lone Star quilt, and at present that quilt resides here now for some arcane reason which I do not remember.

My regular readers will also recall that I recently made a quilt for our bedroom, which turned out even more beautiful than I had imagined it would be.  That really got me going, actually.   I’m in the process of thinking about a baby quilt for our new grandchild, who is now big enough to have been sonogrammed.   (Is that a word?)  I’m also thinking about a quilt for its parents as well.   At Christmas time I made a few sets of place mats and napkins using the bargello technique.  If I say so myself, they turned out very nicely.

I recently made an impulse purchase of a book on a quilt piecing technique called “Stack and Whack.”   I was moved to do this because of the amazing example of it hanging on the wall of the fabric store I frequent.    So last night I tried it out.   The book has a few deficiencies, the instructions are unclear and often leave out critical measuring steps.   But after wasting a couple of stacks of pieces, I made two quilt blocks using this technique.   I am enthralled.



Here’s the real kicker.   Both of those squares were created from the same fabric source.   Yes, I did use different background fabric for both of them, but the diamonds came from this fabric:


I honestly find it amazing that two such different squares arose from the same fabric source.

I really love this.  It is really just another form of collage using fabric rather than paper.

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Autumn mandala

It was a rainy day here in the Ozarks, but not particularly cold or windy, so I took Ruby for her walk anyway.   We had a wonderful time.  Of course she found a stick, which I threw numerous times.

We saw large mixed flocks of sparrows and finches, who were enjoying the ripening grass heads in the field.  I saw song sparrows, white crowned sparrows, and white chinned sparrows.   I’m sure there were others out there too.   The gold finches were flying with them.  Around the house we have lots of juncos and chickadees.   This morning I saw a brown thrasher in the stroll garden, which surprised me.   I would have thought they had migrated south by now, but it hasn’t really been all that cold here.   There is no sense of urgency.

The oaks are turning their shades of red and orange, and the japanese maple by my pond is a wonderful scarlet right now.   I felt inspired to make an autumn mandala scan using these items plus some grass that was calling me.

The mood is somber out there, matching mine.   I’ve been thinking very deeply lately, motivated by my sessions with my therapist.  There is a lot to grieve for, and I have been journaling a lot.

My father fails daily, the weight of his years suddenly seems almost too much for him to carry any longer.   The family is gathering this weekend; we are throwing a dinner party for the whole group here since we are going to be gone over Thanksgiving.    I am glad we are going to have this opportunity to be together before we all fly to the four winds once again.

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