Tag Archives: art


So my dogs are still trying to figure out what they think about me working in my new studio space. Right now it is just a desk in the corner and all my house painting junk around me. Here they are at my feet waiting for me to get up and play with them instead of make art.


This page took me 3 daily sessions to finish. First day I used water soluable pastels to make a background. It was really wet and needed to dry. I tried to use my new heat gun, but I felt like it was crumpling the page too much and I got bored. Next day, I added the collage elements. I decided I wanted them to be gears. I used my phone to look up images and my PITT pens to turn the circles into gears.  After I found a quote that I liked, I added the clock and time collage elements to tie it together. The quote says, “We all have a time machine. Some take us back, those are called memories, some take us forward, those are called dreams.”


In my moleskin journal that I am using, I always skip pages in between… Mostly because the paper is kinda thin… But then I use the inbetween pages to write about my process. I have been recording the date and place where I made the page. (A lot of my summer pages were in the garden.) Then I record my process and the meaning of the page. I hope to share this journal with my students, so they can see how I, as an artist, work. Plus since I am exploring new materials as I try to do a daily practice of visual journalling, I want to record my materials and how I use them. I know a lot of other visual journalists write all that stuff within the art page… But I prefer a cleaner look.




Our theme for school this year is Kindness, and a recent Journal 52 prompt was the same. So perfect for a new page in my journal.

I started with some collage, then acrylic paint wash over that. This dried overnight. I drew a little sketch of 2 people hugging to add and then included a fun quote. This was a 2 day page for my daily September Art Challenge.

September Art Challenge


My new SAL (School for Art Leaders) Leadership Experiment is to work on art for at least 15 minutes per day for the month of September. This goal/experiment is inspired by my friend Keri, who wanted people to make art with her for the month. She is bed-ridden with a broken butt and can’t do her usual large paintings. So she is journal sketching for the month.

I didn’t finish my studio remodel project by the end of summer as planned, but things are done enough that I have a little art desk in the corner of the room. I have been taking some time before and/or after work to work on journal prompts from Journal 52.

I will try to keep updated with the new pages and projects here.

The page here is for the Journal 52 prompt of “plans.” Since it is the beginning of the school year, I am very busy with making plans. While this page is a little less “pretty” than my usual journal pages, it does capture what my life is like right now with all the calendars, lists, forms and other things that make up the start of the year.

WIP Beaded Journal Project

jan 2010 WIP Beaded Journal Project

The Beaded Journal Project has begun again. The third round of this amazing project begins with January 2010 and will end in December. The goal is to make a beaded work of art that is a visual journal representing that month. You can read more about the project at the website. This year there are hundreds of people participating. I am part of blog #3 along with 100 others.

So this is my January page in progress. Last year, I did alter style pages that were big (8″x 10″) and an odd size, which is making it difficult to finish them off in a professional looking manner. But it will be done, eventually! Meanwhile I move on. This year I thought about a doll shape either flat or 3-D. But I decided that would be pushing it again. Last year was really my first exposure to beading and it was a wonderful challenge. I decided on a small (4″x6″) size and a basic postcard shape. I learned quite a few things from Robin in her class, so these are not multiple layers with batting (like last year’s, which added to the complication of finishing.) Instead just a simple piece of paper backs the fabric.

I chose “Journey” for my guiding word for 2010, so these pages will hopefully be in tune with that word as well. But I have also been very interested in the tree as a symbol lately. I like the idea of growth, the protection of bark, the stability of roots, and even the element of annual life, death, hibernation and rebirth. This month’s page represents that symbol.

I still have quite a bit that I want to do on this page, but it is moving along smoothly.


2008-2009 Beaded Journal Project Update

All 12 pages from last year’s Beaded Journal Project are started, 9 of them are completely done with the beading. However, I am still struggling with how to display them or back them/finish them. At first I was planning to make them a big book together, then as little shrines with equally beaded doors that closed. I tried a number of different ways to make the pages sturdy enough to stand on their own, but flexible enough to open and close. I tried thick interfacing, felt and quilt batting of different thicknesses, these were great for opening and closing the doors, but didn’t work at all for standing. Then I tried some card stock, cardboard and finally mat board. These were either too thin or too thick.  I thought I had it all figured out after Robin’s class, but I can’t seem to make it work with the odd shape. Besides, where am I ever doing to display them where I have 12 podiums that are high enough to be able to examine the details.

9 months of BJP

My next plan is to try and turn them into a wall hanging, still keeping them in the groups of three that were part of the original plan. But because I have already turned the edges and backed some of them I am not sure how I will attach them. I am thinking perhaps reverse applique. I auditioned some groupings and some backing fabrics. It seems that a simple black will be the best choice, other colors will detract from the work.

This is June’s page, quite a difference from the beginning. June is the end of the school year so it is very hectic, closing up the classroom and getting ready for the summer. I created this fabric from a doodle I did in my paper art journal at my April art retreat. I scanned in the doodle, then mirrored it in photo shop, then printed it out on fabric. I used a lot of new techniques I learned from some beading books that I acquired, and then adapted to my own style.

dec2009 062

Here are the remaining ones that need to be beaded.

This one is July. Spending time in my garden is the main thing that I enjoy during the summer months. This one is still very raw and has no bead work yet. But it is still part of the plan.

dec2009 052

This one is August. I have been training for a triathlon all summer and August is the heaviest training month. Still need to get beading on this.

dec2009 054

I am really pleased with how the beading parts are progressing (although slowly) and I am getting really excited for the next round.

Here are some things I learned from the first round, the reading and research on beading that I have done in the process and my class with Robin.

  • 8″x10″ is WAY too big for a first beading project!!! Prior to this project I have mostly been making fabric collages from 22″x 18″ or larger. I have also made little ATC sized mini fabric collages. But these have all only had a little bit of bead embellishment. So I thought that this ‘small’ size was going to be fine. BUT for bead embellishment it was too big. ~so for my next BJP I will be creating in a smaller size~
  • Alter-shaped is way too advanced and difficult of a shape. Again for my first project. The pointy shape is hard to turn and finish. yikes!  ~so for my next BJP I will try to pick an easier shape, however I am really leaning towards dolls~
  • Quilting and including batting layers are not necessary. In the class with Robin we just used paper as a backing . This made it easier to turn the edges when the beading was done. The thick layers made this part very difficult in this first series.
  • Printed fabrics with pictorial images will limit the beading. Because I was new to the whole thing I used some printed images to guide my beading, almost like a coloring book I beaded the images. This was fun and was a good way to start, but it is also very freeing to move to non-representational fabrics.
  • An Ott light is a GREAT advantage.
  • A bugle bead pathway is a great way to move forward when you are stuck.

So a few days from now is the NEW year and a new round of the Beaded Journal Project. Will I pick a smaller size, an easier shape, neutral farbics? I am really leaning towards dolls!


Class Sampler

I was afraid that an 8 hours beading class would be WAY to long. and on some level it was. By the end I was making lots of mistakes. But on the other hand the time flew by quickly and we learned a TON. The techniques for beading with Robin had the goal of making a little sampler. we were given a 3″x3″ piece of fabric, basted to (acid-free) paper! this was new to me but a technique she stands by and it did work well. Gave the fabric a little stiffness while working, but not too stiff. Plus as you punch it with a needle over and over, it becomes supple.

There were only 7 people in the class. The lady next to me came from Spokane and is a crazy quilter. Her work is wonderful and she is not a newbie to beading. We did have a couple VERY new beaders but the rest of us were experienced enough. Robin is a strict but patient teacher. “both eyes on me” meant you better be watching and not trying to sneak in a few stitches. 🙂 But her directions are so clear and her drawings make something difficult to understand very easy to create. I love her drawings! There wasn’t much talking among the students. We were very focused. Beading take a lot of concentration. It is not a chatty type craft. You could hear our pins drop.

The conference provided each work station with an Ott light, which I now realize is a necessary item! The room was well lit, but freezing. Which can make it harder to bead!

We started with the basic stitches. seed stitch, then lazy stitch and it’s many vaiations, then a couching stitch and finally back stitch. I have done all of these. out of common sense and just figuring things out on my own. but the variations were mostly all new to me. All of them I have seen in RObin’s work and after we learned each one we were challenged to start identifying them in her work. For each stitch she brought around her work to show examples and variations. It was lovely to see all her work in person! Pictures online are interesting, becasue they can be in such high definition that you see them in more detail than you can in real life. but you can’t really see the texture unless you see them live.

We also learned edge stiches and dangling stitches. ALL of the work that we did is in her book that I already had. BUT it was opportunity to ASK questions while working through the stitches. and clear up some of the things that weren’t working for me as well as try ones I hadn’t been brave enough to explore yet. Learning the edge stitch and seeing her work in person to really examine HOW they were finished was the best part. It is where I have really been stuck with my own work so far. and now I have the solutions! I am excited to finish up my bead journal pieces from this year and move on to some new ones! So I have officially joined up again for Janurary. (Robin did sell us all on joining!)

She also talked about her process which helped me too. At first I used the printed fabric and beaded ON the pattern, following it like a paint by number. I love those pieces but I did move on to more solid colors and became more improvasational. As I gain more confidence I continue to get less literal. She talked about what she does when she gets stuck and how she starts out pieces. All this was very helpful.

It was a long but wonderful class and I am so glad I took it.

I  had quit on several months of my Beaded Journal Project pieces, leaving them semi-finished. I had not been able to figure out ways to make the backs look good, I had run out of steam and ideas on the beading on some of them and just called them finished. and I still have one month that has been sewn but not beaded yet.

BUT after this class I have been totally re inspired. I learned so many new techniques. and all the variations of them. I have been beading almost non-stop since I got back. After finishing the sampler, I revisited some of my journal pages that I had previously thought was done. I have been working on some wonderful additions to my December page. I feel like I see the fabric in a whole new way. Getting unstuck is just a bugel bead pathway away.

Also seeing her work in person turned on the light bulb for how to finish my own and ways to display them to really show them off. Now I just need to get some book board and foam core to get them done. I was also excited to share my work with Robin (which she seemed to enjoy!)

I got another one of her books (I own 3 now) and I highly recommend them!

So I signed up for another year of the beaded journal project. I plan to take on a smaller size this time! but thinking about going 3-D and making them dolls.

Finding the Person in the Art

Tricia  posed some questions and since I am seeking new direction, I thought it would be a good exercise.

dramaqueenDo you find that the statement “You can tell a lot about a person by the art that they make” is true?
Yes and no.
As an art teacher I do learn a lot about my students through their artwork, but they are really new to art, most don’t consider themselves artist yet, but they are pre-teens so EVERY thing is about them so they usually put a lot of their personality (or sometimes the parts that they want people to know about) into their art. Some of my assignments ask them to put that sort of thing out there.

I know my experience has been that in the past my work held a lot of my personality and passions, almost to the point of therapy. Now not so much. At least ,I don’t see the same level of meaning and subtext that I used to.

Is the work you did ten years ago different?

YES, the work I am doing now I think is very different. For several reasons… one I have been teaching now for 10 years. As part of my job I have to experiment in a lot of different mediums, make examples, explore ideas, take classes on new techniques with new materials. etc. So I feel pretty scattered in a lot of ways. 15 years ago I was working in a gallery and showing art more regularly, I was focused on my one medium (collage) creating in a series and entering shows and contests. I had a body of solid work. I do think that this work had a lot of my personality in it, of the person that I was then. There was a lot of depression, relationship and body issues and those came out in my work. One of the things I LOVED about gallery openings is that people would talk about my work either to me, and ask questions, or with other people and I would overhear their comments. So much of myself would come out in the work that I had NOT intentionally put in there.

blue pagesFor example in this piece (from 1993)a viewer pointed out that the blue swirls near the pelvis of the woman looked like ovaries. I did not intend this, or think of that as a symbol, but the piece has a lot to do with relationships and some struggles I had about whether or not I would want to or be able to be a mother. Also in this piece the face is a mirror, which I mostly did because I was not happy with my ability to draw faces at the time.  But I was asked if it was because the person didn’t know, or was searching for who they were. I realized that this really did fit at the time.

My work now, maybe still reflects my personality, I am just much more settled in my self but less settled in the techniques and skills of my media.

Is the content or the media the same? Neither are the same for me now. But I am a very different person too. It would feel false to attempt to still create the type of work I was making 10-15 years ago. In fact I have tried to do some of that style/type of work recently and it is not working for me.

2007july27 013Have you matured artistically or just improved your skills?

I believe I have matured artistically and personally, BUT I am still needing to hone my skills in my new choice of medium, fiber. If I had stuck with the same medium and not been dabbling in a ton of stuff for work and for fun, then I think I would have some nice bodies of work, but that might also have become stale and repetitive. I think I needed to change my medium to move to a new level artistscally but in the meantime I have lost some of my direction.

Is there a difference? Yes, although often they happen at the same time.

Do you know someone who’s art clearly reflects who they are?

As an online friend of many artists, I know many that are well developed in their art and I can look at a piece and KNOW it was made by a particular person. They have a style that is well developed, a skill with their chosen medium and have worked towards making a body of work. But I don’t KNOW if I really KNOW them… I have a picture in my mind about them, based on their work that may or may not be accurate.

Bridgette creates work that I envy in what I see as a calm zen of simplicity. Through her work I imagine that she is an introspective, spiritual person. She has trees as a common symbol, which I see as someone who is grounded. There is still many different emotions in her work as she struggles through the trials of daily life, but it all still seems centered.

Angie’s work is so full of story, place, ideas and her beliefs. I feel like I know so much through her work about her and about the world. Her style, symbolism and passion is so solid and mature. I am proud to own one of her pieces that not only told me something about her, but also tells me something about myself.

Does this exercise give you some clarity or ability to see your creations differently?

Not really or not yet, I have been struggling with my work for the past couple years, not having a direction or a solid body of work. Not feeling inspired or having a theme. I just feel very scattered. Not sure what steps I need to take to get past this block. But perhaps getting out to some shows or artist groups so that I can talk to people about my work and find out what my current work is SAYING to other people.

Mixed Mania

Mixed Mania: Recipes for Delicious Mixed-Media Creations


This summer I have been looking at a lot of books, buying them and checking them out at the library. I decided that perhaps some reviews were in order. I look for books that might give me inspiration, teach me a new skill, guide me through a project idea or lead my artwork in a new direction. I also browse books that might aid me in my classroom instruction, or ones that might provide students with ideas and inspirations for their own classroom projects. Here I will attempt to share the ones I like and didn’t like, and would love your feedback! 

Mixed-Mania is written by Debbi Crane and Chery Prater. As new media changes the way we communicate,  it is interesting to know that they collaborated long-distance on this book. But it is even more interesting to know that they had not met in person and were introduced online through mutual art connections. They worked on the book entirely online and only met in person a couple of times, yet they banter as if they have been life-long friends. I marvel at this dynamic and think about how this sort of thing would not have happened as easily fifteen years ago.

This book is written in the style of a cookbook. I love this because I also like to read cookbooks. Plus it is a very unique spin on how to offer up the ideas and instructions that is different from other art project/technique books. I particularly like the Substitution Chart… like if you just don’t have Diamond Glaze you can use any 2-part epoxy resin for the same effect. (OK so I still don’t have any of that, but still it is a good chart.)

It starts with some “Creative Kitchen Basics” (A discussion of the elements and principles of art) moves into some “Artistic Appetizers” which are easy projects, then some “Main Courses” and “Special Occasions” that are larger projects including several fabric related pieces. At the end there is a gallery, which I always love and some templates for the included projects.

Each project is set up with shopping and ingredient lists, followed by step-by-step instructions and pictures. Most of the bigger projects are broken down into smaller parts and start with some text about the inspiration and back ground of the project. Throughout the book there are snippets of the creative dialogue between the two writers, which is fun.

I haven’t done any of the projects, but many of them look a lot like things I have already done. I would certainly recommend this book for people new to mixed media. While the images are inspiring and fun, I didn’t really see any great new skills for me to learn. So this one will be going back to the library.

Beaded Journal Pages

I am beginning to finish up some of the backs of my pages, while still working on new ones. I have ironed on some backing fabric with a stiff no-sew double-sided  interfacing and a back ribbon in the same way. This helps the pages to stand up. In my prototypes I sewed in some card stock, but I really didn’t like how that worked out. (too stiff)

Beaded Journal Project first 3 months ~closed~

I wrote up a little paragraph describing the feelings, reasons and thoughts behind each page. I printed the paragraphs onto some t-shirt transfers and then ironed on to white fabric. I can’t iron on these to my backing fabric because of the transfer surface and I can’t sew them on with the machine because of all the beads of course. So for now I am gluing them on with some tacky glue. (Wishing I had some of that great fabric glue)

Beaded Journal Project first 3 months ~backs~

So now I am trying to decide if I add the paint brushes to the fold points as stands (like in my prototype) or if the interfacing will be enough to help them stand, or if I even want them to stand. I like them each separately more than together.

BJP Finished September 2008

Written on back

~September 2008~
Back to School
This month is about fresh starts. New school supplies, Back to school clothes, new ideas for lesson plans and a fresh group of kids. A sense of excitement and refreshment after a long break. But ready to get back in the swing of things. Ready to learn, ready to share, ready to teach, I am an art teacher and
Ready to Reach

BJP Finished October 2008

Written on back

~October 2008~
El Día de los Muertos
Halloween has always been a favorite holiday of mine. Throughout the years I have made many costumes, some simple some more elaborate. All with the desire to be someone else for a brief time. Now that I garden, and live in a more Hispanic area, Day of the Dead has a little more influence. I celebrate the end of the growing season. The little deaths in my life that will make way for new things to grow in the coming year. I love the imagery of this holiday and its spirit for honoring and remembering those that have passed on.
Remember the Dead

BJP Finished November 2008

Written on back

~November 2008~
We adopted our dog in November, so this will always mark his “birthday” and entry into our family. He is one of the very best things in my life. I never knew you could love a dog so much. I love him more and more every year. He is often my muse, a friend to play with, someone who always listens to my stories, frequently my pillow and always
My Furry Child

BJP WIP December 2008

I need to finish the backing for this one, but the beading, I have decided, is done! I was going to add more, but I realized that I wanted the page to be simple and quiet with an essence of snow and cold.
Written on back

~December 2008~
December can be a hellishly hectic time of year. I used to work retail management and this was the most stressful time of year without a doubt. Now I get a break. This year it was a break filled with record breaking snow, impassible roads, and hours to snuggle in the quiet warmth of the house. All parties and gatherings were cancelled for safety. Most people probably don’t realize the introvert that lives inside of me. Parties are stressful and lots of work for me on a mental and emotional level. This low key, stay at home, forced seclusion was a
Winter Wonderland

BJP WIP January 2009

This one is January’s page… still a work in progress. I just want to finish the other brown butterfly and the left blue spiral. This page is about new beginnings. January is a big month for goal setting and resolutions. Butterflies are a great symbol of rebirth. Spirals are a symbol of life. So this page is about making a commitment to myself to continue in my self-improvement and fitness. I haven’t written my paragraph for this one quite yet. But it will be something similar to the above. This one also still needs to have a backing finishing, after the beading is done.

BJP WIP February 2009
This one is February’s page… still a work in progress.  This page was inspired by the landscape assignment in my Joggles mini art quilt class. Purple is my favorite color and I wanted to make a landscape that was based on a winter sunset. The heart fabric was completely accidental.  I am not a huge Valentine’s Day person so I was not trying to be sappy. Then I saw a great bead that my friend Pam created and I knew it was perfect for the focal piece. This one is more like January’s page, more abstract. While the other months so far have had a printed image that I have beaded on or around. It has been fun to bead in a less directed way, but it is harder to know when I am done.  This one also still needs to have a backing finishing, after the beading is done.

I guess it is about time to move on to March!

Self-portraits don’t have to be pretty


It is the self-portrait show over at EBSQ this month. I submitted a couple of pieces and you should go VOTE for your favorite. This was not entered. This is an example for my students and not really finished… working on both value, proportions and expression. I haven’t felt like finishing it because it makes me look so old and grumpy! This does not fit my mind’s image of what I look like. Unfortunately, I was using a mirror, so it must be fairly realistic.

Here are my other self-portraits “Love of the Bizarre” and “Stop and Smell the Vibrancy” I also have a piece in the Alice In Wonderland show