Thursday, October 14, 2010


Wow, it's been a long time since I've blogged. For a month or two, I just accepted the fact that I simply didn't feel like it. But as time wore on, I forced myself to figure out why I didn't feel like blogging. The first realization was my telling myself that nobody read my blog so why bother? But that hadn't stopped me before. Then I realized that I was apprehensive that somebody actually might be reading it. Yikes.

Currently I am in Arizona. I got out of Minnesota just in time; it snowed two days after I left. This is my first winter officially being a snowbird...I really didn't think I was old enough for that title. Cupid and I drove through Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, and New Mexico. I'd really wanted to explore Santa Fe but there wasn't enough time because I needed to get to AZ in time for my mom's spine surgery. Cupid did amazingly well on the long drive and seemed to immediately remember my mom and her home even though it's been two and a half years.

While I am loving the weather, I am feeling somewhat identity-less. I'm not acting as a mom, a wife, an artist, a TA, or even a parent caretaker. Maybe more about that later.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


One of my favorite magazines, Cloth Paper Scissors, is offering a free e-book 5 Free Mixed Media Art Techniques
on mixed media art techniques. It looks's the link:

Saturday, March 27, 2010

A scary thing happened at work last Friday

I worked as a substitute nurse's assistant at the middle school last week. It was rather routine-- lots of headaches and stomachaches mostly because the kids don't eat breakfast with a few kids trying to get out of class. But Friday an announcement came over the intercom to go into lock-down. A group of us were crowded into a small storage room where the coffee maker is. After a few minutes of everyone thinking it was just a drill, someone poked her head in and whispered that it was real. I don't know what everyone else was feeling at that moment, but my heart jumped right out of my chest and onto that worn linoleum floor. I couldn't help but wonder if my time was up. We spent the next 55 minutes or so in near silence; is it possible to be nervous and bored at the same time?? When it was all over, the rumors were rampant--that 3 students were handcuffed and lead away by the police, that someone brought a gun to school, and more. But the truth was that an angry or upset student texted another kid saying that he was going to bring a "clip" to school. The friend was wise enough to show the text to his parents who brought it to the attention of the school.
After the trauma of Friday :) I recovered by going to Arts @ the Oval this past weekend. It's a small annual art fair held at the ice skating rink just two blocks away. I spoke to a number of artists and was both inspired and intimidated by their talent. I almost bought a patina'd copper sheep pin but the lady hadn't brought it with her. I just may have to email her...

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Rough patch

Wow, it's been a rough couple of days. First, I think I lost the closest person to a best friend that I have. She and I had a huge fight over my intervening in a disagreement between our two boys. I reprimanded her kid, which is a touchy subject and often a no-no. The way her boy was treating my boy was yet another display of lack of respect of every member of that family towards myself and Alexander. I guess I'd had it.
Then Alexander came down with the stomach flu yesterday. The poor kid was really suffering and there was not much I could do, which is a horribly helpless feeling. But kids are amazing in how quickly they bounce back, and today he was acting normal although still not eating well.
But one good thing that has happened is that I finished this plaque. It started out as a plain wooden heart that I probably got at Michaels for a dollar. I applied lots of layers of patterned tissue paper and some stenciled-on paint, then a gel medium transfer of my Cupid. I like how it turned out. Oh, one more bad thing--I dropped the plaque and it cracked in half. Bad things happen in 3s, right?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

This photo brings a little twinge of loss to my heart. No, I've never herded sheep in Ireland but it sure would be fun! I miss the challenge and competition of herding for titles and even the physical hard work of raising sheep. I'm 10 years older now...can I still do it??
I never pursued herding here in Minnesota. Several years ago, I went out to a small farm north of us and watched some training in a round pen. The dogs and sheep and handlers were slipping on ice and trudging through snow--it just did not look like something I wanted to be doing. I suppose if the dog I had was a good herder I'd be out there- just not in the winters. But my old lady Cupid was never very talented; she thought the sheep were for dinner apparently.
In closing, an Irish blessing:

May you get all your wishes but one,

So you always have something to strive for.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Signs of spring? Or a visit from Kokopelli?

I took this photo yesterday after about a week of welcome temps in the high 40's (that's Cupid's ear in the bottom right corner). As of yesterday, the snow has finally melted off the gardening beds and there were little patches of green! After months of brown leaves then white snow and gray skies, it was a welcome surprise to see these colorful signs of life.
It's a common Native American story that the flute-playing Kokopelli is responsible for the end of winter and coming of spring. As he visits villages the sun comes out, the grass grows, and the birds sing. I think we may have had a visit from Kokopelli today because it was absolutely glorious. It was bright and sunny and 63 degrees, which was as warm as Prescott Valley, Arizona, where my mom lives. Unfortunately, we'll be back down into the low 40's again by the end of the week. But the signs of spring are noticeable: there have been geese loudly announcing their return with honking overhead. I spotted 3 of our neighborhood red squirrels, out of hibernation. And the evergreen trees are starting to green up from their winter grayish tones. My personal, never-fail sign that spring has come is when the chipmunks reappear from their underground hibernation homes and start begging for nuts. I can't wait.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A card

This is the going-away card I made for Scott, my therapist. The whole group signed it. I had to whip it out the same day, which is completely against my nature, but I got it done. I used the Cavallini & Co. set of vintage bird stamps and a bunch of paper scraps. I like the color scheme.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Wabi sabi

Here's the wabi-sabi textured background I made a little while back. I did transparency and alcohol gel transfers of a Navajo tree image that I found on a Dover CD. The inspiration for this piece initially came from Cloth Paper Scissors magazine. Then as I was working on it, I was invited to join the BluePeaceArtists group which was hosting a wabi-sabi challenge. A little bit of synchronicity perhaps?
Wabi sabi means "wretchedness mellowed by use" and the texture in my wabi sabi painting comes from several reused materials, including teabags and corrugated cardboard. For more information on wabi sabi, you'll want to check out Elizabeth's (the owner of BluePeaceArtists) wonderful blog.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Here's my journal spread for the GPP Street Team's February challenge. Michelle Ward challenged us to make a journal spread using X and O stencils, stamps, etc. It's a monthly challenge to motivate us to learn more about working with paint, which I surely can use. I used foam stamps and bubble wrap for my letters but I notice that the kissy lips are somewhat O-shaped as well. I started with black gesso, then layered on some metallic gold paint which doesn't show up in the scan. Some of the stamping into wet paint doesn't show up well either. After stamping, I splattered on pearl white and dark red acrylics and kinda like the way the red looks like blood. Fun! Thanks, Michelle, for the challenge every month. Now, I can go check out every one else's spreads. More fun!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Doggie exercise

This is what Cupid and I have been doing twice a week for the past month or so. We head over to the University of Minnesota Rehabilitation Center for a little underwater treadmill conditioning. I've wanted to do this every winter for the past 3 or 4 years, and I'm thrilled to actually be doing it. Cupid is less than thrilled, however.
It's so difficult to exercise dogs here when there's deep snow or ice everywhere. Cupid actually suffered a soft tissue injury last winter, plowing through a snowbank while on a walk. Now, she does a total of 30 minutes in warm water (with hot tub-type jets in between 5- or 10-minute sets), then gets a rub-down and a blowdry.
The down side is that rehab is expensive! Next winter, if I'm fortunate enough to still have my old gal, we'll again be walking in warmer temps.

Monday, February 8, 2010


My Colts lost last night. I'm still hurting. It sounds trivial, but I'd so much been looking forward to buying a Super Bowl t-shirt immediately after the game to celebrate. I really feel for those Colts players...Garcon who was playing for his native Haiti, Peyton who is hearing how he lost the game for them, Coach Caldwell who looked like he'd been crying in a post-game interview. Maybe next year, guys.

Another sad thing happened to me earlier this month: my therapist left. He'd been a post-doc and now it was time for him to move on.
<--- Here's the matchbox shrine ornament I made for him at Christmastime.
One of his favorite artists is Frida Kahlo, and the little peppers are from a plant (or its progeny) that I brought from Arizona to Minnesota. The copper is heavily patinated using salt and vinegar. I really enjoyed working with metal and will be doing more of these shrines.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Super Bowl Sunday

It's the big day and I'm really excited! I wish the game would start. Two hours to go...
At least Alexander had a birthday party to attend earlier this afternoon, which killed some time. It was held at a bowling alley and Dana and I stuck around and bowled two games. I can't remember ever bowling with Dana, and it was fun (when I was winning, that is).
I should try to channel some of this anxious energy towards making art. And speaking of art, here's a goofy little whimsical (?) piece I finished recently. I took images of Peyton Manning, a gladiator helmet, and the Roman coliseum from Google and combined them with Lisa Bebi's paint-over technique and a Tim Holtz mask. It was a lot of fun to make.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The time has come...the Super Bowl is this Sunday. The Indianapolis Colts vs. the New Orleans Saints.

The last time I cared about a Super Bowl was when I lived in New York state and the Giants were playing, but I mostly cared because I threw a Super Bowl party. This was shortly before I left NY to make the long drive back to Arizona in a VW Rabbit via Fort Myers, Florida, with two full-grown German Shepherds. I was crazier back then (not that I wouldn't do the same today!). I still miss my NY friends.

I care about this Super Bowl because it has the team for which Alexander and I visited training camp. I loved the Colts last year too but this year was special because I'd watched the players up close and personal before the season even started. What a special trip that was. In continuing with my gratitude intention, I'm thankful for how this season played out (the Colts were almost undefeated!) and all the joy it brought me. Enjoy the game and those awesome commercials, of course~

Monday, February 1, 2010

Under the wire, as usual

Here's my journal spread for my first Crusade. Michelle Ward hosts this challenge every month and after procrastinating a long time, I got one done. I'm not thrilled with it, but it's part of my effort to make more art, more quickly, without ruminating over every piece like it's the dang Mona Lisa or something. That's part of my silly perfectionism issue.
I've loved Michelle's rubber stamps for years, and her website is a definite 'must visit'. Right now, she has some easy snowflake templates for everyone (which weren't posted when I cut mine....waaahh).

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Guess what I got for Christmas

Dana read me gushing about a local artist in a previous blog post and bought me a giclee of my favorite piece of hers. A giclee is a very high quality, numbered art print. Except for being able to feel the texture of the fabric, you'd never know that it's not the original.
It's square in shape so I'll probably have to frame it myself--maybe from a kit I saw in the Dick Blick catalog.
Thanks, Dana.

a textured background

Here's a painted and textured background that I actually haven't been working on forever. It started with a gessoed piece of cardstock and I just started layering on acrylic paint, used teabags and a dryer sheet, torn paper with text on it, and coarse granular gel medium. It seems complex and I almost wonder if it could stand alone, but I will likely add more to it. Trees might look nice...

Peyton Manning paintover

It's been a long time since I posted some art. Peyton here is something I've been working on for a long time now--since before training camp, for sure, because I remember taking it with us just in case I had the opportunity to get an autograph. I used Lisa Bebi's paint over technique in which you take an image of a person (or animal, I suppose) and paint into and out of the image mostly avoiding the facial features. I'm quite happy with how the background came out on this one.