Wednesday, September 30, 2009

New Project - Preliminary Drafts

In January I am joining a group of wonderfully talented mixed media artists to begin an 18 month 'skinny book' project. The size of the pages are 4 x 8 inches - a page size that I've not worked with before. So, with inspiration from Maggie Taylor, and a style of surrealism I am fond of, here is the first of 18 4 x 8 pieces - in draft. I have to shout out a big thank you to Viola for the use of the distinguished young gentleman. All other images are licensed from Hemera and/or K. Pertiet.
~Another choice ~

Monday, September 28, 2009

Byron's Magical Mystery Tour has ended

The last set of envelopes from Byron's tour arrived home to Uniqos last Friday signaling the end of this year long round robin. And what a tour it was. From the shores of the Kingdom of Girellygog, on to Plumeria, AlmostWas, the Republic of Niara, Uniqos and Morpharchengigel, Byron saw it all. Thanks to the imaginations of The Recollection Parlor's Abby, Red, Michele, Debbie and Valerie, I have this enormous collection of work far too intriguing to not share with you. And I would be remiss if I didn't include a link to Byron's father, Rodney Smith who so kindly let Byron embark on this tour through our magical lands. So, over the next several weeks I'll be capturing various bits and fragments of Byron's souvenirs and posting them here to be enjoyed by all. Today, I've chosen to capture 3 views of a delightfully unique sculpture from Byron's last stop in the country of Uniqos created by Debbie along with a metal mesh envelope containing rare feathers from this faraway land....
Sculpture and Wire mesh envelope by Debbie - Country: UNIQOS

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The morning lead me outside once again to witness the pink in the sunrise and in the passion flower now radiant and not the least self-conscious in its display. Without the luxury of a tripod to steady my hand, I focused instead in capturing the wonderous play of light against the leaves and petals, and the details of the leaf skeletal structures.... even if it meant the shadow of the amateur photographer often darkened the light. I am always left with such a feeling of gratitude and humility when I consider the notion of what joy these gifts from nature provide me. (Each photo is better appreciated by clicking on it to see more detail.)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

It blossomed!


If you look at a post a few days ago, you'll see this passion flower as a bud. It's suprising how different the colors are when the light is flat. The wind prevented me from taking any crisp macros today but I'll persist tomorrow.

Friday, September 25, 2009


Another welcomed package in the mail this week - a selection of vintage materials including 2 small bisque doll arms, antique lace, a 1901 catalogue page, antique beads, and not so antique German foil antlers. Imagining the possibilities.....

and from Michele....

Michele of Digital Dissonance sent me this fabulous package in the mail. The Somerset (Stampington) publication - Digital Studio recently published a lengthy article on a selection of Michele's inspiring digital artwork. Of course, they requested Michele contribute some of the methods she uses to create her one-of-a-kind pieces - who wouldn't want to know? As a member of our art group known as The Recollection Parlor, I've been fortunate to know Michele through several projects we've collaborated on. I've also had the pleasure of visiting her in California. She is an exceptional teacher and I know of no one more patient and generous in sharing her thorough knowledge of Photoshop. This particular collage was a 'game' Michele and I engaged in together that Michele invented. We each listed several objects in an email to each other and created digital collages based on the list. Some of the general objects in the list for this collage were a man, a feather, architecture, a horse and a clock. Several of the stamps, including the cancellation stamp the envelope are those that Michele has created for her country - the Republic of Niara. It's hard to tell them from the USA stamps isn't it? Thanks Michele.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Passion for Passion

Red Passion Flower Bud
I'll not forget the first time I stumbled upon these flowers - it was during a game of golf and if I could have, I would have stop playing and stayed with the vine for the remainder of the day. After that day, my favorite hole on the golf course was where this flower was located. Those of you familiar with the Passion Flower will know its symbolism in a Christian context. My attraction is to their delicate stigmata, ambitious tendrils and thick anthers. In other words, I love them for their beauty alone. I have had good success with the common blue variety of this species with 100' or more flowers over the course of the summer. However, this red petaled, Passiflora decaisneana, has proven to be a challenge. The bud I've photographed above has been just that for almost 2 weeks. Time is running out weather-wise, and although I am planning to see if I can winter it inside this year, I'm not holding my breath. Here's two photos from last year's 'crop' - the play of the shadows make my knees weak.
If you have any tips on wintering this vine inside, I'd love to hear them.

One of the photographs taken this afternoon....

Passion Flower Vine

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Did I say finished?

Although the creative part of the Tarot Project is indeed finished - now comes the task of printing the cards. And printing. And printing.....244, 245....quick like molasses. With almost 400 to print, I may be awhile. So, to quench my desire to be outside today, I decided to dust off my camera to some photos while the weather is warm. In between some mindful walking and camera clicking around our property, I'm hopping back inside the studio to load another set of cards into the printer. Stay tune for some September 'textures" and the last of my flowers....

The Black Cat - Edgar Allen Poe - FINAL Tarot Card - Project Complete!

And finally, the last of my four cards for the Capolan All Things Poe Tarot Deck. This card is simply a modification in size and a couple of image adjustments my 4x4 card created for the Haloween Poe deco safely in the hands of Red Scott. Below the tarot card is a compilation of all of the cards I've completed so far. I am working on completing an entire deck (78 cards) but have decided to revise my initial goal of having the deck completed by the end of the year since that would entail a card every other day approximately between now and December 31, 2009. I had enough deadlines to last a lifetime in my career and am learning to relax my productivity neuroses in favor of a more relaxed, carpe diem lifestyle. I will be starting on a Skinny Book project in January with 17 wonderfully talented mixed media artists. I'm thrilled to be included among this group and will blog about this more as the time draws near. I'm currently brainstorming an idea for what the theme of my book will be. Now, I'm looking for suggestions and recommedations for on-line courses to consider. If you have taken a course either on-line or in person and give it a 10 star ranking, I'd love the details. There seem to be new ones popping up weekly at Creative Workshops, and most recently Lorraine at Creative Daily mentioned a course over at As always, thanks to everyone who has signed up to follow my ramblings and creative pursuits as well as those of you who drop by randomly. Your comments, suggestions and ideas are always helpful and also serve to reinforce the notion of the tremendously positive bond amongst artists in this milieu. I love being a part of this community.
The First Twelve

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Hop Frog or The Eight Chained Outran-Outans - Edgar Allen Poe - Tarot Card

Back of Six of Cups

NEW and improved :0) Six of Cups for All Things Poe - Tarot Deck

Another digital tarot card for the Capolan project - this is the 4th or, is it 5th, version I've created for this particular card. I'm liking it today - but my perspective is always very warped directly after I've worked on a piece of art in any medium. So, I'll sit with this one for a few days and revisit it again. You'll note a few similar 'items' as were incorporated into my digital work yesterday. I'm big on bones and typewriters this week but 'wearing' down on the digital expressions and feel a switch coming on. The cup also made an appearance in the Queen of Swords card. It's from Hemera.

Monday, September 21, 2009

New Banner - Again....too much information?

Years ago, I used to have a rather chronic case of furniture rearranging. Just ask my exhusband. I eventually overcame it, (or maybe it was a symptom of my need to rearrange my husband) No. I take that back. I think more accurately, I've just replaced it with rearranging my blog banner. Here's the new beast - just actually added to my old banner (well...2 month old banner). I'm not sure if I like the non-minimalist look. But, I do know, I like my second husband much better! He's a keeper. the banner?

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Click on Image to View Full Size
Image of Vintage Woman - Talulah, Quote - See all of this weeks' Sunday Postcard Art here

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Collage in Process....

Jardins de Bagetelle
This is a digital collage I worked on earlier in the summer and then put away. I've started to work on it again as of today.
It began with a photograph I took of a spectacular rose (not so coincidentally of the same name) in my garden two years ago. The actual Jardins de Bagetelle is contained within the Bois de Boulogne in Paris and these particular roses were favored by Marie Antoinette. My decision to purchase this species was because of its heavenly sweet fragrance. At even the hint of a bloom, the aroma lilts gently through the air. I can't quite ever seem to quench my 'thirst' for it in the summer months. As you can see, there have been a number of layers (probably around 40 or more) added since then. I am still tweeking it and have versions of it in four different pallettes although today, this is my preferred combination and value. Stay tuned for probably several more revisions! Due to past 'piracy' I've uploaded it in a low res setting. Sorry. It is a large digital (which also makes for time consuming editing with my snail of a computer). It measures approx. 21 x 21 inches.
Original Photograph

Friday, September 18, 2009

Poignant "Story of the Day" - Brian Andreas

....connected by something finer than words that's hard to notice because usually you're doing stuff that should've been done yesterday & you've got no time for it - Brian Andreas

Postcard Collage

"The Tailor Scraps Her Maze"
Post Script: A comment here today compelled me to 'break down' the elements I used to create this collage (posted below) and to add my own reflections on digital collage, for what its worth. ALL of the images I used (with the exception of the background writing purchased from Kate Pertiet) are from copyright free resources published on the web. One of my favorite sites is Wikipedia because of the high resolution of their images and the Creative Commons license attached to them. Although, I have also spent several hundreds of dollars purchasing CD's and digital images through various sites as well as books like Dover's Harper collections. As you can see, most of the images used in this collage required several color /contrast/resolution adjustments as well as, and sometimes the most time consuming part, extracting them from their backgrounds. Although digital software programs can speed this process up, they are seldom precise and it is often more time consuming to digitally cut out an image than by hand with scissors. My point being, digital collage isn't necessarily an easier method to collage. It is environmentally friendly by excluding the toxins found in some paints, pastels, adhesives and the obvious potential for more paper waste. Further, the ability to 'erase' an image placed down, and/or digitally manipulate colors, filters, etc. is impossible to replicate any other way. It can conceivably be less expensive , and you don't end up going out for dinner in the evening with paint and bits of paper and glue stuck to your hair and body, under your fingernails, elbows and sleeves. The process of layering images on the screen is initially very similar, if not identical, to the process of sitting in front of a group of paper images on my desk and moving them around by hand. Digital allows you to play with opacity however which is artistically very pleasing to me. The pitfall ? To my mind, it is the absence of texture - the dimensionality, the happy accidents, the glops of paint, the patina..... Bottom line - hugely significant. This deficit has lead me to begin using digital software programs and a scanner to explore elements conceptually and then employ these as a basis to create a paper/glue/scissors rendering. The marriage of both processes seems to be a satisfying place for me to be, today.
Your thoughts on this topic? Thanks for reading.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

All Things Poe - 8 of Batons - Capolan Tarot Project

Instead of attempting to visually interpret another Poe story, I chose to capture a rumor of sorts surrounding Poe's gravestone. On the anniversary of his birthday each year, an unknown person leaves a half full bottle of Cognac and 3 red roses. The foreground image of the baton carrier is from Cirque de Soleil. All other images are public domain or from my personal collection.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Queen of Swords - Poe Themed Tarot Project

Final Card
This is the second of four tarot cards I am creating for the Capolan Tarot Deck. The image of the woman is one of the 2 beautiful Ophelia's painted by J.W. Waterhouse. The other images are all either public domain images or ones that I own. It is my creative interpretation of the Queen of Swords and a short story by Edgar Allen Poe entitled "The Man of the Crowd". Description of the Queen of Swords (from The personality of the Queen of Swords combines the positive air energy of the Swords suit with the inward focus of a Queen. You can always count on her to tell you exactly how it is. Above all else she admires honesty, and she lives by her commitment to being truthful. Lies, tricks and games are of no interest to her, but she's not easy to fool. She is experienced in the ways of the world, good and bad. The Queen of Swords can size up a situation quickly. She understands human folly, but doesn't condemn it. She knows when cow manure is being thrown around and simply finds clever ways around it. She prefers being straightforward and direct. Her observations are candid, but never hurtful. In fact, this Queen has a delightful sense of humor. She likes a good laugh and always has a witty comeback ready-to-hand. She knows that life isn't meant to be taken too seriously. The Queen of Swords is refreshing in her candor and lack of pretense. In readings, the Queen of Swords asks you to think and feel as she does. For example: Are you being completely honest? (Check this one first!) Do you see the humor in the situation? Are you getting right to the point? Have you figured out what's really going on? Are you letting yourself be fooled? This Queen can also represent a man or woman who is like her, or an atmosphere of honest, direct communication. In a reading, she tells you that her special energy has meaning for you at this time. Let yourself be inspired by this Queen in whatever form she appears in your life. Credits: E. Van Dyck for his very helpful critiques!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Collage 6 x 10 inches


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Corset Fat Book - Fabric Corsets - Altered Art Obsession Group Project

If you would have asked me 10 years ago if I would ever take to sewing tiny corsets (especially pink) ones to make a ? book, I would have told you....not in a million years. Truth is, I enjoyed this project and the chance to try out all of the various decorative stitches on my sewing machine. As each day passes, I become more and more like my mother.

Sunday Postcard Art - Mr. Right?

"She's Just Not That In To You" (even though he did have a great sense of humor and they had so much in common, she was looking for a guy that could stay home with the kids while she was on business travel, which was frequent, plus the idea of living out of a tent, just didn't fit her vision of long term security, especially with all the global warming and exteme weather events...and.......well, that frilly shirt just didn't float her boat either)
Here's my entry for this week's challenge. Check out the other postcard entries at Sunday Postcard Art. Male clown image by Iktupulli.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Crazy Amigo Challenge

"The Cat IS the Hat"
This week's Crazy Amigo challenge is "Hats". Check it out here.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

"After Midnight" in context

(see previous post)

Tarot Bogen Project ....further along in time....

Late yesterday, I received an email with the news of the opportunity to complete another double page spread for this Danish-based altered book project, the inspiration of Frank Jensen (original post here) I jumped at the chance and ended up until 2 am working on this digital composition that I titled "After Midnight" (which seemed fitting given the situation and Van Morrison's tune.)
"After Midnight" Digital Collage 5.5 x 9.75 inches
- Available on Etsy

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

"Light" - Digital Musings

This also fits into "Moonstruck" - The Three Muses challenge of the week....hmmmm...aMUSing. Check them out here

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Hindsight - The Tipping Point?

I have been spending an inordinate amount of time in the past week attempting to transfer countless photos from my laptop onto an external hard drive in preparation for the arrival of a new computer. Although, not quite the same depth of nostalgia as family photo albums can produce, revisiting old collages et al have held within them some powerful emotion previously not fully understood. In particular, this magazine clipping collage I named "RED" appears to scream "anger." In hindsight it was pure helplessness. The particular event that evoked this visual outcry needn't be revisited. What I take from this review is how often what appears to be random at the time (cutting, pasting, composing) and the process of trying to 'not think' or censor from an ego state leads to some quiet revelations in the future that depict some soulful feelings in a way that seem to make words close to impotent. What I want to begin to explore is whether images for me express my 'heart felt' feelings much more powerfully than words. And this 'passion' or 'urge' to create - is it a need to purge/express what can't be realized in any other manner? Do you see more truth in your artwork in hindsight? Does it tell you a story that wasn't quite over the edge into your conscious mind?

A Softer Touch - Pema Chodron

Apply Gentleness to Everything
excerpt from Taking the Leap by Pema Chodron
Throughout life we must cope with blockages that impede our forward momentum. Whether these obstacles are of a personal, professional, or societal nature, our first instinct may be to push against the obstruction. But the simplest way to alleviate resistance is to approach it gently, with a soft manner and kind intentions. Struggle and strife can find no foothold when confronted with mildness because conflict can only exist when fed by two opposing forces. So many areas of our lives can benefit from the application of gentleness. The beauty of gentleness lies in its multifaceted nature. It is part love, part compassion, part patience, part understanding, and part respect for others. When we move through life gently as a matter of course, we naturally attract these wonderful elements into our lives. This does not mean that gentle people are by nature passive or meek. Rather, their copious inner power is manifested in their gentleness and their choice to move with the flow of the universe instead of against it. You can make use of gentleness in your own life by applying it in situations where you feel challenged by your circumstances or by people in your environment. As you move forward gently, the energy pervading your life will likely shift and, consequently, the blockages before you will vanish. Cooperation progresses smoothly when approached gently because all parties involved feel confident that their needs will be met. And quarrels are easily quelled with gentleness because the dualistic concepts of losing and winning are made moot by our willingness to exercise infinite patience with those whose values differ from our own. Gentleness must be practiced, as we are inadvertently encouraged to act competitive in certain phases of our lives. At first, your established habits may make being truly gentle challenging. Yet after a time, if you commit to consciously applying gentleness to all areas of your life, whether by collaborating rather than competing or yielding graciously to the impassable roadblocks in your path in order to seek a new road, you will find that you begin to act gently habitually. Your patterns of thought and behavior become ever more peaceful, and you will discover that you encounter far less impassable resistance on your individual journey.

Free Heart ATC, Envelope and Postcard

Do you ever enter into a collage just by chance ? You just happen to put an image on top of another, whether it's to file away or to clear a space to work on another project...and it happens? The combination of two images seem to be speaking to you?
This collage started out that way as have several others in the past. It began as a postcard, then I added a heart from a magazine clipping, then the words Free - Heart came from how I was feeling this past weekend with a surprise visit from my daughter. Then I scanned the post card and one thing lead to another and I had an ATC that I worked on digitally and then again added other elements and layers after I printed it. The collage became another collage and so on....The images of the two women fully cloaked came to mind as a result of a quote .... ~ Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart. Kahlil Gabrin
What inspires you to create? Do you begin with a vision, an image that draws you in, a song on the radio, a film you've just viewed?

Saturday, September 05, 2009

The muse is up to her trickery again...

Wikipedia: In Greek mythology, Clio (Greek: Κλειώ, pronounced /'klaɪoʊ/ in English) or Kleio is the muse of history. Like all the muses, she is a daughter of Zeus and Mnemosyne. She had one son, Hyacinth, with the King of Macedonia, Pierus. Some sources say she was also the mother of Hymenaios. She is often represented with a parchment scroll or a set of tablets and is also known as the Proclaimer. The name is from the root κλέω/κλείω, meaning "recount" or "make famous".[1]