Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Byron Visits Morpharchengigel - via Niara Theme

Today I finished the contents of an envelope book round robin for The Recollection Parlor. The top two photos are of the envelope which I made by transferring my collages onto fabric and then sewing the envelope. The other photo is a layout of the contents (double because it shows both fronts and backs) that will fit inside the envelope. Although it's difficult to see, I used a stencil sent to me by Sija for one of the cards. Thanks Sija!! It's on its way now to New York for Layla of Girellygog to have a turn.
This rotation was for Michele's book with a "Folklore" theme. Byron visited The Secret Gardens of Morpharchengigel and had a rare glimpse of a Morphelbeast. He met Arley Snooker and packed his envelope full of magical seeds.

Monday, April 27, 2009

30 minute Sketch - International Fake Journal

Our 3 1/2 year old Yorkie - Mini

A little further along....but a long way to go....


Sunday, April 26, 2009

International Fake Journal exercise

My inner critic was alive and well today and, as a result, it took courage to stop myself from the part of me that wanted to rip it out and try again and again. The 30 minute time limit and commitment to not judging myself so harshly eventually won! To join in, visit Roz's blog at

Friday, April 24, 2009

From the "Daily OM"

There are times when gloom or darkness causes us to momentarily lose sight of the light. Although it is at these times when the thought of the sun can help us. Its warm, glowing rays brighten even our thoughts, and it’s good to remember that despite appearances the sun is shining right now. We may not be able to see it at this very moment, but if clouds block our view, they are only filtering the sun’s light temporarily. If darkness has fallen, we know that the sun is still shining at this very moment somewhere not too far away, and it’s only a matter of time before it will shine on us again. When we remember that the sun is still shining, we know that things are still in motion in the universe. Even if life feels like it is at a standstill, sometimes all we need to do is have faith and wait for the time when everything is in its perfect place. Or we can we can choose to follow the cues of the sun and continue doing our work and shining our light, even when we can’t yet see results. In doing so we exercise our patience, making sure we are prepared when opportunity knocks and all other elements are in their right and perfect places. The sun also reminds us that our own shining truth is never extinguished. Our light shines within us at all times, no matter what else occurs around us. Though the sun gives us daily proof of its existence, sometimes our belief in our own light requires more time. If we think back, however, we can find moments when it showed itself and trust that we will see it again. Like the sun, our light is the energy that connects us to the movements of the universe and the cycles of life and is present at all times, whether we feel its glow or not.

wonder land

Come, see the north-wind's masonry, Out of an unseen quarry evermore Furnished with tile, the fierce artificer Curves his white bastions with projected roof Round every windward stake, or tree, or door. Speeding, the myriad-handed, his wild work So fanciful, so savage, naught cares he For number or proportion. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Day Two - " Fake Journal"

Refer to
This morning I was excited to create another page in the 'fake journal' and thought I'd try to loosen up and attempt my very first real pen/watercolor drawing/painting with watercolor pencils. I was very aware of how self-conscious I was initially, and as a result not as loose as I would love to see a watercolor. At about 40 minutes into 'it' I noticed I began to loosen up and I think that made the shovel handle look more like I prefer. Nevertheless, it was a great way to familiarize myself with watercolor and ink.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

International Fake Journal Month - Roz Stendahl

Art and Journal Page by Roz Stendahl (Copyright 2009)
Early this morning, while looking for something entirely unrelated, I came across a site that caught my attention and captured an hour of my time this morning. Initially, I was more inspired by the artist's (Roz Stendahl) beautiful art work. I often leave comments about art work, but seldom read any ART blog entries that appear to be overly lengthy. I'm there to look at the art afterall. But, this was the exception. PLUS, she is hosting a contest for the International Fake Journal Month (April each year) and the requirements aren't too demanding. Just do a fake journal entry. Invent an alter ego, and depersonalize your entries....anything goes really. Check out her blog for more details at After that, you'll also find some other links to her gorgeous work.

So, the above is Two's watercolor/journal page to this fabulous, set yourself free, idea. I just followed the end of my nose (which may be what I choose to paint tomorrow???) If you have a moment and especially if you are prone to being self-conscious about 'painting outside the lines' or journalling about your life - this just might be the answer to set yourself free. I loved her line - "Life's so Short, Why Only Live One?" p.s. the watercolor well..... it started out as a feather!!

? April 23rd ?


Update on Drawing/Painting

Another week has passed although I was distracted with other projects and an ATC craze for a couple of days. Judging by my progress, it will be one more week before I get to actually laying down any paint. This week I tried to begin to add some value differences as well as begun to sketch in the final two children on the right.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Slightly Irreverant Greeting Cards #2

Caption reads: "Lee-Poon was looking forward to returning home if only to confirm the sideways glance rumor" Available on Etsy

Slightly Irreverant Greeting Cards #1

Caption reads - "the children really brought out Roy's feminine side."
Available in Etsy shop.

Monday, April 20, 2009

I seem to have caught the bug to make a few more Artist Trading Cards this past weekend. Probably to have a change of pace from other projects I've been working on. If you're interested, I've posted them in my Etsy shop. They are all original, one of a kind collages. Or, if you'd like to trade, drop me a line at

Sunday, April 19, 2009

ATC Free Giveaway!!

I needed a change from drawing, so I created these two ATC's yesterday and then decided it was time to promote my blog with a free draw. Nothing like a free draw to identify visitors and I tend to think all of us enjoy visits! Both are original one of a kinds, started out on Strathmore cold pressed 140 lb watercolor paper, painted with H20's, collaged with ephemera , embossed and embellished on both sides.
So if you'd like to enter the draw, all that's required is you leave a comment below with a link or email back and subscribe to this blog by adding yourself to "Followers" found on the right side bar. Easy peasy! I'll also enclose a generous collection of collage papers, etc. with each ATC. Good Luck and thanks for entering!! Draw on May 31,2009

Friday, April 17, 2009

Progress at Week One

above - before and after
....and I am still not at the painting stage. Looks like this may turn into a Spring project. I have decided I am going to approach the painting stage using a method known as Grisaille (pronounced "gris-eye" - which I think translated from French means "grey tones." The technique was first used in the 15th century and Leonardo daVinci was well known for employing this technique in many of his masterpieces. The 'underpainting' is completed by painting it first in shades of grey. Then color glazes are applied over top layer by layer. The Mona Lisa was created using this method. For me, it will allow me to enter into the 'painting realm' in a controlled fashion and in a way that I feel comfortable.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Today's Progress....time is running out

I tried to fit in lots of time to get this finished for tomorrow's class, but as you can see, it still has lots of roughness to it and areas unfinished. Looks like I'll still be drawing tomorrow evening.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Just more drawing.....

....not much happening in the studio this week other than trying to finish the drawing portion of a piece I would like to start painting on Thursday. I love to capture pieces at different stages to be able to look back and measure the progress. Below, I combined both photos so far.
One of the elements I like about this Nat Geo photograph is the rhythm or 'interconnectedness' of each figure because of the hand gestures, the feet and the variety of ways the heads are 'gestured' as well as the hats or scarves each child has on. Unfortunately, the image I am drawing from is too large to fit in my scanner, so you can't see the feet in the photograph.
Earlier this year in class I critiqued a painting by Seurat (pictured below) It too, employed rhythm in part by the repetition of hats within it. I think that may be perhaps one of the reasons I subconsciously chose this photograph to paint.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

"Cruelty on the Catwalk"

I was curious after doing my research on Hamid Karzai, if the hat he wore had any religious significance. Here's what I learned about the fur his hat is made from:
Karakul Lamb Fur: As if peddling the skin and fur of a tortured, electrocuted adult animal weren’t bad enough, some heartless designers take fashion cruelty to a whole new level with a particularly grisly “killer” look: astrakhan, also known as “broadtail” or “Persian wool”—the fur of newborn and fetal karakul lambs who are bred by the thousands in Central Asia for the bloody fur trade. Because their unique, highly prized curly fur begins to unwind and straighten within three days of birth, many karakul lambs are slaughtered when they are only 1 or 2 days old. The rest don’t even make it that far. In order to get a karakul fetus’s hide—called “broadtail” in the industry and valued for its exceptional smoothness—the mother’s throat is slit and her stomach slashed open to remove the developing lamb. A mother typically gives birth to three lambs before being slaughtered along with her fourth fetus, about 15 to 30 days before it is due to be born. As many as 4 million karakul lambs are slaughtered for their fur every year. The fur industry tries to justify karakul lamb fur as a byproduct, but with a single karakul lamb coat selling for up to $12,000 and “broadtail” fetus coats fetching as much as $25,000, it’s little surprise that the mother sheep and her baby’s skinned carcass are usually regarded simply as trash. And who’s profiting from such disgusting cruelty? Designers Karl Lagerfeld, Fendi, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, and Jean-Paul Gaultier use astrakhan, and Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdale’s sell it on their own racks. But fashionistas with a heart aren’t buying it. Claudia Croft, fashion editor of the Sunday Times Style Magazine in London recently called astrakhan “the cruelest and most vicious fur.” And “Material Girl” Madonna hasn’t been seen in her astrakhan coat since designer pal Stella McCartney scolded her for “wearing a fetus.”
What can you do about karakul lamb fur? Don’t buy or wear ANY fur. If you see karakul lamb fur for sale, write to the store owners or managers, let them know where it comes from, and urge them to pull it from the shelves. If you read an article about karakul lamb fur in a newspaper or magazine, write a letter to the editor.


Saturday, April 11, 2009

And now on to something completely different....

Our final major project in Visual Communications at Emily Carr University was to create a piece that reflected a social comment. After several ideas, I finally settled on reflecting my dismay and horror over Afghanistan President Hamin Karzai's decision to quickly pass a bill in parliament on family law as it relates to Shiite women and their matrimonial obligations and custody rights of their children. I imagined what it may look like if 'the shoe was on the other foot' and Karma had 'played out.' President Karzai now wears a burqa with a chastity belt over his head. I recognize he faces incredible pressure to be caught in the middle of religious leaders in his homeland and Western ideology. Nevertheless, passing a law which makes it illegal for a woman to not have intercourse with her husband less than once every four days is not only a horrific example of the Shiite misogynistic and blatant sexist culture...but is purely criminal. Further, the news reports of the bill being rushed through in record time, during an election year, increases my repulsion of this behavior. Afghanistan needs an historic leader like Gandhi, unaffected by political pressure with the courage and vision to free women from these barbaric religious customs that have become interwoven within the federal laws.
Pictured above is the second part of the assignment which was to place the image within the context I would want it to be viewed . Photograph is pending permission from the photographer and as such is temporarily used for educational purposes only. Right Linda?

New Focus - Painting Class and 4 Lessons Learned

On Thursday evening I began a new weekly class held at our local artist supply store owned by two wonderful women, Jill and Nadine. Jill is the artist in the family and teaches several weekly classes. I was very fortunate to be able to 'sign up' as she originally said there was a wait list of 17 people. My goal is to share the techniques and tips I learn on my blog as I go along with my first 'real' acrylic painting. Ever since I can remember, I have had a a brush and blank canvas fear. I also don't 'perform' well normally when I am in a group class situation. I am quite easily distracted and noticed on Thursday I also 'freeze up' or at least lose my concentration if someone comes up behind to watch me. From the moment I signed up to the start of the class I had about 3 hours to chose something I wanted to paint. I have several hard cover National Geographic photo books and so I started leafing through them and came across one that spoke to me. I took it down to the copy shop and had two copies printed off. One, to mark up as a grid, and another to keep as a clean copy.
Directly above is the National Geographic photograph, although this is about 5/7th's of the image I am working with. The entire image is 15" long and wouldn't all fit on my scanner. Originally I had envisioned it as a long and narrow structure and relatively large - 20x40 inches. However, they didn't have a canvas in that size so instead I chose one that was 20 x 30 inches and cropped the original to fit these proportions.
Jill taught me a quick way to determine the correct proportions:
1) To start, take the image you are painting and place it over the canvas so the bottom edges and the right edge match. 2) Take a ruler or yard stick (depending on how large your canvas is), and place it diagonally starting at the top left corner of your canvas across and down to the bottom right corner of your canvas. Where the ruler and the top of your image meet is where the original will need to be cut vertically. 3) NOTE: You can place the image now at any position along the bottom of the canvas now if this intersecting line crops part of the image you don't want to eliminate. Here's a sketch of what I just wrote for you visual learners :0) -

Below, is a photo of the beginning of my drawing. I've divided the canvas and the drawing into a grid to assist me in ensuring the drawing is proportionate. Which brings me to my second tip - use a watercolor pencil to draw your image onto the canvas. If you need to erase at any point, you simply wet a paint brush and brush over the line to be erased and then wipe any excess water with a towel. It will erase completely. I used a Derwent watercolor pencil but any brand or color works. This prevents the ugly graphite smudges that result from using a regular HB pencil.

Drawing the Image on the Canvas with Watercolor Pencil

I began to draw the image from the left hand side, but occasionally skipped over to another part of the drawing. Jill corrected this. Why? In order to ensure the drawing remains accurate, she recommended to work across the canvas, systematically. This way you will ensure that each portion of the image is in correction scale to the others.

Finally, a tip for left-handedness. Begin drawing the image from the right hand side! This way your hand doesn't cover up what you are drawing as you work horizontally. It also makes it easier to 'see' things in their proper relationship with each other and flows more naturally. So, for my fellow LEFTIES out here in blog land - don't read the drawing like you would a book. Another benefit is if your hand is moist and resting on the canvas, it won't smudge what you've already put down.

I am hoping to have the drawing complete by next Thursday so I can start to learn her valuable lessons on blocking in the paint.

Thursday, April 09, 2009


"Wallflower Girl" - Original
Mixed Media Collage on Canvas - 8x 11 inches
Available on Etsy


Wallflower Boy
Original Mixed Media on Canvas
approximately 8 x 9 inches
My muse has me fixated again on paper collages and particularly on transfer techniques. I have had to spend so much time on the computer over the winter with my art course, I've really missed getting my hands and fingers in paint and gel , etc.
It's very hard to see the texture in this. I transferrred the images onto canvas having developed a new trade secret transfer method that actually works! I then hand painted the flowers with Golden liquid acrylics and finally painted the background with a heavy bodied acrylic. The finished look is far more textural in person. I added the Sanskrit symbols "Om MaNi Pad Me Hung" intermittently for good luck. For those of you unfamiliar with Buddhism, each repetition is meant to symbolize (simply stated) the end of human suffering. I thought about adding more layers in the backgrounds but decided I liked the amount of white space. To my eye it makes the actual composition stand out more with the end result appearing more contemporary.

Here's a 'mock-up' of how I imagine it might look matted and framed. It would be approximately 13 x 13 inches framed like this.

Available on Etsy.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

La Fox Trot - 8.25 x 5 inches

"La Fox Trot de la Nostalg"
- made for a friend -

Untitled Mixed Media Collage 6.5x7.5

Another all paper collage.....I'm not sure if this is finished yet, but decided to post it just to have a look at it from a different point of view. There's something about this little girl's facial expression - is she ...suspicious? I get the feeling she is thinking someone may want to take one of her dolls away.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Let's Chat! 6.75 x 7.75 Mixed Media Collage - NOT digital

"Let's Chat!" - Original
Mixed Media on Paper 6.75 x 7.75 inches
Another collage on cold pressed, 140 lb. watercolor paper with layers of ephemera and H20 watercolors with an inkjet transfer of a 50's woman happily chatting on the phone!
Original available on Etsy.

"Dreams" 4.75 x 6.75 Experimenting with Collage and Gel Transfers

My latest artistic experiment outside of my art class has been testing different types of gel transfers over top of paper collages I've made but not finished! I have several....
This one was tricky to photograph, so I took it outside to put it in natural sunlight. It is a paper collage on top of thick cold pressed watercolor paper, with the transfer added of the larger face and then some embossing and acrylics added. The transfer part is tricky. This was my 5-6 attempt to get the timing, (how long to leave it before its lifted) the contrast, and amount of gel all working together.
It'll be off to a secret someone within the next couple of days!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Tales my Mom used to tell me....

was the inspiration for this collage. Did your mother ever comment when she brushed your hair that there were so many knots in it, it looked like a bird's nest? (Digital)

Have you ever wondered what fonts would "look" like if they were people?

Over the past couple of weeks I've been studying fonts in my art class. One of my classmates posted a humorous video with some shocking revelations! Click this - Fonts Personified My favorite is Baskerville Old Face, although French Italic is pretty funny too.
And here's a peek at the "Periodic Table of TypeFaces" (click it for a larger view) Our first exercise leading up to our last major project was "Word Play". The choices were: migration, compression, addition and transition.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Cinderella and The Wilde Black Tie


Eleanor is looking forward to Spring!