Saturday, September 29, 2012

A Creative Adventure Completed

In the spring of 2012 I bought a tin can of mystery objects from  It just  seemed like it would be fun and I enjoy inventing somethin' out of nothin'.

The challenge was to create a scene that would depict a movie of my choice. That was my first hurdle; what  movie to pick?  An idea flashed into my mind at my most creative problem solving time; the quiet time just before I  fall asleep.

If I could only bottle that space/ time for when I really need it!

I posted a few photo clues in past blogs but did not want to give away the movie theme so I said no more about the matter. The Mystery Build is now on line for all to view and vote on, so I can now reveal the creation that I am so proud of.

Movie Choice: The Bird Cage.

Stage One: The building STUFF:

The only plan I had was to build a stage with the characters from the film dancing off stage to the song;.... "We are family....all my sisters and me". If only I knew how to add sound to this.

The Final Product.

It took hours and hours to do this but I truly enjoyed the adventure.




Thursday, July 19, 2012


The theme for July is circles: I used colored inks to show the lights and shadows of a child's face. A friend said it looked like the kid was sick...thanks. Moving on.

Sunday, July 15, 2012


     Art Mundo had a summer workshop taught by Lee Whitridge where all you brought was an apron. There were four creative people and  bags of mixed media goodies that we used to create our  collages. Lee talked about design formats, tools, techniques that she uses and then summed it up with...there really aren't any rules; just have fun!
     I was able to finish one monochromatic collage using the diagonal design pattern. The background was fairly detailed so I kept the top layers very simple.

The second mini was four layers of minimal design so  I added a coin and a touch of Chinese red.
It was a good therapy session for me :)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Painting WithYour Mind's Eye

Today I am going to try to talk about something esoteric and ethereal. It happens infrequently but it  is delicious when it does happen. I don't know why or how but sometime I "see" a painting on the canvas. I don't use my eyes  but instead I use my mind's eye. The shapes are in front of me and the paint flows without thinking or  a struggle.
   The best non art related example  that I can give is after my older brother passed away I visualized  him. He was walking down the hallway of his house to the kitchen for morning coffee. I felt the sound of the corduroy pants, the soft causal long sleeved shirt he wore on the weekends, his face, his hair and beard. His entire spiritual presence!                                 Wish you were here Tom, I still really miss you.
Obidos, Brazil
This painting of a church on a cliff just plain happened. Here are some other paintings that just flowed onto the canvas from my mind's eye. Even I can see a commonality of my style when I am painting from a place without critical boundaries.  Have you ever had such an experience?

Hills of Heather
Frozen Lake

Tourists in Italy

Monday, June 25, 2012

Progression of a Geometric Abstract Painting

              The color orange appealed to me that day and I had a vague idea of a painting in my head.  Clamp a canvas to the windmill easel and  get out the brushes!               

     One of my workshop instructors once said; "every painting goes through an ugly stage". As I kept painting I slipped into the same old trap,  too busy and more is  better. I have not worked through ugly to gorgeous yet.
     I  think the lesson to be learned  is that I only had a vague vision of my end product but I did not have a plan for this painting. Normally if I am in the "zone" a painting will flow Ala Prima but not this time.

To rectify my over worked and under interesting acrylic I began to delete shapes by painting white over the blocks that did not please me.

My next thought was that I did not like much of anything in the painting so more white Gesso was added.
Painting is sometimes an exercise in problem solving so it will be interesting to see what I come up with.   I have been adding hand made paste papers to the blocks and am building the composition.
Finally this seems to be turning into a paste paper human form. I have given up any preconceived notion of what it should look like and am going for a whimsical whatever it chooses to become. What a plan!

Below is as far as I have been able to take this mixed media collage. It either is finished and I am a wonder to the art world  or it went down in flames!!
Wish someone would give me their opinion.
Thanks for reading and sharing my latest creative attempt.



Saturday, June 2, 2012





     Today I attended a free workshop presented by Art Mundo in Ft. Pierce, Florida.  I actually got up early on a Saturday to listen to their speakers and it was time well spent!

     The founding group of artists saw a vision of a creative center that shares, teaches and fosters..setting artists up for success. Four years later Art Mundo has grown  and touched artist's lives for the better; but they have never wavered on their mission and do it with a warm welcome and a free spirit environment. 

   Although I have danced around the business aspect of marketing my art, I needed some concrete steps that I can take to jump start my job of making and selling art. Art book keeping, tax regulations, suggested web sites, blog sites, selling on Facebook. Artist statements, bio's, least expensive web sites to research and the final presentation of your work: framing. 

Well done and I thank you for truly sharing with an open heart!!

 Did I mention they presented this for free; coffee, doughnuts and handouts?




Sunday, April 8, 2012

Window Beads!

                                                             Thank heaven for flea markets.
    Where else can you buy silly stuff and not feel guilty? Here we are in my studio with my new treasure hanging in the window. Why? The only answer I have is that .... it tickled my fancy. The same reason I drew circles of various sizes on my studio walls and painted them a rainbow of different colors.
    I am making up for the sobriety of my youth.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

An Art Deco Clue.

 These are two experimental paintings from  my Art Deco period and they are the next two clues to my Mystery Build favorite movie.

The challenge gripped me so that I could not put it down; so after many, many hours I have finished the project and have sent in the photos of my results.

Do you know the movie that I chose??

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Mystery Build Bloopers

     All that glitters is not gold.... not all attempts at my Mystery Build were successful. Here are some of the out takes that will never reach the viewers eyes:

Clay was not in the kit but I thought I could make a mold then pour Plaster of Paris into the mold to make figures thus  stretching the limited supplies. Try and get a wooden object with gummy joint out of dried clay proved to be my nemesis. I did not want to destroy the model figure so the clay mold was sacrificed and that avenue was a failure.

Another idea was to paint on the newsprint paper provided and make different sized dots to simulate stage lights. I was trying to go for the Art Deco style. That took more patience than I have and it really looked cheesy so that was a failure.

   Out of mini straws and a Styrofoam ball taped together I tried to  build another figure.   This one was to have spiked hair and big ear rings! I felt so clever but when done it looked artistically stunted.


The final failure:

     Remember the theme for this contest is "Your Favorite Movie", have you guessed what the movie is that I chose? Or do you need more clues?



Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Mystery Build Contest

This is what came in the mail.                       

What have I gotten myself into? Another brain exercise, like learning to use my new I Pad; keep those brain cells working. I found the Mystery Build contest on line and thought it would be fun to do.

Opening the tin I saw what I have to work with:
Contents of the tin.

Contest rules state that I must create a piece of art  from only the items found within this tin. Oh, the theme is my favorite movie!

As always I figured out the movie and the design in the semi sleep state as I was falling asleep at night. This is a critical time for me to solve problem areas in a painting or project that I am working on.

Now aren't you at least a little bit curious as to what on earth I will come up with? This project is not due until September but I should have it done long before that and I will share the results. Do you remember my Cinderella Wore Prada? That should prepare you for the creation of my fertile imagination. :)
Cinderella Wore Prada- made of paste paper and scrap fabric, etc.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Lost Orchid Painting


     My reason for setting up my own still life was to paint what was visually in front of me. I don't want to rely on magazine or book pictures and when they are necessary I will only use photos that I have personally taken. As I stepped back to view this painting; I fixed the things that I could see were  wrong and then after all that time and effort I determined it was trite and boring.  It just was not me!

     My painting made some of the classic basic mistakes:
 * using all hard edges; no soft edges to show the perspective of background objects or the lack of simple variation of technique
 * very little change in value; everything is competing for visual attention.
 *no major focal point; again everything is competing for attention.
 * lacks life or movement
What does one do when a project bombs out? Either destroy the evidence or start over.  I started over.

     Gesso was re- slathered over the canvas much like Huck Finn did to Aunt Polly's fence. At that point the Orchid painting was lost...gone.... simply another evanescent image.

Fear not, another image entered my mind. Here is the first step for Some Like It Hot! My style took a 180 degree turn but this one feels better to me. Wish I had a good answer as to why one feels better than the
 other but I don't have a clue. My son is developing a recipe for a spicy meat rub and I may of been thinking of him as he designs his product label.

Viewing from a distance I noticed that the pepper and hot fire of the drip technique looked too much the same. The addition of more yellow and oranges to the drips makes the pepper stand out more. With black Gesso the letters and pepper outline were tidied up a bit. I experimented with highlights and shadows but I was not impressed. Sometimes a painter needs to exaggerate and kick it up a notch.

To get into the mood I always have appropriate music in the background; this time is was Caribbean music with the up beat sounds of the steel drums.


 A complement touch of green was added to the stem, plus I mixed the red with a gloss gel medium to make the pepper the shiny focal point. Using a palette knife added texture which does not show up well in this photo.

My last thought is to add some black down in the lower portion of the painting to disperse the color throughout the painting. OK, here goes......the final painting.

This one is for you Braden!


Final touches were highlights, shadows that flowed down the page to unite the painting.

Lost an orchid; found a Hot Pepper!!      :)                                                  

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Frozen Reflections- An Abstract Realism

     Abstract Realism, Jumbo Shrimp; yes I get the oxymoron but I did it anyway. This is going to be a "you suggest the ending" to a thriller mystery painting saga. Please look at the painting stages as my thought process developed and help me find a final work of art.
                                                               I am not yet pleased with the outcome!
 The canvas is 40 X 50 inches so it makes a large statement. Using my knowledge from a Dorate Muller workshop, I toned the canvas in a warm color and pasted torn  rice paper strips and gold leaf sheets onto the canvas. I had nothing in particular in mind for a subject matter or color choices. From a distance the blue, green and gold papers reminded me of islands within an Arctic Sea. 

Step 2 shows the softening and cooling of the background with the water showing reflections of the sky and islands. Thanks to Maya Baynes' workshop for reminding me of these principles.

In order to find the compliment of all the cool colors I added an abstraction of warm tones. At that point the painting suggested to me that the water of the sea were spilling down the remaining 2/3 of the canvas.


 In step 3  I see my vision and maybe I should have stopped but I didn't, what can I say! Thinking that the bottom was too busy and undeveloped I continued on trying to develop larger areas of blue to reflect the sky and give the eyes a place to rest which would then bring one's eye to the focal point.

      I do believe it shows better in person but here is my photo of the final stage at this moment in time. Did I lose my vision or did I make a well designed painting? How would you complete this mystery within a painter's mind?

Hope to hear from you.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Maija Baynes Painting Workshop

    January 24-26 were three days well spent in a painting workshop with Maija Baynes. It has been a while since I blogged about a class that I have taken and enjoyed so much.
For some reason I have not been able to get the feeling; "Oh I really want to paint that!"; therefore I paint nothing. Even my paint something silly did not get me out of my blank canvas block. The painting passion always returns but I never know how long it will take.
     I tried reading; Artist's Way, Color Choices, the new Acrylic Artist Magazine and Fill Your Oil Paintings with Light & Color.      Nada.

     Maija was a guest demonstrator at the Vero Beach Art Club meeting where she painted a still life. It dawned on me that part of my problem was that I have to visibly see the landscape or subject in front of me to be able to paint it. My brain had just shut down to printed subject materials. During the workshop I learned totally new painting techniques to paint a landscapes, cloud/skies and water/ reflections.
This gave me some new ammunition to move forward.

     Using a  tinted canvas and a limited palette we were instructed to sketch in the simple shapes of the subject's outline. No drawing, just take an old brush and scrumble in the basic shapes. I had to relearn scrumbling and to use a small amount of paint. My outline shapes had too many hard edges and my paint layer was way to thick. Maija paints from dark to light which threw me off a bit. She showed us how to combine a limited number of colors to get the full landscape palette. The logic was that a blending of a small number of colors  would  unifying the total painting.
Maija's palette


    The colors of the background contain more blues and grays, they are lighter with softer edges. Next she added red to the shaded areas of the paining and then proceeded to add mid and light tones of greens. The sky was done last which is the opposite of my technique.

      Maija deomonstrated how to mix the sky/ cloud colors before painting the sky. Note there were six different tones to the clouds! After that I had the knowledge to tackle my own sky. Pure white cotton ball clouds are a no, no from now on.

Maija's final painting
      The second day dealt with clouds and the third day focused on water reflections. Who knew reflections should be painted in the mirror image direction of the object? How can I miss little things that are so obvious?
Maija- Clouds

Maija's water reflections
     I know it was a good workshop because the time passed quickly and I was struggling which means I was learning and out side of my comfort zone!
Here are my three uncompleted attempts at landscape, a cloud scene and water with reflections:
My landscape

My clouds

I will finish these and post the final results for the world to ponder.
My water reflections