Collage, Take two

String Bean.jpg

Like I said before, there are many kinds of collage.  This is less abstract and lots more fun than the ones I showed you in my last post.  This one combines lots of things I have learned.

It does have some cut and paste.  The beans are from New York magazine (a subscription made with airline miles).  Every month they have a column about an in-season veggie.  The photos are big and beautiful, so I save them.  The green figs came from another magazine ad.  The purple flower came from a third.  The hand came from a Somerset Publishing mag.  This is the kind of collage I did in high school.  Cut the pictures and put them together to say something.  Some people do wonderful things with this technique, but I have not yet really been successful at it.  So I did a bunch of things.

First I divided the paper into different size squares and rectangles.  I just painted them different colors.  The top left is a page from Steve’s old calculus text that I painted with yellow watercolor.  Most of the piece is watercolors because I like them.  The bottom right corner, inside the black and white checks, is a bit from the magazine article that defines a string bean.  I painted yellow watercolor over it.  (Would you be surprised to know that I always run out of yellow long before I run out of any other color?  It is such a happy color.)

I used my reverse tissue paper writing for the bottom left corner.  Just glued it on and hit it with a hot pink.  Top right corner is the lettering and more paint.  The beans are glued on but not in the middle.  Not real fond of symmetry in art.  I even wrote “No straight lines in Nature.” between the beans.  I added the figs for the color.  Then I added a piece of cloth.  Just beside the yellow bean is a piece of batik fabric I had on hand which has been stenciled with a Jane LaFazio stencil that I won.  I drew the bean plant (I have no idea what a bean plant really looks like, so just trust me here.)

Finally I filled in with mostly Zentangles which are so soothing to draw.  If you haven’t Googled Zentangles yet, do it!!!!  This is a fad, trend, whatever for everyone.  It is meditation that can be done anywhere, even crowded subways–if your town has subways.  There are no rules and no mistakes.  What are you waiting for?  I know you did something like this in the margin of your high school notebooks during boring lectures.

The finished piece  is kind of bizarre and very colorful.  Steve liked it enough to hang it in his kitchen.  Just like my knitting, I am not very emotionally attached to the finished product; I just like the fun involved in the making.

Psst!  I have been knitting, but I can’t talk about it yet.

Some other fun stuff.

Garden collage base

Garden collage base

Add some flowers and stuff that I drew and painted

Add some flowers and stuff that I drew and painted

Some tape with messages, some tangling and and drawing to connect the images.

Some tape with messages, some tangling and and drawing to connect the images.

The base for a piece done in an online class with Cathy Bluteau

The base for a piece done in an online class with Cathy Bluteau

The final collage.  Mostly cut paper, and pics of Bella and Jake.

The final collage. Mostly cut paper, and pics of Bella and Jake.

Categories: Finished ARtwork, mixed media art | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

Collage has something for everyone

I have never been good at cut and paste. Wait. I cut well, but paste is usually a disaster. When Kate asked me to attend a collage workshop with her last fall, I decided try learn more about gluing paper together. Lord knows I have plenty of paper!

I tried some 6 x6 pages. Some were okay, some were stinky, one was really nice. Then I flew to Massachusetts to learn from Alexandra Sheldon. I hit some bumps in the workshop. Mixing acrylics was new to me and I wanted to use a new colorway. Took me half the workshop to find it. Also I was really annoyed about space and work areas. This let me know how spoiled I am, but also what I need to enjoy doing this. Both good lessons. Most of the work we did there was very abstract. Didn’t have to be, but it was. Since returning home I have done a bit of that, mostly finishing things I started there.

These two pieces share a fun technique anyone can do. Look closely at the pod shaped areas. They are stamped onto a background that was somewhat randomly painted. Very randomly actually. I made the stamps. In less than five minutes. Here’s how.


Materials needed–a piece of sticky backed foam (Michael’s), a piece of cardboard, a pencil, scissors.
Draw or trace the shape you want onto the foam. Carefully cut it out. Stick it to the cardboard. That’s it. Use paint or ink and stamp away. Commercial stamps are expensive. This isn’t. Think you can’t draw. Grab some cookie cutters and trace. A great way to make holiday stamps.
br />

If you are careful, you can also mount the negative image that was left from the cutout. Voila! Two stamps, no waste.

Check out the writing on the sides of each piece. This was my favorite discovery. Yes, it is backwards. Maybe I want you to have to work at finding out what I said. More likely, what I said was nonsense and I just like the way it looks. Here is how you do it.


Materials–tissue paper, pens or markers, a glue that dries clear. (I use Golden’s Soft Gel, but try whatever you have.)
Sit in front of the Tv and mindlessly write in you own handwriting. No need to be fancy. Printing works, too. Let the ink, paint dry. Turn the tissue upside down and glue it that way onto something else, like a card for someone. Put a layer of the glue over the whole piece. Let dry well. Call it art!


Here are some of the adhesives I use. I don’t like the ModPodge because it dries to a sticky surface. Maybe I don’t use it right. Lots of people like it. I am still best with a glue stick. They don’t spill.

The wire is a leftover from a jewelry project. I just poked holes in the collage with a needle and sort of sewed it in place. It is there to give your eye a path to travel. Sound kind of arty, don’t I?

If abstract isn’t your style, then I have some other ideas for you. I like to let my weird sense of humor loose once in a while.

More later–<

Categories: mixed media art, Personal thoughts | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Make Good Art


I just read Neil Gaiman’s speech which he gave to graduates of Philadelphia’s University of the Arts in 2012. (Http:// The speech was put into book form by a graphic designer named Chip Kidd and I stumbled over it at the Morrison branch of our library. The book is all turquoise, orange, yellow, and red which gives it the quirkiness you usually find in Gaiman’s writing. (Coraline, the Sandman comics, Dr. Who scripts,

The collaboration is a joyous mix of color and text and wisdom. The title is Make Good Art, and Gaiman’s was speaking to a room full of artists of all kinds. Considering my definition of art, he was speaking to every one of us.

The gist of the speech is “Follow your bliss” (Joseph Campbell), but said with great wit and laced with personal caveats. However, this morning the effect on me was to think about my personal definition of art.

What is art? IMHO

Make something. If it has an effect on someone else–love it, hate it, laugh with it, even puzzle over it–it’s Art. Creation + Effect. That’s all I require. Evaluating, critiquing, judging–a different process and not my concern.

I once made cupcakes for my daughter’s classmates. The kids ate them with gusto, inhaled them even. This was Not Art. It was merely eating cake mix food without noticing anything but the sugary taste.
20140110-114307.jpgToday there are shops which sell only cupcakes, and the customers consider each flavor carefully and admire each presentation. Then they purchase and eat with a smile, maybe even a moan. That is Art.

I knit. I follow a pattern–a recipe–a formula. But I choose the yarns, the color scheme, the buttons, the embellishments–even tweak the stitch pattern or alter the shape. I make Art.

I have a sketchbook. I draw. I’m not very skilled, but once in a while I draw something that makes someone connect and laugh (my favorite reaction). I made Art.


Steve cooks. Friends actually call and ask to come to dinner. He talks about flavor chords of food as he plans a meal. He uses white porcelain plates because he likes the way it shows the food. We eat, and sometimes we moan a bit. Yep. It’s Art.

So, go. Make Good Art. Your Art.

I would love to react to it if you want to share.

More later–

Categories: Personal thoughts | Tags: , | 2 Comments


Happy New Year! We are delighted to be in 2014. Last year was a tough one for us, but this is a shiny new one with all kinds of possibilities.

I don’t make resolutions. They just invite failure to me and I don’t need the guilt. Instead I set goals. Any progress is positive, and no progress just indicates that I am still thinking.

This year getting back to my blog is one of my goals. I’ve learned so much this year about making things and have had so much fun. I can’t keep all that fun to myself. I did start back knitting a bit and still teach private lessons, but I don’t foresee any classes–unless someone invites me.

DD#1 and family board the plane tomorrow to return from 5 months in Chile. DD#2 is in the air as I type returning from a snowy after Christmas in Wisconsin. Steve and I have had a quiet holiday and we haven’t been lonely thanks to our wonderful neighbors.

I have been applying new collaging skills,



And figuring out how to adjust the too long side seam of a new knitted project.


More later–

Categories: Personal thoughts | 2 Comments

South American Artwork

PS Painting on house Valparaiso (27)

Younger daughter and family visited older daughter and family who are in Chile on a Fulbright.  I am so proud of my grandsons who both remembered to get pictures of street art for Nana.  I thought I would share some of them with you.  I’m guessing everyone in Chile is an artist.

PS Valparaiso from funicularThis is Valparaiso and this is the required photo op there.  Taken from the top of the funicular railway, you get a good look at how hilly this city is.  The houses are painted lots of bright colors and decorated with art no matter how expensive the neighborhood.  Valparaiso is a World Heritage site.  I won’t be able to walk it, but I will find a nice cab driver.PS art on house Valparaiso (60)

This building is spectacular.  I love the dancing figures and the splash of gold paint.

PS Santiago (9)

This is an older art style on a building in Santiago.

PS The boys at Santa Lucia Park (2)This is Santa Lucia Park in Santiago.  Remember it is winter there, so the vines are dormant.  Looks a bit creepy, but I’ll bet it will be luscious when summer comes.

Sand art VinaSand art is big on the beaches at Vina del mar.

PS sand castle Vina del Mar we arrive in Chile (21)I had to share both of these.  I am amazed at this work and tortured by its impermanence.  Such skill.

PS Zentangle bird Valparaiso (56)Zentangle art is alive and well down South.

PS Pelicans Vina del Mar

Actually natural art is everywhere you look.  Meghan took this pic of pelicans near Erica’s home . . .

PS the Andes and La Cornisa (15)and this while they went skiing in the Andes.

Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.

Can’t wait to go myself.

More later–

Categories: family, Personal thoughts, Repeat pattern art | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Checking in

It is September . . . almost October.  We’ve been busy with family matters, but that’s all okay now.  I think about blogging, but I am not always sure that  what I am up to is interesting since it usually isn’t knitting.  But there is even some of that.

I’ve been asked to teach at the Carolina Fiber Frolic in 2014.  More on that as plans develop.  This is the weekend that Jan Smiley organizes each year in Sapphire Valley, NC.  It is always a great weekend of fun, fiber stuff,  and fabulous food.

We were in Nashville recently and went to a car show at the Frist Art Center.  It was called Sensuous Steel.

Art Deco Extraordinaire

Art Deco Extraordinaire

Cars from the 1930s. They were lavishly made and I felt a bit elegant just standing beside them.

1933 Pierce Arrow IMG_0217 IMG_0292

Click on these to see a larger view.

I am drawing and painting and gardening and planning my new screen porch.  I have been sorting Steve’s mom’s photographs and have found a treasure trove of vintage pictures to use for mixed media work.  The girls will get the originals, but I have scanned and scanned.  Check out these:

Steve's mom in her senior play.

Steve’s mom in her senior play.

HS Basketball team 1939

HS Basketball team 1939

I have mainly been working on 6 x 6 inch collages lately. I’m preparing to go to a workshop and I want to know what techniques I can do and what I reallllllly need help with. Here is one I like.

Embrace the reality of who you are

Embrace the reality of who you are

I used Photoshop to put the letters on the picture. I also used it to make the manniquins kind of wavey and ugly. Might be just a bit of jealousy there. I’m still working on this philosophy. I won’t overload your bandwidth with more examples, but you can always check out my artwork on my flickr site. Check the sidebar.

I’m working on some Halloween stuff which I will show you when I can.

Keep making things of your own.

More later–

Categories: altered art, Finished ARtwork, mixed media art, Personal thoughts | Tags: | Leave a comment

It’s been a long time . . .

I actually feel guilty that I haven’t blogged, but life has been family issues and you don’t need to hear about it.  The knee is better.  That’s my good news.

I’ve been making and making and making.  I have a new collage based on a scan of my grandmother’s wedding picture.

We have no idea who the woman in the back is.

We have no idea who the woman in the back is.

I painted the paper with watercolor and stencils.  Then added the pinkish color with pastels.  The definition is from an old dictionary we once received because we donated to the local PBS station.  The lace is from my MIL’s sewing box.  The flowers were waiting for me on the clearance shelf at Michaels, and the purple beads I sewed into their centers have been around here forever.  I did spray a fixative on it when I finished.

I tried several things here and they all worked.  Wish it were always that way.

Gift from the girls about 1981.

Gift from the girls about 1981.

This is my favorite mug.  I start every day with coffee in this mug and I think about my girls.  I broke it.  I cried.  I wrote an impassioned letter to both of them about someday replacing it. Meghan brought this back from Chile when she went to visit her sister.

It is very thin.  Really fine workmanship.

It is very thin. Really fine workmanship.

I look forward to visiting the gallery where she found it when I go to Chile.

One stitch at a time.

One stitch at a time.

I’m still knitting the hat I’m designing for my pharmacist.  It is the challenge I love, but I need to work on it more often.

Steve and I at the game.

Steve and I at the game.

My BFF Jennie gave me tickets to the Steelers-Panthers exhibition game last night.  She knows I like to go and lust after Troy Palomalu even though he never plays in an exhibition game.  Doesn’t matter.

He stands wonderfully.

My favorite defensive player

My favorite defensive player

During the interminable TV timeouts, I drew these.  Beware—some strong opinions here.

Beer and B____s

Beer and B____s

Just my opinion . . .but it is a strong one.

Just my opinion . . .but it is a strong one.

Hope you are making something, too.

More later–

Categories: Personal thoughts | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Art, Family, Thoughts

Z goes to school in Vina

Family first.  The folks are in Chile.  The other family goes to visit Friday.  I wish I were there.

Here is the American boy in the British school in Vina del Mar, Chile.  He is doing so well with the adjustment.  Has his first futbol (soccer) game is today.  I’m sure the team is glad to have him.  The school has welcomed him so warmly.

Unusual travel fact.  In Chile, heating is not necessarily part of the rental agreement.  We’ve been warned to bring winter pajamas.



The October Collage workshop will be here soon and I am preparing.  More Citrosolv papers to share.  I said I would update you about the National Geographic search.  I went to Sleepy Poet, a local antique mall, and found some—well, lots.  The guy that worked there had these for sale:

Note the brown boxes

Note the brown boxes

Seven years worth–in lovely boxed sets.  Total $10.00.  It seemed ridiculous to ask how much for one or two.  I bought them all.

Then I found the two from DSIL2.

Then I discovered that I really liked the size and weight of the ones I was creating with my ESPN mag.

Ain’t life funny?

The Sea

The Sea

This is #1, The Sea, in my collage prep series.  I have made a collage before, but always just sticking pictures together with no real purpose.  I read about using  a small sketchbook to do a collage a day.  The idea is that if frees you to explore.  This is a 6X6 sketchbook I bought at Arrowmont.  I like the size.  Not too much pressure.  I used some pearlescent watercolors, a greeting card, a magazine photo and a stamp.  I like the subtleness and the purple.

My Brain

My Brain

This is #2, My Brain.  This really is my brain.  I used pastels, washi tapes, the phone book, music paper scrap and a drawing of a brain.  Yes, the pink thing.  Then I wrote in some of my worries.

The “Everyday” thing doesn’t work for me, but that is okay.  I do like using a quote as a starting point.  I also have a collection of words snipped from magazines that could serve as a theme.  Anything to keep me focused.

hunger games pin

I’m doing a 30 day free trial of Amazon Prime.  Free shipping and free videos of movies and TV for $80 a year.  There is also a free book rental each month if you have a Kindle.  I watched The Hunger Games last night.  It reminded me again of how much fun it would be to teach that trilogy.  Then I reminded myself that students do not always see in literature what the teacher thinks they will.  Once, when I taught To Kill a Mockingbird to Juniors, I discovered that the dominant theme to many of them was Child Abuse, not Racism.  I think that shows how the world has changed.  It certainly supports the notion that responses to literature should be essays, not multiple choice questions.

Knee still wonky.  Don’t want to talk about it.

More later–

Categories: Personal thoughts | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Citrasolv and National Geographic Mania

The Miracle Art Product which will also clean your tires.

The Miracle Art Product which will also clean your tires.

Do you make cards or scrapbook? Do you do collage or art journaling?  Do you wrap packages or just like making a mess that surprises?  If yes to any of these, you need to know about Citrasolv.  Citrasolv is a solvent that will dissolve certain inks and make wonderfully subtle patterns out of magazine pictures, not just any magazine, but a National Geographic magazine is what you really want to use.  Not even a new one, but the older style.  They have changed the clay based paper ones for a cheaper printing cost.

Well, I didn’t have A National Geographic magazine, or at least, I couldn’t find the one that my son-in-law had given me, so I just grabbed what was around.  I used some calendars, magazine covers,
some slick dark magazine ads, even some of that day’s junk mail.

A freebie calendar from a favorite yarn shop.

A freebie calendar from a favorite yarn shop.

First, I used Citrasolv on a few pages and I tested it right away. See the fingerpainting on this particular calendar print.  Once I saw that it would dissolve this ink, I began to play. I just put it on everything I had and waited to see what would happen.

The three-finger painting technique

The three-finger painting technique

I wasn’t sure anything was happening so I used my fingers to smear around on this W Magazine.  I thought it looked like really cool finger paint.

Note: My manicurist always says to wear rubber gloves when you paint like this. I didn’t. Had to scrub hands for a long time. Suggestion: wear gloves.

Pour then stack--or close magazine.

Pour then stack–or close magazine.

Second, after smearing the Citrasolv over the various papers, I stacked them and smushed them, and rubbed them around a bit.  If the ink wasn’t dissolving, I just trashed the page.  (The orange smell was nice.)

Smush and Pull

Smush and Pull

Then, even better, I peeled them apart and got these fabulous effects as seen above.

Purple marble page

Purple marble page

Finally, I saw that I had some neat blends and effects, sort of like marbleized paper, only easier to make.  Hmmmm, I can use these in bookmaking.

Old Vogue Patterns cover drying on the porch.

Old Vogue Patterns cover drying on the porch.

Anyway, I took the papers out on my porch to dry overnight.  Once dry they are ready to use.

ESPN magazine cover

ESPN magazine cover

I am going to explore what will write and paint on them.  I do know that alcohol inks work well, and many scrapbookers use those.  They also do well as a collage base.  I would even use the purple one for the front of a card without doing anything else to it.

Text page

Text page

Can you still see the model underneath it all?

another mag ad

Now, grab a friend or relative and try this.  The only hard thing is to find the Citrasolv Concentrate.  I looked and looked in cleaner sections, even the auto parts store.  I could find the spray, but knew I needed the Concentrate.  Finally, I ordered it from

Next day I walked into Binders and it was sitting on a shelf.  Try your local art supply store.

Dang, this always happens.  So it stands to reason if I buy an old National Geographic, the one I have will show up.  Well, that’s a story for another day.

Great reference video is here.  Cathy Taylor does a great job. There are 5 parts to this series to show you other ways to play with this.

More later–

Categories: altered art, Personal thoughts | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

New Tangling Venture–Join In


The beginning

Yeah, I know it’s blurred, but it is only a 5X7 inch rectangle drawn on  gray heathered cardstock.  But this is how I started my sample for the ATC swap that Chris and I are hosting.  I had so much fun with the first ATC swap I did at,  Blog entry here, that I wanted to create one to share.


Step 2–divided into spaces

The instructions are to create a tangled piece that is 5 x 7 (or 4.5X6.5) then to chop it into 4 sections.  ATCs have to be 2.5X3.5.  Because the tangle gods say so.  Also it is a good size to create and swap with other addicts.  Swapping gives you some purpose to create, a deadline if you need such, and introduces you to others and their styles. is a nice friendly, easy-going group from all over the world.  It’s exciting to get a copy of someone else’s work.  Inspiring, even.


Inked the pencil lines and started to Tangle

This above pic shows that I have inked over and erased any stray pencil lines and begun to pattern tangles in the divisions.  Actually, I was sitting on the porch when I started this and just drew the limbs of my neighbors tree.  (Sort of.)  Then I just started using patterns I like, adapting them at will.  No planning of any kind went in to this project yet.   Except size.


Tangles extend beyond the margins.

I continued until I had completed all the spaces.  I did a bit of pencil shading here.  Top left and side right.  The bird is not a repeated pattern unless you have been following my drawings.  I put the bird there because it is a tree and because I like to draw birds.  Tangling is flexible as well as freeing.

step 5 color

Nervously added colors

Color is a  personal preference in this swap.  I rarely use color in my tangles, unless it is to paint the paper before I start to draw.  I always think I choose the wrong pieces to color or something.  It could just be that I really like black and white.  But I saw some quilts in Australia that were grey, yellow, and white, and began to really enjoy that combination.  After staring at the black and white version for a bit, I just picked up my yellow Tombow watercolor marker and colored in the branches.  It looked okay.


Trimmed to size and loved

But then I thought more about the grey.  I have lots of Prismacolor pencils in varying intensity of grey.  Why not?  So I colored in the rocks, the bird’s background, the googly eyes background, one band of the top curvy lines and the triangular Paradox.  Once I cut the outer edges clean I really loved this.

Note:  I think it is important to work across your established margins.  The work then bleeds off the page instead of stopping at the line.  I think.

Study in Grey & Yellow Series

Finished set of Four

Cut into four equal sections and glued to a charcoal grey cardstock.

ATC labeling

Signed and identified.

Done.  Maybe I’ll just do another.

I hope lots of folks join us in this swap.  You just send in yours with a SASE and we deal them out and sent back a mixed set from other folk.  It’s a good mailing to get.  Beginners are very welcome in this.  If you feel a bit inspired or curious about this no pressure, no talent-needed activity, then investigate Tangling.  Here, I’ll give you a template to get you started:

**************Four For One Template **************

Read the rules and sign up here.

Some great starting off sites are:  Rick and Maria invented this mania.  Linda has amassed lots of pattern how-tos Cindy Angiel’s blog.  She has taught me so much.  She created …, the community which hosts swaps and challenges with such grace and support.

Don’t forget to search for Tangles on

Oh,  surgery went well.  Am exercising and icing still.  It is so nice to get out of the house.  The knee can handle my clutch.  Got a bit bored just after the operation, so

Knee Bandaid decorated my Bandaids.  (DD#2 shakes head and sighs here.)  Click to enlarge.

More later–

Categories: Personal thoughts, Repeat pattern art | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at The Adventure Journal Theme.

%d bloggers like this: