Saturday, September 22, 2007


Cover of "13 Fridas"

Two posts in one day!!! Unprecedented action on this beautiful fall afternoon in Oregon. I've had printer/scanner problems for quite some time. It's really OS problems, but it's kept me from scanning recent work. I took some photos of one of my favorite projects, which I call "13 Fridas". The idea for this project originated with an altered board book years ago. I had created a stack of hand-painted papers during an artful afternoon in the backyard with Quetzal, a member of my extended family (my son's half-brother), who was 9 years old at the time. He had been generous, to say the least, with what he squeezed out of the many tubes of acrylic paint I had brought outside for us to paint with. We had all this paint left over and I wasn't about to let it go to waste. I had a foam roller and a styrofoam tray and I began rolling away on cheap drawing paper. The roller locked in place at times instead of turning, and it caused the paint to skid across the paper, creating many interesting effects. Then I began randomly dotting the the loaded roller with metallic paint; this created a repeating pattern, which I liked a lot. So after one afternoon, I had 30 big sheets of beautiful paper.

I'd always wanted to try covering a board book instead of sanding then painting to create backgrounds, so the paper seemed like a good option. While covering the first book (using glue stick), I was jazzed to see that the painted paper ended up looking like abstract landscapes or created colorful worlds behind the Fridas. I'd always wanted a book with nothing but images of and/or by Frida Kahlo. As it turned out, this book had room for 13 such images, hence the name 13 Fridas. I had the book for quite some time and always thought I would get around to scanning it. I took it to a craft sale just as a showpiece to advertise a class I was teaching, and someone made me an offer I could not refuse, so I sold it. The next one I made was on commission and I kept futzing with it until the last minute and didn't scan that one either. The 3rd one is what you see here. These are photos, since my scanner is out of commission, but I think you can get the idea. You can find my handpainted papers here.


This is an altered book layout using a photo transfer on the right and some fluid acrylics and collaging. I love bright colors and I also love the muted sepias and black and white in contrast. I love the artwork used in the opening sequences of the HBO show "Carnivale". I'm not sure if I love the show or not--I do find it riveting at times--but I love the period feel they give to everything. I think they get it spot-on. I don't get HBO but I love to rent some of their series.
Another altered book/photo transfer layout. This is done with an alcohol ink stamped background. It's John Lennon, of course. It's so interesting to me to meet young people today who are total Beatlemaniacs, just as I was at their age. I'm so excited about the new Julie Taymor movie, "Across The Universe". I saw some excerpts and the performers are monstrously talented. I'm a crossover artist. I always sang. My mother and I were the go-to talent in the small town where I grew up. She was a gifted pianist and I sang. We performed on Mother's Day and for Christmas shows at the Grange Hall. I'm talking a town of 600, so it wasn't huge audiences, but I loved it. I wish, wish, wish we'd had the technology to record in those days. I would love to hear what I sounded like. I also soloed in various churches for the adult service. "Onward Christian Soldiers", "Rock of Ages", "In the Garden" and all those classics were my stock in trade for church. But the Beatles totally blew me AWAY! And John was love at first sight. The thinking-woman's Beatle.
Another Frida AB layout. My fabulous partner, Herb, once said, "You don't have to put Frida on everything!" (In all fairness, this was in response to an idea I had that I could photo transfer Frida images onto a couch I was painting.) She's one of the famous Mestizas in the world and I admire the hell out of her for her art.
This is a little painting I did during my bird phase--I swear it hasn't ended yet. They say birds are the messengers from the angelic realms and the spirit world. I have had and continue to have beautiful experiences and interactions with birds. I love them. I'm actually writing a song called, "Pay Attention To The Crow".

Pay attention to the crow with the berry in her beak
She just might be an angel coming down to you to speak
To remind you of your purpose
And to help you find your path
Pay attention
Pay attention
To the crow

Altered photo. You can see more of these here on Gillian Allen's fabulous Art-e-Zine website. I've got to go mail some things that I sold at My Etsy Shop and at Boutik-A-Blog

Friday, September 21, 2007


This is an incredible Mexican piece I got a few years back in a Salvation Army thrift store in Contra Costa County for 8 whole dollars. I found this on one of my many journeys to California during the two years I spent in counseling there. Those trips transformed my life and my soul. This piece I call The Ancestors. I am half Mexican, and while I am very proud of my heritage, there was some internal conflict because my Mexicano father's parenting was not nurturing. I see now, though, how the negatives in my life have given me amazing and tremendous gifts. So when I found this wonderful sculpture, I claimed my heritage in a new and powerful way. I have come to believe that I actually chose a rocky and difficult path in order to come to this place of incredible well-being in which I now reside. Pues, bienvenidos a los antepasados.
Another shelf in my dining room. All thrift store or flea market purchase.

This is a little collection of ATC's I did for a trade.


Well, it's been way too long between posts, but I've been busy in classrooms and at my computer. I've just set up a SALES ONLY blog (Boutik-A-Blog: as an attempt to streamline my business a little. It's definitely in its infancy, but you will find some wonderful things there. I'll have, of course, arts and crafts supplies for all you crafty people, but I plan to sell a bit of this and a bit of that flea market style. You'll be able to find vintage fabric (from what my partner, Herb, terms "the cloth mine"). Look for vintage ephemera including old photos, vintage greeting cards and wrapping paper, old wallpaper, salvaged book pages, advertising, illustrations, etc. I'll even offer vintage and contemporary clothing as the fancy strikes me. If you've read earlier posts, you know that I've dealt in collectibles, so I have things I've owned and loved and am passing on as well as things I've found just for you. Since the blog is one day old, I've listed just a few things. Some Dymo Label Makers (w/an extra roll of tape), some extra-fine mister bottles (for use in rubber stamping and watercolor) and an assortment of tags. I'll be listing more in the next couple of days as I begin to take more photos.

Monday, September 17, 2007


So, tonight I thought I'd share a little of what I call my long-lost art. These are experiments--this time with collage--that I did in years past. I go through phases of experimentation and then forget all about it. I sometimes run across the items in my studio and sometimes I'm just sorting or cleaning out my huge files of scans or jpgs and find them that way. These first two collages come from my paper bag phase. These are done on paper lunch sacks with lots of melted crayon, polymer medium and gold foiling. The images and other elements are added using Jonathan Talbot's collage method.

These two collages were inspired by those little 2-prong metal file clips/clamps that have sticky on the back of them. I had seen another artist's work in which she took little teensy scraps and compiled them into little books. She did a lot of piling up of images, textures and patterns, so it was a great inspiration. I love the way the metal works in these little compositions as a sort of anchor/organizer. I did many of these, but these are the two I like best. One of the best things I took away from a Jonathan Talbot class I took once is that one way to get your creative fires burning is to look at other people's art. He very clearly showed how Picasso, admired for his originality, actually used compositions from other paintings in his own work. It's good to look at other people's art. And it's really fun.

This is a tiny little collage using embossed fun foam as part of the frame. It ends up looking like metal when you add the teensiest bit of copper embossing powder.
I did a series of altered photos some of which can be seen on Gillian Allen's fabulous Art-e-Zine website here:

When I went to a rubber stamp convention in Puyallup a couple of years ago, I took some photos of old buildings. I was messing around with Photoshop and placed one of the altered photos in a window as an experiment.

Hey, I'm off to bed. I stayed up WAY too late last night so I've got to get some shuteye. I have one more day with my delightful high school English students! Have a great day tomorrow and a great rest of the evening.

Sunday, September 16, 2007


Sheri was our winner and the pics show just what she's getting. I tried to put things in that I might find interesting and cool. Some things are practical; some things are whimsical. It took me so long to pull out a perfect assortment that I didn't get to the P.O. in time to mail it. Monday, without fail, Sheri.
You'll see a collection of Royal Copley (like this gray and pink and black goldfish vase) on my mantle. I adore pottery glazes in colors like the Copley stuff. I love the Copley greens and golds. Yum!!!
"It's not done till it's overdone," might apply to my mantle. Here is a picture of the mantle lit up at night. I love lights and candles. I have been called a magpie more than once because I'm partial to anything shiny. I just find so many things beautiful!!!


Some photos of my house. The mantle at night; the Buddha on the buffet; a corner in the living room; a table in my entryway; a thrift store Mary in my living room. More photos of mantle in future posts.

Friday, September 14, 2007


Hey, it's Friday and I thought I'd invite you to my house (past and present) to see the kinds of things I love to have around me. It's all art as far as I'm concerned, and I've always loved to create vignettes, scenes, arrangements, groupings of objects, etc., that make me smile. The top photo is one of the dining room built-in display shelves (1942 house). The second photo is a past arrangement on the kitchen counter. It's different now. The grain jars are above my kitchen work table. Then you see an old view out my kitchen window. That's been rearranged as well. Wait until I take some pictures of the mantle in my living room!!! I just heard a designer quote his mother on an HGTV show, "It's not done until it's overdone," and that applies to my mantle. When I used to entertain more, people had all kinds of reactions to my style. Oddly enough, it was often men who would really like the layering and artful overkill method I employ in my decorating. My brother-in-law, a fine photographer, took lots of shots of my "worlds". I rearrange them now and again, and I'm definitely in a shift right now. I'll document my mantle, but it might be in for some changes. I really like to see other people's "stuff", too. I love the blog posts where people show photos of their thrift store purchases. I plan to take some of those photos eventually, too.

In addition, I'm showing you (in the bottom photo) a little game piece grouping I put together for my Etsy shop. There are a few of them available as well as vintage fabric and ephemera, so do check it out. Just follow the link. Also, it was on contest-winner, Sheri's blog, I believe, that I saw the link to the "Etsy Sellers Who Blog" blog ring. I just joined and will really look forward to checking out all the Etsyites' blogs.

I subbed today at a high school and had a really nice day. I started my teaching career working with middle-schoolers, then taught expelled middle- and high-school kids, and then coordinated a behavioral intervention program for kindergarteners and first graders. Did all that for 11 years and then decided to morph a little. The subbing is really interesting. I am an even better teacher now than when I was working full-time because I've learned so much about the brain and nervous system and have worked on keeping my own vibratory field super-positive and loving. I have so much fun with kids. This morning, I walked the equivalent of a block or so from the absent teacher's parking place and just appreciated the air temperature, the beautiful trees behind the school, the fresh faces and fashion sense of the students, the polished floors and the oh-so-retro colored tile walls. I just felt so energized and so happy to be there. The day went by quickly and things went smoothly. When I can catch myself going into negative thought or judgment, I just say, "Not gonna go there." It is amazing how positive I can stay and how happy I can feel when I stay out of the ego stuff. Very fun.

So, have a lovely launch into this beautiful weekend. Wishing you all as much fabulousness as you can stand!!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Well, the response to the contest was great. I got the first 10 comments in just over a day, so YAAAAYYYY!!! In the first picture, you see my windowsill Goddess about to pick the winner's name from the first 10 comment-makers. She asked me to place them in her favorite seashell which I had to place on a cup to make it high Linkenough for her to reach. She was so excited to pick the name of our winner:


So, Sheri, I'll email you to get an address and send you your art goodies by the end of the week.

I've heard from a couple of you that you've placed a link to my blog on yours. I'm a little nervous, though, that people aren't getting entered into the contest for the SUPER-DELUXE art goodies they qualify for because they aren't letting me know they've placed me on their blogs. If you have linked to my blog on yours, please send me a quick email or add a comment like Mercedes did that let me know she linked to my blog. I'll add the links to yours very soon.

I think this contest was fun. I think I'll extend it:

New Chance To Win Art Goodies: I will draw another name from the next 10 comments to receive a prize.

Pre-P.S. I'm not trying to scream in the following text. I couldn't get it to revert back to the size font size in the beginning of the post. I've tried 3 times. I give up.The photos you see above are some of the vintage fabrics I'm about to list on Etsy. I have an unusually large collection of fabrics from the 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's and on. I get weak in the knees when I see an old fabric or a fabulous contemporary one. I use fabrics in many ways (paper bag books, altered books, tags, bags, collages, dolls, decorating) and I feel sorry for beautiful vintage fabric that I leave behind lonely and forgotten at thrift stores or estate sales. I had a giant garage sale in August at my son's house in Portland and sold off some of the lesser fabrics. I've kept the best to sell. I'm starting with the smaller pieces and will move to yardage as I clear out. What you're seeing here are eclectic collections of various sized pieces. I've grouped together minimum widths of 12" and 13", which you see in pictures. I'm also doing squares and those are in the third fabric picture (these are 9" squares). Aren't they cool? You can surf over from my Etsy link later today because I'm headed over there to list them.

Have a fabulous day!!!

Sunday, September 9, 2007


Pre-P.S. Click on the pictures for a better view of what's in the jars.
Hey, I've got some readers who are asking what's in the jars on the shelves in my earlier "Shelf Project" entry. I took some photos so that you can get an idea of the sorts of doo-dads I love. I can never get photos rearranged once they're uploaded, so these are out of order, but I've included some collages I made using some of the little things I collect. The theme of this project was "Red" and I used a children's cloth alphabet book that I took apart and did lots of different backgrounds on. I did about a dozen of them. The backgrounds range from molding paste to tissue paper to lace to textured paints and all the backgrounds are painted using reds, pinks and reddish browns. I added vintage pipecleaner dolls and gave them things to hold or things to go on the walls of their little worlds. Have a lovely day, readers.

1. Oh!!!! I keep forgetting. I want to have some contests/drawings. From the names of the first 10 people who comment on any post, I will draw a winner who will receive some goodies for your artwork in the mail. I'll hand-pick some fabulous things to send your way.

2. Of the first 10 people who link to my blog from theirs, I will draw a name and you will receive an Ultra-Deluxe package of goodies for your artwork. Just send me the link to your blog when you've linked to mine and I'll add your name to the drawing. And I will, of course, add a blogroll to mine and automatically add yours!!! Yay!!!
email address: OR