Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Cigar Box Wednesday

Bingo! That's right, this week's cigar box is full of bingo cards. Some vintage, some foreign, even a couple that have their own little slide-y things instead of using the little round wooden bingo numbers (those are in another box!)

Lots of different sizes too. A few almost too big to fit in the box and then some that are ATC size.
Fun to use in altered books and as a canvas to paint and add embellishments.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Out on the Wharf

Two wild and crazy gals

Here we are on the wharf in Santa Cruz being serenaded by dozens of sea lions. We had a blast watching their antics and seeing their adorable whiskery faces. Also spotted some huge jellyfish-fascinating to see.

A trip to Hart's Fabrics and lunch at Taqueria Vallarta were added to our original itinerary - and this entire whirlwind Santa Cruz tour in only 4 hours!

Lisa and friend
Don't touch that dial - on Thursday's blog sneak peaks of Lisa's Sassy new boots!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Hittin' the Street!

Pacific Street, Santa Cruz

After spending yesterday afternoon with Lisa doing all things Sassy and shoes, today we plan to hit Pacific Street here in Santa Cruz. A myriad of cool shops including; Paper Vision and Palace Art & Office Supply for all things artistic and paper! And one of the best independent book stores in the state - Book Shop Santa Cruz.
So after a delicious breakfast at Hoffman's Bakery and Cafe, Margot, Lisa and I will be hittin' the street - Pacific Street that is!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Time with Lisa

Spending some time today and tomorrow with the wonderful Lisa Hoffman up in Santa Cruz. Lots of great food, fun shopping and catching up since we were together a couple of months ago.
Lisa makes periodic trips out here to the coast to breath our sea-level air (a bit of a change from living at the foot of the Rockies!) and revel in the coastal fog. Also a rumour that she will be doing a Sassy Feet consult with my lovely wife Margot.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Earlier this week I had a phone message from the San Luis Tribune - our county's big newspaper. AND the reporter said that they were going to do a story on the upcoming Open Studios Tour and the article would feature 3 of the 220 participating artists and--wait for it -- I'm one of the 3! I know! "Wowsers-trousers!" as my friend Destiny says when something's too cool for words.

Yesterday the reporter, Pat Pemberton, came out to my studio and spent an hour talking about Open Studios, my altered books and assemblages, my checkered former careers; teaching and singing opera, and the interesting twist of being a librarian who alters books.

I was curious how I was picked out of a field of 220 artists. Pat said that Arts Obispo had supplied him with a list of Open Studio artist along with their websites. He really liked my website and blog, and said they were very influential in his final decision. So, big thanks to daughter Bronwyn and friend Destiny, both of whom have helped me more than I can say with all things "Internet".

The article is scheduled to come out in the Sunday October 4 issue of The Tribune.

Friday, September 25, 2009

From the Bookshelf

The Decorated Page by Gwen Diehn -you could say that's where it all began. Five years ago this book surfaced at my library and I thought it looked interesting, so I checked it out, took it home, and devoured it - again and again. I've been keeping journals since the age of 13, but this was a totally new concept. You could draw in your journal? Add stuff? Do art? I was instantly hooked! A couple of trips to Michael's and Beverley's (our Central Coast version of Jo-Ann) and I was set. I could not believe how much fun this was.

Well, artistic journaling lead to altered books, lead to collage, led to assemblage art, lead to Art Fest, lead to workshops with Lynne Perrella, Nick Bantock, Anne Bagby, lead to publication in Somerset Studio, lead to here - 5 years later and three weeks away from my first Open Studios Tour. Thanks Gwen!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tarjetas de las Calaveras

Tarjetas de las Calaveras

Collage on 11x14" canvas board, covered with red patterned tissue paper. A large skull picture and Loteria cards are joined by a row of grinning skulls made from bone. Encaustic wax in clear and red coat the piece.

The last piece for Open Studios! Now comes all the nuts and bolts of framing, matting, adding hangers, doing labels and price tags, sending postcards, etc., etc., etc. Busy weeks leading up to Oct. 17!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Cigar Box Wednesday

A box of powerful females - goddesses, Madonnas, deities. Collected throughout the years. found at flea markets, swap meets, import stores and thrift shops.

Made of plastic, resin, wood, glass and my favourite - chalk wear. They will all eventually find their way into an assemblage shrine.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Hand That's Dealt

The Hand That's Dealt

Another collage with encaustic wax. This one, entitled The Hand That's Dealt, features a self portrait by Frida Kahlo, a trio of Loteria cards and a quote from Frida about death "I hope the leaving is joyful and I hope never to return".

Done on a 11x14" canvas board covered in black and white tissue paper, and covered in clear and red encaustic wax. The quote is printed on velum, and a metal heart is added to Frida's necklace.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Gifts from the Sea

Gifts from the Sea

I spent yesterday doing a few small collage/assemblages for the up-coming Open Studios next month. This one, called Gifts from the Sea, features a handful of things I've picked up on my beach walks over the last few months.

I started with an 11x14" canvas board to which I adhered beige patterned tissue paper with clear and blue encaustic wax. The paper was saved from a gift and seemed perfect as it had small pictures of mermaids and ships and the writing referred to the "gifts of the siren". I then used E-6000 to glue on the sea glass, tiny sand dollars and sea star, rusted bits and fish net.

It's always fun to work with the wax, I especially enjoyed the "wave" look that the blue gave the piece. A walk on the beach - not only a good time but a great place to scavenge for art supplies!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Not Provence, But Not Too Shabby

A glorious day here on the coast; blue, blue skies, an even bluer ocean, warm sun, cool sea breeze... And an afternoon off to sit on the deck, read a bit, stopping now and then to gaze at the ocean and sip pastis. Yes, one could do this in Provence on the Cote d'Azur (if one had the plane fare and the vacation time), but until then - this works for me!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Arrr, Me Hearties!

Today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day! If ye be not certain how to talk like a pirate - go here - for translation from English to Pirate! Since I'll be at work all day, I don't think I'll don my entire pirate garb (left over from several years of participating in Pirate Fairs) but I might be keepin' the hat to hand, maties.

Friday, September 18, 2009

From the Bookshelf

Artists' Journals and Sketchbooks

One of my absolute favourite books. Artists' Journals and Sketchbooks by Lynne Perrella.
Full of beautiful pages from dozens of well-known artists in the mixed media world. Eye candy, techniques, inspiration to the max. I purchased my copy 5 years ago and I'm still finding new things in it. This is a book that I invariably slip into my carry-on tote on plane trips. I lose myself in the artwork and before I know it - I've arrived.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Art in a Basket

Dia de las Calaveras

Every year our library system, which consists of 16 different branches scattered throughout San Luis Obsipo County, has an All Staff Day. All library employees gather and we have workshops and guest lecturers and get to visit with each other. As part of the day's festivities every branch brings a "gift" basket for the door prize drawing at the end of the day. This year, my library - the Cambria Branch library, decided to do something just a little different. Since all four of us who work here are artists, we each created a piece for the basket. So our basket contains a beautiful piece of jewelry, a raku pot, a painting and my contribution - the above assemblage.

It seems so much more fun than the ubiquitous scented candles and boxes of truffles. We figure if someone wins who just isn't into art at all - they will be all set for some lovely holiday gifts.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Cigar Box Wednesday

Wings - wooden, fabric, ceramic, feathered. Brightly coloured, muted, metallic and white. Big and small and in-between.

Waiting for an assemblage, a journal cover, possibly a collage - but never, never along with a dunce cap on a human figure! Many of you are laughing at this, for those who don't know - this has actually become a standing debate in the paper arts world. To wing and dunce or not to wing and dunce - what a question! Yeah, I agree - life's too short - let's just all make art.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Mmmm... Paper

But first - mmm... scones! Fantastic home-baked scones at The Home Plate on Lombard between Steiner and Pierce, our favourite breakfast place in San Francisco. So good, we brought a bag home with us.

And then FLAX - they just happened to be having a massive paper sale and dozens of patterns were on sale for $1.00 to $2.00! I couldn't resist and brought home several big sheets of different designs and colours. Also stocked up on the above, 6x10" Italian papers that are only $.25 a piece. At that price, I was like a kid in a candy store and brought home some of each flavour! Always a joy to visit FLAX - to shop and for inspiration.

Monday, September 14, 2009


photo courtesy of

Guess where we're going before we hit the road for home? Flax! You've probably seen the catalog, if you're lucky enough to live close, you've probably been to the store. Art shop extraordinaire - an entire room - and a big room - devoted to paper, hundreds of flat files full of luscious, delicious, beautiful paper. And then there's journals and paints and art supplies and delightful gift items and, and, and, So following breakfast at The Home Plate (great scones) we're going to Flax!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Up the Coast

Margot is teaching Sassy Feet classes today at The Sewing Workhshop in San Francisco, and Destiny and I decided to go up and help out. I staff the shop area where students can purchase embellishments, books, paints and "so much more". And Des assists Margot, demostrating colour mixing and painting techniques.

We weren't scheduled to go, but hey, any excuse to go to San Francisco! So mini-road trip up the coast to the City. After class; dinner and a walk down Lombard Street.

photo courtesy

Saturday, September 12, 2009

My (almost) New Journal

My new daily journal. Well, not new-new - I've been using it since July. I gathered together all the artist papers I've collected from Somerset Studios over the years, along with loads of scrapbook paper cut to size. I took all of these, along with mat board into my local copy shop and had them spiral bound. I asked for the biggest spiral they had - we all know how journals tend to grow and grow over time!

I picked it up the next day, brought it home and affixed post cards to the front cover - Anne Bagby, Susan Lenart-Kazmer, and Traci Bautista. Then embellished with polymer clay beads from Chris of Prism Trail.

And viola! Plenty of paper that already has colour and design (so, no "white page" nervousness)
and plenty of blank pages on the back when I want to start with a plain surface. It's 9x12" and a little heavy - on a future post I'll show you the tres cool bag Margot made for me to carry it in.

Friday, September 11, 2009

From the Bookshelf

Hong Kong Apothecary is full of delightful graphics and eye candy to the max. Labels, labels, labels. Wonderful colours, Chinese characters, and interesting text that traces the history of medicine labeling and packaging in China. Fun to peruse, and great inspiration.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Rainbow of Boxes

Here's what I was doing on my long weekend. Printer's trays, full of colour, full of stuff, full of wonder! Using the techniques and suggestions from Lynne Perrella's Color as Catalyst workshop last month in Colorado, I sanded, gessoed, applied tissue paper, painted, filled and glued 5-count 'em-5 of these babies.

Green, yellow, orange, red and a taupe-y/sepia-y/ brownish one (my personal favourite of the five). I spent a Saturday several weeks ago going through all the cigar boxes and drawers and collecting little treasures to fill the trays.

They will be available at Open Studios next month - Oct. 17-18 and Oct. 24-25.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Cigar Box Wednesday

Paint Chips! What's not to love? Every colour in the rainbow and then some - and - they give them to you. In fact, they encourage you to take them. So how can you not indulge on every trip to Home Depot or Ace Hardware.

I started my collection when we bought our house and decided we needed a total of 17 different colours throughout - and I haven't stopped since. Great in art journals, altered books, assemblage or just when you need to see a couple of shades next to each other to get an idea . Paint Chips, one of my cheaper vices!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Old Pages

Take a look at what my friend Destiny Carter has been doing. She's using old book pages I weathered earlier this year, during The Altered Page Disintegration Project. Destiny is a great artist who can just sit down, pencil in hand and in a few minutes draw something wonderful. As with many true artists, she doesn't seem to think this is amazing at all.

I am the lucky recipient of her talent in many ways. She designed my blog banner, helps maintain my website, cuts stencils for me and designed all the marketing material for my up-coming Open Studio in October. Thanks Destiny!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day Fun

Art in the Park

The Peddlers' Faire

fish 'n' chips

it dosen't get much better than this on the last un-official day of summer. And time to work on some art projects as well.