Friday, April 30, 2010

From the Bookshelf

Somehow I missed hearing about this book and only found out about it when a copy arrived for our library. After one look through I knew I had to have it. Ann Baldwin does a masterful job of presenting techniques, with step by step instructions and copious illustrations - featuring her wonderful artwork. Often I buy mixed media art books just for the eye candy, but this is one I know I'll pull out again and again to learn new techniques and skills.

Thursday, April 29, 2010



I've started working on art for this year's Open Studios Tour next October. This piece started with an old oil painting that I scrubbed over using pale pink and light apple green craft acrylics. I then attached the lace on the left hand side, the velvet leaves, the dolls jacket, the vintage book cover and the silk flower with heavy gel medium. The vintage frozen Charlotte, dug up in the grounds of an old German doll factory was adhered with E-6000. The hanger has been - wait for it - "hanging around" the studio for several years, waiting for this piece. I especially like the illustration at the bottom right, it's from a very old, falling-apart children's book. The book was made by sandwiching a layer of linen between 2 thick pieces of papers to make heavy pages for eager tiny hands. The 19th century version of today's board books. When the pages are torn they have delightful bits of raveling along the edges.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Cigar Box Wednesday

Doll clothes. Not something I had a lot of as a kid. Six shooters? yes! Lariats? of course! Sets of 2" high cowboys? naturally! But, as my daughters would say, not so much with the dolls.

But they do make excellent accents for a collage or altered book.

I've found them in thrift stores, swap meets and antique street faires - but certainly not in the 50 year old boxes labeled "Erin's toys"!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Score - Thanks Jim!

I am very lucky to have a team of friends that collect for me. Rusty, splintery, vintage, worn, oddball things and old this and that. Jim gave me this lot the other day - just random stuff he found here and there. It's all great, but I especially love the four rusty metal strips in the lower left hand corner and the Egyptian game pieces. Ah, many wonderful assemblages to follow!

Monday, April 26, 2010

My First Article!

The May/June issue of Somerset Studio will be on the news stands this coming Saturday - and - I am proud, and faintly amazed, to say that I have an article therein.

The challenge was the Impressionists and I responded with Monet's Paint Box. Click on the title to read the blog post about how it was made.

After seeing the article, Lynne Perrella said "I love the paintbox. The close-up photography really makes me feel that I can smell the paints, like maybe the artist himself has just left the room." I was pleased that they did very little editing on my writing and that the pictures came out so well. Two things I enjoy immensely are my art and my writing, and it's a wonderful kick to see them both recognized in this way.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Life on the Coast

Boardwalk at Moonstone Beach, Cambria

A bit of mist, a wisp of fog, the tang of salt in the air, the call of gulls above and the rush of the waves hard by. The path beckons and who am I to refuse? Enjoy your weekend.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

13 Journals - Yellowgreen, Copper & Gold

The "copper" in this 13 Journals entry immediately made me think of the Statue of Liberty, and I used that for my inspiration. I pulled out all my copper embellishments - letters, mesh, metal and foil tape and wire. I used pictures from the Smithsonian archives of immigrants at Ellis Island between the years of 1895-1910. I began with one face, the fear and hope plain on her face, and then turning the page a spread showing crowds waiting and then a family looking across the water towards their new home.

The picture of Liberty to the left above was taken by Margot many years ago and entitled "Pregnant with Liberty", she kindly allowed me to use it for this journal.

I included a portion of Emma Lazarus's poem "The New Colossus" found at the base of the statue:

"Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Friday, April 23, 2010

From the Bookshelf

This is a volume of fun, fantasy and wish fulfillment. Angela Cartwright and Sarah Fishburn invited 11 of their favourite artists to create their "dream" house using a 9 x 12" accordion-fold template. The results are beautiful, wild and utterly distinctive.

In 2007 at Art & Soul in Portland I took a class with Angela where we were given house-shaped chipboard books and got to create our own fantasy dwelling. I chose as my theme an atelier in the south of France (talk about dream house!) and here are a couple of spreads from my book.

It was great fun gathering the papers and ephemera to use for the project and even more fun "building" it during the class.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Life on a Different Coast - Spring Fever

image courtesy

It's spring, but we've been having a few days of chilly temperatures, gusty winds and rain storms. So, much as I love the central coast, when I came across this photo I thought - wouldn't it be lovely to be sitting in one of those sidewalk cafes and looking out at that ocean?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Cigar Box Wednesday

Hearts - paper, tin, candy, brass, ceramic.

El corazon, le coeur, il cuore, das herz,
η καρδιά, сердце, o coração -
no matter the language - you gotta have heart!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Jenny's New Blog!

Our younger daughter Jenny has just started a blog featuring her wonderful pictures. She became interested in photography while attending UC Santa Cruz and over the last several years has added both to her pictorial archives and her camera collection! I think she has quite an eye. Click on the link above and see what you think.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Diner That Time Forgot

This lonely neglected cafe sits alongside Hwy 101 at the outskirts of Buellton, about 40 minutes north of Santa Barbara.

I'm sure it must have been open 50 years when I first remember my family driving up to visit relatives in San Luis Obispo, but my first memories of it are from the late '70's when I moved up to the central coast.

It seems to have always been empty, boarded up, full of tales of past glory, waiting and waiting...

On our recent jaunt down to Santa Barbara Margot said "We've got some extra time, do you want to stop and get some pictures of the old diner?" So here they are. With the way things seem to just disappear these days, I feel glad that I'll have this visual evidence to help jog my memory in the years to come.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Life on the Coast

Down the stairs for an early morning stroll along
Moonstone Beach in Cambria.
Enjoy your weekend!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

13 Journals - Yellowgreen & Lavender

Yellowgreen & Lavender suggested a springish flora and fauna theme to me, so I went with dragon flies, flowers, a hand tinted page from a plant field guide and butterflies. I found several different ribbons in matching colours and covered the right hand side of the spread with fabric. Look closely and you will see one of the very few times I succumbed to the "dunce-cap/wings" phenomenon!

Friday, April 16, 2010

From the Bookshelf

This week's volume from the bookshelf is a fascinating look at the fashion world of Iris Apfel.
The book is the result of an exhibit at the New York Metropolitan Museum in 2005-2006.

Everything in the collection is eye candy to the max, and will leave you delighted and amazed. My two favourites were the Bakelite sample chip necklace above, and the one below made from articulated artist's hands and oversized 19th century rosary beads.

For a wonderful video short of Iris visit Fran Meneley blog here.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Art for Sale!

I now have art available for sale on my Altered by the Sea website . A click on the price takes you right to PayPal and Voila! So head on over to shop or just to check out the latest updates. And for any of you thinking about doing a website, visit Other People's Pixels, it's as easy as doing your blog - I'm so happy with the results. Below are just a few of what's now available a click on the titles will take you to their page on my site.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Cigar Box Wednesday

OK, it's a candy tin, not a cigar box, but it serves the same purpose - holding wonderful, magical bits and bobs for art! In this case pottery shards from the east coast of England.

I love all the different colours and patterns and am especially enamored with the blue and white with the hole in it.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sky Etchings

Bare, black pine branches
against early morning sky,
speak joy to the heart.

Monday, April 12, 2010

A Year in Missouri

photo courtesy Bronwyn Ember

In late February 2009, our oldest daughter Bronwyn moved to Springfield, Missouri. Her apartment window looks out over a cemetery lined with trees. She decided to take a picture of the view every month for a year. The above montage shows snow, new leaves, the full foliage of summer, rain, autumn colour, bare branches and back to snow. I thought it was a cool project and very fun to see the end result.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Life on the Coast

It's the season - California Golden Poppies and Lupine, blue and gold, just like the sky, the sea, and the spring sunshine. Enjoy your weekend!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

13 Journals - Violet & Green

Violet and green were the colours of this book in the 13 Journals round robin. I went with a Parisian theme. The preceding entries had all mentioned a crown so I included that as well.

Two parts I especially liked on this spread were the old calender page from the '20's and the vintage plastic slide holder in which I inserted a diminutive photo of the Arc de Triomphe.

Friday, April 9, 2010

From the Bookshelf

One of my favourites and though I don't re-read it every year, I do think of it every time April rolls around. Some will say the writing is dated, but I think that's part of the charm - a different time, a different pace of life. The film is excellent also, stunning scenery and excellent performances by Joan Plowright and Miranda Richardson.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Juried Show

Doorway to Paradise 24 x 36"

Allied Arts of Cambria is mounting a juried show this month and the above piece has been accepted! This is my first juried show, so I'm very pleased. The piece, done on gessoed red rosin paper features string, cheesecloth, foil, collage elements and acrylics. I did this piece last year at Southwest Passages in Taos, a marvelous workshop I attended, taught by Lynne Perrella and Anne Bagby. The show opens tomorrow, opening reception from 5:30-7:30 at the Allied Art Gallery in the Old Cambria Grammar School. If you're here on the central coast, drop by.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Cigar Box Wednesday

Various things from the hardware store, the junk drawer and the tool bench.

Some because they're cool, some because they were there and
some ,because at the time,
I had a great idea for using them.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Art from Scrap Score!

A few pix of all the lovely loot I scored last week when we went to Art from Scrap in Santa Barbara. Wonderful tile sample boards, 4 inch(!) long brads, old paint brushes (for assemblages), small copper tags and red metal cavalier hats attached to bolt heads - who knew?!

The paper haul - old postcards, several sheets of Victorian Scrap, and a marvelous poster of New Mexican Santos art.

And..... wait for it............. FEET!, yes, feet! For years I've been trying to find feet broken off of old statues, but in vain. Now, with the help of paper clay and paint, I can make my own. Brilliant! Now you see why we love this place.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Alas, Nevermore

Alas, Nevermore - A Literary Halloween

Even though it's April, Somerset Studio's Vintage Halloween challenge is due in just a couple weeks. No matter how many ideas I came up with, I kept going back to the idea of ravens and skulls. And this is the result. The combination brought to mind Poe and Hamlet - hence the title.

An old printer's tray spattered with cream and rust acrylic. I used scrapbook paper for backgrounds on the left. A raid in my Skulls & Skeletons cigar box turned up plenty of material. I used rubber stamps on the back of dominoes and found a vintage cigarette card of a jackdaw.

The bone pile in the bottom right consists of tiny carved skulls and badger toe bones from Necromance in L.A. I'll be sending it off today and in 5 months or so, maybe we'll be seeing in it in Somerset Studio.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Life on the Coast

The view from Cayucos Pier towards Morro Bay

Loving our beautiful spring weather. It rains at night and we awake to gorgeous sparkling mornings, blue skies and views like these! Enjoy your weekend.