Monday, September 15, 2014


I'm already feeling unproductive, but I wanted to let everyone know that with my surgery last week and our upcoming move into a brand new house next week (and the building/organization of a new studio) I'm going to be out of touch for a while.  I'm really hoping things continue to go smoothly for me, but I'm going to be moving slow for the next little while and that's not so good when you have to pack and then unpack everything you own.  So, before I sign off for the next few weeks, I wanted to share some new paintings with you.  

These collages started as a commission, and now this technique of using modeling paste in my collages is a new favorite.  Of course, I say that all the time don't I?

I have an article being published this week about the meaning and techniques behind these collages... look for it on Mixedmediart.  I'll be back in touch soon!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Texture collages

I've been working on a commission for a friend of mine, and it's definitely been inspiring my creativity.  I've been working with some old supplies in new ways, and I'm quite pleased with the results so far.  I'll share the full piece with you as soon as it's finished next week.  
In the meantime, I've been working with the techniques on mini canvases.  

I use various patterned papers and tissue wrap together as a collage, then I take a little modeling paste and use an old plastic card to apply it to the surface, covering some parts of the collage and leaving others exposed.  In some places where the paste is applied, it's thin enough to see hints of the paper underneath. 

Some splashes of acrylic paint not only added texture, but because I applied it to the paste while it was still wet, the two elements blended a little and formed a kind of texture I couldn't have gotten on my own.  It's almost as though the paste started melting a little in those areas.
A piece of patterned acetate mounted in the corners to be 3D completed most of these, though I did have one or two where the collage was perfect as is..
I just love the way the paper peeks through the paste...

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Blog Hop

So I'm kind of a space cadet, and between working on a commissioned piece, work, Dr. appointment, planning this weekends out of town trip, and grocery shopping, I forgot about the blog hop I'm participating in... sorry Katie!!  Don't worry, we'll keep it going...   :)  

Some clay tiles for the commission I'm working on.
1) How does my creative process work? Well, I work in various ways, but if I could describe it in one word, I would choose experimentation.  I am a self taught artist, and everything I've learned about painting and how different mixed media elements work together has been through trial and error.  When I experiment with a piece or technique, I have an idea in my head that I'm trying to achieve, but invariably I'll get 5 more ideas just from the things I learn about the technique I'm using and the way the elements work together.  So those ideas will lead to other pieces.  It's amazing to see how versatile my art supplies are... it makes me feel less guilty for buying so many.   
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?  I think being self taught and experimenting so much has lead to doing certain things in ways that others haven't done before (at least, as far as I've seen.  There are a lot of things I haven't seen, though...).  For example, my signature Elements series uses quilled paper pieces along with various other elements to create 3D artworks that are very different from typical quilling art.  
3) What am I working on now? The project that is taking up a lot of my thoughts and time at the moment is a massive triptych I'm working on for my church's 10th international art competition.  It is full of symbolism and is going to require a massive amount of my rolled paper pieces, so I'm spending a lot of evenings in front of the TV rolling and shaping strips of paper.  The deadline isn't until the end of February, so hopefully I can get everything done in time.  
4) Why do you do what you do?  I believe that the act of creation is sacred and important, and whether you're creating a piece of art, clothing, jewelry, book, meal, home, relationship, etc., there's something divine in what you're doing that lifts you and those around you.  Creating art, and sharing it, has helped me overcome fears and reach past my comfort zone.  It's helped me organize my thoughts, connect to my community, and gives me opportunities to serve others.  I know as I continue creating, I'll notice even more wonderful changes and opportunities.  
So that's me!  :)  
Now, I'm going to introduce a couple more artists to you who have being inspiring me for the past couple years.  They will be answering the same questions on their blog next Monday, Sep. 1.  

Ardith Goodwin is an artist I've been inspired by for a long time.  Working in color can be hard for me sometimes- Ardith's artwork is bursting with bright colors and amazing illustrations.  Here is a quick bio for her and some links where you can find her.
Ardith Goodwin is an enthusiastic artist, writer, and teacher!  Her journey has been one filled with physical challenges, moments of self-discovery, and great passion to share her love of art, writing, and courage with people from around the world. Her signature trait in her artwork is color and no matter the medium be it watercolor, mixed media, or collage, that is the tie that binds her pieces together in beautiful harmony.
Ardith combines her love of writing and educating with a self-taught passion for art and has been a professional artist for the past 13  years. Despite facing life changing orthopedic challenges, Ardith holds true to her faith and the belief to no matter what challenge life throws her way, nothing will quench her spirit to continue creating, sharing, and inspiring. With joyful determination, she shares her love of art with children and adults through local and online classes and is a passionate advocate for artists with disabilities as well as supporting women who choose to express themselves through art for leisure or business.

Dawn Diamantopoulos creates beautiful abstract landscapes, and recently I've been inspired by her every day series of 5*7 acrylic works based on the views she sees around her home.  I love seeing every piece she posts.  Here is her bio and links to her work.
Dawn was raised in rural northeastern Pennsylvania, which she happily left, to attend college at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. She received a BFA in Fine Arts in 1992, having majored in Fine Arts – Printmaking and minored in the History of Art. Feeling a bit jaded and world-weary with New York City, she relocated to Southern California. She continued drawing, painting, and photographing. Her “real job” eventually brought her to Chicago, where she stopped creating artwork and started creating a family. She has lived in Northwest Indiana for over a dozen years with her husband and two sons.
In 2009, she began creating artwork again, which she fully credits with keeping her almost sane. She started with drawings. Within a year, she realized she needed to be back in the art scene, and hasn't looked back. She began painting, then mixed media work and, more recently, a return to her printmaking roots. She makes art every single day.
Her Blog-
Her website-

I hope you will be as inspired by these wonderful women as I have been!!  

Monday, August 11, 2014

Nautical Encaustic

I've been focused on a lot of things lately- looking for houses, visits with family and trips out of town, etc. There's a lot going on, and it's funny how those things can inspire in random and unexpected ways.  For example, I've been scouring pinterest, looking for nautical color schemes and decor I can use when we finally make a decision and move in to a new home.  It's been really fun to find things I like and could use in our new home to make it beautiful and unique.  Those ideas have spilled over into my newest encaustic piece.

I'm not sure what it is about compasses and maps that is so fascinating to me, but making an abstract compass with wax, some tissue paper and of course, my signature quilled paper pieces was a pretty easy jump after seeing all the amazing nautical themed art and decor.

I used thin layers of oil paint to add the blue color, and fused it with the wax.  I love the swirls of blue and white.  Encaustic really is a medium unlike any other.  Perhaps I'll do a series of these for an art wall in my new house.  :)  

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

3D pop Mini's

I thought of a new idea a few days ago, and of course started experimenting with some mini canvases to see how I could get it to work.  I have some sheets of clear acetate that have various images printed on them, and my idea was to use a small square piece and adhere it, not straight onto the canvas, but by the corners in such a way that it would float just above the canvas.  As the acetate is clear, I couldn't use foam dots or other things I've used in past to add dimension to my scrapbook pages- I had to get a little creative.  

You can see the small silver nubs in the corners- I used some jewelry fastenings I had collected, cut them much shorter, and put them through the holes I had made in the corners of the acetate and through the canvas.  To get the acetate to "float" away from the surface, I used tiny eyelets between the acetate and the canvas, kind of like a washer, so that all the corners would be evenly spaced and secure. 

The trickiest part was securing the back.  At first I tried to leave the jewelry fastenings long and simply twist the end.  Yeah, that was an epic failure.  Not secure at all- I couldn't twist the wire without putting too much pressure on the canvas and making it warp.  So, I cut tiny squares of felt, and used gel medium to adhere them to the back of the canvas, over the holes I had made.  Once it dried, I went over the holes again and punched through the felt, and then I was able to put the fastenings through the back of the canvas and use more gel medium to secure everything together.  It was a lot easier and far more secure once I added the felt, giving the fastenings more surface area to adhere to.  

I got pretty frustrated working on these, but once I figured out what worked it made the effort worth it. Now I can do something similar on larger canvases without wanting to pull my hair out.  Time to start shopping for some more acetate!  

Monday, July 21, 2014


I'll be working on a very large triptych piece for the next few months. I have the basic ideas in mind, and one of the main concepts it will involve is layers- large amounts of my paper pieces beneath and surrounded by other elements, like fabric or paper.  As I'm working on rolling all my paper pieces for this massive project, I'm also working on layering techniques... what elements I want to be involved, what will look best, and what could potentially work best in a large format.  I experimented with wax-dipped fabric a couple months ago- this time I was inspired to use rice paper.  
I begin with a 6*12 inch piece of wood and painted it white.  I painted it with clear and white wax, and then used brown wax to paint some curved sections.  I used some green rolled paper pieces to create a 3D effect by embedding them in the brown sections of the wax, like portions of dirt and grass visible from under melting snow.  The tricky part was adding the layers of rice paper to enhance the idea of new life growing beneath the surface of a retreating winter.  

I tore and burned the edges of the paper to create the right size and shape for certain areas of the painting, and then I adhered them under layers of clear wax.  The transparency of the paper allows the color of the paper elements and the wax to come through from underneath, making this piece fascinating to see from any angle.  
I wish I had better photos to show you guys... this is definitely a piece that looks better in person.  

I love this technique, and I'm sure I'll be using it in my larger triptych.  Since the paper is so delicate, It may only be feasible in small amounts over small areas of my piece, but the transparency of the rice paper and the added interest it brings will be hard to pass up.  I'll be doing this again, soon.  

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Collage Magic

Usually when I work on a collage, I spend most of my time agonizing over the elements I need- would this paper work?  How big should it be?  Does this cover too much?  Do I want to leave some negative space?  Should I add any embellishments?  And the list of questions goes on.... sometimes it takes me days to complete a small collage because I'll feel stuck and have to let it sit for awhile so I can come back to it fresh.  

With this collage, I promised myself I was going to work with whatever I grabbed first, no matter what.  Because of that, I finished this collage pretty fast- the only waiting I did was for the gel medium I used to adhere everything to dry.  

I have to say, I'm going to have to try this approach more often with my collages- forcing myself to not over think things seems to have paid off.  :)

Oh, and don't you just love what google did to this photo of mine?  Their Auto Awesome photos that are made automatically can be a little annoying and weird at times, but I absolutely fell in love with this one.