Friday, December 2, 2011

Sometimes just for fun is the best

I have just returned from a family Thanksgiving in New England. This is the first time that both of my children, their spouses and all the grandchildren have been together for a holiday, and it was wonderful. I am lucky enough to have grown grandchildren, teenagers and toddlers so it made for a lot of fun, a lot of rowdiness and a lot of girlie stuff.
While I was with my oldest granddaughter she showed me where she had hung a fun little piece I did for her last year. I remember seeing this technique in a magazine by an artist named Vanessa Valencia.  For some reason I immediately thought of my granddaughter, so of course I had to try it and of course I had to expand on it. 
After collaging a support with quotes and sayings relevant to her, I used a wash and tissue to tone it down.  I copied a photo, cut it out, glued it to cardstock, then added her dress using shredded sheet music. She always loved butterflies so I gave her one as a "Fascinator".
Seeing how much she treasured this made me realize that there are many ways to express yourself and sometimes just for fun is the best.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The long way home

After being on the road in some form or fashion since September I finally feel like I'm home. Of course being home means being around all the things you love and feel comfortable with but it also means doing lots of catch up to get these things you love and feel comfortable with back.
First you have to wade through all of the mundane tasks that make the wheels go round, like the mail, paying bills, doing all the laundry, cleaning up the house, weeding, answering email etc. etc. After all of this is at least given a first pass you get to think about doing some painting.  One of the good things that come out of having to go through and reorganize your work space is you come across a piece that you really like or enjoyed painting. This is one of  the pieces that I really had fun painting. It was painted during a workshop and I loved the photo and the memories it envoked.

Friday, September 30, 2011

The Great Civil War Tour

I spent the last two weeks traversing the countryside of Tennessee visiting Civil War sites. I have had a long fascination with this particular time in American history and have visited many battlefields in Maryland, Virginia and Georgia but my husband and I had never been to Tennessee and really wanted to visit that area.
We started our roadtrip at The Cumberland Gap (which is really in Kentucky) through Knoxville, Munfreesboro, Franklin, Nashville to Shiloh via the beautiful Natchez Trace, down into Corinth Ms and over to Chattanooga. Just for good measure we did Lookout Mountain, Chicamauga and Kennesaw Mountain Battlefields on the way back to Florida.
One of the highlights of the trip was an artillery demonstration at Shiloh. The men always come at least the day before and set up camp. They love to talk about their "company", share their feelings about why they do what they do, the importance of being authentic and the respect they have for the soldiers who fought in these battles. You cannot help but be moved when you visit any of our National Battlefields.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Collage Workshop Day 1

Paper Paintings Workshop, Elizabeth St. Hilare Nelson//follow Paper Paintings on Facebook or

Saturday morning 16 happy, enthusiastic artists, all loaded down with years worth of the most interesting papers you have ever seen settled in for two days of learning and sharing. Elizabeth started the workshop with a demonstration of painting and stamping your own papers. We discussed different kinds of papers, how they reacted, where to find them and using common objects to make interesting designs.

After Elizabeth does several sheets we all gave it a try



Elizabeth's beautiful rabbit!!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Correction and a flurry of activity

I stand corrected in some of the information I posted about my upcoming collage workshop. Elizabeth does not use magazines in her collages, she feels they wrinkle too much. I am really sorry about that. Of course this news inspired a new fluffy of activity on my part. I started painting papers like a madwoman.
I used all of the methods that Elizabeth suggest plus some experiments of my own. I did lots of reds and oranges for my apple and got a jump start on the blues I will need for my second painting.
I also broke out a new apron for the occasion!! I love aprons and I know this one will keep me smiling.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Getting ready for Paper Paintings

This week-end I will be lucky enough to attend a collage workshop right here in Viera. The instructor is Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson and her website is  Her approach is a little different in that she not only uses magazines for her collages but she makes and hand colors many of her papers. She also likes to use found and personnel  papers that have a connection to what she is doing.
Taking a workshop with such a creative and talented artist is a great oppurtunity and I am so looking forward to it, especially after my unplanned hiatus from art this summer. I am hoping this will get my creative juices flowing again and bring me back to my easel.

Checking my paper supplies

drawing my apple for our first excercise

Blocking in my colors with acrylic paints. This very rough painting will help guide me when it comes to shadowing and lights and darks.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Wetting your feet

After so many weeks of inactivity it felt wonderful to hold a brush again but after several tries everything I did seemed forced and flat. I felt like I had forgotten how to paint! Where was my spark? When I took out my palette knife to scrape yet another attempt a little light came on, why not use the knife to move some paint around, play a little, put some color on the canvas?
The mind is a strange instrument. Palette knife paintings are just as challenging as using a brush but somehow it seemed to free me up. I began to enjoy myself. I stopped trying so hard and got into the process of painting, looking at blocks of color, moving the paint around and getting lost in the process. Maybe the lesson is if you can't do what you normally do, just do something.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Donna, Carol and Courtney do London and Paris

I just got back from a wonderful two week trip to London and Paris. I went with friend and fellow artist Carol Schiff and her 16 year old granddaughter Courtney.  It was wonderful to enjoy these great cities with someone who had never been and is so full of life and energy.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Something lighter

My friend and fellow artist Carol and I decided to have some fun with collage again. We weren't quite sure of what to do so we decided to use a wonderful photograph she had of a geisha and see what we could come up with..  The contrasts between her subtly beautiful silk gown and elaborate black hair were wonderful and the mood they evoked was softness and a feeling of gentleness.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Something completly different?

I wish I could take the credit for originating this type of collage but alas I can't. I was directed to this wonderful collage artist, Danny Phillips, and just loved his use of textures, subjects and colors so much I just had to try this technique. 
One of the hardest things about doing collage is the backgrounds. It is a delicate balance to find the right amount of "busyness". Not enough background can make it boring and too much can overwhelm your focal point. Using paper strips to make a weathered building look, Danny has found a wonderful way to showcase his subject matter. I used his background technique but choose a different type of subject. I love old postcards, trunk stickers, advertising and moves posters, anything nostalgic seems to appeal to me. I used some old advertising to give this a real "old barn" look. 

To see Danny's work go to Etsy

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Photo Shoot

One of my favorite things to do is a photo shoot. Saying it that way makes it sound very exotic and professional instead of just saying walking around and taking pictures. Yesterday was a photo shoot day and Carol and I went to the old Eau Gallie area in Melbourne in the early a.m. and clicked away. It was great fun and just brought to mind what a beautiful and intersting area we live in. It was also wonderful to walk the neighborhoods and enjoy a bit of old Florida.
We got lots of great photos and hopefully lots of new paintings. Here is a small sampling of the many photos I took (thank heaven for digital cameras) you never know what paintings or collages will be inspired from these lovely images.


Saturday, April 30, 2011

Is that John Wayne behind the Mesa?

I have been experimenting again and this time with acrylics and gels. It all sounds very scientific and complicated but it is simple and fun.  All you have to do is spread a gel onto a painting surface and then see what happens.
I wanted to try some earth tones and just started spreading some thinned acrylic paints on the canvas. I let them drip and follow the crevices made by the gel, using my brush as little as possible.  As it started to take shape it reminded me of a Southwest desert scene. That is what makes this so much fun, you don't know what you will create.

Add caption

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

An artist's work is never done

Our group decided to do some Plein Air painting before the weather got too hot to be outdoors.  One of our group lives right across the canal from a rowing training camp. Rowers from all over the world come there to train, including Olympic athletes. So, being patriotic, caring, supportive women we thought we would do some judging along with our painting. Let's just say not much flora or fauna got painted that day.

oh my!!

some very happy painters!!

Sunday, April 3, 2011


I have been looking at lots of different types of art lately.  Collage of course, which I really am intrigued by, and some very non-traditional art which doesn't necessarily use paint but all kinds of different materials.  I saw some wonderful painted figures with great dresses made out of shredded paper in an art magazine.  They were so unique and whimsical I just had to try one.
My granddaughter loves Marilyn Monroe so I thought I would do a homage to Marilyn combining collage and a newspaper skirt. I had just the photo to do this.  I also had an article about her and decided to use that for the collage background.  If you look closely at the collage you will see that everything pertains to her and there are even some old photos included in the background.  I photocopied the old photo, mounted it on card stock and then cut it out.  I glued it on to the collage and then did the skirt.  I only  used paint on her lips and shoes.  I decided to use a silver frame with an Art Deco feel for the finishing touch.  My granddaughter loved it and so did I.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tahitierinnen taking a bath

Awhile ago our group "Pieces of Eight", decided to practice painting the masters for awhile.  This was a great excercise for us.  We spent a lot of time reading about various artists that we admired and copying their paintings, trying to learn their techniques. It was so interesting to find out how various painters treated light, used and mixed color, picked subjects etc.  I  think the main thing we learned was that there are as many ways to paint as there are painters.  You can copy anyone but that is all it is, a copy. When you really paint  or do anything creatively for yourself it is you that comes through.

Monday, March 21, 2011

I'm a Little Teapot

I guess I am still in the mood for collage.  My  friend and fellow artist Carol came over last week for a "play date" and we decided to do another collage and just have some fun. I put a teapot on the workbench and we started tearing.  We tried to use as many tea related items as possible, including old cook book pages and tea bag labels.  I had some doilies and I used those as a place mat for the pot.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ready for your closeup?

This is a closeup of the collage for the quilt show.  As you can see I took the Pear Tree part of the title very seriously. I had a lot of trouble with the background, it was just too busy, it kept detracting from the pears.  I took it to group and everyone agreed it should be painted with acrylics, Carmen suggested yellow ochre, which I would not have thought of and that was it.   Kathy gave me the wonderful orange and brown paper with the great design that really brought the piece together.


Monday, March 14, 2011


This week the Seaside Quilters, of which are own member of the Pieces of Eight Denette, is a member and one of the originators of this great idea, had their Collaborations Show. The idea was to put together a quilter with an artist and let them decide what they would like to do. Some artists and quilters worked one on one and some artists had two quilters to work with. The result of these pairings was everything from Rhapsody in Blue to Buddha to Mosiacs to Dolls. It was a great show with lots of wonderful ideas and unique displays.

Partridge in a Pear Tree

My display, on the left was a collage.  It was a tree made entirely of pears with a wonderful trunk

Chickens!!  Best of Show Display

This was a wonderfully whimsical display with not only a wonderful quilt, on the left but also chicken dolls and a really fun chicken painting.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A good way to come back

I am finally feeling able to get back to the studio and back to my blog. It has been a long time and although I have done some creative projects I am just getting back to that feeling of being back in the groove, whatever that groove may be.
We have a great addition to our group Kathy, who loves to take photos and share them.  She took these photos at our group get together on Monday.  I decided to do a marsh scene and it felt great. I had really forgotten that wondrous feeling of getting lost in a photo and trying to translate that photo to a painting. I also love marsh scenes. Marshes are so beautiful, they are so many subtle colors and there is so much more going on then your first realize.
This photo shows the snapshot I was painting from and below that is my interpretation of that snapshot. The painting is not quite finished but I hope you like it and thanks.