Thursday, September 12, 2013

Storm clouds

I have lived near the ocean my entire life, I am really very lucky. I have also traveled a lot and seen many beautiful skies but the skies in Florida are special. The colors are unlike any I have seen before. When the weather is good the oranges, blues, reds and purples just saturate the sky before sunset. Also as beautiful but oh so fierce are the skies when a storm is coming. I took a few photos with my phone on the way home the other night as a storm was brewing and I just had to paint it.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Wishful thinking

It is about this time of year that my thoughts usually turn to the mountains of North Carolina.  The Florida summer has been hot, humid and long and it is about now our group is starting to get ready for our retreat.  This year there have been some changes.  I am off to Russia and Barcelona and the annual retreat is in Georgia a little later this fall. But more about that later. 
I felt a little wistful about the mountains so I dug through my photos and came upon one that I really liked.  It was taken in Seven Devil's from the porch of Cindy's condo right in the middle of the mountains.
I just loved the way the clouds and mist rose blended into a beautiful sky.

7 Devil's View

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Amish Laundry

Going to Amish country was like going back in time in many ways.  One of the things that really brought a smile to my face and the smell of clean, slightly damp clothes to my nostrils was seeing laundry hanging on the line.  I have not smelled that smell for more years than I can count and yet as soon as I saw a clothesline full of clean clothes my olfactory light bulb lit up like a Christmas tree.  They say that smell is the best inducer of a memory and I believe it.
I took several shot of hanging laundry and did  this painting at group yesterday.  I have done several paintings like this in the past and for some reason I really enjoy it.  I hope you do.


Thursday, August 22, 2013


After doing some more experiments from the Carol Nelson workshop I decided to put all of my paraphernalia away for awhile and go back to oils.  As much as I enjoy all the techniques I have learned I feel I need a break from all the choices and just get back to basics for awhile. 
The last thing I worked on, but have not quite finished, is a tree collage.  I used some of the red resin paper treated with the rust activator and some collage papers I had.  Originally I used the rust paper with the imprint to represent soil and some colorful collage papers as the foliage.  As I was working on it I dropped it onto the floor and saw it from a different angle. It now looked like Fall, with all the colorful leaves on the ground and the dead foliage still on the trees.  Hmmm, you decide.



Donna Vines


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Amish Country

It is wonderful living in Florida but if you grew up north of the Mason Dixon Line there are certain things you miss, rolling hills, big leafy trees and farms with lots of acreage.  I got to experience all that on steroids for a few days. 
I just got back from my first trip to Lancaster, PA, the heart of Amish country.  Of course I had heard and read about the Amish and seen many photos and some movies about them and how and where they lived.  What I was not prepared for was how wonderful being immersed in the culture for a few days would be.  It was brought you back to what it must have been like without TV, cell phones, schedules that pulled you so many different ways, all away from home. 
Of course the reality of living like this is far different from spending a few idyllic days eating wonderful food, marching to a different pace and looking out over beautiful rolling hills.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Some Final Results

After all the excitement of the workshop, the shopping for products, searching for treasures, preparing of the pieces and experimenting  I do have some final works.  Here is a smattering of what I have done so far.

This is an iron oxide piece with various shapes.  I really like the way the textures add dimension to the  piece.  If you look carefully you can see the faint outline of some words.  In the corner is the remnants of a post card.  What did this all mean so long ago?

Long lost

Olio is combination of several techniques.  I used the Custom Patch to do a stencil. I poured over the stencil then added metal paint, rubbing most of it off.  I cannot seem to get away from some kind of collage on most of my pieces, this is no exception.


I have a few more pieces finished with some techniques I have not talked about yet but will be soon.  The best thing about all of this is not the pieces I have done but the ones I haven't done yet.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Even More Play

After doing our pourings we started gathering our many materials and starting experimenting with a vengeance.
Custom patch was our first try.  We started by spreading it on paper in small amounts then on supports.  We had searched for anything with a circle, rectangle, square, oval or odd shape that might be used as a stencil.  Our bag of goodies included everything from pieces of guttering from Home Depot to dish strainers from the dollar store,  we tried it all.

custom patch stencils

On day 2 we thought we would paint some papers with our iron oxide paint, which we were dying to try.  The iron oxide can get really thick and acquire a strange odor but no matter we were excited to try it.  After it dried we started putting found objects and shapes on pieces of the paper and misting it with rust activator.  This, I think had the most amazing results.  It was fascinating to see show the shapes showed up on the paper and then on the painted supports.  It was great fun to rummage through my husbands tool box and cans of nails, nuts and bolts for treasures.

Tyvek paper with iron oxide paint and rust activator

On Day 3 we tried the simple technique of squirting glue on Tyvek paper and then cutting it up and painting it different colors.  These were relatively simple to do and you could paint lots of different colors in a short amount of time.

painted Tyvek with glue

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Play Days II

After I did the trees I wanted to start experimenting with some of the other techniques and materials from the workshop.  Carol Schiff (who also attended the workshop) and I decided to try and have some play dates and just
We got some MDF board and my husband helped me figure out how to cut it up into various sizes we were interested in trying.  Carol also picked up a "roll" of red resin paper.  We got some metal paints, iron paint, rust activator, foil, paste and of course some more acrylics.  We also scoured the aisles of Lowe's and Home Depot and our garages for interesting shapes and tools for stenciling and our mixed media ideas.  We really had a fun time for a few weeks with our exploring and experimenting.
Before we got too into our new projects we also did some more pourings with Carmen one day.  That was truly a play day.  We had newspapers all over the place and plastics cups everywhere filled with pouring medium and paint.  Even with all that and several pairs of plastic gloves we managed to get paint all over ourselves.
I just love the pourings, they are like stationary Lava Lamps. Here are a few to take you to the not so distant past.

This pouring reminded me of the ocean and when I ran a comb through
 the wet paint I instantly thought of jelly fish with their tendrils trailing in the water.

Metal Sky

I just love this one, it looks like molten metal yet is very cosmic.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

It's Been Awhile

Since I got back from the workshop a lot has been going on in my little life.  Some of it to do with art and some not.  I am finally back to posting and want to share some of the projects I have been working on.
I learned a lot at the Carol  Nelson workshop.  A lot about new techiniques, new materials, new products and I think even a new outlook.  It was a great experience in learning to see things in new and different ways with new and different eyes.
I have been playing around with several techniques and it always seems that one thing leads to another when I start playing.  Having lots of new materials to experiment with adds to the winding path I am on lately and I think you will see from my next several posts that everything is quite different.
I am in love with mixed media, collage, found objects and Steam Punk in my pieces and that is what I have been working on the last several weeks.
I will start with some of the collage, mixed media tree type of pieces that I did when we first got back and progress to what I have been working on lately.
The first piece I started at the workshop and finished up when I got home. I fell in love with the branches paper that was in Carole's sharing box and just had to use it. The tree trunk is made from iron paint paper and the tree top from tyvek paper we painted and used an iron to melt.  I liked putting some other paper and materials on for texture.

A Tree is A Tree is A Tree


In this piece instead of using the tyvek for the tree top, I used a crackling paste.  The tree trunks are made from paper scraps.  I again used the branch paper I liked so much.

Am I blue?

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The forest through the trees

One on the other wonderful techniques we did in the Workshop was an excercise in contrast and building.  Carol does wonderful tree collages and she shared this technique with us.  It sounds oh so easy but it isn't.  It takes some planning, manuvering and practice but I think that is the whole idea of Carol's workshop and her art.  Try things, don't be afraid to experiment and remember it is only paint and paper.
When you are doing the trees work from back to front and it is an excercise in contrast.  Be sure to bring the trunks all the way to the top if you don't use foliage.

Here are a few of the trees collages from the class:

Trees with added texture

Tree with foliage

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Well, we are back from Louisiana tired but happy. We learned so much from this workshop, not only about new techniques but about experimenting and trying new things. Carol uses mostly Golden products but because she uses so much product she has learned how to substitute what comes in those little jars for artists with products that come in larger quantities from her favorite store Home Depot. We used MDF board as supports, Tyvek paper, Red Rosin paper, Elastometic Custom patch, Stucco patch and MM metal paint to name a few.

My head is spinning with all that we did. We slathered, painted, cut, pasted, glued, ironed and banged. It won't be until I review my notes that I remember what we used different materials for but one technique I do remember was easy and fun. We made our own marbleized paper with shaving cream.
All you need is some shaving cream, a foam plate, acrylic paints and some paper. Carol uses copy paper or deli paper that is waxed on one side, anything really. You can use the paper for a collage you are doing or to wrap a little present or just to see how wonderful the colors look together. This will make you smile and say Ahhhh! guaranteed.
Fill the foam plate with shaving cream about 1/2" thick and then smooth it over. Just like frosting a cake.

Choose two or three colors you would like to see together and put about four drops of each on the shaving cream. Space the drops out. Use the wooden end of a thin brush or something thin and tapered to swirl a pattern in the shaving cream.

Place a sheet of paper over the shaving cream and press gently all around and smooth it with your hands. Do this for about 30-60 seconds and peel paper off.

Ahhh!! You have your own marbleized paper.

Enjoy and have fun!!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Workshop Day 1

On Monday we started our four day workshop, the real reason we are in New Orleans this week. (The gumbo and Po' Boys were just a bonus.) Carol Nelson is an talented, innovative artist who is always trying and sharing new techniques and to be in one of her workshops is sheer pleasure.

Day One we did a great piece using Styrofoam plates and supports. Carol came across this method when she discovered that she really liked her mixing palette at the end of the day and tried to think of ways to incorporate it into a piece.

This is one Carol did to demonstrate her technique to the class.

Of course there is a lot more to it than that but it shows you what an innovative thinker she is and what a great sense of color and proportion she has.

Day Two was sort of "found objects" and collage day. Carol makes beautiful collages, specializing
in metal finishes, with an almost industrial feel.

This is one of her metal looking pieces with objects, metal finish, and stamping on it. She uses anything from buttons to bottle caps.

Monday, May 6, 2013

New Orleans

Saturday was our first full day in New Orleans. We celebrated by doing a tour of a few plantations. Our favorite was a Creole plantation named Laura. We had an excellent guide, Jacquline, who knew a lot about the plantation, how it was run, the family and even the building itself. We found out that Cajun women had the right to inherit so this plantation was run by the women in the family for three generations. Not only did the first of these women turn it into one of the most profitable sugar plantations in the South, she married a nobleman right off the boat from France, got him to sign over his chateau and winery to her and made him sign a pre-nup too!!! What a woman. After the tour we were directed to a local restaurant for lunch and had some great Cajun food with some interesting stuffed alligators looking on.

          Laura Plantation - built in the Creole style

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

NOLA bound

On Friday fellow Pieces, Carol Schiff and I are leaving for New Orleans to attend a Carol Nelson workshop.  Getting ready for a workshop is an exciting thing.  There is the anticipation of starting a new adventure. The promise of learning.  Learning about new techniques, new mediums, new people, new processes and maybe new beginnings.  It is a jumping off point if your are in a rut or an extension if you are in the groove.
There is also the practical side.  Getting ready.  There is always a list of supplies and no matter how much "stuff" you have your will always need something, which is half the fun of getting ready.  There are usually trips to an art supply house, decisions on what you might need that's not of the list but looks too interesting to pass up. Of course once you get everything plus the little extras you might need there is the final decision of how much you can practically take.  This is the hardest part and every time I pack to go somewhere I think about all those pioneer women and how did they get everything they needed into those covered wagons?
Here is a photo of my supplies for the workshop and I am very, very proud of myself.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Here Kitty

Several months ago I painted a portrait of one of my brother-in-laws two cats, Rambo.  He was really happy with it and I have been procrastinating about doing a painting of Rocky.  I took a few new photos and finally decided on this one for his portrait. 
I  sketched Rocky in white pencil first and then painted in the lights and darks.  This is going to be all in black, white and gray, accept for his exceptional green eyes so I will have to create some interest while staying true to his pattern.
This is the basic start for the Rocky portrait.

Friday, March 29, 2013


Yesterday my fellow Pieces of 8 and artist extraordinaire, Carol Schiff and I spent a few hours trying an acrylics technique we had never tried before called pouring.  It is very messy, totally unpredictable and great fun.
The hardest part of the process is to pick the colors you want to use.  We choose a metallic (because we are girls and love shiny objects), red, black, white and at the last minute some blue.  We spread out our newspaper, filled little paper cups with paint and pouring liquid, donned our plastic gloves (a must!!) and took a deep breath.  We started pouring different colors in different places onto our canvases then started moving the canvas slowly back and forth, up and down and just watched as patterns formed and colors blended into each other. 
It was amazing to watch as the paint moved at glacial speed sometimes dripping off of the canvas onto the newspaper or puddling in one corner.  Pouring has the same fascination as watching a lava lamp, it transfixes you and there is lots of oohhing and ahhing.
Once the first canvas was finally covered I used a stick to draw lines down the whole length of the canvas then raked a wide tooth comb threw the lines as if I was making marbleized paper.  I left the other canvas as is . 
I love the way they came out!!! Enjoy.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Yard Art

Since taking Cindy's Yard Art Flower class I am having a hard time passing up a dish that strikes my fancy.  One of them was a Coca-Cola plate that has no earthly use except it is a Coca-Cola plate.  I wanted to use it but not hide the logo and it was a little heavy for a flower so I decided to turn it into a bird bath.  I found a small glass bowl, a few glass beads for the corners and glued a spoon for the birdies to rest and I had a bird bath.  My husband put it up for me this afternoon and I was really excited, it looked so cute. 
A few hours later I was walking by the bookcase and I noticed the little blue bird Kathy Garvey had made me for Christmas was gone.  I thought I must have moved it when I was picking up but I couldn't find it and then noticed that my yellow chubby bird was gone too!  I started searching around in the studio and looked out at the bird bath and.....need I say more.  I quietly snuck around the side of the house and snapped this photo of them frolicking in the bird bath with a beautiful golden glitter bird from some alternative universe. As quiet as I thought I was I seemed to break the spell because when I got back into the house the birdies were back in their places looking as innocent as ever.  If I didn't have these photos I would have thought I imagined the whole thing.

Splish Splash I was taking a bath

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Collage Demo

Today Carmen Beecher and I gave a talk to the Cape Canaveral Pen Women about collage.  We both have very different styles so we were able to cover several methods of this versatile medium   My style is to use many different types of paper depending on the subject and the mood I am trying to convey.  I use everything from tissue to sheet music to old road maps.  I also like to hand color papers when I can.
I brought in several examples of my collages so they could see my methods and how I tried to "paint a picture" using paper.

This Teapot was a good example of using both magazines papers and other found papers, including an actual teabag label. 

This Farmscene has lots of texture.  I loved the paper I used for the sky, it reminded me of Van Gogh's Starry Night.