Wednesday, December 29, 2010

After Thought

It occurred to me that my last post may have sounded like I was boasting, about the sales I had before Christmas. That was not my intention. I was meanly trying to illustrate, what I believe is, the importance of consistency if one is trying to build a reputation. I have had some budding artist ask me to look at their site and I am often amazed at the variety of styles. Although they obviously have talent, it appears they are trying to cover every market and taste. This may work for some artists, but I’ve never been that successful with it. Choose something you love to do, do it well, and then market, market, market! Do shows, get an agent, send slides to a gallery that features your style and by all means get a website with your name or business name, and dedicate it to your specialty. Forget about my sales, they are just a drop in the bucket as to what you can do!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Advice from an Old Paint Slinger

                                   'Moving On'    12"x12" acrylic on canvas                              © Eva Macie

The sudden flurry of sales the past couple months of my paintings and prints was a reminder how important it is to stay true to one’s style. I have dabbled in just about everything since I retired from the art circuit and will continue to do so. However, it has been the work that I created and made my living with that continues to sell. If there is any advice that I could give to budding artists it would be to find you niche and grow with it. The above painting, ‘Moving On’ is a small 12”x12” painting that I painted earlier this year and is typical of the work I have created over the years . It has been sitting in my studio waiting to be signed, while I’ve been playing around with other things. I spotted it the other day and said to myself, “you need to get those acrylics out again and return to your easel”…Self said, “Huh?” It remains to be seen if I follow my own advice. Not having show and commission deadlines to pressure me I tend to paint when the mood hits. This is certainly not what an aspiring professional artist should do. I have proof that years of hustle and bustle and sticking to your style, will continue to pay off down the road.

Monday, December 20, 2010


The last greeting card went out today and I am exhausted! I always say next year I will start earlier and I did this year, but I had no idea I would run into so many problems and interruptions. I wrote about some of them in my last post so I won't go into them again. One pleasant interruption was my grandson's graduation from college last Wednesday. I was very proud as they recognized him for being the first to graduate (with honors) from Kennesaw State's new Interdisciplinary Studies. He majored in Environmental Policy. When they asked the students who had a cell phone and was texting and also who was on Facebook, he was one of a few who didn't raise his hand. He is a very quiet, sort of a New Age hippy. No computer, cell phone or any other electronic gadgets. He loves to meditate, paint and garden. He plans to be an organic farmer. Needless to say I'm pretty partial to him. He loves coming here to paint and talk about meditation. He plans to travel a lot. I will miss him when he takes off on his own.

If you are looking for a new project to kick off the New Year, Nancy Standee, a super artist and blogger, wrote about an upcoming free online journal workshop. It is sponsored by Strathmore journals and the first one starts January 1st. I signed up for the one that starts in March as I need to recoup!

Have a Merry Christmas or enjoy your traditional Holiday celebration.
Peace and Love,

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas Cards

Every year I try to do something creative for my Christmas greeting. The past few years I have created a video, posted it on YouTube then emailed the link to friends and family. This year I did not feel up to the challenge and decided to return to the traditional way of sending cards.The image above is not my card. It's a copy of a Dover stain glass coloring book image. In the middle of creating my own cards, I switched gears as usual, and came up with an idea of making some Christmas ornaments using some old shrink plastic from my John Campbell Folk School workshop days. What a challenge that became! I guess the stuff is meant for small charms and jewelry because large pieces warp and fold on themselves when shrinking. Fun, but frustrating to watch my hard work shrink into odd balls of plastic. Then I tried Fimo polymer clay. I do not know why, but I have never been able to get that stuff to a pliable consistency and I have a pasta machine that I purchased solely for that purpose. I bought some soft Fimo and that was difficult to knead also. As a last resort, I am using air-dry clay. It is not waterproof and a bit fragile, but I tell myself that hand painted glass decorations are fragile too. I am still not sure they will fly, as I have not finished them. I am still in the experimenting stage. I may get this done by Christmas! Along with more Christmas shopping, house to clean and decorate, this is a busy, busy time so I may not be blogging for a while. Happy holidays everyone!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Autumn Walk With Me


The last days few days of autumn in Atlanta have been beautiful. I decided to take my camera along  on my walk to record the leaves before they returned to the soil. The video is a little bouncy, but I did not have a rolling movie cart to make the trip a smooth one. Our little neighborhood park is one of the joys of this the area. I told my son to spread my ashes here because it is where I have always found peace. Unfortunately, we live near the county airport and the planes seem to get louder every year. Along with the nearby traffic, peace is becoming harder to find.

The image at the end of the video is another Photoshop CS5 creation. When I am not out walking, I am deep into a stack of books by my recliner and working on the computer. I will be back in my studio next week to create some Christmas cards and gifts. In the meantime, I am wishing everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Reality or Illusion

Sudoku is not my excuse this time for my absence. I have been reading and studying spirituality and quantum physics. I still do not understand much of what I am reading, but I am definitely fascinated. I am not going to defend or try to start a religious discussion, as I think everyone is entitled to believe as they chose, including myself. However, it brought up in my mind the illusion of art. I do not remember which artist, maybe Picasso, when a critic said his portrait did not look anything like a woman, replied, “That is because it is not a woman, it is a painting.” Even if the artist painted a photorealist image of a woman or took a photo of her, it is all an illusion.

Since one of my computers is next to my recliner, I took a break from reading to refocus my mind and for some reason I found myself creating a Photoshop image that was a first for me. I opened a file of a Yupo painting I did earlier in the year to see if it needed any further editing. I will post it in another post. After I played with it awhile, for some reason I added a new layer, filled it with white and began to erase areas with different brushes, some of which I created. Intrigued, I started cloning and painting new shapes. I am excited about the possibilities this opened up. My mind then associated all of this to what I have been reading, reality vs illusion. What I did was manipulate pixels, not paint, which are a tiny dots of light that are the basic unit from which images appear on the computer. For more information click HERE All of which, to my limited knowledge, consist of a binary code made up of 0’s and 1’s. I know someone reading this will say I don’t know what I’m talking about and they would be right. However, this much I do know; it is not acrylic or watercolor paint. Other artists, like Vik Muniz, who is using things like sugar and chocolate syrup to create images, and mosaic artist Ken Knowlton , who create portraits form various materials based on the pixels he generates in his computer, are masters of this art of illusion. A great book, which features these and other great artist, is Masters of Deception: Escher, Dali & the Artists of Optical Illusion.

Back to my books and disappearing into the world of words.

Monday, November 01, 2010


I have noticed as I age that my memory is slipping. Every time I hear or read about something recommended for memory loss I check it out. In one of the Real Age newsletters that I receive, the game of Sudoku was their latest recommendation. I went to their online game site and let me tell you I was shocked at how something that appears to be so simple was such a brain drain! It is like a Rubik’s cube with numbers! Not to be defeated I have spent days trying to master this thing. I finally was able to beat the beginner’s level and I stopped, since everything has been on hold since I started. I have not picked up a brush, or pasted a piece of paper. I decided to do a digital collage of the game to justify all the left-brain stuff that has held me hostage. If you are interested in escaping for a few hours, or like me, days, you can find the game here. Enjoy!


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Busy Minis

This has turned out to be a busy time for me so I have only created a few mini paintings. The one above is on the back of an old business card. I do these in the evening while I am listening to the TV. For this one I used Caran D’ Ache, which is a watersoluble artist’s crayon. I love the intensity of these crayons and the ability to scratch into the color.
The rest of my time has been filled with going to appointments; getting my house ready for the winter, packing and shipping online art orders and my grandson visiting. The appointments have been for my eyes. A cataract that I have had for years is now at the point that it can be removed. As much as I want better vision, the thought of surgery on my eye, or any surgery, is unnerving. Getting my house ready for winter has involved adding more insulation and my son and I installing a pair of folding doors in the master suite to isolate the sleeping area. It is so warm today it is hard to imagine winter coming.

My grandson’s visit was fun. He is in his last college semester and is a new age hippy! He reminds me so much of myself when I was his age. We went to an organic farmer’s market to buy some veggies. He is writing a paper on fermenting vegetables and is pickling everything in sight! The last time he was here, the art books I am working on inspired him. He brought along several abstract paintings he painted and wanted to make booklets out of them. I showed him how to stitch them together and he took it from there. I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed being with him.

My final duty today was voting. I hope you all have or will do so!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Free Art Class

                                   © Steve Aimone’s ‘Expressive Drawing Class  sponsored by AARP

No, I am not teaching a class now and that lovely woman in the above picture is not me. However, earlier on June 4th -'Marks', I blogged about a book I bought by Steve Aimone, ‘Expressive Drawing’. As much as loved reading the book and looking at the wonderful drawings, at the time I was exploring painting on Yupo and I never got around to doing any of the exercises. I just received an email that Steve is offering a free online class. Here is a link to the class overview video and the info to join the free class. Looks like fun! Maybe I will set aside all of the other things on my schedule and try it. Possibly, you will too?


Sunday, October 10, 2010

More Black Gesso

Eclipsed ©      8"x10"  primed rag paper

This is the second black gesso painting, which I titled Eclipsed. It was not my intention to do a series of black gesso paintings and this painting did not start with it. However, I was not happy with the direction it was going and decided to paint over it with the gesso, saving only the areas that interested me. I scratched back into the gesso to relieve the opaqueness of the paint, and then added a few more marks and numbers. It works for me now.

Eclipsed is a good description of my HP computer lately. I have been having trouble with some of the programs and the email accounts not working properly. I have several email accounts for various purposes and I use a web mail notifier. Unbeknown to me it started dropping the accounts so some of my emails went unread. Then one of my favorite programs, Evernote, stopped working properly. The only thing I could think of that may have caused this was downloading a freeware program, Open Office. It is a huge program, takes up a lot of space, and since I have Microsoft Office, I decided to remove it with YouUninstall. This program is very through; it clears out all the stuff. I hit the start button and went on to something else. When I returned, it noticed the uninstall program was still running like crazy! It was wiping out my computer! I have no idea what the program or I did wrong. Fortunately, I had an old image of my c drive and a recent restore point. However, it did not have all the updated programs. I spent most of the week reinstalling programs and taking new images of my drives, then verifying them. Now everything seems to be back to normal. My son says I have not been a good steward of my computer and it is a mess. He wants me to clean it out and start all over. Uggh! I will put that off as long as I can and save copies my important stuff on my portable drive.


Saturday, October 02, 2010

Black Gesso

'32nd Matrix'    8" x !0" acrylic on primed rag paper

Several artists have raved about the quality and many applications for Utrecht's Black Gesso. I recently bought some and decided to use it as a substitute for black acrylic paint. However, it took over my painting. I fell in love with the creamy feel of it and its opaque matte coverage. I do not know what my fascination with black has been of late. For example, my portfolio cover and the black ink of the touch drawings, (see previous posts). To my knowledge, I am not depressed. In this painting, I think it is the mystery of the color that is intrigues me. Possibly the way it ties the elements together. The negative space blends with the positive and flattens the picture plane. In any case, it is a change of pace from the watercolor paintings on Yupo and since I have retired, I am all about change of pace.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


I finally took the time to finish my portfolio. As I look at it now I ask myself what took so long. It was the cover. For some reason everything I painted was unsatisfactory, so I would put it aside. This cycle of repainting and quitting continued for weeks until I surrendered. Now it has grown on me and I'm actually happy with it.. I once read a statement by, Liz Lapious, an Atlanta art collector about collecting art, "I think it's important to challenge yourself. I've bought work I wasn't comfortable with, but now I'm in love with it. You need to have a collection you can grow with." I think she may be right. Better to grow than outgrow, which I have many times.

The portfolio is 17" x 24" and the cover is painted with acrylics on acid free mat board. I used acetate presentation envelopes for the inserts to hold my art. I have a supply of 32" x 40" and I cut them down to size with a  Walnut Hollow Versa-Tool hot stencil-cutting tool. I used a metal ruler as my cutting guide and to seal the edges..

© Walnut Hollow

I have an antique double hole punch that belonged to my father. I love this old punch because it works so well, and I think of my father every time I use it. I chose brass brads because I could easily add or remove inserts. They were sprayed black to match the spine. I plan to make at least one more like this for some smaller work after I finish the artist book/portfolio patiently waiting on my mat-cutting table.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Touch Drawing


Here is a You Tube video showing how to do touch drawing. Deborah uses her technique for mediation and art therapy. It appears that Deborah is using a light weight drawing paper instead of tracing paper. She writes about the different recomended papers and paints in her handbook ‘Drawing Out Your Soul’ that you can purchase from her web site.

Below are a three of the many drawings I created. I used acid free tissue paper for the personal awareness drawing, which I will put in a journal. I switched to old newsprint for some abstract designs since archival paper was not important. My digital files are enough for any possible future use. The other limitation of the newsprint was not being able to see what you are doing as well as you can with tissue. I found myself pressing little harder with my nails. As a result, you can see the ridges in my aging, damaged nails. It made for some interesting lines. The paint I used was water-soluble oil paint. Deborah also writes about the pros and cons of the different inks. I really enjoyed this technique and being surprised when I flipped the paper over. I want to do more non-personal insight drawings and use differant tools besides my fingers. My ‘to-do’ list is really growing! The portfolio, that I wrote about earlier, is almost finished. Just a few touch ups left to do after I clear my table of the Touch Drawing materials.

Celebration                     tissue paper

Absract Design 1               newsprint

Absract Design                                   newsprint

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Thursday, September 09, 2010

Answered Prayers

This moving image created by Deborah Koff-Chapin came in my email today from The Center for Touch Drawing. The technique is a finger drawing on a piece of tissue placed on an inked surface. The ink transfers to the back of the tissue much like other monoprint making techniques. I played with this technique a few years ago and got many interesting results. It has inspired me to get my inks out and play again.

One of the reasons I was so move by Deborah’s painting is that for the last two weeks I have been dealing with a breast cancer scare. Yesterday, which was my birthday, I had the best present ever, my mammogram and sonogram showed no signs of a lump only a very tiny cyst near the questionable area. I feel very blessed, as it was an answer to many prayers. We celebrated with a lobster, and Red Velvet cake with vanilla Häagen-Dazs Ice cream!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Artist’s Eye

Peggy Stermer-Cox commented on the composition of the steel cabinet photo in my last post. Peggy has a great artist eye as I was not consciously aware of the composition. I guess years of composing art and photography it becomes automatic. Intrigued, I decided to play with the photo in Photoshop. Who knows, I may use the results I achieved as a subject for a painting. The yellow shape in the upper left hand corner is a laminated poster I have had for years. It is a slightly tongue in cheek definition of an artist written by Kenneth Grooms. I am sharing it here. Enjoy :O)

ARTIST (ar'tist) n. 1. a) One who practices an art in which conception and execution are governed by imagination, style, and taste b) a person skilled in one of the fine arts. c) A craftsman that executes his art with individual style 2. Often their work is judged according to the culture and the attitude placed on art at the time. Although they may earn recognition during their lifetime, they are usually not recognized for their accomplishments until after death. 3. Lives a life of unstable economic means. 4. Many theories have been put forth regarding their creativity, the most common one being that it is inherent, although if not developed and tested will remain dormant. They seem to create during moods, often intense, mostly lasting only a short while. 5. They have a feeling of brotherhood with each other that is timeless. 6. Thought to be haphazard, having no sense of order, plan, or direction, yet are known to be perfectionists when it comes to their own work, a) They make decisions on feeling rather than reason, b) Have problems with concentration. 7. They are stereotyped as mentally unbalanced. One artist cut off his ear in a passion of creativity combined with frustration about his art. It has not been determined whether their creativity has anything to do with this. 8. They are sensitive, aware, and alert. 9. They are tolerated by society, which allows them to live in accordance with their own natures.

~Kenneth Grooms

Monday, August 23, 2010

Steel Derailment


It seems more often than not something comes up to interrupt what I am doing. I read about an artist who bought a steel cabinet to store his flammable paints. The idea sounded sensible to me, but when I priced them, I decided I would have to find a used one. I started visualizing finding one. Shortly after that, a new thrift shop opened less than two miles from me. Low and behold, they had one and it was on sale for 50% off! I quickly said, “thank you” and plunked down the $15.00! The portfolio I was making for my unframed art became derailed as my son and I rearranged shelves to accommodate the cabinet. I am still sorting, throwing and giving away a lot of stuff as my project waits to be finished and my internet/computer time clipped.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Artist’s Books & Portfolios

I just checked out this beautiful book from the library. It is not a how-to-do-it book but rather an inspiration book filled with 500 amazing and clever handmade books. A couple of my many favorite artists were Lisa Kokin and Elysa Vishell. Not all of the artists have web sites so I highly recommend that you check your library for the book or you can purchase it online at Amazon.

In my current mood of bookmaking, I thought I would like to store my un-matted paintings in some sort of portfolio. Especially the ones on Yupo as watercolor on this surface is so fragile. I bought an Itoya Original Art Portfolio, which has lightweight recycled polypropylene sleeves in it. I stopped at a store on the way home and I did not consider that the heat in my car would ruin this portfolio! I have left my matted work in my van for hours, but I have always used acetate wraps, sleeves and envelopes. I went back to the store and pleaded my case and they were kind enough to give me a store credit. I would hate to think I would have to carry this with me at all times if I was on the road, no lunch or other stops. While I was in the store I checked the other ones and they looked rather suspect. (I noticed they put up a sign since then that all portfolios were non-returnable.) The clerk admitted that the heat might have damaged them in shipment. He went on to say there are certain products they cannot order in the winter because very cold temperature affects them. This is something to think about when ordering anything. I have some acetate envelopes left over from my show days so I think I will try to make my own portfolio using them.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

I Rather Paint

Casting Up Stream

I have not been in my studio for the last week due to other business and illness. I needed to lose some of the lazy pounds I have put on lately. I decided to go the fresh veggie route. My first diet meal really worked. I lost 3 lbs. in three days! I got food poisoning! I could not eat a thing those three days. The pain was not pleasant and something I would not want to go through again, but hopefully I can go from here with a proper healthy diet and keep off what I lost.

Since I have not been able to created anything new, I am posting a painting I blogged about before. The painting "Casting Up Stream" won an Honorable Mention at an Atlanta Artists Center show in 2008 and Best in Show at Kudzu Art Zone earlier that year. I mistakenly believed I painted it on Yupo, because I used some of the same techniques, but actually, it was Aquarius coated with a watered down soft gel. I used watercolors in a simple complimentarily color scheme with the warm earth tones dominate. I lifted some small areas with water using stencils. The calligraphic jesters are often part of my work because of my early schooling with a Japanese calligraphic master. I did not learn calligraphy but the experience has lingered with me since I was a young girl and has greatly influenced my art.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Old Watercolor Challenge

Old Watercolor Challenge

While looking for an unused piece of Yupo I discovered the painting above that I created for a watercolor challenge last year. The challenge was to pour watercolor randomly on a piece of watercolor paper of any type then work from there. Subject was not important. I chose Aquarius watercolor paper that I coated with matt medium so I could lift the paint. I did not enter the painting because I thought it was a little unpolished. I missed covering some areas on the paper with the matt medium, which grabbed the paint. This added to the rough appearance. However, I still liked it well enough to keep. You might try this challenge for yourself.

It has been so hot this week that I have not felt like moving. We keep our air conditioner on 78◦, but the poor old thing has had a hard time keeping up. My last electric bill doubled so I am dreading the next one! We turn off, (not standby), the computers when not in use and watch all the other appliances and lights. I feel fortunate that I do have a way to stay reasonably cool so I really should not complain and I still prefer it to cold weather.

Back to the cool basement studio to paint on the piece of Yupo I found.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Collage Journal

I may have confused some of you when I said I plan to use some of my Yupo paintings in a journal. I meant that collages inspired the last Yupo painting and I may cut up some failed paintings for collages. I am not sure I will do that now as I am working with old magazines and junk mail. I have my supplies in a plastic three-drawer organizer next to my recliner so I can collage while I am watching/listening to the TV. Yes, I watch TV in the evenings and enjoy dramas, Bravo and Food Network challenges. I love the new ‘Work of Art” series on Bravo. If I were twenty years younger, I would have been tempted to audition for it, as I can be a ham and I love a challenge. I won a TV art contest when I was twelve and it convinced me that art was my calling. The goal I have set for myself is to fill this journal. It has been waiting in my studio for at least five years. I bought it because I loved the heavy beige paper, plus it was on sale! Someone gave me a thick holiday edition ‘In Style’ magazine. It is filled with great colorful pages and it smells divine because of the scratch and sniff perfume samples. Very inspiring! The collage I’m showing was created from that magazine and the holiday dresses with a little green coliseum for contrast.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Art Journals

I have been watching my friend Deb and other artists on YouTube create art journals. Most of the journaling I have done, with very few exceptions, are written journals or sketchbooks filled with notes, composition ideas, etc. I love book arts and even took a class, a perk for the instructors at the folk school where I was teaching. The booklets I made in class remain empty as I considered them art without my embellishments. However, making an entire art journal was not something I considered. I had to make a living with my art and to put my time and creativity into a small book was not a luxury I could afford. Only in the last year have I given myself permission to create just for myself. Now I am thinking about creating one. Who knows, maybe my children and grandchildren will also enjoy them. Because of my thinking, my Yupo paintings have taken on a collage like appearance. I have even considered cutting some of the good areas out of the failures, spraying them with an acrylic coating and using them in an art journal instead of wiping them off for another painting. Beyond that, I had this crazy idea that an art journal would be a good way to use up all the art supplies I have accumulated over the years. Of course, that has turn into a joke, because I have found myself looking for and buying the materials recommended by the artists on YouTube. :O)

Friday, July 02, 2010

I Won!

Recently an online friend and artist, Deb, held an art journal cover contest on her YouTube channel. My suggestion won! Not only did she send me one of the prizes, she also added the George James ‘Mastering Yupo’ video! There is so much information on this video that it will take me awhile to learn it all. I tried a few of the techniques, in my style, on a small piece of Yupo. It got a little busy for such a small area, but I decided to post it anyway in honor of my friend’s generous gift.

My son told me about a neat program for quickly transferring my files from one computer to another without having to use my risky network connection. It is called Dropbox. You can share your photos and files privately or publicly with other Dropbox users. You get 2gig of free space and you will earn more if your friends sign up and say you recommended them. I do not keep my files in the box for long so I have not come near to using the 2 gig, but if you decide to sign up I would appreciate the referral. You never know when you might need a little more space :O) Thanks

Friday, June 25, 2010


I apperciate everyone's input about ways to make my standing to paint more comfortable. I bought some interlocking rubber mats for my studio and I am amazed how much they helped with my leg fatigue. I don’t know why I didn’t do this years ago. I've been painting daily since I put them down.

The Yupo painting above,’ Unleashed’, came about by a different approach than I usually use. Instead of creating a composition by painting in shapes then working from there, I poured paint and let it flow. I laid another piece of Yupo on top and created a mono print of sorts. Meaning I only used the results as a starting point. I sprayed water, bushed and lifted paint, then repainted some areas again. Unless you are a master at painting on Yupo it is rarely forgiving. You can lose what you have done in a heartbeat. For me it becomes a real game as to who will win. Hours pass before I surrender and the next day I am back at it, often ruining my hard won progress of the day before. I have to say, “STOP” and then leave the studio!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Yupo Eclipsed

I spent so much time standing lost in the fascination of watercolor on Yupo, that my legs could not take it anymore! This really eclipsed my painting time. My studio is located in my basement, which has concrete floors. I have a small padded rug in front of my art table. It has always seemed sufficient, but I guess my old age has caught up with me. Now any amount of time standing there turns into to pure torture. I have tried sitting, but I cannot get the fluid motion I want. I am going to try some of those interlocking rubber pads, but in the mean time, I have created a small platform from a door scrap. (I cut up doors for art panels.) Although it creates other problems, ie, table height and inadvertently stepping off it, I hope the platform will do the trick.

The painting above is the last painting I created before I had to surrender to my legs. I titled it Eclipsed, which seemed to fit the painting and the current situation. I used a limited palette again and my usual cruciform, axial obvious format. The energy of the ocean and other moving water has always been my favorite subject matter. Although I was not consciously aware of it at the time, I believe being horrified by the oil disaster in the Gulf, has influenced my work.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Yupo Artist, Sandrine Pelissier

Struggling with Yupo led me to look for ways other artists have dealt with this tricky painting material. I discovered Sandrine Pelissier’s website and blog. Not only has she mastered Yupo, but also she generously shares step-by-step demonstrations, tips and techniques Her nude painting that I’ve featured here is one of my favorites. Amazingly Sandrine is a self taught artist and is proficient in all media   
Sandrine grew up in France and has been living in Vancouver for the last 10 years.. Since 2010, she has been an associate member of the Federation of Canadian Artists, and exhibited in numerous juried exhibitions in Canada and in the United States. Sandrine had a feature article in the August 2009 issue of Watercolor Artist magazine. Her work has been published in several books including  Splash series Splash 11 New directions: The Best of Watercolor, Splash 12, Watermedia: Best of Worldwide, Art buzz 2009 and 2010.
I hope you will visit all of Sandrine’s websites and her blog to see her wonderful creations.

Friday, June 04, 2010


                                                                       Shaman's Staff

I am still painting on Yupo. The crazy stuff continues to fascinate and frustrate me. The slightest attempt to correct, lighten or darken an area usually ends up distorting it. I tell myself that in time  I will master it, but I may be fooling myself. The other side of the coin is if I ever did, would I continue to be captivated?
I am reading,’ Expressive Drawing’ by Steven Aimone. Drawing and mark making was my first love. As a child, I scribbled and drew on everything. I hated coloring books, because I was too impatient to stay inside the lines. I envied the neatly colored pictures my friends would make but try as I may I was unable to do it. Steven encourages automatic drawing and expressing yourself with the freedom of a child. Yupo gives me that freedom by not allowing me to have total control over it. This painting, ‘Shaman’s Staff,’ illustrates that freedom. The ‘axial obvious’ composition motif that I used for this painting is a favorite of mine, which probably annoys some who cling to outdated rules and possibly color inside the lines :D

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Art and Fear and Yupo

I have been reading ‘Art and Fear’ and dealing with my “Artists’ Funk”. I am always amazed when I hear and read about those who have never experienced it. However, I have broken through my ‘funk’, but not without some frustrations. One of the suggestions in the book is “When things go haywire, your best opening strategy might be to return—very carefully and consciously— to the habits and practices in play the last time you felt good about the work. Return to the space you drifted away from and (sometimes at least) the work will return as well.” The last time I felt excited about my work was when I was entering local art association shows and painting on Yupo. In fact, painting consumed me to the point that I rarely posted as attested to in my June 16, 2008 post.

If you have never heard of Yupo it is a plastic surface that accepts water media paints but has a mind of its own. The paint slips and lifts at the slightest provocation. A Japanese firm created it for sign painting. When I saw the wonderful paintings done by George James, I knew I had to try it. The first time I tried Yupo I cautiously drop some watercolor on the surface and a weird little bloom appeared. I added other colors and before I knew it, I had a strange flower staring at me. With a few pencil accents and paint lifts, I decided it was finished. I signed and titled it ‘Yupo Blossom’. From there I went on to paint some award winning abstracts. After reading chapter V in the book I am cautiously on my way again. The Yupo and watercolors are set to go and my blogging will have to wait in line!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Nurturing Creativity

In my search for inspiration I discovered this 2009 video on of Elizabeth Gilbert and the subject of "Nurturing Creativity". Elizabeth is the author of one of my favorite books, Eat, Love, Pray. Her talk is about (and I quote)" the impossible things we expect from artists and geniuses -- and shares the radical idea that, instead of the rare person "being" a genius, all of us "have" a genius. It's a funny, personal and surprisingly moving talk". The talk is almost 20 minutes long, but I believe it is worth it. I worked on a mixed media piece while I listened. I smiled, was inspired and could relate to so much of what she said. Elizabeth gave me permission to keep on creating the weird pieces that I have been creating. Not sure what is up with my muse, but I am going with the flow. Olay!

A footnote: one could spend hours watching videos on TED, and another one I enjoyed is Amy Tan's video as she explores the creative process. This videos really needs to be watched rather than just listened to as she has a clever Power Point presentation

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Easing Forward

I have spent the past few days in my studio, pouring, splashing and wiping out paint along with doing some college. Nothing I consider successful, but that was not my goal. I just wanted to break my dry spell and move on. I gave myself permission to put the" shoulds" behind me. I think this little experimental wipeout watercolor on hot press illustration board, reflects my frame of mind. In fact, the more I look at it the more I like it; not as a work of art, but for the message it gives me. It is not like anything I have created before and probably not again. That is okay too. I am just easing forward.

Friday, May 14, 2010


One of the most interesting blogs I follow is Katharine A. Cartwright’s blog. Katharine is currently reviewing a wonderful book, Art and Fear, by David Bayles and Ted Orland. I bought this book a few years ago and as with most books, as much as I liked it, I did not find the time to finish it. I have always felt guilty if spent too much time reading. I usually try to read a little before I go to bed and I end up falling asleep, so it has been great reading Katharine’s book synopsis… A book club online and that feels productive to me.
What does all this have to do with retirement? One would think that being retired I would not feel guilty about reading or doing anything for just the enjoyment of it. One word, “annihilation”. The subject of a section in chapter III in the Art and Fear book and Katharine’s May 12th post. it refers to how some artists feel and react to dry spells in their work. Since I retired and no longer do shows or have an agent, etc. I have experienced this feeling of annihilation. I do not have the energy or the good health I had a few years ago so my productivity, even for my own pleasure, has diminished. The guilt and feelings of hopelessness gets heavy at times, which seems to exacerbate the “dry spell” problem. I eat too many sweets for energy (counterproductive), and when I am not going to the doctor, I am grocery shopping and doing other chores, but not painting. My excuse all winter has been the lack of heat in my studio. I tell myself, now that the hot weather is settling in, the studio will be the coolest place in the house and surely then the creative juices will flow! Now I am whining, which I really dislike, but I thought if I came clean with my fears, then I could deal with them. I hear the clock ticking and avoiding my studio will not slow it down. Maybe this will be my epiphany. Today I will go down and just throw a little paint on some paper and hopefully the muse with appear!

An epiphany is the moment when you run out of excuses for yourself, and nothing is left but the truth. ~ Kenji Crosland,

Saturday, May 01, 2010


For me spring is a time for renewal. A time to clean out the cobwebs of winter, plant seeds and get my house in order. It is also a good time to put my business affairs in order. With my taxes filed, next on my list was to finish my new website. The allotted space provided by my previous web host was limited and I had to use their templates. I tried to modify them to suit my needs for almost 6 months and finally gave up. I changed to a host with unlimited space and the option to create my own site. I am not that computer savvy so I bought a program to help me. It took me a little time to grasp the fundamentals (still not sure, I have done everything right), but I am now published online. I plan to add other images soon. The only thing still hanging is my domain transfer. It expires in 5 days so I am cutting it close. Fingers cross that I do not lose my domain name and all the work I have done...... Now I have tomato plants waiting for my attention.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Monitor Calibration

Do you need to calibrate your monitor?
I have been dragging my feet on creating a new website, but I think I am almost finished. However, when I checked the site’s appearance on my other computers, I was shocked at the difference. Two of my computers have LCD monitors and one has an old phosphorus monitor. Obviously, I needed to calibrate them, as I could not see the subtle harlequin pattern, shown above, on the LCD’s. I tried the calibration that came with my computer, but it did not work with all of them. I found this post on Flicker that really helped me. If you have any doubt about your monitor's calibration, I highly recommend that you read Dave Ward’s entire post and the comments as it has some great sites for monitor calibration.

Friday, April 16, 2010


Over the many years of my career as an artist, I have received letters and notes from my clients telling me how much they have enjoyed owning my work. I have appreciated each of them. Recently I received one from Tom and Rochelle McDonald. I must say it was a beautifully written note and it really touched me. I was surprised because the artwork is a painting on a 30” hand contoured, rag paper disc, which I created in 1995. Tom, only 25 at the time, commissioned it for his sweetheart, Rochelle. Tom and Rochelle are now married; they have a son, Quinn and live in a lovely home at Berkley Lake. Tom remodeled their home a year ago and built a fantastic custom niche to display the disc. He sent me a couple of photos, one of which I have posted here. Thank you, Tom and Rochelle; I feel honored, you made my day!

---------------------------------------- < O > -----------------------------------

Another note of appreciation goes to Barry H. who recently purchased a large acrylic painting, “Rites of Spring”. Barry saw a canvas giclee of another one of my paintings in a health club he recently joined in North Carolina. He found my web site and a painting he liked. Long story short, the buyer and seller are happy. Thanks, Barry.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


My absence from my blog was due to the issues with my heart since last fall. The cardiologist insisted that I have a cardiac catheterization, also called coronary angiogram. It is a test to check the blood flow in the coronary arteries, blood flow and blood pressure in the chambers of the heart, to find out how well the heart valves work, and check for defects in the way the wall of the heart moves. Fortunately, there was no blockage, but it confirmed my heart arrhythmia. It was a very painful experience and I pray I never have to go through it again. They did change my medication and all I do is sleep! Unfortunately, this could last up to six weeks with no caffeine or wine. Nuts!

Speaking of nuts, I really believe my constant snacking on raw almonds and walnuts are the reason my heart valves passed the test. I love them. They are great art subjects too. Since I have not been up to creating any art lately, I dug through my old drawings and found one I did when I was a young gal 43 years ago. Drawing was my first love. I have several that have survived the many moves I have made over the years, but I wish I had kept more.

Think I'll take another nap.......

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Pat Dews Workshop

Pat Dews is one of my favorite workshop instructors. I own her DVD, ‘Designing Great Starts with Texture & Form” and I enjoyed just watching her work, She is so lively and creative that it is impossible to fall asleep watching it.

When I learned Pat was holding a workshop in Atlanta a few years ago, I quickly signed up. I was not disappointed. Pat stayed on “go” and demonstrated constantly all week long. I was exhausted, but pleased with everything she shared. She holds nothing back. I recently heard that she would be in Highlands, North Carolina, April 12- 16 at The Basocm. I understand they need a couple more students to make the class. Because of my health issues I cannot attend, but If you are near the area I highly recommend you sign up as you won’t regret it.

The painting above, “Sheltered View” is one of the pieces I created in a Pat’s workshop. The assignment was to take a very small portion of a photo and abstract it using monoprint techniques. My photo was part of an advertisement that featured a safari tent in the background.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Heart Awareness Month

Although this month is almost over, most of us know February is dedicated to raising awareness about heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Knowledge about prevention is so important. I have blogged about this before, but I feel the story warrants repeating. Last fall my basement flooded and left it damp and moldy. One of my storage containers was my father’s old military trunk. When I opened it and attempted to clean it, I inhaled the mold that was covering everything inside. The following weeks I spent trying to eradicate the rest of the mold in my basement and taking Claritin-D so I could breathe. Long story short, I am now being treated for high blood pressure and heart arrhythmia! I cannot stress the importance of wearing masks when dealing with toxic paints, and materials. Also, read the labels of any medication before taking it!
The image above is part of the old truck, which is now in my garage airing out. I drew a little heart on it to remind me not only that I love my father, but also I need to love myself by watching my health and what I consume.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

I Had To Ask

Atlanta, like most of the country, is covered with snow. Our subdivision looks like a fairyland and the roads are still a icy. Snuggling in by my electric fireplace, I decided to finish a blog post I started last week about some Jackson Pollock movies. Previously I emailed MOMA, Museum of Modern Art asking permission to use one of the Jackson Pollock painting images. They forwarded my request to an art resource company. This company informed me that I would have to pay them $50.00 a year to use the image and I needed to get permission from the Pollock foundation! With all of the images on the net I was shocked and wished I hadn’t asked. I decided to create my own at Jackson Pollock org. This online program is a very tricky to use, but once you get the hang of it, and learn some tricks such as changing the paint color in a corner, it can be fun. I have a screen capture program so I can copy it and edit in Photoshop. Now I have my own fake Pollock painting.
This leads to my post about movies. I recently acquired a movie titled, “Who the $#%& Is Jackson Pollock?” (2006). It is about Teri Horton, a 73 year old former truck driver from California, who purchased a painting from a thrift shop for $5, only later to find out that it may be a Jackson Pollock painting. It was fascinating, watching the experts trying to prove or disprove its authenticity. I will not reveal the conclusion, as I hate spoilers. This is not an award-winning movie, but it if you enjoy watching people’s minds at work and having a closer look at the Jackson Pollock’s techniques this movie is the one to see.
I also own the movie “Pollock” staring Ed Harris.This one is an award winner! I love this film and have watched it several times. I related to so many of the creative struggles Ed Harris portrays in this movie, from being annoyed at the critics to sitting on my studio floor trying to birth a new painting for a show. Some artists ease into their work, but others, like myself, struggle to find something that is original and satisfying. Like a Rothko painting, I am sure Jackson Pollock’s painting must be viewed in the real to truly be appreciated and it is my dream to do this before I pass.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Special People

Living as a single woman since 1984 and struggling to support myself as an artist, I have had more than my share of personal crisis. Several years ago when I was going through yet another crisis, a soft-spoken artist (angel), Clara Dodd Blalock, appeared. She offered me a show at her church, the Church of the Atonement in Sandy Springs, Georgia. Being out of the show circuit for a while, my mailing list was completely out of date. I was such an emotional mess that fortunately Clara and her church cultural team took care of all the details. It was a lovely reception, but few of my former clients showed up and I managed to sell only one piece. I still feel guilty, but grateful, about all the hard work that they did for me. Clara has continued to be kind and supportive. She is truly one of the special people in this world.
Clara is also a fantastic artist. Her awards and accomplishments are numerous. I particularly love her abstract paintings. (You can see more of them on her website)I share Clara’s love of drawing and line. Clara’s calligraphic brushwork reflects this. It is fresh and exciting. Her subdued color palette contrasts with the energy of her marks, the epitome of "Speak softly, and carry a big stick." Clara is an accomplished contemporary landscape painter as well. The TV shows, “Trading Places” and "Extreme Home Makeover," featured her work and she is represented in several galleries across the United States. You can view some of her landscape paintings online at the Tucker Gallery located in Evanston, Illinois. I hope you visit the sites and enjoy more of her work.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

They Come And Go

We live in such a mobile society. My artist friends are no exceptions. My friend, Beverly McLarty recently moved here to Atlanta, from Arkansas. It was such a delight to meet a new artist, especially after the departure from Atlanta of a wonderful painter and print maker, Susanne Clark. Susanne is now happily living in Toronto and from all reports (see her blog), I can understand why. I recently received a link to a Slide Show of her mixed media creation titled “Geisha”. The moment I saw it I fell in love. Having spent some years as a young girl in Japan, anything Asian grabs my attention. I asked Susanne to tell me more about it and she generously shared this information. “The painting is 48 inches square and it’s on board. I under painted in acrylic and then finished it off in oils. The board was textured with lots of tissue paper glued on in layers before I started to paint. It’s based on a traditional geisha painting but I have modernized the look of it etc.” I particularly love the little gold rectangles that are scattered over the piece. Susanne says they are gold paint put on with a stamp she made. This wonderful piece hangs over Susanne’s breakfront in the dining area of her lovely home. I hope that you will visit Susanne’s website and enjoy all of her creations.

Friday, January 15, 2010

A New Creative Year

On January 2nd I received an email from an artist, Beverly McLarty, who just moved here from Arkansas and wanted to meet me. Beverly included a link to her site. I was very impressed with her work. The sheer volume of the pieces she has created amazed me. Her energy and productivity are unbelievable. In the short time Beverly has been in Atlanta, she has located and joined an art association, acquired a student and is now building a new studio!
Beverly’s paintings are very complex, with rich surface texture and color. Her figurative pieces are just as lush. The figures weave throughout the surface like brocade. Sometimes feeling like the works of some of the Symbolists such as Odilon Redon and Paul Gauguin’s painting “Where Do We Come From. What Are We, Where Are We Going?”
We are fortunate to have this talented, ambitious woman living in the Atlanta area. I’m looking forward to a rich friendship with Beverly and a very creative New Year.
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