Wednesday, September 28, 2016


Bay of Poetry
Yesterday on Facebook, a friend made a lovely comment about my work. She said that I put joy into my work.  I thought that was so nice of her to say that. It is not the first time someone has said that about my work. I never really thought about it like that since I am not always that joyful when I am working. I am glad it comes through that way though.

This week I took a few smallish online classes with Julie Fei Fan Balzer. I just love her method of teaching. She is so funny but you really learn a lot from her. I took a short class on color. As you know I have been painting for many years but this class was a game changer for me. It was a beginner class on color. Of course we made color wheels and value scales as is always the case in learning about color. But here is where the game changing happened for me. When I first began painting in the 1970's I worked only in watercolor. In watercolor there are two colors you never use. Black and white. Yes, I know right? If you want black you mix a rich dark. My favorite go to was alizarin red and viridian green. That made a lovely dark. If you wanted white, you just let the paper color come through. That was it.

When you paint with acrylics, black and white are not only used but they are NEEDED! I have found it a real struggle to use them though.

I have studied how to make tinting scales (adding white to a color) and shading scales (adding black to a color). That helped me somewhat but I was still having trouble making my colors work well together. And then I took her class and I learned about making tonal colors. This is where you add grey to your colors. I wondered how on earth adding grey to a color would work but it does work and really well I might add. Some artists call this using a "mother color". The color you use when added to all your colors makes them work well together.

The cerulean blue in the collage above was created using this "mother color". It just helps take the edge off the colors right out of the tube without creating a muddy mess as sometimes happens when you add complimentary colors.

Sunday, September 25, 2016


Blooming Wildly
It only just occurred to me that I have been blogging for 9 years. Since September of 2008. Over that time many things in my life have changed and those of you who have followed me during all this time will know this. I started blogging when I was working full time and making jewelry on the side. Now, of course, I am retired and making art again instead.

Through all of that time the blog has been a diary of sorts. An online journal. A constant presence in my life. I should really figure out a way to print it out. I seem to remember that there is a way to do that. It would take me a long time but it could be worth it to have an actual physical book as well as online. After all who knows what could happen to it. It could be gone in a flash! I have heard of that happening to some fellow bloggers.

I have never been very good at keeping a real journal but I seem to be much better at this one! I don't know why really. Writing is writing, yes?

Thank you to all of you who have followed this blog through it all and at times given me support and advice when I needed it the most. I know that I am very bad at responding to all of your comments. Please know that I read them, and always enjoy and appreciate them. I will try and get better about responding to them but no promises OK????

Have a great week and stay warm!

Thursday, September 22, 2016


I am having a bit of creative block right now. Well at least on good paper that is. My sketchbook is going great guns however! I am hoping that some of these rough sketches will somehow translate into more complete work. But for now I am filling my sketchbook with these small collages and getting lots of new ideas. I seem to be in a stripe phase right now. I like the way they look when they are going in two directions next to each other.

I have also been making stamps to paint my papers with and that has been a relaxing bit of fun for a change.

Here are a few more from the sketchbook:

This looks like some kind of alien to me!

I love these little flower thingies.

Saturday, September 17, 2016


Front cover
I recently had the wonderful opportunity of designing a lovely little book for an old friend and fabulous photographer Maureen Neville. You can see the front cover in the above photo.

Maureen and I first met when we were both living in Key West, Florida back in the 1970's. She has always had a real sense of adventure which I have always admired since I am such a homebody and rarely venture beyond the neighborhood! As long as I have known her she has always had a camera in her hand!  At one point we both were living in upstate NY and even though I have moved away from there, we have managed to keep in touch and now with Facebook we are even better able to do that.

You may remember that before I retired I was a graphic designer for a couple of text book publishers. Houghton Mifflin and Pearson Education. I loved my job very much and sometimes I do miss it even though I love painting right now. When Maureen told me that she had been trying to create a book of her photography on Shutterfly but was having some problems with their web site, I couldn't help but jump at the chance to help out an old friend since it was my field of expertise and I do love making books!

 Shutterfly does use very good quality paper unlike some of the other online publishers. Their software does take some getting used to and is not really very user friendly. I think they want you to use their designers and that is OK for snapshots of kids and pets and such but not for serious artwork as her photographs are. We used Dropbox as a place where she could place the photos (she lives in Pennsylvania now and I live in Boston and so we were working remotely).  Dropbox works very well for that since the photos were too large to send via email.

Here are a couple of interior pages from the book:

Interior page (recto)

Interior page (recto)
You can find Maureen's lovely photos on her blog The Neville Lens: Pictures and Words.

Sunday, September 11, 2016


Earth Layers
I usually find myself working in small series. After a few pieces, I can usually tell when it is time to put a series to bed. At least for a while. I have been known to revisit a series but once it is over it is usually over.

This week I had quite a bit of trouble figuring out where to go next. When that happens I usually watch video tutorials until I see something that gives me inspiration. I discovered a video by
Jane Davies on working in a stripe motif so I thought that I might give that a try.

This was the result which I like very much. I am hoping that I can work this series for a while but we will see if it is sustainable or if it leads elsewhere.

Saturday, September 3, 2016


Passing Through the World
I have returned from Tucson. It is always hard to come back to reality. At least this reality. There are so many things I want to be doing out there. Number one of course is setting up my studio. I can't bring much in the way of art supplies onto the plane. So I end up bringing gel pens, crayons, and a sketchbook. I wanted to bring some collage materials but then I would need to bring medium which is NOT allowed on the plane. I did bring a glue stick and made some small collages in my sketchbook but the glue stick does not adhere that well and I can't do much with it. Basically they were just collaged sketches. I thought of buying some supplies for out there but it just seems like a waste since I am never out there for long enough periods to really utilize them. And I have so many art supplies here already. So I will just have to keep doing what I am doing for now until the move when I can ship all my stuff out there. I do try and always leave something there each time. This time I left my Caran D'Arche neocolors out there. Plus a blank sketchbook and some pens.

It is very hard for me living in two places. Especially when you really are not a two places kind of person. As an artist, I just want to go into my same studio every day and do the work.

Anyway, yesterday I made this collage which is a little bit different than my usual collage. It is created from only cut pieces of paper. No painted background this time.

I have been enjoying making patterned paper using gesso for texture.You can do some very interesting mark making with gesso. When it is dry, I scrape paint onto the paper and it gets trapped in the marks and makes them look quite lovely and interesting.

Enjoy the long weekend everyone......