Virginia Bluebells with Crepe Myrtle / oil pastel

I got this little set of oil pastels at AC Moore for only $5.25.

I got this little set of oil pastels at AC Moore for only $5.25.

It’s getting crowded over at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens with Garden Week. The Tulips are going CRAZY over there!

I wanted to paint the Bluebells on a busy path. I thought they look great with the bark of the Crepe Myrtle behind them. I didn’t want to block the path with my easel, so I held my sketchbook in my hand standing up to draw. I had a little bottle of turp and a paintbrush in my bag to work the oil pastels. It’s fun to wash turp over the oil pastels, and it dries fast, so you can build up some layers in one day. When a lot of people came down the path, I sat down on a bench and did some blending on my sketch. Some people don’t feel comfortable walking between an artist and the subject, but it doesn’t bother me, I don’t want them to feel uncomfortable walking there. So I think for that reason it’s important for artists to get comfortable holding a sketchbook in one hand and drawing with the other standing up to draw. You have more freedom of movement and you don’t get in the way of others. Also it’s fun to work in different media sometimes, so I enjoyed the oil pastels.

When I got home and had another look at my drawing, I wanted to define the flowers more than I was able to do with the oil pastels, so I used some violet oil paint that was left over from my last painting and thinned it down so I could add some lines on my bluebells. I don’t now how well the detail shows up on your computer screen.

How Do Your Dreams Influence Your Art?



I love returning to Art History. It is a comforting place…like a warm sweater on a cold night…nurturing, enveloping, familiar. And every time I return I discover something new and inspiring.

The National Collage Society hosts a Postcard Exhibit annually. April 2, 2015 to May 12, 2015 marks the 18th Annual Exhibit. The entries, all 4″ x 6″ postcard size, are on show at the Tucson Jewish Community Center Art Gallery in Tuscon, Arizona.

Lately I have read a lot of Art History books and articles. They have influenced my thinking while awake and asleep. And oh the dreams! One night I found myself at the Cabaret Voltaire in Zürich, listening to Hugo Ball reciting a Sound Poem. Like most dreams, images juxtaposed themselves without thought of cohesion…just random images shooting through the kaleidoscope of my nocturnal mind.

I felt my Muse was encouraging me to return to the world of the Sound Poem. And so began my entry for the show.

The substrate for the collage is a canvas board. The photo of Hugo in his shaman’s hat and Cubist costume took center stage. I paid homage to his poem by incorporating the title KARAWANE. I added metallic acrylic paint sponged on to canvas. It was finished with a Swiss postage stamp, and a Dada inspired pointing finger and the word Cacodylic.

The Society chose sixteen winners from the entries. I am delighted and honoured to be among them. You can view the collage work chosen here.

Musings by day and night shape our world as artists. How do your dreams influence your Art?

Poe’s Enchanted Garden ’15 / oil

poes enchanted garden 15

It was a challenge getting this finished for it to dry in time to enter this week. We’ve had so much rainy and cloudy weather, I could only get there to work on it 1 day a week for over a month.

Opening night is April 23 at 6:30 with “Unhappy Hour”.

That wisteria isn’t there. I made it up. They have a small vine started on the other side of the wall, but it’s not blooming yet. I thought the wall needed wisteria because drawing so many geometric lines was difficult and I wanted to give Poe a wisteria vine to contrast the geometric with organic, straight with twisted. I found a vine at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and changed it to make it into a nice swag over Poe’s door. That vine isn’t blooming either, so I googled wisteria and faked in those flowers.

I enjoy hanging around at the Poe Museum and I hope I get another chance to paint there next year.

The Resurrection of the Exquisite Corpse

It's a Surrealist art game. Here's one I lifted off Wikipedia.

It’s a Surrealist art game. Here’s one I lifted off Wikipedia.

Shelby and I are excited about the exquisite corpse game! Here’s how you do it:

Both artists should agree to use the same colors and media. It can be a pencil drawing, but Shelby and I both like collage, so we’re doing that. The first artist covers half the paper with half of their design and then covers what they did except for 1/2″ in the center, so the second artist has no idea what the first artist did. Then the second artist has to connect their design to the 1/2″ they can see on the unfinished corpse. After the second artist is finished, they can take the wrapping paper off and see the CRAZY !

Both artists start a corpse and trade so both get to finish and keep one. I sent one to Shelby. I hope she can’t guess what’s under the wrapping.

Here's an exquisite corpse I'm sending to Mary Beth Brath.

Here’s an exquisite corpse I’m sending to Mary Beth Brath.

I tinted the board with gold acrylic, and I’m sending her the colored paper I used. She can finish this on and start one for me. We’re planning Exquisite Corpse shows in Richmond VA and in PA. If any of our friends out there in computerland would like to participate, let us know.

What Would You Do With 400 Wine Glasses?

six glasses

What would you do with four hundred wine glasses? Paint them, of course!

I live in Central Pennsylvania. The Art Center School and Galleries of Mechanicsburg and the Downtown Mechanicsburg Partnership are holding two fundraisers in April and May. The decorated wine glasses are a feature of the events.

I’m used to the head scratching feeling of “what will I do next” when confronted by a blank piece of paper or a computer screen. But a wine glass???

Visions of a “Mad Men” late night soiree got me thinking. I could imagine the drinks swirling around the glass with wild abandon! And that lead me to a book I am reading: “Johanna- A Novel of the van Gogh Family” by Claire Cooperstein. The novel is a “factional” account of Johanna’s life after the death of Theo, Vincent’s brother. I enjoy both…so why not combine the two?

Anyone interested in the event met at the Art Center. Enthusiastic painters filled tables that were set up with boxes of cleaned glasses and a plethora of paint and brushes. Although it was cold and dreary outside, the atmosphere was one of convivial collaboration. Colour was everywhere with each person decorating their glass in their unique style. The finished glasses quickly filled a table ready for the last phase of the process: baking. Standing before them reminded me of seeing light shining through rose windows at the Notre Dame in Paris. The glasses were just as vibrant and true to their makers.

The photos show my efforts. Inspired by Vincent van Gogh’s use of colour I swirled my way through a set of six glasses. I want to thank Cindi and Mary Beth for providing the phoYellow Glasstos.

Three hundred glasses are scheduled to go on sale at the Earth Day Festival in Mechanicsburg on April 18th. Your purchased glass allows wine sampling at over twenty-five selected business in the downtown Mechanicsburg area on May 9th’s Art & Wine Walk. All of the money raised goes back into community events.

One hundred glasses are for sale on May 2nd for the Art Center’s Spring Fundraiser Gala at the Hershey Vineyards. And you thought Hershey only produced chocolate! The money raised helps to fund the Art Center’s vibrant and diverse activities.

For detailed information, visit their websites at: The Art Center School and Galleries of Mechanicsburg and Downtown Mechanicsburg Partnership.

I think anyone drinking from the beautiful glasses will not only share in a great fundraiser, but will also be filled with the spirit of the artist who lovingly painted it.

Still Life with Pascal’s Pensees by Henri Matisse

It's in the VMFA flower exhibit.

It’s in the VMFA flower exhibit.

Photography isn’t allowed in the show. I lifted this off
This show is a great inspiration! They have Van Gogh, Manet, Matisse and a lot of other artists.

I got a sketch of a Manet painting, Vase of White Lilacs and Roses, which is one of my favorites. The museum limits you to graphite pencils only in the galleries with the paintings. They have a room with colored pencils and paper and a giant arrangement of flowers in the center for people to do their own drawing, but if you want to copy a masterpiece it’s graphite only! hahahahahha. Oh well, They’re scared, or so they say. As if a pencil might fly out of your hand and hit one of the paintings, only a graphite pencil won’t hurt it but a pastel pencil would? I don’t get it. You can get special permission to bring in pencils other than graphite but they make you jump through hoops for a permission paper, which is a little off putting for artists. I guess other artists don’t care because they don’t want to draw in the museum. But maybe if the museum would relax a little, artists would feel more comfortable drawing there.

Anyway, you should go see this show because you will want to paint flowers too!

Are You That Woman?

Strong Women

Strong Women Collage – Tag

On March 8th every year we celebrate International Women’s Day. With this event in mind, the March Tag Swap I joined was a celebration of women…in all our glory!

“Make it Happen” is the 2015 theme, encouraging effective action for the advancement and recognition of women in all walks of life. I am delighted to see that purple is the official colour…in commemoration of the Women’s Suffrage Movement for which I have a deep appreciation.

In my life, the strongest women I know are the ones who elevate other women to be the best they can be.  They are the supportive, nurturing souls who are there to catch you when you fall and lift you up to greater heights in celebration of your victories. I am sure you have them in your life as well.

As I started working on the Tag I came across a photo two women seated together. I wondered…could they have been as enamoured of the Suffragettes as I am?

The substrate for the Tag is illustration board. The background is Citra-Solv paper from a magazine article about women. I added the vintage photo, a doily, a blossoming flower, wax infused paper, text clipped from a magazine, and finished off with sponged and stencilled metallic acrylic paint in various colours. It is now on its way to a new home in California.

As artists, we can “make it happen”…not only through our work, but by being that strong woman we adore having in our lives. So, my question is…Are you “that” woman?

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