They Have A Secret…Do You?


Why We Stand Up Straight – Digital Collage

There is just something about images…still and moving…in black and white that lifts my soul. I guess I’ll always be a “Turner Classic Movies” kind of gal at heart. The drama and the romance the absence of colour brings intrigued me in the past as I am certain it will in the future.

The current Lunagirl Moonbeams challenge is Black & White. This time, the challenge is shared with Vicki Romaine’s challenge Blog, The Cheerful Stamp Pad. The selection of images from Lunagirl’s collection are always inspiring. Looking through the collage sheets my eye was drawn to the women in beautiful dress.

What struck me was their posture…straight, proud, elegant. I loved the smile of the woman wearing the cape.  Who was the recipient of her cheeky grin? Did she have a secret? I built the collage around this woman. From my own digital ephemera collection I chose a landscape I thought would have a mysterious feel when converted into black and white. And then I found my air ship! Perfect. I love the concept of the lighter-than-air ships, gracefully floating while hiding a metal frame. And why did the women stand so straight? I couldn’t resist adding the corsets…just a peek into the private lives of our ladies. Like the airship, they are visible sophistication covering a solid foundation. And often times, the way women balance the explosive and the tranquil aspects of life is a secret only they know.

But isn’t this the story of so many women? We are grace, cleverness, and power in equal measure. What is your secret?


Untitled Exquisite Corpse

helene chris ec

I started this Exquisite Corpse and gave it to Helene Ruiz to finish. I covered the board with gold acrylic and collaged the swan. Then I covered half the board that I collaged, except for 1/2″ of my part showing. All Helene could see was the top of the swan’s neck. she had no idea it was a swan, or even which way was up, because I didn’t mark “up”. I also gave her some of the colored paper I used on my half. I was very happy and excited to see how abstract looking it came out! And I realized, if someone gives you an Exquisite Corpse and you don’t know which way is up, you can still finish the corpse by going non directional.

Helene gets to title this one, and keep it or sell it.

Helene doesn’t want me to post too many of the Exquisite Corpses because she doesn’t want me to give away the show, which isn’t scheduled until Sept. She sent me photos of some entries entries she received so far. There’s a lot of really cool ones coming from artists in different states and different countries. Helene probably won’t mind if I show you the ones I had a hand in, because I’m trying to drum up interest in the corpse for more local participation in the show. Also Helene hooked me up with an artist in VCU who finished a corpse I started and is starting one for me to finish. YEA! It’s a fun game and all it takes is a little imagination!

We Are Who They Were…



Life has an interesting way of weaving the stories of our ancestors into the fabric of who we have become.

The current Lunagirl Moonbeams challenge is “Mother”. The Images sent to work with were beautiful as always. I chose the Mother and daughter engrossed in music and instrument playing.

Seeing the two sitting together got me thinking about the conversation they could be sharing. Perhaps the melody was its inspiration.

Many times a piece of music reminds me of someone in my life…be it my parents, or other relatives and friends. The notes of the song draw me in, and once again I am transported to a particular place and time. Could the Mother and Daughter not only be sharing memories, but making new ones of their own?

The collage is a digital work. The principal image is from the Lunagirl Collection. The surrounding images are from a variety of sources.

In the end, we are who are ancestors were. We learn from their triumphs and tragedies. We continue the story of their lives through our own. We can find the nurturing feelings we seek not only in the women in our lives but also in those who care to encourage us to be the best we can be.

Happy Mother’s Day to you all…and to all those who support our authentic selves.

Door Mouse Said, “Feed Your Head.”

It's an Exquisite Corpse.

It’s an Exquisite Corpse.

Helene Ruiz and I started corpses for each other to finish. This is the one she started for me. Helene did the top half.

This shot is the half finished corpse.

This shot is the half finished corpse.

If you take the wrapping paper off the panel before you’re finished, you’re cheating. I didn’t cheat. I could see enough on that 1″ of color showing to figure out it was a party going on. First I saw the lips on the right in red. Then I saw what looks like a red bubble nose. I knew it was faces in red. At the very edge of the wrapping paper I could see part of a white spiral, and I thought it was probably an eye on drugs. So I decided to bring a joint to the party. That’s me on the left. hahahahha. When I took the wrapping paper off and saw the psychedelic mushroom people and the little smoking worms in the picture, I was happy.

I wish I could paint as well as Helene with acrylics, but I never use them, so if it’s not great, oh well. I had fun with it. So I wanted to use psychedelic music lyrics for the title of the corpse. Do you remember Jefferson Airplane?

And I gave Helene a collage corpse to finish. It had only 2 black lines for her to connect her half of the drawing to my half. And it came out all abstract! I’ll try to get it on the blog soon, but I had a technical difficulty downloading it.

Who Are You Behind The Layers?


Why She Is Fascinating

As women, and especially as women artists, our lives are wrapped in layers. For me, it is layers of paper, fabric, inks, and words that make up my life. And when I am dancing or creating a collage, the layers unwrap slowly to allow me to express a part of who I am.

As a member of the Lunagirl Moonbeam Design Team, I feel as if I have stepped into a Garden of Image Delights. There are so many wonderful pieces of Art in the catalogue that it is sometimes so hard to choose just one.

But this time, it was different. Our challenge is “Fascinating Faces”. When Lunagirl sent the selection from which we were to make our choice…it was simple for me. There she was…Jaroslava…Alphonse Mucha’s daughter. Her gaze, her pose…it was faultless.

I admit it..I have great affection for the work of Alphonse Mucha. Everything about his style, his colours, his composition in my eyes are flawless. The painting of Jaroslava is no exception. She often sat for her father and is in many of his works. In this painting, the incredibly tied scarf is thought to represent her Slav ancestry…a topic Mucha extensively explored.

Looking at the scarf made me think of my ancestry and my life within the Arts. How often have we wrapped ourselves in scarves made of image and words? Jaroslava’s intense gaze calls the viewer to meet her eyes, and go see who she is beyond the layers.

And that to me is what makes women fascinating.

The collage is digital using the image from the Lunagirl Moonbeam collection. I am a lover of scarves.Words twist and turn following the folds of the fabric. The background is a piece of scarf material from my collection.

And isn’t part of the fascination persevering to see through the layers?



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?

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