Are You A Canvas?

MID CENTURY MODERN DREAM“Fashion is Art and You are the Canvas!” – Velvet Paper

Fashion truly is Art! From Haute Couture to Prêt-à-Porter the designer escorts us through their passionate journey.  Colour, form, and pattern: our shared tools of the trade inspire them to make their concepts tangible. And how heartening it is to be wrapped in someone’s dream!

When my Artistcellar box arrived in the mail I couldn’t wait to experiment with the Marked Series Stencils. With circles, X’s, and an interlocked ladder the graphic feel made me think of Mid-Century Modern art and interior design. And I was in luck: my Artistcellar treasure trove also contained Dylusion Bubble Gum Pink Ink Spray and Dina Wakley Lemon and Lime acrylics. The stencil pattern and my acrylic colours were perfect for taking me back to the time of Bakelite telephones and the Camel cigarette man wafting smoke rings across Times Square from his billboard.

I wanted to start with the background. I went to a new page in my Strathmore Mixed-Media Visual Journal. The ladder stencil and Dina’s Lemon acrylic came first. Slowly, I built up the layers using each stencil in the collection and a variety of acrylics. Then came time to throw caution to the wind! I grabbed my Dylusion Bubble Gum Pink ink and sprayed away. I loved the hot pink colour, mopped up a bit with my sponge and pushed it through the stencil. I really was pleased with the effect and will be adding it to my favored techniques. I completed the background with Punchinella, Artistcellar Halftone Dots Stencils and metallic acrylic.

I know I’ve mentioned it before, but I love the fact that the Artistcellar stencils hold up to anything I throw at, or push through them. Clean up leaves them in perfect condition ready for my next project.

Now that I had my background ready, and my colours were just as vibrant as they were wet, I knew the focal point needed to be just as bold. I am a great fan of black and white fashion photography of the 1950’s. I chose a photo of a woman, head titled back, with eyes slightly closed. What was she dreaming about… Perhaps a great adventure? And who would accompany her? And most of all, what clothing would she pack! I thought of the Bakelite phone…and the phone book she would peruse. To the left of the work you will see a page which I infused with bee’s wax.

This is what I love about Art. We have countless ways to express what comes from deep within us. With so many tools at our disposal we are only limited by our imaginations. By sharing what is essential to us we give it life, and hopefully nurture the spark in others.

So the next time you put on that favourite piece of clothing, just think…you are the canvas helping to make a designers soul immortal!



Are You Consumed by the Ecstasy of Wandering?


As the year comes rapidly to a close, I look ahead with joyful anticipation. It is comforting to wistfully look back on 2015. But the dream of an unbounded new year stirs my soul and elevates my imagination. Oh the curiosities to be discovered! All I need to do is take that first step!

Rather than making resolutions, I chose a mantra for 2016. It is WANDERLUST.

Wanderlust. Noun. A very strong or irresistible impulse to travel. But doesn’t this definition just scratch the surface of what Wanderlust really means?

I am captivated by the mellifluous flow of the word. Each syllable rolls on to the next in flawless synchronization. Wanderlust. I visualize vast panoramas of exquisite beauty. Wanderlust. I visualize dreaming beneath the open sky with new friends and old, all with fresh tales to share. But above all, I hear the voice of my spirit yearning to experience the ecstasy of wandering…of exploring my inner reality and rediscovering the essence of the story of my soul.

I thank you for traveling with me via this Blog. While wishing you all you wish for yourselves in the New Year, I hope you will take that first step and join me in 2016. Allow yourself to be consumed by the ecstasy of wandering.

Virtuous, Corrupt, or Something In-Between…

Marie Antoinette

Marie Antoinette – Digital Collage

Is anything ever entirely virtuous or corrupt?

I viewed the Lunagirl Moonbeam Upcoming Challenge List with  a bit of apprehension. We were to take inspiration from Marie Antoinette. Oh no…Marie Antoinette! As I am anything but a royalist, I feared this would truly be a “challenge” for me.

I knew of the clichés attached to her legacy: she was the teen-age Queen with a penchant for extravagant fashion and entertainment; of her flippant “Let them eat cake!” comment which according to sources she never did say; and the belief that she single-handedly caused the French Revolution culminating in her execution by her own subjects at the guillotine. Although she represented everything I found loathsome, I wanted to keep an open mind and began my investigation.

As I research her life, the caricature fell away and slowly I saw her as a flawed ruler cloistered in her world of wealth and privilege.  She saw her subjects simply as fictional characters in a performance.

The digital collage began with Lunagirl’s portrait of Marie. My heart was inspired by the October 1789 Women’s March on Versailles, and I knew I had to give them equal prominence in my work. The balance of the collage drew from digital ephemera in my collection.

As I completed the work I gained a new understanding of Marie. Looking at her life allowed me to view my own with a measure of objectively. How often do clichés replace facts making it easy to view a person or situation as wholly one thing or the other? As artists isn’t it our duty to search for the truth? And more often than not, isn’t the truth shades of both sides?


The Magic of A Letter…

Open At Once

Open At Once – Collage

There is something about a handwritten letter that warms the heart. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike emails and texts. They have their place as an efficient, and quick, means to communicate. But letters…sigh…they speak in a magical language all their own. The choice of paper, the envelope, the stamp and any other embellishment the writer wishes to affix says just as much about them as the words they choose to add to paper.

Today is “National Send A Handwritten Letter Day”. Celebrated on January 17th it is the birthday our first Postmaster General of the United States, Benjamin Franklin.

Again…synchronicity at play…I am a Lunagirl Moonbeams Design Team member. Our current challenge is Postcards and Letters. What could be a more perfect way to celebrate Handwritten Letter Day!

I recently entered into a paper swap and received a huge envelope full of beautiful postcards, paper and ephemera of all sorts from Germany. In the package was a brochure from the Sir Hubert von Herkomer’s, Herkomer Museum in Landsberg am Lech in Bavaria. The tower of the Mutterturm was incredible and very romantic. I knew I wanted to add this image to the tag I was working on.

But which Lunagirl image to choose? I loved them all, but finally settled on a woman pensively holding a letter in her hand. What could she be contemplating? Was there a story unfolding as I gathered up my art supplies? I let my Muse guide me.

The old saying, “No news is good news” kept coming back to me. Inspired by Handwritten Letter Day, I thought..isn’t a letter the best news of all…a little bit of magic in your hand?

The substrate for the tag is illustration board. I covered the background with Distress Ink, fluid and metallic acrylics. In addition to the lovely Lunagirl image, I added the Muttertrum, fabric, Junk Mail, wax infused and art paper, telephone book paper and other ephemera from my collection. I rubber stamped the saying on to a vintage envelope from the 1920’s. Stenciling completed the tag. In honour of today…off went the tag for a “magical” tag swap.

I hope you are all enjoying “National Send A Handwritten Letter Day” as much as I am. You still have a few hours left. Why not touch someones heart in a magical way by saying “hello” with a letter?

What Does Your Art Say About You?

Paris Dance

The Can-Can – ATC

I love France. I love the French. The country and their people intrigued me from the time I was a child. I guess you could say I was born a Francophile.

Before I learned to read, my Mom and I would walk to the Brooklyn Public Library six days a week. And there in the children’s section, was my treasure trove. I would run to the books with the opening lines that set my imagination free… “In an old house in Paris, that was covered with vines, lived twelve little girls in two straight lines… the smallest one was Madeline.” How I adored Ludwig Bemelmans’ Madeline series!

And that was just the beginning. I dreamed of France…of seeing for myself the beautiful streets described in Bemelmans’ books. I wanted to experience the art, the culture, the sights, the smells, the food of that wonderful country.

All those feeling came rushing back to me when looking through my collection of ATCs. I found my homage to the dance I performed  at our “Christmas Around the World” school play. Ah…The Can-Can! At last! The play that year was my chance to experience Art Nouveau Paris and The Moulin Rouge. Visions of Lautrec danced in my mind!

It was years later when living in England that I made my pilgrimage France. With that first trip my feet were finally planted in the country of my childhood dreams. And everything was even better than I had hoped. The French could be “difficult”, I was warned, especially in Paris. I had also heard that about my home city, New York. I knew it wasn’t true about New York…could it be the same for the City of Light?

With my extremely basic hold on their lyrical language, I ventured into the streets of Paris. I found a small bistro off the Avenue des Champs-Élysées and did my best to order an omelette without the sausage. The waiter was patient and wonderfully helpful. And he responded to me in his equally basic English. What arrived at my table, honestly, was the greatest meal of my life. Imagine my surprise when the waiter said if I didn’t like it the chef could make me something else!

This exchange set the tone of my first trip and for all the ones after. Regardless of national origin, we are all the same…sharing the same hopes, dreams, and desires. The French say it perfectly…joie de vivre…a philosophy of life.

I used a standard manila ATC card for the substrate . Text from travel brochures, and dictionary pages were added.  I found a vintage image of the dancers and finished the card with rubber stamped images and acrylic paint.

As artists we have the unique opportunity to bridge the gap we sometimes feel when taking a journey to somewhere new. Everyone, everywhere, wants to be treated with respect. We all want to feel that we do matter. Our work says more about us than words can ever convey. What does your work say about you?

What is Essential to You?

Hans Richter's Dada XYZ

Hans Richter’s  Dada XYZ 1948

As a creative person, what is essential to you?  “XYZ”, an Artist Trading Card call from the Carlisle Arts Learning Center in Carlisle, PA. had me thinking. My Muse was on hiatus. I felt stranded when I opened my book on the Dada Movement, and received inspiration from Hugo Ball’s Sound Poems.

It was what I needed to kick-start me into action. So it felt natural to explore the world of Dada through the eyes of other members. And what could be more appropriate than to read Hans Richter’s “Dada XYZ”.  The piece opens with “I never understood Hugo Ball very well.”

I photocopied the photo of Hans Richter and attached it to illustration board. The text in the background is Richter’s thoughts written in 1948. It is published in Robert Motherwell’s anthology of Dada writings, The Dada Painters and Poets. I finished the card with sponged metallic acrylic paint. At the end of the exhibit this card will also be traded.

Inspired by the Dadaists, not understanding is the essential quality I look for in Art and in Life. Not understanding keeps me thinking…keeps me investigating…keeps my lines to my Muse open. And when I do finally understand, even if not fully, it can lead me to some very interesting, unexpected and inspiring places.

My question to you is…what is Essential to You?

The Gift Of A Creative Journey

Mail Art

CREATE – Mail Art

I have always loved receiving mail. Real mail. Snail mail. Having bits of paper in my mail box delivered by an honest to goodness person kind of mail. Before the age of emails, texting and social media, paper-in-your-hand mail was the best way to communicate and share your life events with those you cared about.

And even though it isn’t as immediate, I still love the anticipation and feeling of surprise when I open my mailbox and find a treasure waiting for me.

When I found out about a Mail Art Swap on the Bliss Angels Blog I decided to jump in! The theme is CREATE. The challenge was to assemble four envelopes.

I sat down with my box of ephemera and I allowed my Muse to guide me. I had a few lovely craft envelopes to use as a substrate. I found a copy  of a painting of First Lady Louisa Adams. I loved her pose and the wistful look in her eye. I decided to build the art around her.

I have a bag of fortunes from Chinese fortune cookies. I dug deep and pulled one out. It read:

Your flair for the creative takes an important place in your life.

It was a perfect start…again…Synchronicity? The substrate is a craft envelope. In addition to the reproduction of the painting I added art and handmade paper, a wax infused paper doily, a postage stamp, newsprint, and joss paper. I finished the envelope by adding rubber stamped and stencilled acrylic metallic paint. All that was left to do was address, stamp, and send.

As I eagerly await the Art that will grace my mailbox I can’t help but think about creativity and our lives. The power to create is a gift. Creativity can take us to the places of our dreams. Inspiration comes disguised and in many forms. Even on a lowly envelope.

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