a painting by Helene Ruiz / acrylic

That was a real fun art opening last night at the Petersburg Area Art League

That was a real fun art opening last night at the Petersburg Area Art League

This is my favorite one of Helene’s paintings from her “Skulduggeries” series. Helene illustrates life’s hardships and the strange people you meet, with humor in her paintings.

The show I entered with her group, the Urban Individualists, was titled “Entangled”. It’s a collaborative effort between visual artists and poets. The authors wrote a poem for a painting, and a painter illustrated a poem. The paintings and poems are hung together. And Helene had a section of the gallery for her Skullduggery paintings. The show is GREAT!! in my humble opinion.  If you’re in the area and didn’t get there last night, you should go check it out.

This is my daughter, Sarah, and me standing in front of two of our entries. (my paintings and her poem and story)

This is my daughter, Sarah, and me standing in front of two of our entries. (my paintings and her poem and story)

We also enjoyed the poetry readings and the Latin music !


The Salon of Writers and Artists

This is the Patrick Henry Pub, where the Salon took place.

This is the Patrick Henry Pub, where the Salon took place.

This poem was written by Joanna Lee.

On Hearing the History of the Poe Gardens at the Literary Salon in the Patrick Henry Pub

(based on the painting by Chris Ludke)


Nestled in a backdrop of chatter and raven windowpanes,

of sweating whiskey and melted rocks, light

plays on water and the pale of crepe,

of periwinkle. A sun plastically brightly cuts

the hard edge of a shadow that could stand

on it’s own, lonesome and unnatural.

And I remind myself this is about connection, that we,

rose-less, are a hundred variations of the same thorn.


Joanna hears her muse! You can look her up at


This is the Poe Museum.

This is the Poe Museum.

I thought the Salon was great! The 1st person to speak told the history of the Poe garden. It’s been through a lot of changes. It was interesting to hear where the different elements of the garden came from. Then Joanna read “Ode to a Grecian Urn” by Keats. and passed around a photo so you can see the little scenes, similar to the ones Keats described in flowery language, painted on the urn. A lot of writers get inspiration from visual art, and visual artists get inspiration from authors.

The writers took a break to talk to their friends, or write a poem based on the theme of the Poe gardens. Then some of them read their poems. It was good to hear the poems, and to hear them talk about truth and beauty, and art, and what I can gather about the craft of writing.

My friends at the Poe tell me they’re planning on more artist / writer salons, and other types of art events. They’re “Calling All Creatives”. The Salon is a great old idea I hope to take part in again.

Dream With Wild Abandon!


Outgrow Your Shoes – Digital Collage

If you allowed yourself…just once…to dream with wild abandon…where would your dreams take you? Would you be on a wistful journey, meandering through experiences at your own cadence? Or would you rather give up all control and fly unrestrained towards a destination that only Fate can dictate?

The latest Lunagirl Moonbeam Design Team Challenge centered on “Shoes”.  The challenge is shared with Vicki Romaine’s challenge Blog, The Cheerful Stamp Pad.

Thinking about shoes brought me to one of my favourite sayings by Japanese writer and poet, Ryunosuke Satoro: Let Your Dreams Outgrow the Shoes of Your Expectations”. Lunagirl’s images are inspiring as always. I chose a shoe and began my work.

Travel is my sanctuary and the act of my putting on my shoes was always the prelude to a great adventure. I never knew what to expect, but I wandered, ever hopeful that I would experience something different and wonderful.

By allowing my dreams to outgrow my shoes my life, and art, grew in directions I never thought possible. I wouldn’t trade those experiences, the great and the not so wonderful, for anything!

So, fellow Artists and Dreamers…the call to outgrow your shoes is beckoning you. Will you take the dare?

Where Do Your Steps Take You?

Create Envelope 3

CREATE – Mail Art

Working on Mail Art feeds my soul. I have always been the person who eagerly awaited the arrival of the mail every day. Holding an envelope in my hands gave permission to my imagination to meander. Who wrote the letter? How far did it travel? Where did it stop along the way? Did anyone else wonder about this letter as I did?

So being a part of a Mail Art Challenge was exciting for me. I enjoyed producing and giving away the Art as well as experiencing the anticipation of receiving beautiful Art in my mailbox.

I found this quote torn from a magazine:

“Art is a Journey. Embrace Each Step.”

It was perfect for the Challenge. I thought of how Art has shaped my life. From childhood to the present, Art and Life have intermingled…so much so that I can’t separate one from the other. Nor would I want to. Art has opened door to possibilities I never dreamed were available to me. Art has welcomed so many wonderful people, with so many distinctive points of view, into my life. It has made it richer, more enjoyable, and at times, incredibly challenging. But Art has, most of all, allowed me to be my authentic self…to accept each step along the way to becoming the Artist I am today.

Again, the substrate is a craft envelope. I surrounded the image of the woman with art and handmade paper, wax infused paper which I rubber stamped, postage stamp, clippings from magazines, and joss paper. I finished the envelope by rubber stamping and stenciling with acrylic metallic paint. Then off to the Post Office it went with my hopes that the recipient would be intrigued when it landed in her mailbox.

Are you like me…putting one foot in front of the other passionately following the steps wherever they may lead? Where have your steps taken you?

Finding My Way Through X…Y…Z!

Hugo Sound Poem

Hugo’s Sound Poem ATC

A call for art from The Carlisle Arts Learning Center in Carlisle Pennsylvania intrigued me. “XYZ” was the unconventional theme for an Artist Trading Card exhibit sponsored by the Gallery.

XYZ..XYZ… The letters rolled around my mind…What do those final three letters of the alphabet mean to me?

I admit, I have been struggling lately. Feeling uninspired,  I know my Muse hasn’t abandoned me, at least not completely, but we just don’t seem to be connecting. Projects started are in my studio, half completed, if they had the good fortune to even get that far.

And it saddens me. I miss the rush, the passionate excitement of new ideas, of experiments successful…and not quite so. I miss the joy of creating. But how can I get on track and open the lines of communication fully with my Muse?

Waiting for an appointment I pulled a small book on Dada from my handbag. The book fell open to a page with a photo of Hugo Ball dressed in costume and ready to recite a poem. A Sound Poem. My Muse reaching out? Synchronicity? It was perfect. I could feel the spark of excitement starting again.

Dadaism as an art movement was founded in Zürich Switzerland on February 5, 1916. Artists are poets rejected the conventional methods of Art and started something new. The Cabaret Voltaire hosted performance art and sound poetry. Hugo Ball wanted to return to “the most intimate alchemy of the word, and even to go beyond it in order to preserve for poetry its most sacred domain”.

XYZ…over and over…with a rhythm going to the source not only of the poem I could hear, but the uninspired place in my soul.

The substrate for the ATC is illustration board. I photocopied the photo of Hugo in his shaman’s hat and Cubist costume. Finding the letters X, Y, and Z seemed to just fall into place, gleaned from various magazines. I finished with metallic acrylic paint sponged on to the card. At the end of the exhibit the cards will be traded.

Although I’m still finding my way through, returning to Art History certainly has started opening up the lines of communication for me. How do you rekindle your relationship with your Muse?

Actor’s Memorial to Poe by Richard Henry Park

marble and bronze 1885

marble and bronze

My photo doesn’t do her justice. She’s just beautiful!
It was commissioned by Edwin Booth, president of the Actor’s Guild of New York. Edwin was the brother of John Wilkes Booth who killed Abraham Lincoln. It was originally at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

I wish I was a better writer so I could tell you how great the Poe Museum is. Here’s a short list of things of interest there : history (too much to learn in one visit), poetry, literature, stories of love, sadness, mystery, scary, architecture, fine art, Unhappy Hour, music

Check it out!

Where Do Your Possibilities Dwell?


In my studio, above one of my favourite camel bags, is a wall quote: “Dwell In Possibilities” paraphrased from the poem written by Emily Dickinson.

When inspiration is sometimes lost,, I like to sit and let Emily’s poem envelop me, like a quilt of ideas and images. And before I know it, I too am dreaming in a house of my choosing where the roof is as limitless as the night sky.

For Emily, poetry as opposed to prose allowed her the power and freedom of self-expression she was seeking.  And without the magic of poetry, her Muse, would her visitors be able to open the doors and windows of their soul?

The substrate for the collage is a canvas panel. A photo of Emily, floral art paper, magazine paper, vintage advertisements, and handmade paper form the grid. Washi tape and acrylic paint pushed through  hand cut stencils finish the collage.

Each of us in the Arts has a unique vision and purpose. Whether we build our house of paper and ink, or of paint and canvas, or movement, or melody, or words…aren’t we extending an invitation to share in our endless passionate journey?

Where do your possibilities dwell?