The Golden Land


And so began the journey for so many of our ancestors. For me, it’s always all about the story. I am fascinated by the motives behind a person making the decision to depart the land of their birth. What made them head off to begin life afresh in a distant country? Did they ultimately fulfill their dreams? Was the move as successful as they hoped? Given the chance, would they complete the journey again?

Ellis Island was, and is, part of the fabric of our family. So many of the stories passed on to me by my Grandmother certainly were the catalyst of my interest in all things relating to immigration, especially at the turn of the Century.

America. Die Goldene Medina. The Golden Land. A land of opportunity for everyone. A place like no other where every dream, every wish, could and would come true. Looking at the photo of an Italian woman taken as she waited at Ellis Island, I wondered about her story.

I have been using my Strathmore Mixed Media Journal quite a bit lately. With 140lb vellum finish paper that is acid free, it is quite a help in building a portfolio of backgrounds that I can use for future projects.

For this piece, I started with the Artistcellar Seafoam stencil and my water colours. I wanted the overall appearance to be bright and “golden” so I limited the pallet to tints of yellow, magenta and orange. I allowed the pattern of the stencil to dictate where the colours would fall, as well as where to use the flat or pearlescent paints. When dried, I stenciled using one of my all-time favourite Artistcellar products, the Halftone Dots stencil. This time I reached for my metallic acrylics and layered complimentary colours.  Again when dried, I finished the background with my Punchinella and metallic acrylic.

I assembled my images…the photo of the lady from Italy, a postcard of Ellis Island, a map and airship from the Lunagirl Moonbeams collection of collage sheets.  The last element was a clever bit of repurposing: an artist friend sent me a dryer sheet she used to mop up paint. I loved the rough edges of the sheet and the lovely texture. I am a believer in Synchronicity and her generous contribution was flawless! Just the colour I needed to tie everything together. The timing was perfect!

Looking at my finished work, I wondered, did the Italian woman find her “Golden Land”? What became of her life? I hope she did find all she wished for.

I feel fortunate, as I am sure many of you do, to be an Artist. Our work and imagination can take us wherever we wish to travel.  Art allows us the opportunity of self-expression and experimentation. Our Art allows us to venture to our golden land where dreams come true.













Shall I Tell You About My Life?


“Shall I tell you about my life
They say I’m a man of the world…” – Peter Green 

How do you share your deepest feelings? Do you ever use your Art to tell someone about your Life?

June’s Lunagirl Moonbeam challenge is all about Fathers and Brothers. As with all Lunagirl Collage Sheets, sometimes it is difficult to settle on just one image. But for me, the J. C. Leyendecker image from the “SharpDressed Man” sheet whisked me away on my journey. It was easy finding just the perfect complimenting backdrop…the Lunagirl Maps Sheet. I loved the look of the map…like an open book.

Who could this man be? What was he reading? Why does he look so serious? Could he be planning a great adventure or contemplating voyages of the past?

Working on the piece my thoughts were drawn to an early Fleetwood Mac tune, written by Peter Green in 1969. A melancholy song, it is about a man who has everything he desires except the true love of a partner. At the time Peter was fighting his own demons. And, as is the case with many artists, he let us witness a glimpse of his struggle by opening his heart through his work.

Supporting the digital aspect of the collage is a selection of stencilled conventional elements from my collection. As it is an introspective piece I added the Moon…the symbol of the soul, the capacity for reflection and renewal and the cadence of time.

Do you ever open your Book of Life sharing with us your voyages of the soul? Does your Art allow us a fleeting glimpse of your world?

Is A Letter A Work of Art?

THE ARTISTSIt is no secret that I am passionate about letters…good old fashioned stick a stamp on the envelope letters. Don’t get me wrong. Texts and emails have their place, especially in business. We can be in touch quickly, and hopefully efficiently, with our newest form of common communication. But there is a special romance of anticipation when dropping a letter into a mailbox. And who can dispute the great joy felt when receiving a little part of someone’s day, set aside especially for you.

It was when I read the 1876 quote from the book How To Write Letters, by J. Willis Westlake, that my heart skipped a beat:

“A letter should be regarded not merely as a medium for the communication of intelligence, but also as a work of art.”

Finding this quote dovetailed flawlessly into reading a letter sent by artist Frida Kahlo to Georgia O’Keeffe. Frida reached out with compassion to Georgia when she suffered with a nervous breakdown. The letter was not only the thoughtful gesture of a friend, but the meeting of two supportive inspired artists.

The May Lunagirl Moonbeam challenge is Mother’s and Sisters in the most encompassing sense. The images to choose from were lovely. I decided to use two women from the “Just Us Girls” sheet. Behind the women you can read Frida’s letter to Georgia. I finished to collage with a selection of flowers, which always speak to me of happiness and generosity.

On this Mother’s Day I hope you will reach out to those women who support your creative spirit with tender affection. Strong women support each other. Flood your letters with the art of your heart.

What Will You Be When You Grow Up?


When was the last time you let your nocturnal imagination drift, allowing it to go anywhere it pleased? As a child, the night and the Moon enchanted me. Looking out of my bedroom window in Brooklyn, the sounds of the day segued into a hushed, almost reverent, atmosphere conducive to thinking, to dreaming.

And times like this I wondered where my life would take me. I knew the path I wanted to follow…but would it happen? My parents encouraged me to always listen to my heart and to find the best in any situation. Their New York values of  tolerance, generosity, and having an open mind always willing to learn, set me on the right course.

The Lunagirl Moonbeam challenge for January is to design using images from her lovely collection of Babies & Children. Although I’m not especially maternal, I drew from the memories of my childhood for the challenge.

The final image is a digital collage. It was easy for me to pick a photo to work with. I loved the way the two girls looked, as if they were sharing a secret. I added images of famous actresses to their skirts and a Verdi libretto to the bodice. What young girl doesn’t want to be an actress when she grows up? I couldn’t resist adding a benevolent face smiling down at the girls from the Moon.

Childhood can be a magical time of wonder. But it doesn’t have to end there. Each day is another chance to capture the effervescence of discovery. What will you be when you grow up?

An Attitude of Gratitude


Giving Thanks in the 50’s

Didn’t life seem vibrant in the 1950’s?

On the surface, the country had a decidedly optimistic vibe. Popular culture was in its heyday. Televisions were now in many homes. The flickering black and white screens televised  a range of viewing options from the hilarious antics of Lucy and Ethel to the wisdom of Fulton J. Sheen. The art, fashion, music, and automotive industries all pushed the boundaries of what was previously accepted behaviour. After the stark War years, American’s were grateful. They were thankful for the new and ever-changing opportunities now with their reach. It seemed as if there were no boundaries. The sky was the limit.

Embraced by these emotions I embarked on the next Lunagirl Moonbeam challenge. The Theme for November  is Thanksgiving/Harvest/ Gratitude. There are always so many choices to be had from Lunagirl’s collage sheets. I chose a woman delightfully showing off  her new space age refrigerator from the Lunagirl Retro 1950’s collection.

The work is a digital collage. I kept the Mid-Century Modern ambiance by incorporating various 1950′ s patterns as a background and on the woman’s apron. And nothing says happiness and thanks to me better than sunflowers.

As we Americans celebrate this Thanksgiving Day, my wish is that you find your sky-is-the-limit vibe. And may you share it with the people who support your attitude of gratitude.

Have You Found Your Universe?


What warms your heart on a blustery wet weekend?

The weather here in the Eastern part of the US certainly is reminding us that a seasonal change has taken place. The leaves are slowly adding vivid hues of gold and orange to their pallet. The constant rain of the last several days has added a bone chilling dampness that is difficult to shake off.

This feeling of restlessness and foreboding was just what I needed for our next Lunagirl Moonbeam Challenge: Gothic. The selection of images available are bewitching…dark, moody, and brooding. It was hard to choose, but I decided on a lovely woman wrapped in a cloak clutching letters close to her heart.

Instantly I was transported back to “The Dark Arches” of Granary Wharf in Leeds, England when eclectic shops and restaurants were part of the underground life in the tunnels beneath the Leeds railway station. In a small shop window I saw a wonderful black hooded cloak…with a story even more fantastic. A man had it made to order for his wife as a surprise gift. The lining was a deep violet satin embossed with roses, her favourite flower. Near the hem of the lining was hand embroidery intertwining their initials caressing a single rose. The cloak closed with an antique rose silver clasp and a single silver rose bead graced the tassel. The ardent gent was going to bring his wife down to the Arches later than evening and casually stroll past the window, knowing her heart would do back flips when she saw it. His plan was to get her to try it on and then say…”It’s yours!”. She was his universe.

I often wonder about the couple and their life after the cloak. Seeing the Lunagirl image made all the romance of their story warm my heart.

The collage used several Lunagirl images: the woman, the background, and the letter I added to the papers in her hands. The remaining images are from my conventional and digital collection.

What does warm your heart? Is it a letter, a gift, a kind word, or knowing that you are the Universe in someone’s life?

Do You Believe In Mermaids?

Le Chanson de la Mer

Le Chanson de la Mer

Did you ever stand at the edge of the ocean silently hoping to hear the call of Mermaids?

With Summer officially ending for us in the U.S. this weekend, I thought it was the perfect time for the latest Lunagirl Moonbeams challenge: mermaids. All of the images in the Lunagirl catalogue are beautiful, but I finally decided to use the wistful maiden who appeared deep in thought.

I have always loved the elusive quality that surrounds Mermaids. Like a moon beam slipping across crystal, there is something beautiful and intangible about them. To me they are the all-knowing creatures sensitive to the Moon and the ebb and flow of the tides. In my heart Mermaids dive to the part of my soul waiting to be unrestrained…to be free to explore and discover all that life, and Art, has to offer. They are my guides, my Muse, and I happily follow.

The digital collage incorporates the Lunagirl mermaid as the focal point. Images, purchased and from my collection, are layered to complete the background.

Do you believe in Mermaids? Or are “Mermaids” just the echo of the distant part of our souls, yet to be discovered?

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