Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Wedding (ezor)

12" x 7" bleached, overprinted with black and applied bronze foil with the base being  brown cotton, machine stitched and embroidery, glass beads and metallic threads on black suede/like cloth.
I've added a photo of my stamp plate, an assortment of little cut pieces glued onto a piece of Plexiglas.
My research tells me that biblical clothing consisted of undergarments held in place by an ezor, a belt, sash or even called a girdle. These were made of leather, linen and I understand fine embroidery might have been used for special occasions and for high priests, there was also the addition of a cloak. These fabrics and beads would have been influenced by caravan trade with Syrians, Egyptian empires.On this belt fragment I added glass looking beads which was my first attempt to sew such small little things. No easy task with long needle and little eye but I actually got the hang of it and had some fun adding here and there where beads might still be seen on a worn fragment.This piece was slow to finish but I think I'm finally there. In my dream mind of inspiration I couldn't  help but  recall the story of Jacob marrying Rebekkah.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Winter Solstice

From my studio walls to yours "Happy Winter Solstice". It all begins to turn this Friday whether we notice or not. These short days become longer and the time of darkness changes as well. Below are some of my thoughts on winter ( printed in my catalog; see sidebar) and written several years ago but seem to still fit for me this winter.

This dark winter season holding dreams yet dreamed
Warmed by hopes of the promised gifts of Spring
Planting those beginning seeds in dark moonless evenings
Faith in gifts of ancient souls
Find the chant, no the humming lullaby for the tired heart long traveled,
Ring the bells, turn the prayer wheel. This winter of finding and
Accepting my soul's rhythm has begun.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Transitional Piece

7"x7", embroidery on a loose weaved bleached black cloth...featured in my 11/23 post. I wanted to learn some new stitches so this piece was my first effort in 'couching'. I used two different colors, salmon & black for the circular lines on this round shape. I also used satin stitch and french knots. The metallic is an iron-on foil that I needed to order online. The results of using this foil has been uneven but I think I need to practice to improve results. I feel after finishing, that it has become a transitional piece leading me into creating fragments of garments, such as belts, trims on cloaks. that might represent the clothing of another time.My research of biblical garments has been interesting and creating fragile remnants of cloth(adding beads, embroidery, paint and bleach among other efforts) will hopefully bring a flavor of mystery and beauty of what might have been. It's a rich project for me as it electrifies my imagination in a similar way as my journey I made into the myth and science of travelling among the planets and stars. This is turning into a winter of new skills and open ended ideas of play!!

Friday, November 30, 2012


10"x12", black satin, gelatin overprint, gold, silver, navy iridescent metallic threads, gold trim. It began with this very shiny, very black satin cloth from my scrap box. Placing the gelatin over print image of a menorah asked for some brightness. So as I sifted through my threads I found gold, silver and a navy blue iridescent. I used a variety of stitches,,,,a 3 stitch flower or in this case a star, french knots, blanket stitch and satin stitch for the gold candles.I added the gold trim on the bottom as a last touch. I was going to use fringe but it looked rather like an add on or after thought. I liked it so much I put it into a frame and it has an illumination that really marks, for me, the menorah and the Hanukkah holiday. Actually framing this piece began a complete revamping of my framed work in the house. I have spent a good bit of time refreshing my walls with more recent work and it has been a true spirit lifter!

Rain and more rain. I plan my trips out when we have some dry time. It's amazing how much can be done at, pay bills online, order items online! Today will be soup and studio work and more rain! Have a great weekend rain or shine!!

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Effects of Bleach

Assorted cotton fabrics with application of bleach....I used reg. bleach, Soft Scrub and dishwashing gel with mixed results. This photo is of my first attempt using a mix of colored fabrics with my handmade stamps and bought stencils. My second approach was with different and mostly dark fabrics but using same stamps and stencils. I've had some time to look at them and like or dislike the results. The gray and navy cotton bleached out to a pinkish color and I think I will overprint with fabric paints to give them some depth. So now I have a larger inventory to create some new samples. I'm still reading my book and watching my DVD of "Walking the Bible" and it speaks of and shows some wonderful biblical desert imagery. Like being an archaeologist without the heat and dirt! This past week I've been applying embroidery to a piece with metallic threads and that has been a challenge! I'm using old metallic threads from my scrap box and of course it hasn't been enough so  I've added to it by buying more? Now I have more metallic threads then before so my efforts to use what I have is a joke on me?!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We had a quiet dinner at home but last week celebrated with the neighborhood at a big dinner at our clubhouse...tons of good food and friendship. We have guest chefs (neighbors that want to take on the job of feeding 50-60people) ...this neighbor has cooked for years at his church and his wife is a nutritionist so together they pulled off a great night! We all pay a small price and have a clean up crew so the job is big but there is some help too.
 This evening we are going to the movies to see "Lincoln" !
Good art making days ahead!!!!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

"Morning Stars"

15" x 20", muslin, digital transfer, printed fabric, felt, stencil, silver embroidery, machine stitching and braided twine. This piece began with the cup. I discovered this ancient cup on the New York Metropolitan Museum Of Art site. This beautiful cup shaped and marked begs to be filled with steaming is timeless. Good design is always good. From the digital transfers of this cup I was drawn to my scrap of printed stars and mixed markings. Over the years I have found my morning coffee or tea to be an altar cloth. I no longer rush into the day and I almost never schedule appointments before 11a.m. I added a look of old by the worn fringes and the yellowed has taken me a lifetime to come to these precious mornings. This time holds a place of leaving my night dreams and as the stars flee the sky, I begin in peace, to move into the morning...sacred indeed.

I spent yesterday using bleaches of all varieties on cotton...quite an interesting adventure. I did it all outside and only a few spilled spots of bleach on the deck. It is a true mystery what bleaches and what colors the fabrics turn. It depends on the colors of dyes used in creating the fabric and again, plenty of surprises! I will spend one more day at this and then see how they might fit into this art making...still loving this fall and winter exploration of fabric and sewing!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Machaerus Fan

12" x 15" , acrylic, printed stamped cloth on paper fan, dyed cheesecloth handle and an addition of feathers.

I fondly remember watching those big biblical movies produced by Hollywood and almost always there was a handsome man off in the corner with a feathered fan, slowly fanning the king or queen  munching on their grapes! Recently my archeology magazine had an article on the mountaintop fortress Machaerus and sited it as the place of Salome's famous dance?!! So here is my fan using my stamped cloth...a tribute to hot nights, dancing and desert winds?!!!

Pleased to report I have overcome my sewing machine resistance. I had trouble with the automatic needle threader and spent a lot of time reading, rereading instructions but I now can say I have the basics. There are some fancy stitches I might want to try but I am most interested in using straight stitches in a free wheeling way as to create "line".

Has anyone tried the new silicone paint brushes in various sizes and colors? I am going to buy one today just to see how it handles paint.
UPDATE: Didn't buy the new brush...the size I wanted was way out of my budget possibilities. Another day!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Eden-Day Two

11"x11", burlap, printed cotton on gelatin plate, wire mesh, seeds, old coat button 1930's.
I've never cared much when (we) became wanderers or when (we) looked to planting fields and tending orchards. Using Eve as a turning point to the beginning of all the above....I have gifted a knapsack of apple seeds in her name! A find of something lost? I spent a good deal of time printing all sorts of  fruit with the gelatin plate not knowing what to do with them all so this was a good choice for me. I've had fruit trees in my yard in the past and watching the cycle of blooms to a time full of grace. Nothing sweeter then fresh picked fruit. I added this old coat button of my grandmothers as she loved her garden. Warm memories still of walking in the garden with her checking on the flowers and fruit trees.

This fabric business is an interesting world of printing, sewing and such. I'm always an artist and choosing this method for these seasons opens up so much discovery. I finally received my neutralizer for the bleaching method and I have finally gotten out my sewing machine instruction book...!! Entering November with so much still to try! Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Charting the Moon

6" x 12" printed cotton, black jets & crystals, stencils, metal hook. I hadn't realized how formal this piece was becoming but its understandable as I began with this square of rows of circles. I am still gathering pieces I have stamped, printed and such using the gelatin plate. This is the third sample in combining these prints.
In terms of my series "ancient memories", I couldn't help but think of the importance of charting the night sky. This piece represents a hanging chart to track the moon phases. It must have been so important to observe the skies for direction, location, omens, rituals, stories and proof of the living heavens. With a dark sky can you just imagine the power and movement from above?!! Again I created this piece thinking of the art in everyday life, beads and stitching all to make ordinary objects feel sacred.

Serendipity: Whenever I begin a new series books start falling off the shelves! Really, I'm drawn to this one or that for example: I'm rereading "Picnic,Lightning" by Billy Collins "Masada" by Yadin and enjoying a  Biblical Archeology magazine which my husband found at the post office bin and brought home to me. It has been recommended to me to read "The Places that Scare You" by Pema Chodron and "Sacred Contracts" by Caroline Myss. I received an email announcing our congregation is having a read-a-thon with the book "Walking the Bible" by Bruce Feiler (I think he had this series on PBS) All this and books on silk screening, embroidery, etc....! I couldn't ask for more support.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

"Minoan Tea Cloth"

7" x 12" cotton, printed  mint leaf images and glass-like beads. Sample 2 is composed of printed leaves that I had printed and posted on Oct. 3rd. In creating this piece, I rediscovered the blanket stitch and used it on the leaf shapes and all around the piece. Its a great stitch, easy with a nice little line. What I've noticed on museum sites and research magazines is the beauty (now faded and chipped) of ordinary, everyday use items of ancient desert people...fascinating!
 I have plans to bleach some of these samples but before I can do that I need a neutralizing agent to stop the bleach process and my art store is out of stock. This is going to be a busy time as I have a long list of 'things' I want to try!

True Indian Summer weather, cool in the morning, hot in the afternoon and dark and chilly earlier in the evening! Along with the great weather has been a not so interesting aspect ... eyes are watering like  faucets...oh well!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

"Pocket of Cures"

measures approx. 5"x10", block printed muslin stitched to felt, green silky remnant found in fabric box, assorted beads and wire. One of my first efforts in creating a complete fabric piece. The X printed section was taken from my sample pile featured in the last post photo...far bottom right. I stitched around the X's and then added this green fabric. It is important to me that I stay connected to my journal writing and exploration of biblical archeology so you might say this is my first and very own 'artifact'. My work table is an amazing mess...what with the paints, prints and then the pins and thread all piled high with fabrics.

Our neighborhood had a joint car port sale this past weekend and I wandered around and found a book on all matters of stitching and quilting etc...I believe it will be a great reminder on some of those tricky stitches! I have planned to try  applique and continue to sew beads which I need a new pair of eyes to thread the needle. My father had a big magnifying lamp but I gave it away because I Never thought I would need it?!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

2nd Sample set

I'm learning so much and having fun too. These are a sampling of second day in the studio where I focused on more block printing, stencils and using a gelatin plate. The dark cloth above has a faint row of prints and I have since printed two more times. The leaves on the left are mint leaves printed and the little circles below are from a plastic stencil. I'm taking notes as I work so fast and can hardly remember if I painted dark over light, light over dark or light over light??? Plenty of muddy pieces too which probably is the result of cutting corners and avoiding complex instructions. I see where David Smith is carrying a "Gelli" printing plate but I prefer making my own as I can control the size. It is easy to mix up and recipes are all over the Internet .I plan on a few more days printing with a gelatin plate and then I will try silk screen. How I put these pieces together is my 'real' challenge as I don't want to create a quilt and yet I do want to do some sewing.  I'm also keeping my journal and researching some areas in biblical archeology...fascinating what has survived.

We finally had two days of scorching heat and then this morning the misty fog rolled in...we might get a couple more days of heat before Halloween but fall is definitely here.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Fabric Sample Book

Created this sample book which measures 5" x 15"....10 pages held together by three rings so I can add more pages if necessary.
The first page is a sample of my stamps on palette paper and the black and white fabric, the same stamps except I used fabric paint and acrylics mixed with GAC 900. This is my first step in working entirely with fabrics...something I'm committed to do throughout this fall and winter. I'm hoping this book will help me understand the workings of dyes and paints and also how they react using gelatin plates and silk screening. I'm excited about this journey using fabrics, dyes, sewing and bead work. I'm not interested in quilting but rather using these fragments to create ongoing stories as they show up on my journal pages or if they might begin in the fabric work itself. Today is the first day of my new spiritual year so it feels like my direction has set its course perfectly! Using memory and archaeology finds and writings will also be my best bet for new work!

I want to thank all of you who have visited my catalog and preview featured on my sidebar. I'm so proud of this little square book and it's nice to know it has been seen. I've also had sales and that feels good too! I'm not that interested in putting together shows anymore so printing a catalog has been a wonderful way of completing work and putting it out in the world.

Hope everyone is enjoying Autumn! It's my favorite time of the year and this year seems to have arrived early as we usually have hot days in late Sept.& Oct. Oh well, I'm going to do the great shed has all my winter clothes so I'll be dragging in and dragging out and settling into cozy sweaters and scarves.

My apologies...last post I said I would be changing up the looks on Blue Sky Dreaming but I just ran out of time and interest...I'd really rather be the studio! Have a great time beginning this new season!

Friday, August 31, 2012


I digitally altered this image. Its original title was "Marking Time", 10" x 12" cold wax, oils, metallics and collage. My time at art making with oils/cold wax is coming to an end. The mornings are too cold and damp out on the deck for me. I've enjoyed the materials but now I return inside to my studio and acrylics.

For me this is a time to re-examine and prepare for the turning year. A time for looking back in order to move forward with a fresh outlook. I'll be taking time off posting here at Blue Sky Dreaming and will return after Sept. 26th. I have placed a badge of my catalog in the sidebar if you wish to preview my book and visit During this time away, I'll be making changes to this site which are long overdo and will be a way of beginning again.

Friday, August 24, 2012

M.Lehrer-Plansky a catalog 2008-2012

I am so pleased to launch this catalog here on Blue Sky Dreaming! Creating this book with has been a big high riding thrill and challenge for me. All in all I have learned so much and in this case, I can say I'm proud of the results.This catalog is 60 pages containing my writing and images and is offered in soft cover and hard cover with a dust jacket. It measures 
approx. 8"x8" square. An unexpected perk has been the ability to make this book available as an e-book. I would highly recommend this form as the price is extraordinarily low. This experience has opened the door for me to consider creating other books with my art but for now I'm basking in pride and gratitude. Not bad for the little girl who began way back on Clarke St.?!!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Recurring Dream 2

15"x16", paper, oil, cold wax, photo collage, iridescent bronze oil stick.
I'm from a family of big night time dreamers. I'm the actor, I'm the director and they all seem to be memorable and important! I've read dream books and they haven't been helpful in breaking this dreamers code.
Elephants come and go in my dreams. I was very impressed with a movie "Elephant Walk" when I was a little girl and I feel love and sadness and even admiration for their family network. I met this elephant at one of those Animal/Sea World parks and for a brief moment we had what seemed like a sorrowful eye contact. I photographed this elephant several times but never captured what I felt. I had it enlarged in B&W and then hand colored the background in order to rid the image of the elephant's handler in a T-shirt. The numbers below spell out dream....4 for D, 18 for R, 5 for E and so on and on. Does anyone what to share their recurring dream...characters, places?
UPDATE:  good news....I sold "Heat & Smoke"! I like when that happens!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Personal Prayer Flags

These raggedy prayer flags hang on my deck as a reminder of a few ongoing prayers. In no way do they try to represent the beautiful and color specific prayer flags I see fluttering in yards all over our little beach town. These three were made from collage fabrics and papers and include beads, a bell, old buttons and even a photo of a copper heart I made long ago. The wing image is a favorite and I added colored stones. The center one is patched with laces and gauze and the one on the left of the three has prayers printed  on old paper with addition of very old buttons. I have these three suspended from my deck cover (sorry, took the photo at night...) with the hopes they will remind me daily of these prayers as well as a reminder to let them go and be in the wind. Sometimes when I am out on the deck watering or sweeping, I forget that they are there and then a breeze will toss them about and the bell will ring...nice reminder. I plan on leaving them up in all weather as long as they hold together.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The exotic name of Inez

18" x 18" on paper, cold wax, oils, collage and oil pastel.
I think I've solved a family mystery. I am the Matriarch so there isn't too much debate. It began with me as a girl noticing my mother and sister sharing the same middle name, Inez. To me, this was an exotic name and I wondered if the name might be connected to a long forgotten Spanish Land Grant or the name attached in some way to my mothers Spanish made silk dancing shoes? Recently I went on Wikipedia and found a very famous Inez Milholland Boissevain who was a suffragette, labor lawyer, World War 1 correspondent and public speaker. She died young but her fame and popularity was great. About that same time my great grandmother (a follower of the women's movement) named her daughter Inez.. Some years later my grandmother names my mother Inez after that sister-in-law and last my mother passed the name to my sister. My mother didn't make the connection to the popular suffragette Inez as my great grandmother was very old when she was a young girl. I'm just betting I'm right! The code for Inez is APBX. I may go back an add some gold bits here and there. Maybe its the colors but this reminds me of Russian dolls.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Miriam's Code

18" x 18" paper, oil, cold wax, metallic powder and collage. This time I'm working larger and playing with my special "kiddie code double circle". If you follow the little black triangle pointing to the M you will see the corresponding a and there begins the spelling of Miriam in code! Not sure if this piece is finished. I was not as successful using the silver powders with cold wax and am thinking I might add silver leaf when it dries. Or I am considering adding my favorite oil based stain when it dries. Or do nothing?! I have two more large pieces ready to go and working on the deck is pure pleasure. The next one is beginning  by adding a layer of assorted greens. Quite a challenge for me using greens but what is life without a few challenges? The story or secret code for this next piece has to do with my mother and sister as they shared the same middle name of Inez as well as my great stories, family secrets!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

miriam's wall

12" x 12" paper, oils, cold wax, collage, oil based stain, and opaque paint marker.
Oh well, its just exploration. I'm not so pleased with the composition or the colors but I do like the bronze/cold wax mix on each side. I used the oil based stain to calm or maybe unify the colors. Some of the writing is taken from an ancient inscription (Miriam is my religious name). All together it was another learning experience in my cold wax odyssey. I've gessoed larger papers and am willing to keep going. I have plenty of cold wax, metallic powders and stacks of secret writings, codes and inscriptions and the weather is fine! I spend a few hours a day out on the deck and no matter the results of the work ...I'm having a happy summer.

Last week I had out of state company  which was great fun and I stopped to create some prayer flags (I'll share another time) and of course my loss of dear friend Florie. My best days and healing times are finding myself with ongoing art making.

 I know the weather is hot in so many places right now...I hope relief  is on the way with a cool breeze or a soft rain shower. Keep your drinks well iced and put on those shorts!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Coffee with Florie

I had in mind to re-blog this post and then I noticed there has been a call out from The Altered Page for bloggers to consider re-posting today as a group effort...perfect synchronicity! 

Florie and I have been friends for years, meditating group, showing our work at galleries and juried events. We have helped one another hanging shows both physically and emotionally. Our best times have been in meeting for coffee and updating one another in our art practice as well as sharing some finished pieces. 

We haven't met as regularly this past year as Florie has struggled with health issues. I do know she has been keeping a journal and using oil pastels with her precious energy. She didn't want to end but rather stay and paint more and more but she past away late evening on July 3rd. I drove by her home today and saw her car parked outside which gave me a smile but I know in reality our coffee dates are over and I will miss her.

Below is one of her magical pieces that I'm proud to own.


 Open Studio Acquisition!

"Synchronicity" by Florie ...canvas measures 6"x6" acrylic. Florie is inspired by petraglyphs (sp) and has visited cave sites here and in Mexico. She teaches ESL in the evenings and paints as often as possible. Participating in Open Studio was a very big deal and it was my pleasure to visit and to buy one of her pieces. I've known Florie for years, we go to meditation together, we had a show together at a local gallery with another friend Deena entitled Sacred Vows, Sacred Visions. When we can manage it, we meet for a coffee date and time just flies! October 2008.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Marking Time

10"x12" paper, collage, oil pastel, oils, metallic powders with the addition of cold wax.

This is one of three pieces I have begun out on my deck this week using oils. This piece has three layers which is a slow process as I waited for the first approach to dry to the touch. I refrained from using a brush (lazy on the clean-up) and just used a palette knife. It was fun using the cold wax and the metallic powders mixed easily. On the second approach I added collage and applied a bronze/gold mixture. I was too heavy handed and the piece went dull and flat. Mixed up this gray green/cold wax and floated the color in and around so the bronze still shows through but not so overpowering.

This time instead of code, I used the simple marking of multiples ....time especially. With the end result (to me) feeling like a found fragment maybe found underwater or in the dry desert? The limited glow of bronze is nice and would look good under glass when framed.

The weather has been great for working on the deck. I quit around 5pm as it then becomes full sun. The unexpected visitors the past few days have been little brown birds bathing, splashing in my bird bath...what easy joy!

We are going to our neighborhood July 4th BBQ! Have a safe and fun day!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

10"x10" assorted metallic paints and powders, acrylic, iridescent copper pigment stik, handcut stamp.

The last of the first three and I have learned so much about the properties of metallic paints. I like this one and look forward to begin little larger ones 12"x12". Found some interesting biblical archaeology writings and other booklets on writing secret codes. I may combine cold wax (ARTIT) with metallic powders and oils as another way to's a perfect time as I can move my studio outside for air circulation. Home and family are taking me over for the next couple of weeks so I'll be dreaming and journaling about these art making possibilities.

I've had new lino installed last week and this week the carpet cleaners arrive for the bedrooms. I'm  full of plans to choose new paint colors, new towels, rugs and make a little spa feeling right down the hall.
What is truly making me happy is that I'm opening the windows and enjoying the fresh cool summer breezes...if I'm very quiet and the wind is just right...I can hear the happy screams from the roller coaster riders...summer has definitely arrived!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Time Enough Code

10" x 10" metallic acrylic, silver leaf, metallic oil stick, stencil and green glazes.

Oh, you should have seen it Monday or Wednesday and here it is very different on Sunday. I've added, sanded, carved and glazed all  in that place of not knowing??...frustrating indeed! The code came from my secret code site and is a system called ' route transcriptions. ' I like the code shapes combining with the a portion of my stenciled clock and circles. I'm still exploring the metallics?!!! I have one more small one and then move to a larger size. I'm hoping for a breakthrough, a place I might surprise myself.

July is building up to be a busy month, out of state guests, day trips planned, home repairs and pool time! Could be slow going in the studio but I will still visit blogs in the morning and I will try to post when I get something new to update!! Happy July....the heart of summer!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Night Sky Code

10" x 10", paper, stencil, metallics, white ink.

UPDATE:  I added some black lines and photographed again...this time with I think better lighting!

First of three on paper using three elements: stencil, metallic and code. I would like to complete three in this size and three larger ones on clayboard. Because I'm exploring it will take more than three or six to arrive at my goal, counting failed efforts. Actually this one has already changed with a few straight lines drawn with graphite. I was feeling too lazy to photograph all over again but will post the changes  in the sidebar next week when I post again!

My research into code has taken me to several Secret Code sites for kids: (I'm an artist not a scholar!) cipher wheels and decipher codes, Morse code to name a few. Will be learning to encrypt messages and even reading about codes used by Julius Caesar. Sure wish I had those cereal box tops to mail in for a decoder ring!

The metallics are still a stretch for me. The sheen is beautiful but for me they are a challenge. I keep thinking about how I love Russian and Greek Icons and hope to interpret my own brand of glow!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Code Unlocked

14"x14"  Rives BFK, metal key, collage, acrylic, oil pastel and graphite. Under this blue are many layers of iron oxide and stainless steel which gives a subtle glow or glitter to this code marked piece. Still trying to get to a place of play and at the same time express this fascination I have with secrets, codes etc... I have a way to go...on the sidebar is a more all over metallic piece and when I'm ready I will start working on a more sturdy surface.

This great weather pulls me away from the work table and some of my frustrations with materials. Yesterday we took a drive inland to a small old  mission town San Juan Bautista for a great lunch in a flower/cactus garden...tons of guacamole and delicious chile rellenos! The mission is quite beautiful and the site of the filming of  the classic movie "Vertigo"! We didn't stop for a tour this time because as we drove up we spotted three full school buses pulling up for an end of the year field trip! Next time as we can drive over any afternoon.

Enjoy this first week of June!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Writing Code

11"x14" paper, collage, copper & bronze metallic powders, wax thread, Fiba Tape. acrylic, copper sheets.

The concept of writing, reading, deciphering or finding code, ancient or new is a big pull for me. So I have decided to explore this code subject along with my ongoing metallic  lessons. I have purchased micaceous, interference and iridescent colors as well as  sheets of copper, gold and silver.Plus I have powders and fragments. On this particular piece I ran into trouble with the bronze powder separating from the acrylic and leaving a dull brown shade. I tried for a save using red acrylic and copper sheets. Its a first try and I admit I am fighting with myself over the love of the sheen and beauty of metallic and the crafty glitter I also associate with metallic. I'm willing to battle on and possibly enjoy the ride with metallic art making!

Sunday, May 20, 2012


A little gem for me and I thought I'd share. "RED" is a play by John Logan and was first performed in London and then New York. Alfred Molina starred as Rothko in both cities. I've been a life long fan of Mark Rothko so this rather short powerful play was a true pleasure. One of the lines by Rothko, "There is only one thing I fear in life, my friend...One day the black will swallow the red."

Movie recommendation: "The Way" starring Martin Sheen and directed by his son Emilio Estevez. It is about a pilgrimage hiking the Camino de Santiago and much much more.

Art update: Slow going with my metallic exploration. My copper piece has devolved into a rather dull brown mess. I learn from the failed pieces so its all good. Hope to have something to show in a couple days...maybe something not brown!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Treehouse II

15"x15" paper, bits of tile, copper clock hand, assorted pastes and gels, copper wire. A house usually shows up on my easel once a year and this one will be for 2012. Most of my houses are the same...either a front flat view or a back view showing the division of rooms...sometimes I've made homes with just doors, windows and floor plans. This one is a front view with a clock, a tree like base and doors? I used a mix of acrylic & copper paints over heavy texture. I found corked tubes of bronze, gold, silver and copper powders at the bottom of my paint box...a gift from a friend a hundred years ago. I've been mixing them with matte medium. Has anyone worked with these fine powders and if so what was the experience? I used purple glazes and that was interesting over oranges and copper.

 I've been reading about metallic paints, iridescent colors, micaceous and true metallic colors having  metals such as stainless steel and mica flakes...I'm on overwhelm so I'll decide on a few interesting mixes and take my wallet to the art supply. I have a pile of narrow strips of paper cut away from larger pieces and I will try to use them with this metallic exploration and then put them together with glue or stitching. Still using the sample or storyboard idea for this journey.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Dancing in Silence

18"x18", paper, heavy molding paste, crackle paste,soft gel gloss, stencils, gel ink pens.
I began this piece considering silence, the silence of working and 'not knowing' but then my thoughts turned to dance, music and moonlight...go figure? This became a storyboard of sorts that speaks of a ballroom floor, stars and moon stenciled and with the addition of leaves and flourishes of movement all wrapped into one. I used up all the remnants of my jars of  pastes, and gels and stencils I'm not crazy about. I used a palette of burnt reds, purple, black and white with gel pens outlining and drawing here and there. That was the fun part and I've come away with a plan to use more 'drawring' in some of the next experiments.

I'm getting the hang of this play thing and have another smaller piece to show you next. Plan on cracking open some art books and explore metallic paints, dyes and inks. I've always stayed away from metallic but this will be a good time to check them out.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Exploring #101

18"x18" paper, acrylic, collage, stencil and graphite.This is the beginning of some exploring of acrylic methods I've been wanting to try out to see what works for me and what doesn't. I set up this piece in three rows and focused on the center for new trials. One was layers: one coat of acrylic, one all over spritz of water, paper towel blotting and then another coat of another color of acrylic...over and over. The little red squares and circle are what I salvaged from that project. I worked on textures and stencils and using graphite then finished it with an all over coat of glazing. This piece looks far more interesting then in' real life' seemed to photograph much lighter and brighter...I like when that happens!  The clocks have helped me interpret my exploration. Leaving off hands and numbers between the 2 rather ticking clocks is a personal reminder of time and no-time...patience with this exploration and enjoying this playtime. I have so many methods and materials and combinations in mind that my work table is covered with stuff as well as crumbled notes to self.  Different palette, compositions, combining materials as well as a long list of subjects for study and inspiration. It doesn't take much...a PBS show, something interesting on the History channel, newspaper. My fathers words to me when I was a young girl were "Now just settle down Mary Ann, calm down"...I would get so excited...I think I made him nervous!
Thanks again for visiting guest blogger, it was much appreciated!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Guest Blogger

These past few days I've been busy at the work table trying some interesting new methods with acrylic and generally making a big mess. I have little to show so this week I've given this post to Pablo (my husband). While I was art making in the studio he was writing a mystery novel which is now completed. The link to his website is: Vegas Snap

I'm grateful to Mary Ann for this opportunity to chat about my book. Set in glitzy Las Vegas at the peak of America's real estate bubble, the theme is: Those seduced by greed can lose not only their money but also their sanity and their very soul. Follow the callous and unrepentant con man whose most daring and brazen scam may have gone too far.

To get more of the book's flavor, go to the Menu tab "About the Story". For my bio, click on the "Meet the Author" tab. You're also welcome to leave a comment. You can click on Chapter 1 and 2 (both posted under "New Posts" and "News & Overviews". At the bottom, you can talk about which chapter is the best to lead off the book. Thank you, bloggers.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Ending with Pluto

14"x14", acrylic, collage, white ink. History has changed... Pluto is now a dwarf planet and one of the large bodies within the newly charted Kuiper belt. 2015 will provide photos of Pluto that I'm sure will add to the changing information. Now I've learned that Pluto has four moons Charon, Nix, Hydra and one named provisionally s/2011P1. Pluto's surface is 98% nitrogen ice and its color varies from black to orange. Pluto seems to have a special connection to its largest moon Charon ...they face one another and seem to dance in their orbit.

In creating this image, I was impressed by the story of the kidnapping of Persephone and taking her to the underworld as Pluto is the God of the Underworld and Charon  is his boatman who ferries the dead to the underworld on the river Styx. There are four rivers in the underworld...River of Woe, River of Forgetfulness, River of Wailing and River of Fire...I'm not sure how they all connect but I love the names. These myths are rich and full of vengeance, justice, love and all things connected to the darker underworld. A forbidding world and again rich in imagery.

This places me at the end of the solar system yet of course, we all know there is so much more! I wholeheartedly believe I've just touched on the art making potential but for right now I feel the series has been explored and I'll leave it aside for now and return when it pulls me back with new inspiration. I will not be checking into more of the Kuiper belt or the Oort Cloud  or all those new planets being named and reported regularly but rather finding myself at the beginning the "Wait Station" the space oasis where I might gather my thoughts, materials and play a little in the area of "Not Knowing". Writing and with time at the work table!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Neptune Nights

18"x18" acrylic, lino cut, cheesecloth, heavy gel paste and oil pastel.
Welcome to the color of Neptune, God of Water, also know as Poseidon. The  descriptions  of Neptune seem to conflict with or blue/green. Out of all the colors on my palette,  my heart beats a little faster when I touch this blue/green. The actual planet is inhospitable with storms and a thick atmosphere of methane. One source reported 13 moons and another over 30. There are large moons and small misshapen ones and Neptune also has rings. These moons are named after the Greek and Roman water nymphs. (how appropriate!) Our neighborhood pool is opened and I can't help but think of floating and dreaming of being circled by all those moons of Neptune. I added four lino cut fishes as a reminder that this is Neptune and the milky way to denote how far out this planet is from the sun....which is that little yellow dot on the upper right....not at all to scale. It seems Neptune generates its own heat. Putting Neptune together took more time because I needed to stop and prepare materials for our tax appointment. I thought I had gone paperless but there was still a fair amount of shredding and sorting. With that behind me and dancing through the Holidays...I will take a look at our planet, or non planet or dwarf planet Pluto!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Uranus Sideways

18"x18", silver leaf, stencil, heavy molding paste, acrylic, graphite and oil pastel.
The first interesting thing about Uranus is that it orbits on its spins on a tipped-over axis. So one side is bathed in sunlight while darkness covers its other side. After years of this placement Uranus changes its orbit and faces the opposite side to the sun? Uranus has rings but much more narrower than Saturn. The moons so far number 27 and are named after characters in plays by Shakespeare.

There are endless myths concerning Uranus, one naming him Father Sky. It is written four of his sons are in charge of the seasons and he is the one who covers the sky with a bronze dome. Never mind all the other stories, sons, wars and cruelty. He was considered a vanquished God of an elder time, before real time began.
I enjoyed creating the four corners in silver leaf to represent the four seasons and most of the drawing of Uranus and 12 moons were with my left hand so as to maintain a simple view. It was great fun reading the names of the moons Miranda, Ariel, Umbriel, Portia and Desdemona to name a few.
I have two more planets (three if you consider the moon Charon) to explore before I reach the Oort Cloud. The science is a little thin on these planets but I'll research what I can with my books and online.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

In Search of Saturn

18"x18", photo collage,crackle paste, gel, acrylic, tissue paper print and wax thread.
Beginning such a long time ago with a photo of an ancient Saturn and then returning to create 'the story' of  planet and myth...not so easy. I kept telling myself to keep moving it forward and at the end of the day I would have a new piece and a new direction. Several days working and I have ended here with this piece. I have added 10 moons of the 17 in the order of  their orbit and both the writing of Galileo and the photo of Galileo spacecraft. So I danced between ancient art, science of now and science of the 1700's.
This has been an interesting series for me. Not only do I love the idea of space but I have always felt I have been living here (all of us actually) in this solar system as my wider more expansive home. I get such a feeling when I know I'm gazing at Venus or Jupiter!  I'm sure the discoveries are in there infancy but I have learned more than I had in my school years and creatively it has been rich and satisfying. I'm off to Uranus and truly feeling very far from Earth and  the Sun.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Saturn Forgotten

The actual paper measures 18"x18" but this little corner is about 9"x12". I began here over a week ago and then 'life' happened.. I keep regular studio hours so it's a big deal for me to be away from the work table. First the refrigerator quit and all that needed to happen to get the old one out and the new one in and at the same time keep all the food cool. Next we both got an awful case of  food poisoning and with only one day to recover before needing to leave for Sacramento (two hour drive). We stayed two nights and carefully ate saltines & drank bottled water ....not such a good time but we finally felt better before coming back home.
Now with so much time away I haven't a clue about where I was going with this piece. I used crackle paste and measured pencil lines along with some yellow and ochre glazing. I'm going to 'sit' with it this weekend and on Monday set up paints etc. and begin again.
Happy March!!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Io's Photostream

14"x14" acrylic, heavy molding paste, photo copies and acrylic crayon, white gel pen.

The last of Jupiter's 4 important moons or at least important at this writing. Io's scientific story begins with the gigantic pull of Jupiter and the opposite pull by Europa and Ganymede which results in Io's surface heaving up and down like an ocean tide. This is one explanation of Io's volcanoes hurling and exploding sulphurous material at an amazing force. Io is one active moon which rivals Earth in volcanoes. On its pizza shape surface there is sulphurous snow and ice and huge lava beds and below all that might be a sulphur ocean?

The myth once again has Jupiter as fooling this young heart of Io and once again Juno (his wife) seeking revenge with magic and such. This story even brings in Mercury all to keep the chaos going and going and going!
These small photos of Io were taken by the Galileo spacecraft and I added them as multiples because they looked so alone and perfect and together as a review of the icy and volcanic beauty.
Looking at Saturn now and I hope to change it up...another vantage point....another interpretation...something but not sure what or how?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Oceans Europa

15"x15" on paper, collage, molding paste, acrylic and white ink.

Europa is one of the  four moons of Jupiter referred to as the Galilean satellites. Discovered by Galileo in 1610. Europa is the smallest of the four and its landscape is very much like a cracked cue-ball. A relatively young  moon and its surface looks like water seeping through faults which may have smoothed  the surface ice leaving the long stains. A global ocean may lie in the darkness under ground....under this ice!
I've purposely left out any Jupiter imaging on all four pieces and focused on the landscape and mythological stories of each moon. The star constellations behind this moon shape represent all the many named stories. In Europa's case the Taurus Bull is attached to the story...Callisto is connected to "The Bear" constellation.. note: Europa's  story as the others....disguises, kidnapping, lovemaking, birthing sons and in this myth Europa becomes queen of Crete.

I'm looking at IO as the last of the Galilean moons. There is more interesting myth and also some interesting science and possibly more water?!

Next will be Saturn, a huge distance from Jupiter...twice as far as Mercury to Jupiter so this will be a long ride! Is anyone familiar with a short story or book written about the moon Titan by Vonnegut? I have been on a search.
This will be a long trip in the darkness and I'm packing sandwiches and snacks for the travel ahead.  Even though I haven't left my chair, I can't help but feel the distance away from planet Earth and the Sun. Getting into this SPACE is a mind altering experience...very much like leaving home.

FYI: My computer is giving me fits and has been SLOW to visit some bloggers and if I  do visit its even slower to leave a  comment so I give up...I'm calling in the computer guy next week!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Callisto's Heart

14"x14" acrylic, collage, mylar, stencil, wax thread on paper, oak stain.

The mythology of Callisto is a similar story when connected to Jupiter/Zeus. It begins with jealousy, betrayal, illegitimacy, almost matricide and ending with magic and revenge...ahhh a day with the Zeus family! Not one to use heart shapes in my work I surprised myself when I found this old mylar heart in my collage box. It seemed to be perfect and I got past my resistance and added it to the mix....a possible heart totem. Also added wood stain to unify the colors?!

The actual moon of Callisto is airless and the most cratered place in the solar system with one huge crater that is completely iced over. 

We took our trip south to the Monterey and Carmel area where we relaxed with beautiful surroundings and winter sun. Found a breakfast place in Pacific Grove that served a fabulous frittata. No complaints...great place to sit and watch the waves.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Excavation of Ganymede

15"x15", acrylic, oil pastel, gold leaf and collage.
Ganymede is one of the four large moons of the many moons of Jupiter and the first one I thought I'd explore. There is the dark side of the moon, the unseen and excavation would be a great idea. Some photographs show long grooves on the surface very much like giant raked areas so there is plenty of mystery. I added the bird  sitting on the scaffolding because the mythical God Jupiter/Zeus is famous for disguise!

A trip to Carmel is in my near future and I have no plans for excavation there beyond placing my toes in the sand. If it rains...I'll need to step up the shopping and or coffee/bakery stops!

Happy New Year of the Dragon!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Heat and Smoke

18"x18" acrylic, digital fabric transfer, paper collage, clear tar gel, wax thread on paper.

One last look at the asteroid belt and the myth of Icarus. Here I've placed the wings moving downward with stitching and a faint dark blue color at the bottom of the piece. Used the clear tar gel as a glaze and wax thread for the stitching. I could create with wings all day...something about that feeling of flying or maybe a universal call to angels with massive white wings. Wings of any kind or color make a beautiful image to me.

Leaving and moving out to the area of Jupiter where the heat and light from the sun is very very far away. Here the light is created by strange mix of gasses, electrical storms...light created from within you might say.

I'm so slow with my computer but I finally bought an iPod and I'm enjoying all my tunes in one well as growing my playlists! Shopping at iTunes and listening to so many radio stations....where have I been.... in a cave?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Floating in Asteroid Field

18"x18' acrylic, oil pastel, paper collage (one of my re-purposed pieces)and black gesso.

Most days in the summer I go to the neighborhood pool to float about watching the sky, the occasional seagull passes overhead and sometimes way up high a silver jet. I began day dreaming on what a difference it might be floating in a dark crowded asteroid belt. I'm sharing below some of what I have written in my journal and what inspired me in creating this piece.

Black alley with shapes misshapen
Rumbling along this narrow passage
Sounds of collisions safely behind or possibly ahead
No wheel for steering, no wing for rising
What was thrust into this debris filled orbit is both purposeless and random
A ride unsupervised by wise eyes
Mindless sounds of THUD, THWACK, SMACK, SPLAT AND SPEW!!!!!

I used a loose grid and a few feather like shapes in this rather dark piece. Not sure if it's a keeper but I'm having my artist/mentor, Lisa dropping by Monday morning so I will get her take on this and also show some other new works. Maybe more splat and spew?