Sun Series #1

Sun Series #1

Friday, August 14, 2020

Some of My Favorite Things: Adhesives

"Not Enough of Anything"
14 x 11"
mixed media collage

This is an older piece but one that I really like.
It incorporates a lot of different materials which means a lot of different considerations when
it comes to the collaging.  Adhering different materials often require different adhesives.
So to that end, this post is about "some of my favorite things" relative to adhesives.

These are my go to adhesives.
I do use glue stick often and Uhu offers a strong bond.
It is perfect for paper to paper application.
It is solvent free and dries clear, always a plus. 
In the artwork above I used it to adhere the found papers, rusted papers and vintage
book pages to the paper substrate I was building the collage on.

Yes! Paste reminds me of the thick kind of paste I used when I was in grade school.
You know the came in a jar with its own brush attached to the lid.
This is a cream colored soft, paste that is thick.  I apply it using a paint brush.
It is 100% acid free and archival, dries clear and a little goes a long way.
I like it for adhering fabric to paper or thicker papers to whatever substrate I am using.
I usually weight it until it is completely dry.
It was perfect for the burlap with the imbedded plaster on the top left of the piece pictured above.

In contrast matte gel medium which has multiple uses is a softer adhesive than the Yes Paste.
I have had the most experience with this product. It is my go to adhesive.
It is also applied with a brush and dries clear, although it retains the brush marks so any excess
adhesive, while clear, might show the brush marks if you paint over it.
That may be desirable or not depending on what one is creating.

Finally, there is PVA Archival Adhesive.
This is used by bookbinders because of its archival quality.
Like the others it dries clear and is strong as well as flexible.
It looks like Elmers glue but is a more professional product.
I would use it to adhere finished collages to mat board or foam core.
With all of these products I use a brayer to make sure everything is flat.
Or I might weight the work under a pile of books.

The kinds of materials and mediums an artist uses become a part of the artwork.
I know that a lot of what I do is very ephemeral.
I use materials in the artwork that don't always have a longevity or that may deteriorate
over time.  I am drawn to that which is damaged yet beautiful.
But I want the works to last as long as possible so the kinds of adhesives I use
are important.
That may seem kind of counter intuitive but sometimes that is the nature of art.


Sunday, May 24, 2020

Doors and Windows

Barn Door (2011)

Barn Door at Sunrise (2011)

Sheltering in Place no. 55 (5/23/2020)

Sheltering in Place no. 6 (3/21/2020)

Sheltering in Place no. 8 (3/23/2020)

Sheltering in Place no. 41 (5/2/2020)

I have long been interested in doors and windows as a metaphor for access or entrance or escape.
They have appeared in my artwork since the early 1990's and continue today.
Sometimes the doors and windows are more literal.
Other times they are just openings in paper or fabric that reference a door or window.

In the "Sheltering in Place" series these openings keep popping up.
The use of stitching often emphasizes the opening.
There is a rhythm that stitching offers which is escapist in nature for me, taking me somewhere
outside of the isolation of staying at home so much.
Making a collage using random paper scraps, adding more information with
paint or colored pencil, to the meditation that is the stitching, this is what the whole
Sheltering in Place process is about for me.
It is not work about the pandemic.
It is work because of the pandemic.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Light and Dark Days in Isolation

Sheltering in Place no. 24
Sheltering in Place no. 28
mixed media collage

As time goes on in our current state of staying in isolation I go back and forth emotionally between times that are light and those that are more dark.  While the imagery in my artwork remains primarily of an abstract nature recognizable imagery is beginning to appear.  That is probably a response to the changing seasons and the coming of spring.

This body of artwork remains a way for me to escape the constant media talk about the virus.
I have been posting them regularly on my instagram account and have just created a new instagram account solely for showing this work.  And as a way to document them without other posts.
You can follow the development of the series here.

I hope you all are well and staying safe.
I think I will now out the garden and plant some radishes!

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Arranging the Unarrangeable

"Sheltering in Place no. 13"
mixed media collage with paper, fabric and stitch

"That was what artists did, they arranged the unarrangeable
into something that made sense."    
                                        - Jodi Picoult from
A Spark of Light

That is what I think we all are doing right now as we try to make sense out of this global pandemic.
Even as I write this it seems so surreal.
Life is just currently unarrangeable, at least in the way we are used to doing things.
I think that is what all of my small collages are about.
I am having a hard time concentrating on larger art projects so arranging the flotsam and jetsam
of other artworks and remnants is something I feel I can achieve.
Just like making a small art work is gratifying...a beginning and an end...these collages
allow me to accomplish something in a time when other things resist being arranged.

Be well.  Be safe.

Friday, March 27, 2020

While in Isolation

"Sheltering in Place no. 8"
mixed media collage with stitch

I can't begin to count the number of times in the past week that I have read an email
 starting with "During these unprecedented times..." or some variation thereof.
I hope you all are coping and staying safe.
As for me, and maybe for others, this is how I used to refer to a snow day from school..."a gift of time."
Time that I could use to make art or catch up on tasks at home.
But in this situation I find that we are challenged with more than just a few days to fill.
We are a week or so in to staying home, really staying home, and the outlook is for more of the same.
Workshops I'm scheduled to teach are on hold or being cancelled.
Exhibits I am in are on hold or being postponed.

So, in the meantime here is what I am doing in isolation:
  • Making art.  That 's a given.  The piece above is from my "Sheltering in Place" series which  I started on the first day of staying home.  It is not really about the pandemic but more about using the time that has been given.
  • Updating my website, resume, and bio.   These have been on my To Do list for quite awhile so now is the time.
  • Photographing the work.  I usually do this as I go, but I don't always document the pieces with dates, sizes, etc.     That leads to the next job...
  • Organizing the art inventory.  I used to be really good about this.  Now I am really bad about it.  All the work is saved in my photo folder along with every other picture I have taken.  Bad, I know, I know.  So now I am working on at least getting the media, the sizes and descriptives on the images so I can more easily find them when I need them.  Maybe I will even get them into albums of related pieces or series.
  • Baking.    That's also a given.  Bread, muffins, granola, good old comfort baking.  Creative cooking is happening as well, as I find I don't have everything I need or want for certain recipes, so I have to make due. 
  • Reading.  I usually find time to read, but I am doing more of that.... reading the news because I should, but reading and enjoying books selected by my book club, books from my long list of 'wanna read', and art books I've had but only ever looked at the pictures.  There's some really good stuff in the written parts!
  • Gardening, yard work and weeding.   There is plenty of that to do here!  I already planted some peas and onions in the garden.  Soon I will start tomatoes and a few herbs in doors.  And there are still leaves that I did not get to in the fall. It is so good to be outside. 
  • Checking in with family and friends.      With all of this social distancing I am finding it helpful to text, email or call in order to stay connected.  If fact I am probably talking with family and friends more than normal, kind of a bonus turn of events.
  • And finally Washing my Hands All the Time!!  
Be safe.  Be well.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Marking Time

oil and cold wax with collage on paper
30 x 22"

This piece is part of an ongoing series of work I am doing.
I did procrastinate the making of it.
It stared at me (and I at it) for over a month with very little happening.
But finally it came together.

It does seem rather appropriate for the times we are living with the current pandemic.
That is not what I was thinking about when I started the piece.  But I see now that the hash marks
are like the days we are spending in self imposed isolation or quarantine.

The origin of the the work is based in the story of Penelope who waited years for Odysseus to return from war.
In order to avoid having to take another husband to rule the country Penelope procrastinates,
saying she will select someone when she finishes the weaving she is working on.
So she weaves the tapestry by day and unweaves it by night in order to avoid making the decision.

While we are not really procrastinating we are definitely marking time
in unprecedented numbers in our own homes for the good of all.
May we all be safe.

Monday, March 16, 2020


The crocus are up!
I haven't had any crocuses in years.
Not that I didn't plant any.
Just that the chipmunks often ate them over the winter.
But not this year!

Small mixed media collage

The pink in this piece feels spring-like and rusted areas seem to echo the leaves that are still in my yard
and gardens.  I am back in the studio, making small collages more regularly as well as some larger pieces.
I find it advantageous to do the small pieces along with the larger ones.
They give me a sense of accomplishment.

So today will be studio time followed by some much needed yard work.
Perhaps I will find find some more of those crocuses I planted underneath the leaves.
If the crocus are up can spring be far behind?