Sun Series #1

Sun Series #1

Sunday, November 12, 2017

The Weight of Words


             Those of you who know me know that I am the least likely person to be censored.
People often tell me that some of my work has an edginess to it or that it strikes a sad or emotional note.  But it does not come off as offensive.

              But...I was recently accepted to an exhibit only to be told before the show opened that the words in the work were inappropriate for that venue.  They were very gracious about it and adamant that my work be included if I could some way remove the words or change the words or cover the words.  The concept centered on name calling, bullying and the kind of words that cause emotional pain.  The ethereal and innocent look of the piece belied the words the viewer confronted when coming in for a closer look.  It had an impact.  It was powerful.

The piece had been exhibited several other times without the censorship I now faced. I do understand that the appropriateness of the work is subject to the venue and the kinds of clientele that will see the work.  I had a short time in which to decide what I would do.
                                      Should I just pull the work from the show and be done with it?
                                 What kind of change can I make without changing the original intent?
                                          Am I caving in or am I compromising?
                                               Do I even want to compromise?

I talked with my husband who also is an artist.  I talked with another artist friend who is familiar with me, my work and my philosophy about making work.  If I change the work have I lost the initial powerful piece?  Can I substitute other words that will still convey my intent and cause the viewer to think about words that are damaging, hurtful and can't be unheard?

                In the end I did find a compromise.  I substituted words that addressed the emotions one might feel when being called names instead of using the actual offensive words.  Because the words were attached to the larger part of the work and could be removed I did not undermine the major part of the work.  The new words replaced the original one and I now have two works that address this issue.  I feel the piece lost some of its impact but it still causes the viewer to think about the name calling,  bullying and the hurt that verbal abuse can cause.

              I feel okay with my decision to compromise because the message is still out there.
                               I am wearing my censorship as a kind of badge of honor
                                            ever conscious of the weight of words.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Visit the Christkindl Markt Nov. 10-12!

"Child's Play"
mixed media collage
13 x 10"  framed  $110

I will be at the Christkindl Markt selling my work Nov. 10-12!
I wasn't there last year so I am looking forward to being a part of this Fine Art Fair this time around.
This is an annual holiday tradition in Canton Ohio at the
Cultural Art Center located at
1001 Market Avenue.
Fri. Nov. 10...10am-6pm
Sat. Nov. 11...10am-6pm
Sun. Nov. 12...11am-4pm

Stop by and see me and what I have been making.
Here are a few examples to wet your appetite.
Hope to see you there!

"Flower Girl"
mixed media collage
12 x 9"  framed  $200

Daily Collage
mixed media
5x8"  unframed  $15

Daily Collage
mixed media
5x8"  unframed  $15

See more on my website!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Defining Anonymous

"Defining Anonymous"
mixed media sculpture

This is the fourth and last piece in my Anonymous Series.  Not for lack of ideas or way  to continue but because this body of work hinges on that blue and white quilt which has very little left to give.
In this work I was grappling with the ideas of identity.
Identity of unknown quilt makers.
Identity of quilts that were unsigned, undated.
And the transience of identity when one thing becomes another thing.

Initially a blue quilt that I owned made by an unknown woman (most probably a woman) was deconstructed and remade into an object that was more akin to a collage or painting.  A work that hung on the wall.  While I am more than aware of the 1970's installation of Amish quilts that were hung in an art gallery in New York City creating the first public awareness of "quilt as art object", my intention was to go beyond that concept.  To create a work that used a quilt, or parts of a quilt, both front and back, inside and outside as collage material for a 2D work that would be more related to painting than quilt.
Changing the identity of quilt as functional bed covering to an identity more closely aligned with painting.

There are three of these quilt-become-paintings in the series.
(See March 3, March 12 and March 25 posts to view this work)
While they definitely read, to me at least, more as a painting object, their quilt-ness is still quite prevalent.
My intention was not to delete their relationship to quilt but to distill it into an unexpected form.
The next step seemed to be to make the work sculptural.

There is a solidity to "Defining Anonymous" that is not present in the previous three pieces.
As a sculpture it inhabits 3D space, as it's presence reaches out away from the wall.
It is solid and heavy.
It has an interior that is both inviting and mysterious.
There is a strong reference to quilt in the folds and the way it seems to still want to be a functional object.
Yet there is a strength of character, if you will, that transcends the ideas one associates with quilt.

Have I changed this blue quilt's identity in this work or the previous three pieces
enough to go beyond the functional, traditional notion of a quilt?
Or have I just reinforced the true nature of a quilt that offers /suggests comfort, home, tradition.

For me the transience of identity is in the change from traditional functional bed covering to three
dimensional wall sculpture that certainly references the blue quilt's past, suggesting comfort and perhaps
an essence of memory but establishing its own character as an art object.

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Monday, October 23, 2017

Rusting, Burning, and Printing...Oh My!

Oct. 17, 2017 collage
mixed media on paper

Oct. 22, 2017 collage
mixed media on paper

I am loving working with these rusted and eco printed papers.
It is pushing my color choices and my thought process.

Both of these pieces have a section of a bright pink paper that I bought some time ago and just never used.
This particular pink is not in my usual color palette but I bought it because I liked
the metallic silver chandeliers that are printed on it.  Of course you don't
see any chandeliers on these pieces, in part because the sections I used are small and also because I think I may have used the reverse side of the paper here.
I rusted the paper and now really like its look and texture.

Also incorporated in both pieces are some eco printed papers and some areas that have been burned with
a wood burning tool.  The rich dark brown areas are from the black walnut dye Robbie Grodin made.
We tested the dye last week and it is already to go for the workshop on Oct. 29 at her studio.
Come join us for the fun.
Just click Robbie's
 name above and it will take you to her site.

You can see more small collages incorporating eco prints, black walnut dye and rusting along
with other process and materials on my web site.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Eco printed greeting cards dyed in black walnut dye bath!

We have a black walnut tree in our back yard. The squirrels usually get the benefit of the nuts as they are difficult to shell and turn your hands black.  I guess the squirrels don't care about black hands!
And neither did my mother!
Mom would often go to my grandfather's home to gather black walnuts which she loved and used in baking.  That's a lot of work Mom!  She also used the stain from the nuts to touch up nicks on the furniture. My interest in the past few years for these nuts is the beautiful dark brown dye they make.

Enter Robbie Grodin, owner of Alpaca Fiber Studio in Chagrin Falls OH.

After meeting Robbie Grodin this past summer, we struck up a friendship based on the many interests we have in common.  She took my encaustic on paper class.  Soon I will be taking her eco printing class where we will use botanicals to print designs on silk scarves.  And finally we will be teaching together, combining her knowledge and love of eco printing on fabric with my love of that same technique on paper.  

All of the images in this post are of eco prints on paper, some in a black walnut dye bath and others just steamed with the botanicals releasing their tannins to make beautiful prints on the paper.
You can see the effects on the scarves by visiting Robbie's Alpaca Fiber Studio.
Come join us for the fun on October 29th from 9AM-3PM!
You will walk away with a scarf to wear and some papers to use as cards or as inspiration for other artwork.  And with a whole lot of new knowledge about working with all of the gifts Mother Nature offers us.
Signing up is easy:  Just go to Alpaca Fiber Studio and you can sign up on line.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Thanks Oklahoma Arts Institute!

Last weekend I was thrilled to be teaching a mixed media collage workshop at Oklahoma Arts Institute at Quartz Mountain.  I had a wonderful experience which can be contributed to the fabulous staff who organize this event, the incredible teaching faculty they pulled together and the creative and talented teachers from the Oklahoma school systems.

We started out working on small pieces where everyone had the same collage materials to which they could add other elements.  From there some began to work larger and from their own imagery and ideas making work that was narrative and personal.

All of the pieces pictured here are from the participants in my mixed media class.  I can't show all the work they did but wanted to share with you the great variety of styes and final products they created.  Thank you all for making my weekend at OAI so memorable!


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Keeping Up With It All

Untitled collage
mixed media collage on paper

Some times it is hard to get it all done...the social networking, blogging, art making,  marketing, teaching, gardening, house keeping, putting by the produce from the garden.  The list goes on.
So some of the items from above get neglected.  It seems that I concentrate on one or two of these
aspects of my creative life and let others slide by.  For awhile it was the Instagramming that got neglected.  I have barely looked at Facebook in at least a month. And this blog has also suffered from my lack of attention.

But the garden is beginning to wind down, although these warm October days are keeping
things going longer than usual. I am seeing that I will have more studio time and hopefully more time to
write, both here and in my journal ( another neglected element).

I love all these aspects of my life.
But I need to put some perspective on some of what I do and perhaps narrow
down my expectations for what I can accomplish and accomplish well.
Fall is a good time to "fall back and regroup", assessing how I can keep up with it all.
Or perhaps find those things that are the most relevant and keep up with those.

Lest you think that blogging is one of the elements that I will terminate, I am here
to tell you that I am not ready to give this up.  I find that it allows me to make some of my inner musings
more concrete through the act of writing or typing.  It is a way to sort my thoughts, prioritize,
clear my head, prep for the day.  The blogging may be less often, but I need it in my daily ritual.


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

A Change in Seasons

Sept. 5 Collage
mixed media on paper

Notice that these new small collages aren't titled; instead just dated?
I think I am revisiting the idea of making small collages on a regular basis.  Probably without the pressure of making one every day but perhaps beginning my studio time with a small collage as a warm-up.
While my original collage-a-day series had lots of recognizable imagery, these pieces are definitely
more abstract and non-objective...not always totally without imagery but leaning toward layering and transparency in the compositions that become more important than any recognizable thing that might also be there.

I have been doing a lot of rusting of papers and those pieces are appearing in the work.
It is black walnut season here on the farm, so eco dyed papers and fabrics will probably be making an appearance
as well.

The change in seasons is good for me.  I can shift my thoughts and my working time from outdoor work to being in the studio more regularly.  At least that is the plan.

I will be taking these small collages to Christkindl Art Fair in Canton in November.
But if you want one now just email me and I will send you an invoice for paypal payment on line.
$15 each

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

When In Doubt...

September 4
mixed media collage on paper

September 6
mixed media collage on paper

When in doubt...make a collage!
That is my "go to" medium for getting back into the swing of things
Or when time is short.  Or when I need a gentle push to get back into the studio.
So these two were last week's gentle push in a week when I had little time to work.

I will be taking these to Christkindl Art Fair in Canton in November.
But if you want one now just email me and I will send you an invoice for paypal payment on line.
$15 each

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Promise of Fall

an untitled small collage

As summer winds down and fall enters, I find a renewed sense of purpose that
makes working in the studio the priority.
Studio work is always on my mind but not always the work that I do.
Summer was full of work in the garden and teaching opportunities.
While I couldn't always get into my studio, I was thinking about my art and doing what
I like to call "making art in my head".

Working small allows me to create something that has immediate gratification.
It also allows me to work up to some larger more time consuming pieces.
I look forward to a fall routine that finds me putting the garden to rest and opening the doors
of my studio with regularity making both small pieces and larger works created in my own voice...
mixed media collage with an emphasis on "mixed".

Thanks for waiting patiently for me to return to blogging.
I always appreciate your comments.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Before and After

"Notes to Self no. 3" (before)
30 x 22"
mixed media

"Notes to Self no. 3" (reworked)
30 x 22'
mixed media

This is the third piece in my series of expressive or automatic drawings.
The one on top seemed a little too safe as if I didn't go far enough.
So I went back into it with more brown conte crayon, black colored pencil, black paint and of course lots of white.
I am happier with the reworked piece, although there might be no end to this process.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

My Brain's Desire

"Notes to Self"
mixed media on paper
30 x 22"

This work is an experiment in automatic drawing which I've read about but never really tried with any depth of exploration.  Automatic drawing lets you sink into the quality and experience of making marks and developing the relationships between them which in turn lifts you out of your logical brain’s desire to make something that’s “good” or “accurate.”

I saw a video on the internet, don't remember quite where, and borrowed a book from the library called "Expressive Drawing".  In that book the process was to make the random marks suggested in the definition above using a dark drawing media (charcoal, conte crayon, pencil, black paint).  After a certain amount of time, the drawing is obliterated with white paint, also done randomly.  One works back and forth between the drawing and the veiling of the work with white paint.  After a certain point you begin to assess and make decisions based on the shapes and revealed elements on the paper.

This is my second try.  The first one got pretty dark and messy because I use charcoal...lots of charcoal.  This one has charcoal but only at the end to really emphasize some dark areas that I liked.  The rest of the drawing media was pencil, a black colored pencil and black paint.  I am sure I cheated, as I started mixing gray to get the tones I wanted.  But the whole idea for me was to see where this process would lead me and to make it my own.

When I refer back to the definition I feel like the process did lift me out of my logical brain for the most part, but I couldn't keep it totally at bay.  But my brain's desire was still to make something not necessarily accurate, but good.  Not sure how "good" it is, but it was fun and somewhat of a revelation.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

From the Garden / From the Studio

Perennial Garden with Vintage Chair Back

Sewing Ritual
encaustic monotype and collage on paper with hand stitching

My time is split, and not evenly split, between working in the gardens and my studio.
I am still working on the sewing ritual series.  At this point there are 25 pieces that I plan to sew together.
I have a few more of the individual pieces to hand stitch and then I can arrange them making one larger overall piece.
Presentation of this will take some thought.
It will depend upon how transparent  the final work is and whether it is important to see that transparency in a 2D work that needs to be mounted to something.  Mat board? Framed? Free floating?  TBD
Some of these small pieces are taking on a landscape feel, as this one does.
That is kind of unavoidable once you emphasis a horizontal line that becomes that separation between land and sky or sea and sky.  The sewing is totally intuitive and playful.  As I was thinking about the work this morning it is also somewhat quilt like with these individual blocks that have a common color palette but random stitching.
Fingers crossed that they will be a cohesive work in the end!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

New Garden Fence!!

Old Garden Fence
New Garden Fence

Early in the Spring, I asked my husband if he would make me a new garden gate.
The current one was pretty wonky and had a huge gap at the bottom...easy access for the bunnies.
You can see in the top picture the window screen that I used to block that gap.

He did my request one better.  He ordered a whole new fence with rabbit guard wiring attached.
We had a larger area enclosed than the previous garden.  It included along with the raised beds and blackberry bushes some young blueberry bushes that were in wire cages and his two year old persimmon trees.
Also enclosed at the back is my compost bins.

I loved the fence made from trees cut from the woods on our property, but that fence was 12 years old and beginning to deteriorate.  We decided to keep the tall pergola that was what the the old gate was attached to and also the wrought iron fencing at the back of the garden.  The new fencing looks great!  The gate is easy open, easy close and rabbit secure.
Thanks John!!

I'm sure the garden is doing so well (knock on wood) in part due to the new fence.
Or at least that is what I want to believe.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Ohio Collage Society Exhibit

"Flower Girl"
mixed media encaustic and collage on paper

This piece is part of the current Ohio Collage Society 's Annual member exhibit.
I was lucky enough to receive an award for it and have it pictured in a review in the Akron Beacon Journal.  The article was written by Anderson Turner,  Director of Kent State University's Galleries.
Thanks Ohio Collage Society and juror Arnie Turnstall, Director of Galleries for Akron University Myers School of Art. for the recognition!
The link to the article is below.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Encaustic Vessels

"Old Testament"
encaustic on paper with collage
(from left to right:  Lot's Wife, Adam and Eve, Jezebel, Abel, David)

These vessels made with encaustic collage on paper will be on display at the Morgan (
as part of their Workshop Instructors' Exhibit from June 23-July 29, 2017.
I will be teaching encaustic on paper techniques at the Morgan July29-30th.
It is always fun to teach or take a workshop at the Morgan.
Great people, great place, great learning experience.

The show opens on Friday June 23 with an artist talk by some of the exhibiting instructors at 7:00 PM.
Maybe I will see you there!

Thursday, June 8, 2017


encaustic on paper
13 x 10"

When I was teaching college, I had a student in my Fiber's class who made several interesting projects where she repurposed clothing with silk screen and other surface design techniques.  One of her pieces was a raincoat where she silkscreened a row of houses onto the lining.  Of course she named the piece "Housecoat".

When I was looking for something in my studio one day...I spend a lot of time looking for things in my studio...I came across this drawing of a coat that I did a number of years ago. I thought of Amber and her housecoat project and added this house shape to my coat drawing transferring it to the drawing's waxed surface.
The house is from another one of my artworks that I photocopied.
Is that plant growing outside of the house?
Or is it growing inside?
A little bit of ambiguity and serendipity.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

More "Sewing Ritual" Pieces

More from the "Sewing Ritual" series

I just looked at the date of my last post...middle of May!  Yikes!
But I have been working on these small pieces of encaustic monotype, collage and stitching.
Just behind in my posting.  As Spring and Summer arrive, more time is spent outdoors.
I would like to say that I will be more regular with my posting, but I can't promise.  I can only try.

For these pieces I am continuing to work with the same color palette throughout.
The size, 5x5", is a constant as well.
But the kinds of paper are a variable and affect the transparency of the colored wax.
In the bottom one, there is the addition of pen and ink so that the line quality can be more varied.

I am finding this work challenging in reference to the encaustic monotype and meditative when it comes to the stitching.
As I look at a grouping of them they seem to be taking on a naturalistic emphasis,
appearing like stones and leaves, land and sky.

The order of them will finally be determined as I see how the pieces interact with each other.
There may not be one definitive arrangement in the end.
I will wait for the pieces to 'speak to me' about that.

Sunday, May 14, 2017


"Sewing Rituals"
encaustic monotype and collage with hand stitching
5x5" each

I have been thinking about rituals a lot lately.
What is a ritual?
In what way is it different from a routine?

For me, routine implies something ordinary and habitual like that morning cup of coffee. Or taking a daily walk.
While these things are enjoyable, satisfying and done regularly, they don't seem to be ritualistic.
They are routine.  They are habits.
Ritual seems to be more about doing something that you love, something you really care about,
something that holds a special meaning or importance to you. A ritual is something that one might continue throughout the years because the ritual has become an integral part of who you are.

As I write this, I can still see that the two words, routine and ritual, are closely aligned.
Perhaps thinking about rituals such as weddings or liturgies, birthdays and holidays, comes closest to the kind of ritual meaning I am addressing.

For me, sewing has long been a part of my art practice.  It is more than habit or routine. It is an integral part
of my artwork and of how I think as an artist.
My art whether on fabric or paper, canvas or collage, often involves sewing.
Many times it is the part of the art making that I like best.
Often the sewing is what differentiates my mixed media work from that of other mixed media artists.
In that way, sewing is a ritual for me.

Wanting to make an artwork that speaks directly to that idea is the basis of the two pieces here.
They are the beginning of a work I am titling "Sewing Rituals".
I am not sure how large it will be or how long it will take.
It s not so much a daily practice.
It is more about the specific ritual, sewing, that in and of itself is the concept of the final artwork.

Monday, May 8, 2017


"Leaf Letters"
rusted and stained paper with Tulip Tree leaves and stitching


In preparation for my upcoming Rust, Bleach, Burn and Stain class at the Morgan Conservatory ( in August I have been working with these processes and having some fun!
The rusted bits came from some cans that my husband found in the desert in Arizona
when he was out there last fall.
The staining is from some loose tea that made this great bluish color.
The leaves are from out Tulip tree.  I love the decayed and fragile nature of them.
And I did the stitching with the thread I solar dyed in February.  The blue color of the thread came from black bean water.  Who knew?  Well, I am sure those who do a lot of natural dyeing know, but it was a surprise to me.

As I write this it is interesting to realize the geography and chemistry involved in this piece.
Cans that have been rusting in the Arizona sun and sand.
The natural decay of the leaves in my own back yard.
The effect of heat and organic matter on cotton thread.
A true display of Alchemy.

This piece will be in the Morgan's Instructor's show later this summer.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Things One Can Count On

From the "Farmscape Series"
May Week 2

Yesterday, the first of Grandma's poppies opened up!
Last year the poppies weren't so plentiful and I was worried that they had run their course 
and were on the decline.  But as you can see there are more in the background and 
lots more around the corner. Lots more than last year. 

This artwork is from my Farmscape Series when I created one artwork each week for a 
year (2012) representing the changes on our farm.  
This one is a favorite and is in my family room right now.
It is mixed media collage and measures about 13 x 15".

I love watching the seasons change and the way I can count on the rhubarb to come up early and the dogwood to bloom just as most of the daffodils are ending.  The poppies are the first flowers to appear in the side garden announcing coming attractions:  day lilies, peonies, coreopsis and black eyed susans.  

Friday, April 28, 2017

Working With Encaustic on Paper

"About a Girl"
encaustic collage on transparent paper

The images here show the transparency of this accordion fold book made on gampi (I think) paper.
Because the paper is so absorbent you can see the images on both sides.
The beauty of an accordion fold book is that it stands up and its' sculptural aspect allows the light to pass through the paper creating an ethereal effect.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Anonymous #3

"Anonymous Makers"
mixed media on canvas

I know I haven't posted in a while.  Okay in a long while.
But that doesn't mean I haven't been busy.
Took a workshop in encaustic in Kingston NY
Started working in the garden.
Mowing, mowing, mowing.
Prepping for upcoming workshops.

Thanks for hanging in there with me.
I appreciate you and your comments.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Where Have I Been?!

"When Night Comes Before Day"
11 x 14"

"Quilt Study no. 1"
8 x 10"

"A Home is More Than a House"
9 x 12"

I haven't posted in a while.
Sometimes 'life maintenance' takes over.
We spent a week painting the kitchen which involved renting a scaffolding, some colorful language and a bit of worry about accidents on my part.  But it is done.
The kitchen hadn't been painted in about 14 years and at our age, we figure we won't be doing it again ourselves!

The above pieces will be in the Textile Art Alliance show at the Beachwood Branch of the Cuyahoga Library.
"Quilt Study no. 1" and "A Home..." are new from my deconstructing of older quilts.
I am trying to eek out as many ideas and ways of working with the deconstructed quilts as I can.
These are works the preceded the two "Anonymous" pieces that I wrote about earlier.

One is more like a painting and the there is still much more attached to the quilt world.
But both investigations got me to the "Anonymous" series.
I am at work on a third piece for that series.
So it is off to the studio for me today!