Saturday, December 03, 2011

All I want for Christmas is more time, Santa...

I am learning, as I grow (older), to take (my) time. Even in December, when the rush to get so much done in so little time looms, I no longer give in to the craziness. To be honest, I can't do it and still feel charitable toward humanity. I love people(some of them), but I hate crowds of holiday shoppers)(and general mall rats), and while I used to be able to shrug it off, I realize I don't shrug so easily anymore, so I try not to subject myself to more than my fragile (peri-menopausal) state can handle.

I should add that I am incredibly lucky (fortunate & grateful), to have a job and a life that allows me some time to take time... but even if you don't think you have any at all, you need to find some -- or make some...we offer our best selves to others when we take time for ourselves first. This is not selfish in my opinion, it's just fact. (and it's also just awesome!)

So that's my opener to what I did today... I visited the most amazing visual delight
within at least a hundred miles of my home (even though it's 10 miles away). and that is Artifacts Store...and open house (literally) the Cunningham house, open, for the holidays, along with their
store, which happens to be next door. I cannot begin to describe how magical this place and all its treasures is all year long, but particularly during the holidays. Here are just a few glimpses of my treasures. The first photo is of a sign that now sits above the "art door" in my dining room.

Beth Cunningham and her "holiday helpers" adorn the bags with bells and ribbon, there are guest artists and artisans in her "open house" with one-of-a-kind wares, and the ride to Melrose on a cold, clear December day is a total indulgence.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Photoshop fun...

Sometimes when I am in between art projects and need to fuel my creativity, I take a piece of art I've already created, scan or photograph it, and then alter it in Photoshop. Playing with typography and words (and photoshop layers) satisfies my soul.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Plaster Encaustic Fusion-The Evidence

Here's a peek at the incredible art that our students created during our Plaster Encaustic Fusion workshop held at Captured Moments in late Oct. and early Nov. It never ceases to amaze and inspire me how everyone takes our instruction and elevates it to new heights. Also worth noticing is how we all begin with exactly the same basic materials, and end with entirely different pieces of art - the alchemy of creativity and vision. This class was also a textural delight of beeswax, wood, wire, corrugated cardboard, acrylic paints, and exotic papers...and also the most fun and creative group of women around.

Marilyn and I are finished with classes for 2011 so that, like you, we can enjoy time with family and friends during the busy holiday season. We will return refreshed and inspired in 2012.

Thank you to all who pop in to see what's new, and to all of you who take classes. I am grateful to know you and to share this fabulous, messy, creative life.


Footnote: Marilyn has also posted pictures of our class...stop by her blog to close ups...and also credits to our students (I too planned to credit our students but I am still under the mistaken impression that I will remember things without writing them down... and then I remember...oh, that's right...I forget things! ;o)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Searching for my meraki...

One of my good friends recently decided to pursue a career change. It's a completely different field, and she's pretty much starting from scratch. It will mean hard work, long hours and several years of study before she is finished. But instead of feeling overwhelmed by the challenges that certainly await her, she is excited and invigorated in a way she hasn't felt in ages -- her words, not mine, and they made me question the last time I felt really excited about a job or a new project.

It's not that I don't enjoy my work -- I am incredibly fortunate to work with great people, in a field that I still find satisfying, most days. And my side line in mixed media is also a source of enjoyment and creative expression. But I am feeling like much of what I do comes too easily these days. I am not challenged enough -- not afraid enough? -- something like that. I am not even sure what it is I am looking to do, but I am looking. I want to feel more alive, and I don't know what is is that will make that happen for me.

I recently read an article that suggested boredom and busyness were two sides of the same coin. The author explained that boredom was a lack of quality work/play and that busyness was the unavoidable chores and "to dos" that take time away from finding quality work/play. This is my life -- I have lots of things to do, many of which I feel are unavoidable - my day job, laundry & housework, mowing & raking, bill-paying & paperwork, and by the end of the week, I've gotten all of these things done at the expense of QUALITY work and play time.

So this weekend I am going to make time to do something new, in the hope that exposure to new places and things will lead me to my next creative adventure. And in order to do this, something else on my unavoidable "to do list" won't get done. For me, this will be the hard part.

--I just finished writing this post, and meanwhile my favorite astrologist (Rob Brezsny, featured in Metroland) gave me this weekly horoscope...Meraki is a Greek word that refers to the bliss you feel when you're engaged in a task that's important to you and that you're doing really well. It's your theme right now, Libra. According to my reading of the astrological omens, everything's in place for you to experience meraki in abundance. Furthermore, that's exactly what your destiny is pushing for. So please get out there and do everything you can to cooperate: Make this a meraki-filled week.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Trick or treat, I'm packin' heat...

I am going to a costume party for Halloween, and I wanted a fake gun to go with my Halloween costume. Due to gun violence and kids getting shot and all that stuff that ruins the innocent fun of blood and guts and Halloween, you can't buy a decent fake 9mm in the toy department anymore (or even the dollar store, thank you, China). I will add that you can still buy fake hatchets, machetes, and bloody fake body parts, however, so all is not lost.

So I went online for my fake gun. As luck would have it, I found the perfect little plastic model through Amazon for 75 cents -- with $3.25 shipping and handling, I still considered this a bargain. It arrived yesterday. Here it is...

No, this is not a re-enactment of Lincoln's assassination, nor is it a photo commentary on the state of the economy. It is my 75-cent gun, and yes, it is smaller than a penny. In my defense, that's not how it looked in the online photo when I placed the order. However, if I had clicked photo number 2, I would have seen this guy, and that might have clued me in...

I am still going to strap this baby to my thigh, with a piece of scotch tape. Can you say sexxxxxxy?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Altered egos journal

Marilyn and I have spent two of the best Sundays with an amazing group of women, creating art journals that express our "altered" egos. Inspired by Christy Tomlinson's she-art online workshop, Marilyn had the brilliant idea to teach a similar class in an art journal format. If she hasn't done so already, Marilyn plans to post samples of students' work on her blog, so pop over to take a look later this week.

For me, the class was part collage and mixed media, part paper dolls, and lots of whimsy. Here are some of my pages so far...

Saturday, September 17, 2011


I am feeling very connected to all living things today...not in the Facebook, smart phone, internet way...but the real warm-blooded looking into another's eyes sort of way...from my sweet Max, always ready for play, to the flock of geese who were resting in the grass by my car at work, to the squirrel I narrowly missed on my street (while driving a smidge over the speed limit and then cringing), to the tiny, barely walking little, little girl with diaper-padded purple leggings, holding her dad's hand and trying to match his pace at the supermarket today. What a world I live in when I take the time to look.

Friday, September 09, 2011

I see a bright light, casting shadows through my window...

Could it be?
Yes, it's the sun!!!! Me so happy!!!

During the past couple of weeks of rain and generally dismal end of summer weather, I did treat myself to an online art class by Christy Tomlinson (her blog link is in my list at right). It was my first-ever online class, but I can see this will be a wonderful way to pass the long, long winter in upstate NY!!!

Here's my first canvas from Christy's She-art workshop, which was an amazing bargain -- dozens of class videos with amazing mixed-media, drawing, painting and texture techniques and PDFs available for download. Thank you, Christy!!

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Sunflower on a rainy day...

I am grateful.
I really am.
Every minute of every day.
But enough of this f**king rain already.

Phew. Not quite poetry but I feel better.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Some perspectives on living in the moment...

From the book Spark by Julie Berstein:
Richard Serra was freeing himself from the constraints of making art, by approaching it as play. --

"I'm interested in the notion of play; I'm not interested in the end, I'm interested in the activity itself; I'm interested in not worrying in a self-conscious way about what I have to make."

--Richard Serra, sculptor

or, as Zac Brown puts it:

"soak it all in, it's a game you can't win, enjoy the ride."
(from the song Quiet your Mind by Zac Brown Band)

The messages of process over product and living in the here and now resonate strongly with me these days.

So I'm off to live today like there's no tomorrow!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Show up...

"I don't wait for inspiration. If you wait for the clouds to part and to be struck in the head with a bolt of lightening, you're likely to be waiting the rest of your life. But if you simply get going, something will occur to you."

"Inspiration is for amateurs, and the rest of us just show up and get to work."
--Chuck Close

When I stumbled upon this quote, it made me smile. It is something I have known for ages, but I love how he says it so simply.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Aug 20 Sale - Update!! - Questions answered!!

I posted the sale on Craig's list and received a few questions, so I thought I'd answer them here as well.

1. There are literally THOUSANDS of rubber stamps for sale. Gently used and even unused -- Magenta, Stamp in the Hand, Dawn Houser, Rubbermoom, Hero Arts, and dozens of great companies -- many are designs that are no longer manufactured. All types - holidays, words & phrases, flowers, animals, fabric stamps and more.

2. No stamp (of mine - I have some friends stuff and have to confirm with them) will be priced higher than $3 -- even those that were originally $10 or more. And I am doing a 25 for $25 of any size - Anyone who purchases at least 25 will pay no more than $1 for each.

3. I have polymer clay and clay tools, fabric, velvet for stamping, ink pads, brushes, embellishments, punches, art papers, beads, stampable items, containers, storage units, tins...

For those who may not know, I taught classes and stamped for about 20 years, so I've had decades to collect and enjoy these things and as my art evolves, I want them put to good use!!

I do hope those of you who are local can make it!!

Saturday, August 13, 2011


Next Saturday, Aug 20, for five hours only, from 9 to 2pm, I am having a HUGE rubber stamp & art supply blowout sale (that means really cheap prices). The sale will include not only my own gently used (and sometimes brand new) materials, but those of a few good friends. There will also be a freebie bin full of "priceless" creative stuff that is yours for the taking. Many of our rubber stamps are new or barely used and no longer available. There are also papers, collage materials, art tools, ink pads, punches, and artful items that defy description!

This is a one-time only event. After 2pm on Saturday, all items will be packed up for donation.(so if anyone knows of a local organization in need of these kinds of things, I welcome recommendations)

Please feel free to spread the word to your creative friends, and I hope to see you next Saturday!!!

where: 89 Old Loudon Road, Latham NY (corner of Eva St)
when: 9 am - 2 pm

I am headed to a summer party after 2 pm, so the sale will end at 2 sharp!!

For non-artists (poor souls) ther will also be some regular yard sale items for sale (baskets, storage boxes, books, clothing. etc.)

Friday, August 05, 2011

Heading to Boston for a weekend with my peeps...

It's time for our annual girly weekend -- Female Bonding Weekend is the official term -- and it's a tradition we've kept up for about 20 years now. To be honest, I don't remember the exact year it began, but I think it was the late 90s. My stepdaughters, who are now 30 and 32 (happy birthday today, Sarah!!) were around 12 and 14 for the first one, which they both attended. It has evolved, as have we, but the basic essence of it remains the same. We eat, drink, shop, laugh, and thoroughly enjoy each other's company...and after about 2.5 days, we've had exactly enough of one another and go home!!!

And speaking of females that I am fond of, here is a set of 3 little paintings that I made for a friend's birthday which is coming up very soon...


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sneak preview...

This is a sneak preview of a project that Marilyn and I will teach in one of our upcoming fall classes. We're calling it Plaster Encaustic Fusion, but it's also just plain fun -- lots of tactile satisfaction for those who like to work with texture and layers. We will have dates and details for this and other classes soon, so visit often or ask to be added to our email list for class announcements (see sidebar.)

Summer is just flying by, and with the exception of an uncomfortably steamy week or two, I am enjoying every minute. Sunshine, gardening, friends, family, concerts, parties, some boating -- all of the best of such a short season in upstate NY. Needless to say, blogging has fallen pretty low on my to do list these days!!!

...And another sunny Saturday beckons, so I am off for now!!! I hope you are all enjoying life.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Sweet Sixteen!

This one was created for someone special...


Here is something about art and being in the moment that I always find magical, no matter how often I experience it. I had been thinking about this painting (a 16th birthday gift), for awhile. On the day that I had finally carved out time to make it, I started, as I always do, with my baskets (many) and bins (also many) of collage materials -- mostly paper but also all sorts of ephemera and found objects. And what I continually find amazing is that without alot of searching among what is admittedly an overwhelming amount of (artful) stuff, the right pieces landed in my vision and my hands with almost no effort to bring this artwork into being. It was like I had willed each piece of ephemera into my hands to create this very personal piece.

I know that this is a common experience among anyone who has ever had an idea and allowed that idea to germinate. It both grows roots and reaches for the sun, and all you have to do is water it with your imagination and something both expected and surprising emerges.

Oh, to be 16, and or sweet again!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The heart remembers

Summer is usually a time for me to regroup and redirect my creative energies outdoors, but some recent rainy days have been a great time to hang indoors and paint. (beats cleaning!)

14 x 11
plaster, mixed media and collage on canvas

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Promoting a local fundraiser...

Announcing -- A Round Robin Stamp Class to benefit
the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

Make 10 unique greeting cards

Saturday June 18th

Captured Moments
2088 Curry Road, Rotterdam, NY


My talented friend, Annette, is offering an incredible card-making class to
raise $1500 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, to walk a half marathon in Lake Placid on June 12.

If you just a couple of free hours in your summer schedule, I highly recommend it. You'll leave with 10 finished cards and the satisfaction of having donated to a great cause. There are even refreshments and raffle prizes -- I have donated sets of handmade greeting cards and an original painting to the raffle.

Here are the details...
In a Round Robin, crafters move from station to station to find a sample card, simple instructions, and supplies needed to make 10 individual projects. It’s anticipated that you will need 2 – 2 ½ hours to complete the cards depending on speed and the number of other crafters.

Participants should bring scissors and adhesive (tape runner, glue stick or double stick tape).

New and experienced stampers welcome! Raffles and light refreshments included.

Reserve your spot by emailing Annette Holleger at or calling 860-8970. Thanks for your support.

Thank you to Captured Moments for donating the use of the space and to Stampassion for preparing two beautiful cards and donating the supplies for those cards.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Lately, I've been thinking a lot about my art, my life, my blog, and all the aspects of creative expression that I try to juggle. At the risk of repeating myself, (because after 5 years of blog posts, it's pretty likely), I am observing a regular ebb and flow to all that I do. Sometimes the ideas flow like water, easily and clearly. And at other times, they seem just beyond my grasp. Some days are simple and relaxed, while others seem frantic and crazy, but when I step back and take a look at the whole of it, there's a pattern that makes sense to me.
Ironically, I sometimes panic a little over the fact there is nothing to panic over. Does that make any sense? My days are not always perfect, but my life fits me lately in a way that it never has before. And I am so unaccustomed to this feeling. It is uncomfortable to feel comfortable...but what a great dilemma to have.
Wow -- I was about to follow that last paragraph with the admission that I have strayed from my "one word" intention this year, because I couldn't even remember what it was, so I just looked it up from my end of Dec. blog post, and it was the word "authentic." How crazy is that? Even without consciously thinking of this word, it has been working for me all this time.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Just a quick Avery update...

Avery turned 7 in April, and she's now on her first sports team -- the teams are all named after the major leagues, and it was a total coincidence that she ended up on the Red Sox. As one of the last kids to sign up, it was a real fluke.

Like so many families in the Northeast, we have a Red Sox/Yankees rivalry among our clan -- in fact, last year, Avery told her parents (diehard Sox fans) that she was Yankee fan -- in spite of the fact that Red Sox manager Terry Francona had paid Avery at least two personal visits while she was at Children's waiting for her transplant. She even knew Yankee Manager Joe Girardi by name.

It will be interesting to see where her loyalties lie now that she's playing for the Sox mini minors!!

(And ironically, her glove is a Rawlings Derek Jeter -- it was the only one they could get locally, in the Boston area, by the time she signed up to play)

I also asked my sister if any of the teams was named after the Yankees and she responded "Of course not! No one would let their kids play on that team here!!"

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


This cautionary graphic was on the protective bag that my new laptop came in.
I don't know why human stupidity strikes me as so funny, but since we're exposed to so much of it, I suppose it's good to find humor in it. Now, I know this is cautioning me not to leave this where my baby might find it and put it over his head and suffocate, (DUH!!), but since a picture is worth a thousand words, I amused myself coming up with some other possible cautionary notes, just in case I was wrong with my first guess:

It could mean --

No square-headed babies!, or
Don't let you baby crawl around with a laptop on her head!, or maybe,
Don't let your square-headed baby use the laptop in this bag!, or
If you find yourself in this position with a bag on your head, you are in no condition to be using a laptop.

Other possibilities???

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Visit me at Art Saves this week!

Jenny Doh, over at Crescendoh, invited me back to be an alumni curator, so I invite you to pop on over to this link, scroll down, check out my monoprinting demo, with step-by-step photos, and visit some great art-related blogs.

Thanks again, Jenny!

Friday, April 22, 2011

"You can freeze them!"

You all know what I'm talking about. This statement is the clever sales pitch of the most ingenious marketers on the planet. And you know who they are -- those little girls in green, who knock on our doors, selling their totally addictive, crack-like, thigh-expanding cookies. They're the daughters of our neighbors and co-workers, and they're the only door-to-door salespeople we actually look forward to seeing, year after year.

They're Girl Scouts.
And every year, I buy more boxes than a person who lives alone with a dog should ever buy. And I do this because the phrase "You can freeze them!" allows me to pretend, as I buy way too many boxes of cookies, that I will allow myself, -- oh, let's say, two cookies a day until they come around again next year.

Now, it's absolutely true that you can freeze them. I know. Because this year, I did just that. I froze them. And you know how that worked out? I'll bet you do...

I ate entire sleeves of cookies, night after night, just like I always do.. only this year, they were FROZEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Art is everywhere...

This is the view of the street just outside my gym. The pattern and subtle variation of colors and shapes of flattened chewing gum always catches my eye...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Aaaaah, spring...

I spent a wonderful day in my garden on Sunday, cleaning up and readying my pots for herbs and flowers. Though I am impatient to have them, I will be waiting until mid-May, when threats of frost in upstate NY have passed. Meanwhile, I am just enjoying temperatures above freezing, open windows, singing birds and sunny days.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Under the snow...

While cleaning sticks and debris from my lawn this week (which has finally revealed itself after this long, long, winter), I found this lace-y piece of decayed paper trash, and I thought it was quite beautiful. I am going to make it the focal point of an art piece. It reminds me of handmade paper with inclusions. Mother nature, a total bitch for sure, but also the most inspiring artist...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Use your stuff!!!

On Sunday, my good friend Marilyn and I taught our first class of the season, entitled Let's Get Plastered. Below is my sample, created in class. I shared my technique for using drywall spackle to create texture, form and dimension, and Marilyn did a great texture study, using found objects and textural elements. (my sample for this technique also pictured below).

When we teach, Marilyn and I always come laden with boxes and bins of "stuff" to share with out students during class - things collected through many years of art making: collage papers, one of a kind books and ledgers, buttons, vintage lace, dress patterns, stencils, beads and charms... whatever we think might be fun and useful during class. And our students are always excited to look through our "stuff" for the perfect elements to enhance their creations.

Frequently, they marvel at our ability to part with such treasures. I will admit that there was a time when I hoarded my "stuff." Even now, I do have a few favorite finds that I cannot bear to use OR share -- for now. But one of the many things that I have learned as I make art and collect the found objects that make their way into my art is that there will always be more "stuff." And that allowing my favorite finds to gather dust in my art room does not do them the honor that I envisioned when I found them.

I don't want to be the one who dies with the most toys (or stuff). For me, that's not winning. Really, I don't want to die at all, but so far, I haven't figured a way around that one. So, in the meantime, I will share my "stuff," as well as my ideas, and my passion for living a full and creative life, with everyone I am blessed to know.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Let's get plastered!

My good friend and artist, Marilyn and I are getting ready to teach spring workshops. The first, entitled Let's get plastered, (apropos, I know) will be held on Sunday, March 13, from 10 am to 3 pm at Captured Moments, one of our favorite places to shop and gather for creative inspiration.

The two canvasses below are examples of what students will learn to make in class -- an 8 x 10 mixed media piece made with spackle, acrylic paint & collage.

For more information or to sign up, send me an email (listed on the sidebar at the right.) We will send you a full class description, materials list and payment information as each class is planned.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Journal sketch & Photoshop alteration #3

I love taking a raw pencil sketch and playing around with color and Photoshop filters to see what emerges.

Monday, January 31, 2011

A sketch a day...

I received these great Moleskin monthly planners for Christmas and decided to use them as daily sketchbooks... I've turned the first sketch into a new blog header with some Photoshop fun...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A fun little Valentine project...

While teaching mixed media art classes (with my rockin' bud, Marilyn)at Captured Moments, last year, I saw a set of clothespin magnets similar to these, and I've wanted to make my own ever since. It has taken me a year to get around to it, but they're a cute little gift for friends, and a piece of functional art as well. Here's how I made them:

scrapbook papers (mine are Valentine-themed)- cut to 3/8 inch strips
sheet music
Gel medium of glue of choice
acrylic paints/paint brush
roll of adhesive magnet back 1/2 inch wide
brown ink pad (I used Brilliance, chocolate)
rubber stamp - I chose a decorative swirl - from Memory Box (maybe!)
brown & rose colored mat board (cut to 4 x 3 inches) - I buy cheap scraps from an art supply store that does framing and mat cutting.

Instructions:Paint clothespins with acrylic paints.
Glue strips of scrapbook papers to the front of each clothespin.
Cut the adhesive magnet into long 1/4 inch strips & adhere to back of each clothespin.
Antique the edges of the clothespins by tapping into brown stamp pad
Glue a button on to some of the clothespins.
Tear a piece of sheet music and adhere to the mat board
Stamp bottom of mat board with swirl & brown ink.
Attach clothespin magnets to mat board to give as a Valentine treat or for any occasion.

Monday, January 24, 2011


That was the temperature at 6 am today, when I attempted to walk Max... who went on strike and sat in the driveway...not because of the extreme cold, but because of the extreme humiliation of having to wear his wool dog sweater. So I removed the sweater, and he pee'd, but then immediately lifted his paws from the cold, so that was the extent of our morning walk... which was fine by me.

We are both cranky and a bit stir crazy from this weather, which promises to get worse, with another big storm on the way. When did I become such a complete winter weanie?

Here's the view out my back deck... Kinda cool, I must admit. (I would have taken a picture of Max in his doggie sweater, but he was flipping me off.)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Some of the stuff you will see in my office if you look around...

Clearly I have hit rock bottom with blog content. I suppose I could take artistic photos of snow and ice, but I am already so sick of winter that I am past the point of appreciating it right now. So this is it folks. Wow. Does this post sound cranky or what? I'm really not. Oh, and look... It's 5:09 pm. Time to leave work!!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Home improvements

I love my little house, but it has been begging for fresh paint & new decor for ages. So I decided that I'd tackle it one room at a time during the winter months, when my garden and lawn are not begging for attention. I probably should have done a before and after, but I didn't think about it until it was finished. This is my smallest bedroom, which hasn't actually been a bedroom until now...fresh paint, stained hardwood, a daybed, shelves, (thanks Wanzer!) and some linens. I need to add a painting to the wall, but that is still in the works!...I will probably be shoveling snow rather than painting tonight, however!