Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Squam Art Workshops

"Expressive Faces in Mixed Media" - one class I'll be teaching at Squam Art Workshops.

In September of this year I'll be teaching at a brand new venue in Holderness, New Hampshire. I met Elizabeth of Blue Poppy blog at Artfest several years ago and we made indelible impressions on each other. That was the first year I stayed in the dorm with private rooms; I remember glimpsing into Nina's room across the hall and seeing the netting and twinkle lights she'd hung around her window with a view of the water beyond. I would hear Nina's soft voice in the hallway as her friends greeted her, soft murmurings instantly recognizable. Elizabeth had the room next to mine; Carla was also in our area and we stayed up late one night exchanging stories. It was magic.

"A Page in the Life: the Mixed Media Journal" - this is the cover of the workbook handout for the other class I'll be teaching at Squam Art Workshops.

Now Elizabeth has created this new event and happily has invited me to be one of the teachers there. I am in amazing company with Misty, Nina, and a host of well-known others including Grace Bonney of Design Sponge who will be giving our keynote address on Wednesday night.

I've included some of the photographs of the Rockywold-Deephaven Camp for you to study. It looks to be a wonderful place to spend a few days at in September, don't you think?

There'll be canoeing on the lake, wonderful meals, a carefree time to study with artists, writers, crafters and more. Andrea Scher, Penelope Dullaghan, so many of my blog heros will be teaching.

It will be an amazing journey and I couldn't be more excited. This is my year of new discoveries; friendships, places, stretching myself further than ever before. If you feel like opening the door to new experiences and amazing networking, please consider joining me and the others. Now go here and check out the website and the terrific lineup of instructors. Tell me if it doesn't sound awesome.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Visitation

This weekend erased the last vestiges of winter gloom. My good girl Katie loaded up her car with art supplies, food and jammies and drove down for a weekend visit. She made me the apron in the photograph above and she brought warm weather, spring and the joyful vibration of her kind spirit with her. It is a sort of wonder, I think, the way a well-loved friend can comfort your soul. And so we had a time out of time.

We started on Friday night with the IEA meeting at Amy Stoner's house. We share a 'no-guilt' potluck before each meeting and this one included 2 kinds valentine cupcakes. I couldn't choose so I ate both.

After an enthusiastic discussion, the dozen of us trooped downstairs into Amy's studio and I did a demonstration of a shellac technique with torch and hot wax. We only ignited the shellac once and put the little flare up out quickly. Much laughter. (I hope Amy's husband isn't reading this!)

Everyone who wanted to got to try out the technique. This is Katie having a go.

On Saturday we grabbed a latte and headed over to Diane's studio for Stephanie Lee's Plaster workshop. Although I took over 70 photos I am going to keep this short; only to tell you that a small class at Diane's studio (classes limited to 10 or less) is the most personal instruction and fun you will ever get. I sat right next to Stephanie and soaked up all her fabulousness for the entire day. We had the best group of plasterers you could ask for, the food was wonderful as always with snacks and hot beverages all day long. Here is one of many things I made.

I know - it's as ugly as a skunk but I never laughed harder and for that reason I 'll never be able to look at it without remembering all the joy bound up in it's making. Katie brought the hand door knocker that we used for casting - I had wooden numbers and the picture frame was from a small metal object. I brought the collage elements (photo of my mother). I call it the cake.

We also made plaster book pages. This is one of mine. I'll show it to you bound with the others once they are cured and finished.

Of course there was an after-party party at the local party place. Duelling cameras and all of that. The others will post photos too but these are my favorites. Diane and I above; isn't she a cutie?

Sue Hadden, Katie and Stephanie. We talked art, babies, husbands, life, friends, future plans, hopes, dreams, wishes. Just like the sewing bees of a century ago, the gals like to get together and let loose. There is a spiritual aspect to so much laughter and friendship. It is good.

I only had one of these bad boys so don't go thinking I'm a lush. I'm pumped now to work and play and share with you. I'll get caught up one of these days. Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

My Latest Big Thing

Breaking news: the sun comes out in Portland!! So welcome to my studio - today we'll be going over the new trick I learned at my last IEA meeting that I've been applying to every thin piece of art in my studio. You know, those beautiful works lying around that you did on 1/8" plywood or matboard. You wonder how to hang it. You dont want to mess with glass and frames but you want something a little more appealing than a pin in the wall. So here's where my latest big thing comes in.

Raid the wood shop for some strips of scrap. Grab your sweet little japanese saw (or whatever you have) and cut two pieces approximately the same size. Now put a screw eye in each one as shown in the photo above. Dont wire it yet. We'll use that yellow colored wood glue to glue the strips to the back of the art first. Let it dry overnight. The material in the picture above is matboard on which was a lovely painting but the matboard had warped. So the wood also flattened the mat.

Here is the same piece hanging on the wall after a wire was attached. See how the piece hangs out from the wall forming an intriguing shadow on the wall? Do I love this? You bet I do! And you can do it too with simple tools and a little bit of forehead wrinkling. (Both paintings by Misty Mawn.)

I leave you with another journal page. I bought new stencils this week and have come up with a spray box so the house can stay the color it is. I broke down and made up a bucket list. (Should I add Burning Man? There's still room.)

And thank you to Maralena for giving me the "You Make My Day" award. She has a very good blog that you will want to check out and I'm honored she thought of me for this award. I hope there is something to bring each of you a little joy today. It's there, just look for it and give thanks when it appears. It will deepen your well of pleasure. Happy Heart Day.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Sin Titulo

No title yet. This one's 9x12" on a material called magnesia core. There is a website at - an IEA member (Jim Talt) gave it to me to try out and I do like it. It gives off lots of bubbles (more than wood) but that didn't bother me. I'm going to check it out further. Anyway, I took the photograph of some metal doors in Japan nearly 30 years ago. I've culled through my photos some more for stuff to use and loved the colors in this one. I tried some new (for me) wax techniques; cut & torn stencils, scraping and accretion. I'm all about the texture these days and minimal design. I want the color and tranquil composition to dominate.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Chavo's Green Thumb

This will be short; a tribute to how interesting and diverse humans are. Again I present our friend Chavo, this time at the Imbolc celebration, bearing part of his pot luck offering. Tiny baby greens in the heart of winter that he grew in his greenhouse. This is the couple that lives in a yurt on a farm near ours, winter and summer in challenging conditions so that they can live as they love to live. Near the earth.

Here is my plate of food from my friends. Quinoa, cole slaw, basmati risotto. Not shown is curried chickpea soup filled with kale and other winter greens. Full of health and healing. Our bodies crave greens at this time of the year; the darker the better.

And don't forget dessert. I made a blackberry cobbler. Our friend John told us blackberries have ten times the anti-oxidents as blueberries. Wow. Good to know.

This is Tao, the baby born at home in the yurt. He is at the age where he is all coos as the grownups converse; he so wants to join in the conversation. Oh, I love people. They are just so different from each other and so fascinating. It seems to me that each of us has a unique gift to share if we follow our heart's longings. And that we become the best versions of ourselves when we do what we love.

Saturday, February 02, 2008


My body is fully aware of the turning of the season this year. Today is Imbolc, the day in the northern hemisphere when we observe the middle of winter, the celebration of purity, young maidens, seeds and the ewe's milk. From this day onward spring is coming; faster and faster, as the days lengthen, the light levels increase and our bodies wake up from their cold slumber.

For the first time in months I've cut a new stencil - of my sister Sandi. She was the older sister, the good one, who always tried to please mother and father and who was a focused and loyal daughter. She had fair skin, freckles, red hair and dark brown eyes. Taller than I and with prettier legs - oh, I love this woman whose skirt I remember hiding behind on more than one occasion. She is stronger than anyone I know and has endured many hardships.

I guess I've been in a contemplative frame of mind, thinking about other times. It doesn't make me sad. I find the passage of time to be a rich mystery. I remember so much. My memory has made beautiful stories of all the errors and misteps. Life is messy.

Tonight we attend a celebration of Imbolc, Candlemas, Ground Hog Day - whatever your designation for the day. Little celebrations will get us through winter. I guess it's time to start making valentines. Mmmmm, that will be fun.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Six More

This first one was inspired by a photograph I found of a long ago Easter Sunday when my babies were all fussed up for the egg hunt. That's my brother-in-law holding Stephanie and Shellie is the little one in the yellow dress holding the Dr. Seuss book "Hop on Pop". Both of my sisters are the tall girls in the photo; I presume I took the picture. I love my little sister Sue's flip (very popular at the time) and her teenage look of unhappiness at being caught fraternizing with our dorky family.

Then I went on a binge of Buddhas; playing with them in the photo program and then waxing away.

The green buddha and the hills of China (above).

The buddha with the japanesey writing (how would I know . . . an uneducated guess.)

A purple buddha for no particular reason.

A spooky buddha because I like the gaussian blur . . .

Oh, the cutest buddha of all! Yes, it's DH again with that precious face of his. What's better, the slicked down hair or that snappy sailor suit. Even as a baby he wins my heart.