Thursday, May 26, 2011

Lazy, Hot Southern Days

I can't believe it's been over a week since I posted!
That blows my "three posts a week" right outta the water.

I don't have any "real" artwork to show for it either.
I've been traveling a bit with my sweetie, my son is home from college (for the summer)
and I'm still battling the
(sing to the tune of "where oh where did my little dog go?")

"where oh where did my energy go"
(Oh, where oh where did it go?) blues.

So, have I done ANYTHING?

Um, well...I did draw two or three small things.

I thought about doing several things...
but, after thinking about them for too long, decided not to put the energy into them.

I should say here that I have to avoid that particular pitfall...
if I think about/plan a particular project too long,
I get tired of it.

I guess it goes back to what I said about working a piece in my sketchbook too long...
If I do that, I feel that I have worked through whatever it was that I was trying to work though (whether it was a design issue or an emotional issue) and don't have the desire or the need to actually make that piece of artwork -
I "made" it in my sketchbook.

Do any of you ever feel that way?

The gardenias are blooming here
along with the most fragrant magnolias.
Too bad I don't have a smellicamera...
I'd share these in a heartbeat!

Now - get out there and make some artwork!
(she said to herself)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

This and That

I've been trying to switch a lot of my computer files over the past few days
so I don't have much artwork to show for my time...
I do have a small (~4" x 6") painting that I finished at a ballgame this past weekend.

This is reminiscent of my "Sisters At The Beach" that I did last year, As well as the series "It Takes A Village" that was so popular at the West Greenville Arts Festival last fall.
One lady told me that they made her happy when she looked at them.
What more could an artist ask for than to make people happy?
(other than to make sure "they" buy your artwork that you're worked so hard on and spent so much time on...)

But I mean emotionally - I want to make people feel some emotion when they see my work.
Happy is a good emotion to feel.

Well, I never intended for the blog post to go that way but it did, didn't it?

Yesterday I had a Wonderful Day.
I drove to Asheville (via Fairview) to spend the day with Judy Coates Perez .
She is there for a lecture & classes with the Asheville Quilt Guild.
I met Judy online several years ago and we struck up a conversation and subsequent friendship.
I have taken two (in person) classes from her - "Whole Cloth Painting" and "Mixed Media Painting".
Both are wonderful! If you want to learn how to paint, whether whole cloth quilts, or small fiber pieces or even on canvas - Judy is THE teacher for that! She teaches you color mixing, glazing, background painting...tons of wonderful information.
I highly recommend her classes! She is SUCH a great teacher.
I also took the very first "Color Theory" online class from her.
Another excellent class! If you are unsure of what colors to use, what combinations to use or color mixing with painting - then Judy's class will definitely help you!
I learned so much about mixing paint colors in that class it was unbelievable!

Now, I don't make any money from Judy
if you take her classes but you could tell her that I sent you...maybe she would love me more!

All jokes aside, if you have a chance to take any of her classes - you will not be sorry!

We spent the day just messing around in downtown Asheville NC-
except for that two hour shoe store visit...
I NEVER shoe/clothes shop but this store (Discount Shoes) was AWESOME!
They had a bazillion pairs of really cute (and comfy) shoes!
Highly recommend this shop...
We had a great lunch at Roman's, ate some sinful chocolate at Chocolate Fetish (OMG!), did some girlie clothes shopping at Virtue's, met Gwen Dien for tea at Dobras, then topped the day off at Bookworks in West Asheville.

What more could a girl ask for?
(well, except money for another pair of shoes in that seriously awesome shoe store).

Friday, May 13, 2011

Can't Resist This

This is a post of mine from the Sketchbook Challenge blog about this month's theme.
I can't resist drawing while I am traveling in the car...


Not while I'm driving!
While I'm riding...
My sweet husband (almost) always drives, leaving me lots of time to draw or paint or whatever it is I'm doing at the time (maybe sleeping).
This past weekend, it was drawing a little bit.
When I am in the research phase of a new class or a new piece of work, I always spend time getting to know the individual elements of what is going to go into the new piece of artwork.
For example, if I were going to do a piece using architectural elements and birds, I would look at/research/draw/paint/think about/dream about architectural elements and birds.
Here is an example of what I drew this weekend.

I've used a source book to get ideas from, then added my own "Callie marks" (Callie is my nickname) (thanks to Melanie Testa for the previous phrase).
I'll be teaching some of these very techniques in August at the "Textile Evolution" retreat in Colorado Springs.
The retreat runs August 17 - 21, 2011 with the one day "Whimsical Mark Making" class on Saturday, August 20.
I'd love for you to join us! It's going to be a lot of fun and you are sure to learn a lot.
I am also offering a two day mixed media book making class called "Bound By Heart, Made By Hand".
This is going to be a fabulous class!

I'll leave you with a partially complete drawing that I did.
You can see how much difference the  little Callie Marks make with the entire drawing.
Sometimes all your drawings need is a few little finishing touches to make them spark!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Finding The Art

I did a post about that canvas (which is actually a wood panel), I think it's the previous post.
I had painted an image on it  then covered it over with gesso (didn't like it).
Then I collaged different random papers on it (yeah, I didn't really need to cover it with gesso but I didn't know at the time that I was going to cover it with paper...)
Then I scraped a couple of acrylic paint colors over it (with a credit card).
Didn't like it so I used wet/dry sandpaper to distress the hell out of it (whoops) (but true).
Liked it better but something just wasn't right yet.
I drew a couple of things on it but they didn't work either.
I would add another color, sand, turn it round and round...
Leave it a day, come back and just look at it.
I really could feel that there was something there...
trying to tell me, to encourage me to allow it to take form.

But what was it?

I'll tell you this, it's kinda weird but...
weird things happen to me (in me, around me). Sometimes I hear things...
Like I'm sitting there and a phrase will pop in my head.
Or a word.
Or two "Spirit Dogs"


Spirit Dogs.


I was doing computer work (yuck) and I heard someone say this (albeit inside my head).

I ignored it for a bit.
Tried to anyway.

Then - I went into my studio.

There was that panel sitting there, glaring at me like an ignored child...

I began to turn it, like I had been doing...


Hey wait a minute...
Is that...?

That looks like a...a dog...
And there is another one...
and another!

I kept looking and allowing the panel to show me what was there...
It WAS Spirit Dogs (and one elephant)!

Look at this -

There are seven Spirit Dogs and one Elephant.

If you go back and look at the original panel (above) you can see them there.

Waiting patiently.

I guess that Carla Sonheim would be proud of me.

Friday, May 6, 2011


After I recovered from the initial rush of nerves at the beginning of the radio show interview, I really enjoyed it.
Rebecca made me feel so comfortable, just like two buddies chatting away on the phone.
We were both (more than) a little surprised to find that we had quite a few things in common...
making similar types of artwork, teaching the same type of classes, having artwork in the same book and, like a lot of artists, feeling such an attachment to what we do.

I love being able to use my creativity.
I try to exercise my creative muscles everyday.
Even on days like today -
I am SO tired. It's almost overwhelming how tired I am
but I'm still yearning to DO something...make something...
create something.
I usually pull out my trusty background papers and start throwing paint around on them
but today I did do something a little different.

I have this piece of artwork that I have looking at,
trying to find its purpose the last couple of weeks...

I've done a bit of collage on it.

A little bit of drawing & painting that I later covered up.

I scraped paint across it...

I'm continuing to look to it to figure out what it wants on the surface...




So far this is what it has...

I love the way that the surface looks aged - cracks and splits over the entire thing.
There is no crackle on it - it's just the way it turned out as I have painted, wiped off, wet it, sanded it...
constantly feeling no pleasure in what I see.
So, this aged appearance was a nice thing to see. Perhaps that means I am heading in the right direction with it.

I'm hoping that my energy will return soon - this being worn out when I have SO many things that I should be doing is for the birds...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

May Theme

Okay, better late than never on this post...
The May Sketchbook Challenge is Can't Resist This.
Here is Judi Hurwitt's post.

Hi everyone, Judi, here!

What can you never resist? What are you more successful at resisting? What favorite things do you just refuse to resist? Chocolate? Love? Dessert before dinner? We want to see them all! This month we want you to sketch, paint, collage, or express in abstract the things you resist and fail at resisting. Come on, we all have them!

One of the things I can't resist is using "resists" in my sketchbooks. In artistic parlance, a "resist" is a medium that is used to mask off areas in our work that we want to preserve. If you've ever seen batik fabric, you're looking at surface design that relies heavily on resists- in this case, wax.

But many products on the market will also work nicely to create both removable and permanent resists and resist-like effects on paper, so let's talk about a few of them.

The first and possibly easiest way to get a resist-like effect on paper is with acrylic paint. When acrylic paint has fully dried, it forms a flexible, plastic-y film on top of the fibers of the paper (or fabric, for that matter!) This allows you to work back into a piece with washes of color that will stain everything not touched by the acrylic paints.

Here, to emphasize a black, spiral monoprint on white paper, I used white paint to impress a subtle sunburst image on top of the page.

After the white paint had dried fully, I worked back into the paper by "buffing" blues and magenta onto the page with a soft sponge.  Notice how the white paint "resisted" the later layers of paint and retained its own character.

One of my favorite products to use as a resist is rubber cement. This inexpensive office supply can be purchased in most grocery and hobby stores.

To create an effective resist with rubber cement, simply "paint" the cement onto dry paper, allow the cement to dry fully, and brush, smear or stamp paint on top. Once the paint has dried, carefully rub the cement off the paper to reveal the layers below.

Above, a simple spiral design was brushed onto an empty, dry page (I used the brush that comes in the can of rubber cement.) When the cement had dried, I painted the page with a wash of green acrylic that I had thinned to a milk-like consistency with water. After the paint dried, I rubbed off the cement and stamped a new image on top of it with more rubber cement. When that dried, the page got another wash of color, this time in orange, and when the whole thing was fully dry, I rubbed off the cement for the last time.

You can leave the rubber cement on through multiple layers or color washes, though...

On this page, I painted a commercial foam stamp with rubber cement and impressed it onto the paper. Then I added a wash of color, allowed that to dry, added another layer of rubber cement, allowed that to dry... another color wash, another layer of rubber cement, and so forth. Finally, when I felt like I had filled the entire page with texture, I let it dry and rubbed all the layers of rubber cement away to reveal the final imagery.

Tips for working with rubber cement:

~ If you don't like the fumes, wear a mask. This stuff is sold to children, so I have to hope it's not toxic to breathe!
~ Be sure to keep track of all the little balls of dried rubber cement you'll be rubbing off your paper! If they get stuck to your clothes or the bottom of your shoes, you could track it into your house and deposit it on carpets and furniture. It's difficult to remove!
~ If you find you've covered a large area with a lot of rubber cement and need to remove it, use an old studio rag (rather than your fingers) to rub the cement away- you'll save your fingertips a lot of rawness this way!
~ You can modify any imagery you paint with the cement simply by letting it dry and then rubbing away any areas you don't want.

Another resist I love to use is one that has been specifically formulated for art. Liquid frisket is a milky looking liquid that you can purchase in handy squeeze bottles with fine, metal tips which allow you to get a very detailed application. Like rubber cement, once the frisket and paper/paint have dried, you just gently rub it away.

Here, I pushed liquid frisket through a Thermox fax screen** onto a dry, clean page. When the frisket had dried, just as with the rubber cement, I hit the page with a wash of color and allowed that to dry. Then I used the squeeze bottle and metal tip to do a little Stacked Journaling, allowed that to dry, and hit the page with another wash of color. Then I rubbed off the frisket.

** Warning: this isn't recommended. I did it as an experiment on a screen I wasn't particularly attached to. I immediately raced to the sink to wash the frisket out of the screen- this stuff dries fast- and saw no ill effects in the screen during later usage, but I cannot guarantee you will have such luck with your own screens! HOWEVER- you can use plastic stencils and when the frisket has dried on them, you can rub it off cleanly with no ill effects to the stencil.

So... what can't you resist?

May's theme is: Can't Resist This!

How to be eligible for prize drawings:

In order to be eligible for one of the May prize packages you must post at least one photo of a sketchbook page related to the theme for May to the Sketchbook Challenge Flickr group and you MUST tag one of your photos with the code "may725".
It is not necessary to tag more than one and it will not increase your chances of winning.

See the available prize packages here!

Information on how to upload photos to flickr can be found

Winners will be chosen by random draw on 5/31/11 and announced on the Sketchbook Challenge blog on 5/31/11

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


I love to look around me for inspiration.

Imagine my surprise when my own artwork totally knocked the socks off of the "inspiration meter" today!
(something that I noticed on my artwork, that is)

I had this quote hidden under a strip of lace on the inside of a book that I made.

"Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher."
William Wordsworth

I love that.

"Come forth into the light of things, let nature be you teacher".

How smart would we be if we actually did that?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Artistically Speaking Radio Show

Join me TODAY, May 1 at 6:30 EST for BlogTalkRadio Show "Artistically Speaking" when Rebecca Parsons and Lyna Farkas will be interviewing me as part of their ongoing support of the "Sketchbook Challenge" project.

So, grab a seat and join in.

Or, if you can't possibly get there for the live show - you can go back anytime and listen to the show online.
I have a link on the side bar of my blog - just click on the show with my name and it will take you where you need to go.

Either way, I hope that you will listen as I tell a little bit about my life, my art and my future dreams!