Sunday, December 30, 2007

Puerto Vallarta - Sketchbook

Here's a page from my sketchbook. The view was from my balcony looking north toward the other resorts and the mountains.

It's about 5 x 8, black ink. Took about 10 minutes.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Mountains in Puerto Vallarta

Sometimes paintings work and sometimes they don't. I think it's fair to occasionally post something that I'm not thrilled with.

The view from my hotel room in Puerto Vallarta was fantastic. Really lovely. I could see the beach and ocean and mountains and palm trees and hear the waves.

I tried sketching them (leaving out the neighboring resorts). Needless to say, this isn't good. I'll blame it on the new materials and my lack of experience with watercolor. Much as I liked the convenience of the pens, the set came with primary colors. They are rather bright and harsh; I was having trouble working in subtleties.

As I said, it's a matter of practice.

Oh -- 4x6, watercolor on paper. Probably 10-15 minutes, tops.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Pacific Ocean

View of the Pacific Ocean from the beach in Puerto Vallarta.

Watercolor, 4x6 inches on paper -- same size as a wish-you-were-here postcard.

As you can see from my
recent ACEO post, I spent a few days last week in Puerto Vallarta basking on the beach. To challenge myself, I took some watercolor brushes and did a little sketching. I've never been brave enough to do that -- I mean, what if they stink? What if someone sees me?

So, I compromised. I didn't paint in public. I painted on my balcony, sometimes from life (see upcoming post of mountains - what did I say about something stinking?), sometimes from memory (as this one), and sometimes from photos.

I spent one evening playing with my camera at sunset, trying all the settings that I never use. Got some great shots and some interesting ideas for paintings.

Stay tuned...

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Ginko Chicken

Another collage. Made from printed papers, magazine pictures, and a photo I took (not the chicken). Oh, and yes, that's a real ginko leaf from my yard. Had so many this year, my driveway looked like it was paved in gold.

I wish I could explain the image but I can't. It just made me laugh.

Autumn Collage

Here's collage #2 from the workshop several weeks ago. It's 5x7 inches on matboard. It's mostly paper -- tissue paper, printed papers, wrapping paper -- though there are a few strings, gold foil, and bits of fabric.
The image of the woman is a photo transfer, made using acrylic gel medium. Here's how:
  1. Select a photo -- magazine or laser prints work best. Don't use prints on photo paper or made from ink jet printers.
  2. Cover it with at least 4 coats of acrylic gel medium. Let dry thoroughly.
  3. Soak in water for a few minutes to soften the backing paper. Rub the paper off. Soak as needed to loosen all the paper.
  4. The image will remain attached to the acrylic gel and will appear transparent.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Free Shipping in the Gift Shop til Nov.26

CafePress is offering free shipping on orders over $75 from Nov. 17 to Nov. 26. Use coupon code SHIP07 during checkout.

I've completely redesigned the store with new products and new images, new sizes. Check out 2008 wall calendars, sweatshirts, journals, Christmas ornaments, tote bags, plus lots more choices for babies and kids.

Visit the Gift Shop

Fine print:
* Free Economy or Standard shipping for purchases of $75 or more, excluding shipping charges and applicable sales tax. Delivery address must be within the United States. All orders will be Economy shipping unless, the order is not eligible for Economy shipping (e.g., order exceeds Economy weight restrictions). Coupon code must be entered at check out. Promotion starts on November 17, 2007, at 12:00 a.m. (PST) and ends on November 26, 2007, at 11:59 p.m. (PST).

Thursday, November 08, 2007

2008 Calendars Are Here!

I've put together a 12-month wall calendar of ACEOs, collages, and other artworks. All images are new this year, so no duplicates from earlier calendars. For some images, this will be their first time on the web!

Look for them in my Gift Shop.

Here are titles of the images used each month:

January: "New Year's Eve"
February: "Garden of Hearts"
March: "Spring Collage"
April: "Spring Window"
May: "Lavender Posy"
June: "Roses"
July: "Sunflares"
August: "On the Wing"
September: "Cortland Apples"
October: "Sunshine through the Mountains"
November: "Blue Moon"
December: "Snowflake #3"

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Snowflake Collage

Here's my first effort from the collage workshop last weekend. I'm still not done with the second one; it needs a little fine-tuning yet. This one is 4 x 6 inches -- postcard sized. The postage stamp in the lower left gives some idea of scale.

The workshop was terrific! I learned all kinds of new techniques. More to follow...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Collage in the 2 1/2 Dimension

I've signed up for a collage workshop with Gretchen Bierbaum on Saturday, Oct. 27. Gretchen is the founder and president of the National Collage Society, so who better to learn from?

We'll be doing a small postcard-sized piece in the morning, and something larger in the afternoon. Look for the results right here early next week.

I'm so excited about this -- I signed right up as soon as I heard about it. I've dabbled with collages but don't really know much about them. I'm anxious to learn about materials and techniques -- and get in there and start putting things together.

Peninsula Art Academy

National Collage Society

According to Gretchen, "Collage was the only new well defined visual art medium of the Twentieth century".

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Organizing My Studio; the "After" effects

Finally took some "after" photos. The change is so dramatic that I'm a little sorry that I didn't take some of the mess before. The "afters" don't look like much without anything to compare them to.

Ah, well. Photos aren't the important thing. The important thing is having cleaned up the mess and having made a comfortable place to work.

Oh. Work. Right. Yes, that is the point. I am starting to work, little by little, mostly on some new ACEOs. Look for some new posts soon -- hopefully this week.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Thoughts from Shanghai

I had a chance recently to visit Shanghai, and spent a quick hour in the Shanghai art museum. I looked at ancient Chinese scrolls, stamps, and jade carvings.

A couple of things surprised me: the scrolls were often covered in lots of red stamps. Apparently collectors and dealers would add their stamps to a scroll as it passed through their hands. The stamps served as a record of the provenance of the scroll, and stamps from prominent collectors would add value.

Sometimes, artists would leave blank areas at the ends of scrolls where viewers could leave their stamps and even comments.

It surprised me because I would never think of adding my marks to another artist's work. But I like the idea. I like the idea of leaving blank areas where viewers can add their thoughts. Maybe a portion of the canvas. A separate canvas wouldn't quite work -- it could get separated from the original.

As for paintings, artists would sometimes write directly on face of the painting explaining their inspiration. Sometimes it would be a bit of poetry or a story. But the words (characters) added a visual interest to the painting while also helping out the viewer.

Me and my love of words finds that fascinating.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Organizing My Studio

Maybe it's the change of seasons, or maybe it's from being fed up with the mess -- but I tackled my studio today.

It was so bad -- it had become a dumping ground for all the accumulated stuff that wanders into my house looking for a home. I couldn't even see my drawing table. Canvases were piled in heaps. Bags sat on top of papers sat on top of books. What a mess.

I pulled everything out. Every last canvas, scrap of paper, and all the furniture. Cobwebs? Please don't ask me about the cobwebs.

The bookcase is now in the living room, where it's desperately needed for storing books. I bought a nice little cabinet that fits under the windows, and has nice little doors that close to keep out the cobwebs. It's full now, so I need to buy another.

It will probably take me another day or two to get everything sorted and organized, and then a while to redo the living room to make space for the bookcase.

But the studio is already feeling more comfortable and inviting. I can't wait to get in there and start using it!

And, no, I did not take "before" pictures. Might take some "afters".

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Art on the Green

Art on the Green will be held August 25-26, 2007, on the scenic green in Hudson, Ohio (Rt. 91 and Rt. 303). This popular annual show offers 150 fine arts and crafts exhibitors in a variety of styles.

Parking and admission are free.

Saturday, 10:00 to 5:00.
Sunday, 11:00 to 5:00.

The show is sponsored by the Hudson Society of Artists.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Akron Digital Academy

Akron Digital Academy is looking at the possibility of offering some mini courses in the Arts to high school students. Possibilities range from drawing to drama, whatever might hold the interest of the students.

They would appreciate your help in locating people who might be interested.

Anyone who is interested can contact Neil Quirk at 330-990-3424.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

European Market Experience at Lock 3, Akron


In the tradition of European open air markets, the City of Akron will be holding nine consecutive farmers markets from July 28 to September 22.

What makes us European????? ART!

The Home Grown Saturday Morning Farmer’s Markets at Lock 3 Park will feature:

  • Local farmers and produce,
  • Weekly pancake breakfasts
  • WAKR’s Live broadcast of the Tom Dayton Show
  • Trolley tours of downtown Akron
  • Children’s activities, crafts, and science experiments
  • Akron’s History Exhibit and Toy and Marble Museum

And…….with your help, local artists at work with items available for purchase!

Jewelry, fine art, pottery, accessories, handmade books and papers, woodwork, hiking staffs, glass, paint, printmaking…and the list goes on and on!

All items must be handmade by the artist, and respect the family friendly atmosphere of the park.

I am looking for a few artists (3-7 or so per week) to come down to the park to work and show their artwork on Main Street in front of the fence line at Lock 3. This is a great way for young, emerging artists to show their work and show their talents to the public. Seasoned artists can enjoy the fresh air, new ideas and exposure to the public as well. People love to watch the artistic process, no matter what the medium, and it makes for great conversation and a better appreciation of the arts in the community. Ideally, you will be able to work on a piece (or pieces) on site in addition to having your finished pieces on display.

A covered table and chairs is available for your use. You need only bring your supplies and artwork. You may bring and set up a canopy of your own, no larger that 10 feet by 10 feet.

You are welcome to sell your work.

Artists are asked to arrive between 8:30 and 9:00 a.m. and stay until about 1 p.m.

I would like to generate an idea of days that different artists are available and interested in attending.

Please reply with:
Your name
Days that you would like to reserve a table
Your specialty (and images if available)

I will call or email with a confirmation of your space.

Our first event is THIS SATURDAY! Please reply early to capture this opportunity!

Lock 3 Park is located at 200 South Main Street Akron Ohio 44308 .

Saturday dates are:

July 28
August 4
August 11
August 18
August 25
Sept 1
Sept 8
Sept 15
Sept 22


Suzanne Graham
City of Akron
Coordinator of Arts and Children’s Programs

Akron Arts Expo

The Akron Arts Expo is this weekend, July 26-29 at Hardesty Park in Akron. One of the largest art fairs in the area, it features 160 arts and crafts exhibitors, a variety of entertainment, and terrific food.

Hardesty Park is at the corner of W. Market St. and Wallhaven Drive.
Get Directions to Hardesty Park.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Young Audiences of Northeast Ohio (YANEO)

Are you an artist with a unique perspective on math, science, language arts, the environment, history, or social studies? Do you enjoy and have experience working with young people of all ages?

Young Audiences of Northeast Ohio (YANEO), a nonprofit arts-in-education organization, is currently recruiting professional teaching artists of every discipline, to serve on its 2008/2009 artist and ensemble roster. Young Audiences' teaching artists provide arts education performances, workshops, and residencies to schools, day cares, and after school programs in eighteen Northeast Ohio counties. Here are only a few of the advantages of becoming a YANEO teaching artist:

  • Affiliation with a nationally and locally recognized arts-in education organization. YANEO, recipient of the 2000 Chapter Achievement Award is a chapter of National Young Audiences, which received the nation’s highest award for the arts, the National Medal of the Arts, in 1994.
  • Payment according to a mutually agreed upon contract.
  • Professional development and support in developing arts-in-education programs.
  • Promotion of artists and ensembles through a broad range of marketing and publicity campaigns.
  • Scheduling and Contracts arranged by YANEO’s professional, Cleveland-based staff.

To find out more about becoming a Young Audiences teaching artist, please visit or call 216.561.5005. To download a Prospective Artist Guide and Application, please visit

About Young Audiences of Northeast OhioYoung Audiences of Northeast Ohio (YANEO) enriches the lives of children and promotes creative learning by uniting arts and education. Organized in 1953, the Northeast Ohio chapter of Young Audiences is the only multi-arts resource for schools in the region whose primary purpose is to make learning through the arts an essential part of young people’s education. Programs take place in public, private, and parochial schools, reaching over 265,000 young people each year.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Clothesline Art Show, June 14-16

Visit the Clothesline Art Show in Hudson this weekend and pick up a couple of my ACEOs for your collection!

The show is sponsored by the Hudson Society of Artists, and will be held at the Hudson Middle School at 77 N. Oviatt St.

Members of the Hudson Society of Artists (including me) will have a large variety of artworks for sale, all originals, and all unframed.

The show runs noon - 5 PM, Thursday - Saturday.

Friday, March 09, 2007

"Garden of Hearts" is a finalist!

"Garden of Heart" is one of 4 finalists in the spring contest at ACEO Magazine! Check it out!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

"Autumn Lilly" will be Track of the Day at!

"Autumn Lilly", by Nathan Bigman, will be Track of the Day at

For 24 hours on Saturday, the 3rd of March, 2007 (PST) "Autumn Lilly" will be featured on's Jazz front page. The address for this page will be:

Friday, February 09, 2007

ACEO Magazine is here!

ACEO Magazine is out, and it looks great! Congratulations to the folks at Pointindesign Creative Services for a terrific inaugural issue!

My ACEO, Stonewash, is included on Page 3:

And here is the cover:

To see more of the magazine and to subscribe, visit

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Call for Entries

Just heard about this and thought you might be interested:

2007 All-Ohio Juried Exhibition at the Pearl Conard Gallery, The OH State University at Mansfield .

Entry deadline is Feb 23, 2007.
The show runs March 25 – April 13, 2007
419-755-4183 or 419-755-4255 for details.

Visit their web site for more information and the entry form. Look on the right-hand side for the Forms heading. The link for the All-Ohio Application Form is below it.

Monday, January 08, 2007

ACEO of the Day on New Blog!

The daily ACEOs have been moved to a new blog of their own, aptly titled "ACEO of the Day" at this address: .

I will continue to make and post a new ACEO every day. I hope this exercise will help me:

  • Learn discipline by doing some artwork every day
  • Hone my skills
  • Record my painting ideas. (I have so many ideas for paintings, but many get lost because I don't sketch them or write them down soon enough. My ACEOs often become the inspiration for larger paintings.)

And, frankly, the exercise should be enjoyable. I love making these little cards! And once they stop being enjoyable, well, the cards will probably stop, too.

What are ACEOs? ACEO stands for Art Card, Editions, Originals. They are small but complete works of art that are exactly 2.5 x 3.5 inches -- the same size as a baseball trading card or playing card. The cards were originally intended to be traded amongst artists only, which many still are. Those cards are called ATCs (Artist Trading Cards). ACEOs are meant to be bought and sold, as mine are.

Try a search in your favorite search engine for ACEO; you'll be surprised at how many results you get. They are a remarkably hot little form of artwork -- both collectable and affordable.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Blue Snowflake

Ah, a beautiful snowflake! It is cut out of paper, just like we used to do when we were kids. The background is a collage of handmade paper mounted on cardstock, painted with acrylics.

Why snowflakes? See the entry below for Dec. 31. I've posted other snowflakes here and on my web site at .

Interested? Buy it here.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


Much of my inspiration comes from nature -- how light plays on flowers, how breezes ripple through leaves, even how sun sparkles on snow. I delight in those things, and trying to represent them on paper is a satisfying challenge. Have you seen how a breeze plays with tall grass? That's the idea behind this card.
Buy it here.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

ACEO of the Day: Happy New Year

I couldn't resist doing a quick little sketch yesterday! I'd just gotten some new Koh-i-noor pens and some new ACEO blanks and had to take them for a spin. Very nice!
The champagne wasn't bad, either.

Monday, January 01, 2007

ACEO of the Day: SNOWFLAKE Series #1

This ACEO is the first in the Snowflake Series. I'd cut the snowflakes out of paper last week and hung them around the house so that we would have a White Christmas, even if the weather wouldn't cooperate. I just couldn't resist making some of them into ACEOs. The background is acrylic on card stock. Interested in owning this one? Buy it here.