Thursday, December 31, 2009

Panache Figs, In Progress

Wow, it's been ages since I painted a still life! So far, it's been fun. I should do more of them.

When I stopped yesterday, I was just hitting the point when the painting was not cooperating and I wanted to start over. Every painting has that point. I don't normally like to stop at that point -- it's best just to keep going and work through it. Otherwise, it's difficult to pick it back again later.

However, I had to stop. And here it is so far. It's about half finished. It's not too bad. The shapes need some definition, the fruits need some shadows to give them some weight, and the background is iffy. Another hour or two and it will be fine.

The fruits are panache figs. They're yellow and green striped on the outside. When ripe, the flesh inside turns a gorgeous red and tastes just like strawberry jam. Absolutely heavenly!

The painting is 8 x 10 inches on a stretched canvas. I'm using acrylics.

Normally, when I do still lifes, I use a limited palette -- one shade each of red, yellow, blue, and white. Yesterday, I put 2 shades of each on my palette, plus raw sienna and Payne's gray and a green. I think all the color choices were a bit much. Live and learn.


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas!

From my family to yours, we wish you a peaceful and happy holiday!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

2010 Calendar

In all the flurry over my recent shows and holiday preparations, I completely forgot to show you my 2010 calendar!

Each month features a different artwork painted within the past year. Some are snowflakes, some are flowers, some fish, and even a few abstracts. Very cheerful images!

The calendar is wall sized, so it is 11x17 when fully opened, and spiral bound. The months have plenty of room to write appointments.

Calendars are available in my CafePress Shop:

And there might just be enough time to get one for Christmas (sorry sorry sorry!). There's certainly enough time to get one before the New Year.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Nutmeg Log Cookies

So, yes, I realize this is an art blog. But I like to bake, especially at Christmas. And these cookies, with all their nutmeg and rum flavorings, smell just like eggnog! Yum...these don't last long in my house!

I couldn't resist sharing this recipe. It was given to my by a coworker several years ago, and it's become my favorite. Please enjoy!

Nutmeg Log Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp rum flavoring
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
3 c sifted flour
1 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 deg.

Cream butter, vanilla, rum flavoring. Beat in the sugar and then mix in the egg. In a separate bowl, stir the flour, nutmeg, and salt. Mix with the butter/sugar.

Shape dough into logs about 1/2 inch thick, then cut into 2 inch pieces.

Bake on greased cookie sheet for about 12 minutes, until the cookies are lightly golden on the bottom. Let cool on wire rack.

Frosting 1/3 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp rum flavoring
2 cups confectioners sugar
2 Tbsp milk

Blend butter, vanilla, rum flavoring together (I used my stand mixer). Then add the sugar and milk. The frosting is fairly stiff, so I added just a few drops more milk to make it a little softer. It should not be runny. It needs some texture.

Frost the cookies, making grooves in the frosting using the tines of a fork so that they resemble logs. Sprinkle with powdered nutmeg while the frosting is still moist.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Small Painting Holiday Show and Sale

Hudson Society of Artists
Small Painting Holiday Show and Sale

December 5, 2009 – January 2, 2010

Laurel Lake Retirement Community
200 Laurel Lake Road, Hudson, Ohio 44236

I've entered two paintings in the show: "Snowflake Collage" (top) and "Joy" (a small watercolor).

I dropped them off this morning and spent the day running errands. Since the show was being hung today, on my way home, I thought I'd swing by the show to see how it looked. Much to my surprise -- and delight -- "Joy" was already marked as sold!

If you're in the area, stop by any time and take a look at the show. If you're interested in any of the paintings, each artist has posted their contact information with their paintings so you can contact them directly.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Handpainted Bookmarks

I've just started a line of handpainted bookmarks. They're painted with acrylic paint on sheets of heavy watercolor or printmaking paper. Most have accents of either metallic gold or pearlized white.

They are 2 inches wide by 6 inches tall, and are packaged in clear cellophane bags. The backs are painted white and stamped discreetly with my web address. They look very elegant and upscale.

Bookmarks make perfect teachers' gifts or stocking stuffers. Great for all the readers in your life.

See all the colors and styles here:

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Cyber Monday SALE on Greeting Cards!

Cyber Monday Sale!

All of my greeting cards are 25% off. They're now $2.95 (regularly $3.95). Sale ends TUESDAY!

I've produced these cards in very limited quantities - none have more than quantity of 4 - so when they're gone, they're gone!!

The images are my designs. I've had them professionally printed and then attached to the front of beautiful white cards. The cards have a lovely deckle (untrimmed) edge and matching envelope. Very upscale and classy.

The cards are blank inside for your own message, so they're perfect for any occasion.

I have 25 designs total. Here are just a few:

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Creative Gallery

Another chance to see me in person!

An eclectic group of 30 artists are gathering to share their passion for handmade crochet wear, candles, soaps, jewelry, truffles, children items, fine photography, paintings, and all kinds of other artsy goodness.

Stop by and browse around:

The Creative Gallery
45 Village Way (the former Shoe Gallery)
Hudson, OH 44236

November 27 & 28: Friday & Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend, from 9am - 6pm each day.

Can you make it? RSVP here.

Google Map

LOTS of other activities and sales are happening that weekend in Hudson. Makes a great place to spend the day!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Art Fair on Sunday!

Here's a chance to see me in person:

November 22, 2009

Valley Art Center

155 Bell St.

Chagrin Falls, Ohio 44022

1–5 p.m.

Get a Googlemap


Friday, November 20, 2009

Gold Fish

Who could resist those lovely pinks and purples with that gold background?! Such a cheerful little fish.

The fish will be on display at two art fairs in November:

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Scribble Fish

Color-wise, this might be the most unusual of the fishes in this series, but I love the movement and the colors all the way throughout.

This fish, as with the others, is cut from origami paper. It is mounted on a piece of paper that I've drawn on with Sharpie markers. Both of those papers are mounted on a canvas-covered board that I've painted with acrylics. Layers, layers, layers!

I've picked out some awesome frames for this series. The fish will be on display at the two upcoming shows this month:

Monday, November 16, 2009

Red Fish

Ah, slightly different. This fish, although cut from origami paper, is mounted directly onto the panel. No intervening layer of paper here.

The background, as usual, is painted with layers of acrylic paint. I've used intense colors but applied in a soft, watery style, making this background really interesting. Looks a little like underwater plants, doesn't it?

I've picked out some awesome frames for this series. The fish will be on display at the two upcoming shows this month:

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Plum Fish

This little fishy is cut out of origami paper, mounted on a piece of paper that I painted with many layers of acrylics, which is then mounted on a canvas-covered Italian panel -- which I also painted.

Major layer sandwich.

Deceptively cute and colorful. But all those layers give it surprising subtlety.

Overall dimensions, 5 inches x 7 inches.

I've picked out some awesome frames for this series. The fish will be on display at the two upcoming shows this month:

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Flowery Fish

I so can't wait for you to see these puppies -- I mean guppies -- all framed up! They're so cool.

I played with some great colors; these pieces become more interesting the more you look at them. This one has greens and reds obviously, but also purples and blues and yellows throughout. Really fun stuff.


I've picked out some awesome frames for this series. The fish will be on display at the two upcoming shows this month:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Blue Fish

I'm still on a fish kick. (That's "kick", not "stick"...)

This next series of fishes are slightly larger than the ones I did for Artomat and in a whole different set of colors. (Look in the July and August posting of this year to see the the Artomat series, or go to this post:

This fish, and his cousins, are made of my favorite origami paper. The background is painted with acrylics on paper. Then I've mounted the fish and the backing paper on a piece of canvas-covered board that I've also painted with acrylics. The boards are my favorite Pannelli Telati panels from Italy. They're great to work with.

The whole piece ends up being 5 x 7 inches.

At first glance, these fish are whimsical -- being fish and brightly colored. But they're actually quite complex and multi-layered. The colors are bright, true, but there are some interesting color combinations going on and some great textures. Definitely worth a closer look.

I've picked out some awesome frames for this series. The fish will be on display at the two upcoming shows this month:

Monday, November 09, 2009

Come See Me At These Art Fairs!

Good news! I will be exhibiting at TWO art fairs this month! Stop by and see me and say hello. I'd love to see you and show you the new things I've been working on.

Here are details of the 2 shows:

November 22, 2009

Valley Art Center

155 Bell St.

Chagrin Falls, Ohio 44022

1–5 p.m.


November 27 & 28

The Creative Gallery

45 Village Way

(1st and Main shopping area in the old Shoe Gallery)

Hudson, OH 44236

9-6 p.m.

Each show will have about 30 local artists offering a nice mix of eclectic handmade items that will be perfect as gifts -- or for yourself!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Magazine Article About Hudson Artists on Etsy

The local magazine, Hudson Life, has an article this month about local artists who use Etsy.

I'm mentioned in the article along with 2 others: Shannon Curti and Peg Mayor.

It's a really nice article about how long we've been making art, what we like best about Etsy, and what we like least.

The article is on pages 22-23 in the printed version or pages 25-26 in the PDF. Here's a link:

If you're interested in visiting our Etsy shops, here are links to them:

Shannon Curti
Peg Mayor
Karen Koch

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Fun With Bubbles

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to take photos of yourself blowing bubbles? In my case, it was dang near impossible.

I had a good time trying, though.

So why bubbles? I'm involved in an art swap with Liz Crain. Her contribution was a ceramic jar that says "bubble soap" across the front. Well, before I alter the jar, I just had to try it out for its intended purpose. Naturally, I had a lot of fun with it.

Hurray for digital cameras -- I could point, shoot, delete to my heart's content. I would blow a bubble, snap the shutter, and the check the preview. 9 times out of 10 (ok, more than that), I either had the camera tipped at a dizzying angle, or I missed myself completely.

I managed to catch a few of them just as they popped -- I like those photos a lot. Can you see the bit of spray in the lower right -- that's a bubble caught as it's popping.

And, then, I tried to get a pic of the bubbles as they floated away. Do they move fast!

Good thing my neighbors weren't home; they would have thought I was nuts the way I was laughing over here.

s you can see, I played till it nearly got dark. Just like being a kid again.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Artomat WIP #7 - Finished!

Ta Da! The Artomat paintings are finished! They're all done, dry, and wrapped in their acetate sleeves.

Fifty happy little fishes and flowers are ready to be popped in the mail to their new homes. Each one is unique and individually painted. Here are just a sampling of them:

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Artomat WIP #6 - Paintings Are Almost Done

I've had to set aside the art swap project to make some progress on my Artomat project this weekend.

The images are all done: tackgrounds are all painted, paper cutouts are all cut and attached, and everything has a nice coat of varnish.

After they dry, they will get a label on the back and a piece of acetate wrapped around before being shipped out.

Whew! It feels good to have the end so close in sight!

In case you missed the earlier steps, here they are:

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Similarities in the Art Swap

I've been studying our entries for the deKooning-Rauschenberg art swap. Liz Crain's is on the left, mine is on the right.

We had no idea what the other person would choose to send, but look at the similarities. Consider:

  • Both have similar color schemes: mainly purple with bits of green, teal, and ivory throughout.
  • They both have black lines for details. (Click on Liz's bottle to enlarge her image to see them.)
  • Both have circular elements. Look at the circle in the upper right corner of my drawing -- doesn't it resemble the handle of Liz's wand and the spots on the bottle?
  • Both have playful themes: soap bubbles and music.
Despite their obvious differences (2D vs. 3D, paper vs. ceramic), they are remarkably similar. Especially when I think of some of the other items that I considered sending that would have been wildly different.

Interesting. I wonder how that happened.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

An Unfair Trade?

I just received the contribution from Liz Crain for our deKooning-Rauschenberg art swap. I'm feeling like I've gotten the better end of this deal. Look at the fantastic ceramic bottle and wand she sent. They're designed for soap bubbles! The bottle even says "bubble soap" across the front in teal letters.

I only sent a little drawing, and she sent two wonderful pieces. Was I a little stingy? I didn't mean to be.

Honestly, I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it yet. Do I dare break it? Really? I could scratch it, paint over it, bury it in the yard for a month. Turn it into a mosaic.

Might have to enjoy it -- I mean contemplate it -- for a few days to come up with ideas. Suggestions, anyone?

I have to admit, though: I find it amusing that we both packaged our art carefully so that it would survive the trip in the mail unharmed.

Hers was packed securely in bubble wrap and paper. I wrapped mine in cellophane and reinforced it with cardboard. We knew it was going to be destroyed at the other end, but we still wanted it to arrive safely.

And, of course, as I unpacked her box, I handled both pieces very carefully so I wouldn't drop them. Made sure not to set them too close to the edge of the table so they wouldn't get bumped off. Funny, hm?

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Goodbye Little Friend

Ack! This is hard! I had to choose a drawing to be destroyed by someone else. Talk about heart-wrenching!

Why on earth would I send one of my drawings to someone else to be destroyed?

I've been reading "DeKooning: An American Master" by Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan as part of a Twitter book club organized by Alyson Stanfield.

One of the stories is about when Robert Rauschenberg approached Willem DeKooning and asked if he could have a drawing. Rauschenberg intended not to frame and enjoy the drawing, but instead to erase it.

The request from the young artist was bold and admittedly insulting to the middle-aged artist. DeKooning granted the request, although not without making Rauschenberg swirm. It's fascinating to hear Rauschenberg reminisce about the event and the resulting artwork himself:

I've been tweeting with Liz Crain (@lizcrain) about this story. We both can destroy our own work when it doesn't live up to our standards. But letting someone else ruin one of our own artworks? Hmmm...

After some thought-provoking discussion, we decided there's only one way to find out -- give it a try. We agreed to swap artworks and re-make them into our own.

Now, I haven't met Liz in person and don't know how old she is, so there's none of this "young upstart vs. established master" tension to our swap. For me, it's about giving up control and letting the artwork have a life of its own.

For my piece, I chose "Purple Music", shown above. It's a small drawing done with Sharpie marker, acrylic paints, and colored pencils on patterned paper. If Liz tries to erase it, it will give her plenty of trouble. ;)

It's a drawing I did this spring and I'm fond of it. DeKooning was fond of the drawing he gave to Rauschenberg, and deliberately chose something he would miss.

I also like that it has a music theme. Music played a huge part in DeKooning's life (remember the $700 record player?) and is a big part of mine.

Knowing that I've sent it off to its demise is tough. It's entirely different than mailing off an artwork to be loved and enjoyed. So, goodbye, little friend, I'm sad to see you go.

Now that it's in the mail, I'm excited to see what Liz is sending me. I'll post pictures of it as soon as it arrives.

So what do you think? Could you let someone erase, alter, or remake one of your artworks?

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Cleveland Treasury

Susan from photohale has created this beautiful treasury of items from local Cleveland artists. Isn't it beautiful? She has ever so kindly included my Spiral Collage Painting. I'm delighted to be included in her treasury.

Hurry and take a look at the treasury quickly; it expires Wednesday, August 5.

And be sure to stop by Susan's Etsy shop, , to see her collection of photos. Some are taken locally, but others from around the globe (France, Czech Republic). She has a wonderful eye for seeing abstract shapes in everyday objects.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Artomat WIP #5 - Fishes and Flowers

OK, nobody sneeze! One brisk breeze, and it's all over.

I've been cutting tiny little fishes and flowers out of paper all day, and the studio is full of them.
I'm placing them on the blocks and rearranging them to see which combinations look best. Another dozen or so cutouts and then I'll start gluing them in place.

I'm using my favorite origami paper, a Miyabi Chiyogami floral. Now I think it's time to go for a walk or get some exercise

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Artomat WIP #4 - Tweaking The Color

After the last layer of color dried, I brought the blocks together and considered each one of them. They all needed a little fine tuning. Some needed more pools of color, others needed details.

The painting steps are now finished. I'm happy with how the blocks look and am ready to move on. The next step is to get out the origami paper and cut out all kinds of little flowers, fishes, and other shapes. It could take a while to get all those little pieces cut, arranged, glued, and sealed.

In case you missed the earlier steps, here they are:

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Artomat WIP #3 - Middle Colors

Now we're getting to the fun stuff! This is where the colors get interesting.

I brushed plain water onto a block, then dropped in diluted paint in different colors. The paint swirled and blended on its own, depending on how much water was on the block and how much water was in the paint. Each color behaved differently. Each block has a different pattern of colors.

It's fun to see how the blocks progress because the color change so much as they dry. They start out looking outrageously dark or bright, but blend nicely and become subtle.

In case you missed the earlier steps, here they are:

Now I'd better get back there and wash out those brushes before they harden up.

Stay tuned for Step 4....