Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Good Things

Before I get to the new toys, make that tools, I have acquired recently I want to invite you to check out all the new paste paper listed on my Etsy site. When you read on you will see why I have been so prolific. It’s the tools!!
It amazes me how long I let myself do things the hard way. All these years I have been working with paper and drying it on every horizontal surface I could find, mostly the floor. All that bending and making sure the paint didn’t get where it shouldn’t. Finally I broke down and bought a paper drying rack. I don’t have space for the big one I wanted so my criteria was that I had to be able to move it around and the shelves had to be flat, not at a slant so if there was a lot of soupy paste on the paper it wouldn’t drip. I decided on a portable table rack thinking I could keep it in the garage and carry it into the studio when I needed it. But it’s a bit heavy for me and awkward to carry so I wound up buying a cute red utility cart from Harbor Freight for it to live on. (The cart is a whole other story.)

Anyway, the whole set-up stays in the studio and it has to because I use it all the time now. The shelves are about an inch apart so getting a wet piece of paper on the shelf is tricky. They are hinged so they lift which makes it easier, but there you are with a wet, limp piece of paper which might take two hands to maneuver. So how to lift the shelf too.

My smart friend, Barbara, came up with hooking a bungee cord on to hold the shelves up so that two hands are enough.

I bought my rack from
It was about $175 with the shipping and it is worth every dollar.

The other tool I bought this year is a tear bar. They call it a draftsman straight edge at (this is a great place to get gorgeous book cloth too) I think has them too.

I think mine is the 36” one. Don’t even ask me why I waited so long to get this wonderful piece of equipment. The beveled edge makes such a nice torn edge on my paper when I tear it down for the pages of a handmade book. I have been using a carpenter’s square for years and it is adequate. But the tear bar is the right tool for the job.
Okay, this last one isn’t a tool, it is paper and a recent addition to stuff I have to have. Mostly I sourced this so that there is a paper that is readily available to my students who want to make paste paper at home. It isn’t as heavy as what I usually use but it works fine. It doesn’t have as much wet strength as the Superfine #100 I use but if you don’t work it to the point that it weakens and tears I think you will be happy with it. And it is inexpensive. It is Utrecht drawing paper, #70, 12” x 18” and comes in a pack of 100 sheets for $10.99.
Winter is on the way and it is a great time to get into your workroom and dive into all those art supplies you had to have but never used. Invite a friend over and share the bounty. Enjoy the freedom and play.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

First Studio Workshop!

What a glorious morning. It’s raining a bit and the sky is grey but it is warm and color filled inside my snug little house. Stella is stretched out on the bed and I am working at my portable desk which is a bed tray from Pier One which I use as a laptop table. The reason for my enthusiasm this morning is that this weekend I taught my first three day workshop in my home and everyone loved it, including me. Three gals came from different parts of California and stayed in B & B’s in the area and spent their days in my studio totally immersed in whatever they wanted to do. Ooohh, now I wish I had taken some pictures at lunch time. We had GREAT food for lunch and snacks, most of it made especially for us by Nora who owns my favorite restaurant which is a few miles down the road.

Anyway, back to the workshop. Everyone had slightly different goals they wanted to focus on but one thing was in common and that was they all wanted to make lots of paste paper. So we started mixing the paste and the colors. The challenge I presented was that they tweak each color and not use it straight out of the tube. This led to some fabulous colors. Unfortunately we made so many choices and didn’t keep track of what we mixed with what so some colors were impossible to duplicate. No one but me seemed to be bothered by this. There was a fabulous grey, brown, with a purple tone that I made that everyone loved. When I tried to replicate it we wound up with about 5 different grey black mixes that were nowhere near as interesting. I will be making a lot of paste paper with shades of black in the next few days.

All three women are people I have worked with before and they wanted to do more surface design techniques and book binding. So we chose two books to start with; the one I call Sculpture or Book and the Episodic Journal.
What I enjoyed about working with only three people is that we could spend time concentrating on whatever particular thing they wanted to learn. The feeling of satisfaction is huge for me as an instructor when I see the progression in someone’s work. When they feel their time and resources were well spent and when they love their creations, well, it’s the best.
For years I have wanted to work with small groups and provide the kind of experience I have in my studio where there are lots of choices, plenty of time, and just about every art supply and color of paint you could possibly want at your fingertips.
My plan is to have several of these workshops throughout the coming year. In warm weather there will be handmade paper workshops out on the deck!

So let me know if you’re interested in coming to Jacksonville and playing in the color with me. It just takes three people to make a workshop.

I will be posting my 2011 teaching schedule for the events I travel to soon. There will be some new venues along with some tried and true.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


The first person to alert me to The Sketchbook Project was Diane Oswald, who I met in my workshops in Hampton, Virginia both years I taught there. Her blog entry on the work she did in my classes is worth checking out for sure.

So anyway, I looked at the Sketchbook Project on line and was very interested. But at the time was so immersed in the remodeling project here at the house I couldn’t imagine taking on anything else. Well, The Sketchbook Project 2011 kept being suggested to me and I guess it was like the hundred monkey thing and I found myself emailing people and suggesting they do it and suddenly I had to also. Last time I checked there were over 16,000 people participating. So I signed up and even signed up a friend for her birthday present. My hidden agenda is that when the sketchbooks go on tour and appear in San Francisco my friends and I will have the perfect reason to spend some together there.

I have moved into the house. And on Friday we initiated the studio space doing paste paper. It was a magical day for me. Ignoring the many boxes that need unpacking, the piles of stuff I have accumulated that I have no space for in this little house I dove into the color and played for hours. It was one of those days that just flowed. No struggle.

There is still work to do on the house, especially on the exterior but it is quite livable. And Stella the incredible cat and I love it here. We have lots of trees and space outside, a beautiful new deck and much less traffic in this neck of the woods. At some point I will post some photos. Promise. But now I must concentrate on getting ready for teaching and vending at Art & Soul in Portland in October.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

It's going to be a fabulous year 2011

Wow! Thanks to everyone who signed up for my workshops at Art & Soul Hampton 2011 and An Artful Journey 2011. There are only 4 spaces left in my Artful Journey class! And the Hampton workshops made a good showing for the first day of sign ups too. It's good feedback to see what grabs people right away. It's the paste paper and surface design on paper that folks go for first. It's what grabs me too with it's endless possibilities.

I remember the first time I made paste paper. It was at California College of Arts and Crafts in maybe 1990 at a week long workshop with Nance O'Banion assisted by Chris Rolick. Nance asked me what I wanted help with and I said, just don't let me keep doing the same thing over and over. So there I am blissed out working with metallic colors on black paper and doing the same thing over and over until she caught me and made me do something else. (I still have some of them, I made that much.) Nance is also the one who showed me "blowouts", the patterned handmade paper I make. Of course that week was what turned out to be an introduction to many of the techniques that I have gone on to explore and develop for the past couple of decades.

Every so often I wind up having a cup of tea in Berkeley at Nance's to see what she is up to. It's always something wonderful. One time my friend Bonnie and I contracted with Nance to have a private workshop in her home studio for several days. We work very differently, Bonnie and I. Where anything goes with me, Bonnie is precise and neat and has a very, very, very, refined aesthetic. So there we were, each doing our thing and not collaborating at all. I am envious of these cool gold papers Bonnie is making so they show me how to do it but it's painstaking and I don't have the patience so I won't play. Besides, I probably knew eventually I would get Bonnie to give me some. (She did.) In those days we had a thing where we would make paper and at the end of the day give some of our favorites to the other. So Nance is gently guiding, assisting, midwifing us both and I am thinking how different our work and in fact how different Bonnie and I are.

On the last day Nance had us display our work as if it were a show in a gallery. It was amazing. Our work was all of a piece. It all went together and it was beautiful. We were having a conversation through our art.

That is happiness and love.

You just don't know, do you, what's going to happen. You take a workshop and you may just change your life.

Monday, August 9, 2010

An Artful Journey February 2011

It's registration time for An Artful Journey 2011. If you are thinking of an in-depth workshop in a fabulous setting this might be the venue for you. Of course I am curious to see if my offerings are as tempting to others as they are to me. Some of the other workshops would interest me if I were not working. Check out the website, it might be just the thing to brighten your winter next year.

There is a lot going on in my life, it feels as layered and colorful as the paste paper I make.

But out of chaos some things come together, kind of like a book. So I have been getting the teaching jobs lined up for next year, designing new workshops, and working on my house. I will be moving in at the end of the month. YAY for team Albie, who are working like crazy people.

Oh, and the guest book I complained about in the previous blog entry that I made for my niece's wedding was a hit, as was the event itself. We had so much fun for three glorious days. The families really played together and got to know each other. My niece, her parents and her friends did an amazing job creating the most romantic wedding I have ever attended. Life is full, rich and fun. Oh, and it's work and that is fun too.

Friday, July 16, 2010

All's Well That Ends Well

So much has been going on around here. Well, not right now as I am being held captive by my worried cat Stella. She knows I am going away. It started when I unearthed a pile of clothes looking for something to wear to my niece’s wedding at the beach this weekend. Stella has come to associate clothing piled on the bed as preparation for my departure. So she climbed up on my lap a half hour ago and has me just where she wants me. So finishing the guest book I am making for the bride and groom will have to wait until my companion gets her fill and moves on to whatever pulls at her next. In theory I am very happy to make a book for the wedding. In practice I find it hard to do. There weren’t many requests about how the book should look so why do I feel so restricted? It reminds me why I do not do custom orders. I really get twisted up inside. If I just make what I want to make and people like it and maybe even buy it, well, isn’t that every artist’s dream? YES. So I am lying in bed last night feeling unsure about what I had created so far and realized I just need to play more, paint more paper with Anna and Blake in my heart and see if this thing can evolve and stop feeling so stilted. What I have makes a perfectly nice book. For someone. But for my wonderful niece and her beloved, nice is not enough. They deserve special. If Stella ever gets off my lap I will go and see what wants to happen.
But she isn’t moving so I will tell you that last week I finished my proposals for Art and Soul in Hampton, Virginia and An Artful Journey in Los Gatos, California in 2011.

The Artful Journey is a sure thing as only 5 instructors are invited and do not have to be juried in. I will be teaching a three day workshop at the Presentation Center, which is a lovely place. Cindy Woods O’Leary produces this retreat and she does a magnificent job. It is simply wonderful. And I think my workshop will be too. Look at what we will be up to at

I have to wait to see about the Art and Soul event. That is a juried process and you throw your hat in the ring with many, many instructors and Glenny Densem- Moir and her fellow jurists put together a fabulous mix. I love working for Art & Soul. I’ve been doing it for so long it feels like a family reunion when I get there. It’s exciting to be in a place where there are hundreds of folks doing art projects and building community. What a privilege it is to be a part of Art & Soul and I do appreciate the opportunity to share what I love. However, the writing up of the proposals is agony for me, as is most of the businessy stuff one has to do in life. It’s a huge relief when the photos and proposals are sent off. On the bright side of the business aspect is my dear friend Elliott Night to. She helps with all things written, official and computer related. Yay, Elliott!

Okay, it’s later and I am moving along on what was once that wretched guest book for Anna’s wedding. I wouldn’t say I was “cookin’ with gas” as Elliott likes to say when she hits the groove, but it’s freeing up now and I can feel a stream pulling me onward. It helped when I abandoned those dinky stamps Anna left me to use and pulled out my hand carved stamp of a heart surrounded by flames.
I can get into that.

Friday, July 2, 2010

My Old House

June 20, 2010
I thought I would never do this again, but here I am remodeling an old house. This is a cottage I bought 17 years ago and it was pretty much a wreck back then. The work put into it in the early 90’s has been used up by time and the lives of some lovely people who tenanted the house over the years. So it’s time to fix it up and move into it myself later this summer. It’s a modest little house built in 1950 on a piece of land that is at the edge of the town of Jacksonville, Oregon. I have almost an acre of land and, praise be, neighbors on only one side so far and open land wherever else I look. Of course, as these things go there is always more work that needs to be done than time and money to do it. I am looking at a multi stage project and have decided to tackle those jobs that are most important to me in this first phase. Energy efficient windows are the top priority along with replacing all the doors with solid wood ones. And air conditioning, which led to needing a new furnace. (That put a dent in the budget.) And I need a nice bedroom with a wood floor and a glass door out to the deck we are going to build in the back. That will be where the handmade paper will happen. The indoor studio will be in the larger of the two bedrooms. The walls and ceilings need to be resurfaced throughout the house. The bathroom and kitchen are boring, but functional, and so they will just get a new coat of paint for now and I will dream about their upgrades in the cold of next winter.
July 2, 2010
Yikes, the project has grown! Surprise, surprise. Jay, my friend and building remodeler, has come up with lots of ideas to make this house work for me. So that sheet rock that needed resurfacing, well, now there are new holes, new walls, and I guess those guys will be around here working a bit longer than I had anticipated. But all that is still in the future as we are waiting for the doors and windows to be delivered. There is still lots to do to in the meantime. Just finding the right color paint for the exterior was a challenge. First I had to get over the fact that the building code in Jacksonville dictates color. There are a lot of choices but it was the principle of there being a rule that got to me. Oh, you didn’t know I have a thing about authority? After buying a couple of colors and sampling and rejecting them, I just went and knocked on the door of a house I like a couple of blocks away. They were happy to share the information on the paint they used. Should have done that in the first place; I had been admiring that house for the past year. Speaking of which, I have to get into town this morning to get some of that paint. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Chris Stephens

How many years ago was it that I first saw the paintings of clouds that stopped me in my tracks? It was in a gallery in Sperryville, Virginia. Ann Georgia brought me there to see some local art; in particular some handmade books. The books were nice but ordinary, however the cloud paintings, well I wanted to live with them. As time went by and I returned to Virginia I met the artist Chris Stephens. We got to know each other a bit doing some art together and sitting on the porch at Ann’s place, Revival Springs Retreat for Creative Action. This year before I went to Hampton to teach I was staying with Ann and we drove over to Chris’s to visit his studio. I expected to see several paintings but I had no idea what a treat I was in for. There were lots and lots of them, all different sizes, and I got to look at as many as I could take in. Which is a bunch. I wasn’t conscious that I was going to buy a painting that day. What happened for me was as I looked, really looked, I began to sense very quickly a yes or a no. Yes or no to what? Something special occurred that I think is probably rare when a potential buyer is with the artist; Chris and Ann and I talked about why I was setting a painting aside and choosing to see another. What was it that I was looking for? It really wasn’t so much what I was looking for as what I was looking at. My body, my energy was responding in various ways to each piece. My mind only got to say, you are moving into a very small house, does the house have the distance you will need to view this painting and feel the impact of it. Okay, and at decision time when I got down to five paintings that I wanted my mind said I could have only two. Other than that I followed the feeling and I have to say that now that they are at home with me I am thrilled with their company! They are alive and they enliven and inspire me. Oh, and they make me smile. Partly because they are so vibrant and partly because I let myself have something I really really wanted.

Chris Stephens lives in Front Royal, Virginia and paints just about every day. What about you? Do you do what you love just about every day?

Ann Georgia McCaffray lives in Sperryville, Virginia at Revival Springs Retreat for Creative Action where she creates and holds community, takes in strays, makes wonderful art, hangs art exhibits for various groups, works with Nature, finds beauty in and nurtures all forms of life and most importantly, holds down the porch!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Ann George's Table at Art & Soul

Here are some photos of Ann Georgia’s tables at the vendor’s sale at Art & Soul. It was an amazing display of nature’s treasures mostly from the part of Virginia where Ann lives. I say mostly because one of her friends came up with a shark’s jaw that she happened to have lying around the house.

One of Ann’s talents is hanging art shows and when she was standing amidst the boxes and bundles of branches, bones and bugs she had brought I thought she would be there forever setting up and offered to help. But she said she was going to set up her tables in the same way she hangs shows and when I came down later I was delighted with the results.

And apparently so were others.
It was a lively evening and Ann enjoyed sharing her enthusiasm for the natural world with kindred souls. Hopefully she will be back at Hampton next year.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Recent and Future Workshops

You can see by the books and papers here that we were playing and working hard at Art & Soul in Hampton, Virginia. My classes were full and with Christine Hendry, my wonderful daughter and Ann Georgia McCaffray my wonderful friend assisting me we had the color and pattern flying onto the paper. Thanks to my assistants for the talent and energy they bring and for the support they give to me. And thanks to all the people who took my classes and poured themselves into their work. I think the papers and books are just wonderful. It was satisfying for me to work with some of the women I had in class two years ago when I was there and get to tune in in more depth to their style and the level of their artistry. And it is always good to bring new people into the fold and assist the movement in their work.

Which brings me to what is growing as a desire in me as an instructor. I really want to work with people in more depth than I usually have the opportunity to do. So here is my promise to myself. After I fulfill any standing contracts to teach I am looking for opportunities to teach longer workshops with fewer students. What I am thinking is that in the art retreat settings such as Art & Soul, I would offer a one 1 day workshop and a 3 day workshop. The one day would give folks an appetizer and the longer workshop would give people who want a concentrated experience a chance for a feast with me.

And, here’s the really good part, I will be offering longer workshops where I live, in Jacksonville, Oregon. The first one will be in August of this year. If there is enough interest I will do more than one. I am moving into a little cottage in the next few weeks and my plan is to have the workshops there with people staying in B&B’s or a motel in town. (Jacksonville is a lovely little historic town and Ashland is nearby) My studio will not be large so the number of students in each workshop will be limited. Sounds like heaven to me, what about you? If this is something that interests you write to me .

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Shed

Greetings from Sperryville, Virginia. It’s lush and moist here in the hollow where I am staying with my friend, Ann Georgia. And Bella, Gracie, and Leo (the art dog). When I am lucky enough to stay here I get to sleep in “The Shed”. This is a charming little building made of old wood, white washed inside, with a tin roof. So when there is rain, like we have been having off and on, it sounds like a deluge even if it’s a shower. I love it. There’s a little bed, a small chest of drawers, a little round table, and a couple of small chairs. Kind of like a cushy nun’s cell now that I think of it. I sleep with the windows and door open to the sounds and the wind. Last night I saw some fire flies. Reminds me of my childhood.
We spent my first day here looking at the wonderful “gleanings from nature” that Ann is going to offer at her table at the vendor’s sale at Art & Soul in Hampton, Virginia next week. She has amazing treasures; bugs, bones, fungus, turtle shells, butterfly wings, seeds, pods, feathers, nests and various parts and pieces like leaves lying around. Oh, and we went to the “free dump” and found among other things some big shirts for using as paint smocks and a weirdly virginal gown that Ann will probably turn into something even more weird and wonderful.
So...I am out in the barn working on some samples for my Bevy of Books class next week at Art & Soul in Hampton, Virginia. All my workshops are full, which is wonderful and affirming. Ann will be helping me in one and my daughter, Christine, will be assisting me in the other two. Life is very, very good indeed.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Visit to Palm Springs, CA

Just back from Palm Springs where I was visiting and working with my friend Elliott Night. I got to meet and love the wonderful Rosebud who is the sweetest, silkiest cat I have ever known. She's a Cornish Rex, so yes, she looks "different" but in person it really works. She is a light little thing who can sleep on top of you and never cut off your circulation. The last morning of my stay she had a little episode and slid off the top of the espresso machine. (It's warm and she loves to snooze up there.) Well, I was doing a photo shoot with her, one of many, and she stood and slid and tumbled onto the stuff on the counter. Unfortunately, I stood there gaping in shock but Elliott gathered her up and clucked in dismay in a most motherly display of concern. Her back leg seemed hurt so of course we were both imagining different but equally awful outcomes. But, within a few minutes she was racing around the house to her delight and our relief.

So what were we working on?.....Here's the scoop...Elliott helps me with all things computer. And all things that have to do with the class proposals I submit for my teaching jobs. If there is something in a workshop description that is weird, incredibly enthusiastic, or otherwise not recognizable as something I might say....that's Elliott.

Our focus for this visit was to start designing an online course for me to teach. It is going to be a comprehensive course on Paste Paper .We have the outline, I have the content in my head, heart, and hands and hopefully this summer we will get it online. We are excited and looking forward to spending time together producing this first course.

We had some time to play and explored the many many thrift stores and junk shops which is something we both love to do. In the future you may see me wearing a black smock that I thought would be a great alternative to an apron while doing art work. Then I unpinned the cleaning tag that was over the label and saw it was a designer item and now I am thinking pearls and dinner out!

A highlight of the trip was getting to spend some time with Terri, Elliott's partner. We went hiking in Joshua Tree Park and basked in the beauty of the desert, the rock formations and the blue blue sky. They took me to Noah Purifoy's ( ), a site in the desert where Noah created...what.....giant assemblages/installations out of "junk". Who knew cafeteria trays impaled on re bar could be so interesting? Elliott's favorite piece is a metal tintype of the Declaration of Independence attached to a huge rock that has been suspended over big sheets of glass. At some point the desert will wear away the chains holding the rock and it will fall shattering the glass and sending it flying. I really liked getting to be in Noah's world for a while.
And am grateful to be able to visit Elliott's world and to play with her loves, Terri and Rosebud. They all made me feel so welcome and shared the time and space and themselves so generously. Life is very good indeed.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Floor Cloth

Saturday my friend Cathy Dorris offered a wonderful Floor Cloth workshop in her studio in Talent, Oregon which is only a half hour from my home. Seven of us spent the day turning pieces of duck cloth (a canvas like cotton fabric) into rugs.
I did my homework but I bought too flimsy a fabric and the roll of carpet tape was funky and the design I'd planned on didn't grab me in the same way that day as it did before so the colors of most of the paints I brought didn't go with the aboriginal design that evolved.
I was in the right place but had the wrong stuff. Sound familiar?
Luckily Cathy operates like me, she has every color of paint in every consistency from powdered to fluid to thick body. And she was prepared for those of us who needed the right stuff and had cloth and tape we could purchase.
She also had many, many photos of carpets from around the world on her computer so we spent time looking at them and printing out people's favorites. That's when the seduction into a more organic expression took place. That translates as: not following a plan or pattern. I could just do whatever felt right in the moment. How freeing!
It was a wonderful day, I carved a potato stamp and borrowed others, used my brushes and their handle ends to make dots til my eyes crossed and actually finished my rug in a day. Okay so I was there from 9am until about 6:30 and we didn't even break for lunch and it was a long day but oh, so worth it.

You can check out Cathy's art at

And look at the class she is teaching at Art & Soul in Portland in the fall.

I have taken the workshop she is teaching there and recommend it highly. You will learn about color, texture and embellishment, have a great time with a very skilled instructor, and leave with a great piece of art.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

My Kind of People

My daughter, Christine, had a birthday at the end of March so for a gift I gave her a membership and tickets to the Ashland Independent Film Festival. This was one of the best ideas I have ever had because she loved seeing 12 films over a period of 4 days and I got to be with her and share the experience. Our film festival is just wonderful. Ashland is a lovely town, not too big, with lots of culture. The theaters are small, so it is very intimate and easy to navigate. We got to spend a little time with some of my friends and ate some good food and talked and talked and talked about the films we saw. I loved it. Yesterday we saw several short animation films. Animation has never thrilled me so I mostly went to be with Christine. Oh, and also I am trying to move through my mind sets that say I won't like things. I want to expand my horizons. I really did enjoy some of the films but what I totally got off on was seeing and listening to some of the film makers who traveled to the festival and were there for questions and answers after the showing. What inspiring artists! They are so passionate and they love what they do. They can't not do it! They have to create. My kind of people.
I saw a film about a famous American tattoo artist . It is Ed Hardy: Tattoo the World. This is worth seeing for a couple of reasons. First, he loved tattoo art as a 12 year old and then he moved away from it when he went to the art institute but went back to it and has been an amazing success as an artist. His images are licensed and Ed Hardy stores made over $700,000,000 dollars last year. Who says you can't make a living being an artist! Another reason to see the film is to get a glimpse of the 2000 square foot piece of art he painted on tyvek, and to watch him doing some of it. He spoke after the film and he was so available and confident and humble. Just a regular guy who, okay, has amazing talent but mostly it seems he's where he is because he followed his heart and worked real hard at his art. Oh, and the other thing about Ed Hardy is that he taught other artists what he knew. More of my kind of people.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I've been having a blast playing in the studio!
I'm preparing my classes for Art & Soul in Hampton in May including making some sample books. The three classes I'm teaching there are A Bevy of Books, The Episodic Journal, and Paste Paper Extravaganza! Just listing the names gets me excited to teach and excited to see what my students come up with. I am always amazed at the beauty and creativity of my student's work.
Lately I've been sifting through boxes of art papers, the "this and that" I've created and I decide to chop a bunch of stuff up and create a montage of all kinds of things I have made over the years. Experiments with plaster on paper, gesso for texture, of course paste paper, and crystal paper...those wonderful effects you can get on sandwich paper by taking prints off originals, marbled papers, the list goes on and on. I can't seem to get enough of playing and experimenting with paper, color and texture. But my stash is getting out of hand, something had to be done.
I tucked a variety of about 40 pieces in bags to offer when I vend at various art retreats and on my Etsy site. On Etsy they are called Fabulous Paper Variety Packs.

I can hardly believe it, but it's already time to start working on proposals for teaching next year. I am going to apply to Art Unraveled for the first time. So I need a lot of ideas, a lot of classes.
Playing with these creations of mine inspires me to do a new surface design workshop. I'll let you know what I come up with.

And now a note about Stella: Stella has grown up to fully embrace her "Ruler of Our World" role. She is a serious cat. She is content, healthy and beautiful. She is not very silly. I think this summer we will find a little playmate for her to stir it up a bit.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

My Pastepaper Using the Stencils

Here are some of the pieces I am playing with, some of which will make their way into books. Maybe.

I start out with a fairly limited palette and as I work the colors get "modified". That's my new way of saying the colors get polluted as I put the blue brush into the red container and the yellow brush into the green container because I am working so fast and having so much fun.

These changes in the original colors are often quite wonderful. As the colors change they become more mine and often lead me to move in a new direction design-wise.

Now these pieces below are interesting to me. I was cleaning up and wanted to use the paint that was leftover on the sponges, brushes and stencils. I was working on papers that had something on them already. The dogs. The rejects you don't know why you saved. I just stenciled over them. I got hooked on one stencil in particular and worked really fast and messy and I absolutely love the rawness of some of these pieces. I couldn't stop and the clean up phase was long gone and I was making yet more mess.

Life is good.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sensational Stencils

Recently more and more wonderful manufactured stencils have come into my world. This is a good thing because I absolutely thrive on pattern, lots of pattern. And I get tired of using the same thing over and over. And I like to have many choices. But I don't really like cutting my own stencils so what a thrill to have new designs to play with. The best thing is that you can get the same design in various sizes. Maria, who owns the store Collage on Alberta St. in Portland, OR and sets up shop at the Art & Soul events, bless her heart, carries the Crafter's Workshop plastic templates. These stencils are a nice thickness of plastic, which is something I appreciate.For those of you who will be at Art & Soul in Hampton, VA it is possible that Maria will have the Crafter's Workshop plastic templates available for sale. I will be bringing mine for use in my classes.

My friend and super-student, Marcy turned me on to another stencil source which is fabulous, . These are not as thick, but oh the choices. You can spend hours on the istencils website, but the categories I really like are: "all over repeats", "backgrounds", and "animal prints".
If you visit my etsy website, , you will be able to see how I used stencils on my paste paper. Notice the mix of large and small stencils of the same design on one piece of paper. And don't just look, try making some yourself. Big fun.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

An Artful Journey

Though it has been a week since An Artful Journey ended I am still under it's spell. The opportunity to have this time together exploring whatever held interest for each of us was a wonderful experience for me as an instructor. I had so much fun and loved every moment. It was a big commitment of time and resources for people to come to a retreat of this kind; three days with one instructor. The big surprise for me was how many signed up for my workshop who had never taken classes with me before. How courageous and trusting! One of the things I most enjoyed was how helpful and encouraging everyone was to each other. It felt to me that we were bathed in love, gratitude and appreciation for those days. It's a lovely way to live and I find myself feeling that much of the time now. It's as if I have received a big enough dose that it's boosted me to a new level of well-being in my life.
One of our first projects was a journal. Several people used them immediately to document their journey.
Look at the beautiful work that was created. Our classroom wasn't huge so we took over much of the hallway outside it to dry papers. Lots of folks passing by had a chance to lust over them!
One of the offerings was an "artist's challenge". I gave each person a small piece of my own paste paper and a piece of heavily textured gesso paper and asked them to incorporate them into a piece of their work. The book covers in the above photo are one artist's response. A good deal of experimentation and some innovation went into these sweet little books.Look at the variety below. One of the benefits of working with the same medium for days is the time to explore and find what you really like and get good at it.

Here we all are, a bunch of happy, satisfied and connected women who created not only art, but a safe and nurturing space to take chances and succeed.An Artful Journey is a creation of Cindy O'Leary. She took a chance and shared with us and it was a rich and deep experience. Thanks and love to Cindy.