Posts Tagged ‘collage’

Glitter glue, paper napkins, and a greeting card – can I turn those into art?


I’m sitting in a hotel room in Grand Junction, CO, and I need to do something for Art Every Day Month.  Tomorrow I fly home to Bakersfield.  Leaving this time really hurts.  I don’t think I stayed long enough – it’s always sad to say goodbye, even temporarily, but leaving Sam, my new grandson, was extra hard.  I want to help out my daughter more, but home beckons also.

So I’m in the Hampton Inn (which is terrific, by the way) and was itching to do a journal page.  It’s been SO LONG since I’ve done anything – good, bad or indifferent.  This one I’ll classify in the indifferent category.  My materials were limited -I had glitter glue.  I walked up and down Main Street but it’s Sunday and hardly anything was open.  I managed napkins and two greeting cards. But dang it, I was going to get something out of those things.  I probably wouldn’t even post it but I need something for Art Every Day Month today!

So for what it’s worth, here it is.

You know? July was a hell of a month. Plus, Earth is a Mighty Vessel. Art!


Gotta say it.  Ever have those months that when you look back, it seems completely surreal?  I just have to get it off my chest, and of course I know everyone wants to know about MY month – so here it is.  For a preview – this is what I felt like at the end of the month.

I felt like this chopped up pile of wood I found by our cabin. I was broken down, fragmented, and needed to be put together again.

It started with me going to L.A. for a couple of days to help my friend Michael. He’s in India now and was in the process of getting ready.  Sort of like closing out one life and starting another.  He now has no apartment and no job in the United States.  I’ve got his financial stuff to take care of, so he is free and clear to step through the looking glass.  Michael is a sign-language interpreter, and he’s interpreting for a recent grad school grad (grad school grad?) who’s Indian.  He’ll be there for at least six months.

Buying a computer with Michael

I remember back in 1971, Mark and I did the same thing.  We joined the Peace Corps. Put all our stuff in storage and set out for Morocco.  Took two-year-old Jennifer with us. Both sets of parents were horrified – how could we do such a thing? How unsafe it would be.  What about Jennifer? Could we get jobs after being out of the country two years? Looking back, it was pretty brave – walking into Oujda, Morocco, with only basic language skills and having to find a house to rent and furnish it with a PC volunteer salary, but it wasn’t foolhardy. We were young, when, of course, you do things you’d think two or three times about now.

So Michael is taking a big risk – stepping into his new life in India.  I’m happy for him to have this adventure because after living in a foreign country, life is never the same.  It’s fuller, richer, and everything around you takes on more relativity.  If we didn’t have nine grandkids with number ten on the way, we’d be right back in the Peace Corps.

Anyhow – I was in L.A. helping Michael and he woke up one day with strep throat. Not good. So I zoomed back to Bako and left for Florida on July 5.  I’ve written lots of posts about that – I’m sure no one wants to hear the words “heat” and “humidity” once more!  But it was all that and more.  Nothing has ever tired me out as much as that trip, but had I known in advance, I would have still gone. I was simply unable to pass up the chance to visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  Would I go back in July? Given the choice, no.  Never.  But I wouldn’t have to – I’ve been.

Frazzled parents on the soccer field in Palm Beach

Breakfast at Three Broomsticks at Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Then came the pathetic 24-hour return trip to California. One day home. Off to the cabin with all nine grandkids and two daughters.

Grandkids at the cabin

Now, would you like a laugh? Because you are going to get one. I was so frazzled that I made the absolute most pathetic cake in the universe for Jen and Karen’s birthdays at the cabin.  It was all I had so I had to use it.  Get ready for a ROFL moment.

The most pathetic birthday cake in the history of mankind

Two days home.  More stuff with Michael including a mad-dash day right before his flight replacing everything in his lost wallet! This is not a good idea, losing your wallet the day before you embark on a new life.  Yet maybe it was symbolic – starting again.

Straight to Costa Mesa for the Adam Lambert concert, which I also wrote about.

Then up to Pismo for some days with my friend Pat.

Me with Patty Cake

Then the road home.

If I was home 5 days in July I’d be surprised.  But I can’t check my calender definitively because my computer, and therefore outlook, is kaput.

First week of August: the air conditioner broke in our house, my computer crashed and is still absent (working on the macbook), lots of running around to get the cabin ready for renting. New bank accounts, web site, ad infinitum.  Fasting lab work.  I’m happy to report that my lipid panel and my cholesterol levels are on the low side.  One victory for August!

Did I mention the dead bird and the frog in my closet? That the cats – I suspect Tiger, really – have/has been urinating in the closet and my room? That’s solved now, but I think it was too much for me to be gone such a long time.  I got pherenomes from the vet to spray on the spots, and I have happy cats now.  Calm cats.  I am giving them both plenty of attention.  Maybe Tiger will stop being so crabby.

Oh my, there is more. But I can hardly remember. My parents of course.  Yesterday I wrote the story about the keys.

Ah – I forgot the mammoth trip to IKEA (1 1/2 hours away) and putting together bookcases, beds, mounting televisions, etc.  And worse than almost anything was a horrible phone call to Direct TV to get it installed at the cabin.  My head was spinning – it was the highest pressure sell I’ve ever experienced, and when I was hanging up after probably  ONE HOUR, the sales guy still wouldn’t stop selling.  I had to say, “Thank you. I’m not ordering your product. I am hanging up now. Goodbye.”

But I did order it because it’s the only service available in Alta Sierra.  HOWEVER I ordered it in a bundle though Verizon and it was a very civilized procedure.  Have to zip up there Thursday for installation.  And on Friday my sister, her husband, and my two nephews from Juneau are coming for the annual summer visit.

OK, it’s off my chest. It’s a wonder I’m still sane. I do not want to go anywhere for a long time.

SO finally I had time to produce some art this weekend.  In fact, I had to because the deadline for the museum show this year was today! The theme is Vessels.  I worked on a collage for two days.   I decided to meet the theme head-on and wrote a poem about vessels which  I’ll put it in here because the words probably won’t show on the screen, and then I’ll put in the picture.  There is a lot of intentional symbolism in this collage.  I wonder what people will see, since they can’t see inside my mind.

Earth is a Mighty Vessel

Earth is a mighty vessel, bountiful,

Impersonal, arid.

We rise with this vessel, higher.

We leave this vessel when we can swim.

Except those who sink.

We laugh with riches from vessel Earth.

Our bodies become vessels,

Adorned as Earth adorns herself.

Earth is a bumpy vessel with which

We float, rise, paddle, dive.

Earth’s buoyancy brings us back.

Except those who sink.

Accept those who sink.

Earth is a Mighty Vessel

And now we move forward.

New Collage for Latination and a Peacock


I finally finished the collage I was making to submit for a show at Metro Galleries called Latination.  It has to be Latin-themed in some way, even loosely.  If you click on the link you can see more about the show, and if you click on the Gallery Info tab and then click artists, you will see me!

Anyway, here’s the collage.  It took me a long time to get this right.  It was the bottom right section that was troublesome but I think I have it.

Materials are paint on canvas, vintage fruit crate labels, and my own photos of the sky.

And just for fun I did a small painting.  It’s only the second one I’ve ever done, and considering I don’t know how to paint, I think it’s pretty good.  As art, it’s pretty bad.  But I had fun.  I copied a picture I took of a peacock.  If you click on the “My Photos” tab at the top, then enter the Animal Gallery, you’ll see the photo – it’s number G1-14.  You can also enter the Photo Gallery on the sidebar.

I am under no illusions or delusions that I’ll be a painter.  But since I’m not trying to be, I guess I can do what I want, no matter how crude it is.  I was just thrilled to get the color right and actually have it resemble a peacock!

That’s all, folks.  It’s hot in Bako now – we’ve had a good run this spring of wonderful, mild temps, but now we are in Bakersfield summer mode – over 100 degrees.  Funny how draining that is even when the house is air conditioned.  I’m not complaining, though.  I have a house and I have air conditioning, which probably puts me in the top tier of comfort around the world.  And I have the time to do things like try to paint.  It may all collapse on us one day, but for now I’m very grateful.

Cock-a-doodle-doo: a new collage and still life for Latination


Roosters. I have roosters on my mind. Why? I’m getting ready to submit some pieces to Metro Galleries for the Latination show this fall. The art has to be somehow connected to a Latin theme, even if only in color. Don’t know why roosters came to mind but they did, and so I worked on a new collage and a four-part still life.

The collage was different at first, but I wasn’t satisfied. I had flowers on it, but I took them off and added the thin translucent strips on the bottom. Now, however, they are gone. It just finally didn’t need anything else. So here it is the old way.

And here it is the new way:

I like this one much better.  I painted the background, then used vintage crate labels for the sun(flower), rooster, oranges, mission and hills.  The sky is from various cloud photos I took this year.  Trust me, in person, the version without flowers looks much better.

So then I felt like doing a still life.  I used this collage as the background, added some scarves and real flowers as well as a feather rooster we have, and photographed it in four positions.  I had the photos put on canvas so it’s a “four-tych” – whatever that would be.  The process is confusing I know – between painting, collage, still life, photo, and then back to canvas.

I will probably do one other piece for submission. Hopefully, at least one will be accepted.

And another one…nameless as yet


Got one more collage done at the cabin that I think I’m entering in a show called Latination that Metro Galleries has in the fall.  In fact, Metro Galleries (that’s where I had my show last October) has a new website and it’s fantastic.  You can take a look here – and if you click the tab for past exhibits, you’ll see Altered Landscapes which was mine.  Anyway, be sure and use my link – it’s   Good thing I double-checked because I forgot the “the” at first and got to a site where I could get videos of hot girls kissing.  No thanks.

AND tomorrow I plan to do two things – catch up on everyone’s blogs and continue learning how to use the droid incredible.  My friend Michael called this evening from Sydney – yep, the one down under.  Miraculously, I managed to answer the call.  Answering is hit and miss, but the next thing I’m doing is reading the manual on answering.  New phones.  I’ll figure it out.

So here’s the new collage.


And here’s The Apple again.  Yesterday I said I had to fix something – a red part on a branch that I wanted to be just newsprint.  It looks WAY better.  Amazing what one little thing will do.

P.S.  I think the cats are happy that I’m home.

The Apple


Yes! Finally.  I did a collage!  It’s been sooooo long since I’ve done anything but fingerpaint with grandkids.  The move gobbled up our time and energy, but now I’m at the cabin – been here since Tuesday all by myself – and I got something done.  Tomorrow, another.  This one, The Apple, is acrylic and collage materials (newspaper, crate label) on canvas.  It’s 16 x 20.

The tree on the left is full of negative words and headlines; on the right, positive.  Kind of an obvious theme but I wanted to do it.  I need to change one thing, however – the red paper on the branch on the right.  Needs to be neutral.

Not the Jabberwock


I have been so frustrated at not being able to work because of all this packing and moving, that I made a little time to do a journal page. I used an image of the Chimera of Arezzo, which we saw last  year at the Getty Villa in Malibu.  I also used a very strange bird called a Shoebill that we saw at the San Diego Wild Animal Park.  I do have more animal park photos in my animal gallery. And a tour guide company actually used one of a cheetah in its online guide.

The journal page turned out kind of funny.  I had the Jabberwock in mind because I kept thinking, O Frabjous Day! Callooh! Callay! from Carroll’s poem Jaberwocky, but the collage wasn’t developing very frabjously.  So for what’s it worth, here it is.

#CED2010: Home is Where the Art Is


Thinking about home.  Thinking about art.  Realizing that for so many of us, home is where the art is.  Yesterday I wrote about chasing the cobwebs out of my mind by getting the space around me in order.  I spent lots of time ordering the studio and I posted pix of that yesterday.  Whollyjeanne made an interesting observation about that post – she says she has a notion that physical space is often a reflection of inner space.  I’ve never thought in those terms exactly, but it makes sense of course  – because if we are lucky, we arrange our physical space to be that in which we are comfortable observing and existing.  It goes even farther than that however, because I think our physical space can be a reflection of what we would like our inner space to be – or perhaps how we would like our outer life to reflect our inner space.

Our house has always been full of art – my dad’s art (he’s actually a famous artist), my mom’s art (quilting), and then whatever we could afford.  Which wasn’t a whole heck of a lot.  But honestly, our walls have no blank space – art is everywhere.  Yet there was none of my art because I wasn’t making any.  I was generating an income however I could for years, then teaching seventh-grade, and when I was 60, I retired. (Thank goodness my husband is still working because becoming an artist is expensive.).

That’s when my inner space synced with my physical space.  The art was always in me I guess.  Photography always, for sure.  But all of a sudden my inner space started erupting with creativity and I started creating collages from my photos.  The whole art thing is so exciting that I ran off in all directions at once, but recently realized I have to pull in and create using my photos, which is where I am strongest and where my “artistic” roots are.

So, yes, home is where the art is.  Here are two of the latest things I’ve done.  When I was snowed in at the cabin I finished these, but with the sadness of the last week I haven’t had time to post them yet.  At least I’m pretty sure I haven’t since I came home to all that turmoil during which photoshop decided to quit, etc.  In fact, these are not the best scans of these canvases because I have been having scanner problems, photoshop problems, computer problems, phone problems (not that that has anything to do with art), missing tripod-part problems – in other words, it’s been a messy week.

I posted a small study I did in my art journal but I knew it wouldn’t be the final form, and indeed it wasn’t – this is.  Most people don’t like this.  I do.  I forgot to put a second coat on the background (acrylic) so I rubbed pastel all over it and then put omni-gel over it all.  I took the photo of the cans in a little country store, the Twin Oaks General Store, in Twin Oaks – a very small community on Caliente Creek Road in Kern County.  Had never seen Popeye spinach and it just captured my fancy.  The orange circle, the bowl of peas, and Plenti Grand are from vintage fruit and vegetable crate labels.

The background photo for this collage is a stop along Interstate I70 – and the giraffe I actually took eons ago at the Santa Barbara Zoo.  I found this photo during the infernal and still unfinished photo-organizing project.  So I thought I’d move the giraffe to an unfamiliar location – his inner space and physical space are no doubt suffering a  disconnect.  Perhaps he’s longing for the familiar.  Then I added some art paper embellishments but I don’t like the way the pink meets, or maybe I do, so I’ll either fix it or I won’t.  How’s that for decisiveness?

So that’s it for Home is Where the Art Is – and I made a completely ungrammatical decision to capitalize the last I!  This construct of Creative Every Day and monthly themes is proving most productive – nice to give a direction for thoughts to roam.

#CED2010: Adam Lambert! And New Works


Talk about a body!  What better way to end Creative Every Day’s Body-themed month than with Adam Lambert.  I’ve got two tickets to see him at Fantasy Springs Resort and Casino in Palm Springs in February.  It wasn’t easy – I do not know how to be the first on those phone lines or on the internet!  But I’ll be there.

This guy is as gorgeous inside as he is outside.  And his voice is indescribable. But I divert.  Easy to get diverted by Adam Lambert.

This will no doubt be my last post for January so I thought I’d put in a few things I’ve done up here at the cabin.  The photos are very bad, however.  I had to crop so they would be straight and lost a little of the art.  Contrary to usual patterns, the plate to my tripod did NOT show up after I ordered new ones.  So much for that theory.

Besides writing a poem and a few stories, I did an 11×14 of the Shadows study in my workbook.  It’s less crowded on the bigger sheet, and at first I wasn’t sure about it.  Now I like the simplicity.

For those of you who didn’t see the post, these figures are my grandchildren.  I took the photo so long ago, and it was during the infernal photo-organizing project that I rediscovered it.  Which reminds me that when I’m home Sunday, I have to finish that project up.  Anyway, you can see the original post here.  And the original shadow.

I did a quick journal page with a photo I plan to use today in a full-sized work.  But it’s not going to be like the journal page.  Years ago I was driving Caliente Creek Road and stopped into Twin Oaks General Store. This Popeye can was on the shelf.  I didn’t know Popeye graced canned food, but I loved it.  So of course I took a photo.

Maybe I should call it Spinach?

The last one I did was hard.  I couldn’t get it to work at all until I spattered paint on it as water droplets from the wave.

The wave and the people in the boat are from that Japanese Print book we were discarding.  The fire is a photo I took at an oil well blowout in Coalinga years ago.  And the eagle is a photo I took at the San Diego Wild Animal Park carousel.

So it goes.  I’m going to finish up my last day up here with another story and another collage, as well as uploading photos to my flickr page.  Flickr seems to be productive – I’ve had two photos put in tour guide books because they were found on Flickr – one from the San Diego Wild Animal Park, one from Stanley Park in Vancouver.  Important to put those tags!  Some of the same photos plus more from Vancouver and the Wild Animal Park on on my web page in the gallery.  They are in the flower gallery, a sub-gallery under nature/travel, and in the animal gallery.

For all you Creative Every Day folks, see you in Feb. with HOME as the theme.

#CED2010: On bodies, reflections, footprints, and tripods


I’d finally warmed up yesterday after Tuesday’s freezing trek through the snow into my 39 degree cabin.  The sun was out so I ventured out also – but only onto the balcony.  I got caught up in the footprints I’d left from the day before.  Footprints as a record of our body’s movement and footprints as possible art also.

I found myself studying this random pattern of my footprints.  There seem to be three in a row heading toward the railing.  They are so close together and appear to be the right foot – where was my left foot?  Immediately I thought of how we try to fool people by pretending a one-legged creature has been there. Then there are the two that form an upside-down V.  How did that happen?  I know I wasn’t practicing first position in ballet.

I got interested in this pattern – it’s as if I were walking in two directions at once, met in the middle, and then turned and walked off.  I was loving this footprint thing.

I won’t be surprised if this one ends up in a collage somehow.  The left one especially reminds me of Planter’s Peanuts – anyone old enough to remember those? Maybe they still have them.  But I think there was a cookie with a waffle pattern like that.  Maybe there still is.  It’s been a long time since I’ve been in the cookie aisle – if Trader Joe’s doesn’t have it, I don’t have it either!

Funny, isn’t it, how us artists get obsessed with details and observation?  Because the next thing I focused on was my own reflection in the window.

Since January is drawing to a close, which means the Creative Every Day theme of Body is drawing to a close, I suppose I was reflecting on body.  I took a photo of myself looking into the cabin and merging with my art materials (above).  Body art.  Body as art.  Body making art.

Body in motion.  Looking dejected.  Walking away.  From what?  Or, with the divider in the sliding door, a  body going from one reality to the next.

Just thinking about a simple photo reminds me of all the ways in which almost anything can be interpreted, and how we interpret according to our own understanding and mood.  That’s something worth remembering, because another thing we do is jump to conclusions which are often wrong.

I realized, somewhat obviously, that I was on the outside looking in.  Did I want to get in?  Was I being left out?  Or just idly curious about what was going on.  I realize I was just taking my own picture, but it made me think about all the ways we can be on the outside looking in.

I like this photo a lot.  I was on the outside looking through.  Did I have to go inside but wished I didn’t?  So was I planning an escape out the other side?  Or was I blocking out something unpleasant about going in, or not being able to go in, so was looking past it?  Or was I just looking ahead.?  So many possibilities!

I took a photo of these two tree trunks, shadowed by the sun.  It was bright and beautiful.  And I went inside.

I’d been working on some watercolor exercises for practice, since I’ve just now started using watercolors.  It’s all such a mystery, too, since I can’t paint!  Doesn’t stop me from trying.  And then I looked outside.

In those few moments the sun had disappeared to be replaced by fog – no tree trunk shadows now.  It’s quite amazing to see such a rapid change – exciting too.  Today is all sun all the time, with snow melting and falling off the trees in big chunks.  So I finished off what had become a study of reflected bodies, which in a way reflects what’s inside our bodies – in terms of thoughts.

Because if we can be on the outside looking in, we can also be on the inside looking out.  That evokes its own kind of longing.

I like this photo a lot because I’m on the inside looking out but becoming one with nature.  I also notice that when I was on the outside looking in, it was all in color, and when I was on the inside looking out, it’s black and white – mainly because of the fog, but doesn’t that give us something interesting to reflect on?

The whole point is to think, isn’t it?  This stuff makes me think, contemplate, end up knowing myself and the world just a little bit better.  At least from my own perspective.  On my webpage, in the About section, under My Approach to Photography, I talk about seeing beyond the surface and finding the unexpected.


The plate that attaches my camera to the tripod has been missing since my last visit to the cabin.  I remember putting it somewhere – not in the usual place – so telling myself to remember where it was. I did the same thing with my iPod Touch and never did find it.  Also at the cabin.  Well, it’s PREDICTION time because I’m about to find the missing plate.  How do I know?  Because I finally ordered a replacement.  Two replacements, in fact.  We all know that means that within the hour I’ll find the missing part.  And then I can take some decent photos of work I’ve been doing for tomorrow’s post.