Tuesday, July 22, 2014


I could spend hours creating these backgrounds. Oh...I actually DO. 4 x4 inch cradled wood panel slathered in layers of gesso, acrylic paint, and acrylic glaze.

A beauty of a bezel from Spellbinders A Gilded Life Collection. This one is called Crown Bezel. It is the large, bronze variety and sets a majestic tone for the rest of the piece.

All the bezels in this collection come with matching dies so that you can cut the perfect inset to place inside. I cut some of my hand painted watercolor paper in shades of wine, red, and pink.

I used the same hand painted paper to cut a shape that I thought would match the curves of the bezel using die #3 from Spellbinders Labels Thirty-Two die set. This would be placed under the bezel.

My pieces would never be complete without the addition of some hardware or found object. I chose three metal pieces that I would layer and inset into the bezel. The gear is from a vintage watch.

To add to the background of the piece, I cut a circle and a loop from Spellbinders Large and Small Standard Circle die sets. The paper was card stock that I altered.

One of the beautiful dies from A Gilded Life collection is the Petite Monarch die. I used it to die cut and emboss a piece of gold craft foil.

As beautiful as this die is, my plan was to snip off four of the ends of the die cut to use as corner pieces in my artwork. The remainder of the die has been saved to use in a future project.

Layering and gluing all the elements that I had gathered led to a completed piece that I call Decree.

Sold. Thank you!

Supply List

Spellbinders Paper Art Supplies:

MMM-001 Spellbinders® Artisan X-plorer
GLLB-003 Spellbinders® A Gilded Life Crown Bezel Large
GLD-003 Spellbinders® A Gilded Life Crown Circle die
S4-407 Spellbinders® NestabilitiesTM Labels Thirty-Two
S4-114 Spellbinders® NestabilitiesTM Standard Circles Large
S4-116 Spellbinders® NestabilitiesTM Standard Circles Small
GLLD-001 Spellbinders® A Gilded Life Petit Monarch die
F-012 Spellbinders® Precious Metals Premium Craft Foils Assortment 

Other: cradled wood panel, gesso, paint brush, hand painted and stamped paper, metal hardware, adhesive, scissor

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Week Links: 8

Join me every Sunday when I will share some of my favorite links I discovered in the previous week.
Weeks 1 2,  3,  4,  5,  6,  7...

And here is Week 8

Selling Art, From a Gallerist's Perspective. This post from Brenda Hope Zappitell on Professional Artist website shares insights from three gallerists. It also includes links to 5 fascinating, artist videos.

Love this post on drawing from Lynne Hoppe. I am always mesmerized by her creations and the spirit/personality in each one. Head over to hear her thoughts on self doubt, critics, and drawings without hair, arms and legs.

15 seconds of mixed media heaven: art journals from Ruth Rae.

Karen Valentine from My Desert Cottage is hosting Where Bloggers Create 2014, an online party sharing links to a group of 100+ bloggers posting pictures of their studio spaces.

Paint outside the lines by following this tutorial posted on Create Mixed Media and excerpted from Tracy Verdugo's new book Paint Mojo.

Holly Becker from decor8 has a recent post entitled Can Full-time Bloggers Live Off Of Rainbows +Hugs? which she wrote in response to a reader who commented on the recent opening of her online store suggesting that she was selling out. Holly's post (along with the 120+ comments she received) is a must read for all bloggers. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Hello Koons, Goodbye Whitney

Those of you who follow the arts scene in NYC may know that the Whitney Museum of American Art is moving from its longtime home on Madison and 75th Street on the Upper East Side to a new home, in a new building by the High Line in the Meatpacking District.

I have seen many amazing exhibitions over the years there, including two that I highlighted on this blog back in 2007 from Kara Walker and Rudolf Stingel. I recently visited the uptown Whitney for what is likely to be the last time to see the final exhibition in the space: Jeff Koons. The Museum has given over 4 full floors to his work, making it the biggest show for a single artist in the Museum's history.

Koons is quite the controversial artist on so many levels. Love him or hate him...he certainly inspires reaction and knows how to get publicity. And that is exactly what many (although obviously not all) artists crave. He holds the world record for a living artist at auction.

For those of you who are not in New York and for those of you who might be curious, I wanted to share some pictures from the exhibition. And yes this was one of the few museum shows that allowed picture taking. Publicity after all!

The Museum was packed and everybody was taking pictures.

This Balloon Dog is much like the Orange one that cost a record $58.4 million at auction.

Like much of his work, the highly reflective surface of Balloon Dog calls out for selfies. I have to imagine that hundreds of thousands will be taken by the end of the exhibition. And I somehow think that there is some deeper meaning to the connection between Koons and ready-made selfies.

Here Balloon Dog is reflected in another reflective piece hung on the wall.

It took Koons 20 years to complete Play-Doh, a commissioned piece.

I have to say that it captured the product quite well. I kind of wanted to grab a piece and use it to copy a comic strip from the newspaper like I did as a kid. I guess in some ways, Play-doh was the first product to create image transfers.

I had mostly been familiar with his work that had pristine, smooth surfaces. But there were several pieces that were quite ornate.

This one as well in stainless steel.


Not quite sure what this guy was thinking...

Selfie. Nobody could resist taking them.

This guy was carrying a Gazing Ball, one of a series of sculptures that premiered in 2013.

Some of the work was not reflective.

But it all carried a certain fascination for me.

There were many more of the nearly 150 works that I did not shoot, some of which were NSFW. But I could't miss taking the next shot, which I found by the building next to the Whitney that is undergoing massive renovation.

Jasper's John

Curious to hear what you all think of the artist and his work. Care to share?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


I continue to have fun creating these mixed media medallions.

Starting with a 4 x 4 inch cradled wooden panel, I painted the surface with layers of gesso, acrylic paint, and acrylic glaze.  

Heading to my stash of pendants and bezels from my collection of A Gilded Life items from Spellbinders, I chose one of my favorites: the large, bronze Iron Cross Bezel. My plan was to adhere a small metal brad to the ring at the top of the bezel.

As a way to make this artwork a one-of-a-kind, I hunted down the perfect addition from my collection of vintage objects: a watch face with the most beautiful patina.

Given my preference obsession for circular design, I selected dies from Spellbinders Standard Circles die sets, both Large and Small. Combining one circle die from the Large set with the next closest sized circle die from the Small set allows me to create a ⅛ inch wide loop. I did this twice to create two loops of differing diameters cut from Spellbinders Precious Metals Craft Foil. 

I then used individual dies from both the Large and Small Standard Circles die sets to cut out two circles from sheets of watercolor paper that I had already hand painted.

My last touch for this piece was created from a new Spellbinders favorite: the Shoot! die set of arrows. I die cut four arrows from hand painted paper and snipped off the feather ends of each one.

Mixing and matching and slicing and dicing, I layered all the elements on the wood panel. When I found the design I was looking for, I adhered the pieces using glue.

The gold foil was complimented by metallic gold acrylic paint spattered on the surface and streaked on the edges. 

I love how the natural patina on the watch face is echoed in the hand painted paper that I chose for this piece.

This vivid blue and metallic gold are one of my most favorite color combinations.


Sold. Thank you!

Supply List

Spellbinders Paper Art Supplies:

MMM-001 Spellbinders® Artisan X-plorer
GLSB-005 Spellbinders® A Gilded Life Iron Cross Bezel
S4-114 Spellbinders® NestabilitiesTM Standard Circles Large
S4-116 Spellbinders® NestabilitiesTM Standard Circles Small
IN-015 Spellbinders® ShapeabilitiesTM Shoot! 
F-012 Spellbinders® Precious Metals Premium Craft Foils Assortment 

Other: cradled wood panel, gesso, paint brush, hand painted paper, vintage watch face, brad, adhesive, scissor

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Week Links: 7

Join me every Sunday when I will share some of my favorite links I discovered in the previous week.
Week 1Week 2Week 3Week 4Week 5, Week 6

And here is Week 7...

Five great how-to books on bookbinding as recommended by Ruth Bleakley on her blog In the Studio.

Are We Collectors or Hoarders? Ann Strecko Koemen has written a post on the Mixed Media Art website about a question that many of us have likely asked ourselves at one time or another.

Dreams do come true. Artist Crystal Neubauer turns her dream of a community art studio into a reality and creates The Healing House Art Studio.

I love when people learn a technique in a workshop and then use it in a way that is fully their own. Artist Rachel Stewart did just that after my Shredded Silhouettes class.

On the Artists Network website, Chris Cozen shares 10 ways to revive your studio spirit when you have hit the brick wall.

Linda Roy, from Elleroy was Here, has written a funny, entertaining, and oh-so-true post titled 10 Reasons Why I Blog. And if you think you know all ten, you might be surprised!

Tammy Garcia, AKA Daisy Yellow, shares her tips on what you need when you want to create art on the go in a post called The {not.so.complex} Logistics of Art on the Road. My favorite: thou shalt always have a back-up black pen.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Seven Steps to Your Artist Voice

We all know artists that have signature styles. When we see their work, we can immediately identify it as theirs and theirs alone. This is true of many of the great masters, a lot of contemporary artists, and a host of today's bloggers as well. But I have often heard people say that they are forever trying to find or create their own style. They are no longer satisfied with following the step-by-steps in books or with struggling to identify who they are as artists. They want their own voice.

Many times an artist's style emerges organically over time. But for some, this doesn't seem to happen. If you feel this way, the following seven ideas may help you to own your own voice...

Style File: We have all had the experience of seeing a piece of art that really grabs us. Start a file of images that call your name. Don't limit yourself to artwork though. How about a magazine ad that has just the right color? Or an online photograph that gets your heart beating just a little faster? Do not use these images in your art. Instead, as your file grows, try to see what themes repeat themselves. This can be a clue to your own style.

Play Date: Give yourself permission to play, without any preconceived plan. Clear the area, spread out the supplies and just play. Grab whatever catches your eye. Mix materials that you usually do not combine. Choose a supply that you have bought but never opened. Work with no preconceived idea of a finished piece. When recess is over, see what you have created Ask yourself, where did I end up?

Obsess Less: As artists, we often end up collecting hoarding special objects that we hold onto and cannot seem to actually part with to use in an art piece. Grab all these objects and look at them together. After you find any patterns that connect these pieces, choose one special object and create an artwork around it. Your creation will provide a hint to your artistic voice.

Playing Favorites: We all have artwork that we have made that has a special meaning -- the one or more pieces that we really love. You know...the ones we pick to show other people. Gather and study them. What is it about those particular pieces that resonates with you? See if a theme emerges across all your favorite work.

Book 'em: Choose a favorite art "how-to" book or just grab one randomly off your shelf. Pick a project or technique in the book. Instead of following it step-by-step, challenge yourself to change it up. Add a new step. Bring in a new material or technique. Make it your own. Do this a few times over the course of a month. In the end, see what you have brought to the table and identify your own influence. It will be a key to your personal style.

Four Score: Choose 4 pieces of art that you have made that either best represent you or are simply your personal favorites. Show all 4 pieces to 4 different people whose judgment you trust. Ask each person to write down 4 words that in their minds best describe your work. See what themes are repeated. Often we already have our own style but find it hard to see. It may just be clearer to others.

Journal It: Keep track of the results of these exercises in a journal. And keep your journal with you always. Write down artful thoughts, words, and events. Doodle, draw, or paint anything that inspires you. Do this without any concern about how "good" it is. As you journal fills up, you will begin to see patterns among the entries.

Try some or all of these exercises and you just might be one step closer to being an artist who can own their own!

Rewind: A new series, with periodic reposting of an edited version of a previous post. This post originally appeared here.