I don’t celebrate Halloween, yet this digital collage happened. I was drawn by the castle gates, and one thing led to the other.

My dragon friend, this one is for  you.




I took a night class in encaustic in Portland. Now I know that it is not my medium. Messy, very caustic and noxious fumes, and I feel that if I need the thick coat over a collage or painting, I can obtain the same effect with some heavy gel medium. Hey, that’s just me.


Here are my collages:

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Tricks I learned at the Art and Soul retreat

Some of the tricks that make life easier might be old hat for you, but they were old brand new to me, so I thought I’d share them here.

I had found out earlier that there is life beyond the silly tiny plastic palettes with the holes. Those are sooooo limiting, unless you’re making postage stamps, I guess. My friend Jill shared with me that she uses a sheet of glass. Plain and simple glass. The beauty of it is that once your acrylic paints dry on top of it, it’s easy to clean it up with a window scraper that you buy at the hardware store for a couple dollars, and you always have a brand new clean palette.

But what do you do when you travel to a workshop? You can’t really bring your glass with you. Thanks to Traci Bunkers, here’s a clever idea. She uses plastic placemats!!!! The sturdy ones are better. She cleans them up regularly with a baby wipe, but I found out they scrap off pretty easy too.

The next wonder is baby wipes. I’m sure everyone has been using them forever. Well, we didn’t have baby wipes in France when I lived there, and maybe because I don’t have kids, but the magic of baby wipes had completely escaped me. THEY ARE WONDERFUL!!!!! They take the drying paint off my hands, they can be used to clean the above mentioned placemat. They can be used to rub on paint or extend the acrylic on a canvas. Wow!!!! Great stuff.

Another trick I learned over there is the magic of freezer paper. I’d been recycling my deli paper from the grocery store, but this stuff is so cheap, why wait?

The next wonder is part of a class I took. Sandwich paper. It is not waxed like freezer paper, and it comes under various names. It’s basically freezer paper WITHOUT the tacky part. You can get it for a really low price at stores like Costco. Sorry, it’s really yummy , but pretty hard to photograph….CIMG3211

If you dilute your leftover acrylic paints, and apply them to your sandwich paper, you get this amazing translucent paper. If you mix them with some metallic paints, you get the most amazing, rich effects. If you want to go one step further, and cover THE BACK SIDE of the paper with gel medium, you will have the most gorgeous looking translucent paper, to put between your pages in your journals, or to use in your collages. Try it at least once to see what it looks like. It’s to die for.

And about this getting ideas from other people. I did a Wabi Sabi workshop with Serena Barton. She’s a hoot. Very fun to be around. I did 8 paintings during the 6 and 1/2 workshop, so after a while, I didn’t know what new color combination to play with. I walked around, looking at what others were doing. I found one painting that I adored, and loved the color combination. I went back to my table and started to paint. Was I copying her? Probably. Yet the end result was nothing like what my muse friend was painting, and it got me unstuck. I think it’s worth remembering as a neat way to get inspiration.


So… did I have a great time at the Art and Soul retreat? You bet! Did I learn something new? Tons of new skills. Do I recommend it? Absolutely. There is one Art and Soul retreat near you in the US at least once a year. I say it’s well worth the money.

Portland 2010

What a wonderful conference! The classes I took were really amazing, and I come home full of new techniques, some beautiful books I made, and a list of new friends.


My first class was with Gina Armfield, who is a great teacher. She has a few online classes that I strongly recommend: www,sweetsistergina.typepad.com


My evening classes confirmed that I am not interested in encaustic, and it turns out that the fumes from that stuff are very dangerous to breathe.

On the other hand, I discovered a beautiful technique for making paste paper. I thought it was going to be on how to make the paper itself, but it is not that at all. It consists of a mixture of acrylic paint and paste to dilute the paint without losing the color. The resulting papers are gloriously bright.

CIMG3148 We stamped the papers with real leaves for our Fallen Leaves theme in Albie Smith class. We then bound our pages in an accordion book with black pages. Gorgeous!

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I took a class in Wabi Sabi with Serena Barton. It was great fun and we were mostly left to our own devices. I did learn some fantastic techniques, for instance to add Titan Buff on top of the acrylic inks to mute them and give them that aged look. I made 7 paintings during the class.

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I took a class with Traci Bunkers on stamping with everything that doesn’t move, and we bound our pages in a delightful book.


My last class of the week was with Albie Smith again, this time, we were making Tiny Treasures. And little jewels they did turn out to be. They fit in the palm of the hand, and they have an exposed spine with a French stitch. Watch your Christmas stockings, there will me a few of those coming up in the next few weeks.

CIMG3218 CIMG3219 CIMG3221 Yes, the pages inside are also decorated. Here are some samples from the class:

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Last, but not least, I got to spend an entire day with 3 of my internet friends whom I had never met. I have shared Round Robin journals with them and seen their art, but never their great smiling faces. They came to the conference to pick me up, then we drove through all the treasure troves in Portland, for the art addicts: Scrap, Knittnkitten, the amazing Alberta Street district, and finally a lunch at La Petite Provence. Those days are rare and so precious. Thank you ladies, I loved my day with you. It was so awesome being with you.

CIMG3172 My much admired friend Tracy Kaufman, who’s art is outstanding.




CIMG3173 Marita, who is lucky I really liked her, otherwise, I would have posted another picture, and you know what I mean. lol

CIMG3174 And wonderful Gina, who drove us, parked, navigated, and introduced us to all manner of great places.

What a day that was! And what a fantastic week.

Now to work and create more treasures.

Breast cancer awareness digital challenge

I have posted my entry for the breast cancer awareness challenge offered by Kimmie at Digital Whispers.

Here is the original image:

And this is what I manipulated:

The crouching man is a sculpture by Kevin Petelle.
The sculpture is on top of an enlarged picture of an ovary.
The Venus with the drawers is from dalivenus.com
The hummingbird is from Dover publications.
The background fabric was gleaned last year when I was not keeping track of my sources. Humble apologies to the owner. Please contact me so I can give you credit.

I am pleased with myself

I had a few hours this afternoon, so I decided to tackle a painting that has been on my mind. It’s 48 x 30.

I must have been inspired, I really like it a lot. Sorry for tooting my own horn, but I didn’t expect what happened inside of the blue, and I’m quite thrilled with it.



This next little one is from yesterday. It took quite a while and went through several transformations. I think I’ll call it finished. It’s hard to photograph, because of the texture and the muted colors. I’ve included some close ups. This one is 36x30.


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