Studio Revamp


I have two studios. The upstairs one is my painting studio, the basement one is my assemblage studio (aka junk shop). We moved into our new house (it’s an old house, 1926 era, but new to us) about 16 months ago, which allowed me to close down my one-bedroom house studio and bring everything home. Even with two studios in our new house, it wasn’t easy to consolidate everything from an entire house and put it into two spaces.

In December of 2012 I packed, sorted, boxed, donated, and sold all sorts of studio items. The former studio was filled to the brim – every room was mine to fill as I pleased: kitchen, living room, bedroom, bathroom, laundry room, and a tacked on shed (and the back yard, too). It was a herculean task and I couldn’t have done it without the help of friends.


Then what was boxed, needed to be put away.


It was overwhelming, but two friends came to the rescue. Sam helped moved all the boxes and Tory helped put it away.


I’m a pretty organized person, so I put most of the assemblage bits in the basement, but I also put a lot of it upstairs in my painting studio. Over the past year I’ve worked on my Curious Elements and Funky Junkyard Birds in the basement, but I was constantly running upstairs to my painting studio to comb through the bits I had put up there. And then when I was painting in the upstairs studio, I was beginning to feel claustrophobic with all the junk surrounding me.Two weeks ago I realized it was time to reorganize and move the last of the little bits to the basement and clear out some of the clutter (but not the shelves that Tory lovingly filled with my fun treasures).

After a full day of moving stuff out of my painting studio, this is how it looked:




But, I had made a huge mess in the basement that had to wait until this week to remedy.


It took two days to get the basement space reorganized and tidied up. But it was worth it.







I love studio shots, so here are a few close-ups from the basement.







???????????????????????????????Now I need to go get to work.


It Takes Courage


It takes courage to cover up a completed painting, but it’s something I have learned to do. The question is why do I do it. In one instance, it was because of a technical problem: the black paint wasn’t drying and when I went to put on the final coat of cold wax, it began lifting the paint and the painting was ruined. That board was put into the pile of available boards for use in the future.

"Searching For His Lost Life," formerly a painting.

“Searching For His Lost Life,” formerly a painting.

Searching For His Lost Life became Where the Road Ends.

"Where the Road Ends, 24x24 plaster, oil, and cold wax on cradled panel.

“Where the Road Ends, 24×24 plaster, oil, and cold wax on cradled panel.

This piece made it into my Slightly Off Kilter show last year, but when the show came down, I realized I wasn’t in love with the painting, so once again, it went into the available boards pile. I recently completed yet another painting, Something More Was Required. Yes, something more was required and I think that painting has come full circle. With the initial layer of plaster and multiple layers of oil and cold wax, this 24×24 piece is getting pretty heavy. From Searching For His Lost Life, to Where the Road Ends, it is now Something More Was Required.

"Something More Was Required," 24x24 inches, plaster, oil, and cold wax on cradled panel.

“Something More Was Required,” 24×24 inches, plaster, oil, and cold wax on cradled panel.

Another recent transformation came when I took an 8×8-inch piece, To the Center of Silence, and transformed it into A Dark Curtain Against the Sky. I liked the original well enough, but it was a bit too yellow and wasn’t dynamic enough.

"To the Center of Silence," 8x8 inches, plaster, oil, and cold wax on cradled panel.

“To the Center of Silence,” 8×8 inches, plaster, oil, and cold wax on cradled panel.

"A Dark Curtain Against the Sky," 8x8 inches, plaster, oil, and cold wax on cradled panel.

“A Dark Curtain Against the Sky,” 8×8 inches, plaster, oil, and cold wax on cradled panel.

Then there was Beachcombing. I loved the little niche filled with treasures, but it read a bit too precious. And the colors were a bit jarring.

"Beachcombing," 24x24, plaster, oil, and cold wax on cradled board with niche.

“Beachcombing,” 24×24, plaster, oil, and cold wax on cradled board with niche.

So, I scrapped and dug out the found objects and sea shells, sanded the board, and transformed it into Things Still Remembered.I haven’t filled the niche yet as that takes a whole different level of creativity. What is tucked into a niche is very powerful.

"Things Still Remembered," 24x24, plaster, oil, and cold wax on cradled panel (with niche).

“Things Still Remembered,” 24×24, plaster, oil, and cold wax on cradled panel (with niche).

Finally, one more example. I did a couple of pages in my art journal, which I liked and thought would translate nicely into a painting.

Initial inspiration in my art journal

Initial inspiration in my art journal

So I loosely painted it onto a 30×30-inch cradled panel (after painting over another painting I had been working on for awhile – look at the big panel behind me in the first photo of this post – that’s what was on the board before I took the journal page and painted it onto the panel). It sat for a long time and I thought I liked it. In fact, it was ready to go to the gallery.

On the easel, thinking it was about complete.

On the easel, thinking it was about complete.

But something was niggling at me, so I took it back into my studio and began revamping it. It became something entirely different.


And then I kept going.

In transition.

In transition.

And going.

Detail from a "Stoking a Small Steady Flame."

Detail from a “Stoking a Small Steady Flame.”

And going.

"Stoking a Small Steady Flame, 30x30 inches, plaster, oil, and cold wax on cradled panel.

“Stoking a Small Steady Flame, 30×30 inches, plaster, oil, and cold wax on cradled panel.


Stoking A Small Steady Flame was born and now hangs at Guardino Gallery in Portland.

Jane Davies Extravaganza

WIPLast week I had the privilege of taking  three consecutive classes at Art and Soul from Jane Davies (she did a blog post about the classes, which you can see by clicking here). I thought it would be fun to break the classes down, sharing a bit from each day. It was a great three days of art-making and although I didn’t finish any of the pieces, I have a lot of good beginnings and I learned so much.

Day 1 – Layering With Transparencies







Day 2 – Working in Series







My friend Katy and I took the class together.

My friend Katy and I took the class together.

Day 3 – Balancing Opposites: the Ying and Yang of Composition




Artist Serena Barton was in the class and it's always a treat to spend time with her.

Artist Serena Barton was in the class and it’s always a treat to spend time with her.

My new friend Karen. She lives in Portland very close to Guardino Gallery!

My new friend Karen. She lives in Portland very close to Guardino Gallery!


Art at the State Capitol

"Hideout"  Oil and cold wax 16x20

Oil and cold wax


Just a nice leisurely walk from my house is the Oregon State Capitol. Today I leisurely walked to the capitol to see a piece of my art that is on display. I’m a member of Artists in Action, who put out a call for art to be on display the week of March 3rd – one week only. My art was accepted and is now hanging in the lobby of the capitol.



Tuna Can Reuse Challenge


I created a special Curious Element in response to a challenge put out by Salem’s DIY Creative Reuse Studio. Here’s the challenge:

Tuna Reuse ChallengeEach month DIY Studio hosts a Reuse Challenge to encourage creatives to rethink and reimagine. February’s challenge must include a tuna can. Post your photos of your recreation by midnight Feb, 22 on our timeline. The participant who earned the most likes by midnight, Friday the 28th will win a bulk bag of reuse supplies at DIY! Game on!

IMG_7339Turns out, my little tuna can creation received the most likes!

Mid Week Retreat at the Hop ‘n Bed


I’m a member of the Salem Art Group, a small closed group of six (soon to be seven) women. About twice a year we plan a mini retreat where we pack up food and art supplies (and a portable latte machine) and head out of town. Last week we landed outside of Independence, Oregon at the Rogue Brewery Hop ‘n Bed. The Hop ‘n Bed is a big old six bedroom farmhouse located along the Willamette River and smack dab in the middle of a working Rogue Brewery farm.

IMG_7437IMG_7446Come on in and I’ll show you my room: The Honey Bee.

???????????????????????????????IMG_7460???????????????????????????????Part of the check-in process included joining the Rogue Nation, which required a swearing in process of drinking a shot of beer and repeating a long oath of allegiance. Tory took the oath and drank her shot (and mine since I don’t drink anymore). PS Being a member gets you a hefty discount on the house.


IMG_7452As our group trickled in, we moved furniture and set up tables to accommodate our huge amount of art supplies. Joanna claimed the living room to set up her sewing machine, Kathy took over the laundry room for her encaustics (there was a back door for ventilation), and the rest of us jockeyed for space in the living room: Tory with her clay, Nancy and Katy with their oil and cold wax, and me, kind of in the kitchen prep area, with my oil and cold wax AND acrylics for my visual art journal.

IMG_7454After getting settled, I took a walk around the grounds.

IMG_7477IMG_7555???????????????????????????????IMG_7495??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????IMG_7435???????????????????????????????It was time to spread some paint. Working in oil and cold wax does not bring immediate gratification the way working with acrylics does, so I brought both mediums. I started with the oil and cold wax, knowing I wouldn’t finish any pieces, but I would sure have the opportunity to add layers, scrape back, and add more layers over the three days. None of these pieces are finished, and some haven’t even been scraped back, but it gives you an idea of what I worked on.


???????????????????????????????IMG_7618??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Another day, another walk.




When I wasn’t working in oil and cold wax, I was playing in a brand spankin’ new visual art journal. But before I started laying down paint, I did a double take with the cover I had created several years ago. It was time to cover the cover!


Okay, that’s better. Now I can begin on the inside.

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????I worked on a lot of pages.

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????And before we knew it, it was time to head home.


The Heart of the Matter

A Matter of Moments (close up)The Heart of the Matter: A group show about the heart is an annual Guardino Gallery show. I’ve participated the past several years and I was invited to submit art again this year. I created ten Curious Elements with a heart theme. My Curious Elements are found object pieces of art created in a multi-step process. In a nutshell, I cut up pieces of board, apply paint, plaster, sand, stain, and wax. To add depth and interest, I cut up yard sticks, apply vintage paper and a layer of stain. Then I rummage through my bins and boxes of bits, auditioning pieces of metal and sometimes scraps of fabric. When I’m satisfied with the layout and the underlying story, I begin the process of attaching. And that’s how a Curious Element is born – I once counted about 22 steps in the process from beginning to end!

Enough yammering. Here are the ten Curious Elements I created for the show.

"Small Bits of Perfection"

“Small Bits of Perfection”

"Unorthodox Methods"

“Unorthodox Methods”

"Personal Correspondence"

“Personal Correspondence”

"Obsessive Desire"

“Obsessive Desire”

"Familiarity With Chaos"

“Familiarity With Chaos”

"A Splice of Time"

“A Splice of Time”

"A Warm Refuge"

“A Warm Refuge”

"Close Proximity"

“Close Proximity”

"Interlude of Silence"

“Interlude of Silence”

"A Matter of Moments"

“A Matter of Moments”


The show opens at Guardino Gallery on January 30 and runs through February 23. The opening reception is Thursday, January 30, 6-9 pm.









New Year, New Intentions

Prayer FlagsI love the symbolism of beginning a new year. I know it is just a turn of the calendar page, but it is filled with so much hope and promise for the new year. I had a good 2013, so it isn’t that I’m anxious to be done with last year, I just love the idea of a fresh beginning. January is always a time for me to ponder and consider what I want in the new year. I like goals/resolutions/intentions, whatever one wants to call them. For me, I choose the word intentions because it is somewhat fluid. Also, the idea of an intention means I’m aware and awake to what I am choosing to do – whatever the activity.

I’ve chosen my word for the year, a practice I’ve done for several years and one that I enjoy as it reminds me to pay attention to that particular wish. My word for 2014 is intention.  I’ll be paying attention to my intentions.  I’ve made a list of intentions and I’ll share them here. I don’t have anything that requires a daily activity or any particular time frame because for me, that sets me up for failure right from the start. But whatever I choose to do in a particular day, I hope to have awareness of my intention for doing it. Here goes.


Continued dedication to good health, from what I eat to how I move. I know my weaknesses, so I’ll pay attention to when those urges occur and how I handle them. Sometimes I’ll give in and have that piece of dark chocolate, but just not the whole bag of chocolately goodness (I can’t even have that kind of stuff in the house). Pure and simple foods, walks, and targeted supplements are all part of my routine and have been for a long time. This intention is just a recommitment to what I’m already doing.


Since discovering art (okay, and Facebook), my appetite for reading has diminished. I read art magazines and look at art books, but my reading of memoirs and fiction has declined.  When we were on vacation recently, I read three or four books and I was reminded how much I enjoy this activity. But to do this, I need to give up something else or at least make reading a priority.

 FB Image

Which leads to screens. Oh, how I love screen time, whether it is a movie, TV, or catching up with my friends on Facebook. I don’t plan to give any of these up, but I have begun to pay attention to how much time I spend sitting in front of a screen and with attention, comes awareness;  I’ve begun to make little shifts in how much time I spend sitting at my computer or watching TV. At night instead of opening my iPad to catch up on Facebook, I open my book and at least read a section – then I look at Facebook. A small shift, but it’s amazing how much I’ve read in just a few days time.

 Vintage Art Supplies

I have an idea for a new show. I’m excited about the theme and I’ve been doing research, jotting down ideas, taking notes, and gathering images. I cancelled a July show in order to focus completely on this NEXT BIG IDEA. I don’t want to divulge more than this right now, but you know I will when the time is right.

 Acrylic Paints

Another area where I hope to direct some intention is with big, experimental paintings. My painting studio space is limited, but if a downtown studio space comes to fruition  (my deposit has been placed), I’ll have the opportunity to play with this dream. If not, I’ll have to figure out how to work big in a small space. It can be done.

 Visual Journal

I’ve been called back to my Visual Journal. I haven’t done much playing/painting/experimenting/writing in it for over a year. I am almost at the end of a journal I made so I had to decide whether to start a brand new blank journal for 2014, or complete the old one. I decided to pick up where I left off and just continue.  I don’t have plans to journal every day, but I do have plans to leave my journal out and when I’m in my studio or passing through or when I get the urge to make a mark, it will be easy to add a dab of paint, glue in an image, write a quote.

“Just what is meant by ‘your word?’ It means
your conscious intention, your conscious
direction, your conscious faith and acceptance
that, because of what you are doing, the
Power of Spirit will flow through your word
in the direction you give It.” Ernest Holmes

“A good intention is like the seed of
a tree whose fruit we do not know.” Lloyd Strom

“Choose your intention carefully and then
practice holding your consciousness to it,
so it becomes the guiding light in your life.” John Roger

Life is not a journey to the grave with intentions of arriving safely in a pretty well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming … WOW! What a ride!” Unknown


Making Way

IMG_6155I’ve spent the past couple of days preparing. Preparing my studio space to begin a new series. Preparing mentally and emotionally what direction I want to go. Preparation involves cleaning and organizing to make physical space. It also means taking an inventory of the boards I have on hand, determining what I need to order. It means writing, lots of writing. Jotting down ideas, looking back at notes in my journal. It means figuring out what resonates with me. I usually begin with the title, and that informs where I go. Of course, where I go brings surprises and unexpected discoveries, but it is my road map of where to begin. No GPS in this process. My show is in July, so I have six months before I give birth.






P.S. I have a tentative title and theme, which I’m very excited about.

A New Batch of Funky Junkyard Birds

???????????????????????????????I just completed 17 (seventeen!) Funky Junkyard Birds! I started the new flock on Monday by auditioning body parts, wings, and legs, then began the arduous task of attaching the different and varied elements. Lots of raw materials go into making the birds, here’s a peek at some of the bits.




It felt so satisfying to finish up the gang this afternoon. Here’s the proud mama of her new flock:

???????????????????????????????My Funky Junkyard Birds will be flying off to Guardino Gallery in Portland, Lunaria Gallery in Silverton, and I’ll have a few available for sale from my studio. Here’s a sampling of my new birds.

"Little Red"

“Little Red”



























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