Friday, October 17, 2014


I vowed I would do a piece about the juxtaposition of black and white.  Black represents edginess and the white, sweetness.  I guess they are the two sides of me.  I like a little punk and I like a little victorian - I guess that's what you'd "steampunk".  So I set out to try and translate the two onto fabric, lace, beads, wool, wool curls, etc.  It's the etc. that took the time.

I don't plan as I create.  I just took a few pieces I had wet felted before and kept on adding new pieces.

The piece above left is wet felted black wool and cheesecloth.  There are those delicious wool curls on top of black wet felted wool and organza.

Small felted pieces and bigger ones layered this way and that - changed and re-attached.  

I ordered a black chain, a 2" piece of silver chain and some shiny black spike beads.  I already had some black and white pearl brads (used for scrapbooking).  It was like a jigsaw puzzle.  When it all seemed to fit, I used my embroidery machine to hold some of the pieces together.  Others were too think and had to be basted with thread.  Then I used the finest yarns (given to me by a friend who was cleaning out her stash).  They are from Henry's in New York.  Most of the yarns I used are from France and England.  Beautiful mohairs, cottons, and silk.  Yummy.  

I ended up turning the piece upside down and I chose to keep it that way.  Hours of hand sewing later.

silk cocoons with locks coming out and lovely thick mohair yarn woven into lacy black fabric.
When I work so long on a piece, each area has a feeling.  When I draped the black chain it felt somewhat odd to attach it to a piece of soft wool-but that's it isn't it? Each exists because of the other.  The edgy and dark is only so because of the white and the white is only pure and soft in contrast to the black. You could also say that the black is safe and one can hide in it and the white is too stark and can cut like ice.  

So they live together, soon to be stitched for the last time onto a 24" x 30" gallery wrapped canvas.  

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Being Seen at the Farm

To the farm I drove - to the sheep I viewed, to the artists I met, to the farmhouse I visited, to the cows I couldn't see, to the fresh air I smelled, to the old barns I peaked into, to the cookie I ate, to the dog I held, to the grasshoppers in the field I marveled at, to the 12 year old dairy cow who was oh so sick and once again to the sheep I talked to.

I have never even entertained the thought of "plein air" painting.  Up until this year, I had no idea what it meant - ahhhhh, outside in the air.  I went to the Kiparoo Farm in Middletown, Maryland. farm yesterday.  I didn't take paint, just paper and colored pencils knowing I would be hanging out with animals.

There is something about walking the fields, smelling the crisp Fall air and the quiet, the quiet. I KNOW that this is where I am most peaceful.
A painter complete with umbrella at the top of a very long path.

As far as the eye can see-shadows of trees.
Where the grasshoppers moved the leaves.
 Walking up the hill (below the first picture above),  I passed dilapidated barns.  I peaked in because I'm nosey and I like "what came before".  Look at this old easel - don't think I wasn't prompted to offer to buy it (but I didn't).

Up to the sheep barn - I heard what I thought were voices - found out it was the radio on NPR - very informed ladies and young ones I'd say. The breed is Bluefaced Leicester- some are very dark brown with black faces and black legs and then the lighter ones with white legs.  They have wonderful long faces.
Nice view for them

Hello there - we exchanged looks for quite some time.  Notice the lady in the back taking a nice scratch.

I had to be careful here because they were wary - especially the girl lying down (very big eyes)  and ready to leave.

A group of what may be boys - not sure since they were not with the girls.
I took many impressions away with me - the one in the forefront of my mind is the exchange of "seeing" the sheep and having them "see" me.  That look of "I don't know you" on their part and the look of "I'd like to know you, be with you and would never hurt you" on my part.  If I stood quietly, I was accepted-as I talked to them, I let them know all was OK.

The sketch in and of itself is not fantastic - but for me it is my memory of that frank, quiet exchange.  The story behind my paintings and those of other artists is always there - and we endeavor to convey that to the viewer.  Maybe what touches us touches you-it may be a different feeling but it touches you. So here are my three ewes studying me and I was studying them - THANK YOU LADIES FOR YOUR PATIENCE AND LOVELINESS.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Tea, Felt and Froth-The Process

This long, cold winter I found myself once again drawn to felting and drinking many cups of tea.   Aha, what about doing something interesting with these "two of my favorite things?"  I had a good amount of off white roving (wool) and decided to dip my hands in warm water and soap and fashion pieces of felt.
wool locks,  ivory wool, plus a bag of silk fibers
I do believe that artists are scientists and I love to "experiment" with different elements.  I love chai tea lattes, the froth and creamy, smooth color.  Ahhh!  So, why not see how loose tea when captured in wool would look and smell.  Time to get out the tools.

I did a bit of brewing  and used the tea instead of warm water.  I also decided to just throw loose tea onto the second to the last layer of wool (roving).  I then added a thin layer of roving over it to catch the tea.  Agitating it with my  hands, adding soap, beating it up - oh the smell was wonderful - I created my own froth.  
I made many pieces of all different sizes - just letting the wool make its own shape.  The photo below shows where I created a pocket and felted in a whole tea bag.  I also added white wool locks.  At times I added strings from the bags and the tags plus small fabric doilies.  Notice the curly wool locks below.

Here are the pieces placed but not felted.  It took several times to make the final arrangement.  Notice the little pocket in the middle - I decided not to include it in this piece.

all together now

So now what to do with it.  I was off to the craft store to buy a canvas. I finally decided on one that was big enough and left some breathing room.  I painted it in the same mocha colors as the felt.  So now how to get it on the canvas?  NEEDLE AND THREAD!  It took many hours to stitch the felt onto the canvas (the back is quite lovely)!

36" x 48" on gallery wrapped canvas

By the way - it smells delicious!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Quandries and Certainties

It's been since May that I posted here.

My artwork has meandered through felt, paint, fabric, beads and during the summer - trying to find what medium I could settle on - very unsettling.  Maybe it was creative block - or too much creativity.

Here I am in late January and what have I settled on?  Well, I don't believe I'll ever be "settled" - emotionally or physically.  I have Fibromyalgia and Myofascial Pain Syndrome plus a bum hip.  Having these conditions - which fluctuate in their manifestations - to a large degree influence my "states".  Restlessness and pain have a way of interrupting my flow.

But with this restlessness comes a yearning for relief and ease which leads to "search" and "experimentation".  Art is a never ending juxtaposition of quandries and certainties.  

Here, here is where I currently am:
Felt and tea bags and tea on canvas

recycled pieces of fabric stitched, felted and embellished with beads

"Lydia" acrylic, fabric on canvas - here she is almost finished.


Monday, May 6, 2013

Between the Breaths of Spring

With my morning Starbucks Chai Tea Latte safely secured in my cup holder,  I glanced in my rear view mirror.  Across the parking lot and lining the roadway just beyond was (and still is) a row of bushes.  They were nicely trimmed and lined up - tops the same height - residing in new mulch.  Aha, the artist's eyes opened wide - just loved those branches - the shapes between, below, next to.  Nope, didn't take a photo (oh, there's always time).  But here's today's photos.
Today looking back
Imagine the branches, with the grass very low, etc.
I am very fond of roots and crooked branches.  This area where the branches are is very smooth.  I applied a heavy gel to the canvas which created a skin-like ground.

"Between the Breaths of Spring"
My prayer plant decided to bloom so it became the perfect focal point to light her face and adorn her third eye.  The trees on the right are dimensional (again, a thicker use of a gel medium).  Little orbs of gold paint adorn the tips of the flowers' leaves as well as the edges of her mantle.
Here she resides resplendent in coppers and golds.  She is every color, enhanced in light and surrounded by textural elements.  May you join her in serenity and rejoice in the earth.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Immortalizing a Baby Rabbit

It was Sunday morning, I walked down the steps of our townhouse to go to the car.  There, several houses down lay something on the walk.  It was early and my eyes were not yet adjusted to the bright light, but even so, I knew what it was.

I quietly approached and there he/she lay - a perfect, tiny bunny.  I thought he was alive because his eyes were open and at first I couldn't see if there was anything wrong with him.  But then I saw something had bitten him on the back of his neck - not badly though.

I am terrible with hurt or dead animals.  Without going into a psychological harrang here, there is something deep inside me that identifies with small and innocent beings who are hurt.

Of course, he was dead.  I brought him inside and showed my husband.  I took the bunny upstairs with me and sat in my grandmother's rocker.  I rocked and held him and wept deep tears which lasted much longer than they should have.  My husband checked on me and of course saw the whole day going down the drain.  It didn't.

It was as if the bunny was still alive, because he was warm and his demise must have happened not too long ago.  If only he would come back to life.  (tearing as I'm writing this).  Today is Tuesday and he is still here with me, lying on a felted mat, I made some years ago, in a large antique hutch.  He is near other keepsakes.  I don't know what to do with him because he is still soft.  I will have to bury him somewhere safe soon.  It is very difficult for me to let him go - he must be a part of me.

I did take pictures of him outside and on my lap last Sunday.  See what I mean?

Yesterday, I took him down to my studio and placed him on a small canvas.  I traced around him and then moved him to the left so I could paint him.  But I can't replicate him as he should be nor do I really want to.  I don't believe a painting should be exact - there are photographs and real life for that - but I have to capture him somehow.  I shed tears as I painted him but soon got lost in trying to capture him in paint.

Some would say, how can you keep him, how can you even hold him?  Because in some way I feel I was there at the right time.  His life was gone but at least I could and can (for as long as is possible) marvel at his beauty.  How often do we get to hold something so young and wild?  He is very soft with a dark underlay of hair dappled in shades of brown, gray and white.

Here he is painted - what I will do next, I'm not sure.  There is more work to be done on him and I have no idea about the background.  Will I try to sell him?  I will keep him for me, but there are always  prints and who knows what else but that is of no value to me now.

For now, he is still mine and I am very blessed to have this opportunity to be with him.

As you read this, please respect my emotions.  I choose to share this because it should be shared.  Life is precious and we have lost respect for it in all it's forms....perhaps this will change.  Thank you.

Monday, March 4, 2013

She Who Creates the Tides

Interesting how things evolve - or how art evolves.  My last post featured work on a wood panel and a small canvas using crackle and self-levelling gel.

It proved to be a good break from my "Ladies of a Certain Era".  Over the past month or so I've produced two paintings which combine faces and different mediums.

A visionary artist, Shiloh Sophia has been an inspiration for me for over a year.  Her work focuses on  women and spirituality, but I am being simplistic here as her work is so much more.  To learn about her, please visit

I pushed myself into the unknown to put colors onto a face, to go to Madonna/Buddha influenced features.  Once again, Shiloh helped me to establish the look below.  The Byzantine era, icons, statues, and saints can be embodied in one face.  Interesting too that she emerged so strong.  Was this my intent?  I really had none beyond using color.  But she evolved as the background did.  Towards the end of the process, she took hold and commanded a certain integrity.

So from this place, came "She Who Creates the Tides".
I particularly enjoyed painting the fish who fashion her collar.  Here I used a bead gel - a lovely gloppy white gel with tiny bits in it.
I also applied the gel to the right side of the painting to give a sand quality.
Which brings me to the poem,
The frond I lichen
to the currents
of the sea,
to all things green and moist
I wear them proudly
as part of the "I"
of the fish who adorn me.

Her hair evolved starting with waves on the left to lily pads on the top and small fronds on the right.  I applied thick lines of gold paint to accent the pads.

The colors in her face built up quite slowly.  I started with a yellowish tone and added layers of white, ivory, orange and finally, green.  This was a true test of my "faith".  My "faith" that she would come through all the changes (ah, a life test) and be content with the final result.

The left of the painting was a challenge, what to put there.  I always start with the face and a vague idea of the rest.  I created the water by applying a heavy gel, then running a comb through it.  This area also has layers of paint to get the right color.  Next came the huge green frond and round circles.

Finally, her title, "She Who Creates the Tides".  

Thank you for coming with me through this painting (on many levels and layers).