Thursday, April 30, 2009


Eric planted up a little veggie garden in one of our big planters a few weeks ago, and now we have these beautiful, fuzzy, green tomatoes growing!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

star jasmine

My parents had one of these growing on their front porch when I was dating, so this will forever be the scent of the goodnight kiss. Sigh.... I planted this one on our front porch last year, so here's to more kissin'!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

testing: beauty

This is a little (2"x2") test piece I made to see how the paper towel collage would work out.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

paper towel collage

I was the mom responsible for teaching the children at our church last night, so I took inspiration from Traci Bautista's beautiful book Collage Unleashed for the activity of the day. I went ahead and dyed the paper towels myself, which I was glad for afterwards (it would have been a crazy mess if the six 4- to 9-year-olds had done it), and just had the kids glue them down in little collages. The idea is to put the words underneath and they'll show through. My paper towels looked pretty thick, though, so I decided to transfer the words on afterwards. The words being the names of the books of the Bible. We've been teaching these to the kids via a song I remember from my childhood. I've been surprised at how quickly they're picking it up and how far they've pushed ahead through all the complicated names. Anyway, I think it will be helpful to them to know the order of things and where to find stuff, because the Bible can be intimidating to approach; I think the more familiar they feel with what's in there, the more accessible it will be as they grow up.
Maybe I'll post some pictures of the transfer process when I get to that part -- I've never tried it before!

Friday, April 24, 2009

fearless knight stage 2... and back to stage 1 again

This is how far I got on Elliott before painting the face white again and starting over. His eyes were askew, and the coloring came out too muddy and yellowish. Sometimes those kinds of things work out fine, but I want to like this one for a long time, so it's back to stage 1!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

banana split

Yesterday was long and tiring, but we found a good way to bring it to a close! My kids have been sick all week, and home from school. The two of them range from highly argumentative to best-friends-forever within any given morning. So it was managing that and the day's housecleaning along with my own hormonally-induced angst. And I'm not sure about Eric. He just kept coming through between work meetings looking exhausted, then tagged in to play with the kids after dinner. Finally we decided to wrap things up with a cherry on top and put everyone to bed.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Monday, April 20, 2009

a perfect system

I love a system that works, and here's one that I've been enjoying lately.
My dear mother-in-law gave me this bag on wheels earlier this year, just as I was starting to read up on collage. To that point, I had avoided collage work because it requires so many little elements that I had no place to store.
But this little bag has compartments for EVERYTHING! AND it's absolutely portable. So as you can see, I have room for little bits of paper, a few paintbrushes, several bottles of liquid acrylics, various acrylic mediums, a few tubes of paint, a heat tool, etc. Everything I need to make a collage!
The wheels and extendo-handle turn out to be mighty helpful, too, because now that I've filled it up it weighs A TON!

How about you? Do you have a perfect system? If so, I'd love to hear about it!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

bedroom mural

Adrienne, I had a good laugh when I read your response to yesterday's blog, because "You'd be really good at painting murals in bathrooms" might be the funniest compliment I've ever received. Anyway, here's the mural that's in the girls' bedroom. It's along two of the walls, and the rest of the room is painted green & blue. I did it while pregnant with Ashton, so it's a little worse for wear... but still standing! Julie and I bought the white picket fence in the garden section at Home Depot -- it's a garden border, and we cut the spikes off that go into the ground. Then Julie had to pound it into the wall with these crazy bronze nails, because both of the walls were right on top of the exterior brick. And while she may have rheumatoid arthritis, she's a whole lot stronger than me. That white picket fence may never come down.

Friday, April 17, 2009

she still likes to wear a hat

This is a first experiment in working personal photos into my artwork. I think my daughter is about 8-months-old here, because she doesn't have the eczema that hit when she started eating solid food. This was one of my favorite little outfits.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


This is something that's been going on around here lately. It's such a fun process to watch. He is so patient with her yet doesn't let her give up too easily.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

spring vacation

To wrap up spring break this week, we went to the Desert Museum. The kids love it, and it was really all the beauty of the desert wrapped up in near-80 degree weather. The place is called a museum, but it's more like a local wildlife zoo in a botanical gardens setting. It's a few miles out of the city, surrounded by rolling hills of cacti. The air is desert-quiet and sunny, which is a whole different kind of calm than, say, mountaintop-quiet and breezy.

I didn't do any painting while we were there, but these two did. I told them sometime we'd go back without any younger children in tow and spend the whole time painting and shopping in the gift shop (so grown up!).

Monday, April 13, 2009

Saturday, April 11, 2009

flower followup

This is the end result of a process begun a while ago... the oil paints were finally dry enough to work over today. I can't say I like how it turned out, but it certainly was a learning experience. Chalk one up for education!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Thursday, April 9, 2009

retro dress form manual

Isn't this adorable? My mom cleaned out her shed last week, including loads of stuff from my childhood, so I'm gradually unloading boxes from my car into nooks and crannies around the house. She also gave me her dress form from the sixties, which I plan to pass on to a friend who's starting to design her own clothes. Anyway, I love old things that work, and having the actual instruction manual to go with it is just icing on the cake!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

sir elliott -- a work in progress

Here's another piece-in-progress. I started working from a photo of the adorable e-boy in a hoodie, and I realized how much it looked like a chain mail coif. And since he's always running around with a foamy sword, here's Sir Elliott! He's not thrilled with the idea, but I explained clearly to him that artists must have their creative freedom. Of course, if he still hates it when the whole thing is finished, you may be seeing the hoodie version soon.

As for guitar lesson #1? It went swimmingly. I realized on my way there that what I felt most nervous about was having to decide for myself what I need to learn next. That's kind of how my last round of lessons went: I'd bring a recording of some song or guitar line I wanted to learn, & the instructor would teach it to me. That meant I had to be prepared with what I had been practicing since the last lesson AND be planning my curriculum for the next one. No thank you! What I'm paying for is someone else to know what I need to learn next and tell me what it is. This guy seemed down with that, and he sent me home with four new scales that I would never have practiced if I weren't paying someone to force me into it! So thanks, Kim, for the recommendation. And thanks, Av, for the lessons!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

guitar lessons

I start guitar lessons today, and I must confess, I'm feeling a bit nervous. I'm not sure why "nervous" -- I've been playing for over 10 years (that's my guitar up there), and most of that has been in front of people. I guess it's that at this point I have to be able to communicate what it is I want to learn next. That and maybe I also have some social anxiety about meeting someone new and asking them to participate in my musical life, which is actually something I experience as fairly intimate and exposing of my core self. I'll tell you tomorrow how it went!

Monday, April 6, 2009

baggage check

This is the end product from a former post.

Friday, April 3, 2009

i heart ace

There's a little Ace Hardware store down the street from my house that I just love. It feels like one of those little general stores you'd go to in a tiny mountain town to buy worms before going fishin'. In fact, it has a big bell hanging from the handle that jingles each person on their way. Eric and I went to this Ace a few days ago, and he went in a few minutes before me. When the "helpful hardware man" (whom I hadn't met before, although I know some of the employees from having been there so often) came over to ask me what I was looking for, I told him, "my husband." And he said, "He's over here in aisle 1."
And that's why I heart Ace Hardware.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

painting in progress

I've been having
great fun reading
Taking Flight by
Kelly Rae Roberts.
I'm already on board
with a lot of the
ideas she writes
about regarding the
creative process,
but there are some
beautiful images in
there and good
chunks on mixed media
I've been trying to
figure out how to
better paint people --
I can pull off simple
cartoons or hyper-
realist paintings (takes
forever), but I'd like something in between.

Her way of painting figures seems to address this, so I'm heading in
to do some experimenting with my own subject matter. Today I
busted out my oils and started playing with a flower from last July.
This is just stage 1. Stay tuned for the finished product!