Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Two new landscapes

I made a 6" x 4" collage for a friend's Christmas present that combined a photo of horses and one of a mountain range. I really liked how it turned out, so I decided to make a 24" x 8" version. I like the sense of big space it has. My Art Floozy group's assignment for January is to make something utilizing petroglyphs, so the other landscape is for that project. And... I'm planning to submit it to an art competition entitled "Gateway to Imagination" that is sponsored by a museum in New Mexico – the butte and petroglyphs are from the area of New Mexico near the museum.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Giant Step

I made a piece earlier this week that seems to be a giant step for me. I decided to buy a 24" square cradleboard and see what it inspired me to create. I looked through my photos from Montana and chose one I took that featured a large rock in the foreground and a grassy hillside rising up beyond it with clouds peeking over the crest of the hill. I ran a few filters on the photo in Photoshop, giving it a painterly look, and then added a sketch filter which made the blue sky really interesting. In order to print the photo out to fill a 24" square, I printed it out in 6 sections. I then increased the color intensity and printed out segments of the scene to layer over the view.
I took all of the photo pieces into my collage studio to see how they looked all laid out together. I decided to increase the layered effect and first cut sections of canvas and adhered those to the cradleboard to be the surface on which I would place my photo strips (you can see that if you click on the top photo). After getting the image pieced onto the board, I added art papers, grass seed heads and flax fiber. The four people who have seen it have had OMG outbursts, so I'm taking that as a good sign!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

New frame technique

At an art auction last month, I saw a work where the artist had made his own cradle board and had made it purposely rough and crude - including finger prints and paint slopped on the sides. I liked the "honesty" of the obviously handmade frame and how it worked with his mixed media art. So, we decided to make a couple 12" x 12" frames to try it out. I applied canvas to the surface and made these two collages of animals whose photos we took in Wyoming. Let me know – by posting or sending an e-mail – what you think of the art and our construction (you can see it better by clicking on the images to enlarge).

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Self Portrait

Art Calendar is having a "self portrait" contest and the winner will be featured on their March issue cover. They said it could be 2-D or 3-D and abstract was fine. That was an interesting assignment to give myself... what would I use to represent me as an abstract self portrait. I thought about using an owl since I'd had a dream recently about an owl. However, I decided it should be a raven since I've been using ravens in my art of late and I admire their intelligence, trickster nature and sense of play. I decided to add the rice paper spirals to the image to also reflect a recent theme in my art. I put my green eye in place of the raven's black eye. :-)
I'm calling it "As a Raven, I'd Breathe Spirals to the Clouds."

Monday, December 7, 2009

Blurring the lines

My husband and I have a graphic design business together, in addition to both being artists (he's a sculptor: Dr. Stone's sculpture blog ). We just completed a 100-page catalog for our client who sells training equipment for dogs. I decided to make a collage for the front and back covers of their 2010 catalog and use torn papers inside for page headers and backgrounds – blurring the lines between my design business and fine art. In the printed catalog, the J&J Dog Supplies logo will be at the upper left above the jumping dog for the front cover; the horizontal collage will take up half of the back cover with 800# and other information reversed out of the left side of the image. They were very pleased with the look, so I'll be taking these out to hang in their offices.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Pieces of Memory

There's something about looking up hillsides and seeing clouds rising over their edges that I find really magical. I took this photo on a hike in Montana. In Photoshop, I ran three different filters to make it less photographic and more like a painting. Then I made a pale version of the photo and a full-intensity version; I printed out sections of the pale version to tear and overlap on this 30" x 10" cradle board. Then I overlaid torn pieces of the full-intensity view. I added art papers to the ground and sky to further the painted feeling of the work.

Monday, November 23, 2009


I decided to work with new landscape photos of Montana (thank you, Karen!) combined with old photos of Livingston, Montana. I hadn't worked with old photographs for awhile, so it was fun to figure out what to do with them and the mountain scene in this 14 x 11 canvas. I printed out one photo of the landscape unaltered and one with an ink edges filter applied to the image. I wanted to add some grassy paper to the bottom left, but only had green - nothing autumnal. And then, the lightbulb went on – I could paint the paper! So, I painted acrylic gold and brown onto the green grassy paper and then added them to the composition when the paint was dry. :-)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Three Ravens

I made the previously posted raven with the red string for my friend Linda for her birthday. I really enjoyed working with that image, so I decided to make three more collages using the same bird photo. I placed the raven in various settings and ran different filters on the image in Photoshop to give the feathers subtle texture changes. The collages are all on 11 x 14 canvas and are titled "Raven's connection" (with the ribbon), "Raven's gift" (with the flower) and "Raven's invitation" (with the stick - an invitation to come play). I'm going to hang these three – plus two landscapes and three spiral pieces – at Q's Cafe in downtown Galesburg. The owners have expanded the cafe and have asked five artists to hang work in the new dining area. The work will be for sale and we can change it out for new work when we want.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Different degrees of not real

I made a small 6" x 6" collage this summer using part of this scene. I decided it was such an unusual scene (a high mountain lake in Yellowstone) that I wanted to make a large collage with it. This 20" x 10" x 1.5" canvas has a painted sky with paper clouds, spliced together pieces of the scene with a "dry brush" filter run on the original in Photoshop, and art papers and tissue papers added to the trees and grass areas.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Red String of Fate

In our last art group gathering, we all brought items to combine and make an assemblage together. Linda brought red string and talked about Asian stories of red string connecting people destined to be together. I decided to add a red string to this raven photo to combine the string folklore with a bird who has a lot of folklore associated with it.

My husband took this photo of a raven on a road in Yellowstone. I ran the poster edges filter on the picture in Photoshop and then "painted" a light blue across the top at 15% opacity. I then added light brown to the area around the raven. After I'd attached the print to the cradle board with matte medium, I decided the brown was too light and added a light wash of brown acrylic paint. I layered up art papers and tissue papers for the shadow and ground textures.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


I just received an e-mail from the director of the Abecedarian Gallery in Denver that she'd posted an online pdf catalog for the upcoming "Imagination Navigation" show that includes one of my collages. The work in the show is really really nice. I'm honored to be included.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Triptych - part 2

Here's what the work looks like on the wall. In answer to Crystal's question posted below about why I chose to make the side panels deeper... it wasn't actually planned! I'd purchased the 12" x 36" canvas thinking I'd push myself to do a bigger collage than I normally make. Then I came up with the idea of putting the raven in the center of three panels and having the spirals cross over all three. I had two narrow canvases that seemed to be a good size but were different in depth than the large one. I decided that would be OK. Logically the center one would be the thicker with the side panels subservient to it. However, I'm pleased with how this worked out as it has a feel like wooden religious triptychs have -- the ones where the side panels are hinged and can be closed like doors over the central painting -- when the panels are open, they are closer to the viewer due to being hinged at the front of the boxed structure. Since my side panels stand out from the wall more, they also serve to funnel the view right into the raven.
I've decided to call this "Messenger Spirit" as that is what Native Americans called ravens. To them, the raven symbolized the black void in space which draws in all energy toward itself and releases it in new forms. That idea works well with the spirals, don't you think?

Monday, October 26, 2009


I'm hoping to line up a gallery show with my spiral series (all are 9" x 11") and wanted a bigger work to kind of "anchor the wall" in a gallery. This piece is made up of three canvases that add up to 25" x 36" -- the two at the edges are a half inch thicker than the central panel. I'm featuring a fabulous raven photo Rob took in Yellowstone that I used the "paint daub" filter on in Photoshop. The raven is sitting on ground made up of some torn pieces of the "paint daub" rocks, two different scales of topo maps, tissue paper and paint. (If you click on the image you can see the details better at a larger size.) I usually set my most recent collages on shelves in our dining room to live with the art for awhile and see how it looks in different light. This is way too big for the shelves AND can't all sit on the same surface as they need to hang at different levels... may need to remove a painting in the living room for awhile to see how this looks on a wall!

Sunday, October 18, 2009


I'm finding that the collages I'm making with my Montana photos -- ones that I've been planning to send to a gallery owner in Montana for consideration -- are speaking to folks in the middle of the country. My friend Marvin in Texas just HAD to have the piece with the three ravens, so I put it in the mail last week. When a group of friends was over for drinks Saturday night, Brett was really taken with the piece below with the spirals and concrete compass and asked if it was for sale and Bob really liked this mountain and valley collage and asked if it was for sale. Pretty exciting that my recent work is talking to people -- it makes the fun I'm having all the more delicious!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Spiraling Again

Spirals seem to be everywhere in nature, so I'm continuing to explore rice paper spirals interacting with the environment. I've used a couple photos from our trip west - rocks and vegetation along a hiking trail and a segment of a compass in the patio next to Yellowstone Lake - and have tried to make the scenes have a bit of intrigue by adding the spirals. Send me an e-mail ( or post on the blog what you think of the spiral series (others are in earlier posts). 

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Western Ravens

For over a decade, I've been fascinated by the entire corvid family of birds and the high intelligence they display. Ravens have an extra appeal because of their size, and I've enjoyed Native American tales about the crafty bird. We saw ravens throughout our travels out west, and I sketched out the idea for this piece on our trip back from Montana. I used a cradle board frame that has a surface prepared for sketching. I applied sections of primed canvas to that surface so I'd start out with a layered look to the piece and get the canvas texture coming through my laser prints; I painted the canvas sky blue. I ran the "ink outlines" filter on the raven photos in Photoshop, then tore them out and applied to the canvas with matte medium. I tore sections of a topo map of Yellowstone to make a unified "rocky" surface for them to perch on and layered up pieces of sky color and filmy cloud areas. I used two colors of tissue paper to make the raven shadows on the ground. I'm pretty excited about this 8" x 24" piece! (If you click on the photo, you'll enlarge the piece and can see the details better.)

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Rob and I drove to Montana last week and stayed with our friend Karen in Paradise Valley. We had a fabulous time and took hundreds of photos -- some for fun and some for future collage work. I can't wait to get into my studio and start working with some of the images!
I feel like I'm really on a roll now . . .
- Sales at Art in the Park were encouraging, and people have seen work on this blog and asked to purchase. 
- I took examples of my work to Montana and met with a gallery owner (who'd expressed interest after seeing some pieces that Karen had). She sorted my work as I took it out of the box and told me the ones she liked and why. She'll be picking new artists to represent in Jan/Feb, so I'll be sending her a CD with images of the ones she liked and others I plan to make soon!  
- In going through my e-mail upon our return, I had a message that a collage of mine had been accepted into a national juried show in Denver!!
Life is good.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Great day in the park!

Art in the Park was a beautiful day with temps around 80 degrees, nice breeze, vintage Stearman airplanes flying overhead from the annual National Stearman Fly-In, great live jazz music and a steady stream of people. I had fun visiting with people about my art; I sold 14 pieces (and was asked to do 3 commission pieces) and was awarded the Best in 2-D Art prize!! Some of my favorite "sales stories" are: Sara – a new mother – bought a 4"x4" collage for her baby daughter and said "this is Maya's first artwork"... seeing Annette – a cafe owner who had a food stand in the park – standing in front of me, out of breath, holding a collage in one hand, money in the other saying "I walked as fast as I could back to our booth to get my money and as I speed-walked back, I kept thinking 'I hope nobody bought it yet, I hope nobody bought it yet'"... a young woman looking intently at the piece entitled "Marsh Gas" that had a page out of a science book listing formulas for marsh gas, meconic acid, meconidine, melamine, etc. exclaiming, "Mom, this is what I do!" and then buying the piece to hang in her office in Nebraska where she works testing things like marsh gas!! 
I'm posting a photo of my booth in the park and a photo of the small pieces still for sale. I plan to take some of them to the Galesburg Civic Art Center gift shop and to Dove Tail Arts in the Seminary Street shopping district. I think I'll wait until October to do that, so if you see any you'd like to know the price on, send me an e-mail

Monday, September 7, 2009

Preparing for Art in the Park

I had my one and only art fair experience two years ago at our local Art in the Park. People really seemed to like my work - and I was awarded the $100 2-D prize - but I only made a couple sales. Most of the work I had was priced at $100 or more, so I'm trying something different this year (as I really like to support our local Civic Art Center and this is one of their events). I have over 35 small works to display and will hang a few framed larger pieces just for fun. The smaller pieces are in the $25 - $45 range, so I'm hoping they will wing their way to new homes. I've had a lot of fun making "concise statements" with the small canvases, but I am ready to take on some larger canvases in the near future. If you're in Galesburg this weekend, stop by the Standish Park Arboretum from 9am - 4pm on Sept 12th. My booth will be on the northeast side of the park, near the courthouse.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

More Explorations

I wanted to try the spirals with a recognizable background so I used one of my favorite photos I took in Montana. Every time we'd drive the road to Karen's cabin, we'd pass this lone tree on the hillside with the clouds coming up behind the hill as if by magic. I decided to try using spirals in the scene to create kind of a magical feel – soap bubbles going up? ... but wouldn't that be going from large bubbles in the foreground to small in the sky?... something coming down from the clouds? ... something ethereal interacting with the tree? I hope it conveys a sense of mystery and magic. I'm calling it "Clouds Touching the Ground".

Sunday, August 23, 2009

More Spirals

I'm enjoying working in a series while also keeping it interesting and evolving. I came up with a way to tear spirals more easily out of the nicer ricer paper that becomes more transparent when coated with matte medium. I altered some photos to add more colors for my backgrounds - can you tell what the original subject matter was?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Aerial View

This is the third abstract I've done working with the idea of an aerial view of the landscape. I used art papers, a copper-colored envelope, an aged book page and some WWII ration stamps of my grandparents. It is 12 x 12 x 2.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Exploring Spirals

These were really like movement therapy to do! Tearing the shapes out and remembering what direction I was moving as I tore from outer to inner and back out... deciding roughly where I wanted to place them on the background image and then going with the moment as the spiral stuck down and changed directions on me... trying to create a sense of flow of the whole group of them as I layered up the varying sized spirals. The first two I made with rice paper shapes on top of very active photos of an old store's wall that had been painted numerous times in its 100-year history. In the third of the series (top most one of the post), I decided to tear spirals from a print of the old painted wall and place them on a field of text from an even older newspaper from 1890; I used some of the edges of the photo at the top so as to create a feel of the shapes spinning down out of it. These are all 12" x 9" canvas on board; hubby has an idea of how to frame them with a narrow metal channel....


Last spring my women's art group had "an assignment" of working with "spiral." I revisited that idea with one of last week's collages and enjoyed working with the variations in torn spirals – how they relate to each other and their surroundings. I made a small 4x6 piece on Friday with rice paper spirals on top of a photo of colorful leaves on slate. Pleased with how it looked, I decided to pursue that idea on 9x12 panels on Saturday - wow, did I have a lot of fun with that! I'll post those once Rob has the photos processed, but here's Friday's spiral piece entitled "Becomes what it hears."

Monday, August 3, 2009

Getting Ready

I've been making some smaller collages for my booth at our local Art in the Park on Sept 12th. These are 6"x6" and 8"x6". The two deeper 6"x6"x2.5" pieces have imagery on the front, edges AND the back! I'm not going to put hangers on the back as they're kinda fun just sitting on a table so you can pick them up, turn them around and over.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Glorious Morning

This piece is 12x12x3 and uses a copy of one of the vintage postcards of Morning Glory Pool in Yellowstone alongside part of a photo I took of said pool and drawings I did on ledger paper. I've been using old ledger paper in collages for over a year, so I was thrilled to find some notecards in Bozeman of a native American's ink drawings on ledger paper from the early 1900s (drawn over the top of writing due to lack of paper!). That gave me the idea to do drawings on the paper I had – and have another subtle Montana connection in the piece.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Postcards from Paradise

My friend Karen knows I love to work with old postcards and photos and that I fell in love with western Montana when visiting her in May. She sent me these wonderful postcards she purchased in a shop in Gardiner across from the northern entrance of Yellowstone. What fun I shall have with these!!!

Monday, July 20, 2009


My art group's topic for this month was "drama queen"! I wasn't sure what I'd do with that and then remembered I had these early 1900s photos of seven Chicago-area women -- not in their long dresses but in men's suits and hats and holding cigars! Maybe not quite "drama queen" but dramatic and risque. I photographed the two pics on their heavy cards atop some handmade paper with a few old buttons next to them. I then collaged on a cradle board with a print of that arrangement and some papers evocative of period wallpaper and lace curtains. We drilled a hole into the wood cradle board to inset one of the buttons for a note of interest. (If you click on the photo, you can see the women better. I love it that they all have long hair in buns with men's hats perched on top and the soles of the two women's feet touching in the bottom photo is so fun.)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


After seeing some painted wood collages with large fields of color, I decided I'd try to make an abstract landscape with large areas of colored paper. I really liked a photo I'd taken in Montana of a grassy hill with a tree at the top, so I made a collage evoking that... and decided I didn't like it! I thought the block printed tree (cut from the same book the text came out of) would tie the piece together, but the tree was levitating and looked silly. So, a day later I collaged over it with large areas of color making it totally abstract. Rob and I lived with it for a day and decided it needed a few more linear elements. You can see the evolution of the piece from bottom up to the top photo. I'm going to call it "Surveillance #1" and plan to do a series of aerial view abstract landscapes to see what is revealed ....

Friday, July 10, 2009

Living with Art

Having had the pleasure of dining in the homes of two different artists in the last couple of weeks, I'm thinking "Artists Homes" would be a great coffee table book! It is so interesting to be in the living spaces of artists and people who collect art – every wall and nook seem to hold something inspiring or thought provoking. In our own dining room, we enjoy an ever-changing "wall of art." When I complete new work, it goes up on the shelves for us to study and live with. Every so often I change the art out for older works just to keep the view fresh. On the furniture beneath the shelves we have more art – a limestone sculpture and a metal art machine of Rob's, a platter by our potter friend Chris, a spirit keeper by our potter friend Mary, and a special bird box given to me by my friend Pat. It all makes a rich tapestry of color and memories that fill us with serenity. I cannot imagine living without art.... 

Saturday, July 4, 2009


Thinking today about the amazing group of people I have in my life and call my friends...
... I made the above 6x6x2 collage yesterday, in part because I wanted to try the grid/quilt experiment again after the 4x4 from last week, but also in response to reading my friend Penny's blog about improvisational quilting. She had posted about reading a "collection of essays by the composer Roger Sessions, Questions about Music.....The book includes two essays on composing; lots of analogies to the process of creating a work of art. For example, he talks about a composition being built on element of association and contrast. I tend to be drawn to fabrics closely associated with each other, and have to push myself to bring in the element of contrast of value and hue." I, too, had noticed the similarities in making music and art and wanted to make another piece that had a quilt feel, included music, and maybe a hint of a conversation about their associations. I'm calling the piece "44 notes."
... I set up my booth with over 20 small collages at the Seminary Street event last night. I received a lot of good feedback, but it seemed to be a crowd intent on trying the free food and drink samples, enjoying the music and looking at the art – not buying. I held one piece back for a potential buyer, and was feeling rather deflated by the whole experience. But, then good friends helped dismantle and pack up the booth and invited us over for a drink and snacks and lightened my mood (same dear friends who bought two collages from me last week!). My dear friend in Montana called this morning to give me a pep talk (same friend who asked me to send collages out for her to take to a couple Montana galleries on my behalf!).
... So, with inspiration, encouragement and support from my friends and husband, I'll keep making art and finding the right avenues to show and sell it so that I can continue following my bliss. Thank you.