Thursday, December 29, 2011

Two more

I made two more "interference series" Arizona collages over the holiday weekend. I sent images of them to the director at Xanadu Gallery and she asked me to ship out all three new desert pieces!

In the top one, I liked how the spent blossom of the century plant seemed to follow the line of the distant rock formation, so I worked to frame it just right when I took the original photo. I like how the strips of paper interrupt the vertical line of the blossom but it still captures the eye flow. In the second piece, I enjoyed working with the sense of space in the scene and emphasizing the foreground cactus by adding multiple layers of vertical strips of the altered image (click on the image to enlarge and better see the verticals).

Monday, December 19, 2011

First Arizona Piece

My trip to deliver art to the gallery in Arizona also allowed me to take a number of photographs from which to create new work. I was so happy to get back into my studio and work on this new desert piece over the weekend. It is 12" x 12" and entitled "Desert Uplift" to reference the uplift of the rock feature, the reaching saguaro and the cloud building up over the rock formation.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Mission Accomplished

I delivered my art to Xanadu Gallery in old town Scottsdale last Saturday and enjoyed seeing the gallery and meeting the staff. I didn't think my art would be on display for the Thursday night Art Walk as the owner was out of town for the week. However, I was delighted to find five of my pieces hung and viewable from the street!!! (You can make out "my wall" to the right of the parked car in the photo below.) I was also thrilled to find out that I'll now be moving from my spot waaaaaay down on the online artists part of their website to the top section of 25 in-gallery artists. GULP!
Update Thursday, Dec 15th: the gallery director called me today to tell me a couple came in after seeing my work in the window and bought the upper right piece to ship home to St. Louis - whooohooooo!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

2012 Art Calendar

I put together some small calendars for 2012 with 13 images of my artwork. The pages measure 5.5" wide by 8.5" high with a 4"-square image on each page. I took some to the Galesburg Civic Art Center and the Buchanan Center for the Arts to sell in their gift shops. I also have some extras, so let me know if you'd like an $18 calendar for you or a for a gift!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Going to Scottsdale

The collages above are all going to Scottsdale, Arizona, next week to Xanadu Gallery. I'm going to ride out with my friend, Linda, who will be wintering in Arizona, so we're going to hand deliver the art. The gallery owner has been very nice and fun to deal with via email, so I'm excited to get to meet him and tour the gallery. Linda and I then plan to go to Taliesen West, the Botanical Garden, maybe head up to Sedona, and also go on part of the Thursday Night Art Walk in Scottsdale before I fly home. It promises to be a fun adventure!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Just one more...

I wanted to make one more piece for the owner of Xanadu Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona, to choose from, so I worked on this image of the Tetons. This is another 16" x 16" cradled panel like last week's. I made a piece earlier this year where I angled a few strips across the horizontal pieces, but in this one I really broke out of the straight lines. I built up a lot of angled pieces in the clouds to give a feeling of moving, billowing clouds.

I'm hoping this work also conveys some of the wonder of the Tetons. The mountain range doesn't have any foothills, so it just rises straight up nearly 7000 feet above the valley floor! We were shocked at the views we had driving along the road in Grand Teton National Park and wondered aloud if we were going to drive right up to the mountain base. I took the photo this piece is based on while we were driving toward one of the peaks in the range. In one of the digital variations, I added some text in the road about the Tetons; it's in the darker strips. I like the feeling this has of being on that road with the two cars up at the bend in the road ahead.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Are we there yet?

I realized there were a couple photos from our trip out west that I really responded to due to the roads depicted in them. I liked how this view pulls you in, yet you don't know what will appear if you continue on the road and make the curve to the right... kinda like life! In addition to working with three sets of digitally altered prints in this 16" x 16" piece, I added in pieces of old postage stamps, some green art papers, and fragments of a "2 reais" bill my friend gave me after her trip to Brazil – the currency had beautiful color etchings of an underwater scene, so I used sections of it in the composition... a couple turtles in my sky, some seaweed in the trees and part of a statue's head in the road. I like to put those "rogue" items into my landscapes so that they're revealed in the up-close view, further removing the art from the original photograph. (Click on the images to better see the details of which I speak.)

Monday, October 31, 2011


I always give a piece of art to our local art centers when they're having fundraiser auctions. In the past, I've pulled one from my storage area... usually an older piece. This time I decided to make a new collage for the Taste of the Arts at nearby Monmouth's art center. I hope somebody falls in love with it and it raises $100 or more for the art center.

I snapped the original photo from the car when riding home from Chicago. I liked how the farm was such a small feature in the landscape with the middle ground in bright sunlight and the clouds so moody. In addition to altering the photo digitally and shredding the three alterations to piece together, I've added in some blue ledger paper, bits of text and some green art papers. It is 12"W x 6"H and is called "Unsettled."

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Art and the Economy

We had a steady flow of people during the three hours of our Art Happening. We were happy with how our art looked in a home with neutral wall colors and enjoyed receiving feedback on our new work. 
I was hoping to move out a lot of my remaining "early works" at very discounted prices but didn't think I'd sell any of my 2011 at gallery prices. To my surprise I sold one of my new pieces and only one discounted piece––to my stepdaughter (Thanks Amy)! The economy seems to have everyone holding tight and not making "discretionary" purchases. I should have put up a little Christmas tree to make people think of perhaps giving a unique holiday gift! So, I share with you some scenes from the event and two JPGs (below) showing the sale art (click to enlarge). If anyone stopping by my blog is interested in seeing one of these as a larger image, along with the size information, let me know!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Art ideas and experiences

We went to Chicago last weekend and enjoyed spending time at the Elmhurst Art Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Chicago Art Institute. It's always so inspiring to see great works of art up close and feel the ideas percolating.

This weekend I had time to work on a 9x12 abstract using shredded pieces of nature images and start preparing for an "Art Happening" we're staging on the 9th at a friend's Victorian home. He has it for sale and has a number of empty rooms, so we're going to put our art in 4 rooms of the house and have invited people to see the art and tour the house! My husband just finished an alabaster sculpture that will have its debut that day. I plan to hang my 2011 work on the main level, my 2010 work upstairs and also have about 40 older works marked at SALE prices hoping to clear out my art storage area.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Bold color palette!

After making the two small abstracts last week, I decided to make an 8" x 10". In contemplating the blank panel, I got to thinking about all of the nice art papers I had NOT been using since they didn't mesh with my current mode of making landscapes. I pulled out a stack of papers and fanned out colors that would work together to make a "field of color" when cut into strips. I went back to the pieces that were leftover from the train graffiti piece I made this summer (see the July 20th posting) to pull some of the red boxcar pieces into the composition. I realized all boxcars have text on them saying CLOSE AND LOCK DOORS BEFORE MOVING CAR and I had two red strips with the first part of the phrase and two green strips that held a variation of the phrase (it instructs to lock BOTH DOORS). I included those in the color fields along with strips of the ridged car sides and some green and blue graffiti (you can see those details if you click on the image to enlarge it). Some of the papers have metallic gold in them, so between that, the abstracted train imagery, the bits of text and the bold color, this piece is really jumping! I'm calling it "Moving Car" -- a direct reference to the train text, but also conjuring up images from a moving train or auto.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Bigger and Smaller

I usually work from photos I’ve taken, but when a friend sent me a photo from her hike to Trout Lake in Yellowstone National Park I immediately saw possibilities for a new collage. I loved the reflections in the water and the color range. With her permission, I made three digital alterations of her photo, cut those into strips and layered them together with art papers to create this 16"W x 12"H work. The title "I've Never Been There" can be taken as a straight forward admission by the artist that I’ve never been to this place, or it can be more of an implied wish ... I’ve never been there, but I’d like to be sitting by the lake’s edge contemplating the reflection on the water as it ripples toward me.

Today I decided to make a couple 6" x 6" abstract pieces. In one, I used the leftover strips from the prints of the water in the above Trout Lake piece along with some old ledger papers. In the other, I used blue and yellowed ledger paper along with some metallic copper paper to make an abstracted cityscape. I've been wanting to make some new pieces for a couple area art center gift shops, so these might be the first installments toward that goal....

Monday, August 29, 2011

More Depth

I really love encaustic, but I haven't figured out how to combine fast-drying, oil-compatible layers of hot wax with my acrylic-compatible way of slowly building my imagery. I made a piece previously (see July 5th posting) using several layers of pouring medium and decided to take that to greater depths.

I have 12 layers in the 12" x 6" work above:
1 - base layer of strips cut from three different digital manipulations of a photo of Dailey Lake, Montana
2 - acrylic pouring medium
3 - acrylic pouring medium
4 - additional strips of imagery applied
5 - pouring medium
6 - pouring medium
7 - additional strips
8 - matte medium
9 - pouring medium
10 - pouring medium
11 - strips of imagery and matte medium
12 - strips of imagery and matte medium

The pouring medium is glossy and I don't like the glassy surface it leaves, so I cover it with matte medium. It doesn't absorb the medium like paper does, so I get much more visible brush strokes on the surface. If you click on the above image, I think you can see that this piece ended up with a definite feeling of depth, luminosity and texture.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Speaking Engagement

Rob and I were asked to speak to Women's Issues Network (WIN) on Monday about our art. It was an interesting process for me to try to summarize how I got to where I am in my art and how and why I make the things I make! I showed images of some of my earlier art as well as how the pieces changed after visiting Montana. Here's the outline I followed when I spoke:

One of the issues we as women face is—outside of our relationships with other people as wife, mother, daughter, co-worker—what makes US happy? What recharges our batteries? What makes us want to laugh with joy? Six years ago, I discovered that creating art was what did that for me. It puts me in a space without concern for time or to do lists or the latest headlines on the news. The more hours I can be in my art studio, the happier I am. So let me tell you about my passion.

My artwork in the beginning was more traditional collage, making compositions out of old photos, art papers, maps, Viewmaster reels, book pages, layering them with acrylic medium and sealing the final composition with another coat of acrylic medium. I was trying to evoke a sense of nostalgia or journey with these pieces.

Then in 2009, I went to visit a friend who had recently moved to Montana and she took me to Yellowstone National Park and through some of the many mountain ranges in Western Montana. I flipped out! I came home with hundreds of photographs and a desire to make art about this amazing place.

I wanted the art to be more than the photograph, so I started altering the photos digitally to have a more painterly feel, a scratched surface or enhanced light or color. Then I’d take prints of the altered photos and tear or cut segments from those variations to piece together a new scene.

As a result, the artwork becomes more of a recollection or glimpse of a place. Possibly looking like a painting or photo from a distance, then as you look closer you see the cuts or tears, and then even closer you might find bits of text or ledger paper or actual grass or pine needles as part of the surface. Most recently I’ve been shredding the prints by hand or with a paper shredder and building the composition out of lots and lots of strips of paper.

Rob and I have been to Montana three times since my initial visit. I love working with the photos we’ve taken, remembering the sounds, smells and feelings of being in nature. Through my art, I’m hoping to bring those feelings of peace, stillness, and joy to the viewer. When someone responds so strongly to my art that they want to purchase it and take it into their home, it’s an inexplicable feeling for me. I’ve been writing the word JOY on the surface before I start applying the imagery hoping that is what people will feel when they look at the work. We all need to find the JOY in our lives, and making art does that for me.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Dwell in Possibility

My friend Linda gave me a magnet for birthday with that statement on it -- "Dwell in Possibility." I've been trying to move in that direction -- of what is possible -- rather than setting limits on myself.

In that spirit, I approached a gallery in Park City, Utah, about gallery representation... and was turned down.

I contacted a gallery in Iowa and the owner expressed interest in both my work and Rob's; we met with her a couple weeks ago and now we both have work hanging at Campbell-Steele Gallery in Marion, a suburb of Cedar Rapids.

I uploaded images to the website of Xanadu Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona, to apply as an online Studio Artist (they sell your work online, you ship it to the buyer, the gallery sends you 80% of the sales price; if your work sells they MIGHT put your work in their downtown Scottsdale gallery). I received notice I'd been juried in and my work was now "live" on their site... then the owner contacted me, said he really liked my work and asked if I could send him 8 - 10 pieces by November to put in his gallery!!! The above piece was the second I've made for the November shipment AND it will be in Xanadu's 2-page ad in the October issue of American Art Collector Magazine.

Continuing to make art and dwelling in possibilities....

Sunday, July 31, 2011


I was wondering if I could work bigger with the shredded idea by hand cutting wider strips so that the scale of the strips would increase as the canvas size went up. This 30" x 10" canvas was my test of that idea and I think it works fine. This opens up a lot of possibilities....

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Back to the mountains

This week I came back to my mountain photos from our trip west. I chose one showing the Tetons in clouds and decided to do the foreground in horizontal strips and the sky/mountains in vertical strips. The 6" x 6" piece I made a few weeks ago ("Snow Curtain" posted July 5th) was a trial run to see how horizontal and vertical might work together. This week's collage (named "Another Time, Another Place") is 12" x 12" so the scale of the shredded strips gives the work a different look, but I like how it turned out -- especially at the horizon line where the verticals overlap horizontals. (Click on the image to see that area better.)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Lotsa Trains!

We have an annual exhibit coming up at our Galesburg Civic Art Center where members can submit one piece for the "Members and Friends" show. Since BNSF has a large rail yard here, I thought it would be fun to try using my shredded technique on some graffitied train car photos I'd taken last summer. (I exhibited high plains landscapes at the art center in Nov-Dec, so I thought I'd submit subject matter that wasn't typical for me in my new shredded technique that I haven't yet exhibited locally.)

At first I thought I'd need to take new photos that had the train cars all intact in the photo frame AND all with the same horizon line. Upon further reflection, I realized that might be too static, and having the center image be further back in space and the train cars cut off at the edges would give more of a feeling of movement. The piece is the product of both digital and physical manipulations of my photos. The three panels are fastened together by metal channel, giving a feeling of train cars coupled together.

My husband said, "It's still technically a triptych even though they are fastened together, right?" I replied, "Sure, remember all of those altar pieces from art history? They were called triptychs but they were hinged together. This is like an altarpiece for commerce." His eyes widened and he said, "That's a perfect title!" And so it is.

(Click on the images above to see the details a bit better.)

Monday, July 11, 2011


So my last post was about going in a new direction...and then I go and revisit the torn paper method I used to employ! Partly I wanted to see how it felt to work that way again, and I needed a bit more variety in my pieces to take to meet with a gallery owner in Iowa. (With 16 pieces on display in a physician's office and 18 of my recent pieces now in Montana, I have mostly just the shredded works on hand.) So... it felt kind of odd to be tearing my manipulated photo prints and I didn't really like how it looked after I covered the 12"x9" panel with imagery. So, the next day I tore art papers and added them to the scene, covering any white edges of the torn imagery and lessening the details in the image. I like it much better now.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

New images, new directions

I've recently worked on two pieces with images from our trip west and tried some new techniques.

In the 12" x 9" piece, I put down the base layer of shredded pieces, then I used some new techniques with acrylics to build up a feeling of depth somewhat similar to an encaustic work.  Another new addition was to add 3 angled strips of imagery that echo the line of the hillside.

In the square collage, I experimented with using vertical strips in the mountain/sky/tree with a horizontal foreground.

Input welcomed!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Wild West Tour was Fabulous!

We were out west for the first two weeks of June. After spending a few days in art museums and galleries in the Denver area, we drove to Grand Junction for the opening of their 14th National Juried Contemporary Exhibition. I was really pleased with where my three pieces were hung in the multi-room exhibit and the feedback I received during the reception.

From there we drove up to Park City, Utah, and checked out a few galleries and went to the opening of an encaustic exhibit (where we saw two new pieces by our friend Madeline de Joly and met Daniella Woolf, whose book and DVD on encaustics I have!). Then we spent a week with our friend Karen near Bozeman, Montana and unpacked and unwound. This was one of the dozens of photos I took of the ever-changing view out her living room window.

We took my boxes of art into Visions West and unpacked them; the gallery owner said she plans to put a grouping of my art in Livingston and in her Bozeman gallery. (

Our trip home took us through Yellowstone and the Tetons, with a stop at an alabaster quarry to load up 675 pounds of stones for my husband to carve. What a great trip!!! We took over 1,000 photos, so you'll be seeing some art made from them on my blog sometime soon....

Monday, May 30, 2011


The Visions West Gallery in Livingston MT ( is having an exhibit in July called "Save the Trout Eat Catfish" that will be a group show of art with fish as subject. When the gallery owner was picking out what art of mine she wants for her galleries, she mentioned the show and said if I had anything fishy to include that as well. I remembered having fun working with some photos I'd taken of the sea wall on Galveston Island that is painted with fish and sea creatures, so I looked through those photos and chose one to work with. I've only done landscapes with my shredded technique to date, so this was fun to try something flat. Its title is Sunday Morning Ichthyology... couldn't resist a little play on words...!

Sunday, May 22, 2011


I sent an email to the owner of Visions West Galleries who represents my work (locations in Bozeman and Livingston, MT and Denver, CO) and asked her to pick from 25 JPGs the art she'd like me to bring out in June. I was pleasantly surprised after a few days to receive an email saying "These are all wonderful! Here's the list:..." and she listed 17 titles!!!  All of the above were "the chosen ones"... good that we're taking the truck when we go west.  :-)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Expanding my horizons

30" x 10"... the biggest collage I've made using shredded papers! It was a bit daunting to figure out a scheme to keep this amount of skinny pieces of paper somewhat organized. What I came up with was to first print out the scene in sections, so I had six 8.5" x 14" prints of the scene manipulated with a watercolor filter... six prints of a drybrush filtered scene... six prints of a poster edges filter. I laid the prints out in the proper orientation for the whole scene and proceeded to shred one area at a time, starting with the prints for the upper right.
In this photo you can see that I'm working on the center top section. I have a print at the top of my drawing board showing me the whole scene, divided into sections. Under it are three sets of shredded pieces sorted into the proper order for me to easily pick from as I build the scene. I also shredded some pale blue paper from an 1856 ledger to use in the sky (you can see those by enlarging the top photo) and some yellowed paper from an 1879 ledger and prints of a 1904 topo map of Yellowstone to use in the grassy area. Those give an additional interest to the piece when viewed close up.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The business of art

My old business cards don't reflect the work I've been doing the last two years with scenes from the west, so I decided to make some new ones using shredded imagery. We'll photograph this to make a digital image for the printer. When he trims them out after printing, I'll have ten cards each with different imagery out of each sheet of card stock.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Second Chapter

Ever since making the "book" two weeks ago, I've been wanting to make another one. In this one, I chose to use all pages from the same book (Natural Advanced Geography, 1901), so the overall tone is the same yellowed paper, but variation is achieved through the use of etchings, colored maps, and illustrations from the book. I put the page numbers at the top for these facing pages and had some fun in picking what images to use out of the geography book. I'm calling this piece "Earth Bound."

Monday, April 11, 2011


Last year my friend Bob shared a photo with me that he took of a country road that had such a sense of depth with the road and power lines receding in space. Using his photo last spring, I made a torn paper collage of altered versions of the photo (top) and thought it would be fun to print out those versions again, run them through my paper shredder and make a second collage with horizontal strips (bottom). I was interested to see what the horizontal strips did to the perspective of the road. My husband gave it "a big thumbs up". Let me know what you think.