Tuesday, December 25, 2012

We Be A'Dancing

So it's Christmas morning and I find this delight on Facebook posted by my dear friend, digital artist Deb Booth. Just the space I want to be in today.   Deb's intro says it all.   Enjoy!

'This is one of the most delightful things I've seen in ages! What is it about people dancing/singing/creating together that makes me cry??? Anyway - do yourself a favor and watch this - it's funny, heartwarming and just what's called for.'

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Old School Collage

Recently a friend sent me a copy of a collage he had done years ago.  We had a great conversation of the days before digital collage.  In our era, we had the wonderful Xerox machine - and at that time, most or perhaps all,  'copiers' were, in fact, Xerox machines.  At first there was only black and white images and then, eventually, color.  And after a time, one could enlarge or reduce an image directly on the machines. I remember being very excited about that capacity.  Earlier eras used tracing and carbon paper and multiple copies of the same image source, say, a newspaper or magazine, for repeated images. 
In the mid-70's another friend of mine  lived in New York City and came across a color Xerox in a print shop.  The owner of the print shop had a stash of xeroxable iron-on transfer papers someone had left behind.  He sold it to my friend and allowed him to make color copies for the same price as b&w, which was fantastic, because typically color copies cost about $1.00 a piece.  I was living in rural Virginia and color xerox machines had not arrived. 
I was working with a lot of vintage images then [yep, still at it] using old postcards and ephemera and hand colored photos.  I would paste-up these images on cardstock and mail them to my friend, who would then color xerox them on the transfer paper and return them to me.  I transfered the images to fabric and made them into quilts, hangings and boxes. 
My favorite was a quilt made of those old-school lurid National Enquirer covers - which required double-xeroxing to get the text correct [the first xerox would create a mirror-image of the text]. Alas, I no longer have any of this work except for one box, which I made of hand-colored photos from my childhood, which I made into little stuffed 3-dimensional figures. 
Awhile back my former husband, while rooting about in his storage unit, found a box containing a supply of unused iron-on transfers from that time.  I was as excited by the images as I was then.  I haven't tried them yet, and am not sure that they will transfer after all this time, but it was a fun moment just seeing them.
My collage friend also shared some interesting facts about Chet Carlson, they inventor of the Xerox. He and his wife were Zen Buddhists.  They donated the money that funded Ian Stevenson's research at the University of Virginia  on children who recall past lives, and that work continues with his successor, Bruce Greyson, M.D., who is the Carlson Chair.  Greyson is an authority on near-death experiences.  The Xerox was a novel and nonintuitive combination of physical phenomena which had, until Carlson, no know applications.  Thank you Chet!
Flag Ceremony collage by Sarkesian


Milne Street box


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

This sad time

This was sent to me in an art newletter by Stephanie Lynn and it shared my own feelings so perfectly, I am passing it along.

 My heart has been filled with tremendous sadness throughout the weekend. 
My thoughts and prayers go out to all...
the losses can not be compared.

Charlotte Bacon, 6 - Daniel Barden, 7 - Olivia Engel, 6 - Josephine Gay, 7 -
Ana Marquez-Green, 6 - Dylan Hockley, 6 - Madeleine Hsu, 6 -
Catherine Hubbard, 6 - Chase Kowalski, 7 - Jesse Lewis, 6 -
James Mattiolo, 6 - Grace McDonnel, 7 - Emilie Parker, 6 -
Jack Pinto, 6 - Noah Pozner, 6 - Caroline Previdi, 6 -
Jessica Rekos, 6 - Avielle Richman, 6 - Benjamin Wheeler, 6 - Allison Wyatt, 6 

Rachel Davino, 29, school staff - Dawn Hochsprung, 46, teacher -
Anne Marie Murphy, 52, school staff - Mary Sherlach, 56, psychologist -
Victoria Soto, 27, teacher - Lauren Russeau, 30, teacher
Nancy Lanza, 52, mother

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Ebb and Flow

This collage grew out of a conversation with my dear friend, Ellyn Dye.    We were commiserating with each other about finding the patience to 'go with the flow', the awareness to not 'push the river' and the permission to feel grumpy when things just are not moving as we wish.  Oh we all do lament the truth that we are just not in control!  In any event, we both came to the point of remembering that reality is always ebb and flow.   Ellyn is out there 'celebrating the magic of life' at LionMagic.com

It took me a bit to get around to bringing this collage to life as I just couldn't find the right images that resonated with 'ebb and flow' to me.  I knew I had the right 'flow' when I found the  red-dressed woman  and she also echoed the energy of  fiery red Ellyn.  

When I came across the reclining woman in my photo stash, I was drawn to her and then resistant to the fact that she seemed asleep, so I kept looking for the 'ebb'.  In a dream it came to me that she was in the ebb and comfortable enough to sleep, while awaiting the flow to move her into action.     This image, by the way, is from the cover art for a wonderful book - The Mystery of Grace - an urban fantasy by a favorite author of mine, Charles DeLint.

The black & white figures are the yin and yang of ebb and flow and the spirals the movement.  The ocean is the essence of ebb and flow.  But all these descriptions are what I can say after I compose the image.  The process itself is much more organic and, pun most intended, in the flow.

Friday, November 9, 2012


While watching an antiquing show, I saw this wonderful 50's sideshow banner for Electra - the electrified woman.  I just loved her and knew I had to make a piece.  She's quite popular as I could find many colorful posters, postcards and buttons with her image on it.  I created this box, using a high glaze, embellishments of the some of the key images with additions of my own, and magical crystal balls for dimension.  She's happily ensconced in my studio and I smile whenever I see her.

Electra - sideshow banner by Snap Wyatt ca. 1950's

Electra! assemblage 12x9x1.75"

Electra! back panel

And why do I just love this kind of thing???

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Quote of the Moment

I love quotes.  I collect them.  I capture quotes in text, love to find them as an image and so on.  I enjoy them, laugh at them, get inspired by them and yep, like to share them too.

The other day I came across this lovely girl holding a sign - A Day Without Laughter Is A Day Wasted - which is a pretty good quote to share. It looks as if the original image was street art on a wall and photographed.  I was captured by her and felt a kind of kinship with her.  So with a little PhotoElements I'm asking her to share some of my favorite quotes.

I found the original image on TheZooom.com but have been unable to find it again or the artists or photographers name.  So with a tip of the hat  and an appreciative thank you to the original creator, I'll let little Libby share my thoughts of the day.

Quote heard  as dialogue from CSI:NY!!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Retro Rose

I can get pretty involved with digital - images, searching, noodling around - in my cozy office with the big screen,  but one of the things I have come to value about our monthly Art Day - is that no matter what I've been doing, the Art Girls get me back in the studio for some 3-D, hands-on time. It's such a different energy and working with 'things' always refreshes me in its own unique way.  

The core of Retro Rose has been living in the studio for some time.  I believe she was designed as a jewelry hanger. Her lovely pink torso is glossy ceramic and her stand is some metal that looks like brushed aluminium.  The overly large plaster rose teapot [found on a Dollar Tree sojourn some time ago] called to me as the perfect 'head'.  I was drawn to the texture, the overblown, out-of-proportion nature, which added just the right amount of 'offness' I am always responding to.  I glossed some of the green trim to engage with the gloss of the torso.  A little hand on top was just right for another signature element that I like.  

Bits and pieces of jeweled drops and hanging wired pieces, pearls and chains found their way here and there. I high-glossed the main rose and the smaller rose is made from natural seashells with their own gloss - deconstructed from an odd centerpiece I found at Goodwill.  

But she wasn't done and I searched for the element that completed her.  I  found [or they found me], tucked away with some images, the cardboard figures of classic film stars. I've had these for years and am pretty sure they were a gift from my dear friend, Michael.  If not, he surely would have given them to me.  I sprayed a ceramic-like high gloss on the figures to, again, match the gloss of the torso.  We have Betty Grable [I think!] in blue, Bette Davis and Sonja Henie.   Retro Rose has happy energy for me.  Fun.

Retro Rose Assemblage 21" high

Detail - Betty Grable, Bette Davis, Sonja Henie

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Whew - weddings, moving, next steps & more

Well, where have I been??? I can tell you I have not been in the studio very much but I have had a few moments.  In late June my son's girlfriend got a great job in Oregon, in a little town 3 hours south of Portland.  Not the bright lights of that coolest city Portland, but it is in Oregon and a career move.  So a big move was on the horizon.  Next they decided to get married before the move, so wedding planning crowded the horizon as well.  In the end we had a lovely, Renaissance-Fair-type wedding - all vegan just as they wanted - and eventually shipped two young people who had yet to live far from family across the country to the next stage of their life.

The brides mum is a talented theater costumer and she made the bride's fantasy wedding gown and the groom's magical garments.  She also provide various bits and pieces of costume for the groomsmen as well.

I got in the act a bit with an art-shoe centerpiece for the head table.

The Magickal Wedding Party en costume

The Wedding Shoe

Sometimes birthdays are a godsend.  I like to make mini-collages for cards and it gets me back to working images once again.

Retro Birthday

Dancers a la Turkey

Truth & Beauty

Friday, June 29, 2012

Crow! Shoes! Gifts! and Free Word Art Creators

At times, a lot of my art energy goes into making gifts and cards.  I like to do collages as special cards for friends and sometimes, create pieces for a specific person. My husband Dennis just had a major birthday and I created a 50 page photo book for him of his life.  A big photo project is like a large collage, but additionally, I had great fun creating thematic collages from stories he has told me about his life - favorite childhood things, favorite music and collages representing certain times of his life - college, career, his era as a firefighter, etc.  At the behest of my best buddy, Deb, I also created a DVD using most of the photos and some of the collages, all backed by a Dylan soundtrack.  Sweet.  

This was my first DVD project and I look forward to making some art inspired DVDs.   The software Deb recommended is PhotoDVDMakerPro by AnvSoft.  It is easy to use, very intuitive and will save into several formats, including YouTube.  You can get a free trial  to see how it works.  The trial allows you to use a maximum of 30 photos and although you can save the project, you cannot actually burn it to a DVD.  I started working on my project in the trial, saved it and then purchased the software by download.  I did not buy it directly through the trial software since I found a 'deal' at TigerDirect.  The link above is to CNET, where there is a good review but it also is offering a deal on the download. 


But even when I'm living in digital art, our monthly Art Girls day gets me back into the studio.  Poking around, I found  a wonderful glittered crow and was inspired to do a crow-themed doll.  Crows are a special totem to me and appear often as inspiration.  I couldn't find the 'just right' head for this piece until I found on a shelf the wonderful black wire shoe.  A perfect resting place for the crow and a great 'head'.  I filled the toe of the shoe with white porcelain hands and added some mirror shards to the back to offset all the black.  

A flow of hanging stars [old earrings & yep, I actually wore them back-in-the-day], crow feathers & fabric bits for her skirt, silver micro beads and other bits and pieces and she came together.  The final touch, the pink rhinestones, appeared a couple days after she was completed and set off all that black perfectly.  

Stella ShoeCrow altered doll 11 inches

Came across Wordle.com the other day.  Wordle is an online site for generating 'word clouds' from text that you provide.  It's free and easy to use.  Just type in your word selection and click on Randomize and Wordle will create many options of the words.  You can customize with a choice of color palettes, fonts, etc.  If you want to use a phrase, use dashes, as in Altered-E-Art or periods, as in www.wordle.net to have Wordle read it as a single word.   The type window did not seem to read underscores as letter links, like Altered_E, so use the dash.

In the end you are given the option to send your design to your printer.  Save it as a PDF so you have a copy.  Actually, I had trouble getting the print window to pop up, so I used my clip tool and just captured the screen image and saved it as a jpg.  Great tool for custom text, cards, etc.

Tagxedo.com is another great word designer - more sophisticated than Wordle.  Here you can enter text or you can capture text off the web.  The two sample designs I created used text from my blog.  You type in the url of a website or article and Tagxedo will capture the words.  As you can see from the samples, Tagxedo also offers an array of design shapes to import your text into, as well as a text block.  As with Wordle, you have color and design palettes to choose from and can customize both.  Tagxedo also lets you take your image directly to Zazzle where you can have it printed on an array of items- mugs, t-shirts etc.  I liked Tagxedo so much I made a donation.


Friday, May 18, 2012

Old Dolls, New Dolls, Free Clip Art & Fonts - cool

I've been exploring my past.  I was watching American Pickers, a History channel show about finding vintage Americana. One of the pickers mentioned how so many people were searching for the toys of their childhood.  I then had a vivid memory of a little doll I had when I was young in the 50's.  She was called a Ginny doll.  This was a pre-Barbie doll and she was a little-girl type doll.  Most of all, I remembered how I built 'rooms' for her out of old wooden milk-crates.  I papered the walls with wallpaper from an old sample book and made furniture out of scraps of wood and bits of fabric.  My first assemblage work! 

I emailed my oldest friend, Jan, and asked her if she had a Ginny doll.  We met when we were 11 & 12, so it was before our own time together, but she said, yes she loved her Ginny. I was definitely going on a Ginny doll hunt.

Naturally, I went to ebay and discovered that there is an entire world of vintage Ginny doll collectors.  I also discovered that I was going to have to pay more $$$ for this little adventure than I had first thought.  But after losing several auctions, I decided having 'my' Ginny was important and that I had to up the ante.  I found dolls that had the look and hairstyle of my own doll.  But still I was bidding too low.

Now you know I collect dolls in a way - bits and pieces I usually use for deconstruction.  I was in my studio and - I'm not making this up! - a doll fell off the shelf at my feet.  She was a little doll I had found some time ago, wearing what seemed to be a homemade dress.  She was too cute, so I never deconstructed her and just put her on the shelf.  Well, you know what's coming - I opened her little dress and saw the Ginny doll trademark and her little shoes were marked Ginny.   I found a sweet vintage outfit on ebay and a cute heart-shaped Ginny doll plastic stand, put a flower in her hair and now another ellipse of life links the past to the present. 

My 'discovered' Ginny in her vintage outfit.

1955 - my Ginny era. 
 A few years later, my younger sister got one of the first Barbie's .

More Dolls!  I have been working on a big collage project and when I would just go brain-dead from focusing, I would google images just for fun.  Well, I discovered another, current, world of dolls - the Sonny Angel dolls.  These things are just oddly adorable.  Haven't actually purchased one yet - especially because they have an odd 'blind box' policy, where you pick from a collection but not a specific doll, but their blend of old-school Kewpie and contemporary just tickle me.

Would love to have the photographer doll!


Clker is a great site for small clip art - numbers, letters, signs, symbols etc. and with the ever-valued transparent background! What else is special about Clker is that the site also lets you customize the existing art and upload your own designs if you like.  You can download anything without signing up.  To edit, create a user name - your images are saved in your account and added to the site.  It's all free.

You'll find some really cool fonts at kevinandamanda.com and not just for scrapbooks!  Discovered them on Stumbleupon.

I get the cutest scrapbooking fonts at Free Scrapbook Fonts! kevinandamanda.com/fonts

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Info Puppet & Photoshop Elements 10 new Recompose Tool

I mentioned my upgrade to PSE 10 the other day and my excitement over the new Recompose Tool - which easily lets you eliminate parts of a photo and/or resize a photo while retaining the whole of the picture, vs just cropping.

I experimented with this tool today and realized I kept missing some part of the written instructions, because it wasn't working as I expected it to.  SO when this situation shows up, I google for video demonstrations and what did I find but Info Puppet on YouTube.

Info Puppet's directions are exceptionally clear and easy to follow and also very funny. I loved that he called the Recompose Tool the 'Bad Boyfriend' tool, since we were going to eliminate the boyfriend from the photos.  

But most of all, I just loved the whole surreal aspect of the video being narrated by a puppet head with a great puppet voice.  

Check him out.  Learn & be amused.  

Monday, April 9, 2012

Gifts & Things

Haven't posted for awhile and you might think art isn't happening.  Well, it is, but mostly oriented towards others, as in gifts and projects that are in motion.

My grand-daughter is now 4 and I made a photo/collage book with the theme of 4.  I've made similar books each year now and think the 5 book will have more narrative and may be the end of this series.

I'm also working on a photo/collage book of a World Trip I was fortunate enough to take in  1975-76 with my then husband, Perry.  The book is being done now because awhile back I uncovered a trove of photos from the trip and negatives, which I was able to have developed and put on disc.  Then just recently I found a journal I had kept during that trip.   Perry then, synchronistically, found his journal and a envelope filled with receipts and such.  And finally, in telling Perry's daughter, Mimi, about the book she said she had all the postcards we sent her from the trip and knew right where they were - so more to scan and include! Somehow all these things have decided it's time to be seen again now, 37 years later.  Maybe they like the idea of being in a book.

And finally, I'm at work on a collection of collages.  I'm in the gathering images stage, which can be quite addictive, I admit. For the most part, the images are tumbling around in my inner background, finding how they want to come into form.  I've moved a bit here and there on the digital canvas but it's all still evolving.

By the way, I am now working with a new 'digital canvas'.  I just upgrade from Photoshop Elements 8 to Photoshop 10 and I really like and recommend the new features in 10.  From what I understand, some of these were available in PSE 9, but not in any of  the earlier versions.  

One simple change that has made a difference to me is the 'self healing tool' that you can use with 'contextual background'.  You can make elements in an image you don't want, like text, and using the self-healing tool, PSE 10 will automatically replace the part marked to delete with the background it is on.  Cool.

You can also recompose pictures very easily and can now have text flow around an object.  I an happy to have those features but haven't actually tried them yet.  

You can get a free 1 month trial from Adobe. Just click on 'try'.  If you own a previous version, you can upgrade for $79.00.  

Since I wanted a back-up disc,  I ordered the disc from Amazon.com for around $80.  I then activated my ownership of the trial version by just entered the serial#.  Voila and a nice hands-on back-up disc is on the shelf.  


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Emergence & Reconnection

Synchronicity.  Movement. Sharing. Friendship.  All leads to emergence from one space in time and reconnection with all time.

Emergence & Reconnection

Monday, February 20, 2012

Synchronicity and Collage!

This morning I woke up and felt like I could see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.  I felt like I had moved through some of the sadness I had been carrying and could breathe a little easier.  Earlier I had thought of bringing recent feelings to art, but the energy for that never arose.  

Then I opened my email and found the email from DailyOasisCollage.com.  This is a wonderful free newsletter from Mili & Johnny Dillard  that shares collages and one I contribute to.  What I found in the was the collage of the day was one of my very own about fear which I had created months ago. 

Seeing it today was a wonderful reminder, via my own art work traveling on the web from another time spot, that I made it through these places before.  Reminding me again that life is always changing and the ever-present Light and fuller truth is always waiting for us to recognize it again. 

I wrote to Mili sharing this synchronicity and told her I was inspired to create an Reconnecting to the Light piece.  It hasn't emerged yet, but it's definitely percolating.

I shared this collage in this blog previously.


Mili and Johnny are both facilitators of a process called Soul Collage® - described at SoulCollage.com as "a creative and satisfying collage process. You make your own deck of cards - each collage card representing one aspect of your personality or Soul. Use the collage cards intuitively to answer life's questions and participate in self-discovery. Joyfully deepen your understanding of the relationships between your personality parts, you and your family/community/world, and you and your dreams, symbols, and Spirit."

Here is a collage from Mili

'I Am An Intuitive Transformative Artist,
one who stands before the magic canvas seeing all the possibilities
from which I choose to create my art, from which I choose to co-create my life.'

My dear friend and art buddy, Deb Booth of DifferentLightStudio.com, introduced me to Daily Oasis and is also a collage contributor.

'I Am One Who Believes That I Am Cared For and Renewed,
even as the Earth begins her journey into Winter.
The Frost leaves will provide a blanket for the seed within to grow when the time is right. 

As my dear friends, the Orion group say, 'We are always speaking to and for each other.'  And art is one of the languages we share.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Joy of Books

This added an element of delight to my day, so I decided to share it.  Enjoy!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Art Moves The Energy

Recently I went through a difficult time.  Emotions were high. Disappointments were discovered. Expectations not met.  Caring tried to stay present through it all, but pain was felt.  After a bit I found myself in the studio and was able through art to let the emotions and situation find its own expression and felt some transformation.  The inner space is still tender but now I feel some spaciousness to continuing examining things.

In this piece, nails, broken mirror, rocks and chains and a discombobulated doll come together in a 5"x3"x2"  stained and painted box to express pain and vulnerability and the frustration of feeling unable to effect the situation.

Unexpected Insufficiency

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

2012 - fresh!

I was fortunate enough to begin the new year in Ocean Beach - a funky beach town in San Diego.  So nice to set the tone of 2012 with a touch into a laid-back, funky, artsy vibe. Murals, street art and the quirky abound.  All that and the famous Dog Beach where pooches run free and frolic.  Nothing like immersing yourself in dog joy every day.

e shoes


Garage Art

Street Shoes