Monday, December 22, 2014

Downsized! New Studio-Office and a White Crow Guardian

So my husband and I have continued apace with our 2014 changes - downsizing from a house to a new, modern, maintenance-free apartment. Now it's  'just call Peter' for any problems and easier to lock-up and hit the road.

And even though all feels in alignment, some changes were bittersweet, even as things came to a natural close. My monthly Art Girls get-together, 6 years in all - has come to an end.  First we celebrated with a big give-away, as I passed on many of my art supplies to the girls and others to my gallery, Shenandoah Valley Art Center.
On our last time together, we did a group collage, which was a neat process.  And we ended with our usual wonderful pot-luck lunch.

It was a bit odd to downsize my art pieces themselves, but it was very interesting to discover which pieces were my favorites, which no longer held energy and could go on and which I choose to deconstruct and keep some key elements.  The process just followed the energy and I was suprised at how easy the flow was.  I also learned which pieces were favorites of my husband's that I hadn't know. The empty house studio is ready for someone new to find it's purpose.  Maybe it will stay as an art or craft studio!

My new studio is also my office.  Yes, much less space, but I think all will work fine.  We also have a garage where many of my well-packed and well-labeled supplies are now living.   'Space' does have it's effect and I am curious to see where the new smaller space will lead me in my art.  I sense a change will evolve but as of now, have no vision of it.

The furniture in this space is designed as craft furniture.  It is a line by Martha Stewart, which I find very funny.  But it is wonderful.  All the drawers and cabinets are designed for art supplies.  Kudos galore to my husband who designed the space, chose the pieces with me and put all of it together.

The wonderful couple portrait on the top shelf is my son and daughter-in-law, by her.

Art in the garage!

And lastly, I created a Guardian collage for the new space.  I am quite enamored of the all-white theme so the white background holds the 'white' energy.

White Crow Guardian - digital collage 

The key element is this collage - the wonderous Crow woman is an amplified and altered image of an art doll I have loved and used for several years now.  Alas, I do not have the name of the artist and a google image search has not revealed it.  I recall at the time that this was a fabric doll and that it was sold, so perhaps it is not longer on the web.   Should anyone know this magickal artist, please let me know.  

Now that we're all settled in, we're going to hit the road.  Posts from our travels in 2015.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Virgo, Lions and Guardians - oh my!

Some recent Virgo birthdays were inspiration for collages that became cards.  While looking for a Virgo theme for my dear friend Helen, I came across an image with a lion.  I've never associated lions with Virgo, but I really liked the image, but not the Virgo within it.  So out she went.  I then created a more, to my mind, kick-ass Virgo goddess who matched the lion energy, which I felt was a 'Guardian' energy.  

Virgo Lion Guardian collage

Lion Guardian inspired me to create just that for Helen - a lion guardian box.  I then went on a lion quest.  I found some plaster lion heads in my studio, which had been cast from a push mold I made years ago.  More interestingly, these were in supplies Helen had passed along to me.  Aha, her energy was coming into the piece.  The gold frame in the lid, gold leaf and other elements all came from supplies she had given me. Stalwart guardian crystals came from my big crystal bowl and our Virgo Lion Guardian came together nicely.  Mz. Helen was pleased as well.

Lion Guardian Box  mixed-media assemblage  5x5x9

The Virgo collage for my friend Michael evolved into one I call The Virgo Mystic and includes symbols of transformation, like the snakes and swords.

The Virgo Mystic collage

I then had another Lion experience.  There is lot of change going on in my life right now as we are downsizing from our house to an apartment nearby and will soon put our house on the market.  This move also will open the door to more travel.  Recently we were driving in town and I looked out the window and saw a black Panther sitting by the road with its paws extended in front.  I turned to my husband and said, 'Well, that can't really be a panther.' and of course, it morphed into the piece of concrete that it was.

A few days later, I was in the dining room at lunch with the Art Girls.  I felt someone come and stand in the doorway behind me.  I thought it was my husband coming up from his office and turned to see what he wanted.  Instead, I saw the black Panther lying in the doorway.  This time I laughed out loud and said, 'Message received.'  

I googled Panther as a totem and saw, like Lion, it is associated with Guardianship, Transformation and Strength.  Last year when I began some physical changes, Mountain Lion came to me in a dream as a totem for those changes.  Mountain Lions and Panthers are in the same family.  

Recently my sister reminded me that I was born on High Noon on a Full Moon.  She said I will always have two elements active in my life and although they may seem opposite, they are always working in tandem.  I decided that Mountain Lion and Panther are my Sun and Moon Lion Totems.  I am walking through this time with two Lions.  Naturally, I had to capture this energy in a collage.  The Henna tattooed hands represent me in transformation, and as they are henna, the design can change and become something else in time.

Sun and Moon Lions collage

Friday, September 12, 2014

Mayfair Hotel! Deviant Scrap becomes Mischief Circus. CrowAbout Studio.

Deviant Scrap is a great site for digital collagers.  They offer digital images in png form with transparent backgrounds, ready to download and pop into your next collage. Images. Backgrounds, Numbers and Letters, themed sets and heaps of inspiration.  And as you might tell, these are funky, fun, unique, grungy, oddling images too. Up my alley and hopefully yours too.

They are a collective of artists who offer their images and designs.  Recently, the changed their name to Mischief Circus, which does seem to capture the essence of what they're about. All this at prices you can easily indulge yourself with and many freebies to boot. Do check them out and add to your fun.  The Halloween images will grab your attention.

I recently got a particularly fun group of stuff there from CrowAboutStudio.  It's always nice when a Crow Sister speaks to me.  You can see her digital kits at Mischief Circus and check out her blog at

This great retro Hotel Mayfair was a background in the CrowAboutStudio package.  I then came upon these languid Armani lovelies and there you go.  And to add a touch more to the retro mood, the blimp is the Hindenberg indeed.

Hotel Mayfair collage

Monday, September 8, 2014

Portland! Oregon!

Had a wonderful travel to Oregon.  I've loved Portland for years.  A great city to get my 'urban fix'. Eminently walkable, vital but still on a smaller scale.  Tutto bene friendly and cool of attitude.  My son and daughter-in-law moved to Oregon 2 years ago, so now Oregon has become an annual trip.  Lucky me. Thanks kids!

We fly into Eugene and we like to stay in the U of O campus area, funky and fun.  My son lives in a small city south of Eugene, where they have managed to gather an wonderful 'family' of interesting people.  We then traveled to Portland up some of the coastal road, which was neat, even though most of the time we couldn't actually see the ocean herself due to fog.  A side trip to he funky city of Astoria. And then time in Portland.

In Portland ,we stayed in a cozy rental apartment in the Nobb Hill/Alphabet District area of Portland, which has become our favorite area, our 'home' in Portland.  Walking, walking, walking and oh the many restaurants, breweries and coffee shop.  A perfecto urban venture.

I collected my usual photos of oddities, signs, murals and the like, capturing the oddling vibe I seem to need to have.  Lucky me.

Portland 2014


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Crow Sisters

Traveling is in my future, but Crows have my attention at the moment.  After the first two Tough Girls collages,  I had a dream about Crow Sisters.  And it seems, these ladies are of the Tough Girl ilk as well.

Crow Sisters collage

Off I shall go...

She was moved to travel - mixed media assemblage  9"x8"x4"

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Neon Boneyard!

I love signage - vintage, retro and neon!  I've only been in the Las Vegas airport, but I would go to Vegas just to go to the Neon Boneyard - which at one time was just that - a junkyard for discarded neon signs. But people found out about and traveled out there and in 2012, it opened as The Neon Museum, and now has a collection of restored signs, to be 'viewed as public art'.   Many of these signs used bulbs rather than the tubes most associated  with neon [which is the gas that makes the color and the glow] and I don't know if the bulbs had neon in them.   In any event, photos of these treasures just float my boat and speak to my love of retro imagery.

I've actually been fortunate enough to have owned some neon, but alas can't find any photos.  I once had a huge outline of a chinese pagoda in yellow.  We installed it at the top of the windows in our studio.  We lived on a rural road, but several times people came up our driveway at night, looking for the restaurant.

When I owned Synchronicity Bookshop in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, DC., we had a neon piece made of our symbol for synchronicity.  It was quite large and fuschia, like the image, but of course, neon!

I was also given as a gift my very own neon letter E!  And right now I have in my yard a leftover metal E that once had bulbs in it.

So my recent happy collage inspired by the Neon Boneyard is Last Call at the Chinese Garden Cafe. The Cafe sign is in the Boneyard.  The Eat sign and neon A and & are my additions to the collage. 

Last Call at the Chinese Garden Cafe

Friday, August 1, 2014

Tough Girls Two

Yeppo,  I am still dancing with Tough Girls.  This piece turned out to be thematic - all these Girrrls are from the world of comics, gaming and animae.  I  once again just had fun just searching in this category, although I added comics, anime, gaming, etc to the mix.  I collected by image, but afterwards searched out the characters themselves.  Am happy to report there is a plethora a these ladies out there, which pleases me immensely. Wonder Woman, Tank Girl, Death, Storm are old favorites of mine and now I'm checking out the new girls.

Tough Girls Two

I've gone one to order some new comics.    Orchid by Tom Morello, of the group Rage
Agaist the Machine

and Black Orchid by Neil Gaiman

                                                    who is also the author of an old favorite, Death    

Lucky me! Next up Tough Girls in film.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Tough Girls

The other day I came across an image of a 'edgy'woman.  I am drawn to images of strong women and have used them in many collages.  So I decided to do do an 'edgy' woman collage.  While searching for images, I discovered that there is a genre tagged 'tough girls'.  I found tough girl looks on Pinterest, tough girl anime, lists of tough girls in film. What a collection I've gathered!

Now some of my choices might not fit someone else's definition of  Tough Girl, but it works for me. Looking forward to the next Tough Girl collage.

I think I didn't really get to express my own 'tough' energy, even though I grew up an urban 'Philly Girl'.

Too young for the Beatnik era

and too old for the Goth era
Goth Girl By Siphen @ Deviant Art

Tough Girls 

Speaking of Tough Girls.  I just watched a great 6 episode Brtish TV series called Hit  & Miss.  It's a beautifully realized show about living through life when times are tough, of gathering and creating family.

Mia [Chloe Sevigny] is a tough girl indeed. Actually, though, she is a pre-op transexual who is also a hit-man, who learns that she has a son with her former lover, who has recently died.  What a set-up!  But it's just great. Check it out.  I found it on Netflix streaming but it's out there on the web.

There is also a terrific music in this series, which made a great background for my Tough Girls collage.  You can find it on Spotify as the Hit & Miss soundtrack.

Saturday, July 5, 2014


While googling for an 4th of July - Independence Day image, I found a couple of fantastico red-white-and-blue themed shoes.  Soon I put in a search for just that and found a nice trove. Ended up celebrating the holiday with a shoe collage and the customary hot dogs for dinner.

Found image for my 4th of July Facebook greeting - sorry no attribution


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Bad Girl, Crow-ed Shoes, 75 and more - collage!

In the background, between this and that, I am doing digital collage. It's the 'noodle-around' art that always calls me.  Sometimes I'm inspired by an image I come across - as in Bad Girl.  Other times I wander through my own image collection.  Still other times I create a collage for a card - a birthday, good vibes, something on a friend's mind.  These latter projects are often especially interesting to me, because I will use subjects, images and colors that are not my own sensibility but rather for the person I am making the card for.  So in creating with another in mind I follow a different route in some ways.

In fact, recently I submitted some of my collages printed on canvas and some products, bags and small purses, to a local shop.  I found it interesting that they didn't like any of my own designs - 'too edgy' - but did like the pieces I had done for others - which include angels, butterflies and mermaids.  lol  In the end, though, they weren't 'accepting new artists at the time.'  lol

I found the key image in Bad Girl googling for who knows what.  I believe the original is a photo of 'cosplay' - costume play from Vera Chimera.  But I found an altered image of a photo and I altered it even more.  In any event, Bad Girl tickled me.  You can analyze why.  I just know I loved it.  And I can see Bad Girl showing up in future pieces.

Bad Girl

My friend Leslie and I share a love of Crows and we often exchange crow inspired art for birthdays and the like.  This collage is an extrapolation from Leslie's recent birthday card.

Crow-ed Shoes

75 - Collector of Images

Reaching Out To My Early Self

Travel Well for Mimi

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Women Artists Altar Room - Altar ara las artistas mujeres - a collaborative project

As you know, I'm a member of the Shenandoah Valley Art Center [SVAC].  Last month they had a show in which a small unpainted wooden room was constructed as part of the installation.  It is about 8' high and 6' wide and 7' long and was going to be dismantled after the show.  I was having a conversation with Piper Groves, our delightful director, about my miniature altered house and my long-time fantasy about doing a real altered house. Somehow at about the same time, we both thought of the room in the gallery. The annual juried gallery Member Show was coming up in June, so it was perfect timing for us to do a collaborative piece.

Piper has an affection for Mexican art, collects Day of the Dead skulls and was recently looking at images of Mexican altars.  I myself have a big collection of Mexican ceramics and tin and did a lot of work with Mexican Madonna images and Frida Kahlo.  So we quickly got to the idea of doing an altar room.  I also happen to have a large Frida Kahlo poster that I bought in Mexico City.  We decided to use that as the anchor of the main altar and from that quickly emerged the idea of, naturally, doing an altar to women artists. We were off and running.

I sent Piper pix of the many Mexican things I had on hand.  Next time I saw her she had also made wonderful wood pieces of four of her favorite artists - Judy Chicago, Yoko Ono, The Guerrilla Girls and Yaoi Kusama.  Inspired, I created pieces for four of my favorite artists - Geogia O'Keeffe, Louise Nevelson, Sonia Delunay and Jenny Holzer.

We took one afternoon to paint the room and then began the installation the next day.  Piper had a wonderful collection of lace pieces from her mother, which we used to drape from the open top of the room. She also made a really neat garland of paper Day of the Dead skulls, which was nicely hung throughout.


My dear friend Helen and I collected many items  in Oaxaca, Mexico and Mexico City, including our 'Herd of Madonnas.'  She also had given me heaps of fabric flowers.  Piper and I added mirrors and Mexican Tin pieces throughout; battery candles, a nice crow and whatever took our fancy.  Piper altered a painting on wood she had  in her studio with Mexican Tin and a friend of hers, added a vagina pottery piece. Yay, Judy Chicago.

It was a wonderful couple hours of assembling.  And how nicely, at the opening people seemed to appreciate it very much.  All that and we got an Honorable Mention too.

Should you be in the Waynesboro, VA area, the show will be up through the end of July.  Stop on by!   SVAC

Main Altar 

Altar Detail

Altar Detail

Piper's Artist Plaques

At the Opening - Mimi peeks out


My artist pieces

Louise Nevelson assemblage - my favorite! 18"x5.5

Sonia Delunay plaque  9" diameter

George O'Keeffe 8x8 wooden plaque

Jenny Holzer plaque

The Madonna and Frida pieces

Forgiving Rose   15"x6"

Mexican Integration   12"x10" box

Madonna Kali 18"x10"

If you're curious,  here are links to the work of our favorite artists: