Thursday, December 18, 2014


Imagine my surprise this morning when i discovered that the two whitish blobs i glimpsed through the tufftex wall of my studio, on closer examination turned into a fish and a half. Evidently one of the two resident Blue Herons decided that our stern deck would be a charming al fresco site.

What i can't wrap my head around is not hearing any of this little dinner party. Admittedly we did have dinner with Sam and Catfish last night. So maybe we weren't invited to the party because we weren't here.

Will they come back to finish the leftovers? Is the mostly intact fish meant to be a present? Perhaps a menu suggestion? It was placed much closer to the stern door than the half-eaten one. i have read that the Chinese used to train pelicans to fish for them. Hmmm..... at any event, so long, and thanks for all the fish.

more later,

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


represent a very different way of collage making for me. There are at least two significant variations: #1 is of course the vertical nature of the piece and #2 is tied intimately to #1; i cannot work in my normal fashion, which is to lay out the composition pretty much in its entirety  prior to glueing everything down. These differences are at once liberating and disturbing. Liberating in that it is a faster, less deliberate way of working, in which  random coincidence plays a much more important part in the design process; disturbing for much the same reason, the process of building, watching a collage grow under my hands is for me, a very satisfying core element of the process.

As an aside, many years ago i took my first fibers class with Walt Nottingham. Walt's exceptional skill in the classroom and undeniable passion changed my life in a fundamental way. What he said in his introductory notes to that class in 1973 stays with me to this day; 'Some people are only interested in the end product, others, myself included , care far more for the process, the ritual of doing'. I am a process girl myself. Friends, colleagues and students have all remarked that i will find the slowest, most precisely obsessive way of making things. Its true. The repetitive nature of ritual making whether as a tapestry weaver, a papier mache sculptor, a book maker, or a collage artist soothes and satisfies the maker part of me. Collage, as well as satisfying the compulsive urge to make things provides an intellectual connection to history and culture. I, as do most collage artists, have a preference for a particular type of material. I use almost exclusively art books, art and culture paper media from the 50's through the 80's as well as 'how to' media from the same era. These bias' inform the work, referencing as they do the world i grew up in, as well as my passion for art. This is why, when you look at the 'Male and Female Gaze' panels the faces looking out at you may not be familiar, as they do not gaze out at you from contemporary supermarket tabloids or internet sites. Their history, the meaning of their presence, their importance is likely hidden from you, mainly by your own cultural references. If you care to look you may find them opening a window to my mind.

more later

Thursday, December 11, 2014


Of course; since the weather has turned cooler(cold according to Mungo) we are perforce, spending a lot more time inside the empire than out. These means among other things outdoors  that my exterior paint work is done until springtime. I had hoped i would have gotten more done but as usual life got in the way.

As if i did not have a sufficient number of 'irons in the fire', i have embarked on another new project. I decide i was going to collage the two walls of the bathroom that flank our composting toilet (which we love). The starboard (right, ya landlubber) side is the "Male Gaze", the port, "The Female Gaze"; complete with 'Dadaist' word game poetry. All of my images are generated  from art and culture magazines, spanning the mid 1950's to the mid 80's. The wall panels are 50"x 16", and as you could surmise, will not be finished any time soon. I envision an ongoing dialogue between the imagery and the headline poetry. If you have any favorite examples of the male or female gaze, or excellent headline poetry please feel free to share it with me.

More later,

** Oh ya: ARTICIFICATION, v. The art of esthetic embellishment of the physical environment by the hand of the artificer.

Kindly check out our other blogs, Floating Empire and Onboard Cooking.  You'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


Changing the way you work can have a profound impact on what you make. It is a very cool; Mungo would claim cold! Saturday, following a similar Friday. I have been obsessed with the new drawings, to the point that my collage work haw slowed way down. I started a new collage in the Divided Mind series late Thursday and twiddled most of Friday away putting together a solid, but uninspiring  central image. This morning as i sat down to work i decided that this was not the collage i really wanted to make. I carefully set aside all but four of the original pieces and essentially started started over.

My normal practice is to assemble the entire collage with out permanently fixing anything down: layering, trimming and marking before glueing. This of course means that i also have to disassemble the entire piece pretty much to put it all back together. Rather ironic huh? It does work well, allowing me to produce beautifully layered work which would be next to impossible to do if you were glueing as you go. I have a tendency to focus on what i perceive to be the central image and fill in the background later. Hmmm...


Today i made a deliberate choice to change the way i work: since i was starting with a brand new folder of unsorted, uncut images i decided to change the process as well. First i built the 'background' out of whatever caught my fancy; glueing down all the pieces where they touched the edge of the picture frame, building an interesting composition out of color and shape with little concern given to the narrative element. Next i laid the four saved pieces down, adjusted the positioning, added some scraps of shape and color and wow! the whole image came together so smoothly it was almost spooky. I should note that i wrote this, well, at least a month ago. We have been having issues with reliable connectivity on the boat, and, well, i forget that i had written this. My apologies. Please enjoy the images.




is of course the tidal variations we experience here in the Middle River. This was not an issue in Wisconsin on the river that i grew up on. Take today for an example: it is a beautiful, blue sky, blustery cool - okay cold day. It is the first sunny day since last Wednesday. Unfortunately it is one o’clock in the afternoon with low tide not due for another 40 minutes; that wind, is of course out of the north; which combined with low tide makes it impossible for me to get off the boat other than by swimming, which believe me, is not an option. Brrrr. Nope, it is no walkie for Morgaine and Mungo this afternoon. Drat! It would be a great day to be out at Marshy Point Nature Center, wandering the trails enjoying the spectacular beauty of the Chesapeake wetlands. So if i can't be out there on the trails here's a selection of  some recent  images from there.

Here is Mungo at the end of the Iron Point Trail

The view from the observation bridge that crosses the marsh. To the right is Marshy Point Nature Center, on the left about 200 feet from the bridge you enter Gunpowder River State Park.

No, Andy Goldsworthy was not with us, nor did we rake the leaves to create this image. It is hard to beat Mother Nature at the art game.

If you have taken Art Appreciation you should recognize the progenitor of this image.

Enjoy, more later