Friday, December 28, 2018

LAW 158: Merry Christmas and all that, only a little late

I thought i would share my Christmas card series. Last year i decided that the very few friends and family that were still getting holiday cards from me would each get an original. Since i must stress, there are very few of them, this is a very doable project. In prior years i had designed and printed a card, but somehow this felt like the right thing to do.

And He Needs Me to Light His Way, for my Dad

This year's cards have a common theme; imagery that i sourced from two delightful children's book i scored earlier in the year. One of them, actually a Christmas story itself featured a moon that fell out of the sky. This of course caused Santa all sorts of problems, as there was no moon light to guide him through his Christmas eve travels.

The Next Day When She Awoke, for my Mom

The moon from this book became the unifying element in each of the cards. This felt very apropos: we would experience a full moon for Yule, and after all, the solstice is the time when the balance of light and dark start to change. Thankfully towards the light.

Santa Had Noticed the Change in the Night, Aunt Rita's

The other story, which provided most of the delightful starry cosmos images was about a hedgehog that got to be an astronaut.

He Gave Pleasure, for Brian and Marrianne

The bits and pieces that made each card individual and meaningful to the recipient came from a wide variety of sources; mostly paintings.

At First it Was so Dark, for Maggie

Have a great rest of the holiday season and as always,

More later

Friday, November 16, 2018

LAW: This That and the Other Thing, # ??????

I appear to be a very bad blogger. What can i say, life has a way of getting in the way. We spent a lot of time this fall trying, repeatedly to get the paddle wheel on Tesla's Revenge functional; we are sooooooo close. Sadly we proved once more that you do indeed get what you pay for, viso, cheap, Chinese crap. Which is how almost all Chinese imports, particularly building materials and electronics are (not so fondly) referred to in our house.

A girl has gotta spend time with her cat!

The culprit this time, our replacement for the replacement of the motor controller. It did work, the wheel did turn, for about 15 seconds, before the fusible link in the controller went fissst, up in smoke. Ya think that maybe the specs aren't accurate?
Yes, red is the traditional color for a paddle wheel.

All of this along with normal winterizing of the boat. It seems as if winter is coming a little early this year. We had to make some fairly significant repairs to our flexa-glass enclosure of the cockpit. We will probably get another full year out of this version; but we are surprised and a little disappointed in the performance. Most significantly the flexa-glass shrank enough over the summer, i guess due to the heat that we had to reposition all the snaps. In some places it shrank enough that we are going to have gaps this winter.

Oh yes, you better believe i voted; thought about following the old Chicago axiom, vote early, vote often..... I did however, express my post election anxiety by creating this collage.

9 out of 10 poll watchers agree....

And, yes there is more, we are finally moving our stuff out of storage from the marina basement, to a more permanent, and hopefully drier unit. I hate going through and moving things, terrible fire anyone?

Still and all, i have been making art, and really really yummy food.

Grilled Eggplant Parmagiana
We grilled the last of our local eggplant, served with a homemade ricotta cheese. If you haven't made your own ricotta and butter you should really try it!

On the art news front, my collage, Eternal Logic of a  Butterfly's Wing has been included in the Collage Artists of America FB 2019 calendar. I let you know where it will be available.

A selection of my collages will be showcased in a group show at the Lirodendron Gallery in Belair, Md July 28-Aug 18, 2019. More on this later.

Yesterday we were completely boat bound. The first Nor'easter of the season dumped far more snow and ice on us then predicated, so it was a great day to devote to art making. I realized as i was working on this piece that my recent collages were all dealing with liminal space, with the line that divides. I try to push the narrative/figurative elements of these pieces as far into the background as possible. The parts of paintings that i use for this work are almost exclusively backgrounds, and with figurative work, the edge, the outline of the form.

More later. Hopefully not much later

Sunday, October 21, 2018

LAW 156: New Collages

Summer has come and gone seemingly with out notice, fall seems to be right behind it. Today is a cool, blustery day, alternating brilliant blue skies with heavy cloud cover. I wonder what winter will bring?

The trials and tribulations of Tesla's Revenge are on going. We are ready to install the paddle wheel, sadly the weather is not cooperating with us. During the last month or so i couldn't find the time or energy for a variety of reasons to create any new collages. I am however back on track and thought i would share the last two with you.

Regarding the Clarity of Light

I continue to explore the design possibilities inherent in pre-selecting and limiting the choices available to me during the composition process. I am pleased with the results. The two pieces i am sharing with you were created entirely with the "backgrounds" of other paintings; i say other paintings as i think of these collages as paintings. 

My sources for these works are the Time Life World of (artists). A series of books that my mother subscribed me to, a birthday present from the early 70's. Yes, i have carried these books with me across country more than once!


The imagery for Regarding is derived from Vermeer's walls, i loved the quality of light and intention to detail, that of Searchers from back grounds of sculpture, mainly Rodin's.

The subtle color and texture in these large, flat, mainly subordinate parts of the painting are to me, extremely evocative. I hope you find the work that i am creating interesting and continue to follow me as it develops and changes.

Both pieces are 9 x 12" on book board. I have no intention of matting and/or framing work from this series. The collage is wrapped around the edges and carried completely over the back.

More later,


Monday, August 20, 2018

LAW 155: Summer Bounty, have i said...

Well, not really summer bounty, but feline bounty! I think that perhaps Magellan was allowed to watch too many Roman costume epics as a kitten. Nuff said.

Yes Really!

This is relatively new behavior for him, but if you note the wet spot on the step down, that, that is not new behavior. He has always dragged his water bowl around, spilling water willy nilly, then, and only then will he drink.

Last additions

But really, summer bounty here is crazy, the weather is crazy, perhaps the whole world is crazy. The weather, too hot, too wet, too cloudy has made for a shorter then usual season for the local farmer. Our favorite local farm stand, Zahradka's has already cut back to week-end hours only.

I'm Ready!

We are still wallowing in tomatoes, corn and cucumbers. Oh and eggplant, eggplant has been awesome this summer. Nothing like a grilled eggplant and mozzarella sandwich with fresh garden ripe tomatoes and basil, oh yea! They were so good that we forgot to take pictures!

Love these bowls Darby made us!

Not so the delicious Maryland Crab soup/gumbo. And it was yummy, all locally sourced ingredients. I was enjoying a good, also local IPA. we served the gumbo with the last of our home brewed cider.

Need I say more?

Not bad for a 29 foot converted sailboat with one burner.

More later

Tuesday, July 24, 2018


PROTEST, yes in all caps is the duty of every thinking citizen. We all approach conscientious protest in different ways. This is a good thing, as we all are very different people with different agendas and different talents.
The Watch#1, 7.7.18

Since i am a visual artist beside putting my voice and body on the line at public protests i can as well make critical statements through my work.

Watching #2, from behind every....7.10.18

My collages have taken a turn from the strict abstract imagery that i have been working with for the last several months. They have become embodied if you will with witnesses. I am under no delusion that anyone of importance in the political/governmental hierarchy will see, much less be effected by my work.

But i will reach you, and you will share the images that move you, right? It is all that any of else can hope for, that we influence the minds and hearts of our friends, neighbors(near or far) and followers.

Watcher #3, We heard what you said, 7.18.18

Watchers #4, Tell us more, 7.19.18

Watching#5, I can see clearly now, 7.21.18

A fire only needs one match.
Watcher #6, Transparent, 7.23.18

More later

I have a good friend who wrote me a beautiful, moving poem in response to the art card(seen below) that i made for him. I wish he would let me share it with you.

Clown's Choice, late june 2018

Thursday, July 19, 2018

LAW 153: Summer Bounty

We just got back from the local farm market that we patronize; we scored a bonanza of ripe red tomato. I love buying "seconds" tomatoes, they are the juiciest, most tomatoey tomatoes, not to mention available at a ridiculously small amount of money.

Can you believe $2?

In summer it is just to hot to eat anything about salads, and of course off the grill. Tonight we have some fresh ground bison, so it is burgers and sweet corn on the grill, along with grilled onions and some of the aforementioned tomatoes.

But the last several evenings it has been "zoodles" starring in a variety of salads.

Angel hair zoodles, blanched and drained.

We picked up a table top spiralizer at a Goodwill outlet for 50 cents. It takes up as much storage room as my large soup pot, but we think it is worth the space. It is easy to use, and really does make great veggie noodles. The down side, it's hard to clean, up side, much fresher, less expensive veggie noodles.
Ingredients, wine is not optional

What i make is usually predicated by what is in the pantry; although we do shop just about every day.
Mungo suggested a cold soba noodle sort of thing. We ended up with a marriage between southeast Asia and ......

yumm, fresh sweet corn, tomatoes and cucumber played of a lightly sauteed dressing base with fresh green garlic scapes, ginger, and a little onion. 
Zoodle Benne Salad

Toss in a generous splash of rice vinegar, lime juice, fish sauce, sesame seeds, i'm sure i probably put other things in the dressing, but hey i don't remember. Don't forget the shrimp, and of course loads and loads of fresh basil and cilantro.

I want you to know this beautiful wood bowl has been in my kitchen since i think 1975, when i purchased it from the Neighborhood Coop in Milwaukee. 

More later

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

LAW 152: Odds and Ends and More Collage

Summer is in full bloom, our favorite local farm stand is providing us with a cornucopia of fresh fruit and veggies, yum yum, fresh ripe tomatoes!

Grandma Turtle almost done!

Work on Tesla's Revenge continues, always slower than we would wish, but hey any progress is good. The sad news is once more we were screwed over by the weasel we bought our motor package from. The motor controller we bought turned out to be defective, as this person and business has vanished from the face of the earth we have had to find a new, functional controller. Still with the wonder of modern on line ordering, through Amazon this time, we will have said replacement in a few days. Another week before we are mobile, hopefully.

It got so hot (how hot?), well we hit 116F as a real feel right before the 4th. Temperatures in the triple digits really put a crimp into the collage making; i'm afraid of dissolving the paper with sweat! So i turned to my embroidery, which has always been a hot weather project. It is very pleasant to sit in the cockpit, or under the drinking trees and stitch. As a result i have finished, almost, Grandmother Turtle.
Tides Ebb, 6.24.18, 13.25 x 9.25"

I still need to stitch a frame around the image. My plans are for a "frame" which looks like a series of tree branches. Yes! more stitching.

I am still working with the Tselkov imagery, although the stash is running low.
Separation of Self, 5.27.18, 9 x 11.25

I have also branched out, working the Tselkov with other imagery and also started to use high end food photos for material.
Left of Center, 7.5.18, 7.5 x 10.5"

And although i am loath to bring politics into what is meant to be a blog about life and art i feel that i have no option but to use my art; to raise my voice in protest of the travesty that this country has become. So is born a new series of collage, collectively known as Watchers/Watching.

Watcher #1, 7.9.18, 6.5 x 10.5"

We all have a responsibility to make our voices heard, making art is one of the ways that i can speak.

Watching #2, 7.10.18, 6.25 x 10.5"

More later,

Friday, June 15, 2018

LAW 151: The Anatomy of a Collage

The way i approach the creation of a collage has changed significantly since i created the 52 Weeks series. There are many reasons for the changes that have occurred, first and probably foremost, with time and practice my art has matured. Certainly the space i am working in has changed, as in, it has gotten much smaller, and it is shared use space. I can no longer leave a collage on my work table for a week at a time auditioning pieces.

Trajectory, 5.17.18
 So, i no longer simply page through folder after folder looking at material waiting for the inspiration angel to strike. No more waiting for that aha moment when a narrative builds itself around disparate imagery.

The process i am now using stems from the work i did with the altered  book project, Never Dine With A Dino. Please see LAW 144 for more about this project.

Using imagery from just one source, in this case the work of Oleg Tselkov narrows and refines the process even further.

I start by pre-selecting a color palette. This involves choosing between 10 and 20 whole or relatively whole pages in a specific color range; usually grey/black tones and either a warm or cool range as well as a limited amount of contrast color. At this point i also usually choose a texture palette, with Tselkov that is either an airbrush smooth, or his beautiful, crackly, painterly style.

Vortex, layer one

At this point i have already reinforced the corners and edges of the book board as well as gessoed the front and back surfaces.

The next step is to create the background. This is the most random element of the process, as well as the one that really develops the overall composition of the piece. Literally i start with a randomly chosen page, start cutting it into strips and triangles and start gluing them onto the board.

Since my intention is to not frame these pieces i am very careful to wrap the imagery around onto the back of the  board. As if i was painting the edges of a canvas. Years of book making come in handy here. I finish all the corners with a "library corner". I have always preferred this technique to the mitered corner. Although bulkier, a library corner is far more durable.

Vortex, complete

A note on adhesives. On a boat, living on the water, absolutely none of them work very well. I go back and forth between liquid glues, which i really do not like, to glue sticks, and back and....

Which ever i am using i always end up taping the edges of every piece that wraps around onto the back. And yes, i always always always use pressure.

Once the background layer is complete, i document that and usually stop for the day, sometimes, but not very often a piece will come together in one sitting. It usually takes a couple of days to finish one of these pieces.

Witness, layer one

I keep the cut pieces from previous collages, you can never know when you are going to need that little curvy bit of pink that was trimmed from something else. Yes ultimately i will discard the scraps, actually they all go into the bin of scraps to become hand made paper. Waste not.

I always look at these pieces from every point of view. I almost always start from a portrait perspective, but turn and work with the composition from every angle.

Witness, complete

Any questions or comments would be greatly appreciated.

More later,

Monday, June 4, 2018

LAW 150: The Single Artist Series

Sometime at the very end of April i finally made the decision to cut into a book that i have been holding onto; a beautifully produced monograph of Oleg Tselkov's work. Considering that we radically downsized our library when we moved onto the Floating Empire four years ago removing a book from the 'library' was/is a rather radical move, a significant reduction of the library population.

Public Safety, 4.23.18, 10 x 14"

I knew sooner or later i would work up the nerve to cut into this beautiful book, it took several years.

Tselkov is a brilliant colorist of extreme subtly; he consistently utilizes the same imagery, and subject matter. His figures are very soft, amorphous, often fading into the background. His imagery is not something i find interesting, but oh my, his color, oh my!

His subtle color work, with it's generous swathes of gorgeous, soft shapes simply invite cutting into. What a gift this book, this work is to the collage artist.

Embrace the Light, 4.26.18, 10 x 12.5"

Public Safety is the last of this series of collages that i did on cardboard. I had an aha moment, always later than sooner, but... and realized it was really stupid of me to discard the covers of books that i had already cut up. I mean, perfectly good, archival quality book board,, that i would have to pay for; so was born the great art of "book filleting", i will discuss technique in a future blog post.

Public Safety is also the first of this new line of collages that i think of as Paper Painting, or the Single Artist Series.

Survival Suit, 4.29.18, 8.5 x 11"

Why Single Artist? All of the imagery comes from the work of a single artist.

On one hand, a dangerous move, upping the possibility of recognition: after all, all collage is appropriation. The trick, taking the best of someone else's work and using it to re-imagine, to create a new, totally different work can be a real challenge. Somethings, some images are so iconic, so recognizable that they are impossible to use.

On the other hand, and there is always at least one other, the advantages of working within a single artist's oeuvre are substantial; consistency of palette, brush stroke, style.

I am reasonably sure if Oleg Tselkov saw this blog post he would recognize, at the very least, i am  strongly influenced, perhaps even that i am using his work. I doubt even he could say with certainty what color, what shape comes from which painting. Which leaves me comfortable that i am performing this particular balancing act with a certain amount of grace.

Unmasked, 5.1-7.18, 9.5 x 12"

What are your feelings about this?

More later,

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

LAW 149: The Merry Month of May.....

I  have obviously been trapped in a time rift somewhere, yea, that's right, the Time Bandits took me away to let the aliens experiment on me. That's my story and i am sticking to it.

So, the aliens were kind enough to transport my entire collage studio for me, so even in my captivity i have been quite productive. Since i was just now granted internet access(evidently the intergalactic rates are prohibitive) i thought i would take a moment of two to up date you.

Beyond Our Horizon, 3.21.18, hand cut and torn collage on cardboard, 7 x 13.75"

My original intention; that yesterday's collage, Beyond Our Horizon and this one were to be companion pieces, a diptych of sorts. That idea got thrown out the window when i decided that Beyond.. worked much better in the the horizontal.

Gravitas, 3.22.18, 7 x 13.75"

I think we will dispense with the "hand cut and torn collage on (whatever) for the sake of brevity. I don't know when my alien overlords will cut me off.

Fallen to Earth, 3.28.18, 9 x 9"

Am i the only one in this experiment who lies awake at night dreaming up new ways to approach my art making? Probably not. I have been consciously trying to change up my approach to collage; techniques ranging from limiting my "palette", to creating a complete background prior to considering other compositional elements. All of this in service of achieving a greater fluidity in the work.

If the truth be told, i think that the Time Bandits were responsible for the limited palette idea, likely since they took all my color away last night.

Today my alien masters wanted yet another experiment, will they never simply leave me alone to pursue my art making in peace? No, they simply, always have more questions, more tricks they want me to try, and they want me to write about it as well! See below....

THE LONELY CITY,  3.30.18,  9 x 9"

I sometimes find it difficult to give myself permission to use torn and cut edges in the same composition; i really prefer the look of torn paper. Sometimes nothing but a clean, crisp, cut line will do. Unless i am tearing simple, straight edges it is not faster, nor more convenient to tear an edge. if i am looking for a curve, or a simple form i score, then pinch and or fold along the score line to guarantee the line i want.

Okay, i think i have to post one more image, some of my fellow detainees say that we will be granted access again tomorrow, i'll do my best.

Blind Prophet, 3.31.18, 9 x 9"

Later, hopefully not much....

Saturday, April 28, 2018

LAW 148: Take care of your tools

If you are a serious cook, or even half way serious about cooking the single most important tool you have is your knife. Without a good sharp, did i mention sharp? knife you are putting your fingers at risk. I know a lot of people actually seem to prefer a dull knife; i guess they feel safer, the opposite is actually true.

I just had to replace my cherished Old Hickory chef's knife, see picture below.

Yes, these are the same knives!

I have used this knife for over twenty years; i took it with me when i was cooking for Mungo Jerry's Fat Cat Cafe, i took it with me when i left after three years there.

Years of use!

I also know a lot of people prefer stainless steel knives; i have to respectfully disagree with them. Yes, i will concede that they are minimally easier to care for as they don't rust. But, and it is a very big but, no matter how sharp they are when new they simply do not hold an edge and have a very limited life span. They don't stay sharp and are difficult to sharpen.

Did i mention that a high end stainless steel knife is expensive?

If you cherish your fingers and an excellently sharp knife, one that takes only a few swipes on a steel to regain its razor sharp edge look no further than a high carbon steel knife. Yes they will rust if not dried properly, yes they develop a beautiful patina over the years, losing the bright shiny surface they come with. I'll take sharp over shiny any day.

A knife for every season

Since these knives retail in the $20 range i think i got my money's worth. If you look at my knife rack i think it is pretty easy to tell that all of my knives are high carbon steel. Some are "heirlooms", passed down through my husband's family, some that i bought when i was a very young woman, first starting my kitchen odyssey.

I own only one stainless knife, it's new, a replacement for my filet knife that somehow disappeared. I mean, i live on a boat, we eat a lot of fish. I simply have to have a good filet knife.

a good Finnish fish filet knife

I also really appreciate that Old Hickory is an American company; they have been making these excellent knives since 1924.

Did i mention i have my own sushi knife?

More later,