Tuesday, September 29, 2009


As expected, the Iowa Retreat was a pleasure and a treat. Sherry and Jean are very special teachers, and it was so delightful to reconnect with old friends and also make new ones! (Hi Sue!) I got home happily exhausted, but I am refreshed and ready to rock and roll now.

I took my camera with me, but I spent most of the weekend with my hands covered with sticky stuff, so I don't have much in the way of photos to share.

I have developed a bit of a reputation as a messy worker. I don't think it's THAT bad, but I am used to what my table looks like and I can function just fine. I really should invest in a box of gloves though. The ingredients in some of those paints are toxic and my fingers were definitely cut up after working with that wire.

I don't have a photo of my project yet -- it is nowhere near finished, and I have lost count of the number of challenges this piece has thrown in my path. So far I have met and overcome each one, the most serious of which was a base that simply wouldn't stand still. As of this morning though it is as solid as a rock and I am ready to move on with more interesting parts. It should (knock wood!) go much faster now. I just spray painted all the pieces black -- I'll put up an in-progress pic when the paint is dry.

Oh, oh!! I almost forgot - My Challenge doll won the "Most Creative" ribbon. I'll post a pic soon. A picture of a ribbon? Well, yes. This is a special hand made ribbon which is now most proudly displayed in my studio. It is COOL!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

One for the Road

Earlier this summer, one of the members of an artist's chat group I belong to issued a challenge to create a collage based on a "Sunset" theme. My entry is late, but it's not as if I am going to be arrested for being a slow artist, so here it is anyway. The colors are nearly true on my monitor, though I had to darken the highlights a bit to cut the glare. (Do you think it is even possible for me to work without Pearl-Ex or interference colors??)

The photos are all images I have taken of sights on and around our farm. My favorite is the old tractor on the upper left - I think I want to do another canvas featuring that photo on its own.

The techniques I used I learned from videos featuring Ann Baldwin and Jacqueline Sullivan. I wish I had laid down some of the color before adding the photographs, but oh well, live and learn. It was a lot of fun to do, and I am pleased with the way it turned out.

Thanks Linda!

Monday, September 14, 2009

It May Have Been Worth It...

One of the more interesting tasks you can expect to be faced with when you live on a dairy farm is the rounding up of animals who have gotten out of where they are supposed to be, and are now wandering around where they have no business being, usually causing damage as they go. Early Saturday morning we awoke to the sound of a commotion in the calf house. (Oh no... not the young stock!) Sigh... the yearlings were out.

Older cows are pretty easy to convince to return to where they belong, especially if they are hungry. The young ones just like to run, and they are agile and FAST. We did get them rounded up eventually, and as I trudged back to the house I looked up and this is what I saw...

There is nothing as beautiful as September in Oregon.

I have a few other little things to share to make up for being absent last week - these are my bring-alongs for the Iowa Retreat. (This week!) This is a 4"x4" canvas to commemorate the first Retreat held at Sherry's new school. It is collaged with foil gum wrappers, then painted and glitzed up with some metallic paint and microbeads.

There is also going to be a pincushion exchange one evening... This little frog is my offering. The lily, pad, frog, and pin heads are all of polymer clay, while the cushion itself is needlefelted wool/mohair blend embellished with yet more microbeads. (Is there life without microbeads, LOL?) I still need to paint the details on the ladybug pins, but I have a little time left before I leave to get it all done. I hope!

I can't wait til Thursday!

Monday, September 07, 2009

Am I done yet?

I worked all weekend on my challenge piece and got so much done, but I think she still needs "something" - I'm just not sure what. If I get some inspiration between now and when I have to leave for Retreat I will add it, but in the meantime she is pretty much finished.

This year's Retreat challenge is to create something with a Halloween or Harvest theme. My ghost was inspired by a project Lydia did for her college cultural anthropology class where they collected urban legends. Lydia focused on "white lady" stories and collected many from her international group of internet friends. (It was interesting how similar they were no matter what part of the world they came from.) That gave me the idea for my lady ghost, but she still needed a story of her own.

Last December there was a tragic drowning not far from here. A pair of young lovers were walking along the Coast near Neskowin, OR to a place called Proposal Rock when a large wave rushed up and swept the young woman out to sea. The gentleman had just been about to propose to her before she was carried away.

I've been haunted by that story since I heard it - it makes my heart ache as it's so very sad. So I dressed my ghost lady in wedding finery and posed her in the moment of falling into the waves. I tried to get as much movement into her body and clothing as possible to suggest the swirling currents.

I still think she needs something tough.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Another Quick Peek

I am meeting myself coming and going this week - doesn't it always seem to be that everything happens at once? Sigh...

I am still managing at least a few minutes of creative time a day though, and so I have been adding the "ectoplasm" (silk charmeuse, silk chiffon, and cotton gauze) to my Ghost, layer by layer. Fortunately my non-creative time doesn't feel wasted as the paverpol has to dry between layers. I love the sense of movement that the hardened fabric has given to her pose.

I have one more layer of silk to add to her costume, and then (finally!)I will be ready to tackle her hair style. I know I am cutting it very close as far as the deadline goes, but I still think I will get her finished in time. Wish me luck!