Here is a collection of things I've been working on based on the art I've been doing. They will all be available at Vintage Garage in Tahoe City  in the next week or so.

Below are a selection of hand-made journals that I'm calling "gypsy journals" since they are made from found and recycled materials and no two are alike. The inside has 18 pages—mostly blank paper (some different colors) but a few fun pages are thrown in for amusement or doodling or whatever; things like pages from old recipe pamphlets, grid paper, poetry, music, etc.

Here's a couple of packets of hand-made postcards. Send them to friends or frame them; each one is different.

And here's the products wrapped all packaged up and ready to go—the hand-painted postcards, packets of 6 printed postcards with details from my beeswax collages and the gypsy journals.

In addition to these offerings there will be a selection of my beeswax collage letters (see earlier post). So out into the world they go! I hope they get a warm reception. Let me know what you think.

Beeswax Collage Letters

My step-daughter has a great shop in Lake Tahoe (Tahoe City) called Vintage Garage that features vintage and hand-made items . The shop is open May through October and she is going to feature some of my pieces including an assortment of initials done in encaustic collage. Here's a preview of a few.

6" x 6-1/2"

6" x 6-1/2"

6-1/2" x 6-1/2"

Check out the Vintage Garage at or visit them on FB

Work In Progress

Well I haven't done a beeswax collage in months and since it is FREEZING out (literally) I decided today would be a good day to heat up the wax. Took me awhile to get warmed up (no pun intended) since it had been so long. It's a completely different medium and the pieces of paper change when you add the wax--darkens them, makes them more transparent, etc--but I got back into the swing and here's where I am so far.

I'll keep posting as I progress.

A Few More Pieces

Here are a couple of additional pieces I've been working on. Just got back from a week in the Loire Valley and I worked on these when I got back.  

This first piece is in my favorite palette using many pieces from things I've found while in France as well as other bits from my collage stash. I think it's finished; at least it's finished for now...

Below is a piece I did and realized I didn't like. The piece in the middle wasn't right--too big, not the right colors; it just looked stuck on. So I went back and reworked it. It's still not finished but moving in a better direction. I like the Cubist feel and I'm trying to work with that.


And this is another spread from my collage journal experimenting with some brighter color.

Having fun doing art (most days...). I can't believe I have to leave this incredible place in two weeks.

France So Far

Well I've been here in the beautiful Lot Valley for almost three weeks and I have yet to post anything! I have been completely overwhelmed by the beauty of this place. The weather has run the gamut from cold and rainy, cool and overcast to hot and sunny. I have taken so many photographs to try and capture the lush panoramas but it is impossible to get a sense of the expansiveness without being here. And of course I intended to blog every week to keep up with all my wonderful experiences and photos but here I am, three weeks in and just now making an appearance.

So I decided to concentrate on posting my art journey here and get to the rest of my experiences when I can. I have been painting and making collage. I have a little "studio" set up at one end of the long wooden table in the kitchen of our gîte at Fraysse Haut. I've mostly been trying to experiment with different things, working on some of the painting/collage pieces that are near and dear to my heart, but also trying to just put paint and/or paper on paper and try to push myself a little more our of my comfort zone. So here's my artistic journey so far.

Here's my creative corner that I set up when we first arrived.

My little art supply area.

With works in progress.

This is a collage I started at home and finished here.

The next two are pieces I worked on here using some things I found at local brocantes and vide greniers.

Next are a couple of spreads from my collage journal.

A Study in Blue

Here is a collage landscape and an abstract painting with collage playing with neutrals (inspired by Jane Davies).

 No. 17

So that's where I am as of today. Some are finished pieces, some I'm not sure and some just experiments. Working to broaden my scope, my techniques and my overall creative dexterity. Also encouraging myself to actually paint more to get more comfortable with using paint and color (even though I still love my neutral palette). I find I'm still focusing on "finished work" more that I want to so I keep pushing myself to try different things and loosen up! I also have a new 23 year old friend named Judith who is joining me several days a week to work on her own artistic creations. That is giving me additional perspective as well!

Alors, à bientôt et à la prochaine!

Newest Work

Here are a couple of the new pieces I have been working on since my painting workshop. The first piece is small—about 7.5" x 7.5"—so I'm thinking about putting it on a larger white background when I frame it.

Abstract Painting Workshop

It's been a couple of weeks now (time does fly) since I attended Jane Davies' Abstract Painting workshop on Whidbey Island. It was such a great opportunity to work with her directly and have a class full of people to learn from as well. My goal was to learn more about how to paint with acrylics--something I had really never done before taking Jane's online class Sketchbook Practice. The class was very fun and I learned so much about technique and process. She is a GREAT teacher and taking the online class followed by the 4-day intensive workshop was just what I needed to catapult me into artist mode. I have been working on art since I returned (the days I haven't been able to actually work in my studio I have been THINKING about art) and even doodling to get warmed up in the mornings. I am in the making art groove and attempting to stay in that open, free experimental mode—easier said than done but the doodling is helping. Below are some of the pieces I did during the workshop.

This first piece I had a lot of trouble with. The exercise was in working with complementary colors. I chose green/red and struggled (Image 1). It was hard for me to get good greens and felt like Christmas. The first shot is where I got stuck. I didn't like the composition, the colors and I didn't know where to go from this point. So I put it aside and after Jane's demonstration of using the brayer and her words of wisdom on process and painting over things that just weren't working, I pulled out the brayer, the Green Gold and White paint and went to town; I figured I had nothing to lose at this point (Image 2). Then I went back in with abandon, experimenting with colors, textures and painting over anything that I didn't like (Image 3); et voilà! The best thing is that I learned so much from working on this piece; it really set me free.

Image 1

Image 2

Image 3

Then I worked on a series of pieces that used neutrals and more muted colors, working again on exercises of opposites: quiet space vs. busy space, soft edges vs. hard edges and high contrast vs. minimal contrast. Here's what I came up with.

I really like these, particularly the color palette, and I have been working in this vein since I returned.

New Collage

On my way to Port Townsend to visit my Muse and take an abstract painting workshop with Jane Davies. Very excited!! My goal is to work on art everyday so here is a little collage I worked on yesterday and finished up today. It's a spread in my Collage Journal (I started this awhile ago using a kids board book). I posted the covers and one other spread in earlier posts.

 I should have more to post from Port Townsend this week.

Rediscovered Inspiration

While I was working on a project for Jane Davie's workshop, I needed something heavy to flatten one of my pieces so I pulled out some of my art books. Two of those books were Richard Diebenkorn and Bay Area Figurative Art. What synchronicity! I had forgotten about these artists and I absolutely love this school of painting with it's representational and abstract style, rich colors and layered textures. Very timely because Janes's work has so many of these elements as well. So happy to have rediscovered these artists so I can weave their influence into my development.

Some of Diebenkorn's work

Newest Beeswax Collage

Here's the latest. For this one I used lots of my own painted papers along with the scraps, napkins, tissue papers and other miscellany I've collected. My most ambitious to date and the largest (12" x 12").

One of the things I love so much about this technique is that I can create rich textures by layering elements with varying degrees of transparency. It reminds me of old stucco walls with years  and years of paint layers showing through as the building ages over time. I am so drawn to the layers of history and experience that these walls hold and I feel a deep sense of soul.  These encaustic layers also create a sense of depth and soul for me; images and small pieces of stories revealing themselves beneath the layers that overlap them. Or overlapping the images beneath but never fully covering them. The sensual elements of melting the wax to fuse each layer to the one beneath it and the slight fragrance of the melted beeswax complete the experience for me.

The Forgetting Room

I found this book at a flea market for $1.00. I loved the Griffin and Sabine books by the same author, Nick Bantock, so I bought it. I loved it. It's about a man who ends up going on a personal and artistic journey in Spain when his grandfather, who was an artist, dies and leaves him his house. His grandfather leaves a series of visual riddles for his grandson to solve and, as he gathers the clues, his own inner artist, his true voice, begins to reveal and express itself. I particularly like the story because his grandfather uses miscellaneous bits and pieces of paper and found items in his paintings, ie. collage. I read this book once when I first bought it, about 4 years ago but it seemed particularly timely reading it again this year during my own artistic journey.

I Love To Collect Old Books

I have always loved books.  They tell stories. They impart knowledge. They reveal mysteries. They are little works of art filled with words and images. I love old books for the type design and illustration and for the covers and binding. I started collecting books when I was is college. I was given a set of Charles Dickens books by a friend and history teacher of mine. Later,  I bought a 5-volume set of Les Miserables ©1886 from a used bookstore in Santa Cruz. It may even be the first English translation.  It's yellowed pages are full of beautiful engravings and the pages are uneven with deckle edges. Throughout the years, I have continued to collect old volumes. Nothing of great monetary value but beautiful and full of soul. Below are some of my favorite pieces  enhanced through a Hipstomatic lens.
My collection of old Dickens books

5-volume set of Les Misérables, English translation 1886

Les Éttonements du Docteur Hix and La Fille du Proscrit—two old books I got in France.

Inside front cover of La Fille du Proscrit

Frontispiece of La Fille du Proscrit

Title page

Title page from Les Étonnements du Docteur Hix
This books dates back to 1685!

A spread from Conferences Ecclesiastiques du Diocese de Luçon

Little Folk Ballads

Frontispiece and title page of Little Folk Ballads.

A very old embossed leather copy of The Courtship of Miles Standish by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. This decrepit volume is completely falling apart and had to be tied together. I got it for $1.00 at a swap meet in Grants Pass. I just love it!

Another sweet little book I found at the swap meet for a couple of dollars.

The inscription inside Some One Like You. It reads "My Sweetheart, In all this great world there is no one like you. Through these past thirty years who could have been so steadfast, so true. Making each day so happy and bright. No clouds when you are near me, Just the sun shining through. Heart of me, Life of me, no one like you. December 29th, 1926"

I just love the beautiful little illustrations. The pages are French folded.