Tuesday, May 25, 2010


A pink china cup full of tenderness...who could ask for anything more ? This romantic little mini series is inspiring all manner of fun things in my studio: Butterflies with wings of dreamy paintings, tea with all manner of creatures. Somehow my little garden will sneak in there with the scent of lemon verbena trailing from my paintbrush. Now painting with wonderful scents would be an over the moon event ! A little vanilla here, a little lavender there and some freshly picked peony on top. A treat for the the eyes and the nose.

Don't ask what has me on this magical mystery tour. I was listening to another artist speak about how women today have a real need for the softness and romanticism we seemed to have lost. The truth for me is that creative women that live in my world haven't lost a thing. We are happily painting winged things and sipping tea while the rest of the world frets and frazzles. That's not saying I don't get frazzled. I do. Oh I do ! But when life gets as frazzling as ever, I know there is a path out. Life was pretty darn frazzled as my father was leaving this dream for another dream far and away, leaving his mortality as he went to spread his wings in another place I can't get to in this form. I painted even more, I sketched and created and sipped as much tea...ok, maybe a little wine, but I kept that precious door to wonder as open as I could. Sometimes I was just glancing through it. Sometimes I walked right in and stayed for dinner...and I finally came home to Grace's teacups full of enchantment. We all need enchantment and we all have it if we just rub our eyes a bit and look around us. A prayer can open that door of gratitude for anyone. Who can be frazzled while they count their blessings. It would be quite a trick.
So a snow queen took up residency on the cover of my newest studio journal. I use it to keep track of my art work, make notes on new techniques and materials so I can go back and remember how the heck I did something. The snow queen was supposed to get closed up in a little mini journal, but queens are infamous for NOT staying where they are supposed to be. I always knew she would have just a few touches of red to light her up and she does shine. I liked her so much I am calling on her sister queens to visit so I can share some of their wonder on my Etsy. Hopefully those fine ladies and the mystical butterflies will debut by the end of the week.

In between all these visits and tender touches, I have been working small wonders in the kitchen, making deviled eggs and roasted tomatoes and a casserole full of eggplant parmesan. All this gardening is making me impatient for summertime veggie treats. I brown the crumb coated eggplant in the oven instead of frying to keep it light and extra yummy. We have some salmon ready for those who need some kind of meat at every meal. The warm evenings have been calling me outdoors in the evenings after dinner. I check my tiny garden, visit the trees and see if they need more pruning ( an recent addiction that scares others who live in the house !!!), then I just sit down with a glass of iced tea and watch the sky turn pink and purple. The air starts to cool and birds stop by for a visit. Last night I watched the moon come up, almost full and blew it a kiss when I finally went in feeling like a kid who had stayed out past her curfew.
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Monday, May 17, 2010


This is actually an art journal page I did not so very long ago. I am teaching an art journaling class at the St. Louis Art Guild in June and realized I have been doing more painting than journaling so I spent some time just playing this week-end. The trick I am using is to just use up whatever paint I have left on my palette in my journal. That way I can get some textures and backgrounds done. another thing I did was to take all those bits and pieces of scrappies left after a project and paste them into the blank pages. Everytime I did this, it seemed to fall together into a nice page, ready for writing. A bit if magic without a great deal of work. Drawing has been my other passion this past week. I do love settling down into just the tones of black and gray and getting those shadows just right. blending charcoal, highlighting a cheekbone..oh my..it's got to be better than prozac. The world just drops away until someone comes tapping on my studio door wondering if dinner will ever appear. Thank goodness for Boboli pizzas !

Giving yourself permission to just play is so important to being creative. Even Leonardo had his journals where he played with fantastic ideas. Some of his ideas were so fantastic, he had to write in code on the pages to stay out of trouble ! The gift of play is one we should all give ourselves and the ones around us. It can be quite contagious..the dog will start dancing, your mate will tell funny stories and then you can have fun watching milk turn pink when you throw in white protein powder (It was strawberry..but really white in the can)

The weather here has been gray and rainy. I miss the sun and have begun to have beach fantasies. The upside is that all the plants seem ecstatic with all the rain. My little salad garden is growing madly and I can almost start to do some tiny harvesting on my parsley plants. The cucumbers look a bit down trodden, but I am hoping they will perk up along with me when the sun comes out.

Today we are planning a birthday celebration ! Our Demi dog will be 6 today so we are planning on cupcakes, presents and cards for the birthday girl. Mr. Steve gave her a bit of a haircut this morning so we can see her eyes a bit better. Tonight will also be our grand finale at the Agility classes she and I have been working on. She's just not a night girl and kind of walks through the course without too much excitement except for the "A" frame scramble and the high walk. Those she enjoys so she runs to them. the nice part of the class is that she has gotten much better about taking commands from me..even hand signals. though last week they had placed some doggies beds on the side lines to get them out of the way and my sleepy girl ran off the course and plunked herself down on one of those comfy beds....it was rest time for her !
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Monday, May 10, 2010


I am having way too much fun with these lovelies. Someone asked me how old the antique accounting letters are that I am using for the "table top". I was very surprised to discover they are exactly 100 years older than I am !!!!! They had been a gift from a dear friend many years ago when I was doing more visual journaling. She thought I could use them in some way, but I tucked them away to keep them safe, always knowing they were there, but nothing ever seemed to be a good match. These pretties seem to be perfect and on this one the postage shows up quite nicely as does the cancellation stamp. The notes themselves are a very soft blue and give a sky floating dreamy quality to the rest of the color.

Two little quail eggs seem to have found their safety in this lovely bone china cup, with a bit of ribbon tucked in for sweetness. Momma birdie must have an artistic eye. Again, this is worked in acrylics over gold gesso on a cradled art board. I had so much fun doing those yellow roses.

I have the third and last cup on my worktable, ready to pose for sketches. However I must admit more may be coming. I had a bit of a challenge deciding which would be the last and may have to just go out and get a fourth board. I was sure, until I had to actually choose, that I was going to do a lovely pink and gold cup I had noticed last time, but then a very lovely shaped cream colored cup with just a bit if floral decoration..but the shape ! It was enchanting me.I could very clearly see some hibiscus tea in a lovely shade of pink filling that wonderful graceful curve of cup!! Then I noticed another pink cup. Oh dear ! decisions ! Well, two cups made their way up into the studio and I am not sure what will be what.

On top of that , we traipsed off to the Laumieir Mothers Day Art Show yesterday and what an art show it is! Hardly any boring things, every booth was another wonder. I was so inspired and then what should I see, but the work of an artist I knew from New Mexico. I recognized the work, but she wasn't there at the show. a friend was in charge of her things, but I noticed that she was using colored gessos also ! Red !! Blue!!! I was just about dancing with excitement. I could barely wait to get home to check out where I could get these other colors ! So there may some more wonderments in the very near future, though I do love the gold glow and working over that.

Mothers Day brought a dozen lovely tulips from my faraway son and a cute card from ...my Demi dog ! There were bratwursts and candied nuts at the Art Show and some sweet Missouri wine to go with the sunshine. It was nice to have a day off from domestic duties. I just put in a salad garden in our backyard and I needed a bit of a rest. Springtime here draws me out into our yard and I keep seeing trees that need pruning, so I grab the shears and play with my giant bonsai in the backyard. They all seem to be well hacked so I have set my sights on the front yard. I am sure I will be amusing my neighbors over the next few weeks.

The teacup is being posted in my Etsy shop !
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Monday, May 3, 2010

Grace's teacups

As promised, this is the teacup painting I finished this week-end. The tabletop is an old french accounting page but the rest is painted. I love how the eggs turned out. I expect teeny birdlings to pop out any second ! I primed the board with gold gesso and that is what gives the entire piece a bit if a glow. The teacup model is a Royal Albert in a pattern called "Enchantment". I adapted some of the design, but it is pretty darn close to the actual pattern in shape and color. I actually wrote the word "Enchanted" before I looked on the bottom to read the pattern name. The size is 8" X 8" on cradled art board. I am loving working on these boards because they are ready to hang as soon as they are finished because I gesso the sides with gold.

I have already looked over my little collection of Grace's teacups.....inherited from my Mother-in-Law. They are such delicate, beautiful little things. The entire set was divided up between her children, my husband included as the oldest son. I've peeked at some of the others in my other in-laws and would love to paint some of theirs, too but for now I am quite happy with the little works of art in our china closet. they are really very accommodating models, happy to remain still for hours or even days as I sketch and paint. I do enjoy still life, especially when I can throw in something a bit magical and unexpected.

I am still debating what wonders will nest in the next cup. check my Etsy shop for this and more Enchantments.
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