Sunday, November 23, 2008

Everything I do seems to ultimately lead me....

Everything I create in the studio seems to ultimately lead to the next thing. During the past few weeks while recovering from surgery I have spent several of my awake hours playing around in the studio. Some of the pieces have been crappy pieces. I am realizing now that it is still important that I do these because they may be helping me work through ideas. Perhaps if I didn't make the crappy pieces, I wouldn't be doing what I would consider strong pieces. I have been using stuff that would otherwise be thrown away, and I really like the idea of giving it a new life. I love it when I can have moments of fearless creating with no preconceived valuation for the final outcome.

A new life for an experimental painting session

Last week I surveyed my paints in the studio and found I had quite a variety of paints in various forms. I decided to get crazy with the paints creating textures with unconventional tools like old hotel key cards, old combs, and I smooshed and basically played to my heart's content making big sheets of expressive marks in a variety of palette combinations. The blues really came out very exciting. I chopped up the big sheets of painted backgrounds and this card was one of the results. Oh what fun is to be crazy with paint and tools.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Thank you cards

There is always a reason to send a thank you card. I like to do mine uniquely and creatively. Recently I had a commission for some and it got me started on recycling those little bits and pieces I had kicking around the studio. I make them smaller than my usual cards: 4.34 by 5.34 inches.

Experiment Plus Recycle

I am currently in greeting card making mode. After surgery I am tackling small commissions for original one of a kind cards, some of which are for the coming holiday season.

So where to begin was my thought. As I searched through my studio I encountered several experimental pieces. As a work of art they didn't quite make it. In my mind I either lost interest, failed to see a future in them or just felt ambivalent and needed to purge. But years ago my art teacher told me never to throw any artwork away because it stood a chance of being reworked, recycled, chopped up and reused in collage.

So that is what I did. I started by cutting up pieces of work into 4X6 pieces. And some pieces got chopped even smaller. There are so many ways to renew a piece of paper. This is the very essence of my passion for collage.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


When I first graduated from college and got my bachelor's in education I was excited about having accomplished this goal. At the same time I was worried that my mind might turn to mush if I did not attend any more college classes. So after a 3 month tour of Europe which ended in Greece, I decided to take random classes of interest just for fun. Still one of my favorites was Anthropology 101. We studied African tribes and their customs. We explored communication of various cultures. Every once in awhile this interest in other cultures pops up in my collage work.

Saturday, May 10, 2008


THis is a tribute to my Mom. Here she is as I saw her in January with her great grandaughter, Zoe. I just love this photo. She probably would have an issue with her hair. But I see the beauty of the link between generations in their eyes.

I made my goal - 50 cards by Mothers Day

I worked daily to produce the cards for my goal of 50 by Mother's Day. I worked at 6 am on those days I worked. At 10 pm I would do a little prep work for next day's assembly. By morning the coated pieces would be dry enough to assemble into a card. And so the goal kept me focused. And when I presented the collection to my coworkers, they had this to say: "I can't decide, they're all so wonderful." Sometimes you just need to hear that from someone else. At the same time I was producing my cards, one of my coworkers e-mailed us and said she was raising funds to do the Avon walk for breast cancer. I offered to donate $1. for every card I sold. I hope it inspired some of my coworkers to choose a work of original art over a hallmark card. "Make it special, I said."

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


Last weekend I took a workshop in embossed papermaking. It was a great opportunity to try something new. This card is made from the embossed paper I made. I like the texture that is so subtle.

Friday, April 18, 2008


With some true signs of spring in the Chicago area, I feel like celebrating. My goal of 50 flower inspired cards is getting closer to completion. I have 38 done. Setting goals really pushes you forward. Even with only smidgets of time I feel extra motivated to keep on going. The studio is a mess but I can still crank out some cards. Those remnants of old work can still be re-used, recycled or reworked and altered to a fresh look. I feel energized.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Musical Inspirations

Rolling along with the goal of 50

Not all my cards are collages. Sometimes I am in the mood for a spontaneous watercolor. Florals lend themselves to working in watercolor. I feel a sense of freedom when I paint in watercolors. There is never an intent to recreate a botanical image. The genus and species are yet unknown to man with the florals I paint.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Another recycled watercolor

More Cards for Mother's Day, Weddings, Etc.

Between Obligations

In recent weeks I have been creating Mother's Day cards of a floral nature between family obligations and work. The joy comes from taking old watercolor paintings, experiments etc and recycling them into another kind of art. Here is an example. I am hoping to have 50 cards done by the end of the month.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

I really appreciate all the positive feedback. I feel blessed

I just had to share what a client wrote to me.
“I just saw the cards and they are absolutely gorgeous. What a talent you have! What beauty they represent. They are the best expression of Irish culture I think I've ever seen.”
M. Thomas

The St Patrick's Commission is Completed

Today I delivered 25 St. Patrick's Day cards to my client, Julia. She had only ordered 20 but when I presented her with 25 so she could select her favorites, she could not choose and decided on all of them. I was thrilled that she liked them. One is never sure how the client will react to the finished project. I took the cards to my work one day earlier this week and the reactions were so positive that I was confident that I was on the right track. Three cards were bought at the office which only inspired me to dash home after work and create some more designs. I was on such a roll that I could not stop. The ideas just kept coming like an avalanche. It was the most exciting feeling. I have a new appreciation of the many variations of green. Some preliminary research on the symbols, customs and history of St. Patrick's Day really helped me generate ideas. I remembered that a friend once said: There are two kinds of people in the world: The Irish and those who wish they were Irish.

Monday, March 03, 2008

I am in love with Irish Blessings

I never knew there were so many shades of green

Green Power


More Irish Inspiration

The Process of Creativity

The process of creativity is often mysterious. Sometimes when you come to the table you have a plan for a project or assignment and you jump in. Other times you have no agenda and simply begin by getting warmed up with a favorite color or a color you never seem to use. I have always been drawn to red but for the last three weeks I have been focusing on green as I worked through a commission: 20 cards for St Patrick's Day.

Here's one I think fits into the theme of Irish.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

New Project Begins Today

Now that Valentine's Day is behind me I begin another project that is both challenging and probably a little fun too. I have been commissioned to create 20 cards for St. Patrick's Day. I have begun my research on themes and ideas. A box of different kinds of papers are already sitting in a pile. I have accumulated a huge assortment of green swatches. I can't wait to see what comes out. I will keep you posted.

One more Valentine

Life in the working world keeps me busy

The working world keeps me so busy helping senior citizens with resources that time for art is limited. However, this week I decided to bring the art to work. There is a section on our floor at the government offices that is empty temporarily. The rooms is large and has several large tables. I brought as much of my studio as humanly possible in two shifts and set up a workshop for making Valentine cards. I e-mailed my co-oworkers to drop in at lunch or break and create a card. All the necessary materials were on hand from cardstock and envelope to wide range of adhesives, and every imaginable "junk" that included scrabble pieces, playing cards, failed watercolor paintings, monoprints, fancy scissors, and glitter. I created a handful of samples for everyone to view and off they went to the races. It was very rewarding to hear the comments of folks who admired my work but more rewarding to hear them comment on their gratitude for the experience since all of them seemed to think they had no creative bones in their body. They told me they are craving art therapy in the line of work that we do. I agree. I am so happy going to my own studio on weekends or evenings when I can carve out some time. I offer you a sampling of some cards that served as inspiration for others.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Madam Butterfly

This collage was created about two years ago and I just entered it in the Lombard Art Coalition's members show. It is a quirky piece but occasionally I enjoy working on something whimsical.

Busy weeks and finally an art day

These last few weeks have been hectic with work. My exhibit at the National University of Health Sciences came down at the end of January. To jump start the creative juices I decided to participate in a few workshops. I attended a workshop on mixed media at the Addison Art Guild. This was my first experience with a few materials like scratch boards, plaster gauze on canvas and modeling paste. I even managed a couple of baby pieces.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Support of Fellow Artists and Friends and patrons

Today I had my reception for the solo exhibit at the National University for Health Sciences. Even though the weather was a little uncertain with snowflakes covering the roadways, I was pleasantly surprised to see so many of my fellow artist friends, past patrons, and coworkers come out to support me. A few faces from the past and some of my husband's associates came as well. The positive feedback I received was inspiring and certainly boosted the ego of an artist putting out some work that not everyone has seen before. Seeing one's body of work is a feeling of accomplishment and validation. I cannot stress how grateful I am to all who came to see my work.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Beneath the Surface

This is the title I gave my solo exhibit at the National University of Health Sciences in Lombard, Illinois. It is the first solo exhibit I have done since 2000. There is a certain sense of accomplishment when one can assemble a body of work and step back and look at it. This particular exhibit is the culmination of several years of work and the evolution of an artist who painted and then moved on to mixed media and collage. The ability to combine media, to experiment and to reuse parts of older work really appeals to me at this stage of my art making life. I hope to have a good reception this coming Sunday.

My entry for White on White exhibit

A stolen moment......

And I took a line for a walk.

One more meditative scribble

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Mini moments for mini Art

The time between Thanksgiving and New Years always presents a time of frantic activity with no time to meditate or create art. Yet this year I worked hard at making doodles like this just to keep a sense of sanity. My goal is to keep a stash of these squares and some pens in my purse at all times so when a few moments present themselves I can put them to special use.