4 May 2018

I didn’t write anything exciting yesterday, but I did actually get some things off my to-do list yesterday, so I am going to write again in hopes that today also is productive.  Yesterday I sewed on a button (well, moved from one spot on shirt to another), reviewed some for the Michigan elementary ed teaching exam I intent to take this summer, did some painting, and probably some other things I’m forgetting right now.

This morning I have already done some French lessons.  Which apparently I didn’t do yesterday according to the Duolingo app, though I thought I had!  Good thing it keeps track since I apparently cannot remember when I’ve studied and when I haven’t.  I guess when I do a little every day it’s hard to tell whether I am remembering yesterday or today.


3 May 2018

That was a really long break, but I am hoping to get my blog moving again.  I was in the US for several weeks and managed to get back overseas with my daughter and her kitten!  I’m glad to have both of them with me.  Now it is spring, and I need to get myself back in my art groove, as well as preparing for my next international move….but I can’t say I’ve been very productive since I got back to Vilnius.  I think I’ve been living in my head too much, and not enough activity and art-making.  Maybe getting back into regular blogging will help that.

I did miss my word collages, and have done a little work in that area.  I need to get back into a rhythm though.  And a routine.  So that is my current goal.  I would say “goal for the week” but somehow it is already Thursday….though since Tuesday was a holiday here I am somewhat confused as to weekly rhythm anyway.

But hoping to get myself back on a routine.

Monday, 22 Jan 2018

Not as small art today!  I had sketched an okay face for practice, but then when I tried making a small face to fit on my card-sized art, I discovered I didn’t have a good enough fine brush.  So I ended up making a larger A4 size piece on watercolor paper, with some music papers and vintage book pages as a bottom layer, and then used some bigger type from my word collection that won’t fit on the small sizes I have been doing.


A few things I may tweak, but I’m generally satisfied with it.   The background around my face is actually dark blue, but it looks black in the photo.

Traveling again on the weekend, but with the pleasure of seeing my kids on the other end!  And my sisters, and a friend or two…Luckily I have art supplies on that end of the journey as well, so I won’t have to pack things–but will have different things to work with there and less time perhaps.

Sunday, 21 Jan 2018

Later Sunday…ended up using a face I had drawn in a sketch pad, which I collaged onto an A4 watercolor paper that I had covered with text and music pieces. I then added acrylic paint to the sketch of the face, I made a larger piece because I tried a card size face and think I need a better fine brush than I had, and so wasn’t able to make the paint behave. These words are too big in size for my small cards anyways, so needed a bigger setting. I’m fairly okay with it though I see things I want to adjust. But since its new for me to combine a face and words, I will not dwell on imperfections. And definitely feel like she is “mine” and not a copy of another’s creation!

Getting ready for studio time. Just watched a couple of videos by Toni Burt (thank you Pinterest) with mixed media and pencil sketched faces, and thinking about how to watch other artist’s and learn without feeling I am copying or am imitating too much. This has become easier as I’ve created more, but has always been an issue as I have always been enough of an iconoclast to want to be unique and not imitative. Last year I was part of a weekly online class called Wanderlust, and that was a good learning experience but my weekly pieces were more imitative than I like. Partly I treated them as exercises, not as finished pieces. And then some of the techniques or strategies I tried to incorporate into my other pieces, so they were combined with other influences into something more my own.

Today I will do something similar but maybe be a little more conscious of what I want to try and what I will avoid so I don’t feel too imitative of Toni’s lovely work. I have not used faces on my small collage pieces, but want to try that and like the sketch like quality. I have tried a more graphic style as an exercise and I couldn’t make it feel “right” so maybe that’s a sign for me to try a different thing. Tony does lovely mixed media and vintage feel backgrounds, and flowers for hair sometimes. I will try to stay more with the mixed media style I have developed, but i like how Toni uses acrylic to make a place for her faces to be. They are part of the mixed media but with a location, if that makes sense. She also used pastels for color on top of acrylic on one video, which I might like bc I do not feel comfortable with acrylic/ more graphic approaches.

I’m not sure I even have an unposted card to include in this blog entry, so I may wait and see what comes of today’s work….instead here is a pic from Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia Cathedral. I wanted to post some pics from my trip and couldn’t get them in the right place on my iPad to do it, but now they are…so here is one.

Saturday, 20 Jan 2018

I have not worked in my studio for a couple of days, and think I am feeling grumpy because of that.  I am down to two cards I haven’t posted before, so am choosing this one for today.  I hadn’t really planned on asking for any help today, and don’t necessarily feel I have a particularly heavy logistical load to handle, so I will have to consider if there is anything I need to do for which I could ask help of someone…

Light work of heavy loads

Friday, 19 Jan 2018

One of the positives about a blogging habit is that it helps me keep track of the date.

travel:  it's about time – Version 2

Obviously this card needs some more flattening!  I made this before I went to Barcelona, or maybe just after I returned…not even sure, but I wanted to post it and didn’t have a picture yet.  So here it is, and I like this idea because it helps me consider time as a fourth dimension, and it’s relationship to place.  Travel is a change in location, but also a change in time, and it requires time to travel.   As I get ready to go to the US again, I am keeping this idea in mind.

I am also seeing a relationship between my favorite card “words” and poetry–ambiguity, things that make me think are the ones I like the best.  I want to be able to understand things at least two ways, and sometimes more…because that what makes it interesting–trying to reconcile multiple understandings.  That’s the literature scholar in me that is still buried underneath many other layers…

Normal aching exhaustion.  I found a web store that sells mixed media things and they were going out of business, so I got some papers and other stuff inexpensively, including some music pages and maps.  So today I will take that upstairs to my studio to play with.  Must finish my morning coffee though and hope it gives me enough zip to get moving.


Thursday, 18 Jan 2018

Finally got some of my photos where I can access them from my laptop!  I don’t know why this is being difficult for me, but I am assuming I am just missing something because I feel like I’m not mentally as sharp as normal and so am doing something wrong and don’t know what.

Muscles aching today, I think from cold.

Regret isn't asking

Still trying to find a way to get my cards flatter.  I have been putting them under books but maybe I need more weight or more time.  Trying turning them over and seeing if that is more effective.  This card is unusual in that I ended up using stamps to make an entire word that I did not have from a magazine.  I stamped it on deli paper and then collaged the paper onto the card.  It was an effective method for one word but wouldn’t want to do a whole sentence that way.

I think I thought of using the word “regret” because it is something you never associate with something you’ve done “right.”  You either don’t regret it, or when you are feeling regretful you don’t think of all the things you have done right.

Wednesday, 17 Jan 2018

Dragging today!  Am missing one medicine that helps me with energy/ concentration and which did not get refilled in enough time so I am waiting.  I am definitely feeling its absence so I hope it comes soon.  I also may be getting a cold–my head and ears feel slightly congested.  Leaving for the US in 11 days, so am hoping to be feeling spunkier by then.

Yesterday I worked on some more small collage pieces and added to a 24″ square canvas that I covered with gesso recently.  I had done texture and color etc to it, but wasn’t happy with it, and finally decided to put a layer of gesso over everything and start again.  Some color peeking through, and texture still there, so I started yesterday adding blues and hope I will like it and know what to do next with it…  I came up with a good way to organize my words for collage, but I need the right glue stick–one that puts temporary stick on them that can be removed (like a post-it note) so I can keep words in a notebook instead of piled in a box, and can flip around to see what I have, and maybe rearrange them as I find combinations.  I did this, but the glue stick is holding too well and making it a little nerve wracking to detach them without tearing them.

Speaking of which, I ruined a letter on some words on a larger piece I was working on.  I was trying an A-4 size paper but same strategy as I’ve been using to design my cards, and I rubbed a word too hard.  Now I either have to find a single letter to put OVER the one that’s ruined, or do a bigger change.  I am wondering whether I should start doing lettering–I sometimes like the phrases I come up with, and would like to be able to use them more than once…but I don’t know if I need them to be collage to “work” or if i could do my own lettering and they would still make cohesive art.  If I had a laser printer I guess I could print my own words, but my ink jet prints smudge with medium, so I can’t just do that.  I like the restriction of using words I’ve found in print, but once I have a combination I like, it would be nice to be able to use it more than once.

While I did work yesterday, no new cards “finished.”  So I will choose from something I already completed…I’m pretty sure I haven’t put this in my blog yet.  I seem to have a problem with pictures from my phone not getting to my computer even though it all should be on photostream, so I have to figure that out, because I added a few cards to that.  Howard did new pictures of my cards but I think my newest pieces didn’t get photos, plus we decided he needs to change the camera angle and re-do them so they end up with parallel sides and right angles instead of as trapezoids….Honestly I want someone to take them away and make them work digitally and in prints and not have to do that all myself…


Monday, 15 Jan 2018

Back from a wonderful weekend with friends in Barcelona!  It was wonderful despite losing my cash the first day (no ID stuff or cards) and falling my last day (thank you, MS!).  But so much aesthetic stimulation from two tours of Gaudi buildings and just the interesting things on the street, and sunshine, and catching up with friends….  I definitely want to go back to Barcelona again.  I even liked the temperature–not warm, but that’s good for me–I’m happy to wear a coat and not get overheated, but still have sunshine.

My husband took new pictures of some of my small collages, so I will have to decide which pictures are best in quality and organize them all.  That does not sound very fun.

Today’s featured collage…

Winning combination.jpg

This is how I like my friends: Good people with soft hearts.

This weekend I discussed religion and a little politics and economy with my friends, and I think that even though we label ourselves differently we have a lot of views in common and our self-labels come from growing up in different circumstances and countries.  The uniting factor is that the people I become really good friends with are good people with soft hearts.  They are slow to judge, and can feel empathy for people who are in difficult circumstances.  They want systems to run efficiently, but also fairly.  They see that life is not always black and white, but that there are shades of grey, and also that while there is not always coherent rhyme or reason to life there seems to be some kind of structure/ organizing principle even if we all view that slightly differently.

So today I am thankful for friends, diversity, beautiful cities, and sunshine.

From an art standpoint, there was so much aesthetic input in Barcelona.  I saw two buildings by Gaudi inside–spectacular.  Sunshine, ocean, flew over Alps and saw them peaking up from the clouds.  I went to one art supply store and got a small sketch book to use while traveling, and some rulers with squares and circles (drafting rulers) that I want for my gelatin printing and pattern making in drawing.

I wanted to include a couple of photos from my weekend, but my brain cannot handle getting them into my wordpress account so I can, so I give up for now….


Wednesday, 10 Jan 2018


What is the secret to the bravest thing I’ve ever done?  I don’t know, because off-hand I’m not sure what it is!  I don’t ever remember thinking “I must be brave and do this….” so I’m not entirely sure what I have done that qualifies as brave, and many things I’ve done in life were because I HAD to, though I guess I didn’t “have” to do them.  I just felt there was a reason or obligation that I HAD to do them, so I don’t think of them as brave, just that there was no choice really.  Or they were things that happened and I was responding to them–not making a free choice.  But I guess that doesn’t mean my response couldn’t have been termed brave.

I have had the opportunity in my life to watch Armed forces network TV, and learned from that that the line between stupidity and bravery is quite thin, and also often a matter of perception.  So maybe the bravest thing I’ve ever done was get married while knowing my husband less than a year.  It could have also been the stupidest thing I ever did, but luckily it was not a stupid decision.  In retrospect having children may have been the bravest thing I ever did, but we don’t usually understand the full ramifications of that choice before getting pregnant.  Or maybe moving to Kansas where I knew no one to go to graduate school was the bravest thing I ever did.  Certainly finding an apartment and job and not having friends was a challenge and I probably grew a lot in that time.  It wasn’t very long though before I met my husband, and made a friend who is STILL one of my best friends.

So I guess the secret to the bravest thing I’ve ever done is that I didn’t know it was the bravest thing I’d ever done, and maybe still don’t.  I’m not sure whether the fact that I don’t know is good or bad, but it IS.

Headline from a story (obviously) about someone’s brave decision, but I combined it with “The Secret to…” because I was slightly thinking about “how do you know what you are doing is brave?”  And I apparently still don’t know.  On randomly stenciled/ painted watercolor paper, but then with a lot of collage layers.

Seeing friends here, then tomorrow traveling and seeing friends there.  So today I am getting ready to see friends, which means packing and tying up loose ends here.  Not sure if I will post while I’m traveling or not…

Last night I realized I have quite a pile of little collage cards, and I wonder if/ when I will stop with them.  Originally I started as a way to experiment with color and composition without the stress of doing a larger piece–quicker, and seemingly less “important” and pressured to do little pieces.  So am I going to transfer what I’ve learned to bigger pieces now?  I’m not sure.  I’m also not sure how I feel about text and image combined for larger pieces.  I guess maybe it will be my next project to see if I need to just make the same thing but bigger, or if I need to do something different.  In other words, do I just need to increase the size of all my elements, or do I need to actually change my approach?