Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Mushroom Ornament Trio

I have to give this year's ornaments credit to my Pinterest images. Inspired by my DIY board, I made a big batch of homemade paper mache clay.    Jonni Good of the advises that the paper mache will keep moist for about a week, so I got busy trying to make the most of it before it completely hardened.  (btw...2 weeks later, it is still moist and usable...I kept mine in a freezer bag.)

I found an image of mushrooms again on Pinterest and decide to give them a try.

I started out by making a small mushroom mold out of paper and masking tape. For the paper,  I experimented with a mix of brown wrapping paper on some and tissue paper on others.   Also, I ran a wire through each mushroom and made a small loop at the top to hang.   So you have to kind of twist and twirl the paper around the wire and keep applying masking tape to hold the shape.
Mushrooms in different degrees of finish

It was a lot of trial and error, but the way I found what worked best was to spread the paper mache out on a smooth surface to about 3/16" - 1/4" thick.  I then picked up small little squares to wrap around the mushroom.  Here above, the one on the very right has the top drying with paper mache and the armature at the bottom exposed.  The mushroom next to it is totally done in rough form.  Then the mushrooms toward the top left were sanded and coated with an additional final smooth coat (glue and wall compound) to fill holes or imperfections. 

Just by accident did the mushrooms end up with this unique look.  I started painting them in the traditional red tops with white polka dots, and they were charming and pretty especially on a tree.  But the acrylic finish seemed to show a lot of imperfections.  So I had the idea of using the Annie Sloan french linen chalk paint.  It's made to cover imperfections in old furniture, etc. and to be sanded and waxed.  The colors all popped once it was waxed and it has such a wonderful finish and feel in one's hand.  I just fell in love with the way they turned out.   

The happy mushroom trio

Monday, December 17, 2012

Chase Your Wildest Dreams

Chase Your Wildest Dreams, mixed media 11" x 14"

"Chase Your Wildest Dreams"  has been brewing for a long time now and I am delighted with the finish.  The girl was painted over a discarded  floral painting.  You can see the white flowers coming through even on her top. 

She's chasing her dreams symbolized by the butterflies.  I think the nature of butterflies is a great way to show desires and dreams the way they float in and around you yet seem just out of reach.    You see, she caught one though and will catch more, no doubt.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Reindeer Sculptural Ornament

Reindeer Sculpture, 4" x 5"

Faux deer head and antlers

I saw these wonderful reindeer sculptures on and was inspired to make this cute little reindeer wall hanging, too.

I started with crumbled paper and masking tape to form the deer head and attach it to a 3 x 3 canvas.  Then I used air dry modeling compound to finish sculpting the reindeer.  To sculpt the deer antlers, I made a wire antler form and used masking tape to give it some bulk.  Then, to give them some color, I used tissue pattern paper and glue it around the antlers.   I thought the little red glitter ornament just finished it off.  Don't you!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Japanese Geisha Painting

Japanese Geisha Painting, 5 x 5 arcylic on textured canvas

I had this prepared, textured canvas on the shelf just waiting for something special to happen to it.  Sometimes you have to just let the artwork spring forth without much thought.  I didn't set out to paint a Geisha, nor did I use any references.  I just let the painting emerge.  I believe sometimes you need to let your hand be guided.  This Japanese geisha painting is available in my Etsy shop.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Snow Day Children

I love to share with you these original portraits painted on 2 x 2 canvases of these little Norman Rockwellesqe-type snow children. I'm starting to list these little gems in my  Etsy shop. They're a one of a kind piece of art at an incredible price. Each original portrait brings back memories of bright sunny snow days where children gather on the biggest hill they can find to make snow angels and sleigh ride in the snow.
"Cora" 2 x 2 mixed media portrait painting
 Don't you just love how sweet they are.   Because of the itty bitty papers underneath, you can see texture and lines running through each painting. My favorite texture is braille and you can see a little piece in each ornament.

"Charlie" 2 x 2 mixed media portrait painting

  This is a great price for an original piece of art!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Kelly Berkey Portrait

A couple of years ago I met a very lovely person, Kelly Berkey, who was putting herself out there with a little fun painting exercise.  She would post a picture of herself one week, and we had a week to paint, sketch, whatever and send it back to her to post.  This is one of my favorite fine art paintings that came from that time and now it has found its rightful home with Kelly.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Star Face Christmas Ornaments

4-1/2" x 5" Star Wizard Man Ornament

I wanted to create a star ornament that felt a bit more funky than sweet and  pretty.  This goatee man fit the bill. You could imagine this face on a jazz musician from back in the 60's, but I felt the need of a hat and now he looks a little more like a wizard...a hip wizard.

4-1/2" x 4-1/2" Star Hippie Man Ornament
This playful ornament started with the thought of the winter wind but then I gave him a hippie twist.  I had some left over leather pieces and made the headband with some real leather.  Both of these star ornaments started with a wooden star from Michaels and then sculpting air dry paper clay over the top.  Hippie man has papers underneath a white glazing.

I've been staring at them too long...which one do you like more?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Tiny Canvas Prints

I thought these little 4" x 4" canvas prints looked so cute.  They're a real sweet and affordable gift, available in my Etsy shop  now.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Pumpkin Tree

"Never Stand Under A Pumpkin Tree", 8 x 10, acrylic, mixed media

This idea has been stewing around of late and it was just suppose to be just a sketch.  I guess I got carried away...

To make some of the interesting texture, I sand back the paint and revealed different papers.  Under the white blouse was a piece of red paper and under the red skirt was a piece of gold.   I didn't plan ahead because I never really know where the painting is going to take me.  How serendipitous. 

When I saw the little gold dots made by a piece of braille in the background, I thought it reminded me of twilight when the lights of the city start twinkling.  So I continued to develop the idea of this city in the background.  Just an abstract version.  It does remind me of my roots...the Hudson and NYC. Amazing what the subconscious mind does.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Party Animals

I revitalized this watercolor of a dog by making this fun print "Party Animals". 
I just love the goofy eyes.  Available in my shop

Friday, October 12, 2012

One year when I asked my UCSB college daughter how her Halloween weekend was, she said she and her friend had the most fun, because they were standing outside their apartment with a "Free Hugs" sign giving hugs to trick-or-treaters. Hmmm.

Anyway, I thought who else would enjoy giving "Free Hugs" to trick-of-treaters?  Check out my Esty store, I've listed many new items.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Lucy In Disguise with Diamonds

Meet Lucy, my friend's old white labrador. Lucy's wearing a mustashe disguise. I call this, "Lucy's in Disguise with Diamonds". (Eye Roll).

I've been busy making prints for my Etsy shop and had to share.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

New Haircut

New Haircut 8" x 8" mixed media

I thought I'd paint my daughter and her new color and haircut.  I love the edginess of the style and wanted to show that in her portrait.  After a struggle with paint, I decided to scrub off as much paint as I could and then used oil pastels  to finish it.  I love her eye.  It really looks like her.  The background is a map.

Friday, July 6, 2012

A Surprise Visit

The In-Law Visit, 6 x 6, mixed media on board, sold
I was playing around with different characters and these two sweethearts appeared.  I'm having some fun with the idea of these two showing up for a surprise visit.  I just love the way the dad is so nonchalant, lagging back a tad, almost embarrassed and the mom is on a mission to see her son, bag in tow. Just fun stuff, right?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Whiting Bike Path

8" x 8", acrylic mixed media

My stepdaughter commented on how surprising it was for her to see the natural hillsides all green and full of wildflowers in the spring.  Coming from New Jersey to visit California only during the summers had been her only barometer, and by then the hillsides are always brown, at least where we live.

This tree caught my eye on a bike ride one day, because I could see the fluffy white clouds beyond through the tree.  I was down low in the valley looking up at the hillsides and flowers around me...such a nice memory to capture.  I think I'll keep this one.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Birds Take Flight

"Birds in Flight", 8" x 10" acrylic

Here's another experiment of using the Annie Sloan's chalk paint "french linen" as a background color.   This time I smudged a blue color over top.

I used a lot of charcoal pencil and scratched into the background with my palette knife to create more texture.  Wouldn't this be a great Christmas card?

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Lil' Birdie

"Lil' Birdie", 6" x 8" acrylic on masonite, sold

My lil' experiment...
Isn't this background cool?  
I bought some "Annie Sloan" chalk paint from an antique store and painted over some gesso that I applied really roughly on masonite. Then I sanded it with a sanding block like you would furniture. 

If the paint wasn't so expensive, I'd get the whole line of colors to play with.  I love this color,  "french linen", of course!.   :)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Romping Labs

Romping Labs, 16" x 16", mixed media

Have you ever met an owner of 2 dog siblings because they just couldn't split up the puppies?  or because the one was so lonely, they went back and got the other?  That's what I think of when I see these two happy, crazy guys chasing each other down the beach. 

I think the one was actually smiling.  Do you have a dog that smiles.  I've seen my dog smile when he's out and about and free to run.  I kept the painting rough and full of texture to capture the excitement between the two.

It makes me smile.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

"Painter's Daughter" 6 x 6, acrylic and mixed media

I hope you enjoy this painterly floral on this beautiful day.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Flower Girl

"Flower Girl" 4" x 6" acrylic on masonite

This sweet little girl brings back memories of when my girls were little and wanted to make a wish on the pretty dandelion "flower", but they almost crush it in the process.    I painted this like a watercolor with the lightest light against the darkest color.   Her head pops against the background and her darker dress is set against the light flowers.. and yes, it is bright!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Tiffany Boots

Tiffany Boots, 16" x 16", mixed media papers, acrylic, oil

It is so unlike California to be getting rain in the Spring.  It usually ends around March and I take out all of our cushions outside for the season.   Yesterday, we had such a torrential downpour that all the cars were only moving 35/hour on the highway and that is unusual for sunny California. 

This gal strolling in her Tiffany-colored boots could have occurred on the beach today after the rains and I felt it appropriate that I share her.  I have been working on this painting transforming it from its original form for about a month and I finally am happy with it.

Friday, April 6, 2012


Paige "24 x 36" mixed media with acrylic

This is the underpainting of a young woman I've known since my daughter and her became close friends in first grade.  She has grown into a beautiful person inside and out, and I asked to use one of her facebook pictures for this painting.  Although I've painted her a bit older than her 20 years, (which I don't know how to control that),  it captures her inner beauty, too. I keep thinking she looks like a country music singer.  :) 

It will morph into something different, when I start adding color,  I'm sure. 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Tulip Joy

Tulip Joy  12" x 12" mixed media

With spring and flowers on my mind, I bribed my daughter, Kristen  to go with me to the Carlsbad flower fields with a visit to the outlet mall right next store and a Starbucks. 

She said I had her at Starbucks!