Occasional ruminations concerning painted pages, hand bound books, the use of photos in journaling and the contemplation of various other pursuits.

Friday, June 15, 2012


I mentioned Joanne Fink earlier.  She has done some fun videos on You Tube showing her dangles, a linear doodling that can keep one busy for a long time.  For a stiff and tight doodler, these dangles are a perfect diversion. Loving this!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Doodling and tangles

Joanne Fink wrote a book.... Zenspirations.    Within the pages are ideas for simple doodle pictures with zentangle type designs incorporated into them. She teaches a simple alphabet also.

A nice adventure for my drawing and lettering endeavor.  May the journey continue!

Friday, May 25, 2012


Rain and snow pelt the windows obscuring the view

Some days one just cannot see clearly.  How we figure out which days those are befuddles me.

How will we ever know that what we see may not be reality? 
Shall we just assume we can never judge rightly? 
        Makes sense to me!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Northern Arizona in the winter

We spent a month ...March.... near Cottonwood, AZ.  We were very surprised when the cold front came moving in from the north and west.

For two days we were pelted with rain, and then snow. Since we were in the Verde Valley, the altitude was not high enough for a great amount of snow, but the Mingus Mountains around us were nicely dusted.

A couple days later, the blue skies and bright sun returned. The birds were delighted with the moisture and were VERY noisy the first day the sun returned.

Having just a teasing taste of winter works for us!!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Do that which you cannot do......

Susannah Conway spoke in her blog about how hard it is to allow yourself to be a beginner.  

Van Gogh said that we must do that which we cannot do in order to learn to do it. 

I received both these messages this winter, so I have to draw the conclusion that I am meant to get out of my comfort zone and move onto things I would like to learn to do, rather than sticking to the known.

My friend, Jane, has teased me greatly about choosing retreat classes that teach what I already know how to do.  "Get out of your box, Marcy!"

To be a beginner, to not do reasonably well is VERY difficult and frustrating for me....ask the Donald!!

I guess it is time. Soooooo, My lettering needs a ton or work and my drawing skills are nil. These are the areas I have chosen for my next endeavors.

We shall see where these exercises lead me.  Now, how about you???  Do something today that you think you cannot do!!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Painted pages plus a photo....not everyone can draw

I keep trying, but have not yet proven the adage that everyone can draw. One of the iPad photo apps allows one to change a photo into a pencil sketch.  This one is a tree that lives in the great state of Texas. The sketch has been gone over with colored pencils and voila!  I have my own drawing....well, sorta.

Maybe with just a bit more practice and effort I will be able to do this on my own, but in the meantime I can have a great time with my pencils.

The backgrounds shown are acrylic paint scraped and sprayed and manipulated.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Purging...good for the soul, hard on the body

The talk about purging went on long enough.  I finally got to really working hard on clearing out the mess in the studio last week.  The photos on the left side of this collage are the Before.

Looking at the room since finishing, I can hardly remember the mess that greeted me daily. However, the muscle pain from all movements foreign to my decrepit body are reminding me each second that I have overextended myself. No one ever informed me that cleaning required training!

The getting up and down to empty and re-label drawers, the moving of piles of STUFF, the rearranging of the furniture.....all the unusual (to me) movement has required buying stock in the Ibuprofen companies!

In this second collage, the photos on the top are the Before, and those on the bottom the After.

Now there are 5 standing work stations with the drawers below each holding supplies for each specific area.

There is still a lot of fine tuning happening, but so far all seems to be working much more efficiently than before.

More importantly, I do not get sick to my stomach when walking into the room!

All the drawers are labeled and actually hold what the label indicates...well, most of them.

Here is all the stuff....good stuff....that will be going to friends.  Once again, I will have happy friends and that makes me very happy indeed.

One box will be mailed to Leighanna when I get her address....metal stuff.  Michael deMeng's rusty thing from AZ will be handed to him at Art Unraveled.  Many things will go to local people or their relatives.

The rest will be driven over to the local Goodwill Store.

Time for a nap!  Have a great week everyone!!  Go to the studio and make art.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Never-ending........or stagnant?

This Never-ending Book from a class with Albie Smith could be considered to be somewhat mislabeled.

True, it can be never ending. Pages can be added forever making a long, serpentine book.

However, if one quits adding pages, it is done. 

It will stay as it is, the same, stagnant. 

Nice to look at, perhaps, but no longer changing, growing.....a death of sorts.

Pleasant enough, but still, left alone,  and getting dusty.

Life is like that.  Change, grow.....or slowly die.

Thank goodness for art and art retreats!! Keep on going and growing, guys!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Recycle, re-use even the tiny bits......

A simple display of note cards made from scraps - paste papers and watercolor paintings....

Thursday, March 15, 2012


We measure most of our lives by time.  We have so many minutes to do....to be....to arrive at......or waste.

Time flies.  Time stalls.  Depends on your perception....do you want the event to linger or to flee as quickly as possible?

I pray we all choose wisely and consume our precious moments wisely.

Time is running out. Do what your heart tells you to do....NOW.....before it is too late.

Monday, March 5, 2012

But I EXPECTED rhubarb!!!

Did you ever get engulfed by a desire, an expectation?  Was your mouth watering at the anticipation of the special tasting adventure of something you had not had for a very long time?

We were riding a little train around a farm and peach orchard when we spied splendid rhubarb among the u-pick items growing in the organic garden. I asked the Donald if he would like some....I could mix in a little sugar and heat some up to go over ice cream. Now, you have to understand, he REALLY likes rhubarb and we almost never have it. Oh, we were tingling with anticipation, ready to end the train ride, grab a basket and run over to the field to grab that fresh, ready to pick delicacy.

We got to the garden and found NO rhubarb. Deflation. Disappointment. 

The plant that we had mistaken for rhubarb was a very large growth of beets!  NOT the same at all!! Well, the stems WERE a bit red and the leaves were green. No way were warm beets going to go on top of that ice cream lined up for desert. No way!

So, we stayed with the red and green theme and picked a bunch of radishes. We like radishes. But not over ice cream, not mixed with sugar and warmed up into a flavorful syrup. This crop was not at all what we had planned, not what we expected.....but it is what we got.

You do know that had we expected radishes we would have been ecstatic....well, at least happy.  But no, we expected rhubarb and were disappointed that our expectation was not met.

Have no expectations.....be happy with what is.  Always.  Give thanks.  A recipe for contentment. 

When will I learn this?

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A little rusty, but still useful

That is how I feel some days....... a little rusty.  But I am not done yet!   A little patina is a good thing. 

These old gates were piled up in a store of treasures in Cave Creek, AZ.  I kept thinking Michael DeMeng would love this place.....so many very rusty things.

It is funny that we distress and patina things to make them look antique and we freshen up antiques to make them look not so old. Can we not accept things as they are? Right now?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

More Variations

Here are two more photos, one altered, one not.  These dew covered flowers were on the Alaskan shore of the Bering Sea.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Variations on a theme

It is fun, interesting and challenging to try different things with the same photo. Above are a couple examples using the same leaf shot.

I seem to be out of "musings" lately.  The well is dry.  A quiet time. Maybe that is a good thing.  Whatever.   It is what it is.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Photos and Painted Pages

 This example is in the Yellow Book shown in a previous post.  An altered photo of an old church bell near Tubac, AZ is adhered to a page painted with very wet water colors and topped with a plastic bag while the page was drying.
 One can hardly see the acrylics applied to these pages.  A large photo was sliced and placed on facing pages. I am going back in with colored pencils on parts of the photo.
Acrylics again with a photo altered on the iPad app ColorSplash.  These Bering Sea flowers were "painted" back into the photo with my finger, while the rest of the photo was left gray scale.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Recycling Revisited

 One of my favorite ways to make books full of painted pages is to recycle Reader's Digest Condensed Books and old belts from thrift stores and library sales.  The covers often have nicely patterned covers with a variety of colors to choose from.

One carefully takes the book block out of the book keeping the covers intact.  If you want to leave the original spine on the cover,  you may.  For this book I cut off the spine.

A sewn-over-tapes binding was done with an old belt and waxed linen. I went around each part of the belt twice to make a nice fat binding.

This book is a nice size and feels good in the hands.   The pages lie flat which makes adhering photos and journaling easy.

Keep the novels removed from the original book  for reading while planes are taking off and landing....that time when all electronic devices must be turned off.   You can rip the book block into separate novels and take just one on your trip. When you land, toss it or leave it in the pocket of the airplane seat for someone else to read.

Here is a shot of a couple pages in this book.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friends and Fun at Art and Soul

Of course, we all look forward to the classes at art retreats like Art Unraveled and Art and Soul, but one of the VERY important aspects of these retreats is the art buddies we may see only once a year.
Some of my best friends are seen only at these retreats.  Yes, I know..... it is easy to be friends when you are not together very long!!  BUT.......it is so fun to see how we can just start conversing just as if we had seen each other yesterday, not 365 yesterdays ago.

This is my friend Karen, whom I met back in 1999 in Amsterdam.  We happened to be on the same river cruise.  She and Al, her husband, have been with us on several trips after that first one.  Now, we rarely all 4 get together, but she and I have a great time in Portland.

Soooooo, as she and I would say ( a story behind THAT!), get your reservations and registrations ready and join the gangs at the various art retreats.  Art Unraveled and Art and Soul are already online. Art is You West Coast will be up in February. Create is out there..... and many more.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Art Unraveled Registration Is Open!!!!!

From Jane LaFazio's class in '11.  See her listings for '12.

  I am so excited!  Will I get my confirmation email today?  Did I get all the classes I really wanted?

I wonder what things will be in the auction this year?  

Who will win the art contest? 

What will happen at the Saturday Night event?

Get right over to Artunraveled.com and join in the fun!!!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

January..Get Rid of Clutter Month...

This is only one end of the art space.  There is a ton more if you turn around...if you really could manipulate photos that way. Well, I guess with computers one could do that, but I don't have time to figure all that out.

I have already gotten rid of 120 iris cart drawers of stuff. I thought I was going to be killed by the avalanche of 8 sections of iris carts which were 12 drawers high...with two shelves on top of all of that.

 5 "reams of paper" boxes of stamps and piles and bags of more stuff are now gone.

I do have some happy friends.  Angie got the Big Bite.  Connie got all the metal embossing tools. Janet loved the storage boxes and drawers. Kelly got the Pan Pastels.

There comes a time in one's life that down-sizing is REALLY important. One's brain just doesn't work as well as it used to.  Now WHERE did I put ........?  What is THIS for?

Am I going to move to a smaller place for my later years?  I cannot really leave all this for the daughter to handle....can I?  "American Pickers" of the art world where are you?

How can I possibly let ...........go? 

It is more difficult that I thought it would be to figure out what I really do, and therefore, what I really need.

Here's some metal.....Michael?? Leighanna?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

"Painted pages as skins" evolving into "it is what it is."

 I am looking over some of my painted pages in order to possibly use one or more for making skins for my Amazon Fire and Touch.....yes, more electronic toys.  Love 'em!

My Kindle 3 has a skin made from a past painted page and I really like it a lot.   That one I showed you in an early post.

This page is one of my favorites.  VERY cheap water color paint and water color paper, tons of water, and a plastic bag were the tools for this one.

 These two pages were made with the good old technique of using many layers of scraped paint and sprayed water.  I find painting these pages very meditative and really like making them.

Some of them actually do get used in making books.  Photographs attached to them and more media applied as the muse dictates completes the page.  Then the journaling can begin.....or not.

It is strange how it is so easy to write some days and the well runs completely dry on other days. But one cannot worry either way.  Acceptance.
One of the many life lessons I am continually trying to learn is the fact, "It is what it is."

It is only when we fight the "what is" that we have issues and hurts and pain.  If we accept all things as they are, all people as they are, giving thanks for each and all, that we can be happy and at peace.

I know I am not the first to say this. I hope I am not the last as we all can be far less frustrated if we go with "what is".  Maybe if I try to teach this a bit more, I will learn it!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Journal Pages.....Fall in Estes Park Altered Just a Bit

This photo was taken in Estes Park, CO and then altered with sand paper and India Ink.  It was then placed on a page in one of my painted page journals. Caran d'ache watercolor pastels were used around the perimeter of the photo to help meld it into the page.   Journaling will be added, perhaps with a color very close to the color of the page to partially obscure it.

I like going back to pages in this type of journal to add things; this process is almost like having an adult coloring book to return to in quiet times.

The photos are never in chronological order so when you read your journal memories of many different events are recalled.

Caran d'ache and sandpaper altering on painted journal page