Sunday, December 28, 2014

Edge of the Woods Painting Sold and Happy New Year!

Sold this one a few weeks ago.  It's got deep, cool colors, and warm splashes of reddish browns and golds glowing it up.  Really pretty under lights.

The last time I worked the Gallery was a crazy, busy time, right before Christmas.  Sold a metal embossing piece of my own and tons of other artists' work as well.  It was a fun day!

First Friday is THIS Friday - come on out and see us!  We're in Tomball, right on Main Street.  Check out for more information.

AND, happy new year!  We are blessed.  I hope and pray that you are as well.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Da Vinci Gallery First Friday Coming! 

Check the link, find out where we are and come on out!  Great fun reception, wine and snacks, and you can meet the artists.  Tomball has a lot of fun shopping - come on out, have lunch, go antiquing, and join us at the gallery!

Bent Wire Series, Big Furry Bird Painting

Here is the first painting in my Bent Wire Series.  I call it 'Big Furry Bird" for obvious reasons.  Our son thought it should maybe be called "Imminent Death," but that didn't seem like a good painting name.

I've never been able to get streaking and drips like this before and am particularly pleased with the way they turned out.

I've never used this particular method to get drips and movement before, in fact, I'm pretty sure nobody has, but will definitely stick with it!  It will have to remain my own trade secret until either death or tickling.  I'm hanging with Leonardo da Vinci in the experimental aspect, that's for sure!

This painting, along with my bright cat painting are now hanging at the da Vinci Gallery in Tomball.  I will also have some embossed metal pieces and three collage paintings for sale.

Every month on the first Friday, we have a reception where you can enjoy some great art, meet the artists and sample some great wine and food.  Come on out and join us!

Bent Wire Series of Bird Paintings

This is another in my 'Bent Wire' series of birds and cats.  In the two previous posts you can find out how I did them.

Birds Painting


 Here is a close up of a portion of one of my Birds paintings.  It's a little easier for you to see through the layers and figure out how I did it by viewing this one.  The entire painting is in my previous post.

Birds! From my Bent Wire Series of Paintings

Just finished this one and its friend today.  I've been working on birds quite a bit lately.  This one focuses on the negative space.  My first step was to paint the cool background, blues, teals, actually a lot of minor colors behind that, and some golds.

After that, I laid down the birds on wires with charcoal, and began carefully painting the negative space AROUND the birds.  These were inspired by Picasso's Black and White exhibit at the MFAH last year.  I went down to see it, not all that excited, but feeling obliged.  I felt that since it was a black and white exhibig, it would be small works on paper, mostly sketches and a lot of black paint on white paper.

I could not have been more wrong!  His paintings were exceedingly beautiful and engrossing.  Most of them had rich, colorful backgrounds into which he carved a design, or painted the negative space, as I did with this birds painting. My favorites were the ones he did with light paint, almost white, but still filled with color, as I did above.  I think it's really effective.  Thanks, Pablo!

I actually had an engagement that afternoon, and was going to pop into the Picasso exhibit, check it out for a couple hours and then go.  Once I got in there, all else was wiped from my mind.  I staggered out MUCH later... LONG after my engagement was completely over!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Cat Painting #4

 Here's a close up of my finished  baby.  Colors deepened considerably by the varnish.

The last three I tipped to catch the reflections so you could see what the added textures and gloss did to the painting.

Personally, I like it!

I'll post the entire finished painting, with name, which I'm still pondering, later.  Right now I have to get away from this computer!  Whew!

Cat Painting, Steps #2

 All right, here's a close up of my furry friend, so you can see the details of the background peeking through the cat.  Nice and bright, the Fauvists would have been proud of me.  I guess I'm a 'wild beast,' too, huh?  (The word Fauvist is French for Wild Beast, because the French thought they painted with too-bright of colors, hence saying they painted like wild beasts.)Now that the painting itself is finished, it's time for some varnish and more texture.  This is where the artist has to trust in her materials, because the layer I put down is milky white and you can barely see the painting below.  After all that work, it's a little scary completely obliterating your painting!

 I treated the background with paint-brushy strokes, gave my kitty textured fur, and added some of those big dots right on top of the cat for interest.  To draw the circles, I used one of my best and most readily-available tools - my finger!

Although it's milky white and opaque when laid down, it slowly dries to a transparent and very shiny finish.  I like the glossy choice because it deepens the colors a lot.  The eyes particularly now are 'knowing and watching' eyes.

In post #3, I'll show you a picture of my finished painting, along with its name.

Cat Painting, Step #1

I just finished my cat painting and am really pleased with it.  This will take you along on a little journey of cat-dom development.

 My inspiration - Calypso, of course.  She inspires me to many things.  I also used some other photos and began my work.

This is on a nice wood panel with a deep cradle.  The first layer was a mixture of brushed-on warm colors.

After that, I layered on some blue to get those cool textures.  Trade secret.

Third layer - Dots.  Two colors, and of course not all dots perfect, that would be boring.

Once I had the background established, it was time to do the subject.  Spent an hour or so looking through pictures and choosing my cat's position.  Here we are.  Although Calypso inspired me, I didn't want to do such a gorgeous fat ruff with this one - I wanted it to be more of 'Every Cat.'

Having chosen the cat, I started my drawing in vine charcoal.  Love that stuff - you can erase out mistakes with the swipe of a finger!

Here you can see the basic lines established with charcoal.  At this point, I'm simply outlining the charcoal with one color, and will layer in the other colors as I go.

Hey!  Looks like a cat!

The tail is going to remain unfinished.  I really like the sweep of the furry tail and the fact that I can see the background through it.  I'm planning on bringing the background on top of the cat later, and also planning on leaving some of the entire cat unfinished so you can enjoy the nice complimentary colors peeking through the fur.

Getting closer.  I've added greens, yellows and more of that lovely teal.

Okay.  The last one shows it close to finished.  Got the eyes finished and left some background showing through them as well.  Gleam in the eye - check!

Especially on the face I left a lot of background - if you can get a close look, the textures in the background are pretty fascinating, and I like the big blue dot on the cat's cheek.  It'll make people wonder what on earth I'm thinking!

Here the cat has darks added.  I pulled in a nice deep Payne's Grey.  Almost black, it has the nice dark value I need, but not that black black shouting at you.  Almost everywhere I mixed the Payne's with the other colors to get variance, but there are a few places I laid down the Payne's without mixing.  These would comprise about 5% of the cat, namely eyes, nose, and a few shadows I wanted particularly deep.

So, that's the cat so far.  Haven't named the painting yet.  I kind of follow Renoir with his painting naming, "Two Girls at the Piano," or "Girl with the Watering Can."

How about, "Cat with Dots?"  or, ummm.... "Colorful Cat with Dots"  Dot Cat, Cat Dot, Dottie Cat... no!  Um... Bright Cat with Dots...

Anyway, I understand other artists' naming process.  What we really care about is the painting.  We really don't care about its name, and it often comes as an afterthought (shhh!!!)

Friday, November 7, 2014

Painting Sold

Sold this painting tonight. You can read about its development under the month of June.  This photo is only a cutaway of the entire painting; you'll have to look under June to see the whole thing.

Suicide Evaluation

Because of all the difficulties in our lives this year, I haven't made many entries.  But here I hand my heart to you.

I’ve been in a very contemplative mood lately.  So much has happened this year to continually turn my thoughts toward suicide.  I’ve talked a lot about this previously, so I’m going to attempt to be clinical and to the point. Let’s just list them:

1. Melody broke up with her boyfriend, Evan, and March 8 he took his own life.  Beautiful, charismatic, giving Evan.

2. After having a private art student for some time, I missed her on spring break.  I figured she was on a trip. They finally contacted me to tell me she was committed for suicidal ideations, and that they had begun art lessons with me to help with this.  If I had only known from the beginning of our time together, how different our talks would have been!  Weeks later, when the weather warmed up, she wore short sleeves, revealing a severely cut and scarred arm.  Through smiling tears she told me that she was going to tattoo it when she was a bit older and the scars were better healed.

3. Robin Williams, the amazing, versatile comedian, took his life.

4. My friend, Tony, took his life September 15.

Note to self: Evan, Robin Williams and Tony all had the same personality.  And dealt with that unmentionable, socially taboo subject – depression.

5. Two days ago, one of my friends let me know they had taken her daughter, one of my former art students, to the hospital for suicidal ideations.

That’s five.  This year.  Up until my 54th year, I have wandered happily through life without ever contemplating suicide.  Never missed it. This year it has slammed us.  Up to this point, I never even knew what a suicide survivor was.  It is me.  It is us.  It is all of us left behind to pick up the pieces and wonder why.

I will never forget, probably 25 years ago when we lived in Quincy, Illinois, the ladies of our church putting together women’s gatherings.  Our little church of 200 would put together a ladies’ convention for thousands, and would draw from several states.  We would hire big names, rent the local school, put up curtains and flowers in the boys’ bathrooms so ladies could use them and go for it.

One year we had a speaker – I know not who – who described her life.  She told us that she lived a horrible childhood, being continually raped and used.  Everything was difficult, but somehow she got through it.  Through the years she became a Christian and was deciding upon her life work.

She said, “I wanted to play piano. I wanted to play with children!  I wanted to make music and produce art!”  But God was calling her into something else, and she became a counselor for abused children – the last thing in the world she wanted to be, and that for which she was best-prepared.

I sat stunned.  Her unobtainable desires were my very life!  She had expressed my life verbatim! I made music, played with children and produced art.  To this day, I am still making music, playing with children, surrounded by young people and making art! Thank You, Lord!  Wow.

Her plaintive cry has echoed with me all through these years, and I have looked back to her many, many times.  What a gift I have been given, and what a joy filled life I have lived.

Since March I have produced two paintings and a number of poems about suicide.  Yep.  There they are.

There have been a number of times in my life that I have thought, “I have been prepared all my life for this very moment in time.”  Like Esther, prepared to help her people, I felt specially-equipped to do that precise thing in a particular situation.

So, Lord, exactly what are you trying to tell me now?

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Me and the Rosetta Stone

This is me and my friend, the Rosetta Stone.  Dressed alike. :)
Actually, it's a replica of the Rosetta Stone, down at the Museum of Printing History  I just checked and realized they're 'rebranding' and their new name is the Printing Museum. 
Whatever the name, it's one of Houston's best kept secrets, and people need to know about this fascinating place!
Go!  And remember to wear your Rosetta Stone camo!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Comments on Depression

Originally, I set up my blog so I could discuss art, beauty and life.  Having experienced the suicides of two very special people this year, one in March and one just a month ago, has got me thinking a lot more about just... well, life.  And death.

A friend of mine wrote this early this morning and I think it's so important that we address these things. She gave me permission to post this, so here it is, along with my comment at the bottom.
'This is so not something that I would ever usually put out there for the world to see but I feel led to and maybe somebody needs to hear it today. So here goes...
Hi, my name is _____. I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I love God more than anything and serving Him is what my goal in life is. I have a happy marriage and wonderful children and I struggle with depression. Yes, in spite of all that I struggle with depression. Deep dark sometimes unrelenting depression. I take medicine and I'm believing God for healing.
Here's the catch that I was confronted with today.... would I still believe God is going to heal me if my healing wasn't going to completely happen til I go to Heaven and am made completely whole in Him? The answer is YES! It's yes because I love and trust He who made me. It's yes because through my struggle I can bring Him glory. It's yes because in my brokenness and not togetherness He has not forsaken me and I'm not running from Him. It's yes because when I meet other women who feel ashamed of what they are going through can see me and receive comfort that just because we're Christians that we still have struggles.
I hid my depression for years because I have been told that I just needed to rely more fully on God. That is a lie. He can and will heal but sometimes the answer is medicine. Sometimes it is counseling. There is no condemnation is Christ Jesus. My struggling is no surprise to Him and neither is anyone elses. If you don't know Jesus I strongly suggest you get to know Him. Without His constant guiding hand I would never make it day to day. There you have it... my name is ______, I'm a Christian, I love God and He loves me, I struggle with depression, I do take medication. I am not forsaken in fact I am free. If this is my lot then I will bring Him glory through it! ! If you need a friend... or a prayer... im here. Whoever you are I love you and Jesus does too.

(my response) I'm so glad you shared. This is a conversation that must be held! Some people walk around with maybe cancer scars or something really obvious, and we easily address those things. We all are wounded in many ways, but with so many people, the things they are dealing with don't show... like depression.
But those things that don't show in each of us need to be shared... maybe more so than the wounds that are outwardly visible. I would like to see the boundaries of silence broken down, because that silence hurts us and alienates us from one another. Satan revels in that lonely silence.
We need to talk about things like depression and so many other socially 'taboo' subjects so we can help each other. And in that journey of conversation, we will all realize that EVERYONE carries a burden of some kind, that we are not unique or alone in our pain, and that there is help. Help from one another, and Hope in Christ. That Christ that created us as unique individuals, exactly as we are, fitted exactly for His purpose. We have each other, but more importantly, the One that created us freely holds out His hand to each of us, and is ready to walk with us through any pain. Let's begin the conversation.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Chrysanthemum Series - First Friday

 These paintings are some of my Chrysanthemum Series.  They are currently hanging in the Da Vinci Gallery in Tomball

Come on out and see us this Friday for our delightful  First Friday evening of meeting artists, beautiful art and an hors d' oeuvres and wine bar.

The paintings in this series are mono-prints.  That means that there are no two alike.  I enjoy carving wood blocks, and that is what I did with the chrysanthemum.

Each background has layers of paint and iridescents to give them depth.  Once I am pleased with the backgrounds, I will paint the wood block and print it onto the backgrounds.  Often I will paint on top of the wood block print as well, so there are many layers in these pieces.

 Come on out and see us Friday night!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Artist, Anarchist, One-Man Band

A quote we all surely appreciate- "Plenty of alternatives exist to being an artist: an anarchist, a one-man band, a high-wire act with no safety net. - Matthew Daub

I found this in the latest edition of Professional Artist in a really helpful article that Matthew wrote. So true. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Uncle Sam Collage with Five Guys Burgers and Fries

This collage came from the bright packaging and menus at  I took some of it home with me and came up with red, white and blue.  What is more patriotic than Uncle Sam?  So... here he is - in all of his Five Guys glory.
By the way, what Uncle Sam is saying is, I'm thinking, one of two things:

1 - I want YOU to go eat burgers and fries at Five Guys (good idea); or,

2 - I want YOU to come out to the First Friday event NEXT WEEK, at the Da Vinci Gallery in Tomball to lay back, meet the artists, and experience some great art!

Da Vinci Gallery Painting - Happy Pair

I've prepared five or six paintings for the  Tomorrow I'll take them over and the hanging will be Sunday.  Here's a bright painting which I call the Happy Pair, that will be hung.  Come on out next Friday to our First Friday event.  Lots of fun!  Meet the artists, enjoy some wine and delicious food, and enjoy some great art!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Goodbye to Tony Motto

Well, one week ago today area people lost a very special man, and I lost a good friend.  Tony Motto, you were a friend of the community, a friend of the arts, and a friend of mine.  You will be greatly missed by many people.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Robin Williams Brought it All Back. Suicide

Yesterday Robin Williams apparently committed suicide.  Brought it all crashing back.  All the memories of Evan right back to the surface again.  Once again, someone whom we would least suspect.  But, I thought I had already learned that lesson.

Had a difficult time sleeping last night, remembering Evan, thinking about Melody, thinking about Evan's mom and family.  For a long time I laid there, wishing it had all turned out differently, wishing Evan back.  Although I know he was a believer in Christ, and is now celebrating in heaven, far happier than he ever was down here, the human side of me wishes him back.  Wishing for his family to be whole again.  Wishing that his mother could hug him again.  Wishing away all the ramifications and fallout and pain that a suicide leaves in its wake.

One phrase kept circling in my mind until it drove me out of bed.  That phrase was 'I never really wanted to be that mother.'  I got out of bed and at 5:00 a.m. penned this.  It took me an hour and a half of tears to write.  Here it is.

                           That Mother
I never really wanted
          to be that mother.
That mother of a daughter
          struggling through the sadness
          of a love gone forever.

I never really wanted
          to be that mother
          holding my girl and feeling the weight
                   pushing –
          heavy upon her shoulder.

I never really wanted
          to be that mother
          desperately praying that my Lord
                   would guard her heart,
                   cradling it in His hands.

I never really wanted
          to be that mother
          who feels judging eyes fall upon her -
          but wanting to protect her, shield her,
                   gather her little girl body into my arms and                  
                   kiss her scraped knees
                   mend her bruises
                   snuggle my lips into her little girl head
                   and breathe her scent,
                   kissing it all away.
          This pain doesn’t kiss away.

I never really wanted
          to be that mother,
          feeling with her the shared memory
                   of a past suicide.
          Pain, sadness, desperation.
          Still not in the past, but walking continually with us.

Not that mother.

I wanted to be the mother of fun,
          of dance and joy and celebration of life.

I never really wanted
          to be that mother,
          That mother facing his mother,
                   The mother with those beautiful eyes that she gave her son.
                   Eyes haunted by memories
                   of one whom she can no longer
                             mommy-kiss away the pain and
                                      wrap her love around.
Not that mother.

I never really wanted
          to be that mother
          Conscious of the living presence of my girl
                   facing the sadness and longing of the mother
                             with empty-son arms.

I never really wanted
          to be that mother.
But I am.

I am that mother.

So, I will hold,
          I will cherish,
          and remember.
I will pray,
          and trust,
          and stand.

I will reach out
          and I will give love.

Because I am that mother.

Cindy Johnson - August, 2014

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

New Painting - Fibonacci Sequence Included

I finally have a chance at a new painting.  Lots of ideas generating, and this one forced its way to the top.  Extremely interested in nature and God's creation, the Fibonacci sequence has always intrigued and fascinated me.  The entire universe is filled with examples following the spiral formed by this number sequence - sunflowers, pinecones, the way trees and plants branch, cosmos, the way animals multiply... on and on. For some time I've wanted to put it into my work, but really hadn't wanted to take the TIME to lay it all out mathematically. 

It's time.  Here's the beginning.
I'm not going to give you clues right now - but you can follow it as I progress.

This was the initial laying-out of the spiral.  Last night I transferred it to the painting's surface.


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Metal Embossing at Expo

Please see previous post for information on the Artist Expo Houston.  I just finished a metal piece I'm going to take to show to my classes, as I'll be teaching metal embossing.  Here it is in all of its poorly-photographed, wrong-color glory.  I've got a pile of things I need to take to my photographer; in the meantime, you'll just have to do with my off-color photography.  This metal piece is about 18x22.

This is a close up of part of my lilies, so you can see a bit more of what's going on.  I've got a lot of layers and textures, with colors and metal shining through in places.  Remember, though, the colors are really bad in my photograph. 

Guess you'll just have to come to the Expo and see it in person!

Artist Expo This WEEK!!

Wonderful People,

This week is the Artist Expo Houston at the Waterway Marriott Hotel in The Woodlands.  I'm excited to be one of the teachers giving workshops at this great event.  If you're interested in taking some particular art classes, we have a full range to offer.  Note - they're not cheap!  Just letting you know.

HOWEVER, there will be an exhibit hall which is FREE!  Think homeschool conventions.  This is an art convention.  Now imagine the exhibit hall full of art supplies.  Yeah.  They're also usually discounted, and they have giveaways and demos that are lots of fun.  This is a fun place to learn about new supplies, try them out, and pick something nice up on a good sale.

Exhibition Hours are:
Thursday, July 17, 2014 - 9am till 5pm
Friday, July 18, 2014 - 9am till 5pm
Saturday, July 19, 2014 - 9am till 5pm

Also, (I can't unbold this - sorry!) There will be a juried show featuring prize winning paintings from within a 100 mile radius all around Houston.  Only prize winners in particular shows are allowed, so the level of art will be very high.  This is a great place to see some wonderful art, and is also free to the public.  I am happy to say I have five paintings entered.  Once the judges have awarded ribbons, the exhibit will be open -

Saturday, from 2:00-5:00

Websites are and

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Artist Expo Next Week!


The Artist Expo is coming to the Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel and Convention Center.  I have students coming literally from all over the United States!  Check us out and come on in for the fun!  The online registration is closed, but you can still come in and register on site.

Here's the link:

I will be teaching two Metal Embossing classes, which are loads of fun, even for the beginner.  Here's a simple piece I did of a bicycle, of course.  My bicycle and I are very good friends.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Walking through Steps of an Artist Trading Card Series

This is a sweet little series of Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) I made.

Not long ago I was sitting in the Panera Bread parking lot looking across the street at a line of birds on the wire.  I did a nice little sketch of them enjoying their peaceful time above Chic fil A and the din of life.

When I heard the subject of our trade was 'Things with Wings,' I knew it would be those birds.  I did, however, substitute the traffic and noise for some peaceful, cool trees.

My purse sketchbooks feed my imagination - they're like cookbooks - recipes not yet tried, but ready to be explored.  My sketchbook gave me the idea for the ATC, and now the cards I made have inspired me to do some nice paintings  I can see a new series of paintings coming out of all of this.  One idea fuels the next.

And, for those students out there - a word about MISTAKES!  As Murphy's Law requires, I went through to the very end of these cards before I made my bad mistake.

My idea of artist trading cards is developing layers.  Here are the steps I took for this set:

1 - Spray paint in the driveway.  Sheets of cool colors, sheets of warm colors.  Found some great artist's spray paint I'm liking these days. Covers well, and is archival.  Yes!

2 - Each set of colors is layered on with a number of stencils and mark makers
3 - Once dry, I cut the big sheets into many of the required ATC size, 2 1/2" x 3 1/2"
4 - I cut some cool rectangles smaller to get the complimentary color thing going
5 - Gold stencils on the background
6 - The actual drawing on the cool background
7 - Stick 'em together

I had intended to put the date stamp in only one place, on the right side of the blue, hanging out in the sky.  Did it.  UPSIDE DOWN!  ARG!!!  At that point I remembered there's always a way around mistakes - so I started stamping all over, in all directions.  Personally, I think the multiple stamps make the cards richer.  All because of a mistake!

Pretty sure I won't be using the date stamp on my finished paintings, well, sort of sure... but working through layers like this feeds my imagination and enriches my for-sale work.  Try it!  You might like it!

Artists working for Microsoft

Friends.  I adore these two very talented artists!  We worked well together.

Working the Microsoft Grand Opening

 Last weekend Microsoft had their grand opening in the mall.  They trained several artists to work in front of their store demonstrating their Fresh Paint program on this lovely 55" screen.  Loved it!

This is one of my former students - he came down to see me and together we worked this capital up, both signing it 'Me' in our respective corners.  Thanks for coming, Evan - it was fun to see you!

Here are Kim and I, just having fun.  Glad she stuck to the 'wear black' idea. :)

 Here I am doing demos on the smaller tablet of a little boy.  He and his parents were so happy with my picture.  This program is super easy to use.  Believe me, if I can learn it with just a short amount of training, ANYBODY can!  I've used a lot of paint and drawing programs, but this is definitely the best one I've tried.

(by the way, my hair was BRIGHT pink.  This is the very last, faded end of it.)

Here I am doing another demo for these young ladies. There's an easy pull-down menu to change colors, brushes, styles, etc.

All in all, it was a great weekend.  The store was mobbed from start to finish, and it was fun having a part in it.  I couldn't talk them into a free 55" screen, but hey, there's always that Fresh Paint program.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Microsoft Artist


Check it out for all the details.

Artist at Microsoft Grand Opening

Today I was trained to work the Microsoft grand opening in The Woodlands Mall. Wow!  This is going to be fun!  They will have a 55" screen out in the mall in front of the store, and artists will be drawing and painting on it to show what it can do and being people in. So... Check it out at:

And come on out and see us!!!!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Artist Expo Houston is Coming Soon! It's the place to go!  Happening in just inside of a month, people will be descending upon The Woodlands from all over!  I've already got people signed up in my classes from Pennsylvania, Alabama, Oklahoma and Louisiana and towns in Texas I've never heard of!

If you're interested in:

- taking a myriad of classes
- testing out new products
- getting some great deals on art suppplies
- enjoying fellow artists
- learning in art-themed seminars
- checking out a judged show of paintings from the 110 mile radius of Houston

As for myself, I'll be teaching metals classes.  Here's a sample of one I did.

Wanna try any of the above? Then this is the place for you!  Come and check us out!

Artist Trading Group - New Card

This is another theme based on the Big City that I just finished (see previous post about my Artist Trading Card group.)

There are only a couple rules about artist trading cards - they must be 2 1/2"x3 1/2", and you must have your name and contact information on the back.  Some time ago I made these stickers from a self-portrait I did, and they've come in really handy for ATCs.

For this set, I simply couldn't resist giving myself a hot orange 'beauty mark' on my cheek. :)

If any of you are interested in joining a group - check out  It's a great way to experiment with your own art and generate new ideas for your own work, and collect some wonderful art from others!  Try it!  Then I won't be the only one tripping out to my mailbox!

Artist Trading Card Group (ATC) - Fun!

 In the summertime I always try to do something new, because the rest of the year I don't have time to even THINK about it!  If I've carved a few new paths during the summer, then it's easy to continue them.

A couple weeks ago I joined an artist's trading card group.  You know, we are ever-hopeful people - walking optimistically out to our mailboxes each day, dreaming they might 'today' be stuffed with personal letters, cards from friends, money and gifts.  Alas, it is generally the opposite case.

So... I joined an artist's trading card group.
Pretty simple premise, different trade themes are posted, and if you want to join - then join!  Mail the three little pieces of art you've made off to the host and she'll send you back three lovely little surprises.  If I were the Cat in the Hat, I'd call it 'Fun in a Box!'

These are my first two themed trades which I sent off - the above one was 'By the Sea,' and the second picture shows the cards I made under the theme 'Postage Stamps.'  The only rule for that one was that each card had to have a real postage stamp included.

So... if I'm not home, you may find me hopefully skipping out to see if there's 'fun in the box!'

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Metal Embossing at the Artist Expo

Here's another metal piece I did which I will take to the Artist Expo.  Palm trees, almost abstracted, in complimentary colors.  This one is a little unusual in that I didn't let any of the metal shine through, only using the texture of the metal for interest in the piece.
If you're interested in coming to the Expo, look up
.  Great fun - artists from all over a number of states with whom to commisserate and exchange ideas.  Come out and see us!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Teaching Metals at Artist Expo Houston

I'm working on metals for my metal embossing classes at the Artist Expo Houston at the Woodlands Waterway Marriott in July. Here's a fun piece.  This is going to be a great time with artists coming together from all over the South.

There will also be a juried competition with prize winning paintings coming in from a 200 mile radius of Houston, four of which will be mine!

Come and join in on the fun!  Take a class,  enjoy demos, get great bargains on art supplies and HAVE FUN!!! gives all the sign up details. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Travel Sketchpad, Part 3

 These are more entries from my sketchpad, continued from my previous post.  As I mentioned, I always keep a small sketchpad in my purse, using it as a 'recipe book,' if you will, for ideas for future paintings, and for memories.

This first sketch was done in a restaurant called Kurobata, where we had THE BEST Japanese food we have EVER had, bar none.  I particularly liked the garage-style work lights they had everywhere.  The atmosphere was fun and the people friendly. I even had our waiter sign his name down in the bottom left corner.  This restaurant was close to our hotel in London, in the Marble Arch area.  We walked around looking for a place to eat and innocently wandered in here.

 This page is some of the graffiti art I found on the streets of London.  You never know what you will find, and I find it all fascinating.

The graffiti sticker on the next page I found in Brugge, Belgium - a rarity to find graffiti - what a clean place!  Brugge is called 'The Venice of the North' and leans heavily on tourism. These people are seriously fanatical about keeping their streets clean, and it was really one of the most beautiful cities I've seen.
While in London, we went to Queen's rock opera, "We Will Rock You."  Wow!  It was GREAT!  As you can never take photos in a show like this, I made some sketches in the dark.  You can see that this drawing is really loose and imprecise - remember - I was drawing in the dark!  I actually do this a lot during shows.  If my work is imperfect, it doesn't matter - I've recorded it for my own memories and cherish them. Each time I look at them, it brings back the show in detail.  Later that night, I added the color with a little field watercolor kit I'd purchased down by the National Museum.

 I like this one.  We rented a car, actually, a new BMW with six on the floor with a LEFT handed shifter, the driver's side on the RIGHT, and drove out of London to Canterbury on the LEFT side of the road. Hoping for a nice change from hotels, we had booked a bed and breakfast there, and were delighted.  We had a room in the upper floor of an extremely old home, and this was our view - the rooftops of other homes!  Note - the chimneys are terra cotta, as well as the roof tiles.
The rubbing over the picture I did somewhere in Canterbury as we walked around.

We stayed in Canterbury a couple days and then headed over to Dover, right on the English Channel.  Our plans were to take a ferry to France and drive up to Belgium.
We were amazed at the SIZE of our ferry boat - I was expecting a typical boat the size of the ones here in the U.S.  Nope.  It was more like a small cruise ship.  These ply the waters between England and Europe and do a brisk business.
As we waited for our ferry (on the way back) we counted 98 semi trucks with loads coming off the boat.  That was the bottom floor of the ferry.  The next to the bottom floor is trucks, cars, bikes, motorcycles, etc.  Then the next two levels are reserved for people, with restaurants, shopping, etc.
ANYWAY, this little drawing is what I saw looking down at the docks from our vantage point high up in the ferry.  A small boat, with a few men working around it, loading something down onto the deck.
Each one of these drawings were simple and quick to lay down, but gave me the chance to take a moment and look closely.  When I look at them, the memories come back powerful and precise.  Whether or not I make anything 'professional' out of them, they have already served me well.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Travel Sketchpad, National Museum

Here's another entry from my little travel sketchbook.  It shows a couple more graffiti tags, and a sketch I did at the National Museum.  I really loved this artist's composition and the really exaggerated, oversized 'talking' hands.  I probably stood and copied it for about five minutes, and laid in some color that night in the hotel.  The colors are not true as I only had the three primary colors, and I was going by memory for color.  I DO particularly remember that the man on the left had red tights.  It draws your eyes up and into the painting, and he had nice legs! :)

Once again, nothing special about this sketch, and all kinds of flaws.  But, it serves its purpose in that I can now remember and look this artist and his work up sometime.