Monday, December 27, 2010

Family Tree

Pen and Ink on Bristol Board

I was bored and wanted to doodle while watching a documentary so I drew this family tree using several images that I found online as inspiration. Maybe I could market it or maybe I'll just offer it as a freebie if someone wants to download it. It's just a doodle.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Unitarian Tree of Life

My local UU church has "Called" me to be the Aesthetics Chairperson in charge of adding visual and construction installments to the building to make it look better and have better functionality. I love the work but find dealing with UU's to be a bit like herding cats. They're all so involved in so many charities and various social endeavors that they're spread quite thin and it's hard to get someone to come and feel enthusiasm for whatever sweaty hard labor project I conjure up. I do love the things that are offered in the church as well as most of the people so I decided to add one more thing to the entry hall to show my appreciation. Usually every little thing done has to go through 20 channels of approval and voting but I'm bypassing that since they decided it's easier to just cut me loose and let me go with what ideas I have. This painting is a tree of life on a sort of rainbow fantasy backdrop with the UU Principles and values written somewhat randomly in the field. I am into the whole tree theme this year and love the way the branches fade into smaller and smaller fractals of themselves. I hope my fellow UU's like it as well and that it serves it's purpose of being a welcoming sign to those who would grace our church.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Pen and Ink on Bristol Board
When I met my sweet husband Bill he introduced me to a wonderful poem called Evolution, by Langdon Smith. Mr. Smith wrote this poem at the end of the 19th century when the theories of Darwin and many evolutionary biologists were being widely accepted, tried, and perfected by the scientific community. Unfortunately the U.S. and other backward fundamentally religious nations have tried to discredit the beauty of the evolutionary understanding and those who find it to be a beautiful tangible and obvious reality are vilified as God Killers. I do not see it that way but even some in my own family would blatantly deny the many evidences of evolution, especially in our own human species.  The ideas threaten a fragile foundation in biblical creationism which relies very much on tradition and rigid literalism to continue to believe. I consider such limitations to be an offront to the beauty of the natural world and a retardation of all creativity, especially scientific study.

As an artist I consider many influences from all past human history to the intricacies of the molecular world. The images of the universe, nanotechnology, the incredible beauty of the fractal patterns emulated in higher math have all touched my creative mind and given me many ideas and dreams that I hope to someday emulate in my art.

The following poem is the most perfect love poem and tells a wonderful story that gives me hope about the future of my own eternal cycle. I no longer believe in the religious beliefs of my relatives but I've replaced and opened my mind to so much more. Evolution and the beauty of our natural world give me great hope, wonder, and insight into the beauty of life in all it's forms.  In my most tender of dreams I hold out hope that whatever form my molecular decomposing body takes, or the energy my soul/mind generate in this life will re-invent themselves in something equally beautiful and marvelous. And if my molecules meld with Bill's molecules in some form or another, then I know that we can share an eternal destiny in the cycles of life.


By Langdon Smith (1858-1908)

When you were a tadpole and I was a fish
In the Paleozoic time,
And side by side on the ebbing tide
We sprawled through the ooze and slime,
Or skittered with many a caudal flip
Through the depths of the Cambrian fen,
My heart was rife with the joy of life,
For I loved you even then.

Mindless we lived and mindless we loved
And mindless at last we died;
And deep in the rift of the Caradoc drift
We slumbered side by side.
The world turned on in the lathe of time,
The hot lands heaved amain,
Till we caught our breath from the womb of death
And crept into life again.

We were amphibians, scaled and tailed,
And drab as a dead man's hand;
We coiled at ease 'neath the dripping trees
Or trailed through the mud and sand.
Croaking and blind, with our three-clawed feet
Writing a language dumb,
With never a spark in the empty dark
To hint at a life to come.

Yet happy we lived and happy we loved,
And happy we died once more;
Our forms were rolled in the clinging mold
Of a Neocomian shore.
The eons came and the eons fled
And the sleep that wrapped us fast
Was riven away in a newer day
And the night of death was passed.

Then light and swift through the jungle trees
We swung in our airy flights,
Or breathed in the balms of the fronded palms
In the hush of the moonless nights;
And oh! what beautiful years were there
When our hearts clung each to each;
When life was filled and our senses thrilled
In the first faint dawn of speech.

Thus life by life and love by love
We passed through the cycles strange,
And breath by breath and death by death
We followed the chain of change.
Till there came a time in the law of life
When over the nursing sod
The shadows broke and the soul awoke
In a strange, dim dream of God.

I was thewed like an Auroch bull
And tusked like the great cave bear;
And you, my sweet, from head to feet
Were gowned in your glorious hair.
Deep in the gloom of a fireless cave,
When the night fell o'er the plain
And the moon hung red o'er the river bed
We mumbled the bones of the slain.

I flaked a flint to a cutting edge
And shaped it with brutish craft;
I broke a shank from the woodland lank
And fitted it, head and haft;
Than I hid me close to the reedy tarn,
Where the mammoth came to drink;
Through the brawn and bone I drove the stone
And slew him upon the brink.

Loud I howled through the moonlit wastes,
Loud answered our kith and kin;
From west to east to the crimson feast
The clan came tramping in.
O'er joint and gristle and padded hoof
We fought and clawed and tore,
And cheek by jowl with many a growl
We talked the marvel o'er.

I carved that fight on a reindeer bone
With rude and hairy hand;
I pictured his fall on the cavern wall
That men might understand.
For we lived by blood and the right of might
Ere human laws were drawn,
And the age of sin did not begin
Til our brutal tusks were gone.

And that was a million years ago
In a time that no man knows;
Yet here tonight in the mellow light
We sit at Delmonico's.
Your eyes are deep as the Devon springs,
Your hair is dark as jet,
Your years are few, your life is new,
Your soul untried, and yet --

Our trail is on the Kimmeridge clay
And the scarp of the Purbeck flags;
We have left our bones in the Bagshot stones
And deep in the Coralline crags;
Our love is old, our lives are old,
And death shall come amain;
Should it come today, what man may say
We shall not live again?

God wrought our souls from the Tremadoc beds
And furnish’d them wings to fly;
He sowed our spawn in the world's dim dawn,
And I know that it shall not die,
Though cities have sprung above the graves
Where the crook-bone men made war
And the ox-wain creaks o'er the buried caves
Where the mummied mammoths are.

Then as we linger at luncheon here
O'er many a dainty dish,
Let us drink anew to the time when you
Were a tadpole and I was a fish.

Holly and Sam and the Octa-fly

This is a picture of a colored pencil art piece I made to frame a photo of my daughter Holly and her boyfriend Sam. They are so beautiful and sweet together. He's hoping to become a marine biologist and she is focusing on culinary arts (she's actually a really good cook and getting better every year). She's always been my beautiful butterfly, flitting from one fun moment to another and trying new things, brightening up any room she enters. Sam is fascinated with the intelligence and wonders of the octopus and so I used them both in a sweet little illustration to enhance their photo. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Art, writing, cooking, gardening, remodeling, designing...none of it holds a candle to what you're about to see. This is my family.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Two new paintings and some craft projects

Dang, the photos don't really do these justice...or maybe the photos are more honest than my filtered rose colored glasses will allow me to be. I've been working on several projects lately and these are just a few of them that I've finally finished.

The big painting of an ocean scene is my first ever attempt at painting water. It's VERY difficult and one I don't think I'll do very often. I'm planning on putting this painting on a wall behind a big soaking tub with a flanking window on the north side to emit a consistent natural light through the day. I plan to surround it with tropical plants and a collection of sea shells I've gathered over the years. I can't be near the ocean nor even visit much but if I had my dream beach house, it would be close enough to hear the waves crashing at night.

I live at 5,800 foot elevation though so it would take some very serious apocalyptic calamities and a whole lot of human death and destruction for me to have a beach view. I'm willing to just live with an artificial illusion, for the sake of humanity and all those people between me and the California coast.

This one is one of my first attempts at a landscape of the Grand Canyon. It's a place where shape, shadow, and composition challenge every part of the painting. I was trying to be a little abstract and loose to emulate several styles of landscape painting I've seen around the Southwest. I think I have a long way to go before I can actually put much of this stuff up for sale, although a friend has already purchased this one for a modest price.

These next four are just some funky playful photo collages I've put together for a friends back bedroom we're calling the "Bryce Bedroom" because of the orange and other earth tones and swirly laminate that's on the woodwork in that bedroom. I inserted photos of her and her husband just to add a little touch of playfulness and personalization to the project.

These next five are much more interesting in real life than the photo suggests. They're sea shell arrangements on mirror tiles glued down with clear caulk and embellished with various bits of colored marbles and smaller mirror pieces. They look spectacular in real life but the photos show every smudge and fingerprint. Mirror glass is really hard to photograph and bounces the light so that the image is blurry or grainy. I think I'm going to have to read up on how to photograph mirrors before I retake new photos of these.

Soon we'll be packing this house up and moving into the cabin where I won't have much space to do my art. I'm turning the school bus into my studio until we get the additon built but the bus isn't heated so I may not be doing much more art this winter. It's probably for the best, I need to finish the book anyway. Art is easier than pouring my soul out with writing.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Path To Hell-O Is Almost Done!!

There was a famous religious leader that was given the opportunity to give some much needed comfort and advice to the world and he chose to use that time to counsel folks to avoid wearing flip flops as they are a sign of disrespect and apostacy. I was disturbed by the lack of wisdom and insight into the needs of so many desperate people in his congregation as well as the world at large. In a funny twist I realized that as a distraction from real world issues, flip flops become a sign of wanton disobedience, so I decided to make an installment in my yard called, "The Path to Hell-o is Paved With Flip Flops". 

I was going to mount them on a piece of wire mesh and then mortar between them after removing the toe straps but the difference of thickness and consistancy in the foam made it less than stable and a lot of trouble to install on a horizontal surface. I decided to use the colorful dollar store and some donated flip flops as a decoration to a rough railroad tie retaining wall in the playground side of my yard.

They serve several purposes here, first to add color, texture and a fun design to the junk yard sculptures, and second to protect little bodies from the inevitable slivers and grease from the railroad ties.

Apostacy, heretical thoughts, loud laughter and light mindedness may be endemic to my art but playful fun and joyful interaction seem to supercede any evil that may lurk. So far they've not led anyone over the cliff to depression or war.

I welcome  any more if folks want to send me their signed (used or unused) foam footwear when they're done with them for the season. I also have room on the shoe tree for any symbolic offerings.

This is a sculpture made from the stump of an old box elder tree that was rotting in the middle and a plum tree that had died but the wood was so hard to cut that I decided it was determined to have a second life as a shoe tree. I buried the stump in the ground and then just stuck the two plum tree branches in the hole and tossed the shoes and bird houses (now serving as wasp homes) into the branches. I plan to re-arrange things and add some yellow ribbons made from caution/Do Not Enter police tape just to bring in some color and celebrate the spirit of disobedience.

My daughter and her boyfriend bought the adorable pig on a swing and he just fit perfectly as a mascot for the shoe tree. They named him Jeraldo and he is a very happy piggy and loves his place in the yard.

The Hobbit Hut is Done!!!

Well, after two years of contemplating what to do with the huge fiberglass hot tub left in my back yard, and then about 6 months of actually tinkering with it it's done. There's still a little room for some other resin sculptures when folks bring them to me but the main ones are well mounted and cemented into the structure and there for time and all eternity, or till the world blows up, which happens in 2012. This thing could be my bomb shelter when that happens. It's so tough!!

I used corelle dinner plates for the blue windows and then painted the arched doorway that I cut out with a skillsaw and then BABB helped me put the hinges on. I drilled holes for the window on the door with a hole saw and then glued some little colored tea light dishes as the stained glass on the front, then glued marbles in a pattern to the border and added a wrought iron handle.

The resin statues around the base are thrift store finds that were on sale and some that my children and grandkids contributed. I glued all the character and rocks on with construction adhesive. Then I used mortar mix and a large cement bag that works like a frosting bag to squeeze the cement into the crevices and seal between the rocks. I realize that it's not perfect or completely waterproof, but it's still pretty dang sturdy and sort of purdy, in a junk-art sort of way.

The best thing of all, all who see it seem to love it and many have kissed Wilson the Frog for good luck. My grandson loves the hideout and Wilson very much.  I do too. He's a great addition to the yard.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hydrangea Bedroom at the Cabin

We're almost finished with the Hydrangea bedroom upstairs at the little cabin in S. Utah.  We had to start by demolishing the old closets that my son and I had built 13 years or so ago, then peeling off the old sheetrock and wiring, then tearing out the old adobe, repairing and sealing the walls, then put in new vapor barrier, insulation, and wiring, then we hired a talented Mexican man to do the final sheetrocking.

BABB did the painting and I did the decorating, including making all the curtians (the lace curtains were hand-me-downs from a friends mother who had them clear back in the 80s. I used some of them to make the lace bedskirt as well. I purchased the bedspread fabric and other complimenting fabrics from a local quilting store and then sewed the top to a duvet cover to make a really lightweight but smooth looking bedspread. 

We got the carpet as a remnant from a local shop and I paid another Latino man to install it. Then I painted the old dresser and side tables with a high gloss bright white latex paint. A friend bought the little table and chairs and I made the table cloths and cushions and then decorated with a bunch of other thrift store finds that matched the theme and gave some sculpture and detail to the room.

BABB helped me cut the latitice to size and I installed it with screws over the top of the wainscott where I'd already mounted the green leafy fabric and fabric border with a heavy duty wallpaper paste.

Not one wall is perfectly straight or level and so it made every part of this project ten times harder than new construction. It wasn't cheap either, but now that it's done and done well, I am absolutely in love with the room. We've turned it into our own very special love nest and Christened it with very high praises and beeseeching of the almighty.

Wilson the Amphibian Muse

This was an old 8 person fiberglass hot tub that had broken pipes and was not worth repairing so I turned it upside down and am in the process of glueing artificial stones to the fiberglass, interspersed with little resin knick knack statues I got from a thrift store. I cut the holes for the blue windows (cheap plates from walmart) and the holes for the door stained glass window. Those colored circles are tealight candle dishes and I just cut holes in a circle and glued them to the surface with clear caulk, then glued glass marbles to the painted surface. My sweet BABB helped put the hinges and handle on and there's still some work to do to finish it.

The rocks take some real work to glue on and then I'll still have hours in mortaring between them but it'll be really cute when it's done.

The frog on the top is a fiberglass sculpture BABB got online from a place in Nebraska that makes gorgeous yard ornaments. I painted it with various colors of acrylic paint using some images I found online that showed this same kind of frog with all sorts of shapes and colors on their skin. I loved the purple and green together so did purple instead of brown. The eyes were even more fun and I used a little symbol from sign language as the highlight in his pupil. The hand sign spells out "I Love You".

I mounted him on a piece of marine grade plywood that was mounted on an old rotating office chair base and served as a base for a television. Then I glued Cd's, marbles, rocks and a lampshade mounted to a piece of aluminum floor tack.

He's supposed to be a quiet muse who listens to your woes and inspires helpful personal answers as you confess your issues to him while sitting comfortably on the inverted steps of the hobbit hut. If you need extra time to talk to him but it's raining or too hot, you can go inside the hobbit hut and Wilson will hear you through the holes in the fiberglass mountain.

The frog inspired me to call him Wilson, after Wilson the Soccer ball  on the Tom Hanks movie, "Castaway".  It could be a girl frog too but I didn't notice the indicators while I was painting him/her/it.

From what I've read, some species of frogs are ambidextrous, meaning they can go both ways.

I'll post more pictures when I finish the whole hobbit hut. My grandson is coming next week and I think it'll be really fun for both of us.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Michelle's Foyer

Ahhh, it's finally done. My friend Michelle has this huge foyer that is open to the living and dining room. It had a big empty white wall that was not quite right for furniture placement and too big for just a single piece of art so she hired me to decorate the space for her and make curtains for her living room that looks out to a lanai and the pool area.

I made the tapestry from a large splatter painted oil cloth and some art paper I found at a craft store. I fell in love with this piece of gauzy floral fabric at JoAnne's and talked her into getting it just in case we could use it somewhere.

I'd found the copper planters online but they were quite spendy so I assumed she'd not want them but once she saw them she was in love so we ordered them and then went to a wholesale floral supply here in Vegas that sells only to decorators. I told them I was a decorater (because I AM decorating something, therefore I'm a decorator) and Michelle's green money was as good as any decorators so they let us buy some really nice artificial plants and products.

We sort of went crazy picking stuff out because Michelle fell in love with everything she saw. I wasn't sure if I could make all the stuff she liked come together but as you can see, it's pretty good. She absolutely loves loves loves it and that is the finest endorsement of all. It represents HER taste, her style, her colors, her vision and I just got lucky enough to arrange it in a way that pleased her. I like it too and it's not even my style or color scheme.

She liked what I did with her living room and foyer so much that she had me help her pick out a few things for her bedroom. All of this stuff came as is so I just had to mount it on the wall and lay the rug in place, but she's thrilled with the way it all ties together. I'm very happy that she's very happy. Nothing makes me feel better than helping someone else achieve their own dreams. Getting paid cash money helps me achieve my dreams. Win Win

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hobbit Hut

This is an old 8 person hot tub that was in poor shape so I decided to turn it into a Hobbit Hut in my playground side of the yard. I've scraped off all the old foam insulation and cut off the old pipes and cleaned it so that its ready to glue the artificial river stones onto it to give it a rock mountain look. I'm also going to glue various resin or ceramic knick knacks (donated by others...hint hint!) in between the rocks to give it some whimsey and funkiness that will make it fun to look at and add color.

I'll have BABB cut some various sized circular holes near the top to which I'll mount some colored glass bowls from a thrift store to create a fun bubbly sort of window of colored light glowing down inside.
 Then I'll mortar between everything to finish it off and then on the very top I'll be adding the masterpiece, the FROG!!! This is a magic kissing frog that grants your wish if you kiss long as your wish is for more frog kisses.

The door will be cut from an old wood door that was upstairs of my cabin and I'll use some various products and found items to dress it up to look similar to the one pictured. I have some really old hinges that were on my cabin as well as this decorative grate from an old wood stove door that has a cool sliding contraption that will give a sort of speak-easy apparatus to the door.

I think I'll also plant virginia creeper and Hollyhock flowers around the back and base so that as they climb up and around they'll give a natural setting for the hut. Inside I plan to lay a piece of indoor/outdoor carpet and some outdoor cushions.

I'm so excited to start working on this project, as soon as the upstairs bedrooms are finished and the garden is harvested. Then the next project will be painting the bus and building my "Tribute to the Eternal God's of Laundry" clothes line (which will have scandelous underwear strung on it).

Oh yeah, I have about 20 pairs of foam flip flops so far for my "The Path to Hell-O is Paved With Flip Flops" installation. I could use some more if anyone wants to mail me their old flip flops when the season is over.