Monday, December 17, 2007

Latest Projects

I have just learned how to hand-decorate paper in a stunning way and doing this is my obsession this week. Diane Havnen-Smith and I spent a wonderful day in her Clackamas studio where she taught me some of what she learned from paper artist Jackie Crist. Above you will see a section of Diane's paper (third image down) and a section from my first attempt. I went out to Beaverton yesterday to pick up some "re-inkers" from The Peddler's Pack. (Re-inkers are one of the vital ingredients in this paper-designing process.) This wonderful store has more stamps than I have ever seen in one place as well as tons of other art supplies. Even if, like me, you fear the suburbs, it is well worth the trip. I found out from the owner that Jackie Crist will be teaching her paper decorating process there in January. I strongly recommend this class--this process is unusual and very relaxing, and you end up with amazing paper to use in collage, with painting, with encaustic , to cover books, wrap special gifts, and on and on...To register, contact

Along with several co-members of the Portland Chapter of International Encaustic Artists, I am participating in a challenging exchange called, "The Diptych Project." (In case you don't know what a diptych is, it is a painting in two parts.) How this project works is that each of us West Coast artists receives a painted encaustic panel and a blank one of the same size from our "partner", one of the members of New England Wax. We have to complete the blank panel in a way that will make our partner's panel and ours become a complete work in two parts. We West Coasters paint another encaustic and send it and a blank panel to our New England partner. So we end up with one diptych here and one in Portland Maine. In February there will be a simultaneous show in Portland OR and Portland ME. Ours will be at Brian Marki Gallery.

This is a way cool idea and is more challenging than many of us thought. Many of us here in Portland have received paintings done in a very different style from our own. My partner's amazing encaustic can be seen above, the first image. Her name is Dawna Bemis. I just love it, but she does paint differently than I do. She's neat and I'm messy. I can't even figure out how she did some of the painting, like the dotted circles. And is that a comb at the bottom? So, after a period of being completely overwhelmed and having to come up with my own painting for her to complete, I wasn't so sure about this. I managed to lighten up and now I'm excited again and eager to play with the challenge of making a panel to go with hers that is still true to my own vision. There are some tiny words on her picture that say, "What if they find out". This gives me some interesting ideas for the other half of the painting.

The second picture above shows the completed panel I will send to my diptych partner, together with a blank panel. I even managed to use some of my handmade paper in it! I was inspired by Dawna's words to add text on my painting. Mine says, "I thought there was more time." I can't wait to see what she does with her blank panel!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Crazy for Paper Dolls

Lately I have renewed my interest in making paper dolls and fabulous outfits for them to wear. Does this mean I have returned to childhood? I suspect it means that in terms of loving to play I have never left it. I loved paper dolls as a child and still feel a thrill when I think about it. I loved picking them out in the store and cutting out the little tabs and "cut here"s, and then getting to see the outfits on the doll for the first time. So what if you had to hold the clothes on tightly as you made the doll bound through her exciting day?

Now I get to create my own dolls. In the past I have made paper dolls of Mona Lisa, Berthe Morisot (Impressionist painter), Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. Jane Austen. and artist Suzanne Valadon. Alas, all but the first two are gone and you can buy a perfectly good Jane Austen commercially. However, it is time to bring back the others and add to the collection. Anyone you'd like to see in paper doll form?

You can see Mona and Berthe paper dolls at this coming weekend's 2nd Annual Holiday Sale. Diane, Jane, and I hope you'll come by and see us and have some treats and wassail. The two paper dolls are now also available at (where else?) the delightful shop, Paperdoll, 7909 SE Stark St. Owner Janene is holding a Birthday Bash this Saturday, so stop by after our sale and see what lovely supplies and gifts she has.

Thinking ahead, here's the Winter Class Schedule for The Art of Your Life:
Email me if you would like to register or have questions.

Banish cold and dreariness! Join us for exciting

Winter Creativity Workshops at

The Art of Life Studio!

January 20 10 AM-4 PM

Layers of Memory & Imagination

Create original collages in an exciting and productive workshop! Bring two images that you love, such as a reproduction of a vintage family portrait or a face from an old master painting. A variety of materials will be available to add to your images. You’ll learn fun techniques to create work that expresses your unique vision. You’ll leave with two magical collages.
Morning snacks provided. Bring a brown bag lunch and two canvases or canvas boards. All other supplies provided. Tuition: 90.

February 24 1-5 PM

Altered Alchemy

Come join us for this mind and book altering workshop! Bring an older book with a sewn binding. All other materials provided! We’ll explore using collage, painting, and embellishments, practice creating windows and niches, and discover many more fun altered book techniques. Tuition: 45.

March 30 1-5 PM

The Forgiving Medium

No, I’m not talking about a compassionate clairvoyant. I’m referring to acrylic paint and a fun and supportive workshop for beginners! Acrylics dry quickly, have brilliant colors, and can be painted over as many times as you want. We’ll cover ways to use acrylics from transparent washes to thick texture. We’ll experiment with mixing colors and explore various acrylic mediums and how they enhance acrylic paintings. Bring your desire to experiment and leave with two paintings. Bring two canvases or canvas boards in a size you’d like to work in: everything else is supplied. Tuition: 65.

Happy Holiday Season!