Entries Tagged as: collage


May 23rd, 2009, Comments (21)


I thought I'd have two pieces to share with you today, but after staring at one of them for a long time today, something is bugging me, so I'm going to tweak it a bit more. But this one is done. I've tweaked it enough and I'm happy with the result. It's called "Listening" and it's about 16"x20" with collage, acrylic and ink on canvas. It also fits in so nicely with the Nature theme this month for the Creative Every Day Challenge, so I'm glad I was able to complete it in May.

The piece also reminds me a bit of a grounding exercise that I do during the Art Picnic workshop where you imagine roots growing from the base of your spine into the earth. Roots are a powerful image for me. The make me think of the veins in the body, the passageways of the lungs, and upside down trees.

In this piece, there is listening to the earth happening. Quiet, thoughtful listening. But it also relates to listening to yourself, to your own still, small, inner voice. Our inner worlds can be so rich, so complex, that it's important to take time to slow down, be still and listen in to what they have to say.

What happens when you get quiet? What comes up for you?

A wonderful way to get quiet, is to be out in nature. Taking a walk in the woods or sitting by a nearby river are two of my favorite ways to reconnect with my environment and with myself. Something in me automatically slows when I get in amongst the trees or sit by moving water. Do you have a place like that? Or could you create one for yourself?

Subway Stories Commission

May 15th, 2009, Comments (8)

Happy Friday, everyone! I've just finished up this Subway Stories painting commission. It was purchased as a wedding gift from wife to husband, to commemorate the way they met, on a train. Their wedding is this week and they will be married on a train too. So romantic!

subway stories commission

I started doing "Subway Stories" pieces a few years ago after I took a subway ride that inspired me. I was riding the T (the subway in Boston) and looking around at the people sitting near me and in the rushing cars that passed. I couldn't help but wonder about their stories, all these lives rushing by, all these souls filled with their own lives, their own tales, their own worries, and heads filled with thoughts.

I created the pieces with collages of subway maps, train schedules, and phone book pages. Over that I'd paint a subway scene. And in each of the figures, I wrote what they were thinking about.

subway stories commdetail

This commission was so special because it was a real Subway Story that I got to paint, the story of two people whose lives and stories have merged. I just met them and they were so lovely. Apparently, there's going to be a story about them and their wedding in the Globe tomorrow! I'll link to it when I see it. Oh, and they loved the piece. (Big yay!)

I've got a few original Subway Stories pieces at OAK, a shop in Boston, and there are also prints available for some of the Subway Stories pieces here. I've done a few commissions for this series, so if you're interested, let me know.

UPDATE: Here are links to the couple's love story written up in the Boston Globe and a video clip from the news. So sweet! Congrats, guys!

p.s. I'm working on the next Art Picnic date and thinking about doing a weekday evening this time around. What times work best for you for an evening teleclass?

p.p.s. My blog post, Diving Into Water Art, is featured on Five Star Friday today!

Diving Into Water Art

May 13th, 2009, Comments (20)

work in progress, dive deep

One of my favorite natural elements is water. It soothes and calms me in a way that I can't quite explain, but just know deep down. I can sit by a lake, river, or the ocean and immediately feel this rush of peace fill me up. I was inspired earlier this week to begin a painting with water in it, which made me think of the nature theme going on this month for the Creative Every Day Challenge.

I hadn't been thinking of nature in terms of the elements, there are so many ways to interpret the theme, but it could be fun in the future to divide the month up, so that each week focused on a different element. Maybe another year!

I mentioned on Twitter that I had to put aside something I was working on to begin this painting which was just itching to get out. Sometimes a bit of inspiration will come tapping on your shoulder and if you put it off, it will start tapping softly, then more vigorously, and then it will practically beat you senseless until you do something about it. So, yesterday, I began by laying down a collaged background on a tall, skinny wooden panel that I'd gessoed up first. I collaged layers of maps, architecture plans, textures, patterns, graph paper, and other bits. I chose the items intuitively based on the idea that is already in my head for this piece, which is diving deep. I've still got more to do with this piece, but I thought you might like to see it in progress.

In a bit of synchronicity, while on a walk today, I came upon a gorgeous lake that I didn't know about. There was on old stone bench in the cool shade where I was able to sit and watch the little windswept waves lap at the shoreline where two dogs displayed their Spring wildness and their owners picnicked in the grass nearby.

So lovely, so peaceful.

I felt surrounded by the elements then: the fierce hotness of the sun, the wind blowing my hair around, the tree branches shading me above while little bell shaped flowers played near my feet, and the sparkling water stretching out ahead. What could be better? How do the elements inspire you? Are you drawn to one more than another? Why do you think that is?

Perhaps you can play a bit with you favorite element in a bit of art or journal about the elements. Perhaps a poem will come tripping out or a short story. Keep your eye out for the elements this week and see what they might have to share with you.

Art Picnic Class is this Saturday!

April 21st, 2009, Comments (0)

intuitive art blue in red detail

Are you looking to experience a gremlin-quieting, art-making, creative-block-busting good time?

Yes, you say? Well, then I'd like to invite you to join me on an Art Picnic adventure, this Saturday, April 25th from 1 - 3 pm E.S.T. for only $25! (Find out what time that is in your area here.)

On an Art Picnic you will:

* Get grounded and connect with your intuition.

* Let go and get playful with your art.

* Get creative support from me to help you unblock and create freely.

* Have a blast creating your own, unique Art Picnic experience!

* Leave with all the tools you need to continue creating your own Art Picnics.

* Take excellent care of yourself by scheduling in some all-important creativity time.


I started Art Picnics out of a need to get unstuck creatively in a fun, no-pressure way. I was frozen in the fear of not being good enough and all the inner critic voices were keeping me from enjoying my creativity.

With a few simple tools, which I'll share with you in this class, I learned how to move beyond my fears and create from a place of joy, freedom, and authenticity.

The class takes place on the phone, so you can attend from wherever you are! During the first half hour, we will meet, discuss the tools you need to get started, and do a grounding exercise. We will then get off the phone and have our individual art picnic experiences. I will be playing and creating too, but I will also stay on the bridge line, so if you get stuck, you can call in and I will help you through it. In the final half hour, we will meet to discuss what we created, share what came up for us, and learn some tools to keep our creative energy flowing.

You do not need to consider yourself an artist to join in, everyone is welcome. You don't need loads of art supplies either. I enjoyed my first art picnic with just a blanket to sit on, some paper, magazines, and a glue stick. Simply bring whatever art, craft, or journaling supplies you have available and be prepared to have fun!

*As a special bonus, if you sign up for your Saturday's Art Picnic, I will send you a free mp3 recording of a grounding exercise I use that will help you get connected with your intuition before you start creating!

I am so excited to share this process with you, so sign up here and join me on Saturday for some Art Picnic fun!! Sign up by clicking the Add to cart button below:


Creating Your Dream Team

March 1st, 2009, Comments (3)

This week's chapter in The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women, which I'm reading with Jamie's book group, talks about creative alliances and partnerships. I liked how A Feminist Wife called it her "dream team." It fits perfectly with the (totally optional) dream theme this month for the Creative Every Day Challenge.

I have used the idea of an imagined dream team before (people living and dead that I could consider personal allies), but it's been awhile since I thought about who I would put on my team. Among those I don't know, I'd love to have SARK as an ally as well as Martha Beck. Both of these women are intelligent, funny, creative, down-to-earth go-getters, and totally inspiring. I admire their honesty and integrity in the telling of their stories, their energy, and their wild success!

Fortunately, I'm lucky to have some wonderful creative alliances with people I already know. I have an awesome coach, a sort of Mastermind group that I meet with regularly, and I enjoy taking classes where I meet other like-minded, creative souls. One of my greatest alliances is with the hubster who is a wonderful champion for me and my bff has always been incredibly supportive.

I've made many creative alliances online (one of the wonderful things about blogging!) and I'm extremely grateful for that. It's been so helpful for a super introverted person like myself, as I can feel connected and respond in a way that feels good to me, without feeling the energy drain that happens for me in crowds of people.

I've been working on asking for help lately and it's definitely been interesting. The act of asking makes me feel a bit vulnerable, but it also gives others the opportunity to help (and people generally love to help others, particularly when it's something they're passionate about.)

Along those lines, I've approached some people I admire about doing interviews for Creative Every Day this year and the response has been wonderful. I'll be posting one of these interviews this week! In the meantime, check out this fabulous interview that Jamie Ridler did with the lovely Goddess Leonie.

Art From Writing

February 22nd, 2009, Comments (14)


This month, I participated in Amy Souza's Art from Writing: Writing from Art project, where artists and writers were paired up to share a piece of writing or art, with the theme of "hope," as the jumping point to inspire a new creation. I was paired up with a writer, Melian, who sent me a poem to work from, and I sent her a picture of my painting, Lighthouse which speaks to the idea of hope to me. 

I often get inspiration from the written word, so I was excited to dive in. I did get a bit frustrated when I got stuck about mid-way through the process. I was fighting the direction the piece was going and things never go well when I push against the flow. But after letting it sit overnight, I was able to come back to it with new perspective. I made some adjustments, cut some parts away, went with the flow, and found the finished piece. I'm calling it "Albatross" and it's about 12"x12" with collage, ink, and acrylic paint on watercolor paper.

I think the word "often" that showed up in the bird's belly has to do with seeing signs, little winks from the Universe, and the feeling I get that I'm headed in the right direction when I start to see a lot of them in a short span of time.

Tomorrow I'll be posting about the Creative Every Day Challenge's (totally optional) theme for March and I'm so excited to share this one with you! It's one of my favorite sources of inspiration.

I hope your weekend was a wonderfully creative one!

Art and Word Collaboration

February 6th, 2009, Comments (13)

lighthouse large

I love the many ways there are out there on the internet for collaborating between art and writing! Nancy, of Every Photo Tells a Story, contacted me recently to see if I'd be interested in submitting my art for her site. Another instance of perfect timing, considering the (totally optional) theme of words this month for the Creative Every Day Challenge!

The purpose of Every Photo Tells a Story is to provide photography or artwork as a prompt for writing (or other creative explorations.) You could use it to inspire a bit of fiction, poetry, or even another piece of artwork! The piece on Nancy chose for her site today is "Lighthouse" (one of my favorites), and while the original has sold, there are still prints available here.

book fly

I use a lot of material with words on it in my mixed-media artwork. Sometimes it's my own hand-writing, like I did in parts of Memory Cycles and sometimes printed material. Sometimes it has meaning related to the piece I'm working on and sometimes I'm just using it because I like the texture.

I love the way simple drawings look on an antique book page. Altering an old book is a great way to play with words. You could pick out words from the page that stand out to you, circle them, and paint out the rest. You could make your own pop-up book within the pages, cut windows into one page that leads to the next, cut out individual words from the pages to use in art (like my friend Jes does in some of her jewelry pieces), or paint a thin glaze over the page so that the words show through just slightly. Flea markets are a great place to hunt for old books that are just crying out for new life. Or you could re-purpose something like an old calendar like Rosa did!

p.s. I've been experiencing loads of synchronicity in the last 24 hours. I love it when that happens!

And I've got a link for you! The lovely Jennifer Lee is hosting a giveaway of the book, The Vision Board: The Secret to an Extraordinary Life on her blog! All you have to do is leave a comment sharing "What do you love about you?" It looks like a great book. I know I'll be entering the giveaway!

Happy February!

February 1st, 2009, Comments (17)

I can hardly believe it's February already! So, we've moved into a new month and the totally optional theme for the Creative Every Day Challenge in February is Words! You can learn more about the theme here. There are so many ways to play with this theme and I hope you'll have fun playing with the possibilities. Personally, I think play can be a continued theme for each month as I want to encourage playfulness in everything we do!

sketchbook snuggle cats

One of the ways I use words in my art is in my sketchbook. On the page above, I was taking notes and doodling while listening to a podcast.

I've always been a doodler, I can't help myself. When I was in school, all of my notebooks would be covered in doodles and drawings in the margins. A few years ago, I learned that this doodling I was doing was actually helping me to pay attention! It turns out that for folks who aren't audio learners, doing something with your hands often helps you to soak in the information you're listening to. I had no idea! It made me feel much better about my constant doodling when I was attending a lecture, sitting in a class, or listening to a podcast. And it's so true for me! I noticed that when I'm able to doodle or write down what I'm hearing, I take in the information so much better than if I were just listening. Is this true for you?

While I'm not taking any lecture-type classes at the moment, I do enjoy listening to radio shows and podcasts and sometimes I like to take notes about what I'm listening to. I keep a sketchbook nearby for that purpose and the notes usually become a combination of doodles, drawings and words. If you're feeling nervous about putting words in your art, this may be a great place to start! Just play in your sketchbook and see if the words you write lead to images or if the images you draw lead to the written word. No one needs to see it. Just have fun with it!

If you're looking for something fun to listen to, check out the Craft Sanity podcast with Project Runway Contestant, Daniel Vosovic. I listened to it while painting last night and really enjoyed what he had to say.

Or you could check out my chat with Connie, of Dirty Footprints Studio, on her blogtalk radio program! I loved talking with Connie (she's such a sweetheart!) about everything from symbols in artwork, creating from your heart, and silly socks! Thank you for inviting me to talk on your radio show, Connie! You are a natural radio host! And I got such a kick out of the call from Karen!! Thanks for calling in, Karen!

I spent some time yesterday working on the "Listening" painting. I'm liking it more and more now, but it's not quite done yet.

wip listening 3

Hopefully I'll have a little more time to work on it today before I sit down to watch the Superbowl with the hubster, who is cooking up quite a feast for the two of us.

Playing with Not Knowing and Winter

January 19th, 2009, Comments (23)


O.k., it's winter in New England, so I shouldn't be surprised by the snow we're getting whopped with here. But here I am, feeling surprised by all this snow. Why do I live here, again? Anyways, from inside my warm apartment, where the hubster has made delicious blueberry pancakes, the snow does look oh so pretty. As long as I never have to go outside...

Well, tomorrow I need to get myself to the post office to send off some artwork and calendars, so pretending I'm a hibernating bear won't work much longer.

I do appreciate the seasons, the cycles we have here, and no matter how many times I've gone through them, it still feels a bit new every time.

So I decide to play with the fun parts of winter, the child-like sense of wonder that manages to creep in when the world turns white. I play with winter by drawing fun snowmen with cats on their hats, wrapping up in colorful scarves, drinking hot chocolate...and maybe I need to find a sled. :-)


In the Key to Winter painting, I worked out some of my feelings about the season. It seems like I work out so much of my innerworkings through my art. If I let myself just play, sketch, and wander with color, whatever is going on in my head eventually comes to the surface. (I just sent out the first print of this painting and I love the way it came out!)


I've drawn this image of smoke from upside-down houses a couple times now. One time the smoke seemed to come from the woman's heart and this time from her hair. What's that all about? Don't know. I might not ever know. It could be something I'm processing or something utterly absurd or a little of both. Heh.

Part of creating is embracing the not knowing.

While you're playing with your creativity this month, experiment with not knowing. You could try creating a piece of artwork with no plan, just taking pen to paper and see what happens. You could tear through some magazines and tear out any image that catches your eye (don't question, just tear). Perhaps put these images together in an art journal and then write a bit about what you see in the imagery.

Later this week, I'm going to write more about one of my favorite ways to play with not knowing...doodling! Til then, toodaloo!

Works in Progress

January 18th, 2009, Comments (10)

WipcanvascollageCreatively, I've had my hands in lots of different pots this week. I've been writing an article to be published later this year (yay!), doodling, sketching, painting, playing, and generally having loads of creative fun.

I don't have anything finished to show, but I'm happy to be sharing some works in progress with you. This painting is developing slowly. First as a collaged canvas (above) and then painting the scene that I originally doodled in a sketchbook. Of course the image continues to change and develop as I paint it. It leads me and grows as I go.


I imagine this woman is listening to the earth, listening to the quiet growings that happen beneath the surface. I suppose it's a metaphor for listening to that still small voice within you. I hope to do some more work on it today.

I've also been playing a bit in an art journal I have. I don't do a lot of art journaling, but every so often, I'm inspired to work in this way. Here's a work in progress (below.) Recently, I surprised myself with being drawn to images of Africa (elephants have been on my joy list for quite a while, but now I'm being drawn to giraffes and African landscapes.) I clipped the giraffe image from a travel brochure that came in the mail. I was especially tickled by it because of the two other regular symbols of mine that show up in it:


A tree and loads of lanterns (check out my business name, Blue Tree Studios, for the trees and the banner of this blog for the lantern!) The rest of the journal spread was created with some paint and playfulness and a hand-carved stamp. The only words so far are, "It's possible," but I plan to do some writing on these pages as well.

SketchbookwomanwindowAnd while I'm on a work-in-progress-roll, here's a peek into my regular sketchbook (as opposed to my bed-side sketchbook or purse sketchbook or impromptu sketchbook made from scraps within reach.)

We got whopped with another snowstorm today. It's been a very snowy winter in my estimation. Today, I am definitely staying indoors. In fact, it may be an all-day-pajama-fest here. The cats have all snored their agreement. Excellent.

I hope your day (pajamas or no) is a wonderfully creative one!