Thursday, November 27, 2014


It is Thanksgiving, cold and snowy.  At our house we're staying in, enjoying our warm and cozy home, reading, petting the cat, listening to radio music, and later on enjoying a chicken dinner.  It's just silly to even consider a turkey for two people - though when I indulge in nostalgia, I miss hanging around the kitchen and snitching pieces of crispy turkey skin and stuffing from the roasting pan when Grandpa, or Dad, or even my brother was busy carving the bird. 

I am looking forward this afternoon to returning to a piece I've been working on.  It's from a photo I found at my local consignment shop,  of three mature women, friends, standing with arms around each other.  I love their happy faces, their long flowered dresses and roomy coats.  I suppose that's nostalgic for me since I remember my grandmothers wearing clothing like that.  I'd like to call it The Girls With Grandmother Faces, after the Fannie Flagg book, but that's probably copyright infringement.

I enlarged the old photo with the scanner, printed it, and then drew the image on a gessoed canvas.  After that I added bits of wallpaper from a discarded sample book, and some old newspaper, and coated the entire thing in clear gesso, to provide tooth for painting.  The fun part comes next, and I am thankful to have lots of time available to work on it.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

25 Local Artists You Should Know

Raven's Wish Gallery/Studio in Janesville has carried my work for several years, and this month I have a piece in the current show, 25 Local Artists You Should Know, which runs through the end of December.

framed, 16x20 inches, mixed media collage
Our Sled - $150

Owner Alicia Reid had a reception, part of downtown Janesville's Meander on Milwaukee promotion on Friday evening.  Most of the artists were there to meet and greet and say a few words about their work, and she had cookies and wine available to tide us over until supper.  Some people stopped in to make paper snowflakes that later were used to decorate Val Saxer's studio window on Main Street. 

These photos show most of the artwork, though I missed a couple that were on free standing walls.  Apparently a couple hundred people stopped in Friday night, though I did not see any little red "sold" dots on the pieces the next day.  Perhaps shoppers will think it over and then return to make some of the featured local artists very happy.  I hope so.

Here's the list of artists currently featured in the Raven's Wish event:

Karolyn Alexander, from Whitewater
Su Beck, from Beloit
Kurt Buggs, from Janesville
Clarice Chicks, from Janesville
Linda Davis, from Janesville
Tony Di Nicola, from Janesville
Nancy Belle Douglas, from Janesville
Claudia Fitzgerald, from Janesville
Gary Gandy, from Janesville
Karen Gilbank, from Janesville 
Connie Glowacki, from Janesville
Stephanie Holznecht, from Janesville
Susan Hunt-Wulkowitz, from Janesville
Marek Kossiba, from Beloit
Barb Mathews, from Janesville
James Richter, from Janesville
Allegrea SBR, from Janesville
Harold Rotzoll, from Janesville
Valerie Saxer, from Janesville
Kathleen Ward, from Edgerton
Dan Wuthrich, from Beloit
Adam Zellmer, from Janesville
Jack Zellner, from Janesville

Monday, November 17, 2014


Distracted - that's me.  I've never been especially good at keeping a razor sharp sense of focus, and now that notes in the mail - the postal sort of mail and the electronic sort - keep arrive telling me about deadlines for artwork, year-end dinners, meetings for groups, and so on, I find myself losing track.  This is despite two or three calendars and piles of small notes to myself.

There is is nagging feeling, am I losing it?  This week I had an event on all my calendars for Friday evening.  I did my hair and actually applied lipstick, and with my coat on looked once more at the invitation, only to see that the event was scheduled for Wednesday night.  Of course the invitation only listed the date, not the day of the week, or I might have caught my error  earlier. 

All dressed up and nowhere to go except the reclining chair in front of the TV news, to eat carryout pizza.  I guess it could be worse.

I recently paid fifty cents for this little snapshot, bought because I liked the way the child's attention was called away from her mother and the two dogs.  Did someone call her name from inside the screen door?  I like the mystery of it.  I also like the symmetry of the image, the mother with the large dog (a boxer?) and the child with the small spaniel.

I decided to try painting the image on a spare 11x14 inch canvas.  I gessoed over an old acrylic painting, covered the canvas with gray acrylic, then drew in the figures with charcoal.  After spray fixing the drawing, I used soft gel medium to adhere bits of wallpaper from a sample book and some decorative papers I bought on a trip to Italy.  The entire thing was coated with clear gesso, to create a ground for further painting.

After that, it was a matter of using oil paints to create the image.  It's not so easy to see here, but I painted thinly so that the designs and floral elements from the papers peek through a bit.  If I had been smarter I would have added the underlying papers first, then drawn over them.  I guess we learn a little something every time we try a new technique.  I'm not sure if the background colors will stay as they are.  The pink in the upper right was supposed to echo the pink roses in the wallpaper, but it attracts too much attention for my taste.

I think I'll let it sit and dry for a while, then see if I want to change it any more later.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Colors of Oaxaca

Oaxaca has been a place I have wanted to visit for a long time, and we just recently spent a week there to experience Dia de los Muertes - the day of the dead.  I had read all sorts of things online, in library books, and I had watched films about the event.  Nothing prepared me for the carnival of sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of the week we spent there.  It was magical, amazing, and unforgettable. 

I'm just posting a few photos to give you a taste of the celebration, the families and most of the the colors - even vehicles on the street.  It has been an adjustment to return to the bare trees and gray skies of Wisconsin in November.