Saturday, January 25, 2014


I spent the week in Carol Marine's "Painting A Day" workshop. I hung out with lot of really fun people, most of whom are fantastic artists. I ended the week feeling physically tired, but excited about resuming this blog and posting paintings.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Alien Factory

My name is Gypsy the Cat. I live with 2 humans, a nasty black&white cat named Scrappy, and my pal, Shortcake the dog. Oh yeah! and there's a bat family in the chimney -- and a flock of hens in the backyard. Anyway, this morning I was just minding my business Like I Always Do, looking for a nice spot to take a little nap.

I remembered this sunny window had a comfy place. But look at this strange stuff I found in in the way!

Looks like my humans have been up to More Nonsense. They're do all kinds of strange things!

Humans! Geeesh, you gotta love 'em! Anyway, I went up to the attic and took my nap there instead.

When I came back this afternoon, this is exactly what I saw. Seriously. One of those hen's eggs on a stick!

Maybe they're making a cat toy for me to play with!

Then I looked in the other direction and I saw this!

I wonder what they did with the bodies?

Do you think they ate them?

I hope not -- hey! I'll go look for them!

 I just had to come back to have another look.  I'm just walking along ... Minding My Own Business.

I feel like I'm in some kind of a STRANGE DREAM.





Let's see what it smells like.

It isn't alive!

Are my humans building ALIENS?

I'm sitting in the middle of an


They'd just love to make a  SCIENCE EXPERIMENT with a CAT!

Sorry folks, but I'm outta here!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Mediation Doodles

First a little history. A few years ago, I started painting. Mostly I painted with acrylic paint, sometimes watercolor and oil paints. I painted still lifes, portraits, landscapes and an occasional abstract. For the most part, I did not enjoy the experience. Most people said my work was good. They like the realism. Good does not equal Joy, just like being Right does not equal being Happy. Sometimes they are mutually exclusive.

Anyway, here are some examples of my old work.

Although this might sound strange to some, painting became pure drudgery. Finding pleasure in creating art became my windmill to conquer and, although it took a VeRy long time, I believe I eventually did. I let go of traditional brushwork for the time being. And traditional realism? Perhaps forever. I decided it was time to turn off the lights at the gallery and post a "Closed" sign. Let the dust pile up. I don't care if I never sell any art I do.

I turned to whatever looked like fun. Two of my friends gave me a nudge and I started the Eugene Art Guild. Then I took a workshop from Michael Schlicting. It was the first workshop I had taken in a long long time that didn't leave me exhausted. I observed him, an established artist, create beautiful work by doodling! 

I remembered how I loved to doodle on the corners of my pages when I was younger (and unconcerned about "being an artist". In fact, I really didn't think of doodling as "art". For me, doodling was meditative and un-self-conscious, sometime funny, and always fun. Still is.

Turns out other peeps came to the same conclusion and are shamelessly making money spreading the word. They coined the word "zentangle". Call it what you want, but it's just doodling to me.

 This is where I started.

Then I did this on fabric and added color with acrylic inks.

I went back to the journal and played with text again. I like this very much; however, I wanted to improve the smaller text.

I made this handkerchief for a friend. She put it on her wall because she said it would be weird to show it to people with snot on it.

This was drawn during a break from planting this year's garden.
Working on these pages reminds me of work I did as a teenager. I had a fabulous art teacher in high school, whose name I can't remember anymore. She taught me about illuminated manuscripts and calligraphy. I did these for her class in 1970.

Here are the next two (actually three) pages I did.

I used a nib pen for the main text and decided I prefer using a tech pen.

Fresh Magic

I'm a big fan of magic. When I find it, I'm fixated. This Summer, I've found fresh magic in fabric dyes. It started with a Summer Solstice celebration we had in my backyard with some friends. We set up dye vats and a tie-dye station. We finished with a wonderful greek-themed dinner. Afterwards, I couldn't get myself to put everything away. That was 3 weeks ago and I (and my hubbie) haven't stopped dyeing. I've recorded a few projects here.

I am working with procion fiber reactive dyes, using tie-dye and traditional shibori techniques, as well as general fooling around and making messes (my specialty).

First, these are old kitchen towels that were originally white. After years of regular kitchen use, they were so dingy and covered with stains that they finally convinced me (after years of shameless begging, crying and attempts at blackmail) to transform them into LoVely ToWels. They now sit together contentedly smiling at each other. I have to say, I smile a lot at them too. (And what a relief to put all that complaining finally to rest!)

I am also working on a multi-step project, which I call "Moons". I started with 16 squares of white sheeting. I picked four pastel colors and dyed four of each color. That was the first Phase. 

Here is a pic of the Second Phase of the Moons, where I used two disks (one on top and the other on the bottom) to create a "resist" and held it together with two clamps. What this means is that the clamps hold the disks tight against the fabric so that the dye cannot penetrate the fabric between the disks. I applied a light blue dye to the rest of the fabric squares.What you see is the result.


Here is the Third Moon Phase in progress. This time I am using sun dye. This is quirky stuff. It's comparatively simple to use but I'm not thrilled with the way the dye "moves". You can see the disks placed on top of each square. The ones in the front are glass, wrapped in aluminum foil to provide a resist. The two in the back are solid plastic. Wherever sunlight hits, the fabric will take the dye.
This is how they came out. 

I was able to achieve the corona I was after, so that's good. I don't like the colors yet. The orange and pink moons are hard to tell apart. On the other hand, I have another phase (or more) to go.

I'll post the 4th Phase when it's done. It will be my little surprise for you, dear reader. And for me too.

Meanwhile, here are some other dye projects.

These are mini-lantern shades. I found them in a thrift store, apparently not used. The shades are made of rice paper that had yellowed.

I learned from my experience with the dish towels that it is a wise woman who listens to the cries of her surroundings and so I painted these right away, in two tones, using sun dye.

My sister sent me these overalls and asked me to dye them for her. This would be quite a challenge for me. It's Big, it's heavy (demin), thick (some places four layers thick) and I want her to like it.

So I listened carefully to these overalls and, truth be told, they said ...nothing. Trust, or something like that, takes time.

Her favorite color is orange  and she likes cats. (She doesn't just "like" them, she probably is one. Here is the link to her blog. Take a look and you'll see what I mean.)

Here are a few "test" pieces I sent her. Turns out she doesn't like tie-dye patterns, but she likes the shibori one. See the one on the back of the chair, golden veins over off-white? It's a pillowcase. That's the pattern she likes.

See the piece on the back of this chair? This was my attempt to combine orange, tawny orange, gold and brown in a similar pattern. I was after tiger stripes. In this sense, I felt it was a failure and I named it "fire leg". Turns out my sister liked it.

So the next dyeing session, I over-dyed fire leg with dark brown. The other test pieces will be over-dyed with the shibori pattern. The pillowcase is there for comparison.

Here are some other pieces I just love! (There must be magic dust in the dye powder).

This was made by sewing metal washers to the fabric.

This was folded and wrapped around a pole and then tied. It's the same procedure as "fire leg" and the pillowcase, just with blue dye and tighter wrapping. Poof!

  This is a closeup, turned sideways.

I won't even try to describe how I did the next one but this is how it looked before dyeing.

I call it a martian shower cap.


This is how it looked after dyeing.