I am Jack’s alternate personality

Look, up on the wall! It's a page! It's a painting! It's.. a literate lizard!!!

Day 209: Literate Lizard

“Gee, Marianne, that looks an awful lot like a cityscape mini-painting.”

“Yep. That’s what it is.”

“What happened to that oil portrait you’ve been working on for two days?”

“Oh, that? I hurled it into the sun.”

<Raised eyebrow>

“Okay, I can’t throw a canvas that far. But I did start all over again… again.”

“Sounds like fun.”


“Think the sarcasm is entirely necessary?”

“I almost cried. It was that frustrating.”

“I have faith in you, Marianne. You can do eeet!”

“Thank you, Rob Schneider! I didn’t know you read my blog.”

“I don’t. I’m not him. I exist only in your mind. I was created when the stress of your failing self-portrait was too much for your fragile artist ego. I’m here to…”

“Okay, that’s enough. Thanks for your help with the blog entry.”


I’ll be showing oodles of mini paintings at the City Art Gallery in San Francisco in October, so I’m ramping up. Today’s piece is a hillside painting on the “Literate Lizard” page of a vintage dictionary on a 5×7” canvas. I love how the beginning and ending words in the header of these dictionary pages create their own intriguing little sayings.

Detail shot


4 thoughts on “I am Jack’s alternate personality

  1. Ann says:

    Hard to convince yourself that two days of labor is worth something other than getting more gray hairs and pinchy , cramped muscles….

    Would be interested to see the failed portrait- as I am an art teacher (middle school) and one never has any “fails” to use as an example of….the world won’t end if it doesn’t turn out perfect and you don’t have to stop trying….ya da ya da…they’re not listening b/c everyone KNOWS that isn’t true as REAL artists never have failures….And this is the exact same conversation I have with myself when I fail at something, huh?

    I’m going to be “using” if it is all right with you (here I’m asking permission) your literary lizard and other similar ones for my altered book assignments.


    • Hi Ann! Of course, feel free to use anything here for your classes. If you click the word ‘text’ in the tag cloud, it will bring up lots of pieces I have used books in. I wrote an instructable about how to make upcycled art from old books that includes a couple techniques you might find interesting as well. Can’t link to it, on a mobile device, but you should be able to find it on instructables.com where my username is trucdart. Thanks for asking permission and for your comment! I painted over this last attempt, but I did snap a shot of it with my phone first so once I’ve finally done it well, I will post that mess up. I did fail at my self portrait drawing the other day, which I did post, so feel free to share that. Just be prepared for your students’ shrieks of horror. 😉


    • Hi there! Thanks for swinging by the blog! Sure thing. For this piece, I selected a dictionary page, trimmed it with a paper cutter to fit the mini canvas, applied a thin layer of matte medium to the canvas, stuck on the page, applied another thin coat of medium & let it dry. (I try to watch for & smooth out bubbles as well). Then I drew an outline of the city scene with a sharpie pen (the new ones are water resistant) with one of my photos as a reference and let that dry. Then I painted it in with acrylic paint; I mixed it with some medium to keep the colors semi-transparent so the page would still be visible, waited til that dried, and drew the windows back in with pen. I ruined three pens by not waiting for the acrylic to fully dry, so patience is a virtue in that regard. 🙂


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