A man in uniform

"Duty", mixed media on 1' sq. wood panel

Day 327: “Duty”, mixed media on wood panel

Today’s piece is the last in the collection of 4 commission panels I completed recently. This one is titled “Duty”; it includes two pictures given to me by Bruce. They both show his grandfather. One image is a carefree pose on the lawn with a friend, the other is a somber sitting photo taken as he and several others prepared to go to World War 1. Vintage paper bits I added to the composition include stamps from countries participating in the war, a nursery rhyme……

Detail shot

…an illustrated page from a German children’s reader, a dictionary page with the heading “bairn/ barrage” which are respectively defined as “a child/ in World War, a smoke screen used to conceal movements”, a piece from a storybook with the words “little boys put on their india-rubber boots and over they went”…

Detail shot

…vintage sewing patterns, ribbon and string. On all of these pieces, I darkened the edges to give them the effect of old photography so there would be an emphasis on looking back through time in this portal/window. I also used drops of slate blue liquid watercolor and postmark-like black circle stamps on each to give them a feeling of correspondence to complement the stamps Bruce gave me from his collection to include in the pieces.

Detail shot

It’s back to mini paintings tomorrow as I gear up for the affordable art group show at City Art Gallery in San Francisco I’ll be participating in during December & January. In fact, I’m heading into the city this evening for our monthly meetup. I’m constantly amazed at our group of artists and our combined efforts that keep our successful cooperative running! I only wish I lived a little closer. Ah well. Commuter bay bridge traffic, here I come.


Yellow polka dot bikini

"Equality", mixed media abstract on 1' sq. panel

Day 326: “Equality”, a mixed media piece on wood panel

Today’s piece is 3/4 of the recent commission panels I completed for Bruce & Dave. This one is centered around a general theme of feminity, which grew from the image of a woman in a bikini from the 60’s. I included a knitting guide from a Good Housekeeping book, vintage sewing patterns, “family planning” stamps from India, vintage dictionary pages with words like “flesh pot”, “flirt”, “respect” and “equality”, opera/hymnal pages, ribbons and a bit from a Nancy Drew book out of the 30’s. Here’s a detail shot:

In other news, I just sent out my first newsletter! Didn’t get it? Want to check it out/subscribe to receive them in the future? See it here.

Miss American Pie

"Discover", mixed media on a 1' sq. wood panel

Day 325: “Discover”, mixed media and acrylic paint on wood panel

Today’s piece is 2 of 4 of the recently completed commission pieces. I centered this one around the theme of adulthood & americana with the title of “discover” (as a counter to the youth/’wonder’ piece).

Detail shot

I used stamps from Bruce’s collection, photo transfers and various paper pieces like a french reader page “maman/papa” (thanks Sophie for that!), “mammalia marry”  and “yearning/you” from vintage dictionaries, a hymnal and a bit from A Midsummer Night’s Dream amongst other things.

Detail shot

Wonder of wonders

"Wonder", a mixed media abstract on 12" x 12" wood panel

Day 324: “Wonder”, a mixed media abstract painting

Remember those commission pieces I’ve been yapping about for the past couple of weeks? I finished them… at 8:45 am, leaving me just enough time to grab a shower and get over to Antioch to deliver them to Bruce & Dave on time. 🙂

It wasn’t a matter of slacking, it’s just that these types of pieces take a lot of staring and thinking and layering. As a guest of Bruce & Dave’s asked me, “how do you know when you’re done?” Isn’t that the quintessential question when it comes to paintings? It’s a tough one to answer.

Detail shot; some of the materials in this image are book pages, sewing patterns, stamps from a collector's album, ribbon and a photo transfer.

But in this case, I was working on four panels at once. So my favorite/the one that needed the most work really changed day-to-day. Recruiting my husband as an impromptu critique group member, I would stand back and say “well, I like that part because of this…” and get his thoughts, and it would help me clarify what I wanted to do next.

All in all, they gave me quite a bit of freedom. I had some paper materials that they wanted me to use, and I had the guideline of generally making them complements to Nostalgia, their previous commission piece, but outside of that I got to do what I wanted to, which was a lovely gift in and of itself. I ended up working within a general theme for each panel. This one’s about childhood. I’ll be revealing the next 3 pieces over the next few days, so if you like this one, come back to see the rest!

Another detail shot

Black poem box

"Acquainted", poem block

Day 323: “Acquainted”, poem block

Today I decided to take advantage of the edges of these chunky little woodblocks and let the sumi ink I used to stain the surface drip down the sides:

Kinda ghosty and cool looking, eh?

…which I will probably be doing more of because it gives me more surface to work with. This piece reads: “well acquainted with trouble/ the desired disorder laughed.” Even though this one is dark and gloomy, I have a happy little cluster of poem blocks growing in a corner of my studio.

Mix & match for your mood! Trade with friends! Collect 'em all! Byaaaahh!

Snippets & snails

"Bound", poem block

Day 322: “Bound”, poem block

There’s been a flurry of poem block activity in my studio while I finish up the commission pieces this week. As those are also mixed media, the room is filled with stacks of books and piles of paper clippings. If it gets any worse, it will look like a hoarder-in-training paints there. Thankfully, no one has tried to take any of my tiny cut-out words away yet, but if they did I’d say “nooooo! Thems has memries!”. 🙂 (I haven’t seen the show myself yet, but I did watch some Kathy Griffin stand-up where she mentioned it, so now I’m fairly confident I get the gist of it.)

Today’s piece reads “a different right bound them to night”. It can be read as “to night” or “tonight”, which I like. This one is in green, yellow and blue and has an interesting grain pattern. I’m still using that Nancy Drew book. Although at this point it looks like it fell into a running paper shredder and was salvaged halfway through (by, say, a hoarder-in-training). Thankfully we’re only 43 days away from the end of the project, so my sanity will probably make it through intact.


Please Mr. Postman

"Awaiting", poem block

Day 321: “Awaiting”, poem block

Day 321?! Yowza! I finally counted it out and there will, in fact, be exactly 365 days this year. That means I’ll be doing a countdown pretty soon instead of a count-up! But don’t fret, my pretties- I plan on keeping this going as my personal art blog in 2011 and beyond. Maybe even with continued daily entries…. but no promises. We’ll see how close to the loony bin I am by the end of this thing. 🙂

Today’s piece is another poem block. This one reads: “eagerly awaiting long distance letters of interest”. I suppose it’s more of a fragment than a full-on poem. But that’s the beautiful thing about poems- these days, there really are no rules! See y’all tomorrow!