Zentangle Chucks


a pair of white chucks

a fine point permanent black marker

et voila


a swirl of ideas....

still loving playing with pattern and zentangles, stirred in a few teesha moore videos and some cool magazines from greg
et voila

my new passion ~ Zentangles

My new issue of Cloth Paper Scissors came the other day and in it was an article on Zentangles by Sandy Bartholomew it just resonated for me since I have been playing with patterns for weeks now. I love the black and white graphic quality of them, but being a color freak I also had to mix them up with some color too...
Try it -you might have fun!
Notes on how to create a Zentangle and some vocabulary

Zentangle vocabulary practice

more "vocabulary" and a

tangled Blackberry


Mixed Media Art Challenge

I joined a fun scavenger hunt over at
Mixed Media Art on Ning
You had to find some things for
yourself, send some things to someone else
and a third person would send things to you.
The things to send and receive were buttons, fiber and paper. Jean sent me hand made enameled buttons, hand dyed ribbon and some very cool resin treated paper and a photo image. She sent a beautiful flower, but I ended up using a mermaid...
I had to find for myself:
Something from nature (shell, wood, botanica, etc.)
Something rusty
Something wire (a piece of rusty copper wire, chicken wire, barbed wire)
Something made of glass
Out of all this came my mermaid assemblage...


Happy October to all

Well it's a marvelous night for a Moondance
'neath the cover of October skies...

The weather has turned brisk and crisp, October always reminds me of this song...
I was so excited when I got an email yesterday to get pre-sale tickets to see Van Morrison at the Meyerhoff in Baltimore on October 27th.
I was online right at 10AM this morning and all the $82 tickets were already gone - there were only $122 seats -so with tax and fees it would have been $576 for four of us to attend -I had to pass... now I feel sad and disappointed but fiscally responsible.
Somedays I hate being a grown-up!
I'm consoling myself listening to Astral Weeks...

Beautiful photo by


New York for me today

8:00 AM Acela up

4:00 PM home again
not sure what to wear...
but I love this picture!
(it's from one of my very favorite


Oh jeez, it's been three weeks

Still struggling to get my act together...
Going to New York for the day tomorrow, get to spend all day Thursday in training for work.
Planning to drink Martini's afterwork on Friday after a frantic day of catching up with what I'll miss Wednesday and Thursday....
Saturday and Sunday really need to include some studio time for my sanity!
I hope to have some great stuff to share next week.
In the mean time this is one of my Soul Collage Committee cards called "The Ostrich"


extending my blog break

life is still in the way of creativity, really hope to be back next week...
In the meantime DC is buzzing about The Lost Symbol -here's a photo of Kryptos at Langley

taking a break

my work is in melt down -so no art, little thought- forgive me for about a week



Patterns surround us, I love to doodle them it is relaxing for me.

I need some relaxation lately...

try this at home - you might like it!


Life's Roller Coaster

I hate Labor Day weekend and have for years -but this year it seemed particularly bad...

Oh it was nice to have an extra day off work, but somehow the work emails did not stop and stressed me out further than being there.

It's the anniversary of my brother's death and I still miss him a lot.

One of my friends died and thank god one of my son's did not. The weekend was a horrible roller coaster...

I always wonder if it's bad because I associate Labor Day with bad stuff or if in my karma there is some sort of black vortex centered on this point in time.


The Baltimore Antiques Show

For the 3rd year in a row David and I went to the Baltimore Antiques at the convention center. It is huge! It's almost too much to take in, we finally made it through the entire show this year by not stopping to look at jewelry and books -sort of hard for me...
But there was a lots of cool stuff, lots of stuff not to my taste and in general a visual feast!
We did not buy anything but lunch -but they were giving away hardbound past show catalogues to I grabbed some as collage fodder.


heated car seats

I have a cute little red Z-3 convertible, the past few mornings it had been chilly when I leave for work. I love clear bright cool mornings driving with the top down and my heated seat turned on! My cheeks are chilly and my butt is toasty {grin}.
It makes the DC area traffic seem bearable!
Sometimes September can be quite hot, and I do hope we get one more last taste of summer, but I have been enjoying the preview of October and thinking of pumpkins....


practice every day

at one point in my twenties I drew fluidly -these very detailed pen and ink drawings, I used to earn a small bit of extra $ illustrating biology majors papers for them in college...and then I don't know what happened for a long time creating art was not a focus. I worked for years as a florist so I had to be creative all day and I worked with color - it was enough for me...but I lost the drawing ability.
Like playing piano you have to do it everyday, so I've been trying. I love pattern and color so one of my favorite exercises is to clip fabrics I like out of our million home decor magazines and then doodle them. Doodling sounds so much more fun and less intimidating than practicing drawing...


what speaks to you?

Color speaks to me, images from magazines speak to me, my subconscious mind speaks to me too (I am still trying to figure out what these wood doodles are...)

Blue and white china speaks to me, I love and collect it, although I think I have plenty now!

Cobalt blue glass always draws my eye too, as does the color palette in the painting photo I clipped out...

this is part of my collection...


as simple as a b c

I am a child at heart...
I love to color!
this page was a doodle, wanted to do something with a harlequin diamond pattern -more background-ish...then I started coloring, it so relaxing...
so what to do with this colorful page?
it has sat unfinished for weeks, but I was looking at Somerset Studio last night and saw one of the fabulous exemplars in it and I decided to insert the alphabet on my page and call it complete...


Am I growing more wordly or is the world shrinking?

Lately I have been noticing how global my life has become. It's nothing sudden but it has been creeping in over the years...

It is something I am liking and embracing. I work with a unique group of people we are like a mini United Nations. We've had a pot luck lunch at the office and everyone brought "their" food - it was a blast.

I recently interacted with someone that was extremely ethnocentric and dismissive of the meaning and value of other cultures;
bigotry is very ugly no matter where it's found!


who owns culture?

not me....

with every passing year
I realize my un-hip-ness more fully

soon I will be terminally un-cool

"a culture is made or deystroyed by it's articulate voices"

Ayn Rand


fall is coming, the mornings are getting cool

Around my house flowers are in full bloom and in the early evening the hibiscus attracts hummingbirds.

The mornings are starting to be cool, I love opening the door and sipping the fresh air, knowing the day will still be hot.

At those moments I can feel fall starting, the early morning light is starting to feel soft and golden, not like the thick honey shafts that drip through the trees in October, but the promise of them.

The lawn is starting to sport a few fallen leaves, in a few more weeks the rakes will come out.

I am savoring the cusp of autumn and smiling in the waning days of August.


playing with color

" Colour is my day-long obsession , joy and torment" Claude Monet

Try doing the Color Quiz ~ I am not sure I really liked what it said about me, all from picking some color squares...

The bubbles at the left are acrylic on canvas with glass beads and crushed safety glass, a photo of the painting was then digitally "played with" to change to color. My trip back to being proficient with Photoshop seems to be a bit slow -just like me some days!

Playing with color in paint or pens or on the computer is always fun...


green, green i'm going away

the Irish have long had the tendency to miss things before they are gone, I find myself doing that lately too ~ we are at the height of summer and I am already starting to lament it's passing...ah, perversity!

Green is such a loaded word these days and "going green" de riguer, it makes me feel a bit ~ old in my "hippy" days I was such an earth mother and filled with energy and zeal - we really lived green, of course going to college in a rural area and living in a neo-commune environment like The Wynne Road Home for Wayward Adults helped my illusion...

Today I enjoy my pots of herbs that comprise my "edible" gardening attempts, I do try hard to recycle everything and keep our thermostat set frugally and be mindful in general.



tags seem to be everywhere lately, or randomly I just seem to be noticing this word cropping up at every turn in the past few days...

~*~ I've been playing phone tag (not a fun game)

~*~ I've been tagging clients in a software program at work (really not fun)

~*~ I've been trying to understand how to use tags in Blogger

~*~I've been trying to minimally understand html tagging

~*~ I've been considering the price tags on various things for home & work

I'd really rather be playing with them in my artwork, that is fun! I saw some very cool halloween tags at Blissful Elements - perhaps this weekend I'll dig out my box of shipping tags and make something fun...


I am a color junkie

One in every color: walking into a bead store like Beadazzled or all the quilting fabrics at G Street in huge store sized gradients always thrills me.

It carries over into my art supply addiction, I have a wonderful basket full of pens and pencils and yet I find my self continuing to work on wanting more and just focusing instead on using what I have.

My current addiction are Faber Castell Pitt Artist pens with brush tips. They are so much fun to color with!

My friend Soodesh went to New York last weekend to shop in Jackson Heights -he very kindly brought me some fun Bindi jewels to use in my collages and assemblage pieces. It's fun to have a touch of bling! I can't wait to make something cool with them....


conquering the "I wants"

I want:
*to not worry about the mortgage
(exchange "mortgage" with any other bill)
* to just pick up and travel
*quit my job and pursue art
*go out to dinner when I want
*one in every color
*a house by the sea

"An object in possession seldom retains the same charm that it had in pursuit" ~Pliny the Younger

" Possessions are usually diminished by possession"~ Nietzsche

I am blessed to have:
* a loving family
* a comfortable home
* a good job
* wonderful friends
* faith and reason to discern that "I want" can be destructive


back to the garden

" Summer afternoon,
summer afternoon ~ to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language"

Henry James

I love hot lazy drowsy summer afternoons, to hear bees buzzing and the luxury of being idle in the earth's blanket of verdant green heat. Perfect for doodling and dozing, not so fun for yardwork and chores....


We are Stardust, We are Golden

40 years ago but it still resonates.......

I came upon a child of god
He was walking along the road
And I asked him, where are you going?
And this he told me
I’m going on down to Yasgur’s farm
I’m going to join in a rock n roll band
I’m going to camp out on the land
I’m going to try and get my soul free
We are stardust
We are golden
And we’ve got to get ourselves
Back to the garden

Then can I walk beside you
I have come here to lose the smog
And I feel to be a cog in something turning
Well maybe it is just the time of year
Or maybe it’s the time of man
I don’t know who l am
But you know life is for learning
We are stardust
We are golden
And we’ve got to get ourselves
Back to the garden

By the time we got to Woodstock
We were half a million strong
And everywhere there was song and celebration
And I dreamed I saw the bombers
Riding shotgun in the sky
And they were turning into butterflies
Above our nation
We are stardust
Billion year old carbon
We are golden
Caught in the devils bargain
And we’ve got to get ourselves
Back to the garden

by Joni Mitchell in 1969
(we both only watched it on the TV news)


The Evaporation of Summer

How is it August 14th already? My summer is evaporating rapidly. The radio is full of ads for back to school sales - they always make me want to go and buy new crayons, pens and pencils.

In a strange and bittersweet twist as August ends so does my time as "the mother of a student". Greg is finishing at University of Maryland at the end of the month. Since he's been living at home I haven't completely disassociated with this persona of mine. Even though he's grown up and independent, it has been a part of my mental identity that it's time to shed...

I know I will find new and different things to color my world this fall. This weekend I plan to be a student myself, I am determined to re-master Photoshop! I haven't used it in years and found that I have forgotten most of what I used to know how to was on our old home computer and I just never use that one. It's now installed on my laptop and I dug out my Photoshop Elements for Dummies book and even downloaded some new brushes of grunge frames to try out. Here's to a digital visual weekend.


Travels with Muggins

John Steinbeck wrote a wonderful book called Travels with Charley
where he set out to rediscover America with the help of his poodle. Our standard poodle is an excellent traveller and she loves to go places.

We happily shared the back seat of our X-5 last weekend, she enjoyed watching me work on my art journal when there wasn't something better to see out the window.

As anyone in DC knows most of the city seems to be heading down Route 50 and over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge on Friday afternoons in the summer and if you're are late returning home on Sunday afternoon you'll find yourself contemplating the ugly side of Easton for miles in bumper to bumper traffic. I'm not sure I'd want to do it every weekend, but a couple of time a summer it seems well worthwhile especially if I don't have to be the driver. I am happy to cross the bridge and find a pot of crabs along with the beauty of the Eastern Shore.


Zen and the Art of Blog Maintenance

I finished reading Tara Frey's book over the weekend, and I am determined to be a more consistent and reliable blogger.
  • * I will post at least 3 x per week & include pictures
  • * I have set my blog to show only 10 posts
  • * I have been leaving comments for other bloggers

* I tried to make my blog clean and simple

I find the thought of contacting everyone on my sidebar links and asking for permission daunting, but I am determined to clean it up. It started as more of a convenience for me to keep track of spots to visit but likely needs some dusting and cleaning.

I took a bunch of photo's this weekend with my son's camera, he lost the cord to synch to the computer, fortunately my blackberry cord worked. I'm going to load Photoshop Elements on my laptop and try some of the techniques for digital framing Tara suggested. Usually I just scan my journal pages at work on our huge color copier as the one above. I know I can do better and make things more interesting. Hope you'll check back sometime and see if things are improving...


Being Treated

This weekend I came to Salisbury to visit my dad & stepmom with my husband & son. As I sit here typing my stepmom is frying up sausage and beating eggs for breakfast. I cook breakfast about twice a year-so to me this is huge! After breakfast we are going off to walk around a huge Saturday morning flea market before it gets too hot.
I love coming here, they make us all feel so pampered and at home.


my mental pendulum

Julia Cameron writes eloquently about stiffling our negative blurts, and I think I have made true progress with this. Lately I have been struggling with artistic individuality, it's an internal mental war where thoughts see saw back and forth.

I am always hungry for eye candy, artistic inspiration, visual stimulation I search it out online, in books and magazines, taking classes, visiting museums -heck even shopping! I am a very visual and creative person and doing this feeds me.
So what's my issue? I obsess about creating my own art and about having filtered my inspiration enough to make it "original". I read a quote the other day by Joichi Ito:
"Most creative work is a process of people passing ideas and inspirations from the past into the future and adding their own creativity along the way. "
I find myself being judgemental about others' art when I assess it through this prism. I look and see "popular" themes that seem to run rampant through the art world where I like to browse. Do you know what I mean? Birds, wings on figures, dunce caps, big eyed portraits of women -they are everywhere! Is this "creative" or is it just copying, following the pack, being trendy?
It does not mean that I don't like what I am seeing, it's just that my preverse mind thinks that by adopting these elements is not authentic somehow for me.
In the past few months I have done two online classes, one was Shades of Grey with Pam Carriker and the other A Prompt A Day with Kelly Kilmer. I enoyed both and got a lot out of both, the page picture above was influenced by both. I was "copying" to learn techniques and I think that is totally fine, but now I need to take those techniques and make them my own. Michelle Ward had a GPP Street challenge* to make somthing your own, and even though I didn't participate in the challenge I have taken it to heart.
So can I use a bird in my art work? if I do a border edge on a journal page like Pam's is it unique enough for me? my inner perversity has me wondering. A final thought is that I am probably thinking about this too much and I should just create and let what comes come....
* unable to link to these -typepad won't let me in to her sites for some reason


Rock & Roll

This is a journal page I made inspired by the small piece of post it note I found on the washer, Greg must have pulled it out of his pocket (at least he checks them now!). I was already thinking about what fun it was to be interviewed for his paper for History of Rock & Roll. My studio is conveniently adjacent to the laundry area so I stuck this scrap in my moleskine and made a page about it. I am also very proud to report he found out yesterday he got an A+ in the class -not bad for a senior level history course at Univ of MD...


Eye Candy overload at the Blogging for Bliss Party

Yesterday was so much fun meeting so many bloggers at the Blogging for Bliss party.
I have always been too shy to really leave comments and interact, thinking somehow I don't really know enough about blogging, or somehow my blog isn't a "real" blog -just me fooling around. I am not sure why but I decided it really is time to fully plunge into the blog pool and not just dunk in my little toe. I am still working my way through the party list and hugely enjoying all the eye candy and all the amazing creativity that abounds, it is awesome and humbling and so inspirational! My copy of Blogging for Bliss arrives tomorrow from Amazon, and being me I can never just stop at one book, I am also getting An Illustrated Life: Drawing Inspiration from the Private Sketchbooks of Artists, Illustrators and Designers by Danny Gregory and Image Transfer Workshop: Mixed-Media Techniques for Successful Transfers by Darlene McElroy.
This should be lots of inspiration for my artwork and my blog! We are going down to the beach on Friday and I'm excited I'll have some fabulous reading.