Stage Two Piece

So, in February, in Mandala Magic 2015, we were introduced to Stage 2 of the Great Round, which is Bliss.

This is one of the last pieces that I completed for this stage:


Yes, she is rough, but I had a lot of help from my youngest while I was trying to finish her…and a couple of other ones.

And, yes, although his handiwork is not visible on the page (unless you count the random splatters which I kinda like), she has an areola because Duncan does not like it when I draw or paint breasts with no nipples or anything…it bothers that boy to no end…so she has hers showing…

If you would like to see more of my mandala work for Julie Gibbos’s Mandala Magic, click here

Oh, and I did scan this sketch before I painted her in this journal.  I knew when I drew it I was going to want to do a much better spread on much better paper with her.

I’ll let you know when I do that.


Yet Another Bird…

I took this drawing that Duncan made for me I don’t know how long ago…


Now, the child makes tons of drawings–all the time…

This is one that I have carried in my purse for months.

He is the one who spilled something on it–not long after he started to create it.

I took his drawing and turned it into this:


This became the background for a six inch by six inch wooden panel.

I had no real intention when I began…but the birds, they do keep coming…

When I began to paint out this bird, I cold not do my usual layering and pulling and pushing and building…

I put on a wash of color for the background.

I laid down what I originally thought would be the base coat.

And this is what happened:



The piece told me that it was all done…this is as far as it wanted to go.

So–here is my latest completed collaboration with my 2yo.

Fun Play

This is just a fun piece.

I took one of our postcards and mounted it to a spare piece of wood panel that I had lying around.

Don’t ask what possessed me to do this.

The board was an odd size, compared to other pieces, but that usually doesn’t mean a thing…

I covered the board itself with collage papers glued down with a mix of joint compound and gel medium.

Then I used that to adhere the postcard to the center of the piece.

I let that dry overnight.

Then I added blue paint along the edges.  Green paint along the edges.  Payne’s grey along the edges.

And I liked it…


A Book Of My Own

So–we were at a thrift store, moseying around, when I saw this:




It was stuffed in a bin, under a bunch of stuff–but I saw wood–and pretty wood–so I dragged it out.

It is a beautiful wooden photograph book, I guess.  I am basing this on the “Camera” title.  I almost decided not to get this book because of that word ‘camera’ on it.

But then–I opened it up:


It has these beautiful thick brown pages.

Oh…yeah…it had to come home with me.

For the record, it was a dollar.

It has an inlaid wooden panel as the back and as the front.

It has two metal pin thingys holding everything together; you can see these on the cover.

And there is a leather strap covering the opening of the front cover–that strip on the left-hand side there in the photo above.  That is the only hinge this has.

Now, do keep in mind that only a couple of days before I found this journal, 21 Secrets Spring 2015 had come out.  I tend to watch all the videos first before diving in.

It tickled me to no end to find out there are twenty-one sheets of paper in this journal.  And up until a certain point watching the 21 Secrets workshops, I thought I may actually use this journal for that — but alas, no…I will need many more pages than merely twenty-one to really play with all of the wonderful and juicy workshops contained within the 21 Secrets cadre this time.

So–the journal sat here, waiting, as do so many things here, waiting for that right time.

Then…she did it…Connie opened up Painting The Feminine for registration.

Now, I cannot fully get across just how much I have wanted to take this class…for so so long…and now–I am all signed up and waiting…and yes, still working my way through Big...

Anyway–that ‘camera’ was still bothering me…until last night.

R and I had talked about sanding the letters off, prying them off, all sorts of things.  In the middle of the night, alone, while at least the youngest child slept, I decided to try my hand at removing the darn thing–

Ok, so I only broke three fingernails…and I have no fingernails to speak of at the moment anyway.  Then–I grabbed a butter knife.  Hey, in the middle of the night, when ya don’t want big dogs gallumping up and down the basement stairs with you to get tools as this will awaken the toddler in a moment–ya use what you can grab easily…and what you don’t mind messing up, pretty much.

So–the butter knife actually worked–kinda.  That word was glued down really well…but with the right pressure, the wooden bits of the letters cracked and flew off.  However, after removing that finally a from camera…I saw too clearly that I could prise off the rest of the word…and the image of that word would remain etched beneath it…

At which point I put the butter knife down, no worse for wear after my abuse.

I tried to sand out my little bumps and messes from using said butter knife…the sanding was FAR worse than anything I did with the butter knife…

Which made me just say, screw this.  Why am I fighting so hard to keep a word and an image I am not that into…when what is really important will be what is inside the journal?  I am not ruining the wood, or the book itself…

So–I grabbed some spackle and some gel medium — I have a TON of gloss medium –and I have learned to mix it with the spackle or joint compound to adhere background papers as it adds some nice texture and still allows the papers to be seen underneath (depending upon how thickly you slather that stuff on)–and it adds a lot of depth if you tint the mixture a bit before using it to adhere collage bits down…

I took this beautiful background I had created from a reclaimed unfinished piece (goodbye whale from last year…) — I cut it down to fit my journal (the pages inside the journal are roughly ten inches by eight inches).

I smeared my spackle/gel medium mixture out all over the cover (after making sure the rest of the journal was covered and protected with paper towels) –I made a mostly even coat across the front, stopping at the edge of the leather hinge so I wouldn’t mess that up.

I pressed my paper into that mix, making sure everything was lined up and pretty…and gently began to press down.  I started with the edges, because, really, for me making sure the edges were securely adhered and down is the most important thing.  Every time some of the gluey mess ooked out along the edges, I quickly wiped it off with a barely damp paper towel.

I then began pressing all over the center and inner edges of that page, moving the adhesive all around, still being careful and wiping up anything that spewed out anywhere.

Once I was certain that 1 everything was pressed together as well and as firmly as possible and 2 nothing else would come squidging out along the edges…I removed all the paper towel except the one right under the cover (just in case).

I put the journal freshly glued side down on a piece of deli paper on the table.  I put a couple books, and my hole punch (because it was right there) on top–and then I checked to make sure that nothing had leaked out along any of the edges one last time.

That I left overnight to dry.

In the morning, it was mostly dry –not completely cured.  If you run your fingers along the top of the decorative page, the adhesive underneath moves around a bit.  So–it needs a day or two to completely cure out.

That did not stop me from using Krylon triple thick clear glaze to seal that top page this morning.  I know that book is going to take a beating, so I want the piece on top sealed and sealed well.

And speaking of that cover decorative piece…it was a dimensional piece to begin with.

Originally it was a mixed media piece, with collage and all sorts of things.  Then when I reclaimed it (and her three sisters–there were four whales waiting to be finished from last year’s LifeBook)–I used the same sort of mix with which I adhered it to my journal cover.

I took joint compound and gel medium (roughly 50/50 when I do this), added a little bit of acrylic paint to tint it…and used that to add more collage and a whole bunch of texture to the page.  After that was dry, I would add paint or whatever whenever I had a full brush I needed to clean or leftover paints from other project.  I would smear all four reclaimed pieces with whatever I had on hand.  I had intended to use them as backgrounds for other pieces…

What I truly love about this particular page–and why I choose this one out of the four that I had on-hand–it there is plenty of the original turquoisey blue still visible…and now, when you get up close to it, you can see bits and hints of the original collage elements, like the musical score bits.

So this is now the Heart Of the Whale journal…

Maybe I will even find my seal skin in it.



From Out Of Time And Space

Let me just say, Juliette Crane is AMAZING…I watched her Lifebook 2015 lesson, as well as her 21 Secrets Spring 2015 workshop.  It is these two classes that inspired a whole series of little birds

The one I am about to show you makes six so far…they are quite addictive —

For backgrounds–I find myself gravitating to Duncan’s artwork in one of my smaller Canson mixed media journals.  He spent a couple of days going to town with highlighters, markers and soft pastels, so I have a lot of pages to choose from these days.

If he can see some of his artwork through my artwork when he catches me painting on his stuff (in my notebooks, I tell him–if it’s in my notebook, it’s mine–I don’t take over his sketchbooks–and, oh yes, he has many of his own…)–but if I cover his work up entirely– he gets VERY upset and angry…

Even if he didn’t care about his artwork–I really like the way his stuff shines through in some of my pieces…the piece I am about to show you is one of them.

Here is the before picture–this is all Duncan’s work, using a blue and an orange highlighter:


I love watching him work.  I love the way his work is evolving.

Do you see the orange face?

Do you see the spiral?  Or the rose–depending on whether he was working on a mandala like Mama, or drawing a rose like Daddy.

Here is the finished piece–it is actually the first owl that I have done…and it turned out to be an ode to the Owl in the Secret of NIHM as well…


Duncan really likes it.

That alone is enough for me.