Monthly Archives: October 2010

Pumpkin Masquerade. . .


Gouache on 4 x 6 inch canvas board

When I was a little girl in grade school my mother made me a complete flower fairy costume out of pink, dark rose, and green, crepe paper.  It was very puffy, rustled appropriately in a mysterious fashion (to my ears), and felt very prin-cess -y and magical.  I think I was in the second grade, so I was seven.  She sewed this confection of design on the sewing machine just like it was fabric leaving the back open for me to climb into, and then taped it shut.  In those days you could buy crepe paper in large sheets – not just the streamer rolls we have now.  It was the practice at my school to have a grand parade at 4:00 pm and all of us who wanted to go home and get into costume were encouraged to do so.  We met back on the school grounds and then the teachers and a few parents chaperoned us around the entire block so we could show ourselves off.  My costume was a great hit as I stood out brightly among the witches, ghosts, and hobos!  Unfortunately, about half way through the parade I realized I really needed to use the restroom.  I couldn’t leave the line-up without an adult, and I was too shy to tell anyone I needed to use the bathroom in an immediate way.  The rest is history… but lets just say this, crepe paper is not color fast if exposed to moisture. 

For the funny little pumpkin painting, which I used as a greeting card, I cut the head from a baby photo of my grandson, glued it down on the canvas panel, and then painted gesso over the face, after the gesso dried I added some pink cheeks and enhanced the eyes just a little.  I painted the pumpkin hat around his head,  painted a pumpkin shape, added his arms in a position that would have been appropriate for his age in the photo, and stuck some feet on.  A dark blue sky and a sliver of a moon with an old fashioned face, and a dark horizon line and foreground.  I made color copies on textured vintage “duro-tex canvas painting paper,” glued them to a yellow ochre background paper and glued that to some heavy black paper  and sent one to each of my daughters as a halloween greeting.  I confess that I saw this idea for using a baby head and a painted  pumpkin shape in a magazine, but I cannot remember which magazine it was, and I hope whoever had the original idea will not be offended (and I sincerely apologize if you are) by my plagiaristic detour from the original idea!  (Their’s was cuter, because they had several babies in a field!)


Hap “Bee” Halloween!


Button, Button …Buttons on Tuesday


I have just recently discovered the amount of stuff available on ebay, new to this phenomenon, at first I was overwhelmed, but I am an old hand now.  This prolific amount of stuff is an amazement to me – all I have to do is say, gee I wish I had “some,”  insert whatever desire comes to mind, and I am immediately rewarded with hundreds, or even thousands of choices!  A few days ago while I was stitching on my Tattered Gatsby(s) I wished for buttons and voila!  A big bag of buttons arrived today.  But these are no ordinary buttons! 

Very old mother-of-pearl, still attached to bits of cloth, as if someone just cut the buttons off with a hunk of the garment still attached!  Which, of course, that is just what they did!  I love it when I find buttons with thread still in them, but with a scrap of fabric, oh my, its wonderful!  These do not require “aging,”  they are already quite aged, and actually dirty, which makes them even better to me.

Strung together for safe keeping.  All of these are mother of pearl except the very large white ones.  I love to imagine who strung them together, what garment were they taken from, and how many times were they used since their original removal?


Very large (1.5 inch) still attached to their original cards.  These probably aren’t so old, but they are really big and heavy mother of pearl.

They said it was about 500 buttons, but they didn’t say how old and neat they were – and  its way more than 500! Sometimes I am surprised that no one else wants what I want – no one else saw anything special in these!  No rhinestones, no fancy shapes, and it wasn’t mentioned that so many of them were the sought after mop!  A new term I have recently learned in the button world.

The yellowish ones are very old underwear buttons, either bone or “vegetable ivory,” another new term to me, and the little black and white one is a painted china – looks like a zebra, another new term in the button world!  The black faceted ones are glass.  The little greyish two holed one feels like its made out of rubber?

I will be able to fill up my glass bottle-shaped like a hand with tiny pearl buttons now.   Its taken me a long time to collect enough small buttons that will drop through the bottle top, but this found treasure  is filled with tiny pearl buttons! 

Stringing or Stinging words together …


 Journal Page – Mixed Media:  collage, drawing, found objects

Thoughts about the things people say to us, whether implied or blatant:  We string our words together as children string colored beads, sometimes the patterns that we make are less than pleasing to the recipients.

Words are the spells we cast, when spoken they can take on a life of their own, coming alive from our lips and traveling into infinity.  All that we say is alive forever, never to be taken back.  Unspoken words have power in a different way.  Sometimes it is good to keep silent.  Everyday we make a choice to bring good with our words, or bad.  The universe does not make adjustments, or judgements – but our hearts know the difference.

My five-year-old self who still believes inside my heart.

My first “best friend.”  I trusted her forever, and sometimes she was slightly mean to me – but I adored her in spite of herself.

Life was so much better with a true friend!

Eugenia and Sophia Waited Quietly


“Eugenia and Sophia Waited Quietly”  Acrylic on canvas, 10×10 inches.

Inspired by an antique photo of two little girls caught forever by the camera lens, waiting in the woods.  The sky looks as if it might be getting toward evening, and still they wait, their eyes watchful.  Eugenia is balancing on some rocks while Sophia sits.  It looks as if there may be water beneath the rocks where Eugenia stands.

Building watery layers of acrylic, almost like watercolor, to create the rocks.


More build up of rocks – the different colors in each photo is probably due more to when the photo was taken, meaning time of day, as I use mostly natural light for my photos, than actual changing of color.

Adding the girls.  As I have done in the past with this series, I first sketched the figures on deli paper, carefully painted in their clothing and other details and then glued them into the painting with polymer medium.  Then I added details to their faces, which were difficult this time.  The deli paper doesn’t behave as canvas, and the paint tends to slide around. 

Detail of the figures.  All in all, I am not particularly happy with this little painting.  I think I need to return to the usual way of painting the figures in directly on the canvas.

Beauty Left While the Others Slept

  • “Beauty Left While the Others Slept”  Acrylic on canvas 10×10 inches

    Under painting from “Beauty.”  I sketched out the basic layout of the composition with pencil and lay down a few layers of blue glaze.  I partially painted in the “brambles” that grew around the cave which led Beauty to the open forest.  I used a fine outline brush for this network of branches twining around and over. 


    I started adding color, repainting the brambles each time I lay down a new layer of color.  I used a squirt bottle of water on the drying paint and then blotted the water drops away which left the little points of fairy lights. 


    I worked on the stone wall as I lay down different layers of color for the foreground.  This is a small painting, only 10 inches square, but it evolved over a 10-day period of time.  Beauty was first sketched and then painted on deli paper.  I couldn’t decide whether she would wear old- fashioned clothing, or modern, so I settled for something in between, making her skirt short, but giving her an old-fashioned jacket.  The be-ribboned shoes seemed like a good choice for a fairy tale princess to dance her way out of a cave from a long enchantment.  This Beauty found her own way.

  • Tattered Gatsby


    I began sewing strips of muslin that had paint marks on it from wiping my brush while painting, and I was going to just use random stitches and make some pretty little flag flappers to hang outside like Lynn does  does for her beloved trees!  But I began seeing dresses instead.  So I added bits of scraps, a piece of very old silk all tattered and torn, snippets of long ago crochet that someone started and never finished.  Small pieces of old doll dresses, the more worn and tattered the better!  These Daisy Buchannen like (F.Scott Fitzgerald) gowns emerged, and that’s why Tattered Gatsby seemed like a good name.   This is pure relaxation stitching – no rules!  No straight lines, or hemmed finishes!  The sewing is crooked, sometimes irregular, and raggedy.   When I read F.Scott Fitzgerald The Great Gatsby many years ago, I imagined all the beautiful gowns that Daisy would wear, and although the story was great, it was the fashion that stuck in my mind.

    “Pink,” with a little brass butterfly and a pink pearl, a very tattered dolls pink petticoat, and a corner from an old beautifully made handkerchief with an appliqued heart in the center.  Hanging on a 4- inch hanger, measuring about 9-inches from the shoulder – can’t you imagine Daisey on a spring-time picnic?

    “Glamour,” as in a small spell to bewitch.  I’ve added a piece of twine and a silver face-shaped charm making it look like a long Repunzel type braid fastened off with a silver flower.  A small piece of kimono silk for the top,purchased from ,  and a sparkly scrap at the bottom in gray and purple purchased from Patty at, and blanket stitched in rose-pink embroidery thread.

    I haven’t named this one yet – still have some finishing touches to add.  The flounced skirt at the bottom is a piece from a white silk scarf that is so old and tattered Daisey might have owned it herself!  More silk flounce at the yoke.  A brass masquerade mask with a dangling pearl against a hand sewn silk rosette from the ancient scarf.  What is interesting to me is that I have had all these little worn out fragments, some of them for years, and never knew what I was going to do with them.  I think, as artists, we are often compelled to save the oddest things.  Things that a less eccentric person would ever consider saving, or collecting in the first place!  The thing is, as artists, we know we will find a use for it someday.

    I thought some might want to know what the backs look like.  I’ve finished off two of them with walnut-ink stained muslin.  I don’t think I’ve finished the one on the left yet, so I haven’t finished the back.  I like the weight the muslin backing gives to these projects – although the unfinished back is kind of interesting too.