Category Archives: Found Object Art

Winter, Sky, Trees, Moss –


Winter,Trees,Sky,Moss 2013 001

“Winter, Sky, Trees, Moss”   7×5 inches 8 pages.  Watercolor, collage, graphite, textile, paste paper.








In Portland, winter can be mostly gray, and doesn’t change much from day to day.  It was supposed to be dry today with a predicted weak sun, but when I woke up this morning I could hear the rain on the street as cars went rolling down the road.  So another gray day.  But standing outside later, I saw such beauty in the drape of bare tree branches, and gray sky, and here and there the brightest little green tufts of moss, clinging to rocks, and the concrete stairs leading up to the street.  I love those little tufts of tenacity; clinging patiently through the dry times, coming carefully back to brilliant color in the rain of winter.

Winter, Sky, Trees, Moss 2013 003

Winter, Sky, Trees, Moss 2013 004


Paste Paper


I’ve been making paste paper and tearing into book size pieces, and pasting other things on top if it.

Paste paper is a concoction of wheat paste, or cornstarch, and water and pigment.  You can use acrylic paint for the pigment, or watercolor, or gouache, or even powdered poster paint pigment.  I’ve been running it through the printer after its dry using scanned images over the paste background.

2013 Paste Paper 007

The red background of this paste was made using a vintage piece from an old erector set.  You can see the little circles at the top of the photo from the edges of the metal piece.  I used a scan photo and ran it through the printer a couple of times trying to get some handwriting to show from another scan. It doesn’t show clearly enough, so i have another idea for it.

2013 Paste Paper 008These images are cut from drawing paper weight paste paper.  They are just laying on top of a large sheet, I intend to use them later, just not sure how yet.

2013 Paste Paper 005

This scanned image is used over a piece of brown paste paper – its actually darker than this photo shows.

2013 Paste Paper 006

If you would like to try some paste paper its very simple.  I used 1/4 cup of cornstarch and blended with 1/4 cup of water, add this mix to one cup of water and cook ’til you get a nice custardy mixture.  Keep stirring so it doesn’t stick to the pan, and try to blend it so no lumps form.  Take off the stove and add 1/2 cup cold water.  It might look too runny, but it thickens as it cools.  Put a few tablespoons of this mixture in small containers, I got mine from the $ store, and then add your color and stir up.  The recipe says to dampen your paper – but I didn’t I just painted on the color using a brush, or my fingers, or a sponge applicator.  The the fun began of making designs in the paste with various items.  A comb, making straight or wavy lines.  Rubber stamps, or handmade stamps cut from potatoes, or found objects such as leaves, or rocks, sticks or whatever you have around the house.  The paste mixture should be thick enough to hold the impression that you make giving it a kind of 3-D look.  You can save the paste covered in the fridge for a few days if you want to use that particular color again.

I’ve made it before to use as wrapping paper, but you have to use a lighter weight paper so it doesn’t crack when you fold it around a package.  I used plain white kraft paper for this – once again, from the $ store.  I’ve also used the back of regular leftover wrapping paper.  I find that my colors sometimes come out more muddy than I wanted – I suspect I was too anxious to add more color without waiting for the bottom layer to dry a little.

Work in Progress, and a 4th Birthday Collage


I’ve been working on a painting for the last couple of months or so.  I can’t seem to finish it because I don’t know where its going.

It’s called Pearl’s Mother and below is a detail from the painting.  The medium is oils.

Below is the original sketch I did in August, on a piece of notebook paper.

On another note, my grandson celebrated his 4th birthday on the 13th of this month.  I made him a collage to celebrate Number 4, and his love of race cars.  His new bedroom decor will now be all about race cars, including his bed!  I thought this little collage would be fun to hang in his room!

I did this using a a cradled wood mixed-media art board.  My youngest daughter, the graphic design artist, helped me make the paper for the backgroud using photo shop and some stock photos from the internet.  I had a little collection of various vintage wheels,tires, and other trinkets, and I recently purchased the little racing cars from ebay just for this collage.  They are about one and a fourth inches long and made of tin, their graphics are lithographed. The green car is #4, and doesn’t show well in this photo.I covered a match box with a paper print of an old stopwatch and the number four (about 2 inches long)I’ve had for ages – just proves that artist’s eventually do find a use for all their little collected bits and pieces!  The entire size is 11 x 14 inches.

  On the back I put a cutout of the Beatle’s and a verse from “All Together Now.”



“Thread”  Mixed Media. Oil.  Tea bag and found object collage on Pannelli Telati panel – 8 x 10 inches.   I have been intrigued by the classes Roxanne Evans Stout from teaching called, “The Thread That Weaves.”  I think her ideas became  the inspiration behind this little painting, so I just called it “Thread.”  If you take a moment and view her website to read about the classes she has created using found materials to make beautiful little artist books you will probably surely get inspired too!

I painted the figure some time ago on a large manilla tag (7.5 x 3.5 inches), knowing I would use it for  collage eventually.  I glued the tag to the panelli panel, and then began adding other papers.  I added the very fine copper wire from some kind of electronic component I found.  The wire was so fine I had to twist several threads of it together for visibility.  The leaf is one I saved from last fall – I always save a few and dry them in my big Shakespeare book so I know where to find them when I need them!  The hand comes from a sheet of handmade paper stamped with them, which I purchased from some flea market or other.  I’ve used them several times and will miss them when they are used up!

detail of face

Mixed Media, cork stamps, and oil painting


I continue to play with oil paint – trying to learn how to control it; not easy!  So I’ve been playing around with abstract blobs of color -trying to learn how to find some depth in smearing paint around.  I used a couple of eucalyptus leaves from an old dried bouquet of same.  I buy bunches of eucalyptus leaves from the grocery florist – these “silver dollar” shaped ones grow so gracefully, and sit so pretty in a vase, I like them on their own without flowers.  I leave them until they become too dry and dusty – but their scent remains reminding me of the central California coast – my favorite place to dream.

Untitled 10 x10 inch mixed media, oil, found objects, tea bags, large manilla tag

You can faintly see a line of stamping across the bottom – more about that below.  I tried to paint over it after I’d stamped it, but it keeps coming back!

detail Untitled

A while back,I did some thrift store browsing and found a large bag of wine corks – it seemed to have possibilities so I brought it home and dumped it into a jar, after my grandson found them in a drawer still in the bag – he thought they looked quite interesting too.  When he grew tired of looking at them, they became missiles with the dog as target practice, so we put them in the jar “to look at”.

Now some of them live in a recipe box.

As stamps for journaling and collage.  Obviously I’m not a very good stamp carver – but they do their job of adding some interesting little point of view on collage pages.   They are dry and nearly brittle, so carving is more miss than hit!

Rustic, or I guess the word is primitive.

Anyway, this is how they look stamped on paper.  Marks for mark making!

On another note: I am getting totally fed-up with wordpress.  It seems for the last 6 months everytime I post something, it either disappears when I hit “publish” or it becomes rearranged so that text and photos are out of context.  I have trying “save draft” but then the entire post disappears except for the title.    So it takes me hours to make a single post because I lose my text and have to rewrite most of it, which is really frustrating, or the photos disappear – but only on the post screen that you all see, but not in the post record – so if i don’t keep checking the post screen I don’t even know only half of anything is there.   I don’t know what’s going on, but haven’t found any solution to this issue.  If any of you know what I’m doing to cause this, let me know.  Personally I don’t think its me, I think its them, as it is consistent this last six months.  I’m looking for another blog home.

“Fairlight and Caledonia”


“Fairlight and Caledonia”  Acrylic, collage on canvas 24×36 inches

I’ve been working on this painting for the last couple of months.  I had a very difficult time trying to photograph this painting – so what you see is either over exposed or underexposed.

The camera seemed confused by the brown tones.


I tried to make it look like a sepia tint photograph – but I had some trouble with the skin tones.  Every time I tried to gray them or sepia them, they ended up looking like they had dirty faces – which may have added some authenticity, but it just didn’t look right in the painting.  I’m sharing several details of the subject matter because of the difficulty in getting a good photograph of the painting.  Also I thought it might be fun to see the very beginning of the painting and how it evolved.


This is the first sketch after I glued some pieces of paper to the canvas.

 This canvas was very rough – I really didn’t like it but it was all I had and I wanted to begin the painting.  I bought this canvas at “Cheap Joes” online.  It was a good price, and if you like that rough texture it would be fine.  I had some trouble getting the skin tones because of the pieces of paper I collaged, and the roughness of the canvas, all in the same face.  The photo above shows the canvas after a few coats of gesso.

Laying out the underpainting with gouache.  You can see some of the papers I used for collage.  I think most of them were completely covered with paint.  There is a mocking bird between the two girls at the top of the painting, an old book page on the left top, and some kind of railroad ticket at the hemline of the girl on the right.

Painting hands is really hard for me – no matter how much I practice I really never get it quite right.

“Fairlight and Caledonia”  Two little mountain girls c 1890 – 1900