Composition Camp – transferring ideas

In yesterday’s workshop at the Studio, we explored composition through a mixed-media collage process using Ebony pencils, watercolor pencils, stencils, graphite transfer paper, white tempera paint, TAP heat transfers and digitally altered images. This non-traditional combination of tools led to some pretty spectacular results!

Image transfer, whether done with graphite sheets, TAP paper, gel mediums or any other method is simply another way of selectively inputting and arranging images on a substrate. It’s neither “cheating” or “tracing.” Even if drawing is not your forte, you can use graphite media to produce striking lights and darks in a classic drafting  style. Look at some of the work by iconic painter Larry Rivers to see how a master uses this technique.

We had some poets and prose writers in yesterday’s group – always a good sign for cross-genre inspiration! And our post-workshop critique was one of the best I can remember. There were lots of dream images and personal insights floating around. Fascinating stuff! Here are a few photos from a very rich and productive afternoon! Thanks, All!

I’m headed to Boston tomorrow for a few days so I can see the family and come home with a renewed appreciation of South Texas temperatures (it’s supposed to be 17F while I’m there – yikes). Now, y’all go outside, smell the Mountain Laurel, and bask in this lovely weather!

Texas Mountain Laurel - scratch and sniff :)

Texas Mountain Laurel – scratch and sniff 🙂



HandEye: the mother lode of inspirational eye-candy


Wow. Just wow. I can’t believe I’ve lived this long without knowing about HAND/EYE online magazine (it comes in a print edition, too).  I’ve just created an account (free) and am browsing through gallery after gallery of textiles, artifacts, fine crafts, indigenous processes, and so much more.


Maria Constanza Cardenas – Plumage choker, Orinoco collection. This piece portrays the power of the colors, textures, shapes and movement of the tropics.

The online site is divided into sections and the emphasis is on celebrating cultural creativity and sustainability.

HAND/EYE also features events such as England’s Woolfest as well as unusual products from small commercial designers such as 502 Home’s huipil-inspired ceramics.

A personal favorite is an article written by India Flint in 2010 called  Desert Country: Contemporary Aboriginal Artists Take on the Land.

One of the most wonderful features of the HAND/EYE site is the treasure-trove of archived articles and galleries like that one written by India Flint with beautiful photographs – and they are organized beautifully to allow maximum accessibility.

From the article Desert Country in HandEye Magazine, 2010

They also have a Facebook page if you just want a sneak preview!

I commend this publication for its vision. HAND/EYE Magazine bridges the worlds of art, design, craft, philanthropy, retailing, and socio-environmental sustainability.

That’s my Show and Tell for the week!

Don’t forget that there will be an in-person Show and Tell at the Studio this Saturday from 2-4. I just cleaned up my fiber art room and it looks great, so show up and don’t make me do this clean-up for nothin’ – :). Check it out (below) – it may be the last time you ever see it this organized.


I screen, you screen . . .


Lisa Stamper Meyer, “Mysterious Miasmas” Acrylic on Paper

What a treat to have the multi-talented Lisa Stamper Meyer at my Studio yesterday teaching a workshop on Silk Screening for Mixed Media Artists! Lisa is amazing – You can see her work at The Gallery at Gruene Lake Village. She’s a patient teacher, generous in her expertise.

I have to admit that I wasn’t ready to add one more thing to my repertoire, but – wrong! This process has so many possibilities. Everyone who participated said the same thing. The inspirations for using this idea on fiber, on handmade paper, with encaustic are unllimited – I’m sold!

Take a look at the video, and then do some exploring on the EZscreen process with the links I’ve listed at the end of this post – many thanks to Lisa for an amazing afternoon.

The week that was and the weekend that will be . . .

It takes a village to make a Studio – and that’s what it felt like this week – all kinds of creative people graced the place – yay!

On Monday, our 3M Writers Group met at the studio for the monthly pot luck. Poets and novelists are also great cooks! And the conversation is always inspired. Special congrats to Bryce Milligan (below, center) whose Wings Press just celebrated its 40th Anniversary – a huge accomplishment for this multicultural, environmentally-aware company. Wings is indeed The CorazĂłn of American Small Press Publishing.


From left: Anne Alexander, Mary Milligan, Harold Rodinsky, Mike Belisle, Bryce Milligan, Jimmy Adair


From left: Lou Taylor, Leslie Provence, Craig Donegan, Jay Brandon, Jasmina Wellinghoff

Next came a Wednesday Workshop – this time, it was Encaustic Exploration. We worked with wax and images in a larger format than usual.  The workshop critique was outstanding – thanks to all who waxed and shared!

I found some time on Thursday to play with a large painting called “Domino Theory.” Rosemary Uchniat sent me a heads-up about artist Nancy Reyner’s book on gold leaf and acrylic painting – lord knows, I have plenty of gold leaf around the Studio, This piece still needs glazing, but it’s fun to watch where it’s going. The process may turn into a new workshop – more soon.

domino theory
Today, I’ll be clearing the decks for Monika Astara’s trunk show that goes on from 11-3:30 tomorrow – don’t miss it!

Monikacard copy
Lisa Stamper Meyer‘s Silk Screen workshop is Sunday, and in between all this, I’m going to get over to the Fred Road Studio Tour. 

I hope your week was great, and that your weekend is fun-filled and art-filled and joy-filled – spring is definitely in the air!

I can’t tell you what I did this weekend —

c5f4e638-93da-49ef-85f1-daae2cc99001–but it was fun!! Actually, here’s a hint from Artful Gathering:

“We are currently in video production for our 2016 online art event. This is an exciting time when our instructors are devoting themselves to creating a very special class to share with you this summer.”

So if you came by the Studio and saw a DO NOT DISTURB sign on the door, you’ll know why you couldn’t come in. I absolutely love developing and designing classes for Artful Gathering, and I spend several days each January and February filming and editing my AG classes.

Yesterday, hard at work filming an Artful Gathering class about . . . . .

Yesterday, hard at work filming an Artful Gathering class about . . . . .

The classes are kept a secret until March first (which is why I can’t tell you about them yet), but you can get involved with Artful Gathering right now and win prizes from Jerry’s ArtaRama. Starting today you can join the AG Hop called “Bring Your Wings” and play along each week, while meeting our 2016 instructors, including me in an upcoming newsletter.

It’s simple – just read the featured instructor’s profile, find the secret word (each one has wings by it – easy) and collect them. I’m doing this myself because i get to see everybody’s portfolios and steal – er, get inspired by – their ideas! Here’s a piece by my pal Riki Schumacher, a featured artist in today’s Hop – I can definitely see a face shard somewhere in some work inspired by this lovely piece – :



To register for Artful Gathering, pay up just five bucks and you’ll get a whole bunch of stuff before and after the classes are announced. But you can play the Hop for free, so hop to it.

And if you can’t wait for May, just fork over a few more bucks for my Artful Gathering DVD’s – more in production, thanks to a long weekend of mystery filming. End of commercial, have a lovely day!


Pinterest — inspirational art tool and self-defining style guide

Inspiration concept

Do you have a Pinterest board? If you do, keep reading to remind yourself how helpful it can be in your personal art practice. If you don’t keep, reading about why you really should have one!

I use Pinterest both for

  • new ideas, and for
  • getting unstuck on work in progress.

For example, this morning I was debating on how to proceed with an encaustic piece, so I went to my Pinterest “Stealboard” where I collect ideas (you’re welcome to look at my collection.)

I found this work by Grace Carol Bomer that I had “pinned” a while ago. Even though I’m not working in cold wax, even though her piece is not photographic, there was something about this that gave me the inspiration to put a digital photo behind a layer of wax. It was the spark I needed.

My finished piece will look nothing like this, but it got me unstuck quickly because it was in my Pinterest stash of works that I liked for one reason or another.

Grace Carol Bomer -Ancient Mercy 2012 coldwax and oil on panel 8″ x 8″ $225

Another Pinterest feature useful to one’s art practice is finding other artists who are working in your own areas of interest. I discovered Dorothy Caldwell’s work through a friend’s Pinboard – wow! It ties in beautifully with the work I did with Caryl Gaubatz recently.

And I am so inspired by Dorothy Caldwell’s statement about her work – I am drawn to cloth that has been repaired, and reconstructed and in that ongoing process encodes time and the richness of lives lived.”

Finding other artists like this helps me define my own direction. It can help you, too.

Dorothy Caldwell – A Red Hill, A Green Hill, ink wash, earth ochre on cotton with stitching and applique, 9’4″ x 9’8″ 2012

Finally, you can showcase your own work on Pinterest. You can start a board about what (and why) you create and upload photos of your work for everyone to see and perhaps share. I have one called From My Studio. It’s also a good way to archive your work. Hey, I used quail eggs in this piece – I had forgotten that – gonna do that again!

Lyn Belisle – New HeartShard assemblage titled SongSon – 14″ – mica, metal, wood, clay, fiber, quail eggs

Setting up a Pinterest account and then collecting images and ideas is easy. WikiHow has a great guide to the process. Here’s the link.

Oh yeah, and Pinterest should come with a BIG FAT WARNING – using this site can be addictive.

Don’t say you weren’t warned, and have a great weekend pinning and playing. Thanks, as always, for subscribing to SHARDS.

Composition Campers win merit badges for bravery in collage!

The Composition Camp workshop yesterday was very, very cool – every single participant found a “right answer” to the assignment, and each answer was both unique and excellent.

First, we reviewed a slide show of composition examples like the one below based on my AB3 system  – the AB3s are Alignment, Breathing room , and Threes or thirds.:

"Three" Lyn Belisle, mixed media collage

“Three” Lyn Belisle, mixed media collage



Then, the first assignment started with a pear – everyone got a 5×7″ substrate of watercolor paper  and a printed inkjet photograph of a green pear.

Instructions were to demonstrate great composition while building  a collage that started with identical images  – and they did!


For their second assignment, students were encouraged to choose their own images from a National Geographic magazine, and that went just as well as the first challenge.

Both projects started with water media and images and ended with layers of textured beeswax.

Everyone shared ideas and inspired each other, but no two finished works were remotely the same. Some went completely toward abstraction and some retained the imagery. Take a look at the video – what amazing surface design and variety!

This session of Composition Camp was a huge success – yay!

Oh, and before I say goodbye for now, we have TWO Friday Freebie winners of the two Paper Pocket Purses – one winner is Quinn Jennings of Washington DC and the other  is ! Y’all email me your mailing addresses, and your freebies will be on their way to you!

Thanks to everyone for subscribing to SHARDS.

Calligraphy Guild, a project for YOU, and a Friday Freebie – or two . . .

10Last night, I visited the San Antonio Calligraphy Guild to show them how to make a pretty paper pocket purse/pendant project (say that three times fast) and a folding votive screen card. Calligraphers are nice people! I can’t wait to see how they take these projects and adapt them to their own many talents.

Here are some photos – there were 30+ participants, all cutting and gluing and having fun and following the directions (mostly!)

ppppI thought that YOU might like to have the directions for the pretty paper pocket purse, so as the first Friday Freebie, I’m giving you a link to the downloadable Pocket Pattern handout that I gave the calligraphers last night. All you need is 9×12″ construction paper and 8.5×11″ decorative paper, plus some ribbon and such. Easy!

And to sweeten the deal (after all, it’s getting close to Valentine’s Day), I’ll give away TWO Friday Freebies, the little purses pictured below, one to each of two lucky SHARDS subscribers. Just be a subscriber by Sunday at midnight – winners announced Monday morning. Good luck, and happy weekend!!





Working with Caryl Gaubatz

caryl copy

Caryl Gaubatz: Allein auf der Welt 2015 Deconstructed silk screen printing on hand woven linen (Linen woven by Käthe Weber in der Nähe von Bremen Germany, 1947)

What a pleasure and honor it was to be invited to Caryl Gaubatz’s studio yesterday to explore new techniques in fiber art and surface design!

I am a huge fan of her work – her newest series of story-garments, A Meditation on Aging and Loss, touches my heart on every level.

I watched Caryl demonstrate a technique called Deconstructed Screen Printing last year at a Fiber Artists of San Antonio meeting. The results were fantastic and mysterious (see the example on the left), but I couldn’t figure out how she did it, even as i watched her demonstrate. So when she offered to teach the process to me and to calligrapher-friend  Bonnie Davis, I jumped at the chance. And as a bonus, we also got to practice some indigo/shibori techniques!

Caryl is a master. You can see some of our explorations in the photos below . .  .

Deconstructed Screen Printing is fun to do but hard to explain – Caryl learned from Kerr Grabowski. Here are some of my my results from yesterday – as Caryl said, it’s unpredictable! 

If you want to learn more about how it works (and it can work on paper as well as fabric), watch Kerr Grabowski’s video below. Many thanks to Caryl for all of this wonderful information, for her time and patience, and for a fantastic lunch – visiting her is a delight!