I need your help with a logo design!

It’s time to update the media/branding look of the San Antonio Art League & Museum. Coincidentally,  I’m the new President and I love playing with logo design. So – aha! I get to create some new design ideas, and you get to help!!

Here’s the original design – it’s been around for years, but it doesn’t seem to reflect what we are – it’s fairly generic and undistinguished. It also has a drop shadow effect that’s hard to reproduce in print.

I like the way the old logo kept the word “ART” as the focus, so I used that in the new designs. But it doesn’t say much about the organization.

When you create a logo, you are creating a visual symbol that says “who we are.” At the San Antonio Art League & Museum, we are

  • guardians of a precious permanent collection of notable paintings that are exhibited several time a year
  • an active support organization for San Antonio artists. Our Members Gallery, opening in September, will feature work by area artists throughout the year
  • part of one of America’s most beautiful historical areas, the King William District

Getting all of that into one design is a challenge.

Here’s the first idea – The green color suggests the leafy environment in the area and the triangles add a contemporary touch. There is an architectural fragment used as a graphic element on the top right.

The next one is a clean contemporary design with a rendering of the Art League building in the circle.

This logo features my favorite vintage bronze color with an antique brush etching and a very contemporary font.

The last idea has a classic column on the right side and a paint spatter on the left side. Designers have a saying that says “purple pulls” so this one is purple, but I’m not sure about that.

You can take this link to tell me what you think about each logo, or just tell me which one you like the best. You don’t need to be an artist to choose what you like – in fact, that sometimes complicates the choice!

If you are an artist, I’m open to suggestions – if you have a design that you think works better, send it along to me via email and I will give you TWICE what I earn as the SAAL&M graphic designer. Lucky you!!

And if you are a SAAL&M member, these logos will go out in tomorrow’s newsletter for you to vote on. It definitely takes a village to support a beloved non-profit art organization like the San Antonio Art League & Museum!




An experimental workshop venue: the San Antonio Art League studio – everything old is new again!

Do you have a pioneering spirit? Join me on August 20th at the venerable King William Street home of the San Antonio Art League and Museum for a workshop.It will be held in their old studio building that’s not been used for teaching in a VERY long time.  We’ll test-drive the space and see how it works!

The workshop is called “Postcards to Myself.”  It’s a mixed-media exploration of everything from composition to mark-making to collage to encaustic in just three hours.

Here’s the story behind this workshop:

  • As President of the San Antonio Art League & Museum, I want to help make it an engaging and lively organization for local artists
  • That means that we need more members and more exposure
  • Workshop bring new people to the group
  • Voila! New members, new energy! People come to make art and talk about art!
  • And, as with all non-profit arts organizations, we need money, so I’ll be donating all workshop proceeds to the Art League.

So here’s what I want you to dosign up for the workshop if you’re interested.

If it is sold out, go to this link to add your name to the SAAL&M email list to be notified of the next one.

And please go to this link to join the San Antonio Art League & Museum. You’ll get discounted workshops as well as eligibility to exhibit in our new Members Gallery.

San Antonio Art League & Museum 130 King William, San Antonio, TX 78204

Everything old is new again!!

(Note to friends who teach workshops – if this works out as well as I hope, you can contact me to use this studio space for your own workshops if you will consider giving a portion of your tuition profits to the San Antonio Art League & Museum.)



Indigo + paper + beeswax = kimono construction

For a while now, I’ve wanted to go back to basics with some of my favorite simple materials:  paper, beeswax, indigo and walnut ink in new ways and combinations.

And I’ve wanted to revisit my beloved kimono format that brought me such joy and success in the past. Here’s one of those pieces, a large-scale origami construction called “Luna,” done in about 2003.

But I didn’t want to revert to exactly the same process. So I am experimenting with natural indigo and mulberry paper which I’ve painted and stamped with pure beeswax, much like the traditional batik technique, but on paper rather than fabric. As far as I know, no one is working quite this way, but I thought it would be a great material to fashion into small kimono constructions.

The new kimonos pieces are not completed yet – I’m still working on them for an exhibit in August (Susie Monday, this is the process I was describing to you) – but I thought I’d share what I’m doing with the indigo paper and beeswax surface design.

This is the indigo dye vat. I chose a rectangular container instead of a round bucket because I wanted to submerge the mulberry paper without crumpling it. (Mixing indigo is a whole ‘nother subject. Jacquard has a pre-reduced indigo that makes it easier.)

I used a heavily-textured white mulberry paper, and painted it with natural beeswax. Sometimes I stamped on the wax with random found objects. Here’s what it looks like before the dye.

And here’s what it looks like after the indigo dye bath process.

The varied blues are wonderful, and the wax gives the paper a very different feel. Here are some other samples, some with terra cotta walnut ink added.

One of the neat things about working with mulberry paper rather than fabric is that you can control how the paper “frays.” If you run a stream of water on the edges, the fibers fall apart, giving a wonderfully organic look.

I’ve sketched the kimono forms and have decided to add some of the paper and wax beads that I used in the Talisman Workshop. It will be a great combination – I hope!

Once the pieces are finished, I’ll post them here on SHARDS. In the meantime, this kind of creative play with paper and indigo is such fun! It’s even red, white and blue! Sorta.

Happy 4th, everyone!! Thanks for reading SHARDS.







Artful Gathering students shine – take a look at their work!

One of my favorite teaching gigs is the online summer Art Retreat called Artful Gathering. It’s an international gathering of artists, teachers and students who come together to “find their wings.”  I’ve been teaching classes there for the last five years, but this session has to top them all.

The class is called Natural Expressions. I designed it to introduce the process of combining beeswax, pigments and hand-enhanced papers with vintage photos, particularly of families. Well, wowzers! Did they ever find their wings with this project!

I’m sharing (with their permission) some of the work these students are doing and the notes they are making about these very personal pieces pieces. You will be inspired, as I was.

This first portrait collage with beeswax is by Theresa Kent of her grandson, Ezekiel.

Theresa writes, “Here’s my first attempt. This is my grandson, Ezekiel. I used the stencil with walnut ink on rice paper. I added a piece of lace with encaustic and then waxed the outside to add deeper color. Then I added the final touches. Love this process and will be working on more soon. I’ve got lots of vintage photos I want to play with. “

Next is a gorgeous piece by Lorelei Crandall.

Lorelei says, “This is a portrait of my daughter. I manipulated the photo a little in Photoshop to remove the background, then made it a sepia tone. The numbers are glued on and are made of cardboard and painted. I used prismacolor pencils, inks, stamps and stencils on the photo and the frame. I waxed over the raised numbers ( ended up removing some excess wax), and fused all of it”
What great ideas!!

Here’s another piece by Lorelei – I think she’s found her medium!

She writes: “Here is my first attempt using a family photo of my husband’s grandfather when he worked on the railroad in Iowa.  The numbers represent the numbers on his cap. I added a collage of train tracks ( printed on tracing paper) from Flikr commons, and a conductor’s watch. The frame paper is rusted. I used stamps, etching into the wax, inks, and adding color to the encaustic medium.”

Next is a very poignent piece by Kate – not a relative, but a person from the past whom she was touched by.

Kate says, “The photo is copyright free, of a woman in Clonmel, Ireland.  It was taken in 1937 by a doctor.  The woman, perhaps named Mrs. Casey, had a skin condition called Pellagra.  Her face haunts me, and I created this piece in honor of her.”

Catherine Howe is creating a series of family collages with beeswax and mixed media, each one unforgettable.

Catherine says, “This is my dad Estes (child that looks like a girl) with his two brothers.  The quality of this photo is very poor.  I did the best I could do with it.  I loved the little overalls and hats on the older boys.  Very few pictures were taken of my dad’s family.  So what I have are very precious.  They lived in rural Colorado and their father was a stockherder (word used on census).  He was a real cowboy raising cattle to sell in Denver, CO.”

This is Catherine’s mother, Billie, when she was a little girl – notice the wonderful textures on the mat.:

Another great piece from Catherine:

She says, “This is a picture of my mother’s Uncle Byron when he was little (on the right).  Byron was really like a brother to my mother.  This was probably taken in Nebraska.  I do find coloring the picture does help to highlight the images.”

Kim Smith did this piece – she works kind of like I do, using the process as a series of studies to explore the possibilities.

Kim writes, “This is a 5×7 collage on mat back with stamping, ink, pencil and beeswax. Working on several of these and will make frames for one I like best. Great class, thank you!”

Aren’t these pieces amazing? There are more to come – I’m in awe of (and inspired by) my students.

There’s still more than two weeks left in the class, enough time for you to jump in if you’re interested. We have many lively discussion and lots of tips to share as we work. Just go to the Artful Gathering link to check out this class and all the others.

I’m also teaching an assemblage class called Sacred Serendipity in the second session which starts July 16th.

Now I’m headed back to the studio where I’m working on some indigo-dyed paper  wait till you see what that looks like – it’s coming up! Stay cool!



Report from Provincetown

Michelle Belto and I are in Boston and Provincetown for the 11th International Encaustic Conference – Michelle led a presentation on Friday afternoon, and I will be teaching an all-day post-conference workshop this coming Friday.

Part of the fun of the conference was attending a zillion First Friday gallery openings along Commercial Street in P’Town. There was an emphasis on encaustic, but there was a ton of fantastic and inspirational art in all media. My “Steal Like an Artist” radar was set to maximum power.

Here are some images of a few pieces that I liked for one reason or another. When you Steal Like an Artist, you don’t really copy – you just notice which part of a work happens to resonate strongly with you, and later you figure out why it did and what to do about it.

Wax image on metal plate

Wood, Wax, Crystals

wrapped wax objects

Love that Prussian Blue

Layered encaustic construction

wax and paper garment

Woman with her monkey

All-white collage collection

Provincetown itself is a visual work of art, particularly the beautifully-constructed front gardens in front of the Cape Cod houses.

Typical Provincetown house and garden

Back in Boston yesterday, Michelle and I shared a space at the Beacon Hill Art Walk and had a wicked good time talking with people and (hooray) selling some art. It’s such a great event – and we didn’t even get rained out! 

I’ll send a workshop report later in the week – meanwhile, I’ll just enjoy the 55F Boston weather 🙂

The San Antonio Art League & Museum – new adventures!

Yesterday, I became the new President of the venerable San Antonio Art League and Museum. It’s a huge honor and a huge challenge.

I’m so lucky to have the help of a fantastic board, including Stefani Job Spears, who will serve as 1st VP. She’s an amazing artist and one of the most generous friends I’ve ever known. (Plus, she was my grandson’s teacher at St. Mary’s Hall – yay!) Thanks, Stef!

Stefani Job Spears, watercolor

And we are all lucky to have the support of of 2017 Art Patrons, Cappy and Suzy Lawton. They have some wonderful ideas about promoting membership and preserving the amazing Permanent Collection at SAAL&M.

In SAAL&M’s Permanent Collection you’ll find works by such luminaries as the Onderdonks and Jose Arpa, and by all of the finest legacy artists from San Antonio like Amy Freeman Lee, Bill Bristow, E. Gordon West,  Cecil Casbier, and many many more. It’s a unique and priceless collection.

But right now, I’d like to acknowledge Helen and Clarence Fey who have led the Art League for the past fifteen years, keeping the exhibits going, keeping the historic King William building which is home to the Art League in good condition and open to the public. They are remarkable.

Yesterday at our General Membership Meeting, we honored this dedicated couple with many well-deserved tributes, including a  Life Membership in the San Antonio Art League and Museum. Here is an excerpt from the letter that accompanied the award:

“To thank you adequately is impossible. You have spent many long hours at the San Antonio Art League and Museum, sacrificing your personal time for the greater good of this organization. You took great care to see that protocol was followed in each situation involving the priceless permanent collection. We appreciate your invaluable business expertise and personal communication skills that has kept SAAL&M an integral part of the arts community. Your stewardship and care of the building itself is well-known and deeply appreciated.”

Thanks, Helen and Clarence – and we will count on your expert guidance and advice as you continue as members of the SAAL&M.

Beacon Hill Art Walk

Now I’m off to Boston with Michelle Belto to show at the Beacon Hill Art Walk and to teach at the International Encaustic Conference in Provincetown. But when I get back, you’re going to hear a lot more about what’s going to be happening at the San Anton Art League – and how you can help. You have been warned :).

The art of poetry

I’m so lucky to count Pamela Ferguson among my friends. I’ve admired her poetry for a long time and loved her visits to my old studio where the Voices de la Luna poetry group met. And I got to see her in a new incarnation when she attended the Small Worlds workshop last weekend!

Pamela just sent me a poem inspired by her collage creation – I thought you’d like to see it. She addresses the very personal connection between the art we make and the words we write.

pamela copy

Here’s more about Pamela’s work:

Pamela Ferguson is a native of San Antonio and a proud resident of the Texas Hill Country. She is a late bloomer, having attained her BA in English at the age of 48. The desire to write has been with her as long as she can remember and this goal was achieved when she was hired a technical writer by a local pharmaceutical manufacturing company. Pamela has written poetry since she was a teen but got serious about it in the 1990’s. She has published numerous poems in literary journals across the States including The Journal of the Texas Council of Teachers of English, Aries, New Texas, and Lucidity. Winner of the 2006 Laurel Crown Poetry competition for her poem, “Hand me Down,” Pamela has participated in San Antonio area poetry festivals and readings, has received several awards, had many poems published in local journals.

Thanks, Pamela, for sharing your thoughts and image. I’m thinking that an art and poetry workshop might be on the horizon! I’m getting the summer and fall schedule together right now – this could be a winner!

romance of writing letters



Embracing the change – Nick says it’s OK

I am so excited about the new studio space! It should be open shortly after Thanksgiving, and I’ll tell you about the December workshop very soon. I spent yesterday lugging stacks of my old work and hauling new supply shelves into this lovely serene place of creative belonging.

A first look at the new space - do NOT look behind the screen yet - too terrifying and totally disorganized to describe :)

A first look at the new space – do NOT look behind the screen yet – too terrifying and totally disorganized to describe 🙂 I did that framed piece on the wall in 1976 – yikes – that’s a lotta art years

This whole year has been a tangle of change, fear, joy, sleep-robbing worry and  happy anticipation – all wound up into one giant hairball. But part of the useful stuff that I extracted from the hairball was a look at what has changed in my artwork and what has stayed the same.

Interestingly enough, my art has sorta circled back to a similar place that I was in 2011. At that point,  I was working with Renaissance images of women’s faces in collage with some dimensional elements – this piece is titled “Shutter Speed,” and it was in one of my first shows at La Vida Gallery.

Lyn Belisle Shutterspeed Mixed Media Collage on Canvas 2011

Lyn Belisle
Mixed Media Collage on Canvas

After that, I decided to begin combining three-dimensional faces rather than images of faces into assemblages. This series was called Encantos.

Lyn Belisle Assemblage with earthenware and mixed media 2012

Lyn Belisle
Assemblage with earthenware and mixed media 2012

When I worked with Gwen Fox in Taos, I wanted to use the same idea as part of an abstract painting.

Lyn Belisle Acrylic and dimensional clay on canvas 2013

Lyn Belisle
Acrylic and dimensional clay on canvas 2013

And then, abandoning the faces, I wanted to work in a purely abstract manner on canvas (but notice that the colors and the “feel” are similar). I brought circles and geometric shapes into this painting (those seem to follow me everywhere). My friend Ramesh owns this piece.

Lyn Belisle After the Fire Acrylic on Canvas

Lyn Belisle
After the Fire
Acrylic on Canvas

But guess what? For the past year or two, I’ve been working in collage again, this time with images of vintage faces and found objects with beeswax – it’s kinda come full circle. But the addition of wax is very exciting to me, and I will continue to explore it.

Lyn Belisle Eva's Bird Beeswax and mixed media collage 2015

Lyn Belisle
Eva’s Bird
Beeswax and mixed media collage 2015

So is this bad? Good? My newest art hero, Nicholas Wilton, would advise us to embrace the change and don’t think of one phase as better, just different. This short video is so worth watching. It packs a whole bunch of great notions into less than three minutes. Plus ol’ Nick is a cutie. Maybe I could get him to visit my new studio? Hmmmmm . . .







The last Carousel ride . . .

What a beautiful, busy,  bittersweet weekend  it was at Lyn Belisle Studio in Carousel Court. While the Studio itself will be open until the end of October, we had our final workshops there this past Saturday and Sunday.

Rosemary Uchniat led us through her signature Small Space Dyeing class on Saturday. She and I tried to remember how many of these great workshops she’s conducted at the Studio – at least four or five. They are always a success because she teaches methods that are no-fail and brilliantly simple.

Look at the delighted smiles on the faces of her students as they discuss their gorgeous results.

On Sunday, I taught a Mixed Media Portfolio class. As usual, the students astounded themselves (and me) with their dazzling creations. Take a look.

Teaching that class brought me full circle, appropriately enough. Ten years ago, getting back into art pretty much saved my life and my sanity after I went through a particularly bad time.

Back then, as a kind of self-designed art therapy, I began making handmade book covers that told a story.  Some were designed to fit over ebook readers like Kindles.They were popular with friends, so I opened my first Etsy shop and made and sold over 200 of these covers. The process gave me hope and confidence. Here’s a link to some of those early covers.


So, speaking of coming full circle, events at the Carousel Court Studio are not finished just yet – there will be a fantastic trunk show with Monika Astara on Saturday, October 15th, that you won’t want to miss. And there will be an October Show and Tell, details TBA. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, I’m headed to Santa Fe in two days with art pal Michelle Belto to teach at the Artisan Expo. My solo class, Engraven Images, is sold out! Woohoo!

The next SHARDS blog post will come to you live (sorta) from New Mexico.

Artisan Materials Expo 2016: Creative Ascension Welcome to the seventh biennial Artisan Materials Expo 2016: Creative Ascension, an event for every level of artist, featuring a fabulous selection of world-class art materials at discount prices, as well as opportunities to take classes. The Expo also welcomes the Encaustic Art Institute & International Encaustic Artists Retreat.



Smell this . . . . . .ahhhhhhh



Raise your hand if you know about aromatherapywow! That’s more people than I thought! It’s a wonderful practice, one that I’ve taught since 1990. Shortly after that, my biochemist friend Dr. Bill Kurtin and I began work on a new educational aromatherapy website called Chemaroma. We’ve just updated and expanded it, and we’re really excited about it. We may even get to participate in the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy conference later this year.

logosmall copy copy

So what’s in it for you? First of all, there are a bunch of free resources on the Chemaroma site, including a recipe called Stinky Sneaker Zapper that makes your track shoes smell like lavender. There are also some neat skin care recipes and such. And you can get essential oils at Whole Foods and Sprouts. There is even a special essential oil for creativity called Clary Sage – I’ll tell you about that one later. Essential oils are easy and fun, and you don’t have to be an aromatherapist to experience them.

So, if you want to experiment, here’s one of my favorite ways to use  essential oils – an aromatherapy bath salt project. I made this video about three or four years ago. Once you make these artistic little bath salt packets, you can use them for gifts, for craft markets, or just to store in your linen closet or underwear drawer until you are ready to open them and use them in the bath tub or shower 🙂 They make lovely aromatic sachets.

Got questions about aromatherapy? Visit Chemaroma or just email me. And the first person to contact me through the Chemaroma home page gets that packet of Gingergrass Bath Salts at the top of this post. Happy Friday!!