Photo sources, collage and copyright

doorwaySome of you have asked about sources for old photographs like the ones I’ve been using in my encaustic photocollage series. My favorite place to look is Flickr Commons, particularly the Library of Congress albums. Be warned: perusing these photos is addictive – you can get lost in history! It’s wonderful.

So what about copyright? The photos I  use are all categorized as “no known copyright exists” or “no known restriction on publication.” This means that either there was a copyright and it was not renewed, or, more likely in my case, the image is from a late 19th or early 20th century collection for which there is no evidence of any rights holder. It’s extremely important to read about copyright before you choose an image to use in your artwork – here’s the Library of Congress link, and it’s written in fairly simple terms (explaining copyright in the digital age is like trying to nail Jell-o to a wall).

humongYou’re probably going to transform the photograph in some way. Most of them are already black and white or sepia toned, but you will most likely want to enhance the lighting and contrast to provide the most dramatic effect for your artwork. Even if you don’t have Photoshop or other industry-standard photoediting software, you can still have fun working with iPiccy or PicMonkey. These allow you to upload a saved photograph that you’ve found and edit it online, then save it back to your computer.

You’ll find that when you’re going through the old photos, one or two will just reach out to you as subjects, almost as if they are saying across time, “Choose me!“. That’s the amazing part. And once you have your special  photo edited and printed, you’re ready to start your collage!


“Sheltered” Lyn Belisle 2015



What a show – and tell!

Yesterday’s Show and Tell at the Studio was a mixed-media extravaganza! Each presentation was unique, informative, and fun – and everyone there bounced ideas around like popcorn in a microwave (how’s that for a simile?).


Some of the highlights:

  • J’Cil Horn’s use of a fiber product called Warm and Natural, which is a cotton batting used by quilters that adapts itself to so many possibilities, including acrylic paint and fabric embellishments.
  • Paige Ramsey-Palmer’s fascinating introduction to healthy probiotic foods  – it is a culinary art that had us asking tons of questions as we sipped the lemon and ginger drinks she’d made for us.
  • Christie Smith’s show-and-tell on Gyotaku (fish printing) that she was introduced to the fish printing during the TP&W BOW (Becoming and Outdoor Woman) weekend this spring which was held at the Texas Baptist Encampment in Palacios, and, yes, the fish were real (but frozen). Christie’s shrimp prints were a crowd favorite.
  • Gloria Hill’s insightful presentation on two important mindsets for artists – recycling and stealing. The recycling part means transforming you less successful work into new creations through collage, and the stealing part is the good kind of theft – finding artists’ work you love and being inspired by their techniques. See Austin Kleon’s book, Steal Like an Artist, and read Gloria’s blog, Open Doors.
  • Rosemary Uchniat’s sneak preview of the Small-Space Dyeing workshop she’ll be giving at my Studio on July 18th from 1-5. I posted a rave about this technique recently. Rosemary previewed the technique and results in about a square foot of space. One show-and-teller signer up on the spot. FYI, there are two spaces left.

So now that you’ve read the trailer, see the film! Here’s a short video of some of the great demos from yesterday, and the people who came, learned, ate, sipped and enjoyed the afternoon at Lyn Belisle Studio. Our next Show and Tell is May 30th from 2-4. Be there or be square and creatively unaware! 🙂

Fiber Artists of San Antonio Style Show 2015

fasaWhen I joined FASA, the Fiber Artists of San Antonio, I knew they did more than quilting and knitting, but I didn’t realize that “fiber art” includes basketry, beadwork, braiding, clothing design, crochet, dyeing, embroidery, felting, hooking, knitting, lacework, mixed media, needlework, paper, quilting, sculpture, sewing, spinning, surface design, textile design and weaving. As a mixed media artist, I’ve discovered a lot to learn and love in this group!

Many FASA members create one-of-a-kind garments for the juried Fashion Show, an annual event that is wildly popular and usually a sell-out. I was lucky enough to get a ticket by the stage this year, and happily present to you a sampler of the artistic fashions.  The theme was In Harmony With Nature – and these talented designers combined nature, art, imagination and fashion in their creations. Take a look!      

One last note – the winner of the Walnut Ink Friday Freebie is Jo Etta Jupe – congrats, Jo Etta! Let me know how you’d like to receive your fabulous freebie 🙂


Walnut Ink – in the beginning (and a FF)

wiIt’s a rainy morning here in San Antonio, so I was at the computer, clearing out some old duplicate video files when I  discovered this clip from 2011. It’s me, talking about a new discovery – Walnut Ink! Y’all know that I live and breathe that stuff – just ask anybody who has taken a workshop on any subject at the Studio.

This little video was made waa-aay before I had the big Studio, back when I was making Kindle covers for my old Etsy shop in the little garage studio. Here, I’m using Walnut Ink on unglazed clay to make a Scent Shard.  You may remember that I made a lot of these several years ago. The idea is to put drops of essential oils on an evocative earthenware face and let the scent and good vibes disperse over a period of time. Pretty cool, right?

Here’s the video clip, and for today’s Friday Freebie, the SHARDS subscriber whose name is drawn on Sunday night will get – what else?? a bottle of Tsukineko Walnut Ink! (Incidentally, Wikipedia says the stuff was used to stain the hands of criminals back in old Rome because it wouldn’t wash off . . .)


Junanne Peck rolls out printmaking fun with FASA

The Fiber Artists of San Antonio sponsored a workshop yesterday afternoon with printmaker Junanne Peck, whose printmaking techniques include collagraphs, drypoint, polyester plate lithography, etching and monotypes. I had taught printmaking in public school, but it was a long time ago and I learned some new things from Junanne that I thought I’d share with you.

First, she is a demonstrator artist for Akua printing inks, a division of Speedball. We used this ink for monotype printing and I was impressed with the texture and pigmentation. They also make fabric printing inks that are permanent once dried. Check it out.

DSCN6690But the item that really intrigued me was the PinPress – a hand operated roller-type system that produces beautiful monotypes.

DSCN6703It’s made by Akua – here’s what they say about it: The PinPress was designed specifically for monotype printmaking. The roller is precisely machined to an incredibly even and smooth surface for uniform contact between the roller, paper and plate. Durable all metal construction made of aluminum and brass bushings insures long lasting, trouble-free printing.

I used this press during the workshop to make a monotype print with the Akua inks and liked the feel of it a lot. It costs $235, so it is a bit pricey for a small studio, but if you are into monoprinting, the PinPress is a great solution and produces nice prints with good embossed edges. And it’s definitely cheaper than a conventional heavy flat-bed press!

All of us enjoyed the afternoon with Junanne – she’s a great teacher. Here are some photos from the workshop.

Last but not least, congrats to the Friday Freebie winner of the texture tool set whose email address is “” I like that! Send me your contact info and I’ll get these to you right away – you can scratch and texture to your heart’s content.

Tina Karagulian at Intermezzo Gallery in Boerne

 Tina Karagulian is a storyteller, writer, poet, artist and friend. I was lucky enough to see her recent work at Intermezzo Gallery and Studios on Saturday afternoon in Boerne, Texas. Intermezzo is an amazing art-filled space. Owner Cathy Galloway‘s mission isto bring together people and creativity, color and sounds, textures and poetry, ideas and hope, surprises and beauty.”

All of these were in evidence as Tina read her poetry and discussed her work while jazz guitarist John Lind played interpretive music to the audience’s suggested descriptive words for each of the paintings. Here’s a short video of Tina’s paintings and poetry, John’s music, and the Intermezzo Gallery.

It was, alas, the closing day of her Inner and Outer Space exhibit, but you can learn more about Tina and her work on her website. And do go visit Intermezzo Gallery and Studios when you’re in Boerne. It’s a serene and sacred space. Thank you, Tina, for your gifts and for sharing them with all of us!


Friday freebie – scratch and scrape

This’ll be quick – the Spurs are playing Houston and the game is tied! This week’s Friday freebie is a simple but effective little tool set for making marks and textures in painted surfaces, plaster, clay, anything that needs a skritch or a scratch. I ordered an extra set to give away to a SHARDS subscriber – be on the blog subscriber list by midnight Sunday and this fabulous, wildly expensive (think “Three-Buck Chuck”) set of DecoArt Texture Tools could be yours!

textureOK, back to the game – GO SPURS!




I got to be a student, and just about dyed :)

jarsI got to play  at the Studio today as a student of fiber artists and friend Rosemary Uchniat! Rosemary will be presenting a special workshop at my Studio in July that teaches us how to dye artful fabric the easy way with spectacular results.  I’ll let you know as soon as it’s scheduled, but in the meantime, here’s a sneak preview (see pics). Sidney Burnette, Nita Hazel and I learned three techniques that just blew us away because they were simple to do (with Rosemary’s help)  and produced results that looked as if we knew what we were doing! It was very cool.

This was a trial  run for the upcoming July workshop with Rosemary as a guest artist/teacher, and based on our experiences today, I know you’re gonna love it – so stay tuned for date and time. This workshop and all of the others for late summer and fall will be announced before the end of April.

A HUGE wake-up call – thanks to my fellow art educators!

If you read my recent post, you know how excited I am about working with beeswax and digital photos (thanks again, Clare O’Neill). Friday evening I got a wake-up call literally – validating my artistic intuition. Thanks to two super friends, Gloria Hill and Melissa Wittman, I made a last-minute entry in the Artists Who Teach show at Blue Star which opened Friday. I chose a wax and tissue photocollage titled – guess what – “Wake-Up Call.” And it won Best of Show!! I was stunned and incredibly grateful, both for the astonishing award and the validation of a new direction.

It is an especially meaningful honor because it came from one of the most talented group of friends and peers that I know – art educators. Take time to thank an art teacher today – what gifts they give. And support the San Antonio Art Education Association. They rock!

Special thanks also to juror Jim LaVilla-Havelin, artist and poet and mentor, for the conversation we shared after the awards. He is so wise! I’ll share his piece of wonderful advice with everyone – Jim said, “Never paint for a specific juror – it will backfire. Paint your heart, paint you best without compromise.” . . . . Wow. Life is good.

Three-minute “big question” video

I was upgrading my Vimeo account this morning and came across this Staff Pick called “What Comes After Religion” by Jonathan Hodgson. It’s thought-provoking and beautifully made and addresses (in just three minutes) questions about the human need for spirituality in the absence of formal religion – and the way art plays an integral part. I thought it was worth sharing. Comments?

WHAT COMES AFTER RELIGION from Jonathan Hodgson on Vimeo.

OK, back to work – is it Friday yet?