Out of a job, better get organized . . .

First of all, congrats to this week’s Friday Freebie winner, Karen Cutrer, who subscribed to SHARDS five months ago. Karen, I’m not sure we’ve met, but so glad you won the Gold (or Silver)  Simple Leaf for gilding anything your heart desires. Send me an email with your address and color choice – lyn@lynbelisle.com – and I’ll get it to you right away. You have to promise to let me know how you use it! Golden eggs? Silver flower pots?

OK, so as summer progresses, I’m starting to realize that I don’t have an outside teaching job to go back to since 1969! – yikes. So I’m attempting to organize the Studio schedule to function as a full-time workspace (not an easy task for a left-handed Gemini). Here’s a first attempt at a reorganized Workshop webpage. It’s not too different yet, but I’ve added videos from past workshops and tried to make it easier to read. Suggestions?

wkSince I started teaching workshops even before I had the Studio, my goals have been:

  • Make it enjoyable for you – no stress or pressure, no scary stuff
  • Create a finished piece to take home with you to spur ideas and confidence
  • Provide all materials so you can just show up and create – no expensive lists of materials to bring – you don’t need expensive products to make art that you love.
  • Celebrate your style and your vision – no “copy me” or it’s wrong

Here are some early workshop pics from my kitchen and little ex-garage studio – we were squished, but it was still fun. I want to keep that sense of fun!

One of the new things I;m trying this fall is a longer two-day workshop, not with an out-of-town artist, but with just me, other local aritsts, or in this case, Lesta and me on one of the days. You can sign up for one day, two days, or both. There’s still a limit of eight, and lunch is included. Here are the details on that one – you can read more here:



 I also want to continue the monthly Show and Tell get-togethers. They really feed my soul! I’ll post those on my webiste as they are scheduled, but they will generally be the last Saturday of the month. Please take a look at the latest one from day before yesterday – wonderful!! And thanks for letting me think out loud about where my road goes from here. You are the best 🙂

A guru for digital photocollage . . . and a glitzy Friday Freebie!

Hallelujah – I’ve discovered the Digital Imaging Evangelist! She’s for real – Julieanne Kost is the “Principal Digital Imaging Evangelist” for Adobe Systems, and she is a wealth of creative inspiration for artists who work with digital images. Like me! – You might know that I’ve been using vintage digital images and encaustic wax in my latest work, like this piece, below.


“Drifters” Lyn Belisle – Encaustic Photo Collage on Birch Panel, 14×14″

The encaustic part I’ve learned from Michelle Belto and Clare O’Neill – and now I have a new Photoshop guru in Julieanne! She can be your guru, too – she has a ton of great FREE tutorials on her website. Combining, enhancing and altering digital images is an addictive art form – just ask my friend Jennifer Martin, who’s working with me, learning Photoshop and using her own beautiful digital images. So take a look at Julieanne’s tutorials if you’d like to explore the endless possibilities of the art of the digital image.

gold leaf smallDid you notice the small gold leaf accents in the piece above? That’s another technique that you can utilize when you combine wax and photocollage. Here’s a photo from my new eBook, Behind the Veil: Beeswax and Collage, that shows how to use a circle punch to cut the leaf. If you don’t have gold leaf that’s already studio to a backing, watch the free tutorial I made to show you how to manage and use loose sheets of metal leaf.

Finally, the Friday Freebie is a whole packet of paper-backed gold leaf to use in any creative and/or goofy way! If you are the lucky SHARDS subscriber whose name is drawn Sunday night, I’ll send you a package of Simple Leaf by Speedball your choice, silver or gold. So many creative ideas, so little time – and don’t forget there’s a Show and Tell at the Studio tomorrow from 2-4! TGIF, Y’all…..



Sunday’s creative Citra-solv collage circle

That Citra-solv stuff is amazing – it cleans the studio, takes old paint out of brushes, de-greases your tires, and makes amazing art paper from recycled magazines. If you haven’t tried it, perhaps you should – a bit messy, but worth it. Yesterday’s workshop participants got five gold stars for their creative collages. They made some fantastic solvent-altered papers and put together intriguing fantasy worlds. Take a look, and then I’ll give you some sources for the Citra-solve altered paper techniques below the video, You can figure out a million ways to use these cool designs.

I did a post last year on Citra-solv featuring a video by Cathy Taylor, who specializes in workshops using the altered magazine pages. If you want to go a bit further, there’s a new eBook out that I ordered just before this workshop titled “Dissolve It . . Resolve It.” You can download it for $9.95 and I think it’s quite worth it if you’re going to be working with this technique. There are even some directions about using Citra-solv to transfer images. I don’t know the author, but she does a great job laying out the basics and then inspiring experimentation! Fun stuff.


Friday night’s opening – the art and the chef

Art and food – what a combination. Both were in abundance Friday night at Pablo Solomon’s opening. It was a huge success – lots of conversation, an amazing spontaneous yoga demonstration, and good sales and feedback from the guests – thanks, everyone. And the food – well, read on.

Michael Belisle, the Studio Chef, outdid himself as usual for this event. Here are a few of his culinary creations:

Chef Mike is an integral part of the Studio events – workshop participants and art patrons alike know that they will be well-fed when they visit. He spares no effort to obtain the best and freshest ingredients – here he is “procuring” eggs from the neighbor’s chicken coop. Don’t tell.


Thanks, Chef Mike, for all you do to make Lyn Belisle Studio a place of creative belonging – and creative eating!

Here’s the recipe for Chef Mike’s  herby cheesy crackers. Warning – they really are addictive.

Herbed Cheese Crackers

2 (10 1/2-ounce) boxes cheese crackers (Cheezits)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 (1-ounce) package salad dressing mix (recommended: Hidden Valley Original Ranch)
1 heaping tablespoon dried dill
1 teaspoon garlic powdeR
1 teaspoon celery salt

Place the crackers in a large sealable freezer container. In a bowl, mix the oil, salad dressing mix, dill, garlic powder, and celery salt. Pour this mixture over the crackers, cover the container, and invert it to coat the crackers with seasoning. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours, turning the container every so often to keep the crackers coated. Let the mixture come to room temperature before serving. Store in the covered container in refrigerator.




Pablo and photo ops . . .

Tomorrow! You are invited!! This should be fun.


Pablo Solomon at Lyn Belisle Studio


Lyn Belisle by Kevin Dome, Boring Tuna Studio

Right before the opening at six, my photographer/web designer friend Kevin Dome of Boring Tuna will take photos of Pablo in my Studio. I love Kevin’s work – delighted that he’ll be “shooting” Pablo.

And you’ll love Pablo’s work – he’s a consummate conversationalist, and his wife Beverly is beautiful and charming. Meet them both tomorrow at the Studio from 6-9 and enjoy some wine and munchies.



And speaking of photography, so many artists would like to be able to work confidently with digital images for reference or content. Here’s a great workshop opportunity from artist pals Susan Carlin and Ugur Kilic  at Whistle Stop Corner Art Studio:whistle



You can even stay at Whistle Stop during the workshop – they have charming rooms in a historic compound/studio/B&B – check it out!

Hope to see you tomorrow at Pablo Solomon’s opening party.

Goddess Banners – wishes on the wind

Goddess banner surface design in process during workshop

Goddess banner surface design in process during workshop

In my last post, I said that I was excited about the upcoming Goddess Banner Workshop because it was something new for me. The idea was a combination of influences – Joanna Powell Colbert’s Gaian Soul Retreat, of course, and also the small-space dyeing techniques that Rosemary Uchniat teaches. And personally, I’ve felt an urge to explore the healing aspects of iconic feminine energy and consciousness, aka just plain ol’ being kind and being nurturing, both to ourselves and the planet we live on. Soooo – it was a joy to work with the eight women who participated in yesterday’s Goddess Banner workshop.

Before you look at the video, you should know that every person worked with the exact same image, an anonymous early 20th century photograph (1915) from the Flickr Commons archives. But each face look very different in the individual completed banners. We all remarked on this – each of us brings ourselves into the process and transforms our images unconsciously and almost magically. I’ll be offering this workshop again soon. Thanks to the participants who helped me bring this idea to reality in yesterday’s class. Wonderful banners all!!

Back from Boston, and summer at the Studio


Setting up in the little courtyard off Charles Street in Beacon Hill, Boston

Boston was great – I met lots of interesting people at my third annual Beacon Hill Art Walk, had a number of folks recognize me from last year (“Hey, Shard Lady!”), and sold some art. Interestingly, the encaustic pieces got most of the attention, but the Citra-solv landscapes got most of the bucks.

lsThese little mixed media landscape collages are always popular with art buyers, and  easy and fun to construct. As a matter of fact (what a coincidence), I’m having a workshop on Sunday, June 21st from 2-5 to show you how to make the collages, and there are lots of spaces left. You’ll learn how to create some amazing decorative artisan papers using Citra-solv cleaning solvent, and you will learn a lot about composition, as well. All materials are provided, as usual. Here’s a link if you’re interested. Come join me!

There are other summer workshops coming up at the Studio, including a Goddess Banner class on Sunday.goddessbanner That class is full, but I have had so much fun developing it that I’ll offer it again later. I’ve combined small-space dyeing with transfer, paper “quilting,” and other fabric surface design to make a layered banner that celebrates the idea of the Divine Feminine in whatever fashion pleases you. Here’s a first look at the prototype. When you hang a banner made with intention, like this one, the wish or affirmation is supposedly sent by the wind in all directions. I like that!

There’s a Spirit Box Workshop in July, and a Mixed Media Collage workshop in August – that one may focus on Goddess Banners again. Any takers for another Goddess Banner session? Email me!

It’s strange to think that I won’t be going back to Trinity University in the fall to teach, and it’s scarily liberating. FYI, Friday Freebies will return next week.

speedyFinally, one of the nicest things that happened during the Beacon Hill Art Walk was a Close Encounter of the Dog Kind – I was walking down a crowded street in Beacon Hill when a little doggie on a leash dragged her human over to see me, and began jumping up and down. It was my son’s dog, Speedy! Rick and his family were out of town, but Speedy recognized me and came bounding over to say hello. The pet sitter was very surprised, because he didn’t know who I was, and Speedy is usually a shy dog. But she is a good art critic – she looked at my art and licked my face in approval. 🙂

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone – hope it’s filled with dog licks, ice cream, and fun.





Yes, you do have homework this weekend

I’m outta here, headed to Boston, but you guys have homework. I want you to go see two shows, one tonight, one Sunday.

Tonight’s show is at La Vida Gallery at 1110 S. Alamo in Southtown. It’s the gallery where my work is shown, too, but the fabulous Yvette Shadrock has an opening tonight. I told Yvette that it kills me to miss this – she is amazing.

The second MUST-SEE show is at the San Antonio Art League at 130 King William Street on Sunday from 3-5. Five contemporary artists are represented: Richard Conn, Elizabeth Elequin, Linda Hammond, Stefani Spears, and Jim Stoker. Here are some pics I took when I got a sneak preview on Wednesday. Go!

OK, no excuses, do your homework – I want a report when I get back. Get out there and see these shows!

A must-read poem from Maripat

maripatLucky me to have dear friends who share their creative insights. Maripat Munley is one of these. Maripat is an RN with a masters in Art Therapy who has made art all her life. She studied oriental brush painting while living in Seoul, Korea, and her life reflects a balance of eastern serenity and western practicality.

Currently, she’s working on a poetry project with incarcerated women – she practices the healing power of art every day in every way – pretty cool. Maripat was a joy to work with in the recent workshop I did with Lesta Frank. Afterwards, I sent out the video to the participants, saying how proud I was of their beautiful folding handmade books. Maripat wrote back with this heartfelt poem, which I have permission to share with you. Thank you, Maripat, for all you do and all you are!

How to Be an Artist

Be still; silently breathe in my studio
wherever that studio is.
Use simple tools and colors that draw me.
Remember, making art is my spiritual practice.

Begin by releasing attachment to outcome or product
Bless eyes, hands, tools, paint and mixes.
See, touch, hear, smell everything I use.
Become one with the materials.
Remember, making art is my spiritual practice.

Immerse myself in the art process.
Let it be my prayer and my calling.
Draw and paint for the joy of it.
Be patient, able to stand back and gaze.
Remember, making art is my spiritual practice.

Get up early to walk, to meditate, to create
Draw EVERY day.
Spend time in the company of other artists.
Learn from them.
Remember, making art is my spiritual practice.

Let my quiet breathing prayer
mirror images beckoned from that silence.
Accept these images from the depth of my soul.
Remember, making art is my spiritual practice.

Maripat Munley

Sumi-e painting by Maripat Munley

Sumi-e painting by Maripat Munley