Jane Davies workshop, Day Three

Driving to Gloucester from Salem on Sunday morning

Driving to Gloucester from Salem on Sunday morning

Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow could stop these two intrepid artists from heading off to the final day of Jane’s workshop. It really was something of a shock to be in the middle of a snowstorm in April!

Our assignment for the day was to incorporate the techniques we had learned into new layers on previous work and to begin a new piece (or two) from scratch.

It still amazes me that all of us were able to complete at least six or seven paintings during Jane’s workshop. Of course, the goal was not to produce finished works, but to explore the process-directed techniques. To quote Jane. “You can’t like it all the way through the piece,” and “You can’t plan more than one step ahead.” Sorta like driving through the snow and fog.

Here are some of the photos from our last day – you can see how pieces have changed and evolved. (By the way, if you are reading this as an email and can’t see the images, just click on the title of this post to take you to the blog site.)

Thanks beyond words to Jane Davies for a wonderful workshop – if you ever have the chance to work with her, do it. Thanks to my co-pilot, Gloria Hill, for her intrepid navigation along the Massachusetts roads.. We’ll be home soon to Texas!

I can’t show you photos from the art-filled week, but I did do my homework. . .

It’s a foggy morning here in Boston, and I am still processing all of the incredible art I’ve seen this past week, here, and in New York. You are temporarily off the hook for having to see my zillions of photos of art, though, because of some “saving errors” on my little Mac. But I will definitely post them when I get home later this week.

The most spectacular art museum I saw was the Whitney Museum of American Art – I hope you get to visit sometime. Their new location is breathtaking, and the exhibit, America is Hard to See, is like walking in person through the most exciting decades of American art. What an experience!!

The IMG_7381best new-to-me artist I discovered was Arlene Shechet. Here’s a photo from a video of her working on one of her large clay sculptures. If you visit her site, you can see the work I saw at Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art. I was especially fond of the indigo and white mandalas that she did between 2002-2005. She is amazingly versatile, eclectic and visionary.

I did do my homework for Jane Davies‘ class while I’ve been here in Boston – Jane is an amazing teacher and painter – hope she doesn’t mind my sharing this approach to composing a painting study. It’s very worthwhile – it involves concentrating on two separate areas at a time within a randomly executed beginning. Take a look – I didn’t produce a “finished” painting, but I learned a lot and had fun doing it. And I did it on the dining room table with limited supplies – shows that you can do your art anywhere.

Home soon!! Can’t wait to be back to the Studio.

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.





A rainy train . . .

Writing and rolling, on a train headed to Boston from New York’s Penn Station, gives me a unique perspective of a territory that’s unfamiliar in the first place, but darn near alien as it zips by at 80+ mph on a cold, rainy Christmas Eve day. The first time I tried to take a photo out of the window, it was blurry from the rain and the rail motion and speed. But – aha! – it was kind of impressionistic! I swear, there is beauty everywhere whether we notice it or not. Here are some accidentally arty iPhone photos that might just inspire some mixed-media work when I get back home to the Studio.

The train is getting close to Boston, so I’ll sign off for now, but not before wishing you a happy Christmas Eve (or a glorious December 24th if that suits you better) – I hope you are in a place that brings you comfort and joy.

Painting with Ellen Rolli – unchain my art

I spent three hours yesterday talking and painting with abstract artist Ellen Rolli at her SoWa studio in Boston. It was a pretty transformative experience – Ellen has a fearless relationship with her work that is contagious (see her website). I am so grateful for a chance to work with her, and am still processing a lot of what I learned, but thought I’d share a few photos and a book recommendation from Ellen. Yesterday’s objective was not to produce a finished painting, but to work in a more intuitive and liberating process with the paint. It was cool.

I learned to trust the painting process a lot more. That is the title of a book that Ellen recommended for me which I’ve already ordered:




And I’ll leave ya with a quote from Hans Hoffman that I found on Ellen’s website –
“Every successful canvas has been painted from the point of view of a student, for a great painter is always a student.”
Thank you, Ellen! Hope to see you on my next visit.

First Friday, Boston-style

Boston has a thriving arts district on Harrison Avenue
, south of Washington (SoWa). I got to check out their First Friday, and came back with a huge stash of new ideas. There was *lots* of exciting encaustic work. We were particularly impressed with Robin Luciano Beaty‘s work with wax, mixed media and found objects:

Refuge No. 24-29 Encaustic, m/m and found objects 42 x 24″

 Even more exciting was getting to meet Ellen Rolli, a Boston abstract painter whose work I love – and I’m going to have a private painting session with her on Sunday! I had contacted her by email, and the timing worked out – will send a report. Here’s a sample of her work – it’s energetic and mysterious and totally engaging:

Glimpses acrylic and mixed media 36″x 36

There were lots and lots of photographic mixed media works – here’s one I liked a lot by artist Melody Postma:

Slightly shifting the subject to using photographs in your own art work, here’s *sort* of a Friday FreebieCloth Paper Scissors magazine just send me a link to a free eBook with four tutorials on digital artmaking. They have a lot of good free tutorials, but this is one of the best if you’re wanting to know more about digital processes and aren’t an expert (who is??). Here’s the link:


You can download it and even print it out.You do have to sign up for an account if you don’t have one, but there are no strings attached and you can access a lot more of their good information if you do.

That’s it for now – gotta rest up for the Red Sox/Yankees game today at Fenway!  More soon from your roving arts and sports reporter in Boston . . . . have a great weekend.

Kim Bernard and the Boston Sculptors Gallery

It has been a gorgeous afternoon in Boston, and I took a break from preparations for tomorrow’s Beacon Hill Art Walk to head over to the Boston Sculptors Gallery. Before I left San Antonio, I had gotten a email about an opening there and  knew it would coincide with my Boston visit. It sounded intriguing even before I found out that Kim Bernard, one of the artists, is a friend of Michelle Belto‘s, my good pal and workshop collaborator. The sculpture gallery space is wonderful – very large and light. It was dominated by Kim’s installation of 100 lead balls suspended in a 25′ line from a very high ceiling. Kim handed me The Special Glove and let me start the ball rolling, as it were, and the whole sinuous line of little spheres danced along a curving path. Pretty cool! Click here to read more about Kim and her work – and also look at the work of her exhibition partner, Donna Dodson, whose female hippo sculptures are both powerful and endearing. It is such an adventure to seek out new art in new places – –  and now, back to work for tomorrow’s show. I’ll send a report afterwards!

Bonus post!! Thanks to Delta, we present Samurai!

So I got one of those dreaded notices early this morning that my 9:00 Delta Airlines flight from Boston to San Antonio had changed to 11:30 for no apparent reason, which messed up connections, etc – but now that I’ve re-booked everything, there’s time to post some pics from the amazing, stupendous Samurai Exhibit at the Boston Museum of Art which I visited yesterday. Here’s the info for you to read regarding the special exhibit, and here are the pics – weird to think of battle garb as extraordinarily beautiful, but there it is.


Note to self – quit while you’re ahead

Having all of these fantastic new art materials to try is great, but I keep making the same old mistake  – trying to fix a painting or collage by adding more stuff. Arg. It’s really tempting when there are a zillion colors to choose from, especially when you’re working small like I am on a dining table in my temporary Boston “studio.” . Here’s an example of a really awful painting that I tried to save by piling on more layers of color, scratching into the layers, adding gold leaf, spraying with walnut ink – all the usual tricks. I even cut a hole in it! Ewww. What a mess.

abstract4Here’s the next one – it might not be finished, but it isn’t overworked.  I simplified the composition and the palette, and then stopped. Sometimes less is more. (Except maybe for gold leaf, walnut ink, chocolate sorbet and Diet Dr. Pepper. :))


Blogging from Boston

What a glorious weekend to be in Boston – I’m staying in the Beacon Hill neighborhood just across from the Boston Public Garden where I went walking this morning. The trees are a zillion different colors – I expect that some of these images will show up in my work soon. Plans are to see the Boston Museum of Art before we leave on Tuesday – I could get used to visiting here often.