Saturday, May 19, 2012

Latest Commission

Wow, two and a half months have just flown by! I am excited to be nearing the end of my pharmacy residency and we're gearing up to move soon.  I am in the process of finishing two commissions, one of which I can show here.  (The other is too big to scan at 14x18 inches!)

This pair of birdies are #2 and #3 of 3 canvases that were inspired by a photograph of a desert sand wren that my friend, Marybeth Farrell took.  Marybeth is a photographer out of Joshua Tree, CA, and she graciously allowed me to reproduce her cute little birdie!  You can find her original photograph at  desertnanasdailyphotos (it's worth checking out, believe me!)  I find all of Marybeth's work so inspiring!!! Thank you, MB, for allowing me to springboard off your beautiful photography!!!
It's too bad the third piece, a birdhouse, was too big a canvas to scan on my little scanner.  It is an 8x16" canvas and not even part of it would scan nicely, so I just left it off.  Maybe someday I can buy a bigger scanner!  The trio of canvases were commissioned by a friend, for her friend, who is decorating a whimsical room.  The requirements for this piece were that it consist of a set of 2 6x6 canvases and one tall, thin canvas.  It had to have orange in it, and it had to compliment the blue wall opposite the wall these will hang on.  The blue wall had a white whimsical tree image on it as well.  The subject and composition were left entirely up to me, but I know my friend loves my collage style.  I took it and ran with it, and this trio, titled "Home Tweet Home," the end result! I LOVE the blended colors, the free-flowing scrolls and leaves, and the collaged birdies turned out so sweet!  I'll never forget the magic "re-appearing" orange Shimmering Mist--a layer that I never expected to see again, which magically bloomed 3 layers later, with the application of matte medium!  (You had to see it to believe it!) :-)

These two images (and several others) I will be sending in to a wonderful art studio/shop in McCall, where we are moving in a month, in the hopes that their jury will accept my work for sale in their shop.  Red6Red is owned by a gal named Megan Henderson, who designs and sells quirky-awesome mirrors from found objects.  Her shop is full of hand-crafted furniture, textiles, jewelry and wall art--and I think my artwork would be a great fit!  I will keep you posted on this new venture!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Teaching Tatting

I don't know if it is inspiration or sheer craziness, but I have decided to try and show a couple of tatting tutorials on my Ustream channel. I'd like to invite you to follow along, or even try your hand at tatting! Here are some of the tools you will need.

First of all there are two type of tatting: shuttle tatting and needle tatting. If you have arthritis or if you already know how to knit or crochet, needle tatting is the way to go. If however, you prefer to learn the more difficult, old-fashioned way, AND you have a LOT of patience, shuttle-tatting might be in your future. The difference? You can do much finer work with the shuttle than you can with the needle, because the needle does not pass through your knots; you can use much thinner thread. With the needle, you can use a lot of different fibers, not just thread. Below is an example of a few motifs I have tatted using #10 white crochet cotton and a shuttle.

Thread: Lizbeth thread has been highly recommended to me, but really you should be able to make do with any cotton crochet thread. If you can find some that states specifically for tatting, all the better. Size 10 for beginners, and graduate to the higher (finer) sizes as you get better!

Shuttle: I would recommend a bobbin shuttle for the beginner, otherwise you'll forever be winding and unwinding thread, plus fighting the tension if you're not properly unwinding. This is a picture of the shuttle I use and can be found at

There are lots of cons to trying to learn to tat using the shuttle, but I keep returning to the shuttle because of the fine work that you can do. (Or because I like to torture myself).

Tatting needles: If you want to use size 10 or 20 cotton thread, I would recommend you get a size #5-0 needle. Sometimes you can find the single size needle by itself but I've only ever found it in a set (mine has #3-0, #5-0, #7 fine and #8 Ex. fine). Try Amazon,, and, unless you have a specialty yarn/fibers store in your town!

Interested in finer work using super-thin threads? I would hold off until you get the main techniques down, then use your size #7 fine needle for size 20, 30, 40 or 50 cotton, and your size 8 needle for size 50 and higher threads. (Remember, the higher the number, the finer the thread).

If you already know how to knit or crochet, it will take you no time at all to pick up needle-tatting. It's just another form of needle-work! There are really only a few different techniques, whether you are using the needle or the shuttle.

Anyway, I'll put in my order for some needles, give everyone some time to order their supplies, and I'll stream a couple tutorials as soon as they arrive.

The best part about this hobby? Even if you get the supplies to try both needle and shuttle tatting, you'll only have to shell out about 20 dollars, max! I hope you'll join me on my stream, even if just to see tatting in action. :)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Like tree-branches, birds and birdhouses? Why yes I do!

The muse has been smiling on me this week. What started as an experiment for my sister has exploded into a mini-series of related canvi. I have to give credit for the thought to my mom, who has been encouraging my art and my sister's quilting. I took a piece of fabric designed by Tina Givens and ran with the inspiration to create related art. I'll run these by my sister and see how she feels about them as complementary pieces for a room with a quilt by her.
Tina Givens Fabric that was the inspiration for the series

The scanner didn't really capture the brilliance of the canvas, or how very nearly the colors are matched (probably the texture has something to do with it too). But anyway, below you can see one of the pieces that were based on the fabric above.

"Crooked Birdhouse"

I love the curved birdhouse, with its little peg and 3-dimensional roof. I'm not sure why the color came out so fuzzy. Might have to try reloading another picture. This next image I really love because the birds look so friendly. The branches work well too, framing the subject with grace and just a touch of whimsy.

"Friendly Songbirds"

One of my online art friends suggested that I try different types of birds and different backgrounds, so I did, and the next canvas was the result. Unfortunately, I had the wrong setting chosen while streaming this, and that stream has gone down in history as the crazy twilight-zone stream, in which my friend Jean came to my rescue on Skype. The stream lagged a good half hour behind the chat, so no one could see what I was doing until much later! It was created using cream and blue acrylic, paper moth images (I just couldn't bring myself to call it Ranza's title), and walnut ink (for the cursive in the background and other spots).

"Butterflies through Alice's Looking Glass"

Thanks again, Jean, for all your wonderful help and conversation. I really owe you one ;) Finally this last piece was my take on a mountain bluebird, Idaho's state bird. I really hope I have captured the spirit of this beautiful creature! I was inspired to continue with the same branches theme, with the only difference being the bird is handpainted with acrylics. Thank you for stopping by my blog! Have a lovely day!

"Mountain Bluebird"

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

It's not often that it takes me two days to make a canvas. I am so excited I took the time on this one, though. I'm happy to say that Kim won it on my stream the other day, so she will be receiving this as soon as I make my way to the post office. The colors are inspired by Deb's postcard that I did the other day, which were greens and browns. However, when I got around to the hearts, I really though they needed some red, and then it struck me that a splash of white would be nice. I love the dark green--it seems to just jump right off the canvas!


Monday, January 9, 2012

This is my friend Vicki's postcard, which I did today on my stream with some wonderful coaching from ArteDar. Thank you so much, Dar! I don't think I could have managed without your help! Vicki actually took the time to meet me down in New Orleans while we were there in December, and it was fabulous to actually get to meet her in person!!! I was so thrilled to be able to make her postcard today.

Today on my stream I did a wonderful study in texture, which my nephew Shane says looks like a storm, so I think that name will stick. I also did a drawing for this lovely green 4x4 canvas, which was inspired by Deb's postcard the other evening!

I think it really needs something in the center of the canvas, and I think it will be reworked a bit before it gets sent to the lucky Kim (Bups bups bups)! This canvie couldn't go to a better gal. :)
(a work in progress)

Have a great day!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Good Enough

"Good Enough"

Now and then I really struggle with feelings of ineptitude. I think all of us go through this same quagmire of doubt at some point in our art lives and I find myself encouraged by the words of an artist I highly admire, whose timely advice is: "listen to your heart for validation." (Thanks, Dar!) This piece serves to remind us that we are indeed good enough, and to keep on creating. Create for yourself, from the deepest part of yourself, and the rest will fall into place.



I've been working on a trio of canvases inspired by recent wonderful events in my life. After nearly a decade of hard work, I have landed my dream job! Now my husband and I are feverishly working toward a new life in the mountains. We're getting our house ready to rent out, getting pre-approved for a mortgage, and simply put, we're dreaming big! I hope these canvases capture my pure excitement. :) I am cherishing these days and realize they will pass all too quickly. This last canvas is called "Garden of Dreams."

Catching up and starting afresh!

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet." --Shakespeare.

This is the first of many new pieces I have been working on recently. You might recognize this little 4x4 from one of my recent streams. If you haven't been by my streams, I would like to personally invite you to check out my mixed media arting adventure, live on Monday evenings, 5:00 pm Mountain time! (give or take a half hour.) Here is the link to my channel: Feel free to login (you must register first) and chat!
"Brilliance," a 6x6, is one of my absolute favorites. This piece was done with acrylic, music, dictionary text, a white paint pen, and red/sparkly embossing powders. VERY sweet, and simple brilliance. I love the transparency of the flower and the texture of the embossing powder!
At the beginning of December, my husband and I had the opportunity to visit New Orleans, LA, for the American Society for Health-Systems Pharmacists midyear clinical meeting. It was a fabulous time, full of great food, awesome music, and tons of fleur de lis! I was inspired to do some art integrating my impressions of the city and this lovely, warm and vibrant canvas was the result.