Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Some Art I Can Show Now

Now that Christmas is over I can share one of the gifts I made for my sisters. My goal was to create a mixed media piece honoring our female lineage. Each painting has all 3 sisters along with our mother and grandmother.

This one was for my sister Peggy, she is in the center, my grandmother Bridget is on the far left and next is my mother Rita, on the right is my sister Marianne and then me.

Here is a close up of my grandmother and mother.

This is my sister Marianne's painting.  I started by printing out one of my grandmothers letters on tracing paper and using it for collage in the first layer.  I used gel medium skins for the faces and layered lots of paint.  I used a gel pen to write around each person some characteristic about them. These were both really fun to make and my sister's loved them.


Monday, December 29, 2014

My Year In Review

2014 An Incredible Year

I had one major event for 2014 and that was taking the trip to Ireland. I have wanted to do it for a long time. It was the focus of most of the year, from hearing in January that my husband was going to give me the money to go, to the months of planning, and taking the actual trip. To learning so much about myself on the journey. There were trials and joys and wondrous experiences to behold.

Here I am standing in front of the Padden homestead.  My great grandfather Luke Padden lived here.

Here I am with my cousin Tommie Padden. We met via email through a historical society and discovered we shared a great great grandfather. It was awesome to meet my Padden relatives.

I also went to England where I was able to meet some online friends.  Here I am with my long time friend Claire Sauer.

I got to meet another friend Donna Higton.

and getting to meet Lisa Wright was such a treat.

What else happened in 2014, well there were a lot of things.  

I had a major car accident in May, right before my trip. My car was totaled and I wasn't totally healed before I had to leave but I went anyway. I got a new car that I loved but I do miss my old one.  

I was a manifesting machine this year.  Besides getting the money for the trip, I won spots in 21 Secrets Live, and Spectrum.  In addition to the art courses I got a scholarship to work with a writing coach. My goal was to finish my book but that didn't happen, too many other things intervened. So that goal will be extended into 2015. Also for 2015 I won a spot in Mandala Magic. I feel blessed indeed.

We got a new dog, Belle has been a delight and she has had a great impact on our lives. She is my new walking partner.

I taught an online class for 21 Secrets Fall. It was so great to be a part of this wonderful group of teachers. I was also part of an interview series with many artists. My interview for 21 Secrets conversations can be found here.

In July my daughter came home for a visit.  We had the best fun going to the Montana Folk Festival. Here she is on the right with her friend Brenna.

I discovered the wonderful courses Sketchbook Skool.  A video I made for them was chosen to be a part of the free class they are now having.  This link will get you the free course.

My year was not all filled with exciting things. In November I had a return of Bells Palsy. I thought iI had healed that out of my life so this was a real surprise.  The only thing you can do is reduce stress. So that is what I have been doing, slowing down, letting go of things and finding a new way to live. 
My word of the year was Self Care and I had numerous occasions to practice it and learn what it means for me. Its not always what you think its going to be.

In conclusion 2014 was a year filled with ups and downs and goals fulfilled and some still ongoing. I find that all years are pretty much this way.  They are not all good or all bad, just a combination of the two.  

I am ready to start anew with 2015.  Here is a toast to make 2015 the best year ever.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy Holidays

As I sit writing this on Christmas Eve morning I send out a wish for you to have a wonderful holiday season in whichever way that you celebrate. Hanukkah is now over with as is the Winter Solstice, and Yule was originally a 12 day festival, so its time is still upon us as is Christmas and Kwanza. Enjoy your celebrations, whatever they may be.

This is the journal page spread I did for the Winter Solstice. From the darkness to the light.  It was fun doing some collage for it this year. I have been spending my time baking, finishing last minute gifts and watching favorite Christmas movies as many of you have.  All that hustle and bustle before the big day.  Memories of love ones passed pop into my head as I listen to music they loved or remember times gone by.  Such sweet memories.  My mom died in December a week before the holiday many years ago, but its not been a sad time for me. So many can not enjoy the holidays after a connection like this. I know that my mother would want a party to be going on and she'd want to be at the center of it.  I mourn her loss more on her birthday than on the anniversary of her death. If this is an issue for you I hope you can see beyond the sadness and celebrate in a way that you can.

Merry Christmas,


Monday, December 22, 2014

My New Word For 2015

After some deliberation I have decided on my word for 2015.

My words for the past few years have all been pretty involved so I took a light hearted approach with this one.  Both DEEP and Self Care were pretty intensive.  This year I choose to Celebrate the big things and the little things. To see those small things everyday that I might celebrate, take notice of and appreciate more. To also celebrate the big things in a more meaningful way.

Here is my new necklace for the year.  Once again I got it from Liz Lamoreaux. I find that wearing my word makes the experience deeper and more present.

In addition to my word of the year I have decided to use the week between Christmas and New Years to work on this.

Its a workbook to ponder the past year and discover what I might want to create in 2015.  Its been created by Susannah Conway. You can get it here at Susannah's website,  its free.

Do you choose a word a for the year?  I'd love to hear what word you've chosen for 2015, just let me know in the comments.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Journaling This Week

A middle of the night journal page, full of journaling, then gesso, spray ink, gelli prints and other things leading to multiple layers.

More layers and imagery.

I drew this guy in my sketchbook while waiting for an oil change. I think my owl's are getting better and that pleases me greatly.  I want to paint an owl on my drum and I think I can do that now.  I just need to decide what medium to use.  I have been thinking of using a faber-castell pitt pen in Sepia or using brown ink and a brush. I don't know if one will work better than the other, or if I should do it in pencil first.  I have some decisions to make. Its a project for the new year.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Celebrating Winter Solstice

A Winter Solstice, I wanted a wintery picture for this post but there is not much snow here so I dug into my archives and found this picture.  It was part of a group where I was taking pictures of snow orbs. This was one where there were no orbs but I found it to be quite beautiful.

Traditionally Winter Solstice is a festival calling back the sun. In ancient times it lasted 7 days, but now it is most recognized as December 21, the shortest day of the year. There are so many of our Christmas traditions that started with the winter solstice. Holly, mistletoe, an evergreen tree in the house are some but there are so much more. In my blending of traditions I like to bring some emphasis back to the Winter Solstice. This year I have done many of the same things. I have a real tree in the house, on it is a garland of nuts and seeds, and another garland of birds that I made myself. There are bird ornaments, owls, crows and cardinals. It is very much inspired by nature.

In the past I have participated in the ritual of letting go.  I grab some paper and write down things from the year that I want to let go of.  Then I place them in the wood stove where a fire is burning. Some years I have had a fire outside. If that is not available to you, you could burn them in a bowl. There are always ways to tailor a ritual to your circumstances.

I am planning to try a few new things this year.

I plan to read this again, such a lovely book. I love the characters, the setting and the story. Rosamunde Pilcher is a master storyteller. I started it Sunday night and its such a pleasurable gift that I am giving myself.

And I will listen to this on a quiet evening.

Here are some ideas for you to explore, also remember the internet has tons of ideas if you just google Winter Solstice or Yule.

  • Turn out all the lights and then light some candles to symbolize the light returning.
  • Leave a treat for the birds or other animals in your yard.
  • Create some Winter Solstice Foods like Sun cookies.
  • Watch a winter sunset.
  • Set intentions for the new year and release them by fire.
  • Set up a Yule Altar.

I will close in offering you this Sunrise prayer.

The sun returns! The light returns!
The earth begins to warm once more!
The time of darkness has passed,
and a path of light begins the new day.
Welcome, welcome, the heat of the sun,
blessing us all with its rays.

Have a Wonderful Solstice Celebration.


Monday, December 15, 2014

Winter Bonfire

I attended a winter bonfire Saturday night.  There just it something about a bonfire that is so appealing. Especially when its cold outside. You are drawn to the fire by both its light and its heat. This was a fundraiser given by a friend for the local men's shelter. There were hot soups and lots of treats and new friendships formed. A nice way to spend the evening and the shelter received many needed supplies.

This morning we got some snow so Belle wanted to go play.  We took a nice walk out in the field across the street. We have been seeing Trumpeter Swans in the field most days.  Today I could hear them but had trouble seeing them.  I love it when they fly overhead.

A simple mandala that came onto my page the other day.

This is a page I did awhile ago.  Its started with a circle of paper and then just grew from there. I think it looks like a dreamcatcher.

I drew this face on an index card as I was waiting for photos to upload. I find doing little bits of art on index cards is sort of fun.  I have a stack on my desk so they are easily accessible. If you find you can't get to any art making give index cards a try. I think the key is to have supplies easily accessible. Then you have no excuses, you just do it I think I may take this one and tape it into a journal.

Friday, December 12, 2014

A Little of This a Little of That

Here at the studio I have been creating in full force but alas since they are all gifts I won't be sharing on the blog.

I can show you these small loaves of banana bread.  I made them as gifts to give my neighbors.  I had to figure out how to cook them.  The internet said 35 minutes but that was not enough.  An original recipe cooks for 1 hour and I cooked these for 45 minutes.  I got 3 loaves from one recipe. I ended up eating one of them.  So yummy when warm.

I didn't know what else I would blog about till we got a phone call.  Can you help move cows?
This is our neighbor Ladd, taking down the electric fence. The cows are way in the back.

Here Dave is waiting while we get everyone in place.  My job was further down the road.  I was to stop any traffic or wayward cows.

Crossing the road.

Here they didn't want to cross the railroad tracks, they were enticed by some good eating.  The headed back to the road and there are no pics because I was busy getting them back to where we wanted them to be.

The last of the stragglers getting to where they needed to go. Well you never know how life is going to surprise you. Today I had my first experience moving cows, no cowboys on horseback just some average people bonding together to get a tricky job done.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Returning To Sketching

I have been missing making art in my sketchbook so I grabbed it and did some church drawings. The woman is from a magazine image. I was going to just leave this page with pen and ink but then remembered that a little color can always make a drawing come to life. I used cheap watercolors to add the color in this piece.

I drew this from a photograph. I am using a new pen and oh I love this pen.  Its a soft Fudenosuke Brush Pen by Tombow. You can get them at At only 2.50 this pen is a steal. If you want a fine line you use it as normal, you want to get a thicker line you just use more pressure.  Its like having a fine liner and a brush pen in one.

This I drew in church from life. I used pen and then watercolor pencils and a waterbrush. I put the quilt and wall hanging in last. I was not sure how it would work but I was glad I tried it because it looks good.  Art is all about taking risks, sometimes we are willing and other times fear takes a hold. Each time that I find myself being a little bit bolder, it gets a little easier. Sometimes we need to take small steps to reach big goals.


Monday, December 8, 2014

Full Cold Moon / Elder Moon

I am continuing this month in doing a Vision board for the Full Cold Moon.  For inspiration I am using the e-book Bloom by Moon by Amy Palko. She offers insights from 4 different traditions. Celtic, Native American, Astrology and various traditions around the world.  I usually look at both the Celtic and Native American to see which resonated with me the most. Native AMericans call this the Cold Moon. In the Celtic tradition it is called the Elder Moon and is all about endings, coming full circle.  Although I started to focus on the cold moon there really is only one image on my board that reflects this, the icy drink.  I think this is more representative of the elder moon.  There is so many images from nature here. I have always felt connected to trees but lately I seem to be painting and collaging them all the time.  I do believe there is something deep here they are trying to teach me. Funny how that works. I have really felt that I am coming to the end of some things and am ready to embrace some new ones so its fitting to my own life experience. I love the process of all of this.


Friday, December 5, 2014

Making Containers For Wisdom

I gain wisdom to live my life in many ways and from many sources. One of these ways is in using oracle cards. They usually come in these big heavy boxes. In the past for tarot decks I have found nice bags to store the cards in. I like the feel of the fabric and it tends to make the cards important when they have their own container that you have chosen. Over the past year I bought some new decks but hadn't gotten bags for them.

This bag I made right before I went to Ireland. I was trying to make a little purse but it didn't turn out the way I liked so off into a drawer it went. I found it the other day and I thought it would be perfect for a oracle card container. Its fabric left over from some handspun handwoven towels that I made earlier this year.

This bag was made from some silk fabric I wove years ago. I have  never figured out what to do with the fabric and this was a perfect choice. This fabric is so soft.

There are so many colors in the fabric, you can see some of that here in this close up.  The warp was handpainted and the colors change throughout it.

This last one is a remnant from some dishtowels that I wove earlier this year.  It is very thick in compared to the silk one. Its very soft and has a real body feel about it.

Creating these bags for my cards was such a rewarding thing.  There is so much of me into the making of these fabrics and that now intermingles with the cards that I end up using for guidance. Its like I am making them my own.  Now you don't have to be a weaver to do this yourself.  I believe picking your own fabrics or bags that are called to you can have the same effect.

Why not give this a try and see how you like it.  Using natural fabrics its best, wool, cotton, silk, hemp are all good choices.


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Washi Tape on the Gelli Plate

I had seen on the net how someone had used the gelli plate to alter washi tape so I thought I would give it a try.

I took a piece of palette paper and covered it in all sort of tape.

This was my page after several prints from the plate. I thought it was too monochromatic.

But when I pulled the tape off the page you can see where each piece looks a little bit different.

I took some of the tape and used it to decorate this paper mache' K I have in my studio. I had to add some additional glue to the tape, but I think it looks great.

Here is a page I created to deal with too much stress. I used strips of an old painting to write on top of and some of the washi tape on the bottom. Its a fun way to make a list.



Tuesday, December 2, 2014

21 Secrets Conversations

 I am so excited to report that I am part of the wonderful interview series 21 Secrets Conversations by Connie Hozvicka. My interview goes live today.  Click on this link to see the interview.  It was recorded months ago. Connie has asked all the artists what their journey as an artist has been like. We had such a fun conversation I am sure you will enjoy it too.


Monday, December 1, 2014

Mandala Magic

This past week I spent some time taking Julie Gibbons free course on Mandalas called 5 Days of Mandala. I've made mandalas before but in Julies class I learned lots of new things. The course will be up till December 31st so if you are inclined you can still take it.

I call this one the collaged mandala. Underneath the mandala are a series of intentions for the year in six different areas of life.  It was a great exercise just doing the first part but the collage on top really enhanced the experience.

Lotus Mandala.  I loved doing this one.  It involved using a compass and measuring points of reference but it made a complex design easier to accomplish. I tend to often just wing it and then my results are not what I wanted.

This is a Hamsa mandala.  I started with the circle and my hand and then turned it into the hamsa symbol. I added more symbols, moon and stars and spirals which are all symbols I resonate with.

This is how it looked after I painted it with watercolors. I didn't like the lower pink area.  I added some more doodling it and then it was a mess. I  ended up putting gesso over it and repainting the area. It was a perfect example of not stopping at the right time but I think my rescue was successful.

This is the finished mandala. I added more doodling and now I really like it. I have found working on these mandalas to be quite healing. So much that I decided to join in on Julie's 12 month course Mandala Magic. I usually don't like courses that go that long but in this case it seems more like a spiritual journey than an art class. The meditative process of creating mandalas really speaks to me.