Tag Archives: mixed media

Outdoor Art Time

On June 30 a couple of art friends and I got together in my back yard to do some art work and visit a little. I think it was a good way to assemble in a safe way and enjoy ourselves, in these times as they are. Here’s what we did.

I met these two friends in the mixed media class I taught last year. We have stayed in touch and wanted to get together. But how? I volunteered my back yard. We picked a day, and luckily it turned out great weather-wise, sunny, but not too hot, and no threat of rain.

Here’s what we did:

First hint: have shade available, or a shelter from the sun. I figured I could set up my tent (that I use in art shows) but it was not necessary. Our yard is very shady.

Second hint: Make sure there is a comfortable amount of room to spread out. We decided to wear our masks as we set things up, then, as long as we remained at our table, or ten or twelve feet apart, we took them off. Then we put them back on to clean things up. Having plenty of room made things comfortable.

Third hint: Bathroom. I had one available nearby, involving walking in my back door into my studio and going only a short distance inside the house. I did a **SPARKLE** clean on that tiny room and had towels ready for hand-washing so each person could have her own.

Fourth hint: Tables and chairs available. Or some kind of area to set up so that each person can have a good space to work. Alternatively each person could have brought her own chair and table, or whatever she needed to work comfortably, but this needs to be settled up front.

Fifth hint: Cleaning items. I set up a table with hand sanitizer, spray cleaner, and towels if anyone wanted to clean anything, and I also put out some bug spray, just in case…


Well, we had a great time. Here are some pictures. Here is where I sat:



and here is our general set-up. We were facing each other so that we could talk or show each other our work.


Mary Ann made a lot of painted papers and she set them on the grass to dry.


I put out the red buckets of water for washing brushes and so on. The hose was just around the corner of the house if we had needed more water.


Here are Mary Ann and Andy cleaning their things up and packing after the session.


Things went smoothly with this set-up. We were comfortable and felt safe. All of us are living very cautiously right now, and this allowed us to get together and experience a bit of an activity we really value – doing art with others. I am so happy we were able to pull this off, it meant a lot to me.

Shout out to Andy and Mary Ann, for a real spirit lifter!



Mary Ann’s Living Room

In December 2019 I gave my mixed media class students an assignment for the last two sessions – come up with a proposal, including materials, theme, and techniques, for work to be done independently in class.

One student worked on a large representation of a section of her living room. I wanted to have a project myself (to keep from hovering over the students) so I had brought a canvas and materials to class myself, but…no ideas. (I obviously did not follow my own class requirements.)

The student mentioned above was working at a table in front of me. I asked her if I could use her composition as a reference. She was amenable, so I did a version of her living room, from a reversed position and looking at it upside down (though I created the picture right-side up from my point of view). I guess it’s a mirror image I was making.

It ended up looking nothing like hers, except for having a chair and fireplace in it, but…I enjoyed it and it did cut down on my interference with the students’ work.

I did most of it in class and finished it up at home later on.

Acrylics, inks, crayons – 20″ x 16″, December 2019.

Mary Ann's Living Room 12-19 20 x 16 small

Gesso Was the First Step

I created these two small works by smearing a thickish layer of white gesso on the surface (which was prepared with a layer of black gesso) and drawing in the images with a knitting needle. Then I used acrylics, crayons, and inks for the colors. It gives a nice texture, the gesso does.

6″ x 6″, December 2019.

Advice Given and Taken

Telling someone what to do seems to be the theme of these two small mixed media works?


December, 2019, 6″ x 6″ – acrylics, acrylic inks, crayons, India ink.

Revisits: Main Theme

I did some illustrations for an event at Fictive Dream, an online fiction magazine specializing in short stories. It’s called “Revisits”. In it, the magazine revisits “the best of the back catalog”, as editor Laura Black says. Every two weeks April through August 2019, a different theme was explored. Look here to see the line-up of stories from the event and to read them.

I wrote a series of posts explaining the art creation process for this event. Look here for the first post, Love, which also offers an overview of the parameters of the art aspects of this project; for the other themes, search under the term Revisits in this blog.

In addition to the illustrations for each theme covered in the Revisits event, I did an artwork intended for the main page of the Revisits 2019 page at Fictive Dream, the place where readers could go to access the collection of stories in one place. It’s a title page illustration, as I think of it, for a “book” of collected short stories.

As such it needed to fit in with the illustrations done for each individual theme: landscape, sky, tree(s). For this picture the choices were wide open – there was no theme to illustrate.

I did the work on this image at the beginning of the project. Looking back, waiting until the end might have been better, but I was not sure how quickly I’d get the theme illustrations done and I was afraid the event would begin, I had not done all the illustrations, and yet we needed the Main Theme illustration to be in place at the event page.

You may remember that Fictive Dream editor Laura Black and I were feeling our way with the illustrations for a little while in the beginning until we got a few produced and began to know what we wanted. This Main Theme illustration was part of that “feeling our way” process.

Originally my thought was to include an array of colors in the landscape to portray the variety of themes and stories in the collection. I came up with this collage:

Image 21 blog

Laura liked it but it was not what she was looking for. As an artist, it can be hard to hear this kind of news; even though it’s not a criticism of the work, it means I’ve missed the mark. But in commission work, missing the mark is not failure – it’s a way to better understand where the mark actually is and to try again.

When I was auditioning styles for the project, as the very first step, I submitted quite a few images to Laura as we worked out the picture, the text, the text placement and style, etc. I made some wildly different pictures to gauge her interest:

I am sure you can see the one that caught her attention. I had created it from magazine papers unified with a layer of paint, text digitally applied. Anyway, when we got to the Main Theme image she reminded me of this one and how she had liked it.

I created a new version in the same colors but using painted sketch papers so as to fit in with the other theme illustrations. The text is slightly larger to fill in the space better (since there is no theme word, using the same size type made the word Revisits look a little scared and lost!)

Image 22 final 92 Calibri blog

This picture fit the bill. I liked the look of it and more importantly, Laura felt it was a good long-term representative for the overall Revisits event as people visit it now or in the future.

This post wraps up the Revisits illustration event on my blog. Once again I’d like to thank Laura Black for her faith in my work and her unfailing support of it. She is a true pleasure to work for. And thank you to everyone for following me on this journey.

Now I’d urge you take a look at the stories:  here at Fictive Dream: Revisits.