Saturday, April 30, 2011

104 Moons in the Seventh House of the Rising Sun

Ingredients: vintage ledger sheet, vintage book pages, decorative papers, map fragment, magazine cut-outs, watercolor pencils, Koh-i-noor pens, acrylic mediums.

I'm really having fun with these titles!  This is another of my little 4" x 6" experiments in what I've come to call "stream of consciousness" collages.  They're completely unplanned; I just grab what ever's lying around and start gluing.  Whether or not they pan out as decent pieces of art, I learn something valuable each time I make one.

In this case, I think the title may be better than the collage, but it was fun to make, nonetheless.  By the way, if you get the allusions in the title, congratulations- you are officially old!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Into Each Life a Little Rain Must Fall...

It says, "a little", right?  I'm afraid there must be some mistake, because we passed "a little" somewhere around three weeks ago.  Here's what the sky looks like right now:

This is how it looked yesterday:

The day before?

The day before, and the day before, and the day before that?   Yep, exactly the same.  And tonight, tomorrow, the next day?  Well... storms, then rain, punctuated by heavy storms...

I know I really have no right to complain.  My house is dry, unlike many others, and in most parts of the area, people can still get to their front doors without the use of a boat.  We have had a couple of tornadoes touch down, but no towns here have been leveled.  But still- it gets old, doesn't it?

I mean, just look at my garden! Anyone care for a swim? 

The poor sugar snap peas have rotted in the ground (for the second time), and the broccoli plants are drowning.
Over the weekend, the sun actually came out for about 15 minutes, so we rushed down to the river to look at the flood.

 This used to be a street, but is now home to some very unconcerned geese...

 Goose butts, everywhere I go, now!

Do they really need a sign telling people the steps are closed?

Furthermore, please don't try parking in this lot...

At the confluence of the Ohio and Licking, the water from the Licking is moving so fast, there are actually- er- browncaps.

Take a wild guess what's looming on the horizon again!  Yep, it's time to head back to the car...

At least this little guy doesn't seem to mind the rain...

and some day the sun will shine, somewhere... over the rainbow...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Source

"What's up with all the round things?"  This question was put to me some years ago by a guest critic in one of my classes at the Art Academy of Cincinnati.  I think he (whose name I don't remember) was an art professor at the University of Cincinnati, and of course he didn't exactly say, "What's up...".  But he noticed that my work was full of 'round things', and advised me to consider what they symbolized.  Because they obviously did have a personal meaning for me, a meaning I couldn't articulate, floating just below the surface of my consciousness.

Kalachakra Matrix

It took a while.  In fact, I forgot about his question entirely.  Until one day, years later, while taking a bit of an inventory of my work (like the piece above),  it just hit me out of the blue.  Seeds!  Yes, that was it- what it all grew from, what it all came back to. 

 Secret Garden

Of course, this is only one layer of meaning, and there are many others closely intertwined.  But that was the foundation, the inception of the idea- the source.

 Seed Mandala 10

 Seed Mandala 23

 Seed Mandala 16

 Well, there are many, many more examples, but for now I'll show you the one I just completed.

Where the Seed Goes
 Ingredients:  monotype fragments, silk tissue, acetate, acrylic ink, Caran D'Ache crayons, cheesecloth, watercolor pencils.
11.5" x 9.5"

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Deconstructed Reconstituted 3-Layer Buddha (With a Cherry on Top)

Ingredients: image transfer, vintage book pages, metallic paper, map fragment, magazine cut-outs, acrylic ink, watercolor pencils, Koh-i-noor pens.  6" x 4"

This was another of the pieces I was working on for the postcard show.  I feel like I should explain the long and somewhat bizarre title of this piece, in case you're wondering.  (And who wouldn't, right?)  So, here's the story:

1. I started by gluing down a bunch of old book pages and stuff, then did the image transfer of the Buddha grid,  using acrylic gel medium.  It worked quite well.

2. I proceeded to paint it and color it and glue more stuff on around it. 

3. After a while, it got all muddy and floopy-looking, so I covered it with more book pages and did the transfer again.  Again, the transfer came out perfectly.

4. I then commenced to mess it up once more, chiefly by way of adding some metallic crayon stuff that I didn't like.  (You never know until you try it, right?)

5. I had one more copy of the Buddha grid, so I thought: why not?  Yep, you guessed it; I covered it with some more vintage book pages, and did the transfer ONE MORE TIME- hence, the "3-layer" part of the title.  This time, the transfer didn't go as well, mostly due to the crappy metallic crayon, which the transfer didn't want to stick to.  So, I thought:

6. It looks like doo-doo, so what's to lose?  I started pulling the layers apart, just to see what happened.  Of course, most of it came apart in pieces.  This is where the "deconstructed" part of the title comes in.

7. But, I had most of the top layer, and a few other pieces that were interesting, so I tried putting them back together to form a semi-complete image, fitting them together like a puzzle.  I felt almost like an archeologist (which I have always wanted to be), piecing together fragments of some broken, long-buried artifact.  Okay, you can see how pathetic my life really is, but I was having fun!  I'm sure "reconstituted" isn't what they actually call it, either; I think that's orange juice, or powdered milk.  Whatever.

8. At this point, I started to like it more, and not just because I got to pretend to be an archeologist.  I now had a sort of pieced-together Buddha made from acrylic gel, kind of a very bumpy and stretchy decal. 

9.  I put some more stuff on the background, and then glued it down, glued on some more stuff, and- Voila!

I'm pretty sure the "cherry on top" is self-explanatory.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

But Still... (too late)

But Still (1891)
ingredients: map fragment, vintage ledger pages, vintage book pages, papyrus, metallic joss paper, decorative paper, ink, watercolor, found objects, brass wire

Well, long story short, I was working on some 4 x 6 collages with the intent to enter one of them in the National Collage Society's Postcard Show.  However, I misread the prospectus, and thinking that the arrival deadline was a postmark deadline, I missed it!  (Aaaarrrrgh....)  Let this be a warning to you, people- read the prospectus carefully!

So anyway, here's the first one I made; let me know what you think.  (Sorry, the photo is kind of wonky- the angel's body is metallic, but you can't tell here.)

p.s.  I'm still waiting for that full time secretary to show up; any takers yet?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Little Color

It could be said that I'm addicted to color, and I would freely admit it.  I don't know about where you live, but here, it's been, as George would say, (little darlin') "a long, cold lonely winter".  I'm ready for Spring, I'm tired of gray and brown, so I say here comes the color!

Marketing researchers have spent considerable amounts of money trying to figure out the psychological effects of colors.  Of course, it's not an exact science, because each person has his/her own unique associations with colors, resulting from personal experience.  But there are some associations that tend to hold true for most people.  See if you agree.


  • purity
  • innocence
  • cleanliness
  • sense of space
  • neutrality
  • mourning (in some cultures/societies)


  • neutral
  • timeless
  • practical


  • authority
  • power
  • strength
  • evil
  • intelligence
  • thinning / slimming
  • death or mourning


  • love
  • romance
  • gentle
  • warmth
  • comfort
  • energy
  • excitement
  • intensity
  • life
  • blood


  • happy
  • energetic
  • excitement
  • enthusiasm
  • warmth
  • wealth prosperity
  • sophistication
  • change
  • stimulation


  • happiness
  • laughter
  • cheery
  • warmth
  • optimism
  • hunger
  • intensity
  • frustration
  • anger
  • attention-getting


  • natural
  • cool
  • growth
  • money
  • health
  • envy
  • tranquility
  • harmony
  • calmness
  • fertility


  • calmness
  • serenity
  • cold
  • uncaring
  • wisdom
  • loyalty
  • truth
  • focused
  • un-appetizing


  • royalty
  • wealth
  • sophistication
  • wisdom
  • exotic
  • spiritual
  • prosperity
  • respect
  • mystery


  • romance
  • love
  • gentle
  • calming
  • agitation


  • reliability
  • stability
  • friendship
  • sadness
  • warmth
  • comfort
  • security
  • natural
  • organic
  • mourning (in some cultures/societies)

Some of the associations seem a little odd, but for the most part, they make sense to me.  I got the color association information from a cool art therapy website; you can read more about it here.

Now that we've considered each color separately, lets mix them all together, shall we? 

These incredible large-scale installations by Mexican fiber artist Gabriel Dawe certainly encompass the entire color spectrum. 

Plexus 3 by Gabriel Dawe

Plexus 3

Plexus 2 by Gabriel Dawe

Plexus 4 by Gabriel Dawe

To see more of Gabriel's work, visit his website, here.

And now, for the final color overdose; check out this video of artist Holton Rower at work!  (Turn up the sound, too; the music is great.)

I find this video mesmerizing!  Okay, maybe I am easily amused, but I hope you enjoy it as well.  I also hope you enjoyed my little color tour!  Thanks to my son, Colin Reusch, for sending me the links to these two artists.