Thursday, March 31, 2011


letter t letter H letter A letter N Better for Wear
Ben Eine Letter y letter o letter U
I am so honored to be recognized by two fabulous bloggers today!  Leah @ Creative Everyday, and Clytie @ Random Hearts, both chose to use a photo of mine on their posts today. 
Thank you, both, very much. 
Check out their blogs for some great inspiration!

(Letter images above from Spell with Flickr)

The process of progress

As I continue to make collages, find inspiration in my materials and my daily life, I often wonder what drives the process.   What pushes me to make progress on one particular piece and not another.  I often find that I start on one and then another inspiration crowds its way into my thinking and won't relent until its end product is finished.  As a result, I may have two or three collages in various states of completion, okay, truth be told I frequently have five or six in the works.  One time, I looked around and counted twelve. Twelve!  That's excessive. 
Today I count six (although three of those are a set of identical collages).

The least complete is this one:

(Grow collage, in progress)
 This one was inspired by the coming of spring.  I gathered a number of papers and ephemera that spoke of springtime.  I laid them all onto a blank, white canvas (you can sort of see the edges.)  Maybe the canvas I chose is too small?  The letters will spell G-R-O-W.  Nothing yet is glued. Nothing yet is set.  Will I include some hardware?  Will I use a quotation?  Should I use paint instead of paper?  Although the ideas continue to germinate, this one is stuck.

The newest one(s) are a set of identical, simple ones that I will use as a gift.  They don't have very many elements, but copy a vintage design.  These will be simple to finish, but have been in the idea book for a few months:

(Three similar canvases, handmade white paper background,
red paper borders, drying on the studio floor.)
 This one is one of the oldest.  It was an experimentation piece as I was doing some exercises out of a collage "instruction" book.  I used pattern paper as a background.  I also tried out gel transfers - see the two ladies on the left.  I have been messing with these elements for months.  It continues to sit on my work table in a state of undress.  I am truly at a loss.  Maybe I should just start gluing things down and move on:

(Collage - waiting and waiting to be completed)
 Finally, this one is a quickie!  I had painted the red square canvas a while ago, and while futzing with the Grow Collage, the girl in this vintage reproduction advertisement jumped out at me.  The elements of this one just seemed to fall together.  It still needs final details, I have  few metal pieces to adhere.  I have to build and paint the wooden box that will go behind.  But this one is most likely the first one finished from the unfinished ones I have laying around.  It is also the one I have started the most recently:

(Fortune collage- just got its topcoat of clear acrylic, drying on the lawn)
 So, as I continue to create, I continue to ask myself questions.... continue to look for inspiration... continue to try new processes and techniques... 
I am excited with my progress.  I can see an evolution in the style of my work.  I can see a forward movement in my process.  It is often as much about the process as it is about the progress.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Love at the Art Museum

We just returned from a fabulous trip to Florida - but I haven't sorted out those photos, yet.  Before we went, we spent a fabulous day at the Denver Art Museum.  It really is a great museum with a wonderful permanent collection of contemporary and modern art as well as an extensive collection of Native American Art. 
On this visit we were especially excited to see BLINK!  It's their new (and temporary) exhibit of digital and electronic art.  The exhibit was colorful and interactive.  And, was one of few temporary exhibits that allowed photography.  Catch it before it closes, on May 1.
We were greeted by a large singing goldfish.  She was quite a sight, projected on a giant screen complete with red velvet couches for viewing.
The show had a number of pieces that combined a new view with old "technology" like the wooden box TVs and clips from old TV shows and movies.  There were also a number of interactive pieces that were not complete with some human interaction - this made it a fun trip for the kids, as well. 

The girls strike a pose in front of the neon art installation.

Mary makes a heart, at the interactive light display.

No trip to the Denver Art Museum is complete without a cup of coffee at their Novo Coffee Shop. 
Coffee-love from DAM Novo Coffee.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Monday, March 21, 2011

Collage - more houses

Collage of three houses, with quotation, vintage stamps and old hardware.

My three house collages.
This is the third in a series of three house collages.  I didn't start out looking to make a series of houses, but they evolved.  The first house, at the far left, was completed sometime last fall.  It was a stand alone piece that I really enjoyed.  I tried a new technique of using foam core to elevate the elements of the collage off the canvas.  I like the look, especially used with the house form. 
The second house is the near right.  I finished this one last month.  It's new element was the use of the fabric pattern as paper.  I love the texture and translucency of the tissuey pattern paper.  The words add a nice touch, too.
The last is the set of three houses.  I incorporate several elements from other collages, including the use of vintage stamps, hardware and game pieces.
I think the set is complete.  They each stand alone, but complement each other, as well.

The road to a friend's house is never long.
-Danish proverb

Friday, March 18, 2011

Recipe - Mom's Brownies

This is my mom's brownie recipe.  The one she got from the back of the Baker's Chocolate Box.  This is the recipe she wrote out - the one she made so often.  The recipe card is well worn, it's been used many times.
Brownies from scratch are really a cinch.  My girls make them - from start to finish, with no help. 
They are gooey, rich, and delicious.  I hope you enjoy.


4 squares semi-sweetened chocolate
¾ cup (1 ½ stick) butter
1 ½ cups sugar (with semisweet chocolate, I use 1 1/2 instead of the 2 cups in the original recipe)
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup nuts (optional) or 1 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Put chocolate and butter in microwavable bowl. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Stir sugar into melted chocolate until well blended. Stir in eggs and vanilla until completely mixed. Mix in flour until well blended. If desired stir in nuts and chocolate chips. Spread into greased 9”x13”. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out almost clean.

• Cool on pan, cut into squares
• Makes 24 brownies

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day

May the sun shine, all day long,
everything go right, and nothing wrong.
May those you love bring love back to you,
and may all the wishes you wish come true!

~Irish Blessing

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Overheard -

"There are two types of people, lumpers and splitters."


"Those that look for commonalities with others and those that look for differences."

Which type are you?

It is such an interesting use of terminology.  I was confused by the lumpers and splitters reference.  But, then again, I wasn't part of the conversation - I was eavesdropping.  I know, shame on me.  I couldn't help myself, sitting at the table alone, while my dining partner was in the restroom.  Don't tell me you haven't done the same. 
But the words caught my ear, and I listened for the explanation.  It makes sense if you think about it.
And, I guess I am a lumper.    I look for similarities.  I look for what brings us together, not what drives us apart.  What about you?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Happy Pi Day!

What are you going to do on Pi Day?

(Photo from 2009 trip to Sayulita, Mexico.)
 Bake a pie?

(Cherry, peach, raspberry pie from summer 2010)

Mixed Berry Pie Recipe
2 pie crust (I used frozen, just a bit easier than making your own.)
4 cups blueberries
2 cups fresh raspberries
2 cups blackberries
zest and juice from 1 lime or lemon
1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons tapioca
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 375.
Mix the fruit with the sugar, tapioca, zest, juice and extract. Let sit for 15 minutes.Line the bottom of a deep 9 inch pie plate with first crust. Pour in berry mixture. Top with second crust, pinch edges together. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Cut 4 slits in the top crust.
Place the pie on a foil lined cookie sheet, there will be drips. Bake at 375 degrees for 55 - 65 minutes. After 20 minutes you may need to cover the outer edges of the crust with foil to prevent the crust from browning too much.
Variation:  Use a mix of whatever fruit is in season, cherries (pitted), plums, peaches, nectarines.

It's silly and frivulous, but March 14 is known as International Pi Day (3/14).  If you are ambitious (or bored) you can celebrate Pi day, or learn some Pi facts.  There is even a Pi song for the enthusiast.
I am not sure I will bake a pie today, I may just go to Sweets & Eats in Old Town Lafayette and buy a slice for $3.14.  Appropriate, don't you think?

Collage - Vision

This collage is made on a square, flat canvas.  I used a vintage advertisement, antique buttons, an assortment of letters, paint and papers to create the collage.  The glasses are a rub-on. 
I used the same herringbone tissue paper on all the sides of the collage.  The paper was difficult to work with, as tissue paper tears quite easily.  The strange blot at the top happened after I had assembled the piece, and was not intentional.  But, I didn't mind the effect.  The aqua coming through the upper right and lower left is remnants of what I had started before.  I didn't like my initial start and went in a completely opposite direction.  I think the turquoise coming through is a happy error - I like the bit of color.  With this piece, I went with some mistakes and liked the end result.
I have started top-coating all my collages with a clear top coat in satin, or flat.  I like how the top coat offers some smoothness to the multiple layers of the collage. 

The quote is:
After all, tomorrow is another day.

This collage available at The Purple Poppy in Lafayette, Colordao.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Recipe - Pesto Torte

This is a great appetizer to make for your own dinner party or to take somewhere.  I always make it at Christmastime, but the green color makes it a fun St. Pats or springtime appetizer, too. 

Basil Pesto Torte

2 – 8 oz. package of (less fat) cream cheese, softened
2 sticks of butter, softened
1 small jar pesto sauce
1 cup toasted pine nuts

Blend softened cream cheese and butter until mixed. Line a round bottomed bowl with saran wrap or cheesecloth. Layer 1/4 of cream cheese mixture in the bottom of the bowl. Top with 1/3 nuts, then 1/3 pesto sauce. Repeat process, ending with cream cheese. Wrap tightly and refrigerate.

When ready to serve, invert onto a plate, garnish with pine nuts. Serve with thinly sliced baguette or crackers.

This recipe can be made 2 days ahead.
  • use sun dried tomato pesto instead, or alternate red and green pesto
  • use toasted walnuts instead of pine nuts
  • layer chopped sun dried tomatoes in each layer

I always hope for leftovers of this one. It’s great on toast or a bagel for breakfast.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Quote of the Day-

You have to have confidence in your ability,
and then be tough enough to follow through.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Collage - Home

Another collage in a series of Home collages.  This one is created from a vintage sewing pattern, paint and papers.  I used some rusty hardware and an old decorative button.  Again, an odd assortment of letters to spell out the simple word, HOME.  The quote is from one of my favorite poets:
Dwell in possibility.
-Emily Dickinson

So, why am I making all of these collages?  I guess I am not really sure.  It might be some sort of compulsive behavior.  I have oodles of materials.  I am lucky enough to have a designated space.  But, I have not been to art school.  I am not an artist.  I do not show in a gallery or sell at a boutique.  And, for most of these collages, the only people who have even seen these are you (and there aren't many of you, dear reader) and my husband.  So, what in the world am I doing with these?!?  It is a question I keep asking myself. 
I find that if I let the materials sit, if I don't go into the studio, I feel antsy.  I get ideas about what to make, I need put them together.  So I do. 
What am I doing, however?  I guess I dwell in possibility.  I dwell in the possibility that I may someday be able to show them somewhere.  Maybe sell on-line.  or at a coffee house.  I consider the possibility that I may give one as a gift to a friend.  I need courage to make these leaps.  I need to consider myself an artist.  I consider the possibility that I will refine my craft and make them better and more interesting....
Until then, I make more.  I wait for courage.  I dwell in possibility.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sunday Sculpture Series

(photo courtesy C.A. Crandall)
This functional sculpture, Great Blue Heron, was built by James G. Moore.  It s a bronze, stone and welded steel bell.  The piece weighs 3325 lbs. and stands 8 feet tall.  Moore's work blends a love nature, people and world cultures.  He enjoys making sculptures that appeal to the utility of craft but are fine in form, as well.  This bell is so beautiful.  it has great detail on both sides, depicting a great blue heron, a frog and other wild life.  The tone of the bell, when chimed, is deep and soothing.  The piece has great presence and sits on the south east corner of Festival Plaza at the intersection of Chester and Public in Old Town Lafayette. 
Part of the Art on the Street Sculpture walk, this piece and the other 11 in the collection will be on display until the end of May, when they are returned to the respective artists, or purchased by some lucky art patron.  In early June, the Lafayette Public Art Committee will install 16 new sculptures as part of our art on loan program.  For more information, or to purchase this sculpture ($18,150), check out the Art on the Street page at the city's website.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Collage - Seriously

Another recently finished collage - I feel like I have been working like a madman madwoman!

This is another collage built on a flat canvas.  I used a reproduction advertisement, a vintage, original letter, decorative paper and paint.  I love the crazy assortment of letters - maybe too much, because I have used them several times.  I used scrap wood (notice the holes) to build a box behind the canvas.  I am trying to pay attention to the details - by carrying my collage around the edges.  In this case I used paint and then free-hand painted the pattern from the paper on the front.  I am not a painter, and this was a challenge for me.  But, I guess, I am trying to challenge myself.  I want to improve my compositions and my technique.  I want to find my groove as a collage artist.

The quotation is one that resonates with me:
A friend is one who knows you
and loves you just the same. 

That's the type of friend I want to be - and the type of friends that I am fortunate enough to have in my life.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Recipe - Beer Braised Chicken and Chicken Chili

I cook a lot of chicken.  I am always looking for new and inventive recipes so that chicken dinner isn't boring.  This one was fabulous.  I adapted it from a Rachael Ray Week in a Day recipe.  My whole family loved the flavors in this braised chicken dish.  Instead of potatoes or rice, I served barley as a side; that was a big hit, too.
(We ate all the chicken,
we ate all the chicken chili-
this photo will have to suffice)
Beer-Braised Chicken

4 pieces bone-in, skin-off chicken thighs
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 slices bacon, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1 rounded tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 (12-ounce) bottle lager beer
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 cup chicken stock
hot sauce (optional)

Pat the chicken, and season with salt and pepper.
Heat 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add the chicken and brown on both sides in 2 batches.
Remove the chicken to a plate and add the bacon. Brown for 2 minutes and then add the onion, celery, pepper, garlic, and thyme, and saute, for about 10 minutes over medium heat.
Add the flour, stir 1 to 2 minutes, and then pour in the beer and let the foam subside. Stir in the tomatoes, stock, and hot sauce. Let the sauce thicken a bit, and then slide the chicken into the pot and simmer to cook through, or at least 30 minutes to let the flavors marry. Serve with barley, rice, potatoes, or crusty bread, and a big salad.


Then we had leftovers.  Always a dilemma at our house: how to reinvent the leftovers so that it doesn't feel like the same meal again.  This was a great dish to re-invent.  I made a Chicken Chili with the rest of the Braised Chicken and served that another night with tortilla chips and a fresh salad.  Perfect! 
The Chili used all the leftover chicken and sauce as well as the barley I had served as a side.  Everyone loved it - so much so, we ate all of it!

(Leftover) Chicken Chili

Leftovers from Beer Braised Chicken
1 can (14-ounces) Great Northern Beans
1 can (14-ounce) diced tomatoes
1- 2 cups cooked barley
2-4 cups chicken stock
Place vegetables and leftover sauce in pot over low to medium heat. Dice chicken into bite sized pieces. Drain and rinse beans. Add beans and tomatoes (with juices) to the pot. Add barley. Add enough broth to increase the volume, and cover the vegetables.  Simmer for 15 – 30 minutes until heated through.


This was the perfect way to use what was left and we all enjoyed the "new" meal.  What do you do with your leftovers?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Creative Industries Evolution

Looking up into the gold dome that
tops our state capitol. 

 I spent Tuesday at the Colorado State Capital as a participant in Creative Industries Day.  Who knew we had a "Creative Industries Day"?!  We do.  It was informative and insightful. 
I was part of a great group of volunteers and city staff representing Lafayette.  We were fortunate enough to meet with both our State Senator and our Representative to discuss how these issues impact our community and share the successes of our efforts.  We have so much to be proud of!

Last year the Colorado state government created the Creative Industries Division as part of the state Office of Economic Development.  Wait!  Creative Industries (a.k.a. Art) can be considered part of economic development for a state?  Absurd!  But, is it so absurd?
Actually, Colorado ranks 5th in the nation in a concentration of creative occupations, and the creative sector is the 5th largest employment cluster with 186,000 jobs.  (source Colorado's Creative Economy, . 
Creative industries includes all sorts of artistic endeavors including the traditional performing and visual arts as well as film, TV, design, media technology and is as far reaching as fashion and the craft (gourmet) food and beverage industry.  Colorado has recognized that these industries are a driving force in our economy and they should be supported.  These businesses help support other economic growth, like tourism, as well as improving the overall quality of life of those living in Colorado.

Art is in every inch of the Colorado Capitol. 
This photo looks up at the
door of the Senate Chambers
This poses some interesting questions and dilemmas.  For the business minded person, there may need to be a shift in their view of the arts.  Really, a healthy community arts program can encourage economic growth and improve the bottom line for a community. This is a shift to now say: Fund the Arts!
For the artist, who may be opposed to the "establishment,"  the government and community support may be the way to gain a foot hold in a struggling economy.  Fund the Arts!
For the community member who may  have never looked at a "statue" as a piece of public art, who may have never been to a museum or cultural event, a rise in those creative industries may stimulate a boost in their local economy.  The new definition of Creative Industries included "craft food and beverage," which in simple language, craft breweries are part of Creative Industries.  Colorado is #2 in the country for the most craft beer produced. Fund the Arts!
Ok, I should get off my soap box.  But let me share the points that resonated most with me:
  • Colorado is a creative and artistic state.  And that's recognized by the state.
  • Arts industries can stimulate and revitalize a damaged economy.
  • While we are 5th in the nation for arts, Colorado is also 50th in the nation in funding arts education in public school.  (Shame on us!  But I will save that rant for another day)
  • While our funding is lacking, we should do all we can to support arts in the schools. 
  • Science, technology and art may go hand in hand.
  • Communities can and should use the arts to stimulate economic growth.

I will stop here, but I would encourage you to read more.  To do your own reading about the impact of arts on an economy and on education take a look at some of these resources.

In Colorado:

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Collage - Forever is Composed of Nows!

This is one of my finished collages .... A look, finally at what I did with all those inchies

To finish that "blank canvas" of inchies, I added a paper ornament, a decorative brad, a bit of sealer and paint.  I added a simple quotation from one of my favorite poets, Emily Dickinson.
"Forever is composed of nows."

Now, I am headed down to the Colorado State Capitol for Creative Industries Day.  I am excited to be a part of the Lafayette Public Art Committee, and thrilled to be a part of the arts in our community.  Today we will look at the roll of arts in our state. Lafayette has been nominated for the Governor's Arts Award.  Today will be a day filled with information and arts advocacy.  Can't wait to see how it goes.