Sunday, March 15, 2009


Dr. Evil, Musician, Biker Boy. Those were the remaining three titles for the men themed cards I had to complete this weekend. After Lincoln, I wasn't sure if I had used up my creative quota, but I had work to do and so I brainstormed. Or at least it feels like my brain has been through a storm, but it may just be the Sunday dinner wine.

Who to choose as "Dr. Evil"? One popular choice comes immediately to mind, but my darker side kept chanting 'Hannibal Lecter, Hannibal Lecter". ("Silence of the Lambs" is a masterpiece of a psychological thriller and one of my favorite movies. Thomas Harris is a brilliant author and if you haven't read his books, you are missing out. But I digress.) I gave Lecter a try with a few different images, but it just wasn't happening. So I settled on my second choice and began to pull together a few telltale elements. Every piece of this card is a clue, so I won't reveal here who is "Dr. Evil". (Spoiler alert: don't look at my Flickr photostream.) No great mystery, I am not that profound. I just thought it would be fun to include a little riddle with this post. Sooooo . . . who is it? Theory holds that this individual was, in real life, a physician. Hence, I've got the "Doctor" part of the card theme covered. "Evil." His acts were grotesquely so. Read the fine print on the transparency. (Life advice: read the fine print on EVERYTHING.) The spatter, the neurological affliction that could only explain his behavior. The torn fabric, the razor (it is a safety razor, the kind you use for eyebrow shaping), the vintage paper that counts to the number six. And lastly, the twine, a miniature version of rope. No greater a dark figure in true crime history.

"Musician" was a much easier man to tackle. Not that I tackle that many men . . . but you know what I mean. I am a huge Louis Armstrong fan. "What A Wonderful World" is my all-time favorite song. Chokes me up every time. There are many, many images available of Satchmo, but this one of him in silhouette, standing on stage, reaching out to the crowd, is silently strong. I wanted to stick with that tone, so I did a simple, graphic card. The background is simply brayered acrylics. I did not prepare the background specifically for this card. It is something I had laying around for ages and was glad that I kept it stashed away for so long. Gotta love it when you have something on hand that fits the bill. The image of Louis is a contact paper transfer. I then attached a brass "L" and a fleur-de-lis rub on. The fleur-de-lis is a nod to his New Orleans roots. The card itself did not need further embellishment but it needed something. That ever elusive, dreaded SOMETHING that nags at you until you are satisfied. After some tinkering, I decided that it would look best matted against a jet black background. So I painted a mat board card with bone black acrylic, slightly trimmed the ATC and stuck the two together. Done and satisfied. Sometimes simple is the best.

Lastly, I had to come up with a biker boy. This gave me hell. No other way to put it. I tried images of Jesse James, Paul Tuttle, Marlon Brando from "The Wild One", etc., etc. and nothing worked. I have trouble using contemporary images in my cards. Nothing wrong with them, they just don't seem to work for me. So after looking and looking, I found this cool pic of a vintage motorcyclist and decided to give it a go. The background colors are crimson and payne's grey acrylics. I then collaged a piece of pattern tissue over the acrylics with beeswax. The image was then added with more beeswax and the whole piece buffed with a cloth. This really brought out the deep tones of the paints. The button was added to further the vintage theme and that is when the title of the card came to mind: "Slow Ride". I probably could have left the card as done then, but it needed another final touch. Gold leaf was added along the edges and top of the card by simply laying the gold leaf over the surface and running a stylus tip down the edges in a line. I got a little carried away at the top of the card and am not totally happy with how it turned out, but it was an experiment and next time I will be a little more precise with my placement. By the way, applying gold leaf to beeswax is not my invention. I learned this from the mega-talented Judy Wise whose encaustic work I absolutely adore. She was so gracious to share with me at Art & Soul in Portland how she employed this technique. If you have a chance to meet her, take a class or buy her work, do so. She is very gifted and one of the most genuine souls you will ever meet.

The boys have all been bundled up and shipped off to the UK for the swap. It truly was challenging to use men based themes. Certainly gave my mojo a kick start. Here's hoping it stays with me for a while.

Hope you all had a great, creative weekend and look forward to checking in on your blogs.

Ciao for now.



Many thanks are due my dear friend Kate of The Kathryn Wheel for sharing the “Friendly Blogger” award with me this week. Art and blogging in and of themselves are wonderful fun, but the greatest reward has been meeting and making new friends and acquaintances. I am one to curse technology (as I did five minutes ago), but the web and its little virtual currents have taken me to places that simply otherwise would not be possible, and for that I am grateful.

These are the guidelines that came with the badge: “These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these kind writers.” (I totally just lifted that word for word from Kate !!) Thus, in line with the rules, I nominate the following six to pass the badge on to:

Blandine of Miss Blandine
Anita of Make Time to Play
Stacey of ArtSnark’s Artifacts
Lynne of Gypsy Art
Dayna of Alley Art Studio, and
Ronna of Ronna’s Blog and the editor of ATC Quarterly.

Diana of Live Your Dreams was already nominated by Kate and I second the motion. Thanks to each of these inspiring souls for their encouragement and selfless sharing of their talents.

Ciao for now.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009


I've been in such a slump lately, I truly wondered if I'd ever do another ATC. So to force myself to flex my creative muscle, I joined a swap in one of my ATC groups. Swaps make me a bit fidgety because I feel pressured to come up with something a bit more than ordinary. And then there are the deadlines. When your creative well has hit a serious dry spell, a looming deadline can either send you over the edge or spur you on. For tonight, at least, the latter holds. Lo and behold, I actually managed to get a card done and I am pleased with the results.

The swap theme centers on men. Interesting challenge, given that we tend to use images of women in a vast majority of our work. Each participant chooses four titles on which to base their cards. You know . . . doctor, lawyer, Indian chief. That sort of thing. Kudos to the swap hostess. She is very, very creative with the titles. One of my four is "U.S. President". Abraham Lincoln is such an interesting historical figure and there is an abundance of images of him available. Thus, it was an easy choice for me. Fortunately, the construction of the card fell together rather easily. Thank goodness.

The background is a collage of vintage ledger paper, hand rusted paper and a strip of star-printed mulberry paper. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I use these a lot. I am a grab-and-go kind of gal. Use what is on hand, and those elements seem to be regulars in my stockpile. The woven square in the upper right hand corner is a bit of book binding mull (I may have the name incorrect), topped with some bits of acrylic skins, a tiny scrap of more vintage ledger paper, and a scrap of muslin. Three pieces of mica were overlayed and attached with hand rusted wire along the edges. The wiring was fun, but I now may need a tetanus shot. I chose the word "legacy" to demonstrate the unparalleled contribution Lincoln made to our history. With great deliberation and foresight, he saved a country and freed a people. And he did it with great humility and reflection. Lincoln was truly a man of character.

Now I must gather my supplies and carry on with the other three cards. If I have any success, I'll be sure to share the results.

Hope you have all had a great week so far and are finding some time for art !!!

Ciao for now,