October art

October is about stripping away, of seeing beauty in decay, of letting go. It is about seeing things in new ways, when the trees lose their leaves and reveal their bones.

For this, I’m using a lot of leftovers and pieces I’ve accumulated. Nothing is expensive. It reminds me of how I got my start buying beads at the nearby thrift store and broke them up to make my first necklaces. I could buy a necklace for a quarter, redesign it with a few new beads, and sell it for $15. People don’t appreciate the time or creativity involved in making art, so it is better to not pay too much for materials.

The canvas was bought at Goodwill – already painted. This is a great way to buy a canvas – instead of $40 to $50 for a 24 x 30 inch canvas, this was $15. You can always paint over it. This too is part of the process of letting go – of not feeling I have to keep everything like it is. Change is essential for growth, and letting go is part of that.

This is what was on it.


I found gauze at Target for $1. I actually got it free because my husband had gotten a $5 gift card because he gets his prescriptions filled there. I’ve heard about using gauze as texture – time to try.


I painted the canvas with a thin coat of gesso, and affixed the gauze with it.

I’m not very good at putting on gesso yet. But maybe I should use a regular bristle brush and not a foam brush. Most of my bristle brushes are small – not suited for gesso. This is a new experience for me. Here I’m playing with texture.


I didn’t entirely cover up the image that was already there. I think it is nice to show what came first, the origin of the piece. You can never fully erase your past – it is always with you, even if you don’t see it.


This was paper I got from Yankee Candle – they’d wrapped up my large jar candles in it. I spritzed it with Tim Holtz “Distress Ink” spray stain and a few spritzes of water. I made this last week, not sure what I was going to do with it. I tore it into pieces, saving the parts I liked best. The remaining pieces I’ve already sprayed with more color and will use later (maybe in this project).



It is darker on the canvas because it is still wet with matte medium (coated front and back). Perhaps I’d have been better not painting the front with matte medium, since I might put acrylic paint over some of it. We’ll see. This is an exercise, a practice. Mistakes are valuable opportunities for learning.

Detail – some of it tore while I put it on the canvas.   I’ve added a little gesso too.


I like this dead moth. I found it in a windowsill at work. I picked it up and saved it with a label protector.  Things die in October.  They have to.  This moth is a reminder that time is precious, yet also not to take it so seriously I forget to live life.


Here is the assortment of papers I intend to use – leftover bits from tissue paper and bags from items I’ve bought, and bits from other projects. I like the saying on the bag I got from the Hallmark store in Boone, NC when I got some rainbow pencils. It is a little large, so I might just write this on the canvas when I’m done. Right now it is nearby as inspiration.


These are the Asian-language instruction pages from a tiny Moleskine journal I found at a used book store in Knoxville. I tore them using a  metal ruler as a straightedge.


This is a subset – a collage within the collage. I plan to put it in towards the end, but assembled it first.  Some of the pages with words are from Robert’s Rules of Order – I got it for free.  I’m not sure how I made the back.  I definitely used Distress Spray Stain, but it reacted with the paper in an odd way.  I’m pretty sure I couldn’t replicate it.

I added the moth I found to it.

Then I underlined some of the words in gold gel pen.


I might use some of this. This is tissue paper that I had under other things that I was spraying. The empty spaces are where they were.


This is at the end of day one.


(Day two)
Here, I’ve painted some of the corners and edges with acrylic paint, daubed on with my fingers. It is a blend of White with water, Phthalo green blue, Olive green. I’ve used these colors on my bathroom door. They remind me of the color of rust and I’m told it is the color of Parisian municipal things – benches, street lamps, grates. It is the color of rain and mist.



detail –


I’m sorry some of the pictures are so dark, thus the colors aren’t true. I was working in my craft room which is on the North side of the house, and it was about an hour before sunset on day one, and an hour after sunrise on day two. I could see fine, but the camera thought otherwise. Maybe one day I’ll have an assistant and a professional studio, but for now, this is what you get. That too is part of the art – of using what you have without fear.

When I work more on this, I’ll add it all here rather than make separate posts.






acrylic paint applied with fingers, buttons I bought in May in thrift and antique stores in North Carolina.

Inspired by this sight – a rust patina stained sidewalk, scattered with “helicopter” seeds, at the Monastery Immaculate Conception in Ferdinand, Indiana (April 2016)


And this sign at a craft store in Linville, NC, May 2016.  It was a board, painted green, and the word “OPEN” was nailed on to it using soda-pop caps and nails.  Allowed to rust outside in the rain.


And perhaps most importantly, my English grandmothers’ metal tin full of buttons.

I’m so sad that I’ve misplaced it.  It had such a beautiful smell along with the sights of the buttons, the sound of them clinking together, the different textures (wooden, fabric, plastic, rubber, metal).  I never met her, and I cherished those buttons.  And now I can’t find the box.  I’m sure it is in my craft room.   More uncovering needs to happen. And I need to stop buying craft supplies and use what I have.

Artwork in process – “Praying for my enemies”

I first worked on this canvas over a year ago while dealing with a very difficult person in my life. This is one of the ways I chose to process my feelings.

This is how it stayed for about a year. This is on a stretched canvas, with acrylic paint I applied with my fingers. I then added silver sharpie light language. It is my prayer for healing for our relationship.


Here it is at a different angle so you can see the light language prayer.


In part because I’m learning about layering collage, and in part because new canvases are expensive and take up a lot of space, I’m using old artworks to add new material. The focus is the same, but now about a different person and series of issues.

Here I’ve added washi tape.


Then I painted a layer of gesso on it in random swirls, obscuring some of the image.


Top left


Top right


Bottom left


Bottom right


More layers are to be added.

Into the deep (further work, as of 4-7-16)

I’m still not sure if this is done. Perhaps another year will pass before I see what needs to be done. The dark blue is too intense, but I also don’t want to essentially copy the color scheme I used with a recent piece. I’ve added so much detail to the blue that I kind of don’t want to cover it up, but perhaps the detail wasn’t enough to fix the problem. Or maybe “art is in the eye of the beholder” and someone else will like it.

11 x 14 canvas
Acrylic paint
Gel pens
Tissue dyed with distress ink
Broken key
Glitter gem
Chalk pen
Decoupage glue
Glazing medium
Pages from a Jacque Cousteau book.


Top left

Top right

Bottom left

Bottom right

November rain (further work)

14 x 11 canvas
Acrylic paint
Gel pens
Decoupage glue
Broken key
Crushed glass glitter
White gel pen
Chalk pen
Match used to light Sabbath candle
Copied money from Israel
Leaf skeleton
Tissue colored with distress stains
Matte and glazing medium


Top left (color enhanced)

Top right (color enhanced)

Bottom left

Bottom right

Current iteration worked on March and April 2016. (It may or may not be completed. I’m not really happy with it right now. I like parts of it.)

Blue escape

A meditation on leaving bad doctors, clubs, churches – of feeling ignored, part of a machine, a number but not a name. How big community isn’t community anymore. And – an excuse to make use of an art supply that others don’t think of as an art supply – aluminum foil. Thus – Seeing things in new ways. Making use of a bad situation.

Crumpled thin aluminum foil from Baja Burrito
Tissue with distress ink stains
Copied money
Acrylic paint
Crushed glass sparkle glitter
Glazing medium
14 x 11 canvas


Top left

Top right

Bottom left

Bottom right

Current iteration worked on March and April 2016. (It may or may not be completed.)

Into the deep (part 4)

This layer was added this morning (3-29-16).

Additions –
bronze and gold gel pen
white chalk pen
decoupage glue
“abandoned coral” Distress stain
the broken tip of a key (found)
glitter gem

Top left

top right


bottom left (pleased to discover that the edge of the book page didn’t glue down well. I’ll add a red stamp here later)


bottom right (The glue will go shiny and translucent when dried. The key tip reminds me of Noah’s ark.)


Middle detail


I’m reminded of the photographic idea of dodge and burn. I’m highlighting certain areas and downplaying others. I try to make it look like it is all planned, but I’m making it up as I go along. It is a voyage of discovery.

This is kind of like when I painted the bathroom by myself. It took four hours. I was alone with my own thoughts all that time, and it was a little intense. This is also part of why I partly dislike how I exercise – water aerobics. I can’t listen to an audiobook while I do it, and I can’t take down notes of ideas I have. I’m stuck with myself, and that is hard sometimes. But I do it because it is always important. If you can’t stand being by yourself, then who would want to spend time with you? Friendships need to be constructed of two equal people who can stand on their own, and work even stronger together. If one or both lean on the other too much, it is harmful.

November rain

This is a work in progress. This is the second layer. This is the companion to “Deep art” (which the title itself is a work in progress). I was working on this one first and had spare paint to use up.

Here is the original full canvas.

I fingerpainted the original colors onto the canvas about a year ago. I don’t remember what colors I used. This was before I started documenting the layers of my creations. I also thought that I was done with this because I liked it like it was. However, after reading several Nick Bantock books, I’ve decided to push it a little more. Plus – canvases aren’t cheap and they take up space. So it is either add more to them or start finding a market for what I’ve done. Speaking of that – if you like what I’ve made, let me know. We can work out a price that is good for both of us.

Here is the second layer full canvas.

november rain1

Top left detail.

I’ve added some washi tape and stamps. I’ve learned the hard way that if I’m too liberal with the matte medium, it covers over areas of the paint outside of what I’m trying to glue down, leaving a dull smear. Also added are layers of tissue paper that I colored using Distress Ink stains. I let them dry first, and affixed them to the painting colored side down.

The paint colors that are in the second layer are titanium white, cadmium yellow deep hue, and Payne’s grey. I put blobs of them into a large yogurt lid and put some glazing medium on top. I blended them only as I went, using the brush.

Top right detail.

Bottom left detail.

Bottom right detail.