June 30, 2009

Stamps of the Week

I have some great new 'Stamps of the Week' for you this week. Over the last couple of weeks I've gotten a lot of new stamps. These first two pictures show the bulk of the stamp loot that I just received in the mail. This is about 2 lbs of stamps. I have not had a chance to sort these or to really look through them much. Sorting takes a veeeery long time so some stamps sit in my general collection like this for months and months until I need a particular color, theme, etc... and go hunting for it in my general collection. The rest of my collection is already sorted by color, theme, country, etc...

The first stamps I want to show today are some sheets from Oman. I think this is the first time I've gotten stamps from Oman. I'm not a dog person, but I do think these stamps are fascinating. I tend to like the ones that use few colors and have clean lines.

I have a separate collection of butterfly stamps, which is growing quite large, and plan to add these to it. I love that these show the caterpillars! It's brilliant.

I didn't pick the most colorful stamps for this week but I did pick some of my favorites from the top of the pile of new stamps. I really like the ones that just use one or two colors or otherwise have a very simple design.

I'm always fascinated by all things 'trees' so I particularly love the Nederland stamp with the tree in this next set. It has simple colors, a great design and one of my favorite themes. I've set this one aside for an as yet unidentified special project in which to include it.

Some of my all-time favorite stamps are from France. I have these sorted into a separate collection which is just waiting for this one to be added to it.

And last, but definitely not least, is this pretty little guy. I love birds almost as much as I love trees and I simply couldn't leave him out. (I'm assuming it's a male due to the oh-so-bright coloring). This is one of the best bird stamps I've seen to date. And I've now added Uganda to the list of countries that I still need to visit....

June 29, 2009

Re-working an Art Piece

Sometimes after looking at a piece for a while I think that perhaps it really isn't quite finished and my mind starts devising ways to keep working on it. This is the case with a small flower piece I created several months ago. It's on the wall close to my desk so I see it quite a bit and over the last week or so I've been thinking that it felt not quite complete. Here is the original piece:

On Friday I discovered a fabulous little art shop in my neighborhood and perhaps the most exciting part of the shop is all of the incredible hand-made papers that they sell. I came home with several sheets of incredible paper. Then it struck me what I needed to do with this piece so I pulled it from my shop and re-worked it. Here is the final piece (more pictures of it here):

I'm really happy that I went back to this piece and worked it some more. I think the results are better and it gets my message across more effectively.

Tomorrow, stamps of the week!

June 25, 2009

Work in Progress- Circus Menagerie

I wrote about my new 'Circus Menagerie' piece a week or so ago here. It's come a little further since then, but I still have a ways to go before it's done. I'm mulling over a couple of different ideas to complete the piece. Maybe next week I'll finish. Here are updated pictures of what I have so far:

Art in Nature

I had planned to post 'Stamps of the Week' today but couldn't resist posting these pictures that I took yesterday. Often nature creates the best art.

While out counting wildflowers in the sub-alpine yesterday I encountered this very yellow spider sitting atop this cluster of Pseudocymopteris montanus. I almost mistook him for being the center of a flower because he was so perfectly centered in the cluster and is the exact same color as these flowers. His body was perfectly shaped like a gourd. I love that his arms are also yellow and you can see all of his joints.

I'm not normally a big fan of spiders but the lines and color of this one were beautiful.

June 22, 2009

New Paint Layering Method: Final Piece

I'm happy to report that the piece I've been working on using the baking soda method has survived in one piece and is now finished. It's really bright and I'm pleased with how it turned out.

Of course I had to incorporate some of my postage stamps. These are from about 10 different countries.

So in the end, the method I used was this:

  1. Lay down somewhat watery acrylic paint. It doesn't need to be runny, but you do want it a little bit water because you don't want it to dry until you've had a chance to finish painting and put the baking soda on.
  2. Sprinkle baking soda over it- unevenly for a mottled, uneven effect.
  3. Let paint dry.
  4. Once dry, use a wet rag to scrub the baking soda off. The more you scrub, the more paint will come off- you can adjust this to get the effect that you're looking for.
  5. Let canvas dry.
  6. Seal with gel medium.
  7. Let gel dry.
  8. Repeat with another layer of watery acrylic.
  9. Repeat continuously until you are happy with it.

I actually put down 4 layers of acrylic paints- blue, green, neon yellow and pearl. Then I laid down the vintage paper and postage stamp design. Then I put 3 more layers of paint- another of blue, green and yellow.

If anyone else tries this, I'd love to see your results.

June 21, 2009

Mid-Winter at South Pole

5 years ago today I was celebrating Mid-Winter at the South Pole. I wintered-over at South Pole and from mid-February to November 1st there were no planes in or out of the Pole and for most of that time we were in complete darkness. 75 of us living, working, playing, eating and doing everything else that you can possibly do at the South Pole in basically one big building with really tight living quarters.

It was an amazing experience in so many ways. But in many ways, it cripples your life. You can't do any of the things you want to do. Something as simple as having a fresh piece of fruit or taking a 10 minute shower is not to be had for months and months on end. 75 people is not a lot of people to socialize with over the course of 9 months, especially when so many of those 75 people didn't get along. August brings the 'mean season' as people become irritable, cranky and in some cases stop talking to others. There's so much that I missed- plants, smells, fresh food, walking outdoors, and too many other things to mention.

I wouldn't change my Winter experience at the Pole for anything, but every year now at Solstice, it does make me thankful that I'm back to living in the real world with it's colorful, fragrant, magical life and multitude of options for living.

So, Happy Mid-Winter Polies, but I'm glad it's you and not me this year...

June 19, 2009

Paint Layering Method

While wandering the web the other day I found some information on using Baking Soda to produce a mottled color effect with multiple paint layers so that you can see the layers below. Intrigued, I decided to give it a try.

This is the link where I found the information:

Essentially, you lay down some paint and while it's still wet you sprinkle baking soda over portions of it where you don't want the paint to stick. Then when it's dry you rub off the baking powder and voila!

On my first attempt I painted a canvas with one layer of yellow and then sprinkled the baking powder on. I was hoping to get some of the white canvas to show through but as you can see from this picture, the baking soda didn't have much of an effect (I had to put a stamp on the canvas to give my camera something to focus on):

It occurred to me that perhaps I was being too timid with the amount of baking soda, so I tried it again. I sealed the yellow paint layer with some gel medium and then put a layer of green paint over it. While the green was still wet I put baking soda all over it. I used a LOT more this time as you can see from the picture below:

Once it dried and I rubbed off the baking soda I was left with this:

I don't love the result, but I plan to do more layers and keep working with it this weekend. I'll post more pictures in a few days.

June 17, 2009

Mixed Media Online Resources

I've been wandering around the web the last few days looking for some information on a couple of mixed media methods/techniques that I'd like to try and have found some really cool mixed media related websites.


This artist has some amazing work and has some really good how-to's on her website.


This website is actually a marketplace, but it's not the first thing you'll come to when you go there. They have some great resources, including tutorials, a listing of art challenges and some great artist interviews. I thoroughly enjoyed perusing this site.


Art e-zine is a UK website. It's not the most intuitive to maneuver around or the easiest to read, BUT it has GREAT how-to's, tutorials and loads of other information. Great site if you can suffer a bit through the difficult to read text.


This is an artist's website. She posts how-to's on various methods and techniques that she uses in her work. I really like the twisted fabric painting information. I'm not sure I'll ever do it myself, but it's highly entertaining to me to read about what methods others are using.

If you're looking for new methods or information on techniques you'd like to try, check these out.

June 16, 2009

New Mixed Media Piece in Progress- The Circus Menagerie

A few weeks ago while wandering around Boulder I picked up this old book titled 'The Circus Menagerie'. I don't generally like to tear books up, but this one was already falling apart and I planned from the moment I saw it to turn it into an art piece.

Oops- I managed to chop up the title page before it occurred to me to get a photo of it. 1929. This is important because it explains why the animals are treated the way they are. This is long before PETA.

Circuses creep me out. They always have. The bones of my piece appear to be bright and sunny, but this is just the first layer.

Here's a test layout for the second layer. There are a lot more pictures in this book and it's hard to narrow them down. I really wanted to incorporate elephants too but they look like big gray blobs. There's one picture of fighting elephants but I can't tell if they're being harassed in order to fight, or if they're fighting on their own. I do love the picture of the monkey smoking the pipe.

I'm hoping to finish this piece in the next week or so. More pics to follow...

June 15, 2009

Stamps of the Week and Latest Art Piece

Over the last couple of days I've come across a few stamps that I thought were a little creepy. I don't usually find creepy stamps, most of them are colorful and upbeat, but that's debatable with these little guys.

This first one appears to have some sort of battle scene going on. See the chopped off head in the middle of the stamp rolling down the hill? I'm not sure what this is all about, other than blood and guts.

Need I say anything about this next one?

This pink guy looks like he want to make dinner out of the little blue guy. Something about his just creeps me out.

I find most clowns to be creepy, and this one is no exception.

I completed a new painting this weekend. I think I'm going through a blue phase with my work. When purchasing paints I can only seem to pick up the blue hues. Most of the fish pieces I've created recently are all shades of blue and over the last week I completed a new piece 'Stormy Day in the City' that is 13 different shades of blue. I also have several other canvases in the works that are all blue at the moment.

The things in the world that I love that are blue are the ocean, lagoons, stormy rainy skies, alpine forget-me-nots, blueberries, sea glass, Japanese glass balls, my husbands eyes, my first Schwinn bike and my latest 110 year old acquired book 'Chinese and Arabian Literature'.

Here is my latest study in blues:

June 14, 2009

Busy Week in the Studio

It's been a busy week. I finished off my commissioned piece, which I blogged about earlier this week. I've also been working on a new acrylic painting- a 12 x 16" piece in multiple shades of blue, which I finished this afternoon. I'll post pictures of it tomorrow.

I'm working on another piece that I'm donating this week to a fundraiser for a friend of mine. She has a 4 year old daughter that was diagnosed with a cancerous stage 4 brain tumor at the end of last year. Her chances are somewhat slim, but she has survived 6 months now and we're all hopeful that Tayler will be around for many more years to come. The fundraiser is being held by their HOA in order to help with the medical bills for Tayler. The event will be held at the Wildlife Experience Museum in Denver on June 27th (more information is here:

I was also asked to donate some promo items for goodie bags for an art show in California. I was planning to donate something and have been laying out designs, but the thought of making 25-50 small pieces is a little daunting considering that they need them in less than 10 days. I might have to shelve this project.

What I'm really excited about is that I bought a 3' x 3' canvas this week. I'm planning to do a LARGE underwater scene similar to this and this but MUCH bigger and much more intricate with a multitude of underwater organisms. I'm really excited about this project. The size of this big blank canvas that is staring at me is admittedly a little intimidating and I think it will take a long time to complete, but I'm ultimately interested in working on much larger pieces than I have been, so this will be a good start. I also bought a whole box of 5 canvases that are 24" x 24" as well. So I'm going to be busy for a while!

Tomorrow, stamps of the week.

June 10, 2009

Commissioned Piece: Well Traveled Trout

Once again, I've been slack in my blogging. I've been busy trying to sort out my summer research project and spent a long weekend at a family reunion cruise to the Bahamas. But now I'm back to the studio and blogging.

I was asked to do a commissioned piece for someone a couple of weeks ago with some very loose parameters. I turned my focus to fish and created 3 different pieces, which includes the 2 most recent listings in my shop (you can see them here: I made several pieces because I thought the buyer might like to have a choice and I had some extra time.

The fish pieces that ended up listed in my shop were a bit of a departure from the type of work I've been doing, but I really enjoyed making them and it has led to new ideas that will take my work in different directions in the near future. My buyer seemed to like them, but they weren't quite what she was looking for.

The 3rd, and last, piece I made was more in keeping with my recent work and she immediately responded by saying it was exactly what she had in mind- so I guess we both win. She gets the piece she envisioned and I have a new direction.

I created this piece last because it took me a really long time to sort out the design. I laid it all out several times but wasn't happy with the results until this last iteration, which I finally laid on canvas this week. I present to you the 'Well Traveled Trout':

June 2, 2009

New Underwater Piece

Yesterday I started working on this new piece that's an underwater scene. I really like the plants at the bottom. They took a really long time to cut out but I'm happy with the results. Sometimes I get the exact effect that I was aiming for, as in the case of these little plants. I'm still working on the fish. What I don't love about this piece is that it's not as obvious that these are all from postage stamps.

June 1, 2009

Stamps of the Week

I didn't spend a lot of time perusing the stamp collection this week so I don't have a lot to show you but I did find a few nice ones this afternoon when I started working on my very first commissioned piece (which I'm very excited about by the way!!!). Tomorrow I'll be posting some pictures of the new piece I'm working on, but for now, here are the Stamps of the Week!

I love the reds in these flowers. I'm always drawn in by good vegetation stamps- particularly the ones with flowers (and trees of course!). I also really love the design of the second stamp. I wish I could paint like that...

Who doesn't love an ostrich? I don't know how this one has been floating around in my collection and yet I've never seen it until today. It's a great design combo with the colorful little bird at the bottom. As I think I've mentioned before, I've spent a good deal of time living/working in Antarctica and my hub-dude is the editor for the Antarctic Sun ( so I always have a keen eye for all stamps that are Antarctic related. while this isn't specifically an 'Antarctic' stamp, it does have a nice picture of the continent and I couldn't resist.

Dinosaurs and camels! Oh my! Don't you wish you could ride a friendly dinosaur? OR a camel? I really regret not riding camels when I went to see the pyramids. I so easily could have! Instead I rode a semi-lame, wholly arthritic, ancient, slower-than-molasses horse. But I do love horseback riding so all was not lost. Now if I could just find a dinosaur like these to ride around for a bit....