Cleaning Stencils

Having a free Monday is a treat for me. Most of the time Mondays are a big clean up or finish up of the weekend. Not that we throw thrash and things around but you know those last dribs and drabs that didn’t get done?
With not too much to do around the house I gave myself the gift of creating today.  I got my stencils* out, some silk tissue and fluid acrylics. Dabbing away I created some background papers for collage. That’s a whole other blog post.

After stenciling and making lots of papers I found a great way to clean up stencils. It’s safe and very effective.

Murphy Oil Soap** and some hot water is all that it takes to clean up many things. The soap is pure vegetable oil.  I also use it to clean my paint brushes and brayers. It will bring back that nightmare brush you forgot to clean last week. Just soak the brush in half Murphy Oil Soap and water. Don’t allow water level above the metal ferrules or you can loosen where the brush attaches to the handle.  In a day or so that brush you thought you would have to throw away is soft enough to use after a good rinsing. Rinse until the soapy feel is gone.

For stencils use a shallow plastic tote***.  Place hot water and the soap in the tote and submerge your stencils.

                                                            Tote size 14x11x3 1/2 inches

If you are in a hurry you can scrub gently with your fingers, rubbing at the paint to remove it. You will be amazed at how quickly the paint will dissolve. I work for a long time with my stencils, and they will have many coats of colors on them, so I will let them soak overnight. I have forgotten them soaking in their little bath for days. But nothing happens to the stencil, but it just makes it easier to remove the paint.

                                           After a short soak and the blue paint is almost gone

                                          After rubbing the stencil in the soak for a minute. 

When the stencils are clean rinse until all the soapy feel is off. Dry on clean cloth.

Go make more art with your clean stencils!

Resources: * StencilGirl Stencils
                ** Murphy Pure Vegetable Oil Soap
              *** RE Large Clip Box  by Sterilite

Absents Make For Messes

Absents does not always make the heart grow fonder. I have not been back here for a very long time….again. I think it was August 2012. Little did I know that someone sent me a message and I did not see it. They wanted to feature my blog posting about my trip to Taos, NM. I was thrilled. But as I was doing up dates and trying to get a new look to the blog I noticed that all my photos from the first ones to the last were missing. After much searching and “googeling” I found some forums that deal with these issues. There are many changes to Blogger, Google, Google + that I was not aware of. And all the code writers and whoever told them what to do did not see fit to tell a n y o n e that they were doing “things” and adding “things” that would cause people to loose their blogs and or photos.

  Now, I love the computer, internet, e mails, blogs, music, photos, and all that goes with that. It seems we almost can’t live without it. For some it can be an addiction. But that’s another story. If you just “leave things” alone too long, you can loose not only your photos but you are now on a learning curve that is moving every nano second. And it can be very hard to catch up.
  I suggest that you do not leave your blog unattended for very long. And make sure you are seeing what is changing. Sometimes things improve and somethings you might want to opt out of them. But stay aware.
  My blog now is up dated and has a new look to it. I think that this lesson has taught me to write here more.

Life can be an adventure. Hold on and keep creating.

Create For You

As I have said many times before, it’s been awhile.  You know how it goes. Minutes turn into hours; hours turn into days, and before you know it, it’s been months.   Sigh.

The last time I wrote here, I had just come back from an intensive art study in Taos, NM. I was a bit frustrated back then. I had so much going on in my mind, I could not create. Well, I did try but everything seemed to be cliche, or not my best work. It was okay, but not exactly what I was looking for.

While on the trip to and from Taos, I had been taking photos of windows. The above is from Mabel Dodge Luhan’s house. When I got to the classes at Taos, I told the instructors about my “love” of windows and they told me to explore the idea. I tried every way I thought would make a “good” painting about all those windows. The instructors, each with a different idea, would ask me questions to push me on. I fought with those paintings, and was ready to give up and let the windows go. I could not make the idea(s) work. I could not do the things that they suggested, or what I thought would work.
After classes, back in the hotel, I would pour over artists on-line that I had grown to love.

                                              Santa Fe, NM
I have continued to work on different paintings with the idea of windows for the past three months. Only one really spoke to me.

                                                                             Dodge House
After three months, I used the window idea and created something I like. It came out of my head and heart. Not what someone else was telling me to try and create. But, all those months of frustration was a path to here.

Back to the paintings that I created in Taos. I had pulled out two of the paintings and was going to “change” just a few things. Just “fix” a spot here and there to make it more me and to make it fit into what I thought would be a good mix of the window ideas.  I started at six pm the other night, and painted and re-painted and “lifted” paint and re-painted again, until one am. I was tired and cranky and was in a panic. I felt that to let this go would be a failure. What was worse, I thought I had lost “it,” the ability to create.  If I stopped painting, went to bed and got some needed rest, I was giving up.

The last time I looked at the clock, it showed two-thirty am. When the alarm went off at six-thirty am, I got up to face the paintings that haunted me and made sleep restless. By ten am, I was working on them again. But even thought I had very little sleep and my defenses were down I began  to collage over the paintings that were now all neutral, drab colors. Boxes of paint on the paper were gone.  As I covered the paint with bright papers I thought back to one of the instructors at Taos, Alex Powers. He is a very political artist, and had encouraged me to tell the world–with my art–the theme I would like to convey of how we treat one another. How bullying is not okay, and that if we did just love each other as we love ourselves, this world would be a better place.

I pulled out a magazine that had some of Alex’s work and read what he had written about his art and what he wanted to tell the world about our prejudices. I was hit with a shock, like hitting my crazy bone in my elbow. A jolt that ran through my body of what I wanted to tell the viewer of my paintings. “Don’t” was created. It comes from the phrase that my dad always used. “Don’t hate. Hate hurts the hater.”

This is only part of the painting. The text is from an old dictionary that has the definition of hate.

I have moved to another subject that is near and dear to my heart: teaching and teachers. My daughter, daughter-in-law, and soon to be other daughter-in-law are all teachers. I have many family and friends that are teachers, and I feel that they don’t get what they need and are treated badly. They are in-charge of our children’s education and are up against the worst odds. We do not pay them what they are worth, and when things go wrong, we blame them, never thinking that the problem lies somewhere else.

After “Teach Me” I  will go on to my next painting. I don’t know the theme of what I will create but I will keep creating the message that I would like to inspire.

                                                                    Alex Powers
                                                                     At ISS Taos, NM 5/12
Thank you Alex.

Trip to Taos, NM

On April 21st. a fellow artist and myself left for an intensive art seminar in Taos, NM.
We were told to bring every little thing you might need for 8 days of creating. There are no art stores in Taos anymore. We filled a midsize SUV with our supplies, snacks, and cameras.

Views in AZ

We arrived in Santa Fe, NM on Monday and spent the day walking the city and taking in all the art and food we could hold. I became taken with windows. Not sure why but I just kept taking photos of them.

Window in art colony in Santa Fe

Window at Mabel Dodge Luhan House

                                               Town Square in Santa Fe, NM with artists

I think I took about 300 photos in all. Not all of windows but there are quite a few.

The workshop ran every day from 9am – 5pm. We painted and attended lectures with slide shows on different aspects of art and artists.
Every night I went back the the hotel room very tired but so happy to have been painting every day. In the afternoons and early evenings we were able to do some sight seeing. Like our trip to Mabel Dodge Luhan House. If you don’t know about Mabel, look her up. What an amazing person.
It was so relaxing to be able to not worry about anything but showing up to paint. Letting the creative juices flow and watching the wonderful sunsets at the end of the day.

Going to Santa Barbara

For the past two years I have traveled to Santa Barbara for an art workshop. I am taking the workshop again this year. I enjoy the presenter so much. He is Skip Lawrence. A great watercolorest plus he makes learning fun. Every morning before we start to paint he gives a lecture and slide show. He shows us paintings of the Masters and more contemporary paintings. Skip is never without a joke or two to loosen up the nerves. We take notes and talk about the paintings that we are drawn to. The past two years the lecture and slides are different. There are a few the same but he manages to keep it fresh and interesting. The workshop starts tomorrow at nine o’clock A. M. But I drove up here today. I wanted to get a feel for the new hotel and go find the new venue for the workshop. After a quick drive around I grabbed some dinner (more on that later) ,went back to the hotel and decided to see how long a walk it would be to the venue. It was getting dark by the time I left but the walk was only twenty minutes. I felt much better finding my way around and knowing where I would be going. Can you take the Girl Scout out of the girl? Guess not. Not this Girl Scout anyway. About dinner… I had been to a certain Chineese restaurant last year but had a hard time remembering what it was called and where it was. After some Google and Yelp searches There it was. I think. My daughter is on this adventure with me and she was pretty sure this was the one we ate at before. As we drove up to the restaurant we both sang, “yes this is it!” great food and nice people. China Pavilion on Chapala St. For anyone wanting good Chineese food in Santa Barbara. I have promised to blog about the workshop so will be here every night. There might not be any pictures though. My laptop is sick and I don’t know how to do pictures with my iPad. So if things get better with the laptop I’ll add photos. Stay tuned in for an interesting week.

"Make Writing a Happy Habit"

Time seems to go so fast. It’s the middle of March but it was just December, right? I find that I can get myself into too many things so fast that I am drowning in papers, photos of my work, and business. I have to work very hard to keep on a schedule. It’s a habit that I have but sometimes forget. 

Writer’s coach Cynthia Morris has been helping people get
their words out since 1999. She’s brought everything she
knows about how to get writing done to Make Writing a Happy

This 6-week online class works for writers of all levels
and genres who are ready to focus on and enjoy their

(Update: Unfortunately, Cynthia no longer offers this service. If anyone finds a good on-line writing workshop, let me know and I will post the information here.)

If you are a new writer or a seasoned one this class is for you. It will help you make a habit of writing. And, get and keep you focused.
You’re not a writer? You only want to fling paint? Think of writing also. Write about your art or your process.  I just had to write an Intention Statement for a workshop that I will be attending in Taos, NM. The statement could only be three sentences.  I haven’t done too much writing except here. I was very rusty and kept working and re writing until I thought I was going crazy. After many hours and lots of re writes it’s done. 
I use to use this blog for prompts for my Inland Empire CA Writers Club members. I would write a bit about something that had been on my mind and then post a prompt. 
  This is a famous photo that many writers have used for a prompt. Give it a try. 
Don’t know what to write? Where does this road lead? Is it morning or evening? What state is the road in? What’s around the bend? 
If you are a creative type you can cross over to other creative avenues. And I feel it is good for an artist to write now and then. 
Check out the 6-week online couse at Original
Create something everyday!

Post Class

As promised, photos of some of the papers that were created. The students said that they had a good time and now want to use the papers they created, in a project. So next Thursday which is our “Painting Day”, they will bring their papers and a sub straight to create a collage.  I am so proud of them.

The class was to start at 9:30am and be over at 2:00pm.  We were throwing papers, inks and paint around until 3:30pm!  They didn’t want to stop.  Some of the CirtaSolv papers were beautiful!

  A mix of different papers.

Rubbings of stamps with pastels on newsprint paper.

A collage for collage, to copy/print to use in collages.

One of the hits of the day. FINE TEC Pearl Colors, watercolors.   Shimmery!

Teaching these classes has given me so much. I enjoy working with the students and I am so happy when they create something that they are proud of and like. Their joy inspires me. I get so much out of these classes that I never knew I would. I was hoping to fill a need from some students of art, that had requested I teach some classes. I had no idea that there were all these added benefits to bring me such joy. I am so grateful to my students. You are Art Stars!  <3

Collage Paper Class

My hubby and I spent the day setting up for my new class, Collage Paper.
Four people have signed up for the class and I am so excited to share all the ways to make papers for collage.
We will be altering brown paper bags, newsprint, newspapers, card stock, tissue paper, Mulberry papers and National Graphic Magazine pages.  Watercolors, acrylics, fluid acrylics, Glimmer Mist, coffee, Distressing inks, gesso and CitraSolv cleaner will be splashed around all day.

The weather was so nice today that I thought it would be great to have the class outside. It’s suppose to be warm tomorrow also. I think the back yard looks like an art retreat.
I will have coffee and snacks for the students so they can keep their energy up throughout the day.

Who wouldn’t want to make art on a beautiful day?  I’ll post the work in progress tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Collage Class 2/16/12

 Some friends/fellow artists kept asking me to teach a class. I wasn’t sure and was a bit worried. But I got over that and did it. After a failed attempt a few months ago in a different venue I decided to try to teach this class here at my home. The students made two framed pieces of collage artwork, a gift box and collage jewelry (earrings and pendants).
With great success one person had never done any kind of collage or design. See her work above.

  This artist had done collage before but had never had a design class. She was quite successful.

  Artist number three has had many classes and she was one that encouraged me to teach a class. She is a wonderful artist and also enjoyed the design part of the class.

 This is her jewelry.  The pendant was made by collageing bits of colored paper onto gessoed watercolor paper. I directed them to cut out traditional shapes for the earrings and pendents. But this student saw two profile pictures and cut her pendant out to show them. It is a wonderful piece. Plus she has a set of earrings to match.

  I am so proud of these students. And they where very pleased. The class moved a a good pace and we were able to finish with a bit of time to spare. I am inspired to teach another class. A request was made for a class on paper.  Not just paper but how to tint tissue paper to use in collage and some other great papers to make for their stash.  Collage artists are hoarders of papers and such.
  After the class I was tired but felt really good. Everything I had semi planned worked. It worked for the students and it worked for me. I was satisfied.  But, when it came time to go to sleep with a big smile on my face….I asked, “So, where did all this come from? Silly rabbit, you didn’t even have an actual lesson plan!”
  As I lay awake asking these questions…it hit me.  Two great teachers that I have been taking classes from for about three years. This is where I received my education on Design and Color.  They are Skip Lawrence and Topher Shinks.  I could not wait to get up this morning to send them an e mail of thanks and gratitude. I hope I made them feel as good as my students made me feel.

“Create Something Everyday!”

Vacation Backlash


After a wonderful vacation in Brookings, OR on the coast I was ready to get home. We were gone for 9 days. My husband and I drove. Well, I drove and he was co pilot.  We were with his family in OR. They had rented a big house on the beach and we all enjoyed the view among other things . We ate, laughed, put a puzzle together, laughed, visited and caught up with each other. Had a beer tasting and discussion. OR is very passionate about beer. Oh and did I say laughed?
  We went up there to support  a cousin who is a dean for Southwestern Oregon Community College. The cousin, Jan, worked to get a new campus built in Curry County. She did it all with help, but was “the chief” in charge. Jan is an artists and used what she learned in her art life to get the land donated, what kind of tile went in the restrooms, the recycle cans and the chairs that went in the Commons. Someone said that she sculptured the campus.  We were so proud at the grand opening when Jan gave her Thank You speech. One of the donations came from the Harvey Mudd foundation. We are so proud of Jan.
   We left for home on Saturday 1/28 and really took our time coming home. I took pictures and we visited some small towns that were very interesting.  We arrived home on Tuesday 1/31. Tired but feeling like we had been gone for a month.
  I was itching to bet back to creating something. I had visited some galleries on our trip and was feeling like I needed to put some paint on something.  I had gone to an Mono Print Class just before the trip. It was great to get back to printing again.

These are just two of the many prints I was able to complete in one day. No titles yet.
 On Thursdays I have three to four fellow artists come over for a painting day. I was so happy to get back with my friends and create yesterday. I worked on some of my jewelery that I have orders for. You can see some of my creations in Claremont’s “A Brush With The Past” (owned by another friend, Anne Seltzer).  I’m taking these into A Brush… today.

Create Everyday. It is something that will bring you much joy and it has been known to heal many afflictions.  Check back for a posting on the healing powers of ART!