New Work On Wood

I got excited the other day about my recent finds at my neighborhood thrift store…wood plaques.  You see I have been thinking about mounting some of my works on wood to solve the framing issues involved with works on paper and perhaps more appealing to those that want to purchase them.  So I was overjoyed to find something that I could reuse, that was solid, and came in varying sizes.

SO…………I started my first piece, which was pretty fun to make, although it was a bit on the smallish side for me……

Anyway, I learned a whole lot in this process such as:

1. Even though a pen says it is permanent, it is better to test it out…meh

2. Make sure the hole in the back of the plaque is correct with the orientation of the work…duh

3. If you are going to seal your work with varnish, don’t use water-color to paint with, use ink…damn

So I completed it just a bit ago.  It’s not my most favorite piece (I feel like it is a bit too cute…yes?  No??), but it did teach me the lessons above and a few more things.    Anyway, I am excited to try again, this time on a larger format.

Oh, I almost forgot, here’s the work:

Take care and thanks for reading!



Just Pictures: Prima Ballerina

This weekend I had the pleasure of traveling to the UK to visit some dear friends that I have not seen for a looooooooong time…7 years!  I was excited to spend some quality family time with them in the countryside and not in the busy city of London…I get enough city in Brussels.

Anyway, on the weekends my friend teaches ballet lessons to youngsters, one class of 4 year olds and one class of 7-10 year olds.  First off, let me say my pal has the patience of a saint to teach ballet to 4 year olds (which can be like herding cats), however; she was amazing with them!  They were cute and fun to watch.  The second class, with the older students, was also fun to observe.  One minute they were serious, straight-backed, straight-faced prima ballerinas and the next minute they were all giggles and smiles.  The studio was beautiful and the light was perfect.  I got carried away and took almost 150 pictures of the two classes trying to capture both their innocence and the adult-like seriousness that they maintained at times.  Below are pictures from the older class…don’t worry, not all 150 of them 🙂

Take care and thanks for reading!

New Work: Blobs and a Tutorial

The best part of a long weekend is when you wake up on Saturday and realize…IT”S SATURDAY!

It has been a lovely weekend, I have been productive art-wise.  Cutting out circle skirts in some funky new fabric.

I started a ginormous paper cut and did these funny blobby ink drawings that turned into little mixed media portraits.

The ink blob drawings are really fun, require little time, and are a great thing to do when you get stuck creatively.  They don’t require much at all…

1. Multiple  pieces of heavy weight water-color paper (after you make one, you’ll want to make more)

2. Eye dropper

3. India ink

4. Paper towel or toilet paper

5. Water colors, colored pencils, collage stuff…anything you might want to use to add to the blob drawing after it’s dry.

Step 1:  Get a piece of paper and load up your eye dropper with ink.

Step 2: Put the tip of the dropper on your paper and gently squeeze the bulb as you begin to draw what ever is in your imagination or from a reference.

*Work quickly and don’t try to capture everything…you should be drawing 1-2 minutes tops.

*I had to refill mine a couple of times because my dropper was a bit small…

Step 3:  Lie the paper towel or toilet paper flat over your drawing.  Watch the ink get soaked up (it looks a little scary but don’t worry) and quickly remove it.  Admire your work 🙂


Step 4: Go have an ice cream (it is a long weekend) and let your drawings dry.

My favorite 🙂

Step 5: Admire your work again and start adding the fun stuff.

I added torn paper, candy wrappers, water color, these rub off thingys….go for it!  They are really fun.  I can’t wait to do these with my students, my friends.  They would make great cards or a quick handmade gift.  They’re supposed to be quirky and goofy…not all art has to be beautiful, but it should be fun to make.

Here’s two of mine finished:


Portrait of Everyday-ness

If you make some of these beautiful blobby drawings, send me a picture, I would love to see them.

Now back to my paper cut, which I’ll show you real soon.

Take care and thanks for reading!!

Inside My Sketchbook

This morning I woke up to the realization that we have a loooong weekend…YEEEHAAA!

Which means lots of creative time and the opportunity to take  lots of walks….which I did this morning, back to the flea market.  I got inspired by all the people I saw and I bought some large format glass photo slides with some cool black and white images on them…I already have an idea for those beauties.

Today I drug out one of my sketchbooks and realized that I need to spend more time working in them.  If my students found out how little I work in my sketchbook…yowza, I would not hear the end of it.  Thank goodness they are way too cool to read their teacher’s blog…ha ha.

Anywho, Today I worked on people, trying to go for something between realism and, well, I guess not realism.  Here’s my peeps:

Right, so I wanna put these folks into my stories and with a bit more tweaking, some just might make it.

So that’s it, and now I gotta go have ice cream, because that’s one of the other things you do on a long weekend…YEEHAA!

Take care and thanks for reading

New Work: Mixed Media Canvases

This past week I have been working with my students on small experimental pieces that incorporate text into their work.  The idea is for them to build up a surface before they begin putting imagery on the canvas so they get some exposure to different materials.  There is no prescribed way of working, it’s all about looking to see what happens when certain materials are combined.  It’s really fun to watch them test ideas out and to try out new things.  We made up a motto for the week: “If you don’t like it, cover it.”  I like this motto because it teaches them to be resourceful and that really there are no mistakes when you’re creating art. Some students have 5 or 6 layers of all sorts of stuff on their canvases and they have become thick, rich, and interesting.

Here are the two that I made.  Next week when my students have finished I will post some of their works and attempt my first tutorial of how to build up a surface.



These canvases are 8×8 inches and layered with a bit of everything, paper, acrylic paint, book pages, thread, graphite, water colors…there’s a lot on there….I just love mixed media!

Happy Wednesday!  We have a long weekend…YAY…which means lots of art…double YAY!

Take care and thanks for reading.



Just Pictures: Wandering around Ghent


I am not sure what has taken me so long to get Ghent, (pronounced as if you’re clearing your throat), but I am glad I finally explored it this weekend.   It’s a beautiful old city located in the Flemish region of Belgium, actually it is the capital of East Flanders.    You can read more about it here.

Anyway, I was awoken early Saturday morning by this strange glowing orb coming through my window…yep, you guessed it!  THE SUN.  We haven’t really been seeing very much of that star here in Brussels, so it was a shock to the system to be woken up by that smiling sphere rather than the sound of the horse of a dog that lives above me.  I was so happy to see it as I have been chomping at the bit to get out of Brussels, and so I decided to seize the sun and go for it.

So I gathered my camera and my umbrella (can’t be too over confident) and hopped on the train.  In 25 minutes I was in Ghent.

WHAT A GEM!  It’s not as congested as Brussels, the buildings are not as high and have more of a Dutch influence. Ghent is a university town, it has a great lively feel to it.  It was clean!  No dog poo on the streets and people were sooooo friendly!  They smiled, they greeted you, I got to speak Dutch, it was a lovely day.

Here are some pictures from my adventure:

People rode bikes, almost impossible in Brussels because of the traffic.

I loved the canals in the city, it gives it such a romantic feel.

They have an open air flower market there everyday.

So I just walked and walked and walked, with out a map, until my feet just could not go on anymore.  I can’t wait to go back to Ghent and do some more exploring, perhaps this time with a guide book…or maybe not 🙂

Hope you all had a lovely weekend and the moms had a great mother’s day.

Take care and thanks for reading!




Lets talk about the F word…

This is a new kind of post for me, straying away from my usual topics such as new art works and the process of making them.  This post is about the F wordotherwise known as Failure.  

Over the past few days I have been reflecting on that word and what it means…

The first place I encountered the essence of the word was at the blog spot Beautiful Hello, in her post “Things I am afraid to tell you: confessions of an artist.”  It turns out a community of bloggers have gotten together to promote reality.  In other words, make a conscious effort to  keep it real, show some vulnerability…depict real life and some of its challenges rather than the presentation of reality that can be readily found in the blogging world.   Her post is honest and heart-felt.  It reflects on the days that we do not feel so successful or creative as artists or people for that matter, days that we have all experienced.  I think it’s great to share those days, it’s human, it’s real and it gives the reader and writer some acknowledgement that their not so successful days are normal and experienced by all.

The second place I witnessed the word was in the documentary film Undefeated by Daniel Lindsay and T.J. Martin. I went to a documentary film festival this weekend in Leuven with some good friends and we decided to see that film as we all have an affection for sports movies that depict the underdog.  It’s a film that chronicles the season of an inner-city Memphis football team.  It portrays the successes and failures of the team and everyone associated with it.  It should be seen by everyone.  Maybe you don’t like underdog sports movies, but this movie is more about life rather than sports.  Here is the trailer for it.

Finally, being in a bit of a creative slump myself this weekend, I decided to spend much of my time learning more about starting a art/craft business rather than miserably trying to force out anther artwork. It’s the direction I want to go in when I leave Brussels.


I came across this video on Etsy by artist and craftsman Becky Johnson.  The video is about an hour-long, which is why I could not embed it here, but it is well worth watching if you are interested in being a full-time artist.  The basic premise of the video is how to diversify in order to survive financially in the craft/art world. Becky gives some tips on the ins and outs of selling your wares, but what I thought was refreshing was her take on success and failure.  Our society determines much of our success by the amount of money we earn and in this consumer society failure is not appreciated.  The message conveyed in the video is that based on that determinant, most full time craftsmen would be considered unsuccessful.  However her point is that there is “an economy beyond money that we have to understand” and part of that economy is investing in people in your community…which is an important part of the making things by hand culture.  Wouldn’t it be great if we all adopted that outlook?

I have failed at plenty of things in life both significant and insignificant, my driver’s test, art projects, plenty of exams, owning a home, being married, and friendships.  Despite how painful and costly failure can be, it has always brought more opportunity, a new job, a loving relationship, new friends.  So after I have shed my tears and reflected about  my bad decisions, and lamented over the money I lost, I like to grab failure by the throat and give it a big F*** you, learn from it and move on.

Take care and thanks for reading.

New Work: A Portrait of Today

I have had this drawing in my head for some time now, and it wasn’t until just recently that I got the composition worked out just the way I wanted it.

The idea for this work came from a series of doodles I had done using the crow and camera characters.  Thinking of those characters I tried to pair them with some other people they might be likely to hang out with…TV guy and Deer guy…logical right?  Along with being good pals, these guys also represent different aspects/characteristics of our society.  I am not going to share with you what they mean to me, but let you decide how to interpret them and this drawing.  The city street is a nod to West Asheville, the place I’ll be moving to in a short time.  It was and I guess still is, a working class neighborhood.  It’s not the most beautiful section of Asheville and it does have its moments of pretentiousness but it also carries good does of reality now and again, and I like that.


I first started by staining the water-color paper with some coffee.  I painted it over a few times and just let it be, I like the random bleed marks that I woke up to the next morning.  Then I drew the characters and the city.  I decided that it needed some color and decided to paint the city street with water-color and darken the sidewalk a bit with water-color too.  The characters are untouched and are the original color of the coffee stained paper.  I like how there is some balance created with the more detailed but colorless drawing vs. the water-color city street.

As I was drawing, I decided that these cats would gel well with Eugene and Lucille, and I got real excited about including them in the story in the graphic novel/altered book idea I have.

As always, take care, thanks for reading and thanks for your comments.  Happy Friday!

Just Pictures: Wandering about Brussels

Yesterday we had the day off from school …YAAAAAA!  It was Labor Day here and therefore a free day to do no labor, which I didn’t.  The other special thing about yesterday is that is was SUNNY!  Yes, the sun actually came out and stayed out for many consecutive hours.  I was pleased to have the opportunity to dry out, warm up, feel the sun on my neck.

So I decided to do one of my favorite walks down to the open air flea market and through a bit of the old part of the city.  I love the flea market, which is open EVERYDAY!  When I first got here, I went almost every Sunday.  I rarely buy something, it’s a great place to wander and look at a bunch of old junk and some of it is great old junk.

So here we go, my walk in pictures…

A view of the city of Brussels

I found this funny window arrangement on the way to the flea market.

A close-up of a painty peely wall

In these boxes most everything is a Euro, but you need to energy to dig today.

This guy sells hundreds of glasses, buttons, pipes, matchbooks and more...what a pack rat!

metal and glass

no hands Jesus

awesome record player

After spending some time at the flea market I made my way through the city and found this wall filled with some pretty cool street art.

Belgium is known for its beer (over 900 kinds) and chocolate.  Check out these hippos all carved from chocolate.  I almost passed out from the sugary smell when I entered the shop…

Then it was time to relax a bit and I found this little oasis to sit and enjoy the weather.

I love tulips

On my way home I saw these guys and thought they were pretty funny.

It was a good walk and a great day to be outside…now it is back to work.

Take care and thanks for reading!