Saturday, December 27, 2008

It's in the Details

How Now Brown Cow?
Here I am showing more close up details of this work in progress. 
  • PHOTO ONE: details my use of Starbucks bags to create the pasture grasses, I love how when you rip this paper, the rough edge is brown, from the paper bag. That brown edge is so much more interesting combined with the green, I make extra tears just to show it off! Notice how the cow in the pasture is simple without much detail, I use only solid white and no type for her spots, I want to keep her in the background with simplicity.
  • PHOTO TWO: highlights the eye. Since every face I do is some version of a self portrait, I have given my cow blue eyes! I use many tiny bits of paper for a more expressive and realistic feeling here, I never make the iris from just one color or just one piece of paper, the movement of many little pieces gives more life.
  • PHOTO THREE: highlights the little illustrations I found in the French text book, especially the one of the horse which I incorporated just below the cow's chin. The French textbook pages are off white, almost yellow and I use them for white areas which would be in the shadow, rather than the highlight.
  • PHOTO FOUR: details the wonderful texture of the handmade paper I used for the nose, paper made by local artist and friend, Judy Segal. I tried to save some text that says "in his father's barn" for the bridge of the nose as a treat for anyone looking very closely!

Day Two

How Now Brown Cow?
Here is day two on the cow front. I have started to fill in the cow face and nose, which is my favorite part next to the eyes. The nose has been totally created from handmade paper by local artist Judith Segal. Her paper has such wonderful bumpy texture with bits and scraps of glitter and lint and colors, it's perfect! My next post will show a closeup larger photo of this and other highly textured areas, per a great suggestion by WW.

Building the whites with magazine print, book print, old book print, maps and Connor's workbook pages is a challenge in creating highlight with bright white paper, and shading around the side of the face to a more yellow white, which is old book pages. Keeping in mind all the while that the glue darkens some papers more than others.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Barnyard Friends and Fowl

How Now Brown Cow?
Here is a snapshot of  my latest cow in progress. I am feeling under the weather, so I have stopped working today at completion of the background in this piece. This stopping point is a good thing because it has prompted me to take a photo in progress and explain where we are at this point. After all, I promised to keep you in the loop on the progression on these new pieces.
  • The Cow is still in the under-painting stage, she has been quickly painted with acrylic (directly on unprimed panel) to give me a color sketch to adhere my paper over.
  • The background is the first part of the Paper Painting I work on, this way when the edges of the cow meet the background, they are laid on top.
  • Since I am not feeling up to all the details of my cow, the background sky was something I could work on for a few hours this afternoon while I watched the kids bouncing on the trampoline from my studio in the back yard.
  • I have used my favorite free art medium, Starbucks bags, in the green foreground
  • My daughter's school sent home a great damaged book from the library for me to use for collage materials, you can see evidence of it in the small branch art at the top left
Stay tuned to see how the cow and her nose (my favorite part!)  progresses, her friend in the pasture has just enough detail that we know she's a cow, without making her a focal point. I chose to darken the pasture underneath the cow so that the part over to the right stand out more. Right now the contrast might be too much, but I will wait until tomorrow to decide for sure.

Happy to Inspire

Yarn Artist Tries Her Hand at Paper
Kaite Matilda makes art from fabric and yarn, and she does a beautiful job of it! Her blog Yarngarden features wonderful hand-sewn collages. Take a minute to click and visit, they are worth seeing!

Kaite is from Australia and I found her via my Google Alert the other day. The alert came up because Kaite Matilda has me in her blog sidebar as one of her Favourite Sites! I marveled at how small technology has made the word as I left a comment for Kaite on her blog and she emailed me back. She told me that her "Waving Girls" collage by her profile was of paper, and was inspired by my collage work and an article she had read on my technique.

I wanted to share Kaite's collage to all my blog friends, her work is very different from mine, it's hard edges cut with a blade. I like the use of stamps, envelopes, and the playfulness of the "Waving Girls" Anyone who has followed my work for a while knows I love whimsical!

So, I am thrilled to know that I inspired another artist in Australia to try something new. Technology does make the world smaller. Thanks Kaite for sending me the image to share.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Barnyard Friends and Fowl

Counting Sheep
24x20, mixed media collage on panel
This latest collage in the barnyard series for my solo show at KB Gallery was based on a photo sent to me by my friend, and former art teacher, Champ. 

I tried to pump up the color from the original, I loved the feeling of the two sheep side-by-side in the original photo, however I am ALL about color and that monochrome of the photo really needed to be pushed into having more life. On this one I actually did the Paper Painting process without the reference photo so as not to be influenced in my color palette, and  just to see how it would come out.

Let me know what you think!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Creating My Solo Exhibition

20x24, paper collage on panel

Here is the first of many new pieces for my BIG solo exhibition in Sarasota, February 2009. Since the Katharine Butler Gallery already has my roosters, the gallery director thought that exhibition should be cohesive and in keeping with the farm and nature genre. 

I will have 20-25 pieces in this solo show, my hope for the blog is to show the progress of the Paper Paintings I create as I work toward the February show, a "work in progress" on a more grand scale!

As always, I appreciate comments. For anyone who is near Sarasota, the opening is Friday, February 20th.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Daisy Cake on eBay!

Click to Bid
This 12x12 FRAMED (natural wood molding with all hanging hardware) mixed media Paper Painting is up for auction on eBay. It is signed by the artist and would make an excellent one-of-a-kind gift for someone special this holiday season!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Cherry-on-Top on eBay!

Click to Bid
12x12, original collage on panel
This collage is FRAMED in 1.5-inch natural wood molding, it has all hanging hardware and would make a great gift! 

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Peafowl, New Work

20x20, collage of hand made and found papers on panel
Here is a piece I finished at 1:00am this morning. I am sending it up to the Juxtapose Gallery in Westfield, NJ. They don't know it's coming! I figured Gerri has been selling my work so well that I'd try sending her something a little different.

Being that Art Nouveau is my very favorite art movement, it is probably appropriate that the image of a peacock was my very first tattoo, and remains one of my favorite color palettes today. When I was in college, I created a huge pastel of a full peacock with Cyndi Lauper's head on it. So you can see this has been a long running theme for me!

Let me know what you think of this latest feathered fowl, which is similar but different from my workin the rooster series.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Upcoming Workshops

New Smyrna Beach, FL
I will be giving a figurative collage workshop at Artists' Workshop February 7/8, 2009. The title of the workshop is Paper Painting: Works in Collage. To promote this workshop, there will be a demo on January 7, at 7:00pm at the Artists' Workshop. This demo will last about an hour and a half. If you are interested, please contact Nancy Hagood on her cell phone: 386-690-1281

Sanford, FL
The Sanford Seminole Art Association has asked me to give a half-day workshop on January 24th from 9am-noon. If you are interested in attending, please contact Charlene Hoofring via email: 

Deland, FL
The Museum of Florida Art will be hosting a Paper Paintings workshop in the spring. March 14/15 10am - 4pm. Pam Coffman is the contact for more info:

Saturday, November 29, 2008

One More, Before I Go

Collage Withdrawal?
Cherry-on-Top, 12x12 Paper Painting
I will be out of town all next week, going on a Disney Cruise to the Bahamas with my family, in-laws and all! What that means is no technology and no art for a week, what will I do! At sea I will not have my cell phone, my computer, OR my collage materials! yikes.

I am thinking it will be a good break to cleanse my mind of cupcakes! My sister-in-law came in last night with her family from New Jersey, along with my other sister-in-law and family. (I am so lucky to have two great sister-in-laws!) The entire Nelson clan is going on this trip... Anyhoo! Wendy said to me "I thought you were DONE with cupcakes!" And that reminded me that after the Scrap Bag Studies I had indeed said I was done with cupcakes. We have Christine to thank us for these recent cupcakes, as she wanted me to do one for her, and then I liked them so much I did another one. The truth of the matter is that cupcakes are fun, who doesn't smile about cupcakes?

Have you figured that I like working in a series? I sure do, because I don't have to spend a lot of time thinking of what I am going to do next, AND I can take what I have learned from the last cupcake and apply it to the next one, and the next one, and the next one... remember the roosters?

Speaking of roosters, when I come back from my art and technology break, it is going to be time for me to switch gears and prepare for my February solo exhibition at the Katharine Butler Gallery in Sarasota. The series of roosters I did was for this gallery and they have already sold one. In February I will be adding other barnyard friends and objects of nature. So, stay tuned for that big shift in gears and if anyone has any suggestions of animals I can do, post a comment. The most interesting request I have gotten so far?


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Cupcakes in Progress

It all Starts with a Sketch
Here are my two sketches for the new work I am doing, 12x12 cupcakes. I start with a pencil sketch on wood panel.

Under Paintings

Here are the under paintings for the cupcakes. I do a loose acrylic painting on unprimed wood panel before I collage. I use this part of the process much like a pastel artist uses a colored paper to start, rather than white, so that any paper that shows through is complimentary.

Final Pieces

Flower Cupcake and Pink Whip Cupcake 12x12
Final Paper Paintings of the two cupcakes. I hoped that YOU, my blog subscribers and viewers, would help decide which cupcake you liked the best for my friend Christine.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Cupcake for Christine

From Scratch
Having seen my eBay auction for Strawberry Cupcake, my friend Christine asked me if I would create a small cupcake collage just for her. I figured it was time to do another "in progress" blog posting since I have gotten several new subscribers since the Cloth Paper Scissors magazine article.

Today I give you the reference. My next step is the sketch and the underpainting. Christine said she wanted it to be "Pink and Girly", I can work with that!

Fiddle Head on eBay

Fiddle Head, Click to Bid
11.25 x 15.5 unframed
This Paper Painting is the top of a violin, the peg box and fiddle head. The background is created from nursery rhymes, sheet music, and French text book pages. This collage is on wood panel and is varnished, intended to be framed without glass. This piece is unframed.

Friday, November 21, 2008

eBay Cupcake Collage

Strawberry Cupcake Click to Bid
12x12 framed in natural light wood 
This is an original fine art collage, "Paper Painting" on wood panel, framed in 1.5-inch natural light wood contemporary squared edge molding, and signed by the artist. It is from my cupcakes series and would look nice in the kitchen! 

For coffee and tea lovers, there are many scraps of Starbucks bags in the foreground of this piece, with tea bags for the cake wrapper and book pages for the frosting. The ochre background is acrylic paint glazed over wood panel, with the grain and striation showing through. The yellow rectangle on the horizon line is a Tazo tea bag tag!

Email me with any questions: or leave comments on this post, thanks!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sweet Things in Small Packages

Small Treats 10x8 collages
I have taken a diversion from tree branches to work on some small collages (12x12 or less). I have an upcoming trunk show where these small works and my flashbags will be featured here in Orlando in December. These small but sweet pieces are more stylized and less detailed than my larger pieces, so they are fun to work on between larger, more time consuming works.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Growth, Change, Hope

New Branch Series
I have been working on a series of branches and flowering trees. These pieces are at the request of Juxtapose Gallery in Westfield, NJ. Gerri Gildea has had success with Paper Paintings there, recently selling Infusion and Moritake Butterfly, as well as Dogwoods

Juxtapose is a small gallery in a very unique town. Having grown up in Westfield, MA– I do smile every time I address a package to Westfield, NJ! Simple things make me smile.

Let me know what you think of the Growth, Change, Hope series, won't you? 

Monday, November 10, 2008

"Shaken" now on eBay!

SHAKEN, Click to Bid
8x10 collage of handmade and found papers
Art does make a one-of-a-kind Christmas gift! This original collage is framed in a 1.5-inch flat, plain, dark wood molding with finished back and hanging hardware. 

The first collage I posted on eBay had bidders the same day I posted it, so I figured I'd make another small collage available for auction. These small collages are not available in galleries.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

An Obama Victory

Where Were You on Election Day 2008?
A Brighter Future, 18x24, collage on panel
This Paper Portrait was completed last night as the election results poured in. This morning it is the featured collage on my website.

Last night in my studio I was working and listening to NPR, but it was my husband who kept running out with the good news, who really kept me on top of the CNN coverage and results. "Take a break and come in!" he kept saying as I struggled with the corners of Obama's smile. And so, I was back and forth between the studio and the living room...

I was really hoping Obama would win the majority vote in Florida. For the past three weeks I have been phone banking and canvassing as a volunteer for the Barak Obama Campaign for Change. I was lucky enough to attend both FL Rallies with my good friend and fellow volunteer, Jodi. We even took our young daughters to the midnight rally in Kissimmee! The campaign was up against a big challenge here in the I-4 Corridor of Central Florida. Obama actually did it, he won the Orlando area... all our volunteering efforts made a difference. Yes We Can!

Everyone will always remember what they were doing on this historical election day. I was lucky enough to be doing what I really enjoy and believed in. I did phone banking for the Obama Campaign for four hours in the morning, and I cannot tell you how overwhelmed I was when I arrived at our Longwood office to find volunteers filling the rooms to the point that there were no more chairs! We had to sit on coolers at card tables in the "food room" to make our phone calls, urging voters to get out and make their voices count. Speaking of food, that also poured in, in the arms of volunteers who just walked up the steps and said, "what can I do to help?"

After completing all my phone banking sheets, I headed over to my son's elementary school for Art See, a PTA sponsored program that presents famous artists to students at the elementary school level. On election day, I taught 3rd graders about the abstract art of Paul Klee. I reminded them that art did not need to look like a photograph, and that everyone has a different view of the world, that is what makes us unique and individual.

In the evening I went to work in my backyard art studio, which I am so fortunate to have since it keeps me close to home and my family, but carves out a space where I can do what I love -- surrounded by piles of bits and pieces and scraps of paper, a wonderful mess!

I truly believe that with our new leader, our country is going to head in a new direction. I have learned through volunteering that people from all different backgrounds can come together and work toward a common goal, even though they might have different views, toward a brighter future.

A Brighter Future - Unframed
24" x 18" (61.0cm x 45.8cm)
collage on Panel
$400 plus $12.95 shipping and handling in the US
E-mail me for International shipping rates or other inquiries.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Trying Something New

Click Here to Bid on This Paper Painting
This 10x10 original art collage titled High and Dry is framed in a contemporary 1-inch square edge, gold leaf frame.

While I admire the artists who can produce "A Painting A Day" I can't imagine keeping up with that pace! I do have a few small original collages which will ship easily enough and I decided to test the water with selling them online. If it works, I will do more. Who knows....

Take a minute to click the link, and let me know what you think!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Paper Paintings Published!

Cloth Paper Scissors Magazine
I have a "how to" feature article (5-pages!) published in the current November/December issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine which details my collage process in a step-by-step format. Since I have started doing Figurative Collage Workshops, having an article detailing the process will be a helpful education tool for me. The magazine is available at Borders as well as news stands nationally! 

You can check out the Cloth Paper Scissors website , for the "online extras" to the printed magazine article, but to see the whole feature, you gotta buy the issue! 

The folks at Cloth Paper Scissors were great to work with, and I thank them for the beautiful layout and design of the article, it looks great! What an honor to be published in such a high quality artists' magazine.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Katharine Butler Gallery

"Hey! It's The Chicken Lady!"
When Chris Falk at the KB Gallery asked me to bring six rooster collages for my first month as a gallery artist, I said to him, "you know this is going to have folks peg me as the 'rooster artist' when they see all these roosters collages and nothing else." 

Sure enough, I was called the "Chicken Lady" (even better) five minutes in the door. LOL I used to work for marketing and financial guru Charles J. Givens who said "there is no such thing as bad publicity, all publicity is good, they will remember your name..." or something to that effect. 

I am happy to be recognized, and praised for my roosters. Chuck would be proud of me! I look forward to show as the featured artist at the Katharine Butler Gallery in February where I get to show them other diverse subject matter.... like cows. :)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A Match Made in Handbag Heaven

Handmade Handbags by Flashbags - Made in Vermont
Paper Paintings lend themselves beautifully to Flashbags. Since Flashbags use layers of recycled newsprint inside their bags, and I use layers of colored and recycled paper to create my mixed media collages, we are truly a match made in heaven!

Wholesale Retail Opportunities
Know someone with a unique boutique or shop? Flashbags offers wholesale purchasing opportunities and we'd love to get these unique bags in the hands of shop owners everywhere! Call 1-866-64 FLASH, ask for Ali and tell her Elizabeth sent you!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Carry A Conversation™

My Art is Being Made into Handbags
Yesterday Ali Marchildon, one of the co founders of flashbags, gave me the thumbs up that my art is ready to purchase as handbags on the flashbags homepage I can't tell you how excited I am about this wonderful opportunity to work with such great people on such a unique and original product! These funky handbags are made in Burlington VT, their lively start-up story is featured in the current summer issue of Vermont Life Magazine. Get the whole scoop!

What is a Flashbag?
A flashbag is a handmade purse or accessory such as a wallet, checkbook holder or wine tote. Instead of leather or canvas, the bag is made of laminated color prints that are wrapped around several sheets of newsprint that provide support. The materials are sewn together and covered with decorative stitching. To make a shoulder bag, clear plastic tubing is added as straps.

A photo of my sample flashbag is in the previous post. See more samples of my art as flashbags or better yet, BUY MY FLASHBAGS at my flashbags gallery. 

Thursday, October 2, 2008

On The Horizon

Carry a Conversation!
I have been working closely with a company that makes all kinds of bags—from wine totes, to wallets, to purses—to adorn their wonderful decorative products with my collages! Today I received my sample bag and let me tell you, it's gorgeous! 

The straps are clear plastic tubing through grommets, the edges are reinforced with heavy plastic and their is decorative top-stitching all over, done one-at-a-time by a person sitting at a sewing machine in Burlington, VT. Is that very cool or what?

I am going to be one of the featured artists for these bags, which you order online. They are setting up my collage artwork on their website as we speak, just as soon as it's up and running I'll have more information for the blog, including some local galleries and shops which might carry them as well.

Consider this your up-to-the-minute Sneak Peek!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Burning the Midnight Oil

Staying up All Night, Painting Roosters
Isn't there an oxymoron in there somewhere? Last night I worked from 9pm until 3am this morning on these two pieces. When I say "worked" I mean I worked the collage process. They were already sketched up and under-painted by the time I got out to the studio and started the collage process. I work in stages this way, and with this rooster series I sketched them all first, then painted them all, so I have a supply of "ready to go" boards in my studio. Right about now I could use a coffee, Cock-A-Doodle-Doo!

The Eyes Have It

Capturing the Human Quality
For me the roosters seem to have a very human looking eye. It's the eye that is my favorite part to do with the collage. I feel like if you get the eye just right, it's really what draws the viewer in to the collage. Despite the fact that the tail feathers are incredibly fun to randomly rip and glue from many different papers and colors, it's the eye that draws me in.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The French Connection

A Symbol of Hope and Faith
as yet untitled, 24 x 20
In France, the rooster during the middle ages, was a religious symbol of hope and faith. During the Renaissance, the rooster became more of a symbol of French nationality, and later during 'la Resistance', of the countrymen, pride and courage. 

This information was given to me by my sister when I asked her to help me name the roosters. Aimée is currently working, going to school for her masters, (could you guess that her undergraduate degree is in French?) and raising her 8-year old son. One could say she's very busy! I have been asking her to help me with titles for these new pieces and so at this point they are untitled. I will take suggestions however, if any of you are inclined. And yes, you may suggest in English –– I have a translator!

Repetition and Roosters

Working with Interesting Compositions
as yet untitled, 20x 24
I am working on cropping and more interesting compositions on my latest rooster collages. I have decided that in these next few I will not worry about showing all of the traditional rooster tail feathers, but rather will crop in closer and make the heads larger than life. This will require more attention to the rooster waddle and comb and especially the eyes, which I have found to have just as much character (if not more) than the tail feathers.

Repetition and Roosters

Finding New Ways to do the Same Thing
as yet untitled, 20x24
It's a challenge with each rooster collage, trying to utilize different papers and textures to create not only the effect of feathers, but especially the waddle and comb!  I am running out of my hand tinted and mono printed red sheets and so today I have resolved that I will have to bring out the glass and the paints and make more red papers for the waddle and comb. Adding this to the challenge of no more black art papers, we are in for some creative solutions to our feathered friends in the next couple of collages. Bring it on!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Foul Friends, 20 x 20 (top)
Sittin' Pretty 20 x 20 (bottom)

Working in a Series

What's Next?
Des Jambes de Coq, 20 x 24
I am currently have another eight rooster collages planned. I have them sketched out and under-painted. They are all the same size, 20x24 or 24 x 20. I did them this way so that they would hang well together, as a series. I have found a resource for hand-made weathered barn wood frames, and all of the roosters are framed this way.

Right about the time of the roosters, I was also asked to do cows, if you remember the Cows at COMMA blog entry. I think the cows (I created two cows) and the roosters have started me out on a barnyard connection. Just yesterday I was asked if I would consider doing a commission piece of Alpacas! This request was a direct result of the rooster series. 

There is something to be said for creating a body of work in a series. There are benefits to repetition, practicing and learning how to best represent your subject matter. Now that I have eight more roosters ready to go, the last one should be a masterpiece! Stay tuned...

Practice, Practice
Early to Rise, 24x24
I am not tired of doing roosters, and I thought I would be! I have just completed a series of six roosters, and I am finding that the more I do them, the better I am becoming at creating what had intrigued me from the very beginning, the feathers! Each rooster collage is entirely unique to me, I take what I have learned from the last one and apply it to the next. The series is helping me to become more creative in my solutions, as I want each rooster's feathers to be different from the last.

I asked my sister, who speaks French, to help me name my series of six roosters with French sayings and titles. I wanted to have a cohesive series of titles to go along with my series of feathered friends. Aimée came up with some great titles for me, now I just need to get her to help me pronounce them! I sent her images of the six roosters, and she said "These are beautiful! The French would be so proud. I see so many colors that are unexpected and yet work so well." 

Working in a Series

The Benefits of Repetition
Du Coq a l'Ane, 20x24
Developing a series of art around one motif seems as if it would become redundant. I thought this myself when I was asked by Katharine Butler Gallery to delive six rooster paintings next month for my first month as a gallery artist with them. Katharine was taken by the roosters on my website, and wanted to see more. 

The Barnyard Connection
I had not intended to create a series of roosters! I decided to do one piece with roosters because I thought that the colorful feathers would be a great subject matter for my collage medium. My friend Champ (who also happens to have been my high school art teacher and mentor) is a photographer and lives in Western Massachusetts where I grew up. I know she loves to get out and take photos at places like Old Sturbridge Village, (which is one of those places we took field trips to in grade school but never really appreciated)!

I asked Champ if she had any good photos of roosters, and of course, she did. I combined a couple of her roosters in photoshop and added my own background, (a little insight into my process). As soon as I finished this piece, it sold. So, I said to myself, there is something here!

I followed my original two-rooster piece with a few smaller collages which feature one or two roosters each, you can view them on my website gallery. These roosters are now available at the Grand Bohemian Gallery

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Rooster Rally

SCC Demo Rooster is Complete!
Here is the piece I was working on at the SCC demo. I wanted to post it in case any of the students were interested in the final piece since they got to see me start it last week. This is one of many roosters I am creating for the Katharine Butler Gallery in Sarasota.

I talked about transitioning the painted bottom half to the papered top half with the students and you can see that I used lots of small pieces of the brown paper with gold squares on it to make this transition. I carried that through the middle of the rooster with lots of small pieces of torn book pages that create the spotty feather effect. I like the way there is now a speckled strip across the middle of the piece. The yellow/brown color represents grass.

The top area was tricky because it is supposed to be like blue sky dappled through the trees. It can't be clear and in focus or it would compete with our feathered friend, however it's hard to get a feeling of blurred focus with torn paper! I tried to keep that area from competing with the rooster by not bringing it all the way down to meet his top edge.

So there you have it! While poking around online trying to find witty names for my rooster series, I learned a few things. Did you know that a castrated rooster is called a capon? As a result of this procedure certain male physical characteristic will develop, but stunted: 
  • The comb and wattles cease growing after castration, so the head of the capon looks small.
  • The hackle, tail and saddle feathers grow unusually long.
  • In China, the Yangbi Huang breed can grow to be the largest rooster in the Asian continent, up to 35cm long. This is thought to be caused by the castration of the roosters practised by farmers in Northern China, which affects the hormonal balance.
You learn something new every day!