Thursday, December 25, 2008

Flowers at Christmas

pink roses for Renee's birthday dinner

holly berries


I filled magenta glass cups with pink roses for the dining room table to celebrate Renee's birthday two days ago. And while walking yesterday afternoon, I spotted a holly bush sagging under the weight of brilliant red berries. Today, I saw a blooming forsythia bush! I am not kidding. Since when is the delicate yellow forsythia a Christmas flower?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Dry Spells

"Song Bird"
beeswax collage
"Tea Time"
beeswax collage
"Lady in Red"
beeswax collage
"Kingdom of the World"
beeswax collage

I haven't posted in nearly one month which translates into not making any art for nearly one month! Don't you hate it when real world responsibilities get in the way of escaping to a place of creative nonsense?

Saturday, November 29, 2008


beeswax collage #1
beeswax collage #2

beeswax collage #3

Ahhh...the aroma of hot melted beeswax, white bean chili on the stove, and steaming hot green tea with mango in a mug wafting through my kitchen. The weather outside is gloomy and cold, yet I am delighted with today!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Fall Leaves

"Falling Leaves"

The leaves are quickly dropping to the ground this weekend (well, it is November). My backyard looks like this painting today.

Waxing Poetic


Beeswax collage

"Waxing Poetic"

Beeswax collage

I treated myself to a beeswax collage art class today in Raleigh taught by the always fabulous, Claudine Hellmuth. There is nothing better than working with melted beeswax, paper, oil pastels and crayons for 7 solid hours!

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Debbi Crane and Cheryl Prater, my very talented and engaging friends, have published a mixed media book that recently landed on Barnes and Noble bookshelves. I am extremely PRIVILEGED to have a piece in the book! Check it out.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I Wonder...

In Luna's studio last weekend, we were painting with beeswax and talking about directions for our art in the coming year. I have not been focused on my own work for most of 2008; too preoccupied with many things of which I have no control. But, at last, ideas and images are beginning to surface in my mind. I work in a narrative series. I like this approach A Lot! And so, I begin my journey of wondering. I photographed most of these images a while ago (Renee shot the railroad crossing photo) and I wonder...was life more restful long ago? I wonder about the minds of those who lived in rustic and isolated areas with space, Lots of Space around those minds. Don't know where any of this is heading, but I wonder...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Clement Farm

Clement Farm in Stem, NC

I am finally kicking a nasty case of bronchitis which developed during a sophomore class camping trip in late September. The students were awesome, but the weather was damp and dreary. We camped in tents in the barn right behind these silos. The farm is a peaceful and restorative place: a place I would like to return to without fever and congestion!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sometimes it Pays to Take a Moment to Read the INDY...

One evening about 10 days ago, I picked up a copy of the INDY and spotted the "call for entries" to the 54th annual Durham Art Guild's juried exhibit. On a lark, I submitted three pieces. The juror, Beverly McIver, liked what she saw and accepted two of the three works that I dropped off at the Durham Arts Council. I was surprised and thrilled! Note to self: Continue to respond to "call to entries."

If you are in the Durham/Chapel Hill area, join me at the opening reception on September 19, from 5-7 PM at the Durham Arts Council. The show will hang from September 19-November 2.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Extraordinary Exhibition!

El Greco to Valazquez: Art During the Reign of Philip III
Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University
Exhibition dates: August 21-November 9, 2008

It's a Start!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Better than Painting!

Yes, this is a visual art blog. But The Thirteenth Tale, a novel written by Diane Setterfield, prevented me from painting for two straight days as I devoured the book word for word. And as such, I suggest that you run, don't walk to the closest Barnes and Noble to purchase it! It is a yummy read and well worth staring at the blank canvas in my studio that screams, "Paint me!"

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

To Emma...because I love her!

MaryAnn and I just returned from a few days with Caroline, Emma, and Jack. Painting and playing and reading with Emma and Jack was refreshing, bringing me back to a sense of what is real and important! Emma, of course, is WAY AHEAD of other three-year olds with regard to color theory. When we ran out of purple paint and had to mix the color, she was quick to tell me to mix red and blue! While visiting, I had the opportunity to paint a canvas for Emma's bedroom. I am convinced that next summer, she will paint her own!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Luna's Garden

Very early yesterday morning, I drove to Luna's studio to paint in her garden for two hours. It has been nearly three years since I left the world of water color to frolic in the world of collage and my rusty skills show it! It was freeing; however, to be forced to paint very quickly outside and to paint without drawing. I needed the freedom to explore the medium again.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

As It Was In The Beginning...

I will be teaching three new electives this school year and am spending much of the summer writing the curriculum for these courses. This week, I have been focusing on the planning for "Botanical Watercolors." I started painting in watercolors 7 years ago and grew to love the medium. Today, I dusted off the top of the fishing tackle box that houses my tubes of watercolors and inventoried the lot. It has been three years since I considered watercolor as my primary medium and I am need of purchasing a few tubes of paint: phthalo blue, lamp black, payne's gray, and lemon yellow are all available in Windsor Newton at Jerry's Artarama in Raleigh. Unfortunately, I am completely out of Quinacridone Gold which is only available online at Daniel Smith! It is my very favorite color in the whole world and although I have a good supply of the hue in acrylic paint, I am without a watercolor tube. I will need to be patient and wait for the order to arrive at my home next week. Patience is a good lesson for me in many areas of my life, but especially with regard to watercolor.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Back to Reality, Part II

Just back from a few days at Ponte Vedra, a longstanding tradition of the Easterlin family. Re-entry was much easier than my return from Blowing Rock. WHEW!

At the beach, I claimed leisurely hours to read and had the opportunity to feast on the newest issue of Cloth Paper Scissors. As I read, I stumbled on the first published announcement for Debbi and Cheryl's new book, Mixed Mania. This book, available November 1, promises to amuse and astonish the reader with "recipes for delicious mixed media creations." I am thrilled to say that a piece of my work is included in the book! The photo of Cheryl and Debbi featured above was taken by me at Arrowmont a few weeks ago. As is clearly seen, collaborative writing is a piece of cake for this dynamic duo!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Summer Garden

butterfly bush, yarrow, snapdragons, rosemary, shasta daisy, baptisia

When God's plan can not be discerned, I am thankful for the beauty that He has created for me in my garden.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Back to Reality...

photos by Renee!

We packed our things this morning, took a final hike down to the lake, said our goodbyes, and departed for Durham. WOW! Our time at Chetola was magical. We are counting down the days until next summer.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Duck, Duck, Goose!

Renee's photographs of the ducks and geese at Bass Lake on the Chetola property.

Following dinner last night, we hiked down to Bass Lake to walk the trail. The geese and ducks were captivating and I admit to doing more sitting and staring, than walking. Renee was able to get up very "close and personal" with the geese!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Blowing Rock and Ben Long

fresco at St. Mary's Episcopal Church in West Jefferson

I drove from Gatlinburg to Blowing Rock on Saturday to join portions of my family for a relaxing few days at Chetola. Yesterday, we went to see Ben Long's frescoes in West Jefferson county. I had seen the frescoes last fall with my students, but enjoyed them even more during a second viewing. The frescoes are magnificent!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Friday at Arrowmont

Whew! What a week. I will never again roll my eyes when I encounter hand-dyed and screened $300/roll wallpaper or fabric. It is worth every penny!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Thursday at Arrowmont

"all systems go"for silk screening of fabric!

silkscreen pattern complete!

It is Thursday night and I am just now ready to screen my fabric! The prep and process has been beyond my imagination. I have great compassion for Colonial women. Class concludes tomorrow after lunch and then we clean the studio.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Wednesday at Arrowmont

I purchased a book today in the bookstore. The title is an understatement!

The clock reads 9:45 PM and I am back in the dorm so early tonight! Anytime prior to 11 PM seems like a half-day here. The routine of waking at 6 AM to walk, shower, and eat by 8 AM followed by 12 hours in the studio (we do leave for lunch and dinner in the dining hall each day) is wearing on me. As I worked in the studio tonight, I mixed the wrong chemicals for a particular process and didn't realize it until I had hand-painted several yards of fabric! I received this as a sign that I needed to retire to my room for a full-night's sleep and be ready to accurately mix the chemicals in the morning.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tuesday at Arrowmont

sketches for silkscreen design

/ˈpætərn; Brit. ˈpætn/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[pat-ern; Brit. pat-n]
a decorative design, as for wallpaper, china, or textile fabrics, etc.

Seems pretty simple, doesn't it? WRONG! Today, I spent a good 10 hours working up a seamless repeat pattern that will fit on a 14" x 20" silkscreen and be printed on several yards of fabric. The screen frame had to be prepared in advance of the dye screening. This involved:

1. covering the unprimed wooden frame with duct tape to prevent warping;

2. caulking the seams where mesh meets frame;

3. scouring the mesh with Comet and then a special soap to eliminate all traces of bleach from the Comet;

4. drying the screen in the sun;

5. coating both sides of the screen with photo emulsion in the darkroom; and

6. leaving the screen in the darkroom to dry overnight.

Whew, I am tired and very satisfied. Off to bed for a few hours of sleep in our newly assigned room at the opposite end of the hall from where we were first assigned. The new room does not receive 36 hours of direct sun on all sides each day (as did our first room). With two window fans, Debbi, Cheryl, and I are happy art campers at night!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Monday at Arrowmont

pattern exercise

yards of dyed fabric using immersion and dip dye methods

Ever wonder about the process of transforming white fabric into a rainbow of colors and patterns that eventually drape your body or your windows or your dog's favorite chair? Me neither. Not until I enrolled in a surface design fiber class at Arrowmont, that is. Like many things, I assumed that the shoemaker's elves turned all white fabric into colored fabric, given their affinity for making shoes in the dead of night! But alas, there are no elves at Arrowmont, only us students who listen diligently to talented instructors explain and demonstrate various techniques. The process is complicated and time consuming and is much like cooking in many ways. There is a recipe for each dying technique which must be followed carefully. There is a GREAT deal of stirring of yards of fabric immersed in chemicals in giant buckets. There is LOTS of rinsing and rinsing and rinsing of fabric which is way more difficult than washing dishes! One who is involved in the process must wear a respirator and protective gloves (this is slightly different from cooking except when I am in the kitchen at home preparing something healthy that my daughters think is "disgusting, " at which time, they sometimes opt to wear respirators to the dinner table to avoid eating what is served...just kidding!). The BIG difference between preparing meals and dying fabric; however, is that I have yards of brightly-colored fabric to show for my efforts today. My children are also happy today, because since I am dying fabric this week and not cooking for them, they are enjoying LOTS of pizza! Everyone's a winner.