Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Anaïs Nin

"You have a right to experiment with your life. You will make mistakes. And they are right too. No, I think there was too rigid a pattern. You came out of an education and are supposed to know your vocation. Your vocation is fixed, and maybe ten years later you find you are not a teacher anymore or you’re not a painter anymore. It may happen. It has happened. I mean Gauguin decided at a certain point he wasn’t a banker anymore; he was a painter. And so he walked away from banking. I think we have a right to change course. But society is the one that keeps demanding that we fit in and not disturb things. They would like you to fit in right away so that things work now." -Anaïs Nin

Above is a small selection of my Anaïs Nin books. When I fall in love with an artist's work, I tend to want to accumulate every book published about their work that I can afford to get my hands on (Frida Kahlo, Corita Kent, Kenneth Patchen, Edward Gorey, Dan Eldon to name a very small few. The long list starts here.) I love my books. I can't help it. To me, art, LIFE is all about connection.

When I find an artist whose work sets my heart all a flutter, I want to have it nearby and within reach. I am a paper lover. I want to be able to pick up a book and flip through the pages. I want bookmarks, the smell of paper and to be able to hold something close. It's just the way I am.

I've decided that this will be the summer of Anaïs Nin. I'm pulling out all of my books and will work my way through her diaries in order.

Connection. Connection. Connection. 

"We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls." -Anaïs Nin

Work your way through some scrumptious Brainpickings articles on Nin here.  

"The possession of knowledge does not kill the sense of wonder and mystery. There is always more mystery." -Anaïs Nin

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Book Love

Today is a stay in bed snuggling with a book kind of day.

Saturday, April 26, 2014


I love and appreciate how my Dad's good buddy, Tom, always calls me on this date. (My Dad referred to him as our "Uncle Tom" whenever he spoke about him in front of us. "Uncle" was reserved only for a select few *very* close friends.) 49 years ago they met as they entered the Army together. Tom's dad (a pastor) went on to marry my parents. They remained close friends until my Dad died almost two years ago. 

Are we ever truly aware of the lives that we touch and make an impact on?

Friday, April 25, 2014

April Collage Sheet of the Month Club

Thanks to everyone who signed up for my March Collage Sheet of the Month! I'm very excited to share with you the collage sheet for April.

You can sign up on a month by month basis (I'll announce when the new sheet is ready on the blog.) You'll receive via email a digital, high resolution PDF file of an 8 1/2 x 11" page collage sheet (of the 8 1/2 x 11" image shown but without the watermarks and at a much higher resolution ) You can download your sheet, save it and print it out as much as you'd like. 

Please allow up to 24 hours for me to respond to your order.

This collage sheet is exclusive to the Collage Sheet of the Month Club and is only available here (it will not be passed out in classes, etc...).

You can order April's sheet for $4:

Thursday, April 24, 2014

1 April 2014 Journal Page

“Human beings, whatever their backgrounds, are more open than we think, that their behavior cannot be confidently predicted from their past, that we are all creatures vulnerable to new thoughts, new attitudes. 

And while such vulnerability creates all sorts of possibilities, both good and bad, its very existence is exciting. It means that no human being should be written off, no change in thinking deemed impossible.” 
― Howard ZinnYou Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A Personal History of Our Times

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

31 March 2014 Journal Page

One tip I suggest to folks when they're working across the fold is to first fold whatever papers or images that they're going to be placing in that area in half before they glue. Also watch to make sure that when you're gluing your paper, you cover every inch (I missed a couple of spots resulting in the above extra wrinkles. Ce la vie.)

I am teaching at The Making Place in Escondido this Saturday. This is my last San Diego class for awhile (I don't have any on the schedule for May through July. My June and July schedules are full with out of state teaching.) Catch them while you can!

I've been looking forward to John Canemaker's Magic Color Flair: The World of Mary Blair due out next month. I have his original book about Mary Blair (there's an updated version of that due out next month as well) and I've been wondering how different Magic Color Flair is. Jerry Beck answers that question here. I can't wait to go to the exhibit in June! More on Mary Blair here and here.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

My Favorite Art Books of 2013


















The above books are listed in no particular order. My only criteria for a book to be included on this list was that it was bought in 2013 (not published in 2013.) Also, I prefer to buy books in hardcover as much as possible (if they are available and affordable) so I've linked to the exact editions that I purchased. There may be other editions available. 

Please note that just because a book is listed for sale on amazon at X price doesn't mean that it's not available elsewhere for a much more affordable price. I bought most of these books either on sale or used at my local bookstore. I don't always trust amazon prices (check abebooks as they are usually more reliable.) That said, always keep your eyes open as you can find gems at affordable prices at your local used bookstore, independent bookstore (some have sales), library sales, thrift stores, etc...


Monday, April 21, 2014

WonderCon Anaheim 2014

David, Tristan and I had a great time at WonderCon this year. It's always more laid back than San Diego Comic Con. It started off a bit crazy as parking on Friday was nuts. I was starting to stress out about it when it came to me that I could possibly park at the hotel we had reserved for the night. We headed in that direction and bingo! Parking problem solved. (The only other problem that day was me wearing the wrong shoes. Luckily, I was able to change shoes for Saturday and had no more feet problems the rest of the weekend! I'm writing this as a reminder for my future SDCC going self!)

We had a few big goals this weekend. Tristan was always on the hunt for more free swag (accomplished! Green Lantern t-shirt, Adventure Time Jake doll, a Mariokart Mushroom Kingom Drivers License and some other random crap that he was excited about. Seriously, it was crap-a case for an iphone that we don't have nor will we ever own and a case for a video game console that he doesn't have.) I always love hearing his stories after he attends a great panel or meets a favorite artist. He was all excited about sitting in the front row of the Batman panel and seeing Bruce Timm and Kevin Conroy, otherwise known to Tristan as "The men who made my childhood." (I seriously love my kid.)

Many moons ago when Tristan was about 5, we were in Hollywood. Darth Vader (one of the many costumed Hollywood characters) started walking towards us. I thought that Tristan would be afraid and yet when he went to high five Tristan, Tristan slapped his hand back. He turned to me with a big smile on his face. As they say, the Dark Side has cookies.
David and I had two goals this weekend: a sketch from Paul Gulacy (we also attended his fabulous panel. I love panels where you learn something about the artist. Gulacy also does great impersonations of Jimmy Stewart, Charles Bronson and Gregory Peck. I also enjoyed hearing how he got his start (Marvel called him as he was mowing his parents' lawn) as well as the story of his buddy Steve Rude the Dude (another favorite artist and one helluva nice guy) coming over to his Gulacy's house, pulling out a tiny easel and watercolor set to sketch Gulacy's living room.)
Paul Gulacy

and an autograph from James Robinson (loved hearing about his favorite books and am hoping he posts his favorites on his facebook page like he promised...)

James Robinson
Unfortunately, we forgot the camera (a first!) and my phone wasn't working properly. I always am a bit shy about asking cosplayers to pose but folks were taking photos of Mary Poppins and Bert, so I took this:
Step in Time!
We spent Friday mostly walking the exhibit hall floor. David bought Marvel comic's adaptation of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Surprisingly, that was the only thing that he bought. We were hoping that IDW would have Jack Kirby's New Gods Artist's Edition for sale but it hasn't been released yet. 

I bought one book, MJ Illustrations Book Volume 1 from Last Gasp as well as some Wink of Stella pens from Art Supply Warehouse (because we all know that a trip to a comic book convention means that someone somewhere there will be selling ART SUPPLIES that you don't really need but you buy anyway because you're there and you always need new pens!)

We went to both Paul Gulacy and James Robinson's panels as well as to the Revolution panel in the Arena. One big thing that we noticed that is getting worse is the number of assholes who show up at a panel and proceed to sit and converse amongst themselves the entire damn panel. WHAT HAPPENED TO MANNERS, PEOPLE? I'm not even talking about whispering. I'm taking about mofo's talking in normal or even loud voices WHILE a panel is going on (or in the case of The Arena presentations, making comments throughout the whole panel and video clips.) It happened in every. single. panel. that we went to. It was ridiculous. I have decided that for SDCC, we should all bring paper with a few simple manners printed on them that we can quickly fold into airplanes to toss at these people's heads. They also let folks into the room who were clearly there for the next panel. Even James Robinson commented on the number of people walking into his panel asking folks coming in late, "Which panel is more popular than mine? What panel are you coming in for?" (The response was, "The Writers' Journey.") Robinson: "Shit, you should've come earlier. I could've told you that."

While walking the exhibit hall floor, I found a few new artists to check out. I really liked the work of Jessica Grundy and Genevieve Santos (website and blog.) There were also a TON of comic dealers as well as toy sellers. Unfortunately, I think that since SDCC has grown, it's priced out a lot of smaller vendors so it was nice to see so many small comic and toy dealers. We were also very happy that Stuart Ng, IDW and Last Gasp all had booths at the convention, as well. They are three of our favorite vendors (we always make a beeline for Stuart Ng first thing at SDCC Wednesday night.)

We decided to splurge and grab a hotel room locally for Friday night (the rooms are much cheaper and more readily available than they are during SDCC.) It enabled us to sleep in a bit later (a glorious 7 a.m.) on Saturday morning before we headed to the convention center. 

David and I spent most of the day in the Arena while Tristan wandered the exhibit floor and attended a few favorite panels (Batman's 75th, Adventure Time, DC Comics the new 52, etc...) David and I were eager to see director Luc Besson (there for Lucy, which looks fabulous, by the way) and he didn't disappoint! He was entertaining and a delight to see in person. Bill Paxton was clearly enjoying himself on stage talking about his role in Edge of Tomorrow as well as repeatedly quoting favorite lines of dialogue from his career left and right. He's definitely a fan favorite. It was also a great treat to see Gary Oldman (who cracked up when a fan dressed as Joker waved, "Hi, Commissioner Gordon.") and Andy Serkis (another big fan fave) for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (can't wait to see this.) For the fourth (I think?) time we saw a panel for the new Godzilla film. I. cannot. wait. Both David and I confessed to getting goosebumps watching the trailer (I'm getting them now as I write this.) The little girl in me who loved watching Creature Double Feature on Channel 56 in Boston is very eager to see this the King of all Monster Movies back on the big screen next month!!

Our last panel of the weekend (we didn't attend on Sunday) was IDW's Artist's Edition Panel with Scott Dunbier. We've only missed one of these panels and we weren't going to miss this one! We're looking forward to the Jack Kirby as well as the Steranko editions that are coming out this year.

The scariest event of the weekend was experiencing a full moon in a panel. (Eye bleach, anyone?) An attendee jumped up to grab a freebie and his pants were wayyyy below what even Dan Aykroyd would find to be acceptable. I won't get that image out of my head for some time now.

WonderCon means that it's time to start counting the days to San Diego Comic Con (Tristan has been doing this since last SDCC.) Summer is coming, people, and there's nothing we can do to stop it. 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Traveling (Somewhat) Light

Home from WonderCon last night. More on that tomorrow! Here's a work in progress shot and what I brought with me to the Con to work on while in line or waiting for a panel to start. I brought:
  • My Journal
  • Bag of collage stuff (paper, stickers, rub-ons) 
  • Bag of pens: .35 Rapidosketch, pencil, Glaze and Souffle, water based paint markers Sharpie and Molotow, High Flow Acrylic Paint in empty Montana marker cases, Wink of Stella) 
  • A few rolls of tape 
  • Scissors 
  • Ruler 
  • Old rag
  • Few sheets of waxed paper/small catalog to glue on
  • Coccoina glue stick

Saturday, April 19, 2014

30 March 2014 Journal Page

What moves men of genius, or rather what inspires their work, is not new ideas, but their obsession with the idea that what has already been said is still not enough.” -Eugene Delacroix

Blog Love:
I. Love. this. Blog. Artodyssey
these are some of my favorite posts (so far)
H. Craig Hanna
Daria Petrilli
Candace Walters
Isabelle Cochereau

Friday, April 18, 2014

29 March 2014 Journal Page

Found via Brainpickings (LOVE this site.)
"Mistakes are not just opportunities for learning; they are, in an important sense, the only opportunity for learning or making something truly new. Before there can be learning, there must be learners. There are only two non-miraculous ways for learners to come into existence: they must either evolve or be designed and built by learners that evolved. Biological evolution proceeds by a grand, inexorable process of trial and error — and without the errors the trials wouldn’t accomplish anything." Daniel Dennett Intuition Pumps And Other Tools for Thinking  

Thursday, April 17, 2014

My Dad

Daddy and his Girls
Mom and Daddy dancing at Erin's Wedding
Me, My Uncle Oogs, Warren (one of my Dad's BFF), Erin, My Dad and Tristan
A Boy and his Bapa
Daddy's Baby
A Little Monkey named Jack and his Bapa
Mom and Daddy being silly

Today would have been my Dad's 69th birthday. Almost two years have gone by already since that day in June. Not a day goes by where he isn't on my mind. I miss the phone calls. I miss knowing he's there. I miss having someone to talk to about oldies with. I miss that laugh. I miss him.

A couple of weeks ago, my sister and my Mom got together with one of my Dad's friends. Every year for St. Patrick's Day, my Dad would drive down to Savannah, GA as a part of, "The Boys from Boston." In 2000, my Dad had an emergency quadruple bypass. Two months later he was in Savannah with his buddies (he had so many of them.) No one wanted him to go but if he wanted to do something, he did it. Well, they were sitting in a hotel lobby when my Dad says, "I'm going to go for a short walk to the Irish bar over there." The guys insist that they'll go with him to make sure that he's okay. Dad says that he'll be fine. Well, the next thing you know, these big beefy law enforcement guys pick UP the large stuffed chair that my Dad is sitting in and proceed to carry him like a King two blocks until they're stopped by a Georgia police officer who asks them what they're doing. Badges are flashed. Stories are told. The officer laughs and says, "You can walk the rest of the way. Leave the chair in my car and you can get it on your way home."

If you knew my Dad, you'd be laughing your ass off at that story. We never heard it because he never talked about what happened then. I'd get a daily phone call (sometimes more than that) from him telling me he was out having breakfast (now I wonder if breakfast was a Guinness or two) and enjoying the weather.

Here are the t-shirts that they made in memory of their honorary, "Mayor."  


These are for you, Daddy:

Dean Martin:

 Johnny Maestro and the Brooklyn Bridge:

Otis Redding:

Louis Armstrong:

What a wonderful world it was knowing that you were in it. You graced so many lives and left an imprint on so many hearts and minds. We love you and miss you, Daddy.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Classes at Kept Creations in Whitman, MA June 27th and 28th!

My workshops are always process-based learning while creating a unique product. I am well known for not traveling light and bring a large variety of supplies including (but not limited to) collage material, rubber stamps, stencils, pens, markers, tape and more. You will explore unique techniques involving composition, design, color theory, self expression and much, much, more in each of my classes. You'll also have a whole lot of fun doing so!
Saturday June 27th:
While we’ll begin this class but creating a stunning portfolio, the main focus on the class is also constructing a set of individualized art journal vision cards. We’ll be creating a small deck of art cards layered with a myriad of collage, pen work and much, much more!

These cards can be used for art journaling, travel journaling, scrapbooking, inspiration, vision boards and more! Inspiration at your fingertips! 

Supply list: scissors, small selection of favorite collage ephemera, bone folder, cork back metal ruler, roll of waxed paper OR magazines/catalogs to glue on, roll of paper towels OR an old rag, permanent black ink pad (Staz-on, if you have one), container to hold water, 1" brush to glue (I like chip or bristle brushes), a few of your favorite glue sticks

followed by:
 Pieces of Me: Self Expression with Collage
What do you get when you combine paper, pens, stencils, stickers, and stamps with new techniques in composition, design, color and means of self expression together on the page? You get truly unique and personal pages of art. Learn techniques that are applicable to ANY art form. Yes, we'll be "painting with paper" (collage) but learning art techniques that can be used and adapted to whatever art you want to work on. You will learn several new techniques in using collage as a means of self expression.

Supply list: Journal (or I will provide paper for you to work on), scissors, small selection of favorite collage ephemera, bone folder, cork back metal ruler, roll of paper towels OR an old rag, permanent black ink pad,  1" brush to glue (I like chip or bristle brushes), a few of your favorite glue sticks, waxed paper OR an old catalog or magazine to glue on (if you don't want to use all of your waxed paper for this.)

Saturday, June 28th:

Love Your Lettering: A Little Book of Type

One of the things that I hear repeatedly in my classes is how many people hate their own handwriting. At one time, I was one of those people. After many years of being told by teachers and friends that my handwriting was atrocious, I’m now being complimented on my writing. I’ve never taken a calligraphy class. It all comes from experimenting in my journal. I’ll teach you everything that I know so that you’ll walk out loving your handwriting. You’ll also be walking out with a little book full of layers of color and text created by YOU. We will be getting messy with acrylics in this class, so please dress accordingly.

Supply list: Scissors, bone folder, cork back metal ruler, roll of waxed paper, roll of paper towels, permanent black ink pad (Staz-on if you have it),  1" brush to paint (I like chip or bristle brushes), and a container to hold water in. You may want to wear an apron.

followed by:

The Pages Within 

Our journal pages tell our stories by combining luscious, rich layers of paper and ink with moments of our own unique experiences. In this four hour workshop, you will construct a hard bound journal from scratch. After we make the journal, you will then spend the rest of the class learning all new composition, design and self expression through art journaling techniques. You will walk out of class with a brand new journal, several pages completed and your head full of new ideas and possibility!

Supply list: Scissors, small selection of favorite collage ephemera, bone folder, cork back metal ruler, roll of waxed paper, roll of paper towels OR an old rag, permanent black ink pad (Staz-on, if you have it),  1" brush to glue (I like chip or bristle brushes), a few of your favorite glue sticks, an old catalog or magazine to glue on (if you don't want to use all of your waxed paper for this.)

I hope to see you there!