Monday, November 19, 2012


The month of November has flown by this year and Thanksgiving is upon us. Sam comes home tonight for almost a week. We will fill that week with food, tree-chopping, and a new activity, a carriage ride through holiday lights sans cars. I am sure we'll squeeze a little shopping in as well. She's doing great at Ursinus and has already signed up for spring of sophomore year classes. I can see these four years are going to fly by as well. She joined a sorority and is rehabbing her hip as best she can. The future of her gymnastics is in that rehab so we'll see but I am grateful that she is becoming an independent yooung lady (until I don't hear from her!)

I've taught a lot this month for me. I had two great classes at New Art Legacies in Fairview Heights two weekends ago and followed them up with a wonderful paperweaving class at Wood Icing. Both classes were filled with lots of art chat and enthusiasm which always makes my day so fufilling. I'm on break now until December 1 when I'll be at For Keep's Sake for Sheer Fusion (a transparent art mixed media class) and then will be breaking again until January 5 when I will be back there to do Rock n Roll Brayered Surface Design. Both classes run from 10:30 AM-1:30 PM and are sure to fill you with some new techniques to take in a myriad of directions.

Until then I will be playing here on some new stuff. I am not quite ready to share yet, but will be after the holidays. I do have some fun news that is late-breaking. My Kaleidoscope artwork that is for sale at New Art Legacies caught the eye of the St. Louis Post Dispatch and was published today in their special section on 100 Great Holiday Gift Ideas. Brief brag. Now I am done. It isn't Oprah's list, but it's a list. My thanks to Peggy Wade at New Art Legacies for making this possible.

My closing note is as heartfelt as a virtual musing can be. I am so grateful for my place in my family, for their place in my heart, and for being part of such a generous and inspiring art world that nurtures my creativity day in and day out. Happy Thanksgiving all.....

Monday, October 29, 2012


It's Halloween week and yes there is another freak storm heading to the east coast. Last year it was a snow storm. This year it is Hurricane Sandy. It's hard being so far away from Sam, but at least the colleges did the right thing and urged their students to leave.

October has been beautiful here this year. I am not sure if it was the hot, hot, hot summer, or what, but the colors were beautiful. I feel very inspired by color right now.

I am also very inspired by our drop of tomatoes that finally came in. I normally have ulcers in my mouth in August, but apparently this year I will have them in November.

And finally my big news. We have our new chairs in the sunroom and are actually using the room...after 5 years. We love the room. I hope you do, too. I've found out something new about my husband. He's a rocker. Our new chairs swivel and rock. Jim's a rocker and I am a swiveler. I guess after 27 years you can still learn something new about your mate.

I hope everyone has a happy and safe Halloween, especially those on the East coast. Sandy, Sandy- Go away!!!!!!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Mr. and Mrs. Lemp make their debut

Late summer/fall has been a whirlwind of activity so far in our household. You would think that pseudo empty nesters would lead a calm life, but no such luck in this household. My daughter Sam, is hard at work at her classes in PA, and I might add living in a palace of a room. Upon my return I decided to start yoga classes and I am loving them and the whole sense of peace that the practice gives me. I feel rejuvenated after the classes... and a little sore at times, but it's a good sore. I also added participation in another art group to my calendar after receiving a wonderful invitation. I am loving the weekly work time and chat time with a group of very talented ladies. September also brought two of my favorite activities: the annual Great Forest Park Balloon Races and the St. Louis Art Fair. Both weekends were fantastic. Happy sigh.

Jim and I have already been back to see Sam for Family weekend and found her to be thriving. She has gone Greek and is muddling through a difficult set of classes. We left her there to work, had a wonderful family dinner, and returned for a day at our alma mater, Gettysburg College, before heading to Washington DC for a couple of days. Again, we dated there, so it was fun to return to some of our old haunts, but not so fun to find that some of them had met their demise in this economy. From there, we sauntered south to Williamsburg, Virginia for a day and a half. No trip is ever complete without a trip to Whitley's Peanuts and a walk through the historic area. Finally we hit our last destination, Charleston, South Carolina, where we spent three glorious days at Two Meeting Street Inn, an historic b and b. We scoured the city as much as a respiratory infection I picked up would allow, and then headed home to reality.

Before we left, I taught a Kaleidoscope class at Wood Icing to a group of wonderful women, and then the weekend after we returned, I attended and demoed at a wonderful art night at Wood Icing with the theme of "Eye Spy". Attendees followed clues around the gallery (even in the artwork). A fun time was had by all. This past weekend I taught my first class at New Art Legacies in Fairview Heights;, IL. I had a class full of happy women making artful resin pendants. While over there I found out that three of my pieces of art for sale were borrowed by a reporter for the St. Louis Post Dispatch to be photographed for a gifts article. I am sure Peggy Wade is owed a debt of gratitude for that occurrence. I also took my Day of the Dead assemblage piece to the store for their November 1 celebration. I bonded with my protagonists, Mr. and Mrs. Lemp, while creating the vignette and hope you will too when you see their wedding day picture.

Two other wonderful pieces of news to share from the art world. First, I am happy to pass along the information that Kristen Powers (Kae Pea) has bought Rubbermoon from Debra Valoff. I have been a longtime fan of Rubbermoon, and am glad Kristen will continue the legacy as well as adding her own spin to the company. Any old fans of Effie Glitzfinger should know that Kristen has not missed a beat in designing stamps. She's opened a studio for her own art and Rubbermoon in Louisiana, Missouri. I hope to take a road trip soon to see her new digs. Check out the website and see what's new! She and her company are also on facebook.

Finally, I've been involved in Stampaway as a shopper, worker, workshop teacher, and supporter of Stamp Your Art Out for many years. Some of you might now that Connie Williams has retired and the store is closing. Connie is still going to continue to support Stampaway and will still be producing Verses Rubber Stamps, so she will still be a force in the rubber stamp world. I wish her much golf and family visits as she has her new found freedom. I am happy to pass along that a new store, Simply Said Rubberstamps is opening in the Cincinnati area in November. I am glad that there will still be a brick and mortar store in that area.

That's what is going on in my neck of the woods. Happy Fall!!!

The rest of my fall/early winter schedule is below.

Upcoming workshops:

Friday, November 9: Kaleidoscope @ New Art Legacies

Saturday, November 10: Paper Tapestry @ Wood Icing

Saturday, December 1: Sheer Fusion @ For Keeps Sake

Saturday, January 5: Rock N Roll: Brayered Surface Design @ For Keeps Sake

Sunday, August 12, 2012


My trip to Stampaway was so quick but helped stir my plateaued creative juices a bit. It is always so nice seeing all the familiar faces and immerse in the colors, the samples, the potato bar, the demos, and, of course, Cincinnati, my old stomping ground that I am really quite fond of. It doesn't hurt that I also got to spend some good quality time with two of my closest friends. And, actually took a class for once and completed the project!!!!! My class, ART of the Word was exactly what I wanted to do and I do plan to run that class again here in St. Louis at the beginning of next year. Found art poetry is such a great mind-clearing exercise. I think my students did a fantastic job. They re-energized me along the way. Tim Holtz's journal class was just what I needed to relax and have fun.

As mentioned in my last post, I have now hit the ground running getting ready to take Sammi back to Ursinus in 10 days. We have jean shopped, shirt shopped, athletic-wear shopped, etc. I was able to sneak out to collage club and make some s small paper bowl and enjoy show n tell. I am so lucky to have the most talented and giving artists in St. Louis. This week will be appointment-laden and the spacebag packing will begin in earnest. I highly doubt any art will be happening. I did manage to finish a new watermedia project, though, while I had some time last week. I am pretty jazzed about working in a different color palette.

I have set my fall teaching schedule and have a few dates to announce. I'll be teaching in the St. Louis area four different times. Here's a date preview until I get back from the college trip and can put up some samples.

Saturday, September 22: Kaleidoscope @ Wood Icing

Saturday, November 10: Paper Tapestry @ Wood Icing

Saturday, December 1: Sheer Fusion @ For Keeps Sake

Saturday, January 5: Rock N Roll: Brayered Surface Design @ For Keeps Sake

Monday, July 30, 2012

Dog Days of Summer

There's been a lot of water under the bridge since my last post. The summer has been filled with some nursing, some travel, some house predicaments, and a lot of needed family time. Sam came home from her first year of college in May and had arthroscopic hip surgery in June. It was like having a newborn again for weeks. We camped out in the family room and watched lots of movies while she was hooked into her machines. Physical therapy started the day after and became our big outing. I am happy to say that she is progressing in her therapy and does have a shot at a gymnastics season this year if things continue to go well.

Let it never be said that I am sedentary. We traveled to the Outer Banks in July for a week with family and it was a delightful house and wonderful weather. It was fun seeing it through Ellie's eyes, my grandniece, who is still under 18 months. Sam couldn't be immersed in water so she had a blow up princess chair that rode all over the pool daily. It was a long trip but fun. I pulled myself away from family two weeks ago and headed to CHA. It was the first time I had been there, but I really enjoyed it. So much to take in and fun seeing old friends along the way. Chicago was great for our two day stint, except for their confusing toll system.

Stampaway is this week in Cincinnati. I leave on Thursday and teach ART of the Word on Friday afternoon. I can taste the potato bar on Friday night already. I have a few spots available in my class so hit up Stamp Your Art Out if you are interested.

After I return it is time to kick it into high gear getting Sam ready to go back to PA. Lots to do before we make that jaunt near the end of the month.

Local classes will resume again here in St. Louis this fall. I do not have dates but will be at Wood Icing twice and am in the progress of pinning down dates for For Keeps Sake as well. Look for more details as life slows down. In the meantime, enjoy my birds! These are so fun to make.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Bunny Hop Inn

The whole problem with getting sick is that it interrupts your life. That is my epiphany for today. Write it down. I spent an evening in late March sketching out what was to be a new Easter themed painting. I had the house to myself for the weekend and found my copy of Bridesmaids and a beer and sat down to sketch. All was fantastic until I was sick the next day for close to two weeks. And no, I could handle the beer. Promise. I finally was back in my studio for the first time two days ago and it became my mission to bring my vision to life. I decided since it is already after Easter that I would sit down and put my thought process online for a tutorial. I haven't done that with any of my paintings yet, so this is my maiden voyage and you will need to bear with me. Note: the tutorial pics are Iphone pics so bear with that, too.

This is the fourth in my series of paintings that focus on houses/streets. They've all been fairly quirky, but two of them have been themed around holidays which adds an interesting element in my head when planning. Where do the ideas come from? Well, I love looking at unusual architecture on the Internet and most of my houses have had their roots in pictures I have seen on Pinterest and Google, but some have just come out of nowhere while I am sketching. The odder the better in my book because I want my audience to see the whimsy. The Easter piece, Bunny Hop Inn, has it's roots in my love for Easter egg coloring and a piece that I painted for Valentine's Day, Lover's Lane. That painting prominently featured a street, but in the sky I introduced hot air balloons (another love of mine). I wanted to feature the balloons again in a more prominent way so that I am not a one-trick pony so the idea of the egg shaped balloons seemed perfect when I began sketching. I decided at that point that the hot air balloons would be the focus of the painting, but had to have at least one physical structure. I began by prepping my 6 x 12" canvas panel with a coat of Golden Titan Buff fluid acrylic. These panels come prepped with gesso, but I like to get rid of the stark, white, background and usually find a way to incorporate the Titan Buff into the sky. My Halloween Couture did not follow this rule since it was set at night. Instead, I added a background of Titanium White to that one, but I diverge from my tutorial. Mea culpa.

Once prepped, I set about sketching with a fairly hard pencil. The result is below. I don't try to get everything in my sketch, just what I see is essential to my vision. If I intend to do any texturizing of any parts, I generally do this now. On this piece, I used two elements on two of the five eggs. No pics of this step, but I did use a super fine masking fluid pen called Saved Whites on the second balloon from the left. I drew stripes downward all around the egg so that the Titan Buff would remain intact when I painted the egg later. Its needle-nosed applicator allows for thin lines that dry quickly for easy removal after the painting process. Artist Kae Pea turned me onto it and it is sometimes available in her Etsy Shop. On the last egg to the right I used Wood Icing, a texture paste, that I love to use because of its quick set-up time. This enabled me later on to create colorful striations with depth.

How do I plan my color palette? Hmmm.....well, I have to admit and this will shock those with a painterly background, that I don't in particular, probably due to the nature of my vision. I like to be on a wild ride with these paintings so I just put out a few colors to start with that seem to go with the theme, and get started. I can always change the colors if need be by repainting or simply shading. The Easter balloons cried out for fun, spring colors, so I set about painting with a lot of water. I like to remove some of the paint with paper towels and then add and subtract over and over until I get the right shading for my main pieces in these paintings. I found the house to be too dull with just the preliminary paint application so I went ahead and added some variegation to the roof.

At this point, I like to get to some detailing so I can let the focal elements take shape and really start to tell a story. To detail, I use a black Pitt Artist Pen in XS & S or a Pigma Micron Pen in .005. Both are easily found in craft or office supply stores and work well over DRIED PAINT. Note the caps in that last sentence. Don't get antsy and detail before the paint is dry or you will be buying pens willy-nilly. That has never happened in my studio. Really.

I usually start with foliage for the secondary elements. The next two pictures show the evolution of the trees. I have to confess that I love to draw trees for some reason and bushes and plants, etc. I've been fascinated with pointillism for a long time and featured a project using it in my book, Texture Effects. I use this technique of lots of tiny dots, some watery, some dry brush, to create all the foliage and flowers. The trees proliferate as the painting moves along. I don't sketch them at all, but rather let the brush guide me and the craggier the better in my book. I love the lacy look of the flowers especially. By varying the amount of water used, you can recreate the fragility of flowers over and over.

I get so excited once I have a Pitt Pen in my hand. 95% of this is up in my head where imagination hides and often involves the motifs that I crave.... swirls, curves, checks, Harlequin designs, etc. Once the detailing is started, I go back and forth from adding the secondary elements and detailing the dry areas. This is a great use of time because detailing does take a lot of it on it's own so alternating processes allows you to keep moving forward. Also, it keeps it fresh for me, and to be honest, the ideas don't all come at once. I like to be open to change while I am painting because it makes me feel so "on the edge" which probably doesn't make any sense to those reading this after seeing the finished painting above. It's detail is so precise that it probably looks like it was completely planned beforehand. Now you know the truth.

At this point, I generally take a step back and see what's missing from my original vision. I really had wanted a forested area but since it was early spring, I couldn't achieve that with heavy leafage. I really do try to have my paintings make some sense so no comments on how these balloons will land in the forest at all, please. I had to satisfy myself with adding more trees along the perimeter and lower understory to create the surrounding landscape for the Inn. Yes, this is when I named the structure as part of the story. I love to name things so this was particularly satisfying. I drew my first bunnies as well. There are two of them leaping amongst the foliage and a third in a particularly fun place. I'll let you find that one.

I always send a picture to my sister, a wonderful artist, for critique and listen to what she has to say. In this case, the problem was the color of the sun. The sun distracted her from the rest of the painting so she suggested fading it out. I sort of knew it was vibrant but since I've used Pyrole Orange on all of them, I still wanted to stay true to that. Instead I added darker color to the egg farthest to the left and darkened some of the leaves throughout. It is interesting that even though I fixed that problem, it was not until I photographed the supposedly finished work that I realized I didn't like the sun sitting on the branch. That was remedied in the final product above. Changes were also made to the moon's positioning, and trees and foliage were added to the front of the hill to create more depth.

So there you have it. This is the story behind the story of the painting. I wanted you to have a glimpse into my process and enjoy my spring journey. Let me know if you find that last bunny!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

April Showers

What a strange spring/summer we've had so far in St. Louis. I had a wonderful class in March at Wood Icing in Chesterfield. A great group of ladies enjoyed making abstract water media designs. Mid March brought us baseball sized hail that destroyed our roof, siding, screens, windows, etc. Luckily we have good insurance and everything has been redone except for screens that have been ordered. A good week of my life was spent with banging and more banging. While I was dealing with that, my husband was sitting on a federal murder trial and driving a car out to our daughter in PA. A crazy month filled with twists and turns. We're finally having some showers and cooler weather, but I certainly hope we get the pretty May flowers after all of this. Before then I will be teaching here in St. Louis at For Keeps Sake . Join me for my advanced resist class on Saturday, April 18. Class samples are available in the store and on their site.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Go Ursinus Bears

I've been on the road a lot since my last post in February. First, a quick trip to Cincinnati to teach at Stamp Your Art Out. My two classes went very well and it was very nostalgic to be teaching back there at the store. I will return again in the fall if they will have me. On my trip I was able to spend Friday evening with my gal pal, Deb. We sat and ate appetizers and talked for almost three hours. It was so good to catch up to her before I headed back to my hotel for the best night sleep I've had in ages. Of course, I managed a trip to Jungle Jim's for my Jim's Japanese cuisine. If you haven't ever been to Cincinnati, but do go.....go to Jungle Jim's. You will never forget the experience.

I came home, did laundry, and then began packing for our trip east to PA. The artwork above was matted and framed for Sammi's gymnastics team at Ursinus. It was the least I could do since we had been unable to make any of the meets earlier in the season. We enjoying seeing her teammates compete and enjoyed the college sports atmosphere. While there, my first grandniece celebrated her first birthday with great fanfare. She regaled us with her walking and talking, and, of course, giggling. It is such a treat being a Great Aunt! Jim left me in PA for an extra week so I could see Sammi during her spring break and take her on various appointments. Hopefully, after putting in a lot of hours of PT, she will be able to increase her training regimen, but I think we are still months from this. We had a nice time until she had to leave for NY with her team for the first post season meet. Then I was able to spend some more time with my sister before leaving.

I am now back in St. Louis for the foreseeable future. I think. Wednesday was a great Collage Club project of happenstance with fixed materials that everyone brought and shared. I loved mine and posted it above. I taught over the weekend at Wood Icing for the first time. What a great venue to teach in and be inspired by the gallery. I hope to do more classes there as their schedule permits.

What's next? Well, I started an Easter painting, but I've only sketched it so it is in its infancy. We'll see how it progresses. A sneak peak for those that are reading...... there are egg balloons in the sky. My next class in the St. Louis area will be at For Keeps Sake on April 21st from 10:30 am-1:30 pm. I will be doing the second of two resist classes. This one works mostly with ink mixing so the effects are incredible. Stampaway classes should go out by early April. I am happy to be teaching my Art of the Word class there in August. It's the 20th anniversary of Stampaway so I am glad to be teaching my 12th year there.

Well, I've now caught everyone up on my life this past month. It's been fast and furious. Happy spring to all!!!!!

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Lover's Lane

I had a discussion with my sister about this painting since I always ask what the favorite house is. She picked the house with the hat and I was surprised. A conversation ensued about how there's always that house in the neighborhood that just doesn't fit. In this picture we decided it was that one, but that was her favorite just for that reason. She wanted to know why I put a Halloweenish house in the picture. I just wanted it to be a regular street with all the unique qualities of my two other streets. I guess I achieved that. Any favorites???

Monday, January 30, 2012

No Self-Control

It's the end of January and is 68 degrees today. What a wonderful winter we have had so far. I don't want it to end. I spent last week cleaning and pseudo-organizing my studio. I am so happy in here today that I could just sing! CHA is going on now and everyone is abuzz with new product and new inspiration. I am enjoying watching it from afar. One day I will get there.

I had a fun group over yesterday to do some resin jewelry and we had a great time. It was a good way to brush up on my techniques and see friends at the same time. They made some awesome jewelry and were quite pleased with themselves since they were novices. It will make a great class. Stay tuned for more information on that later this winter.

Today, hearts were on my mind. I promised I would wait until February 1st, but I have no self-control. Hearts are amongst my favorite images to use. This canvas piece will go to someone far away, yet always in my heart. I hope she enjoys it. More hearts to come.....of course.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Back in the Saddle

Well, it was time to head back in the studio to get some work done for my upcoming classes. I love playing with paint and fibers and never seem to get tired of it. I do like the change to the black glossy that also repels the paint, making interesting patterns. It's fun when these new ideas freshen the whole concept.

Oh, and American Idol starts tonight. I might have to have a feather back in my hair.


January 21: For Keeps Sake, St. Louis
February 25: Stamp Your Art Out, Cincinnati
March 18: Wood Icing, Chesterfield

Saturday, January 14, 2012


Happy New Year ....... My daughter went back to college in PA today for the first gymnastics meet of the season. I hope she is healed too. There is no one that deserves that more than she. (OK...maybe a few others but I would like to put her on the "catch a break" list). She'll be a great supporter of the team, but just wants the healing to continue so she can be an active participant.

She is already missed, but now I have the to-do list that I needed to have started last week including de-Christmasing the house and getting back to some serious studio time. We had a terrific holiday in PA. Family time is so important and it's nice that Jim and I both have family in the same area. I am the proud owner of a Vagabond and some wonderful Sam Toft prints. I now have a collection of sorts. They make me happy.

As far as art news goes, I do have upcoming classes in the St. Louis area and Cincinnati areas. I will be teaching resist techniques at For Keeps Sake on Saturday, January 21st. It's my first time teaching at this store and what a glorious store it is. On Saturday, February 25, I will be returning to Cincinnati to Stamp Your Art Out for two classes. And finally, on Sunday, March 18, I will also be marking my first time at a wonderful art gallery in Chesterfield called Wood Icing.

Come and see me and make some art! It's great for the winter doldrums.