It’s a new life!

collage papers

Life took a turn for the much better last May. I saved some money and left a 4 year long corporate role to devote my time to my artwork.

While the job used some of my design skills, I had been working in/teaching computer-based graphics for a long time and wanted to get back to making hands-on art…feeling the materials, squishing the paint, etc. At this point, that specifically means abstract painting and collage.

For about a year and a half beforehand, I dedicated most of my weekends to experimenting and exploring materials, ideas and techniques. Collage is a great way to start doing that, since you can change your mind before you commit to a composition.

Most of my adult life has been focused on art, design and teaching, but in the past, my work was very different than it is now. I’m still feeling my way through the challenges of a new direction (not that you ever stop feeling your way through).

Years ago I was an airbrush illustrator. I worked with acrylic paint, as I do now, but the content was pretty surreal. To pull off surrealism, you need to be able make what you’re painting realistic. What draws me now is abstraction, which takes a very different (and I feel, more complex) way of approaching my work. 

sketchbook palette experiments

It’s taken awhile to get back to the website, since a gallery isn’t much of one without anything to look at. I’ve been trying to build a body of work and get more clarity about where I want to take it, but at least there are some images now. Feel free to check them out.

I also have a list of video tutorials planned… either for approaches I discover as I go along, something that makes life easier or answers questions I’ve had. Anything that might be useful in the your art practice is on the table. Hopefully, they can save you some time, confusion or aggravation. 

I hope you’ll join me for the ride.

Return of the Cereal Box Liners

kale stored in cereal box liner

Since it’s gardening season, it’s time to get back to my favorite use for cereal box liners. This free resource comes in handy in so many ways around the house.

Once that exciting first day of harvest rolls around, these bags come out of the cabinet and get put to work for the rest of the summer.

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Papier Maché Clay – The Video, Part 3

Spreading Papier Maché Clay On A Mold
Spreading Papier Maché Clay On A Mold

Wrapping the Mold and Spreading the Papier Maché Clay

Here are the last steps for (finally!) making a papier maché clay bowl. You’ll see how to wrap the mold, so the bowl will remove easily when it dries and get some helpful hints about working with the clay.

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Papier Maché Clay – The Video, Part 2

Making Papier Maché Clay and Choosing a Mold
Mixing the Papier Maché Clay

Making the Clay and Choosing a Mold

Don’t Change Out of Your Grubby Clothes Yet!

Now that you have some paper pulp, it’s time to turn it into papier maché clay. It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s squishy. What’s not to love?

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Use It Or Lose It – Black Papier Maché Clay Finish Coat Update

Black papier maché patch with mold
Black papier maché patch material after sitting covered for about a month


What a lovely image to sit at the top of this post! Hope you haven’t just eaten.

The other day, I needed a tiny bit of the black papier maché clay smooth finish material for the bottom of a bowl I’d covered with it. There was a white speck on the bottom that needed to disappear.

When I opened the container, this is what greeted me. This was made about 2 months ago, and was tightly covered. I really didn’t expect it to happen.

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Make Polymer Clay Shape Cutters From Recycled Plastic Bottles

Three bottles to be recycled into cutters
Three bottles to be recycled into cutters

More Fun With Trash

If you’ve ever tried to cut a shape out of polymer clay, or any other soft medium that’s similar, you’ll know it’s not easy to make it symmetrical by hand.

There are all kinds of cutters for sale at craft stores, but why not combine helping to save your little corner of the planet with saving some dollars in your pocket?

Travel size, sample size, and even regular size bottles can be used to create free, easy-to-make and easily replaceable craft cutters. There are always more where they came from.

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Making Balloon Bowls with the New Papier Maché Clay Recipe

balloons for papier maché clay balloon bowls
Balloons for papier maché clay balloon bowls

Balloons can be used as a wonderful mold for making papier maché clay bowls. Their full, rounded contours, variety of sizes and shapes and their elasticity offer a wide range of possibilities for some gorgeous finished pieces.

While they do present a couple of challenges that need to be worked around, they let you make forms that you can’t otherwise get with a solid, inflexible object… especially one you’d rather not destroy trying to get the finished bowl off of it.

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Some Decorative Drawing Materials For Black Papier Maché Clay

Test sheet for black papier maché smooth finish with pastels, colored pencil, oil pastel and chalk
Test sheet for black papier maché smooth finish with pastels, colored pencil, oil pastel and chalk

After making and putting a smooth finish on bowls from the black papier maché clay recipe, the next thoughts turned to “How will I decorate these?”.

One of the ideas involved making a series of black and white bowls, with chalk or chalk-like designs on the outside. That (such a surprise) begged other questions…

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