April 23, 2011

I've Moved!!

My new blog is located here: Pardoxical Gypsy  Hope to see you there!!
Thanks for following.

March 4, 2011

Busy, busy, busy

So the good news is that I'm back in the studio today with several "mini psyche's" under way. A bit of a challenge since my studio itself isn't completely unpacked yet, kind of making the whole process a bit of treasure hunt, but very exciting when I accidentally stumble upon just the right tidbit.

Recently got back from New Orleans and now getting ready for ArtFest next month where I'll be teaching a couple of classes on both my layered collage and illustration/painting techniques.

New Orleans was fantastic, well here, see for yourself....the best review of the trip you're gonna get is from my beau and travel partner extraordinaire Michael deMeng. I could tell you all about it, but truly, he does a much better job (and he had the camera...).

I'll leave you with a quick New Orleans voodoo inspired sketch for now, and more from the studio later...


September 1, 2010

The Mystical Eight of Swords

I may have mentioned once or twice before just how much I adore tarot cards. Beautifully depicted scenes rich in symbolism awaiting mystic and metaphoric interpretation - what could be better? In the course of doing personal tarot card readings (what?! you didn't know I moonlight as a gypsy?) I had noticed the recurrence of the 8 of swords in my readings. Now if you aren't familiar with the 8 of swords, well, it's not the friendliest looking card in the deck; sure, it doesn't strike the same fear in your heart as some of the other cards like "Death" or the "Tower", but it's not exactly what you want to see on a regular basis either.

Essentially, this is a card of bondage and oppression from an outside force, however, spiritually and emotionally you play some fundamental role in your current circumstance. The situation you find yourself in is of your own making and it fear that provides the bondage. You will typically see the eight of swords represented by a woman bound, blindfolded and surrounded by swords that stand guard around her or hold her prisoner depending on your perspective. A tower or fortress of some kind rises up in the background signifying the oppressor, and often the ground appears marshy and wet to show the discomfort and uncertainty. Because she is blindfolded she is unaware of the fact she is in fact surrounded by the very tools that will either prove to be her utter undoing or allow her to cut her bindings and result in her freedom, but the fact still remains that despite the bleak appearance, she does indeed have a way out.

After much reflection, I decided to reintrepret the 8 of swords like this:

Sometimes it isn't what you don't see that imprisons you, but what you don't say. Enough said.

June 24, 2010

The Visionary

I promised my friend Angela Kennedy on the Creative Souls ning that one of these days I would actually explain what I was thinking while I was creating some of my wood panel collages. Usually, I prefer to let the viewer make up their own mind about what a piece might mean, I find it absolutely fascinating the way that our own life experiences, culture and personal bias colours the way we interpret elements of art, but I digress; which you've noticed by now happens often...

This latest piece titled "The Visionary" depicts a woman living in one time, but who is looking forward to another. She is trapped in her body and her mind is longing for something different. She is in such need for a different reality that she can clearly visualize it. This is emphasized through the addtion of the watch piece as a monocle. The chain creates a connection between the monocle and the door knocker at her chest (heart) further accentuating the depth and magnitude of her longing to be in a different time. The collage elements that form the woman's body heighten the awareness of a woman pulled between two places in time. The turban suggests an older form of dress, while the grungy ink covering her eye suggests a more recent time. The ink further represents her vision obscured by tears that trickle down her face as she is denied the existence she so desperately seeks. In the background collaged numbers and pencils represent a time that women were denied access to education. The antique brass compass and chest piece reminds of the same facts, contrasted by the metal plate from a microchip that brings us to modern times and the emancipation of women.

So that's my biased interpretation of "The Visionary" - now, what do you think it all means?

April 9, 2010

Working Backwards

I don't know what happened to March. Really I just don't. One minute it was March 1st, then the next thing I know it's practically the middle of April....how did that happen? Anyway, as it appears that I'm in some type of time warp, I figure that I'm just gonna go with it and post events backwards....I promise that eventually I'll tell you all about ArtFest - amazing artists Richard Salley, Jesse Reno and Keith Lo Bue....and then go back in time a little further to the phenomenal Michael deMeng Vancouver workshop at the Upstart Crow, but for now...I've been working on something new. A new collage series that unites my love of different mediums and techniques and fuses them together to create these:

Le Couer Gardé (the guarded heart)
12" x 24" Cradled Wood Panel 

Tons of layers and textures in this piece and yes her heart is covered in shattered mica pieces and guarded with wires and nails.

The Journey of a Man
12" x 24" Cradled Wood Panel

February 25, 2010

Vancouver *2 * 0 * 1 * 0*

I can hardly believe that February is almost over. Living in Vancouver during the sporting event that I'm not allowed to mention by name has been pretty crazy, but crazy in a good way for a change. Unfortunately a little too busy for much art making. I did however manage to get in a quick digital challenge over at Digital Whisper, a Valentine's Day Card using a stock image pair of lips. Here's what I came up with:

Hope everyone's Valentine's Day was spectacular! Now I need to order supplies and gear up for Michael de Meng's class and ArtFest next month. Can't wait!!!

February 7, 2010

Why it's good to be a "PLAYER"

It was last minute and very impromptu, but a bit of time for PLAY was necessary and what better place than Port Townsend, WA with Teesha and Tracy Moore at their PLAY retreat (and yes, everyone who goes is called a "player"). A group of very talented artists got together, shared ideas, techniques, and creative energy. It was fantastic! Everyone had an opportunity to work on whatever projects they chose, and many of us chose to create new journals using polymer clay following some samples and demos that Tracy and Steve Salic provided to guide us along the way.

I've never really worked with polymer clay before, so I thought I'd give it a try.....here's book number one:

The Book of Dreams

The crown and the keyhole are metal embellishments that were glued and then painted, the spine is leather, and everything else is polymer clay. I used a combination of molds, stamps and some freestylin' clay manipulations. All in all, not too bad for the first try.

Then, feeling fairly confident, I figured I'd make a journal for my oldest daughter, she has trouble falling asleep, so I thought that I would make her what I call a Tranquility Journal, where she could write down her thougths and quiet her mind before bed. I based it one of my drawings called Tranquility:

Tranquility sketch

Taking a drawing a turning it into something out of polymer clay, well, let me just say it was tougher than I thought it was going to be, but here's what I ended up with:

Tranquility Journal Cover

I must say that this isn't exactly the result that I was hoping for and there are definitely a number of things that I would differently next time, but it was a good learning experience. I also think that it was good preparation for my next polymer clay experiment which will involve making eyes in preparation for the next Michael deMeng class that I'll be taking in March. Yup, that's right, Michael is going to be teaching right here in Vancouver, if you are anywhere in the vicinity you are not going to want to miss it - he is a phenomenal teacher (and artist!)...check out his website for all of the details. By the way, if anyone out there knows how to make eyes out of polymer clay, I'm in desperate need of all the tips and tricks you've got!!!!

January 24, 2010

A Confession for Day Three

Reluctantly, I have to admit I struggled a bit with this one. I looked at the original that Angi sent me, and I got nothing, no vision for what I wanted to do. I looked at the collage and wondered "What is she trying to say?" And then, as I was studying the collage, I began feeling that this woman seems worldly, not a huge stretch given all of the buildings on her head, I know, but hey at least now I had a starting point. Then I began reflecting on when the "Digital Smackdown" started:  I began with the image of a young woman at the pivotal transition in her life where she is deciding what path she'll follow to find her destiny (see Day One). The second collage is a young adult woman which inspired the fertile and nurturing Empress (Day Two). Well now, I'm thinking that this woman has "arrived", she's chosen her life path, maybe raised her family, has a wealth of experiences, knows her own mind, and while she's still looking forward to all that is yet to come, she has accomplished much and is somewhat self-satisfied. Here's what the original looked like:

Now clearly to achieve my new found vision for this piece there were going to have be some changes.The turnkey in her back - gone, this woman was in control, she can't depend on being wound up to get where she wants to go, and she gets where she's going under her own steam, so bye-bye birdie. I added some of the great landmarks of our time into her headress, representing her worldliness and accomplishment. A tiny hot air balloon hovers in the distance to remind us of her desire for future adventures. A few more additions, some more photoshop adjustments and voila:

Smackdown Day Three is done! I'm hoping that you see her as accomplished and worldly as I do, and you've enjoyed these "smackdowns" as much as I have! Thanks Angi!!!

January 6, 2010

Smackdown Day Two!

For day two of the challenge, Angi sent us this scan of her original collage. I knew in an instant what her transformation would look like:

So this is what I came up with...

I've been fascinated with the gorgeous designs featured on Tarot cards for a very long time. I just love the way every single element on the cards have a purpose, no single element is ever there by chance. With skillfull intrepretation the "reader" can divine the cards meaning and significance. So when I saw Angi's original collage, the nest, flowers, and bunnies immediately made me think of the Empress. Surrounded by the bounty of the earth and symbols of fertility, the Empress represents Matriarchal authority, the birth of new ideas, and creativity. I  placed three eggs in the nest to represent her maternal nature and also the new ideas that she is nurturing (three specifically, because the Empress is the third card of the Major Arcana in the deck). The crossed arms are added embracing the nest in a gentle, yet protective fashion. A crown, a halo, a few more layers and adjustments and ta da....The Empress.

December 6, 2009


So, my good friend Angi Sullins comes to me the other day and asks if I want to take part in a "Digital Smackdown". She creates a collage the "old fashioned" way scans and sends it to a bunch of us graphic designer type geeks and we see what we can come up with by digitally altering the image. The challenge is on to create the most appealing result - and may the best guy or gal win. The rules are that there are no rules except that each design must be completed in one day, we can do whatever we want to the image as long as you can tell in the end that we did use Angi's original image as our starting point. Sounds like fun, so I'm in! Here's what happened on day one:

This is Angi's collage, the starting image for everyone in the challenge. I was really drawn to the youthful sweetness of the face and the whimsy of the hat, so here's what I came up with:

This piece I call "Destiny at the End of a Branch". The green background is infused with pastels and greenery indicative of spring and therefore the beginnings of life and youth. Our young friend here wears a whimsical hat indicative of the folly of youth and has several butterflies in their airy spirit to represent the different possibilities and paths that may yet be chosen. The body is a symbolic cage, or simply a home for the spirit or soul that takes refuge here for now; the cage is monochromatic, while the soul is full of light, life and colour. At the end of the branch is the gilded cage, where one butterfly is feeling things out. The door is still open, all things are still possible.