With Her Heart and Her Boots

With Her Heart and Her Boots - Mixed Media Collage
"Bats in the belfry" "A penny saved is a penny earned" "Her heart was in her boots" - all those wonderfully descriptive sayings and metaphors of the past! I grew up with them, having been raised by a mother who as a child was raised by her Victorian grandmother. Lately, I've been thinking of ways to give those old stock phrases a little bit of a twist, replace a word here and there to give the meaning a nudge.

"Her heart was in her boots" is a metaphor for feeling low. For this collage, I gave her a heart that had definitely escaped from her boots, and both her boots and herself wings to fly away.

The background is hand-colored and painted with a gear stencil. The butterflies, I hand-cut, using my own templates, out of art paper and then hand-embellished with pen. Flowers and heart are another art paper. Boots and cameo are vintage ephemera.

Work In Progress: No Fear of Depths

Work in progress: No Fear Of Depths 
When I'm not obsessing over giving things wings, I am obsessing over mermaids. It's been, up to this very moment, a very private and quiet obsession, like many of the things I am truly obsessed with.

I think it began with my extreme and lifelong love of baths and bathtubs. I can spend, quite literally, hours in the bathtub. When I was a little kid, that tended to be limited by parental interference, especially after I discovered the bliss of reading in the bathtub. My parents grumbled about having a mermaid in the family. Now that I only have myself to grumble over the water and electric bill, I could spend just about forever in a tub. The great tragic fault in our current house is that there is no tub. I eyeball my friends' tubs, and they know it.

I'll write some more about this piece, its origins and inspirations, when it is done. Nothing is glued down yet and the writing is the roughest of drafts. It's going to be good, though. I have a good feeling about it.

Monday's Inspiration: Lisa Swifka

Artwork by Lisa Swifka
One of the things I love about mixed-media art and collage is that there about a million ways to create artwork in that style, all beautiful and unique. Another amazing artist that I've discovered lately is Lisa Swifka who blogs over at A Whimsical Bohemian. I am particularly inspired by her use of layering, color, and type, and the way she mixes her original art in with found elements.

Lisa is organizing an art blog event called Our World, Our Art for early 2013. I am really hoping to participate; it sounds amazing.

Click here for some more gorgeous examples of Lisa's artwork.

Local Art Exchange

Give & Take
I've been walking around my neighborhood, exploring and getting to know it a bit better. On one of my walks, I came across an art exchange wall.

The Art Exchange Wall
Someone created this art exchange on their backyard fence. It's pretty sweet! There are all kinds of chalkboard spaces, including many in easy reach of young hands. There has been an interesting variety of artwork every time I've walked by it.

A nicely-done chalk drawing
I decided to add something to the wall.

My tiny house fantasy
It's a drawing I did last year when thinking about tiny houses and natural landscapes. I made it with Copic and Pitt art pens on scrap mattboard.

My art with another great chalk drawing
I'm rather delighted to note that my drawing was gone to a new home less than 24 hours after I put it up. I put my name and blog address on the back, so if the new owner wanted to drop a comment, I'd be happy to hear from them.

I think this will probably be a monthly thing for me. It's a great way to contribute to the character of the neighborhood and keep myself both walking and creating.

Work in Progress: Metamorphosis

Work in progress: Metamorphosis
I have to admit, as much as I love spring and summer, fall colors are absolutely irresistible. The moment I saw this picture of Pagliacce, I knew he needed wings and rich autumnal colors around him. This piece is very likely to become part of a larger piece with a quote from Edgar Allan Poe. The actor reminds me very much of a young E.A.P.

The backgrounds are hand-colored with Copics and the orange/black paper comes from my collection. Pagliacce came from an old book on the opera. The butterfly (a picture, of course) is a Purple Emperor.

Fall and the Beauty of Little Things

Beauty Everywhere
Summer is my favorite time of year, but fall is so gorgeous! Maybe even more so because each sunny day might be the last before the cold gray wet sets in again. I beguile the last warm and lovely days of the year by being alert to the beauty found in little things.

Dreaming & Discovery: Works in Progress

We Live, Move and Breathe Discovery - Progress
I am making progress on several projects. Discovery is a lot closer to being done - everything is now glued down except for the butterfly, and I may go with a different butterfly or moth. I had a breakthrough on the words and did them by hand - I love the results! I added the star field with the same white pen. I'm kind of thrilled with the way this piece is coming along.

Dream - Progress
Dream is coming along as well, though nothing is glued down yet. I found some additional elements to add to the collage mix and added the hand-drawn filigree and butterfly outlines to the matboard ground. I now have a solid plan for the canvas: I'm going to coat it with a thin layer of gesso and cover it with a thin sheet of crumpled white tissue paper. The goal is to have the colors shining through an ethereal textured paper.

Tiny Fairy

Tiny Fair Mixed Media Collage
With a variety of works in progress, I'm happy to have a completed little project to share. This piece began with the words "tiny fairy" clipped out of an old book, along with an illustration. I found an illustration of a woman playing tenis in a vintage AD, and went off from there.

The background is my beloved scrap matboard, hand-colored with Copics. The scrolls I drew work nicely with the variegated effect of hand-coloring. Even with her dragonfly wings, the little figure still has a strong New England preppy feel, so I went with crisp, warm plaids, polka-dots, and geometric print for the flowers. I finished the surface with gel medium to give it some sheen and texture.

The overall composition is meant to be fun and nothing else. Sometimes I love putting something together for the whimsy of it, and not worry about telling a story or having a deeper meaning.

Monday's Inspiration: My Husband

Me And My Bear
I am a very lucky woman. I've been blessed with health, creativity, determination, and the ability to pursue my dreams. And as if those weren't riches enough, the universe brought me a partner who loves me, supports and encourages me, and if anything, believes in my dreams even more than I do.

Barret (or Bear, as his nearest and dearest get to call him) has serious amounts of his own creative talent and drive. The range of his interests never cease to amaze me. He collects vintage radios, is interested in Victorian and Edwardian architecture, loves antiques, is an amazing cook, and can fix just about anything he puts his hands to. He replaced the brakes on our car, a simple bit of repair work that still has me gobsmacked. He's a reader, a gamer, and one of the sweetest, kindest men I've ever met. No wonder I said "yes" when he asked!

Bear inspires me on a daily basis to do more, try new things, and to believe in myself.

Photo by Vandy