Twelve x Twelve Challenge

Over the past 12 months I participated in a group of women committed to creating art in a 12′ x 12″ format and making at least 8 – 12 pieces during that time period.  We met monthly at the Textile Dream Studio in Berkeley.  We’re showing our work at Bay Quilts in Richmond from Dec 2, 2017 to Jan 2, 2018.

2017 12x12 Bay Quilts 5x7 email

I played with some different media including encaustic photo collages and quilted collages and decided that the quilted work was what I like best. I finished all my pieces, but decided on a final 8 to include in the show; however, at this date, I’m not sure which pieces will be included.

Spinning Suns 1 & 2

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Spinning Suns 1

Spinning Suns 1 and 2 started in Sue Benner’s class on mono printing on fabric.  I created a composition much larger than 12″x12″, but set it aside not knowing what I wanted to do to turn it into a finished work.  I came across the unfinished work while participating in the 12 x 12 challenge and decided to see if I could turn it into finished 12′ x 12″ composition(s). I added quilting and white fabric paint and was happy with the results.

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Spinning Suns 2

Crow Canyon Collage Series

The Crow Canyon Collages have elements and inspirations from several sources and classes that I’ve taken over the past few years.  First, I spent time drawing at Crow Canyon Gardens, a local community garden and park near where I live.  The sketches became sourses for drawings on fabric and lino prints that I used in the collages.  I created the images over a period of time in classes with Katie Gilmartin, Pamela Lanza, and Joan Schulze. I learned an interesting collage technique in a Tea and Ephemera class with Judy’s Coates Perez and used this method to make compositions larger than 12″ x 12″ in a scroll making class with Pamela Lanza.  I wasn’t finished and wasn’t sure what to do to finish them, so I set it all aside for over a year.  I decided to turn them into 12″ x 12″ pieces and added the machine quilting.

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Crow Canyon Collage 1
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Crow Canyon Collage 2
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Crow Canyon Collage 3
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Crow Canyon Collage 4
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Crow Canyon Collage 5
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Crow Canyon Collage 6







Women on the Twenty


In Pamela Lanza’s Experimental Drawing class at UC Berkeley Extension, I started a series of charcoal drawings of American women I thought should be considered for the newly designed 20 dollar bill.  Everyone in class was excited this became a big topic in the news while I was working on my series, culminating with the announcement of  women for new designs by Jack Lew of the US Treasury. See each of my drawings here.

Here’s a photo of how my drawings looked on the wall for the final critique:On-the-wall-at-UCBX I took Pam’s class Small Books UnBound: An inkwash/collage workshop last weekend in SF and decided to see if the drawings would work well as images on an unbound, accordion style book with the drawings superimposed over inkwashed and collaged pages.

I made each drawing into an acrylic gel medium transfer and adhered them to the pages with fabulous results!



First pages


Book cover


Book closed and tied with raffia


I’ve continued with my drawing and printmaking.  I decided to try my hand using Adobe Illustrator and have been taking a class at UC Berkeley extension.  The drawing tools in the app are so different from traditional drawing, each assignment has taken hours and hours to complete.  The class was completely filled with several people hoping to add the first day.  Our teacher started us off with the pen tool which is the hardest to learn, but one of the most useful tools in Illustrator.  By the next meeting, there were plenty of open seats – I guess people decided this was not for them.  Patience, persistence, and determination are put the the test in this class.

Here are some of my illustrations.


Illustration for sports iphone app




Rolling Stone cover featuring artist Ben Venom




Six panel How-to illustrating process for making French press coffee

Another Junk Mail Diary

Yesterday I completed my Junk Mail Secret Diary and had enough left over gessoed and painted  junk mail pages available to make a second book.  I continued with the same process I learned in Carla Sonheim’s Junk Mail Artist’s Book class using my imagination to create drawings that overlapped onto the next page. When the page is turned, parts of the previous drawing ideally become something new, different, and surprising.

It’s tricky. It’s fun.  It’s a puzzle worth solving.

Cover page

Since I wanted to complete a second book while the class is still “live” and people were posting their homework and books over on our flickr site, I just looked around my house and my sketchbooks for images that I could use in the book even though the images wouldn’t necessarily go together.

Pages 1 – 2

After I completed all the drawings, I painted selected areas with gesso, then added additional details and shading.

Pages 3 – 4

As it turned out,  my sketchbooks were a handy source of inspiration.  Also using drawings from my own sketch books meant that I was drawing objects I had already drawn at least once, so I could draw them confidently and quickly directly into a real book that I spent hours creating (and didn’t want to mess up). . . A couple of good reasons to draw in a sketchbook on a regular basis.

Fortunately, if we made a drawing mistake that needed fixing, Carla taught us how to patch areas with a piece of prepared junk mail.  I had to do a lot of patching with this book, but unless you know where to look, they’re not noticeable.  I corrected a mistake on the lower part of the light bulb on page 10 with a square yellow patch.  I was surprised to see that it actually looks better with the patch.

Pages 5 – 6

As I added the drawings, I jumped around from one section to another, starting in the middle of the book and working my way backwards and forwards.  It took awhile to figure out what to do for the front cover.  Finally, I unbound the book and added another page to the front of the book after the rest of the book was completed.

Pages 7 – 8

The giraffe on page seven was inspired by a sketchbook page that I did last year at the Oakland Zoo. The owl was inspired by some bookends that are much more serious looking.  Maybe that’s why he seems so surprised.

Pages 9 – 10

I enjoy this process and want to explore it further.  With a bit more planning and care, the books could be even more amazing.   I love the idea that the junk mail is a free source of material that I could use in many ways, including collage.  Meanwhile, I’m collecting more junk mail for another round of painting and drawing.

Back Cover

My Junk Mail Secret Diary

This week I took Carla Sonheim’s five day online class to create a Junk Mail Artist Book. The class is described as a “mixed-media-junkie’s dream project” where we would take junk mail, add gesso and watercolor along with other techniques to create a unique irregularly shaped puzzle book. Carla’s description and photos on her blog convinced me that I had to try it. Plus, I have all the needed supplies already and an endless supply of junk mail!

We practiced drawing every day to be ready to draw in the book by day four. We did some one-liner drawings (no lifting the pen until the drawing is finished)

and some imaginary animals to get the imagination fired up.
Meanwhile, we applied gesso to our junk mail with a brayer to create texture, then painted the pieces with a couple layers of watercolor.

And did more drawing

so that by the time the junk mail was bound into a book, we were ready to draw directly into the book.  Here’s a photo of the bound pages ready for drawings.

The most exciting part of the project was to create drawings that overlap onto the next page.  The drawings on one page morph into a different drawing on the next page. For example, notice how the handle of the teapot on page two below becomes the center of a sunflower on page four.  Surprisingly the drawings were not difficult.  I guess all the warm-ups and practice drawing got me charged up and ready to go.  As I worked on the pages, I realized that I was creating a secret diary complete with a lock and key on the cover page. On each page I selected areas to highlight with painted gesso.  I completed the entire book in a couple hours, then set it aside awaiting instructions the following day.  For the last step, I added details and shading with marking pen and vine charcoal.   I added a bit of soft pastel to enhance the color.  Here are the completed pages:

Cover Page

Pages 1 & 2

Pages 3 & 4

Pages 5 & 6

Pages 7 – 8

And now, my secret diary’s no secret anymore.

Is it art?

An interesting exhibit at the Oakland Museum of California invites the museum goer to think about the definition of art.  A couple definitions and some information is provided, but the participant ultimately must decide.  Using “yes” or “no ticket stubs participants can vote on three objects and determine if they are or are not works of art.

In the gift shop I picked up the mug with the question, “is it art?”

Sketchbook Watercolor – At the museum

This week in  Jane LaFazio’s online class Sketchbook & Watercolor: On Location we are sketching at the museum.  Our assignment was to use our Tombow pens and draw in some type of museum.  This week, we learned to draw with the Tombow then use a Niji waterbrush to create washy watercolor-like effects.

I went over to the Oakland Museum of California this afternoon for my sketching session. I haven’t been there lately and was delighted by the art in their permanent collection. When I bought my tickets I checked to see if it was okay to draw in the galleries. Turns out it’s okay to draw with pencil, but not with pen. So I drew a sketch of Richard Shaw’s Walking Artist with Sketchbook using pencil and added the ink and water color when I got home. Drawing in the gallery was fun but tiring because I had to stand and hold the sketchbook while drawing.

After I was done, I went outside to the gardens and drew sketches of two sculptures with the Tombow and added some water wash and a bit of watercolor while sitting on the benches.

Sketchbook Watercolor – On Location

I’m taking Jane LaFazio’s online class Sketchbook & Watercolor: On Location.  This week we’re drawing and painting in the coffee shop.

I went to a local bakery coffee shop and got a beautiful apple tart and cappuccino. I sat at one of the outside tables and started with the cappuccino since I knew the foam would decrease in volume as I sat there. I felt self-conscious when I got out my materials and started to draw, but as I got into it, felt better. When I started painting, I was careful to leave lots of white paper and blotted some off where the browns got too dark. After completing the coffee cup and spoon I painted a  tablecloth background. By the time I finished, the coffee was cold, but I felt happy with my drawing.

I tackled the pastry next. When I chose it, I thought it seemed simple enough, but when I went to draw it, the overlapping apple slices seemed overwhelming. I didn’t get them exactly right, but the general idea is there. It seemed that with each step I would start off feeling nervous, then better as I went along.  The same thing happened when I started painting.  Not sure at first, then more confident.

I was near the door of the shop. People went in and out but I didn’t pay attention to them, and no one seemed to pay attention to what I was doing either. When I was almost done a little girl paused briefly and said, “hi”. I smiled and said, “hi”.

It was nice.

Visual Journal Basics – Black Ink/White Paper

Inspired by Danny Gregory’s video The Art of Breakfast…I got his book Creative License and started drawing in my sketchbook daily with just black ink on plain white (cheep paper so it’s not too precious to make mistakes on). Observing closely. Recording what I see (not what I think I see). Not going for perfection. No erasing. Concentrating on the details to capture some of the wonderful moments in everyday life that I take for granted and forget to see.

Here’s a picture of my breakfast. . .

one of me relaxing in my pajamas and slippers. . .

and one of my favorite vegetables, the artichoke.

Make art daily – and while you’re at it, have an artichoke.

Museum Drawing

Glenn Hirsch’s painting class met yesterday and spent a few hours drawing at the Legion of Honor Museum in SF.  I’ve done this a couple other times with Glenn and also with Pamela Lanza in UC Berkeley Extension art classes. Each time the experience has been exciting and rewarding.

I went right away to the current exhibition of Dutch and Flemish Masterworks The paintings are so rich in detail that it was difficult to decide what to draw.  I chose a1630 painting by Claes Moeyard, Esau Selling His Birthright to Jacob because of the composition and theatrical lighting.   A docent tour was underway, but by the time the came over to the area where I was sitting, I was settled into the drawing process enough so their presence didn’t bother me.

By the time I finished the drawing, the galleries were getting pretty crowded, so I decided to go upstairs t0 the permanent collection and find something else to draw.  I found this French painting from ~ 1620-1640 by Trophime Bigot aka The Candlelight Master -Le Jeune Chanteur (Young Boy Singing). This painting is dramatically lit from below with the figure mostly in darkness and the face and music manuscript glowing in the candlelight.