Friday, December 31, 2010

2011 Issues and Goals Collages

2011 Issues Collage

2011 Goals Collage
In the '90s I taught a workshop called "Everyday Art Therapy". During the workshop we explored the "classic" art therapy techniques: drawing, painting, clay and collage. I had my workshop participants make two 8 1/2" X 11" collages, one describing life issues, one describing life goals. This was often described as a favorite activity in the workshop.

We would then do mind maps about each of the collages, followed by a journal entry for each. My thinking is that collage making is a right brained activity--putting one in touch with personal imagery and symbols. Mindmapping is a technique that utilizes the right brain function (free association) with a left brain function (word choice). Traditional journaling (just words, no images) is more of a left brain function. Mind mapping works like a bridge from the collage (subconscious/intuitive mind) to the journal entry (conscious/rational mind). In this way the subconscious mind (which can often provide very useful information) can offer insight to the conscious mind.

Over the years I have gotten into the habit of making an "Issues" and "Goals" collage right around the New Year each year. The "Issues" collage is often a record of things I would like to change or address, while the "Goals" collage is about what I intend to create in the New Year. It is very useful to contrast hard realities with goals. As an analogy it could be like a person getting on the bathroom scale to honestly evaluate the state of things, then setting a goal of an ideal weight for the future. Until the actual state of things is faced goals for the future can not be effectively steered towards.

Issues: Turning 60 in 2011 (Life is Short) so learning to savor and not waste each precious moment on the planet. Feel like I want to upgrade my "style" (woman in a potato sack) so looking to upgrade my wardrobe; still shocked and confused by the sudden reversal of my fortune in terms of working as a career college instructor (confused face, puzzle pieces, Saturn) so needing to re-boot my working life and determine my next direction. Sometimes feeling like I don't know how to play the game (Bingo) and that its all luck anyway. Yet still feeling inspired (shining star in upper center) and enjoying my freedom (pink bird) before I find my new job.
Goals: In 2011, soon to be "The Year of the Rabbit" (my Chinese astrological sign) and so "my year"! Ganesha is at the top, blessing new beginnings and writing projects. In 2011, an intention to "Get Fit" and find a "Great Job". Making sure to pursue my creative projects and wishing to enjoy the "deliciousness" in life. Last, but not least, hoping to create a happy home for myself and my son.
Happy New Year Everyone!

2011 Resolution 5: Have a Great Job

2011 Resolution 5: Have a Great Job

Office 2010 clip art, Word Art, collage

I have been struggling a bit with career this last year. It's not that I don't know what I ultimately want to do: Creativity Coaching, Art Therapy, do workshop and classes about artist cards and the creative process. I want to finish my book and then do related workshops. The catch is that I don't really know how to get there--I am at a career low, in some ways. I am broke, only have two career college classes to teach in the January term and haven't really gotten much response to my job search. Should I go work in customer service? For mental health? Need to find gainful employment fast but sort of paralyzed by all the unknows.

This card represents my quest for a new, suitable and lucrative job that contains the following elements
  1. contributes to me and to those I work with
  2. education related
  3. counseling related
  4. creative
  5. hands on
  6. health insurance
  7. has hours that allow me to take my son to school
I really love teaching art, student foundation courses and psychology. I love helping clients to problem solve to improve their lives. I hope I can find a job soon that allows me to make a living and also enables me to contribute to others.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2011 Resolution 4: Daily Creative Activity

Unlock Your Creativity

Collage, Derwent Intense Watercolor Pencils,
Office Max brand metallic markers,
acrylic paint, key embellishment.

Whether it's journaling or writing or making artist cards or planning other creative projects I resolve to not let my creative endeavors be put off until another day. I recently listened to a another woman lament that she needed to find a place in her home to do art, and I recognized the excuse I used to make. I think we often wait for the time/space/money we think we need to express our creativity.

I used to say that I needed to wait to do art until I had a dedicated room or studio. Now I know that a TV tray will do, or the kitchen table. Supplies can be purchased at craft stores with 40% off coupons or during sales. And supplies don't have to be fancy. You will find good art supplies at Office supply stores and your local Target. Finally, artist cards, with their small size do not require a lot of time to complete. No excuses.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

2011 Resolution 3: Stay Connected with Nature

"Stay Connected with Nature"
Botanical drawing with Picassa text

In the last few months I've had the opportunity to teach a drawing and multimedia class at the Denver Botanic Gardens through the Colorado Free University. It has been so wonderful to look at nature and capture images of the Gardens each week. Teaching also offers a unique opportunity to see through your student's eyes and find your own unexplored answers to student questions.

The splendor of nature has always lifted my heart. In the New Year I will take more walks and continue to draw and paint the beauty of nature. Being in a natural setting is a great stress reducer and helps me recover from many hours spent each day on the computer and bombarded by other electronic devises.

Monday, December 27, 2010

2011 Resolution 2: Daily Meditation Practice

2011 Resolution 2: Daily Meditation Practice

Collage with stamped roses and inked edges

This one seems very important. When I am strong with my mediation practice (no matter what spiritual "flavor" I am practicing) I am stronger in my life. There is a quote from the I Ching that goes something like this: "When a person has assigned the right place to fate and to life then a light develops in life that shows the path". To me this means aligning one's will with one's spiritual path. This happens naturally (as opposed to be arranged and figured out by the conscious mind) in meditation, I think.

2011 Resolution 1: Get Fit

Resolution 1: Get Fit
Collage with embossing

I struggled a bit with shifting from making my usual cards to making an intention card. Wanted it to be "pretty", needed it to be clear about the things I need to do to make this goal be realized. Hard to find pictures of older "fit" women as well. Was able to find important phrases.

  1. Focus on Small Changes

  2. Move More

  3. Smart Choices (food)

  4. Have a Goal and Commit to It

  5. Eat Smarter

  6. Keeping Fit
I started yesterday--tracking my food choices, weighing myself daily, found out about membership at the community recreation center. Small steps, smart food choices, moving more will take me to my goal of getting my "real" body back. I am done with this fat suit. Unzipping it and stepping out of it will take that commitment and persistence--probably the most important component. I embossed the important words (all of them) and added a picture of me from a slimmer time. I stamped a key--the words and images on the card are the key to my success in this goal. I am using the words goal, resolution, intention interchangeably. I couldn't decide which word was most fitting so will use them all.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

New Year's 2011 Intention Cards

2010 Resolutions
Above is my New Year's Resolution card from last year made with collage, metallic markers and gel pens. This year I'm going to do this a little differently. I am going to, starting today, the day after Christmas, make 7 cards, one each day, until the New Year; to set my resolution/intentions for the year. Last year I made progress in each of the areas I wished to improve although the road into the dark wood is often part of the journey to one's goals.
Today I woke feeling stiff and heavy. I am indeed heavier than I have been since I gained 70 pounds (weight I soon lost) when I was pregnant with my now 13+ year old son. Maybe I have become pregnant again, with my own new self (ha). Anyway, this morning I thought: I need my body back! I do not recognize this creaky button-bursting body. I am signing up for the local recreation center (Broomfield has a great one) and back on Weight Watchers or some variation until I can recognize this body again. I know that, no matter how much weight I lose, I will never be young again, but I refuse to be old before my time and surrender to some over-weight related malady. I'll post my "Fit" card in my next entry.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Pencil and Pen "Embossing"

Pencil Embossed Poppies
Pencil, Office Max brand mellic markers, Target brand gel pens.

Pansey Chain
Metallic markers, pencil, gel pens

Botanical Pattern
Metallic markers, gel pens, Derwent Intense Watercolor pencils

I've found that chipboard, the support I use for my artist cards, can be given and "embossed" look (or is it engraved?) by going over lines repeatedly with gel pens or a pencil. I'm sticking to my botanical theme (the beauty of nature continues to life my heart) but am experiementing with more abstract images.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Cool Cards I Got at the ATC Trade

Jerry's Glitter and Beads Dragonfly

Duct Tape!

three sisters

Gel pen and pop-dots

Variation on a classic, love the pipe cleaner Woolly Caterpillar!

Love the "Current Events" twist!

I finally got it this week--I have been taking this trade too seriously. Most people present kept their cards simple--heavy on the idea, light on the labor. I discussed this with the mom of the three children present who were trading their art card craft. We agreed that I need to put less "blood" into my individual cards. I found another trader whose individual cards were serious art pieces. We are going to meet to trade cards like these, privately, and have a more light hearted approach to the monthly trade.

"Insect" Theme Trade

Botanical Drawings with Office Max Metallic Markers,
Derwent Watercolor Pencils, Target brand gel pens, Pitt marker. Butterfly and
Dragonfly images from K and Company  ephemera pack (at Michaels).

Went to the Denver Make 'Em Trade 'Em Group Trade at Core on Saturday. Added transparent insect images to some of my botanical cards. It's a new idea for me to add pre-made images to my Gardens drawings. Now it makes all my previous botanical cards look boring. I especially like the way the drawing shows through the transparent wings in some of the cards. I got some cool cards too. I'll put some in my next post.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Dare to Wear Your Silly Hat

Digital Photo, colored pencils,
metallic markers, dymo tape letters

Photo of my son on his 11th birthday. He chose this hat,at the Party Store,for his party . I am so proud of him--he is proud of being unique and occasionally outrageous. His variation on "Why Be Normal"? is: "This is Normal for me"! One of his career goals is to be a K-12 Science and Math teacher and wear silly hats to class to keep them laughing despite the "serious" topics.

More Blossoms

Mixed media with gel pen, acrylic, Derwent Watercolor Pencils, metallic markers, pitt marker, black.

This card is going to the be the basis of "Insect" cards for the Denver ATC trade group. Have chosen to add butterflies and moths for the theme.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Variations on a Botanical Theme

Pitt Pen, metallic markers, Office Max brand, Derwent Watercolor Pencils.

Love my class at the Denver Botanic Gardens. Last day of the fall session last Saturday. We decided to do a botanical art card trade. I started with a previous botanical art card (with yellow flowers, above) and made 10 more in various color schemes. Fun to do variations and each card, with time and effort, becomes an "original".

Sunday, November 21, 2010

November Holly

November Holly
Derwent Intense Watercolor Pencils, Office Depot brand metalic marker.
It's been a while since a posted a new card but back to it as of today. Had a great day today, taught an "Affirmation Card" class: making artist cards with inspirational sayings for Holiday gifts. I did not make an affirmation card myself but made a sketch from the Denver Botanic Gardens into a card while my group was working. I'm going to start making my Botanic Gardens sketches into cards each week. I'll also post some of the affirmation cards I made as examples for this class in the next couple of days.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Lady Trees

Stay Rooted

Doodle with pit fine point marker, black,
metallic markers and dymo labels.

Lady Tree

Created with metallic markers and Pit fine point. Based on a doodles drawn in the Humanities class I teach while the students were watching a Time-Life movie about "The Search for Eden", which is a movie about ancient cultures and the Bible as a historical document as supported by archaeological research.

The woman or "Lady Tree" is an image I have played with before. I think it is an image of Mother Nature as well as a personal symbol for a balanced awareness. Roots in the earth--arms reaching to heaven. When I watch trees sway, especially at night, I am reminded of how we are all part of Earth's closed ecological system. The ocean of air that sways leaves and branches flows over the whole earth in rivers and eddies. Complex gas and chemical exchanges allow the tree and me to breathe and sustain life. Of all apparently non-sentient life trees have always seemed the most alive to me.

Saturday, August 21, 2010



Teaching a class at the Denver Botanic Gardens called "Impressions of the Garden". Have four students that are themselves blossoming. I see again and again that learning to draw/paint is as simple as learning to see (shapes, texture, beauty) and building artistic confidence. This is a card using metallic markers and watercolor pencils. An attempt to capture some of the shapes of the tree that overhangs the table we sit at in the gardens, by the lily pond. Not one of my best cards but I'm posting it because I have not been making artist cards lately. I've got excuses but what is most true is I've been reading novels and taking naps to escape my stressors. Now ready to return to the practice of art and reality (for the most part).

The theme for the Denver Make 'Em, Trade 'Em for September is "Trees".

Friday, July 16, 2010

Birthday Girl

Red Path and Lemonade

This card started out as a journal page. I've begun to work larger and then reduce images to artist card size. Redline stamp "Birthday Girl". Fortunes from my birthday dinner: "The future comes one day at a time" and "Most success springs from an obstacle or failure". Sharpie accent markers, glitter glue (Crayola). Starbucks "treat receipt" stamp. Memento Dual Markers (Tsukneko).

I love how the process of making art always surprises and informs me. At the center of this card I pasted on my fortunes. I ripped one of them at the restaurant but it seems appropriate since this is the one that talks about success coming from failure. A lucky rip. I originally drew fortune cookies but they turned into lemons as I worked on them. I had put bits of my Starbucks "treat receipts" on the lower left, this became a frosty glass of lemonade. My inner self reminding me to alway lemonade when life gives you lemons.

Each of the quadrants of this piece ended up representing a part of my creative life. The lower left seems to be about comfort and nurturing myself. The lower right has card shapes flying around my head. These are my artist cards, the ones already created, and ideas for cards. I am thinking this also represents the Tarot. The Tarot deck is a wonderful source of symbolism and wisdom. It has been called "The Book of Life" because it represents the stages of the hero's path from birth to death. My friends like me to read for them.

The upper right represents transformation (books as butterflies) and a few books I want to write. The upper left represents my paintings and also some framed mirrors I want to make.

I added a wavy connecting line--a river. It became a stream of vitality--the life blood that energizes activity. I am reminded of Navaho lore: "The Red Path" is the path with heart that means you are following your dreams and destiny with courage.

Kind of a busy, messy piece but a wonderful reminder to continuing to follow my creative spirit despite my "senior" status (or maybe because of it).

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Thin Band of Humanity

Thin Band of Humanity

Collage made from larger tempera paintings cut up with fancy scissor and altered with gesso. Some of the edges were rubbed with copper colored stamping ink. Some stamping with an organic image on the lower part of the more distant mountain.

I had two large tempera paintings from a process painting workshop. Process painting is a spontaneous art process where intuition and the natural creativity of the inner self are invited to play. I liked my big paintings but they were getting damaged just leaning against the wall, and would have cost a fortune to frame. I decided to cut up my paintings into 8 1/2" by 11" pages for my visual journal. Makes great pages of you can deal with the ongoing smell of tempera. Reminds me of my first agency studio as an art therapist where I spent time mixing tempera and working with clients.

I had a number of scraps left over so I took some decorative sheers and began to cut and collage. At first I just had a shape that looked like a prairie dog, but suddenly it began to look like a sunset bathed landscape. The tempera colors were very vivid and raw so I started to experiment with softening the colors with gesso. Since gesso is water soluble I was able to vary my muted colors by using the mixture of tempera and gesso to make a sort of spontaneous gouache. I left one thin strip of tempera colored paper vivid at the bottom. When a glued on that strip it looked like houses and foreground foliage to me. I was struck by the huge beauty of nature in contrast to the "thin band of humanity".

Saturday, June 19, 2010



Gameboard blank, Jupiter sticker, Tim Holtz spinner, Martha Steward punch (negative). Letter stickers, Plaid Liquid Embossing Fluid.

Here I am making a journey along with my son. In the game it is usually a good thing to pass Go. Jupiter is the planet of good fortune, but how things turn out often seems like the random results of the spin of a spinner. The arrow is pointing up, perhaps reminding me to trust in Higher Power to lead me. I must do what I need to do each day but trust that my daily right actions will take me where I need to go. Stay or go? The card says GO.

Elixir for Clarity

Elixir C

Redline stamps: text, "message" bottle. Ranger archival ink (sepia). Various clips for herbal elements. Butterfly from K & Company. Blue denim blank, yellow plastic blank, Plaid Liquid Embossing Fluid (clear).

I feel like I haven't posted in a while. I've been trying to decide what to do about my living situation and things are still up in the air. My prayer with this elixir card is for clarity. It contains an encouragement to open the door of creativity, a pencil (for writing, drawing), an admonition towards transformation/change (butterfly) and the practical and nurturing beauty of simple flowers. Beauty always softens my heart and raises my spirits.

I need to reduce living expenses but don't want my son to go to live with his dad and don't want to move to a dangerous neighborhood. Each 100.00 that comes off the rent moves us farther from our gentrified surrounds. I've lived in several urban areas in the past where I would rather not raise a kid. Things are different now that I am older, have a son just emerging into the teens, and know better what is at risk, and have seen some of those risks face to face.

Need to get back to trusting the Universe and myself--have been in panic mode where I think I have to control everything and force the results. Of course that never, ever works well. Get that adrenalin rush and start gripping my weapons and looking for the enemy. I think the only actual enemy is my fear. A cliche because it shows itself to be true, again and again.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

More Elixirs

Elixir B

Redline stamps, K & Company embellishments, glitter, photo clips, letter sticker, yellow plastic and blue denim blank. Ranger archival ink (sepia). Plaid liquid embossing fluid.

Today I was thinking about how these cards with the bottles of elixirs remind me of going to an institute of Chinese medicine in Denver and getting my mixtures of exotic looking herbs, berries and pods to take home and simmer and drink. It was when I was in my late 30's, had had a miscarriage, and had finally realized that having children in one's lifetime wasn't as simple as deciding to have one and then getting pregnant at will. Not that it isn't for some. But miscarrying an unplanned pregnancy made me realize that I didn't control such things after all.

Worried about being close to 40 and not knowing when I would meet Mr. Right I began to worry about my fertility. The cliche of the biological alarm going off proved true. A Chinese doctor was sympathetic. I diligently took my herbal concoctions and endured acupuncture.

Years later it seemed to have worked. I met Mr. Right Then and got pregnant, just as if I'd planned it, at age 45. I'm sitting across from my perfect 13 year old as I write this. Life is miraculous. But something larger than us spins the wonder. We do what we can and sometimes, thankfully, have just the luck we need.

Saturday, June 12, 2010



Redline stamp "message". Sepia Ranger archival ink on yellow plastic. Stickers from Paper Chase (Borders). Bee and butterfly image from K and Company. Plaid liquid embossing fluid, clear. Background K and Company scrapbook paper, "Life's Journey". Glitter.

I'm having a bumpy ride in life right now, overwhelmed by having to pack and move in 20 days and my body is feeling the stress. I need to focus on keeping a positive attitude and a certainty that, no matter what, I will be settling into a new, nice place by month's end. I've been feeling that I was a little over my head with the rent payment for some time and the move will be a good adjustment to finances. Here's where the elixirs come in.

In order to avoid feeling like I've taken a fall down a long flight of stairs I need to use these elixirs: nature, color, whimsy, beauty, creativity. I like making these little bottles and think that I will probably make a few before I'm done.

Friday, June 11, 2010



This is a silly one for the "moon and stars" theme for the ATC Make 'em Trade 'em Denver group for May. Yes, I'm a month behind. Micro bead and dot stickers spaceship. Metallic black watercolor. Mini stamps from a clearanced kid's stamp set (Paper Chase) found at Borders. The spaceship on the card itself is more iridescent green. This one just makes me laugh.

Take Your Medicine

Take Your Medicine
I used two Redline stamps: "Message" and an ATC background/script stamp. Blue denium atc card stock. Ranger archival ink. Yellow plastic. Planet stickers (Paper House Productions).

Saturn is the planet of "long hard lessons". Add a little mercury, the planet of communications. Sometimes bitter medicine, but its a learning opportunity, really.

I found out on Tuesday that I need to move by month's end. Something I had been contemplating but had decided to stay put. It's not to be. I like the opportunity to downsize, throw out junk, clean and clear. Makes me tired to look at all my books, papers, art supplies and artwork I need to pack and unpack. Yikes. Wish me luck.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

House 7

House 7

Chipboard base, netting, house-shaped cut-out of embossed scrapbook paper. Watercolor crayons, watercolor pencils (Staedtler), metallic markers, Plaid liquid embossing, clear. Gold border tape (Mrs. Grossman's).

No matter where I go in the world, or my dreams, home remains a treasure, a gift. My last 7 cards have been house/home themed. In terms of astrology I am a "Cancer" sunsign, related to the mother and home; so the idea of home and creating home has always been active for me. In this artist card the moon, my ruling "planet", shines.

The "net" of sky/stars is literally a "net". I like the idea of the "holes" in the sky containing starlight. I like that the energy of the masculine (door) unconsciously appeared. Symbolically the active/creative points to the open window. On this full moon night the upper rooms are reserved (passage from the base desires sealed) for celebrating my view of the mystic moon.

This artist card is what became of the "Energy Dots" card. Sometime I just keep on working until a piece feels really complete. I'm also thinking that although there is a line blocking outer interaction between masculine and feminine, that on the inside, (I've had repeated dreams of being married) there are stairs and many other unknown conduits connecting all parts of myself.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Nourish the Flame

Nourish the Flame
I started this card with a "house" stamp (Teesha Moore), using archival ink (Ranger), sepia. The blueberry and apple images are from a Wednesday flyer for produce from a local grocery store. Embellished with watercolor pencils (Staedtler aquarelle and Derwent Intense), watercolor crayons (Caran D' Ache), Liquid Embossing (Plaid), clear.

For me this card is about nourishing ourselves as creatives. This means literally feeding the flame of creativity through feeding the body with fresh food, the eyes and heart with beauty, the mind with fresh ideas. I am also realizing that I need to nourish my muscles and bones with movement and rest.

Guiding Star

Guiding Star
I first stamped with a Teesha Moore "house" stamp using Ranger archival ink, sepia. Embossed scrapbooking paper (Michael's). Watercolor pencils (Staedtler aquarelle and Derwent Intense), Liquid Embossing fluid, clear (Plaid), metallic markers (Office Max), collage clips, acrylic skin with acrylic gel medium (Golden), shining star sticker (Mrs. Grossman), tape decorated with maps (Michael's), brads. Stamping ink (Tsukineko, ColorBox, Brillance) pink, silver, copper. Watercolor crayons (Caran D'Ache).

This card is about where art comes, at least for me. Finding where you are, where you need to go through alignment with one's guiding star and one's heart during the process of art making. I think the mind can work with this process by drawing and reading the map: making marks/images that record the workings of that which is larger than ourselves.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Lots of Dots

Energy Dots

Background texture stamp, acrylic paint (Golden). Metallic markers (Office Max and EK Success). Acrylic embellishment (K & Company, no longer visible).
This card got a little (a lot) busy but I'm going to leave it the way it is. One of those cards that got worked on and worked on over a number of days and the "finish" just eluded me. It started out looking kind of like a Klimt--lots of pattern and gold. I glued on a piece of embossed star scrapbook paper in the shape of a house. Then added an acrylic embellishment that I ended up painting over with acrylic paint.

I called it "Energy Dots" because this card reminds me of all the atoms that never stop jiggling on the subatomic level of life. There the subatomic particles of say, my art table, are as active as an excited puppy, or that's my understanding. Interesting.

I'm Just watching the wind blowing and bouncing the branches of a tree as if the leaves were being washed by a great air ocean. That's the world we live in, every day. Or maybe its just me.