Saturday, March 24, 2018

Comforting Hearts

People close to me have been touched by a great deal of loss in recent weeks.  It's always so hard to find the right words to comfort those who are grieving.  When my mother-in-law was in hospice, the staff quietly hung a handmade heart on the door knob of her room.  It was a small gesture but one that brought tremendous peace and comfort to our family, and it was a feeling that I have never forgotten.  So when those I care about experience loss of a dear family member, I always want to reach out to comfort them.

Over the years, I have made several heart door hangers to give to friends.  They are different sizes and shapes.  They are made with different materials and in different colors.  And, they usually are created with leftover remnants of projects that I am currently working on.  But on every single one of these heart door hangers, I add an e.e. cumming's quote that reads "May absolute peace gently descend."  These words were painted on one of the walls at my mother-in-law's hospice and they moved me.  It was just what I needed to hear at that difficult time.

I made this black and white door hanger for a neighbor whose beloved dog died last week.  Rather than struggle to find words of condolence, I made this for her. 

Sunday, March 18, 2018


A number of months back, I caught a documentary film on PBS called "Labyrinth Journeys."  I was drawn in to learning more about them.  People walk labyrinths to re-balance, to heal, to center, to connect to one's higher self, to open awareness or experience energies. Labyrinths are often associated with the passage of time, spiritual growth, enlightenment, connection,  rebirth, resurrection, emergence, evolution, etc.  So powerful!  I just had to make a labyrinth for my next mindfulness card--or so I thought.

I found a simple labyrinth pattern that I thought would work.  I sized it down to fit onto a 4x6 card.  I kept picturing a labyrinth drawn in the sand, but how could I trace the labyrinth of my card that was covered in sand?  I had this idea to first trace the pattern of the labyrinth with Glossy Accents to create a "ridge."  I actually did three applications to build the height of the ridges before I felt the piece was ready for the "sand."

I suppose I could have headed down to the beach and brought home a bunch of sand, but I have had this tub of coarse pumice gel that had never been used.  I wanted to play with it to see if it would work.  I liked that the pumice gel goes on wet which made it a little easier to build up for the "ridges."  It held its shape really well and because it takes FOREVER to dry, it was very forgiving to work with.  However, I soon discovered that it was better to work in small sections of the labyrinth at a time because once I put the coarse pumice gel onto the labyrinth, I could no longer see the labyrinth!  I had to use a craft stick to move the wet pumice gel out of the "path" and up onto the "ridges."  

After I completed all four cards and gave them ample time to dry, I selected an acrylic paint color that resembled sand and painted the coarse pumice gel.  I just love how they turned out!

I vacillated on whether I would call this card "Clarity" or "Focus" but somehow "Awareness" seemed more fitting.

As part of my research, I stumbled onto a website called the World-Wide Labyrinth Locator (  I hope one day I will be able to visit some of the public labyrinths on that list and experience them in person.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

A Quartet of Sea Creatures

A friend of mine saw the alcohol ink frame I made for a Christmas grab bag gift last December and asked if I would make a similar one for him.  It took me a while to get to, but last weekend, I got together for an art playdate and made this set of sea creatures!

There is something very relaxing and meditative about this process.  I learned not to get too attached to any one image it constantly changes as you add more alcohol ink or 91% alcohol.  The yupo paper is very forgiving, so it's easy to "erase" or remove color if you need to.  It was just the kind of project I needed for a lazy Sunday playdate!

P.S. The jellyfish and octopus are my favorites!

The Start of A Color Journal Tip-In Round Robin: Teal and Olive

A group of art friends have started a Color Journal Tip-In Round Robin.  The colors for  my first set of pages are olive and teal.  I hadn't given much thought to what I would make with these two colors but as I was driving along a street on my lunch hour the other week, I saw a beautiful mural painted on the side of a building.  The mural was made of painted shards of color resembling a mosaic.  It was so vibrant with all the warm colors.  I loved how the use of these smaller mosaic pieces allowed for a smooth transition of color from yellow to orange to red.  And, in that instant, I knew what I would do for my pages.

I went to Wal-mart and headed straight to the paint department where I raided the paint chips from olive to teal and all the colors in between!  When I was ready to begin, I played with the paint chips placing them in order from olive to teal, dark to light and when I was happy with the gradation, I started cutting the paint chips into random-sized triangles.

It was very relaxing to piece the triangles together gradually moving from olive to teal.  Of course, many of the pieces needed to be sized down to fit a particular space but I really enjoyed the process.  When the pages were complete and I took a step back, I don't know why, but it loosely reminded me of a river flowing. 

I created a window to frame a quote printed onto a transparency.  In this quote, Maya Angelou compares the spirit of a woman in harmony with herself to that of a flowing river.