DSC_0152My newest finished artwork is one I have been working on for a while now, since before Christmas.  The texture, colors, and mixed media are all things I’m happy with.I started with a simple canvas and some collage materials.  The top of the canvas is magazine pages.  I discovered the best all-around craft and art adhesive a couple of years ago – Lineco Neutral pH Adhesive and will never go back to any other adhesive again.  It dries smooth, it is pH neutral, permanent, and not at all gooey!

To create the texture, I glued crumpled tissue paper, making sure it was not too smooth.

img_8455 Next, I painted over the tissue with acrylic paint.  Then, added some oil pastels to add texture and visual interest to the rich browns.
 Lastly, I added collaged items – pencil drawn bicycles parading along, buried classic cars, and a boulder or two.

Ich Liebe Dich


I will be an aunt again soon – but this time it will be a nephew arriving!  So, of course I started on some more baby room art.  Nothing like a deadline to make me complete artwork – I love being forced to work.  This time around, I took a different approach, and strayed away from the more cutesy colors/motif.  Honestly, I have mixed feelings about the end result.  I am always my own worst critic, especially when I am making artwork for others.  It turned out a little darker on the bottom end than I anticipated, but hopefully once it is in the red frame I found, it isn’t too depressingly black and gray for a baby’s room.

I started with a watercolor background – sticking with grays and reds and some blue.  I used salt on the wet red paint to achieve the frost-like texture at the top of the red section.

Hammock, watercolor on paper, 18 x 24", July 2007.

Hammock, watercolor on paper, 18 x 24″, July 2007.

Liz, you may be getting a round 2  of your ich liebe dich, artwork in the near future.  I did this very same thing with a tropical island painting, see above, that I made for a friend’s wedding.  She asked to see my reject, and then liked it enough that she asked to have it as well.  I was so frustrated with the reject and the ugly shadow below the hammock, that I did not even take a photo.  The only image I have is of beach scene 2.0.

Ich Liebe Dich, watercolor & collage on paper, 8 x 11", July 2015.

Ich Liebe Dich, watercolor & collage on paper, 8 x 11″, July 2015.

After the painting background was dry, I created the words, “Ich liebe dich,” which means I love you in German, from magazine collage.  The finished baby art – primary colors with a hint of minty green.

Hot Pool Watercolor Painting


Hot Pool, Watercolor on paper, 9×12″, 2015.

I am still doing a fairly decent job on my resolution on setting aside creative time for myself each week (this is getting easier and easier, the more sleep that I get each night).  This resolution is also helping to me to finish projects that were interrupted by big moves and babies.  I started this watercolor painting a while back, but did not manage to get very far on it.  Sometimes I find myself floundering on an artwork, and the only cure for me is to set it aside for an unspecified amount of time.  I pulled it out again this spring, and finally had the energy and vision to see it through.  It is based on a photo I took of a hot pool in an area of extensive burn damage from the 1988 fires in Yellowstone National Park.  It was taken via a cell phone shot, and then an Instagram share, from our trip there in the summer of 2012.  I have had an ongoing idea to use Instagram images for the basis of paintings, and perhaps I can keep this up now, as this is my second endeavor of the likes.

This is a short and sweet post – more to come soon!

Collaborative Turtle Drawing

My New Year’s Resolution of creating something at least once a week is chugging right along with great success.  Both kids went down for a nap at the same time (!) yesterday, and I managed to get started on a still life drawing in color pencil, which I will show you at a later time.  Greta came creeping down the stairs while I was about half way through this drawing.  She climbed up on a stool next to me, still dazed from sleep, to see what I was working on.  She proceeded to trace her finger over the areas I had already added color to, and ask me, “How you do this, Mommy?”  It was then I realized that she didn’t remember the last time she had seen me work on my own art.  I have only worked on my own art after she was in bed, and I have drawn things for her at her art table, but she did not recall Mom making her own art.

I explained to her that I make artwork on my own sometimes and that I was using color pencil and drawing from observation, meaning I was looking at a something while I drew it.  She asked me if she could draw something in my drawing book with my pencils.  I flipped to a new page and asked her what it was she wanted to draw.  Her reply was, “A turtle.”  Greta is just a little fascinated with turtles and even calls her brother a turtle.  She was also a turtle for Halloween this past year, and we created a detailed papier mâché turtle shell, something which I now realize I never did get around to posting.

She then asked me to find an image of a turtle on my phone, because, “It is easier to draw when I look at it.”  I found two turtle images for her to look at, one of which was eating a strawberry.


My sweet 3-year old used my drawing pencil to draw this outline.  Then, she told me I should color it in.  I was a proud art teacher mama to see how big and confidently she drew this turtle outline!

turtle.collabShe politely asked me to add the strawberry and asked if she could color in that part.  I obliged and colored in the remaining parts of the turtle.  I have to say, this was one of the more exciting artworks I have done in a long time.  I was thrilled to make this artwork with her and have been hoping for just this kind of collaboration for a couple of years now – ever since a friend directed me to the blog post on the Busy Mockingbird, on Collaborating with a 4-year old.

Toddler Collage Art + Strawberry Graham Yogurt Pops

Greta and I have both been busy working on collages lately.  Greta has watched me make collages countless times and I haven’t yet thought to have her make her own at home.  I know she’s made them at school, but she blew me away with her collage skills.  Little collage artist in training, I tell ya!
This particular collage was my favorite one that she made yesterday.  It was the third one in a series of four that we completed in the morning before nap time.  She was tickled at the way the holes would allow colors beneath to show through.  She quickly learned that the glue had to go on the edges and so had to slide her papers around in order to move the glue.
The large glue bottle was perfect for her little hands.  We practiced squeezing the glue out onto the paper while the bottle was just above the paper.  She enjoyed slowly squeezing out the glue and watching it pool, as it was pooling she would ask me, “Good, Mommy?” to check on the amount of her glue.  Only a couple times did I say, “Ok that’s good,” most of the time she figured out the amount of glue on her own.

Next, Greta placed her cut papers onto the glue dots.  I enjoyed watching her choose papers based on color, size, and shape.

I used the color issue of In Style magazine for all of her shapes.  Fashion magazines make the best collage magazines due to their textures, variety of color, and size of colors.  The first collage she made was full of random shapes.  For her second one, she decided she wanted mostly circles.

This is her mostly circle collage.  As she got more used to making collages, she began to request particular colors, sizes, and shapes.  Her most frequently requested were yellow circles.  As I flipped through the magazine, she would ask me to cut out certain items she liked – such as the eye.  Her final collage used overlapping pieces with small areas cut out of the middle, this is at the top of this post.

Greta has plastic scissors and we are working on her cutting technique, but in the meantime, this mommy daughter collage collaboration is a fun way to spend a morning.

We spent part of our morning on Friday making yogurt pops.  Greta helped me layer strawberry yogurt, crumbled graham crackers, and chocolate syrup to make these delicious freezer pops.  Frozen desserts are a good way to practice patience for little kitchen helpers!

Violet Butterfly Watercolor

Phew, I hammered this artwork out in a single day.  It has been a long time since that has happened to work out well for me.  Last Saturday, since we didn’t make it to Minneapolis, I was at my in-laws’ house while Greta napped.  Loud hammering and nailing sounds were ringing through my house as the windows continued to be installed.  27 windows is no small feat!

I started with my taped off paper and a pencil sketch.

Next, I laid in the India ink on all the black parts.  India ink is perfect for areas that cannot bleed with the watercolor paint.

I closed my eyes for a few minutes while the ink dried and then began with the color.  I had a little more fun with this painting than the first.  So, it actually worked out well that Greta claimed the first butterfly painting.

Layers of watercolor interspersed with a few water, snack, and Olympic watching breaks and I was nearly finished by the time Greta awoke from her two hour nap.  During her post nap snack, I added the last few finishing touches.  My last task is to get this in the mail before next week, as my cousin’s little girl is due in March.

As always, prints and artwork are always for sale, please inquire by e-mail or through my Etsy shop, which is currently empty.  If you are interested in purchasing something you have seen on this blog, I will create a custom listing for you.  I also do custom commission pieces as well.