Thursday, November 14, 2013


I can't remember when I first discovered Seth Apter online but once I did, a big part of my creative life changed. Not only did I order, use, and love his great how-to videos, through his blog I "met" a roster of amazing mixed media artists that continue to rock my world.

If you, like me, walk into an art supply store and feel like a kid in a candy store, you should check out his blog, The Altered Page, for non-stop inspiration. You may never look back.

Yesterday I received my copy of Seth's latest book, "The Mixed Media Artist: Art Tips, Tricks, Secrets and Dreams from Over 40 Amazing Artists." Oh-em-gee.

Get it!

Sunday, October 13, 2013


Never mind the spelling, darling...I'm getting ready for "Nights of Soul" at the Sherry Theater in North Hollywood's NoHo Arts District where I'll have a selection of my photo art on display. I chose six images from my "Flight" series...I think the sense of theatricality suits the occasion to a T.

The tiny and intimate Sherry Theater is home to a creative community that houses not only plays but film festivals and, thanks to producer Ciera Parrack, ongoing variety nights featuring talented singers, musicians, dancers, poets, and visual artists.

For my part, I printed two 12" x 18" prints which I matted and framed, and also created four 5" x 7" photo encaustic pieces. Even though I originally made these images almost five years ago, I never felt I gave them their proper due in terms of exposure so it will be interesting to see how they're received.

My granddaughters, Leila and Hana, were my models for the image shown above...they were cute little girls then and are beautiful young ladies now...and they'll be performing a duet at the early (7 p.m.) shows! It promises to be a wonderful event...please join us and be entertained and inspired!

Here's a link to learn more and to buy tickets:

TWO NIGHTS: October 17 and October 24
FOUR SHOWS: 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


I love Love LOVE taking a straightforward photograph and then having my way with it! Garth and I went to Balboa Park in San Diego this weekend and happened upon a bonsai tree exhibit. Have been obsessively transforming drab backgrounds into painterly landscapes more suitable for these amazing works of art. This beauty is less than two feet tall!

Here's the before:

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Whoo-hoo...Seth Apter, my very favorite mixed media artist instructor, is coming to town, and I think there may still be a couple seats available in his "Background Check" workshop hosted by Gilding the Lily here in Fullerton.

Here's a link for all the details:

And here's a sample of something I did with one of my photos using techniques I learned from Seth. If you have ever wanted to play with acrylic paints but weren't sure where to start, this is the place! Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


A good trip can trip yield at least a year's worth of art albums, scrapbooks, journals, wall art, handmade gifts, calendars, notecards and so on. Having just returned from my first trip to London, I'm just getting starting.

First I chose 100 (or so) of my favorite photos culled from the 1,200 (or so) I shot and made a little slide show for my friends and family before the novelty of the trip wore off and they lost interest. I kept thinking of one agonizing slide show my aunt and uncle forced on us after their trip to the southwest back in the early 50s and tried my best to choose photos that were beautiful or interesting in themselves, not just "and then we went to..." Feel free to check it out: Across the Pond

Today, my jet lag subsiding somewhat, I finally unpacked and found all the ephemera I had collected and tucked away...ticket stubs, brochures, maps, receipts, menus, found objects, lists, etc. I don't have the inclination to make scrapbooks per se at this point in my life, but I did want to save this stuff in a creative sort of way. I love making books, so I decided to make an accordion book, or concertina, out of one of the London street maps and turned it into a repository. It took less than an hour to make and  couldn't have been easier. I'll display it on a shelf for a while, then wrap a ribbon around it and pop it into a drawer to be rediscovered and perused from time to time.

1. Open the map fully and smooth it out on a clean tabletop.

2. Turn up 1/2" or so along the bottom edge and crease firmly. You may glue this down if you wish.

3. Turn up this bottom edge again, this time about 2", with the previously turned-up edge on the inside.  Don't glue this time.

4. Rotate the map so that the top edge becomes the bottom edge and repeat steps 2 and 3.

5. Fold the map in half lengthwise so there are now "pockets" along the outside front and back lower edges.

6. Apply a little tape or glue to all four outer edges just from the top of the pocket down to the fore edge to close the pockets.

7. Fold the assembly in half and accordion fold into equal segments. If you want more (smaller) segments, you may have to refold turning a "valley" fold into a "mountain" fold to get the proper accordion effect.

Now just slip ephemera into the pockets. You might want to add a date to the front of the pocket or a  decoration of some sort. Display open on a table top, or wrap with ribbon.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

What's in a Label?

Even though I've taught workshops and written how-to books, I feel funny calling myself a teacher. And even though I make art every day, I feel funny calling myself an artist. And every day I learn something new, yet I feel funny calling myself a student.

Well, here on my blog I'm all three, and I'm here to share my experiences as such with anyone who may share my interests in photo fusion...combining photographs with mixed media.

So far this month I've been a student learning about paint and the world of color therein. Making this valentine for Garth gave me an excuse to experiment with layers of acrylic paints to create depth and texture. I stuck with a monochromatic color scheme. Alas, no photo was, the focal point is a set of hearts made out of paper cut from an old thesaurus describing synonyms for "love." My next project will feature a photo, I promise.

My thanks to Seth Apter and The Land of Lost Luggage for guidance and inspiration!

Mixed media: acrylic paint, vintage paper, metallic marker, rub-on, rubber stamps, found object on watercolor paper

Monday, January 14, 2013


Work in progress...mixed media collage. It's really exciting to discover new applications for one of my favorite processes. Here I'm combining an Auratone print and a soldered Auratone pendant with a textured background and some found objects.

Maybe you'd like to expand your repertoire to include something that makes your photos look like vintage images with the gleam of gold akin to Edward Curtis' Orotones (circa 1920). It's a simple fact, here's a little video demonstration. (Kits are available in My Shop.)

Auratone Pendants
The process also lends itself well to other's a unique way to add another layer to your  paintings or other art...just take a photograph of the piece and then transform it into Auratone jewelry or prints.

A miniature Amadea Bailey painting transformed  into an Auratone pendant.

Photographer Nicol Ragland used Auratones to create this assemblage.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


If you're not already using textures or overlays in your Photoshop workflow, you're missing out on some serious fun! There are LOTS of sites offering texture downloads, some free (one of my favorites is Kim Klassen's Cafe), and others you pay for (like Flourish, Totally Rad, and Flypaper Textures), but for the most part I prefer to use my own. They're not difficult to fact, my very favorites are simply scans of the end papers in old books I have on hand, or handwriting (real or font) on the back of a stained recipe card. And you can make them as subtle or bold as you want.

Here's the original photo...the process works best when you have an open background area like sky or a wall. (Picture this: I spotted this kid running up the dune, and his dad was chasing behind him. There I went, running interference thru the sand with camera in hand, trying to get the shot without the dad in it. Ah, the lengths we go to!)

Here are some of my scans:


And here's the photo using the scans in just a couple variations.

Here's the basic tutorial...some knowledge of Photoshop is essential:

1) Open an image.

2) Open a texture file, copy and paste or drag into original image. If necessary, drag handles to cover the image. (I often add multiple texture layers to one file, turning them on and off to judge the various effects.)

3) With the texture layer selected, go to Blending Mode and choose Multiply, Soft Light, or Overlay.

4) Adjust the layer Opacity as you like.

5) Use the Eraser tool (or a Layer Mask) to remove texture from any areas you want left alone.

For advanced exploration and seemingly endless variations,  adjust the color and/or saturation with Hue/Sat adjustment layer(s).

Let me know if you have any questions!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


I have but one New Year's resolution, and you can probably relate: make art every day. Of course there's always room for improvement in other areas, but that goes without saying. This one I have to say again (and you might want to repeat after me): MAKE ART EVERY DAY. Doesn't have to be a masterpiece, doesn't even have to be finished, just stay in a constant state of creativity on some it taking a photo, journaling, trying out a new technique, even doodling...just keep the juices flowing.

In 2012 I made some 2013 tabletop calendars incorporating photos I'd taken during the year. It was a fun way to merge some favorite images, graphic design, and the book and paper art skills involved in making them by hand.

Each calendar measures 6" wide by 6 1/4" tall, and the pages rest on a little built-in easel made of sturdy 300 lb. watercolor paper. Front and back covers were printed on Hahnemühle's William Turner textured matte fine art paper, and the monthly pages were printed on Epson Ultra Premium Presentation paper. The font is Mr. Moustache. The calendars were punched and bound using a (very affordable) Zutter punch. They fold flat and fit into a square envelope for wrapping or mailing.

Perfect for the holidays...this is a gift that keeps on giving throughout the year. And don't you think it beats a store-bought much more personal! Why not start planning yours now?

My 2013 Calendar
February's Page

July's Page

Back Cover

This calendar is now available in MY SHOP...2014 calendars will be available in November 2013.