Category Archives: art

It’s that time again! Time to Liberate Your Art!

Hard to believe a year has slipped by since my last post!  A lot has happened in a year, but I am still in the same place and still doing henna and still liberating my art!

California Springtime — my card for this year’s swap

This was a fun piece to make — and it also stretched my limits!  I had the vision of California poppies.

Photo from Carlsbad Flower Fields that was the inspiration for my painting

I had visited the Carlsbad Flower Fields a few years ago and just loved a patch of California poppies.  I used to have a small patch in my own front yard, near the trash cans which bloomed in mid-spring with a burst of color.  However, my “helpful” next-door neighbor was killing his weeds and decided to kill mine, too. He was so proud of how he helped me out.  I didn’t have the heart to tell him that he decimated my wildflower patch…

So in the void of my own poppy patch, I decided to paint one.

The background is made from layers of sheet music (from an old choral folder I found and was going to recycle), and bits of Japanese text from a local neighborhood paper. (I love that San Diego has such diversity).  There are also some Tim Holtz butterflies and bees under the greenery.  I made the flowers with painted handmade paper.  The absorbent texture of the soft paper really soaked up the watercolor paint!  Once I figured out where to put the flowers, I added the fronds in a silvery-green.  But that didn’t show up very well, so I added an extra layer of dark green paint — I like the dimensionality of the 2 layers of color.  Then I added the little blue flowers.  And it still needed something.  The inspiration for a bee arrived; I painted it in watercolors and felt-pen and glued it on. At last, I had my poppy sanctuary to share.

I mailed my cards off to Kat Sloma’s Liberate Your Art swap a few weeks ago, and soon cards will start arriving. I can’t wait to see where my cards landed and which ones end up here!

If you would like one of my postcards, just let me know and I’ll put one in the mail for you!

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The LYA cards are arriving!

Postcards from the Liberate Your Art swap are starting to arrive. The first one is from Mark Wilson from Oregon. He describes the pieces on the card as “Temples of Not Yet Discovered Spiritual Traditions.”

The quote on the back of the card reads: It doesn't matter what kind of dance it is, you just have to dance. -- Unidentified Youngster

The quote on the back of the card reads: It doesn’t matter what kind of dance it is, you just have to dance. — Unidentified Youngster

The second card came from Glom2 who loves “to do collages because I can’t draw or paint…” Her etsy shop is  LoLaiLo.

Miss Sahara appoved of this card.

Miss Sahara appoved of this card.

The third card arrived today from Vicki aka Hula-la in New York (state not city). She sent wishes for love, peace and joy in abundance!

I had to take a picture of two NY apples with 2 California lemons... the tree in our backyard.

I had to take a picture of two NY apples with 2 California lemons… the tree in our backyard.

Waiting with anticipation for the next three cards in the swap to arrive! I’ll keep you posted!

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Getting ready for LYA 2016

It’s that time of year again!  Time for the Liberate Your Art Postcard Swap as organized by the amazing and wonderful Kat Sloma of Katseyestudio. This is my *5th* year of participating!  Wow!  Hard to believe!

This year I am still dreaming of Hawaii… although we have no plans to visit in 2016, we did visit twice last year.  And I had some lovely experiences with the ukulele… which has become a happy hobby.

There is a little mneumonic ditty that my teacher taught me to help remember the tuning of the ukulele.


It makes no sense.  The notes do not correspond to the words.  Every Good Boy Does Fine makes sense in that Every stands for E and Good stands for G, etc.  But My is a “G” and dog is an “E”… ridiculous!  And yet…. I can sing My Dog Has Fleas and I am in tune and can tune my ukulele with good relative pitch using this “song”.

So, this phrase is dancing in my head. AND I started taking an online course with Miriam Schulman called Painting with Words. And I decided to play around with this phrase.

from my class art journal

from my class art journal

And today I finished the mixed media piece, My Dog Has Fleas.


I painted the flowers and the dog separately, then cut them out.  The music was scanned and glued on.  Even though I sprayed everything with acrylic, the matte medium that I used to glue things on with smeared things a bit. I retouched the flowers and tried to sharpen the music notes and I had to add in the jumping fleas to cover smudge marks. The font is based on a free font I found on the internet called Tiki Tropic.

I uploaded the image to Moo and should have my finished cards back in a few weeks!  So excited!

If you want one, I ordered 40 — way more than I will need for the swap, so let me know and I’ll put one in the mail for you!



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RAW Futures Event

On January 20th, I had the supreme honor and pleasure to be a part of the RAW Artists Futures event held in San Diego at the House of Blues downtown.


RAW Artists is an organization that promotes young, indie talent in fashion, design, makeup, music, graphic design, photography, and fine art.  They are loud and proud and a lot of fun.  For some reason, one of the RAW talent seekers found my website and thought my skills would be an excellent addition to the line-up of January show.  I’m not particularly young… and I’m not particuluarly new (been at this since 1998)… but he thought I was cool enough, so I was in.  Turns out I wasn’t the only non-spring chicken in the group.  So I felt right at home.

The event was a one-evening extravaganza — part art show, part music gig, part dance performance, part runway show.

Photo by Thai Chau of 'AXYZ3'

Photo by Thai Chau of ‘AXYZ3’


Bandalier performing. Photo by Thai Chau of ‘AXYZ3’

Performance by members of the San Diego Ballet. Thai Chau of 'AXYZ3'

Performance by members of the San Diego Ballet. Photo by Thai Chau of ‘AXYZ3’


My booth. Photo by Thai Chau of ‘AXYZ3’

 Photo by Thai Chau

I tried to cram as much as possible into a tiny 6 x 6 spot! All those mugs, hand-painted notebooks, necklaces and shotglasses are made by me! Photo by Thai Chau of ‘AXYZ3’

It was quite the party until 10pm... when we all packed up and headed home!

It was quite the party until 10pm… when we all packed up and headed home!









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Welcoming 2016 with a new word

It’s a new year, a clean slate and a fresh start.  2015 was a very tough year and I felt as if I were in an emotional fog for most of it.  I was in shock and numb from the back-to-back losses of both my mother and a good friend.  And I did my best to do what needed to be done… and I got things accomplished, but I had no passion, goals or dreams.

It is 2016.  The fog has cleared and I am back.

This year I decided to focus on a word, and let my goals flow from that.  The word that came to mind was: Bloom.

There are many definitions for the word bloom according to Webster’s online dictionary:

  1. 1a:flowerb:  the flowering state <the roses in bloom>c:  a period of flowering <the spring bloom>d:  a rapid and excessive growth of a plankton population (as of algae or dinoflagellates) — compare red tide

  2. 2a:  a state or time of beauty, freshness, and vigor b:  a state or time of high development or achievement <a career in full bloom>

  3. 3:  a surface coating or appearance: as a:  a delicate powdery coating on some fruits and leaves b:  a rosy appearance of the cheeks; broadly:  an outward evidence of freshness or healthy vigor c:  a cloudiness on a film of varnish or lacquer d:  a grayish discoloration on chocolate e:  glare caused by an object reflecting too much light into a television camera

I chose to focus on 1a and b, 2 a and b and 3 b.  Bloom as a flowering state, a time of freshness and vigor, high achievement and an outward evidence of freshness or healthy vigor.

These work well with: bringing my health back to a bloom through daily walks, weight workouts and cleaner eating: bringing my business to a state of achievement by increasing my social media presence, adding products to my offerings, and continuing to refine my booth and books: blooming creatively by taking classes and reading books: blooming financially and encouraging a period of flowering between the cats (there are 3 and they do not like each other).

My word and goals for 2016

My word and goals for 2016.  Homework for the Lifebook 2016 online mixed media class I am taking.

Have you made resolutions for the new year?  Do you choose a word for the year?  How do you work on goals?

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Liberate Your Art 2015

It’s that time of year again.  Time to liberate some art into the world! Kat Sloma has organized the Liberate Your Art event for 5 years.  This is my fourth year of participating.

Artists can share anything that can be printed on a postcard… paintings, photographs, photographs of sculpture, scans of silk painting…. the postcards can be printed at home or professionally.  5 postcards are sent to Kat, who then sorts and labels and sends them out.  Each participant gets 5 cards, plus one of Kat’s. Part of the fun is sharing the cards we have received by taking photos of them in our spaces.  I love seeing where my cards end up!

For the past 3 years, I have done collages that were heavy on henna-like embellishment.  This year I decided to try something different.

I inherited my mother’s cat this year, and she is very photogenic.

CaliCatI thought about using a straight photo, but wasn’t happy with the results.  And XnView, the program I use for editing is not strong with effects.

Then I took an art class with Suzanne Visor and was inspired by the constraining frame. I had originally thought to use the right side.

A close up

A close up

Not quite right.

So I tried the left eye.

The left eye

The left eye

More interesting.

And then I tried painting it… which is way out of the box for me!  I am a henna artist.  I work with lines, not brush strokes.  But after several hours of painting and leaving and thinking and more painting and more thinking and more painting, I ended up with something I liked. It doesn’t look exactly like the picture, but close enough!

The final painting.

The final painting.

I uploaded the image to Moo and am waiting for my postcards to return.  Once they arrive, I will send 5 of them to Kat, and then wait for the fun to begin!

I’ll have extras, so if you want one, just let me know and I’ll send you one!

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This was my second LYA and it was just as amazing as my first.

The first thing I gained from LYA was a push — I pushed myself out of my comfort zone (drawing on people and focusing on what designs THEY want) to drawing on paper and drawing what I want…. knowing what I wanted to draw was the first and most difficult step.  The whole process of creating this piece widened boundaries and made me a better artist.

My hamsa as a peace dove... taking a traditional idea and stretching it...

My hamsa as a peace dove… taking a traditional idea and stretching it…

Then, I got to receive really cool art postcards!


My first postcard was from from Linda Ursin of, who lives in Norway. I thought her little chickadee might like a California meadow…


Next came  this lovely card from Mel ( who lives somewhere in England. Her greeting is: Put your he{ART} into all you do!  I took her card to the Harborfront for some San Diego context.


My 3rd card came from Kathryn van Rooyan and exhorted: “I hope you are not just thinking about ART, but doing it!” I let her road lead me to Ray St in San Diego aka Arts and Culture Street for its many galleries and monthly festivals…. (You can also find Kat on Instagram)


And then I got this moose from William Charlebois… who says: Aim for the concept not the reality… I took this card to the Lemon Grove giant lemon for some cognitive dissonance…


“Winter is an etching, Spring a watercolor, Summer an oil painting, and Autumn a mosaic of them all.” –Stanley Horowitz
This lovely card came from Allison Bents in Minnesota so I took it out for some margaritas in Old Town…

And last but not least, here is the card from Kat Sloma — whose brainchild LYA is:

Kat Sloma's tree among the jacaranda blossoms...

Kat Sloma’s “Adorned and Alone” among the jacaranda blossoms…

What a wonderful collection of art I received and it’s awe-inspiring to be part of this major project: 216 artists, 11 countries… I made lasting friends from the swap last year and made new ones this year… I can’t wait to see what next year brings!

Click HERE to see the video Kat made of all the cards received… note that there are some breaks in the music but the cards continue; do not stop watching too soon!



LYA 2013: Postcard 4!

Today I got a moose in my mailbox… so I took him to the giant Lemon in the center of town…

The caption reads: Aim for the concept, not the reality.

From William J. Charlebois:


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Liberate Your Art: Postcard #3!

This little card came from Appalachia from Kat of ArtyKat. She writes:

Hello Art Loving Friend! I hope you are not just thinking about ART but actually doing it! Have a creatively great day!


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Liberate Your Art 2013

Last year I participated in Kat Sloma’s Liberate Your Art Swap and it was a wonderful experience!  Not only did it push me out of my boundaries, but I got some great cards in exchange and met some really interesting people!

This was last year’s card.

Natasha's Peacock

On the back it has a quote from Picasso which inspired me to leap into the unknown and make this card: “I am always doing what I can’t do. That’s how I get to do them.”

This year the task seemed harder.  It’s earlier in the year and I found myself distracted with work and taxes and a zillion other things. Also, I wasn’t sure what to do.  So that took some time to come up with an idea.

Once I did get the idea for doing a hamsa, I drew many draft ideas before I settled on the hamsa as a dove idea…and then I made several backgrounds to see which one worked best… and did a couple iterations of the dove to find the best fill pattern combination… and I decided to do it as a collage –which made it possible to change the background 4 times without drawing more doves.

So now I am down to the wire.  The deadline is April 6.  I just finished my cards (mostly — still have to sign each one and add a personal touch of glitter, but they are all PRINTED.) I will get them to the post office on Monday and they should get to Kat in Oregon by Wednesday, Thursday at the latest.  Squeaking in just under the wire.  But making the deadline by a hair is better than not making the deadline at all.

This is this year’s offering:

The year’s quote is from Scott Adams: “Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.”
I might add that glitter always helps distract attention from mistakes and thus should be used liberally.

And on Monday, my 6 cards will make their way out into the world…I wonder where they will end up?!

If you are not part of the Liberate Your Art Postcard Swap and would like one of my cards, just send me an email: and I’ll get one out to you.

If you are part of the Liberate Your Art Swap this year, I’ll be happy to send one to you, too, once all the cards have arrived and you didn’t get one of mine.

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