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About Me

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Guymon, Oklahoma, United States
I am blessed to live where my grandfather homesteaded, to have three beautiful daughters who are my best friends, to have six delightful grandchildren who live nearby, to be married to my sweetheart of 35 years and to thrill to the special magic of creating my own works of art. I'll never cease to thrill to witnessing new ideas and images come to life from the point of a pencil or splash of a brush. I am blessed.

Monday, November 21, 2016

GIANT, MIXED MEDIA TIGER - UNIFIED IN OUR DIVERSITY


Tigers - United in Our Diversity

Years ago I was at a speech competition in Dallas, Texas.  The students had made a giant, mixed media collage of all sorts of found and ordinary objects.  I loved the idea and decided that I had to try creating our school mascot, a tiger, using unusual objects with students.

We started this daunting project years ago.  Each panel is a section supported with an 8" x 10" canvas board and each panel was created by one or more students over the years.  This piece actually has been stored, unfinished in a closet in my art classroom but we recently dragged it out and got it finished.

Since we first began this piece, our school has drastically changed.  We have gone from a very White student body to one of the most diverse in our whole region.  My current students decided they wanted this piece to celebrate our multi cultured population so they titled it "Tigers - Unified in Our Diversity.

Close of the tiger ear created as a relief with nails

We used all sorts of media and objects in our project - some traditional art media and others are found objects.  The goal was to create the correct, dark and light values of a simplified, tiger face.  The piece is made of (1.) Mosaic, Glass Tiles, (2.) Yarn, (3) Nails, (4) Acrylic Painted, Aboriginal Dots, (5) Glass Beads, (6) Curled, Telephone Wire, (7.) Black Ink Text, (8) Wax Relief Scratch Art, (9) Fabric Batik, (10)Collage, (11.) Bathtub Caulking with Acrylic Wash, (12) Embossing Tin, Dr Peppar Cans and Bent Silverware, (13) Glass Marbles with Tiger Images Glued to the Back, (14.) Sharpened and Cut Colored and Charcoal Pencils and (15.) Sequins.

Beads, Telephone Wire, Scratch Art and Fabric Batik


Some of the glass marbles have images of tiger faces behind them


I love the section made with sharpened charcoal and colored pencils

This section features text about high school

Acrylic Painted Aboriginal Dots

Mosaic, glass tiles

Glued Yarn

Sequins

Dr Pepper Cans, Embossing Tin and Forks

Saturday, November 19, 2016

THE SAFETY PIN MOVEMENT - MY WATERCOLOR PAINTING

I've thought long and hard about how to express my feeling over the past week.   I teach in a very rural high school with over 75% of my students being immigrants and refugees.  They are terrified and anxious.  My former students are also worried.

I grew up and graduated from the school where I teach.  I've seen my community go from one of the whitest places in America to one of the most diverse.  It's been a huge transition thanks to the establishment of an international pork processing plant.

I always dreamt of going to exotic places and working with diverse people across the globe.  I never dreamt they would come to me.  I am amazed everyday by the strength, ambition and courage of my students -  many are our top kids, go on to college and do exceptional things despite language and cultural barriers.

Since the election I've seen first hand harassment and bullying of my minority students.  I've been troubled to learn that some of these amazing people have had their families threatened in our small town.  I hurt for them.  I love them.  They are my kids and they impress me daily.

I have embraced the safety pin movement which first started in England after Brexit when minorities started getting the same treatment.  I knew I wanted to express myself through the beautiful simplicity of the safety pin.  So I set about selecting symbols of the people I want to protect and support.  This is my result.

My watercolor features a group of charms and beads.  All these objects hold significance for me.  I chose a heart shaped bead strung with the colors of the LGBT community.  I added a tiny clock at the bottom of the string with the time deliberately set to my husband's birthday, 10/10.  I want to say that it's time to accept that love is love.

The next string starts with a globe bead and a charm of the female symbol.  I am blessed to live and work where I do but I still see mistreatment and inequity for women at home and  around the world.  Women's rights continue to be sought and protected and as the mother of three incredible daughters and grandmother of four amazing granddaughters, I believe women's rights are precarious.

Next I selected a turquoise ribbon holding two feathers.  I live in an area of the country rich with Native American traditions and people.  I believe indigenous people are still under attack and discriminated against.

The next strand has four earth colored beads holding a Monarch butterfly charm and a tiny bell.  As I said earlier, my students come from all over the earth.  The Monarch butterfly survives by migration and has come to symbolize migrants and refugees.  I added the tiny bell because I think we need to make more noise and stand up for these people who are simply trying to build a better life for themselves and their children.

I struggled with how to represent religion and faith.  I thought about creating a whole trail of religious symbols but decided to simply use the universal word "Faith."  I am a believer and have a strong faith but I also have dear friends and students who are devoted to different faiths.  I added the tiny peace symbol at the end of this strand because so much hate and destruction has come from differing faiths and I pray for peace daily.

Finally I created a tiny key for kindness.  It's such a simple expression but when everything is boiled down I think kindness pretty much covers it all.

I posted this painting on my other social media and immediately was asked to make prints and cards available.  I was humbled that others were moved by my artwork.  So prints and blank greeting cards of this painting are available for purchase at My online, watercolor Etsy Shop

Friday, November 18, 2016

ONE-ACT PLAY COMPETITION



My Husband giving notes to his cast after rehearsal

Each fall my world is totally consumed with our high school one-act play competition.  I am married to the drama coach so I am his set designer, make-up and hair designer and anything else he asks me to do.  We typically start casting and rehearsing in August and finally close the show the first of November.  
One-act play competition for high schools involves creating a production that can be performed in in 45 minutes - which includes setting and unsetting the stage as well as performing the show.  We live in a very remote area of Oklahoma so we have to travel our show to regional and hopefully, state competitions.  So the big challenge is creating an interesting set that can be loaded in a trailer, hauled across the state and set up and taken down in just a few minutes.

"Middle Ages White Guys"
My husband chooses his shows based on the talent he has from year to year.  This year he decided to direct a little known show called "Middle Aged White Guys."  It is a parody about conservative brothers who meet yearly to remember their dead girlfriend at the city dump.  So my job was to create a giant junk yard.  Since the show is pretty goofy, I decided to paint the scenery in a cartoon style.

By the time I was finished, I had painted over 400 square feet of scenery.



Backstage ready to begin our production at state

Our production won second at our regional competition and then took fifth at state.  Our last performance was back at home for families and friends.  After all this work, the scenery is now torn down, partially stored or discarded.  

As a teacher, the biggest reward of doing this crazy, draining, ridiculously challenging activity is working with some terrific people.  I loved this group of kids.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

UPCOMING ART SHOW



I am excited to announce my one and only, fall art show. I will have many new original, dictionary drawings and prints plus my brand new, whimsical and sweet, watercolor greeting cards. 

If you are close, please stop by. 

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

FALL PUMPKINS WATERCOLOR



Found time today to finish my first watercolor painting using my new Derwent Inktense Watercolor Blocks.  My review is that these paints are fabulous.  I really like the ink quality and the vivid colors. It's always so much fun to have new toys to play with.

Friday, September 30, 2016

NEW ART TOYS - DERWENT INKTENSE WATERCOLOR BLOCKS


I think every artist out there goes nuts for art supplies.  New art supplies send us over the moon. 

This week I purchased a giant set of Derwent Inktense Blocks and I am in heaven.  I've noticed Inktense being used by lots of folks who craft, make art journals and fellow dictionary artists.  I have a few of the actual pencils but discovered that this fabulous, British company makes their gorgeous, watercolor pencils in a block.  I also found other watercolor enthusiasts were using them like pan watercolors.  I had to have some.

When I first get any new medium, I try to organize my supplies.  I printed out a color chart from Derwent and labeled each of the open stock blocks before the embossed numbers washed away.  Each individual stick has a stock number.  Open stock supplies are available individually and not just in predetermined color sets.  So I wanted to make sure I knew and recorded each color so I could replace that one color if I ran out.  Most quality art supplies are available in open stock so you can buy one color at a time.

I was able to simply dampen the stick in the packaged, foam tray.  I noticed some artists carve or grate their sticks onto a separate palette.  I may change my mind but it seems to work great just to wet them with a damp brush.

I started playing right away and love these watercolors.  The colors are rich and vivid.  Since these have an ink characteristic, the paint sets after it is dry.  Traditional watercolors will come back to life and turn into liquid when they get wet on the paper.  These fabulous paints will be permanent when they dry and don't activate on your paper.  These paints are more like ink washes than watercolor.  That also means they will stain your brushes and be permanently on your brushes if you don't wash them immediately.  They really are a strong stain which is why so many people use them to paint on cotton and silk fabrics.

After a little play time, I got started on a fall pumpkin painting using my new toys.  I am in love. This little gourd may find it's way into my new, greeting card line.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

POSITIVE/NEGATIVE BUTTERFLY ASSIGNMENT


I get lots of requests for some of my high school art lessons.  This is one of my favorites.  I've included a PDF of this lesson handout for you to copy and use if you'd like.  It's taken me some time to figure out how to include PDF in my blog posts.  I hope to add more soon.

I teach a unit on positive/negative space each fall as a tool to help my students better focus and draw.  I have a number of handouts I use for them to practise turning a positive image into a negative image and I set up a couple of displays for them to draw.  I typically use some children's chairs I've painted white and display them on a black background so the students can clearly see the positive and better study the negative shapes.

The unit test for positive/negative space is drawing a butterfly - one half positive and the other reverse as a negative.  I encourage my students to "invent" their own butterfly using personal images, symbols, text, etc.  My students get to design their butterfly in pencil on plain typing paper or in their sketchbooks.  We use a giant light table in my classroom to trace the designs onto nice, drawing paper to finish their drawings in marker.  They can only use two colors.

Here are some samples of my student's positive/negative butterflies.





















Wednesday, September 21, 2016

LAUNCHING MY WATERCOLOR GREETING CARDS ON ETSY


Turning watercolor paintings into greeting cards

This past summer I participated in World Watercolor Month.  I painted a different, little watercolor painting every day of the month.  As the month went along, I had friends and family inquire about purchasing some of the paintings.  I wasn't sure what to do with these offers until I noticed how many fellow artists had greeting cards available for sale at fairs and festivals.  So I decided to reproduce my watercolor paintings as greeting cards.


Taking digital images of greeting cards for my online shop

It's taken lots of hours to scan, format and reproduce the most popular paintings as greeting cards.  I have had a successful Etsy shop for prints of my dictionary drawings for years now and knew I didn't want to complicate that shop with something so different so I set about opening a second shop dedicated just to my watercolor greeting cards.

This challenge meant I needed to figure out packaging, shipping and create quality, digital images of the paintings and cards.  I've learned that online sales require great photos and details about what you are selling.

 Painting these pieces was the fun and easy part but building a new sales line on my own and building a new shop is quite the undertaking.  I did lots of research on pricing and studied established card shops and then spent long hours figuring out what I wanted to do.

Each card is individually packaged with an envelope in a protective sleeve
I pushed the button to open my new shop this past weekend.  I only have 8 paintings available as greeting cards but plan to add more as quickly as I can - I have 31 plus paintings to reproduce and more ideas I want to paint.  I package each card individually with a matching envelope inside a sealed, protective sleeve.  I also personally sign and title each card like I would any nice print.  

It's taken a lot of trial and error but I think I have a professional product that will impress both the customer and their recipient.

Here's a link to my new, online shop



I designed my cards so they can be framed and displayed

I also think these pretty cards would be great framed and displayed which makes them special and long lasting.  The archival inks I use guarantee that the image will not fade or change color for over 200 years.  I invested in an expensive printer long ago and it has sure paid off.

I discovered a number of other greeting card artists outsource their card production but I'm determined to do it all myself giving what I hope is a more personal touch.

My first orders for greeting cards are on their way

I'm excited to say that I am shipping out my first two greeting card orders today - only a few days after launching the new shop.  I'm anxious to see how this develops and plan to include the cards in my future art shows.  My first customers got a little extra in their order and a request for feedback about their purchase.  


Friday, September 16, 2016

BLOG NEGLECT

I have to admit - I've neglected this wonderful, online hangout over the past few months.  Summer was filled with fabulous adventures, travels and art shows.  School began and I have been digging out from under an avalanche of prep with supplies, huge classes and a record budget crisis for education.
I'm so sorry I haven't paid much attention to posting but I promise to do better.




And then there's Telluride - 

One of the highlights of my year is attending the Telluride Film Festival in gorgeous Telluride, Colorado.  Just a trip to this beautiful place would be enough but we spend labor day weekend attending a dozen or more movie premieres.  I can't believe we've been able to do this event year after year - 11 years actually.

This year we got to see and meet the stars of "Sully" (a terrific film everyone should see), "Lala Land" staring the adorable Emma Stone (which was one of my favorites), "Arrival" staring the doll, Amy Adams (also a great film), "Wakefield" with the remarkable Bryan Cranston and I got to breath the same air as Richard Gere who was there with his film "Norman" (which was good but it was RICHARD GERE!  There were lots of other films which should start some serious Oscar buzz in the coming months. 






I don't know if we'll ever get to attend again because it costs a lot of money to stay and purchase passes but who knows - I never dreamed I'd do something like this in the first place.  I'm so grateful to friends and former students who have hosted us the past few years.  Thanks Larry and Mitzi!

So that's a little update about what's been going on with me.  More soon.....I promise.  Thank you to everyone who keeps stopping by.