Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas decorations

Check Spelling

This time of year it's fun to make holiday ornaments and decorations. I have not unpacked any of the old ones, but have had a good time using up some of my stash of supplies. Here are a few things I created. Some were made as donations to a community tree event.


Where has the time gone? There is always so much going on in our lives - it just flies by. I'm sure you have the same experience. My desktop computer is not hooked into the web yet, I'm still waiting for the boys to clean it out for me. They want to do it. I"d as soon pay someone else, but it's a matter of family pride. LOL Think we can do anything! But there is never time. I put it off waiting for the new internet system to be installed here and then the family network. Now we have AT&T Universal and not sure it will do what we expected it to. It was supposed to be 8 times faster, and that was what the kids wanted. But now we all have new television problems, and the internet system has glitches that have not been solved yet. Seemed like it was very sophisticated and state of the art, but I have misgivings. We may switch to something else if they can't work out our issues. Anyway that's the reason I"m so behind in blogging.

It seems so much more tedius to download camera into one computer save it there and then have to copy images to bring to laptop. It's simple enough - it just takes extra time and effort. And time away from making art!

I'm pretty much totally immersed in making post cards right now for mail art. I had planned to bind them into books, but instead I mail them off to people! Why not spread them around. I'll be mailing the next batch on Wednesday. I even made my Christmas cards as post cards this year.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Book arts Jam

Roberta, Maria, Wendy and many others showed their work at the Bay Area Book Jam this year, without me alongside. But, Sally and Bonnie and I rode down for the day, and we also saw lots of other friends there. As expected the books were awesome, and unique. It was wonderful to be there as a looky loo. we also went to the rubber stamp show in San Jose the same day. wow! My favorite vendors were there, so I came home with a little bag of goodies. Bonnie and I had never been to Dizos, a Japanese dollar and a half store. Problem is that most labels are written in Japanese, so it's hard to know exactly what you are getting. but we each managed to find some interesting things. Hmmm.... now to find time to use them. The awesome books shown here were made by Wendy Jordan, who is a constant source of inspiration.

Birthday book

My son Matt celebrated his 40th birthday, and it occured to me that I had not made him a gift for a long time. I spotted this little board book shaped like a truck at Target a few weeks ago. Matt is a trucker. AHA! A little book of Matt, for Matt. Here's a pic.

Dangers of smoking

I've been planning on doing a piece about smoking for a long time. then someone gave me some brass bullet casings, and I had an aha moment. someone else mailed me some cigarette stubs, and I combined them into the little crave/coffin I had constructed quite a while ago. Here it is now.

A little crypt

A friend in Sacramento made two little crypts, one she sent to me to embellish for Jackie, and the other one went to Jackie to fix up for me. Pat used some really iteresting sandy textured coating o the backs, and she constructed these herself. Here's a pic of the one I finished off for Jackie.

Mail Art

I've been using my precious art time to make post cards which I'm mailing to old and new friends, as RAKs. (random acts of kindness). Some of the recipients responded by sending cards they made so my collection is growing. It's great fun to work on this size (4 x 6 inches) as it gives ample room for collage and yet can me mailed at a low postage rate. Here are some of the ones I've sent out recently.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Open Studio Tour

This weekend there was an open studio tour in Lodi. The teen grandsons, their best friend, and I went first to Sam and Pepe's place. The property there was once a nursery so there is a lot of open space, perfect for showing their outdoor garden sculptures. They also invited some of the other artists to show their works there as well. Scattered under the trees, bamboos, around the garden paths, and some inside a big room (formerly a show room I think). The weather was perfect, sunny wit a light breeze. It was a magical place. We watched a wood turner, who had created amazing things like a cowboy hat of one piece of wood, and a print maker who patiently explained her processes. I knew everyone there and the boys had met many of them working at the Spring Art Show. Painters, clay construction, lots of good things. Then we went to a remodeled house/studio i downtown Lodi. Wow! what a great house. the artist there explained some of his techniques using colored pencils which we found really interesting as one grandson likes to use them, and occasionally I do too. after that we drove to a Subway as boys were starving, and I went to the Art Center Gallery while they were chowing down. Rich was demonstrating his oil painting techniqiues with a pallette knife. When we left there we drove to Caroline's house/garden where she was showing her paintings and Jarrod was showing his metal sculptures. It was the perfect way to end our art day.

I'd been operating all day with a horrid toothache and felt really worn down from it. But even with that - it was a very special day.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Bay Area Book Arts Jam and mail art

I decided not to show my work at the Bay Area Book Arts Jam this year in October. It is THE best place to show them, and the most exciting. But, that's what tires me out too much. I can't run on adrenalin and high spirits any more. What I'll miss the most is the meeting one on one with book art enthusiasts.

Soon I"ll be back to posting more here and showing my newest things and talking about techniques again. I'll be showing more work locally as well. Recently I've been working a lot on mail art. Maybe it's the Nick Bantock show coming up that has kicked off my interest again. I am finding post card size gives an artist a large enough canvas to work on and there are so many things one can do one them. I've been altering vintage post cards and creating other mail art. I have been enjoying this book from Amazon.

Good Mail Day: A Primer for Making Eye-Popping Postal Art

If you'd like to be on my snail mail list, please email me with your address and you might just go to your mail box one day and find a piece of art from me. Janene

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

More about the art show

I have not put much about the show here because I"m still using the laptop and it's not handy to add photos and such. But, an art pal, Roberta has been to the gallery, took pics and posted on her blog. So, to see more of the exhibit - and read her delightful blog - go HERE.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Featured Artist

Much to my surprise, I got a call yesterday morning to see if I would substitute for the featured artist of the month at the Lodi art Gallery. Not much time to get it together, but in four hours I put a show together. It helped to have my favorite things at hand, so it was more a matter of cleaning glass, dusting frames, typing labels, and setting prices. My work generally is cohesive and the pieces work well together. No sore thumbs sticking out in the batch. I put in some three dimensional things which always makes the gallery happy, and some altered books as well. Candis and a friend of hers helped cart it all into the gallery and we left it in their hands to hang it. I can't wait to go back and see how it looks.

I was expecting to be the featured artist probably in October or November of 2011. I'm way ahead of my goals again. Guess we'll paint the house and put in new front fence. I've got to have goals to work towards.

While I was there, I picked up a painting I bought from Rich Allen - a woodsy scene that reminds me so much of the scene outside my back window in the country. Now, I can see it everyday from home as well. I hung it this a.m. and already it makes me feel so peaceful. I'll post pics later when I get the other computer fixed. Right now, I'm still using the laptop so I"m hampered in what I can share.

Another goal was met last week when the insulation was installed in my studio. Wow! What a difference. If your studio is too hot in summer and too cold in winter, don't put this off like I did for several miserable years. It will be so much more useful now - not just mornings and late evenings in summer and only mid day in winter. I'll need to insulate the floor before winter, but for now, the ceilings were the most important part. I'm so thankful to have a helpful son and grandsons who make impossible things look so easy. They are my heroes.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Horns blowing in the Valley

Well, I reached a goal this year that I planned to put on my to do list for next year. I entered four pieces in the Lodi Community Center Membership Art Show. Each piece won something. My reworked Daily Bread won best of show! The steampunk style Slave Scientist won first place in mixed media. The Alice piece won first place in 3 dimensional art, and a piece with a bird and cage took an honorary mention in mixed media. Four for four. After the shock, I have to admit I'm tickled pink.

The Alice piece I finally finished and figured a good way to show it. I had Tap plastics construct a box/book form to protect it, after mounting it on a black piece of wood. It looks like "real" art with those additions.

Last Friday evening there was an Art Walk reception and lots of people milling around checking things out. I noticed two men standing there really engrossed in looking at this piece so walked over to see if I could answer any questions. The first question was "what came in this packing?" That's kind of an odd question, as it really doesn't pertain to the art or concept. But, I'm always happy to converse so told them a portable DVD player came packaged in it. "I knew it!" said the one guy to the other. Both seemed so happy with my answer, I had to ask why? Did they get a DVD player too and they recognized it? Nope. Even better. The one guy designed the mold for the pressed paper form. That's his profession. So, we posed for some pictures together with "our" creation. What a small world.

Tonite the show judge returns to critique the artwork in the show, piece by piece. This is a wonderful way to learn what she looks for and why certain pieces were chosen. Another learning experience I'm not about to miss.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Time in a Frame - again

Here are two very different pages. On one I use the new rubber stamp I cut of the eye. I liked the chapter heading so made the page to play off that starting point. The old man portrait is very slightly altered. He looked like and eagle to me - I just needed to add the nose/beak. isn't he a handsome fellow?

Time in a Frame - even more

This picture of the girl inspired me to get out my sewing machine and threads. Also a little purple tulle. The photo of the hanging of Lincoln's assassins is one I did awhile back. By painting out a lot of the background, the central images stand out all the better. I used thread for the nooses and added the ravens. The portrait of the man is only slightly altered with white gesso and black paint. Here is the link to earlier pages.

Time in a Frame - more pages

My art pal Jackie and I have been passing this book back and forth, with each of us doing a few pages at a time. It's been so hot in the Valley that I'm sort of stuck inside - no gardening for me in the heat! So, I've been adding pages in the book. Here are a few new ones. The blue man has a hand extended onto the preceding page. He was meant to be a mummy. I planned to paint him except for the face - right into the background, then shade around him and highlight the lines of the tape with stains. But - I love blue masking tape and could not bring myself to paint it out. Who says mummies have to be wrapped in white? On the opposite page there was a quotation I liked. "Stretched his hands, enforcing silence - Said 'Be motionless, I beg you!' Mystic, awful was the process. All the family in order Sat before him for their pictures.?"

The three spooky fellas need a caption - maybe someone will suggest something? Please.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Rubber stamps

A new online group for making lino cuts and rubber stamps has started and of course, I joined, because it is something I'd like to do - but never get around to it. So, last night I dug out my old lino cutting tools and they were all rusted and dull. Most of the exacto blades are rusty too (I inherited most of them from my 90+year old aunt. Goodness knows how old they are.) So, I used my small snap off box cutter and managed to cut one eraser into a stamp. Tonite I did another one. I needed a stamp of a skunk for an altered book. Here they are.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A freebie

Here is a sweet cover from an old book I thought you might like to use.


I continue to get comments from someone or people whose comments I can't read. They are in some strange form of print. I publish all comments if I can read them. If yours doesn't show up - then it means it is not compatible with my system and I can't decipher it. I'd like to know why. If anyone knows, please tell me. Janene

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A book or a box?

One of my local mixed media groups is having a "nest" challenge this month. Another group is challenged to use something we got free from our tailgate party supply exchange a couple weeks ago. Often we bring new things into our spaces, and they just sit for a long time - so this challenge is making us look at the new stuff and trying to utilize at least one new thing. It's a good idea.

I figured everyone will probably think Bird nests! And I love working with bird themes. But, fate stepped in and now it is a Wasp nest project. While I was in the country wasps decided to build a nest right over my door under a low overhang - so I was having to duck and dive to get past them while entering and leaving my living space. I decided to take it down, and with the help of some pine fragrance air freshener, I opened the screen just enough to give it a spray and the wasps all took off. While they were gone, I used a stick and took the nest down, scooped it up in an old peanut butter jar, and patted myself on the back for taking care of this problem without asking anyone for help. I'm so brave!!! Pat, pat.

The idea of the wasp nest was born of that acitivity. I remembered a little damaged book down in the studio about bees. Old and warped and water stained, it was such a sweet thing I never could throw it away. As I was reading the little book, I read how the bees know exactly where their nests are, they go by visual landmarks. I remember this was true of the carpenter bees in the country. I had not considered this with the wasps. Sure enough when I came back upstairs there they were, only now they are agitated. Looking for their lost nest. I felt bad for them, but when it's them or me - I'm not going to spend my days ducking and diving! They will have to find a new place and move along. It's been a couple days and only a few come back now. And I give them the Pine scented spray which sends them away. I tried spraying a little clorox cleaner on the spot where the nest had been thinking the fumes would keep them away. Didn't seem to bother them, but it dripped down and bleached my door mat. Call it art!

Back to the project. Pics tell it pretty well. The nest will go into the little tin with glass top, that's what I picked up as a freebie from Bev at last meeting. this one project will cover both challenges, and I get to use and save my little damaged book. I know the book is about honey bees and I'm using a wasp nest. Artistic license. I'll post another pic when it's done.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

More on Alice meets Steampunk

I'm back to share more of this piece. What I show tonite is not the way it looks today, but how it looked last week. I've changed it a lot since then, but will shoot new pics and post them later. I held back showing pics because I was considering submitting the piece to something like Somerset Studios for possible publication. But, after reading the directions and seeing the time lags - it is possible that if they wanted it sent to them, it might be out of circulation for a prolonged period of time and I would not be able to show it in local galleries or shows during that time. I'd rather have it in a gallery than in the magazine where they make money off of of everyone else's talents. Sure, I could have my five minutes of fame but then I'd be waiting for it to be returned. It is such a dimensional piece, it is a richer experience for the viewer to see it in person. Anyhow, here's how it looked last week.

When I started this, I didn't expect it to be anything special, or probably even worth keeping, so I did a lot of things wrong. I glued things in right away, without giving a thought to painting the background on the inside. I'd used colored gesso on the outside. So, later I had to peel images and gears out, paint the background and then put the images back in. Sometimes i had to redo an image. I wanted to get rid of Howard Hughes and Janis Joplin's face - for copyright reasons - in case I wanted to publish. Those are done now, and you will see the results here soon.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Alice in Wonderland Box

Here is my new project. While cleaning the studio (yes, again) I found this interesting pressed paper packing box liner I saved from some shipping box. At first I photographed it thinking it could be useful digitally as a background - and then I kept thinking the multiple depths would make good surfaces for collage - and steampunk! Hmmm...... The wheels were turning, when I noticed a cut out of Alice on my worktable (a reject from another project.) Once she met the box, it was like she found her home. So, it is now a steampunk meets Alice in Wonderland theme on one side and Alice meets WWW-onderland (the internet) on the other side. I'm thinking of making it for my teen grandkids who like to try to figure out what the heck grandma is doing now. LOL They'll be scratching their heads for along time over this one. Janene

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Trevor's graduation book

I posted some pics on my other blog. If you'd like to check them out, click here.

Friday, May 21, 2010


I often get comments that come in a strange form that I can't decypher, so I do not publish them. If you have a personal comment and wish to email me directly, you can try it that way.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Pouring your life into your art.

There are times in our lives when a tragedy occurs and there's nothing we can do but cry. Or, pour our feelings into our art. This is one of those times. A lot of book artists journal. My blogs serve as my journal.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Using digital software to help compose a painting

On my other blog, I put up some pics, one is here. The story behind it is over there. Please take a side trip to see how and why this was done.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Here's a little extra fun

On the arts and gardens blog I put up photos and tutorial for making wind socks of recycled Tyvek envelopes. You can check them out there.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

So many books, so much to do

Well, this has been a really strange week. I had oral surgery, OUCH! and have been home a few days - so my mind is racing, but the rest of me is dragging. You know how that is. Earth Day was this week and I planned on going to the Lodi Mixed Media group meeting and taking a big old Atlas to collage in as a collaborative project, plus two cereal boxes that I gessoed. But, I wasn't feeling up to going and so the book is here, and once I opened it I was flooded with ideas. I've been planning for years to do a book with quotes by John Muir, and since he traveled the world, and used the signature "John Muir, Earth, Planet, Universe" as his address in an early journal - I thought this wonderful old Atlas would be a grand book to alter. The John Muir Conference has been taking place since Thursday at University of the Pacific - and I should be there, but the pain and resulting fatigue are keeping me in. My spirit is with them though and so that is what is generating this new altered book.

Also this week, I received a "deck" of thirty four 3 1/2 x 5 1/2 inch Steampunk collages from an online swap. I could not think of a good way to bind them, so I decided to put them into a book which will then be altered. I am using an old copy of "Man and Power", a children's book from Library used book store. It has great illustrations and will be fun to alter. But, first I put the collages in with a list of the artists that participated. I'm asking their permissions to post some pictures here.

I'm also working on the "Phobia" book. But, I need to set these things aside to finish a book for my grandson Trevor who is graduating from high school very soon - from the same school his dad graduated from many years ago. It's very exciting for me to see this happen, and I'm fortunate to live "attached" to the kids so I can watch them grow up and participate in their activities. The book I'm altering for Trevor is "Life 101". I'm also using part of the text from that famous graduation speech (which is really an urban legend, purported to have been given by Bill Gates). It's a fun book with a message. This one has to take priority as it's creeping up to the big day.

So where do the ideas come from? My little muse, Lollie, who doesn't care if my jaw hurts! She wants to alter books. She just keeps nudging me until I take action.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Fish - revisited

Here is another piece I reworked. Adding the spots to the fish on the lower left, and tucking in the octopus, changing some colors of most of the fish and using another collaged fish seemed to pull this one together. I punched up the contrast and saturation with PhotoShop Elements on the close up.

The collages I'm showing here and on previous post could just as well have been done in altered books.

Reworking an older piece - Man of Sorrows

Awhile back I did a piece I was never happy with. It had a good enough base, but never seemed finished. I pulled it out yesterday and decided to punch up the reds, add the turquoise in various spots, and then added the little long legged bird. As a final touch I scratched in the word Sorrow on the man facing the bird. There is a collaged piece of a poem above the men which is the theme for the piece. I tore it out of a book of quotations awhile back and don't remember the author. "He touched her hand and the fever left her. We need His touch on our fevered hands! The cool, still touch of the Man of Sorrows, who knows us and loves us and understands."

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Year long workshop

Follow this link for information about a mixed media year long workshop. There's also a fun give away there. It’s easy to participate in this Free Give-Away! Simply post this link: on your blog and let people know it is a link for more information about a fun and exciting: “Year-Long Art Projects Workshop!”

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Picture albums on Picture Trail

I found that my Picture Trail photos would not come up - well, by accident I had not renewed it when I should have. It is up and running again, so those of you who tried to see it but could not - you should be able to go there now from the link here, or over on the left column. Happy viewing. Janene

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Citrasolv questions

The biggest question is "Why?" and then second is "Now what do I do with it?"

The first answer is always the same. Because it is there. We have to climb the mountain. Other people are experimenting with it - so we need to try it too so we can add to the conversation. Now what? Well, use it to make other art. It is good as a background, it can be cut up or torn to use in collages.

I did a composition this morning with only those National Geographic pages that were treated with Citrasolv and a glue stick on watercolor paper. I cut the pieces to look like a mosaic - except for the central image which is a page where the CitraSolv was used around the edges but didn't extend across the page. This was an accident, but when I peeled it out of the saturated magazine, I liked the image so didn't redo it. One thing I like to do is scratch into magazine pages with my little box cutter, or exacto knife. This time I used the box cutter and scratched in the second figure. It scratches really easily because the ink is thick and still sort of floating (although dry) on the surface of the paper.

The article these pages came from was apparently about immigration, hence the fence. I wanted to use the theme for the piece so the fence would make sense. Hence the fence makes sense. How poetic! LOL

What else can be done with this technique? Well, it makes fun backgrounds for digital art. I took portions of this piece and played with them in PhotoShop Elements - you can what fun I was having.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Playing around with art techniques - CitraSolv

I did some experimenting with this technique following a meeting of the Mixed Media Group in Sacramento on Sunday. Diane showed us samples of pages she had done and we were wowed! Enough to get me out to the store to buy this product. Here is a link to the other pics and post.