Sooo much delight! I like the experimentation with clay and now, there’s a new development: the clay is inviting me to “glaze.” It is compelling me to a richness that, for now is new to me, welcoming and an enigma. Up until now, I’ve mainly bisqued pieces in the kiln to make them durable then taken them to my studio for painting, smoking and embellishing. But the new pieces, which I am calling TABLETS, are glazed or partially glazed. The involvement with the Tablets is a drive to express something I don’t quite know how to say in words but it is something about communication. As I write this I’m remembering a statement by Georgia O’Keeffe, “I found I could say things with colors that I couldn’t say in any other way – things I had no words for.” I once heard an interview of an artist in which the interviewer talked of the meaning and the deeper meaning the artist seemed to be putting into his works. The artist responded with the idea that if he had a lot to say, in words, about his work, he had left something out of the work.

                                                                     THE TABLETS: J

The Tablet Series-JThe Tablet Series-J (detail 1)                                                             THE TABLETS: CREVICEThe Tablet Series-CreviceThe Tablet Series-Crevice (detail)THE TABLETS have been prompted by a passage in the Old Testament book of Habakkuk written during an urgent time when God told the prophet Habakkuk to let the people know of His revelation, “Write upon tablets” and make it plain so it can be read quickly, on the run. This series of visual expressions  have engaged me in a non-verbal way that holds ineffable meaning and invites me to continue. Ten Tablets have developed, more are in progress. The ones available for purchase are exhibited at The Artist Gallery in Carlsbad, NM, 120 South Canyon Street, 575-887-1210.
                                                                   THE TABLETS: TULIP                                                                              The Tablet Series-Tulip



Innovative Watermedia/collage Workshop, 2016

Watermedia/Collage Workshop 2016 is fresh on my mind. It happened last week in the Carlsbad Area Art Association’s ROBERT S. LIGHT ARTROOM, behind the Artist Gallery. Busy! it was a busy class. The students were enthusiastic, chatty, positive, and eager. Each exercise I suggested was welcomed with willingness; some remarkable work showed up on their papers; and a generous spirit prevailed as they shared ideas and processes.
Leslie Smith-2016 class-3A favorite quote of mine from Robert Rauschenberg: “I like to have the maximum lack of control so things can happen that I can’t think of.”  I consider “think” to be a key word in this quote. Letting go of rational “thinking” processes and trusting the intuition to guide does truly cause things to happen, allow for surprises, and let some “gifts” develop on the paper.

We started with a playful
application of paint, not thinking of anything but enjoying the paint, experimenting with it’s flow, checking out our brushes. Then we began to look for tiny compositions, discovering that the paint had indeed deposited some gifts we could work with:Renee-2016 classThe class moved from this tiny start to more complex layers of paint and papers, preparing collage papers, making stamps to use for creating texture and holding off on composing. Yet, keenly watching all the while for shapes, directions, values of color that would appear  from the intuition and guide us, we moved toward a composition. Rich layered and textured surfaces were created and compositions inviting final details called for completion.                                                                                                                  RB2-2016 class
Ginger 2016 classLeft:Ginger Price, experiment


Right: Renee Boyd, experiment



Gerri-2016 classLeslie-2-2016 class




Left: Gerri Mattson, experiment                                                                                              Leslie Smith, experiment

2016 class - 12016 class - 4




When artists gather and stretch to see new ways of expressing, good things happen. There was talk of meeting  to create/paint/collage together. A gathering of artists working, no instruction except feedback and encouragement from one another. What a splendid idea!

Judy L-2                                              Judy L-3

Judy Lanier, experiments






Karen V.-1 Karen Veni, experiment

Innovative Watermedia/collage Workshop

Discussion with DemoIt’s been several years since I have taught a class or a workshop. Early this year Frank, the workshop chairman, for Carlsbad Area Art Association asked me if I would teach. Without really thinking, I heard, “sure, Frank” come out of my mouth. The possibility lay quietly, but not exactly silently in the back of my mind for a long time. I wanted to teach, I’ve taught a lot over the years, I like to teach and I don’t like to teach, I have a lot of experience and I don’t have enough experience, I have worked hard, not hard enough, and have learned a lot I can share. I had my doubts that anyone would be interested in my quirky ways of creating, and I doubted that I had the physical stamina. Sometimes  I listen to my critical self yammering in my mind. Round and round the thoughts went but the creative spirit (The Holy Spirit) reminded me that I had said I would teach and that whatever I have to offer would be sufficient.
Then I encountered a Lubbock artist who asked me about teaching, and encouraged me to offer a class. Within days she had spread the word that I was considering a workshop in Carlsbad. Other artists called saying they would come. I set a date in September, chose a title: “Innovative Watermedia/collage Workshop” then vascillated between cancelling and pulling it all together as I witnessed the enrollment numbers rise.
On September 10, 11, 12 the class became a vital, creative, moving reality. It was amazing to see the enthusiasm of 15 diligent artists who listened to my suggestions and worked with such intensity. We all checked our critical selves at the door and let the spirit flow. From day one when I asked them to paint along with me and put paint randomly on the paper, keeping it in light to middle range of values we progressed through painting-along to experimenting, and into a variety of explorations and demos with discussion. I offered techniques and materials and suggestions to play with. The move of  the creative spirit was obviously dynamic whether the students were grappling in confusion, happily creating stamps, gingerly painting tissues for collage material or testing their eyes to see what might be showing up on the papers.

Fuss Size Render, Carol H.                                              Experiment by Carol Hammond
It’s a non-rational, intuitive way of operating that comes out of a part of the brain and heart that is absolutely trustworthy. Learning to trust it is like no other experience… has no language, no system of orderliness, is usually not logical. Often, and dramatically so among beginning students, it feels like chaos. It is pulling images confidently from our histories, from our heritage, and sometimes seemingly from no where. Sometimes the paints begin to show us recognizable representative images and sometimes the colors challenge us with abstract shapes that intuitively communicate wholeness. When we become like children and play with materials we allow ourselves to paint the worst painting in the world without judging whether it is a keeper or not, and we also allow ourselves to paint the best painting in the world.
Collage, Renae Winters                                               Experiment by Renae Winters

Indian Blanket Flowers, Laurel Weathersbee                                           Experiment by Laurel Weathersbee
Experiment - Judy Lanier                                                         Experiment by Judy Lanier
I would love to publish more of the student experiments here but alas, I neglected to take pictures when we put our works out on a common table to share what we had accomplished. I have put out the call to the students to send me pictures but when students leave the classroom, life envelopes them and the demands of home and work and play rise to the forefront and sending pictures to the teacher drops to the bottom of priorities.
Grace Lipps, collageCollage only, Carol Hammond






              Collage by Grace Lipps                                                     Collage by Carol Hammond

Below is a demonstration painting I worked on in the class. I will post other pieces I started with my students as I get them completed and photographed. They will be  on the pages of this website.

For this Cause, corrected                             “For This Cause” (watermedia collage, 22X15 inches)

Join me in San Antonio, May 2-3

Not really in San Antonio, but almost, and not really in Boerne, but almost. It was an invitation from Chicago, from Crystal Naubauer  a collage artist I have admired for a number of years. It was also an invitation from Laura Roberts, (aka Hasty Pearl) gracious hostess with the innovative idea of having an art workshop in her home. Laura: artist, collector, gardener, who lives in a wooded area on the outskirts of San Antonio welcomed participants to her exquisite home and gardens with handmade name tags, delicious lunches, and a garage/workshop that could compete with any studio/classroom.
An eclectic group of artists reveled in the delightful setting and especially in the gentle/kind/generous/creative/ spirit of Crystal Neubauer. By her, we were led through a number of mark-making/drawing/painting/stamping/collaging exercises designed to assist us in accessing the intuitive artist within. Her quiet/rich/deep/confident personal nature, nourished by the Holy Spirit, established a comfortable working environment. The heady atmosphere of nine working artists fed each individual artist as we grappled with materials and ideas and stretched ourselves to let go of control and trust our  intuitive natures.
Below are photos of our expressive attempts. I apologize for my quick shots, some of them may be presented sideways or upside down, (which is a good test for artists to see the quality of composition) and unfortunately I cannot credit the individual artists with each of these experimental works of art:
Art Pieces 8Art Pieces 9Art Pieces 4!Art Pieces 5Art Pieces 11Art Pieces 3Art Pieces 7Art Pieces 1Art Pieces 10Art Pieces 2Pregnant with possibility? Some of them seem to have a full delivery of expression already. Only two days together, yet bonds were formed and each artist went home with several “works” or “starts” and an impromptu handmade paint brush culled from Laura’s garden:IMG_2291IMG_2292Fun? Fun! not a frivolous zany kind of fun, but a fun that had within it some Texas hospitality and an overflowing cup of creative juice, mixed gently with spoonfuls and tidbits and pinches of new ideas. I’m charged anew with energy for creative endeavors in my studio. Thank you Laura and Crystal!

Laura Roberts and Crystal Neubauer



Thirty in Thirty

Painting thirty images in thirty days, fascinating challenge. Today I’m posting the latest few. There may be another small batch, if I get the finishing touches on them today, but getting them photographed and posted will take longer. I can get the best photos when I take the works outside and use my camera, so I know I won’t get that done today. I seem to fall in love with the work when it comes together, but sometimes when there’s been a wrestling to get my ideas to manifest themselves on the paper or panel, and I’ve had to do some serious pursuit, the love develops without the same passion. Right now, I’m truly in love with “Opening.” The blue/ochre/rusted deep colors, layered over old Bible pages and Greek text with suggestive containment in distorted circles, drops of power expressed in a triad of red touches make me think of an ancient wall embedded with a convoluted, rich history of events. The poignant angled ridges of built-up color give a roughness to the wall with the contrasting rusty streaks of color over smooth metallic gold paper. High in the composition and off-center the “Opening” breaks through to light and joy and beauty. A pot of geraniums catches the light; the exquisite organic life of red blooms and cool green leaves with dark shadows falling on a ledge offers the expression of newness and liveliness opening through the ancient, historic, rough wall.Opening -2                                                                         OPENING
                                               (watermedia/collage on paper, 14X11)

The Earth Is Full                                                        THE EARTH IS FULL
(watermedia/collage on paper, 15X15inches, (sold)

EARTH ANGEL: An angel is like an arrow of light cutting through the dark.(sold)
(smoked, embellished clay)

Earth Angel-listen closely                                   EARTH ANGEL: Listen closely and you will hear angels
silently cheering you on.
(smoked embellished clay)…..(sold)
Earth Angel-The pure joy of angels....            EARTH ANGEL: The pure joy of angels is like fresh air for the soul.
(painted, embellished clay)…….(sold)










Thirty and Thirty

I must say the thirty days of September have been flying along and my works and I have been flitting along with them. I think I will actually have 30 new works, maybe even a few extras! Two or three are larger pieces which have been developing alongside of the smaller ones. I’ve been saving the finished pieces in the studio, not consigning them out to galleries, so I can look at them altogether. Although they seem to be a hodge-podge without much of a focus, I can see clearly that they are mine. In the early days when I heard concerns among fellow artists of “developing a style,” seasoned artists advised that it shouldn’t be a “concern.” A “style” would develop naturally over the seasons of practicing the craft of expression. I have found that to be good advice. My ways of expression have truly become mine. Some of the works continue to pursue ideas that I have been exploring for some time: newness, beginnings, strength, endurance, words, fragility. Others have landed on the papers without much context. Maybe they are invitations to explore new realms.
Because tomorrow is “change around” at The Artist Gallery here, I plan to hang many of them. It will give me a new view of them, grouped together on a wall (I don’t have space in the studio to hang them all). So, “take note” if you who want to see what I’ve been doing. These are some of the latest:
Autumn Cycle                                                                
                                           (acrylics on cradled panel, 10X8X2 inches)

(acrylics on a cradled panel, 10X8X2 inches)

 Afternoon Peace                                                             AFTERNOON PEACE
(acrylics on a cradled panel, 8X10X2 inches)…..sold
Clothed in Splendor                                                    CLOTHED IN SPLENDOR
(watermedia/collage on paper, 18X14 inches)

Gether Up                                                                    GATHER UP
(watermedia/collage on paper, 14X9 inches)

Earth Angel                                                 EARTH ANGEL, WITH STAMPS
(painted clay)



Thirty in Thirty

 I haven’t posted my recent Thirty-in-thirty results…..but my brushes have been busy. Here are most of the little gems which haven’t been posted yet. I have been out of the studio a couple of days this week to go to Plainview, Texas to see the traveling portion of the 2013 American Watercolor show, a most worthy reason to get behind in the challenge. I will catch up, I’m confident of that for I have returned home on the wings of inspiration. I have seen, studied, contemplated, and been bathed in exquisite watermedia paintings… kind of fun!
Earth Angel-with orange bandanaEARTH ANGEL
Hope is hearing the melody of the future. Faith is dancing to it.

(watermedia/collage, 7X5 inches)

(watermedia/collage, 7X7 inches)

(watermedia/collage, 8X6 inches)
Earth Angel-one wing
(painted clay with embellishments)
We are, each of us, angels with one wing. We can fly by embracing one another.Packet TiesWESTERN PACKET
(collage, 8X6 inches)

(watermedia/collage, 10X8 inches)

Earth Angel-twigsEARTH ANGEL
(painted clay with embellishments)
Let all the angel throng sing thanks to God on High.


Thirty in thirty


Wow, this is day 10……….I don’t know if I have 5 more paintings since the last post. I spent Friday sanding and gessoing six clay angels (no! 5, because I broke one) that had just survived the bisque firing. I also gessoed three cradled panels. For Saturday I have:

Postcard 2                                                                POSTCARD
                                                     (watermedia/collage, 6X8 inches)
For Sunday, there was a Sabbath rest, and for Monday and Tuesday, the 8th and 9th, there are two more:
Light Infusion 2                                                              LIGHT INFUSION
                                                    (watermedia/collage, 16X10 inches)

Landscape Segments                                                          LANDSCAPE SEGMENTS
(acrylics on canvas, 8X10 inches)
And with two more images, I have ten new pieces thus far, whew, it IS indeed a challenge.

Words Create                                                        WORDS CREATE
(watermedia/collage on paper, 11X14 inches)

Smoked, bearing gift
                                                    EARTH ANGEL: BEARING GIFT
(smoked clay with embellishments)

Space, literal space and emotional space. I’m surprised by space in the creative process. In the past I have advised my students to pamper their paintings, especially when they are struggling with them. “Take them for a ride,” I suggest (I literally stick a painting-in-progress in the car with me when I run errands, glancing at them at times when I’m not concentrating on their well-being). Also: Give them a name; tell them they are wonderful; assure them that you are in charge and the outcome will be brilliant. Sometimes I prop a problem painting up somewhere in the house to look at it when I’m “not looking.” I have a good place to prop a painting in the bedroom. It’s become a joke between Allen and me for him to ask, “Who are we sleeping with tonight?” “LANDSCAPE SEGMENTS” got the treatment this week. The space between the telephone table and the faded caramel corduroy chair prompted a new way of looking at the “land forms” that were developing. The emotional space rising out of my sleeping consciousness was enough to facilitate the completion of the little gem.




Thirty in thirty

Today’s blog continues my involvement with “Thirty in thirty.” Today is September 5, day 5, of the challenge to produce 30 new images this month so I’m posting new images that have been produced………………..and pondering a few thoughts:
Numbers 2, 3, 4, 5:
In The Cleft 2

IN THE CLEFT (watermedia/collage on paper)Days Cut Short                                        DAYS CUT SHORT (watermedia/collage on paper)

Ridge 2


RIDGE (acrylics on paper)

Earth angel-singing bird                                                  EARTH ANGEL-SINGING BIRD
(painted, embellished clay)
I regret that these pictures are from my “lowered standards.” I just haven’t figured out what kept them from being better representations of the brighter colors in the paintings. Today I’m posting a quote from Madeleine L’Engle: “Inspiration far more often comes during the work than before it.” I think this quote comes from her book Walking On Water.  She was my son’s favorite writer when he was in junior high. I have loved her writings too. She claimed that she started getting herself into “writing mode” each morning by sharpening her pencils, never mind that she never wrote with pencils, but always with a typewriter or keyboard. Creative types have their rituals. When I enter my studio, I feel the call of the Spirit, and especially if there is cleaning/organizing/straightening to do……..I can start on those chores but after handling papers/paints/brushes/beads/etc. it’s pretty difficult to get the chores done and much easier to experiment with putting several textures together on my drafting table and adding a bit of Napthol Orange or another few scraps of paper and glue…….then I’m into it.



Thirty in Thirty

I’m on the fence. Having been challenged to produce thirty images in thirty days, I’m still waffling about taking it and giving it a go. You see, I’m a slow, ponderous creator.  I’m glad it is thirty-in-thirty and not one a day. It’s a September thing and many artists are stepping up. Two remembrances come to mind, neither of which are exact memories. One is that I remember being told that a famous poet, and my unclear memory is that it was William Butler Yeats, wrote a poem every morning before breakfast. He advised his students to do the same. When one pert student asked him how he could possibly do such a thing, he quickly claimed, “I lower my standards.”
The other remembrance is a challenge from the well known abstract artist, Katherine Chang Liu, “If you paint full days for two weeks, you will have a breakthrough.” I’m not sure of the benefits of thirty-in-thirty. The only one I can think of right now is that it would take me close to producing my 2000th image, which is a benefit of dubious merit. Lowering my standards, how could that benefit my work?  If it would give me a breakthrough, that would be a worthy benefit….but that is a topic for another blog, weeks from now. Speaking of blogs, maybe I should consider a challenge in that segment of my production, especially since my last blog was in June.

Number one:Plans For A FuturePLANS FOR A FUTURE
(watermedia/collage on paper)