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According to the great E.E. Cummings, Maggie, Milly, Molly and May went down to the beach (to play one day). Find out what they each found as this favorite poem is transformed into a collage...
On a warm summer day four girls ran off to the beach to play. Each was perhaps pondering some deep questions of life on that day, and each came away with a souvenir. But I think what Mr. Cummings was trying to tell us is that what they really took away was a deeper understanding of themselves. 

I may be taking a little artistic license here, but I like to think I've come to know these four special girls as they've leapt from my imagination onto my canvas! 
Follow the progress to learn what each girl finds...
Milly is self-assured, she understands the power of a simple gesture 
May deeply questions life. Her dress is a testament to her soaring heart, and just as she knows what it is to give it away, she knows also the risk. 
Maggie is curious. She always wonders what is on the far side of the meadow.  

And little Molly is an introvert. She watches where she steps, but bravely makes her way, despite the dangers. 
So far, the girls have come to life in their painted beach scene. Their paper wardrobe features 'nature's finest' dresses, as well as some startling hair adornments. A little polishing up and the girls will be ready for their final reveal. Oh, and those treasures they find will be making their way onto the canvas shortly! 

Check back to find out what Maggie, Milly, Molly and May discovered the day they went down to the beach! 

My new piece, Morning Stroll, is a celebration of springtime...and the wonder of Nature's small miracles that never cease to amaze, no matter how few or how many Springs we've experienced. 

Click to enjoy my own spring awakening...

Click Here to see the finished piece.
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What's Next? Well...
Welcome to Arcadia, my newest collage. Here are some hints about what is to come. Check back to watch it unfold


A mountainous region of ancient Greece, traditionally known for the contented pastoral     innocence of its people. Traditionally the home of the Greek god, Pan.
Any real or imaginary place offering peace and simplicity.

Harvesting are some of the key scraps.

Here is the piece with painted backdrop mostly complete and much of the mountain construction collaged. In addition the Greek ruins are beginning to take shape.

I am inspired by the depiction of Apollo's five muses, painted by Charles Meynier, 18th Century, part of Cleveland Art Museum's permanent collection. 

 I decided to include Meynier's Muse of History in my 'Arcadia' collage. Of course I've taken a few liberties...

My Muse of History is coming together. She still has no arms, hands or feet, so I've been pretty busy 'harvesting' (above). 

At last she is whole! You can see (at left) that Apollo's famous Muse of History has now become a fixture right there in my fantasy scene--a paradise of rocky stream bed with the blue mountains as a backdrop. 
It took some searching, but she is 'Frankensteined' from various images and I think she seems happy with her feet dangling in the cool water.  

Now to build upon the rocky hillside that leads up to the ruins--a city left behind? 

...And here they are!  The ruins quickly came together, perched atop the grassy foothills of the blue mountains. 

...some interesting "marble" I've cut from to make these ruins come to life!

Now to go back in with the brush in order to give the smooth, flowing cascade a 'painterly' appeal in the midst of the clipped photo imagery. 

...With just a few more finishing touches, my Arcadia has come together! Click HERE to view the final outcome. 

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Earlier this fall, I met someone who was so forward and frankly, somewhat of a show-off, the way he strutted and posed for my camera, that I asked him to take center stage on my next collage canvas. 

Meet Ivan:
...walking the shore of Coe Lake in Berea, OH on a beautiful autumn day, bright with warm sunshine and changing colors. 

So here goes...
I began with a simplified underpainting of what I wanted to provide Ivan's backdrop--Autumn color at its best. 
The cutting begins. Here you can see the trees on the opposite shore begin to take shape through snippets of brightly colored imagery. 
The shoreline came next, clipped from various sources, mostly rock formations and some interesting sculpture. The fun begins as my signature 'seek and find' elements begin to take their places on the canvas...can you spot the rooftops? A cruise ship? Lovers holding hands? The partial face of a very large granite sculpture?  
Check back for more progress!

The water becomes reflective of the Autumn sky when I clip and attach curved segments of dappled sky photographs.

Here's a fun "phone" shot of Ivan's body double trying out the space he would occupy. In the next progression, you can see how his spot is reserved. 
With more of the water surface beginning to give the illusion of depth to the scene, the first tall tree on the near bank extends up across the canvas, constructed of aerial view of a vast city. Accents of blue sky through tree limbs provides the trunk's highlights. 
The near shore takes shape with circular cuts from various textures. One of my favorite things to do is use imagery that is opposite from its intended representation. In this case, the earthy bank is made up entirely of indoor colors and textures. There are even some artistic antiquities hidden here and there. 

And at last, here he is. Ivan's body is made up of snowy trees and clouds. After places a few last minute "dapples" of reflective water on the surface of the lake, Ivan is complete. The title, apt:
Ivan See the World as a Paper Landscape  

Hmm. what does he think HE is made of? 

"Pieces of Earth"

My new project involves small, pie-shaped canvases that feature small "slices" of the natural world I have found. 
Above: The pieces have been painted with basic color schemes and designs based upon their content. Next, each one will be collaged to enhance the depth, texture and reality of the subject.

The pieces can be placed together to form a whole, or singularly sit upon a shelf.

It's been so much fun seeking out these small, often unnoticed details in the world. I began the panels literally out on the trails. I captured macro shots of each "piece" to complete the work back at home.
Here are a few of the completed "pieces:"

(left) "Brothers Pine"

                   "Two Sisters" (right) 

              "Holly" (below)

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Got the BLUES many things going on with late summer classes and upcoming workshops, demos and plans for fall classes, I've had very limited studio time, so several projects are lonely and begging for attention. But what I really mean is I've had"the blues"on the palette, as this particular piece departs from my typical warms. 

A few months ago, I wandered into the Wetlands in Beavercreek.  

                                                (left) the photo of my find

 I began with a painting, radiating from white to blue to blue-green, laying a cool foundation on which to plant my own collaged wetlands. This was some particularly intriguing and challenging clipping. 

The trees are clipped of trees, but stylized to create the effect of the evening sun shining through the leaves. 
In order to achieve the realistic tones in the brush, I used some solid clippings of violet and turquoise, mixed in with partial images of actual foliage. 

Over the painted water surface, I used several coiling strips, cut from a computerized photographic image I found, showing environmental damage to a tropical rainforest. 
Fitting, I thought.

Very thin strips of solid greens of varying values create the effect of blades of water grasses extending out of the shallow bed. 

Gluing down the foliage was extremely tedious, but at the same time, it was a mesmerizing process. 

After the larger tree trunks and fallen stumps were collaged, I reopened the palette to create shadows across the water's surface. 

One of those things that often happens when I'm wrapping up a collage piece, is the finding of an image so cool--I have to find a way to fit it in. Sometimes it's easy and sometimes it involves days of figuring it out. In this case, the image was a strip of a sparkling city against a night sky. 

 What an ironic element for my wetlands:  an image of Man's persistent progress in churning our 'green' into glass and steel. 

I had to use it! The dark violets, peppered with yellow and white lights actually lent themselves quite naturally. At first glance, the viewer will merely see pinpricks of the evening sun scattering through the dark foliage. 

My city in the heart of the wetlands... 
You can see how easily the image integrates itself into the natural landscape. Makes you wonder if one day Nature will borrow Man's modus operandi, and take back what is Hers.
If you want to see the finished piece check out the fresh produce page.

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I've begun a new collage that I am calling "Out of Darkness."  It's been in the works for some time, but as is usually the case, an idea has to flit around inside my brain, changing shapes and evolving into what it's meant to be before it ever sees the light of studio! This one was born from my love of butterflies and my recent exploration of using multiple panels to create a unified work. I had loved the process of working over a three paneled surface to create the triptych, "Eye of the Beholder". Later that year, I made an eight-piece series of small collages called "Winged," designed with the option of being sold separately (the series ended up selling intact). "Out of Darkness" uses a dozen 6" panels.
Each of the canvases is painted to grade from the dark depths of a forest floor up into the bright sunlight. Below you can see the panels after the initial painting was complete. The next photo shows the first application of collaged trees reaching skyward. 

     (1.)                                                                                                         (2.)
Here you can see that the butterflies have landed and are beginning to occupy their space on the panels. Scroll down to see my workspace, currently infested with the colorful little bits of nature.

I hope to have this piece completed by mid June. Check back to see the progress...

 Reference material is always important and this time has proven to be quite colorful and inspiring. To take a look at this piece completed click here.

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Americana, 2011

I’ve always loved roosters.  Ok, I admit—be it cliché, I do have a large ceramic rooster in my kitchen—one that has, more than once, been the topic of good natured teasing from the men in the household!  So they just don’t understand the beauty of this colorful, feathery, somewhat authoritative creature.  I do…and when I needed an idea for my next colorful collage, guess who was selected to take center stage.  As I worked, I let the piece evolve and, as often happens, it found its title and some pretty significant imagery as well in the process. 

I began with a soft, atmospheric landscape suggestive of Midwest farm country, U.S.A.  I added in white chippings to indicate the fence, along with a bit of imagery for the fore and background for a sense of reality.  The rooster is constructed of several meaningful “clips” selected to embody the pioneer spirit of the country. Note the woman in the center, pledging her allegiance, the suffragettes and Lady Liberty herself! I finished with the quintessential quilted appliqué for a frame, and added in a few choice Americana symbols. See finished image at top for the whole effect.