recycled paintings

Attempt at a Conversation with Birds

This blog was titled Conversations With the Muse many years ago, and mainly that’s been happening. I make art, and then I think and write about it. Otherwise it feels so unfinished. With the mixed media expressive art there is often a verbal interaction attempted with the content of the piece, which usually contains a great many unanswered questions. . .like this one.

For my underpainting I used an unfinished experiment with dripping inks and blowing them across the page with a straw. Then I found pieces of deconstructed paintings I’ve been keeping for the collage. The result was something that totally short circuited all the rules of color, design, technique etc that i have been learning and relying on in my art for many years. Thank goodness. My favorite thing is to create something bizarre, unexpected, and fascinating to contemplate. Hopefully it will get me wondering outside the box of my usual thinking.

acrylic inks and fluid paints on w/c paper

You crows, all black and squawky on one side and cooing doves on the other.

You’ve laddered up from the lower realms and found a roost for your pulpit.

Now speak!         


How can you be so silent now, as I sit expectant with pen in hand to take dictation?

What do you see and hear and feel in your vast communications network?

Am I too dense to plug into it and understand?

How long would I have to sit and watch and listen to receive even a micron of the information which sails unseen, unheard by us humans, between you  and your avian family each moment of the day.

Surely this painting entitles me to just a bit of all that? . . .a feather dropped that I might keep for a dream catcher? A song that I could learn and sing to myself?

Perhaps when the cawing meets the cooing I may at last get a feel, by audio transmission, for the freedom of flight?

a look at the process of construction from beginnings to placing collage pieces and drawing in the focal bird

Have you had any conversations with your art lately?


Earth the Planet

My project of clearing out/organizing the studio/art storage continues and is generating some rich new collage materials. Namely recycled paintings. Today’s piece is one such repurposed (treasured but ill conceived) painting. The painted images coincided with recent musings about global warming, weather patterns, and the Mars Rover landing. 

Earth the planet

Earth my home

Earth where I sit now

Eyes open. . . on the surface

Eyes closed. . .out where

the turning edge is


Out where the earth is

soft edges through swirling clouds

the ink of night

illumined by that cosmic inner

light that makes stars

makes us gasp Yes!

The stuff I’m made of.

A note about the symbol, an unfinished upside down (eastern) symbol for Earth, which turned into the (Christian etc) symbol for resurrection or Tau. Sometimes the most interesting part of art making comes after the end, when artifacts appear. Is the world headed for resurrection of sorts? One can hope.

Are you keeping your distance?

We in this multiverse society seem to be ranting at each other a lot lately about the right and wrong way to do everything now from proper mask wearing and social distancing to proper cleaning of vegetables and doorknobs. Meanwhile we are wishing we had more face to face contact with others.

So of course this issue popped up in my latest conversation with the muse, when I pulled some pieces of previous mixed media demos and experiments off the pile I keep in my studio. I put them together, and they started to tell a story of current relevancy.


masking tape, acrylics, collage, pen on w/c paper 10X11″

Is this enough distance? or am I crowding you?

Actually I was here first, so you’re crowding me. And I can see that you’re not wearing your mask properly. You’re probably one of those people on the news protesting the shelter-in-place rules, because you want to be able to go to the beach or to work when it’s not safe, and you don’t care if people die because of it!! Murderer!!!

What does 6 feet look like anyway?

In my neck of the woods anyway we are moving in jerky ways in public, rushing to get done with our shopping, then halting suddenly when someone gets too close. We avert our eyes in an effort to avoid contact when someone needs to get down the aisle past us. Or someone quietly hovers just out of range, waiting until we finish picking our avocados. It’s nerve wracking. We apologize and accept apologies. However because we are starved for any person to person contact, even that satisfies some of the need.

At this writing I’ve tried different kinds of masks, and am learning to breathe better while wearing them, though I wouldn’t be able to carry on a longer masked conversation without passing out from the exertion. But the glasses still fog up a bit with each exhalation. So I hope if you run into me in public, and I don’t recognise you, I will be forgiven, because it might be right at the moment when I exhale and the world blurs over. It’s just another one of those adjustments.




The Family Pyramid


acrylic, image transfers, collage on w/c paper, 10 X 11″

The Family Pyramid

Solve the riddle and the sphinx will offer access to the tombs and the secrets therein.

Skeletons are to be cherished, regardless. All families have them. We are none of us above the business of heritage, our automatic download of burdens, talents, angels and demons acquired at birth.  We imagine we are free to start afresh while inadvertently walking in the well worn shoes of ancestors.

This was an exercise in recycling old paintings, as in cutting them up and piecing together.  The figure on the left is actually my maternal grandfather, and on the right, his mother or aunt.  I’m not sure.  I wonder if she was half as formidable as she appears here. They were pretty tough stock, Ohio farmers and educators. I hope they knew how to kick up their heals and have fun!