UPDATED, “Deep,” and “Sinister” will be at 9 The Gallery in June


“Sinsiter” Mixed media on paper, approx 11 x 9 in. Cindy Schnackel © 2011


Two of my works will be in the show, Gods and Monsters, at {9} The Gallery, in June 2016 along with multiple other artists’ work.

“Sinister” will be matted and framed with glass or acrylic, for the show. The artwork alone is about 11 x 9-ish inches. I did it a few years ago but it has just lain in a stack of drawings since! I’ve been slowly going through drawings and getting them framed so they can be shown. Some of the really small drawings I am doing collages with, especially the ones on reclaimed wood scraps that I’ve blogged about earlier.


“Deep,” Acrylic on canvas, 12 x 24 in. Cindy Schnackel, © 2016

“Deep” is a new acrylic painting this spring, 12 x 24 inches, on deep edged canvas, so no frame needed, (but you could frame it if you wanted to).

Should be a fun show! Hope to see you there if you’re in the area.

Opens Friday, June 3rd, at 6 p.m.

{9} The Gallery is located at 1229 Grand Ave, Phoenix, AZ. Website: http://9thegallery.com/

Wood Scrap Miniatures; Happy Daisy Invasion


Odd shapes of wood scraps, doodles from my sketchbooks, and a few words ripped from newspapers, (or my own handwriting if legible!), combined into collages with various effects for backgrounds. All sealed with acrylic and often also a wax finish. Meant to hang, though cube shaped ones can also sit on a shelf. Most are only a few inches wide/high. There are a couple I did earlier this year still for sale at {9} The Gallery in Phoenix, for $45 each. These will be about the same price, maybe a little higher, and will be in one or more fall shows.

The making of miniatures is a continual process, and great fun to sit and match doodles with words on days when I simply can’t work outside due to weather.

We may hit 100 degrees this week! That’s cutting in on the outdoor painting time, and it’s often windy, so no tiny collage pieces outside right now! Mostly, I use the patio table shown above for drying things, once it stays over 90. Gets the potentially harmful VOC’s out of the house when it’s all closed up and the AC is running, and things dry rapidly outside in the warm, dry air. Would be great to work outside almost all the time. There is just something really good for the soul, to be outdoors and see birds, lizards, plants, the sky, etc.


Daisy Invasion of our yard, © Cindy Schnackel 2016

African Daisies are a common flower to see here. These have all gone to seed now and been cleared away, but this is what our front yard looked like earlier this spring! We didn’t know when we moved here a couple years ago that our yard was a “daisy yard.” They just popped up. They grow on natural rainfall. If you don’t get much rain, you get fewer daisies. Where people don’t spray herbicide or pull them, they thrive once they get a toe hold. Each flower produces a seed head with at least 30 seeds, (I tried to count them but lost count when the wind kept blowing them away LOL).

Some days I feel unproductive, then…


Whenever time stalls, due to lack of good light, being out of something, just being at a stopping point for the day, or having to wait for the next fleeting idea, I’m reminded of a line from “Thumb Wars.” “Waiting to be killed, waiting to be killed…” That’s how it feels to have work that’s not finished yet!

With so much going on this year, it’s easy to start to feel like I’m not being productive enough. Then I put a few pieces on my table that are nearly done for that day and I see that I have in fact been pretty productive. Some artists work in spurts; they get an idea and paint madly for awhile, then need a break. If pieces are small, it can feel like it’s not going to cover much wall space, but a few big pieces make up for it.

Working spontaneously and not over thinking things is really important to the way I work. Thoughts of being unproductive, or forcing myself to work on something, just don’t result in more, or better, work. Often, such forced sessions end with me gessoing over the day’s work! The energy that makes me like how a piece is going can’t be forced. If it’s going to work out I generally know it pretty soon into the piece. I will only give it another chance if there’s significant investment in it, or still has some part I do like. Later, a flash of insight may come to me. Or maybe later I’ll get a better idea for the one that got gessoed over, and redo it better.

I marvel at artists who plan everything and then carry it out exactly. While I can work from a plan somewhat, it takes me longer, and I have to let it take on a life of its own if it seems to want to. I draw a lot, and sometimes translating a sketch to a painting makes me feel I lost some of the spontaneity that made me like the drawing. In that case it’s important not to go too closely by the sketch, but to let the painting come into its own. It’s rare I actually transfer a sketch directly onto a canvas, though sometimes I will if it’s really important to keep it from escaping the bounds of the canvas, as I have a tendency to make things get too big and go off the edge more than I wanted.

How do you work? Do you just dig in, or do you plan, or some combination? Some method that isn’t covered by those two generalities?

Painting Bigger Today; Countryside Magazine


Mostly finished a large palette knife painting today on the patio. Beautiful weather for it! The light was fading, and our birds were wanting to come back in, so I packed it up for the day at about this point. After I got in, the birds came out to play for awhile. After they went to bed, I added a few more strokes to the painting. It may be done now. I’ll think about it tomorrow.

The painting is “Swear Jar,” acrylic, 36 x 48 inches, on deep edged canvas. It will probably be in  Olney Gallery in September, (price as yet to be determined). It’s based on a quick drawing I did in a sketchbook some time ago. Whenever I’ve heard that expression, I thought of an angry monster in the jar trying to get out.

Last week, I finished, (or at least mostly finished), all the miniatures on wood scraps, and haven’t decided where they will be shown yet. Some will probably be at Olney, and some with {9} The Gallery when I do the show slated for October, that will focus on animals, especially since deciding to no longer eat them.

And, though I don’t have my issue yet, I’ve seen photos proving it, and the author, Jerri L. Cook, has confirmed it, Jenny Garcia and I were featured in Countryside Magazine for I think the June issue! Jenny made the art doll of my long passed away hen, Fergie. Her life-like chicken dolls are amazing. I’d followed her on Facebook for months and last year finally had her make one for me. I’ll post more about it when my issue arrives. Jenny’s site is Pet Chicken Ranch

After years of blogging here the ‘add link’ feature finally seems to allow me to title links instead of just posting the URL. So I hope that works for viewers. Looks nicer!

Today in the Studio


An unfinished sculpture for a fall show watches over the work table. Today I’m cutting out old drawings from my sketchbooks, and words from newspaper and magazine headlines as captions, to collage onto lumberyard scraps. These small pieces will also be available at fall shows. A completed one sits among them.

I keep a large drawer of collage materials, and go through phases of what look they have. Making several at a time they tend to be in series of similar themes. I like to use acrylic gel as an adhesive. The wood blocks are sealed with Golden Paint Co’s GAC 100, an acrylic made for the purpose of sealing wood and other materials, before I add anything. (GAC 100 is also a great all-purpose acrylic medium.) Sometimes the wood grain and knots, etc, will show, other times they’re painted over and then roughed up a bit so wood peeks thru here and there. I like crackle effects so those are frequently part of the overall finish. Once all the artwork is dry, I seal them again. These are a good use of scraps, both wood and sketchbook kinds, that might otherwise end up in the trash!


Only two left, numbers 4 and 8! $45 each at {9} The Gallery on Grand in Phoenix!

There are still two similar miniature pieces available at {9} The Gallery, 1229 Grand Ave, Phoenix, AZ, out of the 9 cube shaped pieces I had there. I’ll be showing at 9 again this year, details to come when they are known!

Sculpting a bigger butt, and adding eyes


Enlarging the behind, work in progress, 2016

Decided one of the sculptures in progress needed a bigger butt. I enlarged it with an air dry clay called Paperclay, not to be confused with a kiln fired clay of the same name. This can be hard to find at art supply stores but I reliably find it at Michael’s. Last time I got it, it was the last one in stock! Whew!


The pin holes in the add on buttocks are to let more air in so it dries faster and more evenly. I put it in the sun to really bake it dry! After it dried, I smeared small scraps of thin chiffon fabric with acrylic medium, and pressed that down over it for some added strength. Other fabrics work, too, but chiffon seems very strong and flattens so well it’s barely detectable.


When that was dry, I put a thin coat of Golden’s heavy modeling paste over it, and made fur texture with a  home made texture tool. I save plastic cards etc, like used bus passes, and cut a pattern into them to make a texture. You can paint or glaze over the dried texture to get various looks. If you can’t wipe off your paint/glaze before it dries, you may be able to carefully work that area back again with a rag and some rubbing alcohol, or fine wet-dry sanding film and minimal water. I usually have a damp rag in one hand and work fast, but the more aggressive methods will work if an area dries too fast for the rag alone.


Eye detail, sculpture 2016, Cindy Schnackel


Here’s a close up of the eye of one sculpture. I bought realistic eye balls from a maker who makes them specifically for use in arts and crafts, etc. A lot of the processes I researched involved baking various clays in the oven, or other toxins, something I didn’t trust to be safe in a house with pet birds. I may explore some other ways to make my own eyes, but in the meantime, these are fabulous, and I sculpt the lids, etc around them after attaching firmly to the substructure. I debated whether this sculpture would even have eyes, since I kind of liked the way it looked without! But, in the end, I’m glad I put eyes in it now. Perhaps a different piece will be eyeless.

By the time these are shown in the fall, I may have changed things, but here’s where they stand now.