Painting, sculpting


Working on paintings for a September show, and both paintings and sculptures for an October show.


The gray critters on the lawn started as armatures made of empty plastic containers and cardboard tubes. Above, they are further along and drying in the sun on a lawn chair. At this point I’ve used several types of adhesives, fabrics, and modeling compounds like paper mache, paper clay, and of course any piece of stuff from the recycling bin that is the right shape.

Though I used various adhesives when called for, a lot of the construction is made of cloth strips soaked in acrylic gel medium. The resulting shell is durable and not prone to soften again while working on it. Lightweight, too! The outer shaping was done partially by wrapping like this, and also paper mache that I added some acrylic medium to, to make it adhere well and be water resistant when dry. Thick parts of the paper mache layer were poked with a chopstick to give them some air holes so it’d dry faster. They would be filled in later as I work on details of the animals with finer grained materials like acrylic modeling paste.



Four paintings in progress on the patio table. All are painted on vintage sheet music I found at a thrift store and adhered to panels. They dried nice and flat, must have been nice paper in those days.

Didn’t find any eyes in thrift store toys that satisfied me, so I resorted to ordering fake eyes for sculptures, and as soon as they arrive I’ll be adding eyes to some things that don’t have any. But, in a way, I’m kind of liking the no-eye look of one, so you never know!

I have taken later pictures of several paintings and sculptures, but they’re all too close to being finished now, to keep displaying them, until the shows are being announced (late summer-early fall).

Mutant Piñata progress; Shows

Mutant Piñata!

The Mutant Piñata drop off is in just a couple of weeks! My husband, who is into technology, has a phrase for projects that get out of hand with ideas to make them more cool: “Creeping Elegance.” (He once had me draw a creature to depict Creeping Elegance, which his team at work had made into T Shirts!) I don’t want to be caught at the 11th hour, still not done, so, I’ve actually simplified my original plan, which was pretty hazy anyway. Nonetheless I might have to title my Piñata “Creeping Elegance.” We shall see.

Below are some progress shots and descriptions of how I made her. (I’ve decided she’s a woman, but you can decide otherwise if you like.)


Making big eyes

The eyes are plastic domes from a thrift store picture frame. Some were dented so it wasn’t suitable to use as a frame, but they were perfect for this. They’re about the size of the plastic domes on top of various slushy or ice cream drinks only there is no hole for a straw. I started by scuffing up the inside with fine sandpaper. Then I painted the whites of the eyes with gesso. The light blue iris is gesso tinted with blue acrylic paint. The pupil is unpainted. Since the creature’s body is now black, the iris looks kinda black, but also like you can look inside the eye, because you can, sort of! I left some plastic around the edge to have something to hold it down with.


Inside the cone; structure, and tentacle base

The body is a cardboard cone. The cardboard was about 3 x 4 feet I think, thin and flexible, more like tag board. It was some sort of packing material in a grocery store that was trash, and I grabbed it. The cone is held in place with duct tape.

The small cardboard disc with sticks and wire was adhered with gel medium near the top inside of the cone. It gives it stability and is a way for the hanging wire loop to be attached.

The second disc is larger, and has holes because I plan on stringing fabric tentacles thru them, so they’ll hang down below the body and flutter.


Tentacles threaded thru the cardboard circle with holes

Threading strips of chiffon fabric thru the holes and making them stay by tying knots. This was costume fabric I bought long ago on sale, because it was cool. Since I don’t see myself dressing up as a fairy any time soon, I decided this was where it was destined to be used.

When I’m ready to put the tentacle disc in permanently, I’ll use some gel medium so the tentacles can’t easily be pulled out, and also to adhere the edges of the disc to the inside of the cone body. This disc could show so I painted it dark. I had some really dark purple that was almost black, and needing to get used, which worked great for this.




Eyes and tube mouth attached

The cone is wrapped in strips of cloth soaked in a combination of black gesso and gel medium. SUPER MESSY! I worked on this outdoors for that reason! Even being cut with clear gel, the gesso is really opaque and black. It was Dick Blick gesso, mostly, but some was also Liquitex. Gesso alone might have worked for this, but the gel medium is more sticky and I wanted to be sure things adhered well.

It has dried to a nice leather like material, pretty sturdy, and not heavy. Before I attached eyes and a tube mouth, I had let it hang and dry for a couple of days. I also painted the inside with more of the dark purple/black. The strips of cloth go over the excess plastic around the eye-domes, securing them in place. That way I don’t have to rely only on adhesives or gel medium really sticking well to plastic long term. I split the excess plastic around the domes with a mat knife so they’d conform to the body and not resist being wrapped and held down. Wrapping the cloth around them created nice wrinkly things like might be found around real eyes.

The mouth is a cardboard tube. I used a mat knife to cut some X’s in the body to make a hole that would fit the tube and hold it securely. I glued it in with gel medium and wrapped it with gesso/gel soaked cloth strips. The flared starburst lips are a piece of waste tag board from packaging, twisted into a cone, and cut, shaped, and painted.


Getting close to done…

Above is where it ended today, with the chiffon fabric ‘tentacles’ cut in tapered shapes, fluttering in the breeze. The disc holding the tentacles is temporarily held in by the other end of the wire from the hanging loop. I will gel it in when I’m ready. At this point I may have more messy stuff to do to the body, so I still want to be able to remove the tentacle disc.

I need to think on it a bit now, and see what else I want to do, or have time to do. We have great weather for working outside now, warm and dry. I hope to finish it this week, and since there shouldn’t be any more large areas that need hours to dry, that shouldn’t be a problem.

Creating it has given me ideas for a more of these, and more complex ones. Maybe next year!

My husband is also working on one, and I like it a lot. I know he wanted to do a lot of electronics in it and may not have time, but I think his is really good just as it is.

Info on the annual show sponsored by Beatrice Moore who has done so much for the arts on Grand Ave!


Two or more Upcoming Shows

I’ll be busy making enough work for essentially 2 solo shows this fall. One is not a solo show for sure, it’s a 2 person show, but the space is large so the amount of work is equal to a solo show. One show will be at Olney Gallery, 2nd Ave and Roosevelt in Phoenix, one at {9} The Gallery on Grand Ave in Phoenix. These will be happening in September and October, (barring schedule changes). Besides these, there is at least one and maybe several group shows I will try to do, as time permits. Will give details when things are more concrete.