#266- SERENITY NOW (2)

Finally Finished.

It feels good.  There were so many steps and layers to this painting, I didn’t think I’d ever finish!

The final measurements of this hand stamped acrylic painting are 37″x57″ inches.  Roughly 3 feet by 5 feet.

The painting is a tribute to my everyday routine.  The craziness that pursues in trying to be a mother, wife, and artist.

My true intent was to find some excuse to create an image using hand-crafted stamps.  I used craft foam and recycled elements to create the stamps.  I also wanted the painting to be so busy and so crazy, you’d have to look around for a while before you saw everything.  The painting is absolutely crazy!  I like it in real life better than on the screen.  You can’t grasp how large it is.

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Here are some of the final stamps I created today.  A feather for the feather duster, an argyle print for my sneakers and a star for my high-tops.  We all know what that is a nod to!


I did forget the red shoelaces, I will have to add them in tomorrow.  Man…never ending!

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The first funny tid-bit is my text to my husband.  It says “Hi sweetie I can’t pick up the kids cuz I can’t find my keys”.  I’d like to think that this is an unusual text, but not in my life.  Oh and I can add “locked myself out of the car…however baby still in car” and “went sled riding, now freezing, randomly using someone’s phone to ask you to come get us…keys locked in car”. Yeah, many texts about keys and my car.

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This supermarket bag is a dig on the whole “organic movement”.  Boy do I get ticked off that we have to pay a lot extra for what is common sense.  If you don’t want poison in your food, then you’ll have to pay for an “upgrade”. really?  Thank you lobbyists.  So this is what I wrote on my faux bag  “We promise High Quality food grown in nature with no chemicals. The way all food should be grown but we will charge you four times the amount for it. ENJOY!”  As a mom or should I say as a human, I constantly struggle to figure out the balance between healthy and affordable.

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My third poke is a detergent bottle called “TIDY” instead of Tide.  I am a complete failure at laundry.  First of all, I never do it, then I STINK at folding and finally, the worst of all is getting it back into my drawers.  Now let’s add two kids to the already failing process!  So I wrote on this bottle “TIDY Helps clean -clothes, snot, dirt, pee & poo, paint, stink, sauce, berries & coffee – GUARANTEED!  Yeah, I call that mom humor.

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To top it all off, yesterday was DAY #265.  That means as of yesterday, I had 100 days left.

Today, makes it 99!

I have pottery tomorrow and then I’m on to something new (that doesn’t take so long!)

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#265 - FAUX BOIS (6)

Faux Bois in French means an artistic interpretation of wood.  Sort of fitting for today.

I REALLY thought I was going to finish this painting today.  I worked so hard, but it wasn’t to be.  The faux wood floor took so long!

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You see, first I hand stamped the shape of each board.  Below in the photo are foam rectangles attached to cardboard necklace boxes.  the trick was I had to cover every item in the adjacent area with newsprint before I stamped.  Think about the shoes, feather duster and grocery bag…so many curves and angles!

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If that wasn’t enough, I waited for it to dry, carved faux wood grain out of the existing stamps and then re-stamped each floor board.  Again, all those curves and angles!  I like how it turned out though, so it was worth it.

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Next I created a pentagon and hexagon stamp to tackle the soccer ball.  You can’t be a proper “soccer mom” without a soccer ball!

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I painted the background of the ball a dirty brown color in hopes that when I added the white over it, I’d get some contrast.  It’s not perfect, but I think it communicates “soccer ball” so – good enough!

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I then got half-way through the clothes detergent bottle.  I also added gesso to the paint brush and phone so they’d be ready to work on tomorrow.

This means I still have the paintbrush, phone, grocery bag, feather duster and sneakers to finish tomorrow.  At least they are contained which means I won’t have to protect too much around them….Oh the finishing details!

Please be finished tomorrow.  I really, really want to start on something new!!!

That’s a Gemini for you!

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I tell ya, today brought me back to playing with my Barbies as a kid.  I LOVED creating outfits, mixing the patterns, colors, fabrics and then ripping everything off and doing it all over again!  Man that was hours and hours of entertainment for me.  I would create my own paper dolls as well.  First I’d create a mannequin and then tons and tons of outfits using wrapping papers, markers and fabric remnants.

That is what this project reminds me of; Playing.

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I had so much fun “playing” today.  This hand stamped painting keeps getting crazier and crazier!

All I have left now are all of the hand props and a faux hardwood floor I’m going to try to “install” tomorrow.

Looking forward to completing this 3ftx4ft painting.  I can barely walk around it!

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#263- Beginning to see a pattern (1)

Today I planned on adding more pattern to my giant painting, but first I had to create more stamps in order to create more patterns.

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I first had in mind a simple Swiss-dot pattern.  Easy enough, I took out my hole punch, created a ton of foam dots and glued them to a recycled jewelry box.  I was punching holes from yesterdays scraps.  As I looked closer, I began to see a tulip shape out of the scraps.  As I punched dots in it and cut it up some more, another image began to emerge.

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So I went with it and created this wild looking flower.  That’s why you never throw out scraps…ya never know! I’m thinking of using it on the black dress.

#263- Beginning to see a pattern (2)Next I created a bulls-eye.  I never go crazy measuring, sketching or making things perfect.  I like the wavy, jagged and organic lines of hand-cutting.  If nothing is perfect, that becomes a pattern within the work too!

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Finally! I got to the painting part.

The two upper arms were created with previous stamps I created in the shape of vases.

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In this photo I am blocking out everything around the arm with scrap paper before I ink-up the stamp to create a sleeve pattern.

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I also created a beta fish stamp for my poor daughter who is still mourning the death of “Shimmer”.  I created a Compass which is the symbol of my kid’s school.  A rooster for my stepmother who is obsessed with her bubucks as she calls them.  I made a very loose chevron zig-zag, a wave or bend I thought would be great for stockings, and a small geometric circle pattern glued to a soda bottle cap. Now it’s just a matter of figuring out where each will go…

See, now you know the personal meaning behind some of the patterns…  random yet not so random. hmm…

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Progress=baby steps…this is taking way longer than I expected. But as always, it’s the journey right?

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Ok. Not really.  I made faux wallpaper for my painting though!


First I had to design and cut out a custom stamp.  This is a nod to the Indian Pomegranate motif.  I love how the positive and negative spaces of this shape fit so nicely.  It’s great for wallpaper!


I also made two leaf stamps as well…I didn’t get to apply them today though.

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I also started to add some pattern to the dress today.  I plan on covering everything with pattern, so it’s going to take a little bit longer….

I also finished up all the hands today as well.

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Here’s a picture of newspaper I cut to cover a particular area before I begin stamping.  This way part of the stamp prints onto the newspaper giving the illusion the wallpaper is behind the woman.  I rip and tear tons of little pieces of newspaper throughout the entire process.  There is always some area that needs temporary protection.


This is my painting of a multi-tasking mom as of today…

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Well, at least my cat’s enjoying it!

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#259 - Making Headway (1)

I’m finally getting to the fun part!

That’s the stamp-making part of the painting I’ve been working on for over a week now.

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I use recycled objects like jewelry cases, cosmetics lids and wood remnants to create the stamp bases. Next, I cut craft foam into the desired shapes, glue them to the recycling and PRESTO! I have custom stamps ready to use on my artwork. My theory is to create a paint surface that is half traditional painting and half rudimentary print-making.

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So what I plan on doing with this giant 3ft x 4ft painting I am working on, is to stamp every surface with patterns.  Even the background.

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The face took me some time today, but the rest should move fairly steadily from here.  The sketching and under-painting were miserable, but the COLOR and pattern design is so much fun!   I don’t know what possessed me to try this, but now I’m finally starting to get excited about it.  I feel like I created a lot of movement in the head area today.  Just wait until I start on that dress!

I plan on creating my own paisleys, Ikats, chevrons & florals.  Each arm will have its own fabric print and of course wallpaper for the background!

I’m finally coming up with my own artist technique and it’s very uniquely-Me!

Ah, this is such a blast!

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#256 - Little Further

I have to say, whenever I get to the posting point for the past couple of days, It creates this brief moment of reflection.  My overwhelming thought is “this painting is so weird, why am I doing this?”  I haven’t been able to shirk this reaction.  What does that say when the artist herself isn’t quite sure what the heck is going on?

Plug ahead.  That’s what the artist needs to say…Plug ahead.

I can see that working on a flat table is not doing me any favors.  If this giant piece of paper were vertical, I could step back and fix the perspective issues, but as it is now, the only time I see this painting in its entirety is when I take the progress photo.

With that said, I see quite a few things that need fixing.  At this point in the painting though, I am simply trying to fill in all the negative and positive spaces with color so I can figure out the color placement. Because it is acrylic, technically, I can re-do or go over any area of the painting and change it to my liking.

It’s crazy to think I’m doing all this under-painting for the simple pleasure of stamping all over its surfaces as soon as I’m done.  Let’s hope this crazy idea of mine is worth doing.

Did anyone notice I’m posting mid-day?  That’s right.  It’s been a long time since I’ve posted mid-day!  The reason is, in about 5 minutes, I am going to take off to NYC again for one final art tourist adventure.

I shall not tell you where my cousin and I are going, but I hope we have a blast.

Tune in tomorrow to find out!

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OK. Making a little progress here.

I’m glad to have today’s photo because the paper I’m working on is so large it is hard to gain perspective. It measures 37″ x 57″. I now see that I’d like to lose the skirt and drop the black down to create a dress.

My plan is to paint an under-painting and then I am going to create hand-made stamps to create a top layer.  I will make stamps of eyes, nose, mouth, hair, plus fabric patterns for all the garments.  I may even create a wallpaper for the background.  I love making stamps and I love the print-like quality they can bring to artwork. I’ve never done this before, so I can’t say with any accuracy how well it will turn out.  Either way, I will enjoy the ride and call it one big “experiment”!

Here is the progression thus far:


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The subject matter is a commentary on my life.  The many things I am juggling at once during this 365 challenge.  It’s kinda funny, so far to me, it looks like a cross between a Hindu deity and Charlie’s Angels!

It will take some time to iron out the kinks, but at least I feel like I made a little headway today!

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#253 - Fully Armed (1)

I am making the perfect piece of artwork for this week! Check yesterday’s post for the concept.

The gist is, as usual, I feel like I’m trying to do a hundred things at once!

I started off the day of course preparing breakfast and lunches for the kids…racing to get them on the bus and then settled in to work on some “creative” volunteer work.

Last year I created an invitation for my kids school fundraiser. #253 - Fully Armed (8) It’s a fairly formal food tasting set in one of the most beautiful farms in our area.  They liked it enough to ask me to use it again for this year. To save on postage and change it up a little, I converted the image into a 5×7 card.  I also found 100% recycled envelopes made from brown paper bags.  The school has an environmental focus which I thought tied in nicely and the event is in the autumn which makes me think of brown leaves and harvest colors.  I created three different color invites:

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I also made flyers in the three same colors to match.  Now they just have to pick a color and we’ll get rolling…


Next, I moved on to that giant piece of paper on my floor…

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I am telling you my cat, like many cats, loves to sit on my papers, punch the keys on my keyboard, and jump on my bladder when I wake up every morning!  How do they know the exact ways to get our attention??? sneaky little devils!

Today I sketched all the parts of my drawing.

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which was a lot of arms!

I was able to fit almost everything from my sketch except for the vacuum.  No room.  I picked a feather duster instead.  It symbolizes cleaning right?  I’m so allergic to dust. Ugh.

Sketching all those arms took me 4 hours…

…I then took a break to sit on the phone for an hour with customer service… fixed the problem though…

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Then I decided to block in the background of my painting.  I got a third of the way there, but then it was school pick up time…

I should have added an arm with keys in it, for my chauffeur business!

…got the kids…made snacks…started to prep dinner…ate…read bedtime stories…

which puts me at 9pm Blog-Time (aka. try to form a thought even though my brain is officially fried!).

Yep.  That sums it up.  I mention this because the rest of the week looks like it will be just as crazy.  My darling cousin Sabina is here from Germany and we plan on hitting a few more museums, maybe do some art, maybe make some jewelry, maybe go see the Newport Mansions…plus soccer practice…plus school volunteer meetings…plus dentist appointments…school, sleep, eat, clean, make art, entertain, sleep, cook, get on that mountain of laundry…sleep oh I’d like to sleep…maybe go for a hike on Friday, pack lunches, force dirty kids to shower, weed, exercise, empty dishwasher, fill out school forms, pay bills, sleep, sleep, slee………….

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… I’m done. Goodnight!

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Um, Can you tell I had fun with this one? You bet I did!

I have so much to write today.  Good thing I finished fairly early!

So where to begin…

My influence for this style of work absolutely owns it’s origin’s with artist Richard Merkin.


If you click his name above, you can read his bio, but pretty much he was a picture framing customer of my family’s business.  It took many years before he would work with me.  For the first decade he would only work with Bill, my grandfather and fellow illustrator to Richard. Slowly he began to work with my mom “who was no Bill” and then 20 years later he slowly began to work with me “who was no Patty”.  That was how he was.  He didn’t trust you had any talent until he did trust you had talent, then he would only work with you.  What a handful!

So I got to work with Richard Merkin and his amazing art.  Please take a quick glance at this website below to better understand his style:


What I loved about his work was it’s simplicity and confidence.  There are no wishy-washy lines.  He drew with pastels and he knew exactly what he was going to put down before he put it down.  His color use is fabulous.  His negative space is carefully thought out.  Most of his work shows his wry sense of humor yet also tells a story.

This man wore a yellow and red striped beanie and a giant white mustache. And he rocked it.  You could see him coming a mile down the street.  Brightly colored, absolutely funky, tremendously confident.  He made you want to step aside.  I adored his confidence.

The older I get, the crazier my clothing seems to get.  I owe this to him.  I would simply observe him and I realized if you act like what you are doing is perfectly normal, like you just happen to be “SPECIAL”, people seem to go along with it.  By the time I am in my 60’s, I plan on wearing cat-eyed glasses, feathers and ridiculous patterns (oh, wait I already do!).


Where as Merkin used pastels, I love using wax crayons & watercolors.  I have to make it my own, but what I take from him is the flat 2-D planes of color, exact &  simplified lines, and a careful consideration of negative space. I am a true lover of pattern, so I add that in any chance I get as well.

Here are some other works of mine influenced by Richard Merkin:


He is no longer with us, but absolutely unforgettable.  He has left his mark.


Let me talk about the premise of my painting.

The subject is a commentary on those who buy art, or shall I say those who are not buying art?

I have been going to art shows since I could walk. The rooms were always filled with eccentrics.  Crazy little outfits.  Crazy personalities and egos and the very normal and traditional as well. At my moms art shows, I can remember this 80 year old couple.  They showed up to every event, dressed to the nines and parked themselves in front of the caviar religiously.  We loved having them.  They were part of the whole experience. This painting celebrates these fun happenings.

Now, I get it, this wasn’t a part of everyone’s upbringing.  This just happened to be what was important to my family. But what I would like to address is what I seem to find missing in a lot (not all) of my generation.

It’s the patronage of the arts.

This is my plea.

Hopefully I am not about to lose every friend I own, but here it goes…


One’s home should be a reflection of one’s interests.  When you enter one’s home, you should be able to learn more about the owner’s personality and their values.

If your art comes with or matches your couch, what is it telling people is important to you? your couch?

Are you an aficionado of music, dance, politics, antiques, cuisine, sports, the environment, animals? Are you showing the world this throughout your home?  or is there only a big black box on the wall?

What are you teaching your children?

What will they learn is important about our culture in the upcoming century?

Is it Ughs. Ipods. Louis Vuitton bags?

Dinner out twice, could be an investment in art that could hang on your walls for a lifetime and be passed onto the next generation.

What is in your homes that would be worth passing on?

I’m pretty sure it’s not from Pottery Barn.

I am sorry.  This is strong. It’s very judgmental.

 I do hope you understand there is absolutely nothing wrong with Pottery Barn!

I am using “Pottery Barn” as a blanket term for mass-produced aesthetics. Something that you and your neighbor would both have thus making the object less original or unique.

What this has to do with is a current change in values as the recent eldest generation begins to pass.

People in the past really saved and sacrificed to own what few belongings they had.  For this reason, they really meant something, were very well-made and passed down as heirlooms.

What my generation has inherited is a disposable way of life.

I ask you to take a good look around your home and pay attention to your investments.

We have to decide what legacy we will be passing on to the next generation.  What is important to us as humans, what should be celebrated? We need to make sure that this is what we are reflecting.

Otherwise, this is it.

The days of investing in art will fade like the fake-painting that matches the couch.

To be disposed of in a few short years and replaced with the same thing.


websites like:

Have affordable options that differentiate you from everyone else. We are all unique, our surroundings should reflect it.

Please don’t hate my harsh remarks, I just ask that YOU, people of my generation, YOU define what you find aesthetically pleasing or thoughtfully provocative.  Please do not place that decision in the hands of a mass-market merchandiser.  I know there is more to all of us than this.

Find your voice and hang it on your walls!

Ok. I’m now stepping down from my soapbox. :)

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