What a day, what a day.


Maybe I should start by telling you about my night.  We got home late from NYC and everyone dove into bed.  Three hours later I hear someone screaming bloody murder.  It was my son.  He’s been sick all week and it finally culminated with a terrible earache.  12pm,2am,4am and 6am, I had to rock him to sleep as the pain medicine kicked in.

So let’s just say neither of us slept much.  My son spent today sleeping.


…but I didn’t.  We had a huge family pizza party instead!  Four generations of my husband’s family gathered today which is a big deal.  My husbands brothers live in different states and it gets harder and harder to get everyone in the same place at the same time.  Post Christmas and Post Thanksgiving seem to be working best and really it is so much less stressful.  You get to gather without the pomp and circumstance, which allows everyone to be themselves.

It was a very nice day.  A very busy day. A very loud day!

Which brought me to the end of the evening.  Bags under my eyes and flat-out tired.

Not the best working conditions for art making, but I forged ahead.  I had painted a little this morning and finished up tonight.

I think this is it for faces.  I’m done. Finito. No more-o!

We have more family here tomorrow.  Hopefully my son will sleep through the night tonight and I will figure out what I am going to do tomorrow…tomorrow!

Good night!

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DAY #352 – KIDS

#352- KIDS (8)

As the days of my 365 challenge dwindle I tackle yet another item on my bucket list.

Swirling around in my head are two concepts.  One, I want to create some collages and two, I have these strong visuals of  kids I’d like to portray.  Kids. There’s nothing more fun than that!

Now this is a tricky topic.  If I choose one kid how come I didn’t choose the other? How about siblings? Do I have favorites?  This first kid isn’t even my kid, so we can take playing favorites off the table right now OK?

Quite simply, what it comes down to is that I have three kids in mind.  The only basis for picking these kids is that they really produce visual cues for me, meaning with just a mention of a name, characters come to life in my head.  I picture something instantly. Now I am working on a crazy tight time frame, so if these kids I am picking come natural to me then that’s the direction I am going in.  I’m starting to get a little brain fry here!

Now PARENTS – and I know a lot of you, don’t even start! It’s that simple.

Plus I don’t even know what I’m doing so you may not want your kid to be part of this anyways!

Ok. Back to the process because that’s why I’m creating this in the first place right?

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I first began by hand painting and texturizing paper with acrylic paints. I used rice , a fork and a brayer to create different textures.

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After I created a nice assortment of papers I sat down and began to cut. Now I have a concept for this piece which I will share with you tomorrow, but for today, I was just trying to lay down the foundation.

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In fact, I haven’t even decided on a head shape yet!  I’m not trying to create a real-life portrait, instead I want to choose each shape to work for & against the other shapes. You know, curves vs. angles or straight vs. tilted. I want to keep moving everything until the composition is interesting.

So this is only the beginning. I have quite a few layers I’d like to add.

We’ll see if I can get some of the ideas in my head to manifest or whether this is simply going to be a chopped-up papery mess…

I never quite know when I try something new. I’ll hold my breath as usual!

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#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.

#266- SERENITY NOW (1)

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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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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So the only feedback I got yesterday was from a fellow blogger Caren Taylor. She said to keep the hair solid black.  Caren, I heard you loud and clear, but what I decided, is next week I will actually start from scratch and recreate this whole concept and hopefully apply what I’ve learned (which is not to over-do things!).  Thus the new one will be simplified and this painting, which started to become over-the-top, I decided to just push well over-that-top!

My husband had a very good point too.  He said it looked like the “symbolic creativity” was leaving my head, not entering my head (Funny, I’ve sort of felt like that lately!).  This made me sketch a hundred different scenarios and no matter what, it looked like the creativity was escaping.  I finally figured it out.  Because you are only seeing the head and not where the creativity is coming from, your mind can only deduce that it is leaving.  By alluding to the source of the creativity (via a strong vantage point) it begins to appear to be trickling down from somewhere…I will sketch this out a few more times and try again.  No quitting Mary! You can figure this out!

Weird.  I just talked to myself in a public forum.

It happens!

Woe, there I go again!


This is truly a weird painting. That’s what I get for checking out the art section of the library!  All sorts of things start crawling into your brain…I guess that was the whole point of this experiment.

Well now what?

I guess I can figuratively spend the rest of my day with my head cracked open, trying to absorb a little creative mojo.

Yeah, good idea Mary!

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Yesterday I picked up a ton of art books from the library hoping something might spark some creativity.

Oh there are so many beautiful inspiring books, but for some reason one book stood out in particular.

It is called  “STORIES eleven aboriginal artists”.  Works from the Holmes a Court Collection.

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I really am drawn to almost all insider and folk art.  I think it is because a lot of it is created using pattern, color and symbolism.  Here are some of the artworks I really enjoyed in this book:

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Almost all of the designs and embellishments are made from dots and small lines.  I love the graphic effect. They also remind me of Hundertwasser’s work from Vienna.  Vivid colors and lots of lines and shapes.

These images are said to come to the artists through dreams; shamans.

The bending paths are said to represents rivers.

This spoke to me.

My thoughts were: Rivers=Streams=Consciousness=Streams of Consciousness=Creativity

I thought of receiving inspiration, beauty and creativity through streams into my mind.

This is how I came up with todays subject matter.

I finished the dot streams today representing creativity entering my soul, thus “Filling the Well”. Tomorrow I plan on using some of the small lines and stripes to design the face and hair.  Got to add in some of those vivid colors I love so much too.

This is a big poster sized piece of Archers Watercolor paper it measures 22″ x 30″.  I am using acrylic though.  Most of the aboriginal art is done on wood board so I painted a base coat of olive-green to give the same feeling.

It’s fun.  It’s like pop-folk art.

Tune in tomorrow for the results!

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This is my girlfriend Maria’s new love of her life, Teddy.

 I’m pretty sure he is a mini Pinscher.  I promised I would paint a portrait of her dogs (she has another dog Honey I will have to paint another day!)  while I was visiting, but time ran out.

This painting was painted in three locations.  First I sketched it in Maria’s kitchen (notice I omitted the 80’s wallpaper this time around!) Next I got in the car, drove for three hours and arrived at my Dad and Step-mom’s house.  I whipped out my water color pad and almost finished it last night at their house…but I still had some work to do on it.  So location three was back at my home sweet home this morning.

All in all, the weekend forced me to bead some of my pendants, paint some fishees and  complete a portrait of cutie Teddy…I’d say it was an artistically productive weekend.

At this point I’m not sure if my friends and family want to support this crazy endeavor or strangle me. It’s probably a little of both!

A painting of this size can take 5-6 hours.  When visiting, I’d imagine it can be a drag watching your guest stuck in a chair most of the day!  I guess I will make up for it when I give them the paintings to remember me by!

I just want to say it again, thank you all for supporting me -my wonderful friends and family!  xxoo Mary

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