Getting out of my own way


Into the Garden


acrylic on canvas


This past week I have continued my exploration of intuitive abstract painting.  I decided to go big.  This was the largest canvas I had ever done.  It totally intimidated me.  I got stuck about halfway through and was thoroughly frustrated.  So I put it away and just before I was getting ready to clean up my paint  (way too much left over) my eye caught on my art journal.  I decided to use up the paint.

And  I learned something very important for me….I need to remember to work in my journal.  It’s a place where I can get out of my own way and just experiment with colors, and composition, and texture.  I pulled out a copy of an old photo and just started gluing and painting and about an hour later I ended up happy, relaxed, and with this journal spread.  I did it with no expectations of the outcome.  There was the lesson.



Art Journal Page

The next day when I came back to my painting, Into the Garden, I tried to bring some of that feeling back and I think it worked.  I’m happy with the results and the painting is now hanging just where I wanted it and it makes me smile every time I look at it.

Lesson learned.  (For now at least!)


Magazine Makeover

I’m doing an intriguing tutorial from the amazing and talented artist Robin Laws called Magazine Makeover.  It’s an unusual way to recycle magazine images into paintings using oil pastels and other mixed media, a great way to practice painting and drawing skills, and just a whole lot of fun as well.

My first attempt stayed pretty close to the original image.  After putting a coat of clear gesso over the page, I dove in with oil pastels.  I had a lot of fun with her sunglasses by adding green to the reflected palm trees.

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I got a little more adventurous with my second one.  She’s kind of fierce….

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And then I got braver and went more abstract and used a rather strange color palette.

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And finally I went even more abstract and added some collage elements.



A great way to study faces, try out new materials, and simply have a great time creating!

We’re Not in Kansas Anymore



IMG_2446Encaustic collage has become a favorite of mine.  I love gathering the materials almost as much as I love doing the actual collage.  I find many of my treasures in vintage stores and swap meets, and I’ve found wonderful things online, especially from etsy and ebay.

This piece includes a vintage map of Kansas I found at a swap meet.  I love the square shapes of the counties and the subtle coloring.  The old photo came from a vintage store in the nearby town of Carpinteria.  The drafting tool is from France and I found that on ebay.

In this piece I started with an 8×10 birch panel board covered with encaustic gesso.  Then I added two layers of natural white encaustic paint.  Next, I covered the inside of an old book cover with a layer of Venetian plaster.  After that dried, I began to layout my collage.


Here is my initial layout.


Before I show you the next step, here’s a picture of my little wax set up.  It’s a small griddle (very inexpensive on amazon), small foil cake pans, an oven thermometer set on the griddle (for a more accurate temperature reading), an assortment of natural bristle and hake brushes, and the wax medium.  I use products from R & F.  The second photo shows some of my favorite tools and my practice board where I try things out.



My first layer is the map.  After it has been fused, I add the rest of the pieces, layer by layer, consulting the photo I took with my phone so I don’t forget the composition!  The last item, the drafting tool, is attached with E6000 glue.


The finished collage is then mounted to the wood panel using Yes glue.


I finish the piece by incising lines (after the being sure the wax on the panel board is cool) and rubbing oil pastel into the lines.  The edges are finished with liquid pencil, rubbed on gently.  After a final fuse, the piece is finished.


I get drop in frames for my pieces from two sources.  Amazon has very nice ones for several standard sizes and FramesUSA has a multitude of standard sizes and you can order custom ones as well.


I hope you enjoyed seeing my work process!

A New Direction


It’s been a long while….I have spent much of the last year exploring all kinds of art from drawing, to painting, to encaustic collage.  It’s been a fantastic journey and I continue it still.

I have taken many wonderful classes, mostly online, and have loved learning in that manner.  From collage, to encaustic wax, to digital photography…I feel so fortunate to have had some fantastic instructors.

My latest exploration has taken me into large abstract paintings since I now have a lovely studio (with an easel) in which to work.  I work every day.  Making art has become like breathing.

I am very happy that my encaustic work is now on display at The Blue Door in Santa Barbara for the month of July.  Besides my etsy shop, StudioMiradero, this is the first time my art has been “out in public” and that has been really exciting.

Blue Door Wall

I continue to be very active on Instagram ( you can find me at and try to post daily and I have just designed and published a website!  You can find it at

It seemed like time to return to the world of blogging so here I am!  I will post again soon….I promise.