Friday, November 21, 2014

Craving stillness

The cardinal is finished, and I am ready to ship it off to it’s new home right after Thanksgiving. I’ve become rather fond of this little bird (Notecuz every little thing - gonna be alright ) and I will miss him, but he will be cherished in his new home as a reminder to the family of a loved one they lost a few years ago. It’s wonderful to hear the stories that make up the connection behind why someone loves and wants your artwork.

Berry Christmas NickBerry Christmas
12” x 12”
smalti, stained glass, garnet beads and Carrera marble

Prints will be available very soon – I’ll let you know when they are in. Also, this is the design that will be featured on my annual Christmas ornament. Details on that very soon too!

With the rush to finish the cardinal, planning for travel to visit my family for Thanksgiving and my husband’s for Christmas, not to mention preparing for the Holiday Market on December 5, I find that I am craving stillness. I want to sit in a chair and not move. Not even my brain.

I can’t do that, so I figured the next best thing was to make my next project a still life. Not my usual fare, but this will be enough of a challenge to keep the juices flowing. When preparing to stage the still life, the first item I thought of and wanted to include was a basket by an artist friend of mine, Diane McEachen. She owns Brook Village Basketry and has a studio just down the hall from me. I really hesitated to do that, because the prospect of rendering a woven basket in mosaic was pretty daunting. But I think it’s going to work:


In the interest of saving my sanity, I will leave off the wooden beads and the metal bail handle.

I will keep some of the table top and fade it out chiaroscuro style into the background.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Please welcome my new intern!

Today’s post is by a guest blogger – my new intern! Esteban Gonzalez is working with me two days a week, learning the art of mosaic and helping with studio and online tasks. Hope you’ll say hi and welcome him in!



I am a Colombian born, emerging, artist. Recent graduate of the Columbus College of Art and Design in Ohio. Currently working at the Asheville Art museum as a Gallery Attendant. Have been making art since Batman, & other super heroes, passed by my 3 year old eyes. Love painting, drawing, and woodworking- and, I guess, now  mosaics! I also lived and went to high school in Charlotte, N.C. Very happy to be working with Lee Ann, and living in Asheville.

Monday, November 10, 2014

No rest for the wicked.

By the end of this week I was so tired I wasn’t thinking straight – I failed to take photos, either of the progress I’ve made on the cardinal mosaic or of the people milling about the Studio Stroll, enjoying the art and refreshments and occasionally even buying some art. If you didn’t make it to the Studio Stroll this weekend, you missed a wonderful event. We couldn’t have asked for better weather, and at least in Riverview Station, the atmosphere was almost carnival-like.

I’m so pleased with our little corner of the River Arts District – nearly every week a new and exciting artist moves in, and those who are there are committed to promoting our building and letting people know what fascinating art lives inside. For example, this crow sculpture by the awesome Lois Steele lived there until yesterday, when he then moved to my home to keep my cats in line.

IMG_0266 (1)

As exhausting as it’s been to push through 3 major events in 10 days, I can’t rest now! I’ve got lots of plans in the development stage that I’m anxious to share with you, but right now I need to get busy with preparations for our next big event – the Holiday Market at Riverview Station. This is the first of what we hope will be an annual event. There will be a food truck on the premises (a little bird told me it will be El Kimchi), a Santa roaming the halls, and lots of open studios with great holiday gift options for you. So save the date – December 5 from 4 – 8 pm.


Friday, November 7, 2014

Would somebody please stop the world? I need a nap.

Good Lord, I’m exhausted. Tomorrow and the next day are the River Arts District Studio Stroll and I’m not ready. I’m trying to plan for the Holiday Market December 5 and having trouble devoting any real brain power to it.

And in the last week I’ve had two big events and a visit from my brother in law that kept us hopping.

JCCC nov 6

At the Johnson City Country Club last night. Lots of wonderful people showed up to view my work, and the work of the other five Women of the Palette. Best part of the evening? Coming home with an original by Monique Carr!

monique edit

This has slowed down my work on the new mosaic, but it didn’t stop me from selling it! Yay! I’ll have prints of this for the Holiday Market, and it will be the design for this year’s Limited Edition Christmas Ornament.

nov 1 copy

So please, if you could just manage to make the world stop turning for about 12 hours, I’d  be ever so grateful.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Life is good :)

I finished the final clean up on The Three Graces, and the frame should arrive tomorrow. This photo is of the finished piece, but I’ll get another one with better lighting soon. I was just in a hurry to share it with you.


Also, I’m very excited to announce that I have selected an intern! Esteban Gonzales, who recently graduated from the Columbus College of Art and Design will be joining me in the studio two days a week beginning November 11.

One other thing…I started this new piece because I was feeling nostalgic about Christmases when my kids were little. It’s entirely too cheesy, but I might call this one Berry Christmas.


The background will be split white Carrera marble which sparkles like fresh snow.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

My new grouting technique

I’m not saying I invented this, because after all there is nothing new under the sun. Someone, somewhere, will read this and say “Oh come on, man! That’s MY move!”

But I did think it up all by my lonesome, and feel pretty damn pleased with myself for it.

For years I have been using multiple colors of grout on my pieces. I use it as a design element. But often the changes between colors were harsh. When it was too jarring, I would use acrylic washes to blend and soften the changes.

It works. But it’s another step, and sometimes the acrylic can leave a slightly grainy look behind. Bleh.

Having discovered Tints All, which is supremely mixable and whose colors are much more natural than the powdered pigments, I can get less harsh transitions. Not only that, I discovered that by working wet into wet, I can blend the grout colors beautifully!

OK, what?!?

Right. Think of it as similar to painting a fresco, where pigments are placed on top of wet plaster.

Here’s the photo of the blended grout colors (pale yellow, pale green and light gold) on the new piece (prior to final clean up):


Very subtle, right? But here are the colors in the mixing containers:


OK – I lied. The darker green on the right doesn’t show in the first picture. But the pale green at the top, the light gold at the bottom, and a pale yellow (not shown – I thought I had the picture staged right, but I blew it) are all visible in the upper picture. No harsh edges.

What I have done is make sure that the color I have just finished with is still workable in the container (not set up too much), then begin with the new shade. After I do the first wipe of the new shade, I then go back to the part I grouted with the old shade, and add a little of the new color over the top of the old one about three or four tiles up. The old shade is still wet. Then I dip a popsicle stick into the container with the first (old) color and add a touch of it to the wet blob of the new color. Then I scumble the wet grout to mix it on top of the tiles, press it in and scrape off the excess with my handy Grout Elf. By mixing a wet grout over a wet grout, the colors blend very nicely.

Tomorrow I’ll finish off the back and side of this mosaic, and early next week I’ll have a finished photo for you. Smile

I’ve already started the next one. And no, it’s not any of the ones I’ve talked about possibly starting. I’m flighty.

You’ll see why that’s in italics next week.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Glass done and a little teaser….


Today I finished the glass on The Three Graces. That is such a satisfying feeling, even though it’s still not “finished”. Tomorrow I will grout and finish the back. Frame is ordered, so it will be up on the wall for the Studio Stroll!



A few things are brewing in the studio – I’ll have a couple of announcements next week. I know you’ll have trouble sleeping until I spill it…..

Winking smile


Friday, October 17, 2014

OK. So I cheated a little.

Today’s goal was to get the background finished up to the upper right corner.

I made it.

It totally counts.

Off my back.


Monday, October 13, 2014

I’m being pursued by purple

I have never been the type to get excited by purple. There are some beautiful shades, but most of them, or at least the lighter ones, leave me feeling a little nauseated. Maybe the darker ones have seemed too pompous – all those poor little snails from Tyre crushed to keep the royalty clothed in the finest shades. I have just made it a practice to walk the other way whenever confronted by purple.

But you know how it can be – you run across something and perhaps rediscover an aspect of it that you’d forgotten about, or maybe just see it with new eyes. All of a sudden it is EVERYWHERE! It’s like when you buy a new car, and suddenly you see that same model on every single road.oct 11

Except that now, not only am I seeing purple everywhere, I’m craving it! Working on the background for The Three Graces, I have brought every single piece of purple glass I have to the worktable. And it’s not enough. I need more shades – more deep, dark, rich purple. And now I’m thinking of scrapping plans for mosaics that I had already sketched in order to do one of morning glories, like the ones I had in my first garden. I think they were called Grandpa Ott’s – gorgeous blue violet purple on the outer petals, red purple – almost magenta – on the inner parts.

Grandpa-Otts-morning-glory-growing_main_banner (1) Morning Glory weeds 1
good morning glory2 morning-glory-vine-2

This might be considered flightiness, or maybe divine inspiration….

Yeah. I’ll go with that one.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Are we there yet?

It’s not that I’m unhappy with this one, but it has been a boring one to work on. I can’t explain why. I’m really anxious to move to the background, which if all goes well, will be much more interesting to work on. I would be thrilled if I could finish the leaves and the last flower by the end of this week, but that’s probably a little overly optimistic.

sept 24


The Women of the Palette will have a one night exhibition and reception at the Johnson City Country Club on Thursday, November 6 from 5:30 to 8:30 pm. I’d love to tell you where it is, but I don’t even know yet. I’ll post a map when the day gets closer.

Do mark your calendars – free food and wine. What more can I say?



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