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?


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Three months later….

Whee! I finally received the frame for Bellafiore and got it completely finished and hung up.


The finished size with frame is 32” x 38”. I’m still in love with this one, but it needs a good home. How about yours?

I’m currently still working on the callas. There has been more rip and redo than I really want to admit. But there it is. I think I’m ok with what’s down now. Except maybe the center rib on the leaf. *Ugh.*


And just in case you hadn’t heard, the fall issue of Shattered is up – check it out and let me know what you think. I love feedback.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Cross-eyed and punch drunk

Wow. The last couple of months went by in a blur. In that time I (we! Thank God for my hard working and ever-patient husband!) have organized a huge garage sale, found a new home for our dog, bought a new car, moved house, been on vacation, and hosted our daughter for a week.  That’s the cross-eyed part. As of this week, I am back in the studio regularly. Now if only I could get my computer back on the job.

I consider myself a bit of a technological anomaly – that is, I am over 50 and neither intimidated by computers or completely inept at making them do what I want.penguin-158551_640

But Dell, you confound me.

I have a wireless printer (Canon), and my suspicion is that it may somehow be interfering with software programs (Adobe Photoshop Elements, a generic publishing program, and now Microsoft Word. Oh, and my PDF creator. All things that interact regularly with the printer….hmm…). Keep in mind, though, that until about 4 months ago, I had no trouble with any of this software (which hasn’t changed) or my printer. Then there is the fact that my external hard drive never would work properly, so I don’t have a decent back-up of photos and files. (I know! What is wrong with me?!?)

The most irritating thing is that these software programs seize up rather randomly. Sometimes I can open them, but as soon as I click on something they seize. Sometimes it will let me work for awhile. And until this week, it seemed the computer fairy had come in and fixed it for me – for about 2 weeks it was smooth sailing. Now Photoshop is total shit soup, the publishing program only seizes up if I forget to save things for too long (well, naturally!), and Word works. Occasionally. I have Open Office Writer as well, but it seems to occasionally seize up too. This is the punch drunk part.

Worst part is that I’m due to put out my next issue of Shattered in less than a week, and I REALLY NEED THAT PUBLISHING PROGRAM TO WORK.

Yeah, yeah, everyone’s computer is a pain in the butt. OK, fair enough. How about some studio pics?

sept 10

This is where I am on the Calla lilies. I had done some of the unfinished flower before leaving for vacation and knew I wasn’t happy with the andamento, but didn’t really have time to deal with it then. I really hate having to leave a rip and redo for later because the longer that thinset stays on there, the tougher it is to get tess up without damaging either the substrate or surrounding tess. Tuesday I ripped out and replaced what I thought would be enough to fix it. Wednesday I realized it wasn’t enough. Today I see I’m still not done fixing things. Bah.

sept 10 detail

I like this view.

Also I have some exhibity things to look forward to, and one I’m still waiting to hear about. More on those later.

Anyway, I’M BAAACCCKK! Hope you enjoyed your quiet time. Winking smile

Monday, July 28, 2014


Hello? Helloooo……?Daddy_Come_Home_by_Artemis_Twitches

Yeah, I’m still here.  Trying to clean, pack, sort, price for garage sale, find a new home for the dog…

EVERYTHING except working in the studio!

I have made a few trips to the studio, moving cabinets/shelves that won’t fit in our new home but could be useful in the studio, but no glass cutting. I’m not whining….I wouldn’t be able to concentrate on it now anyway! After the move, vacation at the beach and a week long visit with my lovely daughter that I don’t see NEARLY enough of…..I’ll be back in the studio. Second or third week of September. Hopefully things will settle enough to let me get lots done. I have a real backlog of ideas that need to get out of my head.

So all I can say for now is,  ~*in my best Arnold Schwarzenegger voice*~

“I’ll be bahk”

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Friday, July 11, 2014

Now it’s just absurd.

giant-eyeball-386487_640Everyone has days, weeks (or more?) when it seems that Murphy’s Law has absconded with your life. The best laid plans don’t work out, mechanical things go on strike, normally self-sufficient areas of your life need intense attention. And sometimes your best efforts to rectify things only make them worse. At those times I guess all you can do is go sit in the corner and say “Fine. I’m letting go. I’ll be back in a couple of days.” (or weeks, as the case may be).

I’m so there.

My car has decided to disintegrate, apparently. It now has so much wrong with it that I think putting anymore major repairs into it is just throwing good money after bad. That’s a hell of a dilemma for someone who has a one way commute of an hour three times a week. While waiting at the repair shop for this delicious news, I tried to slip my phone into the side pocket of my purse and missed. It hit the floor from a distance of 6” or less and broke. For the second time in 7 months.

Meanwhile I’m trying to pack up the house, arrange a garage sale (we are downsizing and have to get rid of a lot!), find a new home for our dog, and manage a household move and vacation within the space of 10 days.

I may be AWOL for the next 6 weeks or so.


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