Friday, May 27, 2005

Gleaning Images

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The Croatan Treasury by Heather Blakey

I have never been known for my 'sketching abilities'. This is a skill had been well and truly hidden under my apron. A number of patrons have shared terrible experiences about people making scathing comments about their art. One story that is etched into my memory is from the person whose mother destroyed here Art Work because it was not appropriate

Well no one even bothered to be scathing about mine. I was deemed useless in this department so I have never attempted to express myself with a pencil or paint for that matter. My husband, Darryl in contrast is quite the artist and has drawn from time to time. About fifteen years ago when we were on holidays he was sketching and I had a mad burst and sketched people. Suddenly I realised that I could actually create something that resembled something, so long as I had something to guide me. But I never bothered to go on with it and have not sketched since.

Anita Marie Moscoso's stories have fascinated me mainly because I have never taken any interest in the twilight zone and horror. Then recently she sent me her story 'Going to Croatan' and I was intrigued by her idea and said that I could see what was happening and that I had a desire to sketch. When she pleaded with me to do a sketch I thought 'right'! Now I have gone and opened my mouth far too wide.

So I checked out the internet and found various images that matched what she was saying. I did feel rather ghoulish when I put corpses into the search engine but sure enough - up came some corpses. I pulled up odd images of doors and rooms and ghoulish votives and other weird stuff and then propped myself up in bed with my sharpened grey lead and eraser and well, what you see is the completed sketches, based on stuff she had written.

Darryl of course sees these images and thinks I have lost it completely. He sees Amazon parcels arriving with books like Dead Men Do Tell Tales and Ship Fever and my references about poisons and alchemy and shakes his head and looks disturbed. Interestingly enough it does not really disturb him too much and I half suspect he thinks it is all a bit intriguing.

It took some courage for me to actually put those images on the blog and I felt weird when Anita said her husband and family liked them, but it took even more courage to 'really' show them to anyone.

I should have known that the folks at Soul Food would be supportive.

Going to Croatan - The First Part of the Journey
by Anita Marie Moscosso
illustrations by Heather Blakey

Years ago, before they walked into oblivion someone turned back and left this message carved on a tree, " gone to Croatan ".

Now it's my turn, tonight I'm going to Croatan; I'm going to Croatan to avenge my own murder.

My name Is Livia Cotard and once I owned a little bookshop at the Marina on the Duwamish Bay.

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Duwamish Bay by Heather Blakey

In the front of my shop you would find books sought after by collectors from all over the world. Rare first editions, bound sets, atlases, maps, and a variety of other books that were prized by collectors for their illustrations.

The front of my store is separated from the back by a large imposing oak door. Its hinges are leather and its locks and tumblers are made of wood.

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The Imposing Oak Door by Heather Blakey

This is where my real store is; this is where I conduct my real trade.

The room behind this door is a very comfortable library. The walls lined ceiling to floor bookcases. One case has a glass door, the second had an iron gate and others were left open.

Each case held over 100 volumes.

The books were crafted by an unusual group of Authors and had been written for a very exotic group of clients. These were famous one of a kind horror stories among this group of readers and they would spare no expense in collecting them.

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The Authors by Heather Blakey

This is how these little treasures were created.

If the Authors were to arrive at a home for a story they always came hours before a funeral and they were never turned away. After a small ceremony involving salt and scented oils they were left alone with the Dead and their work would begin. The Authors would take blank sheets of parchment; sometimes strips of linen or thin sheets of copper, gold and in later years paper and place them over the chest of a dead person. Then the Author would place their hand over the corpse's stilled heart and the story would be recorded.

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Authors at Work by Heather Blakey

It was said you could hear the scratching sounds of what was assumed to be pen to parchment and that no matter how much you were tempted that you should never try to catch one of these Authors at work. Not unless you wanted to end up bound in one of those books too.

When they were finished what was recorded on these pages were all the sins and evil that the dead person ever committed. Page after page would hold horrible dark stories and horrific illustrations. Brought forward by the Author's skilled hand, images and words and flashes of smell and sound would be captured then interpreted by the Author and burned onto the pages.

The Authors always left a gift for the stories. Sometimes they left gold or jewels, potions in bottles and sometimes money.

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The Croatan Treasury by Heather Blakey

After they left these homes the Authors would take these pages and bind them, and place them in libraries in homes not fit for human habitation.

To read the complete story go to

Thursday, May 26, 2005

A Mandala A Day

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Carl Jung made it a practice to colour a mandala every day. Follow his lead and use mandalas as a means to meditate. Thanks to Stephanie Hansen to providing links to wonderful, free, mandalas to colour. You will find the links to these mandalas in the side bar, easily accessible for those wanting to make mandala colouring a daily practice.

I am sure that there will be a surge in sales of Derwent Colouring Pencils after today.

Paper Doll Colouring Pages

Sylvia Kleindinst has provided these links for colouring after a request from Gwen Myer for material for her mother to use with patients.

The one for the Paper Doll Studio News is:

A good one for an artist that does tons of characters from books and movie stars is Donald Hendriks—

This one has tons of links and is good for children:

This one is for art dolls:

This one is for using dolls on the computer screen to dress:

Templates and costumes for kids to print and cut out.

Scholastic site has some paper dolls with historic themes.

Pam Hastings has a site for paper art dolls and also this one is a good lesson plan

Here is a dog to dress in many costumes. This idea could be used for girls and boys. Any animal with costumes might be

More appealing to boys with less stigma as a girl thing.
Lots of paper dolls to dress here!

Who Is Hanging Out Here

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Take a leaf out of this Grade 2/3 class and find a way to visually depict yourself hanging out here in the Art Room.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

dollar store artist

That's me, the dollar store artist. :-) Found marvelous brushes from china in several sizes at an amazing 10 for 5 dollars with my sister (walk in the neighbourhood) this afternoon, so had to try them out tonight and using paper also from the dollar store and not the much preferred Italian watercolour paper produced these and am not at all displeased with it. That's something because I am not too terribly fond of watercolour. Now if I could come to grips with pastels...

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I cannot think that nudes would offend here, but if this is a problem please do tell me, I am fairly oblivious to proprieties where it concerns art, but I do realize not everyone feels that way.


Wednesday, May 11, 2005

At Last, My Introduction

Hullo Dears,
I am finally getting around to introducing myself!!! I know, I am a slowpoke, as well as a lousy journal writer. Despite being in the E.R. for my hand again and being in La-la Land from prescriptions added that night, here we go...

I'm Gwen M. Myers, and obviously a Professional Crazy Lady. Anywhoo, I'm supposed to tell a tale of how I came to the visual arts. There is not much to tell. Other than two unforgettable art instructors through middle and high school I am mostly self-taught. I developed my own standard according to what I liked. I was stunned by Salvador Dali's pencil of The Crucifixion, so that became the standard for my pencil work.

Unfortunately, despite wanting to paint badly, I cannot. Fortunately for my sanity I bought myself a digital camera about 6 months ago. I have been taking a lot of pictures, almost 1900. So... in lieu of 'new' artwork I shall submit some photos that are "Accidental Art"

17:Pye and Skye looking at the Wide, Wild World.
9: The hellcat in a pensive moment.
10:How the floor must see Pye's feet...
11:A good portrait of Pyewackitt P'Wacko Sneaky-Pants (aka Pye).
13: An almost perfect portrait of Sweet Lady Snowspryte Skye (aka Skye)

Rita Blitt - Caught in Paint

Caught In Paint

My daughter-in-love Laura gave me an incredible present for Mother’s Day. It is a framed, signed print by the artist Rita Blitt from an amazing artistic session that was captured in the short film “Caught in Paint.”
This is a six minute video featuring Blitt painting on four by eight foot transparent surfaces while members of the David Parsons Dance Company are seen in mid-air, behind the transparent surface, imitating the dancing lines of Blitt's paint strokes. Actually, during the session, the creative impetus goes both ways. Part of the time Blitt paints and the dancers reproduce the lines, part of the time the dancers dance and Rita Blitt paints what she sees through the transparency. The photographer on the project was Lois Greenfield, and the collaboration of paint, dance and photography is really something fantastic. My Laura works for the Ashland Film Festival, which showcased “Caught in Paint.” She met Rita Blitt, told her that I had been ill and how much I would love her work, then asked where she could buy a print for me for Mother’s Day. Rita Blitt gave her the signed print, which she then had framed for me.

I have always loved collaborations between the arts. I taught dance using poetry, literature, art and music and taught poetry using dance, painting and music as well. The synergy on this particular project was really fascinating. I told Laura that now we just need to get ourselves some really big plexiglass and try it out ourselves!

Rita Blitt’s art is all interesting.
I found the sculpture that she does from her own single line drawings especially intriguing.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

China Colored Fae - After Warhol

Friday, May 06, 2005

PINK MERMAID DELIRIUM DREAM - In anticipation of "The Magic Beach"

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Magic Beach Project

This semester I am presenting a unit of work on the 'Magic Beach' by Alison Lester to students ranging in age from Prep to Year Eight. We will be working to present a variety of art and multi media responses to the text. To learn more about 'Magic Beach' read this review by Dan Hurburgh. Hurburgh is Australian writer with a passion for maritime history.

A rhyming story line in a child's picture book seldom works well. They often seem so contrived and sometimes downright corny.

Not so in Alison Lester's 'Magic Beach'. This book deserves the status of a classic in contemporary children's literature. In fact, the book is regularly listed in the Best Seller lists in Australia, where the author resides. ...

All children love the freedom and fun of a trip to the beach. Alison transports us to one of the childhood's favourite playground, that place where the land meets the sea. The real joys of beachside fun are joined with pleasurable and harmless seaside fantasies.

On alternate pages, we are taken from beautiful realities to even more captivating fantasies. We go from a scene with a sparkling sea to an exciting world where we can ride waves pretending they are "wild white horses". We go from sandcastle building to a land of fire breathing dragons. We explore rock-pools and their magic world of starfish and crabs, and then go to an evenmore magic Kingdom where we can ride seahorses.

The beach is still magic when it's a cloudy and gray day, our imaginations will help us discovered a treasure chest. We can go boating in the safety of bay, and then let the wind and our fantasies take us to the "edge of the world".

We fish and laze on the jetty, and in our daydreams, we catch a monstrous shark.

It is now evening-time, we are toasting marshmallows around the glowing fire, and in the shadows, there may be smugglers hauling in crate-loads of booty.

It's time for bed, and to the sounds of the ocean, we drift off to sleep on the evening tide.

This is a fabulous book which has universal and popular appeal.

Here in the art room I figured that some people may be interested in creating art work along-side students. One of the projects I will be undertaking is 'Stories in Bottles', including ghostly stories to tell around the campfire. We will also be making a group quilt to depict elements of the story.

I plan to have a page set up at Soul Food so that you can view artwork and so that I can display work that participants contribute. On this page there will be an outline of the unit of study which covers the seven ways to learn. There will be Verbal, Mathematical, Visual/Spatial, Kinaesthetic, Musical, Interpersonal and Intrapersonal activities provided.

If you are interested in participating just send an email to me at with the subject line 'Magic Beach Project'.

Parrish - Daybreak

Hughes - Midsummer

Waterhouse - Destiny

Leighton - Flaming June

Monet - Nympheas


Everyone in my family loves the impressionists
They fight over the genius of Renoir and Monet
Sigh at the delicate blues and greens, saying words like "subtle" and "elusive"
I've always thought them very pretty too
Very pretty

I wanted the clear radiance of myth
Waterhouse's bite your lips blood red
Leighton's lusciously blooming sweet sunset orange
Hughes magic midsummer midnight green
Faery dusted with glitters of gold
I wanted the air castled unreality
Of an absolute, improbable sky
Drempt forever in
Maxfield Parrish Blue

In a museum in Italy
Standing in a long room full of Monet
after Monet after Monet
After Monet
I am struck to silence
I watch the paintings stretched into the distance
The fluid, graceful, liquid lines of watered greens and blues
And suddenly realize
I am the only person in my family

©Edwina Peterson Cross

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

FAUCON'S SONG - My most recently completed work.

Introduction: Noun, formally making a person known to another or to the public

Ok Heather, love, here you go, ye olde introduction. Most of you already know all of this, but here it comes anyway.

To most of my friends, I am Winnie. I am Wina to my family, or predictably, Poo. (Without the ‘h’ at the end, as a distinction between myself and a certain stuffed with fluff bear, whose personality is really much too close to my own for comfort.) The name I use professionally contains the whole ball of wax: my birth name, maiden name and married name. When I decided to use the entire thing, I was sure it was too long. Then I counted the syllables and realized it had exactly the same number as Marion Zimmer Bradley. I figured if she could do it, so could I. I didn’t realize when I decided to use the full name that I would end up signing it over and over two million times. If I had, I might have gone with just ‘Poo.’ My official professional name is: Edwina Peterson Cross.

I am a writer and a poet, who only discovered visual art a very few years ago. I grew up in the shadows of the Rocky Mountains and have lived, at various times, all over the United States, from Los Angeles to the rocky coast of Maine. For many years, I was a teacher who worked on a preschool, elementary, high school and University level, where I taught Early Childhood Education, Child Psychology, Children’s Literature and the writing, history and appreciation of Poetry. I was trained in Deaf Education and worked with main-steaming projects, early identification of hearing impairment and early language intervention. I was also a dancer and a Teacher of Dance for many years. I taught many different forms of dance, including ballet and modern, but found my real love was interpretative, creative dance which I taught with many curriculum cross-overs to the visual arts, literature and poetry. For the last fifteen years I have worked as an editor for a large press nationally syndicated magazine. I have just retired from that work and am now writing and painting full time.

I have severe chronic pain with which I struggle constantly. It makes many parts of life difficult. Writing and painting, however are the balm that keeps me going. Our own Wise Woman, Vi Jones, says that artists have to experience pain in order to produce works of beauty. “It's too bad we have to suffer for our talent, but perhaps in that, we walk inward and that is where the beauty comes from.” Vi’s words are a balm to me as well, because they are so true. The pain does, indeed, make you ‘walk inward.’

I have to ‘walk outward’ as well, always setting a timer for 20 minutes then getting up from the computer to walk. Otherwise, I could sit here for hours without moving. NOT in keeping with good pain management practices!

All my art is done on the computer; as a friend once told me, I ‘paint with light.’ I use the bottom of the line wacom tablet (only 4X5) and pen. This is my second set, having worn the first pen’s point down to nothing and worn the surface completely off of the tablet. I hope to graduate up to a slightly bigger tablet sometime soon and have dreams of that really big one, the size of a large sketch book. Of course, I’m not sure what I would do with it, as I have learned to do everything I do moving just the fingers of my right hand. I use an ancient Paint program, Fractal Design’s “Painter 5.” I am constantly in fear that it will go belly up, because I know I can’t replace it.

My art is eclectic and odd, very often something that I have seen in my mind or an extrapolation of something else. I paint visuals to accompany my poetry and sometimes other peoples writing, comments or shared thoughts. I have never gotten over the ability to at least ‘sort of’ translate what I am thinking into a visual image. I have times that I take my capacity for words for granted, but the ability to put visual form to concept still constantly startles and amazes me.

As far as the future goes . . . I would like to study more, to learn how and why I am doing things that I don’t even really understand now, and to learn to do them better. For instance, I would like to learn to draw arms and hands better! They give me fits sometimes and make it unlikely that I will tackle a portrait of Shiva anytime soon. (I just finished a Ganesh which took me forever, and he only has four arms!) I would like to try some 3-D art, something I think about but haven’t ever really done. I have always wanted to try using a potter’s wheel. I have arthritis in my hands and three fingers of my left hand are completely numb, but, in truth, I don’t think that means that I couldn’t use a potters wheel. Some of this entails going out of the house, however, which is another story entirely!

There are a number of pieces of my work on this Blog. I keep putting stuff here like someone priming a pump . . . hoping that it will get the mechanism wet and it will start spinning. Now I’ve done the ‘introduction’ Heather wanted . . . Hello, ya’all! . . . I hope to hear the pump whirring a lot and fascinating things appearing from underground; examples of work and thoughts on various aspects of Art. What period in Art History is your favorite? Who is your favorite artist? Or artists. Which are your favorite paintings? What mediums do you work in? What are your hopes for the future? What kind of peanut butter do you like, crunchy or creamy? This is not as random as it sounds. When I was teaching, we used to finger paint with peanut butter and jelly; there is a definite difference in creamy and crunchy. There is a variance in the brands as well and in the way they mix with the jelly or jam. Come to think of it, there is a vast variation and distinct difference between jelly and jam . . .

Monday, May 02, 2005

Hello all!

my last completed work "The Green Towel" May 2005

Hi, my name is aletta Mes. I was born in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in 1954 to an opera singer mother and a research chemist father.At age 13 I took to the stage dancing in ballet and musical theatre until 1985 when a bizarre illness made it impossible to continue dancing. Meanwhile I had also trained in Dance Therapy (physical), Eurythmics and journalism. For a time I worked as a systems administrator (1988-1998), and series of second jobs including writing manuals, illustrations, advertising copy, theatrical agent, and after a refresher year of study as a counselling psychologist (1998-1999).

Pain and complex family life shifted some energy away from dancing and to painting in 1985. As the body started to give out, painting became a ways of expressing myself within a more restricted world of movement. Writing was always a ways of keeping narratives for remembering later, to be used in some other project, a painting, a choreography a play. All art forms are therapeutic for me, a reason to get out of bed, a brief time magically away from pain.

Being housebound (fully disabled/unemployable since 1998) for the most part makes meeting with, and sharing studio stories with near impossible, so on Heather's suggestion I am joining this blog in the hope it will alleviate some of the isolation, I really am not much of a hermit, my inspiration comes primarily from people.

Good to meet you all and I look forward to getting to know more about you and your work.