Shades of Grey

Shades of Grey

Friday, October 14, 2011


It's Fall in the mountains and I am completely inspired by the beauty around me.  I have had a love affair with Colorado from the minute I layed my eyes on her in 1991.  It took me 2 years to save up and move.  I moved to Boulder Colorado in the Fall of 1993. I moved with 3 other great girls all of us with high hopes of the future and the idealism that only someone under 30 can have.  My dream then wasn't to be an artist but to be a vegetarian chef.  I got a job fairly quickly and started to pursue that dream.  It was going along smoothly but then I met a cute boy that changed everything.  He lived at 10,400 ft in a cabin with no running water and 4 dogs.  He introduced me to true mountain living and I haven't been able to get it out of my system since.

We eventually married, I started eating meat, and we now have a house with running water and quite a view.  The 1st picture on this blog was taken from my deck just 2 days ago.  If you scroll to the bottom of the page you will see pictures of the surrounding area and my back yard.  Yes this is where I live and I am so lucky.  It's not just because of the beauty but also about what it does for your soul.  Mountain living makes you a better person.  When you are amongst beauty like this every day it makes you breathe in and appreciate what you have and always remember what is important.   There is truth in "Rocky mountain high" after you have climbed a mountain and are breathing so hard you are out of breath but then through the trees you can see the top.  The view opens up into a breathtaking scenery beyond words.  You feel "high" and everything is "all good"

The piece that I am working on is inspired by Fall and that feeling of perspective after you spend your day hiking.  Hence the title "Perspective".  It started from a picture of my husband Pat standing on a rock on a trip we took to Taos NM.  I have kind of changed the picture completely because I wanted to add aspens  and scrub oak for the beautiful colors.  In the original picture there were only pines because we were too high up in elevation.  The only part that remains from the picture is Pat.  So the whole entire scenery I am just creating from my head as I study all of the foliage on my morning hikes.  You can see already how this piece has changed from the beginning to where I am now.  I know it will change even more as I go along.

I love creating landscapes.  It takes me back to being a kid.  I played with Barbies but not how most girls did.  I didn't care about Barbie houses.  I wanted to build the houses myself along with all of the furniture.  I liked to play outside  with them and create lakes that she would swim in with bridges going across them and houses made out of rocks and I would landscape her front lawn.  Yikes!  I guess you get the picture.  So as I do a landscape in mosaics it takes me back to that child like feel of creating your own world.

Thanks for stopping by to say hello!  You can check out the daily process of this piece on  just click on "What I'm Working on now"

Just a reminder that I will be in the exhibit Cutting Edges at the 910 Arts Gallery in Denver Co running Nov 4 - Dec 17  My pieces Old Blue Eyes & Shades of Grey will be in that exhibit

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sometimes it is better when the path goes around the plan

I finished with "I Dreamt of Africa".  You can see that I wound up in a different place than where I started.  I suppose that's a little bit of a parallel with my life.  I started out with a plan when I was younger but so many twists and turns in the world and here I am living in the middle of no where in Colorado when I grew up in western Pa.  I  love the way things turned out rather than that sterile plan I had at such a young and inexperienced age. 

I learn that way through art as well.  I was once asked "What do you want your art to say?"  My answer was "It speaks to me"  In the beginning of creating a piece I will have a basic idea of what I want to do but then I get lost in the flow of creating and the piece just starts to come alive and suggest other avenues that I should explore. In the 1st version that I sketched I had the background very literal.  As I was working on it "literal" was just not what I was feeling.  I wanted the black & white of the zebras to pop against a more abstract version of a sunset.   (If you scroll down all of the way you will see the pics)

2 of my pieces will be part of the exhibition Mosaics: Cutting edges at the 910 Arts Gallery in Denver CO Nov 4 - Dec 12  "Old Blue Eyes" & "Shades of Grey"  I will be there opening night & possibly Nov 18 (3rd Friday)  Hopefully I will see some of you there!

The leaves this year in Southern Colorado are just gorgeous!  This is a bold statement but in all of my 18 years in Colorado I'm pretty sure that this is the most spectacular fall that I have seen!  I had to add a few pics so you could see it too!

I will leave you with this quote because the older I get the more I realize how true it is!

People need to be made more aware of the need to work at learning how to live because sometimes life goes away too quickly  -- Andy Warhol

Thank you for stopping by !

Friday, September 9, 2011

Dreams of Africa and saying Hello Again to Old Blue Eyes

Hi everyone!

I know that I kind of dropped off the viral planet but I have been working and therefore like most artists have avoided the part about self promotion for awhile.  I ran out of a specific glass today for a specific piece which put things at a halt so here I am!

I am currently working on a "24 x 24" piece of Zebras.  I have never been to Africa but I have had 2 intense dreams telling me that I had to go.  One was 20 years ago.  In my dream a friend and I were in a bar  (which at the time wasn't a far stretch)  He just looked up at me and said "You need to go to Madagascar"  I replied "Where is that?"  He pulled out his wallet where he had a bunch of maps that unfolded in the place of where the pictures should go. He pulled out a pointer and pointed to a map.  My friend then looked up at me with urgency and said  "You have to go"  BAM!  I woke up one of those sit right up.... wide awake.... wake ups.  I  said out loud to no one "Where the hell is Madagascar???"  I knew it was in Africa but I wasn't quite sure where.  Back then they didn't have Internet...(how the hell did we deal without immediate gratification of our every question?)  So I looked it up and read about it.  To  this day I still have never gone to Madagascar or Africa but in some way it is dear to my heart and is definately on my bucket list.

My 2nd dream came just last week.  This dream wasn't as intense. I saw zebras and a sunset. It was one of those dreams that you don't remember what happened. However, it was beautiful and peaceful and that I remember.  I woke up and sketched out some zebras and hopefully the sunset will come out ok too.  I usually have an idea or 2 of what I will title a piece I am working on. Typically I name it when it is grouted, shined and polished .  That is when "Walla" a name comes crystal clear in my mind.  This piece of the zebras is the only piece that I knew it's name from the beginning I started to sketch.  "I dreamt of Africa" 

Zebras are a mosaic artist's dream!!  The incredible pattern is right there layed out for you. Divine Design by Mother Nature.   I'm pretty sure that a giraffe is in my near future as well.  I get giddy just thinking about it.

This is my 2nd attempt at animals.  The 1st I just finished ..."Old Blue Eyes"  It is of a Husky that we had who wasn't very old.  He was 8 and died in an avalanche.  Most people will say OMG!  But ya' know it's way better of a story than the old "we had to put him/her down"  That story sucks!  But Cody?  He was having the time of his life!  My husband and I were care takers of a silver mine in Boulder County Colorado at 10,400 ft.  We had 4 dogs at the time 2 of which were wolf hybrids, Cody a purebred Siberian husky, and an Elk hound.  It was a dream come true for dogs that like to run and ours were born to run.  There was no amount of training that would change that.  We had them contained but Cody aka Codini was a master at getting out of anything.  Sometimes he would even get free, come find you and stand far enough away so that you knew he got out but you couldn't catch him. He would then take off happily running and leave you there with the anger of being one upped by a dog. Anyways...Cody I'm sure was having a blast chasing something.  He came up missing in March and we found him in May when it started to melt.  That was a sad day but I have years of good memories.  It was fun to pull out an old photo of him and do a mosaic.  It was great "spending some time" with him again. ....And yes...his eyes really were that blue.

These pieces are very meaningful to me but I am selling both of them.  I realize that every piece has to really mean something to me for it to connect to someone else.

Well Thanks for stopping by and spending some time with me.  I must get back to work .... maybe I'll go start on that giraffe while I wait for UPS to deliver my glass......

Please continue to scroll down for the pictures.....

Friday, June 17, 2011

Are you afraid that success will slip into the future?

It's happening!   I have been diligently at work  on my art putting long hrs in on the marketing side as well as the artistic side and it happened...I started selling. 

I waited a long time for this.  I had other jobs in life that while I liked the work (chef/florist/2nd hand clothing store owner) I dreamed that I could spend my days making & selling my art full time.  Life took a shift and my husband's job took us to a place where it wasn't likely I was going to find a job.  I had my opportunity, I knew it, and I seized it.  I had no other choice than to make this work.  That was 2 years ago and it took until now and a self imposed education on social media networking that it started happening. I started making money and now I am afraid.

I never understood "being afraid of success" until now. Now I have  fears. Fear that every time some one buys a piece over $1000 that they are going to send it back because they think it wasn't worth it.  Hasn't happened yet.  I am afraid that I can't keep up with everything.  Mosaics take a long time especially when you work in such small pieces like myself.  Right now I have orders on a 2 month waiting list.  I am afraid that they might not wait and therefore that money might not be there.  Hasn't happened yet.  I am afraid that I can't keep up the business end .  I am a typical artist that always has my head buried in my work and says..."I'll get to that tomorrow"  I just organized everything last week.  Now it's much easier

I don't think that people are afraid of success literally.I believe that people, like myself, are afraid  success will go away.  I wouldn't call myself successful yet. However I am  having a taste of  it (my idea of " it " anyway)   and rather than just being happy and being present in the moment  I have been  fearing it will go away as fast as it came.  Isn't that strange?   I suppose most artists have their heads in the clouds and spend their time somewhere between daydreaming and reality.  To be present takes a conscious effort.  I was the kid doodling in the back of the class.  The teacher always thought that I wasn't paying attention but I was.  I just needed to keep my hands busy to be able to focus.

My point in going on about this is hard to articulate but I will try.  Most people  live their lives looking forward into the future.  When you get to the future you don't even know that you are there because now it is the present.  So when I used to dream about actually making money doing this I couldn't wait to get to  here but now I am here.  It is only the beginning but the beginning of any endeavor is usually the part that is looked back on as the fondest.  So I am going to be in the moment and be happy that I am here and not stress out over what can happen in the future....except of course whether I am successful or not:)

I want to give a special thank you to Alyson B. Stanfield-- and Maria Brophy  for all of your incredible blogs with helpful information that got me started on the web

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A little about me and the 5 best mosaic tips that I learned along the way

This is my 1st blog.  I am not a writer or even the best teacher so how does someone like me start a blog?  I guess I just dive in and do it just like anything else.  The 1st time is always the hardest.

I have read many blogs and have learned so much that at times I don't know where to apply all of the information that I have learned.  The whole reason that I am blogging is because I read a blog about how I needed to blog.

I will start by telling you a little about myself.  I live in Southern Colorado amongst the Sangre de' Cristo mountain range with my husband Pat, Cisco ( an Antolian Shepherd/ Golden mix), and 2 brothers JoJo & Kingston ( Pyranese/ Bearnese mix).  We moved here almost 2 yrs ago when my husband got a job he couldn't refuse and I being the struggling artist (and very much in love with him) followed him here.  We were living in Salida CO before that which was named one of the 100 best small art towns in the US for 2 yrs.  Before that we were in Boulder CO area for 14 yrs.  Boulder is....well Boulder is everything they say it is and more. Great Art, Great outdoors, Great music, Great get the picture.  Now I am here.  Here is beautiful, inspirational, and serene but nothing much around for miles. Quiet and reclusive is great for creating art but not so much for promoting art. Which brings me back to my blog.....

What does a self taught mosaic artist with limited computer skills that never considered herself a writer write about in a blog that anyone wants to read?  I am much better at answering questions about my art than I am telling people all about my art.  I think that this little problem is not uncommon amongst artists.  It is like my artist statement.  I always kind of draw a blank there (again I'm no writer)  But I just cringe when artists predict that their art is going to change the world,  I could never have that Bravado.  I like confidence.  I even like cockiness but delusians of grandeur just isn't in me.  I just hope for my art that someone else relates to it and it makes them happy. I don't want to push my art onto anyone I just want people to be exposed to my art and they can decide for themselves .  Making a living at it would be pretty cool too.

If you are still reading this blog by this paragraph Thank you!  For that I will try to give you something of substance

5 Best tips that I have learned along the way for mosaic artists

1) Your grout should be mixed to the consistency of brownie batter not cake batter.  When you are starting out you tend to have alot of space between your pieces.  If the grout is too runny it will seep under your pieces and can be shown through (I only work in glass so this was a problem)  Now that you have  applied the thicker grout to your piece sponge it off with almost dry sponge.  Make sure that all of the excess is off. Look on every piece and around the pieces especially if you are working with glass globs.  Now is when you get your damp sponge and go over your piece.  This should give your grout a smooth finish. I also save all of my husband's old cotten t shirts for buffing.

2) The best tool that I discovered for cleaning off dryed glue and chipping away excess dryed grout is cuticle scissors.  They also work great for pulling up a dried on glued piece that you decide that you don't want.  The curved hook gets under the piece and just pops it off

3)  This has only happened to me 2 times but it happened.  I did a section on a mural I was working on. Stared at it all night and hated it.  Woke up the next morning hated it!  I had to scrape up about 6' x !6" dried glued glass pieces.  I put on gardening gloves and got my flat edge pastry cutter and wedged it under the glass and boom they all pop off!

4)  I also use the gardening gloves when I grout.  I have the kind that have the rubber hands.  I work in very tiny pieces and these gloves allow me to still feel the pieces under my hand and get the grout to go where I want without all of the cuts. Buy a few if you work in different colored grouts

5)  I also took some classes in silversmithing.  I had jewelry tweezers from those classes.  I NEVER work without them.  They are an extention of my hand . I would be lost without them!  Every piece is put into place by them.  If you get a pair clean the glue off regularly with a steel scrubby so the retention stays tight

Wow!  I did it!!  My 1st blog!
Thank you for taking the time to read it and if you ever have any questions I would be happy to answer them if I know the answer

See you soon!