Thursday, February 25, 2016

Creative heART Challenge: Day 18...

Yesterday, I posted a picture of a painting I made called, "The King".  I was pretty happy with it once I finished, but one thing that I like to do is hang my most recent painting on my studio wall and live with it for a bit.  I'm able to see it from a different perspective and stand back.  I kept frowning at the painting when I looked at it and it quickly became apparent that I wasn't really happy with it at all!  I kept changing things in my head and eventually I couldn't take it anymore and took it down and started to fix it.

Here's a side-by-side view.  Something was off.  I'm trying to fight the compulsion to go back and noodle with my paintings too much... because I'm afraid of overworking them, but there was just something that I couldn't ignore and I had to adjust it.

So... I toned down the white dots with a brown wash and I added a little extra to his silhouette between the horns.  Those were subtle changes, but I think they improved the painting a hundredfold!  The wash helped make it more "of the woods" and less "Green Power Ranger".  It also made the dot pattern look less like glittery rhinestones.  Once I adjust those things, I noticed that the character and the space were not integrated enough and I needed to activate the negative space around the figure.  So I added these halo/solar eclipse forms.  And now it's truly done and I'm much more pleased with it.

So, today wasn't a day spent on making completely new work... but the work I did is work that I'm happy with.  CLICK HERE to see the painting in the online shop.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Creative heART Challenge: Day 17...

This  is my latest painting.  I'm not used to painting men, so this is a bit of a departure for me.  A few months ago, I had a dream that I opened a bar called, "The Wild Jackalope".  There was a man in the corner picking on a banjo and a woman singing sad songs.  A with a red beard lit the oils of an orange peel on fire to much amusement and delight.  I sat in the back, measuring herbs on an old-time scale, preparing herbal infusion in tall glass bottles.  I was too short to reach the top shelf.  A woman in white tights and a rainbow scarf danced by herself in slow circles.  The face of the figure in the painting is sort of the face of the man with the red beard, at least as best as I can remember.  I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.  It'll also be one of the last big format painting for awhile.  If you want to check it out in the online store, CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Creative heART Challenge: Day 16...

I'm tired, but I feel good about what I accomplished.  I had to play around with this one a bit.  At first, I painted the figure with flowing, Kiki Smith hair... but I thought it was a bit distracting.  And then I had the dots going throughout the "sticks", but the pattern on pattern was a bit much and really flattened the space.  So I painted them back to black and incorporated the "halos".  In some ways, I think this one was probably one of my bigger challenges, because it depicts an older face.  You can draw the lines and add the right shadows, but there's something almost ethereal about capturing a person's true age.  So that's why it's dang hard and a lot of people fail at it.  I remember being in a residency program with an artist named Fran Kaufman.  She was witty, charming, and very thoughtful.  She also spoke her mind.  At the time she was working on these really abstracted portraits.  There were probably a hundred of them, all pinned in a careful grid.  She said, "I like babies and I like old people.  Everyone in between, I could care less about.  The babies and the old people are so similar, but so different.  Heck, they're decades apart, but can look so much the same.  What's that thing that distinguishes them?  It's not the teeth or hair.  Is it wisdom?  Exhaustion?  I'm interested in what makes a face a face."  I still think of that conversation and I laugh to myself whenever I see a baby painted during the Renaissance that looks like a little old man.

To find out more about this painting and to add it to your collection, CLICK HERE.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Creative heART Challenge: Day 15...

This is my latest painting!  I'm a smitten kitten.  With each painting I complete, I feel a little bit braver and a little more confident.  Now that I'm getting back into the rhythm of painting again, I can feel the ideas tingling on my fingertips.

Part of me wanted to call this series of paintings, "Ten Years Later".  There wasn't really a definitive stopping point for my painting (and as I mentioned earlier, I did do a few pieces here and there), but it was probably a full ten years since I solidly worked with painting as my main medium.  I've thought a lot about the hiatus. It really didn't click until one of my teachers from high school posted a picture of a painting I had done for her.  Up until that point, I didn't really have that extensive of an art background.  Most of my inspiration came from books, things I saw on TV, or comic books.  We weren't really the type of family to go to museums on vacations and while I did go to a few art galleries, a lot of them specialized in regional pastoral artwork (think palm trees and beaches).  So what I painted was a figure, usually a female with flowing hair, with a floaty Starry Night-like background.  I painted these non-stop.  

And then I went to art school.

I won't say that they told me what to paint, but I distinctively remember one of my instructors laughing at one of my paintings and gathering everyone around it and saying, "And this students is the definitive, angsty humanoid figure floating in space... except this one has hair!"  It was crushing at the time, because I felt ridiculed.  But I didn't really have a frame of reference and once I had learned more about common art themes and worked with hormonal teenagers, I discovered that this is indeed a popular subject matter.  What I came to find out was that this is common, because it is really a universal concept... especially in recent decades.  It's all about the search for Self and the raw emotion felt in the presence of the unknown.  The humanoid is usually this hairless, nondescript figure that represents the artist... usually as an idealized form.  And once I had this realization, I thought it was juvenile and I laughed at my old paintings.  Because supposedly since I discovered this little nugget of wisdom, I thought I knew more about the world and art and the need for humans to make art.

And so... I won't say that they told me what to paint, but "art crushes" are just as common as the floating humanoid.  An art crush is basically when you see art you fall in love with or work with an instructor that you admire and your work starts to take on that flavor.  This isn't necessarily a bad thing; it's one way that people learn.  Over the next four years, I worked with a lot of artists interested in minimalism, geometry, abstraction, theory, and situational art.  And while it was really educational and a wonderful experience, my head was chock full o'nuts at the end.  And those ten years were in a way, a period of forgetting.  

What I came to unearth, particularly through working on these paintings, is that that search for Self never really ends.  So what I once laughed at, I now cherish.  For it is a window into that search for a place in this Universe.  These characters in my floating world are pieced together from bits of ideas and emotions and dreams.  I do think these paintings are better than my older ones, but that's just because I've had time to practice and hone my technique and incorporate a few tricks.  Ultimately, the core is not so far removed from that boy putting paint to canvas, trying to figure things out, and find his voice.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Creative heART Challenge: Day 14...

I have to admit that I've been enjoying falling down the rabbit hole with these paintings.  I stayed up all night painting this one.  In retrospect and after looking at it a bit, I was thinking more fire elemental and less She-Devil.  I guess it could go either way.

When I started this series, I rounded up a bunch of old paintings and collages.  I cut up the collages and reconfigured them on top of the old canvases.  Once the glue is dry, I build up layers of different mediums to create a more uniform painting surface.  Then, with acrylic paints, I add washes and very Expressionistic brushwork.  After the space has been fleshed out, I figure out where I want to place my "figure".  Depending on the composition, the "figure" can take on several different forms and isn't altogether humanoid.  Finally, after I've pulled a character from the silhouette, I paint a face, collage it on the painting and add embellishments and details depending on the personality of the character.  I used to be really inspired by Aboriginal artwork and the dot-work sometimes emerges in my paintings.

To take a closer look and to purchase it, CLICK HERE.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Creative heART Challenge: Day 13...

In developing this series of work, I've been thinking a lot of what lives in dreams and the imagination.  This provides a lot of source inspiration for the characters that populate this amorphous space.  I'm endlessly fascinated with fairy tales and folklore and the creatures that are featured in them.  They often times are a blend of human and animal, not completely alien but also not completely human.  In them, there's the Wild and the Wild can be both kind and cruel.

To learn the details about this painting and to possibly purchase it, CLICK HERE.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Creative heART Challenge: Day 12...

So, I may or may not have stayed up too late last night working on my latest painting!  I'm happy with this one.  It's not as easy to like this one as much as my last painting... the face in this one has more asymmetrical features, the eyes are different, the face placement is lower than conventional portraiture, and I've started to play around with a bit more symbolism, BUT I think these things make me like it all the more!  I feel good about this one and the forward motion of my paintings!  

You can learn more about this painting (and even purchase it if you so desire) by CLICKING HERE.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Creative heART Challenge: Day 11...

I thought that I could get two birds with one stone, so for Day 11 of the Creative heART Challenge, I'm also posting Cloud Bridge Design Challenge piece.  If you're not familiar with the Design Challenges, I put together kits and we send them out all over the world.  Every month there's a new reveal and people share the creations that they made with as much or as little of the kit as they desire.

The Cloud Bridge kit was inspired by the Pantone Color of the Year selection for 2016.  It wasn't just one color, but a blending of TWO!  The two colors selected were Rose Quartz and Serenity.  When I looked at these colors, I instantly thought of sky and clouds.  (Oddly enough, the banner that I made for the Creative heART Challenge is "Pantone correct".  I didn't even realize that until the two images were up against each other.)

I've been on a roll making these asymmetrical pieces.  I love how I can blend an eclectic mix of beads and make things flow together.  I remember when I first started making jewelry and asymmetrical designs weren't really popular.  I embraced it as my "thing".  After awhile though, I got a little burnt out and wanted to tackle symmetry.  I also didn't want to be a one trick pony.  (Later I discovered the connection between visual branding and my jewelry and I sort of kicked myself for not taking advantage of it more, but such is hindsight.)  Anyway, I had fallen out of the practice of making asymmetrical pieces and have recently revisited this in my jewelry making.

In this piece, I mixed a lot of different elements from the kit.  It can be worn as a wrapped bracelet or a long necklace.  It can also be worn with the clasp in the back or off to the side.  I think it has a lot of versatility.  In this piece, I also challenged myself to use the vintage sequins.  People love the look of them in the mixes, but often times shy away from actually using them.  In this piece, I used them to buffer beads.  This is particularly useful if a bead has a bigger hole and is next to a smaller bead that might otherwise get swallowed up by the bead with the bigger hole.  It also gives a hint of color and works to unify the piece.

Here's a second piece that uses bits from the kit!  Again, it's an asymmetrical piece.  I included some chunky simple cut rose quartz, pink opal rondelles, blue chalcedony rondelles, aquamarine rounds, Czech glass rounds, and a bronze bird toggle from my family at Green Girl Studios.  As spacers, I used grey Japanese seed beads with a pearlescent finish.  I could have used metal spacers, but I think these beads give it a softer look.  The necklace is light and airy and because there's a decorative clasp and it's an asymmetrical piece, the wearing options are many!

If you want to see more creations made by participants of the Cloud Bridge Challenge, CLICK HERE.  We post our pieces in a Facebook group devoted to the Design Challenges.  It's a great place to keep up to date with the latest news and information about the kits and to interact with other participants!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Creative heART Challenge: Day 10...

It's interesting getting back into the flow of painting again.  It has been almost ten years since I sort of shifted my focus away from painting.  I've done a few little things here and there, but I haven't really had a chance to fully engage for awhile now.  It's both wonderfully exciting and a little frightening.

Here is what I created for the 10th day of the Creative heART Challenge, and I'm really happy.  CLICK HERE to find out more about this piece and to call it your own.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Creative heART Challenge: Day 9...

I think one of the hardest things about making creative work is finding the balance between what makes you happy and what makes others happy.  For instance, when I started this mixed media piece, I struggled.  I had wanted it to work out a certain way and it just wouldn't.  Eventually, I got the painting to a really good spot and then I kept noodling around and I messed it up.  So I scraped away what wasn't working for me and started over.  I had posted some images of this process.  Normally I don't have a problem with showing process pictures, but when you're in new territory or aren't feeling 100% confident, revealing yourself too early puts you in a vulnerable position.  So I posted some pictures that showed the aftermath of me pulling up layers of paint and collage and surprisingly people liked it and that was almost worse than if people hated it.  Then when I posted another "in process" picture, many of the people who saw it the first time said they liked that version better.  At that point, we'd already passed the Rubicon and it was too late to backtrack.  The danger here is that I stopped to consider this.  Could I potentially recapture some of the chaos and piece together the mess I made?  The answer was NO.  It also dawned on me that there were too many opinions in my head and I had to listen to my heart and mind and follow my own artistic muses.

And this is what happened:

I learned a lot in the creation of this piece.  I know that I learned more than if everything worked out smoothly.  Sometimes you need those hiccups to make you a better artist.

To take a look at this in our online store and to learn more about it, CLICK HERE.


Earthbound creatures, stomping through the white.
We hurled snowballs, we built snowmen.
We made snow angels – beating arms with frantic delight.
Cold wings, featherless flight.
Laughter carried on the wind.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Creative heART Challenge: Day 8...

I think one of my other struggles with this challenge is finding enough time to do it all.  Making things is fine.  Photographing things is fine.  Adding things to the online store is fine.  Blogging is fine.  But put together on a daily deadline, it's a little daunting.  When I feel overwhelmed, I think about how it'll all be worth it.  I also think about all the cool things I have been making and all the ideas that I'm finally tackling after years of percolation!

One of things that I've been enjoying while embarking on this project is going through all my beads.  I like to think of the places I got them and the people I've met along the way.  Whenever I'm making things, particularly things that are to be worn, I try to focus all my positive intentions and good energy into the pieces.  I want people to carry all that good with them.  In these pieces, I've had fun mixing and matching all the different beads that have been collected over the years.  This necklace features carved bone from India, seed beads from Japan, fossilized conch shell and lapis beads from Tibet, a toggle made in Thailand by way of Ohio, and carnelian nuggets I found in Tucson.

I was first drawn to beads because of all the stories.  Body adornment is one of the oldest signifiers of human civilization.  It predates written language and appears in every culture.  Even in the most impoverished communities or ones with minimalistic aesthetics, there's some form of jewelry.  And all those things have stories.  I like the idea that as a designer, I'm making my own stories and using all these pieces and parts and creating another story that the wearer will carry with them in their own stories.  This necklace features very old Venetian glass that was once traded for gold, serpentine, African glass, bone, resin amber from Nepal, and Hebron Kano African glass.  It's said that the Hebron beads were made in the 1800's.  This necklace represents a global exchange of ideas across the ages.


They put us in the ground, buried beneath earth and debris.
Out of sight, out of mind.
We never stopped striving, reaching higher.
Stronger from the struggle, growing deep roots.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Creative heART Challenge: Day 7...

I don't have many offerings today and I probably won't have many for the next few days.  I think one of the hardest parts of this challenge is that the way that I work.  I tend to work on things in layers and a little at a time.  So it can seem like I'm not very productive, when in actuality, I've been busily working away.

I think one of the other hurdles for me is that time moves in a slip-slide fashion for me.  I don't keep regular hours, so keeping track of time and days is tricky for me.  It doesn't help that when I'm working, I could sit down for what seems like 15 minutes and then when I look up, hours have passed.  I get so lost in my work sometimes.

This necklace may look relatively simple and for all intensive purposes, it is.  The beads though have been in my collection for years.  One of my first loves in the bead world was opalescent glass.  I was bewitched by how it seems like it is lit from within.  This necklace features vintage Mali Wedding beads.  Normally, when you buy Mali wedding beads (originally made in what is now the Czech Republic for trade in Africa), you get a bright, multi-colored assortment.  I ended up picking through thousands of beads to pick out these!  The sterling silver toggle comes by way of Saki Silver.  It's apt that it's a heart, because I love these beads!

This necklace features a bunch of aquamarine.  I love aquamarine.  It has such a shimmery, beautiful light blue color.  I mixed an assortment of different cuts with some vintage seed beads and Czech glass rounds.  I think the piece looks light and airy.  The toggle comes courtesy of my family at Green Girl Studios.  It's sterling silver.  While I was digging through boxes, I found a cache of projects that I made for magazines from years ago.  I ended up cannibalizing them for their parts.  The toggle is one of the pieces that I harvested!  

Bead and Craft Bloggers...

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Andrew kicks off his month-long Creative heART Challenge with a collection of necklaces!  Check out what he made!

Snap out of it, Jean!  There's beading to be done!
Jean reviews "Jewel Loom Inspirations" – a marvelous and fun book for beaders by Julianna C. Avelar!

Valentine Heart Shaker Card
Eileen made a Valentine heart shaker card filled with red confetti hearts using her Silhouette.  See how and download your choice of PDF templates or SVG files.

Have Fun with Found Object Drawings
Try to look at common things in a different way by making drawings starting with found objects.

Stitch an Encouraging Saying
Connie has added a NEW free pattern with a meaningful saying that will be perfect for a card or framed design.  Be sure to save it now!

Bead Vlog
Tammy's creating sparkly jewelry with her bead bargain box goodies.

Rich Mom Videos
If you have been thinking of dusting off your Etsy shop or starting one, then you may want to watch what Rich Mom has to say.

Beading Arts
Cyndi shares an easy wire bracelet that only LOOKS complicated!


Growing closer in the dark, a little at a time.
Slow movements, under pressure and disguise.
Digging deeper to discover what is hidden, what belies.
Unearthing a perfect beauty, crystalline.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Creative heART Challenge: Day 6...

So far, the creations that I've shared for the Creative heART Challenge have all been jewelry pieces.  I thought I'd switch things up a little.
According to the Chinese Zodiac, it's the Year of the Monkey!  I was inspired to make a Lucky Monkey Ornament.  Here's the original that I sculpted in polymer clay with glass eyes.  I tend to add a lot of detail into the masters, because after they've been molded, cleaned up, and painted, some of the detail disappears in the process.

I decided to make this a limited run of twelve resin ornaments!  I won't be making anymore after this.  Each of the pieces is signed, dated, and numbered.
Here's a close-up of the Lucky Monkey Ornament.  After I make the silicone mold, I use ultra hard fast-cast resin to pour the pieces.  While the resin is firm, but hasn't set up completely, I trim the pieces with a sharp blade.  (If I waited until they were rock hard, they'd be super hard to clean-up with any precision.)  Once the pieces have completely cured, I then add layers of paints, pigments, inks, and colored waxes.  When all the layers are dried, I seal them and add gloss highlights to the eyes, so they look wet and more like eyes.

The ornaments are available in our NEW online store.  CLICK HERE to visit the online store and CLICK HERE to go directly to the Lucky Monkey Ornaments.


Occasionally, I accept commissions. I don't have a lot of time to work on my current projects, so I'm generally reluctant to take on anything new.  I'll sometimes make exceptions for someone I know, or if they seem really invested in my work and respect me as an artist.  Unfortunately, I've been burned in the past and that puts a damper on my enthusiasm to take on new commissions.  I've been in scenarios where I've spent hundreds of hours making things and then have the client not like it or want to make a change (and the sort of change that  requires you to remake it entirely and not just alter something).  I've even had folks completely bail on payment or any form of compensation.  This latter situation isn't so bad if I still have the piece (because I can generally find another buyer for it), but there have been times that I've sent things out on good faith and haven't been squared up with.  Oh well.  It happens.  I try not to dwell on such things.

Anyway... this is a piece that I made for someone looking for a gift for his girlfriend.  I don't know if he'll end up getting it or not, but if not... that's okay.  I like it a lot and would be happy with it hanging out with me a little longer.  It's made of sterling silver with a vintage rose-cut chocolate sapphire and granulated fine silver.  If he ends up getting it, the plan is to make a really cool, handcrafted chain to go with it.  If he doesn't, I'll probably hold on to it and eventually sell just the pendant.  But hopefully he likes it!


Uncertain territory, filled with promise and reward.
Guarded by misgivings, bramble of cruel indecision.
Snared in the briar, a jagged place filled with sharper thorns.
Nothing gained on safer shores.

Iviva Olenick at Old Stone House in Brooklyn...

A few years ago, my friend and fellow artist, Iviva Olenick was working on a project called the Brooklyn Love Exchange.  If you're not familiar with her artwork, she uses embroidery to create a lot of her bittersweet and poignant pieces.  Using fibers and thread, she captures the essence of modern dating and the complications of relationships.  The concept of the 2011 show was that she was creating a map of her embroideries, featuring love stories from around the borough.  She put a call out for stories and created many from the stories she collected.  I think she even had a live event where people would tell her stories and she'd stitch in real time.  I sent her a few.

Recently, she was asked by a curator to show some of the works from that project, but she didn't have enough that were still available.  So she revisited those emails and texts and created a few more!  Here's one of new pieces she made based on one of those stories I sent.  Isn't it delightful?

This piece (along with several others by her) at the Old Stone House in Brooklyn now through June 20th as part of the Partners, Parents, Pets: Contemporary Portraiture exhibit.  The show was curated by Katherine Gressel and features work by Sophia Dawson, Jamie Diamond, Natalie Gruppuso, Meghan Keane, Bayeté Ross Smith, Mónika Sziládi, and of course, Iviva Olenick.  If you're in Brooklyn, check it out!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Creative heART Challenge: Day 5...

So... I went back and forth about making this post.  Since this is not only a personal creative challenge, but also a fundraising effort, I was a bit hesitant about whether or not I should.  In the end, I decided to share it.  I thought it might be helpful for me to organize my thoughts and go through the process again in my mind.  I also think it's important to share some of the things that go awry from time to time.  Being an artist isn't always walking down a path of pretty little lilies.

Have you ever had a great idea and thought how wonderful and easy it'll be to make happen... and then you get to it and it just does not want to cooperate?  That's this project.  I had a delightful idea to make some quick earrings.  The concept was to use the new dies designed by Jill MacKay for Sizzix and cut out shrink plastic shapes and add some color and then make some quick earrings.

So here's what I made:

The first part of the project went off without a hitch.  I really love Jill's new dies.  She has created such fun shapes.  And the BigShot made quick work of the shrink plastic film.    The new dies will debut this spring! Look for them!  They're great!

And then it came to adding color.  We prepared the surfaces, used alcohol inks and some painting techniques and they looked pretty cool.  But I had to keep fussing.  So then I said, let me add some washes of paint and fixative and protective sealer and UV resin and other spray sealers and other paints.... etc.  And that's where things started to go down hill.

When I'm working with a material like plastic, one of the things that I like to think about is elevating it and making it look really expensive and rich.  I like to transform the material and make it feel special.  Even though plastic is an incredible medium with tons of potential, if done wrong, it can look really cheap and "homemade" in a bad way.

Here's a close-up of one set of earring components.  One of the effects that I wanted to achieve is to use the clear shrink plastic and embellish one side only.  It has a really luminous quality, like looking through water or glass.  My issue was that once I created the surface embellishment that I wanted, I couldn't find just the right sealers.  Either they clumped, or ran, or were slightly tacky, or scraped off too easy, or weren't completely waterproof.  Another issue was that some of the spray sealers I tried gave the pieces a very plastic vibe... and that's exactly what I was trying to avoid!

Here's another close up shot.  I had issues with some of the sealers running underneath the pieces while I worked, gumming up what would eventually be the fronts.  I also had problems with the sealers filling the holes.  Since some of the sealers didn't stick very well, they'd come up and roll into little gummy balls that'd get stuck in the intricate pattern and harden there.  Although the end results weren't what I hoped for, I did glean some good ideas and when I repeat this project, I'll have a better understanding of what to do better and how to make it more successful.  I learned a lot, but I won't be selling these.  Even though some of them have an interesting look, I just don't feel confident putting them out in the world yet.

This is another variation.    So... if you didn't know already, I'm a little stubborn.  Once I get an idea, it's hard for me to shake it.  I'll tweak it and rework it and remake it until I make it happen.  The problem with this is that I'm working on an incredibly tight timeline and there really isn't time for this.  Since the earrings would be made primarily of the shrink film (with maybe sterling silver earwires), I can't really charge a premium for them.  The return on investment for time and effort just simply isn't there.  And it was somewhat disappointing coming to this realization.  But such is the life as a creative professional.

Since these didn't work out, I won't have anything to post in the online store today, but keep checking back!  I'll be adding lots of fun projects that I hope people will enjoy!  CLICK HERE to visit the store and see other things that I made that are available.


Old lace, dirty panes, and unremembered heart pangs.
Forgotten kisses, crumbling roses, and sun-bleached stains.
The dust dances lazily.
It does not ask what came before, only hugs what remains.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Creative heART Challenge: Day 4...

Only two necklaces for Day Four!  It might seem like my creativity and production ability has steadily been on the decline and is drying up, but I've been working in the background on a lot of different pieces.  William has said that I've been working too much and that I'm overdoing it.  I might have to scale back my ambition a bit, because it's only the fourth day of this creative challenge and I'm already starting to feel a little threadbare.  The ideas are there, the energy to do it all... not so much.

Some of the projects that I'm working on in background are new materials and I want to experiment a little more before I start listing things.  I like to troubleshoot and see how things will wear and if I can do something better.  Once I feel confident in them, I'll showcase them.  Also... some of the work I'm doing just takes a long time.  Layers of medium have to dry completely before I can go back on top of them.  These things can't be rushed without ill effect.  With the paintings, I've fallen into this weird bashful protectiveness.  I guess they're so new and raw to me that I am not ready to share them yet nor am I really ready to do process pictures.  The way that I work, I build in secret layers.  Sometimes people see glimpses or catch snippets, but sometimes the viewer can't – but those layers and secrets are still there, just like people.  I'll be posting some small paintings and some larger ones!  Maybe next week!

If you're curious what I've made so far and have listed, CLICK HERE.

I'm on this kick of raiding my stash and utilizing some of my prized beads.  Some of them I've had for a long time and haven't seen the likes of again.  Now, whenever I go shopping for beads and I see something that I love, I snap it up.  I've learned that sometimes if you wait, thinking that you'll go back and it'll be there later, the opportunity will pass you by and you'll kick yourself for years that you didn't get it.  At least that's my experience.  I have a couple of strands floating around in my subconscious, haunting me that I didn't get them when I saw them!

This necklace features a blend of faceted garnets and tourmaline.  There's something about simple-cut that makes my heart go pitter-patter!  I think it's one of the most elegant of cuts, because it allows the gemstone to sing!  Also, with some other cuts, a lot of lovely material gets removed.  This isn't to say that I don't like or won't use other cuts... because I will.  I just happen to love the facets and organic elegance of simple-cut stones!

When I use super nice materials and have fancy clasps, I like to make them as versatile as possible.  With these necklaces, the clasp can be worn in back like regular, or it can be rotated to the side.  This way the wearer gets the maximum usage out of the piece!
These lozenge rubies have long been a prize in my collection!  I was at a show and had just sold a bunch of my work and had a little extra spending money.  I saw them at a friends booth and with the lights shining on them and the facets sparkling, it was like the money in my back pocket burnt a hole straight through!  At the time my face was all flush and I felt slightly feverish and I think I was so happy to acquire them that I felt a little high.  They still make my heart race!  But I'm just a sucker for rubies anyway.  In this piece, I paired the lozenges with faceted ruby rondelles, and faceted ruby rounds!  So juicy!

Keep checking back to see all the things that I've been working on!  And thank you so much for joining me on this creative journey.  It makes my heart light to know that so many people are following along and showing their support!