Tag Archives: painting

Some of My Favorite Things



From an Old House-Joseph Cornell

I love to make jewelry but it wasn’t my first love. I studied drawing and painting as an undergraduate. I attended grad school believing I would continue that path. In graduate school a huge part of the curriculum are Critique Classes in which artists of all genres are mixed together. We “show” our pieces several times during the semester and are showered with compliments or beaten to pulp with criticism. (I was the beneficiary of the latter.) It was in these classes that I discovered my affinity for tactile items and a fascination with 3 dimensional objects. I was very fortunate to find two professors who encouraged me to move in that direction.

I miss my studio. Most of my jewelry making is on the floor of my living room. Jewelry is wonderful because it doesn’t take a lot of space and you can easily put it all away when you are finished. Jewelry does give me the satisfaction of creating. I am thankful for that.


Monogram – Robert Rauschenburg

Flag painting

Three Flags-Jasper Johnes

In the mean time, I collect objects that inspire me or remind me of long past memories. I paint on little pieces of wood and I gather wooden containers. Cigar boxes, ornate cabinets, wine boxes, anything that can hold other objects of my affection. I haven’t figured out how to make it all work together, but I know I will.
Joseph Cornell’s work had a profound influence on me as well as the work of Robert Rauschenburg and Jasper Johns. I will never forget the day I went to Houston to “just see art” and realized that there was a Robert Rauschenburg Retrospective going on at galleries all over the city. It was a religious experience! Seeing all of the work I loved and adored up close, I felt like I could smell the paint.

I will never forget that all consuming sense of being an artist and what I would be driven to do for the rest of my life .
Here are some of my favorite things.

frames, paintings

Frames, Cabinet and small paintings.


Boxes and things I’ve collected to use.


Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon


In my garage sale and estate sale adventures, I’ve gained quite a bit of knowledge. I garage sale/estate sale to get about 80% -90% of the items I use in my jewelry making, painting, sculpture and crafting. I would like to share some of my finds and the lessons I’ve learned.

There is an art to getting good stuff at a good price…Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

This past weekend, I bought approximately, 30 tubes of acrylic paint, including some of the larger tubes for $5.00. The seller wanted 25 cents per tube. I took the time to count them all, let him know the total and asked for a bulk discount. I got 33% off and a nice rubbermate container to take them away. Someone’s craft gone bad turned into my painting booty. SCORE!

Acrylic Paints

Lesson: Buy in bulk or bundle. The more you buy, the less the seller has to carry back into their house. When buying 5 or more items, always ask for a price break. On more than one occasion, after I paid for my purchase, the seller would remember another 1 or 2 items that went with what I was buying, find it for me, and give it to me.

A couple of weekends ago, I came across a honeyhole of jewelry. Unfortunately, the seller had lost his Mother and he was selling off all of the items the family did not want. I gathered several sterling charms, chains and complete necklaces along with some quality costume jewelry pieces. I asked him how much for everything and just when I was about to say a price, he said $3. OKAY!!! I was going to offer $5 and go up a bit if I had to.

Broken copper necklace

Broken copper necklace

Lesson: Let the seller offer the first price. You can always negotiate to get the price lower or accept the offer. By speaking first, you put a price in the seller’s head and worse, let them know how much it’s worth to you.

At a flea market, I picked up several necklaces and asked the seller how much? She quoted me anywhere from $5 – $10. I passed on them because all I really wanted was the chain. I kept searching and I came across a gorgeous brass linked chain, no pendent or findings. When I inquired about it, the seller said $1. That was the one piece I bought. I found a beautiful cooper chain with and ugly purse charm at another booth. The chain was broke. I asked the seller how much and when he noticed it was broke, he offered to give it to me. I gave him a quarter for the piece. I was just happy to get it. SMILE!

Brass chain

Lesson: Look for quality items that are broke and or missing a piece. Sellers will always make a deal on them or even give them to you. They feel a little guilty about broken items or items missing parts and this is your advantage. I ALWAYS buy single earrings. Most of the time, they will give it to me because there’s no match. If happens to be sterling or gold, I get it for fifty cents or less.

Sterling single earrings

I bought a perfect, unused wine bottle opener for ten cents last weekend. It was a garage/estate sale and the family members who were running the sale, had everything priced to go. Various candles and glass vases were 5 or 10 cents each.

Lesson: Carry change with you including dimes and nickles. People use the garage sale stickers and those packages includes 5 and 10 cent stickers. If you only have quarters, you are asking the seller to break a quarter or keep the change. The bad is that you buy additional items to use the entire quarter. It’s also good go carry ones and fives so that you can give exact change. It’s just bad karma to give someone a ten to pay when you bargained them down to seven. Twenties suck because you take all of the sellers change, making later sales harder when they have no ones or fives. Again, it’s a karma thing. DO NOT give someone a twenty when your purchase is less than $5.

Rule of Thumb: When you walk up to a sale in which clothing is on hangers and hung from sleeveless to long sleeves, every item including pencil erasers have tags on them, and items are organized on tables according to type and kind…BEWARE. This will be the sale with the highest prices (99% of time). You are buying their beloved items that they have decided to part with and are allowing you to have. There is a surcharge for them being so anal and taking the time to sort and price each perfectly intact individual item. This doesn’t mean there isn’t a deal, but it won’t be easy, proceed with caution.

Estate Sales: Put yourself on their mailing list so you know when they are happening. You also get to preview the items before the sale opens to the public. Keep a mental note of the items you are interested in when you do the walk-thru and only buy the ones you think are super duper special. Go the last day of the sale when everything is 50% – 75% off. That’s the deal day.

Chained, new earrings with brass, garnet and crystals

I wish you much luck and lots of fun when you go out and find your treasures. It doesn’t hurt to have a shopping list so you don’t get distracted by all of the deals you could make. When the sales aren’t all that great, don’t force it and buy something you may regret. Go to your local art supply, jewelry supply or craft store and check out what’s on sale. Window shop and gain inspiration to fuel your next g-sale outing!

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon!

The first cut is the deepest


I’m always looking for new ways to express myself. I crochet, make over fashion dolls, cook, make jewelry, and paint. I give myself a new challenge and I go for it. No fear! I’ve decided that I enjoy blogging so much, I want to write. I’ve written a few short stories here and there and all of the obligatory papers and reports for grad and undergrad classes. I now dare myself to write at least 1 maybe 2 short stories in the next few months. I have a goal of getting an article in a lifestyle magazine and possible a few short stories published. I live in Austin and we are an extremely literate town (although, while on the college campus, you might think otherwise).

Passion, new ring in bronze

Why do I think I can write? It’s not that I think I’m an expert in a certain field or that my observations are completely brand new. I would never be a critic! I do believe I have a unique way of seeing things and therefore, writing about them. All anyone can tell me is no. No doesn’t hurt. I’ve learned that you mine as well do what you want. Life is too short to let anyone stop you, a lesson I learned in a very hard way, while in Graduate school. I did my undergraduate work at UT Austin. We focused the cognitive part of art creation, artistic philosophies and executing our ideas. Students worked in a variety of art forms and traditions, including performance, installation and video. It was an extremely nurturing environment.

We choose to go to graduate school in Nacogdoches, located in East Texas, about 1 1/2 hours from the Louisiana border. I got in by the skin of my teeth because I had a good GED score and great recommendations from my former professors. The faculty hated my portfolio! I should have known then and there that the fit for me in the program would not be easy. I was young, full of my artist ego, and 100% naive.

Sunny, new ring in gold

My artwork was constantly challenged on the merits of craftsmanship, how it was hung or installed and the feminist ideas driving the work. I took my fair share of verbal beatings in formal critiques as well as some extra ones thrown in here and there in my studio. I have to admit, I did have a couple of incredible professors, who understood what I was doing, supported my work, and even defended it. I choose 3 of these people to serve on my committee for my thesis. These would be the people to lead me to artistic victory in the department. I had a very successful Master’s exhibition. This was the final piece to the puzzle of having your thesis accepted. My written thesis proposal had been accepted and I passed orals. I made it through all the bs and now I just had to work on my art.

The morning after my exhibition, I bounded into the chairman’s office ready to hear my accolades, finally! I had the few normal detractors (As an artist, not everyone will love your work. That’s just the way it is.) My thesis committee gave me glowing reviews, well 2 of them did. One was quoted for saying I was one of the smartest people to ever come through the program. WOW! But, he continued to say that after seeing my show, he didn’t know if he can further support my work or my thesis! WTF!!!! I left from the office and almost wrecked my bike on the way home. The tears streaming from my eyes blinding me and the horrible hyperventilating that comes from crying so hard, strangling me at the same time. I was destroyed!

Rumors later surfaced that the person who once loved me and now seemed to think I was crap, had a bad opening for his show the weekend before. To his credit, he is a master painter of still life and continues to teach, paint and exhibit his work in galleries throughout Texas. I guess we all have our bad days, but if this was indeed the case and I got blasted for his failings, then I don’t have much respect for him. If he honestly believed my show sucked, he should have been thoughtful enough to speak to me in private before I heard it from the chairman. I survived the ordeal and found another great person to serve on my committee. My resolve was stronger and words like his would never cut so deep again. Those wounds are now calluses.

I’m not scared to do what I want because I learned to survive the haters. They are everywhere and it’s best to let them be the fuel to your fire. I will write and I will be published because I want it and I’m not afraid to go out and get it. Rejection is part of the process and whatever doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger. You can’t let fear of approval and harsh words keep you in a cage or stop you in your tracks.

Give the bird to the naysayers when they try to hold you down. They can stand there and watch as you fly away!

Ocean, new ring in gold