Thursday, December 2, 2010

Cowgirls on Vacation


A while back (May 5th - OK, QUITE a while back) I posted a postcard photo of three cowgirls, Mabel, May and Myrtle. It was my intention to create a collage with their sassy images, and I finally accomplished my goal. Here they are. As I mentioned in my previous post, they were known throughout Montana as the "Red Yearlings" because of their red-blond hair and horsemanship. They were so accomplished that they were sought for hire by the Wild West shows, which they declined. Instead they went to Paris. (I just made up the Paris part, but the rest is true).

Monday, November 29, 2010

Driven Mad By Love

The title of this collage was taken from Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, one of my favorite sources of inspiration. Who hasn't been pushed over the brink by Love?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Minnesota Magaine Cover

This December cover (and inside illustration) for Minnesota Medicine was entirely an exercise in Photoshop, beginning with bodies found in the wonderful image resource site It was like playing Mr. Potato Head, that 50's toy where you got to add body parts to make a new person from scratch.

The illustrated feature article will address the issue of the huge number of baby boomers that are showing up for medical care due to professional sports injuries. You're never to old to go out for a rowdy game of ice hocky, apparently. I'll just sit on the side and cheer them on with my mug of hot chocolate thank you very much.

Here are the bodies that I started with:

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Art Attack!

Yes, another year has passed, and once again it is Fall. This means that "Art Attack" is about to begin in the historic Northrup King Building in Minneapolis, Minnesota, home of my studio, as well as the studios of nearly 175 other artists. Our doors are open, are creations are displayed, c'mon down!

The hours are:

Friday, November 5th - 5 pm to 10 pm
Saturday, November 6th - Noon to 8 pm
Sunday, November 7th - Noon to 5 pm

For more information about the event, check out the building's website.

Hope to see you!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Artist

Oh, to be an artist who earns much more than he/she needs!

This is another quotation from Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, one of my favorite sources of inspiration. Each sentence seems to conjure up a visual image of surrealistic delight.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Old Cars

Collage detail

Farrah look-alike

Farrah look-alike - rear end

I found this vintage postcard in an antique store, and you will soon see this old Ford in the collage that I'm working on. I just love old cars, and I'm not sure why. When I lived in LA, I used to careen around in a 1957 Ford Fairlane 500 that I bought for $400. I named her "Farrah Ford Fairlane 500". I adored her sleek baby blue and white exterior and her shiny chrome dashboard that looked like a cockpit. She was so big you had to plan your turns a block in advance. The only let down I experienced was when I was on the freeway and it began to pour, and I discovered that the windshield wipers didn't work. When she finally fell apart, I realized it was probably for the betterment of my pocketbook and the environment.

Unfortunately, I can't find a photo of Farrah, but I did find a red one on the Internet that is of the same year, courtesy of American Dream Cars.

As you can see, driving Farrah was the closest I'll ever get to being an astronaut.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Backyard Discoveries

Look what I found in the shady part of my backyard. Huge mushrooms! No, the pear was not sprouting, too, I set it there for comparison purposes, so you could see how big those umbrellas are!

And the dahlias. What can I say. They are always the regal show-offs of the garden, lasting until the frost comes.

Stepping away from my drawing board and computer for a moment to see the little wonders of nature does wonders for my nature!

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Digital Sketch

I got so confused and frustrated working with all the elements that may go into this collage that I wanted to pick up the panel with all the cut out pieces resting on top of it and throw the whole mess out the window. But then I decided to use my computer and do a digital rendition as a "rough sketch" and play with the sizing and the colors and elements in this manner.

Oddly enough, my initial idea was of simplicity. But I can't seem to stay austere, since the theme is one of excess! Hmmmm. Still haven't resolved it. It looks so prim and precise. Need to wrestle with it some more. Maybe instead of trying to wrestle it to the ground, I should just turn and walk away. Do something else. Then maybe it would come creeping back to me with a resolution in hand.....

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Successful Artist

vintage photo


successful artist

I'm working on a new collage, inspired by a line in Gabriel Garcia Marquez's book Love in the Time of Cholera: "He earned much more with his art than he needed." Ha!

I'm starting with a lovely old photo of two brothers who look to be working class peasant stock (just like me). I'm transforming the younger one into a successful insolent artist (just like me). Apparently all one needs is a pair of sun glasses. How fun is this?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Labor Day, Almost

The State Fair is the official reminder that summer is ending and we are headed into our long dark frigid winter BOO HOOOOOO. So the State Fair is our last chance to celebrate summer and enjoy our fellow Minnesotans and all the fun and food the Fair provides. This year I really had a hankering to undergo the rituals and trials of the Fair. It's always insanely hot and humid, in the 90's, with the paramedics routinely reviving people who have passed out from heat stroke. And it's always insanely crowded with merrymakers who don't give a second thought about heat stroke!

The first photo is our arrival view, and the last is the departure: a sea of people. There is an unspoken rivalry amongst the vendors as to who can produce the most unhealthy (but delicious) food, and kudos if it is on a stick or deep-fried or both.(alligator-on-a-stick, deep-fried bologna and corn dog pizzas for example)

This year the heat was so intense that we didn't even make it to the animal barns or the Midway. The Horticulture Building was fun (did you know that a stalk of corn only produces one ear? Think how much land is needed to produce corn!) Of course we went to the Dairy Building to watch the sweet State Fair Princess having her portrait sculpted out of butter in a refrigerated "studio". Her attendants also will have their likenesses carved. After the Fair ends, they can take their heads home. What a lovely addition to a future brunch, the hostess's head carved in butter next to the croissants and jelly!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Illustration Friday - "Artificial"

Are we frying our eyes? In sunglasses, plastic is artificial glass. I've been thinking about all the latest news about plastics and the harm than comes from the fumes or the chemicals that leach out over time. We're not supposed to store clothes in plastic bags, or use shower curtains that that emit PVC fumes, or drink water out of plastic bottles or cook with Teflon pans.

What about the plastic lens in sunglasses? What are they doing to our eyesight, especially when they are warm from being left in a hot car?

Mr. McGuire may have been wrong in "The Graduate" - our future may not lay in plastics. Or it may, but if we ruin our eyesight, we won't be able to see it.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Madonna Doggy


This portrait of my darling Suzi-Q was taken by my out-of-town friend Marilyn while she was visiting me last week. On their journey here, she and her daughter Genna had to pull over and huddle in their car while a tornado passed overhead (seriously, I kid you not). Then, on the evening before they drove back to Chicago, we had to run to the basement for cover while sirens sounded for yet another tornado and stormy night! In between we had a fun week of shopping, eating, swimming, drinking and running amok.

Suzi Q is a cross between a Chihuahua and a Pug, which according to Marilyn, makes her a "Chuggle". We did not pose her, this is how she likes to sleep - under the covers in her doggie bed.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Health Care Reform Magazine Cover

I haven't had time to post since I've had a flurry of assignments this week - hoo hah!

This assignment is for a supplement that will publish this month with the regular edition of Minnesota Medicine Magazine. The theme is health care reform, with the general focus on Minnesota leading the nation in working with the federal government to examine changes in the health care system.

I submitted these two sketches and Janna, Graphic Designer Extraordinaire, selected the magnifying glass sketch. Here's something I learned - I drew the wrong icon for the medical industry. Initially, I looked it up for reference in various websites, and most of the reference sites got it wrong! The two snakes entwined around the staff (which as you can see is what I drew) is called the "caduceus", whereas what I should have drawn is the "asclepius", the single snake entwined around a staff. Caduceus is the symbol of Hermes, the ancient Roman messenger of commerce, and Aclepius was a Greek god who whose specialty was his healing powers. So you can see how these descriptions can make quite a different impression in regard to the medical profession! The snake shedding its skin symbolizes renewal and vigor, the aim of medicine. Now aren't you glad you learned something new today?

I've been wanting to incorporate textures and drawing into my illustration in a more prominent way, and this is the first time I've been able to mix them all together. It was challenging for me, but I loved the process and can't wait to continue along this road. All the elements are on separate layers in Photoshop, so Janna will be able to use them for spot illustrations throughout the publication. The arms of Uncle Sam and Minnesota make a respectable handshake when used without the rest of the illustration.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Letters Home

This is the first of the two collages I was commissioned to do for Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota. Initially I envisioned imagery highlighting the fabulous old architecture on the campus, but when I discovered the other photos in the university's archives, I changed direction. This letter is one of many written by a student in the early 1900's. She was not only prolific in her letter-writing, she was very wordy. Each letter was around 12 to 15 pages long. So you can imagine the details available to a reader today about life in and around school at the turn of the century!

This is the freshman class of 1900.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Here's the final image for Hamline University. I was so charmed by the vintage photos of the graduating classes that I decided to focus more on the grads rather than the architecture of the campus. I'm not sure the valedictorian took off on a gull (or a loon, our state bird), but you never know. I'm quite sure the graduating students spread their wings and took flight, though.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Little Cowboy

Today would have been my brother's 59th birthday. We spent so many years together, from the time this photo was taken, it's hard to believe that I can't call him up and wish him Happy Birthday. You're in our hearts and thoughts, Paulie, on this your special day and every other.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Bad Hair Day

I just can't do a thing with it. It has rained every day for the last week, and my hair turns into a frizzy icky mop, no matter what I do. My hair stylist's solution to any problem is, "more product". MY solution is to move to a humid-free climate, wherever that may be.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Hamline Commission



Here's a little work in progress - I'm working on two collages commissioned by Hamline University. Hamline is located in St. Paul and has the distinct honor of being the very first university here in the Twin Cities and among the first coeducational institutions in the nation. I've been provided with some wonderful historical photographs to use in these collages. Here's the 1901 freshman class, floating on a letter written by a long ago student, whose many colorful and descriptive letters have been preserved in the archives. I love the many different personalities depicted in this group shot. How did the women (and the men, for that matter) manage to wear those tight high collars all day long?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Writer, final version

My annual open studio event was this weekend, ("Art-a-Whirl") I got so busy I forgot to post it on this blog. How professional is THAT, I ask you. Anyway, I was busy finishing up this collage and it was a good thing, too, because it sold during the event - to a writer! Oh, Happy Days!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Writer

The Buckley sisters are going to have to wait - it seems I am preoccupied with finishing up a collage featuring this red-headed heroine. I often work on two or more collages at once so that I can let one "marinate" while I work on the other. Problems seem to solve themselves this way and interesting developments appear when I return to the work.

Bird-headed figures have been seen throughout history, and interestingly enough, they always seem to have a reference to writing or wisdom. So it seems appropriate that this hybrid creature be a vessel for the concept of writing and storytelling.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Giraffes and other Wonders


"Paper Acorn"

My "Air Show" print (available in my Etsy shop, Graphitegirl, ahem ahem) was included in Paper Acorn's post today, featuring handmade works involving that lovable creature, the giraffe. Check out the blog for the many fascinating artistic interpretations at paper acorn. And if you'd like to visit the the Paper Acorn Etsy shop, you will find some amazing handcrafted paper designs such as wedding decorations and luminaries.

Thanks, Jessica!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Buckley Sisters

I just LOVE these ladies! Look at them, smiling (well, sort of) in their fancy scarves and ties. I've been saving this postcard until now, when I am finally ready to make a painting/collage to honor them. Their names were Mabel, May and Myrtle. They were known throughout Montana as the "Red Yearlings" because of their red-blond hair and horsemanship. They were so accomplished that they were sought for hire by the Wild West shows, which they declined. I wanna be a cowgirl.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Spring finally

I know I know, yet another photo of flowers on the internet. I can't help it - my crab apple trees knock my socks off every spring, and every spring I take the same photograph! It only lasts a week, so it makes the viewing even more special.