Arctic Explorer

The January/February 2005 issue of Quilts With Style put a quilt called “Polar Nights” on its cover. I liked the blocky polar bears.

Late Saturday night, I made a quick freehand sketch of the bears and colored it with markers. I was rushing, and the proportions came out all wrong. What are those creatures??

Still, the next morning, when the light in my room was very dim, the white bears glowed, and I was motivated to keep working with them.

I went to the page where the tiny segments of the bear pattern appeared and traced the pieces as if they were sewn together. I colored the tracing with two different shades of blue marker and put a little gesso on the bear’s body for texture [I guess the scan flattens it out.] I drew in some quilting lines. Then I pasted the colored tracing onto an index card for stability.

This bear was immediately likable. I began to see that he was an imperiled contemporary bear, living with diminishing sea ice. I drew him again freehand, using the bear above for my model and capturing just the outline.

This particular cheap box-store marker gives a chunky, faintly blurry line that I really like. (If it were waterproof I’d use it more.) There’s an echo of Keith Haring in the line.

These arctic explorations have been very instructive.



A mail art friend sent twenty of us copies of a glowing red collage she made of radish seed packets. She gave no instructions, so I decided that she probably wanted us to embellish it and pass it on. Just the kind of thing I love to do.

The original had no title. I call my version “You Can’t Have Too Many Radishes or Amaryllis or Ethnic Beads.”

All kinds of mark-making plus more collage.

Just Paint

Postcards for a swap on that theme: “just paint.”

A Monochrome Experiment

My eye thinks that I knit the disparate parts together pretty well. Your eye may differ.

This page and the page below have worn me out for working on a full-sized journal page. I’m going to do index cards for a few days!

Windows, or The Gawky Child

I had a journal page that was pretty unattractive, yet I liked it a little bit. Recalling an earlier success, I painted out a lot of it with metallic black, creating eight windows.

I put eight little abstract scraps in the windows and scuffed up the black paint with some scratches and finger-painting. I really like finger-painting. I’m working with craft-quality paints, so it’s entertaining to watch some of the under-painting come through the dots that I made with white paint.

If I had thought of it sooner, I would have lifted off some black paint before it dried. Regardless, I like the play of light over the surface now. The gawky child is now peculiar in an interesting way.

I Cleaned My Desktop

When I finished, there were still a few tiny scraps left in the workspace. So I made something with them.

Or try it this way, right side up.

Trees, 2

Acrylic paint applied with a pencil eraser; water color background stitched onto handmade paper (not handmade by me.)