A painting can turn in to a political or religious statement for an artist, as a way for the artist to express personal views or experiences without speaking aloud. This painting began with no thought of that in mind but grew in a direction that I liked.

The bank of snow and the bold sun in the hazy winter sky started me on a journey in this painting. The stone wall, mixed with so many different shapes and colors and diverse textures of rocks, (people) symbolized what I believe has built a lot of America into what she is today.

As I added more rocks, I also added pieces of printed collage, words, and small pictures that helped deliver the message of the painting. Many words, like heritage, corporate casual, virtue, tax, progress, abortion, war, save, money, new car, and insurance, are collaged into the painting. I photo copied part of a dollar bill, a dime, a picture of Marilyn Monroe, and pasted them down, along with a piece of the American flag, a feather, a drawing of an arrowhead, and anything else that would add to what I wanted to say. Most things are partially hidden.

The deep snow appears to be partially covering some tombstones. A Bald Eagle flies in front of a rising moon, toward a dormant tree. The wall appears to be well made. Is it? Will it hold up? What's the cost to keep it in good shape? What's missing?

"AMERICAN EULOGY" on Strathmore Aquarius II 80#, watercolor, conte crayon, collaged materials 19 x 26"



This summer I took a short workshop with an Indiana artist, Peggy Brown, AWS. She's an excellent teacher and loves watercolor, incorporating a bit of collage into her very subdued paintings. She also sews spectacular art quilts which include her watercolors painted right on the fabric!

My work shown here is a result of using the process she taught. Transparent watercolor, pieces of loose papers and other items pressed onto the wet paper (then removed when the paint had dried,) as well as shaved charcoal and conte crayons all add to the effects. A very small amount of the painting is also collaged from pieces of my own painted papers secured to the painting with mat medium.

"PASSING" on Strathmore Aquarius II 80# 15 x 22"



Collage can enhance a painting in many ways. The leaves as well as the gray and brown band above them are collaged pieces. Most of the other textures were either painted in or enhanced by shaving conte crayon onto the wet watercolor paper. Pieces of misc. papers were placed on the wet paint then removed after they dried, creating some subtle, special textures, too.

There's no acrylic paint on this one, but I did use acrylic matte medium to secure the collage pieces. As I painted this, my thoughts began to dwell on the beauty of our country and the wisdom of those people in the past who knew how to care for it so well.

"BEFORE" Transparent Watercolor and Conte Crayons on Strathmore Aquarius 80# with some collage



After taking an excellent Gerald Brommer workshop on collage and watercolor/acrylics, I returned home and began this piece. Under the paint are several layers of pieces of paper torn from a variety of textured rice papers which were glued down with mat medium.

The fun began as I painted over the then dry and bumpy surface of those rice papers. Textures peeked out everywhere. Using rubbing alcohol, I lifted off the acrylic paint in certain areas to reveal more nuances of colors and texture underneath. (Click on the pix to see the textures up close.)

It was another painting that was hard to stop painting on. The photo reference was taken in Malta where my sister once lived. It could certainly be anywhere in Italy, too, where texture and ancient are married forever!

"AROUND THE CORNER" on Arches 140# CP with Collaged Rice Papers, Watercolor, and Acrylic 14 x 20"



I was taken by the elegance of this woman. She was having lunch with a friend and oblivious to my taking her picture. I've changed her features just enough that it really doesn't look exactly like her.

This portrait is painted with much more control than the one I posted on Oct. 22. I find it much easier to paint like this than to paint loosely the way the other one was painted.