Friday, December 31, 2010


a matter of highest importance, collage on paper, 5 x 3.5 inches

The challenge of getting this project done to meet the deadline of January 1, 2011 has been accomplished, with just hours to spare. There was a great deal of thinking about how I would interpret the idea of the budget of phosphorus. I discussed with my other artist friends the possibility of doing a book and gathered suggestions. There was even some talk of doing a flash animation, but in the end, when I seriously had to think about the time frame, I opted for collage, and I am happy I did.

"p" pee, collage on paper, 5 x 3.5 inches

After meeting and emailing with my scientist collaborators, Elizabeth Cook, Rebecca Hale and David Iwaniec, about the order of how phosphorus flows through the city, I set out to illustrate the process. There are eight collages in the series (aptly named MINDING YOUR "P"s), each representing a different aspect of the role of phosphorus (P). In a very simplistic manner, this is how it works:

1. P is mined from the earth
2. P is used as fertilizer in agriculture
3. agriculture grows and contains P
4. P gets consumed
5. P gets eliminated in urine
6. P goes through the water recycling process
7. if P gets recycled properly it can be reused and reintroduced in the irrigation system as fertilizer on the farms again
8. if P does not get recycled, it will go to the lakes and streams, thus causing an abundance of algae growth that eventually will kill off plants and animals.

This was a fascinating project to work on and I enjoyed the help and collaboration of the scientists at ASU's School of Life Sciences (SOLS) for the Sustainable Phosphorus (P) Summit: phosphorus, food, and our future.

You can view all of the images on flickr. This is a juried show, so wish me luck.

Work will be displayed at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, AZ, in conjuction with the "Sustainable Phosphorus (P) Summit: phosphorus, food, and our future" on February 5, 2011. The exhibition will also be displayed at the Step Gallery at ASU from February 14-18th, 2011

Monday, December 13, 2010


chair series, winter greetings, collage on index card, 2010

This year I decided to not think too much about my winter greeting cards. They have a bit of humor behind them and I hope that people will find them amusing. Each one is an individual collage, and no two are alike. There are five themes: vintage patterns (mostly hats), vintage chairs and couches, dummy costumes, shoes and crazy politics. Which one will you get?

Thursday, December 9, 2010


I have just met with a group of science women. They study the budget of phosphorus (P) in the city of Phoenix. Not a monetary budget, but the amount of P that comes into and flows out of the city. I was quite fascinated by the flow of this important element, and quite frankly in just a brief meeting learned a lot about how it works, why it is important and why it can also be harmful.

illustration by Jacob Sahertian for Sustainable Phosphorus Summit, SOLS, ASU

This is all because of a project that I have signed up for that is part of the Sustainable Phosphorus Summit, sponsored by School of Life Sciences (SOLS) at ASU. The goal: communicating ideas about phosphorus sustainability to a broader audience of non-scientists.

With the help of scientists Rebecca Hale, Elizabeth Cook and David Iwaniec I am sure I will meet the challenge.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


the cup in the dining room, bargemon, colored pencil on paper
the cup in the kitchen, bargemon, ipad app draw free

We have been away for almost a month. Our first stop was Washington, DC, then Long Island... across the ocean to a little village in the Var region of France called Bargemon and then a week in Nice. I don't think I have ever been to so many museums, and seen so much art in such a short period. I am amazed and inspired.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


hundreds of bodies

When I try to imagine the hundreds, thousands of bodies at Hart Island, I picture figure upon figure buried there. So using some unpainted HO figures I have encapsulated them in an glass jars to represent the ground where they are placed. Although in actuality they all are in pine coffins, it was important to me that we actually see people, and therefor placed as such. But something was missing, bones. After searching and searching the internet and brick and mortar stores for tiny bones to also incorporate, I resourcefully used some modeling clay and made some. They will be added along with the bodies... more to come soon.

tiny modeling clay "bones"

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Hussey, collage on photograph, 4x6 inches

Cutting it close to the deadline, as usual, I have finished my postcard for the CW Post ABAD. The exhibition will be opened November 1–5, 2010. This show will include among its participants Yoko Ono. I am honored to be in her company, as well as the company of my dear friend Mary C. Leto and all the other wonderful artists who are sending their work to ABAD. I think Ray Johnson would have liked it.

I started this piece with a photograph. The innocence on this girl's face was very striking to me. The script at the bottom of the photo reads, Hussey, the name of the studio where the image was taken, and the place: Salem, Mass. I liked all the implications of the words so I built a "witch" trial around her, using 15th century engravings and a page from Poe's "The Black Cat."

There is a complete transcript of the trials at the University of Virginia Library, and also a section where you can see actual documents:

Warrant for Arrest of Rachel Clenton (text typed below includes spelling and grammar verbatim from transcript):

To the Constable of Ipswich --

Whereas There is Complaint Exhibbitted to the Honored Court now holden at Ipswich

In Behalfe of their majesties. against Rachell -- Formerly the Wife of Lawrence Clenton of Ipswich on grounded Suspision of witchcraft, & whereas Recognizance is Enterd, for prosecution –

You are hereby Required in their Majesties names forthwith or as soon as may be to apprehend seize & bringe before the Honored Court to be holden at Ipswich the sayd Rachell Clenton on the next morrow morning at Eight a Clock In order to an orderly Examination , & Conviction & hereof fail not at Your perrill & for so doing this shall be your warrant of which you are to make a true returne as the Law derects....

Sunday, October 3, 2010


This is my venture into the world of iPad apps. "Brushes" lets you do a lot less than Photoshop, but the key is that with Brushes, your pallette and canvas are totally portable... I never thought much about drawing electronically, but if David Hockney does it, well, why not...

This is my first attempt.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


I am learning how to bind a book using the coptic technique. My friend Elizabeth will be teaching a workshop at uac and we are trying some of the processes together beforehand. It was a bit awkward for me at first, but soon I got the hang of the sewing and enjoyed the meditative quality of this method. Covers will be attached next.....

Friday, September 10, 2010


Using the glue base was a good idea, they did keep standing and it made it easier to drop them into the bottle... more to come.
Buried on Hart Island November 1898
Robert Kirschner age 35
Cause of death: Illumination Gas at 206 Fifth Street, NYC, NY
Robert Kirschner arrived from Saxony, Germany on August 5, 1890 on the Eider. He came with his wife Laura and baby daughter, Helene. He killed himself on Nov. 22, 1898.

Correction: for the record, this is not an exact representation of how the prisoners work or bury the dead on Hart Island. After an extensive talk with Melinda Hunt, I feel I must add this information and admit to my artistic license in this depiction. No disrespect was meant in the interpretation.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


He Has Mental Habits
multiple gocco prints on wall paper in various sizes

Here is how it went, Mary told me about Frank Gelett Burgess, so I looked at a book he created using old wall paper, it inspired me to do some kind of print. I told my friends I was looking for old wall paper. They gave me some (actually a lot, thank you, Elizabeth and Robrt).* Elizabeth's paper had a Frank Lloyd Wright pattern with a signature. That made me think of this crazy set of handwriting analysis books that I have, which then led me to the chapter on forgeries from which the excerpt comes. After that I found a book about Frank Lloyd Wright in Japan and loved the form of the title characters.

Burgess wrote another story about a man who goes from rags to riches, (see previous post) which tells how a pauper was instructed to fill out every ad in the two-penny paper, after which he would in turn receive more free samples than he could ever possibly use. He then sold his free items to make his fortune.

Somehow this all ties together (in my mind) the cleverness which all parties represented in this multiple gocco print possess.

This all is topped off with the a seal of approval. More close ups on flickr.

*There was an earlier attempt at printing this idea using the YuDu machine with Jill. It was our first attempt and it was not successful. But we have not given up. Watch for more posts about the YuDu in the future.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Hart Island still haunts me. Today I am planning my next project about it. I found these HO scale figures in Denver. They have a bit of a problem standing, so I am experimenting with creating glue bases (that are supposed to dry clear). I am hoping I will be able to then place them in bottles to create some vignettes.

Correction: for the record, this is not an exact representation of how the prisoners work or bury the dead on Hart Island. After an extensive talk with Melinda Hunt, I feel I must add this information and admit to my artistic license in this depiction. No disrespect was meant in the interpretation. 

I am also working on a project that was inspired by le petit journal des refusées a wonderful piece of artwork printed on wall paper. I have some generous friends, who, when I told them that I needed some old wall paper, went through their stuff and gave me more than I could have hoped for. One of the pieces that I got from Elizabeth was from a Frank Lloyd Wright pattern, with his signature printed on the back. For whatever reason, this made me think of forgeries and handwriting analysis. The writer who created le petit, Frank Gelett Burgess (hmmm, another three-named Frank) also wrote a book called Vivette. In the the chapter entitled "At the Old Stand," Vivette offers a solution to a beggar's plight:
'Look at the advertising pages,' said Vivette; 'there's more fun there than in a county fair! Listen here – I'll present you with a capital of one dollar, that you are to invest as the 'Twocenter' bids you. Do you see the free samples that are to be had for the asking? Do you see the illustrated catalogues? Do you see the agency offers? Here's work to keep your mail-carrier running for a year! Now this is what you are to do: you're to answer every blessed one of those advertisements and you'll have amusement enough.'
And that is why there will be an old girdle ad in the print. Does this make sense to anyone but me?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


close up of planchette's vain warning, fake cyanotype (inkjet on paper)

green restaurant is having a ouija board contest. Good luck finding the requirements for applying on their website, but through some connections of Robrt's we secured the instructions.

This is really a great way to procrastinate: get sidetracked by a project you totally had no idea was out there, and when you find it, you just have to do it right away.

So, this morning I looked into some stories about ouija boards. One that struck me particularly strongly was an article about a group of people who, while having a reading on the "planchette", were warned of a murder that was happening right next door to them: "Come, come immediately, disaster approaches, I see it coming, it is there, I will help you, be calm, passed, passed."

original photograph

A treasure trove of old images, that Kristin recently shared with me, contained this wonderful photo of a trio, sitting together in a living room eating what appears to be chocolates or cookies from a box. The glow coming from the window provided a wonderful ethereal quality and I just had to "photoshop" in the planchette and create the mock seance.

Since I love cyanotype with text, I wanted to create a "fake" print using photoshop to make the page that wonderful blue. I used archival printing paper and inks and here it is.

planchette's vain warning, fake cyanotype (inkjet on paper) 8x10 inches

The remainder of the story reads:
Thereupon the neighbors banged loudly on the door and windows of the house where the murder was committed. The planchette had previously warned them that it was advisable to discontinue.

The number of murders, robberies and other crimes of violence has very much increased lately in the Capital, which formerly enjoyed the reputation of being safe and orderly.
~ February 3, 1923

Saturday, August 14, 2010


It was hard to imagine a sweeter illustration than a jelly doughnut for squishy, my last word in the Art House Co-op Canvas Project. In my ever curious, research-oriented mind I discovered help in the great doughnut vs. cruller debates of the early 1940s.

The New York Times: Sept 23, 1941 from the Associated Press: Washington, Sept 22

...the National Dunking Association, with headquarters at 50 East Forty-second Street, NYC, urged today that a similar service (the difference between) doughnuts and crullers (be performed).

Bert Nevins, vice president of the association, made public a letter to Paul V. McNutt... complaining that in some States, particularly in Pennsylvania, doughnuts, the round cakes with the hole, are called "crullers," an appellation reserved in other sections for a dainty that is shaped in a twist.

In reply Pierre Van Dyck of New Brusnwick, NJ wrote to the editor: Sept 29, 1941

Des gouts il n'y a pas a disputer. [There is no accounting for taste] Some like 'em firm in texture, made with baking powder. Others like 'em soft and springy, made with yeast. Some actually like 'em with jelly in the center or white frosting on top (there are people who admire Hitler).

Granting to every man his preference, I like only the kind made with baking powder. Twisted or in the form of a life preserver, I don't care. But the texture is paramount. I'd like to be able to order, in a restaurant or dining room, either doughnuts or crullers (I don't care what they're called) and get a firm and crumbly, not a squishy, spongy cake.

The debate rages on for another two years.

Doughnut or Cruller? by LH Robbins, The New York Times, Dec 12, 1943

This article states that so many people have written in to address the correct definition. A housewife from Connecticut passes down, from her great grandmother, the "truth about doughnuts... (they) are made of raised dough, cut into circular pieces and set to rise. After rising they are dropped into a kettle of fat, where they puff up into balls and become brown on the surface. Crullers and fried cakes, on the other hand, are made of dough leavened with baking powder – in colonial times soda served instead."

Ted Robinson chimes in: "I must set you and the Manhattan bakers right... The doughnut is made of raised bread dough, sweetened. The cruller is made not of bread dough, but of batter, and is twisted. Batter too, is the material of fried cake, and most commercial 'doughnuts', so called, are really fried cakes."

So much for the debate, and whatever they are called, they continue to be a delicious and well loved treat. And so I'll end as LH Robbins did with this, the Optimist's Creed:

"As you ramble thru life, Brother,
Whatever be your Goal,
Keep your eye upon the Doughnut,
And not upon the hole."

doughnut, cruller and fried cake inspiration from Wishill's on 15th Ave and McDowell

Saturday, August 7, 2010


For the Art House Co-op Canvas Project, my second word was backslider, another rather interesting one. And one which I have not had occasion to use in a sentence, although, I do understand this one. "How do you illustrate backslider?" I pondered. Until I did some research in The New York Times archives and this is what I found.

James Mortimer, a true renaissance man: chess champion, editor, publisher, writer and photographer was born in Virginia, moved to Paris, and later spent most of his life in London, meeting and befriending members of high society and theatre. A close friend to Napoleon III, Mortimer was the last person to see him alive and helped procure shelter for the exiled imperial family. First article:

January 28, 1877
The New York Times: London Correspondent

One has almost ceased to hope that the moral tone of the theatre can be much changed in our day... The Duke of Newcastle is credited with backing the Royalty management, which has revived "Orphee aux Enfers," with Mme. Dolare and Miss Kate Santley, and the stalls are filled with a crowd of the leering young sprigs of fashion who used to be so constantly devoted to the Gaiety... Unfortunately, as a rule these "patrons" of dramatic art select for distinction some woman who is incompetent as an artist and who possesses no attribute in any other direction that can atone for her usurpation of the place of a respectable woman and an actress. Her next step is to get Mr. Mortimer, of the once decent Figaro, to publish her portrait in one of his catch-penny photographic albums or sketch-books, and then she gives a reception to all the aristocratic riff-raffs and hangers-on of her acquaintance, and she is enrolled as an artiste and a lady to be envied even by the capable women who have to play in the same theatre and perhaps receive their salaries almost from her hands. The truth is these uxorious lords are a public nuisance, and in these, days of new newspapers, started to discover grievances and pluck out abuses from the body politic and social, it is surprising that they are not held up to the nation's scorn and contempt.

This was the response:

February 13, 1877
Letter to the editor, The New York Times

Not a Backslider

Your London correspondent... is good enough to mention "Mr. Mortimer, of the once decent Figaro," and to couple my name with an odd jumble concerning the morale of the London stage... I am accused of publishing, in one of my "catch-penny photographic albums... " the portraits of members of the theatrical demi-monde, and, by implication, of aiding worthless characters to enroll themselves as artists to be envied...

I don't know how nor why I have stirred up the billiary secretions of your correspondent; and a long familiarity with a vile world has rendered me sufficiently callous to opprobrium of all sorts to whisper in your contraternal ear that I don't care. But as I have personal friends in New York who knew me in my virtuous youth, I wish to be allowed to reassure them I am not a backslider, as your London correspondent insinuates. The Figaro is, I flatter myself, as decent as any secular print of this ribald age, and as you will see by the enclosed list the ladies and gentlemen who have favored me by sitting for the photographs which appear weekly in one of my publications include members of the royal family, Lords, Commons, historians, painters, poets, dramatists, and popular actors, not one of which photographs has ever been published through solicitation, or any other motive than my own free will.

So far as the "catch-penny" charge is concerned... If to do this for three pence be a "catch-penny" operation, I must plead guilty to the indictment.
~ J. Mortimer

Friday, August 6, 2010


The assignment from Art House Co-op:

We're creating a visual encyclopedia where each artist is asked to visually interpret three words that are assigned to them randomly and were submitted by the Art House community onto 4x4 inch canvases. A visual encyclopedia book will then be created that includes at least one canvas from each artist. An exhibition will be held at The Brooklyn Art Library on December 3rd, 2010.

My reaction:
My first word is inculcate. I admit, I did not know what it meant, so first things first, look it up:
in·cul·cate [in-kuhl-keyt, in-kuhl-keyt]
–verb (used with object), -cat·ed, -cat·ing.
1. to implant by repeated statement or admonition; teach persistently and earnestly (usually fol. by upon or in ): to inculcate virtue in the young.
2. to cause or influence (someone) to accept an idea or feeling (usually fol. by with ): Socrates inculcated his pupils with the love of truth.

Hmmm. Why did this suddenly make me think of nuns? Yes, I did go to catholic school until 7th grade. So, I took an old photo of nuns here and transfered it onto the canvas. Then using a school house font, I thought it would be fun to illustrate the word the way I had looked at the cursive alphabet above the blackboard for seven years when I was so young.

The book page was ripped out of an old volume about the reign of Elizabeth the First of England. Who, although cut ties with the catholic church, as rumor goes, wanted to be represented as the iconic images of the virgin mother. Somehow that all ties together in my mind.

This is the first in my series for the canvas project.

Friday, July 30, 2010


Megan and Kyria at the art museum

My trip to Denver was filled with beautiful things to see. My family being the first. I took my granddaughter, Kyria, with me and we stayed at my daughter's (Megan) and son-in-law's (Chris) house for a few days.

Our beginning adventure was to the Denver Art Museum. It is a beautiful space and has some great works of art. It is now featuring the King Tut exhibition, which set Megan and Kyria on a hunt for Egyptian beads. What was even better was finding a kit to craft them ourselves and so we spent our evening very creatively. Kyria is an abstract artist in her own right and Megan, besides being an accomplished musician, is a jewelry maker. Here is a sample of our creations:

Part of the reason for the trip was the artists' reception at Abecedarian Gallery where IN THE TRENCHES, is now on display. It was a quiet evening, but made especially fun by a visit from my old Phoenix friends, Kelly and Ruth.

A trip to the mountains, making spaghetti and meat sauce with my daughter, a cooking demo at the library, a visit to the aquarium and a nice ride to Loveland to see friends, made those six days fly by.

Now I am home and back to work. Continuing with Kristin at Willo North Gallery, entering more art shows, creating and blogging.


When I was a kid there was a TV show that I loved to watch with my dad. It was called the Naked City. Each week it brought you a glimpse of New York, in the format of a crime drama. But what I remember most about the show was the way in which you felt that at any given moment there was a story going on, lives and dramas being played out, interacting in the vastness of a city of 8 million people, of which I was one.

Now that I am living in Phoenix I am experiencing something that makes me feel that way again. Only this time it is in the connections that I have made and the people I have met here and their personal stories that inspire me. Serendipitous events that happen and the way in which they unfold amaze me. But my stories do not revolve around a film noir crime drama (well, maybe sometimes they do). Mostly they revolve around art.

My granddaughter, Kyria and Robrt Pela

It's hard to believe that what started as a little idea that my friend, Todd, and I tossed around while working on some art projects has blossomed into a viable collaboration with Kristin Shears of Willo North Gallery and is continuing to grow. Through our symbiotic relationship over the past six months we have offered four workshops and curated a group art show for uac. We also held a benefit for the Alzheimer's Association with the help of Robrt Pela, who generously offered his time to be our guest of honor. He read from his collection of personal essays about his mom's struggles with Alzheimer's and the effects it has had on him and his family.

I met Todd and Robrt when they curiously opened a door to a yoga studio where I was asked to teach a knitting class because the real teacher did not show up.

I met Kristin, through Robrt, because my granddaughter, Kyria, was in his art class and their show was held in Kristin's gallery.

There are only 1.5 million stories in this naked city, and I am looking forward to a future of chance encounters.

The next show at Willo North Gallery will feature the art of Barbara Kemp Cowlin. And how I met her is another story.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Julie Barratt wrote to say "The Hankie Project (has come down). Have had lots of people through to see the show and lots of fab comments in the visitor's book."

"The show will go on to Grafton Regional Gallery in Jan. 2011 and am also following up other touring opportunities."

"Carolyne Lewis has designed a stunning catalogue on DVD which includes a double page spread for each artist and also includes some of the talks from the opening, images etc. These catalogues are available for purchase for $10 which will go towards further exhibition opportunities for the Hankie Project."

Get in touch with Julie if you are interested. It is a great show and it was very exciting to be a part of.

Barratt Galleries, 5 Bugden Ave., Alstonville, NSW, Australia. (02) 6628 0297

Monday, July 12, 2010


me at the Denver Art Museum

In Denver, the Interior Markings show is up at the Abecedarian Gallery, with a big artists reception on Friday from 5-8 p.m., I am looking forward to meeting Alicia Bailey, the gallery director and some of the other book artists in the show. Here are some great previews of their work. I will also get a chance to see the King Tut exhibit at the Denver Art Museum. And the most fun will be bringing my granddaughter, Kyria, along to visit with my daughter, Megan.

Also on the 16th, Art House Coop in Brooklyn, NY will be hosting the Print Exchange show. I wish I could be there. 110 artists are participating and after the show each artist will get 15 prints from other artists in exchange. I love this idea.

The Sorry Project at Art House Coop is over, it was a great project to participate in and you can see my images on the bottom row, all but the last two on the right. After the show, Art House puts together a book of at least one piece from each artist and sends it to you. How cool is that? I can't wait to get them.


He left us, 6x4 inch post card, collage, wax and mixed media

My latest post card is for another A BOOK ABOUT DEATH show, originally conceived by Matthew Rose and first exhibited in NYC. This show is taking place in Omaha, NE curated by Viv Maudlin, Louise Millmann and Robert Gilmer. Check out the amazing artwork people are sending in. The show opens on July 31st.

It was great fun to participate in the ABAD Wales exhibition and get to connect (virtually) with wonderful artists from around the world.

I am looking forward to making more connections and following ABAD.

Stay tuned: we are talking to Matthew to bring a show to Phoenix.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


three bottles from the skin series

Sometimes the making of art is about changing your mind and trusting your instincts. At least that's how I am feeling today. As I started to work further on the "skin" series the original idea of making a statement about looks morphed into making a statement about captured fragments of time, memories and age. I also believe these bottles would make a good donation for auction at the uac Alzheimer's Benefit on July 2.

You can see a few more pieces on flickr.

Friday, June 25, 2010


Our next uac event on First Friday July 2nd at Willo North Gallery is special to me, not only because my friend Robrt Pela will be the guest speaker, reading a series of personal stories about caring for his mother, who is living with Alzheimer’s disease, but because I know his mom. I only got to know Mary Pela about a year ago, when Robrt asked me if I could cut her hair (something I always say "I used to do in a past life.")

Over the years I have met lots of people's moms this way, and I always feel honored that they would ask me into their homes, because I really like old people. They have rich histories and tell wonderful stories.

On our first encounter Mary was very concerned that I would cut her hair too short. She asked several times how much I was taking off, and I reassured her several times, "just a trim." I knew she had forgotten that she asked me just a few minutes ago. When I had finished, she seemed stressed. It was a long time for her to have to sit and wonder what I was doing. Her hands moved delicately to her face as she rested for a moment, her long, slender fingers over her eyes. I felt upset that I was the source of her uncomfortableness. But when I was leaving she was so kind, she stood up and shook my hand and said it was so nice to meet me (something she tells me each time we see each other) and smiled. She made me smile too.

I hope people come to the Alzheimer's Benefit so they can learn more through Robrt's eyes about the person Mary Pela is.

Monday, June 21, 2010


I went to the service for my friend Margaret's mother, Katie. She died on June 10th. I did not know her well, as she had developed Alzheimer's and had it when I met her. Bill, Margaret's husband, made the introductory welcome and shared what he felt about Katie. I enjoyed listening to him because it seemed so real and so touching. He talked about how she was so warm and hospitable, about what a great cook she was and how she really enjoyed his appetite for her cooking. I am happy to have some of her old pots and dish towels that Margaret generously shared with me.

I don't deal with death well. I am not a good speaker, and don't really know how to get out what I feel inside, especially the pain and sorrow that I am experiencing for my friends or relatives. The best way for me to say what I feel is to express it in art. This is a collage that I am giving to Margaret. I hope she likes it. The stamps belonged to my dad, they were part of the things he gave me as he lay dying a few years ago. They come from Germany, the place where Katie was born. But I too have an odd kinship to Germany as that is where I was conceived, while my mother went to visit my dad, drafted into military service during the Korean Conflict, stationed in Germany.

These are some of the other items that I used in the piece. An old German book with beautiful pages and text, some of which include a character named Margaretha. The artwork of Jean Etienne Liotard is featured in one of the stamps, but I just thought it embodied Katie and all that was said about her. Some melted crayon and wax to add the transparent thinness I associate with death and then the meadow lark, a southwestern bird, that would symbolize the last place Katie lived. I'm so sorry, Margaret.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


DIVE IN DINER, linoleum block print and rubber stamp on reeves bfk paper by Patricia and Jacob Sahertian

The deadline is approaching on the Great Art House Print Exchange 3. This is the first one we are participating in though and Jake and I thought it would be fun to do this as a collaboration. The theme is "It'll be fun, I swear." We tried to think about what someone might want to persuade you to do that would be so dreadful they would have to swear to its being fun. Since I am not a big outdoors fan and Jake and I rarely swim, we imagined diving into a body of water, only to find a great surprise. See more pictures on flickr.

The exhibit will be held on July 16th at the Brooklyn Art Library. One of the most exciting aspects of this project though is that we will be receiving, in exchange, 15 prints from other artists who are also participating. We can't wait to see what comes in.


I have this crazy fear of glass shards. It is an event if a glass breaks in our kitchen as I hysterically take out the vacuum, after making sure everyone has shoes on, and go over the area at least 10 times. Ok, I am compulsive.

That makes one of the perils of being an artist the framing of your artwork... as this involves glass. I recently ordered frames at a great discount and custom made, no complaints there, but they did come with glass. Out of the 25 odd frames I ordered about three or four had glass chips in the corners and one was actually broken.

Todd came over this morning as I was framing my Body of Evidence series. It was not pretty, as I worried about dropping shards every time I opened a new frame. He suggested using the box they came in to catch the falling pieces. Brilliant.

But I did vacuum the area again after he left.


Lilia Menconi, of Phoenix New Times, wrote a great follow up piece of the uac debut show on the blog at Jackalope Ranch.

Lilia particularly mentions the creative and intriguing work of Shari Bombeck "Visitors can expect to see small collages filled with nostalgic imagery -- like cuttings from sewing patterns, receipts, and fortune cookie fortunes."

the strap, linoleum block print on handmade paper, Jacob Sahertian

I am particularly happy about her comments on my husband's work as I think he is exceptionally talented. "Another notable series by Jacob Sahertian showed off visceral, sharp-edged block prints with simple subject matter. The crudely rendered figures are reminiscent of German Expressionist woodblock prints and are downright confrontational."

Menconi also mentions the amazingly fine detail of Todd's watercolors on antique playing cards "...the three foot-long string of medallion-like tiny portraits, rendered in a meticulous drawing style by Todd Daniel, will keep eyes busy for hours."

It was great to see all the featured artists names: JA Jure, Jill Lawrence, Shari Bombeck, Jacob Sahertian, Patricia Sahertian (that's me), Todd Daniel and Kristin Shears, in the article and links to their blogs or websites.

We are very proud of the show at Willo North Gallery, happy at the turnout and thankful that it was well received.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

EIRE 1845

potatoes were the sustenance of the Irish

With all the hustle getting the uac show together I almost missed a deadline. Projet d'art postal is a mail art project for 2010: its purpose is to illustrate a period of the history of your country or your region. The exhibition will take place in the Forum of Chauny from June 11 – June 19, Ecole Primaire, Caillouel-Crepigny (a small village in the north-east), France.

the blood of those that came before

Being a first generation American, it is often difficult to associate my identity with that of the United States, therefore the postcard depicts my blood connection (via the red wax) to my grandparent's country of origin and my father's nationality. The Great Hunger of the mid nineteenth century had a tremendous impact on the country and people of Eire. Using an image of a family whose child died of hunger, a cut-out line from the Catholic's St. Joseph's Sunday Missal and the ancient Ogham script which reads "An Gorta Mor" this postcard represents part of my story.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Urban Artists Collective debut on Friday night. We're hanging the show, coordinating art, making signs. A lot of work gets put into an exhibition. An abundance of thanks to my fellow artists who pitched in and helped. See you at the gallery.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


sorry, hikers, mixed media collage, old photos and wax

Sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry... I say this word daily. Maybe it should be my mantra. You don't realize how much you use something until people point it out, then you really become aware of it. To participate in this project there had to be something you were sorry for, and there could be up to 15 of them. So what I did was, instead of trying to evaluate my life and really dig down, I let my email help me out. I entered the word sorry into the search area and came up with literally hundreds (I save a lot of email) of notes in which I was sorry for something. I paired these with some great old photos from New York and some old stamps and other bits and pieces of old paper. To keep the vintage feel wax and crayon were melted onto the pieces.

sorry, worried, mixed media collage, old photos and wax

sorry, worried made me laugh as I was putting it together. I started with the photo, a building where people lined the roof and then, what look like the land owners posed in front. I found an envelope that had the address of a salvage company from Denver, Colo. and a line of text that said "you must be feeling really worried. sorry."

sorry, busy, mixed media collage, old photos and wax

The way the one woman is turning around and looking at the camera really made me feel she was telling the story here. When I found a line that read "sorry i did not get back to you with a phone has been just a very busy weekend," they just seemed to match perfectly.

In my mind each one has its own little story. I will leave the rest up to your imagination. See them all on flickr.

The Sorry Project is my first participation with art house co-op. I really love the idea of creating little pieces of art, each entry is only 3"x3". I think I might have cheated a little by using tags that extend beyond the initial work, but they can be tucked or folded onto the piece, keeping within the parameters. The show will be on June 25th at the Brooklyn Art Library.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010



There is a wonderful call for work coming from Barratt Galleries in Australia called the Hankie Project. Some amazing designs are already posted on their blog. The work is due at the end of May for a show in June. Since I posted Ma Grande Mere Est Morte, my aunt, Eileen (her daughter) wrote to tell me that my grandmother has been dead for 50 years now. That inspired me to create this piece for the Hankie Project. I wanted to show her descendants over this time and my feeling of emptiness: a little girl's first experience with death. Starting with my grandma, Rosena, there is a tag for each of her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren. A lot happens in 50 years.

fifty years, mixed media on a hankie

Monday, May 3, 2010


With no real connection and no story to it, this canvas has been hanging about my studio for years. At first I wanted to emulate the work of Daniel Fauville (see inset) I had seen his work out in the Hamptons and loved the simplicity of them. So underneath (and you can still see the outline) there is a hut, painted in bold blue and red with a green background. It came out ridiculous as obviously I am not Fauville. Later on I thought I could revive it by adding swirls and texture and collaging on a map of Africa... writing out text and basically creating some mayhem on the canvas... that was OK for a while, but it felt like a decorative piece you might pick up at an import store. No, no, no... not what I wanted. Today, I was inspired to take up my brushes again and see what I could do to this African conglomeration. I think I finally like it.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


Skin, gel medium transfer skin, bottle, beeswax, 1.75 x 4 inches

While experimenting with transfer techniques I found one in which gel medium is painted onto an image, left to dry and repeated two to three times to build up a thick layer. When the gel is dry, you turn it over and spray the paper on the back with water and with your finger just rub all the paper off. What you are left with is a flexible rubbery image. A skin. I immediately felt this image had to be contained or suspended somehow, so I put it in a bottle, tied it up with string and text, dripped some crayon on and then dipped it in beeswax.

Shari said it reminded her of the old Alfred Hitchcock Hour episode "The Jar". Maybe I watched too many of these shows as a child.

Monday, April 26, 2010


Not a Message, mixed media on canvas, 8" x 8"

Started at the last uac workshop the focus of this project was to show something about visions of Phoenix. Since I am still adjusting to life in the desert, my source of joy about Phoenix are the interesting, creative people I have met here.

In planning the layout I wanted to use layers of tracing paper over layers of images and text. As I worked with the cut papers I had brought with me I was planning to do some rolled up Hebrew scrolls and place them in bottles to be part of the artwork, (channeling Joseph Cornell) thinking I could frame it in a deep box. When one of the women said it made her think of a "message in a bottle" I cringed. All I could envision was that corny Kevin Costner movie. That was entirely not the feeling I wanted to convey. The Sting song kept playing over and over in my head... message in a bottle, yeah, message in a bottle.... It was my perception that altered my original concept.

This set me in a rotten mood because I was not loving the direction that the collage was going in anyway. When I got home I just had to burn and wax and "destroy" what I had created. All I could think of was the work of Anselm Kiefer: heavy, angry, burning, tar. I threw my canvas in the fireplace and burned it, dripped wax on it and splattered "bloody" crayon.

It was cathartic and satisfying. Thank you.


Ma Grand-mere est morte, oil on canvas, transfer and collage

The background for this work was started for another series, but I changed my mind and decided to create something new. The image of my grandmother was taken in 1953. This is the picture that I have in my mind of her. Mostly I remember her dark wavy hair. She died when i was seven. A wonderful little french book that contained a collection of work by children was on sale at a local book fair. For this project I used some of the text from it.

I will be sending this collage to the 6x6x2010 show at RoCo (Rochester Contemporary Art Center) in upstate New York. All images must be 6"x 6" in size and will be sold for $20. This is an international call for entries and all work will be displayed anonymously. Last year there were over 3000 pieces by 1200 artists from 17 countries. It sounds like fun.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


The Kalamazoo Book Arts Center has posted many of the books that were submitted for the current show The Illustrated Accordion April 2 – 30. Todd submitted his Royal Flush book, made from vintage playing cards with individual, original, miniature water colors of the face cards for all the suits. It is quite exquisite. Mary C. Leto sent her wonderful book Button Tales, Myths and Superstitions, on her own handmade paper with attached paper buttons of various sizes and colors juxtaposed on the names of the dead, pasted to gravestones. It is beautiful.

This week I worked on the companion piece in the Body of Evidence series. I still have to finish the cover, but the pages are complete, and I believe my skills at putting them together have improved. The process of making books is really enjoyable to me. There are so many steps to keep you interested: the narrative, the art, the paper, the assembly, the cover, etc. Stay tuned for more.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


"occupation" altered book, photographs and mixed media

Today is a day for regrouping, putting THE STUDIO - PS website together, cleaning up and staying in. Here is a piece of art that I used in the movie, CUT BACK: facing ageism. While I was looking for elements to use on the site, it was hidden in the old book drawer.

This stapler was a great find. Wanting to saddle stitch the books we made at the last uac meeting, and not wanting to actually sew the pages together, I opted to buy this adjustable stapler. You can stitch a book as wide as 12". Motivation to make more books.