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Post Election Antidote: Creativity



I am spending election eve being creative with my pink pumpkin from last week’s farmer’s market and Japanese lanterns from Whole Foods.

The only comforting thought I have is that no matter the headline on Wednesday, my creativity doesn’t need 270 electoral votes.

Creativity makes my life more bearable (and Kurt Vonnegut’s, too, as it is his quote) and never is this more true than in 2016. Although, come to think of it, fall of 2009?   Right through to early spring of 2009 with that financial crisis? My teeth were chattering then, too.

I made an illustration back then (based on the tranquilizer Xanax) to signify what I needed less of: reality.


On this Wednesday, no matter what, thanks to many new tips and ideas I received from attending an artist demo on Sunday at the MFA (Jane Maxwell) , I am going to enter the collage state of mind.  She brought a sampling of her finished work as well as three 24 x 24 square wooden panels that showed the different stages of her work .  She usually works in much larger pieces.





She demonstrated her process with each of the panels, the loose but ever present driving idea behind them all,  as well as the specific tools she used to make decisions along the way.  The only color she uses in her collages is from paper and her color sense is one of the things I love about her work.

Made me think, “Ok, I’ll try it.”   A lady, who was much older than my 71 years, met me on the way out and she was excited, too.  “You know I was wondering what to do with all those papers I have at home!  Now I know!”

So, dear Jane Maxwell, you inspired two senior citizens yesterday and, as far as I’m concerned, your timing couldn’t have been better.

Today, I bought the Liquitex matte medium and I’m eyeing like a predator the thin, elegant pages of a century old Encyclopedia Britannica volume–perhaps, my equivalent of a friend living in Paris for a year who sends me poster paper every three weeks.

Word to the wise–Best to cue up your next project today or at least by tomorrow.

These times, even if they kill us, demand our creative attention.

What a way to go.


Leaf Peeping Artfully PART II



Leaf Peeping Artfully Part II!

These two 4 in x 4in cradle boards in the bottom photo are drying as I take this photo.  Both of these leaves were in the top photo.

It’s been about 16 hours since I applied the resin on to them so with only 8 hours to go to be fully cured and dry, I figured I could risk taking off the box cover which prevents pieces of dust curing into the resin layers as they dry.

The original two boards were leaves I’d found and then photographed in a conventional way.  What I can’t remember now is whether I embedded two of these individual leaves in encaustic wax and then applied oil pastels or whether I transferred each photo on to warm wax and then went to work inexpertly with the oil pastels.

I think it was the latter as I’d learned the hard way about using organic material in encaustics.  But, honestly, I can’t remember as it was at least a year ago, and maybe two.

Anyway, I was going to do additional pigments around border of each board, but then decided to apply the resin and perhaps use acrylic paint to add to finished pieces.

I found quite a few of these leaves ( I have NO idea why they were so unusual looking) and want to do a large 24 x 24 in piece using the resin as final layer because it makes the leaves look as they once did when I found them: totally wet after a heavy rain.  But, I want to decide in small scale FIRST what I am going to do.  It gets too expensive to experiment with all the elements on a larger scale.

I am thinking now I might just mount a 24 in by 24 inch photograph and forgo the oil pastels and encaustics and just resin that.  Yes, I drive myself crazy, it’s true.  But, I enjoy the zigs, zags, and doubling back to begin again.


But, first?  I’ll mount a 4in by 4in board with the photo and apply the resin.




Leaf Peeping with a Mixed Media Kitchen Sink


The Art of the Scan Photo







If U can’t paint (and I can’t) there’s always Topaz Impressions.


Sometimes, my desire to paint exceeds my talent. Time to try Topaz Impressions.


Printing a Photo on Rice Paper Labor Day 2016




Once Again into the Encaustic Photography Breach.

Queen_Anne's_Lace-Coakley-6.jpgI have only used encaustic wax and pigments for a limited amount of my photos or client work that I do.  I have found, in general, that as far as my photography is concerned, it is not as helpful as original encaustic paintings or using encaustics in collage or with stencils, for example.   I do love the use of photo transfer onto wax but for most of my photography, I have generally found the images to best be left to stand or fall on their own within my digital toolbox.

Today I’ve made a short video of taking one recent Queen Anne’s Lace photo and trying to use some encaustic wax and pigment to enhance it.  My stark black backgrounds that I often use for flower and vegetable photography sometimes need textures that my even my digital toolbox falls short of providing.  So, once more into the encaustic breach, I go.

As many of you know, I seem drawn to Queen Anne’s Lace in all stages of its growth from bud to full bloom to desiccated stalk.  Here are just a few.

Art of the Fig or Fig it. Depending on your mood.

fuji-fig copy

I have discovered figs at 71 years old. Never too late. I saw a 17th century still life painting with them and decided to try a 2016 version. Later on this month some will be available for prints up to 36in by 36 in.  I’ve got another small carton of figs to photograph waiting patiently on the counter.  My Italian hairdresser told me to slice the fig in half and press an almond in the center of one half and then attach the other half like a sandwich and bake it in oven for 20 minutes. So far, I haven’t eaten one of them.  Later this month, I’ll post a series I did following cataract surgeries. In between eye drops, I’d look at roses in gardens and at the store and see eyes. Everywhere, eyes.

The Photo Gardener is the link to photos available for printing.  Email me for more information:

On the Move Under Montana Skies: Franklin, Mass


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Easter Promenade


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Pat Coakley