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Come on in and see what's happening in my studio.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


my optimized photo of a life-sized paper mache tiger

I think he will look great on a t-shirt.

Saturday, October 30, 2010


I had some fun dressing as a sugar skull, then turning my picture into a poster.
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Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

soldering practice

 Etruscan link hand-forged copper chain

sacred heart earrings
this is my first attempt at sweat-soldering

I have been practicing soldering, and these are my results so far. It is fun and engrossing.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

when it rains it pours in a good way

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Paula in July

This month I've had

some daily adult "me" time free from parenting obligations...

some unexpected extra time to spend with my husband...

time to take a class about chain-making...


two back-to-back unplanned opportunities that were too good to pass up involving positive changes to my art studio space.

. . . . . . . . . . . .

so this month I

like the parks and recreation department...

am thankful for good doctors, modern medicine, and good benefits...

am still a bit scared of my torch...


hope I can work hard enough to bring this plan from concept into existence.

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Do you like my hat?


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

love from the garden

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rose petal heart beads in progress

Monday, July 12, 2010

idea journal

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Birth of a Daisy
small study for a larger painting
I keep an idea journal.

It is a kind of a tear file and visual reminder of things I see in the paper or anywhere that give me any kind of a creative idea or good thought about life in general. I like being kind of messy about what goes in there, just glueing it with the glue stick, not all that carefully.

The purpose of keeping it is for jump-starting myself when I don't know what to work on next. It is still that, but it has also become just for looking at and feeling good.

I began making entries in 2006. My book is small and black, and smudged on the cover. It is warped. I keep cutting off the year from the calendar in my desk drawer and adding that to the front. I usually get around to that in May or so. No rush.

My pages are filled with a collection of pictures of various green items, next to the face of Jesus with black skin, next to the obituary of my favorite high school Spanish teacher. I have quite a few dog pictures in there, and some lakes and kayaks because I might go kayaking someday. It has recipes, paint textures, pictures of rust, and many, many trees and flowers and pathways in the woods. It has sterling silver jewelry, pictures of Santa Fe, and the words of a cancer survivor who said to get up and fix yourself up and proceed as best as you could.

Sometimes when I look at a page I cannot find one single reason why I chose it, and then I wonder what I was thinking about on that day. Usually there is something in there that makes me cry.

This week I have been computer-generating some small working studies as the starting point for large acrylic paintings, so tonight "Birth of a Daisy" goes into my journal too.

bye, Buddy

R.I.P. Buddy
July 11, 2010

This was truly one of the nicest dogs God ever made. He was one of the seven that lent this blog its name, and he left us peacefully and suddenly without warning. You will be remembered and missed, Buddy.

working study

small study for larger painting

Tonight I created this small computer-generated sketch as a preliminary study for a much larger acrylic painting. My original photo was a macro shot of a bougainvillea blossom, manipulated and filtered with Photoshop beyond recognition. It retains the organic feel and vibrant color I love, and I think it would translate really well into brush strokes. I like the speed and multiple variations I can generate using software as a "sketching" tool. It clarifies my thoughts and frees up time for working on the final project.

my starting point

Sunday, July 11, 2010

bead stash

beads in my "new" thrift store jars and bottles

Yesterday I organized my art studio again to make the available work space be larger than the supply storage space. This seems to be an ongoing trend.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

self portraits, June 2010
"what She said"

"Outward vs. Inward"

Sunday, May 23, 2010

summer is coming

What is it about nature that inspires me so?
Many of my fondest childhood memories are of camping trips on the Mogollon Rim in northern Arizona, of the favorite spots we know about, of the anticipation before those trips that felt better than waiting for Christmas to arrive. We counted down the days, my brothers and sister and I, calculated what to pack, fit and refit our clothing, boots and flashlights into our duffel bags. I savored the pleasure of putting my sweatshirt on the very top of the suitcase while it was 108 degrees or hotter at home, knowing that I would need it instantly upon getting out of our car in the higher elevation.

I love the blue spruce, the chipmunks, the blue jays, the booming afternoon thunderstorms, all so different from what seems like the ordinary environment of home down below. I still vividly recall our glorious trip one magic time on a houseboat on Lake Powell.

We camped with our pets, a line of cats and dogs on various trips throughout the years. The cats did surprisingly well, catching rodents with ease, and for the most part staying close by. We did suffer one loss, an ornery siamese named Sesame that couldn't be found on the last day as we packed . We hoped that her markings and size distinguished her as a house cat, and that she encountered people who gave her shelter at the bait and tackle shop and general store nearby our camp . I still laugh in the retelling of the time one cat got sprayed by a skunk and then slept in my tent, rendering our sleeping bags, clothing and campsite so stinky that we moved across the road. We watched as new campers came to that spot, and in vain moved the cumbersome garbage can to a spot further away. Afterwards, one man yelled back to his friend, "Is it any better now?," while we watched in smelly and private hilarity from a safe distance across the road.

I live in a modest house, in the center of a large city. I travel mostly by car. I live cooled by air-conditioning, safe from any storm, my meals provided by the luxury of going to the grocery store and picking out pretty much whatever I want within reason and cooking it. My walks are on the flat sidewalks of my neighborhood. The stars I see are greatly dimmed by the lights of the city. Summer storms don't easily penetrate the wall of heat rising up from the pavement all around my neighborhood. Even the climate where I live, it seems, is bent by the effects of modern city life.

Now I'm grown, and it is my turn to do the work of getting ready to camp and of settling back into our routine when we come home. I still like the thrill of seeing the beauty of the plants and critters when we go. What magic it is to see a quiet deer if I can catch a glimpse. I like the pleasure of grubbing around without the conveniences of my daily life, and the pride of being able to rough it. I like the musty smell of unpacking my duffel bag of clothes that reek of campfire smoke when I come home, tired and sunburned in spite of my old straw hat and my sunblock.

I like the beauty of the forest.

I like the private joy I feel inside myself when I think that the same God who created all these beautiful things created me too.

Can you read my blog?

I wished for a little change, and wanted to be more vibrant here. Life doesn't have to always be moderate and conservative in Paula-world. Usually, my middle-aged eyes struggle a little to read other blogs with black backgrounds and colored text, but that's exactly what I ended up with.

So, what do you think?
Can you read it?

It's all in fun, and I probably will change it again, but here it is for now, anyhow. Just wondering what you think?

I have noticed as well that I am receiving comments from readers who post in an Asian language. Thank you, and Oh, how I wish I knew what you were saying! If you are able to please include an English translation as well, I would really like to post your comments.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

thank you D.H.

Thank you D.H. for the opportunity to paint this.
You are fabulous!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

happy mother's day

hugs & kisses

Thursday, April 22, 2010

remember these days?

I love these two!

thanks, mom

I called my mother on the phone today to ask her to describe how to do an invisible ladder stitch to close up a pillow I was sewing. A few minutes later I called her again because my seam had gaps. Ultimately, she came to my house and showed me the stitch. She is an excellent dollmaker, and I was filled with love for her as I watched her knuckles, swollen from arthritis, expertly and swiftly make the tiniest of stitches with ease.
Thank you Mom for countless lessons, for so many phone calls when I needed to visit, for teaching me how to live. I love you.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

my studio

I cleaned out my indoor workspace recently
Yes, this is "after," not "before"

creativity with the girl scouts

18" x 18" fabric couch pillows

This week the fourth-grade Junior Girl Scouts and I made these pillows. They will be auctioned off at the annual school spring fundraising event.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

t-shirt art from home

Recently I expeirmented with printing out iron-on fabric transfers on my home inkjet printer, using my own photographs and original art. They turned out fine. Fast and easy!

Monday, April 19, 2010

what is new around here

hollow form ring made from sterling silver, copper and brass
front view
I am taking a metalsmithing class at the community college called Jewelry I, and it has been very engrossing, challenging and fun. The instructor has a lot of knowledge to impart, and has an outstanding reputation around town as a great instructor. My classmates are becoming my good friends. I live within walking distance of the classroom as well, which is in the brand new art building. It is a modern and well-equipped workspace, and comes complete with an art gallery and upstairs open-air deck for exhibits and gatherings. Lucky me!

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