Page 1

The Mixed-Media Artist Art Tips, Tricks, Secrets and Dreams from Over 40 Amazing Artists Seth Apter

Cincinnati, OH

Thank you for purchasing this Artist Network eBook. Sign up for our newsletter and receive special offers, access to free content, and information on the latest new releases and must-have art resources! Plus, receive a coupon code to use on your first purchase from for signing up.

or visit us online to sign up at

Contents Taking the Pulse SECTION ONE:

The Heart of the Artist Jennifer Coyne Qudeen Anca Gray Juana Almaguer Juliana Coles Seth Apter Leighanna Light Will Ashford Thomas Ashman Supria Karmakar Geoffrey Gorman Elizabeth Bunsen Jeane Myers Dayna J. Collins Nettie Edwards Deborah Gregg Jen Cushman Dorothy Simpson Krause Tracy Verdugo Jason Twiggy Lott Nathalie Nayer Marina Rios Lynn Whipple Crystal Neubauer Trudi Sissons Marit Barentsen Carol Slade Nava Waxman PD Packard Rachel Whetzel Dan Eldon (1970–1993) SECTION TWO:

The Soul of the Artist What Do You Do to Make Sure You Are Always Growing Artistically? Do You Have Any Routines or Rituals That Accompany Your Work? What Is the One Thing You Dislike the Most About the Art World? At What Point Did You Begin Referring to Yourself as an Artist? What Would Your Dream Art Project Be? Are Mistakes a Part of Your Artistic Process? What Is the Best Piece of Advice You Have Ever Received with Respect to Being an Artist? Does Synchronicity Play a Role in Your Art and if so, Can You Share an Example? What Do You Like and Dislike Most About Your Own Work? If You Weren’t an Artist, What Would You Be? What Has Been the Most Uplifting and/or Devastating Reaction of Someone to Your Work? How Do You Deal with Rejection as an Artist? SECTION THREE:

Gallery Exhibition John Nelson Arbuckle Ro Bruhn Felicity Griffin Clark Mixed-Media Quick Tips Brian Kasstle Stephanie Lee Nancy Lefko Laura Lein-Svencner Karin Einav Perez Kelly Puissegur Patti Roberts-Pizzuto Robert Schmid Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch Dina Wakley Eileen Williams Dedication Acknowledgments Seth Apter Revealed Copyright

Taking the Pulse If “the job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery,” as Francis Bacon said, the job of the viewer might just be to solve that mystery. Perhaps like me, you have thought that the key to fully understanding and appreciating art is through truly knowing the artist. If so, let this book be your guide. On these pages, you will unlock the door to the personal inspirations, motivations and creative perspectives of “the mixed-media artist.” You will learn technical approaches and artistic methods. Whether you are an artist, an art lover or both, this book will help you to uncover the creative process of the artist, from start to finish and from inside out. The idea behind this book originated from an ongoing, online artist survey that I have hosted since 2008. My first book, The Pulse of Mixed Media: Secrets and Passions of 100 Artists Revealed, grew out of that survey and explored the creative minds of a large cross-section of the mixed-media community. This book highlights a smaller group of artists in much greater depth. They not only reveal their secrets and dreams by allowing you access into their personal thoughts and creative perspectives, they also share their favorite techniques, tips and tricks so you can see their actual creative processes—and perhaps try some of their tips yourself! In the first section of this book, you will be introduced to thirty spotlight artists whose work and artistic approaches are as unique and wide-ranging as the genre of mixed media would suggest. Some of these artists may already be familiar to you. Many will be introduced to you for the first time. They talk about who they are as artists and share their personal, creative worlds. They reveal self-portraits that expose all sides of their innermost beings and explain their thoughts behind these most personal self-reflections. Section Two takes you deeper into the inner workings of the spotlight artists. You will see new artwork they have created in response to a series of prompts aimed at revealing their artistic souls. Their creative processes are further exposed as they share the meaning behind the pieces in their own words. In addition, this section presents their responses to a series of questions aimed at uncovering their artistic sense of being—the very force that makes them the artists they have become. The questions explore their personal and professional experiences as working artists today. These artists not only share their inner hearts and souls, they also share their artistic skills and techniques. Throughout the entire book, artists share their own art tips and tricks that you can use for your own artistic practice. So in addition to learning the who of the artist, you will also learn the how. The third section introduces you to a different group of mixed-media artists—just as unique and interesting as the spotlight artists. These fourteen “gallery” artists share their own stories though both work and words. New works of art have been created in response to probing prompts. Each artist describes her or his own personal vision behind the artwork. Our gallery artists also reveal their creative processes and allow you to learn about their favorite tools, their secret ingredients and more. Every one of these artists is a fascinating individual. Together they make up a very compelling subset of mixed-media artists. This book taps into the creative force of an even larger group by presenting the results of an artist survey, which had been previously posted on my blog and open for all to answer. Threaded throughout the entire book are their responses, all quite compelling and many very surprising. So reach for the key, unlock the door and walk inside. Your exploration of The Mixed Media Artist begins now!

How old were you when you first recognized your artistic talent? Ages 1–10


Ages 11–20


Ages 21–30


Ages 31–40


Ages 41–50


Ages 51–60


Ages 61–70


I have never fully recognized my talent/skill



The Heart of the Artist I can remember as a child staring in amazement at the ornately framed artwork on the walls of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. I also recall wondering both who could be capable of creating such things and how were these incredible pieces made? Many years later, these thoughts have never left me. In this first section, we begin to uncover the who and the how as we discover the heart of the artist. Thirty generous and gifted mixed-media artists swing open the doors to their studios and their creative minds and invite you inside. They share a nontraditional artist statement and the motto that guides their artistic lives. You will hear firsthand about their inspirations and find out what exactly is lying on their studio tables. Each artist has also created a self-portrait based on their choice of three prompts: The Face I Show the World, My Shadow Side or The (Wo)Man I’ll Never Be. You will get to know this group even better after reading their personal thoughts behind these intimate pieces. You will also see these artists at work, through both a picture of themselves in action as well as a series of tips, tricks and techniques that they share. Together, this information will not only provide a glance into their artistic processes but will guide you through your own as well. Turn the page and get to the heart of the matter. And keep your art supplies handy. You never know when inspiration might strike.

Do you worry that aging will negatively affect your ability to create art? Yes, because this has already happened


Yes, and it is a very big concern


Yes, but it is no more than a fleeting concern right now


I have thought of this, but it is mostly not a worry


This never crossed my mind


No. I actually think that aging will positively impact my art


Do you feel vulnerable showing your creations to others? Yes. So much so that I rarely publicly show my work


Yes. A big issue, but I share my work anyhow


This is a problem for me but only sometimes


I felt that way in the past, but I no longer feel that way


Not at all. I have always been confident in showing my work


Jennifer Coyne Qudeen I am a mark maker, storyteller, surface design explorer, a rust junkie and a thorough believer of asking what if?

A MOTTO I LIVE MY ARTISTIC LIFE BY “Just do it. Keep it simple. Focus. No fear.” 3 THINGS I’M INSPIRED BY Dorothy Caldwell, quilt artist Rust Unexpected moments of beauty 4 THINGS ON MY STUDIO TABLE Used tea bags Threads Rusted cotton

My camera

THE FACE I SHOW THE WORLD: THERE LIVED A GIRL WHO ‌ A self-portrait with no picture? Yes. You see, I am the type who would much rather be behind the camera than out in front, yet I have no qualms about professing my love for rust and mark making. To me, asymmetry = balance. Stillness = strength and restoration. Both are as vital as breathing. But so is play.

Anca Gray I expose the life and history contained in discarded vintage books, antique lace and doilies, kitchen scraps and other assorted bits of found objects. In processing these collected fragments into abstract and figurative paintings, I allow their stories to work on my own biases of brokenness and wholeness, of being and becoming. My work is a relentless search for poetry in the debris, an affirmation of life and possibility.

A MOTTO I LIVE MY ARTISTIC LIFE BY “Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.” —Mary Oliver 3 THINGS I’M INSPIRED BY Poetry Femininity Vulnerability 4 THINGS ON MY STUDIO TABLE Teapot Old dictionary Candle Uncertainty

MY SHADOW SIDE: IF I AM TO BE WHOLE “How can I be substantial if I do not cast a shadow? I must have a dark side also if I am to be whole.” —Carl Jung If I am to be whole, I must arrange everything into neat little piles. If I am to be whole, I must obsess over geometry. I must fight to control the what, the when and the how. I must throw some hard in with the pretty, pick the scab, confess. I must tell you this and more. Much more. If I am to be whole. …

Juana Almaguer I must have paper. I love the feel of rice paper and pages from vintage books. Each sheet has a story that I want to tell. And, I love the sound the pencil makes. It’s meditative and comforting. Drawing is like chicken tacos for me: I’m addicted.

A MOTTO I LIVE MY ARTISTIC LIFE BY “I think I can.” 3 THINGS I’M INSPIRED BY Hiking in the forest or along the beach (helps clear my mind) Photo-blogging (prompts me to take a closer look at my daily world) My husband (inspires me every day with his hard work and honesty) 4 THINGS ON MY STUDIO TABLE Items I’ve picked up during my hikes in the forest or along the beach Jars of paper scraps Jars of pencils and brushes

Japanese antique paperweight that I got when I was living in Sapporo

THE FACE I SHOW THE WORLD: FINDING BALANCE The face I show the world is incomplete, ill-formed, vulnerable and changing. Through my art, the world becomes less random, more fixed and cold, but reliable ‌ very reliable. And to that world alone I show my face and find balance.

Juliana Coles Artist as not-so-innocent bystander: I am heavy-handed and work fast and hard. I’m excited/scared, wide-eyed and making faces, maybe even screaming, laughing or crying as the line and brushstrokes dance out of control as if created by someone else. I am not attached to the outcome; I am committed to the process. Artist as historian, I weave together the words and imagery of my personal mythology to expose my inner truth.

A MOTTO I LIVE MY ARTISTIC LIFE BY “Feel the fear and do it anyway.” 3 THINGS I’M INSPIRED BY Books Magazines The journey 4 THINGS ON MY STUDIO TABLE Wet Ones Baby Wipes My pink plastic queen’s chair and plastic lion

Large shell with sage bundle and feather fan Small jar of water/brushes

THE FACE I SHOW THE WORLD: SELF-PORTRAIT WITH LOVE As an artist, there are so many things I look at in this piece that I feel I should do better—especially if I want to impress my audience. But I don’t want to impress you with how good I am; I want to impress you with my bravery; I want to impress you with my ability to talk about the hard things and find my way through it. I think people will like me better if I make something pretty or “whimsical,” but I can’t. Please don’t look away because I have something important to say. I’m talking to you: the woman like me who needs me to tell it like it is because she doesn’t have the tools to articulate it. She doesn’t have the words or the images to express it, but she knows what I am talking about. I am talking to you and your wound. You are not alone.

Seth Apter I am … happiest in those moments when I lose all sense of time because I am so completely engrossed in making art. I am … always excited when the first coat of gesso is brushed on. I am … able to see the beauty in an endless array of objects that others have tossed aside. I am … thoroughly convinced that there is magic to be found in every tube of paint. I am … an artist.

A MOTTO I LIVE MY ARTISTIC LIFE BY “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” —Marcel Proust

3 THINGS I’M INSPIRED BY Finding a worn treasure on the street The energy, creativity and excitement of NYC Moments of synchronicity 4 THINGS ON MY STUDIO TABLE Bottles of gesso, matte medium and PVA Bristle paintbrushes Random, rusty objects A well-used and happy brayer

MY SHADOW SIDE: OXIDE A shadow is a trace, a reflection and a faint indication of the real thing. In a manner of speaking, the face we show the world is but a shadow of our innermost and true selves. Like an X-ray, this piece speaks to the part of me that reflects my being, my core and my truth—changing with time, altered by experience and aging with every breath I take.

Leighanna Light I am a thingmaker. I create. I layer. I teach. I paint. I swim. I alter metal. I assemble. I cry. I shop for old tools. I collect dead bees. I go junking. I collect rocks. I plant things. I pick things up off of the ground and use them in my art. I love music. I go to estate sales. I go for long bike rides. I travel. I take naps. I am a thingmaker.

A MOTTO I LIVE MY ARTISTIC LIFE BY “Do what you love, love what you do.” 3 THINGS I’M INSPIRED BY Shopping at flea markets, estate sales and antique stores My students’ work at the end of class Albie Smith and Cathy Dorris 4 THINGS ON MY STUDIO TABLE A gallon of gesso A drawer of hummingbird feathers A metal punch A cup of dead bees


Sometimes I can’t see the truth in front of me. Sometimes I can’t speak the words that are in my heart. Sometimes I am pretty, lacy and frilly. Sometimes I am old and rusty. Sometimes I shoot myself in the foot. Sometimes I spin my wheels. This is me—the good, the bad and the ugly. Sometimes I show this to the world. Sometimes I regret this.

Will Ashford I rescue, salvage and recycle other people’s words. I search for interesting, preferably discarded, old books. Like an archeologist, I hunt for the words that speak to me with new meaning. Intuitively, one word at a time, they turn into a kind of haiku or philosophical poetry that I can call my own. At some unpredictable point along the way, in my mind, the images start to invent themselves.; Photo by Meher Siegle

A MOTTO I LIVE MY ARTISTIC LIFE BY “Look for art and it will appear.” 3 THINGS I’M INSPIRED BY The Venice Biennale Very long bicycle rides A great espresso drink 4 THINGS ON MY STUDIO TABLE Old books Pencils Computer Postcards


This image began with a single page from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay on art, chosen because of the words “In a portrait” at the top of the page. I had to find the rest of the words, and this took several tries over many days. The silhouette image was an obvious choice. I removed all of the poem’s words that had been printed on the right side of the main text and at the same time carefully left behind all of the letter o’s as well as all of the dots and periods. From this I created a new visual poem that helped maintain the visual composition of the original page.

ARTISTIC PROCESS: WILL ASHFORD Creating In A Portrait Or The Likeness Of A Man I’m always experimenting with new methods and/or materials. Normally I remove the page I’m working on from the book and do the final drawings directly on the actual document. But last year I started a project with a book that I was uncomfortable with disassembling. I solved that problem by digitally scanning each page and creating the final work on my computer and printing the final images. I usually finish each piece with some additional pencil work, but for the most part, these new pieces were created digitally. It’s wonderful how improvements seem to present themselves when you are ready to see them and how one idea can lead to the next. While working on the final piece, I noticed the serendipitous location on the face of the words “the artist.” I couldn’t just let that go. I highlighted those words in red. You can download this image for free and print it for yourself at: (At the same URL, you will find Will’s address, and he will happily sign and return your print if you follow the instructions there.)

STEP 1: I chose to work with this page in particular because of the words I found at the top: “In a portrait.� The process started with looking at all the text for the words that might tell another story. I began by printing several black-and-white copies of the scanned page. Then, using a pencil to underline or outline whatever caught my imagination, I started hunting for the rest of my words.

STEP 2: I call these pencil lines “notes,” as in “notes to myself.” Notice that the outlined words are not the same words used in the final piece. That’s because the words are always changing until I can no longer find better words.

STEP 3: I normally go through several pages of sketches, or notes, before I am satisfied. Here I am a step closer but not there yet. The words have changed yet these are still not the words that are used in the final piece. I began experimenting more with the background images and thought about what to do with the words in the poem running along the right side of the page.

Thomas Ashman On the edge of the crowd, but still part of it, I create in the penumbra, in the light and the darkness, needing both. In my imagination, death is elegant, and bizarre is charming. I seek to juxtapose extremes. I have a story I must tell, even if no one listens. My art is in my mind. My tools are in my hands. My voice is in my creations.

A MOTTO I LIVE MY ARTISTIC LIFE BY “Run it up the flagpole, baby … see who salutes!” 3 THINGS I’M INSPIRED BY Fear of oblivion Ozzy Osbourne’s music Craftsmanship in all its forms 4 THINGS ON MY STUDIO TABLE Copper My iPod White chocolate mocha Patina


As I reached the so-called “middle age” of my existence, art came along and provided me my opportunity to leave behind something of value. The artistic techniques I have learned and developed over the years afford me what I consider to be a basic human need, and that is to gain immortality in some form or another. In this piece, I tried to include a little bit of everything I have been doing in my artwork. Not so much a portrait of my entire self, but a snapshot of all of the skills and aesthetics toward which my art career has brought me. To simply “show the world” what I can do.

ARTISTIC PROCESS: THOMAS ASHMAN Creating The Object of My Affectation So how does Thomas achieve the distressed look such as the one for his self-portrait? Some things require no words.

Is there any art medium you have avoided using out of fear? Yes




Supria Karmakar When the true essence of creativity flows from me, I believe it is my muse’s creation that is being portrayed and birthed into the world. My passion is mixed-media works. Each piece I create, I see as a container for the unfolding of a story with layers of narrative that serves to delight, provide meaningful insight and/or provide the viewer a place of comfort and connection, whether it be joyous or melancholy.

A MOTTO I LIVE MY ARTISTIC LIFE BY “Non-attachment to outcome.” 3 THINGS I’M INSPIRED BY Frida Kahlo’s life and work Rumi’s poetry Nature, stories and people 4 THINGS ON MY STUDIO TABLE Encaustic medium with hot plate/griddle A propane torch, heat gun, iron Dental, kitchen or pottery tools for gouging Found objects


I often see myself as a bird with the ability to take flight and travel to alternate places, seeking new experiences and seeing life as full of opportunities with vast possibilities. This piece is a twist on my self-portrait, which portrays myself as a bird, peeling away the layers, beneath which clarity is found, as symbolized by the imagery of the eyes, both on the surface, magnified by the optician lens, and buried within the layers.

Geoffrey Gorman A broken, bent tree branch makes me think of weathered bones. Old, stained strips of cloth act like bandages and clothing, hiding and holding it all together. Found and lost objects assembled into curious and evocative shapes are what excites me. I also think of a forest of tall, dark trees covered in moss and moisture, a silent, meditative place. I try to give people just a starting point. Then it’s up to them to add the narrative.

A MOTTO I LIVE MY ARTISTIC LIFE BY “Don’t overthink it!” 3 THINGS I’M INSPIRED BY Viewing animals Books that I’ve read My imagination 4 THINGS ON MY STUDIO TABLE Buckets of rusted screws and washers A pile of sticks Wire Reference books

To see sculpture tips from Geoffrey Gorman, go to

MY SHADOW SIDE: MOMBIN AND TAXOL The image on the left is called Mombin and shows my shadow side. I have been going through a serious illness so it captures some of my struggles and challenges as I recover. I love the covering of lead. It is a curious material to work with and to bring out energy and life. The piece on the right is called Taxol and is hopefully showing my destiny, as someone peaceful and healthy and in balance with the world.

Elizabeth Bunsen I am a sensualist. I love tuning in to all of my senses. Process, the imperfect, the impermanent and the unfinished sing to me. I am a wabi-sabi wannabe. I see Madonnas in mud puddles. At dusk, when the sky turns a raspberry cream, the crows call my name. I wander, gather, collect, arrange and put small treasures in tiny boxes. I make gypsy tents in which to drink tea and write poems.


“be … dream … play …” 3 THINGS I’M INSPIRED BY The tin box in the movie Amèlie The way that shadows dance The caramel aroma of fallen leaves in October 4 THINGS ON MY STUDIO TABLE Stripy rocks lined up Piles of dyed, rusted and discharged fabric and paper Bull clips Tin boxes

To see a fun tip from Elizabeth, go to

THE FACE I SHOW THE WORLD: RAPT, RUST, SMALLS I gather, I collect, I arrange tiny treasures. A pair of rusted papers, pages from an old German book, turmericdyed organza, red seeds, a pod, Venetian glass, old silver clay marbles, wrapped stones, a bundle, a marigold, small tin boxes, encircled.

Jeane Myers When you realize that you are wired a bit differently and/or see the world through different glasses, the challenge becomes staying balanced and finding your unique voice. The creative process has done that for me., Photo by Dawn Gately

A MOTTO I LIVE MY ARTISTIC LIFE BY “You must make an effort to put something into motion.” 3 THINGS I’M INSPIRED BY The rawness of Jean Dubuffet Antoni Tàpies Anselm Keifer 4 THINGS ON MY STUDIO TABLE Palette knives Brayer Walnut oil

My iPhone

To see more reflections from Jeane, go to

THE FACE I SHOW THE WORLD: RENDERED IN THE LIGHT I know only one thing when I enter the studio to work, and that is how I’m feeling at the moment: happy, sad, angry, overwhelmed, tired, hungry, in pain, etc. As I work, those feelings are intuitively rendered on the surface. Each new day is another layer. Each painting becomes a living diary. This work shows only the things I want the world to see, and the underside is grayed out.

Dayna J. Collins I love to get messy when making art. I work in layers—building up surfaces and then tearing them away to reveal deeper truths, mystery beyond the obvious. When you look at something I have created, I want you to wonder about its previous life, inviting you on an archeological dig, getting a glimpse beneath the surface, but never the full story., Photo by John Svendsen

A MOTTO I LIVE MY ARTISTIC LIFE BY “Be bold and fearless.” 3 THINGS I’M INSPIRED BY Aged and decaying cemeteries Antoni Tàpies My husband 4 THINGS ON MY STUDIO TABLE My well-loved, paint-spattered, wooden-handled awl A soy latte Palette knife

Black beautician’s gloves to protect my hands

MY SHADOW SIDE: BECOMING INVISIBLE As I age, I feel I am becoming increasingly invisible. When deciding how to approach my self-portrait, I knew immediately it would need to reflect my feeling of fading away, becoming irrelevant, neglected and forgotten. The bright specks of paint around the edges of my shadow self reflect my still bright aura.

Nettie Edwards I describe myself as a Digital Scrapsmith because, at heart, I’m a mixed-media artist, but I get impatient waiting for paint and glue to dry, so I combine “live” media with digital. For the past three years, I’ve been doing this with my iPhone and iPad, which means that although I have a beautiful studio, I can also do arty activities while taking a bath. You may consider this a little obsessive. I couldn’t possibly comment …

A MOTTO I LIVE MY ARTISTIC LIFE BY “God is in the details.” 3 THINGS I’M INSPIRED BY France, Paris in particular Music and the sounds of nature Genealogical research, uncovering lost stories 4 THINGS ON MY STUDIO TABLE iPhone iPad Stylus Moleskine notebook and pen


Over the last three years, I have had to come to terms with the fact that I will never be a mother. The process of acceptance has not been easy, but it has led me to an extraordinarily creative phase in my life, full of new possibilities. So to begin with, I wanted to make an artwork that celebrated the positive aspects of being a childless woman. However, when I began to explore these issues more deeply, I found myself revisiting my loss. The final piece is so emotionally dark and uncomfortable for me to look at that I’m not even sure that I like it, but creating it has helped me to leave the darkness behind. The artwork is a sarcophagus containing my grief: I’m happy to finally bury that ugliness and move on to somewhere more beautiful.

ARTISTIC PROCESS: NETTIE EDWARDS Creating The Lost Child This is the process Nettie went through to create her self-portrait.

To begin creating the piece in my studio, I had to move the furniture around! I developed my ideas in a sketchbook created in an app called Noteshelf ( Many of my ideas were sketched digitally.

I created my final composite image by layering, blending and extracting elements of images in an app called Image Blender (

The contrast was adjusted in the Tiffen Photo fx app ( The possibilities of color, texture and framing were explored using the app Camera Awesome (

Have you ever felt like giving up your creative endeavors? Yes




Deborah Gregg The voice inside my head is strong and loud. It is this persistent inner voice that takes center stage in my work. My belief is that our silent thoughts are more similar than our spoken words. Those thoughts appear as writings, which are always embedded in my art. It is not so much about the materials I use to make art as it is about conveying a message for others to connect.

A MOTTO I LIVE MY ARTISTIC LIFE BY “What one loves in childhood stays in the heart forever.” 3 THINGS I’M INSPIRED BY Really good flea markets An idea A deadline 4 THINGS ON MY STUDIO TABLE Sketchbook Dremel drill Three dozen hand charms Mini Zen rock garden

THE FACE I SHOW THE WORLD/MY SHADOW SIDE: SOUL BARING Each day I find myself walking through a place unknown. With each step, fear and curiosity intermingle. One foot says charge ahead, while the other retreats. Baring soul for all to see, reveals the inner strength and solid foundation that gives me the support I need to take that next step.

ARTISTIC PROCESS: DEBORAH GREGG Creating Soul Baring This is the process Deborah went through to create her self-portrait.

STEP 1: Using a Dremel drill, I cut apart the top of a loafer from the sole of the shoe.

STEP 2: To make the top of the shoe solid inside, I taped off all but one small open area. Using expandable foam, I filled the shoe, allowing the excess to grow out of the untaped area. After it dried, I carved the foam to my desired shape using a saw and files.

STEP 3: I prepared a foam area for a layer of clay. Then, after carving a rounded hole in the shoe, I added a layer of clay and pressed an oversized thumbprint into it. After, I painted the thumbprint and covered it with dome glass and a metal frame. To finish off the sides of the shoe, I added a metal strip and screws around the perimeter of the shoe and some moss for aging to give it a just-dredged-up-from-the-bottom-of-the-ocean look. Finally, I used a rusty hinge to reconnect the top and bottom of the shoe.

STEP 4: I covered the sole of the shoe using Apoxie air-dry sculpting clay. I then pressed metal letters, usually used for leather stamping, into the clay. The same technique was used to imprint my writings into the front of the shoe. When the clay had cured, I painted it all black. Finally, I added a dry-brush layer of a mixture of white and Phthalo blue paint.

Jen Cushman I’ve always had this need to create. I need to make stuff in the same way I need to breathe, eat, hydrate and hug my children on a daily basis. My work is about the creative process rather than the end product. What I make is not as important as being in my studio and surrendering to the blissful moments where my full focus is on nothing but what my mind, heart and hands can generate.

A MOTTO I LIVE MY ARTISTIC LIFE BY “Always move toward the direction of your dreams.” 3 THINGS I’M INSPIRED BY My photographs of France Raw or deconstructed edges Words layered on color 4 THINGS ON MY STUDIO TABLE ICE Resin Art Mechanique bezels Bronze wire

A torch

THE FACE I SHOW THE WORLD: SHE SOARS In this three-dimensional necklace, I cast a found-object ceramic doll and then built a narrative around her face and torso. Her wings give her flight, but as you can see, the feathers at the bottom have been charred and pulled away from the structure by licks of fire. The years lived and her life experiences have taken away from her outward appearance somewhat, but inside, her heart grows full and more beautiful. She shows the world each day what it means to soar. She keeps going, even when it’s difficult, because she’s motivated and driven to live to her fullest potential.

Dorothy Simpson Krause My work includes mixed-media pieces, artist books and book-like objects that bridge between these two forms. It embeds archetypal symbols and fragments of images and text in multiple layers of texture and meaning. It combines the humblest of materials with the latest in technology to evoke the past and herald the future. My art making is an integrated mode of inquiry that links concept and media in an ongoing dialogue—a visible means of exploring meaning.

A MOTTO I LIVE MY ARTISTIC LIFE BY “Make powerful work with a meaningful message.” 3 THINGS I’M INSPIRED BY Rusty metal Flea markets Old books 4 Things on My Studio Table Bone folder Xacto knife Uhu glue stick Self-healing cutting mat


As an artist in residence at Harvard Medical School’s Countway Library of Medicine, I had access to their wonderful collection of images and artifacts. Giulio Casseri‘s medical illustration of an Amazonian woman (c. 1600) is combined here with a page from a pharmacist’s prescription record book (c. 1800). Both the exquisite quality of the drawing and the powerful physique of the woman remind me of my limitations.

Tracy Verdugo I can be quirky, serious, silly, creative, forgetful, complicated, simple, loving, thoughtless, empathic, anxious, confident, kind, committed, fickle, overwhelmed, philosophical, shallow, understanding, argumentative, dynamic, lazy, optimistic, visionary and careless ‌ I am a walking contradiction ‌ I am human.


“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” — Lewis Carroll 3 THINGS I’M INSPIRED BY My husband and daughters every day Many years of long walks on the beach and in the bush The indescribable beauty of nature’s serendipitous inspiration 4 THINGS ON MY STUDIO TABLE A big, fluffy ginger cat A big, hairy huntsman spider A little, green cut-glass bottle An accumulation of paint marks

THE FACE I SHOW THE WORLD: A MESSAGE TO MYSELF In 2012 I took a series of photographic self-portraits as part of my desire to show a more authentic self to the world. The image chosen for this work shows me looking through a spiderweb, and the spider appears to be placed over my left eye. It is interesting that the symbolism of the spider relates to the ability to weave the web of our lives, being mindful of the choices we make, something I try to do in every moment. Although it is an intimate and personal work, I am happy to share it as a part of my continuing journey to share myself with others in all of my beautiful imperfection.

Jason Twiggy Lott I don’t intend to enlighten, increase spiritual awareness or incite peace on earth with my work. My work just is. As I am. My work exists because I do. I create very much for myself. If anything, my work could be said to be a process of self-study and examination. I have my stories and reasons behind each piece, but the ideas, ideals, biases and perspectives the viewer brings to the work are the real lifeblood.

A MOTTO I LIVE MY ARTISTIC LIFE BY “Credo ut intellegam, intellego ut credam.” “I believe so that I may understand, I think so that I may believe.” 3 THINGS I’M INSPIRED BY Seeing medieval and Renaissance art in Europe Human detritus Catholicism 4 THINGS ON MY STUDIO TABLE A raccoon spinal column Cheap paintbrushes My MacBook Pro A copy of Alchemy & Mysticism: The Hermetic Museum by Alexander Roob


Part of the magic of the creative process for me is the story or lack thereof going into a piece, and then the story afterward, once it’s loosed on the world. I find they’re often exceptionally different or even disparate. As it relates to me, I’m rather introverted, not stereotypically handsome and, of course, not a woman. Elizabeth here, however, is sensual, on display, on stage, classical. She hangs preening before a blue velvet curtain. I sit in my dark little studio and paint silly pictures. I’ll never be Liz.

Nathalie Nayer My journals are filled with contradictions. I see them as an intimate place where I can combine order and silliness. I get to be wild and organized at the same time. I enjoy working with straight black lines next to a random collage or a shy photograph. That’s what I like above all: the juxtaposition of messiness and order to form that ultimate combination that feels just like me.

A MOTTO I LIVE MY ARTISTIC LIFE BY “Everything is possible after a good night’s sleep.” 3 THINGS I’M INSPIRED BY Paper Rust Industrial scenes 4 THINGS ON MY STUDIO TABLE Journal

Matte medium gel Gesso Black marker

To see some texture tips from Nathalie, go to

MY SHADOW SIDE: COMPLEX SHADOWS I have the impression that Shadows wanted a life of its own. It feels like it did not come from my hand and didn’t want to be mastered. When I look at it, I wonder where I found the confidence to create such a piece. There is something invincible about it. I’m not that strong and confident.

Marina Rios I feel like I was made for this; my mind naturally comes up with endless possibilities for connections and combinations; my hands are dexterous and I love to sit all day. I take a scoopful of Western history, mix in some “tribal” materials, grunge it up for character and sprinkle it with wonder and philosophy. Then I run to share it with my friends, yelling, “Look what I made!”

A MOTTO I LIVE MY ARTISTIC LIFE BY “They say writing about music is like dancing about architecture. Trying to tack a phrase to a visual and tactile medium is like making greeting cards about dancing about architecture. So no, no phrase.” 3 THINGS I’M INSPIRED BY Seeing the work of other artists on the Internet Strange little old things I find in the street markets in Uruguay Unusual findings and vintage jewelry parts … sigh … 4 THINGS ON MY STUDIO TABLE

Pliers Wire Cutter Oxidizing patina

MY SHADOW SIDE: THE INVISIBLE I In person, I am rather a spaz and a goof. I can’t let pass the chance to make someone laugh, and if given a compliment, I instinctively deflect it in some self-deprecating way. People who know me as Marina and not fancifuldevices are surprised at the sincerity and spirituality expressed in my work. I suppose that when I’m alone, just faced with existence, my interpersonal self vanishes and I become what Emerson called the “transparent eyeball,” a mere consciousness that observes all. This is what I’m illustrating in this piece, my invisible-eye consciousness observing the universe.

ARTISTIC PROCESS: MARINA RIOS Creating The Invisible I This is the process Marina went through to create her self-portrait.

I started with a vague plan as I created this piece and tried out many different possibilities and combinations along the way. I sorted through a number of little boxes and different eyes in order to choose my pendant.

I had to try out the fit between the box lid and the eye because I wanted the lid to be able to close.

I also had to try out different background images to use. Ultimately, I chose a box with an embroidered top, and I re-enforced the fragile fibers by rubbing them with paste wax.

The Invisible I (Inside)

Do you find it easy to promote yourself? I have no trouble doing this at all


This is uncomfortable/difficult for me, but I fully promote myself


This is uncomfortable/difficult for me, and I am inconsistent with self-promotion as a result


This is so uncomfortable/difficult for me that I barely do this at all


I leave promotion up to somebody else entirely


Lynn Whipple I realleeeeee enjoy making stuff. First I collect stuff. Then I collage stuff. Next I add some found stuff. And finally I draw some stuff. Usually there is some sort of a story with my stuff. Enjoy.

A MOTTO I LIVE MY ARTISTIC LIFE BY “How much fun can I have?” 3 THINGS I’M INSPIRED BY Mother Nature Traveling Music music music 4 THINGS ON MY STUDIO TABLE Small pile of orange and yellow “granny” flowers Beautiful handmade five-string banjo Stack of great-lookin’ 1960s bingo cards Two books about one of my favorite artists, Andy Goldsworthy

To see collage tips from Lynn, go to

THE MAN I’LL NEVER BE: ME STRONG LIKE BULL This is the little strong boy I would never be. I’m a girl … just sayin’.

Crystal Neubauer These little scraps of paper I bring together. They represent life. Not one piece can be removed from the composition without altering the entire picture. Not one piece of your life can be changed without altering who you are today. When I look at these pieces of paper, I see worth in what has been deemed worthless. And value in the valueless. Ultimately it’s about humanity. And redemption. And love. It really is all about love.

A MOTTO I LIVE MY ARTISTIC LIFE BY “I have gathered here an offering of other people’s flowers, bringing to them of my own only a thread to bind them with.” —Montaigne 3 THINGS I’M INSPIRED BY Early morning worship in the studio while still in my jammies Sitting in a bookstore with a stack of art books and magazines Connecting with other artists online 4 THINGS ON MY STUDIO TABLE Glue

Graphite and pastel sticks Old papers and books My cat

To see collage tips from Crystal, go to

THE FACE I SHOW THE WORLD: EMERGE The Child Within, My Destiny, Chronic Pain … these are themes I’ve been exploring for several years, and that process has led to a deeper understanding of who I am and a closer connection to my authentic self. I’ve come to see how firmly I’ve held in place a mask that I’ve shown the world for so long I wasn’t sure where it ended and the real me began. It’s as if I am hidden in stone, and slowly my true self emerges from within. I am a work in progress.

Trudi Sissons My biggest dream as a schoolgirl was to be able to buy the largest pack of Laurentien pencil crayons available. I would bring them to school, and the teacher would allow me to stay in at recess so I could sharpen each pencil in the “good� pencil sharpener. Some things never change.

A MOTTO I LIVE MY ARTISTIC LIFE BY “It’s all in the playing.” 3 THINGS I’M INSPIRED BY Sunsets Visiting art museums Memories of childhood 4 THINGS ON MY STUDIO TABLE Work in progress Stacks of paper An assortment of art tools A sense of humor

MY SHADOW SIDE: BELOW THE SURFACE Two years ago I attended a lecture at our local art gallery as part of a weekend event learning how to be good citizens of the earth. Dr. Henry Janzen invited us to consider our breath. He explained at the moment we expelled a breath, a carbon atom would be released into the atmosphere. At any point in the future, we could be enjoying a walk on a warm summer afternoon, come across a leaf, pick it up and find that very same carbon atom within it. This piece explores this notion and attempts to satisfy my heartfelt desire for us to focus on what we share in common instead of how we are different.

Marit Barentsen Born at the seashore. Daughter of creative parents. Made in Holland. In love with music from the sixties. Flower power girl. Dreamer and rationalist (can they go together? Yes they can!). Creator. Art teacher. Poet. Writer. Art journaler. Artist. Storyteller. Wannabe mermaid. Blogger. Pedagogue. Mother. Lover. Insecure little girl. Wise old lady. Free spirit.

A MOTTO I LIVE MY ARTISTIC LIFE BY “There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” —Leonard Cohen 3 THINGS I’M INSPIRED BY Written words and sentences Childhood/youth Seashore 4 THINGS ON MY STUDIO TABLE

Different art journals Markers and pens Acrylic paint Brushes


Give me a moment to consider if it is worth it to reveal myself. Let me, in this barren hallway, dwell in who I am for a while. Allow me, in this barren hallway, time to search my soul, to gather my thoughts. Leave me for a minute to collect the pieces of my being. I will view them one by one. I will hide away the fragments that you don’t want to see. Grant me some time to do that. And when you finally open the door, could you please smile? I will smile back at you. I promise.

Carol Slade My purpose in life is to dig deep into the mystery, searching to uncover what is beautiful. What is beautiful to me is what is true. Truth has no limits; it is not bounded by time. My work is my daily process of exploration, my meditation, my teacher.

A MOTTO I LIVE MY ARTISTIC LIFE BY “Earth without art is just eh.” eARTh 3 THINGS I’M INSPIRED BY The red in Francis Bacon’s paintings Nature at dawn Emerson 4 THINGS ON MY STUDIO TABLE Liquitex fluid paint Collage materials Sketchpad and pencils If working late into the evening, a glass of wine

MY SHADOW SIDE: UNKNOWN COMPANION In this piece, the figure is in a process of repair and renewal. She is taking a step away from what was cracked and broken toward a golden light signifying health and inspiration. The figure is transparent, suggesting vulnerability, and her step is uncertain, just like the future.

ARTISTIC PROCESS: CAROL SLADE Creating Unknown Companion This is the process Carol went through to create her self-portrait.

STEP 1: I began to gather materials and ideas, laying them out to get a visual I could build on. I had a thought and just started looking around and pulling anything that came to mind.

STEP 2: Whenever I work on canvas or a wooden panel, I apply a coat of Nova texture paste, similar to a layer of plaster. Once the layer on this piece was dry, I began to lay down collage materials to add content and I to work out the composition.

STEP 3: Next I began the drawing process. I have had a recent return to figurative work, but even in my abstract work, line is crucial.

STEP 4: I always work in layers. I may use collage, then cover it up partially or even completely in paint. Many times I sand or scrape the paint back to reveal portions of the collage. I draw and write intermittently, only to be covered in paint once again. Often I coat with gloss varnish in between the layers. It seems to allow the glazes to be separated, allowing a bit of light in between. I repeated these processes many times for this piece.

Nava Waxman My work explores symbolic mapping systems with the objective to express visual form to abstract thoughts and feelings, emphasizing sexual and spiritual energy. The work is entirely based on my existence and personal perception about my identity as a woman. I seek to release the female form from its stereotypical state, which is often limited due to preconceptions. In doing so, I transform the familiarity of the subject from its literal identification to a metaphorical, visual perception.

A MOTTO I LIVE MY ARTISTIC LIFE BY “The journey is always a privilege, no matter where I find myself on the road.” —Maria Poythress Epes 3 THINGS I’M INSPIRED BY Artists such as Louise Bourgeois and Kiki Smith Road trips Motherhood 4 THINGS ON MY STUDIO TABLE

iPod Drawing paper Pencils Dates


This piece is from a series of works based on Song of Songs. Also called King Solomon’s Song, this book is a collection of love poetry. The title, Though I am black with sin, I am comely with virtue is a quote from this book. ARTISTIC PROCESS: NAVA WAXMAN Creating Though I Am Black With Sin, I Am Comely With Virtue This is the process Nava went through to create her self-portrait. In this series, I have combined movement and stillness, using photography, painting and the method of sequential drawing. This work contains a series of individual superimposed ink drawings repeated on either identical photographed prints or hand-painted cards, collaged in a grid pattern on paper. The identical image represents stillness, whereas the drawing gesture contains spontaneous movement. Together, they create stylistic polarity between free-flowing expression and central balance. You can see a video of the process at

Do you think it is important for artists to know about art history? Yes, it is absolutely essential


I think some knowledge of art history is important


No, not necessary at all


Are you comfortable with people interpreting your artwork differently than your intention? Absolutely. Art is meant to be interpreted by the viewer


I am fine with this but wish it were not the case


Yes and no. It depends upon the specific piece


This makes me uncomfortable, but I know that it is to be expected


Not at all. This is very challenging for me


Have you ever dreamed of an artwork and then created it? Yes, this happens all the time


Yes, this has happened to me at least once


No, this has never happened to me


PD Packard I believe that there is an absolute law of harmony that is accessible to all. From this law is an endless source of inspiration and knowledge that I rely upon when creating and executing my artwork. Through my prints, watercolors and hand-bound books, I am driven to express this source of inspiration and knowledge as unconditional love—not conditional romance., Photo by Victor Arranz

A MOTTO I LIVE MY ARTISTIC LIFE BY “No mistakes. No penalty. My artistic life is incidental to the absolute law of harmony.” 3 THINGS I’M INSPIRED BY Nan B Packard, my mother Alexander Calder Faye, Martine and Niko Arranz, my children 4 THINGS ON MY STUDIO TABLE Camera Small notebook Large sketchbook Black uni-ball Signo

THE FACE I SHOW THE WORLD: DOOR ASK LISTEN The Chinese characters to the left are “door, ask and listen� in running script from top to bottom. This is the face I show the world: that I rely greatly upon my intuition. Entering through the open, mental door of thought, I continually turn inward, asking myself questions. To the best of my ability, I become silent, listening and trusting my inner response.

Rachel Whetzel Thrift junkie. Free spirit. Believer. Artist. Photographer. Mom to boys. Rust lover. Worm farmer. Blogger. Creative soul. Rule bender. Spider saver. Coffee drinker. Cream lover. Chook farmer. Goat milker. Sailor mouth. Music listener. Phone talker. Garden grower. Beek. Mess maker. Risk taker. Chewy Mom. Gritty Gramma. Good intender.

A MOTTO I LIVE MY ARTISTIC LIFE BY “Let your heart be your guide, let your true colors shine, let your art SHOW.” 3 THINGS I’M INSPIRED BY Lots and lots of splattery paint Anything old or rusty Open hearts 4 THINGS ON MY STUDIO TABLE Creative Paperclay Paintbrushes in water waiting to be cleaned Bits and scraps of paper, string, lace


THE FACE I SHOW THE WORLD: OPEN BOOK I am an open book! I don’t have a face special for the world. But there are so many things about me that people don’t seem to see or know. Mostly, the sensitive sides to me. The delicate and fragile parts. Too many people see my smile or hear my loud laugh and decide that I am brave and strong. They see my willingness to speak my mind and don’t realize that there are many times when I hold my tongue because I’m also shy.

ARTISTIC PROCESS: RACHEL WHETZEL Creating Open Book This is the process Rachel went through to create her self-portrait.

STEP 1: A wooden packaging box was used as the foundation for my piece. I painted the sides and glued dictionary paper to the back of the box. I used dictionary pages with definitions of some of the things I am, although these may not be noticed at first glance.

STEP 2: A vintage book, bought at a yard sale, was laid over the top of my piece. On the left side, I used spray adhesive between the pages to create a firm, thick area for a section I planned to cut out of the book later.

STEP 3: I drilled holes in the pages and wired the book into the background. Additional wire was used to secure a spoon and a rock onto my piece. I also tucked a resin cast doorknob plate into the base, behind the book, and painted some stripes around the frame of the piece before securing the book in place. Once that was finished, I added some paint drippings and some puzzle pieces and rhinestones until I was happy with how it looked.

Dan Eldon (1970–1993) A TRIBUTE,

Written by: Hugh Milstein

I didn’t know Dan Eldon, I never met him—and I couldn’t tell you what he was like in person. That might seem challenging to someone who was asked to write about him and his brief trip here on Earth. But for me, it’s not. It’s not, because I know about him through his art. And that just might give me a more personal insight into the man—his passions, hates, moments of youthful realization and adult transformation—than anything else. The journals that he left behind are like visual bread crumbs that allow me and others to follow in his steps— retracing his innermost memories, dreams and life events. His first journal, The Masai in East Africa, is where he learned to cut and paste, and where his sense of wonderment concluded that “The Masai are an amazing people.” It clearly demonstrates the care and passion that this young boy took in organizing his visual thoughts, carefully gluing them together in the simple pages of a journal. That very early journal was a framework that he fell in love with and kept up all his days. One of my favorite journals is Book 14—with a bold yellow hand emblazoned on the cracked leather cover, journal pages that blend photography and colorful bits of fun like taped-up house keys, buttons, bits of glued rice and feathers—all whimsically constructed into a visual feast for the eyes. The joy he must have felt while creating that collage speaks to his warm human spirit and his hope to share his experiences with others—and to bring them joy as well. No wonder the images he left behind have such a profound sense of life, living, being. What we see in his artwork rings true with what he once scribbled in a journal as a personal mission statement: “To Explore the unknown and the familiar, distant and near and to record in detail with the eyes of a child ….” Written by: Seth Apter Dan Eldon lived a short life in years but a very long life in impact. Like so many other “famous” people in the public eye, we all feel we know Dan. And, because of his legacy in deeds and in art, in a manner of speaking we do. As an artist, as a chronicler of a moment in time and as a human being, he seems to me to have been brave, curious, adventurous, passionate, creative, pioneering, persuasive, powerful and altogether ahead of his time. His journals are a testament to this. And I imagine that there was a more vulnerable side to him as well, which also is revealed in his journals. How lucky we all are that this man and his spirit live on in the pages of his very special books.

JOURNAL SPREAD When Dan was sixteen, he was given a tour of Mademoiselle magazine, arranged by Phoebe Vreeland, granddaughter of Diana. Carrying one of his journals, he met Kati Korpijaakko, the art director of the magazine. She asked to hang onto the journal while he continued his tour. When he returned, the entire staff was wearing T-shirts created from images in the journal. She later noted that he was the most talented person of any age who had come through the door, and she offered him an internship that was to change his life.

SELF PORTRAIT NYC Arriving in New York in September 1988 (age seventeen), Dan was disoriented and homesick for Africa. At the top of this print, you can see the view from his tiny apartment. At the bottom, his interpretation—a wild and exciting place, with a leopard prowling through the streets. You can almost hear the beat of the drums with the dancing ladies below. The self-portrait on the right shows his confusion—his desire to be Superman, perhaps, and his uncertainty about his place in a foreign city so far from home.

Of the following, which is most important for your art? Process










TUNNEL Dan had patronized Tunnel nightclub (formerly in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood) when he was seventeen and living in New York, rendering the experience in his journal in chaotic detail: naked pinup girls, torn dollar bills, cigarette cartons, revelers.


The Soul of the Artist In the first section of this book, you were introduced to thirty special people and got to know them as both artists and confidants. In my experience, the more I learn about the artist behind the art, the more convinced I am that my experience as an artist and art lover is greatly enhanced. As you make your way through this book, you will not only learn more about these individuals and their personal and professional processes, you may also learn a little more about yourself. In this section, the spotlight artists return to share a second work of art, created in response to a series of thought-provoking prompts that include: Irrational Beliefs, The Child Within and Chronic Pain. They add their own thoughts about the artwork, which brings the art-viewing experience to a whole new level. Also included are their responses to a series of questions chosen to reveal even more about their creative experiences. Some questions look to the past (At what point did you begin referring to yourself as an artist?), some to the present (Do you have routines or rituals that accompany your work?) and some to the future (What would your dream art project be?). The honesty, vulnerability and sincerity of these artists have led to responses that are both fascinating and revealing. The spotlight artists continue to share their own artistic processes and knowledge via step-by-step project instructions, lists of tips and techniques, product recommendations and tutorials. In addition, the results of the survey presented to a larger community of artists continue to be revealed. Take out your journal before you read ahead. You might want to take notes on this!

Do you have an updated artist statement? Yes, I have an updated artist statement that I use


No, I have not written an artist statement


I have written an artist statement, but it is out of date and may not reflect where I am now


Do you choose art, or did art choose you? Definitely I chose art


No question that art chose me


Seems to me that both are true


Have you ever hired an art mentor or creativity coach? Yes No

7% 93%

What Do You Do to Make Sure You Are Always Growing Artistically? This group of artists has found reliable ways to make sure they continue to stretch their creativity. Many artists repeatedly experiment with new materials and/or approaches. A number take workshops or make it a point to study when they visit galleries and museums. Many travel and feel that life experiences, especially in unfamiliar places, help them grow. Quite a few artists connect with and learn from other artists. And underneath it all appears to be an endless curiosity and the question, “What if?” I’m constantly asking myself, “What if?” when I’m in my studio. A lot of times my gut instinct is correct, so my project changes from the results of my what-if questions. —Jen Cushman I enjoy studying art history, participating in requests for submissions, collaborating with other artists, experimenting with new techniques, seeking out galleries and art museums when I travel and jotting down ideas in a journal I have on hand with me at all times. —Trudi Sissons I force myself to try new, unexpected materials. I vary the scale at which I work. I embrace surprise, mistake, serendipity. I get away from the studio and try to experience the world. I read everything, ask questions, acknowledge the embarrassing truth, open up. I stand humbled. —Anca Gray I try new mediums and techniques. I like to push myself beyond what is comfortable for me. I will work very large and then switch to a piece that is small and intimate. I find that when I change up, it always enhances and improves other work that I am involved in. —Carol Slade Keep my eyes wide open. Cultivate an attitude of curiosity. Believe in the possibilities of amazing things I have not yet personally experienced. Study, learn and try to understand the things I see around me. Look through the eyes of another. Practice spontaneity. —Tracy Verdugo I constantly try to keep my curiosity as a guide. I find that if I am enthusiastic about what I am creating, it carries into the work and gives it an “extra” charge that hopefully the viewer also feels. —Geoffrey Gorman Never do the same thing twice. —Dorothy Simpson Krause I am naturally self-challenging. I am always doing the thing I don’t know how to do. —Juliana Coles I challenge myself to use different techniques, explore different materials or change the size on which I work from time to time. Some materials force me to work in a special way. I always learn something by varying. — Marit Barentsen I draw. Whenever I can. I visit museums, art exhibitions and art galleries. I try to take a couple of workshops every year. —Nathalie Nayer I follow as many artists whose work I find inspiring as I can. I follow them online, in art magazines and in galleries. I study art history and the inspirations or processes behind what I’d call master works. I travel as much as I can to see artwork or locations that I find intriguing and inspirational. —Jason Twiggy Lott

That’s like asking what I do to make sure my lungs are taking in air. I just do what comes naturally, following any whim, and the growth happens. —Marina Rios I give myself permission. To look at art by others without feeling jealous. To appreciate what I have to offer. To play and make mistakes and create bad art sometimes. To trust the voice I’ve heard within that tells me who I am and what I’m capable of and reject the voices that try to negate me. —Crystal Neubauer I keep asking myself, “What if?” —Elizabeth Bunsen I take myself on artistic dates, which had been first inspired by Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way. These artistic dates could be visiting other galleries, making time for nature walks or trying to see things on a dayto-day basis with “beginner eyes.” —Supria Karmakar

PROMPT - Below the Surface Archaeological Dig Seth Apter

Freud has likened psychoanalysis to archeology, describing it as the unearthing of meaning layered beneath an expanse of ruins. This resonates with me, in all the different bits and pieces of my life, including art. What can be found under the surface may not be easily seen but is exactly what determines the exposed, outer layer. It is a process of building up and breaking down. Sometimes scratching the surface and sometimes digging deeper. In the end, the finished piece is a fusion of all that was added and all that was removed—and each is equally important. Archaeological Dig expresses the fact that this idea is true in both my art and myself.

Do You Have Any Routines or Rituals That Accompany Your Work? The majority of responses fell into two categories. The first related to finding both inner and outer stillness, thereby shutting out distractions (accomplished through meditation, yoga, tea, quiet time, garden visits and— perhaps most frequently—cleaning the studio). At the other end of the spectrum were rituals that inspired creativity through stimulation, such as listening to music or rummaging through supplies or the Internet. For some, however, the only routine was making art. Yes—I ritualistically avoid routine. —Trudi Sissons I like to shut the door to my studio and work in privacy. I suppose that is my ritual of shutting out the world so I can hear my own voice clearly. Also, I like to clean my studio between projects, as it gets torn apart while I am in the process. —Deborah Gregg I don’t have any routines or rituals when I create. I think that has to do with my being so many other things on top of being an artist. I have to squeeze my art into the bits of the day that I can, which doesn’t leave much time for anything but creating. —Rachel Whetzel Oh yes. First, I drop my daughter at my mother-in-law’s. Then I make myself a cup of tea and drink it while I clean my desk. It’s almost the best part: the anticipation of making art. —Nathalie Nayer Music is an essential part of my creative routine. My studio is never silent. I am always inspired and guided by the moods and memories that are generated by the music I am listening to while I am working. In every completed piece, I can sense the emotional residue of the soundtrack that accompanied its creation. —Thomas Ashman I work best in solitude and in a clean space. Especially with writing texts, I need concentration, and to concentrate I need my environment to be silent, peaceful and clean. I always clean up and put everything in place before I start to work. —Marit Barentsen When I get out to the studio I put on my uniform. It is a black pirate apron I got from Disneyland with rhinestone skull and crossbones. The minute I tie those apron strings, I know it is time to get to work. I wear it teaching, and I even wear it when I go to figure-drawing sessions. People make fun of me, but I love it. — Juliana Coles I pick up a tool, find a surface and work. —Jeane Myers One routine, or maybe “habit” is a better word, I have is listening to recorded books while working. Following the story keeps me from overthinking the piece being created. —Jennifer Coyne Qudeen A very important daily routine while working is cleaning up and organizing my workspace at the end of the day. This really helps me clarify my thoughts and to start the next day anew. —PD Packard I work messy, and by the time I finish a project, supplies and objects are in an unrecognizable heap. In order to have a clear and focused mind, I must clean the space before moving on to a different project. I sometimes run out of surfaces because I always work on so many pieces at the same time. —Seth Apter

No, I just work constantly. —Dorothy Simpson Krause Though I’m very drawn to ritualistic practices, I really have none that accompany my work unless procrastination can be considered a ritual. —Jason Twiggy Lott

PROMPT - Below the Surface Layering the Adjectives Jeane Myers

All of me in layer after layer riding under the surface that is stitched together to fit into the world.

PROMPT - Below the Surface What Comes Before Dayna J. Collins

Neglected, decrepit, aging cemeteries are a huge source of inspiration—physically and metaphorically. The decay inspires texture, while the histories and the stories of the person are buried there, too. We recently spent a week in Barcelona, and there was a fabulous cemetery there, Poblenou, with several arched walls containing crypts. My fascination with cemeteries, crypts and buried stories are all reflected in this piece.

What Is the One Thing You Dislike the Most About the Art World? While a number of these artists don’t identify with the idea of disliking parts of the art world and focus solely on their own artistic practice, the majority seemed to be easily able to express their particular concerns. The feelings that were shared were most often connected to elitist and pretentious attitudes, judgment of the artist based on formal education or the lack thereof, the focus on commerce and self-promotion, and the rush to label and draw lines of distinction among artists. The hierarchy regarding the notion of “craft” vs. “fine art,” whether you have a BFA/MFA or are self-taught, etc. Often I wish we could all just create from that space of heart and forget the politics. —Supria Karmakar Elitism. I don’t like to see art over-intellectualized. You can’t control how art makes you feel. You respond to it or you don’t. —Carol Slade That the art world believes in art and not magic. —Elizabeth Bunsen The very same things I dislike in all walks of life: egoism, jealousy and cynicism. But the good far, far outweighs the bad. —Nettie Edwards Individuals who consider academic credentials as a prerequisite to judging the worth of the art one creates. —Trudi Sissons Art is a business and I believe the concern of selling art sometimes influences what artists create. I think for some artists, being too concerned with popular artistic tastes prevents them from looking inside themselves for personal expression. —Deborah Gregg Our incessant need to categorize and judge everything; “real” artist vs. “hobby” artist, tribal artisan vs. fine artist, art vs. craft, etc. I know it’s inevitable and that I’m actually on the bandwagon trying to be recognized within the hierarchy, but sometimes it all just seems so ridiculous. —Tracy Verdugo The belief of some that I must have a degree or must not associate myself with a certain style if I want to be taken seriously as a real artist. At one time I believed I would never achieve respect artistically because of these discrepancies. But I have come to realize that these rules can only define me if I let them. —Crystal Neubauer I strongly dislike the art world when it becomes exclusive and only available to the select few. I believe making art is about communication and connecting with others. I feel most successful when I can connect with my audience. —Geoffrey Gorman Pretentious and unapproachable gallery owners. —Dayna J. Collins Many times the art world appears to be like the emperor’s new clothes, frequently making a big fuss about nothing. —PD Packard One of the things I dislike the most about the art world is all of the lines that have been drawn in the sand. There are so many rules and for what? Art should be for everyone. Art is for everyone. —Rachel Whetzel

I don’t love the fact that I basically have to sell myself in order to sell my work. Consumers seem to buy into the personality of the artist as much as the work. I’m a bit of an introvert. I’d rather just sit in my studio and create. — Jason Twiggy Lott Too many aesthetic sheep. —Will Ashford The fear it brings up in me about the legitimacy of my work. —Juliana Coles The fact that some artists seem to care more for attention and getting published and focus on that instead of trying to make emotional, heartfelt, “honest” work. —Marit Barentsen

PROMPT - Below the Surface The Deep End Juliana Coles

Here I am, in front on my 12” x 12”, again—feeling like, what am I going to do? What do I want? What I want is a new beginning. A way out of this creepy menopausal state. I’m not dead, but I feel that way. And this is where I began. After working on it, I knew what the piece was all about. Down at the bottom I wrote, “I’ll hold my own space.” That was the key right there. And it was done. I mean, I felt like there was a big problem with value—no light in the piece or highlights. But it seemed like that was important—that it remain murky—that things aren’t so clear—the important things are hard to see and know. You have to fish around in the depths. And that was how it ended. That was it. The Deep End.

PROMPT - Below the Surface Be Brave

Jen Cushman

Learning to work with resin on a deeper artistic level means exploring how beautifully it comingles with images, color and texture. There are five layers, built up over the course of five days, of various techniques and imagery in this work. For me, the real beauty of this piece is looking below the surface to see how the layers interconnect and interact with one another.

Do you ever feel lonely and isolated as an artist? This is true the majority of the time


Sometimes, and it bothers me greatly


Sometimes, but it comes with the territory


Very rarely, but it has happened


No, these are not feelings I have had


At What Point Did You Begin Referring to Yourself as an Artist? The “A” word seemed to elicit quite a range of feelings in this group. For some, the title has no special meaning, and for others, it seems to almost be magical. Many have self-identified as artists all their lives, even as young children. For others, it took a specific experience (such as first exhibiting, selling, teaching or blogging) for them to embrace the title of artist. However, a good number still feel uncomfortable calling themselves artists and prefer not to use that label at all. When I was in the fourth grade, I drew a picture of a helicopter for an assignment. I remember the drawing because it just flowed out of my hand and onto the paper. Just like that. Not only was it easy, but also it was very satisfying. I knew that I wanted more. —Will Ashford It was at a flea market with my husband where I was buying all kinds of great junk to work with. One vendor asked why I wanted some of these things, and my husband said, “She’s an artist.” It was a light-bulb moment, and suddenly I just knew that was who I am. —Crystal Neubauer Most creative types that work outside the system are artists. I don’t think the word is sacred or magical. Being an artist is just like any other profession; we have certain skills that we have honed and worked on. It has been many years that I thought of myself as an artist, even when I was not producing artwork. — Geoffrey Gorman It’s all I ever was. It’s all my family ever called me. They thought I was fey, otherworldly, because I was an artist. My family thought I was touched. —Juliana Coles I didn’t start making art until I was thirty-five. At that time, I still thought artists were lucky people who were born with a magical gift. It was such an awesome revelation to me that you could learn to draw and paint. I called myself an artist when I decided to hold my first solo exhibition in 2002, two years after my first art class. —Tracy Verdugo Actually I think the word “artist” is overused. I refer to myself as a painter. —Jeane Myers When I started blogging. Showing my work and getting enthusiastic feedback made me an artist. —Nathalie Nayer Honestly, when speaking to someone in person, I rarely use that word when asked what I do. I don’t know why there’s that difference for me, but there is. Perhaps I still iconize the word “artist” and saying I “do art” is easier because that is more of an action than an identity. —Juana Almaguer In the spring of 2009, after I’d evolved from “scrapbooker” to “art journaler,” I started calling myself an artist. In my opinion, the purpose of art is the arousal of emotions—be it my own or the viewer’s. The moment I became aware of the fact that my work was evoking emotions, I dared to name myself an artist. —Marit Barentsen I began to refer to myself as an artist when I began to exhibit my work publicly. —Nava Waxman When I was in high school. —Dorothy Simpson Krause

In 2008 when I made the decision to truly live a creative life. I realized I had always seen the world differently than a lot of people I met. It took me a while to own it, but being artistic is my birthright. Through mixed media, I’ve found that it’s a lot of people’s birthright as well. —Jen Cushman As soon as I left the womb. —Jason Twiggy Lott When I had my first solo show scheduled at the art museum where I teach, I felt validated and was able to openly refer to myself as an artist, even though it still felt inwardly fraudulent at times. They had my name up on the wall, so I thought, “Yeah, it’s real now.” —Deborah Gregg

PROMPT - Free Association Lights

Marina Rios

It started with my awe and inspiration upon seeing the intergalactic images from the Hubble Space Telescope. What moved me so was the idea of iridescence. However, this stands in sharp contrast to my love of the old and grungy, as conveyed in what I call my Victorian Tribal style. It is these very dualities, though, this yin and yang, that organize my worldview. The contrasts in this necklace have created a new aesthetic vision for me, one that has captured me completely. As always, this vision has sprung from my musings and from the influences around me, from allowing my mind to go where it will, rewarding me with a new obsession.

PROMPT - The Child Within chocolate and beach glass Elizabeth Bunsen

I gather, collect, arrange and play with objects. This piece grew from a simple idea into a sort of self-portrait of the child within. Here, I have used antique toys belonging to loved ones now departed, a tiny harmonica, a kindergarten report card, old blue buttons, a child’s letter to the fairies, a vial of marigold petals, a charm bracelet and other elements, some partially concealed below the surface. The chocolate and beach glass are there, too.

Do you schedule time for creating? Yes, I have set hours that rarely change Yes, but the schedule differs every day/week

4% 39%

No, I am spontaneous and create when I am inspired 39% No, I just have to grab the time when I can fit it in


What Would Your Dream Art Project Be? These artists dream big, as many of their projects are grand in scale. While the details vary, most projects fell into just a few categories: working large, creating a public art installation—often interactive or related to social concerns—and collaborating with other artists. For a number of artists, though, their dreams are more simple: working with unfamiliar materials or having extended time to work either in or away from their home base. And for a few, they are living their dream project every day they are able to create. So many dream projects. One is to paint in each national park, just for the beauty and adventure of it. A big dream project is to do large-scale, public art installations that have a delightful and unexpected impact, using humor, inventiveness and brilliant ways to engage each of your senses. —Lynn Whipple A dream art project to me is the art piece in which it all comes together. It would be a work that gives the spectator the exact same feeling and emotions as the ones I poured into it while creating it. —Marit Barentsen An art installation that would speak to a deeper spiritual concept; where we begin to understand the connectedness of our lived human experiences. I would like to witness the coming together of communities where we feel the power of one, unity and compassion. —Supria Karmakar I have an extended history of making art in the shape of a word, using materials that help define that particular word. My dream art project would be to place paper on a floor, position two thousand sharp pencils above in the form of the word earthquake so that with an earthquake, the pencils will drop and draw that very word on the paper. —Will Ashford When I got to this question and couldn’t answer it, I let it sit for a while. Then I came back and realized I didn’t have a dream project. Painting on a daily basis is the dream. A gift. That feels like enough for me. — Jeane Myers I love collaborations, and I’m always inspired by my amazing friends in this mixed-media field. I would love to do some kind of giant collaborative traveling gallery exhibit and take over entire art galleries for a month at a time. Twelve galleries in twelve different cities. Wouldn’t that be cool? —Jen Cushman Collaborating with Robert Rauschenberg. But since he is no longer with us, working in his studio would be the next best thing. —Dorothy Simpson Krause My dream art project would be to open an indoor art playground where children would come for art classes, play and create, all in the same space. I have a shop name picked out. I just wish owning a shop didn’t require so much work. —Rachel Whetzel An extended residency to work on large canvases, away from the routine of everyday life, with plenty of space to work. —Dayna J. Collins I enjoy viewing public art. Maybe one day I’ll be walking through an airport and see some of my art pieces adorning the walls. —Juana Almaguer Anything I’m working on at the time is my dream project. If I’m not in love with it, I put it aside for something else. —Marina Rios

To travel for one year, spending one month in each of twelve countries, being inspired by local culture, aesthetics, people, architecture, etc. and creating art along the way. In the end, I would return home with countless artworks and twelve artist books. I would then like to publish an illustrated book about the experience. —Seth Apter My dream project would allow me to work large, unhindered by the restraints of time, money, space or availability of supplies. And it would allow me to work with other artists—a co-op space where artists would come together and share with each other and the community around them. —Crystal Neubauer

PROMPT - Below the Surface

What Lies Beneath Crystal Neubauer

The theme “below the surface� speaks so well to the overarching theme of my work and to this piece specifically. See how the corrugate reveals itself, only to be hidden again by the ink? But often it is not me, the artist, revealing what lies beneath the surface of my work, but the work itself revealing what is hidden within me.

PROMPT - Below the Surface Though I am black with sin, I am comely with virtue

Nava Waxman

What brought me to work on this piece was the aim to incorporate (merge, quilt, copulate) an element that is consistent (forty-eight identical prints) and an element that is constantly (in sequence) changing and transforming (the ink drawing on each card, as you can notice, woman’s figure ‌ woman’s contour).

Are Mistakes a Part of Your Artistic Process? The answer here is a resounding yes. In fact, for nearly all of the artists, mistakes are an integral part of their artistic process. For many, rising to the challenge of dealing with these mistakes can lead to creative growth in new directions. The only question here is whether to label these events as “mistakes” or rather catalysts, exploration or new directions. The very foundation. —Juliana Coles Ah! The happy accidents! They are a huge part of my process. I love them! They take you off on a different tangent, which is good! —Lynn Whipple They are not only a part of my process, they are critical to my creative growth. —Trudi Sissons I don’t think of them as mistakes, rather explorations. —Carol Slade At times, mistakes can be the catalysts for milestones. I therefore embrace mistakes. —Nava Waxman That is my process. —Jeane Myers Absolutely! I grow from making mistakes and figuring out how to correct them. —Dorothy Simpson Krause Always. Mistakes sometimes lay the foundation for depth. And no—there are no mistakes. —Elizabeth Bunsen Mistakes are rarely a part of my artistic process. That’s not to say that unexpected surprises don’t occur, but there is a real difference between the two. The surprises are things that happen that present another possibility previously not considered. I don’t consider those to be mistakes and certainly I don’t count on them. —Will Ashford I used to be afraid of mistakes and threw away the work as soon as it did not go as planned. Thank God I got over that. Now I continue to work through the mistakes, and they lead me to unexplored paths and show me new directions. —Marit Barentsen Mistakes are usually what I end up liking the best. They create an unexpected problem to solve, which is usually the beginning of the piece. —Dayna J. Collins Absolutely, yes, and that includes life mistakes! —Nettie Edwards Mistakes are definitely part of my artistic process—sometimes the best part. —Jennifer Coyne Qudeen Mistakes are absolutely an important part of my artistic process. I’ve learned so much from my mistakes. Half of my classes and artwork wouldn’t exist if I hadn’t started with a mistake. —Leighanna Light Mistakes are essential to learning (although frustrating while you’re in it), and many of my “best” mistakes have resulted in my most stellar works. They make my abilities, in the end, that much greater. —Deborah Gregg Well, there’s a right and a wrong way to do anything. But only one of those will lead you to amazing new discoveries. (Hint, it’s the second one.) —Marina Rios

All action in my artistic process is the natural law of progression, including what appears to be a mistake. There is just right action. —PD Packard As I have more and more experience with making mistakes, I have learned to embrace them and even hope for them. While initially frustrating, dealing with mistakes is a creative challenge that is often educational, inspirational and confidence building. And they very often lead to better art. —Seth Apter

PROMPT - Free Association Happy Pants Lynn Whipple

This piece was a bit of a romp for me. I love the HELLO MY NAME IS stickers and use them because they make me laugh. Randomly it ended up becoming her headdress. Most of my work is free-association based. I just play with elements until they feel free to me or make me laugh out loud. Then I know I’m onto something. The story kind of writes itself in front of your hands.

PROMPT - The Child Within and Long-Term Memory Lost Rachel Whetzel

When I was a little girl, my grandma taught me to play Yahtzee. It was something I loved, and we played together for hours and hours. When Grandma developed Alzheimer’s, I watched the woman I loved—and the precious memories of my childhood we shared—slowly become lost. Using the Yahtzee box as my background, I strengthened it with a Scrabble board glued to its back. I wrapped a second, smaller section of Scrabble board with dictionary words such as “loss, memory, death and remember.” Then I wrapped a key onto the piece, showing the memories that had become locked away from my grandma before she passed away.

What Is the Best Piece of Advice You Have Ever Received with Respect to Being an Artist? A few artists focused on practical advice, such as being aware of the details of presentation, starting a blog and focusing on the business side of art. For most, however, the advice that resonated was more personal: Be honest and authentic; do what you love; create from—and for—yourself. And for many in this group, the most relevant advice was to keep on making art. Risk it all and make it an honest conversation. —Jeane Myers Marry well or get a day job. I thought that, at the time, this advice was given to me as kind of a joke or cliché, but years later I realized they weren’t kidding. —Will Ashford Stop thinking. Just do it. —Elizabeth Bunsen One: Be authentic. Two: If you can’t solve a problem, change the question. —Nettie Edwards Do what you love, love what you do. And do something creative every day, no matter what. Go into the studio, scribble on paper, cook a meal, rearrange your home, work in the garden, take photographs, work on your blog. Do whatever it takes to keep those creative juices flowing! —Leighanna Light The best way to improve at any aspect of art is simply to do it. Over and over again. —Seth Apter The best piece of advice I have gotten is to do what you love. Don’t try to fit into an idea or style that isn’t yours. Create what you like. Create for yourself. —Rachel Whetzel My dad used to tell me, “The only person you have to be better than is who you are right now.” Living with this in mind has taught me that perfection is an elusive but worthy goal and has helped shield me from critical thoughts and individuals who would discourage me from pursuing my artistic goals. —Thomas Ashman Neil Gaiman’s summon to “make good art.” It is the solution to every problem, the answer to every question and healing balm to all that ails. —Anca Gray From Betty Edwards: “Turn your painting upside down as a way to force a cognitive shift from left-brain to right-hemisphere drawing.” —Trudi Sissons My wonderful mom always told us, “Do what you love and the money will come.” I applied that to my life as an artist. —Lynn Whipple I was a young artist and had quite a body of work, yet I was reluctant to show it. A mentor of mine said, “This is your gift to the world, and if you keep it to yourself, you are being selfish.” It changed the way I viewed myself as an artist. —Carol Slade Work every day. —Dorothy Simpson Krause While living in England and attending Saint Martins School of Art, a dear friend told me that I was not the creator, God is, and that my job was to be receptive to God’s ideas. This freed me from the false responsibility

of having to create. —PD Packard Presentation is everything, if you’re trying to make a living as an artist. Whether it’s the frame, the varnish on a painting or the little details in a mixed-media piece, presentation has a huge effect on how galleries, curators and potential buyers receive the work. —Jason Twiggy Lott “You don’t settle for this, now do you? You can do better than that!” Said by a person who really loves me. — Marit Barentsen It is one that Orly Avineri gave me after I first met her: “Just be yourself.” —Nathalie Nayer

PROMPT - Below the Surface Dancing Mind Carol Slade

For my birthday, my family gave me a party. It had been a challenging year due to back surgery and a very long recovery. We opened the studio and about thirty people participated in a painting frenzy. At the end of the night, there was this painting that everyone had worked on. It was quite a mess yet contained this wonderful

collective energy. I was trying to figure out how I could honor each person and realized that it was all there “below the surface.” A book came to mind I had read years ago called Anam Cara, Gaelic for “Soul Friend.” I found a passage and just took it from there. “When your passion awakens, your soul becomes young and free and dances again.”

PROMPT - The Child Within Make mine black pekoe with a slice of rust Jennifer Coyne Qudeen

One of my fondest memories from childhood is of my grandmother making tea. She’d put a pot of water on to boil, get out a large metal mixing bowl, throw in freshly picked mint leaves and add slices of orange, sugar and

Lipton tea bags. When the water was ready, she’d pour it into the bowl and let everything steep for a bit. The scent of mint and orange would waft through the house, filling every corner and crack with the most delicious aroma. Even now, the child within delights in the process of making and drinking tea, of remembering special moments‌.

Do you sign your work? Just about always and on the front 42% Just about always and on the back


Sometimes yes and sometimes no


Very rarely




Does Synchronicity Play a Role in Your Art and if so, Can You Share an Example? For some, the concept of synchronicity is paramount in and integral to their work. Many identified connections, opportunities, coincidences and timing as frequent occurrences in their artistic life—especially if they were open to and waiting for the possibility. For other artists, in contrast, the concept of synchronicity is foreign and they are confident that it plays no role in their work. Finally, there are those artists who blur the line between accidental experiences and synchronistic events. For them, it is just semantics. Yes, synchronicity plays a starring role in both my art and my life. I believe our thoughts, words, feelings and actions create our life experiences. This means my role is to notice the sometimes elusive synchronicities and serendipities that bring people, objects and opportunities into our lives when we both need and desire them. —Jen Cushman My art is as much the destruction of, as it is the enhancement of, the synchronicity of words on a page. —Will Ashford Synchronicity is my everyday companion, and I truly believe that the more aligned you are with your vision, purpose and passion, the more it will find you. I often finish an artwork in which I have placed random collaged text, and at the end, after I have titled the work, I glimpse a sentence poking out that ties in perfectly with the name or theme I have just chosen. —Tracy Verdugo Synchronicity always plays a role. It is a way of connecting the dots. Is it synchronicity, guidance or just awareness? Whatever it is called, I depend on this daily in my studio and in my life. I know if I am working on a piece, and not sure where I am going with it, that it will present itself to me. —Carol Slade Synchronicity plays a role in everything I do. Especially art. For me, the more open I am to see what happens, the better. I spilled a whole jar of white ink recently, and it changed the whole piece, but it was great looking! Unintentional editing! It’s all just a layer! —Lynn Whipple I marvel how when synchronicity is playing a role in my artwork, the flow and stream of creativity unfolds stories and answers to my deepest ponderings. As if the creative muse within is guiding me through some of my deepest and darkest days, uplifting and sending me hope and messages of faith, strength, courage and wisdom. —Supria Karmakar Synchronicity, I suppose, is the basis of my work. I rarely have a plan or idea, but rather begin spontaneously. Working with mixed media, the items or materials themselves seem to tell me what they want to do. My images make themselves. They come together magically, by chance, as if somehow predetermined. —Juliana Coles The word synchronicity indicates that there is chance. There is no chance, no coincidence, no random occurrences. The universe and everything in it is connected. I have learned to trust my inner thoughts, which, I believe, can help steer me in the right direction when I feel confused or frustrated about my work. —PD Packard

Absolutely. A seedling of an idea may be brought to full bloom in my head by a chance encounter with a person, a book, a piece of trash or another’s artwork. Accidents and synchronous events happen in the creation of most of my artwork. Part of creation is letting go and allowing the work to tell you what it wants to be. —Jason Twiggy Lott I don’t see the usefulness of the synchronicity theory. Every second of every day, 979 barrels of oil are burned, 2.69 gallons of beer are produced in the U.S. and lightning struck Earth 60 times. Lots of things are happening all the time. So what? —Thomas Ashman Not necessarily, other than the wonder of finding like-minded others, influencing and being influenced by them. —Marina Rios The answer is no. I guess I begin my pieces just with intuition and end them when interesting coincidences have happened. —Nathalie Nayer

PROMPT - Long-Term Memory The Truth Will Out Nettie Edwards

I am a survivor of PTSD, a condition that traps sufferers inside a continuous loop of reliving trauma but unable to articulate their feelings. My chosen title suggests that although I am well on the road to recovery, I have yet to completely share my story.

PROMPT - Below the Surface Crash Course in Thoracic Surgery Anca Gray

The bits and pieces will fit. Take great care not to lose even one, torn and bruised as they may be. Hold them up to the sun, one by one, while whistling a familiar tune. As far as the mending itself goes, use what you have on hand. It will do. Pause often for tea breaks. In time, healing is sure to take its course. Eventually, a new song will bloom, just below the surface.

What Do You Like and Dislike Most About Your Own Work? Although the likes and dislikes described by these artists tended to be personal and idiosyncratic, there were some commonalities as well. Quite a few artists liked that they had developed their own recognizable style. In addition, a number of artists liked that their work was intuitive, spontaneous and full of surprises. There was almost no overlap in dislikes (the focus was primarily on personal issues, such as procrastination, indecisiveness and perfectionism), although several people referred to their inability to draw. What I love about my work is that it is full of surprises. It allows me to wonder. I can change my style at any time but it is always a reflection of me. It stands on its own without explanation. It just is. What I dislike is the daily cleanup. —Carol Slade I like that I can see my style emerging and that the pieces I make have elements of color, movement, texture and the visual exploration of an idea. I dislike that I never formally learned to draw, so I’m remedying this by taking figure drawing classes at my local community college. —Jen Cushman I love the building of layers and leaving them loose, allowing them to move and flow, unfixed, perhaps unfinished. I like the fact that walking is how I think through my process. I dislike the fact that my work is sometimes so absorbing that I forget to eat. —Elizabeth Bunsen It gets messy. —Crystal Neubauer I like that my work is a deep, personal expression that reaches inside other people and connects to them. It confirms my theory that we all have similarities in thought that we don’t openly share. I don’t like that it feels like I am re-creating the wheel every time I sit down to start a new project. Sometimes I wish it were easier. —Deborah Gregg I like my layers, texture, having a good color sense. I dislike not being able to draw and fear being found out. I guess the word is out now. —Dayna J. Collins I love the mix of things I’m able to come up with and using beautiful, evocative bits in a way that makes them even more so. I hate that I question my pieces when they don’t sell, that only those with a certain level of wealth can have my pieces and that I am not doing anything for the world’s powerless masses with what I do. —Marina Rios I like the vibrancy and joyful energy of my work and the fact that I have come to a place where I can paint spontaneously and freely. I dislike that I still make excuses, procrastinate and find ways not to allow myself to get into the studio and paint every day! —Tracy Verdugo I like the fact that despite working in a wide variety of mediums, a consistent and characteristic style has developed in my work over time. I am sometimes frustrated with my linear approach to creating and my hesitancy to fully let go creatively. —Seth Apter I like my ability to generate ideas and images and wish that they were all of the quality of the one or two in ten that I really love. —Dorothy Simpson Krause

I like my ability to create a sense of movement through composition, and I least like my tendency to work too tightly. —Trudi Sissons I like the juxtaposition of opposites in my work. The pairing of glass and metal, subdued colors and glossy finishes, dark themes and sentimental sparkle—all make me wax philosophical about the polarity of all things and the extremes of life. I tend to dislike asymmetry. When things in my work are uneven, it doesn‘t sit well with me. —Thomas Ashman I like that I’m able to find some balance in dimensions and mediums—images, textures, multiple mediums as far as wood, metal, paper, paint, fabrics, etc. My struggle is always to make them all work together. I’m still working to find an elegant balance of mediums. —Jason Twiggy Lott

PROMPT - The Child Within Chasing Dragonflies and Butterflies

Supria Karmakar

As a child, getting on my bike and escaping to places where I could find solitude and peace was very important to me. The imagery in this piece conjures up these feelings of escape, and the title also portrays that feeling of childhood bliss, implying the joy of being completely detached from the stresses of life. Having a childhood free of this worry and stress was something I often longed for, and riding my bike, even if fleetingly, often gave me that feeling of freedom.

PROMPT - My Destiny One Door

Deborah Gregg

I am searching for a direction to find my ticktock where my heart beats with the fervor and excitement of the discovery of a first-time anything. A place where my eyes cannot rest and my brain is cheering me on. And for a while, the other doors are closed, and I only hear one song at a time. In this place, I realize the true self emerge and flow through all my being, dusting away the grit and ordinary that dulls my thirsty soul.

If You Weren’t an Artist, What Would You Be? Many of the artists would work in other creative fields and would be dancers, singers, chefs, designers, art therapists, musicians and the like. Others put their own personal, creative spin on their alternate careers and suggested magician, sex therapist, scientist, Cirque du Soleil performer and word stacker. For quite a few, there was no alternate. If they weren’t artists, they would be lost, miserable, depressed or incomplete. A stand-up comic or a sex therapist. I find human relationships, particularly love partnerships, fascinating. I also find humor in life in general. The thought of being a stand-up comic doing a routine as a sex therapist is quite an interesting combination. The strangest thing is that I’m not joking with this answer. —Jen Cushman A magician, a word stacker, a yoga teacher? —Elizabeth Bunsen Lost. —Anca Gray If I were not an artist, I would probably be a chef. I grew up in a very traditional Moroccan home, where food and its preparation process were central in our day-to-day lives. —Nava Waxman As a teenager and young adult, I dreamed of becoming a photojournalist for National Geographic. —Trudi Sissons Miserable. —Marina Rios In this lifetime, I would be miserable and depressed! In another lifetime, I would be a Cirque du Soleil performer, an underwater photographer or someone who works with animals. —Leighanna Light Once I wanted to be an archaeologist (to travel). Then an air hostess (to travel). A photographer (to travel). A tour guide (to travel). So I guess I would just be a traveler. —Nathalie Nayer Incredibly sad and lost. —Juliana Coles Hmmm. I could be a travel show host, experiencing the diversity of this amazing planet or a happiness researcher roaming the globe trying to figure out why some of us are and some of us are not or maybe an earth-mother type with a tribe of kids living off the land. —Tracy Verdugo An art therapist working with women and children who have experienced trauma or using art with communities to heal and find wellness. I truly believe art saves lives. It did mine. —Supria Karmakar Incomplete. —Jeane Myers If I weren’t an artist, I would be a teacher or a farmer. I already do those things in addition to my art, though. I try to do it all. Doesn’t always work, but most of the time I’m happy. —Rachel Whetzel Not a very nice person to be around. Art keeps me centered and feeds my soul. —Jennifer Coyne Qudeen If I were not a visual artist, I’d be a literary artist. A writer or wordsmith. Otherwise I’d be a carpenter or mechanic. I’d work with my hands. —Jason Twiggy Lott

Insane! In my day job, when I have one, I am a project manager in the print industry. But it isn’t my passion, and art is what keeps me sane. I’ve always dreamed of being a writer. And may be still, someday … —Crystal Neubauer An opera singer or landscape gardener. —Nettie Edwards If I weren’t an artist, I would be what I trained to be late in life: a drug-and-alcohol counselor. Fortunately, I’ve been able to use my counseling skills in offering twelve-week women’s creative groups. —Dayna J. Collins

PROMPT - My Destiny My Journal Thomas Ashman

There was never a time when I said, “When I grow up, I want to be an artist.” In fact, my passions were always music and literature. I grew up playing piano and drums, studied literature in college and have been teaching high school since then. One day while schlepping boxes for a friend who was teaching at art retreats, we started kicking around the idea of developing a project called “Glass Journal.” I submitted the idea as a workshop and have been teaching, perfecting and varying the binding for over a decade now. The creation of this bookbinding truly altered my destiny, and when people ask me what I do, I say with confidence, “I am an artist.”

PROMPT - Irrational Beliefs Touch Wood

Juana Almaguer To see Juana’s texture tips, go to

Even though I know there is no logical reason to say or do the “knock on wood” ritual, I still can’t help myself. This piece reflects the division between my believing and not believing, self-control and lack of control.

Have you ever reworked a completed work of art? Frequently. That is part of my process


On occasion. I am comfortable doing this


On occasion. But it just doesn’t feel right


Never. Once a work is complete, it should stay intact


Never. I have thought of it but am hesitant to do this


Never. For other reasons


What Has Been the Most Uplifting and/or Devastating Reaction of Someone to Your Work? The main thread that wove through the majority of responses related to the joy in experiencing firsthand a person being moved by an artwork they had created. For multiple artists, interestingly, the biggest impact came when the moved viewer was a child. It is clear that the most devastating reactions are rejections, especially coming from close relations, such as family, friends or teachers. A number of artists also noted that any reaction, positive or negative, was preferred to indifference. The most devastating reaction came from a teacher in art school almost thirty years ago. He said to me, “The only thing that’s good about you is the bowls you use to mix your paint in.” Ouch. It cost me years to get over this and to be confident enough to feel a brush in my hand without fear of failure. —Marit Barentsen Like many artists, I have a blog about my creative journey. There have been a few times when a comment left by another artist has rendered me speechless and left me in tears because that person was so touched by my work and felt so connected to it and to me. It’s moments like those that are such a gift. —Jennifer Coyne Qudeen Although it’s changing as technology becomes a more universal medium, I’m still surprised by people who think that making art using a computer is simply a matter of pushing a button. —Dorothy Simpson Krause In my opinion, any reaction is a good thing, since the individual took the time to view my work and to react to it, for better or worse. —Nava Waxman I love the reactions from younger art students. The most devastating event was my participation in SOFA Chicago for the first time and not one piece sold. After the show, I actually went outside and started crying. — Geoffrey Gorman The most devastating reaction toward my work has to be my mother’s a couple of years ago when she said, “Well, yes, all that stuff is lovely. But I can’t help thinking that it will just be trash that you won’t know where to store one day. Where are you going to put all these journals?” —Nathalie Nayer In one show, I had an artist statement hanging in two parts. One side started with the word “lie” and spoke of the lies we may believe about ourselves. The other side started with the word “truth” and spoke of the intrinsic worth of our experiences. One couple held their little girl and read the truth statement out loud to her. It moved me to tears and still does when I think of it. —Crystal Neubauer The most wonderful response to my work has got to be my friend’s three- and five-year-old daughters insisting to make art like I do. The most disheartening reaction is none at all. Love it or hate it, my hope is that the work provokes a definite reaction, if not a thoughtful response. —Anca Gray I was pleasantly surprised to learn that someone who bought one of my figure paintings got the image tattooed on her back. —Juana Almaguer To be accepted so completely by so many has been a pleasant surprise. I had always perceived the art world to be kind of divisive. I have found that most arty people aren’t like that. There is a phenomenal amount of

love and support for each other‘s work, and tons of encouragement and sharing for those who make art. — Thomas Ashman At an art opening, one woman came up to me with very red, watery eyes. It was apparent that she had been crying. She told me that my work and writings had touched her so deeply. I felt like I had achieved success right then. —Deborah Gregg

PROMPT - Irrational Beliefs It Was An Admirable Disguise

Will Ashford

This piece is the natural spin-off of a year-long book project where I found a new and most unlikely kind of theology that I titled The Gospel According to Art. It’s not all that unusual for me to spend days looking for the right words, but with this page it took only a few hours to find them. In keeping with my recent minimalist visual approach, I reduced the visibility of the unused words, thus highlighting the untouched important words. That left me with plenty of room to float the image of God reaching out to man, with the word “art” in the middle.

PROMPT - Chronic Pain Drill

Dorothy Simpson Krause

This image of Dr. John Clarke trepanning, or drilling into a skull to relieve pressure (c. 1650), is printed on a page from a pharmacist’s prescription record book (c. 1800). Pages from the record book, which have copies of individual, handwritten prescriptions pasted onto the surface, will become the backgrounds for a portfolio of prints called PreScribe. Fortunately I am in relatively good health and need neither trepanning nor a prescription to relieve chronic pain.

Where is your studio space? It is inside my home It is at a location outside my home

89% 1%

Both in my home and at another location 10%

How Do You Deal with Rejection as an Artist? For many of these artists, rejection hurts. But the majority recognize that it comes with the territory, and they do their best not to take it personally. Recognizing that it is their art that is being rejected, and not themselves, seems to help many. Others cope by knowing that art is subjective and will not appeal to everybody. A number of artists seek to learn from the experience of rejection and quickly get back to work. And several noted that there are often different reasons behind a rejection and that all the possible “motives” should be considered. I guess I’m pretty philosophical about rejection when it comes to my art. I mean, all things are subjective. One person loves it, another doesn’t. I’m not out to please everyone, just trying to paint what I see and experience. —Tracy Verdugo I understand that it’s not me who is being judged and rejected; it’s only my work. So I can either change my work to better suit a desired audience, or I can find my real audience. Basically I consider rejection to be a great tool in narrowing the search to find my audience. —Will Ashford Being rejected is part of life. It hurts to not have people like you or your work. The reality is there are so many motivations for people’s comments. Sometimes it’s a reflection on you, but more often than not the comments are mirroring their fears and insecurities. When this happens, I pull up my big-girl panties and just keep going. —Jen Cushman Rejection of any kind is never pleasant, but it’s inevitable because everyone is different. However, it’s not only about taste or intellect; many people feel personally threatened by creativity and original thinking. Viewed with an effective mind-set, artistic rejection can be a powerful catalyst for creative and personal development. —Nettie Edwards As far as my art goes, I’m usually okay with rejection. I know that my work isn’t for everyone, and I’m one with that. I don’t like every piece of art that I see, and I don’t expect everyone to like mine. Honestly, I don’t even like every piece of art that I make! —Leighanna Light Rejection sucks. But rejection does not describe who I am or anything about my work. I am committed to and believe in my work. It is important for me not to take rejection personally. People have the right to not be interested. —PD Packard I keep creating and keep growing. Rejection or a lack of interest can be a blow to the ego, but ego isn’t what drives or creates my work. The work comes from a place deeper than my ego. There’s a market out there for any kind of work, and there are people out there who will find it inspiring. —Jason Twiggy Lott I am the toughest on myself, so I have a pretty thick skin. By the time my work leaves my studio, I have questioned every aspect of my honesty, my talent and my intentions, so I just let it go and get back to work. I know my best work is my next work. —Carol Slade As an artist, it is not a pleasant feeling to be rejected. On the other hand, I am aware that art is very subjective—some will like it, while others won’t. I view this process in a positive light since rejection often leads me to a self-searching process. —Nava Waxman

I anticipate rejection. Not everybody is going to connect particularly with the message or the method of delivery. That being said, I sulk (doesn’t everybody?). Then I drown my sorrow in black tea, red wine and better work. —Anca Gray Rejection is part of the deal. I don’t take it personally. —Lynn Whipple I think dealing with rejection goes hand in hand in understanding that my style isn’t for everyone. I don’t see a “no” as rejection as much as I try to understand that at the moment, what I have and what that publisher/gallery wants aren’t the same thing. I’m okay with that. —Rachel Whetzel I know that I work hard to make well-composed, well-constructed and evocative pieces, and I honestly prefer rejection to indifference. At least it is a reaction. —Thomas Ashman

PROMPT - Free Association Study of Brooke

Jason Twiggy Lott

Free association, accident, mishap, synchronicity, divine intervention and any other such related concepts play a huge role in my work. I pick from a large arsenal of scraps, refuse and oddities I collect to create my assemblages. One piece at a time, it comes together in layers. In the end, the piece wound up as a loose sketch of Brooke’s personality and interests without much foreknowledge on my part. Brooke herself saw the finished piece and related all of the tidbits and scraps to her own life. She found the whole thing to be biographical. As usual, the viewer truly brings the magic to any piece.


PD Packard To see PD’s process for creating this piece, go to

I am layered in methodical thought and committed to my belief that I am not the expresser. I am the expression of the absolute law of harmony. The expression calls the experience man, woman, child, humanity. The lines above THE EXPRESSTION represent the law of harmony falling into place. The lines below THE EXPRESSTION represent the natural law of adjustment.

Have you ever had an a ha moment in art? Yes. This happens all the time


Yes. This happens from time to time


No, but I am hoping for one


PROMPT - Long-Term Memory When She Stopped Making Sense

Leighanna Light

This was, by far, one of the most difficult pieces of art I have ever made. I had gone back home to New York and visited my mom, whom I hadn’t seen for quite some time. My mom has Alzheimer’s, and I was stunned at how incredibly fast the disease had progressed. I no longer recognized her. When she spoke, she didn’t make any sense—with the exception of this completely coherent sentence: “I am so glad that you came, honey. It’s been so hard, and now I can finally go.” It was the most gut-wrenching moment of my life. When I returned home, I knew that my piece needed to be about Alzheimer’s and my mother’s journey. This isn’t the prettiest piece of art, and it is not pleasant to look at, but it is honest, real and as close as I have ever come to expressing what was in my heart and mind. ARTISTIC PROCESS: LEIGHANNA LIGHT Creating When She Stopped Making Sense This is the process Leighanna went through to create When She Stopped Making Sense—her response to the prompt, Long-Term Memory. Materials mannequin or bust form sandpaper gesso paintbrushes Venetian plaster palette knife rubber stamps acrylic paints found objects, assorted embellishments, wire, nails, nuts and bolts

STEP 1: I lightly sanded the mannequin with rough sandpaper and applied a coat of white gesso over the entire mannequin. Once the gesso was completely dry, I applied a thick coat of Venetian plaster to the mannequin with a palette knife. While the plaster was still wet, I stamped into it with a rubber stamp. Thick, bold, chunky stamps work best. Since this was such a large piece to cover, I divided it into four sections, covering one section at a time with the plaster, excluding the face.

STEP 2: I allowed the plaster to dry overnight. Once the plaster was completely dry, it was ready to paint. I used four colors of acrylic paint, starting with the lightest color first.

After the mannequin was completely painted to my satisfaction, I spent countless hours auditioning a variety of found objects to attach to the piece. This was, by far, the most time-consuming element of this project! All of the found objects were attached with wire, nails, nuts and bolts.

PROMPT - Below the Surface Surface Nathalie Nayer

This piece is everyday life. It’s where I live, next to a major Belgian steel group that could not survive and eventually sank in the economic crisis. I want us to think about all the metal and factory workers who have lost their jobs because of the ever-growing competition of our materialist society. There are no more rescue plans, but what stays on the surface, I’ll draw it. ARTISTIC PROCESS: NATHALIE NAYER Creating Surface This is the process Nathalie went through to create Surface—her response to the prompt, Below the Surface. Materials art journal ephemera gel medium gesso red acrylic ink paintbrush paper towel ruler charcoal assorted fine-tip pens white gel pen alphabet stamps decorative tape

STEP 1: A variety of ephemera was glued on my journal page with gel medium.

STEP 2: The page was covered with gesso and red acrylic ink using a paintbrush. The excess paint was removed with a paper towel to show some details.

STEP 3: I drew my subject with a fine-tip pen and a ruler.

STEP 4: Some depth was added with black charcoal, gray felt-tip pens and a white gel pen. Finally, I stamped some letters and adhered some decorative tape at random.

Do you sit or stand when creating art? I sit by far the majority of the time


I stand by far the majority of the time


It varies, but I tend to sit more


It varies, but I tend to stand more


Believe it or not, it is 50-50


PROMPT - Long-Term Memory The Chairman Trudi Sissons

This prompt catapulted me back to my first graphite line drawings, a life-altering experience for me as I lost track of time and any recollection of “verbal” inner thoughts. The end result was the awareness of my ability to meditate with relative ease. Two years later, on a one-week kayaking trip to a remote area in the Pacific Ocean, I read Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn. In it he encouraged readers to name their “board of directors” to act as one’s internal advisors, and I named Vincent van Gogh chairman of my board. This piece merges these two memorable events symbolically and serves as a reminder to me how each significantly shaped my creative and meditative practices to this day.

ARTISTIC PROCESS: TRUDI SISSONS Creating The Chairman This is the process Trudi went through to create The Chairman—her response to the prompt, Long-Term Memory. Materials graphite drawing computer photo-imaging software

STEP 1: A graphite drawing was scanned into the computer, and a transparency was created.

STEP 2: Van Gogh images were layered below the drawing digitally. Specific defined shapes within the drawing were chosen and saved.

STEP 3: The left sleeve and tie were digitally reconnected to the original outline of the drawing.

STEP 4: This process of cutting and pasting was repeated with scraps of other van Gogh paintings mirroring the shapes within the drawing.

STEP 5: Various parts of van Gogh images, which have been extracted from their original backgrounds and digitally added and then modified, were layered together.

STEP 6: Areas of the original drawing were then digitally painted and modified (see pants, repositioning of the candle, size and tilt of the figure’s head, adding the hands in the foreground, etc.). STEP 7: Different backgrounds were tested, and I modified the blending of the interplay between the original drawing and the layers added digitally.

Photos by Cynthia Shaffer

PROMPT - Free Association The Beauty of Change Tracy Verdugo

While teaching in Northern California, I came across a beautiful book of butterflies in a thrift store. The butterfly is a powerful symbol for me of transformation, growth and renewal, all of which became the focal theme for this painting. The process of painting this work was loose and intuitive, each move becoming the catalyst for the next. In giving myself permission to paint and selectively cover over many consecutive layers, a dance of sorts ensued, an interaction between myself and the canvas, out of which, ultimately, a visual narrative appeared.

ARTISTIC PROCESS: TRACY VERDUGO Creating The Beauty Of Change This is the process Tracy went through to create The Beauty of Change—her response to the prompt, Free Association. Materials large stretched canvas acrylic paints (including fluids) oil pastels paintbrushes variety of mark-making tools spray bottle of water favorite poem collage elements gel medium heavy-bodied white acrylic acrylic inks

STEP 1: The canvas was divided into a grid (to symbolize our Western notions of structure and linear thought). I contemplated personal symbols and applied them to the grid in the form of image and text using a variety of mark-making techniques in acrylic paint and oil pastels. I then added Golden Fluid acrylics, spraying with water, to allow the symbols below to show through in varying degrees and loosening up the grid immediately.

STEP 2: Using a poem with great personal meaning as inspiration, “The Quiet Stillness and the Waiting� by aboriginal artist/poet Miriam Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann, I added more layers of paint in an intuitive response to each line of the poem read out loud. I began to look for connections between areas focusing on finding cohesion, repeating themes and symbols. I periodically turned the canvas to practice detachment from any preconceived outcome.

STEP 3: Elements of collage provide meaning and add visual interest, and after many layers and some time spent isolating small, pleasing compositions within the larger work, I let go again in the trust that something greater would come out. Using a thick brush and heavy-bodied creamy white paint, I lavishly painted over the canvas, leaving portals of varying sizes and organic shapes that provide peeks through to the layers below.

STEP 4: In the last step, I used inks and paints to once again provide connections and cohesion to the work, deciding now upon the orientation and theme of the painting and allowing the title come to me.

PROMPT - Below the Surface Below the Surface

Marit Barentsen

The silhouette in this piece comes from an original photo that shows me, at age sixteen, sitting on a quiet autumn beach staring over the water. I remember the moment well, as it marks a special point in my life. I realized right then, right there that it was all up to me: to find out who I really was and to figure out what I should do with my life. I was still young, and I knew it was important to learn from, and listen to, others, but that there was only one who could make a choice on the taken directions and live my life to the fullest: me. ARTISTIC PROCESS: MARIT BARENTSEN Using Monoprinting Leftovers for Artist Trading Cards Monoprinting is a bit of a “bulk technique,� and an afternoon of monoprinting will usually leave you with a lot of pages that might not all look good. However, most prints show parts that are beautiful. Materials painted paper scraps cardstock ruler craft knife cutting mat optional: pens, needle and thread, collage elements, etc. optional: ATC information stamp for back

STEP 1: You can make fantastic artist trading cards (ATCs) from your printing “leftovers.” To begin, cut out a frame from cardstock that measures ATC size: 2½” x 3½” (6cm x 9cm). Use the frame as a template to find the most beautiful parts of your monoprints.

STEP 2: When you are content with the basic background for your ATC, cut the piece out and repeat for more cards.

STEP 3: Use the monoprint on the ATC as your lead to sew, doodle, paint, etc., to finish the piece.

STEP 4: Glue your finished ATC onto a piece of cardstock to make it extra firm (and to cover the back of your paper, which might show stitching or paint spots). Pay attention to the back of your ATC! Creating the back can be as much fun as the front. Don’t forget to put at least your name and email on the back of the ATC.

Monoprinting Plate Tips When you make your own gelatin plate for monoprinting, you can keep the plate fresh in the fridge for almost four weeks. It is possible to recycle your homemade gelatin plate by reboiling it after three to four weeks. Melt the plate in the microwave and pour the gelatin onto a cookie sheet and allow it to cool. The gelatin plate gets stronger (more concentrated) over time, but it shrinks a bit as well.

ARTISTIC PROCESS: SUPRIA KARMAKAR Making An Image Transfer Onto Encaustic Supria uses this process frequently in her work, and now you can, too. Materials finished encaustic painting metal spoon (for burnishing) spray bottle of water laser- or toner-based copy (on lightweight paper) propane torch or heat gun clear encaustic medium and encaustic brush

STEP 1: Prepare the area where you would like to place your image transfer by applying some heat to the area with the propane torch or heat gun. The area needs to be warm to the touch (not molten liquid) and recently fused with heat within ten minutes of making the transfer. (Cold surfaces will not take the image transfer.)

STEP 2: Prepare your image transfer copy by tearing away any excess white paper.

STEP 3: Lay it on the area where you would like the image to transfer, making sure that the area is still warm to the touch. While it should be warm, it shouldn’t be too soft. Using a clean spoon, burnish the copy in a circular motion for about three minutes.

STEP 4: Spray the top of the burnished image with water to soak the paper. With the balls of your fingertips (don’t use your fingernails), roll off the soaked paper from the surface. The carbon from the photocopy is left burnished onto your work, but the paper rolls off with the water application.

STEP 5: The carbon that is released onto the work is sitting on the surface at this point and needs to be gently fused to the previous layer of your work. Using a heat gun, heat the image transfer carbon gently with a circular motion so it fuses to the previous layer. Be careful not to apply too much heat or go too close to your work with the heat gun or your carbon image might shift or possibly break apart.

STEP 6: After the image on the work has had a chance to cool down, apply a clear layer of encaustic medium over the carbon image transfer to protect it from getting scratched.

STEP 7: Using a circular motion, apply a second heat application with your heat gun, being careful not to get too close to the image transfer. Use enough heat to set the thin layer of medium and to get rid of your brush marks and smooth out the surface.

Your transfer process is now complete. You could leave it on the surface or bury it into the background by applying more translucent colors over the image.

ARTISTIC PROCESS: SETH APTER Altering Commercial Rub-Ons Rub-ons can add a whole new dimension to your mixed-media artwork, especially when altered and personalized so they are unique to you.

Z – This rub-on was added to the background unaltered. I – Prior to burnishing this rub-on, I scratched off random bits of the material from the backside of the letter. This not only adds a distressed feel, but allows the color from the background to peek through. N – After adding the rub-on to the surface, I abraded the letter with fine-grit sandpaper. This integrates the rub-on into the surface and adds a distressed look. G – After abrading with fine grit sandpaper—thereby removing much of the surface coating—I changed the color of the rub-on using wax pastel crayons. Bracket – I outlined the rub-on with a white gel pen and a black gel marker. This makes the rub-on pop, adds visual interest and allows for personalization. Diagonal line on top – I created my own rub-on by using a strip of correction tape, which I further distressed by gently rubbing with fine-grit sandpaper.

ARTISTIC PROCESS: SETH APTER Creating Layered Backgrounds with Gesso And Glazes This is the process I use on paper, canvas and panels to create a complex background without adding bulk to the surface. Materials substrate of choice acrylic paint paintbrush gesso textured sheets such as embossed wallpaper brayer acrylic glazing liquid paper towel

STEP 1: Cover your substrate, in this case a cradled wood panel, with your choice of color of acrylic paint. Allow to fully dry. You can be sloppy, as there is no need for complete coverage.

STEP 2: In small sections, brush on gesso. You can create texture and dimension by quickly debossing the surface. While the gesso is still wet, cover the surface with a textured material. In this case, I am using a piece of embossed wallpaper. Roll a brayer over the back of the textured material several times, pulling up and moving the textured material often. Repeat this process until the entire surface is covered. Allow the gesso to fully dry.

STEP 3: Create a glaze by mixing acrylic paint with acrylic glazing liquid. Begin with a 1:1 mix, but add more or less glazing liquid depending on the level of opacity of the acrylic paint. Brush on the surface in sections, wiping or dabbing with a paper towel as you go. Continue until the entire surface is covered, but be sure to leave some of the previous layer showing in places.

STEP 4: Repeat step 3, using different color glazes and allowing each layer to fully dry before proceeding to the next layer. Continue until you are pleased with the background.


Gallery Exhibition As you have read through the pages of this book, a very special group of artists has been revealed on a truly intimate level. You have leaned about their creative processes from the inside out. They have shared their inner workings as artists and creative individuals, including their dreams, disappointments and goals. They put their hearts and souls on display through the creation of art that truly represents their inner beings. And they have generously shared techniques and tips that they use in their very own art practice. In a manner of speaking, they have thrown open their studio doors and been your personal guides on an artistic adventure both exciting and humbling. While these artists share many common traits, they are clearly unique individuals as well. This fact, along with the results of the larger artist survey presented on these pages, suggests that it is this uniqueness that fuels the endless styles of art that have been created throughout time. Art is no doubt a direct reflection of the artist. This third and final section introduces fourteen gallery artists who reflect the unique and very personal style that is seen in all artists who collectively work in mixed media. Each artist created a new work of art in response to one of the following prompts: Lost and Found, Believe It or Not, Imaginary Worlds or Out of the Blue. Their explanation of each piece creates a stronger connection between the art, the artist and the viewer. In addition, the gallery artists have generously shared a series of tips that they have developed and that you can integrate into your own practice in your own unique way. Time to turn the page. The studio is open.

Can the title of an artwork change the way you feel about it? Yes




Do you have trouble identifying your artistic style? Yes, I find this very difficult to do


Yes. Although I know it intuitively, I have a hard time describing it 33% No, even though my artistic style changes all the time


No. I have a very clear understanding of my artistic style


Do you display/hang your own work in your home? Yes, all over the place


Yes, but only until it is sold


Yes, but only “special� pieces


Not at all


John Nelson Arbuckle

PROMPT - Imaginary Worlds Old and New Friends Meet

What if the artists Donatello, Caravaggio, Michelangelo and da Vinci could travel through time to the 1980s? Whom would they have wanted to meet? It might be Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Keith Haring and Andy Warhol. My collage honors all eight artists whom I find highly inspiring and who might just have had more in common with each other than you might think. A little research proved that. Can you find the major clue in this piece to let you in on a little secret?

John’s Tips Tip 1: Make your own decorated tissue paper out of photographs that you take of urban graffiti. Take the photos, download them to your computer in Adobe Photoshop and print the images onto tissue paper that can then be adhered to your collage piece. [Image 1] Tip 2: Citra Solv backgrounds are fun to make. Find an old National Geographic magazine, soak a sponge brush in Citra Solv, paint the magazine’s color photos and wait fifteen minutes before you tear out the pages to complete the drying process. [Image 2]

Image 1

Image 2

Have you ever felt that your original work was copied? That has never happened to me


Very rarely, but this has happened at least once


At least several times, but I have mostly been given credit for my original design At least several times, but rarely has credit been given I find this happening quite often, and it is a major problem for me

6% 10% 2%

Ro Bruhn

PROMPT - Out of the Blue China Blue

This necklace was created from my love of textiles and jewelry. I never start a piece of jewelry knowing how it will end up when it’s completed. My pieces just evolve from my vast array of gathered treasures that surround me as I work. The combination of fabric and found objects appeals to my “make something out of nothing” ideology. Most of the items used in the making of this piece were from thrift shops. I like to dispel the notion that you have to use expensive materials to create something of value.

Felicity Griffin Clark

PROMPT - Out of the Blue Siliqua : Lucti

Siliqua means “husk” or “pod” in Latin; lucti means “sorrows.” Siliqua : Lucti is a memorial for the eight babies I miscarried between July 23, 1992, and September 9, 2003. Eight babies who were too small to have any significance for the world—I am the only person who remembers and grieves for these little lives unknown to history. Unable to be held, wrapped and shrouded, and buried: given the dignity of naming and ritual. Each miscarriage, each little death, came out of the blue: No one expects to lose so many potential lives. It was strangely comforting to find out that indigo has been used in funeral rituals going back to the ancient Egyptians. It connects and weaves my little lost souls into history.

How do deadlines affect your artwork? I do my very best work when under a deadline


Deadlines have little impact on my work, but they motivate me 46% Deadlines have little impact on my work, but I dislike them


Deadlines almost always negatively affect my work


Mixed-Media Quick Tips FROM FIVE SUCCESSFUL ARTISTS The most important thing is to follow your instinct: I start with a sketch of my idea but let the piece evolve. Listen to your work, as it usually has a good idea of what it wants to be, and if you try to force it, it does not work. For projects that are all done by hand, I prefer to use natural materials. I also like to use old fabrics— salvaged from clothes or household linens. Wool, hemp, silk, linen and cotton (especially if they have been worn or used) all respond to my touch in a way that synthetics don’t. I do use synthetic materials in machine-made pieces. — Felicity Griffin Clark I use sandpaper and sanding blocks from home improvement stores. I am asked frequently how I achieve so many layers in my journals. I layer paper, paint and matte medium, and then I use sandpaper to sand, sand, sand. The layers come through in interesting ways. Metal tape. My latest find is metal tape from home improvement stores, usually found in the plumbing/heating section. It is very inexpensive and it looks amazing when you paint over it and then sand it. It has an adhesive back and works really well. I have found silver and also copper. — Brian Kasstle Always carry a camera; use it as a sketch tool. You never know what will catch your eye. Learn Adobe Photoshop to explore the possibilities of the photos you’ve taken. Don’t be afraid to use different types of paint beyond what’s available in the art store. I’m currently using Japanese colors that are commercial paints more commonly used by sign painters. Practice drawing—from life, from photos. — Robert Schmid If I want to prevent spray inks from reacting to further layers, I spray my work with Workable Fixatif. It keeps the ink in place and allows me to paint over it without smudging or altering it. Note that once you spray with Fixatif, you can add more paint, but you cannot add more ink, as it will bead up on the layer of Fixatif. I do most of my drawings with the Stabilo All pencil. The pencil, which is made to draw on slick surfaces like plastic and glass, gives a nice dark line on top of paint and gesso. If I don’t like my drawing, I can wipe it off with a baby wipe. —Dina Wakley Fifteen-second rule: If it takes longer than fifteen seconds to decide whether a fabric color works or the placement of a piece fits, it doesn’t belong. My subconscious visual sense is faster than my real-time visual sense. When creating, I have learned to trust the instinctive perception of my mind’s eye. —Eileen Williams

Brian Kasstle

PROMPT - Imaginary Worlds Moochie

Growing up on a farm in Montana, my world consisted of plants, animals and nature. I also developed a wild fantasy life filled with many imaginary worlds. Through my art, I strive to unite all my worlds within myself today. With my many layers and images, I strive to draw the viewer into my worlds.

Stephanie Lee

PROMPT - Imaginary Worlds Choose a Seat

Somewhere along the way of the unavoidable journey from child to adult, I bought into the notion that my imagination was to be shelved along with my stuffed animals. The minutia of everyday life quieted the creative impulses. Not too many years ago, I was whacked upside the head with the question, “How, if at all, is the imagination useful to adults?� I redefined what I thought imagination to be, and its true power came flooding into my awareness. Imagination is the birthplace of creative force. It is absolutely for grownups, too, as we have the ability to act on what our mind can draw up. This is our imagination at work, and as we walk, awake, through the classroom of life, we can choose to sit anywhere we want and to change seats at any time.

Stephanie’s Tip My go-to tool is what is known in the carpentry industry as a taping knife. The 12� (30cm) wide, straight blade is stiff enough for me to put heavy pressure on plaster that is beginning to set up on a wood panel. This heavy pressure with a wide blade allows me to create a honed finish, free from tool edge marks that cannot be achieved with sanding or a smaller trowel.

Which one of the following platforms is your absolute favorite? Blogs


















Do you have a hard time balancing art with family and other commitments? Yes, it is a constant source of stress for me


Yes, but I accept this as it comes with the territory


This is sometimes an issue for me


Art takes precedence, so this is rarely a problem


Other commitments take precedence, so this is rarely a problem


Just about never. I have the equation all worked out


Nancy Lefko

PROMPT - Out of the Blue In a Heartbeat

The creation of this piece coincided with readying two of my three sons to leave for college. The speed at which time has passed, and the realization that I am not far from life as an empty nester, has hit me like a bolt out of the blue. Is a mother ever fully prepared and ready to accept her child’s flight from the nest? I don’t think so.

Nancy’s Tips Tip 1: Dressmaker’s tissue works well in adding texture to a mixed-media piece simply by allowing the tissue to wrinkle as it is applied to the substrate with a gel medium. When dry, the wrinkles can be highlighted by using a fluid chalk ink pad (Cat’s Eye) on the raised surfaces. [Image 1] Tip 2: Using modeling paste through a stencil adds texture and design; when dry, the raised pattern can also be accented with fluid chalk ink. [Image 2]

Image 1

Image 2

Have you ever purposely withheld info from another artist to keep your process private? Absolutely not. I am happy to share


I have done this on occasion


I will only do this with certain, specific people


I almost never share my process This has never come up for me yet

1% 18%

Laura Lein-Svencner

PROMPT - Out of the Blue Out of the Blue by 2:30

I quickly snagged onto the phrase “Out of the Blue� because being stuck in a negative mood is something I work at staying out of. But there are those times when you feel so very alone and get sucked into a bit of spiral motion. A friend, whom I consider to be an elder with wise words of wisdom, told me not to hang onto the bad mood longer than twenty minutes. She said feel it, get a good cry or whine about it and then let it go. So with

the prompt “Out of the Blue,” the next few words that came with inspiration were “by 2:30.” I feel that in this piece I captured a bit of moodiness and also some play on the words.

Laura’s Tip Using magazines, scissors and glue stick, I like to give myself assignments in my collage sketchbook. I start with ten pages torn out of a magazine and make five small collages in thirty minutes. I find that each time I do this, new compositional arrangements make themselves present, which I then use as sketches for larger works. These two images are the collage sketches I used for the piece Out of the Blue by 2:30.

What is your preference when it comes to art workshops? I greatly prefer live and in-person workshops I greatly prefer online workshops

38% 9%

I love both online and in-person workshops


I have little to no interest in workshops at all


Karin Einav Perez

PROMPT - Imaginary Worlds Black Forest

This work relates to a friend’s death that recently took place. The pain and anguish just took their words, shapes and colors on the canvas. Tragedy and life mixed together. Life must go on. Pain mixes with happiness, breath dances with fear. Black contradicts red. Mixed emotions and pain are combined in this imaginary black forest.

Kelly Puissegur

PROMPT - Out of the Blue Last Weekend in Georgia

I like things that are a little strange and dark and funny at the same time. I’ve had a photograph of people chicken fighting taped in my sketchbook for some time now. Chicken fighting is such an odd activity, and I knew I wanted to use it in my art. I prefer drawing animals, so I replaced two of the people with rabbits. Then I made a little set of drawings to accompany the rabbits that creates a kind of chaotic yet silly environment.

Patti Roberts-Pizzuto

PROMPT - Lost and Found Notes From The Ancestors no. 9

I am fascinated by the accumulation of history, not only our own personal history, but that of our ancestors going back to the beginning of time. This piece is a kind of meditative conversation with history—with the ancestors. I can imagine a tattered remnant, found buried, that provides a glimpse into our own past, a century or a thousand centuries ago. We try to make sense of their marks through our own twenty-first century eyes, interpreting their attempts to convey a particular moment in time. It begins with a mark, a drawn line that continues on and on—one that binds us together, one generation after another.

Patti’s Tips Tip 1: I often dip my drawings on Japanese paper in beeswax, which enriches and transforms the paper and the marks. I use an old electric wok to melt the wax slowly and at a fairly low temperature, making sure to have the window open for ventilation. [Image 1] Tip 2: One of the ways that I layer my drawings is through hand-sewing, which may include beads, adding other drawing fragments or just decorative stitching. The slow, meditative act of sewing on paper is another way for me to draw. [Image 2]

Image 1

Image 2

Do you have a studio pet? Yes, more than one in fact


Yes, one


No, unless you count my spouse 43%

Robert Schmid

PROMPT - Imaginary World Uncertain Principle

By the time I was six or seven, I had been drawing for some time. My chosen artworks were abstract, organic shapes, which I carefully colored in black, brown, navy and purple crayon. My teacher organized a meeting with the school principal and my mother to find out if I was depressed or had some other problems. I started using yellow, red and orange when I was at school, which seemed to appease them. It did the trick. I had developed a

unique visual vocabulary that was totally nonverbal and difficult for others to understand. I was in my own world.

Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch

PROMPT - Believe It or Not Loosely Rendered: Solidly Set

The ancient art of encaustic lends itself to hidden; hidden elements in the layers; hidden techniques in the process of creating this dynamic medium; hidden fascinations in the artist coming to it as his or her creative fruit. The mystery of the layers, the intrigue of the medium, the delight of the unexpected lend one to take a pause, step closer, glance about and if brave, reach out and give it just one delicious touch. Encaustic never stops delighting, surprising, reinventing and rejuvenating the artist, art lover and innocent bystander. It is why

I do what I do. It is the passion that distills my passion and a wonder that distills more wonder. Believe it or not.

Dina Wakley

PROMPT - Lost and Found I Found Me

I’ve lost many things over the years. Little things, like my favorite tweezers, a book I want to read, my favorite lip gloss. When I can’t find something, it drives me crazy. I can’t work and I can’t concentrate. I search until I find it. And if I can’t find it, it bugs me. Through the years, I’ve lost bigger things, too: relationships, friendships. I find that those big things I just let go. When they’re lost, I mourn. Then I move on. I don’t like to focus on the loss of the big things. Instead, I like to focus on what I’ve found. The best thing that I’ve found through all of those lost things is me. I found myself in art, in pain, in quiet moments, in poetry, in clouds, in peace. I found me.

Eileen Williams

PROMPT - Believe It or Not Shipwreck

The way I create leads me to choose Believe It or Not as my prompt. I always seem to work backward on two visual levels when creating pieces. What my mind’s eye sees at the moment in front of me is one level. The second level is my subconscious seeing where I need to put a piece before I know why and how it will fit. When I have completed a piece, I ask the questions, “What should your title be? What do you want me to see and feel when looking at you?” In this piece, the title Shipwreck evolved. “Believe it or not,” this is what I see and how I created this piece.

Dedication This book is dedicated to all those artists and art lovers who have shared my adventures in art, whether on these pages, online or in person. I truly believe that I would not be the artist I am today without the connections I have made within this larger community. Without them, this book would not exist. I also dedicate this book to my mother. She was the strongest and wisest person I have ever met, and she continues to have a tremendous influence on me today. Thank you, Mom, for making me the person I have become.

Acknowledgments So many people have played a role in my creative development, and I am thankful for and grateful to them all. I would like to send thanks to my family, who truly accept me for exactly who I am. I thank the team at F+W, who have been great supporters of my artistic career. I would like to single out two individuals, both of whom have had and continue to have a powerful impact on my creative life. Firstly, I owe a ceaseless debt of gratitude to Patricia Larsen. She not only brought art into my life, she was the single absolute reason I became an artist. And it was she who taught me that being an artist is about so much more than just making art. Secondly, I want to thank my editor, Tonia Jenny. She is one of the most sincere and genuine people I know. Creating a book is not an easy process, but Tonia has been there 100 percent through all the ups and the downs. I am happy to call her my editor but even happier to call her my friend.

Seth Apter Revealed

Seth Apter is a mixed-media artist, author and instructor. His artwork has been showcased in numerous exhibitions and can be found in multiple books, national magazines and independent zines. Seth is the voice behind The Altered Page, an online visual journal, and has been the host and organizer of a number of international collaborative art projects as well. His first book, The Pulse of Mixed Media, was released by North Light Books in March 2012, and he is also the artist behind two workshop DVDs released in June 2012 by North Light Media: Easy Mixed Media Surface Techniques and Easy Mixed Media Techniques for the Art Journal. Seth also has a PhD in psychology and provides therapy services to a wide range of clients. He splits his time

between creating art in his studio and seeing clients in his private-practice office—life experiences that join together to form the foundation of his daily life. Seth lives in New York City and finds inspiration every time he walks out of his door into the streets of the city. Visit Seth online at

Copyright ePUB The Mixed Media Artist. Copyright Š 2013 by Seth Apter. All rights reserved. No part of this eBook may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review. Published by North Light Books, an imprint of F+W Media, Inc., 10151 Carver Road, Suite 200, Blue Ash, OH 45242. (800) 289-0963. First Edition. Other fine North Light products are available from your local bookstore, art supply store or online supplier. Visit our website at eISBN: 9781440329395 This e-book edition: November 2013 (v.1.0)