Truth.... isn't it strange?

" Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities . Truth isn't "

Mark Twain

Saturday, April 30, 2011


 These are the paintings I did last yr from 2 early 1900's black and white photos.

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Mike Ianuzzo from Imagine it framed got all my prints framed or wrapped for the art walk. He did a really nice job on the framed print as always. He is retiring soon and the shop is for sale. I'm hoping someone as talented as he is steps into the space.

all mirrors

here are all the mirrors together . I did the Art Walk last night. Had over 100 visitors in 3 hours and served up the torte all evening . My friend Andi played the keyboard and it was a beautiful evening all around. Gorgeous day today.

Friday, April 29, 2011

One more mirror

Just finished this one and am getting ready for the Art Walk tonight. pulling out anything I have here that is painted . Made 3 tortes to serve and just hoping we don't have rain tonight. But... If we do, we have umbrellas!! The first photo I was half way there. It ended up looking like a carousel mirror or carnival mirror minus the distorted reflection.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Orange blossom torte recipe

After separating 9 eggs, beat the yolks in a small bowl till thick and lemony . Then add 1 Tablespoon lemon juice . set aside

Whip whites til soft peaks form, Gradually add 1 cup sugar and continue beating till stiff peaks form. Always be sure to use completely clean beater. Cannot have any yolk on the beaters when doing the whites or they will not set up ..... same goes for separating the eggs. if even a drop of yolk goes into the whites, start over. I always use a separate little bowl to separate one egg at a time in case of an accidental breaking of a yolk in the process.

gradually fold the yolks into the whites and , gently using a spatula from the outside of bowl .... fold in. 

now fold in 1 1/2 cups flour gradually. then gently fold in 1/2 cup melted butter along with 2 ounces of melted white baking chocolate. I melt these together in the same bowl in the microwave 30 seconds.... stir and continue another 20 seconds .... then let stand , cool a bit before adding to flour and egg mixture. 
 Then turn the batter into two 9 Inch round cake pans that have been lightly greased with butter and sprinkled with flour. Bake at 325 for 30 minutes or till test as done. Remove, cool on racks for a 10 minutes . Cut around sides of pan and turn cakes out onto cooling racks . Then I chill in fridge . After they have chilled a few hours or overnight. Slice each layer in half making 4 layers. Spread each with a thin layer of orange marmalade , then a thick layer of filling. Including the top layer. Frost with whipped cream made from whipping till firm:  1 1/2 cups of heavy whipping cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla and a few tablespoons of sugar to taste. Not too much sugar. Shouldn't be too sweet. The filling takes care of the sweet tooth.

Cake : 9 eggs
           1 cup sugar
            1 Tablespoon lemon juice
            1 1/2 cup flour
            2 ounces white chocolate
            1/2 cup butter
             orange marmelade
             orange slices for garnish

Filling: 1-8ounce pkg of cream cheese, \
             2 sticks of butter creamed
             1/2 cup sour cream
             1 cup powdered sugar
             2 teaspoons grated orange rind
             1 teaspoon orange or lemon extract

Frosting: 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
              a few tablespoons sugar to taste
              1 teaspoon vanilla

My favorite cake to make for lots of company. serves at least 20 people since you can slice this torte in thin pieces . Slices easily and looks as good as it tastes.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

bathroom remodel

I primed the wood in the bathroom this morning before getting to work on mirrors in my studio. We are re- doing the hall bath in a very old funky house. Had to use Zinsser " Cover Stain " for the priming. It's an oil based stain blocking primer much like the original KILZ. So ..... I have a teeny weeny little bath that is the main house bathroom . We are putting a new tub ,toilet and vanity in ( all are space saving units ) We are spending a total of 3,500 max on everything including the plumber. I'll be mudding soon and tiling. Awesome tile and we got a really cool little sink for in the corner from IKEA .

I'm off to paint mirrors now.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


 This mirror is one of 2 very heavy old mirrors that were originally gilded and gaudy . I'm working on the 2nd one today.

30 X 24 inches . The matching mirror won't be a match when I get done with it.
I'm finishing up a couple more mirrors today. Did the finish coat on this large mirror the other day. I like to pick up old mirrors and give them a little more than just a place to hang. The right little punch of color for a room that is kind of stodgy. Every entryway or little powder room needs some bright reflection

Monday, April 25, 2011

Doro Wut and Injera

Here is the final product. I actually had some Teff Flour for the Injera this yr. . I bought it at the little organic food stand on the corner . Their are people farming Teff right here in Oregon now. The other dish you see is the Doro Wut, which means Chicken ( Doro ) and red sauce ( Wut ) . It's the national dish, served with hard boiled eggs that have been serrated to absorb the sauce for flavor. You use the injera bread to eat with. No silver ware. I've always felt so cloddish around my graceful ethiopian friends and relatives. they seem to have graciousness, poise and the gift of hospitality in their blood.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Ethiopian Easter Dinner

So , it's sprinkling today in Oklahoma where my oldest daughter lives. So I'm not coaching her on painting. Instead I'm preparing for an Ethiopian feast tomorrow. Made the buttermilk cheese last night ,the spiced clarified butter and jalepeno salsa. Tonight I'll be cleaning chicken and getting some of the " Wut" ready. Wut is any dish that is made with the hot chili powder like mix of spices and well cooked onions, I need to leave time tomorrow to make the injera and the national chicken and boiled egg dish, along with the kaya-wut ( beef in red sauce ) . The injera is the crepe like bread you use to eat with . AWESOME flavor  in everything. Oh yeah.... spinach with sauteed potatoes , onions and one jalepeno for flavor. I don't cut the pepper open so you get the flavor but it isn't TOO hot. I'll take photos and post them monday . This is always a 3 day prep for a meal like this and I love sharing the experience. I would invite everyone if I thought I had enough help to do it right .

We've been doing ethiopian for 30 plus yrs in our family since my children's father is from Ethiopia and I had some wonderful relatives and one friend/sister from Ethiopia coach and teach me so much about the culture and the food. Beautiful, gracious women. I named my second daughter after the friend . Sometimes I get the feeling she has my friends blood in her.... it's as though, along with the name she inherited some of her grace , beauty and tough spirit.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Caulking tips

You have to have a wet rag when caulking. Always keep your finger wet when smoothing out the caulking. Caulking does not need priming before painting . I personally try to get a 35 yr warranty caulk and go for the less expensive but I also pay attention to the buying the ones that sell the most. Caulking does get old if it's been sitting around a long time.

When I only have to do a little bit and don't use up a whole tube.... put tinfoil around nozzle and then wrap with seran wrap also and rubber bands to keep it air tight. It should be re- usable after months.

I also prefer using white for the simple reason that I can see where it is going on . I don't like the clear caulking.

I'll tell you a bit about silicone vs latex caulk next. HUGE diff!

Caulk-it's a miracle!

I love caulking!!! Ok , after the priming inside or out.... now comes the part that is going to make your house look as though the"best of the best" built it. Caulking seals up all the gaps, getting rid of visual black lines and holes around trim and between siding. Not only does it improve the look but it keeps the bugs and water from seeping through and causing all kinds of trouble.

I'm tellin' ya , if you haven't been caulking on your past paint projects .... that is one big reason it didn't look professional. And if you hired someone and they didn't do any caulking .... don't hire them again.

Get used to using a good"drippless" caulk gun ( not those little squeeze tubes) . And always use paintable caulk. Make sure it says paintable

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

more painting

So , my daughter called and is painting the outside of her house , since she got the bids in from the pros. They came in from 1600- 5500. Big difference huh? I say , " you get what you pay for " but that isn't always the case. Anyway.... She is attempting to do the prep herself and see how far she gets. I may fly down and do some work with her if I get the time.
Here are my basic tips to get her started

1. wire brush and or scrape all the flaking paint. There are primers now that are made for peeling paint that is not scraping off.... one is called " peel stop" by Zinsser. expensive but definitely worth it. It bonds the paint that is left with the raw wood . Great sealer and primer.   for the places that scraped down to the raw wood , I told her to use "Cover Stain" by Zinsser . it is oil based and I use a cheap throw a way brush or roller for this. Brush is called a Chip Brush. 1 or 2 dollars and they are everywhere. Look like a flat pine handle with tan natural bristles . Refinishers use them for staining . The shed some so I beat it a bit before the first use. pick out the loose bristles.
Always wrap in foil and freeze between uses if you have to stop for a day or two or even a few weeks. Same with the roller. This primer is great for blocking any wood tannins or water stains from bleeding through the finished paint.

2. You can use oil or water based paint over any primer regardless if it is oil based or water based. So for a better seal on raw wood I make it a habit to use oil primers. " Cover Stain" dries within 45 minutes . Humid conditions , maybe 2 or 3 times as long. So don't be afraid of the oil thing! 

3. Do your caulking after the priming. You'll see more of the work you need to do after you prime and the caulk doesn't need priming.

Tell me what you want to know about painting. Problems you've come across.

Monday, April 18, 2011

All Species Parade

Finally some sunshine today and the rhododendrons are starting to bloom. Something really fun coming up here is the All Species Parade on the 23rd of April at 2 PM , Downtown Cottage Grove. Some really cool animal creations will be strolling in the street.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Baby finger paints that are edibled

Edible finger paints made by Wee can too, for those little baby artists. Also edible crayons and chalk. I love the crayons since they are made so a baby can grab them. Little cakes of crayon made from non dairy or wheat products , all food grade and using vegetables for the coloring. They don't stain like other children's paints. The best part is they are made right here in the area. They are getting their products into all kinds of national catalogs and stores. check out their website. Of course I'm selling them in the gallery. I love having art basics for the little ones to begin creating while still in diapers!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

painted saw

Well this may not be environmentally PC, but I did it anyway. A portrait of my husband from his logger days , cutting down a huge tree. He was a logger back in his "early days". He has held onto this cross cut saw for decades. he had it in his shed when we married . He thought it would be soooo cool if I would paint one of those " saw scenes" on it.  You know ..... the picture of the mountains, river and an elk or two.
I'm thinkin' " NO WAY " . but it came to me.... vertical painting for a surprise christmas present.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Piggy bank

This little piggy went home! Another one gone. I found these 3 inch piggy banks at a walgreens 7 yrs ago. They were pink and blue bisque porcelain . I bought 2 of them and after painting them, I went back and bought all they had.... 150 or so . Then I carted them around with me in my move to Oregon . No time to paint piggy banks. When I opened my gallery , I finally sat down and painted all of them ! Every one a different design. Only six left. What an excercise in creativity that was!

Friday, April 8, 2011

floor cloth banner

Now that warm weather is coming the Art in the Vineyard show is coming up. I think maybe fellow artist Karina Cross - The Glass Muse may have a booth there. She does fused glass . You can find her on the web, google " glass muse , oregon" Great work. her sushi plates are my favorite.
I did her banner for her booth with the same technique I would usually do for a floor cloth. Very durable , weather resistant besides getting the look that she deserves. Not vinyl or pre printed but customized to complement the work.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Tromp le oeil

Tromp le oeil !!!???? OK , now what ?! I guess I should have labeled the last pics" tromp le oeil" which means " fool the eye " in french. And even though I have been using this phrase in my work for 25 years , I still misspell it most of the time. At any rate.... this is a favorite of mine in painting . I like to add something that makes people do a " double take" or bend over to pick up some keys that have been dropped . The faux windows would be considered Tromp le oeil in most cases. If it is going to be done , it ought to be done with great detail. I'm not a fan of whimsical fakery that looks more like a painted stage back ground.

These towels and the towel rod were painted in this business office bathroom. Paper towels were used but I felt towels seemed like the obvious addition to this wall . These were the company owners favorite colors. Red and yellow.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

faux finish , what does that mean?!!!!

Faux- pro-nounced "Foe". What does it mean? Simply put, " FAKE" a fake finish. Faux is french for fake. As in "faux wood grain" or "faux marble". Faux finish could be anything ..... leather look, suede walls, marble columns, woodgraining, crackle finish ( to appear to be old ) You name it , it can be done!

faux window in a laundry room that is on a garage wall
For me, beautiful colors and surroundings are a necessity , not a luxury.  I've always appreciated the finer things in life but was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth, so faux everything for me!! Faux finish , faux window, I'll take a badly constructed house and make it look like it's fine! Paint a window if the wall is on the other side of a garage. Fortunately, having grown up around building (my father was an architect and developer ) and LOTS of exposure to art , I was trained in seeing the possibilities of fine craftsmanship combined with big ideas . What comes from working out a customers ideas is what satisfies my creative drive. I enjoy even more.... showing others how to create from their ideas.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

more roller rock pics

Since spring is here and I want to get outside more... I'm seeing what needs to be done to clean things up a bit. I still need to finish a teeny bit of painting on the outside of the house that didn't get finished last year. But....  I also wanted to share what DID get done ! Actually 2 yrs ago and still holding up beautifully. My roller rock front steps. The concrete was old and ugly but in relatively good shape . I just wanted to give the front of the house a new look. Took a couple of days total. Really easy to use product.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Roller Rock patio

Before roller rock finish

no paint, all tinted Roller Rock 

This is a patio I did last year. It was 800 sq ft or previously painted concrete. Ugly and gray. Now it looks like a giant carpet of leaves. This Roller Rock product is non skid due to the gritty surface , unlike paint, and is specifically designed for resurfacing concrete. Awesome stuff.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Classes for you

I'm offering classes customized for you. I have so many techniques in my hat  that I've decided it is best for you to decide what you want to learn and when. So here's how it works:

painted plant stand

step 2 of faux stone using roller rock

decorative painting
faux finish

Finished faux stone, roller rock
  • you choose the class: Furniture painting professional paint techniques, venetian plaster, basic faux finishes, marble and granite faux, concrete finishes for countertops , resurface concrete floors with "Roller Rock " or " Skimstone" , decorative painting.  There are more ideas than I can list.... so feel free to request a class that you don't see here
  • Sign up your friends:  Or have a private class. Divide the hourly fee among 2 or 10. 
  • Reserve a location:  Heated room, seating, one or more banquet size tables, running water ( hot and cold ) . 
  • Set the time and schedule the date .
The fee for instruction is 55.00 per hour. Many classes are 2 hours , not more than 3 hours. Some classes can be formed into a series running several consecutive weeks. Example would be furniture painting and faux finishes. But both of these can also be tailored to a one time class . Mix and match