New Work: Marilyn in Solar Eclipse

So this is how I lifted myself out of the doldrums over the weekend.  I just put myself into Marilyn’s dress and went to outer space.  If you look closely, you will see the car that jumped over the moon!


What works for you. . .


So today I begin work on a new painting.  There is a clean canvas on the kitchen easel. ..the rubbermaid palette is freshly scrubbed and ready to receive the splats, blobs and sloppiness again. . .the scrapes and dabs and dry spots.

(Gotta love those plastic palettes with a lid and an undersponge. I am a slow study and need to conserve wet paint on an extremely limited part-time instructor budget).

So now what is needed is some water, paint rags and creamed sweet coffee, followed by a plethora of pre-painting google searches: Impressionist technique, abstract art. ..but also pastels and paintings. .. most likely including: Cassatt, Monet, Manet, Van Gogh, Picasso, Brancusi, Renoir, and Billy the sidewalk chalk boy.


I also need to fix myself up with some tunage. ..something that will help move the brush across the blank page. ..keep the blood going. . encourage some lame attempts at humming, jumping, and sing-a-long stuff.

Public domain photo of The Pogues by The Wiki Ghost

I like early Dylan for this. . .assorted blues music including John Lee Hooker and Billie Holliday. . .maybe some Corinne Bailey Rae, who always keeps it upbeat and playful. . . Judy Collins. . .Pogues. . .Fleet Foxes. . .Badly Drawn Boy. . .Iron and Wine. . .

Here’s a favorite Waterboys:

I wish I was a fisherman. . .

from “The Electric Significance of Singing the Blues”

Mary Cassatt (taped to my drafting table)

From Collage to Canvas

One of the ways I like to jumpstart the creative process is to sit in front of music with a lapful of  assorted magazines and a pair of lightweight padded scissors.  Images can come from most anywhere, not just magazines though, and as type this, I also feel a twinge of pity for the person who inherits my hacked-up coffee table art and photo books.

I also like to shop yard sales, thrift stores and book sales for fodder.

Most forms of media fall into the category of fair game when I am searching for just the right image or language to finish a collage narrative however.

As a result, I have amassed quite a collection of cut-outs methodically and obsessively stored  and organized in notebooks, file folders, and sealed plastic containers.

The activity keeps my hands busy, but it also keeps me in a constant state of daydreaming, imagining and exploring all the surfaces and textures suggested by the photos.

It’s a cheap thrill, I guess. . .but somebody’s gotta do it.

Sometimes stories come as I place images next to each other based on shapes and colors

and sometimes I begin with a story in my head or a loose idea.

Mostly I just like to play though, and proceed with no particular place to go.

Here is the story of a pastel painting, one that began with a tiny artist trading card I made at a friend’s house.

First the baseball-card sized collage, enlarged for the blog:

You may already recognize the woman in this collage as having been mistaken for a famous gunslinger’s girlfriend/wife.  If you guess her name, leave it in the comment box.  🙂

Tomorrow I will show you where I took it from here.  From collage to pastel painting.  🙂


Oh, hayall  no.  Just look these golfball- sized hailstones!  Some were as big as baseballs though.  And the sound of them falling all around sent Lily, my cat, scampering to the basement!  As per my usual, I just grabbed my camera and started snapping pics.  (I am the moron behind the door trying to keep my camera from getting zinged!)

So anyway, this scene kind of reminds me of this photo from a work in progress.  It began as a collage, which I translated into a pastel painting.  It was zen-like to draw all the little fish in this painting.

Here is a link to the collage:

I will save the finished painting to show you later.  My trip to the museum was most delightful.  I lingered near the Impressionists, trying to follow the strokes of Renoir and Modigliani. . .such seamlessness and so much delicate texture in the former and spirituality in the latter. ..

and also spent some time studying this Gerhard Richter painting:  The texture of her fleecy jacket is almost palpable. . .and it takes all your concentration not to try and touch this piece!

Afterwards, I strolled around Forest Park, just taking in the lovely overcast day.  At one point while I was walking along the gravel path, I found a message scratched in the stones, “For a good time call (insert your phone number here).”

Made me wonder if somebody had peed there first!  🙂

Today I’m going to work on my iris painting.  See you soon.

The Beginning

So here I am starting a blog about my creative process and how it figures into surviving in “the end of days, Dear.”

These past few years I’ve been mostly working with mixed media, pastel, painting and collage, beginning with botanical abstracts mostly and then branching out into other areas.  Oddly enough my MFA is in poetry.  Graduated from Washington University with that in 2000.

So flowers.  I paint those mostly or I find ways to incorporate them into other themes and pieces.  Someone once told me that my work was all about escaping to some kind of heaven.  So if I had to categorize them, I guess I would have to say, “these pieces are about heaven.”×14-abstract-mixed

For example, this piece, called, “A Room with a View,” where I  have assembled a montage of feathers, glitter paper, gold paint and a movie still depicting Clark Gable and Jean Harlow floating in the ether  "Bathing Beauties"

Above you can see another work called “Bathing Beauties,” which is a mixed media piece incorporating vintage photos, pastel, lace, tissue and gel medium.

I am still trying to figure out how to incorporate links into this text, but for now if you want to find more of my stuff, you can go to and look up tessilustudio.  Thanks for checking this out!

But before you go, have a look at my newest painting, just listed on×14-abstract-mixed