My Breast Cancer SoulCollage® Deck

Ten years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I spent most of 2007 in treatment of one kind or another; and I spent it crying and broken apart. I spent years trying to understand my experience, to explain it to my friends. And in the end, words were just not adequate.

Cancer is complicated. What it did to me, my identity and my life is complicated. I had lots of choices to make (surgery, chemotherapy, hormone treatment, hysterectomy) and yet none of my options were great. All of my options had major downsides to them. It sucked, but that’s cancer for you.

In 2002 I discovered SoulCollage®. The process has served me well over the years, allowing me to explore my world through imagery. SoulCollage® is what opened me up to mixed media art, a current passion of mine. I had done some SoulCollage® after breast cancer treatment, but it was in 2012 that I decided to create cards about my breast cancer journey.

Here is my Breast Cancer SoulCollage® deck. It does for me what words cannot…it expresses how I felt about my experience. It’s not linear, and it’s not complete, and that’s okay.

I am One who’s world has been torn apart. I am One who is in shock.


I am One who has been carried away against my will.


I am One who walks this path alone. I am scared.


I am One who has stepped into a world of hospitals, doctors and pills. Lots of pills. I feel like I aged 20 years in just 6 months.


I am One who is carved up. Body parts lost, scarred.


I am One who is stalked by Death. I feel the threat of violence and death all around me.

 


I am One who fights for my life.


I am One who lost my female identity along with my body parts. Who am I without my breasts? Without my uterus and ovaries?

  
I am One who feels like I am part of a bigger picture. I have found community with other breast cancer survivors. Pink Phoenix teammates are my sisters.


I am One who fights for my sisters in battle.

 

It’s been 10 years since my diagnosis, and I am still living with the consequences of breast cancer. There are more SoulCollage® cards to be made on this subject. I realize that I need to make cards expressing my gratitude for all of the love and support I have received over the years. I have also lost too many friends to cancer, and that grief is deep. Just last year my youngest daughter found a lump in her breast (it was benign) and that reopened my fear for my daughters’ health. Unfortunately cancer is a “gift” that just keeps on giving!

Thank the heavens for SoulCollage®!

 

 

 

Encaustic Painting Class

I had the pleasure of taking an encaustic painting class this past month at the Multnomah Arts Center. I hadn’t ever done encaustic (wax) painting before, so I was very eager to see what it was all about. I enjoyed the class, though I discovered that encaustic is not really my medium. I love mixed media collage and I found that in the encaustic class, all of my work was looking a lot like my mixed media work! So I decided to try and maximize the wax part of the work to see what would happen.

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So here are my 2 final pieces. I’m not as happy with the one on the left. I had lots of trouble with it. I tried to put a particular image transfer on it twice and finally had to melt it off and do something different. Now the work on the right I love. I have lots of layers buried under wax so it looked more milky. I thought this would highlight the fact I was using wax instead of matte medium (which is what I use with my regular collage work).

All in all, I’m very happy that I took the class and am now looking for a new class at Multnomah Arts Center to take!

September Challenge

I love the fall. I can’t wait for the leaves to change color and the weather to cool. And I find myself motivated to start (and sometimes finish) new projects. So it’s September 1 and I feel motivated! One of the things that has been piling up is this stack of magazines. stack of magazines2

Sigh…I love magazines, and I love to find cool magazines with interesting topics and images. But for some reason I let them pile up and I don’t read them. Not sure what that’s about, but it’s time to do something about it.

My challenge to myself is to go through this entire stack of magazines, read them and then clip all of the articles and images I want to keep. As you can see, I have my work cut out for me!

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Some of my favorite magazines…Happinez, Flow, Uppercase and Cabana!

New Class!

Kathryn King and I are holding another class in May! It’s going to be awesome!

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“Owning our Feminine Wisdom”

May 7, 2016 from 10-5pm
316 E Fourth Plain Blvd., Vancouver, WA

We will be working with decorative and hand-made papers on a 10″ by 10″ wood panel to create an abstract portrait of the timeless wisdom within each of us.

Using meditation, music, writing, art and ritual we will gather and reflect upon that which we have received from the divine feminine.

No art experience is needed, just a heart that is open to hearing your own inner guidance. Please bring a sack lunch and tea will be provided.

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Early bird (before Earth Day 4/22/16) is $99 which includes all supplies.


After Earth Day (if there is still space) the cost will be $120.00.
Registration is open for this class for adult women. Please note that class size is limited.

 

Playing with Alcohol Ink

There is just something magical about playing with alcohol ink. The way the colors slide into each other, forming new colors and creating abstract shapes. I find myself mesmerized by the process. I wish I could adequately convey just how much I love this medium!

In preparation for my upcoming class, Exploring Alcohol Ink (http://www.demicaro.com/Events.html) I decided to document my most recent experiment. Here’s how it went…I started with drops of color.x

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I then used the palette knife to swirl colors together.

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I used the tip of the palette knife to make lines.

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I added more color and used a Q-tip to make a flower. I’m not loving the flower on the left so I add some blending solution to it to make it go dreamy.

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I dislike enough that I cover over the left flower and go in a different direction.

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Now to add some yellow and pink. Hmmm…definitely broke up the blue tones I had so much of.

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I add more colors, tilting the paper to make them run. I’m looking for some lines/colors to catch my interest.

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I’ve drawn more lines. And the ink starts to impinge on the right flower. It might need to go.

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Now with the flowers gone, I am going in a new direction. It needs red.

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I add Pearl to the upper left purple to see what happens.

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I decide to use a stamp and the Snow Cap ink to add a little design. And this is the finished piece! I tried to make flowers, but in the end, I just love abstract. I went where the colors wanted to go. I’m pretty happy with it!

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Art as Metaphor for Life Class

My studio mate, Kathryn King, and myself are holding a very cool and process oriented class in October called Art as Metaphor for Life. Here are the details!

October 3, 2015 10-5pm

Art as Metaphor for Life! (with Deandra Ellerbe and Kathryn King)

Exciting new class that will be a hands on exploration of painting and writing as we see how the process of art mirrors the way we live our lives. Each woman will take home a painting. NO EXPERIENCE NEEDED!

Location: McMaster House (316 E Fourth Plain Blvd., Vancouver, WA 98663)

Cost: $99
Class size limited to 8. (Early registration suggested)
Please bring your own lunch. Tea provided
Wear comfortable clothes that might get paint on.

 

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

I’m Back!

I had such good intentions with this blog. And then I broke my wrist and had surgery (a plate and 9 pins!) and I couldn’t do much for awhile. It’s amazing how much you use two hands for things (getting dressed, bathing, driving, etc.). Because I incapacitated my dominant hand, I couldn’t write or paint or use scissors…in other words, my art life just stopped.

And I was grumpy.

So I did my hand exercises once I was given the green light, and went to my new office/studio and tried to find something artistic to do. This is when I discovered the joys of alcohol inks! I had to have my studio mates open the bottles for me, but I was finally able to play. Alcohol inks are so vibrant, and when the colors swirl together they make new colors! And I loved it! I will confess that the flower images on the pieces shown below were done with my right hand about a month after surgery. And yes, my hand was sore afterwards!

Here are some examples of how I spent my time recuperating…

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Paper Dolls – Spring

I have been so inspired in my new studio! I have my books, my pens, my papers, my paint…it’s a bonanza of arty goodness! Pam and I have been discussing all the different art techniques and classes we want to offer. I can’t wait to share more with all of you once we start finalizing things.

One of the projects that I have been contemplating involves paper dolls. I don’t know exactly why, but I have always had a fascination with paper dolls. There is something about making mini people and dressing them. I have made dolls in the past, so obviously there is something appealing about personal arts and crafts.

A couple of days ago two thoughts came to mind, paper dolls and seasons. Could I make a seasonal paper doll that I would like? Here are my 2 experiments for Spring!

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Paper and glue paper doll – Spring

 

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Digital paper doll – Spring

The first paper doll was made with paper, glue and ephemera. The second paper doll is digital. There are many resources online for paper dolls and I had quite the fun time online looking my choices.

Which do you like better? Any interest in making your own seasonal paper doll?