Thursday, July 31, 2008

Just Chillin'

I have been away, doing very little except relaxing.

I took my watercolors and acrylics, and did not paint, and this trip I am leaving the acrylics home but still packing the watercolors.

The camera and laptop always travel with me, just in case I feel like doing some Photoshop and writing.

This next trip is to Cape Cod for four days, and I don't know what I will do, nor do I care. Dinner with friends, a baseball game. Dinner in or dinner out, beach walks, some reading. All or none of the above, whichever is all good. Down time for the fast pace that will eventually creep back into my life.

Photo of the beds we slept in. Meredith was a bit appalled that I shot the messy beds, but I find them rather romantic.

Be back in several days.


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Some Paintings

I am trying not to get hung up about my paintings.

Lately I have been laying out paint, grabbing some brushes, and laying color down. I usually have a plan in mind, or a photo (which I have taken and printed) as a jump start, and sometimes things just happen of their own accord, and morph into another form.

When I am finished with the piece, I put it aside, and decide whether it is worth doing more work on, or if it is finished, I let it go.

I have always been a product person being in the production line of art for so many years, and am learning to accept the process as a very important part of my work. So what if only one out of six paintings is what I deem "worthy" to frame and/or sell? The others were essential in learning how to work with color, subject, the paint, etc.

The worst thing is that I will have tons of studies about my walls, and eventually I will either give them away to people who fall in love with them, or I will gesso them over and start anew.

One painting, the Red Sky painting, I will work further on. It has potential but it is a bit too dark.

The other is a sky study from one of my 1000s of photos I have taken of the sunsets/storms/sunrises here in the Hudson Valley.

I have been working in acrylics due to their convenience and will be taking them and my watercolors on my little trip to a cabin in the woods in Massachusetts. I will be gone a few days, and probably not have Internet access. Then again, who knows!

Till I am back,


Saturday, July 26, 2008

A Few New Art Gifts

I bought myself a few gifts recently. I know, I have made so little money, but I did sell one of my books which paid for half of my new book, a comprehensive book on the artist Odd Nerdrum. His work is surreal and sometimes downright bizarre, and he paints in the classical manner. I have much to look at and learn from.

I got it online with my membership PLUS a 15% coupon and free shipping from Barnes and Noble for a bit over 50.00, a far cry from the 85.00 at the Metropolitan Museum when I saw it there. Only one problem, no packing in the box, and it got a bit dinged up. I think I will return it after I get back from vacation and ask them for a new copy, NOT DINGED UP. Sheesh, what poor packing.

I also bought a great griddle at Macy's for my encaustic paints. Reg. 35.00, it was on sale for 19.99. Super cool.

Am off to check out the hot plate. R and F wants A LOT for their set up which I cannot afford at this moment. So hopefully this will work just fine.

Oh, and that is Shiva, my 1/2 Siamese cat, and the very expensive Moroccan table I bought up at Olana last summer...the table that I obsessed about. OK, price is all relative, but when most of your life your have bought furniture at yard sales, this seemed ostentatious! BUT I LOVE LOVE LOVE it.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

If you can't find what you like......

I was looking through Etsy to see if I could find a triple light switch plate which would be cool to decorate my kitchen wall, the one that you see when you enter from my side door.

Apparently triple plates are not that common, and most of what I found did not suit my decor needs.

I even went on eBay, to no avail. Hmm...I thought. Perhaps this is a good thing to make and sell.


I made the plate, photo here, and am glad that I took the time to do it, but except for making one more for the living room, I doubt that I will go into production as it was labor intensive and took a good hour or so to make. I would have to charge at least 25.00 to cover my time, materials, and overhead, and who is going to pay that? Now I understand why many are made with fabric. It probably behaves better in projects such as this.

I used antique prints from a seed catalog which were on medium weight paper, and used Golden's Heavy Body gel to affix the paper onto a 1.99 light switch. It was tricky as the gel dried fast, and I had to hold the edges down for a while so that they would stick. The inside of the switch openings were a bit tricky too. I cut an X inside the switch opening on the back side, and then had to fold back the paper and glue THAT down to the back, and also hold that till it stuck.

The finish was two coats of UV Satin Varnish, which gave it a nice flat look and I am hoping it will be lightly washable.

Worst case scenario? I make another one down the road when this one wears out.

I am enjoying my switch, and people get a chuckle out of it when they come in.

Mission Accomplished.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

House Warming Gift

I have had lots on my mind to write about, but I am pressed for time.

My dealing with my lack of self confidence in art and the visit to the therapist.

The visit to the studio and the work that I created.

The yard sale of cool stuff.

But that will all have to wait.

Today's piece was inspired by Melissa McCobb Hubbell, whose blog The Garden of Pink Shadows is linked here in my list of art blogs I love. She ran the group and produced the zine Art Erratica for a very long time, and I had the good fortune to meet her some 8 years ago at a Jonathon Talbot workshop.

Her Etsy store had some great altered cabinet photos. I have been altering them in a different way for many years, and they are the basis for the zine I made EAT MAN DRINK WATER, which tells the store of Tottie and Dick. It is a dark Victorian story. with humor and a twist. (It is available on my CATSKILLPAPER Etsy shop, hint hint)

I have a house warming party to go to for my friend's daughter. I am not much in the mood; my mother's health is not well, possibly failing, a friend died and I have to go to her wake later today. I am financially "challenged" so I decided to make her a gift for her house based upon Melissa's card idea.

The card is not done as I have to wire or ribbon the top, but I thought it perfect for her housewarming gift. If you like this, go to Melissa's Etsy Store. I noticed that she has closed it for vacation, but check out her sold items to see what she creates and sells. I don't see any of her ladies there, but I am sure she will put them back up when she is back in town.

Off to write my other blog, sip some coffee, and prepare myself for yoga. At least there I know I will find peace for a bit.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Cleaning Up.....

So I have worked in bits and pieces in the studio, but more importantly I have been cleaning up my back Ebay/Etsy room.

I have posted a shameful photograph of what part of it looks like. Notice the heaters are lines with boxes of paper, some for sale, some not. Piles of books. The only organized thing is my book case, which towers neatly above the partially organized piles of paper. Bills, taxes, ephemera, books, school stuff. HOW CAN I GET A HANDLE ON THIS other than using the fireplace to burn it all?

I spent a good part of yesterday listing things on Etsy. Really artist friends, you should check out my store...make me an offer, and I can even put a package together for you and give you a deal! I sold one thing for 1.50...and had someone tell me that my cards are well done and some are very funny. "Great" I think, "but where are all the buyers?" I know, saving money for gas and oil.

I gladly went into school today for a meeting. There I get paid 48.00 an hour doing curriculum writing, and I worked for three hours. YAY I thought. If I get paid w/in the month I might not starve at the end of the summer. I instantly signed up to work another 5 hours, not caring that I am not in the studio on friday.

I guess when I ask the universe for abundance, it doesn't always mean the money will come in the way of art and ephemera sales, and I thank it for giving me SOMETHING.

Patti who will work a bit more in this mess before taking a nap.

Monday, July 14, 2008


I have been up since the first bird sang, over two hours ago. I have written my other blog, scanned some more cards to post on Etsy, and am writing this blog.

I am trying not to be discouraged. My business is slow. My ebay auctions end without bids. Not a single card sold on my new Etsy site, and I have emailed all my wonderful customers, present and past, with my new site. I called the store I sell to, to see if Mary Ann needed more cards. She needs a display rack, but no more cards. Her business is down 46%. I empathize with her and hang up the phone. I see that other cards on Etsy like mine sell for 6.00, whereas mine sell for 8.00. But at the price of cards in Hallmark, that are mass manufactured, and the time and materials it takes to do what I do, and I will not drop my price. Sigh.

I opened up my IRA/501K/whatever you call it paperwork, to see that my future investments have slipped even further. I think "Am I going to be one of those people in history whose savings was lost to a stock market crash?" and I tear up the paper asking me to up my contributions each paycheck for the new school year as they know I have gotten a raise. HA I think. I will need that money for my fuel bill.

So I am heading out to the studio, to put on the dehumidifier as the air is like a swamp, and I will just keep on painting and making art, cause it's in my blood.


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Art for A New Earth

What I design and what I paint often comes to me like magic. Pieces of paper that have danced about my table and floor suddently jump to the card or canvas,with invisible hands guiding me as I create.

What I experience in a day has a direct influence in what I do, even IF all I am making is cards. One of my clients believes that I channel in my work, and often I believe that to be true.

I took some time today to be deliciously alone, by a pool, in the woods, to soak up some sun and read. When I got hot, I would gleefully jump into the pool, feeling the cool water in every pore of my body. I was reading Eckhart Tolle's A NEW EARTH, and absorbing the words like sunlight.

Afterwards, I came home and felt charged, and made some more cards while getting a grip on my studio. I felt inspired and electric, and made a pile of cards, one of which is tonight's image.

It reflects innocence, dreams, a portal to the universe, and hope.

This card is more than a card, it is a symbol. I plan on scanning it at a high res and making it into a large piece of artwork....a mixed media painting.

To the magic of the universe,


Friday, July 11, 2008

Day of Photos

I took yesterday and today off.

Art for yesterday was watching two films; the Golden Compass and Fur, along with fine dining overlooking the Hudson and the Mountains.

Then today a hike on the Mohonk/Shawangunk preserve, taking photographs.

If my body and soul are in good shape, then the muse will be there.

I recently had someone tell me that they had to decide which blog they would pick to EAT MAN DRINK WATER, or this one? They chose the other, because that one is a blend of my day to day life, along with my art.

So dear readers, do I keep up both, or only do one?

I have written this one expressly to write about art, and keep out the religion, politics, and musings that ruminate in my head and heart on a constant basis. I know some people ONLY want to know about my creative I have tried to keep everything else out. Yet how can I do that when everything else directly affects the creative process?


PS more photos of hike on my other blog!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


This is one of the quickest sketches I did, and one of the better watercolors I have done in a while. Not saying it is good, but it was done with a minimal of strokes and pigment. I tend to overwork things as it is, and watercolors are meant to be fluid and expressive, a thing that is difficult to achieve!

It was done while I was on a park bench in Belfast, Maine, too sick with cramps to go walking with my friends. So I plopped myself down, saw the mist rising off the waters and evaporating off the landscape, and I did a non-thinking painting while trying not to be green with pain.

Watercolors are NOT my medium, but they are easy to carry, and I do enjoy them. I have sold a few ink/watercolor sketches, and turn most of them into mixed media cards. This one however, I may plop into a frame, and at the very least it will grace some small wall space, and I will forever remember the warm, moist morning on the water in Belfast.


Sunday, July 6, 2008

Etsy Stores and Websites

I decided to do some re-arranging of my cyber business. I have the summer off, I need to make money on my art and supplies, and my websites and Etsy were just not making much money.

I have decided to keep my Catskillpaper shop to sell my antique and vintage papers and other objects d'art, and opened up a new one called Pagibbons to sell my cards and art. I found that it looked too sloppy to have it all mixed up in one site. I like the new look much better.

I have struggled with this for a long time and have decided that anything Catskill Paper (save for this blog) will be ephemera related, and anything art will be under my name.

The is an enormous amount of work to list my cards on my website. I think I am going to use my website to explain my process, and link to Etsy. Etsy makes it so easy to list items, unlike my website. So I will keep both my Catskillpaper and Wegogreetingcards domain name, and have them link to Etsy if anyone wants to buy from me.

The next thing is how to drive traffic to my websites, and I think I have to spend some time putting in meta tags and such.

In the meantime I have too much "stuff" and I can share it with others. I need the money, I need to clean up my life, here is to abundance. Oh and if anyone has any ideas on this, I would LOVE for you to share them with me. This art marketing thing is a lot of work!

Off to write my other blog!


PS Image is one of the prints I have for sale in my catskillpaper etsy shop!

Car Art

I am now out of school, and back from my week away in Nova Scotia.

I swear I will write more often here, as my summer off is about art.

I did not drive at all on the trip, and to pass time in the back seat (which was the most comfortable for my bursitis and other woes) I painted with my watercolors and drew with my ink pens.

My set up is seen for the bottle of water, the pens, and a small collection of paint brushes. I did about a dozen pieces, 2 of which may be suitable for framing. The other will make lovely greeting cards. Or not. It was fun to try and capture the landscape, sometimes in a quick sketch, taking in as much as I could in a snapshot of time.

I may be heading to Kentucky soon to see my daughter who has been in and out of the hospital with her is a long and complicated story, which can be pieced together by reading my Meganaid blog.

I am back in the studio till then, and will post most every day.