monday's muse- summer light

The sun illuminates only the eye of the man,

but shines into the eye and heart of a child

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tiny mixed media pieces inspired by my 5 yr old's photos

What inspires you today?


Melange Art Challenge: Inspiration

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of ANNABEL LEE;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me
I was a child

she was a child,

in this kingdom

by the sea;

But we loved with a love that was more than love-

I and my Annabel Lee

The Melange Team's May 20th challenge was "Inspiration". It took me a while to catch up but here I am. I've been thinking for a while about making a series of Authors' Boxes. Here is the 1st, inspired by Edgar Allen Poe (who many believe was inspired by his late wife Virginia). If you want to read the rest of Annabel Lee, click here

I haven't played with wood in a while & had a grand time making this.

Decided to give it a slightly weathered look.

It is also filled with faded secrets in all the nooks and crannies

The notes tucked inside are copies of the writings of Virginia & Poe.

The smaller is a valentine written by Virginia. You can see the original here. The larger is a copy of Poe's Annabel Lee (the rest of the poem is printed on the back). See the original manuscript here.

The current Melange Challenge is Dance. I've several ideas but very little time so I may just post some older pieces soon. To view other interpretations, click Inspiration or Dance . Then click on the links in the comments to enjoy the wonderful variety . If you have the time, play along & enter your own creation!

So many challenges, so little time! I love how the ideas flow from the random prompts, Some pounce immediately, while others slither up behind me. Usually there are two or three but I rarely find the time to finish one - sigh... Some other great prompts this week are Adapt (IllustrationFriday), puppeteer (artonthedarkside) and Altered Ancestors (inspiremethursday). If only there enough time to play with them all.... Take a minute, look around & get inspired!

Please note: All who leave a comment before noon (EST) Thursday June 4 will be entered into 2 random drawings: 1 is for a $20 gift certificate to my etsy shops & the other is for an ACEO. Click HERE for details


Thursday Giveaways - 1 winner & 2 NEW Giveaways!

Random.org has chosen......of 63 Unique visitors, The winner of the one of a kind Charming Snark Key is......
#37 : Thoughtcrimes!!
Woo Hoo! Congrats!

Thoughtcrimes, please contact me here or through my email (on my profile page). Your contact button on your web page is not working

Thank you to everyone who entered & special thanks to Miss Violet for her generous donation!! To see what other goodies she has created, just click on the banner below to visit her etsy shop SlyViolet

Now On With The Show!

In a bit of a rush this week so here we go: The rules are mostly the same. Just leave a comment on this blog between now & noon (EST) next Thursday June 4th to be entered in the new random drawing.

Normally there is only 1 winner. But not this week! I just noticed I've picked up my 100th follower. I am just so tickled pink that I'm offering 2 prizes!

The 1st random winner will get a $20 gift certificate for use in my etsy shops.
You can mix & match items from the shops too if you wish. Plus Free Shipping to a single address. Links to shops are here:

ArtSnark has a mix of original art, jewelry & decorative objects.
Prices range from $7-$300

Originally created as a venue for my gadgets & gizmos.
Just now, it has unique items for assembling your own creations.
Prices range from $4-$15

The 2nd random winner gets 1 ACEO of their choice from my ArtSnark shop!

ACEO stands for Art Cards Editions & Originals. Also known as ATCs (art trading cards). These little guys are miniature pieces of artsy goodness. They can be in any medium. The only requirement is that they measure 2.5" x 3.5".

If it turns out that random winners 1 & 2 desire the same item, I'm going to give winner #1 first pick. However, please please please make sure your contact info is correct. Either leave it in the comment OR just make sure your contact info on your blogger profile is accurate & working. I have had 2 winners so far that I've been unable to reach & am still hoping to hear from.

Good Luck & Thanks For Playing!


Summer fun in the sun

Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you'd drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It's more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories. - Ray Bradbury

My 5 yr old loves taking pictures. He's had the Fisher Price bulletproof digital kids camera for a few years. You can drop it off a cliff & it still works (trust me; we have). Earlier this year, he received a cheapie waterproof film camera & took 1/2 dozen rolls of film. Bad-mommy finally got them developed. Here's me in the blazing sun. Gotta love the cone-head! It's really my big head in a baseball hat as seen from little dude's perspective.

He took several cool photos so I decided to pick a few & have some fun. Made a few tweaks in P.Elements, printed on glossy paper & embellished with watercolor and markers.

Would love to make some giant sunny paintings (ala Charles Burchfield or something). No time for big these days, so played with 4 ATC sized summery pieces instead. Now that I think about it, the sun has finally come out again after about 10 days of rain. Must be where the whole solar theme is coming from. Unfortunately my scanner is uglifying things a bit so I'll wait for the sun to shoot & post the rest.

If you want to see some truly fabulous sun-auras, check out a few of my favorite artists:

The eye altering, alters all - William Blake


Please remember to leave a comment before Thursday noon (EST) to be entered in this week's Thursday Giveaway. For details CLICK HERE


Monday's Muse - History, Memory, Poetry

Years ago I managed a cavernous 25 yr old antiques shop. The owner was a retired Air Force Colonel with a passion for collecting. Everyone suspected the shop existed as an excuse for him to stay on the hunt. He would purchase entire estates simply to acquire "that special something." Needless to say, I spent a lot of time plowing through overstuffed dressers & unmarked boxes. The man had (literally) rooms full of items that he had forgotten about. In the "library" under a stack of mouldering magazines from the late 1800s, I found some WWII era photo albums. Most of the photos are only marked with time & place. Very few names. The Colonel didn't recognize them & figured they must be from some random estate sale. For $10 they were mine.

I've no idea who these people are. I believe the original owner is the balding fellow 2nd in from the right as he appears in many of the photos taken across Europe. The photo above is the 1st in the album.

These albums are bursting with pictures of monuments, ruins, cannons, scenery, military parades & picnics. Every few pages there is a similar shot - rows & rows of crosses. Only the date & location changes.

Each Memorial Day I find myself pulling these albums out & paging through. I wonder who these people are. What did they see & think & feel? Are any of them around today and what stories could they tell?

This year, these questions sent me googling. Click on the links below the photos (these were the titles on the original pics) to see what connections I've found. Please keep in mind that these links aren't necessarily associated with the photos, just my own word-association game. (For example, the Mme Pell link connects to a USA WWII propaganda film Salute To France)

Memorial Day for the War Dead
by Yehuda Amichai

Memorial day for the war dead. Add now
the grief of all your losses to their grief,
even of a woman that has left you. Mix
sorrow with sorrow, like time-saving history,
which stacks holiday and sacrifice and mourning
on one day for easy, convenient memory.

Oh, sweet world soaked, like bread,
in sweet milk for the terrible toothless God.
"Behind all this some great happiness is hiding."
No use to weep inside and to scream outside.
Behind all this perhaps some great happiness is hiding.

Memorial day. Bitter salt is dressed up
as a little girl with flowers.
The streets are cordoned off with ropes,
for the marching together of the living and the dead.
Children with a grief not their own march slowly,
like stepping over broken glass.

The flautist's mouth will stay like that for many days.
A dead soldier swims above little heads
with the swimming movements of the dead,
with the ancient error the dead have
about the place of the living water.

A flag loses contact with reality and flies off.
A shopwindow is decorated with
dresses of beautiful women, in blue and white.
And everything in three languages:
Hebrew, Arabic, and Death.

A great and royal animal is dying
all through the night under the jasmine
tree with a constant stare at the world.

A man whose son died in the war walks in the street
like a woman with a dead embryo in her womb.
"Behind all this some great happiness is hiding."


Misc. thoughts & digital collages

..Nothing contributes so much to tranquillize the mind as a steady purpose — a point on which the soul may fix its intellectual eye.
- Robert Walton in Frankenstein

1890 meets 1990 in this altered self portrait.

It amazes me just how lost I was for most of my life (but especially back when this photo was taken). The creative urge was present yet I was fragmented & easily distracted. It was only about a year ago that I started feeling comfortable in my own creative skin. I wake up each day with new images to make. (For more info on my "jump start" click HERE)

Don't get me wrong, I am far from found & still searching. But now I seem to have a map, albeit an invisible, intuitive one. The last 15+ years have brought many responsibilities. I am still easily distracted and can get frustrated by the lack of studio time. But something has clicked & I feel lucky to realize just how much I'm enjoying the journey.

Where is all this coming from? Some talented wonderful people I "know" are having challenges of their own just now. It has caused me to step back from my grumbling & appreciate how fortunate I am. I too have been lost in the dark and in despair. I guess this is my awkward attempt to let them know that they are special, they are loved & that this too shall pass. Your friends, family (& fans) really are here for you.

Ok, switching gears. When I started typing today, I intended to post about a few new pieces in my etsy shop, ArtSnark's Artifacts. This is my 1st attempt at selling prints. I generally prefer to make one of a kind pieces but decided it was time to get some of my digital collages out of the computer & into the world. Please let me know what you think. They are being sold matted but I'm still a little vague on what pricing should be.

I was a child and she was a child, in the kingdom by the sea...
- from Annabel Lee by E.A. Poe

Poe's Muse

Edgar Allan Poe's wife (& cousin) Virginia died of tuberculosis at age 24. When she died Poe is said to have realized that he had no images of her & had a watercolor portrait made of her corpse. This is the only image of Virginia known to exist. She is thought to be the inspiration for the many tragic women found in his writings. Poe's Muse is a blending of Virginia's image and a 1848 daguerreotype of the author.

You seek for knowledge and wisdom, as I once did; and I ardently hope that the gratification of your wishes may not be a serpent to sting you, as mine has been
- From Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

In the summer of 1816 a group of friends were forced indoors due to inclement weather. They entertained themselves by reading ghost stories. The host, Lord Byron, challenged his guests to write their own frightful tales. Mary Shelley, then 19 years old, created Frankenstein.

Mary Shelley's Portrait fuses an 1840 portrait of Mary with a page of her original manuscript and an illustration from the 1831 novel.

Anything will give up its secrets if you love it enough...
One of my 1st memories is of the lady slippers which grew in the dark woods behind my grandmother's house. I remember reaching for the lush pinkness & being told not to touch. Somehow I was made to understand that these flowers were special. Almost sacred, although that word came much later.

Decided to play around with drawing & painting on this print. I digitally altered my photo of a Paphiopedilum Orchid. After printing, I went over it with watercolors and colored pencil. You can't really see the details in the above pic so here's a closeup:

Hey, if you've made it this far, thanks for your patience today! Seems I had a lot more to say than I realized ;-D Though I don't always get back to you, all comments are read and greatly appreciated. Also if you leave a comment before noon (EST) Thursday May 28, you will be entered in this week's random drawing. This Thursday's amazing prize has been generously donated by Etsy seller SlyViolet. For details and photos of this fabulous prize CLICK HERE. Thanks again for popping by


Thursday Giveaways Part 2 - SlyViolet has something for you...

We'll start with just a peek

Today's offering is from the talented artisan, Miss Violet

She has a wonderful way with sparkly baubles & vintage bits

Even before I saw her creations, Miss Violet won me over with some lines from Lewis Carroll. But once I found her Etsy shop, SlyViolet, I was smitten. Her unique jewelry is full of fun details & repurposed bits. Most pieces are accompanied by a fabulous "history". When visiting her shop be sure to click on a few items to read their fascinating tales.

Her newest necklace, inspired by the Snark, is today's Thursday Giveaway prize. You guys are so lucky!! To play along just leave a comment on this blog before noon next Thursday. On May 28th one lucky winner will be randomly selected to receive SlyViolet's one of a kind piece, The Charming Snark Key!

She's also sent along some great text, which includes a special offer for ArtSnark readers. I figure, why tamper with perfection so here we go:

"He remarked to me then," said that mildest of men,
"If your Snark be a Snark, that is right:
Fetch it home by all means -- you may serve it with greens,
And it's handy for striking a light.

"You may seek it with thimbles -- and seek it with care;
You may hunt it with forks and hope;
You may threaten its life with a railway-share;
You may charm it with smiles and soap."

-Lewis Carroll, 'The Hunting of the Snark'

The Charming Snark Key

A brass skeleton key worked with copper wire, featuring a vintage ivory Mah Jongg tile, a piece of sea glass I found on a small beach in Hawai'i, amethyst, iolite, green garnet, Czech faceted glass, and Indian lampwork glass. Strung on black satin ribbon with plenty of extra, so you can tie a lovely bow with tails dangling elegantly at the back. 5" x 5" at widest points. The perfect offering for a temptable Snark.

Violet Ash creates one-of-a-kind Steampunk jewelry from her San Francisco Bay Area studio. She loves hunting through antique stores, estate sales, and flea markets, in search of those things which once served purpose but have since been abandoned. Each of her beautiful pieces contains at least one unusual vintage item, giving new life to these old treasures.

Her work can be found in private collections around the world, and her online storefronts, slyviolet.etsy.com and slyviolet.artfire.com

Special offers, updates on new jewelry posts, projects in progress, and general musings on art, life, and Steampunk philosophy can be found on Violet's Twitter: twitter.com/slyviolet

Violet is offering an additional gift for fine art/jewelry bloggers and Twitter users! Blog or retweet this giveaway (be sure to RT @slyviolet so she can see it, or include a link to the blog post in message to seller!), and any purchase made from her shop before June 21st will receive free domestic US shipping (or a discount on international shipping), courtesy of Miss Violet. Please be sure to mention this offer before submitting payment so that Violet may adjust the listing for you.

A hearty Thank You to Violet for generously donating to ArtSnark's Artifacts Thursday Givaways!

I'm always searching for new & exciting prizes. If you are interested in sponsoring a Thursday Giveaway, just drop me note here or at the email listed in my profile. Love to have you play along!

Thursday Giveaways Part 1 - And The Winner Is.....

Hey there! Computer troubles slowing me down (again) so will be doing this post in 2 parts.

Make sure you check back later today for this week's New Giveaway. I'll give you a hint, the next prize has been donated by the talented jewelery designer & Etsy Seller SlyViolet.

Now, the moment you've been waiting for. The True Random Number Generator over at random.org has spoken. The winner of Penny Black's book The Scented House is...


Woo-Hoo! Congrats, LadyTink! I'll contact you for your shipping info.

Many thanks to all who entered. Please be sure to check back later today and sign up for the next giveaway. You don't want to miss out on this one!!


Almost Random But Not Quite - RTT


After a weekend of play & no internet EEK! I'm catching up with some of my favorite blogs today. Since it's Random Tuesday Thoughts, figured I'd share a few:

I'm crazy about all the prints in the etsy shop, This Year's Girl. Visit January Wish & find out how you can win a print of Sparrow:

Special Thanks to Cephalopod Tea Party for pointing out the cool site Pouple Pulps. The gallery rocks & the links will keep me busy for a while!

Run, don't walk, to Vintage Paperbacks & Digests !

Anybody remember Doc Savage? Now don't make me feel old, people, just nod your head politely .....

If like me you are lusting after Little Robot's prints & toys, pop over to indiefixx & download a free Lindsey Carr piece while you read the interview. I may have mentioned this 1 before - memory's starting to go. Again, just nod your head at the crazy lady & maybe she wont bite

For you eloquent types, the insanely creative Tom Banwell is running a steampunk writing competition. If you're no wordsmith, go check out his blog & Etsy shop anyway. C'mon, take a few minutes ... it is well worth it, I promise!

Tom, Totus Mel and many other fabulous Etsy Steam Team members will be selling their wares at Maker Faire 2009 later this month. If you're in the Bay Area I am sooo jealous, make sure to mark your calendar!

Speaking of all things Steamy, I am totally digging this poster from ArtFreebies

One last note (again): Don't forget to enter this Thursday's Giveaway. Just leave a comment & you're in! For more details on this random drawing & prize read HERE

Now, Grab a button & go get random! Be sure to visit The Un Mom, high priestess of the cult of chaos, and see what wackiness is happening over there today

The Un Mom


Monday is a Work In Progress

Hey there! How've you been? Just got back into town. Fun weekend at the beach with friends & family. But, now I'm feeling a little behind the 8 ball this week. Determined to pull it together after a good night's sleep.

Listening to the soundtrack to Wim Wender's Until The End Of The World tonight. Just now playing Last Night Sleep by Can. The only YouTube version I found to share is accompanied by some silly bits from the 1930s flick The Mummy...ahh well..

Musical Monday. Grab a button & play along.What are you listening to?

Over at Maternal Spark, Monday's Muse shares a thought provoking quote : A new idea is delicate. It can be killed by a sneer or a yawn; it can be stabbed to death by a quip and worried to death by a frown on the right man’s brow.- Charles Brower

It can also be ground down by the day to day distractions, the constant interruptions & become simply a wish before disappearing into the ether. I stumbled onto an old sketchbook from 16+ years ago & have been thinking about jumping back into some of those old ideas. Here's an odd lass; I think she wants to turn into a tree or something...

Decided tonight to sketch something out for last week's Melange Lace Challenge. But as usual the piece had a mind of it's own & is calling itself My Sister's Ghost. It still has a way to go & keeps reciting the 1st line from Daphne Du Maurier 's Rebecca: Last night I dreamed I went to Mandalay again and as I stepped through the iron gates a strange power become me and I passed through them, as surreal as all dreamers are....

Tough to see in the scan but the negative space has a reflective silver finish. Also hard to see is the second sister working her way to the surface. You can just make out her hands on the left, arms extended and if you look closely a profile facing your left (her eye is overwhelmed by her siblings mouth just now).

Well, it's getting late & this piece wants some more attention. Til next time, here's another tune from UTEOTW:

By the way, don't forget to enter this week's Thursday Giveaway. Just leave a comment before noon on the 21st to be entered in the random drawing. For details & info on this week's prize click HERE