The telescope that lets us see our past…
I admit that I am an outer space nerd. I was delighted to see the images from the new James Webb telescope this week. I get a thrill viewing them, even though I can understand them only as an enthusiast and an artist, not an astrophysicist. I have been inspired by the images from the Hubble telescope for decades, and in fact they have formed the basis for what I feel is some of my best work.
I have displayed these astronomical images in Los Alamos and at science fiction conventions, and they have proved popular with collectors. I have several Original Collages available which feature cosmic images, and they can be viewed both on my website and my Etsy shop StarArtbyDeco. In honor of the historic release of the galactic images, I am going to offer these framed originals at an insane discount: 50% off the price as listed in the Etsy shop, for a limited time, if you buy directly from me not Etsy. I will run this sale from July 14, 2022 to August 24, 2022, which coincides with the Perseid meteor shower. View the collages and contact me here to negotiate the sale.
Hop the Pond
I had more than a mind-trip to the stars in June when I traveled to the UK for further explorations. Traveling with my sister, we took a train (with high tea) to the Lake District and did some vigorous hiking up and over rocky peaks and around placid lakes. We saw lots of lovely sheep, including Harold the clever one; all told, we did about 120 miles in rented boots! We visited Mackintosh sites in Glasgow (including tea in the Willow Rooms), the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh, and the Holy Island of Lindisfarne. I did research ahead of time, so we selected a day when the low tide was favorable to accessing the island. An unexpected rail strike had us shifting our plans to leave Scotland a day early, and so we had an extended time in Canterbury.
We visited the Cathedral and paid respects to Thomas Becket’s site of martyrdom, as well as his relics which are in the humble Roman Catholic church across the street from the imposing cathedral. We attended Evensong twice to hear the Canterbury Choir lift their voices in the Quire. As a history geek, I savored the Roman museum, as well as the site of the ruined Augustine Abbey, St Martin’s (the oldest church in England), and St Dunstan’s, the resting place of the head of Thomas More. We also got to the seashore – Broadstairs’ Botany Bay and the oyster beds in Whitstable. We enjoyed good tea and friendly faces wherever we went, and most surprising – sunny balmy weather every day! I even got a suntan.
The full moon rose during our first week but frankly we didn’t have much time for stargazing, as the nights were short and dawn came early.
But speaking of stars…
The strangest trip by far I have been on in the recent weeks was an unexpected journey. In mid-May, I was settling in my favorite chair one evening, and my chair bumped a bookcase which caused it to wobble and send the contents of the top shelf to cascade upon my head. Including a large, framed print of Van Gogh’s Night Café (too bad it wasn’t “A Starry Night”, lol!). I stayed alert in the aftermath, grateful that a small bronze faun missed my head. Blood was easily swabbed, but the ensuing concussion lingered and slowed me down considerably. I am still building up my stamina.
I hope you are having a lively, colorful summer.
I love to hear from you.
Peace and Love,
Just days after presenting my Spring Collage Workshop, I zipped off to the East Coast to participate in one of the best events of the year. Twice a year, I work at the Fest for Beatles Fans, a 3-day gathering of several thousand fans of the Beatles who celebrate with live music, discussions with authors, and peace and love. We haven’t met “live and in-person” since August 2019 so this event was a joyful family reunion, on the bank of the Hudson River, with a view of the Manhattan skyline. We all enjoyed singing and dancing and feasting and laughing, but the highlight of the weekend was the live interview with Peter Jackson, the director of the recent Beatles documentary "Get Back" (2021), joined by Michael Lindsay Hogg, the director of "Let it Be" (1970). Their hour-long conversation was electrifying.
I usually manage the Fan Art exhibition at these shows. For this, fans bring in their Beatles art – pros, amateurs, and kids – I put it all on display, manage the contest, and present the awards at the end. I also arranged for a special exhibition of photos by John Hester and had a continuous presentation of the slide shows of fan art that I developed during the pandemic lockdowns, when we had our Fests online.
But the real Art Room gem was the a/v presentation Psychedelic Art and The Beatles.
Psychedelic Art and The Beatles
Graphic artist and collagist Marlene Weisman and I collaborated to research and create a show which explained and revealed the powerful Psychedelic Art movement that dominated London of the 1960s. This is a little explored subject in the Beatles world, despite the impact that the Beatles had on it, and how they supported the most influential arts collectives in London. Our audience was blown away. We plan to present our material again, augmented with more research!
Our next Beatles Fest will be in August, and I will keep you in the loop.
May is for Mothers
Mothers Day is approaching, and I have plenty of items that Moms would love in my Etsy shops – prints, cards, journals, and posters. But today I want to tell you about a wonderful not-for-profit organization that supports families with newborn babies, Many Mothers. As a volunteer for this group, I visit the homes of families with infants and help support the parents – sometimes I hold the baby so an exhausted mom can get a nap or a shower; sometimes we have tea and I listen to a parent’s birth story. I visit for 12 3-hour sessions. We feel that these home visits help ameliorate postpartum depression. To help fund our work, Many Mothers is having an online auction, running the last week of April, full of gifts for mothers of all ages. We have exquisite quilts, restaurant and health club gift certificates, paintings, and jewelry. I miss my mother, and I honor her life by supporting this flourishing organization.
Of special note are these artists who I asked for donations: Maurice Oliver, Diana Oliver, Hillary Vermont, and Paul M. Walsh; they contributed CDs, hand painted cards, paintings, and hand-crafted silver jewelry. You can also buy directly from them before or after the auction - they would love that! A shout-out to Mark Lapidos of The Fest For Beatles Fans who donated Beatles items. So cool! Check out their websites and then make some bids on the Many Mothers auction, April 24 to May 1, in time for Mothers Day!
Artists included in the auction:
And more art coming...
Now that I am back in Santa Fe, I have projects to complete before preparing for the next Fest For Beatles Fans, and additional Psychedelic shows. I will presenting my Galactic art in a special format. Stay tuned - I will let you know!
Love and Peace,
Season of Transition
Spring in New Mexico brings a little of this, and a little of that. I recently presented a collage workshop on the First Day of Spring, and the weather was overcast and rainy; the next day was sunny and balmy and then next morning, we had wet heavy snow! Oh yes, all our seasons here!
Cut and Paste workshop
My recent workshop introduced my collage techniques to a small group of experienced artists and artisans. Reflecting on the start of Spring, I focused on the themes of Growth and Renewal. First, I read the Parable of the Seed, which tells of how a farmer sows a seed on fertile ground and how the seed lays in darkness, unseen and unnoticed by the farmer. And yet in time, the seed produces a stalk and leaves and grows to ripeness. To demonstrate this concept of a mysterious and unperceived growing, I showed a cup of dirt in which I had planted a bean a few days before; I lifted the bean from the soil to show how the bean had swollen and opened and pushed out tendrils of root and the beginnings of a stalk. I used to teach this lesson to small children to illustrate the quiet and deeply internal growth of God’s word within us; as Mark calls it, the kingdom of God. This collage workshop was entirely secular, but the lesson is universal and easily grasped.
Next, I introduced the tools and supplies to the group, scissors, glue, and magazines, and I explained my approach. Inspired by the story I read, I directed the participants to create an image of a plant rising from the soil, showing roots below and sky above. I find the cutting and pasting to be a contemplative activity, but some of the group found the work to be awkward and fastidious. Slowing down and finding the rhythm was challenging, but everyone found it in time. Key to the process was removing expectation of perfection and completion. We worked for 5 hours, with a short break for lunch.
The culmination of the workshop was joining in a circle and sharing our work. We described what went into the piece we created and how it felt, how we discovered the process, and what we learned about Growth and Renewal. The resulting collages exhibited a wide range of perception, illumination, and expression. We found it invigorating and fun. All the participants said that they would love to do it again!
I would love to do more workshops; I am open to groups large or small and any age; please ask!
On a recent weekend, I visited Ghostwolf Gallery in Albuquerque's Old Town where I have a collage on display as part of their Work’s Work exhibition. Old Town is charming and relaxed and full of new shops to explore; I found a few galleries there that I hope to revisit (and join).
Recently, I visited the Bosque del Apache on the Rio Grande some 90 miles south of Albuquerque. I went with a knowledgeable friend who pointed out harriers, bufflehead, cinnamon teals, coots, snow geese, Gambel’s quail, and everyone’s favorite, the sandhill cranes. If you visit New Mexico, I recommend a long unhurried visit; so much to see and so far from the bustle of everyday life.
In the wings..
Next week, I am flying to New York to participate in the Fest for Beatles Fans, our first gathering since the summer of 2019. We are all excited to meet again face to face and I am thrilled to be participating in several special projects. I am collaborating with collage artist Marlene Weisman from Brooklyn to present a brilliantly colorful talk on “Psychedelic Art and The Beatles” – a seldom explored facet of Beatles lore. I will also be curating the Fan Art display and contest and presenting an original play “Around the Rooftop.”
I will report on all the spring happenings in my next blog.
Love and peace,
Recently, I personally delivered one of my framed cut paper collages, "Working Class Hero", to a collector in Florida. They own three giclée prints of my collages and this one, their second Deco original collage, will be displayed in the private area of the home. The owners are music lovers too, and especially devoted to John Lennon. We were all pleased with the transaction, and I got to spend some time on a pristine beach, collecting broken shells and scattered thoughts.
"Dreams" in ABQ
I am thrilled that one of my cut paper collages is included in an exhibition in Albuquerque for the month of March. The show “Women’s Work” will open at the Ghostwolf Gallery on March 4th in conjunction with monthly Artscrawl in Old Town and extend to the end of the month. My piece “What Dreams May Come” was selected to join two dozen women artists who explore the theme of women and their work. I expect it to be a fascinating show and I will be attending the reception and connect with my fellow artists.
Another event in March that I am preparing is a collage workshop for a private group. I will demonstrate my technique and provide instruction to the participants as they create a cut paper collage to bring home. This is the first post-pandemic workshop that I am creating, and I am excited about working with eager artists.
Psychedelia Art Presentation
Psychedelia in the 60s and 70s was a potent expression of art and a source of inspiration for me. I am collaborating with a Brooklyn artist, Marlene Weisman, who is a collagist and a graphic artist. We are creating a presentation on Psychedelic Art which we will deliver at a music festival conference in the New York Metro area at the beginning of April. We are planning to make this an immersive experience for the audience. This project has been years in the planning and we are looking forward to its fruition.
I also have a gorgeous new greeting card collection that I call “Enchantment” with inspiring collage designs of scenes in New Mexico. This is a set of square format blank cards of the five images seen here including Arroyo Morning, Hear the Echoes, Water is Life, Summer Storm and Tree of Life. I can sell them directly to you ( just send an email firstname.lastname@example.org for info). And they are available in my Etsy shop, DECOcollageCards, with shipping included in the price. If you visit Santa Fe in the Land of Enchantment, be sure to visit the Pushpin Collaborative Co., which stocks some of my card designs.
Spring and New Life are approaching! What Larks!
Peace and Love,
yes I will Yes.
With those words, Molly Bloom concludes her sleepy soliloquy and James Joyce’s Ulysses ends. Like Mona Lisa’s smile, the meaning and feeling of the repeated “Yes” has been the source of speculation for nearly 100 years. This year, Joyce’s novel marks a century since its publication, and in a happy coincidence, my epic collage, “Bloomsday at Molly Malone’s” was purchased and delivered to its new owner. My cut paper collage pays homage to a celebration of the reading of Ulysses on the 100th anniversary of the day commemorated in fiction on Bloomsday in 2004. Almost four years after attending this festive, boozy event in a Forest Park, IL, tavern with an enthusiastic friend, I completed this large-scale complex collage, with Joyce’s Yesses in the center. Like most of my work, I created it with scraps cut from magazines and catalogs, slowly building layer upon layer. I celebrated with a vernissage party (coinciding with my birthday) to note its completion and the start of a new chapter in my life.
Since then, “Bloomsday at Molly Malone’s” has been exhibited at several Joyce events, both in Illinois and in Santa Fe; it was a backdrop to a theatrical event of Irish storytellers, and displayed in galleries and even bistros. About 4 years ago, someone special saw it on display in Santa Fe, fell in love with it, and made a wish to own it. She bought a large giclée print of it as a place holder. When events in her life took a magical successful turn, she knew it was time to claim “Molly” as her own. She reached out to me to see if the collage was still available – oh, yes, it was. This was a marvelous moment for both collector and artist. I couldn’t be more pleased.
When Jennifer Underwood arrived to view it in my home studio for the first time in four years, we were both emotional and teary under our masks. She said, “I can’t explain it, but this picture is me, somehow.” So, Molly is now residing in Colorado, awaiting perfect placement in Jen’s home. Will it be in the dining room? Above the bar? Jen’s home is a spacious Victorian, much like my home in Illinois, a Queen Anne painted lady, where Molly came to life. Jen promised photos in due time, and I will be happy to share them.
I have giclée prints of Molly in several sizes and they are available for direct purchase from me or in my Etsy shop DECOfineartcollage.
I also have a gorgeous new greeting card collection that I call “Enchantment” with inspiring collage designs of scenes in New Mexico. They are available in my other Etsy shop, DECOcollageCards. If you visit Santa Fe in the Land of Enchantment, be sure to visit the Pushpin Collaborative Co., which stocks some of my card designs.
Meanwhile I have been busy on my latest piece – a tree in winter (about 1/16th the size of Molly, lol) and I am loving it. With the distressing surges of the pandemic, I am keeping a low profile, and keeping healthy. Consequently, I am participating in fewer exhibitions, but I will announce them when they happen.
Until then… I wish you YES!
Closing the year with the New
The end of the calendar year approaches with celebrations and gatherings. I want to see the busyness of the season through lenses that show me peace and joy, and above all, Love. I wish that for you and your household too.
Much of November was spent setting up to present my wares at the Recycle Santa Fe Art Festival – a celebratory gathering of artisans and their creations of recycled materials. After the success of that show, I set up sales for the start of the holiday season, and launched a new line of greeting cards, “Spiritus”.
In addition, I created two remixes – “Fine Ladies Dancing” the set of lively women, is joined by “Regard”, and “Rising” my collection of galaxies and planets is joined by “I See You” my collage mosaic of the Glowing Eye Nebula.
These sets are available in my Etsy shop DECO Collage Cards.
My cut paper collage “Bloomsday at Molly Malone’s”, my largest piece, will be travelling to its “forever home” in Colorado in the next few weeks – someone saw it at an exhibition a few years ago and knew they wanted the Original Collage when the time was ripe – and that is now. I could not be more pleased. The theme is taken from the closing soliloquy of James Joyce’s Ulysses, in fact, the last several words are embedded in the center of the piece. I have a few giclée prints of "Molly" - smaller sizes, of course!
I am on a roll! I have created another new collection of greeting cards, "Enchantment", a tribute to the beauty of New Mexico. The five cards in this collection include “Arroyo”, “Hear the Echoes”, “Summer Storm”, “Tree of Life”, and “Water Is Life”.
To honor the Lady of Guadalupe, whose Feast Day is December 12, I am offering a sale December 11 to 13, 2021, of the items I have featuring the Original Collage I created. The four-card collection of greeting cards printed on premium paper is in my Etsy shop, DECO Collage Cards, and the giclée prints, both the 16” and the 24” sizes, are in my other Etsy shop, DECO fine art collage. All “Lady of Peace” items will be 20% off the regular price on those days.
Next, I will have a Solstice Sale in my Etsy shop, Star Art by Deco, and in my card shop, from December 15th to December 24th - be sure to add the code SOLSTICE21 before checking out. I have added several small art prints to the shop – including “Van Gogh’s Irises.” More details will be posted in my newsletter, Bits and Pieces.
If you are in town, visit Pushpin Collaborative Co. for cards and gifts – some of my top-selling cards are available there.
Sending you blessings from Santa Fe – wishes for Peace.
The red, golds and greens are still present in my garden, fluttering against the blue sky and piling in layers under the trees. The afternoons are still balmy and beckon me to walk and enjoy an hour of peace; I wander along the arroyos and am grateful for the respite. Lately I have been working apace, preparing for my big show of the season, the Recycle Santa Fe Art Festival. It starts in a few days, and I am filling boxes with greeting cards, journals, and mouse pads, and assembling and labeling portfolios with the posters, prints and originals.
I have participated in this show for a few years, and I think it is the most fun art market in this city known for spectacular art markets. Fun for vendors and customers who marvel at the imaginative products that artisans have created out of old materials. A great place to shop for gifts.
Recycle Santa Fe Art Festival
November 12-14, 2021
Santa Fe Convention Center
3-Day Art Market
At the end of the month, I will have a Black Friday sale, something special for Small Business Saturday, and more deals on Cyber Monday. If you would like to get the up-to-date news on these, be sure to sign up for my email announcements.
I am glad that this month includes a holiday that celebrates gratitude; for me, it is a chance to pause, and to reflect on the good moments and to touch base with my family and friends. Our Thanksgiving feast gathers makers, artists, poets, and musicians, so naturally we have a nonconventional menu – that’s the way we like it.
I am sending you wishes for good cheer and peace for you and your families. You may have seen my announcement... I have launched a new greeting card, “Peace and Joy” featuring my collage of sunrise on Winter Solstice, available in packs of 5 in my Etsy shop DECOcollagecards.
Love and Peace,
The new greeting card collections
My new collections of greeting cards with images of my Original Collages are packaged and ready for you! I am going to be bringing these to the Recycle show in Santa Fe in November, but you can get first pick by clicking into my Etsy shop DECOcollageCards.
The new collections include Trees of Hope, Trees of Strength, The Harvest and Autumn. Of course I have the other collections as well, Perfectly Pear, Fine Ladies Dancing, and Rising; all the collections have 5 assorted images, blank inside, with appropriate envelopes. In addition to these, I have some sets that are all of a kind, like the ones featuring Our Lady of Guadalupe, four cards on premium card stock.
More surprises in store
And more surprises are on the way. I have a new design for the holidays, Peace & Joy, in a gorgeous 5" x 5" format. I will be announcing that in 2 weeks in this blog and in the Bits and Pieces Newsletter.
I am enjoying a beautiful autumn, with blue slue skies and gorgeous ambers and golds. The Recycle show starts in a month – be sure to sign up for the newsletter by clicking on the button in the column to the right. I'll be announcing more details soon.
I wish you all a beautiful peaceful Autumn.
Love and Peace!
Last Days of Summer
Although the heat of the sun feels like summer, the days are shorter and the winds are brisker; time for seasonal changes.
I am launching a newsletter "Bits and Pieces" which will be a brief update on my coming shows and all the special sales and promotions in my Etsy shop. It is FREE and you can sign up here, in the the sidebar of this blog post.
The big news is the upcoming Live and in Person show, Recycle Santa Fe Art Festival. Mid-November and in downtown Santa Fe, it is the pre-holiday festival and market that everyone relishes.
Recycle Santa Fe
November 12-14, 2021
Santa Fe Community Convention Center
201 W. Marcy St.
Santa Fe, NM 87504
3 Day Art Market
Trash to Treasure:
Originals, posters, prints, cards
I created a new collage, which I will debuting at the Recycle Santa Fe Art Festival. Here is a slide show that reveals the progression from first day's few scraps to completion. This collage, like most of my work, is composed of paper cut from magazines and catalogs. I call it "Serenity".
My work is in a few more shows - both in California. One show, All About Women, is displaying my original collage "What Dreams May Come". The other is National Juried Exhibition of Works on Paper, and they are displaying my original collage, "Hear the Echoes". You can read about them in the blog sidebar.
I am going to take a little time and sit outside and read a good book now - the weather is gorgeous and soon a full moon will be rising.
Old magazines and mail order catalogs are often tossed as soon as they are delivered to the mailbox. But for me and my art medium, cut paper collage, they supply a treasure trove of wealth. The color, the shapes, the shadows, the hues, the text in a myriad of font and size – these provide me with an endless source of material. Using this “used and useless” paper, I can form endless space-scape, intricate still life, and meaningful portraits. I use these scraps as my paint palette, and I let my imagination take me to the ends of the universe. I can be realistic or abstract, and nearly every one of my collages is loaded with embedded words and phrases.
Everything old is new again
That phrase "everything old is new again" seems like a centuries-old chestnut – but apparently it isn’t! Simple research showed that it was the title and theme of a song written by Peter Allen and Carole Bayer Sager (he usually gets full credit though) in 1974. The phrase was also employed by Stephen King, in 2005. I thought it would have an ancient lineage. Nope. Nevertheless, it is a handy adage for the Recycling show as well as my art.
As I write this blog entry, our world plague is surging, and mask mandates are returning, and our sequestering appears to be the future for the safety of us all. After a taste of cautious freedom – did you travel? Go to a concert? – returning to ordering in and binging Netflix seems like a dreary outcome. I am going to comply of course (sure beats the alternative!) I hope that all of you who read this post take the necessary precautions to stay healthy and keep your communities alive. I want to see you all.
Buy a new mask or two.
Wave at people.
Be kind to workers.
"the smiles returning to the faces"
D E C O
Art, news and thoughts from Santa Fe, New Mexico
March 4 to 27, 2022
at Ghostwolf Gallery
206-1/2 San Felipe St NW
National Collage Society
Annual Juried Exhibition
Until November 15, 2021
November 12-14, 2021
Santa Fe Community Convention Center
201 W. Marcy St.
Santa Fe, NM 87504
3 Day Art Market
Trash to Treasure:
Originals, posters, prints, cards
49th Annual National
Juried Exhibition of
Works on Paper
Sept. 11 - October 30, 2021
Brand Library & Art Center
1601 West Mountain St.
Glendale, CA 91201
All About Women
National Fine Arts Exhibition
August 28 to October 28, 2021
Marin Society of Artists Art Center
1515 W. 3rd St.
San Rafael, CA 94901
Zoom Reception: Sunday September 12, 2021, 5 pm PDT
Watch the slide show!
This is a fantastic array of art about women. My entry "What Dreams May Come" appears at minute 4:46
Works on Paper Exhibition
August 16-September 17, 2021
Gardiner Gallery of Art
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK 74078-4085
Reception and lecture:
September 14, 2021 5pm
National Exhibition of Collage and Assemblage
May 1-23, 2021
D' Art Center
740 Boush Street
Norfolk, VA 23510
Thurs., May 6, 5:30-7:30 pm
May 6-29, 2021
Las Laguna Art Gallery
577 S. Coast Highway A-1
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
May 17 - July 2, 2021
O'Hanlon Center for the Arts
616 Throckmorton Ave.
Mill Valley, CA 94941
July 1-31, 2021
Verum Ultimum Art Gallery
3014 NE Ainsworth
Portland, OR 97211
View exhibition online:
Liminal Part 1