What beauty in the skies and in all the land around us, what radiance in the hopeful faces that surround us. This is the season when we gather to beat back cold and fear, we can address our misunderstandings and embrace each other with good will.
I enjoy the lights –we human love to gaze at twinkling lights, from indoor candlelight to gorgeous multicolor displays outdoors. Here in New Mexico, we are blessed with a combination of the two – placing candles in weighted bags to make little lanterns, farolitos, to illuminate our perimeters and provide a joyous welcome to travelers.
I enjoy music – especially when I can hear it live. But I love my favorite recordings as well– I listen while I work in studio adding to works in progress.
I have found that Simplicity is key for me in enjoying the delights of the season, and so I will keep this blog post short and simple. I share two popular collages that pique interest at this time of year. My newest – "Snowy starry night…" and "Lady of Peace". (Both are available as a giclée print – just send a note to express your interest.)
Stay healthy, love the ones you love,
and create Peace in your home.
Love and peace,
The Recycle Santa Fe Art Festival 2022 is now in the books. Thank you all for coming to the show, supporting the crafty vendors - I know you were amazed at their offerings. I am so happy to have participated in this annual event. I could not have done it without the help of stalwart friends who helped with set up, transportation, and breakdown and loadout. And a big big thanks to the ones who brought food and a bottle of red wine to celebrate with afterwards. Shout outs to Mary Elliot, Sarah Hayes, Janet Lea, and Diana Oliver who proved their strength and support.
Many cards and card collections were sold that weekend, including ones that were only for the live-and-in-person shows. But don’t worry! I have plenty of cards for mail orders, as well as journals, prints, mousepads, and posters. Time for holiday shopping!
And speaking of Holiday Sales, I will have specials in my three Etsy shops DECOfineartcollage, StarArtbyDeco and DecoCollageCards. But listen to this: Subscribers to my newsletter can avail themselves of Weekly specials, new selections every week. This week, I am offering three sets of cards sets featuring the theme of Harvest, to honor our Thanksgiving traditions, at prices lower than those I offer in my Etsy shop. Next week, I spotlight Seasonal cards, followed by gift packs, posters, small prints, and finishing up with a year end sale on all cards. These will all have special discounts, only for the subscribers; you can subscribe by providing your info on the attached form.
I wish you all a peaceful Thanksgiving. I am grateful for the opportunity to share my art with you.
Peace & Love,
A Slice of New Mexico
Newly New Mexico
The weather in northern New Mexico has been pleasant, allowing walks along the Santa Fe River (actually flowing with snowmelt!) and end-of season apple picking. I had bright blue skies as I drove down to Albuquerque to install my art for permanent display. The State of New Mexico purchased my Original Collage, “Hear the Echoes” and I brought it to its forever home. The art is now installed on the 3rd floor of the Tiwa Building, located at Broadway Blvd. and Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, in downtown Albuquerque. I had assistance from Daniel, the helpful custodian of the Tiwa Building, and Rebecca Sisneros, who is overseeing all the art installation in the newly remodeled building. They are developing an amazing collection of art by New Mexicans.
Recycle Rides Again
But I had no time to linger and had to postpone my celebration – I am so busy getting ready for my big show of the year, the Recycle Santa Fe Art Festival. I look forward every year to setting up my booth to show my latest creations. This year, I am bringing several of my large, framed collages, including “Andromeda”, “Limitless Undying Love”, “Loosen Your Soul”, “Night Vision”, “Still Life”, and “Summer Storm.” So, if you have had a hankering to own an Original Collage, this may be the moment to step up to the counter. By Sunday afternoon, I will be happy to cut a deal!
Of course, I will have other favorites on hand to tickle your fancy. I will bring all the card collections, posters, and journals, and tuck your purchases into a bag of recycled paper.
And prints! Many of my favorites, plus the brand new “Snowy Starry Night”!
The Recycle Show starts on Friday night (November 13), with a (cheap!) admission fee, $5, and includes the exuberant Trash Fashion Show. Saturday and Sunday are free and includes even more vendors. All these events are inside the Santa Fe Convention Center, 201 W. Marcy Street.
Love & Peace,
See you at the Show!
All the Trees are Green
...and the sky is blue...
After getting back on my feet after a debilitating injury, I hastened to complete a winter piece that I started at the beginning of the year. Outside my window, I see the last signs of summer - dahlias and geraniums still blooming brightly under the blue skies of Santa Fe. But inside, I am regarding my winter collage - a bare tree at night in winter. What a contrast. I have to wear a sweater while I work because I get so immersed in the scene. I have added the finally pieces and I am pleased with the results.
Seeing life and hope in the darkest winter can be challenging, but I see it here around and above this bare tree on a snowy starry night. Of course I will be bringing the Original to the next show. That's the big one in November!
The Cycle of Recycle
I was delighted when Labor Day weekend rolled around - not just for the start of the Fiesta celebrations all over the city, but the first announcements of the Recycle Show - my favorite arts show of the year. This year, Recycle Santa Fe Art Festival is returning in full force. In addition to the fine Art Exhibition and the Art Market (the two events I join in), the Recycle Show has brought back the beloved Trash Fashion show! On Friday evening, competitors strut their fashions made entirely of Trash!
I will have a booth set up in the Art Market on all three days of the show, to display and sell new pieces, many original collages, and of course, the greeting cards. New to the show will be the new collections that I debuted in December and January, "Enchantment" and "Spiritus". My holiday card set "Peace and Joy" is available as a collection of 5 cards. All of these and more are in my Etsy shop "DecoCollageCards" - get a jump on the holiday before the shipping prices go up!
Until next time!
Love and Peace,
The game's afoot
Hear the Echoes - again!
Wonderful news on the horizon: I recently learned that the State of New Mexico will be purchasing one of my Original Collages. “Hear the Echoes” a landscape of the iconic red cliffs in northern New Mexico, is actually an homage to the poets, with the names of 39 poets embedded in the cliffside. The piece will be on permanent display in a state building in Albuquerque. The installation will be in a few months or possibly early 2023. I am very pleased to be granted this honor. I wanted to express how creativity and culture is deeply imbued in the people, so much that it becomes part of the land itself.
In 2019 the image of Hear the Echoes was featured on a poster promoting a state-wide competition for high school students in which students recite memorized poetry, following strict rules including selecting only poems in the Poetry Foundation collection. I was proud to be part of their moment, and now I am proud to have that commemorated by the state.
I have a small number of posters available for sale in my Etsy shop DECOfineartcollage, as well as a small giclée print of Hear the Echoes.
August marked the return to my hometown Chicago for the annual Fest for Beatles Fans. We fans haven’t gathered there since 2019 and being with the crowd was like celebrating a gigantic family reunion. In addition to enjoying the live bands and hearing the latest news, I did my usual job directing the activities of the Art Room, that is, managing the art contest, and presenting the awards, helped by my colleague, Marlene Weisman. We also created a colorful trippy installation that the attendees used as a photo backdrop for their selfies. Marlene is an established collage artist from Brooklyn, and together we presented a multimedia presentation on “Psychedelic Art and the Beatles” focusing on the London-based arts collectives that the Fab Four supported. Our work was augmented by a musical soundtrack compiled by the buoyant podcaster Ethan Alexanian (@fansontherun) whose knowledge was encyclopedic. We have plans to develop the presentation further for the Fest in Jersey City in March. We also are hoping to tap into utilizing the vocal talents of Laila Ortiz and Skylar Moody - give a listen to them at Apple Scruffs Podcast.
I led the Beatles Poetry Jam and co-led the Memories of Fest panel. But the highlight of the weekend was the debut of an original Role-Playing Game, which I created with my partners in the Troika, Victoria Pichla Luz and Walter Podrazik. We’ve written dramas for the Fest and this was our first venture into “something completely different”. I called it “Beatles & Bedlam: The Race to the Rooftop” – and it takes in the legendary world of the Apple Corps building at No. Savile Row in London on the fateful day of January 30, 1969. If you don’t know what the fuss was about, take a peek at Peter Jackson’s epic documentary “Get Back.” Marlene was instrumental in completing our game boards (one for each floor!) in the countdown to play time. Guided by the experienced James Ryan, Wally narrated the action as our intrepid players and denizens of Apple and beyond had comedic improv encounters. Rajah the world-famous Tiger (played by Victoria) scared the bejeezus out of players. We recruited esteemed guests and willing staff and volunteers from the audience. A special treat was having Chris Odell, who had a front row seat (so to speak) at the original rooftop concert, in our audience hooting with laughter at the depictions of some of the people she worked with. I would love to tell you who we had in the show, but I don’t want to tip our hand and reveal them because we intend to bring this Game to the Fest in Jersey City.
I made some good connections at the Fest, with friendship and camaraderie. In the last week, I have been exploring the potential of Beatles art sales in Europe and another exciting project with fan art. Fingers crossed!
Marlene and I were keen to have a participatory installation in the Fest Art Room, and we selected on a Wishing Tree, an homage to Yoko Ono’s original and ongoing installation of the same name, started in 1996. For us, this involved recruiting two members of the Fest staff to go “tree hunting” in the woods on the Des Plaines River behind the Hyatt hotel for an 8-foot-tall branching specimen. They aced the mission (thank you Josh and Catie!) and Marlene and I “planted” it in a decorated hotel trashcan and set out tags and markers nearby. The tree grew from bare to burgeoning over the weekend as people added their heartfelt hopes.
Here comes the sun
Have you ever had a day when you are worried about changes, conflicts and uncertainty? And you become distracted from what is true and essential? I did today, and I did what often helps clear my head; I went for a walk. I walked along the arroyo, following a path I haven’t taken in a while, and as I went along, sighing and breathing deeply, I saw a message written on asphalt; it stopped me in my tracks. The words were faded, but I could read them… ”Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles. Instantly I heard George’s vocals and guitar in my head, playing as if just for me – “it’s all right” and just like that…it was.
Wishing you sunny days!
Love and peace!
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,
I'll never lose affection
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,
Growth and Renewal
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,
Dreams May Come
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
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!
D E C O
Art, news and thoughts from Santa Fe, New Mexico
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November 11-13, 2022
Santa Fe Community Convention Center
201 W Marcy St., Santa Fe
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
Recycle Santa Fe