Monday, April 10, 2017

Nature's Rhythm

It is never truly spring till the birds come to take a bath. After a few late winter storms and freezing temperatures, finally this morning  there was this female cardinal luxuriating in a warm bath all fluffed up while the mate watched from the nearby forsythia bush. It was a comforting sight. Then in the afternoon I saw a handful of dark eyed juncos and a robin. Now I can say, spring is here.

Linked to Image-in-ing. 

Thursday, April 6, 2017


Enrolling in Rutgers Cooperative Extension's Master Gardener program has made plants of all types an ever expanding source of inspiration for my art. As part of the program I will be completing some of the required sixty  hours of volunteer work in the herb garden. The herbs above and below were created using papercut techniques.

Linked to Try it on Tuesday's Botanical Challenge and Paint Party Friday.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Is It Spring Yet?

The winter storm ten days ago not only caught the humans off-guard but also seemed to have confused the birds and the plants. Though the days are sunny and bright there is still snow on the ground. The birds are quiet and the early spring flowers are dormant. Everything seems to be in a holding pattern.The sketch above and the painting below were inspired by the uncertainty in the air.

In other news, I got me a new sewing machine Ever Sewn Sparrow 25. Using the new machine, I made two pairs of draperies for the bedroom. There was a little bit of learning curve especially in the threading of the bobbin. But once that was overcome, it was a smooth sailing. 

Thastnks for visiting. Linked to Paint Party Friday. Thanks to Eve and Kristin for hosting.

Thursday, March 16, 2017


It was intended to be a simple project: alter a large plain canvas into something that could be hanged over the fireplace. My original plan was to apply a background paint in pink and then cover the entire canvas with doodles using a white puffy paint. In my mind's eye, I had imagined white doodles standing out  brightly against the pink background. Alas, it did not turn out that way. It actually looked depressingly vapid!

So, I glazed the whole painting with a wash of blue. 

It was an improvement from the previous one but still not satisfactory. Then I decided that if I am in for a penny, I might as well be in for a pound. So more layers of doodles and more layers of glazing followed
After all that,  it still looked like a nicely layered background lacking a focal point. I was reluctant to make it into a collage project since it was a large canvas (36"x 24") and would involve days of work. The idea of adding embroidery (or more like string art) came to me in sleep. The next morning, I started on it as soon as I got up.

After a couple of hours it looked like this. 

It finally felt complete and ready to take its place above the mantelpiece. 

It wasn't a complicated project involving complex techniques. What it needed was lots of creative thinking to bring it together.

Linked to Paint Party Friday. Thanks to Eva and Kristen for hosting.

Friday, March 10, 2017

I is for Image

An image consecrated and enshrined inside a temple is divine and therefore cannot be photographed or videographed. The same image desacralized and placed inside a glass case in a museum building is a temporal object of interest to be gazed and endlessly captured on film.

Linked to Image-in-ing and ABC Wednesday.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Great Backyard Bird Count 2017

My original plan for the Great Backyard Bird Count which was held from Feb 17 to Feb 20 was to both count the birds that visited my backyard during this period and to paint as many of the birds that visit my backyard throughout the year. The plan started well. On the first day, I counted three dark-eyed juncos and one robin. I did a watercolor of a tufted titmouse (which I had seen the day before the count began). The next day, my husband and I decided on a spur-of-the moment visit to the Hindu Temple at Pittsburgh, which is about 5 1/2 hours drive from where we live. The backyard bird count went by the wayside. I managed to sketch two more birds at the hotel but did not do any watercolor. Coming home I got the flu and that pretty much ended my plan for the GBBC. Now that I am recovered I am hoping to create a few more watercolor birds. 

In other news, the March-April issue of Cloth Paper Scissors has featured two of my art projects: the wall mural I had done in my living room and a submission to the mixed-media studio accessory. Doing a happy dance!

Thanks for visiting.

Linked to Paint Party Friday. Thanks to Eva and Kristen for hosting.

Linked to Art Journal Journey 'Out and About'.

Monday, February 13, 2017


First there was snow and then there were icicles. Then the high winds that kept you awake at night. Supposed to warm up this week. Let us see.

Linked to Image-in-ing

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Music Sheet Collage

This collage started with a scan of an actual leaf. I printed the leaf and added lots of doodles around it and which I colored in bright red and purple. I painted a blue dragon fly on the leaf to give the pale yellow some pop of color. Finally, I glued the whole ensemble onto a vintage music sheet. I always liked using music sheet in collages and  below is another piece that I did a while ago.

It was a balmy 54 degree yesterday. The night was cloudless and I was able to take this photo of a waxing gibbous moon.

And today we had this!

Linked to Paint Party Friday  (many thanks to Eva and Kristin for hosting) and Moo-Mania Music challenge.

Monday, February 6, 2017

How To Celebrate February

February is upon us and yet on Thursday,  Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow and declared that we are in for another six weeks of winter. Here in New Jersey, we have been experiencing bright days and almost balmy temperatures. But February can be deceiving. Sandwiched between wintry January and springy March, it can never quiet make up its mind which way to go and we too go along for the ride with one eye cocked over the shoulder for a late-winter storm while searching with another for fugitive signs of spring on the frozen ground. In a forward looking mood, I was inspired (by the seed catalogs in Bio Diversity Heritage Library) to paint these cheery dahlias.

February is also the month of my engagement and wedding thirty-five years ago and the birth of my daughter two years later. I love February! Here are a couple of doodle to celebrate love and togetherness.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

DIY: Painted and Doodled Canvas Floor Cloth Tutorial

I created this canvas floor cloth as an alternative to area rug for my studio. I had all the materials on hand: yards of canvas that I had bought for making painted journal covers, bottles of acrylic and India inks and dozens of Sharpie pens. It seemed that this could be a project where I could put all of these to good use. Since I wanted to finish this project within a week or so, I decided that I will not overthink or overplan the design and that I would fill it with whatever doodles that popped in my head at that moment. I used a couple of doodles from the official Zentangle patterns and the rest were all my own.

The design process itself was quiet simple. I painted the canvas cloth with acrylic inks first. Then, doodled the patterns using Sharpie markers. Finally, I added white highlights where I thought the design was too dark.

Overall, I enjoyed making it very much. It was like coloring a giant page. Except for one thing: the pungent odor of the markers irritated my eyes a lot. I thought of switching to Prisma brush pens but found Sharpie to be the best tool for doodling on canvas. Next time I do something I like this, I will wear a mask.

Here are step-by-step instructions 


1. One 36" by 60" unprimed canvas cloth
2. Daler Rowney FW Acrylic Inks (I used Indian Yellow and Purple Lake)
3. Sharpie Markers (Fine or Medium Point)
4. Craft acrylic paint (white)
5. Inexpensive sponge brushes (available in any craft store)
6. Inexpensive acrylic paint brushes (available in any craft store)
7. A plastic cup
8. Water
9. Wax paper
10. Newspapers or plastic garbage liners


1. In a well ventilated room, spread the newspapers or the garbage liners on the floor. These are to protect the floor from any color seepage from the canvas cloth.
2. Spread the canvas cloth on top of the sheets and wet it thoroughly with water using a sponge brush.
3. Decide on the colors that you want to layer the canvas with. You can choose a single color or two or more complimentary colors. Pour a few drops of the acrylic ink in a cup and add 4-6 tablespoons of water to dilute the ink. The ink is highly pigmented and a few drops diluted with water can easily cover the whole cloth.
4. Paint the canvas with the ink using the sponge brush. Add one or more coats to achieve the color intensity that you want (see below). Let the canvas dry.

5. Once the canvas is dry, start doodling with the markers. I would recommend using doodles that can be scaled up. This will help you to cover large areas fairly quickly. Use different color markers for interest.

6. 6. This step is optional. If you like, you can add highlights using inexpensive craft acrylic paints. I used white paint for this step.


7. Finally, hem stitch the four sides of the canvas to keep the threads from coming loose. If you choose, you may also attach a slip resistant rug pad to keep the floor cloth from moving on the floor.

Thanks for visiting.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Chinese New Year: Year of the Rooster

Unlike the western new year which is fixed, Chinese new year is based on lunar calendar and will fall on the first new moon between 21 January and 20 February. The 2017 Chinese New year begins on January 28 and is called the Year of Rooster according to 12-year cycle of the animal zodiac. Those born in 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993 and 2005 are known as Roosters. Specifically, 2017 is the year of Fire Rooster. Fire Roosters are known for being trustworthy, punctual and responsible. To commemorate the Year of the Rooster, I made this paper cut of a rooster crowing with the sun breaking out in the background. I used three layers of paper to get this effect. I particularly enjoyed the cutting the details on the rooster. 

I have been working on a series of herbal-themed papercuts and here is one I made this week. Rosemary is one of my favorite herbs and I can almost smell its heady fragrance!

I also finished this illustrated recipe. A while ago, I posted here a version of it drawn on vinyl cloth using chalk pastels. This time, I drew an enhanced and a ore permanent version on wood using a hot pen.

Thanks for stopping by.

Linked Paint Party Friday. Thanks to Eva and Kristen for hosting.