Thursday, July 29, 2010

Lenall Siebenaler- Artist Profile

Lenall Siebenaler is our profiled artist this month. Lenall is a prolific artist who works quickly and experiments with a vast array of materials. Her work is always colorful and reflects her playful spirit.

1. What are the main mediums you use? What do you find satisfying about them?

My mother encouraged us when we were young to be needle artists. I look at myself as originally being a fiber artist. I did all kinds of needle art—x-stitch, embroidery, needlepoint, brazillian, crewel, sewing. I still enjoy working with fibers today. In 1991, I decided to try watercolor and quickly fell in love with it. After taking a mixed media class in Hawaii, in 1995, my interests started to broaden. Art and Soul actually was the catalyst for pushing me to stop limiting myself to just watercolors. Now I have a plethora of art supplies that surround me and I enjoy using everything in one piece. The layers are far more interesting to me, and the lack of rules tends to work better with my personality type. I like working with a variety of different mediums as the possibilities are limitless. I enjoy the freedom. In general I enjoy losing myself in art. It is the ultimate escape.

2. If someone were going to get started in those mediums, what suggestions would you give?

I think I would recommend going to Art and Soul and taking classes that interest you, but might challenge you. Take other classes and always look for people in the classes who interest you. Ask them to lunch or coffee and then for an art play date. Continue to share and learn from your new friends. Take classes from those painters whose style you admire. For example, if you like loose paintings, don’t take from a traditional watercolor artist.

3. A perfect art day would look like_________

A perfect day would always start early with sun. Sun always makes me happy. Some of my happiest days have been spent at home either with an artist friend or by myself doing art in my studio or in the backyard-- breaking for lunch in and then dinner out. Good conversation, and food with a good friend or two Maybe an afternoon adventure like a trip to a nursery, antiques store, a thrift store or a clothing boutique.

4. Do you have dedicated studio space? Give a brief description of where you work.

I moved my studio to my attached two car garage. It has plenty of space and all my supplies are there. I gave a class today and the lady’s parting comment was, “You do have a lot of supplies. At least $1000.00 worth.” I smiled and replied, "I have over $2000.00 in watercolor paint alone.”

5. Favorite place you've visited or lived?

It would have to be Paris or New York City. I spent about 25% of my life living it up in NYC but only 2 different very special weeks in Paris. I love both for different reasons but three reasons are the same. Culture, Art and History. Both are packed full of all three.

6. What inspires you?

Life, love, adventure. Color, others art, other artists, my friends, a goal.

7. I still struggle with_______________

acceptance. I want to be accepted and admired by my peers for who I am and what I do.

8. I'd be lost without__________

family, friends, and cats.

9. Favorite dessert?

I like most desserts but if I could only choose one I would choose cookies. I was raised a cookie monster!

10. What's on the horizon?

I am percolating right now on a new painting and fiber line I want to work on next. I have been wanting to do something with fiber for several years now and I think the time is now!

Visit Lenall's website and blog to see more of her colorful work.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


I wrapped up a piece of art today that was commissioned by my sister about eight months ago. The piece, Believe, is limestone clay and acrylics on a wood substrate, a technique I learned from Pat Wheeler at the Oregon College of Art and Craft.

PAC Member in STUDIOS Magazine!

I wanted to share my good news! Alley Art Studio has been included in the fall issue of Cloth Paper Scissors STUDIOS magazine. Here I am seeing the article for the very first time.

If you're interested, I can be found on pages 82-85.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Face Experiments

I challenged myself to experiment with making faces out of fabric, trying a new approach every day for 2 weeks. I really enjoy working in a series like this. I start with a big list of ideas that I've compiled over the last several months, but as I work, the list never seems to get any smaller! It seems every experiment leads to new ideas and fuels my creativity.

Here are a few:

You can see all 2 weeks worth on my blog if interested in seeing more.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Books on Books

Wonderful books can be created from things you find at thrift shops or items you might otherwise toss into the trash. This book by Terry Taylor, "Eco Books", is the perfect guide for turning reusable materials into such treasure. Everything from egg cartons to cassette tape cases to bar coasters are re-purposed into fun and useful books.

I was especially attracted to this project using game boards as covers.

Here I used pieces of a game board to make a coptic bound sketchbook journal. Coptic binding is an ancient method of creating a book with attractive stitching across an open spine. One of the advantages of using coptic binding is that the book you make will open flat. While Terry Taylor's book has directions for binding stitches in the appendix, I would recommend a more comprehensive guide for learning the coptic stitch.

The best source I have found for this and other open-spine bindings is Keith Smith's "Non-Adhesive Binding, Books Without Paste or Glue, Volume I"

It is especially good for those of us who are visual learners.

The drawings are clear and concise.

So, dig around your stash of found goodies and recycling bin for book-making materials. You will really feel good about creating treasure from trash!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Question of the Month--Art Guru?


There are so many artists that really inspired me that it is difficult to pick just one or two. And of course there are all the wonderful artists of PAC who continue to amaze and inspire. But to pick just one I'd have to say Judy Wise,, whose art is lovely and whimsical, and her heart is as kind, generous and sweet as anyone you'll ever meet.


Andrew Wyeth. When I was very young, my mother and I saw his work and we both fell in love with it. I’ve lived with a poster of his for nearly 40 years. His work understates the delicious contrast between the ordinary and the sublime. It evokes emotion without drama. I love this:


Another tough question! Artists who inspire mean outside my wonderfully talented PAC friends? Let's see...for fiber, I have a recent discovery in Rebecca Ringquist , as well as a long time fave Jane Burch Cochran. For paper; Albie Smith. In mixed-media, Ann Baldwin. For all-around inspiration, I would have to say Teesha Moore.


When I was in high school I read a book about Auguste Rodin, "Naked Came I", by David Weiss written in the mid-sixties. I saw some of Rodin's pieces, and I think that is what made me want to be an artist. He was not a particularly nice man, but he was a genius when it came to sculpture. It took me a long time but I finally found a book of his art several years ago, and I still go through it from time to time. You can just imagine how thrilled I was when we moved to the Columbia Gorge and discovered Maryhill where they actually have some of his small pieces. One day I hope to go to Philadelphia to see his collection there.

I would highly recommend the book "Naked Came I" if anyone is interested in learning more about Rodin.


I was getting ready to answer the question of the month "Who is your art guru or an artist who has really inspired you? " and so I went to her blog to get the address and read her latest post " Old women who paint on their walls" and was brought to tears. I think you all would enjoy reading it. As well as watching a animation that she made, its on the left hand side of the blog about half way down called " The Fish and The Doll". Here is her link. Her name is Rima and she lives in the UK.


Judy Wise inspires me to be courageous, go for it, start a blog, journal, draw, paint and become an artist. We met through an online class about ten years ago. I've seen her grow as an artist, take on the challenge to work in a new medium and put her own twist to whatever she makes. She's very generous in sharing how she creates. Check out her blog.

This photo is from my accordion face book that Judy inspired me to make. Here's the post about the face book on my blog.


My art guru/inspiration is a two-fold answer: Julia Cameron's book The Artist's Way and Gretchin Lair of Scarlet Star Studios in Portland who guided and mentored me through a 12-week Artist's Way Creative Cluster. I originally thought I wanted to work my way through Julia's book so that I could become a better writer, but when Gretchin offered weekly creative activities during her 12 week course, I realized I loved art and getting my hands dirty! Gretchin and I have become friends and admirers of each other. Here's their website.


I was sitting in 8th grade art class watching a slide show and Starry Night clicks on. Something hit my heart and took my breath away when I saw that picture. Ever since, I've loved the Impressionists and especially Van Gogh. The intensity of his art has inspired me since that Spring day in art class, so long ago.


I have been inspired by more than one, from the classics, to the graffiti fence painter down the street. Of all of them I feel I have been inspired the most by Nikki Blackwood. She is amazing in many areas, and I have learned so much from her.


I consider Danny Gregory to be my journaling mentor, and Gwen Diehn, as well, after I read her book on journaling called "The Decorated Page". Danny has inspired so many people with his three books, starting with "Everyday Matters," and I can go back again and again to get inspiration from "The Creative License." He really spawned a journaling movement, I believe.


I have been inspired by many since joining the ranks of artists. A few come to mind quickly other than all my PAC friends who inspire me monthly! Chris Key Lock Williams who paints and teaches Watercolor classes at the Village Gallery instilled in me a sense that it was alright to be different and painting realistically isn't necessary. It's just as good to paint with feeling using color and texture and shape. It should be fun!

Other inspirations came from Oregon painters: Pat San Soucie, Ruth Armitage, and Linda Aman. There have been many, many more. What doesn't inspire me?


I always admired Susan Shie's fiber work in magazines, but when I saw an exhibit in person, I sat down and cried. I was moved by the way it looked like she put her soul into every one of her bazillion stitches. She has a playful nature and seems to take sheer delight in the process of stitching. Similarly, William Park inspired me in painting. His work is well composed yet still has a raw spontaneity to the brushstroke. I am always inspired when I find artists who seem to get lost in the process of their work and exude the joyfulness of creating.


A guru (Sanskrit: गुरु, kannada: ಗುರು) is one who is regarded as having great knowledge, wisdom and authority in a certain area, and who uses it to guide others (teacher). In Sanskrit gu means darkness & ru means light.

There are many I do admire, my go to people for inspiration. No one I follow with religious devotion, but rather admire from a distance. I'll give one blog I visit regularly, but my lists of favorites changes quite frequently!

Robyn Gordon-- She carves amazing totems and panels. I love tracking her blog. She highlights many mediums & artists, and her tastes in art run quite closely to mine.

good shopping in Seattle

I recently had to make a quick trip to Seattle and, as always was looking for some good shops to explore. My sister told me about a Japanese $ store (my favorite kind) called Daiso, with two locations in Seattle, one in the bottom of the Westlake mall downtown, and the other near the International District. This is my hydrangea painting, with my new favorite self-inking stamp, which I believe means "paid".
Here is another view of it, and my other new favorite, a whiteout pen that will stay in my journal bag for those times when I misspell words, which I so often do! It rolls a nice small line of whiteout.And the self inker, of which they had several, mostly pertaining to business matters.
These are cute little heart baking tins, about 3 inches across. Perfect for my next tea party!
They had a good selection of origami papers, too.Nothing too fancy, although this is called "fancy paper". I should probably mention that things are not 1$ but $1.50 and up. But they truly have everything!
I love this quote, which I found at another favorite store in Seattle, Watson and Kennedy. Also not to be missed, is Souvenier in Ballard. Curtis Steiner, the owner is a genius at display, and everything else, really. This is a gem of a store! Have fun next time you are in Seattle.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Painting by Tory Brokenshire

This little bird is a Spotted Towhee he lives in my garden amongst the ferns and flowers scratching on the ground for bugs and seeds.
I took his photo and loved the look of him, I wanted to make him into a greeting card and I did but was not feeling like I was finished so I decided to paint him.

This image was created in photoshop 6. Its meant to look like a wood block of sorts.

Also created in photoshop, the simplicity is appealing to me.
I have gone into much more detail about this painting on my personal blog, come on over and see how it evolved.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Paste Paper Adventure

Here's how it started, crying out for something more. . .

I found it at a garage sale, in it's horrible naked whiteness. Then I thought Paste paper.
Here's how it all started.

A little bit of methycellulose and some cheap acrylic paints and it started to revive.

Then more layers and a little more depth. I'll use these for the covers

The I had to add some folders and translucent papers to go with it. These will be covers for a book that I will add calligraphy around the paste paper designs. Only I got distracted with walnut ink and sumi ink. See next

One side of the inside pages

More pages.

And they were soon to live happily ever after.

I did cat pieces, too!

Who doesn't like cats?  These will be available in cards and as small pieces in the show. I had so much fun doing them. 

A Weeks' Work---30 new small pieces!

My friend, Susan, and I spent the last week dodging the heat wave working in my garage studio.  I concentrated on making cat and bird cards because they had basically sold out in the store and I knew I was losing sales.

I decided to copy the pieces for cards and will frame or mat the originals for the Open Doors Show.  Does anyone like birds?