Birds in Art – the Joy in sharing

My Three Tenors

It’s been awhile since the boys have been out of the studio entertaining the crowds. They still stand strong and wow the new visitors to the studio. Pavarotti, Domingo and Carreras have been silenced long enough, they want out and are will to fly to a destination willing to support and care for them.

I wasn’t expecting this photo, me with the birds, but a friend came over and found the humour and entertainment in my art birds, and documented this.

I continually find cutlery every where on my dog walks, yes! even during the 2020/21 pandemic, and every once in awhile someone will hand me a bag of old spoons and forks to make art with. In telling you all this I better get down to work and surprise you with a new choir of birds or at least a song with a dance from my feathered friends.

Keeping in touch with the flock.

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A fan of Splendor – Creating a peacock tail from fabric

The pinks I love so much can’t be found in the Peacock tail feathers, but the shimmer and colour vibrancy are exciting. The male peacock’s loud announcement and his flashy appearance with tail feathers fanned out can be a spectacular event to see, and it is that image I’d like to eventually achieve with with my fiber made feathers.

Fiber art feathers, far left is a real one

“Put a feather in your cap” –

An admirable feather for showing off your accomplishments would definitely be a peacock feather for me. Yet, that isn’t the reason why I’m making them, they are just so magical.

How I came about the fabric collection was from a mystery box of fabric pieces at the “Ujamaa grandmas” sale. This was a fundraiser so I took the box happily and hoped to be inspired, and guess what! I was. There were the tiniest of pieces of velvet to the so called larger size of silk and twill, they were definitely special, most people wouldn’t save such small pieces of fabric.

It’s one of those boxes that I empty out and play with for awhile then put the fabric back into the box until the next time I need a feel good moment.

The feathers will eventually be a “bouquet of twelve” and once I get that task done, the body and wings with be next. Each feather (all yet to be finished) are made of layers of fabric, shimmery thread and wire.

Its colorful feathers represent the rays of the sun and the beginning of the new day. The peacocks itself shows luxury and wealth.

Garth C. Clifford

Please stay tuned for the finished bouquet.

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House plants – more than just a pretty picture

Prayer Plant

Maranta varieties earned their common name because their leaves curl up each night, almost like they’re praying. 

Marantas (Prayer Plant): Gratitude

The sweet prayer plant portrays a sweet and humble personality, lovingly symbolizing gratitude.

The rough sketch was a pink lino print on top of a dark green background, then more defining colours layered the outline. It’s hard to know what the outcome of a work when using mixed medium, but the joy of creating and thinking about the personality of the plant gives pleasure in itself.

I so often thought that I was starving my plant, because of the bowing leaves. But, the prayer plant is in meditation rather than in need of more water or sunlight. When I realized the charm of this plant I believe it made me pray more. The Prayer plant has so many big leaves and yet it can hold itself up while looking as though it is lacking moisture. This made me think; what if we all just softened our shoulders and quieted our minds more often.

Quiet the mind, something that is a continual work in progress for me. Thankfully I am surrounded by plants that are a constant reminder of this idea.

Reminder; Treat yourself like a house plant; lots of sunshine and hydrate often.

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Cheerful thoughts about House Plants and Art

House Plants

Best advice I’ve heard in awhile is “treat yourself like a house plant; get lots of sunshine and hydrate often” .

House plants are a part of the family in my home and I don’t work them into my art as often as I should but when I read my friends message it had me thinking. I pulled out the lino carvings I did of my Easter Cactus and my Prayer plant and went to work on playing with the idea of how much happiness they bring to me.

I like pink, it makes me happy and the plants seem to know that, the base of the printing then painting represent a cheerful day in the studio. These next images are the potted plant; first lino print, then painted over with acrylic paint.

Pink printing ink for the lino print (inspired by the plant flowers) second image is the finished art piece now ready to frame.

The sight of a flowering cactus is exciting, especially when it’s happening in my home. Love how it makes me announce the observation out loud even when no ones around. I’m glad the quoted text at the beginning of this story inspired me to complete my art and to share.

The house plant blooms close to Easter, hence the name, all the more reason to give it a little extra attention today. It’s easy to buy or adopt a plant by how it looks(especially if it has pink), but I often buy a plant because of its name, which may also tell you about the time of the year it is or when I bought it.

This project had me using paper I had prepared years ago and then encouraged me to find the bright happy colours to compliment the pink highlights. These small works of art have brought new meaning to sunshine and water to me, the plants have their own special watering jar and next the window that gets lovely light all day.

Now I must start working on me; sunshine and water.

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Brightening the Spirit through art

Spring is so so close, the month of March brings anticipation for warmer weather and brighter colours.

Acrylic Painatings with lino printing

A cheerful painting will bring life to any wall, and maybe you’ll enjoy that place in your home more because of that new playful energy.

These are two abstract acrylic on canvas with lino printing of birds and flowers, encourages the imagination to play with story telling.

A discovery that surprised me while creating…

The Prothonotary Warbler got its name from the bright yellow robes worn by papal clerks, known as prothonotaries, in the Roman Catholic church.
“Rose Garden” – 2 12″x36″

March is that time of year when I start to plan my garden or outdoor projects. And this year I’ll be creating a Rose garden devoted to “Mother Mary”.

You can see the rose flower, but, can you spot the gold crown of the flower when it is finished blooming?

Please feel free to connect with questions or interest in purchasing these paintings.

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Turning on Spring from the inside

I can’t wait….

So it seems, the season Spring has come into my studio, it helps with the quiet atmosphere of my world. Renewal –  Hope  – Life – it’s coming.

When I started the project of lino carvings with marbled fabric I didn’t have a full sense as to what I was going to do with the pieces that I had so much fun creating. These pieces hanging from my windows are prayer flags, the morning light seems to give them purpose and the prayers added to them will bring peace and joy into my work area.

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Remember last week when I wrote Flowers are Sunshine on a cloudy day ? One act of kindness inspires in more ways than one, below is a lino carving of one of the flowers printed onto the marbled fabric.

The flower arrangement has since been moved to the compost but the little container the flowers came in has a new purpose, stay tuned for next weeks blog.


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Flowers are Sunshine on a cloudy day

Last week, my friend Sarah surprised me with a lovely flower arrangement from her favourite florist. This Yellow arrangement became the centre of attention in my art studio over the grey, snowy weekend here in Calgary.

I made a few new lino carvings from the yellow inspiration and brought out a few old snowflake lino blocks to enhance; adding a few new carved lines. Along with my marbling station I created in the kitchen, I had a creative weekend. The marbled fabric is the backdrop to the carved lino blocks.

Soon, I will be combining the two mediums celebrating Spring, a season of; hope and renewal.

yellow flowers



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Spring is here……

well almost.

I am preparing for a few exhibitions and these deadlines always stimulate my creativity. I have created a few new linocut birds and I’m marbling fabric, both of these mediums and materials will be used together for the April exhibitions and possibly for other projects.

The longer daylight hours helps with the early morning creativity, and the new technique of marbling fabric always encourages more practice. Though one can never make a mistake with marbling the play or practice is FUN.

more to come….

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I didn’t realize how much I love to collect, until I met my new friend Llewellyn the star of a beautiful book by Deborah Marcero, titled “IN A JAR”.


Llewellyn goes for walks and collects beautiful pieces of nature, he keeps his treasures in jars. His imagination is inspiring, I love how Mercero has captured the simplicity and value in what we see and feel on a daily nature walk.

At first I just enjoyed the illustrations and the story, it wasn’t until the next day when I was telling a friend about this lovely book, I realized how I really felt. I too, collect on my daily walks, you can say that I see and feel what nature has to offer me, yet it’s the out of place things that I seem to take home with me.


My collection jar is by my back door, when Charlie and I return from our walks we usually have something to add to the jar. Friends have given me little things that seem to be the right size, with colour and character that make the “growing art piece” work.

Every once in awhile I’ll pour the jar out onto a tray and sift through the treasure and sort out the money (yes, I find coins) and often find a use for a few things. It’s great when kids come to visit and spot something interesting, “My Jar” is a conversation piece with little stories in it.

Llewellyn and I collect some of the same things, sometimes mine are in jars, like my wood or plastic bird eggs, I also have a growing bouquet of feathers, and a small display of heart shaped keepsakes. Hmmm, now what to do with the tiny jars I’ve collected?.

Thank you Deborah Marcero for creating this beautiful story that ignites the imagination in all of us, “IN A JAR” is a keepsake all its own.

.Deborah Mercero

Find out more about Deborah and her books here; Twitter



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Guest Interview: Susan Fae, Artist, Part Four — Sue Todd Illustration

Question Number 4: Women have historically expressed their creativity through the domestic arts. Is there a feminist motivation to your use of textiles as a medium or does it connect you to our sisters from the past? Susan Fae: This thought provoking question is a delight to answer, I have so many women to thank […]

via Guest Interview: Susan Fae, Artist, Part Four — Sue Todd Illustration

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