Tuesday, September 20, 2016

"Far Away"

It is almost four years since my buddy Cassie died, but I am still working with her. She got hurt in 2011 and couldn't walk up the stairs for a couple of weeks, so we camped out on the first floor. She still had her favorite vantage points to see what was happening outside, but the marks she made on the door were more suggestive to me of a prisoner marking off days on a wall. I called the original print "Crossing Off" and had two color versions of it - an OK but not outstanding print. I have been working with new palettes and filters this year and thought it would be fun to rework some of the older ones. Wow - fun! "Crossing Off" really popped and became "Far Away", because the new shapes and colors created a fantasy landscape of sorts, someplace far away. 

Back to that summer - Cassie got really tired of the arrangement downstairs, and about 10 days into our 2-week recuperation she marched up the stairs when I forgot to block them - wasn't long before she was napping on the bed and couch and looking out the window again. She was one happy girl!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Another Round of "Brickworks"

I started using a glass brick as a viewfinder in 2010. When a print would misfire, I would take whatever came out and tape it behind the brick and photograph it, distorting the original image into something entirely new - great fun! I called the new works "second generation PiCassieO", since the resulting images came from finished art and not directly from master artist Cassie. It is incredible to see totally different images come from the same source! The one below was the first in this series. I think it started from a partial print of "Big Lick" as seen through the brick.
 This version was never printed and got lost in the files, but not before I had extracted "Da Bird" and "Da Bird, Too!" from it.
 Last year I got a new computer, and in the process of moving files I rediscovered the original and a couple of versions I'd forgotten, and started playing with it again. "Brickworks: Advent" (below) was the first new one - if you look very closely, bet you can find da bird!  I called it "Advent" because I did it during the holidays and the colors were everywhere.

I liked the colors so much I used it on a phone case and note cards in my Zazzle store.

The image was so much fun to play with, I had to go further...

...and further (can you see the difference?...

 It never stops, sometimes - I gave the top print to a friend, and she decided she liked it better as a vertical (to the right), which I had also considered. She named it "Desert Dream", which was fine with me since the best I could come up with was "Hot Colors"'.  Then I switched gears and went for a more subtle effect, which was pretty but not nearly as exciting. There are two other versions which are presently lost, but I will post them sooner or later.

The possibilities never end - I have lots of new material, but it is so fascinating to look at the older ones in a different way. BTW - this is the final version of the print that started it all - "Big Lick", named for obvious reasons when you consider the source. :)

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Star Gazing?

"Star Gazing"          CalliGraphy by Calli and Beth

I am beginning to have a theory about Calli's "visions" when she has her seizures - I think her nickname "space cadet" may have some justification, since star shapes frequently appear in her markings on the door. Her style is so different from my wild and crazy Cassie's; she is very quiet most of the time and her marks are a bit more controlled and less expressionistic than her predecessor's. She is rarely interested in what's happening outside - maybe this pup is an introverted, more precise personality who is recording her "notes" on her interdimensional travels. Of course, I play with what she's done, in this case using a brush to emphasize some of her lines, but all of the marks you see are hers.  I never saw stars in Cassie's work - lots of other things, but not stars - and most of the time I used whatever natural elements showed in the photographs of the storm door (trees, the porch clutter, garden or whatever) and they worked because Cassie was solidly grounded in the reality of our life here. With Calli it doesn't work, which leads me off in other directions - not really a bad idea. Here are three more of her star paintings, although you'll have to search for the tiny one in "Miley Takes a Lickin" (I used to be thought of as a "serious" artist - ha!).

 "Calli's Blue Star"  CalliGraphy by Calli and Beth

 "Flower and Star"  CalliGraphy by Calli and Beth 

"Miley Takes a Lickin"  CalliGraphy by Calli and Beth

Friday, June 19, 2015

Cassie's Water Lily and How It Grew

Recently when I was looking for new jewelry designs, I reconsidered one of the early PiCassieO prints which I titled "Cassie's Monet", because it reminded me of Monet's ethereal water lily paintings . I loved the tranquil water colors with the subtle hints of pink. Sure enough, it worked wonderfully on the bracelet, pendant and earrings below. The earrings sold immediately (I like that!); the bracelet ($35 + $5 S&H) and pendant ($30 + $3 S&H) are still available. Message me here if you're interested! BTW - the print is available for $30 + $6 S&H. It is sized to fit on an 8.5 x ll" sheet of Epson Premium Matte Paper with an adequate border for matting and framing and is signed and numbered on the bottom border.

"Cassie's Monet"       ©PiCassieO 2009

Silver Plate Bracelet, 1" setting, fits most wrists
Silver Plate Earrings (by special order)
Silver Plate Pendant 30mm (H) x 22mm (W)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

It All Started As "Snool"!

Sometimes it's hard even for me to believe that what I'm doing with my digital art all started from my Cassie's "snool" on the door and windows. For the uninitiated, snool is (to be indelicate) a combo of snot and drool, which dogs make in abundance. Most of them will get creative when there is glass between them and the object(s) of attention, but few of us humans recognize the beauty of their expressive work. It helps to be an artist, because part of our job is to bring attention to things that others might not see. The print below is a PiCassieO work titled "Laughing Lion", named for the cartoon-like image of some sort of feline that I saw in Cassie's marks (imagination I have in abundance!). I decided that the colors were too far-out in this first version, so I did the actual print with a more subdued palette. Last fall I took another look at it when I was playing with fabric designs, and abstracted a couple of tiny squares to put in repeat. The results blew me away! The colors and patterns remind me of art from India - but Cassie's big Airedale nose was the source of the striking patterns. Inspiration can come from the weirdest places!

I call the two resulting designs "Laughing Lion Geo" and "Laughing Lion Geo Diamond."  It has been so much fun putting them on items in my Zazzle store - the two stamps are incredibly bright, and the candy tin and wine charm can be monogrammed. They make great small gifts - I did a tin and charm for a friend's birthday and was really pleased with the way they turned out. That is my idea of FUN - slapping my art on unlikely items in the wild colors I love so much, and secretly laughing and remembering where the art started. I have only scratched the surface in these first two "LL" abstracts.Thank you, Cassie girl!

"Laughing Lion, Version 1" by PiCassieO

"Laughing Lion Geo" Postage by PiCassieO
"Laughing Lion Geo" Candy Tin by PiCassieO
"Laughing Lion Geo Diamond" Postage by PiCassieO

"Laughing Lion Geo" Wine Charm by PiCassieO
BTW: Young Calli continues to give me ideas, although her style and our connection is still in development. Her epilepsy is a constant impediment, but her "snoodles" on the door make me laugh! I think this girl tends to be a cartoonist - more of her work in another post.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014


 A week ago yesterday marked the second anniversary of Cassie's departure from this world. I say she left, but that's not really true, because I still see her everywhere in my memory and in the art we made. I am continuing to create from her "notes", which is therapeutic in that it reminds me of her wild enthusiasm for life and makes me laugh to remember, even when tears are falling. 
 In the work above are some of her last marks on that storm door that was her favorite "canvas"; in the original print, the background resembles a beach and clouds against a deep blue sky. The elements had a glowing edge, and the total effect suggested a farewell, with the cryptic marks ascending toward the sky and clouds. I never was satisfied with the composition of those elements, however, and tried to tinker with it with no success, so I did a cut-and-paste with just her strokes to try them with a different background. This photo was in a screen saver file - it was amazing how perfectly the marks fit to give me the ethereal effect I was searching for. The original title was "What She Said" - I see it now as a message of hope instead of farewell.
I will love you forever, Cassie girl - wait for me, I'm coming!
In loving memory of Cassie (aka Cassandra Queen of the Universe) - 
April 12, 1999 - September 22, 2012

Friday, August 1, 2014

A Different World

Been meaning to get back here, but it seems I'm still doing more epilepsy research than art lately. I wondered why I am having difficulty connecting with Calli art-wise, and have concluded that the seizures have something to do with it. A friend recently made the remark that she thought Calli was "two dimensional" - not meaning Calli is flat, but that she exists in two different dimensions, one being "reality" as we know it, and the other, wherever she goes when she has a seizure. Several months ago a former painting student of mine started doing "animal communication"; knowing her to be a very honest and loving person, I decided to throw Calli at her and see what if anything she could find out about this strange little dog of mine. I didn't mention any of Calli's problems, but when Kim called me to report, the first thing she said was, "Calli has seizures - she goes away and then she comes back." I was almost speechless at the simple explanation of her illness. The big question was, where does she GO? No answer for that, but the "2-D" remark reinforced the idea of an other-worldly aspect of Calli's personality that makes it difficult for us to communicate sometimes.  She rarely pays attention to what's going on outside; usually the only time she marks the door is when she's "gone away", or in a rush to get out for potty break. She is very quiet and solemn most of the time, without the overflowing joy and exuberance that was Cassie's hallmark. The art I've made with her is totally different from what Cassie and I did, which makes me think I should leave this blog purely PiCassieO and start another one and call it "CalliGraphy - Notes from Another World." Thinkin' about it...

"Calli Makes a Pi"     CalliGraphy by Beth & Calli