• Art & Design Projects

    Shipping Art Internationally

    I recently returned from a trip to Ireland and have been doing the preliminary sketches for a series of paintings based on the photography I shot while traveling. At least three paintings will be going back to Ireland as thank-you gifts and so, never having shipped a painting internationally, I googled around and found a brilliant video on how to build a veritable tank around one’s art to protect it from the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. Postal services, as we all know to our grief, are less than gentle when handling packages. I think these instructions will benefit anyone wanting rugged packing for their art, even if only shipping art across…

  • Web Design

    New photographer’s website designed

    I had great fun creating this photographer’s website featuring bold photos on a dramatic black background. The home page has a slideshow of some of this photographer’s best work, and I added Google mapping to show where the next shoot will be, a blog, photo galleries, and soon…a store. You can see it at www.RPRTPhoto.com.

  • Art & Design Projects

    New Year’s Mandalas 2014

    I created twelve different mandalas as part of a project with an artist’s group to produce twelve monthly mandalas for the coming year. Each one was an example of what we wanted to bring into our lives. If you are unfamiliar with the historical background of mandalas, Wikipedia has a good overview. As I noodled around the Internet, looking for inspiration, I became intrigued with the concept of combining the radial balance of traditional mandalas with the ancient practice of using words as forms of magic in mantras, incantations, prayers, and spells. In other words, to create ”a sacred utterance…or a group of words [with] psychological and spiritual power.” I began by choosing twelve words and twelve corresponding…

  • Thoughts & Quotes

    Good Art Is…

    Good art is a truing of vision, in the way a saw is trued in the saw shop, to cut more cleanly. It is also a changing of vision. Entering a good poem, a person feels, tastes, hears, thinks, and sees in altered ways. Why ask art into a life at all, if not to be transformed and enlarged by its presence and mysterious means? Some hunger for more is in us—more range, more depth, more feeling; more associative freedom, more beauty. More perplexity and more friction of interest. More prismatic grief and unstunted delight, more longing, more darkness. More saturation and permeability in knowing our own existence as also…

  • Art & Design Projects

    Doctors Without Borders Art Benefit

    I was recently selected to exhibit in this year’s 7th Annual Doctors Without Borders Art Benefit in Half Moon Bay. I’m told it was a difficult jurying process, so I’m very grateful to have been chosen. After being accepted, I went into the conceptual phase of choosing images, thinking about the show’s theme, “Connections”, and sketching out some ideas. Then I ordered canvas and the real work began. Painting is a journey. I begin with an idea of where I want to go, but sometimes the painting has a mind of its own and just takes off in its own direction. That’s what happened with this piece. Originally, it was meant…

  • Art & Design Projects


    Here’s a rainy day zentangle doodle. New to the concept of zentangles? Google has a bazillion examples, and here’s an explanation. Join the fun!

  • Art & Design Projects

    In my Studio

    #ThrowbackThursday When I was working on an oil painting in my studio in the Napa Valley, sometime in the late 1990s.  The painting, which you can find over on my “paintings” page, is named “Bromeliad.”

  • Thoughts & Quotes

    Writing Poems

    Same old, same old. Silent house, except for a cat snoring and the sound my laptop makes as I type. Writing poems. Thinking. Editing. Is this one any good? Who is the one to say so? Is all this effort a waste of time? Why have I always felt so impelled to write? Why is this one so crowded and this one so spare? I find a line I like: ‘I am bombarded, yet I stand.’ I proceed from there. Something takes shape, however vaguely.

  • Art & Design Projects

    “The Art of Encaustic Painting” by Joanne Mattera

    Materra has written a wonderful book. She’s an accomplished encaustic painter herself, and her book on this ancient method of painting with pigmented beeswax is outstanding. Encaustic’s history, modern examples, quotes from artists, and–very important–the recipes and methods, are all covered in this slim volume. Highly recommended, if you are interested in exploring the medium. From Library Journal According to Roman historian Pliny the Elder, encaustic was used as early as the fifth and fourth centuries B.C.E. It is made by melting beeswax with a small amount of resin and then adding pigment while the mixture is still molten. The artist works quickly out of the pot, for the wax…

  • Art & Design Projects

    A Painting Begins

    I go through a weekly cycle that goes something like this: Weekends contribute to my becoming inspired because I’m poring through books, websites, museums, galleries, maybe seeing some live music (or making it!), taking long walks, and photographing moments that catch my heart. At night, my dreams are filled with fantastic landscapes and projects. By Monday, I’m filled with motivation. I want to write about it, paint it, create it. And so I dive in and start exploring those ideas, seeing where they lead me. This Monday, it’s a new painting, 18″x18″, oil on canvas, of some dreamy callas. There’s also a conceptual piece that will begin sometime after Wednesday…