A Day in the Life

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

studio3It has been a productive day in the studio. The wind is blowing, and it is a chilly Wyoming spring day, but no problem here, because I have been tucked in the studio happily working on my collages. Life is good.


Sacred South

Monday, March 25th, 2013

6.Shattered WingsI will be heading to the deep South soon, for a taste of spring (it might be a while before it finds its way to Wyoming).

My parents were both originally from the South, so I have roots that will always be there,… and I guess for that reason I need to get “my fix” about once a year.  On this trip I am looking forward to seeing some new sites and  exploring the art, the culture, the music,… well and of course the food.

I love the old spiritual music from the South, and I am hoping to find and enjoy musicians which focus on that particular genre.  “Do Lord” is one of my all time favorite spiritual tunes, and the lyrics were part of the inspiration of my collage “Shattered Wings”.  In the collage I use everything from a pair of beaded sandals, glass from a broken church window, skeleton keys from Jim (read past blog), brochure from a ” Jesus Christ Super Star” performance, etc…

I was recently contacted by the Episcopal Art Cafe Blog. They wanted to feature ” Shattered Wings” in their current blog. It is nice to think “Shattered Wings”  will reach more people through this cool blog. I encourage you to check it out. There is a lot of inspirational material on their site. www.episcopalcafe.com

I am sure on my return trip home I will have a head full of new and creative thoughts, that I will want to get to work on ASAP.

Family Tradition

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

DSC_0004There is a wonderful Russian tradition in iconography for welcoming new babies into a family. It is creating the little one’s own icon, with very specific dimensions. The board is cut the exact length the child was at birth.  If the child has been named after a saint, the icon could be of that particular saint, or if they do not have a saint name the iconographer might choose a Guardian Angel for the icon (as I have in this particular work).  Another specialized item which I have added to the icon is a gemstone, representing the month the child was born. In this detail photo of the icon, you can see there is a aquamarine placed in the breastplate. This custom icon will be one which is treasured by the recipient, and as they grow and get older, it can be passed on to a child of their own. My favorite part of creating this type of icon is the opportunity to pray for the child and their future as I work.


Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

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Baby Bump Art

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

photoOnce mothers-to-be get over the initial excitement (or shock) of their pregnancy, and they start to prepare for the arrival of the little one, there is always the baby’s room to consider. What theme?  Hmmm, let’s see…..Pirates, Princess, Bunnies, Bees, or  Elephants?  There is the color pallet for the room, the crib, and finally something to fill the walls. That’s where I come in.  What fun I’ve had working with young moms-to-be to create a piece of very original artwork for their nurseries.  The gal and her baby bump use a canvas and non-toxic paint to create a great base surface for a collage. After the paint dries on the canvas, and the belly is wiped clean, we start on the process of collage.  It is a time of creative bonding for the mom and baby as they work on their first art project together.

randipreg tessprego2 Randipregart

Dear Jim

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

DSC_0005Jim. I have spent a lot of time with him, well,.. not actually with him.

Jim was the son of a family friend. She passed away awhile ago, and Jim died many years before his mother. She was proud of him, and spoke often of his accomplishments and adventures. Jim devoted his life to the FBI. He was a young man when he started with the Bureau. He never married, and never had children. He was truly devoted to his job,… and his mother.

Jim wrote his mother letters and postcards with tidbits about exotic locations, and intriguing people. Jim, in fact corresponded with many folks, and they in turn kept in touch with Jim.  Jim died a suspicious death,..in fact his mom told us “he’d been slipped a mickie”.  This happened somewhere in New Mexico in the early 70s, if my memory serves me.

You are probably wondering why I am sharing a little bit of Jim with you,… actually I share a lot of Jim.  You see, after his mother passed away the boxes of postcards, letters, agent passports, photos, etc,…were passed to my family.  The question was what do we do with the personal papers of this ghost of a man? After looking at the photos, and reading through the detailed travels it became apparent they were too interesting to discard. Also it would have felt like we were discarding Jim. Instead I have taken these pieces of Jim’s life, the life few knew about, and now they are in my collages. I’ve used Jim’s passport photos, along with letters, and picture postcards from his co-workers and friends in Rome, Berlin, Frankfurt, Moscow, etc.. and carefully placed the pieces in my collages.

In a piece I finished recently ( Offshoot ) there is a letter written to Jim’s father from a friend in the 1920’s, but in this particular collage the true “piece de resistance” is Jim’s Geneva Convention Identification Card from the 1950’s.

I never met Jim, but over time working with the scraps of his life I have learned he was a good man.

Saint Michael and Mosquito nets

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

DSC_0035 (422x540) (402x515)This past May a friend and I taught an icon workshop. The image we wrote was of Saint Michael the Archangel.

The icon was a communal piece, with both of us working on it.

The church my friend attends takes a mission trip yearly to Uganda, where they distribute much needed mosquito nets and medical supplies. Thousands of people from the area walk many miles for the opportunity to receive a mosquito net to protect their children while resting or sleeping, which greatly lowers the possibility of them contracting Malaria.

100% of the proceeds from the sale of this Saint Michael icon will go toward nets. The church will return again to Uganda in late summer to distribute more nets and medical supplies.

The price of this 11″ x 14″ icon is $750.00, which will buy 75 nets.

Doesn’t it seem fitting that Saint Michael would be protecting the children?


Cooking Up Glue

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

It is a cold morning in Wyoming, 12 degrees to be exact.   It’s a perfect day for simmering a big pot of chicken soup on the stove.  Instead I have spent a little time this morning cooking rabbit glue on a hot plate in my studio.

I am preparing a few icon boards, and one of the first steps is to apply a linen cloth to the board with rabbit skin glue or also known as rabbit collagen. It is exactly what it seems, and it’s been used for centuries by artists in their work. The rabbit collagen will be used again in the next step of preparing the board; making and then applying the gesso on top of the linen.

There are products on the market now that are similar to rabbit glue, but I enjoy using the ancient methods in my work of icons.

The glue does have a distinctive smell, and I’m not talking potpourri. It is a good day for others to stay away from the studio.

Dental tools and an escargot dish

Monday, January 14th, 2013

IMG_3812I received an e-snail ( sorry, I couldn’t resist), I mean email the other day from a friend wondering if I wanted some worn out dental tools. I jumped at the chance.  Yes, these are the items that oddly enough when people come across them, they wonder “hmmm, Melissa might want to use this.”  The “tools” were discreetly passed to me in a box at church.

Recently I had scraps of priceless rusted metals handed over to me while out Christmas caroling. I have my sources.  All of these goodies will come out to play in a collage no doubt.  I really don’t have a landfill in my studio, but I do have bits and pieces I collect for my art.

As for the escargot dish,..let me explain. I have come across lovely miniature mortar and pestles at the farm implement store. I have no idea why they would carry them on the shelves, but I fortunately found them, and they are perfect for grinding and mixing egg tempera and pigments for my work in icons.  I shared one with a friend and fellow iconographer, and she told me about one of her best discoveries,….an escargot serving dish. Weeks later one arrived in the mail from her, to me.  It is a nice pallet for mixing and grinding several colors of pigments, and I would recommend them to anyone out there doing similar work, including watercolor.


Monday, January 7th, 2013

Maternity 043Okay, I need to just put it out there,…I finally have a Facebook page. It’s a business page under Sacred Wind Studio, or to be exact: www.facebook.com/SacredWindWyoming. It probably makes me not a true facebooker, but it is a step in a forward direction. On the page I plan to drop in some photos of my art in process, and people and places that might inspire my work. My kids are pleased I finally “did it”, but my son tells me FB is so 2005.

I truly appreciate all of you who’ve recently checked in, and checked out my art on the website.  January is a blustery month where I’m located, which makes it a perfect time to hunker down and produce some solid work,…and maybe a little sledding too.


Sunday, December 30th, 2012

8. Ski Naked, It Is-800It must be the time of year that people are in touch with their inner naked skier. On Christmas Eve two Giclee (zhee-klay) on canvas sold within an hour of each other, and today I got a call to see if I had more on hand as folks had come in looking for them at Global Arts. “Ski Naked, It Is…” aka “The Naked Skier” was inspired by photos in a 1945 Health and Sunshine Magazine that my family found years ago in my grandfather’s trunk. I had tucked it away for years, but finally it surfaced again and inspiration arose.  Health and Sunshine Magazine…. Never heard of it?  Well, I don’t know if the magazine has been in publication for several decades,..it once was a magazine dedicated to promoting nudist colonies in America. This little publication has given me more than a single inspiration,…but the others are still in the works.

Picture 006_0

Mother of Sweet Sorrow

Monday, December 17th, 2012

Images of Mary, Mother of God have flooded my mind the past few days. Especially the icon, Mother of Sweet Sorrow. This icon is always one that no matter what century it was written, and no matter which iconographer poured their prayers and time into it, it always speaks of a parent's heartfelt and sometimes heart-breaking love for their child. I know personally when I work on this icon, it is a somber and sincere experience.  My prayers go out to the parents who have tragically lost children this past week, and to all who have lost a precious child. I can't help but hear in my mind the rock classic  Let It Be… "In my hour of darkness, she is standing right in front of me…" 

Six Visions

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

Just want to put out the word that currently an exhibition in Riverton, at the CWC Peck Arts Center Gallery called “Six Visions” will be on display from November 28th – January 25.

Friend Kathi Miller is one of the artist who will be showing her works. She is a fiber artist, who does amazing works. The opening reception is 6:30 pm, Tuesday, Dec, 4th.

Art in the Afternoon

Saturday, December 1st, 2012

Sunday December 2nd, is a good day for the Christmas shoppers in Lander. Art in the Afternoon will be held at the NOLS building (formerly the Noble Hotel) on Main Street.

If anyone is looking for one of a kind gifts, this is the place to be.   I know I plan to stop in and see what my fellow artists have created for this season.

Global Arts

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

Global ArtsI was dropping off some new work this week at Global Arts, downtown Lander.  I was impressed to see what awesome art the shop has for the holiday season. It never ceases to amaze me how much talent is in this community and all of Fremont County.

After traveling for a few weeks I am glad to be back in the studio.  Things are back to normal,….hands, door knobs, and phone covered in a nice coating of glue.