Friday, July 31, 2009

Altar Ego

I love my Altars. I am proud of my Altars. I had so much fun one time doing a whole series of pieces with outlaw girls in Altars. I called them Bad Girls in A Box. You can name Altars and Shrines names like that. They are just inherently fun. And the most unusual things can be made into Altars. I took a little red, rusted very small child's wagon once, took the wheels off of it and did an Altar with a little cowboy in it. Why not. I have looked everywhere for a picture of it. If I find it I will share it with you.

Speaking of sharing...if you want to see my Altar-ed may want to take my Altars and Shrines on-line video workshop on Mixed Media Mania for only $55 bucks.

I'm not gonna lie to you, you would be better off taking Collage Camp first, because so much of what you will need to make the Altars is taught in Collage Camp. So if you purchase the Altar Workshop between now and Monday you can get the $98 Collage Camp for $55 too. Just go to the MMM site and hit the Buy it Now button for the Altar Workshop TWICE. Once will get you Altars and the repeat I will know is for Collage Camp. If you have already paid full price for Collage Camp and buy the Altar workshop between now and Monday, you will get a future $55 Mixed Media Mania workshop of your choice for free. Upcoming workshops include my collaged Flags, Collaged Clothing etc.

And if you see this blog and think..."Hey...I already paid for Collage Camp AND the Altars workshop." Drop me a line at and I will see to it that you are a Happy Camper.

So, take the Altars and Shrines Workshop and see what it's like to step outside of the box.... while getting into the box!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

See Jane Paint. Paint Jane Paint.

I love Jane DeRosier's work. LOVE it. I am lucky enough to own several pieces and they always bring me joy. With Jane's help and encouragement I put together my KC Willis Collage Camp a few months ago and that has changed my life...literally. I found Jane's paintings a couple of years ago on Ebay and what started out as a artist/client relationship has become a friendship I wouldn't trade for the world.

Jane has a huge following around the country (and the world) and she is famous for the faces of the women she paints. Her angels are truly amazing and are snatched up as soon as she posts them. I participated in her past workshop called Creative Textures and was blown away by her generosity in teaching all her mixed media techniques.....well ALMOST all her techniques. She has never shared the way she paints the faces of her women.....until now! Here's where I walk away from the keyboard and do a little happy dance around my chair. Now mind you I will never in a million years be able to paint a face with the beauty and complexity that Jane does...but I can dream can't I? I'm a collage artist because I can't draw....a thing. But I am a lover and a student of art history and am an artist because I fell in love with painters. I don't look at mixed media art in my spare time...I look at paintings. Jane's are amongst the yummiest morsels in my diet of paint and canvas.

Soooo...let me take the platform of my blog and lead you directly to Ms. DesRosier's new tutorial site called It's a new site, so there are only a few classes up, but there will be more. Might I suggest, that even if you can't paint, but want to see the magic, that you purchase this video class. If you can paint and want to learn the trade secrets of an amazing artist...might I suggest that you purchase this video class.

Get where I'm going with this? Good.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Friday, July 17, 2009

Journey with Georgia Workshop

Hi All...This is a repeat of a piece I wrote back in March when I first started blogging. I wanted to share it with you again, as many did not see it and it is my way of telling you about an O'Keeffe workshop I have added on KC Willis Studio Retreats. So spend a few minutes with Georgia and then perhaps spend a few days with me in Colorado as we explore The Life of An Artist.

I called Los Angeles home for about a dozen years, from 1981 to 1993, and lived to tell about it. I experienced earthquakes, floods in the canyon, fast-moving fires from Mother Nature and the kind that come from anger and frustration in neighborhoods filled with the same. I made sandwiches for homeless residents of my alley and ate a sandwich next to Elizabeth Taylor. We were not in an alley. I went to jazz clubs, fitness clubs, country clubs and Sam's Club. Living there was a lesson in extremes and I saw way too much. Too much wealth, too much poverty, too much traffic, and too much plastic surgery on people who had too much time on their hands. But even for all of the insanity of such a place, my world was opened up there in a way I wouldn't trade for anything.

On a Sunday afternoon in 1989 I visited the Los Angeles Museum of Art. They were having a Retrospective of the work of Georgia O'Keeffe. Now the only thing I knew about O'Keeffe at that time was that she was an old lady Charles Kuralt had visited at her home in a desert somewhere and the only thing I knew about art was that I didn't know anything about art. But as I entered the first room filled with the art of this remarkable woman, I had a strange sense of recognition. Something about this work seemed familiar; as if was resonating with a part of me I didn't even know existed. In simpler terms...I dug the heck of it.

I left the museum that day with a biography of O'Keeffe in my hot little hands and couldn't wait to get home to read it. The book was called Portrait of An Artist by Laurie Lisle (available at Amazon), and to this day I will occasionally open it up and if I don't have time to read any of it I will at least take a whiff. It smells different from any other book I've ever read. It smells of freedom, of painting to music, of a tiny studio in New York and an old adobe in New Mexico. It smells of possibilities.

I was blown away by this woman's paring down of life to it's barest essentials in order to find more time for art. "I often wished I lived in a tent, so I could pull back the flaps and let the wind blow everything away." At one point in her life her artist statement for a show read..."My name is Georgia O'Keeffe. I like to live in a room as spare as possible."

The dedication that made her sit on the floor of her boarding house room and draw until her back hurt and her hands ached, sending these same drawings to a friend in New York City, who would take them to the famed gallery owner and photographer, Alfred Stieglitz. "At last...a woman on paper!"

She dressed in all black in order to keep it simple and to save the choosing of colors for the studio and the painting she carried in her head. "It's as if my mind creates shapes that I know nothing about."

She dared to paint abstracts at a time when women didn't even have the right to vote. "Oh I was always afraid. but I never let it stop me. Never."

I love that she lived to be nearly 100 years old and continued to make art into her 90's. She took up pottery well past her 90th birthday and upon looking at a picture of her and her dogs standing on a bluff outside her home at Ghost Ranch..."Oh this picture is a prize. It's me and my dogs looking out to the future." She was 88.
I believe any one who lives their life in the studio or who dreams of living that kind of life, should read about the life of Georgia O'Keeffe. In this complicated day and age, it would be hard to emulate the life she led, but it would be worth trying to capture even a little of her attitude. As for me, I certainly lead a life very different from her...but I carry the knowledge of this artistic spirit with me. I make sure every day that my hands touch something in a creative way.

And I love the words that the late Dan Fogelberg wrote in a song dedicated to the artist and her beloved New Mexico desert called "Bones in the Sky."

"And I sing to your spirit where all my dreams dwell.
The vision. The Freedom. A life lived so well."

What an awesome thing to be able to say at the end of your artistic journey...a life lived so well.
Journey through the desert with Georgia. There's nothing barren about it.

Journey with Georgia Workshops at KC Willis Studio Retreats, September 14-15, 2009 and November 2-3, 2009.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Benefits of 53

I had so much fun with 53 in my last post that I thought I would carry it a step further. Why should I be the only one getting presents? So here's a fun "thang."

For 53 hours (starting now and ending at 5 p.m. Friday MST) I am offering...

53% off any piece of fabric art on Just pick what you want and e-me with your selection. Don't do the Buy Now because that has full price attached to it.

AND 53% off my One-on-One Individual Workshop. This is a 3-day intense creative retreat with just you and me in my studio in Colorado. 53% off for only 53 hours. And you pick the dates! 2009 or 2010.
Info at column-scroll down.
Book before July 9, 2010 or I will be 54!

For the same 53 hours all the other workshops (dates on Studio Retreats) are 20% off. These workshops have limited spaces available. And there's NOT 53 of them.

As for me...I am going to curl up in the hammock for 53 minutes, make 53 edits on the book I am writing and treat myself to 53 Junior Mints. Ain't life grand?

Oh...and I made this Matisse collage in 53 minutes!

Monday, July 6, 2009

You And Me And 53

It seems like yesterday I was 23. What was I doing at 23? Hmmm let me think...ah yes...I was on the road with a band out of Fort Worth, Texas called Camp and Co. and Pat Benetar songs were my friends. We crammed an ungodly amount of humanity into a Ford Suburban, hooked a trailer to the back of it with our equipment and proceeded to set the world of Holiday Inn disco lounges on fire with our talent. The term "disco inferno" was no doubt coined for us. Yes, the blonde in front is moi. There are no words I can give you that can make up an excuse big enough for the outfits we wore.

It's amazing what you can do at 23 that you could even begin to think of living through at 53. Yes, there I said it....FIFTY THREE! Thursday I will be 53! OK, so it doesn't really feel like it was just yesterday that I was 23. It feels every bit like it was 30 years ago. But, when I look back at the girl who lived behind a microphone by night and whispered by day because the smoke-filled clubs had eaten her voice, I am grateful to be the woman I am now instead of the girl I was then. My days are filled with art, dogs, friends, family and art again. There are no words that I can write in sentence-form that will express the gratitude I feel for the life I have now.

Words. I feel a little improv coming over me. Words. I wanna write some words. Without giving it any thought...I'm going to just pour out the first 53 words that come to mind. Wouldn't a therapist have a field day with this! Here's my list just because I'm feelin' free at 53!

Ready? Set! Go! (And no, those are not the first three words)...


Those are some of my favorite words.

53 is my new favorite number.