Mystic Canyon

The native artist, Morgan, acknowledged that its beautiful tints were beyond the reach of human art; whilst Folsom was the first to confess that language was utterly inadequate to convey a just conception of the grandeur and sublimity of this masterpiece of Nature’s handiwork.
— The Journal of the Manchester Geographical Society
The sublime scenes of our natural woodland surpass all my expectations. The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is, of course, the climax. As I beheld it today, its long kaleidoscope of varied colours, its castles and cathedrals, spires sculpted by the Deity, and heard the voice of its magnificent cataracts, I felt is was a place where the finite prays, the infinite hears, and immensity looks on.
— John L. Stoddard

Nature’s palette is incredible; unlike anything an artist can produce even when we use natural pigments. This is my second tribute to our country’s beloved treasure - our National Parks.

‘Mystic Canyon’ is inspired by the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone in Yellowstone National Park. The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is about 24 miles long, ranging from 800 to 1200 feet deep and is up to 4000 feet at its widest point. Mineral stains color the areas of the hot springs and steam vents across the walls of the canyon. For thousands of years the bubbling, steaming fluids have chemically played with the rocks, painting them red, pink, yellow and white; the rocks are in a sense ‘rusting’ from the chemical alterations in iron compounds.

Using Powertex and DecoArt Media, I have tried to imitate some of the painted, rusted and textured beauty that nature created in Yellowstone Park.


Preserve our natural heritage.

Norris Geyser Basin

Something will have gone out of us as a people if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed ... We simply need that wild country available to us, even if we never do more than drive to its edge and look in.
— Wallace Stegner

National Parks are part of our natural heritage. Unfortunately, our parks are in danger due to mining, logging, drilling, etcetera. Our children and grandchildren may never experience the richness that nature offers. I sincerely hope that sound minds will prevail and preserve our wild lands.

As a tribute, I have created a mixed media art piece in honor of a place I have visited many times: Yellowstone National Park. This is my rendition of the surreal North Geyser Basin.


I urge you to pay attention and support what is happening to the National Parks of our world. We must not let them become a wasteland of profit and greed.

Bricked In

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When I discovered that faux texture was an upcoming theme at Mixed Up Creative, I knew exactly what my classroom would feature as a tutorial - faux brick! I also thought it would be ironic if under this brick surface was glass. Like our ourselves, we can appear solid on the outside, but in fact be fragile and breakable on the inside.

But back to the outside. Brick is nostalgic for me. One block to the east of my childhood home was a beautiful brick orphanage, St. Thomas. I can to this day remember the scent coming from the open windows of the kitchen, the heady aroma of big vats of spaghetti sauce, a meal (alas) my steak and potatoes Irish father did not think was palatable at his dinner table. Another memory of the orphan’s home was the unforgettable, yet wildly bumpy, iceskating on the makeshift rink that the fire department created for the children in the winter (actually a depression in the barren ground filled with water from the fire hoses).

More brick was also one block to the west of my home at my elementary school. One block farther was the Ursuline Academy, now a historic landmark, where I volunteered as a teenager to polish the beautiful and intricate woodwork of the nun’s quarters. And yet another historic brick landmark just to the southeast: my beloved high school, tucked away in a residential, tree-shaded neighborhood and going strong to this day. Go Big Blue!

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After I had disguised the glass of this jar with my faux brick, it took on an air of the mysterious. I felt the jar contained an unknown world. And this world would need a ‘lock’ that would reveal a secret entrance to only a select few…

I hope you will join in me in my classroom for a full tutorial on upcyling a tall glass jar into a brick and mortar mystery.

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Discoveries in the Undergrowth

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth...
— "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost

Most of you know this often misinterpreted poem by Robert Frost. As for me, I did not take the path he chose, but the other (and yet same) second path. And when it ‘bent in the undergrowth’ I left the path entirely to explore the mysterious layers as yet undiscovered.


‘Discoveries in the Undergrowth’ is my artistic impression of what went beyond and off ‘the other path’. And since it is unknown, I do not have a tutorial; mostly because this was an completely intuitive piece. I did not interrupt the creative process to take photos, film a lesson or write down products. It actually wasn’t my intention not to record this artwork on paper or media, it just became that. Sometimes as a creator you just need some personal therapy.


I do remember certain items in my ‘traveler’s knapsack’. Not a map, but paper and muslin, thread and beads. Not a compass, but nails, gears and bottle caps. Oh..and yes the the road.

Happy travels,



DecoArt Product List

White Gesso, Matte Medium, Modeling Paste, Texture Sand Paste, Heavy Gel Medium and Crackle Medium; Fluid Acrylics in ‘ Phthalo Turquoise’, ‘Cobalt Teal Hue’ and ‘Quinacridone Magenta’; Americana Acrylic in ‘Warm White’, ‘Mississippi Mud’, ‘Slate Gray’, ‘Burnt Sienna’, ‘Persimmon’ and ‘Desert Turquoise’.


Be Happy


As you know, I love altering anything and everything. Recently I was taking a visual stroll

through Pinterest and came across Yupo paper that clearly had been manipulated by

heat. I was intrigued and began reading the descriptions associated with the images.

Many were blank, but some mentioned tools to use.

Then came the day to experiment. I filled a bucket full of water, just in case I set my art

room ablaze, and began experimenting. Luckily there was only a little smoke; no fire. I

opened my window for some air and I continued to play!

So here is something quite different from what I usually create. I originally intended for

this to be only a technique tutorial, but I decided to make a little piece using the Yupo

squares. I have made a video tutorial that is accessible to view for members of Mixed Up

Creatives where I am proud to be a resident tutor. I hope you try altering Yupo, with or

without a heat source, and/or make a little beachy decor.



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