Friday, January 19, 2018

happy new year friends!

how are you?  I didn't mean to take a 

long break but that's exactly what happened.  

a sinus infection got me for a good month and then

the holidays came.  my son visited for a nice long

time, always a delight to me.  I stop everything while

he's here. 



I'm glad to be back at my dear blog! i've missed

you all and hope all is well!



this year I am working on my drawing skills.

with some pen drawings.  these drawings

are in a little journal I carry with me

along with a mechanical pencil and am

.02 micron pen.






also experimenting with a mechanical pencil, 

black wing pencil, and eraser drawings.

the simplicity of products used is enticing.






 and then missing color, watercolor using a 

soppy brush is added over the pen drawings.

characters do show up!!






lastly, a pelican spotted on my daily walk.




thank you for visiting today!



posting with friends at paint party friday.
thank you eva and kristin.  





Friday, November 17, 2017


we are inching into the holidays and for those who celebrate,

i wish you a happy thanksgiving! 


fruit skewers 


isn't this the most adorable turkey?  i made it for 

my art group meeting.   labor intensive but well worth it!



this week i am sharing some of my daily

coffee shop sketches.  in the future i may use them as a 

coloring book and add some watercolors or collage. my friend 

jacki long says  collage always make thing better. 

but for now, here they are, warts and all!









thanks so much for visiting.  i love to read your comments

and suggestions.  see you next friday!




as i do every week, this post is 
linked with paint party friday

Friday, November 10, 2017


welcome to my weekly blog post.  i am continuing

with the daily collage that i described last week.

i begin when it is still dark. i have been lucky, a fragment of 

a thought, an idea, an internal image comes along with the selected images.

this develops as the images are glued onto the surface.  

i never know what to expect so it is always a surprise.



illusion, mixed media in an altered book



the control you think you have 

is an illustion.

this moment is all there is.

when you meet a kindred spirit,

recognize the connection and 

remember.




i post my art daily on instagram under 
irenerafael and weekly here on friday when i link
with art pals at paint party friday, hosted weekly by
kristen and eva


thank you for visiting and your comments. 

both are much appreciated. 




Friday, November 3, 2017


welcome! 

i am back home from t a few fun days in chicago wedding dress shopping

with my son's finance, eating and enjoying this lovely city. 



the early morning collages that i started to show in the last

post have continued in my altered book.

with each collage comes a story.


picture brides


 the process has taken me deep into my memories in a way that is compelling. 

  i feel like i am writing and collaging the history not only of my own 

family but of the history of the japanese americans from the 

early nineteen hundreds when they immigrated to the united states.






i am integrating what i have researched, images, memories and family stories.

i create them before the sun comes up, the quiet time of the day.  

i find the world is mine to dig deep and that i am surprised at

what comes to me at that time.  





 a limited palate seems to depict the stories best.





 if you are interested in reading more, they are all posted on instagram.  






i visited the art institute in chicago.  when i am there

i am always drawn to the breathtaking marc chagall stained glass.  








thank you for visiting today.
wishing you a lovely week enriched by art, family and friends!




this posted is linked with friends at paint party friday.
thank you eva and kristen for your continued support of 
the art community!









Sunday, October 22, 2017



this week i did a number of collages.  first, i will start

by saying i love college.  i have been asking other artists 

to teach teach me.  i have a couple of future dates where

i will lean from them but while i am waiting for 'lessons'

i decided to try again on my own.  here is what i have done 

so far.  i am loving the process. 





i start out before the crack of dawn with a cup of tea

in my studio.  i start by selecting images from my large

collection that jump out at me.  





i follow a loose story that begins to develop

through the images.





i cut and glue pieces to the background





some acrylic is added




and the story develops




and deepens.   i have found the process

deeply satisfying.





this week i went to the printers fair at the international

print museum in carson, ca.  here are a few images i took there. 











i hope it's been a lovely weekend.

posting late with friends at paint party friday.



Friday, October 13, 2017

hello!  i have been besieged with

computer issues for the last two weeks.

you know how it goes.  just when you think 

it's over, you find something new to contend 

with.  but i remind myself, that it's a first

world problem and go on with life but there

are times when it's just darn frustrating.



the good news is that i can post today and for 

that, i am grateful.  after days of doing not creating art,

i felt rusty.  i decided to go simple using a stabile and 

white gesso on these two drawings.







on my birthday i attended a weekend workshop with misty mawn,

one of my favorite teachers.   i love the creativity she brings in her

soulful style and have taken many online and in person workshops

with her.  through writing prompts, poetry, symbols and the three primary 

colors plus white and black to create values, i painted two paintings.

i have been wanting to push my art and  experimenting with adding a story 

to my paintings. the writing brought me back to a time when,  for years 

i wrote daily,  first journaling, then poetry and fiction, then back 

to journaling.   i didn't know that i missed it so much.  




this is an underpainting yet to be completed

hello

and  in my journal.





in both northern and southern california

there have been tragic unconfined fires.  i was

at a local arboretum celebrating my birthday with

friends the morning the anaheim hills fire broke 

out.  we saw a change in the sky and left the area

to go to lunch.  



after lunch, the sky had changed. i have several

friends who had to evacuate their homes.  luckily,

they are all safe but everyone is not so lucky. 

your prayers are welcome for the victims 

who have suffered losses and for those who are

uncertain about their homes. 







posting with the lovely eva and kristen