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 


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


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


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

Friday, September 29, 2017

sometimes i stop working on a painting when

it seems to be done or i do not know where to go next.  

i have been working on some of these almost 

done paintings.  here are progress shots.

both were very soft and light.  seeing them 

from a distance on the wall, they almost faded away.

but i loved the details as i got closer but i wanted to 

be able to see more from afar.  working on these reminds

me of processing a photo in a dark room.  if you have ever

done this, the photo comes to life slowly in a chemical 

bath.  you can choose when to stoop the processing by 

taking it out and neutralizing the chemicals.  there is a little

magic in watching the photo images.  i get the same feeling

coming back and painting slowly adding color.

i would love to hear your opinion on this 

second painting.

i stopped here with the painting but 

when i fiddled with the photo this was the results.  

do you have a preference?

posting with eva and kristen's paint party friday

i will be late in responding to your comments this week.
i just discovered that my computer lost thousands of photos 
and i am sure this will take hours of work to restore them.  
wish me luck

Friday, September 22, 2017

welcome!  it is  friday, the auspicious day 

of the autumnal equinox.  i do love this season.

even in southern california, land of eternal sunshine,

a slight shift in the light, in the breezes and the beginning

of early morning and afternoon crispness can be detected. 

today i am showing you more  map girls drawn on thomas guide pages.  

with the frequent and common usage of cell phones, maps have become

all but obsolete and i have found a new use for this paper that i cannot 

throw out.  the first image i posted last week but i thought they would

be fun seen together.  one of my friends predicted i will be continuing a

new collection as i did with teabags last year.  perhaps!  i title them by the

page numbers.  they are all the same color but the lighting changes the outcome

on the screen.  i don't mind that.

posting with paint party friday friends. thanks so much 
to eva and kristen for hostin.