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some of you know that i recently had the idea of starting a non-profit art group for kiddos with aspergers syndrome and autism… and it’s finally happening!  i’m super excited.  we’re getting bids to remodel the garage and make it our little group’s “art shack” and touching young lives with art and expression.  right now we’ve just been having tiny groups of two to four kids at a time at the dining table but soon we will expand (in the spring) to being an open group with up to eight or ten kids at least twice a week.  it will be donation driven for supplies and things, like “pay if you can” sort of thing, but no one will be turned away if they can’t afford it.  one thing i’ve noticed is that the kids feel so comfortable with teach other and can totally relate to one another.  one little guy told me that he liked that he wasn’t picked on at our house for being “different”.  happy tears for me!

in preparation of trying to file the non-profit paperwork, getting the garage remodeled into the kid’s studio, and setting up website hosting (shameful admission: i can’t afford to do it all myself money-wise), i’ve created a few pieces of art with the kids to make a little start-up money, in a joint etsy shop with the boy called mum and finn (our monsters will be going there soon, too, but i thought it would be a good fit for this stuff as well).  100% of profits go to the kid’s art group, of course.  the first three pieces below were based upon the kid’s talking about feelings and some of their favorite things to do.  they picked the colors and things and i painted the pieces as best as i could based upon their descriptions (according to six to nine year olds, i’m “really good” at painting their words — they are so sweet!).

piece one: i love skipping rope in the rain
4×6″ canvas
available here:
sold. thank you. 🙂

i love skipping rope in the rain

piece two: kicking a ball while wearing a funny hat
4×6″ on canvas
available here:
sold. thank you. 🙂

mixed media portrait

piece three: watching orion (in bunny ears)
5×5″ canvas
available here:
sold. thank you. 🙂

mixed media portrait

stuffed monster (based upon my son’s drawing): eunice traded her right art for george’s intestines. she survived… but he did not.
(not intended to be a child’s toy — small parts — removable intestines)
available here:
sold. thank you. 🙂

salvaged textile stuffed monster

and last but not least, a special playful but weirdo mixed media book/journal.
available here:
this one is special in that it’s a “two story” book™ (© alicia caudle, 2011, all rights reserved) which is one of my recent creations (i will be posting my other two story book creations soon and will be hosting a small workshop on how to make them but more on that at a later date):  THIS PIC MAY TAKE A BIT TO LOAD.
sold. thank you. 🙂

mixed media art book, journal

all of these pieces have been added to our new etsy shop (with LOTS of new monsters coming soon): mum and finn on etsy

note: both the girl and the boy above that are listed as 4×6″ canvases are the same brand of canvas but for some reason the size is a tiny bit different.  what’s up, winsor newton!?  the girl is about 1/4″ taller… and i didn’t notice until i finished each of them.  hmmmph.


i really don’t know what my problem is lately, but i have this odd affinity for “girliness” that i’ve failed to possess for most of my life.  i kind of did when i was pregnant with my son (and NO, i’m not re-preg, thank you very much), but not so much before or after… until now.  anyway, painting goofy little girls has been fun as of late and i did these a few weeks ago.  if i wasn’t such a crap-head i would have posted them then — i’ve been a slacker in the communications and  blogging department as of late.  summer is just so insane (most of you can relate, i’m sure, particularly those with offspring running around like wild overly-audible fireballs who demand all of your attention and then some).  and then there are my clients.  wowz!  i went from virtually no work to way too much for one artist-home-school-self-employed-shop-owning-wife-mama.  but it’s good — our bellies are full and the cupboards are no longer totally bare.

first, i did this portrait of miss frida kahlo.  frida with rosy cheeks and nasturtiums in her hair, leaning up against a wall.  i sold her yesterday before being able to post her, and she’s going to a lovely new home here in portland tomorrow where she will be cared for and well-loved.  that makes me happy!

originally her ears were naked and it bothered me, so i added this era-accurate earring which made me happy.  i had been coveting this for YEARS and it felt like the perfect place for it.

frida kahlo painting, face detail

her eyes are a little off and her lips could maybe use some color, but i’m pleased enough with it since i really haven’t been able to do better than stick figures until my recent few portraits attempts.  yeah, yeah, her brows are off but i’m a quirky girl who likes things “off” sometimes.  (did i post the girl with the way too long i painted for my mum?  will have to see.)

this actually started as a doodle on art matte board and ended up way better than i had anticipated.  it didn’t feel right not on canvas or something better so i white washed a piece of 10×10 wood, drilled holes to run one of lisa jurist‘s amazing fantastically beautiful pieces of sari silk ribbon through the top and popped her onto it.  i like it much better now.  (in this photo it’s not glued down yet, thus the shadows)

frida kahlo, painting, portrait, flowers

next i did a little girl in a cute skull dress with skully hair-clips.  i call her maria (she’s one of my imaginary friends paintings).

maria, portrait, mixed media, redhead, skulls, painting
i didn’t mean to make her eyes so sad, but oh well.  she was fun to create none the less.  i will be posting her for sale in my shop as soon as i have a few moments to do so.  email me in the meantime if interested.  but first, peek at the whole painting (6×6″ on canvas) — click to enlarge if desired:

maria, portrait, mixed media, redhead, skulls, painting

next,a red pigtail girl named pepper.  she loves ravens.  and stripe socks.  and pigtails.  (all like me)  i’m not terribly thrilled with her face but i love her hair and dress.  🙂

mixed media, portrait, painting, red head, pigtails, raven, crow, anatomy, anatomical heart, crackle

she is 6×12″ on canvas.  it was requested to be in a “witches and ravens” gallery show for october with some raven pieces i’m having there but i said “only if i don’t sell it first”.  will soon list it on my site for sale, if only temporarily.  if interested and it’s not yet up, email me (i’m so busy that i INTEND to do way more than i ever feasibly can in one day).

i love pepper’s crackly dress and heart:

mixed media, portrait, painting, red head, pigtails, raven, crow, anatomy, anatomical heart, crackle

and the side — the reverse polka-dot of her dress sleeves and inside (and some of the polka-dots are polka-dotted)…

mixed media, portrait, painting, red head, pigtails, raven, crow, anatomy, anatomical heart, crackle

lastly, while talking to my sweet friend katie a few weeks ago i was working on this silly little painting.  i later showed my husby and son and husby said “you do know who that is, don’t you?”  i said “um, no.  an imaginary friend i have yet to name, i guess.”  he and finn-munchkin said “it’s katie!!”  oh.  yeah, it kinda does look like katie when we met, at least in the lips, nose and eyes.  that was 20 years ago.  weird, eh?  sooooo, she is called “katie’s garden”.  she too is soon to go off to a new home.

katie's garden, portrait, striped flowers, redhead
i painted the stripey flower garden scene around the sides of the canvas, too:

katie's garden, portrait, striped flowers, redhead

i have no discernible “personal style” when it comes to portraits or people paintings (other than red hair and stripey socks and other stripey bits) but have really been enjoying playing lately.  this is such a new thing to me — i’m so much more comfortable with my books and assemblages and collages and such, but i’m loving playing for sure!

oh, and speaking of katie…

my dear sweet friend katie cahill posted a great post on copyrighting your art (and writing and such) and i learned some valuable new things that i hadn’t previously known.  you should go check it out.  you think i can be mildly witty?  this girl is the queen of wittiness and i could read her writings (and rants) for days in a row.  she’s a fun girl (thus the fact that we’re been friends for 20 years).  anyway, her post his entitled “creativity condom” and i created this little image for it.  click the condom below to read katie’s “creativity condom” post.

creativity condom

happy, happy weekend and love to all!  i’m going to take a “client break” and catch up on all of your magnificent blogs.  then i’m going to take a “family break” and continue to do so through the night.  i’m excited to see what you all have been up to!


it’s no secret that i’m typically a busy little bee and oftentimes forget to post blogs, read blogs, list items in my shop, etc., and these past few weeks have been no exception.  it’s almost summer break though, and this means an extra 5+ hours per day to create art, visit friends and post new goodies in the shop (home schooling takes up LOTS of time, you know!).

today i completed a mini frozen charlotte textile assemblage that i started a short while back.

frozen charlotte, assemblage, mixed media, textile, fabric, brass, found objects, recycled sari silk, vintage lace

in great anticipation of spring, i have called her “charlotte’s flower”.  last sunday, which was mother’s day, i recalled that the mother’s day before was the first day that our roses bloomed.  this year?  nothin’!  not a rose, nor a peony, not a mum or a fox glove or a purple cone flower or even a teeny tiny asian pear blossom.  we have buds, finally, but no blooms.  hmmph.  so, in this piece i’ve made my own (of course using the GORGEOUS recycled sari silk from miss lisa of mudhound studio).

frozen charlotte, mixed media art, collage. textile, assemblage, recycled sari silk, brass frame

this piece is now up for sale on my site, here.

i’ve recently taken painting back up, which is something i haven’t partaken in in quite some time (that’s all i used to do, you know — though 99% abstract). yesterday, i picked up a 6″ x 6″ canvas i had in my pile of blanks and painted this scene from a recurring childhood dream i recalled AFTER i finished painting it.  the dream: i’m not the three year old i was in real life when it started, but a bit older… maybe 15 or 22 or somewhere in between.  i was standing on the edge of the ocean, a storm brewing, wind blowing, waiting.  in the distance, to my right, i could always see a lighthouse, though it was rarely illuminated.  my dress would “wave” against my bare legs in my dreams, chilling me, and my pigtails would whip about wildly.  of course i’ve added the “modern day” twist of having stripey alicia-socks and red locks instead of naked legs and white-blond hair.  anyway, i was always waiting for something… “love”, though that didn’t really make sense to me at the time.  i dreamed this from about 3 years of age to roughly 8 or 9 and wrote many stories about it in my youth.  it’s so strange that i didn’t remember the dreams until after i had painted this, though i wasn’t really thinking when i did it.  perhaps our recent family beach trip influenced me?

original acrylic painting, waiting at sea, ocean, storm, pigtails, redhead, little girl, lighthouse, beach scene, original painting

this painting is also available for purchase in my shop, here.
(sorry, this item has been reserved — thank you so much!!)

long story short — i’ve always been crap at portraits.  anything having to do with people really, but i recently said “sure, i’ll play” to a limited pallet portrait challenge that gritty jane posted on  my color choices were unbleached titanium, mars black and cadmium red.  while painting this, she (the gal in the portrait) “told” me her name was “adoette”.  that sounds weird, maybe, but her name just popped into my head.  seeing how i wasn’t painting anyone specific or looking at a photo or anything for reference, i just went with it.  i finished her up, painted a tree behind her and i was done.  i think i finished her about five days ago.  so… while posting this now, i wanted to look up “adoette” as i’ve never heard of any such name and lo and behold, it’s a native american name that actually means “large tree”.  i thought that was a strange little coincidence indeed since there is a barren tree behind her and i’ve never actually painted a tree before.

original acrylic painting, portrait, redhead, barren tree, adoette

this too is also available in my shop, here.

i’ve had so much fun painting this portrait, that i’m starting a whole new series of “imaginary friends” — portraits of those i conjure up in my mind just for the sake of painting them.  time spent painting is pure bliss for me.
oddly, i JUST now realized that the second of my three childhood dreams was of being a native american lady who lost her man in battle and wished to die herself.  so morbid and sad, i know, but you can’t help what you dream, can you?

soon i will be posting new dolls and doll parts on, new textile bundles and vintage lace bits, and a new series called “fragments”… plus some other stuff that will hopefully be worth a quick peek.

it seems crazy to me that it’s been a couple of weeks since i’ve posted anything, but oh my i have been having so much fun!!  i get too busy sometimes, and i feel like my head is up my arse a bit but my break has reminded me that i have one damn cool child!  i never forget this, of course, but sometimes i remember it more than other times.  we hung out all of spring break and i kept thinking to myself “where did you come from!??”  “you are almost seven!?”  i think sometimes that in my heart and mind he is still three.  i’m not a child neglecter at all, of course, but i think we (moms, people… humans) can get so wrapped up in our “now” that we forget to see the things we most love exactly as they are in the moment.  so, we played.  a lot.  for the past two weeks.  yeps!  then we had a storm that make me have no internet for four days and i didn’t complain… i just painted for a little “me time”.

paint texture, crackle, text, color, mixed media, art
don’t you just love those moments when you’re just working away on something, painting a plain little background to something new, and poof! a miraculous accident happens?  this occurred for me the other day.  short version: paint, crackle medium and fireball six year old boys running through the kitchen, crashing and spilling things on piece (i never really work in the kitchen but this particular night was different as i was making pho and didn’t want to forget and burn the house down), then boy trying to fix said piece and poof.  this.

mixed media art

i love dying things with coffee, both brewed and instant.  that was the start to my last week as i always like to have an ample array of coffee stained crocheted lace and fabrics on hand.  i was working on a piece for the next zine (more on that soon) so tossed in some extra stuff so as not to waste that precious liquid.

coffee stained lace, heart, dying with coffee, aging fabric, aged lace
crocheted lace, coffee stain, aging lace, stained lace, antiquing lace
sometimes when doing larger pieces i like to keep one side in longer than the other to give some variance.  this way i end up with darker and lighter pieces to later use in my art.

lace, tatted lace, crocheted lace, coffee stain, stained, dye, aged

mixed media art

we are solely bunny celebrators when it comes to easter here, and apparently i’ve been a good mum for the past six point whatever years… the little man of the house proclaimed that he wanted natural eggs and hoped that the bunny was too green to bring “horrible plastic eggs”.  i was pretty thrilled.  last year we dyed eggs with beet juice and other natural stuff but this year i forgot it was easter and with our loss of internet was unable to research other good things to use.  i caved and let the wee’kin use food colouring, but he wanted to decorate them more.  i said “put some stickers on them”.

apparently my husby came in about ten minutes later to find the fridge door ajar.  he went to close it and the little man was crouched with both produce drawers open, peeling stickers off apples and lemons and oranges and cucumbers and putting them on the eggs.  he said “it’s more green to reuse these stickers than break out my new ones.”  too damn cute!

produce stickers, organic, eggs, easter

the bun’ found a nest the husby and i started a couple of years ago and keep adding to — it’s made from broken guitar and bass strings.  this was my favorite egg with a 942 sticker on it.

easter egg, numbers, nest, bird nest, birdnest, coloured egg, color

with the left overs, finn wanted to get a little crazy so as not to waste (good point)…

egg dye, dying lace, dyed fabric, easter
i can’t really foresee myself using anything so bright, but you never know… the perfect moment for uber green lace bits MAY just happen.  can never be too prepared, eh?

mixed media art

confession: i’ve never taken an art class in my life. i know this is apparent most of the time (the joy and fun is what matters to me!).  that being said… the other week i drew a girl, just for fun.  never finished it, but will soon.  sunday, i started some more girls.  i drew them in pencil.  went over them in ink.  painted them.  well, started.  neither are done, of course, and i have since finished the hair on the “blue girl” but how much fun this is!!   i’ll post them if i finish them.  i particularly like the back girl that you can’t see — will have a bird cage with a bird skeleton in it.  she was the first with skeleton hands but she’s not holding flowers…

painted drawings, girls, skeleton hands, flowers, bird skeleton, thrird eye

orange dress, texture, paint, faux crackle
and that’s that.  this is amply long enough anyway… like four posts in one.

mixed media, acrylic, collage, donna watson

copyright donna watson

i recently had the pleasure of interviewing donna watson of layers, a contemporary mixed-media collage artist/painter,  as the january/february featured artist on my altered bits site.  since the first moment i laid eyes upon her amazing artwork i was in love, in awe and extremely inspired.  most, if not all of you have heard of donna i’m sure, and i would imagine that you visit her blog on a regular basis to see her outstanding work and read her inspirational thoughts and quotes.  after interviewing her, i felt that i knew so much more about her than i had known before and it makes me admire her all the more, both as an artist and as a woman.

assemblage, frozen charlotte, altered book, mixed media, collage

copyright donna watson

not only has donna shared a great deal of wonderful information about herself and her art career, she has shared with us an abundance of amazing art.  there you will find thirteen delectable pieces — some of which are even for sale.  but go read the interview for yourself >>

thank you so much, donna!!

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