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Charlie, Rogue Administrator! Collage on foamboard

Red, I’ve been told, is my color.

It’s also the color of bureaucracy.  I know this, not only because I live it at work every day, but because of letters I read this weekend as my siblings and I were cleaning out mom’s papers & files that we still have in boxes.

Letter number one was from the Social Security Administration.  It was written in the 70’s to my father who had recently been hit by a truck and seriously injured. The letter requested an update on his condition, specifically if there were any changes that caused him to no longer be disabled…or blind.

The second letter was from my mom to Macy’s (and later to a news “action” reporter). My mother wrote requesting a refund in the amount of $84. 26 for drapes that had been returned.   Mom was unable to get any satisfaction and was so frustrated that she contacted the local news action reporter.   This action reporter managed to get my mom’s money back from Macy’s. And then Macy’s sent her a SECOND check for the same amount.  She was so honest that she tried to return the 2nd check and couldn’t.   Enter the news action reporter again to help her out.

Why do some things get mired in a morass of red tape?

Recently my friend and dog walking partner Charlie was told by someone where he works that he was a “ROGUE ADMINISTRATOR”.    He was told this by a person who is completely incompetent.  Charlie, who had enough of her, finally told her that she had to comply. She accused him of being a rogue administrator.  Charlie, who will NEVER let anything go until it’s been righted, requested that I do this collage of Charlie: Rogue Administrator!  He found some beer called Rogue which had some great labels and box art.  I used those, pictures of Charlie, excel spreadsheets, acrylic paint, bottle caps, clear packing tape and various other graphics to make the collage above. Charlie was thrilled with it and will place it on an easel in his office for all to see.

Perhaps the only thing the collage needs is some red tape affixed to it somewhere. Ok, it’s literal.  But this is what the customer ordered and that’s what I delivered.  He got no red tape from me.

Theft of innocence

A fun class with artist Christopher Staples taught me how to transform pages from National Geographic magazine to the most wonderful marbled and manipulated papers using a natural cleaner and degreaser called CitraSolv. This product not only dissolves chewing gum, lipstick, and adhesives, it also breaks down the ink on the pages of National Geographic without damaging the paper.  The packaging says it’s made from clear liquid from the peel of an orange, essential oils and biodegradable cleaning agents derived from coconut.  It’s also vegan. I guess that’s  in case you want to drink it.

No, I thought not.

After we created some of the most fabulous papers I’ve ever seen we went to the 2nd step which was to then take the pages we created and use them to make a collage.

The images that came out of the manipulation using the CitraSolv were absolutely incredible.  You take the product and either spray it on the pages using a spray bottle, or paint the pages using a brush.  You can then add some Saran wrap to get some really amazing effects.  Close the magazine,  let the pages dry and voila!  You’re in business with some of the prettiest papers ever.

This collage just emerged by itself.     I have never blogged nor have I made any art having to do with 9/11, but this one just happened.

My sister took the class with me.  Here is her collage:

If you want to try this here are my suggestions:

Use CitraSolv in a ventilated area or outside if possible.   Use rubber gloves if you don’t want to get ink on your hands, but if you do get in on your hands, you can use the CitraSolv to get it right off!

As a side note:  Do not get a manicure the day before you decide to try these techniques.  (Like I did.)

to New Zealand.  I wish I was off to New Zealand.  My sister took the collages to the post office today and sent them off for the collage exchange that I spoke of in a previous post.  In case you forgot, this is for a collage exchange run by Dale.  Here’s the link again

Here are the collages, they are all aprroximately 8″ x 10″:

core-values4Core Values


Memories of Home


Can you hear me now?


Masked Ball


Take a chance on me


Stairway to Heaven


Secret Dream


Fish out of water


Individual Hopes


Shoot the Moon

(or “If God is all knowing, why does he need a quick pick?”)

The collages were a lot of fun to do, especially when we did them on “collage weekends” which oft times included cosmos.    One of the collage girls has already started on some collages for next year.  I may do that too.  But first I may have to start on some cosmos.


I am not fond of flying.  I am not fond of a number of modes of transportation.  I also do not like enclosed spaces, crowds, wide open spaces, heights…the list goes on.

An internet buddy told me that as one gets older that part of the brain deteriorates.  He said that he used to have a fear of flying, but now he’s asleep even before take-off.  (I think it’s probably because he’s drunk.)  I also have anxiety.  Lots and lots of it.  This same person says that goes away with age too.  I’m still waiting.  Perhaps a spike in my frontal lobe will do the trick.  I once read a book about a guy who ended up with a railroad spike in his head.  He was fine.  Or seemed fine.  But it was realized that he couldn’t think about the future.  Or plan ahead.  Which would force that person to stay in the “now”.  This is a popular concept.  Most recently made even more popular by the Eckhart Tolle book  “The Power of Now”. I am not in the Now.  I am in the future, past, I’m bouncing all over the place.

The picture above is a collage called “Fear of Flying”   I was inspired to do a collage by my sister, who just won third prize for her fabulous collage called “The Future Just Happened”.  It is currently on display at the Katonah Museum.  I was also inspired by my sister’s good friend and brilliant assemblage and collage artist Jean Tock. Last year she took part in an interesting collage exchange project out of New Zealand.  I want to give it a shot this year.  The site for it is here:

I hope to do a few more collages this weekend.  And then maybe it will be back to watercolor next week.  I hope.  I am planning on it.  Unless I get a spike in my frontal lobe.

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