Monday, October 25, 2021

October Wrap-up to Open Studios


Thanks for visiting my studio!

I’m so grateful for the good turnout last weekend as I opened my home to art lovers who were touring Washington County studios. The weather was great and interest was high. Thank you for coming out and supporting me.

Most of you know that I have two spaces in my home set up as art studios: the original one at the back in what might otherwise be a master bedroom, and the messier area in half of the garage.

People had a look at much of the art I’ve created in the past 5-6 years and I’m happy that many pieces went to their forever home. Visitors expressed many times how they were inspired and motivated to be creative after seeing how I fit art into my everyday life. Great! That’s exactly my intention… to inspire others to be creative.

Collaborative Painting

Ahead of time, I set out six 12-inch quarter-inch thick birch panels on the painting table. Every guest was invited to take a non-brush tool and leave their acrylic mark on the boards.... creating the foundation for a collaborative work of art.

At day's end the boards were covered with highly saturated paint, applied by each visitor using non-brush tools... a mess, for sure. But this is exactly how I like to work these days, putting down layer upon layer of often unrelated paint.

Early Monday I restored the garage to its normal function and reclaimed the parking spot, itching to tackle the 6 panels. I pulled out an old book and glued the pages to the panels using acrylic gloss medium as glue and on top to seal and let the whole shebang dry overnight.

It’s hard waiting for glue to dry….

The next day I pulled out my palm sander and went to work.. sanding down the panels, removing much of the paper while leaving the transfered text and some of the paper, and this was the result. It’s hard to see detail, especially if you’re reading on your phone, but believe me that some of the details on each of these boards are achingly beautiful, especially with a coat of gloss medium to pull out the colors. 

And then….

I cut some bamboo stems from my garden, sat down at the table and drew. and drew. and painted with titanium white, and this is the result of work….

…..We did this together

I’m sure it’s not finished but I wanted to show you what we accomplished together on a fine fall weekend. And thanks to all of you who added the beginning layers. 

Try it yourself. Work this way in your sketchbook. Work on a sheet of heavy watercolor paper. Simply play and have fun.

There are always surprising things to learn and do when you visit an artist’s studio. Plan on touring next year… the third week in October.

Please follow me on Instagram, @joreimer, where I post frequently.  Let’s keep in touch!

Tuesday, October 12, 2021


You're invited!

Washington County Open Studio Tour - October 16 and 17, 2021.

 Hours are 10am-5pm. 

  Link to the map

If you can't visit in person,  most of the work is on my website.

Link to Jo's website

The tour is free. Pick up a physical map at the studio or any participating artist as well as The Village Gallery.

Both areas of my studio will be open, following current Oregon masking and distancing protocols. Please wear a mask. And no, I don’t like them either. 

I have some fun things to share with you including a collaborative painting project whereby you get to add your own marks to a group painting.  

Take your time; look around; get ideas for your own studio setup. Mine's in the garage and in a reclaimed bedroom. Lots of paintings are on display, most for sale, some at discounted prices. Greeting cards are available, too. 


  Here are a few works on display and for sale.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021


Welcome to another online studio tour. I hope to inspire you to make-do with what you already have.

This is my garage studio

One of the bays in our garage has been repurposed; it’s now my painting studio in all but the most inclement weather. A workbench and some shelving were already in place, and I added a couple of tables, two trolleys, my easel, a tool chest for paint storage, and a child’s toy cabinet. A friend built a freestanding painting wall from three hollow core doors so I can use one side for paintings in process and the other for display. Since I took these photos I claimed the opposite wall for large canvases, and during Washington County Open Studios I’ll spread out across the entire garage in order to display more artwork.


It was pretty but dark, so I increased the lighting and covered everything with white paint.





The drawers of the workbench hold miscellaneous items such as sponges, paint rollers, assorted paint sticks, inks, paper, and even a few woodworking tools.



I use tools and supplies intended for other uses. The yellow tray is a styrofoam meat tray. The red plastic box came from a paint store, intended for paint and roller. The black covered take-out container has been repurposed into a small stay-wet palette. I used the big lazy-susan container at the rear on my desk for years... bought for office supplies and now for brushes. And of course, there are the yogurt cups and brushes for water... must have lots of water handy.

I'm forever grateful to the former owners of this house for building out this corner of the garage so I didn't need to do so. Plastic on the workbench, paintings, foam-core, old magazines, canvases, and my heater, all up and out of the way on those shelves.

I hope this peek at my garage studio inspires you to make do with what you have, and that those who live close enough will come to see the studio in person on the weekend of October 16-17 during Washington County Open Studios.

I'll have free maps available to direct you to the many other artist's open studios within the county. 

I'm asking all visitors to wear masks. This is my home and I must protect my family.

There are two studios

Yes, you read that right. You'll enter the garage studio, and after looking around there, you can go down the path to a back door into the collage studio where I'll limit visitors to 4 at a time. Read about this studio in my last post.

If you find a work of art that is just right for your home you can pay with a card, cash, or through an app. We make it easy to claim your treasure.

I'll have all sizes and price points available, from $4 cards to larger paintings... there's something for everyone.

Come any time between 11 and 5 on October 15 or 16. I'll be waiting.


Tuesday, September 07, 2021

Don't put it down; put it away

 Don’t put it down; put it away

… that’s Mom-speak which still rings in my ears.

 I’m starting the process of getting my art studio show-ready for the Washington County Open Art Studio Tour which will be the weekend of October 16 & 17. The current disorder reminds me of my mother’s admonishment which still applies:

 A place for everything and everything in its place

.... so said my mother, over and over while trying to teach me good habits. I'm still working on it.

My goal is to have this place show-worthy when you walk in the door, but when I go to put an item away, I find myself wanting to play with it instead… to paint, or draw, or glue, or sit down to write a newsletter. The writing comes lots easier than using the Mailchimp software. And now I’m paying the price: two untidy studio spaces.

Two studios in one small house! 

Yep, I’m gradually taking over the house. And how grateful I am to have room to play right here at home. I began the takeover when we moved in 5 years ago, downsizing everything. I disposed for two-thirds of my art supplies, but that still left lots, and I can’t resist buying more and scattering it all about, too.

We decided to sleep in the smaller of the bedrooms and let me remodel the master for art-making. That worked for about a year, and when we gave up the extra car my greedy eyes fell on the empty bay of our two-car garage… the wider side and the workbench. So, I went to work converting it into a painting studio while preserving the original studio for collage, office, reading, and sewing.


This is the library/napping corner as seen from a birds eye view, with stacks of books and small personal items to put away before visitors stop by.

Visualize me on a tall ladder with my handy smartphone camera, taking overhead shots so you can see the mess! That was such fun that I made detail shots about what’s used where and why, hoping that my setup strikes a chord with you. Watch for future newsletters and come see it all in person.

The middle of the room is taken up by two tall 2 x 4 ft. tables that give me standing room to work with paint and paper. It stays messy but that's a sign of the artist working daily at her job.

 The space under the tables houses three trolleys with specific materials for working. This one holds paint in small containers. Most of my paint is in the garage studio.

Painted plywood is used for the top of the flat files and I placed a tall Ikea table over that, leaving a 
5" high space between for unresolved paintings.

And finally, the corner tables where I do computer work, sit-down collage work, journaling, printing, and working with the sewing machine. It's always a work in progress and should be plenty of room but I'm forever shoving something aside to make room for the next project.

Save the date! Mark your calendar now!

October 16-17 from 11:00 until 5:00.

14150 NW Bordeaux Lane, Portland, OR 97229

Masks required.

Email me your address if you want a postcard reminder

joreimer255 @ (no spaces)

Saturday, February 20, 2021

WETLANDS sketches

 Last week I showed you how I taped off a large sheet of paper, preparing to paint some sketches of the nearby wetlands. I made the six sketches using acrylic paint, collage papers (paper bag, washi paper with embossed leafy vines, heavily textured washi, and drawn lines. 

Like sometimes happens, some of the results were very helpful in moving forward and some told me what not to do. 

I scratched back into wet paint to make grass-like marks and used parallel lines to indicate the boardwalk. That led me to thinking about symbolism and how to use symbolism within abstract paintings to reference my thoughts and emotions and observations.

For instance, this wetland is underneath some powerlines which pattern the sky and are reflected in the waters. Therefore, when I use blues I'll crisscross the blue with thin black lines.

Scratchy lines in wet paint indicate the tangle and chaos of the vegetation.

Tall curvy and dark lines refer to the trees along the edges of the wet.

This week I'll work with those ideas to paint on 4 12" panels, a 16x20" canvas, and a half-sheet of mixed media paper. It's simply experimentation and having fun with no preconceived outcome.

I have no idea what the results of all this might be. and that's okay.

I hope some of you sign up and take the Art2Life Creative Visionary Program, especially those who have taken my in-person classes. I'm open to your questions either by phone or email. Click on the image below to take the free workshop (open until February 24) and learn about the Creative Visionary Program which begins on February 25, 2021.  The free workshop consists of 4 video lessons, membership in a private Facebook page, and daily Facebook Live lessons with Nick Wilton. Do take advantage of it. 

Friday, February 05, 2021

Still Scattered

 I goofed on the links on the last post.  Click the image to sign up for the free workshop.

Art2Life Free Workshop signup

Making Something of my Scatterbrain

 The family knows this about me. Friends... not so much.

I'm not naturally organized.

... though I appear organized and efficient it's only the result of hard work. It probably comes from being creative, a maker, one seeks and solves problems. But the result is a frequently messy workspace, whether it's my kitchen counter, my desk, or any flat studio space. It feels like I'm constantly picking up after myself.  Years ago my mother's constant refrain was "don't put it down, put it away".  

I work at being organized.

My own answer to being naturally disordered is to have systems and stations within the spaces of my home and studio and remember to put each thing away in its designated place when I'm finished using it. Somedays I'm more successful than others.

In the kitchen, there's a cabinet for ingredients above the counter where I bake, and within that cabinet is a carousel for baking spices and flavorings, another for cooking spices, and so on. There's a cupboard for glasses next to the sink, a drawer of spatulas and big spoons next to the stove.... you get it.

And in the studio, I have stations for sewing, desk/computer work, painting on the wall easel, painting, and journaling at a table, with rolling drawer units underneath for the small tool storage.

I got tired of cleaning off the white desktop where I paint and draw so I decided to kill two birds with one stone and taped off an 18" x 24" sheet of mixed media paper and taped it to the desk. It will catch all the runoff from painting and testing and in the process, a surface of marks and colors will accumulate on the paper which I can use in a future set of small works.

I'm posting another picture of the big table in my studio on my Instagram grid, @jo_reimer where I'm much more active than here. I'd love it if you follow my Instagram feed, ask questions, make requests, and leave comments. After all, you've been my peeps for a long time. Let's stay connected.

It's time once again for the Art2Life Free Workshops. Yes, It's FREE! You can sign up by clicking HERE. The free workshops are only accessible through the link. Go ahead and sign up and you'll start getting really fun text messages from Nick Wilton with creative challenges and tips for painting. Of course, you'll need to leave your contact info. but I guarantee you that it's safe and you won't be bombarded with unwanted emails afterward. BTW, if you've already signed up through another link, I'd appreciate it if you do it again through my affiliate link. 

I'm a huge fan of the Art2Life courses, having taken the Creative Visionary Program (CVP) two years running. It's changed my art and added joy to my studio practice. I can't sing enough praises! Just do the free workshops which start February 15 and see if it's a fit for you, too. You'll get an emailed lesson three mornings and can do the exercises whenever it's convenient.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

50 in 50 CHALLENGE

 What do I mean by 50 in 50?

I've been making notes about ideas that I might chase after in 2021. Not resolutions. I don't do guilt anymore and resolutions do nothing for me but bring on the guilt because I rarely carry through.

No, I'm still working on FOCUS. Staying off the rabbit trails that lead me away from my PATH. Unlike the magpie who chases after all the bright shiny things, I would like to use what I own, what I know, ideas I have, and build on that. I intend to continue learning and experimenting. 

So, 50 in 50 comes out of the idea of reining myself in and using my stuff. I'm challenging myself this way:

During 50 weeks in 2021 I'll work with 50 art tools.

one each week

Every week in 2021 I will choose one art supply, tool, process, technique and see what I can make of it during the week. 

I've left 2 weeks for holidays but I'll take more time off whenever I need or want it.

I'll be flexible. This is meant to be a fun way of teaching myself ways to use these things in my current ... in my paintings, in collages, in my journals. Only rarely will I use these things as a stand-alone exercise. The question will be "how can I use this____ on the painting on my easel, or on a journal page).

I've made my list by typing each item into an Avery return address label template (I used Avery 18167 from their website). I then attached each label to an index card. The cards will live on my desk, banded in blue, and I'll choose one when I have my weekly planning hour on Sunday afternoon. 

If you'd like a copy of my list for ideas for making up your own list just ask (in the comment section or by email to joreimer (at) and I'll email it to you. Remember, this is a list of supplies I own; your list will be different.

Since I post most of the art I make on Instagram or Facebook you'll likely see what I make of 50 in 50 there.

Wishing you a bright, healthy, happy 2021 (that's a lot harder to type than 2020)

Thursday, November 19, 2020


  • 1 sheet of cartridge (copy) paper 
  • Tissue paper. Any will do but the best is the kind you buy at an art supply store. 
  • Photos on your computer 
  • Laser printer 
  • Make a Carrier Sheet by folding down ½” of the top edge of the copy paper. (this can be used multiple times.) 
  • Cut tissue paper to the same size as copy paper: 8.5 x 11” 
  • Slip the leading edge of a sheet of tissue under the fold of the copy paper.
  • Put it into your computer so the tissue I on the same side as the print heads of your printer. 
  • Pull up a photo on your computer, either from your own photos or a copyright-free image and print it with black ink. (I suppose this works with colored laser inks but I haven’t tried it.) Instead of using the folded edge of the carrier sheet you can tape or glue the tissue paper to a sheet of copy paper, using low-tack double-stick tape or a glue stick. 
  • If the tissue wrinkles or jams as it goes through the printer, work it out and try again, perhaps using a glue stick to glue the edges of the tissue in place.  
  • The resulting printed tissue can be used in many ways in your painting. Make lots of copies of printed tissue and experiment. 
  • Always apply glue to the receiving surface, not to the tissue. I use acrylic medium of some sort, brushed or scraped onto the substrate. I avoid wrinkles by lightly misting the tissue paper before laying it in place. This relaxes the fibers in the tissue before it hits the glue. Use a rubber scraper to gently work out any air bubbles. Brush more medium onto the surface to seal it down. The tissue will mostly disappear into the paint leaving a sharp image.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Every House has a Story, a Collage Tutorial


House on a Hill
16" x 12"
collage on panel


On visits to my hometown in Arkansas I'd often drive east on Highway 10 passed a lovely old unpainted house on the rise just back from the road near Blue Mountain, and I'd wonder about the people who lived there. I made up stories about it, though they were just flights of fantasy. There was something about that house that really appealed to me. Sometimes there were flowers in the front yard but I never saw a person, no signs that a child lived there.  

One day I slowed the car, rolled down the window, and shot a photo.

Who lives there? How do they make a living? They must be old because there's no trike, no red wagon in sight, just the lonely house beside the busy highway. Year after year the same.

Then one day I drove there to take some good photos and maybe knock on their front door...


No more house. bulldozed and discarded.  I'm so glad I still have one photo.  
(This is the first layer of the collage, indicating the empty home place.)

So now, here, I've made up my own story and placed the house on a hill, added a barn and a farmer who's thinking: There's weather coming, just look at that stormy sky! I better get the cows in and get up to the house before it comes a gully washer.

The farmer is heading to the house where his supper waits on a red checked tablecloth... leftover fried chicken and mashed potato cakes, with some juicy ripe tomatoes out of Mama's garden and chunks of sweet onions.  Maybe pecan pie and ice cream and a night of untroubled sleep. 


Smooth a thin layer of gesso over the panel. While the gesso dried I printed some photos onto tissue paper and began selecting sections to build the farmyard idea. I augmented the house photo with a photo of a barn of the same vintage, and a photo of my father, also the same vintage. I printed several copies of the photos so I'd have extra bits of tree foliage to piece together.


Make a carrier sheet by folding down the top 1/2" of a sheet of computer paper. Slip a piece of tissue, cut to size (8.5 x 11"), under the folded edge. Place in your printer, fold first. The fold protects the leading edge of the tissue from bunching up in the printer rollers.  There are other methods; look on YouTube.  Warning: expect a few printer jams before you master the process. Your printer manual will tell you how to retrieve the jammed paper.


I used Liquitex Gloss Medium and Varnish to adhere vintage book pages to the support and then glazed over the papers with gesso juice (1 part gesso to 1 part water) to soften the text and add a bit of mystery, and let that dry thoroughly.  Then I added more tea-dyed papers on top. 

I'm sorry... I got so excited about the work that I forgot to take more process photos!

And finally, I got to THE IMAGES

I decided on a landscape format because of the general look of the background and the stormy sky at the top. I played around with the placement of the images before settling on the final composition.


You need to put the glue on the substrate, not on the tissue, but in order to prevent the tissue from wrinkling it needs to be moist. I have a spray bottle that sends out a fine mist that works well with fragile tissue. 

Put the glue on the substrate, lightly spray the tissue, count to 10, and lay the tissue in place, putting one edge down and carefully rolling the rest in place.  I keep a rubber bowl scraper at hand and use it to flatten out the tissue.

I know I typed that fast and made it sound easier than it is. Working with tissue in this way takes lots of practice and patience... and a willingness to scrape it all off and start over if need be.

So there you have it, a House on a Hill, with a story to go along with it.

Please leave any questions about my process in the comment section below. If you have a question I'm sure others will want the answer, too.

Best regards,


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