Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Pecan Pie for Thanksgiving... a story and a recipe

Pecan Pie
photo courtesy of istockphoto.com
About 16 years ago we were invited to spend Thanksgiving with our daughter and son-in-law and go to his parents' home for dinner. My contribution was to be my famous (in the family) pecan pie, two of them.  However, we were driving from Portland to Seattle a couple of days before Thanksgiving and I didn't want to make the pies too early, so I gathered the ingredients and a couple of pie pans and off we went.
On T-day morning I set to work in the kitchen only to discover that one of the pie pans was one from a local pie shop, a pan manufactured with perforations in the bottom which the shop had used to keep the crust from getting soggy. I had never used this pie pan but thought it might work just fine to keep my crust nice and crip.  One certainly doesn't want to show up at a good cook's house with a pie with a soft crust!
I made my pie dough, rolled it out, and lined my pans with the dough and made the usual fluted edge.  I cooked the filling and poured the hot filling into the crust and quickly popped the pies into the oven. 

Yep, you guessed it. 

It wasn't long before we smelled something burning.  The hot filling melted the butter in the crusts and the whole mess was running out the holes in the bottom of that pie pan and spreading across the bottom of the oven. 
I cried. I laughed. My family laughed at me, and then rushed to help me recover. We scurried to cool and clean the oven. I returned the good pie to the oven and tossed the ruins of the other one... and showed up with only one pie since we had no ingredients to make another at the last minute.

My reputation as an exceptional pie baker was only slightly tarnished because one thing this family likes better than pecan pie is a good story.
I've been asked to bring two pies to my daughter's house on Thanksgiving Day, one pecan and one pumpkin.  I'll use glass pie pans.
Here's my Thanksgiving gift for you....


1 c. dark Karo                                   
3/4 c. sugar                                      
3 eggs, slightly beaten                   
3 T. butter
1 t. vanilla
1 c. pecans, broken, plus a few halves to decorate the top.
Line pie plate with pastry.

Boil syrup and sugar together about 3 minutes.  Pour slowly over eggs, stirring well.  Add butter, vanilla, and nuts.  Turn into pie shell.
Bake in moderate oven, 375°,  50 minutes or until done.  Pie will be done when completely puffed across top.
Sometimes I toss a big handful of chocolate chips into the crust before I pour the filling in, making this a Chocolate Pecan Pie.
Novella was the mother of my childhood best friend as and made the world's best pecan pie. After I moved away and returned to visit there'd be a pecan pie waiting on her kitchen table. The ingredients are not so different than most but the method is slightly different in that the syrup and sugar are boiled first and then poured ever so slowly and carefully into the eggs. That cooks the eggs a bit before it all goes into the oven.

I wish I had a picture of MY pie for you but I haven't made my pies yet.  The pumpkin pie recipe I use is the one on the Libby's label.

I hope that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Collecting Art

by Jo Reimer

The Quilting Bee
by Jo Reimer
25.5 x 23.75 x 2.5 inches
plaster, wax, acrylic on cradled panel
The Quilting Bee - detail

Several decades ago I started collecting original art pieces to replace an embroidered wall hanging I had made for my dining room. The art works were small and most were trades with friends that reflected the strong craft interests of the Pacific Northwest... embroideries, weavings, and pottery. These handmade pieces were special, one of a kind, different than the mass-produced decor in stores, and they somehow seemed to have a life of their own.  I was hooked. 

As I could afford I bought small works, originals that showed the hand of the maker. None were purchased as investments but because I knew the maker and liked the work and wanted to live with it.  I traded with other artists.

It's still like that for me. I've bought a few larger pieces which I loved then and still do, but most works I own are fairly small. When we moved to a home with big walls I hung handmade quilts and un-quilted tops which filled the big spaces quite well and reflected my growing interest in making and collecting quilts. 

I seldom change out the pieces that hang in our living spaces. Once they're hung they stay there because I like to live with the work. Some of the early purchases have been stored because my taste has changed somewhat, but I do love covering the walls with original art and setting my table with handmade ceramics. 

A couple of years ago I hosted an Open Studio and I took down all the art by others that hung in the public rooms of our home and put up my own art. I liked that a lot. It was fun to see what I had made and to talk about it with visitors.

Some pieces by other artists have crept back onto my living room walls and as I look around I realize that there's a theme going on: it's all about landscape. 

I made the two tree plaster pieces which hang over the fireplace. (My son wants them but he'll only get them over my dead body.)  One of Randall Tipton's pieces, Deep Forest Shallow Pond, is about trees and water. A large painting by Hannah Greaver over the sofa is beach grass at sunset. I've had that one 20 years.  A newish plaster piece by Deanna Lautenbach is a tree silhouette, a gift from my husband. A small pastel by Marla Bagetta is behind my husband's chair.  The quilt that hangs in the entry is one I made about 15 years ago... it's about trees, as are the three small quilts in the back hallway which depict 3 different varieties of Japanese maples that lived in our back garden. I can't get enough of these favorite pieces; they've aged well and are important to both of us.

So what is my advice to you about art on your walls?

  • Build your collection slowly and carefully.
  • Buy one very nice piece rather than three or four small works.
  • Don't be concerned about whether the artist has a 'name' or not. If you like his/her work, buy it, thinking about your personal connection to the piece, not about increasing value. Most doesn't increase in value.
  • If you like an artist's work but don't see a piece that appeals to you in the gallery, call the artist and ask if you can visit her studio to choose a piece.
  • If the price is too steep for the piece you want ask the artist or the gallery about payments over time, but don't push for a discount.
  • Sometimes an artist will do a commission. Know what you want and communicate clearly with the artist but leave him the freedom to work from his heart.
  • If the work is unframed you might ask the artist for his suggestion about what type of frame and for a reference to a good local frame shop.
  • Keep the frame simple so the work shows off well.
Consider starting a collection for family members, for special occasions. A work of art makes a personal and welcome gift. My daughter and grandchildren have nice collections started to which I will add over the years.

Please read this excellent piece on why we invest in artists by Rebekah Joy Plett.

Questions, comments and advice for others  about this topic are welcome; please leave a comment below.

If you want to add a piece of my artwork to your own collection you can click on the link below, "Available Work" to go to my Flickr album where many pieces are shown. Most art that I feature on this blog is available for purchase whether I've indicated so or not.  Just ask.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Marking the day

by Jo Reimer

Two and Six
Collage on cradled canvas
5 x 5 x 1.25"

Today, September 26, is my birthday. These little collages seem to be a good way to mark a special day, don't you think?

Seven and Four
Collage on cradled canvas
5 x 5 x 1.25

Having several numbers as collages gives me lots of ideas of how they could be used, especially as sort of a calendar to mark the days.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Making New Friends

by Jo Reimer
back row: Randall, Celeste
front: Jo, Cathleen, Annie, Carol
Last week Randall Tipton and Carol Marine invited a few Oregon artists for brunch and to meet one another. Carol and her family recently moved to Eugene, OR after their Texas home was leveled by fire.

What a fun time we had getting acquainted.  By the time a couple of hours had passed you'd have thought we'd been friends for ages.

Celeste Bergin lives in Portland and loves to paint en plein aire.
Cathleen Rehfeld lives in Hood River and also paints plein aire and teaches at  the Columbia Center for the arts.
Annie Salness is a studio artist who lives just a few blocks from me but our paths hadn't crossed.

Click on each name above to access their blogs and treat yourself to seeing some mighty fine art.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

What's Going On?

What's Going On?

 This piece is 30" x 10", collage on canvas.

Strips of words, painted papers and a few appropriated images from current publications show the chaos of society... the layers of conversation, opinions, stress, and moments of calm which reflect today's life. 

I used acrylic medium to adhere the papers to canvas which had been coated with heavy gel medium. I went back in with a tacking iron to make sure all was firmly glued in place.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Summer Day, a painting

by Jo Reimer
Summer Day
acrylic, ink, paper, 12 x 12 panel
I've been having a grand time taking half-done paintings and seeing how I can resurrect them. Like this one.  I loved the hot colors but simply couldn't seem to figure out how to make anything of it.  Finally I simply started playing, adding and subtracting elements. This is the result. It looks great in a simple black frame.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Numbers and Strips, a collage series

by Jo Reimer
NUMBERS, a series
5" x 5" x 1.25"

As summer winds down I realize that it's time to return to blogging. Taking nearly three months off was good for me but since I enjoy writing and have actually made some art I figure it's time for some show and tell.

Working with the idea of strips, bands, stripes, slices led me to experimenting on a smaller scale, working on 5" x 5" cradled canvases. I discovered some things that might interest the collage artists among you.

Canvas isn't the best surface for collage. Save canvas for paint. Because it's a rough surface, even gessoed, the papers don't adhere well unless I really slather on the gel medium. Thin acrylic medium doesn't work at all. The solution was to glue thin paper, sort of an underpainting, to the canvas, working it into the fibers of the canvas. Then I could glue my strips of paper to the new surface using just about any permanent glue. It would be better to use a wood panel or gessobord, stiff paper, or simply a block of birch as a substrate.

As I worked with small strips of paper, applying glue to each little strip, and then carefully placing it, messing up my manicure and frustrating me with the time it took, I thought of a better way. 
  • Using my old Xyron 850 adhesive laminating machine with it's 8" wide double sided adhesive I fed sheets of my collage papers through the machine. The results gave me paper with a peel-and-stick backing. Now I can cut the strips however wide I need them to be, peel off the protective backing and stick them in place. Easy-peasy.
  • Another kind of adhesive backing is a product called Gudy-O, available through Talas, but the Gudy-O isn't as easy to manage as the Xyron, though it's still available. This particular Xyron machine is no longer made but a similar product is the Xyron 900.
  • Perhpas some of the iron-on interfacings intended for fabric could be used for collage.  If you try the fusible interfacing let me know how it works with paper. If I try it I'll report my findings.

Ever A Good Thing
5" x 5" x 1.25"


Monday, July 02, 2012

Garlic Scapes

by Jo Reimer
Garlic Scapes
I was compelled to buy these curly garlic tops, called scapes, at Farmers Market a week ago. So beautiful and strange! I put them in a water glass on the kitchen counter and they've continued to grow. I'm told that they're great in recipes but I can't bear to cut them, and before they straighten I must sit down and draw each one. Read about them here where there's a recipe for Garlic Hazelnut Pesto.

I've decided to be easier on myself and not obsess over posting on my blog this summer. I'll try for once a week but if I don't accomplish even that know that I'm more than okay and probably enjoying a quiet summer in my back yard.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Writing on the Wall... collage

by Jo Reimer
Writing on the Wall
10" x 30" x 1"
Collage on Cradled Canvas

Since I've stockpiled a number of cradled canvases I decided to experiment with presenting collages on the canvas even though I prefer a smooth surface for collage since the papers are more likely to form a strong bond.

The first step was to add a smooth coating of gesso and then a coat of gel medium to prepare the surface. The gel medium ensures that areas which don't immediately bond can be fixed later by ironing that area. The heat melts the medium on the substrate as well as the medium on back of the papers, sealing them together forever. I only needed to do that in one area across the bottom.

I drew the shape of the canvas onto my paint table paper and designed the compositon in that area rather than working directly on top of the canvas.

The paper in the middle area is what I call "writing that can't be read", sort of code writing. This was done by a friend and photocopied onto washi paper.

I love collage!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Magazine + acrylic medium + Nevr-Dull

by Jo Reimer
These are two facing pages from a magazine.
The one on the right is stamped with gel medium.
The one on the left has been rubbed with Nevr-Dull.

I often run out of steam in the evening yet I want to be productive rather than just sit in front of the TV with my mind out of gear. So a couple of nights ago I got out a stack of magazine pages, a can of Nevr-Dull Wadding Polish, some soft gel medium, and a collection of circular things I could use for stamps.  (This is not my invention but is something I saw online and don't remember where.)

I chose magazine pages with lots of visual texture and pattern and stamped overlapping circles using lids, etc. dipped into the gel medium.  After the medium dried I tore off a chunk of the wadding, rubbed the compound across the page, let it sit for a minute or two in order to soften and liquify the ink a bit, and then using quite a bit of elbow grease I smeared and removed the ink, leaving the circles which were protected by the medum.

detail of gel medium stamped onto the page before rubbing
Warning: Nevr-Dull is made of petroleum distilates so take precautions. I wear gloves and of course I don't feed it to small children. There's a definite odor about it.  The product is used for polishing metals including silverware and automotive trim. I bought it years ago in an auto parts store. I forget why!

These were two facing pages from magazine.
Left page is stamped; right page has been rubbed.

Two more pages ready to use in collage.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Inspired by Pinterest

 By Jo Reimer
Batik fabric
While taking a break this morning and browsing pins from some of the boards I follow on Pinterest I spotted a pin from Elvi... a stack of ornate fabrics. 

That sparked an idea that's worth pursuing.

I have LOTS of fabrics and quite a few pieces of old embroideries, hand dyes, and batiks, and my brilliant idea is to scan the best of the fabrics, print them and use the prints in my collages and journals.

I grabbed a few small textiles and scanned them at 300 dpi. I've only printed one, enough to know that this idea is worth some time. The plan is to scan the best of the collection and take the images on a thumb drive to Office Depot or a print shop and have them printed onto a thinnish paper that will be more suitable than the heavy photo paper I have at home... and definitely less expensive than my printer inks, especially when there's a special price on printing.

Sure, I could cut up the actual fabrics and use them but some of these are too valuable to cut, and now I'm thinking of other things to scan:

Piles of jewelry
Pattern envelopes
The list is endless.

I hope this idea has a snowball effect. Why not make painting of textiles? How about gluing embroidered textiles to a canvas, covering it with gesso, and painting over the resulting texture?

Excuse me while I rescue an old embroidered pillowcase from the giveaway pile. What a great edge texture this will make on a painting!

Embroidered Pillowcase, c. 1950
And DRAW the designs from the textiles, further abstracting the images. Create repeat patterns. Make mirror images. See how far you can take the inspiration. Then tell me about what you've done.

Friday, June 15, 2012

...and the Winner is.....

 by Jo Reimer
Preparing a fresh cover for my paint table

I decided to give away both Paint Table Journals and the winners are Ruth Armitage and Susi.  Congratulations! I hope you have a grand time doing whatever you want with these journals. After all, they didn't cost you a thing so it's okay to draw, collage, write, and just make a general artistic mess in your new journal.

I need your address, Susi. I have yours, Ruth. Expect a package very soon.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Another page from my Paint Table Journal

by Jo Reimer
 page in Paint Table Journal-2
 Here's another example of how I'm currently using my paint table journals. I greatly admire the work of printmaker, Anne Moore .  After browsing her website last weekend I made little prints of two pieces of her work and glued them into my journal. As I studied the works I made notes about elements of her work that I might use in my own work. I would not copy Ms. Moore's art for any reason but I might appropriate elements of it, changed to suit my own aesthetic.

For instance, I already have sheets of paper in my stash that look a lot like something in her work so I tore off bits of two papers and glued them to the journal page as a reminded that I have these papers and know where to get more. I suspect that she used this same paper to print the image on the left side of both pieces, but not being a printmaker I'll glue the paper onto a collage or glue a bit to board to create texture and paint over it. I made notes about the look of text, something that's long interested me.

I noted,  "I'm drawn to Anne Moore's work because of the look of text which indicates something deeper happening below the surface." and  "lines across the top; text area on left; written text on top of paint; large circles".  This is one way I learn and advance in my approach to the easel.  As I start working with what I taught myself  on this journal page I know that my work will take on my own style and end up looking nothing like hers.

Remember to leave a comment on yesterdays blog post... or on this one today, especially if you want to win a Paint Table Journal.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Paint Table Journals

by Jo Reimer
Love page in Junk Journal
22" x 8.5 "
collage sketch exploring the use of strips
Thought Catchers
I'm big on the value of keeping studio journals, sketchbooks, art journals, daily pages, or whatever sort of diary/planner that serves the artist in the studio. My journals are the  place where I work out my bright ideas, do all sorts of planning for future work, keep an inventory of completed work,  record quotations, and much more. It's a "thought catcher".

As usual, if you click on a picture you can see more detail.
Page of Jack Portland art cards from Laura Russo Gallery

Art Card Journals
I have several journals in which I keep art cards that I collect at exhibitions, the sort with an image of a work from the exhibit. When I get home I glue the card into my art card journal and write about the exhibit or about this particular work. Sometimes I print a smallish image off a website and do the same thing.  I find that this practice has helped me grow in awareness of what appeals to me about art. If you look in my journals you'll see that I'm attracted to borders, to abstracted landscape, to numbers and lines and math symbols, and blocks of plain color which set off loosely drawn images. You won't find representational paintings unless it's transfers of photographic images. You'll also find lists of titles that appeal to me that might help me generate titles for my own work.

Art Cards from Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson
print of work by Cathy Woo
Paint Table Journals
I've been making my own journals lately, using the "dirty" paper from my big painting table. Two or three times a year I take the old paper off the table and replace it with kraft paper from a large roll. Then I cut up the old paper into 8.5" x 11" sheets, punch holes and coil bind these sheets into journals. These are the journals that I use as my studio reference journals. The page spread above is in one such journal. The color on the page comes from cleaning my brush or testing paints.

Amy's page in a Paint Table Journal

 Paint Table Journals
One of these goes to the luck winner.
Is it you?
Journal Giveaway
The good news is that I made two Paint Table Journals yesterday and I've decided to give one to one of you dear readers as a thank you gift for your loyalty. Some of you are followers; others subscribe by email or reader or RSS feed. You often leave encouraging comments.
 I appreciate every single one of you.

You come back time and again to view my art and photos, to read what I say without negative criticism, and you tell your friends that my One-A-Day blog is an interesting read.  So, today is the start of a DRAWING.  If you want one of my Paint Table Journals put your name in the pot by leaving a comment on THIS post and then Friday at noon, PST, I'll draw a random name and the winner gets the journal.  When I notify the lucky winner I'll ask for a mailing address. It's totally free and I'm not collecting names or addresses for any other purpose.

Inside the Paint Table Journals
Now it's your turn. Go to the Post A Comment section below and leave your name and a comment of any length, perhaps telling us all how you use journals, if you do, and I'll add your name to the drawing.  Thanks a bunch.


Sunday, June 10, 2012

English, Iris

English, Iris. 4.1
12" x 12"
Collage on Board
It's springtime in Oregon and the iris are in bloom. My favorite iris grower is Schreiners Iris Gardens which is located in the valley south of Portland.  This time of year the fields are in colorful bloom and their show gardens are amazing. I love to photograph the iris, the closer the better.

Peter Schutte, a world famous photographer who lives in Portland conducts a photography class called The Fantastic Iris and Other Flowers. If you're local and want to learn more about flower photography hop on over to Peter's website and sign up for one of his classes.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Floating Island

by Jo Reimer
Eastward, from the Rising Sun
Collage on board
12" x 9"
Last week while walking along our pristine northern Oregon beach we came upon a large piece of styrofoam, about 3' x 2' x 2', mangled and battered like much of the flotsam carried to the westernmost shore on the lower 48. But this wasn't an ordinary piece of  junk; we're pretty sure it's the first of the debris from last year's tsunami in Japan. 

Just a couple of days before our beach discovery we watched a news story from Alaska where quite a bit of debris is appearing along their shores, much like this one, and the yellow and white styrofoam was identified as building insulation.  It makes me so sad... to think about what's coming and why.

I wrote the above last night and now this morning there's a newspaper report and photo of an entire floating dock from the Japanese city of Misawa that washed ashore on Agate Beach, in central Oregon...66' x 19' x 7'! The cleanup of beaches along the northern Pacific will be a horrendous task over the next years. There's an enormous island of debris heading our way as well as countless other pieces.

Sometimes we think that what happens in another country isn't important to us, but it so often affects the whole world.  I remember when Mt. St. Helens blew her top in 1980, coating our farm with several inches of ash, turning our part of the world a sad, dead gray.... and then came the incredibly beautiful sunsets all around the world for the next two years because of the ash in the atmosphere.

I had trouble with the title of the above collage until I remembered that Japan is sometimes called the Land of the Rising Sun. The piece is quite sunny except for the "debris island" which floats down the center.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Walk Away

by Jo Reimer
Walkin Away
15" x 13"
Acrylic on Rives BFK

Rives BFK is a cotton rag print-making paper, used most often by printermakers/artists to make monotypes, lithographs, and for drawing. I've come to enjoy using it as a painting substrate because it stays flat when I use watercolor or acrylic paints. In fact, as the acrylic builds up on the surface the work takes on a leatherlike hand that's very pleasing to me.

Friday, May 18, 2012


 by Jo Reimer
20" x 13"
Acrylic on Yupo
I'm still exploring Yupo as a substrate for painting and collage. For the uninitiated, Yupo is a synthetic paper that's often used for posters and banners. You can read about it here. It's super smooth and doesn't buckle or wrinkle nor does it absorb water. It's fun to drop watercolor or thinned down acrylic paint onto the surface and watch what happens.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Garden in Bloom

by Jo Reimer

Garden in Bloom
30" x 22"
Collage Painting on Paper
Set a sheet of white paper on the table with the tools of your trade arranged within easy reach and paint all day. Cover the results with a coat of gesso and start over. Repeat 3 more times. Decide that this one won't be a masterpiece but it WILL be a fine birthday present for an appreciative granddaughter.

I struggled with this sheet of 300# watercolor paper for several days and nothing I did seemed to work. Finally I decided that some of the lines looked a bit like stems and some of the circles looked like flowers. A friend advised turning back to collage, so this is what resulted. It might be done. I might draw on top of it. I might move on.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Random.. a painting

by Jo Reimer
acrylic on paper

This is what happened recently when I set out to paint with absolutely no intention other than to use complementary colors, in this case orange and blue. I chose lines and circles with grid lines and just kept painting until the composition came together. At first I called it ugly but after looking at it for a few days I find I quite like it. But for sure I prefer to paint with some realistic thing in mind... landscape, flowers, still life... although with my surface design and quilting background the geometry of pure design continues to pop out of me now and then.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Seeking Levels

by Jo Reimer

At the Edge of the Earth
11" x 30"
Collage on paper
Getting horizontal and vertical lines straight is a challenge, when you're aiming for straight and true.

Once this piece was completed I discovered that the stitched line, while straight, wasn't plumb with the top and bottom. Big oops. The only solution at this point was to trim the sides slightly to bring everything into alignment. I've done this before and I'll probably make the same mistake again but now that I'm aware of why I keep doing it I'll take steps to avoid the issue.

"How?", you ask.
  1. I'll use my T-square more often and make little pencil marks here and there  as I work to assure things line up instead of eyeballing it.
  2. Since I work flat I'll frequently pin the collage to the design wall or put it on the easel to check that things are straight.
  3. I'll avoid working with absolute parallels... loosen up.
  4. I'll use more slightly off-kilter edges... on purpose.
So, now that that's settled, here are some detail shots and an explanation, for those who are interested in the process:

At the Edge of the Earth, detail
This collage was done on half a sheet of watercolor paper, Fabriano Artistico 140#. I used a section of one of my small paintings  as the focal area and adhered it with soft gel medium and weighted it until dry. Then I started adding paint.

I wanted texture at the bottom and chose to use some paint spattered paper towels. I didn't like the results but was committed so I troweled a couple of layers of gel medium over that section, letting each layer dry between coats. Then I worked into the space with several different earthy sandy colors plus white until I had the visual texture I needed. That process is easier using a scraper and a sponge rather than a brush.

Next came the sky area. I flooded the space with cobalt blue acrylic, thinned with Golden glazing liquid, and squished plastic wrap on top and left that to dry for several hours. This technique always results in something wonderful but unpredictable.

I needed contrast and a repetition of black line, hence the stitching. The piece was so thick by this time that I had to use an awl to punch holes for my needle.

And still the piece needed more. Aha... text. I composed a paragraph about standing at the edge of the ocean and practiced writing it on tissue with various pens and auditioning the look of it on the painting without committing pen to painting. but I didn't like the look. So, I headed to the computer and generated the text and printed it out on a thin, cream-colored washi paper and glued that down. While it was wet I flooded more matte medium over the washi to help it sink into the work. The paper isn't perfectly hidden but is fairly un-noticeable unless you're looking closely.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Easter Morning

by Jo Reimer

Sermon Note by Jo Reimer
Now for the rest of the story...

Pilate gave the order to seal Jesus' tomb and to station a guard there to ensure that no one broke in and stole his body.

After the Sabbath and after Passover two women named Mary, followers of Jesus, went to the place of burial and found the tomb empty, the stone rolled back from the entrance. Angels appeared to them and told them that Jesus had risen from the dead as he had predicted They saw the place where his body had been laid, now empty except for strips of the burial linens.

This is said to be the place in the tomb where Jesus' body was laid.

Later that day and in the weeks following Jesus appeared to many people, walking and eating with them, and they came to understand  the Scriptures, that which was written centuries before, that the Son of God, the Messiah, would come to earth, be crucified and be buried, and rise to live again, paying the penalty for the sinfulness of all who believe.

Although Jesus had told his followers about the events that would happen both before and after his death they did not understand. How can a man die and then live again? But now here was Jesus, walking and talking, in the flesh, and they understood and believed.

Many people witnessed these events as Jesus appeared to individuals and to crowds in the weeks following his death and resurrection.
This is why we celebrate Easter, not as a rite of spring, or a time for new clothes and hunting for colored eggs, but because of God's great sacrifice for all of earth's people.

I hope today will be joyful as you celebrate with family and friends.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Good Friday.

by Jo Reimer
Sermon Note by Jo Reimer
What's so good about Good Friday?

Perhaps it seems strange to celebrate a man's death, especially by crucifiction which is possibly the most painful death imaginable. Mobs of otherwise normal men and women stood around screaming, "crucify him, crucify him"... and they did. If you've read the accounts of Jesus' death in the Bible or seen The Passion of the Christ you have an idea of the emotions whirling around Jerusalem that day as Jesus was  arrested, tried, sentenced to death, and then paraded through town carrying the heavy cross-member of his own cross.

Sermon Note by Jo Reimer

And when they got to the place of death he was nailed to that cross where he hung for hours until he finally died. But then strange things started happening: the sky turned black as night and the earth trembled, tombs broke open and dead people came to life.
Sermon Note by Jo Reimer

...while back in the city inside the Jewish Temple the 7" thick veil that separated the holiest place from the ordinary people split down the middle. This enormous felted woolen tapestry split from the top down! and people had access into the holy place. 

Terror stalked Jerusalem that morning...

People who loved Jesus took his body down and buried in a wealthy friend's grave, a cave in the side of the hill, and an enormous flat stone was rolled over the grave opening.

(This is a tomb in a hillside in Jerusalem which many think is the actual tomb of Jesus. Perhaps it is. )

Family and friends wept.  That Friday didn't seem so good to them.

But to those who know the rest of the story the events of that day we now call Good Friday began a weekend to remember and an event which we look upon as the most important time in history, when the Son of God died in our place, bearing punishment so we won't have to, paying the ultimate sacrifice for us.

And then comes Easter.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Watercolor and Foil on Text

by Jo Reimer

I've seen several examples of watercolor and drawings done on top of the text in old books so I decided to try my hand at it after reading Jane Fazio's post this morning. My first attempt wasn't the greatest but it lead to another discovery... using foil with watercolor, a lemons into lemonade experience.

I used paint straight out of a tube of M. Graham watercolor which had sat too long and had a bunch of sticky honey right at the top. I was working too quickly and didn't notice the honey until it was on the paper. When it refused to dry right away I  looked around for a solution, something to soak up the stickiness or to cover it.  I grabbed a sheet of foil, the sort used by rubberstampers and surface designers, and applied it to the image. This left sparkles of foil on the petals of the flower. Pretty in person but it doesn't show up in the scan where it looks like black blobs. Metallics don't photograph well because of the way they reflect the light.

Following Jane's example I cut around the drawn and painted image and glued it into my journal. Now I'm thinking that I'll keep an old book handy and take a few minutes here and there during my day to sketch something and add watercolor later so I'll have all this wonderful material available for other uses. It'll refine my drawing and observation skills and give me another opportunity to record the beauty of my days.

The book page I worked on had glossy paper which didn't take the color well. Use uncoated paper pages.

If you don't have sticky watercolor paint just rub a glue stick across your drawing and apply foil to that. Experiment first so you'll know at what point in the drying stage is best to apply the foil.

You can draw with liquid glue and then foil that. Have fun and tell me about your successes and failures.

Go here for more information on using glue and foil. Jones Tones makes glue and foil which is available at craft stores.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Girl to 5-F, collage

by Jo Reimer
The Girl to 5-F
11.5 X 30"
collage on heavy paper

Following a troubling discussion about human trafficking I spent a good part of the next day thinking about this abhorant practice, imagining myself in the shoes of a woman caught up in this trade. This piece is the result.

Girl to 5-F, detail

There are ways out and people who are working to combat the practice but it feels like a drop in the bucket... so alien to the culture in which I live. I thank God for my life and beg for mercy for those who are mired in it.  Read here about organizations which strive to combat human trafficking.

The collage papers used in "Girl to 5-F" are representative: decay, filth, sin, loss, oppression, desire, need, hopelessness...  hidden underneath a beautiful facade.  There are floor numbers, windows and doors, a man on the phone, a woman climbing the stairs...  hidden and implied meaning.

Not all art is beautiful or about beautiful things.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

First Sign of Spring

by Jo Reimer

"First Sign of Spring"
20" x 20"

It's interesting to see where my "Piecings" and "Slices" series are taking me. I think it's actually one series. There's no direct painting on this piece; it's made up of slices of other paintings that weren't worthy in themselves but as an assembly of parts the whole has become quite strong.

I find myself struggling with establishing a process for these pieces, mostly having to do with mounting. I've been working mostly on 140# watercolor paper as a substrate which starts to buckle as layers are joined, and then wrestling with the completed work to attach it to a firm support... so I'm finding ways to reduce the buckling in the beginning. Using a stronger support is one way to keep the work flat, adhering the base paper to mat board or acid free foamcore or even wood panels. I think there'll be fewer struggles if I start with a firm substrate, glue the base papers to that and then continue to layer whatever papers I need for the collage. I could start with 300# paper or illustration board or heavy Yupo, all of which hold their shape well.

I'm open to suggestions.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Collage: Another Slice of Life

by Jo Reimer
950 Kapaa
Collage on Paper
11" x 30"
For this collage I used mostly my own handpainted papers. The paper with the numbers was discarded on the road outside our beach retreat a few years ago when our family went to Hawaii to celebrate a significant anniversary. It's such a useful bit of paper that I think I'll repeat the idea using number stencils and significant number combinations such as house numbers, birthdates, anniversaries. I think it's important to mine ones' own life for symbolism to use in ones' art... a post for another day.
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