Saturday, March 22, 2014

I've moved!!!!

Hey gang....from here on out everything is being consolidated in one place:

Wanna see what I've been up to come find me here

** and for those of you have been asking, I finally got around to creating a newsletter mailing list and you can sign up if you head on over to the website, you'll find sign up information under the INFO tab.

Hope to see you there my friends!~

Monday, January 27, 2014's ready~!!

Want to see what I've been up to?

Head on over to 
I'll see you there!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

It's about time.

It's a new year, and the perfect time for a new look, pretty much a complete overhaul as a matter of, not of the Joan Rivers variety...I mean a new look for the world wide web. It's time for a website, integrated blog, and all the art and workshop info in one place. Stay tuned....there's big news and a new look coming up soon! In the meantime, you will find that the sidebar on this here blog is in fact pretty up-to-date with the 2014 Workshop schedule and you can always email me if you have any specific questions in the meantime. Hope everyone is having a terrific start to 2014....see you soon!!

Friday, July 12, 2013

In the Service of Justice (Part 2)

I know I promised you that I would share the symbolism and meaning of each of the cards as I create them, so now that you've witnessed the journey of creating the piece, allow me to deconstruct it a little bit for you. 

Justice is one of those cards that actually, really does have quite a bit to do with the actual title of the card. As it comes up in a reading, it generally a reminder of the need to be genuinely fair. Relying on cool-headed logic rather emotion as the basis for decisions. It often refers to matters of legality, contracts, and the like - emphasizing that whether you like the result or not - it will be fair and just. 

Traditional rendering of the Justice Tarot Card
Of course we all have an idea of what Justice means; we live in a world where we come across that word and its implications all of the time…but what does Justice look like?

For me she is a woman, fierce and strong. She is blind, so as to represent impartiality. Where cool headed logic influences her decisions, and yet she sees.

The Justice Tarot Card: traditionally Justice is depicted as a woman, often seated, sword in right hand (logic), scales in the left (intuition). I wanted to portray Justice as very strong feminine figure, almost fierce. It takes tremendous courage and strength of character to be resolutely fair and unbiased.

Eyes Closed
It is said that Justice without blinders is not the eyes are covered to indicate the blinders, but more than that the eyes in this piece have many layers. The first layer is a second set of eyes raised above the first to indicate the need for "viewing" two sides of a story or multiple perspectives. Realizing that while we need Justice to be impartial, so do we need for her to be fully and completely informed. The veil over her eyes however indicates that the moment Justice sees…she will view things through her own personal set of biases.
Eyes Opened but still veiled

Close up of Headpiece
The number 11...symbolically a rather important position for the card. The previous cards deal primarily with the journey through the physical world...the next 10 cards deal primarily with the spiritual aspects along the journey to enlightenment. Justice transitions between the two realms. A balance between the two aspects.  Further emphasizing that balance are the two weights attached to the pulley that move and adjust to always maintain Justice. The chain salvaged from antique grandfather clock as a reminder that Justice must be timely. The weights derived from old weavers bobbins and then collaged with legal and religious texts indicative of the complex tapestry of justice and all of the systems that influence the decision making when weighing out the “right” and “wrong” of things. A lens in the centre of her chest glows with the script of Judicature and the responsibilities of a Judge. Guarded by metal grate to keep her decisions "pure".  I hope you've enjoyed this in-depth look into the heart of Justice.

Add caption
Justice - with working pulley

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

In the service of Justice (Part One)

As an artist I'm pretty sure that we all have those times where everything is just going along swimmingly. You feel good. Secure in your ability and talent. Sometimes in fact things can go so well (or so I hear) that a general euphoria takes over and the art almost feels like it's creating itself. Then...well, then there are the pieces that are a genuine struggle. From beginning to end: a battle. A battle you are losing. The kind of struggle that makes you question why you ever considered yourself an artist in the first place. The piece that makes you start looking in the want ads for alternative employment.

Justice...I started it over a year over, and it started out rather well. I love making backgrounds, they almost always feel easy for me, a great way to start the flow going...and as far as backgrounds go, I was pretty content with how things were going. I typically find myself bouncing back and forth a lot when I'm working on a new piece...back and forth between working with intention and creating intuitively. Particularly when I'm working on a tarot card, or another themed piece of art when I feel resolute about the symbols or objects that must be included to tell the story. It's exactly that - the "I must use this..." that will ultimately cause me the most trouble. I know this. I know this intuitively, I know this from experience, and I am with my list of "musts". It's a long list of musts for Justice. 

As I progress to the next couple of layers, things start to look crummy, but that's ok. I know all about the crummy phase....every single piece has will pass, or so I tell myself. Several layers later...crummy has evolved alright...evolved to #$@% piece of #$$%@. Not good. Danger mode. Time to stop. If I keep going at this point, I really will trash the piece, taking it to that place of no return. So I stop. I stop for nine months. I do many other pieces, ones that I like. Unfinished Justice still hangs on a wall in my studio, taunting me every time I walk by....time to tackle her again I tell myself. 

I consider what I've done so far and try to figure out, what (if anything) is working...and what isn't...I need more paint, don't I?....more layers? No improvement. More collage. Still no....and frustration is rapidly replacing good judgment but I continue determined to make this work. I try some wings (heaven help me)...what was I thinking? a halo....good grief! I dig deep, spend hours looking for and finding 18 perfect quotes about truth and... and 18 quotes about justice, carefully I tear each one out...I collage them into the my mind, this will be cool, this will become an aura of truth and justice and wisdom. It's horrible....right about this time is where I am pretty damn sure I am no longer an artist.

You're going to laugh when you hear what I did know what I did? I did a tarot reading for myself..first card that I turn over...wanna guess? Justice. No Joke. I mean really....I don't bother with the rest of the reading. I go back into the studio with my head on straight at last, amused that the "fates" have a sense of humour. 

I collect my thoughts, and remember the two mantras that keep me company in the studio:

1) Everything that I have done to this point still informs the piece, whether I end up covering it up or not....that truth and justice halo is going to get buried, but it's still there....and that is a good thing.

2) Nothing is sacred. I must be willing to abandon anything and everything on the panel. If I'm too attached to one thing, one idea, one area this piece will never turn the corner.

I start at the beginning again, the background needs to be reclaimed...while I'm working on this, my husband is in New Orleans, and I remember the beautiful wall at the Napolean House. Layers of peeling paint, old wallpapers and patina. I want my own version of that...the background is transformed, textured, collaged, painted, and scraped and little by little it's feeling better....and little by little I am feeling better too.

Wanna see what this:

By the end of the journey, I have created my favourite piece - EVER. My faith in myself, and in my artistic process is renewed. Equilibrium restored, and Justice is indeed done. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Second Skin and a Bracelet

Challenges are always fun especially when you get play with completely new items. For this challenge my friend and fellow Canadian Carmi sent Michael and I a terrific goody bag with: a brass cuff, leather cutting scissors and this cool fish leather called Second Skin.

Working with the Second Skin really was just like working with any other leather....I grabbed the teal coloured one and began experimenting. With a little piece I had left over the first thing I decided to try was heating up the Second know what happened?...The fish scale texture became exaggerated and raised and predictably the colour darkened a bit. I love the raised texture so I decided to do the same thing to the leather I had already glued onto the cuff. Next I added a little collage/assemblage winged heart that I had been working on but it still needed something more....something dangly. I pierced a small hole through the leather and the cuff where I attached some beads and figured and that point it was about as bedazzled as I wanted it, but not quite done....I added some paint glazes to a few sections of the second skin and's what I ended up with... I'm going to need some more since my daughter (the hand model) decided that this bracelet was going to be hers....! Check out John Bead's blog for more info on how to order.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Well friends I hope that you had a wonderful holiday season and the beginning of 2013 is treating you well. I can already tell this is going to be a busy, busy year! Lot's of projects in the works, not the least of which is the upcoming book for Art Abandonment and pretty full teaching schedule.

Here's a bit of what I have planned so far...more specifics to be added once I details firmed up.

March 9-10  at the Upstart Crow in Delta, BC

Mixed Media Mythologies

Mixed Media Mythologies
Collaging the Translucent

April 4-7 Art-is-You, Nashville, TN

Illuminated Manuscripts

Beauty in the Beast a duo class I'll be teaching with my wonderful hubby Michael deMeng
Illuminated Manuscripts

April 23-27 Artology Retreat, Port Townsend, WA

Michael and I team up again for four fabulous workshop days of the Fantastical Fantocini - collaged puppet theatre sets and found object puppets

May 9-10 Random Arts, Saluda, NC
Collaging the Translucent

Collaging the Translucent

May 16-18   Small Studios, Avonlake, OH
Illuminated Manuscripts

Illuminated Manuscripts (2-day class)
Marquis de Scroll

June 16-23   Salty Sea-Dogs & Sumptuous Sirens, New York, NY
Seadusa - Sideshow Banner

Hang out in amazing New York City with Michael and I. Four days of workshop will have us working on collaged and painted Sideshow Banners and aquatic inspired found object Masks that we'll use to participate in the Mermaid Parade on Coney Island! ...don't worry we've added plenty of cool site seeing  on the schedule as well!

July 18th & 20th  Collage, Portland, OR
Collaging the Translucent

Collaging the Translucent
Veils of Psyche

August 3-5   Art Unraveled, Scottsdale, AR
Exquisite Enigmas

Exquisite Enigmas
Marquis de Scroll

September 19-23   Art-is-You, Petaluma, CA
Marquis de Scroll

Illuminated Manuscripts (2 day)
Marquis de Scroll
Exquisit Enigmas
Mixed-Media Mythologies

October 10-14   Art-is-You, Stamford, CT

Mixed Media Mythologies

Marquis de Scroll
Exquisit Enigmas
Mixed-Media Mythologies

November 16-17   Upstart Crow, Delta, BC
Single Minded Binding

Single-Minded Binding (2 day)

...still a couple of more to come. Hope to see you somewhere....!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Once in a Blue Moon....

When's the last time you asked someone how they are and they said "I'm good, really chill, not too much on my plate these days...." I think maybe that happens when you're a young kid, I vaguely remember that feeling of having lots of time and not enough to fill it. I'm not even sure that kids have that luxury these days. 

In any event, and at the risk of sounding like a broken record, things have been, well, quite frankly - busy! Busy for me and I'm sure for you's what I've been up to over the summer....after an absolutely wonderful time at Ginny's Small Studio in June, it was time to get ready for Valley Ridge Arts Studio hosted by my dear friend Katherine Engen. 
I've never been to Wisconsin -- but I am fan of cheese so figured that had to be good. Michael had been raving about Valley Ridge forever so I was really looking forward to seeing what the whole place was like. I can tell you that all of the wonderful things I heard about the place are true and then some. The very well-equipped studio is nestled into an expansive property and plays host to a wide variety of delightful wildlife and a few wayward cows from a neighbouring farm looking for greener pastures. Calm, scenic, peaceful -- it's truly amazing. Katherine, is of course a genuinely phenomenal hostess, and even drove me out to the middle of property in the middle of the night to look for shooting stars -- and yes, I saw one...whizzing by too quickly to make a wish though.

Now as far as the classes went, first up was a class I call "Single Minded Binding", essentially a coptic binding technique but allowing for both signatures a single pages. A very cool binding method that I originally became acquainted with some years ago in Keith Smith's books. When it comes to book binding I like to push the envelope a bit and try to bind things that I don't think were actually meant to be bound (like Altoid tins for example). 

This is just a small snippet of some of the great work that was done in class....

The second class I taught was "Transparental Guidance" where we essentially layer and layer and layer different types of collage material, translucent and opaque to build up these artworks....take a look at hard to photograph these well, they are just amazing in person!

Now after I was done teaching, it was my hubby's turn. We hadn't seen in other in a about a month with all the travel and such so I decided to stick around Valley Ridge and took a couple of tables in the back of the room to work on this....

"Intuition" by Andrea Matus de Meng
After leaving Wisconsin, it was time to go home for all of two days! Picked up my girls and then we all headed to Missoula for some time with family, oh yeah, and to sell Michael's house. Snuck in as much R&R as we could between moving boxes and all that jazz. Home for a couple more days and then it was time to head to Arizona for Art Unraveled...and boy was it hot!

Art Unraveled is a great event put on by Linda Young and is held every summer at the Embassy Suites in Scottsdale, Arizona. Linda pulls the event together with a stellar list of first rate artists and instructors and wonderful group of students. I really loved teaching there, the energy at large events like this is always inspiring and it's a great way to make new art friends. While I was there teaching and meeting up with old friends and new, a crazy thing happened -- the little Art Abandonment group started by Michael made it past 5000 members. When we started out, I told Michael that I would make something "big" to abandon if we ever got to 5000. Well, time to deliver, the only problem was I was in Arizona teaching. Luckily I had a non-teaching day between a couple of my classes so I covered our hotel room with drop clothes, prepped a four foot canvas and 17 hours later....I had this:

"The Light Within" by Andrea Matus de Meng

I abandoned her in the elevator at the Embassy Suites and heard back from an employee saying that she found it! Yay!

So that pretty much has us up-to-date. Now we are all getting ready for the start of school on Tuesday, looking for a new house and I'm working away madly in the studio preparing art and class kits for Art-is-You Retreats coming up in Petaluma and Stamford. Hope to see some of you there and promise you'll hear from me again before the next Blue Moon!!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Cleveland Rocks

Another week has just flown by but before we get to anything else, I have to tell you about Ginny's Small Studio.

The lovely Ginny Carter Smallenburg and I
Michael and I were just there last weekend teaching and I knew from the moment I walked in that I was going love this place. If it weren't for stringent baggage restrictions with airlines these days I think I would have ended up taking half of the store home with me...but of course we weren't there to shop, we were there to run workshops and I just have to show you what we got up to.....

Day One for me was the class entitled Atypical Aphrodites...I love working big and that's just what we did, every canvas panel you see here is at least 4 feet in length!

Here is are few pictures of our day...

Everyone hard at work and very happy to have the whole table to themselves
Cindy, Norma, Jill, Dusty, Janet, Stacey, Camille, Patricia, Judi, Robin, Kip, Pamela, Bette
 Thank you to Cindy Kovack for taking pictures for us!

Day Two was Collaging the Translucent, where the class builds sculptural works of art using a combination of transparent and opaque collage materials combined with found objects. These are really hard to photograph well, I wish I could show them all to you, alas, terrible reflections meant that many of the photos didn't turn out are a just a few samples of what was made in class....

Day Three - Dorian Gray Portraits. Inspired by Oscar Wilde's novel, in this class students were really asked to push their collages to include a whole lot of symbolism, and various hiding spots and nooks and crannies to conceal and reveal qualities of their chosen subject. It was absolutely wonderful to hear about everyone's journey through this process. Here's a peek of some of the results of our class.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Around town this weekend

My darling husband is returning from Missoula today, and little does he know it, but I've got us booked for a very, very busy weekend of Art Happenings around's what we're up to, if you're a Vancouver local you may want to check these out for yourselves.

Thursday, May 3rd

Guess who's coming to town? Seth Apter will be in Vancouver, BC this evening for his artist talk and book signing. I had the opportunity to meet Seth briefly last year at Art Is...You in Connecticut and see his wonderful artwork up close. It will be great to try and catch up with him again and I'm so looking forward getting my signed copy of his book The Pulse of Mixed Media. Click here for all of the details.

Friday, May 4th

I love downtown Vancouver. I love Art. Put them together, sprinkle in some music, artworks, competitions and auctions from about 80 different artists and you get the 2012 Art Expo! Contact Monika Blichar for tickets and details.

Sunday, May 6th

Dr. Sketchy. What is Dr. Sketchy you ask? Well, it's life drawing with a twist....part art class, part cabaret. The models show up in themed costumes to The Wallflower on Main Street in Vancouver, and during the course of the evening perform a burlesque number of sorts while a group of artists with charcoal, pencils and sketchbooks at the ready begin madly getting their marks down on paper. I haven't done life drawing since my University days so it will be fun to dust off the old sketchbook and try my hand at it again. This month's theme is Beach Blanket Bingo featuring "Coco". Each month there's a new theme, they've had everything from Rio Carnivale to Star Wars to Krampus could you not have fun? Click here for more details. ...well that's all for now, but I promise to post pics next week!