Friday, December 23, 2011

Mixed-Media Holiday Project

It's been a while since I've posted, and mainly because I was completely thrown off by the fact that I fell and broke my leg.  The house was turned upside down and my hubby and kids scrambled to take care of the caretaker.  I was in such shock that healing became a priority.  Thank the Lord for my mom, mother-in-law, and husband for their constant care.  Now, finally, I can say I am walking again...well, maybe it's a hobble, but I'm getting there.

In the midst of it all, however, I did find a little time for writing and creating a few pieces of art for a small showing at The Rich Hippie in Leesburg, VA, where I sold a few pieces.  I have included one of them here for you to see.  The pig ended up in a beautiful, white frame, which suited her best because she is quite the royal pig.

Another project I worked on with the help and dedication of my family was decorating the house for Christmas.  To me, decorating for Christmas is mixed media art at its finest.  Here is a collage of the end result:

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you!  May you be filled with peace, warmth, and joy.  And may 2012 be a good year for you!

Mary Rand Hess

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

When Art Takes A Backseat To Life

Some days are a bust.  Take this afternoon for instance, I washed clothes, bathed the dog, dreamed of writing and creating art, served snacks, took care of "kid-related" drama, cooked dinner, only to leave my trashcan wide open while I was cooking.  I thought I had accomplished a lot...enough to leave a little time open for me.  But the trashcan apparently whispered sweet temptations to my dog, so Little Ruby pawed her way through the remnants and cleaned a raw chicken package, among other items.  I had to then scrub raw chicken juice off the floor, give Ruby another bath, then finish cooking dinner.  Ruby was obviously not deterred.  After a somewhat peaceful dinner of correcting manners (stop chewing with your mouth open, don't smack, use your napkin...I'm not always this nagging), the doorbell rang and I left the last dish and glass of milk on the table.  When I returned, Ruby was on top of the dinning room table drinking milk and licking the last remains of barbecue chicken, mashed potatoes, and corn off my son's plate.

Now there's homework to finish, bath time, stories to read, snack, and then bed.  So I'll dream of writing and mixed-media in my dreams tonight...maybe I'll even compose a song.  I'm sure my dreams will be wild and imaginative.  Then I'll wake up tomorrow...and we'll see.



Monday, July 18, 2011


I'm working on two pieces for the Something Hot Annual Regional Juried Show in Leesburg this August.  I'm Almost done with the first piece (I'll share pictures of it after the show) and am working out the composition for the second, which I'll complete as soon as I'm done with VBS this week.  Every year, I am the drama teacher at vacation bible school and love getting into character!  Speaking of characters...just this week I sold my Lady In Paris piece.  Most of my art work features characters real and imagined, and each have a unique story.  But don't ask me to tell you their stories.  You'll just have to imagine!

By the way, did you see the movie Midnight in Paris?  I thought it was delightful!  Maybe my piece below will encourage (or nudge) you to go see it...if you haven't already.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Long Live Mixed Media Art

Picasso's "Still Life with Chair Caning"
A mixed media artist often combines at least two mediums in one piece of artwork. According to art history sources, the term mixed media (also termed collage) began around 1912 with the art of Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso.  However, it was really around well before these men made it avant-garde.

Before Picasso, there were artists from the Byzantine Empire (330 to 1453) who used gilded gold leaf (I use gold metal leaf flakes today, along with innumerable embellishments like manuscripts), frescoes, mosaics, and original manuscripts on their paintings.  By the Dark Ages, however, artists weren't feeling as inspired.  But by the Renaissance, artists started popping up with canvases everywhere and art was coming alive again!  And when the Cubist Movement came around, artists were given artistic freedom to change points of view and play with dimensions...this gave new meaning to mixed media.  

And who were the leaders of this art movement?  Hint...hint...they are mentioned above: Picasso and Braque.  Although they did not work together, their artist expression was similar.  They both chose to work with space and form as the main focus in heir compositions, rather than painting realistic images. 

It was in 1912 that Picasso created his first mixed media piece titled "Still Life with Chair Caning." He took a canvas and dared to paste paper and oilcloth in combination with painted areas.  He dared and proved mixed media art deserved a name. 

Today, mixed media is a celebrated art form by amateur and professional artists alike.  Creativity with mixed media is filled with infinite possibilities...and in my best kept that way.  Just about anything can be explored and used within the limitless boundaries of mixed media. 


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Getting Ready for the Next Show

Last Friday, I drove out with my mom to Millwood, Virginia to drop off her paintings for a spring art show.  If you haven't been to Millwood before and you are ever in Virginia, it is a must going back in time.  The scenic drive out there alone is worth the effort.  (Be sure to check out more photos of beautiful Millwood at the end of this post...then breathe in...breathe out...and enjoy a moment of peace and quiet.)

This week, it was my turn to drop off artwork to a show called Chick's Picks.  Not only have I been busy helping to move my family into our new home, I've been feeding my canvases with encaustic, paint, vintage images, and embellishments of all kinds.  Have I ever mentioned I love embellishments (I'm detail oriented and focus in on small intriguing things and often appreciate life's little treasures, by the way). 

So, all this in preparation for Chick's amazing show that comes around every few months.  If you don't know about Chick's Picks, check out Hillary's website here:  The theme for her show this month is very ROYAL, in honor of the upcoming nuptials.  Here are two of my eight pieces that will be showcased there.  If you are in the Northern Virginia area, you should stop by Chick's Picks.

April 14 - 16:
Thursday, 8am - 8pm
Friday, 9am - 7pm
Saturday, 9am - 2 pm

Victorian Dressing Room

Marie La Fleur

Off to shuffle some more boxes around...

P.S.  More of Millwood...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


"All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players:
they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time
plays many parts, his acts being seven ages." 
~William Shakespeare

 I thought I'd share the art pieces sold at my first show.  My mixed media art is a combination of painting, antiquing, using multiple vintage print images, specialty papers, encaustic, and all sorts of embellishments to create composition .  When creating pieces like the ones posted below, I feel I've been taken back in time.  I love history...and love, love to write stories that take place in a long forgotten world.  It's like these characters and places in time beg to be brought back to life.  "To be or not to be..."

This first piece is called Shakespeare's French Princess.

This is titled French Crest (if you look carefully, there is a mysterious castle in the middle).

And lastly, Ladies in Waiting. 

I also have another one that someone wants to purchase, but they want it framed in antiqued white.  I'll post it after I've sold it.  Let me give you a's a dancing pig.

Art on...

Saturday, March 19, 2011

First Show

I grew up playing at my mom's feet.  She was always creating art by painting, sewing, making baskets, stitching, cooking, and turning our house into a shop, a gallery, an artist's playground!

Mom always allowed me to explore and express my artistic inspirations with scraps of paper, fabric, leftover paint, buttons, dough, anything really.  She encouraged me to dabble and dabble some more.  Often times, I would become distracted by a world of make believe and abandoned my projects, leaving a mess in my wake.  But the encouragement never ended, and it still doesn't today. 

The only way I know how to live life is to live it creatively.  I write by trade and for passion, play piano as I daydream, dance to exercise, and create mixed media art as a release (oh, and I cook for my family because they have to eat).  I've come to mixed media later in life and have grown to love this art form, as it is freeing and not constricting in the least.  I started on my own, and then took thing I know I was hooked and elbow deep in encaustic (a medium of wax).  My sons (who live, breathe, and sleep sports) even enjoy mixed media art as there are no restrictions.  It is, in my opinion, as open as the sea, deep with possibilities.

These possibilities led to my first show this past weekend at Chick's Picks.  And yes, I even sold a few pieces of art.  It's an honor to know that someone likes my work enough to hang it on a wall that greets them every day.  In fact, it's thrilling! 

So here's to creating art, one piece at a time.  Enjoy the process and come back often to check on my progress.  I want to hear about your progress, too.  Let's share can take us far.