Sunday, March 26, 2017

#SOL17: I've Never (Thanks Linda!)

image from my art journal (2016)

I was reading Linda B's post the other day and she invited readers to play a game called, I've Never...

From Linda's blog: Game explanation

Each player receives five (or three if there's less time) toothpicks. Each time the player HAS done the shared action, she or he must forfeit a toothpick. The one or you can choose to have three who still have at least one toothpick are the winners! You can time it and those left are the winners. 

Here's my list...

I've never. . .

  • climbed a mountain
  • traveled to South America
  • eaten Red Snapper
  • worn 4" heels
  • been to a professional basketball game
  • ubered
  • watched The Walking Dead
  • read or watched Gone With the Wind
  • been in a helicopter
  • voted Republican
  • seen the Northern Lights

How did you do?

Saturday, March 25, 2017

#SOL17: Making a Gelli Print Art Journal

Cover to Birgit's handmade art journal

Cover to Birgit's handmade art journal

inside Birgit's journal


Last weekend I took an art class with Birgit Koopsen from the Netherlands and she had with her several gelli-printed art journals she had made. Although our work during the weekend did not involve making printed art journals, I found her work compelling and beautiful and knew I would want to make my own journal after seeing hers.

Below is a quick look through one of her journals.

She outlines the process in this blog post.

gelli print plate with paint on it


papers I have made
So this week I decided to start making my own art journal by making a series of printed papers. I used a 12 x 12 gelli plate, fluid acrylic paints, Canson Watercolor sheets 9"X12" (90 lb), brayers, and different objects I had on hand to make marks on the plate, such as the rim of a glass, a corn holder, a foam stamp.

I had never used a gelli plate before last Saturday and I am finding it an incredibly useful tool for printing. Right now I am creating pages for the journal. Once I create enough pages, fold and glue them (back to back), and then assemble folios--I will move on to binding the journal.

Birgit creates a heavier cover using cardboard and
folded folios
paper. And then she just binds the pages using heavy-duty tape. I plan to do so as well.


After all that work, I will then have a journal ready to work in. Then I will create different art on top of the painted sheets of paper in the journal. One type of art I will be creating are image transfers from original photographs. Below is a brief video that shows one way of transferring laser printed images.

I found that using Liquitex Pouring Medium helps me to achieve even transfers. Also, printing black and white images with high resolution offers the blackest image for transfer. Some of these images I will hand paint and then transfer, others I plan to leave as black images that contrast with the paint already on the page.

Below is an example of a painted image I transferred to a journal based on a black and white photograph I made some years ago.

Two-page spread in one of my journals.
I hand painted the back and white photograph and then transferred it to a journal.

I love the collection of art journals I have created during the last year. I have posted images from the last year of hand made work, here. Most of the books I have used have been purchased, although I have altered two books: an old atlas that was Rob's and a book on color.

There's something special when the entire journal is made by your own hands.

Friday, March 24, 2017

#SOL17: Home

(M.A. Reilly, 2016)

I know/there are days/when the only thing/more brave than leaving /this house/is coming back to it. -Jan Richardson, The Cure for Sorrow: A Book of Blessings for Times of Grief


I love my home.

This house was new when we moved here--not yet a home. During the last 15 years, we made every crack, every chipped paint, ever scratch on the wooden floors.

We leave marks in life--transforming wood and siding; pipes and soffits from house to home.


Everywhere I look I can see Rob, even among the new things he never knew--such as the kitchen table Devon and I bought after Rob died. I imagine Rob saying, Finally and I laughing. He grew to hate the round oak table we had for 14 years and wanted a change.

Now the table is gone. Devon and I rolled it out of the front door, placing on the street in early February, 2016 and in the matter of hours it and the four heavy oak chairs were gone.Someone had come along and claimed the set. We needed to make room for the hospital bed that Rob would need when he came home to die.

And thinking of this imagined exchange between Rob and me helps me to conjure my husband's voice--something I find more difficult to do as time passes. I can place him at the table--a cup of coffee before him in the Black Dog Cafe mug he had used for more than a decade. I can see him there and his hair is long, tied back with whatever piece of leather was handy, but I strain to hear him speak.

The sound of his voice is receding.


Home is where I give my heart to craft the work and art I love, to spend an hour each evening having dinner with my son, to remember the too many memories that we have made here between these walls and beyond them.

Love, like life, are matters of the heart.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

#SOL17: Making Images

What the Lark Knows (M.A. Reilly, Ringwood, NJ, 11/23/2010)

Someone in Australia  just purchased "What The Lark Knows," an art print of mine. I most likely will never know who the art purchaser was and in a few weeks I will receive payment. Meanwhile the art buyer will receive in the mail an art print of an image I made late fall, just a few days after Rob's birthday, when Devon was in 6th grade.  It was a day when there was a glorious fog. Dev and I ended up playing hooky from work and school.

"You want to run around in the fog?" I asked my son early that morning on the way to school and work.
"We'll go out for breakfast after I make a few images." 

We headed to the grounds of the local botanical gardens and Devon would later pose for me and then run through a field as the sun , looking very much like the moon, burned through some of the fog. I was able to capture both moments as photographs (see below).

And then we went out to a local diner and had some breakfast.

The Uncertainty Principle (M.A. Reilly, Ringwood, NJ, 11/23/2010)
Coming through the Rye (M.A. Reilly, Ringwood, NJ, 11/23/2010)

Now and then, I think about the many ways that the Internet helps to connect people with one another and with work that gets shared. I think of this each time I get a notification from Red Bubble, the company that sells reproductions of my work. It's a bit of a kick to think that in a week or so an image I made in 2010 will be hanging on the wall of someone's home in Australia. What a glorious time to be alive.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

#SOL17: Noah and the Raven

Today's slice of life grew out of a painting I did in a journal. I stared at it for a while and the story emerged. A year after Rob's death brings the knowledge that I am responsible for my own life. It isn't the acceptance of his death that I now struggle with. Rather it is the acceptance of the life that rests in my hands and what I am making of it.  

from my art journal (digital remix - 3.22.17)

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

#SOL17: Batter Up - More than a Handful of Baseball Books

In October, 2015 when Rob had come home from the hospital and was healing from a staph infection, radiation treatments and chemo, he and I watched the Mets in the playoffs. We exchanged texts with my brother Brendan as we watched. It was a lot of fun. Prior to that it had been years since I watched baseball. I could still recall in the early 1970s, driving with my dad in his trusty VW bug and listening to AM radio coverage of the Mets. I remember my dad listening as Nolan Ryan pitched his way to a no hitter and recall my dad saying, Mary, we have a sure winner here. I'm not sure if the joy I felt then had something to do with listening to a game,  being with just my dad, or perhaps both--but I recall the time fondly.  

With spring upon us and baseball warming up, I hope the list inspires you to "pitch a few books" to others and to read to children.

1. Picture Books

  1. Abbott, Bud & Lou Costello. (2013). Who's On First? Illustrated by John Martz. Quirk Books: Philadelphia, PA
  2. Adler, David A. (2007). Campy: The Story of Roy Campanella. Illustrated by Gordon James. New York: Viking Juvenile.
  3. Adler, David A.  (2001). Lou Gehrig &  I. Illustrated by Terry Widener. New York: Sandpiper.
  4. Bildner, Phil. (2011). Unforgettable Season: Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams and the Record-Setting Summer of 1941. Illustrated by S.D. Schindler. New York:  Putnam Juvenile.
  5. Bildner, Phil. (2006). Shoeless Joe & Betsy Black. Illustrated by C.F. Payne. New York:  Simon & Schuster.
  6. Borden, Louise. (2014). Baseball Is... Illustrated by Raúl Colón. New York: Margaret K. McElderry Books.
  7. Bowen, Fred. (2010). No Easy Way: The Story of Ted Williams and the Last .400 Season. Illustrated by Chuck Pyle. New York: Dutton Juvenile.
  8. Burleigh, Robert. (2007). Stealing Home: Jackie Robinson: Against the Odds. Illustrated by Mike Wimmer. New York: Sandpiper.
  9. Burleigh, Robert. (2003). Home Run: The Story of Babe Ruth. Illustrated by Mike Wimmer. New York: Sandpiper.
  10. Churin, Nancy. (2016). The William Hoy Story. Illustrated by Jez Tuya. New York: Albert Whitman & Company.
  11. Cline-Ransome, Lisa. (2003). Satchel Paige. Illustrated by James E.Ransome. New York: Aladdin.
  12. Corey, Shana. (2006). Players in PigtailsIllustrated by Rebecca Gibbon. New York: Scholastic.
  13. Curtis, Gavin. (2001). The Bat Boy and His Violin. Illustrated by E.B Lewis. New York: Aladdin.
  14. Gilles, Almira Astudillo. (2001). Willie Wins. Illustrated by Carl Angel. New York: Lee & Low.
  15. Golenbock, Peter. (2012). ABCs of Baseball. Illustrated by Dan Andreasen. New York: Dial Books. 
  16. Golenbock, Peter. (2005). Hank Aaron: Brave in Every Way. Illustrated by Don Lee. New York: Lee & Low.
  17. Golenbock, Peter. (1992). Teammates. Illustrated by Paul Bacon. New York: Sandpiper.
  18. Green, Michelle Y. (2004). A Strong Right Arm: The Story of Mamie "Peanut" Johnson. Illustrated by Kadir Nelson. New York: Puffin Books.
  19. Hopkinson, Deborah. (2006). Girl Wonder: A Baseball Story in Nine Innings. Illustrated by Terry Widener. New York: Atheneum/Anne Schwartz Books.
  20. Hubbard, Crystal. (2005). Catching the Moon: The Story of a Young Girl’s Baseball Dream. Illustrated by Randy Duburke. New York: Lee & Low.
  21. Isadora, Rachel. (2005).  Luke Goes to Bat. New York: Putnam Juvenile.
  22. Johnson, Angela. (2007). Just Like Josh Gibson. Illustrated by Beth Peck. New York: Simon & Schuster.
  23. Kusugak, Michael (Inuit). (2017). Baseball Bats for Christmas. Illustrated by Vladana Langer Krykorka. Toronto, Ontario: Annick Press.
  24. Lorbiecki, Marybeth. (2006). Jackie's Bat. Illustrated by Brian Pinkney. New York: Simon & Schuster.
  25. Mandel, Peter. (2000.) Say Hey! Illustrated by Don Tate. New York: Hyperion.
  26. Michelson, Richard. (2006). Across the Alley. Illustrated by E.B. Lewis. New York: Harcourt.
  27. Michelson, Richard. (2011). Lipman Pike: America’s First Home Run King. Illustrated by Zachary Pullen. Ann Arbor, MI: Sleeping Bear Press.
  28. Mochizuki, Ken. (1995). Baseball Saved Us. Illustrated by Don Lee. New York:  Lee & Low.
  29. Moss, Marissa. (2016). Barbed Wire Baseball: How One Man Brought Hope to the Japanese Internment Camps of WWII.  New York: Harry N. Abrams.
  30. Moss, Marissa. (2004). Mighty Jackie: The Strike-Out Queen. Illustrated by C.F. Payne. New York: Simon & Schuster.
  31. Nash, Ogden. (2011). Lineup for Yesterday. Illustrated by C.F. Payne. Mankato, MN: Creative Editions.
  32. Negron, Ray. (2006). The Boy of Steel: Baseball Dream Come True. Illustrated by Laura Seeley. New York: Harper Collins.
  33. Nelson, Kadir. (2008). We Are The Ship: The Story Of Negro League Baseball. New York: Jump at the Sun.
  34. Okimoto, Jean Davies. (2002). Dear Ichiro. Illustrated by Doug Keith. Seattle, WA: Sasquatch Books.
  35. Posada, Jorge. (2010). Play Ball! Illustrated by Raul Colon. New York: Paula Wiseman Books.
  36. Rappaport, Doreen. (2000). Dirt on Their Skirts: The Story of the Young Women Who Won the World Championship. Illustrated by E.B. Lewis. New York: Dial.
  37. Robinson, Sharon. (2009). Testing the Ice: A True Story about Jackie Robinson. Illustrated by Kadir Nelson. New York: Scholastic Press.
  38. Shore, Diane Z. & Jessica Alexander. (2011). This is the Game. Illustrated by Owen Smith. New York: HarperCollins.
  39. Tavares, Matt. (2016).  Becoming Babe Ruth. Sommerville, MA: Candlewick.
  40. Tavares, Matt. 2015). Growing Up Pedro: How the Martinez Brothers Made It from the Dominican Republic All the Way to the Major Leagues Somerville, MA: Candlewick.
  41. Tavares, Matt. (2011). MudballSomerville, MA: Candlewick.
  42. Tavares, Matt. (2009). Oliver's GameSomerville, MA: Candlewick.
  43. Tavares, Matt. (2000/2012).  Zachary's Ball. Somerville, MA: Candlewick.
  44. Uhlberg, Myron. 2005. Dad, Jackie, And Me. Illustrated by Colin Bootman. Atlanta, GA: Peachtree.
  45. Vernick, Audrey. (2016). The Kid from Diamond Street: The Extraordinary Story of Baseball Legend Edith HoughtonIllustrated by Steve Salerno. New York: Clarion.
  46. Vernick, Audrey. (2012). Brothers at Bat: The True Story of an Amazing All-Brother Baseball Team. Illustrated by Steve Salerno. New York: Clarion.
  47. Vernick, Audrey. (2010). She Loved Baseball: The Effa Manley Story. Illustrated by Don Tate. New York: Collins.
  48. Winter, Jonah. (2017). Mickey Mantel: The Commerce Comet. Illustrated by C.F. Payne. New York: Schwartz & Wade.
  49. Winter, Jonah. (2016)You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?! Illustrated by Andre Carriho. New York: Schwartz & Wade.
  50. Winter, Jonah. (2014). Joltin' Joe DiMaggioIllustrated by James Ransome. New York: Atheneum.
  51. Winter, Jonah. (2008). Roberto Clemente: The Pride of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Illustrated by Raul Colon. New York: Atheneum.
  52. Wise, Bill. (2012). Silent Star: The Story of Deaf Major Leaguer William Hoy. Illustrated by Adam Gustavson. New York: : Lee & Low.
  53. Wise, Bill. (2009). Louis Sockalexis: Native American Baseball PioneerIllustrated by Bill Farnsworth. New York: Lee & Low.
  54. Yolen, Jane. (2010). All Star! Honus Wagner and the Most Famous Baseball Card Ever. Illustrated by Jim Burke. New York: Philomel.


  1. Edelson, Noah. (2005). Cooperstown Dreams: Poems about Baseball and Other Things That Make a Difference. Illustrated by Hannah Edelson. Sherman Oaks, CA: Mighty Oak Media.
  2. Fehler, Gene. (2009). Change-Up: Baseball Poems. Illustrated by Donald Wu. New York: Clarion.
  3. Florian, Doug. (2012). Poem Runs: Baseball Poems and Paintings. New York: HMH Books for Young Readers.
  4. Fried, Gabriel. (2014). Heart of the Order: Baseball Poems. New York: Persea.
  5. Graves, Donald. (1996). Baseball, Snakes and Summer Squash: Poems about Growing Up. Illustrated by Paul Birling. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mill Press.
  6. Hopkins, Lee Bennett. (1993). Extra Innings: Baseball Poems. Illustrated by Scott Medlock. New York: Harcourt.
  7. Janeczko, Paul B. (1998). That Sweet Diamond Baseball Poems. Illustrated by Carole Katchen. New York: Atheneum.
  8. Maddax, Marjorie. (2009). Rules of the Game: Baseball Poems. Illustrated by John Sandford. Honesdale, PA: Wordsong.
  9. Morrison, Lillian. (1992). At the Crack of the Bat: Baseball Poems. Illustrated by Steve Cieslawski. New York: Hyperion.
  10. Prelutsky, Jack. (2007). Good Sports: Rhymes about Running, Jumping, Throwing, and More.  Illustrated by Chris Raschka. New York: Knopf.
  11. Raczka, Rob. (2010). GUYKU: Haiku for Boys. Illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds. New York: Houghton Mifflin. (includes a haiku about baseball cards)
  12. Rodriguez, Alex. (2012). Out of the Ballpark. Illustrated by Frank Morrison. New York: HarperCollins. 
  13. Smith Jr., Charles R. (2012). Stars in the Shadows: The Negro League All-Star Game of 1934. Illustrated by Frank Morrison. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers.
  14. Smith, Charles. (2004). Diamond Life: Baseball Sights, Sounds, and Swings. New York: Orchard.
  15. Thayer, Ernest. (2002). Casey At the Bat. Illustrated by Leroy Neiman. Introduction by Joe Torre. New York: Ecco.
  16.  Thayer, Ernest. (2000). Casey at the Bat: A Ballad at the Republic in the Year 1888. Illustrated by Christopher Bing. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle.

Informational, Graphic Novel, Memoir, and Novel
  1. Bretón, Marcos. (2003). Home Is Everything: The Latino Baseball Story: From the Barrio to the Major Leagues. Photographs by Jose Luis Villegas. El Paso, TX: Cinco Puntos Press.
  2. Chronicle Books Staff. (2009). B Is for Baseball: Running the Bases from A to Z. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books.
  3. Cieradkowski, Gary. (2015). The League of Outsider Baseball: An Illustrated History of Baseball’s Forgotten Heroes.  Touchstone.
  4. Charlton, James & Sally Cook. (2014). How to Speak Baseball: An Illustrated Guide to Ballpark Banter. llustrated by Ross MacDonald. New York: Margaret K. McElderry.
  5. Cook, Sally and James Charlton. (2007). Hey Batta Batta Swing! The Wild Old Days of Baseball. Illustrated by Ross MacDonald. New York: Margaret K. McElderry.
  6. Curlee, Lynn. (2004). Ball Park: The Story of America's Baseball Fields. New York: Atheneum.
  7. Fletcher, Ralph. "Baseball" in Marshfield Dreams: When I Was a Kid. New York: Square Fish.
  8. Herzog, Brad. (2004). H is for Home Run: A Baseball Alphabet. Chelsea, MI: Sleeping Bear Press.
  9. Jorgensen, Katrina. (2016). Ballpark Eats Recipes Inspired by America’s Baseball Stadiums (Sports Illustrated Kids). Mantako, MN: Capstone Young Readers.
  10. Robinson, Sharon. (2016). The Hero Two Doors Down: Based on the True Story of Friendship Between a Boy and a Baseball Legend. New York: Scholastic Press.
  11. Robinson, Sharon. (2004). Promises to Keep: How Jackie Robinson Changed America. New York: Scholastic.
  12. Santiago, Wilfred. (2014). 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente. Seattle, WA: Fantagraphics.   
  13. Winter, Jonah. (2013). Beisbol: Latino Baseball Pioneers and Legends. New York: Lee & Low Books.
  14. Winter, Jonah. (1999). Fair Ball!: 14 Great Stars from Baseball's Negro Leagues. New York: Scholastic.
  15. Wong, Steven. (2007). Baseball Treasures. Illustrated by Susan Einstein. New York: HarperCollins.

Monday, March 20, 2017

#SOL17: Fascism

from my art journal


The other day I was listening to Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, rationalize Trump's budget blueprint. The blueprint represents about a third of federal spending (discretionary spending). I had already read about the budget, but I was interested in learning more. As I listened, I noticed that there's a certain swagger, hubris, and condescending attitude that Mulvaney wraps about himself when he speaks. He is not unlike many of Trump's inner circle (i.e., Bannon, Conway, Spicer) who take condescension to a higher art whenever they get in front of a camera and a mike. Given Trump's swagger this is not too surprising and in this regard, Mulvaney did not disappoint.


At a press conference, Mulvaney when asked about defunding the Public Broadcasting Corporation  and other arts-based entities, said this:

The message the president sent right now is, 'We want to defund those' for completely defensible reasons....It's a simple message by the way. I put myself in the shoes of that steel worker in Ohio, the coal miner, the coal mining family in West Virginia, the mother of two in Detroit and I'm ok, I have to go ask these folks for money and tell them where I'm going to spend it. Can I rally go to those folks, look them in the eye, say look, I want to take money from you and I want to give it to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. That is a really hard sale. And in fact something we don't think we can defend anymore.

There's irony here given the speaker of these words. Mulvaney, you might remember, is the guy who failed to pay $15,000 in payroll taxes for a household employee.  He hardly rubs elbows with the 'character types' he mentioned, let alone would know how to step into their shoes. But the poor are convenient props.


It's irksome when people so distant from the folks mentioned--blue collar workers and single moms--use them to rationalize budget decisions. Unlike Mulvaney, I am a single mom. I'm a single mom who under Trump's tax plans will see an increase in my tax bill. 

Unlike Mulvaeny from South Carolina, I live in a state that pays the 6th highest total amount of taxes to the federal government ($153,917,572 in 2015). Of the top 10 states that provided $1.9 trillion of the $3.2 trillion 2015 federal budget--almost 2/3 of the funds for that budget came from states (7 out of 10) where Clinton, not Trump was the winner. Yet, interests from the majority of those voters who contribute the greatest amount to the federal government are not represented by this president or his advisors. 


Given our president's penchant for lying, I do not believe him when he says our military is depleted. How can it be depleted given the funding it receives?  For example, in FY 2015, the US had "a declared military and defense budget of $601 billion, which is more than the next 7 highest spending countries combined" (from here). Business Insider states, "The US military is unquestionably the dominant force on the planet." Doesn't seem too shabby.

What about our tax dollars that are proposed by Trump to finance his foolish southern wall? All his bravado about Mexico paying for the wall was bluster and lies. According to the New York Times, "The proposal, which includes a $2 billion down payment on Mr. Trump’s signature border wall, is one of the single largest investments in the president’s budget plan." 


Apparently Mulvaney and crew have no difficulty asking the steel worker, coal mining family, and women like me to shell over hard earned money for a $54 billion increase in military spending and billions on a wall we don't need and will do nothing to correct issues regarding immigration. After that ridiculous wall is built, people wanting to stay in America illegally will do as they do now: They'll fly in and overstay their Visas.

What price are we paying for these poor decisions? Trump's proposed budget guts the EPA, foreign aid, diplomacy, community development block grant, 20 programs in Education (including feeding poor kids), specifically calls for the elimination of climate change research, and more. Every federal department except the military, Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs will see massive deductions.

Make American great again? Hardly. What's behind this emphasis on might?


Nationalism is foundational for fascism. White nationalists currently occupying the White House, have a tendency to reference God being on their side, the need for dominant military power, and the unity of the country. In the early 1930s when the Nazis came to power--a fascist regime, Hitler promised to re-arm Germany and make it a military power. He told the people, "Providence shows no mercy to weak nations, but recognizes the right of existence-only of sound and strong nations…" 

At the inauguration in January, Trump told us, "We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement and, most importantly, we will be protected by God." 

And the God Trump references is a Christian God.  As Trump told a crowd of his followers, "...we're Christians. I'm Protestant. I'm Presbyterian..."I'm a true believer. And you're many true believers — I hope all — is everybody a true believer in this room? I think so. But Christianity is under tremendous siege" (from here).  

In February, when Trump was speaking to conservatives, he told the assembled, "We will rebuild our military...We're also put...a massive budget request for our beloved military... Nobody will dare question our military might again..." (from here). 

I wonder if the good people living in Germany imagined that such horror that accompanies fascist states could not possibly be their future? I wonder if they turned a blind eye to the systematic build up that led to genocide?

Will we turn our heads too?  Are we?