Archive for the mixed media Category

Welcome to my virtual show!

Posted in mixed media, painting on September 12, 2016 by Betsy Lahaussois

I have had a wonderful time in the studio this summer, surrounded/crowded by forty 12×12″plywood panels in different stages of messing around/discovery/recovery. Remi helped me attach some slats to the walls so I could hang them up as I went along, and see in that crucial first glance when you come in the door which ones need more attention, and which are nearly resolved. Sometimes a visitor or a grandchild would paint the first layer, with the understanding that it was destined to disappear under successive layers–thick is good!– unless they fell in love and took it home. I like knowing that their marks are buried there, and might reemerge in some future revision. And you really could go on forever, adding more paint and more collage, sanding the surface back down to discover surprise bursts of color from below, reacting to those marks, adding some more. But today it feels like time to “put them out there”, clean up the studio, and go for a walk!

Here, for better for worse, is “how I spent my summer holidays”!

Happy fall…

Helen has asked if these paintings are for sale. Absolutely! I have had some nice hardwood frames built by a local craftsman which look like this:img_4728

and am prepared to sell the paintings framed….


Rolling the dice

Posted in "Found objects"/articles, mixed media, recycling, stitches, textiles on May 1, 2016 by Betsy Lahaussois

I have just been off on an extraordinary course with Matthew Harris, called From Parts to a Whole. Each of us brought along something with soft and hard elements to deconstruct, play with using “chance operations”, draw around and print with, and finally to make into something else. It was liberating putting aside our usual decision making habits, not to mention media, and taking orders from the dice!

I’d found a couple of cheap plastic cameras at the flea market, and borrowed a set of mechanic’s tools from my grandson for taking them apart. It took all of the first morning to locate and remove the tiny screws,  disassemble, and sort the contents into piles.


Here is a much used “thing” made of several dice-selected camera elements including film cover, film, tiny screws and printed circuits.


After a day or two I got tired of inky fingernails and tiny plastic parts, and started investigating the other “found object” I’d brought along –a friend’s well worn Chinese slippers.



It was clear they had potential–look at the colorful cloth layers making up the shredded sole! I almost hesitated to take such beautiful objects apart.




But the dice said, “DO it!”. Leslie lent me a seam ripper, and friends from neighboring tables offered clippers, pliers, threads and a wicked needle, bandaids (!)….


I distributed the contents of both soles on a well used linen tea towel, and “trapped” them on the surface with rows of running stitch. This–like removing the paint from an old door–always takes much more time than you expected, but I enjoyed the next couple of “down days”, stitching back and forth, listening to the chatter around me, catching whiffs of garlic as Jude made lunch…


As the end approached, Matthew helped me rip off the linen hem still partly visible at the edges–there is a not so fine line between Art Brut and Home Decorating!

I am home now after an extremely interesting five days, looking at the stuff in our recycling bin with a new eye, and eager to give Chance a more decisive role in my art making! Inspired by Richard Serra, I am thinking of assigning an “action” (tear, rumple, print, fold, reverse, etc) to each of the 52 cards in a deck, and just drawing a card next time I get to a creative impasse.

If you have a chance to go to a Matthew Harris workshop, don’t miss it!…


Little books

Posted in collage, drawing, mixed media, paper, recycling, surfaces on June 13, 2015 by Betsy Lahaussois

Sometimes you need to put away all your stalled projects, and get a fresh start. Thinking small and free, and “unimportant”, I tore whole sheets of drawing paper into eight horizontal strips, and folded them into pocket sized books. I quickly realized what a good playground they provide….




I have been making marks with anything on hand, dripping wax, applying joint compound, scraping some off, gluing on recycled strips from old work, spraying with liquid inks, sanding everything down, brushing on a layer of acrylic…so little cost, so much fun!


beer can pens!


Here are my favorite mark makers of the moment, made from popsicle sticks and beer cans. (Yes!)  And here is a week’s worth of little books, hanging from the clothesline.


recto 1


(verso)verso 1


One thing I am liking about these strips is that they have a front and a back–twice as much fun for your money!


recto 2


(and here are the backs)


And when they are done, you fold them back up, stow them in nearly no space, and start a new strip! If I remember, I will keep one in my purse for scribbling while waiting in line–a jumping off point once back in the studio.

One wedding present and nine spin-offs

Posted in mixed media, trays, wood with tags on April 5, 2010 by Betsy Lahaussois

Tom and Katie are getting married this summer, and bless their hearts, when asked what sort of present they might like, they said, “Please MAKE us something!” Though I’m not sure they aren’t swimming in cupboards and wall space, it is unlikely; and because I do know about luggage restrictions on low cost airlines, I decided to scale the project to the size of my trusty suitcase. With scraps and glue and matte medium still lying around from my last studio roll, I just picked up where I left off, printed their names off in favorite fonts a few thousand times, and personalized a wooden tray. Every newly established household needs a means to transport the wine glasses and olives to the balcony after work, does it not?

And then, feeling I was just warming up, I marched straight back to Ikea and bought another dozen blank trays. Here is how the series is coming along…(note to Mom: click on an image to enlarge it!)

Even “bon vivants” like Jacques and I probably don’t need more than nine trays for carrying our wine glasses around, so perhaps it was time to get a new idea. As it would happen, while I was at Ikea, a bolt of natural linen ambushed me on the tortuous way to the check-out. Linen, meet artichoke!….Stay tuned to this station to witness how one thing leads to another.

“Painted sounds”

Posted in mixed media on July 4, 2009 by Betsy Lahaussois

This series of painted panels are in their second or third reincarnation by now. They began as monoprints on primed plywood, put through a printing press with crumpled sheets of inked plastic–which marks up the surface and embosses the texture in an interesting way, and also wards off blank canvas anxiety! I like printing on wood, for practical as well as aesthetic reasons. If the piece works right away, you can just glue strips of furring along the back edges, and call it framed. If it doesn’t quite work, you can paint over it loosely with gesso, and let that first layer serve as a suggestive underpainting.  And if the next round isn’t really conclusive, you can always sand the surface down part way and repaint it, or  weather and distress it, to see what new ideas present themselves. Plywood panels don’t take up much storage space, or get too wrinkly, if you need to put them aside for a while….

When I recently rediscovered these pieces hibernating on a high shelf, they reminded me of the music I had been listening to in my studio while working on them. I thought that might be an interesting direction to pursue; but they seemed to need more detail. So I tried gluing on the tiniest slivers of patterned papers to reinforce the movement–using bits of papers collected over the years, as well as evocative images from old manuscripts and documents– scanned, altered, and printed. This is an approach I haven’t tried before, and one I look forward to experimenting with. I found that gluing the papers with matt medium works well, keeping the shininess under control, and–if applied judiciously–the printing inks from running. I found it easier cutting with nail scissors than Xacto blades (however I think I feel a tearing period coming on!…)  It will probably take a while to know which of these are actually finished, but here is where they stand today. 

(Note to Mom! try clicking on “view all images”…)





Wood and mixed media–some images

Posted in mixed media, wood on March 9, 2009 by Betsy Lahaussois

Look, more clocks!

Posted in clocks, mixed media, wood on February 20, 2009 by Betsy Lahaussois