Sunday, December 20, 2009

That Wise Friend

A commissioned journal for the owl enthusiast. The journal is covered in genuine leather and embellished with vintage buttons. The cover image is a vintage Ex Libris Bookplate. Throughout the journal the image has been duplicated randomly using a xylene image transfer technique.

My Back Pages

A commissioned journal for a fellow Bob Dylan fan. This journal combines Dylan's lyrics, iconic images, blank pages, and staff paper for the musician. The style of this journal is influenced by Dylan's style circa 1965-66. Genuine leather, vintage button closure.

Fresh Fruits

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Bon Appétit

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Shrine of Dylan 10-25-09

Photo from

Wet pavement, like oil slicks, holds a mirror up to the night’s city lights. They flash green, red, green, and Bob Dylan on the marquee. We enter the Shrine Mosque without any line. Soon we are seated, waiting for the show to begin. This is my third Dylan show, and hopefully not the last. I’ve seen him in Kansas City and Dublin, Ireland, but this time he is only an hour from home. By now, I know what to expect from his shows - about a 17-song set including a two-song encore, unpredictable sound quality, fabulously loud raucous music that often muffles the hallowed lyrics (see sound quality), and a grab bag of sharp, resculpted gems from Dylan’s past, present, and future.

And this is just how I like him. I love his unabashed refusal to play or sound like he did in his 20’s, even though everyone, myself included, would enjoy hearing that. I love how he sounds different every time I see him and he plays a constant guessing game of songs on his ever-changing set lists. I love that he is 68 and still doing any of this.

There is a ten year old girl sitting in front of us with her parents getting what I believe is the birthday gift of a lifetime - Dylan live. I didn’t really discover the vast and brilliant landscape of Dylan until I was out of college. I’m still aghast at this fact. If only I’d stumbled upon him in an old cardboard box at a garage sale in my youth, danced to the jiving homesick blues, chuckled at “On the Road Again,” or fumbled through his lyrics as if they were a secret code. I hope the girl in front of me has done all of these things. I can tell is that she is as excited as I am.

Soon the incense on stage is lit and the lights are thrown on stage. Dylan is introduced. Dressed in high fashion, all in black, most members in hats, Bob Dylan and His Band take the stage. They blast into “Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat.” They pound out the music and sound good. The audio seems wrong. The loud band’s music always seems to cloud Dylan’s voice. I listen hard as they play hard. Dylan is having fun. He’s moving a lot with the music, something I saw in Dublin, as well. He is jiving like the rest of us. One recent reviewer, Maxwell Webster, said, “He plays like a man possessed.” I love this idea and presume he’s possessed with what he calls on Together Through Life “the blood of the land in my voice.”

This brings us to his voice. I won’t say it’s for everyone. But it is as powerful as ever when the sound guys get it right. It is weathered and eroded. Not like a smooth beach pebble. Like a canyon, carved to sharp and steep crags and cliffs by a river. The river of a life lived in his case. The result is staggering, breath taking, sublime when you peer out at its vista, awesome when you teeter on its edge. That is Dylan’s voice. Listen at your own risk. But if you do, it’s unforgettable.

At about the fourth song we get up to move to the floor hoping to see a little better, as the enormous speakers are concealing half of Bob and much of the stage. Standing on the floor at the back of the crowd I am able to see most of the stage and band and Bob, which is something considering my height handicap. And to our surprise and luck, the sound quality is much, much better. The vocals are much clearer. They still aren’t crystal (but when are they)? And we stay here for the remainder of the mercurial magic. Dylan picks up his guitar for two songs; this is always a rare treat. He holds his guitar almost completely vertically and strums madly to “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright” and “My Wife’s Hometown.” He plays a fabulous mix of old and new. Charlie Sexton, a guitarist who has recently rejoined Dylan's tour, gives a wild and wonderful performance. Sexton and Dylan banter back and forth with fierce solos of brilliance. The highlights are a rollicking “Highway 61” and a haunting “Ballad of a Thin Man.” I recognize “Thin Man” immediately by a faint guitar riff with the lights still black. Bob steps center stage in his black ensemble, “You walk into the room with your pencil in your hand.” He sneers the lyrics and waves and raises his arms demanding, “Something is happening here, but you don’t know what it is, do you? Mr. Jones?” There is a spotlight on him casting a huge stark shadow of another Dylan on the wall behind him. This ghost of Dylan past conducts a brilliant symphony of words and sound and some beautifully screeching harmonica solos. This moment alone is worth my fifty bucks.

But then a killer encore of three songs, “Like a Rolling Stone” circa 1965, “Jolene” circa 2009. We get a rare “Thank you friends (or fans)” before Bob introduces his rock solid band. And just when we think it’s over, “All Along the Watchtower.” A stellar end to a stellar concert. This being the third Dylan concert I’ve been fortunate enough to catch, I have already seen him perform many of these songs. But Dylan will be Dylan, and that means they are never the same. I leave, walking into the rainy night delighted, with a great smile on my face, impressed with Dylan’s fresh fruits, artfully forged from a dusty old vine.

Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat
Don't Think Twice, It's All Right
Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine)
My Wife's Home Town
Rollin' And Tumblin'
Beyond The Horizon
Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum
Tryin' To Get To Heaven
Cold Irons Bound
Not Dark Yet
Highway 61 Revisited
Nettie Moore
Thunder On The Mountain
Ballad Of A Thin Man
Like A Rolling Stone
All Along The Watchtower

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Heart of Stone

My photo “Sacred Heart” has recently been featured on a fellow Etsian’s blog. Check it out here at A special thanks to I Dreamed I Saw for the promotion. Every little blog helps.

Halloween Improv

Last minute Halloween decor took the form of painting macabre details on the glass of framed prints. Lovely dancing couple becomes Mrs. Lovett and Sweeney Todd. Martini & Rossi Vermouth Poster advertises something darker for your cocktail.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Paper Hills of Middle Earth

This collage was crafted with vintage pages from Fellowship of the Ring by Tolkien, stained with watercolor and torn to create a landscape of imagination. For sale in my Etsy shop at

Sunday, October 4, 2009

New Etsy Items and Specials

Traveling Chariot's OCTOBER Etsy Special:

Any Two Photographs for $30.00

with discounted shipping

I've listed new photos in my Etsy shop and new journals and address books are coming soon! If you have never visited I encourage you to do so. Etsy is a website where artisans from around the world sell only handmade & vintage goods. It is really alive this time of year with the harvest and Halloween frezy as well as the beginning of the holidays and gift giving. It is the perfect place to purchase something unique for your friends and family while supporting artists. But beware: It is highly addictive!

Etsy Home Page:

My Etsy Shop:

Saturday, October 3, 2009

To Die For

In an attempt to challenge myself and to provide Twilight fans the killer accessory to wear to the New Moon premier, I have created this set of Twilight nails inspired by the cover art. Special thanks to Laura, the eager client and model in the photos.

Book Covers from Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer

If you live in my area (southwest Missouri) and want in on this indulgence, call A-Nu-U Salon at 678-4300.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Courtly Romance

“Adornment,” my photograph of Château de Fontainebleau in France has been featured on a fellow artist’s blog. Check it out at , a little nod to romantic elements in art. Thanks to Etsylounge for the promotion!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Travel Writing Ireland

Long ago, during my first year in college I attended a luncheon titled “Travel Writing Ireland.” Two of my future professors were speaking of a study abroad trip. They took a group of students to study in Ireland; they all kept a record of their journeys in a handmade journal of their own crafting. This luncheon ended up having a great influence on me. I would go on to study literature with both of these great professors and learn bookmaking from one. I would also go on to study bookmaking as an art and artifact, in the Middle Ages and in medieval French monasteries. I would actually venture into medieval ways of papermaking, ink making, and illuminating. But, also, I would continue to make books as an art form. And I would, one day, journal my own way across Ireland, recording the serendipitous ramblings of this traveling soul. This is what you are seeing: the handmade journal that accompanied me on my travels across Ireland in May 2009. In here, are things that 1000 photographs couldn’t quite capture and ephemera that just can’t be thrown away or stuffed in a box (receipts, brochures, flyers, maps, a business card, etc.). This is a raw journal now, as time passes I will add to it, embellish it with journal entries or artwork. Ephemera is mostly just leafed in between pages now but will someday be incorporated into the journal. The journal is covered in green leather and the end leaves are a green marbled paper (not of my own making, I wish). Hand laid ivory paper and watercolor paper is interspersed throughout. Each time I open it, to work on it or just to leaf through, Ireland beckons me back. Back to delve deeper into its mysteries to explore the lands of green and mist and myths.

Detail of cover window - Irish postage stamps and map of Ireland.

Hand painted map of Ireland's counties in watercolor done pre-trip.

Map of Western Ireland from the Road Altas we used and a postcard I sent to myself.

Tickets from Bob Dylan in Dublin, the journal entry entered before the concert, and xylene art added post-trip.

Marbled end leaves and ephemera torn from a flyer.

A Room of One's Own Revisited

There are no locks and there are frequent visitors (birds, squirrels, etc.). But this is my newest creative haven. A veritable "room of one's own," which I share quite often. It is a peaceful and, most importantly, a creative atmosphere. A private outdoor nook to read or to write, to paint or to book make.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Vintage Vernacular

These are some of my newly acquired vintage treasures seemingly straight from an old library (although the typewriter is certainly too loud for a library). The chair seat is retro green tweed and the spring back is covered in a tawny leather worn to a shiny finish. It is comfortable but is in need of new wheels. The dinosaur of a typewriter is a Smith Corona. It is electric & types well, but I’m unsure of its year. And the bookplates I’ve picked up here and there. It looks like the beginning of a collection.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Enjoy Your Ride

This is my most recent mural. This scene includes most forms of transportation (maybe even a little time travel): a train, a semi truck, an airplane, and a tractor. But my favorite part may be tiny little town in the distance. This wall has two bends in it, which made the composition a bit challenging but I think it worked out well. It took me 23 hours to complete.

Friday, August 14, 2009

On the Prowl

Finished today. Handpainted mural about 9' x 8' done in acrylic paint. It took me 18 hours to complete.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Don't Bug Me, I'm Painting

These bugs were the perfect embellishments for a little girl's room, coordinating with her bedding.

All Aboard

This mural is painted at about at child's eye level. A steam engine train travels 'round the room along with railroad crossing signs and crossing arms. A train enters and leaves a brick railway tunnel on opposite ends of a window. And two lonely train cars sit on an abandoned track.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Green on the Horizon

Green is beginning to bud everywhere, even in my mind. I am planning a trip to Ireland and the landscapes fill my daydreams. We are going at the beginning of May. We will spend a few days in Dublin doing fabulous things (including a Bob Dylan concert). Then we are renting a car, visiting the remote sites of Ireland’s countryside. The airfare’s been bought but not all destinations have been decided yet. If you have been to Ireland, please leave me a comment of advice, tips, places I must see and things I must do (or things I must not do). It is hard to choose where to go in a country of such diverse landscapes and interests. I will do my best!

Friday, February 20, 2009


"Soon," they whispered, "you will be cloaked in green. The sun will dance across your closed eyelids. Once more, your eyes will open. The light will be shocking, beautiful. Cloaked in green."