Monday, September 28, 2009



Philosophy dolls

What is it about grown up women who sometimes revert to playing with dolls? Sometimes we purchase beautiful little dolls for our children or grandchildren and we assist them in their play. Occasionally, we help cut clothes out for their cut-out dolls. As a child, I loved cut-outs. I remember having hundreds of them spread out on the floor or bed. I would give each of them a life, sort of like practicing for what kind of life I would have as an adult. Often times they were doctors, nurses, or even housewives. I also used to pretend they were artists. I had little thought of becoming an artist at that time but as I moved into my teens, I knew that seemed to be the direction I was headed. Now, I think, breathe and live art and once in awhile it is just fun to play with dolls. Here are a few of the dolls I have been “playing with” lately.

“Mimsy” A fairy doll

It's hard to believe she started out this way isn't it?

Or that little Joggles once looked like this?


I have written some of my own philosophies and placed them on each doll

"Nina" doll

This little doll is supposed to be me! I used a small image of my face and printed it onto cloth. I then placed it onto the area where the face goes and added hair and other embellishments.

The good thing about a doll like this is that I can hang out just about anywhere and not feel the pain.

I can hang out on candles!

Close up of one of the philosophy captions

I’ve been thinking about adding doll making lessons to the sculpture class I’m having next summer. I might have a 2 or 3 day class for those who want to explore this medium. It is truly rewarding finding articles to attach to the dolls.

I placed wine corks on the feet of this doll to represent shoes..heaven knows, I have plenty of those around.

This doll’s legs are wrapped in beadwork.

There are many doll books and magazines around to help you get started

Why not take a day and just relax with a good doll book and see what develops. You may have a pleasant surprise.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Thursday, September 24, 2009



Letter from my father to my grandfather

My father, James Millard Galloway, was an artist. As a child, I remember our family going on picnics in the country. These outings usually consisted of a drive through country roads and a stop along the way so that he could paint.

Later in life, he exhibited his work throughout the country at art shows and won many prestigious awards, such as Best of Show at the Butler Museum of Art in Youngstown, Ohio. His most precious works, however; as far as I’m concerned, were the letters he wrote to family members while he served in Europe during WWII and especially the love letters he wrote to my mother.

Letter to my mother

I treasure these letters and have placed them in an ancestral album I created by using a bas-relief of a woman with a key in her hand. The title is “Nina Remembers.” Nina is my grandmother name. The key stands for doors to be opened for future generations.

Ancestral album in bas-relief

If you have not started an ancestral album, I highly recommend that you do. This is what I wrote as part of my cover statement:

“I can’t help but to wonder if therapists use pictures in their sessions with patients to help them unlock the secrets of their past. They certainly should. I feel as though, in writing and researching the album, I have just gone through a self-analyzation of my psyche. Some of the pictures revealed hidden memories. Others of things I had forgotten or repressed. Many are of tremendously happy or sad times. An awakening. “

Close up of bas relief titled "Nina Remembers"

The love letters are beautiful. My father‘s handwriting was of a scrolled calligraphy- artistic and elegant. He drew and painted all the pictures on them, even though he had little to work with as far as materials go. He had trouble finding anything but a few colored pencils. Because the beautifully composed poetic love letters were personal to my parents, I choose not to read them. I will leave that to some future generation of my descendants. I can, however; enjoy their beauty.

Letter to my mother

Christmas card

Letter to his mom and dad

My dad, James Millard Galloway

My parents, Jane and Jim Galloway

Love letters

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Monday, September 21, 2009



Wayne's Lobster Ravioli

When a friend makes a trip to Maine you are happy for him. When he returns with a massive tub of lobsters, you are happy for you!

My friend, Wayne St. Clair is nostalgic for the town he lived in for over twenty years. As his plane descended and he caught a glimpse of Richmond Island and Crescent Beach, he knew he was back in his beloved Portland, Maine.

While he was there, he visited with old friends, wined and dined in his favorite restaurants, and was kind enough to bring me back some specialties from his favorite Italian grocery store. He actually found the 00Farina I had been searching for but could not find anywhere. I will use this special flour to try to duplicate the delicious lobster ravioli he made for us. I even ordered two new ravioli cutters straight from Italy in hopes of obtaining the perfect ravioli he served which were filled with fresh, succulent morsels of lobster, homemade ricotta cheese and tarragon. Wayne chose a yellow tomato sherry cream sauce for this delicacy.

Ravioli cutters from Italy

Although the gatherings Wayne hosts are spirited, they are also children and pet friendly. When Wayne was asked if he minded having a few young people attend his get-together, he said, “Gone are the days when a party of mine was no place for anyone under the age of consent, of course they are invited.” Below is a picture of Wayne and two colorful teenage guests. He is wearing his new kimono, purchased while in Portland.

Emily, Wayne and Kyla

I was delighted to visit with Mara Eve Robbins. Mara is a poet extraordinaire. Her poetry can be found in “Floyd County Moonshine”, a literary and arts magazine localized in Floyd, Virginia and the New River Valley. After reading a few of the moving poems and stories, I knew immediately that I wanted a subscription for this superior publication. For anyone who is interested, the address is Floyd County Moonshine, 720 Christiansburg Pike, Floyd, VA, 24091.

Mara Eve Robbins

Stephanie Crowder brought her unusual, yet delicious Curried Venison

Here's Mark with his arugula salad and toasted almonds, dried cherries and goat cheese

Stuffed Mussels

Jardinaire plate filled with Wayne’s own pickled and canned vegetables.

My Cheesecake Flan

Wayne is planning a mid winter French themed feast of Cassolette with Duck Confit. He has asked all of us to be thinking of something to accompany this French country meal. I understand that charcuterie plates are becoming the rage in many restaurants so I may try my hand at one of those or I may bring my Potato Boule Bread, which takes about two days to make. It’s enjoyable to get together with fellow foodies!

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Friday, September 18, 2009



Tuscany Wine Cellar

Something exciting is brewing! I have decided to give sculpture classes here at Woodloft starting in the summer of 2010. I have 10 full months to get everything in order. I must decide whether to teach only sculpture or add another class as well. Doll making or encaustic wax might work. There are many things I could teach, it is just deciding what will work best here at Woodloft.

Right now, my main concern is getting the Tuscany Suite in order. It was two separate bedrooms years ago, then a wall was taken down to make it into a two bedroom suite for my sons to live in (at different times)
Now, the suite is available once more and needs help.

Old gate from NYC

Just outside the door to the suite is a closet that fits under the steps. I turned it into a wine cellar. I found a wonderful ancient gate from NYC at Black Dog Salvage here in Roanoke and had them convert it into a door. Then I had my carpenter, Gary, carve out a small arched niche inside one of the walls to store ancient keys, an opera picture my brother, Jim, gave me and an old wine bottle.

Niche inside of wine cellar

Inside the cellar I placed very old clay wine shelves I purchased from a company in New England. Unfortunately, these shelves always seem to be empty. There I also placed a picture of a French lass clad in very little clothing. I found that particular picture at a flea market in France.

Clay wine holders

Picture of nude

I had Gary remove the top part of the door frame. I then used brick veneer to create an arch like the ones I have seen in Italy. I continued with the brick on the floor. All and all, I love the look of my wine cellar so much that I want to try to tie that look into the Tuscany Suite.

Gary added drywall to the top of the doorway and my son-in-law, Lewis, who is a rock wall mason, will rock the area between the two rooms with rock veneer. This is a difficult task in that both sides of the doorway must be done and the rock must be cut thin enough to stay on the wall.

Arched doorway where rock veneer will be placed

So far, the most exciting find for the room has been an old twin bed frame I found at the flea market. I was elated when the fellow who sold it to me said, “This came out of some woman from Italy’s basement. She brought it all the way over here years ago.” The headboard actually has wooden rosettes carved into it. The footboard has brass and wooden legs. It was covered with dirt when I found it and the asking price was only $20.! I said I wanted it immediately without even thinking of what a chore it would be to clean it. So far, it is taking a bit of elbow grease to get it into shape but I know eventually it will help make the Tuscany Suite look like an authentic Italian bedroom.

Italian headboard with carved wooden rosettes

I also found an old wooden wardrobe that looks as though it came from Spain or Italy but in actuality, it is of Early American vintage. I was going to add a bas –relief into the four panels on the front but when I had it delivered, it looked like it was made for this room, as is. I won’t touch it.

Old Spanish or Italian looking wardrobe

There was a screen I had built many long years ago sitting in my studio just waiting for the right application. I decided to lug it downstairs to the suite and I will either paint or fresco four scenes from Italy on the front.

Screen, ready for painting or fresco

It would be fun to have International students here at Woodloft. I could show them our beautiful Blue Ridge Mountain dream town of Roanoke, and all the natural attractions here. Actually, students from the States might also love being in Roanoke and staying at Woodloft. I will make the class available to the first four students who apply, whether from Japan, Italy or even California. When I finish ironing out all the details for the class I will create a little video describing it.

I’m trying to persuade chef Statton St. Clair into being our resident chef for the duration of the class. I’m also working out details for visiting artists and craftsmen and sight seeing tours we will take. Watch for all the details soon and a progress report on the Tuscany Suite

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Wednesday, September 16, 2009



The easiest and most decadent chocolate cake of them all!

I know you might have a copy of “The Joy of Chocolate” or one of the other cookbooks on “Death by Chocolate” and so forth. I’m sorry to tell you, even though the recipes in these books are magnificent, you probably have missed the most sinfully delicious chocolate cake of them all if you haven’t tried my old friend Mimi Harris’s Chocolate Mousse Cake.

I’ll never forget the first time I tasted it. After a luxurious dinner party, it was time for dessert. Mimi carefully brought her springform pan to a side table and as we all watched in anticipation, she unveiled it. She slowly lifted the top lid and there it was..the most perfectly shaped, high, light looking and yet rich looking cake you have ever seen. It was beyond belief. One taste and you are hooked.
Here is Mimi’s recipe.

You absolutely must try this one soon.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Sunday, September 13, 2009



Completed encaustic wax journals

Have you ever thought about working with wax? Years ago, I started working with encaustic wax. I love the sensual feel the wax creates when I brush and iron it onto my paintings.

Encaustic wax medium

This week I am working on my “Gypsy Woman Journals.” The way that I create them is by using an artists’ sketchbook and one of my batiked or painted faces. I glue the paintings onto the covers of the books with Modge Podge.

Journal and encaustic wax iron

Once the glue has dried, I melt my special encaustic wax over a medium heat in an old pan. When the wax has melted, I paint it onto the cover with a medium bristle brush. I let this dry for a few seconds and then I iron it, using a steady hand and not too much pressure. I work quickly. I bought the appropriate encaustic iron but I believe any iron will probably work. Make sure it is one you won’t use again on your clothing though.

Encaustic iron

The next and last step, is to place yarn into the ring binders. I also tie fanciful ribbon or yarn along each rung. That’s it.

"Gypsy Woman" journal

The journals pictured below will go to either New Mountain Mercantile, In Floyd, Virginia or Center in the Square Gallery, here in Roanoke. I may even ask my art representative, Kayla Finley, to present these to members of her workshops. I will also take a few of them to the Roanoke Farmers’ Market to sell. I always envy the women who receive them as a gift. I can imagine fine calligraphy written into each one of them. Unfortunately, my handwriting is so bad that I must limit myself to my keyboard. I blame my bad penmanship on the fact that I had to write so fast during the years I was learning shorthand. I think that is a poor excuse but the only one I have!

“Gypsy Woman”, pictured below, is a painting I experimented with a few years ago. I love the way the wax looks placed over one of my frescos. In this case, I did very little ironing and mostly just painted the wax onto the surface. The wax acts as a preservative. It also as gives the painting a look of antiquity.

"Gypsy Woman" painting

Stumble Upon Toolbar