Breaking All the Rules

Art-Xscape Faculty Profile: Cathy Taylor


I’m very pleased to have Cathy Taylor teaching at the inaugural Art-Xscape retreat!  Cathy is an award-winning mixed-media artist and popular workshop instructor. Her water media artwork is a celebration of the patterns, textures, and color found in the the environment. Cathy is known for her ability to interpret a subject in a variety of styles. From her colorful detailed alphabetical designs including the Florida “Shell-A-Bet”, to her whimsical collages and multi-dimensional abstracts, Cathy’s work is represented in museums, nature centers and private collections throughout the U.S. and abroad.

Some of Cathy’s work is licensed for use on clothing, textiles, and gift items. Her work was represented by a licensing agent in New York City who secured rights for a fine art print of a collage which was distributed nationwide.

A popular workshop instructor, Cathy has been teaching since 1995.  Past workshop venues include BIG Arts, Sanibel Fl.; Traverse City Art Center, MI; JC Campbell Folk School, NC.; Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff, NC., Create Retreats and Art and Soul Retreats.

Cathy’s collages were juried into the National Collage Society’s annual exhibition in 2005, 2007, 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Her articles, “Anthologies”, “The Nature of Art”, “Rethink Alcohol Ink” and “Creative Spirits” were featured in Cloth, Paper, Scissors art magazine.

  Her work was juried into the International Society of Experimental Artists annual show in 2008, 2011,2012 and 2013.

Cathy is teaching three classes at Art-Xscape 2014:  Ink-a-licious, Magical Monoprints, and Mystic paper.  You can find more information on all three on Cathy’s page.



AnLiNa Designs: Cathy, tell me a bit about your artistic journey.  Where did you start?  Did you always know you wanted to be an artist?

Cathy:   All my life, I had connected with art.  I did some pottery, weaving, painting; but only in short bursts since….”You can’t make a living doing art,” “art is only a hobby,” “there are much more important things to accomplish,” “there are so many good artists I can’t compete,” “my laundry is dirty”. I was great at negative self talk; all the reasons why not.  I ignored my authentic self and continued to search for my way to achieve greatness. I began to read books on living an authentic life, on the laws of attraction, abundance, believing in oneself.  I sought the advice of a counselor.  I found that in my headlong dash to achieve success, I had forgotten who I was and what I really loved.  An intuitive counselor asked, “What have you always dreamed of doing?”  I wanted to be an artist, I answered.  Then you must do it, she said.

That night I put on some lovely quiet music, lit a scented candle, poured a crystal glass of “too expensive to enjoy myself” wine and got out a sheet of pretty rice paper and a purple pen.  And I wrote, “ MY WONDERFUL LIFE NOW INCLUDES: And I made a list.

My home, my family, my friends, my health, my finances, my relationships, my career, my travel; everything well defined and in the present tense as if everything I was writing was already a reality.  Then I folded the paper, put it into a little treasure box, blew out the candle, and went to bed.

That was the early 1990’s.


AnLiNa Designs:  Are you a full time artist now?  When did you make the leap?

Cathy: In 1995 I worked full time retail, taught at the local arts center, did outdoor weekend shows, and belonged to a co-op gallery. I had no vacations, no spare money, but I was establishing myself in the art world. As my workshops expanded and I was able to show my work in more galleries, I was able to leave the day job!

AnLiNa Designs: Describe your process for starting a new piece?  Do you know before you start exactly how the piece will turn out?

Cathy: I collect interesting things that fill my studio. Swatches of cool fabrics, driftwood, skeleton leaves, watch parts, old books, sea shells..even a paper wasp nest, minus wasps. The shapes, textures and designs of these things inspire me. As an artist, i see things in an intense and curious way. This leads me to want to translate how I see things and express the feelings they evoke.

A quote by Picasso sums it up. “I start with an idea, then it becomes something else.”

I am constantly thinking What IF? I like to tell my students that this has lead to only one evacuation of my studio.  I love to try new things, or use products in a new way. Purposeful play; process not product motivate me.

AnLiNa Designs: What has been your favorite new product or process in the last year and what did you like about it? 

Cathy:  I love alcohol inks. They are highly unpredictable, richly colorful, and extremely versatile.

AnLiNa Designs:  Have you ever tried something that didn’t work?  What did you do next?

Cathy:  In the process of creating, the final product is not always what I had envisioned. I really don’t look at these pieces as failures, but just learning exercises. Generally I put these pieces aside. After some time, through working on other pieces, I learn new ways to approach the unfinished piece. I have forgotten who said, a painting is never finished, it just stops in interesting places.


AnLiNa Designs:  Do you have a muse?

Cathy: Elle the wonder doodle and her sidekick Gracie May the Schnoodle are my studio muses.

AnLiNa Designs: Describe a day in your studio for me.

Cathy: Latte, check. iPod, check. Elle and Gracie May with chew bones, check.  Mini Trampoline for loosening up, check.  Joyful creating until lunch.  Break and walk in the woods. Repeat.

AnLiNa Designs:  Sounds wonderful?  What do you have on your iPod, music or podcasts?  I have both, but studio time is devoted to music.  My current favorites are the newest TV on the Radio CD and Florence Welch’s “Lungs”.  What is your favorite piece to listen to right now?

Cathy:  I play music mostly new age background or world music.  Sometimes old folk like Joni Mitchell.


AnLiNa Designs:  Do you have plans for your art in 2014?

Cathy: I love love love teaching workshops and I have a full schedule this year. I also plan to contact a couple REALLY BIG galleries with my portfolio..YIKES!!

AnLiNa Designs: You’ve had your work in juried exhibits and in shows and the co-op gallery. What feels different about approaching a big gallery?  You’ve taken some huge leaps – including the initial re-evaluation of your life and the choice to go for it with your art, does knowing that you metaphorically jumped off the cliff and thrived (with lots of hard work, sweat and tears) help you in this process with the galleries?

Cathy:  Each exhibit, show or gallery is another step.  I have worked with a long term plan in mind…a series of steps leading to the next level.  I have achieved my signature status in the National Collage Society and the International Society of Experimental Artists which took about 10 years.

I have published some magazine articles. I now feel that I have the credentials to take the next step which is to approach larger, more well know galleries.

The big step I took in my life was realizing that I had the choice to do what I wanted. Sure, each choice comes with consequences, but if you truly want to achieve something, you have the power to do that.

I operate on a series of affirmations which I actually write down IN THE PRESENT TENSE as if the dream is already a reality.  The dream, in this case becoming a  REAL artist  comes to be.


AnLiNa Designs: Do you participate in collaborative projects such as Round Robins?

Cathy:  When working on art, I work solo.  I play with others when I teach.

AnLiNa Designs:  Do you participate in a regular art gathering, crit group, or other face to face meeting for the purpose of discussing art or creating it?

Cathy:  I belong to several art organizations which do some critiquing along with sharing techniques. There are quite a few online as well.

AnLiNa Designs:  What advice would you give someone thinking of trying to start up or find such a group?

Cathy:  Get a couple art pals, a cozy space, some wine and go for it.

AnLiNa Designs:  Last, but not least, what is your favorite part of teaching?

Cathy: The AH HA moment when a student gets it, when they create something wonderful. And the hugs!

AnLiNa Designs:  Thanks so much Cathy!  I can’t wait to meet you in person in April at Art-Xscape!


Meet the Art-Xscape 2014 Faculty: Lisa Renner

Please note: portions of this interview have been previously published as part of an All Dolls Are Art Interview in 2011 and 2012.

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I met Lisa Renner at an art doll retreat in New Mexico long enough ago that I can’t remember when it was!  But, once I got to know Lisa better, I realized I had seen her work published in a number of mixed media books.  She’s a prolific and talented artist in many media, but I know her best through her work in Polymer Clay.  Lisa is teaching two classes at Art-Xscape 2014:  Polymer Clay 2 Ways and Beautifully Exposed.  More information about Lisa is available on her website.  Her class information is available on her Art-Xscape page.

Lisa has been published most recently, along with Art-Xscape faculty member Stephanie Rubiano, in “iNCiTE Dreams Realized, The Best of Mixed Media” edited by Tonia Jenny.  It’s available from Amazon.

Lisa’s other publishing credits include “The Art of Paper Collage” by Susan Pickering Rothamel, “True Colors” published by Stampington, “Stampartistry” by Rice Freeman-Zachary, “The Complete Guide to Altered Imagery” by Karen Michel, and several books by Lynne Perrella, yet another Art-Xscape faculty member, including “Art Making: Collections and Obsessions” and “Collaborative Art Journals and Shared Visions in Mixed Media”.  Additionally, Lisa has has worked published in Somerset Studio Magazine, Legacy Magazine, Belle Armoire, Art Doll Quarterly, and Polymer Café.

AnLiNa Designs: Hi Lisa! Please tell me how you got started in your artistic adventures. Did you take art classes as a child or in college?

Lisa: I did art on my own when I was little and all through high school. I did extra credit in school by drawing. I did a report my Junior year on old cowboys. As extra credit for that report, I drew pictures of those cowboys, 5 of them from a book. I did all 5 of them one night on notebook paper and turned it in and got an excellent grade! I did game projects, making my brothers puzzle books, with connect the dots and puzzles, and put them together to keep my brothers busy in the summer. I was always making something artistic, but I didn’t take any art classes. I don’t why I didn’t because I loved art. I did start taking classes as an adult when I had more free time and decided what I really loved. I made bread dough ornaments to sell when I was in my 20’s. So that’s how I started doing little 3-d things. I did take classical guitar lessons for a year in college. I got really good, being able to sight-read and loved it, but didn’t have time to do it then. I still say I will pick it up one day.

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AnLiNa Designs: You manage to produce a lot of work given that you also work full time, so tell me a bit about your schedule and how you stay so organized.

Lisa: When I have a deadline looming, I focus on that project to the exclusion of everything else. I don’t work on Friday for my day job, so I’ll literally start first thing Friday morning and will work straight through the weekend. I have a truly supportive husband who is very respectful of my time and what I’d like to do. He’s very self-sufficient and does what he needs to do, and lets me do what I need to do. I do have my Mom over every two weeks or so and try to work that out ahead of time so I can work my projects out and focus on my Mom when she’s here. It makes a big difference having that 3-day weekend. I get up at 4:30 or 5:00 in the morning, because I’m a morning person, and get so much accomplished in the quiet of the early morning that it’s not so important that I don’t get much done in the evening.



AnLiNa Designs:  Tell me a bit about the various projects you’ve worked on.

Lisa: I do projects with Lynne (Lynne Perrella). I’ve done a round robin with her and Pamela (Gypsy Pamela) called Figuratively Speaking where we made Santos Dolls (editor: Lisa gave a wonderful presentation on Santos Dolls that were created as part of this swap at All Dolls Are Art 2012.). I love doing these swaps because they are very interesting. I’ve also done a Tarot card deck swap with Red Dog Scott. My card was the Magician.

AnLiNa Designs: Who is Red Dog Scott?

Lisa: She hosted the Capalon swap for several years. Red did this Capalon swap based on Nick Bantock’s Sabine and Griffin. You make something and mail it to Red. If you make 10, you’d get 10 things back. She’s done these themed card deck swaps. I’ve got 10 or more decks of cards. They’re little pieces of art that are so cool!

AnLiNa Designs: How do you get involved in these?

Lisa: Red has a master list of people who’ve been doing these things forever and ever. Even when I can’t participate, I always tell her to keep me on her list because I just love participating!

For the Tarot Deck, it was a Steam punk theme. She sent out a mass email and people signed up. Generally, if there’s a specific card you want, you ask and first come first served. If you don’t ask for a card she’ll assign you one. I mount my decks, sometimes in a book format. I’ve always loved these decks. I get a whole list of specs and the number of copies I need to make. You make one original and then make quality copies, Red swaps them all and you get back a whole deck. Some people laminate them. I usually mount them on card stock and put a decorative backing on them unless I bind them.

I love paper arts and book arts. One of the classes I’ll be teaching at Art-Xscape is a book binding class where you take a bunch of painter papers and leather binding. I love painting. I enjoy teaching. I spend a lot of time coming up with classes and class designs. If I see something really cool, I figure out how to make something a class. If I am going to make it a class, before I announce it, I make sure I can get 20 of whatever components I think I will need. I can’t work on something randomly. “Can you teach on such and such?” “No, I need to know exactly what I’m doing to teach and will have everything I will need”. I like to be very prepared. I’m a very prepared person. I like to go in the classroom the night before and set up so I’m not rushed to setup before classes. I do not want there to be chaos for the students. I can feel chaotic inside, but the students shouldn’t see that because they are paying money for their workshop. They should come in and learn, get a project and a hand-out and a good feeling they can go home and duplicate what they made. They can go home and feel happy and not stressed or worried.

AnLiNa Designs: Where do you find inspiration?

Lisa:   I get my ideas from all around me:   imagery in movies, pictures in magazines, on walks finding things on the ground, from dreams.   Since I have more ideas than time, I try to sketch them in a book so I can remember them.


AnLiNa Designs:  How many projects do you work on at once?

Lisa:  I usually have several projects going at one time:  When I am preparing for workshops, my free time is more limited so I try and make the best of it.   The easiest way for me to work is to set aside the time, get out more materials and supplies than I think I could possibly need, and just start playing.  If I have a plethora of materials in front of me,  then inspiration usually follows.

AnLiNa Designs:  What do you enjoy most about teaching?

Lisa:  The part of teaching I enjoy the most is the sharing between teacher and student.  It is such a pleasure to me, for students take information received in class and put their own originality into it, ultimately coming out with something they are proud of.   I am constantly in awe of the process, and feel privileged to be able to learn as much from them as they learn from me.

More information on Lisa’s classes, Polymer Clay 2 Ways and Beautifully Exposed, can be found on her Art-Xscape page.  Browse or visit our Facebook page to learn more!

Art-Xscape Trades

Part of the fun of participating in an art-retreat is trading or swapping small art-ifacts with fellow participants.  At Art-Xscape, we’ll have at least two trades – an altered altoid tin trade and an art postcard trade.  We’re looking for hosts for these trades.

What does a host do?  Hosts will be responsible for sign-ups, guidelines and swapping out the trades.  Want to organize a trade other than the altoid tin and postcard swap?  Feel free to let us know and sign people up!  We’ll have sign-ups on the yahoo group.

Want to participate?  No host yet?  That’s ok, send a note to the yahoo group indicating your interest and we’ll get you on the list!

Art X-Scape October Newsletter, Art-Xscape Game

The (late) second edition of the Art-Xscape Newsletter is on its way to your inboxes.  What?  Don’t know about the newsletter?  You can sign up from the Art-Xscape front page (look in the Find Us on the Web box).  Newsletter subscribers get access to fun tidbits and the occasional Art-Xscape swag!

One of the features in this months newsletter is the Art X-Scape faculty responses to the 20 Questions in 20 Minutes game.

Which of the Art-Xscape Faculty never wants to eat Haggis again?  Lynne Perrella.

Who likes Mumford and Sons?  Val Studer

Favorite art supply?  Pamela Huntington likes fabric, Stephanie Rubiano likes ephemera, and Cathy Taylor likes Alcohol inks.

Jo Pearson likes the Renaissance.

Kathy Kromer’s favorite color is turquoise.

How about you?  Would you like to play?

Answers will be featured in a future newsletter and might factor into opening night activities!

How to find out of there is space in a class

I’ve had a couple of folks contact me asking if there is space in classes, so I wanted to let everyone know how to figure out if there are openings!  As classes get close to filling up, I will update the class page to indicate the number of spaces left, usually when a class gets within 3-5 slots of filling up.  As a class fills, the class page will be updated to indicate the class is wait-listed.

As of today, we have space in all of our classes.  Just a reminder – if you sign up by October 1, you will receive a free Art-Xscape apron!

I will add a “Contact Us” page so that if you have questions, you can get in touch.  Additionally, you can always message me on Facebook from the Art-Xscape Facebook page.

Happy creating!


If you are in Central Texas next weekend

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A Dragon created by Ellen Kelsey – ADAA 2013 Faculty member

You should come visit the All Dolls Are Art retreat sales room.  This is another event that is produced by AnLiNa Designs focused on figurative sculpture.  Treasures of the Gypsy and Jeweled Treasures will be vending and there will be a wonderful collection of sculpture to see and purchase.


New pieces by Lisa Renner – one of our Art-Xscape 2014 faculty – will be available for sale in the ADAA sales room.



More Lisa Renner creations!

There will also be a variety of supplies and patterns on offer by our ADAA attendees.  Fabric, trims, vintage laces and buttons.  All of this and more.

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Dragons created by Ellen Kelsey – ADAA 2013 Faculty member!

The sales room is open to the public and admission is free.  The event venue is the Wyndham Garden Inn and Woodward Convention Center, 3401 S. IH 35 (just 1 block north of the US 290/IH 35 interchange on the northbound access road).  The sales room is open Friday, July 26th, from 10-7pm, Saturday, July 27th, from 10-5pm, and Sunday, July 28th, from 10-4pm.

Registration Opens for Art-Xscape 2014

Registration for Art-Xscape 2014 is open.  You may register online using our registration form.  We accept payments via Paypal or US check or money order.  If paying via Paypal, you will receive an invoice within 24 hours of submitting your registration.  If paying by check, please make your payment out to AnLiNa Designs.

Welcome to Art-Xscape!

Art-Xscape Postcards

I love mail, the more artful, the better!  My current favorite mail item is a tie between lucious fabric packs delivered monthly from Treasures of the Gypsy as part of their fabric club and the Art Journal Round Robin I’m participating in.  However, I think the inaugural Art-Xscape post cards would beat both of them out, if I were mailing to myself! :-)  The art for the postcards comes from the Art-Xscape faculty for 2014 and their pieces, individually, are beautiful.  Combined together on the postcard, they are a stunning collection of eye-candy!  If you would like one, visit the Get In Touch page and send us your snail mail info!


Announcing Art-Xscape 2014 Faculty

Hello!  Welcome to Art-Xscape!  We’re a new art retreat debuting in 2014 in Austin, TX.  We’ve got a fantastic line-up of work shops in a variety of media.  Speaking of the line-up, let me introduce our 2014 faculty!

cathy-taylor.instructor2_smCathy Taylor is teaching three mixed media classes involving paint, inks and papers! Cathy Taylor is an award winning mixed media artist and popular workshop instructor.  To see Cathy’s workshops click here.




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Joann Pearson is teaching a fabulous assemblage class using vintage piano keys!  Jo Pearson has been the Creative Expert for Michaels for over 26 years.  Her office is unlike most corporate Americas offices. Open the doors and find a sea of color, glitter, feathers, beads and glue.  To read more about Jo, click here.



kathykromerKathy Kromer is teaching two collage and painting classes.  Her work is filled with vibrant and intense color.  To read more about Kathy and her workshop, click here.





Lisa Renner is teaching a polymer clay jewelry class and a book binding class.  She is a mixed-media artist whoIMG_2897_1 enjoys the use of products and mediums that allow her to create artwork that is both texturally complex, and integrated with an ever-changing palate of color.  To see Lisa’s classes, click here.




bio_pic_lkpLynne Perrella is a mixed media artist, author, and workshop instructor.  She is teaching her popular “A Face in the Crowd” workshop plus a brand new workshop “Radiant Icon Portraits”.  To read more about Lynne, click here.





Pamela Huntington is a mixed media artist with a background in fiber arts.  She is teaching a mixed mediaPamela Huntington

book class and a mixed media ornament class.  To see Pamela’s classes, click here.



rubianobiopicpStephani Rubiano is teaching two of her popular Encaustic collage classes.  She native Austinite who is a mixed-media artist who enjoys using antique photographs, real butterfly wings and a variety of uncommon objects in her shadow boxes.  See more about Stephanie’s classes here.




Last but not least, Val Studer is teaching two mixed media collage and assemblage classes.  An accomplished graphic headshotdesigner, Val’s true passion is in mixed media because it allows her to indulge in many different mediums.  To read more, visit Val’s page here.