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Pikes Peak High ©1997 by Janet Brugos Mixed Media private collection

I have noticed that a particular word often invokes a whole scene. That scene could be from childhood or from a different period in my life.


I see stripes everywhere. Rain running down a window pane, shadows elongating in a courtyard. Streams of water running down high mountains as in Pikes Peak High and in Ice Stripes.

Ice Stripes ©2020 Mixed Media by Janet Brugos collection the artist

Non conforming or eccentric:

Invokes how I came to be that way. My mother was a force to be reckoned with. We all loved her. That is my father, my brother, my sister and I plus many friends. My mother would suggest to me from an early age on what I should wear, how I should behave and what manners I should exhibit. Either table manners or how to meet a person. I always listened. I never did anything outrageous but I do remember one day when I was about ten, my mother asking me how many colors was I wearing. I think it was 13. I had plaid pants and a different plaid shirt. She let me leave without changing clothes. However that did make an impression on me. I always dressed for comfort but also counted the colors.

My father worked in the banking industry. From my earliest memories, he always wore a suit, a white shirt and a tie plus a hat. My mother often drove him to a train station in Chicago as he always tended to run late. There were occasions when he walked the five blocks to the 47th Street IC station in Chicago. Over the years he wore a number of hats but they were all rather similar–light colored straw with a black band.

Jacket from Guatemala worn by Harry Thomson in 1970s

When my father retired (early due to a medical condition) his manner of dress changed dramatically. I don’t recall him wearing a hat after that time. He grew a beard which was a bit scruffy–he would have been in style in the 21st century. When I think of him, I see him wearing his favorite jacket from Guatemala in black fabric with embroidered with colorful designs.

In a recent discussion with my East Coast daughter, she told me that she takes after me in the concept of how to dress. I wear what I want to wear even if that is not in style. I always loved to dress in costume. In my many years associated with the Esperanto Organization, their annual world conferences had an occasion where people would wear their native clothes. I always felt I could not dress as a Native American as I do not have the right DNA. That event was always one of my favorites seeing lovely Japanese Kimonos, Eastern Block nations wearing their “elf shoes” with curled toes and then the colorful dresses with shawls and aprons of many of the Europeans. I told my daughter that the concept to wear what I wanted was inherited from my father.

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Portraits in a Variety Concepts

Statute of Liberty ©1996 by Janet Brugos Mixed Media

This mixed media piece, Statute of Liberty was completed in Colorado for gallery art show with Maureen May in Durango, Colorado I had made a number of mixed media pieces that depicted various cities. Statute of Liberty represented New York but was a large portrait of the head of liberty with the crown depicting the diversity of our country and equality with their hands joined. Other symbols include a frog to show how slow the progress is to make a change. Ship masts to represent how some came to populate what is now the United States of America. Some of my early relatives came over as indentured servants in the 1600s. They could work some years, maybe seven to gain their freedom. Not so for my black brothers and sisters. I will certainly address that the situation at a later time as well as the situation of the natives occupying this land before other nations staked their claims.

Untitled Woman ©1994 by Janet Brugos Collage

I started working on this piece while living in France. I was taking a break in the coastal town of Houlgate in Normandy. The Ceramics in a a magazine struck me as interesting material in making a face. My marriage to Dominique was not doing well. So I elected to come on this weekend by myself and work on my art in a lovely setting. It seemed apt to title this piece Untitled Woman. Women are often not given credit for what we do. Also we have no royalty in the USA. It was a part of my solo art show in the Board Room at the Sangre de Cristo Art Center in 1994 in Pueblo, Colorado.

I was fascinated by using different pieces of printed matter to make a complete face. Sands of Time is a combination of face /portrait and time. The Scent of Success was made from paper fragments I collected after visiting a perfume bottle exhibit in France. I guess I just find faces everywhere.

As with much of what I post all of these artworks are in either private or corporate collections.

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Maverick ©2008 by Janet Brugos Mixed Media

In 2010 I had a large solo show titled “Water Defined” at the East Bay Municipal Utility District in Oakland, California. The venue was wonderfully large with 3 tall, long and wide walls. It was a wonderful space to see art as you could see it close up or from a distance by looking over the atrium. Close up you could see all of the materials I used on the painted background. They included lace, tassels, fabric and lots of handmade paper. In many of my pieces you may see blue fabric with white streaks which was in its past life a batik t-shirt. In fact it was one of my favorite t-shirts of all times. I could not bear to part with it so I kept it. Frequently I find a place for it in my artwork.

Mavericks are the enormous waves that manifest themselves between November and March along the California Pacific coast near Half Moon Bay. Surfers travel from around the world to see or compete in this invitational event. These waves are beautiful but dangerous.

Maverick (Image 30″ x 22″) framed in light wood 35″ x 27″. Text me for information.

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Wind, Wings and Wheels

Worlds Apart ©2006 by Janet Brugos Mixed Media

When I returned to the USA after a number of years living in France, I had a solo show in a brick walled cafe in Pueblo, Colorado. I called it Wind, Wings and Wheels so I thought it would be fun to put it together again. The image above now lives in Washington DC. I used pieces of discarded batik, handmade paper and found objects.

Buttermilk Sky ©1995 by Janet Brugos Collage

I used Buttermilk Sky for the postcard invitation which really set the tone. This one now lives in Northern California.

Morning Glory ©1995 by Janet Brugos Mixed Media

It may have been with Morning Glory that I started using puzzle pieces . So paint, handmade paper and puzzle pieces would come out in a variety of ways. This one resides in South Dakota.

Dream Castle Moon ©2005 by Janet Brugos Mixed Media

Dream Castle Moon I created in Colorado in 2005. That was based on an intriguing show of antique candy boxes I saw in Pueblo. I was fascinated by the Dream Castle Moon idea so I sketched out an idea and started to create it. Then I had the sudden thought that maybe I was copying it. I went back to see the show again. What a relief. What I was making looked nothing at all like the antique candy box. It just sent me away to find my own sliver, crescent moon. She found her home in the East Bay and rests happily there.

The Train is Ahead ©2006 by Janet Brugos Mixed Media

The Train is Ahead was made after I moved to Oakland in 2005. It was in my first Open Studios exhibit in Oakland. This train is happily chugging along in the East Bay.

1934 Classic ©1995 by Janet Brugos Mixed Media

The classic car above was inspired by the way gold spilled out on the black handmade paper. It just reminded me of a convertible and so it came into being. This 1934 Classic lives back east in Washington DC area.

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Observations and How We Think About Them

Observateur ©2004 by Janet Brugos Mixed Media

The mixed media piece, Observateur was completed in Colorado the year before I moved back to California. I leave it open to viewers of this art piece how to interpret it. However, this is what I was thinking: The light color and texture represents the arid climate. I have one figure who is observing the scene and there are hints of fire to come. In the arid Colorado climate, my skin was dry. When I made a business trip to New Orleans, my skin immediately started glowing with happiness in the hot humid air. One summer when the town of Beulah, where I lived ran completely out of water. Water was trucked into the town. We all gathered by the post office to get our water supply for a couple of days. Somehow living there at that time, it did not seem unusual. I learned to heat water in the sun in a camping shower container and then attach it to the shower head in the bathroom. It made quite a successful shower.

Fire danger became our worst fear. Fairly often in the summer of 2005, I could see and smell smoke.

Wildfire 2019 Mixed Media Art by Janet Brugos

One morning as I was in the kitchen gazing out at the foothills and admiring the trees, the birds were going absolutely crazy. They were flying in circles and squawking and squawking, I had never seen birds behave that way. A few hours later, I got a call that everyone was to evacuate due to extreme fire danger. Aha. The birds are much more observant than we humans. Evacuate. What can I take, I have so much of my own artwork from the early collages to the beginning explorations into mixed media. Then I packed up the car with necessities, 2 old family photo albums and an enormous sack of worries. The house was for sale at that time as my return to California was planned.

My observations started when I was a toddler. I remember taking a long time to observe things, people, place and objects. How 2 or 3 children in a family may resemble one another or practically not at all. In my immediate family, I look like my father while my brother and sister look like my mother. All of us felt fine with what we inherited from our parents. Both parents were kind, thoughtful, and encouraging. That was especially important for my sister and I since at that time we were thought of as the second sex. We still have a long way to go the male-female equality issues in our country and even farther with racial equality. Though I looked more like my father, I had the energy and stamina of my mother.

As with much of what I post all of these artworks are in either private or corporate collections.

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Let’s Talk about Birds and Butterflies

Butterflies at Iguassu 38 ©2009 by Janet Brugos

Butterflies have fascinated me for many years. I also think of them as an emerging spirit. Seeing the enormous quantity of butterflies near Iguassu Falls had me create several different takes on on the butterflies around Iguassu Falls. Above is piece 38 of 50 pieces that I made so each one stood on its own but viewed together it was one large image. Below are 25, 42 and 30. As an after thought, I have been to Iguassu Falls a number of times but each time I love it more.

Animals Lost & Found ©2007 by Janet Brugos Mixed Media

I love creating funny birds as above and strange birds like Sumi Bird below. To make Sumi Bird I used the suminagashi process of floating ink on water and then dipping the paper or fabric into the water to create a print.

Sumi Bird ©2014 by Janet Brugos Suminagashi
Arctic Color ©2007 by Janet Brugos Mixed Media

Here are my icy birds also known as penguins. I did see them in the wild in 2005 when I traveled to South America to avoid the cold, pipe freezing winter in Colorado. I saw them waddling there way around the Patagonia hillside.

As with much of what I post all of these works are in either private or corporate collections.

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Animals Lost, Found and Remembered

Dark Horses ©2013 by Janet Brugos Mixed Media

Animals are such an interesting subjects with their shapes, forms, ways they move. Horses are such a show of power. In Dark horse above when I would see horses at night just galloping the night away, I felt a great envy. But then I was never inside the mind of a horse. I saw many horses over the years that I visited and then lived in Colorado.

Three Crowned Cranes ©2003 by Janet Brugos Batik

Crowned Cranes are so majestic. I first saw them in the wild while on a 10 week tented safari in Africa with my friend Julia from France. We were in a small group of about 9 people plus the driver and guide. It was no luxury safari, we put up our own tents at night and prepared our own food. Our chores were done on a rotating basis. We did not ride in a bus, it was a converted truck which was open the air most of the time. It had adequate compartments for all our gear. In case of rain or excessive wild, we could put a canvas cover over the top. We spent many hours traveling in that vehicle from Nairobi, Kenya thru to Zimbabwe. Everyday was a brought new dimensions to our happiness in being there. It was so exciting to spot those magnificent crowned cranes in the country side roaming free.

Giraffe ©1997 by Janet Brugos Batik

We also saw giraffes gliding across the grass lands. It was so amazing their long strides.

Storm Horses ©2001 by Janet Brugos Mixed Media

Storm Horses was based on an actual happening. I was driving back to my home in Beulah, Colorado in the evening. Darkness was spreading across the landscape. Then I spotted a group of galloping horses with their manes flying in the wind with the mountains in the background. It made an indelible impression on me.

Three Cape Buffalo ©2009 by Janet Brugos

In one of the many lakes we experienced, seeing the cape buffalo was captivating. I noticed they each had their own face, expression and look. They are individuals, too.

Three Cape Buffalo is available. Text me for details.

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More Incredible Cities on a variety of Continents

Mystic Moscow ©1996 by Janet Brugos Mixed Media

I have had many adventures in Moscow. I traveled there first during the cold war. On that first trip, I was explaining to a friend what my aunt had told me about Communism, it was “From each according to his ability and to each according to his need.” The tour guide turned around and told me, “We haven’t gotten there yet.” The last time I traveled to Moscow was with a Colorado friend in 2003 or 2004. We stayed with a woman we had met on an earlier trip in Budapest the year before. She had said to us, “You two seem like fun, if you come to Moscow, you can stay with me.” We told her, “You have to mean it if you say that to us as we would be happy to take you up on that offer.” So we did. I always love going to Red Square and seeing St. Basil’s Cathedral. Moscow boasts the most amazing flea market in the world. It is absolutely huge. You can find whatever interests you. I enjoyed looking at Turkish rugs displayed along an outdoor stairway. There was also lots of fabric and texture available. I love texture, just in case you did not know.

Sydney Harbor ©1997 by Janet Brugos Mixed Media

I have made several trips to Australia. I was so fascinated with Sydney Harbor with its glorious Opera House and wonderful bridge. The story of the native people of Australia is so sad but it has improved but still has a very long way to go as we have with our injustices in the US. I love the Aboriginal art so primitive yet so innovative.

Pikes Peak High ©1997 by Janet Brugos Mixed Media

I also lived in Manitou Springs, Colorado for a while. It was such a great place with the Garden of the Gods, Pikes Peak and the Air Force Academy. Beauty was everywhere you looked. I placed these two art pieces together as I found for me the Opera House in Sydney and the Air Force Academy had great similarity.

Gateway to Venice ©1995 by Janet Brugos Collage

A different continent, the country of Italy with all its many glories. Art abounds everywhere. Who could not fall in love with Venice with its many canals and gondolas. Music is in the air and pasta on the palate.

Kites Over Rio ©1998 by Janet Brugos Mixed Media

Another one of my very favorite cities, Rio de Janeiro is one of the must thrilling and stunning cities of the world.  Sugar Loaf Mountain, the bay, the beach and the wonderful tiled sidewalk that runs along the beach. The last time was in 2005 when I traveled to South America to avoid a cold Colorado winter.  Often the pipes  in the house would freeze.  It was more economical for me to spend the time traveling and way more exhilarating  and fun.

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The World is Full Incredible Cities

Chicago Ice ©1996 by Janet Brugos Mixed Media

I started making art in 1991 while I was living in France. I returned to the United States in 1994 and settled in a small town in Eastern Colorado called Beulah. Eventually I decided I needed to do a piece about the city of my birth. Chicago Ice was based on an actual scene. When I was in Chicago for business, I came upon this spectacular scene. The Chicago River was frozen over but was lit up by the city lights and perhaps the moon. I included the Wrigley Building, several high rise buildings and a piece representing the Carson Pirie Scott Company. The building was designed by Louis Sullivan and was in business as large retail department store in downtown Chicago until 2006.

Below Vienna, City of Dreams was made while I was still working with specially selected bits of paper. I love Vienna. It is a city of dreams where music abounds. On my honeymoon I remember being there in the Opera House in the standing room only area in the center of the orchestra section.

Vienna City of Dreams ©1993 by Janet Brugos Collage

Now bringing you back to the US and where I currently live in Oakland. Lake Merritt is the stunning lake by day and even more so by night as it has a magical necklace of lights going all around it. The building is the Court House–not as it actually looks but a depiction.

Lake Merritt by Night ©2011 by Janet Brugos Mixed Media
Bay Bridge ©2006 by Janet Brugos Mixed Media

One more international city, Paris. I city I first met at age 16 when traveling with my Girl Scout Trip. It was then I was hooked and determined that one day I would live there. Then one day I did and had wonderful experiences but that is another story.

Paris by Day ©1994 by Janet Brugos Collage

When I returned to the United States, mentally I was still absorbed in the French Life. I had a show at the Sangre De Christo Art Center in Pueblo in 1994.

The exhibit was entitled Bridges. I did a piece Paris by Day and also Paris by Night. I remember thinking at the time, was Paris a bridge. Now I know Paris was bridge for me.

Paris by Night ©1994
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Titles and Why I Love Them Part 5

Ice Tower © 2019 by Janet Brugos Mixed Media

I continued working with the effects of climate change in my series called “Ice Thins.” Above Ice Tower which represents a singular floating iceberg.

Ice Arch ©2019 by Janet Brugos Mixed Media

Ice Arch represents when the effect of melting ice in different places create a giant arch of ice. This is the arch will eventually collapse to join the extended family of former ice shelves that become invisible once diluted in the ocean.

Ice Bridge ©2019 by Janet Brugos Mixed Media

The effects of rising temperature causes certain parts of an ice shelf to melt in such a a way as to create an a bridge made entirely of ice. This is the type of bridge is certainly unstable in its long stage of melting. Eventually all of this will become one with the ocean and add to the rise of sea level globally.