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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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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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2017 Thought Provoking Altars

2017 Day of the Dead Exhibit at Sun Gallery, Hayward, CA
Maureen Langenbach Altar to her mother

I had the extreme good fortune of finding the Sun Gallery in Hayward.  It was one of those love at first encounter affairs.  A friend had me join her as she had an artist quilt maker friend taking part in a wonderful exhibit in 2016.  I loved the work, loved Niambi’s quilts and enjoyed the warm atmosphere of the entire staff, artists and event goers.  So in 2017 I was inspired to enter the Blue Planet, Stand up for Science exhibit scheduled for April 2017. It inspired me to create a series called “Ice Thins”.  I loved the whole experience.

When I learned of the “Dia de Los Muertos” or Day of the Dead  Exhibit I noted it on my calendar to attend the Reception on November 4.  The exhibit featured several artists who created thought provoking altars that were unexpected.  Those altars touched on raw nerves in current day United States life.  A reverence for both the living and deceased was expressed.

Maureen  Langenbach  had a sincere, many layered altar to her mother, Connie Dillon who had passed away this year.  We came to know her mother, as an artist, collector of blue and white china, someone who was an essential element in the Napa Community.  It was done with love and enhanced with colorful paper flowers that were about 3 feet in diameter.

2017 Sun Gallery, Hayward CA
Peter Langenbach & Sun Gallery staff  Altar to Dreamers


The Altar to the Dreamers was done by Peter Langenbach in collaboration with the Sun Gallery.  It was quite poignant.  We as artists and as sensitive beings feel for these people who came to dwell in the United States as children.  They had no knowledge that they were illegal aliens.  Under President Obama, they were given special status to be on their way to citizenship.  Many lives were changed starting January 21, 2017 when our new President was sworn in.

I do know something about being an immigrant as I lived in France for a number of years.  I had the “carte de residence” which was equivalent of a green card in the US.  Even though I was there legally, I had some degree of difficulty in working thru the complex system.  But one of many differences was I came as an adult.  I had the necessary documentation. I also had the assistance of my husband who was a natural-born citizen of France. 

Dreamers came as children.  They may have felt at the time that it was a great adventure.  Then under President Obama’s administration, they began to relax and feel they did really belong here.  They believed that they were on their way to becoming US citizens.

The altar to dreamers was simple in execution with the letters spelled out using red, white and green letters with the paper flowers and skulls of a Day of the Dead altar. It was as though their status was partly deceased and partly alive but definitely vibrant.  Exhibit viewers could write messages to the Dreamers.  I was moved as were others who studied the messages, wrote their own message and thought about what a huge potential these dreamers had if . . . . . .they were allowed to stay.

Other relevant altars included an altar to the hurricane Maria’s victims in Puerto Rico done by Peter Langenbach.  The implied message was these inhabitants are also Americans.  It is our country’s responsibility to care for them in their hour of need.

Andrew Kong Knight Altar to Victims of Las Vegas Attack

The fourth altar that came to my attention was the altar in tribute to those slain in Las Vegas in October of this year done by Andrew Kong Knight. Attention to detail had photo images of the 51 people who were slain as well as 51 bullet holes in the flag and 51 candles lit to warm our memories of them.

I highly recommend visiting the Sun Gallery.  It has its finger on the pulse of our nation.  The artists in this exhibit did not blare the obvious, did not overstate the problem.  They did with great acuity, point out what these problems are.

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Dreams are both Goals & Resolutions


Spirits of Recoleta ©2006 by Janet Brugos  (private collection)


Day dreams are goals.

Night dreams are conflict resolutions.

I have used both

To enjoy some magnificent adventures.

starting with

My trip to Europe

with my Girl Scout Troop at age sixteen.

I worked to earn the money for it.

Which was a life lesson gift.

My love of travel was a day dream.

So I made it come to pass

by my work in the Travel Industry.

My dream to take a trip around the world

was a day dream that came to pass in 1999.

My dream to become an artist was both day and night dreams.

They came to pass while living in France.

The conflict resolution was to get a separate life.

I got one as an artist

And have continued from that time on.

I thank my French husband for inadvertently

pushing me away and into the visual arts.

That was a true gift.

I first exhibited my work at the

Grand Palais in Paris in the 1990s.

My last fulfilled dream

Was completed in March 2015

By taking a trip to India.

Let there be more and more trips to that

land of enchantment.

My current dream?

To inspire others

To feel enthusiasm for life.

Janet Brugos, July 2016,  Oakland, California



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Sands of Time

Sands of Time ©1994
Sands of Time ©1994 by Janet Brugos private collection


What time is it?

Nap time.

Wrap time.

How much time do you have?

Not much time.

Too much time

No time at all.

Does my time count?

How can you count time?

By the good times?

The bad times?

The best times?

The worst times?

What time is it?

What time did you say?

Is that Pacific time?

Or Eastern Time?

Or Euro Time?

or FaceTime?

The Right time?

The Wrong time?

Get the time right!

How do you race time?

On your mark,

Get set.


Time’s up.

Time’s over.

Time’s out.

The  End  of  T I M E.


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Ball Three

Ball Three                                     B a l l  T h r e e

                       Three dog night.

                          Three little words.

                       Three hens a laying.

                        Third time’s a charm.

                         And baby makes three.

                      Three’s a crowd.

                       The third degree.

                        Three blind mice.

                           I bet you can’t eat three.

                              Three strikes and you’re OUT.