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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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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.

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Titles and Why I Love Them Part 2

Significant Split ©2017 by Janet Brugos Mixed Media

Of late I have been working with the effects of climate change in a series called “Ice Thins.” Some titles are long involved titles like: Arctic Ice Cap Flows to Ocean or Significant Split. While others are simple like Ice Tunnel and Ice Islands. The most complex piece I completed in 2017 was Antarctica which incidentally was the first completed.

Arctic Ice Cap Flows to Ocean ©2017 Janet Brugos Mixed Media
Antarctica ©2017 by Janet Brugos Mixed Media

Here are the more simple pieces titled Ice Tunnel and Ice Islands.

Ice Tunnel ©2017 by Janet Brugos Mixed Media
Ice Islands ©2017 by Janet Brugos Mixed Media

In my mixed media pieces I use a variety of items in addition to water media, I use fabric, lace, handmade paper, torn pieces of paper, pieces of batik, suminagashi and found objects. Suminagashi is the Japanese art of marbling by floating inks on water and then dipping paper or fabric to pick up the colors. It sounds simple but it takes practice to achieve a great piece. Fortunately I save those pieces I am not happy with and use fragments of them in my mixed media art.

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Titles and Why I Love Them Part 3

Silhouettes ©2018 by Janet Brugos Mixed Media

I continued working with the effects of climate change in my series called “Ice Thins.” Above Silhouettes which represent a grouping of large icebergs but I wanted to leave it up to interpretation as others may see it differently.

Ice Calving ©2018 by Janet Brugos Mixed Media

Ice Calving represents when huge chunks of ice fall into the oceans. Once in the ocean, they can melt overtime and increase the waters in the ocean.

Ice Fingers ©2018 by Janet Brugos Mixed Media

Fire plays a part in climate change so this is why I included this piece in the series.

Fire ©2018 by Janet Brugos Mixed Media

Fire can destroy trees and land which in turn demolishes habitat for animals and people. It can also destroy fields of crops.

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Titles and Why I Love Them

Mt Rushmore ©1995 Collage by Janet Brugos

Titles and Why I love them
Part 1

I love titles. I usually find myself collecting titles for use at some future time.

While wanting to get feedback about my art work, I went into a gallery in San Francisco in 2007. I told the owner that I was not seeking representation in his gallery because my work would not fit with the work of their current artists. He looked at my binder full of images of my work.

He stopped at one called Mt Rushmore and said the work reminded him of Romare Bearden. I was honored to be compared to a well known exceptional artist. That piece is an early one from the 1990s. I had the idea to create not only their faces but include other symbols that spoke of their influence. He said looking at my work, you should make them all untitled. I took his suggestion with grace but I thought, there is nothing like finding the right title for a work of art or a piece of writing. Like naming a child before birth and then either confirming it or finding a suitable one later.

Many times, I come up with the title before completing the piece or sometimes even before the piece has been birthed.

Footnote about Mt Rushmore. I got the best reward for that piece that I have gotten in my entire life. Two teachers in Nebraska had their students visit an art show where there was an abundance of artwork. The students were to write a letter to the artist of the painting they liked most. I received about 20 letters from 9 and 10 ten olds. They are still a treasure to me. I answered each one with my animal note cards. The surveyor’s map was because Washington had been a surveyor. The revolutionary drum joined Washington and Jefferson as they were both active in the American Revolution. Jefferson was a man of many talents. Teddy Roosevelt was one of the rough riders and eventually started the national parks. It was under Lincoln that we started have our paper money known as greenbacks.

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Water

Whirlpool ©2009 by Janet Brugos
Water
 water wets my whistle 
salts my tears  
runs down the panes of windows 
 courses through my bloodstream
 floats in my eye 
flows down the planes of my face
quenches my thirst
cleanses my body
nourishes my being

 the color of water appears 
clear in the liquid we drink
white in rushing rivers 
green in still waters 
red in lakes reflecting sunsets 
deep blue in global seas

 rain drop, snowflake, puddle, pond, 
lake, geyser, glacier, 
iceberg, spring, stream, river, 
waterfall, whirlpool, ocean

 water surrounds us in the womb  
 comforts us in a bath  
cleanses our senses
nourishes our beings

taste, feel, smell, hear and see water

wonderful water wanders the world 
willfully wild or carefully constrained

by Janet Brugos 2009
revised 2020