Tag Archives: art

My Secret Garden

In addition to turning wood, I have been doing a lot of painting lately. The process of painting is also a very meditative and healing experience for me. I become lost in the colors, the brush strokes, the layers.

The original painting in these photos is of an encaustic-inspired mixed media piece I finished recently. I called it “My Secret Garden.” I created layers upon layers with a base of alcohol inks and acrylic paints. Each layer is covered with a mixture of Golden Heavy Gel Matte and Regular Gel Gloss plus a dash of water. This creates a wax-like finish without all the mess (and expense) of a traditional bees-wax encaustic medium.

Each layer contains a variety of items including gold leaf, wire mesh, buttons, copper wire, beads, dried flowers, feathers, and etc.

My inspiration came from spending time in nature and my garden. It is taking the time to slow down, breathe, and open your eyes to all the hidden treasures in life. It’s about searching through all the layers to find that one thing that touches our souls.

To see more photos or to purchase this piece, visit me Etsy shop here.

Introspective Landscapes Exhibition

Just a quick post to announce an upcoming gallery exhibition. Two of my iPhone photomontages were selected for the Academy of Art University MFA Photography Alumni exhibition opening May 5th.

I am thrilled to be a part of this exhibition along with some of my favorite former instructors and fellow students. The show will feature work by Marico Fayre, Shannon Ayres, Amanda Dahlgren, Eliot Crowley, Trace Nichols, Weston Fuller, Marc Ullom, Tamara Hubbard, and myself.


AAU Galleries at 625 Sutter Street, San Francisco, CA


May 5-29, 2016

Gallery Hours:

Mon-Fri, 10am-6pm

Saturday, 10am-5pm

Ode to Spring


“Ode to Spring” – ©Tracy J Thomas, 2016. All rights reserved.

March is a time for renewal, when the first buds of early Spring begin to push their way towards the surface. The days become a bit longer, less dark and bleak. Flocks of birds begin to fly overhead and make their way north after a long winter layover. Their excited squacks and cackles instill a sense of hope in my soul, but also a feeling of sadness that I never took the time to visit them while they were at rest here in our valley. My soul was tucked away in front of the warm fire, wrapped in reflection, which is where winter often sends me.

I stand in my backyard as a family of Sandhill Cranes ride a thermal right above me. Their giant wings glide in circles as their gutteral call rolls from their beaks in an ecstatic chorus. They circle and glide, resting for the long trip ahead, a momentary pause in their journey as if saying goodbye. A tear escapes my eye as I look up and wish them a safe flight.

The sun sneaks out between big white clouds and leftover raindrops that have settled on the new blooms begin to shimmer. My focus shifts from the vast expanse of the sky above back to the tiny things below me. The longer I stare, the more amazed I become. This micro world of color and light comes alive as if the entire universe exists in this few inches of earth within my vision. Life and death begin and end there. Spring approaches to remind us it is our job to live, to let go of the darkness, emerge from our coccoons and acknowledge the beauty in all that we have been given.


Pick up a copy of “Zen in the Garden” here. 

The Wonder of His Mind

“The Wonder of His Mind” – ©Tracy J Thomas, 2016. All rights reserved. Shot with my iPhone and edited on my iPad.

My son Justin was born with an obscure genetic syndrome called FG. It is a multiple anomaly syndrome that includes atypical facial features, learning disabilities, speech issues, autistic-like behaviors, attention deficits, occasional behavioral issues, and in my son’s case a seizure disorder. Despite all the things he has had to battle in his life, Justin has grown into a wonderful, outgoing, independent man with a full social calendar and a lot of friends who love him. 

I created this piece while wondering what the world might look like through Justin’s eyes. He has always had a vivid imagination and has had difficulty filtering sounds and visual stimuli. I imagine he sees the world as one big noisy party of color, light, and movement.

The Party’s Over


“The Party’s Over” – ©Tracy J Thomas, 2016. All rights reserved.

My take on the current political environment and the 2016 elections. This was shot on my iPhone and edited on my iPad using the Juxtaposer and Procreate apps.

The Jungle

“The Jungle” – ©Tracy J Thomas, 2016. All rights reserved.

Just a quick post. This is a new photomontage I created today. It is my homage to the dangers of life in the big city. I shot all the elements on my iPhone and edited it on my iPad using a variety of apps including Juxtaposer, PicFX, Pic Grunger, Stackables, and Procreate.

Constructing Reality Through Photomontage

  “Connected” – ©Tracy J Thomas, 2016. All rights reserved.

My imagination has always been very vivid. As a child I used to create stories in my mind, spending a lot of time daydreaming and constructing a new reality that was far better than the one I lived. As an adult, that imaginative mind and story construction is most often expressed through my art. Photomontage work is one of my favorite ways to decompress and become lost in a world of my own making.
These two new pieces are my creations from the past two days. I shot the background in each image in Northern Idaho this past year and the Native American subjects are from a photo shoot I did at the Kootenai Pow Wow. All images in each piece were shot with my iPhone and combined and edited on my iPad. 
“The Blessing” – ©Tracy J Thomas, 2016. All rights reserved.

Street Visions

I wander the streets of the city and capture the quiet things that call to me in the midst of all the noise.


The messages are sometimes cryptic, sometimes clear.



Trust Your Struggle…

Shapes and patterns and colors all hold me spellbound. Mindful meditation magnets that drown out the noise and movement pollution all around me. I am sucked in, wondering whose hands painted, created, imagined the things I see.


2015 Mobile Photography Awards Results

I am beyond thrilled to receive an Honorable Mention in the Visual FX category of the 2015 Mobile Photography Awards for my photomontage “Mama Gaia.” Since it’s inception it has grown into the world’s largest mobile photography and art competition and touring exhibit. My congratulations to all winners and mentions! It is an honor to be among such amazing mobile artists.

To check out all the winners and mentions in all cetegories click here: 2015 Mobile Photography Awards.

Photomontage – The Butterfly Effect

Here is a new photomontage piece, “The Butterfly Effect,” I created with the mobile photography apps Juxtaposer, Pixlromatic, and PicFX. The elements for this image are all from photographs I shot with my iPhone in recent years, combined in Juxtaposer and texturized in Pixlromatic and PicFX. You can read my review of Juxtaposer in my last post here.

 **”The Butterfly Effect” – ©Tracy J Thomas, 2015. All rights reserved.**

Healing With Polymer Clay

Playing with Polymer.

Playing with Polymer.

It all began with a Playdough fixation. As a child I would spend every spare moment rolling, pounding, cutting, twisting, and creating miniature sculptures of dogs and butterflies and Christmas trees. I would let my favorite pieces dry out overnight and stack them along my windowsill that served as my mini art gallery. I would string the figures along with painted macaroni shells onto a piece of twine and dance around the house proudly sporting my new handmade bling.

There was something so soothing in the tactile medium. As I grew older the Playdough gave way to modeling clay. It was a great way to empty my mind of worry as all my energy and focus would turn to that little lump of gooey clay in the palm of my hand. I found great pleasure in squashing it between my fingers. I loved to roll it into a ball and smash it with my palm then allow my fingers to take control of manipulating the shapeless blob into something recognizable.

Pendants created with the Mokume Gane technique (stacking multiple contrasting colors and pushing a design into the layers).

Pendants created with the Mokume Gane technique (stacking multiple contrasting colors and pushing a design into the layers).

As the years passed my fixation was replaced by other creative outlets including photography, but I missed the tactile satisfaction I received from clay. Following my recent diagnosis, I found myself drawn back into the world of rolling, pinching and pounding again. I knew I would need an artistic outlet other than photography following my surgeries and during my Flourouracil treatment since I would have to spend most of that time inside the house. One day I was doing an internet search on Dichroic glass jewelry (something I have wanted to become involved with for quite some time now) and happened across some amazing pieces of jewelry created with Polymer clay. I was blown away by the wide variety of things that can be created with Polymer and became immediately smitten.

Polymer clay pendants after baking, sanding and applying polyurethane.

Polymer clay pendants after baking, sanding and applying polyurethane.

Thus began my journey into the world of Polymer clay jewelry making. Over the past few weeks my stress level has been greatly diminished through clay play. Art therapy for the captive recovering skin cancer patient. The perfect remedy for boredom and elixir for anxiety.

Finished stamped Hawaiian floral Polymer clay pendant on a satin cord listed in my Etsy store.

Finished stamped Hawaiian floral Polymer clay pendant on a satin cord listed in my Etsy store.

I am continually developing my knowledge for the medium by studying every video, blog, article and photo available in print and on cyberspace and have discovered a wonderful, supportive group of Polymer artists who love to share knowledge and technique with others.

Coral Reef - Mokume Gane Polymer clay doughnut pendant on satin cord. Listed on my Etsy store.

Coral Reef – Mokume Gane Polymer clay doughnut pendant on satin cord. Listed on my Etsy store.

As this new creative journey unfolds I will keep you updated here on this blog on occasion or you can follow my “Zen in the Garden” Tumblr that is dedicated to my Polymer journey here, or visit my Etsy store to purchase my reasonably priced wares.

Brush Strokes - Polymer clay pendant and bead listed on my Etsy store.

Brush Strokes – Polymer clay pendant and bead listed on my Etsy store.

Black & White Mobile Photography

I have the distinct honor of being one of the Founder Artist’s for the New Era Museum, a collective of some of the best mobile artists across the globe. I am also part of the Founder’s Board, serve as the NEM website administrator, a member of the NEM Artistic Committee, and am Curator for the “NEM black&white” Photo-Action on Eyeem. On occasion I plan to post my selections for the “NEM black&white” submissions here on the blog. My intention is to share some of the amazing mobile art that is being created and to continue to support the mobile photography movement and the artists that are behind it.

Here are my selections for “NEM black&white” 01:



Here is the link to view the gallery on the New Era Museum website: NEM Black&White Gallery 01

Here are my selections for “NEM black&white” 02:



Here is the link to view the gallery on the New Era Museum website: NEM Black&White Gallery 02

If you are a mobile photographer and you would like a chance to have your black and white work featured on the New Era Museum website plus a shout-out across social media, submit your work via the Eyeem mobile app to the album “NEM black&white.” Hope to see your work there soon!

Happy New Year!

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Today I went on a long walk and reflected on what an amazing year this has been for me professionally. It has been filled full with exhibitions, publication and a ton of wonderful projects that kept me focused and moving forward with my life. There were of course some difficult times – you’ve heard the expression “starving artist” I’m sure – however, I used those times to focus on creating art which carried me right through to the brighter side. Art always does that for me.

May each one of you reflect on all you have accomplished during 2012 and have a wonderful and very happy New Year!!

Here are some highlights from my year:

Exhibitions in juried shows at:

The Lunch Box Gallery in Miami, Florida (2x’s)
LA Mobile Arts Festival in Santa Monica, CA
Rebekah Jacob Gallery in Charleston, SC
Nuovo Film Studio, Savano, Italy
The Overpass Gallery, Loano, Italy
Orange Gallery, Orlando, Florida
Black Box Gallery, Portland, Oregon
Gallery 1075, West Sacramento, CA (Solo show)

Featured Artist on the App Whisperer, Life in Lofi, Pixels, iPhoneOgenic, Mobile Photography Awards, and iPhoneography Central websites.

Artist of the Day at iPhoneart.com (3x’s)

Two-time featured documentary series on SocialDocumentary.net

Finalist in Digital Photo Pro Magazine’s Emerging Pro Photography Competition

Finalist in the Digital Arts: California “Wide Open Digital” Competition

My photography was featured in PhotoWorld Magazine – China, The Huffington Post, LAist, Lesnscratch, the Miami Herald, F-Stop Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, the Baltic News Network, The Daily Mail UK, and the West Sacramento Press.

I was published in the Seal Press Anthology “Dancing at the Shame Prom: Sharing the stories that kept us small.”

I was added onto the teaching faculty at the San Miguel Writers Conference in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

I was contracted by the Academy of Art University to write the “Business Practices and Principles for Photographers” course.

May 2013 be just as good or better for all!

Korrupted Artistic Sadists

Korrupted Artistic Sadists Graffiti

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2010.

Photo: Graffiti under Stevenson Bridge, near Davis, California.

I normally don’t have a lot to say about graffiti.  But there is just something about the spray paint that covers every inch of the historic Stevenson Bridge in Yolo County near Davis that frees up my poetic license.  The first time I visited the bridge I stood awestruck before it.  It was a sea of color, words, characters, and dare I say it, art.  In my mesmerized state I began vivid hallucinations of counter-culture revolutions that smelled of Dadaism, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac.  Or maybe it was simply the overwhelming fumes of fresh spray paint seeping from the warm concrete that made me wax nostalgic.  Whatever the case, I was having a pleasant viewing experience and an epiphany of sorts.

For the past few years there has been a term floating around that has graced these graffiti demons with some semblance of credibility.  The term is Urban or Street Art.  My visit to the bridge that day was driven by my desire to capture some amazing color through bracketed exposures and later merging into a HDR (High Dynamic Range) photograph.  But my underlying desire was driven by my motivation to understand what this group of what some would call “ne’er-do-well malcontents” were trying to say to the world.  I spent a lot of time under the bridge that day, kicking my way through the half full cans of spray paint, empty forties and burger wrappers, just trying to get hold of the message.  And then I saw it.  Written in bright yellow were the words “Korrupted Artistic Sadists”.  Silence.  At that very moment I felt as if I had stumbled upon the Holy Grail but I wasn’t quite sure why.  So I did what every good documentary photographer would do.  I clicked my shutter button to preserve this indelible moment in history and left.

After several days of edits, I came across this photo of those now indelible words.  But I still didn’t grasp their meaning.  I could put my own spin on to it but feared it would be a bit off-putting with the younger crowd.  So I decided to turn to the bible of street banter, that holy of holies, the urbandictionary.com for my answer.  This is what the gurus of slang told me.  Korrupted by definition means: “Usually urban artists attaining fame through graffiti around their city. They are known to have the sickest and most wicked styles of their area, and to be highly respected by all other urban artists of their area.”  The word Artistic could mean: “Being mildly retarded” or “Being artsy or having the ability to create art”.  If I were to be somewhat politically correct, I would of course stick with the latter.  And finally the term Sadists: there were several references to the Marquis de Sade and the Republican party, however here is the general consensus: “One who gets pleasure from the suffering of others.”

There you have it.  The Korrupted Artistic Sadists are “sick and wicked urban artists who are possibly mildly retarded and quite artsy, can relate to the Marquis de Sade, are most likely Republican and get pleasure from the suffering of others.”  Dare I say more?  I think not…