Jill Dodd Art

encaustics and felt

July 21, 2015
by jill

The Memory Dress Project

I am really excited to embark on a collaborative art abandonment project with my friend Jane.   The Memory Dress Project celebrates the unique creativity of each participant and how we are influenced and changed by the individuals we meet throughout life and the memories we make. The Project will represent how we collect and wear these memories, how they alter us and they become part of the fabric of who we are and how we make art. Sometimes they are experiences of loss or difficulty and sometimes ones of joy or hope.  Individuals are invited to contribute small art pieces that will be attached to the Memory Dress until it is completely covered. An estimated 500 miniature art pieces will be needed to cover the dress!

For more information on how to participate visit The Memory Dress Project




October 12, 2014
by jill

Sketchbook Project

It’s seems like such along time ago that I received my sketchbook in the mail from the Brooklyn Art Library’s Sketchbook Project.  I thought I might have had it’s pages filled by the time we made our family trip to Brooklyn this past July so I could hand deliver it …well that did not happen.  It has been on my own book shelf for quite some time now. Ready to stick in the mail and join the more than 30,000 sketchbooks on the shelves of the library in the Williamsburg neighbourhood of Brooklyn. I am not sure why I haven’t sent it yet except that maybe I have become too attached to it.  It was my first experience of keeping a sketchbook or visual journal.  A new lifelong habit for sure.


My visit to the Brooklyn Art Library was wonderful. Early one morning, I left my husband and daughters to hang out in our rented Williamsburg apartment so that I could go and visit the library on my own. I had a limited amount of time as my family was busy getting organized for the day’s adventure. Needless to say, I arrived before it opened and had the pleasure of wandering around a bit to kill time before the doors opened. Any opportunity to see more NYC street art is time well spent!

DSC_2498 DSC_2509

DSC_2510DSC_2512 DSC_2503


Finally the doors opened and I spent a wonderful hour browsing the stacks.  You couldn’t take the books off the shelves yourself but with the help of an ipad you could “browse ” the  stacks. Once you had selected the book you wanted to view, the staff person would bring the actual sketchbook to you at the long wooden table along with the book housed beside it on the shelf as a bonus! Brilliant.  As much as I enjoyed viewing the book that I had purposefully selected,  it was the extra book that appeared before me that offered the most unexpected pleasure.  Some beautiful, some bizzare, one a sad visual journey of loss and illness…all with a multitude of textures and differing media.  The shelves themselves offered so much visual candy.



The room  was a place I would have loved to spend an entire day. Next time!

DSC_2519 DSC_2517

Stay tuned for my own sketchbook pages…


September 25, 2014
by jill

Altered Magazine Pages

I have been seeing a lot about using Citra Solv to alter National Geographic pages and decided to give it a try. I couldn’t find the particular product anywhere but, after reading the ingredient list, and with the help of  Google,  I found our north of the border version called Orange a-p-e-e-l. It’s a highly concentrated cleaner, created from the seeds and peels of oranges.  You definitely want to do this project outside with lots of ventilation. Cover yourself up with gloves and old clothes and lay out some newspaper to work on as it gets pretty messy.   Apply Orange a-p-e-e-l  full strength onto the pages of the magazine and the ink will start to dissolve. I used sponge brushes to saturate the pages. Use paper towel to sop up the inky goo that will begin to seep out of the edges. You can rip out the pages with ads or a lot of text ahead of time as your best results will come from the pages that have lots of colourful photos. After about 10 minutes of letting the saturated magazine sit to do their magic you can pull the pages apart. Don’t worry if they stick together a bit as this will give some interesting abstract images.  You can also wipe away certain parts or scratch into it while it is still wet.  I hung mine outside for a good while to dry.  Not sure what I will use these for but ….I’ve got lots of great paper for my stash!









April 21, 2014
by jill

The Sketchbook Project

In planning our summer holiday to NYC, I Google mapped the Williamsburg neighbourhood in Brooklyn where we will be spending the week. I find it a great way to see what is really close by…like restaurants and bakeries. Oooh I do love to eat in NYC!

One place that I noticed on the map, and that is just a few blocks away from where we will be staying, is the Brooklyn Art Library. I clicked on the link and began reading about the Sketchbook Project. The Brooklyn Art Library is the storefront exhibition space which houses the project’s 30,000 + sketchbooks from over 135 countries. Anyone can participate by ordering a sketchbook and sending it back after filling its pages. In addition to housing the sketchbooks at the Brooklyn space where they become part of the permanent collection and digitizing them for their on-line library, they also get to go out on tour in their mobile library to museums and galleries across North America !  Check out this video of the mobile library.

They use the term sketchbook loosely. You don’t have to sketch. You can collage, make lists, write, tell a story, stitch, paint …however you want to create is ok by them. You can customize your sketchbook however you like..take it apart and put it back together. As long as it remains the same dimensions (5×7) and doesn’t exceed 1 inch in width, (or get covered in hazardous materials, glitter and things that will otherwise fall off and make a mess) anything goes. Your sketchbook could get checked out over and over again and you don’t want it to fall apart!

I ordered my sketchbook that day! By the next week it had arrived….tiny and empty and full of possibilities. I have until January 2015 to fill its pages and send it back to the Brooklyn Art Library.

sketchbook project

I have to admit I have never kept a sketchbook or art journal before. There is something intimidating about ruining a whole book with one page that you decide you really hate. But, tell me I can take the staples out and put back in whatever I want, leaving aside those pages I decide I have ruined beyond redemption, and I am in! Why didn’t I think of that before? I also tend to work in felt or with encaustics on nice sturdy birch panels… so paper and paint on their own are new territory. I know little of acrylic paints  and nothing of gessos and gel mediums.

I pulled my little sketchbook apart. Now a small stack of loose paper they were slightly friendlier if not downright anxious for whatever I might want to throw at them (and perfectly understanding that they may not make it back into the book itself.) I called upon my good friend and art journaler Jeni for tips and a list of her favorite tools. My first experiment left me a little frustrated  I sent her an SOS  message and a photo of my slightly wrinkly page and got the best advice…”I say embrace the wrinkles” she said. Thanks Jeni!

sketchbook 2

The Sketchbook Project gives you a list of themes to choose from (and to interpret in any way you like). I clicked on undecided when I went on the site to register my book. One theme seemed interesting to me though, and I think I will go back and select it. “Parts of the whole”  has so many possibilities. I started a parts of the whole board on my Pinterest page to keep track of inspirations.

I love organic shapes and to me they are like the beginning of everything. A part of the whole of life.  And then there are parts of speech, places on a map, parts of the body or of a personality, things under a microscope, words in a larger piece of text…the possibilities are endless!

This is an old book page with a few words selected and the rest covered over. It was fun to read the page and select some words…somewhat quickly without pausing too much to think about it.

Here is what I ended up with.

miniature conversation

of the hand

so suddenly tender

full of clouds and moons.

journal page

I have yet to finish with either of these pages and it remains to be seen if they will get stapled back in to my sketchbook…wrinkles and all.

I look forward to visiting the Brooklyn Art Library and browsing some of the sketchbooks when I am there in the summer…maybe if I finish mine in time ,I can deliver it in person.




November 29, 2013
by jill
1 Comment

Happy Free Art Friday – Flood The Streets With Art Nov 29, 2013.

Today I participated in  Flood The Streets With Art. I had never heard of this before, but came across it when a good friend shared the Facebook event. I was immediately in! (Thanks Jeni) This initiative was started by Scott Wong, a Wisconsin artist who has been giving away free art every Friday for several years. Scott created a special event for Friday November 29th (Black Friday)  through Facebook to encourage people to participate in this random act of kindness.   Regardless of skill level or medium, everyone was encouraged to participate.  By the time the date arrived over 2500 people had committed to leaving free art in a public place for a stranger to find, take home and enjoy.

Black Friday is a day characterized by mass consumerism and spending.  Being Canadian,  I don’t remember hearing too much about Black Friday over the years. It’s pretty much been an American thing.  But…it seems it is more and more advertised these days north of the border.  This year in particular, it seems like we have been bombarded with Black Friday sales. What a fun way to turn it around and leave something for free instead!

I made three small encaustic mixed media pieces to leave for someone to find in Ottawa. After work today I headed out. My first stop was at one of my favorite coffee shops – Bridgehead.  I escaped the Ottawa cold, sat down with my cappuccino and realized it wasn’t going to be as easy as I thought. Well… it is a busy place and how was I going to just leave my painting and walk away without being noticed? I am not exactly known for my stealth and sneaky ways. At the far end of the room were some hooks on the wall (conveniently located on the way to the washrooms). Off I went …scooping my giveaway onto a hook as I ducked into the bathroom. My heart was pounding. I came back out…took a seat and realized not a soul had noticed. A young woman had sat down at a table directly underneath my deposit…intensely engaged in a phone conversation and oblivious to what dangled above her head. She ended her call and left. I sat for a few minutes more before realizing I was missing the point. This was not for me…not for the thrill of knowing what happens. Time to walk away…that’s when I really started having fun!

I hopped a bus and carried on to my next drop. I tied the next piece to the railing overlooking the Rideau Canal. Already emotionally  adjusted to leaving it behind with no view as to what it’s fate would be, I glanced back to see a woman leaning over to read the attached note. I crossed the street… a bus pulled in front of me obstructing my view. By the time the bus passed the painting was gone! A mere 3 minutes had passed since I had tied it to the railing. Seconds later the woman ( in fabulous red boots!) passed me on the cross walk the painting swinging in her hand. Oh happy day!

Next I ducked into the mall to visit the LCBO for a nice bottle of red to take home for dinner. It was so crowded I didn’t think there was any way I could make a drop there. The line was so long I ended up at the back of it with no one behind me. I quickly dropped it on a shelf of Spanish wine, snapped a picture then pretended to be very interested in the label of the bottle in my hand. Within 3 seconds a staff member was calling out “Does this belong to anyone?” … a moment later (during which time I assume she was reading the tag that said it was free for her to take home) she cheerfully announced “It’s mine now”.

The only disappointing thing about this event is that I only had 3 pieces to drop. It was soooo much fun. I can’t wait to do it again next year! Wait a minute…there are a whole lot of Fridays between now and then. Why wait? Thanks Scott!


free art friday


November 10, 2013
by jill

Mark Making

Had some fun with cheesecloth, India ink and stamp pads while making marks.  Lots of fun using different items to mark up the cloth..pencil eraser, feather quill, thimble, make-up pads, popsicle sticks, egg carton, lego, etc…
This afternoon, I am headed out to pick up an embroidery hoop, needles and embroidery floss  (oh and some replacement cheesecloth  for Geoff’s kitchen).  Anyone know if there’s an embroidery for dummies book? I may need it!  Will see how these do with some beeswax after some stitching.

Cheesecloth and Ink




September 2, 2013
by jill

unearth the truth


    24X24 encaustic mixed media on cradled birch panel (encaustic, paper,stitch,ink,pan pastels,shellac, found objects)

I started this project months and months ago and then spent most of the summer ignoring it. Last weekend I finally hauled all the encaustic equipment up from the basement and decided to get to it!

I love things seen in detail under a microscope. I have a board dedicated to these images on Pinterest and often refer to it when looking for inspiration. One in particular kept catching my eye. I thought “this would make a pretty dress”. It was a cross section of a 3 yr old woody stem of basswood. I sketched out a rough idea of the pattern on mulberry paper and then stitched it in turquoise thread…put the paper on my work desk and there it sat all summer.

I had grand plans to go back and stitch it with more colours and various other mark making but eventually decided just to move on to the wax.  The truth is, I have the most fun when I don’t try to plan things too much. It feels like work when I have too many “intentions” for something….and frankly it often doesn’t work out. A balance of trying new things and new materials and of experimenting with the freedom to abandon a plan is what works best for me.

When I finished this piece I decided to find out a little about the tree (even though the dress no longer resembled the microscopic cross section I started with!). As it turns out, this tree produces a fragrant and nectar producing flower and is a very important honey plant for beekeepers. Seems fitting that I covered it is beeswax!

The tree is also known to symbolize justice and it was believed that the tree would help “unearth the truth”. Seemed like a good title.