Guitar Fest


fountain pen and watercolor in 8 X 16″ (full spread) hand-book w/c sketchbook

Ben (my son) and I went to the Sebastopol Guitar fest on January 30 and were treated to the finest folk music with virtuouso performances! Ben brought his guitar to attend the workshops, but I went along (I thought) to sketch musicians. They are after all the very best subject!

I was very busy listening and tapping my feet and trying to sketch .  Next time I hope I can get more of the lyrics down on paper as well!guitarfest1

OMG, this guy can play and tell stories.  I could sit all day listening to him. I got a little too fascinated with his shiny head. Oh well.


Sometimes I wonder what I must look like, sitting there sketching with that wild look in my eye. This baby certainly wasn’t thinking anything like that.  He was shrieking and bouncing and carrying on with absolute abandonment. Smart parents to have brought him along.


In my purse I now carry a fountain pen with water soluble ink, a water brush, a 8 X 6″ spiral sketchbook, and credit card sized flat w/c palette. Friday is my coffee date with the girls. They have learned to tolerate my sketching while we talk. This Friday we found ourselves at Hardcore Coffee, hippy central in Sebastopol.

kaiser2You can’t help but get a pretty good idea of what my life is like from looking at my sketchbooks. Here’s Kaiser medical visit, this time to the pharmacy. Here in California every sign is in English and Spanish. Only problem is I can’t spell when I’m drawing the letters!

Something about the overcoat on the man. . .it was after all a rainy day I think. . . but in the context of the woman next to him (who probably wasn’t actually next to him, because I just kept sketching without worrying too much about order) he appears to maybe be a flasher. That’s one of the best things about sketches. They turn into stories. . . true or false, they’re still engaging the imagination.

Rileystreet Art Supply Demo


acrylic on crinkled masa paper, mounted on w/c paper

Free Demo at Rileystreet Art Supply, Santa Rosa, CA

Colorful Masa Paper Textures

Learn a mixed media technique using Japanese Masa paper to create delightful textures in your watercolor and acrylic paintings.  First wetting, then crinkling the paper, you can achieve a marbling effect with color application using watercolor, inks and fluid acrylics. This inexpensive oriental paper with its long fibers and sizing maintains its strength when wet, and can be flattened and mounted or used as collage papers.  In this demo you will learn how to work with Masa paper, while being introduced to some creative applications for mixed media painting.

Friday, February 12, 2-4 p.m

Sorry, there is no space available at this time, but they may have a wait list. Contact Rileystreet.

And if you’re interested in this technique, I am planning a new mixed media workshop incorporating crinkled Masa paper and the Japanese esthetic of Wabi Sabi to be held at Sebastopol Center for the Arts June 25, 26.  Put it on your calendar!  More info to follow.

City Geometry and Sgraffito


acrylic on w/c paper, 10 X 11″

City geometry: squares, cubes and intersecting lines. Steps, ladders, grids to organize the chaos of lives sewn together in the string of subway stops. The conveyer belt of lives ascending and descending stairs, elevators, buses, trains. Individuals wandering the same routes each day even as the wide world awaits visitors.

Put it down.  Scrape it out. Sgraffito, a painting technique of scratching into the top layer of paint to reveal areas of the surface underneath. Can you guess where I did that in this painting?


Here’s another demo for the Monday Muse class. Start with a black shape on the white paper.  Let it dry and then paint over it with heavy body paint and scrape out shapes to reveal black or white. If you do more layers, you can get kaleidoscopic effects, which is what happened in class. I still want to try one where I scribble, scribble, scribble! Even the word sounds more like sgraffito.

Moose Guardian


acrylic inks and paints, image transfer, collage, Uniball Signo pen on w/c paper, 10 X 11″

The message:  BE PREPARED!  -Moose Guardian Angel

. . .because we’re all in need of a guardian angel (or several) I like to periodically incite students to join me in creating our own. It has to be humorous, but also deadly serious. . . like this one. I’ve created many over the years and I’d like to think they’re all watching over me, or at least keeping me from taking myself too seriously.

If you’re interested in creating your own, please check out the latest issue of my Imagine With Art Newsletter, which has directions for how to create your own wacky and wonderful angel (or alter ego, or personal clown, or whatever you want to call it).

Where to Sketch When It’s Raining


I don’t want to complain about all this wonderful rain we’ve been getting, courtesy of El Nino.  It does however leave the habitual sketcher with the task of finding new and interesting public settings. I bring this little sketchbook in my purse in hopes of being inspired on my daily rounds. Here I’m sitting in my car, crowded behind the steering wheel in the Safeway parking lot, gazing through the sheets of rain at this familiar Sebastopol landmark.


Last week there were some Dr. visits for my family and myself, so waiting rooms providing some good subject matter.


And then I took some old jewelry to see if I could get some money for it, and noticed what an intriguing sketch subject the appraiser was! So I used my cell phone to snap a shot of him as he was doing his examining and weighing and keeping up a steady comic monologue. Later i sketched this from my cell phone pic (and memory) while watching TV. (OK, now you know my secret!)


Another rainy day Carole and I headed over to Shed in Healdsburg. They call themselves a modern day grange, but we were there for the constant visual candy of people and things. And of course we also had something to eat – a heaping plate of tiny multi-colored potatoes, pretty as a picture resting on a bed of swirled aioli and tomato sauce, with herbs sprinkled on top.Why didn’t I sketch that? Well, you probably know the answer. And, by the way, the stool WAS that pink.



acrylic and sumi ink on crinkled Masa paper with collage mounted on w/c paper

Shrooms!  My favorite winter bauble with an old shriveled apple still hanging.  My world outside and the territory of my imaginary ramblings, where I shrink myself to Lilliputian size. And take a wet walk beneath the bushes and across the decomposing leaves to come upon these newly sprung umbrellas with the spongy undersides.  There I rest and inhale deeply as the storm batters the landscape around.

It seems I never tire of painting on this wonderful Japanese paper or of painting mushrooms. These bright red mushrooms with white dots can be seen in my neighborhood now. Poisonous I’m sure. You don’t get that flashy unless you’re a lure! I take a bite of the painterly sort.



acrylic inks, gesso, collage (netting)

I noticed this one leaning up against the easel when I came in from the rainstorm tonight. My studio is a two minute walk from the house, but I put my rain boots on to ford the puddles.The (usually dry) stream bed beside my studio is a roaring cascade tonight, with nearby gopher holes spouting water like geysers.  We thirsty Californians have become rain worshipers.