Art Journals

The Grid

How do you rescue a painting going nowhere fast? Try cutting it up and using a grid layout to reposition the parts. That’s what we did last week in Muse group. Everyone had her own unique version of course, and here’s mine.

pre_grid.jpg

Starting out with this. . .a demo of drawing with acrylic inks and a dropper. This demo sat on my shelf with a large stack of other unfinished pieces, until I cut it up and

gridart

. . .grid-ed it. It’s rather like a game where you move the pieces around until you are satisfied. . .it took a while and I added a line and a dot, only.

Secretly seductive. Swaying to the music of grasses blowing, waves surging. Fill in the blanks. Make the connections. Play with the Rubric Cube of possibilities. Settle the eyes somewhere around the belly button. It’s a safe place to be, in the well of life’s origin, where this great mystery always resumes again.

gridart2

And here another take on the grid, with some flaps and extra pieces to complicate and enrich.

Make Your Own Story Here

I was inspired by the Sebastopol Center for the Arts”Marvelous” collage and assemblage exhibition as well as the artists showing in Gallery III, John Hundt and Sherrie Parker. So last week we did a lesson in my Muse group combining various images to create anthropomorphic and surrealistic “figures”.  I tried to keep mine simple – images on white paper background with little if any paint added. The result was images that tell their own story, so I’ll show two here without my own story so that you can find your own.

goat

Here I am trying to be refined, like some collage artists, and finding that it is preferable to use Yes paste for this sort of collage rather than acrylic gel medium because it is tackier . Consequently I found that even the heavy body gel made the paper curl up and I had difficulty with placement. Lesson learned!

theworld

Images like this are so political these days. . .

butterflies

I needed this one to clear the palette, so to speak. Here are the words that came:

Innocence. Ah, it’s all coming back now! – the spinning whirl of each day – the knowledge that nature belongs to us in the same way our hands and feet do – the doorways that open to exotic new countries – the stairs we rush to take because the world is a continual treasure hunt – the butterflies we follow into their worlds of fragrant blooms and dizzyingly nectars.

I’m starting a new Monday Afternoon Muse series March 6 in my Sebastopol, California studio.  Visit my website for more info and to contact me if you are interested!

Metallic textures

Did you get an escape this winter yet? There’s such an urge sometimes to flee cold-rainy-icy-stormy-gray- weather. And then there’s the fear of what is happening to our country and the planet especially under the guidance (?!) of our new president. It can bring to mind the peace of a tropical isle somewhere. (Just don’t think about rising sea levels.)  Small wonder that when I put my art hungry fingers to work on this piece, sculpting and collaging with foil, a bare limbed tree took off running with suitcase in hand.

escapeacrylics, inks and foil collage on w/c paper, 10 X 11″

Of course as I type this my son is packing his bag for another move. It was not I, but some members of my Monday Muse Group where we were exploring this lesson, who first saw this connection. Such wise souls!

I’m not going anywhere for a while, and besides, the sun has come out in all its winter finery with dazzling sunrises and blooming Daffodils and Daphne, that most fragrant of pink flowering plants.  And I’m wondering now what was all the fuss about winter.

Riding out the storm

The wind and rain yesterday was unspooling my thoughts and making me quite uneasy. My cellphone was squawking warnings of roads flooding nearby and a mini Niagara of water was spouting from the storm drain next to my studio as the waters surged down the creekbed. I was looking through my “Conversations with the Muse” books where I have been collecting my art musings since 2004 and found these two pieces which reminded me of other storms and feelings similar to the ones I have now. I find that the advise offered by the Muse twelve years ago is still of comfort.

ridingoutthestorm

acrylic inks and pen on Lama Li w/c paper, 10 X 11″

Riding out the storm in a fantasy sleigh

echos of some springtime drawn by longing 

and the nagging pelt of rain

days end to end now

floating somewhere barely dry

lily pad musings nourished by deep running waters

making their way ever downward to the earth’s core

burrowing

sumi ink, acrylic painted paper collage and pen on Lama Li w/c paper

Burrowing with my imagination as shield.

Another deluge this morning and now for a few minutes or hours a bit of sun. I must head out to soak it up before the next round of burrowing.

Flood Musings

I hope you are safe and dry. I spent the afternoon in my studio trying to stay simple while feeling the need to put words down along with paint. The Muse arrived, no doubt by boat. The sirens have been real and each time I’ve said a prayer for those who needed to call for rescue.

escape

acrylic, Sumi ink, photo and screen collage on w/c paper, 10 X 11″

(photo art borrowed from Bob Cornelis)

There really is no escape, when you’re fed up with the weather, politics, your health, or yourself. You can try to sneak away, but then there’s the hook that snatches you back. The invisible link that handcuffs you to your life. Sets you back into another revolution of same-old-ness.

But it’s storming now, the pineapple express has pulled into our station, and the sirens scream out “floods!” You’re washing away downstream to somewhere new. Not where you thought you’d be, but somewhere new. And it’s OK.  Maybe you’ll get it right this time.

Seb Arts Opening and Healdsburg Jazz

Tomorrow night, Dec 2, the Sebastopol Center for the Arts will be hosting an opening of the annual member art show 6-7:30pm with wine and appetizers and displays by the teachers who will be offering workshops in the new year.

I have a piece in the show, but will also be at a table sharing my sketchbooks and Muse Group art books along with information about two weekend workshops I’ll be teaching next year at the Center: Quick Capture Sketching in Ink and Watercolor and Experimental Mixed Media Painting. For more information about these workshops you can visit my website or just come see me at my table tomorrow evening.

Last week Bob and I attended the Healdsburg Jazz member party and were treated to the Latin grooves of Carlitos Medrano and the Cuban Descarga.

jazz

fountain pen and watercolor in 7 X 10″ Stillman and Birn Beta sketchbook

Can you tell how intrigued I was by this singer, especially her generous shape and those fabulous boots? Years ago I gave up wearing shoes with more than one inch of heal in the interest of comfort, but I can still enjoy how they look on other women and wonder how it’s even possible to walk in them.

jazz2

You can never see all the musicians from where you’re sitting, but that lends itself to the process of vignetting and designing interesting edges that don’t touch the sides of the paper. I like the larger size sketchbook, but don’t want to take the time in my quick sketching to fill the surface with paint. Highlighting the skin tones and instruments tells the story will enough. And I find that most Jazz musicians wear a lot of black, a difficult color to pull off in watercolor. So I clothe them in white!