Art Journals

Image Transfers – Two Ways

In my Muse Groups rule-breaking is encouraged, so there’s a groove of free thinking which we enjoy. Serendipity is encouraged!

We’d been enjoying the splatter and spray techniques, and then I introduced the idea of transferring a photographic image transparently onto a painting, and suddenly there were some rules! For instance, this method only works with toner copies (not ink jet prints!) and it requires a certain careful handling. There was much to practice.

dragon

The first method I taught uses clear contact paper. You press the image ink side down onto the sticky side of the contact paper, burnish it, and then wet it so that you can rub off the paper pulp, leaving the image on the transparent contact paper. Then you glue it down on your painting in a spot where the image takes advantage of the underpainting showing through!

In the case of this dragon I had a lot of fun painting over the transparency as well, once it was down. I had to give the dragon credit for the inferno, and suggest his jewel-laden body.

mysweetheart

Here I used the dry gel transfer method. First I collaged the music pages, using a Valentine sweetheart theme.

Then I printed out a toner copy of my face – a picture taken in Photobooth on my computer with the comic strip filter. I painted a layer of acrylic soft gel onto the surface of the music and pressed the image, ink-side down onto the wet gel, making sure that it made contact all the way to the edges. After letting it dry for 24 hours, I then wet the paper and rubbed the paper pulp off gently with my finger, leaving the black ink image. See what I mean? Several steps to pull it off.

The rest was glazing with ink washes, stenciling and collage with the doily shape.

And here’s what came out in the writing. . .

Talk to me Baby! Tell me what’s on your mind. Bad Hair day? Watched too much TV news? Wondering what to give the hubby on Valentine’s Day?

Or. . .remembering the good old days, when the Beatles occupied your mind, and your heart was a fresh young thing. Before the glasses. . .Before the thousandth hat worn and taken off again. So many lives in one, until it’s hard to pin down who this is.

Happy Valentine’s Day! Sending love your way!

Advertisements

The Muse Group Splatters

There’s nothing like an ink splatter to activate the imagination. Actually, now that I think of it, this approach birthed Imagine with Art, this blog that’s continued since 2006, and the Muse Groups I’ve been teaching for almost that long. Play around with inks and pretty soon you’ve got a story going, whether it’s the rorschachs or the drips and splatters.

And it’s fun too! In fact when we did the splatter lesson in Muse Group this week we were so totally engaged in what was happening on the paper that I thought we could really do several weeks of this. I can always tell when total engagement happens because you don’t see people staring blankly at the paper and wondering what to do next. (Well that did happen to me a few times, but I think maybe I was the only one.)

The suggestion was to use the splatter and possibly spraying with a mouth atomizer and then see if any creatures or other unsuspecting images appeared.

tangerinos

acrylic ink splatters, sprays, and lines drawn with dip pens on w/c paper, 10 X 11″

He was just minding his own business, doing his usual foraging for vegetarian fare, when they spotted him. . . the dive bombing Tangerinos. He had no time to flee before the first one landed on his back with a big wet splatt! It wasn’t so bad really, as it did smell rather tasty.

Later as he met up with his buddy bucks, they had fun teasing him about his edible “crown” that dripped down his cheeks.

And the creatures keep coming. . .

Squirrel

Actually the squirrel with the rather large proboscis at first seemed to be jumping over the moon, but when the gold paint made an uninvited appearance (and a few expletives came to mind!) the narrative changed. These creatures do have a mind of their own.

If you want to enjoy some more brilliant silliness with inks you might like this short video of Ralph Steadman, my latest art hero.

The Laguna de Santa Rosa

When I first moved here to Sebastopol, California 19 years ago and saw the flat lands below my house fill up with water and birds after winter rains; saw the mustard bloom stretch out like a neon yellow carpet, I knew I would have to find a way onto the land and water to explore. This area, known as The Laguna de Santa Rosa, encompasses the ecologically rich watershed lands that span from Forestville and the Russian River south to Cotati.

Eventually I managed to get out on the water and paddle, and I joined the plein aire painters who sometimes had access to the private Laguna lands. Later I learned of the vernal pools and explored them on the magical Lynmar Winery lands on the Laguna. I became convinced that I’d moved to one of the more exotic places on Earth!

Fast forward to this week when the winter rainstorms abated, the sun came out, and I parked by the side of Sanford Road to do some mini Laguna captures.

mustardx2

The traffic was roaring by so I wasn’t particularly comfortable and needed to find a place a bit more relaxed.

laguna1

This time I visited the Laguna Foundation which is open during weekdays and not only has views of the mustard bloom and Mayacama mountains behind but also the Heron Art gallery that features nature oriented art by a different artist every four months and Stone Farm with its weathered barns and farm equipment.

laguna2

And my sketch buddies joined me for a day of sketching and picnicking on site. I remembered sketching this barn 18 years ago when there were also cows, and not yet the offices of a Foundation with nature workshops, land stewardship programs, native plant gardeners, community education programs and so much more.

laguna3

Sitting here with my back to the “pond” and listening to a chorus of marsh birds.

laguna4

At this point my eyes were weary from the bright sunlight, so I sat in the shade of the maintenance man’s truck and enjoyed a closer subject matter. It’s so much easier to see what you’re doing when the sun isn’t shining either directly in your eyes or on your white paper!

lynmar

I’ll have to save a watery Laguna sketch for another day! This is the view from Lynmar Estates.

The mustard bounty will last a while longer. It’s a great excuse to get out with your sketchbook, listen to bird song, and experience that gratitude that we feel for living in the midst of such abundant natural beauty.

For more of my Laguna art see Herons on the Laguna, A Tale of Wings, Vernal Pools and A Harvest Gala

 

More Splatter Fun!

(Ralph Steadman inspired inks splatts continued)

I actually haven’t joined the “tidying up” frenzy of late, though I read about it all the time in jubilant Facebook posts and blogs. But clearly I’m having some kind of subconscious reaction. . .

lightenup3

splatter, spray, drip and draw acrylic inks on w/c paper

I was trying to lighten up! Look, I took everyone’s advise and tried Marie Kondo’s Japanese decluttering methods, but I may have gone a bit too far. . .and now I can’t stop. Looks like soon all I’ll be left with is my substantial snozzola.

Thinking about clearing things out for the new year? My advise is. . .take it easy!

dustbin duo

I’ll call them the Dustbin Duo. . .or maybe the Polka Dotters, or Flying Lancers or Spotted Beatle Birds, or. . .

Any more ideas?

Getting ready for lots more fun when the Muse Group arrives for a new session on Monday!

 

Splitter, Splatter, Splatt!

Are you familiar with this wild man Ralph Steadman, king of the ink splatters? I just got his book Critical Critters for Christmas and I’ve gone quite literally gonzo about it. We’ve been splattering and doing all kinds of unorthodox things with inks in Muse Groups for years now, but Ralph takes it to a whole new level of fabulous, raunchy absurdity in this book.

So with a new Playful Muse Workshop starting up on January 21 I’ve been trying some things out for a Gonzo Splatter lesson! One sometimes gets a little weary of being a “good girl”, all neat and careful and inside the lines, after all.

splattersplatt

I’m shooting for a day when it’s not raining so we can do the splatter part outside my studio, for obvious reasons. And I’ve been practicing with the mouth atomizer, another of Ralph’s tools, which requires a certain amount of lung power to operate (along with a lot of luck). I’m seeing a kind of rare endangered octopus in this one, but the swan sitting on his head is a bit distracting.

8daysraw

You guessed it. This one took advantage of a straw technique you might be familiar with from nursery school. I understand that straws are themselves becoming endangered creatures, at least in some California restaurants. . .but I have an old box if you want one.

8days

8 days into the new year

explosions of mind detritus!

resolutions leaking from every pore and orifice

teaming up, multiplying, branching out. . .

GOOD RIDDANCE! (but pray they don’t find you. . .)

My weekend was spent in a meditation retreat where I made some small headway into clearing my mind, but OMG what came out in the process! Not for the faint of heart. But if some of my errant resolutions or worse come your way, remember to duck.

hornraw2

This one was pure ink dropper play. You might take just a moment to halucinate on it before the next. . .

horn

This guy’s inner musician is celebrating the new year.

Now back to the octopus and swan. . .If this sounds like insanity it is, but no need to miss out on the fun on that account. Turn on the music and splatter! I think Ralph would approve.

Celebrate!

celebrate

acrylic monoprint with collaged stamp prints on w/c paper, 10 X 11″

They say the heavenly angels are around this time of year with their hosannas and hallelujahs, exhorting us to celebrate a birthday with them. And today I noticed multitudes of mushrooms poking their heads up from their moist earth beds to join in.

The mushrooms are a divine wonder in this land of fires. Some of the outcroppings of ‘shrooms are so tiny I must use my reading glasses to see them. They remind me of childhood reveries where fairies inhabited the forest lands where I roamed. The moist earth is a heady concoction.

This monoprint is another piece from the “laboratory” of ideas I’m exploring for the next Playful Muse series of mixed media classes in my studio. It starts Monday, January 21 and runs 6 weeks. There are two spots left at this point. If you think one of them possibly has your name on it, you can find out more and register on my website.

 

While we humans sleep. . .

bearingwitness

acrylic inks, gesso, collage on w/c paper, 10 X 11″

The cats are out tonight, bearing witness to the way the moonlight silvers the flowers. They have no need to paint or write poetry or make music. The frogs, crickets, owls and coyotes are music enough. The silence is enough.

And so they sit in unison until the moon drops aways and the morning star gives hints of coming dawn.

“Soon She’ll come out to get the paper and feed us.”

This is sort of a true story. We have two cats, both of whom adopted us for our plentiful outdoor servings of food and water fountain. Phil, the yellow cat came first and he most certainly also longed for the neck scratches and belly rubs. Sylvester came much later, attracted by Phil, but never let us touch him. They can often be seen side by side in stillness as I rush about my day. They seem to have mastered contentment, except when I open the door to get the morning paper and am greeted with the urgency of their empty bellies!

fingerpainting

This was the beginning of the painting – a thoroughly enjoyable finger painting (grown-up style). I could have left it like this, but maybe I wanted more content, or maybe I wanted to get out some collage papers. While playing with this one I thought of all the ways to ease and blend the wet paint/ink onto the paper with fingers and palm and scratchers, playing with serendipity and design. A great lesson to open the next Artful Muse series!

January 21 the Artful Muse workshop is starting up with another 6-class Monday afternoon series in my studio in Sebastopol, California. Registration is open now and I hope you can join us! Beginners and experienced painters are welcome. For more information and registration visit my website.