Paintings

There’s Always a Way

There’s always a way. . .

alwaysaway

ink, gesso, watercolor pencils on 10 X 10″ w/c paper

there is always a way around or through or behind

a zig and a zag to sidestep an enemy

pointers to show you the way

but look for their subtle shapes

follow them through narrow spaces

make yourself ever so small and silent and inconspicuous

there are clouds to hide in until the landscape clears enough for a bold new direction.

there is always a way

I am a champion of intuitive thinking and decision making, a Piscean, always willing to float in murky waters, swim in different directions, hanging out until an answer presents itself and feels right.

Sometimes of course this is very frustrating. I admire those who seem to know who they are, make well considered plans and carry them out successfully, especially artists who set a direction for their art and stick to it, at least for a while. I am always a bit surprised at my own successes and reluctant to take any personal credit because they seem too external.

The real delight for me is to see what happened on the paper or canvas when I was just busy trying to get the right color on my brush. Ironic then, that I would find myself in the teacher role. But I am willing to jump into the murky waters with other artists and see what shared revelations may occur. That’s what my Artful Muse courses are about, along with lots of mixed media materials and technique fun.

A new Monday Muse Group starts September 12 and there are a couple spots open at this point if you’re interested in joining. In the October 8 and November 12 mini-workshops we’ll be continuing the exploration of the Japanese esthetic Wabi Sabi.

drawwithstick

On October 8 the focus will be finding natural ways to apply inks, graphite and charcoal to paper, making marks with sticks and more.

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On November 12 we’ll be exploring natural textures and paper overlays. For more information about all my courses visit my website and contact me with any questions!

Join me this fall for some mixed media fun!

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Do you want to put the play factor back into your painting while learning to recognize your intuitive voice? Each session will add a new mixed media painting technique to your repertoire, pushing the boundaries of inks and acrylics, adding textures, collage and more. Meditation and writing are added into the mix to evoke that powerful Muse energy!

For more information and to register, please visit my website. And come paint with me.

Keep it simple

naturedoesnothurry

black and sepia inks on w/c paper, 10 X 11″

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.  -Lao Tse

Take a piece of tissue paper.  Crinkle it up and place it on the paper. Squirt some ink on the tissue. Roll over it with a brayer. Now use the same tissue paper to print more ink marks on the paper. Keep it simple. Dip a home made bamboo pen in the ink and add a quote.

mudluscious

Now take it one step further and draw on it a bit with a water soluble pencil. Paint a whisper glaze of dilute acrylic. Keep it simple.

The world is mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful.  – E.E. Cummings

Black and White hold hands

teeth

inks and gesso on w/c paper 10 X 11″, workshop demo

There’s teeth in this one, a snarl through bared teeth, a jagged fence, a bit of slime. I am dying to get away, but held in place with a fascination at the bizarre beauty of the scene unfolding.

Go ahead and take me to the edge where all the action is, where sea meets land, nature meets city, good meets evil, and life unspools in alternating increments of stress and peace. Black and white are always holding hands and taking turns.

Wet some shapes on the paper, squirt on some inks. Tip the paper. Add gesso and scrape through it, picking up some wet ink with a notched scraper. Move the fingers in to smooth some passages, mixing gesso with ink.  Now meet the image which has appeared.

This was the first exercise in the Wabi Sabi workshop, to let the inks talk.

The Quest for Beauty

chrysalid2

“Chrysalid II”, inks, gesso, pencil, collage on canvas 24″X24″

In his book Wabi Sabi: Further Thoughts, Leonard Koren shares the quest for beauty that led  him to explore more deeply the wabi-sabi way.  In his definition of beauty he writes:

By “beauty” I mean that complex of exciting, pleasurable sensations-ostensibly emanating from things – that makes us feel more alive and connected to the world.  Often these feelings are accompanied by a compelling sense of truth, goodness, and/or love.

I can’t think of a better explanation for why I paint! But it goes beyond that to an honoring of life, with all its natural processes. Wabi sabi is a celebration of the roughness and unevenness of life as it unfolds in bumps and starts, one forward and two steps back. I imagine the gnarled old apple tree in my garden that wears its age with the grace and originality as I aspire to. The rusty garden implements, the grasses draping over my walkway, and in my studio – the torn paper and textured surfaces I love to paint on.

 

Chrysalid

crysalid

inks, gesso, pencil, and collage on canvas 24″ X 24″

A continuation of my contemplation of the Japanese esthetic of wabi sabi that treasures the passage of time and a sense of impermanence. I was going for the patina of rustic, aged surfaces, and in the process called forth an image which honors the natural cycle of birth and death.

Where do images come from? There is an obvious answer when I am out sketching people and events, doing the pictorial storytelling or reportage which I’ve come to love so much. But when I explore the surface of the canvas, and something appears, I find that I am at a loss to answer. The painted surface has its own life then.

There is always some thread I can follow back to the circumstances of my life at the moment. I have this spring been witnessing the colorful life cycle of the Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly in my studio garden. And in the past two weeks I have lost count of the number of people known to me who have passed. It gives one pause, and that gives one paintings I suppose.

Later this month,June 25, 26,  I’ll be teaching a weekend workshop: Mixed Media Painting: The Visual Poetry of Wabi Sabi  at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts. We will be accessing this rich esthetic with mixed media painting techniques, poetry, meditation and writing.  There is still space if you want to come! For more information or to register, please visit my website.