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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.

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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

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. . .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.

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

ARCH Art Supply Poster

Arch Art Supply store in San Francisco made blk/white posters of the sketches done by all ten of the Urban Sketch teachers who will be offering workshops in the Bay Area this spring! For more information about the workshops, check out the 10 X 10 workshop schedule. My workshop is June 10, “Sketch Vignettes to Share the Story That Interests YOU!”

Here’s the Arch poster with my sketches from the Occidental Fool’s Day Parade, which will be coming up again this year.Yes, on April first. Maybe I’ll see you there?

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Garden magic

It’s raining again now, but Buddha and I were reveling in the sunshine this week, I with my pen and watercolors while he basked in meditative bliss right outside my studio.

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Pigma Sensei pen (fine) and Lamy Joy fountain, w/c in hand.book sketchbook, 8 X 8″

daffodils

Years ago I planted daffodil bulbs all in a row along the driveway only to find that by bloom-time they had mysteriously migrated to other places. Every year now a big clump of daffodils emerges on the steep hillside above my studio. I had a few more moments to catch the last light of day standing downhill from the blooms on rain softened ground for a shaky scribble of a bloom capture on paper. And then the miraculous baby Pipevine pipes appeared just by my feet so I leaned over to sketch them as well.

pipevine

These Dutchmen’s pipes will soon open, then be quickly replaced with green leaves and eggs and then my favorite black and orange polka dotted caterpillars. Now if that isn’t garden magic, I don’t know what is.

A Celebration of S.F. Urban Sketchers!

Saturday was a day full of jubilation. So many things to celebrate – a gorgeous sunny day in San Francisco, sketching at Mission Creek with 60 some urban sketchers – a party at Arch Art Supply afterwards to celebrate the 5th anniversary of S.F. Urban Sketchers and their generous new sponsorship of  group – ending with the official opening of the 10X10 urban sketch workshop series in the San Francisco Bay Area. This workshop series is happening in cities all over the world to celebrate yet another anniversary – the 10th year of Urban Sketchers worldwide – with 10 local workshops. I know, its a lot. But definitely an exciting time to be sketching in the Bay Area.

The workshops are filling up fast, so take a look at the offerings soon if you’re interested. I’ll be teaching workshop #10 on June 10, Sketch Vignettes to Share the Story That Interests YOU!  In this workshop, held in the picturesque west Sonoma County town of Freestone, we’ll use ink and and watercolor and explore tools for quickly getting to the story YOU most want to tell in your sketch using ideas of vignette design. Visit my website and contact me for more information and I’ll tell you how to register.

missioncreek fountain pen and w/c in 8 X 8″ Hand.book sketchbook

I get so excited when I’m in the city and want to go for the big picture, even if there’s no time for details. Imagine the S.F. Bay right behind the stadium and entrance.

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There were soo many sketches of this houseboat! I think it was the antlers that attracted us all, along with a lovely strip of grass in the sun to perch on our little stools.

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Vive la Resistance!

TAKE HEART. RESIST.  So reads an artful letterpress card made by Eric Johnson  which I picked at the Codex Book Fair in Richmond this week. Protest art was to be found in abundance at the exhibition. It has to go somewhere, all this overwhelm, distrust, and dismay with activities of this new administration.

resist2acrylic and collage on gesso coated w/c paper, 10 X 11

We will not compromise. There’s too much at stake. We will not get too comfortable except in our growing unity. We have each other after all. People of all colors and orientations. We have this planet with its innumerable rare species.

This vibrant world of ours. This is where our pride should find its home.

This Muse Group lesson was: moving the fluid acrylic paint around the paper on a gessoed surface, wiping it off, scraping through it and adding more while it’s still wet. I finished it off with some black ink lines drawn with the ink dropper. I was just thinking two figures but the red (my favorite color) expressed my heated emotions at moments throughout the day, in conversation with friends or tuning into the media.

resist

This in-class demo was quick and dirty. I hope you’ll insert your own words on the sign.Expletives allowed.

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!