acrylic inks and collage

Fences

When life seems to be turned on its ear, as it has with this pandemic, I cling to this practice of expressive art like a life raft. The process of making the art takes precedence over the accomplishment of a masterful outcome. The intuition about what materials and tools to use takes precedence over any kind of well thought out plan or design. The sensation of mark making becomes more important than the mark made. I try to dive in and not come up for air too quickly.

Of course this leads to questions about how to finish. So in this piece even my idea of adding the hands didn’t quite finish it. The blue reminded me of the bluebird couple that sits on the corner of the roof we can see from our dining room table. So I painted one of them and collaged it on. . .then needed the eggs. And finally as I wrote, even a garden scene like this turned out to be about the pandemic. . .in a helpful way.bluebird

acrylic inks, gel pen, drawn with a stick, splattered and scumbled on w/c paper, 10 X 11″

We try new ways to live with each other,

with masks and gloves and zooms,

The same fences that keep us in

are those that keep us out.

Nature topples those barriers we make,

finds a way around or between them,

Its winds dry our lonely tears

and sun warms our tender hearts

Birds share their freedom of air travel

without passport, mask, or elaborate protocol.

Transparent Overlays

I’m still catching up on Muse Group demos from June. I had promised in the last class that we would do image transfers, but realized that it’s better to have another week to work on them, since the technique can sometimes create some false starts. So instead we used transparent overlays.

This is a great technique to use when you’re not comfortable with your drawing skills but want to incorporate a drawn image into your painting surface. Trace the image you want onto a transparent overlay, which could be regular tracing paper, light-weight “rice paper” or Dura-lar (the acetate alternative).  Move it around on the painted surface til you find the sweet spot where the paint shows through to advantage and glue it down with gel medium.

The bird here was my tracing. The paper became transparent when the medium dried so the underpainting shows through.

senorita

acrylic inks, transparent image overlay and other collaged paper on w/c paper, 10 X 11″

This señorita keeps her song going all June long. Dresses herself in colors each day, strutting along the limb, doing the limb-o all warm and fluid like an island girl. She keeps one eye on me and wonders why I wear a long face some days, when there’s always a heady fragrance and new tune to dance to.

Come eat your lunch with me, she says. Pura vida! What could be so bad anyway?

Well, don’t get me started, little bird. Don’t you read the newspapers?!!

Nevertheless, I appreciate her concerns, and so I’ve taken to eating my lunch outside under the flight pattern of birds between the bird feeder and fountain where they bathe. It goes a long way to lifting those cares.

Eggs and Gold

Eggs are an old favorite subject of mine, back into the days when I started each morning collecting the eggs in the coop behind my studio. My studio is studded with birds’ nests in many corners. I like to make nest art and imagine myself a fluffy wee chick bedding down in one.goldflowacrylic inks, collage on tissue paper textured w/c paper, 10 X 11″

the river of gold melts

comes again as grasses that dry out and

comes again as birds’ nests that fill with eggs

comes again as baby chicks

and always as the river of gold

everything in the process of dissolving and being born again

The Muse Group lesson here was making a paper textured support to paint on. I chose my old favorite. So simple. Paint the whole surface of the watercolor paper (or whatever support) with matte medium.Take a sheet of tissue paper and while the matte medium is wet, press the tissue on so that it wrinkles in. Paint over with more matte medium and then let it dry. (You can cut off the overhang after it’s dry.)

We also used all kinds of fun textured fibrous papers, brown paper bag, doilies and more. One never has to limit the imagination when doing mixed media!

A new Monday Afternoon Muse Group series starts here in my studio in Sebastopol, CA on Monday. There’s space for one more if you’re interested! or ask me about dropping in when vacancies occur. More info on my website.