acrylic inks

Attempt at a Conversation with Birds

This blog was titled Conversations With the Muse many years ago, and mainly that’s been happening. I make art, and then I think and write about it. Otherwise it feels so unfinished. With the mixed media expressive art there is often a verbal interaction attempted with the content of the piece, which usually contains a great many unanswered questions. . .like this one.

For my underpainting I used an unfinished experiment with dripping inks and blowing them across the page with a straw. Then I found pieces of deconstructed paintings I’ve been keeping for the collage. The result was something that totally short circuited all the rules of color, design, technique etc that i have been learning and relying on in my art for many years. Thank goodness. My favorite thing is to create something bizarre, unexpected, and fascinating to contemplate. Hopefully it will get me wondering outside the box of my usual thinking.

acrylic inks and fluid paints on w/c paper

You crows, all black and squawky on one side and cooing doves on the other.

You’ve laddered up from the lower realms and found a roost for your pulpit.

Now speak!         

(silence)

How can you be so silent now, as I sit expectant with pen in hand to take dictation?

What do you see and hear and feel in your vast communications network?

Am I too dense to plug into it and understand?

How long would I have to sit and watch and listen to receive even a micron of the information which sails unseen, unheard by us humans, between you  and your avian family each moment of the day.

Surely this painting entitles me to just a bit of all that? . . .a feather dropped that I might keep for a dream catcher? A song that I could learn and sing to myself?

Perhaps when the cawing meets the cooing I may at last get a feel, by audio transmission, for the freedom of flight?

a look at the process of construction from beginnings to placing collage pieces and drawing in the focal bird

Have you had any conversations with your art lately?

Time to Winter

Do you ever try to think like a tree? Like in “Gee I’m so thirsty!” or “It’s getting so cold. I’d enjoy a blanket of leaf mulch to restore my energies.” This piece made me think like a tree.

I started by painting foliage and trunk shapes with water and droppering three acrylic inks into the water shapes so they moved and blended while I tipped the paper. Then I took a color shaper and pulled some of the wet ink out to create branches and spritzed the foliage lightly with water to suggest leaf shapes.

Daler Rowney acrylic inks: Antelope Brown, Indian Yellow, Dutch Blue

Time to winter

send roots down there

with the gopher and grub

under the shroom spore and worm tracks

While we sleep

they do the work

turn leaf mulch and water

into blooming flower beds

So take a deep

soul

quieting

breath

of loamy air

Settle into the perfection of this season

Confusion

Is there anyone out there who isn’t confused about where we’re going with this pandemic? It makes us a bit ditzy, wondering what other people are doing to cope, I mean other than wearing masks in public, taking walks, zooming, and watching whole series’ seasons on Netflix.

Me, I do some deeply satisfying art dawdling in my art studio each day. Sometimes I start by cutting up a doodled painting from another day and seeing where the pieces take me. It feels so right to recycle art at this point in time. This particular one came together when I found the woman, and felt I could relate.

walkofftheedge

acrylics, black and white gesso, collage, white gel pen

She’s a bit confused. . .aren’t we all?!

Oops! Don’t walk off the edge.

“It” came from China on a wave.

Where is everyone going? We’re still on a Shelter in Place order!

Of course it’s particularly distressing when our medical heros, the scientists we rely on to find the cures, are unable to reassure us. This Covid virus is still eluding the best of them! It seems we still have more questions than answers.

questions gesso textured w/c paper with acrylic inks, gesso and citrasolv collage.

I almost put cations on this piece as well, but decided to leave it open to interpretation. Please fill in any dialogue that comes to mind.

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!

Plea to the Wise One

Sometimes I think we all need a shaman to set us straight. Here’s the one who appeared to me this week.shamanladyMuse Group demo: acrylic inks on w/c paper, 10 X 11″

What are your dreams catching today? besides me, that is, in an awkward sprawl with one foot in your world and the other mired in this one. Would that potion in your bag help? Can I catch your secret in in my own dream catcher mitt?  Can we sway together to the rhythm of your chants, and go hunting together in moonlight?

 

Early Spring Musings

Sometimes I just want to look at the blossoms and not remember the storms that brought us here. Look at the green and the lacy morning dew and imagine that this world is mine, as is, right now. Not just in process and needing to be weeded. Not because it all will soon enough disappear, torched by summer’s draught. But just because it is right now. . .mine.

Lookatthefruit

acrylic textures (molding pastes), acrylic inks and collage on w/c paper, 10 X 11″

It is apple blossom season here in Sonoma County. You don’t want to blink and miss it! You don’t want to miss the butterflies fluttering through the garden, drinking apple blossom nectar, mating, and laying eggs on the pipevine. Gardening is a great excuse to be outside with hands in the dirt, and art making gravitates always to these spring colors and forms.

In Muse group we were playing with a wide variety of texture making tools and many of the acrylic mediums now on the market, from molding paste and crackle paste to gels with clear flakes and pumice. You could spend a fortune in the art store gathering up the various mediums to get texture. It’s what happens when you put fluid paint over them that excites me.

I’ll be teaching a weekend mixed media workshop June 24 and 25 where we’ll be using textures like these to achieve the light casting sparkle of Patina!  For more information and to register please visit my website.

Baluba

I believe we all need to honor our clan, our totem, our spirit guide to gather strength, fortitude, wisdom and humor to meet life’s challenges. And Lord knows we’ve all felt a bit challenged of late. So in Monday’s Muse group we sought inspiration from indigenous artists throughout the ages to create our own spirit guide figures. I chose an ivory statue of Baluba from the Congo.

yodadoll2

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

I am quite taken with you, my Baluba.  You are cracked and in pain, yet appear peaceful. Speak to me of what you feel.

Response: I have so much to hold and yet my mouth stays open. Each red button is another scar, yet when you push it, a light goes off inside me. I can’t explain it, but it is so, that with each new wound the light gets brighter and my companions here wake again and take to the skies.

Take the Lid Off

For over a month I stopped doing my mixed media paintings. Workshops finished up in July – the trip to Ireland and England with lots of watercolor sketching – the post trip exhaustion and need to archive. How to start up again?

Well, if I don’t know the answer to that question then I must be a pretty big fake, because I’ve been focusing on the movement of creative energy in myself and with other artists in groups for years now.

You can write in your journal about creative stasis. You can read books about it. You can complain to your husband or friends about it or get tired thinking about it and have to take a nap or eat a piece of cake. I have done all of these and more in the past.

So to get re-started I engaged in the most basic-of-all practice of. . .JUST DO IT. (after I’d done some lovely studio clean up first!)

takethelidoff

And while I was painting I started getting those little bursts of energy, like little electric shocks, associated with thoughts about what I could try next.

My wonderful Muse students were not here, but I did the 5 minute free write we always do and here’s what this piece said:

Time has come to take the lid off and watch what comes out. The lid? The false notion that my responsibilities to family and home, personal health and well being, financial necessity and more are keeping me from the Muse.

She has been waiting patiently for me to give her the time and space and the attention. Maybe she has been in some other artist’s studio where there is paint and paper and brushes for her to take up. But the stone has come off the opening and she is flying out. Will I be able to catch her or allow myself to be caught?

My Artful Muse workshops are starting up again this month in Sebastopol, CA. Hope you can join us. The group energy is irresistible! For more information and to register visit my website.

Yeah, right

peace

acrylic inks and photo collage on 10 X 11″ w/c paper

Call me Mr. Pepper.  I am not your Santa man!

Peace on Earth.  OF COURSE one must pray for this. But some days one is just a bit too out of sorts, like Mr. Pepper here, to believe in it, and the world news at least, provides ample evidence of not-peace.

But this was an art lesson on Monday: to add words or start with words, painting and collaging to some finish. I started by playing with my favorite Daler Rowney acrylic ink colors, Antelope Brown and Flame Red, drawing shapes with the droppers and letting colors bleed for soft edges. It reminded me of Santa Claus. But then there was the part of me that always wants to swim against the current of the commercialized Christmas that seeks to entice us all. I guess that side won out here. My husband refused to let me put this one on the refrigerator door.  I wonder why?