acrylic skins

Night Creatures

India ink, gesso, acrylic glaze and acrylic skin, white gel pen, collage

When you toss and turn and horrible 

Thoughts hold a parade in your mind

And sleep runs for the exit

Ask for advise from the night creatures

Say – Why do you like the night hours?

The answer will no doubt involve food.

So stop your fretting.

You like food too, right?

Get up and have a bowl of

Lift your spoon in a toast to

Those who know

The secret to happy thoughts

at night

Hoot! Hoot!

In Times Like These

Sheltering in place does little to protect one from the news of a world spiraling out of control. In times like these, what’s a person to do? 

I thanked Lizard for the wisdom shared last week and moved on to see what would come next through the art oracle! 

With nothing in particular in mind, I pulled out my tower of unfinished mixed media starts looking for something that caught my eye, or rather, imagination. Some of the acrylic “skins” I’d saved brought to mind a swirling cosmos and archaic symbols. They were formed by pouring rivers of (leftover) paint (fluid acrylic paint mixed with pouring medium) onto plastic and letting them merge and dry. 

One of the skin pieces looked like a face, and when I moved it around and set it just so on another piece, it became a person! No more painting was necessary to complete the picture, just an underpainting of an ink wash and some more cut skins for feathers.

poured acrylic skins, dilute India ink, gold acrylic, white gel pen on w/c paper

And then the Indian spirit spoke, in these phrases:

In times like these . . .

I cannot shake the burden that weighs on my spirit.

My third eye opens to see across the abyss of ignorance before me and opens new pathways. . .

My feathers vibrate for peace.

I dance to the drum beats and reed flutes and chanting that vibrates with nature’s currents.  . .

. . .signaling an existence where people care for each other and live in harmony.

Fire Flow

firepourDemo for Monday Muse Group: acrylic, Pouring Medium, collage (paper, netting, “medallion skins”)

Such beauty, red, color of sunset, of ripe apples, of rosy cheeks and

Color of flames blowing this way, color of monster chewing up homes, melting down metals and tossing cars like those evil midwestern twisters.

And that Hollywood Oscars-night glow on my horizon. Dumbfounding.

A couple of days after the Tubbs fire (since anointed as the most destructive fire in California’s history) began and while it was still raging on, I tried painting the horizon in flames in the night sky as I viewed it from our living room window on that night of October 8. It didn’t work. There was no way to paint it “on purpose” because this fire was the essence of random. Add to that rampant, unconstrained and unpredictable.

Those same adjectives could be used for acrylic pouring medium which is formulated to make acrylic paints flow and level out and keep moving as you tip and turn the paper, and to keep moving until they dry, which takes a while. Pouring Medium is the name for the Liquitex brand, but Golden has their own version called GAC 800. Mix a few drops of fluid acrylic paint with the medium and you’re ready to pour, either onto your painting surface (paper here) or onto plastic in order to make “skins”, or as I like to call the more circular pools, “medallions”. Here are some of the other medallions I made.

medallionsWhen they’re dry, after a day or so, you peel them up and use them as collage pieces. The one on the lower left was made by marbling with a stick and tipping the surface. The others were made on a level surface with pouring and dropping the paint, all mixed with pouring medium.


These involved more tipping of the surface to cause more random occurrences as in the painting at the top. You never know what’s going to happen. . . like that fire.

I’ll be teaching “medallions” and other mixed media techniques in the upcoming workshop. Contact me if you’re interested!

Screen Shot 2017-10-26 at 9.07.33 PM


Palette Skins

Acrylic skins. There are so many ways to make them, by accident or on purpose, because acrylic paints and mediums are by their very nature plastic and malleable and peelable when dry. And you can cut them and punch holes in them and glue them on where you need them. Make skins with fluid acrylics or inks mixed with acrylic mediums. Pouring Medium is particularly fun. Make medallions or encase strips of music and glass beads in the medium as I’ve done here. Let it dry overnight on plastic sheet protectors and peel them off the next day or week or year!

This was the demo I did for Monday Muses.

fragranceacrylic skins, acrylics and ink line applied with a stick on 10 X 11″ w/c paper

Go out to your garden on a moonlit night and stand where you can see your shadow cast on what in daylight was familiar and now. . .take a deep breath and inhale. That’s the moon-nighted fragrance that blends with dreams and is always sweet scented with mystery.

Ready for the Red Carpet

Since I took my Party Chick paintings over for the show at Corrick’s Gallery in Santa Rosa I’ve been missing them.  And luckily a new flock flew into my studio just in time for the Academy Awards tonight.  I wonder what the fashion critics will have to say about their sense of style!


#1 – Acrylic and “skins” on canvas, 12″ X 12″

I do hope you’ll help me with names!  I haven’t gotten that far yet and could definitely use ideas.







And of course they would love it if you pretended you were an Academy member and voted for your favorite!

Experimental Mixed Media Workshop


acrylic and collage with acrylic skins on canvas, 18X24″

My three day experimental painting workshop at Sebastopol Center for the Arts was last weekend. Some fun mixed media techniques were offered, including acrylic medium textures, “skins” and metallics.  The above painting was begun as a demo.  Not quite sure it’s finished yet.  I like the way the shapes are so suggestive but non specific, so you can fill in the blank any way you choose, “Cluster of _____”


It was a very dynamic group of artists, who took full advantage of the lessons to incorporate the techniques into their own aesthetic, making for a particularly exciting workshop.  The students had backgrounds in sculpture, assemblage, encaustic, oils, watercolors and heavy body acrylics, and they seemed most interested in creating textures.  I always get ideas for future lessons by watching my students try things out in new variations.

Balloon Time


acrylic, collaged acrylic skins on w/c paper, 10 X 11″

balloon tree in the desert

fruit of the drought

new freedom to float, to soar,

to drop down in new places and find footing there

in balloon time the winds set the course

enjoy the ride or enjoy the crash

it’s all the same in the dictionary of adventure

The new Monday Muse series started this week.  The focus for every class will be COLOR.  We started with yellow.  I thought that would be a cheery start, then realized that yellow, because of its light value, may be the most difficult color to work with.  I painted all my different yellows and yellow oranges and golds all over and then got out a sheet of palette skins I’ve been saving and started cutting and tearing.

The balloon shape appeared, inviting a theme of adventure.  All my summer trips are over now.  No more plans for travel this year.  Life is back in a comfortable routine.  But the spirit still soars, still searches for new territories.

If you’d like to join a Muse Group this fall, there are still a couple spaces in the monthly Sat. Group which starts Oct 4 and goes six months.  It meets in my studio in Sebastopol, CA For more information go to my website.



acrylics, pouring medium, gold leaf, acrylic skins on w/c paper, 10 X 11″

Brilliance of galaxies in dark recesses of molten rock.  I climb through chambers, led by a curiosity that cannot be extinguished by darkness, that sees new possibilities forming in the infinite patterns of nature. The dizzying onslaught vanquishes boredom.  I stand for a moment in a luminous space.

No doubt this is why I prefer making wild unpremeditated art – to stand in the center of a maelstrom and see what happens.  A combination of various experiments here, knitted together.  The only collaged piece is the eliptical shape on the right that slightly resembles a spider’s web.  It was one of my unsuccessful attempts to reproduce the “Sigueiros accidental painting technique” which I found online. You pour a heavier paint over a lighter and it sinks into the lighter paint creating amazing patterns.  Only my patterns never looked like the video.  If you can make it work, let me know.  The results, though, were pretty cool.

I start a new Monday Afternoon Muse Group where we do all kinds of mixed media fun like this each week.  I still have a couple openings, if you’re interested and are “local” to Sebastopol, CA where we meet in my studio.  More information on my website.

The Tracks We Leave


acrylic applied with roller, stencils, collage, acrylic skins on w/c paper

Life is not a private affair. We leave prints with each step, each word. And when we get run over, the groove where we’ve lain has our signature on it. The tracks of our existence cannot be concealed.

It started, as these art journal pieces usually do, with my sharing some mixed media tidbit with the Muse Group.  This time it was my new sponge roller set- four different mini rollers with different design cutouts which I ordered online for $10. And so with a couple rolls of the paint I established the tracks.  To save the paint residue left on the roller I ran it over some glassine paper I had and later glued a circle of that on the piece toward the top.  It’s always good to suggest a sun or moon somewhere in a piece. And the next day the dried residue of acrylic paint – blue and bronze – got pealed up from the palette and added in a spot where it was needed.

Still with nothing in mind I wrote – 5 minutes worth of free association, which we do together in Muse Group.  The tracks, like the path from house to studio which I traverse several times each day, are quite established.  I can go way back to childhood to find their roots, back even perhaps to my maternal grandmother who wrote poetry.  Ironic perhaps that in the face of such overwhelming evidence that at this age the tracks are well laid, I would strive so insistently to create art that falls outside those tracks.  And yet. . . this groove I find myself in has my signature all over it.