acrylic skins

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.

medallions2

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!

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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!

chick2

#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.

chick3

#2

chick1

#3

chick4

#4

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

Experimental Mixed Media Workshop

cluster

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 _____”

sebarts

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

yellow

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.

Curiosity

curiosity

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

tracksweleave

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.

 

Marbling

walkthrupast

acrylic  marbling with matte medium, collage on w/c paper, 10 X 11″

what was it really like back then?

 

pick a starting point like this costumed time 

move forward from there

death becomes more visible when you take a walk in the past

Some of us are particularly fascinated with the past and think we would enjoy time travel.  We are the lovers of Masterpiece Theatre.  My family jokes about how I seem to prefer any movie that has costumes regardless of other factors.  Not exactly true, but sometimes I do think I was born in the wrong era.

If you mix matte medium generously with your fluid acrylics you have pourable pigment which makes gorgeous acrylic “skins” and is fun for marbling.  This is what we did in Saturday Muses.  I poured three lines of this fluid color on the paper, then tipped it so the paint started to move, and ran a popsicle stick through the colors to marble them.  Then I used a roller to spread the colors around the paper and get another texture and good coverage.

If you do this on a plastic surface (sheet protectors work great or even wax paper), when it’s dry you have a skin to use for collage.

marbling

above: marbling on w/c paper, below:  paint spread out on a sheet protector to make “skins”

Making skins is often a by-product of painting, a way to make use of paint left on the palette before it dries out. You can peal them up and cut and use them just like any collage piece.  Just take care not to let them stick together. I love the plastic quality of them in contrast to a more matte finished painted surface and tend to think of skins as ways to decorate and enliven a piece.

Unzip the Sky Again

unzipthesky3

“Unzip the Sky II”, acrylic and “skins” on canvas, 14 X 18″

Flames and arrows of outrageous fortune. Wild pointed frenzies.   

Do you aim for one point or many?  Are you ready to step out, step in, converge and digress? 

Keep moving and don’t worry too much where you’ll end up. Just make it interesting, dynamic.   

Change comes as a result of movement – the unselfconscious type which ricochets out and connects with others, reacts, takes it in, cooks it, and sends it back out as a new dish.  California cuisine with its mixed up ethnicities. A painting in many languages spoken with one voice.

We tried something different in Monday Muses. . .painting larger.  The idea was to take a piece we’d done on the 10 X 11″ watercolor paper size and take the idea bigger, but in the same amount of time (which generally boils down to 1 1/2-2 hours by the time the demo is over).  I wanted to work with the idea in this piece I did a couple weeks before:

unzipcreation

acrylic and “skins” on w/c paper, 10 X 11″

As I was working the question arose – how much do I try to copy what I did before as opposed to using it as a take off point?  The lucky accidents can never be duplicated. One can only hope for new ones while reproducing the color scheme or materials or an idea. . . like unzipping the sky.  I found it so freeing to allow myself to loosely “copy” in the beginning, then forget about that and just react to what was happening on the surface.