acrylic skins



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.


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


“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:


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.

The Eye of the World

eyeoftheworldacrylic skins, acrylic, collage, custom stamping on w/c paper, 10 X 11″

to see with the eye of the world
into the world
under swirling oceans
where waves of uncertainty come ashore

here where gods come to dip their quills
in the river of gold
the eye of knowing does not react
but takes it all in
without comment

We were “building” a home for our dreams with collage, a sanctuary.  I pulled out this piece that I’d already started with acrylic skins.  Then I  found the eye, and it was just too weird and irresistible to not use.  A pyramid shape, Horus, the Egyptian god who carried the sun across the sky, and that serpent’s eye. More a cosmic home than a cozy sanctuary for sure. . .but cozy will have to wait for another time.