crinkled masa paper collage

Perpetual Motion

Sometimes when I approach a painting in the Muse fashion. . .starting with a relatively empty mind, being playful and unconcerned with outcome. . . I enter an unknown territory and I am clueless about what to do next. The fun part is messing with the paints. I could do that all day. But then making it into a work of art that I can relate to comfortably can be like groping in the dark on a messy floor. And when I write about it, there’s no telling what’s liable to leak out. I’m stumbling through dream awareness where anything bizarre could and does happen.  And then comes an insight  like oh yeah, that’s exactly how it is, I  have always known that!

Like this piece which, after the free and easy play with color and crinkled Masa paper, I found myself in a chaotic realm. 

fluid acrylic on crinkled Masa paper and collaged papers mounted on w/c paper 10 X 11″

So I just started writing. (Five minutes usually works best.)

We walk together navigating 

barriers, seeing fences

wandering through face-scapes

wondering how They live 

on this shared planetary home 

Am I one of Them or a different species?

Do we chart our journeys by the stars and planets

or on animal trails through woods?


I am we are in perpetual motion 

in a cosmos too old to care.

zooming in on a part of the above painting, woven collage

I am I and we at the same time. Whatever I am or we are is perpetual. It doesn’t work to say Stop the world, I want to get off! It will just keep spinning in unpredictable ways and we’ll look out at it through the bars of our own perception. Different bars for each of us, but we’re still in it together.

If you got this far, thank you for hanging in there. The main thing is to get back to playing at your art spot. It’s the best antidote I know to a perpetually spinning planet! We’re all a bit strange, or at least I hope so. It makes for more interesting art!


My Woods

Trees and skies, that is the theme my group of Muse sisters is pursuing in our art exploits now. There is a beautiful birch tree by our driveway which has been enticing me to paint it’s white bark again. So I got out some Masa paper and wet and crinkled it, and did the thing where you drag your brush along the tops of the wrinkles. . .and instant trees without all the fuss of getting it “right”.

With these mixed media pieces I always poke around til I find something to add that might tickle the imagination. And, well, you’ll see what I found. . .a bit of enchantment.

India ink, fluid acrylics, crinkled Masa paper mounted on w/c paper and collaged on

I like to imagine a walk in the woods

And I’d come upon a native

Or maybe I’d be hidden in a bramble

And he wouldn’t know I was watching

(Though that seems unlikely

It being after all more his wood than mine)

But let’s just say he didn’t see me

And I was the stealthy one

Who picked up his scent of hide skin and smoke

With some tree sap thrown in

And it was I who wondered

What bird offered up its feathers

And they looked like they belonged there

On his head


But I’m imagining as a white woman

Who grew up in a house with central heat

And got her clothes from stores

And saw Nature as something altogether different,

Separate and wildly mysterious

And mostly out of reach

Hence my stories about

What might have been

If I’d slept in a teepee

And danced to drumbeats and

Cooked over an open fire

And learned to heal with herbs.


But back to the native here

This is after all my woods he has entered

On his horse with his rifle in hand

I do not fear him

He has entered my enchantment

Holiday Trees

We see the color red in the fall and the effect is of fall leaves or, in our case here in “fire country”, flames. But it’s December now and we are drenched from the atmospheric river and open door to storms from the ocean, and now red reminds us of. . .Santa!

I was thinking of the tree of life here, and later the words Christmas tree popped up unbidden. Recently I was giving a private lesson about ways to work with crinkled Masa paper. I painted on a sheet of water-soaked Masa paper which had been crinkled. And then made collage papers using the same method,  which I then used on the first piece after mounting it on watercolor paper.

The writing is a bit of fun. Take me seriously, but not too much!


Flame outside, flame inside, each making space for the other.

This world is made of positive and negative holding hands,

sometimes in secret cahoots.

Both want to be noticed,

forever in need of each other.


The painting wants to be noticed.

Every part wanting to tell her story.


Yet the artist can only think of how she has

yet again failed to make a masterpiece.

How can she be so shallow, when she promised herself

to be free, leaving behind judgments.

“But I wanted to scribble somewhere!” she whines,

ungrateful wretch that she is.

Happy Thanksgiving!


acrylic on crinkled Masa paper mounted on w/c paper, 10 X 11″

Our newspaper arrived this morning, 2 inches thick with Black Friday sales.  My own little holiday attraction/repulsion thing is activated.  The antidote is, for a while, the Thanksgiving table groaning under the weight of colorful and aromatic foods and circled by family and friends filling their cups with gratitude. It is also the autumn glory of trees and skies and (in California) greening fields that were grey and parched.

 Sending blessings your way for a bounteous day!

Lunar Diary


“Lunar Diary”, mixed media on canvas, 24 X 24″

What would the moon write in her diary? Surely it would be thrilling, maybe even hair raising.  Sometimes when I go out after dark to collect the eggs left by the chickens that day and lock things up, the air is so charged with star and moon light and the breath of nocturnal animals that  I can’t help wondering if I’m missing the most exciting part of the day by retreating back into the house. Some night I must just have a seat out there under the apple tree and watch and listen and smell the evening’s poetry as it unfolds.

This painting is a new one from the Maelstrom series where I’m playing with circular movement and a multitude of mixed media techniques from crinkled masa collage to image transfer to gold leaf.