firestorm art

Phoenix Rising

The archetype of the phoenix is particularly appealing to those of us in what is officially now known as “fire country”. So it’s no wonder that when I was clearing out old paintings and moving pieces of them to my collage piles, I looked deeply into one and found the suggestion of a baby phoenix.

acrylic on w/c paper

Have you felt the whisper soft breath of the baby phoenix as it rises from the smoke and ashes?   

They say its tears can heal wounds and cure infections. (Viruses too.)

Peer into the smoke, and you may see it rising from its own ashes.

Can you see it? Can you hear its muted cry?

Are you ready to feed and protect it and help it grow strong enough to redeem us all?

Anxious

 Have we used up all our anxiety on police brutality and racial injustice, the pandemic, global warming, and the upcoming elections? Apparently not.

Once again there are dark smoky skies raining ash and a neon red hot sun, and we’re spending our days checking the evacuation maps and nights  listening to our cell phones ding/beep/shriek at us about new warnings. 

My family of three is still here, watching and waiting, and not so close to the fires as we were a month ago. But oh lordy, my friends across the plain are evacuating and it’s another deja vu. 

It calms me down to sketch people. This guy is from the Sktchy app that has the interesting poses. When I finished it this afternoon I realized he looked like an evacuee, waiting to find out if his house burned down.

I never really spent much time learning to paint with gouache. It’s really quite different from other mediums. But I’m determined to make use of the black toned paper in my sketchbook and I need to use an opaque medium. So I will just muddle through and keep trying til it becomes more natural. I finished it off a bit with pastel pencil.

I thought I’d save this one for Halloween! I mean we can’t go trick or treating this year so maybe I’ll just sketch more of these. I made a pretty girl look a bit goulish. She did have yellow hair though.

Decided to sign up for the Inktober challenge on Sktchy and practice some new ink portrait licks with tips from the teachers.  I’m hoping it will keep me from the anxieties lying in wait at every turn. Want to join me?

Doomscrolling Addictions

Where are you concentrating your doomscrolling activities these days? Fires? Other global warming environmental disasters? or Covid numbers,  and changing protocols, openings, closings, etc? Politics and the upcoming election?

Here in California we’ve become intensely focused on the colors in our skies and the effects of smoke on our health. Meanwhile I have developed a fascination with all the colorful interactive maps, particularly of fire events and Covid outbreaks, all of which are continually updating. I got to the point where I was seeing dots of red and orange everywhere. Time to do an art treatment!

All the fire dots were on the west coast and the majority of Coronavirus hot spots in colleges were in the eastern half of the country. So I decided to draw a map of the U.S. and paint black around it. Then I punched out red and orange dots and used an acetate overlay to position the Covid outbreak dots.

Putting them all together here, along with some labeling, I arrived at a crude but nevertheless satisfying result of my day’s doomscrolling.

The Map of My Country Has an Outbreak of Acne

I see spots everywhere

Red dots (and not all republican)

Outbreaks so numerous

They’re beginning to merge

The borders are closed

No one wants us any more

With no escape I wear this country

Like my body blemishes and all

I’ve moved on now to an obsession with checking the air quality index of cities and towns all over the west coast that are burdened with smoky atmospheres from unhealthy to hazardous throughout the day.

Well, that and keeping my son fed. Andrew is home now and in quarantine for a few more days after traveling from New Jersey. Not a bad deal. Kind of like a bed and breakfast plus lunch and dinner and no dishes to do. But we’re looking forward to having some good in-person family time, and then maybe I’ll drop some of the . . .you know.

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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