Some Advise about Monsters

Happy Halloween and El Dia de los Muertos! With such thick post-fire angst in our communities here in Sonoma County, it’s been a good time to let off steam, indulge in gallows humor and make playful art.  I decided to launch the next Muse Group yesterday with monster ink-drips a la Stefan Bucher the Daily Monster creator. Check out his fun website to see the technique.


The sound effect that goes with this monster is a loud, wet raspberry thwit! This guy suffers no fools and we love him for it!

MuseHalloween-2The spider webs and tarantulas invaded the studio when they got wind of the lesson plans.


They spun their webs all over the tables and even got into the paintings! And then, for some of us they even got into the words!


Pay attention you may notice. It doesn’t have to be Halloween for one to wear a mask. It doesn’t have to be October 31st for one to become a monster. Our daily masks and monsters love to play to an audience. Most of the time no one notices or cares much, except when they get out of hand and start shouting or moaning or generally demanding too much. Therein lies the danger!

So, don your mask and take your monster out for a walk every so often (like Halloween!). Let it strut and boo and hiss, all in good fun. Then you can keep your friends.


Grin and Bear It


acrylic, gouache, pen on w/c paper

Grin and Bear It.  I have no doubt that each person looking at this art piece will find his/her own meaning, and it will be odd.  It’s an odd piece, so let me explain.  I introduced a new lesson in Muse Group which involved making a mask, not one to be worn, but a 2D version.  I passed out pictures of indigenous mask art as ideas and suggested we go for a primitive art look.  The students had no problem with this and each produced a totally unique version of their own tribal mask.

Since I have spent some time in British Columbia and seen a lot of First Nations totem art, I chose this image.  As I progressed I got more and more creeped out by the image and in fact committed a totally uncool act (for a teacher) when we showed our pieces at the end.  (my finger pointed down my throat, get it?)

But I truly believe that in the quest for truly original art making we must at times step over the threshold of easy-on-the-eyes and into the land of grotesque.  And so I proudly share this breakthrough piece with you, and hope it doesn’t give you any nightmares. Perhaps you will even recognize it as a spirit guardian .

More Camp Art

maskI thought I would try out the gray hair look, along with some other nature touches.  The Mask Grove at camp was nestled in a bay tree grove where ample lichen and lacy leaves formed a carpet of natural collage materials.  The partial plaster mask was lovingly made by Vic to form fit our faces.  Later we performed a mask dance on stage to rumba music!

metaphor1These are “Metaphora Cards”, 5 “X 8” and made with acrylic paints and collage on mat board in an art process similar to the Muse Groups but with the added benefit of having the teacher Suzanne Edminster (my wonderful Four Hands Painting buddy) on hand to read them like Tarot cards!  She had so many fascinating things to say about them.  I wish I’d had my tape recorder handy!


Something  about focusing in on this one, but she turned it upside down and got even more material from the image!


And for a while these cards joined a deck provided to people for “readings”, an intriguing alternative to Soul Collage cards and a perfect camp art activity!