mixed media

Bunny bunny

In my “old home” I used to spend a great deal of my time in my studio, a modest detached building next to the house surrounded by garden. The deal about moving was that the studio would hopefully have some degree of separation from the house, the washer/dryer and every other manner of house chore interruption. In the “new home”, that separation will be a wall built inside the garage. . .eventually. Apparently there’s a shortage of contractors for that kind of work here.

So I packed up my “old studio” with that delay in mind, and built a sort of wall partition of those boxes here. Then I pulled out just the supplies for mixed media play, otherwise sometimes known as my Conversations With the Muse.

studio in the garage

As you can see there are windows to let in light and even the fluorescents for nighttime and overcast days, and the water is a quick walk across the garage. Who needs more that this?! A fan sometimes, but otherwise I’m good.

torn watercolor painting, cotton balls and bunny painting!

The start here was to tear up an old painting, always a great way to start when you have nothing in mind. A bunny kept hopping through my mind, so I knew to put bunnies in. They wanted to hide, but you know they’re not very good at it. The bunnies in my yard are different shades of brown and buff and easily seen on the green grass which they love to munch. In the bunny world you learn to freeze if a possible predator, like one of those towering humans, gets close. Bunny lore has it that you cannot be seen if you stay still enough.  Haha! But when the big bumbling human reaches for the cell phone to get that coveted picture, the next thing the human sees is the white of the cottontail and startled, drops the phone! So I had to paint some bunnies since I couldn’t get a good enough picture to share with you here! Maybe there’s a hidden teaching here, but I didn’t find it. The bunnies are enough.

It felt good to tear paper and paste and draw and all that. I miss my Muse Group but I can sit at my table among the boxes in the garage and be happy to be at play again. Time to do another now!

Migration

Sometimes lately it feels like the whole world is migrating. No wonder. My small family are all moving this summer. Bob and I to Olympia, Washington next month. Andrew possibly to Seattle. Ben to Ashville, N.C. Lots of people are also staying put, of course. But there are so many human migrations going on just now. And look at the oceans and the skies!

But before a migration, there’s a certain amount of shaking up that seems necessary to dislodge one. Me, I’ve been in that drink blender for a while now. You know, throw in a bit of this, a bit of that, and turn on the blender. Now i’m sloshing around in the glass and about to spill out. 

acrylic transfer, collage, acrylics on w/c paper

She got all dressed up ready to go. The wind and waves were fierce, and her boat so tiny. Her fish friends were not sure she would take them along. They offered to come along for protection and she said sure, jump in, but they declined. So she jumped into the water with them.

To the Birds and Butterflies

It must be a springtime thing, but this year it feels different. There are just so many creatures making themselves known, flying close or settling themselves nearby or even on me with skin contact. Caterpillars, yes, but butterflies and hummingbirds, and bees, and lizards, and dragonflies. A crane fly flew inside my shirt yesterday and could not be coaxed out. And two nights ago I took a walk up the road at dusk and saw a fox wending his way slowly down the road ahead of me, stopping periodically, and was he looking back? And finally just as I got to my property I saw that he’d gone up the neighbor’s driveway across the street and was sitting there looking my way.  

And did I mention the wild turkeys and quail that have startled me by landing practically at my feet, suddenly out of nowhere? Were they always so present in the springtime, or is it just that I have been shining the tractor beam of my awareness on my surroundings here at my home before I leave it, storing up endless mental pictures to take with me?

graphite textures, handmade (by me!) papers and collage on w/c paper

To the birds and the butterflies, the ants and the tree frogs who have tolerated me in their jungle antechambers for all these one and twenty years, I offer up my books of Muse art and word. May you share the bounty of your natural gifts with others as you have with me. And may all bear witness to your unique gifts and strive in every way to protect them. Amen!

In Times Like These

Sheltering in place does little to protect one from the news of a world spiraling out of control. In times like these, what’s a person to do? 

I thanked Lizard for the wisdom shared last week and moved on to see what would come next through the art oracle! 

With nothing in particular in mind, I pulled out my tower of unfinished mixed media starts looking for something that caught my eye, or rather, imagination. Some of the acrylic “skins” I’d saved brought to mind a swirling cosmos and archaic symbols. They were formed by pouring rivers of (leftover) paint (fluid acrylic paint mixed with pouring medium) onto plastic and letting them merge and dry. 

One of the skin pieces looked like a face, and when I moved it around and set it just so on another piece, it became a person! No more painting was necessary to complete the picture, just an underpainting of an ink wash and some more cut skins for feathers.

poured acrylic skins, dilute India ink, gold acrylic, white gel pen on w/c paper

And then the Indian spirit spoke, in these phrases:

In times like these . . .

I cannot shake the burden that weighs on my spirit.

My third eye opens to see across the abyss of ignorance before me and opens new pathways. . .

My feathers vibrate for peace.

I dance to the drum beats and reed flutes and chanting that vibrates with nature’s currents.  . .

. . .signaling an existence where people care for each other and live in harmony.

Twilight Zone

If you live around here, it’s likely your mind is running those opening notes to The Twilight Zone. This is the scene that many of us in fire country woke to this morning.

8:30am

Quite lovely actually, and cool air with not a hint of smoke. .  .down here anyway. But so strange, and a bit ominous.

And a great opportunity to find a way to wrap the art around it. My Muse friends have accepted a challenge to work with black gesso and develop it into a mixed media work these two weeks. Here’s how I began:

black gessoed stencil design on white paper, finished with solid gesso

Then I pawed around in my mountains of collage materials, cut some things out, and started to feel a story coming when I found two main pictorial elements:

Orange moon at night, orange sun all day

Salmon-heavy skies turning day into almost night

How is an owl to find his way

In this strange unbalanced world

Where humans have been tampering       for so long

To make it better         they say

Better for whom?

How are you faring in this present twilight zone?

Confusion

Is there anyone out there who isn’t confused about where we’re going with this pandemic? It makes us a bit ditzy, wondering what other people are doing to cope, I mean other than wearing masks in public, taking walks, zooming, and watching whole series’ seasons on Netflix.

Me, I do some deeply satisfying art dawdling in my art studio each day. Sometimes I start by cutting up a doodled painting from another day and seeing where the pieces take me. It feels so right to recycle art at this point in time. This particular one came together when I found the woman, and felt I could relate.

walkofftheedge

acrylics, black and white gesso, collage, white gel pen

She’s a bit confused. . .aren’t we all?!

Oops! Don’t walk off the edge.

“It” came from China on a wave.

Where is everyone going? We’re still on a Shelter in Place order!

Of course it’s particularly distressing when our medical heros, the scientists we rely on to find the cures, are unable to reassure us. This Covid virus is still eluding the best of them! It seems we still have more questions than answers.

questions gesso textured w/c paper with acrylic inks, gesso and citrasolv collage.

I almost put cations on this piece as well, but decided to leave it open to interpretation. Please fill in any dialogue that comes to mind.

F Words

It was too hot for thinking straight that day, so I puttered in the studio and wrote about this new piece. Forgive the silliness. I should probably not even post, but then, why not. You can probably relate.

Fword

Acrylic inks, pencil, gesso, collage from an old alphabet book, etc.

F is for Fear that sends me running when someone points a Finger for even Flimsy reasons.

F is for Frozen –  on a day like today, the ice cubes in my tea for the second before they melt.

F is for Famous, which I may never be for more than a Fleeting day and certainly wouldn’t want to be for more than a Fortnight.

F is for Foremost, the thing I overlook when rushing into the Fray of the day.

F is for Fooey! and Fiddlesticks! and this F—-’n poem which may be headed for the Trash (which isn’t even an F word!)

 

 

 

Art Camp for Adults

student3-5_13

Three Muse Students do the Wabi-Sabi with inks, textures, Citra solv collage. . .wow!

(My husband Bob just gave me a new lesson in Photoshop Elements, so now that I know how to put jpegs together, you’ll probably be seeing more of this!)

When I turned 50 my husband Bob asked me what kind of party I would like to celebrate.  My choice was to have my friends over and play art together with loads of paper, paint, collage, pens and more.  Their gift to me was the artwork they did together around our dining room table.  A perfect way to celebrate my mid century mark by being kids together again.  The art pieces hung around the top of the walls of my little studio for a long time, until we moved.  Now they’re stored reverently in a box.  Little did I know that my birthday would serve as a model for later Muse Groups, which always seem like a kind of celebration when we get together to explore art and end up getting to know ourselves and each other better.

I teach the Muse Groups now, with loads of mixed media fun to share.  But invariably it’s the discoveries of the individual students which get us all so turned on.  Our credo is that it’s OK and even encouraged to steal ideas, techniques from each other. The artistic ego gets checked at the door so we can relax and let the creative juices flow.

If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area you may want to come and try out a Muse session this summer and call it summer camp.  A new weekly Monday afternoon group is starting up June 3.  Or you can sign up for one or more Saturday (or one Sunday) classes:  June 1, July 14, August 10, September 7. For more information and to register visit Imagine With Art.

Muse Student Self Portraits

 

 

by Muse Bettina

It’s really quite refreshing to get together and do art with all my Muse sisters.  It makes me realize I’m not the only whacky one!  We did the self portraits without the mirrors, adding humor to the equation and throwing caution to the wind.   Click the picture above to watch the slide show. Enjoy!