monoprint

A Regatta in Fabric Collage

The students in Tuesday afternoon’s Muse Group arrive early and unpack their paints and brushes and start enjoying each other’s company. We are mostly women of a certain age. An age of experience, of wisdom one might say. And sometimes the conversation veers in the direction of age itself, which we are mightily involved in understanding. After all, aren’t we all, at any age trying to figure out what exactly it means to be 20 or 30 or 50 or 70?

At my age  the discussion revolves around the question of “how much longer”? Small wonder then that issues around this very question arose as I worked on finishing my demo for the fabric collage lesson.

regatta

fabric and paper collage, stamping on acrylic monoprint, 10 X 11″

A regatta of tombstones. Jump on and they’ll carry you downstream. On your merry way you will pass the others, the ones who have already passed. But don’t worry. They don’t mean to frighten, though they are a gentle reminder to wake up, enjoy the river’s currents, the flowers along the banks, the flags waving in the breeze. This regatta is not really a race, but don’t dally in the reeds. There’s not much time left for this journey.

Another note I must add. The delightful KQED Masterpiece Sanditon episode I watched on Sunday involved a regatta. That’s all it took for black and white striped ribbon cut outs to become flags and the blank white spaces to become a blue river!

Honor Them

After so many years it’s become a habit. . .picture first and then the words follow. It’s a kind of ekphrasis. According to the Poetry Foundation, “an ekphrastic poem is a vivid description of a scene or, more commonly, a work of art.”

Sometimes this occurs as the art is being created, as in this case, when one pillar appeared and then more.

thosewhogrow

monoprint, collaged monoprinted papers, acrylic, China marker on w/c paper

Those who grow our food are the pillars of our world.

Honor them.

Perhaps you would agree. And if they come from other countries, willing and eager, welcome them!

Open to Spring?

Happy Easter! Happy Passover! Happy Spring!

There’s no little ones here to go egg hunting with today and so I’ve been watching butterflies and following a vibrant buzzing to the bumblebee nest outside my studio wall. It’s actually a birdhouse that’s been taken over by nectar drunken bumblers. Yellow pollen is dripping down the outside, giving away their hideout. And there’s always at least one of them, tipsy and hanging out on the edge, with buddies just inside.

But I was inside for a bit too, and finished this piece from a lesson earlier in the month, adding words from today.

glassinepapercollage2

layers of acrylic inks and glassine papers with monoprints

Are the windows in my mind open to spring?

Can my animal heart relate to the heavy breath of blossoms and buzzing bumblers?

I was a bit overcome today with the warm scents, the rapidly unspooling ferns, the snowy cloud of apple blossoms, and the tapestry of weeds calling out to be pulled!

Ah Spring. Is your mind and heart open to it? It’s a very strong cocktail!

IMG_5256

I went back to take a picture for you, and the party had grown! Sounded like they were really getting down!glassinepapercollage1

Another one, with a tree theme, and lots of layers, collaged and painted.  I was shooting for golden light shining through the orchard and those birds, and maybe a yellow brick road for Dorothy to skip along with her friends and Toto.  But then there was this blaze ripping through the trees and across driveways. . .it’s hard to forget about that fire. . .

If you want to join us this spring and summer, for my mixed media workshop titled The Playful Muse, here’s the new dates, just published!

May 20, June 17, and July 15, 1:30-4:30 in my Sebastopol studio. (You can sign up for one or all three.)

4-week August Session: August 5-26

For more information and to register contact me.

 

 

Busy Season

Is your garden growing an inch a day now? or at least the weeds? Mine is. And spring projects, long promised are begging for attention. In Muse Group this week we made monoprints with our acrylic paints, using stone paper for a plate. (More about Stone Paper here. )My first “pull” was a vibrant one that turned into a story for this time of year.

dreamingofapples

the earth is busy sprouting

so here I dream of apples

of birds darting and swooping

on spring’s many errands

 

yet still

there are only buds

plumping up to make pink popcorn

and seduce butterflies

The plum tree has bloomed and leafed out. The weeping cherry, beneath which my mother’s ashes lie, has just bloomed. And I wait expectantly for the apple blossoms whose sweet nectar is an invitation to the Pipevine Swallowtail butterflies, that lay their eggs on the vine, so that I may daily visit the hungry munching caterpillars with the orange polka dots. Simple pleasures of spring I must make time for.

Celebrate!

celebrate

acrylic monoprint with collaged stamp prints on w/c paper, 10 X 11″

They say the heavenly angels are around this time of year with their hosannas and hallelujahs, exhorting us to celebrate a birthday with them. And today I noticed multitudes of mushrooms poking their heads up from their moist earth beds to join in.

The mushrooms are a divine wonder in this land of fires. Some of the outcroppings of ‘shrooms are so tiny I must use my reading glasses to see them. They remind me of childhood reveries where fairies inhabited the forest lands where I roamed. The moist earth is a heady concoction.

This monoprint is another piece from the “laboratory” of ideas I’m exploring for the next Playful Muse series of mixed media classes in my studio. It starts Monday, January 21 and runs 6 weeks. There are two spots left at this point. If you think one of them possibly has your name on it, you can find out more and register on my website.

 

The Season’s Rasa

 

rasa

acrylic and collage on BFK Rives paper, 10 X 11″ (monoprint)

Rasa: [Sanskrit], the spirit/soul of something.  Capturing the very essence of something to evoke emotion in the viewer’s brain.

voicesinunison

acrylic and collage on stone paper, 10 X 11″, (the printing plate)

Concerts, bright lights on a stage, voices lifted in unison. The dark of the year engulfs, making its demands on the spirit.

Stay with color. Let it take you to spring. Notice the deeper color palette, the burgundies and golds and deep russets. Pair them with a violet sky. Light a candle each day and rejoice.

More experiments in printing here; the first image a “pull” from the “plate” of the second.  The textures left behind were so intriguing that the plate deserved its own finishing touches. The slick surface of the stone paper makes it easier to scrape out shapes and wipe paint off before it dries. Stone paper, also known as rock paper is a durable paper-like product manufactured from calcium carbonate (marble waste) bonded with high-density polyethylene.  It’s a bit like Yupo, if you’ve ever tried that.

 

A-bombination

If you let one thing lead to another, you might end up with these. . .

bombinate

monoprint with fluid acrylics on BFK Rives paper and stone paper collage, 10 X 11″

Bombinate. I bomb. You bomb. We bomb. They bomb-inate [buzz and hum] and taste the sweetness of the seasons, a spicy mixture of humus and herbs.

Abom(b)ination, an assault, an intense combination of bombs and angry countries, nations in abom(b)inate mode with no nature to groove on or calm them down.

I’ll bombinate with the mushrooms and lichen, hum for world peace and try not to expect too much, too soon. Try not to be too disappointed when the bumblers don’t return and the other kind of bombing abominators get too bumbling.

Dictionary definitions:

bombinate: to make a humming or buzzing noise

abomination: a vile, shameful, or detestable action, condition, habit, etc.

You probably know what I’m getting at here without my spelling out the politics of it. The art technique of it is more fun to talk about. In Muse Group we used stone paper for the printing plate in our lesson on monoprinting.  Not the usual, but that’s what we had. The “plate” was in most cases more interesting than the print.

yellowfloweracrylic on stone paper with collage, 10 X 11″

Can you see how the print at the top is the mirror image of this one?  The stone paper is a bit like Yupo, if you’ve ever tried that. You get all kinds of interesting textures with juicy paint. Use a rubber tipped color shaper to scrape paint off before it dries. After pulling a couple prints I did some scraping and shaping and let this one dry, then added color and line and collage elements later.

The word bombinate came from interesting-word-file which I started years ago. I could just imagine the bumble bees going after the pollen in this delectable flower!

Dry Over Wet

drymedia

charcoal and pastel over monoprint, 10 X 11″

It’s a carnival, all set up for the onslaught of summer, the tipping of the year as the sun itself seems to stop and turn.  We don swimsuits, sunscreen, eat juicy plums and carry our ice tea out into a world bent on staging vacation. The strenuous pursuit of leisure.

This started out as a wildly colorful monoprint which I pulled off the shelf to demonstrate something which I rarely do: finish with lots of dry media. Mainly I don’t usually use the dry media because I put these smaller “Muse” pieces in loose leaf books and the charcoal and such gets smudgy unless you put lots of fixative on it. But. . .I had so much fun with this and wondered why I don’t do it more often!

Winged creatures

winged

monoprint, tissue transparency, acrylic and ink on 10 X 11″ paper

From the heart of a tree in the dark of night

Vibration of winged breath and penetrating gaze

Rising of timber crossing a wingspan

Appearing, then disappearing with a piercing call

Wildness breaking through the night air

Nothing left but the moonlit hairs on my arms

Barn owls.  My favorite with their strange flat faces and golden glow. I traced this one from a calendar picture onto some light and textured oriental paper, then collaged it over a monoprint as a transparency (the Monday Muse Group lesson), and kept painting.

I’ve heard owls at night and sighted from a distance, or in benevolent captivity at the Bird Rescue Center, but they live in greatest wildness in the yearning of my psyche.

. . .which is why it has been so thrilling to watch the Eagle Cam in Washington that is snooping round the clock on The President and First Lady with their fluff-ball baby chicks in the nest. Do give them a visit if you haven’t already. And here is my sketch done while I was voyeuring.

eaglecam

Mom and Pop tag team it, so I’m not sure which one this was. He/she set to ripping apart the collosal dead fish and eating and sharing with the open beaks. There are three chicks now.  I missed the birth (crack).  Darn!

Crazy Monoprinting

humantech

acrylic monoprint with collage on w/c paper, 10 X 11″

make human but don’t try too hard

it should come naturally

even in this tech-y age we are not Bots. . .yet

so make human

there’s no time like the present

whatever excites or worries you

that is human

own it. hash tag it. send it in email.

on its journey around the media sphere

it will make someone else human

even if they forgot they were

We played with monoprinting for a couple weeks in the Monday afternoon group, not with special printmaking inks or a press or even a real “plate” but with what we had on hand. There is such a uniquely appealing surface texture to printing like this, and there were lots of unique surprises that delighted (and at times frustrated) us.

landscapeprint

Landscapes appeared!

landscapeprint2

And sometimes the “ghost” print was the most intriguing. Sort of landscape-y, don’t you think?

crazyeasyprint

This was a “Crazy Easy Transfer Painting”.  I borrowed the idea from McElroy and Wilson’s book Surface Treatment Workshop. You paint on plastic, scraping away a design.  Let it dry, then coat your paper with polymer medium and put the plastic, paint-side-down on the paper.  Let that dry and then peal off the plastic and the paint has transfered.  Voila!  it IS crazy and easy.

This is the kind of art stuff we do all the time in the Monday Afternoon Muse Group in my studio (in Sebastopol, CA).  If you’d like to come in person,  a new 8-week series starts March 14 and there’s still openings! For more info and to register visit my website.