monoprint

A Home of My Om

One of the great things about being an artist, i guess, is that after a certain number of years you begin to see that you have a lot to show for your time. It never seems like that when you’re in the trenches of your art making, listening to the inner critic tear you down, or when the sales or positive feedback thins to a trickle. But when you’re a visual artist and you are moving your residence/studio, and packing it all up. . .well if you stacked up my paintings next to me, I would be quite dwarfed. So I guess that means I can account for my time on earth? Ahem!

But then a sizable amount of that painting history has also been sent to its grave in the past month, with the only judge of its worth being myself, the artist and with no ceremonial send off.  Happily there’s another small portion of the otherwise discarded art which has been saved to become collage art. And some of that is what has gone into this tiny “book” art.

one pieces 10″X11″ paper, folded in half, cut to fold out and glued together

The Muses got together last week, and made small art books at Nancy’s home. Being a retired teacher she knew just how to teach us the folding involved in this book making. There was the “hot dog fold”, which you can perhaps picture, and the “hamburger fold”. When we started to get confused, those simple food images were surprisingly comforting.

I had brought with me an old monoprint, some of my son’s architectural drawings, and a variety of other papers with homemade stamps like the bird.

I knew we would be busy chatting while collaging, so starting with an in-progress painting seemed like a good idea.

I often like to put some kind of message in white space, which makes the art feel more intentional. I knew it had to do with moving to a new home, but it wasn’t til I got to the word “home” that I realized it was OM. Om being the primordial sound which connects us to this universe. So, no better home than OM. The bird is the Egyptian bird god Ra who brings the blessings we all need.

Another view of the back side. And I just noticed that Ra is flying from one window, presumably here in our Sebastopol home, north to another in Olympia, where we will be in three weeks time! Haha! And you probably think I planned it that way. This spontaneous art making invites the trickster in for laughs.

This folded book design can result in a folded up book with a front and back, but I was using heavy weight paper, so that didn’t quite work. But what a lovely little table top piece it makes, and I just realized it could also be a desktop pencil/pen holder!

Ashes, ashes

The Walbridge fire near us, the one that evacuated us, still burns. Many have lost their homes, and we will mourn with them, even while experiencing relief that most evacuations orders are lifted and the fire perimeter is holding.

I’ve heard from many of my friends that we are all weary of virus and fires and of smoky air that keeps us inside. We are unable to breathe deep and have feel that “it’s over now”.  And we probably have three more months of “fire season” ahead.

The last two days I’ve turned back to my mixed media, expressive, intuitive Muse art to help me deal with those feelings that the mind has not been able to keep up with. 

I grabbed a new bottle of black ink and as I dropped, splattered, smeared and scraped. . .

the words “ashes, ashes, we all fall down!” kept popping up. Hmmm. . .a nursery rhyme. Remember?

Ring around the rosies

A pocket full of posies

Ashes, ashes

We all fall down!

So I decided to research the rhyme and here’s what I found! Ring-a-round the rosie (probably in the Great Plague of London in 1665) referred to a red circular rash common in some forms of plague. The posies would have represented the different flowers and herbs people carried to ward off disease. The ashes or a-tishoo and falling down was supposed to mimic sneezing and eventually dying from the disease.

It seems that fire and plague have joined hands again!

monoprint and collage

And so I did another on the same theme, with the rosies/posies and ashes and that red orange we’ve seen on the horizon of late, either at sunset or sunrise, tinting the sun and the moon. 

Rosies and posies, fire and plague. No wonder I can’t get the mind around it. But art can.

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!