Muse art

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!

The Narrator

Posing on her stage

In front of the curtain

Profile to audience, she is

Actress? Director?

Narrator, yes,

Of changing times

She waits

Hoping the seas will give up their secrets

Share a rosier picture of planetary change

If she could shapeshift

She might discover things

Why the solitary gull flies against the flock

For now though

She remains

Trapped on a stage

Helpless

Awestruck

Most of the mixed media paints and tools are packed away now, not to be opened until some time after “the move”. (The big truck comes next Tuesday and doesn’t arrive at our new home until the 21st.) But I’ve reserved lots of pieces of old paintings/demos/goofs to be mined for these new Muse works.

Years ago I painted moody ocean scenes in watercolor, then switched to fluid acrylics, throwing out the “rules” I’d learned. This one is a combination of both. I’ve come to rely on the words that come as I work on the “construction” of these works, which come together seemingly randomly. It’s all very personal of course, but at this stage of life, there’s nothing to hide. Wouldn’t you agree? Except for the social security number of course. Haha!

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!

Toe tapping with promise

I just watched the new movie Godzilla vs Kong with “the boys”. That might help understand how this art piece came about. Some of that creature action worked its way into my art. The image reads in the dream language of paint and paper to reveal aspects of my current state of affairs!

Fluid acrylics, gesso, collage on w/c paper

 

Toe tapping through the city

After Godzilla and Kong 

Got done toppling

 

Here’s what’s left:

an egg rolling

and it’s got passengers

going somewhere

 

They don’t know where . . . yet

But it’s got promise

and a space needle

and bright gleaming places

And those toes keep tapping . . .

 

No earthquakes or tornadoes (or fires or any of the other dries) here where I am in sunny No. California. Not even a storm or even a drop of rain for a while. All’s quiet and familiar, but it’s getting to be time to move on to house hunting in the south of Seattle area. And along with this, there’s a silent and powerful kind of psychic dismantling and reimagining going on. Great for dream action!

Illustrated Adventure?

People keep asking if I’m excited about moving. And if I shrug they might add, but you’re in for an adventure. But honestly, adventure of this sort often looks more enticing from the outside. And we all have some element of restlessness, especially after a year of pandemic shut downs. So I get it. Sure, I guess I’m excited

For most of us adventure is sweetest when you’ve planned it out first, like an exotic vacation, and maybe a good friend told you about how fabulous it was, and how safe, and you’ve poured over pictures to prepare yourself.

Anticipation of adventure applies only theoretically to a move. Nevertheless I am trying, and this piece today bears witness to that. I want something to look back on once the boxes are packed and unpacked on the other side in the mythical new home. Then there will be stories to tell and hopefully the audience to hear.

For now I steal moments away from the near constant cleaning and clearing to paint and paste the adventure, which I’ve not yet fully embraced!

inks and gesso rorschach with deconstructed book, etc. collage

Suspended in my own frenzy

an echo of springtime

riot of

bird-buzz

bud-burst

bee-bloom

as Easter bunny makes her way through

oxalis and I at the ready

to hop with her 

Attempt at a Conversation with Birds

This blog was titled Conversations With the Muse many years ago, and mainly that’s been happening. I make art, and then I think and write about it. Otherwise it feels so unfinished. With the mixed media expressive art there is often a verbal interaction attempted with the content of the piece, which usually contains a great many unanswered questions. . .like this one.

For my underpainting I used an unfinished experiment with dripping inks and blowing them across the page with a straw. Then I found pieces of deconstructed paintings I’ve been keeping for the collage. The result was something that totally short circuited all the rules of color, design, technique etc that i have been learning and relying on in my art for many years. Thank goodness. My favorite thing is to create something bizarre, unexpected, and fascinating to contemplate. Hopefully it will get me wondering outside the box of my usual thinking.

acrylic inks and fluid paints on w/c paper

You crows, all black and squawky on one side and cooing doves on the other.

You’ve laddered up from the lower realms and found a roost for your pulpit.

Now speak!         

(silence)

How can you be so silent now, as I sit expectant with pen in hand to take dictation?

What do you see and hear and feel in your vast communications network?

Am I too dense to plug into it and understand?

How long would I have to sit and watch and listen to receive even a micron of the information which sails unseen, unheard by us humans, between you  and your avian family each moment of the day.

Surely this painting entitles me to just a bit of all that? . . .a feather dropped that I might keep for a dream catcher? A song that I could learn and sing to myself?

Perhaps when the cawing meets the cooing I may at last get a feel, by audio transmission, for the freedom of flight?

a look at the process of construction from beginnings to placing collage pieces and drawing in the focal bird

Have you had any conversations with your art lately?

Earth the Planet

My project of clearing out/organizing the studio/art storage continues and is generating some rich new collage materials. Namely recycled paintings. Today’s piece is one such repurposed (treasured but ill conceived) painting. The painted images coincided with recent musings about global warming, weather patterns, and the Mars Rover landing. 

Earth the planet

Earth my home

Earth where I sit now

Eyes open. . . on the surface

Eyes closed. . .out where

the turning edge is

      visible

Out where the earth is

soft edges through swirling clouds

the ink of night

illumined by that cosmic inner

light that makes stars

makes us gasp Yes!

The stuff I’m made of.

A note about the symbol, an unfinished upside down (eastern) symbol for Earth, which turned into the (Christian etc) symbol for resurrection or Tau. Sometimes the most interesting part of art making comes after the end, when artifacts appear. Is the world headed for resurrection of sorts? One can hope.

Enemy Combatants

When you want to know what a rorschach is trying to tell you, just pick up a pen and take dictation as it begins to talk. It’s usually nonsense at first, but just keep going and you might be surprised! The rorschach painting I demo-ed in a quick video a couple weeks ago (see here ) talked to me and here’s what it said.

fluid acrylics and gesso on w/c paper

Enemy Combatants

They didn’t know how ridiculous they looked

these strutting enemy combatants

nor how much alike they were

. . . twins really

Passionately they cared for their towering headwear

their voluminous feathered capes which

simultaneously raised to reveal

chests with medals won in [internet-only] battles.

Little did they realize (giggle giggle)

that their precious manly parts would

thus spill out for all to see

and measure and compare and

(much worse) to snigger

These combatants, trapped on the paper as they are

pose no threat to readers here

Yet we are reminded of those who

in their manly posturing

do great injury to innocent souls

Remind you of anyone?

Caw Caw!

A crow arrived in my meditation, a big black bird body, up close and personal with his back to me – demanding attention like all his cohorts in the skies, on branches and wires, beak open and loudly proclaiming, or was it complaining? I wondered if I could ask for a smattering of blessings from the crow proclaimer, blessings for us earthbound mortals. 

So I did some art and asked.

collaged, hand painted papers

(And Crow spoke)

“Look to each other

be the sentinel at your friend’s gate

stand watch over that which is most precious

to yourself and also to others

listen to others’ voices

and speak your own clearly

base your claim to nobility

on your readiness to share

your own inner wealth.”

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.