muse group

Moving on a bit

The fire contemplation persists, though not on purpose. This lady rises up on her own, appearing during a string of bad hair days, determined to use that which she has at hand to have her say.

ladyofflames

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

Lady of flames has moved on to egg laying, using ashes to adorn her hair, and pieces of bark and branches in her hat. And from this unlikely combo sprouts a bloom and a brand new egg.  How amused she is by this hat-become-nest. A new fashion. Combined with a bit of feather and frill it suits her healing spirit. And all the while a heart shaped coal burns softly in her throat, reminding her of the flame from which she so recently arose.

The fire engine red of the trucks and the fire itself has become the firey red of autumn foliage, vineyards in richer warm hues than any palette could produce. I no longer have hens, but I know that they lay fewer eggs when the days grow short. Then each egg becomes a special gift.

Perhaps an egg would heal my hair problem?

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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.

monstermash

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.

MuseHalloween-1

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!

monsterinus

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.

Ashes

Staying on the outskirts of the burned areas, not wanting to get in the way of recovery efforts, not wanting to see the devastation of our beautiful Santa Rosa neighborhoods, parks, vineyards. But the images are already burned into our minds and hearts.

ashes

Muse Group demo: acrylic, gesso, fabric collage on w/c paper, 10 X 11″

Crow lands on a burnt out tree, ponders as he watches ash float down.

Nothing familiar here. In the ashes nothing looks the same, a world upended.

And yet, shapes of people’s lives, of things one time possessed, then not. Shards of things, zippers without the pants. Paper gone, words gone.

Yet in someone’s yard five miles away a restaurant menu piece floats to the ground and a bill as yet unpaid.

 

Black and White and Mazes

Getting back to black and white occasionally is like clearing the palette from rich (color) food so that one can taste with clarity again. Ha! Well that sounds good anyway. We did a lesson this week in Muse Group of playing with black and white collaged patterns.

blkwhitecamouflageacrylic, collage, black gesso on 10 X 11″ w/c paper

There are ways to deal with mazes and blind alleys. Make it a game and jump in. Have some paint ball fun; play leap frog and roll down a grassy hill. Stir up some random cyclonic energy. Run round in a circle till you collapse, dizzy and spent and laughing. Do you want your life to play like a comedy or a tragedy?

This was a kind of puzzle I wanted to play with, combining an image of a maze or labyrinth (few of us knows the difference) with a dancing figure, engaging in a kind of hide and seek with aspects of camouflage. The discovery was how amazing these bright colors look on the black and white patterning. Something a bit Halloweeny about it, wouldn’t you say?

Back to Muse-ing!

Over the weekend I was busy cleaning and organizing my studio for the influx of Monday Muse Group students. It’s been a four month break in Muse Groups, possibly the longest break since I started teaching them nine or ten years ago! I’d forgotten how things get stirred up when I prepare. While dusting and sorting, my brain was suddenly popping with ideas and excitement and that feeling of nervous anticipation.  I know better than to try to get things all planned out. It’s more about clearing the way for the creative energy of a room full of people who are ready to break out and do something new.

artwall

One new feature in the studio is a wall dedicated to the experimental pieces which are lesson demos in the group. It’s a thin metal rod attached to the wall with tiny bulldog clips for the art.

The lesson for Monday was to use clear contact paper or artist tape as a masking method and then have fun squirting and splattering and smooshing inks. Then to peal off the contact paper or tape, with paint on it, and apply it as collage. I was dying to use my (unused) eclipse glasses in this piece, which turned out to be for all of you who missed the total solar eclipse or even the partial.

luna

Oh you Luna, you divine representative of the cosmos! You set up such a longing in me that day when you eclipsed the sun and left me out of your totality party. What happened as I watched (on my cell phone) the excitement across the country? Nothing here but overcast skies. We got stiffed! My special glasses remained unused. The sky kept its metallic blue gray color and as the minutes ticked by, my heart sank lower and lower. To be left out so cruelly! A cosmic snub. And so today I cut up my unused, never to be used, eclipse glasses and made up my own totality. Ha!

luna2

Here’s another recent example of masking and using the painted tape for collage. This one also follows the eclipse theme, as I found a place for the eclipse stamp I received from a student in the mail.

Rest, Retirement, Gardens

Sometimes I have to remind myself that we have gardens for more than weeding. In other words, it’s OK to simply sit outside and enjoy.

rest

inks, gesso, collage on w/c paper, 10 X 11″

Time for rest, on a cushion in the garden, draped with ferns and fragrant blooms, a pair of cooing doves and a lap full of purring cat. The weeds can wait another day. The plans for tomorrow, the latest world news, the emails, all of it can wait.

For now there’s those cushions. If you don’t try them out a bit each day, the cats soon will and your throne of rest will be usurped. Then how will all those lovely garden idles find their way into the art? So take a rest – it needn’t be for long.

This piece was actually a demo I did for a private art party/workshop held in my studio a couple weekends ago, something I offer from time to time with great delight! We had lunch under the trees on the patio and I didn’t pull a single weed!

retirement

Actually I was contemplating my husband who just retired June 2 and is learning to occupy a lounge chair outside while reading. At least he tried it for a couple days before getting all busy with his art again.

matilija

My own strategy for sitting still in the garden is to do a quick sketch. For me that counts as rest, even though I find it quite energizing.  But then I’m not retired, exactly. . .

Skeeter

When we were making collage papers in Muse Group by splattering National Geographics with Citrasolv concentrate, a spell binding creature appeared on a page. That was the impetus for this piece, combining ink, collage and acrylic. See if you can tell which material is which, or just take a look and let the creature weave its spell on you.

skeeter2

If I were a s’keeter the world might look like this, from second to second cracked open, taken apart and then put back together all new. I’d have to keep figuring it out, like a person with amnesia or short term memory loss. 

Would that really be so bad, every second a new world? or richly phantasmagoric.