muse group

Take a tip from these three

takeatip

Take a tip from these three, tripping the spring fandango

Get up and make some tracks in the soft wet earth or high on the wire

Join the avian gang twittering the day away

They won’t save those seeds for you

But they’ll let you fill their feeder

Take your lunch under their tree

Get all quiet and munch

Take a tip or two or three from these spring warblers

We got kind of stamp-happy this week with our acrylics and all kinds of stamping things: home-made, found, and purchased. At one point in Muse Group I went around and took some pictures. It is such a catalyst for creative work to see the materials all spread out and people diving in and making colorful marks and seeing the patterns evolving!

stamping4

When I saw what was happening on my paper palette (on the left) I decided to “steal” the idea from myself! I slathered on the paint and used a homemade soft linoleum stamp and cut out some paper I’d already stamped on.

stamping5 For these birds I used a hand-carved stamp made in India and then cut out the shapes to use in the painting above, adding more color later.

stamping3

Mary Ellen was rolling acrylic paint onto rubber shelf liner which you can find at the hardware store, then printing with it!

stamping2

Here Pat is making some wonderful collage paper for later use. Actually many of us wished we could have this design in a set of placemats!

stamping1 Experiment! Experiment! Experiment! It all made my creative tail wag! Carole’s were spread all over.

Early Spring Musings

Sometimes I just want to look at the blossoms and not remember the storms that brought us here. Look at the green and the lacy morning dew and imagine that this world is mine, as is, right now. Not just in process and needing to be weeded. Not because it all will soon enough disappear, torched by summer’s draught. But just because it is right now. . .mine.

Lookatthefruit

acrylic textures (molding pastes), acrylic inks and collage on w/c paper, 10 X 11″

It is apple blossom season here in Sonoma County. You don’t want to blink and miss it! You don’t want to miss the butterflies fluttering through the garden, drinking apple blossom nectar, mating, and laying eggs on the pipevine. Gardening is a great excuse to be outside with hands in the dirt, and art making gravitates always to these spring colors and forms.

In Muse group we were playing with a wide variety of texture making tools and many of the acrylic mediums now on the market, from molding paste and crackle paste to gels with clear flakes and pumice. You could spend a fortune in the art store gathering up the various mediums to get texture. It’s what happens when you put fluid paint over them that excites me.

I’ll be teaching a weekend mixed media workshop June 24 and 25 where we’ll be using textures like these to achieve the light casting sparkle of Patina!  For more information and to register please visit my website.

Looking at my life. . .with Rumi

lookingatmylifeacrylic and tissue paper, screen, lacy rice paper collage on w/c paper 10 X 11″

Inspired by a poem of Rumi and an interest in playing with translucent papers in some way, I folded tissure paper accordian style and wrote a line of Rumi’s poem on each fold, then secured it in a pouch. Oh, just a lot of fun playing with materials on a lovely rainy spring equinox day with my delightful Muse sisters.

Citrasolv art

Citrasolv cleaner “melts” the clay based inks of National Geographics in the most stunning way. I keep circling back to the Citrasolv collage lesson, which has to be started outside when the weather is warm and not windy. . .like last Monday.

entangled

National Geo papers collaged on w/c paper, 10 X 11″

Are you caught, tangled , running into hidden snares everywhere? Tread carefully. Watch your step, or when you fly, land carefully.  This life thing is tricky, at times sticky. It takes a lot of maneuvering to get yourself free once entangled.

So why not become the one who unties the knots, releases the locks, opens the door and gets to say “You’re free now. Go for it!”

If you want to try making these papers yourself, there are lots of how-to videos online. My favorite papers are the ones that have some picture peaking through, like the guy in blue above. And sometimes a page is so gorgeous by itself that you wish you’d painted it! You can also use the Citrasolv concentrate to wipe off spots of ink, using a stencil or a brush.

See more examples of my Citrasolv art on this blog.

Thanks to Birthday Well Wishers!

It is a bit of a rush to see all those names of familiar people popping up on Facebook to wish one a happy birthday. So if you are one of them, THANK YOU! March 13 often lands on some spring day heady with perfume and buzzing bees and. . low and behold, this year the sighting of the first Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly which was flying in ecstatic curves and dips. I had to wonder if it had just dried out after emerging from its papery frock.

All the spring art coming out of Muse Group has a strong nature tilt. This one is from last week.

waders

painted with water and charged with inks, with collaged papers on w/c paper, 10 X 11″

The sun rises and sets on this kingdom of nature. There can be a fair amount of strutting about here, of gorgeous posturing and preening (It’s not the kind of false showing off and pontificating we find in humans)

It takes a wise one to know what are empty declarations and what is truth worth hearing. There are no fakes among these birds in the shallows. I’ll put my bets here on the waders.

The lesson was drawing with a brush loaded with water, then charging in inks and watching them blend. I was using Higgins waterproof inks which blend so beautifully. I had a book open to some bird pictures while painting the large bird and the ones in the background and enjoyed making up the little ones. Pick your breed of bird! You may not find these anywhere else.

paintwithwater

This was some playing around I did to get ready for the lesson. The top ones are a kind of rohrshach, pressing another paper onto the wet painted image to transfer it. I liked the lacy edges I got that way.

Eggs and Gold

Eggs are an old favorite subject of mine, back into the days when I started each morning collecting the eggs in the coop behind my studio. My studio is studded with birds’ nests in many corners. I like to make nest art and imagine myself a fluffy wee chick bedding down in one.goldflowacrylic inks, collage on tissue paper textured w/c paper, 10 X 11″

the river of gold melts

comes again as grasses that dry out and

comes again as birds’ nests that fill with eggs

comes again as baby chicks

and always as the river of gold

everything in the process of dissolving and being born again

The Muse Group lesson here was making a paper textured support to paint on. I chose my old favorite. So simple. Paint the whole surface of the watercolor paper (or whatever support) with matte medium.Take a sheet of tissue paper and while the matte medium is wet, press the tissue on so that it wrinkles in. Paint over with more matte medium and then let it dry. (You can cut off the overhang after it’s dry.)

We also used all kinds of fun textured fibrous papers, brown paper bag, doilies and more. One never has to limit the imagination when doing mixed media!

A new Monday Afternoon Muse Group series starts here in my studio in Sebastopol, CA on Monday. There’s space for one more if you’re interested! or ask me about dropping in when vacancies occur. More info on my website.

The Grid

How do you rescue a painting going nowhere fast? Try cutting it up and using a grid layout to reposition the parts. That’s what we did last week in Muse group. Everyone had her own unique version of course, and here’s mine.

pre_grid.jpg

Starting out with this. . .a demo of drawing with acrylic inks and a dropper. This demo sat on my shelf with a large stack of other unfinished pieces, until I cut it up and

gridart

. . .grid-ed it. It’s rather like a game where you move the pieces around until you are satisfied. . .it took a while and I added a line and a dot, only.

Secretly seductive. Swaying to the music of grasses blowing, waves surging. Fill in the blanks. Make the connections. Play with the Rubric Cube of possibilities. Settle the eyes somewhere around the belly button. It’s a safe place to be, in the well of life’s origin, where this great mystery always resumes again.

gridart2

And here another take on the grid, with some flaps and extra pieces to complicate and enrich.