muse group

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.

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.