muse groups

Studio Celebration

The best way to attract creative energy to a new art studio is to invite The Muses to come and play! Luckily my sketch buddies were game to join me and even engage in a Muse-full afternoon of meditation, mixed media art play, writing, and sharing the results! The studio is just big enough for four of us to comfortably work together. No lessons needed for this group of artists who dove in with no reluctance that I could see!

We started with fluid acrylics and inks on a wet surface, squirted, brushed, scraped and rollered on with some gesso for more texture.

Daler Rowney acrylic inks, gesso, w/c pencil on 10 X 11″ w/c

Spring has its goblins hidden among the blossoms

Their eyes are on YOU

They float banshee-like on gentle breezes

Fertilizing soil and seeds

Buds with time release nutrients

Blooms with no choice but to burst

Scatter to the ground too soon

Pink and white petal tears stoking passions

Aches of restless hearts

         Goblins know all about fleeting beauty and its price.

And here’s a look at the others’ art!

Muse Jane

Muse Jan

Muse Ineke

Four Muses

Spring has now got a toehold in my studio, simultaneous with the draw of the spring garden through the windows. A sweet battle to engage with!

Thank you Muses!

Invitation to Hatch

inks and gesso, collage, brown paper, rice papers, on w/c paper, 10 X 11″

laying an egg

a red earth one yet up high

where the view is better

freshly lain and soon to become

the offspring of a week of plunging

back into a well seasoned life

an invitation to do more hatching back

In the north country

where paints wait to be unpacked

birds to be watched

and a new world cracked open

Thank You Muses!

The postscript on the week in California – the piece I painted that day with the Muse Group. And as I harvested these words during our 5-minute free write, I was surprised by the timer going off just as I wrote the words “thank you Muses!” Indeed!

Now the paints are unpacked in the studio; today was a birdwatching day; and the charms of the north country are beguiling me once again. 

A Simple Cure for What Ails you

About 15 years ago I renamed my art business IMAGINE WITH ART when I wanted to change my emphasis to be more about creative process than about product. I wrote the word Imagine in the wet concrete outside my studio door and added the name to this antique brush which has hung outside my door since then.

I recently got around to sketching the brush, when I saw the flowers in the planter below, showing off in the late afternoon sun.

ImagineWithArt

And then, joy of joys, my current Muse group “sisters” were all invited to Pat and Lee Davis’ stunning home gardens (definitely plural gardens!) for a morning of sketching, which turned into a (kind of urban sketchers’ type) on location event with space for social distancing.

DavisSt.

Oh, to have that kind of sitting-separately-but-together-serenity-in-a-garden-with-friends experience again (after all the Covid-shut-down-fear-and-alienation, and even while it’s still going on everywhere)!

It’s a simple cure for what ails us. Pick up a pen or pencil: draw what you see: put some paint on: notice how you feel now.

Get Your Art Groove On: Free Lesson!

OK, is your sock drawer straightened up yet? Larder stocked? Then it’s time to sit down for some art fun. Here’s a lesson I videotaped 7 years ago as part of an online course called: In the Company of Muses: Adventures in Mixed Media Art Journaling. I think it’s time to release it again.

griffin

To watch the video demonstration click here.

Have a go, have fun, and let me know how it goes! And I’ll post another lesson next week.

 

Gloss Medium and Passion Vining

We wrapped up another 6-week series of Tuesday Muse Group this week with a lesson I haven’t taught for years – painting on a glossy surface.

First you coat the paper with a couple layers of gloss medium and let them dry. What you get is a surface with a shiny plastic-y surface which makes for some particularly odd effects when you paint your acrylics on.

I like to use fluid acrylics and wet the surface lightly in places so that the paint starts to move and colors blend. If you spritz the paint lightly with alcohol just before it dries, you get even more surprises as the alcohol pushes the paint around some more.

I can’t quite remember when the floral garland here grew the native face and then the feather? headdress appeared. There’s always a matter of brain off-line and resulting hallucination involved. The passion vine flower came into the picture as it resembled the flowers outside on my studio wall that lure the butterflies and mess with the mind of visiting artists as well.

nativepassionvine

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

a native plunges ahead on the trail of passion’s twining

clad in fragrance of meadows and dark sky

of floral garland and warrior headdress

         . . .destination unknown

        (and unnecessary)

For more painting on gloss, you might want to visit another lesson on my blog and try it out.

What a difference a word makes

Adding words to your paintings creates new layers of interest. That’s what we explored in Muse Group last week. Using word at the beginning, middle, and/or end. Layering it on, covering it over or uncovering like a palimpsest with traces of meaning remaining mysteriously, leaving the minds of the viewers to make their own sense and meaning.

flowing2I have been wanting to play with different tools to add words. Here I started with the “5 rhythm” piece from the first class, which was painted to flowing music, and used a white gel pen to draw in the word which itself seemed to flow through the color patterns.

chaos2 This piece was painted to the musical rhythm of Chaos, so I chose to use my ink pads and alphabet stamps to create a chaos of  letters, echoing the meaning of the words employing another level of movement.

lyrically2

I had treated myself to a new set of cling foam stamps by Jim Holtz idea-ology and tried them out here with a new ink pad color “potted soil”. The ghost of the letter stamp added a dimensional feel that was a great discovery.

To see the “before” paintings go to Paint the Rhythms and for more about palimpsests go to here and here

Paint the Rhythms

The Tuesday Afternoon Muse Group just started a new 6-week session yesterday after a 2-month break. We really needed a way to get the Muse juices flowing again. So I pulled out a lesson from years ago which I created with inspiration from Gabriella Roth’s 5Rhythms dynamic movement practice, which I have experienced as a powerful and joyful way to tune up the body and mind.

My studio is a tight space so we had to drop the dance part, but we added our acrylic paints and inks, fingers and brushes and scrapers and misters and rollers and etc. and painted to music of the 5Rhythms: Flowing, Staccato, Chaos, Lyrical, and Stillness. We had about 10min for each of the pieces (I played the music for each rhythm through twice) before moving on to the next. Here are mine:

RythmsFlowing

Flowing

RythmsStaccato

Staccato

Rythmschaos

Chaos

RythmsLyricle

Lyrical

RythmsStillness

and Stillness.

We held up all our paintings from the same rhythm to see how we had embodied the each piece of music in color and movement of line.

Not many surprises there. They were all different, yet with some general predominant color similarities, like blues for flowing and more reds for chaos. Chaos rhythm was a favorite of course. We all love to feel the freedom to pull out all the stops and let our hair down!

 

Post Apocalypse Self Portrait

Still no rain here in the north San Francisco BAY area, but we’ve just weathered another apocalyptic fire. Everyone’s talking about it – how to prepare for the next one. . .we all believe there will be the next. . .or how to get out of Dodge and go somewhere there will be no environmental disasters. And where is that elusive Shangri La?

It seemed like a good time to pull out the old zany self portrait lesson in Muse Group. To avoid having to look at ourselves in the mirror and trying to draw ourselves, we just clowned in front of the computer to capture our very own comic strip character and went about painting and collaging the marvelous emotional entanglement that is our lives at the moment. Just that. Nothing deep and analytic or prophetic. Just one in an infinitude of selves we carry around all the time.

Here’s what popped out on my paper this time.

bay

Collage on acrylic painted background with a Photo Booth Comic Strip-filtered selfie.

Post Apocalypse Self Portrait

Aargh! What a place to call home.

So beautiful it makes your heart ache

so treacherous…… it makes your heart ache.

I want to move and I can’t bear to.

I want to stay and grow old – er, but can I bear it?

the fires the floods and heaven forbid the earthquakes

But the bees and butterflies, they stay

as do the birds

and our cats

and the flowers and trees bloom and fruit each year

and. . .

we will not leave

War of the Splatters!

There are days when it feels like the wars “out in the world” are being waged internally as well. Those are the days to make splatter art with friends!

That’s what happened in my Muse Group on Monday as we took the lead from the irresistible Ralph Steadman, a Welsh illustrator who uses splatters and other ink irregularities to create irreverent mythical creatures. We started the class by watching this video. I recommend this as a great way to loosen up, lighten up and have a chuckle to avoid taking yourself too seriously and ruining all the fun.

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So we loaded up our brushes and mouth atomizers and splattered and sprayed, trying not to lob one on each other. . .

war!

And there was the war of the critters!

By the end of class the room had filled up with colorful, zany critters. Who knew all those creatures were just lying in wait to be liberated by a bunch of mixed media painters!

See some earlier Steadman inspired work here and here.

Mixed Media Workshop next month

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Screen Shot 2019-09-18 at 5.19.30 PM

This is the incubation time between Muse Group sessions when new mixed media lesson ideas are swirling around in my mind. I always bring back some of the ones we’ve been enjoying over the years, like crinkled Masa paper and smoke painting, but the seasons change and suggest new possibilities. El Dia de los Muertos is coming up soon. . .hmmm.

There are still a couple openings in this October’s session. Want to join us? Please visit my website for more info and to register.