muse groups

F Words

It was too hot for thinking straight that day, so I puttered in the studio and wrote about this new piece. Forgive the silliness. I should probably not even post, but then, why not. You can probably relate.

Fword

Acrylic inks, pencil, gesso, collage from an old alphabet book, etc.

F is for Fear that sends me running when someone points a Finger for even Flimsy reasons.

F is for Frozen –  on a day like today, the ice cubes in my tea for the second before they melt.

F is for Famous, which I may never be for more than a Fleeting day and certainly wouldn’t want to be for more than a Fortnight.

F is for Foremost, the thing I overlook when rushing into the Fray of the day.

F is for Fooey! and Fiddlesticks! and this F—-’n poem which may be headed for the Trash (which isn’t even an F word!)

 

 

 

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Open to Spring?

Happy Easter! Happy Passover! Happy Spring!

There’s no little ones here to go egg hunting with today and so I’ve been watching butterflies and following a vibrant buzzing to the bumblebee nest outside my studio wall. It’s actually a birdhouse that’s been taken over by nectar drunken bumblers. Yellow pollen is dripping down the outside, giving away their hideout. And there’s always at least one of them, tipsy and hanging out on the edge, with buddies just inside.

But I was inside for a bit too, and finished this piece from a lesson earlier in the month, adding words from today.

glassinepapercollage2

layers of acrylic inks and glassine papers with monoprints

Are the windows in my mind open to spring?

Can my animal heart relate to the heavy breath of blossoms and buzzing bumblers?

I was a bit overcome today with the warm scents, the rapidly unspooling ferns, the snowy cloud of apple blossoms, and the tapestry of weeds calling out to be pulled!

Ah Spring. Is your mind and heart open to it? It’s a very strong cocktail!

IMG_5256

I went back to take a picture for you, and the party had grown! Sounded like they were really getting down!glassinepapercollage1

Another one, with a tree theme, and lots of layers, collaged and painted.  I was shooting for golden light shining through the orchard and those birds, and maybe a yellow brick road for Dorothy to skip along with her friends and Toto.  But then there was this blaze ripping through the trees and across driveways. . .it’s hard to forget about that fire. . .

If you want to join us this spring and summer, for my mixed media workshop titled The Playful Muse, here’s the new dates, just published!

May 20, June 17, and July 15, 1:30-4:30 in my Sebastopol studio. (You can sign up for one or all three.)

4-week August Session: August 5-26

For more information and to register contact me.

 

 

The Muse Group Splatters

There’s nothing like an ink splatter to activate the imagination. Actually, now that I think of it, this approach birthed Imagine with Art, this blog that’s continued since 2006, and the Muse Groups I’ve been teaching for almost that long. Play around with inks and pretty soon you’ve got a story going, whether it’s the rorschachs or the drips and splatters.

And it’s fun too! In fact when we did the splatter lesson in Muse Group this week we were so totally engaged in what was happening on the paper that I thought we could really do several weeks of this. I can always tell when total engagement happens because you don’t see people staring blankly at the paper and wondering what to do next. (Well that did happen to me a few times, but I think maybe I was the only one.)

The suggestion was to use the splatter and possibly spraying with a mouth atomizer and then see if any creatures or other unsuspecting images appeared.

tangerinos

acrylic ink splatters, sprays, and lines drawn with dip pens on w/c paper, 10 X 11″

He was just minding his own business, doing his usual foraging for vegetarian fare, when they spotted him. . . the dive bombing Tangerinos. He had no time to flee before the first one landed on his back with a big wet splatt! It wasn’t so bad really, as it did smell rather tasty.

Later as he met up with his buddy bucks, they had fun teasing him about his edible “crown” that dripped down his cheeks.

And the creatures keep coming. . .

Squirrel

Actually the squirrel with the rather large proboscis at first seemed to be jumping over the moon, but when the gold paint made an uninvited appearance (and a few expletives came to mind!) the narrative changed. These creatures do have a mind of their own.

If you want to enjoy some more brilliant silliness with inks you might like this short video of Ralph Steadman, my latest art hero.

Transparent Overlays

I’m still catching up on Muse Group demos from June. I had promised in the last class that we would do image transfers, but realized that it’s better to have another week to work on them, since the technique can sometimes create some false starts. So instead we used transparent overlays.

This is a great technique to use when you’re not comfortable with your drawing skills but want to incorporate a drawn image into your painting surface. Trace the image you want onto a transparent overlay, which could be regular tracing paper, light-weight “rice paper” or Dura-lar (the acetate alternative).  Move it around on the painted surface til you find the sweet spot where the paint shows through to advantage and glue it down with gel medium.

The bird here was my tracing. The paper became transparent when the medium dried so the underpainting shows through.

senorita

acrylic inks, transparent image overlay and other collaged paper on w/c paper, 10 X 11″

This señorita keeps her song going all June long. Dresses herself in colors each day, strutting along the limb, doing the limb-o all warm and fluid like an island girl. She keeps one eye on me and wonders why I wear a long face some days, when there’s always a heady fragrance and new tune to dance to.

Come eat your lunch with me, she says. Pura vida! What could be so bad anyway?

Well, don’t get me started, little bird. Don’t you read the newspapers?!!

Nevertheless, I appreciate her concerns, and so I’ve taken to eating my lunch outside under the flight pattern of birds between the bird feeder and fountain where they bathe. It goes a long way to lifting those cares.

Mylar Fun

My mixed media Muse Group has ended now for the summer. I always miss my weekly dose of art play in the group. I say “play” but of course making art can also be serious business when you’re an adult. To combat that seriousness I try to introduce a new material or technique each time, one that is impossible to “control” so it throws a wild card into the pot. (I think that’s a mixed metaphor in my mixed media explanation here!)

One week last month that wild card was mylar, that shiny silvery mirror-like polyester film that can be bought in rolls. It’s not really for painting, which is why it’s a great mixed media surface to play around with when pushing the envelope. (Another strange metaphor?)

mylarcity

Acrylic painted Mylar collaged with painted screen on acrylic painted w/c paper, 10X11″

Entropy in the city. Everyone trying to keep their balls in the air simultaneously. How is it possible that the buildings remain standing and don’t come apart at the seams and float up, and towers lean over from the sheer weight of people at rush hour?

Q: Where are the cars and busses and pedestrians here?

A: Down below in the well-worn grooves.

I’m always in a state of amazement in big cities. I think I did this piece not long after my trip to Brooklyn.

By the way, if you’re interested in getting into the Muse Group, now is a good time. I just opened registration for a six-week Monday Afternoon group in my Sebastopol, California studio starting September 10. For more information and to register visit my website.

Plea to the Wise One

Sometimes I think we all need a shaman to set us straight. Here’s the one who appeared to me this week.shamanladyMuse Group demo: acrylic inks on w/c paper, 10 X 11″

What are your dreams catching today? besides me, that is, in an awkward sprawl with one foot in your world and the other mired in this one. Would that potion in your bag help? Can I catch your secret in in my own dream catcher mitt?  Can we sway together to the rhythm of your chants, and go hunting together in moonlight?