paper collage

Mix Those Media! Workshop

Here’s the flyer for a new weekend workshop I’m offering in November ! 

Screen Shot 2017-09-14 at 1.44.02 PMFor more information check out my website. Feel free to contact me with any questions and to register. Hope you can come!

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Poetry of Wabi Sabi workshop

Last Saturday I taught the mixed media workshop, titled The Poetry of Wabi Sabi, in Ukiah for the Mendocino Art Association . Wabi Sabi, the quality of things that suggests a natural process, vulnerable to effects of time, weathering, human treatment, yet still possessing poetry, poise and strength of character. We explored this esthetic by making textures, and moving inks and paints in spontaneous ways, collaging papers and more, keeping in mind the words of some favorite poets/artists such as:

Have no fear of perfection. You’ll never reach it.  -Salvador Dali

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. – Lao Tse

What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.  -Crowfoot

In the following painting I was demonstrating gesso texture and using a stencil with sumi ink. In the Monday Muse Group this week I had time to finish it and write.

lightgesso texture, sumi ink, acrylic inks, stenciled patterns, cricket stamp, on w/c paper

This piece was prompted by the poem:

Ring the bells that still can ring

Forget your perfect offering

There is a crack in everything

That’s how the light gets in.

                  -Leonard Cohen

and how the cricket gets inside the house and calls to his comrades on the outside.

We live indoors in imagined compliance with the world outside, forgetting to notice the glory of light shining through the cracks. Nature’s sanctity beckons steady and true, even as we pursue the folly of perfection. (my response)

yugenInks on dry gesso texture, writing with a stick dipped in Diamine Silver Fox  ink

Another workshop demo that I later finished. The word yugen, yoo-gehn, is Japanese and means, “an awareness of the universe that triggers feelings too deep and mysterious for words”.  Enough said!

Take the Lid Off

For over a month I stopped doing my mixed media paintings. Workshops finished up in July – the trip to Ireland and England with lots of watercolor sketching – the post trip exhaustion and need to archive. How to start up again?

Well, if I don’t know the answer to that question then I must be a pretty big fake, because I’ve been focusing on the movement of creative energy in myself and with other artists in groups for years now.

You can write in your journal about creative stasis. You can read books about it. You can complain to your husband or friends about it or get tired thinking about it and have to take a nap or eat a piece of cake. I have done all of these and more in the past.

So to get re-started I engaged in the most basic-of-all practice of. . .JUST DO IT. (after I’d done some lovely studio clean up first!)

takethelidoff

And while I was painting I started getting those little bursts of energy, like little electric shocks, associated with thoughts about what I could try next.

My wonderful Muse students were not here, but I did the 5 minute free write we always do and here’s what this piece said:

Time has come to take the lid off and watch what comes out. The lid? The false notion that my responsibilities to family and home, personal health and well being, financial necessity and more are keeping me from the Muse.

She has been waiting patiently for me to give her the time and space and the attention. Maybe she has been in some other artist’s studio where there is paint and paper and brushes for her to take up. But the stone has come off the opening and she is flying out. Will I be able to catch her or allow myself to be caught?

My Artful Muse workshops are starting up again this month in Sebastopol, CA. Hope you can join us. The group energy is irresistible! For more information and to register visit my website.

Flapping in the Wind

flappinginthewind

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

Sometimes you need to flap in the wind, feel the ocean motion, or just notice the slow movement of sunset and sunrise and the moon’s phases. 

All this is a necessary counterpoint to rock solidity and the stuckness that keeps you laboring year after year in silly blind repetition, following rules that have stopped serving.

Let that wind blow them away, and watch as a new breeze deposits the next stepping stone right at your feet.

I had loaded a brayer with copper paint and then black and then gesso to make an underpainting and paint some collage papers.  It takes a lot of paint if you’re going to roll it on.  But I’d squeezed out a lot more than I needed.  So I wet a clean sheet of watercolor paper and pressed it onto the juicy palette.  That was the beginning.  It sat in a stack of “beginnings” for a couple weeks, then inspired another approach.