Thursday, April 29, 2010


muslin, plaster cloth, pieces of paper, acrylic paint, oil pastels, pencil, colored pencil, matte gel medium

it turns out that i've been doing more art than walking in the woods... a wet and windy cold front came through on monday, and since then we've had lots of rain and snow. and hail mixed with snow. and snow mixed with rain. and sleet, hail, and rain altogether; a veritable smorgasbord of precipitation!

the pics below are from my 4 1/2" x 5 1/2" muslin journal...

on this page i used only colored pencils and pencil,

but on most pages i used the whole 9 yards - acrylic paint, oil pastels, matte gel medium, colored pencils...

i saw some mustard boots in the sundance catalog. mustard boots?!! oh! my color loving self wanted those boots!

watercolors that i brushed matte gel medium on. i was surprised that only the paynes gray (wings) smeared. i was going to add another layer, but decided to leave it as it is...

last week i got a moleskine pocket sketchbook, which, as you may know, is pure drawing joy. it's so easy to quickly draw in one - the pencil glides over the page. i go from the moleskine to my muslin journal, back and forth... i am happy!

i like to try new stuff in it. like arms that stick out at crazy angles,

and figures that aren't colored in all the way.


little people whose clothes go all the way to their chins... i think they're saying something like this:

mssr. turquoise body: look at her! of course she took it! how can you doubt it?!

mme. pink dress
: mr. turquoise body! you wound me! surely you know i've never stolen a thing in my life!

mme. waving arm
: acch! you two! do you ever stop quarreling?!

ha! well, i haven't colored in mme. waving arm's eyes yet, so her words may change. the eyes say it all...

this is the spot beside my chair... my little moleskine pocket journal with a button on the elastic - it was stretched out and not doing its job, so i made it shorter and sewed it back together with a button on top. in the back right is the hundertwasser calendar (that i think i gave you the wrong link to last time) i ordered for $2.80 from amazon. it's fabulous! i left this pic especially huge so you could check it out... the quality of the images is wonderful. and every day a new hundertwasser!

a plastic cow that i covered with plaster cloth and a little paper clay... she's waiting for a naturalistic paint job. i got a whole bag of animals at the thrift store; i'm not sure i'll cover them all, though. they're so nice the way they are. judy wise provided the inspiration, here.

i wanted to tell you about the slotin folk art auction catalog... you can get one free by e-mailing slotin folk art and requesting one. the catalog for the next auction is 139 glorious pages of outsider art. here's an example...

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"But one of the moments I like best, after having done what I imagine to be my utmost, is the realization that it won't do at all. I decide to convert the quiet, static picture in front of me into a live, careless, free and easy thing. I strike out boldly with whatever comes to hand - pencil, crayon, brush, charcoal, ink - anything which will demolish the studied effect obtained and give me fresh ground for experiment. I used to think that the striking results obtained in this fashion were due to accident, but I no longer am of this mind. Not only do I know today that it is the method employed by some very famous painters (Rouault immediately comes to mind), but I recognize that it is often the same method which I employ in writing. I don't go over my canvas in writing, like the meticulous Fraenkel does with his drafts, but I keep breaking new ground until I reach the level of exact expression, leaving all the trials and gropings there, but raising them in a sort of spiral circumnavigation, until they make a solid underbody or underpinning, whichever the case may be. And this, I notice, is precisely the ritual of life which is practiced by the man who evolves. He doesn't go back and forth, figuratively, to correct his errors and defects; he transposes and converts them into virtues. He makes wings of his larval cerements."

~Henry Miller, The Waters Reglitterized


Sunday, April 25, 2010



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Undoubtedly, anatomists such as Rembrandt, Raphael, and Rubens must also have taken the human figure apart many times and for periods on end seen only this or that which perplexed and intrigued them. Once you begin to concentrate this way, it's amazing what you discover. For, as you well know, you can look at things all your life and not see them really. This "seeing" is, in a way, a "not seeing", if you follow me. It is more of a search for something, in which, being blindfolded, you develop the tactile, the olfactory, the auditory senses -- and thus see for the first time.

~ Henry Miller, The Waters Reglitterized


Thursday, April 22, 2010

i like...

pencil and colored pencils in moleskine pocket sketchbook

sarah vaughan and nina simone;

but the earth,

i love...

happy earth day (today and every day)...


p.s. have you seen these pictures of the sun?

Sunday, April 18, 2010


olivia, the muslin book is yours... : )

the muslin book and i would like to say a BIG thank you to all of you who left a comment... it feels quite quite loved now, and so do i! if you feel inclined to make your own book i hope you'll jump in; there's nothing hard about it, it just takes time. and if you have any questions, please ask...

this is what i've been doing - bending down to smell all of the wild phlox that's still blooming. i've been out wandering and i'll keep wandering as long as these sunny days last. the smell of wild phlox is one of my favorite smells; i undertake a serious course of aromatherapy every year when it blooms.

the sticks, the sticks! they're offering themselves up right and left!

the last two pages in my journal.

i love this 4 1/2" x 5 1/2" page size so much...

happy week to you!

and thank you again!

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"If I encountered women like these in the street I would run away in fright. I do not create a woman, I make a picture. To summarize, I work 'without a theory'. As Chardin said, 'I put on some more (or I remove some because I scrape away a lot) until it is done well."

~Henri Matisse on the women in his paintings


Friday, April 16, 2010

purely arbitrary and obsessive

muslin, plaster cloth, collage elements, acrylic paint, oil pastels, colored pencils, matte gel medium


as you can see in the pic below, when i was stitching up this journal i got off the center line about 3" from the end, which, i'm tellin' ya, for a virgo will never do. so i took the stitching out and redid it, but alas, the holes from the first line are still there... i'd like to send this book out to a loving home - someone who won't mind its slight imperfection... other than these holes it's fine, and it's got a nice antique button on it...

it has eight, 5" x 7" pages - 16 sides altogether. if you'd like to have this book, leave a comment saying so and i'll pick a name from the hat on sunday!

oil pastels, matte gel medium, colored pencils, acrylic paint

the first page in my new muslin journal - this one is 4 1/2" x 5 12", which doesn't seem much bigger than 4" x 4", but it is. i have enough room to use oil pastels on the faces, which i really like.

oil pastels, matte gel medium, colored pencils

this is what became of the piece i showed in the last post that had the stitching on the plaster cloth. i ripped some off both sides of it, and then sewed it onto a piece of 4" x 6" watercolor paper to make a postcard. i sent it to the people that wrote this book thanking them for turning me onto the idea of using a sewing machine to make your own perforated stamps - i love that! i also found some good resources in the book...

the sewing machine stitches through one layer of plaster cloth just fine... more mail art is high on my list of things to do.

a couple of things at amazon that you might want to know about... a 320 page hundertwasser tear-off calendar (by taschen) for $2.80, and a 128 page tashen diary/calendar of matisse cut outs for $5.00. i just got the matisse calendar and it's fabulous. he did so much more cut out art than the ones usually shown, and i swear i love them almost as much as his paintings.

at the green shrine tree today... sunshine!

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People often remark, when looking at my paintings, that I employ the same signs and symbols over and over again, or they will point out things that they regard as symbols, for example, the Star of David, a crescent moon, astrological signs, even fish. If I had the patience to reproduce playing cards I would include them too... Invariably the question arises, why, what does it mean? Usually there is no good reason except that it pleased me to do so... If the Star of David occurs, as it does so often, it does not mean that the subject matter of the painting has a Jewish cast ... The point is, in any case, that these repetitive signs and symbols are purely arbitrary and obsessive, impossible to account for except by cunning analysts who are usually wrong.

~Henry Miller, Paint as You Like and Die Happy


Sunday, April 11, 2010

bird on a wire

acrylic paint, oil pastels, colored pencils, pencil, matte gel medium

whew, i'm feeling slowed down... like being quiet and resting...

on friday jim and i drove up to ashland, OR so that i could go to roxanne's gallery opening. oh, i had fun! yes, i think i'm probably recuperating from all of the talking that i did in a mere three hours there... the pic above was one of roxanne's many paintings... you can go to here to see more pics from the evening...

i finished my latest 4 x 4 muslin journal. i had to get all three out and gaze at them.


deirdra doan made a magnificent muslin journal, which got me thinking about adding *something* to mine... i like to keep them simple so that they lay flat when open and don't have stuff that gets in the way while i'm working. but those buttons on hers sure were nice... so i got out my 'great aunt clara box' of buttons and did some (more) gazing...

this is my new journal - i'm trying out this idea. the button is outside the journal on a tab thingie, and so far it seems okay. thank you for the inspiration deirdra... and janine, and melissa, and michelle!

i've had some questions about sewing on plaster cloth so i did a little (very little) experimenting. you can definitely sew through one layer of it, that much i know. the pic above is confusing, but the inset is what a strip that i sewed through looked like before i covered it up with paint (on the right). i did have to glue it down with gel medium, but it stayed flexible, which surprised me considering how rigid two layers are. there seems to be a lot of potential for sewing with it.

we've had a couple of days of blessed sun. i went out walking on one of them and immediately found a smooth bone... my dh gave me the stick before i set off - i wasn't sure i'd be able to find any dry ones in the woods; we've had weeks of clouds and snow.

one of two christmas cacti blooming now. they just stagger me with their beauty. this one stays open all of the time, the other only opens in the morning...

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thank you, nicole, for posting this video on your blog... thank you, henry, for being you...


Wednesday, April 7, 2010


plaster cloth, muslin, acrylic paint, oil pastels, colored pencil, matte gel medium, beeswax

messing about on plaster cloth...

several people have asked if the plaster cloth just sticks to the muslin, and the answer is yes. it's super easy... dip it in water and lay it on the muslin - it dries nice and flat...

collage papers, acylic paint, gel medium, colored pencils

from the last few days in my journal... still doing most of the final drawing with colored pencils, but putting bits of paper and acrylic paint down first.

you can see a little bendy place in the upper left of this page - that's because i didn't put a layer of gel medium down before i started gluing on pieces of paper. the muslin buckles when there's paper on parts of the page and not others if you don't put gel medium down first.

have you seen Amelie? it's very smile making...

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"Cezanne, you see, is a sort of God of painting. Is his influence dangerous? What if it is! So much for those who are not strong enough to withstand it! Not to be robust enough to be able to sustain an influence without weakening is proof of impotence."

~Henri Matisse


Sunday, April 4, 2010

ain't no cure

'lester' and 'peg' (below) were both done on plaster cloth with a muslin backing. i now feel like i could be the colored pencil, cover-up-your-bad-art, draw-with-your-left-hand AND plaster cloth ambassador to the world, ha!

muslin, plaster cloth, acrylic paint, collage elements, colored pencil, matte gel medium, oil pastels (same for lester)

peg and a roll of plaster cloth, plus the pencils and oil pastels i used for her face. the pencils are prismacolor light and dark umber; the oil pastels are sennelier titanium buff and brown ochre, and caran d'ache cream - in case it's helpful.

some more pages in my 4 x 4 muslin journals... am contemplating what size to make the next journal.

i used colors here that i don't normally use and got all twisted around... but i learned a few good things...

a pogo print of lester - this is one of my favorite things to do with the pogo, hee! take pics of pieces that leave home! but, i also wanted to say a few things about the pogo... amazon has a great price on packs of 50 now; if you run the blue sheet through each time before you print you won't have a problem with streaking; and, as far as i can tell (from reading), the paper doesn't really expire even though it has an expiration date. in the same way that ink cartridges have an expiration date, law requires this inkless paper to have one (i know, crazy). anyway, it sounds like it's best to store it in a cool place if you have a lot of it, but it doesn't expire.

these stamps! have you seen them? the motherwell stamp is almost 2" x 2"! i left this really big so you can click and read everything...

there were a few photos in the taschen matisse book that really moved me. one was this of matisse when he was about 80 and bedridden. he put a piece of charcoal on the end of a fishing rod so he could lay in bed and draw on his white walls...

and this of the matisse room in the home of russian art collector shchukin. if you click you can see how he's hung matisse's paintings on top of other stuff that was already on the wall. what exuberance! the one on the far right is hanging over the top of a mirror!

this week reading walker percy, listening to leonard cohen and gazing at matisse - savoring human genius...

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"...I've also studied deeply in the philosophies of the religions, but cheerfulness kept breaking through... (uproarious laughter) But I want to tell you something that I think will not easily be contradicted: There ain't no cure for love."

~ Leonard Cohen, Live in London