Tuesday, August 09, 2016


What is the work of this God?
Painting. Filling pages with no reason other than to fill them.
It's different from working on canvas or wall or masonite or whatever.
The art is "put away" when the sketchbook/journal is closed.
Then it is fresh again when opened.
I lost/found myself in an old hardcover sketchbook bought years ago and hardly used.
It's taken about a month or so, but now every page is filled with paint, pencil, crayon, pastel, and ink.
And when I dove into Metamorph after a week of its going live, I found it to be the perfect sketchbook for this work ~ like I'm half-way there.
The photos below are only a few of the spreads done, but I took pictures of the whole sketchbook. The first two are from the Metamorph exercises for this month.
Sometimes, I enjoy simply turning the pages, seeing the images and shapes and colors and lines ~ as if I didn't make them, as if they aren't mine.
Then I wonder how one might have a showing of art journals in a gallery where the viewer is allowed to turn the pages themselves without damaging or wearing out the work.
Or maybe making that action part of the art.

Friday, July 15, 2016

monkey tasking

It's past midsummer. Time is random. There are no schedules. The music in the studio is loud and raucous (Hello, Kid Rock.) The nights are deep and sultry, like velvet. Days drip and drizzle into weeks into lost months. A layer of paint is laid down and while that dries, wool gets carded. The timer chimes telling me to rinse another batch of soaking wool (or the carder goes hungry). And when will I actually have time to spin? Autumn? Winter? Meanwhile, back at the painting, another layer is added and I start all over again . . . drying paint, carding wool, washing wool, rinse and repeat. Dog days on the way.

Bennie working on her summer vacation.

Paint smearing and drippy Stabilo pencil marks.

Finishing a skull.

Playing with Camera Craft.

Still playing with Camera Craft.

Another page, more copper paint.

After the wool rinse, another page iron oxide, interference red, and Stabilo pencil.

Some quick icad 2016.
Play on words. Get it?

And one must have poetry under the summer sun (with an umbrella, of course).

Then there is always time at the lake.

Monday, June 06, 2016


A lot of what I do as an artist looks like I'm doing nothing. (I know I've said this before.) To the keen-eyed observer or possibly even one not-so-keen-eyed, I'm just pottering about with paint and pieces of paper, maybe some crayons, or colored markers. An idea came across my radar recently, found here, of using a magazine to create a painted journal and I thought I'd give it whirl. Do I need another book? Not really. Am I simply adding to the pile of unfinished books and projects lying about? Pretty much.

Well, then, why do it at all?

I remember being asked bizarre questions by art professors in the halls of Art Academia. Why did I chose that color? Why would I put that there? What made me want to do it that way? These questions confused me. And rarely was there ever a reasonable answer from me. How could there possibly be a "reasonable" response? I mean, I'm an artist. Don't we do things on whimsy? Don't we want to see what would happen if we tried something untried? Like mixing oil paints with acrylics or melting crayons onto cardboard and scratching through the melted mess (that actually sounds interesting). Isn't it our job to experiment, push the occasional envelope, trod the untrodden path?

During critiques, we were required to come up with some kind of a reasonable response to something done without reason. Most times, I wanted to say, Because I f*cking felt like it! I was never comfortable explaining myself (which I suppose was part of the lesson, but it's one I still don't get).

This is how Art works. It is an Artist's job to play. Sometimes to do Nothing. (Disclaimer: Which does not mean shirk the Everyday duties. Gotta pay the bills and gotta feed the people.) It is an Artist's job to try stuff. On a whim. Without reason. Without question. And it's best not to question it. Sort of like Zen enlightenment: the moment one tries to explain it, one has lost it.

Instagrammed as "nonsense."

Instagrammed as "more nonsense."

Instagrammed as "complete nonsense."
And why did I use that color?

Sunday, April 24, 2016


Today's darkened pages.
So. Journal reconstruction continues in a meandering fashion. Pages are painted or collaged in between other activities. Put on some laundry; lay down some black gesso. Do the dishes; spray some sparkly ink. Feed the chickens; spread some acrylic. Singsong movements. 

Another random pull in the old journal pile brought me to 1998 ~ the year of my daughter's birth, a year fraught with this and that, getting things done with little to no resources. How I felt about it all. Bleh. Yes. These can go. The actual date of my daughter's birth wasn't recorded. I was in the hospital and navigating the parenthood of three children. Time was rarely on my side. Not that I feel resentment ~ I'm neither here nor there about it. Just the facts, ma'am.

Most of these pages are going dark with black gesso. Which is too dark for future writing or sketching unless using white or metallic pens. Add some white acrylic spray or a smear of lighter acrylic (the cheap stuff) and one has a workable surface. I've taken to sketching on some of the pages in another journal. Simple black line stuff. I'm playing. I'm making mistakes. I don't care if what I draw sucks that day or not.

What matters is the action of sketching ~ I'm doing it.

A spinning wheel study.

A cooperative rooster.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016


What I am enjoying, noticing, is how flipping through a reconstructed journal delights me. Pages spliced in from old photographic books, paint, my own images all create a new landscape to write (or not) in. They are not precious pages, but I have a desire to take care what is written on them. I'd like to avoid another book burning twenty years from now. 

I'm greeted by these new landscapes in different ways. Step into some blue with writings peeking from behind my favorite Georgia O'Keeffe photo. I'm blessed to have her in my studio overseeing operations with that challenging gaze. I do my work. What words might I put here? Another To Do List? Platitudes of gratitudes? Let it be for now. Bask in blue.

Deli paper scraps from protecting other pages become pages. It's taken a good long search, but I found a pen that'll actually write on this slick surface without smearing or washing away under watery paints or spray inks. (Yes, it's across the Pond, but worth the wait. Unless you're already there, of course.)

Words from an old book, spliced in, become random poetry. Even these dark pages can take writings ~ white ink, slips of pretty paper glued into place. Or nothing.

Another blue page waiting to take flight . . .

gentle sky blue pink . . .

but having a writing prompt is helpful. I let this mind ramble in Morning Pages ~ the To Do's, the irritations, the Everyday, and tiny epiphanies (and I don't always write them in the morning ~ sorry, Julia). When I come to these journals, I'd like that out of my system, but I often circle back to that stuff of life, feeling a little repetitive (ad nauseum, in fact). The page isn't precious. It's organic and meant to shift and change, but not with the same material from the Morning Pages. Those writings are the compost, these landscapes are my gardens.
So I found prompts. Susannah Conway is hosting April Love 2016 and I found Ronna Detrick's Sacred Muse app. A prompt helps me focus the writing. I'm already sorted out about the other stuff of life for the day ~ the laundry list, the grocery list, the whining murmurs, the desire rant, or whatever. I come to this shifting landscape with some intention. And if I'm stuck without a prompt, a good place to begin might be, At this moment . . . 

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

finishing up

A lot of what I do looks like I'm doing nothing. I mean, I take care of the Everyday. Feed the flocks if the Man isn't home to do it on some mornings. The dishes get done. So does laundry. Dinner gets cooked. I'm not too crazy about housecleaning so the spiders have a pretty good life here until the cobwebs reach a point even I can't stand. And if I'm in the office managing paperwork, it isn't for too long. Before I know it, the day ends and I'm deep in prime time TV and knitting or spinning or personal studies of some sort.

The rhetorical query: Where does the time go?

I paint or write or create something. The action is beneath the surface. On the exterior, it looks like I'm Doing Nothing. Small projects reached critical mass and it felt important to get them done. Done. Not perfect. Which they are not, but then completion has its own sort of perfection.

Completed Item #1: this mega-journal I started in 2013

Completed Item #2: a self portrait on 36" x 36" canvas

Detail of Item #2: fun with drips and drizzles

Completed Item #3: this odd little triptych of a blue sunrise

Monday, February 22, 2016

the mess

The desk has been in this condition for weeks. I'm in this place of bewildered groundedness. Pushing and moving paint with plastic cards, stamping with bubble wrap, gluing painted bits of this and that on pages. Now that the journal collection is gone or in some form of becoming something else, I'm still not sure what to do with myself. I still like to write ~ mentioned that in another post. Write anyway. I was offered an idea: work with the Wheel of the Year and plan Burning Times. It gives me time to pause, look through (not pore over, but skim) what's been written, and then release it. The time frame becomes a container ~ one I can work with, cycles I know, but have left to the wayside. My cells know the Cross Quarters, so why not?

And so, again, I continue to write with abandon. Wild abandon.

However, I have this mega-journal. It is one I've been working with for three years . . . ? I'm not entirely sure and looking at the first page now would mean moving not only the book, but all the paint presently holding down some glued items. I'll stick with three. It is a book I'd bound for one of Effy's BOD courses for that year. The intention was to fill it that year, but it didn't work out that way. Which is fine. Well, until now. Now I'm keen on finishing it. There is another hand bound edition waiting in the wings and it is time to put this one to bed. I suspect my art journal practice is finding a new course and I want to get on to that path as soon as possible with some sense of completion. It's a little like that When Harry Met Sally line ~ when a certain realization hits, you want to get started on it as soon as possible.

Thus, the messy work table. Laden with paints, papers, glue, pens, bubble wrap, and the mega-journal.

I'm almost done. There will be more to paint soon enough. This large book, though, will be complete.