calligraphy, desert landscapes, odd animal portraits

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Manifesting a Work Table

1.27.23

Out with the round black table I bought from Conran’s for my apartment on Emerson Street in 1981. Took off the legs and rolled it into the hallway closet. I had to move out stuff to make room, two boxes of JD and Pearl, et al, into the Underhouse. Also my vintage Ludwig snare and stand. Why not consolidate, the bass drum is out there.

I set up this pine work table I found last year, abandoned on the street by a painting student. I had to scrape and sand off quite a bit of paint to make the surface flat, leaving it pre-loaded with a patina of artistic energy.

I now have about 3 sq. ft more space in the room, as this table is also an inch taller and fits closer to the treadle/printer table. Someone warned me that rectangles are bad feng shuy, but not if it makes more room to ease through the space.

Already I feel a creative upgrade. It was easier to paint from these old photos of Death Valley near Racetrack, 10.03.03; and a view of upper warm spring in Saline Valley, circa 1997.

Also the current view out the back window from the table.

Winter weather

Crazy rains, wind, trees down, houses sliding off hill tops, king tides, cliffs collapsing, beaches eroding, an ant invasion, and me in my little possum holm. Heaven. A bit of hiking the streets between the storms, where I found some cool kitchen things in a free box. A (sweet) potato masher, which I need, a 1/3 cup stainless steel measuring cup, always handy. Several wide mouth pint ball jars, yay, and a red coffee mug I can contribute to the Sunday Salon. It’s a full life.

I made some soup from the meaty carcass of the Christmas turkey, with shiitake mushrooms and fat Italian egg noodles. So good. Also tasty and festive are small chunks of wild salmon, gold potatoes, green beans, broccolini, pink lady apples, coffee and cream, from hikes to B. Bowl.

More little sketchbook play, with opera rose and white gouache, white Signo, micron, Kuretake brush pens, french ultramarine, various greens, yellows, and random watercolors and stains from old messy palettes.

xmas haul

1.3.23

Back from the north, where we visited an abandoned, boarded up house with a shed and a garage, and an empty lot on each side. I so want it! Imagine the garden, and the painting studio! How many millions will it take?

The best deal of the season was a stack of sweaters, three turtlenecks and a zip-up cardigan from mimi’s stash of donations. I also bought a long gray skirt at Goodwill. Gift are so unnecessary.

On returning home ahead of the storm (before NYE, which I slept thru) I hunkered down with my new sweaters and youtube, covering up sloppy swatch charts in old sketchbooks, inspired by screen shots from Marina Willer, and previous grid play.

Another Andie Class

Hermitage

I’ve said too much. Just an image.

What could be happier than this window full of sky, sunlight and squirrels, me and youtube, old sketchbooks, brushes and paints?

What better than unending days of not watching a clock. Just this.

Landscaping

11.20.22

Took a fun workshop in luminous landscape watercolor with Andie Thrams this weekend. I LOVE the juicy yellows, the square format. Many thumbnails and color tests.

Oops: edit: caveat: didn’t mean to hit the Publish button yet.

Some notes: Engage with your subject: why did I choose this subject? What am I seeking? What is my hope? What is the viewpoint? close, far, big, small, hard, soft, gestures, detail, mood, flavor. Be present. Consider the possibilities.

Shake out the hands, roll your neck, mix little color swatches, then pools of color.

Meanwhile: Complaining shrinks your hippocampus.

Gratitude boosts endorphins to produce a euphoric rush. It can boost oxytocin, the love drug (like rubbing the ears of cats). It can boost seratonin to make you happy and calm. It activates the brainstem to produce dopamine. It boosts the immune system, lowers stress and blood pressure.

“Perfection is a stick with which to beat the possible” –Rebecca Solnit

Be peace. Be love. Be here now.

RATS!

October 25/eclipse 2022

My friend gave me a little Mexican-made chest of drawers as a gift for helping her in her studio. Just in time! because now instead of having my acrylic paint tubes and bottles in open trays, subject to terrorist assault by hungry rats, I can keep them secure. The chest had been left outside for a bit, sufficient to have the drawers stucky and wonky. I sanded them all down and got them working nicely, and touched up the outside with successive grades of sandpaper and a coat of Feed-N-Wax.

Meanwhile, I found four aforementioned chewn-open and partially eaten tubes of paint resting atop a container of some dolls–I found the hair of Pocahantas in the paint-tube tray. Titanium white, Neutral gray, phthalo blue, and for good measure silver, turned out to be just the colors I needed to mix and match the “cape cod blue” I had used on the floor last month. Squeezed what was left into jars, and started mixing; way too much white, so I ended up adding a few drops of carbon black, dang close, I’d say. The rat had also chewn into a bottle of bronze paint, and I tried using that as a stencil color, but it was too faint, so back to the iridescent blackish, and done.

By the way, I had been painting most of the interior in this patchy style, using Zinsser 1-2-3 due to the history with mildew. On the window-well walls here I pulled out some interior latex, which turned out to be what I had used on the ceiling “Summer Sky” almost imperceptibly sky-blue. I love the way it gradually moves from blue to white as it goes from the floor and up the wall.

Banana light

10.19.22

skating on the edge of gouache and watercolor, brush pens, mysteries of light.

Falling Up-

October 5, 2022

Playing with my new gouache in a small sketchbook of olive green paper, portraits and anatomy from photos and screenshots. I took photos of some of the images in the book Natural Fashion, Tribal Decorations from Africa (wait–I can’t underline?? wth?) that I bought Vikki for Christmas, at last getting around to working from them. Also a screenshot from Vania Bashur, who teaches classes on Domestika. Nothing inspires me more than new materials.

I was telling the story of how I keep buying classes (mostly around $10 each, special discount) but can’t work in the linear structure of the courses. I get hooked on the trailer, and then am not happy with how the instruction plays out. So I am just taking screen shots from some of the video introductions and copying them, then clearing them off my computer.

Also about copying, judgement, what is art. Ok, here we are. This week’s work, so far.

Studio Floor- blue

9.29.22

Finally found an image I could cut a template for, to stencil the studio floor. I had smeared some of this deco-color cape cod blue from a tiny bottle on the deteriorating plywood to see how it would last, and heck, good enough. That’s how it happens, after months (years) of a blue floor rattling around in my head, i just started in. Cutting the printout I stuck to a sheet of bristol board with tape, I used a stiff acrylic paintbrush in different intensities to dab Daler Rowney FW iridescent acrylic black ink through the stencil. So satisfying! The more i used it the more water resistant the stencil got, pretty permanent now. Finished with a coat of Golden acrylic sort gloss medium, supposedly waterproof. Too late, I realized I could have extended the blue a bit with the medium. But I’m happy.