calligraphy, desert landscapes, odd animal portraits

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stain painting

2.2.21

I am still not using the Roofing House- too cold and wet. There is very little damage, I got everything out in time, and I like the split, having my watercolors at home, and the more rough materials here. There will be some work to do once the weather dries out.

I inherited a stack of ecru dinner napkins, and last year was playing with acrylic inks. They are so absorbent it is hard to lay down a brush stroke. Maybe they need to be damp. Hmm, that can be arranged. I used flow-aid in places, and some folding and transfer.

also messing around with grayish sky colors.

xmas lockdown

12.30.20

Against the advice of our keepers, we snuck off to Santa Rosa to visit a mask-free paradise of art and food and friends. The tree, as ever, was spectacular. I took a book of Edward Curtis photos, and came back with a large monograph on Monet, and a vintage travel set of winsor-newton watercolors.

The move to Berkeley has been productive. I am mixing media, playing with brush lettering, and touching up old pages.

vintage w/n set; sennellier travel tin with 6 additional colors

Merry Christmas Lockdown

12.24.2020

It has been a long time since I have done any calligraphy practice. I just downloaded some classes, and am starting out by filling some warmup pages. In January I’ll be back at the desk with an oblique pen and some sparkly new inks from Fox and Quills, LA, CA, USA. Until then, happy new year, everyone.

Soggy Doghouse

11-15-20

Oh dear, the rains have come, and I am so happy except . . . the Roofing House, nestled as it is in a redwood grove, is damp and dark and suddenly all my sketchbooks and papers and other frail things have to be moved. Again. I brought a stack of books in and wiped down the covers, but tins of watercolors and drawing papers and source materials and sketchbooks need to be boxed up and moved to Essex Street for the winter.

I have some classes lined up to download, calligraphy and figure drawing and portraiture, I can just as easily- perhaps more easily- work from there.

One thing I did this fall was these little maquettes, possible prototypes, like 3D printing, only done by hand. Can’t get a better photo right now with everything packed up, but here is the krop-otkin bumper sticker prototype, and the word “wood” built up from paint to look like wood.

Oh well, upload won’t load. Just as well. It’ll be my little secret

we built us a patio

11.2.2020

Creative expression- a giant wood pile we converted to a sunny 9.5×10.5′ “patio”, two folding adirondack chairs I found on the street and painted, a rusty sewing machine I wired as a night light; a balsa wood model Spitfire I got from a gardening client, a sketch of a big rat the cat left for us; and my new blue blockers.

weirdly clumping paint

9.23.20

There is a strange thing I am experiencing with acrylic paint. 

Early in the day on Wednesday September 22 I brushed a glaze of gloss medium and phthalocyanine blue onto an old canvas, and also did some collage with a different bottle of gloss medium.  

That afternoon I was using Liquitex chromium oxide green that I had earlier transferred to a jar, and thinned with medium and a bit of local spring water (w/ iron and who knows what else!).  The paint in the jar was creamy consistency, but when I put my wet brush in it, the paint on the brush came away clotted, like miniature cottage cheese curds.  

I put that aside, put a bit of fresh tube chrome green in a clean dish, and used a clean brush with distilled water-  the same thing.  I tried a clean, dry brush, other paints, other brands, so far, everything immediately turns to clots.

Golden fluid acrylics green-gold
reacts to a clean brush w distilled water.

I am trying to paint without brushes –or painting the clumps out with a stiff brush, as in painting on bare wood which I did last night.  In the case of the gold paint suddenly skinning over – no.  After a few minutes exposed to air, mixing turned it to a strange solid mass without any sticking power.

a clump of Liquitex BASICS tube gold-
a small bit of Golden interference blue cottage cheese on the right side.
Daler-Rowney bottled Phthalo Blue seems ok! Very liquid. Very old.

So far Palette knives seem ok.

So, What? Extreme heat this summer? dehydration? sunspots? redwood pollen? Three outer planets retrograde in Capricorn . . ? I had used windex on a sheet of glass nearby last week, and am feeling some kind of residue on my hands today.

I am pretty sure ash and resin from the crazy smoke and fires settled on my brushes, activated the polymers and caused them to clump, and/or quickly skin over. 

I had seen a similar reaction once when I accidentally put rubbing alcohol in paint.  I have a lot of (mostly) old paint, never had this happen before, except thickening through evaporation, often resolved by thinning w/ medium.  Old paint just dries up.

So, cleaning all brushes, palettes, rags, glass working surface with clean water.

Meanwhile, cottage cheese might be a fine texture/technique, worth playing with, until I get this sorted, and/or, go shopping.

 

Life on Mars

9.9.20

California is aflame- we went camping but had to head north because Yosemite was booked and the forests were being evacuated. After a smoky and daunting Monday and night at 9600+ feet- -Pacific Coast Trailhead parking at Sonora Pass- -we came home Tuesday, to awake Wednesday September 9 to Mars Stationing in Aries, and a red-orange sky that lasted all day.

“Sinister!” “Apocalyptic!” shouted the headlines– Dorcas posted an interesting article about the scattering of blue light by the amount of ash in the air. There was little smoke at this altitude (600 feet, about) and for me, it was “Beautiful!” “Fascinating!” and that sort of thing. I only wish I’d spent more time out in it, maybe get a blue tan?

facing south 9 am, a true color, and ash falling
9 AM, facing east
channel 2 news- we had camped just south of the clear spot below South Tahoe/Markleeville

Zebra Meatballs

8.23.20

more experiments with color- my special simple meatballs and zebra farfalle. the original vodka cream sauce was much more orange, but then I added a can of diced tomatoes. The peas make it, tho.

Lakes!

8.17.2020

After months of everything being closed–and getting so much done because of it–a camping trip. We headed up Highway 50 to the American River, looking for an area we had been to before, but couldn’t find it. We pulled into a parking lot at Big Meadow Trailhead as it was getting dark. The campground nearby was closed to traffic, and we weren’t really set up for a hike-in, especially with rain on the horizon. In the morning we took a 6+mile round-trip hike to Round Lake. It started to rain as we returned to the van, –so we spent another night.

Amazing things happened when people kept telling us about LAKES we should visit, and we ended up at three different areas: beautiful Burnside lake, which we hiked halfway around- and I think? hiked this meadow.

Then we drove to Blue Lakes campground, where they had just opened six days before, and according to the Ranger “the bears don’t know we’re here yet”; and we filled all our water containers with clear sweet mountain water.

The next day we drove to South Tahoe to try out a brewery that had outdoor dining, excellent burgers, and couple of tasty beers. We then drove the Blue Lakes backroad to Forestdale Creek, which turns out to be the area the guy at the campground had recommended– we spent the night, and took two longs lovely hikes.

We also had an adventure when Art drove the Westy into a gutter, and a feller came over to share his extensive expertise which resulted in spinning one of my tires bald on slippery granite river rocks before we finally got the van dislodged and parked .

switcheroo

7.30.20

Remember when there were gigs? On a fifth Thursday, we used to be the Polka Cowboys.

On July 17 I got notice to vacate my studio garage. It was such a shock, so unexpected, especially since I had just made headway cleaning up the mess after the dog-crap-and-snarling people had moved out, and able to get into the swollen-concrete-impeded door for the first time since late January.

I IMMEDIATELY went over to load up all the paint, brushes, tools, small canvases, and tchotchke that would safely fit in my truck, and headed out to Canyon, to tuck into the Roofing House as best I could.

I called Joanie and asked if I could take her up on her offer of a place to store my tables and frames, tools and glass- yes- so Art and I caravanned to Howe and loaded up as much as we could, and then to Richmond to unload my precious cargo to–Joanie’s Concrete Patio! Oh dear.

I had hallucinated a space in her giant garage where I had stored my camping gear and toys after Steve’s death–but it is full of another malingerer’s massive mouldering pile of god-knows-what . . A realization came that the lovely dark knotty-pine room was not really Available, either. Over a few visits I was able to tuck one table, easel, the frames, canvases and framing tools indoors, but I felt all at sea.

The day after Jude called I had a meltdown and a literal physical collapse on Art’s kitchen floor over a mis-communication about our relationship. I suddenly was unable to stand up or breath correctly- a complete existential panic that I had nowhere to be, that these little slivers of space I carve out in my life were all an illusion–and fading fast.

We worked things out, better than ever, but for a couple of weeks I was losing my mind- hell, it was half of August and September . . . except for the Lakes.

And then, the helpful words of a “mentor”, teacher, about, uh, Framing? and having a Studio? Why? and what For? made me really look at What The Hell Am I Doing . . . threw it ALL up into the proverbial air. For reassessment purposes only.

So, really, am I BEING AN ARTIST, or just Doin Stuff, and what difference does it make, except–what to do with all the physical Product, weird format frames and glass that are not fitting together, my actual Clean worktable outside by the trash bins. I am seriously addressing what all this stuff is really for, and why I have it- It’s so uncertain, but sorta fun.

When I had the shop, I gathered things with a hunger I no longer have room for, and don’t really know what the future holds. I am doing so many tiny bits in sketchbooks and corners and scraps of wood.

So what to do, but just keep on keepin on.