New work: Playground. 24"x30", mixed media: acrylic, paper, graphite on canvas.
Spirit and the Beastie. Mixed media painting. 24"x30", acrylic, oil pastel on canvas.
The Spirit of this painting came forward within the first few layers. Spirit, bones, butterfly with bones, strange skeleton being with tusks, Beastie. Stars, triangles, circles all represent life on our beautiful planet. We have an inner life and an outer life and it is with these perceptions that we form our visions of reality. Chaos, stillness, which way to go. All are decisions and individual choices.
These art journal pages make up a three-page spread and are part of a project that I taught my art journaling class in the spring. We started out making the page extender by removing one page from our journals and than adhering it to the outside edge of the second page of a two page spread. Then you can fold the page in toward the center of your book between the first and second pages. Unfolded, it will make a three page spread inside as well as outside. These pages are the inside three page spread.
In my class, we'd been talking about how to use the journal as a place to express ourselves and our personal mythologies. I had been a bit stressed from taking care of an ill family member as well as coping with fibromyalgia and pain spikes and migraine headaches that had started to increase as a result of my stress. I had decided to cope a bit and give myself a much needed break by taking my camera out on the trail and enjoy being out in nature. It has become quite therapeutic for me to do this and I thoroughly enjoy it! I had been so inspired by the birds that I had been seeing out on the trail and had been trying to get close up shots of them (not very successfully!). They inspired me with their chirps, the way they soar & fly and the way they would watch me as I would try my best to slowly approach them. Then one day I saw a bird gathering dried grass and small twigs on my patio to build a nest. I had been working on my own self care and was struck at how this bird was "taking care" of herself and her eggs. I decided to introduce the concept of a "Nest of Comforts" to my class and have them use their three page spread to draw, paint, illustrate, collage and journal about their own "nest of comforts". It became a theme that we came back to again and again. For myself, as I work on my journal right along with my class, it became a process in which I continued to add things to my nest of comforts. I worked on my pages for three months before I had layered and filled the pages and they seemed complete. I discovered that I could probably make an entire journal dedicated to my Nest of Comforts, as I found more and more things that comfort me, provide comfort, heal, soothe and encourage me along my journey in this life and particularly during times of stress. I found things that helped with my migraines, that helped me cope with pain, that helped me to cope with stress and that helped me take the breaks that I needed. In short, sharing this lesson with my class, enabled me to continue exploring my nest of comforts and come up with ways to rest and take comfort or change up things that no longer work. My journal itself has become a nest of comforts. I hope you might explore this theme of Nest of Comforts in your own journal and if you have never journaled before, give it try! I'd love to see your work either here in the comments, or on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, just use #nestofcomforts.
My mixed media piece "Fire in the Desert" will be shown at the Riverfront Art Gallery in Petaluma at their annual "Showin' on the River" juried fine art exhibition this summer. I'm so honored to be included in this show and there will be lots of wonderful art and artists represented. Check out some of them in the July newsletter below. It promises to be a wonderful show and I hope you'll be able to come on out and see it!
My newest work, Terrestrial, is complete. I've been hiking a lot lately and taking my camera with me. What I notice this spring is a combination of blooming of new growth and decay. I see an enormous variation of color and texture on my hikes and wanted to capture the feeling of that in my work. There are structured places in this piece as well as organic shapes. There are layers and layers of paint and paper creating a feeling of the effect or history that time creates. The colors also reflect a bit of what I've been seeing. Lots of earthy colors with pops greens and reds and even some sky blue. Due to the drought here in Northern California a lot of what would normally look green is dry and gold instead.
This is a new work that I've recently finished entitled Birdsnest. I often explore things in nature and I've been exploring and processing the concept of Home in much of my work lately. I often watch and take photos of birds on my hikes and while I was finishing this painting, there was a bird gathering twigs outside my window to build a nest. She would come, sort through twigs, pick up some, find some better ones, drop what she had and pick up the new ones and once she had gathered as much as she could carry, she would fly up to the top of a tall tree and disappear from my vision. Pretty soon she would be back to gather more twigs. I can only imagine what her nest is looking like after all of her painstaking, meticulous work. All of that diving down into the chaos of twigs, dried up, dead leaves, fallen pine needles, bark dust and dirt to pick up raw material that makes an intricate, elegant and practical home. We often think of birds nests as works of art and our own homes can be designed and decorated to be works of art as well. I think for us artists, our homes must reflect something of our aesthetic to truly be our homes.