Saturday, August 27, 2022

Alone: if you are lucky

 To be alone at your desk or in your studio is not enough. You have to free yourself from the phantoms and inner critics who pursue you wherever you go. “When you start working,” said the composer John Cage, “everybody is in your studio ― the past, your friends, enemies, the art world, and above all, your own ideas ― all are there. But as you continue painting, they start leaving, one by one, and you are left completely alone. Then, if you are lucky, even you leave.”  Stephen Batchelor

Actually planning for "alone" time is not really luck.  It take some planning and some practice.  But when you achieve it...then time no longer has any meaning. You float along in a meditative way.  

This week I've been participating in a challenge program for CZT and other lovers of Zentangle®.  The kind of meditation that is very very freeing and hopeful.  Against the daily news each day...we all need to find ways to fight depression.  Besides a walk in the woods, Zentangle is the next best thing.

This week I've been working with "translucent" tiles...heavy vellum papers that allow you to see "partly" the other side of the tile.  Still working with 3.5" squares.  Much of what you see below is on BOTH sides.  You may not be able to tell which is front and which is back as they line up by my window in front of my beloved Sycamore Tree.

I've been experimenting on the side with using different medium

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Leaning in to Art...Leaning in to life

Thinking too much about painting is perhaps a little like reading about your car’s engine. It may be interesting enough, but it isn’t getting you to the grocery store for bread and milk. To the easel!  Christopher Volpe.

Oh my gosh.. I've had such "hankering" or yearning to get back to my painting lately.  I am up north right now so I don't have a lot of supplies with me.  I can keep up with my sketching...the observation of botanicals around me etc.  But I think I need to carry on a bit more.  I can't wait to get back to my studio in Madison.  (another week to go). 

So I am, in the interim, enjoying a "challenge" art project in Zentangle®.  That keeps my pens and pencils busy at least.  Part of the challenge is that the paper (or "tiles" as we tanglers refer to them) are translucent.  (Materials purchased from  

They are an interesting plastic combination of materials that are somewhat like the clear vellum you sometimes see in notecards.  The project above is a multi-media approach to a lovely tangle called Verdigogh
And actually if you click on that link and scroll all the way down you'll find the video information on how to do the exact project above. won't look quite the same without the special transparent paper.  Heavy tracing paper might work too.  Very fun.  Other materials are ink pens and pastel or chalk pencils.  And a graphite pencil too.  

Above is also from the Zentangle challenge project.  The major tangle is Hollibaugh and then the little fish-like tangles are actually on the back side of the paper and just show through.  There is lovely lovely sparkling silver pink ink for that bit.  

All the tiles are 3.5 x 3.5".  The project is every other day for a week or so.  So I'll keep you up to date on how this progresses.

If you are a subscriber to my blog you are going to find that it has dropped off from coming to you temporarily.  Feedburner, my subscription service has deserted me.  I am in the process of finding another one.  And I'll let you know as soon as I do.  I have no idea really who is subscribing to my blog so I am just sending this to a few folks and then asking you check back if you are interested in getting a note in your inbox telling you when I post on the blog.  

Monday, August 1, 2022

Sketches as "Shorthand" in my sketchbooks!

 “The sketch hunter moves through life as he finds it, not passing negligently the things he loves, but stopping to know them, and to note them down in the shorthand of his sketchbook.”  Robert Henri

Never throw art away...well, let me rephrase, at least not without looking at it with a practiced eye.  Old paintings that did not work out?...I've tossed a number in my day, of course.  But it is a good idea to use a viewfinder or you old mats to see if maybe there might be a little hidden gem somewhere amidst the larger painting.  This is what happened here.  It's been so long I don't even remember what I was attempting with the larger format...but with a paper cutter or scissors I snipped some little sweet spots out of the painting and tucked them into an envelope to save.  This one was cut down to card size (5 x 7) and it was only after I discovered it that I added the ink, the shading, and line work.  I added the pine trees, some stones along the shore, highlighted the birch trees (which were there but not highlighted), darkened the shadows under the trees.  July...high summer green, green, green and this little painting says that.  

Voila..a lovely little vignette card to send to my grandson for his 21st birthday!  I think it's frame-able myself.  

Outside Oakwood Apartments in the conservancy is a little home made cage for moth and butterfly cocoons (in season).  And dear Gretchen makes it part of her spring and early summer hobby to curate the cocoons and chrysalis and then share them with residents for release. This screened.  

The Madison Urban Sketchers have been at it again...this time introducing me to the Biergarten on Lake Monona last Saturday.  (Note the Madison capital building in the bottom far right corner.). Pretty amazing view across the lake!

Gorgeous Saturday afternoon about 82 degrees and a light breeze...many folks out enjoying the cold beer (Greg and I had root beer floats.).  There were large home made soft pretzels for some folks and also brats.  But the sketchers were too busy to eat or drink much...lots of sketching going on.  People were paddle boating, canoeing, swimming, and having parties under tents.   (No life guard on duty but looks like once upon time there was!). On the beach was this dark old wood box that look for all the world like a coffin!  So I sketched it in.  Maybe Mr. Olbrich decided to stay in his park?  

You can tell we had a good turn out.  I'm standing WAY in the back row. And at that point I hadn't finished painting some things in.  

We are in Madison, obviously, for a few weeks.  Summer is lovely here and I don't want to miss the whole's been so windy, wet and cold up north.  But we'll leave August 9 (after we vote in the primary) for another two week try and hope weather will improve this time!!!