Friday, April 28, 2017

Layer 20/100

So now it's the day after my salon appointment.

I've washed my hair.

Will I finger comb it? Blow it dry with a styling brush? Use product?

Layer 20.

layer 20

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Layers 17, 18, and 19/100

You know how sometimes you grow your hair out, and aim for a certain look, and fuss with it, and get it just so?

And then one day you walk in for your regular hair appointment and say, "Cut it all off. Do whatever you want with it."

Layers 17, 18, 19.

layer 17
layer 18
layer 19

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Layer 16/100

Well, I'm getting into the thick of it now.

Had to do some serious letting go here.


So I did.

Not easy.

But done.

layer 16

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Layer 15/100

I continue with my 100layersofpaint.

Today I alternately experience the sensory immediacy of creating and the pulling back to observe.

I feel the give of a sponge roller, catch the faint smell of a Posca pen, see the brightness of teeny pops of orange and red, hear the scritch of an ink pen on gessobord.

I notice that today I am painting in a way that suggests finishing stages—adding little details, punching up bits of color, retracing linework to give it more depth … all the while knowing I have 85 layers to go!

The intuitive immediacy and the more thought-filled attention to detail are both gifts of this exercise—gifts of ongoing engagement and self-discovery, gifts of the creative process … specifically my creative process.

Layer 15.

layer 15
layer 15 detail
layer 15 detail

Monday, April 24, 2017

Outlaw Thoughts, and Layers 12, 13, and 14/100

Those of you who follow my painting adventures might remember that I started a 100layersofpaint challenge a few weeks ago. I moved through eleven layers, and then fell off the radar screen.

Two reasons for the disappearance. First, I was thinking of becoming an outlaw. I don't actually know what the rules of the challenge are but I was considering breaking them. I really liked layer 11, and I'm the boss of my painting life, so why not stop?

Just as important, however, was the fact that I got busy with other projects. A wedding and a bunch of birthdays came along and I wanted to paint for them. So I did.

All the while, I kept my challenge piece in view where I drank in its details and energy each time I sat at my laptop or met with tutees.

Then, a few days ago, again for two reasons, I decided to wield my brush anew. First, I'd continued to see posts on Instagram of those who've faithfully added a layer every day—they're up to thirty-something layers (!) now—and the daily changes are an ongoing invitation. Just as important, however, was the fact that the longer I honored my attachment to layer 11 by letting the painting remain unchanged, the less attached I felt.

So a few days ago I picked up a foam brush, a tube of black, and a squeeze bottle of fabric paint. Layer 12.

layer 12/100

The next day, I rotated my gessobord and used ink pen and paint pen to add white circles and dots. Layer 13. I am fascinated by the repeat experience of loving what I see in front of me, change after change after change.

layer 13/100

A day later, I glued strips of tissue collage and squeezed some white fabric paint onto my canvas. Layer 14.

layer 14/100

Friday, April 21, 2017

A Fourth Something

All his life Scott's gift to me has been to open my eyes to see in ways they don't think to see on their own.

Happy birthday, Scott!

He Saw Art Where Other People Saw Nothing
3x4"; acrylic, ink, and collage on drawing paper, mounted on card stock

Thursday, April 20, 2017

A Third Something

I am one of five sisters, the oldest.

Marj is one of the same five sisters, the youngest.

We are bookends, each holding a place in a sister lineup that spans twelve years.

Such a sweet time I've had painting up some colors and lines and scribbles and joy to make a card to celebrate my baby sister.

Happy birthday, Marj!

Maybe I Am Just a Kid, Only Older
3x4"; acrylic, ink, and collage on drawing paper, mounted on card stock

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A Second Something

The second something from Monday's start, another birthday card:

Maybe Adulthood Is a Myth
3x4"; acrylic, ink, and collage on drawing paper, mounted on card stock

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Birthday Card

Birthday card from yesterday's start:

this is the sun's birthday
3x4"; acrylic, ink, and collage on drawing paper, mounted on card stock

Monday, April 17, 2017

Setting Up Just Now

Painting offers up entrée to snippets of freedom. Eckhart Tolle states, The only place where you can or need to be free is this moment. Not the rest of your life. Just now. I experience so many of those moments, so much of now, in my studio.

Today, a piece of 9x12" drawing paper, paints, a brush or two, collage papers, some pens, and an acrylic skin were the portal.

Eventually, I took that 9x12 to my paper trimmer. Now I have a start for a birthday card and eight other somethings.

Before letting the blade fall:

9x12" mixed media start

Friday, April 14, 2017

Unexpected Moments

One of the nice things
about marrying the right [person] …
is that you keep
falling in love
all over again
at the most unexpected moments.

—Gail Godwin, Evensong

Congratulations on your marriage, A&A—may you enjoy a lifetime of unexpected moments of falling in love all over again!

wedding card

Unexpected Moments
3x4"; acrylic, ink, pencil, and wax pastels on drawing paper, mounted on card stock

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Celebrating Life and Offering Condolences

I took one piece of yesterday's playboard and developed it, using acrylic paint, tissue paper collage, gesso, pencil, metal stylus, gel pen, stencil, house paint, krink ink, and oil pastels.


Today was [her] funeral. 
I can’t imagine life without her. 
I suppose I should be grateful 
that she lived as long as she did 
but I’m not 
because it wasn’t long enough.
I can’t stop crying.

Jules Hardy, Altered Land 

It Wasn't Long Enough
2.75x4"; paint, ink, pencil, oil pastels, and collage on paper,
mounted on white paper and card stock

Wednesday, April 12, 2017


Nicholas Wilton encourages artists to make what he refers to as playboards and others might refer to as activating the canvas. The idea is to just put down paint with as little thought as possible as a loosening up exercise before moving into other phases of a painting.

History of the playboard I generated today:

piece of calendar poster
rough brush and gesso
crosshatching with princeton catalyst blade

grease pencil

golden high flow acrylic dripped onto wet surface
tube acrylics, bristle brush, foam brush

acrylic paint pens

gel pen
papermate sharpwriter pencil
oil pastels

masking fluid (far right)


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Change of Direction

Changed direction today. Grabbed a piece of manila stock that I'd gessoed months ago, sprayed some water on it, pulled out some fluid acrylics that I've barely ever used, and dropped some color onto my 'canvas.' With sunshine and mild temps beckoning, I took the show outdoors to my front steps, loaded up with three or four different kinds of pastels, some pencils, a couple of pens. Back indoors to drip some house paint and use a texture sheet.

Could have stopped way back at simpler, but evidently I didn't.

Even so, this was just a quick spontaneous exploration, and now I have a postcard to send to my dad.

You Scratch My Back, I'll Scratch Yours
4x5"; acrylic, ink, and pastels on manila stock

Monday, April 10, 2017

Layer 11/100

What an engaging experiment, to keep adding layer after layer. So many surprises as I go along. So much visual excitement. I just love the new pieces that keep emerging day after day.

Today, neutral Liquitex Parchment color mixed with a few drops of white and applied with a foam brush. A few seconds later, scribbling with a metal stylus, loving the unpredictability of where paint had dried and wasn't interested in moving, where it was still wet and would yield, and what got revealed. Throughout, the fun of getting up close and personal with details from all the layers preceding today's creative venturing. Layer 11.

layer 11/100

Friday, April 7, 2017

Layer 10/100


Every layer a surprise.

Every layer an internal journey.

Today, an excerpt I've already quoted more than once from Cynthia Voigt's A Solitary Blue surfaces yet again:

This had been the pattern of his days on the back creek, too: he would move the boat out until he felt more frightened than he had the courage to match; then he would anchor and wait.

I was completely smitten by layer 3, and could easily have stopped then, based on nothing more than the thrill of the distance I'd moved the boat. But I anchored, waited, moved again.

I get attached. I let go.

I anchor. I move out.

I'm cautious. I throw caution to the wind.

Today I use oil pastels, nylon screen and house paint, ink pen, different house paint, wood staining pad.

Layer 10.

layer 10/100

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Layer 9/100

Next time I meet someone new who asks what I do, I might just say I'm an explorer.

What do I look for?

Where do I explore?

The inquiry is inside.

I watched a video clip at Nicholas Wilton's blog recently, and those words jumped out. They are still reverberating. No matter how many paintings I look at online, how often I admire one artist's colors and another artist's linework, how often I take note of contrast or brush strokes, how often I study composition and quiet space and detail—and, believe me, I spend hours doing so!—when I paint, the inquiry is inside.

Today I added asemic writing and some line work with broad-tipped acrylic paint markers. That's the part I can give words to.

The internal inquiry? That was wordless.

Layer 9.

layer 9/100

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Layer 8/100

Gentle rain tapping on the skylight.

Gentle layers going onto my work in progress.

Repeatedly rotating my gessobord.

Collaging with scraps of tissue paper: light blue, darker blue, light yellow-green, and white-with-thin-lines.

Accentuating, veiling, overlapping, making subtly simpler here, introducing quiet complexity there.

Layer 8.

layer 8/100

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Layer 7/100

I've put multiple layers on paintings many times, and often more than the seven layers I have on my current work in progress.

The difference is that in this case I've elected to participate informally in a 100layersofpaint challenge that I learned about from an online artist friend.

I don't even know what the guidelines of the challenge are, nor who's sponsoring it. Right now I'm just adding some kind of layer each day.

Already, even with just these few layers, I've swung back and forth more than once between liking and not liking.

What I do consistently like, though, is the mindset I'm noticing. I feel more open to experimentation than usual, more exploratory.

Today's additions: stamped letters/numbers, acrylic skin, more red dots.

Layer 7.

layer 7/100

Do I love those stamped letters and numbers? Totally. Yes, yes, yes.

Collaging a few strips of a clear acrylic skin, with its embedded black fabric-ink lines, was also especially fun. Ahead of time I thought to myself, Why go to the trouble of collaging this film, why not just draw some black lines directly? Because, I discovered, the lines offer up something different from what I'd ever think to draw in context. Love 'em.

sample acrylic skin with fabric-ink scribbles

Monday, April 3, 2017

Layers 5/100 & 6/100

Feels like I'm creating the site of a future archaelogical dig.

Added tiny gold ink circles in some of the shapes created by my having painted negative space in layer 3. Added black ink lines in some of the other shapes. Added blue ink scribbles in the negative space. Added red and gold dots in the negative space. Layer 5.

layer 5/100

Rotated my gessobord again, inscribed the gold ink circles with black ink, mixed up some blue, white, and green acrylic, and repainted negative space to accentuate the quadrilateral shapes again. Scribbled the wet paint with a stylus to reveal some lower layer paint. Layer 6.

layer 6/100