An Artist's Quest

Posts tagged “art classes

No Plans…a Hard Thing for a PRE-crastinator

265.gelli print collage

This collage in my Art Journal is the result of a morning of monoprint madness

I’m a pre-crastinator – that’s not a typo – I am the opposite of a pro-crastinator. This has its pluses and minuses. When you are a pre-crastinator like me you are always prepared and you always have a plan, and lots of times that is a great way to be. It can cause anxiety when a plan isn’t forming with others in my life or when I don’t have all the pieces together to get everything done. In terms teaching it is great because I always have the materials all set, my lesson plans printed, demos made hand outs ready etc all well before the class. But sometimes in art making, pre-crastination can block inspiration in the moment. So because of my proclivity for control I have forced myself to loosen up by working in mediums that have a life of their own. One that I have been re-exploring is mono-printing.

Mono-printing is where you ink up a plate (traditionally it was metal but I use a soft rubbery plate called a Gelli plate) then you create texture and interest with a variety of techniques. I have been using a tiny 4×6 inch gelli plate and creating a bunch of small prints in a color or textural theme. The size and the ease of the printing helps me break out of the plan and lets my inner pre-crastinator take a break. It’s easy to experiment and make 20 wee prints in a couple of hours. I have been printing on rice paper, tissue paper and book pages to great effect and when I’m done I have a stash pile of papers to play with – NO PLANNING REQUIRED!

Above is an example of play date I had with my gelli plate not too long ago. I took those pieces and cut them up to create this collage in my art journal. Pretty cool –right?

I guess the lesson is that it’s good to push up against your nature – your inner urges a little bit and make them uncomfortable, sometimes, something wonderful will come of it.

265b.gelli print collage

this collage uses more mono-prints printed on old letters, phone book and journal pages

PS. I’m teaching a Gelli print to Collage class and an Encaustic Collage class at Pokey Bolton’s Craft Napa event in January 2018 here is a link to info and registration. Sometime in July I’ll  post my fall 2017-2018 teaching line up for The Bishop’s Ranch – I hope I can meet you at one of those classes where you’ll meet my pre-crastinator self and maybe my inspirational pro-crastinator will come along for the ride too.


The Presence of Absence Revisted


Buttercup prints

I went for a hike along the trails here at The Bishop’s Ranch yesterday morning. The sun was bright and warm, tempered by a brisk spring wind. As I walked through the heirloom apple orchard the nearly century old trees, twisted and bedraggled with dead branches, persisted in blooming, they resist the urge each year to give in to winter and choose instead, with what energy they have, to embrace spring. Thanks to the abundant winter rains this year the trees are surrounded by carpet of green dotted with delicate, bright yellow buttercups. As I bent down to pick a few a sweet memory flooded through – forty-five years or more ago I bent to pick these same buttercups. That day I stood in a meadow with my sister. The meadow had a little creek that ran through it and housed two fat ponies and a burro. While they grazed idly by we picked buttercups. We picked buttercups not by the handful but by the armful. We truly filled buckets with buttercups to bring to the house. We filled every nook and cranny with buttercup bouquets.

negitive and ghost -buttercups

Left is the negative space print from around the buttercups on the right is the ghost print

Yesterday I brought my bundle of buttercups to my studio. I am preparing for a mixed media nature journaling class I’m teaching in May here at the Ranch (class info). I have been experimenting with printing organic objects. So I inked up my printing plate and placed my buttercups down, laid the paper on and rubbed. When the print is lifted what showed is the negative space around the buttercup. Then I gently peeled up the buttercups and made what is called a ghost print of what was left behind under the buttercups. I found these negative space prints and their ghosts to contain a simple quiet beauty and while I was making them I began to think of my father who passed away last fall. I have been working on a slide show for the celebration of life we are having for him next weekend. While I have done the best to find images of him throughout is life from birth to death, to somehow encapsulate who he was in one slide show, I know is folly. There are gaps of course, missing pieces things he loved not captured in film, people whom he loved and loved him not pictured. The gaps and missing pieces in this slide show are like the negative space buttercup prints- they depict the presence of absence the space around the life. And like the ghost prints it is just a whisper of the vibrant life he led. I am grateful that his memory comes to me in many ways through photos and celebrations, and quiet buttercup prints reminding me to leave space for the presence of absence.

Time is Racing

Somehow I can’t keep up with my life these days; well that’s not quite true, I’m keeping up but just barely.  Workshops are happening, my work at The Bishop’s Ranch is happening but I feel stuck in quick sand, I’m running but it feels more like slogging.  I keep thinking I’ll get caught up – today is the day – and then the next day is the same. I’ll keep trying – I promised to blog more but bare with me.  I want to keep you in the loop about what I’m up too so….

This weekend I taught this weekend at The Bishop’s Ranch my Winter Creative Workshop. It was all about making art papers and making personal, artful gifts and cards with the stenciled, stamped and sprayed papers, take a peek:


But wait there’s more! I’m having a Studio Sale December 1st-3rd, here is a preview and a link to details STUDIO SALE… PLEASE COME AND INVITE FRIENDS:


Still MORE! Commit to your creative self in 2017 come make art with ME! WORKSHOP INFO


Happy Campers

Gina and Mary showing their work and smiles

Mary and Gina showing their work and smiles

Anne and Laura another pair of happy campers

Anne and Laura another pair of happy campers

The rain took a break this weekend here at The Bishop’s Ranch but a group of creative souls and I hunkered down inside the Art Center to experiment and create for 2 fabulous days of color and collage. On Saturday everyone created a large sheet of art paper experimenting with stencils and carved stamps. Spraying, stamping, spritzing, making and marking. In the afternoon we cut up our creations to make little collages to use as cards, small art pieces, bookmarks and more. I stopped at 4pm but this intrepid band of creators, spurred on by a glass of wine stayed in the art center until dinner and some stayed into the wee hours of the night and others came early in the morning to continue making that’s how energized they were to create! Sunday the fun continued with more collage and making of paper lanterns. I learned a lot from my students and they were all thrilled with their weekend. I look forward to leading this retreat again next year – the first weekend in December – mark your calendars.


Christina all smiles - loving her creative weekend experience!

Christina all smiles – loving her creative weekend experience!

My next creative retreat offering is Creativity Bound – February 21, 2015. For this creative retreat I team up with friend and poet Laurie Glover. Laurie will lead us through the process of writing a poem in a very non-threatening process guaranteed for success, and I’ll lead the making of the collage accordion book. We came up with a process where the collage elements inform the poem and the poem informs the collage. The day will unfold just like the accordion book. All the instruction happens Saturday but we are offering Sunday as an open studio day with all the materials out for those of you who want to extend and continue your exploration. I hope you’ll join me. Creativity Bound workshop signup.

Laurie's book made on our creative play date to prepare for the CREATIVITY BOUND workshop in February.

Laurie’s book made on our creative play date to prepare for the CREATIVITY BOUND workshop in February.

My book made on our creative play date to prepare for the CREATIVITY BOUND workshop in February.

My book made on our creative play date to prepare for the CREATIVITY BOUND workshop in February.

So much to do, so much to share!

It’s been a busy summer with camps, vacations and visitors. And while summer isn’t over yet there is a sense of winding down from one mode to the next.  Summer for me has a bit of a different energy and though I have plenty to do, I take it all at a different pace.  Pausing to tend the garden and put up jams, read a book and roast tomatoes.  All great blessing but the whisper of Fall is tickling for my attention and it came to me that I need to get out the word on a vast array of creative workshops and reflective retreats that I’m offering in the next 6 months. First, and very soon, I have an art sale with long time friend and fellow artist Kieren Dutcher I am including the flyer for our sale in her back yard if you happen to live in the Oakland California area we would love to see you. Here is a link to Keiren’s blog.


Next I want to let you know about a diversity of creative workshops and introspective retreats that I hope will spark your interest and get some creative energy flowing. Following is a list – for more detailed descriptions follow this link to my website. Many of the classes are one-day events, but if you would like to participate and spend the night at The Bishop’s Ranch that can often be arranged, email me to find out more.

Fall-winter 2013-14 Workshops and Reflective Retreats

•9/8/13 Introduction to Landscape Painting 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m., $75 at The Bishop’s Ranch, Healdsburg CA

•9/29/13 Encaustic Collage Playshop 10 a.m.-4 p.m., $75 at The Bishop’s Ranch, Healdsburg CA

•10/4/13 iPad as Art 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., $145 Art and Soul Festival, Portland Oregon

•10/6/13 Stamp and Stencil Synergy – 9:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m., $145 Art and Soul Festival, Portland Oregon

•10/20/13 Introduction to iPad drawing 1:00-4:30 p.m. $50 at The Bishop’s Ranch, Healdsburg CA

•10/27-29/13 Moving into Winter – Embracing the dark: an introspective retreat of art, movement, chant and writing. $350 double occ, $400 single occ. The Bishop’s Ranch, Healdsburg CA

•11/3/13 Encaustic Collage Playshop 10 a.m.-4 p.m., $75 at The Bishop’s Ranch, Healdsburg CA

•1/10-12/14 Encaustic Collage Creative Exploration Weekend 2 day retreat lodging, meals and materials included.,$375 double occ., $425 single occ. The Bishop’s Ranch,  Healdsburg CA

•3/7-9/14 Moving into Spring – Welcoming the light: an introspective retreat of art, movement, chant and writing. $350 double occ., $400 single occ. The Bishop’s Ranch, Healdsburg CA