Sunday, March 28, 2010

into the bush

oil pastels, colored pencils, collage elements, acrylic paint, plaster cloth, muslin

whew! i went out of town last week to visit friends and am just now getting settled in and caught up. boy did i have a good time, though... i laughed so hard one night that my stomach muscles were sore the next morning. now that's nice!

i finally picked up some plaster cloth while i was out, and have just begun to experiment with it. as you can see in the piece above, you can dig into it (the grid and circles), which puts it way up there on my list of desirable working surfaces. and it's really easy to use - that's two layers of plaster cloth on top of a piece of muslin.

the finished piece is rigid and thin - about the thickness of 300# watercolor paper. i'm chomping at the bit to work with it more...

and i've been working in my muslin book - LOVE these as travel journals. here are two pogo prints of trees that i sat under in chico... a giant sycamore and a giant palm. total tree love...

i did this sitting under the sycamore - i'd just bought a book about matisse at the used book store. this is my fauvist tree, ha!

still using mostly colored pencils...

in case it's helpful i thought i'd pass along some of the things that i've discovered lately, mostly about working with muslin or colored pencils...

1. for the smoothest muslin surface, buy permanent press muslin. no amount of ironing will make non permanent press muslin as smooth as p.p. muslin.

2. i use a regular eraser to blend and lighten colored pencils *a lot*. colored pencils will erase almost completely from acrylic paint if you haven't pressed down too hard.

3. if you use colored pencils on top of oil pastels, they blend easily with the oil pastels using a paper stump. of course you can't have a thick a layer of oil pastels down, or they won't 'stick'.

4. if i put a layer of gel medium on the muslin (to keep watercolors from bleeding through to the other side, say) i sand it lightly before i start working on it. i've found that every surface that i add to the muslin feels a bit rough, even though the original surface has been sanded smooth.

* * *

"... One cannot live in a household that is too orderly, a home run by aunts from the provinces. So off one goes into the bush, to seek simpler methods which do not smother the spirit."

~ Henri Matisse on Fauvism



  1. I am going to have to learn to do these transfers...the trees look fantastic in your muslin journal.
    Love, love, love the fauvist tree a la Henri Matisse and the quote is just perfect (although I wish a couple of those aunts would come and do some housework here so I go outside all day and get creative!).
    Wonderful tips and special pages as always.
    A good belly laugh does us all the world of good, as do good friends.

    Sending tree love,

    Jacky xox

    p.s. mrs. mizzle likes the sound of your Matisse book. she is very interested in artists... he hee!

  2. Stephanie Lee does journal pages with this plaster stuff.

    She folds it over but places a wire length in the fold which can later be used to bind the pages together...

    In case you ever....

  3. great quote and love the tree....

  4. Love your pages,so beautiful and thanks for sharing those tips.

  5. First thanks for visiting my blog! I have not seen Alice yet but I really want to! Hope to soon!

    Where does one buy plaster cloth? I never heard of it.

    Have you tried using clear gesso?I love it! It adds a rough tooth to use colored pencils.

    I so love what you have done in this new journal! Thank you so much for sharing!!!

    It sounds like a wonderful trip you had!

  6. Wonderful pages! Love the guy with the white top of his head and the wings. After a friend showed my her book with the plaster I have been wanting to try it myself. Now I am even more inspired. :)
    Thanks for the tips.


  7. That was the perfect quote for me to read this morning. Plus your art... it always makes me smile, or think, or both. Thank you for being you.

  8. Love your wonderful creations.
    the plaster coated strips are super aren't they?!
    nice way to add relief w/o going overboard( I usually mix too much plaster)
    really love the drawings "in nature"-a sweet version of graffiti

  9. I'm such a fan of your art/journals. I bought a roll of the plaster cloth a couple of weeks ago for a totally different project which is still on the back burner. I'm thinking now I will have to try what you did. One of my favorite things that you do is the little drawings that appear in some of your faces.

  10. Great tips, Lynne! Do you buy the muslin at the fabric store? How lame is that question? lol. Not that I'm going to use any but I'm just inquiring in case i do? lol
    Your work is usual!

  11. I love your art it is so unique and utterly awesome. You certainly have something really special.
    I have just been thinking today about making a calico stitched canvas to paint on and here you share some great tips, thank you so much!



  12. Great pieces! I especially like the first face. Is plaster cloth a hardware store type product? Never heard of it. I'm sending the quote on to a friend who just invited me over but worried that her house was too messy.

  13. oh jacky, those trees are pogo prints! my image transfers are no where *near* that good! yeah, a couple of aunts to do the cleaning would be nice, wouldn't it?! tell ms. mizzle that she'd adore the matisse book by taschen... or has she already read it? : ) xo

    thanks, grrl... i've been holding off seeing what other people do with plaster cloth so i can see what just comes... must get over and see what you've been up to. i'm very behind on my blog checking. xo

    thank you, jude.

    thanks buffy, and you're welcome... : )

    janine, you can buy plaster cloth at michaels - it's near the buckets of plaster and paper clay. i have tried clear gesso but i like less tooth. i like the amount of tooth liquitex matte medium has for colored pencils... you MUST go see 'alice in wonderland'. you will love it.

    patti, i can just imagine the cool stuff you'd do on this plaster cloth. i'll be watchin'... : )

    ps, thank you for your lovely comment... it means a lot. and i thank you for being you...

    hi dan, so nice to see you here... yeah, the plaster cloth *is* super. i'm really glad that i got some to try. thank you for coming by and for your nice words...

    wow, sharon, thank you... i can't tell you how happy it makes me to know that someone sees the underneath stuff. i was just thinking (with the top face) that maybe it was silly to put the drawings in there because i'm probably the only one who knows they're there. so your words are very much appreciated and timely. : )

    manon! if you buy some muslin you could rip it up into strips and use it for texture! jo ann fabrics sells it - it's addictive! and thank you!

    ah julie-ann, that is exactly the way i feel about your art. thank you so much for your kind words. i must go see what you're up to with a calico stitched canvas - good grief that sounds nice!

    hee, robin, well i've already e-mailed you so you know that you get p.c. at michaels, and that you made me smile sending the quote to your friend. : )

  14. Compelling poages as always. Love the travel journal with the single, stong image on each page. And plaster cloth??? I have to get some of that!!!

  15. usual! I can't believe how fun it is to draw on the painted muslin. Currently digging out the Pogo....

  16. you r ready to write a book about process and spiritual sprinklings included...


  17. Matisse would definitely approve of my house and my old aunts at work here..darn!!
    I love, love the 'heart face'...but then I love everything you do...
    plaster cloth...ummm.
    hug, hug

  18. And the plaster cloth just sticks to the muslin?

    I am loving your pages, that little cat-faced cutie!

    The pogo printer looks interesting. It must be good and sticky to attach to muslin. Are the prints fairly light weight?

  19. i'm new here, your art is fabulous! i love LOVE the top face painting on fabric, it just makes me happy!


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