Tuesday, May 4, 2010

henry, etc

muslin, plaster cloth, pieces of paper, acrylic paint, oil pastels, pencil, colored pencil, matte gel medium

for the last couple of weeks i've been savoring the books below, each about henry miller and his paintings. they're out of print now, but you can still find them online in the $20 - $25 range. i don't think that any art books have ever given me more smiles; more nods of agreement...

in "henry miller - the paintings: a centennial retrospective" every page has one of henry's watercolor paintings, as well as a brief passage by either the person the painting belongs to, or henry himself. although the images are fairly small (a third to half the page) they're still an utter delight, and the words are priceless. people remembering when henry gave them their painting, or what they bartered for it, etc.; henry's words are from his essays, which are printed in full in the book below.

"paint as you like and die happy" alternates between sections of henry's paintings and his essays. there are duplicates of some paintings in each book, but also many different ones. in this book, though, it's the essays that thrill me most. his thoughts on painting and all things related to painting are fresh and insightful. just a pure joy to read... everything from his young life in paris to his later years in big sur.

if you appreciate great writing and art, as well as a free spirited and generous approach to life, i think you'll love these books...

so the weather's been nice! and i've been out wandering as much as i can... wet weather streams are flowing like crazy and flowers are beginning to come up. i found a new area of springs and was mesmerized by waterfalls like this one.

i've never seen this before - the top of a tree that broke off and stabbed itself upright into the ground. how strange it was to walk up on a 'tree' that was narrower at the bottom than the top!

this tree was so tall and seemed to be held up by the ones beside it. i thought it was the tallest dead tree i'd ever seen, but today i saw one even more decayed and just as tall. the strength of trees, even when they're practically hollowed out by insects having a good meal, just blows my mind.

i took this last night of 'cyrus' (the contemplative being at the top of the post). this is what it looked like before i put paint (or oil pastels) over the parts i'd etched/dug out with the awl (that's my trusty awl there - if i can't find it i go on a major hunt until it's found!). at this stage i always think that it doesn't look like much. but a few minutes later i'm amazed... the face seems to just magically pop to life.

oil pastels, colored pencils, watercolors, matte gel medium

in my muslin journal...

colored pencils, pencil, moleskine pocket sketchbook

and the Pale sisters, juanita and geraldine, at the beach...

i found this rusty spam lid last week, just like this - i haven't done a thing to it besides add kwan yin and the crystal. the thing that really sends me is the way the key and twirled metal are poised there so artistically...

tree love... there's no such thing as too much...

* * *

"Discontented with our slow progress towards the proficiency of a Leonardo, Henry and I quite shamelessly tried to fudge masterpieces by holding our water-colours under a running tap - searching for chance effects; or taking a bath with them; or even putting them down in the street to let taxis run over them and print their tyre marks on them. No effort was too great to reach perfection..."

Lawrence Durrell in the forward to 'Paint as You Like and Die Happy'



  1. Love the look of the layered muslin piece. And Henry...he seems free and wonderful. I grew up on Henry Lane. I didn't realize he was at Big Sur for a time. I love that place! And that rusted container! It's out of this world. The ultimate in recyling Lynne.

  2. I absolutely adore Henry's books about his paintings...

    You have wonderful taste, you amazing artist you!!! :D

  3. Stunning post, Lynne! Everything is beautiful! I love your work and Henry's books!!!

  4. Hi Lynne,
    I have all books from Henry translated into German and some English ones but the first one you mentioned I didn't know. I will try to buy it also. Do you had a look at the Blog about Henry Miller I mentioned on my side? It's very interesting.
    I think Henry Miller would like your art too.
    I like the rusty spam you found a lot, it has nice colours and nice inhabitants.
    I wish you a nice day. :-)

  5. I will have to keep an eye out for Henry Millers books, they sound delightful.
    Your muslin pages are beautiful as ever and I love the little Spam Shrine.

    Jacky xox

  6. ok there is soooo much here to love and to comment about! your tin with the turned up key is break your heart gorgeous, as well as cyrus and the spiral being and the pale sisters are adorable, (i am afraid I am one of them even though I have black hair!!) and how fun is that title? paint as you like and die happy! lets do that!
    oh and you know I have tree love too! your heart is wonderful!
    ps enjoying that plaster cloth! way too much fun!! xo

  7. I can see the inspiration Henry Miller would inspire - thanks for sharing these books. Love your tree love - indeed there can never be too much :) and of course your images are a delight. xox

  8. Ah LH you never dissappoint! Thanks for posting info on Henry Miller...I couldn't seem to find any pics of his work. It is wonderful! Love your photos!

  9. cyrus is wonderful. i lust
    for him....
    don't you just love spring ?

  10. I loved seeing Cyrus in prior to painting over him with all the magic that happens below. The tree shots are amazing!

    Hugs Patti

  11. I'm new to your blog. I love the fabric pages. I read how you make the beautiful muslin pages - but what's plaster cloth? The stuff for making casts? And what do you do with it on these pages.

  12. how i love these journeys you take me on..
    (finally there are plastercloth and muslin union pics up on my blog.. completely inspired by you!)

  13. I love the rusted perfectly placed key as well and the little cave you made for Q.Y. and the crystal. Your art is charmingly wonderful. I look forward to experiencing your canvas, I will attempt to be brave and not worry about the outcome. Yes! Paint as we like!

  14. I'm absolutely loving Henry and Cyrus and trees - and strangely enough - cans of spam.

  15. hi teri, yes, henry was in big sur for quite a while... he loved it! and i say, who wouldn't?! it's such a powerful and downright magical place... i agree - the rusty lid is out of this world... : )

    ha! kelly! right back atcha, you amazing artist you!

    hi b & w! smiling that you love henry's books too! so happy you liked this post... : )

    oh nicole, wouldn't you love to sit down and chat with henry - maybe do a little painting together? i feel like i would be so at home in his company... we would laugh! as for the top book, i've seen some sources in europe, so you should be able to find it somewhere (somewhat) close by. and yes, i did check out the blog on henry (wow!). i need to put it in my 'favorites' list so i remember to check up on it regularily. thank you again for inspiring me to investigate henry further! i had been meaning to do it about a year ago, but then it somehow got lost in everything else. obviously the time was right now, and it has been the most joyful gift to have his art and words come into my life... xo

    hi jacky, thank you... yes, i'm sure you and mrs. mizzle would be quite captivated by henry. ; )

    lol, cat, can there be a more perfect niche than that spam lid?! and here we are, painting as we like... : ) xo

    hi karen, thank you... yes, never too much tree love or painting as we like... xo

    janine, you will like henry for sure... did you see that you can 'look inside' one of the books on amazon? you can see some of his paintings that way... and thank you!

    hi kathy, yes i do love spring... : ) thank you about cyrus... xo

    thank you, patti!

    hi sherry, yes, plaster cloth is the stuff used for making casts. you can get it at michaels for about $10. i haven't used it in my muslin books (yet!), but i do make small 'canvases' with it by laying a couple of sheets of it on a piece of muslin. i add some pieces of paper on top of the plaster cloth for more texture, and then paint over it all. it's about the same thickness and stiffness as 300# watercolor paper. thank you for stopping by!

    ha, viv! and you are completely inspiring me! i'm already thinking about how i'll put it in my muslin journal... : ) always so glad to see you here...

    hee, tammie! yes, paint as you like! and if you don't like the results, hang it outside in the trees to express your tree love... : )

    lol, angela, this is the only time i've liked spam. ; )

  16. i just love your blog so much. so many nuggets, so much beauty. i love being here. sigh.♡

  17. How many different ways can I tell you that I love all your work and just adore coming to your blog? Well..... I do!!

  18. Hi Lynne,
    I like Cyrus (CAN-YOU-DIG-IT?), but I really like the pre-Cyrus page with the beautiful colors and the dug out parts.
    Oh, Mrs. Mizzle, I see the name and my heart freezes for a minute like if Mick Jagger walked into a crowded room and pretended like he didn't know me, even after our eyes met (well, he doesn't exactly know me, but you get the idea). Thank you for the Hunterwasser tip. I am enjoying looking at his art & his buildings. Off to check out Henry!
    Happy days, Joanie

  19. taking a bath with them! funny.
    i have to wai.t three weeks.

    your drawings are mystery exposing itself; and you Know i love the spam and key--perfect metaphor. Brilliantly arranged in your hand, eye.

    its beautiful here. (hope those delicate looking Pale sisters have sun block on . :)

    xo.excito blessings.

  20. Please pardon my ignorance but is this the same Henry Miller, writer of Tropic of Cancer?

    I thought those were your feet, after your walk, they are so cute.

    I always enjoy seeing what you have created next, always enjoyable.
    Amazing how the past generations castoffs can be so fascinating to us, as in the rusty can. I remember my grandma always saved those keys because back in the depression you didn't get one with each can, you had to reuse the one you had. Do they still make cans that you need a key to open? I wonder.....we got snow this week too.

  21. Oh Lynne! Thank you so much for sharing your artistic journeys with
    the world!!I came to your blog through Viv Bonders' blog..and I am in love with your wistful faces...I am in love with your plastercloth union pieces...I NEED to try this!!!
    I will be visiting your blog more often...thank you, and hugs from Australiaxxoo

  22. oh, julia! thank you for your nice words! i appreciate them and your coming here!

    thank you, erin. i feel the same about yours... : )

    manon, the way that you just said it is about as nice a way as i can imagine... xo

    lol, joanie... as i've written to you, i don't know the other cyrus (the warrior). this could be his quiet, distant cousin... and mick, yeah, well, that would be a heart stopper to have him pretend he didn't know you - mrs. mintalepek (i know that's misspelled) would not like that one bit. : )

    m., 3 weeks!! good heavens! as for the pale sisters, i think they probably have too much sunblock on!! xo exalted blessings!!

    hi jan, yes, it's one and the same... all through his writing years he was painting. painting was a sort of reward or 'treat' for him, although he studied other artists' work seriously. he was a true lover of art - heck, he was a true lover of life.

    i don't know if they still make the spam containers with keys or not. i'd be surprised if they did. i sure never knew that they didn't put them with every can during the depression. i wonder how they hooked the key into the metal strip on the cans that didn't have them?

    this week no snow! xo (lol, i just figured out what feet you're talking about! no, they're not mine... gorgeous though, aren't they? : )

    hi deb, thank you for your nice words! you have put a smile on my face!! yes, do try the plaster cloth and please come back! xo

  23. The rusty spam lid, with the key intact, is wonderful, and I keep going back to the stone in the tree with the blue heart. Your forest is so magical and you find and hide so many treasures there. And the waterfall... so lovely.
    The paintings merged together is very mysterious. Happy spring to you, dear one... I think tomorrow will be cold again. roxanne

  24. Love everything, as always!
    I'm *so* sending you some 3D canvases for your usage...as well as a few other goodies! Keep an eye on your mailbox soon!

  25. Hi Lynne

    Thank you for this link.. You'll laugh, just looked at Amazon £225 for a copy of the book... So I have ordered from the library the free versions, not a lot of choice but it's a start, the first one I had to have, can you guess why?

    Watercolors drawings, and his essay 'The angel is my watermark'.

    The happiest man alive :a biography of Henry Miller /by Mary V. Dearborn.

    The books in my life /Henry Miller.

    So I'm looking forward to getting them I hope that I wont have to wait too long before they arrive.. Hoping for a good New Year read.. Thank you once again ~ Julie.


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