Art at Liberty

Monterey County Open Studio Tour this weekend and the next!
September 20, 2016, 12:53 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Come out and visit my studio at Sleeping Dog Ranch where I train and paint my horses. I’ll show how I work with them to fully participate in the process “at liberty.” I’ll also fire up the laser cutter to demonstrate how I create my “relief paintings.” Make your own relief print! All the materials you’ll need will be provided. I’ll also be hosting fabulous felter Susan Shirley of Mosshollow Hill. Come learn how to felt with her! Click here for Susan’s website: Mosshollow Hill. And just up the hill my neighbor Laurie will have her metal arts studio open. Click here for Laurie’s website: Rizingemstar. Try your hand at metal stamping!

Added bonus: Photo ops with my emu Amaroo and mini donkeys!

For map and more information, click here: MoCo Open Studio Tour


April 21, 2015, 8:12 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized


And here’s the proof…an open studio tour! Won’t be at our place since we don’t live in San Benito County, but we’ll be hosted by an artist’s studio/farm that is.

Thought we’d dive in and see if we can get this project going again. Yes! A live demo. Everything could go wrong…or right.

Still Hanging On, a Cephalopumpkin in the Meantime
October 28, 2012, 11:35 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Granted, not a lot of action here for a while, but the project is alive–just on a bit of a hiatus. Although the herd is getting rather fuzzy with the season, hope to get back to the bodywork soon!

In the meantime, I played with another seasonal medium recently.

This Blog Is “Not Dead”!
February 22, 2012, 10:09 am
Filed under: Experiementations, Fibers, Uncategorized

It’s actually feeling “quite better” thank you.

Currycombed colors. Musing felting and the inherent flexibility of a living canvas and performing mental concoctions of natural glues. More to come soon, so please stay tuned!

Experimentation with Clay (011012)
January 10, 2012, 8:33 pm
Filed under: Clay, Training, Uncategorized

The last two days of 2011 allowed me a bit of time to get out and experiment. I’ve decided to test clay! All I can say is that I’m very, very pleased with what I experienced and really look forward to the next session.

Although I still plan to work more with mud (and various natural additives that I’m still researching), I picked up a 50 pound block of light colored clay to use on Miró, the bay. I was curious how it would work differently than mud (although, technically one could say it is mud.) I picked up a darker clay for the second day and used it on the lighter colored horses Casino and Bucko.

I mixed it with water to create a slip-like consistency.

Then I grabbed a brush, told Miro what I was doing (yes, I do this), and started exploring her coat pattern.

Using the brush ever so lightly, I applied the slip to the only the longest, highest lying hairs.

Then I just fiddled around with a few tests.

I have some ideas for future applications, so I tested one of them using a guinea hen feather. Not particularly pretty, but successful enough to give me hope.

According to my rules for this project, I want whatever I’m working with to come off easily and naturally either by movement or the horse rolling and rubbing. So after a bit dried I tried scratching it off. It left a ghost image, but the majority did scrape off. I’m showing photos of what some of these areas looked like the next day toward the end of this post.

I grabbed the darker clay, called Dark Brown, to use on Casino and Bucko. Here I explored how the edge works on the lower part of a solid patch.

And here’s the upper edge. With the horses in their winter coats, there is quite a difference.

I’m intrigued by the white line that shows up on some of these patches–simply cleaner hairs being exposed by pushing down other hairs.

Here I explored gradation, fading the dark into light.

I’m becoming intrigued with line qualities–especially with their furry winter coats. Here I try for the crispest, thinnest line possible. Again, the white halo appears.

Another line study, one I particularly like due to the hairs’ response to go all squiggly and appear “flowing.”

Yet another line study, working with Casino’s mane as it was lying there.

I moved to Casino’s flank area, and, as I did with Miró, explored the hair patterns and found this ginko-like shape.

Which I also explored on Bucko.

Here I show how I make this interaction rewarding for my canvases. I intermittently flip the brush over and do some scratching on the withers or tail. Sometimes I’ll simply use my hand to massage the chest, side of the face or other areas. I find that if they start moving around a bit while I paint (often when they finish up the bit of hay I usually start the sessions with), all it takes is a bit of this and they relax and decide to stick around. Like I said in my rules–this has to be something they enjoy or are willing to participate in without restraint. Sometimes I will use more formal cues (like Hold), if I need a bit more steadiness on their part, but most of the time it’s more relaxed, with me following them when they take a step or two. If they decide to leave me entirely, then the session’s over (basically I haven’t done my job convincing them to stick around, either for entertainment or companionship!)

In case you were wondering if I have a plan for those little daily sketches I do, well…yes. Here’s the first attempt of executing the sketch from December 12, 2011, called “Stretched I.” I think it’s an idea I’ll continue to explore. Here I tested doing a large solid area.

Here I reapplied the slip several times, filling in the gaps as they appeared as Casino breathed. Interestingly, the pelt was never saturated to the skin, rather lying more on the surface with an airpocket below.

Here I experimented with lifting the lower edge for a more sculptural effect. From a training perspective, I was very pleased while working in this area. It is a particularly sensitive area in horses, so the manner in which I was working was either not irritating enough for Casino to leave or (I’m hoping) somewhat even pleasurable.

Okay, I just had to include this one. My daughter Sommer likes to do things I do, so wanted to work on Bucko (her “pony” and I don’t dare call him otherwise else face her wrath). Please don’t ask me why she has no shirt. She’s a free spirit with a mind of her own. Luckily it was a warm day.

More exploration in the sculptural effects possible. An acorn!

There are a number of questions I want to explore with the clay. How sculptural can I get it? What is the thinnest line achievable? How can I work with different levels of moisture? How does the rate of drying affect the texture? Once dry, can I scratch back into it and have the image hold for a bit? Alas, so many ideas, so little time.

The next day, I checked how the clay adhered. My Project Rules indicate that whatever materials I work with are removable by the horse and do no harm. I was pleased to see the next day that, although faint ghost images remained, the majority of clay had either been rubbed off or simply flaked off on its own.

Here’s the acorn the next day:

And other areas:

The solid patch with a powder-like effect remaining. I was able to easily brush this away.

Somewhere in the pasture lies a guinea hen feather, with only it’s outline remaining on Miro.

Here are a few shots of me wrangling my “wild” mustang Casino after finishing with the painting, rewarding him for a great session.

Here’s a closeup to show just how deep into his ears he allows me to massage. Actually, “allows” isn’t exactly the right term…he begs for this!

These sessions were both fun and fascinating. I’ve never really looked at the hair patterns on my horses before. They are quite beautiful, with both similarities and differences among the three. I am intrigued with the textural possibilities with the clay, and now want to look for other shades, particularly as dark, perhaps even black, as possible (“Dark Brown” wasn’t as dark as I had hoped.)

I hoping to have a nice long session this coming Sunday. Now off to scan my daily sketches, which I’m very behind in posting.

Herdmember 38 (123111)
December 31, 2011, 8:00 am
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Goodbye 2011

Herdmember 37 (123011)
December 30, 2011, 8:06 pm
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Missing Pieces

Herdmember 36 (122911)
December 29, 2011, 10:53 pm
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Herdmember 35 (122811)
December 29, 2011, 10:50 pm
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Mesh I

Herdmember 34 (122711)
December 29, 2011, 10:47 pm
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Roots I