Stretching For New Work

wash wax

‘Wash Wax at Michael McMillan’s House ‘ 20 x 16″ watercolor with collage


I’m really enjoying my new found love of collage. It seems to have set a fire under me that I would never have guessed would have happened. Combining watercolor and collage has proved a natural. Add to that some drawing, and voila

That brings me to thinking about how much things have changed for artists like myself over the years. I remember a time when we were told we should only focus on one media. Well, that’s out the window, thank goodness. With all the new materials available there are countless combinations and variations from which to choose. Happy experiments lead us down interesting paths sparking our sense of play.

Last weekend we stopped by a museum show in the North Bay featuring artist Evri Kwong, who has done some striking works combining his surreal landscapes, drawings with sharpies, and even some fabric. The pieces were exciting and inspirational.

kwongEvri Kwong, artist, courtesy Lannan Foundation

With a nod to traditional artists, I for one, am totally excited to see and experience these new ideas presenting in the world of art today. I can picture artists throwing off the old societal rules regarding “art,” and what it should be, and instead treating us to their personal artistic vision.


Art And That What We’d Rather Not Do

Return To Balance

I can’t think of one artist who would rather be attending to business than making art. Michael and I usually try to keep a couple of shows going throughout the year, but got slack in 2018. Thank the gods for Lauren’s Cafe in Boonville. Our friends Natalie and Lauren keep us in mind and slip us in here and there. We will be showing there for a quick month March 18-April 14.

Michael has been working on assemblages, and Susan is planning on debuting all works on paper. Above is one of those works, ‘Return to Balance.’

Feeling guilty about not getting a show calendar going, I did spend time updating our little website, linking to sales pages (feeling a bit sullied after that) and working on our monthly newsletter. Got to admit the newsletter is fun, probably because it is so visual. I even got links to the website, and Etsy (the sales pages) of to the right of this blog. Mailchimp sign up will actually take left-brain time, and my studio is calling…

Any artists who have conquered the business side of the studio, please let me know your secrets…

Show at Lauren’s March 18-April14—–Great Food—–Good Friends——Great Art




Not Too Serious…


The new year finds us zeroing in on  creating works that we enjoy. Assemblage is challenging and brings surprises in the process of creating, and we both love working the piece into something cohesive and true. Both Michael and I have talked about ‘lightening up’ in our work, not so easy when parts we employ are old and rusty…we are just not the plastic and bright color types. In an attempt to bring a little brevity to the studio, I started working on collaged bugs. And I am having fun…

My side of the studio has three work areas giving me the opportunity to work on two or three pieces at a time. I find I can really only have one of these pieces be an assemblage, the other one or two pieces are collages. And the bugs are a perfect break from the seriousness of the dark and mysterious assemblage corner. I can work from one piece to the next, keeping busy and not giving in to the artistic doldrums that pop up when I get a little stuck on the next step of the work in front of me.

I’m even  naming these bugs  to really keep things light-hearted. Above is ‘Riza‘, she is in a 16 x 20 studio mat and frame and will be heading to our show next month at Lauren’s Café in Boonville.



In its own existence

It would be extremely difficult to tell exactly how many practicing artists in the assemblage arts medium in the U.S. maybe 5,000.

If we take this arbitrary number and multiply it by a minimum of five works we begin to see the magnitude of the production of art assemblage each year. When this is multiplied over a period of five years the production becomes staggering and then we must focus on the problem of quantity-quality. The variations and diversity of expression found within this number of works is equally enormous, as each is a separate entity unto itself. Most of these assemblage art works will be insignificant and inferior works but many will be valid and exciting forms. The immediate problem is discerning the good from the bad, The collector of art is under constant bombardment and must ferret out what holds meaning for themselves.

voo doo                                          @Assemblage by Michael H. Wilson 2019

The goal toward which all our artistic endeavors make the connection. The task of art and the richness and poetry felt.

The task of the artist, the feeling of creating and finding the points of the compass to lead the artist to the way of things which radiate into your works. At first the artist must navigate through the array of finding things that will go into the final product. There is a wilderness of working through to finding the right components leading to a little star dust caught. Fragments of the detritus of everyday life. The identity of an object is challenged or elaborated in terms of interplay between reality and representation. Ultimately works can be reassembled, removed, a different order, shaken, tilted. The artist works to the artistic invention and imagination that the spectator might find meaning and even joy in these creations.collage 2                                               @ Collage by Susan Spencer 2019


New Watercolor “Half-Light”


“Half Light” available on our Etsy shop

For the past couple of weeks I have been toying with the idea of a larger watercolor based on a smaller study that I did earlier this year that was popular at the preview show Alexis Moyer and I did at her shop in October.

“Half-Light” reminds me of Carlos Casteneda’s theory that twilight is a time of magic moving over the landscape. Maybe a little “Starry Night” thrown in. Lol,  Don Juan meets Van Gogh…

It certainly was a fun piece to paint and has got me thinking I’d like to explore the subject even further. And it seems I am getting more and more colorful. These rainy days of January could use a little lightening up, huh?


Modern Runes by Susan


As a result of last year’s drawing group at our house and studios, Susan is enjoying working in mixed media on paper. Not only have these sessions opened doors to new art ideas, but the comradery between fellow artists is a major benefit.

Above, one of the new works, ‘Modern Runes’, is on display at Lauren’s in Boonville along with works by other members of the Anderson Valley Art Guild.

Modern Runes started with listening to Miles Davis playing jazz on the radio and exploring the play between abstract shapes and staccato images. The dreamy wanderings across the paper reminded me of ancient writings imagined against a midnight sky. It was finished quietly perched up in the studio where we can look out into the tops of the firs in the forest and meditate a little on our place in the universe.