Thinking about my next project . . .

Yellow mushrooms found on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Arizona, while hiking in nature.

Mushrooms are a classic autumn subject!

Fall is not far away here in the high desert. Overnight temperatures are back in the 50s. The roadside is full of yellow and purple asters. And of course, the chamisa is starting to bloom.

One day while we were on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, the photography group headed out in search of bison. The buffalo were camera-shy that afternoon, so the photographers worked on creating abstract patterns with aspen trunks. In the meantime, I looked on the ground for inspiring plants and flowers.

Yellow, coral-shaped fungus or wild mushroom, found while hiking at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Arizona.

Does anyone know what species of fungus or mushroom this is? It resembles a sponge or coral.

The bright ochre yellow of these mushrooms and fungi really stood out against the detritus of the forest floor and the gray, drizzly skies!

Both of these would make exciting subjects for a botanical watercolor, don’t you think?

Meeting resistance as I start the Hello Soul, Hello Mantras e-course


Kelly Rae Roberts' mixed-media art class requires type, decorative paper and acrylic paints, among other supplies

Why you should never get rid of anything: Two years after getting rid of all kinds of “extraneous” art supplies, I’ve enrolled in a mixed media art class and need to go out and buy what I used to have! lol

Kelly Rae Roberts’ mixed-media painting e-course started officially yesterday, and already I am facing the challenge of internal resistance.

Two years ago I gave away all of my art supplies except for watercolor, inks, colored pencils and pastels in preparation for our big move to New Mexico. It was time to pare down, to fit my new and much smaller work space, to say goodbye to open options and hello to focus on one direction as an artist.

It was painful to get rid of drawers of beautiful papers collected slowly through the years, print ephemera and souvenirs like maps, matchbook covers, brochures gathered from every place we’ve lived or visited, jars of paint and odd tools purchased here and there on a whim.

But after giving it all away, I felt good. Clear. Open. Free.

And now I discovered I would need all of these things I gave away for this course.

Like all transitions, this one is painful.

The questions arise:

  • Do I really want to re-open my art practice to multiple expressions?
  • Should I really be spending all this money just to play and explore?
  • Last, but far from least: Where will I put all this stuff??? Yikes!

Groovy Link of the Month: Beatriz Milhazes at the Perez Art Museum Miami

Beatriz Milhazes, one of my very favorite contemporary artists, is being honored with her first US-museum career retrospective at the Perez Art Museum Miami. The exhibit is entitled “Beatriz Milhazes: Jardim Botânico” and runs Sept. 19, 2014 through Jan. 11, 2015. The works represent the full progression of her colorful abstract compositions from the organic, circular shapes based on textiles and flowers to her recent return to the formal grid.

Milhazes is a Carioca (native of Rio de Janeiro) who trained at the Parque Lage art school in the 1980s. Art runs in the family: Her mother was an art-history professor, while her sister is a choreographer with her own modern dance company (Beatriz has designed theatrical sets for the company’s performances.) Her artistic breakthrough came during a sojourn in Paris, where she discovered Matisse. The idea that painting could be decorative, colorful, and at the same time, rigorously abstract, set her free to develop her own approach to subject matter and style. Other artistic influences include Brazilian floral textiles and lace, the annual Carneval samba competitions at the Sambodromo in Rio, and most importantly, the city’s famed botanical gardens. Since graduating from art school, Milhazes has maintained a studio in a converted millworker’s house in the historic neighborhood bordering the Jardim Botânico.

Milhazes uses a form of decalcomania to create her large-scale abstractions. By pouring thin coats of liquid acrylics on plastic sheets, then scraping the dried paint shapes off the plastic and gluing them onto the canvas, she constructs her images in slightly tattered layers that reveal the colors below.

I first encountered her work in London, where Transport for London hosted an installation of her work titled “Peace and Love”  in the Gloucester Road Tube station in late 2005 and early 2006 as part of its Art on the Underground exhibit/installation series. Gloucester Road is the Tube station closest to the Victoria and Albert Museum. Getting on and off the train and seeing her colorful work really brought a lift to my spirits during the gray, cold London winter. I’ve been a fan ever since.


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