Sunday, January 23, 2011

A New Direction, as Old as Time

This latest collage took a turn that's Southwestern or tribal or something; I've done a few of these o'er the years and attribute them to my Native American heritage. I'm not a Daughter of the American Revolution. No, we didn't come over on the Mayflower. We met the boat...... and paid dearly for our hospitality.......but I digress. I'll show you how this piece evolved over about 10 days.

I began by loosely painting a sanded birch board with gold, tan and beige thinned acrylics and then did the same on 4 small gallery wrapped canvases. Not sure at this point where we're heading, but collage always feels good when it's evolving.

With those dry, I pulled out a piece of cloth that I had painted a while back using bright acrylics. It's good to spend a day now and then just randomly painting, spattering, scribbling, and generally abusing cloth or papers for future use, and then it's like having your own specialty art store to browse in for beautiful collage media. I'll pull out a piece from long ago and say, "Oh wow! I wonder how I got that effect!"

As always, Marley was on the table beside me, helping, and the day I was working on the woven piece, made of strips I cut from handmade papers and later sprayed gold, my sister and I were talking on Skype with my netbook on the table as well. Obviously, my art doesn't require intense concentration.

Next came the white paper sculpture pieces, and I cut them out while watching TV with Marley on the recliner footrest. Each feather is one piece, and the big central, stringy piece is one sheet of paper. When Marley occasionally gets overcome with love and plops into my face for kisses, I try to incorporate whatever cuts result from the crash to make them look intentional, but his main contribution at this point is that he chewed up a whole cluster of feathers......That furry little critter is lucky I love him so much! It was his way of saying, "Mom, that feather cluster just wasn't working!" Good to have varied points of view.

Now the collage is taking shape, and I've got a clearer notion of what comes next. I pulled out the 3 found objects, that were pendants in another life, and thought they worked well.

I harvested the 5 sticks from the woods behind our house and varnished 3 of them, finally wrapping colored twine around the ends. The dark doorway on the third canvas is watercolor on heavy art paper.

Of course I made up a story about the meaning of my collage as I went, trying not to make the elements too blatantly symbolic or obvious in order to allow the viewer to create his or her own story about it.

Before attaching the papers, cloth, sticks and amulets, I glued the four canvases to the board, but it didn't feel stable, so Jim put in 8 long screws from the back for me. Now it's solid.

And that's our latest masterpiece. The flash makes it look a little glitzier than it actually is, but it's a chilly, gray, winter's day here. We're awfully glad you stopped by.
As ever,
cat & Marley

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