The above images should be clickable for a better look.
They are about 10" x 10", photos, text, and transparent deli wrap!
For a long time now, on and off, I have wanted to use my own photos in my artwork. I just couldn't see how to do it. I have tried using them for reference material when developing shapes for my abstract collages and of course I used them very literally when I was painting landscapes. These ways were pretty unsatisfactory, however. So, I put the idea aside.
I suppose that the right moment and idea must present themselves and that one has to wait patiently for that to happen. I have seen work over the years that seems to use actual photos with other ephemera rather successfully. Taking those ideas as the basis for your own interpretations could be a gateway in to doing something different. So, that is what I did. I started with the Barbie piece shown in the lower right corner. That is my own photo of my own Barbie doll. Those photos shown on the borders are from my high school yearbook. I like the piece a lot though poor Barbie seems to not have an outfit, as improbable as that may seem. From this piece, sprang the others.
My idea was to use images of people, of places, and of things. I wanted some blurred backgrounds and some crisp closeups to play with perspective. I wanted to layer some transparent printed papers (the deli wrap) to enhance colors and to present layering. I also wanted to bring together nature, (both people and other creatures), science and the numinous (spiritual).
For the piece in the lower left corner, I wrote my own love letter from the woman to the man that I imagined she was waiting for. The bottom middle piece is another love story founded on a poem in the public domain. The top middle piece is about the book called The Electricity of All Living Things, by Katherine May. And the piece in the far left upper corner, called Rachel, is about Rachel Carson, the late writer, naturalist and biologist. Except for the Barbie piece, all of the backgrounds shown are my own photos. The flower images (vertical borders) are mine as well. The people and animals are all images from my own books or from online (from the public domain). I used just three colors of copy paper and some brown "cardstock". I also used the white semi transparent deli paper (both undyed and tea stained) as well as a brown coffee filter that I printed the electrical equation on. I used colored pencils to enhance some of the black and white images.
This is about as "mixed media" as I get. I am very pleased with myself for having tried something new. I am a real stick in the mud about things so this was a big leap. I like the ideas and effects. I would also add that I abandoned all remaining notions of using "neutral" colors. What a bunch of nonsense that is. I really want to emphasize this. All color, even white and black, has something to it: under color (red, yellow, or blue), contrast (dark or light), temperature, and chroma (how saturated the color is). And these are all relative things meaning that once you start to mix and match, things can change. Neutral indeed!
Lastly, I really want to recommend a book that I am reading. It's called Always, Rachel: The Letters of Rachel Carson and Dorothy Freeman edited by Martha Freeman. It's been a rather profound awakening for me. That two people could love each other so deeply AND be able to express that love fully in person and via letters is a real miracle. It's extra incredible because they are women (one of whom was married). And it's the 50's. And did I mention those letters? Wow. At times, it feels very voyeuristic, as if you are reading something incredibly private though the letters are simply intimate in a non sexual way. And at first it was difficult for me, a heterosexual woman, to understand. Were these ladies lesbians? What category did they fall into? I thought of myself too as very accepting of many types of relationships so what was my question exactly? It didn't take long to adjust my thinking, however. There is no category except that which describes two human beings that love each other deeply and express that love over and over again. The details don't matter, just the love. I am new to reading epistolary writing so it's an adjustment to read someone else's thoughts. As I said, it feels like an intrusion. But so far, the reading has been a wonderful lesson for me. It's never too late to expand your thinking. And how dare anyone rush to judgement concerning another human being. How ungenerous and unkind we can be. Now, go read that book and be transformed!
Alright, as always, email if you have thoughts.