What If? #1
16" x 20" painted paper collage
What If? #2
16" x 20" painted paper collage
I'd like to start with the photographs. It's literally been years since I had such ease in obtaining mostly clear images of my artwork. For a long time I used a small Cannon pocket camera that I really liked. The results were good too. Then my husband, who was trying to help, bought me a larger and fancier camera. Suffice to say that it was just a little too much for me. From what I can understand, many of my photos were just "noisy" or they basically let in too much light for the camera, creating fuzzy images. I never really got a handle on all of the variables. I started taking images with my i phone with mixed results. I just never had the right location or time of day it seems for the photos to come out well. They were better though than the fancy camera. Finally, I determined that the light from the windows was an issue. I found a spot in my home where the blind is closed but the ambient light in the room is still good and not direct. The photos above took me all of ten minutes to take, process, and post. This is some kind of miracle for me. Let us pray.
Now, the artwork. I wrote last month about using larger "blocks" of colored shapes right at the very beginning and really, throughout most of the piece. It's very easy to start out with too small of a piece or pieces and before you know it, you are trying to cover the board with a bunch of little fiddley pieces. This results, in my opinion, in a very confusing and busy kind of collage. (I know this to be true because I have done it lots of times!) I liken this to selecting an outfit. More is not better and less can sometimes not be enough. If you have a stunningly simple cocktail dress for example, don't pile on the jewelry or confuse things with a loud scarf or muddy the waters with complicated shoes and stockings. Just let that dress shine! Art making is the same way. I learn this every time, by the way, and first learned the idea from my Elements of Style book. (Thank you Strunk and White!)
The upshot here is that I am pleased with these pieces. I like the idea of them. They are structures to me; puzzles I would say. I was a little stuck with the first piece though and was kind of flailing around with different solutions. nothing was working. (I call that process being in The Land of Bad Decisions.) I saw that polka dot paper out of the corner of my eye and thought, "Why not?" I have shied away from using preprinted paper in my work. It never seems to fit somehow. This time though I think it works.
I am pleased that I have two finished pieces this month. I had the second board all prepared so that when I finished the first piece, I could start right away on the second one. (This is sort of what I think chain smoking must be like.) Though I haven't really connected with any big "internal" ideas, I did some work this month and that feels good. So, on to next month I guess.
Alright, thanks for reading along, if you got this far. Let me know what you think!
Up, Down, All Around
16" x 20"
painted paper collage on matboard
The above piece was actually finished mid June. It's my only piece for this month. I stopped panicking awhile ago about my lack of productivity. I have accepted the fact that right now, this is the level of my artistic output.
I did have an idea in mind though when I started the collage. I really wanted to get back to larger areas of "color block" type shapes. So, less detail, larger shapes, and an emphasis on the colors rather than the content or "narrative". I had a piece like this in mind. It's fun to just grab shapes out of my paper stacks and see what goes with what. It's like doing a puzzle, asking yourself which piece fits where. And visually, you are scanning all of the scraps for what might work together. This constant asking of questions helps me stay connected to my ideas about art making, my techniques and thoughts on design. And even after not being incredibly in touch with those things for quite awhile now, it's nice to know that they are still there and available.
I did do a few things in June that I would like to share. I went hiking twice to Big Trees State Park in Arnold. (Photos upper right and lower left.) I took my kayak out on Lake Hogan (upper left pic) and then on Schaads Reservoir (lower right pic). The places mentioned are all within an hour's drive of my home. They are beautiful spots year round, each with their own charms. I feel incredibly fortunate.
On a more personal note, I have been trying out different prescription medications for my IBS. The one I am currently taking has been working for a little over a week now. It feels great to be able to leave my home without too much issue and to resume some normal activities. I can't begin to describe the unhappiness that descended upon me when I was struggling so much to deal with what was happening. I can't say (or trust) that things are fixed but it's a start at least in the right direction.
Lastly, I want to mention Instagram. I understand that the platform is moving towards a video-centric way of sharing stories and images. They are moving away from "static" pictures (my term). I gathered this was a permanent, forward thinking kind of business move. I think it is bullshit. I support each business's right to run their own show but I have had enough. (And if I am wrong about what they are doing go ahead and correct me. I only read so far.) I have followed along with the changes on FB and IG as well as possible. I am going no further this time. I feel strongly that I am tired of being led around. I am an individual. A real person. I am sick of being told what to do and how to do it and that if I don't follow along I am old and "not with it". Well, fuck that. I can't abandon FB because I depend on the groups I belong to for fire information in my community. IG is a different story. I am not sure what I am going to do about IG. I am just irritated at having my communication shaped by the Mark Zuckerbergs of this world.
With that said, I encourage you to email me if you would like to communicate. You can do that this way: firstname.lastname@example.org Additionally, you can subscribe to this newsletter. Email me for that too or sign up on the home page. Whatever you choose, I want to hear from you. I know how to use email and do blog posts and can probably learn some other shit too. And if you are on IG and FB I am not saying that isn't smart. Good for you. Manage your own life the way you see fit. It's just not making me happy right now.
Well. Thanks for reading. It's been a real pleasure!