New Work

February 10, 2023

When do you call it quits?

Relax! I'm not talking about no longer making art but when do you decide that a piece is not working/will NEVER work? When you do you pull the plug and say, "Nope. Not gonna happen!"?

This happened to me earlier this week.

Spontaneously, decided to jump on the Februllage Bandwagon. Given I am not a "collage artist" but more a "I use collage in my work" kinda artist, I'm not sure why. Because from what I've seen most who do this challenge are full-blown Collage (capital "C") Artists. 

And as an aside, I can only think these folks must have the same amount of space I give to assemblage stuff, to paper stuff...magazines and books and brochures and pamphlets. Or a really astonishing printer. (and if it is a printer? I wanna know what brand! cuz... uhm...YUM!)

Yah. So. Jumped in and the first few go okay. Until "cloth" which is an unmitigated disaster. I had chosen a photo I'd printed onto a piece of fabric (testing Golden's Digital Ground which I'm not even sure they make anymore, that's how long it's been kicking around). And while it was on "cloth" it wasn't about cloth and I started looking for a link, deep diving into vintage books with anything to do with "home" (image subject matter) and "cloth" (collage prompt).  And frankly? I lost my direction.

It. Was. Horrible.

It was so bad, I just gave up
And here's where I started thinking, but, why?
What was the tipping point?
Where was the line?

I mean, I'm a pretty stubborn person. I don't give up easily. If I read a book? I read the damn book. (I'm looking at you Kevin Smith)Surely this was redeemable?!?

And then the next day's prompt was "Cactus".

I didn't have any cactus imagery. I tried to print out some vintage botanical cactus illustrations. My printer sucks. They were unusable. So I went to some black and white silhouettes thinking I'd do a gel print. Yah. That sounded doable. Only they turned out, meh! as some gel prints are wont to do. And I was about ready to pull my hair out but from the previous day's disaster, I wasn't about to quit. Yet. So I tried to add some paint. And then some image transfers. And well... you look.

What a frickin mess! 

But something kept me going. And you know what? It came to me WHY the "cloth" piece got left behind and I kept trying with this one. The intention was good. Let me emphasize that:

The intention was Good.

The cloth piece didn't have a clear direction. My intention got lost and I just couldn't pick up the thread. Nor did I WANT to find it. It was worth ditching.  And y'know? I was perfectly fine giving up and calling  QUITSs on it.  (should've also done that on the Kevin Smith book FYI!!! there's two weeks of my life I'll nver get back!)

But this cactus one? Sure it was a mess. The gel print sucked. But the intention was still there. I felt I hadn't discovered all I needed to and it WAS redeemable. So I kept on.

And it worked! So if you happen to be at your wits end with a piece, ask yourself this question... Is it STILL true to where I wanted it to go? If it is? Figure it out. If it isn't, stop. You aren't a quitter. It just got away from you. And that's perfectly okay. Put it aside and start something new. And focus...REALLY focus... on what your intention is. Because that's where the magic lies. 

February 3, 2023

Collage material from your own hand

The other day I was sitting at my desk making some new collage bits out of old collage detritus and thought it might be  entertaining? helpful? inspirational? to do a bit of a deep dive into the Hows and Whys of creating your own collage fodder. 

Often I have sheets of paper I use for rolling off excess paint from gelprinting, unsuccessful prints or pieces that are left from other collage projects and I throw these into a box beside my work desk. Eventually though, I've pawed through them for the 1000th time and the inspiration has long since left the building and that's when I take a low energy day or am between projects or waiting for paint to dry (cuz sometimes you need to know when to STOP; another post for another day) and go through that box and thin things out. 

What gets chucked? Obvious garbage ...  hand ripped edges off a magazine photo, blank paper bits (which go into another box for notes),  book pages with no useable words. What remains are pieces that I can still use but have lost their charm and need some zzuzzhing up OR bits of tissue paper, maybe blank or maybe with some pattern from gel printing. And I grab my acrylic markers and Letraset and fineliners and have at it. I make patterns...stripes, circles, dots. I write lines I've loved from poems or quotes. I spatter. Sometimes I'll collage bits onto other bits.  Or I'll paint transparent layers over the existing pieces to change up the palette. When I'm done, I have a whole new-to-me set of collage materials. So often I'm inspired to start something with these newly created bits. Win win!

But why, you ask? Why would I take time to DO this? Why not just bin the works and start afresh? Besides the waste...  and, seriously, I have a hard enough time dealing with the garbage I DO create... it allows me to make my own marks which in turn makes my work more ME. Does that really make a difference? I think so. All you have to do is look at work that is created solely out of purchased materials (thinking Michaels here #sorrynotsorry). It can be lovely. But kinda soul less. If I paint some stripes or make some dots they are not going to look like the same stripes or dots that YOU make. Similar perhaps. But definitely not the same. If we both use pre-printed striped paper from a store, they are going to look exactly the same, even if we use them in different ways. The end result of creating your own marks in your own distinctive way is your art reflects YOUR style, becomes more YOU. And that is always a Good Thing. 

Here's a little  video I made, showing some of the collage material I made in my latest session. Enjoy!

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