Saturday, April 24, 2010

Water - Using photos in collage

Daily Collage

As I moved things around in the studio this morning, preparing to leave it for a few weeks, and thinking about all the photography I'll be doing while we're away, I had another AHA moment. I have hundreds of photos that I'll never put into an album, photos of moments that now mean nothing to me. Why not use a slice of that time in my collages, not in a scrapbookie way like pages that feature our loved ones, but simply as an element of a collage, either a focal point or simply a design feature. This is the first, using a slice of a photo of water at sunset and another of wave action. Let's see what I can develop from the idea. It probably won't happen while we're on our road trip, but at least the idea is percolating, waiting to develop or be discarded.

And of course this took a bit more than 5 minutes, but not much. What's interesting about these little daily collages is my thought process. I'm noticing that as I work quickly... hurry, hurry, get it done and scanned... I'm feeling an urge to move on, to get to the next creative thing. Isn't that the idea of a warm-up, to prepare me for the next thing, to scoot my dominate hemisphere over to the right where just working takes over and linear thinking gets quiet?

Do you read the comments on the blogs you follow? Sometimes that's the best part as iHanna commented on my last post regarding a mini conversation between Delwyn and me about postcard collages, and it's also a good way to find new blogs that will be of interest.

I'll try to blog from the road but don't be surprised if days pass without hearing from me. I'll be back.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Changing the Rules

Daily Collage

I'm changing my own rules. I'm allowed to do that, you know. 5 minutes doesn't give me enough time to think about what I'm doing and to gather the papers for the day. This one took 7 minutes and, while I'm happy with it, most days I find myself wanting more time. So I'm changing back to my old old rules and allowing 15 minutes for these little warmups that some days are the only art I produce. The pear is a copy of an old painting, (I printed contact sheets to use this way) and the strip at the top is a slice of another painting. I added a strip of fabric and the rest are from studio ephemera.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


 5 minute daily collage
One problem with working so quickly is that I don't take time to measure, to make sure that all the edges are square where it's appropriate, as here. I used a variety of papers, some handmade paper from years back, a paint chip, a stamp, a sliver from a copy of a painting, and a bit from a catalog. It took little time but I had to weight it in order to get the thicker handmade paper to stick to the card.

Monday, April 19, 2010


5 Minute Collage
5 x 7"

After many years with no piano in the house we bought a simple upright for our daughter when she was in high school and wanted to learn to play. One day after everyone had left me alone I sat down at the piano to see if I could still play. Reading the notes for the right hand didn't give me any problems except I was incredibly slow, but the bass! I could not read the bass notes. I had no idea where to put my left hand. I was clueless. Well, Mom, thanks for 7 years of piano lessons that I never wanted in the first place.
No, I didn't ask my daughter to show me, but when she'd had enough of the piano I didn't force her to stick with it. Our family had wasted enough money on lessons for a girl who learned to hate the piano because she was forced to play it and I wasn't about to repeat that mistake.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Women's Voices

5 minute Collage
Women's Voices
5 x 7"

This little collage was made from some vintage music sheets and the title was there on the index page so I went with it. Then as I worked my mind went back quite a few decades to my years of singing. No, I wasn't much good but Mother insisted on a variety of music lessons. I had a good enough voice to sing solos in church, and in several ensembles and choirs from about 5th grade through my sophomore year in college. One judge in a district vocal event described my attempt as "a pretty little chamber soprano".  I still like to sing but frequently get requests from my youngest granddaughter to be quiet. She's only 9 so she can get away with that sort of truth-telling.

I'm having a good time doing these quick collages, partly because I'm taking the time later in the day to look at what I put together and ask the "why" questions of myself. Why did I intuitively choose these colors, images, composition? And today, "what" entered the picture... "What memory is stirred by this work?" I like to write, so I like to add written bits to my collages or in a separate journal. This memory goes on the back of Women's Voices.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Campground Directory - Continued

These are offered as a sampling of the 24 pages in this book. Some images are appropriated from magazines but since this book is for private use and won't be sold I consider it allowable under the umbrella of collage. I'm pretty careful about not using other people's photos or art because I wouldn't want it done to me.  When the book is bound I'll  do a video if I have time next week.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Campground Directory - Sewn Art Journal

Last week I swore to myself that I'd post more often but finding the time to blog isn't my first priority. I'm starting to prepare for a 3 week road trip with my husband, and am starting to panic just a bit because I've done very little except research. Usually by now I'd have a packing list ready and at least one pile of clothes. Nada! I'll get to it next week when the deadline is looming larger.
One thing I have worked on for the past few days is a sewn journal that will be a gift for a special friend. It will have 24 pages with lots of room left for writing and photographs. Here are a few of the pages. They don't look very exciting yet but I still have many embellishments to add before I bind them. For instance, on this page (below) I didn't leave room for writing so I'll figure out a way to add a journaling spot, other than the orange in the upper right hand corner. The page above has two spaces for writing or adding a photo.
The pages of my book are made of all sorts of papers: scrapbooking paper, ledger paper, security envelopes turned inside out, menus, painted washi, magazines, children's books, art showing announcement cards, color copies of my journal pages, wallpaper, book pages, masking tape, and many others. The featured photo above is a print on matte photo paper of a plant we once saw in Arizona.

This page also has room to write. The red band is sewn only at the edges so an narrow envelope or  paper or a photo can be slipped under the band.
I've been tearing old magazines apart, as here with a bit of an art doll from one magazine hiding behind a brick wall from an interiors magazine and the word which I hope will prompt some writing about surface. The brick wall is actually a flap which is lined with card stock for stability. The writer can add a comment on the back side of the wall.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Learning to See

Learning to See
Daily 5x7 Collage
I'm trying my best to grab the first bits of paper that come to hand and make a collage out of them, teaching myself to work intuitively with what's available and create something in about 5 minutes. These bits have meaning for me; there's a story there about learning new things.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Address: "City"

Daily Collage
When I was growing up, before zip codes, an invitation or note written to someone who lived in the same town was addressed, "city" instead of writing out Small Town, Arkansas. In fact, we didn't put a street address on the letter, either, because, being a town of only 2500 souls, the postmaster and delivery person knew exactly where each family lived.  My father wore a hat just like this one every day, whether to work, to church, or to visit a neighbor. He wasn't dressing up; that's just the way it was. Most men wore Fedoras or cowboy hats and most boys wore baseball caps, turned the right way round with the bill in front.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

A Collage a Day as warmup for working

35" X 30"
In 1994 I took a Mixed Media Quilt workshop from Joan Schulze at Arrowmont in Gatlinburg, TN. In an intensive 2 weeks I learned to be a collage artist although I thought I was just taking another quilt workshop. At the time I didn’t know that I was learning how to see and how to approach a subject but over the years since then I’ve used what she taught me in just about everything art project I tackle.

Joan taught me to go on a photo safari, to find one thing that’s interesting and explore that one thing from every angle and then to apply what I learned to design a piece of art. We learned some great techniques including acrylic transfers and monotype which I’ve used over and over.
The brooms quilt started with a series of photos of a rack of handmade straw brooms and the detail a transfer of the key photograph. Other images and designs in the quilt are based on the linear pattern of the straws, the bindings, the marks the end of the broom would make in dust. Once I made a big collection of images on fabric I cut and tore the fabric to form the quilt.

Some of Joan's good advice I’ve followed, some, not so much. I’m just now re-reading old notes… Joan said “Every evening write what my day was about, goals for tomorrow, ideas generated. Write poems.”

Well, let me tell you that poetry and I don’t mix, and as for being disciplined enough to write about each day at the end of the day, forgetaboutit. She said “don’t resist change”. I’m resisting discipline, but I can change. I know I can.

All that came into my conscious because I wanted to tell you about a habit I developed because she told us about her own daily collage practice. At the time Joan kept a small area of her studio set aside and set up for making small collages as a way to start the day, to encourage creativity. I do that for awhile and then lose interest for awhile but I always come back to the practice, and today I started again.

I found a bunch of heavy paper torn to 5x7” and a box to put them in. I’ve set up a place on my studio counter with the box, a glue stick, an old phone book that I’ll glue on top of, and a box of my collage compost, mostly scraps. In the first 5 minutes I made a little collage and then I grabbed a small book I recently made from a failed watercolor and made another 5 minute collage in that. I’ll switch back and forth between the book and the single sheets for awhile until I figure out my favorite.

Maybe you would like to start your own daily warm-up, and then download a summary of your day and plans for tomorrow, either to paper or computer, or maybe on the back of the morning’s collage. Now that’s an idea!
You can read an article I wrote about collage here or link from my sidebar on the right under Articles.
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