Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Starting a Series

5x7 daily collage

Maudeline Patterson was my home economics teacher in middle school and high school. She recognized my creative abilities early on and helped me learn whatever I needed, especially in sewing class. Miss Patterson was no fashion plate but she was interested in helping her students realize their fashion dreams. The only comment I remember disagreeing with her about was... "Martha, chartruese green and navy simply don't go together".


With my daily collages I'm turning toward home and homemaking as a series theme, at least for awhile. Although many artists have used the house shape in their art I will try not to look at too many pieces by others and simply see what I can do with a square or rectangle and a triangle. Maybe I can burn through my scrap paper backlog.

I've come to believe that working in series is the way to go. It narrows my focus and keeps me from jumping around so much. I have several series going and I jump around from one to another... home, trees, the garden, spiritual relationships and family are currents interests. 


It's hard for me to focus on just one theme.  One day I feel like doing something about "home" and the very next day I'm ready to draw some trees.  I know, they are all interrelated. And the truth of it is that I'm free to play around with any topic/theme that strikes my fancy, but more gets done when I focus on one or two topics at a time.

My friend Jane Dunnewold addresses the topic of focus in her December 1, 2010 blog post at Existential Neighborhood.  I'm so glad I read it.

Jane reminds me that I don't have to make a decision to do anything forever. I can build paper houses for a month. The next month I can play with circles. I know that my attention wanes at around 6 months. If I take that in consideration when I set my goals I can motivate myself to keep on keeping on with promises such as "if you work on building houses for the next 4 months then you get to paint flowers."  With a single focus I can dig deeper.


LK Ludwig is posting weekly holiday prompts on her blog The Poetic Eye this month with the theme of LIGHT. I urge you to read her post.

Light of the World will be my own theme. I'm already behind because my work day is almost over and I haven't started... but my plan is to make a journal that's devoted to the topic and finish a photo journal page most days during December, using my own photographs, of course.  That's do-able. And focusing on just this one thing leaves me room to enjoy this month of light, including a few minutes for my little daily collage.


  1. Nice post Jo. I always am torn between enjoying working in a series and wanting to experiment with wherever the moment takes me. But I agree with you that working in a series allows for so much more to get done and more depth to be reached. What a nice tribute to your home ec. teacher.

  2. I'm at a place where I want to go deeper with the content of my work, Robin, and probably you are, too. I've experimented a LOT with process and media and it's time to settle down more.
    I wish Miss Patterson was still alive so I could send her the collage. She died a few years ago. She was a very sweet and caring woman. I can still see and hear her laugh in my mind.

  3. Phew! you've a lot on the go or maybe it's because your more focused than I :-) Artist, Robert Burridge is a big fan of working in series as well, something I'm going to have to think about.

  4. or maybe, Bren, it's simply because you still have kids at home and I don't. My days are my own to organize as I see fit... well, to a point. I've taken a workshop from Bob and agree with his ideas of working in series. Many artists do that; others don't. Both work just fine.


I appreciate comments and questions.

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