After living the good life as the first child of parents who had all but given up hope for a family my brother arrived and messed up everything. Little Jo's expression says it all... not only did I have to share my parents who spoiled me rotten but I had hold him for a photo even when he didn't smell so good! The expression on her face makes me think that she has a couple of evil thoughts chasing one another around her brain.
I'm having such fun with Little Jo and plan to milk the idea for all it's worth. I printed a bunch of copies of the 2 pictures and cut them out by hand so I have a collection of Little Jo photos in several sizes. I'll scan more photos and do the same so I have a variety of poses from which to choose.
One of the joys of collage is that the artist gets to move color around and change it up at will, and that's true of cut out images, too. These little girl bits take me back to the days of paper dolls who lived in a cigar box along with their clothes, waiting for me to play whenever I wanted.
Using an image such as this provides an immediate and obvious focal point for a collage, an element that's quite easy to overlook but very important to the finished work. It doesn't have to be a person or an animal. It could be a flower, a symbol, an area of strong contrast of light and dark, or simply something that's different than the background. Like the photographs in my Oregon sketchbook where the contrast was an extension of the landscape which was rendered in pencil or watercolor. Look at the Slide in my sidebar to see the sketchbook photos to which I'm referring.
No, there's no deep meaning in the name. It's easiest to keep track of pieces by naming the individual "Little Jo" pieces as they relate to whatever else is going on within the piece; circles seems to be as good as anything else I could think up. Naming works of art is Not my thing. I could go with numbers that relate to the date but that doesn't really tell me anything except when it was created and that means nothing to either you or me.
There's something about this photograph that appeals to me and I intend to use it for several of my daily collages as sort of a self portrait, though my dad took the picture when I was only three years old. There are a couple of other useful photos in my collection of childhood snapshots, taken with his old bellows camera.
While many artists prefer to make digital collages, I find more satisfaction in working with scissors and glue, getting sticky fingers and coming up with even more ideas as I work quietly at my table.
For me, hands-on making will always be my choice route to finished work, though I also intend to send myself to my own home-school, sitting at the computer to study Photoshop. I've taken 3 PS workshops but my mind doesn't want to retain what I learn and I forget the information somewhere between the classroom and my garage. Layers, lasso tools, and palette wells are just so much noise to my right brain, but I do want to develop a firm working knowledge of the program because I see many ways it would be useful to me as I work with my photographs.
My parents were school teachers during the start of the Great Depression. One day they came home from school to find that their home had been burned to the ground along with all their possessions except for a quilte and a pillow that a neighbor had snatched through a window. What to do? Three of her 6 brothers lived in Pennsylvania and NYC and they invited them to come north as soon as the school year ended and they'd have work for them. One uncle owned a drugstore which had a tiny apartment upstairs so that's where Mom and Dad lived for 3 years while slowly accummulating a nest egg. Mother worked behind the counter, dressed in her white uniform while Dad went on the road, cleaning money out of penny machines, another of the brother's sidelines. Once they had enough money to buy another home they headed home to Arkansas.
Mother always said that every room needed a bit of red.
I've decided to work within a series called Dwelling which includes these little house collages but it could be lots of things down the road. I do like working in series especially with my small collages in order to develop ideas for larger works either on paper or canvas.
I've had little time for art making recently but did have a few relaxing minutes last night when I could just sit and play with paper and glue. These two little collages are the result. I'm allowing myself to make my daily collages in a different size, 5x5", because I was getting tired of working in the same format over and over.
I'm considering offering some of my little daily collages for sale here on my blog, perhaps priced at around $30. What do you think? Is there a market? Would you be interested? Would you buy one as a gift or for yourself? Would etsy.com be a better venue? What's been your experience with online selling? I value your comments and advice.
I spent an hour this morning making 2 new studio journals for the coming year. These are made from cardstock or index weight paper, 8.5 x 11. None of the papers are white, to avoid the blank white paper syndrome we creative types sometimes face. I used 30 sheets of paper in each journal so it's half an inch thick and not too heavy to carry around.
I used my RubiCoil to punch holes in the paper as well as along one side of some painted and stenciled paper which is the cover. The 140# watercolor paper isn't sturdy enough so I sewed another sheet to the inside cover and added some gray ribbon along the edges, and I sewed some woven, patterned ribbon across the width to give some character and texture to the piece.
Although you can't see the three index tabs along the edge in this scan, the photo below will give you an idea. The tabs are attached to some heavyweight card and were originally used in a vintage file box that I found in a junk store
... so then I had to make a second journal and used the same woven ribbon plus another narrow orange and yellow ribbon for accent. I'm sure I'll fill both of these this year, and maybe others. It would be most efficient to make several at once while I have the tools out but there's something about binding the journals that encourages me to get to work in them right away so I'm anxious to get to work.
These journals will contain mostly notes, plans, thumbnail sketches, and ideas for future work. I don't use this as an art journal which one would fill the pages with beautiful paintings or collages. I have other journals for that.
I work in several journals and sketchbooks at a time and use several sizes. I carry a little Moleskine sketchbook in my handbag for drawings and notes when I'm out an about. And I usually have half a dozen art journals floating around the studio. I keep 2 in my journal case that's really an outfitted vintage train case. The rest stand on my desk in the studio waiting for me to be inspired to work in them.
I headed to the beach last weekend hoping to get some future planning done but somewhere I caught a case of the lazys and spent most of my time reading or walking... mostly sitting and reading. Now I'm still thinking about plans for the year and feeling guilty that I have't got anything onto paper. In the last day or two I read someones's blog where she talked about how most of us think we must have our plans made by January 1? She looks at it differently; she sets aside most of January to plan the rest of the year. (I'm so sorry I didn't make a note of which blog or I'd have linked to her post.)
Oh my, did that ever hit home with me! I have NO time in December to make plans and I sure can't use the week between Christmas and New Years to plan, nor can I get it done on New Years Day like my friend Linda does. Whew! What a weight off my back. I have until February 1st before I need to feel guilty about not getting plans on paper, though perhaps this afternoon I can draw a big mind map of 2011 on the first 2 pages of my new journal.
Several blog writers have chosen a word for the year and as I've thought about this and about resolutions and goals for a brand new year I decided that neither resolutions or a long list of goals have ever worked well for me and probably won't this year either.
Instead I will focus on the positive in a different way, by keeping a list of accomplishments.
Why accomplishments instead of recording what happened each day? Because at the end of the year I rarely can tell you what I accomplished during the year. I simply forget. And because my memory isn't a steel trap I tend to belittle my achievements when the truth of the matter is that I get a lot done most days, though it's not necessarily art making.
I USE my life, yet if you ask me what I've been doing I have to struggle to tell you. I'll probably say something like, "oh, just some work in the studio", or "got some weeding done in the garden".
One woman I know says, "Oh you, know, just doing what I do". Doesn't that sound a bit arrogant? If people ask what you've been doing it means they're interested, so tell them. (I'm allowed to rant a bit; it's my blog!)
So this morning I decided to use my little red book, a 2010 daily diary from Moleskine, to record my accomplishments as I finish each task.
Here it is January 5 and I've already forgotten some of the things I did 3 days ago because I didn't write them down upon completion, except that I finished a chenille pilllow, lengthened our Christmas tablecloth, learned to use my mat cutter and cut 4 mats and framed 4 prints. I didn't add reading, cooking, sweeping, thinking, or TV watching.
Rewards for accomplishment is a good thing but I think that the writing in the red book will be a sort of reward in itself, or maybe after each 10 things I'll ask my husband to pat me on the back and give me an "atta girl". This could be fun.
And maybe next December I'll be able to list 100 things I did in 2011.