Flowers – the Art Elements theme challenge for July

I left for Wales as the month began… on a trip with family that was part heritage tour and part vacation. ( In depth Wales posts are coming shortly.) I kept flowers in my mind as I was touring castles, exploring old seaside villages, hiking in the national parks…. It was an amazing transformative trip, and I will be feeling and seeing the creative effects of it for a long time coming.

But after returning home, and catching up on sleep, laundry, household chores… there was very little of July left for me. I offer you some works in progress for this month – inspired by the theme.

The first showcases these vintage glass pieces. I do not know anything about their original purpose – but when I saw them – I saw frames. ( Sadly there was a blue one too. The set of 4 made me think – 4 elements. I was only able to procure these three.) They have no holes or fasteners/bails of any kind. What do you think they were?

After sorting through many folders of vintage and antique papers ( did you see my post on my paper class with Keith LoBue?) I found some images in the right scale. Two were antique cigarette cards, the other an image from children’s illustrated encyclopedia. ( Yes – mine form my early childhood) I added gesso to the images outside the window area to cloud the colors – I didn’t want them showing through the glass.

Above you can see the copper piece engineered to fit the glass. I had not picked up the jewelry saw in months? a year? and it was so wonderful to be back at the bench pin! Below you can see the piece assembled – well, how it will be.

Currently – the images are drying – a coat of Diamond glaze to protect them. And the copper is in the tumbler – left bright, no patina. I plan to add 3 jump rings from the top arch/bail to add the connection point, and a little movement.

These pieces – when done – will be available for purchase at Bead Fest!

I have missed seed beading in all my travels this month – so I prepared a bead piece, wanting to sit and chill and bead. Well, you can see how far I got:

Labradorite and Lisa Peters cab. Waiting patiently on the bead table.

I hope you have had a wonderful July – whether you traveled or not…

For now – please enjoy a bit of armchair travel as you visit the blogs of my team mates and our guests. Thank you Marsha for a fertile theme, where I am sure many ideas have taken root !

Here is a list of our Visiting Artists:
Alysen
Cat
Divya
Evie and Beth
Jill
Hope
Kathy
Linda
Louise
Martha
Melissa
Michelle
Rozantia
Sarah
Sarajo
Tammy

And our Art Elements Blog Contributors:
Caroline
Cathy
Claire
Jenny ( you are here)
Laney
Lesley
Marsha
Susan

A to Z: Collage

1. a : an artistic composition made of various materials (as paper, cloth, or wood) glued on a surface b : a creative work that resembles such a composition in incorporating various materials or elements 
   2
: the art of making collages
   3
: hodgepodge <a collage of ideas>
Collage. From the French “coller” – meaning glue. 
Braques. Picasso. Schwitters. Matisse. Rauschemburg. Bearden. Nick Bantock. Joseph Cornell. Lenore Tawney. Kara Walker. 
When I was teaching middle school – I always taught a Matisse inspired collage project, it was one of my favorites.  In poor health, and advancing years – Matisse leapt artistically into collage – “drawing with scissors” as he called it. And while my style of working with “various materials glued to a surface” is very different – this picture brings me happiness and inspiration without fail!
Matisse
So I am working on new collages for an upcoming show… and began documenting the process this (oops. last) week. Before I begin the actual collage, there are sketches, research, reading, themes, symbols… I am currently doing a series of 9 small (8″ ) pieces. They will hang as a unit – and are thematically related – the Muses of Classical myth. During the research phase, I hunted for images of each Muse. I like to incorporate found images – providing they are free of copyright restrictions… I want to work with the Muses as they have come down to me through art, history, and culture. They are not my original construct, and I want to acknowledge their classical context via found images. I am one of a long line of artists representing the Muses – for thousands of years… 
The images have been photocopied, and transferred to canvas or paper. While I like to use found images I always alter them to make them my own. I feel they need to have the marks of my process on them; and I find a copied image too perfect; sterile. The transfer process is by its very nature imperfect, and I work back into the image with ink, paint, pencil…
So starting out, I create a composition with large background sections of paper/color. This series is unusual for me. I am trying to create a cohesive composition overall, yet have each small canvas read well individually. 


 Collage layout

Collage layout 2

When I am happy with the interplay of color, texture and pattern, I trim the papers and tweak the arrangements. I will be collaging the sides of the canvases to cover the canvas and eliminate the need for frames. The canvas transfers are very hazy with paper residue at this point; they will be cleared up and enhanced soon. 

Collage layout refined

The following shots show the  series at approximately 65% complete. I have glued the base layers down. I use a mix of 50% PVA archival glue and 50% Jo-Sonja’s medium. The Jo-Sonja’s is very thin and permeates the paper well. I have glued down the focal images of the Muses. The canvas images have been accented with washed of ink and/or acrylic. I deepen the background with color to create interest and more contrast on the image. I have also begun to add additional papers into the compositions – fibers, patterns… and supplemental images transferred on as well. 

midway

The next picture shows you a detail of one 8″ collage. The yellow cording is antique, and will be stitched through the canvas where you see it tacked down now. The lyre image was transferred into mulberry paper – which goes almost transparent when collaged on with Jo Sonja’s medium. Allows me to “print” right on the collage surface. 

Muse in progress 1

Another detail: stitching to be done, antique lace medallion affixed with gel medium. 

Muse progress 2

The process takes up the whole of the studio. The 9 canvases alone cover the main work table, and need to remain together. I want to work on them simultaneously to maintain continuity. The small bare space of table showing is where I actually work. 

collage work table

The table behind me is a catch-all. Coffee, water, lace, ribbons, inks, extra photocopies… When I am working on collages there is very little room for anything else!

collage zone

Note: this “C” entry was supposed to be Feb. 18th. Hmm. It is currently the 22nd. Sigh. Will try to get the alphabet caught up. But I was busy collaging!