Sun Series #1

Sun Series #1

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Muse Series Begins

"Muse no. 1" (dress)
"Potential" (the mixed media collage this muse inspired)

After a false start that I spent too much time on I have arrived at this starting point for a series I  have been wanting to do for quite some time.  "Nine Muses" will involve the sewing of nine dresses, some from commercial patterns as this one is, and result in a mixed media work that uses some of the same materials and imagery as the dress.  The use of the materials and imagery is just the jumping off point for the artwork which can, and
I hope will, evolve into works that are layered and nuanced and somewhat abstract.

One of the challenges or criteria of the work is to repurpose materials that would have been otherwise discarded.
The top of dress incorporates white fabric that was salvaged from a 5 and 10 kind of store that was going out of business.
The skirt is a discarded sheet that was languishing in a drawer for I don't know how many years.
And the leaves are from plastic bags, hand stitched to the dress bodice and skirt.

The artwork has all of those elements in it plus other fabrics, acrylic paint, shellac and used tea bags.
The Muses (or dresses) will just be numbered without titles or names.
But the artworks that result from the muse will be titled.
This one, "Potential", refers to the potential promised in the beginning of a new series
as well as the potential offered by the promise of spring represented by the leaves, colors and the time of year in which this work was made.

I am not giving myself a time period for completing the series.
I will continue to make some small work, do some teaching and tend the gardens
with the Muses in my thoughts as I go about the maintenance of daily life.

Things for me to ponder besides the making of dresses and mixed media collages:
Why are the Muses unnamed?
What about this series compels me?
Why do I return to making dresses as a means of expression?  Are they self referential or
do they have a more universal appeal?
How does the scale of the 2D work affect my process?  This one is 22 x 30" while I have been working
in the 12 x 12" and smaller range.

All of this I have been thinking about while making the actual dress and collage.
Here I have committed the thoughts to paper which makes all of those thoughts concrete.
This demands more of me.

Friday, April 26, 2019

"Then and Now: 1955 / 2019"

"Then: 1955"
mixed media collage in found  window frame
(side 1)
24 x 24"

"Now: 2019"
mixed media collage in a found window frame
24 x 24"
(side 2)

I'm not sure what drives me to make 2-sided works.
They are certainly hard to display.
This one's presentation was a bit easier as I knew from the beginning it would either be suspended
or stand on some kind of base.

Self Portraits are always a bit challenging.
One has to be willing to reveal some inner thoughts, emotions and some kind of imagery that references self.
I really don't like having my picture taken so I opt for an image that is self referential instead of a photo.
Therefore the "Then" side incorporates drawings I did of my granddaughter while the "Now" side uses photos of a torso sculpture I did several years ago and have photographed and reused many times including in
 my artist's book titled "Self Portrait at Sixty".
The face you see in the third window pane on the top row is an image I have used for over 25 years
 to represent myself.  I like the continuity of repeated and reinvented imagery which keeps the work
both ongoing and current.

While my blogging and posting on Instagram have slowed waaaay down, I am still working both on small collages and larger more conceptual work.  As always I appreciate your comments and your taking the time to read this blog.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Just for Fun

"I Can Hear You Smile " series
12 x 12" each
mixed media collage on board

Yes, I realize that it has been about 6 weeks since my last post!
I have been working on a number of larger and time consuming projects.
The results are mixed.
Or rather my response to them is mixed.
So until I have something I am happy with I am posting this series of pieces that I did as part
of the Quilt Surface Design Symposium challenge. Those who chose to participate were challenged to make
12 x 12" works based on the colors red, yellow, green and blue. The final pieces will be displayed at
this year's symposium in June.

I had done a small collage study a number of years back that had the legs of a girl jumping in the air.
I immediately thought of that study when I heard the parameters of the challenge.
These were fun to do!
All that is left is for me to put them in the mail.

Then it is back to the drawing board, as they say.
Thanks to all who haven't given up on me and my overdue blogging.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Thinking Spring

Accordion Fold Book: "Conjured Botanicals"
mixed media collage
10 x 46 x 9"

Back of book, closed
Each page is 10 x 7.5"

Who isn't thinking about spring at this time of the year when the grass in Ohio is so brown and the sky is often so grey?
Although I am encouraged today as the sun is shining which deceives me into thinking I can go out and work in the yard.
But it is only a chilly 34 degrees.
So I conjure or make up magical flower forms like the ones in this accordion fold book.

The substrate for each small flower is paper (6.25x4.25") covered in fabric from a vintage bed sheet
 that had a rose pattern on it.
The imagined flowers were collaged to this surface then slipped into a vintage cardboard photo frame which
had that nice arched opening.
I admit that that this is not a very archival piece as the cardboard frames were very fragile.
You will notice the ripples and bubbles in the frames from the aging paper.
They are covered with fabric from a dresser scarf that was also fragile and falling apart.

Making the flower vignettes was fun.
Covering and staining the frames was a bit tedious.
The back of each piece has information from a book of flowers with yet another conjured botanical
stitched to that page.

I think this project will segue into the real thing soon...ordering real botanicals and working in the yard.
And so it begins...

Monday, February 18, 2019

Documenting the Process

The Secret Lives of Leaves (in progress)

The Secret Lives of Leaves (detail, more progress)

"The Secret Lives of Leaves"
10 x 10"
mixed media collage on board

Photographing the progress of an artwork is a valuable tool to assessing the work and noting the changes.
I neglected to take a picture of the starting point but these 3 pictures show some of the changes and decisions that were made along the way.

I know I should do this more often.
But I find the photographing a disruption to my "being in the moment".
What is even more disrupting is when I take notes of the materials and media used in the layers as I work.
But again this is valuable when I want to repeat something that has turned out particularly well.

I like this piece as it currently stands, but I am not completely sure it is done.
I think I need to live with it for awhile.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Unintentional Self Portrait

"Home Ec"
mixed media collage on paper
5 x 8"

Here is an example of how intuitive work can sometimes be.
I was struggling with the materials and composition on this one.
Eventually I covered up the top section which originally was the bottom section.
The small drawings of a jar of chutney, which I make, 3 bottles of herb vinegars, which I make and the
poppy seed muffins which I also make found their way into the top area.

I posted this on instagram and my fiend Barb said it was a self portrait.
I hadn't been thinking of that.
Just thinking how I can get rid of the very dark area that used to be the bottom
 in the original orientation of the work.

So along with the imagery and the struggle to make the piece work I have to agree that
this is definitely a self portrait.
Thanks Barb!
Miss you!

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Rust and Old Lace

"Rust and Old Lace"
mixed media collage on paper

I made a lot of papers last summer using rusted objects to create a surface or to use as collage  elements.
I am finding that I love the use of red with the rust.
I have used really deep red, almost maroon with the rust, or as in this piece a red that is rather pink.
There is a push and pull of materials with the lace against the rust.

I don't think this is the final version of this work.
I am considering different ways to mount or display the piece.

I am working primarily small so I can work back and forth between different pieces.
Sometimes that offers some breathing room for making decisions.
But I am working up to some larger ideas.
I'm still in my in-the-house pop up studio which also contributes to the size restrictions.

Maybe I am playing it safe.
But I am working daily.
That creates a rhythm and a cadence important to my artistic life.