ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW I LEARNED FROM DRAWING

I have entered the Global Talent Search at http://lillarogers.com/global-talent-search/

Lilla and team have the gargantuan project ahead of them of narrowing down hundreds of entries from many countries to FIFTY semi finalists. Following the second assignment, the fifty semi finalists will be narrowed down to 6. Wish me luck!!

I'm not only drawing, but imagining, using watercolor, which I am not really accustomed to, and somehow or other, collage of my watercolored bits has crept into it. This happens to me a lot!
My post "A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words" tells you what I think about collage and why I love it. Scroll down to the third post below this one for words and of course pictures. Do heed the warning at the end of the post!

So here's the advice I'm taking while I work on this project, which I'll post more about later. It's from Danny Gregory who is a prolific drawer. You can check out his site at www.dannygregory.com


PHENOMENAL WOMAN

I made this scarf for a phenomenal woman.


Maya Angelou's poem, which I love, was scripted on the linen blend fabric with bleach, which turned golden in the process. 


Squares of golden mother of pearl were sewn along the hem.


"It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me."

 



 
 

A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS

Collage is everymans' playground.

As Charlotte Moss says, “Collage is not a snob.”  You need not buy lots of expensive equipment and tools to get started. You don't need an MFA, you don't even need to know how to draw. Aside from an unlimited amount of collage fodder which is around you everywhere, and often free, the only tools you will need are a very nice pair of scissors and a UHU glue stick. Some people like to use gel medium and a brush. In fact, you may not even need scissors if you become adept at ripping and tearing. A well placed thumbnail becomes a detail edging device for precise tearing. If you are attaching fascinating images to a board on the wall in your work space, you won’t even need glue. 

Collage can be worth a thousand words.

Or an enigmatic way to illustrate a story.


Collage can be a practice.

I have several  9 X 11 sketchbooks, such as this.....


...which I fill with my own collages of inspiration; to remember, to present designs and possibilities to others, to sift and filter through ideas and concepts and experiment with color palettes.                
                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                   

Collage can be adaptable.


**Collage + Painting = Joy.

**A few years ago I created a small 5 X 7 visual journal with the challenge in mind that there would be no writing, no drawing, no painting. Just magazine images and words and the occasional photo or ticket as a visual daybook, to see what that would be like. It does offer challenges, but it’s fun and yields a memory book more visually interesting than the average journal. Somehow, mysteriously these pages bring back a flood of memories more strongly and poignantly than a written journal or a collection of photographs.


A series of pages from the autumn of 2008...

   



As you search for just the right image or word, it’s a meditative pursuit and in the time it takes,  you may find yourself examining and re-examining your true beliefs.
As you collage, there is also the prospect of making new associations and of looking at things in a new and different way.


**Recently I created something I call ‘The Vision Keeper”, (alternately called, “The Cartographer’s Manifest” or “Dream Catcher”)





It can be used in a book format...



...or hung on the wall (with built in hangers) to keep the imagery constantly in your visual field.




For my own Vision Keeper, I spent some time collecting images that felt just right to me and some images that I had been keeping for a long time, found their way into it. I included a photo of myself, because it is said to be very important in making it yours and for being able to see yourself inside the vision.

My Vision Keeper revolves mostly around home, with a little travel at the end of the mix, but it would be a great exercise for a business you are starting or a specific project, an instant visual reminder to keep you on track, and to help make decisions. I added envelopes to the back side for all the nitty gritty details.




**Collage can be expanded into 3D and become assemblage. But that is a whole other topic.


Collage can be intuitive.   

The intuitive aspect of collage is fascinating to me. Sort of like Process Painting, it results in  ‘aha’ moments and often puzzle pieces falling together or some of the missing puzzle pieces showing up. Images are pulled from here and there and  stored in a folder or box. After a time, when you open the box or folder, you may be surprised at what you’ve collected and the sorting and arranging of images is just another layer in the intuitive process. Be mindful of the deeper level of metaphor and symbology.

Another collage project that I’ve been involved in, is the community surrounding Full Moon Dream Boards at Jamie Ridler Studios in Toronto. Jamie posts on her site, the New Moon and Full Moon dates along with a written prompt for creating a collage and provides a space for linking your blog or site where you’ve posted your dream board at the Full Moon. All the participants then visit one another’s blogs, comment and sometimes poke around with the mysteries that show up on the boards, helping each other to see a theme or message that may have eluded the creator.




 Full Moon Dreamboards are intuitively put together – at the New Moon when Jamie’s reminder arrived with a prompt, I would begin collecting images and just throwing them into a shoe box without thought to a palette or meaning; just images that resonated with me and appealed for any reason.




Near the Full Moon date, I would open the box and begin sifting and sorting through the images. Over the span of the two weeks, I would have forgotten about some of the images and words, but almost immediately would see a theme and yet there would usually be a few odd things. For instance, one month I had 3 images of elephants and hadn’t really been aware of it. Animals are often totems with specific meaning and offer clues to what is going on in your life and psyche.  Often there are too many images to fit onto the board and what is discarded may be as important as what is kept.

If you were to give a dozen people the same 3 magazines with which to create a collage, almost certainly the end result would be a dozen wildly different collages.


Collage can be instant gratification.

It’s a way to gather together images that resonate with you that can be a map and guidepost while working on projects, to distill ideas, to jog your memory and to keep you on track and inspired. It’s a means of putting all your good ideas together in one spot and letting things blossom from there.

You can gather together items, arrange them and take a photograph. Then you can return all the elements back to where they belong. Instant collage. You have your photo to use as a "collage" to tell your story, make the point for your client or set the mood for your project.

Collage can be enlightening and healing.

Lisa Sonora Beam said, “I began to wonder…….how could something that is so much fun, be so healing and revealing?" Having someone else 'read' the finished collage can be an enlightening exercise and will probably bring up ideas and specifics that hadn’t occurred to you, especially if the subject is something that you are ‘choosing’ to ignore, consciously or subconsciously.




Collage can be a meditation.

Abraham Hicks talks quite often about contrast and how it is a means of figuring out what we don’t want and therefore what we do want. Collage is a great vehicle for doing just that. Working in this way can take longer, as you search and wait patiently for just the right image. You may find what you are thinking of, in just the right shape, but the wrong color or in the wrong setting. Usually the setting is not an issue, you simply cut the item out, and insert it into your own setting.  Which brings me to: 

Collage can be crazy fun.

After all, you can cut out the image of a man riding a horse, and place him on a goat. You can give him a top hat and perch a parrot on it. Or a tea cup. The whole goat riding experience can be set in an orchard of cherry trees in bloom or on an 18th century London street. 
It’s really magic, isn’t it?

Collage can go postal.



"Taverns are like Universities". Dedicated to YKW.

Several years ago I began collaging and painting on small canvases, turning them into postcards and sending them through the mail -- a great way to brighten the day of a loved one. I created a workshop to share this fun with others.

Collage can be social.

I have also been involved with round robins which are fun. Journals make the rounds, sometimes between continents, from one participant to the next and pages are filled, usually surrounding a particular topic or theme. Eventually your journal returns home to you filled with the art of people from all over the globe.





Collage can be a portable art.

If you don’t want to display your inspiration boards on your wall, or have an issue with privacy, why not start a book? Or two? A book is compact and portable and you can tuck images into it, wherever you are. Later it can be stored on a shelf, taking up hardly any space at all. And years from now it will be a very personal, intriguing visual diary. Issues that you don't want to write about and have read by others, can be hidden visually and symbolically in your visual collage journal.

A small pouch for scissors and glue stick is all you need for tools. File a large Ziploc bag or acetate page protector in the back of your book to hold your images and keep them dry. Simple. Done.

In your studio (table in the corner?), you may want a large board on the wall. To keep images from being pocked full of pinholes, I like magnetic boards with small unobtrusive magnets. Images can be moved easily, as well as fabric samples and other accessory bits and bobs. Then you are apt to have endless epiphanies from your smorgasbord of eye candy. 

Remember to change your collage fodder around frequently, as the eye begins to see things as a whole and skim over things as ‘part of the scenery’. In this way you will be continuously inspired with new visuals or new arrangements of the same old images.

Even though collage can be a portable art, I personally fantasize about having two, very wide, six foot long tables, swept clean of everything before starting a new collage. 

Or this one:



In the end, collage is just plain fun. But now a final word of warning.  Do not take this lightly, because the danger is real.

Collage can be addictive.


I never even mentioned Pinterest, did I? All I have to say about that is: Set a timer. And be very, very disciplined. Snort. As if that would ever happen!


HERITAGE ART PIECE

A friend presented me with an old and broken washboard and a bag of lockets and jewelry and requested that I make an art piece with it.
I raised an eyebrow. She likes to challenge me with art and design projects that would not occur to me to work on.

Her mother had passed recently and from around the house I was helping to clean out, I scavenged other small things. From an old toolbox that had belonged to her father I gathered bits of hardware to attach the memorabilia and put the tools into use with my ‘rusty’ metalworking skills.

I also found an old army license plate that fit perfectly between the legs of the washboard.

Detail of bottom of the piece with plate and adorable old shoes.

After a thorough cleaning, (although bits of fiber remain stubbornly in the edges of the board), and a few repairs, I brought out my paintbox. I rubbed greens, grays and umber into the lackluster wood frame and set about attaching all the collected pieces.
Going through old photo albums I gleaned photos that would work for the project and reduced some to wee, teeny tiny for the lockets.

Lockets hold photos of the owner as a baby, her parents and grandparents.

I found a photo of the grandmother to whom the board had belonged and made a transparency of a portion of it, to layer over the top of the board so that a bit of the original sign would show through. 

A cup with a map of Denmark hints at ethnic origins.

The finished piece...



Do you have bits of memorabilia and keepsakes in boxes all tucked away and only looked at once every few years? Consider making a heritage art piece from the cache of things you have loved enough to keep, so that you can enjoy them rather than having them stashed away, ignored and unseen. Such a piece draws a thread of your past into the present to inform and enjoy.  

PUPPETRY AND THE AMAZING HORSE


"Puppets celebrate and lyricize the everyday and the ordinary, 
they make our everyday lives epic, huge."
Basil Jones, Handspring Puppet Company
(CNN) -- With their magnificent puppets, Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler have been pushing theatergoers' experiences to new heights, casting a spell on audiences across the world.-- "We feel very lucky to be a part of this profession that is reinventing itself in the 21st century," adds Kohler. "In a time of CGI graphics, in movies where anything fantastical is possible, the puppets somehow are staking their claim for a handmade theatrical experience that can transport an audience in a different way."