This is the second piece I created in Eva Deutsch Costabel's workshop, The Healing Power of Painting at The Creative Center in New York. The pieces in the blog post below were the first ones I painted. I had to get the frustration out in the first works by using lots of bright colors, thick paint and black line to get to this more meditative state. I call this piece "Sweet Dreams and Flying Machines". I created it on canvas board using pencil with acrylic paint wash. When I sit down to create I never know what is going to come out, it's a wonderful adventure! I've never done any work like this before and I felt like I was exploring a whole new world without ever leaving my studio.
I think this image of a 60s surfer girl totally rocks. It's a terrific photo with all the splashy ocean spray, her bathing suit is pretty cute, and the colors are lovely. What I like the best about this photo is her pose. She looks like a still image from a Bob Fosse show, yet on a surfboard. Totally amazing!
Although I've lived only a mile away from the ocean for most of my life I'm a terrible swimmer. Boogie boarding in the little kids area is as close as I get to real surfing (but it's great fun and I can totally pretend that I am really surfing, just like the little kids).
Still, I really identified with the image of this surfer girl. I mean, who wouldn't want to be her? I decided to place her on top of a cascading pile of layered vintage papers. Now she's in my element, collage. What's your element?
Like many "art hoarders" I find little bits and pieces at yard sales and hold on to them for years before I figure out a way to use them. This little wheel less car with a jewel like weathered patina was only a quarter so I brought it home and added it to my stash. It is made of a soft metal, so it was easy to drill, put a wire through and make connecting loops on both ends. I chose a medal that reads “JMJ be with us on our way”. It seemed to be a fitting sentiment for the little wheel less car.
My Chine Colle explorations have been going well in terms of fun and creativity but not so well technically. I've been using a (new to me) printmaking paper, Rives BFK. And my work has been wrinkling like crazy when using a water base (Methyl Cellulose) adhesive.
Rives Advantages: This paper has a beautiful creamy color and texture. It also rips easily to create lovely edges. If you like to use white space as a design element, your collages will look at least 20% better on BFK as opposed to a standard mixed media paper like Strathmore. It's basically like putting a Spanx on your work (collage or drawing).
Rives Disadvantages: Because this is a printmaking paper it will stretch when it gets damp, whether or not you are using a press. The area where you adhere your collage papers will not stretch at all. This can result in some major buckling. Once the wrinkles set it they are pretty much permanent.) I did have some luck re-dampening and ironing my collages on the reverse side.)
Takeaway: When using a printmaking paper like Rives BFK use the "driest" adhesive you can: a light swipe of a glue stick or spray glue. Let the collage air dry quickly rather than put it under a stack of books.
I've tried pre-stretching a few sheets this week by dampening them, running them through the press and taping them to a board to dry. Will post an update.
What is your favorite paper or substrate for collage?
"Chine Colle" basically translates to "thin paper collage" in French. It is done with a printmaking press, and most often used to print on paper that is too thin and delicate to go through the press on its own, and to add texture and color to etchings. I decided to try this technique to create transparent/translucent layers using collage elements.
I used powdered methyl cellulose, a traditional bookbinding adhesive as my glue. Because I loved the look of Chine Colle (but am not a printmaker) I "cheated" by drawing on tracing paper and using these pieces as collage elements.
I love the way the collage papers seems to really bond with the background paper. (I used Rives BFK.) Loved the Rives paper, it's not just for printmaking. Also, combining drawing with collage is something I'm now very interested in exploring.
What didn't work so well: When the paper came out of the press is was completely flat, and very damp. I placed each collage on layers of clean newsprint, covered with a sheet of freezer paper (face down to prevent sticking) and put my collage sandwich under a heavy stack of books. At first it was completely dry, or so I thought. After a few days the paper started to curl ... alot! In the future I'm going to change the newsprint and leave the collage under the books for at least a week.
When is a piece of art successful? It could be successful if it sells, is shown in a gallery or gets a ton of hearts on Instagram. Art for me is more about how it feels than how it looks. It doesn't need to look right in terms of composition or other formal elements. If it helps me "move"move emotions that have been stuck inside for a long time then it really is an important piece, regardless of whether it looks good or even connects with other people.
I've started seeing a new therapist so I've had to talk about my childhood a lot. Ugh, this was really difficult because even after so many years many of the memories are still very raw. I did this piece about the intersection of the world of childhood and the incomprehensible grown up world where really terrible things can happen. (My dad was very ill and died when I was six.) I feel like I've finally made a bit of progress by connecting with the feelings and translating them into images I put on paper, owning them and honoring them.
When you work in your art journal what makes a "successful" page?
Years ago I got a bag of these cute dog house charms in a variety of colors. I had no idea what I was going to do with them but they were just too cute to resist. Recently one of my jewelry students gave me this wonderful antique brass dog head. It's original function is a mystery, perhaps the end of a cane? The antique brass dog actually looked a bit like the dad of the puppy in the dog house, so I knew they were destined to be together!
I gave the 20 gauge wire a heat patina with a small butane torch and attached the leather neck cord with tiny eyelets. I always get a kick out of making and wearing jewelry that has a expresses my quirky sense of humor.
Why not make a necklace with a fully functional can opener as a pendant? This can opener has been in the kitchen drawer for a very long time but recently I noticed its potential as a base for a resin pendant. I used an image of a retro gal on a swing with clouds in the background, ice resin, and added a few rhinestones to fancy it up. I mixed it up with a piece of a rosary with beads and charms I had in my stash.
Yes! It really does still open a beer quite effectively and it quite a hit at parties. Creating a piece of jewelry using a digital keychain breathalyzer would also be a hit at parties but much, much more challenging aesthetically.
When I was a child I overheard relatives talking about wild times in Cuba the 50s and it sounded really glamorous and exotic. I've always answered the question "Where would you most like to visit?" with "Cuba!"
Even though travel restrictions have lifted a bit my budgetary restrictions have not, so my son gave the the beautiful book "I Was Cuba" for Christmas this year. The bottom image is a photo from the book, copied on a color laser printer and transferred onto wood. The rest is the Cuba of my imagination. I've had lots of time to create my imaginary "Cuba" and really hope to visit the real Cuba someday soon.