Since my last post regarding the need for a body of work, I’ve had a conversation with an artist/instructor who gave me some much-needed feedback on what I’ve done so far. He also introduced me to new materials and techniques.
Before we finished the conversation he let me see pieces of an exercise for one of his classes, not unlike the exercises I remember from art school. I haven’t done anything like this for a while, but I liked what I was seeing.
A couple of days later, I did my own version of the exercise which meant creating six different papers – four of mine were hand painted or stamped on plain white paper and two were modifications of already printed paper with stamps or pen and ink. After everything was dry, I got out my paper cutter and cut each piece of paper into a lot of strips and other rectangles in a variety of sizes.
I used a sheet of Bristol board for six 7″x7″ supports. Bristol board is not really heavy enough, but I was vamping and it was handy. Then I started to play. The goal was to use at least a small piece of each of the six papers in each of the six collages. It was rather like doing six jigsaw puzzles, each different. I was pleased with the results and especially with the cleaner lines than most of what I’ve been doing.
My favorite piece of advice from an instructor at Maine College of Art was: “Rich and complex, not complicated and confusing.” I’ve held those words as a measure of my writing over the years and even of life in general. Now I was applying it again to the art. But the pieces seemed perhaps too clean, a little sterile and I wanted more richness, more complexity.
I’ve had a wonderful little image of a nude woman sitting on a stack of books, back view, for some time now and I realized she was the right image for these pieces. A single image on each of the six pieces.
They’re finished now. I like them and I laugh to think I have a start on my “body of work” with a real body in the picture. Honestly, a writer’s mind never stops…!