Thursday, September 29, 2016

September 2016 Wrap Up Post

1.Going in Circles
collage on paper 15" x 18"

collage on paper 15" x 18"

3. Sharp as a Tack
collage on paper 15" x 18"

4. Getting There
collage on paper 15" x 18"

5. All Right Then
collage on paper 15" x 18"
September is nearly over and it is time for a look back. Each piece has a bit of a story to it that I would like to share. Here goes!

1. Going in Circles: The challenge of using negative and positive shapes as well as recognizing negative and positive spaces is something that continues to interest me. For this piece I decided to stick with some basic shapes, arranged into different "spaces." To me the piece has a structured quality to it which appeals to me.

2. Crossover: This piece was another challenge for me in the use of "space." It almost doesn't matter what medium an artist works in. Most all of us are deciding, one way or the other, how to use the available space. I found that starting with slightly smaller initial shapes produced a different result than the first piece. 

3. Sharp as a Tack: For me, this piece combines a little of several ideas: utilizing specific space on the paper, having shapes cross over from one space to the next and having some spaces recede or advance. Color and chroma and value all play a role here. This one turned out to be one of my favorites.

4. Getting There: This was another experiment in the use of space and shapes. I liked the idea of one shape "pinning" down another shape. I think value and hue plays a role here and so that is what I tried to do. 

5. All Right Then: As with the previous piece, this one also explores the use of space. What was different for me though for this one was laying down allover smaller shapes to begin with. As a result, many of my resulting pieces ended up being smaller. 

Starting Point:
At this point, I have several different ways of starting a piece. The first four pieces involved me laying down large to medium pieces of painted paper. From there, I can begin to fill in each larger shape with other smaller shapes. I reference doodles that I make or specific design ideas that I want to try. I find that after several pieces have been placed that I tend to do one of two things. 

I'll start laying down an even distribution of smaller shapes using a balanced variety of color and value. I put pieces of paper all over the place in a systematic way, crossing spaces and lines. The resulting work tends to end up looking like the last piece shown above, which is what I think of as an "allover" design. 

The second thing that sometimes happens is that I will add smaller shapes to each large shape. After a few additions I start to notice that visually, I have created a few larger sections. This happened in the first and fourth pieces. 

For the second and third piece, I found that I created a kind of "hybrid" of the two ideas. There are larger distinct sections but the pieces, for me anyway, have an "allover" quality.

All of this is meant to reveal that I don't have a firm grip on things just yet which I think is kind of good. The outcomes are always a surprise. Not bad but certainly unexpected.

Let's Talk!:
It might seem tedious or a bit boring to get into these ideas but I'd point out the importance of being able to analyze and describe what you think is happening with your work. As it is, I find it nearly impossible to tell anyone what it is that I do. Generally, I tell people that I am an artist. If they don't roll their eyes too much, I then tell them that I make paper collages using simple shapes and colors. If they look like they want to hear more then I can go on in stages. My web site certainly describes in greater depth what it is I do. But, I couldn't do any of this if I didn't think about it and try to at least describe what I see. 

Left Field: 
Since it is nearly October and I love Autumn and spooky stuff, how about a great book recommendation. I recently read The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. (This is the Penguin Classics edition with the intro by Laura Miller.) I was expecting a ghost story but what I got was an excellent psychological adventure! The idea that a house, something that is not "alive", that it could possess someone, is really incredible to me. I found the idea very compelling. Laura Miller's intro. is excellent also and helped me to more fully understand what I was reading. Shirley Jackson herself has a fascinating story which is also well worth reading about. 

Another Book Recommendation:
Gwenn Seemel is an artist I have long admired. I have been reading her blog for several years now and want to recommend her writing, in a general way. More specifically, for those interested, I want to recommend her book, You Share Good. In her book, which comes in several different price points, Gwenn discusses copyright and why she gave it up. She provides some very compelling reasons why other artists may want to consider doing the same thing. Even if the tip of this iceberg is intimidating or you think that the ideas may not appeal to you, I still recommend reading the book to expand your thinking.

It's a long post. Thanks for sticking with it or just even reading parts. As always, comments are welcomed.

1 comment:

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