It is Thursday, a good day in the week. Close enough to the weekend to spur on optimism, yet still enough time to finish off goals set for completion by end of the day on Friday. Thursday is one of my favourite days. I have enough time after my post on Sunday to really dig into some art and hopefully come up with something interesting to show to you on Thursday. This has been a good week for art. When I sat down to work, I could actually focus on just what I was doing and work to completion on one piece at a time for the most part.
I had a craving to do something other than painting this week. Not that I am bored with painting. Truthfully, I could paint for hours every day and never get tired of it. But, I need to challenge myself to shake things up a bit and try to do something different. I have a stash of lovely Japanese paper that I keep hidden away as if it were some special treasure. To me, it is a treasure trove when I open the box holding all sizes of wonderful paper, rich in colour saturation and patterns that beg to be used in something eye catching. I ration my use of this paper as it is not inexpensive and I only buy some once or twice a year. Every scrap is used, no bits are tossed into the bin. Little scraps often decorate cards or journal pages. Or, I might glue a little scrap in my notebook that I carry with me in case I run into some ribbon or more paper that might coordinate nicely with the scrap. Always on the lookout for any materials that might be worked into an art piece, I carefully peruse the shelves at craft shops, rubber/clear stamp supply shops or shops that carry only the finest papers available. These shops are hazardous to my budget!
So, this week, I felt inclined to dig into the box of lovely paper to see if anything called out to me. For some reason, I felt that black needed to be a grounding colour for the work that I wanted to do. Needing a good piece of paper to layer the entire composition on, I cut some watercolour paper to a manageable size and using a piece of plastic mesh from a fruit crate, I dabbed on various colours- Naples yellow, Bright magenta, Hooker green. While some of the ivory paper is still visible, the majority of it has been covered with splashes, dabs and swooshes of these three colours. While adding colour to the paper, it still appears muted and not inclined to compete with the Japanese papers.
I then added a layer of Japanese paper to the three larger art pieces. Feeling that this needed a little something to set it off, I placed a border of 1/4 inch beige ribbon around the patterned paper. Into the center of this, I laid down a piece of black card stock and then stamped various images on the pieces using a gold ink pad. I looked at the three large art works and felt that something was needed. And, digging through another box of embellishments, I found an envelope holding different sizes of faux Asian coins. One side of the coin has two dragons on it while the other side has four kanji symbols equally spaced around the coin. There is a center cut out in the shape of a square on the coins. One of these at each corner of the ribbon was just the right touch to finish off these pieces.
I do not like to leave small pieces of paper to add to my ever growing box of bits and pieces. Looking at what was scattered on my work table, I felt that there were enough scraps to make two more smaller compositions. This time, I used black card stock as the base for the layers and added another patterned piece of Japanese paper. On top of this, another piece of black card stock was added and then stamped on using other stamps from my collection, but continued with the gold ink for the actual stamping. In order to keep some consistency to the art work, I again used the border of 1/4 inch ribbon with the accents of the faux coins. These two smaller pieces are about 7" squares and complement the size and colours of the three larger pieces.
For some reason, these five pieces went together easily for me. I often have to think and rethink about what papers to use, if embellishments are needed or will make the final piece look too busy and so on. This time, I seemed to just gravitate to the papers I needed, pulled out the embellishments without anguishing over my decision and worked with an idea of how I wanted the end result to turn out. In terms of time spent making these, the actual work time would be about 8 hours. I had to leave the three pieces of watercolour paper to dry once I had splashed the colour on them so that was done one afternoon and the actual layouts put together another afternoon.
I like these pieces, but I cannot really say what it is that I like other than the combination of elements just seems to work. The colours are bright, brighter than what I generally use in my collage work, but I can live with those colours. I think that the use of the black card stock grounds the brightness and keeps it from taking over. To my way of thinking, the five pieces will need to be hung as a grouping once they have been framed. I would like to see very simple frames with thin black wood or plastic around the edge so not to take away from the collages at all. I can picture these on a wall in a hallway or entry way, in a straight line. But, I would like to play around with them and see if I can find another way to display them so that they do not take up as much precious wall space which is at a premium at this time. Once they reach their final line up, I will take a group photograph so that you can see how they ended up. Or, maybe they will end up living with someone else. I just never know how long one of my pieces is destined to live with me or to go to another good home, somewhere that they will be enjoyed each and every time they are viewed.
Take a good look at these and let me know your thoughts on the composition and colours used. Do they look finished or is there something that you think could be added to them? I am always interested in what others think about the finished piece. This often provides a jump off point for me when I start another piece as I keep the comments in mind and try out suggestions that have been made to see if the ideas work for me. Sometimes I can work with the comments to come up with another view of the original piece, but other times, I just do not seem to be able to put the comments into the context of the original works and come up with an alternate view. That is the beauty of art, you make something and there really is no right or wrong, but there is often another route in the journey that could lead to a pretty amazing alternate version.
The journey never ends. Once you have taken that first step, you have to keep on moving. Every bend in the road leads to a new challenge. I love these challenges! This is what makes me want to get up each morning and start to work on a new piece or to continue on with a piece already started, but see what changes evolve on that particular day. What is it that draws you to the art table? Is there something that you just have to work on each day or for a set period of time each week? I would love to hear what you are working on and where your journey is taking you!