Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Miniature pieces, but major effort!

Sorry for being MIA for the last while!  Life got a little out of control and I had to stand back and let the chaos settle for a bit.  I try to do too much at one time and consequently, put a little too much pressure on myself causing me to withdraw into myself and figure out what it is that is troubling me.  There is something about the start of September that pulls my stomach into knots and I have to slow down to a crawl, get myself together again (mentally and physically) before I can resume a somewhat normal schedule or what passes for one in my life.  Once again, my body has made me realize that putting too much pressure on myself to produce is not healthy nor is it productive.  Lesson learned, I will slow down the pace and be creative when I am rested and feeling that I want to unleash the artistic self in me.  Enough said!

I have been playing with the idea of making miniature art pieces for a while now and for the past week have been cutting, pasting, stamping, adding embellishments and so on.  I have found that although the pieces I have been working on are tiny, the effort that goes into them is major.  I am working on sturdy cardboard arches that measure 4 3/4" x 3 3/4 ".  Finding images for such a tiny "canvas" and adding other elements to complement the main image takes a lot of time, more than I had ever imagined.  Deciding on the colours to use in the background and for making the stamp impressions means doing test runs on scraps of paper and then try to coordinate a colour of washi tape to use as an accent before moving on to the actual piece of cardboard being used.

I have been thinking a lot about old photos, images of the past, stamps of antique light fixtures and days long past in general.  There is something about the early 1900's that is appealing to me and consequently, ladies sporting fashions from around the 1920's have been finding there way onto my pieces.  Finding decorative paper accents to work along side of the images is an endurance test because once you find the right paper you need to decide on how it will appear on the finished piece without taking away from the main image.  In some cases, I find a piece of interesting paper for the background, add some other colours in the form of ribbon or tape before I actually decide on what will be the main focus of the piece.  This sounds like a very backward approach to making a miniature piece of art, but, it seems to work for me.  Once I see what the accenting colours and images are going to be, I can focus with a clearer mind on what I am trying to put down on the page.  I use the word "page" loosely, meaning whatever I am using to build my mixed media piece upon.  I guess in a way, you could say that I am making a collage of an earlier time.  I picture this time as being dark and consequently use blacks, bottle greens, dark purple and some sepia or brown tones.  I have put up three images to the side for you to have a look at.  

The first picture is of a lady from the past with a very curious hair style and hat.  The word "Haunting" appears on the right side of the piece.  Some textured paper in blue and black with white outlines of petals making up daisy like flowers works in with the darkness of the piece.  Black foliage works its way around the perimeter and an old fashioned chandelier is stamped at the top.  But, there is no light in the chandelier and so the art piece is left in its darkness.  Looking at this image, I feel haunted and try to discern a meaning to what I have put together and why.  I suspect the darkness of my mood when I was working on this is making itself apparent to anyone who looks at this.  Strangely, while my mood was dark, I cannot truthfully say that I was in emotional turmoil at the time.  Frustrated, annoyed, introspective would be adjectives that more closely described my mood, but never fear, I had not gone to that dark place that we all have within ourselves.  I was just not my usual complacent self.  Is it not amazing how you can look at a piece of art and immediately know the artist's frame of mind when he or she was working on the piece.  This miniature evolved over a three day period, taking many hours to think about and put together to my satisfaction.

On the flip side of the first piece, I have stayed with the dark colours and you see a bird sitting amongst various bits of greenery.  The foliage is black and the stamping of the bird's image came out lighter despite my having used the same onyx ink pad.  The background colour is the same as the first piece, a golden olive colour, drab, but at the same time giving a shimmering effect.  The daisy pattern on the paper is brought through to this piece as is the bottle green washi tape.  I really do not feel that this is a particularly cheerful piece, but that is the way life is in reality.  We cannot be perpetually cheery or at least I cannot pull that one off successfully.  So again, we have another bleak image, nature not showing its wonderful colours, but at the same time maybe I have put down an authentic depiction of what I was feeling when this came together a short while ago.  I feel that the look of the piece is almost as if the bird is in camouflage, hiding itself (or me) from impending danger.  Do not be alarmed, I am not in any way in danger of anything other than using my mood to help me put out a piece of art.  Maybe my psyche is in turmoil because I should be making some decisions about how my life unfolds over the next few years.  If so, I have got a lot of thinking to do and might as well use the well of emotions as subject matter in different art mediums.

The third piece is again done on an arch which is in the process of becoming an accordion book.  Again, dark colours - purple, deep gold and black stamping.  The background is from some paper that I happened upon that has lovely little sentiments from a love letter of many years ago, elegantly inscribed on ivory paper.  The stamp of two little birds, obviously in love as depicted by the hearts, makes me smile.  Both the birds and four of the hearts are done in black ink.  The elegant flourish stamped at the top of the piece is done in black.  I wonder if this is my inner self showing cynically how I feel about romance.  I guess it is pretty obvious that while I will acknowledge that romance does exist in some form, it just has not made itself present in my life this time around.  This is a statement of fact, not a cry of a wounded soul.  I actually feel that romance does not have a place in everyone's life.  So be it, get over it and get on with the life you currently inhabit.  Maybe in my next life, there will be romance, but I strongly doubt it.  Chaos seems to be a constant for me and something that I deal with rather well. 

So, this is what I have been working on for the past two weeks along with a few other pieces that are still in production, but in many pieces scattered around my studio.  I need to do a major tidy before I go any further with anything art related.  Wiping down the flat surfaces in the studio might put some positive energy into the air and spark some bright colours to be coaxed out of their tubes.  I have some lovely sandalwood incense that I can burn and hopefully that will permeate the air with a sense of anticipation of things to come.  Autumn is here and although it is sad to say goodbye to the summer, autumn is a wonderful time of the year, special in its own way.  It is up to me to find the excitement in the change of seasons and I will.  It just might take a few days.

I hope you are all involved in amazing artistic journeys right now!  Have a great week.

Sincerely,   Rutheemac

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