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Moving Into Hope – Laura McHugh

Moving Into Hope

It’s been a month since I started making Sorrow Collages. They are parked in two galleries here and here.  In 30 days, I made around 150 collages. Some were small and fast, like this one.

Others were more involved, like this series of three.





What I can say for sure about each one is that it helped me process through a lot of sorrow. Every night I would go to my studio and work, in silence. Less about crying, more about just feeling shell-shocked. Feeling nothing. In that month, I revisited a lot of old work that I just couldn’t toss, but that wasn’t strong enough to stand on its own. I gave it new life and it gave me a lot of pleasure in return. The work was very satisfying.

It was clear to me that I was using art-making to work through the effects of some majorly sad events in my life. It really took all that time and space for some deep hurts and anxieties to percolate up and clear.

I thought I would just keep making collages in this series called Sorrow Collages and I even went so far as to make some books to put the collages in. The books are full.

Then this weekend, on Sunday, my friend Karen Jaw-Madson gave me some fluorescent paints to try. I came home and immediately put them to paper. I also had met with my friend Diane Costello over the weekend, and we talked about image transfer techniques. It reminded me I had all the materials to do image transfers but just hadn’t gotten to it since taking a class in 2009.

I painted this with the fluorescents, then got to doing three image transfers that evening. My work changed with these collages which I shared with a small art group in a text message. My friend Len told me they seemed full of hope, not sorrow and I have to admit, I realized I was feeling better.

By tonight, I had made this. Even I can see it is full of hope. The new series, Hope Collages, is here and again, less about the colors I choose and the subject matter, and more about how I’m feeling at the source.