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.

 

 

What Sorrow Collages Are Teaching Me

Art can teach you things, if you let it.  This Sorrow Collage project I’ve been doing recently has taught me a lot and has really helped me get through the past 10 days.

I’m an art “hoarder,” in that I can’t throw even the worst pieces I make away. I figure I can always cut it up, work over the top of it, fold it into a box….the possibilities are endless and sometimes the worst pieces make the best starts to these other projects. Over the past 5-6 years, I’ve done many small reject prints or paintings that are tucked away in a box or my flat file.

There is something about putting a stamp on them makes me now feel they are complete and need to be out of the box and into this collage collection where they now belong. Collage purists, I know many of these are not “true collages.” And, it is liberating to be going through this old art. I’m so so happy I still have the pieces.

They are original art by me, made into Sorrow Collages by adding the stamp, or more. My art, my rules! 🙂

 

The Voice of Collage

One of the hardest things about collage (learning from someone else, teaching it to others) is that I think it is a very very unique thing that we touch on inside ourselves from which the way we combine images, colors and textures together is sourced. I see things in a completely different way than anyone else would. And while I love viewing collage by others, it is a slippery slope to start emulating/copying/appropriating someone else’s collage style. Like putting on a pair of ill-fitting shoes – it just won’t work. So I have my own collage voice, rhythm and style. And I’m starting to feel it taking stride.

If I ever questioned keeping things that I’ve done that didn’t quite work, I’m over that now. So so glad I tossed these into a “later” pile. Some are 10 years old, but it feels SO good to rework them. They just had to wait for my art competency to get to the point of being up to revisiting them.

In one week, I’ve made almost 100 collages (93 I think).  Some are small, some are larger. Some took quite a bit of reworking, some only took a fleeting moment to add in a vintage French postage stamp. Either way, I’m happy with them all. Today I had more fun making collages using the collages, putting them with photos I’ve taken over the past few years too.

Making art makes me SO happy.  I’m grateful that I found this outlet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sorrow Collages

In general, I’m a grateful and happy person. I’m so lucky to have four amazing children and two beautiful grandchildren. My parents are healthy and happy. I’m healthy, and I have a good job that I love and a solid roof over my head. I drive a cute, but sensible little car and I’m surrounded by so many good and loving friends. I have plenty of art supplies and opportunities to make and view art.

But I’m sad, just chock-full of sorrow right now. Sometimes you think things are going to go a certain way – say, electing a new and female president, but no such luck. Then you think maybe the person who won will come to his senses. Oh how I wish!

This was a difficult weekend – processing so much Ugh. So I put myself in my studio and took a note from my friend Anna Corba who created a huge body of petite collages when she was going through something tough. I call mine Sorrow Collages. I did 63 by the time the weekend was over, then rushed home tonight after work and did 10 more. They are flying out of me. And I’m starting to feel better. Slowly, but surely.

See them all in a slideshow here. I’ll update this gallery every time I make some new collages, and I’ll keep making them as long as I feel this way.

Your Narrative

It’s an interesting thing to only start writing your narrative at 57. Maybe I’m a late bloomer and it just took me this long to figure it out. It’s hard to see yourself through this microscope or lens. Much easier to ask people how THEY see you – how you show up in the world, but for my art-making it was essential to define it from the inside out: what makes me tick when it comes to creating.

Here’s a beautiful article published in My Art Fair magazine on this very subject.  Thank you to Mimi Blue – Editor and My Art Fair for providing the lenses.

Here’s the whole magazine; these are snips of just my article.