Thanks so much, Lars, for that beautiful welcome, I really appreciate it. I’m thrilled to be joining this quickly growing, enthusiastic group of mixed media art aficionados.
I wanted to write a bit about my process in creating the 13 pieces, called “Madonna & Child OR Re-parenting My Inner Child”, series #3, which were meant to be sent to the 9th International Collage Exhibition and Exchange in New Zealand. Upon completion of the series, I had some reservations about sending them. The point of the exchange is for artists from all over the world to exhibit and exchange works with one another, which would have meant that my pieces would be gone from me forever. I am not one for letting my art go too easily, if at all. But that is fodder for yet another article. I gathered all my internal strength and decided to send the works, only to discover that due to strict New Zealand laws about the importing of plant and organic materials (in order to protect their own plant life), my works would be stopped at the customs entry point because I used dried leaves, parsley, twigs, hibiscus bloom, etc., in many of my collages. “Fair enough”, I thought, as I jumped for joy (on the inside). I cannot send them, so I’ll just have to keep them, and try again next year with a different series and without the plant material.
Here are a few thoughts about how I went about conceiving and creating this series of thirteen.
I originally started with a very large image (see above), measuring approx. 70 inches x 17 inches, which I composed in Photoshop, in several layers. This would divide up into the images needed for the thirteen collages. I combined the digital art images from the Madonna & Child Or Re-parenting My Inner Child, series no 1 and series no 2, which I had made earlier and which had just been on exhibit at Arts Sutton, QuÃ©bec.
The next step was to print out this very large digital art creation on archival watercolor paper, then, cut them down to size, all 10 inches x 8.5 inches. Now, I had thirteen separate pieces to have fun with, (not that the previous step wasnâ€™t fun). I took them to my studio and after laying them all out, started the collage work. At first, I intuitively felt that they all needed a pouch or envelope of some sort, with other smaller objects inside of them. I proceeded to scrounge around my studio for appropriate objects. Please remember that I am a great gleaner, and have hundreds, if not thousands of items that I’ve collected over the years. And so I used a few of them: little bits of paper, plastic pouches, an old american express credit card, valentines heart doily, stamped envelopes, my husbands old driver’s license, parking receipt stubs, rotary club membership card, bubble gum wrapper, tea bag wrapper, museum entry ticket, human hair (my own), doctor’s prescription slip, twigs and leaves, Hershey’s chocolate bar wrapper, wine bottle foil wrapper, ribbon, laundry tags, coupon slips, and more. Then came the more irreverent objects. The pages torn from the bible, Hebrew scriptures, dictionary, poetry books… All items that have come into my life, and were collected over many years. All rich with symbolism and meaning.
I painted and glued these items over the original digital art printouts, and together the two (old and the new) worlds collided to form a rich, full world of their own.
After completing all thirteen collages in one, very long, sitting, I left them alone in my studio. When I returned a few days later, I saw that they had dried, but were quite crumpled and curled, no doubt from all the paint and gel medium. Unhappy with their physical appearance, and after much thought (and several sleepless nights) about what to do, I proceeded to use an iron to flatten them out. This was a fantastic experience, because some of the papers burned a bit and lots of the plastic pouches also burned and opened up to reveal the inside contents. Thus the creative process continues, as one never knows what’s going to happen, exactly; and that’s the thrill – the relinquishing of control, and the willingness to give oneself up to the process of creation.
So, what we see above here, as thumbnails, are the final series of 13 collages, after much layering, creating, ironing, and finally, pressing under a large stack of very heavy art books (TÃ pies, ClavÃ©, Rauschenberg, Cornell, Johns, Twombly, Dine, Nevelson, Herms, Christo). After couple of weeks, they flattened out beautifully, and gained a very rustic, ancient look about them. I was very happy.
And so, over a span of a few weeks, and many different stages, this work revealed itself to me, through its many transitions and transformations, to its ultimate… transcendence.
To see the final 13 collages and their earlier stages in larger format, click here.