Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A few words about materials...

"Every master knows that the material teaches the artist"

Even though I have only been making collages for a few years, I inexplicably have been saving potential materials for much longer than that. I guess the "collage artist" part of me was busy preparing, even before I knew this was the path I would be taking.

Although many of my collages are made with more than one medium (making them "mixed media" pieces), my heart lies with paper. I can't really draw, and paint scares me ( I am trying to work on this,) but I have always loved to cut things out of paper!

In this way, everyday objects become my palette. Old calendars, maps, magazines, tissue boxes, greeting cards, and food cartons all have the potential to be featured in my next collage!

Since I am an avid recycler, I'm glad my art utilizes repurposed items. One of my more exciting recent finds were these wooden blocks at a store going out of business sale (the kind where everything is going, even the fixtures.) I believe they were used to prop up displays, but for me they are perfect canvases!

Here is the first collage I made using one of these repurposed wooden blocks.

If you look closely, you can also see a repurposed map in the background. The seahorse is also partially created out of recycled gift wrap.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Butterflies and Dragonflies

My newest collage is called Butterflies and Dragonflies/Free at Last. This piece was made on a warm summer day, and was, in part, inspired by the love I have for this time of year. I have always loved the heat and the stillness of summer. And what could be more delightful than wandering through a field of butterflies!

There is also a deeper meaning to this piece, which I feel reflects where I am on my journey as an artist and also in my life. A lot of my earlier artwork reflects searching: for meaning, for balance, for acceptance, and for integration. This collage represents the idea of a more complete transformation: the ability to let go of the past and live in the present moment. Like a butterfly released from it's cocoon: free at last!

Monday, June 14, 2010

My Birthday Trip

For my 41st birthday on Friday (how did that happen?!,) my husband and I took a day trip to Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, NJ. Although I grew up very close by, in Lawrenceville, I had never been there before.

Recently, I have been reviewing The Artist's Way program by Julia Cameron, and one theme that runs throughout is the idea that your artist is a child who loves to be nurtured and to play! It is important to revisit what inspired you as a child and to try to recapture the joy and wonder you felt when everything was new. I am very lucky I had a childhood rich in art, literature, and music, and draw on these images all the time while creating my own art.

I felt my visit to Grounds for Sculpture was like stepping into a fairytale! Even the restaurant there (which was amazing by the way) is inspired by a children's book, The Wind In the Willows. At 35 acres, everywhere you turned were gorgeous works of art, secret passage ways, gardens, and trails that led to magical surprises.

Perhaps the most pleasant surprise for me personally, was looking for a place to get a drink and running into a family of Peacocks! Moms, Dads, and babies strolling around!

I couldn't help but recall my favorite childhood birthday memory. I had just turned 5 and we took a birthday party trip to a petting zoo where I saw a Peacock. The peacock opened his feathers that day, and I truly believed it was just for me! So hanging out with a peacock, feathers wide open, on my 41st birthday, was incredibly symbolic.

My "artist child" couldn't have been happier!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Help the Gulf Coast on Etsy

I have been very pained recently, along with a great many other people, about the ramifications of the oil spill in the Gulf Coast. Among the most seriously affected by this catastrophe are the creatures and wildlife who rely on this area for their livelihood. Seeing images on television and the internet of birds and other creatures covered in oil is, for me, almost unbearable.

So, although this problem seems completely overwhelming for one person to try to make a difference, in times like these I recall the famous words of Burmese activist and political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi If you're feeling helpless help someone

I decided a few days ago I would find some way, albeit tiny , to aid the relief efforts in the Gulf. That very night I came across this wonderful Etsy shop called Help the Gulf Coast started by an Etsy seller named Kate from Flapperdoodle. This shop is a collective of items donated by Etsy sellers; 100% of the proceeds go to relief efforts in the Gulf- 50% to Oxfam, 50% to the National Audubon Society (pending approval)

Of course I donated something right away! I choose the above giclee print of an original bird collage called White Mountain Bird because I think he looks wistful.

Please check out this wonderful shop here
xxoo Abby

Monday, June 7, 2010

Where I Work

Here is my current "studio". It's really an extra bedroom, but I am glad to have the space to create and store all my stuff. I try in my life to be not too attached to "things" and limit the clutter in my living space, but as a collage artist, every piece of paper I come across (including but not limited to: junk mail, birthday cards, and old tissue boxes) take on new life as potential art materials. I am planning to spend some quality time in this space today - hope I am productive!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Spread Your Wings

Here is my latest collage titled Spread Your Wings. The bird is an Anhinga. When my parents went to Florida for the winter this past year, everyday on the phone my Mom mentioned an Anhinga that lived on the property ( yes, I talk to my Mom everyday!) So, I made this collage as a birthday present for her this past weekend.

According to animal totem mythology, one of the things the Anhinga teaches are ways to spread your wings of possibilities, so that is where the message/title comes from.