Monday, May 28, 2012

Go With the Flow: More Painted Paper Collages

"Glimmer of Hope"
My current motto seems to be when in doubt, make more collages. I can't explain why I love making them so much. Back in my younger days, I would never have envisioned this new passion in my artwork. I was definitely more of a purist then, concentrating especially on my drawing skills. I do not begin my collages with a preconceived notion of what my finished piece will look like. Yet somehow, once I begin, I am able to compose without fear or tension of any kind and I seem to instinctively know what I should do. There is freedom in this thoroughly process-based approach. It's a great feeling. For now, I'm just going to go with this flow and see where it takes me. 

This recent set was done incorporating hand painted and stamped papers (the stamping was done with an onion).  I used a combination of ink, watercolor and caran d'ache.

"Middle Light"


"Dark Thoughts"

As I work in this way, I've found myself moving away from working representationally. And I've also noticed that the circle motif keeps reappearing in my work, even though I hadn't given much thought to their symbolic meaning. As it turns out, this deceptively simple shape is fairly complex in what it can symbolize. According to Steven Bradley of vanseodesign,

"Circles have no beginning or end. They represent the eternal whole and in every culture are an archetypical form representing the sun, the earth, the moon, the universe, and other celestial objects between." and "Circles are graceful and their curves are seen as feminine. They are warm, comforting and give a sense of sensuality and love. Their movement suggests energy and power. Their completeness suggests the infinite, unity, and harmony."

(source: The Meaning of Shapes:Developing a Visual Grammar by Steven Bradley)

In other words, circles have some very rich and beautiful potential as a design element when considered in this way, which is very nice to know. I'll take them as a good sign and embrace their presence in my work.

You can see more of my painted paper series of collages here. Thanks for stopping by. I always love your comments. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Sketchbook Inspiration: Variations on a Vase

One of the habits I'm working on this year is to use my sketchbook more consistently. Often I'm so excited to be doing art, that I jump right in on a piece without doing much planning. That approach can actually work just fine, but it is also very useful to use a sketchbook as a place to try out ideas and find inspiration. This morning, I decided to draw one of my favorite vases. First, I did a quick sketch.

Then, I did another sketch, and started added some doodling, dividing it up into smaller areas that I thought were interesting.

I played around with each little area, adding doodles with no particular plan in mind, using the curvilinear shape of the vase to guide me. From there, I decided to get out my encaustics and make some little paintings.

If I hadn't decided to draw my vase in my sketchbook, I wouldn't have found this crazy bit of inspiration. How about you? Do you use a sketchbook?