Try number 2 and 3

Into the deep forest on a solstice night
This second piece was totally my own, with no input from Lithuanian sources. I wanted to come up with something that could be the deep forest on the solstice night. It might be too busy. I am going to simplify a bit and try again. The birds seem corny, but part of the reward of finding the blossom is the knowledge of understanding them.

Searching for the Fern Blossom
The third piece was a product of me attempting this with a different technique. Instead of painting the whole thing and attaching the collage, I wanted to sort of paint and collage at the same time. In doin so, I lost the 2-toned reverse thing that I had going on. Took my time using pen and ink on the ferns. This one lacks the folk look I was trying to achieve, but the loose collage and stencil--it still turns me on.
NYC Gallery
I have been a little remiss in regularly checking the website for the Pavel Zoubok Gallery (www.pavelzoubok.com); but I check it yesterday and it's definitely worth looking at some of the pieces on display currently. This gallery specializes in collage and assemblage work and is located at 533 West 23rd St. in Chelsea. The next time you go to NYC, it's worth a visit. I saw a Ray Johnson collage there last summer among others. Enjoy!

The annoying CAPTCHA

And what is a captcha if you don't already know? It's that annoying little box of hard to read numbers and/or letters that appear at the bottom of the comment box on this blog.
I don't really like the captcha...they are sometimes almost impossible to decipher and I just want to comment and move on. But I keep getting these crazy spam comments lately. Some are porn. Some are Asian business schemes. All are annoying.
Today I turned on the feature that allows for that annoying captcha on comments. It will save me the effort of keeping the clearinghouse clean!

I spent all day yesterday working on another fern blossom interpretation. I have nothing much to say about it here, tho. It's too big for my home scanner, and until you can see it visually there's no point in discussion! Been working with paints more and trying to hone up my pen and ink skills. Maybe some of this diligence is wearing off because I am teaching Design 111 at SUNY Cobleskill this semester. I am teaching/learning of line, value, hue. Rhythm, unity and balance. Seriously, I have to practice what I am preaching. The teaching is making raise the bar and think more studiously about my creative work. I love it when life throws you a bonus like that.


A new beginning

And so let me reveal to you my current project. Welcome to your first glimpse into my attempts to create a collaged folk style. I have begun working on a fairy tale book that I will both illustrate and write. I have been researching the old myths, tales and legends from the Baltics, with particular emphasis on my Grandma's homeland of Lithuania. You have already seen me toying with the key symbol in previous works. That's on the back burner now. My new project is taking me in an entirely new direction.
I would like to create a series of works, including papercuts, stencils and perhaps some artists books that are based on these old tales. The most fascinating part is that I am using motifs that come from vintage stamps and bank notes. I am trying to keep some of this work authentic, by using symbols and designs native to the baltic region. I have this great resource at home, in my Uncle Rays' stamp collection that I inherited. There's a huge amount of Latvian, Estonian, and LIthuanian stamps and Bank Notes and the detail on them is just outstanding and quite inspiring. My goal is to cull ideas for starting points from these sources, and then recycle them in my work. I want to explore these traditional ideas and designs and develop them further in a new context.

For my first attempt here, I am working on the legend of the fern blossom. (I don't know what a fern blossom looks like, and my imagination is fertile with ideas! I love the story line) This piece is an exercise in using new media (gouache isn't exactly new ...well it's new to me! ) and trying to create a folksy look that includes collaged pieces. I am going to re-do this a few times, using various techniques until I hammer down the "look" I am looking for.

The 2-color scheme is my attempt at trying to simulate the idea of a solstice. I really feel my painfully poor painting skills these days. i am a firm believer of the old adage that practice makes perfect. Prepare to see more of this style!


The joy of serendipity

Anyone who is making the creative journey through the landscape of collage and assemblage certainly has some experience with the joy and beauty of serendipity. Of course, being "on the lookout" for "specimens" to include in creative works is necessary for ultimately creating a piece of work. And preparation and planning are also important in various ways. In addition, as Julie and others have pointed-out, being in a fertile mental and physical state always helps too. But... it is wonderful and exhilarating to experience the serendipity so often associated with spending time and manipulating lots of collage materials. So I thought I would share the two images (or perhaps I should say one or "one-and-a-half" images) shown here. Here's what happened. I have been intrigued by images I have come across in a health book from around 1915 and the illustrative photos of various exercises. I cut out the image of this muscle man which I thought I might use in a piece and was playing with the image of the man and the strawberry (I really enjoy the contrast of B&W photos and colorful fruits and vegetables). Anyway, at one point, I turned the image over and "Viola!"... I found that the back of this cut-out muscle man just happened to look quite interesting. I don't think that I would have "seen" that if I was only in a "planning" stage. I have not even completed a piece with inclusion of this image... but I am certainly enjoying it now. I hope you do too.

Story development

Using a rather plain jane watercolor that I did during my recent surgery layover....I made this collage, after 3 weeks of it sitting on the table bugging me. I am beginning to see a story line with these pieces, but I need to spend time percolating on it. I like the way she seems to have fake horns...

I really feel some creative growing pains since I took some time off. I want to work on something entirely different, so finishing up this stuff that was half done on the table was necessary. And therapeutic!



Greetings friends of creative expression and experience!
First of all, I would like to thank Julie for allowing me to post on Collage Clearinghouse. I have enjoyed her posts and artwork and am hoping I can contribute in ways that will entertain and inspire as well.

Located in an old refurbished factory building right across the river from Manhattan in Queens (Long Island City to be exact) are two small exhibit spaces collectively referred to as "Climate/Gallery" run by artists Whitey Flagg and Herman James. On February 6th, there will be an opening reception of a collage/assemblage/montage exhibit entitled "Putting-It-All-Together". Whitey and Herman curate a different exhibit every month. These exhibits have different themes and have thus far been non-juried (so they provide a great opportunity to show your work!). They do have a "juror" come in to select several artists' works which are then shown as "Selected Artists" works on the website. For the upcoming "Putting-It-All-Together" exhibit, the juror will be our friend Jonathan Talbot.
I have submitted these two pieces. The first is entitled "The Evolution of Greed" and the other "The Convolution of Lust". These are 9.5" in 12" x 12" frames. I am thinking of doing a series of the seven "deadly" sins in a similar style. Perhaps I will see some of you at the reception next Saturday! Make sure you check out the Climate/Gallery website at climategallery.com


Valentine frenzy

It all started with too many idle moments and some lofty ideas.
I wanted to do something unique for my man Chris for upcoming Valentine's Day, something other than the usual chocolate and card. We have these silver urns in our front window that have red dogwood branches in them. They are still left over from Christmas but I stripped off all the ornaments. I thought about making a bunch of hanging valentines and filling up the dogwood branches with them. When Chris comes down on Valentines morning to make the morning java, he can't possible miss my many valentine messages!

This one ended up looking medieval

So I came up with a basic format, and then sat down at the art table and finally got some good creative time happening. It's been tough to get anything done with the pain being first and foremost in my mind all the time. I need to relax, or at least not be thinking about how much it hurts in order to be able to express myself in art.
Once I got going on these, I couldn't stop. It felt so good to just let that other half of my brain relax! I did several of these little hanging treasures. I stuck to non-traditional colors and themes....you know I hate to be boxed in to using red and pink only. I have orange love, green love, all color love. So why not let other colors represent?>?
It's great to feel creative again, but this little exercise did little for me as far as fine art is concerned. I have been staring at the same 2 pieces ever since surgery. They aren't moving, and I can't seem to reconcile and finish them. If nothing occurs by this weekend, I will have to put these aside and start fresh. It's weird how some pieces fly together by themselves, and others sit there and ferment.

Orange luv

This one had an ocean theme

for you my soul doth pine—even a green valentine

(There are more for sale on Etsy, if you are interested.)

I keep getting these great emails from Steven Specht with info about all kinds up collage exhibits and interesting art stuff. I have asked him to join Collage Clearinghouse so we can all benefit and luckily he agreed. At some point, you will see a post by him...so enjoy!


BACK IN THE SADDLE—well sort of!

I am SO Glad to report that the surgery is OVER>>Not happy to report it was twice as painful as I expected. I ended up with a catheter for 2 weeks. That's gone now, and I am starting to come back from the fog.
During my days of being tethered to the rubber hose and bag, I was able to settle down 4 times over the past 2 weeks and I made myself do a few watercolor studies. I couldn't really move much...and sitting straight up to paint was a painful operation! Nonetheless, I need to report on the calming and healing effects that I received from these moments of hindered creativity! My mind couldn't get off of the various pains that I was feeling...and I swear I could feel a difference when I was able to focus all my concentration on painting. The portion of my brain screaming in pain shut the hell up, and allowed the rest of me to flow with the paint over the paper. I was very slow...and if you knew me you would understand how against my nature that is! I am a nervous person, I talk fast, think even faster, and my actions are rarely what we call slow! The surgery and narcotic pain killers brought me to another level of concentration and for an hour at a time, all body pains disappeared. Sweet. However, the paintings sucked. At least, that's my general opinion of them.
At one point, in utter frustration, I ventured upstairs to the studio, on a day that was particularly painful. I couldn't sit without pain, so I stood there and worked on a collage using one of the aforementioned bogus watercolors. Being back in my own element was soothing and immediately all pains were washed away by vintage ephemera and my starry eyed dreams. I ended up laying out one collage work and yesterday afternoon, in celebration of losing the catheter, I glued it down. How can I describe how this was So Satisfying??? I was made to be a collage artist! I can't tell you enough of the peace I felt during these fleeting mixed media moments.
I was stuck on the couch. Stuck looking out this one window. Stuck with this one view. Stuck with using watercolors, since all other art materials are in the studio. Stuck and restrained. I believe that Matthew Barney has spent half his life dealing with the subject of restraint...there's something to be said about it. Moving from a restrained and very controlled creative situation to a very open and free creative situation was like running out in the open air with my arms open thru a meadow and singing "the hills are alive, with the sound of music..." like Julie Andrews.

The collage that I did wasn't so great. It's typical of most of my work...But it will always be a special artwork to me, one that symbolizes the essence of why I do collage. I love the freedom of expression that it allows me. Lets face it! I am just loving life now that I can get back to it!
I guess I am almost back in the saddle again!

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