Friday, April 4, 2008

My Own Grunge Painted Collage (done on upholstery fabric sample)



This is a piece I worked on over several days, since last Saturday after our local book arts group meeting. Doing the grunge painting on fabric there must've really inspired me. (Scroll down to see a post and photos on that project). I really enjoyed doing the grunge painting, and love the results of it....and started thinking hmmmmm, can I produce similar results all by myself, as just one artist? Because the painting we did at the meeting involved the whole group, 13 artists.

At our meetings, oftentimes members will bring things to share with the group. At our last meeting, some people brought fabric remnants and wallpaper sample books to share. So, I brought home an upholstery fabric sample. It's dimensions are 17 x 12 inches, and it's quite thick and somewhat textured. I didn't care for the color, it was kind of an orange/tan, and I didn't know what I planned to do with it. Then it occurred to me I could just use it as a "practice" piece for grunge painting, that it would be perfect for that. And since I considered it a practice piece, and just for fun, I lost all fear of ruining it.

Now you have to know something about me. I am fearful about the "C" word. Doing "collage" scares me, for some strange or stupid reason. Anytime I think I'm doing a "collage", I get fearful and anxious and tense about my art and what I'm doing. Because I feel like I DON'T know what I'm doing. I start to over-think what I'm doing, or should be doing, and start second guessing myself, and get all concerned about placement and composition. I also get that way about layering. I have a really hard time with much layering at all, because I find it hard to paint over or cover up something I've already done, especially if I like the way it looks.

That being said, I really wanted to see if I could cut loose on this "practice" piece, and do a layered collage -- spontaneously, and with abandon. And see if, and to what degree, I could overcome my fear of collage and layering. That was my main goal with this piece, much more than being concerned with how it turned out.

I really, really got into working on this piece bigtime, and everytime I thought, okay it's done, more ideas would come to mind on what more I could do, what more I could add. Although I must say, in the beginning, I really didn't care about what I painted over or covered up. But the further along I got, the more attached I became to the piece, and the more concerned I was about what got covered up, and where to paint and stamp and glue down. I felt much more free about that in the beginning than later on. So in that sense, I didn't totally achieve my original goal, but only to a certain point.

So anyway, I think it's finally done. That is if I don't add something else. I couldn't scan the whole piece because of its size, so I had to do three scans. It would look better and more cohesive to see it as one piece, but this will have to do. The bird was one of the last things I added, and is embroidered on denim. I embroidered it on a pair of bell-bottom jeans in the 1970's!!! How "groovy" is that? So gee, it's over 30 years old! I cut it off the jeans many, many years ago, and held onto it all this time. I'm amazed I still have it, and more amazed that I actually found it and thought to use it on this piece. I think this is the exact piece it was meant to be on, and was waiting in a drawer for all these years. I was also able to use three of my caulk inchies on the right edge of the piece, and I added those last too.

So, that's my story and I'm sticking to it!!! In comparing this to the grunge painted fabrics posted below, I think the results I achieved are somewhat similar, but also different, because this turned into a collage, and I used other elements in addition to just paint, such as glued on crumpled tissue paper, yarn, cheesecloth, ric-rac, fabric, silk leaf, and of course the embroidered bird.

So, what do you think? I'm almost afraid to ask.

25 comments:

mary schweitzer said...

I think it's brilliant! And it amazes me that you got nervous over it. But I can relate, I sometimes get little anxiety attacks over my work.Which is funny isn't it? Because we don't have to show anyone what we did if we don't want to. If it turns into crap no-one will know but us. And still we sweat and panick.
Crazy artists!
Mary

Anonymous said...

Well Val, What do I think? I think it is. NO I KNow it is wonderful. What inspiration and amazement. Way to go. Mollye
http://shezadoozey.com

Alma Jane said...

I love it! And I understand how you feel as I can look at a blank canvas or watercolor paper for days before I convince myself to just DO it.
Thanks for sharing this!

Anonymous said...

I think you collage is amazing. It is nice to know that someone who does such wonderful work gets anxious over what to do and where to go. I can so relate.

Stella Chang

Mary S Hunt said...

Val this is a TERRIFIC "discovery"!!! LOVE the concept totally and will execute a project of my own...thank you for this inspiration.
This is a great project as well for youth students!

Mary H

Lynne said...

This looks really good but I totally understand your hesitation. I'm not nervous when I start and have good intentions of building up a really layered piece but once I get to like the look I've got I find I can't make myself go on in case I spoil what I've done. I think that you're right, play pieces on fabric you don't really care about to start with is the way to push through the barriers. Must give it a go!

Lizbethem said...

Great concept, Val! Terrific collage!

Karen Campbell said...

Oh these are wonderful, Val! I hope you are using some in your book next year!

Michelle said...

Val, this is awesome work! I don't know why you'd be afraid, but it's nice to know that even people with your obvious talent get that way. Gives hope to those of us who are new to this. I love your grunge painting and collage, and it's inspired me to at least get back to work on the piece I started last week!! Just awesome!

Nathalie Thompson said...

You grunge pieces are amazing! I certainly wouldn't have guessed your lack of confidence. I am inspired to try some myself! Thanks!

debby said...

I really like the original grunge pieces- the upholstery fabric really takes it up to another level. I think the texture and layering of patterns makes the piece even more dimensional. I just want to touch it.
I also really love the idea of using a piece from your past, like you said- like it has been waiting all this time.
debby (altered miniaturist and artist)

Dawn said...

This has turned out so well, you have really "grown" showing this piece and actually doing it. All the elements, layering, images make this a really cohesive piece and I love it. Let go of your fear of the "C" word cos you know what you have no need to fear - just keep doing what you are doing because it is brilliant!!!!
I truly love this solo piece and the use of the upholstery fabric was inspired - enough from me lol, take care and keep on going....

Christy said...

Love it, love it, love it. What is the body made from? I like all of the different little elements that work so well together.
-Christy

Julie said...

It's all been said! Fabtastic work (did I invent a new word?). I so identify with your fearful and precious feelings - I get so scared to start and then hate covering things up. I must have a go at this and remember to let go and enjoy. Thank you for sharing.

kristen said...

I think it's awesome and turned out really unique! I can relate to getting tense and over thinking things, but you clearly got past it with this piece :) And I love the denim bird :)

Kristen

Linda said...

LOVe it!!! I am inspired.

darlene aKa HugGeR said...

HEY I can relate totally...but I must say it looks fantabulious!!!

Lindart said...

These are wonderful!! And the muslin ones too. We have a small group of 4 that meets once a month and was looking for a project - this just may be it! But the upholstry fabric ones are the best, they look really clean and professional!

Lindart

wahm922 said...

All I can do is echo all of the comments above me, its wonderful. I have not ventured into fabric myself as of yet but I see so many wonderful things done with fabric I'm going to have to get over my fear and just try it.

Thanks for sharing your experience!

Laurie said...

Hey Valley Girl!
I think the way you first felt freedom and carefree about adding-on, and became gradually much more selective, sounds like exactly the way it SHOULD be. That shows that your sense of balance and composition is mature! I noticed that bird right away- so glad you gave us his biography...
http://dandywalker.blogspot.com

Heather Robinson said...

Oh Val, I swear I have enlarged these photos again and again just to see all of the details in them. They are so beautifully composed and so engaging. I would never have guess that you had apprehension about collage because these are really brilliant. I'd love to try this technique with the teens that I work with at the library. So pleased that you described it. It is such a great collaborative project.

Marilyn said...

I love it too ! I still haven't tried collage because it intimidates me, but you have inspired me to give it a go. If my efforts are 1/2 as nice as yours, I'll be happy !
Marilyn in MN

Anonymous said...

This is wonderful ! It makes me want to try. I really like that you used the swatch and that it was a color you did not like and just painted over it ! beautiful and now I wish I hadn't thrown out some of my samples...
can't wait to see more and can't wait to try.

Magpie's Mumblings said...

This is absolutely amazing! I read with great interest your comments about having a fear of collage...I know exactly how you feel. I too am afraid to try it because I just hate the thought of covering up something I've already done. You said it so well! Your work on this is incredible & is another of those pieces I really wish I could see (and feel!) in person.

Mam said...

Val, I do love your work. I'm looking forward to whatever you come up with next!
Nancy