Saturday, November 28, 2009

Out of the Abyss --One Small Victory

Yes indeed, I consider this one small victory, because I actually got it together to make some NEW art.  New art is the key here.  I've been in such a depressing and extended art slump, I consider making any new art at this point a victory.  And hopefully, (fingers crossed) my first small step out of the abyss, the extended art slump, dry time, dark time I've been in.  Well, every artist is different and an individual, and deals with art slumps in different ways.  Many artists have written on this subject on their blogs and in books, regarding how to get out of an art slump.  And that is a very good thing indeed, and is very helpful to many artists in this situation.  Sometimes what other's have written has helped me, other times....not so much.  This time around, trying to muster up motivation and inspiration at the same time has been my biggest challenge.  At times, I've had motivation, but no inspiration.  At other times I've had inspiration but no motivation.  And for me, I need the two together, and that just wasn't happening.

Do I know why?  No, and that was part of my frustration.  But I don't think the "why" is that important anyway.  Right now, I don't care about the why.  What I care about is that I sat down and created some new art last weekend, and that finally motivation and inspiration came together at the same time.  And so this is the result, a background made for an art piece I'm still working on.  Which I'm excited about, and hope to finish within the next few days.  When I get it finished, I'll post it.  But today, I'm posting this background, because I really like it, and it's kind of a new technic for me.  One I've never done before in this way.

Many months ago, at my local book arts meeting, we played with a similar technic.  We tore strips of National Geographic pages, and strips of wide masking tape, and alternated those on a base for a background.  They turned out very cool and I liked that technic, although I don't know where it originated from.  This time around, I decided to just use torn strips of NG pages, to see how that would come out.

I used gel medium to glue them down on an 8x10 piece of thick chip board.  After they dried I  sanded the piece and etched into it with a very sharp awl to distress it.  Then I rubbed brown paste shoe polish over it to kind of antique it and give it more depth.  Then I used my finger to rub Golden's Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold fluid acrylic paint over parts of it.  I totally love that color, and it's the first time I've used it in my art.  Some members of my art group suggested I buy some, and I'm glad they did.  Then I brushed over the whole piece with a thick layer of gel medium to get more, yet subtle, texture.  And rubbed over that with brown paste shoe polish and also some gold waxy stuff to give it gold highlights.  Then I sealed it with Future Floor Finish (FFF) which gives a glossy finish.  While it was still wet, I flicked Pearl Ex Pigment Powders on it, in Aztec Gold and Spring Green.  I do love those Pearl Ex powders.  After the FFF dried, I sprayed the piece with hairspray to seal the Pearl Ex, and then sealed it again with FFF.

So that's how this background was made.  Not difficult at all.  NG pages are great for this, although pages from other magazines might work as well.  I think this is a great, easy technic for the first layer of a layered collage.  It gets you past a blank base and into the mindset of layering.  Beyond that it makes a great background for any kind of art, collage or whatever.  It can be distressed or rubbed with different paint colors, or glaze colors, or shoe polish, or metallic waxy colors....or whatever comes to mind.  I think it's an easy technic that opens the door to all kinds of inspiration and experimentation.  And gee, if you should screw it up or not like it, it can be glued over or painted over or tossed, no great loss.

In closing here, I'm just so grateful and relieved to have made some new art, and to have a plan for how I want to finish it.  True, this is a small step, but at least a step in the right direction.  And that's more than I was doing before, for too long.  So for me, it's a positive step back into the world of being an artist, and a step out of the abyss.  And one small victory for sure.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Another page from my Melange book

Okay, so here's the deal, the bottom line, in brutal honesty.  I'm still trying to find my way out of my extended art slump, and just not sure how to do that, or when it might happen.  I keep hoping and praying it will happen soon, but who knows?  It could happen today, tomorrow, or beyond that.  I dread thinking of the "beyond that".  I feel certain I will find my way out sooner or later, and that even yes, there is a reason for it, one I don't understand.  I'm not "okay" with it, especially concerning my blog.  But then again, learning to be "okay" with it might be the best approach and help me out in the long run.  I'm not sure where true inspiration and motivation come from, it seems to be rather mysterious to me.  If I could just produce it on command, that would be so great.  However, sad to say, I haven't figured out just how to do that.  If I ever do, I'll be sure and let you know.

This is another spread in my cherished Melange Book.  I definitely love the right page more, because I'm a nut for using rusted found objects in my art.  And I have a great stash of RFOs, one that might be the envy of many, most scavenged from my local truck stop parking lot.  So there's a tip for you.  The background on this page is wallboard joint compound.  I think I also used some walnut ink crystals misted with water.  The snake and centipede were added last, kind of as an afterthought, but I like them, even though they are kind of creepy.  I also used fabric threads and cheese cloth.

I'm wondering, how many of you out there use rusted found objects in your art?  And if you do, where do find them?  Do you get excited when you find I do?  And are we crazy to get excited about a rusted object we might find?  Most sane people would say yes, and not understand at all.  But hey, with us artists, it's mostly a "given" that we understand quite well.  It has to do with the heart of an artist, in my humble opinion.  And with something found unexpectedly that can be used in our art.  And with recycling something in a creative, positive way that would normally be thrown in the trash.  And with the nature aspect of it, of nature causing and creating the rust.  And with the rich color and texture, that is hard to replicate any other way.  These are the reasons I love rusted found objects and love using them in my art.  If any of you have anything to add to this discussion, please do so.  I'd love to hear what you have to say about rusted found objects.  I think it's a subject well worth discussing.

So anyway, here is my latest post on my blog.  And I'm happy to post this for the first time.  And if it stirs up a discussion on RFO's, that's great and would do my heart good.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Spread in my Melange Book

This is a spread I did in my Melange Book, probably my most favorite handmade book of mine.  It was a project done in my local book arts group a while back.  Well, more than a while.  It was a very challenging project....but also loads of fun.  I never would've created this book if it hadn't been a group project, and I'm so grateful it was, because it totally motivated me to do this and get it finished.  It was a group project, but we each created our own books.  Oftentimes, I need that kind of motivation.  And also the help and support that was so generously provided by other members of our super-great local group!!!  I'm oh so fortunate and grateful that we have such a fantastic book arts/altered art group in my area, the Denver metro area, and that I've been a member for over five years.  Our group is still going strong, and I hope it always will.  And I only wish that all of you artists out there could have a group like this in your area.

The left page is a fabric page of painted muslin, with lace, ribbon, rick-rack, and buttons glued down, and frayed along the edges.  The right page has cool scrapbook paper as the background.  The lower part is a pocket of fine copper mesh, with an altered CD inserted.  I glued down four rusted bottle caps....I always love rusted found objects, that's for sure.  The fiber is eyelash yarn (at least I think that's what it's called).  

To be honest, I'm going through a difficult time in my life right now, and so making art has kind of been relegated to the back burner.  I've been in an extended art slump, which has been quite frustrating and bewildering.  But beyond that, I'm dealing with some painful family issues/realities, that have really knocked the air out of me.  Sometimes, reality really BITES as I'm sure all of you can relate to and understand.  However, I want to keep my blog current, because it's important to me to do so.  There are a lot of things in life I don't have control over, but I do have control over my blog.  And it helps me to keep it going and current, or as much as I'm able to.  I know this too, shall pass, and better days are up ahead, but for now, I'm rather down under.  So please bear with me on this.  Thank you.