Last February/March, I began thinking about what I wanted to create for ArtPrize this year.
For me, my creative process begins with a thought which my mind looks at, stretches and pulls in many different directions. To help reign in the concept, I write the thought down and continue to write everything else that flows from that one thought. In this case, my thought was Bee Cause. What do I visually want to say about the bees? What cause … a cause for the bees or a cause for mankind or both? I look at it more, and write more down. I draw out my thoughts, literally. Bees. Honey. Honeycomb. Hives. Branches. Leaves. Flowers. Messages. Movement. Light. Sound. All of it I look at to consider.
I knew I wanted it to suspend from the ceiling. I knew I loved working with the decorative papers and wanted to incorporate those into the piece. I knew I wanted it as lightweight as possible. What could give my branch structures little weight but lots of strength? Ah yes, the bamboo splints Catherine and I used last year in our bird kites. But what formation of branches? Flowers, hmm, yes, crepe paper. What color pink, white, magenta? What about the flowers’ centers? Too crazy of a detail to dwell on now. Leaves! Yes the decorative paper and the roll of green sheer fabric would be perfect! But how, how am I going to make those leaves? Glue will add more weight … sewing? Possibly. Bees … that’s a tricky one … they need to be lightweight, moveable by breezes, some color, something to possibly reflect light … plastic? Yes, a thin plastic, like from the pastry shop or grocery store. Perfect! Messages … what do I want it to say, what words? Bee Cause … what?
What helps you to work out your thought process? I would love to hear from you!
One of my goals as Springtime approaches, is to incorporate bees into three collage/paintings measuring 11″x14″. Above, you will see the beginning stages of my work using my blossom sketch, bees I’ve drawn and cut out pieces of paper. I find as I walk outside and see beautiful pink blossoms on the trees and pink and yellow tulips popping, I want to incorporate those into my artwork.
Shown above are the blossoms I painted this morning as well as the background color and the collaged leaves. While working, the thought crosses my mind, “do I want to apply any ink to these paintings, or just stay with embroidery for detail?” Time will tell!
Prior to the NoBo First Friday show (in the usual creative frenzy of thinking I will get even more accomplished before the show), I began nine more bluebirds for 5×7 paintings. I finished my first one last night! A section of it is shown in the upper right corner of the photo.
I began with a small canvas and applied color to the outer edges. While at one of my favorite stores, Two Hands Paperie, I found a beautiful pack of papers. After choosing one of these lovely paper as a background for the bird, I cut it to the desired size and applied it to the canvas. Using one of the previously painted nine birds, I trimmed it out (similar to the one with the white background) and applied the bird to the background. At this point the background competed for attention with the bird and I brushed on a glaze to tone it down.
Next, I painted more leaves and branches. After allowing drying time, I picked up a pen and added lines for shading and outlining. The ink added more depth and dimension to the piece. All that is now left to do is sign it!
If you are so interested by this little bluebird and would like to inquire regarding purchasing, contact me through the “contact” tab above.
Spring is right around the corner and my mind goes to spring! The thought of warm breezes and the sounds of birds chirping away!
In preparation for the NoBo First Friday Show tomorrow night, I’ve been working away on various forms of 2 and 3 dimensional collage. Three bluebird canvases will be there with acrylic, ink, fabric, paper and embroidery! Here are a couple detail photos …
In addition, I’ve met a clothing designer named Melissa Bell who has generously given me scraps of her fabric! From those, I’m making collage animals by combining her fabrics with mine and adding embroidery. Each animal is from my original design.
Inspiration once again came from the stamp and wanting to play with black and white gouache . For this piece, I began with a piece of cardboard from a sheet set that had printing on one side and blank white on the other.
Knowing the paint would not want to adhere very well, I sanded the blank side with some fine sand paper. After addressing and stamping the cardboard, I set it to the side and cut a smaller piece of card stock that fit inside a printed border on the back side of the cardboard. From a recently acquired package of miscellaneous papers, etc., I pulled out a solid teal piece and a playing card. I sewed the teal paper in the middle and cut the card at an angle. Placing the card in strategic locations, I sewed those into place. Next, I added a piece of red ribbon. Finally, I sewed the new “sewed” card onto the back of the cardboard.
Knowing the paint would not want to adhere very well to the slick cardboard from the sheet, I sanded the blank side with some fine grade sand paper. The gouache stayed onto the card beautifully.
Once I finished the front and let it dry, I flipped it over, looked at that 3 of hearts and began to reminisce about all those Canasta games. That playing card brought back many memories of playing canasta with my family. Being allowed to play Canasta with the adults was truly a right of passage. Numerous Sunday afternoons were spent playing cards with my family and visiting with cousins, aunts and uncles. My Aunt Agnes always placed bowls of chips and chocolates onto the table only to be washed down by soda pop. Strategy, stories, and laughter often ensued. Enough reminiscing for now, back to the project …
Originally, I thought I would draw or paint some silhouettes of figures (like those the stamp) onto the sewn back side of the card, but it seemed only right to add the Williams Rule book and a few thoughts.
I’ve just returned to the Upper Peninsula after setting up “Recipes for Legacies”, an installation my daughter Catherine and I collaborated on for this year’s ArtPrize.
For this project, we combined two of our interests, the environment and women’s history, to create this project. We chose 9 women and honored each with a recipe card, listing their “ingredients” and their “legacy”, and a sphere made out of wire with paper cut-outs of their ingredients. Two LEDs hang in the middle of each sphere to shine light. Using scissors (no die punches here!), Catherine and I cut out 1,373 images to create the 9 spheres! By first taking the casing off of the wire (donated by CCI Systems of Iron Mountain, MI), we hand bent each piece to create the spheres . Thank you, CCI Systems for the wire!
This past Saturday, we installed our art at Purple East on Ionia Street in Grand Rapids. A very big thank you to the owner, Kelly, for all of her support at Purple East!
Catherine and I were very pleased with the result! As we looked at each sphere with each recipe card, it really showed what a difference each person can make in the world.