A Part of My HeART

I have been building collages on marbled paper for several years and have blogged about the process. For those of you who are new to my blog it’s important to note that I do the marbling using the Japanese suminagashi technique. I never get tired of manipulating the inks on the surface of water which is contained in a large tray. The surprise comes at “lift off” after the paper, which has been gently (and briefly) laid on top of the water, is pulled up and away. The pattern of floating, swirling shapes is transferred to the paper. Once the paper is dry, I can construct the collage on it.

The ebb and flow of the marbled patterns lead me in different directions regarding the sizes, shapes, colors and placement of the collage elements. I think of the process as marbling mystery.

In my latest series I have added images of graffiti or wall art which I photographed and printed. The photos are rectangular and echo the shape of the paper. They are in free fall, floating around on the marbled background, anchored by the other collage elements. Everything goes round and round, up and down, over and under. Some parts are subtle, some not so subtle. They go with and against the flow.

Now, for the workflow, the sequence, where all will be revealed.

First, the marbled paper. It actually takes a while before I add anything. I love it all by itself!

#1377 – the beginning

#1377 – a few additions

#1377 – the finished collage. “Unexpected Encounters” collage with photo on suminagashi marbled paper 22×30” 2021

Here is #1376 with just the photos.

#1376 – with some collage

#1376 – the finished collage. “Hop-Scotch”

#1378 – with photos

#1378 – the finished collage. “A Succession of Circles”

#1379 – with photos

#1379 – the finished collage. “In Praise of Purple Martins”

 

And, for good measure, a detail of #1379.

As always, the interpretation is up to you. What do you make of what I made?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s A Wrap

The collage series TIME is finished (maybe). The previous blog, “Since I Don’t Write Poetry”, described the how and why of #1366-1369. I posted questions in that blog that I asked you to ponder. The last two collages in the series are #1370 and #1371.

Each element in the collage is a shape that can be named and exists as a ‘thing.” When it becomes part of another thing it becomes something else. Continuing to add elements continues the change even further. The parts lose their identity, as they become the new entity. The end result (the collage) is the sum of its parts.

Here is #1370 “This Time”

#1370 This Time

I thought it might be fun to show a bit of the sequence in assembling the collage. It may take the fun out of guessing how it all comes together but I’m not really giving away any secrets. So, here are some shots showing areas before and after collage elements have been added to #1371 which is at the end.

#1371

#1371

#1371

#1371

#1371

#1371

 

Here is the finished collage #1371 with all of its relationships for you to consider.

#1371 That Time

The idea of mindfulness in meditation is what I apply to my art practice. It is being present and open to the possibilities that arise during the time spent working on a project. I’ve been doing this for a long, long time. I just didn’t know what it was called. I have the following poem tacked to my studio wall. It is a powerful reminder of the need for mindfulness, in art and life, especially now.

WORDS FOR EACH DAY

Daisen-In Temple (Zen), Kyoto, Japan

Each day in life is training.

Training for myself.

Though failure is possible.

Living each moment.

Equal to anything.

Ready for everything.

I am alive.

I am this moment.

My future is here and now.

For if I cannot endure today when and where will I.

 

Be well, my friends, and practice mindfulness.

Since I Don’t Write Poetry

I am continuing to construct collages on suminagashi marbled paper. The concept of time, during the Covid19 pandemic, is strange and weird. I’ve used the word “time” in the titles of these new collages to encourage thinking about various aspects of the collage.

In poetry there are what I think of as “breaths” between words or phrases. The relationships of shapes, lines, colors and spaces in between function in much the same way in the collage. Is it a stretch to say those relationships may act as metaphors which provoke thoughts (memories?) and feelings?

Here is #1366 “Time Will Tell.”

What are your reactions?

#1366 Time Will Tell collage on suminagashi marbled paper 22×30 2020

#1366 Detail

Compare it to #1367 “Time-less.”

How are the relationships of shapes, colors and lines different? What is the “flow” or rhythm? How does the movement relate to the marbling?

#1367 Time-less collage on suminagashi marbled paper 22×30 2020

Here is #1368 “Another Time.”

#1368 Another Time collage on suminagashi marbled paper 22×30 2020

#1368 Detail

 

This is #1369 “Time For…”

#1369 Time For… collage on suminagashi marbled paper 22×30 2020

The collages were constructed on 22” x 30’” paper. Not small, but not huge. Try to picture that size and think about how near or far you would have to be to take it all in and see the relationships I’m talking about.

This is my wordless poetry.

Ghostly Impressions

I continue to explore the art of collage on suminagashi, marbled paper. In this series, called “Ghostly Impressions”, the collage incorporates a photograph and sun print in addition to areas of monotype and found paper.

The photo is one of many I’ve taken of “remainders” or “ghosts” on old buildings. They often indicate what company owned or leased the building. It’s a nice reminder of the past, which I want to capture. Faded, yes, but still hanging around although maybe, not for long.

The images on the sun print paper appear, like magic, after the paper is washed off. Kids love the process. I do, too! Like the signs on buildings, these images have a “ghostly” appearance.

There are a number of steps in constructing the layers of the collage.

First, the marbled paper is made using special inks, which float on the water in a tray. I swirl the ink into patterns. The paper is laid down on top of the water (carefully!) and lifted off (very carefully!) to reveal the pattern. This technique is old news to those of you who have been following my blog.

Here is what the marbled paper looks like, ready for collage.

Suminagashi marbled paper

Next, using my etching press, I add inked items to create a monotype on the marbled paper which I have dampened. It looks like this.

#1361 Fancy That

I have the ghost sign photo and the sun print ready. I adhere them to the monotype on marbled paper.

#1361 Fancy That

The last layer consists of shapes cut from found paper (i.e. magazines, other ephemera), my discarded prints and cut out marbled paper. Finished!

#1361 Fancy That   collage w. photo, sun print on suminagashi marbled paper, 22×30″ 2019

#1361 Fancy That – Detail

Here is another, partially completed. # 1365 “Layer Up”

#1365 Layer Up

Here it is finished!

#1365 Layer Up  collage w. photo, sun print on suminagashi marbled paper, 22×30 2019

I’ll be posting more from the series on my website soon. Stay tuned!

Meanwhile, check out the previous group of prints + sun prints under New Work at https://www.studio7310.com.

Prints, Prints, Prints

My newest group of prints is like a trifecta. In horse racing terms a trifecta is a bet placed for first, second and third place. While I’m not a betting person (generally) I thought about the word as I was assembling these prints.

Here’s how it went.

I printed the top monotype first with some additional monotype elements scattered about. Next, I printed the solar plate etching(s) at the bottom. The space in between was saved for a sun print. That was my first, second and third place print assembly. Finally, I added a few more collage elements. The paper size is 30″x22.”

The monotype is a single print from a plate (plexiglass or metal), in this case, metal. The solar plate etching is made using the sun or a light box as a light source to “etch” the image drawn or painted on a coated plate, thus eliminating the use of toxic chemicals. The sun print is also “solar.” Materials are placed on a light sensitive paper, which is exposed to the sun and rinsed off. The image looks like a cyanotype, but no chemicals are used to print the image.

Here are a few prints from this series.

First, the sun print from #1355 “Take Nothing For Granted.”

#1355 Take Nothing For Granted

Next, the entire print, monotype on top, sun print in the middle, solar plate etching on the bottom, plus some collage.

#1355 Take Nothing For Granted

 

Here is #1357 “Resonance.” There are two solar plate etchings combined in this print.

#1357 Resonance

And, the sun print from “Resonance.”

#1357 Resonance

This is #1358 “Life In The Fast Lane” followed by its sun print.

#1358 Life In The Fast Lane

#1358 Life In The Fast Lane

And, a detail of “Life In The Fast Lane.”

#1358 Life In The Fast Lane

There you have it! My print trifecta!

The entire series will be up on my website www.studio7310.com soon. Stay tuned!

 

The Haiku Project Continues

Seven seemed like a good number for the Haiku Collage series. At least for the time being. Before moving on to something else I thought I would publish a blog with the collages completed since the first few described in “The Haiku Project” – December 2018.

If you remember, the project grew out of a desire to combine, as collage, my cut up prints and found paper with stenciled and cut paper words from haiku poems sent to me by friends. The collage was assembled on marbled paper that I made using the suminagashi technique (Japanese). To refresh your memory about the process of layering in making the collage go to December 2018 in the Archives at the side of the blog.

Here are the new haikus, each followed by the completed collage.

# 1349 Alice’s Haiku

In the library

For fifteen minutes or less

No charge for parking

Alice’s Haiku

Alice’s Haiku – detail

# 1350 Faye’s Haiku

Butterflies in flight

Light as air like free spirits

Spreading joy to all

Faye’s Haiku

Faye’s Haiku – detail

# 1351 Todd’s Haiku

The open dog park

Never the same love again

Without your loved ones

Todd’s Haiku

Todd’s Haiku – detail

# 1352 Kathleen’s Haiku

Realization

Comfort comes in many forms

Sit back let it in

Kathleen’s Haiku

The Haiku Project

In a previous blog, “S” Is For Suminagashi, I described suminagashi as follows:

“Suminagashi is a Japanese marbling technique using special pigment inks. These inks are gently tapped on the surface of water in a tray with fine brushes. The movement of the water and my intervention moves the inks around creating swirls and ripples. The inks are intense but they appear pale and indistinct floating on the water. The magic occurs when the paper is laid on the water and lifted off. The marbled pattern appears!”

Suminagashi literally means “ink-floating.”

I wrote about how I used the marbled paper I made as the basis for collage, recycling pieces of prints (mine) and found paper to create a design where line, shape, color and texture work in tandem with the ebb and flow of the marbling, moving with it and against it across the paper.

I  wanted to do a project using haiku poetry in my work. Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry traditionally comprised of seventeen syllables in un-rhymed lines of five, seven and five syllables. Contemporary poets change that up a little using different numbers of syllables.. Haiku poems typically evoke an impression or feeling having to do with nature. Again, contemporary versions may stray from this strict definition and turn inward to express something more personal.

I took me a while to realize that combining a haiku with collage on suminagashi marbled paper was what I was looking for. And so, the Haiku Project was born. I reached out to you, my readers, requesting original haikus. You write the poem, I’ll use it in my art and credit you by using your first name in the title i.e. “Brad’s Haiku.” You responded, generously, sending me beautiful poems.

The collage is built in layers beginning with the marbled paper.

Brad’s Haiku

Next, I write the haiku using stencils with pencil and pastels in a pattern of movement that complements the flow of the marbling.

Dave’s Haiku

 

The cut paper collage elements are next. Here is a detail at that stage.

Dave’s Haiku-detail

Last, the cut out letters (from print scraps) are overlaid on the previously stenciled letters. Still with me? A completed collage looks like this.

Dave’s Haiku

Here are the words for “Brad’s Haiku”, cut from print scraps, which will be the final layer in the collage. Yes, it takes good eyes and steady hands to cut and glue them.

Brad’s Haiku

 

Here is “Brad’s Haiku” with stenciled letters and collage.

Brad’s Haiku

Here is the completed “Brad’s Haiku.”

Brad’s Haiku

And a detail.

Brad’s Haiku-detail

Here is the completed “Marla’s Haiku.”

Marla’s Haiku

My work table!

Work Table

Work Table

Here are the haiku poems in the collages.

“Dave’s Haiku”

winter vacancy

unnoticed till filled by a

red-winged blackbird trill

 

“Brad’s Haiku”

cold dark hotel room

in the middle of Charlotte

wishing I were home

 

“Marla’s Haiku”

darkness in daytime fire

spews round the blackened orb

shining sun returns

For me, it’s poetry in motion. Let me know what you think or feel and do send a haiku if you haven’t already.

To be continued.

 

 

“S Is For Suminagashi

 

I have been working on a series on paper combining Suminagashi marbling and collage. Suminagashi is a Japanese marbling technique using special pigment inks. These inks are gently tapped on the surface of water in a tray with fine brushes. The movement of the water and my intervention moves the inks around creating swirls and ripples. The inks are intense but they appear pale and indistinct floating on the water. The magic occurs when the paper is laid on the water and lifted off. The marbled pattern appears!

I’ve often said I love the unpredictability of printmaking. Suminagashi marbling takes unpredictability to a whole new level.

The collage elements are applied to the dried marbled paper. Like all of my collages there is a combination of my recycled prints and found paper. The colors, shapes and design of the collage work in tandem with the marbling.

To give you an idea of the process from start to finish here is what the marbled paper looks like.

Suminagashi Suite 2 marbled paper

Little by little, collage elements are applied.

Suminagashi Suite 2 in progress

The finished piece!

Suminagashi Suite 2, marbled paper with collage 22×30″ 2017-18

Here is another sequence.

Suminagashi Suite 4 marbled paper

Suminagashi Suite 4 in progress

Suminagashi Suite 4, marbled paper with collage 22×30″ 2017-18

Here are several other finished collages.

Suminagashi Suite 3, marbled paper with collage 22×30″ 2017-18

Suminagashi Suite 5, marbled paper with collage 30×22″ 2017-18

Suminagashi Suite 7, marbled paper with collage 30×22″ 2017-18

To be continued!

Crazy For Collage

I often construct my collages on acrylic painted paper. For a recent group of collages I layered stencil shapes cut from discarded prints (monotypes, collagraphs, etchings) and other found paper on the painted background. I needed one more element to make the collage POP. I found it by using acrylic “spreads.” Never heard of them? Spreads are made by painting acrylic paint or paint + gel medium on a releasing surface like plastic, letting it dry really well, then scraping it off and gluing it to the collage paper. They’re a little tricky to make, but they’re fun to make and fun to incorporate into the collage. They add texture and a bit of 3-D to the flat surface.

Here are some examples from the “Hidden In Plain Sight” series.

#1296 Hidden In Plain Sight 1, collage, 16x20", 2016

#1296 Hidden In Plain Sight 1, collage, 16×20″, 2016

#1297 Hidden In Plain Sight 2, collage, 16x20", 2016

#1297 Hidden In Plain Sight 2, collage, 16×20″, 2016

#1298 Hidden In Plain Sight 3, collage, 16x20", 2016

#1298 Hidden In Plain Sight 3, collage, 16×20″, 2016

#1300 Hidden In Plain Sight 5, collage, 16x20", 2016

#1300 Hidden In Plain Sight 5, collage, 16×20″, 2016

I continue to use pieces of my photographs, like the underfoot and graffiti images with discarded (you could say re-purposed) prints and found paper. May I say “ephemera?” It sounds so much more sophisticated. The compositions extend in all directions on a white background.

Here are a few recent examples.

#1301 Remembering The Things You Forgot collage 22x30" 2016

#1301 Remembering The Things You Forgot collage 22×30″ 2016

#1302 Internal:External Forces At Work collage 22x30" 2016

#1302 Internal:External Forces At Work collage 22×30″ 2016

#1303 Chasing The Unexpected collage 30x22" 2016

#1303 Chasing The Unexpected collage 30×22″ 2016

 

Sometimes you have to go “small.” Same idea, collage on painted paper. What happens when you try to downsize? What do you pick and choose to take? Ugh, you say. Well, I have to make the same sort of decisions every time I look at the paper. I made a series of “minis” called “Mini-Go-Round.” They are 6×8”, a lot smaller than 16×20”, 22×30” or 29×41”, my usual sizes for collage. How would you design a collage on a small piece of paper?

Here are my “minis.” Remember, they are small.

#1304 Mini Go Round 1, collage 6x8" 2016

#1304 Mini Go Round 1, collage 6×8″ 2016

#1305 Mini Go Round 2, collage 6x8" 2016

#1305 Mini Go Round 2, collage 6×8″ 2016

#1306 Mini Go Round 3, collage 6x8" 2016

#1306 Mini Go Round 3, collage 6×8″ 2016

#1309 Mini Go Round 6, collage 6x8" 2016

#1309 Mini Go Round 6, collage 6×8″ 2016

#1321 Mini Go Round 18, collage 6x8" 2016

#1321 Mini Go Round 18, collage 6×8″ 2016

Have you made collages? What’s your approach?

The Devil Is In The Details

 

Robert Rauschenberg once said, “Sunsets and strawberries never appear the same.” Margaret Drabble wrote, in The Red Queen, “Nothing comes from nowhere.”

#1274 Razzle, Dazzle, collage 19 1:2x25 1:2"

#1274 Razzle, Dazzle, collage 19 1:2×25 1:2″

 

#1275 Hip, Hip, Hooray, collage 19 1:2x25 1:2" 20

#1275 Hip, Hip, Hooray, collage 19 1:2×25 1:2″ 20

When I think about my work (because people ask) I realize it is always about exploring possibilities. Sometimes it’s moving forward, sometimes it’s stepping back. Inspiration can come from anything and anywhere, as complicated as the arc of travel, as simple as the mash up of colors in a bowl of fruit salad. A story, a piece of fabric, architectural details. How do I process all of these sensory experiences? How do I express them?

It’s a balancing act. Assessing, revising, adding, subtracting. The paintings and collages, for instance, are the result of the interplay of line, texture (real or implied), negative and positive space, and color (or lack of). How do the parts relate to the whole?

Where is the harmony? The dissonance? Experience with materials and technique is layered over intuition.

#1276 Going My Way?, collage 19 1:2x25 1:2"

#1276 Going My Way?, collage 19 1:2×25 1:2″

#1277 It Takes Longer Than You Think, collage 19 1:2x25 1:2"

#1277 It Takes Longer Than You Think, collage 19 1:2×25 1:2″

 

One person’s “serious” is another person’s “playful.” What are the connections within a work and to others that form a series? Must it tell a story or can you connect with it on a different level? Do you seek out metaphors as you study it? “… the eye of the beholder” may sound trite but it’s important to note that you, the viewer, bring much to the work to help you understand it.

#1278 Taking The High Road, collage 19 1:2x25 1:2"

#1278 Taking The High Road, collage 19 1:2×25 1:2″

 

#1279 Flights of Fancy, collage 19 1:2x251:2"

#1279 Flights of Fancy, collage 19 1:2×251:2″

 

I have no control over how viewers will interpret or connect with my work. I give up control once I determine it is finished. Then, on to the next.

#1281 Rational Exuberance 2, acrylic painting on paper with collage 22x30"

#1281 Rational Exuberance 2, acrylic painting on paper with collage 22×30″

You can find more collages, plus paintings, prints and photographs on my website www.studio7310.com. Have at it!

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