Saturday, June 27, 2009

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar...

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. For the most part, so it is for me with collage. Not so this time, it appears.

First, the backstory. My sister and her husband just left to fly home this morning after spending five days exploring Greensboro. We drove around, walked the university campus, looked at neighborhoods and houses, ate in some wonderful small restaurants and celebrated my birthday at the ballpark watching the hometeam lose their lead and get beaten into the ground in the ninth inning. We really enjoyed each other's company and laughed a lot.

After dropping them at the airport at 6:30 a.m., I grabbed a biscuit and egg at Mickey D's and grabbed another hour's sleep at home. When I rose for the second time, I pulled out my magazines and started cutting out images. One by one, they just seemed to fall into place. Arches and pathways. People facing forward and away. Questions. Laughter. People sharing. Old and young. Even the cats and sponge Bob's eyebrows made it into the picture.

For me, collage tends to be the creation of pleasing arrangements of color and form without any clear underlying intention. When the collage felt complete, I took it to my workspace to scan it. I really like the way the image glows on my monitor, almost as if it were a whole new piece.

The image popped up on my screen. For the first time, I really saw it---a family in transition, and staying present to the process. A surprise summary of a great visit.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Now You See It, Now You Don't!

Retired for several years now, I've explored a variety of activities in that time, some useful to the greater good, some just gloriously self-indulgent. I love the Internet. It satisfies my insatiable need to "dabble" in ideas new to me like nothing else short of a real library. That's what I was doing a few months ago when I stumbled on an article by Seena Frost about a process she called SoulCollage, and "discovered" the infinite possibilities inherent in collage. It was just like walking into Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory and not being diabetic. I was hooked.

Since then, my so-called dabbling is more focused. I've found and follow some wonderful mixed-media bloggers who share their art and observations with visitors. Corey Eiseman is one of then. The image above is really two images by Eiseman that I printed out and scanned for comparison. The top part, No. 302, is the most recent evolution created on May 15, 2009; the bottom, No. 1, was the first collage, started on September 15, 2004. There have been a lot of changes to the original in 5 years.

A good poker player knows when to hold and when to fold. But Eiseman's perpetual computer blog "canvas" seems to have no end, and she's betting that we will keep returning to see how it evolves. The unique thing about this process is that the current entry is used as a starting point for the next. Then it is worked on, added to, changed a little bit more and archived along the way.

Eiseman says the hardest part about making art is knowing when to stop, but with digital media and blogging available why should we have to? You can see the progress of the perpetual canvas for yourself at .

Trying Something New...

Last weekend, I came upon a blog called "A Collage a Day," an ongoing project that involves creating and posting a new 4" x 4" collage to this site every day. Each 4" collage is offered for sale for just $25.00, which includes 8" x 8" archival gallery matting, documentation, and free shipping. Randel Plowman is an artist living and working in Northern Kentucky. He is part of the graphics department at the University of North Kentucky.

As I scrolled through his site, I came across a notice about a workshop he was offering this weekend, during which he would be examining various transfer methods, the use of glues and various mediums and how to mat and frame art. As a newbie to collage, I was immediately drawn to the offering and contacted the artist to see if there was still a place available. There was.

I am so excited! After hours of scouring the Internet, I finally was able to get a great deal on an air and car rental package, and then Priceline set me up in a 3 star hotel for just $40 a night. As the lyrics of an old favorite say, "My bags are packed and I'm ready to go." Meanwhile, I've played around with computer collage using some free vintage images that characterize Plowman's work.

You might enjoy checking out Plowman's blog site at There are similar sites where quality art is offered to the public at reasonable prices. Check out a-painting-a-day and others.

Monday, June 1, 2009

...A Daisy a Day

These daisies have pushed through the rubble of an old brick home being torn down to make way for a new interstate highway near me. According to the Language of Flowers, each flower has a message and a story. Daisies bring a message of innocence and purity, saying, "You have as many virtues as this plant has petals," or, "I will consider your request." I wonder how this applies to the current situation!

Do you remember plucking a daisy's petals one by one as a child and reciting, "He loves me, he loves me not," for each petal pulled? The last petal so plucked predicted the future of such love. Young girls might also pick a handful of daisies with eyes closed. The number of blossoms in hand told of the number of years remaining until marriage. Its simplicity has made the daisy a favorite of many poets. Its healing and predictive powers made it popular not only with farmers, but also with an infamous English king. Spring, medieval farmers would say, would not arrive until one could set a foot on twelve daisies. To dream of daisies in springtime or summer was a lucky omen, but dreams of them in fall or winter meant certain doom.

Transplanting wild daisies to a cultivated garden was considered to be very unlucky. King Henry VIII ate dishes of daisies to relieve himself from his stomach-ulcer pain. For then, it was also believed that drinking crushed daisies steeped in wine, in small doses over a period of fifteen could cure insanity.
I'll give you a daisy a day, dear...