Collage as self-expression

Week 4- Wall Art

Hello everyone! Happy Tuesday!  I have a lot of work to update you on so please read below!

I'm still working on my Children's Book Illustration for the White Cat; I submitted it to the course's Facebook group for critique and used some of my classmate's suggestions to make a few modifications; namely I adjusted the cat's outfit and made the cat much larger.  I'm not quite ready to submit it and may work on it a bit more.  

In the meantime, I've been working on three other projects: Lisa Congdon's daily pattern Creative Bug challenge, starting the first week of "Make Art That Sells" Bootcamp, and beginning week 4 of the MATS-A course. 

For the daily pattern challenge, artist Lisa Congdon provides short instructional videos on Creative Bug for designing a pattern.  The first patterns were basket weave, argyle, scallops, gingham, and chevron.  I'm still catching up so there's more to come!  I'm using some new watercolors I was gifted for Christmas from Prima brand.  They offer vibrant colors in small, portable palettes.  I like working with them and they are a bit less intimidating to use since they aren't as expensive as my fine art watercolors so I feel like I can more loosely with them and the stakes aren't as high.  Next, the first "live" class of My Year of Art School began yesterday, called "MATS Bootcamp."  Each month I'll have one mini assignment and one main assignment that relates to the mini. All the assignments are for the market and the creative briefs are meant to improve our portfolios so we can find licensing work and secure agency representation.  Yesterday's mini was released; I'm supposed to draw all the contents inside my handbag.  We won't know until next week what the main assignment will be.  It's pretty exciting!  There are over 400 artists in this class, and many of them are established, working artists as opposed to casual hobby artists.  I'm working hard to channel my inner artistic ability and not let my inner-critic noise get to me.  It's often hard for me to get past my own insecurities and envy of other people's talent and seemingly copious free time, but I keep giving myself the mantra that I can do this, and I will do my best within the parameters of my current life and obligations.  (Easier said than done!) . 

For Week 4 of the self-paced course, the topic is Wall Art.  Wall Art covers all the licensed wall art you find in stores like Anthropologie, Target, Pier 1, Homegoods, Ikea, Urban Outfitters, and other big chains.  My mini assignment was to go on a scavenger hunt to find collage materials in my house using a pre-assigned color scheme according to my birth month along with unlimited neutrals (black, gray, beige, white.)  My colors are red and purple.  So I gathered all the materials then got to work priming a large canvas using neutral colors.  I used old envelopes, sheet music, white receipts, and tissue paper and gelled those down using Acrylic Gel Medium.  I waited a day to let that dry then coated the canvas with transparent buff titanium.  I then added an abstract layer of purple and red paint.  While I waited for that to dry, I started punching up a bunch of paper I have using a scallop-flower punch.  After the paint dried on the canvas, I glued all the paper cuts into a big bubble that I made to look like a tree.  I then added a bunch of flowers in luminescent gold and pearl to the others parts of the canvas. 

Then I glued a bunch of papers to the bottom to look like a little village. When the acrylic medium dries, I'll put a transparent glaze over the papers so they all have the same value. These papers are actually from my dad's very large and odd sugar packet collection I inherited when he passed away.  For some reason, he collected sugar packets across the globe.  I dumped out the sugar a couple of years ago but saved all the papers, and now all of my collage work has these sugar packets!  It's a nice way to keep his memory alive and I feel like he's still part of my life this way.  I also love looking through the packets, seeing the foreign languages of the places he travelled to, and imagine that he had coffee in a lot of those places, hopefully with some good company.  I wish I could ask him about each one, but I can't, so I just make up scenarios in my mind of where he was and what he was doing when he collected a particular sugar packet. 

Next, I added a flower garden on the bottom of the canvas using stencil cutouts and some weird paper flowers I found in the clearance bin of a craft store.  My last step during this art session was I glued a bunch of motivational sayings around my flower tree and made the saying look like they are those word magnets you find in book stores.  I plan to add a few more layers to this piece; the requirements are that the piece needs to be large (it is! 24x24!), have floral motifs, follow the color scheme, and have words.  The Wall Art Market is definitely for me; I would love to see my work in a big way and do projects like this.  This project is flowing easily for me and I'm enjoying being away from the computer, getting my hands dirty, and being completely immersed in the art.   I also feel like this is the one art form that has so much expression of me and is completely unique from what others are doing.  By using my found paper collection, there's not a single person out there that has this assortment of stuff in their work, so I suppose that painterly collage is where my particular vision shines the most.  

I'm doing this massive project in my cellar; my enclosed-porch studio is ice cold due to the weather right now, and I don't want my 3-year-old son to get into this mess and all the mediums/chemicals/paint.  I prefer to work above ground, but It feels great to work on such a big project and it's fun to see where it's going! 

Thanks for reading this far and I hope you enjoy reading about my progress!  

Pattern Challenge

Book Color Illustration (final, for now!)

Found objects- project prep

neutral layer

Color layer

Collaged punch-outs

Sugar Packet Village

Flower Garden (in progress)

Big Picture

Artist Selfie!

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