Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Aunt Mari's 90th Birthday surprise

My dear, sweet Aunt Mari turned 90 this past weekend. I was lucky enough to attend. My husband, three children, greyhound, and I piled into our van, drove 3 hours north to Appleton, WI, and along with several other out of state cousins, surprised the he_ _ out of her. Mari's three children planned a lovely party with many of her friends from the retirement community that she lives in, friends from the suburb outside of Milwaukee where she used to live, and her nieces and nephews (that would be me for one). The look on her face when my family and I entered the room was well, priceless! She cried and laughed at the same time. So did I. In this first picture, Aunt Mari is in the middle and her two grandchildren are on either side. The other three are mine. The children presented her with 90 roses. And then I presented her with my collage (the second picture). I can't tell you how much she loved it. There was a scrap book of sorts with many of the same photos in it, along with displays boards, but the collage stood out. Many were amazed at the construction of the work and others wanted to know the symbolism for some of the papers that were used. I am so glad I attempted this and was so pleased with the outcome.


Thursday, May 18, 2006

Remembering Family

It is finished! Last night at about 10:00 CST, I put the finishing touches on my Aunt Mari's collage. This was a new process for me. I used Jonathan Talbot's methodologies, but I still needed to work some things out for myself as I put the piece together. Since I most recently have journeyed from a rubber stamp world into mixed media and collage, I felt at first that this was like putting a scrapbook page together. Boy was I wrong. The process began with careful scanning and manipulation (with a crappy photo editor) of more photos than I care to think about. Then I hunted for old maps, recipes and other found papers. After about a week of gathering the material, I was off to the copy center to make color copies. More decisions at the copy center were made (do I want more yellow in the copy etc). Finally I had all the material assembled with the exception of just a few alphabet letters.

On Monday of this past week, I coated everything I had with acrylic medium (as per Jonathan's method). I coated way to much but that is OK because I can use the left over material in other works. While that was drying (both sides of the copies had to be coated), I prepared my water color paper. I used 300 lb arches natural (really yummy stuff). The final size of the paper was 16 by 20 which I then masked off to 11 by 14. The background was added to the substrate (an old dress pattern) and some acrylic paint "splashed" on. Then that surface was coated with acrylic medium. This entire process (with drying time) took about 24 hours.

On Tuesday I began to cut out and arrange the photos and papers. This was an ardent and almost nerve racking experience. There was so much material and I had this idea going that just was not translating to the substrate! I knew I had to have most of the work finished by Tuesday because of my time schedule. After arranging, rearranging, and arranging again, I had something that was pleasing to my eye. I did not want to alter the photos too much (as in a David Hockney look) because my Aunt is after all 90, and I don't think she would have recognized or understood that type of approach. I did have one dilemma though. I really like to integrate my background, especially when I am using a variety of different items. How was I going to do that and keep the arrangement I had in front of me. I had some of the photos tucked behind background elements, in the center of background elements etc...and I did not want the photos integrated into the work. So I settled for a happy medium (no pun intended). I made a detailed drawing of where all the pieces were supposed to be on the substrate and then assembled the collage in sections so I could integrate, at least partially, some of the background. It worked fairly well and although the background papers are not fully integrated, I am pleased with the outcome. A few minor additions were made, the piece was sealed and varnished, titled, and there you have it! A srapbook page? I think not, but you tell me...is it art or craft?

So today is Thursday and I am off to frame the work. Saturday is the big surprize party. I hope she likes it!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Aunt Mari

I have been frantically trying to pull together the material I will need for my Aunt's birthday present. She turns 90 this Saturday! My family and I are heading up to Appleton, WI to celebrate with her. It will be a huge surprise because she has not seen out children in maybe 10 years. So, my cousin, her oldest son, has sent me files of pictures of her and my uncle and other cousins. And the files sat for two weeks. Why? For those of you who have school age children know that the school year is fast coming to a close. I have been swamped with my children's school projects (I hate this time of year) and have not been able to do any art. Today I was able to get to Staples to make some color copies of the materials. Now I have one week to finish.

Here is a sweet picture of my Aunt Mari when she was maybe 2. I will be using this one for sure. If nothing else, this project will be a real walk down memory lane. I found an old Newsweek from 1946! Will be using some of that in the collage! I also found my Dad's Boy Scouts membership card from the 1930s. My Uncle (Mari's husband) and my Father were brothers (both deceased). I also found a recipe from my Aunt Mari that my Mom used for years and years. We called it "Aunt Mari's chocolate cake." My Aunt Mari is the last of my aunts. My parents, and my Dad's two brothers, are gone. So this project is very near and dear to me. My Aunt does not even know that we are coming and the gift, I hope, will be icing on the cake.


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

loca mesa verde

I finished my first challenge for the Midwest Collage Society. The Spring challenge was posted a while back on the Yahoo list. We were challenged to come up with a spring abstract landscape. I thought it might be fun to step out of my comfort zone and I think for a first try, it turned out OK. My inspiration for the the piece is spring in New Mexico. We have traveled to New Mexico many times over the years because my in-laws live in Santa Fe. I think spring is my favorite my season there. It is so alive and fresh. Green is a rare commodity in many areas of New Mexico but in the spring, near Santa Fe, the mesas come to life. And there you have it.

The work is done on watercolor paper, 140lb. A variety of found papers were used, and acrylic paints. I did this collage using Jonathan Talbot's method. I plan on mounting the work to an 8 by 10 piece of watercolor paper. The finished size will be 8 by 10.

Now I have to get to business on my Aunt's collage...Have to finish before the 20th of May.