Monday, January 3, 2011

The joys of collage and the journey of making meaning, joy, healing, and transformation

Like for many artists, art has been a journey of making meaning, joy, healing, and transformation. This past year has been full of the good, the bad, the ugly, and the process of transformation through beauty, and art making. Rather than dwell on the difficulties (the bad and the ugly) I'd like to focus on the good that has come either out of the difficulties, or of its own. I have been forming community in Sacramento which has been wonderful, teaching art classes, also wonderful, adjunct university teaching which is partly wonderful (I hate grading and how it corrupts the learning process), making art, writing and illustrating kids books, and building my new business Transformational Arts Practice and its website One of the goals of TAP is to bring art programs into senior care facilities. I am very excited about this as I love being around elders and all that they have to teach. Another one of my goals for 2011 is to begin teaching online courses which if anyone knows how you do this, I'd be grateful to hear from you. You can see some examples of my classes and students work at I've also been making art which always makes my heart sing. These collages come from working on a very intuitive level and seeing what comes up.

This is from a beautiful Mary Oliver poem. I love her work and often use her poems in painting to poetry classes. I need to go in and credit her name on the piece. In terms of the art, I  love the weight of the rocks/mountains and the lightness of the heart. The first line in the poem is the name of the piece. I transferred it using both back and front painting. The woman holds a wand or flower which leads to a floating heart as a source or possible idea. The first line "I don't know what a prayer is" speaks to my own spiritual journey of finding peace, connection, and beauty in nature. The large boulders or mountains represent the obstacles I put in my way to get to that place of peace, connection, and beauty. Not sure where the Indian woman is from. If I find the source will go back in and credit.

I've been playing around with making stamps. This piece isn't finished. It's called "the flight of the bumblebees." It was fun and easy to make.

This piece about family of origin stuff (or FOO) uses an excerpt from Chuck Smoot's poem "Forgiveness." The decorative paper is used here as a dark sun or moon.

This collage piece is pretty self-evident. I am such a huge hummingbird fan and paint/draw/collage them whenever I can. I've also become a glitter fan which appeals to the girly part of me.

Here's my personal transformation piece or "inner goddesses." That's me as a serious baby, the goddess that has arisen from this young child symbolizes spirituality and wealth in the forms of her multi-hued halo and the bowl of golden eggs represent creative fertility. My spirituality and wealth has always materialized in the form of art making (creativity) and the wealth of friendships and love. The halo points to a tightrope walker walking on a fine golden thread She is holding it together on this delicate journey juggling what might be golden balls, or a series of suns. The final aspect is the warrior goddess, seeking to do good or battle wrong. While armored, she carries flowers as she emerges from a unfolding peony - a symbol of riches and good fortune. Who knew this little girl had all that in her?

"Into the mystery" includes drawing, painting, collage, and handmade stamps. It's about head and heart connections, unfolding ( a re-occurring element), different kinds of wealth, and the miracle of the hummingbird. The figure is like a key hole or portal opening into a world of ideas and feelings.

Spy story tells a visual narrative about good versus bad. But is it really that simple?

This collage isn't finished. I have no idea where it will take me but am enjoying the ride.

Here's a recent photo where I Photoshopped in a picture from Baby Rattlesnake in the background for the Crocker Art Museum where I hope to be teaching in April. Being a Photoshop wizz, I also Photoshopped out the dark Eastern Europan descent circles under my eyes and softened some of my wrinkles. I commented in Facebook recently about struggling with the aesthetics of aging. I think it may be time to stop doing the virtual face lifts. Wish me luck.

1 comment:

Shelley Whiting said...

I really like "the flight of the bumblebee" one. I love the stamp. It's playful and fun.