Ohio has had its share of unusual weather this winter. A lovely Christmas in the 50s. Lots of rain and not much snow. And now finally at the end of January We are beginning to see ice and snow. And we’ve had an awful lot of winter rain. I know I shouldn’t complain about winter rain, having so many loved ones living in areas of drought. But really, winter rain? Why is winter rain so ugly and depressing when spring rain is so beautiful and full of hope?
About two years ago I realized that I had injured my hands doing my mixed media artwork. I found myself having carpal tunnel syndrome. I always thought carpal tunnel was for the poor people who had to work on computers all day. I never saw myself as being a victim of the disorder. I was having too much fun to come down with something as mundane as that. Long story short my surgery was scheduled for today, but I had to cancel because of illness.
Yesterday, during my recuperation I discovered how to “make rain”.And now today, my hand is so numb I can neither paint nor cut. So I’m sad to say, the rains have stopped. The last two weeks for me,have been very strong creative moments with tons of new inspiration and thoughts. And now grinding to a halt ? I will be very interested to see if the creative juices keep flowing During this time of decreased artistic activity. For some reason, I have the image of myself catching the creative thoughts in a big bucket to keep for later. Maybe a Rain Bucket?
Alter Ego of a Primrose Mixed Media Collage
On the edge of the woods, everything is changing and shifting. Green is turning into red,yellow and gold. Beautiful fresh blooms are turning shades of brown and burgundy, and they are stiff and brittle. Some flowers appear to be made of stone. The tall green grasses are now tall brown and tawny grasses waving stiffly in the wind. Leaves from the very top of our stately trees are taking the plunge and dancing towards the earth. The natural world takes autumn very seriously and every single plant gives its all to the new season.
Along the Chlorophyll Trail Mixed media collage
I have been thinking a lot lately about the miracle of chlorophyll and how completely we depend on it for life on this glorious planet. Chlorophyll is mysterious and wonderful yet it is never a topic of poetry or prose. No ballads, songs or odes are written about it. I wonder if they had given it a more pleasant name if it would appear in literature and song. anyway, I wonder what chlorophyll”s view of autumn is…. a much needed vacation, or a nasty deprivation ????? Check out my “gallery” and see what’s available for sale
Now that we have reached the threshold of spring, the fair edge of winter, I am finally looking back over the art which had made up my creative moments this winter. Over the cold months I have once again found my artwork capturing the spirit of a Botanical Winter. From our windows on the woods, i I can see the winter grasses. Night and day they endure the frozen temperatures, winds and ice. They did not just endure but they do it with grace and beauty.
My themes this winter have revolved around the grasses and seeds of winter. They have such abundance and so many levels and interpretations. They are lovely. yet ignored.
They are trodden under foot and yet they are an integral part of our universe.
They are apart of the great dance of life. Our natural world revolves around the silent work of seeds and grasses.
Happy to say that I will be having my art work on display at the Akron Women’s City Club for the month of October. Reception on October 6, 1-4 All are Welcome
732 W Exchange St, Akron, OH 44302
Looking back, I realize that before I began my journey into art, that I had little idea exactly what I was getting into. I thought of art as an “enjoyable pastime”, a therapeutic endeavor, a way to cover some vacant walls. Now, after several years of pursuing art in the mixed media world, I have come to see that creating art enters into every part of my life.
At present, I am experiencing carpel tunnel syndrome in both hands. It all started two months ago when I felt compelled to give voice to Flowers.
Hours of painting,cutting, folding, writing,clipping, and before the first few flowers were even blooming my hands were numb.
Did that stop me? A couple years ago, I came to the understanding that the artwork that I create is only a part of the whole creative process. The artistic process also includes, shopping for supplies, cleaning up my studio, time spent at the framers, online research and hours spent looking for the “right” supplies. And now I add Dr. visits and shopping for wrist supporters. i always knew that garden work could be dangerous but I somehow thought working in my art garden was a safer pastime.
Thank You Nancy Reyner……
Artists may have many defining moments in their artistic journeys, times when new doors swing open and the artist is lead in fresh directions. These defining moments can look very different from one another. Some are obvious and even dramatic, while others are recognized only with hindsight. There are those moments when the lights go on, bells ring, doors and windows fly open, the red carpet of understanding is rolled out and the artist knows that they will never be the same.
I had that experience a couple years ago when I watched Nancy Reyner’s wonderful tutorial on how to apply metal gilding. For some reason, I was apprehensive about trying my hand at gilding. Nancy’s teaching video was perfect for me. The instruction was direct and clear, the technique, supplies and process were covered in simple, precise language. When the video was over, I felt like I knew what to do. site. My artistic journey took a wonderful turning at that moment. Gilding has become an integral part of my artistic expression and a wonderful technique for expressing my enthusiasm for all things colorful and “shiny”. I am able to communicate in a new way, a little like learning a new language. My collages have taken on a unique character and I have discovered wonderful new colors and many surprises. I have found many of Nancy’s teaching videos to be very helpful, along with several of her books. Thank you Nancy for opening the Gilded Doors for me. www.nancyreyner.com
Happy to say i will be at the lovely Fine art show, Bellissimo, at Gervasi Vineyard
on Sunday July 22, 2018 fro 12:00-5:00. Look for me under the Pavilion.
A few years ago, late at night in early spring. I was supposed to be cleaning up my studio. Instead, I found myself “playing” with certain paper scrapes and slowly the inspiration of a collage flower came into being. The first inspiration came quickly and unexpectedly but the actual design and construction took several weeks.I found the task so difficult that for quite a long time I actually did not attempt another one. Then I made one more and then none for many months.
To me, flowers are like a divine wake-up call. They are awesomely beautiful and yet they are scattered all over the place. Looking at flowers costs nothing and can be very therapeutic. I have often wondered why no one has gone into Floral Therapy? Flowers are hard to explain, containing depth and mysteries. And on top of that they can even smell good! Not all mysteries smell good .
This spring, late at night, while I was supposed to be cleaning my studio, the inspiration hit again. I was inspired to take the time to consider my approach to flowers and try to discover why the task was so challenging. I called it “Wrestling the Flower Angels”. I am happy to say that after much thought, writing and soul searching I was able to return to the job of giving voice to flowers.
An essential part of my flower design is the decision that I made to spend time making sure every part is well constructed. Have you ever picked a rose or a daisy and on closer inspection you notice that the back of the petals were unfinished, never colored, or the sepal was poorly constructed? No. Flowers, are well constructed, organized nicely and made to achieve their purpose. Hence I have decided to “waste” time on the details rather than using haphazard construction methods. Even in our technological, consumer age society, flowers are made with the same perfection that they were in the Victorian age. The flowers blooming by the side of the road are equally perfect to the ones growing in the the grandest gardens of the world.
Last weekend I had a wonderful time sharing my artwork at the Bellissimo Art show at Gervasi Vineyard in Canton,Ohio. Lovely setting, lovely day. I had the opportunity to show my work with hundreds of people. Many of these people looked at me and asked“How long does it take to do this?” I understand the question.
Many of my pieces appear to contain hundreds of pieces and are made up of a variety of papers.
My answer is always,”There really is no telling how long it takes” Some pieces are done in a week, while others may take a month or more. I work on more than one piece at a time. This an an artist’s trick to ensure that the creativity keeps flowing. That way if I get “stuck” on one collage, I can work on another. Some of my pieces have taken 6 months or more to complete, others, a year. Last year I had several that i called my “May to September Series.”
I do not plan the work out ahead of time. I start with an idea, a color, an emotion, a textured paper that I feel inspired to use and then slowly begin to build a piece. Not an easy road. I spend hours taking pieces of paper in and out of the piece. I like to think that when someone is purchasing one of my collages that they are not just paying for the finished piece of art but that they are also paying for all the pieces that I did not put in the final product. For me it is a journey. I consider myself “making the paper journey” and I feel very blessed and privileged to be able to make this creative journey.
As I walk through my winter-weary garden, I have to remind myself that these “old sticks” are actually plants just waiting their turn. They look dead, dull and unsightly. Rather hopeless i would say. Below, find a picture of the same spot, same garden, taken last July!! That is just three months from now! If I did not know it to be true from all the springs i have seen come and go I myself would not believe it either.
Inside these old dry “sticks” a lot of activity must be going on. It seems that if I were to stop and put my ear to these old twigs that I should hear all sorts of unusual sounds of inner work, enterprise and animation. I never thought about it before, how odd that plants are silent. Seems like I should hear the “juices” running, the cells expanding, the chlorophyll doing its magic. And yet they stand unmoving and silent.
Inside, up and down the trunks, across the stems, up from the roots and within the tiny buds, the beautiful mechanics of Spring are underway. Yet no hint to all this grand effort is seen or heard as i pass by.
The roses, begin their great work in silence and destitution. I cannot help but believe that deep inside they are dreaming of summer blossoms. What would the plants sound like if they would be given the gift of sound, vocalization, song? Would they sing like the birds, hum like the crickets, croak? Or would it be some totally new form of sound? And then another thought, maybe they do make a sound and we just can’t hear it! Maybe we are the ones lacking!!!
And I am reminded of this great quote:
“There is always music amongst the trees in the garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it.”
– Minnie Aumonier
Lately I have found myself reading up about migratory birds. I am reading Songbird Journeys by Miyoko Chu.I realized how little i knew about these little marvels who live in our woods. I learned that they migrate for thousands of miles each spring and autumn. That they will fly over our homes by the thousands while we sleep unknowingly in our beds. That thought really got me. These little souls flying tirelessly through the night while i sleep under my down comforter.
How do they do it? I can barely find my way to the bathroom at night if our night light goes out. Scientists have spent millions of dollars and hours , and more studying birds and their beautiful navigational ways. They have followed birds, on foot through the jungles, by helicopters, and land rovers. Night and day the scientists have followed these little wonders in order to discover the secret within their small frames. I cannot help wondering if the birds have feathered creatures following the scientists to see why they are going all over the place. The idea would make a great cartoon- Birds being studied by people who are being studied by birds
The researchers have come up with all sorts of theories and thoughts about just how these birds are capable of doing what we “smarter” creatures cannot. So these small wonders are mysteriously equipped with sensors in their eyes, noses and brains which enable them to detect and respond to the earth’s magnetic field. I did not even remember what the earth’s magnet field is.
Are you ready to have it all become crystal clear?
Earth’s magnetic field, also known as the geomagnetic field, is the magnetic field that extends from the Earth’s interior out into space, where it meets the solar wind, a stream of charged particles emanating from the Sun.
I know that helps.
Songbird Journey’s (page 147)
” In addition to the sun,stars and magnetic fields and polarized light,birds probably use other cues to navigate. They can check their position against landmarks such as rivers and mountain ranges.Pigeons are capable of smelling their way home…” Really????
In our present culture it is hard to find someone who can even find their way to a destination without a GPS. These birds have got us beat!!!!! Can you imagine smelling your way home?
I have been using my paper collage as a way to think and meditate on the lessons of the birds. I am awed by their mysteries, their fortitude and their hidden talents. I am amazed by the intricate balance that guides them over thousands of miles each year. For me, these wonderful details continue to speak of an intelligent and loving Creator. These birds didn’t think of this themselves!!!
I am often asked where I find my inspirations for my paper collages. I have to say that my themes come from many different and often unexpected places. I often find inspiration from nature, music, and my reading.
Each winter, living on the edge of the woods, I find myself fascinated with the inner workings of winter plants. I look out the window and see all these trees, grasses, and shrubs stark, snow-covered, grey and bleak. They appear dead. Memories of their autumn splendor, spring time awakenings and summer abundance run through my mind. How can these vibrant plants just stand there, day and night for months, appearing dead and yet still carrying within them the spark of life? Against all evidence they are not dead.
This morning I turned on my Scheherazade CD and decided to read up on just what plants are doing in the winter. As the music began I found myself imaging the inner workings of plants set to music. What interesting ballets or concertos could be based on these themes. I thought my horticultural reading would be uplifting and poetic. I imagined with the music in the background and the frozen grasses outside my window that I would be transported in some lyrical manner.
Unfortunately that did not happen. As I began to read i discovered words like tracheids, xylum, vernalization, extraorgan freezing, extracellular freezing, conduits, desiccation and freeze-thaw cycles. Not very inspiring I am afraid. Many words even my spell check did not approve of.
So I closed the book, turned Scheherazade up louder and went back to admiring the frozen swaying grasses. As I watch their winter dancing, I imagine a tiny flame of life deep within them held lovingly by the plant’s dreams of summer days to come. And I imagine them as ballet dancers swaying gently to the evocative strains of Scheherazade.I lovingly pick up my scissors and papers and continue to collage my thoughts about the inner workings of plants and I join the grasses in the music of the spheres.