When I came back to making free-standing journal pages a couple of years after the ones I blogged about yesterday, I found myself initially creating collages that had a rather obvious reference to me and to gardens and flowers.
The first two collages (below) began the same way: with pages clipped from a calendar that the Metropolitan Museum of Art used to sell. Reproductions of the museum's art came printed on square pages in a plexi frame. Below each was a white strip with info about the art. Halfway through the year you flipped the stack over to the next six months printed on the back sides. I saved untold numbers of these papers, including two images by 19th C. phototographers.
This brown collage (above) uses the Met calendar image: "Flower Study, Rose of Sharon," a circa 1854 albumen silver print from a glass negative by Adolphe Braun (French, 1811-77). The layout is driven by the fact that the image had that calendar info that had to be dealt with. The photo is from the days of photo booths in long-gone "5 and dime stores."
The black and white image (above) in this mini portrait series is "Heliophila," an 1839 photogenic drawing by William Henry Fox Talbot (English, 1800-77). As a gardener Heliophila was completely unknown to me, but it is a genus of flowering plants in the Brassicaceae family.
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The rest of the work I did is much more straight collage art with no reference to the garden journals that were my starting point once upon a time. They were also free of any kind of message — or perhaps I should say "text," since each collage I made as I went along was more and more about letter forms, random images and a bit of mark making.
I only set myself one parameter: All the works had to be the same size to fit frames we already owned: 6 inches high x 5 inches wide.
Making these kept me engrossed for days as I spent hours moving bits of paper a fraction of an inch forward and back until I was satisfied. Perfect for a perfectionist like me.
I started adding more pattern and my own marks — both drawing and painting — as I went along.
The one above was so dense with lines and arrows and bits and bobs that I went in the opposite direction on the next collage. In fact it is really more mixed media work as there are only two things I pasted onto the surface of a piece from a shipping box that already had layers of tape and marks.
Though these artworks began as a continuation of my free-standing "journal pages," it's clear they wound up somewhere else. In the summer the garden is my art. In the winter, I always think I will draw or do fiber art, but I usually write and blog instead.
I began my career as an illustrator and graphic designer and moved into journalism along the way. Over almost 30 years of working at newspapers, writing became my dominant form of communication. Though I find making art of any kind very satisfying, I always put off doing it — but I never put off writing. I think the message is pretty clear.