Saturday, May 23, 2009

Something scary/beautiful this way came...

This 4x6 piece is titled "Sunburned" and is the result of something scary that I did this week.

I have been a lurking fan of Nancy Baumiller's for...seems like forever and a day. Any time I need cheering up or somewhere to escape into, I end up looking at her art. You can literally get lost in it, there is so much eye candy in each collage. Nancy owns her own style, to be sure, but in describing it, I'd have to reference Zetti-guru Teesha Moore, the ultimate creator of Zetti style (zettiology).

So, anyway, for the past several months I've been drawn to other artists on Flickr who have that same Zetti-esque look, and last week my mind seemed to focus on that and long story short, I discovered that all my Zetti friends were at Nancy's Collage Play With Crowabout challenge. The reason I focused on this was because an invitation appeared in my inbox out of nowhere -- to join Collage Play!

Each week Nancy uploads a collage sheet for us to use in our own collages (a minimum of 3 images used is the rule). Our collage uploads are due by Friday night, and on Saturday Nancy chooses a winner to receive goodies, and a new collage sheet is uploaded for the next week.

This may sound plain silly, but receiving this invite to play sent shivers down my spine from excitement AND immense fear. It took me several hours of Olive Oil indecision before finally choosing to just-what-the-hell-go-for-it. What excited me so much was that I truly lovelovelove this style of collage art. What scared me so much was that I had no idea, really, how to plant my style foot down on it and make it my own. And even pure copycatting would be inferior.

I had no real idea just how intimidating this would be for me.

All week -- from the moment I joined Collage Play -- I remained as creatively barren as could be. It was an artistic freeze jam-up. The pressure was on to do something I had no assurance I could do. The Collage Plays are weekly and a week's time ticks by fleetingly.

I was not a happy camper. I had other art to make. The Crowabout challenge could not rule my world, especially if I was skeered of it!

What I finally did was to remove the deadline. I would purposefully turn mine in late for the first few weeks. I'd miss out on the drawing for goodies from Nancy -- not a small thing -- but that finally did the trick. See, part of the pressure is that the first entries that get uploaded use the collage images in all the cool, nifty, why-didn't-I-think-of-that, clever ways, so even if you didn't copy someone's, it still could very well look like you jacked someone's fab idea. (Not that anyone would accuse, it's just my own hang-up.) Plus, most of the collages that are uploaded are freakin brilliant! I practically had to just accept that mine was gonna just not be worthy in comparison.

Another problem I was having was, what was I making this for, other than the Collage Play? You know me, I gotta have form AND function. I'll be playing this by ear every week, but for my first collage, I've managed to find a dual purpose for it. See the girl's face, the red cheeks? See the word "ROT"? Well, on my ToDo list was a 4x6 post card with a May Special Days theme. May just happens to be National Skin Cancer Awareness Month. The card is like PSA for proper skin care.

I found a magazine image of a woman modeling casualwear at the beach, in the same proportions as my collage image head, and used it as my card base background. I took my red zig markers and extended the sunburn to her neck and arms. I painted Waterslide Blue acrylic paint almost all around it, to cover the ad wordings.

Then, I made from scratch my border, out of recycled junk mail business envelope interiors, with my Fiskars Threading Water border punch, my fabuloso Ancient Page dye inks and my black gel pen. I lovelovelove this border so much, I scanned in the strips in case I wanted to print out and use again and was short on time (otherwise, I can surely make more).

I cut out the letters from the various words and phrases on the other collage sheet images to make "Soon to be peeling rot". The butterfly on her bodice was also a collage sheet image, so I used 3 images and then some. The "Sunburned and" text I printed in Word.

What do you think? It's definitely a change in artistic style for me, not one I hope to master, but one that I'm happy to play in for the time being, along with my other art. I have to say that I exceeded my own pitiful expectations. I honestly didn't think I would come up with something even this good. But I did master a major hurdle this week in finding the courage to have a first stab at it and actually make something "crowabout". I need to say unequivocably, I do not consider what I made to be Zetti style. I'm not there yet, by any means. Not there in my head. I am only aiming right now to get into freeform whimsy that could include zetti, or steampunk, or vintage or retro. And as far as what style that "Sunburned" is, who knows? It's mine, that is all I know.

Here's hoping I'll gain more confidence the more of these collages I make, and then look out drawing, I want some of Nancy's goodies, lol. Check out her links I've provided above. And come join the Collage Play if you have a mind to! :-)))

You may find it weird (boring, tedious??? LOL) that I'm writing about my fears in such depth. I'm doing so on purpose, one: to illustrate just how silly we are when we let fear shut our creativity down, and two: as a reminder to fight through the fears to at least test them instead of just giving into them and letting them have their way.

Until next time,

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