Sunday, July 3, 2011

Hooked on a feeling

I've had BJ Thomas singing in my head all day, so I thought the least I could do is to spread the love!
Ha Ha Ha - Don't be hatin' now!    wink wink

Seriously, I have been such a good girl photo organizing for my Finding Photo Freedom class. It's just that, with over 5,000 photos on my computer and over 5,000 more waiting to be scanned in, it's highly repetitious and becomes body and soul numbing after a while.

So, to get my mind off photos file management FOR AWHILE, there was an opportunity to get a class with the great Claudine Helmuth for only $30 and I jumped at it: Composition for Collage.

What was the first thing I did? Read the syllabus? Heck, no. I read both of her books finally, having had them both on the shelf for years.  (My recognition of her predates her merchandising career with Ranger.) I just knew the class would cover things from the books. Nope. All new stuff, yet quite relevant and useful. Plus, a bunch of her signature collage images to download.
Available here
Not easily convinced and armed with the knowledge of what is covered in the class, I read the books carefully, looking for keywords such as vignette, horizon, grid, even symmetrical and asymmetrical. There was no mention of those particular tenants of composition, and I came away being left with the idea that the books were helpful as precursors or prep courses for learning those tenants. She used a similar visual method to teach *what looks right* in the books, as in the class, but in a completely different and more general way. I thought that was cool, and it did help me to feel good about tackling the more complicated constructs, in a way similar to how one feels when they review basic rules about a discipline they may be quite proficient in, now understood in a deeper, more satisfying way.

Taking this further, while reading the books, I gained a deeper understanding of what she taught in the class. I found myself looking at the various collage art samples, identifying them as the specific examples class-taught. I'm trying not to get too specific, as I don't feel right disclosing too many details of what's in a non-free class, but most of it was new info to me. (I'm not counting hearing about them in college art class...that was 35 years ago and I was not that attentive at the point due to a soon-to-be defection to accounting).

I am enjoying her approach now though. Mixing that little bit of academics in with clear examples makes the most of ideas that are easily packaged in the mind and remembered. And identifying examples in the books built on that. I even noticed one or two that I thought would have looked better had they been another collage design. Whether my thought was expert or not (and it isn't) does not matter here. What matters is that I took it further and ventured to apply my new found knowledge (whether I possess any appropriate skill will be decided once I actually create my collages).

I must disclose that the live version of the class ended June 30th (it isn't over, though; it can be purchased at any time as a self-paced class, and is forever accessible). Due to my Arthur flares and a little much-needed stacay, and then an annoying and exhausting digestive thing that infected both me and Hubs, I am just now doing the class. It was when I was flaring or IBS'ing that I read the books. Now, I am ready to rock n roll, and make some collages. I have one almost finished, so I promise it for next time.

Til then, I will leave you with today's art share, an atc that I made for the monthly lottery in my Paper Trader yahoo group:
I am trying to participate in this group in some way, and so I do the monthly atc and say this with the understanding that I don't have a lot of time to devote to it (because they have lots of other wonderful activities if I had more time). But... if I did this atc over again, I would have adhered a stiff base (hard plastic packaging plastic or cereal boxing?) to the back of the focal image before adhering to the corrugated cardboard, in order to avoid transferring the lines. They bug me. Another time, I might have thought ahead, but water under the bridge. Oh well. This was an image from some old scrap booking card stock scraps, and the corrugated piece was really what I wanted to work with (it was a whim).  I would also have remembered my little craft container drawer full of spiral rings instead of hunting through the junk drawer and my beading drawers for large rings. But then I wouldn't have seen the charm. Vox nix, I guess.